KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

First Lady Melania Trump Begins Africa Tour In Ghana; Outlets Discuss Some Of President Trump's Policy Decisions Related To Continent

CNN: Melania Trump is greeted in Ghana, visits baby clinic
“Melania Trump stepped off Executive One, the government plane assigned for her travel, Tuesday and arrived in Ghana on her first major solo journey as first lady. The schedule for Trump’s trip has her spending about a week abroad, zig-zagging the continent to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt…” (Bennett, 10/3).

CNN: Melania Trump’s sunny message in Africa at odds with U.S. policy
“…On her first solo trip abroad as first lady, Melania Trump wants to promote her ‘Be Best’ campaign and highlight women’s and children’s health. But what differs from her predecessors’ tours is that the sunny messaging during Trump’s trip to Africa falls at odds with her husband’s policies, say public health experts and leaders of nongovernmental organizations. … On January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated the so-called Mexico City policy, which cuts U.S. [global health] funding for foreign charities that provide or promote abortion — even if abortion is legal in that country. … The Mexico City policy isn’t Trump’s only foray into foreign aid. The White House has repeatedly asked for significant funding cuts to USAID and the State Department in its proposed budget. But, so far, there has been bipartisan pushback from Congress — which passes the budget — to any major cuts in foreign assistance. ‘This kind of positioning from the White House affects our relationship with countries across the globe,’ said the Kaiser Family Foundation’s [Jen] Kates. ‘If the U.S. takes an isolationist stance then we will no longer be seen as a leader on the international stage’…” (McKenzie/Swails, 10/3).

Washington Post: Melania Trump begins tour of Africa in Ghana amid questions and criticism
“…As she greets dignitaries in the four countries, Melania Trump plans to engage in the kind of ‘soft diplomacy’ expected of first ladies. Unlike her predecessors, Trump has to contend with the baggage of her husband’s belittling comments about African nations that made headlines across the continent. But USAID Administrator Mark Green, who is accompanying the first lady in Ghana, said the trip serves to ‘symbolize American values and engagement. It spotlights and raises the profile of American programs in action.’ And he said Trump’s focus on children drew her to the region…” (Heil/Jordan, 10/2).

Additional coverage of the first lady’s Africa tour is available from Deutsche Welle and Washington Post.

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U.S. Working With Latin American Nations To Prevent Spread Of Diseases From Venezuela, HHS Secretary Says

Reuters: U.S. working to halt spread of diseases from Venezuela
“The United States is working with governments across Latin America to help prevent the spread of diseases like diphtheria and measles from Venezuela as refugees flee the chaotic country, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Tuesday…” (Slattery, 10/2).

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U.S. Sends Disaster Response Team To DRC To Assist In Ebola Outbreak Response; New Cases Reported

Axios: U.S. deploys disaster response team to help fight Ebola in the Congo
“The U.S. Agency for International Development announced Monday that it has sent a disaster assistance response team (DART) to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help contain the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus…” (10/1).

CIDRAP News: New Ebola cases highlight challenges in DRC
“Health officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported two more cases of Ebola virus late [Monday], a fatal case in a patient whose family refused vaccination and an illness in a patient from a community marked by resistance to outbreak response efforts. … Officials have now reported 161 cases of Ebola in DRC, including 105 deaths. Nine cases are still under investigation…” (Soucheray, 10/2).

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U.S., U.K. Halt Aid Shipments To Syria's Idlib Province Over Concerns Extremist Groups Benefiting From 'Taxes'

IRIN: U.S. and U.K. halt key Syria aid shipments over extremist “taxes”
“The United States and Britain have abruptly stopped aid they fund from going through a key border crossing into Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, with USAID saying the move is to prevent extremist groups from benefiting from taxes they impose on aid trucks. The freeze puts at risk supplies that help to support hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in Idlib, which is controlled by a patchwork of armed groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad and faces the prospect of an assault by al-Assad’s Russian-backed forces…” (Parker, 10/2).

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WHO, Yemen Begin New Cholera Vaccination Drive As Cases Increase To 10K+ Per Week

Agence France-Presse: WHO launches second cholera vaccine drive in Yemen as cases surge
“The World Health Organization said Tuesday it was helping Yemeni authorities with a second round of vaccination against cholera in three hard-hit districts, as cases surged across the war-ravaged country…” (10/2).

Reuters: Yemen cholera outbreak accelerates to 10,000+ cases per week: WHO
“Yemen’s cholera outbreak — the worst in the world — is accelerating again, with roughly 10,000 suspected cases now reported per week, the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed on Tuesday…” (Nebehay, 10/2).

Additional coverage of Yemen’s cholera outbreak is available from U.N. News and VOA News.

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Tobacco Production Negatively Impacts Environment, WHO Report Says

Associated Press: U.N.: Tobacco kills not just people, but the environment
“The World Health Organization says smoking not only kills about seven million people every year, but has a devastating impact on the environment — contributing to deforestation, water and soil damage, and acidification. In a new report released on Tuesday, experts warned that the environmental footprint left by tobacco production is comparable to that of entire countries…” (10/2).

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Indonesians Affected By Twin Disasters Await Aid; Death Toll Rises Above 1,400

The Guardian: ‘Now it’s too late’: anger over Palu’s long wait for tsunami aid
“…In Palu and its surrounds, people are being pushed to the brink. The earthquake and tsunami killed [more than] 1,400 people, destroyed thousands of homes and displaced 59,000. Without enough food, water or fuel, survivors are desperate…” (Lamb, 10/2).

Washington Post: ‘I’m still in pain’: Six days after Indonesia’s double disaster, needs remain acute
“…Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited this battered city for the second time on Wednesday, and the neighboring region of Donggala for the first, where twin disasters — a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami that followed — have taken 1,407 lives and counting…” (McLaughlin et al., 10/3).

Additional coverage of the Indonesian quake-tsunami is available from the New York Times, U.N. News, and Wall Street Journal.

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More News In Global Health

aidsmap: One in five exposed to TB during HIV clinic visits, Malawi study finds (Alcorn, 10/1).

Associated Press: Zimbabwe in huge cholera vaccination drive after 49 deaths (10/3).

BBC News: The battle for better disability rehab in North Africa (Daniels, 10/1).

BBC News: Cervical cancer: Australia ‘to be first to eliminate disease’ (10/3).

Devex: Nigeria’s hidden HIV crisis (Adepoju, 10/3).

New York Times: ‘Better to Drown’: A Greek Refugee Camp’s Epidemic of Misery (Kingsley, 10/2).

Quartz India: A shocking proportion of Indians have got morning-after pills all wrong (Thomas, 10/3).

SciDev.Net: U.N. targets TB for eradication (Caruana, 10/3).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Desperate border crossings, as Venezuela runs short of HIV drugs (Moloney, 10/3).

U.N. News: U.N. chief commends India’s progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (10/2).

Vox: New research brings us one step closer to eradicating malaria — but progress will take a while (Piper, 10/2).

The Wire: How Is Modi’s Swachh Bharat Dealing With the Public Health Crisis of Open Defecation? (Agarwal, 10/2).

Xinhua News: Arab League sets strategy to better social, health conditions of aged people (10/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Community Should Recommit To Values Of Alma-Ata Declaration

Project Syndicate: ‘Health for All’ Forty Years On
Kabir Sheikh, chair of Health Systems Global and policy adviser at the Alliance for Health Policy & Systems Research

“…The Declaration of Alma-Ata’s lasting legacy is the consensus that health can be improved only with a combination of good science, sound economics, and action against social injustices. … The international community should mark the declaration’s anniversary by recommitting to the values it upholds. … Three of Alma-Ata’s messages merit special attention. First, to improve health, leaders need to do more than build clinics and train physicians; they must also protect the environment, ensure access to clean water and sanitation, promote gender equality, create jobs, and strengthen infrastructure. … Second, more needs to be done to promote interdisciplinary health sciences that address both the practical and ethical questions posed by Alma-Ata. … Finally, just as the declaration prescribed, international health organizations and donors are beginning to reorient their strategies to empower leaders at the local and national levels. … In all of these areas, the Declaration of Alma-Ata will no doubt be a source of continued inspiration” (10/2).

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Investing In, Equipping Youth To Become Next Generation Of Leaders Critical To Global Health Progress

Devex: Opinion: The global health remedy we need is a strong dose of youth leadership
Daniela Terminel, CEO of Global Health Corps

“…If we want to accelerate our progress in solving global health challenges, we have to invest in this next generation of leaders. … We’ve made amazing progress in global health since the birth of the field just a few decades ago, and moving forward will require learning from what worked and what didn’t. … Cross-generational mentorship is a way for … wisdom to be shared so that the journey to achieving health equity is shorter and less bumpy. … Eloquent, insightful young professionals with expertise on a range of health issues are out there, and they’re hungry for opportunities to weigh in. It’s on all of us to do what it takes to make sure they can: Invite them to be speakers on main stages, provide funding for them to participate in high-level convenings, and engage them as facilitators and moderators to shape the conversation. … It’s time to commit to throwing our collective resources into equipping them to take the reins by mentoring, pulling up chairs, and passing the mic. Our future depends on it” (10/1).

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Women Must Be Included In Disaster Planning, Recovery Efforts

Project Syndicate: Disasters Discriminate — Our Response Should Not
Bharati Sadasivam, regional gender adviser for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the United Nations Development Programme

“…[L]ives are saved when women are included in disaster planning and recovery. Natural disasters disproportionately affect women and children, especially in countries where women’s socioeconomic status is low. … [S]ome international agreements are beginning to emphasize the gender-differentiated consequences of natural and human-caused calamities. … Still, much work remains to be done, with four areas demanding urgent attention. First, increasing the number of women on search-and-rescue teams is essential … Second, more women must participate in post-disaster counseling efforts … Third, disaster-related funding should be tailored for women’s unique circumstances. … Finally, communities and disaster management authorities everywhere should adopt gender-specific strategies in all stages of disaster planning and response … Although disasters affect entire communities, women often bear the brunt of the burden. Disasters will continue to discriminate, unless we transform our responses to address their different effects on women and men…” (10/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

New Commitments To Global Fund Would Help World Reach TB HLM Political Declaration's Goals, Friends of Global Fight Post Says

Friends of the Global Fight: World Leaders Gathered at U.N. to Tackle TB. Now What?
John McMannis, program research and impact manager at Friends of the Global Fight, discusses the recent U.N. High-Level Meeting (HLM) on TB, highlighting comments from Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands and commitments made by the U.S. and U.K. McMannis writes, “The [meeting’s political] declaration lays out targets for fighting TB, including successfully treating 40 million people with the disease and increasing global investments for ending TB to $13 billion per year by 2022. … Without specific country targets and a way to hold governments accountable, countries must step up to show that they are serious about the commitments they made at the HLM. … New investments in the Global Fund by the U.S. and other donors would have a substantive positive impact on our ability to achieve the goals laid out in the HLM’s political declaration” (10/2).

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European, Other Representatives Gather For WHO International Healthy Cities Conference

WHO: Representatives from cities around the world gather for Healthy Cities Conference
“Representatives from 60 countries and more than 200 cities — roughly half of them located in the WHO European Region — have gathered in Belfast, United Kingdom, for the WHO International Healthy Cities Conference, taking place on 1-4 October. Over the course of the event, participants will take part in plenary sessions, panel discussions, workshops, and site visits that aim to equip cities with the knowledge, tools, and innovative approaches needed to meet challenges such as: improving air quality, increasing options for sustainable and healthy transport, addressing the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases, ensuring equity and inclusion, boosting physical activity, and more…” (10/1).

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Pharos Global Health, Tata Trusts Experts Examine India's Take-Home Rations Program For Child, Maternal Nutrition

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: How India can improve its Take-Home Rations program to boost child and maternal nutrition
In this guest post, Ryan Schwarz, senior program officer at Pharos Global Health Advisors and instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and colleagues from Pharos and Tata Trusts discuss efforts to improve nutrition in India, particularly its Take-Home Rations scheme, which aims to provide children as well as pregnant and lactating women with fortified supplementary food products for home use (10/1).

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MSF Adviser Discusses Role Of Community Groups In Maintaining Access To HIV Medicine In CAR

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: Community ART groups: bringing HIV treatment closer to patients’ homes and to communities in conflict
Charles Ssonko, HIV/TB/Hep adviser at Médecins Sans Frontières U.K., “describes the role of community groups in maintaining access to antiretroviral drugs for patients in Central African Republic, even under the most difficult and dangerous circumstances” (10/2).

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