KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Pandemic, Global Warming Can Spur Nations To 'Rebuild Our World For The Better,' U.N. SG Says In Climate Dialogue Address

AP: U.N. chief: Use pandemic to ‘rebuild our world for the better’
“U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres challenged leaders Tuesday to use the coronavirus pandemic to ‘rebuild our world for the better’ by also working together to tackle other global threats such as climate change. … ‘[The pandemic] has exposed the fragility of our societies and economies to shocks,’ the United Nations chief said, adding that ‘the only answer is brave, visionary, and collaborative leadership.’ ‘The same leadership is needed to address the looming existential threat of climate disruption,’ Guterres, noting that the past decade was the hottest in history since measurements began…” (Jordans, 4/28).

U.N. News: Parallel threats of COVID-19, climate change, require ‘brave, visionary and collaborative leadership’: U.N. chief
“…And against the backdrop of threatened lives, crippled businesses, and damaged economies, the U.N. chief warned the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are also under threat. ‘The highest cost is the cost of doing nothing,’ he spelled out, underscoring the need to urgently ‘strengthen resilience and cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees’ above pre-industrial levels, to mitigate climate change…” (4/28).

Additional coverage of Guterres’s speech is available from Forbes and The Guardian.

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News Outlets Address Various Aspects Of Relationships Among U.S., China, Taiwan, WHO In Light Of COVID-19 Pandemic

The Guardian: Gordon Brown urges China and U.S. to join global Covid-19 action
“Gordon Brown has challenged Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to recognize the ‘deadly urgency’ of joining a global push to help poor countries combat Covid-19 and warned the world’s two biggest economies that go-it-alone strategies will end in failure. The former prime minister — who orchestrated the international response to the global financial crisis of 2008-09 — said Washington and Beijing could not afford to sit out a multilateral effort designed to raise $8bn (£6.4bn) to strengthen the health systems of developing nations…” (Elliot, 4/28).

The Hill: House Republican calls for investigation into China and WHO’s handling of coronavirus
“Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is calling for the panel to hold hearings on the Chinese government and World Health Organization’s (WHO) handling of the coronavirus outbreak…” (Brufke, 4/28).

Reuters: China lab rejects COVID-19 conspiracy claims, but virus origins still a mystery
“Claims that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan have no basis in fact, the head of the lab told Reuters, adding that there were still no conclusive answers as to where the disease started…” (Stanway, 4/28).

VOA: Top U.S. Health Official Discussed Fighting COVID-19 With Taiwanese Counterpart
“The top health officials from the U.S. and Taiwan conducted a rare telephone conference on Monday to discuss working together to fight COVID-19 as well as expanding Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, thanked Taiwan for its efforts to share resources and knowledge with the U.S. in fighting the coronavirus…” (Chung/Zhang, 4/28).

The Wire/STAT: China has near-total control of the world’s antibiotic supply. Is America at risk as a result?
“…Despite all the [U.S. pandemic] planning and stockpiling, frontline health workers at hospitals from New York to San Francisco have been left unprotected and overwhelmed because of a shortage of masks, gloves, hospital gowns, and ventilators. As harmful as these shortages are, there is widespread confidence that they can be solved, if not in weeks, then months. But there is one major challenge to U.S. readiness that no government simulation has reckoned with, where the gap cannot be closed this year, and probably not even next year: China’s near-total control of the world’s antibiotic supply…” (Harris/Palmer, 4/28).

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Mark Green Discusses Role Of U.S. Foreign Assistance, COVID-19 Pandemic In Developing Countries, Future Of USAID In NPR Interview

NPR: Exiting USAID Chief On The Pandemic, Foreign Aid, Trump’s Policies
“For nearly three years, Mark Green led the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in delivering foreign aid to countries in need during times of crisis, including the coronavirus pandemic. In mid-March, Green announced that he was stepping down and taking on a new position as executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership. … NPR’s Rachel Martin spoke with Green, a former Republican congressman from Wisconsin and U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, about the value of U.S. foreign assistance, his outlook on how developing countries will face the pandemic, and what the future may hold for USAID…” (Martin/Sarmiento, 4/29).

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COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens 30 Years Of U.K. Government, Charity Development Work; DFID Faces Criticism Of Gender Equality Strategy

Devex: DFID faces ‘wake-up call’ on gender equality strategy
“The U.K. Department for International Development is facing criticism from the country’s influential public-spending watchdog over the poor implementation of the department’s gender equality strategy. A report by the National Audit Office found that DFID’s 2018 Strategic Vision for Gender Equality was ‘ambitious’ but not designed ‘in a way which allowed it to assess overall progress and value for money’…” (Worley, 4/29).

The Guardian: Pandemic jeopardizes support for world’s poor as charities lose millions
“Charities are calling on the U.K. government for greater support as they report the loss of millions of pounds as a result of Covid-19…” (Lamble, 4/27).

The Guardian: Coronavirus ‘could undo 30 years of U.K.’s international development work’
“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to undo 30 years of international development work, with a bleak picture for the world’s poorest, the international development secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, told MPs. Giving evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of U.K. aid, Trevelyan said her biggest fear was that the secondary impact of the health crisis would be felt by the world’s poorest for years to come…” (McVeigh, 4/29).

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Devex Examines How DFIs Are Responding To COVID-19 Pandemic

Devex: How DFIs are responding to the COVID-19 crisis
“The role of development finance institutions has expanded in the past decade, as more have been created and they have been allocated greater amounts of capital. But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they face the test of whether their plans will work and whether they can live up to the greater responsibility they have been given. With a crisis that has seen economies brought to a standstill, nearly $100 billion of private investment retreat from Africa, and about $100 billion drop in global remittances, DFIs are grappling with how to most effectively respond…” (Saldinger, 4/29).

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'Fragile' Countries Need More Funding, Aid To Prevent COVID-19 Impacts, IRC Warns; Media Outlets Examine How Pandemic Hitting Certain Populations

BBC: Coronavirus: ‘One billion’ could become infected worldwide — report
“One billion people could become infected with the coronavirus worldwide unless vulnerable countries are given urgent help, an aid group has warned. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said financial and humanitarian aid were needed to help slow the global spread of the virus. It said ‘fragile countries’ such as Afghanistan and Syria needed ‘urgent funding’ to avoid a major outbreak. … The U.S.-based group, which responds to humanitarian crises around the world, said factors such as household size, population density, healthcare capacity, and pre-existing conflicts could all increase the risk of major outbreaks developing…” (4/28).

CBS: 6 months of coronavirus lockdown could mean 31 million more cases of domestic violence, U.N. says (Ott, 4/28).

The Guardian: ‘They are starving’: women in India’s sex industry struggle for survival (Chakraborty/Ramaprasad, 4/29).

TIME: Refugee Boats Stranded at Sea Show How COVID-19 Is Making Threatened Groups More Vulnerable (Dozier, 4/28).

U.N. News: COVID-19 could lead to millions of unintended pregnancies, new U.N.-backed data reveals (4/28).

Washington Post: Sex workers are falling through the cracks in coronavirus assistance programs around the world (Berger, 4/28).

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U.S. COVID-19 Cases Pass 1M As Some States Ease Lockdowns; Syria, Yemen, Sudan Face Challenges As Pandemic Arrives; U.K. Deaths Could Be Twice Hospital Count

AFRICA

U.N. News: As pandemic encroaches on Abyei, tensions rise over disputed territory straddling Sudan, South Sudan (4/28).

U.N. News: Sudan: Coronavirus could be tipping point for ‘untold suffering,’ Bachelet urges sanctions relief (4/28).

ASIA

NPR: Beijing Slams India’s ‘Unfair’ Decision To Cancel Chinese Antibody Testing Kit Order (Frayer, 4/28).

Vox: How China is ruthlessly exploiting the coronavirus pandemic it helped cause (Ward, 4/28).

EUROPE

Financial Times: Coronavirus deaths more than twice hospital toll, data indicate (Giles/Plimmer, 4/28).

Financial Times: Cancer deaths in England could soar by a fifth this year, UCL study says (Kelly, 4/28).

The Guardian: At least 12 U.K. children have needed intensive care due to illness linked to Covid-19 (Campbell/Sample, 4/27).

LATIN AMERICA

AP: El Salvador leader fights crime and virus, amid criticism (4/28).

NPR: Thousands Of Migrants Head Back To Venezuela To Flee Colombia’s COVID-19 Lockdown (Otis, 4/28).

Reuters: Latin America to see sharp increase in hunger, poverty: FAO (Cambero/Sherwood, 4/28).

MIDDLE EAST

AP: Rights group: COVID-19 supplies not reaching northeast Syria (Lederer, 4/28).

Reuters: Coronavirus probably circulating in Yemen, U.N. says, amid funding shortage (Barrington, 4/28).

NORTH AMERICA

STAT: Hospital demand for hydroxycholoroquine to treat Covid-19 patients is waning (Silverman, 4/28).

Vox: The U.S. has now passed 1 million confirmed Covid-19 cases (Scott, 4/28).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top One Million as Some Lockdowns Ease (Calfas et al., 4/28).

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Major Powers Should Suspend Sanctions On Syria, Iran, Venezuela Amid Pandemic, NRC Head Says

Reuters: Big powers urged to freeze sanctions on Syria, Iran, Venezuela during virus
“Major powers must suspend economic sanctions against countries including Syria, Iran, and Venezuela during the coronavirus pandemic which threatens to worsen hunger and suffering for the poor, an international refugee charity said on Tuesday. Jan Egeland, a former U.N. aid chief who now heads the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), said that despite sanctions exemptions for medical and food supplies, aid groups still face hurdles to help vulnerable people during the health crisis…” (Nebehay, 4/28).

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Coronavirus Outbreak Interrupting Routine Childhood Immunizations, U.N. Agencies Warn, Urge Continuance Of Vaccinations

Devex: Don’t let coronavirus derail urgent vaccinations, PAHO warns
“Vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles could spread further in Latin America and the Caribbean if countries do not maintain immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pan American Health Organization warned Tuesday…” (Welsh, 4/29).

The Guardian: Polio campaign in Africa put on hold during coronavirus
“Vaccinations for up to 12 million children to prevent the spread of polio in Africa will be delayed, in a major redeployment of polio eradication resources to fight the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic…” (Akinwotu, 4/29).

Reuters: Children in South Asia at risk as coronavirus disrupts immunization drive: UNICEF
“Disruptions to immunization programs across South Asia due to the coronavirus pandemic are upending attempts to vaccinate millions of children against deadly diseases, the United Nations’ children’s fund UNICEF warned on Tuesday…” (Greenfield/Ahmad, 4/28).

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COVID-19 Restrictions, Other Delays Hamper Response To East Africa's Locust Outbreak

New Humanitarian: COVID-19 hampers response as ‘perfect storm’ of locusts builds in East Africa
“Delays in obtaining pesticides, helicopters, and other vital supplies have set back efforts to combat East Africa’s worst desert locust outbreak in decades. And now a second generation of the pest is forming swarms just as a new crop season gets underway, threatening the livelihoods of millions of people. The problems began before COVID-19 restrictions took effect. … Coronavirus-related travel restrictions have since reduced the number of cargo flights, causing delays in the supply of pesticides and helicopters…” (Kleinfeld, 4/28).

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More News In Global Health

AP: Groups sow doubt about COVID vaccine before one even exists (Klepper/Dupuy, 4/29).

BMJ: Covid-19: concerns grow over inflammatory syndrome emerging in children (Mahase, 4/28).

Devex: A look at how U.N. development funds are recalibrating SDG funding (Lieberman, 4/28).

Devex: Q&A: The promise of a green COVID-19 recovery (Root, 4/29).

POLITICO: The next pandemic: Rising inequality (Cooper, 4/28).

Reuters: Escaped Ebola patient hiding in Congo militia-held area: officials (Kambale/Holland, 4/28).

Science: How the pandemic made this virologist an unlikely cult figure (Kupferschmidt, 4/28).

U.N. News: U.N. leads bid to help 135 countries get vital COVID-19 medical kit, amid severe global shortages (4/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Simultaneously Addressing Climate Change

New York Times: A Time to Save the Sick and Rescue the Planet
António Guterres, secretary general of the U.N.

“…Addressing climate change and Covid-19 simultaneously and at enough scale requires a response stronger than any seen before to safeguard lives and livelihoods. A recovery from the coronavirus crisis … is an opportunity to build more sustainable and inclusive economies and societies — a more resilient and prosperous world. … I am proposing six climate-positive actions for governments to consider once they go about building back their economies, societies, and communities. First: As we spend trillions to recover from Covid-19, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition. … Second: Where taxpayers’ money rescues businesses, it must be creating green jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth. … Third: Fiscal firepower must shift economies from gray to green, making societies and people more resilient through a transition that is fair to all and leaves no one behind. Fourth: Looking forward, public funds should invest in the future, by flowing to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and climate. … Fifth: The global financial system, when it shapes policy and infrastructure, must take risks and opportunities related to climate into account. … Sixth: To resolve both emergencies, we must work together as an international community. Like the coronavirus, greenhouse gases respect no boundaries. … We must act now to tackle the coronavirus globally for all of our sakes — and, at the same time, pursue immediate ambitious climate action for a cleaner, greener, more prosperous and equitable world” (4/28).

Bloomberg: Covid-19 Threatens to Starve Africa
Jessica Fanzo, Bloomberg distinguished professor of global food and agricultural policy and ethics at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Department of International Health of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University (4/27).

Foreign Policy: Forget Washington and Beijing. These Days Global Leadership Comes From Berlin
Elisabeth Braw, director of the Modern Deterrence project at the Royal United Services Institute (4/28).

Fox News: Lt. Gen. Richard Newton: Coronavirus shows U.S. national security will depend on this
Richard Y. Newton III, retired command pilot and former U.S. Air Force assistant vice chief of staff (4/28).

Inter Press Service: Understanding the Hunger Surge Caused by the COVID-19 Recession to Mitigate It Before It Is Too Late
Marco V. Sánchez Cantillo, deputy director of the Agricultural Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (4/28).

The Lancet: What policy makers need to know about COVID-19 protective immunity
Daniel M. Altmann, professor in the Department of Immunology and Inflammation at the Hammersmith Hospital campus at the Imperial College London, and colleagues (4/27).

The Lancet: Limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Africa: one size mitigation strategies do not fit all countries
Shaheen Mehtar, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, and colleagues (4/28).

Nature: Let Africa into the market for COVID-19 diagnostics
John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (4/28).

New York Times: The Specter of Mexico’s Coronavirus Crash
Ioan Grillo, author (4/29).

Project Syndicate: Trump’s War on Public Health
Anne O. Krueger, senior research professor of international economics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and senior fellow at the Center for International Development at Stanford University (4/28).

STAT: We need the real CDC back, and we need it now
Ashish K. Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and professor of global health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (4/29).

Tennessean: Now is not the time to defund the World Health Organization | Opinion
Carole Myers, associate professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (4/28).

Wall Street Journal: Taiwan’s Coronavirus Example
Editorial Board (4/27).

Washington Post: Senators demand answers from Pompeo on Wuhan lab cables
Josh Rogin, columnist for the Global Opinions section at the Washington Post (4/28).

Washington Times: Testing COVID-19 treatments should take a page from Anthony Fauci’s anti-AIDS playbook
Peter Pitts, president and co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (4/28).

Xinhua: Commentary: Deadly arrogance in Washington
Xinhua editor (4/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blogs, Statements Address U.N., National, Multilateral Organizations' Responses To COVID-19

Center for Global Development: Priority-Setting for Better Health: The international Decision Support Initiative
Cassandra Nemzoff, policy analyst with CGD Europe, and Peter Baker, policy fellow with CGD (4/28).

Friends of the Global Fight: Bipartisan group of 105 members of Congress call for $1B for Global Fund COVID-19 Response Mechanism (4/28).

U.N.: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the SDGs are even more relevant today than ever before
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, president of the Republic of Ghana, and Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, both co-chairs of the U.N. Secretary-General’s SDG Advocates (April 2020).

UNICEF: COVID-19: Gavi and UNICEF to secure equipment and diagnostics for lower-income countries (4/28).

World Economic Forum: How New Zealand and Australia are tackling COVID-19
Emma Charlton, senior writer for Formative Content (4/28).

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Article, Study Address U.S. Global Reproductive Health Policies, Including Mexico City Policy

Guttmacher Institute: The Unprecedented Expansion of the Global Gag Rule: Trampling Rights, Health and Free Speech
Zara Ahmed, associate director for federal issues with the Guttmacher Institute, discusses U.S. policies related to reproductive health globally, including the Trump administration’s reinstated and expanded Mexico City policy, the Helms Amendment, and the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act, which has been introduced in both the House and Senate and would permanently repeal the Mexico City policy. Ahmed concludes, “By enacting the Global HER Act and repealing the Helms Amendment, as well as appropriating more funding for international reproductive health initiatives, the United States could once again be the world’s leader on sexual and reproductive health and rights…” (4/28).

PLOS ONE: Investigating the early impact of the Trump Administration’s Global Gag Rule on sexual and reproductive health service delivery in Uganda
Margaret Giorgio, senior research scientist with the Guttmacher Institute, and colleagues examine the early impact of the Trump administration’s Mexico City policy on sexual and reproductive health services in Uganda. The authors observed “no immediate impact of the [Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule or GGR,] on the provision of long-acting reversible contraceptives, contraceptive stock-outs, mobile outreach services, service integration, or quality of care. We did observe a significant impact of the policy on the average number of [community health workers (CHWs)], with ‘more exposed’ facilities engaging 3.8 fewer CHWs post-GGR … The reduction in CHWs could reduce contraceptive use and increase unintended pregnancies in Uganda. The lack of other significant findings may not be surprising given the short post-GGR observation window. Rapid organizational responses and stopgap funding from foreign governments may have mitigated any immediate impacts on service delivery in the short term. The true impact may not be felt for many years, as stopgap funding potentially ebbs and service providers adapt to new funding environments” (4/28).

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Women's Health Expert Discusses Importance Of Integrating Cervical Cancer Prevention Efforts Into Broader Women's Health Care

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Integrating Cervical Cancer Prevention into Comprehensive Women’s Health Care
Celina Schocken, executive director of TogetHER for Health, discusses global efforts to address cervical cancer and the importance of integrating prevention into women’s health care more broadly (4/29).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Acting Administrator Provides Statement On New Partnerships Initiative

USAID: Statement by USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa on the New Partnerships Initiative
In a statement on USAID’s New Partnership Initiative, USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa notes, “[Tuesday], I announced three new funding opportunities as part of the New Partnerships Initiative (NPI) of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Agency’s intent to develop NPI Action Plans at all of our Missions around the world. … [O]ur Bureau for Global Health plans to issue an Addendum under its current NPI Annual Program Statement to respond to the pandemic of COVID-19 in the very near future. … I am proud that our Missions have fully engaged in the U.S. Government’s response to COVID-19, and that NPI is becoming a crucial part of that adaptation of our programmatic operations under these difficult conditions caused by the novel coronavirus…” (4/28).

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From KFF

KFF Updates Brief On U.S. Global Health Assets In LMICs Amid COVID-19, Another On Donor Funding For Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of April 29, 2020 (4/29).

KFF: Preparing for COVID-19 in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Leveraging U.S. Global Health Assets
This data note updates an earlier analysis that examined where the U.S. government already had existing global health assets that could be mobilized to address COVID-19. It includes the latest case numbers, expands beyond health to identify countries where the U.S. also provides (non-health) development assistance, and identifies the most recent list of countries receiving COVID-19 assistance from the U.S. In addition, it indicates the level of COVID-19 preparedness in each country, based on the World Health Organization’s country preparedness and readiness assessment index (Kates/Moss/Oum, 4/24).

KFF: Donor Funding for the Global Novel Coronavirus Response
This updated data note provides an accounting of publicly available information on donor funding to date for the global coronavirus response. The vast majority (85%) was provided by donor governments (including the U.S.), the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations (Moss, 4/23).

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.

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KFF Updates Fact Sheet On U.S. Government, Global Polio Efforts

KFF: The U.S. Government and Global Polio Efforts
This updated fact sheet provides a snapshot of global polio eradication efforts and examines the U.S. government’s role in addressing polio worldwide (4/28).

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