Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Women's Empowerment Key To Achieving SDGs, U.N. Deputy SG Says At ICPD25 Summit; UNFPA Releases Report; Kenya Pledges To End FGM By 2022

Health Policy Watch: Nairobi Population Summit Draws Attention & Debate Over Reproductive Health Rights
“…[A]s the Nairobi Summit (ICPD25) kicked-off under the theme ‘Accelerating the promise,’ abortion opponents and faith-based groups were holding a parallel meeting at a Catholic church next to the venue, saying that the meeting didn’t reflect their views and positions…” (Nzwili, 11/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: The cost to stop women dying in childbirth by 2030? 46 military aircrafts
“Countries need about $264 billion — the equivalent cost of 110 military aircrafts — to end maternal deaths, gender based violence, child marriage, and provide family planning to all women by 2030, said a United Nations study. An investment of $115.5 billion — which is equivalent to the cost of 46 high-end military aircrafts — would end needless maternal deaths by 2030, researchers said at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Kenya…” (Bhalla, 11/13).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Kenya pledges to end FGM by 2022 — ahead of global target
“Kenya’s president on Tuesday promised to end female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2022, a goal women’s rights campaigners said was unrealistic due to insecurity and high prevalence rates in some parts of the east African nation. … ‘Kenya commits to eliminate female genital mutilation by 2022,’ President Uhuru Kenyatta told a global conference on sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of a series of commitments made by governments at the event…” (Bhalla, 11/12).

U.N. News: Nairobi summit: Women’s empowerment a ‘game changer’ for sustainable development
“The global goal of a sustainable future for all cannot be achieved until women, girls and young people gain control over their own bodies and lives, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told world leaders meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday. … For Ms. Mohammed, the Nairobi Summit is also an opportunity to mobilize political and financial momentum towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015…” (11/12).

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Reps. Frankel, Lee, 36 Members Of Congress Introduce Resolution Recognizing 25th Anniversary Of ICPD, Reaffirming U.S. Commitment To SRHR

Ms. Magazine: Will Congress Reaffirm the U.S. Commitment to Reproductive Health and Rights Worldwide?
“[Tuesday], Representatives Lois Frankel (FL-21) and Barbara Lee (CA-13), alongside 36 members of Congress, introduced a resolution recognizing the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt and reaffirming the United States’ commitment to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights. … The progress made under the ICPD Programme — a 25 percent increase in voluntary access to modern contraception, declining numbers of deaths due to unsafe abortions and a decrease in maternal deaths — features prominently in the Resolution. But its authors also call attention to challenges remaining 25 years later. … The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is also marking the anniversary of the Cairo conference with a high-level convening this week in Nairobi, Kenya to advance the ICPD Programme of Action, which recognizes that reproductive health and gender equality are critical to global sustainable development…” (Rios, 11/12).

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Devex Examines Germany's €1B Development Investment Fund For Africa

Devex: Germany’s €1B push into Africa
“Five years ago, Europe’s ‘migration crisis’ vaulted German policy toward Africa to the top of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s development agenda. While her coalition government agreed Germany needed a development policy that would help stem the flow of people from African countries to Europe, her cabinet struggled to agree on what that policy might look like. This year, as the government began rolling out programs under its €1 billion ($1.1 billion) Development Investment Fund for Africa, Germany’s development strategy for the continent is finally coming into focus — and it looks a lot like private sector growth…” (Green, 11/13).

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Middle-Income Countries Face Challenges To Maintaining High Vaccination Rates, Study Shows

NPR: When Countries Get Wealthier, Kids Can Lose Out On Vaccines
“You’d think that as a poor country grows wealthier, more of its children would get vaccinated for preventable diseases such as polio, measles, and pneumonia. But a review published in Nature this month offers a different perspective. ‘The countries that are really poor get a lot of support for the vaccinations. The countries that are really rich can afford to pay for the vaccines anyway,’ says Beate Kampmann, director of the Vaccine Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and author of the review. But, she says, ‘the middle-income countries are in a tricky situation because they don’t qualify for support, yet they don’t necessarily have the financial resources and stability to purchase the vaccines’…” (Huang, 11/12).

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U.N., Partners Call For More International Cooperation On, Funding For Childhood Pneumonia On World Day

U.N. News: ‘Forgotten’ pneumonia epidemic kills more children than any other disease
“Pneumonia, an entirely preventable disease, kills more children than any other illness in the world, one child every 39 seconds. But although that statistic is well known, funding to improve survival rates continues to come up short, the U.N. and partners warned on Tuesday, World Pneumonia Day. … This ‘forgotten epidemic’ is now responsible for 15 percent of deaths in children under the age of five, and yet, just three percent of global infectious disease research spending is allocated to the disease, the health partners explained…” (11/12).

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Doctors In DRC Hope To Eliminate Ebola By Year's End; WHO Prequalifies Newly Approved Ebola Vaccine 1 Day After E.C. Authorizes Marketing

Al Jazeera: DR Congo doctors hope to eliminate Ebola by end of year
“Doctors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have told Al Jazeera they hope to reduce the number of Ebola cases to zero by the end of the year…” (Soi, 11/12).

CIDRAP News: WHO OKs Merck Ebola vaccine, paving way for stockpile
“The World Health Organization (WHO) announced [Tuesday] that it has prequalified Merck’s Ebola vaccine, a move that comes just 1 day after the European Commission granted full approval for VSV-EBOV, which is in use on a compassionate basis and under further study in the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)…” (Schnirring, 11/12).

Additional coverage of the Ebola vaccine is available from Bloomberg and VOA.

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Two People In China Diagnosed With Pneumonic Plague; Officials Warn Residents To Take Precautions To Prevent Disease's Spread

New York Times: Plague Is Diagnosed in China, Prompting Fears of an Outbreak
“Two people in China were diagnosed with plague, setting off a panic on Tuesday about the potential spread of the highly infectious and fatal disease and prompting China’s government to warn citizens to take precautions to protect themselves. Beijing officials said the two infected people came from Inner Mongolia, a sparsely populated region of northern China. They sought treatment on Tuesday in a hospital in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, where they were diagnosed with pneumonic plague, according to the government office of the district…” (Wee et al., 11/13).

Additional coverage of the pneumonic plague cases is available from CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, and Xinhua.

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More News In Global Health

allAfrica: Africa: Drug Price Drop to Bolster African Countries’ Fight Against TB (Chironda, 11/12).

Associated Press: Afghan capital’s air pollution may be even deadlier than war (Faiez, 11/13).

Associated Press: Air quality sinks to ‘severe’ in haze-shrouded New Delhi (Jain, 11/12).

BBC: Polio in Nigeria: ‘I opposed vaccinations until my son caught polio’ (Mgbolu, 11/13).

The BMJ: Can a low-income country move towards universal health coverage? (Arie, 11/12).

Borgen Magazine: The Quiet Chronic Disease Crisis in the Developing World (Brown, 11/13).

CIDRAP News: Drug resistance threatens Canada’s health, economy, report says (Dall, 11/12).

Devex: Gender data is moving forward — with a new set of challenges (Lieberman, 11/13).

Devex: Q&A: For donors, investing in nutrition is ‘pure economics’ (Welsh, 11/13).

The Guardian: U.N. agency to take ‘aggressive’ action if sexual abuse claims substantiated (McVeigh, 11/13).

The Guardian: Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at U.N. court (Bowcott, 11/11).

International Policy Digest: How Water Shortages and Lack of Sanitation Affect the Future of Yemen (Binwaber, 11/13).

NPR: How Best To Use The Few New Drugs To Treat Antibiotic-Resistant Germs? (Harris, 11/13).

U.N. News: U.N. spotlights ‘explosive’ obesity rates, hunger in Latin America and Caribbean (11/12).

Xinhua: Yemen declares health emergency over epidemics (11/13).

Xinhua: Tanzania lowers legal age for HIV/AIDS self-testing to 15 (11/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding SRHR, ICPD25 Nairobi Summit

The Conversation: Fresh drive to close gaps on health issues facing women and girls
Alex Ezeh, Dornsife Professor of Global Health at Drexel University

“…The aim of the [ICPD25] summit is to get governments to commit to speeding up the progress [on sexual and reproductive health and rights]. This will include attempting to secure pledges worth $264 billion. … But raising the money will be only one half of meeting the challenge. The other will be agreeing on a plan to deploy the money effectively to achieve meaningful outcomes. In my view this will require three key ingredients: governments will have to pledge domestic funding for these programs; local actors will have to play an integral part in delivering on the advocacy, policy, and research; and finally, the interventions will have to be driven through real partnerships. … To achieve these noble goals, we must work together; we must strengthen local capacities that are critical to making a real difference on the ground; and we must engage local leadership to ensure there are domestic investments and political commitment to this agenda. Raising $264 billion over the next 12 years is a small price to achieve such a transformative change in the lives of women and girls” (11/12).

IPS: When is Universal Health Coverage Good for Attaining Universal Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights?
Julitta Onabanjo, regional director of the United Nations Population Fund, East and Southern Africa

“…In the past 25 years, noteworthy progress has been made towards the realization of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in most parts of the world, including in East and Southern Africa. … Despite good progress, the promise of the ICPD remains to be fulfilled for millions of people in the East and Southern Africa region. One in five women do not have their family planning needs met. … In this context, the ICPD25 Nairobi Summit provides a great opportunity to recommit ourselves to redoubling our efforts to accelerate progress towards universal SRHR, and women’s empowerment and gender equality — the unfinished agendas of the ICPD. … Achieving this target would require us to take advantage of the momentum of Universal Health Coverage. SRHR and UHC will need to become more entwined. Simply put — there can be no UHC without universal SRHR and vice versa. Together, let’s march for the universal goal of UHC and SRHR for all, with no exceptions!…” (11/12).

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Global Health Community Should Work To Fill Gaps In International Health Regulations, Use Bioweapons Convention As Model, Expert Writes

Nature: Pandemic policy can learn from arms control
Rebecca Katz, professor at Georgetown University and director of the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security

“…[T]he global health community needs a way to help fill gaps in the [International Health Regulations (IHR)] and prevent new ones from emerging. Here is where the [Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)] can serve as a model. … Like the parties to the bioweapons convention, the WHO member states should convene regular ‘review conferences’ to discuss developments and their implications for the IHR. Nothing prohibits this, except inertia, and perhaps not knowing what a path forwards would look like. I have, with a team of collaborators, formed a global group of regulatory and governance scholars, called the International Law Impact and Infectious Disease Consortium, that stands ready to help. … This upcoming January, the WHO and its member states will meet to plan the World Health Assembly later in 2020. An IHR review conference, which can lay out a plan for future updates, should be on the agenda” (11/12).

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Conflict Over Water Will Become More Common Without Action From International Community, Opinion Piece Says

Project Syndicate: The Growing Threat of Water Wars
Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, executive secretary of International Development Economics Associates, and member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation

“…With nearly two-thirds of fresh water coming from rivers and lakes that cross national borders, intensifying water stress fuels a vicious circle, in which countries compete for supplies, leading to greater stress and more competition. Today, hundreds of international water agreements are coming under pressure. … Water-related tensions are on the rise within countries as well, between rural and urban communities, and among agricultural, industrial, and household consumers. Last year, water scarcity fueled conflicts in parts of eastern Africa, such as Kenya, which has a history of tribal clashes over access to water. … In 2015, United Nations member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which include an imperative to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.’ Yet, in the last four years, matters have deteriorated significantly. The international community might be able to fool itself for a while — as it has proved so adept at doing, not least with regard to environmental destruction — but the threat of water wars is only drawing nearer. For many in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, it has already arrived” (11/13).

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Sahel Nations, Global Community Must Address Development Issues, Including Family Planning Access, Nutrition, To Prevent Crisis, Experts Write In Opinion Piece

Nature: Avert catastrophe now in Africa’s Sahel
Alisha Graves, academic coordinator and co-founder of the OASIS Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues

“…Our analyses of population projections and the probable impacts of climate change on food security in this ecologically vulnerable zone indicate that four steps are needed to head off these effects. We call on governments worldwide, together with those of seven countries spanning the Sahel (see ‘Defining the Sahel’), to invest in girls’ education; expand people’s access to family-planning information and services; increase agricultural production; and increase security using local police forces as well as national and international military services. Neglect just one of these actions, and political or economic systems could fail. … The humanitarian implications of the emerging crisis in the Sahel must be brought to the table at high-level meetings of the U.N., African Union, and E.U. The OASIS Initiative (Organizing to Advance Solutions in the Sahel), which was co-founded by A.G. and co-signatory M.P., plans to hold a conference with Sahel and European partners next year to increase donor investments in girls’ education and family planning…” (11/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N. Agencies Discuss Commitments, Actions For ICPD25 Summit In Press Releases, Transcript

UNFPA: As Nairobi Summit opens, leaders express optimism and urgency in securing rights for all
“More than 6,000 world leaders, scholars, advocates, faith leaders, and others converged on the Kenyatta International Conference Centre [Tuesday] to attend the first day of Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, which calls for action to end maternal deaths, stop gender-based violence, and meet demand for family planning — all in 10 years…” (11/12).

UNFPA Asia & the Pacific: Major commitments made by governments, civil society, private sector on opening day of landmark sexual and reproductive health summit
“World leaders, representatives of non-governmental organizations, young people, business leaders, and community groups [Tuesday] began unveiling their commitments to end preventable maternal death, meet all women’s demand for family planning, and stop violence against women and girls by 2030…” (11/12).

UNAIDS: Statement of commitment to step up action towards ending AIDS, eliminate social injustice and reach the women and girls being left behind
“…On the opening day of the conference, the Executive Director of UNAIDS Winnie Byanyima made a statement of commitment on behalf of the UNAIDS Secretariat to step up action towards ending AIDS, eliminate social injustice, and reach the women and girls being left behind…” (11/12).

UNDP: Building Financing momentum: The investment case for ICPD
This transcript features remarks from UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, delivered at the Nairobi Summit of ICPD25 (11/12).

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FP2020 Releases Report Examining Role Of Religion In Family Planning Efforts

FP2020: Faith and Family Planning: Working Together to Drive Progress Post-2020
Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) released a brief on the role of religion in family planning efforts. According to FP2020’s website, the brief summarizes “knowledge about how secular FP2020 partners can more effectively engage with the faith community and [faith-based organizations (FBOs)] to help women achieve their fertility intentions and to improve healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy, including the voluntary use of modern contraceptive methods. Evidence for this brief came from document review, eleven key informant interviews, and an online survey to FP2020 partners and stakeholders” (Hoehn, 11/5).

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