KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CDC Researchers Predict Continued Spread Of MDR-TB In 4 Countries Without Prevention, Treatment Interventions

Huffington Post: The Deadliest Form Of Tuberculosis Is Snowballing In Countries That Are Already Hard Hit
“The deadliest forms of tuberculosis are worsening in four of the countries with the largest number of TB cases, according to a new report in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal…” (Weber, 5/9).

NPR: Drug-Resistant TB Is Predicted To Steadily Spread In 4 Countries
“…Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast that these complicated — and potentially deadly — cases of TB will become far more common in Russia, India, the Philippines, and South Africa by the year 2040…” (Beaubien, 5/9).

Science: Drug-resistant tuberculosis strains gain foothold
“…Nearly 40 percent of the world’s drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections already occur in Russia, South Africa, India, and the Philippines. By 2040, the modelers suggest this week in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, MDR strains will become more common in each of those countries, making up nearly one in 10 cases in India and the Philippines and nearly one in three in Russia…” (Cohen, 5/9).

VOA News: Researchers Predict Increase in Drug-resistant TB
“…Worldwide, there are 10.4 million new cases of TB each year, resulting in nearly two million deaths. The bacteria, says [Peter Cegielski, team leader for Prevention, Care and Treatment of Tuberculosis at the CDC’s Global Tuberculosis Branch,] kills more people than any other germ on the planet. Cegielski warns that drug-resistant TB is going to become increasingly more common, resulting in many more deaths, unless more money is spent on prevention and treatment efforts” (Berman, 5/9).

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U.S. Suspends $21M In Funding To Kenya's Ministry Of Health Amid Corruption Allegations

BBC News: U.S. cuts Kenya health aid money over corruption allegations
“The U.S. has suspended $21m (£16m) of funding to Kenya’s ministry of health due to concerns over corruption and weak accounting procedures, the state department said. But this amounts to a ‘small portion of the overall U.S. health investment exceeding $650m annually,’ it added. In response, Kenya has said it is strengthening its auditing processes…” (5/9).

Reuters: U.S. suspends aid to Kenyan health ministry over corruption concerns
“…Support for HIV drugs and other health programs outside the ministry would continue, the embassy said, adding that the United States invests more than $650 million on health in Kenya annually. … The so-called Afya House scandal, named after the building housing the Ministry of Health, was based on an audit report leaked to Kenyan media in October. The audit showed the ministry could not account for 5 billion Kenyan shillings ($49 million) and funds meant for free maternity care had been diverted, newspapers reported…” (Houreld, 5/9).

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Trump Administration's UNFPA Cuts Will Impact Young Mothers In Nigeria, Agency Official, Health Care Worker Say

Washington Post: How teen moms in Nigeria could wind up hurt by Trump’s U.N. cuts
“…Last month, the Trump administration announced it would eliminate U.S. funding for the U.N. population agency, saying that it partners with the Chinese government, which runs programs involving coerced abortion and forced sterilization. The U.N. group said the defunding is based on an ‘erroneous claim’ and could have a devastating impact on the health of women and girls. ‘We prevent unwanted pregnancies, we prevent abortions, and we prevent maternal death,’ said Eugene Kongnyuy, deputy representative for the U.N. agency in Nigeria. … In Nigeria, health care workers see a disturbing irony in the Trump administration’s decision: It will cut resources for programs that provide contraception, they say, and lead to more abortions…” (O’Grady, 5/5).

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U.S. Foreign Aid Cuts Could Negatively Impact Latin American Nations' Development, Expert Says

Humanosphere: Trump’s foreign aid cuts pose threat to development in Latin America
“…For better insight into how these cuts might be felt by the country’s southern neighbors, Humanosphere spoke to Christopher Sabatini, foreign policy expert and editor at Latin America Goes Global. Sabatini, a lecturer at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University, has served as an adviser to the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development and published numerous articles on U.S. policy in Latin America…” (Nikolau, 5/9).

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Most Health-Related Development Assistance Spent On People Under Age 60, Study Shows

NPR: The Global Gap In Health Care Dollars For Young And Old Is Huge
“…A new study in the journal Health Affairs broke down the $36.4 billion spent on health assistance from development agencies and nonprofit donors to low- and middle-income countries. Ninety percent is spent on people under the age of 60. ‘The lion’s share of assistance is going to children,’ says Joseph Dieleman, professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Seattle, and an author of the study…” (Brink, 5/9).

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Former U.S. President Obama Speaks At Global Food Conference In Milan

New York Times: Obama Speaks in Milan, With Food as Text and Politics as Subtext
“Barack Obama took his first step back onto the world stage on Tuesday, shedding his tie to give wide-ranging, if studiously nonpartisan, remarks during a food and technology conference in Milan. First in a keynote address, during which he often consulted his notes, and then in a policy-heavy conversation with his former chef, Sam Kass, Mr. Obama spoke about how climate change was imperiling food production around the world and threatening to aggravate the ‘migration that has put such a burden on Europe’…” (Horowitz/Strom, 5/9).

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Infant, Maternal Mortality Increase In Venezuela, According To Health Ministry Data

BBC News: Venezuela sees sharp rise in infant and maternal mortality
“There has been a sharp rise in infant mortality and maternal death rates in Venezuela. In the first figures released for two years, the Health Ministry said the number of women dying in childbirth was up by 65 percent, while child deaths were up 30 percent…” (5/10).

Reuters: Infant mortality and malaria soar in Venezuela, according to government data
“…The statistics, issued on the ministry’s website after nearly two years of data silence from President Nicolas Maduro’s leftist government, also showed a jump in illnesses such as diphtheria and Zika. It was not immediately clear when the ministry posted the data, although local media reported on the statistics on Tuesday…” (Ulmer, 5/9).

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'Drastic' Increase In Cholera Incidence In War-Hit Yemen, MSF Warns

Associated Press: Aid group sees ‘drastic’ cholera increase in war-torn Yemen
“Doctors Without Borders says it has recorded a ‘drastic increase’ in cholera cases in war-torn Yemen. The international medical charity, known by its French acronym MSF, says its teams have seen at least 780 patients since late March…” (5/10).

New York Times: Cholera Compounds Suffering in a Yemen Torn by War
“… ‘We are very concerned that the disease will continue to spread and become out of control,’ Shinjiro Murata, the head of the Yemen mission for Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement. … The danger of a cholera epidemic in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been greatly amplified by what amounts to a collapse in the public health system because of the two-year-old war between Houthi insurgents and the government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia…” (Gladstone, 5/9).

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NPR Examines How Illegal Gold Mining Could Be Correlated To Malaria's Spread

NPR: How Illegal Gold Mining Relates To The Spread Of Malaria
“New social science research shows that there is a correlation between illegal gold mining and the spread of malaria. We explore why this might be the case…” (Vedantam, 5/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Sens. Corker, Coons Continue To Lead Efforts For 'Common-Sense' Food Aid Reform

New York Times: A Better Way to Help the World
Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.)

“…The United States contributes at least a third of food aid dollars spent globally, but we cannot tackle this challenge alone. In addition to using current resources more efficiently, we must also exert American leadership and call on other countries to step up their efforts by donating desperately needed resources to avert further suffering, violence, and instability. … In Congress, we are leading efforts to reform how the United States delivers food assistance … A bill we sponsored, the Global Food Security Act, was signed into law last summer; it permanently authorized the United States Agency for International Development’s emergency food aid program … Taxpayers deserve to know that the way we deliver food aid is as efficient as the American people are generous. That is why we’ve written another bill, the Food for Peace Reform Act, which would eliminate decades-old regulations that require food aid to be grown in the United States — often thousands of miles away from the people who need it — and shipped on American-flagged vessels. We estimate these reforms could free up as much as $500 million annually and allow us to reach five million to eight million more people with food in less time. … [W]e are rededicating ourselves to common-sense reforms that will feed more people and save more lives without asking more of the American people…” (5/10).

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Faith-Based Organizations Thank U.S. Congress For Bipartisan Support Of Foreign Assistance

The Hill: Faith-based aid groups are grateful to Congress for funding
Jean Duff, president of Partnership for Faith & Development at Faith for International Assistance (FIA)

“All of us engaged in global health, development, and humanitarian assistance have waited with baited breath for the FY17 congressional budget. Now we want to take a moment to lift up our voices and say thank you. We are grateful because, even though foreign assistance is less than one percent of the federal budget, every dollar is vital. … [W]ithout U.S. government funding, leadership, and influence, our humanitarian work would greatly suffer, as would the most vulnerable we serve. … The possibility of four looming famines weighs heavily on our minds. Again we thank Congress for providing $990 million for famine relief. … Also on our minds is President Trump’s proposal to eliminate Development Assistance (DA). Instead, Congress understands DA is a hand up, not a hand-out … U.S. foreign assistance is our moral call and our opportunity to feed the hungry, offer water to the thirsty, and free the stranger from exploitation. As the FY18 budget debate gets underway all too soon, we are deeply grateful that Congress has made its bipartisan support of American values put to work, abundantly clear…” (5/9).

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Catholic Church In The Philippines Remains 'Important Political Actor' In Debate Over Reproductive Health Law

The Conversation: Inside the Philippines’ long journey towards reproductive health
Gideon Lasco, PhD candidate in medical anthropology at Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam

“On January 9 2017, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order calling for universal access to modern family planning methods. The document also called for accelerated implementation of the country’s Reproductive Health Law. Popularly known as the ‘RH law,’ the measure was passed in 2012 but was suspended by the Supreme Court, following objections from religious groups that alleged the law violated the rights to religion and free speech. … [The Catholic church in the Philippines] remains an important political actor. … The RH Law itself, in an attempt to appease the church, includes ‘natural methods’ and ‘responsible parenthood’ in its language, and mentions ‘religious convictions’ seven times. … [I]t’s highly unlikely that the church will change its mind. Even so, the fact that two presidents — belonging to two opposing political camps — have supported reproductive health raises hopes that it is becoming a post-political, post-ecclesiastical issue. After a long journey, there’s reason to hope that the RH law will finally be implemented in full in the Philippines, and with it, badly needed population and HIV control programs” (5/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Examines Foreign Assistance Aspects Of FY17 Omnibus Bill

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Congress Sets Course for Foreign Aid Spending through September
Erin Collinson, senior associate for policy outreach at CGD, examines the foreign assistance-related aspects of the FY17 omnibus bill, comparing the FY17 omnibus amounts to the FY16 enacted amounts and FY17 request (5/9).

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U.N. Dispatch Discusses Importance Of U.S. Funding For UNFPA, Recounts Experiences Of Women Who Gave Birth In Jordan Refugee Camp

U.N. Dispatch: Thanks to the USA, 7,400 Babies Were Born in this Refugee Camp Without a Single Death. Now, the White House is Pulling Its Support
“…Rachel Moynihan is an American citizen who works for UNFPA, the U.N. Population Fund. With U.S. funding, UNFPA established the only maternity ward to serve the 80,000 residents of the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan — the largest single camp serving Syrian refugees. In March 2016, Moynihan visited Zaatari. The post below represents a composite of firsthand accounts of of the many new moms she met during her visit…” (Goldberg, 5/9).

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