KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Tobacco-Related Illnesses Will Kill 1 In 3 Chinese Men By 2050 Unless Smoking Prevention Implemented, Study Says

News outlets report on a study published in The Lancet showing one in three Chinese men will die of tobacco-related illnesses by 2050 unless more smoking prevention efforts are implemented.

CNN: Study: Smoking will kill one out of three young Chinese men
“Smoking deaths in China are set to triple to three million a year by 2050, according to a new study that examines the devastating toll of rising smoking rates on the country’s male population. The report, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, concludes that nearly two thirds of young Chinese men pick up smoking and, unless they stop, at least half of them will die from the habit…” (Boykoff, 10/9).

Reuters: Smoking set to kill one in three young men in China, study finds
“… ‘Without rapid, committed, and widespread action to reduce smoking levels, China will face enormous numbers of premature deaths,’ said Liming Li, a professor at the Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing who co-led a large analysis of the issue…” (Kelland, 10/9).

Washington Post: Smoking may kill one in three young Chinese men — but very few women
“…Conversely, it is very rare for Chinese women to smoke, and the risk of premature deaths in women due to tobacco use is low and falling, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal…” (Denyer, 10/9).

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TPP Could Block Access To Some Medications In 4 Countries, GlobalPost Reports

GlobalPost: In these four countries, the TPP’s rules on generic drugs could kill people
“For its backers, including the White House, the world’s largest ever trade deal is a no-brainer. … But in four of them — Peru, Mexico, Malaysia, and Vietnam — the TPP may have a particular dark side. According to leaks of the still-under-wraps treaty text, the deal would block some of those nations’ poorest citizens from accessing life-saving, cutting-edge medicines known as ‘biologics’…” (Tegel, 10/8).

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Despite Challenges, Ebola Vaccine Research Continues In West African Nations

The Lancet: Ebola vaccines line up while industry calls for change
“As the West African Ebola outbreak slows, the world has a suite of experimental vaccines in various stages of development. But manufacturers are warning of problems ahead…” (Petherick, 10/10).

Reuters: J&J starts vaccine trial in Sierra Leone, even as Ebola fades
“Johnson & Johnson has begun a clinical trial of a two-shot Ebola vaccine in Sierra Leone, underlining its determination to push ahead with development, even as the epidemic fades out in West Africa…” (Hirschler, 10/9).

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New York Times Interviews Nobel Laureate Tu Youyou About Artemisinin Research

New York Times: Q. and A.: Tu Youyou on Being Awarded the Nobel Prize
“…[S]ome former colleagues have argued that the discovery of artemisinin, which grew out of a secret military project during the Vietnam War to fight the malaria that was debilitating China’s allies in North Vietnam, was a group effort, not the work of an individual. In an interview, Dr. Tu said she did not entirely disagree with that point of view, but noted that she led the team that made the crucial discoveries…” (Perlez/Li, 10/9).

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Programs To Eradicate FGM Might Need To Focus On Private Beliefs, Not Societal Traditions, Study Says

SciDev.Net: Fight against genital cutting on wrong track
“Families decide to cut their young daughters’ genitals because of private values rather than social norms, a study says, suggesting that programs to eradicate the practice may be misguided. The study, published in Science on 25 September, was carried out in 45 schools in the state of Al Jazirah (Gezira) in southeast Sudan by economists at the University of Zurich in Switzerland with Sudanese colleagues…” (Dewedar, 10/9).

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'Next Outbreak' Series Examines Malaria Treatment In Nigeria

NOVA Next: Nigeria’s Bet on Beating Drug-Resistant Malaria
As part of its “Next Outbreak” series, a collaboration between NOVA Next and the GroundTruth Project in association with WGBH Boston, NOVA Next examines malaria treatment in Nigeria, where drug resistance and substandard medications complicate the disease’s treatment (Hogan, 10/7).

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Paul Farmer Speaks About Ebola Epidemic, Preventing Outbreaks In Vox Interview

Vox: With the Ebola epidemic nearly over, Paul Farmer has ideas about how to prevent the next one
“…Last month, [Paul Farmer, global health professor at Harvard University and co-founder of Partners In Health,] helped put his ideas into action with the launch of the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda. The new health sciences institution, owned and operated by Partners in Health, was established to train the next generation of African medical professionals and global health care leaders. From Rwanda, Farmer spoke to us about this Ebola epidemic and how to prevent the next one…” (Belluz, 10/7).

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Seva Foundation Co-Founder Speaks With Huffington Post On Group's Efforts To Provide Eyesight To People In Developing Nations

Huffington Post: This Foundation Has Provided Eyesight To 4 Million People In Developing Countries
“…[O]n Oct. 8, World Sight Day, Seva — inspired by Sanskrit word for ‘service’ — is celebrating by providing sight to its four millionth patient. The Huffington Post spoke with Larry Brilliant, Seva Foundation co-founder, about the history of the organization, the development of efficient and affordable eyesight innovations, and Seva’s vision for the future…” (Keady, 10/8).

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HIV Researcher Françoise Barré-Sinoussi To Retire

Reuters: Science won’t stop until it beats AIDS, says HIV pioneer
“More than 30 years after she identified one of the most pernicious viruses to infect humankind, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who shared a Nobel prize for discovering HIV, is hanging up her lab coat and retiring. She’s disappointed not to have been able to claim ultimate victory in the battle against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes the killer disease AIDS, but also proud that in three decades, the virus has been beaten into check…” (Kelland, 10/9).

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Institute Of Human Virology To Begin Human Clinical Trial Of HIV Vaccine Using Different Protection Technique

Baltimore Sun: HIV vaccine to be tested on people
“After years of research, a promising HIV/AIDS vaccine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine is moving into the critical human testing stage. The school’s Institute of Human Virology, headed by Dr. Robert Gallo, who helped discover the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS and who developed the HIV blood test, announced the next big step in the research Thursday…” (McDaniels, 10/8).

ScienceInsider: AIDS pioneer finally brings AIDS vaccine to clinic
“…Gallo’s team has been developing a vaccine with an unusual method of protection for 15 years and is now launching the first clinical trial of it in collaboration with Profectus BioSciences, a biotech that spun off from IHV recently. Known as a phase I study, the trial expects to enroll 60 people and will simply assess safety and immune responses of the ‘full-length single chain’ vaccine. ‘It’s a terrible name,’ says Gallo, who is not one to mince words…” (Cohen, 10/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Improving Health In Africa Advances U.S. Interests, Ideals

TIME: Better Health Care in Africa Must Go Beyond HIV
Former President George W. Bush

“…In the midst of our differences, there should be at least one issue on which all Americans can agree: helping the people of Africa fight disease advances both our interests and our ideals. … PEPFAR has been an inspiring success, but that success has revealed new challenges. Researchers have learned that women living with HIV are four to five times more likely to develop cervical cancer. Like AIDS, cervical and breast cancer often strike African women in their most productive years, destabilizing families and communities. Also like AIDS, cervical and breast cancer are largely preventable and treatable. … Spreading health and hope in Africa is a cause worthy of our great nation. This work reflects American compassion and reinforces American interests. Promoting stability abroad protects our security here at home. Whatever other foreign policy disagreements may arise over the course of this [presidential election] campaign, saving lives in Africa is one priority that should remain beyond debate” (10/8).

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Policymakers, Experts Must 'Fill The Critical Gaps' To Provide 120M More Women, Girls Access To Reproductive Health Services, Contraception

Devex: Keeping our promise to 120 million women and girls
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…The largest generation of young people in history are about to enter their reproductive years, yet we aren’t doing enough to meet their unique needs. In sub-Saharan Africa, and South Central and Southeast Asia, more than 60 percent of adolescents who want to avoid pregnancy, are not using a method of contraception. … Following where the evidence points will help us get back on track. And the International Conference on Family Planning in Indonesia in November provides a good opportunity for policymakers and experts from around the world to plan how to fill the critical gaps. This is the only way we will translate our ambition into action and make good on our FP2020 pledge [to ensure that 120 million more women and girls in the poorest countries have access to the education, services, and the method of contraception they want and choose to use]…” (10/8).

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World Needs Coherent Approach To Recognizing, Responding To Disease Epidemics

Foreign Policy: Can the Global Public Health System Learn From Its Ebola Mistakes?
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…A summit should be convened, ideally by a respected third party outside of the U.N., allowing all of the panels and commissions to compare their diagnoses of global health governance problems and suggested solutions [in light of the Ebola epidemic]. … Without the sort of leverage a full summit can provide, it is unlikely that the range of parties pivotal to epidemic preparedness and response will absorb and respond to the panels’ critiques and recommendations. And in the absence of a summit, differences in the recommendations among the plethora of reports cannot be thrashed out. … [T]he whole world needs coherent, rational changes in the landscape of epidemic recognition and mobilized global responses. We must learn from the Ebola mistakes. And that means putting wise heads together to agree on courses of action, governance, and funding support” (10/8).

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Congress Should Approve Reach Act To Advance Global Maternal, Child Survival

The Hill: Bill to save more lives faster needs Congressional support
Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH

“…The [Reach Every Mother and Child Act (Reach Act)] is the most important piece of legislation for child and maternal survival to hit the hopper in decades. … It calls on USAID to more efficiently leverage U.S. investments to reach more women and children with lifesaving health services and technologies and, importantly, reinvigorates efforts to develop and scale new innovations to address leading causes of death and illness. … The Reach Act gives every member of Congress a chance to make that smart decision, by calling on USAID to advance health technologies — with an emphasis on affordable solutions with high potential impact — to save even more moms and kids, faster. The Reach Act’s legacy will be long-lasting and far-reaching. We call on Congress to support this landmark act…” (10/9).

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Human Rights-Based Approach To HIV Prevention, Treatment Needed To End AIDS Epidemic By 2030

The Lancet: HIV: the question is not when to treat, but how to treat
Editorial Board

“Last week, WHO expedited release of their Guideline on when to start antiretroviral therapy and on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, ahead of the updated comprehensive guidelines scheduled for publication later this year. … The recommendations are welcome but ambitious. Whereas trials have shown that treatment can work as prevention, no studies exist that address how such a strategy can be executed on a global scale. By not specifying how the most vulnerable will access the recommended measures of health care, this guideline risks failing those most at need. With two million new infections occurring every year, treatment alone will not end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. A human rights-based approach that encompasses tailored combination HIV prevention must remain at the heart of the response” (10/10).

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Progress Against Poverty Shows Improvement Despite World Bank's Changing Definition Of 'Poor'

Vox: Why the World Bank is changing the definition of the word “poor”
Charles Kenny, senior fellow, and Justin Sandefur, research fellow, both at the Center for Global Development

“…Ultimately, picking a poverty line is pretty arbitrary. The main virtue of the line the World Bank has picked is political: It keeps the total number of global poor roughly where it was last month when world leaders at the U.N. signed up to eradicate poverty by 2030. But it did so by moving the line quite a bit. In the future, it’d be nice to have a measure of poverty that doesn’t swing wildly — or necessitate a change in methodology — every time exchange rates move. But for all the uncertainty around poverty lines and numbers, and despite the fact that $1.90 is still obscenely low, one thing is certain: We do know the number of people living on $1.25 in 2005 dollars has been dropping — as has the number living on less than $1.90 in 2011 dollars. Most of the very poorest worldwide are able to buy more of what they need than they could 10 or 20 years ago. Perhaps the extreme poverty line is fuzzier than we thought, but the progress against extreme poverty remains clear” (10/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Piece Offers 3 Recommendations On How Global Fund Can Address Various Challenges

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Provoking Dialogue: Three Big Ideas for the Global Fund
As the board of directors of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria prepares to approve a framework for the organization’s next multi-year strategy at a November meeting, Todd Summers, senior adviser to the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses three recommendations on how the Global Fund can address various challenges. The recommendations include “1. Move funding for most countries to new regional master grants … 2. Stop funding international NGOs for implementation … 3. Retire the Global Fund by 2030” (10/8).

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CDC Recognizes Efforts To Prevent, Treat HIV On International Day Of The Girl

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Innovation and Commitment Needed to Turn Back the HIV Epidemic Among Girls
Shannon Hader, director of CDC’s Division of HIV & TB, highlights the 2015 International Day of the Girl and discusses how CDC is working to help girls by “Creating a supporting, empowering environment; … Addressing gender-based violence; … Expanding access to treatment for HIV-positive girls and young women; … Helping men control HIV [which] can also help young women; … [and] Partnering through PEPFAR to reach young women and girls…” (10/8).

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'Science Speaks' Reports From IDWeek Conference

The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” is reporting from IDWeek in San Diego, California, this week, providing coverage of sessions on HIV, tuberculosis, Ebola, and other issues.

Science Speaks: IDWeek 2015: Physicians, researchers describe obstacles to tuberculosis control in resource limited countries
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, highlights a session at which “scientists discussed an urgent need to scale up tuberculosis prevention efforts globally, especially in light of data expected from the World Health Organization showing that TB has surpassed HIV as a leading cause of death globally…” (10/7).

Science Speaks: IDWeek 2015: Ebola survivors face ongoing challenges, says physician with first hand experience
Aziz summarizes a plenary speech by Ian Crozier, a physician with the Infectious Diseases Institute of Kampala, Uganda, who survived Ebola and who aims “to enhance [the] understanding of the long-term health impacts of infection with Ebola…” (10/8).

Science Speaks: IDWeek 2015: HIV treatment as prevention may be an answer, but other questions on prevention remain
Aziz summarizes comments made by researchers at “a session on HIV prevention, which also featured an update on topical microbicides to protect against acquisition of the virus…” (10/9).

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