KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Democrats Introduce Bicameral Legislation To Classify Reproductive Rights As Human Rights

Bustle: Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights & This Bill Would Make Sure Trump Doesn’t Ignore That
“A bill supported by members of both chambers of Congress is calling on the Trump administration to recognize reproductive rights as human rights. The bill, HR 7228, demands that the State Department re-introduce reproductive rights issues into its annual report, which assesses the statuses and conditions of individual rights around the world. … ‘The Department of State’s deletion … of the reproductive rights subsection from its 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices demonstrates an alarming level of politicization of human rights by the Trump administration and undermines the human rights of women around the world,’ the official text for the legislation reads…” (Kasana, 3/7).

Rewire.News: Here’s How Democrats Want to Classify Reproductive Rights as Human Rights
“…The ‘Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act’ was introduced by Democratic caucus vice chair Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and announced at a press conference Thursday along with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and U.S. Senate co-sponsors Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). The bill is similar to a bill by the same name introduced by Clark last year in response to the State Department’s sudden decision to drop the sections on reproductive rights from the 2017 human rights report it released last spring…” (Burns, 3/7).

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Devex Examines Possibility Of Delivering U.S. Aid To Venezuela Through More Neutral Channels

Devex: Could USAID deliver Venezuela assistance through neutral channels?
“As the U.S. government plans expanded sanctions against Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela, some experts believe the Trump administration should direct more assistance through politically neutral channels to blunt the impact those measures might have on the country’s already distressed citizens. … On Thursday, USAID’s deputy administrator accompanied a military flight carrying the latest shipment of humanitarian goods to Cúcuta, Colombia…” (Igoe, 3/8).

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U.S. Tried To Prevent Saudi Arabia From Targeting Civilian, Humanitarian Sites In Yemen But Efforts Largely Failed, Former Officials Say

Devex: USAID tried — and failed — to convince Saudi Arabia not to strike civilian targets in Yemen
“At the start of the conflict in Yemen, which has now devolved into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, U.S. officials worked behind closed doors to convince Saudi Arabia’s leaders not to target humanitarian and civilian sites for airstrikes. Those efforts largely failed due to a lack of high-level political will within the Saudi government, according to two former U.S. officials who testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday…” (Igoe, 3/7).

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules International Financial Institutions Can Be Sued For Harm Associated With Development Projects

NPR: U.S. Supreme Court Rules That World Bank Can Be Sued
“The World Bank can be sued when its overseas investments go awry. And so can some other international organizations. That is the clear message from the U.S. Supreme Court, which last week issued a 7-1 decision in Jam v. International Finance Corporation, ruling for the first time that international financial institutions, including various branches of the bank and other U.S.-based organizations like the Inter-American Development Bank, can be subject to lawsuits in cases where their investments in foreign development projects are alleged to have caused harm to local communities. … The decision could make it possible for millions of people around the world to seek compensation for environmental and human rights abuses associated with internationally financed development projects…” (McDonnell, 3/7).

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U.K. More Likely To Cut 0.7% Aid Target Than Merge DFID With Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Former DFID Minister Says

Devex: Former DFID minister thinks 0.7 percent aid target could be cut
“The former head of the U.K. Department for International Development, Clare Short, said she thinks the government is more likely to scrap the 0.7 percent spending target for aid than allow DFID to be merged with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. … FCO has a poor track record in managing aid compared to DFID and so merging the departments could compromise this positive reputation, she said…” (Edwards, 3/8).

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'Deepening Mistrust' Threatens Response To DRC Ebola Outbreak, MSF Warns

Al Jazeera: ‘Toxic’ atmosphere undermining DRC Ebola outbreak response: MSF
“The battle to beat Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is failing, medical charity Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials, MSF) has warned, with health workers unable to bring the epidemic under control amid ‘a climate of deepening community mistrust.’ Seven months into the largest-ever outbreak of the deadly virus in the DRC, ‘various political, social, and economic grievances’ and an overly militarized response are impeding efforts to combat its spread, MSF said in a statement on Thursday…” (Child, 3/7).

New York Times: The Battle Against One of the Worst Ebola Epidemics Ever Is in Trouble
“… ‘Ebola responders are increasingly being seen as the enemy,’ Dr. Joanne Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders, said at a news conference in Geneva on Thursday. ‘In the last month alone, there were more than 30 different incidents and attacks against elements of the response. The existing atmosphere can only be described as toxic,’ she said…” (Grady/Wembi, 3/7).

STAT: Doctors Without Borders fiercely criticizes Ebola outbreak control effort
“… ‘We’re not sure that if we keep doing what we’re doing [it] will lead us to the end of things,’ Liu said in a press conference in Geneva, where MSF is based. Relying more heavily on security backup from local police, the Congolese Army, or United Nations peacekeepers in the region is increasing the perception that the Ebola response workers are ‘the enemy,’ Liu warned. ‘The use of coercion adds fuel to this. Using police to force people into complying with health measures is not only unethical, it’s totally counterproductive,’ she said. ‘The communities are not the enemy. Ebola is the common enemy’…” (Branswell, 3/7).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola response and MSF press conference is available from the Associated Press, CIDRAP News, Reuters, and UPI.

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U.N. Leaders Call For Women's Empowerment, Gender Equality On International Women's Day

U.N. News: Women’s empowerment ‘essential to global progress’ says Guterres, marking International Day
“Women’s empowerment and gender equality are ‘essential to global progress,’ United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stressed in his message for International Women’s Day which this year puts ‘innovation by women and girls, for women and girls,’ at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality. … ‘Gender equality is essential to the effectiveness of our work, and we cannot afford to miss out on the contributions of half of the world’s population,’ Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed explained…” (3/7).

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More People To Become At Risk Of Mosquito-Borne Diseases As Climate Change, Human Movements Allow For Wider Spread Of Insect Species

E&E News/Scientific American: Mosquito-Borne Disease Could Threaten Half the Globe by 2050
“By 2050, half the world’s population could be at risk of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever or the Zika virus, new research suggests. Climate change may put even more people at risk further into the future. A combination of environmental change, urbanization, and human movements around the world are helping mosquitoes spread into new areas, according to the findings, reported Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology…” (Harvey, 3/7).

Vox: Zika, dengue, and yellow fever are about to get much worse
“…Using statistical mapping techniques, they model how two disease-carrying mosquitos, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, have spread over the last 30 years, and predict how they’ll spread over the next 30. The results are alarming. These species of mosquito — which carry infectious diseases including Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever, though not malaria — are expected to spread throughout most of the United States and Europe, exposing hundreds of millions of people to these diseases. … It’s not clear that most countries are ready to address the public health challenge…” (Piper, 3/7).

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Facebook Announces New Policy Taking Action Against False Information About Vaccines

New York Times: Facebook Announces Plan to Curb Vaccine Misinformation
“Facebook announced Thursday its first policy to combat misinformation about vaccines, following in the footsteps of Pinterest and YouTube. … ‘Leading global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes,’ Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president for global policy management, said in a statement Thursday. ‘If these vaccine hoaxes appear on Facebook, we will take action against them’…” (Caron, 3/7).

Additional coverage of Facebook’s new policy is available from The Hill, NPR, UPI, USA TODAY, and WIRED.

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U.S. FDA Panel Recommends Sanofi Dengue Vaccine Only For People Ages 9 Up To 17

STAT: Sanofi suffers setback as panel recommends against dengue vaccine in adults
“Sanofi on Thursday suffered a major setback in its bid to market a controversial dengue vaccine in the United States, as a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommended against approval for adults. … [T]he advisory panel recommended the agency license the vaccine only for people ages 9 to less than 17…” (Branswell, 3/7).

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg: Life-Saving Drones Fly Medicine to Tanzania’s Remotest Spots (Karuri, 3/7).

The BMJ: Health organizations are slow to tackle gender inequality in workforce, report finds (O’Dowd, 3/7).

CIDRAP News: Neighborhood antibiotic use tied to risk of resistant bacteria (Dall, 3/7).

CNBC Africa: Assessing Nigeria’s moves to contain disease outbreaks (3/7).

The Guardian: ‘Incredible moment’: impoverished Mali to give free health care to under-fives (Hodal, 3/7).

The Lancet: Some major donors criticized at U.N. Yemen pledge meeting (Zarocostas, 3/9).

PRI: Trudeau apologizes for mistreatment of Inuit during tuberculosis epidemic (Herrera, 3/7).

Reuters: Without vaccine, hundreds of children die in Madagascar measles outbreak (Rabary et al., 3/8).

Reuters: Over 8 million Ethiopians need food aid due to violence, drought — government (Maasho, 3/7).

SciDev.Net: Drug resistance could make 28 million people poor (Yvonne, 3/7).

The Telegraph: The AIDS endgame: how the U.K. and U.S. are committed to wiping out HIV (Gulland, 3/7).

The Telegraph: Could we halve global tuberculosis rates? (Pozniak, 3/7).

U.N. News: Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy U.N. chief (3/7).

Xinhua News: Libya records first malaria infection in over 30 years (3/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Reconsider Reinstatement, Expansion Of Mexico City Policy, Opinion Piece Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Let’s not turn the clock back on reproductive health and rights
Siddharth Chatterjee, U.N. resident coordinator to Kenya

“Enabling women to choose when and whether to have children is pivotal to social and economic development. But efforts to give girls and women access to sexual and reproductive health services now risk being undermined by the U.S. government’s reinstatement and amendments to the Mexico City policy … Human Rights Watch says that women and girls will have less access to contraception, resulting in more unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions, increasing maternal deaths in parts of the world where rates are already high. … Studies have shown that women’s reproductive health unlocks a country’s full economic potential. … Let’s stand together on the uplifting annual occasion of International Women’s Day and appeal to the U.S. to show leadership, compassion, and responsibility by reconsidering this [policy]” (3/7).

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Addressing Stigmatization Of Menstruation In Nepal Requires Changing 'Deeply Internalized Ideas About Female Body'

New York Times: I Am Not Untouchable. I Just Have My Period.
Cheryl Strayed, author, and Brian Lindstrom, documentary filmmaker

“…The impact of [the practice of chhaupadi] is profound. … In an effort to end the practice, Nepal’s Supreme Court outlawed chhaupadi in 2005, and in 2017 a law was enacted that made it a crime to force girls and women out of their homes during menstruation. But the practice persists, especially in the remote regions of midwestern and western Nepal, because of deeply held superstitions about menstruation and the immense social pressure to enforce the menstrual taboo. Less severe forms of the practice — those that isolate girls and women inside of their homes rather than banish them entirely — are also common and still negatively affect women and girls. … Because the menstrual taboo in Nepal is rooted in long-held beliefs about the intrinsic inferiority of girls and women, the solution isn’t to destroy menstrual huts but to eradicate deeply internalized ideas about the female body as impure. The laws have changed, but mind-sets must change too…” (3/8).

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Opinion Piece Outlines 7 Issues Critical To Shaping Momentum Around Progress On NCDs In 2019

Devex: Opinion: 7 issues gaining momentum in global health
José Luis Castro, president and CEO of Vital Strategies and executive director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

“…As global attention to public health issues continues to gain momentum in 2019, here are seven issues and trends that will be critical to shaping the conversation on [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)]: 1. Air pollution will be addressed as a driver of NCDs and climate action … 2. Taxes on unhealthy commodities will be key to financing NCD control … 3. Calls for urgent action to improve food and nutrition will be front and center … 4. Cities will continue to be laboratories for NCD prevention strategies … 5. Momentum for alcohol control will grow … 6. Access to medicine will remain contentious … 7. Debate on reducing commercial influence on health policies will heat up … 2019 presents an important opportunity for governments and civil society to either move forward toward improving public health and meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, or fall short in their obligations to protect people from preventable death and disability. Working in partnership, the global health community can ensure that 2019 paves the way toward a future where millions of the world’s people live longer, healthier lives” (3/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Columbia University Researchers Discuss Implications Of Mexico City Policy For Health, Rights, Free Speech In Recent, Upcoming Articles

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health: Maternal and Reproductive Health: How the Global Gag Rule Stifles Free Speech
This press release highlights several published or soon-to-be-published articles by researchers in the Global Health Justice and Governance program (GHJG) at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, detailing the impact the Mexico City policy has on sexual and reproductive health and rights and free speech (3/7).

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'Science Speaks' Reports On Findings Presented At 2019 Conference On Retroviruses And Opportunistic Infections

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2019: Point-of-care viral load testing improves HIV outcomes, researchers say (Aziz, 3/5).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2019: The case of the London patient adds validation to one approach towards a cure (Barton, 3/5).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2019: Thailand’s strides spanned HIV treatment, prevention and research (Aziz, 3/5).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2019: Research and a moral obligation add up to a plan to end U.S. HIV incidence (Barton, 3/5).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2019: Interventions raise men’s HIV testing rates (Aziz, 3/6).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2019: Will the ‘Düsseldorf patient’ make three — further propelling cure research? (Barton, 3/7).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CROI 2019: Two ‘game changing regimens’ together show promise for preventing TB in people living with HIV (Aziz, 3/7).

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African Academy Of Sciences Releases Report Detailing Ways To Improve MNCH Care On Continent

African Academy of Sciences: From minding the gap to closing the gap: Science to transform maternal and newborn survival and stillbirths in sub-Saharan Africa in the Sustainable Development Goals era
“Today on International Women’s Day, the African Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Medical Sciences publish a report detailing ways to improve maternal, neonatal, and child (MNCH) care on the continent. … Listing the four grand challenges that need to be addressed for better MNCH care on the continent, the report offers research discovery and implementation in response to reducing maternal and newborn deaths through: Better care during pregnancy … Better care at birth … Better hospital care of sick newborns … Better postnatal care for women and their newborns…” (3/8).

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U.N. Agencies Recognize International Women's Day

UNAIDS: On International Women’s Day, UNAIDS calls for greater action to protect young women and adolescent girls
“On International Women’s Day, UNAIDS is urging countries to step up and protect young women and adolescent girls from HIV. … Much more needs to be done to reach young people with HIV prevention, treatment, and care. … Investing in education. Investing in HIV and other health services. Preventing and protecting women and girls from violence. Eradicating harmful practices such as early, forced, and child marriage. Promoting women’s rights. Through these actions young women and adolescent girls can be protected from HIV and the world can build towards ending AIDS by 2030” (3/8).

UNFPA: A league of extraordinary women: Real life super heroes
“In 1994, global leaders committed to achieving a better, fairer world for women. At the International Conference on Population and Development, governments agreed that countries must uphold each individual’s right to make free and informed choices over their own sexual and reproductive health. These rights — which encompass the right to sexual health information, the right to the highest possible standard of reproductive health care, and the empowerment and autonomy of women — are a precondition for achieving gender equality. Yet 25 years later, these rights have not been realized for all. … But something extraordinary is happening: Women around the world are stepping up, defying the odds to secure the rights of their friends, sisters, and countrywomen…” (3/8).

World Health Organization: Celebrating women leaders in science and health
“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate all the women who have had a pioneering role in advancing science and health. … On 8 March 2019, it’s a moment to recall that principles of human rights and social equity require that women play just as significant roles in science and health as men” (3/6).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Provides Statement On International Women's Day

U.S. Department of State: Observance of International Women’s Day
In a statement observing International Women’s Day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notes, “The United States reaffirms our support for those women leading in boardrooms and the halls of government, for those changing lives in classrooms and laboratories, for those contributing to families and communities, and for those discovering solutions to prevent disease and end poverty. … In far too many places, women and girls still do not enjoy basic rights and are prevented from taking their rightful place in society. We strive for a world in which women and girls are free to realize their full potential and live in dignity along with their families, communities, and countries…” (3/8).

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MMWR Provides Update On 2017-2018 Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Outbreaks In DRC, Horn Of Africa

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Update on Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Outbreaks — Democratic Republic of the Congo and Horn of Africa, 2017-2018
Chukwuma Mbaeyi, epidemiologist in the Global Immunization Division in the Center for Global Health at the CDC, and colleagues provide an update on vaccine-derived polio outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Horn of Africa, including Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, from 2017-2018 (3/8).

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