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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.K., Gates Foundation, Pharma Companies Make New Commitments To Halve Malaria Cases By 2023 At London Summit

BBC News: Malaria experts fear disease’s resurgence
“For the first time in 10 years, global malaria cases are no longer falling, sparking concerns about a resurgence of the too often deadly disease. Experts, and philanthropist Bill Gates, are urging country leaders gathering at the Commonwealth summit in London to pledge more money to fight the illness. … The U.K. government has said it will invest £500m a year for the next three years to help fight malaria. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will extend its investments in malaria by an additional $1bn (£700m) through to 2023…” (Roberts, 4/18).

Bloomberg: Glaxo, Novartis Join $4 Billion Gates-Led Push to Fight Malaria
“GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Novartis AG will contribute research funds to an almost $4 billion global effort to combat malaria as drug-resistant strains of the disease threaten to undo years of progress. … Glaxo, the U.K.’s largest drugmaker, is investing an additional $250 million, while Switzerland’s Novartis will allocate more than $100 million, the companies said before a meeting Wednesday in London…” (Paton, 4/17).

Devex: Leaders challenge Commonwealth countries to halve malaria cases by 2023
“On Wednesday, government leaders, the private sector, and NGOs will announce new commitments in the fight against malaria and call on the 53 Commonwealth nations to halve the number of malaria cases worldwide in the next five years. If achieved, this would prevent 350 million cases of malaria and save 650,000 lives, according to estimates by the World Health Organization. … The announcement comes during the Malaria Summit London 2018, in the midst of the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting 2018, also in London…” (Anders, 4/17).

The Guardian: Invest in mosquito surveillance to combat malaria, says Bill Gates
“…Gates told the heads of Commonwealth states that innovation was needed to tackle the resurgence of the disease. ‘If there is one lesson we have learned … it’s that we have to keep innovating to control malaria, because conditions evolve,’ he told the meeting in London, where a total of £2.7bn was pledged in a drive to halve the number of malaria cases across the Commonwealth…” (Summers, 4/18).

Reuters: Global leaders seek to reignite fight against deadly malaria
“…Seeking to reignite efforts to wipe out the deadly mosquito-borne disease, philanthropists, business leaders, and ministers from donor and malaria-affected countries pledged £2.7 billion ($3.8 billion) to drive research and innovation and improve access to malaria prevention and treatments…” (Kelland, 4/17).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Royals, celebrities, scientists join renewed call to tackle malaria
“The global fight against malaria hits the spotlight on Wednesday when science and business leaders, Britain’s Prince Charles, and Bill Gates join forces to push for new commitments to end the mosquito-borne disease that kills a child every two minutes…” (Wilson, 4/17).

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Trump Officials Called U.S. 'Pro-Life Nation,' Pushed For Abstinence Policies In Closed-Door U.N. Commission On Women Meetings

BuzzFeed News: In Closed-Door U.N. Meetings, Trump Administration Officials Pushed Abstinence For International Women’s Health Programs
“In closed-door meetings at the United Nations in March, Trump administration officials pushed socially conservative views on women’s rights issues — including abstinence-based policies over information about contraception — that were further to the right than those expressed by most other countries present, including Russia and the representative for the Arab states, U.N. officials who attended the meetings told BuzzFeed News…” (O’Connor, 4/17).

The Hill: Trump official claimed U.S. is a ‘pro-life nation’ in U.N. meeting: report
“…Bethany Kozma, a USAID adviser on women’s empowerment, reportedly said during a meeting that the U.S. was a ‘pro-life nation.’ … Another delegate [to the Commission on the Status of Women] criticized HHS official Valerie Huber, telling BuzzFeed News that she pushed a ‘particularly regressive’ stance on sexual education. … Other officials said that the Trump administration’s views as displayed at the meetings were further right than the Bush administration, and that other member states united together against U.S. officials on family planning issues…” (Anapol, 4/17).

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New CDC Director Takes Steps To Comply With U.S. Government Ethics Rules

Wall Street Journal: New CDC Chief Resigned From Four Entities to Comply With Ethics Rules
“The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resigned positions at four entities, sold stock and forfeited options in two companies, and is signing his share of future patent licensing fees and royalty payments over to his university to comply with government ethics rules, according to his financial disclosures…” (McKay, 4/17).

Washington Post: New CDC chief stepped down from four groups to comply with ethics rules
“…[Robert] Redfield, a longtime HIV/AIDS researcher who started the job March 26, succeeded Brenda Fitzgerald, the former Georgia public health commissioner, who resigned Jan. 31 after serving only half a year because she was unable to divest from her financial holdings. She had also purchased tobacco stocks as CDC director. ‘The job of CDC director is very important to me,’ Redfield said in a statement issued Tuesday. ‘Therefore, I have worked closely with the HHS Ethics Office to comply with all reporting requirements of the Ethics in Government Act’…” (Sun, 4/17).

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Novo Nordisk, Red Cross To Work Together To Improve Care For Diabetes, Hypertension Among People In Conflict Zones

Reuters: Novo Nordisk, Red Cross team up to tackle chronic diseases in conflict zones
“Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk and aid agency Red Cross have teamed up to try to improve the treatment of chronic diseases among the millions affected by conflicts and humanitarian crises in countries such as Syria and Yemen…” (Jacobsen, 4/18).

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WHO Panel To Issue Recommendations On Use Of Dengue Vaccine Dengvaxia

STAT: WHO ruling could put fate of world’s first dengue vaccine on the line
“…On Wednesday, an expert panel that advises the World Health Organization will vote to update its recommendations outlining how and when the vaccine should be used — and more importantly, how and when it should not be administered. A decision is expected Thursday…” (Branswell, 4/17).

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7 Years Of War Destroy Syria's Health System, Create Public Health Disaster

Wall Street Journal: After the Gas and Bombs: The Health Crisis That’s Killing Syria
“This country’s seven-year war is fueling a parallel disaster: a crippling public-health catastrophe. Some 400,000 Syrians have died from bullets, bombs, or torture, including alleged recent gas attacks. More may have died as a result of the breakdown of its health system, and chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease have become far more deadly, according reports from the World Bank and World Health Organization…” (Abdulrahim/Deeb, 4/17).

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More News In Global Health

Baltimore Sun: University of Maryland virus institute to lead $100 million effort to track HIV programs in Nigeria (McDaniels, 4/17).

Deutsche Welle: Philippines: Reported HIV subtype is treatable, says UNAIDS official (Santos, 4/17).

Devex: Short-term private investment impacts sustainable development, U.N. report finds (Lieberman, 4/17).

Global Health NOW: Palliative Pain Relief Woefully Inadequate Worldwide (Sutherland, 4/17).

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Russian Government Drafts Bill To Fight AIDS Denial (4/16).

Reuters: Britain says regrets role in anti-gay laws among former colonies (James, 4/17).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Malaria in conflict zones threatens global progress against the disease (Peyton, 4/17).

U.N. News: U.N. agency launches appeal to reach over 340,000 with assistance in crisis-struck Ukraine (4/17).

U.N. News: U.N. deputy aid chief shines light on plight of 400,000 Rohingya still inside Myanmar (4/17).

U.N. News: Syria: Sustained fighting taking ‘enormous’ toll on civilians, U.N. aid chief tells Security Council (4/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

MalaFa Report Offers African Insights Into Efforts To End Malaria

Devex: Opinion: African experts warn big changes needed to eliminate malaria
Richard Nchabi Kamwi, a board member of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and other global health advisory panels; Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership To End Malaria; and Harald Nusser, head of Novartis Social Business

“…Launched on April 17 in London, [a major new study, Malaria Futures for Africa, or MalaFa,] reveals what malaria experts in Africa actually think about progress and challenges toward malaria elimination. They believe that malaria can be beaten, but it will require significant political will as well as continued research on scientific breakthroughs and an emphasis on using both old and new tools. … MalaFa gathers, for the first time in many years, the views of African policymakers and experts about the future of malaria on the continent. … Funding, respondents told us, is inadequate and unsustainable. … Each of us has seen what African governments and health workers have achieved since the turn of the century: Malaria deaths are down by 60 percent. That is, of course, still too much … We worry — as do most of the experts interviewed for MalaFa — that progress could stall. … We need to take advantage of these African insights and learnings as we discuss how to accelerate progress toward malaria elimination…” (4/18).

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Using Satellite Imagery Can Help Predict, Improve Response To Disease Risks

Devex: Opinion: Detecting disease from the skies
Tim Ford, professor and chair of the department of environmental health sciences and director of the Institute for Global Health at UMass Amherst

“…[O]ver the last 10 years, prediction using satellite imagery has increased to include a wide variety of diseases from cholera to bird flu. … If we fail to invest in this critical area of science, we place the health of future generations at grave risk. … There are many drivers of disease risk — chemical, biological, and physical. Examining how each factor influences pathogen, vector, and host biology for each disease of interest, and incorporating these into the algorithms [used to examine satellite data] can only strengthen our ability to predict future outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics” (4/17).

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Efforts To Manage Emerging Infectious Diseases Should Encourage More Inclusive Urban Planning

The Conversation: Emerging infectious diseases in India: the scourge that could boost urban development
Olivier Telle, research scientist at CSH, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)

“…A range of factors play a role [in the rise of infectious diseases], in particular increasing urbanization and human mobility. … At present, the question of the management of infectious diseases is relatively absent in health/urban studies, all the more so when they are approached from a municipal perspective. … To control these diseases in a more sustainable manner, the health of the inhabitants has to become a key factor of urban development. This involves reforming the management of diseases, and hence of urban centers, developing more equitable urban infrastructures, and most of all, developing inclusive cities. In short, investments are required. … It is essential to ensure that these programs do not remain concentrated in the most privileged areas, as they will have only a limited impact. These epidemics are a scourge, but also an opportunity: in a context where these infectious diseases do not recognize administrative frontiers, much less social ones, they may finally have a positive impact on urban development and encourage the development of more inclusive cities” (4/17).

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3 Areas Related To Menstrual Needs Of Women, Girls Globally Need Attention

Project Syndicate: Demystifying Menstruation
Catherine Dolan, reader in anthropology at SOAS University of London; Julie Hennegan, postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Gabby Edlin, CEO and founder of Bloody Good Period

“…Menstrual hygiene is essential to a woman’s health, education, mobility, and security, and therefore must be viewed as a basic human right. To uphold this right, three tasks demand urgent attention. For starters, we must empower women and girls to make informed choices about their bodies. … Human development strategies must … focus on reaching as many women and girls as possible, and deliver products and solutions that enable management of periods in a secure, comfortable, individualized way. Next, we must increase awareness and improve education about the menstrual process. By helping girls understand and talk openly about their cycles, it is possible to break down taboos associated with menstruation and improve hygiene practices in the process. … Finally, we need solutions that are based on facts. … The global health community must work together to address the menstrual needs of women and girls everywhere; there is no single solution to this global problem. But the silence surrounding the natural process of menstruation must be broken, so that women and girls can obtain the sanitary products they need at affordable prices” (4/17).

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El Salvador Should Reform Country's Abortion Law To Improve Women's Rights, Health

The Hill: The foreign policy case for decriminalizing abortion in El Salvador
Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and vice chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

“For nearly two decades, El Salvador has criminalized abortion in all circumstances imposing harsh penalties, including incarceration, for women. With women’s rights groups in El Salvador urging lawmakers to allow exceptions to the ban in certain circumstances, this could soon all change. The Salvadoran Commission of Legislation and Constitutional Issues has the opportunity to vote on two reform proposals that would decriminalize abortion. … Both pieces of legislation, if passed, would allow women a better chance at life in El Salvador. … El Salvador is at a critical moment when there is a real opportunity to reform the country’s abortion law. Such a move would serve to improve El Salvador’s human rights record, address a human and public health crisis, and prevent the wrongful incarceration of Salvadoran women. Women’s rights are human rights too. No woman should ever face imprisonment because of a miscarriage or a stillbirth. I am encouraged to see the Assembly consider reforming this law, and my hope is that Salvadoran lawmakers choose the right side of history” (4/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

As Part Of Financing Global Health 2017 Report, IHME Publishes Studies On HIV/AIDS, UHC Spending

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: Financing Global Health 2017: Funding Universal Health Coverage and the Unfinished HIV/AIDS Agenda
“Financing Global Health 2017 is the ninth edition of IHME’s annual series on global health spending and health financing. In addition to describing the trends in development assistance for health (DAH) and domestic government, prepaid private, and out-of-pocket health spending, this year’s report features a deep dive into financing focused on HIV/AIDS. … Such analysis is invaluable as we look toward attaining universal health coverage (UHC), another focal point of this year’s report…” (4/17).

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: First Long-Term Study Finds Half Trillion Dollars Spent on HIV/AIDS
“Spending on HIV/AIDS globally between 2000 and 2015 totaled more than half a trillion dollars, according to a new scientific study, the first long-term and comprehensive analysis of funding for the disease…” (4/17).

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: New Study Finds People Covered by Universal Health Coverage Will Fall Far Below U.N. Sustainable Development Goal
“An estimated 5.4 billion people globally are expected to be covered under some form of universal health care (UHC) by 2030, up from 4.3 billion in 2015, but far below the related target in United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, according to a new scientific study. The study finds that, while health spending is expected to rise over the coming decades, it is likely to continue constraining efforts to achieve universal health coverage…” (4/17).

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Friends Of The Global Fight Highlights Key Points From Twitter Discussion On New Report

Friends of the Global Fight: Key Takeaways from the #TippingPointReport Tweet Chat
“As part of the launch of its new report, ‘At the Tipping Point: U.S. Leadership to End AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,’ Friends hosted a tweet chat with global health partners to discuss ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria for good. Below, Friends highlights some of the key points and responses from the chat…” (4/17).

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HRW Post Discusses Abortion Rules In Chile

Human Rights Watch: A Backward Step for Reproductive Rights in Chile
In an opinion piece originally published in La Tercera, José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Division at HRW, discusses Chile’s revised abortion rules. Vivanco writes, “The Chilean government should review and amend the rules to ensure that access to legal abortion is protected. Otherwise it risks letting conscientious objection be used as a pretext to deny important newly recognized rights of women and girls” (4/16).

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