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In The News

International Commission Aims To Create Global Health Risk Framework

SciDev.Net: How to plan for the next health crisis
“…Maria Freire, president of the U.S. Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, spoke of the need to become nimble in our ability to do R&D in an emergency [at a series of talks at the Royal Society on Wednesday]. How do we develop the right tools, she asked, when we don’t know which disease will become the next crisis, when it will occur, and where? Freire is part of an independent international commission on which [the] discussion was focused: the Commission on a Global Risk Framework for the Future, managed by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and actively working on a report for improving global health governance…” (Makri, 10/1).

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The Guardian Examines Reviews Of WHO's Ebola Response, Agency's Future

The Guardian: Ebola is all but over, but the postmortem is just getting started
“…A year after the peak of the Ebola epidemic, which killed more than 11,300 people and threw the U.S. and Europe into a panic, it is the global health system that is under scrutiny. In particular, the World Health Organization (WHO) is in the dock for failing to act soon enough. Big questions are being asked about its competence and its future…” (Boseley, 9/30).

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Aid Agencies Struggle To Reach People Affected By Humanitarian Crises, Report Shows

The Guardian: Humanitarian system ‘stretched to its limits’ says new research
“…The State of the Humanitarian System, which is published every three years and produced by Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP), reveals that agencies are struggling to reach people in many of the world’s trouble spots. … A lack of funding, technical capacity, as well as problems recruiting staff were cited as reasons for inadequate provision for those in hard to reach communities…” (Clarke, 10/2).

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WFP Aid To North Korea Declines Due To Lack Of Funding

VOA News: Cash-strapped World Food Programme Cuts Aid to N. Korea
“The U.N. food aid agency said Thursday that its aid to North Korea’s vulnerable people dropped 44 percent last month because of a lack of funds. … To fund projects this year, the agency needs about $167.8 million, but it has secured only half of the amount so far, according to the agency’s website…” (Kim, 10/1).

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Number Of HIV Cases Detected Among Young People In Sri Lanka Rising, Health Ministry Says

Xinhua News: HIV/AIDS on rise amongst Sri Lankan youth: ministry
“Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry on Thursday warned that the number of HIV/AIDS cases was on the rise amongst the youth in the island nation. Quoting the ministry, local media reports said health authorities had identified some 160 people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS as of October this year alone…” (10/1).

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Researchers Identify Origins Of XDR-TB In South African Province, Examine How Disease Spreads

Health24: Breakthrough: scientists trace the origins of extreme drug-resistant TB
“…[S]cientists from the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), the Broad Institute of MIT, and Harvard in the U.S. traced the roots of extensively drug-resistant TB, aka XDR-TB, in [KwaZulu-Natal] to the late 1950s. These new findings, which were published in the journal PLOS Medicine on 29 September 2015, have important implications for the way we understand how XDR strains are spread, as well as for the management and treatment of TB across the world…” (10/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Must 'Move Forward With Greater Commitment' To Ensure Women's, Girls' Rights Worldwide

Huffington Post: The U.S. Steps Up for Women and Girls: Now What?
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity

“…[The new report ‘Women’s Rights at Home and Abroad: A Call to Action’] — an initiative of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights — examines gaps in the U.S. government’s implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It also provides a roadmap for how the U.S. can further the advancement of women’s rights overseas and at home. … It can’t be denied that under President Obama, the U.S. has made significant strides in advancing gender equality … However, now is not the time to rest on past successes. Now is the time to move forward with greater commitment than ever to ensuring that women and girls — and their sexual and reproductive health and rights — are at the center of U.S. policies at home and abroad…” (10/1).

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Congress Should Pass Reach Act To Help Reduce Preventable Child, Maternal Deaths Worldwide Congress must act to end preventable child and maternal deaths
Phyllis AlRoy, group leader for RESULTS in New Jersey

“…[The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 (S.1911 or Reach Act)] will hold USAID accountable to its promises into the future and ensure that ending preventable maternal and child deaths remains a U.S. priority after the Obama administration is gone. This legislation will maximize our investments, with returns measured in lives saved and healthy prosperous communities. If they work quickly to pass this bill, Congress can make sure that every single child in the world has a chance to not only survive, but thrive…” (10/1).

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Success Of Innovative Health Technologies Depends On Capacity, Training Of Workforce, Strength Of Health Systems

Devex: Lessons learned: Putting innovative health technology in the hands of the user
Aba Asibon, project manager with Rice University’s Institute for Global Health Technologies, also known as Rice 360˚

“…Simple but innovative medical technologies … have the potential to address some of the developing world’s biggest public health problems. However, these interventions do not work in isolation, and their success often depends heavily on the strengths of a health system and the commitment and competency of its workforce. As the world’s focus shifts to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, investments into such innovative solutions should include on-going capacity building for users to ensure sustainability. Thinking about how to regularly engage users in ways that acknowledge the realities of existing human resources policies such as regular staff rotations is also critical in identifying gaps and challenges innovators to further improve on interventions” (10/1).

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Improving Sanitation, Hygiene At Community Level Can Help Prevent Ebola, Other Disease Outbreaks

The Hill: The cost-effective way to protect against future Ebola outbreaks
Piet deVries, senior adviser for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene at Global Communities

“…While the recent news of a vaccine for Ebola is certainly encouraging, strengthening health systems across Africa and other vulnerable countries is vital to prevent future outbreaks of Ebola. At the center of any strengthening effort should be Community-Led Total Sanitation — adapted to the local environment and culture to maximize effectiveness. Such prevention can not only defend against Ebola, it can help fight against the many water, insect-borne, and diarrheal diseases that claim so many lives in the developing world today…” (10/1).

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Overprescription Of Antibiotics Poses Challenge To Addressing Drug Resistance

The Hill: Steps to battle superbugs
Joseph Perrone, chief science officer of the Center for Accountability in Science at the Center for Organizational Research and Education

“…Instead of prescribing antibiotics — or any pharmaceutical for that matter — simply because a sick patient expects to leave with a prescription to make them better, doctors must explain to patients why a prescription isn’t necessary. And when antibiotics are prescribed, physicians should explain why completing the full dose is important. We should consider ourselves lucky to live in a society in which too much medicine is a bigger problem than lack of access to basic medical services. Still, we waste billions of dollars each year overprescribing antibiotics, leaving us vulnerable to communicable diseases. The solution starts with physicians and patients realizing that sometimes the best prescription is rest and relaxation — even if it is a bitter pill to swallow” (10/1).

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Recent Releases

Gavi Announces Afghanistan To Begin Using Inactivated Polio Vaccine For Routine Immunizations

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: New polio vaccine introduced to accelerate polio eradication in Afghanistan
“As part of the Government of Afghanistan’s ongoing efforts to eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunization, H.E. Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister of Public Health of Afghanistan, [Wednesday] formally introduced the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into the schedule of routine vaccinations program for all children under the age of one. [Wednesday’s] introduction of IPV into the routine immunization schedule in Afghanistan is part of a worldwide roll-out of the vaccine across 126 countries — the largest and fastest globally coordinated vaccine introduction project in history…” (9/30).

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Blog Post Discusses Bloomberg Philanthropies' Efforts To Improve Road Safety Globally

Health Affairs Blog: Putting The Brakes On Global Road Crash Deaths: One Foundation’s Efforts
Kelly Henning, director of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ public health program, discusses efforts to reduce deaths from road traffic accidents worldwide, highlighting the successes of the ongoing Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (9/30).

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