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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Humanitarian Organizations Worried Trump Administration Will Cut Foreign Assistance Budget, Including Family Planning, LGBT Rights

Foreign Policy: Will Foreign Aid Get Cut on Trump’s Chopping Block?
“Anxious humanitarian organizations are worried that President-elect Donald Trump, who sharply questioned the value of foreign aid during his campaign, is poised to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. assistance for developing countries — including programs promoting democracy, family planning, LGBT rights, and efforts to address climate change. Aid workers say many of the plans will come under close scrutiny and possibly be scrapped altogether. But the future of the nearly $34 billion annual budget proposed for foreign assistance next year remains a mystery after a campaign in which Trump made contradictory and vague comments about the role of international aid programs…” (Francis et al., 11/23).

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Women's Health Advocacy Groups Fear Less Support For Reproductive Rights Under President-Elect Trump

Devex: How a Trump presidency could harm women’s health worldwide
“Major international women’s health networks, advocacy groups, and donors are readying for a battle against the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, which they fear will seek to block support for women’s reproductive rights worldwide. The exact funding and policy risks for girls and women’s health in developing countries and conflict zones is not yet clear, as Trump’s transition team has not rolled out any specific announcements on how it plans to tackle health abroad, or international development…” (Lieberman, 11/23).

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Development Experts React To Trump's Nomination Of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley As U.S. Ambassador To U.N.

Devex: Development experts react to Nikki Haley’s appointment as U.S. ambassador to U.N.
“South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a rising young Republican politician with little foreign policy experience, will serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. After news of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s latest selection to his administration circulated, the global development community and U.N. experts are now making sense of how Haley’s selection will impact development work and international relations around the world. … The U.S. Senate will still have to confirm Haley’s nomination. She said in her statement she will continue her work as governor until that occurs” (Lieberman/Saldinger, 11/23).

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'Meaningful' Action Needed To End Violence Against Women, U.N. SG Ban Says On International Day

U.N. News Centre: Violence against women ‘serious obstacle’ to sustainable development, Ban says on World Day
“Underlining that violence against women and girls is not only a human rights violation but also a serious obstacle to sustainable development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for ‘meaningful’ action to prevent and respond to such violence. ‘Violence against women and girls imposes large-scale costs on families, communities, and economies,’ Secretary-General Ban said in his message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women…” (11/25).

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U.N. Should Take Steps To Protect Hospitals, Health Workers In War Zones, Global Health Experts Write In Paper

STAT: Experts urge United Nations to protect hospitals from further attacks
“Global health experts are calling on the international community to defend medical neutrality in war zones — and are urging the United Nations to act when health care facilities are attacked. … The Geneva Conventions — ratified by 196 countries — are intended to protect medical services for civilians in war zones. But in a new paper published Tuesday in the BMJ Global Health, experts say blatant violations of that code are going unpunished…” (Thielking, 11/22).

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Grand Challenges Africa To Fund Research Aimed At Improving Maternal, Newborn Health

The Guardian: Innovations fund aims to save women and newborn babies in Africa
“Public health experts in East Africa have hailed an initiative that will fund research on the continent in the hope of fostering African innovation. The $7m (£5.7m) Grand Challenges Africa innovation seed grants program — funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and coordinated by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the NEPAD Agency Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) — is calling for ideas from Africa-based innovators working in maternal and newborn child health…” (Kavuma, 11/23).

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Infants Born To Zika-Infected Mothers Can Develop Microcephaly Months After Birth, Study Shows

CQ HealthBeat: CDC: Zika-infected Infants Can Develop Microcephly Outside Womb
“[Some] infants in Brazil who were born infected with the Zika virus, but had not yet developed microcephaly, later experienced slow head growth, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday…” (Siddons, 11/22).

New York Times: Microcephaly Found in Babies of Zika-Infected Mothers Months After Birth
“…The findings were reported in a study of 13 babies in Brazil that was published Tuesday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. At birth, none of the babies had heads small enough to receive a diagnosis of microcephaly, but months later, 11 of them did…” (Belluck, 11/22).

Washington Post: Normal head size at birth doesn’t rule out microcephaly, Zika syndrome after birth
“…The report is the first to document infants with laboratory evidence of Zika infection in utero who experienced ‘poor head growth with microcephaly developing after birth.’ Although other researchers have described cases of babies developing microcephaly after birth, they could only presume that those infants had been infected congenitally…” (Sun, 11/22).

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Scientific American Examines Research Into Zika's Global Spread

Scientific American: How Zika Spiraled Out of Control
“This spring our reporter went into the lab to see how scientists are gathering clues to Zika’s sudden spread around the world…” (Maron, December 2016).

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News Outlets Look At Ethics, Effectiveness Of Various Malaria Prevention Methods

The Economist: Malaria: The biter bit
“…Mosquitoes do not tend to fly far from the place they hatch, and experiments suggest that if most of a village’s inhabitants were to take ivermectin they could collectively do serious damage to the local Anopheles population. That would substantially reduce the number of cases of malaria in an area. Whether this is ethical is debated…” (11/19).

NPR: The New Debate Over Bed Nets And Malaria Prevention
“…[T]here’s growing evidence that mosquitoes are developing resistance to the insecticide used in [bed] nets. Now the World Health Organization has just completed a five-year, five-country study looking into whether nets might be becoming less effective. … [E]ffectiveness of the insecticide ranged wildly. … The good news is that the effectiveness of the insecticide did not seem to have much impact on rates of malaria transmission…” (Beaubien, 11/22).

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HIV Cases Continue To Rise In Russia Because Of Government's Rejection Of Proven Prevention Methods Among Drug Users, Experts Say

Foreign Policy: Russia’s Silent HIV Epidemic
“…Today, there are an estimated 1.5 million people who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in Russia, which has a population of 140 million. … Despite the startling statistics, the Kremlin refuses to embrace the globally accepted, evidence-based strategies that reduce the spread of the epidemic among drug users. And the government’s defiance in its policy, according to health experts, is almost certain to result in increased cases of HIV infections…” (Hoskins, 11/22).

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U.N.-Supported Cholera Vaccination Teams Reach More Than 729K In Haitian Areas Hit Hard By Hurricane Matthew

U.N. News Centre: More than 729,000 Haitians vaccinated against cholera in U.N.-supported campaign
“A Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/United Nations World Health Organization (WHO)-backed vaccination campaign has reached more than 729,000 people in Haiti’s areas devastated by Hurricane Matthew, which hit the country last month, the health agencies said. According to the agencies, Ministry of Health vaccination teams supported by PAHO/WHO and a number of other partners have covered about 94 percent and 90 percent of its targets in Grand’Anse and Sud respectively…” (11/22).

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Editorials and Opinions

Lack Of Foreign Policy Experience, Access To Trump's 'Inner Circle' Could Affect Nominees For U.N. Ambassador, Secretary Of State

BBC News: Nikki Haley: Does it matter that a U.N. ambassador has no foreign policy experience?
P.J. Crowley, former U.S. assistant secretary of state

“…Gaining international support for what America wants to do is all about politics. As successful elected officials, [Nikki Haley, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani’s] political skills can serve them well. … The lack of foreign policy experience will not be a big issue externally — America’s relationships with key allies and friends are driven by long-standing interests. What may handicap a Haley or Romney (but not a Giuliani) is the lack of an established relationship with [President-elect] Trump himself, who seems to value loyalty above everything else. While bureaucratic heft matters — the views expressed by the secretary of defense, secretary of state, director of Central Intelligence, and chairman of the joint chiefs carry weight in the White House Situation Room — access matters more. … While Haley and Romney could well balance Trump’s more ideological picks for national security adviser and director of Central Intelligence, they face an uphill struggle to gain real clout. … Trump may well invite them to join his team. Whether they join his inner circle is another question entirely” (11/24).

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Partnerships Vital To Continued Progress Toward Eradicating Hunger, Global Poverty

Huffington Post: Thankful for Partners, Thankful for Progress in the Fight Against Global Hunger
Samuel A. Worthington , CEO of InterAction

“… By joining forces [in 2016], leaders on Capitol Hill, U.S. non-profits (NGOs), universities, businesses, and the Obama administration were able to improve U.S. foreign assistance programs. The enactment of … laws [such as the Electrify Africa Act, the Foreign Assistance Transparency and Accountability Act, and the Global Food Security Act] through a bipartisan consensus is a clear reminder of how far we can go when we work together to fight global poverty. … By recognizing our shared interests and working together, the U.S. government, NGOs, and the private sector can continue to ensure that families everywhere have the ability to feed their children. This progress will only continue if we remain committed to effective programs focused on those living in the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities. I do not know what a Trump administration will bring but the lesson I have learned this year is that we must continue to collaborate and coordinate, not just to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, but to build more healthy, prosperous, and peaceful societies everywhere. Let us not reverse decades of progress” (11/23).

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3 Key Interventions Can Improve Health Of Children Globally

Project Syndicate: Three Ways to Improve Child Health
Anita Zaidi, director of the Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Tackling [pneumonia and diarrhea,] the two biggest killers of children worldwide, may seem daunting, but we have all the knowledge we need to mount an effective response. … [T]here are three relatively simple interventions that could make a big difference. The first is breastfeeding. … The second critical intervention is improved water, sanitation, and hygiene in homes and communities. … The third key intervention is vaccination. … Pneumonia and diarrhea should not still be taking children’s lives. No single intervention will be enough. But the accelerated and coordinated implementation of the three interventions described here could go a long way toward preventing pneumonia and diarrhea, especially for the most vulnerable children, enabling them to lead healthy, productive lives” (11/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Highlights Statement Made By Secretary Of State John Kerry On Eliminating Violence Against Women

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Everyone Can — and Must — Act To End #ViolenceAgainstWomen and Girls
In recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which took place on November 25, this “DipNote” blog post discusses the U.S. commitment to ending violence against women and highlights a statement made by Secretary of State John Kerry in which he says, “We must speak out against violence. We must support survivors and commemorate the victims. And we must stand together in our commitment to end violence against women and girls in all its forms” (11/25).

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U.S. Agricultural Research Critical To Advancing Global Food Security, Sen. Roberts Says In Blog Post

Agri-Pulse: Global food security: A past, present, and future approach
In this guest post, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, discusses the importance of U.S. agricultural research on global food security, writing, “[A]griculture must play a central role. … We must continue to build upon the time-tested infrastructure of research in the U.S. to make an impact around the world. Building the capacity of public-private partnerships will produce real results in addressing issues related to hunger, and developing economies of food insecure populations” (11/22).

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Novartis Testing Strategies To Improve Pricing, Access To Certain Medicines In Developing Countries

Humanosphere: Drug companies test out new strategies for improving access in poor countries
David J. Olson, a global development communications and social marketing consultant, highlights how pharmaceutical company Novartis is trying to improve access to drugs for noncommunicable diseases in developing countries. The company has launched “Novartis Access, which is trying to find a commercial solution to the inherent tension between the need to get affordable medications to the poor and for drug companies to protect their bottom line, and intellectual property. It is also trying to address the need for training and health system strengthening…” (11/25).

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