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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Fails To Weaken Sexual, Reproductive Health Language In U.N. Resolution Aimed At Preventing, Ending Child Marriage

Associated Press: U.S. fails to weaken U.N. references to sexual health
“The United States failed in an attempt to water down references to ‘sexual and reproductive health’ in a U.N. resolution Thursday despite support from China and many Islamic countries. The General Assembly’s human rights committee defeated the U.S. attempt to amend the resolution aimed at preventing and ending early and forced child marriages by a vote of 33-96 with 35 abstentions. Traditional U.S. allies including the European Union and Western nations opposed the Trump administration’s amendment along with many African and Latin American countries. The amendment would have weakened all references to ‘sexual and reproductive health’ in the text by adding the words ‘in accordance with national laws’ immediately afterward…” (Lederer, 11/16).

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BMJ Examines U.S. Mexico City Policy's Impact On Foreign Organizations Providing Reproductive, Sexual Health Services

The BMJ: Abortion: U.S. global gag rule is having ‘chilling effect’ on sexual health service providers
“Fear and confusion over the United States’ ‘global gag rule’ on abortion has led to self censorship and over-implementation of the policy, experts on sexual and reproductive health and rights have warned. The ‘global gag rule’ — also known as the Mexico City policy — prohibits foreign non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. global health funding from providing legal abortion services or referrals and also bars advocacy for abortion law reform. The policy was reinstated and expanded by President Donald Trump when he took office…” (Cousins, 11/16).

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International Conference On Family Planning Closes With Calls To Reach Access Goals

Global Health NOW: #ICFP2018 Closes, with Sights Set on 2020
“…With … data showing the world is roughly halfway to the goal of providing 120 million more women and girls access to contraceptives by 2020, plenary moderator Beth Schlachter, executive director of FP2020, concluded, ‘We might not get there at the time that we set … but we’ll get there’…” (Myers, 11/15).

Xinhua News: International conference ends with call to achieve universal access to family planning services
“… ‘We call for greater investments needed to meet women’s sexual and reproductive health needs in developing regions across the globe,’ said a joint declaration of participants read at the closing ceremony. Participants in the declaration renewed their commitment to be family planning advocates and ensuring rights for comprehensive family planning and guarantee access to modern contraception methods to poorest countries…” (11/16).

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Kenya's Medical Board Bans Marie Stopes International From Offering Any Form Of Abortion Services

BBC News: Kenya bans Marie Stopes from offering abortion services
“The authorities in Kenya have banned the international health organization Marie Stopes from offering any form of abortion services. The Medical Practitioners Board says it made the decision after investigating complaints that the group’s adverts were promoting abortion. Abortion is illegal in Kenya unless a mother’s health is in danger. Marie Stopes says it operates within the law, offering counseling services including post-abortion care…” (11/18).

Daily Nation: Board orders Marie Stopes to stop offering abortion services
“… ‘Marie Stopes Kenya is hereby directed to immediately cease and desist offering any form of abortion services in all its facilities within the republic,’ states the committee in a set of orders issued on Wednesday. … On social media Saturday, the debate raged on whether [the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board’s (KMPDB)] order against Marie Stopes will give more room to quack doctors conducting unsafe abortions. Experts have warned of huge health implications for women who procure abortion at backdoor clinics…” (Oketch/Kanake, 11/18).

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WHO Evacuates 16 Staff From Ebola-Hit Beni In DRC After Shell Hits Their Building; WHO DG Tedros Discusses Outbreak Response In STAT Interview

Agence France-Presse: Sixteen Ebola WHO staff evacuated amid DR Congo clashes
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday that 16 staff members have been temporarily evacuated from DR Congo’s restive eastern city of Beni after a shell hit the building they were staying in. … No one was injured…” (11/17).

STAT: WHO director general: Violence in DRC is allowing Ebola to spread
“…Repeated rebel attacks on the city of Beni — the outbreak epicenter and the headquarters of the response operation — have given the virus an advantage over the humans trying to contain it, acknowledges Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director general. … STAT caught up over the weekend with the WHO director general, who traveled to Beni earlier this month. We asked Tedros, as he is known, about the WHO’s ongoing battle against Ebola in North Kivu province and whether a global health emergency should be declared…” (Branswell, 11/19).

Additional coverage of the Ebola outbreak in DRC and the response is available from Agence France-Presse, BBC News, CNN, NPR, and STAT.

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European Medicines Agency Approves Simpler Treatment For Sleeping Sickness

New York Times: Rapid Cure Approved for Sleeping Sickness, a Horrific Illness
“The first treatment for sleeping sickness that relies on pills alone was approved on Friday by Europe’s drug regulatory agency, paving the way for use in Africa, the last bastion of the horrific disease. With treatment radically simplified, sleeping sickness could become a candidate for elimination, experts said, because there are usually fewer than 2,000 cases in the world each year…” (McNeil, 11/16).

Additional coverage is available from NPR and Science.

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Number Of Children With Severe Acute Malnutrition Reaches 10-Year High In Africa's Sahel

Al Jazeera: U.N.: Number of hungry children at 10-year high in Africa’s Sahel
“The number of hungry children in West Africa’s Sahel region has reached a 10-year high in 2018 due to a lack of rain, conflict and increasing food prices, a United Nations agency said on Friday…” (11/16).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Number of hungry children in Africa’s Sahel hits 10-year high — U.N.
“…More than 1.3 million children under the age of five suffered from severe malnutrition this year in the six worst hit countries in the semi-arid belt below the Sahara — a 50 percent increase on 2017, said the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF…” (Bacchi, 11/16).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Moving beyond a ‘flush and forget’ mindset in India (Saldinger, 11/19).

Devex: Long Story Short #36: The future of family planning (11/16).

Financial Times: Big Tobacco prepares to fight proposed ban on menthol cigarettes (Gray/Edgecliffe-Johnson, 11/17).

Reuters: World Bank re-engages Tanzania on scrapped education plan (Dausen/Mohammed, 11/18).

U.N. News: UNICEF welcomes Bangladesh statement that Rohingya will not be forced to leave (11/16).

Women’s Advancement Deeply: For First Time in Decades, Liberia’s Taps Are No Longer Running Dry (Thomas, 11/12).

Xinhua News: China Focus: China’s “Toilet Revolution” brings better sanitation to rural schools (11/18).

Xinhua News: Zika virus may cause growth delay, memory impairment: study (11/17).

Xinhua News: Laos vows to eliminate malaria by 2030: deputy health minister (11/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Health Community Must Reevaluate, Strengthen Vaccine Efforts

The Lancet: Looking beyond the Decade of Vaccines
Editorial Board

“When in 2010 the global health community declared the so-called Decade of Vaccines, it marked a path towards an ambitious vision for 2020: a world in which all individuals and communities enjoy lives free from vaccine-preventable diseases. … The Decade of Vaccines has indeed been formidable, fostering partnerships and accelerating progress. But in the current social and political climate, perhaps it is time to reevaluate. A systems-driven approach putting more power in the hands of the countries will allow for the design of vaccination programs tailored to the cultural specificities of their populations. A stronger involvement of the social sciences in programs could help strengthen the collective understanding of vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine development must be accelerated and greater impetus should be put behind better use of existing vaccines. Moving forward, the global health community will need to shift its focus: after the Decade of Vaccines, more muscular efforts must be made to integrate investments in immunization services into programs for universal health coverage” (11/17).

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Creating Global Microbe Vault Would Allow For Preservation Of Organisms That Could Promote Health

New York Times: We Need a Global Bank of Germs
Sarah Schenck, documentary filmmaker

“…[W]e’ve known for decades about ‘good germs’ that can resist or defeat ‘bad germs’ in our bodies. The trouble is that industrial environments, antibacterial drugs, and sophisticated medical procedures can kill off those good germs while letting bad ones grow unchecked. Last month, a team of scientists … suggested a source of new cures: Create a global microbe vault or system of vaults, perhaps where the climate is easy on refrigeration, to collect and preserve such beneficial microbes, particularly from countries least affected by modernization. Who knows the magic that surviving ancestral biotics might hold for understanding and curbing today’s diseases? … New treatments could mean newly discovered antibiotics or uses for bacteria-eating bacteriophages. … Creating the vault could also increase technology transfers to the developing world. Many questions remain unanswered … But the thinking behind the project is sound. We should muster resources to halt the loss of good germs, and restore their diversity and population. You can’t restore microbes that have gone extinct…” (11/18).

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Without Political Solution, Yemeni People Will Continue To Face Severe Hunger, Disease Outbreaks, Humanitarian Crisis

The Guardian: Food, clothes, medicine: the people of Yemen just want the same life as us
Johannes Bruwer, outgoing head of delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen

“…Even in peacetime, life in Yemen could be difficult. But when you add a long war to the mix, one that has had crushing effects on the average family, you end up close to catastrophe. The wave of severe hunger that humanitarians have been warning about will steamroll the country if there’s no major change. Over the past two months, there has been a massive deterioration in what is available at affordable prices. … This intensifying hunger, now moving towards potential famine, will exacerbate the already fragile health situation. More malnutrition will make outbreaks of cholera, measles, and diphtheria even worse. … Without a political solution we are going to face a disaster of a size and intensity that the world has not seen in a long time. … That roughly 75 percent of the population needs assistance is not a mark on their character but an indictment of the way this war has been waged…” (11/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Harvard Experts Discuss Importance Of Health Systems, Community Trust, Strong Governance In Preventing Epidemics, DRC's Ebola Outbreak

Health Affairs: Ebola In The DRC Is More About The DRC Than It Is About Ebola
Abraar Karan, physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School; Ingrid T. Katz, associate faculty director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and assistant professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School; and Ashish K. Jha, K.T. Li professor of global health at Harvard University, dean for global strategy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, discuss the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) “persistent struggles” with Ebola and the ongoing obstacles to an effective response. The authors note, “Ultimately, we are shown time and time again that epidemics are best managed when three pillars are in place: a strong primary care system, in which people trust the doctors and nurses who care for them; strong governance, in which political leaders and the government can respond effectively and engender trust; and strong communities, in which civil society organizations, religious entities, and others can mobilize people to change behavior and engage with the health system. … The current outbreak is about much more than Ebola: It is about what Ebola is showing us happens when we lack robust political and effective health systems” (11/16).

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Literature Review Examines 'Driving Forces Behind Chile's Integration Of Health Into Foreign Policy'

BMC Globalization and Health: Chile’s role in global health diplomacy: a narrative literature review
Jorge Ramírez, assistant professor at the University of Chile’s School of Public Health, and colleagues conducted a “literature review of the driving forces behind Chile’s integration of health into foreign policy” at three levels: international/global, regional, and domestic. The authors conclude, “Health actions in the context of international relations in Chile are still mainly motivated by more traditional foreign policy interests rather than by a desire to satisfy health needs per se. This seems to conform with findings of existing [Global Health Diplomacy (GHD)] scholarship that emphasize the importance of security and economic interests as driving forces of GHD, and how health is often appropriated instrumentally within foreign policy settings to achieve other goals…” (11/16).

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FT Health Discusses Antimicrobial Resistance, Antibiotic Overuse

FT Health: Antibiotic angst
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter highlights antimicrobial resistance, discussing a WHO report on the surveillance of antibiotic consumption, as well as provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Dodd, 11/16).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Highlights Development Of Low-Cost Technology To Help Newborns In Malawi Breathe

USAID: American Innovation Breathes New Life into Newborns in Malawi
“Students from Rice University in Texas developed a low-cost technology which helps small and sick babies breathe. Using a shoe box and an aquarium pump, these students created the Pumani bCPAP prototype that, at 1/10 of the traditional CPAP cost, is now providing life saving technology in many hospitals throughout Malawi…” (11/16).

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