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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump Nominates Ex-Congressman, Former Ambassador Mark Green As USAID Administrator

Associated Press: Trump to nominate ex-congressman Green to lead U.S. aid agency
“The Trump administration has nominated an ex-congressman and former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania to lead the United States Agency for International Development. The White House says Mark Andrew Green has been chosen for the position. Green represented Wisconsin’s 8th District in the House and served on the Judiciary and International Relations committees…” (5/11).

Devex: Trump nominates Mark Green as USAID administrator
“…Green is well known in the development community and had been considered a frontrunner for the position. He met with President Trump in January about a potential job at USAID, according to a transition team briefing — and was one of only two people rumored to be under consideration for the role…” (Igoe, 5/10).

The Hill: Trump nominates former ambassador to head USAID
“…Green served four terms as a U.S. representative from Wisconsin, before becoming the U.S. ambassador to Tanzania in 2007 under the George W. Bush Administration. He currently serves as president of the International Republican Institute, an organization that seeks to promote democracy around the world…” (Greenwood, 5/10).

Wall Street Journal: Former Congressman, Envoy Mark Green Nominated to Lead USAID
“…Mr. Green’s nomination comes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is looking to shake up the structure of the State Department, which is under the same budget authority as USAID. Mr. Trump’s 2018 budget calls for reorganizing and consolidating some functions of both agencies. … Lawmakers from both parties have voiced concerns about Mr. Trump’s aims to cut diplomatic funding and foreign aid. A full budget blueprint is due out this month…” (Schwartz, 5/10).

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Former MSF President Unni Karunakara Discusses WHO Reform, Priorities For New DG In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Former MSF president on the WHO leadership race
“…All three [WHO director general candidates] have expressed their intention to place transparency and accountability, emergency preparedness and response, and restoring the WHO’s primacy as the world’s leading health agency at the core of their mandate. For Dr. Unni Karunakara, a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University and former international president of Médecins Sans Frontières, reform begins with recentering the WHO’s activities around its norm-setting mission. … [H]e urged the incoming WHO director-general to preserve its core activities and programs amid a difficult funding climate. Below are more highlights from the conversation…” (5/11).

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Global Health NOW Features First 2 Installments Of 4-Part Interview With WHO DG Candidate Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Global Health NOW: Fresh Perspective: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
“Having served as Ethiopia’s minister of health and its minister of foreign affairs, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus brings unique qualifications to the race to be the next director general of WHO. … In this four-part Q&A with GHN, Tedros discusses his background, the greatest global health threats, the changes that he will bring to WHO, the idea that the next DG should be from a low- or middle-income country, as well as his country’s record on human rights. For the first installment, Tedros makes his case for being DG and explains how he would improve the WHO…” (Simpson, 5/9).

Global Health NOW: Experience Over Geography: DG Candidate Tedros Adhanom’s Q&A, Part II
“There’s never been a WHO director general from Africa. Some have argued it is time for an African to lead the organization. Though an obvious beneficiary of this line of thought, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he should be elected because of his skills and his record as a former minister of health and minister of foreign affairs of Ethiopia; chair of the Global Fund [Board]; and leadership of other organizations. … In this second part of GHN’s Q&A, Tedros also responds to criticism of the Ethiopian government’s record on human rights and shares his thoughts on lessons learned from West Africa’s Ebola outbreak…” (Simpson, 5/9).

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U.N.-Backed Global Mosquito Alert Network Launched To Help Track Emerging Disease Trends

U.N. News Centre: U.N.-backed network brings together thousands to help tackle mosquito-borne diseases
“…Dubbed the Global Mosquito Alert, the new initiative brings together thousands of scientists and volunteers from around the world working against mosquito borne viruses, such as Zika, yellow fever, chikungunya, dengue, malaria, and the West Nile virus. ‘The Alert will offer for the first time a shared platform to allow people on the ground to share their observations and information with a large body of scientists to help them monitor emerging trends in real time and leverage citizen science for the global surveillance and control of disease-carrying mosquitoes,’ said Jacqueline McGlade, the director of science at the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), in a news release Monday announcing the launch…” (5/10).

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U.N. Migration Agency Deploys Rapid Response Team To Address Cholera Outbreak In South Sudan

U.N. News Centre: Amid spreading cholera outbreak, U.N. migration agency aids South Sudanese
“United Nations humanitarian workers are responding to a growing cholera outbreak in Ayod, the Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan, one of multiple counties throughout the country where the disease has spread since June 2016. The U.N. International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it deployed a rapid response team to Jonglei late last month, to support local health partners and try to contain the outbreak…” (5/10).

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People With HIV In North America, Europe Can Live Longer Using Antiretroviral Therapy, Study Shows

BBC News: HIV life expectancy ‘near normal’ thanks to new drugs
“Young people on the latest HIV drugs now have near-normal life expectancy because of improvements in treatments, a study in The Lancet suggests…” (Roxby, 5/11).

STAT: Treatment now gives some HIV patients a normal life expectancy, study finds
“…A combination of factors — including less toxic drugs and better medical management — have resulted in longevity gains for people who are HIV-positive, concluded the study, published in the journal Lancet HIV. ‘Between 1996-99 and 2008-10, life expectancy in people living with HIV starting [antiretroviral therapy] increased by around 10 years for both sexes, in Europe and North America,’ wrote the authors, who work at a variety of academic institutions through North America and Europe…” (Branswell, 5/10).

TIME: People With HIV Are Living 10 Years Longer
“…[The study] includes data from more than 88,000 people from 18 countries. People who contracted the virus in recent years are living 10 years longer than people who were infected in the mid 1990s. A 20-year-old infected with HIV today can expect to live about 78 years, almost as long as people without the disease. The researchers, part of the international Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration, say that the introduction of anti-HIV drugs beginning in the early 1990s played a large role in helping people live longer with HIV…” (Park, 5/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Coordinated Response From International Community May Help Prevent Another Famine In Somalia

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Return to Somalia
Omar Abdi, deputy executive director of UNICEF

“…[A] long nationwide drought … has left [Somalia] on the verge of famine and could result in almost 1.4 million children being acutely malnourished this year. During my visit I witnessed the incredible resilience of my fellow Somalis and saw first-hand how the international community, including UNICEF, has scaled up their life-saving work to prevent another famine. … [T]he international community has stayed with Somalia — despite the decades-long crisis — and unlike in 2011, they have not waited for a famine to be declared to act. With funding received so far, UNICEF has saved the lives of more than 67,000 severely malnourished children, provided access to safe water to over a million people, supported 59 cholera treatment facilities, and vaccinated over 300,000 children against measles. … While the rains bring new challenges: water-borne disease, and flooding, and making access for humanitarian organizations more difficult, they also bring hope. Yet many parts of Somalia still remain with little or no rain. We cannot become complacent, but the resilience and determination of [affected families] coupled with the comprehensive, coordinated response from the international community, give me hope that we will be able to prevent a repeat of the nightmare of 2011” (5/10).

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Political Will, Partnerships Critical To Achieving SDGs

The Guardian: Even in the age of Trump, I believe we can meet the global goals
Alaa Murabit, physician, U.N. SDG global advocate, U.N. high-level commissioner, MIT Media Lab Director’s fellow, and founder of The Voice of Libyan Women and The Omnis Institute

“…[If achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is our priority], then it can happen without question. But it really comes down to what is our political priority. And that comes from citizens demanding more from their governments and public representatives; it comes from citizens telling their heads of state what their priorities are. When I look at the SDGs I think the most difficult thing to realize is that if you do not have 50 percent of society — women — working towards the goals, you’re not going to be able to achieve them by 2030. … I don’t think the SDGs themselves are unrealistic or unattainable. I think being able to create the political leverage … will be the difficult part. And a large part of that comes from partnership. That’s why goal 17 — partnership — is so important. We need businesses to demand better. We need member states who have influence or authority to demand better. We need developing countries to say they deserve better. We all need to demand better” (5/10).

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New Lancet Global Health Commission To Focus On High-Quality Health Systems To Achieve SDGs

The Lancet Global Health: Introducing The Lancet Global Health Commission on High-Quality Health Systems in the SDG Era
Margaret E. Kruk, associate professor of global health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Muhammad Pate, CEO of Big Win Philanthropy; Zoë Mullan, editor at The Lancet Global Health

“…Primary health care facilities, which tend to reach the poorest segment of populations, are an important plank in the drive towards achieving the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. … To galvanize research and action on quality of care in [low- and middle-income countries’ (LMIC)] health systems, The Lancet Global Health has commissioned a major report: The Lancet Global Health Commission on High-Quality Health Systems in the SDG Era (HQSS Commission). … The Commission’s specific aims are to (1) define health system quality, (2) describe quality of care and its distribution across tracer SDG conditions, (3) propose practical measures of quality, and (4) identify structural approaches to improve quality. The work will be underpinned by an exploration of the ethical dimensions of quality, including the right to quality health care and equity. … As countries embark on achieving diverse and ambitious health goals, it is time to think anew about the means at our disposal to improve people’s health. High-quality health systems are indispensable to this agenda…” (May 2017).

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Family Planning Investments Could Reduce Maternal Deaths In 4 Ways

Huffington Post: Dollars and Sense … Investing in Mothers
Jay Gribble, deputy director of family planning/reproductive health at Palladium’s Health Policy Plus

“…Scientists have identified four ways that family planning can reduce maternal deaths. The first one is simple: if a woman does not become pregnant (through contraceptive use) then she avoids the risk of pregnancy-related complications that can lead to her dying. Second, by avoiding unplanned pregnancy (through contraceptive use) fewer women will seek abortion … Third, for young women who are not yet developed sufficiently from a physiological perspective, use of contraception can avoid life-threatening pregnancies that occur at an early age. And fourth, for older women who have already had many pregnancies, the risk of additional, high-parity, high-risk pregnancies can be reduced through contraceptive use. … [Family planning] is a straightforward intervention that already saves the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year, and can help save thousands more. It’s also smart economics. The return on investment for lowering rates of maternal and infant mortality through reducing unplanned pregnancies alone is estimated to [be] between $30 and $50 for each dollar invested. … [Family planning is] an investment that … makes dollars … and a lot of sense” (5/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Civil Society Participation Critical For Successful Global Health Programs

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: Health Requires a Healthy Voice for Civil Society
Mark P. Logan, chief policy officer at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, discusses the findings of reports from South Africa-based CIVICUS and the Global Fund highlighting the importance of civil society participation in policymaking, including public health programs. He concludes, “The Global Fund and U.S. bilateral programs like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and USAID’s TB program as a collective effort have made great progress in the past 15 years against the three diseases — in part by getting civil society at the table to demand, help shape, and implement solutions. Continued U.S. resources for these programs are crucial, and cannot be taken in isolation. Funding for international affairs programs to foster development, pluralism, vital civil society voices, and more accountable and democratic governance are important, too…” (5/10).

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Demographics Of Women Obtaining Abortions In Select LMICs Vary Widely, Guttmacher Study Shows

Guttmacher Institute: New Study Highlights Demographics of Women Who Have Abortions in 28 Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Gustavo Suárez, director of communications at the Guttmacher Institute, discusses results from a study recently published in PLOS ONE on the demographics of women obtaining induced abortions in select low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). “The researchers hope that policymakers and advocates will use their findings to better target efforts to reduce abortion-related injuries and deaths in developing countries, noting that 86 percent of all abortions worldwide occur in low- and middle-income countries. They recommend expanding contraceptive services, along with access to safe abortion services and postabortion care — interventions that will reduce unintended pregnancy and ameliorate the consequences of unsafe abortion” (5/10).

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