KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Humanitarian Office Appeals For $35.1B To Reach More Than 235M People In 2021 Amid Pandemic, Conflicts, Climate Change Impacts

AP: U.N.: Pandemic to fan surge in humanitarian needs in 2021
“The U.N. humanitarian office says needs for assistance have ballooned to unprecedented levels this year because of COVID-19, projecting that a staggering 235 million people will require help in 2021. This comes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and global challenges including conflicts, forced migration, and the impact of global warming…” (12/1).

Devex: 2021 will be the ‘bleakest and darkest’ yet for humanitarian needs
“The anticipated humanitarian needs for 2021 represent the ‘bleakest and darkest perspective’ that the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has ever presented, according to U.N. emergency chief Mark Lowcock. The U.N. humanitarian response system is seeking a record-setting $35.1 billion to reach more than 235 million people — or 1 in 33 people worldwide who now require lifesaving assistance, as per the findings of the latest ‘Global Humanitarian Overview 2021‘…” (Lieberman, 12/1).

U.N. News: U.N. appeals for $35 billion to help world’s ‘most vulnerable and fragile’ in 2021
“…Echoing Mr. Lowcock’s call for global solidarity, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world to ‘stand with people in their darkest hour of need,’ as the global pandemic continues to worsen. Although the humanitarian system had delivered food, medicines, shelter, education, and other essentials to tens of millions of people ‘the crisis is far from over,’ the U.N. chief insisted in a statement…” (12/1).

Washington Post: The trickle-down tragedies of the pandemic
“…A new joint report put out Monday by the U.N.’s refugee agency and the Norwegian Refugee Council found that millions of people may not receive the aid they need because of insufficient funding. Of some 54 million internally displaced people targeted for assistance by humanitarian nonprofits, international organizations, and U.N. agencies, the report predicts that almost 40 million could miss out. In 2020, humanitarian ‘protection’ efforts by these organizations received less than 25 percent of their required resources, compared to an estimated 38 percent between 2013 and 2019. That shortfall may have devastating, incalculable effects…” (Tharoor, 12/1).

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New COVID-19 Cases Fall Globally For First Time Since September, WHO Says, Warning Mexico, Brazil Must Do More To Mitigate Pandemic

Reuters: WHO says Mexico in ‘bad shape’ on coronavirus, sees ‘serious problem’
“The head of the World Health Organization said on Monday that Mexico is in ‘bad shape’ regarding the coronavirus as infections and deaths surge, and urged the government to be serious about addressing the pandemic…” (Farge et al., 11/30).

U.N. News: New COVID-19 infections fall globally for first time since September; WHO chief urges ‘extreme caution’
“Last week saw the first global decline in newly reported cases of COVID-19 since September, the head of the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, advising that the news, while welcome, must be interpreted with ‘extreme caution.’ Updating reporters during his regular briefing from Geneva, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the global decline as fragile: brought on by falling cases in Europe, thanks to the difficult but necessary measures countries put in place in recent weeks…” (11/30).

VOA News: WHO Raises Alarm Over Virus Spread in Brazil, Mexico
“The World Health Organization says it is very worried about the rapidly growing surge of coronavirus cases in Brazil and Mexico. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at his regular briefing in Geneva on Monday, ‘I think Brazil has to be very, very serious,’ in combating the surge there…” (11/30).

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CNN Reports On Leaked Chinese Documents Showing Inconsistencies In Pandemic's Early Days; Tedros Tells Nations To Not Politicize Hunt For Coronavirus Origins

CNN: The Wuhan files: Leaked documents reveal China’s mishandling of the early stages of Covid-19
“…Taken together, the [leaked] documents amount to the most significant leak from inside China since the beginning of the pandemic and provide the first clear window into what local authorities knew internally and when. The Chinese government has steadfastly rejected accusations made by the United States and other Western governments that it deliberately concealed information relating to the virus, maintaining that it has been upfront since the beginning of the outbreak. However, though the documents provide no evidence of a deliberate attempt to obfuscate findings, they do reveal numerous inconsistencies in what authorities believed to be happening and what was revealed to the public…” (Walsh, 12/1).

Reuters: WHO’s Tedros says ‘Let’s not politicize probe of virus origins’
“The World Health Organization’s director general urged countries on Monday not to politicize the hunt for the origins of the novel coronavirus as that would create barriers to learning the truth. ‘We need to know the origin of this virus because it can help us to prevent future outbreaks,’ WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a daily briefing…” (Farge et al., 11/30).

Additional coverage of the leaked documents and reports of China providing its coronavirus vaccine to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is available from The Hill and Reuters.

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European Medicines Agency To Meet On Dec. 29 To Discuss Pfizer-BioNTech Coronavirus Vaccine; Britain, U.S. Also Work Toward Vaccine Approvals

AP: European regulator to decide Dec. 29 on 1st virus vaccine
“The European Medicines Agency will convene a meeting on Dec. 29 to decide if there is enough data about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for it to be approved, the regulator said Tuesday. The agency also said Tuesday it could decide as early as Jan. 12 whether to approve a rival COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc…” (Jordans et al., 12/1).

Washington Post: Britain races to become the first Western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine
“Britain could become the first Western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, with the highest hopes resting on Pfizer’s candidate and the homegrown offering from Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Those hopes persist, accompanied by much flag waving, despite questions about the Oxford vaccine’s trials and effectiveness…” (Booth/Adam, 11/30).

Washington Post: Two promising vaccines head to FDA review, setting scientific speed records
“The federal government could begin distributing two coronavirus vaccines in the next few weeks — a record-shattering feat that now hinges on the decisions of U.S. regulators. Biotechnology company Moderna filed Monday for emergency authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, capping a scientific sprint that began in January. Moderna’s two-dose regimen is about a week behind a similar vaccine developed by Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech…” (Johnson, 11/30).

Additional coverage on coronavirus vaccine research, development, and approval process is available from CNBC, CNN, Financial Times (2), New Yorker, New York Times (2), NPR, POLITICO, Reuters, Roll Call, Science, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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Coronavirus Intensifying Human Trafficking, Gender-Based Violence, U.N. Experts, Nobel Laureate Say

AP: Nobel laureate says pandemic raising violence, trafficking
“Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad said the coronavirus pandemic has increased trafficking of women and gender-based violence, leaving the health and safety of women ‘on the line.’ The 27-year-old activist, who was forced into sexual slavery by Islamic State fighters in Iraq, said curfews, lockdowns, and travel restrictions imposed by governments to slow the spread of the virus ‘have had unintended consequences on women worldwide’…” (Lederer, 12/1).

U.N. News: The pandemic is fueling slavery and sexual exploitation, U.N. experts warn
“The COVID-19 pandemic has played into the hands of slavers and traffickers and requires stronger government measures to prevent exploitation of vulnerable people, more than 50 independent U.N. human rights experts said in a statement on Monday. There was a direct link between the pandemic, socio-economic vulnerability, and the risk of exploitation, they said…” (12/1).

U.N. News: COVID-19 worsening gender-based violence, trafficking risk, for women and girls
“With the COVID-19 pandemic heightening the dangers of gender-based violence and human trafficking, action on these two fronts is needed now more than ever, the head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Monday. UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly was speaking during a virtual event to strengthen global commitment at a time when women and girls are locked down and locked in, rendering them further exposed to violence and harassment, or at greater risk of being trafficked…” (11/30).

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Media Outlets Recognize World AIDS Day, Report On HIV/AIDS Efforts In Africa, Asia, Impacts Of Coronavirus Pandemic

AP: On World AIDS Day, South Africa finds hope in new treatment
“Health officials are hoping that new, long-acting drugs to help prevent HIV infection will be a turning point for the fight against a global health threat that’s been eclipsed by the coronavirus pandemic. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the new drug in a weekly newsletter, saying the long-term acting and injectable HIV drug has ‘the potential to significantly strengthen our response to the epidemic.’ The region is especially hard-hit. South Africa has the biggest epidemic in the world with 7.7 million people living with HIV, according to UNAIDS…” (Magome, 12/1).

Devex: Q&A: Putting AIDS back on the priority list in Asia
“HIV/AIDS may have fallen off the priority list for many countries and international bodies with the arrival of COVID-19, but advocacy for adequately funded responses must continue, according to Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, president of the International AIDS Society. … Speaking to Devex, she provided insight into what an HIV testing and preventive strategy looks like in Asia, the need for a holistic approach, and what it will take to end the epidemic in the region…” (11/30).

DW: Coronavirus pandemic slows Africa’s progress against HIV
“…U.N. analysts estimate that the global coronavirus outbreak could cause 290,000 people to contract HIV worldwide. They project that an additional 148,000 people could die from AIDS. Several factors account for this projected spike. One is that HIV patients are avoiding hospitals. Another has to do with sexual violence. … The health care systems in many African countries were already struggling with a shortage of doctors and nurses. The coronavirus pandemic is now exerting further pressure on these systems…” (Pelz, 12/1).

U.N. News: U.N. urges ‘global solidarity, shared responsibility’ against pandemics, marking World AIDS Day
“The United Nations is commemorating World AIDS Day, on Tuesday, with a call for ‘global solidarity and shared responsibility’ to overcome not only COVID-19, but also AIDS — another global pandemic that is still with us nearly 40 years after it emerged. In a message, Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world to not lose sight of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. … Mr. Guterres highlighted the impact of inequalities, leaving the vulnerable most affected, a fact evidenced by the coronavirus pandemic…” (12/1).

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Former WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin Tops President-Elect Biden's List To Lead USAID

Foreign Policy: Biden Eyes Humanitarian Experts to Lead U.S. Agency for International Development
“A former senior United Nations executive and food security expert is among several people in the running to lead to the U.S. Agency for International Development under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, according to people familiar with the matter. Ertharin Cousin, a former executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme, tops the narrowing list of people favored to take the helm of the leading U.S. aid agency…” (Gramer/Lynch, 11/30).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Red Cross chief urges vaccine ‘fake news’ fight (Lederer, 12/1).

BBC News: Coronavirus in South Africa: A nurse’s fight against the ‘Covid storm’ (11/30).

Devex: Oxfam targets more diversity in leadership with new ‘intersectional’ strategy (Chadwick, 11/30).

Devex: Q&A: The power of faith-specific fundraising (Root, 12/1).

New York Times: Berry-Flavored HIV Medication Is Ready for Babies (McNeil, 11/30).

NPR: Coronavirus Was In U.S. Weeks Earlier Than Previously Known, Study Says (Diaz, 12/1).

POLITICO: Scott Atlas resigns as Trump’s coronavirus adviser (Diamond, 11/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. President-Elect Biden Must Help Create IMF Conditions Allowing LMICs To Address Pandemic Without Creating Debt, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: How U.S. President-elect Biden can address the looming debt crisis in LMICs
Martin Edwards, associate professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University

“U.S. President-elect Joe Biden moves into the Oval Office with a lengthy international economic policy agenda. Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the specter of an international debt crisis looms in the coming months, as about half of low-income countries are already in debt distress or at high risk of it. … In order for the president-elect to firmly address this challenge, there is a need for bolder thinking. … The new common framework from the G-20 group of leading economies proposes restructuring debts on a case-by-case basis rather than a broader across-the-board solution. These incremental solutions merely postpone a larger reckoning. Our responsibility is to ensure that low- and middle-income countries, or LMICs, have the same tools that high-income countries have, allowing them to fight the pandemic with greater liquidity. … For its part, the G-20 needs to expand the fund’s resources to fight this crisis. LMICs need more concessional aid, not more conditionality. … The need for bold action is urgent. More than 60 countries already are paying more for debt service than for health spending. … It will be up to the president-elect to create the proper conditions internationally for all governments to combat the pandemic at home” (12/1).

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Opinion Pieces Recognize World AIDS Day, Discuss Global Response To HIV

CNN: The other pandemic that we must cure
Mark Dybul, co-director of the Center for Global Health Practice and Impact and professor of medicine at Georgetown University, and Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne, Australia, both joint co-chairs of the International AIDS Society Initiative, Towards an HIV Cure (12/1).

The Guardian: This World Aids Day the global response to HIV stands on a precipice
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS and U.N. undersecretary general, and Matthew Kavanagh, director of the Global Health Policy and Politics Initiative at Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute (12/1).

Morning Consult: The Global Need to Address the Dual Pandemics of HIV and COVID-19 Simultaneously
Charles Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (12/1).

Scientific American: World AIDS Day Is a Grim Reminder That We Have Many Pandemics Going On
Steven W. Thrasher, Daniel H. Renberg chair in social justice in reporting at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and faculty member of Northwestern’s Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, and author (12/1).

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Opinion Pieces Address Various Global Health Topics, Including Gender-Based Violence, Humanitarian Aid, Investing In Food Policy

Devex: Opinion: To end violence against women, we must uncover inconvenient truths
Björn Andersson, director of the U.N. Population Fund Asia-Pacific Regional Office (11/25).

Devex: Opinion: The choice we face to get things back on track
Mark Lowcock, under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs at the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and emergency relief coordinator (12/1).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: A pandemic of malnutrition calls for new food policies in Africa
Cedric Habiyaremye, crop scientist, agricultural entrepreneur, research associate at Washington State University, research lead at Food Systems for the Future Institute, and New Voices fellow at the Aspen Institute (11/27).

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World Must Tackle Medical Oxygen Access Gap, Opinion Piece Says

Global Health NOW: Medical Oxygen: Key to Fighting COVID-19 — and the Next Respiratory Pandemic
Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

“…Medical oxygen is often a critical intervention for both pneumonia and COVID-19. It is in fact one of the most essential medicines we have, a very effective treatment that is generally safe. But as the WHO has noted, the global demand for safe, reliable access to medical oxygen has grown exponentially in low- and middle-income countries, and it remains elusive in places like Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, and India. … This oxygen access gap in low- and middle-income countries is one of the defining health equity issues of our age. … To address this crisis within a crisis, governments, in collaboration with NGOs and private corporations, must invest in access to medical oxygen and build sustainable systems to provide it to patients. … The challenge we face is not a mystery. It is a question of will and focus. While the world waits for a COVID-19 vaccine, people deserve access to the best treatment we have available now — no matter where they live. By investing in safe, reliable medical oxygen now, we can spare thousands of lives from premature death, weaken COVID’s deadly toll on our global society, and prepare countries for the next respiratory pandemic” (11/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

UNAIDS Sets New Global HIV Targets For 2025; U.N. Agencies Recognize World AIDS Day

UNAIDS: UNAIDS calls on countries to step up global action and proposes bold new HIV targets for 2025 (11/26).

UNAIDS: World AIDS Day 2020 message from UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima (12/1).

WHO: World AIDS Day 2020 — WHO calls for global solidarity to maintain HIV services (11/30).

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Releases, Reports, Statements Address Global HIV/AIDS Issues In Recognition Of World AIDS Day

AVAC: AVAC’s World AIDS Day 2020 Letter to the World (12/1).

CSIS: Time to Address the Intersecting Crises of Covid-19, HIV, and Gender Inequality
Janet Fleischman, senior associate (non-resident), and Maggie McCarten-Gibbs, program manager, both with the Global Health Policy Program at CSIS (11/30).

International Partnership for Microbicides: World AIDS Day 2020: Breakthroughs in Women’s HIV Prevention (12/1).

Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign: Untangling the Web: HIV Medicine Pricing & Access Issues, 2020 (11/30).

ONE: What lessons can we learn from the HIV/AIDS epidemic during COVID-19? (11/30).

O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law: Could A Systems Approach Be The Disruptor Needed In HIV Prevention?
Charles B. Holmes, distinguished scholar and program director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health, Policy and Law Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law and professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical School, and colleagues (12/1).

Protecting Global Gains: Before COVID-19, Malawi was on its way to ending AIDS. Now what? (11/29).

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Brookings Report Examines Experts' Ideas On Moving Forward On SDGs

Brookings Institution: Great Transitions: Doubling down on the Sustainable Development Goals
“This year has exposed the world’s extraordinary fragility. Managing a pandemic is hard enough. Doing so while addressing other urgent stresses — like inequality, violence, and climate change — adds to the degree of difficulty. What should be done to move forward? This was the question tackled by 17 Rooms 2020, a yearly convening of leading experts and practitioners brought together by the Brookings Institution and The Rockefeller Foundation to channel ideas and energy into actions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (11/30).

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Blog Post Discusses Priority Setting For Health Expenditures For Afro-European Partnerships

Center for Global Development: Afro-European Partnerships in Health: Accelerating Better Efficiency of Health Spending
Cassandra Nemzoff, policy analyst with CGD Europe, and colleagues write, “This blog, which is part of our series of policy recommendations to support a more effective Eurafrica relationship, discusses why priority setting in health is more critical now than ever before; where global priority setting expertise lies and may be drawn upon to accelerate the use of priority setting in SSA; and how Afro-European partnerships could help countries in SSA to accelerate the use of priority setting in the post-COVID era…” (11/30).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. State Department Releases World AIDS Day Statement; PEPFAR Publishes Latest Results

PEPFAR: PEPFAR Latest Global Results
This fact sheet provides an update on PEPFAR’s latest global results (12/1).

U.S. Department of State: World AIDS Day 2020 Statement
In a statement recognizing World AIDS Day 2020, Deborah Birx, U.S. global AIDS coordinator and U.S. special representative for Global Health Diplomacy, discusses U.S. efforts to address global HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR and notes, “As we approach a fifth decade of the AIDS epidemic, we must continue to push — honoring the millions of precious lives we have lost and fighting for the lives of the millions more who are still with us. Ending AIDS remains one of the great tests of our time — and I know that we can succeed” (12/1).

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From KFF

KFF Updates U.S. Global Health Budget Tracker Interactive

KFF: U.S. Global Health Budget Tracker
This newly updated tracker provides regularly updated information on U.S. government funding for global health. The interactive includes historical trends and tracks funding levels throughout the appropriations process. Data can be customized by fiscal year, sector, and U.S. agency (12/1).

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KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of December 1, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (12/1).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here.

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