KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

News Deeply Speaks To PPFA Director Of Global Advocacy About Impact Of U.S. Funding Cuts To Family Planning Efforts

News Deeply Women & Girls: Planned Parenthood: Trump’s Cuts Hit Maternal Health of World’s Poorest
“…The potential impact of the [U.S.] government’s move [to withhold UNFPA funding], combined with the earlier reinstatement of the global gag rule (or Mexico City policy), which similarly cuts U.S. aid funding to charities that provide, support, or discuss abortion, has many family planning providers and aid organizations alarmed. … We spoke with Chloe Cooney, director of global advocacy at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, about the ramifications of the cuts…” (Jolly, 4/11).

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Large-Scale Investments Needed To Improve Water, Sanitation Worldwide, WHO Report Says

Deutsche Welle: New WHO report raises alarm on dirty water
“More than one in four people on the planet are drinking fecal-contaminated water, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO). The agency said Thursday that dramatic improvements are needed to ensure people around the world have access to clean water. The WHO wants to see large-scale investments to ensure people everywhere have clean drinking water. The agency said hundreds of thousands of people die each year because they are forced to drink contaminated water…” (4/13).

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Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Receives Support Of African Nations In Bid To Become Next WHO Director General

New Times: Ethiopian candidate for top WHO job gets full backing from Africa
“Ethiopia’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has received strong backing from African countries to head the World Health Organization (WHO), whose elections are due next month. … Tedros, 51, outlined to The New Times that his five priorities for the organization namely: universal health coverage; health emergency preparedness; women, children, and adolescents; health impacts of climate and environmental change; and creating a transformed WHO that is effectively managed, adequately resourced, results-focused, and responsive…” (Karuhanga, 4/12).

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New Report Provides Recommendations For Integrating Clinical Research Into Disease Outbreak Responses

STAT: New report charts ways to expedite critical research during epidemics
“…[A] new report commissioned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine attempts to chart a road map for expedited clinical trials for future epidemics, hoping to ensure that the lessons from the devastating Ebola outbreak are not forgotten. … The report, ‘Integrating Clinical Research into Epidemic Response: The Ebola Experience,’ was released Wednesday. A number of the recommendations in the nearly 300-page report focus on trying to build up health systems in low-income countries, so that they are better able to spot, respond to, and contribute to research during future disease outbreaks…” (Branswell, 4/12).

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Brazil's Yellow Fever Outbreak More Widespread Than In Past

STAT: ‘We didn’t expect this’: A historic yellow fever outbreak spreads in Brazil
“…Although Brazil experiences what is known as a ‘sylvatic’ cycle of yellow fever — in which the virus is spread between mosquitoes and monkeys in the jungle — the current outbreak has fanned far beyond the Amazon jungle and out to the coast. It has confounded specialists, doctors, and health officials, and raised fears of an epidemic in Brazil’s urban areas that could be devastating if not quickly contained. It is the worst outbreak of yellow fever in this country in recent memory…” (Phillips, 4/13).

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The Guardian Examines Family Planning Efforts, Contraceptive Use In India After Government-Sponsored Sterilization Camps Outlawed

The Guardian: Beyond sterilization: the need for sex education and contraceptives in India
“For decades, India has put controversial sterilization drives at the heart of its efforts to combat population growth. But last year, the country’s top court ordered the government to close sterilization camps within three years, following the deaths of hundreds of mainly poor rural women. … The supreme court judgment raised a wider hope that India would move away from family planning policies that place the onus on women, and provide a broader range of contraception. But new research indicates that the country has a long way to go…” (Cousins, 4/13).

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Guinea Worm On Track To Be Eliminated But Leaves History Of Large Disease Burden In Africa

VOA News: Research Reveals Huge Burden of Guinea Worm
“Guinea worm is on course to become the second human disease to be eradicated, after smallpox, thanks largely to intervention overseen by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Little was known about the infection for decades, as diseases like malaria took priority. However, previously unpublished research from the 1970s, released this month, shows the burden the disease has had on millions of people…” (Ridgwell, 4/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration Should Expand Funding For PEPFAR, Other 'Effective Global Health Programs'

STAT: ‘Beautiful babies’ will die without global HIV funding
C. Nicholas Cuneo, resident physician in internal medicine and pediatrics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Boston Medical Center

“…As the national debate unfolds regarding the merits of [the Syrian] air strike, George W. Bush … is devoting his time to asking Congress to continue supporting the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), arguably his greatest public health legacy. This flagship program has pioneered HIV prevention efforts and provided essential medications and health care to people living with HIV … around the globe. … By paying to test pregnant women for HIV and getting them onto lifesaving drugs that also prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child … PEPFAR averts thousands of infant infections each year and more than 1.5 million since 1995. Given the high mortality rates of infants with HIV, that translates into thousands upon thousands of children who owe their lives and futures to the program. If Congress makes cuts to PEPFAR, more of these avoidable deaths will occur — deaths that will be no less horrific than those that compelled Trump to act in Syria. … Cutting funding from indispensable programs like PEPFAR, which are already working effectively to save innocent lives worldwide, while lobbying to divert public funds into the machinery of war to be wielded abroad in the name of preventing bloodshed, represents the height of hypocrisy. If Trump truly wants to save the world’s beautiful babies, he should expand, not decrease, funding for PEPFAR and other effective global health programs” (4/13).

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Editorial, Letters To Editor Discuss Potential Implications Of Trump Administration's Budget Cuts To Foreign Aid, Global Health

Nature: U.S. foreign aid saves money as well as lives
Editorial Board

“With severe cuts proposed for U.S. agencies that handle environmental and health research, it might seem that scientists can’t prioritize the possible dismantling of U.S. foreign aid programs. But they should. President Trump’s proposed … budget cut to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which manages foreign assistance, would wreck a burgeoning and successful example of evidence-based policy-making. U.S. foreign aid has transformed significantly, so that it now involves fewer handouts and savvier science. … As political positions harden, it’s worth pointing out that science at USAID is the applied variety that conservatives tend to favor. And that transparent analysis of methods and results allows inefficient programs to be killed or adapted over time. Budget cuts that threaten this key part of aid will guarantee that wasteful programs continue for too long…” (4/13).

Los Angeles Times: Letters to the editor: Trump’s cuts to global health organizations is a counterproductive way to save money
Howard C. Mandel, a Los Angeles County health commissioner and chair of Jhpiego’s international advisory board

“…Fiscal conservatives in Congress should stop the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to global health organizations. As an obstetrician and advocate for women and children worldwide, I call on Congress to help increase maternal health care worldwide. It is not only the moral and compassionate thing to do, it is also fiscally responsible and strategically necessary” (4/12).

Jane Roberts, co-founder of 34 Million Friends of UNFPA

“…The administration’s refusal to contribute to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is particularly galling because back in 2002, Donald Trump and I were on the same honorary committee for the Friends of UNFPA’s ‘Family of Woman’ exhibit in the lobby of the United Nations. Trump obviously supported UNFPA then. What changed? He caved in to the virulent anti-U.N., anti-family planning faction of the Republican Party” (Roberts, 4/12).

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Liberia President Johnson Sirleaf Must Do More To Improve Nation's Health Care System, Stamp Out Corruption

New York Times: Stop Treating Liberia’s President Like a Hero. She’s a Human.
Dayo Olopade, author

“One of the saddest stories of this year has been the death of Salome Karwah, a Liberian health worker who was featured on the cover of Time magazine as a fighter in the 2014 Ebola epidemic. … Earlier this year in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, she died from complications of childbirth. Her death draws new attention to the governing structure in Liberia. … Liberian health systems under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman to be elected president of an African nation, were overwhelmed by the outbreak. Just 50 doctors at that time served Liberia’s 4.3 million people. Sluggish education and quarantine efforts failed because of widespread mistrust of the government, and particularly Ms. Johnson Sirleaf. Elected president in 2005, Ms. Johnson Sirleaf has become a sainted figure in development circles: pioneering politician, canny economic strategist, rightful recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. Her story is often yoked to that of Liberia’s ‘market women’ and other female civil society leaders in Liberia … In retrospect, tethering Ms. Johnson Sirleaf’s story to feminist energy feels superficial. What use is women’s empowerment when neglected health systems can so easily snuff out women’s lives? … [H]er reliance on foreign support and tolerance for corruption has stunted local capacity and jeopardized health outcomes in Liberia. … And although the country has made progress since its civil war, Liberia still lags the world in keeping women like Ms. Karwah alive in childbirth…” (4/12).

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U.N. Must Re-Establish Its Credibility In Haiti Following Cholera Epidemic

Miami Herald: U.N. continues to stumble — badly — in Haiti
Lauren Carasik, clinical professor of law and director of the International Human Rights Clinic at Western New England University School of Law

“Nowhere is the United Nations’ lack of accountability more glaring than in Haiti. The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is responsible for causing a cholera epidemic that has killed thousands and for crimes, including sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), that have largely gone unpunished. Thursday, as the Security Council votes on the future of MINUSTAH, it has a last chance to ensure that its mission’s legacy includes an accountable response for the harms it has caused. If the United Nations replaces MINUSTAH without doing right by Haiti, its successor mission, whose mandate will focus on promoting rule of law, will lack the credibility to succeed from its inception. … If the U.N. wants to advance its mission of promoting justice and human rights, it must right its wrongs. No money spent on U.N. work to advance the rule of law in Haiti will have its intended impact unless the organization models the accountability that is necessary to re-establish its credibility. Given the current global uncertainties, the U.N.’s legitimacy is more important than ever” (4/12).

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4 Reasons For Continued Attention On Zika

The Conversation: Four reasons why we shouldn’t forget about Zika
Raquel Medialdea-Carrera, PhD student in infections and global health at the University of Liverpool

“…In recent months, there has been a decline in news coverage, but here are four reasons why we shouldn’t forget about Zika. 1. The epidemic is not over … 2. Zika doesn’t just cause microcephaly … 3. Adults can experience more than just mild fever … 4. The social impact of Zika has been devastating … Since the Rio Olympic Games in August last year, media coverage of Zika has slowed to a trickle. However, scientists, doctors, politicians, and the public must not forget about the threat of this dangerous virus and about the millions of people affected. The Zika crisis is far from over and we ought to keep fighting for its eradication” (4/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Launches Report Chronicling Global Health Evolution Over Past Decade

WHO: Ten years in public health 2007-2017
“Today we launch a report that chronicles the evolution of global public health over the decade that Dr. Margaret Chan has served as director general at WHO. The report opens with a letter from Dr. Chan who offers her reflections on some of the highlights and challenges of the past 10 years working to build a better, healthier future for the world’s people. The first chapter examines WHO’s key role in promoting universal health coverage as the most powerful way to improve global health and development and lead the world towards greater fairness. The full series will be published over the next six weeks…” (4/13).

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Chicago Council Report Recommends U.S. Government Make Global Food, Nutrition Security Pillar Of National Security Strategy

Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food for Thought”: Stability in the 21st Century: Integrating Engagement on Food Security and National Security
As part of its series highlighting findings from its report “Stability in the 21st Century: Global Food Security for Peace and Prosperity,” the Council writes, “…For years, improving global health has been a strong component of the U.S. government’s national security strategy — and for good reason. Cultivating global food and nutrition security should play an equally prominent role in national security strategy. As such, the Council recommends that the U.S. government make global food and nutrition security a pillar of U.S. diplomatic and national security engagement and strengthen the integration and coordination of activities both within the United States and around the world. To accomplish this, the U.S. government should take several actions: Amplify the importance of global food security for U.S. national security and diplomatic activities. … Maximize resources through smart integration and coordination among agencies and between the U.S. government and civil society. … Work closely with bilateral and multilateral partners to achieve collective goals…” (4/12).

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CGD Expert Examines Challenges For Foreign Health Aid Donors, Countries Losing External Funding

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: The Bad News Is Good News? The Problems of Graduating from Foreign Health Aid
CGD Senior Fellow William Savedoff poses three questions arising from attending “a working group set up under the auspices of UHC2030 to look at the problems facing countries that lose external funding for their health programs.” Savedoff asks, “1. Is there anything specific to losing external funding that isn’t already part of a country’s strategy to strengthen its health system? 2. If coordination among donors is needed, can that be achieved centrally or will it only happen within the countries receiving aid? 3. What is the right way to gauge a country’s own effort to mobilize resources?” He discusses each question, concluding, “Ultimately, the success of any of these transitions depends on what a country learns how to do for itself. But, aid agencies have an obligation to make that process more predictable and smoother” (4/12).

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FHI 360 CSO Says CUGH Contributes 'Essential Component' To Global Health Academics

FHI 360’s R&E SEARCH for EVIDENCE: Academia takes on global health
Timothy Mastro, FHI 360’s chief science officer, discusses highlights of the 8th Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), held recently in Washington, D.C. Mastro concludes, “As the planet’s population grows from 7.5 billion now to 9.7 billion in 2050 (half of the increase will come in Africa) there will be an ever-increasing need to have our best minds working on global heath. CUGH represents an essential component. We need to do all we can to support the institutions that help generate new evidence on global health challenges and then apply this evidence through innovative solutions” (4/12).

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