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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

State Department Officials Brief Senate Staff On State, USAID Redesign Plans; Members Of Both Parties Desire More Details, Aide Says

POLITICO: Tillerson vows State Dept. redesign won’t concentrate power in his hands
“As part of his plan to restructure the State Department, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is pledging not to concentrate more power in his own hands — for now — according to new material obtained Friday by POLITICO. … According to a copy of the presentation shared with POLITICO, Tillerson envisions a system where State and USAID more closely coordinate their work and rely more on data analytics to drive their policy decisions…” (Toosi, 9/15).

Reuters: State Department describes plans for cuts, offers few specifics: sources
“State Department officials briefed Senate staff on Friday on plans to cut up to $10 billion from the department’s budget over five years, but offered few specifics to ease concerns that the administration risked weakening U.S. standing in the world. … A Senate aide who attended said both Republicans and Democrats seemed frustrated at the lack of specifics…” (Zengerle, 9/15).

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Marie Stopes International Closing, Scaling Back Programs Due To Reinstatement Of Mexico City Policy

CBC News: Trump changes to foreign aid restricting access to family planning services in poorest countries
“Women in some of the poorest countries in the world are already feeling the effects of the Trump administration’s sweeping changes to foreign aid, and the impact will only widen, advocates say. The reinstatement of the Mexico City policy will lead to unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths, and even more poverty, says one of the world’s largest family planning organizations. With the policy cutting off part of its funding, Marie Stopes International says this month it is closing or scaling back projects that provide free or inexpensive contraception for women in Madagascar and Zimbabwe…” (Burns-Pieper, 9/16).

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Devex, IRIN Look Ahead To UNGA Meetings This Week, Including Speeches By Guterres, Trump

Devex: U.N. reform, Trump, the SDGs, and moonshots: 6 things to watch at Global Goals Week
“A new United Nations chief bent on reform. An unpredictable American president set to deliver his first address. Persistent humanitarian crises and flaring global hotspots. Emerging technologies that could revolutionize — or disrupt — efforts to end poverty and fight disease. There is plenty to ponder and discuss in New York next week, as international delegations arrive for Global Goals Week — the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly…” (Igoe et al., 9/15).

Devex: Amid global crises, UNGA will show development community rising to the challenges
“…Friday I went to see the new and outspoken U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, the Nigerian architect who engineered the Sustainable Development Goals. I asked her what this UNGA would be about. She was characteristically blunt. ‘We are on a path to recalibrating our role in a very messed up world. That includes every single one of the members. Trump is a member of the U.N., and they must never forget that. Actions are about collective responsibility,’ she said…” (Kumar, 9/18).

Devex: DSG Amina Mohammed clarifies reform plans for U.N.’s role in ‘messed up’ world
“…Mohammed spoke ahead of Global Goals Week, and a high-level meeting on U.N. reform on Monday, and offered a rare insight into how a reworking of the fragmented U.N. system might actually look. She also discussed why it will not signify a merging of messaging with the Trump administration’s international agenda, which seeks wholesale reforms and funding cuts, but has not specified how U.N. reform would look in practice…” (Lieberman/Kumar, 9/18).

IRIN: Six major humanitarian challenges confronting the U.N. General Assembly
“It’s the first UNGA since Trump was elected president. He’ll make his debut on Monday in hosting a meeting on U.N. reform, ahead of his maiden speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday. It’s also the first year at the helm for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. His speech opening high-level week on Tuesday will be closely watched, as will his handling of Trump’s U.S. administration. … Here’s our guide to the major humanitarian issues…” (Oakford, 9/18).

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Los Angeles Times Reports On World's Progress, Setbacks Toward Achieving SDGs

Los Angeles Times: The U.N. pledged to improve the lives of the world’s most needy. Enacting that plan is another matter
“…When the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday begins discussions known as the General Debate, the subjects contained in the 17 goals will be among the issues that take center stage. Indeed, the debate theme is ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.’ Addressing the opening of the General Assembly on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged the need to maintain momentum to achieve the goals. … Some of the goals are more challenging than others…” (Simmons, 9/17).

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Following Decade Of Decline, Hunger On Rise Due To Conflict, Climate Change, U.N. Report Says

Foreign Policy: Report: After A Decade of Improvement, Global Hunger Increases
“The United Nations released its first-ever report on global hunger and malnutrition on Friday, and the prospects for a world without hunger by 2030 are looking grim…” (Chase-Lubitz, 9/15).

International Business Times: Global Hunger By Numbers: How Conflict Drives The World To Hunger
“World hunger is increasing, and violent conflicts around the globe and climate change have been the primary causes for the worsening food insecurity, according to a new report released by the United Nations (U.N.). The number of undernourished people across the world has increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, which accounts for about 11 percent of total world population, the report says…” (Bhasin, 9/17).

Inter Press Service: World Hunger on the Rise Again
“…Addressing food insecurity and malnutrition in conflict-affected situations cannot be ‘business as usual,’ alerts the new edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017, Building Resilience for Peace and Food Security…” (Kamal, 9/15).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Global hunger rises for first time in decade: U.N. agencies
“…The number of hungry began to rise in 2014, but this is the first time in more than a decade that the proportion of the global population going hungry has risen. … The report was produced by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), [World Food Programme (WFP),] and World Health Organization (WHO)…” (Whiting, 9/15).

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More Than Half Of Rohingya Refugees Fleeing Myanmar Are Children, UNICEF Reports; NGOs Express Concern Over Government's Takeover Of Aid Operations

The Guardian: ‘Humanitarian catastrophe’ unfolding as Myanmar takes over aid efforts in Rakhine state
“The Myanmar government has taken control of aid operations in the country’s crisis-hit Rakhine state, as reports continue of massacres and ‘ethnic cleansing’ by soldiers on the Muslim population there. Senior officials and Human Rights Watch have told the Guardian they believe the move could become permanent, ending vital food and health programs run by international agencies…” (Stoakes, 9/15).

Quartz: More than half the refugees fleeing Myanmar are children
“The number of people who have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh over the last three weeks has now crossed 400,000, according to the United Nations. If that’s not bad enough, here’s something even more troubling — the majority of them are children…” (Lahiri, 9/18).

U.N. News Centre: U.N.-supported campaign to immunize 150,000 Rohingya children against deadly diseases
“…According to a news release by the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the agency and the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) are supporting the Bangladeshi Ministry of Health-led campaign targeting measles, rubella, and polio to inoculate some 150,000 Rohingya children below the age of fifteen in 68 refugee settlements near the country’s border with Myanmar…” (9/17).

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New York Times Examines Changing Marketing, Manufacturing Tactics Of Multinational Food Companies, Rising Obesity Rates Worldwide

New York Times: How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food
“…A New York Times examination of corporate records, epidemiological studies, and government reports — as well as interviews with scores of nutritionists and health experts around the world — reveals a sea change in the way food is produced, distributed, and advertised across much of the globe. The shift, many public health experts say, is contributing to a new epidemic of diabetes and heart disease, chronic illnesses that are fed by soaring rates of obesity in places that struggled with hunger and malnutrition just a generation ago…” (Jacobs/Richtel, 9/16).

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Leprosy Cases Persist Despite WHO 2006 Report On Elimination Of Disease As Public Health Problem

NPR: Leprosy Is Not Quite Yet A Disease Of The Past
“…[L]eprosy seems to be a disease of the past. Indeed, in 2006, the World Health Organization issued a report on ‘elimination of leprosy as a public health problem,’ stating that the number of cases had dropped by 90 percent since 1985. But more than a decade later, leprosy persists. According to a report in The Lancet: Infectious Diseases, some 200,000 new cases, including 25,000 in children, are reported each year. About half of these new cases are in India…” (Brink, 9/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

Reach Act Could Strengthen U.S. Efforts To End Preventable Mother, Newborn, Child Deaths

The Hill: Raising awareness about maternal health worldwide on National Bump Day
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Heidi Murkoff, author

“…We see a clear opportunity for Congress to take action in the fight against preventable maternal and child deaths. The bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act … would strengthen U.S. government efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and young children. Taking lessons learned from past initiatives, such as the successful President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Reach Act would provide the focus and tools necessary to improve the health and wellbeing of the hardest to reach mothers and children and create a more stable world. … Due in large measure to U.S. leadership, we have made great progress in the fight to bring preventable deaths among mothers to zero. But we must keep fighting until we reach our goal, and help every mother reach her goal of delivering a healthy future for her baby. By supporting simple interventions and increasing access to resources for those who need them most, we can do that — one mother and one baby at a time — on [National Bump Day] and every day” (9/15).

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With Zika Vaccine Development Under Question, Gavi, Other Partners Must Work Together To Guarantee Market, Stimulate Research

STAT: Is there a future for a Zika vaccine?
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…We currently have more questions than answers about Zika. … It’s still too early to tell, but the uncertainty about Zika makes the development of a vaccine decidedly riskier for manufacturers. Because of this, it is essential that we try to remove some of the uncertainty by continuing research in the epidemiology of the virus. We must also draw up strategies that cover all the bases, including a plan of action for a possible market failure for a Zika vaccine. If it does come to that, one option would be to call upon the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation to provide incentives to stimulate vaccine development, while Gavi looks at ways to work with manufacturers to assure access to the vaccine for developing countries. Regardless of how many vaccines are in development, until we figure this out we may find that none of them will make it to the market” (9/18).

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Universal Flu Vaccine Could Protect Against Seasonal, Pandemic Influenza Viruses

Scientific American: 100 Years after the Lethal 1918 Flu Pandemic, We Are Still Vulnerable
Catharine I. Paules, medical officer in the Office of the Director at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Anthony S. Fauci, director of NIAID

“…[W]e must reexamine our approach to influenza vaccines so we can avert a repeat of [the 1918 influenza pandemic.] … The remarkable capacity of influenza viruses to undergo antigenic drift or shift to overcome and escape human population immunity leaves us vulnerable to a public health disaster potentially as serious as the 1918 pandemic. To meet this global health challenge, scientists are working to develop ‘universal influenza vaccines’ — new types of inoculations that can provide protection not only against changing seasonal influenza viruses but also against the inevitable pandemic viruses that will emerge in the future. … Although hurdles in the development of such universal vaccines are daunting, we are optimistic that we can apply existing tools and experimental approaches to meet the challenge. As we approach the centennial of the 1918 influenza pandemic, let us be reminded of the importance of this line of research in preventing a repeat of one of the most disastrous events in the history of global health” (9/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Upcoming Event Highlights 9 New Articles On Impact Of Malaria Control Interventions, New Evaluation Methods

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Rigorous Evidence Shows U.S. Global Health Efforts Work. Come Hear About it at CGD!
Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer, senior fellow, and Board secretary, Sebastian Bauhoff, research fellow, and Roxanne Oroxom, research associate, all at CGD, discuss an upcoming event co-hosted by CGD, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and others to highlight “the release of nine new articles in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene documenting the impact of malaria control interventions and new methods for evaluating programs” (9/15).

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FT Health Discusses Workplace Health, Features Interview With U.K.'s Chief Medical Officer

FT Health: Boardroom commitment key to healthier workforce
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses FT’s new Health at Work report, includes an interview with U.K. Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, and features a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 9/15).

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