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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Access To, Use Of Contraceptives Improving Worldwide, Challenges Remain For Family Planning Efforts, FP2020 Report Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Contraceptive use gaining momentum in world’s poorest countries
“The use of contraceptives is gaining momentum worldwide and preventing millions of unsafe abortions and maternal deaths each year in the world’s poorest countries, experts said on Tuesday. Nearly 40 million more women and girls use modern contraceptives now compared to five years ago across 69 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, according to a report by advocacy group Family Planning 2020 (FP2020)…” (Peyton, 12/4).

Devex: FP2020 reports progress on family planning, but faces an uphill battle
“… However, rates of progress are still falling short of what is needed to reach the partnership’s targets and those set by the Sustainable Development Agenda. … According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, bilateral funding for family planning declined in 2016 for the second year in a row, and reverted back to 2013 levels at $1.19 billion. Although funding from the U.S. decreased in 2016, it still accounted for 45 percent of donor contributions. But [Beth Schlachter, executive director of FP2020,] said the full effects of the ‘global gag rule,’ reinstated by President Donald Trump in early 2017, are likely to start being felt next summer…” (Edwards, 12/5).

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Global Efforts To Address HIV/AIDS Making Progress, Ending AIDS By 2030 May Prove Difficult; HIV-Positive Youth Need More Support From Governments, Report Says

Devex: Global fight against HIV/AIDS moves toward feasible targets, UNAIDS finds
“Without a vaccine or a cure for HIV/AIDS, it could prove difficult to end the epidemic by 2030, according to Simon Bland, the director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS New York office. But UNAIDS is still working toward feasible, quantitative targets — including less than 500,000 new infections by 2020 — in combating HIV, which an estimated 36.7 million people live with globally…” (Lieberman, 12/4).

VOA News: Report: Governments Must Act to Help Adolescents Tackle HIV Stigma
“Governments must do far more to include the needs of young people in the global fight against HIV and AIDS, according to a new report. Despite progress in tackling the disease, it is estimated that 1,700 new HIV infections occur every day among young people around the world, and the problem is particularly acute in Africa. It is time policymakers recognized that HIV-positive adolescents face unique challenges, says the report from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, alongside the charity Sentebale…” (Ridgwell, 12/4).

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Pharmaceutical Companies, Experts Work To Improve Regulations, Oversight To Prevent Distribution Of Falsified Medications

Financial Times: Sanofi leads charge against counterfeit drugs
“…Falsifying medicines — making and selling products that have not been approved by regulators, fail to meet quality standards, or deliberately misrepresent an ingredient — has become big business. The World Health Organization estimates that revenues from counterfeiting of medicines are around $200bn, 10-15 percent of the pharmaceutical market worldwide. … Pharmaceutical companies are working with national and international authorities including the U.N., the WHO, Interpol, and customs officers to seize suspect medicines…” (Agnew, 12/3).

Reuters: Poor regulation, dodgy pills spur plan for African drugs agency
“…The low bar for criminals pushing dodgy drugs in Africa is just one reason why the continent needs to up its game in medicines regulation. … Health care experts, who met in Ghana last week to push the case for coordinated drug oversight in Africa, have a lofty ambition to create an African Medicines Agency (AMA) by 2018. It would be modeled on the 22-year-old European Medicines Agency (EMA) but cover twice as many countries and 1.2 billion people. Considerable practical and legal problems must be overcome…” (Hirschler, 12/4).

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Access To Palliative Care Treatments, Including Opioids, Difficult In Developing Countries, Hindered By Fear Of Misuse Epidemic

New York Times: ‘Opiophobia’ Has Left Africa in Agony
“…[H]ow … can [palliative care experts] help the 25 million people who die in agony each year in poor and middle-income countries without risking an American-style overdose epidemic abroad or triggering opposition from Western legislators and philanthropists for whom ‘opioid’ has become a dirty word. … A recent major study by The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief described a ‘broad and deep abyss’ in access to painkillers between rich countries and poor ones…” (McNeil, 12/4).

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WHO To Review Data On Sanofi Dengue Vaccine Risks; Brazil Joins Philippines In Restricting Vaccine's Use

Reuters: Trouble mounts for Sanofi dengue vaccine over safety concerns
“The World Health Organization said on Monday it hopes to review safety data on Sanofi’s dengue vaccine this month, while the Philippines ordered an investigation of its now suspended massive immunization program after the French drugmaker said it could actually worsen the disease in some cases…” (Berkrot/Serapio, 12/4).

Reuters: Severe dengue vaccine risk in uninfected ‘2 in a 1,000’: Sanofi
“French drugmaker Sanofi said on Tuesday the risk of severe dengue occurring in previously uninfected people given its Dengvaxia dengue vaccine was around two in 1,000 and these individuals recovered with treatment…” (Hirschler, 12/5).

Reuters: WHO reviewing data on Sanofi dengue vaccine, urges limited use
“…WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier, referring to the WHO’s SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts) and its separate Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, told Reuters that the experts want to ‘meet before the end of the year'” (Nebehay, 12/4).

Reuters: Brazil recommends restrictions on Sanofi dengue vaccine
“The Brazilian government said on Monday it has suggested restrictions on the use of a dengue vaccine that has been suspended elsewhere after French drug company Sanofi SA said it could worsen the disease in some cases…” (Boadle/Brooks, 12/4).

Wall Street Journal: Philippines Suspends Troubled Dengue Drug After More Than 730,000 Immunized
“…On Monday, … the government said it had a record of all the children who had received the vaccine and would monitor them for five years for signs of the disease. It played down the impact of the new findings, noting that the threat of a severe dengue contraction was a risk only for those who had not had dengue before, but had been given the vaccine…” (Watts et al., 12/4).

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Humanitarian Crises Worsen In War-Torn Yemen, Syria, U.N., Aid Agencies Warn

IRIN: U.N. calls for ‘humanitarian pause’ in Yemen as conditions in capital deteriorate
“Conditions for civilians in Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a are ‘deteriorating by the hour’ after six days of violence, the International Committee for the Red Cross said Monday, as the United Nations called for a ‘humanitarian pause’ in the fighting…” (Slemrod, 12/4).

NPR: UNICEF Says Malnutrition In Parts Of Syria Reach Record Levels
“UNICEF’s Juliette Touma joins NPR’s Scott Simon to talk about alarming reports of malnutrition in Syria…” (12/2).

Yahoo News: Twelve miles from Damascus, rebel holdout faces humanitarian ‘catastrophe’
“Five hundred critically ill Syrian patients, including scores of young children, are trapped with dwindling access to medical supplies in a besieged rebel-held district northeast of Damascus in what some aid workers are calling a humanitarian catastrophe…” (Jindia, 12/4).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: The midwives helping women on the U.S.-Mexico border (Bellante, 12/3).

Devex: Q&A: MESA chair talks next steps in the fight against malaria (Pallares, 12/4).

Reuters: Iraq child marriage bill draws U.N. ire (Wulfhorst, 12/4).

Reuters: Trial results of Zika vaccine Sanofi dropped show promise (Steenhuysen, 12/4).

U.N. News Centre: Rapid, large-scale, coordinated action needed to beat pollution — U.N. chief (12/4).

U.N. News Centre: Urgent action needed to address rising global hunger, says U.N. agency head (12/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Farm Bill Provides Opportunity For U.S. To Continue Leading Efforts To End Global Hunger

The Hill: Tackling hunger at home and abroad because our food policy is our foreign policy
Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.)

“…The Farm Bill is an important example of our country’s deep reliance on one another, with neighborhoods nationwide coming together to ensure that no one — either at home and abroad — goes hungry, all while ensuring that agriculture producers have the tools needed to succeed. … Food policy is our foreign policy — and this year’s Farm Bill cycle offers a unique opportunity to reinforce this idea. The next Farm Bill should expand the authority for the USDA — particularly the Food and Nutrition Service — to provide technical assistance for the development of food-based social safety net systems in developing countries. … Ensuring global food security is an investment in our own national security. … The U.S. has a long bipartisan history of leading the global fight to end hunger … This Farm Bill provides an opportunity to see that this legacy continues and that our successes at home are applied abroad in service to our future trading partners and allies. Food is the glue that keeps our neighborhoods united and strong both here at home and around our globe” (12/4).

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WHO Must Work With Wide Range Of Partners To Establish, Enforce Laws Against Fake Medicines

STAT: Are we making progress in the fight against fake medicines?
Tim K. Mackey, associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine; fellow at the WHO Collaborating Center for Governance, Accountability and Transparency in the Pharmaceutical Sector; director of health care research and policy at the University of California, San Diego, Extension; and director of the Global Health Policy Institute

“The World Health Organization report released [last] week showing that that one in 10 medications in low- and middle-income countries are either substandard or falsified is alarming. … Yet this report belies a far more complex and large-scale global health challenge, one that the WHO is not equipped to tackle on its own. … [T]rafficking falsified medicines is a crime against human health. That fact brings the limitations of the WHO front and center: It has no enforcement powers and has been reticent to partner more broadly with other stakeholders on the issue. … What we need is sustained and coordinated action, strengthening law enforcement, legal and judicial capacity, and long-term investment in anti-counterfeiting measures, pharmacovigilance, and leveraging advances in digital technology such as blockchain and machine learning for supply chain data provenance and analysis. These efforts to enhance the resilience of the global drug supply chain must be carried out by inclusive and genuine partnerships, with the WHO leading from a public health standpoint and openly partnering with other international organizations, such as the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, the World Customs Organization, and Interpol, to engage all sectors that can help in the fight against fake medical products…” (12/1).

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Communities, Governments Must Work To Improve Access To Hepatitis C Treatments

HuffPost: Time to Galvanize Efforts to Combat Hepatitis C
Marie-Paule Kieny, chair of the Medicines Patent Pool Governance Board

“…Although we have new hepatitis C treatments that can be up to 100 percent effective for a 12-week course, they simply are not getting to those who need them. Why? Well for starters, more than 70 percent of the estimated 71 million suffering with hepatitis C live in low- and middle-income countries where access to testing, let alone treatment, is limited. … The initial, extremely high price of new drugs has been a major barrier to access, but there are some bright spots on the horizon. … Gilead Sciences signed licensing agreements with 11 Indian manufacturers to locally produce sofosbuvir for developing countries, and 10 generic companies are working through the Medicines Patent Pool to develop low-cost versions of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s daclatasvir, which works best when paired with sofosbuvir. … [W]e have at our disposal effective remedies for hepatitis C if we can deliver them to all patients in need. Unlike HIV treatment which requires a life-time commitment, the battle against hepatitis C can be won over the course of a season. Community involvement and commitments from national governments to eliminate the disease through coordinated prevent, screen, treat, and monitor programs are the way forward…” (12/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

IHME Study Examines Levels Of U.S. Development Assistance For Health Compared With Other Nations

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: U.S. provides most development assistance for health, but lags behind other nations in spending per person
“A new study finds that while the United States consistently has provided more funding for development assistance for health (DAH) than any other country, some high-income European nations have far surpassed the U.S.’s assistance in per capita and other expenditure measurements. [The] study, published in the December issue of Health Affairs journal, examines DAH trends in 23 high-income nations between 1990 and 2016, and analyzes each country’s contribution relative to its population, share of public sector spending, and national economy. Additionally, many countries, including the U.S., make contributions below agreed-upon international targets for development assistance. Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington found spending increased more than fivefold between 1990 and 2016, from $7.1 billion to $37.6 billion; however, this growth has slowed dramatically in recent years…” (12/4).

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Post Discusses Consensus Proposal For U.S. State Department, USAID Reform, Calls For Focus On Personnel Systems

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: Redesigning U.S. National Security Institutions
J. Brian Atwood, senior fellow for public and international affairs at Brown University’s Watson Institute and a former USAID administrator, and Andrew Natsios, director of the Scowcroft Institute and professor at Texas A & M University’s George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service and a former USAID administrator, discuss reform proposals for the U.S. Department of State and USAID, noting the need to focus on personnel systems as well as a “consensus proposal for reform that would provide an alternative to the administration and the Congress” (12/4).

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'Science Speaks' Examines ONE Campaign Analysis On Future Of U.S. Global AIDS Response

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Analysis: Trump PEPFAR strategy, budget proposals add up to surrender in HIV battle
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a ONE Campaign analysis released on World AIDS Day that shows “White House proposals to slash more than a billion dollars from U.S. supported HIV responses and limit efforts to control the epidemic to a handful of countries represents an unprecedented retreat from American leadership of the global fight against the disease and would reverse gains that were achieved … over the last 15 years…” (12/4).

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Brookings Literature Review Examines Factors Affecting Private Sector Investment In Global Health R&D

Brookings Institution’s “TechTank”: Factors limiting private sector investment in global health R&D
Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies and founding director of Brookings’ Center for Technology Innovation, discusses a report from the Brookings Private Sector Global Health R&D Project, in which “authors Leigh Anderson, Carol Levin, and Travis Reynolds undertake a detailed literature review of the factors limiting private sector investment in global health R&D. They find that the greatest barriers to private investment include policy and regulatory obstacles, limited revenues, market uncertainty, high fixed costs on the part of businesses, and weak possibilities for making money downstream in the treatment process.” West outlines the authors’ eight key results and highlights the report’s recommendations (12/4).

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CGD Conference To Examine Relationship Between Access To Contraception, Women's Economic Empowerment

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Access to Contraception: A Key Ingredient in Women’s Economic Empowerment
Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer, senior fellow, and Board secretary at CGD, writes, “This Thursday December 7, CGD will host a group of economists and policymakers to discuss global evidence on the causal relationship between access to contraception and women’s economic empowerment. … I’m excited to be part of this conference that puts together many of the experts and the rigorous evidence available. I’m also excited that we will release a new paper by CGD nonresident fellow Grant Miller and coauthors, as well as a wrap-up brief by Rachel Silverman to build the field further. We’ll be joined by key policymakers — one of the co-creators of Canada’s new feminist development policy, Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, as well as former Malawian President Dr. Joyce Banda. And we’ll discuss the ‘so what’ too — what does the evidence mean for policies and programs at home and abroad?” (12/4).

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Wilson Center To Recognize 30th Anniversary Of Safe Motherhood Initiative

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: The Single Best Intervention: Thirty Years of Safe Motherhood
“…To help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative, Dot Mom asked leaders in the field to reflect on the most impactful intervention of last 30 years. Join us at the Wilson Center on Friday, December 8, 1-5 p.m., to discuss these interventions — and those to come in the next 30 years…” (12/4).

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MSF Calls On Global Community To Address Barriers To HIV Treatment Access In West, Central Africa

Médecins Sans Frontières: HIV: Delivering differently to reach people living with HIV in West and Central Africa
MSF International Medical Secretary Mercedes Tatay writes, “This week, researchers, policymakers, clinicians, and activists involved in the HIV response will attend ICASA 2017, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Being at the heart of West and Central Africa, there is no better place for me and my medical colleagues at MSF to call out some of the main reasons preventing millions of people in the region from getting lifesaving HIV treatment. These must be addressed for this year’s theme of ‘delivering differently’ to be realized. Otherwise, we will simply not reach the four million people in the region still undiagnosed and untreated for the disease…” (12/4).

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Global Dispatches Podcast Interviews MSF International President Joanne Liu

Global Dispatches Podcast: Episode 173: Dr. Joanne Liu, Head of Doctors Without Borders/MSF
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of the U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, speaks with Joanne Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors without Borders. Liu discusses a recent visit to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and “some of the current big challenges facing MSF, including a seeming increase in the number of attacks on humanitarian and health facilities around the world” (12/4).

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December 2017 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The December 2017 WHO Bulletin includes editorials, news, research, and policy articles on various issues, including an editorial on options for financing pandemic preparedness; a research paper on access to maternal health services in Tanzania; and a paper on mental health care during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone (December 2017).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID's November 2017 Global Health Newsletter Focuses On Digital Health

USAID: Global Health Newsletter — Digital Health
USAID’s November 2017 Global Health Newsletter focuses on digital health and features articles discussing improving the availability, quality, and use of data in global health; USAID’s Global Health Data Analytics Hub; the establishment of best practices in the application of digital technologies for international development; and country-specific programs incorporating digital health tools (November 2017).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Annual Analysis Of Donor Government Funding For Family Planning

Kaiser Family Foundation: Donor Government Funding for Family Planning in 2016
The Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual analysis of donor government funding for family planning. The report finds “donor government funding for family planning declined in 2016 for the second year in a row, decreasing to US$1.19 billion compared to US$1.34 billion in 2015. While the declines over this two-year period were largely due to exchange rate fluctuations and the timing of donor disbursements, which accounted for 78 percent of the overall decrease, there were actual cuts in funding from some donor countries, which accounted for 22 percent” (Wexler/Kates/Lief, 12/5).

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Kaiser Family Foundation, Funders Concerned About AIDS To Host Web Briefing On HIV Funding

Kaiser Family Foundation: Web Briefing: What is the Future of HIV Funding?
On Friday, December 8 at 12:30 p.m. ET, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) will host a web briefing to discuss the latest data on funding for HIV, trends over time, and the outlook for the future. The briefing will include time for audience Q&A (11/28).

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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.