KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Faces Political, Financial, Social Challenges In Ending AIDS Epidemic By 2030, But U.N. Marks World Day With 'New Hope'

Bloomberg Business: U.N. Plan to Halt HIV Needs More Money, Less Complacency
“The world committed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 with goals adopted this year by the United Nations. But is that realistic, or even possible? … [W]ith the science available, the world has the capacity to largely end the epidemic as a public health threat within a generation. The question is whether the practical, political, and financial barriers can be overcome…” (Tozzi, 12/1).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. marks World AIDS Day with ‘new hope’ as momentum builds to break epidemic by 2030
“The first World AIDS Day since political leaders committed to ending the epidemic by 2030 as part of the United Nations-led Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has generated ‘new hope’ to break the epidemic and keep it from rebounding in ‘an unparalleled opportunity to change the course of history for ever’…” (12/1).

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ONE Report Discusses HIV/AIDS Financing, $12B Funding Gap

News outlets interview Erin Hohlfelder, director of global health policy at ONE, regarding global HIV/AIDS financing and the organization’s new AIDS Report 2015.

Devex: Where does the world stand in the fight against HIV and AIDS?
“…Devex spoke with Erin Hohlfelder, head of global health policy at the ONE Campaign about the most promising financing tools on the HIV and AIDS front, how the indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals and new financing trends can shape the donor landscape, and how organizations are adapting to the rapidly shifting need to reach the most marginalized populations…” (Anders, 12/1).

VOA News: $12 Billion Annual Gap Threatens Fight Against HIV/AIDS
“…In an interview with VOA, Erin Hohlfelder, director of global health policy at ONE, warned of a critical ‘five-year window’ in which efforts must be scaled up to fill a $12 billion annual financing gap in order to eliminate the disease by 2030, or otherwise risk a loss in gains and a rise in new infections…” (Taylor, 12/1).

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Indian Government To Fully Fund Federal AIDS Program, Health Minister Says

Reuters: India restores federal funding for AIDS program after criticism
“India will fully fund its AIDS control program federally, the health minister said on Tuesday, restoring support months after it was criticized for slashing its contribution and asking individual states to fill the gap. India’s globally-lauded AIDS program has been in disarray since last year due to payment delays that worsened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi slashed the federal budget in February by a fifth and asked states to pitch in…” (Kalra/Pitchford, 12/1).

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South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign Struggles To Raise Sufficient Operational Funding, The Guardian Reports

The Guardian: South Africa’s AIDS program under threat as international funds dry up
“…The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), which led the fight against AIDS denial in South Africa and forced the government to create the world’s largest treatment program, has been hit hard as donor countries have scaled back on grants to NGOs involved in HIV and AIDS programs. Even after making significant staffing cuts, it has yet to raise the R35m (£1.6m) it says it needs to meet its running costs for the next financial year…” (Allison, 12/1).

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Number Of People Diagnosed With HIV Expected To Reach 1M In Russia By 2016, Federal AIDS Center Says

Associated Press: Russia HIV infection bucks trends as World AIDS Day marked
“…While the rate of HIV infection is on a global decline as World AIDS Day is marked Tuesday, the number of new infections in Russia continues to rise. By 2016, the country’s Federal AIDS Center estimates the total number of those diagnosed with HIV will reach one million. The majority of new infections occur among injecting drug users when dirty needles are shared…” (Jacobsen, 12/1).

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting: Spread of HIV in Modern Russia
“…Despite a promised funding increase for HIV-related programs in 2006, 2008, and again in 2014, the Russian government fell short of making of HIV prevention and treatment a priority. On top of that, by focusing on the criminalization of drug use and the brutal stigmatization of key populations at risk, Russian government policies are contributing directly to the deadly epidemic. Any bid to end AIDS is undermined by punitive policies and corrupt law enforcement, rather than the introduction of comprehensive harm reduction programs…” (FitzGerald/Kucheryavenko, 12/1).

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WFP Warns Global Temperature Increase Would Negatively Impact Food Security, As COP21 Focuses On Sustainable Agriculture

The Guardian: Climate talks: 4C rise will have dire effect on world hunger, U.N. warns
“El Niños, climate change, and increasing conflict linked to prolonged droughts and extreme weather are leaving the world unable to cope with the food needs of millions of people, the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned. The U.N. agency, which last year appealed for $8.5bn from governments to provide food aid to people in 80 or more countries but only received $5.5bn, said donors had never been more generous but that the challenges were now outpacing available funds…” (Vidal, 12/1).

The Guardian: Nine ways to improve nutrition and tackle climate change
“How should we deal with the serious threat climate change poses to nutrition and food security? Our panel of experts have their say…” (Young, 12/1).

U.N. News Centre: COP21: U.N. spotlights need to protect forests and agriculture to improve livelihoods, feed the world
“The impacts of climate change on forests and agriculture were in the spotlight [Tuesday] at the United Nations climate change conference (COP21), as new alliances among organizations and stakeholders were announced aiming to eliminate natural deforestation and forest degradation, and to prevent threats to sustainable farming and people’s livelihoods…” (12/1).

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Study Examines C-Section Rates, Maternal, Infant Mortality Worldwide; Findings Challenge Upper Limit Of WHO Recommendations

News outlets report on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looking at the risks and benefits of cesarean-section births worldwide.

Washington Post: New study challenges decades-old guidelines on how many pregnant women should get C-sections
“…The study … examined nearly 23 million C-section deliveries that occurred worldwide in 2012. It showed that mother and infant deaths continue to decline as the C-section rate reaches 19 percent of births. Only then did mother and infant deaths level off. A report released by WHO earlier this year found conflicting evidence that the benefit to mother and child ceased above 10 percent…” (Johnson, 12/1).

WIRED: How Many C-Sections Is Too Many C-Sections?
“…Specifically, [the] group’s results show that yearly maternal and neonatal mortality rates plummet as C-section rates increase from zero to seven percent. They continue to drop, although less dramatically, as rates climb from seven to 19 percent — suggesting that the WHO’s 30-year-old upper bounds may need an update…” (Palmer, 12/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Recognize World AIDS Day, Call For Additional Research, Funding, Political Will To End Epidemic

New York Times: An Opening in the War Against AIDS
Editorial Board

“…Each year the number of people who become infected [with HIV] outpaces the number of people starting treatment for the virus. That is discouraging given that the opportunities to control the spread of the virus have never been better, scientifically and financially. It is imperative to move aggressively to change the trajectory of this epidemic. … Some experts are rightly skeptical that current measures will be enough to end the global epidemic. They think funding should focus on a vaccine to prevent infection and a cure to eliminate the virus from those already infected. Both are formidable challenges. The Foundation for AIDS Research and the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School announced a collaboration this week to find the scientific basis for a cure within five years, a goal the project’s leader described as more aspirational than realistic. However long it takes, research is needed to provide lasting success” (12/2).

U.S. News & World Report: AIDS: It’s Too Soon to Declare Victory
Chris Beyrer, professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and president of the International AIDS Society

“…The number of people dying from AIDS each year has gone down as the number of people on antiretroviral therapy — which also prevents HIV from spreading — grows. But HIV and AIDS continue to devastate communities across the globe … Let’s not squander all the knowledge we’ve gained and the goodwill the United States has built as the largest single funder in the global HIV response. We must increase funding for AIDS and continue to fight for the right of all people to have access to prevention measures and treatment. We must keep looking for a real cure (not just long-term treatment) and a preventive vaccine. By taking these steps, President Obama and the next U.S. president, whether Republican or Democratic, can secure our global legacy by leading the charge in stamping out this horrific disease…” (12/1).

The Guardian: World AIDS Day: ‘We need to end stigma and change our ideas about manhood’
Edwin Cameron, South African constitutional court judge

“…If we are to end the HIV pandemic, we need strategies that target all the actors. We have to understand how HIV spreads, and AIDS kills, in a broader field of gendered power and inequality, and unequal access to health services. This means that we must continue to implement strategies to empower women and advance their human rights. It also means that we must engage men and boys to increase their proactive support for gender equality, and we must do a better job of reaching men with critical HIV services. … On World AIDS Day, an imperative focus must be to get men to come forward for testing and treatment. HIV can be beaten in the human body, and in our country, if we combat stigma and change our ideas about manhood, expand testing and treatment, and proffer practicable prevention strategies to everyone” (12/1).

Devex: The experiences that made me an AIDS advocate — and keep me going 30 years later
Emilio Emini, director of HIV for the global health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[W]e must continue investing in the research and development of promising long-acting [HIV] prevention methods. … We need to … reconfigure our programs to better meet the real life needs of women and girls. What’s more, we must work to truly understand and address the structural barriers women and girls face — including poverty, gender inequality, and sexual violence — that place them at greater risk for HIV infection. … Confronting all of these challenges will require us to keep the most vulnerable at the center of our efforts. For young women and other marginalized populations around the world, HIV does not merely invade their immune systems — it threatens their ability to prosper…” (12/1).

New England Journal of Medicine: Ending the HIV-AIDS Pandemic — Follow the Science
Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Hilary D. Marston, medical officer and policy adviser for global health at NIAID

“…Taken together, [the SMART, HPTN 052, START, and IPERGAY] studies provide an evidence-based blueprint for effective treatment and prevention of HIV infection and will serve as critical tools in the fight to end the HIV-AIDS pandemic. However, in order to realize that promise, the political will must be mobilized to match the scientific evidence and provide the financial and human resources necessary to dramatically scale up HIV testing and treatment around the world. The science has spoken. There can now be no excuse for inaction” (12/1).

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Congress Should Support President's Proposed FY16 Global Health Funding, Investments In Maternal, Child Nutrition

The Hill: To end preventable deaths worldwide, we must focus on nutrition
Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network, and Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health and child and maternal survival coordinator at USAID

“…[W]e can’t end preventable child and maternal deaths without a concerted focus on nutrition. … [T]hrough efforts such as USAID’s nutrition programs and Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, we’re working to combat global hunger and malnutrition. … We are encouraged by the recent surge in support and attention around maternal and child survival, health, and good nutrition. However, there is still more to be done. … We encourage Congress to follow the president’s lead in proposing funding for global health this fiscal year for almost $2.8 billion [for USAID], including $2 billion for programs to end preventable child and maternal deaths. Congress has yet to finalize its commitment for fiscal year 2016 but we are hopeful it will send a strong signal to our other partners and donors of the importance of robust investments…” (12/1).

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Achieving Food Security, Zero Hunger Requires Investments In Smallholder Farmers, Social Protection Services, Women

Huffington Post: Achieving Food Security and Nutrition for those Furthest Behind In an Era of Climate Change
Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme

“…Achieving food security through adaptation and resilience building for those furthest behind requires immediately addressing three significant blind spots. We must invest in and give priority to supporting smallholder, mostly family farmers, who manage over 90 percent of the world’s farms. … Second, in low-income countries we must invest in and quickly scale-up social protection systems, which deliver a multitude of beneficial outcomes. … The third, and perhaps most important blind spot to address of all, is the need to both recognize and end women’s disempowerment, a fundamental barrier to the achievement of Zero Hunger, and an equal and peaceful world. … Overcoming each of these blind spots will solidify our global ability to achieve Zero Hunger…” (12/1).

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G20, Major Pharmaceutical Companies Should Ensure Global Access To Effective Antimicrobial Treatments

Project Syndicate: Antimicrobial Resistance on the Global Agenda
Jim O’Neill, commercial secretary to the U.K. Treasury, professor of economics at Manchester University, visiting research fellow at Bruegel, and chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance

“…The G20 would be an ideal forum in which to take international action against antimicrobial resistance. … The biggest question that remains to be addressed is how to divide the cost among governments, the pharmaceutical industry, health systems, development agencies, and large charitable foundations. This is where the focus of the discussion needs to be now. … Ensuring that future generations have access to effective antimicrobial treatments will cost little compared to other global challenges. … Finding about $2 billion a year over 10 years to stop the return of infectious diseases is well within the means of the world’s 20 richest countries or 20 of its largest pharmaceutical companies. If they joined forces to fund a solution, the cost would be a rounding error in their bottom lines. But, given the size of the returns, it would be one of the wisest investments that they — or anyone — could make” (12/1).

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WHO, Global Health Agencies Should Focus Resources On Routine Immunization Coverage Against Multiple Diseases

The Atlantic: Measles Outbreaks Are a Sign of Bigger Problems
Seth Berkley, president and CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…While mass vaccination against a single disease is certainly an effective tool in helping health officials respond to outbreaks, it can also draw attention and resources away from more farsighted efforts to increase routine immunization coverage. As a result, it can inadvertently increase the risk of future outbreaks of measles and other infectious diseases. The elimination of measles, then, may depend on a more sweeping, less targeted strategy. In the remaining five years until 2020, the year that was supposed to mark the total elimination of measles, the WHO and other global health agencies may be more effective if they focus their resources on routine immunizations that boost population immunity against multiple diseases, rather than playing catch-up with just one…” (12/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

On World AIDS Day, Recent Releases, Blog Posts Discuss Various Aspects Of Epidemic

White House: FACT SHEET: World AIDS Day 2015 — The Time to Act Is Now
“[Tuesday], in conjunction with World AIDS Day, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy [released] the Federal Action Plan for 2016-2020, which outlines specific Federal agency actions to implement the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy next year and through 2020. This Federal Action Plan, along with our updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and continued investments in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), underscores the administration’s commitment to an reaching an AIDS-free generation…” (12/1).

U.S. Department of State: Statement on World AIDS Day 2015
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “…Since 2003, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 9.5 million men, women, and children across the world. And thanks to President Obama’s leadership, bipartisan support in Congress, and the generosity of the American people, that number will grow to 12.9 people by the end of 2017. That’s an extraordinary achievement that all Americans can be proud of…” (12/1).

USAID’s “Impact”: Why Right Now Is the Right Time to Act Faster to Stop Unnecessary HIV/AIDS Deaths
Emily Reitenauer, a program assistant on the Gender Team for the Technical Leadership and Research Division in the Office of HIV/AIDS in USAID’s Global Health Bureau, discusses her tenure as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana and the importance of providing antiretroviral therapy to all people living with HIV (12/1).

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: World AIDS Day DREAMS Made Real: How Cash Transfers for Girls Can Work
Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of global health policy, and senior fellow at CGD, advocates using cash transfers as a tool for reaching adolescent girls at risk of contracting HIV risk through the DREAMS program (12/1).

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: UNAIDS and African AIDS Programs Agree That Effective HIV Prevention Depends on Location, Location, Location
CGD Senior Fellow Mead Over discusses the importance of subnational HIV infection data, writing, “…The new understanding of the effectiveness of geographically differentiated HIV intervention spending is generating a demand for more granular data on HIV prevalence and on HIV service statistics, such as condom distribution, male circumcision progress, and treatment uptake…” (12/1).

ONE Blog: 2015 AIDS Report: Tracking progress and peril
Erin Hohlfelder, ONE’s policy director for global health, discusses ONE’s 2015 AIDS Report, in which “we warn that a growing sense of complacency and fatigue threatens to derail the progress achieved and the momentum needed to accelerate the world’s collective efforts against the disease…” (12/1).

PLOS’ “Speaking of Medicine”: More people, more time, better data — what we need to ‘treat-all’ with HIV
Helen Bygrave, an HIV/TB adviser in Médecins Sans Frontières’ Southern Africa Medical Unit, examines the WHO’s new “treat all” policy, including “the key implementation issues” and lessons from larger treatment initiatives such as PMTCT B+ (12/1).

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CGD Blog Post Outlines 4 Potential Goals For USAID Administrator Smith

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: Gayle Smith Confirmed as USAID Administrator: Four Goals for 14 Months
Casey Dunning, senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Development, outlines four potential goals for USAID Administrator Gayle Smith. “…[R]ecognizing that prioritization is key for Smith, here are four goals on which she should focus in her tenure as USAID administrator: 1. Work with Congress to pass legislation on Power Africa and Feed the Future. … 2. Institutionalize USAID Forward in agency operations. … 3. Clarify USAID’s role in ending extreme poverty. … 4. Represent USAID in the U.S. response to global crises…” (12/1).

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Investing In Health Systems, Hospitals Critical To Achieving UHC

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Hospitals Are Key to Reaching Universal Health Coverage
Maureen Lewis, visiting fellow at CGD, discusses the role and importance of investing in health systems and hospitals for achieving universal health coverage (11/30).

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