KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Green Receives Support For Agency's 'Transformation' Plan

Foreign Policy: USAID Redesign Moves Forward, With No Drama
“U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green is rolling out ambitious plans to reorganize his agency, and unlike a similar effort at the State Department, his initiative is enjoying widespread support among his workforce and lawmakers in Congress. The proposed USAID reorganization plan, obtained by Foreign Policy, stands in stark contrast to bungled attempts by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to overhaul the State Department. … While lawmakers have slammed President Donald Trump’s steep proposed budget cuts to USAID, they have praised Green and been receptive to his proposed reforms, dubbed the USAID ‘transformation’…” (Gramer/De Luce, 4/25).

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U.S. State Department Investigating Alleged Atrocities Against Rohingya Refugees

Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. team in refugee camps investigating atrocities against Rohingya
“The U.S. government is conducting an intensive examination of alleged atrocities against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, documenting accusations of murder, rape, beatings, and other possible offenses in an investigation that could be used to prosecute Myanmar’s military for crimes against humanity, U.S. officials told Reuters. … The information will be analyzed in Washington and documented in a report to be sent to the State Department’s leadership in May or early June, the officials said. It’s unclear whether the Trump administration will publicly release the findings…” (Szep et al., 4/25).

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WHO Calls For Malaria Efforts To Get 'Back On Track,' As Funding Stagnates, Some Areas Experience Rise In Cases, Deaths

Deutsche Welle: Malaria keeps Africa donor-reliant
“…[Africa] still has a high rate of infections because significant gaps exist in the implementation and delivery of malaria interventions in many countries, says Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa. … The WHO this week called the fight against malaria a ‘success story,’ but also drew attention to the slowing in progress to curb malaria in recent years and the funding shortfall…” (van Eyssen/Yiga, 4/25).

U.N. News: Get malaria response ‘back on track,’ U.N. says, as progress stalls and funding flatlines
“Marking World Malaria Day, the head of the United Nations health agency on Wednesday stressed the need to get the global response against the disease back on track while acknowledging progress that had helped avert millions of malaria deaths, especially among children, since 2000…” (4/25).

VOA News: WHO Joins Urgent Call to Stop Malaria’s Resurgence
“…For many years, World Malaria Day has been a cause for celebration, but not this year. World Health Organization data show that starting in 2016 progress has been at a standstill and hopes of ending the global epidemic by 2030 are slipping away. Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Program, Pedro Alonso, says some of the gains made in reducing the number of cases and deaths in countries across all regions of the world are being reversed…” (Schlein, 4/25).

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Donors Pledge $4.4B To Assist Syrians, Surrounding Areas In 2018, Fall Short Of $9.1B Needed

Devex: Donors fall short at Syria conference
“International donors have pledged $4.4 billion in aid for civilians in Syria and the surrounding area in 2018 at a conference in Brussels, far short of what the United Nations says is needed to provide humanitarian assistance there this year. The two-day conference, which ran through Wednesday, featured more than 80 delegations, with participants also making multiyear pledges of $3.4 billion for 2019-2020. Development banks and donors announced loans worth around $21.2 billion, partly on concessional terms. The U.N. estimates that at least $9.1 billion is required for aid in Syria and the region this year. Prior to the conference, just $2.3 billion of that was covered…” (Chadwick, 4/26).

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Prophylactic Antibiotic Administration Among Children Reduces Mortality In 3 African Nations, Study Shows

Nature: Giving at-risk children pre-emptive antibiotics reduces deaths
“To stem the rise in antibiotic resistance, researchers recommend that people only take the drugs after they are diagnosed with a bacterial infection. But a trial involving nearly 200,000 children in Niger, Tanzania, and Malawi went against that guidance in an attempt to save youngsters in regions where as many as one in 10 die before their fifth birthday…” (Maxmen, 4/25).

New York Times: Infant Deaths Fall Sharply in Africa With Routine Antibiotics
“Two doses a year of an antibiotic can sharply cut death rates among infants in poor countries, perhaps by as much as 25 percent among the very young, researchers reported on Wednesday. … As a result of the study, the World Health Organization is considering whether to recommend routinely giving antibiotics to newborns…” (McNeil, 4/25).

NPR: Giving Antibiotics To Healthy Kids In Poor Countries: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?
“…But there’s a potential trade-off. Giving antibiotics to a community of healthy children could eventually result in a number of diseases becoming resistant to those drugs. ‘We’re taught not to give antibiotics when kids aren’t sick, and here we’re doing just that,’ says Dr. Thomas Lietman, ophthalmologist at the University of California at San Francisco and senior author of the paper. ‘This study is outside the box — and we found it reduces childhood mortality’…” (Brink, 4/25).

Wall Street Journal: Prophylactic Antibiotic Use Could Reduce Childhood Death Rate
“…At the end of the test period, the death rate of the children who got the drug was 13.5 percent lower than those who didn’t get it, the researchers found. The effect was greatest in the youngest children: mortality was 24.9 percent lower in one- to five-month-olds who got the antibiotic than in those who didn’t. Almost all of the reductions were in Niger, the country in the study with the highest mortality rate. The other two countries that participated were Tanzania and Malawi…” (McKay, 4/25).

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Early Diagnosis, Treatment, Targeted MDA Reduces Drug-Resistant Malaria, Overall Incidence In Eastern Myanmar, Study Shows

CIDRAP News: Malaria studies show benefit of mass treatment, methylene blue
“…In the Myanmar study, researchers from Thailand and the University of Oxford analyzed the impact of scaled-up drug administration plus early diagnosis and treatment in four townships in eastern Myanmar that have proved challenging. … The team concluded that early diagnosis and effective treatment substantially decreased drug-resistant malaria, even in remote, politically sensitive parts of Myanmar, adding that targeted mass drug administration tamped down malaria incidence in the hot spots…” (Schnirring, 4/25).

The Guardian: Dose entire population with anti-malaria drugs to eradicate disease — study
“…The Oxford University team who ran the study believe this ‘nuclear option’ is urgently needed to wipe out malaria in Southeast Asia before growing resistance to the best drugs now available — the artemisinin compounds — spreads to India and Africa. They are calling for urgent political and financial backing from donor governments and the World Health Organization. ‘It is hard. People don’t want to move outside their comfort zone of the current approaches. We need very high level political commitment and the money,’ said Professor Sir Nick White, chair of the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit which ran the study and board member of the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN)…” (Boseley, 4/25).

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Long-Term Analysis Examines Global Funding For HIV/AIDS

AJMC.com: Long-Term Analysis Highlights Half Trillion Dollars Spent on HIV/AIDS
“Between 2000 and 2015, $562.6 billion was spent on HIV/AIDS, with most spending occurring in high-income and upper-income countries and out-of-pocket spending accounting for less than 10 percent, according to the first long-term, comprehensive analysis of funding for the disease…” (Rosenberg, 4/25).

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More News In Global Health

Global Health NOW: Peril and Promise: Fighting Malaria and Drug Resistance (Simpson, 4/24).

The Guardian: Brazilian women braced for battle amid simmering fears over abortion (Griffin, 4/26).

The Guardian: ‘Designed for death’: the Mumbai housing blocks breeding TB (Chandrashekhar, 4/26).

Los Angeles Times: Scientists have a promising new approach for treating drug-resistant tuberculosis (Healy, 4/25).

News Deeply: Nutrition Financing Needs a Paradigm Shift: Save the Children (Byatnal, 4/25).

NPR: The Forgotten Ebola Survivors Of Sierra Leone (Courtright, 4/25).

Quartz: India could boost its GDP by $770 billion by just treating women better (Tandon, 4/26).

SciDev.Net: High risk of malaria detected in blood for transfusions (Ogema, 4/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: ‘Breakthrough’ in mosquito-packed drones to combat Zika in Brazil (Moloney, 4/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: As water shortages grow, ‘Day Zero’ becomes everyday in India (Chandran, 4/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Should Support Global HER Act

Concord Monitor: Editorial: ‘Global gag rule’ is failed, deadly policy
Editorial Board

“…The day after Trump signed the order reinstating and expanding the Mexico City policy, [also referred to as the global gag rule,] Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and 46 co-sponsors … introduced the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act to permanently repeal the policy. … The bill would allow foreign NGOs to use non-U.S. funds to provide abortion-related services that are legal … in their respective countries, remove discriminatory restrictions on crucial health care services, and support free speech abroad. … we hope that support for the Global HER Act will continue to grow on both sides of the aisle. … The global gag rule is bad policy, and that should be clear to everyone regardless of where they stand on abortion. When a measure intended to reduce abortions increases them instead — and endangers the lives of women, girls, and infants already suffering under the weight of extreme poverty — it should be repealed without delay” (4/26).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts To Control, End Malaria

The Lancet Global Health: Malaria in pregnancy: a call for a safe, efficient, and patient-centered approach to first-trimester treatment
V. Bhargavi Rao, malaria and infectious disease specialist at Médecins Sans Frontières, and colleagues (4/24).

Healio: Malaria in 2018: A glass half full
Philip J. Rosenthal, professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and editor in chief of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (4/25).

Project Syndicate: Beating Malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion
Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO’s regional director for Southeast Asia, and Shin Young-soo, WHO’s regional director for Western Pacific (4/25).

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African, Developing Nation Governments Should Remove Barriers, Ensure Universal Access To Immunizations

Inter Press Service: From Declaration to Action: Improving Immunization in Africa
Joyce Nganga, policy adviser with WACI Health

“…For Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, universal access to immunization is central to enabling individuals lead productive lives and for the continent to reach its full potential. Increasingly, we recognize that good health is a major driver of economic growth and must be at the center of all development plans. The cornerstone of this is strong immunization programs and sustainable systems. As the world and Africa commemorate this year’s immunization week, … our call to [national governments] is to re-examine their commitments and contributions towards domestic resources to ensure all children access immunization and that the gains made will be sustained and even surpassed. … It is up to government to remove the barriers, create the policy environment, and make the resources available to fund routine immunization for every child” (4/25).

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TB Efforts Must Include More Proactive Disease Prevention, Control Strategies

Scientific American: Winning the War on Tuberculosis
Masae Kawamura, senior director for medical and scientific affairs at QIAGEN

“…The major road block [to reaching global TB targets] is a global infrastructure of TB care and control that is woefully ill-equipped in resources and capacity to implement comprehensive disease control and prevention. … Full-scale program strengthening is needed now to modernize and effectively adopt the new technical advances offered by rapid molecular tests, shorter prevention regimens, and new drugs. … We urgently need to build, equip, and modernize the ground troops of TB control and prevention around the world. Combining the advances in treatment and diagnosis with new strategic purpose, manpower, and knowledge is essential if we are to move from today’s passive stagnant position to actively take the road to victory” (4/26).

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Long-Term Investments, Recognition Of Investment Opportunities Needed To Achieve SDGs

Project Syndicate: Time for a Global Financial Makeover
Liu Zhenmin, U.N. under secretary general for economic and social affairs

“…Investment will be indispensable to achieving the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], which aim to eliminate poverty, end hunger, combat climate change, build resilient infrastructure, and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Yet, three years on, we still have not done nearly enough to leverage our financial systems in pursuit of the SDGs. … Shifting investors from short-termism toward long-term thinking is a prerequisite for achieving all of our economic, social, and environmental goals. But the private sector will not make this transition by itself. Policymakers must step in and provide leadership. … We have all agreed on what we need to do; now we must do it” (4/24).

Financial Times: Sustainability is no longer an option but an imperative
Andrew Parry, head of sustainable investing at Hermes Investment Management

“…Increasingly, the U.N. SDGs are being seen as a lens through which to look for tomorrow’s emerging growth stories today. The SDGs represent the unmet needs in global society and the U.N. estimates that an additional $3tn of capital must be raised every year to meet its 2030 targets. While this seems an unnecessary cost to some, for innovative companies with products or services that address social or environment deficits the figure represents an exciting growth opportunity. … The conversations I had while in Southeast Asia suggested that the opportunities … were not lost on Asian investors or companies. … In Asia more than anywhere, sustainability is no longer an option, it is an imperative” (4/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Increasing Access To Vaccination Could Help Address Gender Gaps In Education

ONE: Op-Ed: How immunization helps improve education for girls
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, discusses the role of routine immunization in addressing gender gaps in education, writing, “As global health agencies such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Gavi come together with governments to discuss ways to increase access to vaccination and protect children from disease, we are simultaneously helping to close the gender gap in education. By helping to reach the one-in-five children still missing out on basic vaccines, governments are ensuring that their children — both boys and girls — are not just healthier, but maybe even better educated too” (4/25).

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African Development Bank Report Examines Role Of Foreign Aid In Malaria Efforts, Calls For More Domestic Financing

African Development Bank Group: African Development Bank calls for domestic financing solutions alongside aid in fight against malaria
“On the occasion of World Malaria Day 2018, April 25, the African Development Bank has released Money and Mosquitoes: The Economics of Malaria in an Age of Declining Aid. … The report examines financing in the battle against malaria, focusing on the role of foreign aid. It analyzes whether or not a disease such as malaria can be controlled or eliminated in Africa without health aid. It also presents a theoretical model of the economics of malaria and shows how health aid can help avoid the ‘disease trap.’ While calling for increased funding from international sources to fight malaria, it also recommends that African countries step up their own efforts, including on domestic resource mobilization…” (4/24).

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CSIS Releases Report, Podcast Episode Discussing Global Immunization Program Support, Innovations

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Working Together to Protect All with Vaccines
In a recently released CSIS report, Katherine Bliss, senior associate at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses “the positive support global immunization programs enjoy within an otherwise fractious political environment and the global successes to which U.S.-supported programs have contributed.” In the report, Bliss also discusses challenges to immunization programs globally (4/24).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take As Directed”: World Immunization Week Special: Vaccine Innovations to Improve Delivery
Nellie Bristol, senior fellow at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with Darin Zehrung, global program leader for devices and tools at PATH, and Mark Papania, measles elimination team lead in the CDC’s Global Immunization Division, about “innovations designed to make vaccine delivery easier, especially in low-resource settings” (4/24).

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Blog Posts Recognize World Malaria Day, Examine Progress, Obstacles To Eliminating Disease

AEIdeas: Stalled progress in fighting malaria (Bate, 4/25)

Friends of the Global Fight: On World Malaria Day, the Global Community Sees Momentum to End the Epidemic (4/25).

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: To Truly Manage Malaria in Uganda, Diagnosis Matters (Mirembe, 4/24).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Malaria peak: Waiting for the tsunami (4/25).

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Optimism, but Obstacles Abound for the Future of Malaria Control (von Seidlein, 4/25).

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Is a Malaria-free Bangladesh Possible? (Haldar/Nahlen, 4/25).

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Donors Pledge $4.4B To Support Humanitarian Aid, Resilience, Development Activities In Syria, Region

U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Donors pledge $4.4B to help affected people in Syria and in the Region
“The international community gathered at the second Brussels conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region [on Wednesday and] confirmed U.S.$4.4 billion in funding to support life-saving humanitarian aid as well as resilience and development activities to millions of affected people in Syria and the region this year…” (4/25).

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Report Examines Global Health Innovation, Role Of Intellectual Property Rights

Innovation Technology & Innovation Foundation: Innovate4Health: How Innovators Are Solving Global Health Challenges
In this report, Stephen Ezell, vice president for global innovation policy at ITIF; Mark Schultz, director of academic programs and senior scholar at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP); and David Lund, the John F. Witherspoon Legal fellow at CPIP, “profil[e] 25 original case studies showcasing how innovators, many in developing countries, are tackling life-sciences/health care innovation in their nations and across the broader developing world” and “tell a compelling and inspiring story of how entrepreneurs are creating IP-enabled life-sciences innovations that are helping to tackle some of the world’s toughest health issues” (4/24).

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U.N. Report Examines Aligning Financial System With Sustainable Development

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: Reforming the financial system to align with sustainable development
Simon Zadek, co-director of the U.N. Environment’s Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System and visiting professor and senior fellow at the Singapore Management University, discusses a new report from the U.N. Environment Programme Financial Inquiry, titled “Making Waves: Aligning the Financial System with Sustainable Development.” Zadek writes, “The report reviews progress between 2014 and 2017. In 2014, there was a mix of skepticism and optimism. Today, there is momentum for more transformative integration” (4/24).

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From the U.S. Government

NIH, USAID Issue Statements Reaffirming Commitment To End Malaria

NIH: NIH statement on World Malaria Day 2018
“…On World Malaria Day 2018, the National Institutes of Health reaffirms and renews its long-standing commitment to conducting and supporting the innovative scientific research needed to end malaria. … This year’s World Malaria Day theme is ‘Ready to Beat Malaria.’ The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, is working to achieve this goal with our comprehensive research program…” (4/25).

USAID: Statement from USAID Administrator Mark Green on World Malaria Day
“Today, on World Malaria Day, I reaffirm the commitment of the United States to ending malaria. … The U.S. government, through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), has transformed the fight against the disease. Together with partners, such as national malaria-control programs, local partners, donors, faith-based groups, and multilateral organizations, we are bringing effective tools to people where they live…” (4/25).

USAID: Remarks by Richard J. Goughnour, Acting Mission Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development Regional Development Mission for Asia on World Malaria Day
In remarks at Thailand’s World Malaria Day event in Bangkok, Richard Goughnour, acting mission director for the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, said, “On World Malaria Day — and every day, the U.S. government joins the concerned global community and stands ‘Ready to Beat Malaria.’ We recognize and commend Thailand’s commitment to eliminate malaria over the next six years. We will be at your side all the way…” (4/25).

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PMI Recognizes World Malaria Day, Release Of Annual Report

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Fighting Malaria and Saving Lives
Irene Koek, acting U.S. global malaria coordinator for the President’s Malaria Initiative, recognizes World Malaria Day and discusses the release of PMI’s Twelfth Annual Report to Congress, “which describes the U.S. government’s financial and technical contributions to the global fight against malaria.” Koek writes, “On World Malaria Day, we celebrate these successes and recommit ourselves in the fight against malaria” (4/25).

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USAID Senior Adviser Outlines Agency's Support For Global Routine Immunization

USAID/Medium: 10 Ways USAID Supports Routine Immunization Around the World
Recognizing World Immunization Week, Endale Beyene, senior immunization adviser in USAID’s Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Office, outlines “10 specific ways USAID supports expanding access to life-saving vaccines,” such as providing support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and training health care workers. Beyene writes, “By addressing immunization inequities to better reach the left outs and drop outs, USAID invests in the well-being of communities and societies around the globe. As a result of these efforts, we can advance American security and prosperity in an increasingly globalized world” (4/24).

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