KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Resumption Of Aid To Northern Triangle Countries Will Be Conditional, Secretary Of State Pompeo Says In Senate Subcommittee Hearing

Devex: Central America aid will be conditional, Mike Pompeo says
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that the Trump administration will provide a set of requirements to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras before the U.S. would consider resuming the foreign assistance it announced at the end of last month would be cut off. ‘We have not yet been able to convince El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to take seriously this need to control their own borders and to keep their people from moving into Mexico and ultimately across our southern border, that we should stop, take a time out,’ Pompeo told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. ‘We have ceased allocating new funds inside of those three countries.’ … The resumption of U.S. assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — which includes the largest portion of USAID dollars going toward activities that improve governance — will be conditional, Pompeo said…” (Welsh, 4/10).

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USAID Administrator Green Says DRC Ebola Outbreak 'Far From Contained'; 14 New Cases Recorded Tuesday

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases climb to 1,168 as more health workers infected
“The surge in new Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continued at a brisk pace [Tuesday], with 14 new cases reported from a broad range of larger and smaller hot spots, the health ministry said in its daily statement. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in one of its regular updates that it’s concerned about rising activity in the wide area responders are covering and about continuing infections in health workers…” (Schnirring, 4/9).

Reuters: Congo Ebola outbreak “far from contained,” U.S. aid chief says
“The deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is far from contained, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green said on Tuesday. ‘In the last week we have seen a number of signs that the outbreak is far from contained. There’s a long way to go,’ the top U.S. aid official told a U.S. congressional hearing…” (Zengerle, 4/10).

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UNFPA Releases State Of World Population 2019 Report; Executive Director Regrets Trump Administration's Withholding Of U.S. Funding To Agency

Associated Press: U.N. population fund chief laments U.S. funding cut
“The U.N. population agency chief says she regrets the U.S. government’s decision to cut funding for programs that help ensure safe pregnancies worldwide. The United States used to provide about $70 million per year toward UNFPA programs to protect the health and lives of women and girls in developing countries. More than half of those funds were used for ‘life-saving humanitarian programs,’ said Dr. Natalia Kanem, the agency’s executive director. The Trump administration announced in 2017 it was cutting all funding to the agency. The move was seen as a gesture to American conservatives and anti-abortion activists, though UNFPA doesn’t provide abortions…” (4/10).

Devex: Minority groups excluded from global progress on SRHR, UNFPA report says
“Despite global gains in securing sexual and reproductive rights over the past 50 years, many population groups are still left behind, according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Population Fund. The ‘State of World Population 2019’ report shows that global fertility rates have roughly halved since the agency began operations in 1969. But it also highlights how reproductive rights remain inaccessible to many, including more than 200 million women worldwide who want to prevent a pregnancy but don’t have access to contraceptives. ‘The lack of this power — which influences so many other facets of life, from education to income to safety — leaves women unable to shape their own futures,’ UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem said in a press release…” (Jerving, 4/10).

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U.K. International Development Secretary Mordaunt To Continue Support For Global Access To Safe Abortion

The Guardian: Penny Mordaunt says U.K. will defend abortion rights amid global pushback
“Britain’s international development secretary has promised to stand firm in her support for abortion rights in the face of growing opposition. Speaking at an event hosted by the Canadian embassy on Monday, Penny Mordaunt said: ‘Leadership means not shying away from issues like safe abortion when the evidence shows us these services will save women’s lives’…” (Ford, 4/9).

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Iranian Red Crescent Cannot Receive Foreign Financial Aid To Help Flood Victims Due To U.S. Sanctions, Group Says

Reuters: Flood-hit Iran getting no financial aid from abroad due to U.S. sanctions: statement
“U.S. sanctions have prevented the Iranian Red Crescent from obtaining any foreign financial aid to assist victims of flooding that has killed at least 70 people and inundated some 1,900 communities, the group said on Sunday. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that Washington was ready to help via the Red Cross and Red Crescent, but accused Iran’s clerical establishment of ‘mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness’…” (Dehghanpisheh, 4/7).

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Zimbabwe Appeals For $613M In Aid To Address Food Insecurity, Humanitarian Crisis Following Cyclone Idai

Reuters: Zimbabwe seeks $613 million aid from donors after drought, cyclone
“Zimbabwe appealed on Tuesday for $613 million in aid from local and foreign donors to cover food imports and help with a humanitarian crisis after a severe drought and a cyclone that battered the east of the country…” (Dzirutwe, 4/9).

Additional coverage of the impacts of Cyclone Idai on Mozambique is available from Reuters and U.N. News.

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Media Outlets Examine Barriers To TB R&D, Access To Treatment

Devex: Will new TB treatments reach those who need them most?
“Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline is pursuing new treatments for tuberculosis but insists it will need support from governments and funding agencies if it is to get them to patients in lower-income countries, the head of its global health unit, David Barros-Aguirre, told Devex. … Barros-Aguirre said any future treatments won’t be made widely available without collaboration and sustainable funding models to translate scientific discoveries into benefits for the most vulnerable…” (Root, 4/10).

How We Get To Next/Quartz Africa: Sexism is making the global tuberculosis epidemic worse
“…The simplest TB treatment regimen has not changed for a half-century, in large part because TB is not considered a lucrative investment for pharmaceutical research. … There has been considerable progress on policies and reforms that address the intersections between gender and health, but it’s often limited to mitigating the symptoms of sexism, rather than tackling its roots. These roots, as experience with TB shows us, can influence patient outcomes, regardless of how any particular disease is distributed across the sexes…” (Akugizibwe, 4/9).

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WHO Withdrew Sponsorship Of EAT-Lancet Commission Launch Event Over Concerns Raised By Italian Official

The BMJ: WHO pulls support from initiative promoting global move to plant-based foods
“The World Health Organization pulled out of sponsoring a global initiative promoting healthier and sustainable diets across the world after pressure from an Italian official who raised concerns about the impact of the diet on people’s health and livelihoods. The event — the launch of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health in Geneva, Switzerland on 28 March — still went ahead, sponsored by the government of Norway…” (Torjesen, 4/9).

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Polio Worker Killed In Pakistan; WHO Condemns Attack

The Telegraph: Polio worker gunned down in Pakistan trying to persuade family to vaccinate children
“A polio worker was shot dead while trying to persuade a family to vaccinate their children against the crippling virus. Wajid Ali was killed in Mohmand district in northern Pakistan after allegedly remonstrating with a man over his failure to allow his children to take polio drops. His killing was the latest of many attacks on vaccinators in Pakistan and comes amid growing concern over attacks on health workers worldwide. … ‘I give Wajid’s family my word that I will personally follow this case to its conclusion. Parents can refuse polio vaccination, but attacking and then killing innocent polio workers will not be tolerated, no matter what,’ said Babar Atta, Imran Khan’s special adviser on polio. The World Health Organization also condemned the attack on health workers in one of the last surviving haunts of a virus that once crippled hundreds of thousands a year worldwide…” (Farmer, 4/9).

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More News In Global Health

CNN: Half a million children at risk as Libya violence continues: UNICEF (McKirdy, 4/10).

CNN: This drug-resistant fungus is spreading. Scientists warn of new superbugs to come (Nedelman, 4/10).

Forbes: How a Gates Foundation Backed Fund is Revolutionizing Global Health Impact Investing (Harris, 4/9).

The Guardian: Why should we Yemenis stop having babies and surrender to war? (Kurancid et al., 4/10).

The Guardian: ‘It’s dangerous to go out now’: young, gay and scared in Brunei (Lamb, 4/6).

Healio: WHO committee estimates eradication of polio in Nigeria within the year (Bortz, 4/8).

National Geographic: What is the Ebola virus, and can it be stopped? (Greshko, 4/9).

Reuters: Century-old bacteria from sick soldier offer clues to cholera epidemics (Kelland, 4/9).

SciDev.Net: Diseases deal massive blow to productivity in Africa (Achieng’, 4/9).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: David Beckham voices appeal to end malaria — in Swahili and Yoruba (Resch, 4/9).

Wall Street Journal: Roundup, the World’s Best-Selling Weedkiller, Faces a Legal Reckoning (Bunge/Bender, 4/8).

Xinhua News: Nigeria mulls health care fund for Lassa fever patients (Saliu, 4/8).

Xinhua News: South Sudan, U.N. sign 5 mln USD health cooperation pact (4/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

More Effective Collaboration Needed To Address Global Health Threats

Devex: Opinion: New approaches needed for new health threats
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, and Peter Eriksson, Swedish minister for international development cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“…This week in Stockholm, the Swedish government and WHO are convening the first WHO Partners Forum, to foster more effective collaboration for global health. It offers a historic moment for honest discussions on tackling modern global health threats, with leaders from key partners … WHO’s new five-year strategy is designed to support countries to get on track and stay on track for the Sustainable Development Goals. At its heart are the ‘triple billion’ goals of ensuring that by 2023, 1 billion more people are benefiting from universal health coverage, 1 billion more people are better protected from health emergencies, and 1 billion more people are enjoying better health and well-being. To achieve those targets, WHO is undertaking significant reforms to make it more modern and responsive, and to ensure it delivers results for the people it serves and value for money for the governments and partners who fund it. A key change is to strengthen the role of WHO’s 149 country offices to ensure we are listening carefully to what countries need, and that we are supporting them in implementing the best evidence-based health policies. But WHO needs its partners to play their part by supporting it with more flexible and predictable funding that allows the organization to allocate resources more effectively and efficiently. … Sweden is committed to working with WHO and other global health agencies to find new solutions and stronger political support to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable” (4/9).

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World Governments Should Make 'Bold Commitments' To Improve Transparency In Medicines Pricing

Health-e News: MSF: Secret medicine prices cost lives
Candice Sehoma, Southern Africa Access Campaign advocacy officer at Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and Gaelle Krikorian, head of policy at the MSF Access Campaign

“The WHO’s 2nd Fair Pricing Forum meeting, being convened in Johannesburg on 11-13 April, brings together governments, academics, and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and civil society. One of the important topics for discussion is the need for improved transparency in medicines pricing. … Prices charged by pharmaceutical corporations vary wildly for the same medicine depending on who’s buying, and the exact prices that are paid are typically shrouded in secrecy. This lack of transparency gives pharmaceutical corporations the upper hand in price negotiations, keeping prices as high as possible while overstretched health systems and people in need of lifesaving medicines lose out. … Numerous institutions and policymakers are recognizing the harmful impact of medicine price secrecy on public health. … Fair pricing depends on fair negotiations, and there cannot be fair negotiations without transparency. MSF is joining patient advocates and health care professionals worldwide in calling on governments to make bold commitments to fair medicines pricing and mandate complete disclosure of the real prices at which medicines are sold. It is time for leaders to prioritize people’s health over pharmaceutical industry profiteering” (4/10).

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Africans Must Work Together To End NTDs On Continent

Speak Up Africa/allAfrica: Africa: His Excellency John Kufuor — Why I’m saying ‘No’ to Neglected Tropical Diseases
John Kufuor, former president of Ghana and special envoy for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

“…As their name suggests, [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] have not always taken top priority in Africa, overshadowed by more high-profile diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. However, the cost of treatment and the opportunity to make an impact on the prevalence of NTDs is comparatively low. If we don’t give equal weight to treating these diseases efforts to eliminate them will be thwarted. Across Africa, this challenge must be embraced by politicians, policymakers, and decision-makers. … [N]o man, woman, or child should have to experience these diseases and have their future taken away from them by something which is entirely preventable and treatable. … I invite others to join me on my pursuit for a healthy Africa — together, we can all say no to NTDs and stop African citizens from suffering from these appalling diseases. Our health is one of the best investments we can make” (4/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO, Governments, Global Health Leaders Launch Partners Forum To Improve Collaboration, Innovation For Global Health

World Health Organization: Inaugural WHO Partners Forum launches new push for collaboration on global health
“To meet the world’s most pressing health challenges, WHO, governments, and global health leaders [on Tuesday] called for improved partnerships and resourcing to support WHO’s mission to deliver care, services, and protection for billions of people by 2023. … The meeting will result in a shared understanding of how to strengthen partnerships and improve effective financing of WHO, with an emphasis on predictability and flexibility. Global leaders in health and development, representing the public sector, health partnerships, and non-State actors, will come together to launch a new era of collaboration and innovation around WHO’s resource needs…” (4/9).

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Event Launches Science, Practice Supplement On Saving Mothers, Giving Life

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’ “New Security Beat”: Savings Mothers, Giving Life Tackled Three Delays to Improve Maternal and Newborn Health
Nazra Amin, intern at the Wilson Center, discusses remarks made at an event launching the Global Health: Science and Practice Supplement on Saving Mothers, Giving Life. Panelists included Florina Serbanescu, team lead of Global Reproductive Health Evidence for Action at the CDC; Diane Morof, medical epidemiologist at the CDC; Claudia Morrissey Conlon, U.S. government lead at the Saving Mothers, Giving Life partnership; Carrie Hessler-Radelet, president and chief executive officer at Project Concern International; Anne Palaia, senior evaluation adviser of global health at USAID; Robert Clay, vice president for global health at Save the Children; Mary-Ann Etiebet, executive director of Merck for Mothers; Ben Johns, senior associate and scientist at Abt Associates; and Barbara S. Levy, vice president of health policy at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who administers ACOG’s Office of Global Women’s Health programs (4/10).

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Blog Posts Discuss New WHO Data Showing Women Live Longer Than Men

World Economic Forum: Across the world, women outlive men. This is why
Emma Charlton, senior writer for formative content at the World Economic Forum, discusses new data from the WHO, “which explores access to and attitudes towards health, as well as how this plays into life expectancy.” The data show that women have a higher life expectancy than men. Charlton notes, “There’s no simple explanation that can inform policy-making, the WHO says, putting the results down to a range of biological differences and gender roles around the world” (4/9).

U.N. Dispatch: Everywhere in the world women live longer than men. Why? A New U.N. Report Has Some Answers
Joanna Lu, journalist at U.N. Dispatch, discusses the new WHO data. Lu writes, “The WHO has been publishing the World Health Statistics Overview every year since 2005. But this is the first year it has broken down the statistics by sex. … The report says that the difference between male and female life expectancy cannot be pinned to a single or even small number of causes. Some are biological, others are environmental or social, while the availability and use of health services also plays a big role” (4/9).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Mark Green Highlights Key Aspects Of FY 2020 Budget Request In Written Testimony For House Foreign Affairs Committee

USAID: Written Statement of USAID Administrator Mark Green before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
In written testimony for a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on USAID’s FY 2020 budget request, USAID Administrator Mark Green discussed key aspects of the request, including the U.S. humanitarian response to Venezuela, Tropical Cyclone Idai, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh and Burma; country roadmaps toward self-reliance; and strengthening private sector engagement, among other topics (4/9).

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USAID Releases March 2019 Issue Of Innovation And Impact Newsletter

USAID: Innovation and Impact Newsletter — March 2019
The latest issue of USAID’s Innovation and Impact Newsletter features a new report by USAID’s Center for Innovation and Impact (CII) on blended finance in global health, as well as a roundtable meeting held in conjunction with the launch and hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation; an announcement of a new partnership between Johnson & Johnson and Monash University “to advance the development of an inhaled version of oxytocin to help prevent and manage Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH)”; and a Digital Health Investment Review Tool to provide guidance on investments in the use of digital technologies for global health (March 2019).

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New Issue Of NIH Fogarty International Center's 'Global Health Matters' Newsletter Available Online

NIH Fogarty International Center: Global Health Matters
The most recent issue of the Fogarty International Center’s newsletter contains various articles addressing global health topics, including an overview of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) 10th annual meeting; an article introducing new institute directors at the NIH; and an interview with Jonathan Samet, Fogarty and NIH grantee, who discusses results from his research on tobacco and global air quality (March/April 2019).

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