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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

PEPFAR Needs To Evaluate, Fix Supply Chain Problems, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Birx Says

Devex: Problems with PEPFAR supply chain ‘should scare all of us,’ says U.S. global AIDS chief
“Deborah Birx, the United States global AIDS coordinator, said Tuesday that problems with the supply chain that supports the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief signal a need for greater accountability of the global health initiative’s resources. ‘It should scare all of us that 15 years into PEPFAR we’re talking about problems with the supply chain, because I can tell you, we’ve invested about $3 billion to $4 billion in the supply chain,’ Birx said at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. ‘So clearly we have to be honest, there are certain things that didn’t go well, and now we need to fix those, and we need to hold ourselves accountable,’ she added…” (Igoe, 12/13).

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U.S. Secretary Of State Tillerson Addresses Department During Town Hall Meeting, Outlines Future Plans Amidst Rumors Of His Departure

Washington Post: Tillerson moves to change the narrative about him and stop rumors of a ‘Rexit’
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t acting like a man who’s planning to leave his job anytime soon. Speaking to State Department employees Tuesday in a town hall televised throughout the building and to U.S. missions around the world, Tillerson said he plans to travel to Canada next week and to Africa and Latin America early next year. He acknowledged widespread concern about a planned reorganization that has contributed to flagging morale and staff defections. … Over the next week, … he will meet with Capitol Hill committees dealing with foreign policy to explain his reorganization plans, about which lawmakers have complained that they are being kept in the dark…” (Morello, 12/12).

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USAID Administrator Green Calls On Saudi Coalition To Open Access To Yemen's Ports, Announces Additional U.S. Aid; Disease Outbreaks Worsen Amid Crisis

Al Jazeera: Dengue fever, malaria worsen Yemen humanitarian crisis
“A senior U.N. official has called for parties involved in the war in Yemen to allow ‘sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access’ for the millions of Yemenis facing famine and battling disease. The situation is steadily deteriorating, with cases of malaria, dengue fever, and diphtheria starting to appear in health centers around the country…” (Jamjoom, 12/12).

Reuters: U.S. aid chief says no sign Yemen port blockade easing to allow aid in
“…USAID Administrator Mark Green called on the Saudi-led military coalition to open Yemen’s ports and for Yemen’s Houthis to cease firing to allow food and medical supplies to flow to tens of thousands of Yemenis caught in the fighting. Green was speaking after the U.S. announced another $130 million in emergency food aid for Yemen, bringing U.S. assistance to nearly $768 million since October 2016. The new funds includes nearly $84 million in U.S. food aid and $46 million in emergency disaster assistance…” (Wroughton, 12/12).

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USAID, Sri Lanka Launch HIV/AIDS Technical Assistance Partnership To Support Efforts To End AIDS In Country By 2025

Xinhua News: Sri Lanka partners with U.S. to end HIV/AIDS in country by 2025
“Sri Lanka and the United States have launched a two-year HIV/AIDS Technical Assistance Partnership to fast track government efforts to end AIDS in the country by 2025, a local media report said here Tuesday. [The] U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will help to transfer promising solutions, new technical skills, and innovations to contribute toward ending AIDS in Sri Lanka, said the media…” (12/12).

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POLITICO Examines U.S. Government Efforts To Combat Antimicrobial Resistance As Part Of 'Agenda 2020' Report

POLITICO: Inside the government’s war on microbes
“…Health leaders have been sounding the alarm that infectious disease could become the first big medical gain that humans eventually surrender. … Part of the problem is that this is one medical calamity the private sector isn’t well-suited to fix. … So Washington has stepped into the gap. … Some of the plan was to improve policy and medical practice: developing better medical testing and surveillance, for example, and figuring out how to better use the existing antibiotics. But some of it was a radical investment in the future…” This article is part of POLITICO’s “Agenda 2020: A special report on the future of health” (Haberkorn, 12/13).

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U.N. General Assembly Adopts 2 Resolutions Calling On Member States To Work Toward Universal Health Coverage

U.N. News Centre: U.N. Assembly calls on member states to ‘accelerate progress’ on goal of universal health coverage
“The United Nations on Tuesday called for greater efforts on the part of its Member States to ensure universal health coverage, and designated 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day. In one of the two resolutions adopted [Tuesday], the U.N. General Assembly — composed of all 193 U.N. member states — called for efforts [to] ensure that all people have equal access, without discrimination of any kind, to quality promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative basic health services…” (12/12).

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E.U., Gates Foundation Pledge More Than $600M To Research To Help Smallholder Farmers Face Climate Change

Devex: E.U. and Gates put up $600M for food security in face of climate change
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission will spend more than $600 million on research to help smallholder farmers who face deteriorating growing conditions due to climate change, they announced Tuesday. Some $300 million from the Gates Foundation and $318 million from the Commission between 2018 and 2020 will go towards tackling problems such as how to protect crops against rising temperatures, droughts, floods, diseases, poor soil, and pests…” (Chadwick, 12/13).

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Brexit Could Affect Europe's Ability To Respond To Public Health Emergencies, Pharmaceutical Industry Report Says

Financial Times: Pharma warning of Brexit impact to public health emergencies
“U.K. pharma industry leaders have warned of the potential impact of Brexit on Europe’s capacity to respond to a continent-wide public health emergency, as they step up their drive to ensure the sector’s interests are addressed when the next phase of negotiations begins. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the BioIndustry Association said that Europe’s ability to manage big public health crises related to the use of medicines, such as the Zika virus, could be at risk if the U.K. were excluded from cross-E.U. incident management planning…” (Neville, 12/12).

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India Bans Condom Advertisements During Primetime Television

The Guardian: India bans condom adverts during primetime TV
“India has banned television adverts for condoms during primetime hours, citing rules against content that ‘endangers the safety of children’ and promotes ‘unhealthy practices.’ The information and broadcasting ministry ordered the country’s estimated 900 television channels to restrict condom commercials to between 10pm and 6am to avoid children seeing them…” (Safi, 12/12).

New York Times: India Bans Condom Ads From Prime-Time TV
“…But progressive social groups said this was a bad move. India, they argue, desperately needs more condom use, not less. The country’s population currently stands around 1.3 billion, and within the next decade India is expected to pass China and become the world’s most populous nation. The government has spent huge amounts of money trying to control the meteoric population growth, incentivizing vasectomies and other forms of birth control. But the rate of condom use is still low — less than six percent among those who use contraceptives…” (Gettleman/Raj, 12/12).

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U.N. Supports Government-Led Diphtheria Immunization Campaign In Bangladesh's Rohingya Refugee Camps As Disease Spreads Rapidly

IRIN: Diphtheria in Bangladesh Rohingya camps expected to double every few days
“Diphtheria continues to rapidly spread in Bangladesh’s swelling Rohingya refugee camps, with aid groups predicting the number of suspected cases — reported at more than 700 as of this week — could multiply every few days, testing already strained resources in the densely packed settlements…” (Loy, 12/12).

U.N. Dispatch: A Deadly Bacteria Thought to Be Eradicated is Showing Up in Rohingya Refugee Camps
“…Diphtheria caught the humanitarian organizations by surprise. Since it was thought to be eradicated [in Myanmar], relief agencies initially did not include the diphtheria vaccine among the suite of vaccines they are administering to these newly arrived refugees, who have fled a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar to a region of Bangladesh called Cox’s Bazar…” (Goldberg, 12/12).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. stepping up support to diphtheria vaccination campaign for Rohingya children in Bangladesh
“A United Nations-backed campaign to immunize Rohingya children against diphtheria began on Tuesday in Bangladesh, following an outbreak that has resulted in nine deaths in the camps and makeshift settlements hosting these refugees from Myanmar. … The government-led vaccination campaign will cover nearly 255,000 Rohingya children, and [is] supported by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance…” (12/12).

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Reuters Examines Questions Surrounding Sanofi's, WHO's Responsibilities In Bringing Dengue Vaccine To Market

Reuters: Did Sanofi, WHO ignore warning signals on dengue vaccine?
“…[Sanofi’s dengue vaccine] trial also showed that in the third year after receiving the Dengvaxia inoculation, younger children were more likely to end up in hospital with a severe case of dengue than those who didn’t get the vaccine. … The case raises questions whether Sanofi and the WHO, in their pursuit of a new weapon to fight a deadly disease, should have foreseen the risk. Their decisions on how the vaccine was rolled out could set back efforts to combat dengue by a generation, some disease experts say. Sanofi has rejected suggestions it ignored any risks or took any short-cuts. However, it has acknowledged that clinical tests of the vaccine did not fully investigate whether a previous dengue infection could influence the outcome…” (Steenhuysen/Hirschler, 12/12).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press/VOA News: UNICEF: 400,000 Congo Children Suffering Severe Malnutrition (12/12).

New York Times: Tending to Haiti’s Dead (Porter, 12/13).

Pharmaceutical Executive: Fighting the Good Fight: Industry Perspectives on Global Health (Upton, 12/13).

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty: ‘We Believed Our Cleric’: Pakistani Polio Victim’s Regretful Father Urges Others To Use Vaccine (Synovitz/Ullah, 12/12).

Reuters: South Sudan needs $1.7 bln humanitarian aid in 2018 (Dumo, 12/13).

STAT: Zika virus, not vaccine or insecticide, linked to birth defects in Brazil (Branswell, 12/13).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: East Africa’s health care “Avon ladies” help to keep children alive (Mannon, 12/13).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. and partners launch $4.4 billion regional appeal for more than five million Syrian refugees (12/12).

Xinhua News: South Sudan closer toward eradicating Guinea worm disease: officials (12/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

Drawdown Of Diplomatic, Development Personnel Could Threaten U.S. National Security

The Hill: A retreat in American diplomacy
Liz Schrayer, president and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

“…As our military leaders have said time and again, we cannot keep America safe solely by bombs and bullets. Rather, it takes all our tools of national security, including diplomacy and development. Unfortunately, since taking office, the administration has embarked on a series of disproportionate and damaging budget proposals and personnel policies at the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which put America’s security at great risk. … As the administration moves ahead on next year’s budget and on a redesign proposal that could shrink America’s footprint around the globe, I am certain there is room to improve and reform. There are specific actions we can take to ensure driven results, effective aid, and diplomacy. … With a looming conflict on the Korean peninsula, four famines on two continents, and an ISIS threat that is down but not out, there is plenty that is keeping Americans up at night. But equally dangerous is to ignore this quiet drawdown of America’s frontline civilian personnel. History has taught us the perils of doing so” (12/12).

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Sanctions, Diplomatic Pressure Should Be Applied To North Korea As Potential Threat Of Biological Weapons Looms

Washington Post: There’s a deadly new threat from North Korea
Editorial Board

“…Now comes news that [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] is collecting the capabilities and know-how for biological weapons that could be used for germ warfare. The Post’s Joby Warrick reports that North Korea has been acquiring the essential machinery and seeking the know-how to produce large amounts of germ-warfare agents rather quickly. … If dispersed in the air for an attack, germs can shift with winds and weather, endangering troops and civilians, friend and foe alike. … If Mr. Kim is creating the foundations for a biological weapons program, it should serve as one more warning of the escalating threat he poses. Preemptive war could risk millions of casualties. But his malign intent cannot be tolerated forever. Through sanctions, diplomatic pressure, and other means, the burden of Mr. Kim’s despotic and reckless reign must be brought to an end” (12/12).

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Increased Youth Engagement Would Help Accelerate Family Planning Efforts

The Lancet: Family planning: accelerating the way ahead
Editorial Board

“The latest figures and progress of the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) global partnership were released in its annual report on Dec 5. FP2020 The Way Ahead, together with a related research paper by Niamh Cahill and colleagues published online in The Lancet, paint a mixed picture. … [T]he figures at current trajectories are far from the envisaged goal of an additional 120 million women and girls receiving modern contraception by 2020, which FP2020 set itself in 2012. … New political uncertainties, reduced funding to the U.N. Population Fund from the USA, in particular, together with the reinstated Mexico City policy and an increasing populist conservative movement … are potentially serious setbacks for the empowerment, education, and development of women and girls. … But here is our best opportunity for acceleration. Adolescents and young people themselves are increasingly more active and vocal, as seen during the July FP2020 summit. Especially in the poorest countries, if young people have early comprehensive sexuality and reproductive health education, access to contraceptive choices alongside secondary education, and early discussions on gender norms and power structures among both girls and boys, there might be hope for a future where choices lead to prosperity, wellbeing, and sustainable futures” (12/9).

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Human Rights-Based Approach To Disease Response Vital To 'Leaving No One Behind'

Devex: Opinion: Leaving no one behind in disease outbreak response planning
Andrew Zapfel, senior associate for health at Palladium, and Dulce Pedroso, manager at Palladium

“…[H]uman rights must be at the forefront of all preparedness planning. … We need to look for examples of good practice beyond recent epidemic responses and apply the core principles that have, for instance, made human rights-based health policy a reality. These same principles of communication, transparency, and accountability also apply in emergency responses to help ensure that no one is left behind. … The focus of those managing disease outbreaks should be on saving as many lives as possible and preventing further spread of disease without sacrificing the dignity of the individual. Human rights-based approaches in response planning will help in this endeavor, bringing in multiple stakeholders to think through ways of ensuring transparency, communication, and promotion of accountability and engagement during and in the aftermath of disease outbreaks” (12/12).

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Gender-, Social-Based Discrimination, Violence Must Be Addressed To Reduce HIV In Benin

HuffPost: Society Shouldn’t Be A Roadblock To My Right To Health
Magalie Nelson, health adviser; Kate Waller, gender adviser; and Bernabe Yameogo, director, all of Plan International Canada’s Global Fund team

“…As the civil society Principal Recipient of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria HIV Grant in Benin, Plan International is committed to using a gender transformative approach to address the root causes of GBV to fight HIV. … Unequal gender norms justify and perpetuate high levels of gender-based discrimination and violence among women, girls, and key populations, including sex workers and MSM. … Progressive gender equality and justice laws and legislation exist in [Benin]. … These laws, however, have not been completely followed with needed and appropriate human rights based and gender responsive HIV services. … Based on … findings [from the national gender study of gender-based violence (GBV)], key recommendations are to: focus on changing men’s attitudes and practices towards adopting more gender equitable values and practices; increase women and girls’ economic bargaining power; develop targeted social group and whole community/family interventions to address self and collective stigmatization and design a more coordinated response to GBV focused on the needs of victims-survivors such as through emergency GBV kits…” (12/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Analysis Examines Effectiveness Of Global Fund's New Funding Model In Mozambique

BMC’s “Globalization and Health”: The Global Fund’s paradigm of oversight, monitoring, and results in Mozambique
Ashley Warren of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the University of Basel and colleagues highlight the Global Fund’s reform process, “focused on grant application processes thus far,” and “report results of discussions with key stakeholders on the Global Fund, its paradigm of oversight, monitoring, and results in Mozambique. … Analysis revealed that despite the changes associated with the New Funding Model, respondents in both Maputo and Geneva firmly believe challenges remain in Global Fund’s structure and paradigm…” (12/12).

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Blog Post Discusses How Supporting Local Change Agents Can Advance UHC

Results for Development: Universal Health Coverage: How can we best support local change agents, whether they are in DC or Dhaka?
Gina Lagomarsino, president and CEO of R4D, recognizes Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, reflects on her experience working to expand health coverage in Washington, D.C. and applies lessons learned to a global context, and highlights R4D’s work supporting local change agents to advance UHC (12/11).

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IntraHealth Expert Highlights Importance Of Addressing Gender Discrimination, Inequality In Global Health Workforce

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: We’re Finally Coming to Grips with Gender Discrimination and Inequality in the Health Workforce
Constance Newman, senior team leader for gender equality and health at IntraHealth International, discusses “how far the [global health] field has come in collectively recognizing the importance of gender equality in the health workforce.” She highlights a new IntraHealth report, titled “Reasons behind Current Gender Imbalances in Senior Global Health Roles and the Practice and Policy Changes that Can Catalyze Organizational Change,” which “continues to shed light on the role of gender discrimination, and particularly gender segregation, in abridging women’s leadership opportunities” (12/12).

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Blog Post Highlights Collaborative Research Efforts To Address TB

FHI 360’s “Research for Evidence”: Outsmarting TB using research and collaboration
Carol Dukes Hamilton, director of scientific affairs at FHI 360, discusses collaborative TB research efforts, writing, “[These] TB research endeavors … highlight the important role coordinated, collaborative research efforts play in generating medical innovations and new evidence. To outsmart such a smart and tenacious adversary, we must continue to explore new opportunities for collaboration especially in high-burden countries” (12/11).

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'Science Speaks' Examines Increased Incidence Of Microcephaly In Angola

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: With surveillance gaps, Angola sees microcephaly incidence rise over months following Zika confirmation
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a recent WHO Bulletin on outbreaks in the WHO African Region and highlights a rise in the number of microcephaly cases in Angola (12/12).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 327 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter includes articles on various topics, including the Board’s approval of $2.83 billion in funding for a third batch of Global Fund grants; lessons learned on resource mobilization from the Global Fund’s fifth replenishment; and a tool used in transitioning countries to assess the sustainability of services to key populations (12/13).

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