KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.K. International Development Secretary Priti Patel's Resignation After Undisclosed Meetings Raises Questions Over DfID's Future

Financial Times: Theresa May loses second minister as Priti Patel resigns
“Theresa May has lost her second cabinet minister in a week after Priti Patel, the international development secretary, was forced to resign over undisclosed meetings with a lobbyist and Israeli politicians…” (Mance/Parker, 11/8).

The Guardian: Priti Patel forced to resign over unofficial meetings with Israelis
“…The prime minister will now need to carry out another reshuffle that will create disruption and add to the sense of instability across Whitehall and Westminster as her minority government battles to retain control of the political agenda…” (Syal/Asthana, 11/8).

The Guardian: Priti Patel fallout erodes public trust and diminishes U.K.’s stature, say critics
“The furore over Priti Patel’s secret trip to Israel, which has culminated with her resignation, has reignited questions over the future of the Department for International Development and sparked wider concerns within the aid community…” (McVeigh, 11/8).

New York Times: Priti Patel’s Resignation Adds to Pressure on Theresa May
“…This new political turmoil is likely to increase speculation about the strength of Mrs. May’s grip on power, and comes at a tense moment in discussions on quitting the European Union, or Brexit. The resignation also follows a series of sleaze and sexual harassment allegations in Parliament, which prompted another cabinet minister, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, to quit last week, and threatens another…” (Castle, 11/8).

Wall Street Journal: U.K. Minister Resigns Over Unauthorized Meetings With Israeli Officials
“…The development is the latest in a quick succession of challenges for Mrs. May, who has struggled to contain political fires and rein in ministers since losing her party’s majority in a June election gamble…” (Gross, 11/8).

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U.N. Humanitarian Aid Head Urges Saudi Arabia To Open Yemen's Borders To Prevent 'Largest Famine World Has Seen' In Decades

CNN: Saudi blockade pushing Yemen toward ‘worst famine in decades’
“The U.N.’s humanitarian chief has sent a chilling warning that Yemen is facing the world’s worst famine in decades in which millions could die, if Saudi Arabia continues to block aid flowing into the war-torn nation…” (Dewan, 11/9).

Deutsche Welle: Yemen facing ‘largest famine in decades’ if blockade isn’t lifted, U.N. aid chief says
“…[U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark] Lowcock’s warning came as the U.N. Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss the most recent escalation in the Yemen conflict after Saudi Arabia closed off all land, sea, and air borders to the Arabian Peninsula country…” (11/9).

New York Times: Saudi Blockade of Yemen Threatens to Starve Millions, U.N. Says
“…Mr. Lowcock said the Saudis must immediately allow the entry of food and medicine at all seaports, permit the immediate resumption of air services to the cities of Sanaa and Aden, and provide an ‘assurance of no further disruption to these services.’ Without such steps, he said, Yemen will suffer ‘the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims’…” (Gladstone, 11/8).

Reuters: U.N. warns if no Yemen aid access, world will see largest famine in decades
“…[Lowcock] said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir earlier on Wednesday and called for an immediate resumption of humanitarian access…” (Nichols, 11/8).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Millions of Yemenis suffer ‘nightmare’ of war as closed borders halt aid
“…A quarter of Yemen’s 28 million people are starving, while half a million children under the age of five are suffering life-threatening malnutrition, the U.N. says. The Arabian Peninsula nation is also battling one of the world’s worst cholera outbreaks…” (Kanso, 11/8).

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WHO's Draft Program Of Work Outlines Agency's Priorities, Raises Questions About Strategies, Devex Analysis Says

Devex: WHO’s draft program of work: Some answers, then questions
“…As per the draft [of WHO’s 13th General Program of Work], published on November 1, the WHO identified three overarching priorities with accompanying targets: one billion more people with essential health services coverage; one billion more people made safer; and one billion lives improved. The latter covers a more specific list of targets based on the Sustainable Development Goals. … But the document is very much a work in progress. Far from being final, the draft GPW is only the beginning of a more detailed discussion on the WHO’s priorities and direction…” (Ravelo, 11/8).

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Devex Examines Recent UNICEF Report On African Continent's Demographic Shift, Social Services Needs

Devex: UNICEF outlines groundwork to harness Africa’s demographic dividend
“To harness the benefits of Africa’s demographic shift, the continent will need to train 11 million new social service workers by 2030, including 5.8 million teachers and 5.6 million health workers, according to a recent UNICEF report. The report details both the potential of Africa’s young population and the immense groundwork necessary to translate population shifts into economic prosperity…” (Roby, 11/8).

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New Delhi Declares Pollution Emergency As Toxic Smog Worsens

New York Times: In India, Air So Dirty Your Head Hurts
“A toxic cloud has descended on India’s capital, delaying flights and trains, causing coughs, headaches, and even highway pileups, and prompting Indian officials on Wednesday to take the unprecedented step of closing 4,000 schools for nearly a week. Delhi has notoriously noxious air but even by the standards of this city, this week’s pollution has been alarming, reaching levels nearly 30 times what the World Health Organization considers safe…” (Schultz et al., 11/8).

Reuters: New Delhi declares emergency as toxic smog thickens by the hour
“The Indian capital declared a pollution emergency and banned the entry of trucks and construction activity as a toxic smog hung over the city for a third day on Thursday and air quality worsened by the hour. … ‘I’d like to assure people that the central government shall do everything possible to bring about improvement in air quality in Delhi and the Nation Capital Region,’ federal environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said as authorities faced criticism for failing to take steps to fight a problem that erupts every year…” (Miglani, 11/9).

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Brazilian Congressional Committee Votes To Outlaw Abortion In All Cases

Reuters: Brazilian Congressional committee votes to ban all abortions
“A Congressional committee led by Evangelical Christians has voted to ban abortion in Brazil in all situations, including cases of rape and where the mother’s life is in danger. The decision was voted 18-1 late on Wednesday by a special committee considering a constitutional amendment to extend maternity leave for mothers of premature babies. The single vote against the ban was cast by the only woman present during the session, Erika Kokay of the Workers Party, who called the decision a maneuver by the committee’s pro-life Evangelical majority…” (Boadle, 11/9).

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Aid For AIDS Founder Discusses Venezuela's Health Emergency, Worsening HIV/AIDS Epidemic In Interview

Americas Quarterly: On the Front Lines of Venezuela’s Worsening HIV/AIDS Crisis
“Jesus Aguais, founder of Aid for AIDS, on what the international community can do to slow Venezuela’s health emergency. … [Aguais:] The Venezuelan diaspora and the international community need a strategic response to save the people of Venezuela. This is a matter of life or death…” (O’Boyle, 11/8).

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U.N. IOM, Partners Expand Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Services In South Sudan Displacement Camps

U.N. News Centre: U.N. migration agency expands HIV/AIDS services in South Sudan displacement sites
“Thanks to the recent expansion of HIV/AIDS services conducted by the United Nations migration agency, some 171,000 civilians and their host communities have gained benefit from these health facilities in South Sudan. … This expansion of health services is a joint effort of IOM, the U.N. Development Fund, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria” (11/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Saudi Arabia's Blockade Of Yemeni Ports 'Could Trigger Full-Blown Famine'

Washington Post: Saudi Arabia’s blockade could starve sick children in Yemen
Editorial Board

“…The press of multiple international crises and President Trump’s monopolization of media attention have helped obscure the severity of the humanitarian emergency in Yemen, a poor country of 28 million that has been devastated by civil war and a Saudi-led military intervention. … Now … the Saudis have announced a more thorough closure of ‘all Yemeni ground, air, and sea ports.’ Though a government statement said it would take ‘into consideration the continuation of the entry and exit’ of humanitarian supplies and aid workers, U.N. officials say that aid flights have been blocked. The World Food Programme warned that hundreds of thousands of children would be ‘on the brink of starvation’ if the blockade lasted even for two weeks. Saudi officials say the siege is meant to prevent what they claim was the smuggling of missile parts into Yemen from Iran. … In any case, the blockade will not deter either Iran or the Houthis, but it could trigger a full-blown famine among innocent children. The Trump administration, which has blithely backed [Saudi] Crown Prince Salman in his reckless adventures, should consider the cost” (11/8).

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Other Countries Can Learn From Rwanda's Experience Improving Health Equity

Project Syndicate: A Formula for Health Equity
Agnes Binagwaho, vice chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity

“…[P]erhaps the most important factor behind [Rwanda’s] dramatic health care gains has been the national equity agenda, which sets targets for supporting the needy and tracks progress toward meeting them. … In working toward health equity, Rwanda has made accessibility a top priority. … As a result, the reach of health care coverage in Rwanda is high by global standards — all the more remarkable for a country that suffered the horrors of genocide a generation ago. … In just over two decades, thanks to homegrown solutions and international collaboration, Rwanda has dramatically reduced the burden of disease on its people and economy. As we look forward, our goal is to educate tomorrow’s leaders to build on the equitable health care system that we have created. This is the mission of the University of Global Health Equity, a new university based in rural Rwanda that has made fairness, collaboration, and innovation its guiding principles. … Through continued global cooperation, other countries, including developed ones, can learn to apply [the formula Rwanda used to improve health equity]” (11/8).

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WHO Must Include Healthy Aging As Priority In General Program Of Work

HuffPost: Memo to Dr. Tedros: Your WHO Leadership
Michael Hodin, CEO of Global Coalition on Aging

“…We know that there are nearly one billion of us over 60 today, moving inexorably to two billion by mid-century, and yet the WHO’s 13th General Program of Work — their work plan for the next five years during Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s first term — does not account for this profound shift in the population mix of more old than young. … There’s still time to revise the 13th General Program of Work to reflect the reality that older people are at least as important as the children. That change would empower policy advocacy not only to treat disease, but as your own WHO Aging and Health Strategy smartly advocates, also to achieve functional ability as we age. … So, of course Dr. Tedros, let’s have health policy for the children. Not least if we want all of us to have healthier aging in the 21st century where our children and theirs will have 100-year lives that must include healthy living that starts as babies. But the nearly one billion of us over 60 are not to be ignored, either…” (11/8).

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Mozambique, Donor Partners Work With GFF To Create Investment Case For Health, Move Toward Achieving Results

Devex: Opinion: With the Global Financing Facility, Mozambique is taking a fresh approach to health
Nazira Karimo Vali Abdula, minister of health of the Republic of Mozambique; Mark Lundell, World Bank country director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, and Seychelles; and Mariam Claeson, director of the Global Financing Facility

“…In 2016, after Mozambique became one of 16 [Global Financing Facility (GFF)] countries, all development partners who invested in health, with an interest in improving the lives of mothers, children, and adolescents in Mozambique, came together, under the leadership of the government, to develop an investment case. In the investment case, the government identified high-impact interventions and priorities for investing in health for the next five years. Bilateral partners, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector, and others aligned themselves — and their financing — directly behind these priorities. … These efforts will generate results quickly, especially because financing will be tied to the achievement of results. … Importantly, the government has strengthened governance and accountability for results. … If Mozambique successfully invests in its women, children, and adolescents, we will see a new era of health and prosperity in Mozambique, for generations to come” (11/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Though Investment In TB R&D Increased In 2016, Funding Represents One-Third Of Need, Report Says

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: TB R&D spending climbs — but not enough
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a Treatment Action Group report that found “[i]nvestment in research and development toward new tuberculosis drugs, diagnostic tests, and preventive measures increased in 2016 for the first time in seven years … [T]he report shows spending from national governments and multilateral organizations drove the increase.” However, the authors of the report note the spending represents only one-third of what advocates say is needed in the TB response (11/8).

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Understanding Demographics' Role In NCDs Important For Global Health Planning, Health System Preparedness

Council on Foreign Relations: The Changing Demographics of Global Health
Thomas J. Bollyky, senior fellow for global health, economics, and development at CFR, and Amanda Shendruk, data visualization designer at CFR, discuss the role of population growth and aging in the rise of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low-income countries, highlighting demographic trends related to NCDs. The authors write, “Understanding the speed, scale, and drivers of the shift to noncommunicable diseases at the country level and estimating the preparedness of health systems for that shift is important for the health planning, budgeting, and policy formulation of national governments and donors” (11/7).

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IntraHealth International Partners With DAI To Be 'SDG-Ready'

Humentum: The NGO of the Future is Here — and It’s SDG-Ready
Rebecca Kohler, senior vice president of corporate strategy and development at IntraHealth International, discusses IntraHealth’s new strategic affiliation with DAI, writing, “At IntraHealth, we’re optimistic about the possibilities of this unique arrangement. We are learning how to become the NGO of the future to deepen our impact, and we look forward to sharing the lessons we learn — and encouraging others to be bold. After all, the SDGs were designed to have lasting impact in an increasingly complex world. It will take new models and audacious thinking to tackle them” (11/7).

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Blog Post Highlights Articles In PLOS Medicine Special Issue On HIV/AIDS

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: Evaluating progress on the prevention, treatment, and cure of HIV infection: Week 1 of the PLOS Medicine Special Issue on HIV/AIDS
Richard Turner, senior editor at PLOS Medicine, discusses content published in the first week of the PLOS Medicine special issue on HIV/AIDS. The special issue includes articles on addressing key populations at risk of HIV, the provision of HIV treatment in South Africa, and a trial aimed at improving the engagement and retention in care of people living with HIV (11/8).

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