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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Says State Department Spokesperson Nauert 'Under Very Serious Consideration' For U.N. Ambassador

USA TODAY: Trump’s top pick for U.N. ambassador: State Department’s Heather Nauert
“Heather Nauert, a former Fox News anchor and the current State Department spokeswoman, is a leading contender to be the next U.N. ambassador, President Donald Trump said Thursday. ‘She’s under very serious consideration. She’s excellent,’ Trump said when asked by reporters about Nauert following a speech on immigration. ‘We’ll probably make a decision next week,’ the president said. ‘We have a lot of people who want the job, and there are a lot of really great people.’ Nauert did not respond to an email seeking comment…” (Shesgreen et al., 11/1).

Additional coverage of this story is available from Bloomberg, Business Insider, CNN, Fox News, The Hill, TIME, and Vox.

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Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen Gains Attention With Western Leaders Calling For Cease Fire

New York Times: Yemen Girl Who Turned World’s Eyes to Famine Is Dead
“…A searing portrait of the starving girl published in the New York Times last week drew an impassioned response from readers. They expressed heartbreak. They offered money for her family. They wrote in to ask if she was getting better. On Thursday, Amal’s family said she had died at a ragged refugee camp four miles from the hospital. … The grievous human cost of the Saudi-led war in Yemen has jumped to the top of the global agenda as the outcry over the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi prompts Western leaders to re-examine their support for the war…” (Walsh, 11/1).

NPR: A Call For A Cease-Fire In Yemen Makes News. Its Catastrophe Doesn’t
“Yemen is finally making headlines. The U.S. has called for a cease-fire in hostilities. But in the meantime, the humanitarian crisis characterized as the world’s worst by the U.N. continues unabated — and largely out of the public’s mind. … More than 22 million out of Yemen’s total population of 29 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the the U.N. Nearly 18 million of them do not know where their next meal will come from…” (Lu, 11/1).

U.N. News: Looming famine in Yemen could put two million mothers at risk of death — U.N. agency
“The critical difficulties in accessing food in Yemen, and other hardships caused by the ongoing conflict, could lead to the world’s worst famine ever, and place up to two million malnourished, pregnant and lactating women at risk of death, the U.N. sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, said on Thursday…” (11/1).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Reaches 285 Confirmed, Possible Cases; New Case Detected In Previously Unaffected Zone

CIDRAP News: Ebola case found in new DRC area as outbreak hits 285
“Health officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said yesterday that an Ebola case has been detected in a previously unaffected health zone, which is located between the two current hot spots, and that eight more cases have been confirmed, based on reports [Wednesday] and [Thursday]…” (Schnirring, 11/1).

Additional coverage of the ongoing Ebola outbreak and response in DRC is available from Agence France-Presse and Xinhua News.

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Citing Manufacturing Challenges, Merck Says It Will Stop Supplying Rotavirus Vaccine To West African Nations Through Gavi By 2020

NPR: Merck Pulls Out Of Agreement To Supply Life-Saving Vaccine To Millions Of Kids
“The pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Inc. is ending a long-term agreement to supply a lifesaving vaccine for children in West Africa. At the same time, the company has started sending the vaccine to China, where it will likely be sold for a much higher price. The vaccine is for a deadly form of diarrhea, called rotavirus, which kills about 200,000 young children and babies each year. Merck’s decision means it will fall short of its commitment to supply its rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, to four low-income countries in 2018 and 2019, according to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. By 2020, the company will completely stop delivering its vaccine. … In 2011, Merck agreed to sell its rotavirus vaccine to low-income countries, via Gavi, for a greatly reduced price — about $3.50 per dose. … [In China, e]ach dose will likely cost … more than $40…” (Doucleff, 11/1).

STAT: Merck cuts back on vaccine commitment to West Africa as shipments to China ramp up
“…In a conference held in New York on Thursday, Merck Chief Executive Ken Frazier maintained the drug maker did not ‘pull out’ of the agreement to supply the West African countries. ‘What happened, with respect to rotavirus vaccine and our HPV vaccine, over the last few years, there has been an unprecedented rise in the demand for those vaccines. And vaccines are not like small chemicals where you can press a lot of pills. There is a long lead time associated with vaccines. And so, we have a temporary problem right now, where the demand outstrips the supply. We did suffer some manufacturing challenges that actually contributed to this. But we are still selling vaccines to those countries. The challenge that we have is we have to now build new manufacturing facilities in order to do the rotavirus and the HPV vaccine,’ he explained. Frazier added that Merck is not ‘hard-hearted,’ and pointed to the Ebola vaccine the country supplied to the Congo last spring…” (Silverman, 11/1).

Additional coverage of this story is available from Axios and Fortune.

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Some British Territories Could Qualify For Official Development Assistance Under New OECD Rules

BBC News: U.K. aid for wealthier overseas territories after rule change
“British overseas territories hit by natural disasters could get access to foreign aid under plans agreed by the richest nations, the BBC has learned. Some Caribbean islands damaged last year by hurricanes did not get official development assistance because their national incomes were too high. After U.K. pressure, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has agreed a new mechanism…” (Landale, 11/1).

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Asia-Pacific Region At Risk Of Missing 2030 Target On Preventing Malnutrition, U.N. Agencies Warn In Report

Associated Press: U.N. finds 486 million in Asia still hungry, progress stalled
“Despite rapid economic growth, the Asia-Pacific region has nearly a half billion people who go hungry as progress stalls in improving food security and basic living conditions, a United Nations report said Friday. … To be able to meet a goal of reaching zero hunger in the region by 2030, 110,000 people need to be lifted out of hunger and malnutrition every single day, said the FAO’s regional director-general, Kundhavi Kadiresan…” (Kurtenbach, 11/2).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Hunger stalks Asia’s booming cities — U.N. agencies
“Hundreds of millions of children and adults in Asia’s rapidly expanding cities are undernourished, and will remain so without ‘inclusive, sustainable, and nutrition-sensitive’ urban planning, United Nations officials said on Friday. The Asia-Pacific region has the world’s highest rate of urbanization, while also being home to more than half the world’s 821 million undernourished people, four U.N. agencies said in a report released in Bangkok…” (Chandran, 11/2).

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Gates Foundation To Suspend Health, Development Grant Program With Nonprofit Founded By Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed

Wall Street Journal: Gates Foundation Suspends Future Work With Saudi Crown Prince’s Charity
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is suspending its future work with a nonprofit chaired by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, reflecting the unease of Western entities in dealing with the kingdom as it struggles to explain the killing of a dissident journalist. … The Gates Foundation and the Misk Foundation — a media, culture, and education nonprofit aimed at helping young Saudis develop — last year launched a $10 million initiative, dubbed the Misk Grand Challenges, that gives grants to young people around the world for health and development innovations. Prince Mohammed founded Misk in 2011. … The Gates Foundation completed its first round of $1.5 million in funding and will honor its obligations to existing grantees but won’t fund subsequent rounds, the Gates Foundation spokeswoman said…” (Parasie, 11/1).

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg: Caribbean Says Zika No Longer an Issue. Doctors Say Not So Fast (Ekstein, 11/1).

MedPage Today: Malaria Hits Papua New Guinea Once Again (Lyles, 10/30).

New York Times: How to Turbocharge Flu Protection (Llamas Required) (Zimmer, 11/1).
Science: Nasal gene spray inspired by llama antibodies could prevent all types of flu (Cohen, 11/1).

Radio Free Asia: Malaria Cases in Myanmar See Huge Drop, Thanks to Efforts by Community Health Workers (Gerin, 11/1).

Reuters: Australia to remove child refugees from Pacific detention centers within weeks: diplomat (Packham, 10/31).

Science: ‘Poop vault’ of human feces could preserve gut’s microbial biodiversity — and help treat disease (Rabesandratana, 11/1).

VOA News: Human Rights Watch Calls on North Korea to End Pervasive Sexual Abuse (Miller, 11/1).

Washington Post: More than 200 are raped per month in Congo’s Kasai conflict, says new report (Bearak, 11/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Maintaining U.S. Global Health Credibility Requires Domestic Leadership

The Hill: American global health leadership starts in Ohio and Georgia
Vinay Gupta, public health researcher and pulmonologist, commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, and physician leader of Doctors for Cordray

“…[T]he world has very much taken notice of our growing inattention on global public health and the depth and authenticity of our global goodwill is now being rightly questioned. … How can we continue to credibly lead important global efforts on universal health coverage, TB eradication, pandemic preparedness, and the rising burden of non-communicable diseases if we can’t even provide a basic set of health services at low cost to all Americans? … [W]hat happens locally matters in sustaining the durability of our global leadership in public health. With our midterms only days away, and with health care overwhelmingly its defining issue, our global credibility in health is on the ballot. If you think averting the next major pandemic flu matters, then our global credibility matters. … Ultimately, the many competing challenges in global public health require an America that is leading in front with maximal influence to be effective. If our allies worldwide have lost some faith in our intentions over the past few years, let the coming midterms serve as our opportunity to let them believe in us again” (11/1).

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International Family Planning Programs Help Produce Better Health Outcomes, Economic Opportunities For Women

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Let Women Plan Their Futures
John Bongaarts, vice president and distinguished scholar at the Population Council

“…[International family planning programs] are helping produce better outcomes for women and their families, including lower maternal mortality and greater economic opportunities. … The policy prescription everywhere should be the same: Help women do what they want. In Africa and around the world, women should be ensured universal access to effective contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions and enable them to live the lives they want. Governments and employers should also make it easier for women to combine childbearing and a career. When women have the opportunity to plan their futures, everyone benefits” (11/1).

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Review Of Global TB Control Strategies Vital To Success

The Lancet: Is the global tuberculosis control strategy too big to fail?
Reuben Granich, public health consultant

“Tuberculosis is a major killer and will remain so without considerable changes. … Decades of greater attention and increased political will has not been enough — a serious review of global tuberculosis control strategy is merited. … Budgeting for ambitious targets makes sense and is necessary to successfully tackle tuberculosis control. However, calling for increased funding for a poorly performing disease control strategy is never easy. Requests for funding should be based on new strategies that review available resources and past returns on investments. There are many hard questions to be asked about strategy, leadership, and longstanding inefficiencies, including wasteful meetings, redundant international organizations, and antiquated, ineffective service delivery. Asking tough questions should not be seen as an attack; it is essential to rapidly learn from past failures and course correct to ensure increased funding and the success of robust tuberculosis control efforts” (11/1).

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Controlling Air Pollution In Africa Would Reap Economic, Health Benefits

Financial Times: Cleaning up Africa’s air would pay for itself in economic gains
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa

“…Pollution is a silent and invisible killer, slowly eroding health for years before afflictions become apparent, unlike malaria or diarrhea where symptoms show up within months or even days. Children who have been exposed to dirty air may be at greater risk of chronic disease, which can cast a shadow over their entire life. The financial impact is unmistakable but, like the health costs, it is often ignored. … The economic benefits from controlling pollution in terms of efficiency and productivity gains often significantly outweigh the costs. … The way forward for Africa is no different from that anywhere else. Cities need cleaner energy, transportation, waste management, and industrial activity. People need cleaner energy sources for cooking, heating, and lighting. Governments need to monitor air quality to gauge the impact of reforms, and then adjust policies as needed. … It is time to move forward boldly, and we cannot do so holding our breath” (11/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Frontline Health Workers Coalition Director Outlines 3 Factors Critical To Achieving Astana Declaration On Primary Care

Frontline Health Workers Coalition: Can the Astana Declaration Be a Turning Point to Finally Ensuring Primary Health Care for All?
Vince Blaser, director of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition and senior advocacy and policy adviser at IntraHealth International, discusses outcomes and policy implications from the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan and outlines three factors that “will be critical to achieving the Astana Declaration.” These include: “Learn from the past and build on progress made … Be unequivocal about the task ahead … Be bold and concrete in political commitments” (11/1).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Discusses Agency's Work, Redesign Plans In Remarks To Employees

USAID: U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green’s Remarks at a Town Hall Meeting with USAID Employees
In remarks to USAID employees at a town hall meeting, USAID Administrator Mark Green provided an overview of USAID’s work and achievements over the past year, as well as USAID’s redesign efforts (11/1).

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