KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Most U.S. Special Envoy Positions To Be Eliminated, Shifted Under Secretary Of State Tillerson's Plan

Associated Press: Tillerson to abolish most special envoys, including climate
“Most of the United States’ special envoys will be abolished and their responsibilities reassigned as part of the State Department overhaul, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress on Monday, including envoys for climate change and the Iran deal…” (Lederman, 8/29).

Bloomberg: Tillerson Outlines Plan to Cut Envoy Jobs in State Overhaul
“…Tillerson’s plan, parts of which will need congressional approval, reflects his belief that there were too many special-envoy jobs — there are currently about 70 — and their work often duplicated efforts done elsewhere in the department. He’s also seeking to carry out demands that he cut the agency’s budget by about a third. Yet his plan doesn’t address the problem of vacant senior positions at the agency, an issue that has increasingly become a point of contention between the White House and Tillerson’s department…” (Wadhams, 8/28).

Foreign Policy: State Department Reorganization Eliminates Climate, Muslim, and Syria Envoys
“…The reorganization … will leave certain posts intact, including the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the special representative for North Korea policy, the presidential envoy responsible for building the anti-Islamic State military coalition, and the special representative for commercial and business affairs. The administration also plans to retain envoys on religious freedom, LGBT rights, war crimes, American hostages, and anti-semitism — all issues critics have accused Trump of undermining. However, those positions will be integrated into larger bureaus in the department. One special envoy post from the Office of Global Food Security, will be transferred to the U.S. Agency for International Development…” (Lynch/Gramer, 8/29).

Newsweek: Anti-semitism needs a special envoy but climate change doesn’t, Tillerson says with State Department changes
“… ‘I believe that the department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative offices within the regional and functional bureaus, and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose,’ Tillerson wrote in the letter addressed to Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations…” (Ziv, 8/29).

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From U.S. To Asia, Unprecedented Rainfall Creates Flooding, Landslides; Aid Agencies Work To Respond, Raise Funds

New York Times: More Than 1,000 Died in South Asia Floods This Summer
“…According to the United Nations, at least 41 million people in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have been directly affected by flooding and landslides resulting from the monsoon rains, which usually begin in June and last until September. And while flooding in the Houston area has grabbed more attention, aid officials say a catastrophe is unfolding in South Asia…” (Gettleman et al., 8/29).

NPR: Epic Floods — Not Just In Texas — Are A Challenge For Aid Groups
“With a reported 50 inches of rainfall, flash flooding and high, murky waters, Hurricane Harvey in Houston has gripped America’s attention. But halfway around the world, another flood has wreaked havoc on historic levels. Two weeks ago, record monsoon rains hit parts of Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, bringing the worst floods the region has seen in years. Over 1,200 people have been killed and 24 million affected. Relief agencies like the Red Cross, Islamic Relief, and Save the Children are on the ground in both areas, juggling resources to address the crises…” (Gharib, 8/29).

PRI: Floods and landslides kill over 1,200 in South Asia
“…Matthew Marek, the head of disaster response in Bangladesh for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, says about half of the country’s 64 districts are flooded, but the water is finally starting to recede in some areas. … Marek says the Red Cross in Bangladesh has requested about $4.9 million from the international community to continue their immediate relief efforts…” (8/29).

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In Letter, U.K.'s Priti Patel Explains DFID's Efforts To Improve Foreign Aid Transparency, Cross-Government Spending

Devex: Exclusive: Letter from DFID’s Priti Patel on direction of U.K. aid
“United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel has laid out her department’s efforts to improve the transparency and effectiveness of controversial cross-government aid spending in a letter obtained by Devex…” (Anders, 8/21).

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Children Living In Conflict-Affected Nations Need Better Access To Drinking Water, UNICEF Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Children’s access to safe water and sanitation is a right, not a privilege — UNICEF
“In countries beset by violence, displacement, conflict, and instability, children’s most basic means of survival — water — must be a priority, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said [Tuesday], warning that children living in fragile situations are four times more likely to lack access to drinking water. … Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF’s global chief of water, sanitation and hygiene, … warned, as World Water Week gets underway, that more than 180 million people in crisis-torn countries have no access to drinking water…” (8/29).

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U.N.'s CERF Releases $45M To Address Humanitarian Crises In Afghanistan, CAR, Chad, Sudan

U.N. News Centre: U.N. aid chief allocates $45 million to tackle neglected emergencies in four countries
“The United Nations aid chief released [Tuesday] $45 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to four countries ‘struggling in crises away from the headlines’ — Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad, and Sudan — where more than 21 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance…” (8/29).

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WHO Ambassador For NCDs Michael Bloomberg Discusses Efforts To Reduce Global Obesity, Tobacco Use In FT Interview

Financial Times: Michael Bloomberg talks tough on health and junk food
“…Michael Bloomberg, businessman, philanthropist, and former mayor of New York, with a net worth of $52.3bn, has added a near-indigestible job title to his schedule over the past year: the World Health Organization ambassador for non-communicable diseases. That means he has redoubled his focus and grant-making around ill health linked to poor lifestyle choices such as the excessive consumption of sugar, salt, and fat, which can drive conditions including diabetes and heart disease…” (Jack, 8/29).

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East Africa Region Streamlining Drug Regulatory Procedures To Speed Access To New Products

Bloomberg: East Africa Seeks Streamlined Drug Oversight to Ease Access
“One of the world’s poorest regions is making itself more friendly to new products from Novartis AG, Roche Holding AG, and other drugmakers by combining the pharmacy regulators of six countries. The East African Community Medicines Registration Harmonization program allows Bayer AG, Merck KGaA, and rivals to speed products to market, while easing patients’ access to new medicines. Drugmakers would like to see the scope of the project, which started in 2012, widened to more countries…” (Anguyo, 8/30).

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More Programs Using Drones For Health Care Delivery Begin In African Nations

Mail & Guardian: Are drones taking off as the future of African health care?
“…In theory, it’s obvious that drones have the potential to revolutionize health care delivery across Africa. But in practice, the idea still needs to be tested, trialled, and tailored to local environments. Zipline in Rwanda is just one case study in one country — hardly a proof of concept. Which brings us to Kasungu, in central Malawi. … [I]t was chosen as the site of Africa’s first humanitarian drone corridor…” (Pather/Allison, 8/29).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Buzz as world’s biggest drone drug deliveries take off in Tanzania
“Tanzania is set to launch the world’s largest drone delivery network in January, with drones parachuting blood and medicines out of the skies to save the lives of women giving birth and children struck by malaria, in a country larger than Nigeria. California’s Zipline will make 2,000 deliveries a day to more than 1,000 health facilities across the east African country, including blood, vaccines, and malaria and AIDS drugs, following the success of a smaller project in nearby Rwanda…” (Makoye, 8/29).

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India Examines Bloomberg Philanthropies' Anti-Tobacco Funding, Lobbying Efforts In Latest Scrutiny Of NGOs

Reuters: Exclusive: Bloomberg charity scrutinized by India for anti-tobacco funding, lobbying — documents
“India has been investigating how Bloomberg Philanthropies, founded by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, funds local non-profit groups for anti-tobacco lobbying, government documents show, making it the latest foreign non-government organization to come under scrutiny…” (Kalra, 8/29).

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Philippines Must Shift Approach To Preventing HIV Epidemic As Number Of New Cases Grows, UNAIDS Official Says

CNN Philippines: UNAIDS: HIV in PH a ‘fast-growing epidemic’
“With the rising number of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the Philippines, a United Nations (U.N.) official said the country needs to change its approach on curbing the ‘epidemic.’ ‘(The Philippines is) slipping behind and that’s a very fast growing epidemic and very quickly it’s overtaking other countries in the region in terms of the number of new infections and that’s quite a concern for the country,’ U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS Regional Support Team for Asia Pacific Director Eamonn Murphy said…” (8/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Invest Foreign Assistance In Smaller, More Focused, 'Relationship-Rich' NGOs

Devex: Opinion: The U.S. needs to invest foreign aid dollars in smaller NGOs
John Lyon, president and CEO of World Hope International

“…With a smaller budget, government spending overseas must be much more focused across aid organizations. The current model that primarily turns over U.S. foreign assistance funding to only a few large organizations misses the mark. … Federal funding needs to move beyond its exclusivity with large NGOs and instead include small and medium-sized, relationship-rich organizations that have traditionally not been funded. … [W]hile governments and large nonprofits have roles in providing foreign assistance, it is actually the small to medium-sized development organizations that most effectively mobilize change through their local relationships. … As such, I implore our lawmakers and our president to rethink not only how much the U.S. will fund overseas, but how those funds will be allocated” (8/29).

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'Localized And Integrated Approach' Can Help Colombia, Other Nations Achieve SDGs

Project Syndicate: How to Achieve the SDGs
Mahmoud Mohieldin, senior vice president for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships at the World Bank Group

“…In any country, achieving the SDGs will require government, business, aid agencies, multilateral banks, and civil society to work together, adopt flexible approaches, share knowledge, measure progress effectively, and recognize that the various targets are interconnected. Colombia seems to understand this, and is pursuing an integrated approach that leverages the strengths of each actor. … Careful planning processes, including a strong national framework and effective monitoring, are needed to support such innovation and anticipate potential challenges and shocks. … Colombia still has a long way to go before achieving the SDGs. But its localized and integrated approach has put it on the right path. Other countries would do well to follow suit” (8/29).

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Philippines Government Must Implement HIV Prevention Strategies To Reach Key Populations

The Lancet: Losing the fight against HIV in the Philippines
Editorial Board

“The Philippines is facing an unprecedented HIV crisis. New infections have doubled in the past six years to more than 10,000 new cases last year alone. … The country has a small window of opportunity to curb the rise of what is now the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region. The Filipino government must [implement] tried and tested, community-led, effective harm reduction policies that can reach all at-risk populations. Stigma against [people who inject drugs (PWID)], lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and intersex people, and people living with HIV can and must be prevented. Early testing, access to reproductive health, sex education, and antiretroviral treatment should be facilitated. The Philippines must act, today, or risk losing the fight against HIV” (8/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Should Continue To Evaluate, Improve Director General Election Process

BMJ Opinion: A good start for WHO: but the new DG election process needs an independent monitoring body
Ilona Kickbusch, director; Gian Luca Burci, adjunct professor of international law and senior fellow; and Austin Liu, research assistant, all with the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, discuss the WHO’s new process for director general elections and make suggestions for further evaluation and improvements. The authors “propose that WHO establish an independent election monitoring body, comprised of reputable individuals who are trusted by DG candidates, member states, and the broad global health constituency…” (8/16).

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Private Sector Investments In Malaria Control, Prevention Can 'Have Real Returns' On Bottom Lines

Friends of the Global Fight: Making the Case for Private Sector Engagement in the Fight Against Malaria
John McMannis, communications manager at Friends of the Global Fight, discusses the impact of malaria on businesses’ incomes, writing, “[I]f we want to leverage private sector expertise and resources to achieve greater social impact, we need to make the case that these investments [in malaria control and prevention] have real returns on productivity, costs, and competitiveness” (8/29).

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CGD Event Addresses Importance Of Integrating Clinical Research Into Ebola Response

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Research in the Time of Ebola: How We Can Do Better
Mead Over, senior fellow, and Roxanne Oroxom, research associate, both at CGD, discuss takeaways from an event that featured a presentation of findings from a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) on integrating clinical research into the Ebola response. The authors write, “The [NASEM] committee determined that randomized-controlled trials are both ethical and functional during outbreaks, but that communities must first be prepared through meaningful engagement. The committee also stressed that any research must be scientifically rigorous and driven by the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders, including local communities and response organizations … It’s time to take epidemic-time clinical research seriously and develop a sound and inclusive strategy around it” (8/29).

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Laurie Garrett Discusses U.S. Credibility Abroad, Implications For Global Health; Reflects On Tenure At CFR

Council on Foreign Relations: Garret on Global Health
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the foreign policy credibility of the U.S. government abroad and its implications for global health, as well as announces she will be leaving CFR and reflects on her tenure there (8/22).

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From the U.S. Government

Health Technicians' Outreach, Education Help Reduce Mosquito Breeding Areas In Honduras

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Tracking Mosquito Breeding Sites to Combat Zika in Honduras
Beatrice M. Spadacini, senior communications adviser for USAID’s Bureau of Global Health, describes a program in Honduras that employs health technicians to go door to door to inspect people’s homes for potential mosquito breeding grounds. Spadacini notes, “The good news, according to regional health authorities, is that – as a direct result of the authorities’ outreach and control efforts – compared to last year, there is a 92 percent reduction in all mosquito-borne diseases, Zika included…” (8/29).

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