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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump To Urge Global Action On Hunger Crises In 4 Nations, Officials Say

POLITICO: Trump administration wants to rally world to stop ‘four famines’
“…Food and water shortages, caused by conflict as well as climate, are threatening to tip parts of Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan into famine, risking at least 20 million lives. In the coming days, the White House is planning to rally other governments to do more to prevent the calamity, several Trump administration officials told POLITICO. The officials declined to offer details, but one likely forum for the president to make such a push is [this] week’s G20 summit in Germany. … It’s not clear, however, whether other governments will listen to an American president who has proposed gutting the U.S. foreign aid budget and rattled even longstanding allies with his isolationist streak…” (Toosi, 6/30).

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Trump Administration Drops Plans For Executive Order Requiring All U.S. Food Aid To Be Shipped On American Vessels

Reuters: Exclusive: Trump drops plans for order tightening food aid shipping rules — sources
“President Donald Trump’s administration has dropped plans for an executive order that will require all U.S. food aid to be transported on American ships after members of Congress protested, congressional and aid sources said on Friday. Reuters reported on Thursday that Trump was considering issuing an order that would have increased to 100 percent the current requirement that 50 percent of such aid be transported on U.S.-flagged vessels…” (Zengerle, 6/30).

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State Department Not Adequately Tracking Foreign Aid Budget, Agency's OIG Says In New Report

CNN: Report: State Department failing to adequately track foreign aid
“A government watchdog on Friday criticized the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development for not adequately tracking the over $30 billion they spend annually on foreign assistance, as the administration seeks dramatic cuts to its foreign aid budget. In a new report, the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General — an independent arm of the agency that provides oversight of its programs — chided the government, saying it ‘cannot obtain timely and accurate data necessary to provide central oversight of foreign assistance activities and meet statutory and regulatory reporting requirements’…” (Koran, 6/30).

The Hill: Watchdog says State Dept. failing to adequately track foreign aid
“…The report released by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General noted that the department has failed to build infrastructure for tracking billions of dollars in foreign aid despite being ordered to do so in 2015. … The report’s summary faults the State Department, saying it ‘had not complied with the report’s recommendation’ in 2015. … Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan responded to the report in a memo, saying the department accepted the watchdog recommendations and would begin implementing them” (Bowden, 7/1).

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U.S. Disease Outbreak Experts Discuss Pandemic Preparedness At Aspen Ideas Festival

The Atlantic: How the World Can Prepare for the Next Pandemic
“Global outbreaks like the 2014 episode of Ebola are a certainty in a connected world, which means public health authorities have to think across borders too. … [The article summarizes] a discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic…” (Graham, 6/30).

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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Delivers First Speech To Agency Staff, Emphasizes Health As Human Right

Devex: Tedros gives first address to WHO staff: ‘My door will always be open’
“The new director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has outlined three overarching priorities in his first address to staff this week — emphasizing an open leadership style and a commitment to listening to staff concerns. Reflecting the priorities emphasized during his leadership campaign and the transition period following his election in May, Tedros spoke about achieving universal health care coverage; measuring and delivering results, including bringing more efficiency and value for money to WHO’s work in the hope of gaining the trust of member states, partners and donors; and engaging and motivating staff…” (Ravelo, 7/4).

Intellectual Property Watch: New WHO Director Tedros’s Opening Vision: People First
“…[H]e restated the top four priorities he said came from WHO member states during the year-long campaign. The priorities are: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health; [and] health impacts of climate and environmental change. Of these, he said universal health coverage ‘is at the center,’ stressing women and children in particular…” (New, 7/4).

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Australia's Family Planning Foreign Aid Halved, NGOs Call For Increase In Funding To Help Fill Gap Left By Trump Administration

The Guardian: Aid groups lambast Coalition for halving family planning foreign aid
“Aid groups have attacked the Australian government for slashing its foreign aid spending on family planning and urged it to fill a leadership void left by the Trump administration. Australia’s aid funding for family planning has halved from $46.4m in 2013/14 to AU$23.7m in 2015/16, according to new figures on the nation’s overseas development assistance budget…” (Knaus, 7/5).

RN Breakfast/ABC: Family planning foreign aid halved despite policy pledges, says women’s health charity
“…Marie Stopes International Australia says an analysis of DFAT foreign aid data shows while foreign aid spending is declining overall, spending on family planning as a proportion of that budget has shrunk further. It’s calling on the Turnbull government to significantly increase aid spending on family planning in the lead up to major World Health Organization summit in London…” (Extel, 7/5).

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World Faces Worst Hunger Crisis Since WWII, FAO Director Says

Inter Press Service: Progress on World Hunger Has Reversed
“World hunger has increased, reversing years of progress, said a U.N. specialized agency. During its biennial conference held in Rome, Italy from 3-8 July, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted that the world is facing its worst food crisis since World War II. … The concerning trends comes just two years after the adoption of the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals which includes targets to eradicate hunger by 2030…” (Yakupitiyage, 7/3).

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DR Congo, WHO Declare End Of Ebola Outbreak After 42 Days, 4 Deaths

The Atlantic: How the Democratic Republic of the Congo Beat Ebola in 42 Days
“…With the last confirmed patient having tested negative for the virus for the second time in a row, the WHO declared an end to the outbreak on Sunday. Just four people had died, and just four more had become infected. This swift resolution was partly a matter of luck. … But just as importantly, once the first cases were confirmed, the response was fast, decisive, and coordinated — all qualities that were initially missing in West Africa…” (Yong, 7/3).

Nature: Ebola outbreak in Africa ends — but gaps in public health leave region vulnerable
“…On 2 July, the Congolese government and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the DRC outbreak — but public health officials caution that its low death toll doesn’t prove that the world has learnt all the lessons of the West African crisis. They credit the fact that only four people died to the expertise of Congolese officials, who had dealt with seven previous Ebola outbreaks, and to the remoteness of the northern Bas Uele province where the outbreak occurred…” (Hayden, 7/2).

Quartz: The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo is over
“…Going forward, WHO says it will, in partnership with the DR Congo government, work to ensure that the four survivors who recovered from the being infected by the virus have continued access to health care and are successfully reintegrated into the local community without stigmatization…” (Kazeem, 7/3).

Reuters: Congo declares Ebola outbreak over after four deaths
“…Congolese health authorities approved the use of a new experimental vaccine but ultimately declined to deploy it due to the small scale of the outbreak and logistical challenges…” (Ross/Uwiringiyimana, 7/1).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency declares end to latest Ebola outbreak in DR Congo
“…U.N. officials said the response was ‘effective’ and praised ‘the timely alert by local authorities of suspect cases, immediate testing of blood samples due to strengthened national laboratory capacity, the early announcement of the outbreak by the government, rapid response activities by local and national health authorities with the robust support of international partners, and speedy access to flexible funding’…” (7/3).

Wall Street Journal: Democratic Republic of Congo Declares End of Ebola Epidemic
“…The virus affected [eight] people, four of whom died, in an equatorial forest area near Congo’s border with the Central African Republic, according to the public health ministry. There were nearly 100 other suspected cases of the virus but none tested positive, according to health officials. The first victim died on April 24 but the outbreak was only confirmed as Ebola on May 12…” (Bariyo, 7/2).

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Haitian Cholera Epidemic Could End By 2018, Health Ministry, U.N. Officials Say

Reuters: Haiti could stem cholera epidemic by end 2018: health officials
“Haiti could stem its seven-year-long cholera epidemic by the end of 2018 as the number of reported cases has dropped sharply, government and United Nations officials said. The health ministry said Haiti has had about 7,400 suspected new cholera cases since the start of the year, compared with almost 20,200 at the same point last year…” (Brice, 7/3).

U.N. News Centre: After ‘successful’ visit to Haiti, Security Council notes window of opportunity for reforms
“Haiti has a window of opportunity to implement reforms necessary to bring the Caribbean country onto a path of stability and development, the United Nations Security Council president said [Friday]. … The main issue which came up at every meeting, and which requires the council’s attention, [Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz of Bolivia] said, was cholera. Concerns over cholera were vital to all aspects of Haiti’s future, from water and sanitation concerns to its development and stability, he noted…” (6/30).

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Some Liberian Communities Threaten Women With Penalties Unless They Give Birth In Health Centers; Some U.S. Experts Question Effectiveness

New York Times: Enticing Pregnant Women in Liberia to Give Birth in Health Centers
“…Local clinicians say they are seeing more women deliver in hospitals as a result [of some Liberian communities’ policies that encourage women to give birth in health centers by threatening financial penalties — a practice aimed at curbing maternal deaths]. … But American experts fear the practice might deter those who deliver at home from visiting a hospital or a clinic for other health care. It is also unclear if the practice actually saves more mothers’ lives…” (Pattani, 7/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Suggest Priorities For New WHO Director General

STAT: New WHO leader should focus on the crushing burden of noncommunicable diseases and injuries
Gene Bukhman, cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, director of the Program in Global Noncommunicable Disease and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, and co-chair of The Lancet Commission on Reframing Non-communicable Diseases and Injuries for the Poorest Billion; and Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, author, and a member of The Lancet Commission

“…As practitioners and advocates for improving the health of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, we applaud Tedros and WHO for their commitment to assuring universal health coverage for all. At the same time, we want to call his attention to a critical gap in the global agenda for health equity and universal health coverage — the crushing but largely overlooked burden of noncommunicable diseases and injuries on the world’s poorest people and communities. … To provide a holistic offering that addresses the noncommunicable diseases and injuries of people living in poverty as a key to achieving universal health coverage, the organization will need to streamline and strengthen its capacity to develop guidelines for a number of the conditions that specifically cause excess mortality among people living in poverty, which it currently lacks. In addition, it should adapt its technical assistance strategy to support country-based priority-setting processes and not assume that globally produced, one-size-fits-all templates will be sufficient…” (7/5).

Huffington Post: The Right Person at the Right Time for Global Health
Mark Dybul, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Global Health and Quality at Georgetown University

“…Tedros is among the most visionary leaders and capable managers I have ever met. … [As Ethiopia’s minister of health, Tedros] succeeded for two fundamental reasons: he set a clear direction with goals and accountability, adjusting as the data on the ground required, and; he rapidly reorganized, reformed, and repopulated the ministry. … The vast experience, expertise, and skill the new director general has honed over a highly successful career of public service will be needed to build on Dr. Chan’s advances to transform WHO. … When a new leader takes over, especially in an international organization of more than 190 member states, there is a tendency for everyone to provide their view of what should be done and who should be hired. It is my great hope that we will all resist that temptation, step back, recognize that a highly transparent process selected a tremendous leader with vision who is also a great manager, and give him space to do what he has done so well for so long: be a spectacularly successful transformational leader” (7/3).

The Guardian: Six jobs the new World Health Organization leader should prioritize
Mukesh Kapila, professor of global health and humanitarian affairs at the University of Manchester

“…[Tedros’s] election signals a changed global mood. … Faced with many more borderless health threats including climate change and, with increasing discontent fueled by widening global health inequalities, they voted for change. But will Tedros be the change the troubled global health body needs? He has declared health to be a basic human right and said: ‘All roads lead to universal health coverage. Because UHC means leaving no one behind.’ If he wants to have a real impact though, the following should be on his to do list: Promote home-grown national solutions … Remember WHO does not have a monopoly on health wisdom … Hire diverse talent … But don’t get bogged down in internal reform … Look beyond traditional thought leaders … Accept WHO has to live with its means … He has fired-up the hopes and imaginations of people worldwide. He must not let them down. Acting boldly and quickly according to his own moral values will be the best guarantee of that” (7/1).

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World Must Follow U.K.'s Lead On 4 Hunger Crises In Africa, Middle East

Washington Post: Letter to the Editor: A call to action to prevent starvation
Tim Singleton, director of communications for the U.K. Department for International Development

“…As [Jackson Diehl’s June 26] op-ed noted, [the four simultaneous crises in Africa and the Middle East] are worryingly underreported. It is wrong, however, to suggest that ‘no one is paying attention.’ Britain was the first donor to call out this crisis, and lifesaving aid from the United Kingdom is reaching those in desperate need. We have lobbied others to do more and pressed international partners to disburse funding more quickly. … The international community must come forward with the additional support needed, deliver promptly on their funding promises, and push for an end to the violence that is driving the risk of multiple famines…” (7/4).

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Global Community Must Help Nations Translate 'Development In Transition' To 'Development In Action'

Devex: Opinion: It’s time to change the way we think about development policy
Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United Nations; Stefano Manservisi, director general of the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission; and Mario Pezzini, director of the Development Centre at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and special adviser to the OECD secretary general on development

“…If we, as a global community, are serious now about ensuring prosperity for all through the universal and comprehensive 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, then we must close all remaining gaps. And this means changing the way we think about development policy. … For countries experiencing what we call ‘development in transition’ — moving from one income group to another — the opportunities and the challenges are enormous, including the prospect of reduced or no development financing and technical assistance. … New partnerships, more dialogue, better measurements, and more innovative tools will all be necessary for a sustained transition. They are at the heart of ensuring the right policies and approaches needed to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and to ensure lasting development results. Our priority now is to translate ‘development in transition’ into ‘development in action,’ which expands opportunities for all countries and people” (7/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

FT Health Discusses World Bank's Pandemic Bonds, Features Interview With Shire Pharmaceuticals CEO

FT Health: Can financial innovation help prevent catastrophes?
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses the World Bank’s launch of pandemic bonds to help fund disease outbreak responses and features an interview with Flemming Ornskov, chief executive of the pharmaceuticals group Shire. In addition, the newsletter provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack, 6/30).

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July 2017 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The July 2017 WHO Bulletin includes editorials, news, and research and policy articles on various issues, including universal health coverage, alcohol use, Zika, and maternal and child health care (July 2017).

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