KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Donor Countries Increasingly Tying Aid To Own National Interests, Short-Term Gains, ODI Research Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Poor lose out as rich countries link aid with trade: think-tank
“Rich countries are using their aid budgets to promote their own national interests rather than focusing on helping people in poor countries, according to research published by a global think-tank on Tuesday. As populism and economic pressures rise, countries that have pledged to spend part of their national income on aid are opting for short-term political or economic wins over poverty reduction, Britain’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said…” (Taylor, 3/25).

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The Nation Examines Mexico City Policy, U.S. Efforts To Address HIV/AIDS

The Nation: Trump’s Global Gag Rule Is Making It Harder to Fight the AIDS Crisis
“President Trump’s State of the Union speech kicked off the year with some dramatic gestures toward ‘global leadership,’ promising to put the United States at the forefront of a crusade to end the AIDS crisis worldwide. But between the lines, Trump’s global humanitarian agenda is actually undermining health care in the communities most deeply afflicted by HIV/AIDS. Trump’s boasts about tackling the AIDS crisis fly in the face of one of his key foreign-aid policies: the so-called global gag rule. … The cumulative impact of the global and domestic gag rules has been a worldwide frontal assault on medical ethics, gender equality, and HIV/AIDS care in vulnerable populations, at home and abroad…” (Chen, 3/25).

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U.N. Humanitarian Chief Urges International Community To Step Up Response To DRC Ebola Outbreak

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases pass 1,000 as DRC records 58 cases last week
“Over the weekend and through today, the ministry of health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 25 new Ebola cases … The spike in cases pushed the outbreak total over the 1,000-case milestone as it enters its eighth month. This is the DRC’s 10th and largest Ebola outbreak, and the second biggest in history. The outbreak now stands at 1,016 cases, of which 951 are confirmed and 64 are probable. A total of 634 deaths have been recorded, and 226 suspected cases are still under investigation…” (Soucheray, 3/25).

The Telegraph: Ebola treatment centers in DRC set ablaze as second-worst outbreak infects 1,000
“…Progress in stamping the disease out has been hampered by numerous cases of violence. Three recent attacks on treatment centers have been blamed on ‘Mai Mai rebels,’ which means little as many groups that prowl the area take this name. … Other reports, such as vehicles being pelted with stones and members of the burial team being attacked with machetes, drip in each week. … After living through decades of violence and hardship, it is hardly surprising that the people of Butembo do not trust the authorities…” (Acland, 3/25).

Xinhua News: U.N. humanitarian chief urges int’l community to support fight against Ebola in DRC
“The U.N. humanitarian chief on Monday called on the international community to support the fight against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) … ‘We don’t think the world is paying enough attention to Ebola,’ U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock told reporters, making a 326-million-U.S. dollar appeal to fight the deadly disease. Lowcock said the appeal is to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the DRC…” (3/25).

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Waterborne Diseases Pose Threat To 1.85M People Affected By Cyclone Idai In Southern Africa; U.N., IFRC Launch Funding Appeals

Agence France-Presse: Africa cyclone survivors face ‘ticking bomb’ of disease: Red Cross
“A powerful cyclone that pummeled southern African countries earlier this month has left survivors facing ‘a ticking bomb’ of looming disease outbreaks, the Red Cross chief warned Monday. … ‘We are sitting on a ticking bomb,’ Elhadj As Sy, IFRC secretary general told reporters in Geneva after returning from a weekend visit to Mozambique. He pointed to the ‘high risk of water-borne diseases,’ like cholera and typhus — as well as malaria, which is endemic in the region…” (3/25).

Reuters: Around 1.85 mln people affected by cyclone in Mozambique — U.N.
“About 1.85 million people have now been affected by Cyclone Idai and its aftermath in Mozambique alone, U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA said on Tuesday, as aid workers raced to fathom the scale of the disaster and determine what help is most urgently needed…” (Rumney et al., 3/26).

VOA News: Cyclone-hit Mozambique Sitting on a ‘Sanitation, Hygiene Ticking Bomb’
“The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is appealing for $30.5 million to provide life-saving aid for 200,000 of the most vulnerable survivors of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique…” (Schlein, 3/25).

VOA News: U.N. Launches $282 Million Appeal for Mozambique Cyclone Relief
“The top U.N. aid chief says the United Nations is appealing for $282 million to help the victims of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. Mark Lowcock said Monday the funds will be used for health, water, sanitation, and hygiene issues as well as food security and helping people regain their livelihoods…” (3/25).

Additional coverage of the response to Cyclone Idai is available from Reuters and UPI.

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UNOCHA Warns Of Increasing Number Of Cholera Cases In Yemen

Associated Press: U.N. warns of spike in cholera, displacement in Yemen
“A United Nations humanitarian agency said on Monday that Yemen has witnessed a sharp spike in the number of suspected cholera cases this year, as well as increased displacement in a northern province…” (3/25).

The Guardian: Early rains prompt surge in Yemen cholera cases
“…Almost a third of the 124,493 cases documented between 1 January and 22 March were children under fifteen. Increasing rates of malnutrition among Yemen’s children have left them more prone to contracting and dying from the disease. … Early rains could be to blame for the recent increase in suspected cases of the disease, according to UNOCHA…” (McVeigh, 3/25).

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Measles Appears To Be Making Comeback, Prompted By Vaccine Hesitancy, Experts Warn

STAT: The measles virus was down and out. Now it’s primed for a comeback
“Back near the start of this century … some experts believed the world was ready to rid itself of measles once and for all. These days, with massive outbreaks in the Philippines and Ukraine, more than 80,000 cases in the past year in Europe, and ongoing epidemics in New York, Washington, Texas, Illinois, and California, measles does not feel like an endangered virus. … More measles, not less, appear to be on the horizon, at least in the near term, experts glumly admit…” (Branswell, 3/26).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Building tuberculosis awareness in low-risk countries (Cornish, 3/25).

The Guardian: Children’s chances of surviving cancer less than 30% in poor nations — study (Hodal, 3/26).

SciDev.Net: ‘Anti-HIV drug can help reduce TB incidence’ (Baltasar, 3/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Improving TB Prevention, Diagnostic, Treatment Tools

Global Health NOW: How Surgery Could Help End Tuberculosis
Sebastian Shu, physician from Cayetano Heredia University in Peru and research associate at the Program on Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard Medical School

“Surgery might not immediately come to mind as a solution in the fight to end tuberculosis. … However, surgery could help decrease the burden — and it’s time to listen to the voices of surgeons and anesthesiologists who could make valuable contributions to the current push to end TB. … The difficulty in treating tuberculosis lies in the various mechanisms the mycobacterium has developed to survive at the expense of its host. … In [some] cases, pulmonary resection — a surgical procedure removing a section of a lung or the entire lung is removed — can be used as an adjunct therapy for TB. … Surgical management has proved beneficial in other scenarios, as well. … It is true that surgery is not applicable for every patient nor it is possible to provide surgery to everyone who needs it, especially in low- and middle-income countries. However, it is also true that it might be the only alternative for a group of patients who can no longer be helped by medical management” (3/25).

The Telegraph: New tools can end the ‘white plague’ that once stalked Europe
Baroness Suttie, vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tuberculosis

“…[T]he increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance should shake us out of our current complacency [when it comes to responding to TB]. A new Lancet Commission report on TB shows a way forward. I support the commission’s call to increase investments in TB to $10 billion annually, encompassing research and development, quality diagnostics, and protecting the people most at risk of contracting TB … There are three next steps I would particularly like to highlight. First, it is time to improve diagnostics. … Next, the drug regimens for TB need to become shorter, less toxic, and easier to stick to. … Finally, we must double our efforts in the search for new and effective vaccines for TB. … What is required now is committed global leadership to provide the investment, time, and effort to eradicate this curable disease from our planet” (3/25).

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Private Sector, Corporate Leaders Can Contribute More To Global Health

Fortune: Most CEOs Don’t Have a Global Health Strategy. That Needs to Change
Ashish K. Jha, K.T. Li professor of global health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, and Peter Sands, senior research fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute and executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…We need to transform corporate attitudes toward global health … Yet achieving this shift will require not just corporate leaders to change their mindset, but also leaders in the global health community. At the moment, many in the global health community regard the private sector with deep suspicion. … [A]chieving the third U.N. Sustainable Development Goal — to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ — will require extensive multi-stakeholder participation, and … we desperately need the dynamism, innovation, and resources of the private sector. … [C]orporate leaders should ask themselves what their responsibility should be and what they can contribute toward improving global health. … Likewise, many businesses should think through the health impact of their business activities, and what they could [do] to improve the health of the communities in which they operate. Good health is [a] powerful driver of productivity, while health-related risks, such as infectious disease outbreaks, can cause immense disruption to businesses. Improving the global environment is now seen as good business; so too should improving global health” (3/25).

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Private Sector Companies Can Play Role In Empowering Women Farmers

Devex: Opinion: The private sector should invest in women farmers to fight global hunger
Jon Banner, executive vice president of global communications and president of PepsiCo Foundation at PepsiCo, and Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE USA

“…Women have less access to the tools, decision-making power, supplies, and information they need to help their families thrive. Many women are barred from making decisions in their own homes about how much money is spent on food even though they are the ones responsible for putting food on the table. … This is hardship. … But this is also opportunity: The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that giving women equal access to basic resources and services could increase yields on women’s farms by 20-30 percent, which could raise macroagricultural outputs in developing countries by 2.5-4 percent. … To attack pressing global challenges, such as gender equity and the daunting prospect of feeding a future world of 9 billion people, we must support [women]. … This is why CARE has launched ‘She Feeds the World,’ an initiative to empower women farmers in developing countries to better support themselves, their families, and their communities. The PepsiCo Foundation is the program’s largest private sector supporter to date … If every company with an agricultural value chain plays a part to empower women farmers, together we will ensure not only a level field for women farmers across the globe but also one that can feed the future in a growing world” (3/25).

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Learning From Women-Focused Civil Society Organizations Critical To Ensuring Effective Humanitarian Responses

Inter Press Service: What They Need: Money, Resources, & a Seat at the Table
Marcy Hersh, senior manager for Humanitarian Advocacy at Women Deliver

“…I was pleased to see so many more representatives from women-focused civil society organizations (CSOs) take the stage at events surrounding the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women this month. … Women-focused CSOs … are leading activities that many international organizations deem too difficult at times of conflict and disaster … There is growing global recognition that hearing more from experts at women-focused CSOs … is critically needed to make humanitarian responses more effective. … [B]uilding a more feminist humanitarian system requires handing over the mic and power to women-focused CSOs in conference rooms, press rooms, and boardrooms. It suggests letting go of some of our own power as international advocates to let women lead and set the agenda — and trust that our collective action for girls and women in humanitarian emergencies will be stronger because of it. It means relinquishing our speaking roles at international convenings so that the MVPs on the ground have a seat at the table…” (3/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Highlights Recent TB-Related Releases

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: What we’re reading: It is past time to end the impacts of tuberculosis
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” highlights two recent pieces on tuberculosis, including an article on a woman’s experience with TB in India and the Lancet Commission report on TB (3/25).

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CSIS Publishes Primer On Global Nutrition Policy

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Global Nutrition Policy
In this primer, Amy R. Beaudreault, research fellow at the Global Food Security Project and Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, discusses the role of global nutrition in health, economic growth, and political stability, and provides an overview of the priority issues, stakeholders involved, and U.S. government’s investments in global nutrition (3/25).

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Global Dispatches Podcast Interviews MSF Field Coordinator On DRC's Ebola Outbreak

U.N. Dispatch’s “Global Dispatches Podcast”: ‘It’s Really Worrying Right Now.’ An Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is NOT Under Control
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, speaks with Karin Huster, field coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) about the recent attacks on two MSF-run Ebola treatment centers, the trajectory of the current outbreak, why the current response has not stopped the transmission of Ebola, and what can be done to halt its spread (3/24).

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Gates Blog Post Discusses Polio Eradication In India, Other Countries, India's New Campaign To Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “The Optimist”: Congrats, India, you eradicated polio! What’s next?
Journalist Ryan Bell discusses India’s success in eradicating polio, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) strategy to eliminate polio in other countries, and India’s campaign to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF), which uses lessons from its experience with polio (3/25).

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FIGO, Nepal Society Of OB/GYNs Work Together To Improve Access To Family Planning Services

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: Politics and Family Planning in Nepal
This post discusses FIGO’s partnership “with the Nepal Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (NESOG) in support of the Nepalese government’s pledge to extend family planning access in Nepal: to ‘leave no one behind’ and ‘reach the unreached.’ … FIGO’s Postpartum Intrauterine Device (PPIUD) Project has been running in Nepal since 2015. The initiative seeks to tackle unmet need for family planning by addressing the gap in the continuum of maternal health care which occurs during the postpartum period…” (3/25).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Announces $37M Investment In Initiative To Build Resilience In Egypt's Agricultural Sector

USAID: Building Resilience in Egypt’s Agriculture Sector Through an Investment of $37 Million from the United States
“[Yesterday], U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green announced the establishment of the Egypt Rural Business Strengthening project. The initiative will invest $37 million, including funds for Feed the Future, to build resilience in Egypt’s agricultural sector, which will advance food security, prosperity, and ultimately self-reliance for Egyptians…” (3/25).

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