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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul's Views On Foreign Policy, Aid, Bipartisan Global Fragility Act

Devex: U.S. congressman calls for foreign policy focused on prevention
“The U.S. has succeeded militarily when it has had to, but it has fallen short on efforts to prevent conflict and help ensure stability, Representative Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday. He laid out a vision for what he sees as a foreign aid policy driven by focusing more on how the U.S. can help stabilize countries to prevent conflict or displacement at an event at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. … To that end, McCaul, along with HFAC chairman Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, and bipartisan colleagues in the Senate, introduced the Global Fragility Act, which would bring together the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State to work on extremism and stability…” (Saldinger, 4/2).

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Media Outlets Examine President Trump's Decision To Cut Foreign Aid To 3 Central American Nations

MSNBC: Fmr. USAID head: Foreign assistance an ‘important investment’
“Ali Velshi talks with former U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Rajiv Shah about the impact of President Trump’s decision to cut off U.S. aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador because he says they’re not doing enough to stop the flow of migrants to the U.S…” (Velshi, 4/1).

Washington Post: U.S. officials said aid to El Salvador helped slow migration. Now Trump is canceling it.
“…Trump said he was cutting off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras because the countries have failed to curb migration to the United States. He has accused those three countries of allowing their citizens to join migrant caravans destined for the U.S. border. Analysts have been quick to point out that cutting off assistance to Central America could cause migration to increase, as programs aimed at improving security and economic opportunity are shuttered. They say the case of El Salvador, a nation of 6.5 million, is still more confounding. Migration from Guatemala and Honduras has surged in the past two years. But in cutting aid to El Salvador, Trump is punishing a government that has overseen a dramatic reduction in migration…” (Sieff, 4/1).

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U.N., U.S. Respond To Cholera Outbreak, Humanitarian Needs In Mozambique Following Cyclone Idai

Associated Press: Mozambique cyclone death toll up to 598; cholera spreads
“Authorities say the death toll in Mozambique from last month’s cyclone has risen to 598 while humanitarian workers race to contain a cholera outbreak in the storm’s wake. The World Health Organization says at least 1,052 cholera cases have been reported by Mozambique’s health ministry, including one death…” (4/2).

CNN: WHO steps up response as Cyclone Idai cholera cases skyrocket
“…Almost 1 million doses of oral cholera vaccine were due to arrive in the southeast African country Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization, in anticipation of a mass vaccination campaign throughout the coming days. Rob Holden, an incident manager with the WHO, told CNN from Mozambique that the teams were ready to begin the campaign as soon as the medical supplies arrives…” (McKirdy, 4/2).

Reuters: Hunger stalks Mozambique after deadly cyclone destroys farmland
“…Hundreds of rural communities were plunged into food crisis after Cyclone Idai tore through central Mozambique on March 14, humanitarian workers say. The government estimates that more than 700,000 hectares of agricultural land was flooded, leaving many farmers with nothing to harvest. … ‘Food-security-wise, it’s been devastating,’ the World Food Programme’s director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro, told Reuters at the airport in the cyclone-hit port city of Beira…” (Eisenhammer/Heiberg, 4/1).

VOA News: U.S. Addressing ‘Immediate’ Humanitarian Needs of Cyclone Idai Victims
“The U.S. Department of Defense has authorized up to $15 million in aid to areas of Mozambique devastated by Cyclone Idai, the U.S. Africa Command said Monday. USAID, the lead agency in charge of American aid to the crisis, had spent $6.2 million in relief as of March 31, officials told reporters Monday, adding that the current goal was to address the ‘immediate needs’ of thousands of victims…” (Sarai, 4/1).

Additional coverage of the response to Cyclone Idai is available from Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, and Bloomberg.

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Spreading At Fastest Rate Since Beginning 8 Months Ago, WHO Says

Reuters: Congo Ebola outbreak spreading faster than ever: WHO
“Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak is spreading at its fastest rate yet, eight months after it was first detected, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. Each of the past two weeks has registered a record number of new cases, marking a sharp setback for efforts to respond to the second biggest outbreak ever, as militia violence and community resistance have impeded access to affected areas…” (Nebehay/Ross, 4/1).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from CIDRAP News and Global Press Journal.

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Health Care, Humanitarian Aid Workers Continue To Face Attacks, U.N. Security Council Hears

Associated Press: Red Cross says health and aid workers face unabated attacks
“Health and humanitarian workers in war zones are facing unabated and increasing attacks ‘and the impact on civilians is nothing but catastrophic,’ the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday. Peter Maurer told an informal Security Council meeting that three years after the council adopted a landmark resolution urging all countries to take action to prevent violence and threats against medical and aid workers, ‘the evidence of meaningful change on the ground is scarce’…” (Lederer, 4/1).

The Telegraph: U.N. urged to act as research shows nearly 1,000 attacks on health workers in 2018
“New figures presented to the United Nations Security Council show there were nearly 1,000 attacks on health care last year. The annual figures, produced by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition and presented to members of the Security Council on April 1, show that hospitals have been subjected to airstrikes, clinics have been torched, and patients assaulted. In total there were 951 attacks on health facilities in 23 countries. The figures show that 156 health workers were killed and more than 700 were injured. And more than 100 health facilities were forced to suspend operations or close…” (Gulland, 4/1).

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U.N. Commission On Population Begins Annual Meeting, Will Discuss Sexual, Reproductive Health Rights, Access To Services

U.N. News: U.N. highlights profound implication of population trends on sustainable development
“The United Nations is highlighting the important role that population trends play in promoting sustainable development, during the annual Commission on Population and Development, which began at U.N. Headquarters in New York on Monday. This year’s Commission is also an opportunity to take stock and review progress made since the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which took place 25 years ago in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. … The Commission will look at several population-related topics which contribute to sustainable development, including government policies to expand access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning; policies to improve education quality and access; and ensuring sustainable patterns of consumption and production” (4/1).

Xinhua News: Risk of maternal death declined by 40 pct since 1994, says U.N. deputy chief
“U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said Monday that the global risk of maternal death has declined by 40 percent since 1994. ‘Since 1994, fewer persons are living in extreme poverty, the risk of maternal death has declined by more than 40 percent, and primary education has expanded the horizons of millions of people,’ Mohammed told the 52nd substantive session of the U.N. Commission on Population and Development…” (4/2).

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More Than 113M People In 53 Countries Face 'Acute Hunger,' 2019 Global Report On Food Crises Shows

Agence France-Presse: More than 113 million people suffer ‘acute hunger’: U.N.
“More than 113 million people across 53 countries experienced ‘acute hunger’ last year because of wars and climate disasters, with Africa the worst-hit region, the U.N. said Tuesday. Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Syria were among the eight nations accounting for two-thirds of the total number of people worldwide exposed to the risk of famine, … [according to the] 2019 Global Report on Food Crises…” (4/2).

Devex: Acute hunger hits 113 million people, but data gaps remain
“…The ‘Global Report on Food Crises,’ prepared with 15 development and humanitarian agencies, found that 58 percent of those experiencing acute hunger were in Africa, 24 percent in the Middle East, and 13 percent in South and Southeast Asia. It represents a slight improvement on last year’s report, which found that in 2017, some 124 million people in 51 countries faced acute hunger, requiring urgent action to protect livelihoods, and reduce food consumption gaps and acute malnutrition. … Yet 13 countries and territories do not feature in the report due to incomplete information available. Venezuela and North Korea were excluded, as well as Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the Philippines…” (Chadwick, 4/2).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Climate, conflicts set to plunge millions into food crisis
“…Analyzing 53 countries, it uses a five-phase scale with the third level classified as crisis, fourth as emergency, and fifth as famine/catastrophe. Luca Russo, FAO’s senior food crises analyst, warned that millions more are now at risk of reaching level three and above. ‘The 113 million is what we call the tip of the iceberg. If you look at the numbers further down, you have people who are not food insecure but they are on the verge,’ Russo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation…” (Win, 4/2).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Mosquito scent discovery could change a billion lives (Bazley, 4/1).

CNN: Many Japanese moms-to-be don’t gain enough weight, and experts say that could cause lasting problems (Scutti, 4/1).

Devex: Australia’s federal budget: Impacts for Australian aid (Cornish, 4/2).

Devex: How community health workers can address the growing NCD burden (4/1).

Foreign Policy: A Portrait of Poverty and Desperation (Lynch/Hickey, 4/1).

Healio: Dengue may affect Zika transmission (Marques, 4/1).

Homeland Preparedness News: Climate change threatens 1 billion people with new exposure to mosquito-borne disease (Galford, 4/1).

SciDev.Net: Faster and cheaper test to detect Zika (Mendes, 4/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Foreign Aid Important To Help Stabilize Nations, Prevent Migration

Washington Post: Trump shows alarming ignorance when it comes to foreign aid
Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post

“…[Foreign assistance] is generally designed to improve conditions within foreign countries that can give rise to global threats. This role is obvious, say, in fighting infectious diseases. It is better to deal with an Ebola outbreak as close as possible to the source, rather than waiting for the threat to arrive in Georgia or Kansas. But this is equally true when it comes to a flow of refugees. … If U.S. policy does not address the functional collapse of criminal-justice systems in places such as the Northern Triangle, [otherwise known as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the countries in Central America where President Trump proposed to cut foreign aid,] it is not seriously addressing the problem of illegal migration. … [T]he lack of justice leading to everyday violence has become a global problem, with consequences that spill up on many shores, including our own. … It would make far more sense to double assistance for these programs — designed to support local reformers, not to impose American solutions — than to end them. But an absence of vision is one cost of ignorance” (4/1).

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USAID Should Work With Partners To Provide Direct Aid To Refugees Along Venezuelan Border

Global Post: U.S. is Gifting Venezuelans Humanitarian Aid but is Falling Short of the Target
Eric Lee, fellow with the Rotary Foundation and principal-agent for multiple Rotary International humanitarian projects

“According to press releases, fact sheets, and administrator statements from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. is emphasizing efforts to pre-position direct aid for Venezuelans in warehouses along the border in Colombia and Brazil or stockpile supplies in shipping containers at the Dutch island of Curacao. … Pre-positioning relief is only part of the solution, and USAID should provide a portion of their direct aid to organizations currently helping refugees on the border. Undue emphasis on pre-positioning is worsening a stand-off with the current Venezuelan regime, hurting the chances of smaller ancillary aid shipments from entering Venezuela, and fails to appreciate the needs [of] refugees who have already fled. … Besides causing the regime to clamp down on border security, this strategy [to pre-position relief] fails to appreciate the growing needs of civic and faith-based organizations shouldering the brunt of refugee pressures in neighboring countries. … The refugee crisis resulting from Venezuela’s economic collapse is getting worse by the day. Pre-positioned aid is not making its way to people inside Venezuela, and it’s not helping refugees who’ve made it out of Venezuela. USAID missions should make a more concerted effort to work with international relief, faith-based, and civic organizations to provide direct aid to refugees along the border with Venezuela” (4/2).

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International, National Action Needed To Stop Violence Against Health Care Facilities, Workers

Global Health NOW: Overdue Action Needed to Stop Attacks on Health Care
Leonard S. Rubenstein, director of the Program on Human Rights, Health, and Conflict at the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and core faculty at the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health and Berman Institute of Bioethics

“…The actions needed to stop the violence [against health care facilities, medical personnel, and patients] vary by context, but a number of steps would go a long way toward addressing the problem. Ministries of Defense have a key role to play in establishing doctrine and training soldiers to protect and respect health care. Ministries of Health need to be more aggressive in acting as interlocutors with defense ministries, providing support to health facilities and personnel, building trust in communities, and cooperating with the WHO’s new initiative to collect data on attacks. Governments must reform their laws to stop punishing health workers for providing care to claimed enemies or terrorists. And there must be consequences for those who breach the norms and international law. Diplomatic pressure must be brought against perpetrators of attacks, and weapons sales to them must cease. … Thorough, independent investigations of possible violations must be undertaken by governments. If they fail to do so, international investigations should take place — all leading to accountability. Stopping violence against health care is hardly straightforward. But unless serious action begins to end impunity, it will continue…” (3/31).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Private Sector Companies Call For Continued Support Of Global Fund In Letter To Congress

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Private Sector Companies Send Letter to Congress in Support of the Global Fund
“[On Monday], members of the private sector sent a letter to Senator Graham (R-S.C.), Senator Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairwoman Lowey (D-N.Y.), and Representative Rogers (R-Ky.) thanking them for their leadership in U.S. global health efforts and encouraging continued support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. … The companies called for $1.56 billion to be appropriated for the Global Fund in fiscal year 2020 to help ‘save millions of lives, drive the generosity of other donors, and help achieve the full Global Fund Replenishment target'” (4/1).

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Governments Adopt Political Declaration Reaffirming Support Of Reproductive Health, Rights

United Nations Population Fund: Declaration affirms global support for reproductive health and rights
“Ministers and representatives of governments unanimously adopted a political declaration [Monday] reaffirming support for the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which established that reproductive health, individual rights, and women’s empowerment are critical to achieving sustainable development. The declaration comes on the 25th anniversary of the ICPD , which represented a landmark endorsement of the human rights to reproductive health and autonomy. [Monday’s] declaration re-affirms global support for that revolutionary agreement, and calls upon leaders and organizations around the world to accelerate efforts to achieve its goals…” (4/1).

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IntraHealth International Recognizes World Health Worker Week

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: Welcome to World Health Worker Week 2019
This post recognizes World Health Worker Week, which takes place April 2-7, and provides eight ways to get involved (4/1).

IntraHealth International: World Health Worker Week 2019 Marks Progress, Push for Universal Health Coverage
This post recognizes the progress made in strengthening health workforces and systems globally, as well as the importance of continued investments to address gaps in access to “trained, supported, and safe health workers worldwide” (4/1).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Special Representative For Venezuela Provides Remarks On Humanitarian Situation, Need For Aid

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Getting Humanitarian Aid to the People of Venezuela
This post highlights remarks made by Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams on the “need to get humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela” (3/29).

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USAID Releases Report On Artificial Intelligence In Global Health

USAID: Artificial Intelligence in Global Health: Defining a Collective Path Forward
“…This report identifies opportunities for donors, governments, investors, the private sector, and other stakeholders to explore and accelerate the appropriate development and cost-effective use of [artificial intelligence (AI)] at scale in global health. [The report] explores the current state of the art of AI in health care … assesses the most critical challenges of scaling AI in low- and middle-income countries … [and] explores potential investments” (4/1).

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