KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Reps. Chabot, Connolly Introduce Legislation On Global Health Security

Homeland Preparedness News: Reps. Chabot, Connolly sponsor global health security bill
“U.S. Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) introduced legislation Thursday that seeks to reaffirm U.S. commitment to promoting global health security. The Global Health Security Act would codify how the United States prepares for and responds to public health threats. Typically, U.S. global health security staffing and activities are reliant on an executive order and not explicitly supported in law. Further, it bolsters U.S. commitments under the Global Health Security Agenda, which is a multilateral initiative to build countries’ capacity to manage infectious disease threats and elevate health security as a global priority…” (Kovaleski, 12/14).

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USNS Comfort Provides Health Care For Latin American Immigrants In Nations Neighboring Venezuela

Fox News: U.S. Navy offers what Venezuelan regime can’t: Urgent health care
“It’s a softer face of U.S. military service not often shown to the world: Sailors and medical personnel spending weeks on-end to treat those fleeing starvation, poverty, oppression, and fear — in some of the most desperate corners of the world. And so while the Venezuelan government continues to deny and downplay the horrific humanitarian and economic crisis plaguing what was once the richest country in Latin America, a floating U.S. Navy hospital, USNS Comfort, is alleviating some of the burden on nations neighboring Venezuela. … The team has so far provided humanitarian medical assistance to the partner nations of Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia — and soon Honduras…” (McKay, 12/15).

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Nearly 200 Nations At Climate Conference, Including U.S., Reach Deal To Implement Paris Agreement

New York Times: Climate Negotiators Reach an Overtime Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive
“Diplomats from nearly 200 countries reached a deal on Saturday to keep the Paris climate agreement alive by adopting a detailed set of rules to implement the pact. The deal, struck after an all-night bargaining session, will ultimately require every country in the world to follow a uniform set of standards for measuring their planet-warming emissions and tracking their climate policies. … It also calls on richer countries to be clearer about the aid they intend to offer to help poorer nations install more clean energy or build resilience against natural disasters. … The United States agreed to the deal despite President Trump’s vow to abandon the Paris Agreement…” (Plumer, 12/15).

Additional coverage of the COP24 conference outcomes is available from Devex, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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Health Policy Watch Examines WHO Report Outlining Global Public Spending On Health

Health Policy Watch: Health Spending Grows Faster Than Global GDP — But Millions Lack Essential Coverage, U.N. Says
“…[H]uge inequalities persist that prevent millions of people from getting the care they need, according to a new World Health Organization report issued [December 12], the first official United Nations-sponsored Universal Health Coverage Day. The report ‘Public Spending on Health: A Closer Look at Global Trends’ reveals that in low-income countries, the average share of GDP spent on health in 2016 was actually lower than it had been in 2000. Meanwhile, external, aid per capita, had more than doubled across low-income countries, the report states. The data highlights the need for stronger domestic commitments to public health coverage in countries where needs are the often greatest…” (12/12).

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Al Jazeera, Documentary Examine Industry Influences On WHO

Al Jazeera: Trust WHO: The Business of Global Health
“…[The documentary film] TrustWHO shines a light on how industry lobbies have infiltrated the WHO and asks whether the organization can be trusted to keep the public healthy” (12/15).

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Inside Philanthropy Examines FCAA Data Showing Decrease In Philanthropic HIV/AIDS Funding

Inside Philanthropy: So Close, Yet So Far: Why is HIV/AIDS Funding Decreasing?
“…[P]hilanthropic funding for research, treatment, prevention and awareness around HIV/AIDS is decreasing. According to the latest data by Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA), such giving decreased by five percent, or $37 million, between 2016 and 2017 — reaching the lowest level since 2014. A significant portion of the decreases came from the top 20 funders, who accounted for 88 percent of HIV-related philanthropy in 2017…” (Dickow, 12/12).

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Yemen Ceasefire Agreement Raises Hope For Improved Humanitarian Access; U.N. SG Warns Situation Could Worsen In 2019

Agence France-Presse: U.N. warns Yemen could face ‘much worse’ in 2019
“U.N. chief António Guterres warned Sunday that ‘much worse’ lay in store for Yemen in 2019 unless its warring parties strike a peace deal and head off a humanitarian crisis. A high number of Yemenis have been dying in ‘very dramatic circumstances’ as a result of food shortages, Guterres told a news conference in Doha…” (12/16).

BBC News: Yemen crisis: Hudaydah ceasefire delayed after clashes
“An ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Yemen’s war will actually come into effect on 18 December, officials say, after the initial deal was followed by violence. The warring sides agreed to end fighting in the vital port city of Hudaydah last Thursday…” (12/16).

U.N. News: Yemen ceasefire deal: ‘Potential’ now to restore humanitarian lifeline to millions
“The freshly agreed Yemen ceasefire deal covering the key Red Sea governorates of Hudaydah and Taiz has been welcomed by the World Food Programme (WFP), which on Friday expressed hope that it would improve access for humanitarians and, just as crucially, commercial shipping…” (12/14).

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Ebola Outbreak In Congo 'Unforgiving,' WHO Says

Agence France-Presse: Approximately 300 dead as DR Congo battles Ebola outbreak
“The Ebola outbreak in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed roughly 300 lives. ‘There were 303 deaths (255 confirmed and 48 almost certainly) and 179 cured,’ according to the statement from the ministry of health. … FRANCE 24’s Clément Bonnerot reports [in this video]…” (12/15).

CIDRAP News: Six more cases reported in DRC Ebola outbreak
“In a snapshot of the latest patterns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) Ebola outbreak [Thursday], the World Health Organization (WHO) said conditions are ‘unforgiving,’ with community resistance and conflict hampering the response and poor infection prevention and control practices in certain health facilities amplifying disease spread. [Friday] the DRC’s health ministry reported six more cases, including three from Dec. 12 in patients whose lab results were released late in the day…” (Schnirring, 12/14).

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More News In Global Health

ABC News: Scientists are getting ahead of Rift Valley fever after learning from the Zika epidemic (Strauss, 12/15).

Al Jazeera: What’s being done to fight HIV/AIDS stigma in MENA? (12/17).

CIDRAP News: Studies on transmission, vaccine bring focus back to Zika (Soucheray, 12/14).

CNN: This app tells your doctor if you have malaria (Lewton/McCool, 12/14).

Devex: Q&A: How to ensure global access to medicines that work (12/17).

Health Policy Watch: Kenyan President Launches Benchmark Universal Health Coverage Pilot, To Become Nationwide In 18 Months (Nzwili, 12/13).

Homeland Preparedness News: New Ebola diagnosis test seeks to revolutionize outbreak control (Galford, 12/14).

STAT: NIH report scrutinizes role of China in theft of U.S. scientific research (Facher, 12/13).

STAT: The CRISPR shocker: How genome-editing scientist He Jiankui rose from obscurity to stun the world (Begley/Joseph, 12/17).

U.N. News: U.N. agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants (12/14).

VICE News: One Doctor’s Desperate Attempt to Save Yemen’s Starving Children (Guettatfi, 12/14).

VOA News: New Midwives, Some Male, Want to Reduce Maternal Mortality in South Sudan (Wudu, 12/14).

VOA News: Nigerian Military Bans, Lifts Ban on UNICEF Within Hours (12/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

UNAIDS Board, Office Of Secretary General Must Take Urgent Action To Change, Improve UNAIDS Leadership

CNN: The #MeToo moment inside the U.N.
Laurie Garrett, founder of the Anthropos Initiative

“It’s a hypocrisy so heinous it seems at first glance unbelievable. UNAIDS, an organization that works to stop the spread of HIV worldwide by promoting safe sex, female empowerment, and human rights is, itself, a cesspool of gender intolerance, sexual harassment, and bullying, according to a new report issued by an independent panel of experts December 7. … The leadership of UNAIDS, the panel states, has created a work culture ‘of fear, lack of trust, and retaliation against those who speak up about harassment and abuse of power.’ … The UNAIDS board and the office of the secretary general should move with haste, demanding [UNAIDS Executive Director Michel] Sidibé and his cohort in the secretariat step down before the new year and placing a credible technocrat in temporary leadership. … It is a dangerous time in the fight against HIV, amid declining funding and interest in globalization and its causes. People with AIDS continue to need a strong voice fighting on their behalf. Sadly, neither Michel Sidibé nor his coterie can provide that voice of credible strength and candor. If the institution they have besmirched hopes to survive this terrible moment intact as a valued voice on behalf of the more than 35 million people living with HIV infection, it must take swifter and more significant action immediately” (12/15).

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Preventing Road Traffic Deaths Requires More Global Attention

Bloomberg: More people means more cars, and more deaths
Nathaniel Bullard, columnist and BloombergNEF energy analyst

“…A world with more people and more cars means more death on the world’s roads. … Road-traffic deaths have continued to increase as the human population increases. As Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, notes in his foreword to the WHO’s [Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018], ‘Road safety is an issue that does not receive anywhere near the attention it deserves — and it really is one of the great opportunities to save lives around the world.’ The Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety has dedicated more than a quarter-billion dollars over the past 12 years to that opportunity. And there are glimmers of positive development in the WHO report: Road-traffic deaths per 100,000 people have fallen slightly this century, and vehicles have become much safer. Turning the growing number of total deaths into a decline, however, will require much greater safety — for vehicles, for drivers, and for pedestrians — in a future with more cars and more people” (12/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Development Experts Examine Trends In Global Poverty Reduction

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: Rethinking global poverty reduction in 2019
Homi Kharas, interim vice president and director of global economy and development at the Brookings Institution; Kristofer Hamel, chief operating officer at World Data Lab; and Martin Hofer, research analyst at World Data Lab, discuss global poverty trends, noting that while “2019 will start with the lowest prevalence of extreme poverty ever recorded in human history … poverty reduction rates are expected to keep slowing down considerably over the next decade … making it nearly impossible to end poverty by 2030.” The authors highlight salient trends including India’s progress and Africa’s stagnation in reducing extreme poverty, writing, “It seems clear that Africa remains the last frontier of the world’s effort to end extreme poverty by 2030” (12/13).

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Report Examines Donor Transitions From HIV Programs, Potential Impacts On Vulnerable Populations

Health Affairs: Donor Transitions From HIV Programs: What Is The Impact On Vulnerable Populations?
Robert Hecht, president of Pharos Global Health Advisors; Kelly Flanagan, associate program officer at Pharos Global Health Advisors; Hanna Huffstetler, associate in research with the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health; and Gavin Yamey, professor of global health and public policy at Duke University and director of Duke’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health, discuss findings from a report on HIV donor transitions and the potential impacts on key populations. The authors write, “Too little attention has been paid to date to the needs of key populations during transition. This is a mistake. Unless departing donors and ‘graduating’ countries address the risks that key populations face, these populations could suffer serious health setbacks, and the larger national achievements in fighting HIV/AIDS could easily be undermined or even reversed. … [D]onors and middle-income countries should together develop a more systematic approach to preparing for, designing, and implementing transition programs for key populations” (12/14).

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FT Health Discusses Migration, Health, Features Interview With Head Of WHO's Partnership For MNCH

FT Health: Migration myths and misconceptions
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses migrant health, highlighting the ICL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health and the adoption of the world’s first Global Compact on migration. The newsletter also features an interview with Helga Fogstad, executive director of the WHO’s Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, as well as provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Dodd, 12/14).

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IAEA Symposium Focuses On Double Burden Of Malnutrition; New Nutrition Resources Launched

International Atomic Energy Agency: Toward a Healthier Future: IAEA Symposium on the Double Burden of Malnutrition Concludes
Nicole Jawerth of the IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication highlights topics addressed at the International Symposium on Understanding the Double Burden of Malnutrition for Effective Interventions, which took place last week, writing, “Symposium discussions, presentations, and poster sessions involved a comprehensive and in-depth look at combating malnutrition from five angles: epidemiology, biology, assessment, interventions, and policy implications.” Jawerth also highlights two new nutrition resources launched last week: an IAEA database aimed at mitigating the obesity crisis and the 2018 Global Nutrition Report (12/17).

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From the U.S. Government

Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator For USAID's Bureau For Africa Testifies Before U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee

USAID: Statement of Ramsey Day, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Bureau for Africa, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
During testimony before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ramsey Day, senior deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Africa at USAID, discussed U.S. investments in Africa, highlighting the work of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and other international development and U.S. foreign assistance initiatives in Africa (12/12).

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USAID Announces Winners Of 2018 Digital Development Awards

USAID: USAID Recognizes Winners of 2018 Digital Development Awards
“[On Friday], the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the winners of its 2018 Digital Development Awards (Digi Awards), which recognize USAID projects’ innovative use of digital technologies and data to advance international development.” Winners included a program aimed at expanding access to affordable health care and insurance to low-income Tanzanians through a mobile platform, as well as a project that aims to increase early childhood immunizations in Northern Nigeria through mobile technology (12/14).

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