KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump's Immigration Ban Will Impact Humanitarian Aid Efforts, Emergency Assistance To Children, Experts, U.N. Agency Say

Devex: Trump immigration order could harm USAID’s ability to carry out crucial work
“Former USAID staffers and security experts warn President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration executive action will undermine the U.S. development agency’s ability to carry out crucial work in conflict areas. ‘There are really serious ramifications for how USAID and other organizations work on the ground,’ said John Norris, executive director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at the Center for American Progress. … A leaked draft memo expected to be signed by hundreds of foreign service officers and sent to the president through the State Department Dissent Channel expressed deep concern. The internal government channel allows staffers to offer criticism to senior management without fear of reprisal. The memo cautions that the order will sour international relations, ‘increase anti-American sentiment,’ have a humanitarian impact, and weaken the economy…” (Seiff, 2/1).

New York Times: Trump’s Immigration Ban Blocks Children Most in Need of Aid
“Children who are most in need of emergency international assistance come from five of the seven countries covered by President Trump’s order barring entry to the United States, according to a United Nations report. The report was released on Tuesday, but it was compiled weeks before Mr. Trump issued his order. UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, appealed to wealthy nations for $3.3 billion to help millions of the world’s children who face starvation, displacement, conflict, disease, and other humanitarian emergencies this year…” (Goldman, 1/31).

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USAID-Supported Reproductive Clinic In Kenya Faces Significant Reduction In Ability To Provide Services Under Reinstated Mexico City Policy

NPR: In Kenya, Reproductive Clinics Fear Trump Policy’s Detrimental Effects
“President Trump’s Mexico City policy will harm nonprofits providing health care for women. A USAID-funded clinic in Nairobi is afraid it will prevent it from helping Kenyan women in need of abortions…” (Peralta, 1/31).

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African Union Meeting Hears Concerns Over Trump Administration's Policies, Lack Of Engagement With Continent's Leaders

Washington Post: Africa’s leaders consider a future when the U.S. no longer cares
“In Barack Obama’s landmark speech before the African Union in July 2015 — the first by a sitting U.S. president — he told the assembled heads of state and delegates that the United States was ready to be a development partner with the continent, while warning that would come along with American promotion of human rights, whether they liked it or not. … Now a year-and-a-half later, the African Union is grappling with a new U.S. president who has said very little about Africa but looks set to step away from decades of bipartisan investment in Africa … Starting with the Bill Clinton administration, the United States began to increasingly focus on Africa. Aid quadrupled under the George W. Bush administration, particularly with his PEPFAR program aimed at stamping out AIDS in the continent. … Many experts believe those programs will come to an end under the administration of Trump, who has been skeptical about international aid and suggested that the money would be better spent on Americans…” (Schemm, 1/31).

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WHO Executive Board Enters Into Official Relations With 5 New Institutions, Including Gates Foundation, KEI

Intellectual Property Watch: Gates Foundation, KEI Enter Into Official Relations With WHO
“The World Health Organization Executive Board ended its meeting a day early [Tuesday], and agreed to have five new institutions to enter into official relation with the organization, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, despite protests from civil society groups, and Knowledge Ecology International, led by activist firebrand James Love. Meanwhile, the WHO is pursuing the implementation of its framework of engagement with non-governmental actors adopted in 2016. WHO members urged the organization to speedily provide implementation tools such as a register of all such actors. The WHO said all is on track and is expected to be ready by the next World Health Assembly…” (Saez, 1/31).

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Efforts To Achieve Universal Gender Parity Making Progress, But Gaps Remain In Political, Economic Participation, WEF Study Shows

Washington Post: It will take 170 years for women to be equal to men — unless some things change, study says
“It’s getting harder to be a woman. That’s the conclusion of a new study on the Global Gender Gap from the World Economic Forum. The annual review looks at 142 countries, and evaluates women’s standing in the world based on four indexes: educational attainment, health, political empowerment, and economic participation. The good news: worldwide, men and women are going to school at about the same rate. And women’s health outcomes are about as good as the health outcomes of men. But women are not nearly as well represented in government, and the gap in economic participation is only widening. In 74 countries, things have gotten worse since last year…” (Erickson, 1/31).

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Drug-Resistant Malaria Cases Imported To U.K. From African Nations Pose Warning For Continent, Study Says

NPR: Drug-Resistant Malaria Turns Up In The U.K.
“…Resistance to artemisinin-based medications has been slowly developing in Southeast Asia. And now these malaria wonder drugs look like they may be starting to lose their mojo in Africa, too. Late in 2015, health officials in Britain for the first time came across a cluster of malaria cases that refused to succumb to Artemether-lumefantrine. The patients were travelers who had returned from three different African countries — Angola, Liberia, and Uganda. After being treated with Artemether-lumefantrine, each patient appeared to be cured. Then the parasitic infections came racing back. … In an article published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Sutherland and his colleagues document the four cases…” (Beaubien, 1/31).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Failure of malaria drug ‘early warning’ for Africa, researchers say
“… ‘This is concerning and may indicate that there’s a bigger story beginning to emerge in Africa,’ Colin Sutherland, a medical researcher from the [London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine], told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. ‘It may be an early warning that we need to change a few things,’ he said, calling for more research into the efficacy of the Artemether-lumefantrine drug. Sutherland said he had heard anecdotes from colleagues in Africa who had also seen resistance by parasites to the drug, saying the cases seem to be developing in different parts of the continent slowly…” (Hayden, 1/31).

VOA News: British Scientists: Drug-resistant Malaria Cases ‘A Warning For Africa’
“… ‘If [the use of artemisinin-based medications] is under threat from resistance, and we have not absolutely ascertained that is the case but we suspect it is, [it’s] certainly time now to look very carefully at that. If it is under threat, then that is a serious issue and we need to take steps,’ said Dr. Sutherland. Such steps might involve using other drugs alongside [artemisinin combination therapy]. But such a change of strategy takes time, said Sutherland…” (Ridgwell, 2/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

In Order To Reduce Number Of Abortions Worldwide, U.S. President Trump Should Reverse Decision To Reinstate Mexico City Policy

Huffington Post: Get ready for more unsafe abortions around the world
Christopher Purdy, president of DKT International

“Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, you should be very concerned by Mr. Trump’s re-instituting the ‘global gag rule,’ also known as the Mexico City policy. In doing so, the president has ironically all but guaranteed an increase in unsafe abortions (and abortions in general) around the world. … The U.S. government has historically been one of the largest funders of family planning around the world. Now, many programs funded by the U.S. government will end and will not be replaced. Many women who were served by those programs will no longer have access to contraception and, as a result, become pregnant. Many will terminate these unwanted pregnancies. In countries where abortion is restricted, we know from experience that women will resort to back-alley abortions that are unsafe. If Mr. Trump is serious about reducing the number of abortions globally, he should reverse this decision” (1/31).

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WHO Reform Should Focus Role Of Agency As Public Health Facilitator, Provider Of Expertise

Nature: The time is ripe to reform the World Health Organization
Editorial Board

“The forthcoming election of a new leader of the World Health Organization (WHO) has focused attention on the future direction of the United Nations’ public health agency. … [The] WHO is not a global firefighter, and cannot be expected to be. Rather, it is a facilitator for more-operational organizations … Ultimately, an effective frontline response depends on having functional public health systems (which are still lacking in many places), preparing contingency plans so that interconnected global supply chains do not break down, and planning for large outbreaks in cities, which are at increased risk as a result of rampant urbanization. The WHO has a crucial role in these and many other areas of public health as a facilitator and provider of sound scientific expertise. But it is ultimately down to the countries of the world to do the heavy lifting” (1/31).

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Innovations In Health Care Delivery Will Play Critical Role In Global Efforts Against NCDs

Financial Times: Innovation needed to tackle global epidemic of non-communicable diseases
Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Novartis Foundation

“…The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is comparable to the greatest global health challenges we have had to confront in recent history. … [I]n contrast with common perceptions, much of [the increase in NCD incidence] has happened in low- and middle-income countries. Health systems in these regions are ill-equipped to address this emergency. They are stretched under the pressure of fighting infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, which still make up a majority of deaths in much of the developing world. It will take decades before sufficient health coverage is achieved that can adequately address the scale of the NCD epidemic. We need a new approach. … [I]nnovations in health care delivery will make a big difference in the outcome of the global fight against the NCD epidemic. In the face of the challenges that stand in the way of achieving universal health coverage, innovation is our best asset. We must never stop looking for new solutions to the world’s health problems and learning from our collective experiences” (1/31).

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Research Funding, Food Labeling, Collaboration Among Sectors Can Help Counter Antimicrobial Resistance

The Conversation: When the drugs don’t work: how we can turn the tide of antimicrobial resistance
Roisin McMahon, researcher at Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery at the Griffith University, and Maurizio Labbate, senior lecturer in microbiology at the University of Technology Sydney

“A new report by the Australian Academy of Science has called for the Australian government to take immediate action to counter the growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, a problem known as antimicrobial resistance. The paper particularly highlights addressing shortfalls in research funding, food labeling, and collaborations between sectors. … The report’s recommendations include: 1. Fund interdisciplinary research in antimicrobial resistance … 2. Create a national agency to coordinate changes in antimicrobial use and demand … 3. Clarify the role of human and animal waste in antimicrobial resistance … 4. Label antibiotic use in food production … These recommendations support the Australian government strategy [on antimicrobial resistance] and will help buy us vital time to identify and deliver solutions to antimicrobial resistance” (1/31).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Profiles New Leadership Of U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: 115th Congress and Global Health: House Appropriations gets new Chair, while Rogers assumes leadership of State and Foreign Operations subcommittee
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses new leadership in the 115th Congress, including Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), who is the new chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), who formerly was chair of the House Appropriations Committee and will now assume leadership as chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations (1/31).

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Mexico City Policy Could Be 'Disastrous' For Development Efforts, Women's Health, ODI Associate Says

Overseas Development Institute: Trump’s global gag rule means more women and girls will die
Lisa Denney, research associate in the Politics and Governance Program at ODI, discusses the potential consequences of U.S. President Trump’s reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City policy, writing, “The return and expansion of the global gag rule is an affront to women’s rights globally. It is also disastrous for development and potentially deadly for women and girls in developing countries. We need development policies to be pro their lives as much as any others” (1/31).

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February 2017 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The February 2017 WHO Bulletin includes editorials, news, and research and policy articles on various topics, including an editorial on breaking down barriers to universal health coverage co-authored by WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and a policy article on the building and maintenance of political commitment to health services for vulnerable populations during donor transitions (February 2017).

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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 304 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including an analysis of the Global Fund’s investment in women and girls, an announcement that the number of people receiving ART through Global Fund-supported programs has reached 10 million, and findings from several Office of Inspector General (OIG) audits (2/1).

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