KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House Of Representatives Passes PEPFAR Reauthorization Bill

Advocate: House of Representatives Reauthorizes Global AIDS Initiative
“The House of Representatives on Tuesday reauthorized the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, an initiative launched 15 years ago by President George W. Bush. … The reauthorization bill for PEPFAR … won House approval through a voice vote during the ongoing lame-duck session in Washington. … The reauthorization still needs approval by the Senate” (Ogles, 11/14).

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Security Issues Hindering U.S. Government Response To Ebola In DRC

Axios: Lack of security is “significant impediment” to U.S. help on Ebola
“The U.S. is facing a ‘significant impediment’ to its overall plan to help the Democratic Republic of the Congo bring its deadly Ebola outbreak to an end, as inadequate security continues to plague the region near Beni, the epicenter of the outbreak…” (O’Reilly, 11/14).

Wall Street Journal: Congo Is Too Risky for U.S. Ebola Experts
“…While American officials are advising the DRC government, the U.S. has pulled Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts who specialize in treating the deadly virus from remote areas to safer cities…” (Burton, 11/14).

Washington Post: As Ebola outbreak worsens in Congo, U.S. stays out of war zone
“…Whether to deploy personnel to the heart of the outbreak is a continuing debate within the administration. … ‘Securing the safety of our staff is our highest priority,’ one administration official said during a briefing for reporters Wednesday. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because of rules set by the White House. Washington is continually monitoring the security situation, but right now, ‘it’s simply too dangerous,’ he said…” (Sun, 11/14).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from CIDRAP News, The Hill, HuffPost, and NPR.

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U.S. Democratic Lawmakers Denounce Reports Of Proposed State Department Policy Banning Certain Sexual Health-Related Terminology

POLITICO: Democratic lawmakers warn Pompeo against possible ban on sex health terminology
“Several Democratic members of Congress are warning Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to not move forward with a possible ban on State Department employees using terms like ‘sexual and reproductive health’ and ‘comprehensive sexuality education.’ The lawmakers — Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) — argue in a letter sent Wednesday to Pompeo that banning State Department employees from using those terms would be regressive for U.S. global health programs. The letter comes after POLITICO reported that conservative political appointees in the Trump administration were pushing for the proposal two weeks ago. … ‘We urge you to reject any policy that censors American diplomats, undermines global health, and threatens the tremendous progress that has been shepherded by U.S. global health assistance,’ the letter said” (Choi, 11/14).

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Bangladesh Concedes No Rohingya Willing To Voluntarily Repatriate; U.S. VP Pence Says Myanmar's Violence Against Group 'Without Excuse'

The Guardian: Bangladesh admits no Rohingya willing to take repatriation offer
“Bangladesh has conceded that it will be unable to voluntarily repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar as it had planned because it cannot find anyone willing to go back, though efforts to ‘motivate’ people to leave will continue…” (Ellis-Petersen et al., 11/15).

New York Times: First Rohingya Are to Be Returned to Myanmar Killing Grounds
“The United Nations doesn’t want it to happen. Dozens of rights groups say they are shocked. Even the people who will be affected the most, Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, are upset that their future, once again, is being decided without their input…” (Beech, 11/14).

POLITICO: Pence strongly criticizes Myanmar for Rohingya persecution
“Vice President Mike Pence delivered the Trump administration’s most high-profile criticism to date of the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, telling the country’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, that state violence against the minority group was ‘without excuse.’ The two leaders met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore, briefly offering remarks to the press before talking in private…” (Sadiq, 11/14).

Additional coverage of Pence’s meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi is available from The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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USAID Aims To Establish New Bureau For Resilience And Food Security, Official Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: World’s top aid agency to promote resilience with new body
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is to set up a new body to promote resilience, a senior official said, amid growing pressure on the world’s top foreign aid donor to do more with less. … Experts said the creation of a new Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, which still has to be approved by Congress, would cement momentum behind the global poverty-reduction approach. The proposed Bureau for Resilience and Food Security would have about 180 staff, [Greg Collins, USAID’s resilience coordinator,] said…” (Malo, 11/14).

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World Bank Withdraws Loan To Tanzania Over Policy Expelling Pregnant Girls From School; Denmark Withholds Aid Over Human Rights Concerns

The Guardian: World Bank pulls $300m Tanzania loan over pregnant schoolgirl ban
“The World Bank has withdrawn a $300m (£232m) loan to Tanzania amid concerns about the nation’s policy of expelling pregnant girls from school. The money, a significant proportion of funding totaling $500m awarded to Tanzania by the bank in 2018, was scheduled for approval last month. It was intended to help Tanzania’s education ministry to improve access to secondary education…” (McVeigh, 11/15).

Reuters: Tanzania loses Denmark aid over rights concerns after World Bank scraps loan
“Tanzania’s second-biggest donor Denmark said it would withhold $10 million worth of aid money, citing concerns over human rights abuses and ‘unacceptable homophobic comments’ made by a government official…” (Jacobsen/Obulutsa, 11/15).

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U.N. Biodiversity Conference To Consider Recommendations On Engineered Gene Drives In Malaria Prevention

The Guardian: Scientists divided over new research method to combat malaria
“Research on a radical new way to combat malaria and other devastating diseases could be knocked off track if a U.N. biodiversity conference imposes a moratorium on the work, a group of scientists has said. Some scientists believe the different approach has the potential to transform the battle against malaria. It involves engineered gene drives which are used to modify the DNA of wild organisms on a mass scale. In the case of mosquitoes the method would have the potential to wipe out populations of certain species which carry the malaria parasite, say the scientists. Critics have argued that gene drives pose an unacceptable risk by spreading modified genes through the environment with unpredictable consequences…” (Sample, 11/13).

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U.N. FAO Working With Farmers To Help Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance

U.N. News: Farmers on the frontline in battle against drug-resistant microbes: U.N. health agency
“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has revealed that as some 700,000 people are dying each year from antimicrobial resistant infections, an untold number of sick animals are also suffering from diseases that do not respond to treatment…” (11/14).

Xinhua News: FAO devises plan to support Kenya’s fight against antimicrobial resistance
“The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations said Wednesday it has devised a plan to support Kenya’s fight against antimicrobial resistance. Charles Babey, FAO’s regional manager for eastern Africa in charge of emergency center for transboundary animal disease, said the antimicrobial national action plan will help Kenya minimize the misuse of antibiotic drugs…” (11/14).

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Cuba To End Government Doctor Exchange Program With Brazil

Associated Press: Cuba ends medical exchange program with Brazil
“Cuba said Wednesday that it is ending a program that sent thousands of government doctors to underserved regions of Brazil in exchange for hundreds of millions in badly needed hard currency. The end of the ‘Mas Medicos,’ or ‘More Doctors,’ program signals a sharp deterioration in relations between communist Cuba and Brazil, which just elected far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro…” (Weissenstein/de Sousa, 11/14).

New York Times: Cuba Is Pulling Doctors From Brazil After ‘Derogatory’ Comments by Bolsonaro
“…Jair Bolsonaro had warned that the terms of the deal would change when he took the Brazilian president’s office on Jan. 1, saying that the Cuban government could not retain any part of their salary and that the doctors must be allowed to bring their families, which they are currently not permitted to do. Mr. Bolsonaro has also raised questions about the quality of the doctors’ training in Cuba and has said the doctors would have to prove their medical credentials by getting their diplomas validated in Brazil. … In response, Cuban authorities told the Pan-American Health Organization — which has helped manage the program — that its doctors have to leave Brazil…” (Darlington/Moriconi, 11/14).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Qatar’s WISH summit tackles ‘human-centered’ health care redesign (Younes, 11/14).

BBC News: Could these beautiful islands help stop killer diseases? (Logan, 11/14).

Global Health NOW: Virtual Vasectomies: Not Just for Men (Myers, 11/14).

NPR: Why A ‘War On Children’ Could Get Worse (Doucleff, 11/14).

PBS NewsHour: What’s the truth about Zika virus in post-hurricane Puerto Rico? (Murphy, 11/14).

Reuters Health: Surgeons design inexpensive headlamp to make operations safer in poor conditions (Carroll, 11/14).

SciDev.Net: Secret abortions last resort for fearful Kenyan women (Ogema, 11/14).

U.N. News: ‘Make healthy choices’ urges U.N. agency, to prevent and manage chronic diabetes (11/14).

UPI: Nigeria cholera deaths spike more than tenfold over 2017 (Haynes, 11/15).

Xinhua News: Spotlight: Remote PNG island conquers malaria with ancient Chinese medicine (11/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration Should Follow 4 Steps To Plan, Implement New U.S. Development Finance Corporation

Devex: Opinion: 4 essential steps for BUILD Act’s development finance agency
Stephanie Cappa, deputy director and senior policy adviser for the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

“As the ink dries on the BUILD Act — Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development — the administration has 120 days to submit a plan to Congress transforming the Overseas Private Investment Corporation into the new United States Development Finance Corporation. … DFC’s stated purpose is to mobilize private sector capital and skills to complement U.S. development assistance objectives and to advance U.S. foreign policy interests. To ensure that the agency’s form follows this worthy function, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network has put forward four guiding recommendations: fulfill the development mandate; establish strong connectivity with USAID; prioritize agency accountability; and institute robust systems of transparency and consultation. As the administration drafts its implementation plan, these are four essential areas to focus on: 1. Development-focused leadership … 2. Linkages with development agencies … 3. Performance and accountability … 4. Transparency and consultation … If the administration and Congress take these four steps by the end of January — the 120-day timeline — DFC will be well on its way toward fulfilling the promise of the BUILD Act” (11/14).

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Farmers Need Better Training, Tools To Help Prevent Disease In Animals, Antimicrobial Resistance

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Antibiotics are vital to animal health and welfare. So how do we stop growing levels of drug resistance?
Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director for HealthforAnimals

“…Removing antibiotics from farms does not stop animals from becoming sick nor an outbreak from spreading. Whenever disease is present, the need for antibiotics remains. … [T]he best way forward is to reduce the need for antibiotics by preventing disease in the first place. … Vaccination is the most effective way to stop disease from taking hold in an animal and spreading throughout a flock or a herd. Where vaccines exist, global efforts should focus on ensuring farmers and their livestock have access to them. Where a vaccine doesn’t currently exist, scientists should be properly supported by both public and private sectors to develop them. Farmers must also then receive better training and support in maintaining good overall animal health, which also reduces the likelihood of livestock falling ill. … Finally, our best chance of treating and containing an outbreak … is through early detection and diagnosis. … Like us, animals have the right to be protected from disease, but they also have the right to be treated when necessary” (11/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends Of The Global Fight President Issues Statement On House Passage Of PEPFAR Extension Act

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Friends Applauds House Passage of PEPFAR Reauthorization Bill
In a statement regarding the U.S. House passage of the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, Friends President Chris Collins says, “Friends applauds the House for passing legislation to reauthorize PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for five years. … U.S. leadership on HIV will be even more critical over the next year during the Global Fund’s sixth Replenishment. … I urge the Senate to pass the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018. With Congress’s bipartisan support, the U.S. can continue to lead the global fight to end the AIDS epidemic for good” (11/14).

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IAEA Highlights Use Of Nuclear Techniques In Efforts To Address Malnutrition

International Atomic Energy Agency: IAEA Showcases Nuclear Techniques to Combat Malnutrition in Africa
This post highlights the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) participation in the 8th Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC), which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in October. During the conference, Victor Owino of IAEA’s Nutritional and Health-Related Environmental Section “highlighted the new burden of overweight and obesity as well as related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and ways to address them with nutritional interventions,” and also discussed the use of nuclear techniques in nutritional assessments (11/12).

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IRC President/CEO Discusses New Approach To Treating Acute Malnutrition In Children

International Rescue Committee: Time for a new approach to tackling malnutrition, says David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC
“President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) told attendees at the World Innovation Summit for Health in Doha about a new approach to treating acute malnutrition. During a keynote speech, Miliband called out the inefficiencies and high costs of the current treatment system and shared details about an innovative [approach] pioneered by IRC that has the potential to treat millions more malnourished children over the next decade. … The IRC has developed and tested a combined, simplified malnutrition treatment protocol that uses a single program and one therapeutic product. Under the combined protocol approach, a child could be assessed, and in the event of either severe or moderate malnutrition, could be treated until full recovery with ready-to-use food, dosed according to the severity of the malnutrition…” (11/13).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Releases Publication On Agency's Global Health Security Efforts

Public Health Reports: Global Health Security: Protecting the United States in an Interconnected World
Rebecca E. Bunnell, deputy director for science and policy at the Division of Global Health Protection at the CDC, and colleagues discuss how CDC’s health security efforts help protect U.S. health, safety, and economic interests. The authors highlight “areas of global interconnectivity that make U.S. states and localities vulnerable to the health and economic repercussions of global public health threats,” including travel, tourism, agriculture, and state and local preparedness (11/14).

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