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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Rotary International, Gates Foundation, Several Nations Pledge Total Of $1.2B Toward Polio Eradication Efforts

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Rotary and Gates Foundation pledge $450 million to eradicate polio
“Rotary International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged [Monday] to raise $450 million to support the end of polio. The announcement was made in Atlanta Monday by Bill Gates and Rotary President John Germ during the 108th international meeting of Rotary International, which brings more than 40,000 Rotarians together to address such issues as disease, water and sanitation, and human trafficking. Rotary committed to raise $50 million annually over the next three years, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation…” (Poole, 6/12).

CNN: Why is it taking so long to rid the world of polio?
“…An additional $1.5 billion in funding will be necessary to complete the job of ridding the world of polio, Germ said. The good news is that Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates have all stepped up with new pledges, while the U.S. continues as the largest government funder of global polio eradication. All told, an additional $1.2 billion in funding was pledged at Monday’s event…” (Scutti, 6/12).

Devex: Polio: Closing in on zero
“…Pledges included $75 million from Canada; $61.4 million from the European Commission; and $55 million from Japan. The United States remains the largest government funder of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative — something Gates acknowledged in his remarks, before expressing concern about cuts to foreign aid in the U.S. and elsewhere. ‘Constant innovation has been key to improving vaccination coverage and reaching more children with the polio vaccine,’ said Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which is allocating $233 million to polio eradication this year…” (Cheney, 6/13).

Devex: As polio approaches elimination, transition poses risk
“…Advocates and international organizations now believe the transition to a post-polio world will be a pivotal, make-or-break moment for public health. A number of efforts are underway to plan for it now, including the World Health Organization’s recent polio transition planning document, launched at the World Health Assembly last month. … If and when polio is gone, however, much of the transition may fall to national governments. International funding stands to shrink dramatically. About 27 percent of WHO’s $587 million in spending in 2016 went to polio eradication efforts…” (Saldinger, 6/13).

Forbes: Gates Foundation And Rotary Pledge Additional $450 Million To End Polio
“…The money will fund both the administration of oral vaccinations in the countries where children are still at risk for contracting polio, and increase disease surveillance efforts, like testing sewage water, to detect where the virus could still be circulating in communities…” (Tindera, 6/12).

Wall Street Journal: Donors Fund Effort to Declare Polio Eradicated in 2020
“…The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which includes Rotary, the Gates Foundation, and other organizations, set the cost of polio eradication activities between 2013 and 2019 at $7 billion. The new pledges leave about $300 million still to be raised. The GPEI has missed previous deadlines that it set for eradicating polio … There is reason to hope the latest goal can be met … But some areas controlled by insurgent groups are still hard to reach…” (McKay, 6/12).

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Congressional Hearings On Foreign Aid Set To Shed Light On Republican Members' Views On Trump Administration's Proposed Cuts

Devex: Mapping Republican views on aid as budget discussions kick off in Congress
“Several hearings on foreign aid this week could offer the development community a hint of where members of Congress stand vis-a-vis the United States President Donald Trump administration’s proposed cuts to aid spending. Aid watchers are particularly interested in how Republican members of Congress question Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as he takes the stand in the coming days. The president’s ‘skinny’ budget has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle for its proposed drastic reduction to the aid budget. But it’s still unclear whether, where, and how much opposition there is in the Republican party to slashing foreign assistance…” (Saldinger, 6/13).

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WHO Regional Director For Africa Matshidiso Moeti Speaks To Devex About Reforms, Outbreak Preparedness

Devex: WHO AFRO reforms: A conversation with Dr. Matshidiso Moeti
“At the height of the Ebola outbreak that was sweeping across West Africa, in February 2015, a new director for the World Health Organization’s regional office for Africa stepped in: Dr. Matshidiso Moeti from Botswana. … Devex spoke with Moeti to take stock of the reforms and her confidence in her office’s response, should the region face another public health emergency…” (Ravelo, 6/13).

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German Development Minister Calls For 10B Euro Global Emergency Relief Fund, Cites Rising Food Insecurity In East Africa

Humanosphere: As U.S. gets stingy on foreign aid, Germany calls on others to step up
“Germany wants to start a new global emergency relief fund just as the U.S. announces its intention to leave the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund, the latest move by the Trump administration to diminish America’s role in foreign aid. … German Development Minister Gerd Mueller re-upped his call for a 10 billion Euro emergency fund over the weekend. He cited the rising hunger rates in East Africa as an example…” (Murphy, 6/12).

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Nearly 1 In 3 People Worldwide Overweight, Increasing Risk Of Illness, Death, Study Shows

Associated Press: Obesity rising in nations rich and poor, especially in kids
“The global obesity problem now affects one in 10 people in the world, it is rising in countries rich and poor, and in many countries it is increasing faster in children than adults, according to a new study. The researchers estimated more than 107 million children and 603 million adults are obese…” (Stobbe, 6/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Nearly a third of world overweight, risking illness and death — study
“…Some four million people died of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other ailments linked to excess weight in 2015, bringing death rates related to being overweight up 28 percent on 1990, according to the research. ‘People who shrug off weight gain do so at their own risk,’ said Christopher Murray [of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington], one of the authors of the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Bacchi, 6/12).

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Number Of Cholera-Related Deaths Nears 1K In Yemen; Oxfam Estimates 300K Cases By Year's End

Al Jazeera: Yemen cholera crisis: Disease kills ‘one person per hour’
“A cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen is a threat to millions living in desperate conditions. More than 100,000 people have fallen ill in the past month. Two years of war are already putting a huge strain on hospitals, and thousands of cholera victims cannot get treatment. The international charity group Oxfam says the disease is killing one person an hour…” (Smith, 6/13).

IRIN: Cholera can kill quickly. In Yemen, it’s taking one life an hour
“…According to the latest (and always growing) numbers, 923 people have died of cholera in Yemen since the end of April, 532 in May alone. For comparison, the U.N. recorded violent deaths of 98 civilians in May. … The U.N. counts more than 124,000 suspected cholera cases in the country. UNICEF and the World Health Organization estimate this figure will more than double by the end of the year, while Oxfam Country Director Sajjad Mohammed Sajid told IRIN he fears the additional number of cases could be closer to 300,000 by then…” (Slemrod, 6/12).

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Bhutan, Maldives Become First Countries In SE Asia To Eliminate Measles, WHO Says

Associated Press: WHO: Maldives, Bhutan have eliminated measles
“The World Health Organization said Tuesday that Bhutan and the Maldives have eliminated measles, becoming the first countries in their region to stop the highly contagious disease. The Maldives has not reported any case of indigenous measles since 2009, and Bhutan since 2012, WHO said…” (6/13).

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WHO Moves Snakebite Envenoming To List Of 20 Priority Neglected Diseases

STAT: Snakebite finally makes a WHO list of top global health priorities
“In a decision public health activists are calling both landmark and long overdue, the World Health Organization has placed snakebite envenoming on its list of top 20 priority neglected tropical diseases — giving it the highest possible ranking for diseases of its kind. The move could spur new efforts in the decades-long battle to limit the global toll of snakebite, which kills more than 100,000 each year and maims and cripples millions more…” (McFarling, 6/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Community Far From Meeting Funding Goals Needed To Prevent Famine In Africa

The Guardian: Nigeria’s food crisis: by the time famine is declared, it’s too late
Amy Harrison, technical specialist in gender and conflict at Social Development Direct

“…North-east Nigeria has long suffered from geographical marginalization and chronic underdevelopment, but it was the rise of Boko Haram that brought the region to international attention. … My Nigerian colleagues have seen this famine coming for years. This is the cruel irony — by the time food insecurity starts to acquire the F-word label, it’s too late. … In January, the U.N. issued an appeal for $1.05 billion to reach 6.9 million people in north-east Nigeria, predictably far too late to avert what is eight years in the making. As of May, only $24 million had been donated, and the U.N. response is due to run out of money at any time. The situation is desperately sad and not likely to improve any time soon. … Perhaps the first step to cutting through the web is to understand and engage a little more. That way, people suffering on the other side of the world will not remain an anonymous other…” (6/12).

New York Times: A Fierce Famine Stalks Africa
Nadifa Mohamed, author

“…Today six million people are at risk of starvation in Somalia, and another fourteen million in South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen. It is the gravest emergency since the Second World War, according to the United Nations. … In 2011 international donors were slow to respond and delivered aid after the majority of the … victims of famine had already perished. Today news of death from cholera or thirst even from areas without roads is shared on Somali social media within the day. … The funds needed to prevent famine in Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, and Nigeria are far from being met by the international community, the United Nations’ appeal for Somalia is reportedly under target by 57 percent, and underfunding has already cost lives in all four countries. … As Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, proceeds, people on the verge of starvation are turning their hunger to a spiritual cause. It opens up the question of how the richer Muslim countries will respond to the tragedy threatening their impoverished co-religionists…” (6/12).

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WHO Director General's Political Skills Could Be 'Invaluable' To Advancing Universal Health Coverage

The Lancet Global Health: Gravitating towards universal health coverage in the new WHO era
Editorial Board

“…The new WHO [director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,] has laid out his priorities and first on the list is a familiar challenge: advancing universal health coverage (UHC). … [Tedros] has qualified the lack of political commitment, rather than lack of resources, as the biggest constraint for progress in UHC. … Venturing into politically charged terrain is tricky for WHO. The level of comfort is high on technical issues like financing and governance, but work on the political determinants and the political economy of UHC, while key for successful reforms, is not as conspicuous. Yet advocating for the outcome rather than the means to get to UHC, as Tedros has said should be WHO’s strategy, requires it. As Ethiopia’s former minister of foreign affairs, he has undoubtedly gained key experience in high-level political engagement. Those sharp political skills will be invaluable in forging the new road ahead” (July 2017).

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African Governments Must Channel Funds To Health Priorities, Depend Less On External Aid

The Conversation: With an African running the WHO, it’s time for the continent to get hands on
Oyewale Tomori, president of the Nigerian Academy of Science

“New World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus has already drawn up a list of things to do. The former Ethiopian health minister wants the organization to work with governments to build their national capacity for universal health coverage through strong and resilient health systems. Secondly, he wants to strengthen the WHO’s response to threats such as disease outbreaks. And finally he wants to see the WHO harmonize emergency responses across partners while bolstering frontline defenses at national and local levels. … The reality is that each African country must provide adequate domestic resources to create environments where health workers can get the job done. This would need leaders on the continent to use these resources in an accountable and transparent way with less dependence on external aid and global support. … The bottom line is that extra spending by African governments needs to be channeled to the three areas outlined by the director general. Without this, his ambitious plans for improving health care on the continent won’t be realized” (6/11).

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Europe, World Must Address Environmental Risks To Health To Achieve SDGs

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Sustainable Development Goals for environment and health are within Europe’s reach, but we need to act better
Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of the WHO Regional Office for Europe

“The time has come for Europe and the world to tackle the 21st century’s unavoidable challenge: to address the persistent, multiple effects of the environment on our health. … No country is absolved of its responsibility to safeguard, together with others, the only planet that we have and save it for the future generations from climate change and from exceeding planetary boundaries. … Tackling environmental risks to health to meet the new goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will require unprecedented collaboration, alignment, and effort across all governmental levels and sectors. Countries have to strategically streamline beneficial environment and health policies across their SDG priorities. … To meet the new global targets, Europe’s leaders will need to emphasize environmental interventions with a human health focus. … We must continue to set an example in the advancement towards global goals, minimizing harm to citizens and the environment no matter where it occurs and acting as a catalyst for change by taking action at home” (6/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

The Lancet Publishes Systematic Review Examining Innovative Financing Instruments For Global Health From 2002-2015

The Lancet Global Health: Innovative financing instruments for global health 2002-15: a systematic analysis
Rifat Atun, professor and director of the Global Health Systems Cluster at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Sachin Silva, consultant at the WHO and doctoral candidate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; and Felicia M. Knaul, professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine and director of the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas at the University of Miami, conducted a systematic review to examine innovative financing instruments (IFIs) in order to estimate the mobilization of funds for global health from 2002 to 2015. The authors note, “The ten IFIs analyzed collectively accounted for around $8.9 billion (2.3 percent) of the $391.4 billion in DAH generated between 2002 and 2015, and have the potential to attain larger scale. Much of the new funding raised using IFIs were channeled through [Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance], the Global Fund, and UNITAID” (July 2017).

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CGD Blog Post Discusses Key U.S. Development Issues Ahead Of Congress's FY18 Budget Hearings

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Secretary Tillerson to Testify, Tough Budget Questions Ahead
Erin Collinson, senior associate for policy outreach at CGD, discusses key issues “that deserve greater scrutiny” when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testifies to Congress about the FY 2018 international affairs budget request. Collinson highlights issues such as “[p]rioritizing near-term foreign policy objectives over sustainable development” and “[t]argeting assistance to maximize efficiency,” and concludes, “In addition to being called upon to explain massive spending cuts, Tillerson is likely to face questions about the structure of the institutions tasked with delivering US foreign assistance. … [W]e’ll be watching closely to see what gets asked — and answered — in the days ahead” (6/12).

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U.N. Dispatch Examines Canada's 'First Feminist International Assistance Policy'

U.N. Dispatch: This What a Feminist Foreign Policy Looks Like
Penelope Starr, a strategy and communications professional and U.N. Dispatch correspondent, reports on Canada’s “first feminist international assistance policy,” which “is very likely the first explicitly feminist aid policy ever officially launched by a donor country.” Starr concludes, “With the reinstatement of reactionary policies such as the global gag rule, the timing for Canada’s new policy to launch couldn’t have been better — the sharp contrast with the current American approach makes it appear all the more bold and ambitious” (6/12).

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