KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Several Nations Announce New Funding For WHO's Emergencies Fund; Amount Still Short Of Need

Devex: WHO emergency contingency fund attracts new donors, but funding still short of $100M target
“Early this week, 11 donors announced funding for the World Health Organization’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies during a pledging conference in Geneva. The pledges will help increase CFE’s funding levels in 2018 to $23 million, a needed increase, though a fraction of its $100 million target. … Albeit only a slight increase, the fresh pledges ensure WHO will continue to have immediately available funding for the multiple crises they are responding to globally — at least in the immediate term. But there’s no doubt that this won’t be sufficient in the long run, and donors need to step up their contributions to the fund…” (Ravelo, 3/28).

Intellectual Property Watch: Global Health Funding Flows As WHO, Gavi, Global Fund Benefit
“Actions by governments in recent days show funding for global health continues to be a priority for some countries. Geneva-based institutions and their programs around the world are among the beneficiaries” (New, 3/27).

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Washington Post's 'Fact Checker' Examines Implications Of Mexico City Policy

Washington Post: Fact Checker: A year later: Does Trump’s Mexico City policy ban funds to groups that ‘even mention’ abortion?
“…At the time [of President Trump’s reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City Policy], a tweet from NARAL Pro-Choice America caught our eye. It claimed ‘the global gag rule’ (opponents’ name for the policy) ended funding for ‘ANY health center that even *mentions* abortion.’ We determined it was too soon to be sure if this was accurate for Trump’s iteration of this policy, particularly given the administration’s signal that it intended to expand the policy. So we left it as ‘verdict pending.’ Fast-forward a year. The Trump administration did expand the rule’s reach … [G]iven the wealth of new information, does NARAL’s statement hold up? Let’s take another look…” (Kelly, 3/27).

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CDC Official Tedd Ellerbrock Discusses Agency's HIV/AIDS Efforts, PEPFAR In Washington Post Interview

Washington Post: Meet the man leading the charge against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic
“Dr. Tedd Ellerbrock, chief of the HIV Care and Treatment Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has played a vital role in building, expanding, and improving the U.S.-led program that provides medicine and assistance to more than 13 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS. In a conversation with Tom Fox, Ellerbrock talked about the importance of the CDC’s mission, the dedication of the staff, and his own journey to bring modern medicine to the developing world. Fox is a guest writer for On Leadership and the vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service…” (Fox, 3/27).

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Islamic Clerics, Afghan Government Working Together To Convince Militant Groups To Allow Polio Vaccination In Rural Areas

The Guardian: Afghan clerics in talks with Isis to break polio vaccine myths
“Islamic clerics have agreed to work with the Afghan government to persuade militant groups in the country that vaccination programs should be allowed in remote areas. Imans are to consult with the Taliban, Islamic State, and other factions in the mountainous Kunar province in a bid to get efforts to eradicate polio back on track, after six new cases were reported in Afghanistan this year…” (Janjua, 3/27).

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ABC News, Nightline Highlight Food Insecurity, Health Care Situation In War-Torn Yemen

ABC News: ‘Forgotten War’ in Yemen has the country on the verge of man-made famine
“The deadly conflict in Yemen, which has been raging for the last three years with no signs of letting up, is being called the ‘Forgotten War’ because most of the world’s attention has been focused on Syria. A bombing campaign by Saudi Arabia and its allies against Shia rebels has left around 2.2 million Yemeni children malnourished — 80 percent of them severely — and the country is on the verge of a man-made famine…” The news outlet also features a video report from Nightline on the situation in Yemen (McGarry, 3/27).

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ICRC Faces 'Certain Imbalance' In Providing Aid To Syria, Organization's President Says

Foreign Policy: Syria Is Threatening to Break the Aid World
“…The [International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC)] fundamental principles dictate that aid should be delivered without discrimination based on political belief and that the organization should remain neutral in conflicts — but the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. resolutions creating the humanitarian system all begin by acknowledging the primacy of states. ‘So it’s no surprise that our first address is always governments and to try to seek to negotiate with them on what we are able to do,’ [ICRC President Peter Maurer] says. Maurer acknowledges that this has ‘led to a certain imbalance’ when it comes to aid delivery…” (Kenner, 3/27).

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CNN Examines Poor State Of Venezuela's Health System

CNN: Venezuela health system in worse condition than expected, according to survey
“A survey of 104 health facilities in Venezuela, commissioned by the opposition-controlled National Assembly, paints a grim picture of a collapsed system hurting for even the most essential goods and services. … The U.S. State Department says it stands ready to send in aid as soon as the Venezuelan government agrees [to] accept it. Leaders from Brazil [and] Colombia have also made similar pledges (Jones et al., 3/28).

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The Atlantic Examines Challenges Related To HIV Testing, Prevention, Drug Adherence In South Africa

The Atlantic: Why People Don’t Take Lifesaving Medications
“…The world over, humans are rather bad at acknowledging we have a disease and taking medications regularly to treat it. This is apparently true even when the disease is one of the worst ones ever, AIDS, and if the medications save us from it…” (Khazan, 3/27).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Can health gains be achieved in insecure environments? In Afghanistan, the answer is a fragile yes (Ravelo, 3/28).

NPR: Scientists In Africa Wonder If There’s Bias Against Their Research (Jochem, 3/26).

Post and Courier: Gates Foundation doctor discusses how partners helped to wipe out polio, meningitis from Africa at MUSC (Wildeman, 3/27).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — Tackling the secrecy around killing twins deemed evil in Nigeria (Nwaubani, 3/28).

VOA News: Kenya to Import 100 Doctors from Cuba (Ombuor, 3/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

NYT Columnist Uses Haitian Cholera Outbreak As Example Of U.N. Failure; Letters To Editor Respond

New York Times: John Bolton Is Right About the U.N.
Bret Stephens, New York Times columnist

“…The U.N. is a never-ending scandal disguised as an everlasting hope. The hope is that dialogue can overcome distrust and collective security can be made to work in the interests of humanity. Reality says otherwise. … As for the scandals — where to start? U.N. peacekeepers caused a cholera epidemic in Haiti that so far has taken 10,000 lives. Yet it took U.N. headquarters six years to acknowledge responsibility. … The U.N. adopted what were supposed to be landmark reforms more than a decade ago. Yet the mismanagement, corruption, abuses, and moral perversities remain. … [O]n the U.N. [U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton has] been right all along. If his presence in the White House helps to scare the organization into real reform, so much the better” (3/23).

New York Times: Letters to the editor: Bash the U.N.? There’s Another Side to the Story
Stephen Schlesinger, author, and Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur

“…Yes, the United Nations does have flaws. Nobody will dispute that. But there is another side to the story. The United Nations, through the years, has helped bring peace to states … These are hardly negligible accomplishments” (Schlesinger, 3/27).

“…[Bret Stephens] is right that [the U.N.’s role in bringing cholera to Haiti] is scandalous, but what he doesn’t mention is that it was the United States that pushed hardest to cover up the real source of cholera when it erupted in Haiti, and it was the United States that applied pressure to the secretary general to prevent an acknowledgment of responsibility and the setting up of the mechanism legally required when the responsibility of the United Nations concerns a private law matter. If John Bolton, the new national security adviser, wants to set the United Nations right, he can begin by persuading President Trump and the secretary of state to immediately announce that the United States accepts that the United Nations was responsible for the cholera outbreak and that it should set up a mechanism to settle the victims’ claims” (Alston, 3/27).

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Accelerating UHC In Kenya Requires Focus On RMNCAH, Preventive Health Care

Inter Press Service: Accelerating Universal Health Coverage in Kenya — How do we get there?
Werner Schultink, UNICEF representative to Kenya; Rudi Eggers, WHO representative to Kenya; and Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. resident coordinator to Kenya

“…How do we ensure that [universal health coverage (UHC)] is possible in Kenya by 2022? … The focus has to be on preventable and primary health care as emphasized in the Alma-Ata principles. The centrality of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, and adolescent health will be critical to achieving UHC. … The following low cost high-impact interventions will leapfrog UHC. … 1. 100 percent immunization coverage. 2. Scaling up maternal and child health … 3. Prevention of water borne, vector borne, TB and HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases. 4. Prevention of non-communicable diseases … 5. Improving nutrition of women who conceive and follow this through to the first five years of a child’s life. These five actions will not only help achieve universal primary health coverage within five years, but reduce the number of patients going into the referral systems. It will reinforce the famous adage, ‘prevention is better than cure’…” (3/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Donor Governments Pledge Additional $15.3M To WHO's Contingency Fund For Emergencies

WHO: Donors pledge over U.S.$15 million to WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies
“Donors have pledged an additional U.S.$15.3 million to support quick action by the World Health Organization to tackle disease outbreaks and humanitarian health crises through its emergency response fund in 2018, the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE)…” (3/27).

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ODI Fellow Reflects On U.K. Labour Party's Development Strategy, Vision For International Development

ODI: Reflections on Labour’s new vision for international development
Andrew Shepherd, principal research fellow at ODI and director of CPAN, discusses the U.K. Labour Party’s development strategy and vision for international development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Shepherd writes, “Labour should be challenged to consider issues around the quality of growth, and the challenges of generating secure, quality employment with appropriate wages and working conditions. Similarly, women’s economic empowerment, agriculture, and the informal sector also need to be more directly addressed” (3/26).

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Physicians For Human Rights Calls For 'Strict Accountability' For Continued Violations Of International Law In Conflict Zones

Physicians for Human Rights: Yemen and Syria Rules of Combat: Is Blatant Disregard for Humanitarian Norms the New Normal?
Marianne Møllmann, director of research and investigations at PHR, discusses violations of international humanitarian law in Syria and Yemen, writing, “International humanitarian norms have been flouted through the bombing and shelling of health care facilities, blocking of humanitarian aid, besiegement, and the use of chemical weapons against civilians. … [U]nless we insist on strict accountability for continued violations of the law … future conflicts will be characterized by even more flagrant disregard of norms” (3/26).

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Qualitative Study Explores Practical Understanding Of Global Health In German Medical Education

BMC’s “Globalization and Health”: Global Health as ‘umbrella term’ — a qualitative study among global health teachers in German medical education
In this study, Matthias Havemann and Stefan Bösner, both with the Department of Family Medicine at Philipps-University Marburg, “explore the practical understanding of [global health] in medical education” and conduct interviews with global health teachers in German medical education to examine their views on global health and the approaches they take in teaching global health topics (3/27).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Ebola Grand Challenge Innovation Aims To Increase Effectiveness Of Decontamination Processes In Disease Outbreaks

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: What the Color Blue Can Reveal About Pathogens and Contamination
Avery Waite, program analyst in USAID’s Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact, discusses an innovation, known as Highlight, designed by students at Columbia University and chosen as one of the winners of USAID’s Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge, that “adds color to bleach to increase its effectiveness as a decontaminant and ensure the safety of health workers in places affected by infectious disease outbreaks. … Highlight not only makes the bleach visible, but the blue color fades after the contact time of the disinfectant has elapsed, which signals to the user that the decontamination process is complete and that the surface is safe to touch again” (3/27).

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