KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Agency Says U.S. Withdrawal Of UNFPA Funding Made On Unfounded Claims, Reiterates Efforts To Promote Human Rights-Based Approach To Family Planning

Inter Press Service: “Devastating Consequences” for Women, Girls as U.S. Defunds U.N. Agency
“The U.S. has withdrawn all of its funding to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), an agency that works on family planning and reproductive health in over 150 countries. The decision is based on what the UNFPA says is an erroneous claim that it ‘supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization (in China).’ … In a statement released in response to the funding cuts, the UNFPA said that ‘we have always valued the United States as a trusted partner and leader in helping to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled’…” (Yakupitiyage, 4/5).

Quartz: Trump’s cuts to global reproductive health could lead to more coerced abortions in China
“…In the documents sent to the Senate, the UNFPA is accused of involvement in forced sterilization and abortion population control measures put in place by the Chinese government. That’s because the UNFPA supports China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), a government agency that, according to a 2016 bipartisan report from the State Department, enacts coercive family planning measures. As that report explicitly says, there is no evidence that UNFPA funding is directed to any forced procedures, but the U.S. government has considered the mere existence of a partnership enough to justify discontinuing funding to the U.N. agency. … A [UNFPA] spokesperson told Quartz that the agency ‘was assigned by U.N. member states to promote the human rights-based approach to family planning in China, because women in China have the right to seek family planning according to those terms,’ and is therefore required to collaborate with NHFPC, the government’s agency dedicated to family planning…” (Merelli, 4/5).

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Banned Chemical Nerve Agent Likely Used In Attack That Killed At Least 72 People In Northwestern Syrian Town, WHO Says

Washington Post: World Health Organization: Syria chemical attack likely involved nerve agent
“A chemical attack that killed scores of civilians in Syria probably involved a banned nerve agent, top medical groups concluded Wednesday, as the United States and European allies at the U.N. Security Council demanded an investigation. … At least 72 people were killed in the attack, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. Medical organizations working inside Syria said they had treated more than 500 people who inhaled the still unidentified chemical. The World Health Organization said victims showed symptoms consistent with a reaction to a nerve agent, stockpiles of which President Bashar al-Assad’s government was supposed to have destroyed more than three years ago in an attempt to stave off U.S. military intervention…” (Loveluck/Zakaria, 4/5).

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WFP Launches 5-Year, $253M Plan To End Hunger In Zimbabwe

Reuters: U.N. food agency launches $250 million Zimbabwe plan to end hunger
“The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday pledged $253 million to fund a five-year plan to end hunger in Zimbabwe, which is emerging from a devastating drought that left more than four million people in need of food aid last year…” (Dzirutwe, 4/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

President Trump's Proposed Budget Could Hamper U.S. Ability To Address Infectious Disease Threats

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Fighting Deadly Diseases
David S. Perlin, executive director at the Public Health Research Institute at Rutgers

“Combating infectious diseases … demands our attention as a prominent threat to American health and security. … Our own medical backyard is a proving ground for deadly diseases, as advances in cancer therapy and transplantation place patients at high risk for development of life-threatening infections. Sadly, drug resistance is causing us to lose our ability to treat these infections. We urgently need to develop next-generation diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics. Yet, if implemented, President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to our scientific enterprise — the engine for disease prevention innovation — will hamper our ability to address the current crisis of antibiotic resistance and to counter effectively unknown microbial threats” (4/5).

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U.S.'s, Seattle-Based Global Health Organizations' Relationship With China Important 'To Unlock Solutions' In Health, Development

Seattle Times: Our economy, and global health, depend on ties to China
Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH, and Gary Locke, member of PATH’s board of directors

“Greater Seattle is one of the most internationally connected regions in the United States. More than 40 percent of the jobs in our region are tied to international trade and commerce. China, in particular, is an anchor relationship for our region. … The health of our region’s economy depends on [the U.S.’s relationship with China]. … The opportunity to dramatically improve health for the world’s most vulnerable people has never been better. And collaboration with China in this work has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the world’s most deadly diseases and persistent health problems. Together, we can uniquely harness innovation in a way that can benefit many more people. … This week, PATH is sending a group of partners, advocates, and staff to China to learn more about its growing role in global health and development. We are optimistic about the possibilities ahead, and the opportunities to fight disease and inequity…” (4/5).

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Community Participation Key To Eliminating Malaria In Africa, Globally

STAT: Communities can be powerful forces in the fight against malaria
Janet Midega, scientist at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Program, research associate at the University of Oxford’s Center for Genomics and Global Health, and 2017 Aspen New Voices fellow

“…[C]ommunities can, and should, be more deeply involved and can actually lead the way in mosquito-control programs. … No specific guidelines exist to help governments and organizations actively involve communities in malaria control. But they could easily be established if we draw on examples of how communities have joined the fight against the disease. … Making community participation a routine and integrated component of control programs would affect not only malaria but also help bring down populations of other mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as dengue and filariasis. Equipped with knowledge and the right tools, and supported by local and international stakeholders as well as in-country national malaria control programs, communities can lead the way towards eliminating malaria in Africa and around the world” (4/6).

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Patient-Centered Counseling Important Factor In Getting 'AIDS Denialists' Into Care

The Conversation: How AIDS denialism spreads in Russia through online social networks
Peter Meylakhs, associate professor and senior research fellow at the International Centre for Health Economics, Management and Policy at the Higher School of Economics; Yadviga Sinyavskaya, researcher at the Higher School of Economics; and Yuri Rykov, junior research fellow at Higher School of Economics

“…AIDS denialists reject scientific facts and claim that all the evidence of HIV existence has been concocted by corrupt scientist … To understand how some HIV-positive individuals become AIDS denialists and what can be done about it, we undertook a mixed-method study of the largest AIDS-denialist community present on Russia’s largest social network, VKontakte. … Three important factors were determined: inadequate counseling, denial of the diagnosis because informants ‘felt good,’ and unwillingness to follow antiretroviral treatment. … The best way to prevent individuals from being tempted by AIDS denialism is to provide good quality, patient-centered counseling and properly manage treatment side effects. For those who are still in throes of denialism, our study came up with the following recommendation: ‘Believe whatever you want but check your immune status. Just in case.’ This can help bring a patient closer to getting care, hopefully before it’s too late” (4/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

New Issue Of NIH Fogarty International Center's 'Global Health Matters' Available Online

NIH Fogarty International Center: Global Health Matters
The most recent issue of the Fogarty International Center’s newsletter contains various articles addressing global health issues, including several pieces on how Fogarty is helping West African nations recover from the Ebola epidemic (March/April 2017).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash features a video on the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust and the work of its first response counselors in addressing gender-based violence and delivering post-rape care. The issue also features a blog post on a new partnership working to “prevent cervical cancer by integrating human papillomavirus (HPV) screening and early treatment into HIV programs” in Southern Africa (4/6).

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SDG Index Ranks Countries' Progress Toward Reaching Goals

World Economic Forum: Which countries are achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals fastest?
Andrea Willige, formative content writer with the WEF, examines a prototype index created by non-profit organization Bertelsmann Stiftung and the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network to measure countries’ performance toward meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. “The SDG Index measures 149 countries, comparing their current progress with a baseline measurement taken in 2015. … Not unexpectedly, some of the world’s poorest countries are near the bottom of the ranking. The SDGs are, after all, a demanding bunch: including a call to end extreme poverty and hunger, universal access to health care, education, safe water and sanitation, modern energy services, and decent work. These areas continue to be an uphill struggle for many nations…” (3/20).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Pledges Additional Humanitarian Assistance To Support People Affected By Syrian Crisis

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis
This fact sheet describes continuing U.S. support for humanitarian efforts for people affected by the war in Syria, including more than $566 million in additional assistance announced at the Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region conference in Brussels on April 5. “Through this support, the United States continues to provide emergency food assistance, shelter, safe drinking water, urgent medical care, humanitarian protection activities, and other urgent relief to the 13.5 million people suffering inside Syria, as well as the more than five million Syrian refugees from Syria in the region…” (4/5).

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