KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Continue Coverage Of WHA Breastfeeding Resolution, Mention Upcoming Meeting On Infant Formula Regulations

The Atlantic: The Epic Battle Between Breast Milk and Infant-Formula Companies
“…This latest tussle in Geneva follows a decades-long battle by infant-formula makers to promote themselves as essentially on par with breast milk. And while health experts instead say ‘breast is best,’ as this incident shows, policymakers aren’t always willing to put legislation behind that message…” (Khazan, 7/10).

Vox: The next frontier of Trump’s defense of baby formula
“…[I]t turns out that global health resolution was just one of a few battlefronts in Trump’s fight against policies that support breastfeeding, as the administration increasingly aligns itself with the U.S. infant formula industry. A key policy the industry hopes to influence next is a forthcoming United Nations guideline for ‘follow-up’ formulas or ‘growing‐up milks,’ baby formula marketed for children over six months of age. … But formula companies want to head off regulation through global food guidelines of these follow-up formulas, which are virtually indistinguishable from their infant counterparts when it comes to their packaging and labeling. These products represent the fastest-growing category in the … baby formula market…” (Belluz, 7/10).

Additional coverage of this story is available from Business Insider, Forbes, Mother Jones, PRIQuartz, and Vox.

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World Population Day 2018 Marks 50 Years Since Family Planning Recognized As Human Right

Thomson Reuters Foundation: 10 facts about the world’s population
“World Population Day, a United Nations’ initiative celebrated every year on July 11 to raise awareness about the exploding world population, focuses on reproductive rights this year to mark 50 years since family planning won recognition as a human right. Here are 10 facts about the world’s population…” (Mosfiliotis, 7/10).

U.N. News: World Population Day: ‘A matter of human rights’ says U.N.
“…In her message for the day, UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem took that a step further, saying: ‘Family planning is not only a matter of human rights; it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty, and achieving sustainable development.’ Yet, in developing regions, the UNFPA chief pointed out that some 214 million women still lack safe and effective family planning, for reasons ranging from lack of information or services, to lack of support from their partners or communities…” (7/10).

USA TODAY: World Population Day: Family planning is a human right — but it comes at a cost
“…With the population today nearing 7.5 billion globally, census experts predict that by 2030 that number will rise to 8.6 billion — roughly adding 83 million people each year to the planet. … Perhaps more concerning is that the U.N. arm designed to help with family planning faces a funding crisis. … If left underfunded, UNFPA anticipates they would be unable to prevent 40 million unintended pregnancies, 15 million abortions, 113,000 maternal deaths, and 710,000 newborn and child deaths…” (Connor, 7/10).

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Approximately 1 In 4 Of World's Children Live In Country Affected By Conflict, Disaster, UNICEF Head Says

Associated Press: U.N.: 1 in 4 children live in country of conflict or disaster
“A quarter of the world’s children — about 535 million — are living in a country affected by conflict or disaster, the head of the U.N. children’s agency said Monday. Henrietta Fore told a Security Council meeting on children and armed conflict that it is ‘almost beyond comprehension’ that one of every four young people are caught in that situation…” (Lederer, 7/10).

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E.U. Announces €191.3M Humanitarian Aid Package To Sahel Countries

European Commission: E.U. mobilizes more than € 191 million in humanitarian aid to Sahel countries
“In the wake of the worst food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel over the last five years and continued uncertainty, the Commission has announced a humanitarian aid package worth EUR 191.3 million. … The aid announced today will benefit eight countries in the region: Burkina Faso (EUR 11.1 million), Chad (EUR 40.2 million), Cameroon (EUR 13.9 million), Mali (EUR 35.3 million ), Mauritania (EUR 11.4 million), Niger (EUR 32.2 million), Nigeria (EUR 35.3 million), and Senegal (EUR 1 million). In addition, regional funds amounting to EUR 10.8 million will be allocated…” (7/10).

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Health Conditions Dire In Yemen's Contested Port City, WHO Says

U.N. News: Health conditions for citizens of Yemen’s key port city ‘remain critical’ says U.N. agency
“Even before the escalation of conflict in Hudaydah, conditions in Yemen’s port city were some of ‘the most dire in the country,’ according to the United Nations health agency on Tuesday. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that Hudaydah had registered the highest incidences of suspected cholera cases of any city; around 14 percent of those reported nationwide since the start of the crippling epidemic, in April 2017. In addition to that highly infectious disease, there have been 209 suspected cases of diphtheria and 252 of measles…” (7/10).

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More News In Global Health

The Guardian: Teenager at center of Kenyan court case over botched abortion has died (Ratcliffe, 7/10).

Homeland Preparedness News: Research initiative targets Ebola virus (Clark, 7/9).

Reuters: ‘Clear evidence of humanitarian need’ in North Korea: U.N. aid chief (Smith, 7/11).

U.N. News: Achieving targets on energy helps meet other Global Goals, U.N. forum told (7/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Trump Administration's Attempt To Amend WHA Resolution Supporting Breastfeeding

Houston Chronicle: Spoiled milk: Breastfeeding bullying undermines U.S. soft power
Editorial Board

“…Recently, U.S. delegates at the World Health Assembly threatened to unholster a veritable howitzer of soft power in opposition to a policy that wouldn’t seem to merit such aggression: We tried to block a resolution in support of breastfeeding. The position has infuriated public health advocates. Decades of research has found that mother’s milk is best for newborn babies. … So why did the United States oppose this resolution? Maybe it has something to do with the advocates for infant formula manufacturers who happened to attend the negotiations. Maybe the Trump administration simply wanted to target Obama-era support for WHO’s long-standing support of breastfeeding. … The United States has been entrusted with an unprecedented degree of international authority. … For decades, we’ve used our soft power to shepherd a vision built on free markets and free people. That influence, every drop of it, is kind of like breast milk: hard-earned, precious, and not to be squandered” (7/10).

WBUR: Breastfeeding May Be Good For Babies — But What About The $50B Infant Formula Market?
Steve Almond, author, Cognoscenti contributor, and co-host of the Dear Sugars podcast

“…[C]oddling corporations is virtually the only consistent motive to emerge amid the chaotic reign of Donald Trump. Every single decision made on his watch is intended to swell the swamp, to fortify and deepen covert dealings between big business and big government. It should come as no surprise that State Department officials attempted to bully smaller, economically vulnerable nations into killing the World Health Organization (WHO) resolution. This is how this administration operates. It’s why the Trump team also has been pushing to block soda taxes, and warning labels on junk food, and why they recently opposed a campaign by the WHO to expand access to lifesaving medications in poor countries. Whatever global goodwill the United States accrued over the past century, Trump is blowing through, at the behest of his corporate overlords…” (7/10).

New York Magazine: It’s Normal for the U.S. to Put Corporate Profits Above Babies’ Health
Eric Levitz, editor of the New York Magazine’s “Daily Intelligencer”

“…The United States is the ‘leader of the free world;’ we’re supposed to use our immense geopolitical power to advance the causes of freedom and democracy — not to strong-arm small countries into abetting unnecessary infant deaths for the sake of aiding a $50 billion industry. But what the U.S. is supposed to do and what it actually does are two very different things. And while the White House’s handling of the baby formula resolution violated American ideals, it was very much in keeping with our nation’s ‘norms.’ In truth, the United States has long used its diplomatic might to subordinate global public health to entrenched corporate interests. … Major corporations exert some influence over all aspects of U.S. politics, but they absolutely dominate on low-visibility issues — especially, on ones that pit their interests against those of poor people who do not live in the United States. … The Trump administration’s attack on breastfeeding isn’t outrageous because it broke with the long-standing norms of American politics, but rather, because it upheld them” (7/10).

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Focusing Aid On Addressing Global Poverty In U.K.'s National Interest

Devex: Opinion: What does spending in the ‘national interest’ mean for U.K. aid?
Romilly Greenhill, U.K. director of the ONE Campaign

“U.K. aid is in a state of flux … Aid is increasingly being spent in ‘the national interest,’ through departments other than the U.K. Department for International Development. … But what does spending aid in the national interest mean for Britain’s role in the fight against poverty, what trends are starting to emerge, and should we be worried about them? The increase in national interest rhetoric has dovetailed with the increase in aid spending outside of DFID, with other government departments looking to official development assistance to plug gaps where other funds have dwindled. … In principle, there is nothing wrong with aid being spent by different parts of government. … The issue arises when aid spending — whoever it is spent by — is not sufficiently poverty-focused, effective, or transparent. … [I]t’s important not to lose sight of aid’s purpose — fighting poverty — and the degree to which the public support this laudable objective. And let’s not also forget that it is by tackling poverty — and its underlying causes — that we can make the world a healthier, more peaceful, prosperous world that is in all our interests” (7/10).

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Universal Access To WASH Essential For Ending Malnutrition, Providing Health For All

Inter Press Service: Keep Water Out of the Reach of Children
Behailu Shiferaw, communications specialist for WaterAid in the East Africa region

“…Across the world 844 million people still do not have access to clean water, and one in three people still live without adequate sanitation facilities. In Rwanda alone 43 percent of people live without basic access to water, while 38 percent of people do not have a decent toilet. Each year, over 900 children under five die from diarrhea. World leaders have come together at the United Nations headquarters in New York for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), 9 July-18 July, to review the progress that has been made on Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) — to provide clean water and sanitation to everyone, everywhere. On current progress, Rwanda is on course to have universal access to clean water by 2082 and to give everyone access to a decent toilet by 2047. To achieve the transformation that [Rwanda’s Rweru Sector] has gone through [over the past three years] all around Rwanda, efforts on health and nutrition need to be integrated with action on water and sanitation. Global goal 6 on water, sanitation, and hygiene for all underpins progress towards the global goal on ending malnutrition and providing health for all” (7/10).

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Authorities In Yemen Must Prioritize Peace, Rebuild Public Services, Health Facilities

Thomson Reuters Foundation: This is what collapsing health, education, water and sanitation systems look like in Yemen
Henrietta H. Fore, executive director of UNICEF

“…Yemen had some of the worst health indicators globally even before the current escalation of fighting. … Three years into this conflict, more than half of the health facilities are non-functional due to damage or a lack of operating budget and staff. … The whole public service sector in Yemen, not just health, has been left in tatters. … UNICEF has supported the payment of incentives for doctors, nurses, and health workers who run the newborn, pediatric, and maternity wards in at least eight hospitals in Yemen that receive the highest number of patients. This support has been crucial since the conflict escalated as it helps maintain some social services at such a critical time for children. … [A]ll authorities in Yemen need to step up, recognize the urgency, and get public services in the country up and running again. … We can help fill in the gaps when absolutely necessary and should the funding come through, but we are no substitute for government services and our support can only be temporary. Peace is the only way Yemen can inch its way towards recovery. It is the only way children can help build their futures and the future of their communities. It is the only way forward” (7/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Brookings Senior Fellow Discusses Role Of BUILD Act In Advancing Development

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: How the BUILD Act advances development
George Ingram, senior fellow for global economy and development at the Brookings Institution, discusses components of the BUILD Act and how the legislation aims to advance development. Ingram notes, “In the wake of broad bipartisan support from both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, prospects for passage of the BUILD Act look promising” (7/10).

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IntraHealth Medical Adviser Examines Increased Global Access To Family Planning Methods

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: Contraceptive Implants Are Driving Big Gains in Access to Family Planning
Roy Jacobstein, senior medical adviser with IntraHealth International, recognizes World Population Day 2018, held on July 11 each year, and examines “what the international community has achieved on the road to making universal access to family planning information, methods, and services a reality — and what new prospects are around the corner.” Jacobstein notes contraceptive implant use is increasing, as is the focus on injectable contraceptives (7/10).

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Chicago Council's 2018 Next Generation Delegate Discusses Role Of Diplomacy In Preventing Food Price Shocks

Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Next Generation 2018 — How Can Diplomacy Prevent Food Price Shocks?
Craig Robinson, PhD candidate at the Australian National University and member of the Chicago Council’s 2018 Next Generation Delegates, discusses the role of diplomacy in preventing food price shocks, writing, “New frameworks for diplomatic practice are particularly apt to our consideration of food price shocks. … These frameworks, which sit alongside the notable research already undertaken into the causes of food price shocks, can help illuminate the crucial diplomatic agreements necessary to strike a balance between national interest and global public good” (7/10).

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