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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President's Malaria Initiative Helped Save Nearly 2M Children In Africa Through 2014, Study Shows

New York Times: U.S. Malaria Donations Saved Almost 2 Million African Children
“Over the last decade, American donations to fight malaria in Africa have saved the lives of nearly two million children, according to a new analysis of mortality rates in 32 countries there. The study, published by PLOS Medicine this month, looked at the long-term effects of the President’s Malaria Initiative, a program started by President George W. Bush in 2005… The results debunk one of the persistent myths of foreign aid: that it has no effect because more children survive each year anyway as economies improve…” (McNeil, 6/26).

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U.S. Senators Express Concerns Over Experimental Zika Vaccine License, Accessibility, Pricing

STAT: More lawmakers want the Army to hold a hearing on Zika vaccine pricing
“A half dozen U.S. senators want the U.S. Army to hold a public hearing to explore the controversy over the pricing of a Zika virus vaccine that Sanofi is developing with taxpayer dollars. In a letter sent on Monday to Acting U.S. Secretary of the Army Robert Speer, the lawmakers expressed concerns that a vaccine would not be ‘accessible and affordable’ for many Americans, since the company may win an exclusive license to develop the technology and have ‘monopolistic’ rights through 2036…” (Silverman, 6/26).

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U.N. Efforts To Address Cholera In Haiti Continue To Fall Short

New York Times: U.N. Brought Cholera to Haiti. Now It Is Fumbling Effort to Atone.
“Even as the United Nations expresses growing alarm over a cholera outbreak in war-ravaged Yemen, the organization is increasingly worried about the fallout from a stubborn cholera scourge in Haiti that was caused by its own peacekeepers more than six years ago. A $400 million voluntary trust fund for Haiti to battle cholera was created last year by Ban Ki-moon, then the secretary general, … [b]ut the fund, meant in part to compensate cholera victims, garnered only a few million dollars and is now nearly empty. … And on Friday, United Nations officials were served with a reminder that their effort to shield the organization from Haiti cholera lawsuits by asserting diplomatic immunity might not necessarily work…” (Gladstone, 6/26).

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Technology Presents 'Big Opportunity' For Universal Health Coverage In Africa, Regional WHO Director Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Technology can accelerate universal health care in Africa — WHO
“Integrating technology into Africa’s health care systems is key to opening them up faster to the poorest and most vulnerable people, the World Health Organization’s Africa director said. Using more technology presents a ‘big opportunity’ for rolling out universal health coverage in the region, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti told the Thomson Reuters Foundation ahead of the first WHO Africa Health Forum this week in Rwanda…” (Lazareva, 6/27).

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Melinda Gates Discusses Foundation's Efforts To Improve Access To Contraceptives Among Women Worldwide

PEOPLE: Melinda Gates: Contraceptives Are ‘One of the Greatest Antipoverty Innovations’ in the World
“It comes as no surprise that Melinda Gates — who has helped millions of people around the world — loves America for many reasons. ‘We’re a nation of optimists,’ she tells PEOPLE in this week’s special 100 Reasons to Love America double issue. … ‘Everything we do at the foundation is grounded in our belief that all lives have equal value,’ she says. ‘So, we’re always trying to find opportunities where a relatively small investment can have an outsized impact on people’s lives. That’s why we invest in contraceptives around the world’…” (Keating, 6/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Foreign Aid Contributes To U.S. Interests, National Security

Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid Is About U.S. Interests
Daniel Runde, William A. Schreyer chair at CSIS

“Seventy years ago this month, at Harvard’s commencement, Gen. George C. Marshall … announced a plan to aid post-war Europe with a massive aid package … The Marshall Plan, as it would come to be known, is now synonymous with ‘massive foreign aid,’ ‘vision,’ and above all, ‘success.’ … [O]ur foreign aid has never just been about merely doing good. Ever since the end of World War II, it has always also been recognized to be in our own interest. Rebuilding Europe was a project deeply linked to U.S. national security and U.S. job stability and growth. Communism was a clear and present danger to our way of life then — just as terrorism, drug-financed criminal gangs, and pandemics like Ebola are threats now. The plan hoped to stabilize European economies, improve their quality of life, and facilitate European cooperation. … Can aid be more effective? Yes. Can it be managed better? Yes. But is U.S. foreign assistance still needed? Yes. As we remember the Marshall Plan — that incredible act of enlightened self-interest — let us also recall that our charity of 70 years ago still contributes to U.S. peace and prosperity today” (6/26).

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Analyzing Private Sector Involvement In Health Sector Vital To Strengthening Health Systems, Achieving UHC

Devex: Opinion: Global health — why we need win-win solutions
Neven Mimica, E.U. commissioner for international cooperation and development

“…[I]ncreased engagement with the private sector offers incredible opportunities and at the same time carries risks. … That is why it is all the more important to look out for win-win situations … We always analyze very closely when private involvement in the health sector is beneficial and how potential risks have to be addressed. When doing so, we consider the following three issues: 1. Will private involvement benefit the health system and promote [universal health coverage (UHC)] beyond the life cycle of a specific joint initiative by the public hand and the private sector? 2. Can the involvement of the private sector help to address very specific challenges — such as antimicrobial resistance, access to affordable medicines and vaccines, or mental health — in a sustainable way, and thus complement the existing health system? 3. What type of oversight and governance should our partner countries’ ministries of health or associated agencies provide in order to maximize benefit and minimize harm? And in the long run, how can they do so with their own resources and independently of development assistance. Bearing all of this in mind, we should welcome and encourage the private sector to propose and participate in innovative solutions towards UHC…” (6/26).

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Health, Development Of African Youth Key To Achieving SDGs On Continent

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Young people are key to a healthy future for Africa
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa

“…Africa has to look at how to harness the energy of its youth to create a health system that suits all. … The health and development of Africa’s adolescents is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to health. … [W]e need an approach to health care access that is focused on youth. It will require new and innovative ways of working and interacting with young people. We need targeted and coordinated systems in place to protect our youth — and for them to become responsible citizens, we also need to invest in them: Our continent’s future lies in the health of the youth. We should educate our youngest generations and encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles, work together to create holistic solutions to continental problems — this requires collective commitment, cross-sectoral collaboration, and a ‘health in all policies’ approach to reinforce the point that no individual body, government, or group can do this alone in the current global context. Universal health coverage begins with our youth. We need to act now to safeguard their future” (6/26).

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Biggest Threat To CEPI's Goals Is 'Not Scientific, But Political'

New York Times: Stopping Pandemics Before They Start
Tina Rosenberg, author and a co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network

“…Over the next five years, [the Center for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)] aims to develop multiple viable vaccine candidates against three pathogens: Lassa fever, Nipah, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. … One of CEPI’s goals is to create simpler, more agile structures for approvals. CEPI’s second goal is to create a vaccine delivery system that can be quickly adapted to stem new pathogens … CEPI also aims to achieve full approval and manufacture for the Ebola vaccine … CEPI has no manufacturing facilities. It will, instead, finance research and development at pharmaceutical or biotech companies. CEPI will require its awardees to sell vaccines to the poorest and lower-middle-income countries (more likely, to donors who will buy vaccine for them) at the lowest possible price. … CEPI’s value may go beyond the success of any single vaccine. The organization’s ability to streamline a vaccine process will likely matter more than any new product, said Seth Berkley, the chief executive of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance … The biggest threat to this mission is not scientific, but political — our short attention span…” (6/27).

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E.U. Court's Decision On Vaccines Disregards Scientific Evidence

Foreign Policy: Science Won’t Save Vaccines From Lawsuits Anymore
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“This week, the highest court of the European Union handed opponents of basic public health their greatest legal victory in recent memory. At a time [with] widening measles outbreaks across Europe and a growing pattern of parents refusing to immunize children, the Court of Justice of the European Union — the rough equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court — decided that courts across the continent may weigh whether a vaccine caused an illness regardless of whether or not there is any scientific evidence linking the two. … Today, in the absence of proof or rational evidence, well-educated people living in the richest countries of the world believe that hepatitis vaccines cause demyelination of their musculature, leading to MS; that measles/mumps/rubella combination vaccines reshape babies’ brains, rendering them autistic; that human papillomavirus vaccines cause mental retardation rather than protecting girls from death by cervical cancer; that ‘too many’ vaccines are given to babies, making them weak or stunted. And now, thanks to the Court of Justice of the European Union, every one of those crackpot theories can be presented in a European court of law, absent the merest modicum of evidence” (6/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PATH Policy Brief Makes Recommendations For U.S. Malaria Programs

PATH: Accelerating U.S. Progress in Combating Malaria Worldwide: Recommendations for Maximizing Investments Toward a World Free From Malaria
“PATH lays out recommendations for the U.S. administration and Congress to accelerate progress toward a malaria-free world. By fully funding malaria programs, intensifying support for research and development, and leveraging U.S. influence globally, the United States can take a decisive step toward eradicating malaria and a healthier future for all…” (June 2017).

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Quality Data, Information Can Guide Action Across Global Health, Development Issues

Council on Foreign Relations: Data for Development: The Case for Information, Not Just Data
In this guest blog post, Daniela Ligiero, CEO and executive director of the Together for Girls partnership, discusses the importance of collecting and sharing quality data and information, writing, “As we gather in New York next month to assess progress on the SDGs, let’s not forget that, in addition to having more and better data, we also need to make better use of the data we already have, transforming it into useful information to guide action for the betterment of people and planet” (6/26).

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CGD Blog Post Summarizes Roundtable Discussion On Reducing Antibiotic Use In Farm Animals

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Onwards and Upwards: Strengthening Global Cooperation to Address Antimicrobial Resistance
Janeen Madan Keller, policy analyst; Kimberly Ann Elliott, visiting fellow; and Charles Kenny, senior fellow, all with CGD, write, “Earlier this year we outlined key elements of a global treaty to reduce antibiotic use in farm animals in this CGD policy paper. This (admittedly ambitious) global treaty … would support much-needed research, surveillance, and data collection; establish a framework for binding commitments and targets that would evolve over time; and create a mechanism to encourage participation from low- and middle-income countries. A couple of weeks ago, we convened a roundtable discussion with technical experts to build on this idea and assess how a treaty could contribute to global efforts to address AMR. Here’s a rundown of what we learned (without any attribution since the discussion took place under Chatham House rules)…” (6/26).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Working With Guinea's Health System To Restore Public's Trust In Medical Facilities Post-Ebola Epidemic

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Ebola Aftermath: Restoring Trust in Hospitals in Guinea
Mariama Keita, a communication and partnership adviser in the Office of Sustainable Development of USAID’s Africa Bureau, writes, “In the aftermath of the 2014-2016 epidemic and in the face of its reemergence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, USAID is working with partners, communities, and policymakers to help Guinea recover and stay resilient. Through a combination of hospital renovations, medical equipment donations, and community engagement, we are rebuilding the people’s trust in the health care system so [residents] will resume using hospitals and clinics…” (6/26).

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U.S. State Department Official Recognizes World Drug Day, Recommits To Countering Illegal Drug Trade Worldwide

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: The Fight Against Drug Abuse Continues in America and Around the Globe
Christine Cline, acting director in the Office of Policy, Planning and Coordination in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the State Department, writes, “June 26 marks the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as World Drug Day. On this day, the global community joins forces to raise awareness about an issue that affects millions in the United States and around the world, and has lasting negative effects on communities — drug abuse. … The Bureau where I work, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), is dedicated to countering the flow of illegal narcotics and minimizing transnational crime…” (6/26).

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