Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

NPR Discusses Trump's SOTU, Mention Of Addressing HIV/AIDS 'Beyond' U.S.

NPR: What It Will Take For Trump To End AIDS ‘Beyond’ America
“When President Trump gave his State of the Union address last week, he made an ambitious promise to ‘eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years.’ The announcement was followed by a blueprint from the Department of Health and Human Services that details the administration’s plan to concentrate funding for treatment and preventative medicine in a few dozen counties nationwide with the highest rates of infection. Public health experts generally applauded the plan as achievable with existing tools and techniques. The announcement also contained a second, less-noticed promise: To defeat AIDS ‘beyond’ the U.S. But the president’s own record on addressing the virus in other countries has been inconsistent…” (McDonnell, 2/11).

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Venezuela's Guaido Says 1st Shipment Of Humanitarian Aid Delivered To Country, Provides Few Details

Reuters: Venezuela opposition delivers first cargo of humanitarian aid: Guaido
“Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, said on Monday his team had delivered a first cargo of the humanitarian aid that has become a flashpoint in his tussle with President Nicolas Maduro, without specifying how it had received it. Guaido, who has been recognized by most Western nations as Venezuela’s legitimate president over the past month, tweeted a photo of himself surrounded by stacks of white pots of vitamin and nutritional supplements. He did not say from where or whom they came…” (Cambero/Marsh, 2/11).

VOA News: Guaido Calls Blockade of Aid for Venezuela a ‘Crime Against Humanity’
“Juan Guaido, recognized by the United States and some 50 other countries as the interim President of Venezuela, warned the military on Sunday that preventing the entry of humanitarian aid into Venezuela is a ‘crime against humanity’ and makes them ‘almost genocidal.’ … Shipments of U.S. food, medicine, and humanitarian aid are on the Colombian side, with a tanker and two large trucks sitting in the middle of the bridge. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the soldiers to prevent the aid from crossing the border. Maduro has said the U.S. help is part of a plot to overthrow his government and said Venezuela doesn’t need it…” (2/11).

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Washington Post Interviews Bill Gates About Africa's Role In World, Health On Continent

Washington Post: ‘Africa hangs in the balance’: Bill Gates on why the continent is so important
“On Sunday, Bill Gates, the creator of the ubiquitous Microsoft Windows and now a global philanthropist, addressed the nations of the African Union at their annual summit and urged them to invest more in their health systems. … At the summit, African leaders committed to increased spending on health [for] the continent. Ahead of his address to the summit, Gates spoke with The Washington Post, about why Africa is so important to the world. Here are excerpts from the interview…” (Schemm, 2/11).

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UNOCHA Head Calls For 'Enhanced Dialogue' Between Donors, Aid Groups About Counterterrorism Measures, Aid Delivery

Devex: Q&A: UNOCHA’s Mark Lowcock on forgotten crises
“The head of the United Nations humanitarian agency has called for ‘enhanced dialogue’ between donors and aid groups to ensure that counterterrorism measures do not become ‘obstacles’ to humanitarian relief. Mark Lowcock, the head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, warned that efforts by donors to protect against fraud, corruption, and aid money being siphoned off by terrorist groups could be constraining humanitarian actors in some countries…” (Edwards, 2/12).

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Research Examines GBV, Sexual Exploitation Of Women In DRC Amid Ebola Outbreak; Media Outlets Continue To Cover Outbreak's Impact On Children

The Guardian: Ebola vaccine offered in exchange for sex, say women in Congo
“An unparalleled Ebola vaccination programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become engulfed in allegations of impropriety, amid claims that women are being asked for sexual favours in exchange for treatment. Research by several NGOs has revealed that a deep mistrust of health workers is rife in DRC and gender-based violence is believed to have increased since the start of the Ebola outbreak in August. The research, presented at a national taskforce meeting in Beni, follows calls by international health experts urging the World Health Organization to consider issuing a global alert in relation to the outbreak. The experimental vaccine has been described by the WHO as ‘highly, highly efficacious’ and hopes have been pinned on it controlling the outbreak…” (Holt/Ratcliffe, 2/12)

ABC News: Nearly 100 children dead as world’s 2nd-largest Ebola outbreak surpasses 800 cases
“The second-largest, second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has claimed the lives of nearly 100 children. At least 97 children, 65 of whom were younger than five years old, have died from Ebola virus disease in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since the outbreak was declared there Aug. 1, according to a press release from Save the Children, a charity supporting the fight against the current epidemic…” (Winsor, 2/11).

Fox News: Ebola kills nearly 100 children in Congo as outbreak rages on
“…The Associated Press reports the outbreak, which is mostly afflicting the eastern region, is nearing Goma, a major border city with a population of over one million. The United Nations said earlier this month that a coordinated relief effort was already being sent to the region, which included vaccinating nearly 2,000 front-line workers” (Hein, 2/11).

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Pacific Islands Miss Opportunity For Senior Representation At WHO Due To 'Lack Of Solidarity', Says Former WHO Western Pacific Office Candidate

Devex: ‘Lack of solidarity’ cost Pacific nations senior WHO representation, former candidate says
“Pacific islands lost the opportunity for senior representation at the World Health Organization by failing to cooperate in the recent vote for the Western Pacific regional director, according to former candidate Dr. Colin Tukuitonga. … It’s a lack of solidarity in the Pacific that he considers the greatest risk. … Tukuitonga said that he would have been able to provide a stronger role in decision-making for a region where clean water, noncommunicable diseases, life expectancy, and infant mortality are issues threatening the health and economic potential of nations — and provided better information to shape decisions on health-related matters. But Japanese medical doctor Takeshi Kasai was confirmed as the new regional director of the WHO Western Pacific office in late January instead…” (Cornish, 2/11).

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Indonesia's Sexual Violence Bill Faces Opposition From Conservative Groups

VOA News: Indonesian Sexual Violence Bill Faces Religious Opposition
“Indonesia’s landmark sexual violence bill, which advocates say would be the first legal basis for cases of sexual abuse in the country, is facing opposition from conservative groups, putting its passage in doubt. … The sexual violence bill is considered to be a legal breakthrough for Indonesian women over the current law in Indonesia’s criminal code. … [T]he main difference between the bill and the existing law is that the former is predicated on preventive and rehabilitative measures. … The bill is also in keeping with a number of commitments to end discrimination against women, including Indonesia’s ratification of The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the United Nations. Though the initiative has gained traction in recent months among the leading political factions, the government is still slated to discuss the bill at length with the House of Representatives later this year before it could be passed…” (Widianto, 2/11).

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More News In Global Health

Axios: How other countries set their drug prices (Owens, 2/11).

BBC News: Yemen war: Grain stores in Hudaydah ‘at risk of rotting’ (2/11).

The BMJ: Two TB survivors challenge Janssen’s new bedaquiline patent in India (2/11).

Forbes: All Talks And No Action: The UN Struggles To Lead By Example On Gender Equality (Blum, 2/11).

The Guardian: Aid agencies pull out of Idlib in face of new terror threat (McKernan, 2/12).

IRIN: Security checks delaying urgent healthcare for Syrians fleeing Islamic State: U.N. official (Slemrod, 2/11).

PRI: Leprosy in India is back, but it never really went away (Mohta, 2/11).

U.N. News: Engaging women and girls in science ‘vital’ for Sustainable Development Goals (2/11).
Xinhua News: U.N. chief laments gender gap in STEM (2/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

'Broad-Based Response' Necessary To Prevent Measles Resurgence

Washington Post: Measles was eliminated. But we can’t be sure it’ll stay that way.
Saad B. Omer, William H. Foege chair in global health and professor of global health, epidemiology, and pediatrics at Emory University, and Robert Bednarczyk, assistant professor at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

“…A return of widespread measles is not inevitable, but to be sure we prevent it, we need to address vaccine refusal directly. … [W]hile a national measles resurgence in the United States has been kept at bay, we cannot be complacent. With increases in vaccine refusal, the risk of larger outbreaks remains. Imported measles cases will often find those who are susceptible to the disease, causing these outbreaks even after measles has been eliminated. If vaccine refusal is left unchecked, more people will be susceptible to this disease, leading to larger outbreaks and possibly resumption of sustained transmission. … [I]f we want to prevent [a national measles resurgence or multi-state outbreak], we need a coherent response to vaccine hesitancy. … In the aftermath of the last measles resurgence in the United States in 1989-1991, there was a remarkably bipartisan effort to address the main cause of that resurgence: vaccine access. President Bill Clinton and congressional Republicans and Democrats came together to establish the Vaccines for Children program to remove affordability as a barrier to vaccination. This program was effective in addressing inequities in immunization coverage. Preventing the next potential resurgence of measles will require a similar broad-based response” (2/11).

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New Research Investments, Political Will Critical To Addressing TB

Scientific American: Stopping the World’s Biggest Infectious Killer
Madhukar Pai, Canada Research Chair in epidemiology and global health at McGill University

“Diseases that have plagued humanity since ancient times continue to hold billions of people back, and tuberculosis is one of the most significant among them. … While training as a doctor in India, where TB is more prevalent than in any other country, I saw first-hand its devastating impact on individuals, families, and entire communities. Since my time as a medical trainee, I have been encouraged to see modest progress. … Yet one of the most frustrating challenges in the TB epidemic perseveres: the lack of adequate 21st-century tools to fight what’s now a 21st-century epidemic. Despite recent scientific advancements for many diseases, patients and care providers continue to rely on antiquated, inefficient diagnostics, vaccines, and drug regimens. This is unacceptable. … New research investments will be critical to fill these gaps. … Fortunately, there has never been more momentum than there is today, with virtually unanimous agreement on the massive potential of R&D to change the game for infectious disease. This is largely because we have seen it work: from the Ebola vaccine to antiretroviral therapy for HIV to bed nets to prevent transmission of malaria. Moreover, governments around the world have committed to providing significantly more funding by 2022 for TB R&D, signaling growing political will. Now is the time to science the [expletive] out of TB and hold government leaders accountable to their commitments” (2/11)

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends Of Global Fight Discusses Importance Of U.S. Investments In Global Fund

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: The Global Fund: A Smart, Lifesaving U.S. Investment
This post discusses the health security and economic benefits of U.S. investments in the Global Fund; highlights challenges to be addressed, including disease resurgence, antibiotic resistance, disease risk to young women, and growing youth populations; and discusses the upcoming replenishment cycle (2/11).

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IntraHealth International, Partners Work To End Gender-Based Violence, Promote Gender Equity In Zambia

IntraHealth International: New Project in Zambia Will Combat Gender-Based Violence, Expand Services for Survivors
“In Zambia, IntraHealth International and our partners are working to end gender-based violence (GBV) and prevent the spread of HIV by promoting gender equity and human rights as part of a new $17 million, five-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development. An additional $10 million may be used to pursue new opportunities to address GBV for up to five more years. IntraHealth will work with lead partner Zambia Center for Communication Programmes and others to bolster access to services for survivors of GBV and support laws and policies that protect and advance equality among men, women, and children — including members of key populations and people with disabilities…” (2/11).

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Digital Financing Could Play Role In Achieving SDGs, Principal At UNDP's Project Catalyst Says

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: Financing sustainable development: Is fintech the solution, problem, or irrelevant?
Simon Zadek, principal of Project Catalyst at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), discusses the use of digital financing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including its benefits and challenges (2/11).

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