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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In New Presidential Memo, USAID Administrator Listed As Permanent Member On Lower Committee Of National Security Council

Devex: National Security Council memorandum includes role for USAID
“A presidential memorandum signed Saturday by U.S. President Donald Trump may shed some light on what role development is likely to play in his administration. While the memorandum has drawn significant attention for the permanent inclusion of one of Trump’s top aides, Stephen Bannon — and the exclusion from the permanent group of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — it does include a role on a lower committee for the U.S. Agency for International Development. The USAID administrator is listed as a permanent member of the Deputies Committee in the memorandum about the organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council…” (Saldinger, 1/30).

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U.S. Government-Supported MIT Research Team Examining Various Types Of Food Aid Delivery Bags For Better Efficiency, Quality

Devex: Redesigning USAID’s food aid bags could prevent 10,000 tons from going bad and save $15m a year
“Researchers are experimenting with new ways of packaging U.S. food aid in a bid to ensure as much of the food as possible feeds the hungry in developing countries and humanitarian crises. … [L]ast year USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture commissioned a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation — a USAID-supported program — to investigate how food aid is packaged and to look into alternatives that could better prevent waste and spoilage. … Improving the way food aid is bagged can help drive efficiency and improve the quality of the food delivered, said a USAID spokesperson in an email to Devex…” (Edwards, 1/31).

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Next WHO Director General Must Focus On Agency's Financing, Outgoing DG Chan Says

STAT: Can the WHO end its money crunch before it gets worse?
“It’s anyone’s guess which of the three candidates still in the race to become the next director general of the World Health Organization will emerge victorious when WHO’s 194 member states vote in May. But ask anyone what the next director general’s biggest challenge will be and you’ll hear the same answer — especially from the woman the candidates are vying to succeed. ‘My successor needs to continue to address the financing of WHO,’ Dr. Margaret Chan, who recently passed the 10-year mark in office, told STAT in an interview. ‘There’s no two ways about it’…” (Branswell, 1/31).

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Total Global Economic Costs Associated With Smoking Equal $1.4T, Equivalent To Nearly 2% Of World's Annual GDP, Study Shows

HealthDay News: Smoking Costs World $1.4 Trillion a Year in Disease, Lost Productivity
“Nearly six percent of the world’s health care spending is tied to smoking, a new study reports. That amounted to $1.4 trillion worldwide in 2012, with developing nations shouldering 40 percent of the burden, the researchers said. ‘Smoking imposes a heavy economic burden throughout the world, particularly in Europe and North America where the tobacco epidemic is most advanced,’ the study authors wrote…” (Dallas, 1/31).

International Business Times: Calls for controls on smoking as staggering medical costs revealed
“…According to experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Cancer Society, the total spent on medical costs associated with smoking are equivalent to two percent of the world’s GDP. … In this study, the team used data from 152 countries representing 97 percent of the world’s smokers in Africa, the Americas, the eastern Mediterranean, Europe, southeast Asia, and the western Pacific. … The WHO says introducing greater taxes is the most efficient way of dealing with smoking…” (Haddad, 1/31).

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6 African Nations Recognized With Award For Malaria Prevention Efforts

Thomson Reuters Foundation: African leaders hailed for progress in fight against malaria
“Some of Africa’s poorest countries won an award on Monday for the progress they have made towards eliminating malaria, a disease that still kills a child on the continent every two minutes. Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Swaziland, and Uganda achieved a reduction in the incidence of malaria of 40 percent or more between 2010 and 2015, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) said…” (Zweynert, 1/30).

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Gates Foundation's Trevor Mundel Discusses CEPI In Scientific American Podcast

Scientific American: Rapid-Response Vaccines for Epidemic Outbreaks
In this podcast, “Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Gates Foundation, talks to Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina about the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the efforts to create vaccine platforms for rapid responses to epidemics…” (DiChristina/Mirsky, 1/30).

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Bill Gates, Warren Buffett Discuss Philanthropy, Global Health Issues During 2 Interviews

Bloomberg: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett: Charlie Rose
“Bill Gates and Warren Buffett join us for the hour. Gates is the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The philanthropy focuses on education, poverty, and global health. Buffett is chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway. The company is one of the most successful companies of the last five decades. The two started the Giving Pledge in 2010. The initiative encourages the world’s richest to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes…” (1/30).

CNN Money: Buffett and Gates on dreams, vaccines, and sex
“Billionaire buddies Warren Buffett and Bill Gates held court at a Q&A hosted at Columbia Business School Friday. The event was moderated by journalist Charlie Rose. With more than 30,000 people viewing via Facebook Live, the pair discussed everything from Trump’s America to the importance of loving your job. … One thing Gates is concerned about is how committed Trump is to maintaining foreign aid programs that he argues are a major force in global health. … He pointed to a malaria initiative and AIDS relief aid — which were started under George W. Bush’s administration and continued under President Obama — as examples of programs he hopes Trump will see through…” (Wattles, 1/27).

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Philippines President At Odds With Catholic Church Over Executive Order Calling For Immediate Implementation Of 2012 Reproductive Health Law

New York Times: Duterte’s Free Birth Control Order Is Latest Skirmish With Catholic Church
“…The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, signed an executive order this month calling for the full and immediate enforcement of a 2012 law that would give six million women … free government-distributed contraception and reproductive health services. Mr. Duterte portrayed the order as an antipoverty measure, with an official calling it ‘pro-life, pro-women, pro-children, and pro-economic development.’ But the order was also Mr. Duterte’s latest jab at the Roman Catholic Church, which wields significant power in the Philippines and has fought for years to keep the law from taking effect…” (Almendral, 1/27).

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Myanmar Leader Suu Kyi Launches National Government Initiative To Improve Childhood Nutrition, Address Stunting

The Guardian: Aung San Suu Kyi launches campaign to tackle widespread stunting in Myanmar
“Aung San Suu Kyi has launched Myanmar’s first national government initiative on nutrition in an attempt to tackle some of the world’s highest malnourishment rates among young children. The country’s leader traveled to the central dry zone with five cabinet ministers to kick off the drive against a scourge that stunts the growth of nearly a third of children in Myanmar…” (Sherwell, 1/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

New Congress, Administration Should Develop National Biodefense Strategy, Implementation Plan

The Hill: Congress needs to act now to prevent another biodisaster like anthrax, Zika
Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and Ellen P. Carlin, senior health and policy adviser for EcoHealth Alliance

“In December, [President Obama] signed into law the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). … Tucked among the nearly 1,000 pages of this year’s bill is a critical provision that implements a major recommendation of the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense: the development of a strategy and implementation plan for national biodefense. … For the new administration and Congress, the NDAA provides an opportunity for a fresh look at our biodefense challenges. It can serve as a catalyst for a clear roadmap for interagency collaboration as well as better leveraging of the private sector, where most of our innovations and technological solutions will come from. We should all pay close attention to the report that comes from this legislation and the briefings that accompany this process. Congress and the new administration have an opportunity to accomplish what other administrations have been striving to do: to create a comprehensive national biodefense system that harnesses private sector ingenuity and government leadership to protect all Americans from 21st Century biothreats” (1/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Discuss Potential Implications Of Mexico City Policy On Women's Health, Other Governments' Family Planning Leadership Opportunities

BMJ Blogs: Scott Greer and Sarah Rominski: The global gag rule and what to do about it
Scott L. Greer, associate professor of global health in the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Sarah D. Rominski, research assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School, discuss President Trump’s reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City policy, outlining potential consequences of the policy. They write, “Trump’s action gives European and other governments a clear opportunity to show global leadership by making up for the U.S.’s policy. … Other governments and donors, if they are to truly compensate for what Trump has done, will have to expend both thought and money on ways to compensate for the scale of Trump’s expansion of the order” (1/30).

BMJ Blogs: Kushal Patel: “Gagging the voice of women’s rights”
Kushal Patel, foundation doctor at University College Hospital and F1 representative for the North Central Thames Foundation School, discusses President Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City policy and its potential impact on women’s rights and health (1/30).

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CGD Blog Post Examines Health Results Innovation Trust Fund's Impact At 10 Years

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Health Results Innovation Trust Fund at 10: What Have We Learned So Far?
Sebastian Bauhoff, research fellow, and Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer and senior fellow, both at CGD, discuss the World Bank-established, multi-donor Health Results Innovation Trust Fund (HRITF), and through the use of the HRITF’s impact evaluations, examine the impact of HRITF results-based funding (RBF) programs on health outcomes and health care financing (1/30).

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From the U.S. Government

PMI Releases January 2017 Newsletter

PMI: President’s Malaria Initiative Newsletter: January 2017
This newsletter contains announcements, news articles, and publications from or featured by PMI, including former U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Admiral Tim Ziemer’s farewell message and the release of the WHO’s 2016 World Malaria Report (January 2017).

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