KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. HHS Awards $226M To Sanofi Pasteur To Enhance Influenza Vaccine Production Capabilities

Homeland Preparedness News: DHHS awards Sanofi Pasteur $226M for expansion of influenza pandemic preparedness efforts
“Per an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Sanofi Pasteur will gain $226 million to increase its domestic pandemic influenza vaccine production capabilities. … This, Sanofi says, will bolster U.S. and global pandemic preparedness…” (Galford, 12/11).

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Political Declaration On UHC Will Spur Progress On SDGs, U.N. SG Says On International Day

U.N. News: Universal Health Coverage will ‘drive progress’ on 2030 Development Agenda
“Last September world leaders at the United Nations endorsed an ambitious political declaration on universal health coverage, ‘reaffirming that health is a human right,’ Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday in his message for International Universal Health Coverage Day. He called the agreement ‘a significant achievement that will drive progress over the next decade on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ and asked leaders to ‘keep the promise and ensure health for all is a reality for everyone, everywhere’…” (12/11).

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Publish What You Fund Launches DFI Transparency Initiative

Devex: New effort launches to create DFI transparency framework
“Many development finance institutions have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, criticized for their lack of transparency as they invest more money and gain prominence. What’s clear is that each DFI seems to share different types of data in a variety of ways, according to a Devex analysis, and many don’t publicly share information about their investment process or how they determine impacts. To address this challenge, Publish What You Fund, an organization focused on aid and development transparency, is launching the DFI Transparency Initiative, which aims to create an actionable framework that DFIs can use to better share information publicly…” (Saldinger, 12/12).

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10 New Ebola Cases Recorded In DRC Outbreak, Representing Uptick In Numbers Following Violent Attacks On Workers

CIDRAP News: DRC records 10 new Ebola cases as WHO fights resurgence
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 10 new Ebola cases [Wednesday], as reflected on the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Ebola dashboard. The double-digit jump is a disheartening return to numbers last seen in mid-September. The 10 new cases raise the outbreak total to 3,340, including 2,207 deaths. A total of 441 suspected cases are still under investigation…” (Soucheray, 12/11).

Additional coverage of various aspects of the Ebola outbreak and response is available from Homeland Preparedness News and New Humanitarian.

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Fears Of Further Spread Arise In Southeast Asia Region As Polio Cases Reported In Philippines, Malaysia

Bloomberg: Fears Polio Spreading in Southeast Asia as Malaysia Case Emerges
“Malaysia has confirmed its first case of polio in almost three decades, sparking fears that the disease is spreading across the region after the Philippines declared an epidemic in September. … The Philippines, which lies across a narrow sea from Sabah, declared an outbreak in September. The WHO has confirmed at least nine cases in the country this year…” (Ho, 12/11).

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More News In Global Health

AP: Outdated, dangerous childbirth practices persist in Europe (Cheng, 12/12).

Devex: More complex food production, distribution systems a hazard for food safety (Ravelo, 12/12).

IOL: HIV-positive and depressed kids likely to have suicidal thoughts, study (Mtika, 12/12).

IOL: Malawi’s HIV-positive teens’ mental health challenge (Mtika, 12/12).

New Humanitarian: After floods, an early ‘lean season’ awaits South Sudan (Francis, 12/11).

Reuters: Delhi’s air quality turns ‘severe’ as toxic haze lingers (Dasgupta, 12/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Eight in 10 girls in western Nepal forced to sleep outside during periods (Sharma, 12/9).

Xinhua: Water supply and sanitation systems severely affected by conflict in Yemen: UNICEF (12/12).

Xinhua: Uganda launches 2nd phase of cholera vaccination (12/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Must Take Human Rights Obligations, Including Those On Reproductive Rights, Seriously, Legal Expert Writes In Opinion Piece

Ms. Magazine: The Persistent Danger of Trump’s Definition of ‘Unalienable Rights’
Elena Sarver, legal adviser at the Global Justice Center

“The State Department’s newly formed Unalienable Rights Commission held its third public meeting [Wednesday]. It’s been six months since the commission was first announced in July 2019 by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but it’s important to not lose sight of the dangers this commission poses. … Given the commissioners’ views, … this commission is more than likely to continue the Trump administration’s assault on reproductive rights. To protect hard-fought gains securing abortion access as a human right, we must not lose sight of the commission’s dangerous intent and continue to push back. However, we must go beyond calling for the dissolution of the commission. The U.S. must take seriously and engage meaningfully with its own human rights obligations, which is something both conservative and liberal administrations have failed to do…” (12/11).

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Doctors, Public Health Officials Should Be More Proactive In Explaining Herd Immunity To Parents, Opinion Piece Says

Global Health NOW: The Myth about Herd Immunity
Lavanya Vasudevan, assistant professor of family medicine and community health, and global health at Duke University, and Gavin Yamey, professor of the practice of global health and public policy and director of Duke University’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health

“…Disturbingly, vaccine refusals are increasingly the reality in many parts of the U.S. and elsewhere. … [T]hese trends signal a dangerous lack of public understanding about how herd immunity works. Typically, 93% to 95% of a population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and prevent an outbreak of measles. … But even … with rates above 93%, herd immunity offers no guarantees. The protective effect of herd immunity can vary based on the ‘herd’ that an individual moves with. Relocation, travel, or even a new circle of friends can change the composition of one’s herd, and thus its shared protection against infection. … And there’s another reason to worry about potential measles outbreaks: New findings suggest that when children are infected with measles, the virus wipes out the protective effects of previous vaccinations against other diseases. … While vaccinations are often framed as an individual decision, these impacts on public health should not be undersold. Doctors and public health officials need to be more proactive in explaining these benefits…” (12/11).

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More Investment, Sustained Political Will Necessary To Achieve UHC, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Keeping the promise — time to move from declarations to deeds on UHC
Carolyn Reynolds, distinguished fellow with the George Institute for Global Health and senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

“On Dec. 12, the world celebrates Universal Health Coverage Day, which marks the 2012 passage of a United Nations resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward quality, affordable health care for all. … The good news is that 2019 saw a significant increase in global political attention and commitments toward UHC. … Now for the bad news. The ‘2019 Global Monitoring Report’ from the World Health Organization showed that UHC is far from a reality for more than half of the world’s population — and the outlook is deteriorating. … Yet with urgent, concerted, and accelerated global action in three areas, there’s still hope for making significant progress. First, lower-income countries and their partners must invest more, and more smartly, in health. … Second, UHC plans must reflect a whole-of-government approach. … Third, we must step up advocacy and accountability. … With smarter funding, a comprehensive view, and sustained policy advocacy, we can launch the UHC countdown decade with hope” (12/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Feed The Future Program Helps Reduce Malnutrition, Stunting Among Children In Africa, Stanford Study Shows

Stanford Medicine: U.S. Feed the Future program reduces stunting of children in Africa, study finds
“Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, has prevented 2.2 million children from experiencing malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found. The researchers, led by Tess Ryckman, a Stanford Health Policy graduate student, compared children’s health in 33 low- and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In 12 of those countries, Feed the Future provided services such as agricultural assistance and financial services for farmers, as well as direct nutrition support, such as nutrient supplementation. The study, published online Dec. 11 in the BMJ, found a 3.9 percentage point decrease in chronic malnutrition among children served by Feed the Future, leading to 2.2 million fewer children whose development has been harmed by malnourishment…” (Duff-Brown, 12/11).

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Blog Post, Podcast, Study, Statement Mark International UHC Day

The BMJ Opinion: We must change how we measure the impact of health spending on poor people if we are serious about “leaving no one behind”
Sarah Thomson, senior health financing specialist at the WHO Barcelona Office for Health Systems Strengthening, Tamás Evetovits, head of the WHO Barcelona Office for Health Systems Strengthening, and Jonathan Cylus, coordinator of the London Hub of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, discuss the promise of “leaving no one behind” in efforts to achieve UHC. They conclude, “To keep the promise of leaving no one behind, countries need to be able to benefit the most disadvantaged people first, with the help of indicators and metrics amenable to equity analysis” (12/12).

Center for Global Development: Lessons from Ghana on Universal Health Coverage: Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt on the CGD Podcast
Maya Malarski, a policy analyst for the international Decision Support Initiative (iDSI) at CGD, speaks with Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt, director of technical coordination at Ghana’s Ministry of Health, about how Ghana’s National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is working toward achieving UHC (12/11).

The Lancet Global Health: A comprehensive assessment of universal health coverage in 111 countries: a retrospective observational study
Adam Wagstaff of the Development Research Group and Sven Neelsen of the Health, Nutrition, & Population Global Practice, both at the World Bank, examine health service coverage and financial protection in 111 countries, concluding, “Strong UHC performance is correlated with the share of a country’s health budget that is channelled through government and social health insurance schemes” (12/11).

WHO: Keeping the promise to the women who will deliver universal health coverage
In a statement marking International UHC Day, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says, “This Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day is the first since the landmark September 2019 United Nations High Level Meeting on UHC when Heads of State and Government made strong commitments to deliver UHC. And one of the most important promises made was to address the gender inequities in the health and social workforce that disadvantage women and limit their advance into leadership. Heads of State and Government agreed unanimously that this has to change…” (12/12).

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Brookings Experts Examine Refugee Crisis In Venezuela, International Response

Brookings: Venezuela refugee crisis to become the largest and most underfunded in modern history
Dany Bahar, fellow, and Meagan Dooley, research analyst, both with the Global Economy and Development Program at Brookings, examine the refugee crisis in Venezuela and the international response. The authors write, “There are no simple solutions — the crisis is politically complex, protracted, and involves over 17 regional host nations. Yet a key first step must be greater coordination between host nations and donors. While host countries, alongside UNHCR and IOM, have put together a platform for regional coordination (the Quito Process), countries have yet to agree on a comprehensive response plan, both in terms of policies and joint fundraising efforts. Key areas for policy collaboration include improved border management, a unified cross-border identification system, voluntary regional reallocation schemes, and joint infrastructure investments” (12/9).

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Research Examines China's Progress On Health-Related SDGs

Brookings: The 5 problems China must tackle now to achieve the 2030 health SDGs
Shu Chen, research associate and coordinator with the Global Health Research Center at Duke Kunshan University; Wenhui Mao, senior research and policy associate with the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health, at the Duke Global Health Institute; and Shenglan Tang, Mary & James Semans Professor of Medicine and Global Health and deputy director of the Duke Global Health Institute, discuss their research on China’s progress toward achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. The authors cite their related article in PLOS Medicine and identify five key health challenges facing China — hepatitis, tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases, out-of-pocket spending, and aging — and three actions the country can take to get closer to achieving health-related SDGs (12/11).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID, CDC, HHS Providing Financial Assistance, Other Support To Address Samoa Measles Outbreak

USAID: USAID Responds to the Deadly Outbreak of Measles in Samoa
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the World Health Organization (WHO) to help coordinate international aid for the outbreak of measles in the Independent State of Samoa. USAID is providing $200,000 in disaster assistance to fund the WHO’s coordination of, and support for, international efforts to respond to the highly contagious disease. … USAID is coordinating our response in Samoa with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has deployed a two-person technical team to the capital city of Apia to support the Ministry of Health” (12/11).

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