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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

SheDecides Movement Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary; Questions Raised Over Future Funding

Asian Correspondent: Time for women to reclaim their bodies: SheDecides movement fights for sexual rights
“…The commitment to promote, provide, protect, and enhance the fundamental rights of every girl and woman is the keystone of the SheDecides movement, and was formulated in Brussels back in 2017. But it was celebrated and reaffirmed [Friday] in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as women from all over Asia-Pacific came together to shine a light on the fantastic work being done, and the uphill battle still yet to fight in the crusade for a woman’s right to control her own sexual and reproductive health…” (Richards, 3/2).

Devex: As SheDecides marks one year, celebrations and questions over its future direction
“On the one-year anniversary of the launch of the SheDecides movement, key family planning organizations remain defiant in the face of U.S. reinstatement of its ‘global gag rule,’ but they also warn there is still a long way to go especially as some major donors, notably the United Kingdom, have yet to step up to replace lost funds…” (Edwards, 3/1).

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Court Wants FDA To Explain Decision To Use Unapproved Ebola Drug In Legal Case Surrounding 'Right-To-Try' Campaign

STAT: In tussle over ‘right to try,’ court presses FDA to shed light on Ebola drug decisions
“The Food and Drug Administration will have to explain to a court this week why it won’t shed more light on an internal decision to allow at least two Americans who contracted Ebola to take a drug that wasn’t yet approved. It’s the latest salvo in a legal case that could have broader implications for the ongoing campaign to pass a federal ‘right-to-try’ law, in which advocates are aiming to help dying patients get access to other drugs the FDA hasn’t yet approved…” (Mershon/Swetlitz, 3/5).

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U.N. Aid Convoy Enters Eastern Ghouta After Syrian Government Troops Remove Medical Supplies

Al Jazeera: Syria: Aid convoy enters besieged Eastern Ghouta
“A 46-truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid has begun entering Eastern Ghouta through the government-controlled Wafideen checkpoint for the first time in nearly a month…” (3/5).

BBC News: Syria war: Aid enters Eastern Ghouta despite air strikes
“…The 46 trucks are the first to reach the besieged enclave since mid-February, despite a recent U.N.-backed ceasefire and short, daily truces ordered by Russia. At least 719 people have been killed in that period, many of them children…” (3/5).

Financial Times: First aid convoy in weeks reaches rebel-held eastern Ghouta
“…The area has received just one other delivery this year, in February, and residents and humanitarian organizations have warned of an increasingly desperate situation for the estimated 400,000 people trapped inside…” (Collard, 3/5).

The Guardian: Aid convoy enters besieged Syrian enclave
“…A World Health Organization official said government authorities had removed most medical material from U.N. vehicles, preventing surgical kits, insulin, dialysis equipment, and other supplies from reaching the enclave…” (Shaheen, 3/5).

Reuters: First aid convoy reaches Syria’s Ghouta, stripped of medical supplies
“…[Senior U.N. official Ali al-Za’tari] said the convoy had been scaled back from providing food for 70,000 people to providing for 27,500. The United Nations says Syria has agreed to let it bring the rest of the food for the full 70,000 in a second convoy in three days…” (McDowall et al., 3/5).

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Investments In Curbing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Would Help Save Health Care Costs Worldwide, Study Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Implementing climate pact would dramatically save health care costs — researchers
“Implementing the Paris climate agreement by investing trillions of dollars to slow greenhouse gas emissions would be far cheaper than paying the costs of people sickened by polluted air, scientists said on Friday. Governments worldwide could save $54 trillion in health care by investing less than half that amount in green projects by mid-century, researchers said in a study published in The Lancet Planetary Health, an online academic journal…” (Malo, 3/2).

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New WHO Guideline Makes Recommendations For 'Positive Childbirth Experience'

NPR: New Guidelines Establish The Rights Of Women When Giving Birth
“…In February, the World Health Organization released a set of 56 recommendations in a report called Intrapartum Care for a Positive Childbirth Experience. One key recommendation is to allow a slow labor to continue without trying to hurry the birth along with drugs or other medical interventions. The paper cites studies showing that a long, slow labor — when the mother and baby are doing well — is not necessarily dangerous…” (Brink, 3/1).

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Financial Times Special Report Examines '50 Ideas To Change The World'

Financial Times: Special Report: 50 Ideas to Change the World
“The FT has enlisted the help of readers, researchers, and entrepreneurs to find 50 new ideas that will shape the world in the future. The first 40 ideas have addressed the challenges of a growing world population, resource scarcity, handling information, and looked at new approaches to health care. The final tranche of ideas, about our planet and the universe, will be published on 29 March 2018.” The series includes articles on a variety of health- and development-related topics, including diagnostic tools to detect antibiotic resistance, toilet redesign, and family planning access (Multiple authors, 3/4).

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More News In Global Health

The Atlantic: Why is Nigeria Experiencing a Record-High Outbreak of Lassa Fever? (Yong, 2/28).

Devex: Humanitarians struggle to deliver aid as violence spreads in CAR (Roby, 3/5).

Devex: What’s the problem with WASH innovation? (Rogers, 3/5).

Devex: UNICEF starts 2018 with its largest appeal yet for humanitarian action (Lieberman, 3/2).

Devex: Illicit financial flows threaten SDGs in West Africa (Roby, 3/2).

Devex: Draft Brexit agreement plots future for U.K. aid — up to a point (Anders, 3/2).

Devex/Shorthand Social: Bringing health care on foot to women in Haiti (Lieberman, 3/5).

The Economist: How a small African nation is beating AIDS (3/1).

International Policy Digest: Haiti’s Maternal Health Crisis (Shah, 3/3).

The Lancet: Libya: war and migration strain a broken health system (Zarocostas, 3/3).

National Geographic: Mobile Tech Can Make Disaster Zones Less Disastrous — Here’s How (Nunez, 3/2).

Reuters: U.N. halts aid work in northeast Nigeria town after humanitarian workers killed (Nebehay/Carston, 3/3).

STAT: Despite push for a universal flu vaccine, the ‘holy grail’ stays out of reach (Branswell, 3/5).

VOA News: WHO: Nearly 1 Billion People Risk Hearing Loss by 2050 (Schlein, 3/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Administration Should Place Limits On What Pharmaceutical Companies Can Charge For Drugs Developed Through Publicly Funded Research

The Hill: Pharmaceutical corporations need to stop free-riding on publicly funded research
Jason Cone, executive director of Doctors Without Borders, USA

“…Pharmaceutical companies have perpetuated a myth that high prices are necessary in order to compensate for the risks and investments they undertake when developing drugs. And governments like the U.S. — the biggest funder of global health research and development (R&D) — have let them. … In reality, companies receive substantial publicly funded support from the government. … Taxpayers contribute through public university research, grants, subsidies, and other incentives. This means people are often paying twice for their medicines: through their tax dollars and at the pharmacy. … If [the Trump administration] is serious about bringing down drug prices, the first thing it should do is put access and affordability conditions on the public funding given to medical products in development. If the public funds the research that led to the development of a certain medicine, there should be limits to what government will allow companies to charge consumers. … It’s time for the U.S. to … get serious about promoting real innovation and lowering drug prices for everyone. This administration should start by putting an end to pharmaceutical corporations free-riding on publicly funded research” (3/3).

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Trump Administration Impacting Reproductive Rights In U.S., Abroad

The Hill: 2018 will be a rough year for reproductive rights
Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute

“…The Trump administration knows what it is doing: everything possible to deny women and teenage girls access to modern methods of contraception, regardless of where they live. Last year, the administration terminated funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a major provider of family planning and maternal health services in developing nations. Also by executive action, it re-imposed and expanded the scope of the ‘global gag rule,’ which denies U.S. funding for overseas providers of global health services, if they ‘advocate’ for or provide counseling on abortion services. Last year in his proposed budget, President Trump called for the elimination of all bilateral assistance for international family planning assistance, a proposal rejected by Congress. Only mildly deterred, the Trump administration’s latest proposed budget seeks to slash international funding by 50 percent in 2019. … Amnesty International’s latest annual human rights report, released [in late February], calls out the U.S. for abridging reproductive rights in 2017. It sharply criticizes the Trump administration’s ‘broad and multifaceted’ attacks on women and girls, and what it calls ‘particularly virulent’ attacks and ‘extreme restrictions’ on sexual and reproductive health care. The worst, however, may be yet to come” (3/2).

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WHO's International Agency For Research On Cancer Needs To Undergo Reform

Fox News: This flawed U.N. health agency threatens America’s food supply. It’s time for badly needed reform
Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center, and Julie Kelly, senior contributor to American Greatness

“Question: When is a carcinogen not necessarily a carcinogen? Answer: When the labeling is done by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a French-based institution that is having a big and unjustified impact on American law and our economy. … IARC badly needs to be reformed, and some fundamental changes need to be made. … [IARC] uses outdated and incomplete methodologies to conjure up ‘carcinogen’ warnings that now threaten to warp our economy. In doing so, IARC also undermines much-needed trust in global public health institutions. … U.S. taxpayers should let their representatives know that because Americans support responsible global public health programs, evidence-based science, and transparent government, IARC funding should be frozen until it institutes these changes” (3/2).

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Governments Should Prioritize Investments In Nursing, Value Nurses' Expertise

Thomson Reuters Foundation: At last, nurses get a seat at the table of health decision-making
Sheila Tlou, co-chair of the Nursing Now campaign

“…[The Nursing Now] campaign represents a turning of the tide for nurses who are too often undervalued and underutilized by health services. … We need nurses now more than ever. … Everywhere we hear the same refrain: nurses are the health professionals people know and trust. Who better than to manage a person’s health, from the cradle to the grave, in a holistic way, taking into account physical and mental health, as well as socioeconomic and lifestyle factors contributing to disease? … If they are genuinely committed to reaching the goal of Universal Health Coverage by 2030, governments must prioritize investments in nursing. The benefits — for all of us — are clear. Studies in several countries have shown that when nurses are trained and given greater scope to expand their roles, they deliver impressive results for patients. However, beyond this, health leaders must listen to nurses and invest in new models of care if they are to get the most out of this most precious resource” (3/1).

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International Community Must Do More To End Human Rights Violations

Washington Post: The U.N. human rights commissioner says ‘shame is in retreat.’ He’s right.
Editorial Board

“Jordanian Diplomat Zeid Raad al-Hussein has spent nearly four years fighting a frustrating battle against genocide, oppression, racism — and the increasing indifference to them among governments. Last week he opened the 37th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, and with the end of his four-year term as high commissioner for human rights in sight, he chose, he said, ‘to be blunt.’ His tough conclusions are worth repeating. … Mr. Zeid didn’t shrink from naming the places and people who are violating basic norms. … Of greatest concern to Mr. Zeid are the instances of mass killing that have happened on his watch and that have attracted no meaningful international response. … Mr. Zeid’s most important point concerned the larger effect on international order of disregarding atrocities. … ‘Why are we doing so little to stop them,’ Mr. Zeid asked, ‘even though we should know how dangerous all of this is?’ There is, today, no more relevant question” (3/4).

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Public Health Measures Including Immunization, Improved Surveillance Will Stem Disease Outbreaks

Washington Post: Five myths about outbreaks
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…The Spanish flu pandemic brought new urgency to the quest to comprehend infectious diseases and the way they work, but the subject is still beset by scientific challenges and popular misunderstandings. Here are five of the most tenacious. … Myth No. 1: A pandemic on the scale of Spanish flu is unlikely today. … Myth No. 2: Most adults don’t need the annual seasonal flu vaccine. … Myth No. 3: Some of the deadliest pathogens don’t pose an imminent threat. … Myth No. 4: We need bigger vaccine stockpiles to halt outbreaks. … Myth No. 5: Closing our borders will keep the nastiest bugs out. … Still, there’s no real substitute for preventing outbreaks at their source, through routine immunization, improved surveillance, and other proven public health measures” (3/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

SheDecides Movement Vital To Addressing, Preventing HIV Among Women, Girls

Avert: #SheDecides — a movement for women’s empowerment for HIV prevention
Sarah Hand, CEO of Avert, writes, “The power of SheDecides is its emphasis on gender equality and gender empowerment. It’s a movement born out women recognizing their sexual and reproductive health rights in the era of the [global gag rule]. SheDecides also links these rights with the wider Sustainable Development Goals, including HIV prevention. … We need to make sure that every girl and young woman has the knowledge and freedom to make that future one that is free of HIV” (3/2).

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Report Examines Quality Of Health Care For Transgender People, MSM

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Zero Discrimination also means quality care
In this guest post, Katherine Andrinopoulos, associate professor at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, highlights the U.N.’s Zero Discrimination Day and discusses a report on “the quality of health care for … transgender people and men who have sex with men — MSM,” which she developed with a colleague through MEASURE Evaluation, funded by USAID (Barton, 3/2).

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IntraHealth Officials Discuss Key Health Access Issues In Chapter Of New Book On Global Development

IntraHealth International: New Publication: Access to Health Care Is Key to a New Global Agenda
“As the international community works toward new global goals — including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Accord on Climate Change, and the New Urban Agenda — building up health systems that provide everyone with access to the care they need is crucial. This is the crux of a chapter by IntraHealth International’s Pape Gaye and Gracey Vaughn in a new book released [Thursday], A New Global Agenda: Priorities, Practices, & Pathways of the International Community…” (3/1).

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FT Health Discusses Orphan Diseases, Features Interview With Co-Chair Of Nursing Now Campaign

FT Health: Orphan diseases move into the spotlight
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses advances on orphan diseases; features an interview with Sheila Tlou, co-chair of Nursing Now, who discusses the global campaign to raise the profile and status of the nursing profession; and provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 3/2).

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March 2018 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The March 2018 WHO Bulletin includes articles on various issues, including an editorial on global hearing health, an interview with an expert on dementia prevention, and a research article reviewing national policies on the management of latent tuberculosis infection (March 2018).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Blog Post Recognizes World Birth Defects Day 2018

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: World Birth Defects Day 2018 Raises Global Awareness of Birth Defects
Margaret A. Honein, acting director of the Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, recognizes World Birth Defects Day and the importance of raising awareness about birth defects (3/3).

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USAID Working With Ukraine Government, Civil Society To Reform Justice, Health Care Sectors

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Helping Ukrainians Attain the Prosperity They Deserve
Susan K. Fritz, USAID regional mission director for Ukraine and Belarus, discusses the Ukraine government’s ongoing restructuring of its justice and health care sectors and USAID’s efforts to work “with the government and civil society to push through difficult reforms.” Fritz highlights several of these initiatives, including health care efforts (3/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.