KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

News Outlets Continue Coverage Of Trump Administration's Freeze Of Foreign Aid Funds In Several Areas, Including Global Health

New York Times: U.S. Orders Freeze of Foreign Aid, Bypassing Congress
“The Trump administration has ordered the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development to freeze much of the remaining money for foreign aid this year, in a move that suggests the funding could be cut altogether. The decision, issued in a letter by the Office of Management and Budget, covers a broad range of foreign aid that Congress had already approved. It halted, as of Saturday, the agencies’ ability to distribute what the decision’s critics estimated to be $2 billion to $4 billion of funding…” (Wong, 8/7).

Reuters: Defying Congress, Trump administration looks to shift billions in foreign aid
“President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered a review of foreign aid that critics fear could lead to sharp cuts in funds for global health, peacekeeping, narcotics control, and other programs despite their having been approved by Congress. … Members of Congress, including some of Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, have been pushing back against repeated Trump administration efforts to cut the amount of money Washington spends on foreign aid…” (Zengerle/Wroughton, 8/6).

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Devex Examines Germany's Foreign Aid Budget

Devex: Germany, foreign aid, and the elusive 0.7%
“In 2016, Germany became the world’s second-largest aid donor by volume — but as the country grapples with its new role as a development leader, the debate over the future of its aid budget is far from settled. … Germany is likely to remain the second-largest contributor of official development assistance — behind the United States and ahead of the United Kingdom — a point the finance ministry likes to tout. But civil society groups said the small budget increase for 2020 and the failure to commit to the 0.7% spending target undercuts the country’s claim to prioritize development…” (Green, 8/8).

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Impact Of DRC Ebola Outbreak On Children Worsening; Rwanda, DRC Work To Prevent Disease Crossing Border; DRC Doctors Arrested Over Murder Of WHO Epidemiologist

Agence France-Presse: DRC medics arrested over murder of WHO Ebola doctor
“Three Congolese medics have been detained over the murder of a World Health Organization (WHO) doctor who was fighting an Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, a military prosecutor said on Wednesday. Cameroonian doctor Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung was shot dead on April 19 in an attack on a hospital in the eastern city of Butembo. The arrested doctors will be prosecuted for ‘terrorism’ and ‘criminal conspiracy,’ Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Baptiste Kumbu Ngoma, military prosecutor for Butembo in North Kivu province, told AFP. The three are accused of holding meetings on April 14 to plot the assassination of Mouzoko, he added…” (8/7).

Al Jazeera: Rwanda strives to stop Ebola from spreading from DR Congo
“Rwanda is taking emergency measures to try and stop the Ebola virus from spreading across the border from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since the latest outbreak was discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a year ago, the disease has killed at least 1,800 people. The health ministers of both countries have met to agree to a plan of action to prevent the spread of the epidemic…” (Dekker, 8/7).

CIDRAP News: DRC Ebola impact getting worse for children
“The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 500 children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the outbreak began last August, and deaths in kids have accelerated over the past 6 months, Save the Children, a nongovernmental group that is working in DRC, said yesterday. In other developments, the DRC health ministry confirmed 7 new cases [Tuesday], and health officials in the DRC and neighboring Rwanda announced steps to curb unnecessary border travel…” (Schnirring, 8/7).

Reuters: Three Congolese doctors arrested in connection with WHO official’s death
“…[Lieutenant-Colonel] Kumbu said three [doctors] had been arrested, while the fourth was at large. He provided no further details about when or where they were detained or what their motive might have been. In a statement, the Butembo branch of Congo’s national doctor’s council said it was ‘indignant’ over the arrests, which it said were crippling vital medical services in the area. It said the doctors should be released on bail, and that medical personnel would launch a strike within 48 hours if they were not…” (Mahamba/Ross, 8/7).

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AFP Examines UNAIDS Under Former Executive Director Michel Sidibé, Experts' Opinions On Leadership

Agence France-Presse: UNAIDS to get new chief after divisive Sidibé era
“AIDS experts have voiced concern over the future of the United Nations body tasked with fighting the epidemic after top officials stood behind a former agency chief accused of serious mismanagement. Opinions on the former executive director of UNAIDS, the Malian national Michel Sidibé, remain deeply divided. … [U.N. Secretary-General António] Guterres has received a shortlist of candidates to replace Sidibé. He should make his decision ‘quite soon,’ [Acting Executive Director Gunilla] Carlsson told reporters…” (Simon, 8/7).

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Humans Must Change Land Use Practices, Diets To Effectively Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, IPCC Report Says

Nature: Eat less meat: U.N. climate change report calls for change to human diet
“Efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of global warming will fall significantly short without drastic changes in global land use, agriculture, and human diets, leading researchers warn in a high-level report commissioned by the United Nations. The special report on climate and land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes plant-based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating and adapting to climate change — and includes a policy recommendation to reduce meat consumption. On 8 August, the IPCC released a summary of the report, which is designed to inform upcoming climate negotiations amidst the worsening global climate crisis. More than 100 experts compiled the report in recent months, around half of whom hail from developing countries…” (Schiermeier, 8/8).

Additional coverage of the report is available from ABC News, Mother Jones, New York Times, NPR, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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Gender Discrimination Prevents Women In India From Accessing Health Care, Study Says

The Telegraph: ‘Extensive discrimination’ means thousands of Indian women miss out on health care, experts warn
“Women in India are missing out on health care because of ‘extensive gender discrimination,’ with the youngest and oldest most affected, researchers have found. According to a study of some 2.4 million patient appointment records in one of India’s largest public hospitals, hundreds of thousands of women are not able to access the health care they need. The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, found that two-thirds of hospital appointments were filled by men in 2016, meaning that around 400,000 women were ‘missing’ from care…” (Newey, 8/7).

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Burundi Faces Epidemic Levels Of Malaria, With Half Of Population Infected, 1.8K Dead This Year

The Guardian: Burundi malaria outbreak at epidemic levels as half of population infected
“A serious outbreak of malaria in Burundi has reached epidemic proportions, killing almost as many people as the Ebola crisis in the nearby Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak in the tiny Great Lakes country has infected almost half the total population, killing about 1,800 people since the beginning of the year…” (Beaumont, 8/8).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Why is Bangladesh grappling with a record dengue fever outbreak? (Mahmud, 8/7).

CIDRAP News: MERS analysis highlights concerns over health care spread (Schnirring, 8/7).

NPR: This Handy New Device Might Help KO Cholera (Palca/Neilson, 8/7).

NPR: A Doctor’s Insights Into Gun Violence And Gun Laws Around The World (Silver, 8/6).

Pulitzer Center: Senegal: Diabetes on the Rise (Nye, 8/7).

Reuters: FDA panel backs Gilead’s HIV prevention drug Descovy, except in women (Maddipatla, 8/7).

Science: Can an immune strategy used to treat cancer also wipe out HIV infections? (Cohen, 8/7).

The Telegraph: Cast out by HIV: How hundreds of children have been infected (Farmer, 8/8).

U.N. News: U.N. boosts humanitarian appeal to help tackle Zimbabwe’s ‘worst-ever’ hunger crisis (8/7).

U.N. News: Colombia offers nationality rights to Venezuelan children born there: U.N. hails ‘very important step’ (8/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Canada Should Increase Contribution To Global Fund, Opinion Piece Says

Toronto Star: Canada must step up in global fight against killer diseases
Jane Philpott, independent MP for Markham-Stouffville and Canada’s minister of health from 2015 to 2017

“In a few weeks, the three-year funding cycle ends for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. … Working with other countries to save the lives of vulnerable people is smart foreign policy, whether it’s motivated by compassion, public health, or global security. A good measure of how well a country understands this vision is its contribution to the Global Fund. … Canada has not [pledged increased contributions to the Global Fund] yet. But we must. … [W]ith the deadline upon us, we could see the first time that Canada will flatline or even reduce its contributions. This would be a big mistake. If a country like Canada won’t invest more in saving lives from deadly diseases, it’s hard to imagine how humanity will be able to tackle more complex global challenges like climate change, armed conflict, and refugee crises. The Global Fund is also one of the single most cost-effective ways for Canada to make a positive global impact. … A reduced or flatlined pledge would signal a retreat from global leadership. We want fiscal prudence from our government. But cutting spending on the fund that will save thousands of lives among the world’s most vulnerable people is not the Canadian way” (8/7).

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Opinion Piece Discusses Potential Evolution Of Ebola Virus

New Yorker: Is Ebola Evolving Into a More Deadly Virus?
Richard Preston, author

“This July, the World Health Organization declared that an outbreak of Ebola in the provinces of Ituri and North-Kivu, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, was a ‘public health emergency of international concern.’ This particular strain of the virus, which first appeared in the region in 2018 and hasn’t been given a formal name — I’ll call it Kivu Ebola — is a variant of a species known as the Zaire Ebola virus. … Some virologists wonder whether Kivu Ebola could start evolving, or whether it has already started to evolve, in a way that makes it more dangerous to people — perhaps by becoming more contagious, in which case it would get much harder to control. These questions introduce a new aspect to the international emergency. … The longer the outbreak is allowed to continue, the greater the chances that Ebola will mutate, get better at spreading in humans, and vastly enlarge its circle of victims” (8/7).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts Needed To End Global Hunger

The Hill: The greatest peace movement in the world is fighting hunger
William Lambers, author

“The world must not look away from the hunger emergency growing before our very eyes. … While hunger is on the rise, humanitarian funding is going in the opposite direction. … Meanwhile, the civil wars in Yemen, Syria, and South Sudan are causing massive hunger emergencies. … How do we expect peace to emerge in our world when there is such suffering and lack [of] resources toward fighting hunger? … We need the public and government both engaged against hunger. What you do matters because the poor and hungry need someone to advocate for them. They are not getting [the] help they need right now because the world has not made it a priority. This needs to change. The greatest peace movement in the world right now is feeding the hungry, and everyone can be a leader in this noble cause. We can reverse this alarming trend of escalating hunger” (8/7).

Devex: Opinion: A new dawn for hungry children
Mesfin Teklu Tessema, senior director of health at the International Rescue Committee

“…U.N. member states … will have an opportunity to make ambitious funding pledges for nutrition [at the Nutrition and Growth conference in July 2020]. They should offer renewed commitments to solving this crisis that lets too many children suffer, and in the worst cases, die largely preventable deaths. The world will not meet the Sustainable Development Goals if the status quo persists. All of this progress represents a new dawn in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. But it will only matter if the commitments made translate to tangible change on the ground. As the number of global conflicts continues to rise, and as climate shocks exacerbate already fragile states, the momentum must continue. Otherwise, we risk another quarter century of stagnation” (8/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Community Should Invest In Adolescent Health, CEO Of Fondation Botnar Says

Health Affairs Blog: The Forgotten Billion In Universal Health Coverage And Three Ways To Make Them A Priority
Stefan Germann, chief executive officer at Fondation Botnar, discusses the importance of investing in adolescent health, writing, “There are many reasons to be optimistic about a future that puts young people’s health center stage. This demographic is integral, and we all have a responsibility to truly recognize the benefits, investment opportunity, and, importantly, the digital platforms that can help accelerate progress. Whatever your sector or background, if you are part of the global health community, there is so much potential — through involving the youth of today — to contribute to a better tomorrow” (8/7).

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Report Examines Impact Of Low-Barrier HIV Care Model On Viral Suppression

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: When viral suppression didn’t last, lowering barriers to HIV treatment and care made a difference
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” discusses findings from a report published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases on the “impacts of the Seattle Max Clinic’s enhanced efforts to retain clients living with HIV but not in care, not well engaged in care, or disengaged from care and unresponsive to outreach efforts.” Barton notes, “Compared to clients with similar treatment histories and challenges accessing standard services, those at the Max Clinic [– a walk-in, incentivized HIV care model located in a public health STD clinic that provides care in collaboration with a comprehensive HIV primary care clinic –] were more than three times likely to achieve viral suppression and showed what the authors call ‘substantial improvements’ in maintaining it” (8/7).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Fact Sheet Provides Overview Of Humanitarian Situation In Venezuela, U.S. Response

USAID: The United States Remains Committed to Supporting the People of Venezuela
This fact sheet highlights resources describing the humanitarian situation in Venezuela and outlines how the U.S. is helping to address the needs of Venezuelans who have fled their country (8/5).

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