KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. State Department Paring Back Passages On Women's Rights, Reproductive Health In Annual Human Rights Report

POLITICO: State Department report will trim language on women’s rights, discrimination
“State Department officials have been ordered to pare back passages in a soon-to-be-released annual report on global human rights that traditionally discuss women’s reproductive rights and discrimination, according to five former and current department officials. The directive calls for stripping passages that describe societal views on family planning, including how much access women have to contraceptives and abortion…” (Toosi, 2/21).

POLITICO: Clinton, lawmakers denounce State Dept. for cutting language on women’s rights
“Hillary Clinton, lawmakers, and human rights groups are speaking out against the State Department’s decision to trim language on women’s reproductive rights and discrimination from an upcoming report that was first reported by POLITICO. … The decision, believed to have been approved by senior officials in the State Department working under Secretary Rex Tillerson, reflects a shift in stance on family planning that differs from predecessors’…” (Lima, 2/22).

Additional coverage is available from ELLE, HuffPost, and Newsweek.

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Global Fund, Gavi Comment On Trump Administration Budget Proposal To Cut Global Health Funding

Intellectual Property Watch: “We Count On The U.S. To Maintain Its Commitment” — Global Fund On U.S. Budget Cut
“Some international organizations are having to gear up to address proposed cuts to their budgets announced this month by the United States, in many cases the major funder. Geneva-based health agencies this week responded that they are counting on the U.S. not to make significant cuts. Spokespersons for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria commented on the U.S. budget proposal to Intellectual Property Watch…” (New, 2/22).

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Saving Lives At Birth Seeks Innovators' Applications For 8th Round Of Awards

Devex: This new effort aims to scale up maternal and newborn health innovations
“…Saving Lives at Birth is a partnership between USAID, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the Korea International Cooperation Agency, Grand Challenges Canada, the government of Norway, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative is currently seeking innovators to answer their eighth call for new prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in poor and marginalized communities. But they are also increasing their investment in the innovators they have supported over the past seven years, with two new awards totaling $13 million to evaluate and scale up maternal and newborn health innovations…” (Cheney, 2/23).

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Lancet Series Calls For More Canadian Leadership In Global, Indigenous Health

Canadian Press: Lancet series calls on Canada for concrete action on Indigenous, global health
“Canada’s appalling record on Indigenous health is undermining its efforts to be a global health leader. That’s according to research published this week in one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journals, which calls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to start backing up his lofty rhetoric with concrete action…” (2/23).

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WHO Calls For Improved Access To TB Prevention, Treatment, Particularly Among At-Risk Groups

Xinhua News: WHO urges to expand access to testing, treatment for TB prevention
“The World Health Organization (WHO) called on Thursday for scaling up access to testing and treatment for TB infection, especially among groups who are particularly at risk, such as children and people living with HIV…” (2/23).

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UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth Resigns Over Misconduct Allegations

New York Times: UNICEF Official Resigns Over His Past Conduct Toward Women
“A senior official at UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, resigned on Thursday amid allegations that he had behaved inappropriately toward women in his previous job, when he was chief executive of the British charity Save the Children. The official, Justin Forsyth, said in a statement that he was resigning as deputy executive director ‘because of the danger of damaging both UNICEF and Save the Children and our wider cause’…” (2/22).

Additional coverage of this story is available from the Associated Press, BBC News, CNN, The Guardian, and Reuters.

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Syrian Regime's Offensive In Ghouta Targets Medical Rescuers

Wall Street Journal: Syrian Rescuers Pay a Tragic Price
“The Syrian regime’s relentless assault on the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus has spared little, targeting not only hospitals and markets, but also medical rescuers and their families. Residents and medical workers describe the offensive, backed by Russian airstrikes, as a war of extermination meant to bring the suburb to its knees and force its unconditional surrender…” (Abdulrahim, 2/23).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Scientists in Germany improve malaria drug production (Rising, 2/22).

CIDRAP News: WHO changes 2 strains for 2018-19 flu vaccine (Schnirring, 2/22).

Devex: Humanitarian sector in DRC not able to access many of the affected populations (Jerving, 2/23).

The Guardian: Drug-resistant superbug to blame for deadly typhoid outbreak in Pakistan (Janjua, 2/22).

The Guardian: Somaliland set to ban FGM but activists fear new law will fall short (Bowman, 2/23).

New York Times: Haiti Suspends Oxfam Great Britain After Sex Scandal (Porter, 2/22).

Reuters: Northern Ireland abortion laws violate women’s rights, U.N. body says (Miles, 2/23).

VOA News: Nigeria’s Boko Haram Victims Totally Dependent on External Aid (Schlein, 2/21).

Xinhua News: Brazil to vaccinate entire population against yellow fever (2/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Oxfam Scandal Shows Aid Agencies Need External Accountability, Should Work With Countries For Long-Term Development

IRIN: Aid agencies can’t police themselves. It’s time for a change
Dorothea Hilhorst, professor of Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction at the International Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam

“…[D]espite … sector-wide initiatives to hold NGOs accountable for power abuses, the initiatives all rely on the voluntary buy-in of NGOs, who ultimately retain power to independently deal with abuse. In light of this, how can the external accountability of humanitarian NGOs be strengthened? … Abuse of power is an inherent risk in the unequal relations between aid providers and vulnerable populations. An independent ombudsperson can provide the necessary space for victims to speak out and seek justice. Internal procedures are not enough, it is time to bring accountability to the next level” (2/22).

Washington Post: What the Oxfam sex scandal reveals about aid and power in Haiti
Jovenel Moïse, president of Haiti

“…The general paradigm of aid and power in Haiti, as elsewhere in the developing world, is not a balanced one. … The level and direction of aid, and its implementation, is controlled by donor forces with little or no input from Haiti’s government or other local stakeholders. … Something clearly needs to change. Cutting aid certainly is not the answer … Haiti needs support from the international community while working toward economic stability and ultimately the type of national prosperity that will enable us to be self-sufficient. … Our government, however, must now move into the driver’s seat. … We know exactly what we need in order for our country to develop, to become more self-reliant, to move away from aid dependence. … While we pursue accountability for what occurred [with Oxfam] in 2011, we must simultaneously pursue long-term, clear-eyed solutions to the root causes. It’s not enough to punish one or two individuals, or to shame an organization. We have an entire cycle to break in order for the vulnerable to become the empowered” (2/23).

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Thoughtful Health Financing Transition Plays Key Role In Achieving UHC

Devex: Opinion: The health financing transition plays a crucial role in meeting UHC
Oleg Kucheryavenko, senior consultant at the World Bank

“…Countries at different levels of development move towards universal health coverage at a different pace. Some have already made considerable progress, and health financing transition plays a crucial role in this process, and here is why. More money available for health allows to increase the coverage of health services. It also leads to the improvement in quality of care. … ‘Transitioning’ countries are challenged to raise more funds for health, while external financing flows tail off sharply. Increasingly, development partners debate over the ‘right’ cut-off threshold to determine eligibility for development assistance for health. … What are the major concerns? 1. Cutting the ‘umbilical cord’ of development finance too soon. … 2. Battling inefficiencies and undermined planning. … 3. Pressing demand to deliver comprehensive primary care. … 4. Fragmented financing and service delivery. … What are the solutions? 1. Domestic resource mobilization and allocation of resource[s] to health. … 2. Prioritization of services, planning, and budgeting. … 3. Early engagement at the health system level and donor alignment. … 4. Building management capacity…” (2/22).

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Uganda Closing HIV Funding Gaps By Using Multiple Funding Streams, Reducing Dependence On Foreign Aid

The Conversation: Beyond donor dollars for health care: how Uganda is thinking outside the box
Henry Zakumumpa, PhD candidate at Makerere University

“…African countries have become dependent on foreign aid to meet the escalating demand for HIV treatment. In Uganda for example, foreign aid accounts for 85 percent of the national HIV response. This is a dangerous place to be. Changes in the governments of donor countries can affect foreign aid commitments. And countries receiving aid are susceptible to donors using aid as a political tool. … What’s become increasingly clear is that there’s [a] funding gap for the scale-up of antiretroviral treatment as well as service delivery. … In our research we looked at how Uganda is attempting to plug this gap with a range of innovative approaches involving different donors and for different aspects of HIV treatment. We found that the initiatives have resulted in multiple funding streams, which in turn has increased access to the support services that people on ARVs need. … Governments in Africa should all be moving closer to fulfilling the Abuja Declaration which commits them to spending 15 percent of their annual budgets on the health sector. … This would reduce the current very high levels of dependency on foreign aid…” (2/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Philanthropic Funders Should Increase Support For HIV/AIDS Response Efforts

Health Affairs Blog: It’s Not Time To Celebrate Yet: How The Rise In HIV Funding Tells A Deeper Story
John Barnes, executive director of Funders Concerned About AIDS, discusses donor government and philanthropic funding for HIV, writing, “Philanthropic funding for HIV/AIDS tells a classic good news/bad news story. The overall level of funding is at an all-time high, but there are signs of waning commitment and the broader landscape is deeply concerning. … Now, more than ever, the philanthropic sector must increase support and build upon its unique abilities to respond to HIV and AIDS” (2/22).

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Proposed Funding Cuts To Global Health Could Threaten Americans, Global Health Security

American Academy of Family Physicians: Cutting Global Health Programs Puts Americans at Risk
Ranit Mishori, professor and director of global health initiatives in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine and member of the advisory board of the AAFP’s Center for Global Health Initiatives, discusses the role of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) in preventing and controlling infectious disease outbreaks and the potential impact of proposed U.S. funding cuts to global health on global health security (2/22).

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Adoption Of Specific Colonial Legal System Affects Female HIV Rates In Africa, Paper Shows

U.N. Dispatch: New Study Reveals How A Specific Colonial Legacy Determines Female HIV Rates in Africa
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of the U.N. Dispatch, discusses results from a study showing “the legacy of the legal system of a country’s former colonizer has a significant effect on HIV rates in the country. … [C]ountries that use the common law system have significantly higher female HIV rates compared to countries that adopted the civil law tradition. … There is a large volume of academic literature that measures women’s social and economic empowerment against various health outcomes. But this is the first paper to correlate the common law legal system and its historically weak property protections for married women to HIV prevalence” (2/21).

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South Sudan Sees Progress On Pentavalent Vaccine Coverage Rate

WHO: WHO and GAVI Alliance Partners along with the Ministry of Health strategizes to vaccinate over 485,000 children under one year of age in 2018
“Despite widespread conflict and insecurity, South Sudan has witnessed a remarkable improvement in routine vaccination coverage in 2017. Since the introduction of the pentavalent — or five-in-one vaccine for infants that combines five antigens, namely: Diphtheria; Pertussis; Tetanus; Hepatitis B (HB); and Haemophilus influenza type b, the country raised pentavalent vaccine coverage from 45 percent in 2016 to 57 percent in 2017…” (February 2018).

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From the U.S. Government

New Issue Of NIH Fogarty International Center's 'Global Health Matters' Newsletter Available Online

NIH Fogarty International Center: Global Health Matters
The most recent issue of the Fogarty International Center’s newsletter contains various articles addressing global health issues, including a call for “applications for projects in eight African countries in the next phase of [the center’s] efforts to advance research capacity and strengthen the continent’s health workforce,” and an opinion piece by Fogarty Director Roger I. Glass on the formation of a new body, called the Coalition for African Research and Innovation (CARI) (January/February 2018).

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