KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Former Head Of USAID's DCA, Other Experts Discuss Proposed U.S. Development Finance Corporation

Devex: Former DCA head warns of perils of spinning agency into new U.S. Development Finance Corporation
“A former head of the United States Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority cautioned that the proposed U.S. Development Finance Corporation could end up jeopardizing the efficiency and ultimate success of DCA if restructuring is not handled properly. Ben Hubbard, who ran DCA during the Obama administration, said he supports creation of the new institution, but moving DCA into the new DFC, as proposed, could eliminate some of the characteristics that make it most effective…” (Welsh, 4/10).

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WHO Demands Access To Syria's Douma, Where Partner Agencies Report Evidence Of Chemical Attack Affecting 500 People

BBC News: Syria war: WHO demands access to ‘chemical attack site’
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has demanded ‘unhindered access’ to Douma in [Syria’s Eastern Ghouta] to check reports from its partners that 500 people were affected by a chemical attack there. The Syrian government denies being behind any use of chemical weapons…” (4/11).

The Guardian: Syria: 500 Douma patients had chemical attack symptoms, says WHO
“…The WHO report adds to mounting evidence of the use of toxic gas in the attack, which killed at least 42 people and has raised the prospect of American airstrikes against forces loyal to the regime of Bashar al-Assad…” (Shaheen, 4/11).

Reuters: WHO: 500 Syrian patients show symptoms pointing to toxic weapons exposure
“…U.N. aid agencies lack access to most of Eastern Ghouta, from which rebels are withdrawing under a deal with the Syrian government that restored its control over the region. WHO said it had trained more than 800 Syrian health workers to recognize symptoms and treat patients for chemical weapons exposure. The U.N. agency has also distributed antidotes for nerve agents, including in besieged Douma last year…” (Nebehay, 4/11).

U.N. News: Security Council fails to adopt three resolutions on chemical weapons use in Syria
“Days after alleged chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma, the United Nations Security Council failed to adopt two competing resolutions that would have established a mechanism to investigate use of such weapons in Syria, as well as another concerning a fact-finding mission in the war-torn country…” (4/10).

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Aid Agencies Say Access To Sudan Remains Limited 6 Months After U.S. Lifted Sanctions

IRIN: Six months after U.S. sanctions lifted, promised aid access in Sudan remains limited
“With the lifting of U.S. sanctions last October, aid organizations hoped the Sudanese government would ease restrictions on aid operations and allow access to parts of the country long kept off limits. But six months after this major shift in strategy in dealing with President Omar al-Bashir, aid workers and rights advocates doubt the bureaucratic changes they’ve seen in Khartoum will translate into more people receiving humanitarian assistance over the long term…” (Chandler, 4/11).

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U.N., Partners To Vaccinate 1B People In Africa Against Yellow Fever

U.N. News: U.N.-backed campaign to protect nearly a billion people in Africa from yellow fever by 2026
“Amid a resurgence of yellow fever outbreaks, the United Nations together with partners, has begun an ambitious campaign to vaccinate close to one billion people against the deadly disease across 27 high-risk African countries. … The goal is to rid the continent of yellow fever — a viral disease with potentially fatal consequences — by 2026…” (4/10).

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California's Silicon Valley Companies, Universities Develop Technology To Detect, Track Diseases In Africa, Asia

California Healthline: Applying Silicon Valley Smarts To Age-Old Diseases
“…The gadgets [used to detect infection with Loa loa worms], called LoaScopes, are part of a broader effort to harness technology and innovation in the U.S., including California’s Silicon Valley, to fight age-old diseases in the developing world. Over the years, major California universities — UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, UCLA — have built cellphone microscopes geared to look at other bloodborne diseases in Africa and Asia, such as malaria and tuberculosis. UC-San Francisco researchers are using satellite images on Google Earth Engine to construct real-time maps of breeding conditions for malaria that can help predict infection rates in rural villages…” (Rinker, 4/11).

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More News In Global Health

Agence France-Presse: ‘Emergency’ malnutrition in Rohingya refugee kids: study (4/10).

Al Jazeera: The plight of Pakistan’s Lady Health Workers (Adil, 4/10).

BBC News: Tanzania launches early-age cervical cancer vaccine (4/10).

CIDRAP News: MERS studies spotlight infections in health workers, kids (Schnirring, (4/10).

The Guardian: Africa’s unsung scientists finally get their own journal to spread research (Akinwotu, 4/10).

Inter Press Service: U.N.’s Zero Hunger Goal Remains a Daunting Challenge (4/11).

NPR: Kenyan Woman Abused By Nurses During Childbirth Wins Landmark Case (Brink, 4/10).

U.N. News: Disease outbreaks threaten Papua New Guinea’s quake-hit communities — U.N. (4/10).

Xinhua News: U.N. agency set for new round of cholera vaccination drive in South Sudan (4/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Pressures On Vaccine Efforts Continue To Impact Goal Of Universal Access By 2020

The Lancet Global Health: #VaccinesWork… don’t they?
Editorial Board

“…[A]s we near the end of the Decade of Vaccines, with its promise of universal access to immunization by 2020 via the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), it seems almost paradoxical that global coverage of such a successful and cost-effective tool is showing only sluggish progress. … [WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE)] will meet this April as part of its twice-yearly schedule and while there may be some progress to celebrate, pressures on vaccination efforts will certainly continue to permeate the discussions. Conflicts, instability, and humanitarian disasters are especially challenging and disrupt efforts to reach those most in need of vaccines. … Another impediment to progress is true political commitment to an issue that has complex budgetary implications, particularly in countries where economic progress is such that they are transitioning out of international financial assistance. … There is no doubt that vaccines work: they save lives, they are the best investment a country could make for its citizens. Yet immunization only really works when all the pressures on coverage, those mentioned above and many more, are relieved in a collective effort. The theme of this year’s World Immunization Week on April 24-30, ‘Protected Together, #VaccinesWork’ is a good reminder of that” (May 2018).

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Innovative Approaches To Financing For New Antibiotics Can Spur Research & Development

STAT: Innovative ways to pay for new antibiotics will help fight superbugs
Kevin Outterson, executive director of Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X)

“…[W]hy are we facing what has been called a post-antibiotic apocalypse? … [W]hen it comes to antibiotics, the most innovative ones are put on the shelf, with doctors saving the newest, most powerful antibiotics as a last resort for patients who don’t respond to older drugs. While that approach may be great for medicine and public health, it’s terrible for innovation: Companies can’t make a profit on drugs they don’t sell. Antibiotics are in trouble because we’ve failed to recognize their protective value to society. … Based on the best available models, we can predict that innovative approaches to the development of new antibiotics, such as transferable exclusivity awards, would spur the development and approval of 10 to 20 powerful new antibiotics over the next three decades, giving us what we need to battle superbugs. It’s time to change the way we think about developing and using new antibiotics. Otherwise, we risk living — and dying — in a post-antibiotic era” (4/11).

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Food Security 'Fundamental Requirement' For Global Stability

News Deeply: Hunger Is Making the World Less Stable
Chase Sova, director of public policy and research at World Food Program USA

“…Food security is a fundamental requirement of any stable society. … In a comprehensive review of the work on this topic, a new report from World Food Program USA shows that food insecurity has been empirically linked to at least nine separate types of instability, ranging from protest to interstate conflict, with terrorism and civil war in between. … Modern crises are almost never driven by a single cause. But when food insecurity meets with poor governance, a lack of economic opportunity, and existing societal grievances, the conditions for conflict to emerge — or re-emerge — can be met. … Breaking the cycle of hunger and conflict is among the great challenges of our day. Doing so, however, begins with acknowledging the link between food insecurity and global instability. Surely, one of the best investments we can make in global stability is to help people who can’t feed themselves or their families” (4/10).

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Closing Gaps In Care, Commitment To Accelerating Change Can Help Reduce Maternal, Newborn Mortality, Morbidity

Project Syndicate: How to Save Women and Newborns During Childbirth
Katherine Semrau, director of the Ariadne Labs Better Birth Program, and Atul Gawande, executive director of Ariadne Labs, both associated with Harvard and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital

“…Progress on reducing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity … requires improving and strengthening the capabilities and quality of care in primary care facilities that provide labor and delivery services. … Effective health systems must be able to close nearly all gaps in care, including gaps in supplies and equipment, basic skills and capabilities, and communication and connections to higher-level health facilities for sick mothers and babies. … How do we get to this standard? … [More is] needed to accelerate change, including financial resources, political will, and the dedication of leaders, providers, and the community to demand progress. We are closer than we have ever been to closing the gaps that account for most maternal and newborn mortality. … [W]e know what is needed to make childbirth safer. To improve the health and well-being of mothers and their newborns, we must translate that knowledge into reality in every facility around the world” (4/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PEPFAR, Health GAP Release Reports On U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Programs

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: PEPFAR highlights gains and accountability, while treatment advocates highlight “Deadly Impact” of policy, funding gaps
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses the release of PEPFAR’s latest report to Congress, as well as a new report from Health GAP, titled Deadly Impact: How Flat Funding Is Undermining U.S. Global AIDS Programs (4/10).

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CFR Blog Post Highlights South Sudan's Elimination Of Guinea Worm Transmission

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Africa In Transition”: South Sudan Waves Goodbye to Guinea Worm
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses South Sudan’s announcement that the country has stopped transmission of Guinea worm, highlighting the work of the Carter Center in this achievement (4/10).

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From the U.S. Government

PMI, USAID Welcome Kenneth Staley As New U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator

President’s Malaria Initiative: PMI Welcomes Dr. Kenneth Staley as the New U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator
In this statement, Acting Global Malaria Coordinator Irene Koek announces the appointment of Kenneth Staley as the new global malaria coordinator for the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). Koek notes, “Dr. Staley’s appointment by the White House was announced April 9. A welcome statement by USAID Administrator Mark Green is posted here. … We look forward to working under the leadership of Dr. Staley to redouble PMI efforts to expand the coverage of proven interventions to people in need, where they live, in rural communities whereby further contributing to shrinking the malaria map…” (4/10).

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Post Discusses Impact Of Mental Health, Collective Trauma On Diplomacy Efforts

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Collective Trauma and Challenges to Diplomacy
Ashley Faler, intern in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, highlights a Facebook Live event with Sousan Abadian, a Franklin fellow with the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, who discussed mental health and the challenges of collective trauma on diplomacy. Faler writes, “If the members of the global community that work with victims of collective trauma abroad are not aware of the effects that their presence may have on affected communities, or are not aware of how working with communities affected by trauma might impact their own mental health, then diplomacy becomes difficult” (4/10).

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From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet Examining President's Malaria Initiative, Other U.S. Government Global Malaria Efforts

Kaiser Family Foundation: The President’s Malaria Initiative and Other U.S. Government Global Malaria Efforts
This updated fact sheet examines the U.S. government’s role in global malaria efforts, including the President’s Malaria Initiative; multi- and bilateral funding; malaria interventions; and global goals for control and eradication (4/10).

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