KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Continue Coverage Of U.S. Efforts To Remove Reproductive Health Language From U.N. Resolutions

Associated Press: U.S. defeated trying to rid references to reproductive health
“The United States has faced overwhelming defeat in two attempts to eliminate references to ‘sexual and reproductive health’ from U.N. General Assembly resolutions on preventing violence and sexual harassment of women and girls and on child, early, and forced marriage…” (12/17).

VICE News: The U.S. tried to take language on reproductive health out of a U.N. resolution to prevent violence against women
“The United States just became the only country in the United Nations to vote against language in a resolution that aims to stop violence against women and girls. Why? Two paragraphs used the terms ‘sexual and reproductive health’…” (Sherman, 12/18).

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Outlet Reports On U.S. President Trump's Signing Of PEPFAR Extension Act

Namibia Economist: More U.S. Support to Combat HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Until 2023
“The United States of America’s efforts to provide assistance to foreign countries to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria will continue until 2023 after President Donald Trump signed the ‘PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018’ into law last week…” (12/18).

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Yemen Ceasefire Takes Hold, Raising Hopes Of Ending Humanitarian Crisis

Associated Press: Truce brings hope for Yemen, but peace could prove elusive
“A cease-fire on Tuesday halted months of heavy fighting in Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, raising hopes that the latest U.N.-led peace efforts can end the civil war and alleviate the world’s worst humanitarian crisis…” (Al-Haj/Magdy, 12/18).

Wall Street Journal: Fragile Yemen Cease-Fire Takes Hold After U.S. Push
“…The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It pits the internationally recognized Yemeni government and its main ally — a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the U.S. — against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who took over the capital city, San’a, in 2014. With an array of forces and interests in play, diplomatic efforts have repeatedly faltered…” (Fitch/al-Batati, 12/18).

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As Many As 319 People Dead In DRC Ebola Outbreak, Health Ministry Reports

CNN: Up to 319 people dead as Congo Ebola outbreak worsens
“One of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history continues to worsen in the Democratic Republic of Congo with as many as 319 people now dead. The Ministry of Health said Tuesday that 542 Ebola cases had been recorded in the province of North Kivu — 494 of which have been confirmed. Of the 319 believed to have died from the virus so far, 271 have been confirmed…” (Feleke/Scutti, 12/19).

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Drone Delivery Of Vaccines To Remote Vanuatu Islands Called 'Big Leap For Global Health'

U.N. News: One small flight for a drone, one ‘big leap’ for global health
“…The state-of-the-art craft which transported the vaccine, travelled nearly 40 kilometers over rugged mountain terrain, flying from Dillon’s Bay in western Vanuatu to remote Cook’s Bay — a scattered community accessible only on foot or by small boats — where 13 children and five pregnant women were inoculated by a nurse. Henrietta H. Fore, the executive director of UNICEF said the tiny aircraft’s flight ‘is a big leap for global health’…” (12/18).

VICE News: How a baby in a remote island nation got vaccinated is “a big leap for global health”
“…Island nations — like Vanuatu … — have limited roads, often winding across mountainous terrain, which makes transportation difficult. Plus, many vaccines need to be refrigerated, which can be impossible in remote areas that lack electricity. In Vanuatu, nearly 20 percent of children go without their essential childhood vaccines, according to UNICEF…” (12/18).

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U.N. General Assembly Condemns North Korea For Violating Human Rights, Prioritizing Nuclear Weapons Development Over Population Welfare

Associated Press: U.N. Condemns N. Korea Rights Violations, Nuclear Spending
“The U.N. General Assembly on Monday condemned North Korea’s ‘systematic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights’ and its diversion of resources into pursing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles over the welfare of its people…” (Lederer, 12/17).

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Progress Made To Implement Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, WHO Report Shows

Intellectual Property Watch: WHO Report Shows Global Progress On Influenza Preparedness Response
“The World Health Organization has released a new report showing that significant progress has been made to build national and global preparedness for future influenza pandemics. This progress resulted from the collaborative multi-sectoral implementation of a WHO plan, funded by the benefit-sharing contributions of industry partners, to strengthen global health security against pandemic influenza…” (Branigan, 12/18).

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More News In Global Health

BuzzFeed News: 8 Disease Outbreaks From 2018 That You Should Know About (Kee, 12/16).

Devex: DFID urged to push for bolder U.N. humanitarian reforms (Edwards, 12/19).

The Economist: Why did Nigeria ban UNICEF? (12/18).

The Economist: Scanning mosquitoes with infrared light could help to control malaria (12/18).

The Guardian: ‘The blood lady’: the medical start-up founder saving lives in Nigeria — podcast (Lamble/Stephens, 12/19).

MedPage Today: Australia on Track to ‘Eliminate Cervical Cancer as a Public Health Issue’ (Minerd, 12/17).

NPR: Nobel Winner Wants To Start Fund For Women Sexually Assaulted In Conflict (Cole, 12/18).

PRI: Abortion is legal in Italy, but most doctors refuse to perform them (12/18).

Reuters: WHO confirms case of yellow fever in Netherlands, says risk low (Kelland, 12/18).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Girls taken to Uganda, Tanzania for ‘vacation cutting’ as Kenya cracks down on FGM (Bhalla, 12/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Holistic Approach 'Most Valuable Innovation' In Sierra Leone Government's Response To Ebola

The Lancet Global Health: Presidential responses to Ebola in Sierra Leone
Sebastian Kevany, research data analyst at the University of California San Fransisco, and colleagues

“…Under the Government of Sierra Leone’s National Ebola Recovery Strategy for Sierra Leone 2015-2017, both the President’s Early Recovery initiative and the follow-up President’s Recovery Priorities initiative adapted elements of the structure of other emergency response models (e.g., the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in the U.K. and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR]) to the setting of Sierra Leone. Acutely cognizant of the limitations of the health system, this national strategy created a similar post-epidemic supportive hierarchy to that in the U.K. and U.S. initiatives which (1) spanned all government departments, (2) enhanced monitoring and evaluation of national development efforts, and (3) had unprecedented authority to direct national and international resources to the epidemic. A further logic to the President’s Recovery Priorities approach was a kind of benign quid pro quo: just as the country’s trade, industrial, and agricultural sectors were all affected by the outbreak, all of them were drafted into the national recovery. … For the President’s Recovery Priorities intervention, the principle of a holistic response … has been one of the most valuable innovations…” (January 2019).

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Ebola Vaccine Studies Should Include Pregnant Women

Mother Jones: Vaccine Studies Still Exclude Pregnant Women. That’s a Big Mistake.
Rosa Furneaux, Ben Bagdikian editorial fellow at Mother Jones

“…Even though Ebola is a severe and often fatal disease, the [experimental Ebola] vaccine is not available for pregnant or lactating women because there is not enough data to show how it might affect them or their fetus. The reason there isn’t enough data? Pregnant women were excluded from nearly all the vaccine’s clinical trials. According to a new report by medical experts, the problem is global. New vaccines are rarely designed with the specific needs of pregnant women in mind, leaving many women vulnerable to diseases which, a few months earlier, they might have been able to receive protection from. … There has historically been a hesitancy to include pregnant women in vaccine research because of the theoretical risk that active material in ‘live’ vaccines could be transmitted to the fetus. But vaccinating pregnant women should be a priority … For some pathogens, like influenza and malaria, pregnant women are at significantly higher risk of serious disease and death. And, of course, suffering an infection during pregnancy can potentially harm two lives. … Experts acknowledge the risk that may exist to a fetus should a pregnant woman receive a live vaccine. But that risk … must be put into context during an outbreak…” (12/18).

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Leadership Needed To Help Sustainably Develop Vaccines, Create Viable Markets

Nature: Vaccine candidates for poor nations are going to waste
David C. Kaslow, vice president for essential medicines at PATH, and colleagues

“…In our view, the main stakeholders must come together to define a new path for the sustainable development of vaccines that are socially justified but that have no business case, an uncertain one, or that require considerable public funding to reach the clinic. Participants should include funding agencies such as the Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the NIH; early-development partners such as PATH and the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul; vaccine manufacturers from wealthy and emerging economies; and organizations that recommend and procure vaccines for poor countries, such as the WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The first aim should be to assess all the candidates in the pipeline. … [Financial] schemes need to be expanded and rethought to give vaccine developers more certainty and upfront financial backing. … Stakeholders should define clear [regulatory] pathways. They should negotiate more alignment between the various organizations involved in planning, development, and oversight. Finally, they should identify what infrastructure and human capacity are needed to ensure that a reliable supply of vaccines can be provided long-term to the people who need them. Only with this kind of leadership will the global community secure vaccines for some of the world’s most debilitating diseases” (12/18).

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Global Community Must Recognize Links Between Climate, Gender

IRIN: What to do about climate change? Ask women — they have the most to lose
Winnie Byanyima, executive director at Oxfam International

“Climate change affects women in a profoundly different way than men. Culture and tradition in many places puts the role of caring for families on women. … So as the impacts of climate change take grip, it is women who must be on the front lines of adapting and finding solutions: new sources of water; new ways to feed their families; new crops to grow and new ways to grow them; new ways to cook. … If we are to stop climate change from trampling on the rights of women and the most vulnerable, then we need to fight for more equal societies. This means questioning unequal gender roles, sharing work more evenly between men and women, and increasing women’s participation in decision-making. … We need to recognize the burdens and inequities placed on women in the home, in crisis situations, and in our economic structure and begin to address gender when addressing the impacts of climate change. … In the months ahead, governments must follow the lead of the world’s most vulnerable nations and immediately begin strengthening their commitments to take action, including adding women’s voices in the process” (12/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

FHI 360 Blog Post Examines Costs Of Natural Disasters, Disease Outbreaks

FHI 360’s “Research for Evidence”: What do we know about the costs of natural disasters and disease outbreaks?
Katherine Whitton, research intern for the Research and Evaluation Strategic Initiative at FHI 360, discusses findings from three journal articles that each focus on a different aspect of estimating, mitigating, and understanding the economic cost of different natural disaster events and disease outbreaks (12/18).

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Global Health Organizations Highlight Key Moments In 2018

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: 2018: A Look Back
“As the calendar page turns, we look back on some of the stories and moments that shaped 2018. Celebrating the 27 million lives saved. Honoring those we have lost. Amplifying the voices of people and communities most affected by the epidemics. Welcoming new leadership and partnerships. And accelerating investment and innovation to achieve a future free of the burden of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria” (December 2018).

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: Top 12 Global Health Moments of 2018
This post highlights 12 moments in global health in 2018, including attacks on health care workers delivering polio vaccines in Pakistan, the elimination of trachoma as a public health threat in Nepal and Ghana, and the passage of the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018 (12/14).

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From the U.S. Government

GAO Report Examines Potential Threats Facing U.S. As Identified By U.S. Agencies

U.S. Government Accountability Office: National Security: Long-Range Emerging Threats Facing the United States As Identified by Federal Agencies
“The United States faces a complex array of threats to our national security, including our political, economic, military, and social systems. These threats will continue to evolve as new and resurgent adversaries develop politically and militarily, as weapons and technology advance, and as environmental and demographic changes occur. A House committee report accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 included a provision for GAO to identify emerging threats of high national security consequence. This report focuses on long-range emerging threats — those that may occur in approximately five or more years, or those that may occur during an unknown timeframe — as identified by various respondents at the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of State (State), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)…” (12/13).

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