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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Reveals Major Restructuring Effort In Series Of Meetings, Announcements

Devex: Exclusive: USAID chief unveils major organizational shakeup
“U.S. Agency for International Development leaders are poised to undertake one of the most significant restructuring efforts in the institution’s history. A new organizational chart calls for the creation of new, high-level positions, the consolidation of a number of agency offices and functions, and a more unified approach to budgeting and management inside the world’s largest bilateral aid donor. Administrator Mark Green revealed the proposed structure in a series of staff meetings and internal announcements last week. The agency will now present it to Congress and gather feedback from employees, implementing partners, and other U.S. aid experts…” (Igoe, 4/9).

Federal News Radio: USAID unveils OMB-approved reorganization proposal to staff
“…Despite the proposed changes to the agency’s hierarchy, Green said restructuring the agency only accounts for about 20 percent of the overall agency transformation plan. ‘How we do things, how we manage information points, how we harness our talent here at USAID — that’s the 80 percent that will make all the difference. That’s the 80 percent that will deliver the USAID of tomorrow. Agency structure is merely the tool that helps us get there,’ Green said” (Heckman, 4/6).

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FDA Requests Comment On International Classification Of Marijuana, To Be Reviewed By WHO

Forbes: Feds Want Input On Marijuana Reclassification
“…[T]he United Nations World Health Organization is set to launch a review of the current international classification of marijuana, THC, cannabidiol, and other related compounds and preparations, and it wants input from member nations. In turn, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking ‘interested persons’ to submit comments that can inform the country’s position on the issue before it weighs in with the U.N…” (Angell, 4/6).

Washington Times: FDA seeking input on medical marijuana ahead of World Health Organization meeting
“…The FDA ‘is requesting interested persons to submit comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of five drug substances,’ including cannabis and its compounds, according to a notice slated to be published Monday in the Federal Register. … Countries that have passed federal laws legalizing medical marijuana include Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico, and Peru, among others” (Blake, 4/6).

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World Health Day Promotes Universal Health Coverage As WHO Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Deutsche Welle: WHO marks 70th anniversary and World Health Day amid some optimism
“…On World Health Day, DW takes a look at some of the advances that have been achieved so far…”
(Fuchs/Wagner, 4/7).

U.N. News: Universal health coverage key to safer, fairer world, says WHO chief on eve of World Health Day
“The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday marked World Health Day, and the agency’s 70th anniversary, with a strong call for universal health coverage, to ensure that all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship…” (4/6).

VOA News: WHO: Universal Health Coverage Saves People from Financial Ruin
“…[Universal health coverage] systems insulate people from the financial disasters that occur in countries where national health schemes do not exist…” (Schlein, 4/7).

VOA News: World Health Day, and the WHO Turns 70
“April 7 marks the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organization. It also marks World Health Day. In the past seven decades much has been accomplished, but much still needs to be done…” (Pearson, 4/7).

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More Than 800 Venezuelans Arrive In Brazil Daily To Escape Worsening Humanitarian Crisis; Venezuelan Government Continues To Refuse Aid As Health System Deteriorates

Reuters: 800 Venezuelans flee to Brazil daily to escape insecurity, hunger: UNHCR
“More than 800 Venezuelans stream into northern Brazil each day, the United Nations said on Friday, citing Brazilian government statistics on people fleeing the worsening crisis in the economically crippled nation…” (Nebehay, 4/6).

U.N. News: Nearly 800 Venezuelans arriving in Brazil each day, many seeking asylum, U.N. refugee agency says
“… ‘As the complex political and socio-economic situation in their country continues to worsen, arriving Venezuelans are in more desperate need of food, shelter, and health care. Many also need international protection,’ William Spindler, spokesperson for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland. More than 52,000 Venezuelans have arrived in Brazil since the beginning of 2017…” (4/6).

Wall Street Journal: Venezuelans Die as Maduro Government Refuses Medical Aid
“…Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s cash-strapped Socialist regime prohibits most international humanitarian donations — including contributions of lifesaving medicines — except from a few remaining allies such as Russia. The authoritarian leader and his lieutenants have denied the country is in a humanitarian crisis and they consider international aid part of a ploy by the U.S. and political rivals to besmirch the government and open the door to foreign intervention. … Public health has deteriorated sharply in what used to be one of Latin America’s richest nations…” (Vyas et al., 4/6).

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Taiwan Official Expresses Disappointment Over Nation's Lack Of Development Aid To Africa Due To 'One China' Policy

VOA News: Africa Misses Out on Taiwan’s Development Aid Due to ‘One China’ Policy
“Taiwan says it regrets that the ‘One China’ policy insisted on by Beijing prevents it from providing much needed development aid to most countries in Africa. … [Taiwan’s Deputy Secretary-General for International Cooperation and Development Pai-po Lee] says Taiwan had invested a lot in the African region. But, all that is now in the past. He says Taiwan currently maintains diplomatic relations with only two countries — Burkina Faso and Swaziland…” (Schlein, 4/8).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Pakistan launches new polio vaccination drive (4/9).

Devex: IRC’s Miliband warns Yemen crisis could worsen as access woes deepen (Welsh, 4/6).

The Guardian: Recruiters order Sri Lankan women to take birth control before working in Gulf (Cousins, 4/6).

The Guardian: ‘I was terrified’: fears over child mental health in post-quake Papua New Guinea (Bowman, 4/9).

The Guardian: The town that breeds resistance to malaria drugs (McKie, 4/8).

New York Times: TB Treatment May Leave Some Patients Contagious (Baumgaertner, 4/6).

New York Times: Surgery Lit by Cellphone: Togo Doctors Strike Over Deplorable Hospitals (McDonnell, 4/7).

New York Times: He Killed a Red Cross Worker: ‘I Will Go to Hell for What I Did’ (Nordland et al., 4/7).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Analysis — Obesity among Asia-Pacific children is a growing health crisis — researchers (Taylor, 4/8).

Washington Post: One community’s battle over virginity tests in western India (Doshi, 4/8).

Xinhua News: Feature: Female health workers in conservative Afghanistan facing immense barriers (Behbud, 4/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Commonwealth Leaders Must Renew Commitment To Eliminate Malaria

The Guardian: We can turn the tide in the fight against malaria — but we must act now
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust

“…Progress [against malaria] has stalled and there is worrying and increasing evidence that we are losing the battle to eliminate the disease. … If we continue with the status quo, one thing is certain: the rise in malaria cases will gather pace and, once it does, it will become increasingly difficult and much more expensive to reverse that trend. But with concerted action, we can turn the tide. When Commonwealth leaders convene next week [at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London], many will arrive from countries where malaria remains one of the biggest threats to life. We urge them to renew their commitment to ending malaria, by committing funding, enacting control programs, and driving forward universal health coverage. If they do, then perhaps in 20 years’ time we will look back and say that 2018 was another turning point on the road to malaria elimination” (4/8).

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Global Health Security Strategies Continue To Need Donor Support But Should Align With National Budgets, Priorities

Devex: Opinion: Governments must fund global health security commitments
Dulce Pedroso, manager at Palladium

“…[D]espite clear evidence of the economic harm epidemics can wrought, the future upfront funding of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a multilateral initiative to tackle global health threats, remains uncertain. … In the short and medium term, the implementation of global health security processes will still be donor-reliant. But at the same time, we need to ensure that plans align with national budgets in order to facilitate the eventual transition to domestic funding. We also must ensure that all strategies support governments: enabling them to manage health security more effectively and giving them the opportunities to work closely with civil society. Ultimately, it is the government which is accountable for success or failure. Comprehensive costing and impact assessments can draw attention to where urgent national priorities and the security agenda intersect. This intersection can serve as a starting point for resource mobilization and governance support, where donors fund critical infrastructure while governments progress towards universal health coverage in a virtuous cycle; one that can keep the world safer and people healthier” (4/6).

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Permanent U.S. Cuts To UNRWA Funding Would Impact Agency's Ability To Provide Health Care To Palestinian Refugees

U.S. News & World Report: Commentary: U.S. Aid Cuts Threaten Refugee Access to Health Care
Akihiro Seita, director of the Health Department for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

“…Permanent U.S. aid cuts [to UNRWA] would tremendously undermine UNRWA’s ability to provide care that the international community, through the General Assembly, has been requesting UNRWA to deliver to Palestine refugees, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. … If the global community is serious in committing to and calling for universal health care coverage, it must include everyone, everywhere, and encourage the United States to restore its full contribution to UNRWA. The plight of Palestine refugees will not be resolved through the withholding of humanitarian aid to UNRWA, and their needs will not vanish. Rather, their needs and associated costs are ultimately bound to increase with each dollar that is taken away from investing in their health” (4/6).

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Ensuring Sustainable WASH In Health Care Facilities Requires Engagement, Coordination With Multiple Sectors

The Hill: The world’s hidden health crisis
Bruce Wilkinson, CEO of CMMB

“…Faith-based and secular organizations do so much genuinely effective health and development work around the world, in partnership with U.S. and other government agencies. … But our collective effectiveness is being undercut every day due to this pervasive lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities. … Improving WASH in health care facilities requires all organizations engaged in health care to better coordinate with multiple sectors from both government and private industry, and we must include local engagement. … If the faith-based community is truly committed to preventing illness and disease, and improving health outcomes, then we need to direct greater focus to sustainable WASH in health care facilities. … It’s time for all who are so committed to life to use our powers to make sure that health facilities have the tools they need to safeguard and preserve it” (4/7).

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Opinion Pieces Recognize World Health Day, Discuss UHC

The following opinion pieces recognize World Health Day, which takes place annually on April 7, and the theme of this year’s day, “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.”

The Lancet: Offline: UHC — one promise and two misunderstandings (Horton, 4/7).

Project Syndicate: How Corruption Impedes Universal Health Coverage (Nishtar, 4/6).

The Guardian: The fight goes on to ensure health care is not a privilege reserved for the rich (Lamble, 4/6).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Reimagining what it is we want to sustain on World Health Day (Lobato, 4/6).

HuffPost: Small Changes Can Mean Big Impact In The Pursuit Of Health Care For All (Yameogo et al., 4/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Brookings Report Examines Private Sector Investments In Health R&D Dedicated To Developing Countries

Brookings Institution’s “TechTank”: Less than four percent of private investment in health R&D targets the developing world
Liz Sablich, director of communications for governance studies at Brookings, discusses findings from a report on private sector investments in overall health R&D, which found “an exceedingly small share was dedicated to the developing world,” and highlights recommendations to improve private investment in global health drugs and vaccines (4/6).

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Blog Post Summarizes Brookings Institution Experts' Research On Various Health, Development Issues

Brookings Institution’s “Brookings Now”: 5 stunning facts about world health
Brennan Hoban, communications coordinator, and Leah Korn, communications intern, both at Brookings, recognize World Health Day, observed on April 7, and summarize several aspects of health and development addressed by Brookings experts’ research. Topics include global food security, mortality from dementia and tuberculosis, research and development funds allotted to developing nations, and U.S. global health spending (4/6).

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U.N. Foundation Applauds New Pledges To WHO Contingency Fund For Emergencies

U.N. Foundation’s “Global Connections”: Funding for Global Health Emergencies is an Encouraging Step — And More Will Be Needed
Kate Dodson, vice president for global health strategy at the U.N. Foundation, welcomes donor countries’ recent pledges to the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE), noting, “The contributions from Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, and others ranged from $20,000 to $5.6 million — boosting the fund to $23 million total. Donor countries also included five first-time donors … WHO is aiming for $100 million in funding for the CFE by 2018-2019, so the international community has a way to go…” (4/6).

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CSIS Releases April 2018 Issue Of Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: April 2018
In the April 2018 CSIS Global Health Policy Center Newsletter, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, highlights publications, podcasts, and upcoming events hosted by CSIS. The newsletter includes links to a commentary by Global Health Policy Center Senior Fellow Nellie Bristol on the potential impact of decreased U.S. foreign assistance on strengthening global immunization systems and a commentary by Morrison and Jonathan E. Hillman, director of the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project and fellow with the CSIS Simon Chair in Political Economy, discussing the state of global surveillance and response capabilities to prevent pandemic influenza (April 2018).

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Experts Examine Potential Impacts Of China's Belt And Road Initiative On Global Health Assistance

Health Affairs Blog: China’s Grand Idea For The 21st Century: Will The New Silk Road Transform Global Health Assistance?
In this essay, Lawrence O. Gostin, O’Neill professor of global health law and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and colleagues discuss China’s One Belt, One Road, or Belt and Road, initiative, which “pledges a massive $1 trillion infrastructure investment in roads, ports, energy, and telecommunications” to connect Asia, Africa, and Europe. The authors aim to answer the questions, “Will the benefits of One Belt, One Road be widely shared or flow mostly to China? Will this unprecedented influx of development financing improve health for all who travel along the New Silk Road?” (4/3).

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Commentary Calls On Donor Countries To Embrace 'Humane Internationalism' As Foundation Of Effective Foreign Aid

Geographical: Aid effectiveness in a changing world
Pablo Yanguas, consultant, author, and research fellow at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester, writes, “[A] foundation of humane internationalism is what enabled the aid system to grow and mature over six decades. Today it is under attack by opportunistic leaders who use populism to mask their lack of real principles…” (4/9).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Podcast Series Explores Efforts To Prepare For Infectious Disease Outbreaks

USAID/Medium: Are We Ready for the Next Outbreak?
Avery Waite, program analyst for the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact in USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, highlights a three-part podcast series that explores global efforts to prepare for infectious disease outbreaks, “lessons learned from responding to previous disease outbreaks, and the role that innovation can play in changing the trajectory of future outbreaks” (4/4).

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USAID-Supported Wastewater Treatment Plant Helps Indian Community Prevent Disease, Pollution

USAID’s “ImpactBlog”: The Beauty of a Wastewater Treatment Plant
Mark Anthony White, mission director for USAID in India, discusses a wastewater treatment plant built in the Agra municipality, with support from USAID. White writes, “What the Agra Municipal Corporation and our NGO partner managed to do with USAID support is impressive. Now, other municipal corporations are following Agra’s model — such as East Delhi and Rourkela. I encourage others to also follow their example…” (4/6).

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