KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Mark Green Confirmed By U.S. Senate To Lead USAID

Reuters: Senate confirms new USAID administrator Mark Green
“The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed former congressman Mark Green as President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development at a time the administration is proposing cuts in foreign aid and a reorganization of the agency. … Green’s appointment has been widely applauded by development experts and aid groups…” (Wroughton, 8/3).

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U.S. Announces $169M In Emergency Assistance For Ethiopia, Kenya

Devex: USAID announces $169M for drought relief in Ethiopia and Kenya
“In response to the ongoing food crisis in East Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced more than $169 million in funding on Thursday for humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia and Kenya. The majority of the funds — approximately $137 million — will go to Ethiopia. … These new funds will go toward scaling emergency food assistance efforts, providing specialized nutrition supplies and providing safe drinking water and health services, among other efforts. In Kenya, the funds will provide support for refugees of neighboring countries living in Kenya, as well as for Kenyans impacted by drought…” (Jerving, 8/3).

Reuters: U.S. expands food, health aid to Ethiopia, Kenya amid crisis
“…The latest funding comes after Trump pledged $639 million last month in urgent food assistance for Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen. Increased aid comes as numerous countries in the region face crisis-level food shortages due to armed conflict, prolonged drought, and economic upheaval that have also resulted in a lack of medical care, sanitation, shelter, and safety…” (Wroughton/Heavey, 8/3).

VOA News: U.S. to Give Additional $169 Million in Aid to Ethiopia, Kenya
“…USAID said nearly 8 million Ethiopians are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. Without it, the agency said ‘food insecurity could reach catastrophic levels for some families in the worst-affected areas’ and result in ‘the displacement of affected populations.’ In Kenya, USAID said some 2.6 million people are ‘acutely food-insecure’ as drought conditions continue…” (8/3).

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Intellectual Property Watch Examines Report On U.S. Global Health R&D Investment

Intellectual Property Watch: Report Shows Benefits Of U.S. Investment In Global Health R&D
“A recent report from a global health advocacy group in Washington, D.C. shows the importance to the United States of U.S. government investment in global health research and development and argues that more investment would have a tremendous positive impact on lives worldwide, including in fighting neglected diseases…” (New, 8/3).

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Uganda Proposes Budget Cuts To Family Planning Efforts In Country

allAfrica/The East African: Uganda Threatens to Reduce Funding to Family Planning
“Uganda is planning to cut back on funding for family planning activities, which could jeopardize its plans to attain middle-income status by 2020. Though reasons for the cutback are yet to be given, sources say the government is banking on donors to step in and close the gap. … Some experts, however, say that dependence on donor funding is shortsighted, as donors’ priorities are liable to change without notice. Patrick Mwesigye the chief executive officer of Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum cites the case of the UNFPA whose funding was slashed by U.S. President Donald [Trump] … The UNFPA is one of Uganda’s biggest backers on family planning products…” (Asiimwe, 8/2).

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U.K. Pledges £100M To Polio Eradication Efforts

BBC News: U.K. pledges £100m to global polio fight
“The U.K. has pledged to donate £100m to a global bid to eradicate polio by 2020. The money will go towards immunizing up to 45 million children against polio every year until then, in the hope the world can be declared polio-free…” (8/4).

The Guardian: U.K. pledges £100m to global efforts to eradicate polio
“…Britain has a long-standing commitment to make polio the second disease in history to be eradicated, after smallpox. Jim Calverley, the polio lead at Results U.K., an anti-poverty advocacy group, said: ‘The U.K. has been very much at the forefront of polio eradication. It wouldn’t be right to say that the money the Department for International Development has provided will do it on its own, but it will have a massive impact on leveraging other countries to step up’…” (McVeigh, 8/3).

Independent: U.K. to commit £100m to eradicate polio worldwide
“…It is hoped the move, hailed as ‘fantastic’ by Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates, will completely wipe out the disease…” (Peck, 8/4).

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PRI Launches New Series Examining HIV Among Young Women In South Africa

PRI: In South Africa, HIV rates are rising in young women and girls. Our new series looks at the reasons why.
“Across Women’s Lives travels to South Africa to meet those on the front lines of the fight to stop the rising rate of HIV in young women…” (Crossan/Garsd/Newman, 8/2).

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SciDev.Net Examines New Type Of Insecticide-Treated Mosquito Net Provisionally Recommended By WHO

SciDev.Net: Next-generation mosquito nets on the way
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has provisionally recommended the use of a new generation of insecticide-treated mosquito nets — a step forward for the prevention of malaria. Interceptor G2, developed by the German chemical company BASF, is treated with a blend of two classes of insecticide…” (Chongwang, 8/3).

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Cases Of Blindness Anticipated To Triple By 2050, Researchers Say

BBC News: Global blindness set to ‘triple by 2050’
“The number of blind people across the world is set to triple within the next four decades, researchers suggest. Writing in Lancet Global Health, they predict cases will rise from 36 million to 115 million by 2050, if treatment is not improved by better funding…” (Mazumdar, 8/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Reach Act Could Help Accelerate Reduction Of Preventable Maternal, Newborn, Child Deaths Globally

Huffington Post: Reach Act Would Reinforce America’s Moral Leadership and Save the Lives of Moms and Kids
Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network, and Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S.

“…[The Reach Every Mother and Child Act] would dramatically accelerate the reduction of preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths worldwide — helping to achieve the global commitment of ending these deaths within a generation. … Taking lessons learned from other successful global health initiatives such as PEPFAR and the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Reach Act would enact key reforms that increase the effectiveness and impact of [USAID’s] maternal and child survival programs. It would require a coordinated U.S. government strategy for contributing to ending preventable child and maternal deaths, establish rigorous reporting requirements to improve transparency, accountability, efficiency, and oversight of maternal and child health programs. Further, the bill would ensure USAID focuses on increasing access to the highest impact, evidence-based interventions to maximize our return on investment. Additionally, the bill would provide USAID with the authority to explore and implement new and innovative financing tools … to complement existing assistance and to help countries along the path to self-sustainability. In this highly-charged and often partisan political atmosphere this bill is an opportunity for Congress to demonstrate America’s moral leadership abroad — creating a more stable society and, most importantly, saving the lives of mothers and kids” (8/3).

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USAID Should Narrow Focus, Reduce Global Footprint, Explicitly Support National Security Objectives

Devex: Opinion: Rethinking USAID selection criteria
Michael Miklaucic, senior fellow with the Institute for National Strategic Studies, and director of research, information, and publications at the Center for Complex Operations (CCO) at the National Defense University

“…[USAID should] repurpose itself to accept a narrower, but more focused role, drastically reduce the scope of its work and its global footprint, and more explicitly support national security objectives. … The selection of countries for USAID programs should be based on the following four criteria. 1. Strategic interest. … 2. Comparative advantage. … 3. Program impact. … 4. Governance and security. … USAID must reflect carefully, and develop a strategy over the next four years for regaining relevance. … USAID must consider how it might best contribute to the security and prosperity of the United States, and carve out a niche accordingly. A role model for USAID could be the U.S. Treasury, which in the early post-9/11 years was shorn of most of its law enforcement functions, and reinvented itself as a national security agency leading the fight against terrorist financing. There is no guarantee that USAID can similarly reinvent itself, but if USAID is capable of pulling off such a transformation, it may yet have a dynamic future. Otherwise USAID risks continuing to fade into strategic irrelevance” (8/3).

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U.S. Congress Should Not Jeopardize Women's Health, Ability To Make Own Health Decisions

The Hill: Republicans are using the appropriations process to attack women’s health
Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee

“…I and several colleagues offered amendments to [the House Appropriations bill to] guarantee that women have access to necessary health services and are empowered to make health decisions based on their own needs and conscience, not on the dictates of politicians. These amendments included protecting free birth control coverage; maintaining Title X family planning funding; and striking the expansion of the Global Gag Rule and the ban on funding for the United Nations Population Fund, our primary partner for ensuring that women fleeing violence have safe maternal care and access to treatment from gender-based violence … Unfortunately, with control of Congress, Republicans blocked these amendments. Every woman, regardless of where she lives, has a fundamental right to make healthy choices for herself and her family. It’s an issue of health and financial security, but also of matter of equality and empowerment. That’s why I will continue to embrace the responsibility of standing up against attacks on women’s health…” (8/3).

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Strengthening Global Health Security, Engaging Variety Of Stakeholders Necessary To Prepare For Future Disease Outbreaks

STAT: Ebola scare shows that the world is still not ready for a major disease outbreak
Gabrielle Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of Panorama

“When cases of Ebola were detected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May, local officials moved swiftly and global resources were rushed to help them. By the time the World Health Organization declared the outbreak over on July 2, only four people had died, four more had survived the disease, and the outbreak had been contained in a remote region of the country. Three years after the West Africa Ebola outbreak was first identified in March 2014, eventually killing more than 11,000 people and striking fear of global contagion, the world’s health leaders have taken steps to ensure they can mount a better response the next time such a threat arises. But let’s not be fooled by a false sense of security. The world is still not as prepared as it should be to prevent or withstand the next disease outbreak. There is a dangerous rift between smart solutions and the political action needed to get them done. … We need to fund the steps that will strengthen global health security, and rigorously track and monitor progress made by the private sector, foundations, local governments, and the scientific community, as well as the U.N. system…” (8/4).

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Political Leadership, Funding For Breastfeeding Vital To Improving Global Health

The Lancet: Breastfeeding: a missed opportunity for global health
Editorial Board

“No country in the world meets the recommended standards for economic investment and implementation of policies supporting mothers to breastfeed. These are the stark findings of a new report, released on Aug 1, 2017, to mark World Breastfeeding Week. … Breastfeeding offers children and mothers unrivaled health benefits. As outlined in the 2016 Lancet Series on breastfeeding, 823,000 child deaths and 20,000 maternal deaths each year could be prevented by scaling up breastfeeding. Additionally, in Nurturing the Health and Wealth of Nations, the Global Breastfeeding Collective lays out the economic penalties of a failure to invest in breastfeeding. … The lack of political leadership and funding for breastfeeding is a missed opportunity to improve health and economic outcomes. With the right level of investment and commitment from policy makers we can transform global health” (8/5).

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Global Community Must 'Overhaul' Approach To Humanitarian Assistance In Africa

Project Syndicate: Empowering Africa’s Humanitarians
Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, regional director for Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“The scale of human suffering currently engulfing drought-stricken Somalia is almost indescribable. … [U]nless the international community overhauls its approach to delivering aid in Africa, the cycle of suffering will continue. … The effects of hunger on physical and mental health can be irreversible, and often keep people locked in a lifetime of poverty. We must alter this trajectory, before the next crisis strikes … For starters, the aid community must be smarter about how it solicits and allocates resources like food and funding. … Moreover, and perhaps most important, international aid organizations must rethink how and with whom they work. More emphasis needs to be placed on building lasting solutions, and that means working more closely with local partners on the ground. … Changing the global humanitarian paradigm will not be easy; change on this scale never is. But the alternative — an endless cycle of hunger, disease, and needless death — is unacceptable. Africa’s suffering has left many speechless. That is why our actions must speak louder than our words” (8/3).

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Increasing Pharmaceutical Innovation, Ensuring Health Coverage For All Necessary To Address Rising Burden Of NCDs

First Post: Affordable, safe health care is an urgent need; use political will to boost innovation in pharma
Bejon Misra, founder of Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) India

“…[The] changing burden of disease [in India], from communicable to non-communicable, can only be countered by ensuring affordable and effective health care at the community level. For this, we need to intensify drug innovation and focused disease research in the country, in parallel with health insurance [coverage] for all [and] advancements in drugs and devices[, which] is key to bringing far-reaching benefits to patients, because it helps improve health care systems and benefits the economy by enabling patients’ access to improved cures. … Taking leads from increased political will, the time is right to align and intensify our efforts towards increasing pharma innovation in the country. At the same time, it is critical to increase health insurance to cover medicines. … With improved economic prosperity, social mobility, [a] growing segment of prescription drugs, and increased access to advanced health care, we are perfectly placed to leverage the global drive in biopharmaceutical research and develop a dynamic ecosystem that delivers effective and affordable treatment to all” (8/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

"Science Speaks" Provides Wrap-Up Of IAS 2017 Conference

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: An IAS 2017 wrap-up: Between unprecedented success and unprecedented threats, HIV fight confronts complacency, apathy — and resistance
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses reports released and presentations made during the IAS 2017 conference and their implications for the global HIV response (8/3).

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New CGD Working Group Focuses On Future Of Global Health Procurement

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: The Changing Landscape of Global Health Procurement: Acting Now to Prepare for the Future
Rachel Silverman, senior policy analyst and assistant director of global health policy at CGD, and Janeen Madan Keller, policy analyst at CGD, discuss the efforts of CGD’s new working group on the future of global health procurement, and write, “The working group, launched in late July, brings together representatives from [low- and lower-middle-income country] governments, global procurement agents, funders, and international agencies, as well as experts on issues such as industrial organization, contract theory, and auctions. The final report, expected in late 2018, will outline the working group’s key findings and propose recommendations for near-term action” (8/3).

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Improving Food Security In Africa Requires Sustainable Solutions

Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food For Thought”: Guest Commentary — Food Security, Sustainable Agricultural Production, and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa
As part of a Chicago Council on Global Affairs 2017 Next Generation Delegates blog series, Oluwafemi Abiodun Ajayi, MSc candidate at the University of Hohenheim and 2017 Next Generation delegate, discusses food insecurity in Africa and ways to address it, writing, “The focus of development efforts should not just be on feeding the African continent, but on how to lay the foundation for a sustainable means of food production that provide people with sustainable livelihoods as well” (8/3).

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More Aid, Community Level Approaches Needed To Address Cholera In Yemen, MSF Warns

Médecins Sans Frontières: Yemen: Urgent need for aid in remote areas to stop cholera deaths
This post discusses MSF’s warning that despite a slowing in the number of new cases of cholera in Yemen over the past 10 days, “many people in remote areas are still dying needlessly … Unless aid is increased urgently and a preventive approach taken at the community level, people will continue to die of this disease” (8/3).

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