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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Greater Political Commitment Needed To Push Down Global TB Numbers, WHO Annual Report Says

CIDRAP News: Despite progress, WHO paints ‘grim’ picture of global TB
“…While the [WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2017] shows progress against TB has been made, including a 37 percent reduction in the TB mortality rate since 2000, it also shows that reducing the global burden of the disease will take time. Overall, there were an estimated 10.4 million new cases of TB in 2016, and 1.7 million deaths, including 400,000 people who were co-infected with HIV…” (Dall, 10/30).

CNBC: Pandemic alert: Tuberculosis is world’s No. 1 infectious killer
“…In 2016, 10.4 million people fell sick with TB, and about 1.7 million people — including 400,000 with concomitant HIV — succumbed to the deadly infection. According to WHO, TB is the ninth-leading cause of death worldwide and continues to be the world’s No. 1 infectious killer, surpassing HIV/AIDS…” (Littler/Booth, 10/30).

Healio: WHO: Ending TB will take greater political commitment
“…Experts hope two upcoming meetings will intensify the spotlight on TB. Next month, the disease will be the focus of a WHO conference in Moscow that [Mario Raviglione, director of WHO’s global TB program,] said will be attended by representatives from 100 countries. That will be followed by a U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting in 2018 that will seek a greater commitment from heads of state on TB…” (10/30).

HuffPost: A Lot Of People Think This Disease Is Extinct, But It’s A Top 10 Killer Globally
“…Dr. Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the international Stop TB Partnership, told HuffPost that the numbers were ‘nowhere close to what we should see if we want to go forward.’ Ditiu said millions more people will continue to die year after year without more progress toward eliminating the disease…” (Weber, 10/30).

Science Speaks: WHO 2017 TB Report: Progress, funding, health coverage all fall short of need to confront impacts of disease
“…More than 600,000 people [worldwide] became sick with tuberculosis resistant to the most effective first-line drug [in 2016], and 490,000 of them had TB resistant to additional medicines as well. … Of the 10.4 million estimated new cases of tuberculosis in 2016, just 6.3 million were reported…” (Barton, 10/30).

U.N. News Centre: Tuberculosis world’s top infectious killer; U.N. health agency calls for political action to stop spread
“…Closing care and financing gaps, as well as progress in a particular subset of high TB burden countries are essential to tackling the epidemic, according to the study. Underreporting and underdiagnoses also continue to be a challenge, especially in countries with large unregulated private sectors and weak health systems…” (10/30).

Xinhua News: WHO sees insufficient global progress in eliminating tuberculosis
“…WHO’s End TB Strategy and U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) dictate that by 2030 TB deaths are supposed to be down by 90 percent and TB incidence (new cases per year) down by 80 percent, compared with 2015. Despite the fact that global TB mortality rate and TB incidence are now falling at about three percent and two percent per year respectively, these figures need to improve to four-to-five percent and 10 percent per year respectively by 2020 so as to reach the first milestones of the End TB Strategy…” (10/30).

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Climate Change Negatively Impacting Health Worldwide; Global Action Needed, Lancet Study Says

CNN: 2,100 cities exceed recommended pollution levels, fueling climate change
“Climate change is already affecting the health of populations around the world, but things are set to get worse if adequate changes aren’t made, according to an international consortium of climate experts…” (Senthilingam, 10/30).

The Guardian: Climate change already bringing disease, air pollution, and heatwaves
“…The findings, published in the Lancet journal, come from researchers at 26 institutions around the world, including many universities, the World Health Organization, World Bank, and the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO reported on Monday that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere made a record jump in 2016 to hit a concentration not seen for more than three million years…” (Carrington, 10/30).

Reuters: Climate change harms health worldwide as millions swelter: study
“Climate change has caused severe harm to human health since the year 2000 by stoking more heat waves, the spread of some mosquito-borne diseases, and under-nutrition as crops fail, scientists said on Tuesday. Scant action to slow global warming over the past 25 years has jeopardized ‘human life and livelihoods,’ they wrote in a report published in The Lancet…” (Doyle, 10/30).

USA TODAY: Climate change’s impact on human health is already here — and is ‘potentially irreversible,’ report says
“…While most previous similar studies have covered the potential impact of climate change on future public health problems, the Lancet report goes a step further and illustrates how it is no longer a future threat but a present one. … For example, from 2000 to 2016, there has been a 46 percent increase in the number of weather-related disasters, the report notes…” (Rice, 10/30).

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OECD Likely Will Not Approve U.K. Request For Waiver To Consider Hurricane Relief Funding To Caribbean As ODA

IRIN: Donor club set to snub Britain on Caribbean “aid”
“A British demand to use aid money to repair hurricane damage to its semi-autonomous territories in the Caribbean looks set to be blocked. Donor countries meeting [Monday] in Paris to hammer out new rules on international aid will not agree [to] the proposals, but may consider them later, according to multiple sources…” (Parker, 10/30).

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Abuse, Trafficking, Mental Health Receive Little Attention At International Adolescent Health Conference, Advocates Say

Inter Press Service: Adolescent Health Congress Skirts Issue of Abuse, Trafficking
“…Unfortunately, violent crimes like sexual slavery, [‘sexual cleansing’], molestation at schools, or breast ironing — another crime reported widely from Western Africa — were missing from the Congress on Adolescent Health, as were issues of cross-border sex trafficking of adolescent boys and girls in Asia and community-backed forced prostitution of young women in India. Mental health was discussed as a generic issue, but rising cases of mental illness in militarized and conflict zones were also missing…” (Paul, 10/30).

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Advocates Urge ILO To Limit Funding From Tobacco Companies

Devex: ILO under pressure to limit relationship with big tobacco
“The governing body of the International Labour Organization will this week consider whether or how to continue with its engagement with tobacco companies amid criticisms of continuously receiving funding from the industry. Proponents of the U.N. Framework Convention for Tobacco Control have been calling on the U.N. agency to cut its ties with the tobacco industry, specifically its monetary relationship that dates back to over a decade…” (Ravelo, 10/31).

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WHO Director Of Essential Medicines Speaks About Health Care Access, Cost In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: WHO essential medicines director on achieving UHC in Africa
“…Countries need strong policies — and political will — to improve access [to medicines] and lower costs, Dr. Suzanne Hill, WHO director of essential medicines and health products, told Devex. She said governments should consider ways to lower costs by purchasing medicines in bulk, for example, and work to build a sound regulatory environment. … Hill spoke with Devex about how these guiding principles are key to building sustainably affordable health systems…” (Roby, 10/30).

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Mobile Technologies, Artificial Intelligence Helping Move Some African Markets Toward Universal Health Coverage

Newsweek: How AI can help Africa get universal health care before America
“…Efforts to increase [health] coverage are underway: From Rwanda to South Africa, telemedicine and artificial intelligence have enabled health tech platforms to emerge, and allowed doctors to treat patients in under-resourced areas remotely, efficiently, and cheaply via mobile devices. Given increasing mobile penetration, low digitization costs, and few policy barriers, African markets are poised to use AI to leapfrog traditional health care infrastructure and achieve economically viable universal health coverage…” (Alonge, 10/30).

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MSF To Close 'Majority' Of Cholera Treatment Clinics In Yemen Following Decline In Cases

Devex: Exclusive: MSF cuts cholera operation from Yemen as cases diminish
“Médecins Sans Frontières plans to close or scale down ‘the majority’ of its 37 cholera treatment facilities in Yemen, after seeing a dramatic decline in cases in recent weeks, according to a news release shared with Devex…” (Dickinson, 10/30).

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U.N. Relief Coordinator Warns Humanitarian Needs Remain 'Profound' In Syria As Aid Enters Area Hit By Severe Malnutrition

Agence France-Presse: Aid enters besieged Syria region hit by hunger crisis
“Dozens of trucks carrying aid for 40,000 people on Monday entered the besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus, where residents and relief groups have warned a humanitarian crisis is escalating…” (Mohammed, 10/30).

U.N. News Centre: With 13 million inside Syria needing aid, U.N. relief chief says impact of crisis remains ‘profound’
“The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or D’aesh) may be largely pushed out of Syria’s Raqqa governorate, but after years of oppression and nearly a year of intense fighting — marked recently by heavy airstrikes — humanitarian needs will continue to be large for some time, the top United Nations relief official told the Security Council Monday…” (10/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Investments In Infectious Disease Programs Protect American, Global Health, Economic Security

Devex: Opinion: How fighting diseases globally makes everyone safer
Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…The U.S. has a history of strong bipartisan support for, and leadership on, global health. These investments see significant returns by helping to protect U.S. health security through the containment of disease outbreaks and the resulting economic toll. Here are the top three reasons why fighting infectious diseases abroad both maximizes and delivers returns on U.S. investments: 1. Global health investments see significant returns in lives saved and economic impact. … 2. Containing diseases and bolstering health systems can prevent outbreaks. … 3. Supporting global health has diplomatic benefits that promote safety and security. … By growing these investments, we keep U.S. interests in the driver’s seat, encourage developing countries to invest more in their own health, and support further global economic growth. … Support for infectious disease programs is a win-win, giving everyone a chance to live a healthy and more secure life” (10/30).

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Political Momentum Can Help Global Progress To End TB

HuffPost: High-Level Spotlight On Tuberculosis, The Top Infectious Killer
Mario Raviglione, director of the Global Tuberculosis Programme at the WHO

“The spotlight on the fight against tuberculosis (TB) has never been as bright as it is right now. … We have been stressing on the solutions to end TB for the past many years. What has been lacking is political commitment followed by action and investments to ensure these solutions actually get implemented effectively. … Increased resources are fundamental to accelerate progress. … Closing [the TB care and prevention funding] gap requires more resources from both domestic sources (especially in middle-income countries like the BRICS and other emerging economies) and international donors (especially in low-income countries that still largely depend on the influx of aid money). TB research and development also remains severely underfunded. … This is why I am so pleased that we finally have the spotlight on TB. We have unprecedented — never in the history of TB — political momentum with two high-level events to help us take the faster route to end TB, thus avoiding millions of unnecessary deaths, stigma, and discrimination…” (10/30).

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International Community Should Address Climate Change's Impact On Global Health

The Guardian: Climate change isn’t just hurting the planet — it’s a public health emergency
Christiana Figueres, chair of the Lancet Countdown advisory board and convener of Mission 2020

“…[H]undreds of millions of people are already suffering the health impacts of climate change. Its insidious creep is being felt in multiple ways: rising temperatures are hastening the spread of infectious diseases; crop yields are becoming uneven and unpredictable, worsening the hunger and malnourishment for some of the most vulnerable people on the planet; allergy seasons are getting longer; and at times it is simply too hot for farmers to work in the fields. … While the Lancet’s report lays bare the many ways that climate change impacts on our health, it also shows that tackling climate change directly, unequivocally, and immediately improves global health. … The Lancet Countdown report is an important climate health check-up and prescription for the action we need. The benefits of getting climate fit are too good to resist: safer, cleaner air and water, more energy independence, more jobs, and vastly improved land use. We can all support our governments to do more on this. The G7 meeting of health ministers later this week is as good an opportunity as any to ensure they are heeding the sage advice of our medical experts” (10/31).

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Africa Should Adopt Inclusive Approach To Building Health Infrastructure, Improving Health Systems

Financial Times: Africa’s health crisis needs a focus on systems, not people
Adebayo Alonge, co-founder of RxAll

“…Health care systems in Africa have been tailored to fight diseases like malaria and tuberculosis and were not built to handle the rise of non-communicable diseases such as respiratory illnesses and cancer. … [W]hat is needed is a systemic approach rather than a crisis-focused model to better address challenges of the future. Presidents such as Mr. Mugabe prove an unproductive focus for the WHO and won’t prepare Africa for a world where strokes and diabetes outrank malaria and tuberculosis as causes of death across the region. To improve patient treatment and public health reporting in Africa, the future lies in an inclusive approach to building health infrastructure that brings everyone from drug manufacturers to traditional healers to digitally savvy entrepreneurs to the table” (10/30).

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Norwegian, Chinese Approaches To Aid Offer Insight For Policy Debates On Aid Effectiveness

Washington Post: Why do nations invest in international aid? Ask Norway. And China.
Dan Banik, professor of political science and research director, and Nikolai Hegertun, PhD candidate in political science and research fellow, both at the Center for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo

“…We recently studied Norwegian and Chinese aid to two countries in sub-Saharan Africa … [in order] to inform international policy debates on aid effectiveness, and to learn more about how aid influences national development and reduces poverty. The two countries pursue widely different strategies. While Norway provides substantial funding for budget support and funds civil society organizations, China offers a combination of grants and concessional loans and prioritizes infrastructure development in poor countries. … [In contrast to Norway’s approach,] China’s approach is characterized not by generosity, but pragmatism. … Although altruism may increase a country’s soft power, global development requires much more than generosity. As aid recipient countries become more assertive, and as the national interests of donors become even more closely tied with aid, we see a possible synthesis between the Western and Chinese intervention strategies in Africa…” (10/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Increasing Global Response To Viral Hepatitis Critical To Achieving Elimination, WHO Says

WHO: Close to 3 million people access hepatitis C cure
“On the eve of the World Hepatitis Summit in Brazil, WHO reports increasing global momentum in the response to viral hepatitis. A record three million people were able to obtain treatment for hepatitis C over the past two years, and 2.8 million more people embarked on lifelong treatment for hepatitis B in 2016. … The summit aims to encourage more countries to take decisive action to tackle hepatitis…” (10/31).

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WHO Campaign Aims To Address Malaria, Polio In Nigeria's Borno State

WHO: Integrated campaign tackles malaria and polio in north-eastern Nigeria
“In Nigeria’s Borno State, malaria is currently claiming more lives than all other diseases combined. Children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable. WHO recently launched a special campaign in this state aimed at rapidly reducing the malaria burden among young children and, at the same time, protecting them against polio…” (10/31).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID's Food For Peace Aims To 'Reduce Need For Future Food Assistance'

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Going Beyond Emergency Food Assistance
Matthew Nims, acting director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, discusses U.S. efforts to address global food insecurity and “reduce the need for future food assistance.” Nims writes, “Food for Peace is in a unique position within USAID to not only save lives, but also to look ahead to ensure families and communities have the right skills and tools to withstand droughts and other crises that could prevent them from getting enough food. Our ability to pivot from development to emergency assistance when a crisis happens enables us to look for creative solutions to help communities recover faster” (10/30).

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USAID Blog Discusses 'Pay For Results' Models In Global Development

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Ensuring Effective Development
Seema Patel, division chief of the innovation design and advisory team, and Anne Healy, division chief for the source and test team, both in the U.S. Global Development Lab, discuss the role of “pay for results” models in development, writing, “‘Pay for results’ is an umbrella term for initiatives that pay out only after specified results have been achieved, rather than paying for the efforts to work toward those results. It is seen as a disruptor that encourages innovation and attracts new funding sources. … By integrating these practices into our everyday work, we have the potential to cut costs, make smart decisions, and transform international development” (10/30).

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