KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Calls For More, Better Gender Data Collection On International Day Of The Girl Child

U.N. News Centre: ‘All girls count,’ says U.N., calling for reliable data to uncover and tackle inequalities holding them back
“Girls are the sometimes-hidden change-makers of the present and future, and to make sure their voices are heard, the United Nations is marking the International Day of the Girl Child by calling on governments, civil society groups, and communities to provide more and better gender data to so that in the sustainable development era, no girls are left behind…” (10/11).

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U.N. Agencies Work To Deliver Aid, Cholera Vaccines To Haiti 1 Week After Hurricane Matthew

U.N. News Centre: Haiti: Seeking to fend off cholera threat, U.N. agencies deliver aid, call for risk reduction
“One week after Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, United Nations agencies are continuing the massive relief effort under way on the ground, scrambling to fend off the threat of cholera, delivering life-saving supplies, and rehabilitating damaged infrastructure, such as schools…” (10/11).

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Gavi, Girl Effect Launch Partnership To Increase HPV Vaccine Demand In 3 African Nations

The Guardian: $10m campaign targets cervical cancer among girls in sub-Saharan Africa
“A partnership worth $10m (£8.1m) to increase the uptake and awareness of a vaccine to protect girls from cervical cancer, which has higher death rates in sub-Saharan Africa than any other cancer, was launched on Tuesday. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced it is joining forces with the Girl Effect to increase the demand for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Malawi…” (Ford, 10/11).

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World Health Summit Attendees Discuss Lesson Learned, Way Forward In Polio Eradication Efforts

Deutsche Welle: What if we fail to eradicate polio? Good question
“The global public health initiative to eradicate polio is ‘not a done deal.’ That’s the consensus at the 2016 World Health Summit in Berlin. There is plenty of potential for us to fail. On three counts…” (Abbany, 10/11).

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At Least 20% Tax Increase On Sugary Drinks Would Reduce Consumption, Help Prevent NCDs, WHO Report Says

Christian Science Monitor: WHO seeks 20 percent tax hike on sugary drinks: Will countries listen?
“…In a report published Tuesday titled ‘Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases,’ WHO calls for countries to increase the retail prices of sugary drinks by 20 percent through taxation, saying that a proportional drop in consumption would result…” (Kauffman, 10/11).

New York Times: WHO Urges Tax on Sugary Drinks to Fight Obesity
“…[Such a reduction] would advance the fight against obesity, which has more than doubled since 1980. About half a billion adults were obese in 2014, roughly 11 percent of men and 15 percent of women…” (Tavernise, 10/11).

NPR: Tax Soda To Fight Obesity, WHO Urges Nations Around The Globe
“… ‘If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives. They can also cut health care costs and increase revenues to invest in health services,’ [Douglas Bettcher, director of the WHO’s Department for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases,] was quoted as saying in a WHO release on the report…” (Aubrey, 10/11).

U.N. News Centre: Taxing sugary drinks can curb global epidemic of obesity and diabetes — U.N. health agency
“…The report points out that some groups, including people living on low incomes, young people, and those who frequently consume unhealthy foods and beverages, are most responsive to changes in prices of drinks and foods and, therefore, gain the highest health benefits…” (10/11).

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DfID To Push For More Accountability, Less Competition In Development Aid, U.K. Secretary Patel Says At World Bank Meeting

Devex: DfID to drive global aid reform, says Priti Patel
“U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel presented a laundry list of demands to the World Bank on Friday: less competition between financial institutions, more accountability, and riskier investments in poor and conflict states. Patel followed the demands by renewing her pledge to use the U.K.’s influence over international aid and trade to ‘drive reform in the international development system’ in an address to annual meeting participants at the bank’s headquarters in Washington, D.C…” (Anders, 10/11).

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Philippines President Duterte Expected To Sign Regulation Banning Smoking In Public Areas, Health Department Official Says

Agence France-Presse: Philippines’ Duterte to ban smoking in public
“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will this month ban smoking in public, the health department said on Wednesday, further strengthening some of the toughest tobacco regulation in Asia…” (10/12).

Associated Press: The Philippine president’s next campaign: public smoking ban
“…The department is pushing for the ban to start before the law providing for graphic health warnings on tobacco products is fully implemented on Nov. 4…” (10/11).

Reuters: Philippines set to roll out tough no-smoking law
“…Around 17 million people, or nearly a third of the adult population, smoke in the Philippines, according to a 2014 report by Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance — the second highest in the region after Indonesia. Nearly half of all Filipino men and nine percent of women smoke, and experts say the habit costs the economy nearly $4 billion in health care and productivity losses every year…” (Kapoor/Cruz, 10/12).

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With U.N. Support, Health Workers Aim To Vaccinate 41M Children Against Polio In Northeastern Nigeria

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Health workers race to vaccinate 41 million children against polio in Lake Chad: U.N.
“Health workers have launched a drive to vaccinate more than 41 million children against polio in West Africa’s Lake Chad as they race to contain an outbreak of the disease in conflict-hit northeast Nigeria, the United Nations said on Tuesday…” (Guilbert, 10/11).

U.N. News Centre: UNICEF gears up to vaccinate 41 million children after polio outbreak in northeastern Nigeria
“…At the regular bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva [Tuesday], UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac expressed major concerns regarding the re-emergence of polio in Nigeria after two years of no recorded cases, stating that populations fleeing conflict have been on the move within the subregion, which raises concerns that the virus could spread across borders…” (10/11).

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WHO Officials Record 11 Cholera Cases In Yemen, Say Disease Not Spreading

Reuters: More cholera cases registered in Yemen but disease not spreading: WHO
“More cases of cholera have been registered in the Yemeni capital Sanaa but a World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Tuesday the epidemic was not yet spreading. The United Nations first reported the cholera outbreak on Friday and said three cases had been confirmed in Sanaa. But a WHO official on Tuesday said 11 cases had now been registered…” (Ghobari/Finn, 10/11).

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Global Health NOW Series Examines Paralytic Disease Konzo

Global Health NOW: Bitter Harvest: Cassava and Konzo, the Crippling Disease
“Little known in the West, the paralytic disease konzo has inflicted polio-like symptoms on thousands of the most impoverished people in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other African countries. Eating insufficiently processed cassava, which naturally contains cyanide, can lead to irreversible paralysis of the legs. … Science journalist Amy Maxmen and photographer Neil Brandvold traveled to the DRC this summer to document konzo’s toll [in this three-part series] and what might be done to stem the disease…” (10/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Let Girls Learn Programs In More Than 50 Countries Help Girls Access Education, Reach Full Potential

CNN: Michelle Obama: This issue is personal for me
Michelle Obama, first lady of the U.S.

“…[T]here are tens of millions of girls … in every corner of the globe who are not in school … [T]he Let Girls Learn initiative … [is] a global effort to give these girls the education they need to fulfill their potential and lift up their families, communities, and countries. … [O]ver the past year and a half, we’ve established partnerships with some of the world’s largest companies and organizations that are committing money, resources, and expertise. … The United States is investing over a billion dollars through new and ongoing efforts and running Let Girls Learn programs in more than 50 countries. … [M]any of these girls come from families struggling with poverty. Some endure dangerous commutes to and from school each day. Others face cultural pressures to drop out, marry young, and start having children of their own. … [O]n this year’s International Day of the Girl, I ask that you use yours to help these girls get the education they deserve. … I plan to keep working on their behalf, not just for the rest of my time as first lady, but for the rest of my life…” (10/11).

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Both Quantitative, Qualitative Data Critical To Girls' Health, Achieving SDGs

Devex: Bringing girls into the data revolution
Helena Minchew, program officer for U.S. foreign policy at the International Women’s Health Coalition

“…[T]he data revolution must go beyond just counting girls. It must go further than the often-cited need for sex-disaggregated data. It must encompass more than official data sources, such as the Demographic and Health Surveys, national statistical commissions, and U.N. agencies. To supplement these sources, we need to look to the local organizations that work most closely with girls, and we must be willing to ask difficult and complicated questions. … [D]etailed, more qualitative information can inform projects that can be life-changing for girls; we shouldn’t underestimate its value. … We must ensure those who have the most to say about the lived experiences of girls around the world have their voices heard. These experiences and this knowledge should be fed into the official [Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)] processes, at the global and national levels…” (10/11).

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Changing Social Norms Around Girls' Health Critical To Uptake Of HPV Vaccine, Preventing Cervical Cancer

Huffington Post: Beating Cervical Cancer In The Developing World — A Game-Changing Partnership To Create A ‘New Normal’ For Girls
Farah Ramzan Golant, CEO of Girl Effect

“…Too often, negative social norms about what girls should and shouldn’t do, as well as myths and misconceptions, act as barriers preventing adolescent girls from accessing health services like HPV vaccines, even when they are available. … [I]n order to make real and lasting change, supply and demand [for the vaccine] need to be integrated in a non-siloed, holistic approach. … At Girl Effect we do this by reframing what it means to be a girl in her community … helping [girls] change their own perception of themselves and how they’re viewed by the people around them. … While our intention is to increase uptake of the HPV vaccine, longer term the partnership [with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] has a much bigger ambition. We want to leverage the power of culture brands to create greater trust in health systems, leading to more girls using integrated health services more often throughout their lives … By opening the minds, hearts, and actions of girls and their communities we can unlock demand, and help to deliver an experience that will make health interventions more efficient, focused, and incisive…” (10/11).

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Vaccine Donations Undermine Efforts To Increase Access To Affordable Medicines

Medium: There is no such thing as “free” vaccines: Why we rejected Pfizer’s donation offer of pneumonia vaccines.
Jason Cone, executive director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières in the U.S.

“…Free is not always better. Donations [of vaccines] often involve numerous conditions and strings attached, including restrictions on which patient populations and what geographic areas are allowed to receive the benefits. … Donations can also undermine long-term efforts to increase access to affordable vaccines and medicines. … Donations of medical products, such as vaccines and drugs, may appear to be good ‘quick fixes,’ but they are not the answer to increasingly high vaccine prices charged by pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and GSK. … Doctors Without Borders does not believe that our medical work, nor the work of other humanitarian organizations or governments trying to serve their people, should be at mercy of the voluntary ‘goodwill’ of pharmaceutical corporations. Pfizer should lower the price of its lifesaving pneumonia vaccine for humanitarian organizations and all developing countries to $5 per child. Only then, will we have a meaningful step towards saving children’s lives both today and in the future…” (10/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post, Statements Recognize International Day Of The Girl Child

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Women Around the World”: International Day of the Girl Child
Anne Connell, assistant director for the Council on Foreign Relations’ Women and Foreign Policy Program, writes, “October 11, 2016 is the International Day of the Girl Child. The focus of this year’s internationally recognized day is ‘Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls.’ The theme recognizes the promise of the world’s new development framework, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to address issues that hold girls back around the world, and highlights the need for increased investment in quality sex-disaggregated data to make progress toward all seventeen goals. Learn more about the status and rights of girls in these five publications from the Women and Foreign Policy program.” The publications discuss child marriage, girls’ education, women and girls in the Afghanistan transition, closing the gender gap, and results from Bangladesh on how to delay child marriage (10/11).

USAID: Statement by USAID Administrator Gayle Smith on International Day of the Girl Child
In a statement recognizing International Day of the Girl Child, USAID Administrator Gayle Smith discusses U.S. efforts to achieve gender equality, including Feed the Future’s Women Empowerment in Agriculture Index, the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, and the Let Girls Learn initiative (10/11).

WHO: Girls’ Progress equals Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls
In a statement marking the day, the WHO notes, “Girls have the right to grow and develop to their full potential. When girls are empowered, it benefits all. Empowered girls grow into empowered women who can care better for themselves and their families, increase their earning potential, serve as active and equal citizens and change agents, and spur economic growth for communities and nations” (10/11).

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Global Dispatches Podcast Discusses FGM Research With CGD's Charles Kenny

Global Dispatches Podcast: Episode 126: Charles Kenny
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, speaks with Charles Kenny, fellow with the Center for Global Development (CGD), about new research on strategies to reduce the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM), as well as “the problem of measuring [a] country’s well-being exclusively by looking at its economic growth” (10/10).

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