Vaccines and Global Health: The Week in Review :: 14 September 2019

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David R. Curry, MS
Executive Director
Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy

Malaria vaccine launched in Kenya: Kenya joins Ghana and Malawi to roll out landmark vaccine in pilot introduction

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

 

Malaria vaccine launched in Kenya: Kenya joins Ghana and Malawi to roll out landmark vaccine in pilot introduction
Homa Bay, Kenya, 13 September 2019 – The World Health Organization (WHO) congratulates the Government of Kenya for launching the world’s first malaria vaccine today in Homa Bay County, western Kenya.

The malaria vaccine pilot programme is now fully underway in Africa, as Kenya joins Ghana and Malawi to introduce the landmark vaccine as a tool against a disease that continues to affect millions of children in Africa.

The vaccine, known as RTS,S, will be available to children from 6 months of age in selected areas of the country in a phased pilot introduction. It is the first and only vaccine to significantly reduce malaria in children, including life-threatening malaria.

Malaria claims the life of one child every two minutes. The disease is a leading killer of children younger than 5 years in Kenya.

“Africa has witnessed a recent surge in the number of malaria cases and deaths. This threatens the gains in the fight against malaria made in the past two decades,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The ongoing pilots will provide the key information and data to inform a WHO policy on the broader use of the vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa. If introduced widely, the vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.”
First vaccination: a day to celebrate

Distinguished health officials, community leaders and health advocates gathered in Homa Bay County – one of eight counties in Kenya where the vaccine will be introduced in selected areas – to mark this historic moment with declarations of support for the promising new malaria prevention tool and to demonstrate a ceremonial first vaccination of a 6-month-old child.

Speaking at the event, WHO Representative to Kenya Dr Rudi Eggers said: “Vaccines are powerful tools that effectively reach and better protect the health of children who may not have immediate access to the doctors, nurses and health facilities they need to save them when severe illness comes. This is a day to celebrate as we begin to learn more about what this vaccine can do to change the trajectory of malaria though childhood vaccination.”

Thirty years in the making, the vaccine is a complementary malaria control tool – to be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention, including the routine use of insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying with insecticides and timely access to malaria testing and treatment…

2019 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award :: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance :: Gavi receives the 2019 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

 

2019 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award :: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
For providing sustained access to childhood vaccines around the globe, saving millions of lives, and for highlighting the power of immunization to prevent disease

The 2019 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award honors Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for providing sustained access to childhood vaccines around the globe, thus saving millions of lives, and for highlighting the power of immunization to prevent disease. By harnessing the latest scientific advances, collaborating, and exercising economic influence, Gavi ensures sufficient vaccine supplies at affordable prices, accelerates development and deployment of new vaccines, and strengthens healthcare systems. To date, Gavi has helped vaccinate more than 760 million children and saved over 13 million lives in 73 countries.

Bill Gates has famously said, “vaccines are a miracle” and, although they are a product of research and not supernatural forces, their effects touch on the divine. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), immunization prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year. Its success has created one of the most dramatic and cost-effective public health stories in history.

Gavi receives the 2019 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award
Award given for saving millions of lives by providing sustained access to childhood vaccines around the globe
Geneva, 10 September 2019 – The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced today that Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance has received the prestigious 2019 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award for providing sustained access to childhood vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, saving millions of lives and highlighting the power of immunisation to prevent diseases.

“It is a great honour for us to receive such a prestigious Award,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi the Vaccine Alliance. “Since its creation in 2000 at Davos, Gavi has been making it possible for the world’s most vulnerable children to receive the vaccines they need to live healthy, successful lives. Our collective work as an Alliance has prevented more than 13 million deaths in developing countries while child mortality was halved largely thanks to immunisation. I couldn’t be prouder of what we have accomplished together…

Emergencies

Emergencies

Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Disease Outbreak News (DONs) 6 September 2019
The intensity of Ebola virus disease (EVD) transmission in the North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri provinces remains substantial, with 57 new cases reported since the last EVD in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Disease Outbreak News Update on 29 August.

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POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 11 September 2019
:: The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners and the United Arab Emirates co-hosted an informal reception as a pre-event ahead of the Polio Pledging Moment in the United Arab Emirates’-hosted Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi, in November 2019. The GPEI also presented the 2019-2023 GPEI Investment Case.

Summary of new viruses this week:
:: Afghanistan — one wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case;
:: Pakistan— four wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases and 28 WPV1-positive environmental samples;
:: Central African Republic (CAR)— two circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases and one cVDPV2-positive environmental sample;
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)— one cVDPV2 case.

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Editor’s Note:
WHO has posted a refreshed emergencies page which presents an updated listing of Grade 3,2,1 emergencies as below.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 14 Sep 2019]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Disease Outbreak News (DONs) Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
6 September 2019

Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 14 Sep 2019]

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi floods – No new digest announcements identified
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Niger No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 14 Sep 2019]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
Editor’s Note:
Ebola in the DRC has bene added as a OCHA “Corporate Emergency” this week:
CYCLONE IDAI and Kenneth – No new digest announcements identified
EBOLA OUTBREAK IN THE DRC – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO & Regional Offices [to 14 Sep 2019]

WHO & Regional Offices [to 14 Sep 2019]
News release
WHO calls for urgent action to reduce patient harm in healthcare
13 September 2019: Millions of patients are harmed each year due to unsafe health care worldwide resulting in 2.6 million deaths annually in low-and middle-income countries alone.  Most of these deaths are avoidable. The personal, social and economic impact of patient harm leads to losses of trillions of US dollars worldwide. The World Health Organization is focusing global attention on the issue of patient safety and launching a campaign in solidarity with patients on the very first World Patient Safety Day on 17 September.
“No one should be harmed while receiving health care. And yet globally, at least 5 patients die every minute because of unsafe care,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We need a patient safety culture that promotes partnership with patients, encourages reporting and learning from errors, and creates a blame-free environment where health workers are empowered and trained to reduce errors.”…

9 September 2019
News release
Suicide: one person dies every 40 seconds

8 September 2019
News release
PAHO issues $3.5 million donor appeal for humanitarian health response in the Bahamas

 

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Weekly Epidemiological Record, 13 September 2019, vol. 94, 37 (pp. 413–424)
Algeria and Argentina certified as malaria-free by WHO
Progress in eliminating onchocerciasis in the WHO Region of the Americas: doxycycline treatment as an end-game strategy
Performance of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance and incidence of poliomyelitis, 2019

 

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WHO Regional Offices
Selected Press Releases, Announcements
WHO African Region AFRO
:: Malaria vaccine launched in Kenya: Kenya joins Ghana and Malawi to roll out landmark…
13 September 2019
:: Ghana Health Service and Partners launch polio vaccination campaigns in Ghana 12 September 2019

:: Experts convene to chart a roadmap towards malaria elimination 10 September 2019

WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
:: PAHO urges the health and education sectors to work together to create healthy schools (09/13/2019)
:: PAHO hurricane relief partners, the Dutch military, evacuate pregnant woman from Abaco (09/12/2019)
:: How to cope with the psychological impact of disasters (09/11/2019)
:: PAHO issues $3.5 million donor appeal for humanitarian health response in the Bahamas (09/08/2019)

WHO South-East Asia Region SEARO
No new digest content identified.

WHO European Region EURO
:: RC69 opens on 16 September with review of progress in public health 13-09-2019
:: Moscow joins the WHO Regions for Health Network (RHN) 11-09-2019
:: Progress on health equity is stalling across Europe; new WHO report reveals gaps can be reduced within the lifetime of a single government 10-09-2019

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: Japan contributions enable WHO support for Syrian children 12 September 2019
:: WHO sends life-saving medical supplies across Libya 9 September 20

WHO Western Pacific Region
No new digest content identified.