KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

2 Children Diagnosed With Vaccine-Derived Polio In Ukraine; First European Cases Since 2010, WHO Notes

Agence France-Presse: Ukraine reports polio outbreak, first cases in Europe since 2010: WHO
“Two polio cases have been confirmed in western Ukraine, the first to be recorded in Europe since 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday…” (Savochenko, 9/2).

BBC News: Children paralyzed in Ukraine polio outbreak
“…Both cases were in Ukraine where only half the children are fully immunized. It is likely large numbers of other children have also been infected without developing symptoms…” (Gallagher, 9/2).

The Guardian: Polio in two Ukrainian children first occurrence of disease in Europe since 2010
“…The two cases are vaccine-derived polio. Children are given a weak, attenuated dose of live polio virus when they are vaccinated, which stimulates the immune system and confers immunity. But the weakened virus replicates in the gut for a while and is excreted. If it is able to circulate for some considerable time, it can mutate to a strain capable of causing disease, called a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus…” (Boseley, 9/2).

New York Times: Polio Paralyzes 2 Children in West Ukraine Outbreak
“…Outbreaks of vaccine-derived virus are usually limited and can be stopped by immunizing children in areas around all known cases. Ukraine has a large supply of polio vaccine on hand and is preparing a vaccination drive, [Hamid Jafari, WHO director of polio eradication,] said…” (McNeil, 9/2).

PBS NewsHour: First polio outbreak since 2010 reported in Europe, WHO says
“…National health authorities are currently in discussion in order to plan and implement a response to the outbreak…” (Harven, 9/2).

Reuters: Ukraine outbreak brings polio back to Europe, WHO says
“…The WHO said Ukraine had been at particular risk of an outbreak because of inadequate vaccination coverage. In 2014, only 50 percent of children were fully immunized against polio and other preventable diseases, it said…” (Miles, 9/2).

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WHO Declares Liberia Ebola-Free For Second Time; Nation Enters 90-Day Intense Surveillance Period

Agence France-Presse: Liberia declared free of Ebola — again: WHO
“The World Health Organization on Thursday announced that Liberia, recently ravaged by Ebola, was free of the virus, 42 days after the last confirmed case passed a second negative test. … The WHO, which had previously declared Liberia Ebola-free in May only to see the deadly virus resurface six weeks later, said the country had now entered a 90-day period of heightened surveillance…” (9/3).

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Saudi Arabia Reports 7 Additional MERS Cases; WHO Details Riyadh's Growing Hospital Outbreak

CIDRAP News: Riyadh MERS outbreak shows no signs of slowing
“Saudi Arabia [Wednesday] reported seven more MERS-CoV cases, five of them from the Riyadh hot spot, and the World Health Organization (WHO) filled in more details about 15 recent cases in the country, including 11 that are part of a growing hospital outbreak…” (Schnirring, 9/2).

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Nepal Has Not Accepted, Used $4.1B In Donor Money Despite 10% Of Population Needing Assistance After Twin Earthquakes

Reuters: Four months after quakes, Nepal fails to spend any of $4.1 billion donor money
“Two months after foreign countries and international agencies pledged $4.1 billion to help Nepal recover from its worst natural disaster, the government has yet to make arrangements to receive the money and has spent nothing on reconstruction. The United Nations estimates almost three million survivors of twin earthquakes in April and May — around 10 percent of the Himalayan nation’s population — need shelter, food, and basic medical care, many in mountainous, hard-to-reach areas…” (MacAskill/Sharma, 9/2).

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Islamist Militants Threaten Polio Immunization Campaign In Syria

IRIN: Will Islamic State allow polio drive?
“In Syria’s brutal civil war, the announcement in late January that the country had effectively beaten polio again was a rare bright spot. … But even this small achievement is now threatened as the Islamist militants have cracked down on aid groups, and others have been scared off by counter-terrorism measures. Ahead of a major push to immunize children across the country, what chance do the more than one million children living under ISIS in Syria have of getting the jab?…” (Dyke, 9/2).

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U.N. Agency Reports Suspected Typhoid, Scabies Cases In Southern Syrian Town

U.N. News Centre: In Syria, U.N. agency discovers nine new suspected cases of typhoid near Yarmouk camp
“Following humanitarian operations in the southern Syrian town of Yalda, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said it has identified nine new suspected cases of typhoid and one case of scabies…” (9/2).

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61 Child Deaths In 2 Weeks At Indian Hospital Highlight Nation's Underfunded Public Health System, Reuters Reports

Reuters: Sixty-one infants die at Indian hospital in just two weeks
“Sixty-one infants have died at an Indian children’s hospital in just two weeks, sparking protests and forcing the state government to launch an investigation. The deaths highlight the challenges faced in India’s underfunded public health system, where successive governments have failed to address the acute shortage of staff and clinics…” (Dash/Kalra, 9/2).

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Fast Company Profiles Global Health Corps Program, Fellows

Fast Company: Meet The Non-MD’s Solving Systemic Health Care Problems For Global Health Corps
“Global Health Corps just sent its latest cohort of fellows to their yearlong posts developing health and social justice solutions in places like Zambia, Malawi, and Rwanda. And while the GHC fellows — all aged 30 and under — will help develop new systems for dealing with endemic issues like maternal death rates and the spread of airborne disease, perhaps the most intriguing thing about them isn’t where they’re going. It’s where they come from…” (Lawson, 9/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Strengthening Health Systems, Improving Workforce Critical In Preventing Future Disease Epidemics, Increasing Child Survival

CNN: Chelsea Clinton: The lurking threat to child survival
Chelsea Clinton, adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, and Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at University of Edinburgh’s Medical School and board member of Save the Children U.K.

“…While … outbreaks [like Ebola and MERS] are tragic and scary, and need resources to be contained effectively, inadvertently they draw billions of dollars from domestic budgets and external donors away from core health work. They claim the attention of political leaders and researchers alike, who suddenly find themselves developing the requisite policies and expertise to manage the crises, rather than staying the course on improving general public health and increasing the chance that a baby born today will survive tomorrow and in the months ahead. … There is no simple solution. And all health problems — whether it’s Ebola or child mortality — need resources. We will do well to keep focusing on strengthening health systems and improving health workforces so that we can prevent future emergency infectious disease outbreaks as well as provide the basic care that will help babies survive their critical first weeks” (9/1).

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Ending Hepatitis Requires Galvanizing Global Efforts To Control Disease

Devex: Putting an end to global health’s ‘silent killer’
Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the WHO’s HIV/AIDS Department and the Global Hepatitis Program

“…[T]o make a real difference [in reducing infections and deaths from hepatitis], it will be critical to establish the sort of global political commitment that has built up around other communicable diseases — notably HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and polio. … On Sept. 2, delegates from more than 60 countries … are coming together in Glasgow, Scotland, at the first high-level global political meeting to address hepatitis: the inaugural World Hepatitis Summit. The summit intends to galvanize the growing global effort to control hepatitis by bringing together these groups around a common principle — that by applying the tools already in hand to expand access to lifesaving measures, we can dramatically reduce the impact and the extent of this disease. On the last day of the summit, participants will be asked to endorse a ‘Glasgow Declaration’ and work together toward the elimination of both hepatitis B and C. We hope that this would be the beginning of the end of hepatitis” (9/2).

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Nations Must Implement Behavior Change Campaigns To Reduce Unnecessary Antibiotic Usage

Project Syndicate: Using Antibiotics Wisely
Jim O’Neill, commercial secretary to the U.K. Treasury and chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance

“…According to the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, which I chair, drug-resistant infections kill at least 700,000 people every year. By 2050, if nothing is done to address the problem, some 10 million people a year could be dying from maladies that were once treatable. … Improving people’s understanding of the problem will be crucial to reversing this trend. … The cost of a global effort to raise awareness of the threat of antimicrobial resistance would be minuscule compared to the amount being spent to develop new drugs and technologies, which in any case will take years to become available. Countries should urgently put in place educational campaigns and begin to change behaviors. Together, we can break our bad antibiotic habits” (9/2).

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Opinion Pieces Address SDGs' Commitment To Ending Hunger

Huffington Post: Ending Hunger in Our Lifetime
Greg Barrow, World Food Programme’s global media coordinator

“…[T]he new Sustainable Development Goals demonstrate that addressing global hunger is everyone’s problem, and if we are really going to banish it, then everyone needs to play a role. … [I]f we really believe in building a better, more sustainable future, it is in developing countries that we need to be addressing the root causes of hunger to ensure that the next generation has a future that is defined by zero hunger. The Sustainable Development Goals give us genuine grounds for optimism that this can be achieved. They are time-bound, measurable, and everyone who is involved in delivering them will be held to account…” (9/2).

Huffington Post: Can We End Hunger in the Next 15 Years?
Åsa Skogström Feldt, president and CEO of The Hunger Project

“…[W]hat will it take to [end hunger by 2030]? It will take global commitment. It will take political will. But most critically, it will take a strong, responsive, inclusive development process, starting at the community level. … Ending hunger requires us to grapple with the very human issues — patriarchy, disempowerment, lack of opportunity, resignation, powerlessness — that hold hunger in place. Ending hunger is possible technically, but hunger is not fundamentally a technical issue. It is a human one” (9/2).

Huffington Post: Ending Hunger, from Dadaab Refugee Camp to the USA
Ambassador Tony Hall, executive director emeritus of the Alliance to End Hunger

“…Sustainable development is no longer a goal exclusively for the world’s poorest countries — it is now a universal responsibility for all of us. … We can end hunger by 2030, but it won’t happen on its own. We need to be diligent and proactive in forming strategic partnerships that are sensitive to both universal and context-specific needs, and are inclusive of historically marginalized groups. This rings true as we tackle hunger at home and around the world” (9/2).

Huffington Post: To Achieve Food Security, We Must Prioritize Women’s Rights as Human Rights
Tarja Halonen, former president of the Republic of Finland

“…Global and national leaders must acknowledge the critical need to link action in addressing food security to national strategies across sectors. This must include realizing the human rights of women and girls, investing in gender equality — including in girls’ education, eliminating violence and harmful practices, and upholding sexual and reproductive health rights. Given the strong correlation between food security and maternal and infant mortality rates, agricultural and food security programs must expand their horizons to be successful. Let us commit to a renewed emphasis on providing for dietary diversity, nutritional fortification, and health services for women, adolescent girls, and children as part of our goal of ending hunger. By taking a holistic approach to ending hunger, women and girls can be empowered to reach their full potential” (9/2).

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U.N. Must Include Mental Health Indicators In SDGs

The Guardian: The United Nations must acknowledge that mental health is a development goal
Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of the Kennedy Forum and former U.S. representative to Rhode Island, and Kathleen M. Pike, professor of psychology and director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University

“…The United Nations must address … mental health as it decides what items will become Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will drive the global agenda for years to come. … What the U.N. decides could make a huge impact on the more than 450 million people around the world who are struggling with mental illness right now. … In the current draft of the SDGs, mental health is included in the preamble as one of the target goals. This is an important breakthrough in helping to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness face all over the world. But mental health has not yet been included in the indicators that will be used to monitor and measure progress toward meeting these global goals. This omission should be of grave concern to everyone, because targets without measurements or accountability are toothless. Mental health must be specifically included in the final indicators. If it is not, the reference to mental health will be nothing more than lip service…” (9/2).

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People With Disabilities Must Be Engaged With SDGs To Encourage Global Equality

The Guardian: Sustainable Development Goals could signal a sea change for disabled people
Polly Meeks, deputy director of policy and influencing at ADD International, and Rachele Tardi, Light for the World representative to the U.N. and a trustee of AbleChildAfrica

“…As the world’s attention shifts to the implementation of the [Sustainable Development Goals], it is crucial to empower people with disabilities to plan, implement, and monitor development programs. It will be particularly important to ensure that information is fully accessible, and to use approaches such as participatory research to reach out to those who are most marginalized — including people experiencing exclusion due to disability and other factors such as gender, sexual orientation, age, and location. It is also imperative to engage with young people with disabilities, given that the world now has the largest youth population in its history. … [T]he greater prominence of disabled people at the forthcoming [SDG] summit is encouraging. … Our vision for 2030 is of a world where no groups are less equal than others” (9/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Secretary Kerry Discusses U.S. Progress, Commitment To Achieving AIDS-Free Generation At PEPFAR Diplomatic Reception

U.S. Department of State: Remarks at the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief Diplomatic Reception
During his remarks at the PEPFAR diplomatic reception on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry recognized Deborah Birx’s work as U.S. global AIDS coordinator and discussed U.S. progress and commitment toward achieving an AIDS-free generation (9/2).

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In Speech, WHO DG Chan Discusses Agency's Views On Ebola Outbreak Response

WHO: WHO Director-General addresses Institute of Medicine Ebola workshop
This transcript presents a speech made on September 1 by WHO Director-General Margaret Chan at the Institute of Medicine workshop on global governance for health in London. Chan outlines WHO’s views on the West African Ebola outbreak, including weaknesses of the International Health Regulations and challenges WHO faced in responding to the epidemic (9/1).

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Sustainable Development Goals To Include Targets On Justice, Good Governance

Open Society Foundations’ “Voices”: Agenda 2030: Recognition for the Role of Justice and Governance in Sustainable Development
Aidan Harris, a program officer for the Open Society Justice Initiative, discusses the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Open Society Foundations’ call “for the new development agenda to include targets on justice and good governance, which are now largely embodied in Goal 16 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals contained in the 2030 plan…” (9/2).

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