KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Urgent Action Needed On Antimicrobial Resistance, New Drug Development, U.N. Report Says

CIDRAP News: U.N. report calls for urgent action against antimicrobial resistance
“There is no time to wait. That’s the conclusion of a report out [Monday] from the United Nations (U.N.) Interagency Coordination Group (IACG), a panel of global experts formed to provide guidance and ensure sustained global action on antimicrobial resistance (AMR)…” (Dall, 4/29).

CNN: Our antibiotics are no match for superbugs, and it’s a ‘global crisis,’ U.N. report says
“Common diseases such as tuberculosis are becoming untreatable while lifesaving medical procedures like surgeries carry increasing risks because of ‘alarming levels’ of resistance to antimicrobial drugs, according to a new United Nations committee report. Resistance to antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiprotozoals, which has been seen in countries of all income levels, is now a ‘global crisis,’ the authors wrote…” (Scutti, 4/29).

The Guardian: Antibiotic resistance as big a threat as climate change — chief medic
“…The threat of antibiotic resistance is as great as that from climate change, said Dame Sally Davies, and should be given as much attention from politicians and the public…” (Harvey, 4/29).

New York Times: U.N. Issues Urgent Warning on the Growing Peril of Drug-Resistant Infections
“…Drug-resistant infections already claim 700,000 lives a year, including 230,000 deaths from drug-resistant tuberculosis, the report said. The rampant overuse of antibiotics and antifungal medicines in humans, livestock, and agriculture is accelerating a crisis that is poorly understood by the public and largely ignored by world leaders. Without concerted action, a United Nations panel said, resistant infections could kill 10 million people annually by 2050 and trigger an economic slowdown to rival the global financial crisis of 2008…” (Jacobs, 4/29).

The Telegraph: Countries need to ‘step up’ their efforts against superbugs
“…The report calls for a joined-up approach across human and animal health, and says countries must act as a matter of urgency. It calls for incentives for the development of antibiotics because of the high cost of drug development and poor returns for pharmaceutical companies. It says that incentives should be both financial and non-financial. The report also calls for an immediate ban on the use of antibiotics on the World Health Organization’s list of critically important medicines as growth promoters in animals…” (Gulland, 4/29).

U.N. News: U.N., global health agencies sound alarm on drug-resistant infections; new recommendations to reduce ‘staggering number’ of future deaths
“… ‘Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats we face as a global community. This report reflects the depth and scope of the response needed to curb its rise and protect a century of progress in health,’ said Amina Mohammed, U.N. deputy secretary general and co-chair of the IACG. ‘It rightly emphasizes that there is no time to wait, and I urge all stakeholders to act on its recommendations and work urgently to protect our people and planet and secure a sustainable future for all,’ she added…” (4/29).

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DRC Reports One-Day Record Number Of New Ebola Cases, Deaths; Total Cases At 1,466

CIDRAP News: Ebola spreading at record pace in DRC, now 1,466 cases
“[Monday] the ministry of health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 27 new cases of Ebola, setting a new single-day record for this 9-month outbreak on the far eastern edge of the country. Late last week, officials recorded 23 cases in one day, the previous high. In addition to the 27 cases recorded [Monday], the ministry also recorded 26 deaths — also the highest daily total to date — 15 of which took place in the community…” (Soucheray, 4/29).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Pakistan Government Halts Polio Vaccination Campaign Amid Violence, Rumors

The Guardian: Killings of police and polio workers halt Pakistan vaccine drive
“A federal government campaign to vaccinate more than 40 million children under five against polio in Pakistan has been suspended following a series of attacks on workers and police over the past week…” (Lamble, 4/30).

The Telegraph: Pakistan Polio vaccinations halted after killings amid panic over sterilization conspiracy theories
“…Unknown gunmen killed one health worker and two police guards in separate attacks in north eastern Pakistan, while fake claims that the vaccine was harmful started a panic among parents in the region. More than 25,000 children were admitted to hospital after false reports the vaccine was causing vomiting and fainting. A mob also burned down a health center…” (Farmer, 4/29).

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Aid Agencies Begin Moving Supplies Into Mozambique After Cyclone Kenneth; 'Incredibly Difficult' To Reach Survivors, U.N. Says

Associated Press: ‘Incredibly difficult’ to reach Mozambique cyclone survivors
“Rains were still pounding parts of northern Mozambique on Tuesday, several days after Cyclone Kenneth, while the United Nations said aid workers faced ‘an incredibly difficult situation’ in reaching thousands of survivors. The death toll was at 38…” (Mutsaka/Keaten, 4/30).

Additional coverage of the cyclone’s impact and the humanitarian response is available from Agence France-Presse, BBC News, CNN, New Humanitarian, and Reuters.

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Global Press Journal Launches Series On Reproductive Health Care In Small Communities Worldwide

Global Press Journal: Reproductive Health Around the World
“…In this series, GPJ reporters examine how people in small communities around the world manage their own reproductive health care, including whether outside influences are welcomed or viewed with suspicion. They also explore how the [U.S. government’s] Mexico City policy … has impacted those communities. … Week 1: Abortion is strictly forbidden in most cases throughout much of Mexico. But instead of helping women who are having pregnancy complications, authorities tend to look for ways to prosecute — and even imprison — them. We have stories about women there who have little support in the medical world, no matter what they’re asking for…” (Kapralos et al., 4/29).

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Global Child, Adolescent Deaths Decrease 51.7% Since 1990, But Disability Up 4.7%, Study Shows

CNN: Child and teen deaths fall by half, but disability on the rise, global study finds
“As the world’s population continues to rise, more children are surviving into adulthood, a new study finds, but rates of disability have increased as well. Research published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that from 1990 to 2017, global child and adolescent deaths decreased 51.7%, while disability increased 4.7%. Additionally, there is a growing gap between young people’s health outcomes between different countries. The study was part of the Global Burden of Disease report…” (Powell, 4/29).

Reuters: Childhood mortality declining globally but disability on the rise
“…Researchers examined data collected from 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2017, during which time the annual number of fatalities among youth under age 20 fell [nearly] 52 percent, from about 13.8 million to just 6.6 million. The decline was driven primarily by a decrease in deaths from infectious diseases. … By the end of the study, 82 percent of childhood and adolescent deaths worldwide were concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, up from 71 percent in 1990…” (Rapaport, 4/29).

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World Bank President Malpass Travels To Southern Africa As China Holds 2nd Belt & Road Summit

Reuters: World Bank’s new president skips China’s Belt and Road for Africa trip
“Nearly 40 world leaders and scores of finance officials, including International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, … gathered in Beijing for China’s second Belt and Road infrastructure summit, but the World Bank’s new president [was] not among them. David Malpass, fresh from a senior Trump administration post at the U.S. Treasury Department, is instead making his first foreign trip as the World Bank’s leader to sub-Saharan Africa to highlight his vision for the bank’s poverty reduction and development agenda. … World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva, who had been acting president during the leadership selection process, [represented] the institution at the summit … No high-level U.S. officials [attended], a State Department spokesman said…” (Lawder, 4/26).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: U.K. opens inquiry into tainted-blood scandal that killed 2,400 (4/30).

Becker’s Hospital Review: Editorial: Vaccine hesitancy threatens ‘historical achievements’ in infectious disease fight (Vaidya, 4/29).

Devex: Devexplains: Vaccine hesitancy (Ravelo, 4/30).

Devex: Q&A: How local pharmaceutical production can improve access to quality medicines (4/30).

Bloomberg News: China Fines a Hospital for Administering Potentially Fake Vaccines (4/29).

Devex: Q&A: Why innovation in eye care is still critical (4/29).

Devex: Partnering for health security in the Indo-Pacific (Cornish, 4/24).

Homeland Preparedness News: International team gains NIH grant for mass test of anti-malaria drug (Galford, 4/26).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Tuberculosis mortality targets off-track (Burki, May 2019).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Corruption is an ‘ignored pandemic’ (Burki, May 2019).

U.N. News: Some 300,000 Venezuelan children in Colombia need humanitarian assistance; UNICEF looks to boost response funding (4/29).

Xinhua News: Int’l meetings held in Geneva on human health, environment (4/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Government Investment, Community Engagement Critical To Measles Eradication, Globally, In U.S.

The Lancet: Measles eradication: a goal within reach, slipping away
Editorial Board

“…WHO called vaccine hesitancy one of its top ten threats to global health in 2019. … [V]accine hesitancy isn’t just a personal issue. With a condition as contagious as measles, the choice not to vaccinate leaves the immunocompromised and children too young to be vaccinated at risk of infection. Measles continues to spread within the USA and internationally in isolated, under-resourced, and conflict-riven areas. … [F]urther government investment and community engagement are required, in America and globally: from efforts to communicate the effectiveness of vaccination and the dangers of diseases parents may have no first-hand knowledge of, to making vaccination as easy as possible by providing the option of community and home vaccination for large families, families with limited means, or vulnerable populations. Fifty-six years ago, millions faced measles every year. Today, only a bare handful do, and that success should spur us to make the effort to engage, inform, and ensure that measles is controlled globally once and for all” (4/27).

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U.K., Other Countries Should Continue To Support International Aid Commitments To 'Lift People Out Of Poverty'

Devex: Opinion: How we can win the argument for overseas aid
Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, chief executive at Oxfam Great Britain

“…At a time when aid spending is falling globally, as the new OECD figures show, it’s more important than ever that the U.K. and a few other countries are keeping our promises to support those in need around the world. This should be a matter of national pride. … [A] decade of austerity at home, topped off by Brexit, is leading some to question Britain’s role on the international stage and to increasingly challenge the previously watertight moral case for making good on our longstanding aid commitments. … We urgently need to make radical changes to our international development infrastructure and funding mechanisms. … Aspects of the current system, entrench, rather than ameliorate inequality. … [W]e also need to protect — fiercely — what is good at the heart of our current development system. Our government has made a commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to leave no-one behind. This is what aid is for. We don’t need to direct overseas aid to our own trading relationships to make it in the national interest. Aid is a ‘win-win’ for the U.K. when it is all about lifting people out of poverty. When the world is a more equal place, everyone wins” (4/26).

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Differential Pricing Of Drugs Must Involve Collaboration Among All Stakeholders

STAT: Where was differential pricing at the WHO Fair Pricing Forum?
Ed Schoonveld, managing principal and leader of the value and access practice at ZS Associates

“…The complexity of the economics of drug development and lack of transparency about drug prices and R&D investments is infuriating many stakeholders. That sentiment is being fueled by the claims of some academics … that the actual manufacturing costs for many drugs can be quite low. As a result, governments are calling for transparency while nongovernmental organizations are calling for delinking R&D from drug development … Finding common ground among stakeholders is an essential ingredient toward reaching patient solutions for high-cost drugs. … Nongovernmental organizations and patient advocacy groups tend to favor differential pricing [– allowing prices to vary in different countries based on affordability levels –] although some would prefer the more blunt compulsory licensing option. … But such solutions must be pursued in close collaboration between middle- and lower-income countries, higher-income countries, the pharmaceutical industry, and patient organizations…” (4/29).

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Opinion Piece Discusses Importance Of Accurately Framing Challenges In Eastern DRC To Stop Ebola's Spread

Foreign Policy: Cliches Can Kill in Congo
Christoph Vogel, former U.N. expert on the Democratic of the Congo and researcher with the Conflict Research Programme hosted at the London School of Economics, and colleagues

“…Combating Ebola requires dealing with [attacks on treatment centers and health workers] — and that, in turn, requires understanding the motivations fueling them. By that measure, an article recently published in Foreign Policy by Laurie Garrett was a step in the wrong direction. … The suggestion that armed groups funded by conflict minerals are involved in the killings of Ebola responders is not only mistaken, it is also dangerous. This framing of the problem could inadvertently ramp up a heavy-handed militarization of the Ebola response. Given the violence that has punctuated the region’s recent history, increased militarization is likely to heighten people’s fears and deepen the divide between people in eastern Congo and those working to stop them from getting Ebola. Linking Ebola to conflict minerals distracts from the real challenges in eastern Congo. The international Ebola response should be based on an accurate analysis of the perceptions and interests that are driving negative reactions to Ebola interventions. This includes developing an understanding of the complicated ways in which local power struggles intersect and overlap with national political dynamics and regional geopolitics. Reaching that understanding requires careful efforts from journalists, scholars, and humanitarians…” (4/30).

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International Community Must Prioritize, Uphold Rights Of Children In Yemen

Washington Post: Yemeni children are dying on the world’s watch. Here’s how we can help.
Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF

“…Simply put, Yemen remains a nightmare for children. The question now is what can be done to protect Yemen’s children and safeguard the country’s future before time runs out. Any solution must start and end with putting children first. For starters, parties to the conflict must make every possible effort to keep children safe and to abide by their legal obligations to keep them out of the line of fire — even in areas of active fighting. This also means sparing the essential infrastructure on which children depend, such as health centers, water and sanitation systems, and schools. … Parties must also allow unlimited imports of humanitarian and essential commercial supplies … Yemeni authorities on both sides must do their share to pay the salaries of all civil servants, including health care workers and teachers, in their areas — a step critical to restoring basic services for children. … [The international community] must continue its financial support to help meet the immediate needs of children and make longer-term investments … Yemeni authorities, donors, and humanitarian and development organizations should all find ways to sustainably provide longer-term cash assistance to the most vulnerable children and families. … Any improvements in the conditions for children must be consolidated and preserved through a comprehensive and lasting peace agreement…” (4/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Fund Launches New Data Explorer To Present Information On Investments Worldwide

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund Data Explorer
The Global Fund last week launched its new Global Fund Data Explorer. According to the update, “The Data Explorer site visualizes where Global Fund investments are and the impact they achieve by providing grant financial and results data at global, regional, and country levels. It features a state-of-the-art interface, interactive charts, and accessibility on desktop and tablet devices. It replaces the Grant Portfolio on theglobalfund.org, which will be discontinued in June 2019…” (4/24).

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Global Dispatches Podcast Examines Crisis Text Line's Efforts To Prevent Suicide, Address Mental Health

U.N. Dispatch’s “Global Dispatches Podcast”: How Big Data and Text Messaging Can Prevent Suicide Around the World
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, speaks with Bob Filbin, chief data scientist of Crisis Text Line. Goldberg notes, “This is a text-based mental health crisis intervention platform, operational in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Individuals in crisis are able to text trained mental health workers anonymously, who can then help them through their emergency. … Mental health is a crucial public health issue that is, indeed, a global heath issue. Crisis Text Line’s approach is also scalable — and Bob Filbin does discuss Crisis Text Line’s global plans” (4/29).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID's Center For Innovation And Impact Releases 2019 Impact Brief

USAID’s Bureau for Global Health: Center for Innovation and Impact 2019 Impact Brief
The 2019 Impact Brief features an overview of the Center for Innovation and Impact’s work and progress over the past year. The report discusses how innovation and partnership play roles in addressing topics such as maternal health, Ebola, and Zika (April 2019).

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From KFF

KFF, CSIS Host Discussion On Future Of Global Health Financing

Kaiser Family Foundation: The Future of Global Health Financing: Hope vs. Reality in the Push for Universal Health Coverage
The Kaiser Family Foundation and the CSIS Global Health Policy Center held a policy roundtable on April 25, to discuss the latest data on funding for global health, including from the U.S. government. The event included a presentation by Joseph Dieleman of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on the annual Financing Global Health report; keynote remarks delivered by video from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; and a roundtable conversation featuring Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight; Jen Kates, vice president and director of Global Health & HIV Policy at KFF (moderator); Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center; Christopher J.L. Murray, professor and director at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation; and Loyce Pace, president and CEO of the Global Health Council. A video of the event is now available (4/25).

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