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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Improved Contraceptive Access In Puerto Rico Could Help Cut Zika-Related Costs, CDC Officials Say

CIDRAP News: CDC: Contraceptives would cut Zika costs in Puerto Rico
“Providing increased access to contraception to women in Puerto Rico during the Zika outbreak would be a cost-saving measure, including avoiding $62.3 million in costs related to Zika-linked microcephaly, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Puerto Rico reported [Tuesday]…” (Schnirring, 11/1).

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Low-Cost Health Interventions Could Prevent Hundreds Of Thousands Cancer-Related Deaths Among Women In Developing Nations, Study Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Cheap cancer measures could save hundreds of thousands of lives in poor countries
“Health interventions costing as little as $1.72 per person could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths from breast and cervical cancer in developing countries, scientists said on Tuesday. Nearly 800,000 women die of cervical and breast cancer every year, with two-thirds of breast cancer deaths and nine out of 10 cervical cancer deaths in developing countries, they said in a study published in The Lancet medical journal…” (Mis, 11/1).

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Improving Mothers' Nutrition Before, During Pregnancy Could Help Reduce Child Stunting, Research Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Mothers’ nutrition pivotal for healthy child growth: study
“Improving mothers’ nutrition before and during pregnancy is pivotal to reducing child stunting in developing countries, researchers said on Tuesday, as a new study showed poor child growth often starts in the womb…” (Bacchi, 11/1).

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Experts Discuss Disease Outbreak Preparedness At Fortune's Brainstorm Health Conference

Fortune: Here’s What We Could Be Doing to Stop Pandemics Like Zika and Ebola
“…A boiling pot of global conditions, like ubiquitous travel and the growing populations of developing cities, have led to [outbreaks] like Ebola, Zika, SARS, and even the flu over the past decade. But while the global health industry and national governments and regulators have made a lot of progress, there’s still much more that these groups can do together to better plan, fund, and organize the battle against emerging pandemics, said a group of experts at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego, Calif., on Tuesday night…” (Fehrenbacher, 11/1).

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Guardian Expert Panel Explores How Environment, Development Sectors Can Work Together On SDGs

The Guardian: 12 ways environment and development sectors can collaborate to meet the SDGs
“The 2030 Agenda intertwines goals for human development and environmental protection. An expert panel explains how the two sectors can work together…” (Purvis, 10/31).

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Many Southern African Countries Face Severe Food Shortages, Famine, Aid Agencies Say

Foreign Policy: The World Only Helps When Southern Africans Starve
“…Tiny, landlocked Malawi declared a state of emergency in April, when it became clear that lack of rainfall was threatening crops in 40 percent of the country. Since then, the drought has pushed more than half a dozen countries in the region to the brink of famine: Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe all face significant food shortages…” (Sperber, 10/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

New U.S. President, Congress Should Repeal Helms Amendment

New York Times: U.S. Policy Prevents Women Who Are Raped By ISIS From Accessing Abortion
Lisa Shannon, founder of Run for Congo Women and co-founder of Sister Somalia

“…Passed in 1973, the Helms Amendment limits funding for abortions abroad, but has been imposed as an outright ban. … Because the Helms Amendment only prohibits funding for ‘abortion as a method of family planning,’ it is clear that support for safe abortion in some instances, like cases of rape, incest, or mortal threat, is allowed. A simple reinterpretation on the part of the president would allow aid dollars for terminating rape-induced pregnancies. … It is time for a complete repeal of the Helms Amendment. Our new president and Congress must step up. … Voters must demand an answer from every candidate running for national office…” (11/1).

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Food Aid Reform Critical To Efficiently Addressing Refugee Crises, U.S. National Security

Foreign Affairs: U.S. Food Aid’s Costly Problem
Vincent H. Smith, professor at Montana State University (MSU), co-director of MSU’s Agricultural Marketing Policy Center, and visiting scholar and co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s agricultural policy initiative, and Ryan Nabil, financial economics researcher at the American Enterprise Institute

“…Given the urgency of the humanitarian disaster in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agencies tasked with managing U.S. food aid programs, should strive to use their funds as effectively as possible. Yet through a number of burdensome regulations, Congress has severely restricted their efficiency. … Instead of maintaining regulations designed to benefit U.S. shipping companies, Congress should enable U.S. aid agencies to deliver emergency aid as quickly and cheaply as possible. Eliminating cargo preference and the requirement that the government source food aid from U.S. producers could save U.S. food agencies up to $350 million a year, or about 30 percent of the current U.S. emergency food aid annual budget, according to studies by the Government Accountability Office and scholars at George Mason University. Those kinds of savings could be used to deliver food aid to an additional four million to 10 million people. The effect on national security would be negligible. … Food aid reform would mitigate that problem, making the Syrians most in need, the United States, and the rest of the world better off” (11/1).

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5 Focus Areas WHO Should Address To Improve Global Health

Huffington Post: Global Health Keeps Chaos Away
Philippe Douste-Blazy, under-secretary general of the U.N. and chair of UNITAID

“…[G]lobalization … offers unique opportunities to improve our world health. … We are fortunate to already have a tool: our United Nations’ agency for health, the World Health Organization, which stands at the core of those opportunities — if we can reform it and focus it on its areas of highest impact. While everyone agrees on the need to reform WHO, the matter of how to reform has garnered few proposals. … Besides focusing a greater part of its energies on a smaller set of priorities, in order to guarantee it can deliver results, WHO must also select as priorities the areas where it can bring the most comparative advantage, drive the most change, and trigger the most real-life impact. … Below are the five top issues that I would respectfully bring to this conversation. 1. Outbreak response … 2. Cancer, heart disease, and other [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)] … 3. Universal health coverage … 4. Access to lifesaving medicines … 5. Saving antibiotics from resistance…” (11/1).

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WHO's Anti-Tobacco Agenda Could Encourage Illicit Cigarette Market, Weaken National Security

The Hill: Corruption and weakened national security: the roles of medicines, tobacco in exacerbating both
Roger Bate, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

“Efforts to lower smoking and ensure access to medicines are sensible health priorities, but pursued with little regard to wider impacts, they can promote corruption and undermine national security. … [R]ather than acknowledge these risks, the WHO plows ahead in pursuing high tax policies on tobacco, regardless that such taxes can drive organized crime profits. … WHO is pushing a blinkered agenda of anti-tobacco militancy that is driving the illicit cigarette market. And things are only set to get worse as WHO doubles down on this approach [when it meets next week] in Delhi — the WHO Afro region proposes to banish cigarette companies even from being involved in track and trace systems, yet they are the only ones competent to deliver them. The result is a weakening of law and order and the strengthening of organized crime and terror financing. As the largest donor to WHO, the U.S. should demand that it makes sure all experts are at the table regardless of whether they work in the tobacco industry” (11/1).

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Global Community Should Mobilize Resources, Solve Humanitarian Crisis Brought On By Hurricane Matthew In Haiti

Huffington Post: Haiti Is Facing A Humanitarian Crisis We Can Solve — So Why Aren’t We?
Michael J. Nyenhuis, president and CEO of AmeriCares; Tiffany R. Kuehner, chair of Hope for Haiti; Nancy Aossey, president and CEO of International Medical Corps; and Carolyn S. Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children

“Of the many humanitarian crises challenging the world today, none is as solvable as the human disaster that Hurricane Matthew has wrought in southwestern Haiti. The threats to human life in Haiti’s Sud and Grand Anse departments are entirely within our grasp to address immediately: starvation, exposure, and disease — cholera, from contaminated water. And we have the solution at hand: food, shelter, clean water, medicine, and sanitation supplies. The only barrier is the collective will and resolve to act. Not doing so now — as we approach the one-month mark — means certain death for thousands of people, perhaps tens of thousands. … This disaster requires mobilization at a huge scale and fast. The U.S. government has deployed resources but if it does more, it will signal the urgency to others. Individuals, corporations, and foundations need to support the work of qualified relief agencies that can save lives…” (11/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

First Annual One Health Day To Recognize Holistic Approach To Protecting Animal, Human Health

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: ‘One Health’ — A Comprehensive Approach To Preventing Disease, Saving Lives
Casey Barton Behravesh, director of the CDC One Health Office, writes, “[A] ‘One Health’ approach is used at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and minimize the risk from zoonotic diseases, the technical term for diseases that spread between animals and people. One Health is becoming increasingly viewed as a cornerstone to a strong public health effort. That’s one reason November 3 has been designated the first annual ‘One Health Day,’ a day designed to draw attention — and appreciation — to an important, yet sometimes under-recognized, approach for protecting health…” (11/1).

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Provision Of Mental Health Services In Humanitarian Crises Can Empower Affected People

World Bank’s “Investing in Health”: Mental health services in situations of conflict, fragility, and violence: What to do?
Patricio V. Marquez, a World Bank lead health specialist, who heads the Global Tobacco Control Initiative at the World Bank Group, and Melanie Walker, senior adviser to the president and director of the World Bank Group’s Delivery Unit, discuss the importance of integrating mental health care into humanitarian and development responses. They write the provision of mental health and psychosocial support services “needs to be part of broad integrated platforms — population, community, and health care — that provide basic services and security, promote community and family support through participatory approaches, and strengthen coping mechanisms not only to improve people’s daily functioning and wellbeing, and protect the most vulnerable (e.g., women and children, adolescents, elderly, and those with severe mental illness) from further adversity, but also to empower the affected people to take charge of their lives as valuable members of society…” (11/1).

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Angola, UNICEF Continue Efforts To Prevent Yellow Fever Since End Of Outbreak In June

UNICEF: In Angola, keeping yellow fever cases at zero
Marcos Gonzalez, Heitor Lourenço, and Manuel Francisco of UNICEF describe Angola’s success in preventing any confirmed cases of yellow fever since late June and the agency’s and country’s continued efforts to support vaccination and prevention efforts (10/31).

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IntraHealth International Working To Improve Micronutrient Supplementation Of Mothers, Children In Tajikistan

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Micronutrients Could Have Macro Effects for Health and Nutrition in Tajikistan
Jon Thiele, IntraHealth International chief of party in Tajikistan, discusses the organization’s efforts to improve micronutrient supplementation in the country, where up to 35 percent of women of reproductive age are anemic and about 70 percent are deficient in folic acid, and more than 50 percent of children under five are iodine deficient (11/1).

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