KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

China, U.S. Presidents Speak About Ongoing Coronavirus Outbreak; Democratic Senators Call For Emergency Funding For U.S. Domestic Response

AFP: China’s Xi urges more protection for medical workers after deaths
“China’s President Xi Jinping called Wednesday for greater protection of medical staff fighting the new coronavirus after the deaths of prominent doctors sparked national anger at the government’s handling of the outbreak. At least seven medical workers have died from the virus, while 1,716 have been confirmed as infected, most at the epicenter of the epidemic in central Hubei province where hospitals have dealt with a huge influx of patients…” (2/19).

The Hill: Democratic senators urge Trump administration to request emergency funding for coronavirus response
“Senate Democrats are urging the Trump administration to request emergency funding from Congress to respond to the coronavirus. In a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney, 25 Senate Democrats said they have heard concerns from state and local public health departments that are facing additional costs from responding to the outbreak…” (Hellmann, 2/19).

The Hill: Senate Health Committee announces hearing on U.S. coronavirus response
“The Senate Health Committee on Wednesday announced a hearing on the U.S. response to the coronavirus spreading across China and other countries. The hearing will be March 3 and feature officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health, and Food and Drug Administration, the committee said…” (Sullivan, 2/19).

Reuters: Trump: “Confident China is trying very hard” in handling coronavirus outbreak
“U.S. President Donald Trump is confident that China is ‘trying very hard’ in its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, he said in a television interview late on Wednesday…” (Singh, 2/20).

Additional coverage is available from the AP, New York Times, and Reuters.

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News Outlets Report On Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Outbreak

AP: Iran state news agency says new virus has killed 2 citizens (Vahdat, 2/19).

Foreign Policy: Are China’s Coronavirus Figures Reliable? (Palmer, 2/19).

New York Times: To Prevent Next Coronavirus, Stop the Wildlife Trade, Conservationists Say (Nuwer, 2/19).

NPR: Coronavirus Is Contagious, But Kids Seem Less Vulnerable So Far (Aubrey, 2/20).

NPR: The Wide-Ranging Ways In Which The Coronavirus Is Hurting Global Business (Feng/Cheng, 2/19).

NPR: Pressing Unanswered Questions Remain Regarding The Coronavirus (2/19).

Reuters: China HIV patients risk running out of AIDS drugs in days: UNAIDS (Kelland/Liu, 2/19).

Reuters: ‘Like a zombie apocalypse’: Residents on edge as coronavirus cases surge in South Korea (Shin/Cha, 2/19).

The Telegraph: Warning for African countries as coronavirus cases mount worldwide (Newey, 2/19).

Wall Street Journal: Two Coronavirus Cruise Ship Passengers Die in Japan (Inada/Bhattacharya, 2/19).

Wall Street Journal: Sick, but Not Coronavirus? China’s Other Patients Struggle to Get Care (Kubota et al., 2/19).

Washington Post: How the coronavirus can kill people (Johnson, 2/19).

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Media Outlets Examine Research Into Coronavirus Treatments, Vaccines

NPR: Hunt For New Coronavirus Treatments Includes Gene-Silencing And Monoclonal Antibodies (Palca, 2/19).

Reuters: Factbox: Global efforts to develop vaccines, drugs to fight the coronavirus (Steenhuysen/Liu, 2/19).

STAT: How many? The coronavirus is prompting a burst of clinical trials in search of a treatment (Silverman, 2/19).

VOA: Trials to Test Ebola Drug’s Potential to Prevent, Treat Coronavirus (Liu, 2/19).

Washington Post: The Health 202: Drugmakers are developing a coronavirus vaccine. That’s a sign the disease will be around a long time (Cunningham, 2/19).

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CHANGE Report Examines Impact Of Mexico City Policy In Malawi

IPS: U.S. President’s Global Gag Rule is Having Negative Impact on the Health of Malawians: Report
“A report released last week has detailed the complex ways in which President Donald Trump’s [reinstated and expanded Mexico City policy, also known as the ‘global gag rule’ (GGR)], that blocks U.S. global health assistance to foreign non-governmental facilities providing abortion or abortion-related services, is affecting the population in Malawi, a country already hard hit with numerous climate change disasters. The report, titled ‘A Powerful Force: U.S. Global Health Assistance and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Malawi,’ was released on Feb. 10 by Washington, D.C.-based sexual and reproductive health rights organization CHANGE, the Center for Health and Gender Equity…” (Sadeque, 2/19).

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Countries Must Do More To Help Children Survive, Flourish, WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission Report Says

U.N. News: ‘Not a single country’ does enough to help children flourish, say health experts
“The world’s survival depends on children being able to flourish, but no country is doing enough to give them a sustainable future, dozens of highly respected international health experts said on Wednesday. In a U.N.-backed report assessing the capacity of 180 countries to ensure that their youngsters can survive and thrive, the authors highlight numerous ‘immediate’ threats to their health, environment, and opportunities…” (2/19).

Additional coverage of the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission report is available from CNBC, CNN, and Healio.

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U.N. Health Officials Call On International Community To End Preventable Deaths From Road Accidents

U.N. News: At Stockholm road safety summit, U.N. officials join global call to end ‘scourge’ of preventable deaths
“Road traffic accidents take some 1.35 million lives every year and cost most countries three percent of their gross domestic product, the top U.N. health official said on Wednesday as the Third Global Ministerial Conference On Road Safety kicked off in Stockholm, Sweden. According to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years…” (2/19).

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Drought, Insecurity, Flailing Economy Increase Food Insecurity, Malnutrition In Haiti

Reuters: Haiti political morass fuels growing crisis of hunger, malnutrition
“…While Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has long had one of the world’s highest levels of food insecurity, drought has ravaged harvests for the last few years, worsening food shortages and raising prices. … Compounding that, anti-government protests sparked by anger over alleged corruption shuttered businesses and public institutions for three months last fall and disrupted the transportation of goods, including food aid. … One in three Haitians — around 3.7 million people — needs urgent food assistance, up from 2.6 million people at the end of 2018, the United Nations said in December. Haiti now ranks 111 out of 117 countries on the Global Hunger Index, in the company mostly of the poorest sub-Saharan African countries…” (Marsh/Paultre, 2/19).

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Humanitarian Aid Workers Face Homelessness, Death In Syria's Idlib Province

Washington Post: As civilians suffer in Syria’s Idlib province, death and displacement stalk aid workers, too
“As aid workers rushed around Syria’s Idlib province in recent days to help its war-battered people survive, a Syrian relief agency was scrambling to save another struggling group: its own employees. They have been left homeless and in search of cover from a brutal winter and an unforgiving military advance against the last pocket of rebel resistance to Syria’s government after nine years of war. … The global response to the humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib relies almost entirely on Syrian aid workers, to feed people, tend to the injured, and find shelter for the displaced…” (Fahim, 2/19).

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More News In Global Health

allAfrica: Africa: We Can Make Our World Better — Mark Suzman of Gates Foundation (Williams, 2/20).

AP: Yemen’s Houthi rebels impeding U.N. aid flow, demand a cut (Michael, 2/19).

AP: 2nd person dies amid dengue epidemic in French Caribbean (2/19).

Devex: Australia’s new international policy directions revealed (Cornish, 2/20).

Financial Times: AI discovers antibiotics to treat drug-resistant diseases (Murgia, 2/20).

The Guardian: The mystery sickness bringing death and dismay to eastern Ethiopia (Ali/Gardner, 2/20).

Homeland Preparedness News: Merck injectable vaccine being licensed in four African countries for Ebola prevention (Galford, 2/19).

New York Times: 14 Die and Hundreds Sickened in Pakistan, and the Cause Is a Mystery (Masood, 2/19).

TIME: An Anti-Abortion Activist Tried to Make Colombia’s Abortion Law More Restrictive. Here’s Why That Could Backfire (Nugent, 2/19).

U.N. News: Millions of children and families in Niger struggle as humanitarian needs mount — UNICEF (2/19).

Xinhua: Mass cholera vaccinations begin in Bangladeshi capital (2/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Issues Of Coronavirus Outbreak

Washington Post: What did Xi Jinping know about the coronavirus, and when did he know it?
Editorial Board

“The early phase of the coronavirus outbreak in China remains an important and still poorly understood lacuna. Prompt, early action could have saved lives and averted enormous disruption. Instead, the Chinese people were exposed to danger in the first weeks of the epidemic when their officials failed to sound the alarm, even though they knew something was afoot. … China has an immense challenge coping with the outbreak. Its success or failure will affect the whole world. It has now mounted an enormous containment effort. But these early weeks of the epidemic reveal the hazards of an authoritarian system that hides the truth from its own people” (2/19).

The Hill: Global response to a growing epidemic: The U.N. at work on coronavirus
Kate Dodson, vice president for Global Health Strategy at the United Nations Foundation (2/19).

New York Times: Why Did the Coronavirus Outbreak Start in China?
Yi-Zheng Lian, former chief editor of the Hong Kong Economic Journal (2/20).

Washington Post: The coronavirus is about to hit Africa. Here are the big challenges.
Amy S. Patterson, professor of politics at University of the South and author (2/18).

Washington Post: Coronavirus link or not, it’s time to crack down on the illegal animal trade
Amy Yee, journalist and former Financial Times correspondent (2/20).

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U.S. Congress Should Support Global HER Act, Repeal Mexico City Policy, Opinion Piece Says

Sacramento Bee: The global gag rule on abortion and reproductive health care must be repealed
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), medical doctor and member of Congress serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Melvine Ouyo, former Kibera clinic director for Family Health Options Kenya

“…The impact of the [expanded Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule,] runs beyond decreased access to contraception, safe abortion, and prenatal care. The policy now applies to all [U.S.] global health funding… putting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and nutrition programs at risk. … All of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate frontrunners have promised to end the global gag rule. … A bill currently in Congress, the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (Global HER) Act, would end the global gag rule permanently. We need all legislators — both Democrats and Republicans — to fight to ensure that clinics around the world receive the funding they need to serve their patients. We must end the attack on reproductive rights and permanently repeal the global gag rule” (2/19).

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Global Leaders Should Adopt Child-Focused Strategies To Ensure Health Of Future Generations, Says Lancet Editorial

The Lancet Global Health: Entitled to a healthy, thriving future
Editorial Board

“Since the start of the Sustainable Development Goal era, several impediments to health and well-being, including climate change and the commercial determinants of health, have substantially increased in urgency and scale. Today’s children are due to inherit these problems and to be most affected by them. Feb. 18 saw publication of a WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission that emphasizes the urgency of improving child health in the context of these intensifying issues, now and sustainably into the future. … Many of us could not have predicted the substantial and rapid effects of climate change, conflict, economic inequality, and technological advances on health, yet these factors are now immediate priorities. However, we should not lose sight of the unfinished agenda of pneumonia and diarrhea as the biggest killers of the world’s children. Solutions will require long-term, sustainable strategies to give this and future generations equitable access to health care, education, democratic representation, and a safe living environment. Governmental leaders must be bold and ambitious enough to tackle these problems with child-focused strategies that will reach fruition long beyond their term in office” (March 2020).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Think Global Health Publishes Map Tracking Travel Restrictions On China Due To Coronavirus

Think Global Health: Travel Restrictions on China due to COVID-19
Samantha Kiernan, research associate on global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Madeleine DeVita, intern with the Global Health Program at CFR, highlight a new map tracking countries that have imposed some type of travel restriction on China due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The authors note, “As of February 19, Think Global Health has identified a total of eighty countries imposing travel restrictions of varying severity on China due to the coronavirus” (2/19).

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KFF Experts Discuss U.S. Government's Role In Addressing Global Women's Health

Think Global Health: The U.S. Government’s Role in Addressing Global Women’s Health
Jen Kates, senior vice president and director, and Kellie Moss, associate director, with KFF’s global health and HIV policy program, discuss the U.S. government’s role in addressing global women’s health. They write, “While the United States remains the largest donor to women’s health in the world, U.S. funding has been mostly flat in recent years even as the population in need of services has grown. A pull back of any sort would have significant implications for the health of women in low- and middle-income countries. So what role does the U.S. play in advancing the health of women in low- and middle-income countries? For decades, it’s been a substantial one… As aid increases have stalled and progress has slowed, the question is what will happen to the health of the next generation of women and girls in low- and middle-income countries” (2/20).

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ACLJ Files Amicus Brief In Supreme Court Case Testing U.S. 'Prostitution Pledge' Requirement For Global Health Organizations' Local Affiliates

American Center for Law and Justice: Federal Funding, the HIV Virus, and a Form of Human Trafficking: The ACLJ Fights for Human Rights at the Supreme Court
Walter M. Weber, senior counsel for the ACLJ, writes, “The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case, for the second time, involving the federal government’s program of overseas aid to fight the spread of the HIV virus. In U.S. Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International (AID v. AOSI), grantees challenged part of the 2003 President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative … [In the case,] grantees objected to the requirement that to be eligible for funding, applicants must expressly oppose sex trafficking and prostitution … [G]rantees have claimed that ‘policy requirement’ violated their First Amendment rights. Now the ACLJ is, for a second time, defending the policy requirement in a friend-of-the-court brief… In its 2013 decision, a 6-2 majority (Justice Kagan was recused) ruled that the federal government was unconstitutionally forcing private agencies to adopt a policy position against their will. The case went back to the lower courts, which struck down the policy not just as to domestic grant applicants, but also their foreign affiliates. That prompted the federal government to seek and obtain Supreme Court review once again… The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on March 25th and will likely issue its decision by the end of June” (2/18).

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Vaccinations Key To Helping End Cycle Of Extreme Poverty, ONE Senior Digital Coordinator Writes

ONE: Good global health can help us end extreme poverty
Robyn Detoro, senior digital coordinator at the ONE Campaign, discusses the role of vaccines in helping to prevent poverty, writing, “Besides the economic benefits, the effect of healthier children is undeniable. Children who get sick less often attend school more frequently and achieve better test results. Ultimately, this helps prepare kids to enter adulthood with better employment and earning prospects. Vaccination is a key part of the cycle we need to perpetuate to end extreme poverty” (2/19).

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UNICEF Calls For Increased Humanitarian Support For Niger

UNICEF: 2.9 million people, including 1.6 million children, affected by one or more humanitarian crises in Niger, in 2020
“Nearly 3 million people in Niger, more than half of whom are children, need humanitarian assistance amidst the risks posed by insecurity, malnutrition, recurrent disease epidemics, cyclical floods, droughts, and displacement. UNICEF [on Wednesday] called for increased attention to the plight of children and their families. … UNICEF is appealing for solidarity to help the Government of Niger and its partners meet the urgent needs of the affected populations and provide vital assistance to improve their living conditions in the affected areas…” (2/19).

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From the U.S. Government

Drugs Targeting Immune Cells May Help Treat Cerebral Malaria, NIH Study Shows

NIH: NIH study supports new approach for treating cerebral malaria
“Researchers at the National Institutes of Health found evidence that specific immune cells may play a key role in the devastating effects of cerebral malaria, a severe form of malaria that mainly affects young children. The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest that drugs targeting T cells may be effective in treating the disease…” (2/18).

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USAID Announces $8M In Humanitarian Assistance To Support Locust Control Operations In East Africa

USAID: United States Announces $8 Million to Locust Control Operations In East Africa
“In response to the outbreak of desert locusts in East Africa, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will be providing $8 million in humanitarian assistance to support regional operations to control locusts in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Republic of Kenya, and the Federal Republic of Somalia. By helping to reduce the size of the swarms, this aid is expected to have a positive impact on affected communities throughout the Horn of Africa. … The United States is also providing long-term funding to protect food security and livelihoods for the people of East Africa, as well as to strengthen institutional capacity for the detection, surveillance, reporting, and monitoring of locusts and other pests, and for additional preventative programs” (2/19).

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