KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Threatens To Veto U.N. Resolution On Sexual Violence In Conflict Over 'Sexual And Reproductive Health' Language

CNN: U.S. threatens to veto U.N. resolution on helping rape victims, over mentions of reproductive health
“The U.S. delegation to the United Nations has threatened to veto a resolution aiming to prevent rape as a weapon of war and to help its victims, because the resolution contains language about ‘sexual and reproductive health,’ sources confirmed to CNN. A U.N.-based source told CNN the U.S. seems to have a ‘red line’ when it came to mentioning sexual and reproductive health in a broad resolution that saw the U.S. breaking from its traditional allies and threatening to derail the measure. The proposal called on the global institution to reaffirm and renew its opposition to sexual violence. … The Guardian was first to report on U.S. issues with the resolution…” (Kosinski/Watkins, 4/22).

Deutsche Welle: Angelina Jolie and Germany’s Maas demand action on sexual violence
“German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Angelina Jolie have penned a joint op-ed in the Washington Post calling on the international community to better support survivors of sexual violence and punish perpetrators who use rape as a weapon of war. Germany hopes its resolution aimed at tackling these concerns will be adopted at a United Nations Security Council session on Tuesday. But it’s facing some resistance from the United States, which has threatened to veto the text over some of the language surrounding reproductive health…” (4/23).

The Guardian: U.S. threatens to veto U.N. resolution on rape as weapon of war, officials say
“…[T]he draft resolution has already been stripped of one of its most important elements, the establishment of a formal mechanism to monitor and report atrocities, because of opposition from the U.S., Russia, and China, which opposed creating a new monitoring body. Even after the formal monitoring mechanism was stripped from the resolution, the U.S. was still threatening to veto the watered-down version, because it includes language on victims’ support from family planning clinics. … In cases of disagreement in the Security Council, member states often fall back on previously agreed text, but the U.S. has made it clear it would no longer accept language from a 2013 resolution on sexual violence. … A spokeswoman for the U.S. mission said it ‘does not comment on draft resolutions that are under active negotiation’…” (Borger, 4/22).

HuffPost: U.S. Threatens To Veto U.N. Resolution Aimed At Supporting Survivors Of Rape During War
“… ‘We are not even sure whether we are having the resolution [Tuesday], because of the threats of a veto from the U.S.,’ Pramila Patten, the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, told the [The Guardian] on Monday. According to Patten, the U.S. is unhappy with language in the resolution that refers to the provision of ‘comprehensive health care services including sexual and reproductive health’ to rape survivors. This language has been interpreted by the U.S. as a reference to abortion, CNN reported…” (Mosbergen, 4/23).

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International Community Must Do More To Amass Financing For SDGs, Forum Hears

Devex: What will it take to fix flailing SDG funding?
“The international community is not acting fast enough to mobilize finance for the Sustainable Development Goals, experts gathered at the Financing for Development Forum told Devex. … Stakeholders at the forum in New York sounded the alarm on a lack of progress nearly four years after world leaders gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to hash out how to fund the 17 goals that would be adopted later that year. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called 2019 a defining year in implementing the SDGs, adding that ‘so far we are not keeping pace’ and that ‘possible upticks’ in financial volatility are complicating implementation…” (Saldinger, 4/23).

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Malawi Begins Pilot Program To Immunize Children With GSK/PATH Malaria Vaccine; Kenya, Ghana Set To Roll Out Similar Programs

Associated Press: U.N.: Malawi is 1st nation to use malaria vaccine to help kids
“The World Health Organization says Malawi has become the first country to begin immunizing children against malaria, using the only licensed vaccine to protect against the mosquito-spread disease. Although the vaccine only protects about one-third of children who are immunized, those who get the shots are likely to have less severe cases of malaria. The parasitic disease kills about 435,000 people every year, the majority of them children under 5 in Africa…” (Cheng, 4/23).

BBC News: Innovative child malaria vaccine to be tested in Malawi
“…Malawi is the first of three countries chosen for the pilot to roll out the vaccine. It aims to immunize 120,000 children aged two years and below. The other two countries, Ghana and Kenya, will introduce the vaccine in the coming weeks. The three countries were picked because they already run large programs to tackle malaria, including the use of bed nets, yet still have high numbers of cases…” (4/23).

Business Day: Groundbreaking malaria vaccine project gets under way in Malawi
“…Trade-named Mosquirix, the drug has been developed by British pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. It passed previous scientific testing — including five years of clinical trials on 15,000 people in seven countries — and was approved for the pilot program in 2015…” (4/23).

Additional coverage of the malaria vaccine pilot program is available from Agence France-Presse, Al Jazeera, and Deutsche Welle.

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Attacks On Health Workers, Misinformation Continue To Hinder Response To DRC Ebola Outbreak

CIDRAP News: DRC notes 23 new Ebola cases as another hospital attacked
“Over the weekend and through [Monday], the ministry of health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 23 new Ebola cases and 19 deaths, while a Katwa hospital saw a violent attack that left one of the assailants dead. The totals swell outbreak numbers to 1,340 cases, of which 1,274 are confirmed. The number of deaths rose to 874. … The Katwa attack came one day after a hospital attack in Butembo took the life of a World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist deployed to the outbreak region…” (Soucheray, 4/22).

NPR: Armed Groups Are Attacking Health Workers Responding To Ebola Outbreak
“…The biggest obstacle to stopping the outbreak — armed groups who keep attacking health workers. In just the last few days, there were two assaults. Here to tell us more is NPR’s Nurith Aizenman. … ‘I spoke with Dr. Michel Yao, who is leading the Ebola response for the World Health Organization. And he says witnesses in that first attack told him that the gunmen were shouting, Ebola doesn’t exist; you’re just here to make money off of us. And it fits into a larger problem of mistrust in the local population. There have been years of armed conflict in this part of Congo. And people feel victimized by the government. So they don’t trust authorities and, by extension, health workers…'” (Aizenman, 4/22).

Quartz Africa: The killing of a Cameroonian WHO doctor is another setback in DR Congo’s Ebola battle
“The killing of a Cameroonian doctor is a chilling reminder of the difficulties health workers face as they combat the Ebola [outbreak] in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization (WHO), was killed in an attack on Apr. 19 at the university hospital in Butembo in DRC’s North Kivu Province. Two others were injured. His body was flown back home to Cameroon where he is survived by a wife and four young children, the WHO said…” (Asiedu, 4/22).

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World Vaccination Week Highlights Successes, Challenges Of Worldwide Vaccine Efforts

VOA News: The Promise and Peril of Vaccines in World Vaccination Week
“…As the world marks World Immunization Week humans have much to celebrate. Smallpox has been effectively eradicated from the world, and according to the World Health Organization, more children than ever are getting routine vaccinations every year. And aid workers scouring the globe have come very close to eradicating diseases like diphtheria and polio saving countless lives in the process. But health workers are also fighting a disturbing trend of misinformation urging people to ignore the science of vaccination…” (Enochs, 4/22).

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Quartz Africa Examines Rising Problem Of Counterfeit Medicines In African Countries

Quartz Africa: African health care systems are in an arms race with a rising fake medicine problem
“…[A recent] string of incidents of counterfeit medicines circulating in African countries [show] where an unfortunate confluence of struggling economies, weak regulation, and a preponderance of poorly educated consumers makes some of these countries extremely vulnerable to unscrupulous middle men looking to make a quick buck without regard for human life. In recent years it has become easier for fake drugs to be smuggled in from India and China because many legitimate drugs come from these same country sources. African countries are also vulnerable because the legitimate pharmaceutical market on the continent is growing rapidly in line with population expansion, creating both challenges and opportunities. … The scope and scale of substandard and counterfeit medical products, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, is huge, and its impact wide-ranging, say experts…” (Atabong, 4/23).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: U.N. raises Libya aid alarm as Tripoli clashes intensify (4/22).

The BMJ: Breast ironing (Robinson, 4/23).

Business Live: Research buzzes along but science is still scratching the surface of beating malaria (Oliver, 4/23).

Devex: Q&A: How Gavi can adapt to tackle equity and conflict (Igoe, 4/23).

Devex: Q&A: Making Last Mile Health’s community training academy sustainable (Chadwick, 4/23).

Forbes: Priority Review Vouchers Have Helped To Improve Access To Drugs Targeting Neglected Diseases (Cohen, 4/22).

The Guardian: ‘Stigma does not go away’: Mumbai’s dedicated LGBT health clinic (Mohta, 4/23).

New Humanitarian: The Healer: In Rohingya camps, a local response reaches untreated refugees (4/22).

Science: Global warming may boost economic inequality (Cornwall, 4/22).

Xinhua News: Interview: Belt and Road Initiative a potential accelerator to achieve U.N.’s SDGs: Cambodian academic (4/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.N. Security Council Should Adopt Resolution Ending Impunity For Sexual Violence In Conflict

Washington Post: Sexual violence is rife in war zones. We must take action.
Heiko Maas, foreign minister of Germany, and Angelina Jolie, co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative

“…[T]oday, decades of gradual progress in expanding human rights and entrenching international law are threatened by a rising tide of intolerance and a weakened commitment to human rights. In particular, … the wait for gender equality is growing. Women’s rights are again being called into question, and demands for sexual and reproductive health and rights are met in some quarters with open hostility. … Nowhere has this retreat been more visible than in wars and post-conflict situations. Rape and other forms of sexual violence are used as a tactic of war and terrorism in conflicts around the world. … [T]hree areas need urgent focus … First, we want to ensure that perpetrators of sexual violence are held accountable. … Second, we need better monitoring. … Finally, we must increase support to survivors of sexual violence and ensure their voices are at the center of our response. … As current president of the [U.N.] Security Council, Germany is proposing a resolution that addresses these three concerns, urging targeted sanctions on those who perpetrate and direct violence, anchoring the topic in an informal working group and laying out an inclusive, survivor-centered approach. Adopting it would be a much-needed step toward ending impunity for sexual violence in conflict. It would also send an important message to those who attempt to roll back human rights: We don’t take progress for granted. And we will fight to keep it alive” (4/22).

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Comprehensive Sexual Education, Ensuring Reproductive Rights Critical To Women's, Girls' Health

Project Syndicate: How Abortion Hypocrisy Kills Women
Patricia Nudi Orawo, advocacy officer at the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust

“…If we want to reduce demand for abortion services, we must recognize that it is often the culmination of a series of systemic failures that begin during childhood, when a comprehensive sexual education (CSE) should be required. A CSE teaches young people about sex and relationships in an age-appropriate, culturally sensitive, realistic, nonjudgmental, and scientifically accurate way, and can increase the use of contraceptives and reduce teen pregnancy rates, particularly if it takes a gender-based approach, focusing on empowering young girls to protect their own health. … But, … the right to CSE is often not respected, owing to moralizing resistance from religious leaders and anti-choice movements, as well as other factors … It is time to address the systemic failures … Here, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: contraception in health budgets, quality CSE in schools, and youth-friendly reproductive-health services. … Rules that punish women must be replaced with modern laws … that protect women’s reproductive freedom, including by guaranteeing access to safe abortion services. … Those who do nothing to prevent unwanted pregnancies — and everything to punish the women affected by them — cannot claim the moral high ground” (4/22).

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Improving Global Child Nutrition Requires Focus On More Than Stunting

Devex: Opinion: Ending undernutrition requires a different focus on stunting
Jef L. Leroy, senior research fellow in the poverty, health, and nutrition division of the International Food Policy Research Institute, and Edward Frongillo, director of the Global Health Initiatives at the University of South Carolina

“…[A recent global spotlight on stunting] has helped nutrition advocates to communicate the consequences of undernutrition to policymakers and donors and persuade them to support the fight against these challenges. … In many cases, however, stunting is not the problem we need to solve — it’s something that tells us there is a problem that needs solving. … Simply put, we should think of stunting as a smoke alarm in a house: It is, more than anything, a signal of a much larger problem. To maintain the current momentum on improving global nutrition, the attention of nutrition researchers, donors, and practitioners should not focus on turning off the alarm. We need to extinguish the fire. We need to improve the deficient environments that children grow up in and prevent the negative consequences these environments have on children’s health and well-being. A sharp focus of nutrition investments, policies, and programs on outcomes that truly matter will help accelerate progress toward the well-being of billions in disadvantaged communities” (4/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Wilson Center Event Recognizes 25th Anniversary Of ICPD, Reflects On Progress, Challenges

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: ICPD at 25: Unfinished Business Points to Unmet Needs
Nazra Amin, intern at the Wilson Center, discusses remarks from panelists at a recent Wilson Center event recognizing the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Panelists included Kobe Smith, vice president of the youth advocacy movement at International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region; Danielle Engel, adolescent and youth team lead at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Arthur Erken, director of the Division of Communication and Strategic Partnerships at UNFPA; Saba Ismail, co-founder of Aware Girls; and Carmen Barroso, co-chair of the Gender and Rights Advisory Group at the World Health Organization (4/22).

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Oxfam Humanitarian Advocacy Manager Discusses Cyclone Idai Relief Efforts In Global Dispatches Podcast Interview

U.N. Dispatch’s “Global Dispatches Podcast”: Mozambique After Cyclone Idai, One Month On
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, speaks with Dorothy Sang, humanitarian advocacy manager at Oxfam, about “the scale of the damage wrought by Cyclone Idai and how international relief agencies … are responding to this crisis” (4/22).

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From the U.S. Government

In Recognition Of Earth Day, U.S. State Department Blog Post Discusses Role Of Women In Environmental Protection, Including Food Security

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Earth Day Celebrations Include Recognizing Women’s Role in Sustaining a Healthier Planet
In recognition of Earth Day, which takes place annually on April 22, Julia Doyle, who serves in the Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State, discusses the “role women play in environmental protection, biodiversity, agriculture and food security, clean technology, safe water, and sustainable fisheries.” In particular, Doyle highlights the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, and highlights how the initiative helps empower women to play a role in agriculture and food security (4/22).

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CDC Blog Post Highlights Use Of Experimental Ebola Vaccine For Health Care, Frontline Workers In DRC, Border Nations

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: I have seen Ebola. Now you have a vaccine.
Rosalind Carter, epidemiologist at CDC’s Global Immunization Division, discusses the compassionate use of an experimental Ebola vaccine for health care and frontline workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as for workers in health facilities along the DRC’s borders with Uganda and South Sudan (4/19).

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CDC Blog Post Discusses Overcoming Vaccine Trust Issues To Eliminate Polio In India

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Overcoming Refusals to Polio Vaccination in Uttar Pradesh, India
Alford (A.J.) Williams, public health adviser at the CDC’s Global Immunization Division, discusses the challenges of eliminating polio in India, the last country to eliminate polio in the WHO South-East Asia Region (SEAR), including overcoming vaccine trust issues within local communities (4/22).

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