KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Examine Implications Of Mexico City Policy Reinstatement On Women's Health Services In Kenya

The Star: Expect a rise in backstreet abortions, health experts warn
“…The Mexico City Policy requires that all foreign organizations that receive U.S. government funding neither perform nor speak about abortion. This means that NGOs must forfeit all U.S. government aid if they so much as tell a woman abortion is a legal option in her country. Reproductive health experts and NGOs that provide these services say the order will cripple family planning services and cause an increase in backstreet abortions and deaths from such abortions, in Kenya and many other African countries. The U.S. government is the biggest funder of reproductive health services in Sub- Saharan Africa…” (Michengi, 2/6).

UPI: Health clinics already hit by ‘catastrophic’ global gag rule on abortion
“As the U.S. presidential election campaign was unfolding on the other side of the world, one of the many markets selling cheap suitcases and clothing in the Eastleigh neighborhood of Little Somalia, in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, decided to rebrand itself The Donald Trump Business Centre. Now, days into its namesake’s presidency, the aspirational marketplace finds itself next to a health clinic that will lose vital funding as a result of a recent Trump policy on family planning. Due to the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy — or the Global Gag Rule — which cuts U.S. aid to charities that provide, support, or discuss abortion, the Marie Stopes International Eastleigh clinic can no longer accept the U.S. government money it was going to use to extend its free contraceptive services to thousands of women in rural areas…” (McNeish, 2/3).

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WHO Releases New Guidelines On Cancer Diagnosis, Marks World Cancer Day

AFP Relax News: Cancer experts urge greater focus on prevention
“Cancer is not an inescapable fate. But while prevention can save millions of lives much more cheaply than treatment, it remains an underfunded, much-neglected weapon in the anti-cancer arsenal, experts say. Some 14 million new cancers are diagnosed each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) — a number expected to swell to 21 million by 2030. As the global cost of treatment skyrockets, measures to prevent people [from] getting cancer in the first place are an increasingly important focus in seeking to limit the expected explosion. … On Friday, the WHO unveiled new global guidelines, seeking to place more emphasis on early cancer diagnosis and treatment…” (2/3).

International Business Times: World Cancer Day 2017: Theme and facts about one of the world’s deadliest diseases
“…On the eve of World Cancer Day, the [WHO] has issued new guidance to help health services improve their diagnosis capacities to improve the chances of survival for people living with cancer. The report lists three steps that need to be taken for early diagnosis of cancer to take place: improving public awareness of different cancer symptoms and making sure people turn to doctors when they identify these symptoms, equipping health services and training health workers so they can conduct accurate and timely diagnostics, and finally making sure people living with cancer can access safe and effective treatment without too many financial barriers…” (Surugue, 2/3).

Reuters: To save lives, WHO wants global focus on catching cancer early
“Late diagnosis of cancer leads to millions of people enduring needless suffering and premature death, and efforts to catch the disease earlier must be stepped up, the World Health Organization said on Friday. In a report launched ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4, the WHO said it wanted to improve chances of survival for cancer patients by ensuring health services focus on diagnosing and treating the disease earlier…” (Kelland, 2/3).

U.N. News Centre: Early cancer diagnosis, better trained medics can save lives and money — U.N.
“…New guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) … tries to inform the public about the different symptoms of cancer so that they can get care and to provide safe and effective treatment. … Each year, 8.8 million people die from cancer, mostly in low- and middle-income countries, according to WHO figures. The figure is so high that [it] accounts for two and a half times more people killed than those who die from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. It is estimated that by 2030, more than two-thirds of all cancer-related deaths will be in developing countries…” (2/3).

Xinhua News: WHO calls for early cancer diagnosis
“…According to WHO’s new guide to cancer early diagnosis, all countries can take steps to improve early diagnosis of cancer. Steps to early diagnosis include improving public awareness of different cancer symptoms, encouraging people to seek care, and investing in strengthening and equipping health services. WHO said challenges are clearly greater in low- and middle-income countries, which have lower abilities to provide access to effective diagnostic services. WHO encouraged these countries to prioritize basic, high-impact and low-cost cancer diagnosis and treatment services. The organization also recommended reducing the need for people to pay for care out of their own pockets, which prevents many from seeking help in the first place” (2/3).

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Vietnam Government To Release Mosquitoes With Wolbachia Bacteria In Effort To Control Dengue

Xinhua News: Vietnam to release anti-dengue mosquitoes into wild
“[The] Vietnamese Ministry of Health (MoH) has planned to release mosquitoes with Wolbachia bacteria, a natural bacterium which is safe for human[s], into [the] wild [in] March 2017 as part of the project to eliminate dengue in Vietnam. The aim of the program is to spread Wolbachia into wild mosquito population[s] to reduce the ability of transmitting [the] diseases of these mosquitoes…” (2/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health Dean Outlines 10 Public Health 'Truths' Trump Administration Should Consider

The Baltimore Sun: 10 public health truths for Trump
Michael J. Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“…We should let evidence — not politics — direct actions to benefit everyone in our country. With this in mind, I offer 10 public health truths for the new administration: 1. The health of societies is the responsibility of political leaders as well as individuals. … 2. Inequities are poisonous and lead to resentment, unrest, and poor health outcomes. … 3. Health, the environment, and economic disparities are intertwined. … 4. Access to quality health care is a human right. … 5. Health care costs in the U.S. must be contained. … 6. The current health care system is inefficient. … 7. Violence is a public health issue. … 8. Vaccines save lives and money, and they do not cause autism. … 9. Global health is our health. … 10. Climate change must be addressed…” (2/2).

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Letter To Editor, Opinion Piece Discuss Potential Impact Of Mexico City Policy On Global Women's Health

New York Times: The Global Gag Rule
Adrienne Germaine, president emerita of the International Women’s Health Coalition

“…President Trump’s executive order reimposing and widening the ‘global gag rule’ violates not only women’s right to health but also their right to life. … In 1994, with strong American leadership, 179 governments recognized that tens of thousands of women die and millions more suffer lifelong disability and infertility from unsafe abortions every year worldwide. These governments agreed to make sex education and reproductive health care, including safe legal abortion, available to women and adolescents. They have reaffirmed that agreement at the United Nations virtually every year since, and all but three or four countries have liberalized their reproductive health laws and policies, paving the way for lifesaving services. Our new government’s anti-life stance jeopardizes this progress and makes sense only to those who devalue women” (2/6).

The Conversation: How Trump’s “Gag Rule” On Abortion Funds Will Lead To More Abortions
Patricia Schwerdtle, lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery in the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University

“…[The reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City Policy is] a global health issue that has serious implications for the most vulnerable populations — millions of men, women, and children in developing countries. … Reducing access to family planning services leads to more unplanned pregnancies, more unsafe abortions, and more maternal death. … [I]t will have a huge impact on women in developing countries … The global gag rule actually increases abortion demand and has consequences for a range of other health issues such as HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, and child health and well-being. … As a global community, we have a duty to expand access to family planning for people worldwide, particularly to the most vulnerable” (1/26).

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Melinda Gates Discusses Need For Progress Toward Expanding Global Access To Family Planning

National Geographic: Opinion: Want to Empower Women Worldwide? Give Them Access to Contraceptives
Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…When women are able to plan their pregnancies around their goals for themselves and their families, they are also better able to finish their education, earn an income, and fully participate in their communities. … In communities where women have access to contraceptives, children stay in school longer, and entire families are healthier, wealthier, and far better equipped to break the cycle of poverty. For all of these reasons, in 2012, I co-chaired a summit that brought leaders from around the world together around the goal of expanding … access to contraceptives for the women who desperately want and need them. The global partnership, called Family Planning 2020, pledged to get 120 million more women access to contraceptives by the year 2020. It was an ambitious but achievable goal … Unfortunately, our progress has not yet lived up to our ambition. We are now more than halfway to the 2020 deadline, but not yet on track to reach 120 million women by the promised date. … In 2012, we made a promise to women around the world. Our actions over the next three years will decide whether we keep it” (2/3).

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Trump Administration, Governments Of Developing Countries Must Prioritize Malaria Efforts

Washington Post: Malaria is getting bigger and badder — and we’re not ready for it
Robert Gebelhoff, assistant editor of the Washington Post’s In Theory

“…Thanks to decades of using insecticides and drugs to stave [off] the mosquito-borne disease, malaria has slowly been evolving to get around our offenses. Without any effective vaccine in place, we’re in desperate need of new tools to fight it. … [T]he situation has only gotten worse, both in terms of prevention and treatment. A group of researchers published a paper earlier this week detailing the emergence of malaria parasites in western Cambodia, southern Laos, and northeastern Thailand that are resistant to two commonly used treatment drugs, artemisinin and its partner drug piperaquine. What’s more, the parasites appear to be genetically mutated in such a way that makes them more capable of moving from one person to another. … [M]osquitoes have also slowly become resistant to the insecticides commonly used in bed nets throughout the developing world. One study published this week, which examined mosquitoes across the continent of Africa, warns of widespread resistance to pyrethroids — the primary insecticide used in malaria prevention. … Resistant malaria needs to be a high priority for the new administration and governments in the developing world. With the proper resources and attention, we might be able to stave off catastrophe” (2/3).

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Civil Society Involvement Critical To TB Efforts, Addressing Stigma

The Guardian: Where is civil society in the fight against TB?
Sophie Cousins, health writer

“…[W]hy does [TB] not get the attention it warrants? Why is there so much stigma around TB? And where is the civil society movement that we saw with AIDS? When you contrast the extent of social mobilization around HIV/AIDS, the lack of civil society involvement in TB is striking. … TB stigma is driven by a range of factors, from fear of infection to the belief that the disease is associated with witchcraft. It’s also associated closely with factors that can themselves create stigma — from HIV, to poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, refugee status, homelessness, and prison history. … Stigma can … be addressed by creating and expanding channels for the early detection of the disease. If TB testing is normalized and patients can begin the correct treatment without delay, they can quickly become non-infectious. Looking ahead, we know what needs to be done. We need to invest in research and development; people need greater access to diagnostics, particularly for drug-resistance, and better treatments that are less toxic and more effective; and we need the international community to fund the fight against the disease fully. We also urgently need a civil society movement that will hold governments, agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, and other organisations to account” (2/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

President Trump's Ambassador To U.N. Appointee, Potential Cuts To U.N. Funding Could Impact Women's, LGBTQ Rights

Rewire: How Nikki Haley’s Ambassador Appointment Threatens the Spirit and Intent of the U.N.
Gillian Kane, senior policy adviser for Ipas, discusses President Trump’s appointment of Nikki Haley as ambassador to the U.N., describing her stance on abortion and what it could mean for U.S. involvement in global family planning efforts. Kane also discusses the implications of any cuts to U.S. funding for the U.N. for women’s, children’s, and LGBTQ rights (2/3).

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WHO, PAHO Staff Discuss Experiences Controlling Zika Virus

WHO: Zika: Then, now, and tomorrow
This WHO feature includes articles by Enrique Vazquez, coordinator for communicable diseases and health analysis at PAHO/WHO Brazil, and Nedret Emiroglu, director of health emergencies and communicable diseases at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, on their experiences preparing for and managing the Zika virus in their regions (February 2017).

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New Report Discusses Role Of, Recommendations For Science, Technology, Innovation At USAID

The Chicago Council: Guest Commentary: The Rise Of Science, Technology, And Innovation At USAID
Julie Howard, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and dean for international studies and programs at Michigan State University, discusses recommendations from a new report on the role of science, technology, innovations, and partnerships at USAID, noting that the report “concludes that increasing USAID’s focus on applying science, technology, and innovation to meet tough challenges is critical to improving development outcomes around the world” (2/3).

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