KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Announces $419M In Additional Aid To Assist Syrian Refugees

News outlets report on the Obama administration’s announcement of additional aid to respond to Syrian refugees.

The Hill: U.S. pledges another $419M to Syrian refugees
“The United States will donate an additional $419 million in humanitarian aid to address the plight of refugees fleeing Syria, the White House said Monday. The new money will pay for food, water, shelter, and medical care for Syrians affected by the conflict, spokesman Josh Earnest said…” (Fabian, 9/21).

Newsweek: U.S. to Provide $419 Million in Additional Humanitarian Aid for Syrians
“…The funding, which will come from the State Department and the USAID, brings the total amount of U.S. humanitarian funding for the crisis to $4.5 billion since 2012. The U.S. is the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Syrians…” (Westcott, 9/21).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. to Boost Contribution for Humanitarian Aid to Syrian War Refugees
“…The announcement came a day after Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. would increase the U.S. refugee cap to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017…” (Schwartz, 9/21).

Washington Post: U.S. gives $419 million more to aid Syrian refugees
“…Humanitarian groups have had to cut back much of their assistance as donations have dried up during the prolonged war, which has turned more than four million Syrians into refugees and displaced more than seven million within their country. The United Nations has less than 40 percent of what it needs to help Syrians, and its agencies cut aid to some refugees in order to provide aid to those who are more vulnerable…” (Morello, 9/21).

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U.N. General Assembly President Calls On All Nations To Help Solve Global Refugee Crisis

U.N. News Centre: All countries must contribute to solving global refugee crisis, says General Assembly President
“All countries must contribute to solving the global refugee crisis, the president of the United Nations General Assembly said today, underscoring that the international community has an unequivocal obligation towards the women, men, and children seeking refuge from conflict and violence. … ‘[W]ith winter approaching in the northern hemisphere, it is only going to get worse,’ Mogens Lykketoft cautioned during his first formal press conference since taking office last week…” (9/21).

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News Outlets Examine Efforts To End Child Marriage, Change Attitudes In Zambia, Ethiopia

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Zambian chieftainess stands up against age-old custom of child marriage
“Sheltering from the midday heat in her yellow-painted bungalow, Chieftainess Mwenda speaks passionately about her mission to end child marriage in Zambia, starting first in her own chiefdom. Reigning over 111 villages in Zambia’s far northern Luapula province, Mwenda said her attitude towards a long-standing custom of early marriage changed almost overnight, when, four years ago, she learned about the dangers of teen pregnancies…” (Mis, 9/22).

VOA News: Attitude About Child Marriage Slowly Changing in Ethiopia
“Thousands of girls in the Horn of Africa are forced to marry although they are underage. The local government in Gondor, Ethiopia, and UNICEF are organizing large awareness campaigns to change the attitude of rural communities…” (van der Wolf, 9/21).

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As Hajj Begins, Saudi Arabia, Jordan Report Additional MERS Cases; WHO, Countries Make Preparations For Pilgrims' Health

CIDRAP News: Saudi Arabia, Jordan report more MERS as Hajj begins
“As about two million Muslims from across the globe gather in Saudi Arabia to launch the annual Hajj pilgrimage, the host country over the past three days reported three more MERS-CoV cases in as many cities. And neighboring Jordan reported two more … cases … In a statement [Monday] from its Eastern Mediterranean regional office, World Health Organization (WHO) officials acknowledged the threat from MERS-CoV and other health issues in such an immense mass gathering, thought to be the largest in the world…” (Schnirring, 9/21).

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News Outlets Discuss Recent Vaccine-Derived Polio Outbreaks In Ukraine, Mali

BBC News: Ukraine health officials fear big polio outbreak
“Health officials in Ukraine are gripped by fears of a major polio outbreak, after it was announced this month that the disease had paralyzed two children in the south-western region of Trans-Carpathia. Concerns that the virus could cut a deadly swathe through the country has mobilized officials to launch a national immunization campaign that would embrace all children up to 10 years old…” (Stern, 9/22).

Quartz: New outbreaks of polio are “vaccine-derived” — but that doesn’t mean vaccines caused polio
“Shortly after the world celebrated Nigeria’s success in going a year without a single diagnosed case of polio on July 24, disturbing new outbreaks crippled children in Ukraine and Mali. Two cases in Ukraine turned out to be ‘vaccine-derived,’ feeding local fears of the vaccine, and providing fodder to anti-vaxxers worldwide. … Quartz spoke with Dr. Jay Wenger, a former epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, who now leads the Gates Foundation’s polio eradication program…” (Merelli, 9/21).

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Health Experts Fortifying Condiments With Micronutrients To Prevent Certain Ailments

New York Times: Condiments as Weapon Against Malnutrition
“…Efforts to add iron to fish sauce in Vietnam and bouillon cubes in West Africa, and vitamin A to cooking oil in Senegal, are examples of a new trend: Nutrition experts are branching out from fortifying dry staples like rice, corn, or wheat flour…” (McNeil, 9/21).

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DW Video Report Examines Access To TB Care In Mumbai

Deutsche Welle: Working towards a healthy global population
“Although some 37 million cases of TB were treated or prevented through proper care between 2000 and 2013, the World Health Organization says the diseases is ‘second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent.’ This report from the slums of Mumbai introduces those who should be at the center of the old and the new global development goals, but who are too poor to keep themselves healthy and too poor to seek treatment” (9/22).

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Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus Spreading Through Oceania, South America, Washington Post Reports

Washington Post: Bumpy rash, achy joints, inflamed eyes? There’s a new disease in town.
“Never heard of the Zika virus? That may change soon. Almost unknown in humans until the past decade, Zika is now spreading fast through South America and Oceania, and it may soon knock on our doors, too. Although it can resemble a mild case of the flu, the disease can lead to some serious neurological complications, including paralysis and difficulty breathing. It’s also the first known mosquito-borne disease that can be transmitted sexually among humans…” (Zaraska, 9/21).

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BARDA To Support Research Into Ebola Treatment, Vaccine

CQ HealthBeat: Ebola Drug Attracts $38 Million in BARDA Funds, Moves Toward Human Tests
“As much as $38 million in federal funds may be provided under a new agreement for the development of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Ebola treatment, with an aim of advancing it toward tests in people. … [The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)] on Sept. 14 announced a $28.5 million agreement with Johnson & Johnson for work on an Ebola vaccine…” (Young, 9/21).

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Experimental Silicone Vaginal Ring To Be Tested As Female-Controlled HIV, Herpes Prevention Tool, Researchers Report

International Business Times: Silicone vaginal rings protect women against herpes and HIV
“…According to researchers from the University Jean Monnet of Saint-Etienne in France, the [silicone vaginal] ring can deliver hydrophilic molecules such as tenofovir, which is active on HIV-1, and acyclovir, which is active on the herpes virus. … The new silicone vaginal rings … are intended to be evaluated in clinical trials, with plans of producing them commercially at high rate and low cost. Their research was presented at the 55th Inter-Science Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy” (Tecsan, 9/22).

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Editorials and Opinions

To Effectively Respond To Humanitarian Crises, U.S. Senate Should Confirm Gayle Smith As USAID Administrator

The Hill: Time for the Senate to confirm Gayle Smith
John Prendergast, founding director of the Enough Project and co-founder of The Sentry

“…To address … global problems most effectively, USAID needs a strong and experienced leader. President Obama nominated such a leader on April 30, when he asked development and national security expert Gayle Smith to lead USAID. … The ability of the U.S. to contribute to addressing [the Syrian refugee crisis and other humanitarian crises] is constrained by the lack of top-level leadership at USAID. … U.S. leaders and policymakers must turn their attention to the refugee crisis now confronting the Middle East and Europe. This includes confirming Smith and allowing her to lead USAID…” (9/18).

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Development Community Can Play Role In Helping Governments Achieve Food-, Nutrition-Related SDG Targets

Devex: Where should #globaldev community focus aid to end hunger?
Ali Hayat, monitoring and evaluation specialist at Management Systems International, and Gwynne Zodrow, technical manager on the Strategic Management and Performance Improvement Team at MSI

“…[T]he fulfillment of [the SDG focused on ‘ending hunger, achieving food security, improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture’] will … depend on finding cost-effective and innovative solutions that enhance the ability of existing institutions, mechanisms, and resources. … Our experience suggests two important ways in which the development community can play an enhanced role in supporting government efforts to achieve the SDG on ending hunger and enhancing food security, namely: 1. Build governments’ institutional capacity to increase food security … [and] 2. Support governments in scaling up innovative approaches to addressing food insecurity…” (9/18).

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India Must Change Attitudes Around Toilet Use To Improve Sanitation

Deseret News: John Hoffmire: Making toilets ‘cool’ needs to be major health priority in India
John Hoffmire, director of the Impact Bond Fund at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, director of the Center on Business and Poverty at the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison, and chair of Progress Through Business

“…In order to convince more people (particularly men) to use the toilet, the toilet needs to become more than a convenience — it needs to become ‘cool.’ This will require more than providing facts and figures to the public. … Improving India’s sanitation practices is a major health priority since India accounts for half of the world’s population who don’t use toilets. This problem cannot be solved by infrastructure changes alone and will require a dramatic change in attitude towards the toilet. In order for India to succeed with this challenge, making the toilet ‘cool’ is a necessity” (9/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Frieden, Birx Discuss U.S. Government Efforts To Control Ebola, HIV, TB In Africa At Conference

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Frieden, Birx discuss the catastrophe, warning of Ebola in last year
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses remarks made by CDC Director Tom Frieden and Ambassador-at-Large Deborah Birx, coordinator of U.S. government activities to combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy, during a panel discussion at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Frieden discussed the Ebola epidemic as well as control of tuberculosis in Africa, while Birx discussed PEPFAR’s response to HIV in Africa (9/21).

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WHO DG Chan Welcomes Gavi's Chair-Elect, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

WHO: WHO welcomes appointment of Chair-elect of Gavi Board Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
In this statement, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan says, “WHO welcomes the appointment of the Chair-elect of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She will take up the position of chair from January 2016. … She will also work closely with Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director general for family, women’s and children’s health, who is vice chair of Gavi…” (9/22).

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ODI Report Suggests Providing Cash Transfers Effective In Humanitarian Crises

Humanosphere: Giving cash is key to alleviate humanitarian crises, report finds
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses findings from a report convened by the Overseas Development Institute on humanitarian cash transfers, writing, “The bottom line is that aid agencies, governments, and the U.N. need to give more cash” to people affected by humanitarian crises (9/21).

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New Issue Of 'Global Health: Science And Practice' Journal Available Online

Global Health: Science and Practice: September 2015
The new issue of the “Global Health: Science and Practice” features articles on various topics, including improving maternal and child health outcomes, interventions in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and improving reproductive health equity, among others (September 2015).

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