KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Many In Global Development Community Support Nomination Of Josephine Olsen As Peace Corps Director

Devex: Peace Corps chief nomination met with widespread approval, relief
“The announcement of nominee Josephine Olsen to lead the Peace Corps has been met with sighs of relief and applause throughout the global development and social work communities. The White House announced last Wednesday that Olsen, currently a visiting professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, will be the administration’s nominee for Peace Corps director…” (Rogers, 1/11).

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Pharmaceutical Companies Signal Reluctance To Continue Status Quo In Disease Outbreak Responses

STAT: An ‘unsustainable’ model: Drug makers signal interest in exiting vaccine development during crises
“Every few years an alarming disease launches a furious, out-of-the-blue attack on people, triggering a high-level emergency response. … In nearly each case, major vaccine producers have risen to the challenge, setting aside their day-to-day profit-making activities to try to meet a pressing societal need. With each successive crisis, they have done so despite mounting concerns that the threat will dissipate and with it the demand for the vaccine they are racing to develop. Now, manufacturers are expressing concern about their ability to afford these costly disruptions to their profit-seeking operations. As a result, when the bat-signal next flares against the night sky, there may not be anyone to respond…” (Branswell, 1/11).

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WHO DG Tedros Draws Criticism For Recent Appointment Of Russian Health Official To Head TB Program

POLITICO: World’s doctor gives WHO a headache
“…[WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, t]he former Ethiopian health minister turned heads with his appointment of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador in October. … The latest disruptive move is his appointment of a little-known Russian official to run the WHO’s tuberculosis program, using a fast-track process, one month after meeting with President Vladimir Putin at a major gathering on the topic in Moscow. … The December nomination of Tereza Kasaeva (an official at the Russian health ministry) prompted an editorial in the medical journal the Lancet, which described it as triggering a ‘potentially disabling controversy’…” (Wheaton, 1/10).

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World Food Programme's Budget At Record High But Not Enough To Meet Needs In Crisis-Hit Countries

NPR: The U.N.’s Terrible Dilemma: Who Gets To Eat?
“…[E]ven though the [U.N. World Food Programme’s] budget is at a record high, it’s not enough to keep up with the number of refugees and people in other crisis situations who need emergency food aid. Continuing conflicts in countries like Syria and Yemen and other crises led to the agency’s multibillion-dollar budget shortfall last year. It received a total of $6.8 billion from countries, organizations, and private donors when it needed $9.1 billion to do its job…” (Columbus, 1/10).

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U.N. Environment Programme, WHO Sign Agreement To Address Environmental Health Risks

U.N. News Centre: Taking on environmental health risks, U.N. agencies aim to protect ‘foundations for life’ on Earth
“Two United Nations agencies are teaming up in a major new initiative taking on the herculean task of combatting environmental health risks, which claim an estimated 12.6 million lives a year. The partnership, announced Wednesday, between the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), includes specific action to address air pollution, climate change, and antimicrobial resistance as well as improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues…” (1/10).

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WHO Supporting Cholera Vaccination Of 1M People In Zambia; Government Closes Passport Office, Bans Street Vending To Counter Outbreak

Associated Press: Zambia to vaccinate 1 million against cholera amid outbreak
“Zambia is set to vaccinate one million people in its capital against cholera as a deadly outbreak grows. The World Health Organization says doses of the cholera vaccine have been delivered to the impoverished southern African nation as fears spread in Lusaka…” (1/11).

Reuters: Zambia closes main passport offices to curb cholera spread
“Zambia has closed its main passport offices in the capital, a hub which is always thronged with people, as part of measures to curb the spread of cholera which is sweeping the country, the government said. Street vending and public gatherings have also been banned in Lusaka to counter the disease, which has killed 67 people since September, 62 of them in the capital alone…” (Mfula, 1/10).

Xinhua News: Zambia records 95 new cholera cases
“Zambia has recorded 95 new cholera cases in the last 24 hours, with Lusaka, the country’s capital recording 83 of the cases, health authorities said on Wednesday. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said Lusaka recorded 83 new cases while 12 other cases were recorded in other parts of the country, bringing the cumulative figures since the outbreak of the disease in October last year to 2,905…” (1/10).

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Deutsche Welle Examines Ghana's Efforts To Address Counterfeit, Substandard Medicines

Deutsche Welle: Fighting the spread of fake drugs in Africa
“They can cause death, have unknown side-effects, fail to treat illnesses and sometimes even add to the spread of disease. Now, the battle to eliminate fake pharmaceutical products is being stepped up…” (Oneko et al., 1/10).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Q&A: Rich Stearns of World Vision U.S. on the role of advocacy, faith, persistence in development (Cheney, 1/10).

The Guardian: ‘One guy took a cutlass’: gay women at greater risk of violence in Ghana (Bowman, 1/10).

HuffPost: Children With Baffling Seizure Disorder Face Uncertain Future In Northern Uganda (Martell, 1/10).

IRIN: Consecutive droughts spell disaster and hunger for Kenya in 2018 (Kibet, 1/10).

Los Angeles Times: Distrusting China’s medical system, patients turn to U.S. doctors online (Meyers, 1/11).

New York Times: In Rural Nepal, Menstruation Taboo Claims Another Victim (Sharma/Gettleman, 1/10).

PRI: These young women are raising awareness about sexual health in Iran (Jaafari, 1/10).

Reuters: Philippines exhumes bodies of two children in dengue vaccine probe (Lema, 1/11).

VOA News: UNICEF: Myanmar’s Rohingya Children Trapped, Deprived, Forgotten (Schlein, 1/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration, U.S. Congress Must Support International Family Planning Assistance To Meet Targets, Save Lives

Global Health NOW: Protecting Fragile Progress in Family Planning
Jose “Oying” Rimon II, director, and Amy O. Tsui, professor and senior scholar, both of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“…Yes, we are bending the curve toward our goal of reaching 120 million more family planning users by 2020, but we still have a long way to go. Despite the recent wins, we are not on track to meet this goal. And while the rest of the world — especially sub-Saharan Africa — demonstrates achievements in country-led programs, the U.S. administration is in full retreat on foreign assistance for family planning. Despite the clear evidence that investing family planning brings about a lifetime of returns, the current U.S. administration has proposed zeroing out the State Department’s and USAID’s budget for international family planning. … For a relatively small investment by the U.S. government of about $600 million a year, the Senate Committee’s proposed level of support, millions of lives could be saved, and millions of unsafe abortions and maternal and child deaths could be averted. … The discord will continue in the years to come unless executive and majority legislative leadership accept the broad base of scientific evidence for family planning, as 166 other governments around the world already have” (1/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

More Than 100 Organizations, Individuals Support MFAN's Principles For Helping Nations Transition From Development Aid

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: Over 100 Organizations and Individuals Call for a Principled Approach to Aid Transitions
In a statement, George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette, MFAN co-chairs, write, “MFAN’s widely endorsed Principles for Strategic Transitions from Development Aid call for a responsible approach to transitioning countries from aid to other forms of partnership with the United States. … Adherence to these principles will ensure the sustainability of U.S. development investments by aligning and supporting local and U.S. interests. We urge the administration and Congress to adopt these principles as they work to support partner countries’ journeys from aid to broader forms of collaboration with the United States” (1/10).

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In Blog Posts, Bill Gates Discusses Private Sector Involvement In Global Health, Highlights Heroes In Health, Development

Gates Notes: The business of improving global health
In his blog, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes, “If you look at the research agendas of many biotech and pharma companies today, I think there are enormous opportunities to make progress on some of the toughest health challenges.” Gates includes a transcript of prepared remarks he made recently at the J.P. Morgan 36th Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco (1/8).

Gates Notes: No masks or capes, but these heroes are saving the world
In this post, Gates highlights “some heroes among us. They are just a few of the many people using their talents to fight poverty, hunger, and disease and provide opportunities for the next generation. To all of them, wherever they are, let me say thank you. The world is a better place because of what you do…” (1/4).

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Blog Post Highlights Improvements In Global Rotavirus Vaccination Coverage

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: 5 Reasons the Global Gap in Rotavirus Vaccine Access is Shrinking
Mathuram Santosham, professor of pediatrics and international health at Johns Hopkins University, senior adviser at the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins, and director emeritus of the Center for American Indian Health, discusses the progress in achieving greater rotavirus vaccine coverage, highlighting five reasons for the improvement: “1. Political leadership in South Asia has been critical … 2. African countries were early adopters and have been at the vanguard … 3. Manufacturing developments are expanding choice, potentially reducing prices … 4. Scientists and communicators on the frontlines have enabled progress … 5. Middle-income countries face unique challenges” (1/9).

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Blog Post Discusses Study Examining Disease Progression At Time Of HIV Diagnosis Among Patients In Guatemala

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: In Guatemala study, illnesses indicating AIDS were already present in about fourth of patients newly diagnosed with HIV
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a study published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases that examined disease progression in people newly diagnosed with HIV in Guatemala. Barton writes, “While antiretroviral treatment for HIV became accessible through Guatemala public health programs in 2000, the authors note that death rates from HIV continued to rise, from a little more than 13 per 100,000 people in 1990 to 22 per 100,000 people in 2012, with many not getting diagnosed or treated until their illnesses were advanced…” (1/10).

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