KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Cover Global Nutrition Summit, Global Nutrition Report Launch

Devex: Nutrition is first and foremost a political challenge, says Gates nutrition lead
“…Shawn Baker, director of the nutrition team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leads their work on what has become a growing priority for the largest foundation in the world: ensuring that women and children get the nutrition they need. … [Recently, he was] focusing on the Global Nutrition Summit in Milan, Italy, on Saturday. The event builds on the first major global pledging moment for the nutrition challenge, which took place in London in 2013, and resulted in commitments to expand the reach of nutrition interventions in the first 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday…” (Cheney, 11/3).

The Guardian: ‘A danger to future generations’: $640m pledged as third of world malnourished
“Donors have pledged an extra $640m (£490m) to reduce the serious burden of malnutrition, which affects one in three people in the world. The crisis ‘endangers the physical and mental wellbeing of present and future generations’, warned Kofi Annan, speaking in advance of the global nutrition summit in Milan on Saturday. ‘We need further urgent investments so that people, communities, and nations can reach their full potential’…” (McVeigh, 11/3).

Reuters: Millions either malnourished or obese in global nutrition crisis
“Almost every country in the world now has serious nutrition problems, either due to over-eating leading to obesity or a lack of food leading to undernutrition, according to a major study published on Saturday. Researchers behind the Global Nutrition Report, which looked at 140 countries, said the problems were ‘putting the brakes on human development as a whole’ and called for a critical change in the response to this global health threat…” (Kelland, 11/3).

Reuters: Focused on ending hunger, Africa neglects rising obesity
“Focused for decades on ending hunger, African countries have largely failed to address a rising obesity epidemic that could soon become the greater public health crisis, experts said as new data was released. A quarter of the world’s 41 million overweight children under five live in Africa, a figure that has nearly doubled on the continent in the last two decades, according to the Global Nutrition Report published on Saturday…” (Peyton, 11/6).

Associated Press/ABC News: Event tackles child malnutrition as economic imperative
“The only woman to have been the first lady of two countries said Saturday during an international nutrition summit held in Italy that a major challenge in making the eradication of malnutrition a global priority is that the problem ‘is a hidden pandemic.’ ‘It is not visible in daily life,’ Graca Machel, a campaigner for the rights of women and girls and the widow of both Mozambican President Samora Machel and South African President Nelson Mandela, said at the meeting in Milan…” (Barry, 11/4).

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USAID Cancels Development Positions As Part Of State Department Hiring Freeze

The Hill: USAID tells applicants that jobs have been ‘cancelled’: report
“The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) notified dozens of applicants for foreign service jobs last month that the positions had been closed, a spokesman for the agency confirmed on Saturday. The cancellations, reported by the international development news website Devex [last] week, hit 97 applicants who were already going through the agency’s pre-employment process…” (Greenwood, 11/4).

Washington Post: USAID cancels jobs for dozens of applicants amid State Department hiring freeze
“…The jobs all were for overseas spots at the core of USAID’s mission and were being sought to fill existing and anticipated vacancies caused in part by attrition, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to address hiring decisions more candidly. The decision to inform applicants that the jobs they sought no longer exist grew out of a partial hiring freeze put in place by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson while a ‘redesign’ of the department is underway. Ending any pretense that the positions might open soon was a tacit admission that the freeze is unlikely to lift, even if Congress restores budget cuts of 30 percent or more sought by the Trump administration…” (Morello, 11/4).

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

PRI: Trump’s ‘global gag rule on steroids’ threatens Congolese clinics
“…Jeannine Assani, regional coordinator for ABEF (or Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial/Naissances Désirables), the Congolese reproductive health organization that runs things at [a health clinic in Lubumbashi], was concerned about her organization’s ability to continue its work providing free contraception, gynecological exams, and family planning education because its funding has been reduced as a result of the Trump administration’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, known as the ‘global gag rule’…” (Kasinof, 11/3).

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Washington Post Follows CDC, Congolese Scientists As They Investigate Monkeypox

Washington Post: Chasing A Killer
“…Over the past year, reports of monkeypox have flared alarmingly across Africa, one of several animal-borne diseases that have raised anxiety around the globe. The Congolese government invited CDC researchers here to track the disease and train local scientists. Understanding the virus and how it spreads during an outbreak is key to stopping it and protecting people from the deadly disease…” (Sun/Mara, 11/3).

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Madagascar Plague Outbreak Appears To Be Declining, Vigilance Must Be Maintained, Says WHO

CNN: Madagascar plague outbreak has killed 133, may be slowing down
“The spread of a plague outbreak in Madagascar may finally be slowing down. The epidemic, which began in August, has taken the lives of 133 people and resulted in 1,836 suspected or confirmed cases. However, the occurrence of new cases is finally decreasing, according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs…” (Larned, 11/3).

U.N. News Centre: Madagascar: U.N. health agency sees drop in cases of plague; urges vigilance as risk of spread remains
“While progress has been made in response to the plague outbreak in Madagascar, and the number of suspected new cases continues to decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that sustaining operations through the remainder of the plague season will be critical as there is still a risk of potential further spread of the disease…” (11/3).

VOA News: Pneumonic Plague in Madagascar Slowing, But Not Over
“…The World Health Organization says plague came early to Madagascar this year and has spread quickly. Quite unusually, pneumonic plague moved from the remote rural areas to congested urban areas, causing panic since, unlike bubonic plague, this disease is transmitted from human to human…” (Schlein, 11/4).

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DW Explores Impact Of Climate Change On Vector-Borne Disease Spread

Deutsche Welle: Vector-borne diseases: Climate change’s role in spreading them
“…For insects and their viruses, a few degrees of average global warming would probably not make much of a difference. But unusual seasonal weather conditions can. Such events open a window of opportunity for vector-borne diseases – and due to global warming, these windows are opening up more frequently…” (Schmidt, 11/3).

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Experts Call For Vaccine To Prevent Group B Streptococcus Infection Among Babies

The Guardian: Streptococcus vaccine ‘could prevent over 100,000 baby deaths worldwide’
“More than 100,000 stillbirths and baby deaths worldwide could be prevented by the development of a vaccine against an infection commonly carried by pregnant women, according to a groundbreaking report. The impact of disease caused by group B streptococcus (GBS) has not been properly chronicled before and only in relatively recent years has anyone taken seriously its role in the deaths of babies in the womb as well as in the early days of life. Worldwide, more than 21 million pregnant women carry the bacteria which used to be thought harmless, say researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Today it is recognised as a cause of septicaemia and meningitis in newborns, with potentially deadly effects, and also as a major cause of stillbirths, but vaccines against it are only now in development…” (Boseley, 11/6).

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Media Outlets Continue To Report On Health Challenges Facing Rohingya Refugees, Responses To Crisis

International Business Times: As malnutrition rises at alarming rate among Rohingya children, U.S. mulls slapping sanctions on Myanmar
“The United Nations on Friday warned that malnutrition among the Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh has reached life-threatening levels. The U.N.’s children’s agency cited preliminary data to claim that nearly 7.5 percent of the children crammed into one of the camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district were at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition. … United States lawmakers have proposed sanctions against Myanmar’s military. The decision is some of the strongest effort yet taken by the U.S. to pressure Myanmar to end its abusive treatment of the Rohingya Muslim community…” (Tripathi, 11/5).

U.N. News Centre: Thousands of Rohingyas cross into Bangladesh overnight; child malnutrition soars in camps — U.N.
“…UNICEF and partners are treating over 2,000 acutely malnourished children at 15 treatment centres, with six additional centres currently being set up. The agency is also working with health partners to identify and treat diarrhoea and pneumonia, and will be conducting mass vaccination and nutrition screening campaigns this month…” (11/3).

VOA News: UNICEF: Malnutrition Rates Soar Among Rohingya Refugee Children
“…The recently conducted survey in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar shows 7.5 percent of Rohingya refugee children suffer from severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF says this is at least two times higher than what was seen among the children in May — about four months before the mass exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state began. … More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled violence and persecution in Myanmar since August 25. Approximately 25,000 live in the Kutupalong camp, where the nutritional assessment was carried out. UNICEF says the refugees face an acute shortage of food and water. That problem, coupled with the unsanitary conditions, is giving rise to high rates of diarrhea, respiratory infections, and other ailments…” (Schlein, 11/3).

VOA News: Rohingya Children in Cox’s Bazar to be Vaccinated Against Cholera
“The second phase of a campaign to vaccinate tens of thousands of Rohingya refugee children against cholera gets underway Saturday in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The oral cholera vaccination campaign, which is being led by the World Health Organization, is targeting nearly 180,000 children between the ages of one and five years. They will receive an additional dose of the vaccine for added protection…” (Schlein, 11/4).

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Indian Government's Behavior Change Program Shames People Defecating In Open

Washington Post: India turns to public shaming to get people to use its 52 million new toilets
“The patrols started at dawn, and the villagers scattered, abandoning their pails of water to avoid humiliation and fines. Every morning in this district in rural India, teams of government employees and volunteer ‘motivators’ roam villages to publicly shame those who relieve themselves in the open. The ‘good-morning squads’ are part of what one official called ‘the largest behavioral-change program anywhere in the world.’ This is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Clean India initiative in mission mode. By October 2019, Modi has vowed, every Indian will have access to a toilet, and the country will be free of the scourge of open defecation. Since Modi came to power, more than 52 million toilets have been installed. But the trick, sanitation experts say, is getting people to use them…” (Doshi, 11/5).

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Venezuela Facing Severe Shortage Of Hospital Beds, Medical Supplies, Drugs

Miami Herald: Crisis in Venezuelan hospitals: too many patients, too few beds
“The health crisis in Venezuela is approaching levels comparable to the poorest nations, with naked women forced to give birth in a waiting room, patients treated on hospital floors, and forecasts that hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of dying from malnutrition. The alarming scenario also includes a shortage of medicines for treating severe diseases like cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure, and for containing outbreaks of contagious diseases, such as malaria and diphtheria. Services are very limited in both public hospitals and private clinics, where shortages of supplies have reduced the number of beds available to little more than 25 percent of what the country needs, according to experts…” (Delgado, 11/4).

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Red Cross Finds Millions Of Organization's Ebola Aid Lost To Fraud

The Guardian: Red Cross ‘outraged’ over pilfering of Ebola aid millions by its own staff
“The Red Cross has admitted that millions of dollars meant for fighting the deadly outbreak of Ebola in west Africa were siphoned off by its own staff. The organisation’s own investigations uncovered evidence of fraud, with more than $2.1m (£1.6m) lost in Sierra Leone, probably stolen by staff in collusion with local bank officials, according to a statement. In Guinea, a mixture of fake and inflated customs bills cost it $1m. The Red Cross, the world’s oldest humanitarian organisation, said it was ‘outraged’ at the losses but its statement did not contain any apology. It said it was ‘committed to holding all those involved in any form of fraud to account, and to reclaiming all misappropriated, diverted, or otherwise illegally taken funds’…” (Maclean, 11/3).

Associated Press/Washington Post: Red Cross: $6 million for Ebola fight stolen through fraud
“…The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was ‘outraged’ by what it had uncovered, and was strengthening its efforts to fight corruption, including introducing cash spending limits in ‘high-risk settings.’ It also plans to send trained auditors along with emergency operations teams. Other measures will include additional staff training and ‘the establishment of a dedicated and independent internal investigation function’…” (Roy-Macaulay/Larson, 11/4).

Additional reporting provided by: Deutsche Welle, Fortune, Newsweek, and VOA News.

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Editorials and Opinions

New Global Nutrition Report Presents Challenges To, Signposts For Addressing Malnutrition

Financial Times: Global nutrition crisis demands step change in response
Corinna Hawkes, director of the Centre for Food Policy at City University and co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report

“Malnutrition — in all its forms — is a far-reaching crisis that threatens to derail human development, with almost every country in the world now facing a serious challenge from undernutrition, obesity or both. These are the stark findings of this year’s Global Nutrition Report, an independently produced annual stock-take of the state of the world’s nutrition. … What we’re increasingly coming to understand is that the twin challenges of maternal and child undernutrition on one hand, and overweight and obesity, on the other, are intimately connected. All have poor diet at their root. … The report paints a troubling picture of the challenges posed for governments and societies everywhere, but it also signposts a way forward, one that places nutrition at the heart of global efforts to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Funding for nutrition needs to be turbocharged. … But the quality of the response is also critical. We will not succeed in tackling malnutrition unless our efforts encompass both the causes and the effects of malnutrition…” (11/3).

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Clean Water, Sanitation Key To Fighting Malnutrition

Inter Press Service: Why Water, Soap and Toilets are Keys to Ending Malnutrition
Tim Wainwright, CEO of WaterAid

“…The Global Nutrition report revealed that despite all of the hard work that’s gone into improving the world’s health, malnutrition remains a serious problem in almost every nation in the world. … [U]p to half of the malnutrition faced by the world’s under-nourished people isn’t so just because they lack food. It’s because they suffer from chronic infection and illness, from dirty water, poor sanitation, and poor hygiene. … That’s why the world needs to rethink its approach to malnutrition, because the status quo just isn’t going to get the job done. If we want to ensure children’s futures aren’t damaged before their lives have even really begun, then governments, policy-makers, and donors need to stop thinking of malnutrition as something that can be stopped with food alone, and start making clean water and toilets a priority…” (11/6).

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'Blockchain' Could Help Make Health Aid, Systems More Efficient

Foreign Affairs: Blockchain and Global Health
Brian M. Till, medical student and research associate at Boston Children’s Hospital; Salim Afshar, attending plastic and oral surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital and faculty member at Harvard Medical School’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change; Alex W. Peters, resident at Weill Cornell Medicine and Paul Farmer Global Surgery research fellow at Harvard Medical School’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change; and John G. Meara, Kletjian professor of Global Surgery at Harvard Medical School and plastic surgeon-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital

“…Together with inadequate government spending, corruption and inefficiency help explain why most of the world’s health care systems are underfunded — and why many states continue to suffer preventable outbreaks of deadly diseases … For too long, donors have focused on getting grants out the door instead of maximizing the returns on their investments. Blockchain, the technology best known for underpinning Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, could help change that. By allowing donors to track money, goods, and treatment in real time, blockchain could transform how organizations fund and execute health programs, curbing waste, saving money, and bringing better care to billions. … Aid groups could similarly use the technology to oversee medical supplies as they travel from factory to patient. … By streamlining supply chains and making it easier to oversee them, blockchain could help free up funds to spend on patients. … Adopting blockchain could also make ministries of health more efficient. … Translating [health care investments] into health and prosperity will require ending fraud and transcending the barriers to accessible, equitable funding. Blockchain offers a way to start” (11/3).

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Important To Not Create, Perpetuate Misconceptions About Differences Between 'Global Health', 'International Health'

Global Health NOW: False Distinctions Between International Health and Global Health
David Peters, Edgar Berman chair and professor of the department of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Johns Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World

“Over the past 2 decades, the growth in popularity of the term ‘global health’ has been accompanied by various efforts to distinguish it from ‘international health.’ As a result, many misconceptions about the meaning of both terms have cropped up. In particular, fundamental attributes long espoused in international health, such as a focus on health equity and multi-disciplinary approaches, have been claimed by some to be the new and exclusive purview of global health (see this discussion in The Lancet). Whereas the term global health may signal a change in emphasis toward issues that affect everyone around the world, health programs and initiatives using both terms still address health concerns from local to national, international and global levels. … Ultimately, neither international health nor global health is an entirely accurate term. But it is important not to create or perpetuate false distinctions between the 2 that do not exist…” (11/2).

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Efforts To Contain Monkeypox In Nigeria Must Intensify, Government Should Spearhead Response

The Guardian Nigeria: The Monkey Pox scare
Editorial Board

“What started as a lone case of suspected Monkeypox disease in Bayelsa State has, within a few weeks, spread to eleven more states with no less than 74 infections, according to the latest reports. Although, the casualty figure has been quite minimal, the rapid spread of the disease demands emergency management action from the federal, state, and local governments. All hands must be on deck to combat this highly contagious disease. … Given the propensity for a rapid spread and the lack of capacity in most states to contain the disease, the Federal Government should spearhead the battle. … Adequate information on measures for prevention and control should be disseminated by all local governments, state Ministries of Health, and even faith-based organizations which can easily reach the people. Personal and environmental hygiene are of course critical. Also, all health workers should adopt universal safety precautions in the management of suspected or confirmed cases by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and wash[ing] hands after each contact with a patient or contaminated materials. Surveillance systems must also be strengthened…” (11/5).

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Nigerian Government Should Increase Efforts To Provide UHC To Its Citizens

The Guardian Nigeria: Universal Health Coverage as key to development
Gregory T. Okere Esq., senior legal officer at the Centre for Social Justice

“…Quality and affordable health care is the foundation for individuals to enjoy productive and fulfilling lives and for countries to have strong and unwavering economies. In recent years, the [universal health coverage (UHC)] movement has gained global momentum, with the World Health Assembly and the United Nations General Assembly calling on countries including Nigeria to urgently and significantly scale up efforts to accelerate the transition towards universal access to affordable and quality health care services. … Health is a human right. The Government of Nigeria owes it a duty to provide health care for its citizens. … [G]overnment at all levels should intensify efforts towards achieving international best practices in the area of health care through Universal Health Coverage for all and sundry” (11/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

GHTC Releases Series Of Fact Sheets On Global Health R&D

Global Health Technologies Coalition: Fact Sheets on Global Health R&D
In a six-part fact sheet series, GHTC  examines “the contributions of U.S. government agencies to advancing global health R&D,” including USAID, NIH, CDC, FDA, DoD, and BARDA (October 2017).

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UNFPA Report Calls For More Equitable Access To Family Planning, Reproductive Health Services To Reduce Gender, Economic Inequality

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Unequal Women, Insecure World: The State of the World’s Population in the Age of Inequality
Jennifer Dabbs Sciubba, assistant professor at Rhodes College and non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, discusses results from the UNFPA’s State of the World Population report, which focuses on how gender inequality and unequal reproductive health and rights may pose a threat to global prosperity. Sciubba writes, “To reduce gender and economic inequality, the reports calls for more equitable access to family planning and reproductive health services” (11/3).

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FT Health Discusses Save The Children Report On Pneumonia, Features Interview With Retiring Director Of WHO's Global TB Program

FT Health: Pneumonia — the biggest killer of children
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses a new report from Save the Children, “which warns that without further progress there will still be more than 700,000 annual deaths from [pneumonia] in 2030, causing unnecessary human tragedy and hindering efforts to reach the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.” The newsletter also includes an interview with Mario Raviglione, who is retiring from his role as director of the World Health Organization’s Global TB Programme, and features a roundup of other global health-related news stories and releases (Jack/Dodd, 11/3).

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UNDP, WFP, Others Partners To Confront Climate Change In Arab Region

UNDP: Confronting climate change as an accelerator of crisis
In a blog post, Kishan Khoday, team leader for climate change, disaster risk reduction, and resilience at UNDP’s Regional Hub for Arab States, and Oscar Ekdahl, program officer for climate change and disaster risk reduction in the Middle East and North Africa at WFP, discuss climate change in the Arab region, “where many of the countries affected by conflict are also among the region’s top climate risk hotspots.” The authors note that partners are establishing a regional SDG Climate Facility, which “will be led by regional partners at the League of Arab States and the Arab Water Council and will serve as a platform to develop the capacity of countries to take action on climate change in a way that brings dividends for both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and for humanitarian objectives — combating poverty and fragility, building resilience of food and water resources, and promoting peace and security” (11/3).

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From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheets On U.S. Government's Global Efforts On NTDs, Millennium Challenge Corporation's Role In Global Health

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Neglected Tropical Disease Efforts
This updated fact sheet discusses the U.S. government’s efforts to address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) around the world and presents information on NTDs, including statistics, interventions, and international control goals (11/3).

Kaiser Family Foundation: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Global Health
This updated fact sheet describes the functions, governance, funding, and approach of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), with a particular focus on MCC’s engagement in global health (11/3).

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