Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

MCC To Focus On Staff, Culture Of Innovation, Private Sector Engagement, Accountability In 2020

Devex: What to expect from the Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2020
“According to the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the agency will have four key areas of focus in the year ahead: its staff, enhancing a culture of innovation, engaging the private sector, and accountability. The agency, which was without a Senate-confirmed leader for about two years before Sean Cairncross took over as CEO in July, is looking to chart a way forward that focuses on those key areas as it aims to expand its work…” (Saldinger, 1/8).

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USAID Begins Agent Orange Cleanup At Vietnam's Bien Hoa Air Base, Support Program For People With Associated Disabilities

Devex: USAID begins new round of Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam
“…Bien Hoa Air Base was the primary Agent Orange storage and handling site during the war and is the largest remaining hot spot of dioxin contamination in Vietnam — and, arguably, in the entire world. … In December, almost 45 years after the end of the war in 1975, the United States Agency for International Development announced that it had launched dioxin cleanup operations at the air base and signed an agreement to implement a $65 million program to support people with disabilities in Vietnam. The operation follows a similar cleanup undertaken at the former Danang air base in 2012, which cost $110 million and took six years to complete. For the remediation project in Bien Hoa — expected to cost $300 million over a 10-year period — USAID will rely on lessons learned in Danang…” (Byatnal, 1/8).

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U.K. PM Johnson Will Not Pursue DFID Merger With Foreign Office, Daily Mail Reports

Daily Mail: Boris Johnson will NOT axe the foreign aid department as he scales back pre-election plans for Whitehall shake-up
“The foreign aid department will escape the axe as Boris Johnson scales back his proposed Whitehall shake-up, the Mail can reveal. Plans for a radical overhaul that would have seen a raft of departments created, merged, or scrapped have been curtailed. Instead the Prime Minister will largely concentrate on improving performance in the existing ministries…” (Stevens, 1/6).

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Roundtable Discussion Examines How Lack Of Funding, Agreement Hinders Data Collection Necessary To Achieve SDGs

Devex: When it comes to data for the SDGs, money and agreement are still lacking
“With just 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, more than 50 indicators remain undefined, with data missing to identify the progress against these goals. … Insights from a roundtable discussion hosted by SDSN TReNDS, to be released publicly on Tuesday, identify how governments need to change to support the creation and maintenance of the data required to achieve the SDGs…” (Cornish, 1/7).

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WHO Emergency Committee Says Polio Remains International Public Health Concern

U.N. News: Spread of polio still an international public health concern
“The spread of polio internationally remains a global public health concern, experts meeting in Geneva have concluded. The opinion comes in a statement released on Tuesday following the latest meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) that provides technical advice on international public health emergencies…” (1/7).

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DRC Measles Outbreak Death Toll Passes 6K, WHO Says, Calls For Additional Funds For Response

Associated Press: WHO: Death toll from measles outbreak in Congo hits 6,000
“The death toll from a measles epidemic in Congo has surpassed 6,000, the World Health Organization said Tuesday as it warned that more funds are needed to save lives during the world’s worst outbreak of the infectious disease…” (Larson, 1/7).

U.N. News: More international support needed to curb deadly measles outbreak in DR Congo
“…So far, more than $27 million has been mobilized for the response. However, another $40 million is needed for a six-month plan that would extend vaccination to children aged six to 14 years. The funding also will help with improving treatment, health education, and community engagement, in addition to strengthening the health system, among other measures…” (1/7).

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Yemen Again Tops IRC's Watchlist Of Countries Facing Worst Humanitarian Crises For 2020

The Guardian: Yemen heads list of countries facing worst humanitarian disasters in 2020
“Yemen has topped an annual watchlist of countries most likely to face humanitarian catastrophe in 2020, for the second year running. Continued fighting, economic collapse, and weak governance mean that more than 24 million Yemenis — about 80% of the population — will be in need of humanitarian assistance this year, according to analysis by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which found that another five years of conflict could cost $29bn (£22bn)…” (Hodal, 1/7).

The Telegraph: Yemen tops list of countries in crisis for second year running
“…The International Rescue Committee’s annual watchlist of the 20 countries most at risk of a worsening humanitarian catastrophe shows little change since last year, highlighting the protracted nature of the crises facing these countries. Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Syria, Nigeria, and Venezuela are the top five countries most at risk. There are three new additions to the list — Burkina Faso, Burundi, and Chad — and four countries have dropped off the list from last year, Bangladesh, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Pakistan…” (Gulland, 1/7).

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Chinese Authorities Continue Work To Identify Cause Of Viral Pneumonia Outbreak; Officials Across Asia Take Heightened Precautions

Washington Post: Specter of possible new virus emerging from central China raises alarms across Asia
“An outbreak of an unidentified and possibly new viral disease in central China is prompting officials across Asia to take heightened precautions ahead of the busy Lunar New Year travel season. Officials in Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines said in recent days they will begin setting up quarantine zones or scanning passengers from China for signs of fever or other pneumonia-like symptoms that may indicate a new disease possibly linked to a wild animal market in Wuhan…” (Shih et al., 1/8).

Additional coverage of the outbreak is available from the Associated Press (2), CIDRAP News, Science Speaks, and TIME.

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Global Early Warning Tool Uses Environmental, Socio-Economic Data To Predict Potential Conflict Areas

The Guardian: Water wars: early warning tool uses climate data to predict conflict hotspots
“Researchers from six organizations have developed an early warning system to help predict potential water conflicts as violence associated with water surges globally. The Dutch government-funded Water, Peace and Security (WPS) global early warning tool, which was presented to the U.N. Security Council before it was launched formally last month, combines environmental variables such as rainfall and crop failures with political, economic, and social factors to predict the risk of violent water-related conflicts up to a year in advance…” (Dehghan, 1/8).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: New study shows Zika’s long arm in children (Soucheray, 1/6).
MedPage Today: Zika-Exposed ‘Normal’ Infants May Do Worse as Time Goes On (Walker, 1/6).

Devex: Former PATH CEO cautions against creating new global health silos (Kumar, 1/8).

New Humanitarian: Reporter’s Diary: Hazardous handshakes and other indignities in the time of Ebola (Freudenthal, 1/7).

NPR: Over 900 Infants Died In One Hospital In India In 2019. What Went Wrong? (Thiagarajan, 1/7).

The Telegraph: ‘Once rabies develops, there is no treatment’: Pakistan’s plight to prevent ancient disease (Farmer, 1/7).

U.N. News: Syria: Civilians face ‘daily nightmare’ in Idlib, says top U.N. official (1/7).

Wired: Scientists Figured Out the Indian Cobra’s Genome — at Last (Molteni, 1/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

BMJ Opinion Piece Examines Lessons From Recent Plague Cases In Asia

The BMJ: Containing pneumonic plague
Dera Ranaivozanany, emergency physician with Hôpital Foch in Suresnes, France; Bertand Renaud, professor with the Faculté de Médecine at the Université de Paris in Paris, France; and Daniel Lucey, adjunct professor with the Department of Medicine-Infectious Diseases at Georgetown University Medstar Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“On 13 November 2019 two cases of plague pneumonia, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, were reported at a hospital in the Chaoyang district of central Beijing. The two affected adults became ill in Inner Mongolia and were transferred by ambulance to Beijing with pneumonia of unknown cause. Given the high mortality of untreated plague pneumonia, and its potential for spread from person to person through respiratory droplets in this large urban setting, a high level of concern and rapid response was warranted. Later that month, bubonic (lymph node) plague was diagnosed in two patients in Inner Mongolia, raising the possibility of an ongoing epidemic of plague in this autonomous region of northern China and prompting public health measures to minimize transmission. To put these cases in context, China reported just five cases of plague of all types between 2013 and 2018, according to the World Health Organization…” (1/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Royal Philips Executive Discusses How AI Could Impact Health Care In Future

World Economic Forum: Here are 3 ways AI will change healthcare by 2030
Carla Kriwet, chief executive officer of Connected Care and Health Informatics at Royal Philips, discusses potential ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) will impact health care in the future, writing, “By 2030, AI will access multiple sources of data to reveal patterns in disease and aid treatment and care. Healthcare systems will be able to predict an individual’s risk of certain diseases and suggest preventative measures. AI will help reduce waiting times for patients and improve efficiency in hospitals and health systems” (1/7).

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