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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines Potential Implications Of President-Elect Trump's Secretary Of State Pick For U.S. Development Efforts

Devex: What we know about Exxon’s Rex Tillerson and his likely impact on development
“Now that President-elect Donald Trump has selected ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, the lifelong oil man will need to field questions raised by the international development community before he can take up his job. Major international nonprofit organizations will have a chance as part of the standard confirmation practice to relay questions to U.S. senators participating in the hearings, which should take place before the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017…” (Lieberman, 12/14).

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President-Elect Trump's Adviser Calls For New Approach To U.S. Foreign Assistance

Devex: Top Trump supporter calls for US aid to be ‘very dramatically overhauled’
“United States’ aid to developing countries needs to be ‘dramatically overhauled’ under the incoming administration of Donald Trump, according to Newt Gingrich, a long-time supporter and adviser to the president-elect. Gingrich, a former congressman and speaker of the House, is one of the first high-ranking Trump allies to talk publicly and explicitly about how U.S. foreign assistance could look under the incoming Republican government…” (Edwards, 12/13).

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President-Elect Trump, Bill Gates Meet, Discuss 'Power Of Innovation' On Health, Foreign Aid, Other Issues

Reuters: Microsoft co-founder Gates, Trump discuss innovation
“Microsoft Corp co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said he and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump had a good conversation about ‘the power of innovation’ on a variety of issues, including health and education. ‘We had a good conversation about innovation, how it can help in health, education, impact of foreign aid and energy,’ Gates, who runs one of the largest private charities in the world, told reporters as he left Trump Tower in New York City after their talk” (Cherelus/Ahmann, 12/13).

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Family Planning Has Health, Economic Benefits, Can Help Break Cycle Of Poverty, Says Melinda Gates

Agence France-Presse: Family planning for ‘healthier, wealthier’ Africa: Melinda Gates
“Family planning helps people in Africa to be healthier and wealthier, as women without contraceptives become locked in ‘a cycle of poverty,’ Melinda Gates told AFP as a conference on the topic was held in Ivory Coast…” (Fort, 12/14).

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Gates Foundation To Expand Investment In Refugee-Related Issues

Devex: Gates Foundation to increase humanitarian spending on refugees
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will increase its involvement in humanitarian relief to refugees in the Middle East and North Africa Region, foundation officials have confirmed to Devex…” (Anders, 12/13).

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'Sustained', 'Sufficient' Funding Critical For Malaria Control, WHO Report Says

Agence France-Presse: Lack of funds threatens malaria progress: WHO
“Global progress on controlling malaria risks stalling due to an ‘urgent need’ for more funding, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned in its annual report on Tuesday. … The report said that ‘sustained and sufficient funding for malaria control is a serious challenge,’ noting that after a steep increase between 2000 and 2010, investment had ‘flat-lined.’ … The United States provided about 35 percent of all malaria funding in 2015, while governments of countries with malaria stumped up about 32 percent, and Britain 16 percent…” (12/13).

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Media Outlets Report On Recent Studies Examining Zika's Impact On Fetal, Infant Brains

Forbes: Negative Effects Of Zika During Pregnancy More Common Than Realized
“The rate of birth defects, disability, and brain irregularities in babies exposed to the Zika virus is considerably higher than was previously believed — regardless of the mother’s symptoms or the trimester she had the infection — found a new study…” (Haelle, 12/14).

Reuters: Zika virus can keep growing in infant brains even after birth: U.S. CDC
“U.S. researchers have found evidence of the Zika virus replicating in fetal brains for up to seven months after the mother became infected with the virus, and they showed the virus can persist even after birth, according to a study published on Tuesday. The findings confirm earlier observations from case studies suggesting that the mosquito-borne Zika virus can grow in fetal brains and women’s placentas…” (Steenhuysen, 12/13).

Science: First hard look at Zika pregnancies finds nearly half result in miscarriage or birth defects
“New data from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, suggest that nearly half of women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy experience a serious complication, whether a miscarriage or significant birth defect, in their baby. The data are the first to quantify the risks to women infected at different times during pregnancy, and they seem to confirm that they are highest early in pregnancy. But the study also finds significant problems among women infected just a few weeks before giving birth. Microcephaly is the best known birth defect, but those dramatic cases represent only a small proportion of children damaged by the virus…” (Vogel, 12/13).

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Investments In Agriculture Science, Technology Necessary To Achieve Global Hunger Targets, U.N. Says

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agency urges investing in agriculture science and technology to achieve 2030 ‘zero hunger’ target
“The United Nations announced [Tuesday] at a meeting of the world’s top agricultural scientists, that in order to achieve [the] world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of defeating hunger and poverty by 2030, governments and the private sector must increase commitment to agricultural science and technology research. In a report issued last week, the U.N. Food and Agriculture (FAO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific warned that if investment in agricultural research is not increased, particularly in Asia, home to 60 percent of the world’s hungry people, global efforts to achieve the zero hunger target by 2030 — Goal 2 SDGs — could fall short. … The [FAO] also underlined the importance and potential of women and girls in the field of agriculture, as well as youth in general, who have a greater inclination to innovate than elder farmers, and represent the future of the field” (12/13).

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U.N. Secretary General Calls For Member States To Increase Investment In U.N. Emergency Fund

U.N. News Centre: The vulnerable ‘must be our first priority,’ says Ban, calling on donors to support U.N. emergency fund
“At a high-level pledging conference in New York [Tuesday] on the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the U.N. is seeking at Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s request, an unprecedented $1 billion by 2018 — a stark increase since its 2005 establishment. Global humanitarian needs have quadruple[d] over the years, leaving more than 128 million people in need of assistance today. The ever-increasing scale and intensity of emergencies points to the need for a larger, more robust CERF to address the growing needs…” (12/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

President-Elect Trump, Incoming Congress Should Prioritize Biodefense Efforts

TIME: Tom Ridge and Joseph Lieberman: How Donald Trump Can Protect America from Bioterrorism
Tom Ridge and Joseph Lieberman, co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

“…When President-elect Trump assumes the Oval Office this January, he has a unique opportunity to fulfill his promise to make America safe again — by taking steps to protect the nation from bioterrorism. … So what should President-elect Trump and the 115th Congress do when they take office? For his part, Mr. Trump should immediately put the vice president in charge of the nation’s biodefense efforts. … The vice president should have the authority to review and advise on biodefense budget matters and to oversee a biodefense coordination council that includes representatives from the private and public sectors. Congress must streamline oversight. … We also urge Congress to implement uniform budgeting and build preparedness measures into annual budgets, instead of relying on emergency funding bills that cost lives and financial resources. These acts and the other measures we recommend don’t involve significant new spending. Most simply require better use of existing resources. Next year offers a real chance for our leaders to get biodefense right…” (12/13).

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Innovation, Partnerships, Political Will Critical To Addressing Global NCDs

Project Syndicate: Confronting the Next Global Health Challenge
Jörg Reinhardt, chair of the Novartis Board of Directors

“…[W]hile mortality rates from infectious diseases are declining, developed countries’ sedentary lifestyles, tobacco use, and poor diets are catching on in the developing world, and [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)] such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are increasing at an alarming rate. … Fortunately, we can apply lessons from the successful fight against infectious diseases to the emerging fight against NCDs. … For starters, we need innovation. … Beyond innovation, we need strong partnerships to manage NCDs and ensure that patients have access to the treatment they need. … A third lesson … is that political commitment is crucial. … Leaders from around the world must prioritize the global fight against NCDs. To this end, governments and global health agencies should apply lessons learned from the successful fight against infectious diseases. Through innovation, dynamic partnerships to strengthen health systems, and political will, the world can sustain the gains made against infectious disease, while also effectively combating NCDs” (12/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Paper Examines U.S. Efforts To Strengthen Country Ownership In Its Aid Programs

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S Development Policy”: A New Look at U.S. Government Approaches to Country Ownership
Sarah Rose, senior policy analyst at CGD, and Jared Kalow, research assistant at CGD, discuss findings from a new policy paper on U.S. efforts to strengthen country ownership in its aid programs, and highlight several recommendations on “how the U.S. government can better adhere to its commitment to support country ownership.” Recommendations include “increase flexible spending for USAID. … Evaluate use of country systems. … Provide more flexible, results-oriented support to partner country institutions. … Increase funds to the multilateral development banks…” (12/13).

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Aligning U.S. Investments In Digital Health Systems Critical To Advancing Global Health

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Digital Health: Moving from Silos to Systems
Ann Mei Chang, chief innovation officer and executive director at USAID’s Global Development Lab, and Jennifer Adams, acting assistant administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, discuss the role of digital technology in improving global health, highlighting U.S. efforts to align digital health investments across the U.S. portfolio. They write, “Our bet is that by better aligning digital health investments and increasing adherence to best practice for digital health tools, we can accelerate global health outcomes and ultimately save more lives” (12/13).

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Rewire Discusses Implications Of Trump Presidency For Human Rights, Abortion, Importance Of Upholding International Standards

Rewire: With Trump Presidency, A Coming Collision With Global Standards on Torture, Abortion Rights
Akila Radhakrishnan, legal director at the Global Justice Center, discusses the potential implications of President-elect Trump’s presidency for human rights and abortion, highlighting the importance of upholding international standards. Radhakrishnan notes, “[I]nternational standards and protections are critical. … It is now more vital than ever that when the United States violates its human rights obligations, it is held accountable by the international community and made to answer to the individuals it harms” (12/13).

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High-Level Ministerial Meeting To Address Health Workforce Barriers To Achieving UHC

Frontline Health Workers Coalition: Health Employment Ministerial Meeting Holds Promise To Advancing on Universal Access to Health Services
Cecilia Amaral, global communications associate at IntraHealth International, discusses the importance of addressing health workforce barriers in order to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). Amaral also highlights a meeting on health workforce investments and writes, “The [High-Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Employment and Economic Growth: From Recommendations to Action] is the latest in a series of steps taken in the last two years to address the global health workforce shortage.” The meeting will be webcast live on Dec. 14-15 (12/13).

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Blog Examines Findings Of WHO World Malaria Report

Humanosphere: WHO: Malaria control has improved for world’s most vulnerable
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses findings from WHO’s recently released 2016 World Malaria Report, noting that “the populations most vulnerable to malaria — pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa — have seen markedly greater access to effective malaria control in recent years. … Still, the authors [of the report] warn not to let current progress mask the ongoing need for funding and comprehensive efforts to eradicate the deadly disease” (12/13).

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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 contains an article by Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, on the need to invest in and improve health systems in order to end malaria by 2030, as well as an article on how lessons learned from the Ebola epidemic can be applied to malaria efforts (12/13).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.