KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Kerry Reiterates U.S. Commitment To AIDS-Free Generation At State Department Reception

Washington Blade: Kerry: U.S. ‘working towards’ AIDS-free generation
“Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday during a diplomatic reception at the State Department reiterated the Obama administration’s call for a so-called AIDS-free generation. … U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah Birx, who oversees the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James ‘Wally’ Brewster were among the officials and diplomats who attended the reception that took place in the Treaty Room. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was also in attendance…” (Lavers, 9/3).

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SDG Supporters Launch Worldwide Publicity Campaign At U.N.

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Celebrities, artists launch campaign backing U.N. development goals
“Supporters of global goals to end poverty and promote human rights, an agenda that goes before the United Nations this month, kicked off a massive campaign this week, saying publicity is key to winning the backing of world leaders. The campaign will use radio spots, social media, advertisements, and a star-studded concert in New York to highlight the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said filmmaker Richard Curtis, one of the organizers…” (Wulfhorst, 9/4).

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WHO Committee Does Not Declare MERS Emergency, Calls On Governments To Better Follow Agency's Advice On Disease

News outlets report on a statement by the WHO’s IHR Emergency Committee on MERS.

CIDRAP News: Panel says no MERS emergency amid rising concerns
“An emergency committee set up to advise the World Health Organization (WHO) about steps needed to address MERS-CoV held off again on declaring a global public health emergency but raised major concerns about Saudi Arabia’s efforts to control the threat…” (Schnirring, 9/3).

Reuters: Governments are not following advice on MERS, experts warn
“…The WHO’s emergency committee, which meets regularly to consider the international response to the disease, said in a statement that its advice had not been completely followed and some countries were not doing their duty to report all cases to the WHO…” (Miles, 9/3).

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Liberia To Remain Vigilant After WHO Declares End Of Ebola Transmission In Country

News outlets continue to report on the WHO’s declaration that Ebola transmission has ended in Liberia.

Associated Press: Ebola transmissions over in Liberia, enters 90-day watch
“The World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free for a second time on Thursday after the country hardest hit by the deadly virus saw a brief resurgence of cases not long after the first time it thought the disease was gone for good…” (Paye-Layleh, 9/3).

International Business Times: Liberia Declared Ebola-Free By WHO For Second Time In 6 Months
“…In May, the WHO had declared the country free of the virus, but it recurred in July with two confirmed cases. The Ebola outbreak in the world was first recorded in December 2013…” (Sonawane, 9/3).

New York Times: Liberia: Ebola-Free, for a Second Time
“…But the Ministry of Health called for 90 days of ‘heightened surveillance’ around the country to watch for any new cases. … The government has urged all Liberians to continue observing preventive measures like washing hands and is strengthening its monitoring efforts across the country, said Dr. Francis Ketteh, Liberia’s chief medical officer…” (MacDougall, 9/3).

Reuters: Liberia declared Ebola-free for second time
“…Over 11,000 people have died in West Africa since the worst Ebola epidemic on record began over 18 months ago. Liberia has been hardest hit with over 4,800 deaths, though it has also had the most success in bringing the outbreak under control…” (Giahyue et al., 9/3).

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International Community Must Take Advantage Of Opportunity To Improve Sierra Leone's Health Care System, Britain's Lead Ebola Doctor Says

The Guardian: Ebola doctor calls for fatal flaws in Sierra Leone health system to be addressed
“The doctor who led Britain’s fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone has called on the international community to seize a ‘generational opportunity’ to strengthen the health system in the wake of the catastrophic epidemic. As Sierra Leone anxiously awaits freedom from the virus, Oliver Johnson says he is hopeful for the country’s future, despite the horrendous epidemic that claimed 3,587 lives…” (O’Carroll, 9/4).

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Malnutrition Causing Stunted Growth Among Filipino Children, Report Says

News outlets highlight findings from a Save the Children report on stunting and malnutrition among children in the Philippines.

Agence France-Presse: Philippine children stunted by malnutrition: welfare report
“Children in the Philippines suffer from ‘sub-Saharan levels’ of malnutrition that stunts growth in a people who have traditionally been considered short because of genetics, a campaign group said Thursday…” (9/3).

CNN Philippines: 1 out of 3 Filipino children has stunted growth — study
“…The report of Save The Children suggested that shortness is not a genetic trait of Filipinos; it could be due to generations of stunted children who are too small for their age because of malnutrition. … Its campaign against malnutrition called ‘Lahat Dapat’ or no child left behind was also launched…” (Bonalos, 9/3).

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Budget Shortfalls, Administrative Changes Negatively Affecting India's National AIDS, TB Programs

The Lancet: Budget cuts threaten AIDS and tuberculosis control in India
“Bureaucratic changes and budget cuts are threatening to derail two of India’s key health initiatives — the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) and the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). A total of 2.1 million people in India are HIV positive and about 1.2 million new cases of tuberculosis are diagnosed every year…” (Sharma, 9/5).

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WHO Official Warns Measles Outbreak In DRC Could Worsen

The Lancet: Measles outbreak in DR Congo an ‘epidemic emergency’
“Moise Yapi looks out of the window of the WHO country office in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and sighs. ‘This measles outbreak we’re facing is bad and it could get much worse.’ Yapi is the WHO Medical Officer for measles surveillance and control in the DRC. … The recent measles epidemics in the DRC come against a backdrop of growing concern among the international health community that efforts to reign in the disease are stalling…” (Maurice, 9/5).

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WHO Africa Regional Office Calls On Governments To More Closely Regulate Traditional Medicine Practitioners

VOA News: WHO Calls for Regulation of Traditional Medicine in Africa
“…Calling upon researchers to work with traditional practitioners to produce scientific evidence on the safety, effectiveness, and quality of their products, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, issued a letter urging governments to strengthen regulatory bodies for traditional health practitioners…” (Kindzeka, 9/2).

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Research Ongoing Into Real-World Effectiveness Of PrEP For HIV Prevention

Vox: Critics worried an HIV prevention pill would encourage risky sex. So far, it hasn’t.
“…For Truvada to have a big impact, high-risk populations need to know about it and have access. Research has shown that awareness among men is still pretty low. In some of the developing countries that could most benefit from PrEP, the World Health Organization has noted, adherence to the drug — and its efficacy — were also lower [than in a study published this week in Clinical Infectious Diseases]. In other words, this is no silver bullet or magic pill for problems of health education and access…” (Belluz, 9/3).

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Researchers Examine Static Electricity As Way To Attach Insecticides To Mosquito Nets, Other Surfaces

The Economist: The war on malaria: A charge that sticks
“…Using static electricity [to attach insecticides to the surface of mosquito nets] … means all of the insecticide is held on the surface of a net’s fibers. Much larger doses can thus be transferred to an insect which blunders into the net. In addition, a wide range of insecticides — and even, possibly, the spores of a fungus harmless to people but lethal to mosquitoes — can be applied to the fibers…” (9/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Developing Nations Can Achieve Affordable Health With Support Of International Community

Huffington Post: Not Only Is Good Health for All Achievable — It’s Affordable
Martin McKee, professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and president of the European Public Health Association

“…With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, we looked at five places that had achieved good health at low cost, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, and the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Each took a different path, reflecting their particular circumstances. … Each had individuals who displayed a political commitment to better health and a willingness to create the resources necessary to achieve it, effective bureaucracies that maintained continuity despite political changes drawing on a shared institutional memory that prevented the same mistakes being made again, policies that reflected the unique national context and had not simply been lifted from somewhere else, and an ability to take advantage of windows of opportunity, even when there were natural disasters. … These findings … show that it is possible to make a real difference despite having very little money. On the other hand, they show that each country must find its own way to better health, taking account of its own particular circumstances. However, it can only do so if the actions of the international community support, rather than undermine it, and that will only happen with a new and fairer world order” (9/3).

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Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of SDG 3 To Ensure Healthy Lives, Promote Wellbeing For All

Huffington Post: A Plan to End All Preventable Deaths by 2030
Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director-general for family, women’s and children’s health, and vice chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addresses the health MDG’s shortcomings. It is a central goal relevant to all countries and all people: ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.’ Underpinning this broad goal are 13 targets, including ambitious new ones for improving the health and lives of women, babies, children worldwide. … A key driver to guide the work to achieve these targets will be the renewed Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. … The strategy identifies what actions and investments will have the greatest impact on saving lives and improving health. … With the SDGs, we must aim for progress across the board — in remote and rural areas and among the poorest and most disadvantaged residents of urban centers. We need to be able to identify the gaps so that we can allocate limited resources effectively…” (9/3).

Huffington Post: Progress on Health, but Not Fast Enough
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…SDG 3 is an ambitious goal, and it should be. Improving health outcomes is the cornerstone of progress — especially when it comes to improving the health and wellbeing of women and children. When you invest in the health of a woman and her child, they are able to take advantage of educational and economic opportunities, reaping long-lasting benefits for their family, community, and nation. Over the past 15 years, we have learned what it takes to save and improve the lives of women and children around the world. But knowing what it takes isn’t the same as doing it. Now it’s time to speed that progress along. … By focusing on SDG 3 and investing in proven solutions, we can turn our shared impatience into action” (9/3).

Huffington Post: The 2030 Agenda Is a Win for Women and Girls
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Federation of America

“…[The third Sustainable Development Goal] — ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages — contains strong language around sexual and reproductive health care that could have great implications for health access here in the U.S. and around the globe. … This passage marks a critical step forward in advancing health access and gender equity. The global community was long overdue in recognizing that protecting and promoting sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights is crucial to ending global poverty. … I’m so pleased to see governments acknowledging this reality with their support for Goal 3 in the 2030 Agenda and look forward to the adoption of this unprecedented agenda. I strongly urge governments, including the U.S., to follow through on their commitments to make this ambitious agenda a reality” (9/3).

Huffington Post: The World’s New Health Goal Will Need Game-Changing Health Technologies
Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University professor and president emeritus at Harvard University, and Gavin Yamey, professor of global health and public policy at Duke University and member of the Lancet Commission

“…Investing in global health R&D won’t just save millions of lives. It will also reap astonishing economic returns. … In [the report of the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health (CIH) that we coauthored with 23 other economists and health experts], we called on donors to step up their R&D investments. … We believe a new ‘health investors’ platform’ could provide … strategic knowledge about the greatest health challenges facing poor populations, the most promising candidates in the R&D pipeline, and the likely health and economic impacts of developing these into health tools that will reach the poor. … The ambitious targets contained in SDG3 can only be achieved if we find creative ways to bring new health tools to those with the greatest health needs” (9/3).

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Infant Mortality Awareness Month Should Catalyze Advocacy For Lowering Rates In U.S., Worldwide

Huffington Post: Reaching the First Birthday: September as Infant Mortality Awareness Month
Jenny Eaton Dyer, executive director of Hope Through Healing Hands and lecturer in the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University

“September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month in the U.S. with the goal of bringing attention to our relatively high Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), representing the estimated number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. … In an increasingly globalized world, mothers in the United States have much more in common with moms around the world than we might realize. We all love our children and want them to flourish, and we all deeply mourn the loss of a child in any of our villages and communities. As we promote awareness here in the United States to combat infant mortality rates, let’s also consider how we might advocate for women in developing nations to reduce infant mortality rates there as well…” (9/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

APEC Endorses Roadmap To Mitigate Emerging Health Threats, Boost Health Systems In Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC): Emerging Health Threats Targeted in Asia-Pacific Roadmap
“…Drawing on the lessons of Ebola and MERS and with concern over aging societies, spiking non-communicable disease rates, and natural disasters due to climate change rising, ministers and officials [at the APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy] endorsed a Healthy Asia-Pacific 2020 Initiative roadmap. It outlines measures to be taken forward by APEC members to boost their health systems over the next five years and was finalized during a two-day meeting with health practitioners and industry groups in Cebu…” (9/3).

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Nigeria Faces Health Inequalities Despite Oil-Rich South

Humanosphere: Oil-rich Nigeria still suffers from massive health inequities
Katie Leach-Kemon, a policy translation specialist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and Humanosphere contributor, and Nancy Fullman, an IHME policy translation specialist and a co-author of a new study on health systems performance in Nigeria, pull from the study to examine the nation’s challenges of “persistent health inequalities between Nigeria’s oil-rich south and the impoverished north” (9/3).

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