KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Significant Progress In Expanding HIV Treatment But Gaps Remain, Prevention Remains Challenging, U.N. Agencies, Experts Say On World AIDS Day

Devex: HIV treatment access isn’t rising fast enough to reach 2020 targets, UNAIDS report shows
“There has been ‘significant progress’ in expanding access to HIV treatment over the last decade, but testing and treatment gaps still place the goal of getting 30 million people on treatment by 2020 out of reach, according to new findings from UNAIDS. An estimated 24.5 million people of the 37.9 million living with HIV were accessing treatment as of mid-2019, more than double the number of HIV-positive people on treatment in 2010, according to the UNAIDS report, ‘Power to the People’…” (Lieberman, 11/29).

U.N. News: Empowering people living with HIV ‘will end the epidemic,’ says AIDS agency chief
“…Power to the people, released ahead of World AIDS Day on Sunday, illustrates that when people have the power to choose and work together, lives can be saved, injustices prevented, and dignity restored. ‘When people and communities have power and agency, change happens,’ said UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima. ‘The solidarity of women, young people, gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs and transgender people, has transformed the AIDS epidemic — empowering them will end the epidemic’…” (11/26).

VOA: U.N.: More Than 300 Children Die Daily of AIDS-Related Causes
“…[T]his year, as World AIDS Day, the annual event to raise awareness of the global epidemic, turns 31, the United Nations Children’s Fund is warning that … children are dying at the rate of 320 per day around the world — and about half of them are not in treatment. Those are alarming statistics, because with early intervention and treatment HIV-positive patients can live long, healthy lives. Dr. Chewe Luo, who heads UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS section, says health care providers need to treat HIV as a family matter…” (Powell, 12/1).

Xinhua: Interview: Prevention remains challenge despite progress in fighting HIV: Global Fund chief
“Great progress has been made in the fight against HIV in the last decade, but preventing new infections is a significant challenge, Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) said. … ‘We are at a crucial stage in the fight against HIV,’ Sands told Xinhua days before the World AIDS Day, designated on Dec. 1 every year by WHO since 1988…” (Wang/Wang, 12/1).

Additional coverage of World AIDS Day, the UNAIDS report, and other AIDS-related news is available from AP, CNN, The Economist, The Guardian, Hindustan Times, NBC, New York Times, Reuters, Science, Science Speaks, Scientific American, USA TODAY, and Xinhua.

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Little Known About How USAID Ensuring Programs Comply With Trump Administration's 'Foreign Assistance Realignment,' Devex Reports

Devex: USAID missions told to comply with Trump’s ‘foreign assistance realignment’
“The U.S. Agency for International Development is already ensuring its programs comply with the Trump administration’s ‘foreign assistance realignment,’ even though there has not yet been any public acknowledgment that this review and realignment process has concluded. President Donald Trump announced the foreign assistance review in his September 2018 speech at the United Nations General Assembly. While a draft of the realignment order was circulated earlier this year, a final document or presidential directive has yet to be issued. With little public information available about the FAR process, it has been unclear how its principles — which focus on ‘realigning foreign assistance for a new era of great power competition’ — have influenced USAID operations…” (Igoe, 11/28).

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U.S. Ambassador To Zambia Denounces Ruling Jailing 2 Men For Homosexuality, Urges Government To Reconsider Laws

Bloomberg: U.S. Rebukes Zambia for Jailing Two Men for Homosexuality
“The U.S. ambassador to Zambia said a high court ruling sentencing two men to 15 years in prison for homosexuality was horrifying. Ambassador Daniel Foote urged the government to reconsider laws that punish minority groups…” (Mitimingi et al., 11/29).

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WHO Launches New Policy Framework To Help Prevent Violence Against Women Worldwide

Washington Post: To tackle violence against women and girls, U.N. health agency pushes RESPECT program
“About 1 in 3 women has experienced violence during her lifetime, according to the World Health Organization — an epidemic that is truly worldwide. In the days leading up to Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, the United Nations health agency wants to spread awareness to prevent violence against women and girls…” (Blakemore, 11/30).

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Several Ebola Workers Killed In Attack In DRC; U.N. Warns Violence Threatens Humanitarian, Medical Response

AP: Rebel attacks in eastern Congo kill several Ebola responders
“Rebels killed four Ebola response workers in an overnight ambush in eastern Congo, the World Health Organization said Thursday, warning that the attack will give the waning outbreak new momentum in what has been called a war zone…” (Maliro/Anna, 11/28).

NPR: ‘It Was Unmistakably A Directed Attack’: 4 Ebola Workers Killed In Congo
“…A World Health Organization official on Thursday described the killings as ‘unmistakably a directed attack at the [Ebola] response.’ The dead include a vaccinator and two drivers stationed at Biakato Mines — an Ebola response camp used by WHO, government officials, UNICEF and other aid agencies — while a police officer died in the attack on a health coordination office in the small town of Mangina. No WHO staff died; one was among the injured…” (Dwyer, 11/28).

U.N. News: Violence in DR Congo Ebola hotspot leaves people ‘caught in crossfire’
“Attacks on communities in an Ebola outbreak hotspot in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have sparked a humanitarian crisis and threatened aid distribution, the U.N. said on Friday, amid reports of serious civil unrest…” (11/29).

Additional coverage of the violence impacting the Ebola outbreak response in DRC is available from Devex, The Guardian, NPR, Reuters, STAT, U.N. News, and Wall Street Journal.

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Two Ebola Treatments Significantly Decrease Mortality, Especially When Begun Early, Research Shows

STAT: Two Ebola treatments yield ‘substantial decrease’ in mortality, landmark trial shows
“Final data from a landmark clinical trial of four Ebola therapies conducted in the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo show two of the drugs dramatically reduced the risk of dying from the disease, especially in people who started treatment quickly after onset of their illness. Findings of the PALM trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, show that two treatments based on Ebola antibodies led to a survival rate of about 65% in treated patients, compared to 33% in the outbreak overall…” (Branswell, 11/27).

Additional coverage of the new treatments and the complications and risks survivors face is available from Bloomberg and New Humanitarian.

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Zimbabwe Facing Man-Made Hunger Crisis, U.N. Expert Warns

AP: U.N. expert: Zimbabwe hunger ‘shocking’ for country not at war
“Zimbabwe is on the brink of man-made starvation and the number of people needing help is ‘shocking’ for a country not in conflict, a United Nations special expert on the right to food said Thursday. Hilal Elver said she found stunted and underweight children, mothers too hungry to breastfeed their babies, and medicine shortages in hospitals during her 10-day visit to the economically shattered country…” (Mutsaka, 11/28).

Additional coverage of the situation in Zimbabwe is available from The Guardian and U.N. News.

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More Than 50 People, Mostly Children Under 5, Dead In Worsening Measles Outbreak In Samoa

AP: 50 children killed by measles in Samoa as outbreak worsens
“Samoa’s government said Monday that another five children had died within the past day from a measles outbreak, bringing the death toll from the epidemic to more than 50 as authorities race to vaccinate the entire population. … In all, 53 people have died in the outbreak since late October, including one adult and two older teenagers. Most of those who have died have been babies and young infants, including 23 children aged less than 1 and 25 children aged between 1 and 4…” (Perry, 12/1).

Additional coverage of the outbreak is available from BBC and NPR.

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More News In Global Health

AP: Group: 5 more years of Yemen war to cost $29 billion in aid (Magdy, 12/2).

Borgen Magazine: An Examination of Elizabeth Warren’s Foreign Policy Platform (Ross, 11/30).

Devex: Full sanitation in rural areas is a century away, warn expert groups (Root, 11/29).

Devex: The role of data in innovative financing for maternal health (11/28).

Devex: The SUN Movement confronts its future (Welsh, 11/27).

The Guardian: Global heating driving spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever (Grant, 12/1).

IPS: Care for Economic Development, Then Care for Food Nutrition, Food Researcher Tells Africa’s Politicians (Bafana, 12/2).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: An ounce of tuberculosis prevention… (Thornton, December 2019).

New Humanitarian: Q&A: Why does so little aid money go to preventing violence against women and girls? (Clement, 11/27).

Newsweek: What You Should Know About The World Health Organization’s Global Vaccine Safety Summit This Week (Moyler, 12/1).

NPR: Researchers Find A Remarkable Ripple Effect When You Give Cash To Poor Families (Aizenman, 12/2).

Science: First malaria vaccine rolled out in Africa — despite limited efficacy and nagging safety concerns (de Vrieze, 11/26).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Poor nations pay price as millions flee ‘climate chaos’, Oxfam says (Goering, 12/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Community Efforts To Prevent HIV, End Stigma, Recognize World AIDS Day

IPS: Community Efforts are Key When Addressing HIV/AIDS
Ifeanyi Nsofor, medical doctor, CEO of EpiAFRIC, and director of policy and advocacy for Nigeria Health Watch

“…The first of December is celebrated globally as World AIDS Day. The theme of the 2019 celebration is, “communities make the difference“. This reminds us to re-focus on the power of community as we try to end the HIV pandemic. … Here are four ways to bolster community efforts to ensure equity. First, eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV through peer programs. … Second, integrate HIV/AIDS programming into youth-friendly clinics that provide reproductive health services to women aged 15-24 years. … Third, prioritize HIV services for high-risk populations such as men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, and injection drug users. … Fourth, communities must protect the rights of high-risk populations, period…” (11/30).

Devex: Opinion: Step up the fight against HIV
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“In the fight against HIV, we are at a crucial stage. With the massive scale-up of antiretroviral treatment, we are saving millions of lives, but the total number of new HIV infections is still unacceptably high … [T]o cut new infections more swiftly we must tackle the stubbornly high rate of new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women, and the extremely high prevalence of HIV among key populations. These two are driven by persistent gender and human rights-related barriers. … We will also only beat HIV if we continue to innovate and accelerate the pace with which successful innovations are scaled up to benefit all those who need them. … We also need to step up investment in capturing and interpreting data. … external assistance from the Global Fund or others like PEPFAR will not be enough. Governments in the affected countries must continue to increase their investments in fighting HIV and in health more generally…” (11/29).

The Hill: Stigma: The invisible barrier to solving the AIDS epidemic
Stephen S. Tang, president and CEO of OraSure Technologies

“…Thanks to advances in research … and treatment, AIDS is no longer considered a death sentence. … What is keeping them from diagnosis? Fear. Shame. Stigma. … Stigma is a dangerous byproduct of misinformation; and in many areas of the world, including right here in the United States, it keeps people away from diagnosis and care. … When people fear being ostracized, they are less likely to get tested and know their status. Erasing the stigma will go a long way toward erasing the disease. AIDS provides no reason for fear, discrimination or exclusion. Instead, its continued prevalence should motivate our renewed commitment to increased diagnosis and treatment and, most importantly, the extension of compassion, understanding and support to those who have this disease. … It will take a community of advocacy, support and care to end the AIDS epidemic — and the stigma that surrounds it” (12/1).

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Global Collaboration, Coordination Critical To Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Global solidarity key to tackling superbugs
Bruno Bruins, Dutch politician serving as Minister for Medical Care and Sports, and Haoliang Xu, U.N. assistant secretary general and UNDP assistant administrator and director for the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

“…Global collaboration is critical if we are to safeguard a century of progress in medicine and development and to avoid a doomsday scenario in which common injuries and infections are untreatable because of increasing resistance to available antibiotics. Coordination across key sectors and governments is central to developing a successful response, and more countries must prioritize implementing fully financed multisectoral action plans, as world leaders committed to doing so at the 2016 United Nations high-level meeting on AMR. … The next steps in scaling up the global AMR response should include strategies that deliver increased investment and public return on urgently needed innovation for new antibiotics. The U.N. Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance has called for public, private, and philanthropic donors and other funders to increase investment and innovation in new antimicrobials. Finally, it is critical that strategies to improve sustainable and affordable access to medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics are at the center of the response…” (11/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends Of Global Fight Highlights Key Issues From Global Fund's November Board Meeting

Friends of the Global Fight: Key Takeaways from the Global Fund’s 42nd Board Meeting
This piece outlines issues highlighted at the Global Fund’s recent board meeting, held November 14-15 in Geneva, Switzerland, including the Fund’s sixth replenishment, which secured $14 billion for the 2020-2022 period, and the programming of those new funds for the 2020-2022 period (11/26).

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CGD Releases Commentaries On Donor Aid Transitions

Center for Global Development: The Journey to Self-Reliance in Practice: Examining USAID’s Efforts to Operationalize Its New Agenda (Estes, 11/26).

Center for Global Development: Transitions from Donor Health Aid: Why the Family Planning Community Needs to Step Up (Hecht et al., 11/26).

Center for Global Development: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance: Doubling Down on Coverage, Partnerships, and Transition Incentives for the Next Phase (Glassman/Keller, 11/26).

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December 2019 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The December 2019 WHO Bulletin features articles on various topics, including editorials on the needs of people with physical disabilities in crisis settings and health worker training to prevent antimicrobial resistance, and perspective pieces on challenges to tobacco, food, and beverage policies in countries and costing universal health coverage (December 2019).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC, USAID Release World AIDS Day Statements

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: World AIDS Day 2019 (11/27).

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: World AIDS Day — December 1, 2019 (11/29).

USAID: Statement By U.S. Agency For International Development Administrator Mark Green On World AIDS Day (12/1).

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MMWR Article Examines HIV Case-Based Surveillance Implementation In PEPFAR Countries

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Status of HIV Case-Based Surveillance Implementation — 39 U.S. PEPFAR-Supported Countries, May-July 2019
Joshua R. Holmes of the CDC’s Division of Global HIV and TB at the Center for Global Health and colleagues examined HIV case-based surveillance implementation in PEPFAR countries. According to the study, “Among 39 surveyed countries supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, 20 had implemented case-based surveillance, 15 were planning implementation, and four were not planning implementation. Challenges for most countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, include need for unique identifiers to link data across systems, supportive national policy environments, and data security standards. … Enhanced efforts are needed to address policy barriers and gaps in technical infrastructure to implement comprehensive HIV case-based surveillance that can inform national response to the HIV epidemic” (11/29).

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From KFF

KFF Updates PEPFAR, Global Fund Fact Sheets

KFF: The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) (11/25).

KFF: The U.S. & The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (11/26).

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