KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Report On Release Of, Reactions To U.S. State Department Human Rights Report

Foreign Policy: Human Rights Groups Bristling at State Department Report
“Human rights groups blasted the State Department’s annual human rights report, released on Friday, which removed the term ‘reproductive rights’ and softened language on human rights violations in a number of countries, including Yemen and the Dominican Republic. … Human rights groups say the changes undermine the integrity of the report, which is used by the U.S. government, lawmakers, and researchers around the world as a global benchmark for how each country treats human rights. … It replaced the [reproductive rights] section with a much shorter one titled ‘Coercion in Population Control,’ focused exclusively on forced abortion and involuntary sterilization, without mentioning access to contraceptives and abortions as in reports past. In a press briefing on the release of the report on Friday, Amb. Michael Kozak, the top official in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, cautioned critics against reading too much into the ‘reproductive rights’ term, saying it has has become politically charged among advocacy groups. … But he also made clear that it did signify a policy change…” (Gramer, 4/21).

Quartz: The stark differences in how the Trump and Obama administrations talk about human rights
“…The first report to include the [reproductive rights] section was released in 2012, for the previous year. But the latest report … focuses exclusively on ‘coercion in population control,’ referring to the World Health Organization for data on maternal mortality and contraception. It skips assessments of availability of abortion or contraceptive measures…” (Merelli, 4/21).

POLITICO: Democrats, activists slam changes to State Dept. rights report
“… ‘A human rights report that doesn’t fully address reproductive rights is woefully incomplete,’ said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). ‘The State Department’s attempt to characterize this as an effort to ‘refocus’ the report is merely a poor excuse for stripping references to a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health choices.’ …” (Toosi, 4/20).

Wall Street Journal: Human Rights Report by U.S. Singles Out Russia, China and Iran
“…[Kozak] said officials discontinued the use of the phrase ‘reproductive rights’ because it had been misinterpreted as being synonymous with abortion rights. He said officials removed the language to avoid misperceptions…” (Schwartz, 4/20).

Washington Examiner: State Department: Abortion ‘is not a human right’
“…[Kozak] emphasized that, by dropping the term ‘reproductive rights,’ the State Department is returning to the language required by U.S. law. ‘We’ve really gotten at it by flipping back to the original U.S. statutory language,’ he said. ‘It’s in places like China where in order to enforce their — now — two-child policy that there are reports of coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization [or] in North Korea, where the government also coerces [or] forces abortion — although sometimes that’s for political punishment rather than family planning’…” (Gehrke, 4/20).

Washington Post: State Department strikes reproductive rights, ‘Occupied Territories’ from human rights report
“…Several activist groups criticized the decision to remove the phrase, saying it illustrates a tendency to downplay violations in some countries while taking others to task. ‘Reproductive rights are human rights, and omitting the issue signals the Trump administration’s latest retreat from global leadership on human rights,’ said Joanne Lin, head of advocacy and governmental relations for Amnesty International USA…” (Morello, 4/20).

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Member Nations Back $13B Increase For World Bank At Spring Meetings

Devex: 5 takeaways from the World Bank Spring Meetings
“…After months of negotiations — including with a skeptical Trump administration — [World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Saturday] was able to announce a $13 billion capital increase that will allow the bank to lend more money and finance more projects. … The meetings also showcased efforts to drive investment in health and education, and to harness technological disruption for economic benefits in developing countries. Here are five Devex takeaways from the 2018 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings…” (Igoe/Edwards, 4/23).

The Times: Penny Mordaunt welcomes China’s shift to being aid donor
“The international development secretary has welcomed the start of China’s transition from aid recipient to aid donor. As Britain committed an extra $547 million to the World Bank, Penny Mordaunt hailed a move by member nations to inject $13 billion into the World Bank alongside a change in its power structure as a ‘dramatic shift’ in the aid landscape and a victory for Britain’s development goals. China’s share of aid funding will fall as more is directed to poorer countries…” (Aldrick, 4/23).

Wall Street Journal: White House Sets Aside Skepticism, Backs Funding Increase for World Bank
“The Trump administration is backing a $13 billion increase in funding for the World Bank, putting aside its skepticism of the big government-backed institutions that manage the global economy, in part because it wants the World Bank as a counterweight to China’s growing international influence. The change, which will allow the bank to increase lending to poor-country clients, comes after what European and other officials described as difficult negotiations over tough terms demanded by the U.S. One official described the agreement as ‘touch and go,’ and many doubted it would happen…” (Zumbrun/Fidler, 4/21).

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U.K. MPs Urge Prime Minister May To Attend Upcoming High-Level Meeting On TB

Sunday Telegraph: Theresa May urged to take lead in global battle against TB as countries struggle to contain ‘escalating epidemic’
“Theresa May has been urged to take a lead in the global battle against tuberculosis as countries across the world struggle to contain an ‘escalating epidemic.’ More than 100 MPs, including Damian Green, the prime minister’s former deputy, and Ken Clarke, the ex chancellor, have written to Mrs. May calling on her to attend a major summit they say offers an ‘unprecedented opportunity to turn the tide against this terrible disease’…” (Malnick, 4/21).

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Ireland PM Varadkar Urges Nation To Overturn Strict Abortion Laws

Associated Press: Irish premier launches bid to overturn abortion restrictions
“Ireland’s premier has urged his country to show compassion as he launched a campaign to overturn some of Europe’s strictest abortion rules. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Saturday that Ireland’s May 25 referendum on whether to lift a constitutional ban on most abortions is an opportunity to ‘put compassion at the center of our laws’…” (4/22).

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Devex Examines China's New State International Development Cooperation Agency

Devex: China’s new aid agency: What we know
“When China first announced its new agency focused on foreign aid last month, little information was provided on its functions and responsibilities. But on April 4, the first head of the State International Development Cooperation Agency, or SIDCA, was appointed, and with the announcement comes insight into the direction China will be moving with its foreign aid efforts. Wang Xiaotao will be the agency’s first director — an appointment that surprised many observers of Chinese politics…” (Cornish/Ravelo, 4/20).

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Africa Must Address 'Double Burden' Of Malnutrition To Reach 2030 Health Goals, Experts At U.N. Meeting Say

U.N. News: Health experts at U.N. meeting press for action to address ‘double burden’ of malnutrition in Africa
“Africa’s attempts to achieve health for all by 2030 could be threatened unless the continent address the twin challenges of undernutrition and obesity, experts attending a United Nations meeting in Nairobi this week have warned. … The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa calls these two issues ‘the double burden of malnutrition’…” (4/20).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Yemen Red Cross: More dying from indirect effects of war (Lederer, 4/21).

Fox News: Why the next generation of cancer researchers need support if they are to find a cure (Carlton, 4/21).

Globe and Mail: One scientist’s work sheds light on the ‘transforming’ state of planetary health (Hui, 4/23).

The Guardian: With 250 babies born each minute, how many people can the Earth sustain? (Lamble, 4/23).

New York Times: Ethicists Call for More Scrutiny of ‘Human-Challenge’ Trials (Baumgaertner, 4/20).

Reuters: Hungarian laboratory worker isolated after exposure to Ebola virus (Peto/Than, 4/20).

STAT: The vaccine dilemma: how experts weigh benefits for many against risks for a few (Branswell, 4/23).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — Schools free disabled in South Sudan’s war zone from ‘curse’ (Glinski, 4/23).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: People helping society make Fortune’s list of world’s greatest leaders (Wulfhorst, 4/19).

U.S. News & World Report: Air Pollution Contributes to Global Deaths (Huth, 4/20).

VOA News: Scientist Calls for ‘Antimalarials for Mosquitoes’ to Fight Killer Disease (Lapidus, 4/22).

WBUR CommonHealth: Why Counterfeit Drugs Are A Global Problem With No Foolproof Solutions (Weintraub, 4/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

BUILD Act Has Potential To Enhance Effectiveness, Impact Of U.S. Foreign Assistance

The Hill: An American development finance playbook for a 21st century market
Tessie San Martin, president of Plan International USA and co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

“…[The BUILD Act, which proposes the establishment of a new U.S. international development finance corporation,] is a unique opportunity to modernize the tools at our disposal to enhance the effectiveness and impact of our foreign assistance dollars. … Maintaining USAID’s strong capacity to engage with the private sector will … be essential to the international development finance corporation’s effectiveness. … The office’s unique contribution is that it can effectively work at the macroeconomic, microeconomic, and enterprise levels. … The new U.S. international development finance corporation would ultimately be a force multiplier for effective development by ‘crowding in’ more socially impactful investment leading to more inclusive and equitable economic growth. This is a win-win for the United States and its partner countries. But we need to be smart about how the entity is designed, governed, and managed so it can effectively leverage what already exists. This will ensure the United States gets the most bang for every development buck” (4/20).

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U.S. 'Must Take Leading Role' To Ensure, Bolster Humanitarian Aid Access To Yemen

International Policy Digest: Only the United States can Save the Yemeni People
Ryan McFerran, graduate student at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs

“…The U.S. has demonstrated a strong capacity to address the emergency [in Yemen] through negotiations with Saudi Arabia … [and] should continue with its diplomatic initiative to restore greater access to the country for aid agencies. … The crisis has escalated through four distinct but mutually reinforcing manifestations: violence, hunger, thirst, and disease. … The result is that everyone is worse off, with food and water shortages fueling increased rates of malnutrition and disease. … The United States must continue to restore greater and more-regular access to Yemen for aid agencies. … [T]he U.S. must act to ensure current in-flows of food, medicine, and relief workers are not just maintained, but bolstered and diversified. As a next step, the United States should make the Saudi government aware of the potential fallout if it does not relax its tight grip. … If the U.S. wishes to maintain its strong diplomatic presence in the Middle East, it must act when conditions in the region are most dire. … The United States must take a leading role in assisting the Yemeni people” (4/22).

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Global Leaders, Individuals Must Do More To Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance

Salon: We’re not doing enough to tackle superbugs
William Hall, Anthony McDonnell, and Jim O’Neill, members of the Review of Antimicrobial Resistance and co-authors of “Superbugs: An Arms Race Against Bacteria”

“…[U]nless we take action, antibiotics will continue to become less effective, and our ability to control infectious diseases will diminish. Much more needs to be done. … To beat [antimicrobial resistance (AMR)] we need the support of global leaders. But it will take more than that. … We all need to start doing the simple things better, like washing our hands thoroughly to reduce the chances of infection, and not demanding antibiotics from our physicians. We also need to play a role in raising awareness, explaining the issue to our friends and families, and potentially making choices about the food that we eat depending on the responsible use of antibiotics. Finally, we need to keep the pressure on political leaders not to be complacent and push this issue back as a threat that is already sorted out or can be dealt with later. It is neither. If we do all of this, together we can avoid sleepwalking into a superbug crisis” (4/22).

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Collective Commitment Critical To Ending Global Malaria

Newsweek: David Beckham: Our Children Deserve a World Without Malaria
David Beckham, member of the Malaria No More U.K. Leadership Council

“This week in London we made history with a new pledge to halve malaria deaths in the British Commonwealth over the next five years. … Today, 90 percent of our Commonwealth neighbors still live in constant fear of the disease, with the Commonwealth accounting for more than half of all global cases and deaths from malaria. It’s the right thing to do to try and end this entirely preventable and treatable disease. Not only to save thousands of children, its main victims, but also for our neighbors to be stronger, and because I know I never want to see it return to countries which have defeated it. … Due to faltering funding and the disease adapting, the past 10 years of real and tangible change has now stalled, and we’re in real danger of letting malaria back in. … It’ll take determination and collective commitment to get there, and it may well be my children’s generation who will need to apply the finishing touch, but I’m convinced that beating malaria is one goal we really can make happen…” (4/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Expert Highlights 5 Key Aspects Of World Bank's New Capital Increase Package

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Trump’s Treasury Delivers at the World Bank: More Capital for Climate, Solid Policy Framework
Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at CGD, discusses the U.S. endorsement of the World Bank’s new capital increase package, which according to a World Bank press release, includes “a $13 billion paid-in capital increase, a series of internal reforms, and a set of policy measures that greatly strengthen the global poverty fighting institution’s ability to scale up resources and deliver on its mission in areas of the world that need the most assistance.” In this post, Morris highlights five key aspects of the package (4/20).

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FT Health Discusses Malaria Funding, Sluggish Progress, Features Interview With Head Of Vatican's Science And Faith Foundation

FT Health: Malaria backsliding, the Vatican and gene-editing
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses malaria funding and the slowing of progress on the disease. The newsletter also features an interview with Monsignor Tomasz Trafny, head of the Vatican’s Science and Faith Foundation, which is hosting a global health conference on April 26-28, and provides a round-up of other global health-related news stories (Jack et al., 4/20).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Department Of State Releases 2017 Country Reports On Human Rights Practices

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: State Department Releases Annual Human Rights Reports
Jonathan Collett, public diplomacy specialist, and Kerri Spindler-Ranta, public diplomacy adviser, both in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, discuss the release of the State Department’s 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which “document the status of human rights and worker rights in nearly 200 countries and territories” (4/20).

U.S. Department of State: Remarks on the Release of the 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
During remarks at the release of the 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Acting Secretary of State John J. Sullivan said, “Promoting human rights and the idea that every person has inherent dignity is a core element of this administration’s foreign policy. It also strengthens U.S. national security by fostering greater peace, stability, and prosperity around the world. The Human Rights Reports are the most comprehensive and factual accounting of the global state of human rights. They help our government and others formulate policies and encourage both friends and foes to respect the dignity of all individuals without discrimination” (4/20).

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CDC Blog Post Highlights Burkina Faso's Experience Implementing Meningitis Vaccine Campaign

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Proud to Protect Burkinabè from Meningitis
Isaïe Medah, physician and director general of public health in Burkina Faso, discusses the implementation of the meningococcal serogroup A conjugate vaccine (MenAfriVac, MACV) in Burkina Faso. Medah writes, “I believe we should continue developing new effective meningitis vaccines to defeat the remaining causes of epidemic meningitis. It is my hope that someday we will achieve the dream of a meningitis-free Africa” (4/20).

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