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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump's 'America First' Agenda Could Push Drug Prices Higher Worldwide, Global Health Experts Say

POLITICO: Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda on drug pricing could backfire around the world
“President Donald Trump wants Americans to get lower prices for medicines — and the rest of the world may pay for it. His ‘America First’ message on drugs at home, coupled with pro-pharmaceutical industry policies abroad, could lead to higher costs for patients around the world — without making drugs more affordable for those in the U.S. Trump on Friday plans to deliver his long-promised speech on how to lower drug costs, addressing an industry he has in the past accused of ‘getting away with murder.’ Global health officials worry he will also target practices that keep medicines affordable in other countries…” (Karlin-Smith/Wheaton, 5/9).

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U.S. Must Take Action To Improve Influenza Preparedness, Experts Say

Axios: Pandemic flu is #1 health security concern: WH official
“The U.S. won’t be ready to face a flu pandemic until it improves its vaccines, health care infrastructure, and coordination with other countries — all of which are top priorities for the White House, a National Security Council official said Monday. Speaking at a symposium hosted by Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, multiple public health officials said they agree the U.S. isn’t ready, and needs to improve its yearly seasonal vaccines, which range in effectiveness from below 30 percent to 70 percent…” (O’Reilly, 5/8).

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U.S. Pledges Additional $18.5M In Humanitarian Assistance For Venezuelans, Calls For Regime Change

Devex: U.S. announces additional $18.5M for Venezuela response while calling for regime change
“The Trump administration on Tuesday announced an additional $18.5 million in humanitarian assistance to Colombia for response to the Venezuelan crisis, shortly after it called for the first time for regime change in Caracas. … The $18.5 million in bilateral aid to Colombia is on top of the more than $21 million the U.S. has already pledged to governments and organizations in the region dealing with the fallout of Venezuela’s political and economic crisis. The new pledge, if approved by Congress, will fund mobile health units to help underserved populations, a school feeding program, and a registry system to help the Colombian government better track needs and access to services…” (Welsh, 5/8).

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CDC Director Redfield's Salary Reduced From $375K To $209,700

The Hill: CDC director to take pay cut of more than $165k
“The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will take a pay cut of more than $165,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). … Redfield asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar for a pay cut April 30, after Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) raised questions about his $375,000 annual compensation, which was more than double what his predecessor earned. HHS previously wouldn’t disclose Redfield’s new salary…” (Weixel, 5/8).

New York Times: CDC Director’s Salary Is Reduced to $209,700 From $375,000
“…Caitlin B. Oakley, a spokeswoman for the department, said on Tuesday that Dr. Redfield had agreed to a lower salary of $209,700. … Ms. Oakley repeated the department’s rationale for recruiting Dr. Redfield under Title 42, calling it a rare opportunity to hire one of the world’s leading virologists. Dr. Redfield was a longtime HIV/AIDS researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a founder of its Institute of Human Virology…” (Kaplan, 5/8).

Washington Post: CDC director’s salary now set at $209,700 instead of $375,000
“…[Former CDC Directors Brenda] Fitzgerald, [Tom] Frieden and [Julie] Gerberding all received a ‘physician comparability allowance,’ which is allowed under HHS policy when a ‘candidate is eminently qualified for the position,’ an HHS official said. Fitzgerald received a lower physician comparability allowance because she had not previously served as a government physician for at least two years. Redfield, who is receiving this allowance, was previously an Army researcher and doctor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center…” (Sun, 5/8).

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DRC Government, WHO Confirm Ebola Outbreak In Country's Northwest; Officials Record 21 Suspected Cases, 17 Deaths

Associated Press: Congo health ministry confirms 2 Ebola cases in new outbreak
“Congo’s government on Tuesday declared a new outbreak of Ebola in the country’s rural northwest, after two cases of the deadly virus were confirmed in Bikoro. Congo’s health ministry said that of the five samples sent to the National Institute of Biological Research in Kinshasa, two came back positive for the Zaire strain of Ebola in the country’s Equateur Province…” (Mwanamilongo/Petesch, 5/8).

Newsweek: Ebola Virus Returns: Latest Outbreak in Congo Kills 17
“…The announcement came after two new cases were confirmed in the town of Bikoro in northwestern Congo. There have been 21 cases and 17 deaths in the past five weeks, according to WHO…” (Perez, 5/8).

Reuters: Seventeen deaths reported in Congo as Ebola outbreak confirmed
“…It is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in the central African nation, whose eastern Ebola river gave the deadly virus its name when it was discovered there in the 1970s, and comes less than a year after its last outbreak which killed eight people. … Medical teams supported by the World Health Organization and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres were dispatched to the zone on Saturday…” (Nyemba/Mahamba, 5/8).

Additional coverage of this story is available from ABC News, CNN, Deutsche Welle, HuffPost, NPR, Science, and U.N. News.

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HPV Vaccines Safe, Effective In Preventing Cervical Cancer, Large Analysis Shows

BBC News: HPV jab safe and effective, study finds
“The HPV vaccine routinely offered to teenage girls … is safe and protects against a virus that can cause cancer of the cervix, an independent review has found. The analysis by the Cochrane Group provides solid evidence that should reassure parents considering having their daughters immunized, say experts…” (5/9).

CNN: HPV vaccines prevent cervical cancer, global review confirms
“…HPV vaccines protect against cervical cancer in young women, especially when the women are vaccinated between the ages of 15 and 26, a new Cochrane report finds. The report’s authors, who examined evidence from 26 previously published studies of more than 70,000 women, also found no serious side effect risks associated with the vaccines…” (Scutti, 5/8).

Reuters: Major review backs cervical cancer shots, especially for teens
“…The Cochrane research pooled data and results from 26 studies involving more than 73,000 women across all continents over the last eight years. The researchers found that in young women who tested negative for HPV, vaccination reduced the risk of developing precancer. About 164 out of every 10,000 women who got placebo developed cervical pre-cancerous lesions, compared with two out of every 10,000 who were vaccinated…” (Kelland, 5/8).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: European report warns XDR gonorrhea threatens future treatment (Dall, 5/8).

Devex: U.K. aid groups to be asked to report safeguarding spending (Anders, 5/9).

Devex: Key takeaways from Australia’s 2018 aid budget (Cornish, 5/8).

Devex: Q&A: How UNICEF is mapping South Sudan’s most remote states (Mednick, 5/8).

The Guardian: Lethal flash floods hit East African countries already in dire need (Okiror, 5/8).

New York Times: Nigeria’s President Draws Criticism for Seeking Medical Care Abroad (Akinwotu, 5/8).

Reuters: After Rohingya rape accusations, U.N. warns of imminent births (Nichols, 5/8).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Red Cross plans to fight disasters with fast funding (Lazareva, 5/7).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — As teenagers die, Zimbabwean lawmakers call for abortion reform (Phiri, 5/8).

U.N. News: Dangers persist for nearly a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: WHO (5/8).

Vox: Be thankful you were born after the smallpox vaccine (Belluz, 5/8).

Xinhua News: Peace key to attain “zero hunger” in Near East, North Africa: U.N. (5/9).

Xinhua News: Uganda strives to contain raging cholera outbreaks (5/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Polio Eradication Possible With Continued Support From Commonwealth Leaders

Devex: Opinion: One of the greatest days of the human race is within reach, all we need is political will
Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta and former Commonwealth chair-in-office

“…April’s [Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)] was a welcome and timely reminder of the fact that we are 99.9 percent of the way toward eradicating polio. … [A]t CHOGM, leaders ’emphasized their continued support’ for the success of the program once and for all. After all, if eliminated, it will provide both the political will and the infrastructure to tackle other infectious diseases including malaria, and neglected tropical diseases such as trachoma … As I prepared to hand over leadership of this extraordinary association of nations, I urged Commonwealth leaders to commit the necessary political will and financial resources to eliminate polio once and for all. Our determination and unity in this endeavor will truly show why the Commonwealth is still a relevant and effective institution” (5/8).

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Global Health Organizations Must Address Internal Gender Disparities

Project Syndicate: Bringing Gender Equality to Global Public Health
Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand and former administrator of the U.N. Development Programme, and Sania Nishtar, co-chair of the WHO’s Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases and founder and president of Heartfile

“…For decades, the global health community has paid lip service to the critical role of unequal power relations, particularly relating to gender, in determining health outcomes. At this point, one might expect to see a high degree of gender equality in the health sector. But a recent report by the advocacy and accountability group Global Health 50/50 shows otherwise. … Many of [the organizations examined in the report] are falling embarrassingly short on addressing gender disparities. … Looking ahead, we hope to see all global health organizations adopt concrete measures to address the shortcomings identified in the Global Health 50/50 report. Failing that, we would recommend that next year’s report also rank the organizations in question, to make clear which of them are still falling behind. Women once had to fight for the right to vote, and we are now fighting for paid parental leave and equal pay. But we must go further, by also advocating for accountability and gender equality in the sphere of global public health” (5/8).

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Central Australia's HTLV-1 Epidemic Highlights Importance Of Global Health Funding For Neglected Issues

The Hill: HIV’s ancient ‘cousin’ is ravaging Australia and could spread worldwide
Noelle Sullivan, assistant professor of instruction in global health studies at Northwestern University

“Central Australia is being ravaged by an epidemic of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1, or HTLV-1. … [T]he HTLV-1 virus weakens the immune system, increasing the chances that those infected will develop other illnesses, including HIV. … The prevalence rate in rural Australia is significant cause for concern. The virus has no cure, no vaccine, and receives minimal funding or global attention. This epidemic highlights why global health funding to neglected issues continues to be critical. … Bringing additional attention to HTLV-1 is not just the moral thing to do; from a public and global health standpoint it’s the economically prudent thing to do so that the virus doesn’t spread more widely. … Recent research demonstrates good possibilities for creating an HTLV-1 vaccine and the Global Virus Network already has an HTLV-1 Task Force aiming to mobilize funding and experts to develop treatments and vaccines for the virus. What is needed now is significant global health funding and attention to make that goal into a reality” (5/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Center For American Progress Expert Discusses Bipartisan Congressional Efforts On U.S. Foreign Aid

Center for American Progress: Bipartisan Advances in International Development Defy Conventional Wisdom
John Norris, senior fellow and the executive director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at the Center for American Progress, discusses the state of U.S. foreign aid, including achievements made during the Obama administration, positions of the Trump administration, and Congress’s bipartisan commitment to international development. Norris writes, “We find ourselves at a remarkable moment in U.S. history with regard to foreign aid. There has never been a U.S. president who appears less committed to the intrinsic value of helping the poor and underprivileged of the developing world raise themselves up. … At the very same moment, there has likely never been a broader, more effective, and more bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill that not only values international development but also has a very nuanced understanding of how it works. … At a time when bad news is creating an unprecedented level of noise, bipartisan progress in international development is no small feat” (5/8).

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Malawi Sexual, Reproductive Health Advocates Discuss Impacts Of Mexico City Policy At Workshop

CSJNEWS: Global Gag Rule Hits Malawi SRHR NGOs Hard, Says Activist
Akwete Sande, communications officer for the Centre for Solutions Journalism, discusses comments from participants of a training workshop for rural-based sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) workers, including CSJNEWS Executive Director Brian Ligomeka. Responding to a question about funding challenges leading to inadequate services, “Ligomeka said the problem of funding challenges was not strange because most organizations dealing with SRHR issues have been negatively affected by the global gag rule championed by the current U.S. administration” (5/7).

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Guttmacher-Lancet Commission Report Calls On Global Community To Commit To Achieving Universal Access To Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights

Guttmacher Institute: Guttmacher-Lancet Commission Proposes a Bold, New Agenda for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
“Today, the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights — a collaboration of global health, development, and human rights experts from around the world — called on national governments, international agencies, donors, civil society groups, and other key stakeholders to commit to a new, bold agenda to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. This agenda, presented in a new report published today in The Lancet, puts forth an evidence-based, forward-looking vision that is affordable, attainable, and essential to the achievement of health, equitable development, and human rights for all…” (5/9).

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Global Fund Should Do More To Address Venezuela's Health Crisis, HRW Expert Says

Human Rights Watch: The Global Fund Should Move Boldly to Help Venezuelans
Tamara Taraciuk Broner, senior Americas researcher at HRW, highlights the Global Fund’s lack of engagement in Venezuela, writing, “The Global Fund … has made a big difference addressing AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria in many countries, yet it has failed to do so in Venezuela, a nation with a years-long health care crisis, because, on paper, the nation has the income to fund health services. There’s a chance for the Global Fund to reconsider that position at its upcoming Board meeting, on May 9 and 10. And it should…” (5/8).

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Danish Government Announces 60M DKK For WFP-Related Partnerships Linking Food Aid, Access To Contraception

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark: The Danish Government Donates 60 mill. DKK to Partnerships that Promote Women’s Access to Contraception in Connection with Distribution of Food Aid
“Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, has signed a Letter of Intent regarding a Danish donation of 60 million DKK to the U.N. World Food Programme’s, WFP’s, work with women’s and girls’ access to contraception in humanitarian crisis. … The Danish fund of 60 Million DKK will make it possible to develop and strengthen partnerships and methods, which will advance women’s and girls’ protection and rights with a starting point in food assistance” (5/8).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Announces Additional $18.5M To Support Displaced Venezuelans In Colombia

USAID: U.S. Assistance for Venezuelans in Colombia
“[Tuesday], the United States announced an additional $18.5 million in bilateral funding to support displaced Venezuelans in Colombia who have fled the crisis in their country. … Subject to congressional approval, with this new funding, USAID will support the government of Colombia with these initiatives: School feeding programs … Mobile health services … A registry system … New and improved efforts to collect and analyze data in border and destination cities” (5/8).

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PEPFAR Support Helps Kenyan Clinic Provide HIV/AIDS Care To Children, Adolescents

USAID’s “ImpactBlog”: Witnessing Hope and Health for Kenyan Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Pediatrician Rachel Golin; Teresa Simiyu, a technical adviser with HJFMRI; and S. Katherine Farnsworth, a population, health and nutrition officer at USAID, discuss a visit to the Lea Toto Clinic in Kawangware, Kenya, operated by the Children of God Relief Institute (COGRI), as well as Nyumbani, a sister facility that houses COGRI’s laboratory. U.S. support “helps COGRI staff manage the [Lea Toto Clinic] and evaluate the project’s aim — to deliver high quality, high impact pediatric and adolescent HIV care” (5/8).

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USAID Launches Follow-On Project To Continue HIV Services For Key, Priority Populations In Ethiopia

U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia: New USAID Project to Continue Fight against HIV in Ethiopia
“The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently concluded its Mulu Most At Risk Populations Project to combat HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and is announcing the launch of a new follow-on project, HIV Services for Key and Priority Populations Activity. … [T]he project will aim to help Ethiopia reach the UNAIDS and PEPFAR goal of having 90 percent of people living with HIV diagnosed, 90 percent of diagnosed people on antiretroviral treatment, and 90 percent of people in treatment with a fully suppressed viral load by 2020” (5/9).

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