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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Congress Presses Administrator Green On USAID Reform Plans, Program Funding

Devex: U.S. lawmakers frustrated by lack of information about USAID reform plans
“When it comes to government reform proposals, lawmakers don’t appreciate being kept in the dark. That was evident again Wednesday when U.S. Democratic and Republican congressional members voiced their frustration at the lack of information they have received about the Trump administration’s plans to reorganize U.S. foreign affairs agencies. U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations — his first public congressional appearance since he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August. While lawmakers from both parties reiterated that Green has their support, they also stressed that time is running out for the administration to bring Congress on board with its reform agenda for USAID and the State Department…” (Igoe, 11/2).

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U.S., U.K., Other Donors Oppose U.N. Request To Reprogram Peacekeeping Funds To Address Cholera In Haiti

The Guardian: ‘Shameful’: U.K. and U.S. under fire over blocked funds for Haiti cholera victims
“Human rights lawyers have accused the U.K. and other large donors of blocking the release of a multimillion-dollar U.N. fund to provide relief to victims of a cholera epidemic that has killed 10,000 people in Haiti. … In June, the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, asked member states to allow him to repurpose $40.5m (£30m) of leftover money to the Haiti cholera fund, which he said could have an ‘immediate impact in saving lives’. The appeal to reallocate unspent money designated for Haiti in 2015-16 has met with strong resistance from major donors. None of the five U.N. security council’s permanent members, which includes the U.S. and the U.K., approved the proposed funding reallocation…” (McVeigh, 11/2).

Miami Herald: On eve of high-level U.N. Haiti visit, Trump continues to say ‘No’ to cholera request
“Earlier this fall, as the United Nations’ blue-helmet peacekeepers began their withdrawal from Haiti, many of their countries rushed to the beleaguered nation’s aid, turning over millions of dollars in unspent peacekeeping dollars to help eliminate a deadly cholera epidemic. … But the United States, which had already stated its opposition to U.N. Secretary General António Guterres’ request over reassigning $11 million in unspent Haiti peacekeeping money, is refusing even though the Senate Appropriations Committee gave it the green light in September. The Senate provision allows the Trump administration to use the unspent peacekeeping dollars for Haiti’s cholera plan. … In June, Michele Sison, the U.S. deputy permanent representative to the United Nations — and Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Haiti — told Guterres during a public hearing that while the U.S. supports the request ‘in principle,’ it was ‘not in a position to contribute in this way’…” (Charles, 11/2).

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Kenyan Health Providers Express Significant Concern About Impact Of Mexico City Policy On Women's Health

PRI: Kenyan health providers call Trump’s global gag rule ‘a death sentence’ for women
“‘We’ve been given a death sentence.’ That’s how one Kenyan health clinic views President Donald Trump’s ban on U.S. federal [global health] funding for international groups that provide, support or discuss abortions. Critics call the policy the ‘global gag rule.’ The U.S. already prohibits the use of [U.S.] funds for [the performance of abortion at] foreign family planning centers that provide abortions. But the global gag rule goes one step further in that it restricts doctors or other health providers in these centers from even mentioning the word, ‘abortion,’ to their patients. Kenya is heavily dependent on U.S. health funds to fight HIV/AIDS and provide female reproductive services…” (Tong, 8/2).

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Private Sector Taking Steps To Address Climate Change, Meet Paris Accord Goals, SDGs

Deutsche Welle: COP23: Why Trump can’t kill the climate deal
“President Trump’s controversial tweets about global warming have left many heads of state stony-faced. But big business is now pushing Washington to implement the United Nations’ climate goals…” (Hell, 11/2).

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U.N. Report Shows Progress In Reducing Child Mortality

VOA News: More Children Surviving to Age 5
“In the past 25 years, the world has made remarkable progress in saving the lives of young children, according to the latest report from the United Nations. In 1990, 35,000 children died every day; last year, 15,000 children and babies died daily, the first time that annual child deaths have fallen below the 6 million mark. But most of these deaths could have been prevented, according to a U.N. interagency group that put together this year’s report on child mortality…” (Pearson, 11/3).

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Impact Of NCDs Growing, Response Lagging

Undark: The Growing Urgency of Killer Chronic Diseases
“Chronic diseases — a term that primarily refers to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease — are responsible for 88 percent of all U.S. deaths and 70 percent of all deaths worldwide per year, according to the World Health Organization. Yet they receive far less media attention and public health dollars than infectious disease. Deaths from these conditions, collectively referred to as non-communicable diseases, or NCDs, are concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, the health agency estimates. And their global impact is increasing as regions improve economically and adults live longer on average worldwide, as revealed in a 2016 report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation…” (Lloyd, 11/2).

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Media Outlets Continue To Report On Plague Outbreak in Madagascar

BBC: Why plague caught Madagascar unaware
“There have been more than 1,800 cases and 127 deaths [in Madagascar] since the start of August, according to new figures. The island off the south-east coast of Africa is used to seeing about 400 cases of mostly bubonic plague in the same rural areas every year. But this year it has developed into the deadlier pneumonic version and spread to much more populated areas, including the capital…” (Mazumdar, 11/3).

Global Health NOW: Plague’s Blast from the Past Carries a Major Lesson: One Health Matters
“…Plague should have been a scourge of a bygone era. Yet, Madagascar has been battling a plague outbreak… Plague is also a prime example of a disease requiring a blended response, drawing on animal, human, and environmental health disciplines — in short, a One Health approach. As we approach One Health Day on November 3rd, the plague epidemic underscores the need for collective action from experts in these fields to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from current and future infectious disease threats…” (Bali/Machalaba/Seifman, 11/1).

HuffPost: Inside A Modern-Day Plague Outbreak
“This island nation is currently facing the world’s worst plague epidemic since the Vietnam War. … Often the problem isn’t access to treatment. If caught in time, the plague can be treated with common antibiotics. But the shame surrounding the disease, which people associate with poverty and dirtiness, can prevent them from seeking care…” (Carver, 11/2).

New York Times: Deadly Plague Outbreak in Madagascar Appears to Wane
“The large plague outbreak that began in Madagascar in August appears to be waning, according to government case counts and local news reports. … A World Health Organization spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, confirmed reports in Malagasy media that both deaths and new cases were declining and most hospitalized patients had recovered, although ‘we cannot rule out the possibility of further spikes’…” (McNeil, 11/2).

TIME: There’s a Plague Outbreak in Madagascar. Here’s What You Should Know
“…The plague is a deadly disease spread largely by flea bites, but today can be treated effectively. Here’s what you should know about the latest outbreak…” (Sifferlin, 11/2).

VOA News: WHO Sends Experts to Prevent Spread of Plague Beyond Madagascar
“…Bubonic plague is not uncommon in the island nation, but this year the population also has been hit by plague pneumonia, which is spreading fast through the densely populated areas. Health officials say the outbreak is unusually severe and there are five more months before the end of the plague season. VOA’s Zlatica Hoke has more…” (Hoke, 11/3).

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Washington Post Examines Child Malnutrition In War-Torn Syria

Washington Post: In besieged Syria, one wasting death ‘just the start of a tragedy’
“…The story of how a child dies of hunger is not a simple one. In the besieged suburb of Eastern Ghouta, food supplies did not dry up overnight. Even after years of violence, families still managed to cope, spending savings on food sold at inflated prices and finding creative solutions when the fuel ran out. Slowly, after years of a government blockade, warlord profiteering and international paralysis over the appropriate humanitarian response, residents of this suburb once known as the breadbasket of Damascus have reached a breaking point…” (Loveluck/Zakaria, 10/31).

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WFP Warns Of Hunger Crisis in DRC's Kasai Region

VOA News: U.N. Sounds Alarm on Humanitarian Crisis in Congo’s Kasai
“An official from the United Nations’ World Food Program has issued a warning about the situation in the southwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where conflict has left 3.2 million people severely hungry. In the past year, about 1.4 million residents of Congo’s Kasai region have been displaced by violence that has killed more than 3,000 people and destroyed entire villages, according to Claude Jibidar, who heads the WFP in Congo…” (Powell, 11/2).

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Increased Temperatures May Play Role In Spread Of Dengue In India, Study Says

Scroll.in: Explained: How rising temperatures might be helping dengue to spread through India
“Even as several parts of India are in the grip of severe dengue outbreaks, a team of researchers has found clues about why the mosquito-borne disease might be spreading through the country faster than before. The answer lies in increased temperatures, according to a study published in the journal, Science Advances. A rise in temperature results in a shorter ‘extrinsic incubation period’ or EIP, which is the time required for the virus to develop in the mosquito, according to the study by scientists from Hyderabad, Guwahati and Liverpool. A shorter incubation period leads to higher transmission rates of dengue infection in a community, the authors said. … As it turns out, an analysis of the health impacts of climate change published by The Lancet earlier this week cited climate change as a potential factor for the rise in dengue cases…” (Vora, 11/1).

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Podcast Discusses Efforts to Address Polio In Nigeria

Undark: Podcast #20: The War on Polio
“Our latest Undark podcast looks at the effort to wipe out polio in a few corners of the world where it stubbornly hangs on…” (Corcoran, 11/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Foreign Aid Requires 'Paradigm Shift'

Zimbabwe Independent: The curse of foreign aid
Vince Musewe, economist and political analyst

“Foreign aid, by design or accident, has unfortunately become the most powerful tool which certain western governments continue to use to keep Africa a begging continent. … A paradigm shift needs to be drawn for the scope of foreign aid in developing countries to yield fruitful results and the two key issues which need attention include: Eradicating the aid dependency syndrome … Better economic development policies … [A]id does not help the poor; it actually empowers and entrenches their rulers and an elite who soon pursue [their] own political interests and not national interest[s]. It can therefore increase oppression, stifle the growth of a strong middle class, and further marginalize the poor who are the intended ultimate beneficiaries. Secondly, aid is not a critical requisite for sustainable development because it can distort local markets. It tends to create a false sense of security for governments, lead[s] to abuse of tax revenues, and increase[s] corruption, which result[s] in serious policy inefficiencies which stifle economic growth. It tends to have a short term impact and may offer temporary relief but does not foster the creation of sustainable incomes in the long term, especially for the marginalized poor. Foreign aid has therefore not achieved its intended objectives and this requires a totally new and informed approach if Africa is to rise through its own initiative and steam” (11/3).

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Planetary Health Alliance, Lancet Call For Planetary Health Case Studies

The Lancet: A call for planetary health case studies
Sara B. Stone, planetary health education fellow; Amalia A. Almada, senior program manager; and Samuel S. Myers, director, Planetary Health Alliance

“The Planetary Health Alliance and The Lancet invite researchers, educators, and decision makers to submit real-world examples of planetary health in action for further development into case studies. We seek examples that show how human disruptions of natural systems (e.g., the climate system, specific ecosystems, not solely unaltered ecosystems) can lead to increased burden of disease and show how a better understanding of these connections can lead to interventions or policies with positive health outcomes. … Case studies in planetary health are an urgent priority to illustrate integrated approaches for optimizing human health in the face of global environmental change and exemplify the complex, systems-thinking and solutions-oriented nature of planetary health…” (11/4).

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Urgent Action Needed To Respond To Climate Change's Impact On Health

The Lancet: Counting down to climate change
Editorial Board

“Climate change is commonly discussed in the context of its future impact, but the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change … exposes the urgency for a response as environmental changes cause damaging effects on health worldwide now. The comprehensive review describes the first results of a global initiative, which will annually report on indicators of climate change and its effects on health. One alarming finding is how rising temperatures have influenced the transmission of infectious diseases. … The message of this report is clear: urgent action is needed now. … Now is the time to build on the small achievements made by some countries and perpetuate engagement to reach political consensus in the race against anthropogenic climate change” (11/4).

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Nutrition 'Fundamental Building Block' For Disease Prevention, Health In India

HuffPost: If A State Cannot Feed Its People, It Loses All Moral Right To Exercise Authority
Chapal Mehra, writer

“…Nutrition has a critical role in both determining immunity and the ability to recover from diseases. … It’s time India thought of significant investment in nutrition as the foundational basis of a population’s well-being, social justice, economic growth, and as a preventive strategy for all diseases. Some solutions that India must consider are universal food security. … We need to re-examine, link, and innovate programs run by various ministries, including health and women and child development among others. This is possible if we mainstream nutrition and food security for all beneficiary groups and not just those affected by diseases. For those affected by diseases, we need to provide long-term specialized nutritional support and supervision through programs that ensure sufficient nutrition. It’s time to go back to basics and recognize that nutrition is the fundamental building block not just for disease prevention but the nation itself. Until we do so, our claims to eliminate TB or any other disease will remain hollow…” (11/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Offers Recommendations On Priorities For Final FY18 Appropriations Bill

MFAN: MFAN Outlines Priorities for FY18 Appropriations Conference
In a letter to the ranking members of the Senate and House Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette, MFAN co-chairs, discuss “opportunities to strengthen Congress’s role in any reorganization [of development and diplomacy agencies] and aid effectiveness,” and highlight several recommendations for the subcommittees to consider for the FY18 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (11/2).

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WHO Discusses Global Leadership Meeting

World Health Organization: WHO Global Leadership Meeting concludes with new commitment to delivering results in countries
In a news statement, WHO discusses the ninth bi-annual meeting of heads of WHO country offices in Geneva, which drew more than 260 of WHO’s leaders from headquarters, regional, and country offices “to discuss how to transform WHO into an organization that is better able to deliver meaningful improvements in health to the world’s people” (11/2).

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Blogs Discuss One Health Day

BioMed Central’s “On Biology”: One Health – a joined up approach to tackling a global challenge
Srimathy Sriskantharajah, a blogger for BioMed Central, discusses One Health Day, “initiated in 2016 to promote the One Health message of looking at planetary health as a cross disciplinary, global challenge…and consequently finding collaborative solutions” (11/2).

Healio: Top stories to read on One Health Day
Healio lists “a collection of stories from the One Health resource center to commemorate One Health Day and raise awareness of One Health’s importance to clinicians” (11/3).

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'Competence Of Care' May Be Potential Obstacle To TB Treatment

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: 48th Union World Conference: In the long path to TB care, competence is among the obstacles
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights findings from a session at the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health on TB treatment obstacles, namely that “the competence of the care [TB patients] find may still stand between them and the treatment they need” (11/2).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID's October 2017 Global Health Newsletter Focuses On Social, Behavior Change In Global Health

USAID: GH Newsletter — Social and Behavior Change in Global Health
USAID’s October 2017 Global Health Newsletter focuses on social and behavior change in global health and features articles discussing the role of social and behavior change in addressing maternal and child health, community education and engagement, breastfeeding, malaria, family planning, and Zika (October 2017).

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