KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

AP Investigation Examines WHO, International Response To West African Ebola Outbreak

Associated Press: 10 critical mistakes in last year’s Ebola outbreak
“An Associated Press investigation has found that the World Health Organization and other responders faced avoidable obstacles in their efforts to stop the spiraling Ebola outbreak last summer in Kenema, [Sierra Leone,] a pivotal seeding point for the virus and a microcosm of the messy response across West Africa…” (9/21).

Associated Press: AP Investigation: Bungling by U.N. agency hurt Ebola response
“…In March, AP reported that senior officials at WHO’s Geneva headquarters resisted calls to declare Ebola an international health emergency — the equivalent of an SOS signal — on political and economic grounds. But newly obtained documents, recordings of conference calls, and interviews with key players on the ground show that even after the alarm was raised, WHO and others struggled to put together a decisive response…” (Cheng et al., 9/21).

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More Effort Must Be Made To Prevent, Treat Malaria Worldwide, CDC Director Says

VOA News: More Needs to Be Done in Fighting Malaria, CDC Chief Says
“…[CDC Director Tom] Frieden said there are ways to prevent and treat malaria. He said more children should sleep under bed nets, which keep mosquitoes from biting them. He would like to see both children and adults receive better medical treatment. In addition, he said, new treatments must be developed as traditional ones lose their effectiveness…” (Pearson, 9/18).

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SDG Successes Lie In Rejuvenating Global Partnerships, U.N. Report Says

U.N. News Centre: Global partnership needs ‘rejuvenation’ to achieve new sustainable development agenda — U.N. report
“The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achieved significant progress over the past 15 years, but persistent gaps in official development assistance and insufficient access to markets, affordable medicines, and new technologies have highlighted the need for a rejuvenation of the global partnership for development, according to a new United Nations report launched today…” (9/18).

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Current Rate Of Progress On MDGs Must At Least Double To Meet Some SDGs, ODI Report Shows

The Guardian: ‘Revolution needed’ for world to meet sustainable development goals
“…The London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has chosen one key target in each of the 17 policy areas, and believes that more than half of them will be missed without what it calls a ‘revolution’: at least a doubling, and in some cases a quadrupling, of the current rate of progress. Susan Nicolai, the report‘s author, says: ‘Our research is a wake-up call for world leaders, highlighting the extra effort that will be needed to turn the SDGs’ idealism into reality’…” (Stewart, 9/19).

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The Guardian Publishes Guides On U.N.'s SDG Summit

The Guardian: Your comprehensive guide to the Sustainable Development Goals summit
“World leaders will pledge to tackle poverty, inequality, and climate change at a historic event in New York. Here’s everything you need to know about it…” (Anyangwe, 9/21).

The Guardian: Global goals summit: from the pope to Shakira, everything you need to know
“For three days this week, New York will be the center of the world when the pope, presidents, and pop stars descend on the city to ratify the Sustainable Development Goals and celebrate the start of a new era…” (Chonghaile, 9/18).

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Myanmar Officials, Representatives Of Civil Society, U.S., International Bodies Commit To Malaria Elimination

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Myanmar given an international boost to eliminate malaria
“…In [a recent Washington, D.C., meeting of Myanmar government and military officials, representatives from Myanmar’s main opposition party, and ethnic minority communities, as well as representatives of U.S. and international bodies,] the diverse Myanmar participants and their partners, who spoke of working collectively to eliminate malaria from the country, also noted that ‘eliminating malaria in Myanmar has the potential to unify Myanmar society and serve as a catalyst for social change’…” (Bacchi, October 2015).

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Iraq Takes Steps To Stem Cholera Outbreak In Abu Ghraib

Al Jazeera: Iraq tackles deadly cholera outbreak
“Iraq’s government has ordered daily water tests and other measures to try and contain an outbreak of cholera that has been blamed for the deaths of at least six people in a town west of the capital Baghdad…” (9/20).

Reuters: Iraq tries to contain cholera outbreak west of Baghdad
“…[At least six people have died of cholera] in the town of Abu Ghraib, about 25 km (15 miles) west of the capital, hospital sources said. At least 70 other cases were diagnosed in the area…” (Kalin, 9/19).

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Dominican Republic Health Ministry Warns Of Rise In Dengue Cases

Associated Press/Washington Post: Dominican Republic issues alert amid rise in dengue cases
“Health officials in the Dominican Republic have issued an alert as the number of dengue cases and deaths continue to rise in the Caribbean country. The Ministry of Health says there have been 57 deaths so far this year, 17 more than last year during the same time period…” (9/19).

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Global Impact Of Leptospirosis Greater Than Other Hemorrhagic Fevers, Study Shows

SciDev.Net: Leptospirosis study unmasks global impact
“…Conservative estimates show that the bacterial infection, transmitted from mammals to humans, infects and kills more than other causes of hemorrhagic fever, the authors say. The study, published [Thursday] in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, reviewed leptospirosis literature from 1970 to 2008 to generate a statistical model that estimates global leptospirosis cases and deaths…” (Law, 9/18).

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Journalists, Scientists Share Ebola Stories, Lessons At Johns Hopkins-Pulitzer Center Panel Discussion

Global Health NOW: Ebola Lessons
“… In solidarity with the people of West Africa still battling Ebola and struggling to recover from its fallout, a panel of journalists and scientists convened Thursday at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for a Johns Hopkins-Pulitzer Center Symposium. Their purpose: Share stories and lessons learned that can help prevent, prepare for, and manage future crises…” (Yakutchik, 9/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Pope Francis Should Re-Evaluate Catholic Church's Contraception Policy

New York Times: The Pope and the Birth Control Ban
Editorial Board

“…Expanding birth control access worldwide would have huge benefits. … The Catholic Church has considered lifting its ban on contraception in the past. In 1964, Pope Paul VI convened a commission on the issue. A majority of members, including 60 of 64 theologians and nine of 15 cardinals, recommended repealing the ban. Instead, Pope Paul issued an encyclical confirming it would stay in place. … [I]nstead of looking to his predecessors, [Pope Francis] should listen to Catholics today. One way to do so would be to convene another commission, one composed not only of church leaders but also of laypeople, including women, and scientists who have studied the effects of contraception and the lack of access to it around the world. The pope is famous for his pastoral approach, focusing on compassion for people rather than on rules. When he has heard from ordinary Catholics about how the church’s rules on contraception affect their lives, he may be more open to re-evaluating them” (9/21).

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Economists Urge Global Policymakers To Prioritize 'Pro-Poor Pathway' To Achieve UHC

The Lancet: Economists’ declaration on universal health coverage
Lawrence H. Summers, professor at Harvard University, on behalf of 267 signatories

“With the U.N. set to launch the bold sustainable development agenda this autumn, this is a crucial moment for global leaders to reflect on the financial investments to maximize progress by 2030. As an input into deliberations around those investments, the signatories to this declaration, economists from 44 countries, call on global policymakers to prioritize a pro-poor pathway to universal health coverage (UHC) as an essential pillar of development. … Our global society has a vested interest in investing in health to transform lives and livelihoods. Health is essential to eradicating extreme poverty and promoting growth of wellbeing. … The success of the next development chapter hinges on the ability to actually deliver proven health solutions to the poorest and most marginalized populations…” (9/17).

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New Global Partnership To Foster Sustainable Development 'Data Revolution'

Project Syndicate: The Data Revolution for Sustainable Development
Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on the Millennium Development Goals; Shaida Badiee, managing director and co-founder of Open Data Watch; Robert Chen, director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network; and Enrico Giovannini, professor at the University of Rome Tor Vergata

“…[M]easuring progress at frequent intervals, and publicizing the successes and shortfalls, is vital to keeping the world on track to meet its ambitious long-term [development] targets. Doing so would not only enable us to reward governments that are fostering progress; it would also keep laggard governments accountable for their weak performance and, one hopes, motivate them to redouble their efforts. … The new [‘Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’] aims to strengthen data collection and monitoring efforts by raising more funds, encouraging knowledge-sharing, addressing key barriers to access and use of data, and identifying new big-data strategies to upgrade the world’s statistical systems. … We are delighted to be chairing this network … We firmly believe the data revolution can be a revolution for sustainable development, and we welcome partners from around the world to join us” (9/18).

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Global Community Should Take Precautions Against Potential MERS Outbreaks

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: MERS — an uncertain future
Editorial Board

“…A recent WHO report stated that ‘WHO expects that … [MERS] cases will continue to be exported to other countries.’ If export were to a country with a weak health infrastructure, a much larger outbreak than was seen in South Korea might occur. A Lancet review cautioned that ‘health authorities, governments, and the research community should be prepared for the emergence of a MERS [coronavirus] with increased capacity for transmission and pandemic potential.’ We support the WHO call for more research on how people become infected, identification of risk factors in health care and occupational settings, and for enhanced surveillance for pneumonia. Given the situation in the Middle East, health care facilities worldwide need to operate with a raised index of suspicion, and have in place policies for rapid screening and assessment of potential MERS cases” (October 2015).

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Rural Populations Key To Sustainable Development, Need Opportunities

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: It’s about rural people
Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

“…The 17 new [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] offer the promise that we can do what has never been done before: ensure a decent life for every person on this planet. And that is the most important point — it’s about the people. … The key to a sustainable future free of poverty and hunger is people. The poor and hungry people who live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture are also essential to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Smallholder farmers and rural people are ready to produce more food, create jobs, and protect the planet. All they need are the opportunities and tools to do so. For development is not just about aid. It is about investment in people…” (9/18).

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Australia Should Accept U.S. Call For Longer Data Exclusivity On Medicines In TPP

The Hill: Australia should stop stalling negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Eric V. Schlecht, writer focused on budget and economic issues in Washington, D.C.

“…The [Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)] needs to include robust protections for advanced medicines — or we risk derailing investment in future life-saving medical discoveries. … [R]egulators have established data exclusivity, which prevents outside firms from accessing the research behind a new biopharmaceutical. This prohibition effectively prevents them from violating their intellectual property rights and creating copycat drugs. Here in the United States, data exclusivity is set at 12 years — and for good reason. … If exclusivity were set any shorter, generic firms could flood the market with copies before the original inventor has even gotten out of the red. … Australia is staunchly opposed to setting data exclusivity at 12 years. Its domestic patent system sets it at just five years — the length they want included in the final TPP deal. … Australia should stop resisting America’s calls for robust drug rights and help negotiators finally finish this historic trade deal. Future recipients of these medical innovations deserve no less” (9/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Fund Releases 2015 Results Report

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s “Voices”: 17. Million. Lives.
Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul discusses the fund’s 2015 Results Report, “showing that health investments made through the Global Fund have saved 17 million lives, expanding opportunity and achieving greater social justice for families and communities worldwide. Even better, the report shows that advances in science and innovative solutions are accelerating progress at an ever-faster rate, getting us on track to reach 22 million lives saved by the end of next year. But it’s no time to celebrate. We are only half way there…” (9/21).

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Grand Challenges Africa Will Promote Investment, Innovation In Global Health Solutions

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Celebrating new African Scientific Leadership — Welcome Grand Challenges Africa
Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Gates Foundation, discusses the importance of innovation and investment in global health, noting, “The launch of Grand Challenges Africa represents a promising new effort by African leaders to build local scientific capacity and shape the continent’s R&D agenda…” (9/18).

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Scorecard Tracks Actions To Reduce Country-Level NCD Burden

BMJ Blogs: Richard Smith: How well are countries doing in responding to the NCD pandemic?
Richard Smith, chair of the board of trustees of icddr,b, chair of the board of Patients Know Best, and trustee of C3 Collaborating for Health, discusses the results of a study examining the health systems of 23 low- and middle-income countries and factors that affect their capacity to respond to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), as well as an accompanying website that gives each country scores for progress against NCDs. Smith notes, “The hope is that the results will reach policymakers, campaigners, and others, and spur greater and smarter action to counter the pandemic of NCD” (9/18).

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