Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Prepares To Reduce Palestinian Staff In West Bank And Gaza Mission

NPR: U.S. Aid Agency Is Preparing To Lay Off Most Local Staff For Palestinian Projects
“Under orders from the Trump administration, the U.S. Agency for International Development is preparing to lay off most of its Palestinian aid workers in its West Bank and Gaza mission, according to U.S. government communications reviewed by NPR. It’s the latest step toward shrinking a decades-long U.S. aid mission to build the capacity for a future Palestinian state. … USAID is aiming to reduce its local staff of about 100 employees to only 14, according to official communications reviewed by NPR…” (Estrin, 4/17).

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New Humanitarian Examines Potential Impact Of Brexit On E.U. Aid Funding, U.K. NGOs

New Humanitarian: What Brexit means for U.K. NGOs and foreign aid
“Brexit throws up a lot of questions for the U.K.’s role in international relief. Will British NGOs have to shrink once cut off from E.U. funding? How might the U.K. pool its aid funding with the E.U. if it’s not a member? Are U.K. NGOs disqualified from bidding on new grants, and what might the impact be on policy on both sides of the Channel? The E.U. has many different budgets, funds, and spending ‘instruments,’ but here we examine the key issues facing emergency relief under ECHO, its humanitarian aid department. Slightly different rules and procedures — and concerns — apply to other expenditure…” (Bailey, 4/17).

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Asia Making Progress Against Malaria But Funding, Political Will Must Be Maintained, Expert Says

The Telegraph: Asian leaders focus on malaria as region leads the world in fight against the disease
“Asia has made ‘extraordinary’ progress towards eliminating malaria, but is still in danger of relapse if funds dry up, one of the most senior officials leading the fight against the mosquito-borne disease, has warned. ‘While we recognize that global progress on malaria has pretty much stalled, Asia-Pacific is the only region where we’ve made significant progress,’ Dr. Ben Rolfe, the CEO of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) told the Telegraph in an interview ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25…” (Smith, 4/17).

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WHO Africa Region Director Matshidiso Moeti Discusses Role, Reforms In Telegraph Interview

The Telegraph: Breaking through the glass ceiling: the woman looking after the health of a billion Africans
“Four years ago, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti smashed the glass ceiling when she became the first woman to lead the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa. Her appointment as the continent’s most senior public health official hit the headlines — and not just because of the then 60-year-old’s gender. At the time, the West African Ebola outbreak was in full swing, and so too was criticism of WHO Africa’s response. … But Dr. Moeti, a well-respected public health veteran with experience in three U.N. agencies, was heralded as a competent leader capable of overhauling the office. Her appointment was welcomed with optimism. Four years later, as she sits down with The Telegraph at the Africa Health Forum in Cape Verde, the warm, thoughtful leader is clearly proud of the reforms she has instigated…” (Newey, 4/18).

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Xinhua News Reports On Various Meetings In Africa Addressing SDGs, HIV/AIDS, FGM

Xinhua News: U.N. forum reviews implementation of 2030 agenda in Africa
“The 5th session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) kicked off Wednesday in the Moroccan city of Marrakech to review the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. The two-day forum is meant to provide a multi-stakeholder platform for follow-up and review of implementation progress and challenges, strengthening learning, and advocating effective policy measures and actions to achieve the goals of the 2030 agenda as well as the goals set out in Africa’s Agenda 2063…” (4/18).

Xinhua News: African health ministers pledge action on HIV/AIDS
“Health ministers from Africa’s Great Lakes Region on Wednesday vowed to revitalize efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS that affects an estimated 4.3 percent of the population. The health ministers from six Great Lakes countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said they will ramp up funding towards HIV/AIDS prevention and case management. … Kenya hosted the 15th ordinary session of the Great Lakes Initiative on AIDS (GLIA) council of ministers to review progress in the fight against the epidemic that remains a public health challenge in the east and central African regions…” (4/17).

Xinhua News: East African states unite to eradicate female genital cut
“Countries from East Africa on Wednesday signed a declaration to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) and in particular the one that has cross-border dimensions. Senior officials from Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya signed the declaration at the end of a three-day meeting held in Kenya’s resort city of Mombasa…” (4/18).

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Cash Transfers Debate In Colombia, Logistical, Political Challenges Complicate Aid Deliveries To Venezuelans

Devex: Cash transfers debate in Colombia complicates Venezuela response
“Humanitarian cash transfers are becoming more accepted within the humanitarian response community as both a more efficient and dignified way to meet basic needs including food and shelter for migrants and refugees. But opting for cash transfers over an in-kind donation for humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans in Colombia has met challenges from a government that continues to struggle to meet the needs of its own people, NGO leaders told Devex…” (Welsh, 4/18).

New York Times: In Polarized Venezuela, Red Cross Grapples With Aid Distribution
“Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers sifted through donated medication, hygiene kits, and surgical material in warehouses across Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday, as aid workers began to grapple with the challenges of delivering humanitarian supplies in a violent and polarized nation where even basic transportation infrastructure has crumbled. The launch of the large-scale humanitarian campaign by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also raised questions about how the international community can handle a humanitarian disaster caused largely by the policies of a government intent on staying in power, rather than war or natural disaster. … Indeed, the relief effort is further complicated by the clash of two men who both claim to be Venezuela’s rightful president, as well as by spreading lawlessness and the impact of American sanctions on the country…” (Herrera et al., 4/17).

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Yemen Facing Growing Cholera Outbreak, Aid Agencies Warn

The Guardian: Mounting concern over cholera health crisis in Yemen
“Yemen is facing a massive resurgence of cholera in what was already one of the world’s worst outbreaks, with more than 137,000 suspected cases and almost 300 deaths reported in the first three months of this year. With well over 2,000 suspected cases being recorded every day — a doubling since the beginning of the year — aid agencies fear they could be facing a major new health crisis. … The latest surge in cholera cases threatens to further complicate the already dire humanitarian situation…” (Beaumont, 4/17).

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Mexican Government Reforms Of Drug Procurement, HIV Funding Will Lead To Drug Shortages, Impact Other Services, Experts, Advocates Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Thousands feared at risk after Mexico reforms HIV+ regime
“Thousands of Mexicans living with HIV or at risk of infection could be left without life-saving services after the government changed the way it funds treatment, according to public health experts and LGBT+ rights advocates. Reforms announced last month to centralize drug procurement risk sparking shortages, they say, while the government counters that it has ample supplies and hopes its changes will save money and cut corruption in the drugs chain. … In February, the government also said that it would no longer fund civil society organizations, leaving more than 200 groups fighting the disease without resources for core activities, such as HIV testing…” (Lopez, 4/17).

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WHO Releases First Guideline On Digital Health Intervention, Recommendations On How Technology Can Improve Health

VOA News: U.N.: Smartphones, Digital Technology Can Improve Health Care
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its first guidelines on digital health intervention. The U.N. agency said governments can improve the health of their citizens by using digital technology to make health systems more efficient and responsive to their patients. … Chief WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said increased availability and use of digital technology offers new opportunities to improve people’s health…” (Schlein, 4/17).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: Ebola infects 17 more in DRC outbreak (Schnirring, 4/17).

The Guardian: Teenage girls most at risk amid rising sexual violence in El Salvador — report (Murray, 4/17).

SciDev.Net: ‘Climate change threatens 19 million Bangladeshi kids’ (Shaikh, 4/18).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Donkeys deliver vaccines in Mali as diseases spike with violence (Peyton, 4/17).

VOA News: Study: Natural Disasters Double Likelihood of Child Poverty (Ridgwell, 4/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece, Letter To Editor Discuss Role Of Philanthropy In Global Health, Sustainable Development

Financial Times: Philanthropy’s blighted reputation threatens global giving
Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy

“Charitable giving worldwide supports a diverse and vital group of non-government organizations working on issues from disaster relief and global poverty to educational opportunities for girls. But today, at least in the U.S., it faces what experts warn may be the beginnings of a decline due to a recent trend of lower giving among small-gift givers. … Decreases among everyday donors would be cause enough for concern on its own. But there is another looming, less discussed, threat: giving among the biggest donors worldwide may also fall as their charitable efforts are increasingly caricatured as self-protective ruses. … Of course, critique is vital. But a cynical, generalized dismissal goes too far. … I am glad Bill and Melinda Gates have focused on global health, contributing to a dramatic decrease in childhood mortality. Philanthropy has supported research and experimentation on much of what we take for granted in modern life, from vaccines to the internet. At the community level, giving supports organizations and leaders doing crucial work in areas from arts and culture to human services…” (4/15).

Financial Times: Letter: Encourage philanthropists to change their approach on aid
Jean-Jacques Schul, founder and honorary chair at IDAY

“…[Foreign donors] are driving poor countries on a non-sustainable development path. … The case of malaria is indicative. Foreign aid has succeeded in reducing by three-quarters the number of worldwide deaths due to the disease. But despite annual donations of about $3bn, malaria deaths have been flat stagnant since 2016 … [Some countries] have seen malaria rise again after foreign aid was withdrawn. Foreign donors should not be discouraged to give, but they should change their money-spending approach. They should follow the rules laid out by those who have evaluated foreign aid and the conditions under which it can stop retarding poverty alleviation and instead provide genuine equitable and sustainable solutions. … They should not only pay more taxes in their home country, but support tax reforms in the recipient countries to get their government to devote more money to social services instead of depending on hazardous and corrupting foreign aid” (4/18).

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Global Health Policymakers Must Prioritize Adult Immunization, Life-Course Vaccination To Ensure Healthy Aging

STAT: Life-course vaccination can protect adults from infectious disease
Lois Privor-Dumm, director of policy, advocacy, and communications for the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“…To prevent unnecessary deaths and improve public health, the U.S. and other countries need to take more seriously the concept of life-course vaccination, an approach to ensure that immunization programs are effectively implemented for people at all ages and stages of life. … Adopting adult immunization and life-course vaccination as a preventive measure must become a political priority and emerge front and center for global health policymakers who are now working on a new vision and strategy for vaccines and immunization for the decade ahead. Just as a global movement has led to global support and funding for childhood vaccination, a similar one is needed to create momentum for adult and life-course vaccination. Recognition of … demographic shifts and the importance of preventing infectious diseases in older adults is growing. … The WHO has declared 2021 to 2030 to be a decade of healthy aging. Getting serious about life-course vaccination in countries around the world will help make that a reality. And with a growing adult population in most parts of the world, it is a necessity” (4/16).

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Addressing Food Insecurity Could Improve Children's Ability To Learn In India

The Conversation: India: widespread food insecurity may be damaging children’s ability to learn — and the future economy
Jasmine Fledderjohann, lecturer at Lancaster University; Elisabetta Aurino, lecturer at Imperial College London; Sukumar Vellakkal, assistant professor at Birla Institute of Technology and Science

“…India is in the midst of a ‘learning crisis,’ with improvements in learning lagging behind increases in [school] enrollment. … India also has one of the highest rates of child undernutrition and household food insecurity … Addressing food insecurity may be an important part of resolving India’s learning crisis. It may also contribute to achieving some of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Goal #2 aims to end hunger and achieve food security. … [M]eeting this goal may have ripple effects by reducing inequalities (goal #10) and ensuring inclusive, quality education for all (goal #4). … [E]arly intervention to prevent food insecurity is important to ensure that children are not disadvantaged while learning foundational skills. Scaling up early childhood feeding programs may be useful for targeting early food insecurity. Offering free remedial learning classes for children who experience food insecurity may also enable them to catch up with peers. Finally, where social protection is inadequate to prevent children from working, providing safe, well-paid employment opportunities over school breaks may help children to work without missing learning opportunities” (4/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Provides $3M To WFP To Respond To Cyclone Idai In Malawi

World Food Programme: U.S. provides $3 million to WFP in response to Malawi floods
“The United States Government has contributed US$3 million … for the emergency response to Cyclone Idai in Malawi. The funds, provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Food for Peace, will support immediate food needs in the worst-affected areas of the country. They will cover cash-based assistance to flood-affected people as well as early recovery efforts…” (4/17).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 354 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes pieces on various topics, including an article on the mid-term evaluation of the Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism evolution initiative project in Tanzania, Niger, Uganda, and Burundi; an article on the Global Fund’s Greater Mekong Subregion multi-country grant to accelerate malaria elimination; and a case study examining how the Community, Rights, and Gender Strategic Initiative has contributed to the Global Fund’s strategic objectives (4/17).

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UNICEF Launches Global Campaign To Spread Awareness Of, Show Support For Vaccines

UNICEF: UNICEF launches #VaccinesWork campaign to inspire support for vaccines
“UNICEF is launching a new global campaign on 24 April to emphasize the power and safety of vaccines among parents and wider social media users. The campaign will run alongside World Immunization Week from 24 to 30 April to spread the message that together communities, including parents, can protect everyone through vaccines…” (4/18).

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MSF Calls For Protection Of Civilians, Medical Personnel, Unhindered Access To Humanitarian Aid In Yemen

Médecins Sans Frontières: War in Yemen is fueling wider humanitarian crisis
“Years of indiscriminate conflict in Yemen have shattered the country’s health system and fueled a humanitarian crisis. As the war approaches its fourth year, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) repeats its call to all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians, including medical facilities and staff, and to allow the sick and wounded unhindered access to humanitarian aid and health care…” (4/17).

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MSF Launches Emergency Intervention To Address Malnutrition, Support Displaced People In Southern Ethiopia

Médecins Sans Frontières: Alarming rates of malnutrition among displaced people in southern Ethiopia
“Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is concerned for the welfare of tens of thousands of vulnerable internally displaced people (IDPs) in southern Ethiopia, following an assessment that revealed alarming findings about their nutritional status, poor living conditions, and limited availability of safe drinking water. In response, MSF has launched an emergency intervention in the Gedeo area of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), southern Ethiopia, and is calling on humanitarian agencies to urgently scale up their support for the IDPs in the numerous camps in the area…” (4/17).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Program Supports Zimbabwean Farmers To Grow Crops, Sell Surpluses To WFP For Fellow Citizens

USAID/Medium: Zimbabweans Feeding Zimbabweans
Doreen Hove, a development outreach and communications specialist with USAID’s mission in Zimbabwe, discusses the USAID’s Enhancing Nutrition, Stepping Up Resilience and Enterprise (ENSURE) project in the country. Farmers who participate in the program receive education and support to grow drought-resistant crops, and then are able to sell their surplus harvests to the World Food Programme. Hove writes, “These farmers were unable to meet their household food needs and were long-term recipients of humanitarian assistance before the ENSURE project began in 2013. They celebrate on this day because they are now able to meet their own food needs and sell the surplus, making an income while feeding fellow Zimbabweans in food insecure areas…” (4/16).

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