KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Coalition Of Aid Groups Urges Boris Johnson Against Merging DFID Into Foreign Office In 2020

The Guardian: Aid groups warn Boris Johnson against combining DFID with Foreign Office
“A coalition of aid groups including the British Red Cross, CAFOD, and Oxfam GB has warned Boris Johnson that to abolish the Department for International Development would suggest Britain is ‘turning our backs on the world’s poorest people.’ One climate diplomacy expert said it would be ‘political suicide’ to merge DFID with the Foreign Office in 2020, the same year the U.K. is hosting the U.N. climate summit, since the move would tie up senior civil servants when they were most needed to tackle the response to the climate crisis. Sources inside DFID have told the Guardian that they fully expect the department to be merged with the FCO after Brexit…” (McVeigh, 12/19).

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Tobacco Use Among Men Declining Globally For First Time, WHO Report Shows; Agency Calls On Governments To Make More Effort To Maintain Downward Trends

Reuters: Tobacco epidemic at turning point as male smoking rates stall: WHO
“The number of men who smoke and use tobacco has stopped rising and is on the turn for the first time, marking a shift in a global epidemic that has killed tens of millions of people over decades, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The change in global smoking trends shows that governments’ efforts to control tobacco are working ‘to save lives, protect health, beat tobacco,’ the WHO said in a report. It promised to work closely with countries to maintain the downward trend…” (Kelland, 12/18).

U.N. News: U.N. health agency signals tobacco might be reaching burn-out among men
“…Showing that tobacco use can be reversed should also give Governments confidence that they can meet the global target of a 30 percent reduction in tobacco use by 2025, the WHO official maintained. Despite the positive trend, however, the world is not on track to meet this target, he insisted, noting also that more than eight million people die from tobacco use every year — approximately half of its users. More than seven million of those deaths are from direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million fatalities are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke, WHO said…” (12/18).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Bloomberg and VOA.

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WHO Prequalifies First Biosimilar Drug To Increase Access To Breast Cancer Treatment

The Guardian: Low-cost breast cancer drug ‘could save lives in low-income countries’
“A cheap version of the groundbreaking breast cancer drug Herceptin has been approved by the World Health Organization, raising the possibility of lifesaving treatment for the first time for women in low-income countries. Herceptin is the brand name of trastuzumab, a drug which by 2006 in the U.K. was the subject of a huge battle for access for the 20% of women with the type of cancer, called HER2+, that it targets…” (Boseley, 12/18).

U.N. News: Low-cost breast cancer medicine move good news for women: U.N. health agency
“…Although other biosimilar versions of trastuzumab are available, this marked the first time one has been prequalified by WHO. The process involves assessing the quality, safety, and efficacy of medicines and other health products. … Trastuzumab was included in the WHO Essential Medicines List in 2015 as an essential treatment for about 20% of breast cancers, the most common form of cancer in women…” (12/18).

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News Outlets Examine Measles Outbreak In Samoa, Factors Leading To More Than 70 Deaths Of Mostly Children

New York Times: ‘Why My Baby?’: How Measles Robbed Samoa of Its Young
“…That question has consumed Samoa as the epidemic has killed dozens of young children in the past two months and infected thousands more, leaving virtually no one in this nation of big families and communal living untouched. When measles arrived on its shores, Samoa was grievously unprepared. The government had left the door to contagion wide open, allowing the vaccination rate to fall to a staggeringly low level and putting thousands of children at risk. … Samoa is an acute example of how unfounded mistrust of vaccines and gaps in routine health care have led to a resurgence of measles around the world…” (Kwai, 12/19).

Vox: Tiny Samoa has had nearly 5,000 measles cases. Here’s how it got so bad.
“…According to the WHO, in 2018, [Samoa’s] national rate of coverage for a single dose of the measles-containing vaccine was only 31 percent — a halving from about 60 percent in 2016. That’s way too low for what’s known as herd immunity, or the percentage of people in a community that have to be vaccinated in order to keep the disease from spreading. With measles, around 95 percent of people need to be immunized in order to achieve herd immunity…” (Belluz, 12/18).

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U.N. Peacekeepers In Haiti Fathered, Abandoned Children, Report Says

Washington Post: U.N. peacekeepers fathered, then abandoned, hundreds of children in Haiti, report says
“U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti allegedly fathered children with women and girls before abandoning them, according to a new report, building on previous accusations of sexual misconduct carried out by peacekeepers on the vulnerable populations they are ordered to protect. As part of the report, published Tuesday in the Conversation, researchers surveyed 2,500 Haitians about the experiences of local women and girls in areas that hosted the United Nations’ 13-year Stabilization Mission in Haiti, also known as Minustah. Of that group, about 265 people told stories featuring children fathered by U.N. personnel — stitching together a troubling stream of coercion and abuse that left girls as young as 11 to raise children by themselves in conditions of extreme poverty. … In response to the report, the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations said it took the allegations seriously. Combating the sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by peacekeepers is one of the group’s top priorities, it said in a statement…” (Brice-Saddler, 12/18).

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More News In Global Health

BBC: Malnutrition — you can be fat or thin (12/19).

Becker’s Hospital Review: 4 notable outbreaks in the last decade (Bean, 12/18).

Bloomberg: Partners In Health Co-Founder Dr. Paul Farmer on Fighting Ebola in Africa since 2014 (Westin, 12/18).

Devex: Better together: Caribbean unites to tackle poor-quality medicines (12/19).

Devex: Uganda chosen to host Africa’s biggest HIV conference amid LGBT crackdown (Green, 12/19).

JAMA: Widespread Blood Shortages Threaten Global Public Health (Kuehn, 12/17).

Malawi24: Malawi asked to use AIDS funds for intended purpose (Chikoti, 12/19).

New Humanitarian: Humanitarians, scientists, and the battle against climate change (Patnaik, 12/18).

PTI/Bloomberg Quint: India Should Take Urgent Action To Tackle Air Pollution: World Health Organization (12/18).

Reuters: Malnutrition curses the children of Venezuela (Ellsworth et al., 12/18).

The Scientist: New Oral Polio Vaccine to Bypass Key Clinical Trials (Fortner, 12/17).

VOA: Dengue Fever Strikes Thousands in Conflict-Torn Yemen (Diallo, 12/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Advocacy For Specific, Proven Nutrition Interventions Can Re-Energize Global Investments, Political Will, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Elevating nutrition in a noisy room
Emma Feutl Kent, manager of global policy and advocacy at 1,000 Days

“…For me the answer to why governments should invest in nutrition instead of other sectors is simple. Not only are nutrition-specific interventions some of the most cost-effective development investments — with every $1 invested in nutrition yielding up to $35 in economic returns — but the nutrition sector also has a suite of ready-to-scale interventions that have proven effective in challenging, real-world settings. … In many communities, these specific, proven interventions could be rolled out at scale tomorrow and would make a measurable and immediate difference in the global malnutrition burden. But this scaling requires resources and political will that are currently lacking. … As we move into 2020 — and critical advocacy moments such as the fourth Nutrition for Growth Summit — a consistent, focused advocacy narrative structured around the specific interventions that we know work is our best hope for re-energizing global investments in nutrition…” (12/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Lauds Congress For Rejecting Trump Administration's Proposed Cuts To Foreign Affairs Budget

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: MFAN Applauds Congress for Final Foreign Affairs Spending Bill
In a statement, MFAN Co-Chairs Lester Munson, Larry Nowels, and Tessie San Martin note Congress approved a final FY 2020 State and Foreign Operations spending bill and state, “The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network thanks Congress for rejecting the Trump administration’s overall blunt and drastic cuts to the foreign affairs budget for the third year and including high-priority effectiveness provisions in the final bill…” (12/18).

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Global Fund Announces Highest-Ever Funding Allocations, Reviews Top Stories Of 2019

Global Fund: Highest-Ever Funding Allocations Announced to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
“Following a record-breaking Replenishment in October 2019, the Global Fund [Wednesday] announced its largest-ever funding allocations for eligible countries to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria and build systems for health over the next three years. The allocations include US$12.71 billion for country allocations and US$890 million for catalytic investments for the period beginning 1 January 2020 — 23% more than for the previous three-year period…” (12/18).

Global Fund: 2019: A Record Year for Global Health
“As the calendar page turns, we look back on some of the stories and moments that shaped 2019. Stepping up the fight to raise US$14.02 billion — the largest amount ever pledged to the Global Fund. Celebrating the 32 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…” (12/18).

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MSF Calls On International Community To Make Greater Commitment To Aid Venezuelan Migrants In Colombia

Médecins Sans Frontières: Venezuelans in Colombia: an unattended crisis
“The migration of Venezuelans into Colombia represents the second largest population movement in the world, yet the international community is largely ignoring the dire situation of the migrants and asylum seekers. The humanitarian response remains severely limited, particularly in rural areas affected by armed conflict and criminal dynamics. … MSF is calling for a greater commitment from the international community to address this humanitarian crisis…” (12/18).

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Wellcome Director Reflects On Role Of Research In Ebola Control Efforts

Wellcome: This is the decade we made one of the world’s deadliest diseases preventable and curable
Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome, examines the role of research in Ebola control efforts, including the development of vaccines and treatments. Farrar also outlines Wellcome’s contributions to Ebola-related research (12/18).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Closes HIV Prevention Project Targeting At-Risk Populations In Nigeria, Will Implement Follow-On Activities

U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Nigeria: USAID Reaches More Than a Million and a Half Vulnerable Nigerians with HIV Control Activity
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) closed the books on a long running activity that provided high quality and stigma-free HIV prevention services to some of the most at-risk populations with the overall aim to control and ultimately eradicate the deadly virus in Nigeria. Along the way, the Integrated Most-at-Risk-Populations HIV Prevention Project provided testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to more than 518,000 people at risk, and reached another 898,000 individuals with HIV prevention adapted to their gender. … While the Integrated Most-at-Risk-Populations HIV Prevention Project is at an end, [USAID Mission Director Stephen M. Haykin] said a successor activity has recently begun operating to augment existing USAID HIV care and treatment efforts to advance Nigeria’s pathway to epidemic control by increasing access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, and care services…” (12/18).

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From KFF

KFF Budget Summary Analyzes Global Health-Related Funding In FY 2020 Conference Agreement

KFF: Global Health Funding in the FY 2020 Conference Agreement
This budget summary highlights global health-related funding in the FY 2020 appropriations conference agreement, which was released by Congress on December 16, and passed by the House on December 17. The agreement includes funding for U.S. global health programs at the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The agreement needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President (12/19).

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KFF Releases Brief Examining U.S. Government's Global Health Security Efforts

KFF: The U.S. Government and Global Health Security
This brief examines the U.S. government’s work in global health security, including efforts to help countries prepare for and address pandemic and epidemic diseases such Ebola, Zika, and influenza. The brief provides history and background, reviews the U.S. agencies carrying out these efforts, reviews funding, and highlights key policy issues going forward (Michaud/Moss/Kates, 12/17).

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KFF Updates Legislation Tracker With Recent Bills On Variety Of Global Health Issues

KFF: U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker
This tracker provides a listing of global health-related legislation introduced in the current Congress and was updated with recent bills on childhood cancer, violence against women and girls, coordination of U.S. efforts and health diplomacy, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and early childhood development, and UNFPA funding (12/17).

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