KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex, Guardian Examine Impacts Of Trump Presidency, Reinstatement Of Mexico City Policy On Women Worldwide

Devex: One year on, full impact of ‘global gag rule’ begins to emerge
“The long-term impacts of the ‘global gag rule’ are beginning to emerge as a major family planning provider projects that approximately two million women will be denied sexual and reproductive health services as a result of the order reinstated this time last year. Family planning and global health experts warn that the full consequences will continue to unfold…” (Edwards, 1/19).

The Guardian: How has Donald Trump’s first year affected women?
“…Much of Trump’s first year in office has been dedicated to undoing the work of his predecessor, from rescinding the requirement in Barack Obama’s health care law that employers provide contraception coverage, to rolling back a rule introduced under his predecessor designed to close the gender pay gap. In one of his first acts, Trump — surrounded by a large group of men in what became a notorious photograph — reinstated a ‘global gag rule’ policy that restricts the U.S. government from providing funds to international family planning organizations that offer abortion-related services…” (Siddiqui, 1/18).

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U.S. Government Shutdown Would Affect Operations At Health Agencies, Including CDC, NIH

STAT: How a government shutdown could affect drug safety, flu response, and more
“Unless Republicans coalesce this week around a short-term spending deal, the federal government will shut down — a scenario that will likely have widespread and long-lasting consequences for public health. … The last government shutdown — which lasted for 16 days in October 2013 — sheds light on just how far flung are the consequences of congressional inaction, especially for health companies and public health workers. STAT talked to former officials at the FDA, CDC, and NIH about how that shutdown affected the work they could do…” (Mershon/Swetlitz, 1/17).

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WFP Working To Improve Data-Handling After Internal Audit Shows Deficiencies In Agency's Handling Of Sensitive Information

IRIN: EXCLUSIVE: Audit exposes U.N. food agency’s poor data-handling
“Vulnerable people in the world’s troublespots could be at risk because of sloppy handling of sensitive data by a U.N. agency, according to an internal audit. In response, the World Food Programme told IRIN it was ‘working to get ahead of the curve’ on data-handling, would address weaknesses, and spend more on systems…” (Parker, 1/18).

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A.U. Peace And Security Council To Work With Africa CDC To Address Public Health Security Threats

Xinhua News: A.U. calls for integrating public health strategies in peace, security architecture
“The African Union (A.U.) Peace and Security Council on Thursday discussed the health security threats faced by the African continent. The council has agreed on joint strategies with the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, fight antimicrobial resistance, and address the increasing threat of non-communicable diseases on the continent…” (1/19).

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South Africa's Cape Town Expected To Run Out Of Water In April Following Prolonged Drought

PRI: Cape Town could be the first major city in the world to run out of water
“‘Day Zero.’ That’s what Cape Town is calling April 21 — the day that taps are expected to run dry. For three years, Cape Town has had below-average rainfall, but in recent months the drought has reached a critical point…” (1/18).

Reuters: Drought-hit Cape Town at ‘point of no return,’ tightens water targets
“South Africa’s drought-stricken Cape Town told residents on Wednesday they would need to cut their daily water consumption by almost half from next month as authorities scramble to prevent the city running out of water as soon as in April. … From Feb. 1, the target for water consumption per person would be lowered to 50 liters (13 gallons) from 87 liters a day, and the collective consumption target to 450 million liters from 500 million liters a day, Mayor Patricia de Lille said…” (Roelf, 1/18).

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More News In Global Health

The Lancet: Universal health coverage law approved in Egypt (Devi, 1/20).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Malaria stalks Yemen amid collapsing health system (Kanso, 1/18).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Mother-to-mother training in Malawi helps battle child malnutrition (Win, 1/19).

U.N. News Centre: Amid ‘dramatic deterioration’ in DR Congo, U.N. and partners launch $1.68 billion aid appeal (1/18).

U.N. News Centre: Syria: Uptick in violence exacerbates already dire situation, says U.N. food relief agency (1/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

WHO Board, WHA Should Consider U.N. High-Level Panel's Recommendations For Improved Access To Medicines To Make Concrete Suggestions For Action

Medium/UHC Coalition: Heading off Global Action on Access to Medicines in 2018
Jorge Bermudez, vice president of health production and innovation at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation at Brazil’s Ministry of Health and member of the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines; and Viroj Tangcharoensathien, senior adviser to the International Health Policy Program at Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health

“At the dawn of 2018, political and health leaders must seize the growing momentum and opportunities to tackle the protracted challenges of access to medicines that undermines efforts to save lives and improve health as committed under the Agenda 2030 [Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)] by all U.N. member states. … With growing recognition of both the challenge and the need for reform, many governments around the world agree in key ways to tackle access and biomedical innovation challenges. This includes the importance of promotion of competition, transparency, and new models of innovation. … To head off this ‘perfect storm’ of global health challenges, the World Health Organization’s Executive Board in January 22-27, 2018 as well as the World Health Assembly in May 2018 will consider for the first time the recommendations of the 2016 U.N. Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines. Based on recommendations of the Panel, the two platforms should find strategic solutions and concrete actions for improved access to medicines and leaving no one behind” (1/18).

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Health Systems Must Provide Quality Care Through All Stages Of Life To Achieve SDG 3

EURACTIV: In run-up to 2030, we’ll need all hands on deck to meet global health goals
Harald Nusser, head of Novartis Social Business

“…[O]f the estimated $270 billion annually projected to be needed from U.N. members and private partners for achieving the SDGs, up to 75 percent would, according to some projections, go toward health systems. This is a tremendous fiscal burden. … Rather than primarily addressing acute diseases, we need to reimagine health care systems to support people’s lifelong, complex health needs through all stages of life. This means equipping health care providers with the knowledge and institutional support to provide quality services along a full continuum of care — including a much greater focus on disease prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. … [I]t is now essential to build new models of health care systems that proactively nurture the wellness of populations. One of Europe’s great gifts to the world were the first large, national universal health care systems. If the benefits of these systems are to be reproduced in emerging economies, we need new ways of thinking about them and paying for them. With innovation and partnership, success is possible…” (1/19).

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Costa Rica's Primary Health Care Approach Can Serve As Model For Countries Pursuing Universal Health Coverage

Project Syndicate: What Happens When Primary Health Care Is Universal?
Asaf Bitton, director of primary health care at Ariadne Labs, a joint center of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and Madeline Pesec, primary health care researcher at Ariadne Labs

“…Costa Rica, a middle-income country that is committed to universal health care for its people, produces better health outcomes, while spending less than most other countries in the world. In fact, Costa Rica has achieved the third-highest life expectancy in the Americas – behind only Canada and Bermuda, and well ahead of the United States. The secret of its success is revealed in our new report, ‘Building a Thriving Primary Health-Care System: The Story of Costa Rica.’ … Over the past 20 years, Costa Rica’s Department of Social Security has built a primary health care system that today reaches nearly every person in the country. Primary providers are the first place Costa Ricans turn when they have a health problem, as practitioners offer acute, chronic, and preventive services. … As countries pursue universal health coverage, they will need proven ways to bring higher quality, more affordable care to the underserved. Costa Rica offers one successful approach. By placing primary health care at the center of the system, the country has improved coverage rates and outcomes, while delivering more personalized treatment…” (1/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

ODI Fellow Suggests International Development Community Should Rethink, Update DAC Evaluation Criteria

Overseas Development Institute: 2018: time to update the DAC evaluation criteria?
Tiina Pasanen, research fellow at ODI, discusses using Development Assistance Committee (DAC) evaluation criteria in international development, writing, “[T]he issue is that we’ve stopped seeing the criteria as a useful tool to support our thinking, and started using it instead of thinking. … [G]iven the DAC’s respected position in the evaluation field, I don’t think we should ditch it completely. I feel that it should be updated, to have a menu of options, and clear guidance, for evaluation commissioners and evaluators to use and support their thinking” (1/17).

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Blog Post Discusses Progress Made Toward Ending AIDS In Africa Since Development Of Antiretroviral Drugs

American Council on Science and Health: The End Of AIDS In Africa?
Josh Bloom, senior director of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences at ACSH, discusses progress to end AIDS in Africa through the use of tools like antiretroviral drugs (1/19).

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IntraHealth Blog Post Highlights Activities To Improve Maternal Care In Tajikistan

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Now, Safer Deliveries for Women in Tajikistan
Carol Bales, senior communications and advocacy officer, and Khosiyatkhon Komilova, communications specialist, both at IntraHealth International, discuss how the activities of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Tajikistan Health & Nutrition Activity help improve maternity care in the country (1/16).

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From the U.S. Government

State Department Blog Post Discusses U.S. Efforts To Promote Gender Equality Through Diplomatic Missions

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence: U.S. Embassies Renewing the Call to Action
Irene Marr, senior policy adviser at the Secretary’s Office for Global Women’s Issues at the State Department, discusses U.S. efforts to integrate gender and women’s empowerment into U.S. foreign policy, diplomatic engagement, and development (1/18).

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