KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House Appropriations Package Includes Measures To Eliminate Mexico City Policy, Provide Funding For UNFPA

Roll Call: Hyde amendment, other abortion riders in the spending limelight
“…Starting Wednesday, the House will take up a nearly $1 trillion spending package written by Democrats… [T]he State-Foreign Operations title of the package would eliminate the Mexico City policy, which prevents federal [global health] funding from going to any [foreign] nongovernmental organization that uses any funding, including private money, to discuss, provide referrals, or perform abortions … Abortion-rights advocates refer to the Mexico City policy as the ‘global gag rule.’ … The House bill would also provide [$55.5 million] for the United Nations Population Fund, which supports reproductive health care programs in developing countries…” (Shutt et al., 6/10).

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Media Sources Examine Potential Impacts Of Trump Administration's New Fetal Tissue Policy On Medical Research

Associated Press: Scientists feel chill of crackdown on fetal tissue research
“…The Trump administration is cracking down on fetal tissue research, with new hurdles for government-funded scientists around the country who call the special cells vital for fighting a range of health threats. Already, the administration has shut down one university’s work using fetal tissue to test HIV treatments, and is ending other fetal tissue research at the National Institutes of Health…” (Neergaard et al., 6/8).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: How Does New Trump Fetal Tissue Policy Impact Medical Research?
“…[The new policy] could jeopardize promising medical research and set back attempts to make inroads in devastating diseases such as HIV, Parkinson’s, and diabetes, U.S. scientists said. … The change was enthusiastically welcomed by abortion opponents, who have long had fetal tissue research in their sights. Many scientists had a very different view…” (Andrews, 6/7).

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Women Deliver Conference Wraps Up With Pledges, Draws Attention To Gender Equality, Other Development Issues

Devex: Can a new wave of feminist funding change the way development is done?
“Nearly $600 million was committed to women and girls last week in three new announcements at the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver. The money — mobilized from government, philanthropy, and private sector — will be a powerful force for women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health, but it’s just the beginning of a growing wave of feminist funding that experts and advocates hope can help transform the way development is financed…” (Rogers, 6/10).

Global Health NOW: Delivery in Progress: Gender Equality
“…The world’s biggest conference on gender equality closed with a bang [Thursday], amid jubilant cheers, rousing performances, and ambitious pledges. … Jam-packed with side events, sessions, power talks, exhibits, Women Deliver aims to serve as a catalyst for greater gender equality. The 4-day conference drew more than 8,000 delegates from 165 countries, focused on the connections between gender equality and health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, economic and political empowerment to human rights, and many other issues…” (Myers, 6/7).

Health Policy Watch: Women Deliver Conference On Gender Equality Grabs Global Attention
“This week’s Women Deliver 2019 Conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women has captured the world’s attention, drawing three African heads of state as well as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; international NGOs; and directors of U.N. agencies, including a host of high-level WHO officials, as among the key speakers…” (Branigan, 6/4).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Reaches 2K Cases, IFRC Says; WHO Outlines Some Successes In Stopping Outbreak

Bloomberg: IFRC Says Ebola at Tipping Point in Congo With 2,000 Cases
“The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, said the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has reached a tipping point with 2,000 cases…” (Bonorchis, 6/10).

CIDRAP News: WHO details some strides in Ebola response
“Earlier case-contact registration and a drastically reduced rate of nosocomial transmission — those are two of the main improvements the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified in a new assessment of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)…” (Soucheray, 6/7).

The Telegraph: ‘High impact’ outbreaks such as Ebola the ‘new normal,’ WHO warns
“High impact disease outbreaks such as Ebola could become the ‘new normal,’ the World Health Organization has said. Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s assistant director for emergencies, said that a range of factors such as population movement, conflict, and poor governance were coming together to create a perfect storm for disease outbreaks…” (Gulland, 6/7).

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USAID Announces $6M In Aid For World Food Programme, UNICEF To Help Treat 50K Malnourished Children In Kenya

Xinhua News: U.S. provides 6 mln USD to treat 50,000 malnourished Kenyan children
“The U.S. through its development agency, USAID, said Monday it’s providing 600 million shillings (6 million dollars) to two U.N. agencies to treat about 50,000 malnourished children under five years of age in the coming months. The U.S. agency said the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF each received 3 million dollars to procure and distribute specialized products made in Kenya for the treatment of acute malnutrition in children…” (6/10).

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4M People Have Fled Venezuela Amid Political, Economic Crisis, U.N. Says; UNICEF Ramps Up Aid, Including Health Supplies

U.N. News: Four million have now fled Venezuela, U.N. ramps up aid to children who remain
“The number of people who have left Venezuela to escape the country’s ongoing political and economic crisis, has reached some four million, the U.N. announced on Friday. In a joint statement, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), described the scale of the exodus as ‘staggering,’ with the number of displaced people jumping by a million over a seven-month period, from November 2018. … For many of those who have remained in Venezuela, the situation is dire, and around a third of children in the country need help accessing basic nutrition, health, and education services, the U.N. Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Friday. The U.N. agency announced that it has ramped up aid since the beginning of the year, in the form of 55 tons of health supplies distributed to 25 hospitals in the most affected states … They include midwifery kits, antibiotics, and malaria treatment…” (6/7).

Additional coverage of the situation in Venezuela is available from Deutsche Welle, Devex, The Guardian, and VOA News.

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Human Rights Watch Report Examines Impacts Of Honduras's Abortion Ban

The Guardian: Honduras abortion misery a ‘frightening preview’ of America’s future — study
“One woman handcuffed by police after suffering a miscarriage, another forced to bear her rapist’s child. A doctor who risks imprisonment to end pregnancies that threaten the lives of patients. … Researchers from the organization spoke of the ‘enormous suffering’ of women and girls in Honduras, where there is a total ban on abortion in all circumstances. … The study, entitled Life or Death Choices for Women Living Under Honduras’ Abortion Ban, features the stories of Honduran women affected by the abortion law…” (McVeigh, 6/7).

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NPR Examines Potential Motives For South Korean Food, Medical Aid To North Korea

NPR: Why South Korea Is Sending $8 Million In Food Aid To North Korea
“South Korea last week approved $8 million in food aid to North Korea, in response to what U.N. agencies say are the worst harvests there in a decade and severe food shortages affecting 40% of the North’s population. Despite the South Korean government’s insistence on separating the aid from politics, the donation is widely seen as having the political goal of improving inter-Korean relations…” (Kuhn, 6/9).

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Children Who Receive Chickenpox Vaccine Less Likely To Get Shingles, Study Shows

New York Times: Chickenpox Vaccine May Protect Against Shingles Years Later
“The chickenpox vaccine not only protects against chickenpox: A new study has found it also lowers the risk for shingles. … The study, in Pediatrics, included 6.4 million children under 18, half of whom had the chickenpox vaccine. The researchers calculated rates of shingles from 2003 through 2014…” (Bakalar, 6/10).

STAT: When kids are vaccinated against chickenpox, they’re less likely to get shingles, too
“…The rate of shingles cases in vaccinated children was 78% lower than it was among unvaccinated children who had contracted the virus, varicella, the authors reported Monday in the journal Pediatrics. Overall, over the 12-year period studied, the rate of shingles cases among all children in the study fell by 72%, as increasing numbers of vaccinated children likely led to a decrease in infections among unvaccinated children through a phenomenon called herd immunity…” (Branswell, 6/10).

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More News In Global Health

Deutsche Welle: Africa battles high rates of suicide, depression (6/8).

Devex: Video: The rise of vaccine hesitancy (Abrahams/Mihari, 6/10).

The Guardian: It’s not just girls — one in 30 young men were married as children (Ratcliffe, 6/7).

The Guardian: Prevention: the new holy grail of treating mental illness (Rice-Oxley, 6/8).

Health Policy Watch: Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together, Stronger Together (6/7).

Health Policy Watch: New Gavi Partnership: Deploying Biometric Technology To Expand Child Vaccine Coverage (Schlesinger, 6/7).

Inside Philanthropy: Beyond Band-Aids: For a Funder Collaborative Taking on Global Poverty, It’s All About Changing Systems (Sieff, 6/7).

U.N. News: Libya’s migrants and refugees with tuberculosis ‘left to die’ in detention centers (6/7).

Wall Street Journal: Pakistan Grapples With Unprecedented HIV Infections in Children (Rana/Gillani, 6/9).

Washington Post: Uncertain labor: Central Africa’s maternal mortality crisis (Laurent/Tung, 6/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Fetal Tissue Research Vital To Medical Science, Editorial Says

Bloomberg: The Case for Fetal-Tissue Research Is Overwhelming
Editorial Board

“…It’s no exaggeration to say hundreds of millions of people have benefited from vaccines derived from fetal tissue. … The [Trump] administration has announced that government scientists will no longer conduct fetal-tissue research, and that scientists supported by federal funds will face extra scrutiny and require case-by-case approval. … The director of the NIH has stressed the scientific value of fetal-tissue research. Some 70 medical organizations and universities submitted a letter to the government arguing that ‘fetal tissue research cannot be replaced with existing alternative research models’ and that restricting it would be ‘devastating to patients.’ … Opponents of such research doubtless value life-saving vaccines and better treatments for disease: They want to stop the work because they object to abortion. Yet stopping fetal-tissue research would do nothing to reduce abortions, which number in the hundreds of thousands annually for reasons that have nothing to do with biomedical research. Blocking this research will hold back medical science, at great cost to human well-being, for no intelligible purpose. In pressing this case, advocates need to be as assertive and persistent as their opponents — and when they speak up, they need allies to rally opinion to their side” (6/9).

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U.S. Should Play Leadership Role To Help Control Ebola Outbreak In DRC

The Hill: Ebola transmission rate triples in DRC as U.S. expertise is sidelined
K. Riva Levinson, president and CEO of KRL International LLC

“…Three years [after the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak,] in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it feels like many of the lessons learned were learned in vain — and with the White House decision to bar U.S. officials, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from entering the worst-affected zones as well as a strict interpretation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act resulting in the withholding of non-humanitarian assistance, we have an unprecedented sidelining of U.S. expertise that — until now — has been on the frontlines for every Ebola outbreak. … This is no longer just a health emergency, it is a political, security, and diplomatic crisis … To stabilize the Ebola outbreak, the international community needs to heed the advice of its first responders, the global charities, including MSF, Oxfam, Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). … Ebola was defeated in West Africa when a global declaration of emergency created the conditions for charities and frontline health care workers to get ahead of the Ebola transmission curve. The disease was brought under control only after it was acknowledged that you don’t isolate the communities, you work with them, to isolate the virus. And it was defeated with U.S. leadership” (6/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Health Affairs Blog Post Discusses Challenges Achieving Vaccine Preparedness In Low-, Middle-Income Countries

Health Affairs Blog: Seasonal Influenza Vaccination: A Tool To Advance Epidemic And Pandemic Preparedness In Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Joseph Bresee, associate director of global health affairs at the CDC’s Influenza Division, director of the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI), and lead for the Global Funders Consortium for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development, and Marie Paule Kieny, director of research at Inserm, chair of the board of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and of the Medicines Patent Pool Foundation, board member of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership and of the Human Vaccine Project, and non-executive independent director of bioMérieux, discuss how seasonal influenza vaccination may be used as a tool to advance epidemic and pandemic preparedness, as well as describe investments in pandemic vaccine preparedness and challenges low- and middle-income countries face in implementing influenza vaccination programs. The authors note, “[B]uilding programs that can effectively deploy lifesaving vaccines when needed requires attention in parallel with the development of new and improved vaccines. Both work streams will take years, and neither will deliver the benefits they promise without the other” (6/7).

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Asia And The Pacific Region Not On Track To Achieve Any SDGs By 2030, U.N. Report Says

U.N. Dispatch: Asian Countries Are Off Track to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Joanne Lu, freelance journalist for U.N. Dispatch, discusses findings from a recent U.N. report assessing Asia and the Pacific region’s progress toward reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), noting, “Not a single country in the region is on track to achieve any of the [SDGs] by 2030 … According to the report, strengthening on two key areas of focus can make a massive difference: environmental protections and the means of implementing the Goals (SDG 17)…” (6/7).

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Recent Report Examines Role Of Technology In Improving Health Service Delivery

Brookings Institution: Can technology improve service delivery?
Shanta Devarajan, senior director for development economics at the World Bank, discusses findings from a recent Pathways for Prosperity Commission report on the role of technology in strengthening the health service delivery system. Devarajan writes, ” [While the report] presents a realistic, well-grounded, and yet ambitious vision for harnessing technology to improve service delivery, I think it should be even more ambitious, and explore ways of using digital technology to strengthen the weakest link in the service delivery chain, namely the ability of citizens, especially poor citizens, to hold politicians accountable” (6/7).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID, PepsiCo, PepsiCo Foundation Announce Partnership To Address Global Food, Water Challenges By Enhancing Agricultural Productivity

USAID: USAID Administrator Mark Green and PepsiCo Leaders Announce Global Partnership
“U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green, PepsiCo Director of Sustainable Agriculture Margaret Henry, and the President of the PepsiCo Foundation Jon Banner, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 7, 2019, in New York, to expand collaboration between USAID, PepsiCo, and the PepsiCo Foundation. The new global agreement lays the foundation for co-creation and co-investment by USAID, PepsiCo, and the PepsiCo Foundation to help underserved communities around the world address food and water challenges sustainably by enhancing agricultural productivity…” (6/7).

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