KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

At Least 170 Dead In DRC Ebola Outbreak; Insufficient Evidence To Provide Vaccine To Pregnant Women, WHO Committee Says

Agence France-Presse: DR Congo Ebola death toll rises to 170
“The Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed 170 lives, health authorities said on Sunday. The health ministry said in a bulletin they had recorded 267 cases including 170 deaths…” (10/28).

Healio: Insufficient evidence to recommend Ebola vaccine for pregnant women, WHO advisory group says
“A committee that advises WHO on global immunization policy said there is insufficient evidence to recommend giving pregnant women an experimental Ebola virus vaccine — a timely issue given the ongoing deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo…” (Thiel, 10/26).

Reuters: Children dying of Ebola at unprecedented rate in Congo — health ministry
“Children in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are dying from Ebola at an unprecedented rate due largely to poor sanitary practices at clinics run by traditional healers, the health ministry said on Sunday…” (Mahamba/Paravicini, 10/29).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from CIDRAP News, Washington Times, and Xinhua News.

Link to individual story

War-Torn Yemen Faces Famine, Tries To Stave Off Cholera Comeback

New York Times: The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s War
“…The devastating war in Yemen has gotten more attention recently as outrage over the killing of a Saudi dissident in Istanbul has turned a spotlight on Saudi actions elsewhere. The harshest criticism of the Saudi-led war has focused on the airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians at weddings, funerals, and on school buses, aided by American-supplied bombs and intelligence. But aid experts and United Nations officials say a more insidious form of warfare is also being waged in Yemen, an economic war that is exacting a far greater toll on civilians and now risks tipping the country into a famine of catastrophic proportions…” (Walsh/Hicks, 10/26).

Xinhua News: Feature: Yemen launches door-to-door vaccination campaign to fight cholera’s comeback
“A large oral vaccination campaign against cholera was launched on Saturday by Yemeni authorities in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the southern port city of Aden, in an attempt to fight the recent comeback of the epidemic. The second phase of the anti-cholera campaign targeted five districts in Aden Province where the Yemeni government is temporarily based…” (Abdu, 10/28).

Link to individual story

World Investment Forum Panel Discusses Innovative Financing, Private Investing For Antibiotic Research

Health Policy Watch: Investing In New Antibiotic Research: Difficult Equation Discussed At World Investment Forum
“The diminishing arsenal of efficient antibiotics to fight bacteria is a threat denounced by many, but investment in research and development of new antibiotics is seen as lagging. As the danger of getting back to a pre-antibiotic age is increasing, alternative ways of financing new antibiotics are being discussed. At the World Investment Forum [last] week, a panel looked into innovative means of investment, and ways to attract private investors to this field…” (Saez, 10/26).

Link to individual story

Deutsche Welle Examines Global Efforts To Eradicate Polio

Deutsche Welle: Polio — Still a danger despite many victories
“Polio is nearly eradicated — but not quite. Some countries continue to battle the disease. DW reviews the situation on the birthday of Jonas Salk, the U.S. virologist who developed one of the first successful vaccines…” (Heise, 10/28).

Link to individual story

More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: India’s air quality plummets to worst possible category (10/26).

BBC Future: One country’s plan to solve the world’s hidden health crisis (Taormina, 10/25).

Devex: Q&A: World Food Prize laureate Lawrence Haddad (Welsh, 10/29).

Devex: Q&A: Rajiv Shah on the Rockefeller Foundation’s new priorities and strategies (Cheney, 10/29).

Health Policy Watch: As Climate Change Tightens Grip, Tanzania Braces For More Cholera Outbreaks (Makoye, 10/24).

Homeland Preparedness News: British study discovers flu virus capable of developing resistance to pandemic drug (Galford, 10/26).

IRIN: Syria-Jordan: relief convoy fails to reach “desperate” border camp (Parker, 10/26).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Global Commitments, Action Urgently Needed To Reduce Air Pollution, Improve Health

The Guardian: Air pollution is the new tobacco. Time to tackle this epidemic
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO

“Air pollution is a silent public health emergency … Despite this epidemic of needless, preventable deaths and disability, a smog of complacency pervades the planet. This is a defining moment and we must scale up action to urgently respond to this challenge. … No person, group, city, country, or region can solve the problem alone. We need strong commitments and actions from everyone: government decision-makers, community leaders, mayors, civil society, the private sector, and even the individual. It will take time and endurance but we all have a critical role to play. … [P]olitical action is still urgently needed to boost investments and speed up action to reduce air pollution. … [I]n less than a week, the WHO will host the first global conference on air pollution and health, where leaders will chart next steps for future action to cut air pollution in their countries. … The world has turned the corner on tobacco. Now it must do the same for the ‘new tobacco’: the toxic air that billions breathe every day” (10/27).

Link to individual story

Digital Birth Registration Systems, Identity Technology Could Improve Child Health, Help Achieve UHC

CNBC Africa: Op-Ed: Protecting Africa’s invisible children, the case for birth registration and a digital identity
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, and Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF

“…[T]o achieve truly universal [health care] access will involve the strengthening and expansion of primary health care (PHC) in low- and middle-income countries. For example, … [t]oday, immunizations reach more children globally than any other child health intervention. Yet, despite progress in recent decades, we are still missing a large number of children. … [O]ne-in-five children in the poorest parts of the world who are still missing out are not just the last to be reached, they are by far the hardest to reach. … They are invisible to the health and welfare system of a country, not appearing in the often archaic, paper-based vital registration systems that certify births, deaths, and marriages. … Birth registration and the use of digital identity technology has the potential to bridge that gap, by ensuring that every child has a unique identifier that can be used for birth records, medical records, and education records that stays with them through life. … Beyond protecting children’s health, birth registration is capable of helping protect children’s futures. By linking into education and training services, we can not only achieve universal health coverage, but can also prevent the fifth child from becoming an invisible generation when they are older” (10/26).

Link to individual story

Access To Surgery Could Improve Health, Boost Economic Productivity In LMICs

Project Syndicate: Surgery for All
Junaid Nabi, physician, public health researcher, and 2018 Aspen New Voices fellow

“…One of the biggest obstacles to achieving universal health coverage … is financing. And, paradoxical as it may sound, one of the best ways that governments can get the money they need to expand coverage is by making surgery more widely available. Time-sensitive health problems — such as injuries from traffic accidents and pregnancy-related complications — are among the leading causes of death and disability in low- and middle-income countries. But untreated or undertreated conditions requiring surgery also hurt economic productivity. … [R]eforms that focus more attention on the importance of surgery would boost economic productivity and help create more equitable health care for everyone. … One of the most effective ways to maintain [economic] growth and development is to ensure access to safe and affordable health care — including surgery. While the cost of providing it may be high, the cost of not providing it is even higher” (10/26).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

FT Health Discusses Astana Declaration On Primary Health Care, Features Interview With WHO Director General

FT Health: Health for all or health for some?
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter highlights the Astana declaration, which was endorsed last week at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, as well as features an interview with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who discusses the declaration. The newsletter also provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 10/26).

Link to individual story

ONE Campaign Proposes 3 Ways To Improve E.U. Aid Budget

ONE Blog: 3 ways we need to urgently improve E.U. aid
Ine Tollenaers, policy and advocacy coordinator at the ONE Campaign, discusses the importance of European Union (E.U.) budget negotiations for spending from 2021-27, noting, “We need to make sure that ending extreme poverty by 2030 is a core priority for the E.U.” Tollenaers says the ONE Campaign proposes three upgrades to the current proposal, writing, “In short, we need €40 billion extra for E.U. aid, a focus on poverty eradication, and investments where it is needed most” (10/26).

Link to individual story

African Leaders From Botswana, Lesotho Visit UNAIDS HQ To Discuss Ending AIDS, Improving Health Of Young People

UNAIDS: President of Botswana visits UNAIDS and calls for a united, efficient partnership for setting regional HIV priorities
“The President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, visited UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on 25 October 2018 to share Botswana’s vision on a key public health concern: HIV. … The president participated in a moderated dialogue along with a high-level delegation … During the discussions, the president described Botswana’s financial investments in health, HIV, and its people…” (10/25).

UNAIDS: Botswana’s First Lady visits UNAIDS to drive change for young women
“The First Lady of Botswana, Neo Masisi, visited UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on 24 October to discuss improving health outcomes for young people, especially adolescent girls…” (10/24).

UNAIDS: Prime Minister and the First Lady of Lesotho visit UNAIDS
“The Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and the First Lady of Lesotho, Maesaiah Thabane, visited UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to advocate for the end of AIDS and reduce its impact on young people…” (10/24).

Link to individual story

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.