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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm To Serve As U.S. Science Envoy, Discusses Role In Interview With Science

Science: An outspoken epidemiologist becomes U.S. science envoy
“If there’s an infectious disease that has threatened public health over the past four decades, epidemiologist Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota (UM) in Minneapolis likely has said something about it. … [Monday], the U.S. Department of State announced he would be one of its five science envoys, a program that began in 2010 and taps prominent scientists for one-year appointments to build global collaborations on pressing issues. Joining Osterholm in this year’s class are chemical engineer Robert Langer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge; bioengineer Rebecca Richards-Kortum of Rice University in Houston, Texas; environmental engineer James Schauer of the University of Wisconsin in Madison; and retired NASA Administrator Charles Bolden…” (Cohen, 6/12).

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Progress Made, Prevention Key To Reaching 2030 Targets To End AIDS, U.N. SG Says In General Assembly

U.N. News: Prevention is key to ‘breaking the cycle of HIV transmission,’ U.N. chief tells General Assembly
“This year’s United Nations annual debate over how best to battle HIV and AIDS heard that while progress had been made, it remains ‘uneven and fragile’ with many hurdles still to come. ‘The world is making good progress towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030,’ United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the General Assembly on Tuesday, citing the need for more accessible HIV testing, treatment, and antiretroviral therapy…” (6/12).

Xinhua News: Strong progress made in ending AIDS by 2030: UNAIDS
“…There are gains across most of the 10 commitments made in the 2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: On the Fast-Track to Accelerating the Fight against HIV and to Ending the AIDS Epidemic by 2030, Michel Sidibé, executive director for UNAIDS, said. … [B]ut the full achievement of the [90-90-90 treatment] targets by 2020 requires the expansion of community-led, people-centered approaches to HIV testing, immediate linkage to and retention in care, and adherence to treatment. … Global investment is also insufficient, nearly seven billion U.S. dollars short of the commitment made in the 2016 Political Declaration…” (6/13).

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PBS NewsHour, Science Continue HIV/AIDS Series With Pieces On Growing Epidemic In Russia, Mother-To-Child Transmission In Nigeria

PBS NewsHour: 1 million Russians are HIV-positive, but only a third get treatment
“Russia’s HIV epidemic is growing by 10 percent per year, and yet many proven HIV prevention and treatment strategies aren’t being used. William Brangham and Jason Kane report in collaboration with Jon Cohen of Science Magazine and the Pulitzer Center in our ongoing series ‘The End of AIDS: Far From Over.’ … [C]orrespondent William Brangham and producer Jason Kane return to look at the other factors behind the continued growth of this epidemic, and how the Russian government is responding…” (6/12).

Science: Nigeria has more HIV-infected babies than anywhere in the world. It’s a distinction no country wants
“…At a time when rates of mother-to-child transmission of HIV have plummeted, even in far poorer countries, Nigeria accounted for 37,000 of the world’s 160,000 new cases of babies born with HIV in 2016. The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria does have an exceptionally large HIV-infected population of 3.2 million people. But South Africa — the hardest-hit country in the world, with 7.1 million people living with the virus — had only 12,000 newly infected children in 2016. The high infection rate, along with the lack of access to [antiretrovirals (ARVs)] — coverage is just 30 percent — helps explain why 24,000 children here died of AIDS in 2016, nearly three times as many as in South Africa…” (Cohen, 6/12).

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DRC Ebola 'Outbreak Is Not Over,' WHO DG Warns

Reuters: “We are still at war” with Ebola — WHO chief
“The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday cautioned against declaring victory too early in Congo’s Ebola epidemic, despite encouraging signs that it may be brought under control. ‘The outbreak is stabilizing, but still the outbreak is not over,’ WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists on a visit to Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa…” (6/12).

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WHO DG Discusses Ongoing Ebola Outbreak In DRC, Humanitarian Situation In CAR In Devex World Interview

Devex: Tedros talks Ebola, neglected CAR
“The international community is making ‘significant’ progress in responding to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but not so much when it comes to addressing the needs of neighboring Central African Republic, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday. … Tedros [spoke] in a video call from Kinshasa with Devex President Raj Kumar, which was later shown to conference participants at Devex World…” (Ravelo, 6/13).

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Saudi-Led Coalition Begins Airstrikes On Yemeni Port City Despite U.N. Warnings Of Humanitarian Catastrophe

Foreign Policy: U.S.-Backed Catastrophe Brewing in Yemen
“With all eyes turned toward the summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen prepared to dramatically ramp up the conflict there with an assault on the key port of Hodeida, the country’s main lifeline for food, fuel, and medicine…” (Johnson et al., 6/11).

New York Times: Arab Coalition Attacks Yemeni City in Bid to Oust Rebels
“…The attack, following several days of failed diplomacy, seemed aimed at tipping the balance in Yemen’s long-running civil war against the Houthi rebels, who control the port, and armed forces loyal to the Saudis and Emiratis. But any sustained fighting could deepen what is already the world’s worst humanitarian disaster…” (Coker, 6/13).

NPR: Airstrike Reportedly Hits Doctors Without Borders Facility In Yemen
“A Saudi-led airstrike blasted off the roof and pulverized walls of a cholera treatment center in Yemen, but no one was hurt, according to an international aid group, even as civil war has led to widespread outbreaks of the disease…” (Cheslow, 6/12).

U.N. News: Assault on key Yemeni port would endanger 300,000 children and ‘choke off’ aid for millions more: UNICEF chief
“…UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, said that she was ‘extremely concerned’ about continuing reports that forces from the United Arab Emirates which are part of a Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels who currently control Hodeida, are planning an imminent attack to recapture the city…” (6/12).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Deepens Role in Yemen Fight, Offers Gulf Allies Airstrike-Target Assistance
“The U.S. military is providing its Gulf allies with intelligence to fine-tune their list of airstrike targets in Yemen’s most important port, one sign of the Trump administration’s deepening role in a looming assault that the United Nations says could trigger a massive humanitarian crisis…” (Nissenbaum, 6/12).

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Nearly 6M People In West Africa's Sahel Region Food Insecure, U.N. Official Warns

Associated Press: U.N. says 6 million struggling to get food in Africa’s Sahel
“The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that nearly six million people are struggling to get food in West Africa’s Sahel region and severe malnutrition is threatening the lives of 1.6 million children. Mark Lowcock said in a statement that these levels haven’t been seen since a crisis in 2012 ‘and the most critical months are still ahead’…” (Lederer, 6/12).

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Common Malaria Treatment Might Not Fully Treat Some Children, Pregnant Women, Study Shows

VOA News: Malaria Drug May Fall Short for Children, Pregnant Women
“The most widely used antimalarial therapy may not fully treat some children and pregnant women, according to a new study. These patients’ bloodstreams contained lower concentrations of one active ingredient compared to adults who aren’t pregnant. … But experts say this study alone is not enough to warrant changing treatment recommendations…” (Baragona, 6/12).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: Rift Valley fever sickens 10 in Kenya, triggers response (Schnirring, 6/12).

Devex: Ghana PPP pilots breakthrough insecticide to fight mosquito resistance (Pallares, 6/12).

The Guardian: ‘My body, my choice’: Argentina moves closer to legal abortion with key vote (Kim, 6/13).

Inter Press Service: Project Population: Addressing Asia’s Aging Societies (Yakupitiyage, 6/12).

News Deeply: SUN Movement Building on Domestic Efforts to End Malnutrition (Setrakian, 6/12).

NPR: Boy Dies, Thousands At Risk As Monsoon Rains Lash Rohingya Refugee Camps (Ingber, 6/12).

Popular Science: Can this flu drug really stop Ebola in its tracks? (Brooks, 6/12).

U.N. News: Everyone has ‘a moral imperative’ to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, says U.N. chief (6/12).

Xinhua News: No TB patient should be left untreated in S. Africa: deputy president (6/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

EGPAF's 30th Anniversary Provides Opportunity For U.S. To Recommit To Pediatric HIV/AIDS Efforts

The Hill: 30 years later, and still fighting HIV/AIDS in children
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, and Charles Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

“…[Monday], leaders from both sides of the aisle came together on Capitol Hill to recognize a woman pivotal to … progress [against global HIV/AIDS]. Elizabeth Glaser — who unknowingly transmitted HIV to both of her children after being infected through a blood transfusion in 1981 — founded the Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) in 1988. Over the next six years, she lobbied tirelessly to ensure that her government prioritized HIV research and the development of lifesaving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for children. … Though Elizabeth did not live long enough to see the full impact of her advocacy and message reflected in federal policy, her impact was profound. Progress has followed in the wake of Elizabeth’s early successes. … Yet progress for children in the global AIDS response is tenuous. … EGPAF’s 30th anniversary is an opportunity to applaud the strides we’ve taken, but it would be an affront to Elizabeth Glaser’s legacy if we were to view this occasion as anything less than a recommitment to the fight” (6/12).

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International Community Should Offer Family Planning Aid To Sahel To Ensure Safety, Security In Region

The Hill: For safety and security in Niger, solutions must flow upstream
Malcolm Potts and Alisha Graves, co-founders of the OASIS (Organizing to Advance Solutions in the Sahel) Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley; and Serge Michailof, former director of operations for the French Development Agency

“…There are achievable ways of ameliorating the dire problems facing the [Sahel] region, but they require urgent, large-scale action, including slowing population growth. Two powerful levers on demography that also uphold human rights are girls’ education and family planning. … For better or worse, the future of the Sahel depends in part on external aid. The international community can and should offer family planning aid to these governments. Many of them already have ambitious targets for contraception because they understand the demographic imperative of doing so for development. … What ‘upstream,’ preventive measures can be taken now to slow population growth, uphold women’s rights, and promote peace in the region in decades to come? Finding the answers and acting on them is in the best interest of people in the Sahel region, the United States, and around the world” (6/12).

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Vaccines Play Role In Preventing Disease Outbreaks But Strengthening Health Systems Vital To Prevention

The Hill: Let’s not rely on vaccines, here’s how we can prepare for epidemics now
Marian Wentworth, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health

“…Vaccines are a critical public health resource. But it is important to acknowledge that they are not a speedy, inexpensive, or fail-safe solution. … [E]ven if we develop a vaccine for every possibility, they still have limitations. Local communities must therefore be prepared to prevent and contain outbreaks and limit the impact of those outbreaks on health care and public services. Preparation means having comprehensive, resilient primary health care services and systems in place with working components: strong leadership, engaged communities, laboratories and hospitals, pharmaceutical systems, supply chains, and disease surveillance systems. … For policymakers in the United States and around the world seeking to prevent the next major outbreak of disease, vaccines are a key component of epidemic prevention. But investing now in building strong health systems that can prevent, identify, and effectively respond to disease outbreaks is an inexpensive, and extremely effective effort” (6/12).

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African Leaders Should Allocate More Funding, Forge New Partnerships To Boost Continent's Scientific Capabilities

Project Syndicate: Strengthening African Science
Esther Ngumbi, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and senior fellow at the World Policy Institute

“…Any good leader knows that scientific discovery and innovation fuels progress, facilitates development, and can help tackle issues like food insecurity, water shortages, and climate change. And yet most African governments are failing to fund research and development adequately in their countries. … [A] new, more collaborative approach to African science is urgently needed. … Boosting Africa’s scientific capabilities will require the continent’s leaders to do more than ask tough questions at summits; they must also allocate more funding and forge new partnerships. To overcome Africa’s human development challenges, African governments must invest in the people who can overcome them” (6/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Council Post Highlights Withdrawal Of Ebola Funds Rescission Request, FY19 Appropriations Process

Global Health Council: Advocacy Update — June 11, 2018
Danielle Heiberg, senior policy and advocacy manager, and Melissa Chacko, policy associate, both at the Global Health Council, provide updates on the White House withdrawal of its proposed rescission of unobligated Ebola response funding, as well as the FY19 appropriations process, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the State Department’s FY19 budget (6/10).

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Argentina Should Take Opportunity To Decriminalize Abortion, Affirm Rights Of Women, Girls, HRW Says

Human Rights Watch: Argentina: Decriminalize Abortion
“The Argentine Congress should put an end to the country’s criminalization of abortion, which undermines the fundamental rights of women and girls, Human Rights Watch said … The House of Representatives will vote on a proposal to ease abortion rules on June 13, 2018. … ‘With the vote in Congress, Argentina can join the global trend toward expanding legal grounds to allow abortion and affirming the rights and dignity of women and girls,’ [José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at HRW,] said” (6/12).

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New Issue of PSI's Impact Magazine Available Online

PSI: Impact Magazine No. 23
“The international community has some pretty audacious goals. And, it’s clear that we won’t meet them doing business as usual. To achieve universal health coverage we’ll need to reimagine health care. This special issue of Impact looks at power — more specifically — how to shift power where it belongs for greater health impact. It’s time we treat a ‘beneficiary’ more like a consumer … Together with donors, policy leaders, corporate partners, philanthropists, and technical experts, PSI and our partners explore how to put more care and control directly in consumers’ hands…” (June 2018).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 337 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes articles on various topics, including the role of governments and partners in enabling the Global Fund to address quality of service issues; an overview of the Global Fund’s progress on human rights and gender equity; and approaches the Global Fund and its principal recipients use to manage risk from currency fluctuations (6/13).

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