KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Bipartisan FY 2020 Appropriations Package Includes Funding For Biodefense, PEPFAR, Global Fund

Homeland Preparedness News: Appropriations legislative package bolsters funding for nation’s biodefense efforts
“The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Monday released the domestic priorities and international assistance appropriations minibus, which includes ramped-up final budget amounts for several biodefense-related items, including the Strategic National Stockpile…” (Riley, 12/17).

Washington Blade: Congress agrees to boost in funds for Trump’s HIV plan — and then some
“In a positive move in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the spending package Congress unveiled this week more-or-less meets President Trump’s request for an additional $300 million for his plan on the domestic front, but also rejects his proposed draconian cuts for research and global programs. … PEPFAR funding at the State Department matches FY19 levels, at $4.37 billion, rejecting a $1 billion cut Trump proposed in his budget. Additionally, the deal includes $1.56 billion for the Global Fund, which is the first installment of a new three year pledge, and reaffirms the U.S. share of 33 percent of Global Fund contributions…” (Johnson, 12/17).

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Devex Examines Implications Of DFID, FCO Merger, Reports On DFID Official's Criticism Of E.U. Aid Rules

Devex: What happens when an aid department is folded?
“…Civil society groups fear that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson could follow through on his earlier calls to merge DFID and FCO now that he has won a Conservative majority. … If the merger goes ahead, it would not be the first country to undergo such a shift. Devex spoke to experts in Canada, Australia, and Norway, where aid agencies have already been merged with their foreign affairs ministries, to find out what impact it had…” (Young-Powell, 12/18).

Devex: DFID official criticizes E.U. for ‘condescending’ rules on tied aid
“A senior aid official from the United Kingdom has criticized the European Union for its ‘condescending’ policy of channeling humanitarian assistance through E.U. entities. The comments come as U.K.-based NGOs are set to lose their eligibility for E.U. aid funding, some of which is reserved for organizations headquartered within the E.U., after the country leaves the bloc in January. By contrast, E.U. NGOs will retain eligibility for U.K. funding as it no longer formally ties aid, although most of its aid contracts still go to U.K. organizations…” (Chadwick, 12/17).

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Global Monitoring, Evaluation Of Sanitation Progress Underestimates Impacts Of Unsafe Sewage Management, Report Says

Devex: Scale of urban sanitation crisis is underestimated globally, new report shows
“The scale of the urban sanitation crisis is underestimated globally, according to a new report released Wednesday by the World Resources Institute. … In the report, researchers analyzed 15 cities in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, which account for a population of about 101 million people. They found that on average, 62% of sewage and fecal waste is unsafely managed, which can include ineffective septic tanks, open defecation, shoddily constructed and flooded pit latrines, as well as open sewers…” (Jerving, 12/18).

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Man In DRC Linked To Transmission Chain Of Ebola Died From Disease Resurgence, Not Reinfection, WHO Says Amid Increase In Cases

Homeland Preparedness News: WHO investigating spike in DRC Ebola cases, including fear of reinfection
“…In all, 27 new cases were confirmed last week in the DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The previous three weeks saw an average of seven. While the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that these cases were all linked to three transmission chains, most of these cases came from a single chain and one that should be profoundly troubling to health experts. WHO reported that one individual was a potential source of infection for 17 people. This individual’s infection represents the second time they were documented as infected over six months…” (Galford, 12/17).

The Telegraph: Experts breathe sigh of relief as WHO says Ebola patient was not reinfected with the deadly disease
“There is relief in Democratic Republic of Congo as authorities have said that a man thought to be reinfected with the Ebola virus was in fact suffering from a ‘resurgence’ of the disease — that is, the virus was still lurking in his immune system. There was alarm last week among experts when the first reports came through that a patient had died after catching the deadly virus a second time — a case of reinfection with Ebola has never been documented and survivors are thought to be immune…” (Gulland, 12/17).

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U.N. Pauses Overhaul Of Aid Operations Leadership In Yemen, Needs $3.3B For 2020 Humanitarian Efforts In Country

New Humanitarian: EXCLUSIVE: U.N. backtracks on Syria aid reshuffle
“The U.N. has paused plans for an overhaul of aid operations in Syria that critics said would have handed too much clout to President Bashar al-Assad. It will not abolish a senior position in Jordan, or transfer more decision-making to Damascus, despite signals earlier in the year. … The U.N. says it needs $3.3 billion to help an estimated nine million Syrians in 2020, including more than six million people who have been forced to flee violence and remain internally displaced…” (Parker, 12/17).

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Gunmen Kill 2 Policemen Escorting Polio Vaccination Team In Pakistan

Al Jazeera: Two killed in attack targeting polio vaccination team in Pakistan
“At least two policemen have been killed in an attack targeting a polio vaccination drive in northwest Pakistan, officials say, the latest in a series of attacks targeting eradication efforts in one of only three countries in the world where the disease remains endemic…” (Hashim, 12/18).

AP: Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio team in Pakistan
“…No one immediately claimed responsibility for the shooting. Pakistan regularly carries out anti-polio drives, despite threats from the Taliban who claim the campaign is a Western conspiracy to sterilize children. Polio teams and security forces escorting them are often targeted in deadly attacks…” (Khan, 12/18).

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More News In Global Health

ABC: Researchers find way to block spread of deadly malaria parasite (Macdonald, 12/18).

Borgen Magazine: Global Health Partnerships in Kenya (Kiessling, 12/18).

CIDRAP News: Yellow fever outbreak intensifies in Nigeria (Schnirring, 12/17).

Devex: Q&A: Funding imbalance threatens Yemen’s recovery, UNDP expert says (Welsh, 12/18).

Miami Herald: Can this scent lure and kill the dreaded mosquito? These Miami researchers say it can (Cohen, 12/17).

Nature: The science news events that shaped 2019 (Castelvecchi et al., 12/18).

New Humanitarian: Cash ban stokes worry among Rohingya volunteers (Ahmed, 12/17).

New York Times: Dr. John Robbins, Developer of a Meningitis Vaccine, Dies at 86 (McNeil, 12/17).

NPR: Menstrual Huts Are Illegal In Nepal. So Why Are Women Still Dying In Them? (Vaughn, 12/17).

SciDev.Net: U.N. turns to space technology to reach SDGs (Donahue, 12/18).

SciDev.Net: Low-income countries hit by ‘double burden’ of malnutrition extremes (Willmer, 12/17).

The Telegraph: The perfect predator? Inside the Tbilisi clinic pioneering a radical superbug treatment (Merz, 12/17).

Xinhua: WHO delivers emergency aid to medical centers in Libya’s Tripoli (12/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Former U.K. International Development Minister Cautions 'Hasty Decision' On DFID, FCO Merger In Opinion Piece

The Guardian: Now Britain’s navel-gazing has to end. It’s time to keep our aid pledge to the world
Alistair Burt, former minister of state for international development and former Conservative MP

“…The U.K. has a long and proud legacy of supporting and investing in the world’s most vulnerable communities. From Bolivia to Bangladesh, our investment has saved the lives of millions, and is helping them reshape and rebuild shattered communities. But while we’ve made huge progress in reducing extreme poverty worldwide, there is still a long way to go. … Aid is more than just platitudes by governments. It transforms lives. It’s because of this proven success that we can’t back away from our international commitments. … I hope the government will not make a hasty decision on merging DFID and the Foreign Office. A standalone DFID has been excellent for the U.K.’s reputation abroad, and those who work for it truly represent global Britain. As we enter this new season, my message to our new political leaders is this: use that unity between parliament and people as an anchor for rebuilding our national purpose, and demonstrate that we will not forget the world’s poor. They’re counting on us” (12/17).

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Focusing On Birth Rates In Poor Countries As Climate Change Solution Ignores Need For Large-Scale Transformational Actions, Opinion Piece Says

Miami Herald: Scientists wrong to put burden of saving the planet on the world’s poor women
Kelsey Holt, social and behavioral scientist and researcher with the Person-Centered Reproductive Health Program at U.C. San Francisco

“Thousands of scientists around the world joined together last month to label climate change the ’emergency’ that it is. But one of the main points they make — linking control of women’s reproduction to environmental goals — is problematic. Focusing on what women in poor nations with the highest birth rates can do to curb climate change distracts from holding wealthy countries and corporations accountable for their disproportionate harm to the planet and imperils the right to reproductive autonomy. … Education and access to family planning are essential to gender equity and must be fiercely promoted in their own right. But arguing that they are an instrument against climate change implies that the most disenfranchised have an outsize role to play in the fight because of higher birth rates, when in reality they contribute very little to greenhouse gas emissions. … [T]he misplaced emphasis on poor women’s reproduction risks sacrificing human rights to chip away at climate change, a massive problem that needs transformational solutions. And it also distracts from the fact that poor communities are the least likely to have the resources to mitigate the devastating impact of climate change on their lives and livelihoods, and thus have the most to lose. Even if women in poor countries stopped having children tomorrow, without massive decarbonization of the economy neither the planet nor their lives will be any better off now or in the future…” (12/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Research Paper Examines Implementation Of WHO Global Strategy On Medicines, Intellectual Property at 10-Year Mark

South Centre: Medicines and Intellectual Property: 10 Years of the WHO Global Strategy
In this research paper, Germán Velásquez, special adviser for health and development at the South Centre, examines “the negotiating process and the steps given for the implementation of the
World Health Organization (WHO) Global Strategy on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (resolution WHA61.21) 10 years after its May 2008 approval.” According to the paper’s abstract, “One of the objectives of the [Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property’s] Global Strategy and Plan of Action was to substantially reform the pharmaceutical innovation system in view of its failure to produce affordable medicines for diseases that affect the greater part of the world’s population living in developing countries. The intellectual property (IP) rights imposed by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the trade agreements could become some of the main obstacles to accessing medicines. The [Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPOA)] made a critical analysis of this reality and opened the door to the search for new solutions to this problem. Ten years after the approval of the GSPOA, the results are uncertain and poor” (December 2019).

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Blog Post Discusses Global Need To Better Address Gender-Based Violence In Foreign Policies

Council on Foreign Relations: Violence Against Women: Beyond Multilateral Virtue Signaling
Chelsea Thorpe, former intern for International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the growing prevalence of gender-based violence and the individual countries’ “need to centralize women in their diplomatic efforts across the board, an aim best achieved through the formal adoption of feminist foreign policies [FFP].” Thorpe writes, “The current bar for prioritizing women is quite low, so even minimal steps in the direction of FFP would constitute a significant improvement. … If implemented well, FFP can revolutionize not just foreign policy, but world affairs” (12/17).

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Gates Foundation Releases 2019 Year In Review, Includes Sections On Global Health Financing, Gender Equality

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 2019 Year in Review
In the introduction letter to the Gates Foundation’s 2019 Year In Review, outgoing CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann writes, “In 2019, our foundation played a part in some remarkable breakthroughs, which promise that what comes next in health, gender equality, agricultural development, and education in the United States will save millions of lives and empower countless communities around the world in 2020 and beyond. This is a showcase of progress in just four of the many issues we work on: global health financing, gender equality, agricultural development, and U.S. education” (12/18).

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UNAIDS Posts Discuss Community Involvement In HIV/AIDS Response, Importance Of Knowing HIV Status

UNAIDS: Communities are making the difference in the HIV response
First published by Global Cause on World AIDS Day, this piece by UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima discusses the role of communities in the HIV/AIDS response and the importance of international support for community-driven actions (12/18).

UNAIDS: Young people and men less likely to know their HIV status
This update discusses the importance of various populations knowing their HIV status, highlighting the challenges in several regions of Africa (12/17).

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Youth Increasingly Becoming Involved In Health Care Activism, BMJ Feature Reports

The BMJ: Youth activism for health: taking the future into their own hands
“…Increasingly, young people are taking their future into their own hands, frustrated by government inaction on issues that will affect the younger generation the most. … Ahead of the U.N. climate change conference in December 2019, the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, compared this youth leadership and mobilization with government inaction, arguing that although the world has the means to tackle the climate emergency, politicians lack the will to make it happen. … Health care too has increasingly vocal and influential young leaders…” (Dobson, 12/17).

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From the U.S. Government

State Department Initiative Supports Economic Advancement Of Women, Addresses Gender-Based Violence In Americas

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Empowered Women Empower Others
Zach Braun of the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and colleagues discuss the department’s Women Entrepreneurs in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative, which support women’s economic advancement in the Western Hemisphere, as well as how the program contributes to efforts to address gender-based violence (12/17).

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