KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Ebola In Semen Of Male Survivors Poses Challenge For Disease Control, WHO Official Says

Reuters: Sex and masturbation may hamper Ebola eradication efforts
“Isolated flare-ups of Ebola may point to a higher risk of transmission via the semen of male survivors than previously thought, undermining hopes of ending West Africa’s deadly outbreak by the end of the year. The World Health Organization’s advice is that all male survivors should be tested three months after the onset of symptoms and then monthly until they know they have no risk of passing on the virus through their semen, Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO’s Ebola response, told a news conference…” (Miles, 9/9).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency warns Ebola outbreak in West Africa has ‘a very nasty sting in its tail’
“…Aylward described the remaining challenges as residual risk surveillance, sustaining rapid response teams, and survivor engagement and care, which includes the risks of transmission through semen by male survivors of Ebola. Testing for the status of semen is underway, he said, but other precautions are also being looked into such as the vaccination of sexual partners or family members to reduce the risk if someone tests positive. ‘This virus has a very nasty sting in its tail,’ he said…” (9/9).

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Guinea Goes 1 Week With No Recorded Ebola Cases; Longest Stretch Since March 2014, WHO Says

Agence France-Presse: Guinea passes one week with no new Ebola case: WHO
“Guinea has notched up a week without a new case of Ebola, a first since March 2014, the head of the U.N.’s response to the epidemic, Bruce Aylward, said on Wednesday. … ‘That is the longest period since March of last year that Guinea has gone without an Ebola case,’ he added…” (9/9).

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Ebola-Related Travel Restrictions Remain In Place For Some Countries Even As Outbreak Fades, Washington Times Reports

Washington Times: Ebola quarantines remain after outbreak fades, leaving travelers to negotiate web of rules
“The threat of a major Ebola outbreak has faded, but the travel bans imposed at the height of the epidemic are usually still in place, leaving tourists, business travelers, and aid workers grappling with confusing and even contradictory policies that may be harming the very countries that need help the most…” (Howell, 9/9).

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Better Data On, More Attention To Needs Of Senior Citizens Necessary In New Development Agenda, Report Notes

News outlets discuss findings of the Global AgeWatch Index from HelpAge International, which ranks countries based on social indicators for people older than 60 years.

Devex: How a focus on the ‘old’ can make the ‘new’ development agenda more inclusive
“…[T]he needs of everyone, including the growing number of elderly people globally, must be addressed by the 17 [Sustainable Development Goals] and 169 targets in the much-anticipated post-2015 development agenda — something that the expiring Millennium Development Goals failed to do, according to Jane Scobie, director of communications and advocacy at HelpAge International…” (Santos, 9/9).

The Guardian: Poor monitoring renders millions of elderly people worldwide ‘invisible’
“Elderly people are ‘invisible’ in many countries because of poor monitoring of their wellbeing, according to an index that ranks countries based on the ability of senior citizens to access pensions, health care, employment, and further education. A total of 98 countries were excluded from the 2015 Global AgeWatch Index, which was released by HelpAge International on Wednesday, because governments did not collect enough data on the quality of life of older people, defined by the study as those over 60…” (Anderson, 9/9).

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WHO SE Asia Region Calls For More Responsible Use Of Antibiotics To Prevent Resistance

Jakarta Post: Greater antibiotics regulations needed: WHO
“The World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region is calling on its member countries to immediately address indiscriminate use of antibiotics and other drugs because their uncontrolled use has led to resistance to medicines, persistence of infections, and treatment failure…” (9/9).

Press Trust of India/Business Standard: Indiscriminate antibiotic use causing treatment failure: WHO
“…[Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO regional director of the South-East Asia Region,] said comprehensive and integrated national action plans are needed to respond to antimicrobial resistance. … WHO said that increased awareness needs to be created among the general public as well as health workers and pharmacists on taking and selling only prescribed medicines and completing their full course” (9/9).

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China To Donate $5M Over 5 Years To Gavi

Xinhua News: China donates 5 mln USD to int’l vaccination organization
“China will donate five million U.S. dollars to [Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] to fund vaccination for 300 million children in developing countries. … The money will be contributed between 2016 and 2020, helping Gavi with a project that is expected to reach 300 million children and save five to six million lives…” (9/9).

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UNICEF, WFP Launch Joint Nutrition Response Plan For Pregnant Women, Mothers, Children In South Sudan

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agencies boost effort to avoid ‘catastrophic loss’ of young children’s lives in South Sudan
“…UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) jointly announced the launch of an enhanced joint nutrition response plan covering all states in South Sudan, which will see both agencies and their partners assist over two million people — children, pregnant women, and new mothers — for the treatment and prevention of acute malnutrition in the country until May 2016…” (9/9).

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Iron Supplementation Among Pregnant Kenyan Women Does Not Increase Malaria Risk, Improves Newborns' Weight, Study Shows

VOA News: No Rise in Malaria Seen in Pregnant Women Getting Iron Supplements
“…[A] new study in Kenya found virtually no difference in malaria risk among pregnant women who took iron supplements and those who didn’t. Hans Verhoef, a clinical epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, led the study of 470 pregnant women, 60 percent of whom were anemic at the beginning. He said the extra iron given to half of those women increased the duration of their pregnancies and the weight of their newborns…” (Berman, 9/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

White House Should Take Stand Against Uganda's NGO Bill To Protect Civil Society Groups

Washington Post: Uganda should scrap its repressive NGO bill
Editorial Board

“…[Recently,] Uganda introduced the NGO Bill of 2015 … [which] requires that organizations ‘not engage in any activity which is … contrary to the dignity of the people of Uganda.’ Such vague language gives the government wide berth to monitor and control the activities of organizations, many of which provide essential services. … [A parliamentary] delay gives the White House an opportunity to stand up for Uganda’s civil society. The Obama administration last year vehemently opposed Uganda’s anti-gay laws, even cutting or redirecting millions in aid and imposing sanctions on the country. But on the NGO bill the White House has remained relatively quiet, despite the fact that the United States is Uganda’s largest bilateral donor, with $750 million going to the country annually. Much of that assistance is implemented through NGOs…” (9/9).

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U.N. Must Address Education, Health, Gender Equality Needs Among Populations Caught In Conflict

Devex: The SDGs risk failing the most vulnerable in fragile states
David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee

“…[T]he aim [of the Sustainable Development Goals] will quickly become hubris unless the right lessons are learned from the MDGs and from the changing causes of extreme poverty around the world. … [T]he fastest-growing inequality — between people in stable states and those caught up in conflict — is all but ignored. None of the SDGs — on education, health, or gender equality — establish special targets for people in conflict-affected, so-called fragile states. We need a course correction, fast. … [The U.N. secretary general’s World Humanitarian Summit] should take as its mandate the development of a feasible plan to deliver the SDGs in fragile states. And it should start by developing agreed metrics of success in the form of floor targets for the essentials of life for populations displaced (or trapped) by conflict…” (9/9).

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Ukraine, Mali Polio Outbreaks 'Timely Reminder' To Maintain High Vaccination Rates Worldwide

The Conversation: New polio cases in Ukraine and Mali don’t mean the vaccine is failing
Michael Toole, professor of international health at the Burnet Institute

“The World Health Organization recently reported two cases of polio in Ukraine and one case in a Guinean child in Mali. All three cases were identified as ‘vaccine-derived,’ a mutant form of the original, ‘wild’ poliovirus. … The recent outbreaks are a setback for a year that has otherwise produced some major achievements in polio reduction. … The outbreaks in the Ukraine and Mali are a timely reminder that all countries in the world need to maintain high polio immunization rates. In an era when people travel with their children to all corners of the world, both the wild virus and the vaccine-virus can readily be imported and can infect and paralyze those children who are not protected…” (9/10).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss SDG 6, To Ensure Availability To, Sustainable Management Of WASH

Huffington Post: Tapping the Power of Water
Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary general of the United Nations

“…Sustainable Development Goal 6 presents an opportunity to address the entire water cycle: access, quality, efficiency, and the integrated management of water resources and related ecosystems. Success will require holding governments to account, strengthening systems, and addressing the full life-cycle of people. … [Furthermore, more] is at stake than individual health; international security is at risk. Experts have identified water as the number one global risk in terms of significant negative impact on countries in the coming decade. Water can either be a source of conflict or cooperation. The choice should be obvious…” (9/9).

The Guardian: Three reasons why businesses win by providing clean water, taps, and toilets
Hannah Greig, private sector adviser at WaterAid; MaiLan Ha, adviser at the CEO Water Mandate and senior research associate at the Pacific Institute; and Sara Traubel, associate on water at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

“…Universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) cannot be achieved without the private sector. … While implementing standards in a company’s own operations should be straightforward, a number of companies find it difficult to ensure access to water and decent toilets in their supply chains. … Overcoming such challenges requires the involvement of top-level management to get taps and toilets on the corporate agenda. That means gathering hard data to demonstrate the impact of interventions. From social and environmental concerns to market opportunities, there are compelling reasons for businesses to prioritize water stewardship” (9/9).

Huffington Post: Water Is a Human Right
Megan MacGarry, communications and campaigns officer at End Water Poverty

“…We need to hit the ground running on WASH, not least to enable later gains on other goals that can’t be achieved without progress on WASH. To do this, we need to work together. By working in partnerships, such as the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, across all sectors, with a range of stakeholders, we can maximize our impact, and ensure a loud and sustained global demand for universal access to sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene for all…” (9/9).

Huffington Post: All Global Goals Must Flow Through Water
Jordan Teague, associate director for WASH Integration at WASH Advocates

“…We know that improving access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation, and hygiene prevents disease, but it has many other impacts as well. Not only does access to WASH provide health, safety, and dignity to community members and households, but it also reaches nutrition, education, gender, and more. The goals are ambitious, but doable. A holistic approach is needed and that starts with ensuring access to water, sanitation, and hygiene for everyone” (9/9).

Huffington Post: The One Vital Area of Development That Should Shame and Shock Us All
Chris W. Williams, executive director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council

“…It is time that politicians and decision-makers in the health sector recognize the importance of WASH. As we enter into the era of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, it is our collective responsibility to invest in solutions and to make sanitation for all a development priority. … Sanitation interventions are one of the most effective ways to improve the health, economic prosperity, and dignity of the world’s most disadvantaged populations. It is not merely the right thing to do. It is essential for guaranteeing a world of equal rights, sustainable development, and dignity for all” (9/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Advocates Say Proposed Bill Could Help U.S. Assert Leadership On Ending Preventable Maternal, Child Deaths

Humanosphere: Proposed bill could help end preventable child deaths, advocates say
Following the release of a new UNICEF report on child survival, Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015, a bill that was introduced in Congress at the end of July. Murphy writes, “Advocates see the Reach Act as a great opportunity to put … known solutions into action and for the U.S. to assert the leadership role it claims to stake out on ending preventable maternal and child deaths” (9/9).

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Media Reports Provide Important Information In Tracking Outbreaks, Study Says

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: One more reason global health news matters: Ebola reporting provides real-time data
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of ‘Science Speaks,’ discusses the findings of a paper published in Clinical Infectious Diseases that “studied more than 50 internet reports from journalism and public health sources to analyze 79 Ebola outbreak clusters involving 286 people to show how real-time news can project, back up, and add to information gathered through formal epidemiological surveillance…” (9/9).

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Engaging Medical Diasporas Can Improve Global Health, Development In Home Countries

BMJ Blogs: Uganda’s medical diaspora and their engagement in global health
Moses Wasswa Mulimira, a post graduate research student at Oxford University, and Mariam Namulindwa Aligawesa, co-vice chair at the Butabika-East London NHS Link, and both co-founders of the Uganda Diaspora Health Foundation, argue “that transnationally oriented medical migrants (or diasporas) can act as development agents for their countries of origin.” They discuss efforts by the Ugandan government and other organizations to engage medical diasporas in the U.K. (9/9).

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On World Suicide Prevention Day, Blog Post Highlights Film, Importance Of Mental Health In SDGs

PLOS “Translational Global Health”: World Suicide Prevention Day — reach out and save lives
On World Suicide Prevention Day, Jane Brandt Sørensen, a PhD fellow at the University of Copenhagen, discusses a film she co-directed exploring the issue of suicide in rural Sri Lanka. Sørensen writes, “With mental health now being a suggested topic of the new historic United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we are at a crucial landmark with the foundation to act and make mental health a priority” (9/10).

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