Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Webinar Addresses PEPFAR Country Operational Plan Data, Lessons Learned

Devex: Webinar: Lessons learned from PEPFAR COP data
“…In anticipation of the release of PEPFAR’s 2019 Country Operational Plans, Devex Senior Development Analyst Maja Wisenberger spoke with experts on the global HIV/AIDS response about how to harness COP data for more effective implementation, what implications to expect from the localization agenda, and what changes PEPFAR can make to the M&E process — and to its policies — to better enable the work of its implementers in the field…” (7/12).

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USAID Should Reevaluate Partnerships With Implementers, Clearly Communicate Expectations, IG Says In House Subcommittee Hearing

Devex: USAID should ‘rethink its culture of partnership with implementers,’ inspector general says
“U.S. Agency for International Development Inspector General Ann Calvaresi Barr on Thursday called for a rethink in the way the agency works with implementers and outlined several key management challenges that are preventing the most efficient and effective use of its funds. Barr spoke at a House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations subcommittee hearing focused on mismanagement at USAID and the State Department, which gave members of Congress an opportunity to get an update from the offices charged with oversight of U.S. foreign aid…” (Saldinger, 7/12).

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White House Intends To Nominate CEO For New U.S. Development Finance Corporation

Devex: White House names intended nominee for top job at new U.S. DFI
“The White House plans to nominate Adam Boehler to be the CEO of the new U.S. Development Finance Corporation, a move that would put an entrepreneur and development outsider at the helm of the country’s new development finance agency. Boehler, who is a relative unknown to the development community, has been serving as the director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and is a senior adviser to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He is also reportedly close with White House adviser Jared Kushner, who was his roommate for a summer in college…” (Saldinger, 7/12).

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More Health Workers Infected With Ebola In DRC; New Humanitarian Interviews U.N. Ebola Coordinator David Gressly

CIDRAP News: Three more health workers infected in Ebola outbreak
“The new cases raise the total number of health care workers infected in this outbreak to 131, including 41 deaths. Health workers make up 5% of all the victims of this outbreak, according to DRC data. The World Health Organization (WHO), however, in its latest Disease Outbreak News update, puts the number of infected health workers at 132…” (Soucheray, 7/11).

The Guardian: Measles vaccination begins in Ebola-hit Congo amid fears of ‘massive loss of life’
“Health workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have launched an urgent measles vaccination campaign in Ebola-hit regions, after almost 2,000 deaths from the preventable disease, two-thirds of them among children under five. … The ‘unprecedented’ humanitarian crisis is putting the health system under strain, U.N. staff said…” (McVeigh, 7/12).

New Humanitarian: Q&A | Tackling Congo’s Ebola outbreak ‘more than a public health response’
“…Appointed as U.N. Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator in May, David Gressly is the man responsible for getting on top of the crisis. He is advocating a structured approach to fighting the disease, in order to focus on what is ‘stopping the public health response from happening.’ … In a two-part interview — via phone and email — he spoke to the New Humanitarian about the challenge of working in a region that has suffered two decades of armed conflict; where the humanitarian needs of communities extend well beyond this health crisis; and on the urgency of developing a ‘partner-wide’ strategy to end the outbreak…” (Elliott, 7/11).

Washington Times: Two Ebola treatments in field show promise in lab tests
“…The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it found that the [experimental] treatments, the antiviral drug remdesivir and single-cell antibodies from ZMapp (an ‘antibody cocktail’), both block the growth of the viral strain causing the [DRC] Ebola outbreak in cultured human cells…” (Tan, 7/11).

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Science Vital To Achieving SDGs, U.N. Development Forum Hears

U.N. News: Science is ‘key’ to pushing forward the 2030 Agenda, U.N. development forum told
“The implementation, follow-up, and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was front and center at the United Nations on Thursday as the third day of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) focused on the important role that science plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (7/11).

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Conditions For World's Poorest Improving But UNDP Poverty Index Continues To Show Inequality, Disparity In Progress

The Guardian: Life is getting better for world’s poorest — but children bear greatest burden
“The U.N.’s key global poverty index has identified that conditions for the world’s poorest 40% are improving more quickly than for those just above them. The positive trend has been identified in the latest assessment of world poverty collected by the U.N. Development Programme, which quantifies relative impoverishment across the globe by multiple factors. … The aim of the multidimensional poverty index, published by UNDP on Thursday, is to go beyond using income as the sole indicator for poverty by highlighting other ways in which people experience deprivation. Health, education, and standard of living were among the areas investigated with the aim of identifying wide disparities in poverty, even within single households…” (Beaumont, 7/12).

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U.N. Member Nations Must Fulfill Cairo ICPD Conference Commitments, U.N. Secretary General Says In World Population Day Message

U.N. News: ‘Unlock opportunities’ and pave the way for sustainable development, U.N. chief urges on World Population Day
“As the number of people on the planet continues to rise, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres marked World Population Day by highlighting the close link between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and demographic trends — urging everyone to ‘unlock opportunities for those left behind and help pave the way for sustainable, equitable, and inclusive development for all.’ … ‘This year’s World Population Day calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the Cairo ICPD Conference,’ he maintained. … ‘I encourage Member States to participate at the highest levels and to make firm political and financial commitments to realize the Programme of Action of the ICPD’ and ‘carrying forward’ its vision, the secretary general concluded. Based on the agreement between 179 governments affirming that sexual and reproductive health is the foundation for sustainable development, the 1994 ICPD determined that women have a right to make their own decisions about pregnancy…” (7/11).

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Longer-Term Breastfeeding Could Save Global Economy $1B Daily, Researchers Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: More breastfeeding could save the world $1 billion every day
“Not enough breastfeeding costs the global economy almost $1 billion each day due to lost productivity and health care costs, researchers said on Friday, as health experts urged more support for nursing mothers. A new website developed by researchers in Canada and Asia showed that the world could have saved $341 billion each year if mothers breastfeed their children for longer, helping prevent early deaths and various diseases…” (Yi, 7/12).

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Studies Identify Gut Bacteria, Foods Beneficial To Prevent, Treat Malnutrition In Children

Science: Starving children often don’t recover, even when fed enough. Restoring their gut bacteria could help
“Even after starving children get enough to eat again, they often fail to grow. Their brains don’t develop properly, and they remain susceptible to diseases, even many years later. Two studies in Science this week now suggest fostering the right gut microbes may help these children recover. The work also pinpoints combinations of foods that nurture the beneficial microbes. … The results suggest a way to improve nutrition even in well-fed children, in whom a poor diet can lead to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and other diseases as adults…” (Pennisi, 7/11).

Additional coverage of the studies is available from BBC News, NPR, and STAT.

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U.N. SG Guterres Calls For International Community To Fully Fund Recovery, Resilience Efforts In Cyclone-Hit Mozambique

Reuters: United Nations chief calls for more support for cyclone-hit Mozambique
“U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday called on the international community to provide more aid to Mozambique, where two cyclones spurred by climate change killed hundreds and wrought widespread destruction earlier this year. Speaking to reporters after meeting Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi in the capital Maputo, Guterres said the cyclones were a consequence of climate change — a phenomenon Mozambique is on the frontline of but does not contribute to. ‘This gives (the country) the right to demand strong solidarity and strong support from the international community,’ he said, noting that appeals for post-cyclone aid have gone underfunded…” (Mucari/Rumney, 7/11).

U.N. News: In Mozambique, it’s ‘a matter of the heart’ says Guterres, lauding the cyclone-struck nation’s ‘undeniable moral authority’
“…Less than half of the $3.2 billion requested by the government at a recent pledging conference in Mozambique had been pledged, and a U.N. appeal for $280 million in aid was also ‘far from being fully funded.’ ‘More aid and more support will be needed from the international community in Mozambique to respond effectively,’ said the U.N. chief. ‘And not just more support, but the swift implementation of that promised support. That is another crucial issue, regarding the solidarity of the international community. We must not only support, but support on time’…” (7/11).

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El Salvador To Retry Teen Rape Victim Previously Convicted For Murder After Stillbirth

Thomson Reuters Foundation: El Salvador set to reopen abortion trial of teen rape victim
“A teenage rape victim in El Salvador who was convicted for murdering her child and jailed for nearly three years after a stillbirth will face a retrial next week, her lawyers said on Wednesday. Evelyn Beatríz Hernández was handed a 30-year prison sentence in 2017 for aggravated murder by a female judge who ruled the teenager had induced an abortion, which is a crime under any circumstance in the Central American nation. Her sentence was annulled in February in an appeal before El Salvador’s top court, marking a victory for the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion (CDFA), a local rights group pushing to free about 20 jailed women with similar cases. … Pro-choice activists say Hernandez’s retrial is an important test case that could signal the stance on abortion taken by El Salvador’s new president, Nayib Bukele, who took office in June. Bukele has said he believes abortion should be allowed only if the mother’s life is at risk…” (Moloney, 7/10).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Duterte critics laud U.N. vote to scrutinize drug killings (Gomez, 7/12).

Deutsche Welle: Sugary drink consumption increases cancer risk, research suggests (7/11).

Devex: Q&A: Engaging the private sector on health security (Cornish, 7/12).

Devex: Is it time to take ‘more of a gamble’ to scale nutrition interventions? (Welsh, 7/12).

New Scientist: People in China have more salt in their diet than anyone else in world (Whyte, 7/12).

New York Times: Life in a City Without Water: Anxious, Exhausting and Sweaty (Sengupta, 7/11).

Reuters: Riskier male sex pushes Europe’s syphilis rates up 70% since 2010 (Kelland, 7/12).

The Telegraph: On the brink: Malawi’s fight against a crippling parasite (Newey, 7/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Family violence against girls rising in Mexico: UNICEF (Lopez, 7/11).

VOA News: Swedish Group Demands Probe Into Deadly Attack on Its Afghan Health Clinic (Gul, 7/11).

Xinhua News: Uganda calls for family planning to empower women, reduce population growth (Ssekandi, 7/11).

Xinhua News: 1.2 mln cholera vaccine doses reach Yemen’s capital (7/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Discusses SheDecides Movement

Devex: Opinion: How to build a SRHR movement
Robin Gorna, writer, advocate, strategist, and former lead of SheDecides support team

“…Here are some of the lessons learned from those early days [of the SheDecides movement]. As the strategy emerged, champions debated whether the movement should focus principally on bad policies and laws emerging across the globe; or on the U.S., especially the global gag rule that had sparked the movement; or on access to safe abortion. The decision was clear. We needed to focus on what we want to achieve: a world where she decides. … Champions agreed never to lose sight of the urgent focus on safe abortion, and the related, highly politically charged urgency of comprehensive sexuality education. … Today we look at the achievements of [the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) that took place in Cairo 25 years ago] and commit to achieving even more by the time the world gathers in Nairobi for the ICPD25 Summit in November. Equally important is to shine the spotlight on Beijing and next year’s 25th anniversary. The Beijing Platform for Action took a broader look at gender equality. It reaffirmed the fundamental principle that the human rights of women and girls are an inalienable, integral, and indivisible part of universal human rights — promoting and protecting the fundamental freedoms of all women throughout their lifecycle. … [L]et’s embrace the new normal of vibrant young people from all around the world who see the urgency of protecting the fundamental human rights of every person — no matter their gender — to decide what we do with our bodies…” (7/11).

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Aid Organizations Must Weigh Risks Of Using Biometric Data To Distribute Assistance In Conflict Settings

New York Times: Stop Surveillance Humanitarianism
Mark Latonero, research lead at Data & Society

“…For humanitarian organizations, monitoring and collecting data are essential for delivering the right amount of aid to the right people at the right place and time. When these organizations collect data, they are trusted more than companies or governments because their mandates include the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence. Yet to date, the humanitarian sector has not developed the calculus to weigh the benefits of digital identity systems against the costs to fundamental rights. … One might say that in a war zone, the risk to privacy is insignificant compared with the dangers of going without food. This may be true in the immediate moment. But potential harms related to data are often latent or shifted to a later time. If an individual or group’s data is compromised or leaked to a warring faction, it could result in violent retribution for those perceived to be on the wrong side of the conflict. … There need to be opt-out alternatives for individuals that will not result in the denial of aid. … When decision makers turn to technology as a solution they need to be aware of both the immediate trade-offs and unintended consequences. Without this awareness, [a humanitarian situation] could become an extreme example of a larger problem — the creation of a digital underclass who are forced to hand over their personal data in exchange for basic needs like food without dignity and choice” (7/11).

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Political, Financial Commitment, Sustained Action Needed To End Violence Against Children

Project Syndicate: No Excuse for Violence Against Children
Etienne Krug, director of the WHO’s Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence, and Injury Prevention (NVI); Zoleka Mandela, writer and activist; and Howard Taylor, executive director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GPEVAC)

“…[V]iolence, mental and sexual trauma, and substance abuse are interrelated issues that can have a deep and lasting impact on the lives of children. … Victims often experience lifelong social, emotional, and cognitive consequences. They are at higher risk not just of depression, anxiety, and suicide, but also heart disease, obesity, and HIV/AIDS. And these effects are regularly passed down to the next generation … Still, prevention is possible, response services can be made more available, and the political will to address the problem is at an all-time high. … Health policy is a crucial component of progress … The global health community has confronted similar challenges before. There has been tremendous progress toward ending childhood deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, and other preventable diseases. These gains are the result of political and financial commitments, and of sustained attention and action on the part of governments and multilateral institutions. The same level of commitment and action is needed to address the scourge of violence against children. Making the investments needed to end violence against children will also accelerate progress toward a number of other [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. But if we do not make those investments, the hard-fought progress that has already been made toward universal health care, high-quality education, and other SDGs will be offset, or even reversed. … [W]orld leaders must redouble their commitment to ensure that all children are afforded the safety and opportunities they deserve” (7/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Political Leadership Critical To Achieving UHC, WHO Director General Says

BMJ Opinion: Tedros Ghebreyesus: Health is a political choice
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus discusses the importance of political leadership in addressing global health, including noncommunicable diseases, writing, “All people, regardless of who they are or where they live, must be able to access high quality essential health services, without suffering financial hardship. These three ideas — access to health services, with financial protection, equally for all — are the essence of universal health coverage. … Many G20 and G7 countries are the standard bearers for universal health coverage with decades of experience under their belts, while others are at the vanguard of a new wave of countries that are making bold strides towards it. Together, these countries are uniquely positioned to provide strong leadership for others to follow, and to demonstrate that health is a political choice that all countries can make.” This post was first published in Health: A Political Choice (7/12).

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FIGO Celebrates 65 Years In Series Of Blog Posts

The following posts recognize the 65th anniversary of the founding of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO).

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: FIGO at 65: Looking Ahead (7/12).

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: FIGO at 65: reducing maternal mortality (7/12).

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: FIGO at 65: our global commitment (7/11).

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: FIGO at 65: the Power of Partnership (7/11).

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Antibiotic Development Must Focus On Improving Health Outcomes, Access To Medicine, MSF Access Campaign Head Says

BMJ Opinion: Els Torreele: The search for new antibiotics — market-based solutions are not the answer
Els Torreele, executive director of the MSF Access Campaign, discusses market-based research and development (R&D) business models for antibiotic development and calls for “[t]otally different strategies for developing and delivering effective new antibiotics … ones that rely on public responsibility instead of incentives for commercial markets. … The remedy for a deeply flawed innovation ecosystem resides in directing R&D towards improving patient health outcomes and collaboration towards affordable and sustainable access for people in need wherever they live. … We must find the courage to explore radical solutions beyond business as usual because medicines shouldn’t be a luxury” (7/11).

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