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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

News Outlets Examine Possible Impacts Of Trump Presidency On USAID, CDC Operations

Devex: Trump could roll back LBGT and family planning policies, warns former USAID general counsel
“A former general counsel at USAID has warned the aid agency could face serious challenges under President-elect Donald Trump, including how it operates in conflict countries, the future of U.S. democratizing work, potentially scaling back support for LGBTI and family planning programs abroad, and even filling the post of USAID administrator. John Simpkins, who stepped down as the agency’s top lawyer at the end of October, also called on countries where the U.S. Agency for International Development works to ‘make it clear’ to the Trump administration that the partnership is delivering beneficial impacts if they want to continue receiving support…” (Edwards, 11/21).

Washington Post: The challenges to public health under the Trump administration
“Some of the greatest challenges facing the United States aren’t terrorists or trade deficits, but public health threats. Experts are urging the next administration to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its international collaborations to protect people from preventable deaths. … The incoming administration has offered few signals about its public health priorities. The only thing officials have to go on is a single reference to ‘public health’ in President-elect Donald Trump’s 100-day action plan. The plan says Trump would impose a hiring freeze on all federal employees, but exempt ‘the military, public safety, and public health’…” (Sun, 11/21).

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CDC, Gates Foundation Heads Discuss Disease Outbreak Preparedness In WSJ Interview

Wall Street Journal: What Global Disease Threat Worries Public Health Officials Most?
“Infectious disease outbreaks not only have the potential to destabilize societies, they pose a threat to international economies, as well. What should public health officials and businesses be doing to prepare? Physicians Thomas Frieden, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chief executive of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, sat down with Wall Street Journal Assistant Managing Editor Laura Landro to discuss this issue…” (11/21).

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In Democratic House Leadership Race, Rep. Ryan Challenges Rep. Pelosi On Party's Focus On Zika Funding

Washington Times: Tim Ryan: Zika fight costly for Democrats in 2016 election
“Rep. Tim Ryan says Democrats made a mistake by focusing so heavily on the Zika fight this summer, picking a parochial political battle over an issue that turned out not to be the disaster they’d been counting on. … Mr. Ryan, an Ohio Democrat challenging Rep. Nancy Pelosi for her House leadership post, said over the weekend that was a mistake, saying it threw the party ‘off track’ in an election year dominated by economic angst. … A Pelosi spokesman on Monday disputed Mr. Ryan’s claim that Democrats placed a greater election-year emphasis on Zika than the economy — their ‘Stronger America’ focused on things like infrastructure and student debt relief — and said Mr. Ryan joined the rest of House Democrats in calling on GOP leadership to act on Zika funding…” (Howell, 11/21).

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Even As HIV Treatment Access Increases, Young Women Face 'Triple Threat' Of Infection, UNAIDS Director Says

Agence France-Presse: HIV treatment soars, but young African women suffer: U.N.
“The number of HIV-infected people taking antiretroviral medicine has doubled in just five years, the U.N. said Monday, while highlighting high infection rates among young African women. A new report by UNAIDS said it was on course to hit a target of 30 million people on ARV treatment by 2020…” (11/21).

Science: Young African women are especially vulnerable to HIV/AIDS
“Young women in sub-Saharan Africa are living through a ‘particularly dangerous time’ when it comes to risk of HIV infection, according to the annual World AIDS Day report of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). About 19 percent of the estimated 2.1 million new cases worldwide in 2015 — the most recent data for most analyses in the report — occurred in females between the ages of 15 and 24…” (Cohen, 11/21).

U.N. News Centre: Even as HIV treatment soars, young women still face high infection risk, U.N. warns
“… ‘Young women are facing a triple threat,’ said Michel Sidibé, executive director of the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), in a press press release, ‘they are at high risk of HIV infection, have low rates of HIV testing, and have poor adherence to treatment.’ … Sidibé and [Namibian] President Hage Geingob underscored that prevention is the key to ending the AIDS epidemic among young women…” (11/21).

Xinhua News: 38 mln people living with HIV worldwide: UNAIDS report
“…[T]he report says the treatment is working as seen by the number of 5.8 million people aged over 50 whose lives have been extended. This number, the report says, is projected to increase to 8.5 million people by 2020…” (11/22).

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Global Commission On Drug Policy Calls For Decriminalization Of Drugs In Annual Report

The Guardian: It’s time to decriminalize drugs, commission report says
“World leaders called for the decriminalization of drugs on Monday, in a report released by a commission that includes the former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former presidents of Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. The Global Commission on Drug Policy’s annual report recommended that countries should end civil and criminal penalties for drug use and possession in a report that follows the commission’s sharp criticism of the U.N.’s lackluster effort to combat drug abuse…” (Holpuch, 11/21).

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Researchers Say Zika Vaccine Could Be Available By 2018, NYT Reports

New York Times: The Race for a Zika Vaccine
“…Perhaps never before have so many companies and government organizations worked so quickly to develop a vaccine from scratch. Vaccines usually take a decade or more to develop. But researchers say a Zika vaccine could be available as early as 2018, in what would be a remarkable two-year turnaround. More than a dozen companies are on the hunt, in addition to government stalwarts like the National Institutes of Health…” (Thomas, 11/19).

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Militant Insurgency, Suspicion Over Polio Vaccines Hinder Health Workers' Efforts To Immunize Children In Nigeria

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Nigeria fights myths, fear in polio vaccine drive
“…Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state has disrupted health services across Nigeria’s northeast and hampered efforts to get [polio] vaccines to children at risk. … And as fighting between the militants and the Nigerian army forces people to flee their homes, aid agencies are concerned that the virus could spread to neighboring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, and nearby Central African Republic. … [H]ealth workers in Nigeria must contend not only with fear of the virus itself, but also suspicion of the vaccine…” (Nwaubani, 11/18).

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In Peru, Volunteer Community Health Workers Assist TB Patients Complete Treatment Regimens

Reuters: Wider Image: Hope for eradicating tuberculosis emerges in Peru slum
“…In places like [Peru’s] Villa Esperanza, or Village of Hope, … the problem is inadequate health services to help patients follow through with [tuberculosis (TB)] treatment, which takes six months to a couple years. Partners in Health (PIH) … trains community volunteers to tend to tuberculosis patients in their homes, making sure they take medicine daily and helping them navigate the public health bureaucracy. The volunteers, nearly all women already active in the community, have proven better at finding people with tuberculosis than white-coated health professionals, said Dr. Leonid Lecca, executive director of PIH in Peru…” (Taj, 11/22).

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Stigma Hinders Rollout Of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis In Kenya

Devex: Aid groups grapple with stigmatization in HIV prophylaxis rollout
“…[Pre-exposure prophylaxis’ (PrEP)] success in sub-Saharan Africa — the region with the highest burden of HIV — will hinge more on the social than the scientific, though. Researchers and advocates will have to strike a balance in how they market and roll out PrEP. They have to ensure that it reaches stigmatized populations with high HIV transmission rates, such as [men who have sex with men (MSM)] and sex workers. Meanwhile, they must ensure it is not perceived as exclusively a treatment for marginalized groups, which will lower its appeal both within those communities but also to other people who could benefit from it…” (Green, 11/18).

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IRIN Examines How Mining Industry, Military Contributed To Spread Of HIV In Indonesia's Papua Region

IRIN: How mining and the military created an HIV epidemic in Indonesia’s Papua
“Gaining rare access into a region severely restricted to journalists, IRIN exposes how a rampant sex trade and inadequate HIV treatments are fueling a health crisis…” (Schulman, 11/21).

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Al Jazeera Examines South Africa's Breastfeeding Policies, Challenges To Successful Implementation

Al Jazeera: Why South Africa’s plan to boost breastfeeding fails
“…The updated health department infant and child feeding policy mandates that public health facilities stop providing formula milk to all new mothers, and that women receive counseling on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding. The government also has been promoting Human Milk Banks, a service that allows nursing mothers to donate breast milk to organizations that store and distribute the milk. It has been five years since these policies were implemented, but breastfeeding rates in the country remain low. … [Health Minister Aaron] Motsoaledi blames inadequate information from health care workers for the difficulties women face in breastfeeding management, as well as a lack of support within the households with negative attitudes towards breastfeeding, as well as unsupportive work environments…” (Wadvalla, 11/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Leaders Must Take 'Balanced Perspective' To Inform U.S. Global Development, Foreign Policy Under Trump Administration

Huffington Post: What a Trump Presidency Could Mean for the Future of Global Development & Foreign Policy
Caroline Avakian, founder of SourceRise and managing partner at Socialbrite

“There is still much left to play out in the upcoming weeks when it comes to President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign aid and global development policies but it is clear that soon the development community will be grappling with new policies, funding priorities (or lack thereof), and a new order that will change the way we all do the business of ‘doing good’ abroad. … [E]stablishing a new development and foreign aid agenda doesn’t need a complete overhaul in order to meet the conservative values and priorities that are soon to be laid out. What that truly needs … is for the incoming set of development administrators to give a careful, thoughtful, thorough investigation of what policies and financial investments are working as well as how new leadership and direction can better actualize these existing achievements. Alternately, it is also important to note how the elimination of these programs would affect our foreign policy goals in the short and long term. An attempt at this type of balanced perspective would be our best chance at articulating a new American agenda to ourselves and to the world” (11/21).

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'Holistic Approach' To Drug Development, Distribution More Effective Than Eliminating Patent Protections On Biopharmaceuticals

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Don’t Blame Pharmaceutical Companies
Steve Ubl, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

“The authors of ‘The U.S. Is Standing in the Way of Cheaper Drugs for the Poor‘ (Opinion, Oct. 27) argue that eliminating patent protections on innovative biopharmaceuticals will improve access to medicines. … This is especially concerning as off-patent medicines represent over 90 percent of the World Health Organization’s essential drugs, yet millions still lack access. Tackling the real global barriers to access would include addressing a lack of health care professionals, inadequate infrastructure, appropriate distribution systems, and clean water. … The truth is that patients cannot receive new medicines unless they are invented. A holistic approach, where industry collaborates with governments, NGOs, and bodies like the United Nations and WHO is much more productive than blaming pharmaceutical companies” (11/21).

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'Frugal Innovation' Involving Repair, Maintenance Of Medical Equipment Critical In Developing Countries

The Guardian: The health care sector in the developing world needs frugal innovation
Grace Kane, graduate intern at Philips Africa Incubator of Research

“…The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 50 percent of [medical] equipment in the developing world is broken, meaning that half of it is being used to treat patients, and the other half is rusting in an ‘equipment graveyard’ somewhere in or near a hospital. Much of this broken equipment is the result of well-intentioned but poorly planned donations. Some is bought by hospitals at a low price from second-hand equipment brokers. … NGOs that provide a repair service would have a crucial advantage in the eyes of sponsors — by ensuring medical equipment keeps working they can guarantee donors more ‘bang for their buck.’ … Some NGOs already take this results-driven approach. Global Links, which provides mostly low-maintenance equipment and disposable devices, works with local governments to gather data on how its donations have improved health statistics, instead of just reporting how much it has donated. Getting more NGOs — and their funders — to think in this way would be crucial for making sure servicing becomes a standard part of equipment donation” (11/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Advocates Express Concern Over Trump Administration's Potential Impact On Reproductive, Human Rights

Humanosphere: Trump’s male-dominated administration threatens reproductive rights, advocates say
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses the Trump administration’s potential impact on reproductive rights, writing, “[W]omen’s rights advocates are increasingly concerned about reproductive rights in the U.S. and in developing countries around the world” (11/21).

Physicians for Human Rights: A Global Trump Effect
Donna McKay, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, discusses the Trump administration’s potential impact on human rights, writing, “I am deeply worried about what a Trump presidency will mean for human rights, peace, and the safety and security of others around the world. If ever there were a time for an evidence-based human rights organization, it is now” (11/18).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights ASTMH 2016 Session On Impact Of TB Among Mothers, Children, Infants

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: ASTMH 2016: Impacts of TB go widely unrecognized, unaddressed in maternal and child health services
Christine Lubinski, executive director of the Center for Global Health Policy, reports on a session held at the recent American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s 65th Annual Meeting (ASTMH 2016) that examined the challenges of measuring the impact of tuberculosis on mothers, infants, and children (11/21).

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