KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration's Immigration Ban Could Negatively Impact Disease, Vaccine Research, Experts Say

International Business Times: Will Trump Cause Next Ebola Crisis? Immigration Ban Could Hurt Disease, Vaccine Research
“President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban has been met with significant opposition over the effect critics say it will have on immigrants and refugees. But the ban could also propose a significant problem for Americans by limiting the foreign collaboration necessary for successful health research. Much of the disease research conducted in the United States has relied on scientists across the globe who have experience with diseases before they reach the U.S. Researchers Wednesday said that Trump’s immigration ban could challenge that process, according to the scientific journal Nature…” (Pignataro, 2/2).

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New CDC Quarantine Rules Would Enhance Agency's Ability To Contain Outbreaks, Some Experts Say, But Raise Fears Among Others

FrontPageAfrica: Center For Disease Control New Laws May Restrict Liberian Travelers
“…Travelers from Liberia including business owners and aid agencies could come under immense scrutiny should another Ebola-like communicable disease hit the country under a new and more robust regulation being undertaken by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control (CDC). The new CDC regulation is going to put enormous pressure on who the CDC allows to enter the United States…” (2/2).

NPR: CDC Seeks Controversial New Quarantine Powers To Stop Outbreaks
“…The outlined changes are being welcomed by many health lawyers, bioethicists, and public health specialists as providing important tools for protecting the public. But the CDC’s increased authority is also raising fears that the rules could be misused in ways that violate civil liberties. The update was finalized at the end of the Obama administration and was scheduled to go into effect Feb. 21. But the Trump administration is reviewing the changes as part of its review of new regulations. So the soonest the changes could go into effect has been pushed to the end of March…” (Stein, 2/2).

NPR: New Quarantine Authority Gives CDC More Power To Stop Outbreaks
“…When Ebola broke out three years ago in West Africa, an old public health tool proved key — quarantine. It can help contain the spread of a deadly disease. Of course, the act of detaining someone, possibly against their will, can be controversial. That’s why a move expanding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s quarantine powers has people paying attention in the public health world and beyond, as NPR’s Rob Stein reports…” Stein speaks with Lawrence O. Gostin of Georgetown University and Wendy Parmet of Northeastern University (Shapiro/Stein, 2/2).

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Mexico City Policy Likely Will Prohibit Funding To Pakistani Abortion Hotline

The Guardian: Abortion in Pakistan: struggling to support a woman’s right to choose
“…Saba Ismail, co-founder of the Pakistani women’s group Aware Girls, launched an abortion hotline in June 2010. Aware Girls has received USAID funding in the past but now will have to depend on grants from European foundations after President Trump reinstated the global gag rule which prohibits U.S. funding to NGOs which provide information about abortions. ‘We have not heard any donor withdrawing our funding on this basis yet, but we will become automatically ineligible for USAID and other State Department grants on this basis, and that’s the challenge,’ says Ismail. … Marie Stopes International, the family planning NGO which receives funding from USAID, says that its work in Pakistan over the past decade has ‘averted 4.6 million unintended pregnancies, 1.9 million unsafe abortions, and 6,000 maternal deaths’…” (Saleem, 1/30).

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WHO Executive Board Discusses Global Polio Post-Eradication Transition Plan

Devex: WHO board discusses polio eradication endgame
“Polio eradication and antimicrobial resistance were among the biggest issues at the World Health Organization’s weeklong executive board meetings, which concluded on Tuesday. … The board called for the director general to compile a thorough report ahead of the World Health Assembly in May, detailing any challenges and dangers posed by the winding-down of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. … During the board meetings, the U.S. representative also mentioned the ‘effects of complacency’ as a concern. But most of the discussion centered on the post-eradication transition plan: How is the global body preparing for the eventual eradication of the disease?…” (Ravelo, 2/3).

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85% Of Cervical Cancer Deaths Occur In Low- To Middle-Income Countries, WHO's Cancer Agency Says

U.N. News Centre: Low- and middle-income countries bear disproportionate burden of cervical cancer — U.N. agency
“Noting that cervical cancer kills more than 250,000 women every year and that 85 percent of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, the United Nations health agency underlined the importance of vaccinating girls against the cancer-causing virus and screening programs to detect and treat precancerous lesions. The agency also stressed the need to overcome cultural norms and dispel gender biases that are challenging the effectiveness of vaccination initiatives…” (2/1).

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Major Global Health Donors Focus On Data Collection To Improve Funding Efficiencies

Inside Philanthropy: Big Funders, Big Data: The Growing Quest to Learn More About Global Health
“…You can see why billionaires like [Michael] Bloomberg and [Bill] Gates, both of whom made their fortunes in the information economy, would give big for massive data projects. Each of these funders has tens of billions of dollars to dispose of, and each is playing the long game — searching for the right ways to deploy vast wealth to improve global health over many years to come. Better data is seen as foundational to doing such giving right. Maybe even more importantly, a wide range of other players working on global health could benefit from better data. Still, not everyone is so sure this is the best use of global health dollars. The most common critique is that the money spent on data gathering could be better spent backing actions to save lives right now. … Regardless of arguments on both sides, big data projects are looming ever larger in the global health space, and it will be interesting to see how these ambitious efforts translate on the ground…” (Moses, 2/1).

The Lancet: Profile: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, WA, USA
“The mission of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is deceptively simple: identify what makes people ill, what kills them, and what preventive measures work to keep them healthy. Now, a decade after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the IHME at the University of Washington School of Medicine, WA, USA, with a US$105 million grant, the institute’s staff numbers 320 and publishes more than 200 papers annually. On Jan. 25, IHME announced that the Gates Foundation had committed to invest $279 million in IHME to expand its work over the next decade. ‘Behind this grant is not simply a decision to continue outstanding research and analysis but also an uncompromising commitment to use health metrics sciences to improve people’s lives,’ said IHME Director Christopher Murray…” (Rubin, 2/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Mexico City Policy Threatens 'Global Health Aid Writ Large'

The Lancet: The Trump global gag rule: an attack on U.S. family planning and global health aid
Ann M. Starrs, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute

“…Under [U.S. President] Trump’s [executive order reinstating the Mexico City policy], the gag rule now applies not only to U.S. bilateral family planning assistance … but also to all ‘global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies’ … Foreign NGOs that receive U.S. funding to work on a broad range of health programs in about 60 low-income and middle-income countries — including on HIV/AIDS, the Zika virus, malaria, tuberculosis, nutrition, and maternal and child health, among others — will potentially be subject to the same ideological restrictions that have hampered family planning aid at points in the past. Thus, President Trump’s version of the global gag rule represents a wider attack on global health aid writ large. … [T]he U.S. is the largest funder of global health programs worldwide, and the disruption this aid effort will suffer is massive. … It is becoming clearer with each Trump executive order that not only reproductive health but also global health programs and overall foreign assistance supported by the U.S. government are in grave jeopardy, as indicated by President Trump’s repeated promises to ‘put America first.’ The social conservatives driving this agenda — who now control the U.S. presidency and both houses of Congress — are showing complete disregard for the millions of women, men, and children who will suffer the consequences, intended or not, of these regressive policies” (2/4).

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Scientists Must Hold Trump Administration Accountable To Facts, Free Speech

The Lancet: Free speech and facts in the Trump era
Editorial Board

“…Those who hold science and truth to be foundational aspects of civilization need to stand firm in our efforts to hold [U.S. President] Trump accountable to the truth he seems to so publicly disdain with his actions. One such troubling act is the reinstatement of the so-called global gag rule, touted as an ‘anti-abortion’ and ‘pro-life’ policy that instead will likely increase the number of abortions done globally and leave more women dead. Seemingly impervious to facts, Trump’s policy is clearly antithetical to the concept of free speech, with potentially devastating global implications. History has now wrapped Trump in the mantle of authority, but we must witness and hold him to account for the consequences of his actions” (2/4).

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African Governments Should Commit To Scaling-Up National HPV Immunization Programs

CNBC Africa: Op-Ed: Africa is now in serious danger of sleepwalking into a cancer crisis
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Board chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…Currently 266,000 women die horrible deaths [from cervical cancer] every year — one every two minutes — of which 87 percent are in low- and middle-income countries, with the eight highest rates of incidence all in Africa. … And yet, tragically most of these deaths could be prevented thanks to the existence of an affordable and effective vaccine [for human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes a majority of cervical cancer cases]. … If we want to make a long-term dent on mortality rates, and prevent cervical cancer from continuing to rise, … then HPV programs need to be scaled-up to a national level. … Countries like Rwanda and Uganda have already demonstrated that this can be achieved by first recognizing the scale and severity of the problem, and then to acting on it. If other countries do the same, Gavi hopes to reach 40 million girls between now and 2020, preventing 900,000 deaths. We saw a significant step in the right direction exactly one year ago, when on World Cancer Day, then U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued a rallying cry to eliminate cervical cancer once and for all. Then this week the African Union … endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, a commitment to ensure that all Africans — no matter who they are or where they live — can access the vaccines they need to live healthy and productive lives. The next step is for governments to earmark funds and commit to national HPV vaccine introductions…” (2/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Podcast Discusses Global Development With New CGD President

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: “The History of Supporting Development is a History of Learning” — Podcast with New CGD President Masood Ahmed
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, speaks with CGD’s new president, Masood Ahmed, about CGD’s commitment to nonpartisan, research-based policy; how facts and evidence, as well as the idea of investing in development, seem to be threatened in today’s political environment; and how policies in more advanced countries might have exacerbated inequality (2/2).

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PLOS Blog Explores Recent Yellow Fever Outbreaks In Africa, Brazil

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: Yellow Fever Global Whack-a-Mole
Peter Hotez and Serap Aksoy, editors in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, discuss the recent rise in vector-borne neglected tropical diseases, focusing on the recent outbreaks of yellow fever in Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Brazil (2/2).

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From the U.S. Government

Surveillance Systems Key To Decreasing Cancer Burden, CDC Officer Says

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: The Stakes are High, the Goal the Same — Overcome Cancer
Elizabeth Van Dyne, Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer in the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control’s Office of International Cancer Control, writes, “Being at CDC and visiting different countries has shown me that surveillance systems such as cancer registries and prevention are key for decreasing the burden of cancer” (2/2).

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