KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Expected To Nominate Senior Treasury Official David Malpass To Lead World Bank

POLITICO: Trump picks World Bank critic Malpass to lead institution
“President Donald Trump is expected to tap Treasury Department official David Malpass as the U.S. pick to lead the World Bank, according to senior administration officials, a clear sign the administration wants to rein in the international financial institution. Malpass, Treasury’s undersecretary for international affairs, has said global organizations like the World Bank ‘have grown larger and more intrusive’ and ‘the challenge of refocusing them has become urgent and more difficult’…” (Guida/White, 2/4).

Additional coverage of the expected nomination is available from Bloomberg, CNN, Financial Times, New York Times, Reuters, and Washington Post.

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News Outlets Continue Coverage Of Trump's Expected SOTU Announcement Of Plan To Halt HIV Transmissions In U.S.

The Advocate: Trump Is a Hypocrite on HIV, Activists Say (Ring, 2/4).

New York Times: Trump Expected to Announce Plan to Stop Spread of HIV in the U.S. by 2030 (Pear/Rogers, 2/4).

Vox: Trump is expected to call for an end to HIV in the US by 2030. That’s totally realistic (Belluz, 2/5).

Washington Post: Trump is planning campaign to halt transmission of HIV in U.S. by 2030 (Bernstein et al., 2/4).

Washington Post: Trump used to brag about forcing women to take tests for HIV. Now he wants to eliminate its spread (Stanley-Becker, 2/5).

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U.S.-Supported Humanitarian Aid Shipments Delivered To Colombian Border With Venezuela, Despite Objections From Maduro

Breitbart News: U.S. Humanitarian Aid Convoy Begins Helping Venezuelans in Colombia
“The first of three humanitarian aid convoys provided by the United States and other regional contributors arrived in Colombia Sunday and is ready for collection from the border town of Cúcuta, officials announced. The shipment — paid for by the United States, Colombia, and various Venezuelan companies — began providing humanitarian aid on Sunday evening from Cúcuta to those in most desperate need. Other shipments will also be available from border towns in Brazil…” (Kew, 2/4).

Financial Times: Aid convoys for Venezuela risk becoming flashpoint
“…[President Nicolás] Maduro has dismissed offers of international aid as a pretext for military intervention. The opposition’s allies counter they are responding to calls from opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognized by most of the hemisphere and Europe as Venezuela’s legitimate, interim president…” (Rathbone/Long, 2/4).

IRIN: Reporter’s Diary: Hope rises in Venezuela’s hunger-driven political crisis
“…The humanitarian crisis is now so bad that previously eradicated diseases like diphtheria and measles have returned, while the health care system, like the economy, is in a state of complete collapse. Maduro’s regime denies the crisis and refuses to accept most international aid, although the United States now says it will be sending aid at Guaidó’s request…” (Hansen, 2/4).

PRI: As Venezuela’s crisis worsens, thousands more flee to neighboring Colombia seeking relief
“…Three million, or 10 percent of the Venezuelan population, have now left since the crisis began four years ago, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency, with another 5,000 leaving each day. Many hope that Venezuela’s opposition, led by its new, fresh-faced leader, Juan Guaidó, recognized as legitimate by the U.S. along with most other Latin American and Western nations, can end the country’s woes…” (Taylor, 2/4).

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Devex Examines Impacts In Nigeria Of U.S. Ending Funding To UNFPA, Implementing, Expanding Mexico City Policy

Devex: In Nigeria, Trump administration policies bite hard
“…The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump cut funding for UNFPA in April 2017 … Several Nigerian NGOs that had been receiving reproductive health supplies from UNFPA told Devex that if new funds are not mobilized from elsewhere, it could significantly harm family planning efforts in Nigeria, where the use of contraceptives remains low. … These problems have been compounded by the effects of another Trump administration policy — the so-called ‘global gag rule,’ which prohibits any U.S. government [global health] funding from going to foreign NGOs involved in abortion-related work. Various Nigerian NGOs working in the sector have lost funding as a result. Africa’s most populous country is one of the largest recipients of U.S. international development aid and relies heavily on global health assistance for family planning and maternal health initiatives, making it particularly vulnerable to the effects of the policy changes. … In Nigeria, UNFPA believes its financial crisis could have a silver lining — ensuring government officials know that donor funds cannot be relied on for critical national health policies. The government has already increased its support for the local UNFPA by $1 million, or 25 percent, since the rules came into effect. … But many do not believe that efforts to mitigate the impacts of the Trump administration’s policies can completely fill the gap…” (Adepoju, 2/5).

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USAID OIG Head Of Investigations Discusses Diversion Of Food Aid To Armed Groups In Syria In IRIN Interview

IRIN: Q&A: Top U.S. aid fraud investigator defends tough counter-terror stance
“…IRIN interviewed the [USAID Office of the Inspector General (OIG)] head of investigations, Dan Altman, by phone in late December. He disclosed new details about the diversion of over $8 million worth of food aid to a Syrian armed group — a case first reported by IRIN. Altman said several other Syria diversion investigations are still underway. He also rejected accusations of over-aggressive enforcement and spelled out what he believes NGOs need to do to respond to allegations of material support to terrorists…” (Parker, 2/4).

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DRC Ebola Cases Reach 785; Public Health Experts Call On WHO To Consider International Emergency

Associated Press: Experts call for emergency declaration on Congo’s Ebola
“An international group of public health experts on Monday called on the World Health Organization to convene an emergency committee to consider declaring Congo’s Ebola outbreak an international public health emergency. The group of experts wrote in The Lancet that such a call would help galvanize ‘high-level political, financial, and technical support to address the Ebola outbreak that started last May’…” (Petesch, 2/4).

CIDRAP News: DRC Ebola cases surge to 785
“Over the weekend and through [Monday], the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) health ministry reported 22 more cases, many from the current hot spot Katwa, but seven other areas also reported new cases. … The increase lifts the outbreak’s overall total to 785 cases, 731 of them confirmed and 54 listed as probable. Health officials are still investigating 165 suspected Ebola infections…” (Schnirring, 2/4).

The Hill: Ebola poses vexing challenge six months after latest outbreak
“An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in two eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo is growing in a large urban center where residents are distrustful of outside health officials, posing a massive challenge to national and international responders racing to contain the disease…” (Wilson, 2/4).

Xinhua News: Ebola in DRC threatens neighboring South Sudan: U.N.
“The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has prompted the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to step up preparations on Monday for the virus spreading into neighboring South Sudan. The U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated 2 million U.S. dollars to support critical Ebola preparedness activities to protect an estimated 440,000 people in high-risk areas of South Sudan, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the U.N. chief…” (2/5).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Becker’s Hospital Review, Fortune, The Guardian, and TIME.

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ONE Campaign Index Examines Quality, Effectiveness, Transparency Of U.K. Aid

Devex: New index raises concerns about aid quality outside DFID
“Aid money spent outside the U.K. Department for International Development is failing to meet good standards on poverty focus, effectiveness, and transparency, a new report has found, as DFID’s share of the aid budget continues to fall. Analysis by the ONE Campaign comparing aid spending across Whitehall departments from 2016-2017 found significant discrepancies in how the money is being spent…” (Edwards, 2/5).

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Vaccination Against HPV, Early Cervical Cancer Diagnoses Could Save Lives Of More Than 300K Women

U.N. News: World Cancer Day: Early cervical cancer diagnosis could save lives of over 300,000 women
“Cervical cancer kills more than 300,000 women every year, with one woman diagnosed every minute, despite the fact that it is one of the most preventable and curable forms of the disease. In a statement released on Monday to coincide with World Cancer Day, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said that nine out of ten women who die from cervical cancer are from poor countries, and that if no action is taken, deaths from the disease will rise by almost 50 percent by 2040. The WHO points out that new diagnoses can be reduced by ensuring that all 9-14 year old girls globally are vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV)…” (2/4).

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More News In Global Health

Agence-France Presse: China disciplines 80 officials linked to major vaccine scandal (2/3).

CIDRAP News: Saudi Arabia, Oman report more MERS cases (Schnirring, 2/4).

CNBC Africa: Rwanda’s quest to prevent and treat cancer (2/4).

Devex: Q&A: WHO’s new Western Pacific director on vaccine hesitancy, UHC (Ravelo, 2/5).

Devex: Traffic fatalities in Southeast Asia, Africa higher than reports say (Ravindran, 2/4).

New York Times: You Flushed the Toilet. They Made Some Bricks (Klein, 1/31).

The Telegraph: U.K. funded early warning system detects chickenpox outbreak in Cox’s Bazar (Newey, 2/5).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Nepal Urged to Shut Down ‘Menstruation Huts’ After 4th Death in a Month (Sharma, 2/4).

Xinhua News: U.N. says Uganda registers success in reduction of female genital mutilation (2/5).

Xinhua News: WHO warns against repeated attacks on Libyan hospitals (2/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Must Ensure Continued Funding For Infectious Disease Preparedness

The Hill: Ebola outbreak reminds us that we need pandemic preparedness
Brian T. Garibaldi, director of the bio-containment unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Lisa L. Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System and associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health

“…In recent decades, new dangers — including the emergence of lethal pathogens, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), the increase in viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks such as Ebola and Lassa fever, and the rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria — threaten to outpace our ability to develop effective treatments. Overcoming these new and challenging obstacles — and protecting the public from a 21st century pandemic — requires preparation and resources. In response, Congress supported an effort in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to create 10 regional Ebola and special pathogen treatment centers (RESPTCs). … These preparedness initiatives provide a tremendous resource, allowing our nation to better respond to threats from highly infectious diseases. … Nationally and regionally, we are far better prepared to respond to an infectious disease threat, such as Ebola or pandemic respiratory virus, because of these dedicated federal resources. … We have an opportunity to build upon the infrastructure that has been put in place and continue strengthening our capabilities to meet these and other biologic threats. Congress can help achieve these goals by re-authorizing and appropriating investment in infectious disease preparedness” (2/4).

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Opinion Piece Calls For Trump Administration, U.S. Congress To Make Changes To Restore U.S. Leadership In Global Human Rights

The Hill: What we want to hear in the State of the Union Address: Restoring America’s global human rights leadership
Rori Kramer, director of government affairs at the American Jewish World Service

“…For decades, presidents from both parties have promoted universal human dignity and civil rights. But since Donald Trump took office, we’ve watched America stand by — or even send signals of support — as dictators stomp on these rights. … These days, many Americans have a more expansive view of global human rights, including protections for women and girls, and LGBTI people, and persecuted ethnic minorities and indigenous people. Now members of Congress are showing signs of pushing the administration to right the wrongs of these last two years. We can begin by making a commitment to make three broad changes: Policy changes: The U.S. administration must call out all dictators, not just those it disagrees with politically. … Legislative changes: If the administration refuses to take on this urgent global work, Congress must pick up the slack and restore our place as one [of] the world’s standard bearers in human rights. … Restoring foreign policy building blocks: At home, we need to secure our international and human rights institutions … Only then will the state of our union be strong” (2/4).

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Addressing Gender Equality Central To Global Health, Achieving UHC

Devex: Opinion: There is no road to UHC without gender equality and women’s empowerment
Ann Keeling, senior fellow at Women in Global Health and chair of Age International; Roopa Dhatt, executive director and co-founder of Women in Global Health; and Lippi Doshi, global health and development communications consultant

“…The WHO Secretariat and member states responded to the call for action on gender equality in [universal health coverage (UHC)]. Here are five things we hope to see beyond the 144th [WHO Executive Board (EB)] meeting: 1. Address gender equality and women’s empowerment at the 2019 U.N. High-Level Meeting on UHC … 2. Greater commitment for gender parity from WHO’s Executive Board … 3. A gender transformative investment in the current and future worldwide health workforce has [a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)] Dividend … 4. An inclusivity advisory and oversight group for WHO, a key recommendation of the WHO Civil Society Task Force … 5. WHO remains active in addressing root inequities that impact health for all, such as SDG5, by establishing an accelerator in the SDG3 Global Action Plan … We hope member states continue to respond to our call to action on gender equality. Addressing gender equality is central to every aspect of global health, and every item listed on the WHO EB meeting agenda rests on getting it right” (2/1).

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Researchers Must Understand Environmental, Medical, Political Risks Before Deploying Mosquito Modification Technology To End Malaria

Washington Post: Combating malaria by modifying mosquitoes could save thousands of lives. It’s also risky.
Henry T. Greely, director of the center for law and the biosciences at Stanford University

“…[B]iotech holds out the potential of progress [to end malaria] — possibly soon. … One approach uses genetic engineering to reduce, or even eliminate, populations of malaria-carrying mosquitoes … Another more elegant tactic uses genetic modifications to make mosquitoes immune to the malaria plasmodium, the parasite that causes the disease. … The stakes of deploying or not deploying such research are high … Can we in good conscience hold off from using these technologies as soon as possible? Yes, we can. In spite of the stakes — in some ways because of the stakes — it is important that we get this right before we try it. We have a moral imperative to fight malaria, but we also need a better understanding of the environmental, medical, and political risks before we rush in. And we need to regulate the relevant experiments and field tests, not just to avoid unanticipated ecological side effects but also to forestall political resistance. … It’s never possible to know the perfect time to introduce a new intervention, but we need to investigate these new approaches and their likely consequences both carefully — and urgently” (2/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Worldwide Threat Assessment Recognizes Climate Change As National Security Threat

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: U.S. Intelligence Community Recognizes Climate Change in Worldwide Threat Assessment
Isabella Caltabiano, research assistant at the Wilson Center, discusses the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community report, which provides an overview of the national security threats facing the U.S. and covers topics such as election interference, threats to economic competitiveness, cyber espionage attacks, terrorism, and climate change. Caltabiano notes, “The decision to widen the scope of perceived environmental threats [in this year’s report] suggests that the intelligence community has chosen to take a more comprehensive position on climate change than the current administration…” (2/5).

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CFR Interactive Explores How Urbanization May Impact Future Of Global Health

Council on Foreign Relations: The Future of Global Health Is Urban Health
As part of a series of data interactives on the changes occurring in global health and the broader implications for societies and economies, Thomas J. Bollyky, senior fellow for global health, economics, and development and director of the Global Health Program at CFR, discusses how urbanization impacts global health. Bollyky writes, “Health has shaped the history of cities, but it is cities that will define the future of global health and economic development. … Urbanization in lower-income nations could offer billions of people better access to jobs and health care services, and a gateway to the world economy. To reap those benefits, those nations will have to confront the looming health and environmental challenges of urban life” (1/31).

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