Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Washington Post Examines Possible Implications Of Taliban Peace Deal For Afghan Women's Rights

Washington Post: What a peace deal with the Taliban could mean for women in Afghanistan
“On Saturday, after six days of negotiations in Qatar, U.S., and Taliban officials announced they were one step closer to an agreement that might finally end the American war in Afghanistan. … [I]t remains unclear whether the Taliban will agree to negotiate directly with the Afghan government. Still, the announcement was hailed as a rare sign of diplomatic progress after more than 17 years of fighting. But some Afghan women fear an American withdrawal will mean a reversion to an Afghanistan in which they had virtually no rights. … Women’s rights have advanced significantly in Afghanistan since the Taliban fell in 2001, particularly in urban areas. … Given the progress made, some Afghan officials say it is impossible for the country to backslide. … But there are plenty of reasons for pessimism. … [W]hile the United States has served as an advocate for women in Afghanistan in the past, it is not clear whether that is still the case…” (Mellen, 1/31).

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Devex, Health Policy Watch Report On WHO Executive Board Meeting, Including Access To Medicines Draft Roadmap, Progress Report On NCDs

Devex: WHO’s controversial next steps to improve access to medicines
“A majority of countries cheered the World Health Organization’s draft roadmap on access to medicines presented this week, applauding its relevance in the struggle to achieve universal health coverage. But several stakeholders think the draft requires continued consultations on key — and controversial — issues…” (Ravelo, 1/31).

Health Policy Watch: Board Debates Medicines Access; WHO Asserts Mandate On IP, Trade Issues
“…The roadmap is expected to be amended, following the numerous comments, and presented to the World Health Assembly in May…” (Saez, 1/30).

Health Policy Watch: WHO Member States Call For Transparency, Access To Innovation On Cancer Drug Pricing
“A substantive discussion took place at the World Health Organization Executive Board meeting [Tuesday] in response to a recently released WHO report on cancer drug pricing. Among the variety of perspectives expressed, many formed consensus in calling for increased transparency of research and development (R&D) costs and equitable access to innovative cancer drugs…” (Branigan, 1/30).

Health Policy Watch: Italy & United States: Remove Reference To Sugary Drink Tax From WHO NCDs Report
“Representatives of Italy and the United States [Wednesday] asked the World Health Organization to remove a summary of evidence on how taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks may help reduce unhealthy sugar consumption from its latest progress report on tackling non-communicable disease (NCDs). The WHO Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases update and companion workplan, following on from the United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Meeting on NCDs in September 2018, were under review by WHO’s 34-member Executive Board, in advance of the World Health Assembly meeting of all WHO member states, scheduled for May…” (Fletcher, 1/30).

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U.K. International Development Secretary Mordaunt Says Foreign Aid Budget Target 'Unsustainable'

The Independent: Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt under fire after describing U.K.’s foreign aid target as ‘unsustainable’
“Minister Penny Mordaunt is under fire from MPs after warning Theresa May’s cabinet the U.K.’s foreign aid budget target is ‘unsustainable.’ The international development secretary told colleagues on Tuesday that the government should shift its focus towards attracting private donations, and reduce reliance on taxpayers’ money. Her remarks were seized upon by Labour, who claimed it was a ‘cynical attempt to undermine’ the country’s commitment to eradicating global poverty…” (Cowburn, 1/30).

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Islamic Development Bank President Calls On Other Banks To Increase Development Finance, Mobilize Private Sector To Achieve SDGs

Public Finance International: Reform development approach, banks told
“Multilateral banks need a ‘dramatic’ overhaul of strategies to achieve global goals by 2030, warns the head of the Islamic Development Bank. Bandar Hajjar, president of the Islamic bank, estimates there is a $200 trillion finance gap between available government budgets and funds needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. … The IsDB is calling on other development banks to act as catalysts in order to boost development finance from the private sector” (Rensch, 1/31).

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Total Ebola Cases In DRC Outbreak Surpass 750

CIDRAP News: Ebola infects 9 more in DRC as ill traveler sparks response measures
“The number of people infected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak grew by nine [Wednesday], as health officials in the neighboring Haut Uele province took steps to prevent the spread of a disease from a resident who was exposed to the virus in Katwa. … Investigations are under way into 187 suspected Ebola cases. [Wednesday’s] developments push the outbreak total to 752 cases, including 698 confirmed and 54 probable cases…” (Schnirring, 1/30).

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Climate Shocks Increase Risk Of HIV Among Adolescent Girls In Lesotho, Threaten Progress On HIV Treatment, Prevention, Researchers Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Climate shocks threaten gains against HIV in Africa, researchers say
“Teenage girls growing up in areas hit by harsh drought and other climate shocks in Lesotho are more likely to drop out of school, start having sex earlier, and contract HIV, researchers said. … Such findings mean climate shocks — which can bring displacement, loss of income, and other problems — threaten to undermine progress made in HIV treatment, said Andrea Low, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs at Columbia University…” (Lazareva, 1/31).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: U.S. doctor who survived Ebola honored for service in Liberia (Marcelo, 1/31).

The BMJ: Coca-Cola and obesity: study shows efforts to influence U.S. Centers for Disease Control (Iacobucci, 1/30).

Devex: What role for development actors in global food system overhaul? (Green, 1/31).

Devex: How one NGO helped eliminate avoidable blindness in over 1,000 villages (Ravelo, 1/30).

Devex: USAID, U.S. NGOs leave Gaza, West Bank over terrorism law (Welsh, 1/29).

Homeland Preparedness News: Collaboration of U.S. university researchers developing new Zika test (Galford, 1/30).

Inter Press Service: Crusade Against Sex Education Undermines Progress Made in Latin America (Frayssinet, 1/30).

Pakistan Today: PM commends polio workers performing duty in harsh weather (1/30).

Quartz: An organic cosmetics range is the latest homegrown innovation trying to eradicate malaria (Chutel, 1/31).

U.N. News: U.N. relief chief urges Security Council to back aid delivery, more funding for millions of Syrians hit by harsh weather (1/30).

VOA News: UNICEF Asks for $180 Million to Feed South Sudanese (Solomon, 1/30).

Xinhua News: Spotlight: From combating Malaria to cataract surgery, China a big help for poor countries (1/31).

Xinhua News: Myanmar, UNICEF to continue collaboration in immunization program (1/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Current Level Of Support For Global Fund Must Be Maintained, Increased To End HIV, TB, Malaria Epidemics By 2030

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Fueling the Global Fund
Editorial Board

“…Since [the Global Fund was established in] 2002 there have certainly been major reductions in deaths and disease … Maintaining this progress is vital to end the [HIV, TB, and malaria] epidemics as public health threats and meet Sustainable Development Goal 3 — health and well-being for all — by 2030. There are, however, challenges to be faced in staying on track towards the 2030 target. … The USA has historically been the biggest donor, providing nearly a third of contributions. But at a time when the U.S. administration seems more concerned with building barriers between people than uniting them, the future level of contribution remains uncertain. … Perhaps it’s time for the governments of rapidly growing economies to take up some of the slack from traditional donors. [Jeffrey] Sachs and colleagues suggest that China, a former recipient of Global Fund support but now the world’s second largest economy, should become a donor. These authors also suggest that to achieve its targets the Global Fund should be asking for at least twice the $14 billion it has requested, and that this gap in funding should be filled by donations from the pockets of the world’s billionaires. … [A]t the very least the current level of support for the Global Fund needs to be maintained or we risk losing the gains that have been made…” (2/1).

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Sweden Should Continue To Pursue 'Feminist Foreign Policy,' World Should Follow

Foreign Policy: Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy, Long May It Reign
Rachel Vogelstein, Douglas Dillon senior fellow and the director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Alexandra Bro, research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…In 2014, Sweden became the first country in the world to publicly adopt what it explicitly called ‘a feminist foreign policy,’ putting the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights at the center of its diplomatic agenda. This policy consists of three laudable R’s: rights, meaning the promotion of women’s issues, including by countering gender-based violence and discrimination; representation, including support for women’s participation at all levels of decision-making, from parliament to private sector boards to the legal system; and resources, to ensure equitable allocation among people of all genders, whether in government budgets or development projects. … As the next government in Stockholm grapples with negotiations over its new agenda, it should sustain the country’s commitment to advancing gender equality through foreign policy. Doing so will not only strengthen Sweden’s foreign policy but also serve as a model for other countries on how to avoid overlooking the talents and contributions of 50 percent of the population. Even nations like the United States — which is unlikely to adopt an explicitly ‘feminist’ foreign policy under an administration that has overseen retrenchment on women’s rights — are enacting laws to strengthen and enact legislation to ensure that foreign and national security policies incorporate a gender perspective. After decades of exclusion, it is long past time to find out what we stand to gain when women are at the center of international affairs” (1/30).

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Impact Investing Could Help Close Funding Gap To Reach SDGs

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why impact investing can help solve the world’s problems
Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management

“…Impact investing, which seeks to generate measurable positive outcomes for people and planet as well as competitive returns, is a promising tool to support the United Nations’ framework for driving real, sustainable change, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, there are three major factors holding back these endeavors. … The first is a lack of awareness. … The second obstacle is too much complexity. … The third obstacle is too little financial contribution toward achieving the SDGs. … The current funding gap is a major impediment to achieving the SDGs. However, private investors are willing to make a greater contribution to this effort if the World Economic Forum and other organizations can work towards high quality investment standards and increase the awareness of opportunities to do well while doing good” (1/29).

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Comprehensive Approach Critical To Reducing Evolution, Spread Of Antibiotic Resistance

The Conversation: Antibiotic resistant ‘superbug’ genes found in the High Arctic
David W. Graham, professor of ecosystems engineering at Newcastle University

“…Antibiotic resistance has now been found in remote parts of the world where humans and antibiotics are scarce or absent. … It’s unclear whether it’s a single migration via a bird or a human, or a chain reaction of exposures. By whatever pathway, resistance genes are moving fast and to places where antibiotics are not present. … If resistance genes migrate via humans or wildlife to other locations, especially places with inadequate local sanitation, such genes and bacterial hosts might be selected in subsequent human and wildlife populations. This is what we think is happening worldwide. These genes move around the world with people and other animals, seeding new places with resistance potential. … [F]ocusing efforts on developing new arsenals of antibiotic drugs may not be enough. It additionally would be wise for wealthier countries to help poorer ones improve water quality and sanitation, even if it is only providing toilets to reduce open defecation. Smarter use of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine is a necessary step for tackling resistance, but only a comprehensive approach will reduce the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance” (1/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Experts Explore Role Of Religion In West African Ebola Outbreak, Global HIV Responses

American Journal of Public Health: Faith and Global Health Practice in Ebola and HIV Emergencies
John B. Blevins, research associate professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health; Mohamed F. Jalloh, CEO of Focus 1000; and David A. Robinson, senior coordinator for World Vision International’s Ebola response leadership team, examine “the relationship between religion and health by highlighting the influences of religion on the response to the 2014 to 2016 Ebola outbreak and the global HIV epidemic.” The authors describe lessons learned from both responses to “better inform collaboration with religious actors” (1/24).

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Wilson Center Event Discusses Guttmacher-Lancet Commission On Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Forging A New Path Toward Universal Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Sarah Barnes, project director, and Elizabeth Wang, intern, both at the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, highlight discussions from a recent Wilson Center event on the work of the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). The authors highlight comments from panelists, including Patricia Da Silva, associate director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation United Nations Liaison Office; Felicity Daly, honorary research fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health, and Society at La Trobe University; Preston Mitchum, senior legal and international policy analyst at Advocates for Youth; and Mabel Bianco, president and founder of the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women. Barnes and Wang write, “Panelists agreed that the fight for reproductive justice expands beyond abortion. At the core of reproductive justice is the interconnection of health and human rights” (1/31).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Updates Fact Sheet On U.S. Government's Engagement In Global Health
Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Health
This updated fact sheet provides an overview of U.S. government involvement in global health efforts, including the role the U.S. plays in global health, U.S. agencies and departments involved in these efforts, major program areas the U.S. supports, and funding (1/31).

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KFF Updates Fact Sheet Examining U.S. Global Health Budget By Program Area

Kaiser Family Foundation: Breaking Down the U.S. Global Health Budget by Program Area
The U.S. government is the largest donor to global health in the world. This fact sheet breaks down the U.S. global health budget by program area: HIV/PEPFAR; tuberculosis (TB); malaria/the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; maternal & child health (MCH); nutrition; family planning & reproductive health (FP/RH); global health security; and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) (1/30).

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KFF Updates PEPFAR Fact Sheet

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
This updated fact sheet examines the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its role in addressing global HIV/AIDS, including key activities, results, and funding (1/31).

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