KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

UNRWA Facing Budget Shortfall, Impacted By Trump Administration's Withholding Of Funding

The Guardian: Trump cuts jeopardise lives of millions of Palestinian refugees, U.N. warns
“The head of the main United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees has warned that the organisation is facing the most severe funding crisis in its history, threatening its support to an estimated 5.3 million people, including more than 400,000 inside Syria. … The UNRWA [U.N. Relief and Works Agency], which provides education, medical care and emergency assistance to Palestinian refugees, is facing a shortfall of almost one-third of its budget, in large part because of the Trump administration’s decision to withhold much of its funding. … The U.S. announced it was cutting funds to the UNRWA earlier this year in the fallout from a U.N. general assembly vote that overwhelmingly rejected Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel…” (Beaumont, 2/21).

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New Australian Report Examines Relationship Between Research, Aid Policy

Devex: Understanding how research can better engage aid policy
“Between 2007 and 2016, Australian aid invested $58 million Australian dollars ($45.9 million) on an ambitious program to foment research — blue sky research as well as more grounded efforts that directly related to the aid program’s policies. The wealth of data produced by the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme is now the cornerstone of a new report from the Research for Development Impact Network outlining the interaction between research and aid program policy development. Presented at last week’s 2018 Australasian Aid Conference in Canberra, the report outlined a slew of findings that provide key insight into how research can better engage aid policy…” (Cornish, 2/20).

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UNICEF Has 'No Words' In Response To Bombing Campaign In Syria Killing, Wounding Children

Agence France-Presse: UNICEF issues blank statement slamming ‘war ON children in Syria’
“The U.N. children’s fund on Tuesday expressed ‘outrage’ over the killings of children in Syria by issuing a blank statement, adding in a footnote that ‘no words will do (them) justice’. The statement came after a ferocious Syrian regime bombing campaign pounded the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Monday, killing 127 civilians, 39 of them children…” (2/20).

NPR: ‘No Words Will Do Justice’: Onslaught On Syrian Suburb Kills Some 200 Civilians
“… ‘This could be one of the worst attacks in Syrian history, even worse than the siege on Aleppo. The sheer intensity of airstrikes is leveling the city, and killing civilians without any regard or mercy,’ Zedoun Al Zoebi, CEO of the UOSSM, said in a statement Monday. ‘Medicine and medical supplies have not been allowed into the city for months now, and there is virtually no medical care available for these people as they suffer severe trauma wounds. To systematically target and kill civilians amounts to a war crime and the international community must act to stop it’…” (Dwyer, 2/20).

Additional coverage:

CNN: UNICEF’s statement on children’s suffering in Syria is “_____________” (Diaz, 2/20).

Reuters: U.N. issues blank statement on Syria, says it has run out of words (2/20).

Washington Post: U.N. issues a mostly blank statement on Syrian violence: ‘No words will do justice to the children killed’ (Taylor, 2/20).

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Study Examines Impact Of Ebola On Basic Health Care Services In Liberia

VOA News: Ebola’s Impact Reached Beyond Death Toll to Basic Health Care
“More than 100,000 malaria cases went untreated when Liberia’s health care system buckled under the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, according to a new study. The research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, shows how the toll of the Ebola outbreak goes beyond the 11,000 killed in West Africa by the virus itself. Basic health care took a major hit as well…” (Baragona, 2/20).

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Philippines' President Makes Anti-Condom Remarks Amid Country's Growing HIV Epidemic

NPR: Philippines’ Duterte Mocks Condom Use Amid Skyrocketing HIV Rates
“The number of new HIV cases reported in the Philippines has surged over the last few years, according the country’s health agency. … The country had the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region, according to UNAIDS last year. At a time like this, the country’s leader could encourage safer sex, to prevent further sexually transmitted infections. Or he could do what Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte did last week — and urge his citizens to forgo condoms during intercourse because ‘they don’t feel good’…” (Wamsley, 2/20).

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More News In Global Health

Reuters: Zambia cholera epidemic continues to slow as number of deaths declines (Mfula, 2/20).
Xinhua News: Zambia seeks more money to contain cholera outbreak (2/21).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. refugee agency says donors withhold funds until Uganda numbers checked (Biryabarema, 2/20).

U.N. News: Rohingya refugees face immense health needs; U.N. scales up support ahead of monsoon season (2/20).
Xinhua News: WHO calls for more health services for Rohingyas in Bangladesh (2/21).

Xinhua News: Roundup: Mozambique doubles effort to fight malaria in prevalent season (2/21).

Xinhua News: Rwandan gov’t to put more effort into ending child malnutrition (2/21).

Xinhua News: Aid agencies provides assistance to 5.4 mln in South Sudan in 2017: U.N. (2/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Canada Should Promote G7 Global Health Initiative To Fill Gaps Left By U.S.

The Globe and Mail: On global health, Canada is not ‘back’
Valerie Percival, assistant professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and senior fellow with the Canadian International Council

“…[T]he Trudeau government does not plan to host a G7 Health Ministers Meeting, a fixture for the past several years, during its presidency. This failure to prioritize global health in the G7 process could not come at a worse time. … The world has long relied on the ‘health security umbrella’ of the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sends epidemiologists around the globe to investigate outbreaks and provide assistance to stop their spread. CDC budget cuts will soon end such work in 39 countries… Canada is now perfectly positioned to promote a G7 Global Health Initiative to fill the gap left by the CDC’s budget cuts. … It is not too late. Canada can announce a G7 Health Ministerial meeting on the margins of the World Health Assembly in May. … Global health clearly needs a little ‘Canada’s back’…” (2/21).

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Prioritizing Gender Equality Policies Vital To Accelerating Progress On SDGs

Devex: Opinion: How to make progress on the SDGs? Prioritize gender equality
Ginette Azcona, policy specialist with U.N. Women’s Research and Data Team, and Silke Staab, research specialist at U.N. Women and manager of the global monitoring report Turning Promises into Action

“…[I]dentifying policy solutions that can leverage change across a number of different goals is vital to accelerating progress [on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], and here addressing gender equality is key. … [W]hat are the policies that can unlock progress on women’s food security, but also on other goals, for the benefit of all? … [B]y prioritizing land rights for women, we could potentially see progress on five of the SDGs, on hunger, poverty, gender equality, health, and climate action. So, what’s stopping us? … [T]wo big barriers are money and ‘politics as usual.’ Governments need to be able to finance gender equality policies, and yet, the value of money flowing out of developing countries, including debt payments and illicit flows, is $3.3 trillion per year, 2.5 times the amount of resources flowing in. In comparison, donor spending on gender equality … is a drop in the ocean. Reducing outflows, increasing tax revenues, and ensuring that corporations pay their fair share of tax would provide all the resources and more to make the kind of gender equality investments we need to see. … Women and feminist organizations were pivotal in demanding Agenda 2030, and ultimately it will be their organizing and action that will also determine whether its promise is realized” (2/20).

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Robust Funding, Action Needed To Develop Universal Flu Vaccine

U.S. News & World Report: Tame the Flu
Jonathan Fielding, distinguished professor of public health and pediatrics at UCLA

“…We have gone without a universal flu vaccine, one effective against all of the many forms of flu viruses, for too long. Right now, there is progress being made in the effort to create it, and this may be the year — and the flu strain — that finally moves government to accelerate progress with the necessary funding. It has taken some time to answer the call of renowned epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, issued in 2007, for a billion-dollar-per-year U.S. commitment to develop a universal flu vaccine. Osterholm is still working to address this public health danger, and he received some vindication recently when Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., proposed a bill to greatly increase funding for a universal flu vaccine. That legislation aims to provide $1 billion to the National Institutes of Health in order to support development of a universal flu vaccine, building on current promising efforts. Funding would begin next year. … In addition, there are a number of private-sector-funded efforts to identify effective therapies for those exposed to flu and those who are sick with it. Several of these promising antiviral compounds are in clinical trials now… ” (2/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N. Dispatch's Global Dispatches Podcast Discusses Value Of U.S. Funding For U.N.

U.N. Dispatch’s “Global Dispatches Podcast”: Why American Funding for the U.N. is a Bargain
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of the U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, speaks with Peter Yeo, president of the Better World Campaign and vice president for public policy and advocacy at the United Nations Foundation, on the U.N. budget process and “how American funding for the United Nations ends up being a pretty good deal for the United States” (2/16).

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Improvements, New Approaches Needed For Global Health Aid Allocation, CGD Blog Post Suggests

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: The Need for New Approaches to Global Health Aid Allocation
Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy and senior fellow at CGD, and colleagues Y-Ling Chi and Jesse Bump, discuss the lack of clarity around aid allocation criteria in the health sector and highlight a special issue of Health Policy and Planning on global health aid allocation (2/20).

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Norwegian Refugee Council Urges U.N. Security Council To Take Action On Yemen

Norwegian Refugee Council: Time for U.N. Security Council to act on Yemen
“The United Nations Security Council should break its eight-month silence on Yemen by demanding a complete lifting of the blockade and cessation of hostilities, the Norwegian Refugee Council said…” (2/21).

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New Paper Assesses Role Of Multilateral Development Banks, Reforms Needed To Achieve SDGs

Brookings Institution: Time to reform the multilateral development bank system
Amar Bhattacharya, senior fellow, and Homi Kharas, interim vice president and director, both for global economy and development at the Brookings Institution, discuss recommendations from a recent paper on “the role of the multilateral development system and reforms needed to support the new global agenda” (2/20).

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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 331 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter includes articles on various topics, including reactions to the Global Fund’s partnership with Heineken; a discussion with Peter Sands, incoming executive director of the Global Fund; and the Trump Administration’s FY 2019 budget request to cut the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund by $425 million (2/21).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Study On Preventing Childhood TB Cases In CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Study indicates that acting on guidelines could avert half of TB cases among children
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses findings from a study published in CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, writing, “Tracing contacts of people confirmed to be sick with tuberculosis and making preventive treatment available to those at risk for the disease could halve current numbers of TB cases among children in resource limited settings, according to researchers reporting a study of patients across a Kenya rural province” (2/20).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Responds To Dominica's Food Supply Needs After Hurricane Maria

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: After the Hurricane
Mette Karlsen, senior regional adviser and team leader for Latin America and the Caribbean in USAID’s Food for Peace Office, discusses the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team’s response to Hurricane Maria in Dominica, and the task of “assess[ing] the damage to the island’s food supply and [working] with other humanitarian organizations to design an emergency food response” (2/20).

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