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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

'She Decides' Initiative Announces More Than $300M Raised For Women's Reproductive, Sexual Health Programs In Developing Countries

Associated Press: Dutch fund for women’s sexual health tops $300 million
“The Dutch government says a campaign to raise funds for access to birth control, abortion, and women’s sexual health programs in developing nations has so far raised more than 260 million euros ($305 million)…” (7/28).

The Independent: International campaign raises more than $300m for women’s sexual health programs in developing countries
“…Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, started the ‘She Decides’ campaign … [which] was launched in January…” (Shugarman, 7/28).

NPR: Dutch-Led Fund Raises $300 Million To Replace U.S. Funding For Sexual Health
“…The fundraising effort began after President Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy. That’s a rule that says U.S. foreign aid cannot be sent to any organization that provides or ‘promotes’ abortion, which can include providing information about abortion…” (Domonoske, 7/28).

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Mexico City Policy Restrictions Will Hurt Organizations Providing HIV/AIDS Care, Support Services To Women In Southern Africa

The Guardian: Closing an HIV lifeline in Africa: the dire impact of Trump’s abortion crackdown
“…The lives of the poorest women in Southern Africa depend on organizations such as [Mozambique’s Amodefa — the Mozambican Association for Family Development]. Yet they will be among the worst affected by Donald Trump’s crackdown on family planning groups around the world. Advocates across the region say the move risks undermining progress in tackling HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa, one of the areas hardest hit by the epidemic. Trump’s re-introduction of the Mexico City policy, known as the ‘global gag rule,’ bans U.S. government funds from going to organizations with any links to abortion. It jeopardizes a wide range of health care clinics in dozens of countries because family planning advice is often bundled up with other provision…” (Bowker, 7/29).

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At IAS 2017, Experts Express Concern Over Potential U.S. Budget Cuts To Global AIDS Programs

CNN: Proposed U.S. budget cuts will help new HIV infections flourish, experts warn
“Fear and concern are consuming the minds of many experts in the field of HIV control and it’s not just because of the 1.8 million people that became newly infected with the virus, nor the one million who died of AIDS in 2016. … The largest supporter in the global fight against HIV and AIDS may be about to make drastic cuts to its level of support. That funder: the United States…” (Senthilingam, 7/28).

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UNAIDS, MSF Officials Discuss Recent News About HIV Treatment Access, Prevention Challenges With NPR

NPR: There’s Great News — And Grim News — In The Fight Against HIV/AIDS
“…For the first time, more than half of the 36.7 million people with HIV have access to treatment. … The news is a reminder of how the HIV/AIDS epidemic is ever-changing. There are promising trends. And there are setbacks as well. We talked with Annemarie Hou, chief of staff at UNAIDS, the United Nations program focused on HIV/AIDS, and Sharonann Lynch, HIV and TB policy adviser for Doctors Without Borders’ Access Campaign…” (Jacewicz, 7/28).

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USAID To Change Mission, Vision Statements, Seeks Feedback On Draft Statements

Devex: USAID is changing its mission statement
“…In an announcement to staff sent on Thursday and obtained by Devex, Acting Administrator Wade Warren asked for feedback on draft mission and vision statements USAID’s leadership team has already written. The effort is part of a broader redesign effort that President Donald Trump’s administration has initiated at the State Department and USAID. The new mission statement is meant to ‘guide and inform State and USAID at the start of a new administration,’ Warren wrote. It is the second rewrite of USAID’s mission and vision statements in less than four years…” (Igoe, 7/28).

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USAID Suspends New Applications For Development Innovation Ventures Program

Devex: USAID suspends new applications for DIV innovation program
“Development Innovation Ventures, a part of the U.S. Global Development Lab that focuses on supporting entrepreneurs with ‘breakthrough solutions,’ [stopped] accepting applications at the end of the day on Friday. The application window for DIV is ‘temporarily suspended beginning on July, 28, 2017, until further notice,’ a U.S. Agency for International Development spokesperson wrote Devex in an email, adding that ‘The temporary closure of the window does not mean a closure of the DIV program’…” (Saldinger/Cheney, 7/28).

NPR: U.S. Suspends Applications For ‘Innovative’ Anti-Poverty Efforts
“…Friday’s announcement puts a hold on a program that provides seed funding for innovative initiatives like developing low-cost smart tractors in Nigeria and running a peer support group for pregnant women in Nepal. … Since its founding in 2010, DIV has made nearly 170 awards for more than $90 million in more than 40 countries. Award recipients include NGOs, businesses, research groups, and universities…” (Murphy, 7/28).

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Christian Science Monitor Continues Series On African Nations' Food Security Challenges, Efforts To Strengthen Community Resilience

Christian Science Monitor: Can famine be checked as Africa faces its worst crisis since the 1980s?
“…[T]he threat [of drought and famine] many of these people face today may be less grave than it would have been for their parents and grandparents. Over the past two decades, African nations have learned valuable lessons about how to predict, if not prevent, droughts, and how to ward off famine by strengthening the defenses of the most vulnerable. From Madagascar to Ethiopia to Somalia and beyond, governments, international aid agencies, and the villagers they help are building up ‘community resilience’…” (Ford et al., 7/30).

Christian Science Monitor: How a 20-million-person crisis goes unseen
“The world is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, with 20 million people on the brink of famine, and hardly anybody knows about it. Out of the media spotlight, the droughts and civil conflicts that are pushing the Horn of Africa, Yemen, and Nigeria into starvation are going unnoticed. And the humanitarian agencies trying to help are struggling to collect the money they need to help…” (Ford, 7/28).

Christian Science Monitor: Amid persistent drought, a nation of herders plots a new course
“…The drought has killed 80 percent of the livestock that nomadic rural communities depend on in Somaliland alone, and forced 739,000 to move in search of water and food throughout Somalia. Heavy hitters like the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have scaled up their interventions, with everything from pre-positioning supplies, hygiene kits, and half a million measles vaccines to ringing alarm bells. So far, however, funding requirements of nearly $150 million are almost $50 million short…” (Peterson, 7/27).

Christian Science Monitor: Madagascar fights the subtler side of hunger: chronic malnutrition
“…Droughts and famines tend to afflict countries in cyclical fashion. But where chronic malnutrition is endemic, such as Madagascar, they strike harder — sharply increasing the risks for already vulnerable children, according to research led by professors at Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University. … Intervention comes at a fairly low price: $400 million — not much more than one of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films — would pay for a 10-year program to iodize salt, fortify wheat flour and oil with micronutrients, and teach pregnant women and young mothers what to feed their babies, says UNICEF’s nutrition investment plan…” (Ford, 7/26).

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Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen Continues Amid Conflict, Cholera Outbreak, Health Infrastructure Collapse

Deutsche Welle: Yemen: Between conflict and collapse
“Yemen has found itself in the middle of a humanitarian catastrophe. Even as the country battles with crumbling infrastructure, hunger, and disease, the Saudi Arabia-led military intervention continues…” (Knipp, 7/28).

NBC News: Yemen, Africa Crisis is Largest in the World, Aid Agencies Say
“…The situation in Yemen is being described as the ‘largest humanitarian crisis in the world,’ with a total of 20.7 million people in that country alone — 10.3 million of which are children — in desperate need of help, according to figures from Save the Children…” (Gubash, 7/3).

PRI: Unpaid doctors and nurses fight largest cholera epidemic on record
“Nurses and doctors have been working overtime in public hospitals — without pay — to keep pace with the cholera epidemic in Yemen, which has now infected an estimated 400,000 people across the country. An American documentarian recently took his film crew to a hospital in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa…” (Snyder, 7/28).

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Disputes Over Fertile Land, Growing Population, Climate Change Present Challenges For African Continent

New York Times: Loss of Fertile Land Fuels ‘Looming Crisis’ Across Africa
“…Population swells, climate change, soil degradation, erosion, poaching, global food prices, and even the benefits of affluence are exerting incredible pressure on African land. They are fueling conflicts across the continent, from Nigeria in the west to Kenya in the east … It is a two-headed problem, scientists and activists say, and it could be one of the gravest challenges Africa faces: The quality of farmland in many areas is getting worse, and the number of people squeezed onto that land is rising fast…” (Gettleman, 7/29).

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WHO Fair Pricing Meeting Report Summarizes Discussions On Medicine Affordability

Intellectual Property Watch: Report From WHO Fair Pricing Meeting Shows Balanced Discussion
“A wide range of governments and stakeholders attended a closed meeting in the Netherlands in May to address the ongoing problem of pricing medicines to pay for research and the resulting lack of affordability of those medicines. The report from the World Health Organization-led meeting shows a range of points were made by participants and signals a move to change the global policy…” (New, 7/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Recommendations For U.S. Foreign Aid Reform

Devex: Opinion: 4 pragmatic steps to jump-start foreign assistance reform
Cindy Huang and Jeremy Konyndyk, both senior policy fellows at the Center for Global Development

“…The administration and Congress, along with other partners, should better equip the U.S. to address the big development priorities that will define the next decade and beyond: State fragility, inclusive growth, global health, and humanitarian assistance. In the long run, this will require major changes to the U.S. development apparatus. … To be sustainable, it will need to be a collaborative process between Congress and the administration. … [T]here are a number of pragmatic steps that could be taken more immediately to jump start reform. … 1. Adapt foreign assistance to the realities of operating in fragile states. … 2. Focus on inclusive growth as a development objective. … 3. Reinforce — and grow — existing global health leadership. … 4. Streamline existing humanitarian aid efforts. … By implementing changes that enable greater value for money, the U.S. will be able to better maximize its impact within a flat or declining resource environment. … [T]hese would be important first steps toward an aid system that is ready to confront present and future challenges” (7/28).

Devex: Opinion: A new vision for U.S. foreign assistance
Dan Runde, director of the Project on Prosperity and Development and William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis at CSIS

“…In response to the Trump administration’s call for greater effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability in U.S. foreign assistance, the Center for Strategic and International Studies convened a bipartisan task force on foreign assistance reform and reorganization. … The 30 task force members … agreed to three big ideas that constitute the core recommendations of the group: 1. Maintain USAID as an independent agency overseeing federal foreign assistance efforts, develop a clearly articulated development strategy, and assign the USAID administrator as coordinator of foreign assistance. 2. Address duplication of effort and generate budget savings while maintaining functional coherence. 3. Modernize the personnel system, make the procurements system more efficient, and streamline reporting. … To meet [future] challenges we need an updated and strengthened American foreign aid program that is more catalytic, enables private investment and savings, and ensures that governments ‘mobilize their own resources.’ Now is the moment for new ideas and bold reform” (7/28).

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Health Systems Strengthening, Improving Treatment Access, Health Service Delivery Essential To Addressing Hepatitis C, Other Infectious Diseases

Washington Post: We can cure hepatitis C. But we’re now making the same mistake we did with AIDS.
Neil Gupta, instructor at Harvard Medical School and clinical director at Partners in Health, and Paul Farmer, professor at Harvard University, infectious disease physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and co-founder of Partners in Health

“…How can patients benefit from a cure if there is no testing available or if financial or geographic barriers prevent them from even reaching a health facility? This problem, of course, is not unique to hepatitis C. Inadequate or absent health systems have facilitated the explosive spread of cholera, Ebola, and drug-resistant tuberculosis. … [F]ar more needs to be done to build and rehabilitate broken — or nonexistent — health systems. Without them, we’re poorly equipped to fight other diseases, such as hepatitis C. Efforts are underway in several low- and middle-income countries … to test and treat neglected populations for hepatitis C and simplify care delivery. Such work is at the cutting edge of broadening global access to the now-available therapeutics. But it’s only the first step. Friday, as we mark World Hepatitis Day, let’s commit to learning from the past and to delivering on the promise of science and medicine to the benefit of those in need of them both” (7/28).

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Defense, Security Sector Reform Necessary To Address Development Challenges, Achieve SDGs

Financial Times: To meet the U.N. development goals, look to the security sector
Katherine Dixon, director for defense and security at Transparency International

“…All too often, the defense sector is front and center of sustaining the corrupt power structures that fuel inequality and popular frustration, and divert resources away from other vital public spending. This happens disproportionately in countries where development is most needed or inequality is most acute. … At the same time, the failure to tackle security issues compounds the development challenge. … We know that there are strong links between corruption and insecurity, so tackling defense sector corruption, improving trust in the armed forces, and disrupting organized criminal networks are essential steps to guaranteeing the delivery of more just, peaceful, and inclusive societies by 2030. It might cause discomfort to spend aid money improving the defense and security sector. But unless such institutions are reformed to operate in the best interests of their populations and held to account by elected officials and civil society, progress on poverty, hunger, and economic growth will be held back” (7/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Funders Push For More Transparency In Medical Research

Inside Philanthropy: Grantees, Reveal Thy Findings: A Push By Funders for Transparency in Medical Research
Till Bruckner, founder of TranspariMED and advocacy manager for Transparify, discusses efforts to address transparency in reporting clinical trial results, writing, “In an effort to combat research waste and speed up the discovery of new drugs, medical research funders have pledged to cut off funding to grantees who fail to meet basic transparency standards. … [A]round half of all clinical trials never report their results, and many others are badly reported, making no contribution to medical progress. … Confronted with an anti-regulatory environment in D.C., activists are increasingly looking to philanthropic funders to get more medical evidence into the public realm…” (7/28).

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FT Health Discusses Advice On Antibiotics, Features Interview With Chief Executive Of ViiV Healthcare

FT Health: Antibiotics under scrutiny
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses an article published in the BMJ that raises questions about antibiotic resistance and prescribing practices. The newsletter also features an interview with Deborah Waterhouse, chief executive of ViiV Healthcare, who discusses an experimental injectable HIV treatment, and provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack, 7/28).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. State Department Blog Post Highlights Achievements Of Employees During American Heroes Week

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: American Heroes Week: Saluting the Work of State Department and USAID Employees
Heather Nauert, a State Department spokesperson, discusses the achievements of U.S. Department of State and USAID employees, highlighting U.S. global health and humanitarian efforts and writing, “Our assistance abroad is a testament to the generosity and the goodwill of the American people” (7/28).

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