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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin Dies At Age 68

Associated Press: U.N. population agency chief Babatunde Osotimehin has died
“The head of the U.N. population agency, Babatunde Osotimehin, who was a global leader in promoting public health and sexual and reproductive rights and services for women and girls, died at his home, the agency announced Monday. Osotimehin, who was 68, had led the United Nations Population Fund, known as UNFPA, since 2011. The agency said he died Sunday evening…” (Lederer, 6/6).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. mourns passing of population agency chief Babatunde Osotimehin, ‘a champion of health for all’
“Secretary-General António Guterres and other senior United Nations officials have paid tribute to Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) … ‘Dr. Osotimehin was admired globally for his leadership of the U.N. Population Fund and for his forceful advocacy for the world’s women and girls in particular,’ said Secretary-General Guterres in a statement. ‘The world has lost a great champion of health and well-being for all’…” (6/5).

UNFPA: UNFPA mourns passing of Executive Director
“… ‘This is a devastating loss for UNFPA and for the people, especially women, girls, and youth, he dedicated his life to serving, starting from when he became a doctor in Nigeria. UNFPA expresses its deep sympathy to his family and prays that they have the fortitude to bear this great loss,’ said UNFPA management…” (6/5).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS mourns the death of UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin
“… ‘Babatunde Osotimehin will be remembered for improving the lives of women and young people and promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights,’ said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director. ‘Young people have lost a champion today’…” (6/5).

UNICEF: Statement by Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, on the Death of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin
“… ‘Today represents a terrible loss for Dr. Babatunde’s family and many friends around the world, for UNFPA as an organization, and for Nigeria, the country he served — and loved — so well. It is also a loss for people around the world, who have lost a leading voice in global health, and a champion of equity. But he leaves behind an inspiring legacy of public service and commitment to the health of every person…” (6/5).

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Devex Begins 3-Part Series Examining How Mexico City Policy Will Impact Family Planning, Reproductive Health Activities Of Colombia's Profamilia

Devex: In Colombia, ‘global gag rule’ punishes conflict-affected populations
“…[I]n January, the [Colombia] family planning institution and safe abortion provider [Profamilia] chose not to comply with United States President Donald Trump’s expanded ‘global gag rule,’ otherwise known as the Mexico City policy and most recently renamed the ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance’ policy. … Colombia is a prime example of the gag rule’s punishing grip on vital, integrated programs that have nothing to do with abortion…” (Rogers, 6/6).

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FAO, WFP Directors In D.C. To Lobby For Additional Funding To Assist Famine Relief Efforts In 4 Nations

Devex: U.N. WFP, FAO chiefs unite to lobby for famine relief
“The heads of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.N. World Food Programme were in Washington, D.C., on Monday, in an effort to garner attention and funds for famine relief in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and Nigeria. Visibly frustrated with the slow donor response, José Graziano da Silva, the director general of the FAO, and David Beasley, the executive director of the WFP, reiterated calls for financial support. U.N. agencies know what needs to be done, they said, but they lack the funds to respond effectively…” (Saldinger, 6/6).

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Trump Administration's Withdrawal From Paris Climate Agreement Could Harm Poverty Reduction Efforts, Experts Say

IRIN: Trump’s climate pullout could spell disaster for developing nations
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to start the withdrawal process from the Paris Agreement could come at a high price for the developing world, setting back years of progress not only on climate change but also on poverty eradication, experts warn. … The ‘America first’ approach signaled by Trump, which may involve seeking bilateral trade deals as an alternative to the pact, could leave vulnerable countries prone to resource plundering, deeper poverty, and conflict over water and land, warned a leading social development and climate consultant, who preferred to remain anonymous…” (del Bello, 6/5).

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News Outlets Examine Impacts Of Potential USAID Cuts On Ukraine's TB Programs, NGOs' Efforts To Address HIV Epidemic In Country Amid Russian Conflict

Devex: Ukraine’s fight against TB is at risk from USAID cuts
“A United States Agency for International Development-funded digital health program to help Ukraine manage its growing drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemic is a textbook example of effective foreign aid, according to health experts who worked on the project — but the country’s fight against the disease is now at risk from looming cuts to U.S. development aid. Ukraine has the second-highest TB burden in Europe, and one of the highest estimated numbers of multidrug-resistant TB, or MDR-TB, cases in the world…” (Edwards, 6/6).

VOA News: E. Ukraine Conflict Impacts War Against HIV
“…On Wednesday and Thursday, United Nations Special Envoy for HIV and AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, professor Michel Kazatchkine, held a conference at Kyiv’s Alliance for Public Health and then visited some of the city’s harm-reduction organizations specializing in activities including needle exchanges, free medical testing, and condom distribution. … Despite the discouraging statistics, Kazatchkine said he sees progress in Ukraine thanks to the work of NGOs in partnership with the government. Unfortunately, a significant portion of Ukraine’s territory is under control of Russia and its proxies, and this has created serious obstacles for those trying to help fight the spread of HIV and AIDS…” (Kovpak, 6/2).

VOA News: Ukrainian NGO Works to Stop Spread of HIV Among Sex Workers
“During a recent visit to Kyiv, Michel Kazatchkine — the U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia — toured the Ukrainian capital’s various harm-reduction programs, aimed at stopping the spread of HIV. Among those was the nongovernmental organization Eney (Aeneas), which specializes in providing medical and legal assistance to female sex workers in Kyiv…” (Kovpak, 6/5).

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Puerto Rico Health Ministry Says 2016 Zika Outbreak Over; CDC Asks Health Officials To Remain Vigilant

Reuters: Puerto Rico declares Zika outbreak over, CDC maintains travel warning
“Puerto Rico on Monday declared that the 2016 Zika epidemic is over, saying transmission of the virus that can cause birth defects when pregnant women are exposed has fallen significantly…” (Steenhuysen, 6/6).

STAT: Puerto Rico declares its outbreak of Zika virus is over
“…In a statement, the territorial government said there have been only about 10 cases of Zika reported in every four-week period since mid-April, down from more than 8,000 cases in four-week periods at the same time last year…” (Branswell, 6/5).

Washington Post: Puerto Rico declares Zika epidemic to be over
“…The island has been the part of the United States hardest hit by the mosquito-borne virus, with authorities counting more than 40,000 confirmed cases of Zika infection as of May 20, including 3,678 pregnant women. There have been 35 cases of Zika-related birth defects. … In the Puerto Rico ministry’s statement, CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat said officials ‘cannot let our guard down’…” (Sun, 6/5).

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Estimated 100K Children Threatened By Violence In Mosul, UNICEF Warns

Associated Press: UNICEF: 100,000 children in dangerous conditions in Mosul
“Mosul’s children are bearing the brunt of the intensified fight between U.S.-backed government forces and the Islamic State group in the city’s western half, the United Nations children’s agency warned on Monday…” (Salaheddin, 6/5).

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF reports 100,000 children trapped in extreme danger in Mosul
“… ‘Children are experiencing and witnessing terrible violence that no human being should ever witness,’ the organization said. ‘Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure including hospitals, clinics, schools, homes, and water systems should stop immediately,’ UNICEF said…” (6/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

PEPFAR 'More Committed Than Ever' To Ending AIDS

Huffington Post: 36 Years Later: The Opportunity To End AIDS As We Know It
Deborah L. Birx, U.S. global AIDS coordinator and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy

“…[W]ith the critical and essential progress we have made on HIV cure research and vaccine development, we are closer to eliminating HIV than ever before — binding communities, scientists, and political leaders together to envision a different future. … Working alongside our many partners, PEPFAR has helped transform the global HIV/AIDS response. … We continue to expand PEPFAR’s impact by using data to drive accountability, find efficiencies, increase transparency, and leverage partnerships, including with the private sector — efforts that make PEPFAR a model for development programs everywhere. Originally conceived as a compassionate effort to deliver life-saving services to men, women, and children in need, PEPFAR is now also taking on the challenge of controlling the pandemic. … [W]e have come a long way since the darkest days of the pandemic, in both the United States and around the world. But our job is far from done. To honor the memory of the millions of lives that we lost to this disease, and to save those living with and affected by the virus today, PEPFAR is more committed than ever to finish what we started — and to help end AIDS as we know it” (6/5).

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U.S. Congress Should Continue Robust Investment In HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment

The Conversation: HIV/AIDS funding is an investment worth protecting
Allison Webel, assistant professor of nursing at Case Western Reserve University

“…On June 5, it will [have been] 36 years since HIV was first reported, and the return on investment in this epidemic has been high. HIV is now a chronic, rather than fatal, disease throughout the world. New infections are dropping, and we are closer than we have ever been to achieving our goal of the ‘end of AIDS.’ … [T]here is … an enormous opportunity cost to cutting HIV funding: HIV treatment, care, and research are expensive, but what happens if our nation stops making a robust investment to stop the spread of this epidemic? Without effective HIV prevention efforts, including PrEP and others, the HIV epidemic will worsen, potentially erasing much of the progress we have made to stop new infections and care for infected individuals. … It is likely that … cuts to HIV/AIDS funding will be proposed in the future. However, when we look at why Americans made this investment in the first place, and the shared benefits we all derive from it, I hope that lawmakers continue to see that HIV/AIDS funding is an investment worth protecting — and then defend it at home and abroad” (6/4).

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'Rigorous Evaluation' Of U.S.-Funded Foreign Aid Programs 'Essential'

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why Trump has it wrong on foreign aid
Jodi Nelson, senior vice president of policy and practice at the International Rescue Committee (IRC)

“…Instead of making drastic cuts to the [foreign] aid budget, the [Trump] administration would be wiser to focus on how that budget is spent. Not all aid is well spent. Ensuring that it is, is a bipartisan concern, and one in which President Trump’s private sector experience might prove useful. … The rigorous evaluation of aid programs is … essential. Thorough evaluations provide crucial data that, much like market signals, tell aid agencies where they should spend their money. … There is political history here. Conservatives arguably created the incentives that motivated efforts to strengthen the evidence base for aid. … The upcoming budget will be a test for an administration desperately looking for wins. Focusing on the effectiveness and efficiency of aid, rather than just slashing the overall budget, would be a bipartisan win-win. It’s an opportunity the administration, and the country, cannot afford to miss” (6/5).

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World Bank Report Offers Recommendations On Financing Pandemic Preparedness At National Levels

Global Health NOW: A New Mindset for Health Security
Marija Cemma, Canadian Science Policy fellow

“…A report from the World Bank’s International Working Group on Financing Preparedness … offers an integrated framework of 12 recommendations to approach financing pandemic preparedness at a national level. The report aims to provide a roadmap for countries to develop a prioritized and costed national plan to buttress universal health security, create an investment case and change management strategy for buy-in by relevant stakeholders, and to locate appropriate funding exploring various financing mechanisms. … The true focus of the report lies in enabling national governments to share the responsibility and impressing the value of robust health security beyond health ministries to include the finance ministry, the private sector, and population at large. This, however, will require a major shift in thinking. … Strengthening pandemic preparedness will … strengthen health systems to deal with endemic diseases and antimicrobial resistance, contribute to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) … National preparedness is key. In today’s globally interconnected community, we are only as strong as our weakest link” (6/5).

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Innovative Financing Models, Commitment To Long-Term Partnerships Vital To Strengthening Health Care Systems

Devex: Opinion: Innovative financing methods driving better health care for all
Omar Campos, senior director of funding partnerships at Philips Health Tech, and Jan-Willem Scheijgrond, head of international partnerships at Royal Philips

“…Strengthening primary health care, with outreach into the community and a well-functioning referral chain, is the most efficient and effective way to improve access to good-quality health care, thereby paving the way for [universal health coverage (UHC)]. However, this requires a number of significant changes. First, primary health care systems need to be redesigned, based on community needs, to include services ranging from prevention to emergency care. … At the same time, hybrid public-private health care models or other forms of partnership with the private sector should be considered. … At present, donor funding alone is not sufficient to achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] … [A] new, hybrid business model bringing together donors and impact investors, governments, and the private sector has the potential to deliver on the SDGs. … A commitment to long-term partnerships with governments and other stakeholders is vital in order to strengthen health care systems. It is by working together — and pursuing financing models where results on health care and service delivery are defined at population level — that we can scale the impact on people’s lives” (6/5).

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If Properly Used, Widely Distributed, Tranexamic Acid Can Reduce Maternal Deaths From Postpartum Hemorrhage

Thomson Reuters Foundation: We have the right medicine — now we need the commitment
Toyin Ojora Saraki, founder and president of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa

“…Tranexamic acid has the potential to create radical, irreversible change in the field of global midwifery and maternal care[; in a recently published large study it was shown to reduce maternal deaths from postpartum hemorrhage by 30 percent.] … We have the knowledge, now we need the commitment. The world can ignore the dire state of the world’s midwifery no longer. Gaping disparities between rich and poor countries present both the challenge, and the steadfast drive, to strive for better outcomes for women … Immediate and widespread distribution of tranexamic acid is undoubtedly a step in the right direction but this needs to be met with a greater commitment from governments to boost maternal health outcomes. … It is my hope that the ground-breaking tranexamic acid will mark a new era in maternal care around the globe, and that its positive impact can be matched, through heightened investment and commitment to the cause. The drug provides hope — now we must follow through” (6/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Highlights Global Health-Related Pieces On Climate Change, Proposed Cuts To U.S. Global Health Activities

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: We’re reading about climate change policy, global disease funding and international research — and how decisions in Washington hit home, around the world

Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights recently published articles on several global health-related topics, including concerns about President Trump’s recent announcement to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement; potential impacts of the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to global HIV efforts; and the consequences of defunding NIH’s Fogarty International Center (6/5).

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