KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Sen. Sanders, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Call On U.S. Patent Office To Deny Gilead's Patent Extension Request For HIV Treatment Descovy

The Guardian: Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez say company seeking HIV patent extension ‘deceitful and immoral’
“Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are calling on the Trump administration to block a drug company in its efforts to extend its patent on a crucial anti-HIV drug. In a letter to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shared exclusively with the Guardian, the Vermont senator and the New York representative accuse the pharmaceutical company, Gilead, of ‘deceitful and immoral’ behavior in holding back the drug, Descovy, from the market until its patent term for an earlier, allegedly less safe anti-HIV drug had been exhausted. … The involvement of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez casts a powerful spotlight on efforts by a grassroots activist group, PrEP4All Collaboration, to block a patent extension for Descovy. The group filed a petition with the patent office last week, laying out the allegations against Gilead. Gilead did not immediately reply to a request for comment…” (McCarthy, 12/9).

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Boris Johnson Plans To Incorporate DFID Into Foreign Office If He Wins Upcoming Election

Financial Times: Johnson plans Foreign Office takeover of international aid budget
“Boris Johnson is planning to fold the U.K.’s Department for International Development into the Foreign Office if he wins this week’s election, as he tries to flesh out his promise to build a post-Brexit ‘global Britain.’ Mr. Johnson wants Britain’s £13.4bn overseas aid budget to be used more effectively and thinks putting it under the control of the Foreign Office would better align it with the country’s political and business objectives…” (Parker, 12/9).

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Samoa Measles Outbreak Grows, Death Toll At 70; DRC Outbreak Rising Again; U.S. Reports Additional Cases In Global Upsurge

AFP: No reprieve as Samoa measles death toll hits 70, U.N. sends aid
“A devastating measles outbreak has continued to spread in Samoa, with the death toll reaching 70, as the United Nations on Monday released $2.6 million in emergency aid to combat the epidemic…” (12/9).

CIDRAP News: Samoa measles deaths rise to 70; DRC outbreak ramps up
“In the latest measles developments, Samoa’s outbreak has grown to nearly 4,700 cases, 70 of them fatal, an event that is now linked to an outbreak in neighboring American Samoa. Meanwhile, a massive outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is on the rise again, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its monthly update reported 15 more measles cases in the United States…” (Schnirring, 12/9).

PRI: Samoa’s measles epidemic is part of a global, unprecedented resurgence of cases
“…Nearly four years ago, in 2016, measles hit an all-time low around the globe, but epidemics like the one in Samoa are becoming more common. Cases worldwide are now surging at a record rate, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Gordon, 12/6).

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DRC Officials Report 4 More Ebola Cases As Outbreak Continues Amid Security Concerns

CIDRAP News: Four more Ebola cases reported as outbreak marches on
“The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Ebola dashboard reflects 4 new cases today, raising the outbreak total to 3,324, including 2,206 deaths, a sign that the violence of November has indeed extended the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which is now in its 16th month. … In an update yesterday, the DRC’s technical committee on Ebola response (CMRE) said response activities are still ‘paralyzed in Beni, Mangina, and Biakato sub-coordination for security reasons’…” (Soucheray, 12/9).

New Humanitarian: Ebola briefing: New violence thwarts efforts to end Congo’s deadliest outbreak
“…The violence and civil unrest has forced aid groups to evacuate staff and many fear it could lead to a spike in cases … The challenges come as the Congolese government and responders formulate plans for getting to zero Ebola cases by the end of December, while discussions are also underway on post-Ebola programming. Aid groups say key aspects of the response — from community acceptance, to getting patients into treatment centers quickly and tracing the contacts of those infected — need improving before zero cases can be reached…” (Mednick, 12/9).

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Inequality Around Technology, Education, Climate Change Threatens Development, U.N. Report Says, Calls For Investments In Child Health, Learning

NPR: There’s A New Kind Of Inequality. And It’s Not About Income
“…In the latest edition of its Human Development Report, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) argues that 20th-century thinking on global inequality no longer works in the 21st century. The report warns that a new generation of inequities are driving street protests and damaging societies — and they’re on track to get worse. … This year the authors say that major societal shifts around technology, education, and climate change are creating a ‘new great divergence’…” (Beaubien, 12/9).

U.N. News: Inequality threatening human development, new global U.N. report warns
“…UNDP research shows that in 2018, 20 percent of human development progress was lost due to the unequal distribution of education, health, and living standards. … The report recommends revamped policies in the areas of education, productivity, and public spending. As inequality begins even before birth and can accumulate through adulthood, investing in young children’s learning, health, and nutrition is key. These investments must continue throughout life as they have an impact on earnings and productivity in the labor market…” (12/9).

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More People In Need Of Humanitarian Aid This Year, U.N. Report Says; U.N. SG Highlights Emergency Fund As Effective Investment In Humanitarian Action

IPS: The World had an ‘Unprecedented’ Number of People in Humanitarian Need this Year
“The world had an unexpected number of people in crisis this year, which exceeded projected numbers the United Nations had expected, with climate change being one of the key crises that led to ‘needs to unprecedented levels’ according to a new report. The observations were made in Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) 2020, which was released last week by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)…” (12/10).

U.N. News: U.N. chief urges emergency fund support as one of the ‘most effective investments’ in humanitarian action
“The U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), is ‘one of the most effective investments you can make in humanitarian action,’ Secretary-General, António Guterres told a high-level pledging event at U.N. Headquarters in New York on Monday. ‘It is the only global emergency fund that is fast, predictable, and flexible enough to reach tens of millions of people each year,’ according to the U.N. chief, who maintained that the fund supports a ‘well-coordinated global humanitarian response system with an enormous network of partners to help the most vulnerable’…” (12/9).

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1.9B People At Risk Of Water Shortages Due To Depletion Of High-Altitude Sources, Study Shows

The Guardian: 1.9 billion people at risk from mountain water shortages, study shows
“A quarter of the world’s population are at risk of water supply problems as mountain glaciers, snow-packs, and alpine lakes are run down by global heating and rising demand, according to an international study. The first inventory of high-altitude sources finds the Indus is the most important and vulnerable ‘water tower’ due to run-off from the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Ladakh, and Himalayan mountain ranges, which flow downstream to a densely populated and intensively irrigated basin in Pakistan, India, China, and Afghanistan…” (Watts, 12/9).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Q&A: Why eradicating HIV by 2030 is idealistic and too optimistic (12/10).

Devex: Donors should do more on school meals, says WFP (Ravelo, 12/9).

The Guardian: Harare’s heroine: how Esther Zinyoro made her home a maternity ward (Chingono, 12/10).

Healio: Bedaquiline-based treatment associated with favorable outcomes in patients with MDR-TB (Stulpin, 12/9).

Health-e News: A quarter of SA children’s hospital deaths linked to severe malnutrition (Msomi, 12/10).

The Hill: New TB vaccine would be game changer in public health (Burch, 12/9).

Homeland Preparedness News: Gavi to fund global stockpile of Ebola vaccines, malaria vaccine pilots (Galford, 12/9).

Reuters: France to ban dozens of glyphosate weedkillers amid health risk debate (Trompiz/de La Hamaide, 12/9).

The Telegraph: ‘The pandemic clock is ticking’: A race against time for a universal flu vaccine (Majid, 12/9).

Xinhua: Reproductive health challenges remain for impoverished women: Lao officials (12/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Improved Security, Better Communication, Political Will Needed To Protect Ebola Workers, All Humanitarian Operations, WHO DG Writes In Opinion Piece

The Guardian: Ebola responders face deadly attacks. We must step up security in DRC
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization

“…So far in 2019, WHO has documented about 390 attacks on health facilities in DRC, which have killed 11 and injured 83 healthcare workers and patients, including those targeted in Biakato and Mangina. … Health workers dedicated to helping their neighbors should not be confronted by such violence and fear. Instead, they should feel the satisfaction of saving someone from Ebola and the joy of reuniting their patients with their families. We need to do more to keep them safe, because if they cannot access the hotbeds of the outbreak, more people will become infected and die. We cannot allow that to happen. To do this requires action on three fronts: stepped-up security, effective dialogue at community level, and a clear demonstration of political will to protect humanitarian operations…” (12/10).

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Anti-Vaccine Propaganda Spread Through Social Media Contributed To Samoa Measles Outbreak, Columnist Writes

Washington Post: Samoa has become a case study for ‘anti-vax’ success
Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist

“…[Anti-vaccination propaganda] has helped turn Samoa into a case study of ‘anti-vax’ success — and increased the demand for tiny coffins decorated with flowers and butterflies. … In Samoa, where Facebook is a main source of information, the vaccine coverage of children fell from 58 percent in 2017 to 31 percent in 2018. Local authorities have no doubt that social media played a role. … In any sane society, the prevention of deadly, highly infectious diseases is a nonnegotiable public commitment. Coercion must be set at whatever level is necessary to ensure herd immunity. In Samoa, vaccination is now mandatory. … [T]he United States would be a better carrier of a pro-science, pro-health, pro-vaccine message if some prominent Americans did not feed anti-vax conspiracy theories on social media. … Dr. Sheldon Yett, the UNICEF representative to the Pacific, has put the case bluntly: ‘People who are spreading lies and misinformation about vaccinations are killing children.’ Such lies are among the United States’ worst exports to the world” (12/9).

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Development Community Must Take Steps To Prioritize Safe, Legal, Accessible Abortion Care In SRHR Agenda, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Time to put abortion top of the SRHR agenda
Anu Kumar, president and CEO of Ipas

“…Reducing the burden of unsafe abortion on women, their families, health care providers, and often fragile health care systems is a challenge — yet one that can be met. This is why Ipas — in partnership with the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women, Center for Reproductive Rights, CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, Marie Stopes International, Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice, SPECTRA, and Vecinas Feministas por la Justicia Sexual y Reproductiva de America Latina y el Caribe, a network of feminists working for sexual and reproductive justice in Latin America and the Caribbean — co-drafted the Global Declaration on Abortion. The declaration, signed by more than 350 organizations, calls for governments, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, health providers, the private sector, and the donor community to follow these five recommendations: 1. Decriminalize … 2. Integrate … 3. Educate … 4. Promote equality … 5. Be inclusive … Abortion is health care. And health care is a human right. We will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without making abortion safe, legal, available, accessible, and affordable. It is time the broader development community recognizes this…” (12/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N. CERF, World Bank Commit New Funding To Support Samoa Measles Outbreak Response

U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund: United Nations Releases New Funding To Fight Samoa Measles Outbreak
“The U.N.’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock has released US$2.6 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to help fight the devastating measles outbreak in Samoa and support the wider region. The funds will provide emergency vaccinations, obstetric and neonatal care for mothers and newborns infected with measles, mental health and psychosocial support, clean water and sanitation, and lifesaving public health information for 1.25 million people…” (12/9).

World Bank: World Bank commits support to fight Samoa measles outbreak
“The World Bank will provide US$3.5 million in funding to support the response to the growing measles outbreak in Samoa, on top of a US$9.3 million grant that will support health systems strengthening in Samoa over the next five years. With the measles outbreak in Samoa having now killed 70 people — almost all of them children — and more than 4,600 confirmed measles cases, the Samoan Government will draw US$3.5 million from grant funds available under an agreed Operation that gives the government access to emergency funding in the event of a significant national emergency…” (12/9).

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Nations Must Address Regulatory, Other Barriers To PrEP Access, UNAIDS Says

UNAIDS: Barriers to PrEP must be removed
This update discusses the benefits of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and says “further global expansion of PrEP requires countries to address regulatory issues and other barriers that are stopping people who want to use PrEP from doing so” (12/9).

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U.N. Article Explores Implications Of Recognizing Healthy Environment As Human Right

U.N. Environment Programme: Clean air as a human right
This article outlines the implications of recognizing a healthy environment as a human right, including actions that could be taken by the U.N. and others to help achieve a healthier environment (12/10).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Global Health Protection Division's Latest 'Updates From The Field' Focuses On Sustainability

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Updates from the Field: Fall 2019, Issue 29
The latest issue of the CDC Division of Global Health Protection’s Updates from the Field focuses on building sustainability to achieve global health security. The issue includes articles on cyclone preparedness in Mozambique, lessons learned from the Ebola response, and addressing non-communicable diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean (Fall 2019).

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