KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Nobel Prize For Medicine Awarded To 3 Scientists For Work On Parasitic Disease Therapies

News outlets report on the winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, awarded this year to three researchers of parasitic diseases.

CNN: 3 scientists share Nobel Prize for medicine for work on parasitic diseases
“…Half of the award goes to Ireland’s William Campbell and Japan’s Satoshi Omura, who discovered a new drug to treat infections caused by roundworm parasites. The other half goes to China’s Youyou Tu, who used traditional herbal medicine to find a new kind of antimalarial agent…” (Yan/Mullen, 10/5).

Forbes: 2015 Nobel Prize In Medicine Awarded For Discovery Of Malaria, River Blindness Drugs From Nature
“…Campbell and Omura were recognized for the discoveries leading to ivermectin, a semi-synthetic derivative of a drug from soil bacteria to kill roundworms that cause river blindness and, to a lesser extent, elephantiasis. … Tu isolated the antimalarial drug artemisinin from a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine…” (Kroll, 10/5).

New York Times: 3 Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Medicine for Parasite-Fighting Therapies
“… ‘These two discoveries have provided humankind with powerful new means to combat these debilitating diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people annually,’ the [Nobel] committee said in a statement. ‘The consequences in terms of improved human health and reduced suffering are immeasurable’…” (Altman, 10/5).

Reuters: Beating parasites wins three scientists Nobel prize for medicine
“…The eight million Swedish crowns ($960,000) medicine prize is the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year. Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel…” (Johnson et al., 10/5).

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Negotiators Reach Deal On TPP; Congress To Analyze, Debate Pact

New York Times: Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal Is Reached
“The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations on Monday agreed to the largest regional trade accord in history, a potentially precedent-setting model for global commerce and worker standards that would tie together 40 percent of the world’s economy, from Canada and Chile to Japan and Australia. … Final compromises covered commercial protections for drug makers’ advanced medicines … Yet the trade agreement almost certainly will encounter stiff opposition…” (Calmes, 10/5).

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Apparent U.S. Airstrike Destroys MSF Hospital In Kunduz; Organization Withdraws From City, Demands Independent Investigation

News outlets report on the bombing of a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, allegedly by U.S. forces.

The Atlantic: The Aftermath of the Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders
“Doctors Without Borders, whose trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was bombed by an apparent U.S. airstrike early Saturday morning, announced Sunday that it has completely withdrawn from the northern Afghan city where its medical center now lies charred and inoperable…” (Wang, 10/4).

The Guardian: MSF hospital: U.S. condemned over ‘horrific bombing’ in Afghanistan
“…An MSF source told the Guardian that up to 20 Afghan members of staff and patients were killed and dozens more injured, adding that the death toll could rise further. Among the killed were nine MSF staff and seven patients from the intensive care unit, including three children. None of the international doctors volunteering at the facility were hurt…” (Rasmussen, 10/3).

New York Times: Doctors Without Borders Says It Is Leaving Kunduz After Strike on Hospital
“…The Pentagon, which has said it may have inadvertently struck the hospital during a military operation, said in a statement on Sunday that a preliminary investigation of the episode would be completed in a matter of days. The Afghan government also vowed to investigate the airstrike…” (Rubin, 10/4).

Reuters: Medical charity MSF demands independent probe into strike on Afghan hospital
“Medical aid group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Sunday demanded an independent international inquiry into a suspected U.S. air strike that killed 22 people in an Afghan hospital it runs, branding the attack a ‘war crime’…” (Harooni/MacAskill, 10/4).

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Less Than 10% Of World's Population Will Be Living In Extreme Poverty By End 2015, World Bank Predicts

News outlets discuss a new report from the World Bank forecasting global poverty trends based on the latest available data.

BBC News: World Bank: Extreme poverty ‘to fall below 10%’
“The World Bank has said that for the first time less than 10 percent of the world’s population will be living in extreme poverty by the end of 2015. The bank said it was using a new income figure of $1.90 per day to define extreme poverty, up from $1.25. It forecasts that the proportion of the world’s population in this category will fall from 12.8 percent in 2012 to 9.6 percent…” (10/5).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: World’s ‘extremely poor’ to fall below 10 percent of global population: World Bank
“…The global development lender attributed the continued fall in poverty to strong economic growth rates in emerging markets, particularly India, and investments in education, health, and social safety nets. … However, [World Bank Group President Jim Kim] warned that slower global growth, volatile financial markets, conflicts, high youth unemployment, and the impact of climate change were obstacles to meeting a U.N. target to end poverty by 2030…” (Malo, 10/4).

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Melinda Gates Speaks About Health, Development Issues In AllAfrica Interview

AllAfrica: Africa: We Can Defeat Poverty — Melinda Gates
“…Before traveling to New York for events connected with the U.N. General Assembly and the new Global Goals, Melinda Gates spoke to AllAfrica by phone from Seattle, where she is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…” The interview includes her comments on attended births, food security and nutrition, family planning, malaria treatment and prevention, civil engagement, and poverty elimination (10/5).

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Taiwan, Dhaka Record Highest Numbers Of Dengue Cases In Years, Xinhua Reports

Xinhua News: Taiwan dengue fever cases top 20,000
“Taiwan has seen 20,241 dengue fever cases since May, in the worst outbreak of the disease in 17 years, although it is now moderating, the island’s disease control center reported on Sunday…” (10/4).

Xinhua News: Dengue hits Dhaka hard, number of cases in 2015 highest in 9 years
“Some 800 fresh cases of dengue were reported from Bangladesh capital Dhaka and elsewhere on the outskirts of the city over the last month, bringing the total number of confirmed cases till Sept. 30 this year in the country to some 1,400…” (10/3).

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Nearly 10M Children In Yemen Need 'Urgent' Humanitarian Aid, UNICEF Says

U.N. News Centre: Over 500 children dead, 1.7 million at risk of malnutrition owing to Yemen violence — U.N.
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today underscored the devastating toll six months of violence has taken on the children of Yemen, where at least 500 have lost their lives and more than 1.7 million are at risk of malnutrition. Across the country, nearly 10 million children — 80 percent of the country’s under-18 population — need urgent humanitarian assistance…” (10/2).

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7.5M People Need Food Aid In Ethiopia; Without Action, Number Will Double Next Year, U.N. Says

Agence France-Presse: 7.5 million going hungry as Ethiopia crisis worsens
“The number of hungry Ethiopians needing food aid has risen sharply due to poor rains and the El Niño weather phenomenon with around 7.5 million people now in need, aid officials said Friday. That number has nearly doubled since August, when the United Nations said 4.5 million were in need — with the U.N. now warning that without action some ’15 million people will require food assistance’ next year, more than inside war-torn Syria…” (10/2).

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Teachers Receive Training On Malaria Diagnosis, Treatment As Part Of Malawian Program

Financial Times: Malawian schools teach malaria a lesson
“In the Zomba district of Malawi, dozens of teachers have received training over the past four years [through the Malaria Treatment Programme for Schoolchildren] in how to diagnose and treat malaria, as part of a pioneering response to a disease that has a high impact on the school attendance of young sufferers…” (Jack, 10/5).

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11K Beijing University Students Take HIV Prevention Lesson As Part Of Curricula

Xinhua News: Beijing makes HIV/AIDS prevention first lesson in college
“For students admitted to seven universities in Beijing this year, the first lesson they were given this September was on HIV/AIDS. According to the Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, 11,000 students from seven universities had participated in nine sessions on HIV/AIDS prevention last month…” (10/3).

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HIV Treatment, Cure Trials Include Low Percentages Of Female Participants, Review Shows

Reuters Health: Women are missing from HIV drug trials
“…In an analysis spanning several decades that included work done as recently as 2012, researchers found that women typically comprised about 11 percent of participants in trials investigating cures for HIV. Similarly, drug studies were only about 19 percent female and just 38 percent of vaccine trial subjects were women…” (Rapaport, 10/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S., World Must Continue To Finance HIV/AIDS Programs To Control Epidemic

New York Times: The Tools to Fight HIV
Editorial Board

“Medical leaders have the knowledge and the tools to greatly curtail the global AIDS epidemic within the next 15 years. The question is whether the nations of the world will invest the resources to do it. … Financing for AIDS programs is supplied by industrialized nations, wealthy foundations, and the afflicted nations themselves. Donations have remained relatively flat in recent years as a result of the global recession. The United States is by far the largest donor, but needs to put up hundreds of millions of dollars more in the next two years to meet its own targets …, according to health advocacy groups. While the costs may be high in the short term, every dollar spent controlling HIV infection will yield many times the benefit in the long run” (10/4).

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Russia's Public Health Challenges Undermine Its Economic Development, As Skilled Workers Leave Country

The Globalist: Public health challenges facing Russia today cripple its potential for tomorrow.
César Chelala, global health consultant and contributing editor for The Globalist

“For all the external economic fears worrying countries everywhere, Russia faces further, entirely homegrown challenges. In all likelihood, the most important one among them is public health, which directly undermines the country’s economic development. … Recent cuts in health care and education will not solve the problems affecting the Russian economy. At most, they are palliative measures that may help the budgetary outlook temporarily, but will not cure a sick economy. The direct connection between the public health crisis and Russia’s economic potential should be clear. … Failure to tackle Russia’s huge public health problems is likely to exacerbate the brain drain already under way” (10/3).

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Ebola Workers Remain Resilient, Continue To Respond To Disease In Sierra Leone

The Guardian: Ebola in Sierra Leone: ‘Friends died from the very virus they fought against’
Isaac Bayoh, Ebola quarantine and awareness worker in rural Sierra Leone, now working with Médicos del Mundo

“Many things have changed here in Sierra Leone since I last wrote at Easter, when three-day lockdowns were being used to contain the virus. Since then we Ebola response workers have had strong psychosocial support from international organizations and it has helped greatly knowing that the stigma and trauma we went through is being recognized. … Let it be remembered that we are people of resilience. With all our differences, we stood as one to bring this outbreak to an end. … In Sierra Leone, life can never be fully OK knowing we still have this virus around. But life is better than death, as they say, so I am grateful to be alive to continue the struggle” (10/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Mexico Becomes 3rd Country In World To Eliminate Onchocerciasis

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect”: Adiós! Goodbye, oncho! Mexico joins two other countries in ending onchocerciasis in LAC
Mirta Roses Periago, director emeritus of PAHO/WHO and special envoy for the Global Network, discusses progress made by the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region in ending onchocerciasis, also referred to as river blindness, as Mexico becomes “the third country in the world to officially wipe out the disease” (10/2).

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Blog Post Discusses Opinion Piece Criticizing SDGs

Development Policy Centre’s “DevPolicy Blog”: Easterly on the SDGs: utopian and worthless
Ashlee Betteridge, research officer at the Development Policy Centre, discusses a Foreign Policy opinion piece written by William Easterly, economics professor at New York University, on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Betteridge notes Easterly “slams the goals for being utopian, unmeasurable, unactionable, unattainable, and unfinanced, having ‘both too many items and too little content for each one'” (10/2).

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