Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Funding For TB Prevention, Treatment, Research At All-Time High But Short Of Need, 2 Reports Say

CIDRAP News: Reports: Tuberculosis R&D funding still falling short
“Global funding for tuberculosis research and development (TB R&D) has reached an all-time high, but funding goals for efforts to eliminate the disease remain far out of reach, according to two reports released [Tuesday]. In an analysis of TB research funding trends from 2005 through 2018, the Treatment Action Group (TAG) found that global funding for TB R&D totaled $916 million US for fiscal year 2018, an increase of $134 million US from 2017. But the Stop TB Partnership’s (STBP’s) updated Global Plan to End TB calls for $2.6 billion US per year for R&D of new diagnostics, new drugs, and a new vaccine. That’s in addition to $13 billion US a year needed for TB prevention and care, the group says…” (Dall, 12/10).

The Telegraph: Up to $15bn a year needed to control TB as world urged to ‘mobilize’ against the disease
“…The [Stop TB] action plan also calls for increased uptake of new drugs specially formulated for children with the drug-resistant form of the disease. In the past children have had to take unpalatable adult versions of the drugs but new child-friendly treatments need to be urgently rolled out. … To stimulate an activist movement the plan also asks for $2.5 million to fund grassroots, community organizations — similar to grassroots HIV groups which have led effective campaigns for both new drugs and social change…” (Gulland, 12/10).

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U.N. SG, Emergency Relief Coordinator Call On Member States To Support CERF With Nearly $29B For 2020

Devex: U.N. chief presses member states to support CERF’s flexible humanitarian funding
“U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock this week called on member states to match rising humanitarian needs with a boost in preventive and emergency response funding for 2020. ‘Next year, the United Nations and partner organizations aim to assist nearly 109 million people — the most vulnerable people on the planet. One in 45 people around the world are expected to need our help, the highest number ever. That will require funding of nearly $29 billion dollars,’ Lowcock told member states during the annual pledging conference for the Central Emergency Response Fund on Monday…” (Lieberman, 12/11).

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Devex Examines Reaction To Boris Johnson's Plan To Merge DFID Under Foreign & Commonwealth Office If Conservatives Win Election

Devex: DFID and FCO draw up plans for a potential merger
“Aid-friendly politicians and civil society groups have urged the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to keep the Department for International Development as a standalone department after rumors circulated that the Conservatives plan to merge DFID with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office if they win a majority in Thursday’s general election. It comes after civil servants from DFID and FCO were asked by the Cabinet Office to put together options for a merger between the two departments, as well as ways they could work more closely together as separate departments, multiple sources told Devex…” (Edwards, 12/11).

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Congress Set To Approve Defense Bill Including Establishment Of 2 New Bodies To Prevent Foreign Entities From Exploiting U.S. Research

Science: Congress creates two new bodies to tackle foreign influence on U.S. research
“Congress is set to approve a major defense bill that would establish two new high-level bodies aimed at preventing foreign governments from unfairly exploiting the U.S. research enterprise. University and science groups are breathing a quiet sigh of relief after persuading lawmakers to drop related provisions that they considered problematic…” (Malakoff, 12/10).

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Death Toll In Samoa Measles Outbreak Reaches 70; U.S. CDC Sends Experts To Assist On Island, Neighboring Countries

U.N. News: Samoa measles outbreak claims 70 lives, majority are children under five
“Seventy people have now died from Samoa’s measles outbreak, U.N. humanitarians confirmed on Tuesday, as the organization released emergency funding to help the authorities step up efforts to eradicate the preventable disease. The development — announced by U.N. emergency relief chief Mark Lowcock — means that $2.6 million will be made available for the small Pacific island, where health providers have been reportedly overwhelmed…” (12/10).

Washington Post: CDC sends experts to fight measles outbreaks in Pacific islands neighboring Samoa
“Federal health officials are sending teams of experts to Pacific island nations in response to measles outbreaks amid concerns that a major outbreak on Samoa could heighten the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already deployed two experts to Samoa, where measles has overwhelmed the health system in a country with a population of about 200,000. … This week, in response to requests for help from individual countries and United Nations groups, additional CDC teams are flying to Tonga, Fiji, and American Samoa, where there are ongoing, smaller measles outbreaks that could intensify, CDC officials said…” (Sun, 12/11).

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6 More Ebola Cases Reported In DRC; World Vision Reports Examine Outbreak's Impact On Children; NPR Profiles Congolese Doctor Heading Response

CIDRAP News: Ebola total climbs by 6 more cases
“Six more Ebola infections have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) outbreaks, part of fluctuating levels that health officials have warned about in the wake of recent attacks and security incidents that have temporarily shut down response activities in some of the current hot spots. In other developments, the Christian humanitarian group World Vision [Monday] released two reports based on interviews with people affected by the outbreak, one of which airs fears and concerns voiced by children and the other describing the impact of the events on children…” (Schnirring, 12/10).

NPR: The Congolese Doctor Who Discovered Ebola
“Jean-Jacques Muyembe is a Congolese doctor heading up the response to the current Ebola outbreak in Congo. Back in 1976, he was the first doctor to collect a sample of the virus. But his crucial role in discovering Ebola is often overlooked. NPR’s East Africa correspondent Eyder Peralta helps us correct the record…” (12/11).

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Malnourishment, Hunger Impact Nearly A Half Billion In Asia-Pacific, U.N. Agencies' Report Shows

AP: U.N.: Nearly a half-billion in Asia-Pacific still going hungry
“Nearly a half-billion people in the Asia-Pacific are still malnourished and eliminating hunger by 2030 requires that millions escape food insecurity each month, according to a report released Wednesday by U.N. agencies. … The report urges that governments combine efforts to end poverty and with nutrition, health, and education-oriented policies…” (Kurtenbach, 12/11).

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More News In Global Health

Financial Times: North Korean defectors reveal wretched state of female healthcare (White, 12/10).

Forbes: Physician Paul Farmer Reflects On Health Solutions Brought To Medical Deserts And The Places Still In Dire Need (Love, 12/10).

Homeland Preparedness News: First Nipah Virus International Conference focuses global attention on Nipah solutions and threats (Galford, 12/10).

IOL: Child Gauge Report shows SA children still dying from preventable causes (Thebus, 12/10).

New York Times: In Myanmar Army’s Corner, Aung San Suu Kyi Will Defend It in Rohingya Genocide Case (Beech et al., 12/11).

Philippine News Agency: Duterte won’t allow 2020 budget cut for family planning (Gita-Carols, 12/11).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Rape map and murdered women — welcome to South Africa’s Republic of Sexual Abuse (Harrisberg, 12/10).

U.N. News: Failure to register newborns leaves millions ‘invisible’ warns U.N. Children’s Fund (12/10).

Xinhua: WHO congratulates Sri Lanka on eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV, congenital syphilis (12/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Fund, Thomson Reuters Foundation Partnership To Work To Dismantle Barriers To Health Services, Executives Write In Opinion Piece

Thomson Reuters Foundation: OPINION: End epidemics by breaking down human rights barriers to health
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Antonio Zappulla, chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation

“…Human rights-related barriers to health, some explicit, others expressed in behaviors and norms, prevent millions of people from access to lifesaving prevention and treatment. … Stigma, ignorance, prejudice and lack of opportunities are some of the toughest road blocks to remove. But the combined power of the law and the media can make a difference. Fair and balanced news coverage is critical in informing public opinion. Respect for human rights is essential to ensure access to health services. Combined, they become the key to unlocking systemic change. … Everyone has a right to healthcare, encompassing dignity and respect. Not only is this a basic human right, but it is critical to fostering social stability and boosting economic growth. … The Global Fund and the Thomson Reuters Foundation are joining forces to combine the power of an international health financing organization with global media and legal expertise, to help break down barriers to health services. … In its new partnership with the Global Fund, the Thomson Reuters Foundation will facilitate legal services and support for civil society partners in key countries, including development of ‘know your rights’ training, capacity-building for health practitioners, services providers and their clients, plus guidance for NGOs and civil society groups working in challenging social contexts. The Thomson Reuters Foundation will also train journalists on human rights and health issues, and support awareness-raising on human rights-related barriers to health. Our hope is that by combining forces, we can achieve real impact…” (12/10).

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Nations Must Improve Women's Health, SRHR To Adhere To International Human Rights Standards, Reach UHC, Opinion Pieces Say

Newsweek: The Trump Administration’s Grades for Sexual and Reproductive Rights Are In
Bergen Cooper, director of policy research at CHANGE — Center for Health and Gender Equity

“When it comes to protecting women’s human rights globally, along with sexual and reproductive rights, the U.S. government under President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence is not only failing to meet the nation’s commitments. It is actively and mercilessly cutting them back. That’s why commemorating International Human Rights Day on Tuesday is especially important. … The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Index is a tool that critically assesses the U.S. government’s global health policies and funding that impact sexual and reproductive health and rights. For most U.S. government agencies, 2018 marked the second straight year of declining scores — and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which had high marks for meeting global commitments in 2017, saw a dramatic drop in its score for 2018, declining from an A- (91.5) to a C (76). … There is no better day than International Human Rights Day to recognize that sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. And together, with a lot of hard work, perseverance, and holding our world leaders accountable — we can see them through for everyone” (12/10).

Boston Globe: End the ‘Global Gag Rule’
Shola Lawal, 2019 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow at the International Women’s Media Foundation and a research fellow at MIT’s Center for International Studies

“In a move that played out at the United Nations General Assembly in September, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the United States and 18 other states, including Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Iraq, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Yemen jointly condemned policies that promoted sexual and reproductive rights of women in the U.N.’s newly adopted Universal Health Coverage Political Declaration. … [Nigeria] President Muhammadu Buhari’s government felt compelled to align with the U.S. faction. … It is time for Africa as a whole to look inward and ask why 93 percent of our women live in countries where safe abortions are restricted. … By 2023, when countries report back on UHC, Nigeria should be clear on why Nigerian women opt for abortions, and we should be working toward providing policies and infrastructure to that effect. We should focus on dispelling cultural myths around family planning to make it more accessible. We should educate men — without whom no pregnancy would happen — about sexual and reproductive issues and strengthen legal systems that will prosecute sexual offenses effectively. And we should be clear with the United States and the other 18 U.N. nations that objected to the UHC, that Nigeria will not compromise when it comes to our women and our girls. In 2020, women deserve that and more” (12/10).

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Public Should Trust Vaccines To Protect Against Infectious Disease Outbreaks, Opinion Piece Says

The Hill: Deadly measles and Ebola outbreaks show why vaccinations are so essential
Marc Siegel, professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Health, and Fox News medical correspondent

“Vaccines are our greatest public health tool in the war against emerging and re-emerging bacteria and viruses, a war that is being fought and won, or fought and lost, across the globe every day. … As vaccine engineering evolves, public utilization needs to evolve along with it. As a practicing internist, I understand the irrational fear a patient may have of putting a manufactured protein into his or her body. But this fear needs to be combated with rational information along with a smattering of public conscience. Patients should be more afraid of the various diseases that vaccines are meant to protect us all against rather than fearing the vaccines themselves, whether the pathogen is the wildly spreading measles virus or the highly deadly Ebola” (12/10).

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Antimicrobial Resistance Should Garner Same Level Of Attention As Climate Change, Expert Writes In Opinion Piece

Project Syndicate: Where Is the AMR Rebellion?
Jim O’Neill, chair of Chatham House, former chair of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and former U.K. Treasury Minister

“The threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is being overshadowed by the menace of climate change. Though the AMR problem is arguably equal in importance, it has not commanded nearly the same level of public awareness. … If we don’t reduce our dependency on unnecessary antibiotics and succeed in developing new ones (or alternatives such as vaccines), annual deaths stemming from AMR could reach ten million by 2050. And on the economic front, the total costs of this failure (from 2015 to 2050) could top $100 trillion. … And yet, aside from public statements by governments and multilateral organizations, little is being done about this existential threat to human wellbeing. … Given the lack of action on this issue, it is time to start pushing for countries to list AMR as a cause of death on public death certificates. And, for its part, the International Monetary Fund needs to start analyzing national health systems in its country-level assessments, as it is already doing with respect to climate-change preparedness. The global groundswell for climate action now has the force of what we in finance would call a momentum trade. AMR, meanwhile, seems stuck in what we would call a value trap. But it won’t stay there forever. One way or another, it will make itself known” (12/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Trump Administration's Expanded Mexico City Policy Hinders HIV/AIDS Response Among Women, Girls, Planned Parenthood Officials Say

Planned Parenthood Global/Medium: A Catch-22 for Women and Girls: How the Global Gag Rule Attacks the HIV/AIDS Response
In this post, Chloë Cooney, senior director of strategy and programs for Planned Parenthood Global, and Caitlin Horrigan, director of global advocacy for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, discuss the impact of the expanded Mexico City policy, or “global gag rule,” on HIV prevention among women worldwide. The authors write, “Our own research found that the global gag rule disrupts the delivery of health services in areas of the world that are most in need, rolls back progress made in countries that have fought to advance access to health care and human rights, and weakens national coalitions by breaking up long-standing partnerships and making it harder for groups to collaborate” (12/4).

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ODI Experts Examine ODA Transition Experiences Of 4 Countries

ODI: Moving away from aid: lessons from country studies
Rachael Calleja, senior research officer, and Annalisa Prizzon, senior research fellow, both at ODI, examine the ODA transition experiences of Botswana, Chile, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea. According to the summary, the report “presents research on the management of the transition from aid, cooperation with development partners when aid falls, and bi- and multilateral cooperation as countries approach ODA graduation. … A set of lessons, informed by the country studies, are outlined that are intended to be useful for other countries entering or progressing along the path towards ODA graduation, as well as for development partners to sustain outcomes and renew partnerships. This report forms part of a larger project that sets out to investigate country experiences of and key lessons from the transition and graduation from ODA” (December 2019).

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Brookings Report Examines Inclusion Of Girls, Young People In Climate Strategies, Role Of Girls' Education

Brookings: National climate strategies are forgetting about girls, children, and youth
Christina Kwauk, fellow for global economy and development at Brookings’ Center for Universal Education, and colleagues discuss their new report examining the inclusion of young people, principally girls, in country climate strategies. A summary states, “Our new report analyzed 160 [Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs — or, a country’s plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement)] and found that only three countries (Malawi, Venezuela, and Zambia) make explicit reference to girls, only one country (Zambia) mentions girls’ education, and no country formally recognizes the role that an investment in girls’ education could make in its climate strategy. … Our analysis also illuminated disquieting results when it comes to action for climate empowerment. … In other words, education has been largely positioned in a passive role where it will not empower children and youth as critical stakeholders in climate decisionmaking and climate action today or in the future” (12/10).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 369 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter features articles on the latest actions of the Global Fund’s Board and Office of the Inspector General, and the release of the Fund’s lists for 2020 eligibility and projected transitions from Global Fund allocations by 2028 (12/11).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Post Discusses How DREAMS Initiative Helping Young Women In Uganda

USAID/Medium: I’m Empowered and Resilient! I’m Living the Dream!
In this post, Betty Kagoro, communications specialist at USAID’s Mission in Uganda, discusses PEPFAR’s DREAMS Initiative and profiles several women who are involved in the program in Tedum, Uganda. Kagoro writes, “USAID, through the DREAMS Initiative, is working with partners to control the HIV/AIDS pandemic among women and young girls. A generation that could have been lost is instead thriving and working towards better prospects in life” (12/10).

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Researchers Find Targeted Vaccination Of Women Of Reproductive Age Is 'Noteworthy' Measure For Mitigating Effects Of Zika

CDC’s “Emerging Infectious Diseases”: Cost-effectiveness of Prophylactic Zika Virus Vaccine in the Americas
Affan Shoukat, with York University in Toronto and a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, and colleagues assessed the cost-effectiveness of a prophylactic vaccine for Zika, finding “targeted vaccination of women of reproductive age is a noteworthy preventive measure for mitigating the effects of Zika virus infection in future outbreaks” (December 2019).

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