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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Revises Action Plan To Better Address Causal Factors Of Humanitarian Crises In Africa's Sahel

U.N. News: Revamped U.N. strategy aims to address root causes of Sahel crisis
“The United Nations has reset its action plan to address the root causes of the complex crisis in Africa’s Sahel, a region now home to one out of five people worldwide requiring humanitarian assistance, the U.N. deputy chief said Wednesday…” (3/28).

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Asia-Pacific Region Must Build Resilience Capacities To Reach SDGs, Report Says

Devex: How to incorporate resilience thinking into policy making, development programming
“Countries in Asia-Pacific are increasingly exposed to a variety of risks, including physical and financial, undermining the region’s potential to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, according to a new report published Wednesday. … [T]he joint report by the Asian Development Bank, the U.N. Development Programme, and the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, titled Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies in Asia and the Pacific, recommends the region build its resilience, which is also anchored across multiple SDGs. And it identifies four ways in which policymakers as well as development organizations can build their resilience capacities…” (Ravelo, 3/29).

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Private Philanthropy Funding Playing Major Role In Some Development Sectors, OECD Report Shows

Inside Philanthropy: Epic Quest: A Big-Picture Look at Private Philanthropy for Global Development
“While philanthropic giving for development is pretty modest when stacked up against official development assistance (ODA), this money is playing a major role in some sectors. So says a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ‘Private Philanthropy for Development,’ that analyzes charitable giving for global health and development…” (Pattee, 3/28).

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Large Pharmaceutical Companies Investing More In Start-Ups To Conduct Early Stage Research

CNBC: Big Pharma’s billion-dollar scramble to invest in start-ups to fuel innovation
“…Despite growing recognition of [the threat of antimicrobial resistance], there is an early stage funding gap for new treatments. … In response, industry giants like Novo Holdings — which has big stakes in Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk — Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and others are looking to become more entrepreneurial. Increasingly, these big players are setting up venture capital funds and investing in start-ups and licensing technology to fuel their own drug pipelines. Many are also outsourcing R&D, while reducing product development efforts internally…” (Ioannou, 3/28).

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Philippines President Duterte Targets Fake Over-The-Counter Medicines In War On Drugs

Reuters: Philippines’ Duterte now targets fake drugs
“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has opened a new front in his war on drugs, targeting fake over-the-counter medicines to try to stem the spread of counterfeit paracetamol, his lawyer said on Wednesday…” (Mogato, 3/28).

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Advocates Hope Sierra Leone's Election Will Bring Leadership Willing To Boost Reproductive Rights, Girls' Education

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Sierra Leone election raises hopes for girls’ education, safe abortions
“A change of president in Sierra Leone will bring a new chance to fight for reproductive rights and girls’ education although the lack of women in government will make it tough, activists said…” (Peyton, 3/28).

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Media Outlets Examine Programs Helping Rohingya Refugees Receive MCH, Palliative Care

The Guardian: Young lives hang by a thread as past haunts Rohingya mothers
“…In November, the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, warned that one in four Rohingya children in Bangladesh were severely malnourished. … [I]n times of crisis, when breastfeeding becomes even more important for children, women can struggle to produce enough milk. … To support women, Action Against Hunger offers specific counseling sessions for those having trouble breastfeeding. The organization helps them try to relactate or invites them to discuss alternatives, such as using formula…” (Ford, 3/29).

IRIN: Caring for the chronically ill in Bangladesh’s Rohingya camps
“…[D]espite the scale of the [medical] response, health care advocates say thousands of people with incurable diseases are still ignored by a system that overlooks the needs of the dying or gravely ill. ‘I saw people were treating only acute patients and palliative care was being neglected,’ said Farzana Khan, a doctor who founded the Bangladesh-based Fasiuddin Khan Research Foundation, a private group that set up [a program that helps 200] severely ill patients [in Cox’s Bazar]…” (Ahmed, 3/28).

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U.K. Report Describes Case Of Man With Highly Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Infection

CIDRAP News: In world first, U.K. reports high-level gonorrhea resistance
“Health officials in the United Kingdom announced [Wednesday] that they are investigating a gonorrhea infection contracted abroad that marks the first global detection of high-level resistance to recommended dual-antibiotic treatment as well as to other commonly used drugs…” (Schnirring, 3/28).

CNN: First case of super-resistant gonorrhea reported
“…The man attended sexual health services this year and was found to be infected with a form of the bacteria that is completely resistant to the first line of treatment used against it…” (Senthilingam, 3/28).

Forbes: How A Man Caught The World’s Strongest Super Gonorrhea To Date
“…A report entitled ‘U.K. case of Neisseria gonorrhoeae with high-level resistance to azithromycin and resistance to ceftriaxone acquired abroad’ from Public Health England described some of the details about this super gonorrhea, which was first detected when the man visited a sexual health services clinic in early 2018. The man had developed symptoms a month after having sexual contact with a woman in Southeast Asia…” (Lee, 3/28).

Newsweek: What is super gonorrhea? Man has first-ever case of antibiotic-resistant superbug
“…World Health Organization data compiled in 77 countries last year found that antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea an increasingly difficult, and sometimes impossible, STI to treat…” (Fearnow, 3/28).

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More News In Global Health

Boston Globe: BU study raises prospect of earlier diagnosis of deadly Ebola virus (Finucane, 3/28).

Devex: Ending FGM/C requires individualized approaches, says Population Council (Lieberman, 3/29).

Devex: Long Story Short #7: Inside the Commission on the Status of Women (Lieberman, 3/28).

EURACTIV: Africa takes steps to make medicine more affordable (Barbière/Kirk, 3/28).

The Guardian: Discovery of MRSA-busting antibiotic gives hope against resistant superbugs (Sample, 3/28).

SciDev.Net: Digital health innovations key to achieving SDGs (Otieno, 3/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Should Consider 5 Questions In Review Of Administration's Plan To Merge USAID's 2 Humanitarian Response Offices

Devex: Opinion: Merging USAID’s disaster offices means answering hard questions. Here they are.
Dina Esposito, vice president of technical leadership for Mercy Corps, and Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development

“The Trump administration’s recently released fiscal year 19 budget proposal outlines a plan to merge the United States Agency for International Development’s two humanitarian response offices — the Office of Food for Peace and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance — into a new standalone humanitarian assistance bureau. … [T]his reform — if done right — could improve and extend the reach of U.S. humanitarian assistance. However, we are deeply concerned that the FY19 budget pairs this change with an accompanying proposal to cut overall humanitarian assistance funding and eliminate food assistance resources. … As Congress reviews the administration’s merger plans, it should press the administration to demonstrate that this is a constructive reform. … Here are the five questions — and considerations — [stakeholders in Congress and in the relief community] should be thinking about. 1. What is the purpose and vision behind this merger? … 2. What level of authority will the new entity have? … 3. How will a merger preserve the distinctive technical capacities of each office? … 4. How will finance and procurement processes and personnel systems be reconciled? … 5. What role will the new bureau have in resilience programs?…” (3/28).

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New Diagnostic Tools, Cooperation Needed To Address Antibiotic Resistance In All Nations

The Guardian: The fight against antibiotic resistance must not be confined to the rich world
Caroline Purslow, program manager for the Longitude Prize at the Challenge Prize Centre of Nesta

“…A new report highlights the increase in both the use of antibiotics and access to them, particularly in developing countries. The impact on antibiotic resistance cannot be underestimated. … The need for urgent action has never been more clear. … Crucially, we must help to alter health care providers’ reliance on prescribing by symptoms alone, by providing them with rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests. … At the Longitude prize we have established a £10m fund to seek solutions for antibiotic resistance, and reduce inappropriate prescriptions by incentivizing the development of a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic test. This would allow clinicians to prescribe antibiotics only when needed, and ensure patients with viral infections were not given antibiotics. … The tide of antibiotic resistance continues to rise, and the global health care community must work together to ensure that all countries, no matter their GDP, have access to the education and tools to tackle this emerging crisis” (3/29).

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El Salvador Should Review Abortion Laws, Treatment Of Women

Inter Press Service: El Salvador’s Shameful Treatment of Women Who Miscarry
Jeannette Urquilla, executive director of Organización de Mujeres Salvadoreñas por la Paz (ORMUSA)

“…Since 1998, under Article 133 of our Penal Code, abortion has been completely illegal in El Salvador in all circumstances. … El Salvador is one of only four countries in Latin America which bans abortion in all instances — including after rape and when a mother’s health is at risk. … We are hopeful though that things may be starting to change. The Supreme Court’s decision to free … two women [who had a miscarriage and a stillbirth] is encouraging. Last year the United Nations also urged El Salvador to review the discriminatory and harmful abortion law … We are still waiting to see if a 2016 parliamentary bill on reproductive rights will be debated and passed — a proposed reform of Article 133. In this bill, abortion would be decriminalized in the following instances: after rape, statutory rape, or when the woman has been trafficked; where the fetus is likely to die, or when the pregnant woman’s life is put at risk. Despite having many allies such as the Ministry of Health as well as parliamentarians, resistance by many religious groups and politicians means that we still have a long way to go.” (3/28).

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Darfur's Experience With Trachoma MDA Program Could Provide Roadmap For Other Disease Prevention Programs In Conflict Areas

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Lessons from Darfur: How to deliver health care in insecure regions
Simon Bush, director of neglected tropical diseases at NGO Sightsavers

“…The trachoma [mass drug administration (MDA)] program in Darfur is a success story. For the first time, hundreds of thousands of people have been treated for trachoma, preventing them from experiencing a lifetime of pain and visual impairment. It is also a success because communities that have been displaced and had their lives turned upside down have been strengthened by the knowledge that they are solving the trachoma problem themselves. Of course no insecure region is the same as another and each health care program must be tailored to its specific disease. But the approaches taken in Darfur could be adapted and applied in other similar situations” (3/28).

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Kenya Should Strengthen Health System, Infrastructure To Adequately Respond To Potential Cholera Outbreaks

The Conversation: Nairobi is at risk from another cholera outbreak. Why this isn’t necessary
Abdhalah Ziraba, associate research scientist, and Carol Wainaina, research officer, both at the African Population and Health Research Center

“…[Kenya] needs to strengthen its health system so that it’s able to respond to potential cholera outbreaks. It also needs to improve infrastructure development planning to prevent potential disasters that could lead to health hazards. … Epidemic outbreaks can severely tax even the strongest health system, and require coordination at all levels both in terms of service delivery and awareness. … Continued outbreaks of cholera in this day and age are an indictment on Kenya’s lack of commitment to contain diseases that can be prevented. The health challenges that Nairobi can expect in the wake of heavy rains [and flooding] are largely preventable. And even when they do happen, such as when there’s a cholera outbreak, the country has sufficient resources to respond adequately” (3/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Brookings Blog Post Highlights 5 Ways To Improve Private Investment In Global Health Drug Development

Brookings Institution: Five ways to improve private investment in global health R&D
Jake Schneider, research assistant, and Darrell West, director and vice president of governance studies and founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation, both at Brookings Institution, discuss five key takeaways from a roundtable discussion on improving private investment in global health drugs and vaccines, including, “1. Lower barriers to investment … 2. Increase legal flexibility … 3. More systemic and transparent data … 4. Lower cost structures … 5. Accelerate scientific discovery” (3/28).

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Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Discusses Global Health, Development Issues In CGD Podcast

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: Lessons from Liberia with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — CGD Podcast
In this podcast, Holly Shulman, director of communications and policy outreach at CGD, highlights a recent CGD event during which Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer, senior fellow, and board secretary at CGD, discussed “the future of Liberia, the urgency of action on climate change, the biggest global health challenges, the impact of private sector investment in the developing world, and much more” with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia (3/27).

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GHIT Fund Announces $15.5M In New Investments, Enters 2nd 5-Year Investment Cycle

Global Health Innovation Technology Fund: As the GHIT Fund Closes Out First Five Years of R&D for Lifesaving Medical Breakthroughs, It Launches Next Phase, Focusing on Access and Delivery, Bringing Total Investment to 13.2 Billion Yen (U.S.$123 Million)
“The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund today announced a total of 1.6 billion yen (U.S.$15.5 million) and 10 partnerships to support product development of new lifesaving drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases such as Chagas disease, schistosomiasis, and leishmaniasis…” (3/29).

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Blog Post Discusses Importance Of Communication During Disease Outbreaks

The Lancet Global Health Blog: Pandemic response: fear is inevitable, panic is optional
Chris Simms, assistant professor in the School of Health Administration at Dalhousie University, discusses the role of communication during pandemics, writing, “Larry Brilliant’s observation that ‘outbreaks are inevitable, epidemics are optional’ seems to apply both to pandemics and the social panic they spawn. There are rules and guidelines as to how to prepare for a pandemic and how to react and avoid panic: we ought to follow both as if our lives depended upon it” (3/28).

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From the U.S. Government

GAO Report Examines Status Of USAID's Ebola Recovery Projects

U.S. Government Accountability Office: Ebola Recovery: USAID Has Initiated or Completed Most Projects, but a Complete Project Inventory Is Still Needed for Evaluating Its Efforts
“The fiscal year 2015 appropriations act included a provision for GAO to conduct oversight of USAID and State activities supported with funds from the Ebola response and preparedness appropriations. … This report examines (1) obligations for USAID’s Ebola recovery projects, (2) the status of USAID’s implementation of these projects, and (3) USAID’s evaluation of Ebola recovery efforts. … What GAO Recommends … The Administrator of USAID should ensure that a complete and accurate inventory of Ebola recovery projects is compiled for the ongoing evaluation. USAID concurred with GAO’s recommendation” (3/28).

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USAID Administrator Makes Statement On Appointment Of Robert Redfield As CDC Director

USAID: Statement From USAID Administrator Mark Green on Appointment of Dr. Robert Redfield As Director of the Centers for Disease Control
“On behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), I congratulate Dr. Robert Redfield on his new position as director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) … From fighting tuberculosis and malaria to preventing the spread of HIV and advancing global health security, our two institutions work together around the world to save lives. We look forward to continuing this important collaboration with Dr. Redfield and our HHS/CDC colleagues” (3/29).

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