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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump Vetoes War Powers Resolution Calling For End Of U.S. Involvement In Yemen War

New York Times: Trump Vetoes Measure to Force End to U.S. Involvement in Yemen War
“President Trump vetoed a bipartisan resolution on Tuesday that would have forced an end to American military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s civil war in Yemen, rejecting an appeal by lawmakers to his own deeply rooted instincts to withdraw the United States from bloody foreign conflicts. The veto, only the second time Mr. Trump has used his power to block legislation passed by both houses of Congress, strikes down a resolution that invoked the War Powers Act to distance the United States from a four-year conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and resulted in a widespread famine…” (Landler/Baker, 4/16).

POLITICO: Trump vetoes resolution on ending U.S. role in Yemen civil war
“…All Democrats and several Republicans — including Trump allies — in both chambers backed the War Powers resolution amid a worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have sought to overthrow the country’s government. Others voted for the bill as a way to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi…” (Desiderio, 4/16).

Wall Street Journal: Trump Vetoes Resolution to End U.S. Military Aid for Saudi-Led Yemen War
“… ‘This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,’ Mr. Trump said in a statement on Tuesday. ‘Apart from counterterrorism operations against al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS, the United States is not engaged in hostilities in or affecting Yemen’…” (Salama, 4/16).

Washington Post: Trump vetoes resolution to end U.S. participation in Yemen’s civil war
“…This month’s House vote marked the first time both chambers had acted to invoke the same war-powers resolution to end U.S. military engagement in a foreign conflict. It also represented the latest instance of Congress’s challenging Trump’s decisions as commander in chief. The veto means the United States will continue its involvement in Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, waged in the name of holding back Iran’s expansion in the region…” (Sonmez, 4/16).

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U.S. 'Concerned' Over Allegations Of Misused Funds At UNAIDS, Remains 'Committed' To Strong Agency, AP Says

Associated Press: U.S. ‘concerned’ over misused funds allegations at UNAIDS
“The U.S. government has expressed concern about allegations of misused funds at the U.N.’s AIDS agency after a report by the Associated Press this week revealed ongoing financial and sexual misconduct problems at the agency. In a statement late Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said the government remains ‘committed to ensuring that UNAIDS has a clear and robust approach to eliminating all forms of harassment’ within the organization. … The U.S. is UNAIDS’ biggest donor. … ‘The U.S. highly values transparency and due diligence and in this context, supports the timely completion of all investigations,’ said the U.S. spokesperson, who added that the government remains ‘committed’ to a strong U.N. AIDS agency. The U.S. stopped short of saying whether any funding would be withheld…” (Cheng et al., 4/17).

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Red Cross Delivers First Humanitarian Aid Shipment To Venezuela

New York Times: After Years of Denial, Venezuela’s President Allows Aid to Enter
“After denying for years that Venezuelans were suffering a humanitarian crisis, the government allowed the Red Cross to send in 24 tons of medical equipment on Tuesday, marking the beginning of a large-scale relief campaign intended to ease malnutrition and the spread of disease in the crisis-stricken country. … The arrival of the aid shipment constitutes an about-face by [President Nicolás] Maduro’s government, which for years had denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis despite the nation having endured the deepest economic depression in modern history among countries not at war…” (Kurmanaev et al., 4/16).

Reuters: First shipment of Red Cross humanitarian aid arrives in Venezuela
“… ‘The International Red Cross today delivered its first batch of support for Venezuela, together with the revolutionary government that I lead, and it was received in a legal and orderly way, complying with international protocols,’ Maduro said in a speech broadcast on state television. There was little hope that the shipment — intended to help hospitals cope with shortages of equipment and frequent power outages — would be anything more than a palliative measure for Venezuela, where over three million people have fled the chaos of hyperinflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine…” (Sequera et al., 4/16).

Additional coverage of the aid shipment and the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is available from the Associated Press, BBC News, Sky News, and Wall Street Journal.

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DRC President Calls On Population To Trust Health Care Workers In Ebola Outbreak; U.K. Development Secretary Urges Nations To 'Step Up' Financial Support

Associated Press: Congo’s leader sets Ebola outbreak end date after 800 deaths
“Congo’s president said Tuesday that he wants an Ebola virus outbreak that already has become the country’s second-deadliest contained in less than three months, although some health experts estimate it could take twice as long…” (Maliro, 4/16).

CIDRAP News: Studies find Ebola gene differences in recent DRC outbreaks
“[On Tuesday] The Lancet Infectious Diseases published two new studies that show how the response to the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been shaped by the lessons gleaned from the West African outbreak of the viral disease from 2013 to 2015…” (Soucheray, 4/16).

Reuters: Ebola is real, Congo president tells skeptical population
“Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday implored people in areas hit by the nation’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak to accept the disease is real and trust health workers…” (Mahamba et al., 4/16).

Reuters: Ebola survivors comfort sick and frightened in Congo outbreak
“…[D]ozens of survivors … are providing care — and much-needed human contact — to some of the littlest victims of the second-worst Ebola epidemic on record. Of the more than 1,150 confirmed and probable Ebola cases, 29% are children, according to figures from the World Health Organization. More than 800 people, including at least 248 under the age of 18, have died since the outbreak began in August…” (Al Katanty/Kelland, 4/17).

The Telegraph: World must ‘step up’ in the fight against an escalating Ebola outbreak
“The world needs to ‘step up’ its response to the Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and turn messages of support into financial commitments, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has said. She added that it was in everyone’s interest to support efforts to contain the highly contagious disease, which is notoriously difficult to control…” (Newey, 4/16).

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U.K. To Reduce Number Of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Doses To 2 From 3; Move Could Pave Way For Similar Policies In LMICs, Other Countries

The Telegraph: World watches as U.K. announces it will drop key childhood vaccine to two doses
“The U.K. is set to become the first country in the world to cut a key childhood vaccine from three to two doses in a move that experts hope will encourage poorer countries to eventually follow suit. Last July a government advisory group, the [U.K.] Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), recommended that the dosing schedule for the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) be reduced from three to two doses after a Lancet Infectious Diseases study showed that the vaccine was just as effective and safe when given in two shots. … Experts believe that the change could eventually pave the way for similar policies in lower and middle-income countries, saving them significant amounts of money. … In a statement, [vaccine maker] Pfizer said it did not support the government’s decision to reduce the number of doses which could ‘potentially pose a significant public health risk'” (Gulland, 4/16).

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Media Sources Continue Coverage Of WHO Data Showing 300% Increase In Global Measles Cases

ABC News: Staggering number of measles cases in U.S. just part of 300% global uptick (Keneally, 4/16).

The BMJ: Measles cases rise 300% globally in first few months of 2019 (Mahase, 4/16).

The Hill: Measles cases up 300 percent globally (Hellmann, 4/16).

Washington Post: World Health Organization says measles cases up 300 percent in 2019 (Tamkin, 4/16).

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GSK, Partners To Begin Pilot Program For Malaria Vaccine In Africa This Month; Sanaria Experimental Malaria Vaccine To Begin Large Trial On African Island In 2020

Bloomberg: Malaria Vaccine Took 30 Years. It’s Still a Work in Progress
“After more than three decades of work and almost $1 billion of investment, GlaxoSmithKline Plc and its partners are ready to deploy a vaccine for malaria, the mosquito-borne disease that kills almost half a million people each year. The [RTS,S] vaccine, developed with the non-profit organization PATH, comes at a critical time and marks a milestone in the battle against the parasite that causes malaria. But the injection is a pioneer, not a panacea: it prevented only about four in 10 malaria cases among children who received four doses in a large study. A pilot program is scheduled to begin this month in Africa to size up the product, which has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives, according to the World Health Organization…” (Paton, 4/16).

Nature: Promising malaria vaccine to be tested in first large field trial
“A [different] malaria vaccine that can provide up to 100% protection against the disease will be tested in a large clinical trial for the first time, to study its efficacy under real-world conditions. The trial will begin in early 2020 on Bioko, an island off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, and will involve 2,100 people aged 2-50 years. The trial is intended to provide the efficacy and safety data needed for regulatory approval, says malaria researcher Steve Hoffman, who is leading the study and is chief executive of Sanaria, the company in Rockville, Maryland, that developed the vaccine. Equatorial Guinea’s government and private energy companies are sponsoring the trial. In laboratory studies, the vaccine, called PfSPZ, has proven the most effective malaria vaccine developed so far, giving healthy volunteers complete protection…” (Butler, 4/16).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: ‘Wise persons’ to scrutinize E.U. development finance (Chadwick, 4/16).

Devex: Q&A: ICRC chief on why international NGOs ‘are at extreme risk’ (Igoe, 4/16).

Devex: Q&A: How a skeptic helped design Co-Impact’s approach to giving (Cheney, 4/17).

Fast Company: Bill Gates isn’t scared of sharks, but he wants nothing to do with mosquitoes (Paynter, 4/16).

The Guardian: Portable kit to treat babies with jaundice goes on trial in Peru (Hodal, 4/16).

Mail & Guardian: The Arab world’s silent reproductive revolution (4/17).

New York Times: In India, a Renewed Fight Against Leprosy (Mandavilli, 4/17).

Quartz: One month later: Cyclone Idai’s devastation by the numbers (Chutel, 4/16).

SciDev.Net: Africa making progress in using STI to achieve SDGs (Nakweya, 4/16).

Xinhua News: 106 cases of imported dengue fever reported in Taiwan this year (4/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Discusses Mexico City Policy, Ivanka Trump's Trip To Africa To Promote Women's Global Development, Prosperity Initiative

The Guardian: Hypocrisy without borders: the pomposity of Ivanka Trump’s trip to Africa
Arwa Mahdawi, columnist and brand strategist at The Guardian

“…On Sunday, the first daughter and presidential adviser [Ivanka Trump] set off on a four-day trip to Ethiopia and Ivory Coast to promote the U.S. government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative (W-GDP), which aims to benefit 50 million women in developing countries by 2025. … You can’t separate women’s economic empowerment from women’s reproductive rights. But the Trump administration is doing just that. It has [reinstated and] expanded a federal directive known as the ‘global gag rule,’ [also known as the Mexico City policy,] … Numerous gender-equality advocates have pointed out that this policy is a significant impediment to the W-GDP’s goal of assisting women economically…” (4/16).

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Laurie Garrett Discusses Indirect Role Of Coltan Mineral Trade In DRC Ebola Outbreak

Foreign Policy: Your Cell Phone Is Spreading Ebola
Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…[The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ebola outbreak] is now on the edge of catastrophe that requires an urgent response. The most urgent of all is also among the least direct. It doesn’t involve Ebola at all but rather the inside of our cell phones. … Conflict seems to have deepened in North Kivu alongside the spectacular global growth in the mobile phones market, which has made the locally plentiful black stones of columbite-tantalite, or coltan, potentially more valuable than Congo’s gold, diamonds, uranium, and other minerals and gems. … Coltan is a heat-resistant mix of compounds that conduct[s] high-energy signals inside laptops, electric cars, and cell phones, allowing compressed signals to display videos and games without exploding and batteries to safely store energy. … The Trump administration, G-20, and OECD should immediately scrutinize the conflict minerals trade and the many government attempts to limit their use in cell phones and other electronics. Japan, as the host of the upcoming G-20 Summit, should place trade in coltan and its impact on the Ebola epidemic on the June gathering’s Osaka agenda. Unless the flow of cash-for-coltan comes to a halt, our cell phones will indirectly fuel violence and spur further spread of Ebola…” (4/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Policy Paper Examines Independent Assessment Of U.K. Aid Impact, Value

Center for Global Development: How Effective Is U.K. Aid? Assessing the Last 8 Years of Spending
Ian Mitchell, co-director of Development Cooperation in Europe and senior policy fellow at CGD, and Arthur Baker, research assistant at CGD, highlight their new policy paper analyzing the Independent Commission on Aid Impact’s (ICAI) assessment of the quality of U.K. aid spending over the past eight years (2011-2018). The authors examine key takeaways and recommendations from the assessment (4/17).

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U.N. Dispatch Explores U.N. CERF's Role In Ensuring Financial Support To Underfunded Global Emergencies

U.N. Dispatch: Map of the Day: The 13 Most Overlooked Global Humanitarian Crises
Mark Leon Goldberg, executive editor of U.N. Dispatch, discusses the role of the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which was created by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and “directs funds to those crises that are not attracting the sufficient attention of donors.” Goldberg notes, “On April 11, OCHA announced the largest disbursement of CERF funds ever, directing $125 million to 13 underfunded emergencies. … And on the same day this record allocation of emergency funds was released, OCHA also announced a $25 million allocation for ongoing crisis in Sudan. … CERF is a good example of why flexibility in funding is a valuable tool to maximize the impact of donor dollars for humanitarian relief…” (4/16).

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WHO Rolls Out Early Warning Alert, Response System In Cyclone-Hit Mozambique To Detect Possible Epidemic Diseases

WHO Africa: Disease detection in a box — a high-tech solution for emergency settings
“In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, hundreds of thousands of Mozambicans were left without shelter, food, or access to health services. Many people have been living in temporary settlements without access to safe water and sanitation, putting them at high risk of diseases like cholera, malaria, and measles. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, WHO is rolling out its early warning alert and response system (known as EWARS-in-a-Box) to rapidly detect priority epidemic-prone diseases and allow a quick response before they develop into large outbreaks…” (4/16).

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Piece Outlines 3 Ways African Governments Can Engage With Private Sector To Improve Women's, Children's Health

World Economic Forum: 3 ways Africa can improve the health of women and children
Temitayo Erogbogbo, director of advocacy at MSD For Mothers, outlines three ways African governments can engage the private sector to reduce maternal mortality and improve the health of women and children: “1. Optimizing innovative financing tools for development … 2. Leveraging local private health providers to strengthen health systems … 3. Tapping into private-sector expertise and innovation” (4/17).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator, Adviser To President Discuss Women's Economic Participation In Côte d'Ivoire

USAID: USAID Administrator Green’s and Adviser to the President Ivanka Trump’s Meetings in Côte d’Ivoire
“[Tuesday], USAID Administrator Mark Green and Adviser to the President Ivanka Trump met with Vice President of Côte d’Ivoire Daniel Kablan Duncan at the Presidential Palace to discuss Côte d’Ivoire’s economic reform process, the White House-led Women’s Global Development Initiative, and efforts to ensure women’s participation in the country’s growing economy. The delegation attended a signing ceremony that established a gender unit within Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Education, a key condition to helping unlock $524.7 million in funding under the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact in Côte d’Ivoire…” (4/16).

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