KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N., U.S. Leaders Urge Gender Equality On International Women's Day

Media outlets report on issues surrounding International Women’s Day, recognized on March 8.

Associated Press/The Guardian: Gender equality still decades away, says chief of U.N. Women
“…Twenty years after 189 countries adopted a blueprint to achieve equality for women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said that not a single country has reached gender parity and equality. The executive director of U.N. Women spoke ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday and next week’s meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women…” (3/6).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. kicks off International Women’s Day celebrations with appeal for gender equality
“Despite great strides in the advancement of gender parity, women still lag behind men across an array of critical areas, from political representation and wage equality to education — a gender gap that the United Nations is once again tackling head-on as it kicks off its annual observance of International Women’s Day…” (3/6).

U.N. News Centre: Gender equality vital for world to fulfill potential, Ban tells thousands at women’s march in New York
“Thousands of people gathered [Sunday] in New York to march from United Nations headquarters to Times Square in commemoration of International Women’s Day and to demand greater efforts by governments to achieve gender equality worldwide. Among the many distinguished speakers who addressed marchers, the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, sounded a call for global action for women…” (3/8).

U.N. News Centre: Women farmers pillar of food security — U.N. agencies
“Ahead of International Women’s Day, United Nations food relief agencies gathered to remind the world that women farmers play a central role in achieving food and nutrition security, urging countries to step up efforts to empower rural women who too often do ‘backbreaking work’ to harvest food…” (3/6).

VOA News: People Around the World Mark International Women’s Day
“…In a statement Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama said ‘the gap between women’s inherent value and how many of them are treated every day is one of the great injustices of our time.’ He said that his administration will continue to work to ensure that women and girls are treated as full and equal human beings in rights and dignity…” (Jones, 3/8).

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Hillary Clinton To Launch New Report On Status Of Women At NY Event With Chelsea Clinton, Melinda Gates

Politico: Clinton Foundation to unveil report on status of women
“Hillary Clinton is set to unveil her long-anticipated report on the state of women and girls across the world [in New York] Monday … Clinton will be joined by a roster of influential women — including her collaborators in the report, Melinda Gates and Chelsea Clinton — as she discusses the findings in Manhattan on Monday, marking the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women…” (Debenedetti, 3/9).

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36 Prominent Women Sign Petition Calling For G7, A.U. To Address Women's Poverty, Equality

Agence France-Presse: Beyoncé, Gaga join call to tackle female poverty
“Beyoncé Knowles and Lady Gaga are among 36 prominent women who have signed a petition calling Sunday on the G7 and the African Union to tackle female poverty. … The petition was organized by the London-based non-governmental organization ONE, founded by U2 singer Bono. It is addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosts this year’s G7 summit in June, and South Africa’s Minister of Health Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the A.U. Commission chair. They are both convening a women’s summit this year…” (3/8).

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Funding Shortage Forces WFP To Reduce Food Aid To Syrian Refugees In Turkey

Agence France-Presse: U.N. shrinks food aid to Syria refugees in Turkey as cash low
“The United Nations food agency said Friday it had been forced to withdraw aid from nine Syrian refugee camps in Turkey due to a lack of funds, calling on donors to step up…” (3/6).

U.N. News Centre: Funding shortfall forces U.N. to scale back food aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey
“…WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva [Friday] that in January, her agency had been able to assist 220,000 refugees in 20 camps throughout Turkey, but that last month, it had been forced to reduce that number to 154,000, after having to withdraw from nine camps…” (3/6).

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As Fresh Water Supplies Shrink, More Nations Compete For Access

The Guardian: Why fresh water shortages will cause the next great global crisis
“…Across the globe, reports reveal huge areas in crisis today as reservoirs and aquifers dry up. More than a billion individuals — one in seven people on the planet — now lack access to safe drinking water. … More and more, people and nations will have to compete for resources…” (McKie, 3/7).

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Drought Blamed For New Malaria Cases In Southeast Brazil

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Malaria resurfaces in Rio as drought displaces mosquitoes
“Malaria has resurfaced in Rio de Janeiro as a historic drought in Brazil’s southeastern region is driving mosquitoes in the Atlantic Forest to seek water in areas frequented by people, such as waterfalls. … Rio de Janeiro and most regions in southeastern Brazil have been considered malaria-free zones for the past 40 years, with just a few cases reported each year. Malaria is only endemic in the northern region, particularly in the Amazon basin…” (Brasileiro, 3/6).

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Berlin Measles Cases Continue To Rise, Provoking Calls For Compulsory Vaccination

Deutsche Welle: Berlin measles epidemic reaches new high
“A measles outbreak in Berlin continues to see a rise in new cases. Calls for compulsory vaccination are becoming ever louder, with a strong majority of Germans supporting a new law in favor of vaccination…” (3/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Trade Policies Threaten To Undermine Successful Global Health Programs

The Hill: U.S. trade policy could raise drug prices, at home and abroad
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines program

“…[With the creation of PEPFAR, t]he United States put public health needs ahead of pharmaceutical industry profits and made a transformative contribution to global health. Now we are backtracking. Even as we reduce budgets for U.S.-led global health programs, our trade policy would raise future health care costs at the expense of people’s access to needed medicines, not only for HIV, but for cancer, heart disease, and many other deadly conditions. … Trade policies negotiated in secret should not be allowed to undermine our global health work or the opportunity to reduce costs at home…” (3/6).

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Passage Of 'Innovation Act' By Congress Would Harm Drug Development

Roll Call: The Wrong Direction on Patents
Todd E. Gillenwater, senior vice president of Public Policy at the California Healthcare Institute

“…Poorly conceived and hastily written legislation can stunt innovation, harm the economy, and even cost lives. Unfortunately, this is the case with the recently reintroduced Innovation Act (H.R. 9). … Ultimately, H.R. 9 could be extremely harmful for the life sciences sector — and many others — throughout the nation. By its very nature, biomedical research and development is an inherently risky, expensive, and uncertain process. And by forcing through ill-conceived changes that would make it more difficult for innovators to protect their patents, Congress runs the risk of doing fundamental and lasting harm to a sector that not only helps drive our economy, but is the hope of millions around the world. Instead of rushing through with such a risky proposition, let’s take the time to get it done right” (3/6).

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Challenges Face New USAID Administrator, But Better Data Available To Inform Decisions

Devex: Answering the next great challenges in international development
Aaron Williams, executive vice president of the International Development Group at RTI International

“U.S. foreign assistance programs help developing nations improve the health, education, and economic conditions of their citizens, and in so doing build a more prosperous and secure world. … As a new [USAID] administrator takes the reins, there is no shortage of rising challenges vying for his or her attention. … USAID and its implementing partners are now utilizing more and better data to not only track results, but more thoroughly analyze what’s working and what isn’t. … While the challenges before us are great, our ever-improving capabilities to understand and respond are reasons for optimism for the next USAID administrator and all of us” (3/9).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts Around Women's Health To Mark International Women's Day

The Guardian: International Women’s Day: the battle for better maternal health care in Uganda
Jackie Tumuheirwe, citizen reporter in Uganda

“…We will not meet the Millennium Development Goal for maternal health in Uganda, but we are making progress, and we are holding citizens’ hearings in a number of areas across the next few weeks to have a dialogue with our leaders and work together for better health for women and newborns…” (3/8).

Huffington Post: Midwives4All: Professionals Who Put Women First Have the Power to Change the Future
Margot Wallström, Swedish minister for foreign affairs

“…[O]n International Women’s Day, Sweden is speaking out in support of every woman’s right to a midwife. The midwifery profession and workforce have the power to save thousands of lives each year…” (3/8).

Huffington Post: This International Women’s Day, Stop Attacks on Women’s Health
Hal C. Lawrence III, executive vice president and CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

“…International Women’s Day is about more than health care, of course. But we believe that access to care is an essential part of women’s health and an essential part of women’s equality. Let us stand together to Make It Happen” (3/6).

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Schools Worldwide 'Should Proceed With Caution' On Sex Education Curricula

New York Times: The World’s Problem With Sex Ed
Jonathan Zimmerman, professor of education and history at New York University

“…Globalization has served to curtail rather than expand school-based sexual instruction. The more the world has become interconnected, the more sex ed has come under attack. … Sex educators say that young people are sexual actors, no matter their culture, so schools should help them ‘make choices’ about their bodies. But millions of people see their culture as a bulwark against sex among youth, who should have no choice in the matter. That’s why schools everywhere should proceed with caution…” (3/9).

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Micronutrient Supplements Can Improve Health, Survival Of Pregnant Women, Newborns

The Guardian: Supplements for pregnant women in Bangladesh to boost nutrition
Klaus Kraemer, director of Sight and Life

“…Two billion people worldwide live with a chronic shortage of vital micronutrients — a condition also known as hidden hunger. This public health crisis can have devastating health consequences — particularly for pregnant women and their children — and continues to negatively impact the growth and development of entire communities for generations. Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread in low-income countries, and pregnant women and children under two are especially vulnerable. … By ensuring pregnant women get the nutrition they need, we can improve the health and lives of millions of mothers and their newborns: a true win-win for global health” (3/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Department Of State Blog Posts Commemorate International Women's Day

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: International Women’s Day
Secretary of State John Kerry commemorates International Women’s Day, recognized on March 8, writing, “[W]e have a responsibility to stand united and work together in the ongoing struggle for the rights of women and girls worldwide so that they may live full, healthy, and productive lives” (3/7).

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Does Gender Equality Matter in Agriculture? Yes! Here’s Why
To mark International Women’s Day, Tjada McKenna, assistant to the administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security  and deputy coordinator for development for Feed the Future, discusses the role and challenges of women in agriculture (3/6).

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Women Disproportionately Affected By Violent Attacks On HCWs

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Brave Women on the Front Lines of Health Care Deserve Protection
Sarah Dwyer, communications manager at IntraHealth, writes, “…Women are the ones most affected by attacks on health care. Globally the vast majority of health workers are women — and in many countries, more than 75 percent of the health workforce is female…” Dwyer discusses efforts to improve the safety of health care workers worldwide (3/8).

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