Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Delegation Including Ivanka Trump Visits Venezuelan Migrant Camp In Colombia; USAID Announces $120M In Additional Humanitarian Aid
Associated Press: Ivanka Trump embraces Venezuela migrants as U.S. boosts aid
“Ivanka Trump met with Venezuelan migrants and opposition leaders on Wednesday as the U.S. government announced a new aid package of $120 million for people leaving the crisis-wracked South American nation. U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter and special adviser is on a five-day tour of South America aimed at promoting a White House initiative for the economic empowerment of women…” (Leon/Rueda, 9/4).
 
The Hill: Ivanka Trump visits Venezuelan migrant camp in Colombia
“…The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green and Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan announced more than $120 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance, according to a statement from State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. The funding will support emergency food and health aid for Venezuelans in Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and other places in the region…” (Frazin, 9/4).
 
Additional coverage of the U.S. delegation’s visit to Colombia is available from Bloomberg, Reuters, and The State.

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New USAID Innovation Lab To Test Resilience Strategies To Help People Respond To Disasters
Devex: New innovation lab backed by USAID points to growing focus on resilience
“A new lab at the University of California, Davis will build and test ways to overcome the risks of disasters that keep rural families poor. The U.S. Agency for International Development selected UC Davis to lead the latest innovation lab funded by Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a five year grant of up to $30 million, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience, or MMR Innovation Lab, will manage a portfolio of projects testing ways to help people mitigate, adapt to, and recover from shocks such as drought, flood, or conflict. This research could inform USAID’s work to ensure that its investments can have a lasting impact even in the face of risks that can hold back progress on ending extreme poverty…” (Cheney, 9/5). 

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Ebola Survivors Face Higher Risk Of Mortality, Possibly From Kidney Problems, Study Shows
Associated Press: Ebola survivors at higher risk of dying, even after recovery
“A study that tracked over 1,000 Ebola survivors [in Guinea] found they had a higher than usual chance of dying in the year after their recovery. Some health officials said the results suggest more should be done to monitor the health of survivors amid the ongoing outbreak in Congo…” (Cheng, 9/4).
 
Devex: Ebola survivors may be at increased risk of death, study suggests
“…The study highlighted the importance of strengthening monitoring programs for survivors of Ebola, especially those who stayed in the hospital for longer than 12 days. The authors hope a similar study will be replicated in other countries that were previously affected by Ebola, as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Ebola deaths have now topped 2,000…” (Ravelo, 9/5).
 
Reuters: Ebola survivors face kidney problems and risk of premature death
“…In the survivor study, published on Wednesday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, scientists led by Ibrahima Socé Fall, an emergency response expert at the World Health Organization, followed 1,130 Guinean survivors of the 2013-16 outbreak. Over a follow-up period of an average of 22 months, 59 deaths were reported, of which 37 were tentatively attributed to renal failure based on reports by family members of the symptoms suffered by their dead loved one, the researchers said…” (Kelland, 9/4).

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IAEA, WHO To Collaborate With Bangladesh In Testing Nuclear Technique To Sterilize Disease-Spreading Mosquitoes
Homeland Preparedness News: IAEA, Bangladesh collaborate on test of nuclear, anti-mosquito plan
“Under threat from its worst recorded outbreak of dengue since 2000, Bangladesh has turned to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organization (WHO) to help outline a plan to test a nuclear technique to combat mosquitoes spreading the disease. More than 38,000 have been infected with dengue in Bangladesh since January 2019…” (Galford, 9/4).
 
The Telegraph: Experts go nuclear in bid to stop outbreaks of dengue fever
“…[The agencies have] agreed to trial an innovative technique which sterilizes mosquitoes with radiation. The sterile insect technique (SIT) exposes male mosquitoes to enough radiation to sterilize them. They are then released into the wild en masse to mate with females, who then do not reproduce. Over time, it is hoped that the technique will reduce the population as fewer mosquitoes will be born…” (Wallen, 9/4).

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Cellphone Texting Program Improved TB Treatment Outcomes In Small Kenyan Study
New York Times: How to Get TB Patients to Take Their Pills? Persistent Texting and a ‘Winners Circle’
“…Health officials have tried many ways to persuade patients to comply [with four- to six-month treatment regimens for tuberculosis], from gentle encouragement to imprisonment in locked wards. Now researchers have come up with a new tactic: A program based on nagging cellphone texts succeeded in goading patients into taking their drugs in a preliminary test in Nairobi, Kenya, according to a study published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Patients who were enrolled in the phone program experienced 68 percent fewer bad outcomes — death, treatment failure, or loss of contact with the clinic — compared to patients who were not. … As a result, the United States Agency for International Development gave [the company] Keheala a grant to expand its trial to 16,000 Kenyans in eight counties…” (McNeil, 9/4).

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North Korea Asks U.N. To Cut In-Country Staff Due To 'Politicization' Of Aid By 'Hostile Forces'
Reuters: North Korea tells United Nations to cut international aid staff — letter
“North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys in the country because the world body’s programs have failed ‘due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces,’ according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday. … North Korea wants the number of international staff with the U.N. Development Programme to be cut to one or two from six, the World Health Organization to four from six, and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to cut its 13 staff by one or two…” (Nichols, 9/4).

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More News In Global Health
Bloomberg: Superbugs Deadlier Than Cancer Put Chemotherapy Into Question (Gale, 9/5).
 
Devex: Australian support for African spatial data (Cornish,9/5).
 
The Guardian: Malaria breakthrough as scientists find ‘highly effective’ way to kill parasite (Njeru, 9/5).
 
Homeland Preparedness News: Gavi launches $7.4B campaign to vaccinate 300 million people by 2025 (Galford, 9/4).
 
New Humanitarian: Male rape survivors go uncounted in Rohingya camps (Hölzl, 9/4).
 
Science: Critics ‘alarmed by lack of interest’ in studying children put at risk by dengue vaccine (Cohen, 9/4).
 
U.N. News: Central Africans ‘need our help now’: U.N.’s deputy relief chief (9/4).
 
U.S. News: Rwanda’s Model: Progress, With More Work Ahead (Clarke, 9/5).
 
Xinhua: FAO launches project to strengthen Rwanda’s water governance (9/5).
 
Xinhua: ASEAN-China-UNDP symposium on sustainable development goals, poverty reduction opens in Vietnam (9/4).
 
Xinhua: Dengue cases in Philippines hit nearly 230,000 with over 950 deaths: U.N. agency (9/4).
 
Xinhua: Global charity appeals for funding to avert food crisis in Somalia (9/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Canada's Increased Global Fund Pledge Shows Leadership, Support For Feminist International Aid Policy
Edmonton Journal: Opinion: Fighting global disease can also help transform women’s lives
Chitra Ramaswami and Randy Rudolph, partners with Results Canada in Calgary
 
“The prime minister’s recent announcement of a close to 16 percent increase in support for the Global Fund is good news for Canada and the world. Canada has pledged $930.4 million over the next three years. … For its sixth replenishment cycle, the Global Fund has asked for renewed funding of US$14 billion in order to step up the fight over the next three years. Canada has responded generously to the call. In doing so, it has stood by its proclaimed feminist international assistance policy. Women and girls suffer disproportionately in the three great epidemics. … Following Canada’s announcement, during the G7 Summit in France, global leaders from Germany, Italy, and the E.U. announced similar increases in funding. We should not underestimate Canada’s ability to lead by example as a caring and compassionate democracy” (9/4).

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Opinion Pieces Explore Issues Related To Outbreak Preparedness, Prevention, Including Security, Community Trust, Resilient Health Systems
Foreign Affairs: To Cure Ebola Will Take More Than a Pill
Laura Seay, assistant professor of government at Colby College
 
“…[The Democratic Republic of Congo] has experienced ten Ebola outbreaks since 1976, and its health authorities are adept at identifying and isolating infected individuals, tracing and monitoring exposure networks, and controlling the spread of the virus. But as the current outbreak in the eastern province of North Kivu has shown, no amount of medical preparedness can overcome the difficulties of fighting an outbreak under conditions of insecurity. … Eradicating Ebola in Congo will require building public trust among Congolese and working with community organizations in order to reach vulnerable populations and overcome governance issues. … Working closely with religious institutions and community organizations, coming up with innovative solutions, and building trust within the population will ultimately allow responders to defeat the Ebola virus in eastern Congo. But given the daunting challenge responders face — an extremely insecure environment, population movements, and high levels of mistrust — it will be an uphill battle” (9/4).
 
Japan Times: How to stop deadly outbreaks of diseases like Ebola — before they occur
Keizo Takemi, member of the House of Councilors and World Health Organization goodwill ambassador for universal health coverage, and Achim Steiner, administrator of the U.N. Development Programme
 
“…The [Ebola outbreak] in the DRC highlights that the need to build resilient health systems is just as important as developing new technologies to address the health challenges faced by the world’s most vulnerable populations. Innovations like the Ebola vaccine can only be effective if we can get them to the communities most in need. … Ensuring access to vital health innovations that can benefit the poor and vulnerable requires significant investment as well as new partnerships. … The Access and Delivery Partnership — a collaboration between the government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and PATH — is supporting developing countries to strengthen their health systems, including by addressing challenges in policy and regulatory environments. … We must all work together to ensure everyone, no matter where they live, has access to quality health care that they need not only to survive but also to ensure that they can live a healthy life — one of the crucial targets set out in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals…” (9/4).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Malaria Elimination Retention, 2030 Development Agenda Efforts In Sri Lanka
Nature: Eliminating malaria should not be the end of vigilance
Kamini Mendis, professor emeritus at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and formerly with the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme
 
“…Thirty-five years ago, when I did malaria research in this [rural area of Sri Lanka], villagers told me that the disease was one of their biggest problems — the other was wild elephants. The elephants are still an issue, but malaria is gone. … After years of improvements to mosquito control, disease surveillance, and case management to bring down the incidence of malaria, Sri Lanka was certified as malaria-free by the World Health Organization (WHO) three years ago this week. Now, I worry that even the medical profession has lost its memory of malaria. Remembering malaria’s devastation is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest challenges in fending it off. … As countries become malaria-free, they must retain focus on prevention and gain skills to stop its return. … As more countries eliminate malaria, those that are ‘last in line’ will inevitably be in the tropical zone. They will need to put time, money, people, and effort into remaining free of malaria, as will Sri Lanka. Keeping this ancient scourge at bay is as important as stamping it out” (9/4).
 
IPS: Sri Lanka Faces Major Challenges on U.N.’s 2030 Development Agenda
Ganga Tilakaratna, research fellow and head of poverty and social welfare policy research at the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka; Deshal de Mel, economic adviser in the Sri Lanka Ministry of Finance; and Zhenqian Huang, associate economic affairs officer in ESCAP’s Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development Division
 
“On the road to sustainable development, Sri Lanka provides an interesting case study. Having overcome a three-decade domestic conflict, Sri Lanka has begun its transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society. … However, Sri Lanka still faces major challenges. Improving the quality and relevance of education, providing medical treatment and care facilities for the aging population, and fighting climate disasters call for further policy support, financial mobilization, and partnership strengthening. … Sri Lanka’s efforts in mainstreaming the SDGs into its national planning and budgeting are an interesting case for the rest of the Asia-Pacific region to learn — a country does not need to wait until it achieves economic affluence before tackling social well-being and environmental health. Developing countries should incorporate social and environmental goals into their path towards prosperity” (9/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Brookings President Discusses U.S. Approach To Development Challenges, Urges More Leadership
Brookings Institution: U.S. foreign aid is worth defending now more than ever
John R. Allen, president of the Brookings Institution, writes, “The U.S. government is giving short shrift to international development goals and American values, China appears poised to eclipse America’s economic dominance, and the climate crisis is now an existential threat to us all. … American values are alive and well, despite increasing U.S. government disengagement on these issues. In summary, American grassroots support and leadership persists; we simply need to celebrate it. It comes from mayors and governors, new philanthropists, tech disrupters, and social entrepreneurs who are transforming the aid industry. We need to highlight these stories and insert them into the discourse and narrative of the 2020 election. Today’s development challenges reach our shores in many ways; tackling them requires the sort of U.S. leadership that projects American values and works in concert with our longstanding allies…” (9/4). 

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India Announces Increased Commitment To Global Fund
Global Fund: India Makes Strong Commitment to Global Fund
“The Government of India [Tuesday] announced an increased commitment of US$22 million to the Global Fund for the next three years, highlighting India’s leadership in global efforts to end AIDS, TB, and malaria as epidemics and to build stronger health systems…” (9/3).

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Brookings Expert Discusses Papers Examining Relationship Between Women's Political Participation, Development
Brookings Institution: Women’s Political Participation and Development
Geetika Dang, a research analyst with Brookings India, discusses two papers addressing the relationship between women’s political participation and development, including one that examines the implications of gender-based quotas in legislatures for maternal mortality (9/4). 

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WHO DG Releases Statement About Efforts By WHO, Facebook To Address Vaccine Misinformation
WHO: Vaccine Misinformation: Statement by WHO Director-General on Facebook and Instagram
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus released a statement about efforts by WHO and Facebook to address vaccine misinformation. He writes, “The World Health Organization welcomes the commitment by Facebook to ensure that users find facts about vaccines across Instagram, Facebook Search, Groups, Pages, and forums where people seek out information and advice. Facebook will direct millions of its users to WHO’s accurate and reliable vaccine information in several languages, to ensure that vital health messages reach people who need them the most…” (9/4). 

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Providing Additional $21M In Assistance For DRC Ebola Outbreak
USAID: The United States Announces More Than $21 Million in Additional Humanitarian Assistance to Contain the Outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
“The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing more than $21 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help end the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This brings total USAID funding for the Ebola response efforts to nearly $158 million since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2018, including for regional preparedness activities in neighboring countries…” (9/4)

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