KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Members, White House Express Support For Proposed U.S. Development Finance Corporation

Devex: Congressional hearing signals support for new development finance corporation
“The prospect of a new U.S. development finance institution is closer to reality, after a promising House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the subject Wednesday and a Trump administration statement in support of the BUILD Act, which proposed the creation of a new U.S. development finance institution. … Ray Washburne, the CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, responded to mostly friendly questions about the new BUILD Act legislation from members of the committee, all of whom expressed support for a new development finance corporation. … On Tuesday night, just ahead of the hearing, the Trump administration released a statement saying that it ‘strongly supports the goals’ of the BUILD Act…” (Saldinger, 4/12).

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DFID's Mordaunt Plans Overhaul To U.K. Development Spending, Seeks More Collaboration, Transparency

Financial Times: U.K. aid budget set for ‘big shift’ towards City funding for poorer countries
“The U.K.’s £13.9bn aid budget is set for its biggest overhaul in years, with plans to use development spending to push British exporters and pension funds to invest in poorer parts of Africa and Asia. … Under the new strategy set out by [International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt], DFID would seek to justify the growing aid budget by ensuring that spending benefits the British economy. … Ms. Mordaunt … also called for DFID to be ‘much more collaborative’…” (Mance, 4/11).

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New U.N. 10-Step Guidance Encourages Health Facilities To Support Exclusive Breastfeeding For All Infants, Ideally For 2 Years

Reuters: Hospitals must support breastfeeding which saves lives — WHO, UNICEF
“Babies, even those who are premature, underweight, or sickly, should be exclusively breastfed, from the maternity ward and ideally for two years, the U.N. agencies said on Wednesday…” (Nebehay, 4/11).

U.N. News: U.N.’s advice for hospitals: Help mothers breastfeed to give babies best possible start in life
“…The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, issued jointly by the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), encourages new mothers to breastfeed and informs health workers how best to support breastfeeding…” (4/11).

Xinhua News: New U.N. guidance promotes breastfeeding in health facilities globally
“…WHO statistics show that breastfeeding within the first hour of birth protects newborn babies from infections and saves lives. … Breastfeeding all babies for the first two years would save the lives of more than 820,000 children under age five annually…” (4/11).

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Progress Against Malaria Made Globally, But Challenges Continue To Complicate Control Efforts

U.S. News & World Report: Malaria Cases, Deaths Fall Globally, Multi-Drug Resistance a Looming Concern
“Aggressive efforts to combat the spread of malaria worldwide have had a substantial effect on reducing the incidence of the disease, but approximately half the world’s population is still at risk for contracting malaria, and more than a billion people are at high risk for malaria infection worldwide. … According to [a Kaiser Family Foundation fact sheet], strains of malaria that are resistant to multiple drugs have been found in Africa, Latin America, the western Pacific, and Southeast Asia, and mosquitoes in Africa, Latin America, the eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and the western Pacific have shown signs of resistance to insecticides…” (Levy, 4/11).

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Bed Nets Treated With Piperonyl Butoxide Help Protect Against Insecticide-Resistant Mosquitoes, Study Shows

Reuters: New weapon in malaria fight: a better bed net
“A new kind of bed net that blocks mosquitoes’ resistance to a common insecticide provides substantially improved protection against malaria, a major study has found. … [S]cientists have developed a novel bed net incorporating a chemical called piperonyl butoxide, which blocks the natural defense mechanisms of insects against the standard insecticide pyrethroid…” (Hirschler, 4/11).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Trial of new bug spray on malaria nets in Tanzania sets hopes flying
“…A trial by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine involving 15,000 children found using a bed net treated with piperonyl butoxide reduced malaria infections by 44 percent in the first year compared to nets only treated with pyrethroid. … The trial prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise its recommendations and back wider use of nets sprayed with piperonyl butoxide in areas in Africa where mosquitoes are pyrethroid resistant…” (Wilson, 4/11).

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Challenges Persist In Polio Eradication Efforts, With New Cases Detected In Afghanistan, Pakistan

STAT: Despite high hopes for polio eradication, discouraging news is piling up
“Every year for the past few years, supporters of the global effort to wipe out polio have made an optimistic declaration: This could be the year that polio ends. … But just three months into 2018, the projection is less rosy. Eight cases of polio have already been reported, in Afghanistan and Pakistan … At least some leaders of the eradication campaign have already started making mental preparations for the possibility that 2018 may not be the year the world licks polio…” (Branswell, 4/12).

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DNDi, Partners Working To Develop Low-Cost Hepatitis C Treatment

The Guardian: Non-profit’s $300 hepatitis C cure as effective as $84,000 alternative
“An affordable hepatitis C treatment has been shown to be safe and effective, with very high cure rates for patients including hard-to-treat cases, in interim clinical trial results that offer hope to the 71 million people living with the disease worldwide. … The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), a not-for-profit organization, is working with the Egyptian drugmaker Pharco Pharmaceuticals to bring a combination treatment of two hepatitis C tablets, ravidasvir ­(a new drug)­ and sofosbuvir, to countries that cannot afford to pay the high prices charged by U.S. companies Gilead and AbbVie…” (Kollewe, 4/12).

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Experts Warn Of Potential For Spread Of TB Out Of North Korea, Development Of Drug-Resistant Strains

Bloomberg Businessweek: North Korea’s Other ‘Weapon’ Is Poised to Explode
“People in China like to joke that North Korea has two lethal weapons: nuclear missiles and tuberculosis. While the rogue state’s nuclear ambitions have long inspired angst — and led to economic sanctions — the threat of TB, the planet’s biggest infectious killer, has garnered less attention. With more than 100,000 cases in 2016, North Korea is on the World Health Organization’s list of nations with the greatest incidence of the deadly lung disease, and doctors warn that an explosion in multidrug-resistant strains could be coming…” (4/11).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: In India, struggles to address mental health (Cousins, 4/12).

Devex: New $250M Audacious Project from TED announces first recipients (Cheney, 4/11).

Global Health NOW: The Last Temptation of a Child: Drowning Prevention in Rural Bangladesh (Agrawal, 4/11).

The Guardian: Want to save the world from hunger? Start by not wasting food, shoppers told (Smithers, 4/12).

Reuters: Malawi cholera death toll rises to 30 after heavy rainfall hits capital (Phiri/Kumwenda-Mtambo, 4/11).

STAT: Study suggests risk of sexual transmission of Zika may dissipate quickly (Branswell, 4/11).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. aims to eliminate yellow fever epidemics in Africa by 2026 (Lazareva, 4/11).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: What happens when architects join doctors to solve global health problems? (Zweynert, 4/11).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Aid groups seek greater support for Rohingya refugees facing trauma, hunger (Ferrie, 4/10).

Xinhua News: Ghana launches national action plan on antimicrobial resistance (4/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Continue To Invest In 'Strategic Health Diplomacy' For 'Clear Security Benefits'

Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid Makes America Safer
Vin Gupta, major in the United States Air Force Medical Corps and fellow at Harvard’s Global Health Institute; and Vanessa Kerry, CEO of Seed Global Health, director in global initiatives at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Global Health, and director of global public policy at Harvard Medical School

“…Our findings suggest that when lower- and lower-middle-income nations facing overwhelming health challenges receive significant support for their health systems, there are immediate benefits for state stability. In other words, giving health aid to countries with the highest rates of HIV, tuberculosis, or malaria, as is the mission of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, not only saves lives but also appears to facilitate the rise of more peaceful societies. This link between health aid and peace underpins the concept of ‘strategic health diplomacy,’ which has gained greater currency in the past decade since the roll out of the presidential AIDS program. … Unfortunately, foreign spending has become an easy political target in many countries at a time when economic inequality is increasing. … The reality is that there is not a domestic versus international trade-off. Investment in health and development abroad has clear security benefits for Americans at home. … As the Trump administration cuts foreign aid, hollows out the State Department, and reverses a long history of global engagement, policymakers must not forget the importance of reaching outward. There is now hard evidence that foreign assistance, especially in health, is precisely the type of investment that any administration should increase if it is seeking cost-effectiveness. To do otherwise would be myopic and is not in the United States’ long-term national security interests” (4/11).

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U.S. Leadership On HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria At 'Tipping Point'

The Hill: American leadership against deadly epidemics reaches a decision point
Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight

“What is the end goal of America’s considerable investment in tackling the deadliest infectious diseases of our time? Americans should be proud that U.S. leadership against AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria has saved tens of millions of lives and helped dramatically to reduce their devastation. But what should be the long-term objective of these investments? Whether you are looking from the perspective of lives saved, U.S. health security, global stability, economic growth, or American trade interests, the answer is clear: We need to focus on ending these three epidemics for good. The epidemics of AIDS, TB, and malaria are each at a tipping point. … All this means that American policy is at a tipping point, too. Today the world is underinvesting in efforts to end the biggest epidemics; an expanded effort is needed to get on track. … Ending these epidemics can be a legacy for the United States. Now is the time to rededicate ourselves to global health leadership, and challenge the rest of the world to join us in a push to the finish line” (4/12).

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Pharma Industry Will Continue To Innovate, Collaborate To Further WHO's Program Of Work, Global Health Progress

Diplomatic Courier: What a Difference 70 Years Can Make in Global Health
Thomas Cueni, head of the IFPMA

“…The WHO has a clear plan to put to the world’s governments at this 70th birthday World Health Assembly in May. The watch words of the 13th WHO Program of Work: ‘Promote health, keep the world safe, service the vulnerable,’ provide a clear vision for what really matters for all our futures. Dr. Tedros has a powerful vision to galvanize efforts: ‘we need one billion more people to have coverage every five years between 2016 and 2030.’ It’s up to all of us to help where we can to put this vision into action and make a lasting legacy for future generations to judge us by. On my watch, the global pharmaceutical industry will be looking at how innovation, transformation, partnership, and engagement will continue to further global health progress” (4/11).

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Excerpt From Hans Rosling's Posthumously Published Book Discusses How To Put News On Global Development Into Perspective

The Guardian: Good news at last: the world isn’t as horrific as you think
Hans Rosling, physician, academic, and statistician, who passed away in 2017

“Things are bad, and it feels like they are getting worse, right? War, violence, natural disasters, corruption. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer; and we will soon run out of resources unless something drastic is done. That’s the picture most people in the West see in the media and carry around in their heads. I call it the overdramatic worldview. It’s stressful and misleading. … Stories about gradual improvements rarely make the front page even when they occur on a dramatic scale and affect millions of people. … When people wrongly believe that nothing is improving, they may lose confidence in measures that actually work. … How can we help our brains to realize that things are getting better? Think of the world as a very sick premature baby in an incubator. After a week, she is improving, but she has to stay in the incubator because her health is still critical. Does it make sense to say that the infant’s situation is improving? Yes. Does it make sense to say it is bad? Yes, absolutely. Does saying ‘things are improving’ imply that everything is fine, and we should all not worry? Not at all: it’s both bad and better. That is how we must think about the current state of the world…” (4/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends Of The Global Fight Releases New Brief Examining U.S. Leadership On HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria

Friends of the Global Fight: At the Tipping Point: U.S. Leadership to End AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
“…This forward-looking report asks: what is the end goal of America’s considerable investment in tackling the deadliest infectious diseases of our time? … Like the epidemics themselves, American policy has reached a tipping point. We have a choice before us — we can mobilize partners to see through our highly efficient investments in global health and accelerate the end of these epidemics, or we can stall and permit resurgence and drug resistance to overpower major progress to date. This report details U.S. efforts against each of the three diseases, and calls for a stepped-up, global effort to end the epidemics. This would include smart new investments by other countries and the private and philanthropic sectors, matched by modest new resources from the U.S., where global health funding has been essentially flat for nearly a decade…” (4/12)

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Brookings Senior Fellow Examines Relationship Between U.S. State Department, USAID

Brookings Institution’s “Up Front”: Rightsizing the relationship between the State Department and USAID
George Ingram, senior fellow for global economy and development at the Brookings Institution, discusses the history and distinct roles of the U.S. Department of State and USAID and suggest ways to “facilitate the relationship and establish clearer parameters” (4/11).

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Guttmacher Analysis Discusses Benefits Of FY18 U.S. International Family Planning Assistance, Impacts Of Potential Funding Cuts

Guttmacher Institute: Just the Numbers: The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance, 2018
This policy analysis discusses the benefits of FY 2018 U.S. international family planning assistance on global maternal and reproductive health, as well as the potential impacts “if U.S. assistance for international family planning and reproductive health programs was eliminated” or decreased (4/11).

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Higher Cigarette Prices Could Improve Health, Cut Costs For Health Systems, Study Suggests

Center for Global Health Research: Health, Taxes, and Poverty in 500 Million Male Smokers
This press release discusses findings from a recent study published in BMJ examining the effects of higher cigarette prices on global health and development, noting, “Higher cigarette prices would save millions of people from extreme poverty and poor health around the world, while also cutting costs for health systems across the globe” (4/11).

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Blog Post Discusses Study Looking At Association Between HSV2, HIV Infection In Zambia, South Africa

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Zambia, South Africa prevention study finds those with herpes virus facing six times HIV risk
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses findings from a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases examining the “association between infection with the virus that causes genital herpes, and HIV infection” among men and women in Zambia and South Africa. Barton writes, “While the two sexually transmitted infections could simply be likelier to be found in individuals with more sexual partners, the authors point to earlier longitudinal studies showing HSV2 infection preceding HIV infection, and suggest it is likely that HSV2 infection contributes to the risks of subsequent HIV infection…” (4/11).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Official Welcomes Hank Tomlinson As Director Of Agency's Division Of Global HIV & TB

HIV.gov: Dr. Hank Tomlinson Named New Director for CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB
Rebecca Martin, director of the CDC Center for Global Health, welcomes Hank Tomlinson as the new director of the agency’s Division of Global HIV & TB. Martin writes, “Under Dr. Tomlinson’s leadership, the division will continue to advance HIV epidemic control as a major contributor to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Dr. Tomlinson brings a rare combination of experience at the intersection of science and programs. As a result, he is well suited to lead CDC to deliver the most effective HIV and TB prevention and treatment programs serving millions of people around the world…” (4/11).

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Blog Post Describes Innovative Programs Funded Through Making All Voices Count Grand Challenge For Development

USAID/Medium: Four Stories of the Power of Innovation
Jessica Benton Cooney, communications specialist for USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance, describes four programs funded through the Grand Challenges for Development’s “Making All Voices Count (MAVC)  –  a global initiative that harnessed the power of innovation and new technologies to support transparency, fight corruption, and empower citizens to make government more effective and accountable…” (4/9).

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