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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Dallas News Examines History Of PEPFAR's, Baylor's Efforts To Address HIV/AIDS In Africa

Dallas News: Fighting AIDS in Africa: How a president’s initiative tamped down an epidemic
“…More than 77 million people have become infected with HIV over the years. Millions more have cared for them. In a plague of this magnitude, is it difficult to find the bright spots, and more difficult still to see how you relate to an HIV patient half a world away. But by examining the impact of a Texas physician and a Texan president’s plan, we can better understand the moral necessity of extending a hand beyond one’s own borders. … Everyday Americans are silent yet vital partners to the researchers, physicians, and governments around the world who joined forces to end a plague. For the last 15 years, American generosity has led what is quite possibly the biggest global health campaign in the history of the world through the taxpayer-funded President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief…” (Hallas/Pool, 11/21).

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DRC Begins Trial Of Experimental Ebola Treatments As Number Of Cases Surpasses 400

Bloomberg: Democratic Republic of Congo Starts Trial for Ebola Treatment
“The Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday began the first trial to test the effectiveness and safety of four experimental drugs in the treatment of Ebola, according to the World Health Organization…” (Ssuuna, 11/26).

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases surge to 419 as treatment trial launches
“Over the Thanksgiving holiday period and through [Monday], the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported 33 more Ebola cases, vaulting the total past 400, as the country’s health officials announced the launch of the first clinical trial of experimental drugs to treat the disease…” (Schnirring, 11/26).

CNN: First-of-its-kind Ebola treatment trial underway in Congo as outbreak surpasses 400 cases
“… ‘While our focus remains on bringing this outbreak to an end, the launch of the randomized control trial in DRC is an important step towards finally finding an Ebola treatment that will save lives,’ WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement Monday…” (Howard, 11/26).

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58% Of Women Killed In 2017 Slain By Family Member, Partner, U.N. Report Shows

CBS News: More than half of the women slain in 2017 were killed by family or partners, study finds
“More than half of the women murdered worldwide last year were killed by intimate partners or family members, according to a recently released study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The numbers equate to about six women being killed every hour by someone they know…” (Donaghue, 11/26).

CNN: The most dangerous place for women is the home, a new U.N. study says
“…Out of an estimated 87,000 women killed last year, some 50,000 — or 58 percent — were killed by partners or family members, according to the 2018 report on gender-related killing of women and girls by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)…” (Fox, 11/26).

Washington Post: U.N. finds the deadliest place for women is their home
“… ‘We still do not know the true extent of violence against women, as the fear of reprisals, impact of not being believed, and the stigma borne by the survivor — not the perpetrator — have silenced the voices of millions of survivors of violence and masked the true extent of women’s continued horrific experiences,’ Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, said in a statement. ‘This year, together with you, we aim to support all those whose voices are still not yet being heard’…” (Paul, 11/26).

Additional coverage of the report is available from The Hill, NBC News, and USA TODAY.

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Venezuela To Receive U.N. Emergency Funding To Address Humanitarian, Health Crises

IRIN: Venezuela to receive emergency U.N. aid for the first time
“Venezuela is to receive more than $9 million in assistance from the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund, according to the official list of 2018 allocations. … The largest tranche, $3,650,870, goes to the World Health Organization for ‘ensuring emergency care delivery capacity in priority health institutions to address essential health needs of the most vulnerable population in Venezuela’…” (Parker, 11/26).

Reuters: U.N. approves $9 mln in aid for crisis-stricken Venezuela
“…It is the first U.N. emergency funding for the government of President Nicolas Maduro, which blames the country’s economic problems on U.S. financial sanctions and an ‘economic war’ led by political adversaries. Government critics celebrated the move as a recognition by Venezuelan authorities that the country faces a humanitarian crisis — something Maduro has denied in the past — and a step toward treating a population starved of basic services…” (Nebehay/Ellsworth, 11/26).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Healing trauma in South Sudan through mental health programs (Lee/Mickute, 11/26).

Bloomberg: Glaxo Considers Developing Gonorrhea Vaccine as Threat Rises (Paton, 11/26).

SciDev.Net: Q&A: ‘There is a silent rejection of large health interventions (Makri, 11/26).

VOA News: 175 People Dead of Cholera in Northern Nigeria, Up to 10,000 Cases Recorded (Obiezu, 11/27).

VOA News: Severe Drought in Zimbabwe Threatening Livelihoods (Mavhunga, 11/26).

Xinhua News: Yemen launches nationwide polio immunization campaign targeting 5 mln children (11/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Examines Implications Of Mexico City Policy For Global Reproductive Health Services, U.S. Funding

The Hill: Under Trump there has been a takeover of global public health services
Heather Benjamin, program officer at the Open Society Foundations

“The Mexico City policy (global gag rule) prohibits foreign [non-governmental] organizations that receive U.S. government funding for health services from engaging in abortion-related services or advocacy. … One of the reasons the global gag rule is so destructive, is because it prohibits organizations from engaging in abortion-related services, referrals, or advocacy, even when using their own money — money not provided to them by the U.S. government. … Under previous Republican administrations, the rule was limited to funds specifically dedicated to family planning. … The Trump administration has expanded this old policy… As a result, the impact it will have on health services and advocacy will be all the more widespread and devastating. … Hundreds of organizations are now being forced to make an impossible choice: either abandon their commitment to reproductive health and rights by signing the rule, or refuse and lose their U.S. [global health] funding and risk having to shut down other life-saving health services…” (11/20).

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Opinion Piece Highlights 3 Opportunities To Strengthen Multilateral Support For Global Public Goods

Devex: Opinion: 3 ways to strengthen multilateral cooperation on global public goods
Jessica Kraus, senior consultant at SEEK Development; Nina Schwalbe, founder and principal at Spark Street Consulting; Gavin Yamey, professor of global health and public policy at Duke University; and Sara Fewer, co-director of the Evidence to Policy Initiative at the University of California

“Last month, 11 multilateral organizations committed to a new Global Action Plan to increase alignment and coordination toward the health-related Sustainable Development Goals at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany. This plan is encouraging — particularly its call to strengthen global public goods for health, also known as GPGs. … In a new policy paper, we’ve examined the potential support for GPGs from four organizations that provide the most development assistance for health: Gavi, the Global Fund, World Bank, and World Health Organization. … Here are the opportunities we’ve identified: Opportunity 1: Improve the production, quality, and use of health data … Opportunity 2: Accelerate the development and access to health technologies in low- and middle-income countries … Opportunity 3: Strengthen global health security, particularly epidemic and pandemic preparedness … As these organizations and others work to operationalize the Global Action Plan, they can build upon their shared interest in three essential GPGs: health data, development and access to health technologies, and health security…” (11/23).

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Close Coordination Needed To Tackle Major Humanitarian Challenges

Devex: Opinion: 3 ways to tackle our toughest humanitarian challenges
Mark Lowcock, under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and emergency relief coordinator

“…Here are some thoughts on how we can do better on three major challenges: combatants increasingly ignore the laws of war; the need for a more predictable and proactive system for financing humanitarian action; and how to deliver durable solutions for the huge numbers of people displaced inside their own countries by conflict and other crises. First, we must address that the biggest driver of humanitarian need is the behavior of combatants in conflict. … Second, the humanitarian community needs to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach to financing. … Third, we need to invest in more durable solutions for internally displaced people. … Working toward sustainable solutions requires close coordination among humanitarian and development agencies. Too often this has been hampered by artificial divides. Momentum is building to address this and foster greater join-up, both for the internally displaced and all vulnerable people in need, and OCHA is committed to playing its part…” (11/27).

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Achieving Malaria-Free World Requires Investments In, Access To New Tools

CNBC Africa: Op-Ed: What Africa can do to reverse its recent rise in malaria
Olivia Ngou, Africa deputy director at Malaria No More

“…Unless we stay focused on fighting malaria, especially in the highest burden countries, our hard-earned gains could be lost. … This response requires several actions to be fully supported by all parties involved. First, we need greater investments to deliver the right set of tools and services to all those who are vulnerable to malaria. … Second, we need to increase investments in researching and developing new ways to treat and prevent the spread of malaria. And third, we must ensure that any new malaria control methods serve the most affected communities … Those of us who face the threat and consequences of malaria daily are eager for greater access to existing tools, and continued commitment and funding to developing powerful new tools. We want them to have the best chance at succeeding, and this happens when communities are actively involved. This must continue to be a best practice. … Tools are truly transformative when they get to the people who need them most, and communities have a voice in the process of shaping and accepting these technologies. This is what will help us achieve a malaria-free world” (11/21).

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International Community Must Increase R&D Spending To End TB

Project Syndicate: Closing the TB Funding Gap
Willo Brock, senior vice president for external affairs at TB Alliance

“…According to the World Health Organization, the annual funding deficit for TB research and development is more than $1.3 billion, a shortfall that is exacerbated by a lack of market incentives within the pharmaceutical industry. … The R&D burden must be shared among the public and private sectors, and resulting treatments must be universally adopted and available. The goal should be to ensure that medicines are accessible and affordable for anyone who needs them … [H]ow can we guarantee access to medications — especially for the poorest patients — while maintaining funding streams for pharmaceutical R&D? … To strike the right balance with TB, the international community must recommit to R&D initiatives by showing the financial leadership agreed upon [at the high-level meeting] in September. … The longer we wait to increase R&D funding and strengthen collaboration on treatment, the higher TB’s death toll will climb. With so many lives at stake, the time for talking is over” (11/26).

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Investing In People, Leadership Vital To Accelerating Progress To End Hunger, Malnutrition By 2030

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Ending hunger by 2030 is possible, if we can accelerate progress
Shenggen Fan, director general at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

“…The goal of ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030 is … within reach … if we collectively act to accelerate the progress we have already made. It’s time to invest in accelerators — the policies, interventions, and innovations that can overcome barriers and speed progress toward ending hunger and malnutrition. They have potential to create transformative opportunities for reducing hunger and malnutrition quickly and sustainably across developing countries. … But the fullest benefits of these accelerators can only be realized by investing in people and leadership. Without improvements in income, knowledge, and capacity, people cannot fully benefit from the policies, programs, and opportunities to improve their food and nutrition security. We need leaders to create the political will and commitment necessary for tackling this challenge. … The challenge of eliminating hunger is formidable, but accelerating our actions can bring us closer to reach the 2030 goal” (11/26).

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Food Fortification Must Be Implemented To Achieve End Of Hunger, Malnutrition By 2030

Devex: Opinion: Food fortification — a call to action
Penjani Mkambula, global program lead for food fortification; Mduduzi Mbuya, senior technical specialist, knowledge leadership; and Greg S. Garrett, director of food fortification, all with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

“…Fortification of staple foods with essential vitamins and minerals is a proven, cost-effective, and sustainable way of reaching large numbers of people with vital nutrients. Large-scale fortification involves adding small amounts of vitamins and minerals to widely-consumed staple foods and condiments. … Building on the 2015 Arusha Statement on Food Fortification, our new briefing paper sets out the unfinished agenda on food fortification, along with a five-step strategy to tackle it: 1. Advocacy, support to political processes, and capacity building to mandate new laws, expand national programs, and improve quality control and enforcement. 2. Support to ensure appropriate standards are set and technical assistance provided to enable compliance with standards. 3. Action to improve monitoring, research, and evaluation of programs. 4. Innovation to support solutions, such as technology to make monitoring simpler, and initiatives to build consumer demand. 5. Alignment of fortification and food safety programs. … Adequate nutrition should not be a privilege in the 21st century. Sustainable Development Goal 2 aims for the end of hunger and malnutrition for all by 2030. Finishing the food fortification agenda must be a part of the solution” (11/27).

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Regional Governments Must Urgently Address Venezuela's Health Crisis

Washington Post: Venezuela’s health crisis demands an urgent regional response
Tamara Taraciuk Broner, senior Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch, and Kathleen Page, associate professor and medical doctor at Johns Hopkins University

“…The collapse of Venezuela’s health system has become evident to the world with the massive exodus of Venezuelans. … To uphold the rights to food and health in Venezuela, regional governments should convene a high-level meeting and invite experts from the Organization of American States, the European Union, key U.N. agencies, and nongovernmental groups to design an aid plan. Participants should agree on immediate, medium- and long-term strategies that include an independent assessment of the scale of the crisis. And then — what might actually be harder still — they should put considerable pressure on Venezuela to accept whatever aid is needed. In the meantime, they should consider working closely with nongovernmental and church groups to get more aid into the country. That won’t solve the problem, but could provide additional and much-needed relief to the Venezuelan people” (11/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Podcast Discusses Private Sector Perspective On Blended Finance For Development

Center for Global Development: Financing the SDGs with Martin Chrisney — CGD Podcast
In this podcast, Holly Shulman, director of communications at CGD, highlights a conversation between Mark Plant, director of development finance and senior policy fellow at CGD, and Martin Chrisney, director of the International Development Assistance Services Institute at KPMG, who discussed the private sector perspective on blended finance and development in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (11/20).

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People's Health Assembly Ends With Calls To Action To Invest In Public Health, Address Corporate Influence

BMJ Opinion: Fran Baum: The Fourth People’s Health Assembly concludes by decrying the health impacts of corporate power
Fran Baum, Matthew Flinders distinguished professor of public health and foundation director of the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University, and member of the Global Steering Council of the People’s Health Movement, discusses outcomes of the Fourth People’s Health Assembly (PHA4). Baum writes, “The PHA4 ended in a spirit of incredible energy, enthusiasm, and passion. Delegates from each region of the world took turns to sing a rousing call to arms. The inspiration that comes from such passion is vital to progressive health civil society movements. These movements provide the few voices who protest the fact that many governments are failing to invest in the public infrastructure needed to promote health or to question growing corporate control over our lives and health” (11/27).

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BMJ Opinion Introduces New Collection Of Articles On 'Global Health Disruptors'

BMJ Opinion: Ilona Kickbusch and Andrew Cassels: Disruptions that shape global health
Ilona Kickbusch, director, and Andrew Cassels, senior fellow, both at the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, introduce a collection of articles on global health disruptors, writing, “With global governance and global health at a turning point, it seems apt to use the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute to look back at global health disruptors of the past two decades and to look forward at what will shape global health in the future…” (11/26).

BMJ Opinion: Global health disruptors: AIDS
Kent Buse, chief of strategic policy directions at UNAIDS; Nana K. Poku, executive director of HEARD Research Institute, deputy vice chancellor and college head of law and management studies, and acting vice chancellor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban; and Sheila Tlou, co-chair of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition, write the AIDS movement has been “a disruptor of unprecedented magnitude, breadth, and potential” (11/26).

BMJ Opinion: Global health disruptors: The end of the cold war
Francis Omaswa, executive director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation, discusses a “new paradigm … unfolding in resource development assistance,” including the emergence of new development banks created in Asia, China as an emerging major donor, a tendency towards regionalization, and less support for global multilateral agencies (11/26).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Secretary Of State Announces Latest PEPFAR Results, Highlights New Report On DREAMS Partnership

U.S. Department of State: Secretary Pompeo Announces Latest Lifesaving PEPFAR Results
“Today, in advance of World AIDS Day 2018, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced the latest results achieved by American leadership and partnerships through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has now saved more than 17 million lives. As of September 30, 2018, PEPFAR is supporting over 14.6 million people on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, including over 700,000 children. … A new PEPFAR report released today highlights that, in the past year, new HIV diagnoses among adolescent girls and young women continued to decline in 85 percent of the highest HIV burden communities/districts that are implementing the program’s DREAMS public-private partnership…” (11/27).

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USAID Newsletter Focuses On One Health, AMR

USAID’s “Global Health News”: One Health and Antimicrobial Resistance
USAID’s latest “Global Health News” newsletter focuses on One Health and antimicrobial resistance. “Zoonotic and antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) diseases account for more than 95 percent of all emerging infectious diseases reported during the second half of the 20th century. About 700,000 people die annually as a result of drug-resistant infections caused by tuberculosis (TB), HIV, and malaria alone. If no action is taken, it is estimated that drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050. … During November, partners around the world came together to acknowledge One Health Day and Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness week. This month’s newsletter highlights our work combating AMR; building on the strides made against infectious diseases like TB, HIV, and malaria; and the Bureau for Global Health’s multi-sectoral focus on animal, human, and environmental health…” (November 2018).

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