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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Reaffirms Support For Global Health Security Agenda, Pledges Additional $150M To 5-Year Plan

Homeland Preparedness News: HHS officials reaffirm support for Global Health Security Agenda
“Officials from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department attended the Fifth Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting in Indonesia this week to reaffirm U.S. support for the initiative and commit additional funding. … The U.S. delegation was led by HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, who reaffirmed U.S. support for GHSA and underscored the goal to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases. He pledged to commit another $150 million to the GHSA to achieve the goals in its five-year plan…” (Kovaleski, 11/9).

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U.S. State Department Expresses Concern Over Deterioration Of Civil Liberties, Human Rights In Tanzania

Reuters: U.S. concerned by rising attacks on human rights in Tanzania
“The United States has spoken out against Tanzanian moves to cut back human rights and civil liberties, including arrests and harassment of ‘marginalized’ people such as homosexuals. President John Magufuli’s government has been criticized by opposition politicians and international rights groups for what they say is growing authoritarianism and intolerance of dissent. The government rejects the criticism…” (Dausen/Miriri, 11/11).

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U.S. Ends Saudi Jet Refueling In Yemen; Peace Talks Pushed Back As U.N. Calls For More Assistance To Prevent Famine

The Guardian: Fears of worsening Yemen violence rise as U.N. peace talks pushed back
“Peace talks aimed at ending Yemen’s war have been pushed back to the end of the year, sparking fears that intense violence in Hodeidah will worsen and the country will be plunged into famine as the Saudi-backed coalition seeks to completely retake the vital port city…” (McKernan, 11/9).

U.N. News: Yemen: Major U.N. aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’
“Efforts are being made to step up life-saving aid from eight million, to 14 million stricken Yemenis a month, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday, before urging warring parties to spare the key Red Sea port of Hudaydah, which is a lifeline for the whole country…” (11/9).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Ends Saudi Jet Refueling Missions in Yemen Conflict
“The U.S. is stopping aerial refueling of warplanes bombing Yemen, dialing back support for a Saudi-led military coalition as criticism of the kingdom grows in Washington over the conflict’s civilian impact. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Defense Department said the Arab coalition requested the change because it had developed its own aerial refueling capabilities and no longer needed American support in that capacity…” (Fitch, 11/10).

Washington Post: For war-ravaged Yemen, few expect ‘game changer’ in Saudi-led airstrikes after end of U.S. refueling
“…[T]hose interviewed said the decision is unlikely to rein in the coalition — unless firmer action is taken. Nor will it alone change the trajectory of Yemen’s war, they said, or its growing humanitarian crisis, which now includes more than 14 million people on the brink of famine — more than half of Yemen’s population. The United States, Britain, and other Western powers continue to assist the coalition with intelligence, logistical support, and sales of billions of dollars in weaponry, much of it being used in the conflict in Yemen, the Middle East’s poorest nation…” (Mujahed/Raghavan, 11/10).

Additional coverage of the war in Yemen and the resulting humanitarian crisis is available from the Washington Post (2) and Wall Street Journal.

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Access To Medicines Impacted In Iran Following Tightening Of U.S. Sanctions

New York Times: Iranians Fear Medicine Shortages as U.S. Tightens Sanctions
“…Anxieties over the availability of medicine are mounting in Iran with the reimposition this month of sanctions by the United States after President Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal. Harsh banking restrictions and the threat of secondary sanctions for companies doing business with Iran have made it nearly impossible for foreign pharmaceutical companies to continue working in the country. Trump administration officials say that the sanctions will not affect trade in humanitarian items, but many are skeptical…” (Tabrizy, 11/11).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Now Nation's Largest Ever; Clinical Trial Of Treatment To Begin Soon

Agence France-Presse: Ebola death toll in DR Congo tops 200
“The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to more than 200, the health ministry said on Saturday…” (11/11).

CIDRAP News: Ebola outbreak now DRC’s largest ever, with 319 cases
“Officials [Friday] reported seven new Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), raising the outbreak total to 319 confirmed or probable cases, making the outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces the country’s biggest in its history…” (Soucheray, 11/9).

Healio: FDA OKs emergency use of Ebola finger-stick test
“The FDA announced it has granted an emergency use authorization for a rapid, single-use test for detecting the Ebola virus that uses a portable battery-operated reader…” (Thiel, 11/9).

STAT: A pivotal day in world’s response to Ebola nears: the launch of a clinical trial
“Health officials are preparing to launch a clinical trial designed to test whether experimental Ebola therapies improve patients’ chances of survival in the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — a landmark moment in the world’s efforts to respond to this and future crises…” (Branswell, 11/12).

Additional reporting on the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Associated Press, Axios, BBC News, CBS News, Reuters, UPI, and Xinhua News.

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More Effort Needed To Reduce Antibiotics Consumption, WHO Report Says

Agence France-Presse: WHO maps dangerous misuse of antibiotics
“The World Health Organization warned Monday that antibiotics consumption is dangerously high in some countries while a shortage in others is spurring risky misuse, driving the emergence of deadly superbug infections. In a first, the United Nations health agency said it had collated data on antibiotic use across large parts of the world and had found huge differences in consumption…” (11/12).

Reuters: WHO uncovers big national variations in antibiotics consumption
“…The ‘WHO Report on Surveillance of Antibiotic Consumption’ looked at antibiotic use in 65 countries and found the Netherlands used 9.78 defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 people, while Britain used twice as much, and Turkey almost twice as much again, at 38.18 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants…” (Miles, 11/12).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Pakistan launches another vaccination drive against polio (11/12).

Associated Press: Myanmar: Bangladesh set to start repatriating Rohingya (11/11).

Devex: Taking a systems-change approach to ending NTDs (Cheney, 11/12).

The Guardian: Woman who bore rapist’s baby faces 20 years in El Salvador jail (Lakhani, 11/12).

The Guardian: ‘They see no shame’: ‘honor’ killing video shows plight of Syrian women (Carrie/Alomar, 11/12).

Health Policy Watch: First WHO Global Coordination Meeting On NCDs Sets Actions For Future (Saez, 11/7).

New York Times: Afghanistan Is the World’s Polio Capital. These Afghans Hope to Fix That (Abed/Mashal, 11/10).

New York Times: In China, Desperate Patients Smuggle Drugs. Or Make Their Own (Wee, 11/11).

NPR: Why Did Bill Gates Give A Talk With A Jar Of Human Poop By His Side? (Yu, 11/9).

Reuters: China proposes new laws on vaccine management (Goh, 11/11).

U.N. News: Humanitarian aid convoy to Syria’s Rukban camp: Mission Accomplished (11/9).

Washington Post: Fertility rates around the world are declining. Some Trump supporters won’t like the solution (Noack, 11/9).

Xinhua News: Zika virus outbreak under control in western Indian state: official (11/10).

Xinhua News: Kenya to host African forum to review progress towards polio eradication (11/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Governments, Funders, Private Sector Must Work Together To Promote Proper Use Of Antibiotics

Daily Nation: Antibiotic resistance is a grave threat to future of global health
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa

“Nothing less than global health security is at stake when antibiotics are misused. … The World Health Organization (WHO) will join the global community to observe the World Antibiotic Awareness Week from today to November 18, with the overall theme, ‘Think Twice. Seek Advice.’ This year, the WHO is introducing sub-themes to showcase the immense work underway to tackle antimicrobial resistance, and which demonstrate how antibiotics are linked between humans, animals, and the environment. … Governments, funding agencies, and the private sector need to invest and work together to secure safe and effective medicines for generations to come. The WHO in the African region has made the fight against antibiotic resistance a top priority, and is working with countries to develop and implement action plans to combat antibiotic resistance and generate reliable data for action. We are helping countries to build resilient health systems through stronger regulation and policies, which promote the appropriate use of quality antibiotics…” (11/12).

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Nations Continue To Allow Saudi Arabia, UAE To Violate Yemenis' Human Rights, Opinion Piece Says

Foreign Policy: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Are Starving Yemenis to Death
Radhya Almutawakel and Abdulrasheed Alfaqih, co-founders and leaders of Mwatana Organization for Human Rights

“…For nearly four years, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition, along with the United Arab Emirates, that has cynically and viciously bombarded Yemen’s cities, blockaded Yemen’s ports, and prevented humanitarian aid from reaching millions in need. … But the Saudis and Emiratis couldn’t continue their bombing campaign in Yemen without U.S. military support. … Yemenis are being starved to death on purpose, with starvation of civilians used by Saudi Arabia as a weapon of war. … To be clear, there is no party in this war without blood on its hands … The people of the Middle East have long and bitter experience with international double standards when it comes to human rights, as purported champions of universal rights in the West regularly ignore grave violations by their allies in the region … [T]his double standard is on display when Western policymakers downplay Saudi and Emirati violations of Yemenis’ human rights by claiming that a close partnership with Riyadh is needed to prevent perceived Iranian threats to the international community, without asking whether that same community is also endangered by Saudi Arabia’s daily violations of basic international norms. And yes, there is a double standard in the wall-to-wall coverage of Khashoggi’s horrific murder, when the daily murder of Yemenis by Saudi Arabia and other parties to the conflict in Yemen hardly merits mention” (11/8).

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Bill Gates Helps Spur Next Generation Of Toilets, Hopes For More Home-Use Models

Financial Times: Bill Gates: from software to toilets
Simon Kuper, columnist for the Financial Times

“…Only 27 percent of the world’s population has a home toilet that sends waste to sewers, then on to a treatment plant, estimates the World Health Organization. Three people in 10 have neither toilets nor latrines. They pay a daily price in disease and lost dignity. … But now, thanks largely to [Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation], companies are about to start selling what he terms the ‘reinvented toilet.’ … The first versions on sale will be multi-unit public toilets. They could replace the filthy communal latrines common in Indian slums. If schools install these toilets, more girls might attend. … But Gates sees public reinvented toilets as an imperfect solution, especially for women and children … [Gates] hopes that in the next few years, companies will be selling ‘the ultimate, which is the household reinvented toilet…'” (11/8).

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More Global Attention Should Be Given To Preventing Childhood Pneumonia

The Lancet Global Health: The disgraceful neglect of childhood pneumonia
Editorial Board

“…Why … is there so little cross-disciplinary global solidarity around childhood pneumonia? … [P]neumonia does not feature in WHO’s latest Global Programme of Work and … no major donor has made the cause their own. … In trying to explain the neglect, [Kevin Watkins and Devi Sridhar, authors of a recent commentary in The Lancet,] point to the poverty-linked nature of pneumonia, in children particularly, and the fact that — unlike cholera, measles, or HIV — it is not easily transmitted across social boundaries into the constituencies with the most political influence. They call for all high-burden countries to adopt integrated pneumonia action plans framed around the [Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD)] and for a global summit on pneumonia. We concur. A child dying of pneumonia may be more difficult to imagine than one dying from inhaling visibly polluted air, but the solutions, in large part, are much closer at hand” (December 2018).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Highlights U.S. State Department, IAS Statements On Tanzania's Actions Curbing LGBT Civil Liberties, Human Rights

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: State Department objects to Tanzania LGBT persecution without noting health impacts; IAS delineates damage to HIV responses
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights a U.S. Department of State press statement expressing concern over the Tanzanian government’s action targeting the LGBT population, as well as an International AIDS Society statement condemning these actions and discussing “the direct impacts of a deteriorating rights environment that includes the closure of HIV clinics, and … the disproportionate impact of the epidemic on men who have sex with men in Tanzania” (11/9).

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Global Health Experts From CGD, Resolve To Save Lives Discuss Funding Mechanisms For Outbreak Preparedness

Center for Global Development: Financing Outbreak Preparedness: Where Are We and What Next?
Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer, senior fellow, and board secretary at CGD; Brin Datema, special assistant to the chief operating officer at CGD; and Amanda McClelland, senior vice president of Resolve to Save Lives, discuss several funding mechanisms that could help support outbreak preparedness and response efforts in low- and lower-middle-income countries. The authors note, “While the jury is still out on what the best financing setup might be, the need to streamline the money we do have is clear” (11/9).

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IntraHealth International Experts Discuss Critical Role Of Frontline Health Workers In DRC's Ebola Outbreak, Global Health Security

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Safety for Frontline Health Workers Paramount to Ebola Response and Global Health Security
Carol Bales, advocacy and policy communications manager at IntraHealth International, and Vince Blaser, director at Frontline Health Workers Coalition, discuss the role and challenges of health workers in containing the Ebola outbreak in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The authors write, “Unfortunately, right now in northeastern DRC, frontline health workers’ heroic efforts are being made near-impossible by war in the region. … Unlocking the massive humanitarian, economic, and safeguarding potential of frontline health workers could be the key to a safer and more prosperous world. … [W]e must couple their heroic action with policies and investments that ensure they are connected to the information, training, and equipment they need; that they are able to safely perform their work and are protected from violence in conflict areas; and that their lifesaving services are available to the most neglected communities” (11/9).

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Bill Gates Highlights Technologies Aimed At Improving Global Sanitation Facilities

Gates Notes: Why the world deserves a better toilet
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights the foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet challenge, his participation in the Reinvented Toilet Expo recently held in Beijing, and several technologies that aim to address the challenge of lack of access to safe sanitation facilities globally (11/5).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Releases Annual Analysis Of Donor Government Funding For Family Planning

Kaiser Family Foundation: Donor Government Funding for Family Planning in 2017
The Kaiser Family Foundation today released its annual analysis of donor government funding for family planning. The report finds donor government funding for family planning increased in 2017, rising from $1.20 billion in 2016 to $1.27 billion. This marked the first increase after two years of declines. However, funding is still below the peak level reached in 2014 ($1.43 billion) (Wexler/Kates/Lief, 11/12).

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