KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Mexico City Policy Associated With Increase In Abortion Rates In Some African Countries, Lancet Global Health Study Shows

The Guardian: Global gag rule linked to abortion rise in African countries that accept U.S. aid
“A U.S. government policy that restricts [global health] funding to [foreign] organizations that conduct or support abortions has been [associated with] a 40% increase in terminations in African countries that depend on American foreign aid, according to new research. The study, published on Thursday in The Lancet Global Health, also found that implementation of the policy resulted in a reduction of the use of modern contraceptives and an increase in pregnancies…” (Bryant, 6/27).

NPR: Study: U.S. Ban On Aid To Foreign Clinics That ‘Promote’ Abortion Upped Abortion Rate
“…[The] new study in the medical journal The Lancet suggests that the Mexico City policy has actually increased the rate of abortions by about 40% in the countries studied — likely because the funding ban caused a reduction in access to contraception and a consequent rise in unwanted pregnancies. … The study offers some of the most ‘compelling’ evidence to date of the impact of the Mexico City policy, says Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking the worldwide effects of Trump’s version of the funding ban…” (Aizenman, 6/27).

The Telegraph: U.S. aid policy that restricts abortions has opposite effect, researchers find
“…The Lancet Global Health study — based on data from 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa between 1995 and 2014 — found that when the policy was enacted, the difference in abortion rates between countries that are heavily dependent on U.S. aid and those less dependent was 4.8 per 10,000 which represents a 40 percent increase compared to periods when the policy was not in effect. At the same time, contraceptive use decreased by 13.5 percent and pregnancies increased by 12 percent. ‘Regardless of one’s beliefs about abortion, the effects of this policy are undesirable,’ said Grant Miller, a co-author of the study…” (Arie, 6/28).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: African abortions rose under U.S. policy to stop them, study says
“… ‘Our analysis is the first to demonstrate that the … policy is followed by increased abortions — likely unsafe abortions,’ said the study by Stanford University researchers in The Lancet Global Health journal, describing the policy results as ‘undesirable and unintended.’ The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which administers aid, was not immediately available to comment…” (Wulfhorst, 6/27).

Additional coverage of the study is available from Gizmodo, New Scientist, Reuters, and U.N. Dispatch.

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U.N. SG Guterres To Call On G20 Leaders To Address Climate Change, SDG Implementation

Xinhua News: Efforts on climate change, implementation of 2030 agenda left behind: U.N. chief
“U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) on Friday to make more efforts to cope with climate change and issues related to the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Guterres addressed reporters ahead of the G20 Osaka Summit that he will essentially mention the topics of climate change and the implementation of the 2030 agenda on the occasion as ‘in both, we are lagging behind’…” (6/28).

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Health Security 'A Shared Responsibility,' WHO Director General Says At Global Health Security Conference

Devex: Creating the building blocks for global health security
“The 2019 Global Health Security conference, held in Sydney on June 18-20, brought together more than 800 members of the global health security community from 65 countries to share knowledge and engage in discussion on the science, policy, and practices that can improve global health security. In a video introduction to the conference, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health security was a shared responsibility — and it was important for all countries to scale up and invest in prevention and preparedness…” (Cornish, 6/28).

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Celebrities Call On U.K. To Make Significant, Early Pledge For Global Fund's Replenishment

The Telegraph: U.K. government must ‘seize opportunity’ to beat three biggest infectious disease killers
“The U.K. government is being urged to ‘seize the opportunity’ and give £1.4billion to beat the world’s biggest infectious disease killers. … The fund is hoping that the U.K., as the third biggest donor overall since the fund was set up in 2002, will make an early and generous pledge in a signal to other donors. … At an event in Parliament, celebrities, including actor and campaigner Michael Sheen and former Sky Sports broadcaster Charlie Webster who nearly died from malaria in 2016, urged the government to be generous…” (Gulland, 6/27).

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Donors Work On New 'Strategic Plan' For DRC Ebola Outbreak; Local Responders At Greatest Risk From Virus, Violence

CIDRAP News: Donors look to retool response as Ebola outbreak grows
“As Ebola cases continue to pile up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — with 12 more confirmed [Wednesday] and likely 7 more [Thursday] — a USAID official said four major donors have jump-started a new ‘strategic plan’ for coordinating response efforts. To underscore the heavy toll the outbreak has caused, among its 2,284 cases, as noted on the World Health Organization Ebola dashboard today, are 125 infected health care workers, including 2 new ones, DRC officials said…” (Wappes, 6/27).

New Humanitarian: Ebola response in Congo leaves locals at greatest risk
“Local responders are at the forefront of efforts to contain the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But with this reality comes greater risks — from the virus itself, but also from attacks by armed groups and distrustful local communities…” (Elliott, 6/27).

VOA News: WHO Appeals to Ugandans With Ebola Contact to Trust Vaccine
“The World Health Organization is asking Ugandans to have faith in the trial vaccine being used to contain the Ebola outbreak near the border with Congo. This follows reports that 13 people who came in contact with the virus declined to be vaccinated…” (Athumani, 6/27).

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News Outlets Continue Coverage Of Study Showing HPV Vaccines Could Help Eliminate Cervical Cancer

CIDRAP News: Experts expand HPV vaccine recs as study finds high impact (Schnirring, 6/27).

Healio: Experts at congressional briefing on HPV: It’s ‘time to end cervical cancer’ (Byrne, 6/27).

New York Times: HPV Vaccines Are Reducing Infections, Warts — and Probably Cancer (McNeil, 6/27).

USA TODAY: End cervical cancer? The HPV vaccine could do it, study suggests (Bote, 6/27).

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UNICEF, Permanent Mission Of Japan Host U.N. Meeting On Tackling Vaccine Misinformation

Xinhua News: U.N. to host discussion on vaccine misinformation
“A high-level meeting bringing together technical experts, policymakers, and representatives from governments, civil society, and the private sector will discuss how to combat misinformation on vaccines on Friday at the United Nations in New York. The meeting, co-organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Permanent Mission of Japan, focuses on building trust on vaccines…” (6/28).

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The Lancet Examines UNAIDS' Process For Selecting New Executive Director

The Lancet: Five candidates in the running to head UNAIDS after Sidibé
“Five candidates have been shortlisted in a fast-track selection process to appoint the next executive director of UNAIDS. The previous head of the agency, Michel Sidibé, stepped down from office ahead of schedule to become Minister of Health of Mali in May. … Candidates to lead the agency, as obtained by The Lancet from diplomatic sources, are Salim Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, Sani Aliyu, director general of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS; Chris Beyrer, professor of epidemiology and international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and past president of the International AIDS Society; Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International; and Bernard Haufiku, former minister of health and social services of Namibia. … [UNAIDS’ Programme Coordinating Board] put forward their recommendations to the U.N. head in July, diplomatic sources familiar with the process told The Lancet…” (Zarocostas, 6/29).

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Syria's Idlib Faces Humanitarian Disaster, U.N. Leaders Warn; Aid, Reconstruction Funding Sometimes Being Diverted, HRW Report Says

Associated Press: Rights group says Syria co-opting humanitarian efforts
“The Syrian government is co-opting humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance and sometimes using it to ‘entrench repressive policies,’ [Human Rights Watch said Friday in a 91-page report], calling on donors and investors to ensure their contributions are used for the good of the Syrian people…” (Mroue, 6/28).

U.N. News: Syria’s Idlib ‘on the brink’ of a nightmare, humanitarian chiefs warn, launching global solidarity campaign
“The heads of 11 global humanitarian organizations warned on Thursday that the embattled rebel-held province of Idlib in Syria, stands on the brink of disaster, with three million civilian lives at risk, including one million children. In a direct video address to launch a worldwide campaign in solidarity with civilians trapped there, dubbed #TheWorldIsWatching, the humanitarian leaders said that they face the constant threat of violence…” (6/27).

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More News In Global Health

The Guardian: Sierra Leone faces legal challenge over ban on pregnant schoolgirls (Maclean, 6/27).

The Guardian: Congo abuses drive global rise in sexual violence against women (Austin, 6/28).

Healio: RSV leading cause of pediatric pneumonia cases in Africa, Asia (Bortz, 6/27).

The Lancet: New scorecard reveals Africa’s hepatitis cost (Makoni, 6/29).

The Lancet: No cause identified for death of children in Bihar, India (Chatterjee, 6/29).

The Lancet: John Nkengasong: long-term vision for Africa CDC (Watts, 6/29).

Science: North Korea’s HIV epidemic emerges from the shadows (Stone, 6/28).

U.N. News: Madagascar villagers learn dangers of outdoor defecation (6/27).

U.N. News: After Rio Grande tragedy, UNICEF chief highlights ‘dire’ detention centers on U.S.-Mexico border (6/27).

Washington Post: As a major Indian city runs out of water, 9 million people pray for rain (Masih/Slater, 6/28).

Xinhua: New malaria vaccine to boost Botswana’s aspiration to eliminate disease by 2020: official (6/28).

Xinhua: Cambodia sees rise in dengue fever cases (6/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Foreign Assistance Can 'Help Reaffirm America As Powerful, Positive Force In World'

The Hill: How can political leaders engage voters?
Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…[F]oreign assistance advances America’s security interests, but its import is far greater. At its best, foreign aid projects America’s highest ideals around the world in a tangible way that changes peoples’ lives. … There is reason, and room, to grow the aid budget where we can make major humanitarian and development gains. … We need an expanded investment in international assistance that is focused on impact and that reflects the challenges of the coming decades. … Smart foreign aid is America at its best: advancing health, growth, and democratic values while benefiting our interests at home. At a time when many politicians are seeking to articulate our defining principles, U.S. development investment overseas should be part of every presidential candidate’s foreign policy platform. Utilizing evidence-based approaches and closely monitoring results, we can support people in other countries to achieve better futures and help shape the world in which we must co-exist. As a small fraction of the federal budget, international assistance keeps us safer and stronger, but it can also help reaffirm America as a powerful, positive force in the world” (6/27).

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Upholding Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights Critical To Ensuring Human Rights

POPSUGAR: How the Trump Administration’s Attack on Human Rights Is Spreading Globally
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

“…The Trump administration has systematically attempted to undermine the global consensus on [sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)] since 2017. … These attacks on SRHR matter. The global consensus on sexual and reproductive rights took a long time to build, but without support and leadership, it can be unraveled. … When the U.S. steps away from this international SRHR framework, it telegraphs to bad actors that the U.S. will not hold countries accountable for attacks on human rights, or the allowance of child marriage and female genital cutting. This undermines the international SRHR framework on who matters: who gets health services, what health services are provided, and what the expectations are for holding governments accountable for providing them. … So as the Trump administration aims to invoke ‘natural rights’ and undermine the global consensus on sexual and reproductive rights, we must stand up against it. We must remember that what is natural is upholding our human rights. We must remember that as we fight for our rights at home, we need to stand in solidarity with the millions of people around the world who do not have a voice in the U.S. political process” (6/26).

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Women's Reproductive Rights Central To Global Economic Progress

The Hill: Women’s reproductive rights are central to economic empowerment
Jarmo Sareva, ambassador for innovations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland, and Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. resident coordinator to Kenya

“…Women’s reproductive rights are central to their ability to progress and empower themselves economically. Preventing access to family planning services and education, forcing women into unsafe abortions, making it difficult for them to access essential antenatal services, and outlawing their right to make informed decisions about their own bodies combine to make it increasingly unsafe to be born female in some parts of the world. It also leads to a very real inability for women to participate fully in global economic progress. … We must embrace innovation to deliver on the goal of three zeros transformative for both women and men: zero unmet need for family planning; zero maternal deaths; and zero violence and harmful practices against women and girls, including child marriage and female genital mutilation. … We cannot rest until appropriate resources, policies, and finances are allocated to ensure that every girl, regardless of the circumstances of her birth, lives in a world where she has the right and the means to manage her sexual and reproductive health…” (6/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Should Lead Effort Against Ebola, AEI Research Associate Says

AEIdeas: America should take the lead in fighting Ebola
Max Frost, research associate at AEI, discusses Ebola response efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and argues that the U.S. should take a leading role in containing the outbreak, writing, “Bearing in mind humanitarian obligations and economic costs, the United States should lead the effort against Ebola. It must do so immediately to prevent this outbreak from becoming a catastrophe” (6/27).

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MSF Urges Immediate Scale-Up Of Humanitarian Assistance To Multiple Crises In DRC, Including Ebola Outbreak

Médecins Sans Frontières: Urgent humanitarian response needed on unprecedented crises in northeast DRC
“Multiple humanitarian crises are unfolding in Ituri province, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and hundreds of thousands of people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The recent upsurge in violence across the regions of Djugu, Mahagi, and Irumu have forced thousands to flee their homes. Despite MSF’s repeated calls on international aid organizations to scale up humanitarian aid, the majority of the displaced still haven’t received even the most basic assistance. … MSF urges for an immediate scale up of long-term humanitarian assistance, to prevent the loss of more lives and to ensure decent living conditions for all those who have been forced to flee” (6/27).

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Ahead Of G20 Summit In Japan, Leading Experts Discuss Importance Of Development Assistance For Health To Achieve SDGs, UHC

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation: G20 Leaders: Achieving Universal Health Coverage Should Top Your Agenda
“G20 leaders meeting in Japan this week should focus on fulfilling their obligations to improve and expand their nations’ health care systems. In a commentary published [Thursday by The Lancet], 20 health data, financing, and policy experts contend that funding for low- and middle-income nations must be increased to address the growing impacts of climate change, wars and conflicts, and a global political trend toward nationalism. They also argue that increased domestic funding is needed to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including universal health coverage…” (6/27).

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UNAIDS, UNDP Call For Removal Of All Forms Of HIV-Related Travel Restrictions

UNAIDS: UNAIDS and UNDP call on 48* countries and territories to remove all HIV-related travel restrictions
“UNAIDS and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are urging countries to keep the promises made in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS to remove all forms of HIV-related travel restrictions. Travel restrictions based on real or perceived HIV status are discriminatory, prevent people from accessing HIV services, and propagate stigma and discrimination. … Out of the 48 countries and territories that maintain restrictions, at least 30 still impose bans on entry or stay and residence based on HIV status and 19 deport non-nationals on the grounds of their HIV status. Other countries and territories may require an HIV test or diagnosis as a requirement for a study, work, or entry visa…”(6/27).

UNAIDS: Deported, denied access, discriminated against because of their HIV status
This feature story highlights personal accounts of people who have been affected by HIV-related travel restrictions and were deported to their home countries because of their HIV status (6/27).

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