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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Experts At Roundtable Discussion Examine Whether European Nations Can Fill Gap Left By Potential U.S. Foreign Aid Retreat

Devex: Experts disagree on whether Europe can fill gap left by U.S. aid cuts
“As the United States looks set to implement hefty aid cuts and drastically reorganize the way it does foreign assistance, European development experts express mixed views on the likelihood of their countries picking up the slack caused by U.S. disengagement. While one European leader said she was confident European Union member states would step up to fill any funding gaps left by the U.S., others were less positive. They painted a picture of E.U. funds in decline and of lack of coordination among donors during a roundtable discussion called Into the Breach, hosted by AidData, a research lab at the College of William & Mary, held in Washington, D.C…” (Edwards, 4/28).

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Drought, Hunger Crises In Horn Of Africa Nations Exacerbated By Climate Change, Oxfam Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Climate change deepening Horn of Africa’s hunger crisis, Oxfam says
“Climate change is making drought and humanitarian disasters worse in the Horn of Africa, Oxfam said on Thursday, ahead of a major climate march in Washington to coincide with the first 100 days of the Trump administration. About 12 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are at risk of hunger due to recurring droughts, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says, with Somalia at risk of slipping into famine for the second time in six years…” (Wesangula, 4/27).

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Global Health NOW Publishes 4-Part Interview With WHO Director-General Candidate David Nabarro

Global Health NOW: David Nabarro: “The role I have been training for my entire life.”
“…In this 4-part Q&A with GHN, Nabarro makes the case for his candidacy. He discusses what his priorities would be as DG, the changes he would bring to the organization, and the lessons he learned by leading the advisory group on reforming WHO’s outbreak and emergency response efforts. For the first installment, Nabarro details his experience and responds to the notion that it’s time for a DG from a low- or middle-income country…” (Simpson, 4/24).

Global Health NOW: WHO’s Essential Fixes: DG Candidate David Nabarro’s Q&A, Part II, April 25, 2017
“…In this second part the GHN Q&A series, Nabarro reflects on lessons he learned by heading up reforms to WHO’s outbreak and emergency response following the Ebola outbreak. He also shares insights into the changes he would prioritize for WHO…” (Simpson, 4/25).

Global Health NOW: Top Priorities and Budget Fixes: David Nabarro’s Q&A, Part III
“…In this 3rd installment of Nabarro’s GHN Q&A, he also explains his plans to bolster WHO’s $2 billion budget. Assessed contributions paid by member states only cover 30 percent of this budget, which is set by the World Health Assembly. The remainder, at least in theory, is covered by voluntary contributions earmarked for specific initiatives. Read on for Nabarro’s thoughts on putting WHO on more sound financial footing. ‘The key, I believe, is to demonstrate value for money in everything the WHO does,’ he says…” (Simpson, 4/27).

Global Health NOW: Making WHO “Relevant and Effective”: DG Candidate David Nabarro’s Q&A, Part IV
“…Nabarro, in this final installment of GHN’s Q&A with him, says he will bring ‘strategic and sensitive’ leadership to WHO and will diplomatically broker deals while also calling out nations that aren’t living by international regulations. He says he will strengthen the capabilities of countries—especially poor countries — and will invest in the WHO regional offices to achieve this. ‘I will upgrade WHO’s responses to disease outbreaks ensuring that it is both relevant and effective at all times,’ Nabarro says…” (Simpson, 4/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Delays In Presidential Appointments For Certain U.S. Agencies Could Harm Scientific Research, Broader Public

Nature: Trump’s empty chairs rob science of a voice in government
Editorial Board

“…[U.S. President] Trump’s dithering over key scientific positions puts the country’s research community and the broader public at risk. For many researchers, the main concern has been the lack of a science adviser to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy. … Biomedical researchers, meanwhile, are waiting to see how long Francis Collins will continue to serve as director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The National Cancer Institute, the head of which is also appointed by the president, has been led by its deputy director since April 2015. And some of the major science agencies, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lack a leader. The uncertainty makes it difficult for agencies to plan ahead, negotiate for resources and launch initiatives. And the patchwork of vacancies will debilitate efforts to deal with emerging crises, which often require a coordinated response across agencies. … With any new president comes uncertainty, and no administration completes its full roster of appointments by the end of its first year. But Trump is lagging well behind his predecessors, and is fostering a damaging sense of uncertainty by suggesting that he will leave these chairs empty” (4/28).

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Improving Vaccine Delivery Critical To Polio Eradication

Huffington Post: Achieving a Polio-Free World
Anne Schuchat, acting director of the CDC and acting administrator at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

“…[U]ntil polio is gone everywhere in the world, the risk of new outbreaks persists. To accomplish this goal, we must continue working together to improve immunization delivery and vaccinate those children in hard-to-reach, insecure areas. A vast global laboratory and surveillance network and a well-trained public health workforce ready to respond to disease outbreaks is essential to this mission. We also depend on scientific and technical expertise that not only supports polio eradication, but has been essential to critical public health responses against measles, Ebola, and other infectious diseases. It has been more than 35 years since the world eradicated smallpox, the first disease ever eradicated from humans. When we succeed in reaching and vaccinating almost every child against polio, we will eradicate it for good — and guarantee future generations a world that is forever free from polio” (4/27).

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Ethiopia's Tedros Adhanom Has Potential, Ability To Transform WHO If Elected Next WHO Director General

The Guardian: The WHO failed on Ebola. With a future pandemic inevitable it needs reform
Andrew Mitchell, Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield

“…Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus … has the potential and the ability truly to transform the WHO. … The new WHO leader needs to have demonstrated clear success in building up access to health care in poor countries. Proven leadership in reforming important global agencies will be helpful and, crucially, the new leader will need political skills to bring together very different interest groups so that real change can be achieved. It is clearly Tedros who has the track record that we need. … To improve the health of the world we must bring primary health care to the most remote places. Tedros accomplished this for his country. … Tedros’s leadership style is also perfectly suited for this role. He is a decisive but humble man. His experience in successfully leading global health institutions is unmatched. … As I know at first-hand from working with Tedros, we now have the opportunity to select an extraordinary leader who has a proven track record of success in his own country and on the international stage” (4/27).

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Global Community Should Ensure 'All Children Have Access To All Essential Vaccines'

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Extending the promise of health to all children, everywhere
Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…By helping children in low- and middle-income countries avoid disabling and life-threatening diseases, we are ensuring that hundreds of millions of people will have the opportunity to lead a healthy, productive life. That’s why vaccines are one of the smartest investments we can make. … [W]hat can we do to sustain this incredible progress? First, we need to finish off vaccine-preventable diseases whenever and wherever possible. And with polio, it’s more than possible: it’s within our reach. … So far this year, only five polio cases have been reported worldwide, and it has been successfully eliminated from all but three countries — Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. … We are closer than ever to eradicating polio. … But we can’t stop there. We must double down and ensure that all children have access to all essential vaccines. … The nations of the world can, and must, do more to ensure that children everywhere are protected from the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases. Until we make that commitment, all of us will be vulnerable to the cost of inaction” (4/27).

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Growth Of Urban Slums Increasing Risk Of Disease Outbreaks; More Effort Needed To Vaccinate People In Cities

Science: Syria, slums, and health security
Seth Berkley, chief executive officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…The risk of epidemics of deadly infectious disease is elevated by millions of vulnerable people converging on and taking refuge in urban areas. … Urban slums are not new, but the scale and prevalence we are seeing is. We are ill-prepared for their rate of growth, and the associated increase in risk of infectious outbreaks. … Although much has been made of refugees fleeing Syria, 6.3 million people remain internally displaced, with a further 4.7 million believed to be trapped in besieged cities and hard-to-reach areas. Rather than escaping cities or seeking refuge in humanitarian camps or shelters, millions are simply taking shelter where they can in the cities, with little or no access to health care. These conditions have fostered outbreaks of polio, measles, meningitis, and drug-resistant tuberculosis. … Conflict or not, often the first step is recognizing that slum dwellers are there — they frequently get overlooked. … Governments urgently need to check these blind spots, and the global health community must develop new ways to identify and reach those affected. For too long, health authorities assumed that the hardest-to-reach communities lie in remote villages, when increasingly they are hiding in plain sight in cities” (4/28).

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'Practical' Approach To Addressing Cancer In Latin America Should Include Early Detection Programs For Certain Cancers

The Hill: Proposing a pragmatic approach to decrease cancer in Latin America
Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, and Eric T. Rosenthal, founder of the National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Centers Public Affairs Network

“…Most Latin American nations do not have widespread, effective cancer screening initiatives for asymptomatic healthy individuals that would use, for example, mammograms to look for breast cancer, or colonoscopies for colorectal cancer. Many of the governments in these nations do not think such efforts are cost-effective since they are lacking in the equipment and expertise necessary for the screening of the population at large to be efficacious. … So according to [Jorge Gomez, a cancer researcher at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, and] other experts, the next best strategy would be to launch early-detection programs that educate citizens about potential signs of early cancers when they are most treatable, and when detected, can be treated at no cost through each nation’s universal health care system. … [I]t’s better to start doing what’s doable and can have the greatest immediate impact on public health than strive initially for strategies that aren’t practical. … [G]ood intentions and good leadership are severely limited if nations here and abroad don’t adopt meaningful global health-first policies” (4/27).

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Commonwealth Of Nations, DFID, Partners Have 'Unique Opportunity To Elevate Profile Of NTD Elimination Efforts'

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: The first “London Declaration”: The Commonwealth and its neglected tropical diseases
Peter J. Hotez, editor in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases; Ashish Damania, scientific programmer at Baylor College of Medicine; Aparna Barua, manager of resource development & policy at Sabin Foundation Europe; and Jeffrey Stanaway, assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington

“…Together with DFID, the Commonwealth [of Nations] Secretariat has a unique opportunity to elevate the profile of [neglected tropical diseases (NTD)] elimination efforts by including NTDs on the agenda of the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers meeting in Geneva and the biannual Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, to be hosted by the U.K. in 2018. As we mark the fifth anniversary of the London Declaration on NTDs this year, we increasingly recognize the urgent need for increased domestic country leadership across NTD programs and research investments. Without this political prioritization, human resources and finances at current levels will not be enough to meet the social and economic challenges these debilitating diseases present to the world’s poorest people. … Ultimately, the Commonwealth of Nations and its secretariat, DFID, and partner organizations could take on a powerful role in eliminating these ancient scourges of the world’s poor and perhaps the most common diseases of people living in poverty. In doing so, the Commonwealth and DFID could actually lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty” (4/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Access To Family Planning Critical For Women's Economic Empowerment, CGD Experts Say

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Women’s Economic Empowerment Means Access to Family Planning Too
Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer and senior fellow at CGD, and Rachel Silverman, CGD senior policy analyst, write, “The development community was abuzz with a co-authored column in the Financial Times this week; Ivanka Trump and Jim Yong Kim teamed up to make the case for more aid in support of greater women’s economic participation and earnings. … But there is one intervention omitted from Ivanka and Jim’s must-do list: access to family planning as a pre-requisite and enabler of women’s economic empowerment.” Glassman and Silverman discuss how access to contraceptive methods contributes to women’s economic empowerment, concluding, “If genuinely committed to promoting women’s economic empowerment, we hope the [Trump] administration reconsiders cuts to the U.S. voluntary family planning program at USAID…” (4/27).

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CGD Report, Event Examine Disaster Response Funding

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: How to Make Disasters Predictable
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, examines a new CGD report that “looks at how we can pre-arrange disaster response funding using the principles and practices of insurance, so that countries get the money as soon as they need it and donors actually pay less in the long run. We launched the report at a recent CGD event with working group co-chairs Stefan Dercon — chief economist at DFID, professor of economics at Oxford University, and co-author of a book called Dull Disasters — and Owen Barder, CGD vice president and director of our Europe program. They were joined by two members of the working group: Alice Albright, head of the Global Partnership for Education, and Rowan Douglas of insurance group Willis Towers Watson. Today’s podcast brings you a flavor of that event” (4/27).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 310 of the “Global Fund Observer.” According to an editor’s note, “GFO #310 is a special, thematic issue of Global Fund Observer. In this issue, Aidspan examines challenges that arose in three sub-Saharan African countries — Uganda, Zimbabwe and Tanzania (Zanzibar) — during the preparation of funding requests to the Global Fund for the first window of the 2017-2019 funding cycle. Zanzibar submitted a program continuation request. Uganda and Zimbabwe both submitted full review requests. We believe that applicants who have yet to submit their funding requests can learn from the experiences of these three countries…” (4/28).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC, Partners Aim To Strengthen Immunization Efforts In South Sudan

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Strengthening Immunization in Challenging Settings
In this blog post, CDC’s Global Immunization Division in collaboration with in-country partners discuss the challenges and progress of routine immunization efforts in South Sudan, highlighting the importance of partnerships and country ownership. The blog post notes, “Despite the numerous challenges that exist in South Sudan, these collaborative efforts to strengthen the immunization program have begun to show what is possible. Increasing South Sudan [Ministry of Health (MOH)] ownership has begun to foster a sense of confidence, pride, motivation, and hope for the immunization program throughout the country” (4/27).

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USAID Podcast Interviews PMI Deputy Coordinator On Global Progress Toward Malaria Elimination

USAID Global Health: Interview with Dr. Bernard Nahlen, PMI Deputy Coordinator
In this podcast episode, Bernard Nahlen, PMI’s deputy coordinator, discusses “how he became personally involved in the fight against malaria and the global progress that has been achieved against malaria to date” (4/27).

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USAID's Maternal And Child Survival Program Publishes Special Section For World Malaria Day

USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program: Malaria: One Disease, Many Faces
Katrin DeCamp, web manager and senior communications specialist with MCSP, and Joel Bobeck, independent media specialist, present a special section published in recognition of World Malaria Day on April 25. “MCSP is playing a key role in ending malaria for good. Our work throughout Africa — and Burma in South East Asia — aims to ensure that all people at risk for the disease have access to preventative, diagnostic, and treatment services. Our focus remains on the most vulnerable (pregnant women and young children) while helping to strengthen health systems comprehensively to ensure increased coverage and lasting results…” (4/25).

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