KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

ProPublica Examines U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's Influence On Foreign Aid Distribution

ProPublica: How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Groups
“…Decisions about U.S. aid are often no longer being governed by career professionals applying a rigorous review of applicants and their capabilities. Over the last two years, political pressure, particularly from the office of Vice President Mike Pence, had seeped into aid deliberations and convinced key decision-makers that unless they fell in line, their jobs could be at stake. … ProPublica viewed internal emails and conducted interviews with nearly 40 current and former U.S. officials and aid professionals that shed new light on the success of Pence and his allies in influencing the government’s long-standing process for awarding foreign aid. Most people spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Trump administration’s efforts to influence USAID funding sparked concern from career officials, who worried the agency risked violating constitutional prohibitions on favoring one religion over another. They also were concerned that being perceived as favoring Christians could worsen Iraq’s sectarian divides. … USAID regulations state that awards ‘must be free from political interference or even the appearance of such interference and must be made on the basis of merit, not on the basis of the religious affiliation of a recipient organization, or lack thereof’…” (Torbati et al., 11/6).

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Counter-Terror Clause In USAID Grant Contracts In Nigeria Raises Concern Among Aid Workers, New Humanitarian Reports

New Humanitarian: Aid workers question USAID counter-terror clause in Nigeria
“…USAID, the biggest funder by far in Nigeria, introduced a clause late last year into all its grant contracts with tough new conditions aimed at preventing Boko Haram and the breakaway Islamic State of West Africa Province, or ISWAP, from benefiting from U.S. assistance. In practice, NGO officials say, this means aid agencies receiving USAID money risk falling foul of U.S. anti-terror legislation if they don’t vet those in need and refuse help to all civilians they suspect could have had links with the jihadists. That, aid workers worry, not only contravenes humanitarian principles, but is also impractical to implement in the field and could potentially put them in harm’s way…” (Anyadike, 11/5).

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More Than 11K Scientists Sign Warning Of Global Climate Emergency, Call For Improved Access To Family Planning Methods As Part Of Strategy

ABC News: 11,000 scientists sign declaration of global climate emergency
“Thousands of scientists from around the world have mobilized to warn people of an impending global climate emergency if levels of greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced. More than 11,000 scientists have signed a declaration stating ‘clearly and unequivocally’ that humans could endure ‘untold suffering’ if massive changes aren’t made to the biosphere, according to an article published in the scientific journal Bioscience on Tuesday, exactly 40 years after the First World Climate Conference was held in Geneva…” (Jacobo, 11/5).

Fox News: Over 11,000 scientists warn of ‘climate emergency’
“… ‘Greenhouse gas emissions are still rapidly rising, with increasingly damaging effects on the Earth’s climate. An immense increase of scale is endeavors to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis,’ they write in the warning published in the journal BioScience…” (Carbone, 11/5).

NBC News: More than 11,000 scientists issue fresh warning: Earth faces a climate emergency
“…The research, led by ecologists William Ripple and Christopher Wolf at Oregon State University, identifies six key areas in which governments, businesses, and members of the public can make critical changes, including addressing the planet’s swelling population, which has been a contentious topic in the climate debate. The authors say family planning services and other social justice efforts that promote full gender equity should be enacted to help stabilize the world’s population, which is increasing by approximately 80 million people per year…” (Chow, 11/5).

Washington Post: More than 11,000 scientists from around the world declare a ‘climate emergency’
“…The study also departs from other major climate assessments in that it directly addresses the politically sensitive subject of population growth. The study notes that the global decline in fertility rates has ‘substantially slowed’ during the past 20 years, and calls for ‘bold and drastic’ changes in economic growth and population policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Such measures would include policies that strengthen human rights, especially for women and girls, and make family-planning services ‘available to all people,’ the paper says…” (Freedman, 11/5).

Additional coverage of the article is available from Bloomberg, CNN, The Guardian, HealthDay News, HuffPost, and VOA News.

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International Community Must Do More To Fight Discrimination, Violence Among Women, Girls, U.N. Women Executive Director Says

Associated Press: U.N. official says fight for women’s equality is far from over
“The top U.N. gender equality official said Tuesday that more must be done to combat discrimination and violence against women and girls that she says persists in every part of the world. At the same time, U.N. Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka expressed cautious optimism ahead of next year’s 25th anniversary of the conference that adopted the only international platform to achieve women’s rights and empowerment…” (Niksic, 11/5).

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Philippines Officials Announce 4th Polio Case Since Re-Emergence Of Disease In September

Xinhua: Philippines confirms 4th polio case since outbreak in September
“The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed a fourth polio case in the country, saying that another child has tested positive for the disease in the southern Philippines. Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a statement late Tuesday that the fourth case was recorded in Mindanao in the southern Philippines after tests by international medical organizations yielded positive results…” (11/6).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: ‘Delhi in ICU’: Spike in respiratory diseases due to toxic smog (Kuchay, 11/5).

Devex: Q&A: On advocacy in a changing political environment (Cornish, 11/6).

The Guardian: Prisoners may be denied life-saving HIV treatment in UAE, campaigners say (Dehghan, 11/5).

New Humanitarian: Leave or die. The choice confronting HIV-positive Venezuelans (Rojo, 11/5).

Reuters: Sudan discussing cash transfers to poor as part of food subsidies plan — prime minister (Laessing, 11/5).

U.N. News: Nearly two million Cameroonians face humanitarian emergency: UNICEF (11/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Haiti Prioritizes Elimination Of Malaria, With Support From Global Fund, Others, First Lady Writes In Opinion Piece

Miami Herald: ‘We can eliminate malaria in Haiti with support from Global Fund and others’
Martine Moïse, first lady of Haiti and president of the Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism in Haiti

“…As we commemorate Malaria Day in the Americas on Wednesday, I am encouraged by new data that show significant progress against malaria in my country. … Haiti can eliminate malaria if we make the decisive efforts to act boldly on this vision. … This is why President Jovenel Moïse and I have made the elimination of malaria in Haiti a national priority. We have committed resources to ensure that this goal becomes a reality. Thankfully, we are not alone in our commitment. Haiti’s efforts to combat malaria is also strengthened by the major contributions of the Global Fund, which has invested almost $75 million to date to make Haiti malaria-free one day. … As I continue to work with the Global Fund and other partners to align resources with Haiti’s priorities during this challenging time, I acknowledge the strength, resiliency, and determination of this country to engage in bi-national malaria elimination efforts with the Dominican Republic, our eagerness to adopt best practices, and our commitment to remain engaged with endemic countries in the region joining us on the path toward the elimination of malaria…” (11/5).

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Sub-Saharan African Nations, Especially DRC, Need Better Tools To Build Resiliency, Treat Mental Health, Opinion Piece Says

The Hill: Sexual and gender-based violence in the Congo — better tools are needed to battle it
Tyler B. Evans, chief medical officer for the Santa Cruz County (California) Health Services Agency, associate professor at the University of Southern California, and member of the Global Outreach Doctors Board of Directors

“…A recent study demonstrated that 39.7 percent and 23.6 percent of women and men, respectively, reported sexual violence [in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)]. … The tools needed to build resilience are necessary to empower communities. Such tools are a basic provision of care built into robust systems that support mental health care. [Sub-Saharan Africa] (particularly the DRC) is wholly lacking such systems, and it is time this changes. It is within the scope of care of Congolese PCPs to manage mental health. Until they do, the health care system will continue to remain saturated by the more topical physical conditions with underlying mental health correlates, and a nation of such vibrancy and strength will never reach its full potential” (11/5).

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International Confederation Of Midwives Calls For Woman-Centered, Compassionate Maternal Care Worldwide, Lead Adviser Writes

The Guardian: No woman should be slapped for screaming as she gives birth
Ann Yates, lead midwife adviser for the International Confederation of Midwives

“…Evidence is mounting that disrespect and abuse in maternity care is a global problem. … Woman-centered, compassionate maternal health care needs to become the international standard. … The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is taking a stand against disrespect in childbirth and will be reconfirming its commitment to quality care by midwives for women at a summit in Nairobi next week, which marks the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development. … We are calling on national health ministers to create policies that prioritize respectful maternity care and highlight that the responsibility of care lies with the health care provider and individual professionals. … ICM calls on the World Health Organization, U.N. Women, and other global stakeholders to set up a respectful maternity care council and framework whereby countries are investigated and rated according to their treatment of expectant mothers during childbirth…” (11/6).

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Multi-Prong Approach Needed To Stem Unsafe Injection Practices At Private Medical Clinics In Pakistan, Expert Writes

CNN: Pakistan’s latest HIV outbreak was a crisis waiting to happen
Arshad Altaf, HIV and injection safety expert who works as a consultant for the WHO

“…Unfortunately, unsafe injection practices are common at private clinics and dispensaries [in Pakistan]. … This has led to numerous outbreaks of both hepatitis B and C, and in more recent years, the spread of HIV among previously low-risk communities. … To prevent future outbreaks, there needs to be a major overhaul of Pakistan’s health care delivery system. Regulatory authorities must crack down on quack practices of all types, and ensure providers are trained and licensed. Government-run primary health centers must remain open for longer to provide services to patients and communities when they need it. There is also a need to increase awareness among patients and communities about the risk of reusing syringes, as well as for men visiting barbers to ensure that new blades are used for shaving purposes. AIDS control programs must also work out a strategy to identify as many people living with HIV as possible, and give them access to the proper medicine, as well as improving prevention programs among at risk populations such as sex workers and drug users…” (11/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Article Examines Effect Of Donor Funding Through Gavi, Other Channels On Vaccine Coverage In LMICs

Vaccine: Effect of donor funding for immunization from Gavi and other development assistance channels on vaccine coverage: Evidence from 120 low and middle income recipient countries
In this online article, researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Department of Global Health “estimate the impact of Gavi support for vaccines and health systems strengthening on vaccine coverage for 3 dose DPT, 3 dose pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, 3 dose pentavalent, 2 dose measles and 2 dose rotavirus vaccines” and “investigate the same effects of total aid for immunization from other channels of development assistance.” The authors write, “Our analysis suggests substantial success both from a historical and prospective perspective in the implementation of global immunization initiatives thus far. As more vaccines are rolled out and countries transition from donor aid, strategies for fiscal sustainability and efficiency need to be strengthened in order to achieve universal immunization coverage” (11/1).

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ONE Campaign Looks Back At Global Fund Blog Posts, News Of 2019

ONE Blog: This is everything we wrote about the Global Fund in 2019
Robyn Detoro, digital coordinator at the ONE Campaign, writes, “We knew that 2019 would be an important year in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. At the start of the year, we set out a goal to help the Global Fund raise US$14 billion in pledges to fight these deadly diseases. And we did it! … Now that the hard work of raising US$14 billion in pledges is over, we’re taking you back through the year to give you a peek into exactly how we engaged and educated our membership, one blog at a time…” (11/5).

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U.K. DFID To Provide Up To £400M To Help Vaccinate Children Against Polio

U.K. Department For International Development: U.K. aid to help vaccinate more than 400 million children a year against polio
“International Development Secretary Alok Sharma has pledged new U.K. aid support to help vaccinate more than 400 million children a year against polio. Without this new support, tens of thousands of children would be at risk of paralysis from the disease, which leaves many unable to walk for the rest of their lives. The U.K.’s new package of up to £400 million will go towards the Global Polio Eradication Initiative…” (11/5).

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UNICEF, WHO To Hold Conference On Child, Adolescent Mental Health In Effort To Raise Awareness, Action

UNICEF: Increase in child and adolescent mental disorders spurs new push for action by UNICEF and WHO
“With the alarmingly high rates of self-harm, suicide, and anxiety among children and young people around the world, UNICEF and the World Health Organization are teaming up with some of the world’s leading minds to tackle this growing threat. … In a joint push to put child and adolescent mental disorders higher up on the global health agenda, UNICEF and WHO will co-host their first-ever conference on the topic in Florence, Italy, 7-9 November. The conference is part of Leading Minds, UNICEF’s new annual global conference series to highlight major issues affecting children and young people in the 21st century…” (11/5).

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CSIS Report Examines Role Of Fruits, Vegetables In Combating Malnutrition In Tanzania

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Seeds of Change: The Power of Fruits and Vegetables to Improve Nutrition in Tanzania
In this report, Amy R. Beaudreault, research fellow with the CSIS Global Food Security Project and Global Health Policy Center, “examine[s] the imperative role of fruits and vegetables in combating malnutrition. The research questions focused on the barriers to consumption, current strategies to increase consumption by U.S. and Dutch foreign aid projects and a local initiative, and opportunities for multisectoral and public-private engagement approaches. The fieldwork encompassed four projects — in three diverse Tanzanian regions — with budgets ranging from $25,000 to $25 million. Recommendations included creating demand, broadening implementation, scaling up an integrated multisectoral approach, and accelerating public-private engagement.” A multi-media, interactive story on the fieldwork also is available online (11/4).

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