KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines Best Indicators To Measure Progress In Maternal Health Interventions

Devex: SDG indicators shape maternal health interventions. Is it for the best?
“…As the global health community now turns its focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, aid workers in Afghanistan and its least-developed peers are asking whether the best measure of progress is the number of births attended by skilled birth personnel. The SDGs aim to reduce the MMR to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. The focus on [skilled birthing attendants (SBAs)] could be distracting from even more fundamental health system reforms, analysts and aid implementers working in Afghanistan told Devex…” (Cousins, 8/3).

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EGPAF CEO Chip Lyons Discusses Efforts To Shorten HIV Test Times, Get More Infants On Treatment In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Cutting testing wait times to get more infants on HIV treatment
“…The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, with a four-year, $63 million grant from Unitaid, is piloting a project to shorten that waiting period [between HIV testing and receiving results]. … Charles ‘Chip’ Lyons, EGPAF’s president and chief executive officer, spoke to Devex about what [the project’s] early results mean and what comes next for the project…” (Green, 8/2).

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Global Number Of New Leprosy Cases Likely Double 200K-300K Reported Annually, WHO Says

The Guardian: Shadow of leprosy falls again as experts claim millions of cases go undiagnosed
“Millions of new leprosy cases are going undiagnosed and untreated, 15 years after one of the world’s most feared and infamous diseases was declared to be virtually eliminated. … The WHO reports that there have been between 200,000 and 300,000 new cases detected globally every year since 2005. However, the true number of new cases is likely to be double these figures…” (Lyons, 8/3).

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Cholera, Malnutrition Rampant In Yemen As Conflict Destroys Sanitation, Health Care Systems, NGOs, U.N. Warn

CNN: Yemen: Million children at risk from cholera, charity says
“More than a million children already suffering from acute malnutrition are at risk from a cholera outbreak sweeping war-torn Yemen, charity Save the Children warned Wednesday…” (Smith-Spark, 8/2).

NPR: 1 Million Malnourished Children At Risk Of Cholera In Yemen
“…Oxfam says the war ‘has destroyed or damaged more than half the country’s health facilities as the cholera outbreak rages on.’ And as Save the Children writes, ‘vital public servants such as health workers have not been paid for nearly a year’…” (Kennedy, 8/2).

United Press International: Yemen struggling under weight of cholera epidemic
“…The United Nations said the country’s continued war, lack of proper sanitation systems, economic struggles, and prevalent rates of poverty are worsening the cholera crisis’ effects. Government forces have fought Houthi rebels for the last two years in Yemen…” (Howard, 8/2).

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WhatsApp-Based Tool Aims To Track, Document Attacks On Health Care Facilities, Workers In Conflict Zones

Thomson Reuters Foundation: FEATURE–Staying alive: WhatsApp finds new uses in conflict zones
“…Keeping a standardized track of attacks on health facilities and workers has been a major challenge in conflict zones. But a new digital instant messaging tool that relies on smartphone application WhatsApp has been developed by the WHO and its partners to detect, verify, and log the devastating consequences of such attacks. It is hoped the WhatsApp-based tool will provide vital evidence for the international community, which in the future could be used to hold perpetrators to account…” (Lazareva, 8/3).

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Bolivia Trains Midwives To Help Lower Maternal Mortality

Associated Press: Bolivia’s midwives help reduce maternal mortality
“…[M]any indigenous women [in Bolivia] distrust hospitals and cesarean births. They prefer to rely on traditional midwives, who they often refer to as ‘aunt.’ Led by Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, the government has tapped into this strong cultural bond to train about 500 midwives and improve their medical skills. It is incorporating them into the health system as it strives to lower Bolivia’s maternal mortality, which is the highest in South America and among the highest in the Western Hemisphere…” (Flores, 8/3).

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Community Health Volunteers Help Diagnose, Treat Malaria In Rural Kenya

Thomson Reuters Foundation: As warming brings more malaria, Kenya moves treatment closer to home
“…Malaria cases are on the increase in Kenya, and experts attribute the upsurge to changes in the climate. … To tackle the problem, for the past two years county governments in malaria-prone areas have worked with non-governmental organizations to train community health volunteers to diagnose the disease in patients’ homes, using rapid diagnostic kits. The volunteers then treat those who test positive, and refer complicated cases to the nearest health center…” (Esipisu, 7/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Breastfeeding Positively Impacts Individuals, Communities, Nations

Devex: Opinion: Breastfeeding for economic growth and prosperity
Toyin Ojora Saraki, founder and president of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa

“…World Breastfeeding Week presents an opportunity to showcase the evidence, unveil misconceptions, and discuss recommendations on the practice of breastfeeding around the world. The positive effects of breastfeeding can be seen from birth to age, starting in the first hour of life. … Sadly, the potential of breastfeeding remains starkly unfulfilled. … Exclusive breastfeeding is commonly hailed as a rare natural safety net that can largely offset the impact that poverty has on health outcomes — breastfeeding has the power to dramatically improve overall well-being and labor force productivity even in the lowest-resource settings. It is of this logic that breastfeeding becomes of critical importance in the developing world, which suffers both poor health outcomes and weak economic growth. … The very fact that this simple and wholly natural technique of child care can impact individual, community, and nation is incentive for immediate action…” (8/1).

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DKT México Uses 'Fun Strategy' To Reach Adolescents, Young Adults With Contraceptive Campaign

Huffington Post: How to Promote Contraceptives to Teens in Latin America? Don’t Be Boring
David J. Olson, global health communications and social marketing adviser

“…In 2015, DKT México launched a family planning campaign focused on increasing awareness of pregnancy among teenagers and young adults. They opted for a serious, medical campaign in traditional pharmaceutical company style — talking about the bad effects of unwanted pregnancy and the myths of various contraceptives. … Their messages did not resonate with young people. … The campaign failed. At the same time, they were having a highly successful Prudence condom campaign with well attended events, a Facebook page with two million followers, and a Twitter account with 47,500 followers. Their condom sales tripled between 2012 and 2016. The contrast between the two campaigns showed DKT México they had to apply the same fun strategy of talking about sex in their family planning work as they were doing in their condom work. … [Another] new campaign has resulted in more young people viewing DKT websites and social media platforms, sharing information with their friends, and coming to DKT events and clinics to get information and products. And more of them are actually using contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancy…” (8/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Former USAID Budget Official Discusses MFAN Draft Recommendations For Rethinking, Improving U.S. Development

MFAN: Redesign Reaction: It’s Time to Simplify and Rationalize Aid
Michael Casella, former director of USAID’s Office of Budget and Resource Management, discusses a recent discussion draft by MFAN co-chairs that provides a “blueprint for elevating development as a leg of the national security triad (defense, diplomacy, and development). … [T]he recommendations of the discussion draft offer significant opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. development and humanitarian programs” (8/2).

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'Science Speaks' Discusses IAS 2017 Presentation On Modeling Global AIDS Funding Scenarios

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: IAS 2017: In preventable deaths, new infections, study shows ‘we stand to lose a lot of recent progress’ under Trump AIDS funding plan
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” discusses results from a modeling study presented by Jessica McGillen of Imperial College in London at IAS 2017 on the impact of potential funding cuts on the AIDS response. In the study, “researchers used funding and demographic data from 18 representative sub-Saharan African countries and applied alternate global HIV response funding scenarios that included policies determining how the funding is spent” (8/2).

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CSIS Podcast Features Episodes Discussing Outlook For International Family Planning, Preventing HIV In Adolescent Girls, Young Women In Malawi

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take As Directed”: The London Summit and the Outlook for International Family Planning
Janet Fleischman, senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with Beth Schlachter, executive director of FP2020, about the achievements of and challenges to the FP2020 partnership meeting its goals. Schlachter “stressed the importance of continued U.S. leadership in family planning, both in its bilateral assistance and in technical support at the country level, and her concerns about the global impact that would result if the U.S. abandons this role” (8/2).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take As Directed”: Why Preventing HIV in Adolescent Girls and Young Women Is Critical for Malawi
Fleischman speaks with Virginia Palmer, U.S. ambassador to Malawi, about the nation’s efforts to control HIV through the DREAMS initiative. Palmer “emphasized the importance of empowering [adolescent girls and young women] with education, health, and community interventions. Such an approach is necessary to curb the HIV crisis in Malawi, which in turn impacts all other U.S. development programs, and ultimately global health security” (7/26).

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WHO Must Take Steps To Minimize Toll Of Cholera Outbreak In Yemen

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: Cholera in Yemen: Why are vaccines not being used?
Lorenz von Seidlein, PLOS Medicine’s specialty consulting editor, discusses the current cholera outbreak in Yemen, including the lack of vaccinations in the region, and urges the WHO to provide technical and political leadership to respond to the situation (8/2).

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From the U.S. Government

State Department Blog Post Discusses Secretary Tillerson's Remarks On 'America First' Foreign Policy

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: ‘America First Is Not America Alone’
This blog post discusses U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks during a State Department press briefing on “America First” foreign policy and the current redesign underway at the State Department (8/1).

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