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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Tanzania, U.S. Embassy Mark 15 Years Of Partnership Under PEPFAR

Xinhua News: Tanzania, U.S. mark 15 years of alliance in the fight against HIV/AIDS
“Tanzania and the United States on Wednesday marked 15 years of partnership in the fight against HIV/AIDS through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). U.S. Acting Ambassador to Tanzania, Inmi Patterson, said PEPFAR recently passed an important milestone enabling it to provide lifesaving treatment to more than one million Tanzanians living with HIV…” (5/31).

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1.2B Children Worldwide At Risk Of Poverty, Conflict, Discrimination, Save The Children Report Says

BBC News: Save the Children report says 1.2bn children at risk
“More than half the world’s children are at risk of poverty, conflict, and discrimination against girls, according to a report by Save the Children. The charity’s second End of Childhood index says more than 1.2 billion children face these threats, with 153 million facing all three…” (5/30).

CNN: Half of world’s children at risk of war, poverty, discrimination, report finds
“… ‘More than half the world’s children start their lives held back because they are a girl, because they are poor, or because they are growing up in a war zone,’ the report said. ‘Early marriage, child labor, and malnutrition are just some of the life-changing events that can rob children of their childhood’…” (Wilkinson, 5/31).

Deutsche Welle: Save the Children: More than half of world’s kids at risk
“…According to the report, many of the worst-ranked countries were located in central and western Africa. Niger ranked at the bottom of the list, with Mali and the Central African Republic not far behind. … At the opposite end of the list, Singapore and Slovenia shared the top spot. Germany ranked 12 globally, while the U.S. came in 36, and Russia right behind it at 37. … Out of the 175 countries ranked in the study, 95 of them showed improvement in one of the risk areas. Meanwhile, in 20 countries, children are exposed to all three threats…” (5/30).

TIME: More Than Half the World’s Children Are at Risk of Poverty, Conflict, and Gender Bias, Report Says
“…According to Save the Children, 10 major trends require action including the finding that 20 people are newly displaced every minute due to conflict or persecution. By 2030, it estimates over 150 million girls will marry before their 18th birthday, and says teen pregnancy is also set to increase…” (Barron, 5/30).

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Smoking Rates Going Down But Tobacco Use Continues To Be Major Cause Of Death, Illness Worldwide, WHO Report Says On No Tobacco Day

Deutsche Welle: World not doing enough to reduce smoking: WHO
“The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday — World No Tobacco Day — said most countries are failing to significantly reduce tobacco use even though smoking is down across the globe…” (5/31).

Reuters: Smoking down, but tobacco use still a major cause of death, disease — WHO
“Fewer people are smoking worldwide, especially women, but only one country in eight is on track to meet a target of reducing tobacco use significantly by 2025, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday…” (Nebehay, 5/30).

U.N. News: World No Tobacco Day targets habit that ‘breaks hearts’ — WHO
“…The lack of awareness about the risks of tobacco use, is most common in low- and middle-income countries, according to WHO’s Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Smoking 2000-2025. … Dr. Douglas Bettcher, director, Department for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases at WHO, told journalists in Geneva that tobacco use is falling globally but it still kills more than seven million people a year…” (5/30).

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Some DRC Suspected Ebola Cases Test Negative, Dropping Total Number To 51, Health Ministry Says

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases drop as more specimens test negative
“Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) officials said some suspected cases of Ebola have tested negative for the disease, dropping the total number of cases to 51 from 54. Of the cases, 35 are confirmed, 13 are probable, and three are suspected, the DRC health ministry said [Tuesday]. Two of the suspected cases are new, one in Iboko and one in Wangata, the urban zone located within Mbandaka, a city of more than one million people…” (Schnirring, 5/30).

IRIN: Ebola: Fear, suspicion, and anger along Congo’s river of worry
“…For now, authorities seem to believe the outbreak is contained in Équateur Province, but fears remain that it could hitch a ride up or down the largely unmonitored Congo River and become a major epidemic. ‘All it takes is one sick person to travel down the Congo River and we can have outbreaks seeded in many different locations… that can happen at any moment, it’s very hard to predict,’ Peter Salama, the WHO’s head of emergency response, told Reuters news agency last week…” (da Silva, 5/30).

VOA News: Doctors Race to Vaccinate 1,000 People in Congo Against Ebola
“…VOA’s Carol Pearson reports that efforts to vaccinate people exposed to Ebola started more than 10 days ago…” (Pearson, 5/31).

Xinhua News: WHO issues advice for int’l travelers about DRC Ebola outbreak
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued travel advice for international travelers in relation to the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following the latest disease development as of Wednesday…” (5/31).

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WHO To Assess Quality Of Biosimilar Products To Fill Regulatory Gap

Reuters: Gap in regulating biotech drug copies prompts WHO to step in
“Cut-price copies of expensive biotech drugs promise to slash the cost of treating serious diseases, including cancer, in rich and poor countries alike — but uneven regulation has created a lopsided market. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) is stepping in to assess the quality of such so-called biosimilars, offering a global stamp of approval that could make them more widely available, while also raising the quality bar…” (Hirschler/Siddiqui, 5/30).

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Devex Launches Series On Non-Communicable Diseases

Devex: Taking The Pulse
This series of articles, produced in partnership with several organizations and companies, examines the burden of non-communicable diseases and various efforts to address them (Multiple authors, 5/31).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: FAO chief urges wiser antibiotic use in food animals (Dall, 5/30).

Devex: 7 steps to securing mHealth data in low-resource settings (Pallares, 5/30).

Forbes: Medicines360 Expands Access To Contraception In Africa (MacKenzie, 5/30).

New York Times: Race Against The Rains (Solomon, 5/30).

Reuters: Nipah virus death toll rises to 15, two new cases found in India’s Kerala (Jose/Patnaik, 5/31).

Reuters: In China, industry push-back stubs out anti-smoking gains (Shepherd, 5/31).

SciDev.Net: Cholera ‘third wave’ threatens Yemen (Aldaghbashy, 5/30).

VOA News: U.N.: More Than 1 Million Children Going Hungry in Mali (Schlein, 5/30).

Xinhua News: Health experts push for more investments in HIV vaccine and cure research (5/31).

Xinhua News: Sri Lanka warns of health crisis following floods (5/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Calls On U.N. Security Council To Implement Arms Embargo, Sanctions To Stop Violence In South Sudan

Washington Post: Nikki Haley: South Sudan has failed its children. We must not.
Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

“…Seven million South Sudanese need humanitarian assistance. … The United States has supported South Sudan since the beginning. … But we have lost patience with the status quo. We must change course if we are to save a generation of South Sudanese and give them hope for a better future. … It is long past time the U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan. This concrete measure can save lives. … [T]he United States is calling on our colleagues on the Security Council and our partners in the region to act. By depriving their fighters of weapons and ammunition to wage war, an arms embargo will help convince the warring parties that there is no military solution to this conflict. Above all, an arms embargo is a humanitarian measure … Sanctions on those who continue to destabilize South Sudan represent another critical tool at the Security Council’s disposal. … Only then can we begin to change the calculus of those who profit from war. … We have no more time to waste on empty promises. The international community must come together to do what South Sudan’s leaders will not: take action to restore hope to the world’s youngest country” (5/30).

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Trump Administration 'Deconstructing' U.S. Humanitarian Approach

New York Times: Is the United States Losing Its Humanity?
Anne C. Richard, fellow at Georgetown University and assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration during the Obama administration

“President Trump is putting forward a nominee who is virulently anti-immigrant to be assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration … The nomination, announced last week, is only the latest move by the administration to chip away at our standing as the world’s top backer of humanitarian efforts. … While refugee aid delivered overseas through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees remains at robust levels, this is primarily because of bipartisan support in Congress. Other United Nations agencies, however, have been cut off. … [T]he Trump administration has weakened the State Department, demoralized our diplomats, and threatened programs that foster growth overseas and work to preserve peace and stability. … The list of good moves on the part of the Trump administration is very short indeed. … Unfortunately the negatives vastly outweigh the positives. By ignoring the urgent needs of refugees and immigrants within and outside its borders, the Trump administration is setting bad examples and deconstructing a humanitarian approach that was admired by, and depended on, by millions of people throughout the world” (5/31).

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U.S. Administration Should Fill Ambassador-At-Large Position To Monitor, Combat Human Trafficking

Foreign Policy: The Fight Against Human Trafficking Is Too Important for Trump and Pompeo to Ignore
Mark P. Lagon, chief policy officer at the Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and Olivia Enos, policy analyst at the Asian Studies Center of the Heritage Foundation

“…[A]s May gives way to June, the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons still lacks an ambassador-at-large as it prepares to release its annual Global Report on Trafficking in Persons — one of the department’s most potent tools. … At present, there is also no interagency plan of action to address severe international and domestic human trafficking challenges, and one that was in the works recently got scrapped. … Apart from lacking a capable person in charge, an issue of enduring bipartisan interest is in danger of languishing. … The administration must move quickly if it wishes to have a meaningful impact on the trafficking debate. It should fill the ambassador-at-large position … The fight against human trafficking has strong bipartisan support. With an envoy in place and a strong policy agenda, the United States has the real possibility of shrinking and ultimately abolishing this form of modern slavery” (5/30).

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Scientific Research, Rights-Based Health Policy Critical To U.S. Response To HIV/AIDS

The Guardian: Does Trump really think preaching celibacy can beat HIV?
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (Change)

“…The emphasis on evidence-based prevention addresses the historic failure of PEPFAR’s abstinence and fidelity-in-marriage programs. … Nonetheless, the Trump administration recently came down in favor of ‘sexual risk avoidance’ education. … In addition, shrinking budgets make it harder to provide treatment, care, and prevention on a global scale. The Trump administration’s budget request for 2019 proposed … cuts to the global AIDS response. … Trump has also reinstated the Mexico City policy, and this time it’s attached to PEPFAR funds. … Favoring ideology over science is careless, short-sighted, and extravagantly wasteful. Fifteen years of data collection speaks for itself — the key to success is the marriage of scientific research and rights-based health policy. Now, more than ever, these principles and policies must prevail” (5/31).

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G7 Ministers Should Commit To Accelerating Progress, Scaling-Up Investments To End Child Marriage

Project Syndicate: The Cost of Child Marriage
Henrietta H. Fore, executive director of UNICEF; Natalia Kanem, executive director of UNFPA; Mabel van Oranje, initiator and chair of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage

“…Ending child marriage will require ambition, creativity, and money. But that is just a start; targeted solutions are essential. … To be fully empowered, girls need access to safe, quality education that gives them the confidence and skills to succeed. Achieving that will require long-term engagement. If the world’s richest countries were to make this issue a high priority, the payoffs would be significant. … Governments are starting to make strides in reducing rates of child marriage; in fact, the number of girls married as children each year is declining. Unfortunately, change is happening too slowly. If the world does not dramatically accelerate progress and scale up investments, rapid population growth will reverse current gains, and the number of child brides will grow once more. … When G7 ministers meet this week and next, one theme they will discuss is ‘investing in growth that works for everyone.’ From our perspective, the best way to translate that goal into reality is by addressing a social ill that generates huge costs — and not just for girls” (5/30).

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Governments, Public Health Community Must Act Now To Contain Ebola

The Hill: If we want to combat Ebola, the time to act is now
William Garvelink, chief compliance officer at the International Medical Corps

“…[S]ome worry that governments may want to wait for the [Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] to grow larger before actually launching their response. Such hesitancy would be both wrong and potentially dangerous. … With proven direct interests, America must be prepared to do what is needed to help contain the current outbreak at its source, while the U.S. medical community sustains its call for the kind of swift and strong response needed to keep the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all nations — including America — safe. … The good news is that the public health community is far better prepared to fight an Ebola outbreak than it was four years ago. We learned … how the disease spreads, about the importance of tracing patient contacts, of effective screening for those infected with the virus, then isolating those diagnosed with Ebola from the general population for treatment in special facilities. There is an experimental vaccine and promising new treatments. It is time to act” (5/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

IWHC Report Describes Impacts Of Mexico City Policy In 3 African Nations, Provides Recommendations For U.S. Policymakers

International Women’s Health Coalition: Reality Check: Year One Impact of Trump’s Global Gag Rule
This report’s executive summary states, “The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) is documenting the effects of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (‘the Policy’ or ‘the Global Gag Rule’) restrictions on civil society, the political climate, and women and girls, alongside grantee partners in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. To date, IWHC and partners have conducted 59 interviews with civil society organizations, health service providers, anti-abortion groups, and government agencies across the three project countries. Although the Policy is still rolling out, some clear effects have emerged across the three very different country contexts in our first-year assessment…” (5/30).

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Blog Posts Discuss Grand Challenges Awardees, Call For Proposals For Flu Vaccine Development

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Great ideas from the next round of Grand Challenges Explorations
Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director, and Rebekah Neal, program officer, both with the Discovery and Translational Sciences team in Global Health at the Gates Foundation, discuss the Grand Challenges Explorations initiative and “announce funding for 35 potential new solutions posed by researchers in 17 countries.” The authors summarize several of the awardees’ proposals (5/29).

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Ending the Pandemic Threat: A Grand Challenge for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development
Keith Klugman, director for the Pneumonia team of the Global Health Program at the Gates Foundation, writes, “The risk of a serious flu pandemic in the next 20 years is significant — and what used to be a five-day ocean voyage is now a five-hour flight, so the next one is likely to spread much farther, much faster. The world is not ready to meet this challenge. … That is why our foundation, in partnership with the Page family, has issued a $12 million Grand Challenge to catalyze development of radically more effective influenza vaccines…” (5/29).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Recent Pieces On Peace Corps HIV Dismissals, Ebola, TB In Prison

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: What we’re reading: In health security and health rights, the costs of abandoning progress are high
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses several global health-related news items and releases, including an advocacy sign-on letter to end Peace Corps HIV dismissals, an opinion piece on the U.S. response to and funding for Ebola, a Kaiser Family Foundation brief on the difference between the response to the current and previous Ebola outbreaks, and a blog post on prison overcrowding and the risk of TB in prison (5/25).

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Frontline Health Workers Share Personal Experiences With Policymakers About Global Effort To Achieve UHC

IntraHealth International: Storytelling Training Leads Frontline Health Workers to Advocate at the Highest Levels of Governance
“The firsthand perspectives of frontline health workers are becoming more influential at the highest levels of policymaking, including last week during the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. Dozens of health workers, among the thousands of delegates there, took the stage to share their personal experiences in the global effort toward universal health coverage. … Their descriptions give first-hand context to policymakers worldwide as countries work to address the lack of access to essential health services for noncommunicable diseases and other health issues…” (5/29).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Spokesperson Delivers Statement On Elimination Of Trachoma In Ghana, Nepal

USAID: Statement by Spokesperson Clayton M. McCleskey on the Elimination of Trachoma in Ghana and Nepal
“This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the Republic of Ghana and the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal for eliminating trachoma as a public health problem. USAID congratulates the governments of Ghana and Nepal on this tremendous success. … Over the past 12 years, pharmaceutical companies have given more than $19 billion worth of life-changing drugs, free of charge, to defeat trachoma and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). USAID is grateful for the generous support from our private sector partners. Every $1 invested by USAID in NTDs leverages $26 in pharmaceutical donations…” (5/30).

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