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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Partisan Disagreement In Senate Stalling Consideration Of USAID Administrator Nominee Gayle Smith

New York Times: Partisan Tussle Keeps Top U.S. Aid Job Vacant
“As the international community confronts a refugee crisis, the nominee to head the American agency responsible for overseas humanitarian issues is stalled in the Senate, leaving the Obama administration with a critical vacancy as it grapples with how to assist those displaced by conflict in the Middle East and Africa. The nominee, Gayle Smith, a National Security Council official picked by President Obama in April to direct the United States Agency for International Development, remains tied up in a partisan Senate fight over nominations despite bipartisan backing for her confirmation…” (Hulse, 9/10).

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Afghan Population Experiences Sharp Rise In Food Insecurity Over Past Year, U.N. Report Notes

News outlets discuss findings from the 2015 Seasonal Food Security Assessment for Afghanistan.

International Business Times: Afghanistan: U.N. Records Rise In Severe Food Insecurity, Calls For Emergency Livelihood Support
“A two-fold rise in food insecurity in Afghanistan over the past year has forced millions to resort to what the United Nations termed ‘asset depleting strategies,’ such as selling their land. This translates into a serious setback for a majority of the population that depends on farming for subsistence…” (Pandey, 9/11).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. and partners report ‘extremely alarming’ food insecurity figures in Afghanistan
“…The 2015 Seasonal Food Security Assessment in Afghanistan (SFSA), published by the country’s Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC), found that at the peak of the lean season the number of Afghans facing severe food insecurity increased from 4.7 percent of the population 12 months ago to 5.9 percent today…” (9/10).

VOA News: U.N. Report Notes Sharp Rise in Afghan Food Insecurity
“…The report also found that households headed by women were almost 50 percent more likely to be severely food insecure than others in Afghanistan. Women who led their households were also twice as likely to use emergency coping strategies, such as begging. The aid agencies appealed for increased financial aid to try to stem the crisis” (9/10).

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U.S. Ambassador To India Launches Program To Engage Private Sector In Reaching TB-Free India

Times of India: U.S. Ambassador launches dialogue for TB-free India
“The U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Thursday launched the ‘Mumbai Dialogue: Towards a TB-Free India’ along with legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and Ratan Tata, chairman [of the] Sir Ratan Tata Trusts. The goal is to engage the corporate sector to further strengthen the Government of India’s Call to Action for a TB-Free India, launched nationwide on April 23, 2015…” (Deshpande, 9/10).

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IMF Director Commits Support To Liberia's Economy During Ebola Recovery

Reuters: IMF says it’s committed to backing Liberia’s recovery from Ebola
“International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Thursday the Fund was committed to supporting Liberia’s economy as it recovers from the Ebola epidemic. Speaking after talks with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Lagarde praised Liberia for its hard work in battling the deadly virus…” (Giahyue, 9/10).

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Alliance For Accelerating Excellence In Science In Africa Launches In Nairobi

The Guardian: Socking it to malaria just the start for Africa’s new science alliance
“…[Malaria researcher Fredros] Okumu was one of the speakers at a panel in Nairobi on Thursday during the launch of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), a new initiative that will commit tens of millions of dollars to building scientific capacity across the continent. The funding platform, which will support scientists seeking innovative ways to tackle some of the health challenges that have hobbled growth in Africa, aims to mobilize researchers from across the continent to invest in local research and training…” (Mutiga, 9/10).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: African scientists funded to seek cures for AIDS, Ebola at home
“…The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), based at the African Academy of Sciences in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, aims to draw increased funding from the West and African governments to set up centers of scientific excellence on the continent…” (Migiro, 9/11).

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The Guardian Examines Progress On Women's Health, Equality As U.N. Turns 70

The Guardian: What has the United Nations ever done for women?
“…Twenty years on [from the Beijing Platform for Action], progress is hard to chart. There have been improvements. Fewer women are dying in childbirth, more are holding political office, and FGM has shot up the agenda. But overall the picture is mixed. Abortion rights are still patchy, violence against women — including rape as a weapon of war — is prevalent, and proper economic equality still a distant dream. … As the U.N. marks its 70th birthday this autumn, half of humankind may still ask: what has been achieved for us?…” (Sherwood et al., 9/10).

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To Meet U.N. Goal Of Ending Hunger By 2030, World Must Eat Less Meat, Waste Less Food, Improve Nutrition, Experts Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Kale or steak? Change in diet key to U.N. plan to end hunger by 2030
“…Later this month, world leaders are set to endorse a U.N. goal to eliminate hunger by 2030, but they will have to convince their citizens to adopt new eating habits first, experts say. Diets must feature less red meat, which consumes 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions than chicken or pork, according to a 2014 study. … Other key changes needed are cutting food waste and combating poor nutrition…” (Arsenault, 9/10).

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WHO Officers Speak With NPR About Polio Outbreaks In Ukraine, Mali

NPR: How Did Polio Pop Up In 2 Polio-Free Countries: Ukraine And Mali?
“…Both countries had previously been polio-free, which leads to questions about how and why these outbreaks occurred, and how concerned we should be. To help sort through the issues, we consulted Oliver Rosenbauer, communications officer from WHO’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative; Leilia Dore, communications officer for polio at WHO; and other resources available from WHO…” (Cole, 9/10).

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Nearly 750K People Who Have Fled Boko Haram Militants In Northeastern Nigeria Face Food Insecurity, WFP Says

VOA News: Boko Haram Violence Increasing Hunger, Malnutrition in Region
“The World Food Programme (WFP) says it is scaling up aid for hundreds of thousands of hungry people, many severely malnourished, who have fled to Chad, Niger, and Cameroon to escape attacks by Boko Haram militants in northeastern Nigeria. According to the WFP, nearly three quarters of a million people in countries bordering Nigeria are facing a worsening food crisis linked to increased violence by Boko Haram militants…” (Schlein, 9/10).

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U.N. Condemns Attack On Health Workers In West Darfur, Sudan

U.N. News Centre: Darfur: U.N. humanitarian officials deplore fatal attack on health workers
“…On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen ambushed a vehicle about 40 kilometres from Geneina in Kreinik locality which was carrying two health ministry staff and a doctor from the World Health Organization (WHO). The three health workers were unharmed, but the driver and a security official were killed in the attack. The assailants then stole the vehicle and fled the scene. … U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan Marta Ruedas … condemned the attack…” (9/10).

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Georgetown Professor Lawrence Gostin Discusses Lessons Learned From Ebola Response, Future Of Global Health In Podcast

The Conversation: Speaking with: Lawrence Gostin on Ebola, the WHO, and the future of global health
“The recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa occurred in three of the poorest and least resourced countries in the world. And as Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia all struggled with the epidemic, it was clear a global response was needed to contain the disease. … William Isdale spoke with Lawrence Gostin about the lessons we can learn from the Ebola epidemic and the future of global health…” (9/10).

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Dams In Africa Increase Risk Of Malaria For Nearby Residents, Study Shows

CNN: Can dams increase the risk of malaria?
“…The research looked at infection rates among people living close to 1,268 dam reservoirs, and found that about 15 million people reside in ‘risk areas’ — fewer than five kilometers away from a dam. By comparing the difference in the number of cases for communities further away, the researchers from the CGIAR program on Water, Land and Ecosystems and the International Water Management Institute stipulate that at least 1.1 million cases of malaria annually can be directly linked to the presence of dams…” (Prisco, 9/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Ebola Outbreak Highlights Failure Of WHO Leadership

The Lancet: Offline: A pervasive failure to learn the lessons of Ebola
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…The idea of a perfect system to ‘prepare, detect, and respond to epidemic diseases’ seems a dangerous mirage, an optical illusion caused by the prevailing political conditions — namely, a deep unwillingness to confront the most important cause of the Ebola failure. Which was leadership. … [T]he lesson of Ebola, and of many emerging threats to health, is that [WHO Director-General Margaret Chan’s] informal approach [of communicating directly with heads of state], relying as it does on the integrity of political leaders, is insufficient. WHO should, using the best available evidence, ‘name, blame, and shame.’ Chan’s honorable approach during the Ebola outbreak manifestly failed. … That is the lesson the global health community needs to embrace — and act upon” (9/12).

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Potential Success Of Experimental Ebola Vaccine Could Quickly End Future Outbreaks, Associated Fear

Politico: How to Eradicate Political Panic
Joanne Kenen, Politico’s health care editor

“…The [experimental Ebola] vaccine, if successful, would be distinctive, since it wouldn’t require global vaccination programs, as have efforts to eradicate diseases like polio. Instead, the trial vaccines rely on what’s known as the ‘ring method,’ creating a circle around the virus to contain it. Doctors, nurses, community health workers, and other first responders would be vaccinated widely and routinely, protecting them before any outbreaks emerge. Vaccines could be deployed swiftly once a case is detected and before a full-scale outbreak explodes. If the work proves successful in the months and years ahead, the world may never again know the fear that gripped us in 2014…” (9/10).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts Needed To End Malaria

Project Syndicate: The End of Malaria?
Oluwatosin Omole, resident physician, and Babafemi Adenuga, associate professor, both in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Howard University Hospital; and Joshua Adeoye, lecturer at Bayero University

“…The approval of Mosquirix opens a promising new phase in the fight against malaria. But serious challenges abound. To meet them, African countries must initiate, develop, and support homegrown research capacity and leaner models for delivering care. Research and investment in physical and social infrastructure must be a high priority as well. … At the very least, the world now has a new weapon in the fight to reduce the disease’s toll” (9/10).

The Conversation: How the world can cut malaria cases by 90% in the next 15 years
Collins Ouma, program head of health challenges and systems at the African Population and Health Research Centre at Maseno University

“…[O]ver the next 15 years, the number of malaria cases and deaths could be reduced by up to 90% if the agenda of the World Health Organisation and the Roll Back Malaria partnership is fully implemented. … A critical part of the new strategy and advocacy plan is that it anticipates the changes and increased resources that are needed to combat malaria. It also factors in the partnership’s needs to expand its engagement beyond its traditional partners. … There is a worldwide expectation that new structures will be put in place to engage key stakeholders, mobilize global action, and generate the required financial commitments to move towards the 2030 goal of cutting the malaria caseload by 90%” (9/10).

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Vasectomy Should Be Made Accessible As Family Planning Option In Low-Income Countries To Improve Gender Equity

Devex: With gender equity comes vasectomy, and vice versa
Roy Jacobstein, a senior medical adviser at IntraHealth International

“Increasing access to vasectomy isn’t easy or a quick fix in low-income countries, but investing in it is the right thing to do. … Gender norms have a lot to do with it. Family planning is generally viewed as a woman’s responsibility; consequently, services are geared toward women. … If all 225 million women with an unmet need for modern contraception received services, such as a husband’s vasectomy, over two million women would be spared serious maternal disability or death. So policymakers, donors, program leaders, and family planning advocates need to step up and lean in by addressing gender inequities and health system constraints. Vasectomy can be made as accessible and affordable in low-income countries as it is in higher-resourced countries…” (9/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Web Briefing Examines SDGs' Implications For Global Health Policy

Kaiser Family Foundation: Web Briefing for Media: What Do The Sustainable Development Goals Mean for Global Health?
This archived webcast features a September 9 briefing for journalists held by the Kaiser Family Foundation to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) implications for global health policy. Tony Pipa, U.S. special coordinator for the post-2015 development agenda; John McArthur, senior fellow with the U.N. Foundation; and Jen Kates, Kaiser Family Foundation vice president and director of global health & HIV policy, provided insights and answered questions from journalists. Penny Duckham, executive director of the foundation’s Media Fellowships Program, moderated (9/9).

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World Bank Blog Examines Effectiveness Of Financial Incentives For Health

World Bank’s “Let’s Talk Development”: Financial incentives in health: the magic bullet we were hoping for?
Adam Wagstaff, research manager of the Development Research Group at the World Bank, discusses the effectiveness of financial incentives for health, including pilot performance-based financing (PBF) projects, by examining various case studies, and writes, “So far, despite the widespread hope that financial incentives are a magic bullet for developing countries, and despite the large financial commitments, the evidence is still pretty skimpy…” (9/9).

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Polio Eradication Possible With Sustained Partnerships At All Levels

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Polio Outbreaks: What You Need to Know
Jay Wenger, director of the polio program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses efforts to eradicate polio, particularly in Ukraine and Mali, where recent vaccine-derived polio outbreaks occurred. Wenger writes, “We’re closer than we’ve ever been to eradication, but the polio program requires the support of governments at all levels, the international community, and partners to ensure the job is finished” (9/10).

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Blog Post Highlights Recent Global Health-, Development-Related Reports, Research

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Harm reduction and an AIDS-free generation, sex work research, and sustainable development goals … We’re reading about the inextricable ties of health and human rights
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a recently released amfAR report on harm reduction and the global HIV epidemic, a new publication from the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), and a series on the Sustainable Development Goals published in the Health and Human Rights Journal (9/10).

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