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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

214M Women In Developing Countries Lack Access To Safe, Effective Family Planning, UNFPA Executive Director Says In World Population Day Message

Xinhua/New China: UNFPA chief: some 214 million women lack safe, effective family planning
“U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) chief Natalia Kanem said Wednesday some 214 million women [in developing regions] 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. In her message to mark World Population Day, the UNFPA executive director said this situation threatens women’s ‘ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities’…” (7/12).

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Novartis Drops Antibiotics Research Program, Ceasing Work On Several Experimental Antimicrobial Projects

CIDRAP News: Novartis drops antibiotic development program
“Antibiotic development efforts were dealt a blow [Tuesday] when drug maker Novartis AG announced its decision to drop its antibacterial and antiviral research programs. The decision means Novartis will no longer be working on several antimicrobial projects currently in development. … Before the decision was announced, Novartis was one of only a handful of large, research-based pharmaceutical companies still active in antibiotic research and development…” (Dall, 7/12).

Gizmodo: Novartis Becomes the Latest Pharma Company to Give Up on Antibiotics Research
“…Novartis’ exit is only the latest sign of Big Pharma’s hesitance to pursue antibiotic research; AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly have also shuttered their antibiotics research programs in recent years. While new antibiotics are still regularly discovered, their development and potential has slowed to a crawl over the decades. … Governments and outside organizations have tried to convince pharma companies to keep their antibiotic research programs going through generous subsidies and funding investments in recent years, while smaller boutique research firms have also stepped in. But there’s no clear indication that these efforts are really paying off…” (Cara, 7/12).

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A.U., Roll Back Malaria Partnership Launch Africa-Wide Campaign To Promote Malaria Prevention, Care

The Lancet: African Union launches a pan-African anti-malaria campaign
“The African Union (A.U.) Commission and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria launched on July 2 a continent-wide anti-malaria campaign, in a bid to add momentum to the fight against the disease. The ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ campaign — inspired by Senegal’s nationwide campaign of the same name launched in 2014 — was unveiled during the A.U. Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, by President Macky Sall of Senegal and King Mswati III of the Kingdom of eSwatini. It seeks to empower communities to take a greater stake in malaria prevention and care and in generating additional resources…” (Zarocostas, 7/14).

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WHO Calls For Access To 210K Displaced Syrians Facing High Temperatures, Lack Of Water, Needing Medical Assistance

Reuters: WHO seeks access to Syrians dying from heat, disease in south
“The World Health Organization (WHO) called on Thursday for access to 210,000 displaced people who have fled fighting in southern Syria and are in urgent need of medicines and health services, including some injured requiring evacuation…” (Nebehay, 7/12).

Xinhua News: Displaced in southern Syria face dire health conditions: WHO
“…[T]he majority of the displaced are exposed to soaring summer temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius and dusty desert winds, with limited access to clean drinking water, sanitation services, and adequate health care, according to the WHO. In the past week, at least 15 Syrians, including 12 children, two women and one elderly man, have died due to dehydration and diseases transmitted through contaminated water, according to WHO figures…” (7/13).

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More News In Global Health

The Guardian: From Ebola to Nipah: are we ready for the next epidemic? — Science Weekly podcast (Sample/Jackson, 7/13).

The Lancet: Proposed regulation of oxytocin in India causes concern (Cousins, 7/14).

The Lancet: Prospects for health in Mexico after the presidential election (Woodman, 7/14).

Reuters: Prince Harry, Elton John to launch coalition against HIV in men (Gumuchian, 7/12).

U.N. News: U.N. emergency fund releases $15 million to help Ethiopians affected by inter-communal violence (7/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss U.S. Attempt To Amend WHA Resolution Supporting Breastfeeding

Star Tribune: U.S. was wrong to block the U.N. resolution on breastfeeding.
Editorial Board

“The U.S. has become a bully on the world stage over, of all things, breastfeeding. In a development that shocked many, the U.S. delegation to the World Health Assembly attempted to shut down what should have been a relatively benign resolution to ‘protect, promote, and support’ the practice of breastfeeding. Why would the U.S. do such a thing? Unfortunately, the apparent answer is as simple as it is crass. Instead of standing up for the health of babies and children around the world, this country’s delegation stood up for the interests of corporate manufacturers of infant formula. … The U.S. government … has — or should have — broader concerns that factor in its responsibility to uphold its role as a leader in global health. … The world’s multilateral organizations are under continued assault by this administration, and each blow struck diminishes this nation’s claim to world leadership a little more” (7/12).

CNN: Stop fighting about breastfeeding and face this reality
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, adjunct senior fellow for women and foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…How about putting the attention where it belongs, on what mothers need and want rather than what global institutions and international governments decide? Breastfeeding education is critically important, but if there is a silver lining to be found in the uproar regarding the WHO and America’s position concerning the push to promote breastfeeding, it is this: what better time could there be to look closely at the broader policies on breastfeeding education and what they mean for women’s lives on the ground in the toughest places and in the most difficult moments? … Those on the ground, not in Geneva, should be able to best decide how to help those in need. And while breastfeeding is both important and praiseworthy, at some point women, too, get a say in how to feed their children. Aid workers have seen it firsthand and mothers know it. And instead of getting caught up in the geopolitics of it all, the rest of us could — and should — use this moment to really consider how best to help women in some of the world’s most challenging places. On their terms, and reflecting their realities, not only ours” (7/11).

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Investing In Civil Society Crucial To Effective HIV, TB, Malaria Response

Thomson Reuters Foundation: To end the world’s deadliest diseases, invest in civil society
Allan Maleche, human rights lawyer, board member of the Developing Countries NGO Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and executive director of the Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN)

“…[C]ivil society is central to an effective response to HIV, TB, and malaria. … That’s why recent efforts to restrict civil society activity are alarming. … The backing of civil society should stand as a key priority for U.S. and other international major financing efforts to end the three epidemics. Investments now to bolster the capacity and reach of civil society stand to yield outcomes valuable to U.S interests and health security: advancing nations’ self-sufficiency; moving toward epidemiological control of HIV, TB, and malaria; and decreasing the potential for another public health crisis, such as the Ebola outbreak in 2014. The United States, in combination with like-minded donors, should apply its resources, voice, unrivaled diplomatic political network — in partnership with partners like the Global Fund — to help to ensure civil society is not left behind” (7/12).

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Joint OECD-FAO Report Describes How Agricultural Policies Can Align With Health

The Lancet: Food security in the Middle East and North Africa
Editorial Board

“…Nutrition is essential for health. Despite greater food production than ever before, malnutrition remains among the top 10 causes of death in resource-poor countries. With little prospect over the next decade of greater protein intake in such countries, it is unlikely that the Sustainable Development Goals for hunger and malnutrition will be achieved. … [The joint OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027 report] describes farming trends and trade that will influence health and societies over the next decade. The findings provide an opportunity to align agricultural policies more closely with health, including planetary health. … Such strategies would promote rural development, alleviate poverty, and deliver a healthier diet” (7/14).

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Access To Health Coverage Must Extend To Africa's Elderly Population

Project Syndicate: Health Coverage Must Not Ignore Africa’s Elderly
Brian Atuhaire, immunization consultant at the WHO and a 2018 Aspen New Voices fellow

“…Access to health care is an obsession for experts in international development. In May, at the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly, officials … discussed how to achieve universal health coverage through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And yet, most of the attention centered on mothers, newborns, and children; elderly populations in developing countries were largely ignored. Failure to address this omission would leave an increasing share of the population without access to affordable health care. … [A] dearth of dedicated resources does not mean that Africa’s leaders must ignore their older constituents. By combining elder-care services with existing programs, health benefits can be extended to underserved populations. … The integrity of any society can be judged by how well it treats its youngest and oldest members. That calculus applies to governments, too” (7/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Columnist Warns Trump Administration's Policies Pose Threat To Global Public Health

Foreign Policy in Focus: Bad Bugs: How the White House Is Stoking a World Public Health Crisis
Conn Hallinan, columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, discusses how the Trump administration’s policies could threaten global public health, writing, “[T]he thing that should … keep people up at night is Washington’s approach to international health organizations and the president’s stubborn refusal to address climate change. Bad bugs are coming, and they are stronger and nastier than they have ever been. … Trump’s disdain for international agencies and treaties, plus cuts in public health programs, and a relaxation of regulations on the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, could create a worldwide medical catastrophe.” This post also appears in International Policy Digest (7/12).

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GAO Report Examines Goals, Alignment Of Foreign Assistance Strategies Among 6 U.S. Agencies

U.S. Government Accountability Office: Foreign Assistance: Better Guidance for Strategy Development Could Help Agencies Align Their Efforts
The GAO report summary states, “We looked at 52 strategies used by the six agencies that provide most foreign assistance and found they had well-defined goals. However, they did not always address how agencies will cooperate and measure progress toward those goals. Also, the strategies’ relationships to each other were sometimes unclear. We recommended that the Department of State lead an interagency effort to establish guidance for developing foreign assistance strategies” (7/12).

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CGD Working Paper Examines Global Health Financing Transitions

Center for Global Development: What You Should Know About Global Health Financing Transitions: Five Key Takeaways
Rachel Silverman, senior policy analyst and assistant director of global health policy at CGD, discusses her new working paper, Projected Health Financing Transitions: Timeline and Magnitude, in which she “project[s] the timing and fiscal impact of anticipated global health transitions through 2040,” drawing on “the explicit or implicit eligibility policies for five global health funding mechanisms” — Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; the World Bank International Development Association; the Global Polio Eradication Initiative; and PEPFAR. In the blog post, she outlines her five most important takeaways (7/12).

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LSHTM Professors Discuss How Industry-Favorable Policies Threaten Progress On NCDs

BMJ Opinion: Johanna Hanefeld and Benjamin Hawkins: NCDs — it’s time to embrace the evidence, not industry
Johanna Hanefeld, associate professor, and Benjamin Hawkins, assistant professor, both at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, discuss recommendations from a recent report by the WHO’s Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). The authors note, “The report is remarkable in the extent to which it reproduces a pro-business agenda. … Embracing actors from any health-harming industry is misguided given the scale of the current NCD crisis and their role within this. … The forthcoming U.N. High-Level Meeting on NCDs in September 2018 offers a perfect opportunity for the global policy community to redress this and change tack decisively on NCDs. Adopting clearer regulatory guidance — including for taxation of sugar, tobacco, and alcohol — should be the first decisive step towards a unified approach to tackling NCDs globally” (7/12).

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FHI 360 Podcast Discusses Challenges Of Coordinating Effective Humanitarian Response In Nigeria

FHI 360’s “A Deeper Look Podcast”: Humanitarian response in Nigeria
In this podcast episode, Patrick Fine, chief executive officer of FHI 360, speaks with Ayoade Alakija, Nigeria’s chief humanitarian coordinator, about “some of the underlying factors fueling conflict in Nigeria and the needs and challenges of coordinating an effective humanitarian response to the resulting complex crises confronting communities in different parts of the country” (7/12).

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FT Health Features Interview Addressing Innovation In Disease Prevention

FT Health: Is there a doctor on board?
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter features an interview with Carlos Morel, director of the Centre for Technological Development in Health at Brazil’s Fiocruz Institute, in which he discusses “innovative ways developing countries are tackling epidemics.” The newsletter also provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 7/13).

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