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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Bipartisan Group Introduces PEPFAR Reauthorization Bill In U.S. House

Devex: PEPFAR reauthorization bill introduced
“Despite concerns earlier in the year, a simple PEPFAR reauthorization bill has been introduced by a bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives. The three-and-a-half page, straightforward bill called the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, would extend the mandate of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through 2023…” (Saldinger, 8/10).

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CSIS Event At University Of Washington Examines Future Of U.S., Global Health Security

The Daily: Global health security experts meet in Kane Hall to save the world
“[University of Washington] Provost Mark Richards joined Sen. Patty Murray [D-Wash.] and seven global health security experts in Kane Hall on Monday morning to discuss the future of global health in a violent world. The event was hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security…” (Jha, 8/9).

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DRC Begins Using Experimental Ebola Vaccine In Effort To Stem Outbreak In Conflict Zone

Axios: Congo trying to stem Ebola outbreak with experimental vaccine
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo started using an experimental vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus [Wednesday] after identifying it as the virulent Zaire strain. The latest outbreak has spread to a conflict region and is suspected of killing at least 36 people during its first week…” (O’Reilly, 8/9).

Nature: War zone complicates roll-out of Ebola vaccine in latest outbreak
“…[V]iolence perpetuated by more than 100 armed groups fighting over resources and power in those lush, green provinces has escalated this year in advance of the country’s presidential election scheduled for December. ‘The situation is volatile,’ says Ibrahima Socé-Fall, director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) emergency operations in Africa, based in Brazzaville in the neighboring Republic of Congo. Even so, researchers are also gearing up to give people with Ebola experimental antibody and antiviral drugs in addition to the vaccine…” (Maxmen, 8/8).

Additional coverage of the latest DRC Ebola outbreak is available from Al Jazeera, IRIN, Science Speaks, and Xinhua News.

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News Outlets Examine Efforts To Legalize Abortion In Latin American Nations

The Guardian: Latin America’s fight to legalize abortion: the key battlegrounds
“An estimated 6.5 million abortions take place across Latin America each year. Three-quarters of these procedures are unlawful, often performed in unsafe illegal clinics or at home. Of 33 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, only Cuba, Uruguay, and Guyana permit elective abortions. Women also have the right to choose in Mexico City. Elsewhere, however, the right to an abortion is severely restricted, with terminations often permitted in cases of rape, or if the pregnancy will endanger the life of the mother…” (Kelly, 8/9).

New York Times: They Lost Argentina’s Abortion Vote, but Advocates Started a Movement
“They narrowly lost the vote. But as supporters of a bill to legalize abortion in Argentina began to shake off a stinging defeat in the Senate on Thursday, they took consolation in having galvanized a reproductive-rights movement across Latin America and began to consider how to redirect their activism…” (Politi/Londoño, 8/9).

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New Chinese Stamp Possibly Hints At Relaxation Of Family Planning Restrictions

BBC News: China hints at three-child policy with ‘happy family’ stamps
“Postage stamps unveiled earlier this week to mark the incoming Year of the Pig in February 2019 have led many social media users to question whether a loosening of family planning restrictions could be imminent. The stamps show a parent pig couple and three piglets. On the surface, it hardly appears to be a policy announcement. But users on the popular Sina Weibo microblog have pointed out that two years ago, before the one-child policy was abolished, China issued Year of the Monkey stamps featuring two baby monkeys…” (Allen, 8/10).

Quartz: A new postage stamp in China hints at a change in family planning policy
“…China analysts have suggested that Beijing is planning to scrap limits on births for several months. The change is overdue, as the country faces one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, a gender imbalance that stokes social unrest, and a shortage of workers…” (Timsit, 8/9).

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Weak Oversight Of Chinese Pharmaceutical Companies Threatens Global Supply Chain

Financial Times: China drug scandals highlight risks to global supply chain
“Drug safety scandals in recent weeks have underlined the risks to international consumers posed by weak oversight in China, the world’s largest supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredients…” (Hancock/Xueqiao, 8/6).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: WHO highlights ongoing hospital MERS outbreak threat (Schnirring, 8/8).

Devex: Doing it for the kids: Engaging youth to help lift burden of NCDs (Politzer, 8/10).

Fortune: Why Measles Is Back in the Americas (Laursen, 8/9).

The Guardian: Salt not as damaging to health as previously thought, says study (Boseley, 8/9).

The Guardian: How WhatsApp and SMS are being used to save the lives of babies in Africa (Sheppard, 8/9).

The Lancet: Breast cancer in Venezuela: back to the 20th century (Willer, 8/11).

U.N. News: U.N. urges protection of indigenous peoples’ rights during migration (8/8).

U.N. News: Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official (8/9).

Washington Post: Maryland-based drug firm to acquire cholera and typhoid vaccines in $270 million deal (Gregg, 8/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Efforts To Legalize Abortion Continue In Argentina, Other Countries

The Guardian: The Guardian view on Argentina and abortion: a setback, but not the end
Editorial Board

“The Argentinian senate’s rejection of a bill legalizing abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy is a cruel disappointment for millions of its citizens. … According to the World Health Organization, 25 million unsafe abortions are carried out each year. In countries with strict abortion laws, only one in four abortions were safe, compared with almost nine in 10 in countries with more relaxed rules. Worse, there is growing pressure on abortion’s legality or availability in several places. The impact of the religious right in the U.S. is magnified because its effect is exported via the ‘global gag rule’ imposed by Donald Trump, blocking U.S. funds to [foreign organizations] involved in abortion advice and care overseas. … In any case, the overall trend is towards more liberal laws, say campaigners. Last year, Chile approved a bill allowing abortion in some circumstances. Argentinian activists have made it clear they will not give up, taking heart from the public support they attracted and their success in reaching the legislature at all. The battle goes on, there and elsewhere” (8/9).

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More Young People Must Have Access To 'High-Quality, Nonjudgmental' Family Planning Services

New York Times: Melinda Gates: Eliminating Bias in Family Planning
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…As the largest generation in history enters its reproductive years, the evidence tells us that bias is one of the biggest barriers standing between these 1.8 billion young people and the tools and information they need to protect themselves and their futures. … How do we make [high-quality, nonjudgmental] counseling available to more young people in more places? One of our foundation’s partners may have a solution. Pathfinder International’s Beyond Bias program takes an innovative, data-driven approach to strengthening empathy and understanding between providers and their patients in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and Pakistan. Its methods include sending young adult ‘mystery shoppers’ into clinics to see how they are received when they ask questions about contraceptives and reproductive health. The information they gather is used to design interventions that encourage providers to examine how their biases show up in their work…” (8/5).

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Maintaining Health Of Pilgrims During Hajj Requires International Coordination Among WHO, Saudi Arabia, Other Nations

Science: Health of the Hajj
Ziad A. Memish, professor at the College of Medicine at Alfaisal University & Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Hospital, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and a professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University

“For five days, starting 19 August, Saudi Arabia will host the Hajj, the world’s largest annual religious pilgrimage, where people from over 180 countries will converge on Mecca. Infectious disease transmission associated with this mass transnational movement of people is well known … Although major progress has been made over the past 30 years in Saudi Arabia and in pilgrimage countries, there is still much more to do to avoid a health catastrophe, given that the pilgrim quota may grow to 2.2 million by 2020. … Surveillance at entry and exit points could quickly improve disease detection. Likewise, travel services could ensure compliance with international health regulations at all departure and arrival ports. … It will also be important to create a stockpile of medicines and vaccines in the event of a disease outbreak. Such an endeavor will require investment by the World Health Organization and a multinational strategy that is coordinated by the Saudi Ministry of Health…” (8/10).

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Pharmaceutical Companies Should Improve Access To Cryptococcal Meningitis Treatment In Africa

STAT: A drug priced out of reach in Africa could save lives from a neglected killer
Patrick Adams, freelance journalist, and Cameron Nutt, fourth-year student at Harvard Medical School

“…[I]n sub-Saharan Africa [cryptococcal meningitis, or crypto] is fatal in 70 percent of patients even after they reach referral hospitals in capital cities. … By contrast, in wealthy regions such as Western Europe, crypto kills under 10 percent of patients. The difference is largely a function of access to flucytosine … There has been progress. In early March, the World Health Organization updated its guidance for the treatment of crypto, recommending flucytosine as the cornerstone of all first-line options, and approved a generic version of the drug. … Mylan[, which makes the generic version of flucytosine,] has vowed to ‘do what’s right, not what’s easy,’ while Valeant (now Bausch Health)[, which makes the brand name version,] says it is ‘dedicated to advancing global health.’ But flucytosine puts the lie to those claims. If they’re sincere, these companies can start by rolling back their prices for the drug to what it was a decade ago and registering it in countries where it remains unavailable — and desperately needed…” (8/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Podcast Episode Discusses AIDS 2018 Key Takeaways With Outgoing IAS Executive Director Owen Ryan

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Reflections on the 2018 International AIDS Conference — and Looking Ahead to 2020
In this podcast, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, speaks with Owen Ryan, outgoing executive director of the International AIDS Society (IAS), about the main science and policy takeaways from this year’s International AIDS Conference, held in Amsterdam in July, as well as concerns about holding the conference in the United States in 2020 (8/9).

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CGD Experts Examine New PEPFAR Funding Targets For Local Implementation Of HIV/AIDS Efforts

Center for Global Development: PEPFAR’s New Targets for Local Implementation: Commendable in Theory, Complicated in Practice
Rachel Silverman, senior policy analyst and assistant director of global health policy, and Sarah Rose, policy fellow, both at CGD, discuss recently announced PEPFAR targets for the funding of local implementation of HIV/AIDS efforts. They write, “In July, United States Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah Birx made a striking commitment: under her leadership, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) would direct at least 40 percent of its funding to host country governments or organizations by the end of 2019 — rising to 70 percent by the end of 2020. … The bottom line: PEPFAR’s local targets are commendable in theory, but we suspect their application in practice will prove complicated. Below is our take on the related issues — and some recommendations for PEPFAR to forge the most effective path forward” (8/9).

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CGD Podcast Address 'Targeted Development,' Implications for U.S.

Center for Global Development: Targeted Development with Sarah Bermeo – CGD Podcast
In this podcast, Erin Collinson, director of policy outreach at CGD, speaks with Sarah Bermeo, political economist and professor of public policy and political science at Duke University, about “trends in targeted development, its pros and cons, and where the U.S. administration might fit in” (8/9).

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Research On Migrant Health Needed To Support Achievement Of SDGs, Experts Say

BMC Public Health: Migration and health: a global public health research priority
Kolitha Wickramage of the International Organization for Migration and colleagues recount the discussion at the 2nd Global Consultation on Migration and Health, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in February 2017, concerning “the role of research in supporting evidence-informed health responses that engage with migration.” The authors conclude, “Drawing on discussions with policymakers, research scholars, civil society, and United Nations agencies held in Colombo, we emphasize the urgent need for quality research on international and domestic (in-country) migration and health to support efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” (8/8).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF, CSIS Hosted Briefing Today On Major Outcomes Of AIDS 2018; Video To Be Posted

Kaiser Family Foundation/Center for Strategic and International Studies: August 10 Event — AIDS 2018: What Happened and What’s Next?
Earlier today, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Global Health Policy Center of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a briefing to assess the major outcomes of the 2018 International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018), held from July 23-27 in Amsterdam. The discussion touched on the latest scientific developments; the current funding climate for the AIDS response; and other major developments to the field emerging from the conference. In addition, panelists looked ahead toward the AIDS 2020 conference. A video of the event will be posted here.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.