KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Negotiates For Inclusion Of Language On 'Avoiding Abortion' In U.N. Resolution On Humanitarian Response

New Humanitarian: U.S. pushes for language on ‘avoiding abortion’ in new U.N. resolution on humanitarian response
“U.S. diplomats want to insert language about ‘avoiding abortion’ into an annual U.N. resolution on meeting humanitarian needs around the world. A text submitted by U.S. negotiators states that countries should include ‘voluntary and informed family planning, and other options to avoid abortion … as components of humanitarian response.’ … The final text is to be voted on on Wednesday afternoon, and a late draft obtained Tuesday by the New Humanitarian does not include the changes demanded by the United States. The U.S. can again request edits before the vote on Wednesday, diplomats said…” (Parker, 6/25).

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U.S. Distributes Perishable Humanitarian Aid In Colombia After Venezuela Border Crossing Blocked By Maduro Government

Devex: U.S. distributes aid in Colombia after Venezuela regime refuses it
“Perishable humanitarian assistance prepositioned by the United States on the Venezuelan border has been distributed inside Colombia, according to U.S. Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams. The supplies, which were mostly amassed in a warehouse in the border city of Cúcuta, Colombia, were meant to be distributed inside Venezuela. But doing so has been impossible for months, with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro barricading the bridge connecting the two countries to prevent supplies from getting in…” (Welsh, 6/26).

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USAID Providing Humanitarian Assistance In 'Dangerous,' 'Fluid' Environment In Sudan, Agency Official Tells Lawmakers

Devex: USAID in ‘constant scenario planning mode’ for Sudan
“The U.S. government’s aid agency continues to monitor an ‘incredibly fluid’ and ‘very, very dangerous’ operating environment in Sudan, a U.S. Agency for International Development official told U.S. lawmakers Tuesday. In the wake of a coup in April that ended the 30-year rule of former President Omar al-Bashir, and a subsequent violent military crackdown against civilians on June 3, USAID has continued to provide humanitarian relief in a country facing widespread food insecurity — while battling challenges of access, bureaucracy, and rapid change…” (Igoe, 6/26).

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Donors Pledge $113M To UNRWA For Assistance To Palestinian Refugees

Agence France-Presse: U.N.’s Guterres seeks funding for agency helping Palestinians
“Secretary General António Guterres called on U.N. member states Tuesday to fund the agency that works to help Palestinian refugees as he opened a donors conference for the body, which is boycotted by the U.S. The conference was being held the same day the administration of President Donald Trump was presenting in Bahrain the economic part of a long-awaited Middle East peace plan, at an event boycotted by the Palestinian Authority…” (6/25).

Associated Press: Donors pledge $113 million to help Palestinian refugees
“The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said donors pledged $113 million Tuesday to help over 5 million Palestinians this year, calling it an encouraging step but short of alleviating a ‘precarious’ funding situation. Pierre Krahenbuhl said the U.N. Relief and Works Agency faced ‘the unprecedented reality’ last year of having the United States, its single largest donor, cut funding from $360 million to just $60 million, and this year it received nothing from the Trump administration…” (Lederer, 6/25).

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WHO Notes Fluctuating Transmission In DRC Ebola Outbreak; Former Ebola Czar Klain Discusses U.S. Response In Mother Jones Interview

CIDRAP News: Ebola hot spots shift as pattern of spread fluctuates
“In the past 10 days, officials have recorded nearly 100 new cases of Ebola in the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a sign of fluctuating transmission throughout North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in an update. … A vaccination team and a psychosocial support team are the latest victims of violent attacks in Beni, DRC health officials said [Monday]…” (Soucheray, 6/25).

Mother Jones: As Ebola Deaths Mount in Africa, Trump Is Screwing Up the Response
“…[Ronald Klain, the Ebola czar for President Barack Obama] tells Mother Jones he believes that Trump is no longer responding responsibly [to the DRC Ebola outbreak] and that the president is not doing what is necessary to battle this Ebola outburst. Klain maintains that the Trump White House ought to reverse its decision prohibiting the CDC and USAID from operating in the area of Congo where the disease is raging…” (Corn, 6/25).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Bloomberg, The Guardian, Science, and World Politics Review.

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New U.N. Women Report Highlights How Families Can Be Places Of Support But Also Inequality, Violence Against Women

Associated Press: U.N. report: Women too often suffer violence in families
“The U.N. women’s agency says in a new report that families around the world can be loving and supporting but too often are the place for discrimination and violence against women — and home is one of the most dangerous places for a woman. … The 287-page report entitled ‘Families in a Changing World’ provides data on the variety of family forms, based on U.N. population division data from 86 countries around the world of all incomes…” (Lederer, 6/26).

Devex: ‘Reality check’ needed to recognize diversity of families, U.N. Women report shows
“… ‘Families can be a make or break for women and girls, which means governments have a particular responsibility to safeguard women and girls’ rights, not only in the public sphere, but also in the home,’ Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, said during a media briefing for the report’s launch. ‘However, in every region we are witnessing concerted efforts to deny women’s autonomy and the right to make their own decisions in the name of protecting family values’…” (Lieberman, 6/26).

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Governments Must Address Social, Economic Factors Contributing To Mental Illness, U.N. Special Rapporteur On Right To Health Says

The Guardian: Austerity and inequality fueling mental illness, says top U.N. envoy
“Austerity, inequality, and job insecurity are bad for mental health and governments should counteract them if they want to face up to the rising prevalence of mental illness, the U.N.’s top health envoy has said. In an exclusive interview with The Guardian to coincide with a hard-hitting report to be delivered to the U.N. in Geneva on Monday, Dr. Dainius Pūras said measures to address inequality and discrimination would be far more effective in combating mental illness than the emphasis over the past 30 years on medication and therapy…” (Rice-Oxley, 6/24).

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Synthetic Opioid Use Rising Worldwide, 'Crisis' Levels Emerging In Africa, U.N. World Drug Report Says

Reuters: Opioid use booming as tramadol crisis emerges in Africa — U.N. drug report
“Synthetic opioid use is booming, the United Nations said on Wednesday in a worldwide drug report that showed deaths in the United States from overdoses still rising and a ‘crisis’ of tramadol use emerging in parts of Africa. … ‘The opioid crisis that has featured in far fewer headlines [than the U.S. public health emergency] but that requires equally urgent international attention is the non-medical use of the painkiller tramadol, particularly in Africa,’ the UNODC 2019 World Drug Report said…” (Murphy, 6/26).

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Scientists Search For Causes Of Acute Encephalopathy Syndrome Among Indian Children; Malnutrition Remains High In India Despite Some Food Security Progress, Report Shows

New York Times: A Mystery Disease Is Killing Children, and Questions Linger About Lychees
“…Scientists call it acute encephalopathy syndrome, or AES, while Indian officials insist on calling it acute encephalitis syndrome. … [D]ecades of searching have failed to find any microbe responsible for what locals often just call the ‘lychee disease.’ Even during seasons when hundreds fall ill, there are not clusters of cases among families or communities — usually just one in a village, which undermines the infectious disease theory. But if lychees are to blame, some ask, why are there no cases in other lychee-growing areas in India, or in other countries, for that matter? And what accounts for the deaths among children too young to eat fruit, or the ones that have occurred outside of lychee season?…” (Nordland, 6/26).

Xinhua News: Malnourished children at risk of encephalitis, says Indian pediatrician
“With more than 150 children dead and many more infected by the outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), the eastern Indian state of Bihar has hit the headlines over the past few weeks. … Dr. Arun Shah, a Muzaffarpur-based pediatrician who has done research on AES, said this year there has been an epidemic of AES. … According to him, chronic malnutrition is a ‘predisposing factor triggered by consumption of unripe litchi by hungry and starving children.’ Children belonging to well-to-do families who eat litchis are not vulnerable to AES, he added…” (Vaidya/Zhao, 6/26).

Xinhua News: Malnutrition among children high in India despite food security progress: WFP
“Despite progress made in food security, malnutrition amongst children in India remains high, the latest findings of a joint report have found, the World Food Programme (WFP) said Tuesday. Herve Verhoosel, WFP spokesperson in Geneva, said at a U.N. briefing here that the 2019 National Food and Nutrition Security Analysis report was developed in partnership between the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Indian government’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation…” (6/26).

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More News In Global Health

Forbes: The World’s Largest Foundation Doubles Down On Gender (Chiu, 6/25).

The News: Malir locality suffers from outbreak of extensively drug resistant typhoid: Drug-resistant typhoid claims two lives in Karachi (Bhatti, 6/26).

NPR: No Drips, No Drops: A City Of 10 Million Is Running Out Of Water (Pathak, 6/25).

The Telegraph: Pakistan thanks Facebook for prompt removal of anti-vaccine posts (Janjua, 6/26).

The Telegraph: Superbugs and air pollution should be top research priorities, survey finds (Gulland, 6/25).

Xinhua News: U.N. agencies roll out vaccination drive against polio in Somalia (6/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Support Crucial To Achieving Polio-Free World

The Hill: Funding the fight against polio
Former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), United Nations Foundation Vandenberg fellow who served in the U.S. Senate from 2010 to 2016

“…[T]oday [progress against polio] is at risk … Alongside other longstanding donors, U.S. commitment will be especially crucial. American institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Agency for International Development are critical sources of the funding and technical expertise needed to train health workers and maintain disease-tracking systems in communities most vulnerable to polio. The returns on achieving a polio-free world will extend as long as future generations live free from the virus. … Stepping back on our commitment now could threaten [gains already made], risking a resurgence that could see 200,000 children paralyzed annually within a decade. Inaction would also undermine our broader health security, particularly Americans who travel abroad — as the world misses out on the chance to leverage the tools, workers, and surveillance systems used for the fight against polio to support the efforts against other deadly health threats. It is these costs — measured in lives damaged or lost, and in outbreaks undetected — that America truly cannot afford. For decades, Americans have led the push to realize a polio-free world for future generations — not because it was easy, but because it was worth it. It still is” (6/25).

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Opinion Piece Examines Why Belief In Vaccine Safety Is Lower In Richer Countries Than Poorer Ones

Financial Times: Why rich countries are more prone to ‘vaccine hesitancy’
Michael Skapinker, FT contributing editor and columnist on business and society and executive editor of the FT-IE Corporate Learning Alliance

“The richer countries are, the less their citizens believe that vaccines are safe. … By contrast, belief in vaccine safety is high in poorer regions. … What lies behind what [a recent Wellcome report] calls ‘vaccine hesitancy’ and why is it so much higher in some countries than others? The report says that the rise of social media has prompted what UNICEF calls a ‘real infection of misinformation.’ This may explain why richer countries, more connected to the internet and social media, have higher levels of opposition to vaccination. But some of the most notorious spikes in anti-vaccination sentiment predate the rise of social media. … Governments are trying to tackle the issue. Some authorities have decided to exclude unvaccinated children from school. … Some support these moves because they protect children from diseases and because the unvaccinated are a threat to those too young or ill to be vaccinated themselves. But it doesn’t change minds or win the argument. That requires persistent persuasion and pointing to how dangerous these diseases can be, something people in poorer countries, living more perilous lives, appear to find easier to understand” (6/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Save The Children Applauds Reintroduction Of Reach Act

Save the Children: Senators Collins, Coons Reintroduce Bill to Help Save Lives of Mothers and Children Around the World
“Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles [Tuesday] applauded U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) for reintroducing widely supported, bipartisan legislation that would help save the lives of mothers and children around the world. … The Reach Every Mother and Child Act is a bold, bipartisan policy initiative supported by more than 20 diverse non-profit and faith-based organizations working to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child mortality overseas. … The Reach Act would enact key reforms that increase the effectiveness and impact of USAID maternal and child survival programs…” (6/25).

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MFAN Calls For Transparent, Evidence-Based Review Of U.S. Foreign Assistance To Central America

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: MFAN Co-Chairs Call for Transparency and Evidence in Review of Aid to Central America
In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, Co-chairs George Ingram, Lester Munson, and Tessie San Martin discuss a letter from MFAN sent to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo expressing concern over the recent State Department announcement regarding the reprogramming of U.S. foreign assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras following a review of programs and activities in those countries. The co-chairs state, “To most effectively leverage American tax dollars and further American interests abroad, any review of our foreign assistance programs should be evidence-based and transparent. MFAN urges the Department of State to publish the methodology of this review, including all information and program evaluations used to determine effectiveness” (6/24).

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Global Health Leaders Discuss Roles Of Innovation, Public-Private Partnerships, Government Funding In Achieving UHC

World Economic Forum: How to create a world where healthcare is a right, not a luxury
Jamie Bay Nishi, director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, and Catherine Ohura, CEO at the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, discuss how to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), highlighting the importance of innovation, public-private partnerships, and government funding. The authors write, “[T]he good news is that there are proven approaches that deliver tangible results and effectively leverage co-investments from government as well as industry partners that can help bridge … divides. They can also start transforming the push for UHC from a seemingly quixotic journey to a realistic, achievable endeavor” (6/25).

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Global Health Scholars Discuss 4 Global Health Transitions Facing Middle-Income Countries

PLOS Medicine: Middle-income countries graduating from health aid: Transforming daunting challenges into smooth transitions
Gavin Yamey, director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at Duke University’s Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI); Osondu Ogbuoji, research scholar at DGHI and senior policy associate at Duke’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health; and Justice Nonvignon, senior lecturer and health economist at the University of Ghana’s School of Public Health, discuss four transitions facing middle-income countries (MICs): shifts in diseases, demography, development assistance for health, and domestic financing. The authors write, “With a joined-up strategy, the 4Ds of global health transition could become an opportunity for accelerated rather than stalled progress. … By anticipating the disease and demographic trends ahead and what these mean for future financing needs, mobilizing the required resources to fund the right health benefits packages, and supporting intersectoral policies for health improvement…, MICs could see a health transformation in the SDGs era” (6/25).

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CSIS Podcast Episode Features Interview With Geeta Rao Gupta On Gender Equality, Health

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Geeta Rao Gupta on Gender Equality and Health
In this podcast episode, Janet Fleischman, non-resident senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, “sits down with Geeta Rao Gupta, executive director of the 3D Program for Girls and Women, former president of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), and former deputy executive director of UNICEF. They discuss the new series of The Lancet, of which Geeta was a principal author, that outlines the impact of gender norms and inequalities on health, describes persistent barriers to progress, and provides an agenda for action” (6/25).

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From the U.S. Government

Namibia, PEPFAR Celebrate Milestone Of 150,000 Voluntary Medical Male Circumcisions As HIV Prevention Effort

USAID: Namibia and PEPFAR celebrate 150,000 Circumcisions
On June 20, PEPFAR and Namibia celebrated the milestone of achieving 150,000 circumcisions. This post highlights remarks made at the event and notes, “Under the leadership and guidance of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, these boys and men received a safe Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC). Their action significantly contributed to the country’s fight against HIV” (6/20).

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USAID, Bangladesh Ministry Of Health And Family Welfare Sign Statement Of Partnership To Reduce Country's TB Incidence By 2022

U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh: USAID Signs Statement of Partnership with Health Ministry to combat TB in Bangladesh
“[On Tuesday], the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and USAID committed to deepen their partnership to end tuberculosis (TB) in Bangladesh. The new Statement of Partnership (SP) establishes a shared framework between the MoHFW and USAID to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis by 2022 through increasing case detection and treatment of all forms of TB. This partnership marks the latest example of USAID’s new model of partnership, the ‘Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis,’ which aims to catalyze investments and aid countries across the world and meet the U.N. target of treating 40 million people by 2022…” (6/25).

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NIH Begins Large Clinical Trial To Assess Preventive Care For People At High Risk Of Developing MDR-TB

National Institutes of Health: NIH launches large TB prevention trial for people exposed to multidrug-resistant TB
“A large clinical trial to assess treatments for preventing people at high risk from developing multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has begun. The study is comparing the safety and efficacy of a new MDR-TB drug, delamanid, with the decades-old TB drug isoniazid for preventing active MDR-TB disease in children, adolescents, and adults at high risk who are exposed to adult household members with MDR-TB. … ‘It is important to perform randomized, controlled clinical trials on how best to provide preventive care for people who come in close contact with individuals with MDR-TB, since this is a major gap in global public health policy,’ said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. … The PHOENIx MDR-TB study will take place at more than 27 sites in at least 12 countries, including Botswana, Brazil, Haiti, India, Kenya, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, and Zimbabwe…” (6/25).

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