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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Health Community Holds Mixed Feelings About High-Level Meeting On NCDs

Devex: High-level meeting on NCDs holds promise, and pitfalls
“Ever since the World Health Organization last year announced plans to create an independent high-level commission on noncommunicable diseases, the global health community has been waiting to learn more. Last week, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus released the full composition of the global commission, a powerhouse cast of public and private sector leaders. The announcement has some feeling encouraged as they prepare for the third high-level meeting on NCDs, expected to be held in September. But it also raises questions of whether this meeting will at last prove a turning point, moving from declarations and acknowledgments to action — even as the burden of such diseases grows ever higher…” (Ravelo, 2/22).

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U.K. To Maintain Aid Budget Of At Least 0.7% Of GNI, Prime Minister May Says

The Guardian: May says U.K. will not cut aid in wake of Oxfam scandal
“The U.K.’s aid budget will not be cut as a result of the sexual exploitation scandal affecting the sector, the prime minister has confirmed in a push back against the right wing of her party. There have been calls for the government to scrap the commitment to spend at least 0.7 percent of gross national income on foreign aid … May told the Commons on Wednesday that the development sector needed to get its house in order, but insisted the U.K. would maintain its overall aid budget…” (Rawlinson, 2/21).

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African Nations Losing More Money To Illicit Financial Flows Than Receiving In ODA, OECD Report Shows

VOA News: Illicit Financial Flows Outpace Development in Africa, OECD Says
“Through medication and narcotics smuggling, ivory and people trafficking, oil theft and piracy, Africa is, by conservative estimates, losing about $50 billion a year in illicit financial flows — more, in fact, than it receives in official development assistance. A report by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development offers a bigger look at the illegal economy behind the losses and how African and richer nations can fight it…” (Bryant, 2/20).

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Saudi Arabia's Status As Combatant Impacting Efforts To Provide Humanitarian Aid Funding In War-Torn Yemen

Wall Street Journal: War-Torn Yemen Is Desperate for Aid, So Why Are Saudi Efforts Stalling?
“Saudi Arabia and its allies are giving $1.5 billion to their war-ravaged neighbor, but their ability to fix the country’s humanitarian crisis is limited by their status as combatants — and because many aid groups are reluctant to take their money. Many aid groups say they fear they will be targeted for associating with the country that for nearly three years has led a devastating air campaign against Houthi rebels, which Saudi Arabia suspects are backed by Iran…” (Fitch, 2/21).

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Global Attention To Plight Of Sudan Waning Despite Increasing Humanitarian Needs, U.N. Official Warns

U.N. News: Sudan: After years of conflict, millions require aid; But is the world paying attention?
“If it were a new crisis, it would be one of the biggest in the world, but despite the fact that more than five million people need aid, Sudan is at risk of falling off international donors’ radar, a senior United Nations official has said…” (2/21).

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Investments In Early Childhood Development Help Improve Short-, Long-Term Health, Educational, Economic Outcomes, Research Shows

Quartz: A groundbreaking study offers undeniable proof that the fight against inequality starts with moms
“…The resulting studies found that children whose mothers received coaching [to help them become better teachers to their babies and to increase stimulation and play] made significant developmental gains, and not just in the short term. Twenty-two years later, the kids from one group who had received those home visits as young children not only had higher scores on tests of reading, math, and general knowledge, they had stayed in school longer. They were less likely to exhibit violent behavior, less likely to experience depression, and had better social skills. They also earned 25 percent more on average than a control group of kids whose mothers had not received the coaching. The highly influential Jamaica studies have influenced the way many countries think about investing in early childhood development. Brazil, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Bangladesh, and India are all trying parent coaching programs — many based on the Jamaica model…” (Anderson, 2/21).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: Study: XDR typhoid in Pakistan carries added resistance genes (Dall, 2/20).

Devex: In India, little protection for a preventable cancer (Cousins, 2/20).

Devex: Drug trial eyed for one of the leading causes of child mortality (Ravelo, 2/22).

Devex: Early HIV diagnosis in infants works in Africa, but the technology must spread to save lives (Roby, 2/22).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Typhoid conjugate vaccine gets WHO prequalification (Burki, March 2018).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Increasing malaria in Venezuela threatens regional progress (Daniels, March 2018).

SciDev.Net: The health science missing in Rwanda, South Africa (Mudzingwa et al., 2/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Community Should Build Legal Case For War Crimes Committed By Syria President Assad

New York Times: Who Has Innocent Syrians’ Blood on Their Hands?
Editorial Board

“…[Syria’s] vicious president, Bashar al-Assad, and his enablers in Russia and Iran have exploited the battlefield successes against ISIS to unleash a new round of carnage on civilians, as the leaders of the United States and other world powers largely stand by, unwilling, or unable to do anything to stop it. Shame on them all. … Ghouta has been under siege for years, although it’s technically part of a negotiated de-escalation zone, leaving the district facing chronic shortages of food, medicine, medical personnel, and other necessities. This week’s massive attack — which … struck hospitals and other civilian infrastructure — intensified the misery. … António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, called Ghouta a ‘hell on Earth.’ … [A] legal case [should be made] to try Mr. Assad for war crimes. … This week, as reports of new Syrian casualties rolled in, aid groups and political leaders once again condemned, lamented, and called for action. … Unable to muster more bromides, [UNICEF] issued a statement saying only, ‘No words will do justice to the children killed, their mothers, their fathers, and their loved ones'” (2/21).

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Global Community Should Continue To Invest In TB Eradication Efforts

Project Syndicate: The Return of a Forgotten Killer
Bjørn Lomborg, visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business School and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center

“…TB not only gets scant attention, but also a fraction of health funding. … Such complacency is dangerous. Despite a compelling economic and moral case for investing more in controlling the disease, it has quietly resumed its position as the world’s leading infectious killer, claiming more lives than either HIV or malaria. … In high-prevalence countries, there can be no argument that governments and donors need to focus more on TB. … Unlike diseases like Ebola or Zika, TB seldom makes headlines. It should. Given all that we know about how to prevent and treat TB, and a powerful economic case for investing in eradication efforts, there is no excuse for the heavy toll that it continues to take” (2/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Literature Review Examines Social Norms Measures Related To Use Of Modern Family Planning Methods

FHI 360’s “Research for Evidence”: Searching for social norms measures related to modern contraceptive use
Betsy Costenbader, social scientist and social network analyst, and Rachel Lenzi, research associate, both in the Behavioral, Epidemiology, and Clinical Sciences Department at FHI360, discuss results from a literature review published in Studies in Family Planning examining the relationship between social norms and the use of modern family planning methods. The authors detail their methodology for the review and “provide recommendations for bringing greater consistency and comparability to social norm measures” (2/21).

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From the U.S. Government

Joint U.S.-U.N. Course Trains Officers On U.N.'s Standards Of Conduct, Helps Uphold Accountability In U.N. Peacekeeping Missions

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Zero Tolerance: Joint U.S.-U.N. Training Effort to Uphold Accountability for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Peacekeeping Missions
Ginae Lee, intern with the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) team in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, discusses the U.S. commitment to supporting the U.N.’s zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation and abuse, highlighting a training course for National Investigation Officers that “familiarized participants with processes, procedures, and techniques to improve the effectiveness of conduct and discipline investigations in U.N. peacekeeping” (2/21).

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