KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

KFF Poll Examines Public Opinion, Knowledge Of U.S. Reproductive Health Policy, Including Mexico City Policy

The Hill: Poll: Majority oppose Trump administration restrictions on abortion funding
“Seven in 10 people are concerned the Trump administration’s new family planning rules will limit women’s access to care, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. … The poll also found the majority of the respondents opposed the administration’s expansion of the ‘Mexico City policy’ that prevents U.S. global family planning [and other global health] funding from going to foreign [nongovernmental] organizations that perform or promote abortion, even when they use separate sources of funding…” (Weixel, 5/3).

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Number Of Deaths In DRC Ebola Outbreak Pass 1K; WHO Warns Of Continued Viral Transmission Amid Violence, Mistrust

Deutsche Welle: DR Congo: Ebola deaths in latest outbreak pass 1,000
“The number of deaths in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s most recent outbreak exceeded 1,000 on Friday, the Congolese Health Ministry said. The outbreak that was declared in eastern Congo in August is already the second deadliest in history, and efforts to control it have been complicated by attacks on hospitals and Ebola treatment centers and deep community mistrust. ‘Every time we have managed to regain control over the virus and contain its spread, we have suffered major, major security events,’ said Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization (WHO) emergencies chief. ‘We are anticipating a scenario of continued intense transmission [of the disease]’…” (5/3).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak is available from Agence France-Presse, Al Jazeera, Associated Press (2), CIDRAP News, CNN, The Hill, PBS NewsHour, Reuters, The Telegraph, and VOA News.

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Up To 1M Plant, Animal Species Face Extinction, Report Says, Examines Impacts On Human Food, Water Security

Washington Post: One million species face extinction, U.N. panel says. And humans will suffer as a result.
“Up to 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, with devastating implications for human survival, according to a United Nations report released Monday. The report’s findings underscore the conclusions of numerous scientific studies that say human activity is wreaking havoc on the wild kingdom, threatening the existence of living things ranging from giant whales to small flowers and insects that are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. But the global report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services goes a step further than previous studies by linking the loss of species to humans and analyzing its effect on food and water security, farming, and economies…” (Fears, 5/6).

Additional coverage of the report is available from the Associated Press, New York Times, Science, and The Telegraph.

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U.N. Recognizes International Day Of The Midwife, Calling Them 'Critical Defenders' Of Women's Rights

U.N. News: International Day of the Midwife: 5 things you should know
“…As the United Nations celebrates midwives across the world on Sunday [on International Day of the Midwife], here are five things you should know about the critical role they play in communities. 1. Midwives save millions of lives each year … 2. Beyond survival, midwives offer critical medical care … 3. Midwives are critical defenders of the rights of women … 4. There’s a midwife shortage … 5. The U.N. is working hard to strengthen midwifery worldwide…” (5/5).

Additional coverage of International Day of the Midwife is available from NPR and Xinhua/New China.

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Brunei Will Not Enforce Islamic Law Calling For Stoning Death For People Convicted Of Adultery, Gay Sex; Critics Continue Calls For Revision Of Laws

New York Times: Brunei Says It Won’t Execute Gays After Protests of Stoning Law
“Brunei said on Sunday it would not carry out executions by stoning for people convicted of adultery and gay sex, following widespread international protest over the brutality of such penalties. Critics of the country’s newly enacted Islamic laws said several other harsh punishments remain on the books, including whipping and amputation, and they have called for continued opposition until the laws are completely revised…” (Ramzy, 5/6).

Washington Post: Brunei backs away from death by stoning under Islamic law
“…The United Nations called the laws draconian, and the move prompted calls for a boycott of Brunei-controlled hotels from Hollywood celebrities including George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres. Western governments had been quietly lobbying Brunei to refrain from implementing the laws, which they said would complicate trade deals with the oil-rich sultanate, and they have urged Brunei to uphold international human rights standards…” (Mahtani, 5/6).

Additional coverage of Brunei’s newly enacted laws is available from BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and TIME.

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News Agencies Report On Humanitarian Crisis, Health Situation In War-Torn Yemen

Agence France-Presse: Saudis dish out millions in Yemen aid amid global criticism
“Standing amid the bullet-pocked ruins of a once rebel-controlled Yemeni district, Saudi officials unveil their latest multi-million dollar aid projects, seeking to blunt global criticism over a worsening humanitarian crisis. … The coalition’s bombing campaign is blamed widely for pushing Yemen into what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with thousands of Yemenis killed and millions struggling to feed themselves…” (Chopra, 5/4).

Reuters: U.N. races to process rotting Yemeni grain after reaching Hodeidah store
“The United Nations regained access to donated grain stored in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah on Sunday, and began the task of salvaging food that could stave off starvation for millions of citizens before it rots. … World Food Programme (WFP) grain stores there have been cut off for eight months, putting 51,000 tonnes of wheat at risk of rotting. The stores came under the control of government forces after fierce battles last year but a major frontline is only a few blocks away…” (Yaakoubi, 5/5).

Xinhua News: Feature: Deadly cholera hits illegal immigrants in Yemen amid worsening health situation
“Officials of Yemen’s health authorities said an outbreak of cholera has killed 21 illegal African immigrants and asylum-seekers, and infected over 450 others in the government-controlled southern province of Lahj…” (Abdo, 5/4).

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Cyclone Fani Leaves Thousands Homeless In India, Bangladesh; Evacuations Saved Lives, Officials Say

New York Times: Cyclone Fani Hits Bangladesh, Killing 5; Evacuations Prevent More Casualties
“The most powerful storm to hit Bangladesh in years tore into the country over the weekend, uprooting trees, destroying thousands of homes, and killing five people, but spared this crowded nation from worse damage. … As in neighboring India, where the storm made landfall on Friday before heading northeast, in Bangladesh thousands of volunteers had woven through villages with megaphones, warning people about the impending storm’s dangers and urging them to move to shelters. Both countries also sent extensive text messages to the tens of millions of people in the cyclone’s path…” (Manik et al., 5/5).

Reuters: India cyclone kills at least 33, hundreds of thousands homeless
“Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless after a cyclone packing winds of about 200 km per hour slammed into eastern India, ripping out tin roofs and destroying power and telecom lines, officials said on Sunday. At least 33 people were killed after cyclone Fani struck the state of Odisha on Friday but a million people emerged unscathed after they moved into storm shelter ahead of landfall. The death toll could have been much greater if not for the massive evacuation in the days before the storm made landfall, officials said…” (Dash/Kumar, 5/5).

Additional coverage of the damage from Cyclone Fani is available from BBC News and New York Times.

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More News In Global Health

Agence France-Presse: Pakistan demands Facebook remove polio vaccine misinformation (5/3).

Fast Company: How a wooden bench in Zimbabwe is starting a revolution in mental health (Riley, 5/4).

Health Policy Watch: New Polio Eradication Strategy Faces Challenges Of “Missing Children” Due To Geographic Isolation, Migration, Insecurity (Branigan, 5/3).

Nature: U.K. medical chief: ‘We are in an arms race against microbes’ (Else, 5/3).

New York Times: FDA Approves the First Vaccine for Dengue Fever, but Limits Its Use (Thomas, 5/3).

Reuters: World Bank scales up support for Cyclone Idai hit nations to $700 million (Kumwenda-Mtambo, 5/3).

SciDev.Net: Calls for urgent action against antimicrobial resistance (Douglas, 5/3).

SciDev.Net: African states facing loss of life-saving pneumonia jab (Achieng’, 5/3).

U.N. News: North Korean families facing deep ‘hunger crisis’ after worst harvest in 10 years, U.N. food assessment shows (5/3).

Xinhua News: Feature: Baby diseases diagnosis app saves lives in rural Uganda (Ssikandi, 5/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Potential Impact Of Trump Administration's Policies On Women's Health, Rights Globally

The Hill: Sexual assault survivors could lose health access under Trump
Terry McGovern, Harriet and Robert H. Heilbrunn professor and chair at the department of Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and founding director of the Global Health Justice and Governance Program at Columbia University

“Over the last two years, the Trump administration has become increasingly emboldened in its bid to roll back women’s reproductive health and rights. The latest … is the administration’s move … to prohibit the U.N. Security Council from approving language that would help survivors of sexual violence that occurs during war. … One of President Trump’s first acts in office was to sign an expanded version of the global gag rule, [otherwise known as the Mexico City policy,] which denies U.S. federal [global health] funding to [foreign] NGOs that provide abortion counseling or referrals, advocate to decriminalize abortion, or expand abortion services. … Similarly, the U.S. State Department’s last two annual human rights reports have deleted sections on women’s reproductive rights, including rates of preventable maternal deaths and access to contraception. … The Trump administration’s attacks on the rights of women and girls threaten to turn back decades of progress. … The international advocacy community must hold the U.S. accountable for all of the damage its ideological zeal has caused and will continue to cause to women and girls” (5/3).

Forbes: The Global Gag Rule On Abortion Is Counterproductive
Christine Ro, Forbes contributor

“…While the global gag rule [also known as the Mexico City policy] has been a staple of Republican presidents since Reagan, [President] Trump’s administration has broadened its scope. … [T]he global gag rule, including its most recent incarnation, manages to be both immoral and irrational. … [G]lobal health in general is a good investment for the U.S. Communicable diseases are less likely to spread across borders if health care systems are strengthened. Security and stability depend on healthy populations. … Each iteration of the global gag rule involves censoring doctors, rejecting evidence of the effectiveness of health programs, and curbing reproductive health choices. This is bound to harm women, men, and children alike” (5/1).

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Political Will, Collective Action Across Health Sectors Vital To Addressing Threat Of Antimicrobial Resistance Globally

The Telegraph: Market failure over antibiotics threatens trade as well as global health
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, and Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary general of the United Nations

“…Access to effective antibiotics is a prerequisite for health. … As bacteria grow resistant to antibiotics, they become more challenging — and sometimes impossible — to treat. … Acknowledging the severity of [the challenges of antimicrobial resistance], a new report launched … by international organizations and leaders from animal, human, and environmental health has outlined steps that the world must take to stop the coming tidal wave of antimicrobial resistance and how it threatens progress on the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals and targets. From phasing out the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animals to the harmonization of regulations across borders to a more sustainable approach to prescribing medicines to humans, the recommendations require bold action from all governments and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as medical, agricultural, and veterinary professionals. … [N]o one company, organization, or even sector can solve the Rubik’s Cube of drug resistance. Tackling this problem will require strong political will and collective action across human, animal, and environmental health to avoid the loss of millions of lives, prevent health care costs from soaring, keep food production sustainable, and ensure trade security for a sustainable future for all” (5/3).

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Opinion Piece Highlights 3 Steps Needed To Control Ebola In DRC

STAT: Urgent steps are needed to prevent Ebola from spinning out of control in the DRC
Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Jennifer Nuzzo, senior scholar at the center

“…It’s a critical time to consider what more the rest of the world should be doing to help all those who are working to contain the [Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola] outbreak. We believe these three steps would help. First, countries and international donors must provide the finances the DRC, WHO, and their partners need to contain this outbreak. … Second, new security strategies are needed to allow public health workers to contain the virus. … Third, governments, donors, and relevant leaders from the pharmaceutical industry should expand the Ebola vaccine supply and allow for wider use beyond the current vaccination strategy. … Government leaders and international organizations that have needed expertise and the means to help finance the response should reassess whether they are doing all they can do, either by themselves or in a coalition of the willing. Leaders should start planning with the assumption that Ebola could get much worse quickly in the DRC. If they do, maybe together they can help the DRC, WHO, and partner organizations change the direction of this outbreak” (5/3).

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Achieving SDGs Requires Urgent Global Action, Support Of Grassroots Movements

Inter Press Service: Sustainable Development Goals: One of the Greatest Fun Things in the World!?
Inge Kaul, adjunct professor at the Hertie School of Governance and first director of UNDP’s Offices of the Human Development Report and Global Development Studies

“…[P]rogress toward meeting the SDGs still faces a number of obstacles that require major reforms in the global economy and an improvement in the functioning of the system of international cooperation. … [T]his is not the time for fun travel from one international SDG meeting to another, a pattern that has become rather popular after 2015. … The key missing element, which prevents scaled-up and accelerated progress, is the willingness to start ‘walking the talk,’ that is, to act unilaterally and, as and when necessary, collectively with the requisite sense of urgency on the most pressing, high-risk challenges. … To facilitate the emergence of such a strong worldwide movement of change advocates, the series of annual ‘SDG Festivals’ could be discontinued and the U.N. could encourage the festival partners: (1) to lend their support instead to the hard work of transformative change … and (2) to use available resources to offer a global platform for interaction and cooperation to the recently sprung-up but steadily growing and already world-spanning movement of ‘Fridays for Future’ [– a peoples movement following the call from climate activist Greta Thunberg to school strike]…” (5/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Organizations Recognize International Day Of The Midwife 2019

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: Partnering with Midwives in Bangladesh (5/3).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Empowered midwives, satisfied mothers — midwife-led care in Lebanon (5/3).

United Nations Population Fund: No mountain too high: Midwives protect women, save lives (5/3).

United Nations Population Fund East and Southern Africa: Midwives — Defenders of Human Rights (5/3).

World Health Organization: International Day of the Midwife 2019 (5/3).

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CFR Expert Examines How Distrust Could Impact Ebola Control Efforts In DRC

Council on Foreign Relations: Distrust at Core of Ebola Crisis in Eastern Congo
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies at CFR, discusses the challenge of distrust in efforts to address Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, writing, “The Ebola vaccine is proving highly effective, but distrust of health workers, skepticism of the disease’s existence or provenance, and attacks on medical facilities are stymying progress. … Ebola is a governance issue as well as a medical one” (5/3).

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FT Health Discusses Childhood Obesity, Provides Global Health News Roundup

FT Health: Focus on toddlers scores victory over obesity
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses efforts to reduce childhood obesity. The newsletter also features an interview discussing the importance of promoting health in the workplace, as well as a roundup of global health-related news stories (Dodd/Jack, 5/3).

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