KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Expiration Of CDC Funding To Assist With Disease Surveillance, Detection In Developing Countries Puts U.S. At Risk, Experts Say

The Hill: CDC to cut global disease prevention efforts by 80 percent
“…Government officials told the [Washington] Post that staffers abroad began receiving instructions about two weeks ago to start downsizing activities aimed at preventing epidemics … The funding for those programs had originated from a one-time emergency funding package passed by Congress in response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic, and is expected to run out in the fall of 2019…” (Thomsen, 2/2).

The Atlantic: The CDC Is About to Fall Off a Funding Cliff
“…In December 2014, Congress appropriated $5.4 billion to fight the historic Ebola epidemic that was raging in West Africa … [A]round $1 billion was allocated to help developing countries improve their ability to detect and respond to infectious diseases … Two weeks ago, Betsy McKay at the Wall Street Journal reported that the CDC, with no firm promise of future funding, is indeed preparing to downsize its work in 39 countries … All of this is but a symptom of a greater malady: our inability to learn from the past. Time and again, diseases flare up, governments throw money at the problem, the crisis recedes, and funding dries up…” (Yong, 2/2).

CNN: Cuts to CDC epidemic programs will endanger Americans, former chief says
“The former chief of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the decision … could pose a grave danger to the United States because it ‘would significantly increase the chance an epidemic will spread without our knowledge and endanger lives in our country and around the world’…” (Drash, 2/5).

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NYT Examines Implications Of President Trump's Call For Restricting Aid To U.S. 'Friends'

New York Times: Trump Wants to Aid Only ‘America’s Friends.’ If Only It Were That Easy
“…President Trump’s insistence in his State of the Union address this past week that Congress pass laws to ensure that ‘American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends’ may not be as easy as it seems. Threats to cut American foreign aid have long been a talking point, particularly among Republicans trying to stir their base by tapping a popular, if inaccurate, perception that the money sent abroad is vast. … In any case, only about one percent of the United States federal budget goes to foreign aid … Americans nonetheless remain convinced that the country spends far more. In a 2015 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average respondent thought that 26 percent of the federal budget went to foreign aid…” (Erlanger, 2/3).

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Open Letter To Global Fund Criticizing Partnership With Heineken Expresses Concern Over Impact On Alcohol Policy Implementation In Africa

The Guardian: Not remotely refreshing: global health fund criticized over Heineken alliance
“A global health fund has come under severe criticism over its decision to partner with Heineken, a move campaigners warn will ‘undermine and subvert’ alcohol policy implementation in Africa. In an open letter to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an alliance of more than 2,000 health organizations voiced misgivings about the alliance and called for its immediate end. ‘We are deeply concerned about this partnership and its implications for global health,’ read a letter signed by Katie Dain of the NCD Alliance, Kristina Sperkova of the anti-alcohol group IOGT International, and Sally Casswell of the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance…” (Hodal, 2/2).

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Greater Access To Cancer Diagnosis, Prevention, Treatment Needed, U.N. Officials Say On World Day

U.N. News Centre: World Cancer Day: U.N. agency chief urges greater access to diagnosis, prevention, and treatment services
“Millions of people suffering from cancer in developing countries still lack access to effective prevention, screening, early diagnosis, and treatment, the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Friday, urging continued efforts to ensure greater access to these vital services…” (2/2).

VOA News: Early Diagnosis, Treatment for Cancer Saves Many Lives
“…WHO technical officer for cancer control, Andre Ilbawi says approximately 70 percent of cancer deaths are in low-and middle-income countries, while the number of cases in these countries is increasing at a fast and worrying rate. He agrees this is a cause of concern, but tells VOA simple actions can be taken even by the poorest countries to address this issue…” (Schlein, 2/4).

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Devex Speaks With Stakeholders At World Economic Forum About CEPI's First Year, Disease Outbreak Preparedness

Devex: CEPI, a year in: How can we get ready for the next pandemic?
“…The news last month that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will downsize its epidemic prevention activities has global health organizations sounding the alarm that funding cuts will leave the world unprepared for the next outbreak. But when the conversation at the World Economic Forum meetings turned to potential roadmaps for progress against pandemics, participants could take some comfort in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, launched here at Davos in Jan. 2017. … In Davos, Devex spoke with some key stakeholders involved in its formation to get a sense of progress so far and what more is needed…” (Cheney, 2/5).

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WHO Ombudsman Recommends Better Managerial Training To Prevent 'Dysfunctional' Relationships Among Staff

Devex: Internal ‘dysfunction’ poses threats to WHO mission
“The World Health Organization needs to invest more in its staff, particularly in leaders’ managerial skills, the organization’s ombudsman told member states during the 142nd session of the executive board held last month in Geneva, Switzerland, from Jan. 22-26. The recommendation is based on the number of cases which ombudsmen have been receiving that point to ‘dysfunctional’ relationships between managers and staff across the three country, regional, and headquarters levels of the organization…” (Ravelo, 2/5).

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Sanofi Refuses To Refund Philippines For Used Dengvaxia Vaccines; Controversy Hurting Public Health Efforts In Country, As 3 Deaths Possibly Linked To Vaccine

Agence France-Presse: Dengue vaccine row wreaks havoc on Philippine war on disease
“Widespread fears over a controversial dengue vaccine that some blame for child deaths are wreaking havoc on the Philippines’ war on preventable diseases, with many parents refusing to get their children immunized, a senior health official said Friday…” (2/2).

Agence France-Presse: Sanofi rejects refund demand faces Philippine suit over dengue vaccine
“French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi on Monday rejected a Philippine government demand to return tens of millions of dollars paid for a dengue vaccine after the program was suspended over health concerns…” (2/5).

Associated Press: Sanofi rejects Philippine plea for refund on used vaccines
“…Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has said that Sanofi Pasteur has agreed to take back huge stocks of unused Dengvaxia and pay back more than a billion pesos ($20 million) to the Philippine government…” (Gomez, 2/5).

Reuters: Philippines says anti-dengue vaccine may be connected to three deaths
“The Philippines said on Friday the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia may be connected to three deaths in the country, according to a government-ordered inquiry, and that the drug is not ready for mass immunization…” (Mogato, 2/3).

Wall Street Journal: Initial Philippines Probe Finds ‘Causal Association’ Between Deaths, Sanofi Dengue Vaccine
“…A government-ordered probe in the Philippines found a ‘causal association’ between inoculation and the deaths of at least three out of the 14 children who are a focus of its investigation. … The department cautioned that its results were preliminary…” (Rana, 2/2).

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Bill Gates, Atul Gawande Discuss Global Health Efforts In CNBC Interview

CNBC: How Bill Gates and a top doctor are pushing health care solutions in developing nations
“Philanthropist and billionaire Bill Gates, and acclaimed author and surgeon Atul Gawande started their careers going down very different paths. These days, the two are on a similar mission — figuring out how to solve complex health care issues on a global scale, from dispelling myths about vaccines to improving child mortality rates. And sometimes, the solutions are not as expensive as some may think…” (Barry, 2/3).

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NPR Fact Checks Water.org Super Bowl Ad Pitching Sale Of Stella Artois Chalice

NPR: Fact-Checking Matt Damon’s Clean Water Promise In A Super Bowl Ad
“In a new Super Bowl ad, Matt Damon makes a bold promise: Buy a limited-edition Stella Artois chalice and your money will help give a clean water supply to someone in the developing world for five years. The ad, called ‘Taps,’ reminds viewers that water is something we take for granted. Around the world, 844 million people do not even have a basic service providing water to their homes, according to the World Health Organization. … Even water specialists weren’t clear on how the numbers were calculated. To learn more, we interviewed researchers and spokespeople for Water.org…” (Gharib, 2/2).

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More News In Global Health

The Guardian: ‘I don’t live any more’: Zika takes a heavy toll on families in Brazil (Phillips, 2/5).

The Guardian: India’s sanitary towel hero Pad Man bound for Bollywood glory (Waheed, 2/3).

NPR: A Crowd Is Waiting For A Cervical Cancer Clinic On Wheels (Roemer, 2/4).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Mobile app mapping free condoms set up to help fight HIV in Philippines (Yi, 2/2).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: ‘Heartwrenching’ study shows FGM prevalent among India’s Bohra sect (Batha, 2/5).

VOA News: Mass Diphtheria Vaccination Campaign Set to Begin in Yemen (Schlein, 2/3).

VOA News: Unrest Deprives Thousands of Children of Polio Vaccine in Afghanistan (Habibzada, 2/4).

Wall Street Journal: Mathilde Krim Rallied Scientific World and High Society for the Fight Against AIDS (Hagerty, 2/2).

Washington Post: The Islamic State’s toxic farewell: Environmental sabotage and chronic disease (El-Ghobashy/Warrick, 2/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

President Trump Should Commit To 'Renewed Focus' On HIV/AIDS Efforts

The Hill: Trump must take action to help America fight against HIV/AIDS
David Furnish, chair of the Elton John AIDS Foundation

“…After years of gains in treatment and prevention, new breakthroughs and policy ideas point the clearest way forward to an AIDS-free generation since the epidemic began. Yet the risk of losing key ground is real, and new infections driven by the opioid epidemic pose a generational threat. By seizing the potential of this moment, President Trump could change the course of this fight. … [T]reatment innovation is speeding up, as safer, cheaper, more effective, and more flexible medications continue to emerge thanks to critical research funded by federal dollars. By dedicating renewed focus to this issue, President Trump could acknowledge these advancements and signal an important change in approach to the rest of the government. … President Trump stands at a moment of real opportunity in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This new year has the potential to be decisive, but the speed and strength of our progress will depend on what the White House does next. By joining the fight, President Trump can change history and save lives” (2/2).

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Recently Published Scientific Paper Raises Questions, Provides Warning Regarding Privately Funded Dual-Use Research

Washington Post: An experiment risks giving terrorists the recipe for smallpox — and sends a warning
Editorial Board

“A scientific paper published on Jan. 19 described a worrisome experiment. Researchers in Canada assembled bits of DNA and resurrected in the laboratory a cousin of the virus that caused smallpox, a deadly scourge eradicated in 1980. The authors said their experiments might lead to improved vaccines, but critics have correctly questioned whether the study could give terrorists or rogue states a recipe to reconstitute the smallpox virus, known as variola. … The Canadian researchers did not violate regulations, but their work fell into a sort of gray area where regulations hardly reach. … [A] study such as this comes as a jolt. It was not necessary. … The restrictions that now cover dual-use research funded by U.S. government — which include an independent review process, and a weighing of the risks and benefits, as well as the ethics — should be expanded to private-sector research. The WHO should be given a stronger oversight role, too…” (2/3).

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Opinion Pieces Recognize World Cancer Day, Discuss Prevention, Treatment Access Challenges, Opportunities

Devex: Opinion: 70 percent of cancer deaths happen in developing countries. We need to fix access gaps.
Cary Adams, CEO of the Union for International Cancer Control, and Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance

“…Low- to middle-income countries are bearing the brunt of [the cancer burden]. Approximately 70 percent of cancer deaths occur in developing countries, which are the most ill-equipped to cope with this burden. … If we aim to meet our pledge to avoid so many premature deaths from cancer, a strong committed response from national governments will be key. … We must continue to position cancer in the broader health and development agenda, especially around the issue of universal health coverage, and make the case for cancer to receive adequate funding. These global cancer commitments need to translate into national action. … Let World Cancer Day draw a line in the sand and let 2018 be known as the year that we began to close the treatment access gap at the national level. Let’s set ourselves firmly on the way to ensuring that at the very least, everyone living with cancer receives basic supportive and palliative care services” (2/2).

The Lancet: The global fight against cancer: challenges and opportunities
Rifat Atun of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School and Franco Cavalli of the European School of Oncology and Institute of Oncology Research, UniversitĂ  della Svizzera Italiana

“…Globally, there is a shortfall in coverage of cancer services for prevention, screening, treatment, and palliative care. If cost-effective interventions for cancer screening, prevention, and treatment were delivered through strengthened health systems, they could help largely avoid many premature deaths, unnecessary suffering, and unacceptable inequalities. Yet these interventions are not reaching those in need and the opportunity to close the equity divide is not realized. … An inclusive and coordinated response for a large-scale global response to fight cancer is overdue. Further delays will mean needless deaths, worsening inequities, and a failure to realize health, economic, and societal benefits” (2/3).

The Hill: World Cancer Day 2018 — addressing Africa’s emerging needs
Dan A. Milner Jr., chief medical officer of the American Society for Clinical Pathology

“…As sub-Saharan Africa makes impressive progress in dealing with infectious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, the region faces rapidly growing challenges associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — including cancer. … While the need to battle infectious diseases continues, it is possible to simultaneously address the impact of cancer and other NCDs. … With new health centers, stronger supply chains for delivering medicines to low-income countries, better laboratory networks, and legions of newly trained health care workers, many sub-Saharan countries have the tools necessary for success against NCDs. New facilities and capacities can be adapted and enhanced to address cancer. … It’s time we recognize the growing threat of cancer and similarly commit to bold solutions” (2/4).

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School Meal Programs Could Help Address Malnutrition In Africa

Inter Press Service: The Potential of School Meals to Change the Nutrition Landscape in Africa
Daniel Balaban, director for the World Food Programme’s Centre of Excellence against Hunger

“Tackling malnutrition is essential for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and will be critical for the African continent to reach its full development potential. … African countries have committed to the elimination of malnutrition in all its forms at the International Conference on Nutrition 2 (ICN2), and have endorsed its recommendations with measures to promote an enabling environment. … Overall, they require the expansion of national nutrition frameworks, which should encompass the expansion of school meals programs. … Addressing current generations’ malnutrition and ensuring that new ones enjoy healthier lives requires intense dedication to improving children’s access to nutritious diets. As we empower children to have access to adequate food and make choices that contribute to healthy diets, we contribute to changing the nutrition landscape in Africa” (2/2).

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Building Strong Health Systems Vital To Protecting Against Future Pandemics

Devex: Opinion: Strong health systems are our best defense against pandemics
Mandeep Dhaliwal, director of UNDP’s HIV, Health & Development Practice

“…When it comes to fighting infectious diseases, the best offense is a strong defense. By building strong and resilient health systems at scale, we can maximize our chances of being prepared for the next pandemic, regardless of where or when it hits. … As countries develop policies and capacities to counter pandemics, let’s not forget that research and development, while important, is insufficient on its own. Building strong health systems and technical capacity is critical to prepare for emerging threats, including diseases that may not exist yet. We may not know exactly when the next outbreak will strike, but experts agree that the world is at risk of another major pandemic … In today’s world where diseases don’t abide by borders, global health systems are only as strong as the weakest link. Investing in strong health systems is our best bet to protect ourselves and stop local outbreaks before they turn into global pandemics” (2/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Co-Chairs Send Letter To National Security Adviser McMaster Addressing U.S. National Security Strategy

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: MFAN Co-Chairs Letter to General McMaster on National Security Strategy
In a letter to Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, assistant to the president for national security affairs, MFAN co-chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette urge continued U.S. engagement and leadership in international development and global health efforts. The co-chairs write, “As you implement the National Security Strategy, we urge you to work with the leadership of the Office of Management and Budget, USAID, and the State Department to ensure sufficient authority, resources, and personnel at our development and diplomacy agencies” (2/2).

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Brookings Fellow Calls Friends-Only U.S. Foreign Aid Policy 'A Very Bad Deal'

Brookings Institution’s “Up Front”: Trump’s SOTU: Why pegging U.S. foreign assistance to countries’ U.N. votes is a bad deal
Tony Pipa, senior fellow in the global economy and development program at Brookings, discusses the implications of President Trump’s State of the Union address call for Congress “to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America.” Pipa notes, “The American public overwhelmingly favors an altruistic dimension to U.S. aid,” and he cites Power Africa and the U.S. response to the Ebola epidemic as examples of successful initiatives. Pipa concludes, “[T]he trade-offs [of a friends-only policy] are huge, and appear almost uniquely designed to undercut the larger strategic priorities [President Trump] and his administration are promoting. He should be able to see that it would be a very bad deal” (2/2).

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Global Fund's Incoming Executive Director Outlines 5 Key Messages For Global Health Community In Speech

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s “Voices”: Making the World Safe from the Threats of Emerging Infectious Diseases
In a speech delivered at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok, Peter Sands, incoming executive director of the Global Fund, outlines five key messages for the global health community as it addresses emerging infectious disease threats: “First, the global health community has to get better at articulating what’s at stake in making the world safer from infectious disease threats … Second, we need to talk about health security in a way that makes sense both to taxpayers in high-income countries and to the people most at risk from infectious diseases … Third, we have to embed and broaden our approach to antimicrobial resistance, so that antimicrobial resistance becomes an integral component of how we tackle infectious disease … Fourth, we need to get better at working together to tackle specific diseases and to build stronger, more resilient health systems. … Finally, we need to ensure that gender considerations inform health security strategies in a powerful, practical — and effective — way” (2/2).

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FT Health Discusses UNICEF's Latest Appeal For $3.6B In Humanitarian Assistance

FT Health: New year, same old problems
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses UNICEF’s appeal for $3.6 billion in humanitarian assistance and provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Dodd/Jack, 2/2).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S., IAEA Work To Improve Access To Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment Globally

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: World Cancer Day: International Solutions for a Global Crisis
Kathryn Holmgaard, spokesperson and public affairs chief at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, recognizes World Cancer Day, which takes place annually on February 4, and discusses the U.S. partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to “advance access to effective cancer diagnosis and therapy” around the globe (2/2).

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