KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Canada To Invest $1B Annually By 2023 On Global Women's, Girls' Health, PM Trudeau Announces At Women Deliver Conference

Globe and Mail: Trudeau announces hundreds of millions in foreign aid for women’s health, amid ‘attacks’ on abortion rights
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced hundreds of millions of dollars in new foreign aid spending for sexual, reproductive, maternal and child health on Tuesday, helping to fill a global funding gap left by the United States’…” (Zilio/Woo, 6/4).

Quartz: Canada will invest $1 billion globally in women’s and girls’ health every year
“… ‘The moment for Canadian leadership is now,’ said Trudeau in a press briefing at the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver. ‘All women, no matter where they live, should have access to the safe, quality health care they need. By investing in sexual and reproductive health and rights, and maternal, newborn, and child health, we can build a more just, equal, and prosperous world’…” (Timsit, 6/4).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Canada pledges to step up on global women’s health amid ‘push back’
“…Canada will increase its spending to C$1.4 billion ($1 billion) by 2023 from C$1.1 billion currently, [Trudeau] announced at the world’s largest conference on gender equality, Women Deliver, positioning his country as a leading donor internationally…” (Wulfhorst, 6/4).

Washington Post: Trump has cut U.S. support for abortions abroad. Canada’s Trudeau is now doubling down on that aid.
“…The announcement … is part of a push by Trudeau’s Liberal government to make the rights of girls and women a central part of Canada’s overseas engagement — what officials call feminist foreign policy. It was also designed to draw a contrast between Canada under Trudeau and the United States under President Trump at a time when relations between the allies are strained…” (Rauhala, 6/4).

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Devex Examines Mozambique's Efforts To Improve Access To Family Planning, Reproductive Health Care, Impacts Of Mexico City Policy

Devex: Mozambique’s teenage pregnancy challenge
“…Mozambique [is] one of the most progressive countries in Africa in providing sexual and reproductive health care for its young people. It has been the most successful of the FP2020 family planning partnership countries in increasing the proportion of women using modern contraceptives each year. … Around 80% of aid for reproductive health and family planning between 2015-2017 came from the United States. That left the country highly exposed when U.S. President Donald Trump implemented an expanded version of the ‘global gag rule,’ or Mexico City policy, in January 2017. … When the order kicked in later that year, NGOs in Mozambique [that did not agree to not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning with funding from any source as a condition for U.S. global health funding] lost millions of dollars. A stream of clinics were closed. Hundreds of jobs were lost. … Reproductive health advocates in Mozambique are now looking ahead to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in hopes that their funding might be returned. But even if it is, it will take a long time and additional funds to rebuild what was lost. Many say they are working hard to diversify their funding sources, so they won’t be so vulnerable to outside policy changes again” (Abrahams, 6/5).

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International Life Sciences Institute Acts As Lobby Group Not Health Non-Profit, Case Study Says

The Guardian: Science institute that advised E.U. and U.N. ‘actually industry lobby group’
“An institute whose experts have occupied key positions on E.U. and U.N. regulatory panels is, in reality, an industry lobby group that masquerades as a scientific health charity, according to a peer-reviewed study. The Washington-based International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) describes its mission as ‘pursuing objectivity, clarity, and reproducibility’ to ‘benefit the public good.’ But researchers from the University of Cambridge, Bocconi University in Milan, and the U.S. Right to Know campaign assessed over 17,000 pages of documents under U.S. freedom of information laws to present evidence of influence-peddling…” (Neslen, 6/2).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Passes 2K Cases With Quickening Pace; U.N., Aid Agencies Working To Quell Violence, Mistrust

Associated Press: Alarm as Ebola outbreak reaches 2,000 cases, picks up speed
“The deadly Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo has surpassed 2,000 cases and is picking up speed. The number of confirmed cases reached the milestone three times as quickly as it took to reach 1,000, experts said Tuesday. The outbreak declared in August, the second-deadliest in history, has killed more than 1,300 people in a volatile region where rebel attacks and community resistance have hurt containment efforts…” (Keaten, 6/4).

CIDRAP News: Aid groups weigh in on DRC topping 2,000 Ebola cases
“…Officials said that, although the landmark is concerning, the health ministry sees some positive signs, including a slight improvement in the security situation, though the situation remains volatile and unpredictable. … With persistent mistrust and insecurity hampering daily response activities, the current total is probably an undercount, the [International Rescue Committee (IRC)] warned. … In a statement …, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) … called for a response restart…” (Schnirring, 6/4).

NPR: An Urgent Mystery: Who’s Attacking Ebola Responders In Congo — And Why?
“David Gressly is not a medical expert. But he’s just taken on what has to be one of the toughest jobs in global health. On May 23 the United Nation’s Secretary General named Gressly to a newly created position overseeing the organization’s effort to stop the ten-month long Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo. (His official title is UN Emergency Ebola Coordinator.) … Reached by phone in Congo, Gressly said that understanding the dynamics driving the violence will be ‘essential’ to his mission: ‘It’s important to figure that out at a detailed, granular level.’ … What are those reasons? Gressly laid out several theories…” (Aizenman, 6/4).

Reuters: Congo Ebola infections exceed 2,000 as new case rate triples
“…Responders face twin obstacles: resistance from communities who believe that Ebola is a conspiracy made up by aid agencies and the government, and from armed groups seeking to stoke instability for their own gain. … ‘Every time there [is] an incident … we are not able to provide services and go into communities. We are not able to vaccinate, not able to treat those who are ill, we are not able to follow up on those who may have been exposed to the virus,’ said WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic” (Mahamba et al., 6/4).

Additional coverage of the Ebola outbreak and response is available from Al Jazeera, BBC News, Becker’s Hospital Review, Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle, Nature, New Humanitarian (2), Reuters, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and VOA News.

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U.N. Refugee Agency, World Food Programme Warn Of Food Shortages, Drought In East Africa, Horn, Especially Somalia

VOA News: U.N.: Millions Could Face Severe Food Shortages as Drought Grips Somalia
“The United Nations Refugee Agency warns an estimated 5.4 million people affected by worsening drought in Somalia will likely face severe food shortages by next month without immediate lifesaving assistance. … This latest disaster comes just as Somalis were beginning to recover from the devastating impact of a two-year drought that ended in 2017…” (Schlein, 6/4).

Xinhua News: U.N. agencies warn of rapid hunger increase facing E. Africa, Horn of Africa
“Two United Nations agencies warned Tuesday of the impending danger of a rapid increase in hunger and malnutrition in East Africa and the Horn, particularly Somalia, if the rain season falls short or fails. … [World Food Programme (WFP) Geneva spokesperson Herve Verhoosel] said that with dry conditions since October and rainfall deficits in April and May, WFP estimates the number of food insecure people needing humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti could reach between 14 to 17 million through August…” (6/4).

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Hunger Underlying Cause Of Nearly Half Of Child Deaths In Africa, African Child Policy Forum Report Says

The Guardian: Nearly half of all child deaths in Africa stem from hunger, study shows
“One in three African children are stunted and hunger accounts for almost half of all child deaths across the continent, an Addis Ababa-based think tank has warned. In an urgent call for action, a study by the African Child Policy Forum said that nearly 60 million children in Africa do not have enough food despite the continent’s economic growth in recent years…” (Dehghan, 6/5).

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More News In Global Health

The BMJ: Gender equality: countries are failing to deliver changes by 2030 (Kmietowicz, 6/5).

Devex: Coalition aims to streamline awareness efforts, attract new donors (Saldinger, 6/5).

Global Health NOW: “Here to Push Back Against the Pushback” (Myers, 6/3).

New York Times: This Drug Could End HIV. Why Hasn’t It? (Barbaro et al., 6/5).

New York Times: The Doctor Who Stayed Behind to Save Babies in His Long-Suffering Homeland (Searcey, 6/1).

Reuters: Yemen’s Houthis and WFP dispute aid control as millions starve (Yaakoubi/Barrington, 6/4).

STAT: Ex-CDC chief Frieden settles sexual harassment charges (Garde, 6/4).

The Telegraph: Fresh outbreak of deadly Nipah virus in India — authorities appeal for calm (Wallen, 6/4).

Vox: Ghana’s new lifesaving drones: like Uber, but for blood (Samuel, 6/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

G7 Leaders Should Prioritize Gender Equality, Make Commitments To Women's, Girl's Health, Education, Empowerment

Devex: Opinion: Rewriting the headlines for gender equality
Joannie Marlene Bewa, founder of the Young Beninese Leaders Association

“…[W]e have the power to make gender equality a reality in my lifetime. … We have the resources to ensure women and girls can access the health, education, and societal opportunities they need to thrive. … We need implementation and accountability at every level — from the G7 and African Union leaders to our community leaders. This summer, there is a crucial milestone where we can achieve success: the G7 summit. As the G7 leaders gather in France to discuss combating inequalities, we need them to know the world is watching … and that the world is hungry for progress, not promises. This week, I will join six other activists from around the world at the Women Deliver conference to present the agenda we want to see from the G7 leaders. … We will push those leaders to make real commitments on women and girls’ health, education, and empowerment, with real political will and money behind them. … This year, let’s make the G7 stand for gender…” (6/4).

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Clean Air Should Be Recognized As A Human Right

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: A breath of clean air should be a human right
David R. Boyd, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and the environment and associate professor at the University of British Columbia

“…Air pollution clearly violates the rights to life and health, the rights of the child, and the right to live in a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. The good news … is that air pollution is almost entirely preventable. The solutions are known — from regulation of fossil fuels and crop burning to clean technologies. … Making the switch to clean cooking stoves and fuels needs to be a global priority. … Other proven solutions to reducing air pollution include replacing coal-fired electricity with renewables, emphasizing walking and cycling in cities, electrifying public transit, ending fossil fuel subsidies, improving waste management, and helping farmers to shift to cleaner practices. Everyone needs to breathe clean air. That billions of people today are breathing dirty and deadly air constitutes a global environmental crisis. Urgent action from governments across the world is needed. Not only do we have an opportunity to save tens of millions of lives in the decades ahead by reducing air pollution, we have a moral obligation to do so” (6/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Officials Provide Update On U.S. Ebola Response Efforts In DRC At House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee On Global Health Hearing

C-SPAN: Hearing on Ebola
“The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Global Health held a hearing on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. … Witnesses included officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They provided an update on the U.S. government response efforts, Ebola vaccine availability, and lessons learned from previous outbreaks…” (6/4).

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Humanitarian Organizations Release Statements Reacting To DRC Ebola Cases Surpassing 2K, Call For 'Reset' Of Response

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: IFRC calls for ‘reset’ of Ebola response as cases surpass 2,000
“Aid organizations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) need to ‘reset’ their response to the current Ebola outbreak and place more emphasis on understanding and addressing persistent community fears, mistrust, and concerns. Nicole Fassina, Ebola virus disease coordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: ‘…We’ve now reached more than 2,000 Ebola cases and the numbers being reported have risen dramatically. We need to reset the response, and place communities at the center of all of our efforts…'” (6/4).

International Rescue Committee: What it will take to tackle Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“…This is what it takes to fight Ebola in Congo according to the IRC’s Ebola response team: 1. Focusing on infection prevention and control … 2. Putting your own life at risk … 3. Increasing engagement with the community … We need to be acutely aware that we are at a dangerous point in the outbreak and if the response doesn’t change, we could be looking at a very bad situation quite soon…” (6/4).

International Rescue Committee: Ebola cases in DRC hit 2,000, daily case rate more than triples
“…As violence and insecurity continue to hamper daily operations and mistrust prevents people from seeking care, these numbers are likely an underestimate and not a realistic picture of the number of cases out there. Tariq Riebl, emergency response director at the International Rescue Committee, said, ‘The fact that we have hit 2,000 persons infected with Ebola so quickly demonstrates that this outbreak is spreading faster when it should be slowing. … To see such a spike in cases at this stage in the outbreak means a drastic change is required. This response requires a total and complete reset…'” (6/3).

Oxfam America: Oxfam reaction to the number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reaching 2000
“In response to the number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reaching 2,000, Oxfam’s country director in the DRC, Corinne N’Daw, said: ‘It is clear the current response to tackle Ebola isn’t working. … Since the U.N. has stepped up their leadership in the Ebola response and is going to scale-up humanitarian aid, there’s an opportunity to reset the response and make sure it is focused on building this crucial trust with communities, without which we won’t be able to win the fight against Ebola…'”(6/4).

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WHO Europe Interview Discusses Air Pollution's Impact On Health

WHO Regional Office for Europe: Beat air pollution to protect health: World Environment Day 2019
“Beat air pollution — that is the theme for World Environment Day on 5 June. The air that we breathe is fundamental to our existence; yet, we sometimes forget the impact that the quality of the air has on our health and well-being. Although there are many reasons why the global community should be stepping up action to combat air pollution, perhaps the most compelling is the direct positive impact that such action will have on our health and the health of our children. To mark World Environment Day, Dr. Dorota Jarosińska, program manager responsible for air quality at the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health (ECEH) in Bonn, Germany, answered some of the most pressing questions about air pollution, its impacts on health, and what we are doing about it…” (6/5).

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Countries With Lower HIV Prevalence Account For Most New Infections, AIDS-Related Deaths, Study Shows

aidsmap: Most new HIV infections occur in lower prevalence countries not prioritized by PEPFAR
“The burden of the global HIV epidemic is disproportionately falling on lower-prevalence countries, according to an analysis published in the Journal of Virus Eradication. The majority of new HIV infections, cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission, and AIDS-related deaths now occur in countries with HIV prevalence below 4.5%. Lower-prevalence countries also had lower rates of antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage and early infant diagnosis. The authors note that international donor organizations such as PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and the Global Fund target their resources at countries with the highest HIV prevalence…” (Carter, 6/5).

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From the U.S. Government

PEPFAR Announces Nearly $2B Investment To Advance Gender Equality, Support Women, Girls

PEPFAR: PEPFAR Will Invest Nearly $2 Billion This Year To Empower and Support Women and Girls
“At the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver, the U.S. government announced [Tuesday] that it will invest nearly $2 billion this year to advance gender equality by supporting millions of women and girls through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)…” (6/4).

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