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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Government Should Continue To Support Successful PEPFAR Initiative, Experts Say

HealthDay News: U.S. Efforts to Help Fight Global HIV Are Paying Off
“A U.S. government program to prevent, treat, and care for people with HIV/AIDS in poor countries has been highly effective and should continue, experts say. Since 2003, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided drug therapy to more than 13 million men, women and children, as well as voluntary circumcisions to more than 15.2 million men to reduce HIV risk. … PEPFAR also helps prepare health systems in poor nations to respond to disease outbreaks, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases experts write in the Jan. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. They say continued support for the program from the U.S. Department of State is needed to ensure a worldwide response to HIV, and to serve as an example for addressing other infectious diseases…” (Preidt, 1/24).

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USAID Temporarily Suspends Joint Redesign Efforts, Seeks Clarification From State Department

Bloomberg: Tillerson’s State Overhaul Faces Mutiny as USAID Weighs Role
“The agency in charge of U.S. foreign aid has put Rex Tillerson on notice about rising frustration over his State Department redesign, the most visible sign yet of the confusion surrounding his bid to reshape American diplomacy. ‘Per direction from the Front Office, we are suspending all USAID involvement in the Joint Redesign as of Monday, January 22nd,’ Jim Richardson, the redesign chief at the U.S. Agency for International Development, said in a Jan. 19 email to senior staff obtained by Bloomberg News. … People familiar with USAID Administrator Mark Green’s thinking say there’s been broad frustration about communication with Tillerson over the redesign and confusion about its goals. That fits with a deeper battle between USAID and State, which have wrangled over who ought to hold the purse strings for the billions of dollars in foreign aid that the U.S. distributes each year…” (Wadhams, 1/24).

The Hill: USAID temporarily suspends involvement with Tillerson’s overhaul of State Dept
“…Clayton McCleskey, a spokesman for USAID, pushed back on the notion that the agency was disengaging from the redesign process, saying that the agency is simply awaiting clarification of the roles and responsibilities of its personnel assigned to work on the overhaul. ‘USAID remains committed to supporting the Secretary’s vision for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of State and USAID through the joint Redesign,’ McCleskey said in a statement…” (Greenwood, 1/24).

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U.S. Government Shutdown, Unpredictable Budget Hinders Aid Groups' Long-Term Planning, Operations

Devex: For U.S. aid groups, shutdowns are just one piece of a bigger problem
“…While the short duration of this shutdown limited any direct impact on U.S. development programs, Congress has only bought three weeks of funding with this deal, and future, longer shutdowns could prove more disruptive. In the meantime, the broader climate of uncertainty and political fighting that forced government agencies to close their doors for one day has also had broader consequences for U.S. aid efforts. Unpredictable budgets have hobbled long-term planning, and U.S. country offices have responded in different ways, creating inconsistency and incoherence that humanitarian and development organizations still have to cope with, their leaders say…” (Igoe, 1/25).

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U.S. Senate Confirms Alex Azar As Trump Administration's 2nd HHS Secretary

Associated Press: Senate confirms Alex Azar as Trump’s new health secretary
“President Donald Trump’s second health secretary won Senate approval Wednesday. Alex Azar will take over a sprawling department shaken by his predecessor’s early exit. The GOP-majority Senate voted 55-43, largely along party lines, to confirm the former drug company and government executive to join the Trump cabinet…” (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/24).

Additional coverage is available from CQ News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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Trump Administration's 'America First' Foreign Policy Harms U.S. Influence In Africa, Bill Gates Says In Bloomberg Interview

Bloomberg: Bill Gates Says ‘America First’ Endangers U.S. Influence in Africa
“Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and the second-richest person in the world, said there’s a danger that U.S. President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ approach could damage the U.S.’s influence in Africa in the long term. Other countries like China are continuing to push into the African continent, and the U.S. should not pull back, Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait in Davos, Switzerland…” (De Vynck/Mawad, 1/24).

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Gates Foundation, IDB, Carlos Slim Foundation Announce Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative For Central America

Devex: Gates and IDB announce plan to eliminate malaria in Central America
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank, and Carlos Slim Foundation are to announce a $180 million initiative to eliminate malaria in Central America. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, and Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the IDB, [announced] the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative, or RMEI, Wednesday at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland…” (Cheney, 1/24).

Reuters: Gates backs Central America malaria elimination plan with $31 million
“…Gates said the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative (RMEI) would bring a total of $83.6 million in new funds ‘to ensure malaria remains a top health and development priority despite dwindling numbers of cases.’ The new money would also help leverage more than $100 million in domestic financing and $39 million of existing donor money in the region by 2022, the philanthropist’s Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said in a statement…” (Kelland, 1/24).

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Orange SA, Gavi, Côte d'Ivoire Ministry of Health To Work Together To Improve Country's Immunization Rates

Ventures Africa: Orange and Gavi set to invest $5.47 million to boost child immunization in Côte d’Ivoire
“At the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos, Switzerland today, Thursday 25th, 2018, one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, Orange SA, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced a partnership with the Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Health to boost immunization rates in the regions and districts with the lowest vaccine coverage…” (Agbugah, 1/25).

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U.N. Updated International Technical Guidance On Sexuality Education Aims To Inform Policymakers, Other Stakeholders

Devex: U.N. issues more progressive guidelines on sex education
“The United Nations has come out with updated guidance to encourage education ministers, especially in developing countries, to invest further in comprehensive sexuality education for young people, offering advice on when and how it can most effectively be delivered. … The revised international technical guidance on sexuality education, released by UNESCO earlier this month, is the long-awaited update to initial guidelines published in 2009. It is aimed at education policymakers to help them design and deliver more accurate, comprehensive, and judgement-free education programs about sex and relationships to young people…” (Edwards, 1/25).

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ISIS Claims Responsibility For Attack On Save The Children Office In Jalalabad, Afghanistan

The Guardian: ISIS claims attack on Save the Children office in Afghanistan
“Gunmen stormed the offices of Save the Children in Jalalabad on Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding 27 in an attack claimed by Islamic State. The latest assault on a foreign charity in Afghanistan underlined the growing dangers for aid workers in the country, who have become casualties of an increase in militant violence in recent years…” (Safi, 1/24).

New York Times: Deadly ISIS Attack Hits an Aid Group, Save the Children, in Afghanistan
“…Save the Children, a global charity that provides aid in 120 countries, said it had suspended all Afghanistan operations. It had been working in 16 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, reaching more than 700,000 children…” (Ghazi/Mashal, 1/24).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Yemeni rebels accused of banning U.N. agencies, aid groups (Michael, 1/24).

CIDRAP News: $1 billion reward proposed for new antibiotics (Dall, 1/24).

CIDRAP News: Yellow fever case counts jump in Brazil (Soucheray, 1/24).

Devex: DRC health minister: Alignment, focus on results, and private sector are critical (Saldinger, 1/25).

HuffPost: Poor Women Of Color Bear The Brunt Of Zika Burden In Brazil (Fernandes et al., 1/24).

Intellectual Property Watch: WHO Members Set To Debate Transparency Of R&D Costs (Saez, 1/24).

Pakistan Today: Bill Gates appreciates Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts (1/24).

SciDev.Net: Lack of water and sanitation in hospitals mars SDG progress (Vesper, 1/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Aging Gambians race for justice over ex-leader’s fake AIDS cure (Peyton, 1/24).

U.N. News Centre: Central African Republic: U.N., partners seek $515 million in humanitarian aid for 2018 (1/24).

Xinhua News: Mother-to-child HIV infections in Rwanda significantly down: official (1/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

After 15 Years, PEPFAR Continues To Demonstrate U.S. Leadership In Global Health

New England Journal of Medicine: PEPFAR — 15 Years and Counting the Lives Saved
Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH, and Robert W. Eisinger, special assistant for scientific projects at NIAID

“…[PEPFAR] has had an unprecedented impact on the pandemic of HIV and AIDS. … PEPFAR has received continuous bipartisan support from Congress since 2003 and is the largest global health initiative for a single infectious disease that has ever been implemented. … PEPFAR has … provided some of the critical workforce, organizational, and physical infrastructure to address other concerns — such as malaria, tuberculosis, maternal and child health, immunizations, and unanticipated infectious disease outbreaks — that affect the geographic areas where patients with HIV are treated. … With regard to international public relations, PEPFAR has done as much as or more than any other program in enhancing the humanitarian image of the United States and has firmly established it as a key player in the response to a historic global public health crisis. … Over the past 15 years, PEPFAR has demonstrated the transforming results that can be realized by strong government leadership in the global health arena. It is entirely possible to bring the HIV/AIDS pandemic to an end, and PEPFAR will undoubtedly play an essential role in this endeavor. However, it is vital that support for this transformative program continue both to meet the immediate challenge of HIV/AIDS and to serve as the model for the control and elimination of other globally devastating infectious diseases” (1/25).

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She Decides Movement Embodies Commitment To Ensure Women's, Girls' Rights

Devex: Opinion: The ‘global gag rule’ is devastating for women. Here’s how we’re fighting back.
Lilianne Ploumen, MP for the Dutch Labour party

“…As we look forward to 2018, we must take everything we learned from 2017 and turn it into constructive, productive action, and long-term solutions. We must continue to create ways to give voice to girls and women, and ensure that laws are in place to ensure every girl and woman can legally and safely make decisions about her own body. We need to ensure the services are available in every corner of the globe, so that no matter what she decides, she can realize her agency to do so. We must be unapologetic about a woman’s right to the full spectrum of health care she needs; including safe abortion. … She Decides began as an urgent reaction to the global gag rule. But now we are experiencing a movement for anybody who wants to see a world where women and girls are free … While the global gag rule is an immediate threat to that, it is not the only policy or law that must change. … But the ground is shifting, the narrative is changing, and we must continue to push, to inspire, to act, and to grow the movement by standing up and speaking out; changing the rules; and unlocking resources so all women and girls can decide. Without question. … [March 2,] 2018 will be She Decides Day, where we will see many events of different sizes and formats take place all over the world, affirming the continued passion for — and commitment to uphold — the right of every girl and woman to decide” (1/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Investments Should Support Civil Society Involvement To End AIDS, TB, Malaria Epidemics

Friends of the Global Fight: Backing Civil Society in the March to End Epidemics
Mark P. Lagon, chief policy officer at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Ryan Kaminski, senior program manager for human rights at the United Nations Foundation, discuss the role civil society plays in global health efforts as well as the U.S. role in supporting and investing in civil society. The authors write, “[B]acksliding on [the Global Fund’s] remarkable record, a veritable U.S.-spearheaded Marshall Plan for public health, when it is halfway finished remains a possibility. Shortsighted proposed funding cuts present more than one obstacle. … Successful transition to countries taking responsibility for their own disease response and ending epidemics for good requires thought and investment from the U.S. about civil society now more than ever” (1/24).

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MFAN Blog Post Lists 5 Criteria For State, USAID Redesign To Succeed At Country-Level

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: Five Criteria for Redesign to Succeed in the Field
Susan Reichle, president and chief operating officer at the International Youth Foundation, and Patrick Fine, chief executive officer at FHI360, outline “five key tests that must be met for [the State Department and USAID] redesign to succeed in the field.” The authors write, “First, reforms need to ensure there is one development leadership voice at the country level. … Second, reforms must be practical. … Third, it’s OK for a reform to be disruptive if the disruption leads to better use of resources, encourages innovation, and advances the mission of diplomacy and development. … Fourth, reforms need to improve our ability to achieve results. … Fifth, support our development professionals” (1/24).

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Global Fund, Partners Launch HER Initiative To Boost Private Sector Support For HIV Programs In 13 African Nations

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund and Partners Launch HER
“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and partners pledged support for HER — HIV Epidemic Response — an initiative to build private sector support for programs that address HIV in 13 African countries where adolescent girls and young women face disproportionate risk. … [Incoming Global Fund Executive Director Peter] Sands announced the HER initiative at the Global Goals Gathering, convened at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The event was hosted by renowned activist Malala Yousafzai, and by Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…” (1/25).

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New Paper Offers Recommendations On Ways Global Health Organizations Can Correct Gender Imbalances In Leadership Roles

IntraHealth International: Four Ways Global Health Organizations Can Correct the Gender Imbalance in Their Own Leadership — and Beyond
In a recently released paper published in Global Health, Epidemiology, and Genomics, Constance Newman, senior team leader on gender equality and health at IntraHealth International; P.K. Chama, resource mobilization, communications, and marketing director at the Catholic Medical Mission Board; M. Mugisha of QD Consult Ltd. in Kampala, Uganda; C.W. Matsiko of MATSLINE Consult Ltd. in Kampala, Uganda; and Vincent Oketcho, Uganda country director at IntraHealth, discuss reasons behind current gender imbalances in global health leadership roles and recommend steps organizations can take to correct these imbalances, including, “Conduct participatory organizational gender analyses. … Identify the harms of gender stereotyping and implement strategies to eradicate them. … Use substantive equality principles in organizational governance and HR management. … Put special measures and enabling conditions in place” (1/24).

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Infectious Diseases Physician Discusses Global Implications Of Treatment-Resistant HIV

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Infectious diseases doctor sounds an international alarm about HIV treatment resistance in the Philippines
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights a TED Talk video from Dr. Edsel Salvaña, an infectious diseases physician from the Philippines, who discusses the “global implications of treatment-resistant HIV” in the country (1/24).

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