KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Heads Of 3 U.N. Agencies Plead For Saudi-Led Coalition To Open Yemeni Ports As Humanitarian Crisis Worsens

Associated Press: Save the Children says 130 children die every day in Yemen
“An international aid group says an estimated 130 children or more die every day in war-torn Yemen from extreme hunger and disease. Save the Children said late on Wednesday that a continuing blockade by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels is likely to further increase the death rate. It says over 50,000 children are believed to have died in 2017…” (11/16).

Associated Press: Red Cross: 1 million Yemenis at risk of cholera outbreak
“An international aid group says one million people in three Yemeni cities are at risk of a renewed cholera outbreak and other water-borne diseases because of the closing of airports and sea ports by a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels…” (11/17).

Reuters: U.N. pleads for end of Yemen blockade or ‘untold thousands’ will die
“The heads of three U.N. agencies urged the Saudi-led military coalition on Thursday to lift its blockade of Yemen, warning that ‘untold thousands’ would die if it stayed in place. … Yemen already has seven million people on the brink of famine, but without the reopening of all ports that number could grow by 3.2 million, the heads of the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement…” (Nebehay/Miles, 11/16).

Additional coverage is available from the Associated Press, NPR, Reuters, TIME, U.N. News Centre, and VOA News.

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Conflict, Climate Change Drive Increase In Food Insecurity In Sub-Saharan Africa, FAO Report Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Conflict and climate push 224 million Africans into hunger — U.N.
“The number of hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa rose by 10 percent to 224 million in 2016, largely due to conflict and climate change, the United Nations said on Thursday…” (Win, 11/16).

U.N. News Centre: Conflicts, climatic change drive food insecurity and undernourishment in sub-Saharan Africa — U.N.
“…According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) 2017 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition report, chronic undernourishment appears to have risen from 20.8 to 22.7 percent between 2015 and 2016 — pointing to the need to build affected communities’ resilience and find peaceful solutions that strengthen food security…” (11/16).

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Aid Experts Criticize DFID For Channeling More Development Aid Through Other Government Ministries

The Guardian: U.K. under fire as new figures show aid spending by broad range of ministries
“The proportion of Britain’s £13.4bn aid budget spent by government ministries other than the Department for International Development rose by almost 50 percent last year, sparking concerns about transparency and poverty reduction. Roughly a quarter of the aid budget, which met the 0.7 percent target set by the government, was spent by non-DfID departments, official figures show…” (McVeigh, 11/16).

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Belgian Minister Urges More Public-Private Partnerships For Development Aid Funding

EURACTIV: Belgium highlights pioneering role in linking private sector to aid policy
“Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s minister for development cooperation, made a passionate plea on Wednesday (15 November) for closer synergies between private and public funding for development, using his country’s pioneering experience as an example. … He used the example of Belgium, which recently opened to private investors the capital of Bio, an €800 million investment fund for developing countries. … Another example is the ‘Humanitarian impact bond,’ which Belgium is launching together with some other countries in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In his words, this represents ‘the first-ever impact bond in the humanitarian sphere’…” (Gotev, 11/16).

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JHSPH Receives Gates Foundation Grant To Document, Disseminate Lessons Learned From Polio Eradication Efforts

Devex: Exclusive: The Gates Foundation picks a partner to share lessons learned from polio eradication
“The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has received a new grant to translate the lessons learned from polio eradication to other global health initiatives, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation told Devex. … Working with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, [Olakunle Alonge, assistant professor at JHSPH,] and a team of partners from seven countries — Nigeria, India, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, and Indonesia — will develop courses and clinics that capture the best practices of the polio eradication effort…” (Cheney, 11/16).

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Promising TB Diagnostic Failed To Work As Expected In Many Nations, Offering Lessons For Elimination Efforts

Nature: Improved diagnostics fail to halt the rise of tuberculosis
“…In an attempt to turn the tide [of TB], health ministers and officials from 100 countries are meeting in Moscow on 16-17 November. And a United Nations General Assembly devoted to TB is scheduled for September 2018. Experts say that the rollout of GeneXpert offers a cautionary lesson — although, in hindsight, an obvious one — in the battle against TB. The tale is a familiar one in global health care: a solution that seems extraordinarily promising in the lab or clinical trials falters when deployed in the struggling health-care systems of developing and middle-income countries…” (Callaway, 11/16).

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Wall Street Journal Examines Current Plague Outbreak In Madagascar, Worst In 50 Years

Wall Street Journal: Madagascar Wrestles With Worst Outbreak of Plague in Half a Century
“…Madagascar, the tropical island nation off Africa’s southeast coast, is scrambling to contain its worst outbreak of plague in at least 50 years. The country’s health ministry reported 2,119 probable cases from Aug. 1 to Nov. 10, including 171 deaths. … [The plague] has struck some of the islands’ nonendemic areas and densely populated cities for the first time. The vast majority of the cases have been pneumonic plague, which is the most virulent form of the bacterial disease and can quickly and easily spread from one person to another through droplets in the air…” (Wexler/Antoy, 11/16).

Wall Street Journal: Q&A: Madagascar’s New Plague Crisis
“Madagascar has had its worst outbreak of plague in at least a half-century this year, with more than 2,000 cases reported and more than 170 deaths. Here are some facts about this highly infectious disease…” (McKay, 11/16).

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More News In Global Health

The Economist: Many people in China believe gays can be “cured” (11/16).

The Guardian: Congo crisis on a par with Iraq, Syria, and Yemen — and getting worse by the day (Hodal, 11/16).

The Guardian: Uganda brought to its knees as doctors’ strike paralyses health service (Okiror, 11/16).

NPR: Monkeypox On The Rise: How Worried Should We Be? (Doucleff, 11/16).

Xinhua News: Interview: UNICEF working hard to fulfill every child’s potential: senior official (11/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Health Leaders Should Take 'Meaningful Action' On TB At Moscow Meeting

Moscow Times: Ending Tuberculosis Starts in Moscow
José Luis Castro, executive director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), and Michel Kazatchkine, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

“A meeting of the world’s health ministers in Moscow this week could prove to be a pivotal moment on the road to ending tuberculosis (TB). … But a potential new regime of TB science will also need to be matched by effective implementation on the ground. That will mean some fundamental changes and reforms in the way that TB care is delivered in many parts of the world, including in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where TB care remains largely hospital-based rather than decentralized to primary health care structures. How to fund and implement those changes while also driving the search for new diagnostic tools, drugs, and vaccines that treat TB will be a focus of discussions this week in Moscow. How seriously thereafter the world’s leaders take TB as a health crisis that needs prioritizing we shall discover at the first-ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB, to be held in September 2018. Eliminating TB will not be easy but neither is it impossible … This week the TB community needs a strong dose of sensible talk leading into long-term meaningful action. Eastern Europe, home to the world’s fastest growing HIV and MDR-TB epidemics, seems a good place to start” (11/16).

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WHO Strategy Should Be More Specific On How Agency Will Achieve Its Goals

The Lancet: Offline: WHO — a roadmap to renewal?
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…Although the new [WHO General Programme of Work (GPW)] is underpinned by the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], no convincing vision is offered about what sustainability truly means. … The ‘triple billion’ target [– one billion more people with health coverage, one billion more people made safer, and one billion more people whose lives are improved –] is the striking centerpiece of [WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’] vision. But the GPW is worryingly vague on how it will be achieved. On universal health coverage, no specific new initiatives are offered to accelerate progress. Big statements about mobilizing political will and increasing financing are made, but details about how these commitments will be fulfilled are absent. There is a promise that WHO’s performance ‘will be externally reviewed by an independent panel,’ but the precise mechanics are not explained. Will WHO’s new strategy mark an inflection point in the agency’s work and reputation? There are reasons to be hopeful — and the GPW will be strengthened through wide consultation — but there are also reasons to be anxious too. The risks of overpromising and underdelivering are great. And WHO cannot afford to fail again” (11/18).

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Long-Term Investments In, Improved WASH Critical To Women's, Girls' Health, Achieving Gender Equality

Inter Press Service: Decent Toilets for Women & Girls Vital for Gender Equality
Tim Wainwright, chief executive at WaterAid

“…Being denied access to safe, private toilets is particularly dangerous for women and girls, impacting on their health and education, and exposing them to an increased risk of harassment and even attack. … Next summer, leaders will review progress on [Sustainable Development] Goal 6 to ensure universal access to water and sanitation. As countries prepare for this, there needs to be a dramatic step change in ambition and action. … We need governments and donors to acknowledge the importance of sanitation and make the urgent long-term investments needed. Girls and women should feed into the decision-making process to make sure the services meet their needs whatever their age or physical ability. And the issue of sanitation must be taken out of its cubicle — the health, education, and business sector must realize that providing safe, accessible toilets to all within their premises is non-negotiable. Only then [will] girls and women be able to fully participate in their communities, enjoying the health, education, and gender equality premiums brought by just being able to use a safe toilet” (11/16).

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Civil Society Must Be Part Of Global Nutrition Policy Discussions

HuffPost: Nutrition is political and civil society needs to shape those politics
Danny Sriskandarajah, secretary general at CIVICUS and member of the SUN Movement Lead Group

“…[M]alnutrition isn’t about food alone. Malnutrition is political. In Syria, South Sudan, and now Yemen, blocking food from reaching entire cities, and even entire countries, has become a tactic of war. These blockades are a harsh reminder: there is nothing natural about hunger, it is entirely man made. The deterioration in global hunger since 2014 also reflects the reality that climate change is already affecting crops, livestock, and fish stocks. … Addressing such problems requires global cooperation. … The political, social, and cultural nature of hunger manifests itself in many ways, including gender, racial and environmental inequalities. … It is [in these global policy discussions] that civil society is so sorely needed, as an independent actor, able to hold governments, corporations, and international organizations accountable for their roles in creating, and addressing these inequalities. We need to protect this role in nutrition — and in every other part of sustainable development” (11/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Oxfam Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Humanitarian, Development Funding In FY18 Budget

Oxfam America’s “Politics of Poverty”: In defense of U.S. foreign assistance: A final call to Congressional leaders
David Saldivar, aid effectiveness policy and advocacy manager at Oxfam America, discusses the FY18 U.S. foreign assistance budget, writing, “As Congress finalizes the budget it will send to the president, we urge the House of Representatives to join with the Senate and reject short-sighted, hard-hearted cuts to key international affairs accounts that are essential to fighting poverty and building prosperity. … Poverty, injustice, and humanitarian disasters won’t go away just because we stop helping to address them. It is irresponsible to pull back and hope others will step in to fill the void. We urge the House to do its part this week and ensure that crucial, life-saving humanitarian and development funding is not tossed aside” (11/16).

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Report Highlights Progress Made, Data Gaps In Tracking Africa's SDGs, Agenda 2063

Brookings Institution’s “Africa in Focus”: Figure of the week: Africa’s progress on the SDGs and Agenda 2063
Mariama Sow, research analyst at the Africa Growth Initiative, discusses a report that examines the progress made in Africa toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa’s Agenda 2063, and identifies gaps in data to track this progress. Sow writes, “[T]racking the progress toward the SDGs and Agenda 2063 remains a challenge in face of data limitation. Nevertheless, in cases where data is available, we note that notable progress is being made, such as in child mortality, and can identify specific gaps to make a country’s progress towards achieving the SDGs even more successful” (11/16).

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Undernutrition, Overweight Increase In WHO Africa Region, Report Shows

WHO Regional Office for Africa: WHO’s Africa Nutrition Report highlights an increase in malnutrition in Africa.
“A newly released nutrition report by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa has revealed that undernutrition is still persistent in the region and the number of stunted children has increased. The Africa Nutrition Report, launched [Thursday] in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, also indicates that a growing number of children under five years old are overweight. The report describes the current status in relation to six global nutrition targets that member states have committed to achieve by 2025, and underscores findings from the recently released Global Nutrition Report…” (11/16).

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New Report Serves As 'Comprehensive Resource' On Diarrheal Diseases

PATH: Stop the Cycle of Diarrheal Disease: A State of the Field Report
This report serves as “a comprehensive resource with the latest research and evidence on diarrheal disease and the solutions available to prevent and control it. It will be regularly updated as new information emerges. It is intended to be used by advocates (including scientists, academics, and researchers), donors, multilaterals, and national government leaders to take action and join the movement to defeat diarrheal disease” (11/17).

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From the U.S. Government

Women's Hygiene Class In Niger Aims To Improve Health, Welfare Of Local Women, Surrounding Communities

U.S. Africa Command: 724th EABS medical team teaches hygiene class to local Women’s Association
Staff Sgt. Joshua R.M. Dewberry of the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing highlights a three-day women’s hygiene class conducted for the Association of Nigerien Women Against War in Agadez, Niger, writing, “The medical section hopes to have more classes in the future with the women’s association and cover more health care topics that will further improve on the health and welfare of the residents of Agadez and its surrounding communities” (11/17).

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Blog Post Recognizes World Toilet Day, Highlights CDC's Efforts To Improve Sanitation In Developing Nations

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Everyone Needs Somewhere to Go: World Toilet Day
Madison Walter, health communications specialist and ORISE fellow with CDC, recognizes World Toilet Day on November 19 and highlights CDC’s global efforts to improve access to clean and safe toilets. Walter writes, “CDC is working to increase the evidence base needed to provide clean and safe toilets and safely managed sanitation services in developing countries with limited resources. CDC’s efforts to improve sanitation are part of a worldwide initiative to break the silence surrounding the sanitation crisis” (11/16).

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CDC's MMWR Discusses Global Routine Vaccination Coverage In 2016

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Global Routine Vaccination Coverage, 2016
Leora R. Feldstein, epidemic intelligence officer at the CDC, and colleagues discuss the state of global vaccination coverage in 2016, highlighting the progress made since 1974, the challenges ahead, and recommendations on how to address these challenges (11/17).

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