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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. To Provide Additional $91M In Food, Medical Aid To Ethiopia, USAID Administrator Says After Meeting With Nation's Prime Minister

Reuters: U.S. gives a further $91 million in food aid to drought-hit Ethiopia
“The United States will give a further $91 million in food aid to Ethiopia to avert famine in the southeast, U.S. aid chief Mark Green said on Thursday, as he urged the government to open up political dialogue to all sides after deadly protests last year…” (8/31).

Washington Post: United States to give Ethiopia $91 million in drought aid for food and medicine
“…The extra funding brings U.S. aid for food and medical care in Ethiopia to $454 million this year, said Mark Green, the new administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. … Green announced the additional aid after he met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn…” (Morello, 8/31).

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More Than 40 Business Leaders Send Letter To Secretary Tillerson Urging Administration To Name Ambassador-At-Large For Global Women's Issues

McClatchy: Top business leaders urge Tillerson to fill women’s rights role at State
“More than 40 business leaders representing major American companies are pressing the Trump administration to quickly name an ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson directs a reorganization of the diplomatic corps and is eager to slash the number of special envoys. … ‘We strongly urge you to quickly select qualified and experienced candidates for key leadership positions that focus on empowering women and girls globally,’ reads the missive, reviewed by McClatchy…” (Glueck, 9/1).

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U.K. Defends £200M Pledge For Humanitarian Aid To Nigeria, Viewed By Some As 50% Drop From 2017 Budget

BBC News: Britain’s Priti Patel urges others to help Nigeria
“Britain is to reduce the amount of money it is giving as humanitarian aid to Nigeria over the next few years. The aid worth £200m ($258m) over the next four years is a 50 percent drop from the £100m it gave in 2017…” (8/31).

The Guardian: DFID defends £200m aid budget for Nigeria over next four years
“…The projected average annual funding of £50m in that time period falls short of the £100m pledged to Nigeria for 2017. But DFID played down the suggestion that the new pledge amounted to a halving of the annual budget, claiming the additional funding was part of a £300m five-year package…” (Summers/Wintour, 8/31).

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Mail & Guardian Examines Zika Virus's Impacts, Mysterious Decline

Mail & Guardian: Zika virus: still no clear answers
“…[In 2015,] Brazil, then the rest of the Americas, braced for disaster, as a newly vicious strain of the Zika virus was carried by mosquitoes inexorably north. … [W]hile epidemiologists and public health experts in Brazil are glad the [congenital Zika syndrome (CZS)] crisis was not replicated on [a] devastating scale — the fact is that, two years later, no one knows why not — and no one can explain what happened in 2015…” (Nolen, 8/31).

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Major Flooding In U.S., Africa, Asia Brings Health Risks

CNN: The hidden health dangers of flooding
“…The health concerns that floodwater can bring include physical and mental challenges. … [Floodwater is] often contaminated with sewage and chemicals and can hide sharp objects made of metal or glass. … Floodwater can also carry disease. That’s a serious problem in developing countries where cholera, typhoid, or yellow fever are present, according to the World Health Organization…” (Christensen, 8/31).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Beyond Harvey: Deadly Floods Cause Havoc in Africa, Asia
“With Tropical Storm Harvey gathering headlines as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century, floods have killed many more people in Africa and Asia this year, as climate change worsens extreme weather worldwide…” (Pujol-Mazzini, 8/31).

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Some Asian Communities Face Challenges Obtaining Useful Data On Water Quality From Governments, Report Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Murky data on water pollution puts health at risk in Asia — researchers
“…Concerned about their health, [communities in Mongolia, Indonesia, and Thailand] sought clarification and information from their governments about pollutants being released into the environment, overall water quality, the risks of using such water, and information on the companies thought to be responsible. In each case, they were thwarted, despite their countries having extensive legislation on citizens’ right to information, including environmental data, said a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI), a U.S.-based think tank…” (Win, 8/30).

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Zambia To Make HIV Testing Mandatory For All Patients Visiting Government Health Facilities; Activists Push To Reverse Decision

The Lancet: President of Zambia declares HIV testing mandatory
“Zambia is moving forward with mandatory HIV testing for all patients who visit government health facilities, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya told The Lancet, confirming President Edgar Lungu’s surprise announcement of the new policy in mid-August. The move appears to contradict WHO recommendations against mandatory or coerced testing. And it has sparked an outcry among international and local HIV activists, who are pushing the government to reverse its decision…” (Green, 8/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Lack Of International Attention, Donor Fatigue Contribute To Funding Shortfalls For Humanitarian Assistance

The Guardian: The global focus on storm Harvey shows not all suffering is seen as equal
Simon Tisdall, assistant editor of the Guardian

“The suffering caused to tens of thousands of people in Texas and Louisiana by tropical storm Harvey is not to be underestimated. But in terms of scale and human cost, it pales in comparison with many worldwide disasters — both recent and ongoing, natural and manmade — that have received less international attention. The extreme flooding that hit India, Nepal, and Bangladesh (and now Pakistan) … has affected an estimated 40 million people and claimed about 1,200 lives so far, according to the most recent reports. And that is not the half of it. … Yet international attention, or the lack of it, is not always a factor. … [D]onor fatigue appears to have set in. … One reason why this year’s funding shortfall is so severe is the unprecedented level of demand. But another may be political pressure to cut foreign aid budgets in the west. In Britain, calls to slash overseas humanitarian assistance have been growing, while Donald Trump has proposed U.S. aid budget cuts … If approved, Trump’s plans would amount to a 32 percent reduction in U.S. civilian foreign affairs spending at a moment of exceptional global need” (8/31).

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U.S., U.K. Should Not Remain 'Complicit' While Saudi Arabia Commits War Crimes In Yemen

New York Times: The Photos the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Don’t Want You to See
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“Let’s be blunt: With U.S. and U.K. complicity, the Saudi government is committing war crimes in Yemen. … Human Rights Watch has repeatedly concluded that many Saudi airstrikes were probable war crimes and that the U.S. shares responsibility because it provides the Saudis with air-to-air refueling and intelligence used for airstrikes, as well as with much of the weaponry. Yet victims … aren’t on our television screens and rarely make the news pages, in part because Saudi Arabia is successfully blocking foreign journalists from the rebel-held areas. … ‘The situation in Yemen is a disgrace that brings shame to our global community,’ says Michelle Nunn, president of Care USA. ‘More than 20 million Yemenis are in need of emergency assistance, and a child dies every five minutes. Yet few Americans know about the daily bloodshed, near-famine conditions, and a raging cholera epidemic.’ … Jan Egeland, a former senior U.N. official who now leads the Norwegian Refugee Council, urges an immediate cease-fire, a lifting of the embargo on Yemen, and peace talks led by the U.N., the U.S., and the U.K., forcing both sides to compromise…” (8/29).

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South Asian Nations Must Work Together To Address, Cope With Flooding In Region

New York Times: In Bangladesh, a Flood and an Efficient Response
K. Anis Ahmed, publisher of the Dhaka Tribune and the Bangla Tribune

“After two weeks of flooding, about half of Bangladesh is under water, 140 people have been killed, tens of thousands of families have been forced from their homes, and well over a million acres of crops have been destroyed. … As experts attribute the frequency of immense floods to climate change, the thousands who move to Dhaka, the capital, and other cities should be considered climate refugees. … Floods are a transnational affair … borders mean little. During the floods this time, 800 Indians from the state of West Bengal bordering Bangladesh sought shelter in Lalmonirhat, a northern district of Bangladesh. … Common sense and humanity prevailed over jingoism and xenophobia on the India-Bangladesh border. The increasing frequency and intensity of floods point to the need for cross-border cooperation on shared rivers. … If South Asia cannot work together on shared natural resources, it will be ill equipped to cope with the desperate rush of refugees. Going forward, climate change will displace millions — and there is no concertina wire strong enough to hold back multitudes desperate to survive” (9/1).

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Chile's Experience Reforming Abortion Law Can Serve As Example To Other Countries

New York Times: How Chile Ended Its Draconian Ban on Abortion
José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas division at Human Rights Watch, and Verónica Undurraga, professor of constitutional law at Adolfo Ibáñez University

“Last month, in a huge victory for Chile’s women, the Constitutional Court here upheld a long-awaited law that eases a total ban on abortion, raising hopes that other Latin American countries will soon reconsider their cruel restrictions on the procedure. The new Chilean law, passed by Congress in August, decriminalizes abortion under three circumstances: if the life of the pregnant woman is at risk; if the pregnancy is the result of rape; or if the fetus will not survive. … Chile’s experience can be an example of how to reform laws that forbid women from terminating tragic pregnancies. … The joint venture between government and nongovernmental organizations to open the debate on abortion marks a human rights watershed in Chile. But much still needs to be done. Chile retains many unreasonable obstacles to legal abortion … In the meantime, Chile’s breakthrough should encourage other countries to reconsider their harmful and regressive laws banning abortion” (9/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

September 2017 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The September 2017 WHO Bulletin includes editorials, news, and research and policy articles on various issues, including the vulnerability of pregnant refugees, family planning services provision in Africa, and the economic impact of vaccinations in low- and middle-income countries (September 2017).

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FHI 360 August 2017 Round-Up Available Online

FHI 360’s “R&E Search for Evidence”: Monthly Round-Up: August 2017
This newsletter contains various articles on using research and evaluation to improve development, including articles on research utilization, paper-based data collection, and the concept of data saturation in qualitative research (August 2017).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Announces Selection Of 12 Countries For Feed The Future's Next Phase

USAID: Administrator Green Announces Next Phase of Feed the Future on First International Trip
“[Wednesday], U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green announced the selection of 12 target countries for the next phase in America’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda…” (8/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.