KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. To Seek U.N. Security Council Vote On Resolution Calling For Venezuelan Government To Allow Humanitarian Aid; U.N. Official Cites Escalating Tensions

Associated Press: U.S. seeks vote on U.N. resolution to allow aid into Venezuela
“U.S. envoy Elliott Abrams said Tuesday the Trump administration will seek a U.N. Security Council vote this week on a resolution calling for Venezuela’s government to let in humanitarian aid and to hold free elections, and then sparred with Russia over possible U.S. military intervention in the politically divided country…” (Lederer, 2/26).

U.N. News: ‘Protracted crisis’ in Venezuela leads to ‘alarming escalation of tensions’: U.N. political chief
“The ‘protracted crisis’ in Venezuela has led to an ‘alarming escalation of tensions,’ Rosemary DiCarlo, the U.N.’s political and peacebuilding chief, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. She said that the ‘grim reality’ facing the country, according to available information, showed a deteriorating economy, with citizens dying of preventable causes, and 3.4 million Venezuelans so far, choosing to leave, due to conditions at home…” (2/26).

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Pledging Conference Raises $2.6B For Humanitarian Efforts In Yemen; More Than Half Of Funding From Countries Involved In War

The Guardian: More than half of $2.6bn aid to Yemen pledged by countries involved in war
“More than half of $2.6bn (£1.9bn) in donations made at a special one-day conference to ease the humanitarian crisis in Yemen were pledged by countries that are either fighting in the civil war or selling arms to those undertaking the fighting. The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres nevertheless hailed the money raised and the news that talks had led to the U.N. finally gaining access to a grains facility near Hodeidah port that contains enough supplies to feed more than 3m people for a month…” (Wintour, 2/26).

New York Times: U.N. Seeks $4 Billion to Save Millions from Famine in Yemen
“…Access to the warehouse, the Red Sea Mills near the port of Hudaydah, where 51,000 tons of grain had been stranded since September, came as the United Nations appealed for [more than] $4 billion from international donors to save millions in Yemen from starvation. Officials with the World Food Programme, the United Nations anti-hunger agency, crossed the front line to enter the Red Sea Mills and inspect the grain, finding it largely intact. The mission eased fears that the stockpile, which could feed 3.7 million people for a month, could spoil and go to waste…” (Walsh/Cumming-Bruce, 2/26).

U.N. News: With 10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine,’ donors pledge $2.6 billion
“…Highlighting the impact on the youngest Yemenis, the U.N. chief noted that ‘children did not start the war in Yemen, but they are paying the highest price. Some 360,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, fighting for their lives every day. One credible report puts the number of children under-five who have died of starvation, at more than 80,000.’ Conference co-host Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margaret Walstrom described a similarly dire situation in the country, which was already one of the poorest in the world before violence cut desperately needed imports of food, fuel, and medicine…’ (2/26).

Additional coverage of humanitarian efforts in Yemen is available from Agence France-Presse, Al Jazeera, and IRIN.

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Estimated 11.7M Syrians Will Require Humanitarian Aid In 2019, U.N. Official Says

U.N. News: Syria still suffering ‘staggering levels’ of humanitarian need, Security Council hears
“‘Staggering levels’ of humanitarian need persist throughout Syria, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told Security Council members on Tuesday. Speaking on behalf of U.N. Emergency Relief Chief Mark Lowcock, Reena Ghelani, OCHA’s director for operations and advocacy, said that this year, an estimated 11.7 million people will require life-saving humanitarian assistance across the country…” (2/26).

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JHSPH Expert Discusses Politicization Of Humanitarian Aid In NPR Interview

NPR: The Politics Of Humanitarian Aid
“Dr. Paul Spiegel of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health tells NPR’s Michel Martin how humanitarian aid has been used — or withheld — for political purposes in past conflicts…” (2/23).

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Devex, 'What Went Wrong' Citizen Journalist Project Explore Perspectives On 'Failed Aid'

Devex: What Went Wrong? Perspectives on Failed Aid
“Global development organizations jump at the opportunity to showcase their best projects, to point to the lives they have improved, to the positive change they have brought about through months — or years — of hard work in communities around the world. And rightly so. But when it comes to discussing impact and outcomes, the aid industry can be less inclined to ask a simple, but crucial, question about projects that didn’t go well … ‘What Went Wrong?’ is a citizen journalism project that focuses a critical lens on failed foreign aid interventions — whether they are stalled, unfinished, broken, insufficient, unusable, or otherwise unwanted. … Devex has collaborated with the team behind ‘What Went Wrong?’ to produce six investigative stories exploring why some of these projects failed to deliver. These six articles aim to help shed light on the wide array of reasons aid projects go off track, while showing the potential benefits of putting people at the center of the conversation about what works and what doesn’t…” (February 2019).

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WHO Calls For Additional Donor Funding For DRC Ebola Response; MSF Suspends Katwa Clinic Operations After Attack

CIDRAP News: MSF suspends work at Katwa Ebola center as WHO seeks more support
“Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said [Tuesday] that it has suspended all activities at the Ebola treatment center in Katwa, following a violent attack over the weekend, severely limiting access to care in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) main hot spot. And in other key developments, the DRC’s health ministry reported three more cases, and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said $148 million is urgently needed to support the Ebola response in the DRC…” (Schnirring, 2/26).

The Telegraph: WHO calls for more money in fight against Ebola as violence hampers response once again
“…Dr. Tedros urged international donors to give more money. ‘No country or partner can face this deadly virus alone. The impact on public health and the economic ramifications can expand far beyond one country or continent. We promise we won’t relent until we’ve stopped this outbreak. But beating Ebola, wherever it may be, is expensive. It requires all of us to work together,’ he said” (Gulland, 2/26).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from the San Diego Union-Tribune and Xinhua News.

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New E.U. Report Warns Of Rising Antimicrobial Resistance Among Zoonotic Bacteria

CIDRAP News: Europe highlights rising resistance in zoonotic bacteria
“A European report [released Tuesday] on antimicrobial resistance in bacteria that can be transmitted between animals and people shows high levels of resistance to drugs commonly used to treat certain foodborne illnesses, along with worrisome levels of multidrug resistance…” (Dall, 2/26).

EURACTIV.com: Report from two E.U. agencies confirms superbugs as a rising threat
“…Data from humans, pigs, and calves under one year of age submitted by the E.U. member states on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was collected and jointly analyzed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), who released the final report on Tuesday (26 February). [Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)] is a deadly threat that claims 33,000 lives in the E.U. every year, also responsible for an annual economic loss estimated at around €1.5 billion, and it is expected to become a bigger killer than cancer by 2050…” (Fortuna, 2/26).

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Nearly Half Of All Childhood Cancer Cases Go Undiagnosed, Untreated, Lancet Oncology Study Estimates

The Guardian: Nearly half of all children with cancer go undiagnosed and untreated
“Almost half of children with cancer are going undiagnosed and untreated, according to a new global study. The research suggests that the situation depends on location: while only 3% of childhood cancer cases in Western Europe and North America are thought to have been missed in 2015, the proportion rose to an estimated 49% in South Asia and 57% in Western Africa…” (Davis, 2/26).

HealthDay News: Almost Half of Global Cases of Childhood Cancer Go Undiagnosed
“…The study, published Feb. 26 in The Lancet Oncology, found records of 224,000 childhood cancer diagnoses worldwide in 2015. Researchers estimated the actual number at 397,000. … If no improvements are made, about 2.9 million of 6.7 million new childhood cancer cases worldwide will go undiagnosed between 2015 and 2030, according to the report…” (Preidt, 2/26).

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More News In Global Health

ABC News: A documentary about menstruation won an Oscar. Here’s what the director of ‘Period. End of Sentence.’ wants to happen next (Kindelan, 2/26).

CBC News: Tuberculosis is not just a ‘disease of the past,’ says Doctors Without Borders (2/26).

CIDRAP News: WHO says 2 events boosted Saudi hospital MERS outbreak (Soucheray, 2/26).

Devex: The unexpected frontline detectors of poor vision (Root, 2/27).

Forbes: As Expected The U.N. Delays Voting On Cannabis (Somerset, 2/26).

The Guardian: Vaccine skepticism grows in line with rise of populism — study (Boseley, 2/25).

NPR: From Trailers To Tents: What Happens To Leftover Aid Supplies? (Lu, 2/26).

VOA News: U.N., ICRC Address Sexual, Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Situations (Schlein, 2/25).

WIRED: Polio Is Nearly Wiped Out — Unless Some Lab Tech Screws Up (Scoles, 2/26).

Xinhua News: Dengue cases in Brazil rise 149 pct in 2019 (2/27).

Xinhua News: WHO condemns violence against health workers in Iraq (2/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Leadership Essential To Ebola Response, Preventing Other Global Pandemics

USA TODAY: America must recognize and fight the real emergency of Ebola before it’s too late
Vanessa Kerry, physician and founder of Seed Global Health, and John Kerry, former U.S. Secretary of State

“Much has been written about a politically contrived ’emergency declaration’ at our southern border, but too little is being reported about a potent, critical emergency that respects no borders — an undeclared emergency demanding urgent attention: the killer infectious disease Ebola. … The trajectory is eerily reminiscent of the early months of the 2014 crisis. We can stop it. But we won’t succeed if we don’t demand American leadership from start to finish. … The right thing to do is also the smart thing to do. Investments in health are proven to promote better governance, decrease corruption, and improve performance on the human development index. … We’re staring at a global tinderbox, and pandemic diseases are a deadly match strike away from conflagration. We pay now or we pay later — we pay for prevention, or we pay to mitigate the aftermath. It’s not too late to stop Ebola, but we can’t end a crisis we’re unwilling to acknowledge. Global pandemics are the real ‘caravans’ threatening to defy borders and destroy lives. They can’t be stopped with angry tweets, only with American leadership” (2/26).

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Discussions On Meeting Humanitarian Needs Must Remain Separate From Those Of Denuclearization In U.S., North Korea Negotiations

The Hill: With second North Korea summit, let’s not overlook the case for kindness
Matthew Ellingson, director of relief and humanitarian affairs at Food for the Hungry

“While increased attention to denuclearizing North Korea rightly must be pursued, and applauded, as we approach a second meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-Un, withholding or withdrawing much-needed humanitarian assistance cannot become a pawn in political negotiations. … Last June’s historic agreement between Trump and Kim gave me a glimmer of hope. Here was a once-in-a-70-year opportunity to diffuse this longstanding conflict; optimism was on the rise in many circles. Yet, since June, the U.S. government’s international sanctions to thwart nuclear and ballistic missile development also have impacted vital shipments of humanitarian equipment to the DPRK. As a result, transfers of medical instruments, agricultural tools, and solar panels that generate energy for things such as clean drinking water have been delayed or stopped. In a promising recent development, the State Department indicated it once again will allow Americans to travel to North Korea to conduct humanitarian work, but many more hurdles remain. International nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are leaving because of the nearly impossible task of effectively delivering humanitarian aid. … As we approach the Hanoi summit, our country … must separate critical humanitarian needs in the DPRK from the goal of denuclearization. The North Korean people are not the enemy, and our country must be careful not to withhold kindness and exacerbate their struggle” (2/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Profiles New Leadership, Members Of 116th Congress's House Appropriations Subcommittee On Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: 116th Congress: Three new Democrats, one new Republican bring a range of inspirations to LHHS House Appropriations Subcommittee
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” profiles four new members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, which overseas spending at HHS agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. New members include Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), and Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) (2/26).

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World Bank Evaluation Explores Use Of Container-Based Sanitation As Emerging Solution For Underserved Populations

IISD’s “SDG Knowledge Hub”: World Bank Evaluates Container-based Sanitation to Reach Unserved Populations
Delia Paul, thematic expert for poverty reduction, rights, and governance at IISD, discusses findings from a World Bank evaluation and blog post on container-based sanitation (CBS) as an emerging approach to sanitation. Paul writes, “The report … suggests that CBS be accepted as part of a suite of approaches to city-wide inclusive sanitation (CWIS), given the growth of informal settlements in many parts of the world and the need to provide sanitation services (SDG target 6.2) for all inhabitants. … It recommends that governments adopt conducive policy and regulatory environments to foster CBS, where appropriate, and explore ways to ensure that CBS services are sustainably financed” (2/26).

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Chicago Council Fellow Explores Tensions, Linkages Between Food, Water SDGs

Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Uncharted Waters: Are the Sustainable Development Goals for Water and Food Working Against One Another?
As part of a new Chicago Council blog series titled “Uncharted Waters,” Michael Tiboris, fellow for global water at the Chicago Council, explores the challenges of food security and water scarcity and discusses whether the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for food and water are working against one another. Tiboris writes, “This is a critical moment for global food security and water security. Even if there are inherent tensions in food and water SDGs … they also have important synergies. Failure to investigate these interlinkages and mutually exploit them risks a world which is both hungrier and thirstier” (2/26).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Announces Nearly $24M In Additional Humanitarian Assistance To Yemen

U.S. Department of State: United States Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance to the People of Yemen
“[On Tuesday], the United States announced nearly $24 million in additional emergency aid to the people of Yemen, who face the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. This funding brings the total humanitarian assistance provided by the U.S. Government for the Yemen response to nearly $721 million since October 2017. … The new funding will purchase emergency shelter and relief items, among other supplies, for displaced Yemenis and refugees who are living in Yemen, and support critical coordination and logistics services to ensure aid continues to reach the most vulnerable. This funding complements ongoing U.S.-funded humanitarian assistance activities that reach nearly eight million people each month with health care, safe drinking water, treatment for malnourished children, food, shelter, hygiene kits, and medical supplies to fight the spread of disease…” (2/26).

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