KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Antiparasitic Drug Ivermectin Shows Promise In Study As Malarial Preventive

News outlets report on an abstract presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, taking place in Philadelphia this week.

BBC News: Nobel-winning drug ‘tackles malaria’
“A parasitic-worm-killing drug, whose discovery won the Nobel prize, may also cut cases of malaria, say researchers. Early data coming out of trials of ivermectin in Burkina Faso suggest it leads to 16 percent fewer cases of childhood malaria…” (Gallagher, 10/27).

The Economist: A drug used to rid people of worms is a new weapon against malaria
“…In four villages included in the trial everyone except pregnant women and young children received five doses of ivermectin, at three-week intervals. People in a comparison group of villages got just the first dose—which is the routine annual mass-treatment for worm diseases. The extra rounds of ivermectin … cut the number of malarial episodes among children under five by 16 percent — even though these children were not, themselves, receiving the drug…” (10/27).

Newsweek: Ivermectin, Drug for Parasitic Diseases Developed by Nobel Prize Winners, Could Also Control Malaria
“…Ivermectin, which was initially developed to control parasites in livestock, would be an ideal treatment for malaria since it’s already provided to communities where other parasitic infections are rampant. Over the last three decades public health officials have administered one billion doses of the drug in Africa and Latin America…” (Firger, 10/27).

Science: Drug could kill mosquitoes when they feast on human blood
“…It’s an interesting approach that should be explored further, says Michel Boussinesq, who studies ivermectin at the Institute of Research for Development in Montpellier, France. But the need to give ivermectin every three weeks could be a logistical problem, he says…” (Enserink, 10/27).

Wall Street Journal: Nobel-Winning Drug May Help Fight Malaria
“…The idea of using ivermectin to help break the cycle of transmission comes as development of new tools to fight malaria is accelerating. Researchers and advocates say it will take several new approaches simultaneously, from better drugs and bed nets to new mapping tools and vaccines, to eradicate the disease…” (McKay, 10/27).

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U.N. Condemns Airstrike Destroying MSF Hospital In Yemen; Saudi-Led Coalition Denies Responsibility

Agence France-Presse: U.N. chief slams Saudi-led strikes on MSF Yemen hospital
“U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday denounced strikes that he said were conducted by Saudi-led warplanes on a hospital in Yemen operated by international charity Doctors Without Borders…” (10/27).

New York Times: Doctors Without Borders Says Yemen Hospital Is Destroyed
“A hospital in northern Yemen run by Doctors Without Borders was destroyed by warplanes belonging to a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, even though the coalition had been given the coordinates of the hospital, the relief organization said Tuesday…” (Fahim et al., 10/27).

Reuters: Yemeni MSF hospital bombed, Saudi-led coalition denies responsibility
“…[T]he Saudi-led coalition denied that its planes had hit the hospital. … ‘It could be a mistake, but the fact of the matter is it’s a war crime. There’s no reason to target a hospital. We provided (the coalition) with all of our GPS coordinates about two weeks ago.’ [MSF country director Hassan Boucenine] said at least two staff members had been hurt by flying debris…” (Browning et al., 10/27).

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AidData Report Examines Foreign Aid Effectiveness

Washington Post: Sometimes it’s not enough to give poor countries lots of foreign aid, study finds
“…What good are we actually doing with our [foreign aid] money? In an attempt to address this, a new report by AidData does something surprisingly rare: It asked those working in the poor nations that receive foreign aid…” (Taylor, 10/28).

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WHO To Begin Cholera Vaccination Campaign In Iraq, Reports Suspected Case In Northern Syria

U.N. News Centre: Cholera spreading in Iraq, suspected case reported in Syria — U.N. health agency
“The World Health Organization (WHO) announced [Tuesday] that it would start vaccine treatments for cholera beginning this weekend to prevent further outbreaks in Iraq, where the disease has now been confirmed in 15 out of 18 governorates, while the agency also reported a suspected case was also found in northern Syria…” (10/27).

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More Than 100 Dead Of Dengue Fever In Taiwan, As Nation Faces Worst Outbreak Ever

VOA News: Taiwan Grapples with Record Outbreak of Dengue Fever
“Taiwanese officials are reporting their most severe outbreak of dengue fever ever. More than 100 people have died despite the efforts of a robust health care system, putting Taiwan on a level with poorer Asian countries that grapple every year with the mosquito-borne disease…” (Jennings, 10/27).

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Vietnam's Number Of Dengue-Related Deaths Up 76.5% Over Same Period Last Year

Xinhua News: Vietnam’s dengue fever deaths surge 76.5 pct in 10 months
“Since the beginning of this year, Vietnam has seen some 47,000 dengue fever patients, including 30 fatalities, compared with the respective figures of 23,400 and 17 in the same period last year, the country’s General Statistics Office has said…” (10/28).

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Increase In Older Population, Lower Birth Rates Threaten Cuba's Economic, Political Future, New York Times Reports

New York Times: In Cuba, an Abundance of Love but a Lack of Babies
“…Experts predict that 50 years from now, Cuba’s population will have fallen by a third. … The demographic crisis is both an economic and a political one. The aging population will require a vast health care system, the likes of which the state cannot afford. And without a viable work force, the cycle of flight and wariness about Cuba’s future is even harder to break, despite the country’s halting steps to open itself up to the outside world…” (Ahmed/Cohen, 10/27).

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U.N. Special Rapporteur On Right To Food Praises Morocco's Progress, Warns Work Remains To Reach Rural Farmers

The Guardian: Morocco’s progress on food security acknowledged by U.N. but work remains
“Morocco’s progress on reducing poverty and eliminating hunger through a nationwide plan has received qualified praise from the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food. Hilal Elver acknowledged the country’s achievements in boosting production through ‘plan Maroc vert’ (plan for a green Morocco, or PMV), but cautioned that more needed to be done to reach small-scale farmers in outlying areas…” (Hicks, 10/27).

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Uganda Progressing Slowly Toward MDG Target For Maternal Mortality

The Observer: Uganda reminded of failing maternal health indicators
“Although Uganda is closing the gaps in several basic child-health measures such as infant and neonatal mortality rates, maternal health indicators seem to be progressing at an annoyingly slow rate. The country is among the six African countries contributing 50 percent of maternal mortality on the continent. Others are Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya…” (Ninsiima, 10/28).

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Kenya, Partners Launch Nutrition Initiative Under National HIV/AIDS Program

Xinhua News: Kenya launches nutrition interventions for people living with HIV/AIDS
“Kenya’s Ministry of Health and multilateral partners on Tuesday launched nutrition interventions to boost immunity among citizens infected with the AIDS virus. Senior officials said the government has prioritized investments in nutrition programs as part of national HIV/AIDS response strategy…” (10/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

WHO Report Says Eating Some Meats Linked With Cancer; Risk Low For Most People But New U.S. Dietary Guidelines Should Provide Limits

New York Times: Meat as a Cause of Cancer
Editorial Board

“The latest cancer report from the World Health Organization provides persuasive evidence that eating meat can cause cancer, but the risk is very small for most people. … While the absolute risk of eating processed meats like sausage or corned beef is low, people who eat a lot every day can drive up their risks. The link between cancer and red meat is less persuasive. It was based on limited evidence from epidemiological studies in which other factors could not be ruled out. The agency’s conclusions are consistent with the findings and recommendations issued in recent years by the American Cancer Society and the World Cancer Research Fund. An expert committee advising the federal government on what to include in the forthcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that people should follow diets ‘lower in red and processed meat.’ The final version of the guidelines should provide a more precise idea of how much processed meat and red meat is appropriate” (10/28).

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All Nations Should Invest In More Midwives, Skilled Birth Attendants To Reduce Maternal Mortality

Huffington Post: More Midwives Needed to Reduce Maternal Deaths
Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

“…All countries that have achieved dramatic improvements in maternal health share one thing in common: they have greatly improved the provision of professionally trained midwives and skilled birth attendants. … Investing in maternal health yields a triple return on investment as it not only eliminates preventable maternal deaths, but also stillbirths and newborn deaths. … However, many countries with high maternal death rates will make little progress, or will even fall behind over the next 15 years, if we don’t improve the current trajectory of available midwives and other health workers with midwifery skills. … If we don’t make a big push now, in 2030 we’ll be faced, once again, with a missed target for reducing maternal deaths…” (10/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Panel Recommends World Move Forward With Global Polio Vaccine Switch, Despite Challenges, Risks

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health Blog”: WHO’s SAGE Gives Final Nod to April Polio Vaccine Switch
Nellie Bristol, senior fellow with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization’s recommendation that the world move forward with an April 2016 switch from trivalent to bivalent oral polio vaccines (OPV), as “the first stage in eventual worldwide withdrawal of all OPV and replacement with inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV).” Bristol notes the challenges and risks of making the switch, such as the possibility of vaccine-derived outbreaks (10/27).

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Global Health 'Convergence' Depends On Political Will, Shifting Roles Of Health Aid

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: To Achieve Global Health ‘Convergence,’ an Evolving Role for Health Aid
Rachel Silverman, senior policy analyst at CGD, writes, “Last week, CGD welcomed the [Lancet Commission on Investing in Health’s] two lead authors — Lawrence H. Summers (also the chair of CGD’s Board of Directors) and Dean Jamison — to share their thoughts on the future of health investments for [‘grand convergence’ between poor and rich countries], based in part on their recent paper in The Lancet.” Silverman discusses her takeaways from their remarks, including increasing political will and evolving roles for health aid, from country-level to global-level (10/27).

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2030 Development Agenda Should Include Reducing Global Cancer Burden

U.N. Dispatch: Getting Cancer on the Global Health Agenda
In a guest post, Anees B. Chagpar, associate professor of surgery at Yale University, assistant director for global oncology at Yale Cancer Center, and director of the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital, discusses the importance of reducing the global cancer burden as part of the 2030 sustainable development agenda. “…[I]f we are serious about the goal of ‘ensuring healthy lives,’ how can we ignore the world’s leading cause of death, and a disease that will affect nearly 22 million people annually by 2030?” (10/27).

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WHO's Removal Of Nigeria From Polio-Endemic List 'Should Have' Received More Attention

Humanosphere: WHO’s big announcement that had nothing to do with bacon
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy says WHO’s announcement that Nigeria was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries “should have” received more media attention because “a polio-free world just drew a bit closer.” He includes quotes from CDC Director Tom Frieden; Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and UNICEF Executive Director Tony Lake (10/27).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Lancet TB Series, Release Of European HIV Treatment Guidelines

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Lancet TB series on local data, active case-finding, preventive treatment, community input and more … We’re reading how to end tuberculosis
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” highlights articles featured in The Lancet special series on tuberculosis, as well as an aidsmap article on the release of the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) HIV clinical guidelines (10/27).

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