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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. State Department Officials Testify Before House Subcommittee On FY18 African Aid Budget

Africa Times: Yamamoto testifies before U.S. committee on $5.2 billion African aid budget
“Donald Yamamoto, the acting assistant secretary for African affairs at the United States Department of State, testified before a U.S. congressional committee on Wednesday in defense of a USD$5.2 billion foreign assistance budget request for FY 2018. Yamamoto, in a position that President Donald Trump’s administration has yet to formally fill, said the funding is critical to support an Africa that is growing beyond the images of poverty and security crises. Yet his appeal emphasized the need to continue support for counterterrorism, pandemic and other health emergencies, political instability, and human rights violations in the most fragile African states…” (10/12).

Devex: U.S. officials give a glimpse at Africa budget, policy objectives
“…The key themes that emerged as the guiding principles for U.S. policy in Africa are a focus on national security and economic development. There is also a strong narrative that the U.S. cannot do it alone and so other development agencies, countries, and companies all need to step up and partner with the U.S. on these issues…” (Saldinger, 10/13).

Daily Nation: Donald Trump’s cuts in aid to Africa draws hard opposition
“Two State Department officials were thrown on the defensive as members of the U.S. Congress denounced the Trump administration’s proposed funding cuts for programs in Africa. The Republican chairman of a U.S. House subcommittee on Africa joined his Democratic colleagues in criticizing Mr. Trump’s intention to sharply reduce food aid and to scale back other initiatives benefiting sub-Saharan countries, including Kenya…” (Kelley, 10/13).

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Despite Some Improvement In Chemonics' Global Health Supply Chain Deliveries, USAID Calls Results 'Unacceptable'

Devex: Exclusive: USAID calls latest health project results ‘unacceptable,’ Chemonics cites ‘turning point’
“The U.S. Agency for International Development says the performance of its largest-ever contract ‘remains unacceptable,’ while the agency’s implementing partner, Chemonics International, maintains the most recent report ‘marks a turning point for the project.’ The Global Health Supply Chain — Procurement Supply Management project, a $9.5 billion effort that coordinates the procurement, shipment, and monitoring of lifesaving global health commodities to 55 countries, released its latest quarterly report Thursday. For the quarter ending on June 30, 2017, the project delivered 23 percent of its shipments ‘on time and in full’ … a modest improvement from the seven percent OTIF rate reported in the previous quarter…” (Igoe, 10/13).

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World Politics Review Examines New PEPFAR Strategy, Trump Administration's Commitment To Ending AIDS

World Politics Review: The Mismatch Between the Rhetoric and Reality of Tillerson’s New PEPFAR Strategy
“…[W]hile PEPFAR may be off the chopping block, the Trump administration’s new strategy seems to perpetuate trends that have activists worried about the long-term fight against HIV/AIDS. … First, for all its talk of U.S. commitment to PEPFAR, the administration seems prepared to follow through on a proposal to cut the program’s budget … Second, the strategy involves a new focus on 13 ‘high-burden’ African countries, with an eye toward achieving epidemic control by 2020. Yet it is unclear what this focus means for other countries receiving PEPFAR support…” (Corey-Boulet, 10/12).

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NIH, Pharma Companies Launch 5-Year, $215M Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies

CQ HealthBeat: NIH Launches Cancer Research Partnership with Drug Industry
“The Trump administration on Thursday announced a cancer research partnership between the National Institutes of Health and 11 pharmaceutical companies, continuing an Obama-era program known as the ‘cancer moonshot’…” (Siddons, 10/12).

The Hill: NIH, drug companies launch Cancer Moonshot partnership
“…The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is partnering with 11 biopharmaceutical companies to form the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT), a five-year, $215 million initiative. It’s part of the Cancer Moonshot, an effort pushed by former Vice President Joe Biden after he lost his son to brain cancer in 2015…” (Roubein, 10/12).

Reuters: U.S. NIH, 11 drugmakers partner to accelerate cancer therapy research
“…In a Thursday press conference announcing the collaboration, Reed Cordish, who heads the Office of American Innovation, an initiative led by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said the program represents the ‘type of collaboration and partnership between the private sector and government that this administration is trying to foster across many sectors’…” (Steenhuysen, 10/12).

STAT: To accelerate new cancer treatments, NIH will team up with pharma on immunotherapy research
“…The Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies, or PACT, is a five-year agreement to push ahead with research that seeks to ‘identify, develop, and validate robust biomarkers — standardized biological markers of disease and treatment response — to advance new immunotherapy treatments that harness the immune system to attack cancer,’ the agency said…” (Facher, 10/12).

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Devex Examines WHO Director-General Tedros's First 100 Days

Devex: For his first 100 days, WHO’s new DG Tedros gets a nod of approval. But can he sustain it?
“When World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced his leadership team last week, it was hard to imagine him garnering anything less than a positive thumbs up for his first 100 days in office. The team has all the makings for a positive review: it represents all WHO regions and more than 60 percent are women. The selection, many argue, show how it’s possible to achieve diversity without sacrificing talent…” (Ravelo, 10/13).

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Devex Highlights Key Health Priorities Discussed During Western Pacific WHO Regional Committee Meeting

Devex: Health priorities for the Pacific: Insights from WHO’s Regional Committee for the Western Pacific
“Food marketing and safety, immunization, mother-to-child disease transmission, and strengthened health workforce and services are among the health priorities of member states at the 68th session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, held in Brisbane this week…” (Cornish, 10/12).

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Conflicts Must End Before Development, Food Security Initiatives Can Take Hold, U.N. SG Tells Security Council

U.N. News Centre: Relief aid is saving lives, but world must tackle root cause of famine: conflict — U.N. chief
“Until fighting stops and development takes root, communities and entire regions will continue to face hunger, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Thursday, underscoring the link between conflict and famine. ‘Conflict in one country creates demands on its neighbors to provide food and basic services to refugees. This can lead to further instability, affecting the security of an entire region and beyond,’ said Mr. Guterres…” (10/12).

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Lancet Commission Report Identifies Global Opioid Access Gap Between Wealthy Nations, LMICs

Associated Press: Millions die suffering amid global opioid gap, report says
“Nearly 26 million people around the world die each year with serious suffering in part because of a huge gap in pain relief: The U.S. may be awash in opioid painkillers, but they’re rare or unavailable in dozens of poor countries, says a new report…” (Neergaard, 10/13).

Newsweek: U.S. Opioid Epidemic: While America Pops Pills, Developing Countries Suffer In Pain
“…According to the report, published Thursday in The Lancet, some 25.5 million adults and 2.5 million children throughout the world die each year suffering extreme physical and psychological pain. An additional 35.5 million people live with unmanaged chronic pain conditions. More than 80 percent of these cases are in low- and middle-income countries. In Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria, for example, less than five percent of pain management needs are met, according to the report…” (Firger, 10/12).

VOA News: Researchers Alarmed at ‘Pain Gap’ Between Rich, Poor Countries
“…In a comprehensive global analysis, The Lancet Commission measured the need for palliative care in 172 countries. … Out of those 172 countries, 25 had almost no morphine. Another 15 had less than one percent what was needed. One hundred countries had only enough morphine for less than 30 percent of their patients in severe pain…” (Pearson, 10/13).

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Latin America, Caribbean Experience More Hunger, Rising Threat Of Overweight, Obesity, FAO/PAHO Report Shows

U.N. News Centre: Latin America and Caribbean falling off ‘zero hunger’ path towards 2030 — U.N. report
“The total number of persons that suffer from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean has increased, reversing decades of progress, even as overweight and obesity emerged as a major problem in all countries in the region of the Americas, a United Nations-backed report shows. … Hunger rates have declined in 21 of the 27 countries of the region in recent years, but the absolute number of people suffering from hunger increased, according to the report published by FAO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)…” (10/12).

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U.N. Announces First-Ever Roadmap To Prevent Zoonotic TB, Lessen Impacts On Rural Communities In Africa, Asia

U.N. News Centre: U.N. and partners launch plan to stop transmission of bovine tuberculosis to humans
“Stressing the damaging impact on poor rural communities in Africa and South-East Asia of animal tuberculosis’ (bovine TB) transmission to humans, United Nations health experts launched the first-ever roadmap to combat the so-called zoonotic TB…” (10/12).

VOA News: WHO Urges Action to Stop Animal TB, Its Spread to Humans
“…The health agency warns zoonotic TB, as it is called, infects about 150,000 people and kills more than 12,000 every year. … Besides posing a major risk to food safety and human health, the WHO notes bovine TB threatens people’s livelihoods and results in major economic and trade barriers…” (Schlein, 10/12).

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UNICEF, Partners Address Needs Of Rohingya Refugee Children In Bangladesh, Launch Latrine-Building Plan To Help Avert Disease Outbreak

Devex: A city-sized refugee camp with even bigger child protection challenges
“Child-focused spaces on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border will number more than 1,500 in the coming year as UNICEF and nongovernmental organizations race to respond to the needs of an unprecedented concentration of refugee children. … More than 300,000 children have arrived already, and the population continues to grow daily by the thousands…” (Rogers, 10/12).

U.N. News Centre: Disease outbreak ‘real and present danger’ UNICEF warns, launching latrine-building plan in Cox’s Bazar
“New latrines will be constructed in the Rohingya camps and settlements of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to provide sanitation coverage to some 250,000 people, averting a major disease outbreak, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported Thursday…” (10/12).

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Yemen Cholera Epidemic Expected To Hit 1M Cases By Year End, Save The Children Warns

The Guardian: Yemen’s cholera outbreak now the worst in history as millionth case looms
“…The World Health Organization has reported more than 815,000 suspected cases of the disease in Yemen and 2,156 deaths. About 4,000 suspected cases are being reported daily, more than half of which are among children under 18. Children under five account for a quarter of all cases. … Save the Children has warned that, at the current rate of infection, the number of cases will reach seven figures before the turn of the year, 60 percent of which will be among children…” (Lyons, 10/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

The Lancet Features Editorial, Opinion Pieces On Foundation For A Smoke-Free World

The Lancet: Tobacco control: a Foundation too far?
Editorial Board

“…[T]obacco has zero health benefits — only harms. By the creation of the Foundation [for a Smoke-Free World, which is funded by the tobacco industry’s Philip Morris International (PMI)], the risk of setting back the tobacco control cause is very real. It might even be the biggest mistake in the history of the tobacco control movement. Nevertheless, history tells us that sometimes extraordinary challenges demand extraordinary actions. Simply boycotting the Foundation, as WHO suggests, is a mistake. As unpalatable as it may seem to engage with the tobacco industry, the public health community should be open to dialogue and debate with all parties, including holding [Derek Yach, founder and president-designate of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World,] and the Foundation accountable for their promises and commitments. Only then, will we beat the tobacco scourge and help to prevent the projected one billion deaths attributable to smoking this century…” (10/14).

The Lancet: Towards a smoke-free world? Philip Morris International’s new Foundation is not credible
Mike Daube, professor at Curtin University; Rob Moodie, professor at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne; and Martin McKee, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“…PMI, like other tobacco companies, may well want to sell a range of products, but anybody who believes that they really do want to see a smoke-free world is, we argue, living in a fantasy world. … Tobacco companies will continue to lie and deceive. … PMI will continue to promote its core product and to oppose [WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)] implementation and measures such as tax increases, advertising bans, and plain cigarette packaging. Meanwhile, governments should continue to pursue evidence-based measures that have been shown to reduce smoking. They must exclude tobacco companies from any policy involvement. Health organizations should continue to press for action and expose the aims and activities of the tobacco industry. Scientists should reject the siren songs of involvement in tobacco industry promotions. And the public should be aware that Big Tobacco remains as it was, the main cause of premature death and disability from the world’s most preventable pandemic” (10/14).

The Lancet: Foundation for a smoke-free world
Derek Yach, founder and president-designate of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

“…It takes decades before the full impact of smoking on death and disease becomes apparent. Supporting smokers in quitting or switching to reduced risk products is the most effective way to rapidly reduce the death rate in the next 20-30 years. … [T]his is the time to raise our ambition for what is possible and desirable in tobacco control, and specifically in harm reduction from smoking … The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World supports and endorses implementation of all elements of the FCTC, and aims to complement and add to the efforts led by WHO and supported by global philanthropies. The mission of the Foundation is to accelerate global efforts to reduce deaths and harm from smoking. Our ultimate vision is to eliminate cigarette smoking worldwide, and to mobilize support for people who are disproportionately burdened by the rapid transition away from smoking, starting with smallholder tobacco farmers in low-income and middle-income countries. … The Foundation will start this journey by seeking the best ideas about how to ensure that its work will be truly independent, and that its proposed actions have the greatest chance of accelerating public health benefits…” (10/14).

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WHO's Announcement Of New Leadership Cabinet, New Priorities Brings 'Valuable Momentum To The Renewal' Of Agency

The Lancet: WHO launches new leadership, new priorities
Editorial Board

“WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros, last week launched his new cabinet to widespread acclaim. … The announcement also translated Tedros’s verbal promises into structural commitments. New priorities include Universal Health Coverage, climate change, and access to medicines. … A special session of the Executive Board will be convened in November to agree a future global program of work for the agency. … WHO is at its best when it amplifies its voice and reach by establishing radical and innovative initiatives led by internationally recognized technical or political leaders. … The goal of transformational change is good. But it might be more practical for WHO to deliver on a limited number of tangible and feasible objectives rather than speaking in terms of broad generalities and aspirations. Dr. Tedros and his team will be judged on specific and measurable successes — such as pandemic protection and stronger health systems. The announcement last week has brought additional and valuable momentum to the renewal of WHO. The agency must now raise its political game” (10/14).

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Political Will Needed To Ensure Safeguards Set In Place For Rohingya Refugees' Return

Washington Post: No more excuses. The Rohingya need our help.
Eric P. Schwartz, president of Refugees International

“…[T]he United States should seek to join with China to press both Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese military to agree to the return of the Rohingya refugees [to Myanmar] and to provide them with genuine safeguards. In particular, the United States, China, and other U.N. Security Council members should urge that such safeguards include rapid deployment of a U.N. peace observer mission to Rakhine state, home to the overwhelming majority of the refugees. … The politics of this effort would be extremely complicated. But it is worth a try, as it may be the only hope to promote regional peace and stability and keep faith with a Rohingya population whose most fervent desire is to live in peace in Burma” (10/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Discusses Concerns Over USAID Administrator Mark Green's Endorsement Of Transition Strategy

Lugar Center Blog: Getting Comfortable with the “T-word” at USAID, a Focus on Transitioning Countries
James Kunder, MFAN executive committee member and affiliated expert with The Lugar Center, discusses concerns over USAID Administrator Mark Green’s “endorsement of ‘strategic transitions,’ in which USAID works its way out of job and, in one form or another, ends U.S. foreign aid to the transitioning country.” While many in the international development community are concerned about this plan, Kunder writes, “[P]ersonally, I think Mark Green is on to something. I encourage the international development community to give his ideas a balanced look, and to dive in to make ‘strategic transitions’ as developmentally effective as possible” (10/10).

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CSIS Podcast Episodes Discuss Role Of Private Sector In Advancing HIV Goals, Global Health

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: The Role of the Private Sector in Advancing Global HIV Goals
Steve Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, speaks with Gregg Alton, executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs at Gilead Sciences, Inc., about “Gilead’s role in bringing antiretroviral therapies to low-income countries and the importance of U.S. leadership” (10/11).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: The Role of the Private Sector in Advancing Global Health
Steve Morrison speaks with Jeff Sturchio, president and CEO of Rabin Martin, about “his experience at [Merck, where he previously served as vice president of corporate responsibility,] the linkages between health and wealth, and the role of the private sector in advancing global health” (10/11).

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Editors Announce Launch Of New PLOS Cholera Channel

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: PLOS Cholera Channel — Meet the Editors
Andrew Azman, research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Louise Ivers, executive director of the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School; Francisco Luquero, medical doctor and infectious disease epidemiologist at Epicentre; and Lorenzo Pezzoli, infectious disease epidemiologist at the WHO, announce the launch of the PLOS Cholera Channel, which “features articles on applied and basic research related to the global fight against cholera” (10/12).

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From the U.S. Government

New Issue Of NIH Fogarty International Center's 'Global Health Matters' Newsletter Available Online

NIH Fogarty International Center: Global Health Matters
The most recent issue of the Fogarty International Center’s newsletter contains various articles addressing global health issues, including a question and answer interview with Linda-Gail Bekker, president of the International AIDS Society, and an opinion piece by Fogarty Director Roger I. Glass on conducting research in humanitarian settings (September/October 2017).

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CDC's MMWR Recognizes Global Handwashing Day

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Announcement: Global Handwashing Day — October 15, 2017
“October 15, 2017, marks the 10th annual Global Handwashing Day. This observance helps to increase awareness and understanding of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent disease around the world…” (10/13).

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