Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.K. International Development Secretary Pledges To Double DFID Spending On Climate Change, Environment

Devex: New U.K. aid secretary pledges £1B more for climate
“The U.K. international development secretary Rory Stewart has moved to fulfill his early promise to do more on climate change by vowing to double aid spending for climate and the environment to more than £2 billion ($2.5 billion) over the next five years. … The plan announced this week is to double the amount DFID spends on climate and environment by 2025, up from the £1.1 billion it is expected to spend on these issues next year…” (Edwards, 5/30).

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U.K. Criticizes Deliberations Over WHA Resolution On Drug Pricing Transparency, Disassociates From Agreement

The Telegraph: U.K. fails to back international agreement on reducing drug costs
“The U.K. has been accused of acting in bad faith after backing away from an international agreement aimed at reducing the cost of drugs worldwide. … In a statement to the WHA Julian Braithwaite, the U.K.’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said the government was committed to improving access to medicines. But he added: ‘The decision to bring this resolution to this World Health Assembly without first giving member states … the opportunity to review and input, in addition to the manner in which negotiations were conducted in the room, has not reflected the spirit of collaborative or consensus working that we should expect from this forum’…” (Gulland, 5/29).

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WHO Calls On Governments To Take Quicker Action On Tobacco Control Ahead Of World Day

U.N. News: Don’t let smoking steal life’s breathtaking moments, urges U.N. health agency
“Tobacco use continues to claim around eight million lives a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, in a call for faster action from governments to tackle smoking and the ‘enormous’ health, social, environmental, and economic costs it entails. Ahead of World No Tobacco Day, marked on Friday, 31 May, WHO’s Dr. Vinayak Prasad, acting director, Department for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, highlighted the damage that tobacco causes to the lungs of smokers and non-smokers alike. … [T]he U.N. agency is calling for quicker implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which provides practical advice on how to implement tobacco control measures covering all sectors of government…” (5/29).

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DRC Reports Recent Decline In Ebola Cases Amid Uncertain Security Situation; Some NGOs Encourage U.N. To Ramp Up Response

CIDRAP News: Decline in Ebola cases comes amid fragile security situation
“It its latest weekly Ebola assessment, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Ebola cases have dipped slightly in the past weeks, but it warned that the decline should be interpreted with extreme caution, due to the complex environment and fragile security situation. Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) health ministry yesterday reported 6 more cases, pushing the outbreak total to 1,926 cases…” (5/29).

The Guardian: Congo Ebola response must be elevated to maximum level, U.N. told
“The U.N. has been urged by charities to ramp up Ebola prevention work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the highest level of emergency response. Only three crises — Yemen, Syria, and Mozambique — are treated as the equivalent of a level-three response, activated when agencies are unable to meet needs on the ground. Charities including Mercy Corps and Oxfam said the same declaration should also be made in DRC, following a recent acceleration in the spread of Ebola…” (Ratcliffe, 5/29).

Reuters: Congo’s Ebola epidemic inflicts heavy toll on children
“…The Ebola outbreak in Congo — the second-largest on record — has inflicted an unusually heavy toll on children. More than a quarter of the confirmed and probable cases identified as of early April were children under 15, compared to 18% in the last major outbreak in West Africa in 2013-2016, according to figures compiled by the World Health Organization…” (Prentice et al., 5/30).

VOA News: DRC’s Ebola Battle Fraught With Security Risks
“The World Health Organization says success in ending the Ebola epidemic in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo hinges upon improving security in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The region has been engulfed in conflict for many years, and many locals do not trust outsiders, even the ones trying to stop the spread of the deadly virus…” (Schlein, 5/29).

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Nearly 700 People, Mostly Children, Diagnosed With HIV In Southeast Pakistan Province; Experts Blame Reused Needles

Associated Press: Police: Pakistani man kills HIV-positive wife in south
“Pakistan’s police say they have arrested a man who killed his HIV-positive wife and hung her body from a tree in southern Sindh province, where hundreds of people have tested positive for the virus…” (5/29).

CNN: The Pakistan city where almost 700 people have been infected with HIV
“…On Sunday, Pakistan authorities announced that over the past two months, 681 people — including 537 children between 2 and 12 years old — have tested positive for HIV in Ratodero, a district of 330,000 in Pakistan’s southeast Sindh province … As Pakistan — the world’s sixth-most populous country with over 200 million people — faces an HIV outbreak, experts are placing the blame on the nationwide practice of doctors reusing needles…” (Kunbhar et al., 5/30).

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4 Latin American Women Denied Abortion After Rape Take Cases To U.N. Human Rights Committee

The Guardian: Latin American rape survivors who were denied abortions turn to U.N.
“Four women from Latin America whose lives were put at risk when they were not allowed abortions after being raped as girls are taking their cases to the U.N. human rights committee. The women, from Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Guatemala, filed cases against their governments on Wednesday for failing to provide appropriate health care and denying them abortions, even when it was their legal right to have one. … As well as seeking compensation, the women want the committee to compel the three governments to reopen their cases and amend policies and laws that discriminate against women and girls. The move throws a spotlight on the restrictions placed on women’s reproductive health and rights in the region…” (Ford, 5/29).

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More Deaths Reported In Idlib Following Syrian Regime Bombardment, Aid Efforts Impacted

The Guardian: Idlib casualties mount as assault leaves aid efforts in the balance
“The recent escalation in the Syrian regime bombardment of Idlib has killed at least 10 more civilians. The deaths were reported on Wednesday, 24 hours after a senior U.N. official had warned the Security Council that aid efforts in the enclave were in danger of being ‘overwhelmed.’ … [Ursula Mueller, the U.N.’s assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs,] added: ‘Since 28 April, that is in the last four weeks, a total of 25 attacks on health care have been reported by the World Health Organization, including on 22 health facilities, with some having been hit more than once’…” (Beaumont, 5/29).

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More News In Global Health

CBS News: First diagnostic test for Zika virus gets FDA’s OK to market (Gibson, 5/29).

CIDRAP News: Six new Saudi MERS cases as study shows virus infecting Bactrian camels (Schnirring, 5/28).

Inter Press Service: A Call for Concrete Changes to Achieve a More Gender Equal World (Zeid, 5/29).

MedPage Today: An End to the HIV Pandemic? (Jenkins, 5/28).

New York Times: An Experimental Ebola Cure May Also Protect Against Nipah Virus (McNeil, 5/29).

The Telegraph: ‘A gross violation’: U.K. must demand an end to Indonesian military’s invasive virginity testing, say experts (Smith/Newey, 5/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

Business Leaders Have Opportunity To Drive Further Progress In Women's Health

Forbes: How Leaders Can Begin Redefining Women’s Health
Aarathi Singh, chief operating officer at MedGyn

“…[Women’s health] is a comprehensive subject of study that requires a specialized focus to treat disease states that are very nuanced to female biology. Failing to recognize this can limit innovation and make health care inequitable for women. … Defining women’s health appropriately is a critical precursor for business leaders and entrepreneurs to be able to prioritize it appropriately. … [I]nnovation requires focus, which is where business leaders and entrepreneurs disrupting the health care ecosystem are so critical. Our leadership can guide more focus, and in turn funding, that drives further progress in women’s health. In order for this to happen, there still needs to be greater recognition that health issues that impact women span categories of disease states, demographics, and even geographies. My advice to business leaders is: First, remember that women’s health is not one single issue or demographic. Second, focus on the problem that you are trying to solve. … Third, when it’s time to focus on a solution, technology is typically the answer, but remember not to over-innovate … Fourth, bring others onto the journey by partnering with key thought leaders. … Fifth, … funding is important to drive innovation. … [W]e need to continue to invest in this capital so that innovation in women’s health can thrive” (5/28).

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Menstrual Hygiene Education Critical To Health Of Women, Girls

Inter Press Service: Educating Girls about Menstruation and Menstrual Hygiene
Ida Horner, chair of Let Them Help Themselves

“…[A]lthough there has been a lot of good work on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) either currently underway or already completed, we are a long way off from achieving an even playing field for girls and women worldwide. Menstruation stigma persists in some parts of the world due to cultural practices whilst in others hygiene products are so heavily taxed as to render them inaccessible for some girls. In some countries, MHM is not treated as a critical component of reproductive health training for adolescents … A combined education program on menstrual hygiene … would ensure accurate information and menstrual hygiene education for boys, men, teachers, health workers, politicians, and other professionals. In particular, teachers need to be empowered to provide accurate information and support for pupils and in turn, break down negative social norms. It would also ensure the availability of water and sanitation facilities in schools, privacy and dignity for menstruating, as well as policies that reduce the cost of menstrual absorbents. … [W]hat is needed is the mainstreaming of menstrual hygiene education into development agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Gender Mainstreaming agenda…” (5/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 357 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter includes pieces on various topics, including a news article on the Global Fund approval of new country and multi-country grants, an article on the inspector general’s annual report to the Global Fund board, and Global Fund-related highlights from the 72nd World Health Assembly (5/29).

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IHR Emergency Committee Provides Statement On International Spread Of Poliovirus

World Health Organization: Polio: Statement of the Twenty-first IHR Emergency Committee
This statement provides a summary describing the outcomes of the 21st meeting of the International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee regarding the international spread of poliovirus, convened at WHO headquarters on May 14, 2019. The committee reviewed data on wild poliovirus and vaccine derived poliovirus and offered recommendations to control the spread of the virus (5/29).

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Associated Press Series Examines Role Of Pharmaceutical Industry In Opioid Epidemic

Pulitzer Center: Opioid Abuse: From U.S. Epidemic to Global Pandemic?
“As the pharmaceutical company blamed for launching America’s opioid crisis faces mounting lawsuits, its foreign arm is expanding globally, using some of the same dubious practices. Other companies are getting in on the lucrative market, too, and prescription rates are spiking around the world. Public health experts warn that the U.S. epidemic could become a pandemic. In a series of stories, the Associated Press is examining the on-the-ground impact of Big Pharma’s global ambitions…” (Galofaro/Gelineau/Kinetz, 5/29).

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From the U.S. Government

Oncologist In Senegal Recounts Experience Treating Patients With Lung Cancer

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Taking Back the Lives That Tobacco Use Cuts Short: One Story from a Physician in Senegal
Oumar Ba, oncologist at Hôpital General Grand Yoff in Dakar, discusses the effects of tobacco and his experience working as an oncologist in Senegal, writing, “Tobacco continues to steal the lives of my patients and compatriots. We must work together using all the data, knowledge, and skills needed to better care for one another and save lives in Senegal and around the world by using our national tobacco control programs and by implementing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” (5/29).

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