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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines How U.S. Government Shutdown Impacting Development Organizations

Devex: How is the U.S. government shutdown impacting development?
“…Most [development organizations contacted by Devex] said the shutdown, now in its fourth week, has had limited effect on their work so far, although with many employees furloughed from U.S. government agencies that work on development, smaller staffs are trying to process some requests. The approval process has been slow, and it is difficult to find anyone to respond to questions about open requests for proposals. … But while impacts are not severe yet — in part due to the fact that the shutdown began just before the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season — they will be felt more as the shutdown continues. In addition to slowed processes, the shutdown and the uncertain budget environment may erode the trust of U.S. partners, make recruiting harder in some countries, and be undermining U.S. leadership, some development leaders told Devex…” (Saldinger, 1/16).

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U.K. Aid Experts, NGOs Warn Of Uncertainty After Rejection Of PM May's Brexit Deal

Devex: Aid NGOs warn of disruption as Brexit deal collapses
“Aid experts and NGOs have warned of potential disruption to their work as U.K. lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday night and launched a vote of no confidence in the government. … Among the most immediate issues for the aid community are access to funding; whether E.U.-U.K. aid spending channels will continue, with the potential for a shortfall if they are suddenly cut off; and the loss of U.K. civil society influence…” (Edwards, 1/16).

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WHO Releases Top 10 Health Threats Of 2019, Including Vaccine Hesitancy

TIME: Anti-Vax Movement Listed by World Health Organization as One of the Top 10 Health Threats for 2019
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed vaccine hesitancy — the delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite their availability — as one of its top 10 health threats facing the world in 2019. The phenomenon has taken hold in a number of countries around the world in recent times, notably, in the U.S…” (Georgiou, 1/15).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Logs More Than 600 Confirmed Cases, 400 Deaths; 200 Cases Under Investigation

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases grow by 9, including 1 in new area
“…The new cases bring the outbreak total to 658, with 609 cases confirmed and 402 deaths. Two hundred cases are still under investigation, which is up from 121 [Monday]. … On Twitter, Peter Salama, MD, the World Health Organization’s deputy director general for emergency preparedness and response, said the outbreak is likely active in 10 of the 17 affected health zones … ‘The Ebola outbreak in DRC is really several distinct outbreaks in the different affected areas. This means (1) interpreting overall epidemiological trends is complex, and (2) the response has to be adapted to the very different contexts in each area. We can’t “cut and paste,”‘ Salama said” (Soucheray, 1/15).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from ABC News, Axios, The Hill, and UPI.

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Displaced Syrians Lack Health Care, Adequate Shelter; At Least 15 Children Dead, UNICEF Says

The Guardian: Displaced Syrian infants dying from lack of health care, U.N. says
“At least 15 children have died in Syria because of a lack of medical care and inadequate living conditions for displaced people amid freezing temperatures, the U.N. has said, warning that more deaths are likely to follow…” (McKernan, 1/15).

The Guardian: ‘Real risk’ of refugees freezing to death in Syria after rains destroy shelters
“At least 11,000 child refugees and their families are facing … freezing temperatures with no shelter, after torrential rains across Syria’s Idlib province [last week] swept away tents and belongings. Aid workers warn there is a real risk people will simply freeze to death as temperatures have already dropped to -1C, amid a shortage of blankets and heating fuel…” (Ratcliffe, 1/12).

U.N. News: Thousands of Syrians in ‘life and death’ struggle amid harsh conditions in remote desert camp, U.N. warns
“Conditions in a makeshift Syrian camp near the border with Jordan are ‘increasingly desperate’ and ‘have become a matter of life and death,’ United Nations officials warned on Tuesday, after at least eight children died there from extreme cold and a lack of medical care…” (1/15).

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U.N. Refugee Commissioner Calls On Wealthy Nations To Fund Migrant Services In Developing Countries

The Guardian: U.N. refugee chief: I would risk death to escape a squalid migrant camp
“The head of the U.N. refugee agency has said he too would do ‘anything’ to escape if he was stuck in a squalid refugee camp, as he called on the world’s wealthy nations to properly fund services in developing countries. Speaking to reporters after meeting the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Filippo Grandi, the high commissioner for refugees, said countries are not getting enough recognition for hosting refugees, and that he would campaign for Cairo to receive more bilateral development aid to support its efforts…” (Beaumont, 1/15).

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More News In Global Health

Business Insider: A $350 toilet powered by worms may be the ingenious future of sanitation that Bill Gates has been dreaming about (Brueck, 1/13).

The Guardian: Afghanistan bucks global trend with sharp rise in civilian casualties (McVeigh, 1/11).

IRIN: Briefing: Sudanese call for bread and freedom (1/9).

IRIN: “The world forgot us”: Women and health care in ruined Raqqa (Pagani/Manisera, 1/8).

U.N. News: First aid in six months reaches families in western Yemen, ‘timelines’ slip over Hudaydah ceasefire talks (1/15).

Washington Post: Menstrual health programs need a new focus in developing world, critic says (Kvatum, 1/13).

Washington Post: In war-weary Kabul, burning coal and tires keeps residents warm — and the city choked by smog (Horton/Hassan, 1/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Human Behavior, Lack Of Adequate Resources, Attention Prevent Progress In 'Ebola Impasse'

Foreign Policy: Ebola Has Gotten So Bad, It’s Normal
Laurie Garrett, founder of the Anthropos Initiative

“…Despite having a tool kit at its disposal that is unrivaled — including a vaccine, new diagnostics, experimental treatments, and a strong body of knowledge regarding how to battle the hemorrhage-causing virus — the small army of international health responders and humanitarian workers in Congo is playing whack-a-mole against a microbe that keeps popping up unexpectedly and proving impossible to control. This is not because of any special attributes of the classic strain of Ebola … but because of humans and their behaviors in a quarter-century-old war zone. … It’s hard to know what steps could break the Ebola impasse. Warring forces have shown little inclination to give the disease hunters free rein across the region. … If Ebola [spreads to Uganda, Rwanda, or South Sudan], the world community will face tough choices. Option one: Keep on muddling through with the tools, personnel, and funding that have carried the response to date. Option two: Declare a global public health emergency, escalating financing and on-the-ground response to the multibillion-dollar scale seen in West Africa. Option three: Dedicate massive financial resources to pushing Merck and other vaccine-makers to rapidly manufacture millions of doses, and deploy literal armies, acting as security alongside an enormous public health deployment to immunize tens of millions of people in the region. Maybe we’ll all get lucky, and the virus will just peter out. But there’s no reason to think it will” (1/15).

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Disability-Inclusive Development Vital To Achieving SDGs

Devex: Opinion: People with disabilities are the experts in disability-inclusive development
Alexandra Kay, disability inclusion adviser at Scope Global

“With the right levels of support, people with disabilities make highly effective development workers. … Here are five lessons we’ve learned about including people with disabilities in development programs. 1. Catalyze ways for people with disabilities to be agents of their own change … 2. Set up reasonable adjustments … 3. Evaluate and respond to risk … 4. Factor disability inclusion into your budget from inception … 5. Use positive role modeling to change ingrained cultural attitudes … Development organizations must be inclusive of people with disabilities if they are to enable positive social change that benefits all members of the community and fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals. We see a great opportunity to link the disability sector and people with disabilities in Australia with our programs and networks in the Asia-Pacific region as a capacity development mechanism, a way to reduce and remove societal barriers, and as a way to promote access and inclusion in other organizations” (1/15).

Devex: Opinion: The private sector’s role in supporting a disability-inclusive world
Kovin Naidoo, senior vice president of inclusive business, philanthropy, and social impact at Essilor International

“When we think of disability and its impact on individuals and the world, it’s easy to think of it in isolation. … This is despite the development of an inclusive society being front and center of the Sustainable Development Goals, and that by creating a wholly inclusive society we improve the lives of everyone, not just those directly affected by disability. The scale of this challenge means that no one — NGOs, governments, or businesses — can achieve any lasting change on their own. … The need to address the challenge of disability and inclusivity is not going away any time soon and more can always be done to address the challenge. … [I]t is time for the private sector to step up as an instigator of change. Currently, … the reality is that the lack of resources often means large scale success is not possible. The private sector can address this issue head-on by looking to fund at scale, bringing more NGOs together to work toward a shared goal…” (1/10).

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Vaccines Affect Immune System In Broad Ways, Beyond Protecting Against Targeted Diseases

The Conversation: Vaccines have health effects beyond protecting against target diseases
Christine Stabell Benn, professor of global health at the University of Southern Denmark

“…[W]e now have evidence that a vaccine can change the immune response to subsequent unrelated infections in humans. This goes a long way to explaining how vaccines can influence other diseases and overall health. … It is time to change our perception of vaccines: vaccines are not merely a protective tool against a specific disease, they affect the immune system broadly. In the case of live vaccines, the immune system is strengthened. In contrast, non-live vaccines seem to have a negative effect on the immune system in females. … So there is an urgent need for studies testing different sequences of live and non-live vaccines. Studies into the overall health effects of vaccines are providing new insights about the immune system and how it may be trained by vaccines. Live vaccines seem to be potent immune trainers, and with this new knowledge we may be able to reduce global child mortality by more than a million deaths a year. With smarter use of vaccines, we may also be able to reduce disease and improve child health in wealthy countries” (1/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

World Bank Expert Discusses How Higher Global Mortality Could Represent Sign Of Progress

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: Can higher mortality be a sign of progress?
Wolfgang Fengler, lead economist for trade and competitiveness at the World Bank, discusses the global shift in mortality, writing, “Never has life expectancy been so high, which means more and older people. The increase in life expectancy is mostly because of a sharp decline in child mortality, but also thanks to improvements in longevity. That means more people alive at any point in time: Even though the number of children has stabilized at around two billion, the world’s population is still growing rapidly thanks to a swelling number of adults and elderly. This is also why the number of people dying each year is still rising, albeit slowly. … Paradoxically, this is a sign of progress: Higher mortality is just a reflection of the fact that we have a larger population. And we have a larger population because the actual probability of dying across all age groups has declined” (1/15).

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WHO/Europe Launches Video Encouraging Efforts To Achieve SDGs

WHO Regional Office for Europe: Imagining a better world through the SDGs
“…At the start of 2019, as the world enters its fourth year of collective action towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), WHO/Europe remains committed to building the world envisioned by these goals. … WHO/Europe has launched a new video highlighting a few of the many factors that influence health, all of which are included in the SDGs. Viewed from the perspective of children who will be teenagers by 2030, the video states, ‘They deserve to live in a healthier world where air pollution, child abuse, and deadly diseases are bad dreams, not daily realities…'” (1/15).

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January 2019 Issue Of BMJ Global Health Available Online

BMJ Global Health: January 2019
The January 2019 issue of BMJ Global Health highlights several global health-related articles, including an analysis examining the areas of convergence and divergence between global health security and universal health coverage and a research article on the trends and drivers of government health spending in sub-Saharan Africa between 1995-2015 (January 2019).

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CSIS Releases January 2019 Issue Of Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Global Health Policy Center Monthly Update
In the January 2019 CSIS Global Health Policy Center Newsletter, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center (GHPC), highlights recent events and podcasts hosted by CSIS. The newsletter includes links to an event on women’s leadership in global health; a half-day conference on health policy lessons from India’s Bihar State; and a podcast episode hosted by Nellie Bristol, senior fellow at the CSIS GHPC, who speaks with Orin Levine, director of vaccine delivery for the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about “potential new technologies, strategies, and partnerships to improve vaccination rates and strengthen immunization systems even in the most difficult settings” (January 2019).

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Abbott, Malaria No More Working With Odisha, India To End Disease In Eastern State

Abbott: Abbott And ‘Malaria No More’ Work Together To End Malaria In Odisha, India
“Abbott announced [Friday] that it is supporting a partnership between the government of the eastern Indian state of Odisha and Malaria No More, providing technology, expertise, and funding support to advance efforts to end malaria in the state. … In collaboration with Malaria No More and the government of Odisha, Abbott is supplying one million rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and technical expertise to strengthen Odisha’s malaria detection and surveillance system. In addition, Abbott is providing US$750,000 (INR 52 million) over three years to Malaria No More to back its work with the Odisha government to define and support a comprehensive state malaria elimination strategy that can be used as a model for other states to follow…” (1/11).

Malaria No More: Abbott Commits Tech And Funds To Malaria No More’s Partnership With Odisha
“… ‘Malaria No More is proud to support the government of Odisha in its ambition to end malaria,’ said Martin Edlund, CEO for Malaria No More. ‘We are starting to bring on board key partners like Abbott to support expansion of Odisha’s innovative strategies and to build their capacities — particularly in the areas of improving data and surveillance — to have even greater impact moving forward. Supporting Odisha’s work will continue to fuel India’s goal to eliminate malaria by 2030’…” (1/11).

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