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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Nominations For Next World Bank President Open Feb. 7; Group Plans To Have New Leader In Place For Spring Meetings

Devex: Nominations for new World Bank president to open Feb. 7
“The hunt for the next president of the World Bank will kick off next month and will be ‘open, merit-based, and transparent,’ according to the institution’s board of executive directors. Nominations for the bank’s next leader will officially open on Feb. 7 and close on March 14, according to a statement published Thursday. The plan is to have a new president in time for the World Bank spring meetings in Washington, D.C., in April. … As news of [World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s] resignation spread, advocacy groups were swift to demand the selection process to be more ‘open, transparent, and merit-based’ than in previous years and called for the bank’s board to shake off the historic U.S. stronghold over the appointment process…” (Edwards, 1/10).

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Women Leaders In Global Health Conference Stresses How Men Can Support Gender Balance In Global Health

Devex: How men fit into the quest for more women leaders in global health
“The overwhelming majority of women attendees and speakers at the Women Leaders in Global Health 2018 conference provided a sharp contrast to increasingly criticized all-male conference panels. … Still, men must be invited to the table and involved in discussions if gender equality is to be achieved — particularly at the leadership level, said Heidi Larson, director of vaccine confidence project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who stressed the need for men’s involvement during her opening comments at the event. Seventy-five percent of the workforce in global health is women, but few are in leadership positions, Larson said…” (Watters, 1/11).

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Total Number Of Ebola Cases Climbs To 630 In DRC; Health Workers Continue To Face Challenges

Associated Press: Congo says healthy baby born to mom who recovered from Ebola
“A four-day-old baby is a surprise bright spot in Congo’s deadly Ebola outbreak, as the country’s health ministry on Thursday called her the first child born to a mother who has recovered from the virus…” (Anna, 1/10).

CIDRAP News: DRC records more Ebola as presidential election is called
“Early [Thursday] morning, election officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) called Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the presidential election held on Dec 30. … [Thursday] the DRC health ministry said cases rose to 630, reflecting two new cases, both confirmed and fatal, with 122 suspected cases still under investigation. The new deaths are in Katwa and Biena, and both occurred in the community…” (Soucheray, 1/10).

The Lancet: Logistical challenges in the DR Congo Ebola virus response
“The ongoing outbreak in the DR Congo has recently surpassed 600 cases. To fight this outbreak, the Ebola response team faces many logistical challenges…” (Shuchman, 1/12).

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Philippines President Duterte Signs Law Aimed At Strengthening Government's HIV/AIDS Response

ABS-CBN News: Duterte signs HIV-AIDS law
“President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that seeks to strengthen government response to the growing number of Human Immunodeficiency Virus – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) cases in the country, Palace officials said Wednesday…” (Placido, 1/9).

Philippine Star: Duterte signs strengthened law on HIV and AIDS
“…Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the measure is expected to ‘significantly reduce the stigma of people living with HIV or AIDS.’ … ‘The Palace notes that the new law provides for the establishment of policies and programs to prevent the spread of the aforesaid epidemic and at the same time, deliver proper treatment, care and support services to Filipinos living with HIV in accordance with evidence-based strategies and approaches which are in tune with key principles of human rights, gender equality, and meaningful participation of communities,’ Panelo said…” (1/9).

Additional coverage of the new law is available from GMA News, Philippine Star (2), and Rappler.

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Artificial Intelligence Algorithm Detects Cervical Precancers Better Than Experts, Study Shows

Agence France-Presse: AI beats expert doctors at finding cervical pre-cancers
“Artificial intelligence may be poised to wipe out cervical cancer, after a study showed on Thursday computer algorithms can detect pre-cancerous lesions far better than trained experts or conventional screening tests. According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 570,000 new cases globally in 2018…” (1/10).

HealthDay News: AI Beats Humans at Detecting Cervical Precancers
“…The technique relies on photos and computer artificial intelligence to identify changes that may lead to cervical cancer. Catching these changes early, when they’re still easily treatable, could help save the lives of many women, said study leader Dr. Mark Schiffman and colleagues. A single round of screening using the new technique could detect dangerous changes in the cervix in more than half of women 25 to 49, the new research found. … Study results were published Jan. 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute…” (Gordon, 1/10).

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More News In Global Health

The Economist: Reported cases of HIV in China are rising rapidly (1/12).

The Guardian: Mother and two boys suffocate in Nepal’s latest ‘period hut’ tragedy (Budhathoki/Safi, 1/10).

The Guardian: India’s sick left out in the cold as New Delhi’s top hospital struggles to cope (Dhillon, 1/10).

New York Times: Rwanda Cracks Down on Skin Bleaching Agents by Seizing Cosmetics (Garcia, 1/9).

NPR: Study: Coca-Cola Shaped China’s Efforts To Fight Obesity (Lambert, 1/10).

Reuters: India launches national anti-pollution program, but experts skeptical (Bhardwaj, 1/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration's Talk Of Reallocating Foreign Aid Funding For Border Wall Represents 'Worrisome Trend'

Washington Post: Will Trump go after foreign aid to pay for his border wall?
Josh Rogin, columnist at the Washington Post

“It’s bad enough that the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are victims of the government shutdown, given that America’s diplomats are currently in great demand. Now, President Trump and other top officials are singling out foreign aid funding and arguing that money would be better spent on the southern border. If Trump tries to redirect foreign aid funding to build his wall, he would be undermining security both at home and abroad. … [T]he fact that Trump is suggesting foreign aid money would be better spent on the wall has the foreign aid community worried. Such a scheme would exacerbate the problems in foreign countries that form the root causes of the migration problem, said Liz Schrayer, president and chief executive of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition … Even if Trump doesn’t actually try to reallocate State Department and USAID money to fund the wall, invoking border security to undermine support for development and foreign assistance funding is a worrisome trend. Pitting the safety of Americans against the stability and prosperity of people in other countries is a false choice. The latter bolsters the former…” (1/10).

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Donor Governments, Wealthy Individuals Must Fill Global Fund Funding Gap In 2019

Project Syndicate: Fully Filling the Global Fund
Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor at Columbia University and director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN); Guido Schmidt-Traub, executive director of the U.N. SDSN; and Vanessa Fajans-Turner, director of SDG Costing and Financing for the U.N. SDSN

“The single most important public health measure of 2019 is the replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. … [T]he Global Fund budget leveled off following the 2008 financial crisis, and a gap opened between what is needed and what is funded. That gap needs to be closed in October 2019, when the Global Fund is to be replenished for the years 2020-22 at a conference in Lyon hosted by the French government. … [T]he entire shortfall must be covered. … Here, then, is a basic proposal: The Global Fund should pledge its efforts to raise $30 billion for the next three years. Half of the $30 billion could come from donor governments. The U.S. should continue its tradition of bipartisan support. China, a past Global Fund beneficiary, should now become a donor. The other half of the funding should come from the world’s richest people, whose wealth has soared in recent years. … In a world divided by conflict and greed, the Global Fund’s fight against the three epidemic diseases is a matter of enlightened self-interest. It is also a reminder of how much humanity can accomplish when we cooperate to save lives” (1/10).

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Lancet Editorial Discusses Politicization Of DRC's Ebola Response

The Lancet: Was DR Congo’s Ebola virus outbreak used as a political tool?
Editorial Board

“From its very start, the people of DR Congo have perceived the Ebola response as politicized. … It is therefore a pity that their fears, at least in part, were proven to be justified. On Dec 26, 2018, DR Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) invoked concerns about the Ebola outbreak and terrorism to postpone the elections in three areas in North Kivu … until March. 1.2 million people — many of whom were likely to vote for the opposition leader, Martin Fayulu — were disenfranchised in the presidential election on Dec 30, 2018. … That the Ebola outbreak was used to control the electoral power of those likely to oppose Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary (the candidate who incumbent president Joseph Kabila chose as a successor) shows just how important these elections are. The consequences of CENI’s announcement on the Ebola response are immeasurable, not only for its effect on epidemic control but also in terms of trust lost. These elections were celebrated as an important step towards a more democratic process and populous sovereignty. That this was jeopardized by leveraging the very health concerns that the Congolese people need the government to alleviate is deeply regrettable. DR Congo’s regional and international partners will need to maintain pressure to ensure the people’s right to democracy and health are respected” (1/12).

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Efforts Needed To Address Disparities In Cervical Cancer

The Lancet: Cervical cancer: unequal progress
Editorial Board

“Cervical cancer — a disease affecting more than half a million women every year — is now largely preventable. And yet despite an effective vaccine being available for more than 13 years, it still caused 270,000 deaths globally in 2015, 90 percent of which were in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). By setting out epidemiological patterns, outlining the most effective strategies for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, and discussing ongoing research questions, a seminar in today’s Lancet … explains why women are still contracting and dying from the disease. … The seminar on cervical cancer tells a story both of successes and failures. Efforts must be focused on urgently reducing this unacceptable disparity by providing the infrastructure necessary for global vaccination” (1/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Fund Releases Summary Of 6th Replenishment Investment Case, Announces $14B Target

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund Announces US$14 Billion Target to Step Up the Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria Ahead of Lyon Conference in October 2019
“The Global Fund today announced its fundraising target for the next three-year cycle, outlining how a minimum of US$14 billion will help save 16 million lives, cut the mortality rate from HIV, TB, and malaria in half, and build stronger health systems by 2023. The summary of the Sixth Replenishment Investment Case describes what can be achieved by a fully funded Global Fund, the new threats facing global health progress today, and the risks if we don’t step up the fight now…” (1/11).

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ONE Campaign President/CEO Warns Against Complacency, Nationalism In Efforts To End Extreme Poverty In 2019

ONE: 2019: The year we put extreme poverty on the defensive
Gayle E. Smith, president and CEO of the ONE Campaign, discusses working toward ending extreme poverty in 2019, writing, “The coming year is full of opportunities to help the world’s poorest, but complacency and the rising tide of nationalism remain our biggest foes. It’s on each and every one of us to help amplify the voices of those who are working diligently to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Buoyed by our progress and opportunity, it’s within our power to put extreme poverty on the defensive” (1/10).

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Oxfam D.C. Head Of Office Discusses World Bank President Kim's Resignation, Legacy, Process For Selecting New Leader

Oxfam’s “From Poverty to Power”: World Bank President Jim Kim resigns: what’s his legacy and what happens next?
In this guest post, Nadia Daar, head of Oxfam International’s Washington, D.C., office, discusses World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s resignation and his legacy, as well as the selection process for the group’s next leader. She writes, “The person chosen through this selection process must be qualified: I’m crossing fingers for someone who has, among other qualifications, a demonstrated commitment to fighting poverty and inequality, with a commitment to human rights principles, who cares about the planet we’ll leave behind for future generations, who believes in multilateral cooperation, and who will put women and communities first. In my mind, that shouldn’t be a tall order for the leader of an institution mandated to fight poverty…” (Green, 1/10).

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World Bank-Supported Program Helps Zimbabwean Expectant Mothers Access Maternal Health

World Bank: Improving Access to Maternal Health for Zimbabwe’s Expectant Mothers
This feature story describes the Urban Voucher Programme (UVP), which has provided free health services to expectant mothers in the Zimbabwean cities of Harare and Bulawayo since its launch in 2014. According to the story, “The program is funded by the World Bank’s multi-donor Global Financing Facility (GFF), which provides subsidies to selected clinics based on their performance. The non-governmental organization (NGO) Cordaid has been the implementing partner for the funding, with the government also stepping in to provide co-financing…” (1/10).

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Quality Data Critical To Women's, Children's Health, Achieving SDGs

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: Women and Children Need Better Data
This post discusses the importance of quality data related to women’s and children’s health. The post notes, “Poor, inconsistent data could be seriously hindering progress towards better health and well-being worldwide — and the problem is particularly prevalent where women and children are concerned. Only by making changes is progress likely to come about, and a new data ecosystem is needed to ensure SDGs are attainable and incentivize progress. This will require investment in data generation, analysis, and communication” (1/10).

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