KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Green Emphasizes Transparency, 'Journey To Self-Reliance' In Outlining Development Approach

Devex: USAID chief lays out a Trump development doctrine
“…In the absence of a clear development vision from the president — and at a time when other Trump appointees are trying to put their own stamp on American ‘soft power’ through channels such as the foreign assistance review — U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green faces a difficult task: to advocate for his own mission, and on his own terms, but in a way that will appeal to a skeptical boss. Now more than 15 months in office, Green has begun to articulate a vision for USAID that sounds less like a statement of his personal views, and more like a claim to represent the Trump administration’s global development doctrine. … In seeking to define development for the Trump era, Green has doubled down on the notion that USAID offers countries an alternative development model to what China is promising — which he called the ‘authoritarian approach.’ … ‘Our approach — the American approach — on the other hand, moves countries from being recipients, to partners, to fellow donors. It’s based upon the notion of a hand up, not a handout, and it helps position countries to grasp their own future.’ … A key difference between China and the U.S., in Green’s formulation, is aid transparency…” (Igoe, 12/6).

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IPS Examines U.S. Funding To U.N., Potential Cuts To Contributions

Inter Press Service: Will Member States Help Offset U.S. Funding Cuts to U.N.?
“The speculation that the Trump administration plans to reduce its mandatory assessed financial contributions to the U.N.’s regular budget was implicitly confirmed when the U.S. president told delegates last September that Washington ‘is working to shift more of our funding, from assessed contributions to voluntary contributions, so that we can target American resources to the programs with the best record of success.’ Any such reduction in the scale of assessment — which is based on each country’s ‘capacity to pay’ — will not only undergo a long-drawn-out negotiating process but will also have a significant impact on the day-to-day operations of the world body…” (Deen, 12/5).

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HHS Denies Report Claiming NIH Canceling Research Contract Involving Human Fetal Tissue

Science: Report that NIH will cancel fetal tissue research contract fuels controversy
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C., is vigorously contesting a report, published by the Washington Post, that it has decided to cancel a $2-million-a-year contract that funds work using human fetal tissue to develop mice with humanlike immune systems for testing drugs against HIV. HHS officials insist they have made no decision on the contract, and say they are still in the process of completing a previously announced review of all federally funded research that uses human fetal tissue derived from elective abortions…” (Wadman, 12/5).

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Media Outlets Examine Evolution Of George H.W. Bush's Stances On Family Planning, Abortion

PRI: Before he was president, H.W. Bush championed family planning
“…Well, here’s one issue the 41st President championed that can definitely be characterized as reaching across the aisle: family planning. Also known as birth control. … George H.W. Bush, who died Saturday at age 94, apparently got the nickname ‘Rubbers’ from his House colleagues for his vocal support for contraceptive access. … While Bush promoted birth control access here in the U.S., he also championed family planning on a global scale, notably when he was named U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by Richard Nixon in 1971. … Bush joined with conservatives opposing abortion when he became Ronald Reagan’s running mate in 1980. … In 1989, when he took office as president, he withheld funding for the U.N. Population Fund, the very program he championed two decades earlier. Again, it was over the issue of abortion…” (Herrera, 12/5).

Washington Post: How George H.W. Bush enabled the rise of the religious right
“…[I]t was Bush, the moderate establishment Republican whose family helped found Planned Parenthood, who secured the religious right’s permanent place in American politics. While historians largely credit Reagan’s presidency with helping religious conservatives move from the shadows of American public life into its spotlight, it was the Bush presidency, particularly its disappointments and defeat, that entrenched the religious right as the center of the Republican Party and guaranteed its ongoing influence…” (Young, 12/5).

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U.N. To Declare Famine In Yemen, According To Diplomatic Sources

Foreign Policy: U.N. Body Declares Famine Conditions in Parts of Yemen
“The World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization have officially determined that 73,000 Yemeni civilians in rebel-controlled cities are enduring famine conditions, according to two diplomatic sources. The figures, which appear in a report to be released Thursday, highlight the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions brought about by a four-year-old conflict that has pitted a U.S.-backed Saudi coalition against a Shiite insurgency led by Houthi separatists who receive some support from Iran…” (Gramer/Lynch, 12/5).

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Meeting Climate Change Goals Could Save 1M Lives Annually, Would Cost Less Than Not Acting, WHO Report Says

CNN: Tackling climate change could save millions of lives, report says
“Climate studies often pinpoint the detrimental public health impacts related to rising atmospheric temperatures, extreme weather events, and other consequences of a changing climate. A report released by the World Health Organization on Wednesday details the public health benefits that could come with tackling the issue…” (Howard, 12/5).

The Guardian: Save millions of lives by tackling climate change, says WHO
“Tackling climate change would save at least a million lives a year, the World Health Organization has told the U.N. climate summit in Poland, making it a moral imperative…” (Carrington, 12/5).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Act on climate change to cut ‘outrageous’ pollution deaths — WHO
“Fighting climate change is one of the best ways to improve health around the world, and the benefits of fewer deaths and hospitalizations would far outweigh the costs of not acting, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday…” (Rowling, 12/5).

U.N. News: COP24: A million lives could be saved by 2050 through climate action, U.N. health agency reveals
“…The report also shows that the economic benefits of improved health would be twice as high as the economic cost of mitigating global warming, and fighting air pollution. The return on investment is even higher in countries key to tackling global emissions, such as China and India…” (12/5).

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More News In Global Health

Agence France-Presse: The battle to save Central African Republic’s starving children (12/6).

Devex: DFID prepares for an expected El Niño (Roby, 12/6).

IRIN: Venezuela gold rush feeds a growing malaria epidemic (Gillingham, 12/5).

New York Times: Lego Foundation and Sesame Street Team Up to Help Refugee Children (Zraick, 12/5).

PolitiFact: Misleading headline claims thousands of caravan migrants have HIV, tuberculosis, other diseases (Valverde, 12/4).

Reuters: Migrants tend to be healthier, live longer: study (Hay, 12/6).

Reuters: Philippine taxes on sugary drinks could avert thousands of deaths, WHO study says (Mogato/Kelland, 12/5).

Reuters: Sierra Leone doctors strike over conditions, nurses may follow (Inveen, 12/5).

Xinhua News: Uganda seeks joint operations with DR Congo in Ebola fight (12/6).

Xinhua News: Pakistan to launch comprehensive campaign to control alarming population growth (12/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Murder Of Journalist Khashoggi Helped Spur U.S. Members Of Congress To Call For End Of Support For Saudi-Led War In Yemen

POLITICO Magazine: Why Congress Suddenly Cares About Yemen
Paul Slovic, president of Decision Research and professor of psychology at the University of Oregon; and Andrew Quist, research associate at Decision Research, both co-editors of the website The Arithmetic of Compassion

“…When we assess the importance of large-scale humanitarian crises, the more people who die, the less we care. … Even worse, as the number of lives in danger increases, we sometimes lose feeling, and assign no value at all to the total number of lives. They become mere statistics. These insights into our moral psychology help to explain the sudden upsurge of congressional interest in ending support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. … What has changed? This time, there was a single, high-profile victim of the Saudi regime whose brutal murder received enormous publicity not afforded to the many other victims that preceded his death: Jamal Khashoggi, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and columnist for the Washington Post who was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October. … Ironically, the story of Khashoggi’s gruesome death stirred emotional outrage that his pleas on behalf of millions of starving Yemenis and mountains of statistical evidence did not create. … There is a strong and important message here: To draw meaning from the statistics of disaster, no matter how large the scope, we cannot rely only on our gut feelings. They seduce us into calmly turning our backs against massive abuses when we should be driven by outrage to act…” (12/5).

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Concrete, Action-Related Reports Necessary In Global Response To Crisis In Yemen, Future Disease Outbreaks

The Lancet Global Health: Yemen needs a concrete plan — now
Editorial Board

“…[The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is] an opportunity to learn, in the hope that this situation can be reversed in Yemen, and prevented elsewhere. … In May 2018, The Lancet Global Health published a modeling study by Anton Camacho and colleagues in which surveillance data were used to identify the drivers of the cholera epidemic, linking rainfall to the second wave of the epidemic, generating potentially important information for timing and enhancing control efforts. … Also importantly, in a report released on December 4, the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health presents a detailed evaluation … of the epidemic preparedness and response up until the second wave in July 2018. … The 20 global and Yemen-specific recommendations cover the fundamental need of addressing insecurity, of urgently clarifying and harmonizing coordination and preparedness, and of making the response more agile by improving surveillance. They include specifics of a targeted WASH and vaccination response and rely on strong integration of planning across sectors, all sensible responses to the issues identified in the analysis. These concrete, action-related reports should be precious input in tackling this and future outbreaks, particularly in war-torn areas. But Yemen needs even more — and the time is now” (12/4).

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Wealthy Nations Too Focused On Potential Pandemic Risk Of Ebola Rather Than Human Rights Concerns In Congo

Boston Globe: Caring about the Congo shouldn’t require an Ebola epidemic
Abraar Karan, global health physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

“What is it about Ebola that so captivates the Western world? In recent weeks, an epidemic of the infamous hemorrhagic fever virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has prompted stories in the world’s most influential news outlets … Yet the latest phase in the ongoing rebel war in the Congo threatens to be far deadlier [than the Ebola epidemic]. … Now, the war has flared up again; according to the United Nations, more than four million people have been displaced. Yet even then, it takes a disease such as Ebola, with pandemic potential, to bring the plight of the Congo to global attention. While the risk of an international outbreak is highly uncertain, wealthy nations’ fear that the disease will spread to their territory — as it did in 2014 — seems to outweigh their concerns for vulnerable Congolese people. … We must ask ourselves: Would major human rights conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Venezuela, Palestine, and Myanmar gain daily international coverage if these areas were also suffering from a pandemic-prone disease? Unfortunately, our Western focus on the Congo has been framed more by our personal fears of Ebola than by the concerns of those men, women, and children most threatened by the virus — and far more than by the threat of deadly rebel warfare…” (12/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Discusses WHO/CDC Report On Progress Toward Regional Measles Elimination

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Measles report shows how setting reachable goals can guide progress, but not fast enough
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” discusses results from a WHO/CDC report released last week on progress toward regional measles elimination. Barton notes that, according to the report, “[s]urveillance for the disease remains a weakness,” and “stalled progress in vaccine access and uptake … over the last two years … has played a role in the resurgence of measles in European countries that had neared, and even reached, the goal of eliminating the virus. From 2016 to 2017, the report points out, measles incidence increased worldwide…” (12/5).

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PREVENT Releases Guidance On Ethical Inclusion Of Pregnant Women In Vaccine Research, Deployment

Pregnancy Research Ethics for Vaccines, Epidemics, and New Technologies: Pregnant Women & Vaccines Against Emerging Epidemic Threats
“This Guidance provides a roadmap for the ethically responsible, socially just, and respectful inclusion of the interests of pregnant women in the development and deployment of vaccines against emerging pathogens. … The Guidance … [specifies] 22 concrete recommendations, organized around three key areas: public health preparedness, R&D, and vaccine delivery. The recommendations are directed at a range of actors, including global and national policymakers, regional and national regulatory authorities, funders and sponsors, vaccine manufacturers, research institutions, trial networks and research groups, individual researchers, oversight bodies, ethics review committees, community advisory boards, and civil society organizations…” (December 2018).

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PATH Advocacy Manager Discusses Role Of GFF In Kenya's Health Sector

PATH’s “DefeatDD Blog”: Leveraging the Global Finance Facility for Improved Healthcare Coverage in Kenya
Pauline Irungu, advocacy manager at PATH’s Kenya office, discusses the role of the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in Kenya’s health sector, writing, “The GFF directly contributes to universal health care coverage, ensuring that all of our mothers, babies, children, and youth can access the care that they deserve. The GFF is a catalyst to improve our primary health care system and to make strides in saving more women and children” (12/5).

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Oxfam America Releases Evaluation Of Program Aimed At Increasing Women's, Girls' Knowledge Of, Access To Reproductive Health Services In Mali

Oxfam America: Saving for Change and Reproductive Health — Segou Region, Mali
This evaluation of Oxfam America’s Saving for Change + Reproductive Health program in the Segou region of Mali reviews the outcomes of the project, which focused on increasing women’s and girls’ knowledge about their reproductive health and access to health services. The evaluation notes “that women participants had a significant increase in their level of knowledge … However, there is limited evidence in shifting attitudes towards fertility, especially in rural areas. While the project addressed community needs for information about family planning, it only addressed women, even though in the Malian cultural context, the use of a family planning method is a decision that requires permission from husbands/partners. Thus, raising men’s awareness is a critical next step” (12/5).

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