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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Food Aid Reform Could Improve Efficiency Of Assistance Delivery, U.S. Senators Say After Visit To Refugee Settlement In Uganda

Associated Press: U.S. senators say food aid constraints delay help amid famine
“As President Donald Trump seeks to cut foreign aid under the slogan of ‘America First,’ two U.S. senators are proposing making American food assistance more efficient after meeting with victims of South Sudan’s famine and civil war. Following a visit to the world’s largest refugee settlement in northern Uganda with the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee [Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)], Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware told the Associated Press on Saturday that the U.S. ‘can deliver more food aid at less cost’ through foreign food aid reform…” (Lynch, 4/15).

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U.K. Pledges Additional $250M Toward Treatments For, Research On Neglected Tropical Diseases

BBC News: U.K. funding increased to fight neglected tropical diseases
“The U.K. government is investing an extra £200m in programs to fight neglected tropical diseases, which affect more than a billion people in the world’s poorest countries…” (4/16).

The Guardian: Britain doubles funding to fight tropical diseases
“…Speaking ahead of the World Health Organization conference on neglected tropical diseases in Geneva on Wednesday, Priti Patel, the international development secretary, said such diseases belonged to the last century. ‘They cause unimaginable suffering and pain to some of the world’s poorest people, forcing them into a deeper cycle of poverty with no way out. Yet they are treatable,’ said Patel…” (Ratcliffe, 4/15).

The Independent: U.K. to invest £450m fighting world’s most neglected tropical diseases
“…The money will help protect more than 200 million people in developing countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, Bangladesh, and India, as well as funding research into new cures for illnesses otherwise neglected by Western pharmaceutical companies. … Ms. Patel said the new commitment to fighting NTDs, more than doubling the U.K.’s annual spending pledged in the London Declaration of 2012, showed ‘global Britain’ would continue to play its part despite the Brexit vote…” (Withnall, 4/16).

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WFP Set To Run Out Of Funding For Food Aid To Northeast Nigeria By May 18, Sources Say

Reuters: With Nigeria’s northeast facing famine, WFP funds could dry up in weeks — sources
“The United Nations’ World Food Programme could in a few weeks run out of funding to feed millions living on the brink of famine in Nigeria, four people familiar with the matter said, intensifying one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. In the northeast, 4.7 million people, many of them refugees from the conflict with Islamist insurgency Boko Haram, need rations to survive, according to the World Food Programme (WFP) … ‘With the money they have right now, and if they won’t cut rations, they can only go to May 18,’ one person said, citing talks with the WFP, who asked to not be named because they were not authorized to speak to media. The WFP was ‘reasonably certain’ it would get enough funding to last until late June, the person added…” (Carsten, 4/17).

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Brazil's Yellow Fever Outbreak Prompts Warnings For U.S. Physicians, Causes Undue Killing Of Monkeys

NPR: Is Yellow Fever Knocking At Our Door?
“…In a recent commentary for the New England Journal of Medicine, [Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,] and his colleague Dr. Catherine Paules explain the pattern [of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks] seen across Latin America and how the historical information could help us intercept the next epidemic. The waves of epidemics from [dengue, chikungunya, and Zika] started in the 1990s. … ‘Now all of a sudden you start to see this very interesting clustering of yellow fever cases in Brazil,’ says Fauci. … ‘[W]hich means physicians [in the U.S.] have to be aware of it’…” (Doucleff, 4/14).

Washington Post: Brazil’s response to a huge yellow fever outbreak: Kill the monkeys
“A yellow fever outbreak is tearing through Brazil leaving thousands dead in its wake — thousands of monkeys, that is. The epidemic, the worst Brazil has seen in decades, has killed more than 200 people so far. But it’s also threatening to wipe out some of the country’s most endangered primates. Not only are monkeys susceptible to yellow fever, but local residents have begun pre-emptively killing monkeys, incorrectly assuming that they help spread the disease…” (Lopes, 4/15).

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NGOs' Lawsuit Aiming To Force Ugandan Government To Teach Sexual Education In Schools To Be Heard This Week

Devex: NGOs turn to courts to unravel Uganda’s ban on sexual education
“A civil society lawsuit seeking to compel the Ugandan government to teach sexual education in schools goes before a Kampala Court this Wednesday. Advocates hope the case, which follows a crackdown on reproductive education, could reopen a vital space for discussion and help clarify schools’ and NGOs’ understandings of what is and isn’t allowed…” (Fallon, 4/17).

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Plan International To Focus On Needs, Rights Of Girls, CEO Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen Tells Devex

Devex: Q&A: Plan International’s CEO on a change of strategy
“Plan International, the international children’s rights NGO, is further specializing its focus to prioritize the needs and rights of girls. The specialization is seen as a way of working toward the Sustainable Development Goals, but the international development environment is also ripe for transformation, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen told Devex. … In a recent conversation with Devex, Albrectsen, the former assistant-secretary general at the United Nations Population Fund, discussed how Plan is changing and what growing pains might come with it…” (Lieberman, 4/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should 'Supply Normal Share Of U.N. Funding For Food,' Urge Other Nations To Contribute To Address Famine In South Sudan, Starvation In Other Nations

Washington Post: Millions may starve in Africa. The U.S. should do something about it.
Editorial Board

“…[The famines in South Sudan, and soon northern Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen are] attracting remarkably little attention, and alarmingly paltry funding. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says $4.4 billion is needed by July to deliver food, water, and medicine to afflicted areas, but only 10 percent of that sum has been raised. If Congress allows the drastic cuts in U.S. foreign aid proposed by the Trump administration, the funds necessary to prevent mass starvation almost certainly will not materialize. … Staving off disaster will require speedy and decisive action. The United States should quickly supply its normal share of U.N. funding for food and push others to contribute. It should insist that Saudi and South Sudanese leaders open up the bottlenecks that are slowing food deliveries. If the White House will not supply the necessary funds, Congress should step in. The United States must not stand by as millions starve this year” (4/15).

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Additional 'Accountability And Effectiveness' Needed In U.S. Foreign Aid, Not More Money

The Hill: Foreign aid is fundamental, but can do more with less
Sada Cumber, founder, chair, and CEO of SozoTek, Inc.

“Foreign aid needs smart thinking, not more money. … Aid is important for advancing U.S. foreign policy and interests. Though foreign aid has limitations, its benefits are powerful. Foreign aid can be transformative in ways other foreign policy tools are not. … These strengths don’t preclude improvements or reforms. Americans deserve … reforms to ensure foreign aid does all it can to advance their interests and security. Significant operational insufficiencies exist in how we deploy foreign aid. These cannot be fixed by more money. Further increases in accountability and effectiveness are needed. … America needs to eliminate the middleman, delivering aid to transparent and reputable local partners. … We need to ensure consistency in allocating funds. … Eliminating foreign aid, as a few have suggested, would be disastrous. Aid’s existing benefits in advancing U.S. interests, combating extremism, and creating economic opportunity would cease. However, the idea that more funding equals better results never works. The president knows that. Prudence must be the word always on our tongues” (4/14).

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More Data 'Urgently' Needed To Understand How, Where Refugee Health Workers Can Be Better Utilized

Devex: Opinion: Making it possible for refugee health workers to answer their calling
Vanessa Kerry, founder and CEO of Seed Global Health

“…The World Health Organization data tells us that the global health workforce is experiencing a shortage of 7.2 million doctors, nurses, and midwives — a shortage that will increase to 18 million by 2030 unless urgent action is taken. … The irony is that this shortage is happening at a time when many health workers are being underutilized. … So how can we fix the problems that are preventing trained health workers from being fully utilized as clinicians and educators in the health workforce? First, we need data. Urgently. Understanding how many skilled health workers are out there, and where they are, is a critical start to helping them get to work. … Second, deploying refugee health professional[s] to work in refugee camps and/or countries where there are critical shortages of health workers would benefit the refugees and the host community. … We could be making it possible for well-trained professionals who are living in refugee camps to help provide care for the very populations they already know so well, reducing cultural and language barriers. … As a physician, I feel deeply that working in health care is more than a job. It’s a calling. … Making sure that skilled workers are able to answer that call by putting their education and training to work, will strengthen the health systems of whatever country they happen to be in — and benefit us all” (4/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Podcasts Discuss CUGH's 8th Annual Global Health Conference, CSIS Task Force's Recommendations On Voluntary Family Planning

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Outcomes from CUGH’s 8th Annual Global Health Conference with Dean Patricia Davidson
Nellie Bristol, senior fellow with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with Patricia Davidson, dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, about the Consortium of Universities for Global Health’s (CUGH) 8th Annual Global Health Conference held recently in Washington, D.C. (4/13).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Task Force Member Chris Elias on Family Planning
Steve Morrison, senior vice president at CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with Chris Elias, president of global development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a member of the CSIS Task Force on Women’s and Family Health, about the Task Force’s recommendation to increase access to voluntary family planning (4/7).

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Panelists At Brookings Event Discuss Findings Of Report On Global Health Governance Capacity, Examine Future Of Health R&D Landscape

Brookings Institution: Forum on health governance capacity sees bigger role for private R&D investment
Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies and founding director at the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings; John Villasenor, nonresident senior fellow of governance studies at the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings; and Jake Schneider, research assistant at Brookings share insights from an event during which three panelists discussed findings from the recently released Health Governance Capacity report — the first of six reports to be released as part of the Brookings Private Sector Global Health R&D Project. The authors note, “[T]he panelists discussed the results of the Health Governance Capacity Index (HGCI), trends in global public health, and the future of the health R&D landscape. The panelists included Amanda Glassman of the Center for Global Development, Loyce Pace of the Global Health Council, and His Excellency Pham Quang Vinh, Ambassador of Vietnam to the United States” (4/14).

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New Analysis Examines West Africa's 2013-2016 Ebola Epidemic, Calls For Real-Time Sequencing, Data Sharing To Contain Future Disease Outbreaks

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center: A big-picture look at the world’s worst Ebola epidemic
Mary Engel, staff writer at Fred Hutch, discusses an analysis published in Nature on the 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, writing, “An international effort to analyze the entire database of Ebola virus genomes from the 2013-2016 West African epidemic reveals insights into factors that sped or slowed the rampage and calls for using real-time sequencing and data-sharing to contain future viral disease outbreaks. … [T]he analysis found that the epidemic unfolded in small, overlapping outbreaks with surprisingly few infected travelers sparking new outbreaks elsewhere, each case representing a missed opportunity to break the transmission chain and end the epidemic sooner. … The analysis is the first to look at how Ebola spread, proliferated, and declined across all three countries most affected: Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia” (4/12).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Blog Post Discusses Agency's Efforts To Respond To Chagas Disease In U.S.

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Heart Failure at Age 46?
Susan Montgomery, epidemiology team lead in the parasitic diseases branch of CDC’s Center for Global Health’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, discusses CDC’s efforts to respond to Chagas disease in the U.S., writing, “Chagas disease affects about 6-7 million people globally, and we estimate that there are about 300,000 people in the U.S. living with Chagas disease. Most do not know they are infected” (4/14).

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