KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Calls For U.N. Security Council Meeting With Focus On Growing Humanitarian Crisis In Venezuela

Bloomberg: U.S. Shifts Venezuela Strategy at U.N. to Focus on Toll of Crisis
“The U.S. is seeking to highlight the growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela at the United Nations after its earlier bids to call for new elections faced stiff opposition from veto-wielding rivals Russia and China. The U.S. called for the U.N. Security Council to hold a meeting on the deteriorating situation in the Andean nation, according to an official with knowledge of the request. The move came as a new report said that Venezuela requires a full-scale U.N. response to address increasing levels of food insecurity, disease, and shortages of medicine…” (Wainer, 4/4).

Additional coverage of the report and the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is available from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Washington Post.

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U.S. Congress Sends War Powers Resolution Aimed At Ending U.S. Military Support For Saudi-Led War In Yemen To Trump; Veto Expected

CNN: House sends Yemen War Powers Resolution to Trump, where it faces veto threat
“The House passed a resolution Thursday calling for the end of any U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, sending the proposal to the White House where it is expected to be vetoed. The resolution, which is seen as a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s Middle East policies, already passed the Senate last month. Thursday’s House vote was 247-175. Sixteen Republicans voted yes with Democrats and one voted present…” (Killough/Barrett, 4/4).

Financial Times: U.S. House votes to end military support in Yemen
“…On Thursday, Democratic lawmakers held up the Yemen resolution as a victory, noting the historical nature of the fact that both chambers had passed a War Powers resolution — a federal law that allows Congress to put a check on the president’s power to engage in an overseas military conflict. … ‘Today, the House of Representatives took a clear stand against war and famine by voting to end our complicity in the war in Yemen,’ said Ro Khanna, a Democrat on the House armed services committee. ‘This is the first time in the history of the nation that a War Powers Resolution has passed the House and Senate [and] made it to the president’s desk’…” (Weaver, 4/4).

Foreign Policy: Congress Is Finally Done With the War in Yemen
“…Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, opposed the bill, arguing that invoking the War Powers Resolution wasn’t appropriate, as the Defense Department has said no U.S. troops are engaged in hostilities in Yemen. ‘This resolution does nothing to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. It does nothing to secure justice for the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi. It does not even make real decisions on U.S. security assistance to Saudi Arabia,’ he said…” (Gramer/MacKinnon, 4/4).

The Guardian: Yemen war: Congress votes to end US military assistance to Saudi Arabia
“…The war in Yemen, which has just entered its fifth year, is estimated to have killed more than 60,000 people and left millions on the brink of starvation, creating what the U.N. called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis…” (Gambino/Borger, 4/4).

New York Times: U.S. Role in Yemen War Will End Unless Trump Issues Second Veto
“…To persuade the president to support the legislation, a bipartisan group of lawmakers — including Representatives Ro Khanna, Democrat of California and one of the lead sponsors of the resolution, and Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and one of the president’s staunchest allies — requested to meet with the president, appealing to his desire ‘to achieve our shared interest in responsibly drawing down needless conflicts throughout the world’…” (Edmondson, 4/4).

Reuters: U.S. House rebukes Trump on Saudi Arabia, backs measure to end Yemen involvement
“…[N]either the House tally nor the 54-46 bipartisan vote in the Senate, where Republicans have a slim majority, would be enough to override a veto. The four-year-long civil war in Yemen, which pits the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels backed by Iran, has killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world’s most dire humanitarian crisis, with the country on the brink of famine…” (Zengerle/Ali, 4/4).

Wall Street Journal: House Passes Resolution to End U.S. Role in War in Yemen
“…The White House has promised to veto the resolution. Its passage is the latest sign of the frustration on Capitol Hill with the Trump administration’s support for the kingdom after the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents last year…” (Duehren, 4/4).

Washington Post: With vote to end U.S. involvement in Yemen’s war, House sets up Trump’s second veto
“…Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday rejected criticism of the U.S. role in the Yemen conflict, saying American involvement has led to a significant decline in civilian casualties. ‘And so it’s been a good thing that we’ve helped them,’ he said, noting that the United States had contributed ‘just short of a billion dollars’ in humanitarian aid, while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have contributed more. Iran, he added, had contributed nothing. ‘That often goes unnoticed by folks on Capitol Hill,’ he added…” (Demirjian, 4/4).

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USAID Deputy Administrator Discusses DREAMS Initiative Progress With Women In Kenya

Capital News: Project DREAMS helps prevent vulnerable young women from HIV infections
“Visiting Deputy Administrator USAID Bonnie Glick has held a round-table discussion with beneficiaries of DREAMS, a USAID funded project which is part of the agency’s commitment to HIV prevention among young people. Glick who held the forum at the St. Johns Community Center in Kamukunji sub-county was impressed by the achievements of the project that has reached 22,719 adolescent girls and young women with appropriate health education that enabled them to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. … Chief of Party DREAMS initiative Betty Adera says their main aim is to prevent new infections and ensure HIV-negative girls and young women remain negative by equipping them with information on healthier and safer sexual practices…” (Mueni, 4/4).

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DFID Increased Share Of U.K. Aid Budget In 2018; Experts Await Final Statistics To Be Released In November

Devex: DFID’s share of U.K. aid rises — but it’s not all good news
“Aid groups have welcomed the news that the U.K. Department for International Development increased its share of the aid budget for the first time in five years in 2018, as new figures were released Thursday — however, some cautioned that all is not what it seems. … Until this year, DFID’s share of the aid budget has fallen steadily since 2014, after the government committed to spending up to 30 percent of aid through other departments by 2020. NGOs have been lobbying against the policy, arguing that DFID is best placed to spend aid effectively and transparently. … Aid experts will be watching for the final ODA statistics, due to be released in November, which should include more detail…” (Edwards, 4/5).

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Overhaul Of International Financial Systems Needed For SDGs To Succeed, U.N. Report Says

Devex: U.N. report: Financial systems must change or SDGs will fail
“If national and international financial systems don’t change, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved, according to a new report out from the United Nations on Thursday. ‘The world cannot achieve the SDGs without a fundamental shift in the international financial system to address urgent global threats,’ U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said in a press conference Thursday. The 2019 ‘Financing for Sustainable Development Report,’ a project of more than 60 agencies in the U.N. system along with partner organizations, sounds the alarm and outlines some recommendations for a path forward…” (Saldinger, 4/5).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Reuters, U.N. News, and Xinhua News.

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Women Outlive Men Worldwide, WHO Report Shows, Calls For Greater Access To Maternal Health Services, Primary Health Care

The BMJ: WHO report shows that women outlive men worldwide
“Women outlive men everywhere in the world, and the gap in life expectancy would be even wider if women in low-income countries had better access to health care, a new global report shows. The World Health Organization’s World Health Statistics Overview 2019 — broken down by sex for the first time — shows that when facing the same disease, men seek health care less than women…” (Thornton, 4/5).

The Telegraph: New figures reveal the weaker sex — why men die younger than women
“…The main causes of death that contribute to a lower life expectancy in men are heart disease, road injuries, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke. Global suicide mortality rates were 75 percent higher in men than in women in 2016. … In lower income countries, the smaller difference in life expectancy between men and women is mainly due to higher rates of maternal mortality — in low-income countries one in 41 women dies in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to one in 3,300 in high-income countries…” (Gulland/Newey, 4/4).

U.N. News: Women outliving men ‘everywhere,’ new U.N. health agency statistics report shows
“…This finding also tallies with the report’s insistence that in almost all developing countries, there are fewer than four nurses and midwives per 1,000 people, and that life expectancy is strongly affected by income. This is clearest in low-income countries, where people live on average 18.1 years less than in high-income countries, and where one child in every 14 will die before their fifth birthday…” (4/4).

VOA News: Why Women Live Longer Than Men
“…[Samira Asma, WHO assistant director general for data, analytics and delivery,] says noncommunicable diseases are on the rise in most of the low- and middle-income countries, especially in Africa. She tells VOA this is due to the emergence of risk factors such as tobacco use, increase in alcohol consumption, and unhealthy diets. … Asma says statistics on NCD-related deaths underscore the need to prioritize primary health care…” (Schlein, 4/4).

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Next FAO Leader Should Focus On Rising Hunger, Malnutrition, Climate Change, Experts Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Next U.N. food chief must tackle hunger ’emergency’
“As candidates jostle to head the United Nations’ multibillion dollar food agency, experts called on Thursday for a strong leader to tackling rising hunger and climate change threats. … The four contenders include a European Union-backed French agronomist, who could become the FAO’s first female head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and an agriculture vice-minister from China, whose global influence is on the rise. Georgia and India have also fielded candidates for the June vote by delegates from the FAO’s 194 member states…” (Win, 4/4).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Continues To Grow; Aid Groups Work To Refine Prevention, Treatment Strategies

CIDRAP News: Health worker among 7 new DRC Ebola patients
“The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said a health worker in Musienene is one of seven new Ebola patients added to the outbreak [Thursday]. … The health care worker in Musienene brings the total number of health workers infected during the outbreak to 82 (7.4% of all confirmed or probable cases), and 29 of them have died, the DRC said…” (Soucheray, 4/4).

Deutsche Welle: Aid groups struggle to fight Ebola virus in Congo
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is going through its worst ever Ebola epidemic and there appears to be no end in sight. … ‘I wouldn’t say the situation is completely out of control,’ Sevim Tuglaci from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told DW, ‘but we need to rethink and change our strategy.’ In addition to armed conflict in North Kivu province, one of the main problems for aid workers fighting the epidemic is that members of the local population often do not trust them…” (Schwikowski, 4/4).

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1.1M Children In Latin America, Caribbean Affected By Crisis In Venezuela, Need Assistance, UNICEF Says

Agence France-Presse: 1.1 million children affected by Venezuela crisis: UNICEF
“The number of children who are affected by the Venezuelan crisis and who will need humanitarian aid this year is expected to more than double to reach 1.1 million, up from nearly 500,000, the U.N. children’s agency said Thursday. The figure includes children uprooted from Venezuela, those who have returned, and others in host and transit communities across Latin America and the Caribbean, said a UNICEF statement…” (4/5).

Associated Press: UNICEF: Venezuelan children on the move need help
“…The impact of Venezuela’s devastating economic, social, and political problems has rippled across Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years as more than 3 million people left the country. As is the case in humanitarian emergencies around the world, it is the children who are most vulnerable. About 1.1 million children will need access to services such as education, sanitation, and safe drinking water across the region this year because of the Venezuelan migrant crisis, UNICEF says in a new report…” (Garcia, 4/5).

VOA News: UNICEF: Uprooted Venezuelan Children Need Access To Basic Services
“…UNICEF said its regional humanitarian partners — Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago — estimate as many as 4.9 million people — adults and children — will need assistance this year because of the political and economic upheavals in Venezuela that are forcing the country’s citizens to flee. The agency has appealed for $69.5 million to meet the needs of the uprooted Venezuelan children who are living in the region…” (4/5).

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More Than 19M Bangladeshi Children At Risk From Climate Change-Related Floods, Cyclones, Other Natural Disasters, UNICEF Report Warns

U.N. News: Millions of Bangladeshi children at risk from climate crisis, warns UNICEF
“More than 19 million children in Bangladesh are at risk from devastating floods, cyclones, and other environmental disasters linked to climate change, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday in a new report. According to the study — Gathering Storm: Climate change clouds the future of children in Bangladesh — the country’s flat topography, dense population, and weak infrastructure make it ‘uniquely vulnerable to the powerful and unpredictable forces that climate change is compounding’…” (4/4).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Al Jazeera and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Brunei Enacts Harsh New Criminal Law, Punishments For Gay Sex, Adultery Despite Outcry From U.N. Agencies, Others

New York Times: Brunei Stoning Punishment for Gay Sex and Adultery Takes Effect Despite International Outcry
“A harsh new criminal law in Brunei — which includes death by stoning for sex between men or for adultery, and amputation of limbs for theft — went into effect on Wednesday, despite an international outcry from other countries, rights groups, celebrities, and students. Brunei, a tiny monarchy on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, based its new penal code on Shariah, Islamic law based on the Quran and other writings, though interpretations of Shariah can vary widely…” (Magra, 4/3).

U.N. News: U.N. agencies urge Brunei to repeal new ‘extreme and unjustified’ penal code
“…Underscoring that every person has the right to be ‘free from torture’ and ‘cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment,’ UNAIDS, the agency dedicated to tackling the virus, and the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), the sexual and reproductive health agency, warned the new penal code, which came into force in the south-east Asian monarchy on Wednesday, ‘will have a significant negative impact on overall health and well-being’ there…” (4/4).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Cholera is surging once again in war-ravaged Yemen (Al-Haj, 4/5).

Borgen Magazine: Solving the Afghanistan Food Crisis (Fatima, 4/5).

Homeland Preparedness News: International studies suggest combining data could improve malaria tracking (Galford, 4/4).

The Lancet: Providing care for trans women with HIV/AIDS in Peru (Fraser, 4/6).

New Humanitarian: As casualties soar, Afghanistan struggles to treat civilians maimed by conflict (Glinski, 4/4).

SciDev.Net: Window screens ‘could reduce global malaria burden’ (Yvonne, 4/5).

Xinhua News: Cameroon sees drop in HIV/AIDS prevalence (4/4).

Xinhua News: Interview: A.U. health agency hails China’s efforts in African health sector (4/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Addresses Expanded Mexico City Policy, Codifying Policy

Washington Times: U.S. foreign policy promotes real global health
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.)

“…From restoring and expanding Ronald Reagan’s ‘Mexico City policy’ (officially known as the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy [PLGHA]) that ensures U.S. taxpayer monies will not fund [foreign] non-government organizations (NGOs) that perform or actively promote abortion …, this president has shown an unrivaled commitment to protecting unborn human life. We believe it is important to ensure that no backwards steps are taken to reverse these pro-life policies. … The Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Act of 2019 (introduced by Rep. Foxx) … codifies the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy so that it would remain the law of the land no matter who is president…” (4/3).

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Scaling Up Global Health Action In Arab World Critical To Meeting Region's Health Challenges

The Lancet: Offline: Global health has forgotten the Arab World
Richard Horton, editor in chief of the Lancet

“…The only health organization with an exclusive mandate to address health in the Arab World is WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO). EMRO has struggled to meet its challenges. … Something needs to change — in the Arab World, at EMRO, and globally. … What can be done? Instead of waiting for governments to act, the health and medical research communities could do more to encourage collaborations with Arab nations. The Arab World is home to world-class universities … By forging bilateral educational, clinical, and research partnerships, possibilities for a transformational shift in opportunities for a new Arab generation are palpable. … Arab countries are an illuminatingly rich arena for health action. The Qur’an underlines the importance of knowledge, reflection, and education. Scaling up programs of scientific and professional exchange would justly honor these Qur’anic commitments” (4/6).

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Global Health Community Should Integrate Female Genital Schistosomiasis Treatment Into HIV/AIDS Prevention, Control Efforts

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Female genital schistosomiasis and HIV/AIDS: Reversing the neglect of girls and women
Peter J. Hotez, director at the Center for Vaccine Development at the Texas Children’s Hospital, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, and colleagues

“Since the 2000s, we have known that female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) is likely the most neglected gynecologic condition and HIV/AIDS cofactor across sub-Saharan Africa. To date, the global health and HIV/AIDS communities have not used the opportunity to prevent new HIV/AIDS infections through highly cost-effective schistosomiasis control and elimination in Africa. But recently, this situation may be shifting toward the better. … [N]ow, both the Department of Control of [Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs)] at the World Health Organization, together with UNAIDS, are working towards joint programs of policy and advocacy to create some paradigm-changing shifts. Similarly, there is an urgency to integrate schistosomiasis treatments into broader health systems for women’s health, including antenatal programs, HIV/AIDS prevention programs, and cervical cancer screening clinics. … The overall neglect of the serious consequences of FGS represents an affront to the girls and women of Africa and their families in poverty-stricken communities. We have the supporting data and tools to both prevent FGS and reduce HIV/AIDS transmission in Africa. We shouldn’t continue to leave this extraordinary opportunity on the table, unused” (4/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

IntraHealth International To Work With Sub-Saharan African Countries To Strengthen Local Capabilities To Address HIV Epidemic

IntraHealth International: IntraHealth to Work with Local African Partners on the Road to Self-Reliance and HIV Epidemic Control
“Through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) $38.5 million Accelerating Support to Advanced Local Partners (ASAP) project, IntraHealth International will work with sub-Saharan African countries to rapidly prepare local organizations and government entities to serve as prime partners for USAID and U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programming, including by strengthening their capabilities and resources to address HIV within their populations. The three-year contract, awarded by USAID, is one of four new global projects focused on meeting PEPFAR’s goal to ensure that, by 2020, 70% of its funding is awarded to local partners, while also accelerating progress toward epidemic control and achieving PEPFAR’s 95-95-95 goals…” (4/4).

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Joint Statement, Recommendations Call On G7 Foreign Ministers To Uphold Rights Of Women, Girls In Emergencies

CARE: NGOs and Women’s Rights Organizations Call on G7 Foreign Ministers to Protect Women in Crisis
“More than 30 leading international agencies and women’s rights organizations are calling on G7 Foreign Ministers to act to uphold the rights of women and girls in emergencies. Ahead of the G7 Foreign Minister’s meeting in Dinard, France, April 5-6, the joint statement and recommendations call on governments, donors, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, and national and local actors to work together to put women’s and girls’ rights and agency at the center of every humanitarian response…” (4/4).

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Global Nutrition Investments Could Help End Need For Foreign Aid, Eleanor Crook Foundation Head Says

AgriPulse: Opinion: We must invest in global nutrition and end the need for foreign aid
William Moore, executive director of the Eleanor Crook Foundation, board member for Bread for the World and the Alliance to End Hunger, and member of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Innovation and Health at Concern Worldwide, discusses the importance of global nutrition investment, including its role in advancing U.S. economic and security interests. Moore writes, “Proper nutrition drives resiliency, stability, and prosperity. … Good nutrition also creates the pathway for countries to graduate from depending on international assistance to becoming self-reliant societies. If the U.S. and … partners continue to make smart nutrition investments at scale, perhaps even in our lifetimes — [we might see a time] when every child, every economy, and every society is properly fed and nourished, and the need for foreign aid ceases to exist” (4/4).

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CFR Article Examines Impacts Of Cyclone Idai In Mozambique, Future Outlook

Council on Foreign Relations: Cyclone Idai Reveals Africa’s Vulnerabilities
Laura Hillard, editorial intern at CFR, discusses the humanitarian and health situation in Mozambique as a result of Cyclone Idai, including details about the extent of the damage, the international response, and the future outlook of shifting from crisis response to infrastructure preparedness (4/4).

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Researchers Examine Challenge Of AMR From Economic Perspective

Science: The challenge of antimicrobial resistance: What economics can contribute
Laurence S. J. Roope, senior researcher at the Health Economics Research Centre at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health, and colleagues discuss issues associated with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through an economic perspective. The authors note, “Drawing on economic concepts such as externalities and the principal-agent relationship, we suggest how economics can help to solve the challenges arising from increasing resistance to antibiotics. We discuss solutions to the key economic issues, from incentivizing the development of effective new antibiotics to improving antibiotic stewardship through financial mechanisms and regulation” (4/5).

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USC Expert Outlines 4 Key Ways To Achieve UHC

World Economic Forum: 4 radical shifts required to achieve universal health coverage worldwide
Heather Wipfli, associate director of the USC Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California, outlines “four key ways in which countries will need to dramatically reshape their health systems to achieve [universal health coverage (UHC)]: 1. Primary care … 2. Health workforce transformation … 3. Price transparency for medicine … 4. Emphasis on equity” (4/4).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC's MMWR Discusses Surveillance Efforts To Track Progress Toward Global Polio Eradication

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Surveillance to Track Progress Toward Polio Eradication — Worldwide, 2017-2018
Jaymin C. Patel of the Global Immunization Division at the CDC and colleagues discuss surveillance efforts to track global progress toward polio eradication. The authors write, “This report presents 2017-2018 poliovirus surveillance data, focusing on 31 countries identified as high-priority countries because of a ‘high risk of poliovirus transmission and limited capacity to adequately address those risks'” (4/5).

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