Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House Passes Spending Bill Including Permanent Repeal Of Mexico City Policy, Increased International Family Planning Funding; Negotiations With Senate Ongoing

Refinery29: House Passes Spending Bill That Repeals The Global Gag Rule
“The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass a near $1 trillion spending package … Reproductive health advocates lauded H.R. 2740 as a victory for family planning and health care in general. The legislation permanently repeals the domestic gag rule [– new regulations for the federal Title X family planning program –] and global gag rule [– otherwise known as the Mexico City policy], which block local and international organizations that offer or even discuss abortion care from receiving federal funding; increases funding for the Title X program; offers at least $750 million for international family planning programs; and blocks a Trump administration rule allowing health providers to refuse care on a ‘freedom of conscience’ basis…” (González-Ramírez, 6/19).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.S. Democratic lawmakers vote to repeal global gag rule on abortion
“…The measures were contained in an extensive $983 billion fiscal year 2020 spending bill for the U.S. government’s State, Labor, Health and Human Services and other departments. Before any money is spent, however, Republicans who control the U.S. Senate are likely to craft a bill that does not embrace the House Democrats’ initiatives. Negotiations between the House and Senate are likely to extend for several weeks, if not months, and the White House is also likely to weigh in…” (Wulfhorst, 6/19).

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Foreign Policy Examines IWHC Report On Impacts Of Trump Administration's Expanded Mexico City Policy

Foreign Policy: Trump’s Global Gag Rule Is Killing Women, Report Says
“…[T]he Trump administration brought back and expanded a Ronald Reagan-era policy — formally known as the Mexico City policy, but often called the ‘global gag rule’ by critics — that prohibits U.S. [global] health-related aid to foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion. The rule has such far-reaching impacts that, beyond limiting abortion access, it has also decreased access to contraception and treatment for illnesses such as HIV and tuberculosis, as organizations that have lost funding roll back or close services. … [An International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC)] report concluded that the gag rule has led to a rise in unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions … The rule also has a ‘chilling effect’ on advocacy for reproductive rights and damages partnerships in the health care sector because ‘gagged’ organizations fear losing funding if they are linked to ones that don’t conform to the policy, the report said. … A spokesperson for USAID said in an email that the majority of its partners continue to work with the U.S. government in spite of the rule…” (Dharssi, 6/19).

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Insecurity In DRC Hindering Responses To Measles, Ebola Outbreaks

Reuters: Northeast Congo insecurity hampers response to measles outbreak
“Insecurity in northeast Congo has hampered a measles vaccination drive and forced people to flee their homes, local responders said on Wednesday, complicating efforts to control the spread of a virus that has killed more people [than] Ebola this year. At least 1,500 people have died from measles in Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of 2019, according to health authorities, compared with 1,390 felled by an Ebola epidemic in the east…” (Prentice, 6/20).

Additional coverage of the measles outbreak and instability in DRC is available from Reuters and U.N. News.

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News Outlets Continue Coverage Of Wellcome Global Monitor Results On Public Trust Of Vaccines, Science

Al Jazeera: Western Europeans have least trust in vaccines worldwide: Report (6/19).

CNN: Richer countries have less faith in vaccines, survey finds (Hunt, 6/19).

Nature: Japan and Ukraine most likely to doubt safety of vaccines (Else, 6/19).

POLITICO: Europe most vaccine-skeptic region in the world, survey says (Paun, 6/19).

POLITICO: Study: Around the world, troubling levels of vaccine mistrust (Allen, 6/19).

Reuters: Eroding trust in vaccines leaves populations vulnerable, global study finds (Kelland, 6/19).

TIME: Most People Worldwide Trust That Vaccines Are Safe — But the Amount That Don’t Is Concerning (Ducharme, 6/19).

VICE News: The 11 Countries Where People Don’t Trust Vaccines (Marcin, 6/19).

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WHO Launches $1M Emergency Response To HIV Outbreak Among Children In Pakistan

New Humanitarian: U.N. launches emergency response to contain Pakistan HIV epidemic
“The discovery of an HIV outbreak among hundreds of children in Pakistan has spurred an international response and put a spotlight on health care and treatment practices in a country already facing a fast-rising epidemic. This month, the World Health Organization started rolling out a $1 million emergency response, but medication shortages are already posing a challenge as responders try to contain the outbreak. … Its plan, which will be carried out with the government, NGOs, and other U.N. agencies, calls for resources to treat up to 5,000 patients in Larkana, screen as many as 150,000 people, and reach 1.5 million people in the wider community with HIV education…” (Ashraf, 6/19).

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More News In Global Health

ABC: ‘We need more money’: Fight to eradicate AIDS, malaria, and TB rages on (Kelly, 6/20).

Associated Press: U.N. health agency to remove controversial opioid guidelines (Galofaro, 6/19).

BBC News: Why are women declining this surgery? (Bryce/Udobang, 6/19).

CIDRAP News: Urban wildlife may add to antibiotic resistance threat (Soucheray, 6/19).

Devex: Humanitarian organizations push evidence-based response in South Sudan (Mednick, 6/20).

The Guardian: How lychees are linked to encephalitis risk in malnourished children (Dhillon, 6/19).

PBS NewsHour: Why another flu pandemic is likely just a matter of when (Brangham/Wellford, 6/18).

PRI: A new report on the Rohingya crisis reveals systemic problems within the U.N. (6/19).

Reuters: In first for Gabon, Dorothee finally feels like a woman after surgery (Obangome/Cocks, 6/20).

South China Morning Post: Nobel Prize winner Tu Youyou may have found solution to malaria drug resistance (Yan, 6/17).

The Telegraph: Migratory birds may be spreading superbugs, researchers warn (Gulland, 6/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S., Global Community Must Do More To Address Ebola In DRC

New York Times: Time Is Running Out to Stop an Ebola Epidemic
Editorial Board

“Ebola is ravaging the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a country riven by violent conflict and neglected for decades by the international community. The World Health Organization has less than half of the $98 million it needs to confront the crisis. And the United States government has undermined its own experts with a slow-footed response and cumbersome aid restrictions. … The United States is not the only country that could do more to address the current crisis. The WHO has been much more effective in this outbreak than during previous ones, but its efforts are still being stymied by a colossal funding shortfall. The organization’s decision-making body created a global contingency fund in 2015, after the last major Ebola outbreak, to avoid exactly this situation — but contributions to that fund have fallen far short of what is needed. Were the WHO to declare a ‘public health emergency of international concern,’ it might help close the funding gap by drawing the world’s attention to the growing crisis. But the organization has repeatedly declined to do so and, according to critics, has not adequately explained the reasoning behind its decision. If the current situation doesn’t qualify as a global health emergency, it’s hard to imagine what would” (6/19).

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Global Community Must Build Trust In Vaccines

The Guardian: How do we combat the global measles revival? It’s a matter of trust
Charlie Weller, head of vaccines program at Wellcome

“There’s no vaccine against distrust in vaccines. Millions of children in the world used to die each year from infections like measles. Now, thanks to routine immunization programs, they don’t. But … it doesn’t mean we can be complacent. … In France, one in three people disagree that vaccines are safe. That’s more than in any other nation in the Wellcome Global Monitor, which surveyed more than 140,000 people in 144 countries. … Reassuringly, 92% of parents in the global survey said their children are getting vaccinated against childhood infections. This suggests even parents who aren’t sure that vaccines are safe mostly agree it is still important for children to have them. … [V]accine confidence is not just about giving people information or persuading them with logic — it’s bound up with how we feel about many other aspects of our lives. Understanding the causes of low confidence is important, but the next step must be to find ways to address people’s concerns effectively and build trust. … Vaccines are safe and they work; that’s a fact. But until everyone is convinced, everyone else is at risk” (6/20).

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Program Management, Leadership Key To Outbreak Preparedness, Response

Global Health NOW: The Not-Flashy, Essential Part of Outbreak Preparedness and Response
Amanda McClelland, senior vice president for Prevent Epidemics at Resolve to Save Lives

“When an outbreak hits, how do we immediately get a Ministry of Health representative, an animal health specialist, a communications expert, and a laboratory sample transporter on the same page? … [P]rogram management. … Program management and leadership have long been recognized as key ingredients for success in public health. If we are to make progress in global health security, we need to come together as a sector to prioritize sustainable and coordinated approaches to program management capacity building. While it may not be the flashiest thing to work on, how else can we bring the laboratory technician, the epidemiologist, and the community organizer together to prevent or find and stop the next epidemic? In public health, there seems to be a strong understanding that capacity for management is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. It’s time for that conviction to spread to the health security field so that all pieces of the preparedness to response ‘assembly line’ run smoothly” (6/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Director General Calls For Political Cooperation, Increased Global Funding To Address Ebola In DRC

World Health Organization: WHO flags critical funding gap, calls for political parties to join fight against Ebola
“The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will only end with bipartisan political cooperation and community ownership, according to the World Health Organization’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. … ‘Political cooperation must come from across party lines and across borders,’ said Dr Tedros. ‘Bipartisan political leadership in DRC is the only way that communities will eventually understand the threat of Ebola and take ownership in ending the outbreak. Meanwhile, other countries have a global responsibility to support the dedicated health responders — from DRC, from across Africa, and across the world — who are bravely working to save lives…'” (Lindmeier, 6/19).

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American Security Project Report Examines HIV/AIDS In Russia, Highlights National Security Issues Associated With Epidemic

American Security Project: Perspective — Russia’s Silent Epidemic: Diplomatic Opportunities for Addressing HIV/AIDS
“This report examines the problem of HIV/AIDS in Russia, discussing the national security issues associated with the epidemic. It argues that Russia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic has grown to a level that severely threatens the stability of the country’s economy, culture, and military. … [I]t is in the best humanitarian and national security interests of the United States to attempt to effectively manage Russia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, as such efforts will not only prevent international instability, but potentially serve to partially thaw the tense U.S.-Russia Relationship” (6/18).

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New High-Resolution Maps Highlight Areas Of Progress, Challenge In Malaria Control Efforts

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: New high-resolution maps show how to defeat malaria
“New research published [Wednesday] in The Lancet examines high-resolution images in areas where the fight to defeat malaria is succeeding and where it has stalled. … Previous global maps have focused on a single year. These studies chart the change over time from 2000 to 2017, revealing areas of progress and regions where the burden of malaria is still high or increasing. They also show the burden of malaria at a fine local geographic scale, allowing decision-makers to target interventions where the need is greatest. The research, led by MAP in collaboration with researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, builds substantially on previous estimates of malaria burden by pulling in additional data sources and mapping trends over time…” (6/19).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Releases Annual Acting On The Call Report

USAID: Acting on the Call: Preventing Child & Maternal Deaths
USAID released its 2019 Acting on the Call report, which provides an overview of U.S. investments in women’s and children’s health, examines how to best work with countries on their development journeys, and identifies four key principles to accelerate development progress: partnering with governments to build in-country capacity, engage the private sector, drive accountability, and mobilize domestic resources. Accompanying the report are a fact sheet and social media resource kit (6/19).

USAID/Medium: Inspirational Impact
In a related blog post, Catherine Korona, communications analyst in USAID’s Office of Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition, discusses the release of USAID’s annual Acting on the Call report and highlights eight ways the U.S. has worked to improve maternal and child survival since 2012: “1. Trained 13.3 million health workers in maternal and child health and nutrition 2. Supported 12 million women to give birth in a health facility 3. Reached 9.3 million newborns with care after delivery 4. Provided 85.2 million treatments to children for diarrhea and pneumonia 5. Vaccinated 41.1 million children against deadly preventable diseases 6. Supported 14.9 million people to gain access to basic drinking water 7. Reached 24 million women with voluntary family planning services, annually 8. Reached 28 million children with nutrition programs” (6/19).

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U.S. Department Of State's Office Of Global Women's Issues Recognizes International Day For Elimination Of Sexual Violence In Conflict

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
Amelia Apgar, intern at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, recognizes the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, which takes place annually on June 19, and discusses U.S. efforts to address sexual and gender-based violence, including through the new U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security. Apgar writes, “The United States recognizes that women around the world provide a unique and central perspective on conflict resolution and the building of an enduring peace, creating a demonstrable link between women and international security — and that addressing gender inequality and women’s empowerment are essential to fighting sexual violence and holding those responsible accountable” (6/19).

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New Issue Of NIH Fogarty International Center's 'Global Health Matters' Newsletter Available Online

NIH Fogarty International Center: Global Health Matters
The most recent issue of the Fogarty International Center’s newsletter contains various articles addressing global health topics, including a piece on the potential benefits for academic health centers to engage in global health and a profile of a Fogarty fellow who used data and trained local health workers to understand the link between indoor air quality and respiratory health in children in Uganda (May/June 2019).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Updates Fact Sheet On Key U.S. Government Officials In Global Health

Kaiser Family Foundation: Key Global Health Positions and Officials in the U.S. Government
This updated fact sheet lists U.S. government positions and officials related to global health operations, including links to agencies and officials’ profiles, when available (6/19).

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