KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. General Assembly Resolution Calls For Scaled-Up Global Action On COVID-19 Pandemic; WHO DG Warns Worst Yet To Come, As Some Nations Begin Lifting Restrictions

AP: U.N. calls for scaling up all efforts to confront pandemic
“The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution Monday night calling for global action to rapidly scale up development, manufacturing, and access to medicine, vaccines, and medical equipment to confront the new coronavirus pandemic. The Mexican-drafted resolution requests U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to work with the World Health Organization and recommend options to ensure timely and equitable access to testing, medical supplies, drugs, and future coronavirus vaccines for all in need, especially in developing countries…” (Lederer, 4/21).

AP: WHO head warns worst of virus is still ahead
“…WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus didn’t specify exactly why he believes that the outbreak that has infected nearly 2.5 million people and killed over 166,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, could get worse. Some people, though, have pointed to the likely future spread of the illness through Africa, where health systems are far less developed…” (4/20).

U.N. News: U.N. issues appeal to bolster COVID-19 ‘logistics backbone,’ warns global response could stutter to a halt
“The heads of major U.N. humanitarian agencies and offices have launched an urgent appeal for $350 million to support global aid hubs to help those most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic…” (4/20).

AP: UN urges world to quickly scale up medicines, vaccines (Anna et al., 4/21).

U.N. News: Lifting lockdowns does not signal the end of COVID-19: WHO chief (4/20).

Washington Post: Trump wants to lift lockdowns. Other countries’ attempts show why the U.S. isn’t ready (Tharoor, 4/21).

Link to individual story

Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility To Disburse $195.8M, World Bank Says, Forecasts First Increase In Global Poverty Since 1998

New Humanitarian: In the news: Investors take a hit in World Bank pandemic insurance scheme
“A chunk of private investors’ money will pay for COVID-19 response efforts in developing countries after a World Bank pandemic insurance scheme criticized for its stringent thresholds finally paid out. About $195.8 million will be disbursed under the terms of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, known as the PEF…” (Parker, 4/20).

POLITICO: Forecasts from World Bank project first global poverty increase since 1998
“As the novel coronavirus sprawls across the globe, wreaking havoc on human lives and economic health, the World Bank on Monday predicted that 2020 would see the first increase in global poverty in more than two decades. Economists at the international financial institution calculate that the pandemic will push 40 million to 60 million people into extreme poverty, with its ‘best estimate being 49 million,’ according to a post on the bank’s Data Blog…” (Ward, 4/20).

Reuters: Coronavirus spread triggers World Bank pandemic bond payout
“…[International Development Association (IDA)] countries such has Laos, Yemen, or Honduras are all to receive millions in help from the World Bank already, though not through the PEF instrument designed to deliver quick funds. Campaigners have been critical of the complex instrument which now paying out only after reported cases of coronavirus have crossed more than 2.26 million globally and killed more than 154,613 people…” (Strohecker, 4/20).

Link to individual story

Female World Leaders Show Decisive Action, Use Effective Messaging During COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington Post: Female world leaders hailed as voices of reason amid the coronavirus chaos
“…[Sint Maarten Prime Minister Silveria] Jacobs is one of several female world leaders who have won recognition as voices of reason amid the coronavirus pandemic. They have attracted praise for effective messaging and decisive action, in stark contrast to the bombastic approaches of several of the world’s most prominent male leaders — including some who face criticism for early fumbles that fueled the spread of the virus. … Here are examples of how elected female leaders around the globe have responded to outbreaks of the coronavirus in their countries…” (Hassan/O’Grady, 4/20).

AP: New Zealand could pull off bold goal of eliminating virus (Perry, 4/21).

The Atlantic: The Secret to Germany’s COVID-19 Success: Angela Merkel Is a Scientist (Miller, 4/20).

Link to individual story

Singapore Documents Surge In COVID-19 Cases; U.K. PM Johnson, Ministers Criticized For Pandemic Response; In Hard-Hit Ecuador, President Says Official Death Count Too Low

AFRICA

Axios: Africa’s coronavirus crisis arrived before the outbreak (Lawler, 4/20).

Devex: Red Cross prepares for COVID-19 in DRC (Root, 4/21).

Moscow Times: Africa Asks Russia for Coronavirus Aid: Foreign Ministry (4/21).

New York Times: In Old Cairo, a Subdued Ramadan Looms as Virus Shutters the City (Walsh, 4/20).

ASIA

France24: India under lockdown: What costs and benefits? (Picard/Xenos, 4/20).

New York Times: Singapore Seemed to Have Coronavirus Under Control, Until Cases Doubled (Beech, 4/20).

NPR: Singapore Sees Surge In COVID-19 Cases, Now Has Highest Number In Southeast Asia (Sullivan, 4/20).

Science: ‘Open the doors for us.’ Indonesian scientists say government snubs offers to help fight coronavirus (Rochmyaningsih, 4/18).

Wall Street Journal: China Raises Easing Coronavirus Border Controls With Other Countries (Wong, 4/20).

EUROPE

The Guardian: Anger in Sweden as elderly pay price for coronavirus strategy (Orange, 4/19).

Newsweek: While Americans Hoarded Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer and Masks, Russians Withdrew $13.6B in Cash From ATMs (Rahman, 4/19).

NPR: ‘Slowing Its Spread’: Russia’s Putin Conveys Cautious COVID-19 Optimism (Maynes, 4/20).

Washington Post: Boris Johnson and his ministers accused of bungling coronavirus response, unleashing disaster (Booth, 4/20).

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN

The Guardian: Lockdowns leave poor Latin Americans with impossible choice: stay home or feed families (Phillips et al., 4/21).

New Humanitarian: Coronavirus in Haiti: Weakened by past disasters, the country was already in crisis (Obert, 4/20).

NPR: COVID-19 Numbers Are Bad In Ecuador. The President Says The Real Story Is Even Worse (Otis, 4/20).

Reuters: Coronavirus cases in Ecuador top 10,000, doubling about once a week (Valencia/Kinosian, 4/20).

Reuters: Empty resorts spell long crisis for Caribbean as coronavirus hits (Frank et al., 4/20).

Washington Post: Chile’s ‘immunity passport’ will allow recovered coronavirus patients to break free from lockdown, get back to work (Bartlett, 4/20).

MIDDLE EAST

The Guardian: Domestic abuse: ‘Women in Herat may survive coronavirus but not lockdown’ (Kumar, 4/21).

New York Times: Istanbul Death Toll Hints Turkey Is Hiding a Wider Coronavirus Calamity (Gall, 4/20).

NORTH AMERICA

CBC News: Quebec snubs doctor who helped lead fight against Ebola (Stevenson, 4/18).

The Guardian: Questions mount over Christian group behind Central Park Covid-19 hospital (Bryant, 4/19).

POLITICO: Trudeau waits out Trump’s coronavirus provocations (Blatchford, 4/21).

Washington Post: Brett Giroir, Trump’s testing czar, was forced out of a job developing vaccine projects. Now he’s on the hot seat (Kranish/Crites, 4/20).

Link to individual story

No Information About Novel Coronavirus Hidden From Member States, U.S. Scientists Embedded With Organization, WHO Says

The Guardian: Caught in a superpower struggle: the inside story of the WHO’s response to coronavirus
“…The events of January were always destined for scrutiny. The WHO conducts an after-action report in wake of every pandemic. But by seeking to make the global body the scapegoat for the debacle of the U.S. response, Donald Trump has ensured each detail will become exhibits in a highly-politicized show-trial, likely to last as long as the election campaign. … While the emergency committee took a week to decide to declare a PHEIC, Trump spent more than a month after that playing down the threat to the U.S., during which the country fell weeks behind the rest of the world in diagnostic testing and stockpiling essential equipment. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim that the WHO hid information at China’s behest. The U.S. is well represented in the top ranks of the organization. There were more than a dozen officials from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) embedded in the WHO in January and February. U.S. health leaders were part of regular conference calls, weekly or twice weekly, beginning on 7 January. From 10 January those calls included warnings about the risk of human-to-human transmission…” (Borger, 4/18).

Reuters: Nothing hidden from member states, CDC experts on board: WHO chief
“The head of the World Health Organization said on Monday that nothing in its coronavirus response had been ‘hidden’ from the United States, as senior officials said U.S. technical experts had been an important part of the WHO’s effort. The comments appeared to be a rejoinder to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has criticized WHO’s handling of the pandemic, accusing it of promoting Chinese ‘disinformation,’ and suspended U.S. funding last week…” (Nebehay/Farge, 4/20).

The Hill: EXCLUSIVE: Meet the top American fighting COVID-19 at WHO (Wilson, 4/20).

MSNBC: White House’s case against World Health Organization crumbles (Benen, 4/20).

Reuters: Coronavirus likely of animal origin, no sign of lab manipulation: WHO (Farge/Nebehay, 4/21).

Link to individual story

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Urges State, Agriculture Secretaries To Ensure Supply Chain Operations Of U.S. Food Assistance Programs Amid Pandemic

The Hill: Senators urge Pompeo, Perdue to back global food programs amid coronavirus pandemic
“A bipartisan group of senators are urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to support international food assistance programs amid concerns about the coronavirus’s impact on the supply chain and potential global food shortages. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) on Monday spearheaded a letter with three of his colleagues to Perdue and Pompeo, urging them to ensure that programs under the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Agriculture are able to keep delivering food assistance amid the economic and health crisis sparked by the spread of the coronavirus…” (Carney, 4/20).

Link to individual story

U.S. Pressure On Iran During COVID-19 Pandemic 'Inhumane,' Iranian President Says In Call With Italian PM

Reuters: U.S. pressure on Iran during coronavirus outbreak is ‘inhumane’: Rouhani
“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that American pressure on Iran in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic was ‘inhumane,’ according to a statement on the official presidency website. … ‘In these difficult conditions, American pressure on the people of Iran is more inhumane than at any other time and the continuation of it is a barbaric crime against a great people and against all human principles and international regulations,’ Rouhani said during a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Rouhani expressed sympathy for the people of Italy, who have also been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak…” (Dehghanpisheh, 4/20).

Link to individual story

Brazil President Joins Supporters In Protest Over Novel Coronavirus Pandemic Restrictions, Raising Concern Among Judges, Human Rights Advocates, Others

NPR: Brazil’s Bolsonaro Joins Supporters In Protest Against Coronavirus Measures
“Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is the focus of a fresh outcry after taking part in a public protest against democratic institutions that included calls for a military takeover. The president’s participation in the event has caused outrage among judges, human rights groups, lawyers, and others, and comes amid growing controversy over his response to the coronavirus crisis. … The protest was particularly aimed at Brazil’s Supreme Court and Congress — institutions regarded with deep hostility by Bolsonaro supporters, who consider them as obstacles to enacting the president’s agenda…” (Reeves, 4/20).

Additional coverage of Bolsonaro’s actions is available from AP and The Guardian.

Link to individual story

U.N. Agencies Pledge To Accelerate Work To Protect Refugee Children, Especially In Middle East, Amid Pandemic

U.N. News: U.N. agencies pledge scaled-up efforts to protect uprooted children as pandemic upends lives
“Two U.N. agency chiefs are pledging to accelerate work to expand refugee children’s access to protection, education, clean water, and sanitation, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe. ‘The needs of refugee children have become even more acute,’ said Henrietta Fore, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in a joint statement on Monday…” (4/20).

Additional coverage of the U.N. agencies’ work to protect children during the pandemic is available from AP and UPI.

Link to individual story

Climate, Conflict, Health Risks Top Future Concerns In U.N. Global Survey

AP: U.N. survey: Climate, conflict, health top future concerns
“A survey of over 40,000 people in 186 countries on global trends that will most affect the future put climate and the environment at the top followed by conflicts and health risks, which increased as the coronavirus pandemic was felt around the world, the United Nations reported Monday. The survey, part of an initiative marking this year’s 75th anniversary of the United Nations, also found that 95 percent of respondents said international cooperation is ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ to tackle those trends, with a noticeable uptick from late February when COVID-19 was spreading…” (Lederer, 4/20).

Link to individual story

More News In Global Health

Devex: 5 ways development needs to change for the modern world (Worley, 4/20).

Devex: Q&A: Yves Daccord reflects on 3 decades in the aid sector (Root, 4/20).

Financial Times: FT Health: Combating Coronavirus (Multiple authors, April 2020).

MedPage Today: Lockdowns Affecting HIV Trials/Treatment in Africa (Laub, 4/20).

STAT: New study seeks to surface data to produce a stronger measles vaccine (Zia, 4/17).

STAT: Everything we know about coronavirus immunity and antibodies — and plenty we still don’t (Joseph, 4/20).

USA TODAY: Fauci guided U.S. through AIDS crisis, too. Survivors say it’s a roadmap for coronavirus (Plohetsky, 4/19).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Response, Including Impacts On Food Systems, WASH, Role Of WHO

The Atlantic: We Need an Atlantic Charter for the Post-coronavirus Era
Richard Fontaine, chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security (4/16).

The Conversation: Drug-resistant superbugs: A global threat intensified by the fight against coronavirus
Lori L. Burrows, professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster University (4/20).

The Conversation: Busting coronavirus myths will take more than science: lessons from an AIDS study
David Dickinson, professor of sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand (4/17).

The Conversation: Malnutrition and epidemics are intertwined. That makes fixing food systems crucial
Stuart Gillespie, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) (4/20).

Devex: Opinion: COVID-19 — The anatomy of community-centered response
Katherina Thomas, global health researcher and visiting researcher at MIT and Harvard University, and Angie T. Dennis, Liberian health researcher and Ebola survivor (4/20).

Foreign Policy: Why Jair Bolsonaro’s Coronavirus Denialism Won’t Hurt Him
Eduardo Mello, assistant professor of politics and international relations at the Fundação Getulio Vargas in São Paulo (4/20).

The Hill: How COVID-19 must transform U.S. global health strategy
Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC (4/21).

IPS: BCG Vaccine Fighting Coronavirus in South Asia
Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, independent researcher affiliated with the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in Sri Lanka (4/20).

National Interest: Why Taiwan Belongs in the World Health Organization (WHO)
Vincent Yi-hsiang Chao, director of the political division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States​ (4/20).

New York Times: Beware of Politicians Who Declare ‘War’ on the Coronavirus
Adam Westbrook, producer with Opinion Video at the New York Times (4/20).

Project Syndicate: The Grim Truth About the ‘Swedish Model’
Hans Bergstrom, professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (4/17).

STAT: Managing a pharma company during three crises: lessons learned for Covid-19
Mahesh Karande, president, CEO, and board director of Omega Therapeutics (4/20).

Wall Street Journal: The Coronavirus Hits the Global South
Walter Russell Mead, James Clarke Chace professor of foreign affairs and the humanities at Bard College, Ravenel B. Curry III distinguished fellow in strategy and statesmanship at the Hudson Institute, and the Wall Street Journal’s Global View columnist (4/20).

Washington Post: How to speed up testing? A ‘shark tank’ for government.
Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chair of the Senate’s health appropriations subcommittee (4/20).

Washington Post: Our people are hungry. We need a leader who will feed them.
José Andrés, owner of ThinkFoodGroup and founder of World Central Kitchen (4/20).

Washington Post: Future pandemics can be prevented, but that’ll rely on unprecedented global cooperation
Michael C. Lu, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley (4/17).

Washington Post: In a global emergency, women are showing how to lead
Zoe Marks, lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School (4/21).

Washington Post: Trump’s covid-19 performance is an encapsulation of his entire presidency
Henry Olsen, Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (4/20).

Washington Post: Covid-19 is a wake-up call for India’s cities, where radical improvements in sanitation and planning are needed
Gregory F. Randolph, PhD candidate in urban planning at the University of Southern California and founding partner of the JustJobs Network, and Sahil Gandhi, postdoctoral scholar at the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California and visiting scholar at Brookings India (4/20).

Washington Times: World Health Organization peddled Chinese Communist Party’s lies
Robert Knight, columnist at the Washington Times (4/19).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

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

African Arguments: The Campaign Against Tedros Adhanom: Objective or Ideological?
Teshome Beyene Berhe, development consultant and partnership adviser for multi-stakeholder programs in Ethiopia (4/20).

BMJ Opinion: The role of universal health coverage in overcoming the covid-19 pandemic
Amirhossein Takian, associate dean of the School of Public Health at Tehran University of Medical Sciences; Mohsen Aarabi, faculty of the department of family medicine at Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences; and Hajar Haghighi, PhD candidate in health policy with the Department of Health Economics and Management at the School of Public Health at Tehran University of Medical Sciences (4/20).

Center for Global Development: No-Regret Policies for the COVID-19 Crisis in Developing Countries
Stefan Dercon, non-resident fellow with the Center for Global Development (4/17).

IntraHealth International: South Sudan Prepares for COVID-19 (4/20).

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Investing in Girls and Women Could Set Stage for Peace, Development in Sahel
Alisha Graves, academic coordinator of the OASIS Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley, and president of Venture Strategies for Health and Development (4/21).

World Health Organization: ITU-WHO Joint Statement: Unleashing information technology to defeat COVID-19 (4/20).

Link to individual story

From the U.S. Government

President Trump, Vice President Pence, Members of White House Coronavirus Task Force Provide Update On U.S. Response To COVID-19 In Press Briefing

White House: 4/20/20: Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold a Press Briefing
In this press briefing held Monday, President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force discuss developments regarding the U.S. response to COVID-1 (4/20).

Link to individual story

U.S. Department Of State Releases Fact Sheet On U.S. COVID-19 Assistance To Pacific Islands

U.S. Department of State: The United States Is Assisting Pacific Island Countries To Respond to COVID-19
This fact sheet provides an overview of U.S. global health and humanitarian COVID-19 assistance to the Pacific Islands (4/21).

Link to individual story

GAO Releases Priority Open Recommendations For Department Of State, USAID

U.S. Government Accountability Office: Priority Open Recommendations: Department of State
“Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our high risk list, or significantly improve government operations. This report outlines our 12 priority open recommendations for the Department of State as of April 2020…” (4/20).

U.S. Government Accountability Office: Priority Open Recommendations: U.S. Agency for International Development
“…This report outlines our 3 priority open recommendations for the U.S. Agency for International Development as of April 2020…” (4/20).

Link to individual story

CDC Recognizes World Meningitis Day 2020, Highlights Efforts In Niger

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: World Meningitis Day 2020
This CDC blog post recognizes World Meningitis Day and highlights CDC’s efforts to address the 2017 meningitis outbreak in Niger, including conducting surveillance and supporting laboratory capacity (4/20).

Link to individual story

From KFF

KFF, Global Health Council To Host Upcoming Discussion On COVID-19's Implications For LMICs

KFF, in partnership with the Global Health Council (GHC), presents a discussion on Tuesday, April 28 from 12:00-1:00 pm ET, on the challenges and opportunities of resource mobilization in response to COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Speakers will share updates on how COVID-19 is impacting global health programs and review recent data of COVID-19 funding trends. This is the third discussion in the GHC conversation series on COVID-19. Speakers include Jennifer Kates, senior vice president and director of Global Health & HIV Policy at KFF; Loyce Pace, president and executive director of the Global Health Council; and representatives from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), Medtronic Foundation, and World Vision. Register here (4/21).

Link to individual story

KFF Updates Fact Sheet On U.S. Government, World Health Organization

KFF: The U.S. Government and the World Health Organization
This fact sheet provides information about the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. government funding and engagement with WHO. In April, the White House announced it would be suspending financial support for WHO pending a review of the organization’s activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Assessed contributions from the U.S. to the WHO have ranged from $107 to $119 million over the last decade. The U.S. also has made additional voluntary contributions, ranging from $102 to $401 million per year (4/16).

Link to individual story

KFF Resources Examine Global, Domestic Issues Related To COVID-19

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of April 21, 2020 (4/21).

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

Link to individual story