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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Provides Less Development Assistance For Health Than Peer European Nations When Viewed By Population, Government Spending, Income, Study Shows

Reuters Health: U.S. less generous than European nations with development assistance
“The U.S. contributes more than any other nation in development assistance for health to low- and middle-income countries, but its generosity falls short when compared in terms of size and wealth, a new study found. Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, and the U.K. each provided substantially more assistance for health relative to the size of their populations, their public spending, and their economies, the Health Affairs study shows. … ‘The study shows that the U.S. has been quite generous in its support of global health, which has saved millions of lives,’ said Jen Kates, vice president and director of global health and HIV policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, DC. ‘But it also may help to show that, despite concerns about the U.S. spending “too much,” it really depends on how that is measured,’ Kates, who was not involved with the study, said in an email…” (Cohen, 12/14).

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Trump Administration Takes Steps To Restrict Access To Abortion, Family Planning Services Domestically, Internationally

FRONTLINE: At Home and Abroad, Trump Moves To Broaden Abortion Fight
“As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump vowed to restrict access to abortion. As president, he’s started doing just that — and more, pursuing a far-reaching strategy to reshape the federal government’s position on reproductive rights. … Trump didn’t just reinstate the Mexico City policy. On his third day as president, he expanded the policy in a memorandum, applying the restrictions beyond U.S. family planning funds to all U.S. global health assistance, which totals $10 billion. The Trump administration also cut funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which supports reproductive and maternal health programs in more than 150 countries, as other past Republican presidents have done. But then it went a step further, proposing to sever all funding for international family planning for the upcoming fiscal year … President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 zeroes out the family planning funding, which provides women in developing countries with contraceptive services and supplies to avoid unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions…” (Childress/Einbinder, 12/14).

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Canada To Prioritize Gender Equality During 2018 G7 Presidency, PM Trudeau Says

Reuters: Canada G7 Presidency to Focus on Women, Gender Equality: Trudeau
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has made gender equality a priority, on Thursday said empowering women would be one of the main themes when Canada takes over the presidency of the Group of Seven next year. … Trudeau said the other main themes for Canada’s presidency were investing in growth that worked for everyone, preparing for jobs of the future, climate change, and building a more peaceful and secure world” (Ljunggren, 12/14).

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Global Fund, Gavi, Unitaid, Other Organizations To Form New Geneva Health Campus In Cost-Saving Move

Devex: Global Fund and Gavi to become roommates in cost-saving drive
“Major global health players are gearing up to change where and how they work, with the launch of a new Health Campus, due to open in Geneva in March 2018. The campus will bring together the Global Fund, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Unitaid, and other health organizations already based in the city with the twin goals of fostering synergies and reducing costs…” (Pallares, 12/15).

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To Establish International Treaty, 7 More Countries Need To Ratify Tobacco Convention's Protocol To Eliminate Illicit Trade

Devex: Global tobacco protocol short of 7 countries to become international treaty in 2018
“…The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade on Tobacco is the first protocol under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and was adopted in November 2012 by parties to the convention. The protocol is seen as a tool to help curb tobacco consumption, whose low price rates — particularly if purchased through illegal means — has become attractive and affordable to tobacco users in low- and middle-income countries. … But to date, only 33 countries party to the convention have ratified it. And in Asia Pacific, where billions of dollars are lost to government revenues from illicit tobacco trade, only one country, Mongolia, has ratified the protocol…” (Ravelo, 12/15).

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NTD Progress Report Shows Numbers Of People Affected By Diseases Down, 1B People Received Treatment, Challenges Remain

Los Angeles Times: Guinea worm, river blindness and elephantiasis are among the world’s neglected tropical diseases. A battle is on to wipe them out
“…[T]he combined efforts of governments, nonprofit organizations, academia, and the private sector have helped combat neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs, during the last five years, according to a report published Thursday by Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases, the collective of partners. … The success has been largely driven by a combination of factors, including donations from the pharmaceutical industry of more than 1.8 billion treatments to impoverished communities. Since 2012, government donors and private philanthropists have invested close to $300 million a year toward control and elimination of the diseases, and in April governments and private donors pledged $812 million over the next five to seven years. Academic research and aggressive intervention programs, such as the mass dispensation of drugs by national governments, have also contributed to the progress in combating the diseases, the report says…” (Simmons, 12/14).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Success as 1 billion treated in battle against painful tropical diseases
“…The 2012 London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, set a goal of controlling, eliminating, or eradicating 10 diseases, including leprosy and river blindness, by 2020. NTDs affect one in five people globally, mainly in areas of extreme poverty, often trapping individuals in a cycle of social exclusion. The number of people affected by NTDs has fallen to 1.5 billion from almost two billion in 2011, the report by Uniting to Combat NTDs, a partnership backing the 2020 goal, said…” (Lazareva, 12/14).

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Most Zika-Affected Infants Experience Developmental Delays, Will Need Lifetime Care, CDC-Led Study Shows

New York Times: As Zika Babies Become Toddlers, Some Can’t See, Walk or Talk
“As the first babies born with brain damage from the Zika epidemic become two-year-olds, the most severely affected are falling further behind in their development and will require a lifetime of care, according to a study published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Belluck, 12/14).

PBS NewsHour: Problems for some babies with Zika continue long after birth
“…The study, published [Thursday] by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Health Secretariat of Paraiba, and the Ministry of Health of Brazil, attempted to present a clearer picture of the long-term challenges that will affect children born with smaller-than-expected head sizes, or microcephaly, during the Zika outbreaks in Brazil and elsewhere…” (Rios, 12/14).

Science Speaks: Study of Zika impacts on infants shows needs for long-term planning, resources
“…The report … describes outcomes of 19 children who were recorded as having microcephaly at birth. Ranging from 19 months to two years of age at the time of the evaluations, with a median age of 22 months, findings among the children encompassed a wide array of disability and developmental delays…” (Barton, 12/14).

Scientific American: First Snapshot of Zika-Affected Toddlers Portends a Life of Struggle
“…Earlier analyses suggested such infants would have serious developmental delays, but the new report … is the first to provide a detailed account of what challenges these kids will face as they grow up — and to confirm children born with Zika-related microcephaly will probably need lifelong care…” (Maron, 12/14).

STAT: Zika-affected babies show severe health, developmental issues two years later
“…Fifteen of the 19 children had not met the developmental milestones — like being able to sit up by themselves — that a healthy six-month-old would meet, the authors reported…” (Branswell, 12/14).

TIME: Scientists are Only Just Learning the Terrifying Longterm Toll for Babies with Zika
“…Among the infants, 11 had a possible seizure disorder, 10 had trouble sleeping, nine had trouble eating, 15 had motor impairments that included the inability to sit on their own, 13 had hearing problems, and 11 had vision problems…” (Sifferlin, 12/14).

Xinhua News: Zika babies face serious health problems while growing up: study
“…CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald said in a statement that ‘continued monitoring of all children with congenital Zika exposure is critical to understand the full impact of the infection during pregnancy and to support these families for the long-term'” (12/15).

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PBS NewsHour Examines Kenya's Efforts To Stem Trade In Counterfeit Drugs

PBS NewsHour: Fighting the public health threat of counterfeit drugs
“Fake pharmaceuticals are a multi-billion dollar problem around the world. Made and packaged to look like the real deal, these phonies may contain a fraction of the active ingredients or none at all. These fake drugs can have serious consequences in countries with tenuous health care, as well as in the developed world. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports from Kenya…” (12/14).

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Thailand Works To Eliminate Malaria, Including Drug-Resistant Strains, By 2021

Reuters: Thailand battles drug-resistant malaria strains that imperil global campaign
“Once a smuggling stop for Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge guerrillas, Thailand’s border town of Bo Rai finds itself on the frontline of a new battle against drug-resistant strains of malaria that could frustrate global attempts to stamp out the disease. Malaria killed about 445,000 people last year, more than 90 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa, but the figure has nearly halved since 2000. Now the hard-won gains are at risk from the latest drug-resistant form, which emerged in Cambodia before spreading to Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam…” (Wongcha-um/Chankaew, 12/15).

Xinhua News: Thailand launches campaign to eradicate malaria by 2021
“…The Department of Disease Control said on Wednesday at a seminar that the ministry has launched an anti-insect borne diseases campaign to eliminate dengue and malaria since October, expecting to drive out malaria by 2021 and reduce the number of dengue patients by 25 percent by then…” (12/14).

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El Salvador Court Upholds 30-Year Jail Sentence For Woman Who Says She Experienced Stillbirth, Accused Of Abortion

The Guardian: El Salvador court upholds 30-year jail sentence in stillbirth case
“An El Salvador court has rejected the appeal of a woman sentenced to 30 years in prison over what she says was a stillbirth. … Human rights group Amnesty International called the decision a step back for justice. … El Salvador is one of a handful of Latin American countries with total bans on abortion…” (Ford, 12/14).

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg Technology: How Counting the Dead Will Help the Living (Gale, 12/14).

The Guardian: Half of young people do not use condoms for sex with new partner — poll (Greenfield, 12/14).

IRIN: World’s worst humanitarian crisis about to get worse … again (Slemrod, 12/14).

Quartz: A lifesaving childbirth tool was successfully introduced in India — but saved no lives (Merelli, 12/14).

Reuters Health: Childhood obesity climbing with media use, European doctors warn (Rapaport, 12/14).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Giant rats increase their attack on tuberculosis in Tanzania (Malo, 12/14).

Washington Post: Aid group says at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in Burma in first month of ‘ethnic cleansing’ (Bearak, 12/14).

Xinhua News: U.N. urges Kenya to reduce reliance on foreign funding in health sector (12/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Global Water Strategy An 'Important American Commitment' To WASH Efforts

The Hill: Clean water should be our next global accomplishment
Sarina Prabasi, U.S. chief executive of WaterAid; and Susan Barnett, founder of Faiths for Safe Water and Cause Communications

“…Perhaps the most inconceivable water challenge is the absence of WASH — water/sanitation/hygiene — in of all places: health care facilities. … The links between dirty hands, dirty water, and mortality have been known for centuries. This situation is waiting not for answers, but action. Far too many health workers in low- and middle-income countries lack the most basic means to keep patients safe. … WaterAid launched Healthy Start, a four-year campaign focused on improving the health and nutrition of newborns and children through safe WASH integrated into health policy and delivery. Dramatic, cost-effective results can be achieved, simply by adding WASH. … More such efforts are needed. What we have here is a solvable problem. But as medicine travels in the high-tech lane, low-cost prevention is too often overlooked. … The new U.S. Global Water Strategy is an important American commitment, maybe even the start of a … social movement that transforms water from the burden that it is for so many, into the source of life it is meant to be…” (12/14).

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Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Global Efforts To Address Dementia, Alzheimer's, Importance Of Data Collection, Sharing

The Lancet: Dementia burden coming into focus
Editorial Board

“WHO announced the launch of the Global Dementia Observatory (GDO) on Dec 7. This new internet-focused platform aims to provide a constant monitoring service for data relating to dementia planning around the world. … Dementia is a problem that requires a swift worldwide response. The WHO Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia (2017-25) lays out the framework for action, but the warning signs are growing ever stronger, with an aging population projected to include 152 million people with dementia by 2050. … As our Commission on Dementia, Prevention, and Care said earlier in 2017: ‘Dementia is not an inevitable consequence of aging.’ The Commission found 35 percent of dementia cases can be prevented by acting on nine modifiable risk factors. Worldwide attention must be focused on these, with extra support extended to low-income countries. The GDO is a good vehicle for extending this support, but it is vital that all countries play their part in tackling a truly global problem” (12/16).

Financial Times: Bill Gates: We must share data to fight Alzheimer’s
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…I’m optimistic that we can substantially reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s. There are a number of areas where we can make significant progress. To start, we could enable faster progress on all fronts of the Alzheimer’s fight by facilitating more data-sharing. … For one thing, compiling these data might show us how the disease progresses. … Here’s another benefit: by analyzing data from large populations, we will probably be able to identify patients at risk earlier. … Large data sets will also make it easier to identify new targets for treatment. … The clinical trial process is another area that will benefit from data. … Data have already transformed our lives for the better in so many ways, from spotting a fraudulent purchase on your credit card to adjusting traffic lights so that you spend less time sitting in traffic. I can’t wait to see what new discoveries will be made in the fight against Alzheimer’s thanks to the power of data” (12/14).

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International Community Must Continue Efforts To Provide Reproductive Health Services Through Humanitarian Response Programs

Devex: Opinion: Rohingya women have suffered enough. They don’t deserve discriminatory health care.
Anu Kumar, interim CEO for Ipas; and Sayed Rubayet, Bangladesh country director for Ipas

“…As the number of women and girls living in humanitarian settings around the world continues to swell, we need more than ever to overcome abortion stigma and step up our efforts to ensure that reproductive health services are integrated into humanitarian response programs. … Starting now, we must make sure that providers trained in safe abortion and postabortion care are available in all humanitarian settings. There must be contraception, including long-acting reversible methods, available in all facilities in those settings. … What’s desperately needed is international consent, support, and funding for making these services available as soon as possible in crisis settings. This is a big challenge, for sure. Women and girls in crisis settings of course need food, clean water, and a safe shelter. They also need essential health care that includes safe abortion and contraception. Human rights are not rooted in any one place, they are portable. When a Rohingya woman flees her home, her basic humanity goes with her — and might be the only thing that can save her life. But only if the world respects her rights and makes them a reality” (12/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

When U.S. Funding For Neglected Disease Research Increases, Other Countries' Funding Falls, Research Shows

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business: When the U.S. Spends More on Fighting a Disease, the Rest of the World Spends Less
In new research, David Ridley, professor and faculty director of Duke’s Health Sector Management program, finds that “a 10 percent increase in U.S. funding [for research into neglected disease treatments] was associated with a 2-3 percent reduction by other governments. It is the first time the effects of changes in U.S. research funding on other countries has been measured” (12/14).

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CGD Experts Look Ahead To What 2018 Might Hold For Development Field

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: Looking Forward: Development in 2018 — CGD Podcast
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, highlights what CGD experts have to say about the world of development in 2018 (12/14).

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Experts At Wilson Center Event Highlight Faith-Based Family Planning Efforts

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Healthy Women, Healthy Families: Saving Money and Lives With Faith-Based Family Planning
Anuj Krishnamurthy, intern with the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Wilson Center, highlights an event held in July at the Wilson Center, during which panelists discussed the role of faith-based organizations in maternal, sexual, and reproductive health efforts, including family planning. Krishnamurthy notes, “To sustain future family planning efforts, the panelists agreed that faith-based organizations will need to remain committed to culturally attuned health care and embrace a holistic approach to reproductive health that effectively balances the interests of national governments, faith groups, development organizations, and, above all, local communities” (12/14).

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Global Dispatches Podcast Discusses Mental Health Needs Of Refugee Children With MSF Psychologist

Global Dispatches Podcast: Podcast: The Mental Health of Refugee Children
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of the U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, speaks with Mozhdeh Ghasemiyani, psychologist with Médecins Sans Frontières, on her own refugee experience as well as her work with refugee children and their mental health needs (12/14).

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