KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President's Global Development Council Offers Recommendations For New Administration During Final Public Meeting

Devex: Global development leaders offer suggestions for next U.S. president
“The diverse group of leaders who make up the U.S. President’s Global Development Council have a few recommendations for the next administration. The new president should continue to emphasize the importance of global development issues and take up some of the standing proposals already on the table, they said during a final public meeting on Wednesday in Washington, D.C…” (Saldinger, 10/27).

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At IDWeek2016, CDC Director Says Urgent Action Needed To Address Increasing Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance

CIDRAP News: CDC chief: Antibiotic resistance ‘scary’ threat to modern medicine
“The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) kicked off the plenary session at IDWeek2016 with a warning that modern medicine could be undermined if we don’t act quickly to reduce antibiotic resistance. ‘Truly we face a scary situation,’ CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, told the audience of clinicians and infectious disease researchers in New Orleans…” (Dall, 10/27).

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PRI Examines Distribution Of U.S. Foreign Aid To Support Gender Equality

PRI: How the U.S. distributes $1.3 billion in aid for women around the world
“…The State Department asked Congress in February to approve $1.34 billion in foreign aid to support gender equality and address gender-based violence. Investments in women — their rights, benefits, and representation — could lead to greater economic growth and increased peace and security, the department said. … But how exactly will the money get spent? We reviewed the details of the proposed budget to break it down…” (Ser, 10/27).

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World Bank Creates Senior Adviser Position To Address LGBTI Discrimination

Thomson Reuters Foundation: World Bank appoints first adviser to tackle LGBTI discrimination
“The World Bank has appointed its first adviser tasked with promoting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) issues in its development work. The newly created senior position is part of the bank’s efforts to solidify its commitment to researching and curbing discrimination against LGBTI persons across the 136 countries where it has offices, it said on Thursday…” (Malo, 10/27).

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More Than 1M People In LMICs Treated With New Hepatitis C Regimen, WHO Says

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health strategy making access to new, revolutionary hepatitis C treatment possible
“According to the United Nations heath agency, since the approval of new medicines for hepatitis C — offering a cure rate of over 95 percent, fewer side effects, and complete cure within three months — about two years back, more than one million patients in low- and middle-income countries have been treated. … ‘Maximizing access to lifesaving hepatitis C treatment is a priority for WHO,’ said Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, director of WHO’s Department of HIV and Global Hepatitis Programme, in a news release…” (10/27).

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Tobacco Industry Pressures Indian Government Ahead Of Upcoming WHO Conference

Reuters: Exclusive: India’s tobacco industry, government face off ahead of WHO conference
“India’s $11 billion tobacco industry has urged the government to take a softer line on tobacco control efforts when it hosts a WHO conference in New Delhi next month, but officials say the government will not bow to ‘pressure tactics.’ Delegates from about 180 countries will attend the Nov. 7-12 World Health Organization (WHO) conference on the sole global anti-tobacco treaty: the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)…” (Kalra, 10/27).

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War-Torn Yemen Faces Worsening Food Crisis, Cholera Outbreak, U.N. Agencies Say

Associated Press: WFP warns of increasing hunger in war-torn Yemen
“The World Food Programme has warned of a worsening food crisis in war-wracked Yemen, saying the 19-month conflict has increased hunger and malnutrition…” (10/26).

CNN: Yemen food crisis leaves millions at risk of starving
“…As the food crisis grows worse for … Yemenis, the U.N. World Food Programme fears the devastating toll that hunger could have on the war-torn country. The organization said it has provided food for more than three million people each month since February but is beginning to struggle. It has split these rations so it can reach six million people every month, but resources are beginning to run out…” (Masters, 10/28).

Reuters: Yemen’s suspected cholera cases soar to 1,410 within weeks: WHO
“The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has ballooned to 1,410 within three weeks of the outbreak being declared, the World Health Organization said on Friday, as 18 months of war has destroyed most health facilities and clean water supplies…” (Miles/Nebehay, 10/28).

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Venezuela Facing Serious Humanitarian, Health Crises Amid Economic Disaster

Devex: Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis is worse than you think
“…Amid the worst economic downturn in its modern history, Venezuela’s health system, food supply, and basic services have collapsed. Grocery store shelves are empty; pharmacies have nothing in stock; hospitals lack resources or personnel to treat patients; and gang violence is spiraling. Diseases eradicated decades ago are resurgent epidemics. One international organization with operations in Venezuela told Devex that about half of all patients who enter public hospitals will die there…” (Dickinson, 10/27).

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Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone Faces Continuing Food Shortages, U.N. Food Agencies Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: In post-Ebola Sierra Leone, more than half the population face food shortages — U.N.
“As Sierra Leone recovers from the deadly effects of Ebola, more than half the population face food shortages, and many will not cope if further disasters such as drought or floods strike, U.N. food agencies said on Thursday. Food shortages in most of West Africa are caused by problems that predate the Ebola outbreak, the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said…” (Taylor, 10/27).

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Madagascar Likely To Face Persistent Food Insecurity Following El Niño-Induced Crop Failures, U.N. Says

U.N. News Centre: Severe hunger in southern Madagascar likely persist into 2017 due to drought-hit crops, U.N. warns
“The impact of severe El Niño-induced drought on crop production in southern Madagascar, where nearly 850,000 people are acutely food insecure, is likely to persist into 2017 and requires an intensified humanitarian response, the United Nations agriculture agency said [Thursday]…” (10/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Next Administration Should Work To Reform How U.S. Pays For Medical R&D

New York Times: The U.S. Is Standing in the Way of Cheaper Drugs for the Poor
Jason Cone, executive director of Doctors Without Borders USA, and Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America

“…High prices and monopolies are not delivering innovation that responds to people’s needs. In fact, many public health issues are being neglected by the pharmaceutical industry because the market for the needed medicines is not sufficiently profitable. … There are alternative means to stimulate innovation that do not rely on monopolies and high prices. Grants, prizes, and other research incentives could go a long way. … [I]t is possible to separate the cost of developing drugs from their final product price, ensuring both innovation and affordability. Yet to really transform how drugs are developed, governments must lead the charge. … The United States government, especially the next president, must stop defending industry profits and work to reform how we pay for medical research to ensure that all patients’ needs are addressed. High prices of medicines are not inevitable; they are a choice the American government has made. Many lives and livelihoods hang in the balance until that choice changes” (10/27).

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'Robust Health Planning' Critical To Avoiding Infectious Disease Outbreaks During Economic Downturns

STAT: Mosquitoes — and diseases like Zika — flourish when economies tank
Amy K. Liebman, director of environmental and occupational health for the Migrant Clinicians Network

“…Serious public health challenges often flourish in struggling economies because the habits and movements of people change. Yet health authorities rarely treat migration as a marker of public health concern. … Economic downturns … can affect the transmission of infectious diseases not only because of cuts in public health funding but because of changing economic conditions which affect on-the-ground transmission of diseases. … While we can’t always anticipate how an economic slump will fuel infectious disease, we should ensure that we have robust health planning in place. Our lack of foresight is most obvious in that we seem to have ceased considering public health needs as ongoing, long-term, inevitable, and constantly shifting. In the U.S., we don’t have enough resources to be reactive, let alone proactive. In addition to improving our responses to public health emergencies, we must provide long-term funding to let public health authorities take into account the changing nature of human behavior in response to economic changes. The health of all of us depends on it” (10/28).

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Health Should Be Central To Habitat III's New Urban Agenda

The Lancet: A missed opportunity for urban health
Editorial Board

“…The document agreed and adopted at the [Habitat III] meeting … is … lofty. The so-called New Urban Agenda outlines an agreed framework and aspirational agenda for sustainable urban development as the new way to frame and plan cities, and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. The language of the New Urban Agenda hits many of the right notes: it is inclusive, green, and clean. But it fails badly on one main aspect at the heart of cities: health. … One dreadful form of urbanization is slums … Habitat III acknowledges slums are a growing form of urbanization that deserve special attention but offers no specific action. It seems certain that if the problem of slums is not adequately addressed, the new urban agenda will fail. … As it is rolled out, the New Urban Agenda should draw more upon expertise and stakeholders in the health arena, and specifically focus on evidence…” (10/29).

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New Diagnostic Tools, Expanded Guidelines Needed To Reach More People With Latent TB

The Conversation: New estimate suggests a quarter of the world’s population has latent tuberculosis
Pete Dodd, research associate in health economic modeling at the University of Sheffield, and Rein Houben, associate professor in infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…In a new paper published in PLOS Medicine, we reconstructed the “force of infection” for TB — the chance that an individual would become infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis — in 180 countries … over the past 80 years. … We found that closer to a quarter of today’s global population has a latent TB infection — around 1.7 billion people. … [I]f we really want to make TB a disease of the past, we will need to address this pool of 1.7 billion. New diagnostic tools are needed [to accurately identify] those individuals with latent TB infections that are likely to progress to disease, and new tools are needed to safely treat them. Only then can the current guidelines for latent TB infection be expanded from their focus on relatively small high-risk groups … to reach a wider population. The sheer numbers of those infected show that TB is not only still with us, it also needs to become a priority if we are going to address this ancient disease…” (10/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Ambassador Birx Discusses U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Efforts In IDWeek2016 Plenary Session

Monthly Prescribing Reference: Ambassador Birx: Global HIV/AIDS Response Successful But ‘Far From Done’
Debra Hughes of MPR discusses remarks made by Ambassador-at-Large Deborah Birx, coordinator of the United States government activities to combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State, at an IDWeek2016 special opening plenary session. Birx discussed the U.S. response to HIV/AIDS, including how civil society is critical to response efforts (10/27).

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