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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

G7 Health Ministers Issue Statement On Impact Of Climate Change On Health, Nutrition

Associated Press/ABC News: G-7 health ministers: climatic factors impact health
“Group of Seven health ministers have issued a joint statement that says climatic factors impact on human health. Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin told reporters on Monday that the ministers were able to work out wording acceptable to the United States during their ministerial meeting in Milan, while also recognizing the differences in opinion in light of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accords…” (11/6).

Xinhua News: Malnourishment on rise due to “conflict and climate change”: FAO chief
“Chronic undernourishment is on the rise worldwide for the first time in a decade largely due to conflict and climate change, the chief of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Sunday told a two-day Group of Seven (G7) health summit in Milan, Italy. … The meeting in Milan marks the first time FAO has been invited to address health ministers from the G7, as da Silva was the keynote speaker at the two-day summit of health ministers from host Italy and fellow G7 members Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the U.S., and Britain. The FAO data are backed up by the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Nutrition Report 2017, which said almost every country in the world now faces a nutrition-related challenge. … The report issued at one of four side events to the G7 health summit calls for nutrition to be placed at the heart of efforts to fight disease and tackle climate change…” (11/6).

Xinhua News: U.S. accepts “climate change affects health” at G7
“The United States has accepted that climate change affects human health, Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said Monday at the end of a Group of Seven (G7) summit of health ministers. This outcome is important because the U.S. has decided to pull out of the 2016 Paris Agreement to curb climate change. The Italy-chaired two-day summit of health ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the U.S., and Britain kicked off Sunday in Milan, the country’s financial capital…” (11/7).

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U.S. EPA Approves Use Of Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes To Suppress Wild Populations In Limited Number Of States

Nature: U.S. government approves ‘killer’ mosquitoes to fight disease
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use of a common bacterium to kill wild mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as dengue, yellow fever, and Zika, Nature’s news team has learned. On 3 November, the agency told biotechnology start-up MosquitoMate that it could release the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis into the environment as a tool against the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Lab-reared mosquitoes will deliver the bacterium to wild mosquito populations. The decision — which the EPA has not formally announced — allows the company, which is based in Lexington, Kentucky, to release the bacteria-infected mosquitoes in 20 U.S. states and Washington D.C…” (Waltz, 11/6).

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Outcomes Of Global Nutrition Summit Include Funding, Political Commitments

Devex: Global Nutrition Summit sees new funding, political commitments
“Advocates and officials at the Global Nutrition Summit this weekend urged policymakers to place nutrition at the center of anti-poverty and development efforts. Good nourishment can have a multiplier effect on the well-being of communities, they argued at the event, which saw $640 million in new pledged funding commitments. Countries now face three primary nutrition challenges — childhood stunting, anemia in women of reproductive age, and obesity, according to the Global Nutrition Report, which launched at the summit. … The summit convened government representatives, foundations, business leaders, international agencies, and civil society organizations. They discussed the Global Nutrition Report, and how ending malnutrition in all its forms will contribute to all of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals…” (Cheney, 11/6).

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Africa Faces Range Of Nutrition-Related Challenges, Including Stunting, Obesity

Quartz: This is the only continent where children have both stunted growth and a rising obesity problem
“Africa is the only continent in the world where children are both fat and stunted. According to the 2017 Global Nutrition report, the continent faces serious nutrition-related challenges, stemming from both a deficiency in nutrients and obesity. Despite a decrease in the prevalence of stunting globally, about 60 million African children under five are not growing properly. At least 10 million others are also classified as overweight — posing both a severe health burden on countries and hampering broader development efforts…” (Dahir, 11/6).

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WFP Head To Visit North Korea To Assess Drought, Malnutrition, Ask For More Access To Country

Associated Press/Washington Post: U.N. food agency chief plans to visit North Korea amid drought
“The head of the U.N. World Food Program said he plans to visit North Korea, which is facing drought and ‘a lot of people starving,’ and will ask for greater access to the secretive nation. David Beasley said in an interview with The Associated Press late Monday that ‘we want to make the case very clearly that innocent children should not starve to death.’ While the WFP already has a team in North Korea, Beasley said the agency is asking the government to give them more access so the U.N. can ensure that those in need are getting assistance…” (Lederer, 11/7).

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Conflict, Hyperinflation Exacerbate Food Insecurity In South Sudan

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Hunger rises in South Sudan in “man-made tragedy”
“Harvest season is bringing little relief to millions of hungry people in South Sudan as conflict and hyperinflation have pushed malnutrition to critical levels that could put many lives at risk, food security experts warned on Monday…” (Win, 11/6).

U.N. News Centre: Harvest season provides meagre respite to South Sudan’s ongoing hunger crisis
“…According to the updated Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) released Monday by the Government of South Sudan, U.N. agencies, and other humanitarian partners, the number of people experiencing severe food insecurity across the country for the October-December period is likely to increase by 1.4 million from a year earlier to 4.8 million, although the number represents a drop from six million in June. The report also projects the food security situation will deteriorate at the start of 2018, and the ‘hungry season’ will arrive three months earlier than usual, when households will likely run out of food before the next harvest…” (11/6).

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Full Closure Of Yemen's Ports Could Worsen Humanitarian Situation In Country, Contribute To Famine, Cholera Spread

Washington Post: The Saudi power struggle hits the Arab world’s poorest country
“Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s apparent consolidation of power risks exacerbating an already catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting a rebel group with ties to Iran for more than two years. On Sunday, shortly after carrying out a purge of royal cousins and other high-ranking officials, an emboldened crown prince announced that the coalition would forcibly close all of Yemen’s ground, air, and sea ports. The move came after the Houthi militia fired a ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The Saudi-led coalition had already restricted access to Yemen’s ports, but a full closure has long been feared as a potential trigger for widespread starvation. A Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 after the Houthis took control of the capital city of Sanaa. Since then, the coalition has destroyed much of Yemen’s economy and infrastructure. … Around 7 million Yemenis are now on the brink of famine, according to aid agencies, and 10 million more do not know where they will get their next meal. Cholera is spreading uncontrollably, with more than 800,000 cases reported and fears that the number will cross a million by year’s end…” (Bearak, 11/6).

U.N. News Centre: Parties to ‘brutal conflict’ in Yemen must respect international humanitarian law — U.N. official
“Expressing horror at continued violence perpetrated by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country has called on the conflicting sides to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law. … The conflict in the country, now into its third year, has killed thousands and driven millions from their homes. Hostilities have also left over 17 million Yemenis food insecure, over a third of the country’s district in severe danger of famine, destroyed infrastructure, and resulted in the breakdown of public services, especially water and sanitation systems. Lack of water and sanitation systems has also resulted in a devastating cholera outbreak, which has already killed more than 2,100 individuals and continues to infect thousands each week…” (11/6).

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Researchers Urge Faster Progress On Group B Streptococcus Vaccine To Prevent Stillbirths, Infant Deaths, Disabilities

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Overlooked infection kills 150,000 babies a year, mostly in Africa: study
“A bacterial infection passed from mothers to babies kills around 150,000 unborn children and infants a year but has been widely overlooked in developing countries, researchers said on Monday as they urged faster progress on developing a vaccine. Nearly one in five pregnant women worldwide is infected with Group B Streptococcus (GBS), which causes stillbirths, deaths, and permanent problems such as vision and hearing loss in babies, researchers found in the first global study of the disease. Africa is disproportionately affected, with 65 percent of the world’s stillbirths and infant deaths from GBS, though it is home to only about 13 percent of the world’s population, according to the study led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Most of these deaths could be prevented by a new vaccine that is still in clinical development, the study found…” (Peyton, 11/6)

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Devex Interviews J&J Chief Medical Officer About Private Sector's Role In Global Health Security Efforts

Devex: Q&A: The private sector’s seat at the global health security table
“In the wake of Ebola, many governments were spurred to think about their response and possible prevention tactics against similar epidemics moving forward. They weren’t alone. Seeing the clear economic impact such outbreaks could have on business and economies, the private sector stepped up and joined the conversation. … Since then, corporations from across the globe have committed to working together alongside nongovernmental organizations and governments to ensure that infectious diseases don’t necessarily equate to loss of life or an economic downturn. While that undoubtedly means considering emergency response, it is critical to ensure that preventative measures are in place before it even gets to that stage. … Sitting down with Devex, [Alan Tennenberg, chief medical officer at Johnson & Johnson] revealed some of the inner workings, systems, and processes that the private sector is putting in place to mitigate against a breach of health security, and he explains why the sector has more to offer than money…” (Root, 11/6).

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Devex Explores Drone Use In Humanitarian Situations, Coordination Among Aid Groups

Devex: Drone, meet the humanitarian cluster approach
“…UAVs are increasingly being recognized by humanitarian organizations for their potential effectiveness in disaster response, helping teams safely observe situations in real-time during emergencies or quickly collect damage assessment information in remote areas. Drones can also provide ‘Wi-Fi in the sky’ to get communities back online following a disaster, an idea the [World Food Programme (WFP)] has been experimenting with. At the same time, overuse or improper use of drones following disasters in the past few years have left many aid groups wondering how to move forward responsibly…” (Rogers, 11/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Strengthen Investments In Global Health R&D

The Hill: Let’s tackle new health threats before they reach us
Mark Dybul, professor of medicine at the Georgetown University Medical Center, former executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and former U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Coordinator

“…The need for research to develop new drugs, vaccines, and cures is clear. … The world is facing unprecedented health challenges. Diseases are moving to places where they have never been seen before — including the United States — and are changing at a rapid [pace]. Unless we are better prepared, we risk each new outbreak turning into a global crisis. Cutting federal global health R&D funding means we cut surveillance and prevention, not just the research. Now is not the time to take our foot off the pedal. Imagine what could be possible if we strengthened U.S. investment in global health R&D. Rather than reading fraught headlines about the next mystery disease, we can celebrate more breakthroughs — and greater peace and prosperity at home and abroad” (11/6).

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Global Health 'Inextricably Linked' To Individual, National, International Security

Devex: Opinion: The intersection between global health and security
Eric Goosby, professor of medicine and director of global health delivery and diplomacy at the Institute for Global Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco

“…Over the past decade, countries, and the global health community at large, have begun to embrace the intersection of global health and security and the issues that come with it. This includes strengthening health systems and recognizing that host countries, while they may not be able to tackle their health problems alone, need to start taking control of their own destinies. … U.S. global leadership and investment in response to health crises have saved countless lives and played a critical role in putting robust international responses in place to protect both Americans and vulnerable populations in the world’s poorest places. … It is critical to ensure that both U.S. states and partner countries overseas can detect and report outbreaks before they become pandemics. … We must … invest in new tools and technologies to prevent, detect, and respond to emerging disease threats. … Finally, we should not engage in a debate about existing or emerging infectious diseases without addressing the real need to deliver universal health coverage. … Global health and our individual, national, and international security are inextricably linked. It is time that we act accordingly” (11/6).

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Global Nutrition Summit Highlights Challenges, Opportunities For Ending Malnutrition

HuffPost: The multiple burden of malnutrition — It does not have to be this way!
Savio Carvalho, global campaigns director at WaterAid

“Over the past year or so the world economy has been booming with higher returns from the markets. This is seen by many as a sign of growth and prosperity. However whilst the markets were booming, at the same time the number of people going to bed hungry has increased from 775 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2017. … Over the weekend, the Global Nutrition Report (GNR) for 2017 was launched in Milan at the Global Nutrition Summit. The report draws attention to the scale of the problem when it comes to nutrition, but at the same time identifies a unique opportunity within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address the issue in a time bound fashion. … The Global Nutrition Summit in Milan had some rays of hope. Governments, donors, and philanthropic foundations made financial commitments of USD $3.4 million to end malnutrition. These commitments and many other ongoing initiatives are a step in the right direction. However, they will not be sufficient to address the scale of the challenge of the malnutrition crisis. … If leaders, governments, and non-state actors are serious to address this issue, they will have to put all hands on deck and act with a sense of urgency…” (11/6).

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Air Pollution Poses Global Danger

HuffPost: The Long-Term Dangers of Declining Air Quality Index
Tobias Roberts, writer, farmer, and development worker

“…Air pollution accounts for over 3 million deaths each year, though hundreds of cities and countries around the world aren’t even monitored. … When people hear of air pollution, we often have images of coal factories, smoke stacks, and vehicles that don’t abide by any sort of emission standards. While all of these causes certainly do contribute to air pollution problems, many cities in low to middle income countries also suffer the effects of the burning of agricultural refuse in the areas immediately surrounding the city. According to the EPA, particulate matter, or PM, is a mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that are emitted into the air. … Despite certain advancements in regulations intended to reduce the level of particulate matter pollution, the air quality index in most urban areas will only continue to deteriorate. … As with global warming and other anthropocentrically caused problems to our world, the poor and underprivileged will only continue to suffer the worst effects” (11/6).

HuffPost: Don’t Breathe Easy
Edward Flattau, environmental newspaper columnist

“A recent scientific study discloses that air pollution kills approximately nine million people annually, making it the leading environmental cause of premature death on the planet. But don’t derive any comfort from the fact that the aforementioned pollution victims reside predominantly in developing countries. We do not get off scot free just because of better air quality due to our superior pollution abatement regulatory regime. Our downfall is more subtle because of lag time between air pollution exposure and paying the piper. Many of our cities are not in compliance with the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) pollution standards. … [T]he result is a reduction in average life expectancy. Researchers estimate that current air quality reduces life spans on average by eight months in Los Angeles and six months in Chicago. … [I]t is in our best interests to help the developing world bring their pollution under control. In the industrial backdrop of the 21st century, the fate of all nations is environmentally intertwined” (11/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Partnerships Vital To Addressing Health Impacts Of Climate Change

UNDP: Partnering for the health of people and planet
Nadia Rasheed, team leader for health and development at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub; Mariana Simões, technical specialist for adaptation for the UNDP-USAID Capacity Building Programme on the Economics of Adaptation; and Elena Villalobos, technical officer at the WHO’s Climate Change and Health Unit, discuss the impact of climate change on health and the role that partnerships and initiatives play in addressing this impact (11/6).

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Blog Post Highlights Ideas, Innovations In Global Agriculture, Food Security

Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food For Thought”: Big Ideas and Emerging Innovations
This blog post highlights various news stories on ideas and innovations in global agricultural development and food security, including tech-based strategies to help Africa address drought and a new organic farming movement in Cuba that targets food scarcity (11/6).

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UNAIDS Launches World AIDS Day Campaign Focusing On Right To Health

UNAIDS: UNAIDS launches 2017 World AIDS Day campaign — My Health, My Right
“In the lead-up to World AIDS Day on 1 December, UNAIDS has launched this year’s World AIDS Day campaign. The campaign, My Health, My Right, focuses on the right to health and explores the challenges people around the world face in exercising their rights. … The campaign reminds people that the right to health is much more than access to quality health services and medicines, that it also depends on a range of important assurances including, adequate sanitation and housing, healthy working conditions, a clean environment, and access to justice…” (11/6).

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