KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Ambassador To U.N. Haley Warns S. Sudan President America Will Withdraw Aid Unless Violence Ceases

Reuters: U.S. has lost trust in S. Sudan, Trump envoy tells president
“The United States has lost trust in South Sudan’s government for fueling the country’s civil war and must bring peace or risk losing support from Washington, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the nation’s President Salva Kiir…” (Nichols, 10/26).

Washington Post: Nikki Haley warns war-torn South Sudan that U.S. aid ‘at crossroads’ unless violence eases
“…In the balance is billions in U.S. aid, a potential international arms embargo, and the goodwill of the United States, which gave critical backing to South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in 2011. The United States has distanced itself from Kiir, the cowboy hat-wearing former rebel leader who presided over the promising birth of a nation blessed with oil and other natural resources…” (Gearan, 10/25).

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U.S. Lifts Sanctions On Sudan; E.U. To Provide $124M In Humanitarian, Development Aid

U.N. Dispatch: Sudan is still listed as a state sponsor of terrorism — so why did the U.S. just lift sanctions?
“Earlier this month, the U.S. government decided to lift economic sanctions on Sudan. These sanctions have been in place since 1997, and were put there for some pretty serious offenses, such as harboring Osama bin Laden and committing crimes against humanity and genocide. … [T]here’s no doubt that Sudan’s lobbying is part of why and how the U.S. has been leaning toward lifting sanctions…” (Gallo, 10/25).

VOA News: E.U. Announces $124 Million in Aid for Sudan
“The European Union has announced a $124 million humanitarian and development aid package for Sudan. The E.U. Commission said Monday the money would go toward urgent food, water, sanitation, health, and education needs, as well as supporting people who have been forced from their homes and the communities that are hosting them…” (10/25).

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U.S.-Based Anti-Abortion Groups Funding Efforts To Obstruct Access To Services, Counter Decriminalization Of Abortion In LAC Nations

The Guardian: U.S. groups pour millions into anti-abortion campaign in Latin America and Caribbean
“U.S. anti-choice groups are coordinating and financing a campaign to restrict access to abortion across Latin America and the Caribbean. A Guardian investigation has found that organizations have poured millions of dollars into the region, which has some of the most draconian abortion laws, to combat efforts to decriminalize the termination of pregnancies and to obstruct access to clinics providing services…” (Albaladejo, 10/26).

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European Parliament Votes To Increase E.U. Humanitarian, Development Aid For 2018

Devex: European Parliament pushes to protect aid spending in 2018
“The European Parliament voted Wednesday to try to boost European Union spending on development and humanitarian aid for 2018 ahead of final budget negotiations next month. … The E.U. institutions are the world’s fourth largest donor of bilateral aid, according to OECD data…” (Chadwick, 10/25).

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More Investment Needed In Africa's Health Care, Education Sectors To Prevent 'Disaster,' UNICEF Report Warns

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF: The future is African
“A new U.N. report has said that four in 10 people on Earth will be African by 2100. This demographic change requires investment in health and education in order to avoid potentially staggering humanitarian crises…” (Schumacher, 10/26).

Reuters: Wanted: 11 million professionals to save Africa from “disaster”
“Africa needs 11 million more doctors, nurses, and teachers by 2030 to prevent a ‘social and economic disaster’ that could propel millions to migrate, the United Nations said on Thursday…” (Bacchi, 10/25).

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HIV Drug Resistance Could Lead To Resurgence Of Epidemic, Researchers Warn

HealthDay News: Are HIV and AIDS Poised for a Comeback?
“The advent of powerful drugs in the mid-1990s brought remarkable gains in survival for HIV patients who had access to the medications. But a team of experts now warns that the global HIV pandemic continues and is at risk of expanding, given the worrisome global rise of HIV resistance to antiretroviral (ART) medications…” (Mozes, 10/25).

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Efforts To Predict Next Zoonotic Disease Outbreak Likely To Fail, Researchers Say

The Atlantic: Is It Possible to Predict the Next Pandemic?
“…Sick of being perpetually caught off guard, some scientists want to fully catalogue all viral threats, and predict which are likely to cause tomorrow’s outbreaks. The PREDICT project has been doing that for eight years; with $100 million in funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, they’ve discovered nearly 1,000 new viruses. The Global Virome Project is even more ambitious. Proposed in 2016, and still existing in concept only, it aims to find and sequence almost all the viruses in birds and mammals that could potentially spill over into humans. … There’s just one problem, say Jemma Geoghegan and Edward Holmes, two virologists based on Sydney. It won’t work…” (Yong, 10/25).

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U.N. Agencies Step Up, Encourage More Efforts To Supply Food, Medical Aid To War-Torn Syria

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Image of starving baby shows need to help children in besieged Syrian region: U.N. agencies
“Haunting images of a dying, malnourished baby in the Eastern Ghouta region of Syria has highlighted the need to get more food supplies to children left starving there by the country’s six year war, U.N. agencies warned on Wednesday…” (Kanso, 10/25).

U.N. News Centre: Syria: U.N. health agency steps up services for thousands of people in Raqqa
“The United Nations health agency is stepping up the delivery of medicines and medical supplies to thousands of people in newly accessible areas of Raqqa. … More than 13,500 people currently live in Raqqa city, where access to health services remains limited…” (10/25).

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U.N. Aid Chief Mark Lowcock Expresses Concern Over Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen During First Visit

Al Jazeera: U.N. aid chief raises deep concern in first Yemen visit
“The U.N.’s aid chief has arrived in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, expressing his deep concern about the war-torn country’s deteriorating humanitarian crisis. Mark Lowcock is on his first visit to Yemen since being appointed under secretary general and emergency relief coordinator on September 1…” (10/25).

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Urgent Action Needed To Stop Fall Armyworm Destruction Of Crops For 200M Africans

The Guardian: Invasion of maize-eating caterpillars worsens hunger crisis in Africa
“The crops that 200 million people rely on in Africa are under threat from a caterpillar that is spreading throughout the continent, agriculture experts have warned. Urgent action needs to be taken to stop the fall armyworm’s destructive march across the continent…” (Maclean, 10/25).

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Recent U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Missteps Raise Questions About Purpose Of Positions

Thomson Reuters Foundation: From Mugabe to Wonder Woman: when goodwill ambassadors go bad
“First, Wonder Woman fell from grace, lambasted for her curves. Next, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe lost his honorary status as a goodwill ambassador, deemed more strongman than beacon of U.N. hope. So what went wrong? The anointing — and swift firing — of goodwill ambassadors has landed the United Nations in hot water twice in less than a year and raised questions about what image it wants to project…” (Tabary, 10/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Better Data Collection, Analysis Of Aid Can Help Evaluate Efficiencies, Fill Gaps

Nature: Data science can improve aid distribution
Editorial Board

“…The rush to provide food, shelter, and health care can be as chaotic as the disaster itself. Hundreds of millions of dollars flood into the world’s largest agencies and non-governmental organizations, which often sub-contract delivery to dozens of smaller groups. In such a system, the best source of data is a person on the ground — often someone low in an organization’s chain of command. It’s this aid worker who listens as a mother describes how she’s received four sacks of rice, yet her babies have nothing to eat. … Platforms such as Dharma that collate real-time data could quicken this response time by informing groups of what people need, and help to reassure donors that their money is being spent wisely. After an acute crisis, researchers can use data collected in the heat of the moment to answer big-picture questions. … Requesting more data and analyzing them coldly will make failures more evident. … Failures at all scales must be upheld as lessons in the continuing struggle to do what’s right — and not as arguments to abandon aid completely” (10/25).

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Vaccination Remains Effective Public Health Intervention, 'One Of Safest Options To Prevent Infectious Diseases'

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: The imperative of vaccination
Editorial Board

“Vaccination is one of the most effective public health interventions and it has been instrumental in saving lives and greatly changing the burden of many infectious diseases over the past 100 years. … Public health problems such as the surge in cases of vaccine-preventable diseases need to be addressed with strong interventions that maximize societal benefits; making vaccination mandatory, albeit temporarily, should not be seen as an infringement of personal rights. Nobody would rationally advocate for vaccination if there were alternatives or if scientific evidence showed that the risk of adverse events outweighed the protection against infectious diseases. But the reality is that vaccines are still one of the safest options to prevent infectious diseases and judgement should be based on facts, not unfounded fears” (November 2017).

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Tedros's Appointment Of Mugabe As Goodwill Ambassador Should Be Investigated

Washington Post: Another week, another scandal at the United Nations
Frida Ghitis, columnist for World Politics Review

“…[WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’] decision to honor [Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe] is a misjudgment of breathtaking proportions. The stain it has left on the WHO will not be easily cleansed. We must find out what was behind it. If an investigation proves that giving this prestigious appointment to a brutal human rights violator was the result of corruption, Tedros must leave. In fact, Tedros’s tenure should already be regarded as probationary, and his judgment in question. Needless to say, this is not the first time the U.N. has inspired outrage. … The U.N.’s problems will not disappear if Tedros leaves. But it’s important to send a strong signal that such appalling events are not acceptable. Tedros has not apologized for his scandalous decision to Mugabe’s victims, to WHO staff, or to the international community. This matter is not closed” (10/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

HRW Letter Outlines Findings, Recommendations On Early Impacts Of U.S. Protecting Life In Global Health Assistance Policy

Human Rights Watch: Re: Early Impact of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy in Kenya and Uganda
In this October 13 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, HRW Washington Director Sarah Margon and Nisha Varia, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch’s women’s rights division, “share our initial research findings and recommendations on early implications of the U.S. government’s ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance’ policy. … We have outlined our key findings below on how early impact of the policy is already beginning to undermine local health systems and health gains and have attached a detailed summary of our research for your consideration ahead of the six-month review of the policy scheduled for November…” (10/26).

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Multisectoral Collaboration, Innovative Approaches Vital To Global Health Security, Preventing Outbreaks

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Joined efforts to combat infectious disease threats are proactive, capable, and inclusive
In a guest post, Farley Cleghorn, global head of health; Anita Bhuyan, senior technical writer; Jabulani Nyenwa, director of health and education for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region; and Scott Moreland, senior fellow in the data informatics and analytical solutions practice in the Americas region, all at Palladium, discuss the role of multisectoral collaboration in advancing global health security and highlight the importance of using innovative approaches to detect, prevent, contain, and respond to infectious diseases. The authors note, “With engaged communities, detection and response systems in place, and an approach that considers the capacity needs of all stakeholders, we just may be positioned to respond efficiently and effectively the next time we face a significant outbreak” (10/25).

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Development Finance Institutions Could Act As Tool To Advance Global Health

Friends of the Global Fight: Leveraging Development Finance Institutions for Better Health
Berk Ehrmantraut, communications intern at Friends of the Global Fight, discusses takeaways from an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies during which experts discussed the value of development finance institutions (DFIs) in advancing global health and ending the AIDS, TB, and malaria epidemics (10/25).

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Wilson Center Panelists Highlight Importance Of Community Engagement In Building Resilient Health Systems

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: It Takes a Village: Communities Are Key to a Resilient Health System
This post highlights remarks from panelists at a Wilson Center event co-hosted by CARE and the Maternal Health Initiative, during which global health experts discussed the importance of building “resilient health systems through interventions that support community resilience.” Experts included Rikerdy Frederic, deputy chief of party at USAID’s Services de Santé de Qualité pour Haiti (SSQH) program; Joan Dalton, gender lead at THINK Liberia; Christine Galavotti, senior director of sexual and reproductive health and rights at CARE; and Etobssie Wako, technical adviser for sexual and reproductive health and rights at CARE (Khan, 10/25).

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Women Play Important Role In Promoting Health In India

PATH’s “DefeatDD Blog”: Women Lead the Way to a Healthier India
Erika Amaya, digital communications officer at PATH, discusses the importance of education and the role of women in health promotion in India. Amaya writes, “As increasing numbers of women become advocates for themselves, the demand for the things they need to keep their families healthy — sanitation, vaccines, nutritious foods, and more­ — continues to grow. … There’s no doubt that women are leading the charge toward a healthier India, and with their children in tow, the potential for positive change is enormous” (10/25).

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MSF Continues Efforts To Control Cholera In DRC

Médecins Sans Frontières: Democratic Republic of Congo: One of the most severe cholera epidemics in years continues
This post discusses MSF’s efforts to control cholera in the Democratic Republic of Congo, highlighting the challenges of the current outbreak (10/25).

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