Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration Freezes, Orders Review Of Foreign Aid Funds In Several Areas, Including Global Health

Washington Post: Foreign aid funds put on hold for review
“The Trump administration has temporarily frozen and ordered a review of several key foreign aid funds that Congress has already approved, in a move that critics fear could lead to another attempted rollback of foreign aid. The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development on Saturday, notifying them of the action, which took effect one minute before midnight that day. … The letter, viewed by The Washington Post, lists eight areas that cover a variety of assistance: international organizations; peacekeeping operations and activities; international narcotics control and law enforcement; development aid; assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia; economic support funding; foreign military financing programs; and global health programs. … Trump has proposed steep cuts in foreign aid in all of his budget requests, but Congress has restored the funding…” (Morello/Demirjian, 8/5).

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U.S. Sen. Menendez Introduces Ebola Eradication Act Of 2019, Calls For More U.S. Effort To Stem DRC Outbreak

Homeland Preparedness News: Sen. Menendez criticizes Trump Administration’s failure to sufficiently respond to DRC Ebola outbreak
“As he called for immediate action to eradicate a major outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last week, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) also denounced the Trump administration for its failures to combat the growing crisis adequately. … Under the Ebola Eradication Act of 2019, introduced by Menendez, the United States would be required to provide all available tools and resources to the containment effort and bolster efforts to confront the outbreak…” (Galford, 8/5).

Reuters: Ebola outbreak in east Congo’s main city tests flexibility of response
“…Goma has had time to get ready for Ebola, given a nearly year-long head start as the disease raged near the cities of Beni and Butembo. … Still, there are shortcomings in the preparations, and medics are encountering some of the same suspicion and hostility they have faced in other outbreak hotspots. … Whether health authorities can successfully apply lessons from those hotspots will go a long way toward determining if they can claim an important victory in Goma or if, instead, the epidemic will hurtle toward the grim record of more than 11,300 deaths registered by West Africa’s 2014-16 Ebola outbreak…” (Ross, 8/6).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Devex, Reuters, VOA News, and Xinhua News.

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GSK Transfers Rights To Experimental Ebola, Marburg Vaccines To Sabin Institute

Reuters: GSK ends development of Ebola vaccine, hands work to U.S. institute
“British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is giving up its work on developing three potential vaccines against the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses, despite an ongoing Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo. … U.S. drugmakers Merck and Johnson & Johnson are also developing potential vaccines against Ebola, and have made more progress with them than GSK had in clinical trials…” (Kelland, 8/6).

STAT: Sabin Institute acquires rights to develop vaccines for Ebola and Marburg viruses
“The nonprofit Sabin Vaccine Institute is taking over development of vaccines to protect against two species of Ebola and a related virus, Marburg, acquiring the rights from GSK, the two entities announced Tuesday. The transfer of the rights for the vaccines will put back into development a vaccine that GSK had shelved after the West African Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016. No money is changing hands; GSK is giving the rights to the Sabin Institute…” (Branswell, 8/6).

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Philippines Declares National Dengue Epidemic To Identify Critical Outbreak Areas, Mobilize Resources

BBC News: Philippines declares dengue epidemic as deaths surge
“The Philippines has declared a ‘national dengue epidemic’ after at least 622 people lost their lives from the mosquito-borne disease this year. At least 146,000 cases were recorded from January to 20 July — a 98% increase on the same period last year — the health department said. The epidemic was declared so that officials can identify areas in need of emergency attention…” (8/6).

Additional coverage of the dengue epidemic declaration is available from Associated Press, Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle, and New York Times.

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Quarter Of World's Population Experience Extreme Water Risk, New Report Says

The Guardian: Extreme water stress affects a quarter of the world’s population, say experts
“A quarter of the world’s population across 17 countries are living in regions of extremely high water stress, a measure of the level of competition over water resources, a new report reveals. Experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI) warned that increasing water stress could lead to more ‘day zeroes’ — a term that gained popularity in 2018 as Cape Town in South Africa came dangerously close to running out of water…” (Holden/Doshi, 8/6).

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Saudi-Led Coalition's 3-Year Closure Of Yemen Capital's Airport Blocks Patients' Access To Lifesaving Medical Care, Aid Groups Say

Associated Press: Groups: Yemen airport closure ‘death sentence’ for thousands
“The Saudi-led coalition’s closure of the airport in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, has prevented thousands of sick civilians from traveling abroad for urgent medical treatment, two international aid groups said in a joint statement. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE, the Sanaa airport’s three-year closure has amounted to a ‘death sentence’ for many sick Yemenis…” (Magdy, 8/6).

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More News In Global Health

BBC: Climate change: Hungry nations add the least to global CO2 (8/6).

Business Insider Singapore: Singapore is in peak dengue season, and there are already 5 times more cases compared to the same time last year (Tay, 8/6).

Devex: How voluntary licensing agreements are transforming HIV care (Root, 8/5)

New Times: Kagame, Lungu to launch SDGs center for Southern Africa in Zambia (Bizimungu, 8/5).

New York Times: ‘It’s Like a Nightmare’: For Bombing Survivors, Anguish That Won’t Stop (Faizi/Zucchino, 8/6).

SciDev.Net: High prices of healthy food increase malnutrition (Kokutse, 8/6).

Xinhua News: Lao gov’t stresses need for correct treatment of dengue (8/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Creating Healthier Food Systems, Incentivizing Farmers To Produce More Nutritious Products Critical To Addressing Global Nutrition

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: Linking the dots to end hunger and malnutrition
José Graziano da Silva, former director general of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and Maximo Torero Cullen, assistant director general for economic and social development at the FAO

“While hunger remains a scourge, a more complex nutrition problem is looming ever larger. … Micronutrient deficiencies and overweight affects even vaster swathes of the population, underscoring how we have a lot of work to do to create healthier food systems for all. … Lamentably, countries keep subsidizing products of low nutritious content, favoring staple foods over fresh and variegated produce — and fail to provide adequate and well-designed incentives for farmers to produce more nutritious products. This has a negative effect on nutrition and dietary diversity, often where these are most needed. … Our current food systems are not delivering what is needed, and hint at the drastic changes we need to make. Better incentives for the world’s agricultural producers; better information to prod consumers into choosing healthier diets; sustainable trade with clear rules; and a big push to think of nutrition as part of food safety. This is the spadework needed to increase the resilience of the world’s poorest households, and the health of everyone” (8/5).

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Research Partnerships For Non-Communicable Diseases Can Help Achieve SDGs If Well-Resourced, Truly Collaborative

Devex: Opinion: What you need to know about research partnerships for sustainable development
Selamawit Hirpa, research fellow at the University of Addis Ababa’s School of Public Health; Rob Ralston, research fellow in the global health policy unit at the University of Edinburgh; and Priscilla Tiigah, policy and research adviser on Cancer Research U.K.’s international cancer prevention program

“…[T]here is a need to address and generate more research to understand [the] public health threat [of tobacco]. The United Kingdom’s government-funded Global Challenges Research Fund … aims to address the Sustainable Development Goals through research collaborations between the U.K. and the global south. This includes the University of Edinburgh-led [Tobacco Control Capacity Programme (TCCP)], … helping to build the evidence base to support policy change in tobacco control. It aims to maximize impact through capacity-building and equitable partnerships. … Programs that aim to build sustainable research capacity should learn from the global north and south and offer mechanisms to apply learning in different contexts. … Programs such as TCCP are invaluable for academics to help generate enthusiasm and commitment to pursue research that can play a role in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges. But future initiatives must be well-resourced, genuinely collaborative, and inclusive to achieve the long-term impact they set out to achieve” (8/6).

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Centralizing Aid For Syria To Damascus Would Increase Obstruction To Humanitarian Relief, Opinion Piece Says

Washington Post: Humanitarian aid in Syria is being politicized — and too many civilians in need aren’t getting it
Jesse Marks, MPhil candidate at the University of Cambridge

“In April, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) discussed centralizing aid operations for Syria to Damascus. … Humanitarian actors in intrastate conflicts across the globe increasingly find themselves caught between the interests of competing political and military interests of states, complicating the implementation of relief actions. … [H]umanitarian actors operating in Damascus … are entrenched in the Syrian government’s bureaucratic framework. This has limited their access to civilians in need and constrained their ability to effectively implement programming and deliver aid. … A Damascus-based U.N. humanitarian regime … would enable the Syrian government to consolidate control over the Syrian humanitarian response, resulting in a humanitarian regime more acquiescent to the interests of the Syrian state or, at the least, silent to the violence employed against Syrian civilians throughout the war. The result is a compromised relationship at a time when cross-border humanitarian operations face an uncertain future. If the United Nations cannot insulate humanitarian operations from state-imposed constraints on access, civilians in communities who participated in the Syrian revolution will likely continue to face barriers to state services and assistance, as well as increased obstructions to humanitarian relief” (8/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Releases August 2019 Issue Of Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: August 2019
In the August 2019 CSIS Global Health Policy Center Newsletter, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center (GHPC), discusses takeaways from the recent IAS 2019 conference that took place in Mexico City, as well as highlights recent publications and podcasts from CSIS. These include a publication detailing the obstacles and opportunities for public-private engagement to improve global nutrition and two podcasts featuring leading authorities on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (August 2019).

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Cross Border Disease Outbreak Field Simulation Exercise Aims To Help East African Countries Prepare For Future Flare-Ups

World Health Organization: Cross border disease outbreak simulation exercise reinforces preparedness in East Africa
This post discusses a cross border disease outbreak field simulation exercise, convened by the East Africa Community (EAC) and implemented by the WHO, to test Kenya and Tanzania’s preparedness and response to disease outbreaks. The exercise “covered various real-life simulations involving the health, livestock, agriculture, tourism, and environment sectors. … The outcomes of this exercise will help Kenya and Tanzania work together with the EAC and partners to build and maintain resilient national health systems, which can respond effectively to health emergencies. This exercise will also provide an example that other countries can consider their own preparedness and response to disease outbreaks and natural disasters” (8/5).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Updates Several Fact Sheets On U.S. Role In Global Health Efforts

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. & The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (8/5).

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) (8/2).

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Neglected Tropical Disease Efforts (7/31).

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Maternal & Child Health Efforts (7/31).

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and International Family Planning & Reproductive Health Efforts (7/30).

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Health (7/30).

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KFF Updates Explainer On UNFPA Funding, Kemp-Kasten Amendment

Kaiser Family Foundation: UNFPA Funding & Kemp-Kasten: An Explainer
On July 8, the Trump administration invoked the Kemp-Kasten amendment in order to withhold FY 2019 funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA, the lead U.N. agency focused on global population and reproductive health), the third year it has made this determination. This updated explainer provides an overview of the history of Kemp-Kasten and its current application (7/31).

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