KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Rewire.News Examines House Democrats, Rep. Lowey's Actions On Mexico City Policy

Rewire.News: Democrats Take Aim at Trump’s Global Gag Rule in Bill to Reopen the Federal Government
“Included among the roughly 1,000 pages of text of the spending bill Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed last week to re-open the federal government was language to repeal parts of the Trump administration’s ‘global gag rule.’ … With little likelihood that [House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita] Lowey’s original spending bill will make it through the Republican-majority U.S. Senate or the White House, Democrats are instead aiming to pass a series of shorter appropriations bills that fund individual agencies. … ‘Congresswoman Lowey will absolutely continue to fight for a permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule, and will introduce legislation to do just that — the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act — in the next few weeks,’ [a Lowey] spokesperson said…” (Boguhn, 1/9).

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Practice Of Banishing Menstruating Women Continues In Nepal Despite Being Outlawed

Foreign Policy: In Nepal, Tradition Is Killing Women
“…In Nepal’s predominantly agrarian communities, women are banished from their homes every month when they get their periods. Many are relegated to menstruation huts or sheds that families … have specifically built for their daughters or daughters-in-law; many other women are sent to adjoining barns, where they sleep among stinking cows, goats, and buffalo. This ancient Hindu practice is called chhaupadi, and it has been in place for hundreds of years in Nepal, as well as in parts of India and Bangladesh. … Nepal’s parliament criminalized chhaupadi in August 2017, in a law that was passed unanimously. … While women’s rights activists hailed the law as a step in the right direction, they were quick to point out that much more than a law would be needed to rid the country of the deep-rooted practice. … Sadly, they were right…” (Cousins, 1/6).

New York Times: Woman and 2 Children Die in Nepal Menstruation Hut
“When Amba Bohara’s period came this week, she followed a familiar routine in western Nepal. Considered impure in her village because she was menstruating, Ms. Bohara barricaded herself in a tiny hut, built a fire and braced for an icy winter night with her two young children. By Wednesday morning, all three were dead. … Ms. Bohara and her children were the latest victims of a centuries-old tradition of banishing menstruating women and girls from their family homes. Though Nepal criminalized the practice last year, many villages in the country continue to follow the taboo, known as chhaupadi in Nepali…” (Sharma/Schultz, 1/9).

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Guardian Podcast Examines El Salvador's Abortion Laws, Case Of Imelda Cortez

The Guardian: On trial: El Salvador’s abortion ban
“The shocking case of Imelda Cortez has put El Salvador’s strict abortion laws in the spotlight. [In this ‘Today in Focus’ podcast, h]uman rights lawyer Paula Avila-Guillen and reporter Nina Lakhani describe how a surprise verdict has given fresh hope to women in El Salvador…” (Rakusen et al., 1/9).

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Reports Document Coca-Cola's Influence Over China's Obesity, Nutrition Policies

Gizmodo: Report: Coca-Cola Is Quietly Influencing China’s Obesity Policy — and Shifting Blame From Itself
“Soft drink companies have fought tooth and nail to hold onto their customers, even as public health experts and governments have tried to get people to cut down on the sugary products they make. But a new investigative report in the BMJ highlights just how far Coca-Cola in particular has gone to protect its profits across the globe…” (Cara, 1/9).

The Guardian: Coca-Cola influences China’s obesity policy, BMJ report says
“…Susan Greenhalgh, a Harvard academic and China scholar, says Coca-Cola has exerted its influence since 1999 through a Chinese offshoot of an institute founded in the U.S. by the then Coca-Cola Vice President Alex Malaspina with substantial company funding. The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) has been heavily criticized in the U.S. and Europe for promoting exercise and downplaying the need for people to cut down on excessive sugary drinks…” (Boseley, 1/10).

New York Times: Research Details How Junk Food Companies Influence China’s Nutrition Policy
“…The findings, published Wednesday in The BMJ and the Journal of Public Health Policy, show how Coca-Cola and other multinational food companies, operating through a group called the International Life Sciences Institute, cultivated key Chinese officials in an effort to stave off the growing movement for food regulation and soda taxes that has been sweeping the west. … [I]n China, ILSI is so well-placed that it runs its operations from inside the government’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing. In fact, when asked to comment on the studies, the ministry emailed a statement not from a government official but from ILSI’s China director…” (Jacobs et al., 1/9).

The Telegraph: The real thing: how Coca-Cola shaped China’s obesity policy
“…Coca-Cola has long positioned its product as one which can be enjoyed as part of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ but that message has been diluted by growing concerns over sugar and the imposition of taxes on soft drinks around the world. … But Prof. Greenhalgh says that, via ILSI-China, the company has ‘cleverly maneuvered itself into a position of behind-the-scenes power that ensures that government policy to fight the growing obesity epidemic does not undermine its interests’…” (Gulland, 1/9).

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More News In Global Health

New Scientist: Exclusive: Cuba failed to report thousands of Zika virus cases in 2017 (Baraniuk, 1/8).

SciDev.Net: Fish protein wafers to ease acute malnutrition in children (Arkin, 1/10).

Sojourners: The Good News on Global Poverty (Taylor, February 2019).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Kenya says no schoolgirls being screened for FGM after backlash (Bhalla, 1/8).

U.N. News: Armed insurgency in north-east Nigeria ‘has created a humanitarian tragedy’ (1/9).

U.N. News: ‘We cannot lose momentum’ on the road to peace in Yemen, U.N. envoy warns (1/9).

Yahoo News Singapore: Dengue cases in Singapore rose by almost 20 percent in 2018 (1/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Clinicians, Medical Community Play Critical Role In Advocating To Stop Climate Change, Improving Health Of Climate Migrants

STAT: We’re providing medical care to a new type of migrant — the climate migrant
Ed Zuroweste, chief medical officer for the Migrant Clinicians Network and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

“…[W]e are beginning to see a new type of patient — climate migrants — who I fear we will be seeing more of in the years to come, especially as the Trump administration seems to be ignoring the effects of climate change. … Climate migrants aren’t made only by natural disasters. They’re made from a complex fabric of social, political, environmental, and economic factors that is torn when a climate-strengthened disaster appears, be it stronger hurricanes, rising sea levels, devastating droughts, or increased heat. Climate change is pushing people to move for their immediate or long-term health and well-being. … Health systems need to be flexible enough to serve climate migrants as they are forced from their homes. … We must reformulate our health systems to accommodate climate migrants … Now, more than ever, clinicians whose core values include helping improve the health of entire communities must work and advocate to stop climate change so they can help people avoid becoming climate migrants in the first place” (1/9).

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Tobacco Companies Should Help Smallholder Farmers Diversify, Work To Shift Own Expertise To More 'Reliable Markets'

Devex: Opinion: Can tobacco companies contribute to development outcomes?
Christopher Hirst, CEO of Palladium

“…While socially responsible investors move to divest from ‘sin’ products such as fossil fuels, weapons, and tobacco, the reality remains that 90 percent of tobacco is grown in low- and middle-income countries, where commercially viable alternatives for smallholders are scarce. … With the number of smokers declining in high- and upper-middle income countries, market demand for tobacco … appears to also be on the decline. … Do we focus our finite resources on helping the poorest of the poor move out of poverty, or do we prevent others from falling into poverty by getting ahead of future problems now? Companies have a role to play, as the sustainability of their business is inextricably linked to the social well-being of the ecosystems in which they operate. … I see an opportunity to help tobacco farmers diversify to safer and more sustainable crops, and for tobacco companies to shift their own expertise into more reliable markets. With a mind to inclusive growth, we can protect the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, transfer usable and valuable skills from aggregators and exporters, and invest in crops that create more net positive impact — because it’s both the right and the profitable thing to do, for everyone involved” (1/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends of Global Fight Releases Issue Brief Highlighting Role Of Civil Society In HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria Epidemics

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Backing Civil Society to End the AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Epidemics
“Friends of the Global Fight [released] an issue brief [Wednesday], ‘Backing Civil Society to End the AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Epidemics.’ This issue brief highlights the pivotal role in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria played by civil society — all those stakeholders who are neither government bodies nor private sector enterprises, such as NGOs, advocacy groups, and faith-based organizations…” (1/9).

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WHO/Europe Continues To Support Russian Federation's TB Prevention, Care Efforts

WHO Regional Office for Europe: Close collaboration yields progress on TB prevention and care in the Russian Federation
“For nearly two decades, WHO and the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation have collaborated closely to develop effective strategies for tuberculosis (TB) prevention and care. Through the High-level Working Group (HLWG) on TB established in 1999, more than 30 Russian Federation and international nongovernmental organizations have worked in partnership to make progress towards ending TB in the country. Over the years, the HLWG has engaged in a range of TB control activities and projects. … Today, WHO/Europe continues to support the Russian Federation in fully implementing the Tuberculosis Action Plan for the WHO European Region 2016-2020…” (1/9).

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IntraHealth International Experts Discuss Importance Of High-Quality Postabortion Care For Young People

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: Why Should Postabortion Care Be Youth-Friendly?
Mallory Michalak, 2018 UNC-IntraHealth summer fellow, speaks with Stembile Mugore, a midwife and public health professional at IntraHealth International, about the importance of postabortion care for young people and how to improve sexual and reproductive health services for this group (1/9).

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Study Examines Factors Contributing To 2017 Decline Of Dengue Incidence In Americas

Tropical Medicine & International Health: The Decline of Dengue in the Americas in 2017: Discussion of Multiple Hypotheses
Steven Ault, adjunct instructor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Maryland, and colleagues examine the decline in reported dengue cases in the Americas in 2017, writing, “Understanding the mechanism underlying dengue’s incidence and decline in the Americas is vital for public health planning. We aimed to provide plausible explanations for the decline in 2017.” The authors conclude, “Multifactorial events may have accounted for the decline in dengue seen in 2017. Differing elements might explain the reduction in dengue including elements of immunity, increased vector control, and even vector and/or viruses changes or adaptations” (1/9).

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Society For Healthcare Epidemiology Of America Calls For Coordinated Multi-Country Response To Ebola In DRC

Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America: Infectious Diseases Experts Call for Coordinated Response to Global Health Issues
“The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) called for a renewed commitment for a coordinated multi-country response to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo amid reports of the first U.S. health care personnel to be evacuated from the Ebola zone. A focus on prevention, treatment, and containment at the epicenter of the outbreak can help maximize the impact of resources provided by multi-national governments and non-governmental organizations…” (1/7).

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ACSH Fellow Examines PLOS Study On Health System Costs Of NCDs

American Council on Science and Health: What Does It Cost To Have A Non-Communicable Disease?
Chuck Dinerstein, senior medical fellow at the American Council on Science and Health, examines results of a PLOS Medicine study on health system costs across diseases and comorbid noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), noting, “The more diseases that we convert from lethal into chronic and the longer we can keep those people comfortable, the greater our expenditure. … For those cynics amongst us, the cost of treating a single disease was less for the elderly than the younger or mid-life patients, could it be that we tried less to treat these patients, or is it the length of chronicity that makes the difference…” (1/8).

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