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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

More Than 100 Biotech Company Leaders Warn Trump Administration's Travel Ban Could Hurt U.S. Leadership In Drug Research

The Hill: Drug researchers warn Trump’s travel ban will hurt anti-disease work
“More than 100 leaders in the biotech community warned President Trump that his travel ban could deeply damage U.S. leadership in the development of new medicines. In a letter published in Nature Biotech, a top scientific journal, founders and leaders of biotechnology companies expressed ‘deep concern and opposition’ to the travel ban, which bars citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States…” (Hellmann, 2/7).

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Gates Foundation Funding For Indian Immunization Program Ending; Health Ministry To Fund Group Moving Forward, Official Says

Reuters: India scraps funding ties with Gates Foundation on immunization
“A group backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that works on India’s immunization program will now be funded by the health ministry, a government official said, a move in part prompted by fears foreign donors could influence policy making. … The Gates Foundation has for years funded the Immunization Technical Support Unit (ITSU), which provides strategy and monitoring advice for New Delhi’s massive immunization program that covers about 27 million infants each year. … A spokeswoman for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) said its grant for the ITSU ends this month…” (Kalra, 2/8).

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Gates Foundation Pneumonia Director Discusses India's Child Immunization Program In Economic Times Interview

Economic Times: Gates foundation interested in preventing infectious diseases: Keith Klugman, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
“India is expected to roll out Pfizer’s 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), Prevnar13, as part of its universal immunization program this year. The vaccine, procured from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) at $3.2-3.3 (Rs218-225) per dose, can prevent over half of pneumonia-related deaths in India, according to Keith Klugman, director for pneumonia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Klugman speaks to ET Pharma about how the government can succeed in combating pneumonia and related threats of antibiotic resistance with this launch…” (2/7).

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Huffington Post Highlights Melinda Gates's Essay On Empowering Women By Improving Contraceptive Access

Huffington Post: Melinda Gates Wrote A Powerful Essay On How Birth Control Empowers Women
” ‘Like most women I know, I have used contraceptives for many years.’ That’s how business woman and philanthropist Melinda Gates began her recent essay on the importance of birth control. Published in National Geographic, Gates described witnessing the impact that accessible contraceptives can have to women across the globe…” (Vagianos, 2/7).

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Haitian Government, U.N., Partner Organizations Launch 2-Year, $291M Plan To Save Lives, Improve Resiliency

U.N. News Centre: Haitian Government, U.N., and partners launch two-year plan aimed at saving lives, building resilience
“The United Nations together with relief organizations in Haiti have launched a two-year, $291 million response plan with the government to reach more than 2.4 million people across the island that was struck by a devastating hurricane last October. … Under the plan, humanitarian interventions with a focus on improving access to lifesaving services to those affected by Hurricane Matthew, cholera, and other diseases, as well as on protecting the most vulnerable, will be scaled up. At the same time, actions to promote resilience and access to durable solutions will be implemented…” (2/7).

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Fear Of Zika Wanes In Recife, Brazil, But Affected Families Feel 'Lasting Harm,' Washington Post Reports

Washington Post: The panic is over at Zika’s epicenter. But for many, the struggle has just begun.
“…A year after U.N. health officials declared Zika a global emergency, the city that produced some of the outbreak’s most terrifying and indelible images of badly deformed infants feels like a place that has mostly moved on. But not everyone [in Recife, Brazil,] has bounced back so fast. Not the parents of the babies in those heartbreaking photographs. … Today those families are like the survivors of a natural disaster. Though Zika scared a lot of people, its lasting harm fell on a relative few…” (Lopes/Miroff, 2/7).

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Global Health, Development Community Remembers Hans Rosling, Dead At Age 68 Of Pancreatic Cancer

Foreign Policy: Hans Rosling, Who Dreamed of a ‘Fact-Based Worldview,’ Passes Away
“‘Having the data is not enough. I have to show it in ways people enjoy and understand.’ So said Hans Rosling, the Swedish physician, epidemiologist, and statistics expert who died on Tuesday at the age of 68 from pancreatic cancer. After roughly two decades studying hunger in Africa, he became a professor at the Karolinska Institute — a medically focused university in Sweden — and then the founder of data visualization site Gapminder. He was dedicated to bringing people facts in a way that seemed compelling and understandable to them…” (Tamkin, 2/7).

The Guardian: Hans Rosling, statistician and development champion, dies aged 68
“…A professor of international health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, Rosling liked to call himself an ‘edutainer.’ A talented presenter, whose signature animated data visualizations have featured in dozens of film clips, the statistician used humor and often unlikely objects such as children’s toys, cardboard boxes, and teacups to liven up data on wealth, inequality, and population…” (McVeigh, 2/8).

The Guardian: ‘A big-hearted optimist’: Hans Rosling tributes pour in on social media
“…David Nabarro, formerly the U.N.’s special envoy for Ebola and now among the final three contenders to lead the World Health Organization, liaised with Rosling in Monrovia when the statistician was working with the Liberian government on its emergency response to the disease in 2014. He recalled that Rosling ‘changed the way we all conceive of people’s health’…” (Nelson, 2/8).

Quartz: Hans Rosling: The Swedish physician who made statistics come alive has died
“…Once a licensed physician, Rosling studied the konzo epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo during his graduate studies. He has since made global health the focus of his work, and his foundation provides free tools to teachers and development professionals” (Quito, 2/7).

Washington Post: Remembering Hans Rosling, the visualization pioneer who made data dance
“…The loss of Rosling hurts especially in this moment, as politicians and media outlets wrestle over what’s fake and what’s real. Above all Rosling was an advocate for a ‘fact-based worldview,’ one which his family says they’ll carry on at the foundation he started…” (Ingraham, 2/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Data Transparency, Accountability 'Vital' To Addressing Global Health Threats

Huffington Post: Greater Transparency Called for in Global Health Security
Jonathan D. Quick, senior fellow at Management Science for Health (MSH)

“No More Epidemics is calling on all countries to publish their completed assessments of national capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to epidemic threats, known as the Joint External Evaluation (JEE). … Unless these documents are made public it will be impossible for civil society to either hold governments accountable for their obligations under the International Health Regulations (IHR), or to support governments in their compliance efforts. … The JEE and roadmap processes are critical tools for civil society to use in developing appropriate and adequate programming to help countries close health systems gaps and become IHR-compliant. Transparency and accountability are vital in addressing global health threats. No More Epidemics urges all countries carrying out their Joint External Evaluations to make the results publicly available and for these to be made available on the World Health Organization’s Strategic Partnership Portal, the online repository for tracking funding, donor profiles, and country-level data” (2/7).

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Global Financing Facility Supports Partnerships, Country-Driven Efforts To Improve Maternal, Child Health

Devex: Opinion: Financing healthy futures to meet the SDGs
Mariam Claeson, director of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman Every Child

“…Many of the world’s poorest countries, with many dollars from donors, have made progress toward improving the health of their people in recent decades. But their efforts are unprepared for today and for the future without a more coordinated — and country-driven — effort to reach the communities in greatest need with high-impact health interventions. … Many countries are beginning to prepare for a future in which they must increasingly finance the health demands of their people, especially those with the greatest needs. The GFF helps provide smart, scaled, and sustained funding by supporting countries to identify and prioritize high-impact interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition, through approaches that ensure more equitable access. It reduces the financial gap through a combination of domestic resources, funds from donors aligning their investments, private sector financing and concessional lending, with the GFF Trust Fund linked to World Bank financing. … With leadership and partnerships like these, countries will make a much greater impact on the lives of their most vulnerable citizens. Together, we can go further, faster and finance much healthier futures…” (2/8).

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Development Programs Should Focus On 'Creating Prosperity' Rather Than 'Alleviating Poverty'

The Guardian: Obsession with ending poverty is where development is going wrong
Efosa Ojomo, research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation

“How can we alleviate extreme poverty? … Because poverty almost always shows itself as a lack of resources in poor communities — food, safe water, sanitation, education, health care — it’s reasonable to theorize that poverty is a resource problem. … The eradication of poverty is not the same as the creation of prosperity. … In fact, creating prosperity is a process problem, not a resource problem. A process is the way people use their resources. … In order to create prosperity, development practitioners and programs such as the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] must focus on fostering processes. This focus on processes leads to developing innovations that people can pull into their lives to help them make progress. … What might happen if the SDGs, and the whole development community stopped treating development as a resource problem and began treating it as the process problem it is. And most importantly, how might the development community be transformed if we simply asked — how can we best create prosperity in poor countries?” (2/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Questions Whether USAID, Development Policy Will Be Elevated In Trump Administration

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Maybe the Trump Administration Just Elevated Development Policy, or Maybe Not
Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at CGD, discusses the recent executive order that included White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon on the National Security Council (NSC) and also named the USAID administrator as a regular member of the NSC’s deputies committee. Morris writes, “[D]ivining the degree to which this represents an early elevation of USAID’s role in the new administration’s architecture remains difficult. … In the end, whether this move represents an elevation, demotion, or nothing at all will depend on practice and people” (2/7).

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Innovators Test Older Approaches For Development Of New Malaria Vaccine

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Innovation: Everything Old is New Again
Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the work of Miguel Prudencio and his colleagues at Lisbon’s Instituto de Medicina Molecular, who are attempting to use an older approach to vaccine development and apply it to malaria. The researchers aim to expose people to a version of malaria that causes disease in animals but does not cause serious symptoms in humans, thereby theoretically allowing humans to develop immunity to the more dangerous human variety (2/7).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash contains an article about the Global Fund’s Regional Artemisinin Initiative (RAI), a program aimed at addressing drug-resistant malaria in the Greater Mekong region; a video on RAI’s efforts to eliminate malaria and overcome artemisinin resistance in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam; and an article on the Catholic Relief Services’ newly launched CRuSh Malaria campaign in Niger (2/8).

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