KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Profiles New World Bank Group President David Malpass, Priorities For Organization

Devex: In World Bank debut, David Malpass looks to win over staff and critics
“David Malpass makes his debut as the 13th president of the World Bank on Tuesday. After an appointment process some observers described as ‘farcical,’ ‘flawed,’ and a ‘mockery,’ World Bank staffers are nonetheless prepared to move forward under Malpass’ leadership — assuming he clears up a few things early on in his tenure. As he made the rounds to meet with World Bank shareholders and secure their support for his appointment, Malpass also sought to win the hearts and minds of his future employees. Last month, the candidate met with the World Bank’s staff association to hear their concerns and share his vision for the future of the institution…” (Igoe/Edwards, 4/9).

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World Politics Review Examines U.S. Role At U.N. Commission On Status Of Women Meeting

World Politics Review: The U.S. Tries, and Fails, to Dilute a Global Agreement on Women’s Rights
“…This year’s [United Nations Commission on the Status of Women] meeting, which included a record number of attendees, was focused on social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure to advance gender equality. But innocuous as that agenda may sound, the forum was marred by contentious negotiations, particularly over the use of words like ‘gender,’ ‘family,’ and ‘reproductive rights’ in the commission’s final outcome document, says Rachel Vogelstein, director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. … But this year, she notes, ‘the United States expressed concern about reaffirming the Beijing Declaration.’ … [Vogelstein added,] ‘Although the United States did not prevail in its campaign to backtrack on prior international agreements at the commission, its leadership of a growing opposition to prior international agreements on women’s human rights is an ominous sign for the future'” (Waldman, 4/8).

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World Politics Review Examines Potential Impacts Of President Trump's Cuts To Aid For 3 Central American Countries

World Politics Review: Cutting U.S. Aid to Central America Is No Way to Address Immigration
“President Donald Trump announced late last month that he is cutting off $450 million in U.S. aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, delivering on a previous threat amid news that another migrant caravan was forming in Central America. The move has drawn significant criticism, even from within Trump’s administration. The aid is largely used for social, economic, and governance development programs that many consider to be an effective, long-term solution to underlying issues — such as violence, poverty, and corruption — that are driving people out of their home countries and toward the United States. … Gutting aid is most likely going to increase outmigration. But the key phrase here is ‘most likely.’ The correlation between aid and migration is not strong enough to make any guarantees…” (Radwin, 4/8).

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U.S. Denies Preventing Dismantling Of Syria's Rukban Camp, Urges Russia, Syria To Facilitate Aid Deliveries

Associated Press: U.S. urges Russia, Syria to facilitate aid to remote camp
“The U.S. military said Monday that it is not preventing Syrians from leaving a remote displacement camp near an American base in Syria and is urging Russia and Damascus to help facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Russia has recently called for the Rukban camp near the Jordanian border to be dismantled and accused the U.S. of hindering such efforts. In the past, Russia and Syria have accused the U.S. of blocking aid delivery…” (4/8).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Records One-Day Record Number Of Cases As Death Toll Continues To Rise

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases grow by 37 in 3 days as DRC has record day
“With 37 Ebola cases reported in the past 72 hours, the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) raged on this weekend and [Monday], and the 16 cases reported [Sunday] are the most for a single day during this 8-month outbreak. The new cases raise the outbreak total to 1,154, including 731 deaths, for a case-fatality rate of 63.3%…” (Soucheray, 4/8).

Additional reporting on the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Borgen Magazine and PRI.

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Southeastern African Nations Continue Recovery Efforts After Cyclone Idai, Amid Cholera Outbreak

Reuters: Cyclone Idai’s death toll stands at 847, cholera cases rise
“Hundreds of thousands of people are in need of food, water, and shelter after Cyclone Idai battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. As of Monday, at least 847 people had been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused, and heavy rains before it hit. Following is an outline of the disaster, according to government and United Nations officials…” (Rumney et al., 4/9).

Additional coverage of the impacts of Cyclone Idai in Malawi and Mozambique is available from the New Humanitarian and PRI.

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2 Doctors, Scores Of Civilians Killed In Fighting In Tripoli, Libya; U.N. Human Rights Official Calls For Ceasefire Negotiations

New York Times: Tripoli’s Last Civilian Airport Closes After Airstrike in Libya Conflict
“Flights to and from the Libyan capital’s last remaining civilian airport were suspended on Monday after it was hit by an airstrike as rival militias battled for control of the city. … The World Health Organization also said that two doctors had been killed in Tripoli while providing critical services to civilians. ‘These doctors risked their lives to evacuate wounded patients from conflict areas, and targeting them and health facilities at such times worsens the situation for civilians caught up in conflict,’ Ahmed Al Mandhari, the WHO’s regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said in statement” (Ives, 4/9).

Reuters: Libya death toll rises, Islamist militants exploit chaos
“…The United Nations’ health body said local facilities had reported 47 people killed and 181 wounded in recent days as eastern forces seek to take Libya’s coastal capital from an internationally recognized government. … The U.N. refugee agency said it was extremely concerned about the rapidly deteriorating situation, and thousands of refugees and migrants were trapped in detention centers in the conflict areas. On Monday, a warplane took out Tripoli’s only functioning airport, and the number of displaced — 3,400 at the last U.N. count — is mounting alongside the casualties. … ‘The people of Libya have long been caught between numerous warring parties, with some of the most vulnerable suffering some of the gravest violations of their human rights,’ U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said. ‘I appeal to all sides to come together to avoid further senseless violence and bloodshed’…” (Elumani et al., 4/9).

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More News In Global Health

BBC News: The city where children are learning to love mosquitoes (4/8).

BBC News: ‘Our children are gasping’ — Senegal’s toxic air battle (Dewast, 4/9).

Devex: Minimizing aid worker risk in dangerous environments (Root, 4/9).

Devex: Why you should care about the rise of DFIs (Saldinger, 4/9).

Devex: Improving the lives of people with sickle cell disease in Ghana (4/9).

The Guardian: Pesticides and antibiotics polluting streams across Europe (Carrington, 4/8).

New York Times: Gregg Gonsalves Blends Activism and Science (Dreifus, 4/8).

U.N. News: Urgently address ‘defining challenges of our time,’ to empower youth worldwide, top U.N. official tells forum (4/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Public Health, Humanitarian Situation In Venezuela

Project Syndicate: The Public Health Case Against Nicolás Maduro
Akash Goel, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell/New York-Presbyterian Hospital

“…[T]oday, severe malnutrition is engulfing Venezuela, with catastrophic consequences for the country’s people and its future generations. … [T]here are strong and urgent public health grounds for international criminal charges against President Nicolás Maduro and officials in his government. And with diplomatic efforts to remove Maduro seemingly at a standstill, such an approach could offer another route towards changing the country’s leadership. Widespread malnutrition in Venezuela is the result of years of social, political, and economic failure. … Although the Venezuelan authorities have released few country-level health statistics for years, isolated and leaked reports show that hunger may be having a severe impact on the population. … Venezuela’s economic collapse is a tragedy in itself. But by deliberately aggravating the population’s access to nutrition, the Maduro regime is arguably committing crimes against humanity. We must hold it accountable” (4/8).

Bloomberg Opinion: Venezuela’s Health Crisis Is the Hemisphere’s Problem
Mac Margolis, Bloomberg Opinion columnist

“…Now the worst humanitarian crisis in the Americas risks becoming a hemispheric emergency, as nearly 3 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants ferry their pathogens across the continent. … Severe droughts likely linked to disruptive climate change have forced Venezuelans to store water at home, a perfect swarm for aedes aegypti, the mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika. … [W]hen such migrants travel, they also carry ills that Venezuela’s neighbors thought they’d beaten. … The World Health Organization reckoned that a Venezuelan malaria outbreak was responsible for 84 percent of the increase in infections in the Americas in 2017. Venezuela alone kicked in 53 percent of all reported cases regionally in 2016 and 2017. … Venezuela’s dysfunction has become a life-threatening export as well a risk to regional stability and prosperity. … Encouragingly, diplomacy in the Americas is more robust than ever before, with virtually all of Venezuela’s neighbors pressuring the Maduro regime to stand down, allow in more humanitarian aid, and attenuate the suffering. Let’s hope they succeed…” (4/8).

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Reforming Food Systems Critical To Achieving SDGs

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why fixing food systems is crucial for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals
Martin Koehring, managing editor and global health lead at The Economist Intelligence Unit’s thought leadership division

“Global leaders have set themselves a series of ambitious goals and targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. … Faced with such a plethora of commitments, policymakers should look to fixing global food systems as a treasure trove of opportunity. … In order to meet SDG 2 (zero hunger) policymakers must look at the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of food systems and how they are interconnected. … SDGs focusing on areas such as hunger, health, and climate seem to be the obvious beneficiaries of a shift towards sustainable food systems. But there are important linkages between food systems and perhaps less obvious SDGs too — such as those on poverty (SDG 1), gender equality (SDG 5), and sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) — thus demonstrating once again that food is a common thread linking all 17 SDGs. … [R]eforming food systems will provide a powerful lever for sustainable development the closer we get to meeting the SDGs” (4/8).

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Various Sectors Must Work Together To Develop Market-Based Incentives For New Antimicrobial Drugs

STAT: Creating new antimicrobial drugs will require governments working with industry
Thomas B. Cueni, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and chair of the AMR Industry Alliance

“As the number of infections resistant to antimicrobial drugs continues to rise around the world, and with it their huge human and financial toll, we urgently need new ways to preserve the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and to develop much-needed new ones. Creating state-run or publicly owned pharmaceutical companies, an idea recently floated by British economist Jim O’Neill, isn’t the way to proceed. … Developing new drugs to fight bacterial and other infections is a vastly different enterprise than developing a new medication for diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. … [I]f financial incentives are not rapidly put in place, companies will cease research on new antibiotics. … Plans are taking shape for new incentives that would help provide a more predictable and sustainable return on investment for successful innovation to combat antimicrobial resistance, including pilot programs that better recognize the value of new antibiotics instead of volume sales. … The public-funded research and development model has been tried before for tuberculosis, and it hasn’t delivered the desired innovation. … Instead of recreating the wheel with one or more government-run companies aimed at creating new antimicrobials, the various sectors need to work together to address the specific economic challenges faced by antibiotic developers. … Rewarding successful research with market-based incentives … is likely to be more effective than subsidizing research…” (4/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Experts Discuss 'Unresolved Issues' Of New USDFC

Center for Global Development: Why Is the White House Scuttling its Biggest Development Win? Four Hidden Daggers Pointed at the Heart of the New USDFC
Todd Moss, visiting fellow at CGD, and Erin Collinson, director of policy outreach at CGD, outline four “unresolved issues” they say “have the potential to seriously undermine the ambitious vision of the BUILD Act’s congressional champions and [U.S. Development Finance Corporation (USDFC)] supporters in the White House,” including “1. A $21 billion sovereign loan guarantee problem. … 2. Unreasonable treatment of new equity authority. … 3. The USDFC’s budget is far less than meets the eye. … 4. No new bodies” (4/2).

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CGD, Women For Women International Panel Addresses Challenges Of Meeting Needs Of 'Ultra-Poor' Women, Graduation Approaches

Center for Global Development: What Does it Take to Empower Ultra-Poor Women?
Jessica Francis, intern at CGD, and colleagues discuss key takeaways from a recent panel discussion co-hosted by CGD and Women for Women International about the challenges of addressing the needs of “ultra-poor” women and lessons learned from graduation approaches that “bundle social and economic interventions to help women overcome their unique constraints” (4/8).

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FAO, OIE, WHO Adopt 'One Health' Approach To Respond To Threat Of Infectious Diseases In Asia-Pacific Region

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: International organizations step up coordination in human and animal health sectors to ward off infectious diseases and rising antimicrobial resistance
“Alarmed by the continuing threat of infectious diseases that can spread between animals and humans in Asia and the Pacific, three international organizations have announced they are increasing their coordination to respond more effectively across the region. From rabies to zoonotic influenza, zoonotic diseases pose a threat to human and animal health, and there is a growing urgency for the Asia-Pacific Region to better collaborate and coordinate efforts in response, announced the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Health Organization (WHO). … In order to respond more effectively to these threats at the animal-human-ecosystems interface a ‘One Health’ approach is being adopted, officials said today at a workshop to strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration organized by the regional Tripartite…” (4/9).

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Prioritization Of Available Tools Could Help Maximize Impact Of Malaria Interventions, Study Says

BMC’s “Malaria Journal”: Prioritizing the scale-up of interventions for malaria control and elimination
Peter Winskill, research fellow at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College’s School of Public Health, and colleagues estimate the cost and impact of different interventions to address malaria transmission, writing, “In a program that is budget restricted, it is essential that investment in available tools be effectively prioritized to maximize impact for a given investment. The cornerstones of malaria control: vector control and treatment, remain vital, but questions of when to scale and when to introduce other interventions must be rigorously assessed. This quantitative analysis considers the scale-up or core interventions to inform decision making in this area” (4/8).

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Event Addresses Connection Between Food, Water Security

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Better Water Security Translates into Better Food Security
Kyla Peterson, environmental change and security intern at the Wilson Center, discusses remarks from panelists at a recent event addressing the connections between food and water security, which was sponsored by the Wilson Center, Winrock International, the Sustainable Water Partnership, and USAID. Panelists included Laura Schulz, acting deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment; Rodney Ferguson, president and CEO of Winrock International; Michael Tiboris, global water fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Claire Chase, senior economist in the Water Global Practice of the World Bank; Jennifer Billings, agriculture development leader at Corteva Agriscience; and Eric Viala, chief of party at Winrock International (4/8).

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Partnering, Collaborating With Alcohol Industry On Policy, Public Health Efforts Unacceptable, WHO Internal Note States

The BMJ: Exclusive: Partnering with alcohol industry on public health is not okay, WHO says
“The World Health Organization will not engage with the alcohol industry when developing alcohol policy or implementing public health measures, its staff have been told, and any government seeking advice from a collaboration with industry should be warned of the dangers. The message that partnering, collaborating, taking funding, and even talking with the alcohol industry on some subjects is not acceptable has been laid out in an internal note to WHO staff…” (Torjesen, 4/9).

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