KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. State Department Expected To Release Human Rights Report With Reduced Focus On Women's Reproductive Rights

POLITICO: State Dept. to release human rights report as Pompeo nears confirmation vote
“The State Department plans to release its annual human rights report on Friday, a document that will draw unusual scrutiny thanks to expected changes to its format, including the amount of space devoted to women’s reproductive rights. The report’s release, confirmed to POLITICO by multiple department officials, comes days before an expected confirmation vote for President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, whom many Democrats have harshly criticized for his positions and past statements on Muslims, the LGBT community, and other issues related to human rights. … Under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whom Trump fired last month, department officials were ordered at the last minute to revise the upcoming report to reduce its focus on family planning and oppressive behavior by nongovernmental entities…” (Toosi, 4/19).

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Bipartisan Group Of U.S. Senators Proposes Legislation To Encourage Secretary Of State To Help Taiwan Regain WHO Observer Status

Taiwan News: U.S. senator advocates for Taiwan to join WHO against China’s bullying
“On Thursday, two U.S. senators proposed … a bill to help Taiwan regain its observer status in the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of the annual global assembly May 21-26. … Senators Jim Inhofe [R-Okla.] and [Bob] Menendez [D-N.J.] called for the secretary of state on Thursday to develop a strategy for Taiwan to regain observer status in the WHO ahead of the May 21-26 [World Health A]ssembly. The senators are joined by two other senators, John Cornyn [R-Texas] and Marco Rubio [R-Fla.], as original cosponsors of the bill…” (Yang, 4/20).

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AFP Reports On UNAIDS Sexual Abuse Allegations, Some Groups' Calls For Resignation Of Executive Director

Agence France-Presse: Crisis sparked by sex abuse grips UNAIDS chief
“It started with sexual assault allegations against a male UNAIDS executive and a heavily criticized internal investigation that exonerated the accused. Now the crisis involving accusations against former Deputy Executive Director Luiz Loures has spread, raising pressure on the overall head of the organization [Michel Sidibé]…” (4/19).

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Blended Finance Task Force Releases Action Plan For MDBs, Including 8 Initiatives To Raise Funds For SDGs, Climate Change

Devex: Blended Finance Task Force launches action plan, calls on MDBs to step up leadership
“A new blended finance action plan calls on multilateral development banks to step up their efforts to leverage private capital. It also lays out a series of eight key initiatives that can help to accelerate blended finance and raise more funds to address the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals. The action plan was released Wednesday by the Blended Finance Task Force…” (Saldinger, 4/20).

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WHO Advisory Group Recommends Testing For Dengue Before Administering Sanofi Vaccine

Associated Press: U.N. health agency: Dengue vaccine shouldn’t be used widely
“The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in ‘a much safer way,’ meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease…” (Cheng, 4/19).

CIDRAP News: WHO advisers halt Dengvaxia, for now
“…A point-of-care test would determine the recipient’s dengue status, and only those who have previously had the virus would get vaccinated. Such a test is at least two years down the pipeline, [the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE)] advisers said during a media telebriefing, which means confusion and chaos for countries that have purchased large amounts of the vaccine, and a huge loss for Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer of Dengvaxia…” (Soucheray, 4/19).

Reuters: WHO recommends testing before use of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine
“…Sanofi said in a statement: ‘We are confident in Dengvaxia’s safety and its proven potential to reduce dengue disease burden in endemic countries.’ Sanofi also said it would ‘continue to work with the international public health community and endemic countries, to ensure the best usage of the vaccine’…” (Blamont/Steenhuysen, 4/19).

Science: A new dengue vaccine should only be used in people who were previously infected, WHO says
“…SAGE is confident that its recommendation will spur development of a diagnostic test, the group’s chairman, Alejandro Cravioto of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, said at a press conference [Thursday]. In the meantime, he said, ‘It is for the company to decide how they cope with this.’ One of the reasons for the new recommendation is that it’s very important to maintain public confidence in the safety of the vaccine, Cravioto said…” (Vogel, 4/19).

STAT: WHO panel urges caution on dengue vaccine, dealing blow to Sanofi
“…[D]ata published in late November showed that the vaccine actually puts people who are dengue naïve at higher risk of having a severe dengue infection than if they were not vaccinated…” (Branswell, 4/19).

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Bono Receives First George W. Bush Medal For Distinguished Leadership, Calls Late Barbara Bush 'Mother Of PEPFAR'

Dallas Morning News: U2’s Bono says Barbara Bush made George W. an ‘AIDS activist’
“…As the first recipient of the George W. Bush Medal for Distinguished Leadership, Bono was the night’s honored guest. The award was meant to recognize his high-profile humanitarian efforts, in particular in fighting HIV and AIDS in the African countries where the virus has been the most devastating. He helped start the (RED) campaign, which leveraged corporate might to fundraise for HIV and AIDS fighting efforts, and the ONE Campaign more recently, which aims to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases through global advocacy. But Bono emphasized that it was Bush’s work that he wanted to highlight…” (Cowan, 4/19).

Fox News: U2’s Bono receives first George W. Bush Medal, pays tribute to late Barbara Bush
“…Bono paid homage to the former first lady and applauded her role in helping to de-stigmatize AIDS, the [Dallas Morning News] report said. He said she once held a baby with HIV and embraced an adult man with AIDS. Bono also praised the former president’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which has earned bipartisan support, the Morning News reported. ‘You were born of an AIDS activist, sir, and you became one,’ Bono told the 43rd president of the U.S. Bono described former first lady Barbara Bush as ‘the mother of PEPFAR’…” (Lieu, 4/20).

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Washington Post Analysis Examines How Former First Lady Barbara Bush, President Trump Addressed HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ Issues

Washington Post: The Daily 202: Barbara Bush and Donald Trump responded very differently to the AIDS epidemic
This analysis outlines the differences between former First Lady Barbara Bush and President Donald Trump in how they addressed the HIV/AIDS epidemic and LGBTQ issues (Hohmann et al., 4/19).

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Scientific American Special Section Examines How Social, Environmental Changes Influence Emerging Diseases

Scientific American: Social and Environmental Change Drives a World of Newly Emerged Infections
” ‘In an unchanging world, you don’t see a lot of emerging disease,’ epidemiologist William Karesh told Scientific American contributor Lois Parshley during her reporting for this special section, The Future of Medicine 2018. The world, of course, is changing fast. In the U.S., growing economic inequality is driving a resurgence of deadly hepatitis, Legionnaires’, and other infections. Globally, climate change and unchecked urbanization are creating conditions in which diseases emerge faster and spread farther. As the six articles in this special report show, hope resides with interdisciplinary collaborations — epidemiologists, climatologists, ecologists, and others working together to solve medical problems with deep social roots” (May 2018)

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg Technology: Gates Sees Vaccine Technology Promise as Drug Resistance Rises (Patton, 4/18).

Devex: Q&A: Gates experts on how to beat malaria with data (Cheney, 4/20).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: North Korea and the Global Fund (Burki, May 2018).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Neglected tropical diseases: securing sustainability (Sansom, May 2018).

NPR: The Blessed Burden Of Consolata Agunga (Silver, 4/19).

Pharm Exec: Vaccines and AMR: Strengthening the Fight (Upton, 4/20).

U.N. News: Mosquito-packed drones ready to join fight against Zika and other deadly diseases — U.N. agency (4/19).

VOA News: South Africa Tests Potential Game-Changer in HIV Treatment (Cassim, 4/20).

Xinhua News: WHO roots for strong health system in Somalia to hasten reconstruction (4/19).

Xinhua News: Tanzania steps up efforts to fight malaria (4/20).

Yahoo Lifestyle: In Nigeria, where mental health is often considered a ‘Western’ issue, people are turning to one another for help (Udobang, 4/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Countries Worldwide Should End Total Abortion Bans; U.S. 'Must Continue To Stand Alongside Nations To Improve' Health, Lives Of Women Globally

Miami Herald: El Salvador, Dominican Republic can stop sending pregnant women to their deaths
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.)

“…Trump’s broad [Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance] directive hinders the substantial good of U.S. humanitarian efforts. Moreover, the [directive, also called the Mexico City policy or global gag rule,] takes aim at the same programs that could reduce unplanned pregnancies and pregnancy-related deaths in Latin America. As a co-sponsor of the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (Global HER) Act, I am working to reverse this counter-intuitive policy that harms the well-being of women and children. El Salvador and the Dominican Republic are on the verge of achieving progress; the United States must continue to stand alongside nations to improve the lives of women globally. Now is the time for elected officials in Santo Domingo and San Salvador to take action … As elected officials, we have a duty to make hard decisions that progress lifesaving policies and protect the lives of women and girls. The moment is long overdue for El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and nations around the world to end their total abortion bans” (4/19).

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U.S. Should Continue To Lead In Global Malaria Efforts

The Hill: The U.S. is leading the way in the fight against malaria
Josh Blumenfeld, managing director of global policy and advocacy at Malaria No More, and Margaret O’Reilly McDonnell, executive director of the U.N. Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign

“…[T]he United States must stay at the forefront of the global malaria fight. We cannot let down our guard or malaria will fight back. … The good news is that we and public-private partnerships are investing in more research to develop new tools and use next-generation data collection and analysis techniques to deliver solutions to the right places at the right times. This can help stretch our foreign aid dollars as far as possible and is critical to accelerate progress and help prevent resurgence. Additionally, Congress and the administration continue to provide vital leadership in the malaria fight. In the most recent omnibus spending bill, Congress appropriated essential funding for PMI and [the] Global Fund, while days later Dr. Ken Staley was appointed U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator to lead PMI and U.S. efforts to fight malaria. USAID Administrator Mark Green also announced last September that PMI expanded its effective work to five additional countries, extending PMI’s total reach … The American commitment to the fight against malaria, supported by Democrats and Republicans, is a symbol of the United States’ leadership role in the world. It is a testament to what America can accomplish when it sets its sights on important goals. And it is the reason why we can envision the day that no one dies from a mosquito bite” (4/19).

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Opinion Piece Outlines Approaches To Address Rising Rates Of Obesity

News Deeply: Using Existing Health and Food Systems to Combat Rising Obesity Rates
Justine Kavle, nutrition team lead for USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program

“…The global conversation addressing overweight and obesity has recently centered on country-level enforcement of sugar taxes. … [W]hat can be done in addition to taxes on sugar to curb the tide of overweight and obesity among young children? First, health care providers and families need to understand healthy versus unhealthy weight gain and learn to monitor excessive or rapid weight gain both for children and for women during pregnancy. … Second, supportive environments are needed to talk to mothers and their families about reducing or eliminating the introduction of junk foods and sweetened beverages, and providing alternatives that are local, affordable, and available. … Third, with regards to the food system, appropriate food labeling, such as mandatory front-of-package labels and a ‘nutrition seal’ obtained with compliance to nutritional standards … is needed, as is regulation of the television marketing of food and sweetened beverages to children early in life. … Finally, regulation of breastmilk substitutes, per the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, and regulations on the marketing of inappropriate complementary foods, including junk foods, to infants and young children require full enforcement and monitoring at a country level…” (4/19).

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Taiwan Should Be Invited To Attend Upcoming 71st World Health Assembly

Washington Times: Why Taiwan must be seated at the World Health Assembly
Stanley Kao, representative at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States

“The constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that ‘the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.’ Yet WHO withheld, as last year, an invitation for Taiwan’s participation in May as an observer in the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. …[Taiwan is] at the forefront as a responsible stakeholder in making concrete contributions to enhance regional and global disease prevention networks. … [I]n the era of new cross-regional pandemics, Taiwan has successfully transformed its role on the international stage from aid recipient to assistance provider. … Taiwan needs to be seated at the upcoming 71st WHA in Geneva, Switzerland, in order to contribute its expertise and experience to the achievement of the WHO’s vision of a seamless global disease prevention network and to promote the well-being of all human beings at all ages. For what it has done and committed to give, Taiwan deserves a place at the table” (4/19).

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Violent Conflict Impacts Health, Poverty, Could Undermine NTD Control Efforts

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Could violent conflict derail the London Declaration on NTDs?
Rebecca Y. Du of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development; Jeffrey D. Stanaway of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington; and Peter J. Hotez of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development

“The concept of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is built around low socioeconomic status (SES) and poverty as the most important social determinants. … A combination of insufficient social programs, unfair economic arrangements, and corrupt politics creates conditions that allow poverty to obstruct health. Within this paradigm is the impact of violent conflict. Conflict not only facilitates the relationship between poverty and poor health, but it also is a social determinant of health in its own right. In other words, violent conflict enables poor health outcomes independent of poverty. … Given the potential for conflict to slow or halt the WHO and London Declaration targets for NTDs, it is worth exploring a high-level summit around this topic. Given the multisectoral impact of conflict on NTDs, such an initiative would go beyond the health sector exclusively and should require peace-building and global health efforts across multiple U.N. agencies…” (4/19).

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Access To Clean Water Vital To Improving Health, Addressing Drug-Resistant Diseases

The Conversation: To defeat superbugs, everyone will need access to clean water
Abhilasha Karkey, research fellow at the University of Oxford

“…[Lack of access to clean water] is a major driver of inappropriate antibiotic use and, ultimately, the growth in antibiotic-resistant bugs — so-called ‘superbugs.’ … Around 40 percent of health care facilities in developing countries do not have a water supply. This is why the water crisis is a health crisis. Having access to safe water and sanitation is central to improving health and fighting diseases that are increasingly resistant to treatments, such as typhoid, cholera, and dysentery. … [The lack of established water treatment facilities and water] shortages lead to sanitation and hygiene problems and, as a result, foster a high number of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, gastroenteritis, and cholera. Rainwater harvesting could be a solution for places like Nepal, which has excessive rainfall for four months every year. … Installing rainwater harvesting systems has … been shown to reduce the need to buy water from private suppliers, and can improve sanitation and reduce disease…” (4/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N. Secretary-General Calls For Building 'Stronger, More Integrated, People-Centered' Health Systems

United Nations: Addressing Summit on Global Health in African Countries, Secretary-General Urges Building People-Centered Systems that Deliver for All
In video remarks to the World Health Summit regional meeting held in Portugal this week, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said, “It is time to build stronger, more integrated and people-centered health systems that deliver for all. Africa’s historic number of young people creates a new demand for care and innovative ideas. Success will require continued collaboration, investment, and creativity. Let us work together to achieve universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals” (4/19).

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DFAT Officials Discuss Australia's Commitments To Product Development Partnerships

Devpolicy Blog: Tools of the trade: Australia’s new investment in global health R&D
Blair Exell, ambassador for regional health security and acting deputy secretary for the Development Cooperation, Development and Partnerships Group of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) and Trade, and Robin Davies, head of the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security at DFAT, discuss Australia’s commitment to provide $75 million over five years to support the work of Product Development Partnerships (PDPs), noting, “[A]t the Malaria Summit in London, [Minister for Foreign Affairs] Julie Bishop announced the outcomes of our selection process. Australia’s new funding for PDPs will be divided equally between the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), the TB Alliance, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC)…” (4/19).

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CGD Expert Discusses Debate Over Long-Term Benefits Of Cash Transfers

Center for Global Development’s “Views from the Center”: Cash Transfers Cure Poverty. Side-Effects Vary. Symptoms May Return When Treatment Stops.
Justin Sandefur, senior fellow at CGD, discusses results from a study in Kenya on cash transfers, writing, “New results from a famous experiment in Kenya have sparked heated debate over whether lump-sum cash transfers have any long-term benefits for those who get them, or even do harm to neighbors who don’t” (4/19).

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FHWC Blog Post Highlights Stories, Takeaways From Health Heroes + Social Good Summit

Frontline Health Workers Coalition: More than a story: takeaways from the Health Heroes Plus Social Good Summit
Temi Omilabu, communications associate at IntraHealth International and Frontline Health Workers Coalition, discusses the importance of stories told at the Health Heroes + Social Good Summit that took place on April 5 and their potential impact on policymaking. Omilabu writes, “[W]e must hear their stories and act on them. Following the Health Heroes Plus Social Good Summit, we must commit, as a global health and development community, to elevate health worker stories to create effective policy change” (4/19).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Web-Based Tool To Help Predict Success Of Integrated Disease Control Programs

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Modeling tool tells when pairing responses to “big three” and neglected diseases is a win-win
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights a report published April 12 in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases examining a web-based platform to help predict the success of integrated disease control programs using local data inputs (4/19).

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