KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Risks 'Unimaginable Devastation' From COVID-19 If Actions Not Taken, U.N. SG Guterres Warns At High-Level Meeting On Development Financing

U.N. News: COVID-19: Act now or risk ‘unimaginable devastation’ globally, warns U.N. chief
“Unless countries across the world act together now, the COVID-19 pandemic will cause ‘unimaginable devastation and suffering around the world,’ U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday at a virtual high-level meeting on financing for development. Painting a picture of 60 million pushed into extreme poverty; famine of ‘historic proportions’; some 1.6 billion people left without livelihoods; and a loss of $8.5 trillion in global output — the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression of the 1930s — he called for a response with ‘unity and solidarity’…” (5/28).

UPI: U.N. calls on nations to take action in six areas to limit COVID-19’s financial impact
“…During a virtual meeting on financing and development, Guterres called on nations to address the global liquidity crisis, provide ‘durable’ solutions to debt, urge private creditors holding sovereign debt of developing countries to provide debt relief, align incentives in global financial systems with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, ‘plug the leaks’ of illicit financial flow, and ‘recover better’ from the pandemic…” (Uria, 5/28).

Additional coverage of the virtual meeting, as well as coverage of statements by other U.N. officials and organizations regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, is available from AP, Reuters, and U.N. News (2).

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Devex, Reuters Report On Issues Related To Bilateral, Multilateral Funding For COVID-19, Including OECD Statement On ODA, New DFAT Aid Policy, World Bank Statement On IDA

Devex: Coronavirus vaccine research doesn’t count as ODA, says OECD
“Funding research into a COVID-19 vaccine cannot be counted as official development assistance, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee. Donors have spent billions from public budgets on research for a coronavirus vaccine, particularly with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, as well as on diagnostics and therapeutics. At least some of that has been advertised as coming from aid budgets…” (Worley, 5/29).

Devex: DFAT announces new aid policy in response to COVID-19. But is anything different?
“A new Australian aid policy document will be launched on May 29 by Marise Payne, Australian foreign minister, and Alex Hawke, minister for international development and the Pacific. Titled ‘Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response,’ the new policy will see the aid program focus on health security as its key pillar. … But despite this recognition of the importance of health security and the diversity of challenges that exist — including the need to strengthen health care systems, vaccination coverage, and human, animal, and environmental health interaction — no additional budget is being allocated…” (Cornish, 5/28).

Devex: Interactive: The bilaterals funding the COVID-19 response in Southeast Asia and Pacific
“…In this article, Devex is exploring the support and investments the most influential bilateral agencies in the region are providing. Since January, Devex has tracked over 70 country-specific bilateral funding announcements — excluding domestic resource mobilization efforts but including south-south cooperation initiatives — worth over $2.1 billion…” (Buan/Sarmenta, 5/29).

Reuters: World Bank suggests possible extra replenishment of IDA lending arm
“World Bank President David Malpass on Thursday suggested the Bank and donor countries should explore a possible supplemental replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA) concessional lending arm if the coronavirus crisis deepens. … But he rejected a call by over 300 lawmakers from around the world for the Bank and the International Monetary Fund to cancel the debt of the poorest countries, saying it was more important to preserve the Bank’s ability to be able to continue to provide grants or low-interest loans to those countries…” (Shalal, 5/28).

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Trump Aims To Influence African Nations To Rely On U.S. Instead Of China Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

POLITICO: Trump courts Africa to counter coronavirus — and China
“The Trump administration has set its sights on Africa as an important front in the fight against the coronavirus — and against China. … [T]he administration sees an opening here, according to officials and regional specialists. The U.S. government is aiming to show it can offer leadership on global health after Trump cut off funding to the World Health Organization. The administration is also trying to signal that African countries can look to the U.S. instead of China, which is facing its own backlash in the continent. As China warns the U.S. is pushing the two countries ‘to the brink of a new Cold War,’ Africa is poised to become a prime spot for proxy battles for influence and capital…” (McGraw, 5/29).

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Pandemic Threatens Progress Toward Gender Equality, Women's Rights, World Leaders Say At Virtual Summit

Thomson Reuters Foundation: World leaders warn coronavirus could roll back progress for women
“Coronavirus is threatening to undo recent gains made toward gender equality as millions of women and girls are predicted to have unwanted pregnancies and fall into poverty, world leaders said on Thursday. A ‘wake-up call’ is needed to protect women’s and children’s rights amid the pandemic, said the president of Estonia and former prime minister of New Zealand who held a virtual summit with leaders from Canada, Costa Rica, and Senegal, and United Nations officials…” (Peyton, 5/28).

Additional coverage of the pandemic’s impact on women in Europe is available from The Guardian.

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Medical, Humanitarian Organizations Call For Action To Prevent Violence Against Health Care Workers Amid Pandemic

AP: Red Cross says 208 COVID-related attacks on health workers
“The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said it has recorded 208 COVID-19-related attacks against health workers and installations in 13 countries since March, a striking contrast to the cheers and clapping in gratitude for their work in many nations…” (Lederer, 5/28).

Devex: With attacks against health workers on the rise, advocates call for action
“Attacks against health workers have increased under the strain of COVID-19, according to a cohort of medical and humanitarian organizations. In a joint declaration, they call for governments to do more than talk about it. The 13 organizations, which include the International Committee of the Red Cross, International Council of Nurses, and Physicians for Human Rights, say they collectively represent more than 30 million health care professionals…” (Root, 5/29).

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Australian PM's Proposals To Give WHO Disease Outbreak Investigation Powers Gain Limited Support

Wall Street Journal: WHO Faces Pressure to Reform — With Expanded Powers
“Days after President Trump said the U.S. would freeze funding for the World Health Organization last month, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushed for a revamp of the agency’s mandate to give it powers to investigate potential pandemics similar to weapons inspectors. … The hope is that the ability to send investigators to a country quickly to probe the source and scope of a public-health crisis would allow the organization to more speedily alert the world about a potential pandemic. … The proposals have so far generated limited momentum. European officials want to focus on dealing with the pandemic for now. A State Department spokesman said the U.S. appreciates ‘the serious manner in which the Australian government is contemplating this crucial challenge and believe that a range of options should be considered in response to the catastrophic lack of transparency’ regarding the coronavirus outbreak…” (Norman/Hinshaw, 5/28).

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Some Pharma Executives Resist Idea Of WHO Voluntary Intellectual Property Pool For Novel Coronavirus Products

STAT: Pharma leaders shoot down WHO voluntary pool for patent rights on Covid-19 products
“The heads of some of the world’s largest drug makers expressed a mix of confusion and resistance to a World Health Organization voluntary pool to collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information that could be shared for developing Covid-19 therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics. The WHO effort reflects mounting concern that some Covid-19 medical products may not be accessible for poorer populations. By establishing a voluntary mechanism under the auspices of the WHO, the goal is to establish a pathway that will attract numerous governments, as well as industry, universities and nonprofit organizations. But not every executive likes the idea…” (Silverman, 5/28).

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COVID-19 Cases Rising In Some Asian Countries As Lockdowns Ease; Russia Reports Record 1-Day Rise In Deaths; Peru Hit Hard, Especially Rural Areas; Some Arab Nations Turn To Israel For Support; Puerto Rico's Safety Nets Strain Amid Pandemic

AFRICA

The Guardian: Surge in deaths in North Darfur raises fears of disastrous Covid-19 outbreak (Ahmed, 5/29).

New Humanitarian: Six ways COVID-19 is changing South Africa (Oliver, 5/28).

ASIA

Al Jazeera: Hundreds of children in Pakistan’s Sindh infected with COVID-19 (5/29).

New York Times: ‘It’s Too Late’: In Sprawling Indonesia, Coronavirus Surges (Beech/Suhartono, 5/28).

Reuters: Philippines eases one of world’s toughest curbs amid spike in coronavirus cases (Lema/Morales, 5/27).

Reuters: South Korea seeks to import anti-viral remdesivir as new coronavirus cases emerge (Smith/Shin, 5/29).

Wall Street Journal: Millions of Indians Are Fleeing Cities, Raising Fears of a Coronavirus ‘Land Mine’ in Villages (Roy/Agarwal, 5/27).

EUROPE

Bloomberg: Moscow Says Coronavirus-Related Death Rate Is Twice Direct Toll (Rudnitsky, 5/28).

Reuters: We want money not medals, say protesting French health workers (Chiarello/Vidalon, 5/28).

Reuters: Russia reports record one-day rise in coronavirus deaths (Stolyarov, 5/29).

Wall Street Journal: E.U. Took Big Step With Coronavirus-Recovery Proposal — Now Comes the Hard Part (Michaels, 5/28).

LATIN AMERICA

AP: Peruvian families bury multiple members amid pandemic (Briceño, 5/28).

BBC: Coronavirus: What are the numbers out of Latin America? (Horton, 5/28).

The Lancet: COVID-19 strains remote regions of Peru (Fraser, 5/30).

New York Times: ‘It’s Not the Virus’: Mexico’s Broken Hospitals Become Killers, Too (Kitroeff/Villegas, 5/28).

MIDDLE EAST

Los Angeles Times: Fearing coronavirus spike, some Arab Gulf states turn to a supposed enemy: Israel (Tarnopolsky/Bulos, 5/28).

Radio Free Europe/RadioLiberty: Getting It In The Gut: Iran Sees Rise In Gastrointestinal Coronavirus Infections (Synovitz/Sinaiee, 5/26).

NORTH AMERICA

The Atlantic: Where Fears of Deportation Made the Pandemic Worse (Raff, 5/29).

Reuters: U.S. hospitals slash use of drug championed by Trump as coronavirus treatment (Erman/Beasley, 5/29).

Washington Post: White House and CDC remove coronavirus warnings about choirs in faith guidance (Sun/Dawsey, 5/28).

Washington Post: In Puerto Rico, an economic disaster looms amid fears of coronavirus (Hernández, 5/28).

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U.N. Issues Urgent Appeal For $2.4B To Assist Yemen In Addressing Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19

AP: U.N. urges $2.4 billion to help Yemen cope with war and virus
“The U.N. humanitarian chief urgently appealed for $2.4 billion to help millions of people in Yemen cope with the conflict and COVID-19, saying programs are already being cut and the situation is ‘alarming.’ … This year, the U.N. has appealed for about $3.4 billion but as of Wednesday it had only received $516.6 million, just over 15%. The Saudis pledged $525 million in early April and Lowcock said he hopes it will quickly be turned into cash. The United Nations and Saudi Arabia are co-hosting a video pledging conference for Yemen on Tuesday and Lowcock said he has been on the phone with Persian Gulf leaders in recent days but doesn’t know what they’re going to do…” (Lederer, 5/29).

Additional coverage of the situation in Yemen is available from The Lancet, NPR, Science, and U.N. News.

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U.N. Postpones Climate Summit Until Late 2021; Organizations Representing 40M Health Workers Urge G20 To Consider Air Pollution, Climate In COVID-19 Recovery Plans

The Guardian: World health leaders urge green recovery from coronavirus crisis
“Doctors and medical professionals from around the globe have called on world leaders to ensure a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis that takes account of air pollution and climate breakdown. More than 200 organizations representing at least 40 million health workers — making up about half of the global medical workforce — have signed an open letter to the G20 leaders and their chief medical advisers, pointing to the 7 million premature deaths to which air pollution contributes each year around the world…” (Harvey, 5/26).

Reuters: U.N. confirms year-long delay for crucial climate summit
“The United Nations has delayed until late 2021 a crucial climate summit that had been scheduled for Britain this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Thursday. … The summit will be rescheduled a year later to Nov. 1 to 12, 2021, the U.N.’s climate body decided on Thursday, after the British government proposed these dates…” (Abnett/Volcovici, 5/28).

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Government Executive Interviews Former USAID Administrator Mark Green

Government Executive: American Leadership Can Save Lives: An Interview with Former USAID Administrator Mark Green
“There are more than 71 million people displaced in the world today, notes Ambassador Mark Green, who stepped down from his job as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development last month. With so many parts of the world in crisis, under Green’s leadership USAID undertook major reforms in the way the agency administers foreign aid, rethinking its governance, education, nutrition, and global health programs. … The former U.S. representative for Wisconsin’s 8th district (1999-2007), ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania (2007-2009) and member of the board of directors for the Millennium Challenge Corporation recently spoke to Government Executive about his time in government, the U.S. role in the world, the nature of leadership, and what’s next for him as executive director of the McCain Institute, a think tank affiliated with Arizona State University…” (Bublé, 5/28).

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg Law: After Finding a Virus Vaccine, the Challenge Is Making Enough (Bauman, 5/28).

Devex: Q&A: How innovation can help end hunger (Welsh, 5/29).

Financial Times: WHO reviews China-based news anchor’s global ambassador role (Nilsson/Yang, 5/28).

Foreign Affairs: The Next Pandemic: Why the World Was Not Prepared for COVID-19 (5/28).

The Guardian: ‘Make noise and don’t panic’: India tries to ward off locust invasion (Dhillon, 5/28).

Homeland Preparedness News: GAO releases report detailing process for developing vaccines (Kovaleski, 5/28).

New York Times: The World Is Still Far From Herd Immunity for Coronavirus (Popovich/Sanger-Katz, 5/28).

Pulitzer Center: Shorthanded Specialists Struggle to Address the Resurgence of Leprosy in Brazil (Delgado, 5/28).

Pulitzer Center: One Child, One Classroom — the Lifelong Cost of Malnutrition (Thurow, 5/28).

STAT: He was a ‘force of nature’: Anthony Fauci, Tom Frieden, and others remember Larry Kramer (Skerrett, 5/28).

TIME: Dr. Raj Panjabi Warns of an Impending ‘Viral Apartheid’ If We Don’t Change Our COVID-19 Approach (De La Garza, 5/28).

Wall Street Journal: Extent of Covid-19 Deaths Failed to Be Captured by Most Countries (Michaels et al., 5/28).

Wall Street Journal: Higher Death Rates Found Among Cancer Patients With Covid-19 (Toy, 5/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Challenges In Africa, Lessons From Ebola, Race For Vaccine

Al Jazeera: There are coronavirus solutions for resource-poor countries, too
Fawzia Rasheed, program and policy analyst, board member of BRAC, and senior adviser to the director of health of the Aga Khan Development Network; Mushtaque Chowdhury, professor of population and family health at Columbia University and founding Dean of the BRAC University James P. Grant School of Public Health; and Gijs Walraven, director for health at the Aga Khan Development Network and general manager of the Aga Khan Health Services (5/28).

The Conversation: Whoever invents a coronavirus vaccine will control the patent — and, importantly, who gets to use it
Natalie Stoianoff, professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney (5/29).

Devex: Curing the world of the ‘infodemic’
Peter Eriksson, Swedish minister for international development cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Achim Steiner, United Nations Development Program administrator and vice chair of the U.N. Development Group (5/28).

Devex: Lessons from Liberia — what we learned from the fight against Ebola
Marion Subah, Liberia country director for Last Mile Health, and Bernice Dahn, former health minister of Liberia and former chief medical officer for the Liberia Ministry of Health (5/28).

Foreign Affairs: Ebola Should Have Immunized the United States to the Coronavirus
Christopher Kirchhoff, member of the White House Ebola Task Force in 2015 and former lead for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Operation United Assistance, the U.S. military mission to combat the Ebola virus (5/28).

The Hill: What do the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic need?
Tracey Henry, assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine; Meredith Niess, chief medical officer of Charlotte Community Health Clinic; and Vanessa Van Doren, internal medicine resident at Emory University School of Medicine (5/28).

IPS: Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls Under Lockdown
Sabine Saliba, regional adviser for the Middle East and North Africa at the Child Rights International Network (CRIN) (5/28).

The Lancet: COVID-19 in Africa: no room for complacency
Editorial Board (5/30).

The Lancet: A call for food system change
Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University (5/30).

Los Angeles Times: Developing a coronavirus vaccine should not be rushed. Here’s why
Michael Hiltzik, columnist at the Los Angeles Times (5/28).

New York Times: In Africa, a Drive to End Malnutrition Meets Covid-19
Tina Rosenberg, co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network (5/28).

Science: Rapid COVID-19 vaccine development
Barney S. Graham, deputy director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (5/29).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Multimorbidity In Low-Income Countries, Bill Gates's Global Health Efforts, USAID's New Religious Freedom Adviser

The Conversation: A new global health pattern: longer life for the poor, with more ailments
Justine Ina Davies, professor of global health at the Institute for Applied Research, and Maria Odland, research fellow for global health, both at the University of Birmingham (5/21).

New York Times: Bill Gates Is the Most Interesting Man in the World
Timothy Egan, contributing opinion writer at the New York Times (5/22).

Washington Post: New USAID religious-freedom adviser has history of anti-Islam comments
Josh Rogin, columnist for the Global Opinions section at the Washington Post and political analyst for CNN (5/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “The Optimist”: Combating COVID-19 in India
M. Hari Menon, director of the India office at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (5/26).

Center for American Progress: Protecting and Promoting Women’s Rights Is Key to Defeating the Coronavirus at Home and Abroad
Shilpa Phadke, vice president of the Women’s Initiative, and Alexandra Schmitt, policy analyst for human rights, democracy, and development on the National Security and International Policy team, both at the Center for American Progress (5/29).

CSIS: Online Event: A Conversation with Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) (5/28).

CSIS: Online Event: Humanitarian Operations During Covid-19: A Conversation with Michelle Nunn of CARE USA (5/26).

FAO: FAO warns multiple impact of viruses, plagues and economic damage will fuel hunger in Asia and the Pacific (5/28).

Global Atlanta: Stacey Abrams: Pandemic Blunders Weaken America’s Global Leadership
Trevor Williams, managing editor of Global Atlanta (5/28).

Health Affairs Blog: What Have Foundations Been Doing In The Fight Against COVID-19? Part III
Lee-Lee Prina, senior editor at Health Affairs (5/28).

Health Affairs Blog: What’s Driving The COVID-19 Blame Game? Anxiety And Confusion About Wet Markets, China⁠ — And The Entire Global Economy
Ashley Andreou, medical student at Georgetown University School of Medicine (5/28).

ICRC: International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals for 3.1 billion Swiss francs (3.19 billion US dollars) to curb COVID-19’s spread and assist world’s most vulnerable amid the pandemic (5/28).

IPI Global Observatory: Lessons from the Global Counterterrorism Forum for International Cooperation on Pandemics
Eric Rosand, non-resident senior fellow at Brookings, and Stevan Weine, professor of psychiatry, director of Global Medicine, and director of the Center for Global Health, all at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine (5/28).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Continuing essential medical services during COVID-19 (5/28)

Médecins Sans Frontières: Unregulated market for personal protective equipment puts lives at risk (5/28).

UNAIDS: Informal traders in Namibia given a lifeline during COVID-19 pandemic (5/29).

World Economic Forum: Handwashing is not just for coronavirus — how good hygiene could help reduce antibiotic use
Charlotte Edmond, senior writer with Formative Content (5/29).

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Posts, Releases Address Menstrual Health, Polio, HIV/AIDS, Other Global Health-Related Issues

Brookings: What makes the World Bank so influential — its money or its ideas?
Bradley Parks, executive director of AidData and nonresident fellow with the Center for Global Development, and colleagues (5/19).

Devpolicy Blog: Collaborating for menstrual health rights in the Pacific
Chelsea Huggett, technical lead for equality and inclusion at WaterAid Australia, and Michelle Laws, GAP regional program manager at Marie Stopes International (5/28).

Global Health Governance: Special Issue: Climate Change and Global Health Governance (Multiple authors, Spring 2020).

Global Polio Eradication Initiative: Stronger role of women at all levels crucial to end polio for good (5/27).

UNAIDS: Caribbean community organizations call for decisive action to end homophobic abuse and cyberbullying (5/29).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS celebrates the life of pioneer AIDS activist Larry Kramer (5/28).

WHO: Stop tobacco industry exploitation of children and young people (5/29).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC's MMWR Discusses Effect Of 3-Drug Mass Drug Administration Campaign On Lymphatic Filariasis In American Samoa

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Notes from the Field: Impact of a Mass Drug Administration Campaign Using a Novel Three-Drug Regimen on Lymphatic Filariasis Antigenemia — American Samoa, 2019
Marisa A. Hast, epidemic intelligence service officer at the CDC, and colleagues discuss the effect of a three-drug mass drug administration (MDA) campaign on lymphatic filariasis prevalence in American Samoa. The authors note that “lymphatic filariasis antigenemia has declined since 2016 but remains above the 1% WHO threshold in all age groups, suggesting that lymphatic filariasis transmission in American Samoa is ongoing. To interrupt transmission in this setting, American Samoa should consider following WHO recommendations and continue annual three-drug MDA with appropriate monitoring of progress toward elimination until targets are met. Lymphatic filariasis control activities should target high-prevalence sectors of the population, including adult men, to ensure that this population is adequately covered in the future” (5/29).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of May 29, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 have been added to the tracker (5/29).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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