Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Video Explains Overseas Contingency Operations Account, Role In U.S. Foreign Aid Funding

Devex: DevExplains: The Overseas Contingency Operations account and its role in U.S. aid funding
“The Overseas Contingency Operations account is a somewhat obscure mechanism that has proven to be a critical tool in maintaining the international affairs budget in the United States. … Watch this explainer video to find out more about the OCO account, how it was created and the role it plays today in U.S. aid funding…” (Saldinger, 11/12).

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Trump Administration Drafting Plan To Condition U.S. Foreign Aid On Nations' Treatment Of Religious Minorities, POLITICO Reports

POLITICO: Trump weighs conditioning foreign aid on religious freedom
“Aides to President Donald Trump are drafting plans to condition U.S. aid to other countries on how well they treat their religious minorities, two White House officials said. The proposal is expected to cover U.S. humanitarian assistance, and could also be broadened to include American military aid to other countries. If the proposal becomes reality, it could have a major effect on U.S. assistance in a range of places, from Iraq to Vietnam. Its mere consideration shows how much the White House prioritizes religious freedom, an emphasis critics say is really about galvanizing Trump’s evangelical Christian base…” (Toosi/Orr, 11/11).

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More Girls, Women Using Family Planning Methods But Global Efforts Falling Behind Targets To Improve Access, Report Says

The Guardian: Millions of women still don’t have access to contraceptives — report
“More women and girls in low-income countries are using family planning than ever before, but global efforts to widen access to contraception are still falling well behind targets, according to a report. One year away from a global deadline to widen access to modern forms of family planning, such services are accessible to less than half of the women that policy makers hoped to reach. The report by the Family Planning partnership was released ahead of a summit in Nairobi this week, where governments are expected to make further pledges on family planning, and other reproductive health spending…” (Ratcliffe, 11/12).

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ICPD25 Conference Opens In Nairobi Amid Criticism From Faith, Conservative Advocacy Groups

Devex: Abortion, LGBTI rights stir emotions on eve of Nairobi summit
“In the lead up to a major global United Nations conference on reproductive and sexual health in Kenya, topics such as abortion, LGBTI rights, and contraceptives for adolescents have stirred controversy among faith communities and conservative advocacy groups. These reactions to the summit illustrate some of the challenges that health professionals face in expanding access to services for women and girls globally…” (Jerving, 11/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Kenya hosts global sexual health summit amid protests from Catholics, pro-life groups
“…More than 6,000 participants — including heads of state, government ministers, financial institutions, donors, and civil society groups — from 160 nations are due at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi. The three-day meeting will focus on issues ranging from maternal deaths and child marriage to sex education and female genital mutilation. But the Holy See, as well as local faith-based groups and pro-life campaigners, have criticized the gathering that starts on Tuesday…” (Bhalla, 11/11).

U.N. News: 25 years on from landmark conference, millions of women and girls still in danger: U.N. deputy chief
“The U.N. Deputy Secretary-General has called for gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s rights to be integrated at the heart of global efforts to achieve a sustainable future for all. Amina Mohammed was speaking on Monday in Nairobi, where countries are meeting this week to mark 25 years since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). … Ms. Mohammed acknowledged that although ‘significant gains’ have been made since its adoption, progress is fragile and millions are being left behind…” (11/11).

Additional coverage of the conference and related announcements is available from Xinhua (2).

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Pneumonia Kills More Than 2K Children Daily, Despite Being Preventable, Curable, Global Health Organizations Say In New Report

Reuters: Pneumonia kills a child every 39 seconds, health agencies say
“Pneumonia killed more than 800,000 babies and young children last year — or one child every 39 seconds — despite being curable and mostly preventable, global health agencies said on Tuesday. In a report on what they described as a ‘forgotten epidemic,’ the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF, the international charity Save The Children and four other health agencies urged governments to step up investment in vaccines to prevent the disease and in health services and medicines to treat it…” (Kelland, 11/11).

The Telegraph: More than 2,000 children die from pneumonia every day, charities warn
“…In January the first ever global summit on the disease is taking place and charities hope that both international donors and affected countries will turn their attention to this disease – both in terms of committing funds and sounding the alarm. … ‘International cooperation on pneumonia is very limited — it’s a terribly neglected disease. We want to focus the attention of both the donor community and governments in high-burden countries on the sheer scale of the problem,’ [Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children,] said…” (Gulland, 11/12).

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European Commission Grants Marketing Authorization For Merck's Ebola Vaccine

STAT: Ebola vaccine approved in Europe in landmark moment in fight against a deadly disease
“…The European Commission granted marketing authorization to Merck’s vaccine, known as Ervebo, on Monday, less than a month after the European Medicines Agency recommended it be licensed. It is currently being used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under a ‘compassionate use’ or research protocol similar to a clinical trial…” (Branswell, 11/11).

Additional coverage of the vaccine’s European approval is available from CIDRAP News, Forbes, The Hill, and Reuters.

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Nigeria Should Investigate Alleged Abuses Of Mental Health Patients, HRW Report Says

The Guardian: Abuse and torture of mental health patients ‘rife’ across Nigeria, says report
“…In a report published on Monday Human Rights Watch (HRW) said thousands of Nigerians with mental health conditions face prolonged detention, chaining, physical and sexual violence or forced treatment, including electroshock therapy. The campaigning group said mistreatment is ‘rife’ in both Christian and Islamic faith healing centers and state hospitals and rehabilitation centers. This is despite the recent closure of several facilities and a condemnation of abusive facilities from President Muhammadu Buhari’s office…” (Dehghan, 11/12).

Additional coverage of the report is available from CNN and Reuters.

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More News In Global Health

AFP: First case of dengue spread by sex confirmed in Spain (11/8).

Associated Press: WFP chief vows more ‘aggressive’ action on sexual harassment (Michael, 11/12).

Devex: Q&A: Monique Barbut gives the view from the Wise Persons Group (Chadwick, 11/12).

Devex: Beyond recognition: Certifying quality maternal care in India (Espinosa, 11/11).

New York Times: What’s the Coolest Thing Bill Gates Is Doing? (11/11).

The Telegraph: The minister for AIDS: how an establishment figure helped avert the HIV crisis (Gulland, 11/12).

VOA: UNICEF: Aid for Syria Children Threatened by Lack of Funds (Schlein, 11/9).

Xinhua: Sri Lanka’s health ministry rings alarm bells over dengue outbreak (11/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

In Opinion Piece, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith Expresses Concerns About Abortion Discussions At ICPD25 Conference

Wall Street Journal: Abortion Extremists Hijack the U.N.
Chris Smith, Republican U.S. representative of New Jersey

“…On Tuesday UNFPA opens the three-day Nairobi Summit, 25 years after the International Conference on Population Development in Cairo. As a member of Congress I attended the ICPD, where 179 governments and 11,000 participants developed an international consensus. Participants rejected a global right to abortion … and agreed that ‘governments should take appropriate steps to help women avoid abortion, which in no case should be promoted as a method of family planning.’ They respected national sovereignty, stating that ‘measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process.’ … [Conference organizers] have already drafted a series of ‘commitments’ intended to generate pledges from governments and civic organizations. The first commitment is to ‘achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health’ as a part of universal health coverage. … The nonbinding summit statement, ‘ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise,’ also includes access to abortion as a component of ‘a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health interventions’ to be recognized as part of universal health coverage…” (11/11).

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Post-Brexit U.K. Must Prioritize SDGs In National, International Development Strategies, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: What should a progressive post-Brexit aid agenda look like?
Claire Godfrey, interim director of policy, advocacy, and research at Bond

“…The United Kingdom has earned a stellar reputation for being a driving force for tackling global poverty and promoting sustainable development. But post-Brexit, and following the upcoming general election, we will urgently need a government that not only champions this record, but raises its ambition even further to ensure that future generations live in a world free from poverty, extreme inequality, and environmental degradation. … The next U.K. government must re-orient its national and international development strategy to give us a better chance of reaching the ambitious, but achievable, Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. … Bond and its 400+ members are not alone in this call, almost two-thirds of the British public believe that tackling poverty in developing countries should be ‘a major priority’ for the U.K. government” (11/12).

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Bangladesh's Expected Approval Of GMO Vitamin A 'Golden Rice' Could Be Breakthrough For Child Nutrition, Opinion Piece Says

Washington Post: Golden rice, long an anti-GMO target, may finally get a chance to help children
Ed Regis, science writer and the author

“By the end of this week, Bangladesh’s agriculture minister is expected to announce the approval of ‘golden rice’ for sale and use, making the country the world’s first to embrace a food that could save hundreds of thousands of children in developing nations from blindness and death. … Its introduction in Bangladesh could be a monumental breakthrough for its acceptance worldwide. … Golden rice’s efficacy as a source of vitamin A has been shown in experiments going back to 2009 with human volunteers. But despite its promise, the rice has been attacked by critics of genetically modified foods ever since it was announced in the pages of the journal Science in 2000. … In short, the very government agencies that were supposed to protect human lives and health have instead been inadvertently responsible for years of mass blindness and death. … If Bangladesh does indeed approve golden rice for release, and if the rice is consumed by vitamin A-deficient children and ends up saving their sight and lives, then many regulatory authorities — and GMO critics — will have a lot of explaining to do” (11/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Gates Foundation Blog Post, New Video Examine History Of Malaria Control Efforts, More Recent Efforts To Accelerate Progress

Gates Foundation’s “The Optimist”: How do you solve a problem like malaria?
Mark Honigsbaum, author, medical historian, and lecturer, discusses the history of malaria control efforts around the world, including the organizations, programs, and funding mechanisms developed in recent decades to accelerate efforts. The blog post also introduces a new series, titled Sick History. In the first episode, featured in this blog, Dr. Jennifer Gardy discusses the history and prevention of malaria (11/12).

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European Commission Provides €55M In Humanitarian Assistance For Sudan

European Commission: Humanitarian Aid: E.U. allocates €55 million in Sudan
“The European Commission is mobilizing €55 million to help vulnerable people caught in humanitarian crises in Sudan. The announcement comes as at least 8 million people in Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 6.3 million not having enough food to meet their needs. One in six children is also suffering from acute undernourishment. … All E.U. humanitarian aid in Sudan is provided only through humanitarian organizations such as U.N. agencies, NGOs, and international organizations, and is strictly monitored…” (11/10).

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HIV-Related Discrimination Remains High In African Countries, Says UNAIDS

UNAIDS: HIV-related discrimination far too high
“…HIV-related discrimination stops people accessing the HIV services they need to stay healthy and can affect incomes and livelihoods and a whole range of other aspects of people’s lives. Discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV remain extremely high in far too many countries. Across 26 countries with recent population-based survey data, the percentage of people aged 15-49 years with discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV ranged from 16.9% in South Africa to 80% in Guinea” (11/12).

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WHO, Russia Collaborate On HIV Drug Resistance Monitoring

WHO Regional Office for Europe: WHO and the Russian Federation strengthen collaboration to address HIV drug resistance
“To strengthen the monitoring of HIV drug-resistant strains in the Russian Federation and improve technical cooperation at both the country and regional levels, WHO and the Russian Ministry of Health met with the technical sub-group on HIV drug resistance (DR), under the High-level Working Group (HLWG) on HIV, on 1 October 2019. … The HLWG on HIV focuses on HIV epidemiological surveillance, testing and prevention, and treatment. Each of these areas is covered by a thematic working group that revises the existing evidence and develops recommendations to be considered for further decisions by the HLWG, Ministry of Health and WHO in their joint work” (11/11).

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