KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

News Outlets Examine Reactions To, Impacts Of China's Family Planning Policies

News outlets publish analyses and reactions to the announcement that China will drop its one-child policy and replace it with a two-child policy.

Associated Press: Analysis: China’s leaders ease birth limits but keep control
“The Communist Party’s decision to ease limits on family size makes China a bit less restrictive but is a reminder of the party’s pervasive role in society…” (McDonald, 10/30).

The Guardian: End of China’s one-child policy comes tragically late for many
“…Liu is one of millions of people whose lives were scarred by the Chinese government’s one-child policy. They include ‘orphaned’ parents, who feel abandoned by the state after losing their only offspring, and ‘illegal’ children, born into a life of legal limbo…” (Graham-Harrison/Phillips, 10/29).

New York Times: Ending of One-Child Policy Takes Chinese to Social Media, and Some to the Bedroom
“The Chinese Communist Party’s historic decision to ease its restrictions on the number of children all married couples are allowed to have, turning its decades-old ‘one-child’ policy into a ‘two-child’ policy, was met with a cascade of discussion on Chinese social media Thursday evening…” (Tatlow/Piao, 10/29).

New York Times: Costs, Not Just Law, Deterred Chinese Couples From Another Child
“…For most ordinary families, the expense of raising a second child is overwhelming. Education is costly, child care generally dependent on willing relatives. And partly because people have so few children, prices for everything related to children are high…” (Tatlow, 10/29).

Reuters: China to leave implementation of two-child policy to provinces
“China’s top family planning authority said on Friday the central government will leave provinces to hash out the details of implementing a new policy allowing couples to have two children…” (Rajagopalan/Blanchard, 10/30).

Washington Post: Horrors of one-child policy leave deep scars in Chinese society
“…On Thursday, China’s Communist Party announced it was abandoning its unpopular one-child policy after 35 years. But the scars still run deep. In 2012 alone, official statistics show 6.7 million women in China were forced to have abortions under the one-child policy. Rates in previous decades often topped 10 million a year. As a result, experts say, suicide rates among women in China are significantly higher than among men in contrast to global norms…” (Denyer, 10/30).

Washington Post: The human suffering caused by China’s one-child policy
“…The decision appears to have been driven by concerns that the country’s low fertility rate would create a crisis that eventually could threaten the legitimacy of Communist Party rule. Behind that big picture, however, are millions of smaller pictures: the individual lives touched by the one-child policy and the human suffering it caused…” (Taylor, 10/29).

Washington Post: Why critics are not satisfied with the end of China’s one-child policy
“…For many organizations, the chief concern is linked to the news that couples would now have a limit of two children. That change may make a dramatic difference in the lives of many parents, but many human rights advocates consider it an unnecessary and potentially dangerous limit…” (Taylor, 10/29).

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VOA News Examines WTO Talks On Drug Patent Exemptions

VOA News: Uganda Calls for Continued Drug Patent Exemption
“Talks resumed this week at the World Trade Organization in Geneva on the question of renewing the pharmaceutical patent trade exemption for the world’s least developed countries. Representing those countries at the talks is Uganda alongside Nepal and Bangladesh. At issue is a U.S. government proposal to impose a 10-year limit on the exemption. Ugandan officials say that change could cost lives in the countries that need access to new low-cost generics the most…” (Paulat, 10/29).

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Conflict Perpetuating Hunger Crises Worldwide, Lancet Reports

The Lancet: Conflicts worsen global hunger crisis
“While the refugee situation in Europe has attracted many headlines, little attention has been paid to the hunger crises affecting populations in more than 28 countries around the world. Overall, more than 25 million people are projected to be acutely food insecure and in need of urgent humanitarian response, according to USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). About a third of those are refugees or people who have been internally displaced because of conflict…” (Loewenberg, 10/31).

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Recent Increase In Airstrikes On Syrian Hospitals Leaves At Least 35 Patients, Staff Dead, More Than 70 Wounded, MSF Says

Agence France-Presse: ‘Increased strikes’ kill 35 in Syria hospitals: MSF
“A ‘significant increase’ of air strikes on Syrian hospitals recently has killed at least 35 patients and medical staff and wounded 72, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Thursday…” (10/29).

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Pacific Humanitarian Partnership Meeting Highlights Efforts To Reduce Morbidity, Mortality Among Women, Children In Disaster-Prone Region

U.N. News Centre: Health and safety of women and children in disaster-prone areas ‘must be a priority,’ says U.N. relief wing
“Disaster response specialists, including from the United Nations and other organizations, gathered in Suva, Fiji, this week for the annual Pacific Humanitarian Partnership meeting, where the focus has been on high rates of preventable mortality and morbidity among women and children in the disaster-prone region…” (10/29).

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UNICEF, WFP Launch Nutrition Screening Program In South Sudan To Combat Severe Malnutrition Among Children

U.N. News Centre: South Sudan: U.N. launches mass nutrition screening as hunger threatens lives of thousands of children
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have stepped up their activities in South Sudan after the recently released Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) [Thursday] revealed that nearly 237,000 children in the country are estimated to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition…” (10/29).

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Harvard Medical School Opens Center For Global Health Delivery In Dubai, Focused On NCDs, Infectious Diseases In Region

The Lancet: Harvard launches new global health center in Dubai
“The Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery-Dubai (HMS-Dubai), United Arab Emirates, certainly does not lack ambition. The stated aim is to ‘promote research and education focused on the delivery of high-quality health care to all populations, particularly those facing high burdens of non-communicable and infectious diseases in Dubai and the region’…” (Burki, 10/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Bipartisan Reach Act Would Help World End Preventable Maternal, Child, Newborn Deaths

The Hill: We can end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths worldwide
U.S. Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

“…Since 1990, the mortality rates for children under five have been reduced by more than half. This is one of the great success stories in international development. U.S. leadership has helped build the capacity of communities and countries to care for their children. … But there is much more that can and must be done. That’s why we’ve joined together in a bipartisan manner to introduce the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (Reach Act). This bipartisan legislation would help save the lives of millions of children and some hundreds of thousands of women, with the goal of ending preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation. … Not only does this bill have the potential to give children a chance at a future, but it would help foster stability and security around the world. Together, we can end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths around the world within a generation” (10/29).

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Success Against Polio In Africa Gives Lessons, Hope For Disease's Elimination From Afghanistan, Pakistan

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Progress in Nigeria brings humanity closer to ending polio
Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa

“…Nigeria’s success in turning its [polio] eradication program around offers important lessons which are now being taken up in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last two countries where polio is still endemic. The first lesson is that government leadership at all levels is critical. … Constant innovations to polio vaccination campaigns have also been essential in helping us work through major challenges and getting the right vaccines to the poorest and most marginalized communities. … Frontline health workers are the ultimate key to ending polio. … Underpinning success is the support of the international community. … The momentous progress we’ve seen in Nigeria and across the African continent gives us hope that we can eradicate polio globally. Now is not the time for complacency; in fact, we must redouble our efforts and see this challenging journey through to the end…” (10/29).

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'Globally Coordinated Response' Needed To Ensure New Tropical Disease Treatments, Innovations Reach All People

The Guardian: Nobel prize winners point the way in battle against diseases of poverty
John Reeder, director of the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases; Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, WHO assistant director-general for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases; Bernard Pécoul, executive director at the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative; David Reddy, CEO of the Medicines for Malaria Venture

“…The discoveries recognized by the 2015 Nobel Prize for medicine are perfect examples of the journey from test tube to bedside, and tell a fascinating geopolitical story of how effective drugs for neglected diseases are discovered, made, and distributed. Importantly, they show what happens when we work together for patients, not just profits. … [T]here are nearly 500 product candidates in the pipeline for neglected diseases, including treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines. Nearly half of these are being developed through public-private ‘product development partnerships.’ … The challenge now is to ensure that scientific and political momentum is not only sustained but expanded and, importantly, coordinated and financed. … Now, more than ever, a globally coordinated response is needed to ensure that great discoveries and innovation reach the bedside of all patients, no matter where they live” (10/30).

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Malaria Vaccine Pilot Demonstrations 'Important First Step' To Determining Role As Preventive Tool

The Lancet: What next for the malaria RTS,S vaccine candidate?
Editorial Board

“On October 23, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) and the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) announced their much-anticipated recommendations for the world’s first malaria vaccine candidate known as RTS,S/AS01. Their decision is not to recommend widespread deployment of the vaccine based on existing evidence, but instead to assess the feasibility of delivering the vaccine and its impact in real-world settings. … The final policy recommendation on the vaccine from WHO is expected by the end of 2015. It has always been stressed that the vaccine could complement — not replace — existing proven malaria interventions. That might still be the case. But it is essential to show efficacy and feasibility outside a trial setting. SAGE and MPAC’s recommendation is an important first step to determine the vaccine’s future” (10/31).

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Geospatial Mapping 'Will Be Critical' Tool For Tracking Progress Of SDG Targets

Project Syndicate: Putting Public Health on the Map
Christopher J.L. Murray, professor of global health at the University of Washington and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

“…[The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project] could do more to inform policy debates and spur action to improve health if it were able to provide more detailed breakdowns of data. … To help decision-makers make better use of their data, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which I head, is creating geospatial maps of disease burdens with a groundbreaking level of resolution. … Geospatial maps can pinpoint areas that are making outstanding progress, allowing us to identify communities that have done things differently from their neighbors. These case studies can empower communities to replicate one another’s successes. … As the international community comes together to agree on the tools needed to finance and monitor progress toward the [Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs)] successor framework, the Sustainable Development Goals, geospatial mapping will be critical for tracking progress and indicating where course corrections might be needed…” (10/29).

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Solar Power Can Help Poor Nations Reach Health, Development Goals

Wall Street Journal: Letter to the Editor: Solar Power Has a Role in Helping the Poor
Nat Kreamer, chair of the Solar Energy Industries Association

“In ‘This Child Doesn’t Need a Solar Panel’ (op-ed, Oct. 22), Bjørn Lomborg, a political scientist by training, presents readers with a false choice that pits investment in climate security against investments in food, water, and health security. Developing countries need affordable electricity to solve their problems. … If Mr. Lomborg is concerned about global health, water, and food security, then he should prioritize investments with environmental benefits and low infrastructure costs, like solar. The Pentagon recognizes that climate-change-induced environmental disasters will have a horrifying impact on the issues Mr. Lomborg cites and is investing in solar now…” (10/29).

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FDA Should Learn From Ebola Epidemic, Take Action To Respond To Chikungunya, Other NTDs

Weekly Standard: The FDA Learned Nothing from Ebola
Michael J. Astrue, former commissioner of the Social Security Administration and former general counsel at the Department of Health and Human Services

“…No organization failed more miserably than the Food and Drug Administration [during West Africa’s Ebola epidemic last year]. As I pointed out in the Weekly Standard last year, the FDA refused to use its discretion under a 2007 law to provide vouchers for an accelerated review to any sponsor who successfully developed a drug for a designated ‘neglected tropical disease.’ The FDA never added Ebola — ​or any tropical disease​ — ​to the list included in the statute. … As is traditional with new epidemics, the FDA prefers to protect its institutional prerogatives rather than protect people suffering from [neglected tropical diseases like Ebola or chikungunya]; change will have to come from outside. … [HHS Secretary Sylvia] Burwell’s first step should be easy: Direct the FDA to add chikungunya to the neglected tropical diseases list. … The Senate should … raise the FDA’s inaction over chikungunya and the broader issue of its resistance to accelerated approvals with President Obama’s nominee for FDA commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf…” (11/9).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola Response

The Lancet: Ebola: burying the bodies
David L. Heymann, head and senior fellow at the Chatham House Center on Global Health Security and professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…The difficult and heroic work of [burial teams in West Africa] might have been made easier had [those who could contribute] social and behavioral insights been called upon at the time decisions were made about how to safely handle the dead. … One of the lessons from the recent Ebola outbreaks in West Africa is becoming clear — earlier urban and rural community engagement through traditional leaders and elders might have contributed to more rapid containment. Once people learn from a trusted source, they have the knowledge they need for full and safe participation. … [F]uture body teams must work hand in hand with those who understand social behavior, and who can engage communities in providing safe care for those who are sick, and safe burial for those who have died” (10/31).

The Hill: Ebola one year later
Jeff Schlegelmilch, managing director for strategic planning and operations at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute at Columbia University

“…The much criticized response of the World Health Organization and other global institutions to the Ebola crisis demonstrates that reliance solely on public sector institutions is not a sufficient disaster response system. The cases of private sector action in response to Ebola demonstrates that there are alternate ways of approaching disasters that add value to the overall response. Identifying new ways for these parallel efforts to work in greater collaboration with each other will not only improve the response to future events, but will also increase resilience, and the ability for communities to recover stronger and faster in the aftermath of a major disaster” (10/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Preventing Drug Resistance Requires More Focus On Quality Medicines

American Enterprise Institute’s “AEIdeas”: More substandard medicines drive faster resistance
Roger Bate, an author and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, discusses how substandard-quality medicines contribute to drug resistance, using tuberculosis as an example. He writes, “If we’re going to win the global fight against TB, we need better oversight of TB medicine manufacturing and information on failing companies so physicians and patients can boycott certain manufacturers…” (10/29).

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Health Experts Speak About Issues Surrounding TB Care, Prevention At Launch Of WHO's Global Report

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Following release of WHO TB report, a discussion examines how to end an epidemic
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, summarizes comments made on Wednesday at the National Press Club by Lawrence Gostin, chair of the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University and director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights; Eric Goosby, U.N. special envoy for TB; and Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS, following the release of the WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2015 (10/29).

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