KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

On World Polio Day, CDC Says World Close To Elimination But More Effort Needed; U.N. Begins Immunization Campaign In Iraq

CIDRAP News: CDC: Polio eradication within sight but efforts still needed
“…[T]he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) marked [World Polio Day] by hosting a teleconference on the current state of global polio eradication. Despite polio being ‘on the brink’ of eradication, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said new cases of the disease in Nigeria illustrate the need to heighten surveillance as the public health world nears the finish line on polio…” (Soucheray, 10/24).

TIME: Here’s Some Promising News on World Polio Day
“…For the health care community and policymakers worldwide, the hope is always that any one year’s World Polio Day will be the last World Polio Day, and the goal is coming tantalizingly close. In 1988, polio was endemic in 125 countries and crippled or killed 350,000 children each year. In 2016 so far, there have been just 27 cases, and the disease has been confined to three countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria…” (Kluger, 10/24).

U.N. News Centre: On World Polio Day, U.N. kicks off weeklong campaign to immunize 5.8 million Iraqi children
“Two United Nations agencies will support the Iraqi Ministry of Health in marking World Polio Day by launching a weeklong nationwide campaign to immunize Iraq’s children against the infectious viral disease…” (10/24).

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Billionaires Pledge Additional Funding To Global Polio Eradication Initiative In Effort To End Disease

Wall Street Journal: Billionaires Pony Up More Funds in Fight to Eradicate Polio
“Bill Gates is getting help from some fellow billionaire philanthropists as he and other health leaders work to overcome setbacks that have delayed the eradication of polio despite a recent sharp decline in the number of cases. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who donated $100 million in 2013 to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, is contributing another $25 million now to help stamp out the virus, which is highly infectious and can cause paralysis and death. Ray Dalio, chairman and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates LP, who gave $50 million in 2013, is adding another $30 million. An anonymous donor is contributing $15 million. The $70 million in new money will help cover costs of the polio-eradication effort that has been extended by about 18 months, Mr. Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in an interview…” (McKay, 10/24).

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U.N. Seeks $400M For 2-Part Cholera Response Plan In Haiti, Including $200M To Compensate Affected Families

Associated Press: U.N. wants $200 million to compensate Haiti cholera victims
“The United Nations says it is looking to raise $200 million from member states to compensate the families of people who have died from cholera in Haiti. David Nabarro, a special adviser to the secretary general, said Monday that the money to ‘provide material assistance’ was part of a new U.N. approach to dealing with the disease that is believed to have been introduced to Haiti by U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal. He denied, however, that the proposed assistance amounted to acknowledgement of responsibility on the part of the U.N. for the disease which has sickened nearly 800,000 Haitians and killed some 9,300…” (10/24).

Deutsche Welle: U.N. complains of lack of response over Haiti cholera outbreak
“The United Nations requested $400 million (368 million euros) from its 193 member states on Monday to respond to the cholera outbreak in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew. … The U.N. has proposed a two-part plan to tackle [cholera]. The first part, requiring an estimated $200 million, would bring rapid response teams to areas of new cholera outbreaks in Haiti. It would also fund cholera vaccines and provide investment in clean water and sanitation systems. … The second part of the plan involves direct compensation to families who were affected by cholera since the disease spread in Haiti in 2010…” (10/25).

New York Times: U.N. Plans to Pay Victims of Cholera Outbreak It Caused in Haiti
“…But the United Nations does not have the money it needs for the [$400 million] proposed package, and is facing criticism that it is still avoiding legal culpability for one of the worst calamities to ever befall Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country…” (Sengupta/Katz, 10/24).

Reuters: U.N. wants $200 million to pay Haiti’s cholera victims, communities
“…Nabarro said raising the funds through donations would be ‘highly unlikely’ and U.N. officials would discuss with member states whether the world body could add the cost to its budget, paid by 193 U.N. member states through assessed contributions. So far, he said it had ‘proved to be very hard indeed to get any traction’ from member states on providing donations…” (Nichols, 10/24).

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Women, Children At Risk Of Being Trafficked In Hurricane-Hit Haiti, U.N. Warns; 800K People Need Immediate Food Assistance

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Haiti’s hurricane raises risk of women, children being trafficked — U.N.
“Women and children in Haiti are at heightened risk of sexual exploitation and trafficking in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which ripped through the impoverished Caribbean nation, the United Nations and aid agencies warn…” (Moloney, 10/24).

U.N. News Centre: After hurricane, U.N. assessment finds 800,000 Haitians in dire need of immediate food assistance
“An assessment conducted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), together with the Haitian government and its National Coordination for Food Security (CNSA), has determined that in the wake of Hurricane Matthew some 1.4 million people are in need of food assistance, 800,000 of whom are in a dire situation…” (10/24).

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Gates Foundation Helps Drive Malaria Eradication Efforts

Devex: Gates Foundation shapes investments to ‘accelerate to zero’ on malaria
“When Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in 2007 that ‘any goal short of eradicating malaria is accepting malaria,’ she helped to spark an industry wide shift toward ending the disease. … The Gates Foundation has led the shift in approach and mobilized others to join efforts to end the disease. Partners of the Gates Foundation, including many based in the foundation’s global health hub, are aligning behind the idea that indefinite control is not a sustainable solution, since emerging resistance requires continuous investments in research and development…” (Cheney, 10/25).

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PolitiFact Examines Data On Global TB Deaths

PolitiFact: World TB deaths shoot up — on paper
“…In 2014, WHO estimated the total number of deaths at 1.5 million, with about 1.1 million who died exclusively from tuberculosis and another 0.4 million who were HIV-positive. So that’s pretty clear. The total death toll rose by about 300,000. But as the authors of the latest report spell out, the change stems from better counting, not in the growing reach of the disease. … [Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation], WHO, and Doctors Without Borders applaud the improved TB monitoring. They also all say that funding to combat the disease falls well short of what’s needed. The WHO said the global effort ought to be in the neighborhood of $8.3 billion. Current spending is about $2 billion shy of that. … Looking back 10 years, the trends in the number of deaths and the TB death rate show steady improvement. The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details. We rate this claim Half True” (Greenberg, 10/24).

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IPS Examines Challenges Facing Next WHO Director General

Inter Press Service: Who Should Lead the WHO Next?
“…The ninth director general of the world’s peak health body will play a key role in ensuring global responses to an increasingly complex and contrasting list of global health problems: the spread of mosquito-borne diseases due to climate change, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the unfinished business of AIDS and HIV, air pollution, domestic violence, the global rise in noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, as well as the inevitable emergence of the next Ebola-like pathogen. She, or he, will need to navigate a delicate balance between serving each of the global body’s member states while also ensuring that the world’s only global health body is greater than the sum of its parts…” (Rowlands, 10/24).

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Global Forum On Gender Statistics Begins In Finland To Find Ways To Improve Disaggregated Gender Data

U.N. News Centre: U.N. statistics forum addresses efforts to support Global Goal on gender equality
“[Monday marked] the start of the 6th Global Forum on Gender Statistics, a two-day event in Helsinki, Finland, that will highlight ways to improve data on gender in order to support better policies for women and girls and Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Meeting Goal 5 of the SDGs, which calls for gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, requires disaggregated data to ensure that all women and girls, especially those most vulnerable, are counted…” (10/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Sustained Support From New U.S. President, Congress, Global Health Community Critical To Ending Polio

The Hill: Bipartisan support will be critical to ending polio
Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[I]f eradication efforts are sustained, the new administration and new Congress could see the end of polio entirely. … With polio remaining in only three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan), the new administration and new Congress will have an important opportunity to consign this dreadful disease to the history books by sustaining support for eradication efforts. This World Polio Day, let’s not forget how the continued leadership from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. has been, and will continue to be, essential to ending polio. Americans want a safe, healthy, and prosperous world, and giving all children the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life is something we can all support” (10/24).

Seattle Times: A polio-free world is within reach
Ralph Munro, former Washington secretary of state; Ezra Teshome, past Rotary district governor; and Steve Crane, polio survivor and Rotary polio advocacy leader

“…As long as polio exists, it can travel anywhere and threaten everyone. … The good news is that polio can be stopped. Ending polio for good has been Rotary International’s top priority since 1988 … Funding from the U.S. government has been essential to this effort and remains critical until polio is eradicated. … If progress continues in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the outbreak in Nigeria is stopped, and American and foreign governments sustain their support, the world’s population could be polio-free in just a few years. That would be one of the greatest public health victories in history. You can help. Encourage friends and family with children to have them protected by the safe, effective polio vaccine. In countries where it is hard for parents to do this, governments, Rotarians, and the global health community are working to reach every child at risk” (10/24).

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NIH Must Be Transparent, Explain Its Support For, Involvement With 'Widely Criticized' U.N. Agency

The Hill: NIH needs public examination after giving millions to rogue U.N. agency
Bruce M. Chassy, professor emeritus of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is being called on the carpet to explain why it gave tens of millions of dollars to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a United Nations agency that has been accused of ‘quackery’ and ‘cherry picking’ its facts. … Congress simply wants the NIH to explain its support and staff involvement with an agency that has been widely criticized for its shoddy science and plagued by questions of bias. Science claims upon which public health policies are set demand transparency, expert review, and demonstrated replicability. … [NIH] must comply with U.S. transparency laws and rectify any internal conflicts that led to U.S. taxpayer dollars funding a rogue U.N. agency…” (10/24).

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More Partnerships Needed To Effectively Use Data, Technology To Track, Prevent Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Devex: Big data can prevent global health crises — it’s time to make the most of it
Gary Finnegan, editor in chief of Break Dengue; Pratit Samdani, an honorary associate professor of medicine at Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals and unit head at G.T., Jaslok, Breach Candy, Bhatia, Saifee, Cumballa Hill, and Global Hospitals; Kamran Rafiq, communications director at the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases

“…[G]athering as much information as we can about the spread of mosquito-borne diseases is a practical first step in turning the tide against them. Each one of these diseases poses a serious public health challenge about which much can be learned by studying and tracking other mosquito-borne illnesses. To truly make the most of the technologies available to us, data experts need to step out of their traditional private sector roles and work collaboratively with NGOs and local governments. We need to create more partnerships to develop tools such as Dengue Track, which can locate existing cases and prevent mosquito-borne diseases from spreading further. Modern technology has already proven invaluable in the fight against hundreds of other diseases — let’s use it to combat these too” (10/24).

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Pharmaceutical Companies Must Work To Prevent Antibiotic Environmental Pollution In Global Supply Chains

The Guardian: Antibiotic waste is polluting India and China’s rivers; big pharma must act
Alejandro Litovsky, CEO of Earth Security Group

“…In India and China, where a large proportion of antibiotics are produced, the poorly regulated discharge of untreated wastewater into soils and rivers is causing the spread of antibiotic ingredients which cause bacteria to develop immunity to antibiotics, creating superbugs. … As the world goes on a global quest to combat antimicrobial resistance, the focus on industry pollution will continue [to] grow. … Through the [Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI)], the global pharmaceutical industry has called upon governments to collaborate on the threat of increasing antibiotic resistance. PSCI must now also urgently work with governments to achieve the goal of curbing environmental pollution in drug manufacturing. Ultimately, business diplomacy goes beyond corporate philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, by focusing on the deeper governance failures that threaten progress on sustainable development as well as the license to operate of global companies. Pharmaceutical companies now need to cooperate with governments, to root out pollution from their global supply chains” (10/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

White House Blog Post Outlines President Obama's Commitment To United Nations, SDGs

White House Blog: Celebrating United Nations Day: Here’s How You Can Help Make a Difference
In recognition of United Nations Day, which takes place annually on October 24, Jazmin Kay, intern in the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House, discusses President Obama’s commitment to global development through support for the U.N. and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (10/24).

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Eliminating Polio Worldwide Requires Tenacity, Quality Performance, CDC Official Says

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: World Polio Day 2016: A Focus on Tenacity and Hope
Rebecca Martin, director of the CDC’s Center for Global Health, recognizes World Polio Day, observed annually on October 24, writing that to eliminate polio, “we must remain tenacious and demand quality performance from ourselves…” (10/24).

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CGD Memo Outlines 3 Ideas, 3 Reforms For U.S. Development Policy Under New President

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: Attn: Presidential Transition Teams — 3 Big Ideas and 3 Smart Reforms for U.S. Development Policy
Beth Schwanke, director of policy outreach at the Center for Global Development (CGD), discusses a presidential transition memo written by CGD that outlines three ideas (women’s economic empowerment, sustainable infrastructure investment, and humanitarian compacts) and three reforms (country ownership, results, and flexibility) on U.S. development policy. Schwanke writes, “These ideas and reforms take into account where the United States has the ability to have the most impact on the biggest problems and the biggest opportunities and build on the successes of the Obama administration” (10/24).

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Drug Regulation Critical To Addressing TB, Antimicrobial Resistance

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: Drug Regulation in the Age of AMR — What We Know from our Experience with Tuberculosis
“On the eve of the Union World Conference on Lung Health, [Bev Stringer, who leads the social science research and program support team at Médecins Sans Frontières,] discusses how unregulated access to anti-tuberculosis treatments has contributed to the rise of multidrug-resistant TB…” (10/25).

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