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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New Initiative Aims To Bring More Affordable Cancer Drugs To 6 African Countries

New York Times: As Cancer Tears Through Africa, Drug Makers Draw Up a Battle Plan
“In a remarkable initiative modeled on the campaign against AIDS in Africa, two major pharmaceutical companies, working with the American Cancer Society, will steeply discount the prices of cancer medicines in Africa. Under the new agreement, the companies — Pfizer, based in New York, and Cipla, based in Mumbai — have promised to charge rock-bottom prices for 16 common chemotherapy drugs. The deal, initially offered to a half-dozen countries, is expected to bring lifesaving treatment to tens of thousands who would otherwise die…” (McNeil, 10/7).

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U.N. Seeks More Funds To Address Rohingya Refugee Crisis In Bangladesh; WHO Sends Cholera Vaccines

Devex: In Bangladesh, an unfolding humanitarian crisis
“…Now, nearly six weeks on from the start of the crisis, conditions in the camps [in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh,] are still being described as chaotic as thousands of exhausted, traumatized Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority, continue to pour in daily, and aid agencies struggle to handle the influx. While United Nations officials and international NGOs cite the urgent need to ‘scale up,’ staff on the ground say the humanitarian response has been hampered by funding shortfalls and bureaucratic obstacles that have left agencies without approval to work and vital supplies stuck in transit…” (McPherson/Joy, 10/9).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. seeks more funds to assist Rohingya amid world’s fastest growing refugee crisis
“United Nations agencies are seeking more funds to cope with the mass exodus of people fleeing violence in Myanmar into Bangladesh, which the top U.N. aid official described [as] the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis…” (10/6).

VOA News: Preparations Underway to Vaccinate Rohingya Refugees Against Cholera
“The World Health Organization reports 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine are expected to arrive in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Saturday. A mass vaccination campaign for Rohingya refugees is set to begin Tuesday, October 10…” (Schlein, 10/7).

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WHO Delivers Antibiotic Doses To Madagascar To Address Bubonic, Pneumonic Plague Outbreak

BBC News: Madagascar plague: WHO in huge release of antibiotics
“More than a million doses of antibiotics have been delivered by the World Health Organization to fight an outbreak of plague in Madagascar which has killed at least 33 people…” (10/7).

New York Times: Fearsome Plague Epidemic Strikes Madagascar
“…Since August, the country has reported over 200 infections and 33 deaths. The outbreak is beginning to resemble the early stages of the West African Ebola crisis in 2014: a lethal disease normally confined to sparsely populated rural areas has reached crowded cities and is spreading in a highly transmissible form…” (McNeil, 10/6).

U.N. News Centre: As Bubonic and Pneumonic plagues spread in Madagascar, U.N. health agency ramps up response
“… ‘WHO is concerned that plague could spread further because it is already present in several cities and this is the start of the epidemic season, which usually runs from September to April,’ said Charlotte Ndiaye, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Madagascar, in a news update…” (10/6).

United Press International: WHO acting to contain Madagascar plague outbreak
“…The outbreak of plague is an annual occurrence in Madagascar, which normally reports about 400 cases per year, usually in the remote island highlands. What makes this outbreak different, according to the WHO, is that many of the infected live in more densely populated towns and the capital Antananarivo…” (DuVall, 10/8).

Vox: Plague is spreading at an alarming rate in Madagascar. Yes, plague.
“…As of October 6, 231 plague cases there had been identified, as well as 33 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Twenty of Madagascar’s 114 districts are now affected by the epidemic…” (Belluz, 10/6).

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Former President Carter Praises South Sudan's Work Toward Eradicating Guinea Worm

Associated Press: South Sudan winning against Guinea worm, says Jimmy Carter
“War-torn South Sudan ‘should serve as an example’ for other countries in the progress it is making in eradicating Guinea worm, said former United States President Jimmy Carter. Speaking to the Associated Press, Carter praised the world’s youngest nation for making steady progress in ridding itself of the debilitating parasite despite the ‘tremendous problems’…” (Mednick, 10/9).

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Philippines President's Violent Crackdown On Drug Use Fueling Spread Of HIV, Other Diseases, Advocates Say

Washington Post: Duterte’s ‘drug war’ is fueling the spread of disease
“…Front-line advocates in [Cebu City] in the central Philippines say [President Rodrigo Duterte’s] violent anti-drug campaign is pushing users ever further underground, fueling the spread of disease by stopping efforts to get them clean needles. Those who work with injection drug users say they are being harassed, even arrested, while ­trying to make their rounds…” (Rauhala, 10/6).

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Experts To Discuss Antimicrobial Resistance Prevention, Action At Berlin Meeting

The Guardian: ‘Antibiotic apocalypse’: doctors sound alarm over drug resistance
“…In the words of England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies: ‘The world is facing an antibiotic apocalypse.’ … That terrifying prospect will be the focus of a major international conference to be held in Berlin this week. Organized by the U.K. government, the Wellcome Trust, the U.N., and several other national governments, the meeting will be attended by scientists, health officers, pharmaceutical chiefs, and politicians. Its task is to try to accelerate measures to halt the spread of drug resistance, which now threatens to remove many of the major weapons currently deployed by doctors in their war against disease…” (McKie, 10/8).

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Nobel Laureate Calls For More Attention To Humanitarian, Health Crises In War-Torn Yemen; 2,151 People Dead In Cholera Epidemic, WHO Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Interview — Nobel laureate says human suffering must end in “forgotten land” of Yemen
“Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman said the world is turning a blind eye to the plight of millions of people suffering in her war-torn nation plagued by hunger and disease. … ‘The world doesn’t pay enough attention to Yemen. It’s the forgotten land. There’s a lot of suffering in our country. There’s a big famine and cholera there,’ Karman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation…” (Moloney, 10/6).

Xinhua News: Cholera death toll rises to 2,151 in war-torn Yemen: WHO
“The death toll of the cholera epidemic in war-ravaged Yemen has risen to 2,151 since it broke out in late April, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday. A total of 800,626 people from 22 provinces out of total 23 have been infected, WHO said in a statement distributed to the local media…” (10/8).

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News Outlets Report On Various Environmental Impacts To Global Health, Food Security, Disaster Resilience

CBS News: How stoves can help solve a global pollution crisis
“…[F]or many people in developing countries, the biggest exposure to pollution happens inside their homes. Some three billion people worldwide depend on solid fuel — often wood, charcoal, or dung — for heat and light…” (Ivanova, 10/6).

Innovators Magazine: Climate action key to ending hunger
“A major international conference in Marseille [last] week has highlighted the links between climate change and rising levels of hunger. The second International Conference on Water and Climate — organized by the World Water Council (WWC) — brought together 150 stakeholders to discuss and raise awareness about the impact climate change is having on efforts to feed a growing global population…” (10/5).

PRI: As seas warm, small island states face a dangerous future
“…Dessima Williams, former Grenada U.N. ambassador, says the Caribbean people remain resilient and self-reliant, but they have limited financial capacity to recover and rebuild. This situation makes global action on limiting climate change and preparing for its impacts, especially on Small Island Developing States, more urgent than ever, says Williams, who was also the former special adviser for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals…” (Wernick, 10/7).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: More trees help water sanitation, reduce child deaths: study
“More trees at water sources improve sanitation and lead to fewer children dying from diarrhea in poor countries, a global study said on Monday. The study examined the health of 300,000 children and the quality of watersheds across 35 countries including Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Colombia, and found that having more trees upstream led to healthier children…” (Taylor, 10/9).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Learn from indigenous people to fight climate change, says Swedish aid chief
“With generations of experience conserving land and forests, indigenous people’s knowledge about climate change could help inform decisions at next month’s United Nations climate talks, but their environmental wisdom is often ignored. The head of Sweden’s international development agency said that must change — and climate change negotiators should learn from indigenous people…” (Zweynert, 10/6).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. chief urges global solidarity, accelerated climate action after visit to hurricane-stricken Barbuda
“Having seen first-hand the destruction wrought by the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Saturday called for the full mobilization of the international community to support the people of the affected areas, while stressing the need to accelerate climate action…” (10/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Foreign Aid Yields 'Tangible Results'

Baltimore Sun: America gets back as much as it gives in foreign aid
Tamela Noboa, Pact board member and managing director of Discovery Learning Alliance

“…What do Americans get in return for foreign assistance? A lot. For starters, we are able to stop deadly diseases before they reach our shores, promote American exports, counter violent extremism, combat climate change and Russian hacking, and support our overseas embassies and strategic allies across the world. The men and women of the State Department and USAID deserve our full commitment to their safety and to providing the tools they need to advance our interests globally. Next, we make a tangible, lasting difference in the lives of billions of people. … American investments in foreign aid save U.S. taxpayers billions because we are preventing famine, poverty, disease and war, rather than struggling with the aftermath on our own shores and around the globe. Our leadership in the world is achieved in large part through foreign aid. … I believe strongly in the tangible results and the values advanced through foreign aid. And at just one percent of our federal budget, I’d argue the wide-ranging returns are one of the best deals in Washington. This is a one percent we should all be fighting for” (10/8).

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Global Community Must Work Together To Achieve Progress Against Drug Resistance

The Guardian: Act now to tame the superbugs that are killing 700,000 a year
Ed Whiting, director of policy and chief of staff at the Wellcome Trust

“The U.N. General Assembly recognized drug-resistant infections last year as one of the greatest threats facing humanity. … Tackling drug-resistant infection is everyone’s business. The threat transcends that of HIV, TB, and cancer. To achieve real progress, those already suffering from untreatable infections need a voice. … [W]e must also put our energy into the other great challenge with regard to antibiotics: access. … In recent years, warnings of antibiotic resistance, improper and overuse of antibiotics, and the dire need for new treatments have become familiar. But what has often been missing from this rhetoric is a focus on improving access to antibiotics to all who need them. This complex mixture of better prescribing twinned with better access is complicated and requires nations to act in a way which fits their needs. To stop superbugs undermining modern medicine, to prevent lives being lost through lack of access to effective medicines, we must work together. We cannot afford to delay” (10/8).

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International Community Should Prioritize Mental Health

HuffPost: Mental Health Money Can’t Just Follow Bombs, Bullets And Trauma
Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger, co-founders of WE

“…[T]he problem [of mental health disorders] is often overlooked in light of other pressing development priorities. … For many, the logic is inescapable. In the hierarchy of needs, lifting people out of poverty and ensuring they are fed comes before mental health treatment. But this thinking crumbles when you look at the massive ripple effect of untreated mental health disorders. … The international community has made tremendous strides delivering medicines, containing outbreaks, and fighting disease around the world. Now it must do the same for mental health. … We need to fund and train more psychiatrists and doctors, build community-based mental health services, and help break the cultural stigma associated with treatment… ” (10/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Evaluation Measures Coalition's Impact On Improving U.S. Aid Effectiveness

MFAN: MFAN Evaluation Finds Focused, Effective Coalition Shaping Foreign Assistance Policy
George Ingran, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette, all co-chairs of MFAN, discuss results from an evaluation of MFAN’s impact. The evaluation “examined MFAN’s results, adaptability, effectiveness as a coalition, and member engagement from its inception in mid-2008 to mid-2016” (10/6).

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Closing Global Health Funding Gap Requires Innovative, Private Financing, Increased Domestic Investments, Donor Aid

The Lancet Global Health: Getting serious about financing the end of epidemics
Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, discusses the global health financing gap and efforts needed to close this gap, writing, “Policymakers and global health advocates should take this up with urgency and be willing to get out of their comfort zones. This will require learning about and working with innovative and private finance, and growing domestic investments by implementing countries. It will also require recognizing that donor aid has unique strengths, including the ability to catalyze other funding, and needs to be increased” (10/6).

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Report Examines Data Transparency, Access To Information On Water Pollution

Open Society Foundations: What’s in Your Drinking Water? Too Many People Still Don’t Know
Elizabeth Moses, research analyst in the Environmental Democracy Practice at the World Resources Institute, discusses results from a World Resources Institute report examining data transparency for safe drinking water. Moses writes, “A radical shift in information sharing is necessary to protect people from using contaminated water. Civil society, private funders, and bilateral donors working to support open government can help ministries redesign information disclosure systems so that they are accessible to countries’ poorest, most vulnerable citizens” (10/2).

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FT Health Discusses Sleep Loss Epidemic, Features Interview With Retiring Director Of Liverpool School Of Tropical Medicine

FT Health: The silent epidemic of sleep loss
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses the sleep loss epidemic; includes an interview with Janet Hemingway, who is retiring from her position as director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; and features a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Cookson/Jack/Dodd, 10/6).

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