KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Provide Latest Updates On Coronavirus Cases, Deaths, Cruise Ship Quarantines, Other Aspects Of Outbreak

AP: New virus has infected more than 73,000 people globally (2/18).

AP: Virus claims life of hospital director in hard-hit Wuhan (Wang, 2/18).

Newsday: WHO officials: Coronavirus seems to be spreading more slowly now (Dowdy, 2/17).

Reuters: Head of hospital dies in coronavirus epicenter; global economic impact spreads (Woo/Shen, 2/17).

AP: Virus fears rise after Cambodia’s acceptance of cruise ship (Cheang/Ng/Peck, 2/18).

AP: Quarantine on cruise ship in Japan comes under question (Cheng/Yamaguchi, 2/18).

Reuters: Japan plans HIV drug trials to fight coronavirus as Diamond Princess cases rise (Murakami/Park, 2/17).

Science Magazine: ‘The disruption is enormous.’ Coronavirus epidemic snarls science worldwide (Service, 2/17).

Additional reporting on the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak is available from Al Jazeera, CNN (2), New York Times, and Washington Post .

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Media Outlets Report On Coronavirus Response Leadership Globally, Include Interviews With U.N., CDC Officials

AP: U.N. chief: New virus outbreak is ‘a very dangerous situation’
“The U.N. secretary general said Tuesday that the virus outbreak that began in China poses ‘a very dangerous situation’ for the world, but ‘is not out of control.’ Speaking in an interview with The Associated Press, Antonio Guterres said that ‘the risks are enormous and we need to be prepared worldwide for that.’ Guterres said his greatest worry was a spread of the virus to areas with ‘less capacity in their health service,’ particularly some African countries. The World Health Organization is looking into how to help handle such a development, he added…” (Gannon, 2/18).

New York Times: How to Stop a Disease From Crossing Borders
“In nearly 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rear Adm. Nancy Knight, director of the agency’s global health protection division, has led the development, coordination, and implementation of public health policies and programs in countries including Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. … Dr. Knight talked about the coronavirus, what travelers can do to avoid it, and how the CDC works with governments and other groups around the world to help countries stay prepared for the possibility of an outbreak of a contagious disease, and to tackle those diseases when they occur…” (Mzezewa, 2/17).

STAT: The global responders: Who is leading the charge against the coronavirus outbreak
“As concerns mount over the coronavirus that first emerged in China, public health officials there and around the globe have launched a massive response. The nature of that response has varied. In China, officials are trying to contain the virus. In countries that have seen local transmission, including Germany and Singapore, the goal has been to stamp out flare-ups. And in much of the world that hasn’t yet seen much spread of the virus yet, public health officials are readying a strategy in case they do. So who’s leading the charge? What follows is a list of some of the most important players, from a handful of the agencies involved. The list is hardly comprehensive. And selection is not meant to amplify these people’s importance over that of others. In fact, some of the most vital responders do not appear here: the countless frontline health care workers who are trying to save lives and prevent new cases, all while putting their own safety on the line…” (Joseph/Branswell, 2/17).

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Media Outlets Report On Chinese Tensions With Taiwan, U.S. Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Reuters: ‘Don’t be kidnapped by China’: Taiwan tells WHO in bid for separate virus tally
“Taiwan urged the World Health Organization on Tuesday not to be ‘kidnapped’ by China, as more countries put travel curbs on its citizens because the health agency groups the island’s coronavirus cases with China in the battle on the outbreak. Taiwan has reported just 22 cases, versus China’s figure of more than 72,400, but the self-ruled island shares the agency’s classification of China as ‘very high risk’, since the WHO considers Taiwan as part of China…” (Lee, 2/18).

Washington Post: How coronavirus is worsening U.S.-China tensions
“The U.S.-China relationship was already tense amid ongoing battles over trade and cybersecurity. And then came the outbreak of a coronavirus … The illness’s rise has prompted travel shutdowns in parts of the region and raised the prospect of a recession for some major economies. Through quarantines and targeted lockdowns, U.S. authorities have so far managed to keep the virus from spreading on the American mainland. But there are concerns over a new possible wave of infections, and U.S. officials have expressed frustrations with their Chinese counterparts over the levels of information they have shared about the virus…” (Tharoor, 2/18).

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U.S. Supreme Court To Consider Whether Global Health Organizations' Local Affiliates Should Be Subject To U.S. 'Prostitution Pledge' Requirement

Devex: Anti-prostitution case threatens localization agenda, experts warn
“The U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider whether global health organizations’ local affiliates should adopt policies opposing prostitution…” (Igoe, 2/14).

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Devex Examines Implications Of USAID Anti-Terrorism Policy On Humanitarian Aid In Nigeria

Devex: USAID pushes back on counterterror regulation complaints
“The U.S. Agency for International Development has pushed back on reports that a policy intended to prevent U.S. humanitarian funding from supporting terrorism hinders crisis response efforts in Nigeria. The concern relates to a clause that USAID began including in its awards in mid-2017, which states that implementers, ‘must obtain the prior written approval of the USAID Agreement Office before providing any assistance … to individuals whom the [implementer] affirmatively knows to have been formerly affiliated with Boko Haram or [ISIS-West Africa], as combatants or non-combatants’ …” (Igoe, 2/18).

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Recent U.S. Congressional Hearing Addresses Africa's 'Youth Bulge', Recommendations For U.S. Action

Devex: How can the U.S. help address Africa’s youth bulge?
“Africa’s youth population is growing rapidly and within 30 years the continent will be home to about one-quarter of the world’s youth. At a recent congressional hearing, experts discussed how the U.S. government can help create opportunities for youth and and turn the ‘youth bulge’ into a positive force on the continent. Too often the focus is on the risk that the youth population represents, but they can be peaceful drivers of political change and they need education and employment opportunities, Rep. Karen Bass, the Democratic chair of the House Foreign Affairs sub-committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, said at a hearing of the subcommittee on Thursday. A group of Africa policy experts shared their recommendations about how U.S. policies can address the growing youth population. Those experts offered a series of recommendations: leadership training, support for [small and medium enterprises (SMEs)], education and skills training, and trade policy changes…” (Saldinger, 2/17).

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DFID's Junior Ministerial Team Merged With Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Devex: DFID’s entire junior ministerial team is merged with the Foreign Office
“The junior ministerial team of the U.K.’s Department for International Development was quietly merged with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office [(FCO)]on Thursday as part of a government reshuffle. Relief among development professionals at the news that DFID would retain its independence was short-lived; soon after Anne-Marie Trevelyan was announced as DFID’s new secretary of state, it emerged that all of the department’s junior ministers would now be working jointly for FCO, a Whitehall power rival. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously threatened to merge the two departments. Although that didn’t happen, the shake-up of the ministerial team was branded ‘integration by stealth’ by one former senior DFID official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ‘It is a clear statement of intent on the role development assistance is to play in foreign policy,’ he said…” (Worley, 2/14).

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5 African Countries Become First To License Ebola Vaccine

Devex: Ebola vaccine given the go-ahead in 5 African countries
“Five African countries have become the first to license a highly effective Ebola vaccine, meaning it can now be administered without being subject to clinical trial or research protocols. Regulatory bodies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Ghana, Zambia, and Guinea all approved the vaccine in the past week. Several other countries are expected to do so in the coming weeks…” (Smith, 2/18).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Pakistan policeman killed in attack targeting polio campaign (Hashim, 2/18).

Devex: Top U.S. corporate foundations investing in development (De Vos, 2/14).

Devex: Local governments must be empowered to fight climate change, experts say (Smith, 2/14).

Reuters: ‘Cancer does not wait’: Children’s medicine shortage stokes anger in Mexico (Jorgic, 2/17).

STAT: For African women at risk of HIV, a woke world is still sound asleep (Chinyenze, 2/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Investments In Shared Surveillance Systems, Urban Infrastructure Integral To Managing Risks From Emerging Infectious Diseases, Experts Say

AJC: Opinion: Smart Cities can help fight against infectious diseases
James H. Spencer, associate dean and professor of city and regional planning at Clemson University; Catherine L. Ross, regents’ professor and Harry West professor of city and regional planning and civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Tech; and Sumeet Saksena, senior fellow at the East West Center

“Rapid and global urban transitions have led to the rise of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs), like Coronavirus, Avian Flu, MERS, SARS, and Ebola. … Urban megaregions are the nodes through which these pathogens arrive in the United States. … When one node on this network comes under threat from a zoonotic EID arising in a city undergoing a rapid urban transition, the whole system goes on high alert. Because this is a system, we need to ensure each of its nodes has the capacity to manage these biological threats without shutting the system down. … Thus, even more so than shared surveillance systems, compatible social and urban infrastructure are needed to manage EID risks credibly. … If we don’t make these kinds of investments, we will surely face another EID crisis in the near future with even greater reluctance of local communities to report the first signs of infection” (2/17).

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Coronavirus Case, Death Numbers Should Be Interpreted With Caution, Professor Writes In Opinion Piece

New York Times: We’re Reading the Coronavirus Numbers Wrong
John Allen Paulos, professor of mathematics at Temple University and author

“Numbers have a certain mystique: They seem precise, exact, sometimes even beyond doubt. But outside the field of pure mathematics, that reputation rarely is deserved. And when it comes to the coronavirus epidemic, buying into it can be downright dangerous. … [B]ased on what we know so far, COVID-19 seems to be much less fatal than other coronavirus infections and diseases that turned into major epidemics in recent decades. The operative words here are ‘based on what we know so far’ — meaning, both no more and no less than that, and also that our take on the situation might need to change as more data come in. … [E]ven if only a small percentage of the people infected with COVID-19 die in the end, the death toll in absolute numbers could still be dreadful if the total population of infected turns out to be very large. However much we would like to know all the relevant facts about the coronavirus, we don’t know them right now, and we should accept the discomfort of that uncertainty. Which is all the more reason to abide by one of the things we do know at this point: You should wash your hands regularly” (2/18).

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Reassessing International Trade Policies Critical To Improving Food Systems, Experts Write In Opinion Piece

Devex: Opinion: Why reshaping trade policies is essential for sustainable food systems, healthy diets
John Beddington, senior adviser to the Oxford Martin School and professor of natural resource management at Oxford University, and John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, chair of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership and special envoy for the Partnership on Neglected Tropical Diseases

“…[R]econfiguring our food systems cannot happen without a reassessment of international trade policies. … Our brief [published this week by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition] shows that much more can be done to take into account the effect of trade on diets and nutrition: 1. Close attention should be paid to trade policies that influence the relative price of foods within domestic markets. … 2. High priority should be given to trade policies that specifically help to increase the availability and to reduce the price of nutrient-rich foods. … 3. Policymakers should be alert to the effects of trade policies on the availability and pricing of imports of ultraprocessed foods. … 4. Policymakers should pay close attention to trade agreements that embody strong investor protections … 5. Food trade can be especially beneficial in managing price volatility and climate change risks. … Government policymakers, supported by evidence, need to come together to redress this situation. Trade policies can help countries better manage their food supply so that consumers are able to access diverse, available, affordable, and healthy diets that support economies, our health, and our planet” (2/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

African Governments Must Follow Through On Women's Health Commitments, Women's Health Expert Says

Think Global Health: How to Save the Lives of Women and Girls in Africa
Edinah Masiyiwa, nurse, midwife, and executive director of Women’s Action Group, discusses maternal health commitments in Africa and writes, “Although governments may sign lofty declarations, they too often fail to put in place the practical strategies needed to follow through. This is unacceptable. … Africa needs trained personnel to attend to pregnant women. It’s that simple. Governments should start by allocating 15 percent of their national budgets to health — as they have also committed to do” (2/14).

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Think Global Health Piece Examines Variations In Postpartum Care In Sub-Saharan Africa

Think Global Health: Healthy Birth — and Then What?
Jason Socrates Bardi, deputy managing editor for global health in the David Rockefeller Studies Program at CFR, discusses the importance of postpartum care, highlighting a recent article in PLOS Medicine that surveyed variations in postpartum care for women giving birth at health care facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa (2/14).

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CFR Article Discusses WHO's Continued PHEIC Designation For DRC's Ebola

Council on Foreign Relations: WHO Retains Ebola’s Public Health Emergency Designation in Congo
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies at CFR, discusses the WHO’s decision to retain the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) designation for the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2/14).

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