KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Obama Expresses Support For LGBT Rights While In Kenya

Agence France-Presse: No problem with gays, but keep it to yourself, say Kenyans
“People in Nairobi on Sunday gave a muted and measured response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s firm support for gay rights during his visit to Kenya…” (McConnell, 7/26).

The Atlantic: Why Obama Pushed for Gay Rights in Kenya
“…[Obama’s] trip did include one tense moment. Appearing at a press conference with his counterpart, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, on Saturday, Obama spoke out about the importance of gay rights in the country…” (Schiavenza, 7/26).

Inter Press Service: Obama Walks Fine Line in Kenya on LGBTI Rights
“… ‘When you start treating people differently not because of any harm they are doing to anybody, but because they are different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode, and bad things happen,’ Obama said at a joint press conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta…” (Dutt, 7/25).

Wall Street Journal: President Barack Obama Condemns Kenya on Gay Rights
“…In an awkward moment of tension, Mr. Obama condemned Kenya’s treatment of gays and lesbians as ‘wrong — full stop’ while standing alongside Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta during a joint news conference…” (Lee/Vogt, 7/25).

Wall Street Journal: Obama to Address Human Rights Concerns as He Begins Visit to Ethiopia
“U.S. President Barack Obama formally began a two-day visit to Ethiopia on Monday, seeking to balance his goals of strengthening a key U.S. partnership for combating regional security threats while pressuring the country’s leaders to address democracy and human rights concerns…” (Lee, 7/27).

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India's Social Spending Cuts Threaten AIDS Treatment, Prevention Programs

Reuters: Funding crisis puts India’s AIDS program, and lives, at risk
“India’s fight against AIDS is being jeopardized by a cut in social spending by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, with health workers being laid off and programs to prevent the spread of the deadly disease curtailed. … [I]n February, Modi slashed the 2015-16 central AIDS budget by 22 percent, asking states to fill the gap…” (Kalra/Siddiqui, 7/24).

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WHO, Aid Agencies Express Concern Over Lack Of Health Funding In Somalia

U.N. News Centre: As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care — U.N.
“Somalia — a country where every two hours a mother dies due to pregnancy complications — is facing cuts in life-saving health services because of the lowest funding levels in seven years, according to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO)…” (7/24).

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World Must Do More To Protect Children From War, Violence, UNICEF Head Says

U.N. News Centre: ‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict — UNICEF chief
“…In a statement [marking the 10th anniversary of a U.N. Security Council resolution that established a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the use of child soldiers], UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said that today, millions of children are deliberately killed, injured, raped, abducted. Their schools and homes are being destroyed; they are being denied food, water, and health care. Tens of thousands are forced to join armed forces and groups…” (7/24).

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Malaria Vaccine To Serve As Tool Alongside Other Prevention Strategies

NPR: Why A Vaccine That Works Only A Third Of The Time Is Still A Good Deal
“…[T]he expectation among researchers is that, even if RTS,S is rolled out on a large scale, the other current measures against malaria — notably bed nets and mosquito control programs — will have to continue to be used if significant progress is going to be made against this tropical disease. And even if it isn’t the holy grail, the vaccine is making history by spurring immunity against a parasite…” (Beaubien, 7/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Health Successes Deserve More U.S. Media, Public Attention

Wall Street Journal: A Little-Noticed Win in Global HIV Treatment
Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer at the Kaiser Family Foundation

“Many Americans are skeptical about foreign aid because they believe a large share of U.S. assistance is lost to corruption. … So it was of no small consequence when UNAIDS announced this month that the global goal adopted in 2011 of getting 15 million people on HIV antiretroviral treatment by the end of 2015 had been met nine months early. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard much about this; there was coverage elsewhere of the pledge but little, if any, national media coverage in the U.S. … [T]his goal being met means that millions of lives have been saved, and much of the funding for this work was provided by the U.S. government and, ultimately, taxpayers. … Meeting this goal and doing so early does not prove that there is no corruption in global health efforts. Far from it. But public attitudes toward corruption and aid suggest that successes like this one don’t get enough attention” (7/27).

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U.S. President Obama Missed Opportunity To Advance Sexual, Reproductive Rights For Women In Africa

The Hill: Obama’s trip to Africa: Missed opportunity before it even began
Jonathan Rucks, director of advocacy at PAI

“…In choosing not to prioritize visiting health facilities [during his trip to Africa, President Obama] has also chosen to miss the opportunity to meet the real women, families, and communities whose lives are irrevocably affected when access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care — including safe abortion — is not a reality. It is unfortunate that the president will not use his upcoming trip to continue to build his global health legacy by advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. He has chosen not to see the ways in which reproductive health is connected to health, well being — and long-term economic prosperity. … [I]f the goal of U.S. humanitarian assistance is to improve the health, safety, and dignity of all people, denying safe abortion access to a woman who has been raped or whose life is in danger because of a pregnancy undermines these values” (7/24).

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WHO Must Create Effective Early Warning System To Detect, Prevent Future Outbreaks

Washington Post: Putting out the fire, next time
Editorial Board

“…The pain and suffering [caused by the Ebola outbreak] have been immense. Now it is time to confront another hard problem: addressing the weaknesses in global response that allowed the virus to spread so rapidly. Without the urgency of another outbreak, national governments and the World Health Organization will be disinclined to change the way they do business. But change they must, or there will be another wave of disease, panic, and unnecessary death. … A more sensitive early warning system is needed. The WHO is made up of member states, but they, too, performed poorly. Many have failed to implement stronger standards for public health adopted a decade ago with the goal of spotting and reporting local outbreaks that could become a global emergency. This neglect is irresponsible and could be repaid in deadly epidemics to come” (7/26).

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Improving HCWs' Economic, Physical Health Essential To Creating Strong, Resilient Health Systems

Quartz: The unsung heroes of the Ebola fight need our help
Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa

“…Our research suggests that the shortage of trained staff — protected with adequate infection prevention and control systems — to provide basic health services could prove more lethal than Ebola. … Our experience with Ebola suggests that if we fail to address the needs of health care workers as a core part of strengthening health systems, we will fail to adequately repair the health systems of West Africa and may only have a fragile ‘Zero Cases’ situation. … In this last phase of the epidemic, decision makers need to prioritize the economic and physical health of the workers on the frontlines. And we need to make sure there are enough of them to do the job. Once we achieve the goal of zero cases, the world must join forces with national health authorities and political and religious leaders of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to deliver essential health services that are resilient…” (7/26).

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Cost-Benefit Analysis Shows Efforts To Reduce NCD Deaths Deserve 'Very Serious Consideration'

Huffington Post: Tackling Non-Communicable Diseases to Avoid Premature Deaths
Bjørn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center

“…For the first time, more people in the developing world are now dying from strokes and heart attacks than infectious diseases. … Because the NCDs generally have received less attention, the solutions are often very effective and very cheap. This is the argument made in a new paper written by Rachel Nugent of the University of Washington. It is part of a series commissioned by my think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, from over 60 teams of top economists. The idea is to be able to compare the costs and benefits of a wide range of proposed targets to help the global community set the best targets for the next 15 years to follow the Millennium Development Goals. … The choice that the global community is faced with when agreeing the set of post-2015 goals is not an easy one, but it is vital that the targets included can do the most good and provide good value for money. Based on this analysis, reducing deaths from non-communicable diseases deserves very serious consideration” (7/24).

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Ukraine Government, Other Parties Must Work To Allow U.N. Convoy Carrying Medicines Into Disputed Region

New York Times: An AIDS Crisis in Ukraine
Michel Kazatchkine, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

“…[In Ukraine’s Donbass region, m]ore than 8,000 patients being treated for HIV or drug dependence have had life-saving medicines cut off, or will soon be without them, unless action is taken right now to allow a humanitarian convoy through. … The Ukrainian government … should permit passage of a United Nations convoy with medicines funded by international donors. Those controlling the Donbass could also give the green light for the convoy. … The Minsk Group, which is led by France, Russia, and the United States and tasked with finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict, should urge immediate action to restore the medicine supply in the Donbass…” (7/26).

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Global Health Corps Engages Young, Diverse People To Advance Global Health

New York Times: A Millennial Named Bush
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“…[Barbara Bush] and five friends began brainstorming about how to help recruit more people to global health. Her connections opened doors — she’s frank about that — and they ended up starting Global Health Corps, initially intended as a kind of Teach for America for global health. … I was initially suspicious of Global Health Corps, wondering how young people, often with no medical training, could be useful. But Bush points to a Global Health Corps logistics expert who worked on a drug supply chain in Tanzania, improving drug access. And architects worked on designing clinics in Rwanda with less air flow, so tuberculosis patients would be less likely to infect others…” (7/25).

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Public-Private Partnerships Critical To Achieving SDGs

Devex: The realities of achieving effective SDG partnerships
Matthew Pace, journalist

“Seventy years ago the United Nations was born. Today the organization’s leaders aren’t just looking back, they’re looking forward, and as they do, they are charting a new path for global development. They see more and more partnerships ahead. … For this round of global goal setting, the business community’s role has received much greater attention. … Members of a U.N. working group still have to figure out how to measure what works, and what doesn’t. They are examining 169 proposed targets to mark progress on the SDGs. That exercise will continue through next March. But even now, people inside the U.N., and outside of it, maintain partnerships will be the key to getting things done” (7/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Events Examine Role Of Faith-Based Organizations In Global Health

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: The Nexus of Faith and Health
Janet Fleischman, a senior associate with the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), writes, “…To explore the nexus between faith and health, the CSIS Global Health Policy Center convened two recent events. The first focused on faith-based organizations and family planning in Kenya, and the second, timed for the release of the new Lancet series on faith-based health care, examined the contributions of faith organizations to global health efforts, and implications for U.S. policy…” (7/24).

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Improving Health Systems In Fragile States Necessary To End Preventable Maternal, Child Deaths

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: A Real Test for the GFF: Improving Maternal and Child Health in Conflict Settings
Katey Peck, a program coordinator and research assistant at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses the launch of the Global Financing Facility to end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030 at the recent Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “…If we are to end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030, initiatives such as the GFF should place a greater focus on improving health systems in fragile states, where the majority of these deaths occur…” (7/24).

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Nigeria Must Continue Work Toward Polio Eradication

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Polio Eradication: Nigeria Must Keep its Eye on the Prize
Nellie Bristol, a senior fellow with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, writes about Nigeria’s achievement of reaching one year without a recorded polio case. “…While its commitment to polio eradication and polio program performance has been spotty over the years, Nigeria is now in its best position ever [to eradicate polio]…” (7/24).

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