KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Bill Gates Concerned About Implications Of Trump Administration's Trade Policies For Global Health Efforts

Axios: Bill Gates hopes Trump’s trade war won’t wreck the global health agenda
“Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, who’s in D.C. this week to meet with administration officials and members of Congress, told Axios he hopes the U.S.’ souring relationships with Europe and China — sparked by the Trump administration’s tariffs — won’t hurt long-term global health or climate change goals…” (Owens, 12/11).

Fortune: Bill Gates Fears How Trump’s Trade Policy Could Affect Global Health
“…Speaking to Axios in an interview published on Tuesday, Gates said that he hopes the U.S. can restore better trade relations with Europe and China and that the Trump administration stops spending so much time focusing on ‘short-term things, you know, relative to tariffs.’ Ultimately, Gates believes that the U.S. needs to focus on ‘long-term problems which, in [Gates’] view, includes these global health things and stopping pandemics’…” (Reisinger, 12/11).

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Bill Introduced In U.S. House Addresses State Department's Treatment Of Reproductive Health In Human Rights Report

Rewire News: Democrats Push State Department to Reinsert Reproductive Rights in Human Rights Reports
“Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill Monday that would require the State Department to again include a subsection on reproductive health in its annual human rights report. The State Department is responsible for producing a report each year detailing human rights abuses in each country receiving U.S. foreign aid. Starting under the Obama administration, reproductive health information such as systemic international issues with access to contraception and abortion care was included in the report. That practice ended this year under the Trump administration…” (Burns 12/11).

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Outgoing U.N. Ambassador Haley Comments On Trump's Approach To U.N. Diplomacy

POLITICO: Haley says Trump’s unpredictability was an asset in U.N. diplomacy
“President Donald Trump’s unpredictability may rattle his advisers and other world leaders, but to outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley the president’s mercurial nature has often been an asset…” (Oprysko, 12/12).

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VOA News Reports On U.S. Response To U.N. Aid Request For North Korea

VOA News: U.S. Deflects U.N. Request to Fund Humanitarian Aid for N. Korea
“The United States is resisting calls from the United Nations to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea, citing Pyongyang’s continuing expansion of its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report released last week that $111 million is needed to fund humanitarian efforts in North Korea next year. In ‘Global Humanitarian Overview 2019,’ the OCHA said the money could provide aid to six million of 10.3 million North Koreans who will need humanitarian support in 2019. In response, a State Department spokesperson said while the U.S. is concerned, North Korea has the means to meet its own humanitarian needs…” (Lee, 12/11).

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DRC Ebola Cases Reach 500; Vaccinations Of Frontline Workers To Begin In South Sudan

CIDRAP News: Ebola count in DRC hits 500 in growing outbreak
“The world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak hit another milestone [Tuesday], as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded two new cases, raising outbreak totals to 500, including 289 deaths…” (Soucheray, 12/11).

San Francisco Chronicle: South Sudan to begin Ebola vaccinations as ‘very high risk’
“The World Health Organization says Ebola vaccinations soon will begin in South Sudan as the country is at ‘very high risk’ in the current outbreak based in neighboring Congo. A statement says South Sudan’s health ministry will begin vaccinating some health workers and other frontline workers in the capital, Juba, on Dec. 19. No Ebola cases have been reported in South Sudan or any of Congo’s neighbors in this outbreak, which is now the second-deadliest in history. Vaccinations began earlier in Uganda…” (12/10).

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UAE Media Outlet Covers Gavi Mid-Term Review In Abu Dhabi

The National: UAE Gavi vaccine summit: The fight against tropical diseases that blight the poor
“In most countries, a job in the armed forces is considered a dangerous occupation. Firefighters and police officers regularly put themselves in harm’s way. But in Kisumu, Kenya, a career as a car washer is thought of as a death sentence. The cleaners are required to spend their days part-submerged in Lake Victoria … The lake is … home to freshwater snails, which spread the microscopic worms that cause schistosomiasis, or ‘snail fever’, which is second only to malaria as the world’s most-deadly parasitic disease. … People take the jobs anyway, says Ellen Agler, the chief executive of the End Fund, a New York-based charity which is working to end the suffering caused by neglected tropical diseases (NTD), including snail fever. … She said that despite a lack of public attention in the west, rapid progress is being made as new treatments are developed. The fight is being supported by foreign governments such as the U.S. and the U.K., as well as significant funding from the UAE. Speaking at the Gavi conference in Abu Dhabi, Ms. Agler praised backers in the UAE who have helped make significant progress in tackling NTDs…” (Sanderson, 12/11).

The National: UAE Gavi vaccine summit: Technology helps ensure vaccines reach the most vulnerable
“The world’s forgotten children will be issued with ‘digital birth certificates’ under plans to ensure they do not miss out on life-saving vaccinations. At the end of its conference in Abu Dhabi, Gavi, which has helped to vaccinate about 700 million children in the past two decades, announced a deal with Mastercard in which the company will use its technology to give parents cards programmed with their children’s health data…” (Sanderson 12/11).

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U.N. Adopts Compact Addressing Link Between Climate Change, Migration

PRI: U.N. compact recognizes climate change as driver of migration for first time
“…A World Bank report released this spring estimated climate change could drive more than 140 million people to migrate internally within Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia alone by midcentury. The U.N. estimates a similar number might be displaced globally just by desertification by 2045. And it’s already happening: Years with higher temperatures are already causing spikes in asylum applications to European Union countries, recent research has found. But for the first time this week, the international community is taking a step toward recognizing climate migrants. On Monday and Tuesday, leaders from 164 countries formally adopted the U.N. Global Compact for Migration at a meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco…” (Beeler, 12/11).

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Humanitarian Efforts Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases As Conflicts Arise In Higher Income Countries

IRIN: A new normal in humanitarian aid: treating middle-class diseases
“Treating undernourished children, boosting nutrition for pregnant women, and even providing a statistical basis for the term ‘famine’ have all become routine parts of humanitarian health programs. But the routine is changing. As conflicts and crises overtake middle-income countries like Syria and now Venezuela, aid organizations must deal with obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure…” (Byatnal, 12/11).

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Global Health Hackathon Focuses On New Approaches, Tools To Prevent Malaria

Devex: The challenges of bringing malaria innovations to scale
“How could air capture technology, which is being developed to limit the impacts of increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, be applied to malaria? The easiest way for mosquitoes to find humans is through the air we exhale, and Nazzy Pakpour, an assistant professor at California State University, East Bay, wondered if there might be a way to mask the CO2 that people emit, making it harder for mosquitoes to track them down. Her team won a global health hackathon at the University of California, San Francisco, last Friday, where they pitched a new idea to develop necklaces made of activated charcoal that could help people who enter areas with high risk of malaria from getting infected and bringing the disease back to low-risk settings. … The hackathon, organized jointly by UCSF Global Health Sciences and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub — a new medical science research center funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan — had teams spend three days together to come up with new approaches and tools to address the problem of outdoor biting mosquitoes in low-resource settings…” (Cheney, 12/12).

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More News In Global Health

BBC: Yemen war: Billions in aid, but where’s it going? (Goodman, 12/12).
The Guardian: ‘Yemenis are left so poor they kill themselves before the hunger does’ (12/11).

Global Health NOW: Demystifying a ‘Curse’ (McNeish, 12/11).

The Guardian: ‘What happened to me will not happen to my daughters’: sexual violence in war — podcast (Lamble, 12/12).

Inter Press Service: Study Shows How African Countries are Preparing for Green Development (Esipisu, 12/11).

U.N. News: ‘Global sisterhood’ tells perpetrators ‘time is up’ for pandemic of violence against women (12/11).

Washington Post: After years of crisis, Venezuela’s Maduro might finally be ready to accept some help (Krygier, 12/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Discusses Potential Implications Of Media's Limited Access To U.S. Government Researchers

Washington Post: Trump doesn’t want the public to know what government scientists are doing
Gabriel Popkin, science journalist and chair of the National Association of Science Writers’ information access committee

“…[I]t’s increasingly difficult to know what our publicly funded scientists are up to. Over the past few decades, one federal agency after another has thrown up barriers limiting the media’s access to researchers. … The public has an obvious interest in knowing whether the [money] the government spends annually on research and development is being used responsibly and to our benefit. … When agencies refuse access to experts who can explain how scientific knowledge is produced and how science-based decisions are made, understanding of and trust in government suffer. At a time when there is widespread confusion about issues from climate change to vaccines to genetically modified organisms, we need to hear more from scientists, not less. … The Trump administration has made no secret of its disdain for certain kinds of science, particularly on climate, the environment, and public health. Some of its attempts to shut down disfavored research (such as studies on surface coal mining health effects and oil and gas drilling safety) have succeeded; others (such as an attempt to end a tropical forest research program) have been reversed by Congress. But the creeping obstruction of the science press has gotten little pushback. Perhaps that’s because it’s a trend so long and consistent that we barely notice it anymore” (12/12).

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Letter To Editor Discusses Recent History Of U.S. Foreign Policy Approach To China, Shifts That Predate Trump

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Foreign Policy Under Trump
Stuart Gottlieb, adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs

“The only thing more disturbing to me than Donald Trump’s presidency is the tendency to hold him accountable for all of the changes and challenges in the world today, including what [Ivan] Krastev laments [in a December 4th op-ed] as America’s ‘lost’ sense of global leadership and rising tensions with China. … Even President Trump’s hard-line approach to China predates him. George W. Bush formally changed China’s label from ‘strategic partner’ to ‘strategic competitor.’ And [Barack] Obama began an aggressive ‘pivot to Asia’ to help contain a rising China. … Yes, Donald Trump’s style is corrosive and destructive. And many of his polices are without nuance. But if America is to rebound from the Trump presidency — which it certainly can — the first step is to candidly recognize how we got here” (12/11).

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Public Financing Of Health Vital To Ensuring Universal Access To Health

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why public finance is key to delivering the human right to health
Ban Ki-moon, deputy chair of The Elders and former U.N. Secretary-General

“Health is a human right. When people are not able to access the health care they need, especially if this is for reasons of cost, their human rights are denied. It is vital for the wider fight for rights, justice, and sustainable development that policymakers’ actions are informed by this linkage. … [The process of countries transitioning to universal health coverage (UHC)] is now occurring across the world at all income levels, as governments realize that to reach UHC, it is necessary to replace private voluntary health financing with compulsory public financing. … All countries on the path to UHC face a crossroads: one path leads to a U.S.-style, privately financed fragmented health system … The other is the path increasingly being taken in the rest of the world, where even in highly capitalist economies everyone gets access to care because the state makes the rich pay for the poor. Our advice to U.S. states, to India, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, and other countries approaching the cross roads … is to take [the path toward UHC], as this is the only navigable route to health for all and [for] just, stable, and prosperous societies” (12/12).

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Anti-Vaccination Movement Threatens Children's Health, Global Progress Made Against Communicable Diseases

The National: The battle against anti-vaccination propaganda must be won
Editorial Board

“Over recent decades there have been tremendous victories in the war on deadly communicable diseases, such as smallpox, measles, and polio. Yet 222 years after the discovery of the science of immunization, many children around the world are still falling prey to illnesses that, by rights, should no longer exist. … The resurgence of the discredited idea that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination causes autism has led to alarming drops in vaccination rates and corresponding increases in outbreaks of measles, in the U.S. and across Europe. … It is unconscionable that alongside the war on disease, organizations such as [Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] are obliged to divert precious resources to counter the propaganda of anti-vaxxers and rogue nations. All of us, from parents to governments, have a moral duty to protect children against disease. Those who refuse to protect their families or are willing to put innocent, young lives at risk in their pursuit of power should hang their heads in shame” (12/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends Of The Global Fight Releases Statement On PEPFAR Extension Act Signed Into Law By President On Tuesday

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Congress Reaffirms U.S. Global Leadership to Fight AIDS
“[On Tuesday], just over a week after the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, President Trump signed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Extension Act of 2018 into law. The bill reauthorizes U.S. investment in PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). … The reauthorization bill will extend PEPFAR provisions through FY2023, including those that regulate U.S. contributions to the Global Fund. PEPFAR and the Global Fund work collaboratively in countries around the world with the highest HIV infections rates, and thanks to the partnership between the two programs, more than 20 million people now have access to lifesaving AIDS treatment” (12/11).

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Report Examines Importation Of Measles Into U.S., Highlights Need For Support Of Global Measles Elimination Efforts

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Vaccination before travel, support for global measles control needed to protect U.S. gains against the disease, study finds
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” discusses results from a report on the international importation of measles into the U.S. after it was declared eliminated in 2000. Barton notes, “In addition to underscoring the need to follow [the CDC guideline recommending that all U.S. residents be vaccinated with two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine], the authors [of the report write that] the findings highlight the need for strong support for global measles elimination efforts” (12/11).

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CGD Experts Discuss Key Takeaways From International Conference On Family Planning

Center for Global Development: Dispatches from the 2018 International Conference on Family Planning
Felice Apter, visiting fellow, and Janeen Madan Keller, senior policy analyst, both at CGD, discuss key takeaways from the 5th International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), which took place in Kigali, Rwanda in November. The authors highlight discussions about funding for family planning, which included results from a Kaiser Family Foundation report on donor funding for international family planning, the donor ecosystem, data quality, evaluation of family planning programs, and the future of family planning efforts (12/11).

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WHO European Region Continues Efforts To Help Countries Move Toward UHC

WHO Regional Office for Europe: Milestones on the road to universal health coverage
This post discusses the global push for universal health coverage (UHC), the WHO European Region’s efforts to generate political support for UHC, the role of primary health care in strengthening access to health services, and WHO’s ongoing and future work to help countries move toward UHC (12/11).

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Women In Global Health Senior Fellow Discusses Importance Of Gender Equality In Design, Delivery Of UHC

Women In Global Health: Universal Health Coverage: Getting Women to the Decision-Making Table
Ann Keeling, senior fellow at Women in Global Health, discusses the importance of gender parity in global health leadership, writing, “Universal health coverage, and the quality of care and health systems will only be strong when the women who run them have an equal say in the design of national health plans, policies, and systems.” Keeling also highlights three key messages for UHC: “The design and delivery of strong Universal Health Coverage rests on bringing everyone, everywhere to the decision-making table from local to global … Serious investment is needed now in the female health workforce for the delivery of Universal Health Coverage and decent work for women … The delivery and sustainability of Universal Health Coverage requires recognition that the global health system rests on a fragile foundation of unpaid health and social care work by women and girls, which must be reduced and redistributed” (12/9).

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Women In Global Health Experts Discuss Independent Expert Panel Recommendations Related To Allegations Of Harassment At UNAIDS

Women In Global Health: Beyond Band-Aids: Fixing Sexual Harassment, Bullying and Abuse of Power in UNAIDS
Roopa Dhatt, co-founder and executive director, and Ann Keeling, senior fellow, both at Women in Global Health, discuss the allegations of harassment, including sexual harassment, at UNAIDS and write, “Women in Global Health … congratulate[s] the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) on Prevention of and Response to Harassment including Sexual Harassment, Bullying, and Abuse of Power at UNAIDS Secretariat, for their comprehensive and frank report. It is a significant and hard-hitting report that needs immediate action. … [W]e recognize that discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power are societal wide challenges but it is time for UNAIDS to go beyond putting bandaids on a problem that requires radical action. Given its mission, the United Nations system and all its bodies have a responsibility to set the highest standards of behavior and practice them…” (12/10).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Birx Issues Statement On President Trump's Signing Of PEPFAR Reauthorization Legislation

PEPFAR: Statement From Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., on President Trump Signing PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018
Deborah L. Birx, U.S. global AIDS coordinator and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy, issued a statement addressing President Trump’s Tuesday signing of the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018, which extends provisions of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 for an additional five years (12/12).

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Fogarty International Center Highlights Top Articles From Global Health Matters Newsletter In 2018

Fogarty International Center: Top global health research stories of 2018 from Fogarty and NIH
This post highlights the top sections, articles, and feature stories of Fogarty International’s Global Health Matters newsletter in 2018 (12/11).

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