KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. General Assembly Adopts Political Declaration Pledging Action On Antimicrobial Resistance

Associated Press: U.N. adopts declaration on antimicrobial resistance
“World leaders approved a wide-ranging declaration Wednesday aimed at addressing the rising number of drug-resistant infections — something the World Health Organization says has the potential to kill millions and undermine the global economy, likening it to ‘a slow-motion tsunami’…” (Astor, 9/21).

CBS News: HHS Secretary Burwell on U.N. meeting on antibiotic overuse, Zika in U.S.
“…[In this video,] Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell joins ‘CBS This Morning’ ahead of her General Assembly address on Wednesday…” (9/21).

CIDRAP News: U.N. leaders pledge to fight antimicrobial resistance
“…Before the meeting, delegates agreed to a draft political declaration in which they committed to developing and implementing national action plans to address rising drug resistance. ‘Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental, long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production, and development,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the assembled delegates. ‘We are losing our ability to protect both people and animals from life-threatening infections’…” (Dall, 9/21).

The Guardian: U.N. meeting tackles the ‘fundamental threat’ of antibiotic-resistant superbugs
“…The declaration routes the global response to superbugs along a similar path to the one used to combat climate change. In two years, groups including U.N. agencies will provide an update on the superbug fight to the U.N. secretary general…” (Holpuch, 9/21).

Los Angeles Times: United Nations takes on antimicrobial resistance
“…Heads of state and country delegates … vowed to increase international coordination and funding aimed at monitoring the emergence of antimicrobial resistance and reducing the misuse of antimicrobial agents in human and veterinary health and agriculture. Working from a blueprint drafted in 2015 by the World Health Organization, U.N. agencies overseeing global medicine, agriculture, animal health, and economic development are to sketch out a raft of actions for the General Assembly to take up in September 2018…” (Healy, 9/21).

New York Times: World Leaders Agree at U.N. on Steps to Curb Rising Drug Resistance
“…The agreement is nonbinding, and did not require countries to commit to specific targets, as the climate treaty signed by world leaders last year did. But it was a first step in a broad effort to tackle the growing problem of drug resistance, which doctors say could eventually render our most prized medicines powerless…” (Tavernise, 9/21).

Reuters: United Nations pledges to fight drug-resistant superbugs
“…The countries also pledged to tighten the regulation of antimicrobial medicines, increase communication on how best to use them and find new alternatives to such medicines, including the use of better diagnostics to match the right treatment with the right infection, and the use of vaccines to prevent infections…” (Steenhuysen, 9/21).

U.N. News Centre: At U.N., global leaders commit to act on antimicrobial resistance
“…In a joint statement issued during the meeting, WHO, FAO, and [the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)] noted that ‘such plans are needed to understand the full scale of the problem and stop the misuse of antimicrobial medicines in human health, animal health, and agriculture’…” (9/21).

VICE News: Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are the biggest global health threat, U.N. says
“…Currently, an estimated 23,000 people in the U.S. and 700,000 people globally die each year due to antimicrobial resistant illnesses or infections, according to the U.K. government. That death toll could rise to 10 million by 2050, according to the antimicrobial resistance review…” (Ruble, 9/21).

VOA News: Top Officials Gather at U.N. to Address Falling Effectiveness of Antibiotics
“…Earlier this month, the World Bank issued a report on the economic implications of antimicrobial resistance. The report, titled ‘Drug Resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future,’ concluded that antimicrobial resistance has the potential to cause a level of global economic damage possibly worse than the 2008 financial crisis…” (Berman, 9/21).

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Progress On Health-Related SDGs Varies Widely By Country, Lancet Report Shows

Agence France-Presse: Mixed report for global health progress
“The world has made progress in curbing infant mortality, stunted growth, and other poverty-driven problems, while obesity, alcohol abuse, and partner violence has risen, a major review of U.N. health goals said Wednesday…” (Le Roux, 9/21).

Bloomberg News: America Is Not the Greatest Country on Earth. It’s No. 28
“…Iceland and Sweden share the top slot with Singapore as world leaders when it comes to health goals set by the United Nations, according to a report published in The Lancet. Using the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals as guideposts, which measure the obvious (poverty, clean water, education) and less obvious (societal inequality, industry innovation), more than 1,870 researchers in 124 countries compiled data on 33 different indicators of progress toward the U.N. goals related to health…” (Roston, 9/22).

The Guardian: World lagging behind on global health targets, researchers warn
“…According to the report, published in The Lancet, no country has met any of the nine global health targets — including the elimination of major disease epidemics and the reduction of health issues like childhood obesity and intimate partner violence — laid down as part of the U.N.’s sustainable development agenda…” (Hodal, 9/21).

New York Times: Maternal Mortality Rate in U.S. Rises, Defying Global Trend, Study Finds
“One of the biggest worldwide public health triumphs in recent years has been maternal mortality. Global death rates fell by more than a third from 2000 to 2015. The United States, however, is one of the few countries in the world that have gone against the grain, new data show. Its maternal mortality rate has risen despite improvements in health care and an overwhelming global trend in the other direction…” (Tavernise, 9/21).

Reuters: Obesity, violence hamper U.S. progress on U.N. health goals: study
“…More than 60 percent of the nations assessed have already met targets on reducing maternal and child death rates, the study showed, but none have met nine other targets including the elimination of tuberculosis and HIV or reducing prevalence of childhood obesity and violence. The United States ranked 28th, below many other wealthier nations, due to its relatively high rates of death caused by violence, HIV, alcohol abuse, childhood obesity, and suicide…” (Kelland, 9/21).

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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan Pledge $3B Over 10 Years For Research Initiative To 'End All Illness'

Financial Times: Mark Zuckerberg pledges $3bn ‘to end all illness’
“Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have pledged to ‘end all illness’ with a $3bn donation to medical research. The couple, who have previously committed 99 percent of their Facebook shares to charity, said the money — distributed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative created last year — would be designed to ‘cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of the century’…” (Greenhalgh/Brown, 9/22).

New York Times: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Pledge $3 Billion to Fighting Disease
“…While the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has already made investments in charter schools and education start-ups, the money toward curing diseases represents the group’s first major initiative in science. The announcement was also a coming out of sorts for Dr. Chan, who has a big interest in health and was trained in pediatrics…” (Benner, 9/21).

Science: Q&A: Stop all disease? Backed by $3 billion, this neuroscientist aims to fulfill goal of Facebook’s co-founder and his wife
“…[Zuckerberg and Chan] announced a plan to devote $3 billion over the next 10 years to a new basic science initiative that will, under the leadership of neurobiologist Cornelia Bargmann of the Rockefeller University in New York City, bring together scientists and engineers to cure diseases. … [Bargmann] spoke with Science earlier [Wednesday] about her new partnership with Chan and Zuckerberg…” (Kaiser, 9/21).

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Devex Examines 'Surprises And Questions' From Global Fund's 5th Replenishment Conference

Devex: Surprises and questions from the Global Fund replenishment
“Donors got creative in their efforts to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with $12.9 billion last weekend in Montreal, Canada. A range of public and private donors pledged to the Global Fund, including many for the first time. In addition to seeing new contributors, pledges came via a variety of new funding mechanisms and arrangements, part of an effort to secure longer-term donor buy-in and shake up the traditional pledging model…” (Anders, 9/21).

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Collaboration Among Private, Public Sectors, Communities Must Be Improved To Fight Disease Outbreaks, Experts Say At Clinton Global Initiative

Devex: The importance of unlikely allies in pandemic response
“…Reflecting on [their Ebola] experience, while dealing with Zika, and preparing for what lies ahead, global health leaders gathered [at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York] noted an opportunity — and an imperative — to boost collaboration between the private sector, the public sector, and communities themselves. That combination proved vital to defeating Ebola and shook up business as usual in disease response. But it was chaotic in its first instance. … Now, public health professionals here told Devex, cooperation now needs to be codified and normalized…” (Cheney, 9/21).

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World Should Prepare For Global Health Threats Like Preparing For War, GAVI CEO Berkley Says

Business Insider: We should prepare for the next epidemic the same way we prepare for nuclear war
“The U.S. Navy has a fleet of submarines carrying nuclear missiles that are always in place, just in case. That, GAVI Vaccine Alliance CEO Seth Berkley said, is what the world’s response to global health threats should look like. … Instead of drumming up sudden interest in public health problems only when they start to be a problem (think: the widespread panic that came after the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and the world’s immediate response to Zika), Berkley thinks it would be a much better idea to always have a system in place so that we’re not starting from scratch the next time a little-known disease starts to affect a lot of people…” (Ramsey, 9/21).

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Rift Valley Fever Kills At Least 21 People In Western Niger Outbreak

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Rift Valley Fever outbreak kills 21 in Western Niger
“Health workers in Western Niger are racing to contain an outbreak of Rift Valley fever that has killed at least 21 people over the past month, an aid agency said on Wednesday. The highly contagious disease, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes or close contact with contaminated animals, has infected 52 people in Niger’s western region of Tahoua since late August, the country’s health ministry said…” (Guilbert, 9/21).

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Indonesia Begins New Campaign To End FGM, Despite Religious Leaders' Opposition

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Indonesia launches new campaign to end female genital mutilation: minister
“Indonesia is embarking on a renewed campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM), according to its women’s minister Yohana Yembise, despite opposition from religious leaders who have stymied past efforts to combat a practice that is common. Home to the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia tried to ban FGM a decade ago but opposition from influential Islamic clerics has meant it is still widely practiced…” (Yi, 9/21).

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Nigerian Lawyer Working To Train Community, Religious Leaders To Advocate For Maternal, Child Health Care

NPR: Once Opposed To Maternal Health, Islamic Scholars Become Champions
“[Harvard-trained lawyer] Aminu Gamawa wants to change the way Islamic scholars think about health care. … Gamawa thinks [Islamic leaders’] influence can actually be used to improve maternal and infant health. In association with the Development Research and Projects Centre (DRPC), a Nigerian organization that trains community leaders on issues like education and health, he’s founded a program to turn Islamic scholars who oppose these forms of medical care into champions…” (Jacewicz, 9/21).

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World Vasectomy Day Provides Opportunity To Engage Men In Global Conversations Around Family Planning

The Guardian: Vasectomies: turning an ‘act of love’ into a global movement
“…World Vasectomy Day … is … an effort to secure men’s engagement [in family planning], using modern innovations that can accelerate progress. … [Y]et, for all its virtues, vasectomy is still an uncommon practice in the developing world and the least known modern method of contraception in poorer countries…” (Pearson, 9/22).

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Editorials and Opinions

Antibiotic Stewardship, Innovation Essential To Containing Antimicrobial Resistance

The Hill: Antibiotic resistance — the tab comes due
Amesh A. Adalja, infectious disease physician

“…There are a number of things we can do as a nation to help contain [antimicrobial resistance], which truly threatens the foundation of modern medicine. The solution starts with restoring basic trust in the doctor-patient relationship. Patients should stop demanding antibiotics for conditions that their health care provider says do not require an antibiotic. Physicians, despite time-constraints, should make every effort to explain why antibiotics aren’t warranted, and be confident in their decisions. Administrators must realize the importance of this effort and fully support it. Hospitals and health care facilities should encourage accurate and confident diagnoses to minimize the amount of antibiotics prescribed ‘just in case.’ … Coupled to these short-term solutions, new medications are desperately needed. … Supporting innovation will be essential. We must move beyond the overuse of antibiotics and spur innovation in products such as antibodies, novel vaccines, viruses that attack bacteria (bacteriophages), and those that harness the knowledge of the human microbiome. … [W]e must marshal 21st century resources to ensure that the progress that revolutionized the treatment of infectious disease is not squandered” (9/21).

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International Community Should Integrate Emergency Contraception Into Family Planning Services

Devex: Emergency contraception: The reproductive health innovation everyone should know about
Elizabeth Westley, director of the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, and Monica Kerrigan, deputy director of reproductive health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…The family planning community must pick up the momentum and work to integrate [emergency contraception (EC)] into family planning services, discussions, and country plans. Donors must consider funding programs that include EC as part of the contraceptive method mix. More research and testing are needed to understand whether community-based distribution systems can successfully and safely provide EC. … Governments, civil society, the private sector, and NGOs all have a role to play in making sure that EC is widely accessible, integrated into the mainstream, and available to every woman and girl who wants and needs it. Ultimately, women and girls deserve to have effective methods, full information, and affordable and quality products to plan their families and their futures. It’s up to all of us to ensure this ‘best-kept secret’ doesn’t remain a secret any longer” (9/21).

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Community-Led Development Critical To Ending Hunger, Achieving SDGs

Huffington Post: How We Can Achieve Goal 2: Ending Hunger
Åsa Skogström Feldt, president and CEO of The Hunger Project

“…[P]utting the decision-making power into the hands of local groups is fundamental to achieving the end of hunger and the achievement of all of the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], which are interconnected. We need to move away from top-down approaches that foster dependency, and instead focus on bottom-up solutions that partner with communities who, with the right tools and training, lead the charge of their own development in all key sectors — water, sanitation, health, education, and gender equality. To be effective and sustainable, approaches must combine action in all of these areas to address the underlying causes of hunger. … [Community-led development] is critical to ending hunger by 2030. … Ending hunger is a hard, complex process, which requires multi-sector partnerships and investment. But we’re on our way, and we can fully get there if we support local communities in leading the way” (9/21).

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Opinion Piece Examines 4 Threats To Global Food Security

The Conversation: Four threats to global food security and what we can do about them
Stuart Thompson, senior lecturer in Plant Biochemistry at University of Westminster

“Can we really feed nine billion people? That’s the estimated global population in the year 2050. It should be possible, but things are looking tricky — especially when we also factor in the climatic instability caused by global warming. These are some of the current threats to food security and what we could do about them. 1. Drought … 2. Emerging diseases … 3. Salty soils … 4. Fertilizer dependence…” (9/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Political Commitment, Additional Investments Critical To Addressing Antibiotic Resistance

World Bank’s “Investing in Health”: The cost of antimicrobial resistance is too high to ignore
Enis Baris, sector manager of the World Bank’s health, nutrition, and population practice in Europe and Central Asia, discusses findings from a new World Bank report on antimicrobial resistance and its costs, writing, “All we need is a political commitment at the highest level for an additional annual investment of $9 billion into human and animal health. … [I]t is imperative that we do invest and invest now. And only then that we all, health care providers and patients alike, could safeguard the very essence of health care with humanism and compassion” (9/21).

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Experts Discuss Challenges, Impact Of Antimicrobial Resistance

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Antimicrobial resistance takes center stage
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses an event that took place on Tuesday, titled “Forum on Sustainable Access to Effective Antibiotics” and organized by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) and other organizations, during which experts discussed the challenges and impacts of antimicrobial resistance, including limited access to effective medicines (9/21).

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