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What the European election means for health care

The European Parliament election is sure to shake up health care issues as newly elected MEPs jockey..

The European Parliament election is sure to shake up health care issues as newly elected MEPs jockey for positions following the departure of some key members.

While some familiar faces are sticking around, theres a notable vacuum when it comes to one of the most controversial files that will carry over to the next Parliament — health technology assessment legislation — as many of the rapporteurs are now gone.

An influx of Green party candidates will likely ramp up pressure on industry, including pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturers, and also ensure stronger ties between environmental and health issues.

MEPs will elect a new Parliament president and confirm the committees at the first plenary sitting scheduled to begin July 2. The committees will hold their first meetings in July, when theyll elect their chairs and vice-chairs.

Romanian European Peoples Party MEP Adina-Ioana Vălean, the most recent chair of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI), is returning to Parliament.

Here are our four takeaways for health:

1. Greens want EU to do more on health

Big Pharma and Big Chem better watch out. With Green parties picking up at least 15 more seats, theyre going to have greater strength in numbers when pushing their environment and public health agenda, which they believe the current European Commission is not delivering on.

“DG SANTE is not sufficiently standing up against the pharmaceutical industry, industrial farming, and the chemical sector,” Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout, Greens co-candidate for Commission president, said in an emailed statement.

Thats good news for health care groups, which in their manifestos to candidates asked for a bigger EU role in health, including the possibility of a Commission vice president for health in all policies. Eickhout said he thought a VP for health “makes sense,” as long as the job came with concrete policies rather than just a title. The Commission should have a bigger role in many issues, including “protecting patients, stimulating research, making sure medicines have an added value and are affordable, aligning trade and health policy, and ensuring that products are safe,” he said.

Commission Secretary-General Martin Selmayr said at a POLITICO event on Monday he “would expect the green wave will have a strong impact on the program of the next European Commission president.”

Its worth noting though that while the Greens made gains in Western European countries, such as Germany, France, Finland and Luxembourg, they didnt win any seats in Southern or Eastern Europe.

One new face in the Greens sure to be heavily involved in health care issues is Belgian MEP Petra De Sutter, a former senator in Belgiums parliament and a physician who runs the department for reproductive medicine at Ghent University. De Sutter told POLITICO shed be interested to serve on the parliamentary committees for health and justice following her election Sunday night, particularly on issues related to endocrine disruptors and female genital mutilation.

2. HTA needs a new shepherd

One of the Parliaments trickiest health files needs a new leader.

The elections saw a mass exodus — both by choice and by chance — of the rapporteurs of the health technology assessment legislation.

Lead rapporteur Spanish Socialist MEP Soledad Cabezón Ruiz wasnt on her partys list this time around and European Peoples Party shadow rapporteur French MEP Françoise Grossetête and ALDE shadow rapporteur German MEP Gesine Meißner both called it quits. Belgian ALDE MEP Lieve Wierinck, who led the opinion for the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, wasnt reelected.

The Greens shadow rapporteur Michèle Rivasi, from France, declared a win Sunday amid her partys success. And it looks like Romanian European Peoples Party MEP Cristian-Silviu Bușoi, who led the HTA opinion for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, will eek out a win. He was No. 9 on the National Liberal Party (PNL) list in Romania and provisional results predict they will win 10 seats.

German EPP MEP Peter Liese was also reelected. A vocal proponent of EU-level HTA, Liese may try to take up the mantle for his party.

3. Medical device champions remain

Many of the MEPs who worked on the new medical device regulations last session are returning, including Liese who was co-rapporteur on the file.

While the new rules were agreed in 2017, some MEPs and Council representatives have suggested the Commission has been dragging its feet on implementation and hasnt done enough to ensure readiness as the 2020 deadline looms. Industry has been sounding the alarm as there aRead More – Source

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Burkina Faso: Growing Violence Threatens Health Care

Away from the worlds attention, Burkina Faso has been slipping into violence. In less than a year, t..

Away from the worlds attention, Burkina Faso has been slipping into violence. In less than a year, the number of displaced has increased fivefold, from 50,000 last December, to 270,000 in August. As ever, the most vulnerable suffer most: the very young, and the very old.

When Alidou Sawadogos elderly mother fell ill, he faced a long and dangerous journey to get treatment for her.

“When she collapsed, a friend called me,” he explains. “By the time I arrived she was already unconscious. I decided to take her to the health center and luckily someone who had a motorcycle helped me. Because of the violence many people who are sick wait at home and die. Everyone is afraid of taking the road to the health center in Barsalogho.”

Across Burkina Faso, the rising insecurity has forced over a hundred health centers to close, or to limit their work. Half a million people now have little or no access to health care. Dedicated health workers, among them Dr Bertrand Dibli in Barsalogho, are struggling to meet the needs, and to stay safe themselves.

“This is one of the few health centers that isnt closed,” he says. “We dont have enough equipment. And the insecurity has caused huge anxiety among health workers. Even coming here to Barsalogho is a huge challenge because the route is so dangerous.”

The ICRC has been working to support Burkina Fasos health professionals, with medical kits, and vaccination campaigns. During his visit to the country, ICRC President Peter Maurer expressed his concern at the multiple challenges facing Burkina Fasos people.

“We are very concerned,” he said. “Very worried about the upsurge in violence, its a vicious circle that is trapping the civilian population between armed groups.”

“We also see,” Mr Maurer added, “that it is not only the violence that is affecting the country, it is also under development, and climate change. Together with the violence that is obstructing the health services, its an accumulation of factors.”

And so the ICRC – jointly with the Burkinabé Red Cross – is also delivering food to the displaced, and helping to improve access to water supplies. All of this, says nurse Jeanette Kientega, is desperately needed by a population uprooted by conflict, and denied access to basic health care.

“By the time they are able to get here, it is often too late” she says. “Sometimes we can help, but if they have already been ill a long time, it is difficult. We try to do what we can.” (more…)

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World Bank and WHO Statement on Partnership & Deployment of Financing to WHO for Ebola Response in DRC

WASHINGTON, August 23, 2019—The World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the G..

WASHINGTON, August 23, 2019—The World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Government and other key partners, are working in close partnership on the Ebola Crisis Response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Central to this partnership is the assessment of the financing needs, and deployment of resources, with the goal to put an end to the current deadly outbreak.

The World Bank is today announcing that US$50 million in funding is to be released to WHO for its lifesaving operational work on the frontlines of the outbreak. The WHO is announcing that this US$50 million in funds will close the financing gap for its emergency health response in DRC through to the end of September 2019, and is calling on other partners to mirror this generous support in order to fund the response through to December.

The funding comprises US$30 million from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) and US$20 million from the World Bank. The US$50 million in grant funding is part of the larger financial package of approximately US$300 million that the World Bank announced last month to support the fourth Strategic Response Plan for the DRC Ebola outbreak.

“WHO is very grateful for the World Banks support, which fills a critical gap in our immediate needs for Ebola response efforts in DRC, and will enable the heroic workers on the frontlines of this fight to continue their lifesaving work,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization. “We keenly await further funding from other partners to sustain the response through to the end of the year.”

The DRC government, working in collaboration with the World Bank, WHO, and other key partners, has finalized the Fourth Strategic Response Plan (SRP4), which outlines the total resources needed for the DRC Ebola Crisis Response from July to December 2019. The financing announced today is part of the World Banks previously announced financial package of up to US$300 million and covers over half of SRP4s needs, with the remainder requiring additional funding from other donors and partners.

“The World Bank is working closely with WHO, the Government of DRC, and all partners to do everything we can to put an end to the latest Ebola outbreak,” said Annette Dixon, Vice President, Human Development at the World Bank. “The partnership between our organizations and the Government is critical for responding to the emergency as well as rebuilding systems for delivery of basic services and to restoring the trust of communities.”

The Government of DRC requested US$30 million from the PEF Cash Window to be paid directly to WHO. The PEF Steering Body approved the request bringing the PEFs total contribution to fighting Ebola in DRC to US$61.4 million. The PEF is a financing mechanism housed at the World Bank; its Steering Body is co-chaired by the World Bank and WHO, and comprises donor country members from Japan, Germany and Australia. The quick and flexible financing it provides saves lives, by enabling governments and international responders to concentrate on fighting Ebola—not fundraising.

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Borno State launches first Malaria Operational Plan, reawakens fight against malaria

Maiduguri, 13 August 2019 – Following recommendations from malaria interventions in Borno State Nige..

Maiduguri, 13 August 2019 – Following recommendations from malaria interventions in Borno State Nigeria, the Malaria Annual Operational Plan (MAOP) was developed and launched on 08 August 2019 with technical support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners. Aligned to the National Malaria Strategic Plan (2014 -2020), MAOP was developed through a broad-based stakeholders workshop involving malaria stakeholders, reviewed on different thematic areas and endorsed by the Commissioner for Health and Permanent Secretary, Borno State Ministry of Health.

Speaking during the launch, the Borno state Malaria Programme Manager, Mr Mala Waziri described the MAOP as the first to be endorsed and disseminated in Borno State. “WHO has made us proud by supporting the first ever Malaria Operational Plan right from development, review, printing to dissemination.”

Dr Ibrahim Kida, the Ministerial Secretary Borno State Ministry of Health and Incident Manager of the state, described the launch as “an historic event as stakeholders across the health sector made commitments to use the document as an implementation guide for all malaria programs”. The plan was also described as an advocacy tool for planning domestic funds mobilization.

The MAOP has seven objectives among which are: provide at least 50% of targeted population with appropriate preventive measures by 2020; ensure that all persons with suspected malaria who seek care are tested with Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) or microscopy by 2020 and all persons with confirmed malaria seen in private or public health facilities receive prompt treatment with an effective anti-malarial drug by 2020.

The MAOP will further ensure that at least 50% of the population practice appropriate malaria prevention and management by 2020, ensuring timely availability of appropriate anti-malarial medicines and commodities required for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria in Borno State by 2020.

In addition, it seeks to ensure that all health facilities report on key malaria indicators routinely by 2020 and finally strengthen governance and coordination of all stakeholders for effective program implementation towards an A rating by 2020 on a standardized scorecard. These strategic objectives have specific targets and the MAOP takes into account the humanitarian response.

“Malaria remains a leading cause of poor health in Nigeria. According to the 2018 WHO Malaria Report, 53million cases are recorded annually in Nigeria, roughly 1 in 4 persons is infected with malaria contributing 25% of the global burden,” says Dr Nglass Ini Abasi, WHO Malaria Consultant for the North East.

“Furthermore, 81,640 deaths are recorded annually (9 deaths every hour), which accounts for 19% of global malaria deaths (1 in 5 global malaria deaths) and 45% malaria deaths in West Africa. The Nigeria Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) 2014-2020 has a goal to reduce malaria burden to pre-elimination levels and bring malaria-related mortality to zero and WHO is working assiduously with Government to ensure the burden is reduced accordingly.”

Results from WHO’s Early Warning, Alert and Response System (EWARS) week 30 report from 223 sites, (including 32 IDP camps) show that malaria was the leading cause of morbidity and mortality accounting for 35% of cases and 46% of reported deaths. In addition, results from the Nigeria Humanitarian Response Strategy (NHRS 2019-2021) indicate 7.1million people are in dire need of healthcare and 6.2million are targeted for immediate attention.

Despite recent improvements, insecurity remains a challenge limiting access to the functional health facilities. Easily preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria, acute respiratory infection and diarrheal diseases account for the greatest proportion of morbidity and mortality among the vulnerable population. Furthermore, Malaria is endemic in North East Nigeria and the transmission is perennial with a marked seasonal peak from July to November every year. (more…)

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