KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Green Discusses Agency's Use Of Non-Traditional Financing Mechanisms In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Mark Green on why he’ll champion innovative finance at USAID
“A new development impact bond aims to save the lives of as many as 10,000 mothers and newborns in India over five years. But when United States Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green announced the DIB at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, he noted the potential for impact was not only on maternal and child health, but also on USAID’s approach to development. In response to a question from Devex, he said it reflected how USAID is trying to partner with, rather than merely contract with, the private sector to take on development challenges through a business lens. … Green spoke with Devex about what this DIB reflects about the future of non-traditional financing mechanisms at USAID…” (Cheney, 12/12).

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Experts Discuss U.S. Global, Domestic HIV/AIDS Funding Trends, Future Outlook At KFF/FCAA Web Briefing

American Journal of Managed Care: The Past, Present, and Future of HIV Funding
“A Kaiser Family Foundation web briefing navigated the HIV/AIDS funding landscape, taking a look at trends over time, the latest data, and what we might expect in the future. When analyzing federal funding by the U.S. government for HIV both home and abroad since the first AIDS cases were identified in 1981, ‘you notice a very dramatic, steep rise at different points, and generally a rise over time,’ said Jen Kates, vice president, director of global health and HIV policy, Kaiser Family Foundation. The trend can be attributed to a couple of factors, said Kates. While the political well plays a role, there are two factors that really account for the rise in spending: the increasing number of people living with HIV in the U.S., which has led to increasing expenditures on care and treatment; the other is the increasing recognition of the importance of combatting the global epidemic…” (Rosenberg, 12/11).

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NPR Reports On Price Differences For Medications To Treat NTDs Globally, In U.S.

NPR: Why A Pill That’s 4 Cents In Tanzania Costs Up To $400 In The U.S.
“…Drugs for diseases of the developing world, in particular what are known as ‘neglected tropical diseases’ like hookworm and leishmaniasis, are enormously more expensive in the United States than in the developing world. ‘There really is no good reason for this price,’ Dr. Jonathan Alpern says of the albendazole price tag. Alpern works for the HealthPartners Institute, the research division of a health care organization in Minnesota…” (Whitehead, 12/11).

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NYT Examines Relationship Between Free Trade, Increased Obesity Rates In Mexico

New York Times: A Nasty, Nafta-Related Surprise: Mexico’s Soaring Obesity
“…[Some Mexicans] have become both consumers and participants in an extraordinary transformation of the country’s food system, one that has saddled them and millions of other Mexicans with diet-related illnesses. It is a seismic shift that some nutritionists say has an underappreciated cause: free trade. … [F]ew critics predicted [the North American Free Trade Agreement] would transform the Mexican diet and food ecosystem to increasingly mirror those of the United States…” (Jacobs/Richtel, 12/11).

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Brazil Offering No-Cost PrEP To Help Prevent HIV Among Young People

New York Times: Brazil Fights HIV Spike in Youths With Free Preventive Drug
“Seeking to stem a sharp rise in HIV cases among young people, Brazil began offering a drug this month that can prevent infection to those deemed at high risk of contagion. Brazil is the first country in Latin America, and among the first in the developing world, to adopt the drug, known as PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, as an integral part of its preventive health care policy…” (Darlington, 12/12).

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DW Examines How Some Nonprofits Shifting Fundraising Messages From Despair To Progress

Deutsche Welle: Africa: Cliches abound in appeal for donations
“Wide-eyed children, women using primitive tools, arid fields — when appealing for donations, aid organizations deploy the very cliches they often criticize. Some are starting to rethink their approach…” (Müller-Plotnikow, 12/11).

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Next Flu Pandemic Likely To Occur In Spring, Summer, Not Winter, Research Shows

New York Times: The Next Flu Pandemic Will Appear When You Least Expect It
“If a new flu pandemic emerges, it may be easy to spot. The epidemic is most likely to appear in spring or summer, researchers have found — not in the midwinter depths of the flu season. … A half-dozen flu pandemics — including those of 1889, 1918 (the Spanish flu), 1957, 1968, and 2009 (the swine flu) — were all first detected between late March and late July, according to a study published recently in PLOS Computational Biology by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the Institute for Disease Modeling in Bellevue, Wash…” (McNeil, 12/8).

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More News In Global Health

Agence France-Presse/FOX Business: Sanofi Urges Philippines to Lift Dengue Vaccine Suspension (12/11).
Reuters: Philippine senator criticizes “reckless disregard” in dengue vaccine program (Lema, 12/11).

The Guardian: The billionth treatment for river blindness — photo essay (Robertson, 12/12).

New York Times: They Fled Boko Haram, Only to Be Raped by Nigeria’s Security Forces (Searcey, 12/8).

Reuters: Cholera resurges in Zambian capital Lusaka, WHO says (Miles, 12/12).

SciDev.Net: Q&A: We need to produce ‘different food,’ not more (Makri, 12/11).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — Slaughtered by sex, Zambia’s ‘Sweet Town’ survives ravages of AIDS (Griffiths, 12/11).

Washington Post: Microbes by the ton: Officials see weapons threat as North Korea gains biotech expertise (Warrick, 12/10).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. aid official in Yemen urges lifting of blockade, says millions a ‘step away from famine’ (12/11).

U.N. News Centre: Violence shuts schools, deprives children of medical care in Syria’s East Ghouta, warns UNICEF (12/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts To Achieve Universal Health Coverage On UHC Day

The Lancet Global Health: Adding clarity to the universal health coverage picture
Editorial Board

“…As countries embark on the journey towards [universal health coverage (UHC)], they need tools to evaluate their starting point, keep track along the way, and define the way forward. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer ways to monitor their UHC-dedicated target … As always in monitoring efforts, a major hurdle is the availability and quality of the data available in many countries. But beyond tracking progress efficiently and resolving deficiencies in the health care system, there are characteristics of the economies of many low-income and middle-income countries that also represent potential impediments to progress towards UHC. … [I]nformality in the labor market, and its connection to poverty and lack of social protection in particular, is one such characteristic that the drive towards UHC will have to consider. So the picture is still blurry, the outline imprecise, but as work continues, we can expect (and demand) that the shape(s) of UHC will be brought into focus” (January 2018).

Inter Press Service: For Freedom from Poverty, Universal Health Coverage Is a Must
Siddharth Chatterjee, United Nations resident coordinator in Kenya, and Githinji Gitahi, global CEO of Amref Health Africa

“…Across the globe there is a strong correlation between high rates of out-of-pocket expenses and catastrophic and impoverishing health expenditure. … Affordability is not the only barrier. Lack of public awareness, high loss ratios due to fraud, and reluctance among insurers to underwrite cover for the poor are also important. … There is a clear need to develop low-cost, innovative solutions for expanding insurance coverage and technology must form part of such solutions. … However, such innovation must be accompanied by increased efficiency in health spending, through partnerships with institutions working to improving access to health care for the poor, and through policy dialogue between government and other stakeholders. … Ultimately, sustainability demands increased investment in preventive care and primary health…” (12/12).

Devex: Opinion: 5 ways to make progress towards universal health coverage
Rozita Halina Tun Hussein, senior deputy director of the planning division within the Malaysia Ministry of Health; Amanda Folsom, senior program director at Results for Development; and Somil Nagpal, cluster lead for the World Bank’s health sector programs in Cambodia and Lao PDR

“…[T]he Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage brings together practitioners from government agencies to accelerate [the momentum to advance UHC] — working to translate country experiences and expertise into actionable policies and practices. This community of practitioners from national health and finance agencies meets regularly to tackle common technical barriers to UHC in service delivery — especially primary health care — health financing and provider payment, data, and information systems, and quality of care. We’ve learned a lot through practitioner-to-practitioner learning, and here are five key insights we’ve gained along our journey. 1. Align health financing and primary health care goals. … 2. Engage the private sector in the provision of primary care. … 3. Leverage medical audits to improve quality of care and system efficiency. … 4. Use costing studies to inform evidence-based provider payment policy. … 5. Employ data analytics to monitor provider payment systems and quality of care…” (12/12).

Devex: Opinion: Yes, we can reach every child with accessible, quality care
Luwei Pearson, deputy director of UNICEF’s global health program

“…Investments in UHC yield the highest returns when they target the most deprived families and children. … Global efforts to achieve UHC must therefore begin by identifying the most deprived communities and breaking down the barriers to good health. But how can this be done? 1. Deploy a multi-pronged effort … 2. Integrate services … 3. Consider accountability … UNICEF believes the global effort to achieve UHC is one of the most ambitious undertakings in human history. The stakes are high: the future health, well-being, and prosperity of our world. We cannot be intimidated by the magnitude of the task. The world has the evidence, the knowledge, and resources to achieve good health for every child and family. We hope governments, civil society groups, organizations, and individuals will join the growing coalition of activists and advocates who assert that no child should die of preventable causes. We can build a healthier, happier world — for every community, for every child” (12/12).

Asahi Shimbun: Point of View: Global health for all depends upon water, hygiene, and sanitation
Tim Wainwright, chief executive of WaterAid, and Kaoru Takahashi, WaterAid representative in Japan

“Japan is demonstrating its leadership in global health this week by co-hosting a Universal Health Coverage Forum of international leaders and policymakers, part of the drive to ensure health coverage for all by 2030. With Japan’s own story of rebuilding into today’s prosperous and forward-thinking society, with effective provisions to ensure health care for all, its leaders are well placed to assume a leading role in the Universal Health Coverage movement, which aims to ensure pandemic preparedness and better health for all through strengthened health systems. As the forum … convenes, WaterAid is calling on governments and donors to act in recognition that this goal cannot be achieved without investing in clean water, sanitation, and good hygiene in all health facilities, everywhere…” (12/12).

The Lancet Global Health: Informality and health: universal health coverage in the era of SDGs
Lawrence Were, lecturer at Boston University’s College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Sargent College

“…The regions that would benefit most from meeting [SDG health] targets and indicators also have the highest disease burden and are characterized by informality — a collection of firms, workers, and activities that operate outside the legal and regulatory frameworks or outside the modern economy. … Informality is therefore important for health and achievement of UHC by 2030 because it is connected to poverty, low productivity, and absence of social protection. … Moving forward, innovative ways of financing health care need to be considered as different countries transition through informality. One strategy used in low-income and middle-income countries is community-based health insurance, whereby individuals with similar backgrounds set up, own, and operate a health-insurance scheme. … Such innovations need to be based on the six building blocks of the WHO health-system framework (service delivery, health workforce, information, medical products and technologies, financing, and leadership)…” (January 2018).

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Malaria Efforts Need 'Revision' Of Approaches, More Funding To Achieve Global Goals By 2030

The Lancet: The global fight against malaria is at crossroads
Pedro Alonso, director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, and Abdisalan M. Noor, team leader for surveillance at the WHO Global Malaria Programme

“…We must … recognize that globally we are not on track to meet the targets in WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030. Reducing the intervention coverage gap must become a priority and requires smarter use of existing resources and substantially increased funding. For the smarter use of resources, reliable data for decision making by national programs and investment in surveillance systems must be prioritized. … The international community must be commended for sustaining funding despite major economic crises in recent years … The current funding levels, however, fall short of what is needed. … Deliberate and sustained efforts must be initiated to ensure that the domestic funding envelope is substantially increased. … With current tools we can accurately diagnose and effectively treat malaria, thereby reducing the unacceptable levels of malaria deaths. Universal access to health is central to achieving this. We can get back on track towards the targets in WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030, but this will require an important revision of the political, policy, operational, and financial approaches to fighting malaria” (11/28).

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U.K.'s New Secretary Of State For International Development Can Boost Development Leadership, Impact In 4 Key Ways

Devex: Opinion: How DFID’s new leader can translate development leadership into impact
Alex Thier, executive director of the Overseas Development Institute

“Penny Mordaunt, the United Kingdom’s new secretary of state for international development, has hit the ground running. She has sent a strong signal that she believes in aid. She has embraced her department and its mission, told parliament that the U.K. is committed to getting aid into the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and visited the violently displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh. She has swiftly moved to demonstrate the Department for International Development’s commitment to leave no one behind by announcing a global disability summit next year. For a big leadership impact, however, DFID’s new leader needs to turn these initial instincts into a bold agenda. … [H]ow can the new secretary of state burnish the U.K.’s development leadership and impact? 1. Change the tone of the recent conversation in the U.K. about aid: Focus on the positive, acknowledge the challenges. … 2. Focus on how to maximize the impact of U.K. aid. … 3. Pick some core themes and set goals around them. … 4. Love the department, embrace the people, and give them the tools they need to succeed…” (12/11).

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NCD Community Can Learn From HIV Prevention, Treatment Strategies

Project Syndicate: AIDS, NCDs, and the ABCs of Organizing
Kent Buse, chief of strategic policy directions at UNAIDS, and Laurel Sprague, executive director of the Global Network of People Living with HIV

“…As global attention focuses on [noncommunicable diseases (NCD)] prevention, those seeking to control preventable illnesses should look to the ‘ABCs’ of AIDS organizing for guidance. The first letter that the NCD community should consider is ‘A,’ for activism. … Next, the NCD community must adopt a bolder approach to budgets — the ‘B’ of the AIDS movement’s strategy. … ‘C’ is for coalitions: the AIDS movement was quick to understand that progress would come only with diverse support. … The AIDS movement also understood that a holistic response to the epidemic was essential. Thus, ‘D,’ the underlying determinants of health, was to draw attention to the interconnectivity of the drivers of challenge. … Engagement — ‘E’ — was what helped the AIDS movement become so influential. … Disease prevention movements must also develop persuasive narratives, and ‘F’ — framing the issue — was essential to the AIDS community’s effort to gain support from political leaders. … In the AIDS debate, gender — our movement’s ‘G’ — was a significant focal point. … Finally, ‘H’ — human rights — was the bedrock of the AIDS response. … The list of AIDS lessons could continue throughout the alphabet, but ending with ‘H’ is apt, given that human rights drove the response, and should drive the response to NCDs. Poverty, exclusion, and social and economic marginalization put people at higher risk for HIV. It is no different for NCDs. … The NCD and AIDS communities can learn from one another. We are a stronger movement when we join forces” (12/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Highlights CDC's Global Health Security Supplement, Discusses Impact Of Ebola Outbreak On Public Health Preparedness

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Ebola stories highlight global health security needs, efforts, progress in emerging infections detection, prevention, response
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses the CDC’s recently released Global Health Security Supplement, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, which documents the progress in and challenges to enhancing global health security and medical surveillance and response capacities worldwide, as well as how the Ebola outbreak brought renewed attention to these efforts (12/11).

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New Study Examines Foreign Aid Evaluation Policies At Several U.S. Agencies

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: New Study from MFAN and TLC Finds Evaluation Quality on the Rise, But Barriers to Use Remain
In this statement, MFAN Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette discuss a new study by MFAN and the Lugar Center, “From Evidence to Learning: Recommendations to Improve U.S. Foreign Assistance Evaluation, examining the evaluation policies and practices of the largest U.S. government agencies implementing foreign aid programs. The study finds significant progress in the rigor, objectivity, and accessibility of foreign assistance evaluations, but also identifies remaining barriers to using lessons learned to inform program and budget decisions. The study conducted surveys and interviews to assess the implementation of evaluation policies at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of State, President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)…” (12/8).

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CGD Expert Outlines Canadian Government's Progress On Feminist Foreign Policy

Center for Global Development’s “Views from the Center”: Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy: Building on a Strong Start
CGD Senior Fellow Charles Kenny discusses the Canadian government’s “impressive steps towards prioritizing gender and women’s rights in international relations.” Kenny highlights several of these steps in various sectors, concluding, “I’m excited to see Canada’s burgeoning leadership on gender in international relations. From this side of the border, it is hard not to be a little jealous. But it would be great if the New Year brought even more to be jealous about” (12/11).

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Sanofi Executive Discusses Importance Of Collaborative Partnerships To Addressing Global Health Challenges

Global Health Hub: Are partnerships the key to making critical progress in Global Health?
Martin Bernhardt, head of global public affairs for Sanofi’s Global Business Unit “General Medicines & Emerging Markets,” discusses the role of partnerships in addressing global health challenges. Bernhardt writes, “More than ever before, governments, industry, civil society, academia, practitioners, and patients are coming together in purposeful and productive collaborations. … We must continue to build trust and partnerships because only together we can increase innovation, develop more effective treatments, and build better systems of care” (12/11).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Announces $7.5M Award To UNICEF To Improve Nutritional Status Of Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh

U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh: USAID Announces $7.5 Million Award to UNICEF to Fight Malnutrition Among Rohingya Refugees
“On December 6, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $7.5 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under the Food for Peace Act to improve the nutritional status of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. With this new award, the U.S. government has provided over $90 million to assist Rohingya refugees since August 24…” (12/11).

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