KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

PATH Report Outlines Recommendations For U.S. Global Health Engagement Ahead Of GHSA Conference

The Atlantic: The Deadly Panic-Neglect Cycle in Pandemic Funding
“…In a new report called Healthier World, Safer America, launched [Tuesday], PATH calls for the United States to redouble its commitment to global health. The timing is no coincidence: [Wednesday], delegates from 50 countries will gather in Kampala, Uganda, for a ministerial meeting of the Global Health Security Agenda — a five-year international partnership that aims to improve the health security of developing nations. PATH wants America’s support for the GHSA to continue, and to be backed up by strong leadership and a firm plan…” (Yong, 10/24).

CIDRAP News: Report details U.S., global steps to prevent next pandemic
“…The 36-page report, posted on the group’s website, is titled ‘Healthier World, Safer America: A U.S. Government Roadmap for International Action to Prevent the Next Pandemic.’ The analysis discusses progress that’s been made, outlines the risk if efforts languish, and makes a set of recommendations for moving forward…” (Schnirring, 10/24).

New Vision: Uganda hosts Global health conference
“Uganda will be the first African country to host the Global Health Security Agenda Conference (GHSA) ministerial meeting, come October 25, according to a press release from Dr. Ruth Aceng, the health minister. This year, the conference which will be held under the theme Health Security for all: Engaging Communities, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Private Sector, will take place at Commonwealth Speke Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala…” (Wandawa, 10/24).

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U.S. State Department Weighs Sanctions For Myanmar, Labeling Violence Against Rohingya Muslims As Ethnic Cleansing, Senate Hears

Associated Press: U.S. declaration of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar on way
“The Trump administration moved toward a condemnation of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, as officials were preparing a recommendation for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to unequivocally use the term for the first time. Angry lawmakers on Tuesday demanded an immediate denunciation as they explored a new, tougher U.S. policy…” (Pennington, 10/24).

New York Times: Across Myanmar, Denial of Ethnic Cleansing and Loathing of Rohingya
“…An overwhelming body of published accounts has detailed the Myanmar Army’s campaign of killing, rape, and arson in Rakhine, which has driven more than 600,000 Rohingya out of the country since late August, in what the United Nations says is the fastest displacement of a people since the Rwanda genocide. But in Myanmar, and even in Rakhine itself, there is stark denial that any ethnic cleansing is taking place…” (Beech/Nang, 10/24).

VOA News: U.S. Not Yet Classifying Violence Against Myanmar Rohingya as ‘Ethnic Cleansing’
“U.S. officials have declined to refer to violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar as ethnic cleansing before they complete a review into the issue. Though multiple senators called the violence ethnic cleansing during a hearing on the conflict Tuesday, representatives from the State Department and USAID said their agencies could not yet make that declaration…” (10/24).

Wall Street Journal: Plight of Rohingya in Myanmar Stokes Congressional Concern
“…The Senate hearing came after the Trump administration Monday evening said it was considering taking action against Myanmar if the violence continues, including economic sanctions against officials involved in perpetrating the violence. The State Department said it already had suspended travel waivers for senior military leaders and has made military units responsible for violence against the Rohingya ineligible for American assistance…” (Schwartz, 10/24).

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DfID To Remain Independent Department, U.K. International Development Secretary Patel Says

The Guardian: No Foreign Office takeover of international aid budget, says Priti Patel
“The international development secretary has rejected speculation about a takeover of her department by the foreign office. Appearing before MPs in a parliamentary committee, Priti Patel was asked about concerns over a creeping merger of the international development department (DfID) with the FCO. She said: ‘DfID is a standalone government department. That is government policy’…” (McVeigh, 10/24).

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World Bank Pandemic Simulation During Annual Meeting Highlights Growing Awareness Of Outbreak Threats

Washington Post: World leaders rehearse for a pandemic that will come ‘sooner than we expect’
“…[An infectious disease outbreak] scenario was part of a pandemic simulation held during the World Bank’s annual meeting in Washington this month. It’s not the kind of event that people would typically associate with the World Bank. But it’s the fourth such exercise the bank has helped organize in the past year, reflecting what experts say is the growing awareness outside the traditional global health sector of the increasing threat and economic disruption posed by a global pandemic…” (Sun, 10/24).

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Wild Poliovirus Could Be Eliminated Soon With Sustained Efforts, Gates Foundation, U.N. Say

CNBC: Bill Gates: Polio will be eradicated this year, the endgame is near
“Tuesday mark[ed] Rotary International’s fifth annual World Polio Day, co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and there is much cause for celebration: It is very possible that 2017 may see the end of the wild poliovirus — nearly two years earlier than Bill Gates predicted…” (Sipherd, 10/24).

HuffPost: Polio Could Be Eradicated Worldwide By Year’s End, Says Gates Foundation
“…Speaking at Rotary International’s World Polio Day event on Tuesday, which was co-hosted by the Gates Foundation, Dr. Jay Wenger, the director of the foundation’s polio eradication program, said humanity had successfully reached ‘the endgame of polio eradication’…” (Mosbergen, 10/25).

U.N. News Centre: Eradication of polio ‘once and for all’ within reach — U.N. health agency
“Despite progress towards global eradication of polio, sustained commitment is needed to overcome the final hurdle and stamp out the disease once and for all, the United Nations health agency said [Tuesday], the World Polio Day. ‘So far in 2017, a total of 12 cases of polio had been reported, in two countries, fewer cases than ever before (and) innovative methods have put eradication within reach,’ Christian Lindmeier, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization told journalists at the regular news briefing at the U.N. Office in Geneva…” (10/24).

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UNICEF Study Warns Ending Child Marriage In West, Central Africa Could Take 100 Years; World Bank Study Shows Economic Benefits From Ending Practice

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Sierra Leone’s first lady gets to grips with child marriage
“The first lady of Sierra Leone says she is a ‘hands-on woman’ with a sure-fire strategy to tackle child marriage — she visits elders across the land and urges them to wield influence and prolong the nation’s childhood…” (Peyton, 10/24).

U.N. News Centre: Ending child marriage in West and Central Africa could take 100 years, warns UNICEF
“Unless progress is accelerated, ending child marriage in West and Central Africa will take more than 100 years, with far-reaching, life-altering consequences for millions of child brides and crippling impact on the region’s prosperity, the United Nations children’s agency has said [in a new report released Monday, Achieving a future without child marriage: Focus on West and Central Africa]…” (10/24).

VOA News: World Bank: Ending Child Marriage Would Boost West, Central Africa Economies
“…West and Central Africa is home to six of the 10 countries with the highest [child marriage] prevalence rates worldwide. According to UNICEF, four in 10 girls in the region are married before the age of 18. In a new study, the World Bank says by 2030, the annual benefit from ending child marriage could reach well above $60 billion for West and Central Africa…” (Christensen, 10/24).

Xinhua News: Urgent action, or 100 years to end child marriage in West, Central Africa, says UNICEF
“…The new projections, released during a high-level meeting on ending child marriage held in Dakar, capital and largest city of Senegal, this week, aim to bring the spotlight on the region of the world where girls face the highest risk of marrying in childhood…” (10/23).

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Repeated Droughts Impact Food Supply, Child Development, World Bank Report Says

The Guardian: Food ruined by drought could feed more than 80m a day, says World Bank
“The food produce destroyed by droughts would be enough to feed a country with a population the size of Germany’s every day for a year, the World Bank has reported. In a new study, it said, the ‘shockingly large and often hidden’ consequences of prolonged periods without rain threatened to stunt the growth of children and condemn them to a lifetime of poverty…” (Elliot, 10/24).

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International Aid Groups Should Focus On Women's Political, Not Economic, Empowerment, Report Says

Washington Post: Women in the developing world don’t need only cows and sewing machines. But that’s what aid groups keep offering.
“…[M]any international aid groups that set out to empower women define their goal so narrowly that their mission is, essentially, useless. As a new report by [Kate Cronin-Furman, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School,] and two other academics says, the whole idea of ‘women’s empowerment’ is broken. The problem, the report says, is that many groups see empowerment as something pretty narrow: providing women with economic livelihoods. To aid organizations, that means a woman is empowered once she’s given a chicken or cow or sewing machine, even though there’s no evidence that this leads to long-term economic gains…” (Erickson, 10/25).

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Number Of Plague Deaths Up To 124 In Madagascar, With Outbreak Reaching Cities, Officials Say

Associated Press: Madagascar’s plague deaths up to 124, island nation says
“Authorities in Madagascar say the death toll from a plague outbreak has reached 124 people as the disease for the first time affects the Indian Ocean island’s two biggest cities…” (10/25).

Reuters: Plague kills 124 in Madagascar, cities most affected: report
“…Plague is endemic in Madagascar, but the outbreak that has caused 1,192 suspected cases since August is especially worrying because it started earlier in the season than usual and has hit urban rather than rural areas. In addition, two thirds of the cases are of the pneumonic plague, the deadliest form of the disease…” (10/25).

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IRIN Examines Efforts To Build Health Care Facilities In Bangladesh To Keep Pace With Rohingya Refugee Influx

IRIN: How do you build a health system from scratch in the middle of a refugee crisis?
“…[R]elief efforts have to move fast in the Rohingya camps, where aid agencies are scrambling to construct a health care system in record time for the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis. While new health posts are sprouting up in the camps, the needs are immense. Vast distances and still-growing refugee numbers make delivering life-saving aid a monumental challenge…” (Glinski, 10/24).

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Global Health NOW Series Examines Community, Individual Impacts Of Burn Injuries

Global Health NOW: Blazing Injustice: The Hidden Crisis of Burn Injuries
“Burns cause an estimated 180,000 deaths each year, yet they rarely rate a significant spot on the global health agenda. In Nepal, an estimated 56,000 people are burned seriously each year. In a three-part exclusive series for Global Health NOW, Joanne Silberner reports on the devastating effects of burns in the country — the Untold Global Health Story of 2017, submitted by Emaline Laney, a scholar from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine…” (Silberner, 10/20).

Global Health NOW: Witness to Injustice
“…In this Q&A, Silberner, a freelance journalist and former NPR science reporter, shares indelible images from her reporting, thoughts on why burns have failed to resonate as a global health issue and the sense of fatalism that keeps some people from embracing prevention…” (Simpson, 10/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Potential Implications Of WHO Goodwill Ambassador Misstep

The Conversation: Robert Mugabe as WHO goodwill ambassador — what went wrong?
Luke Allen, researcher for global health policy at the University of Oxford

“…Following international uproar, the [appointment of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe as WHO goodwill ambassador on non-communicable diseases (NCDs)] was rescinded — but the debacle showed both misguided good intention and the importance of internal communication. … A few good things have come out of the debacle. The international uproar has applied fresh diplomatic pressure on Mugabe and served to highlight the plight of his people. The episode also put non-communicable diseases into headlines … The swift cancellation of the accolade [by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] was also a victory for civil society, and a rare example of a leader who is willing to listen and change their mind when wrong. The unforced clanger has badly tarnished the WHO’s reputation, undermined its credibility, and raised serious questions about the new director’s judgement. … Violence, political oppression, and corruption are anathema to the founding principles of the WHO: promoting the highest standards of mental, physical, and social well-being for all” (10/24).

CNN: Robert Mugabe appointment may haunt the World Health Organization for years
Michael Bociurkiw, global affairs analyst

“…The announcement [of the appointment of Robert Mugabe as WHO goodwill ambassador] … quickly morphed into one of WHO’s worst public relations disasters. As president, Mugabe has decimated Zimbabwe’s health care system and has seen life-expectancy rates fall in his country. … Fortunately, the decision was rescinded … While the statement was more of an about-face than an apology, the controversy — which is still smoldering — has the potential to inflict long-term damage to WHO, which has set the gold standard in global public health. … WHO has a well-earned reputation for being no-nonsense and for tackling some of the world’s most serious and stubborn disease outbreaks. But the Mugabe decision was out of character for WHO and should have never been made in the first place” (10/24).

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U.S. Should Increase Awareness Of, Funding For NTD Eradication

The Conversation: Why aren’t we curing the world’s most curable diseases?
Katherine J. Wu, Ph.D. candidate in microbiology at Harvard University

“…Even with all the necessary tools, the world has failed to cure the curable. One-and-a-half billion people across the world suffer from neglected tropical diseases … At least eight of these [13] diseases, including river blindness, already have inexpensive, safe, and effective treatments or interventions. For less than 50 cents per person, the United States could cure a fifth of the world’s population of these severely debilitating and unnecessary diseases. In spite of this, the United States allocates nearly as little to treating and preventing neglected tropical diseases around the world as it does to drugs for erectile dysfunction. … Funding from the U.S. and other countries could help in the final push to eradication, and some argue that funding from the individual countries themselves could help. … By increasing awareness and funding of neglected tropical disease eradication, the United States will be making one of the best global investments possible. The rest of the world has waited long enough” (10/24).

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U.N. Must Adopt Human Rights-Based Approach, Follow Through On Commitments To Eradicate Cholera In Haiti

Newsweek: The United Nations Infected Haitians With Cholera. Now They Are Abandoning The Islanders To Their Fate
Lauren Carasik, director of the International Human Rights Clinic at Western New England University School of Law

“…In August, 2016, the U.N. promised to make amends through a ‘New Approach to Cholera in Haiti,’ a $400 million two-track plan that includes intensified support for cholera control, and the provision of material assistance to those most affected by the disease. … So far, the U.N.’s ‘New Approach’ looks more like a broken promise. A fund created to collect donations stands largely unfunded … Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has not shown adequate leadership on this defining issue, despite vowing to prioritize strengthened U.N. accountability. … The U.N. must do right by the victims whose lives are forever marred by cholera and the weary country still battling the deadly epidemic. … If the U.N. wants to regain credibility in Haiti and for future missions elsewhere on the world stage, it will need to adopt a human rights-based response that models accountability and follow-through on its commitment to right its wrongs. It has wasted too much time already” (10/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Government Of Bangladesh Should Facilitate Humanitarian Aid Delivery For Rohingya Refugees

Médecins Sans Frontières: Bangladesh: Opinion — Rohingya refugees “People are in survival mode”
MSF International President Joanne Liu describes a recent visit to Bangladesh in the wake of the Rohingya refugee crisis and calls for Bangladesh to continue to keep its borders open to these refugees and for the international community to lend additional support. Liu writes, “We need more organizations on the ground building latrines, installing water pumps, providing health care, and distributing food. This can only happen if the government of Bangladesh facilitates the presence of aid and enables a critical mass of humanitarian organizations” (10/23).

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New Report Provides Conceptual Framework, Steps For Malaria Elimination

Making Malaria History: A Conceptual Framework for Malaria Elimination
As part of the PATH Malaria Learning Series, this recently released report provides steps for national malaria programs as they work to eliminate malaria (October 2017).

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Special Issue Of Global Health Governance Highlights Role Of Think Tanks, Academic Institutions In Achieving Health-Related SDGs

Global Health Governance: Special Issue: The Role of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions in Accelerating the Implementation of the Health-Related SDGs
The Fall 2017 issue of Global Health Governance features several articles on the role of think tanks and academic institutions in helping to achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (10/23).

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