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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

GlobalPost Special Report Examines Global Efforts To Reduce Child Mortality

In a special report titled “Step by Step,” GlobalPost examines global efforts to reduce child mortality, asking, “What works and what doesn’t in the fight against child mortality? What will it take to go the last mile, and end preventable child deaths?” The report includes a map of child mortality rates country by country, an article examining child mortality in India versus neighboring Bangladesh, an article highlighting a new vaccine campaign to protect against pneumonia in Zambia, an article on Myanmar’s health care system, an article looking at how “corruption in efforts to combat malaria and other diseases that kill children” is hampering efforts in Uganda, and an explanation of the methodology and data used in the report (September 2013).

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U.N. Appeals For Increased Food Security Support In Sahel; Somalia Still Needs Food Assistance Despite Famine Recovery

“With some 11 million people in the Sahel at risk of hunger, the United Nations today appealed on the international community to increase support for food and livestock production in this vast region of Africa,” the U.N. News Centre reports. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) “is appealing for increased funding for aid to the most vulnerable farmers and herders in the Sahel,” the news service writes, adding, “Despite a previous appeal for a total of $113.1 million to support almost six million vulnerable people this year, only $19.4 million has been received, about 17 percent of the total.” The news service continues, “The western part of the Sahel region, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and includes Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and parts of Sudan, Cameroon and Nigeria, is facing a swathe of problems, which are not only political but also involve security, humanitarian resilience and human rights” (9/4).

In similar news, “Somalia continues to make progress in its recovery from the 2011 famine, but some 870,000 people — most of them internally displaced persons (IDPs) — are predicted to require food assistance up to December 2013, according to new data from the [FAO’s] Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) for Somalia,” IRIN reports. “[E]xperts warn that despite slight improvements, certain populations remain extremely vulnerable to food insecurity; some 206,000 children under the age of five are currently experiencing acute malnutrition — Global Acute Malnutrition rates over 15 percent — down from 215,000 in January,” the news service writes. “Visiting Mogadishu in July, John Ging, director of operations for the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said Somalia’s humanitarian needs were ‘immense’ and called on the international community to invest in the country, where just 33 percent of the $1.3 billion 2013-2015 humanitarian appeal has been funded,” IRIN reports (9/4).

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IPS Examines Sales Of Counterfeit Malaria, TB Drugs In Cameroon

“In markets and on roadsides across Yaoundé, [Cameroon,] fake and illegal drugs are stacked on wooden racks and tables, openly displayed for sale,” and though “[t]rading in these drugs is illegal … [t]hey are available as a result of weak regulation, poor health services and high medical costs,” Inter Press Service reports. “There are no precise figures on the quantity of illegal drugs entering Cameroon, but up to 70 percent of drugs sold here are traded on the black market, says Christophe Ampoam of the National Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Cameroon,” the news service writes. IPS includes comments from several experts and a vendor of illicit drugs. The news service notes the WHO “estimates that worldwide 200,000 deaths per annum could be prevented if people did not use counterfeit drugs,” and “[a]ccording to [an] International Policy Network report, fake tuberculosis and malaria drugs alone are estimated to kill 700,000 people globally each year” (Nfor, 9/5).

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Emergency Operation Under Way In Chad After Significant Rise In Malaria Case Numbers

“An emergency operation is under way in the Salamat region of Chad after an ‘alarming’ rise in cases of malaria,” BBC News reports. “Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said the number of reported new cases rose from 1,228 in the first week of August to 14,021 by the end of the month,” the news service notes, adding that while “[c]ases of the mosquito-borne disease do peak during the July to November rainy season … MSF Health Adviser for Chad Turid Piening said the sudden high spike in this area is unusual.” According to BBC, Piening said, “More than 80 percent of people who are coming for consultations are coming because they are infected with malaria, normally its 30-40 percent at this time of year.” The news service notes, “The cause of the sudden increase in cases is unclear” (Mazumdar, 9/4). “In response, MSF has sent an emergency medical team to respond to the situation,” the organization reports in a press release, adding, “The team is supporting local health centers with malaria diagnostic tests and treatment supplies, training Ministry of Health staff and strengthening epidemiological surveillance” (9/3).

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Malaria Cases In CAR Nearly Double In Past Year, MSF Reports

“The number of cases of malaria in northwest Central African Republic [CAR] has almost doubled in the past year, partly because of insecurity caused by armed groups operating in the rural north, according to Médecins Sans Frontières,” Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. “The medical charity says it has treated 36,910 cases of malaria in Boguila, a region 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Chadian border, between January and June this year compared with 19,498 cases in the same period last year,” the news service writes, adding, “‘Insecurity has forced people to leave their houses in search of safety in the bush, where stagnant water on sorghum and cassava fields provides the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes,’ the MSF head of mission in CAR, Ellen Van Der Velden, told Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.” The news service notes, “CAR has been unstable since the Seleka, a group of five rebel units, overthrew the government in a military coup in March.” And “[a]ccording to the Humanitarian and Development Partnership Team for CAR, since the coup more than 240,000 people have been displaced, half of them children — the group most at risk of contracting the mosquito-borne disease,” Reuters writes (Hussain, 9/4).

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Qatar Reports First MERS-Related Fatality

Qatar on Wednesday reported its first fatality from the SARS-like virus that “has killed 50 people out of 108 confirmed cases of infections, the [WHO] said on its website on August 30,” Agence France-Presse reports. The virus, called MERS-CoV — Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus — “is considered a cousin of the SARS virus” and has hit Saudi Arabia the worst, the news agency writes. “Two other cases of infection have been registered in [Qatar], including two men, aged 59 and 29, who were hospitalized last month,” AFP writes (9/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

USAID's Feed The Future Innovation Labs Working To Improve Global Food Security

To meet the future challenges of agricultural production and food security “efficiently and effectively, [USAID] — as part of the Feed the Future initiative — is expanding its engagement with the university community, tapping into scientific expertise and innovation that are crucial to advancing global food security,” Saharah Moon Chapotin, division chief for agricultural research at USAID, writes in The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog. “Through the Feed the Future innovation labs, which build on USAID’s long history of working with U.S. universities through the collaborative research support programs, we are testing different models of engagement, expanding into emerging areas of research, and forging new partnerships with developing country institutions to help revitalize scientific talent and strengthen agricultural research capacity in countries like Bangladesh, Uganda, Malawi and Cambodia,” she writes and describes two new innovation labs. “Universities can be important partners to development agencies in [overcoming food security challenges],” Chapotin writes, concluding, “By engaging with universities, global development agencies can harness critical scientific advances and promote best practices in food security that can ultimately help reduce hunger and poverty around the world” (9/4).

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Polio Can Be Stopped With Continued Support From International Community

“Six years after Somalia’s last case of polio, the country has become the epicenter of a fresh outbreak in the Horn of Africa,” Siddharth Chatterjee, the chief diplomat and head of strategic partnerships and international relations at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, writes in the Huffington Post U.K.’s “Impact” blog. He notes “128 cases have been reported in Somalia, 13 in Kenya and one in Ethiopia,” adding, “Yet because of careful planning and an aggressive, dedicated response by international organizations, national governments and local health workers and volunteers, the real heroes, we are on track to contain this outbreak and protect the outstanding progress we’ve made.” However, he notes, “Executing effective emergency health responses in a country such as Somalia is complex,” as “[o]ngoing violence and mobile populations make it difficult for vaccinators to reach vulnerable communities.”

“These and other challenges exacerbate Somalia’s low routine immunization rate,” Chatterjee continues. However, he writes, “these challenges are not unprecedented. From Cambodia to El Salvador, the program has interrupted transmission despite armed conflict.” He highlights “an emergency response protocol lauded as a major success by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) Independent Monitoring Board” and formalized by the WHO after a 2005 outbreak in the Horn, and adds, “Successes and lessons learned from prior experiences have equipped the GPEI with a robust set of tactics to immunize hard-to-reach children.” He continues, “This May, the GPEI launched the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, which integrated the outbreak response protocol, access tactics and other approaches into a multi-prong strategy that, if successful, will end polio by 2018.” He details the response in the Horn, which “has followed this plan,” and concludes, “With the support of the U.K. and the rest of the international community, we will finish the job against polio and prove what’s possible when the world unites to protect children’s lives” (9/4).

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Global Fund Poised To Defeat 'Big 3' Infectious Diseases, But More Funding Necessary

“Starting in late September, leaders of the world’s governments will meet at the United Nations to discuss, among other issues, how much money to allocate to the Global Fund” to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog writes, noting the Global Fund “estimates that it will need $15 billion in funding for the next three years to successfully make ‘the big push’ to defeat AIDS, malaria and TB.” Highlighting “The Big Push” — “the Global Fund’s campaign to make sure this issue is on the radar of these world leaders” — the blog continues, “As the Global Fund notes, for every $1 billion raised for the effort, 450,000 adults will be supported on HIV treatment, 34 million insecticide-treated nets will be distributed, and 63,000 people will receive TB treatment.” The blog encourages readers to “[s]ign up for the Global Fund Thunderclap, a platform that will, on September 24, simultaneously blast one message on the Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr accounts of all those who sign up for it.” The blog states the Global Fund “is poised to help achieve this extraordinary goal. But it needs money from the governments who fund it to make it happen,” concluding, “Yours can truly be the generation to defeat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis” (9/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID, Coca-Cola Announce Support For New Water And Development Alliance Programs

On Tuesday “at World Water Week in Stockholm, [USAID] and the Coca-Cola Company announced support for new programs under their Water and Development Alliance (WADA) that will provide over 190,000 people with improved clean water and/or improved sanitation services by the end of 2015,” a USAID press release reports. “As part of a first wave of new investments, WADA will support integrated approaches to clean water and sanitation service delivery in Africa where over 300 million people are without an improved water source and 630 million lack improved sanitation facilities,” the press release states and describes the work to be supported in Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria. “This important public-private partnership builds on our agency’s new and first-ever Water and Development Strategy to improve health and food security across the world. Its programs represent the next generation of this vital alliance — helping families lift themselves out of poverty and communities onto a path towards sustainable development,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said, according to the press release (9/4).

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U.S. Should 'Export' Successful Policies Against Tobacco Use

Writing about ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and senior fellow at CGD, says a “proposal put forward by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) last week in Brunei would reduce prices for U.S. tobacco in low- and middle-income countries [LMIC] and make it more difficult for these countries to enforce anti-tobacco policies like package warnings and advertising and marketing restrictions.” She describes a “few key issues,” and writes, “Bottom line: At home, the United States has enacted smart policies and made tremendous progress against tobacco-related deaths — efforts that should be ‘exported’ and replicated around the world. In fact, more U.S. effort to help LMIC improve their regulatory policies on tobacco would be a huge improvement on the current inattention to the issue in the global health space” (9/4).

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Reports Examine Global Disease Burden In 6 Regions

The World Bank Group and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have released “six regional reports as part of The Global Burden of Disease: Generating Evidence, Guiding Policy,” an IHME press release states. “The reports are based on the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010), a collaborative effort of researchers from 50 countries around the world led by IHME at the University of Washington in the United States and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” the press release notes, adding, “The reports explore changes in the leading causes of premature mortality and disability in different parts of the world and compare the performance of countries in a range of health outcomes.” Individual reports, which “document how each region is working to reduce health loss from most communicable, newborn, nutritional, and maternal conditions and what new challenges lie ahead,” are available for sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia, according to the press release (9/4).

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International Leaders To Discuss Global Health Worker Gap At Oslo Meeting

In a post in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, Louise Holly, a policy and advocacy adviser at Save the Children U.K. and chair of the Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative, examines “the global health worker crisis,” noting “some estimate that as many as one billion people never get to see a health worker in their lives” and “that at least 3.5 million additional health workers are needed, including one million community health workers.” She writes, “That’s why I’m hoping that representatives from the world’s richest countries will agree to close the global health worker gap once and for all when they meet in Oslo, Norway, later this week.” The meeting “is part of the build-up to the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in November, where governments will be asked to stand up and commit to actions that will help to build the health workforce needed to achieve universal health coverage,” she notes (9/3).

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