KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

State Department's Office Of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources To Implement Budget Reforms To Improve Processes, Prevent Future Rescission Attempts

Devex: State Department to make budget reforms to prevent future rescissions
“The State Department will carry out a set of budget-related reforms aimed at streamlining its processes and averting future rescission attempts, according to Jim Richardson, director of the agency’s Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources, also known as the F Bureau. … The F Bureau is rolling out the Amplify Foreign Assistance Initiative, which will work to improve budget processes, refine requirements, and push the system to be faster and more efficient…” (Saldinger, 12/4).

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Zambia To Send Protest Letter To White House Over Remarks By U.S. Ambassador Criticizing Court Ruling On Gay Sex

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.S. faces protests from Zambia after criticizing 15-years jail for gay sex
“In an escalating row over LGBT+ rights, Zambia has criticized the United States after a senior U.S. diplomat condemned the southern African country for sentencing two men to 15 years in prison for gay sex. Zambia’s high court last week jailed the men for engaging in sexual relations ‘against the order of nature,’ a move the U.S. ambassador said was horrifying. A major beneficiary of U.S. aid, Zambia now plans to send a protest letter to Washington over the remarks by Ambassador Daniel Foote, according to local media…” (Savage, 12/2).

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Efforts To Prevent Malaria Stalled Worldwide With More Funding Needed, WHO Report Says

Reuters: Malaria fight stalling at ‘unacceptably high level’ of deaths: WHO
“Malaria still infects millions of people every year and kills more than 400,000 — mostly children in Africa — because the fight against the mosquito-borne disease has stalled, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. Funding for the global battle against malaria — which kills a child every 2 minutes — is broadly flat, the WHO warned, and because of ongoing transmission via mosquitoes, half the world’s population is still at risk of contracting the disease. [The agency’s report] called on donor nations and governments in countries affected by the disease to step up the fight…” (Kelland, 12/4).

Additional coverage of the report is available from the Hindustan Times.

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Past Decade Warmest On Record, WMO Report Shows As WHO Calls For More Funding To Address Health Impacts Of Climate Change

Forbes: WMO And WHO New Reports Show The Effects Of Climate Change, From Tropical Cyclones To Mental Health Issues
“The closing decade has been the warmest on record, with negative impacts on human health, data collected by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) show. The new reports were presented today at the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid…” (Barbiroglio, 12/3).

U.N. News: Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change
“…In its first global review of more than 100 countries, the U.N. agency found that while around half of them have developed a strategy on the issue, fewer than one in five is spending enough to implement all of their commitments. … Of the countries that conducted an assessment of climate risks to people’s health, the most common risks were heat stress, injury, or death from extreme weather events. Food and water security issues, along with vector-borne diseases, such as cholera, dengue, or malaria, also featured…” (12/3).

Additional coverage of the reports and the COP25 conference is available from Thomson Reuters Foundation , U.N. News, and Xinhua.

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General Strike Hinders Ebola Response In DRC; E.C. To Provide $55M In Humanitarian Aid For People Impacted By Outbreak

CIDRAP News: More snags for DRC Ebola response; rebel attack in Oicha
“With the Ebola response at a standstill due to recent attacks in two Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) hot spots, a 2-day general strike has now sidelined all response activities in North Kivu province, according a World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office weekly update and the daily report from the DRC’s Ebola technical committee (CMRE). … In other developments, the European Commission (E.C.) on Dec 1 announced it was allocating about $55 million in humanitarian aid for people in the DRC who are most affected by the Ebola outbreak. The funding is targeted to improve food security and access to health services…” (Schnirring, 12/3).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Bloomberg, CIDRAP News, and Homeland Preparedness News.

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U.N. Warns Half Of Zimbabwe's Population Face Severe Hunger; WFP Needs Nearly $300M To Supply Food

AP: U.N. says half of Zimbabwe’s people face severe hunger
“About half of Zimbabwe’s population faces severe hunger amid a devastating drought and economic collapse, the United Nations said Tuesday, noting a ‘vicious cycle of skyrocketing malnutrition that’s hitting women and children hardest’…” (Mutsaka, 12/3).

U.N. News: Zimbabwe ‘facing worst hunger crisis in a decade’
“Zimbabwe is facing its worst hunger crisis in a decade with half of the population — 7.7 million people — food insecure, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday. … In Geneva, WFP spokesperson Bettina Luescher said that almost $300 million was needed urgently to supply some 240,000 tonnes of aid…” (12/3).

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More Than 70K Venezuelans Living With HIV Have Little Or No Access To Treatment, According To National AIDS Program Report

Breitbart: Over 70,000 Venezuelans with HIV Have Little to No Access to Treatment
“Over 70,000 Venezuelans with HIV have little to no access to treatment, the Venezuelan outlet Runrunes reported Sunday, citing a recently published report. The report, first presented last month by the head of the National AIDS Program at the Venezuelan Ministry of Health of Venezuela, Raúl Leonett, found that 72,893 people with HIV have tried to access treatment over the past year from the country’s crumbling healthcare system…” (Kew, 12/3).

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg: Fighting Malaria with Drones (12/4).

CIDRAP News: Novel additions to malaria bed nets increase effectiveness (Soucheray, 12/3).

Devex: The environmental impact of balancing the food system is still unknown (Cornish, 12/4).

Devex: Biometrics use is becoming routine. Can regulation catch up? (Lieberman, 12/4).

Homeland Preparedness News: WHO report details numbers of measles cases (Kovaleski, 12/3).

NPR: For HIV-Positive Babies, New Evidence Favors Starting Drug Treatment Just After Birth (Huang, 12/4).

NPR: The Evolution Of HIV Treatment (Hanson, 12/4).

Xinhua: Nigeria says on course to win fight against polio (12/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Prioritizing Efforts To Combat Antibiotic Resistance To Protect National, Global Health Security, Officials Write In Opinion Piece

STAT: U.S. continues to lead the fight against antibiotic resistance
Alex M. Azar II, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“One of the greatest threats to public health today, in the United States and around the world, isn’t a new exotic hazard. It’s antibiotic resistance: the potential failure of one of our most important and well-known disease-fighting tools. The latest Antibiotic Resistance Threats Report, recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that antibiotic-resistant (AR) infections — when germs defeat the drugs designed to kill them — cause more than 35,000 deaths each year in the United States. While data are limited, the situation is even more worrisome elsewhere in the world. … Addressing the threat of antimicrobial resistance helps protect our nation’s health and global health security. … We continue to lead the U.S. public health response to combat antibiotic resistance through a three-pronged strategy: detection, prevention, and innovation. … The federal government will continue to do its part. Across HHS, we are supporting the development of innovative new antibiotics, promoting the safe use of our existing tools, and ensuring antibiotic resistance remains a global priority…” (12/4).

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Taking Action On Climate Change Essential To Protect Global Health, Future Generations, Opinion Piece Says

The Telegraph: The world must recognize that climate change is a health as well as an environmental emergency
Andy Haines, professor of environmental change and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“…Climate change is a threat to global and national security but it is also costing lives and livelihoods right now. … [Extreme weather] events severely impact the earth’s flora and fauna, but also our health, security, and way of life. … Climate change is bringing different species of warm, wet weather-loving mosquitoes nearer our doorsteps, and they’re carrying dangerous diseases with them. … There must also be a sea-change in our rhetoric, attitudes and actions, from world leaders, health professionals and the public. And there has to be a realization that climate change is a global health emergency that has a direct effect on our health and that of future generations. … We know that rapid action will bring benefits, not just by reducing the risks of dangerous climate change but also by cutting air pollution. … [M]itigating climate change is not just about protecting our planet and its precious biodiversity, it’s about improving health and saving lives now and in the future” (12/3).

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Opinion Piece Discusses History Of, Public Health Approaches To Measles Prevention

Washington Post: We must talk more about measles — and less about anti-vaxxers
Laurence Monnais, professor of history at Université de Montréal and author

“…The real threat of measles is rooted in the disconnect between what we know about the disease and actual public health practices. … Vaccination is one of the greatest medical achievements of modern civilization. But it is not a panacea, and anti-vaxxers, for all the damage they do, are not the only culprits in the revival of measles. … In an age of accelerated mobility, ecological disruption, and nationalist health politics, we might have to do more than develop a ‘better vaccine.’ Vaccines are neither ‘universal technical fixes’ nor ‘simple solutions,’ nor can they be reduced to hashtags (#VaccinesWork). Measles prevention is suffering as a (global) public health initiative. And the virus will continue to ‘come back’ as long as we ignore the complex dimensions of this initiative and its complicated history” (12/4).

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Adapting Communication About Ebola To Local Communities Vital To Stopping Outbreaks, Opinion Piece Says

New Humanitarian: We won’t achieve zero Ebola cases in Congo until we get language right
Mia Marzotto, senior advocacy officer at Translators without Borders (TWB)

“…Fifteen months into the Democratic Republic of Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak, we are still asking people to overcome the fear of an indiscriminate disease and accept an intimidating medical process while communicating in a way that often creates confusion and frustration. … The good news is that there’s growing recognition about the importance of engaging with communities in the languages they speak and understand. … Yet, we are still failing to systematically take into account the languages that people speak and understand, and their communication needs and preferences. This makes it much harder for responders to listen, understand, and provide trustworthy information and services to help people protect themselves and their families from the disease. … Unless we adapt our communications to the needs and preferences of those affected by Ebola, the last mile in eastern Congo could be a very long one” (12/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Gavi Programs Have Positive Impact On Communicable Diseases In Lower-Income Countries, Research Shows

BMJ Global Health: Has Gavi lived up to its promise? Quasi-experimental evidence on country immunization rates and child mortality
Pascal Jaupart of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, Lizzie Dipple of the Blavatnik School of Government, and Stefan Dercon of the Department of Economics, all at the University of Oxford, assess whether funding from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has increased immunization rates for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) and measles in its 51 recipient countries. According to the abstract, the researchers conclude, “Our findings provide evidence that Gavi has had a substantial impact on the fight against communicable diseases for improved population and child health in lower-income countries. In this case, the health policy to verticalize aid — specifically development assistance for health — via a specialized global fund has had positive outcomes” (12/3).

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MSF Calls On Gavi Board To Stop Paying Subsidies To Pfizer, GSK For Pneumococcal Vaccine

Médecins Sans Frontières: Pharma giants shouldn’t receive multi-million dollar pneumonia vaccine subsidy
“Ahead of this week’s board meeting of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in New Delhi, India, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called on board members to immediately stop paying out funds from a remaining US$262 million subsidy to the pharmaceutical corporations Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for the pneumococcal vaccine. MSF called for the remaining funds to instead be used to support the uptake of a more affordable pneumococcal vaccine expected to come to market shortly…” (12/3).

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Ugandan Physician Discusses How Policy Gap Hinders Access To Abortion For Sexual Violence Survivors

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics: Closing policy gaps for survivors of sexual violence
“Unsafe abortion continues to contribute significantly to maternal mortality and morbidity in Uganda. To mark the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, Dr. Kayondo Simon Peter, obstetrician and gynecologist, project coordinator for the FIGO Advocating for Safe Abortion project at the Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Uganda (AOGU), highlights how a policy gap is denying access to safe abortion for survivors of sexual violence, as well as other women…” (12/3).

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U.N. Officials Discuss Efforts To Achieve Gender Equality In Asia-Pacific Region

IISD’s “SDG Knowledge Hub”: Catalyzing Change for Gender Equality
In this guest article, Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, under-secretary general of the U.N. and executive secretary of ESCAP, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, under-secretary general of the U.N. and executive director of U.N. Women, review efforts to empower women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 25 years ago and last week’s Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference for the Beijing+25 Review, which took place in Bangkok. They discuss the importance of ending violence against women, women’s political representation in the region, and economic empowerment, concluding, “Let us remain ambitious in our vision and steadfast in our determination to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment in Asia and the Pacific” (11/29).

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From the U.S. Government

Rep. Lee Comments On U.S. House Passage Of Resolution Supporting Global Fund

Congresswoman Barbara Lee: Congresswoman Lee Applauds Renewed Commitment to the Global Fund
“[Tuesday], Congresswoman Barbara Lee spoke on the House Floor in support of H.RES. 517, a resolution supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, which later passed the House on a bipartisan voice vote. ‘This important resolution reaffirms our commitment to ending AIDS and calls on our government to maintain its historic contribution to the Global Fund. As one of the original authors of the Global Fund, PEPFAR and as co-chair of the HIV/AIDS Caucus, I am pleased that we are moving forward with this bill…” (12/3).

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U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo Recognizes International Day Of Persons With Disabilities

U.S. Department of State: International Day of Persons With Disabilities
In this press statement, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo recognizes the International Day of Persons With Disabilities, saying, “The U.S. government remains firmly committed to upholding the universal rights and fundamental freedoms of the more than one billion people living with disabilities worldwide. We want all people — including persons with disabilities — to have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to pursue their aspirations, develop their capabilities, compete, and succeed in the 21st century” (12/3).

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