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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Pharmaceutical Companies Must Do More To Combat Antimicrobial Resistance, Develop New Antibiotics, Access To Medicine Foundation Assessment Shows

Financial Times: GSK leads drugmakers’ fight against superbugs
“Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are doing a surprisingly good job in tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) but still need to do more to tackle so-called superbugs, according to the first independent assessment of the industry’s response to one of the great public health challenges of the 21st century…” (Cookson, 1/23).

The Guardian: Number of new antibiotics has fallen sharply since 2000
“…Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, and its U.S. rival Johnson & Johnson are leading efforts to combat antibiotic resistance, according to the report, which was presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos…” (Kollewe, 1/23).

Intellectual Property Watch: Antimicrobial Benchmark For Industry Launched In Davos
“…The Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark 2018 was presented in Davos, Switzerland during a press conference by Jayasree Iyer, executive director of the Access to Medicine Foundation. The benchmark is the first independent analysis of what the most active players in the pharmaceutical industry are doing to slow the emergence of drug resistance, Iyer said…” (Saez, 1/23).

New York Times: New Index Rates Drug Companies in Fight Against ‘Superbugs’
“…The index, which rates companies on their contributions to preventing the spread of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, found Mylan to be the best of the generic drug makers and rated a little-known company, Entasis, as top among biotechnology companies…” (McNeil, 1/23).

Reuters: Drug companies told to do more to tackle ‘superbug’ crisis
“…But action taken by such companies is only the start of what could be done to address the problem, which former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill in 2014 estimated could cause 10 million deaths a year worldwide by 2050…” (Hirschler, 1/23).

Science: This new index ranks companies’ efforts in the fight against antimicrobial resistance
“…A total of 28 novel antimicrobials are in phase II or phase III clinical trials, according to the report; that sounds impressive, says Iyer, ‘but is not enough.’ Plans to ensure widespread access and avoid unnecessary use are in place for only two of the drugs, she says…” (de Vrieze, 1/23).

STAT: Pharma is urged to do more to thwart the superbug crisis
“…Overall, more companies are addressing R&D priorities, particularly the development of new antimicrobial drugs, but remain less active in bolstering manufacturing or sufficiently widening access, according to the report…” (Silverman, 1/23).

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'Blended Finance' Of Pooled Public, Private Funds Can Support SDGs, Report Says

Bloomberg: ‘Blended Finance’ Could Lift Sustainable Development by $1 Trillion
“An additional $1 trillion could be found for the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals if development banks focus on making investments digestible for private pools of capital. That’s according to a report by the Blended Finance Taskforce released Tuesday at the annual World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland. The mix of public and private capital is dubbed ‘blended finance’…” (Hirtenstein, 1/23).

Devex: The Business and Sustainable Development Commission says goodbye as it highlights blended finance
“…The work of the commission will continue through a number of avenues. Those include spin-off initiatives, such as the Blended Finance Task Force, which is working to mobilize large scale private capital to invest in the SDGs, and the Food and Land Use Coalition, which seeks to define global targets for food and land use systems and find ways to achieve them. … The Blended Finance Task Force was in the spotlight Tuesday as it released a consultation paper examining blended finance, the opportunities for growth, and the barriers that prevent further mobilization of private capital for the SDGs…” (Saldinger, 1/24).

The Guardian: ‘Blended’ finance is key to achieving global sustainability goals, says report
“…[T]he Business and Sustainable Development Commission found that private sector investors could take advantage of blended finance to gain access to rapidly growing markets in the developing world. … In its report, the taskforce found that there was great fragmentation across the market and called for public and private investors to pool their resources to create more giant funds, worth more than £1bn each, to take over from the smaller funds, of about $100m in size, which currently dominate the blended finance landscape…” (Harvey, 1/23).

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Devex, Johnson & Johnson Explore Intersection Between Global Health, Development In Davos Event, Survey

Devex: How to bridge the gap between global health and development
“It may require a culture change, but making the link between global health and development challenges — from education to poverty — is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. How to move from dialogue to creating a more integrated system was the subject of an event organized by Devex and Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday [in Davos]. While there was an acceptance that the problem was complex, there were several recommendations that emerged, from developing better data, to improving transparency so that platforms and partnerships are not redundant…” (Saldinger, 1/24).

Devex: Health as an enabler for development progress
“…To learn more about how achieving good health can impact education, gender equality, work, and peace and justice, Devex, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, asked more than 1,200 diverse development professionals and interviewed several distinguished scientists and experts on why and how good health and well-being enables their work. Here are the five things we learned…” (Root, 1/24).

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On Visit To Syria's Raqqa, USAID Administrator Green Discusses U.S. Foreign Policy, War-Devastated City's Needs

NPR: ‘Immediate Needs’ In Syria After ISIS: USAID Chief Visits Devastated Raqqa
“…USAID has a small team on the ground in northern Syria, working with local partners to restore basic services, provide emergency food and medicine, and clear improvised explosive devices and landmines that ISIS left behind. The Syrian government has not given permission for the U.S. work to take place. … USAID has received little attention in President Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy. [USAID Administrator Mark] Green, a former Republican member of Congress from Wisconsin, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, and longtime aid advocate, is navigating an administration that has vowed to cut back overseas spending by about a third. Some highlights from Green’s conversation with reporters about his agency’s aims and challenges…” (Kelemen, 1/23).

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U.K. Development Secretary To Make 2 Announcements On Disability, Inclusion

Devex: Mordaunt to announce details of Global Disability Summit
“United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt will make two announcements on disability and inclusion on Wednesday, as the issue emerges as a priority of her leadership agenda. At an event in Parliament co-hosted by Handicap International on Wednesday evening, Mordaunt — who is three months into the job — will announce that inclusion ‘will be a key theme’ of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April. She will also reveal more details around the U.K. government’s first World Disability Summit, to be hosted in London’s Olympic Park on July 24…” (Anders, 1/24).

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More News In Global Health

Deutsche Welle: Indonesia fights measles epidemic as relief held up (Purwaningsih, 1/23).

HuffPost: How Humans Are Laying Out The Welcome Mat For Mosquitoes And The Diseases They Carry (Perria, 1/23).

HuffPost: In Brazil’s Most Polluted City, A Tough Choice Between Health And Money (Rosa, 1/23).

NPR: Pakistan Raises Its Guard After Two Polio Vaccinators Are Gunned Down (Aizenman, 1/23).

Reuters: Zambia says it is on verge of containing cholera outbreak (Mfula, 1/23).

Reuters Health: Air pollution tied to preterm births in China (Rapaport, 1/23).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Mosquito-packed drones could give extra bite to Zika fight (Hares, 1/23).

U.N. News Centre: Record 22.2 million people need humanitarian assistance in Yemen — U.N. aid chief (1/23).

VOA News: UNICEF: Condition of Millions of Children in South Sudan Worsening (Schlein, 1/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Denounce Trump Administration's Expanded Mexico City Policy

Rewire: Trump-Pence Administration’s Neocolonial Assault on Reproductive Freedom Is Killing African Women and Girls
Hayley Farless, writer, researcher, and reproductive justice advocate

“…Trump’s expanded global gag rule … impose[s] U.S. control over African financial resources and exploit[s] the power of United States global health aid to enforce anti-choice restrictions upon African bodies. It superimposes U.S. policy upon African laws — even countries where abortion is legal without restriction are subject to global gag rule stipulations. It undermines the success that African researchers, health care workers, volunteers, and communities have achieved in building health care infrastructure and making quality care more accessible for their fellow citizens. Trump’s expansion of the global gag rule leverages U.S. wealth as a weapon against African health. Make no mistake — this administration has revitalized colonial tactics of power to intrude upon the sexual and reproductive autonomy of African women and girls” (1/23).

The Hill: The global gag rule does nothing to protect life
Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA; and Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

“…The global gag rule does nothing to protect life. Make no mistake about it: The global gag rule costs lives. It is not rooted in any kind of sound science or medical principles. It has not been found to reduce the incidence of abortion. In fact, it has been associated with an increase in abortion rates. … In short, the rule jeopardizes all of those whom its proponents claim they wish to help. … If President Trump continues to ignore the evidence and will not rescind the rule, then Congress must take action. The Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act — introduced with bipartisan support — would end the global gag rule for good. Organizations, hospitals, and clinics around the world would be free to give their clients — particularly women and girls — the health care and counseling they deserve. Whether through executive or legislative action, it’s time for the dangerous and harmful global gag rule to come to an end once and for all” (1/23).

Ms. Magazine: The Global Gag Rule Still Matters
Elspeth Williams, associate director of policy and government relations at the Population Council

“…For women and girls who often lack access to birth control and have little autonomy over whether and when they have sex, the global gag rule is yet another devastating way of preventing women and girls from determining their own futures. … Now is the time to advance, not retreat, our support for reproductive rights globally. Foreign aid to empower women and girls is not about charity, but about equality and justice. Worldwide, women and girls are depending on the United States — the world’s leading global health donor — to continue the leadership we’ve shown for decades. The global gag rule is a blight on this country that hinders progress for women and girls worldwide. We cannot continue to base family planning policy on ideological whims instead of proven evidence. Whether in our own backyard or beyond our borders, we cannot allow bad policy and funding cuts to cost women and girls their lives” (1/23).

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Women's Rights, Environmental Advocates Should Work Together To Improve Access To Family Planning Services

Washington Post: Women’s rights issues are climate change issues
John Podesta, former chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, former counselor to President Barack Obama, and former member of the U.N. secretary general’s high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda; and Timothy E. Wirth, vice chair and president emeritus of the United Nations Foundation

“…Forging a coalition between the environmental movement and the women’s rights movement will not only fundamentally advance women’s rights but also do a world of good for the planet, which is bearing an environmental burden because of population growth. … Giving women across the globe access to reproductive rights and health is a moral imperative. … In fact, family planning ranks as one of the 10 most substantive solutions to climate change, according to a recent analysis of peer-reviewed research. In addition to being cost-effective from an emissions reduction perspective, the co-benefits to women and families across the globe are enormous. … [Y]et, one of President Trump’s first acts in office was to widely expand the ‘global gag rule’ … American environmentalists and women’s rights advocates have every reason to feel under siege by the Trump administration. But this is all the more reason to find common cause in fighting for healthy women and a healthy planet. Progress is made possible when groups that have long focused on single issues join forces to build fairer, more sustainable economies and societies” (1/23).

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New Benchmark Could Make Pharmaceutical Companies 'Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is' On Antimicrobial Resistance

Project Syndicate: Tracking Big Pharma’s Progress on AMR
Jim O’Neill, honorary professor of economics at Manchester University and former chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance

“This week, at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, the Access to Medicine Foundation (AMF) is launching an antimicrobial resistance (AMR) benchmark to ‘track how pharmaceutical companies are responding to the increase in drug-resistance.’ … In my view, the new benchmark will have many benefits … [O]ne hopes the benchmark will prod into action all of the firms that have not even bothered to join the fight against AMR. It is worth remembering that at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in January 2016, more than 80 companies signed a declaration promising to work toward solutions. And yet more than 70 of those firms do not appear on the AMF’s new index. Talk is cheap; these companies need to put their money where their mouth is. … It would be great to see similar [AMR] benchmarks for the major food producers and makers of diagnostics. Indeed, I have long believed that diagnostics could be the single biggest game changer in the fight against AMR. But for now, let us hope the pharmaceutical benchmark gets the attention it deserves” (1/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Executive Board Elects Dr. Carissa Etienne For 2nd Term As WHO Regional Director For The Americas

PAHO/WHO: Dr. Carissa Etienne elected for a second term as WHO Regional Director for the Americas
“The WHO Executive Board, currently holding its 142nd session in Geneva, has appointed Dr. Carissa Etienne for a second term as regional director for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO). … Dr. Etienne will begin her second five-year term as PAHO director and WHO regional director on 1 February 2018…” (1/23).

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IntraHealth Blog Post Highlights 10 Global Health Issues To Watch In 2018

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: 10 Global Health Issues to Watch in 2018
Margarite Nathe, senior editor and writer at IntraHealth International highlights 10 global health issues to watch in 2018 including “Sparks of innovation from unexpected places … Fake news and misinformation … The HIV pandemic at a crossroads … The diseases we know — and the ones we don’t … Women … The evolution of the health workforce … A changing planet … Our mental health and well-being … The effects of violence on health care and us all … [and] Refugees and migrants” (1/19).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 329 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter includes articles on various topics, including the Technical Review Panel’s (TRP) actions on funding requests from Ethiopia and Kenya; a report by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and UNAIDS discussing the Latin American and the Caribbean region’s dependence on external funding; and the Global Fund Board’s approval of another group of country grants for 2017-2019 (1/24).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S.-Supported Construction Cranes Help Provide Critical Aid To Yemen

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Cranes Go Beyond Construction
Gurmeet Philora, logistics officer with USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, discusses the role of construction cranes in providing aid to Yemen, writing, “In Yemen, people are facing both the world’s largest food crisis and the worst cholera outbreak. … Yemenis rely on imports for almost all of their basic needs, including food and medicine, and much of these imports arrive on ships. To accelerate the offloading of critical supplies in Yemen, USAID has taken the extraordinary step of supporting our partner the U.N. World Food Programme to purchase four mobile cranes.” This entry originally appeared in USAID’s 2030: Ending Extreme Poverty in this Generation publication on Medium.com (1/24).

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