KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

News Outlets Discuss Ongoing, Needed Health Responses To Emergency Situations In Iraq

Devex: Emerging best practices from Iraq for psychosocial support in emergencies
“…The astounding level of psychological trauma [among the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have lived under ISIS and then often been displaced by military efforts aimed at dislodging the militants] has transformed the relief operation in a way that aid workers say they haven’t seen in other emergencies. Aid groups are developing new strategies to provide usually limited psychological services on a massive scale. They are finding new tactics and allies along the way, and discarding interventions that fail. Specifically, aid groups are turning to the relatively new concept of Psychological First Aid…” (Dickinson, 4/10).

U.N. News Centre: Urgent action needed to stave off ‘hunger crisis’ in Iraq — U.N. food relief agency
“Warning that deepening food insecurity in Iraq could leave more than half the population facing ‘unprecedented levels’ of vulnerability, the United Nations emergency food relief agency [Monday] called for improving nutrition awareness and strengthening social safety nets and livelihoods in rural areas, to avoid a hunger crisis in the country. In its Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, prepared jointly with the Iraqi Government, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) also underlined the need to improve access to education, especially for girls, as an important component in the fight against hunger…” (4/10).

U.N. News Centre: Iraq: U.N. agency ramps up emergency medical care to women and girls affected by conflict
“The United Nations population agency, with financial support from the European Union (E.U.), has increased its humanitarian response in Iraq to meet the urgent needs of women and girls as fighting peaks in the war-torn country. Thanks to an additional five million euros contribution by the European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) is able to up-scale its urgent frontline assistance…” (4/10).

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Women's Health Policies Should Move Beyond Reproductive Health Issues To Include NCDs, Expert Says

Inter Press Service: Women’s Health Policies Should Focus on NCDs
“…In 1999, [Robyn Norton, professor of global health at the University of Oxford and public health at the University of Sydney,] co-founded the [George Institute for Global Health] with Professor Stephen MacMahon for three main reasons. First, a recognition that the global burden of disease had changed, particularly in lower- and middle-income countries where NCDs and injuries were emerging as a leading cause of death and disability. Secondly, the expertise to manage the emerging epidemic of NCDs and injuries was not available in these countries. Thirdly, most of the global collaborations between the high-income and low-income countries were still focused on maternal and child health and under nutrition. … Norton feels it’s time the global health agenda expands from a predominant focus on women’s reproductive organs to include women’s whole bodies — and the NCDs, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes…” (Bhandar, 4/11).

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Podoconiosis, Caused By Volcanic Minerals, Mistaken For Elephantiasis In Western Ugandan Outbreak

New York Times: Volcanic Minerals, Not Worms, Caused Disease Outbreak in Uganda
“Medical detectives in western Uganda recently discovered that the wrong culprit had been blamed for an outbreak of crippling elephantiasis — legs so swollen that they resemble those of an elephant. As it turned out, one rare, neglected tropical disease had been mistaken for another. … The researchers realized that they were facing something even rarer than worm disease: The victims had podoconiosis, a disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soils…” (McNeil, 4/10).

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Last Mile Health CEO Raj Panjabi Speaks With Devex About Systems Entrepreneurship, Importance Of Community Health Work

Devex: Q&A: CEO of Last Mile Health on becoming a systems entrepreneur
“…Together with his co-founders, [Raj] Panjabi started Last Mile Health to bring primary health care to remote areas in Liberia by partnering with governments to help them design, scale, and sustain networks of community health professionals. He was one of four Skoll awardees this year who received a $1.25 million, three-year core investment from the Skoll Foundation to scale the work of their organizations. Panjabi spoke with Devex about issues ranging from the importance of systems entrepreneurship to the power of community health work for job creation…” (Cheney, 4/10).

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APHRC Executive Director Alex Ezeh Discusses Potential U.S. Aid Cuts To, Impacts On African Nations In Interview With The Conversation

The Conversation Africa: How Trump’s proposed U.S. aid cuts will affect health care in Africa
“As part of his proposed first budget, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cut U.S. aid … This could have a devastating effect on health care in Africa. [African Population and Health Research Center Executive Director] Alex Ezeh spoke to The Conversation Africa about Trump’s decision and what it means. How important is U.S. aid been to health? [Ezeh:] It’s impossible to overstate the historic importance of U.S. development assistance to Africa. … How can gaps in health financing be filled? … [Ezeh:] If aid is cut there’s an opportunity for African countries to make good on their pledges to increase domestic financing for health. (This is true regardless of what the U.S. decides)…” (4/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Comprehensive Review Of U.S. Foreign Aid Could Help Democrats, Republicans Find Common Ground, Educate Public On Global Development's Importance

Foreign Policy: Here’s How Republicans Can Learn to Like Foreign Aid Again
Michael Miller, consultant and adjunct associate professor at the Duke Global Health Institute

“…The [Trump administration’s] proposed cuts [to foreign aid] are the first step in what could be a contentious process between Congress and the president regarding the U.S. international affairs budget, dividing Republicans who have supported American global development leadership since the George W. Bush era but who also support overall budget savings and a stronger national defense. … In this context, one proposal that is gaining attention is some form of a comprehensive review of the U.S. foreign aid portfolio — be it top to bottom or bottom-up — with the British bilateral and multilateral aid reviews providing useful examples of what a successful process can do. Whatever the format, the outcome should be largely the same: funding priorities better aligned with overall objectives, on which Congress and the president largely agree. To be successful, an aid review process must be based on some accepted, shared points. First, only with a shared understanding of what the United States aims to achieve with its aid and how the country defines success can America effectively review aid. … Second, a review must be undertaken with the goal of improving aid effectiveness, not simply reducing costs by a predetermined amount. … Third, a comprehensive aid review must include the entire aid portfolio of the U.S. government, not just that of USAID. … Fourth, Congress and the president should agree on a process that necessarily requires action on a review’s findings or recommendations. … Finally, a review should include a conversation about the basis on which the United States sets its priorities for allocating aid — whether it is determined by need, merit, national security, the potential return on investment, or other reasons. … The answers could provide some surprises in terms of finding common ground, and would provide a much clearer explanation to a skeptical public about the importance of global development” (4/10).

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Access To Contraception Critical To Improving Maternal Health In India

The Wire: In India, Better Access to Contraception Is Key to Reducing Maternal Deaths
Ulla Müller, president and CEO of EngenderHealth, and Shumon Sengupta, Asia regional representative for EngenderHealth

“…It is essential to women’s health that they be able to control whether and when they get pregnant, and that means they need access to contraception. EngenderHealth has worked for almost 20 years to improve contraceptive and maternal health services in India. … As with all of its programs, the focus is on high-quality, rights-based, client-centered health care that puts women’s needs, values, and preferences first. So how can the national family planning program be strengthened to ensure that as many women as possible have access to life-saving contraception? These are what are seen as the chief priorities: Invest in provider training … Integrate family planning with maternal and child health services … Pay attention to the special needs of young people … Expand the method mix … Reach women where they are … India’s maternal death toll is a tragedy, but it’s a tragedy we can end. The evidence is abundant and clear: contraception saves lives. Let’s make sure every woman has access to it” (4/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Brookings Blog Post Discusses Common Myths About U.S. Foreign Aid

Brookings Institution: Myths about U.S. foreign aid
George Ingram, senior fellow for Global Economy and Development at Brookings, discusses common myths about foreign aid, including the myth that foreign aid is unpopular and the misconception of how much the U.S. actually spends on foreign aid. Ingram notes, “If you have a hard time accepting foreign aid as an investment, think of it as insurance. Insurance that is cheaper than at some point having to put American troops in danger” (4/7).

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Blog Post Examines Why USAID Should Remain Separate From U.S. State Department

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: The Case for Keeping USAID and the State Department Separate
Abhik Pramanik, policy analyst at USGLC, discusses the differences between and roles of the State Department and USAID and makes a case for keeping USAID independent from the State Department. Pramanik writes, “If USAID were to be integrated into the State Department, the agency would likely lose its ability to effectively and accountably implement and evaluate its development programs. … Maintaining a strong, independent USAID is critical to U.S. national security, as its work seeks to prevent crises … If USAID were to be integrated into State, this restructuring would not only ignore the great strides USAID has made to become more efficient and accountable over the past decade, but would also make our development assistance less effective in the long run” (4/10).

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Fogarty Center Research Fellows Present Research, Discuss Global Health Lessons At CUGH 2017

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: CUGH 2017: The lessons of global health come home in Fogarty fellow stories, questions, plans
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses presentations made by several research fellows from the NIH’s Fogarty International Center at the 2017 Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference. Presenters included Eric Eisenman, a veterinarian who tracked a parasite that spreads ecchinocossis in Chile; Hod Tamir, a psychologist and research fellow with ICAP at Columbia University who studied the impact of stigma on women’s access to HIV services in India; and Lily Gutnick, a surgery resident from the University of Utah who researched how breast cancer screening could be improved in Malawi. Roger Glass, director of the Fogarty International Center, also made remarks about the center’s future (4/10).

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From the U.S. Government

GAO Report Examines USAID's International Food Assistance Programs

U.S. Government Accountability Office: International Food Assistance: USAID Has Controls for Implementation and Support Costs but Should Strengthen Financial Oversight
This GAO report examines USAID’s international food assistance projects under the Food for Peace Act and finds that USAID could enhance its financial oversight of the implementation and support costs of these projects. The report also recommends “that the agency conduct financial reviews, collect monitoring data, and assess risks to ensure that these funds are used properly” (4/10).

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