KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Speaks With Development Experts About Expectations, Concerns For First Year Of U.S. International Development Finance Corporation

Devex: What the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation needs to do in year 1
“Touted as the most significant change to the foreign aid ecosystem in the United States in more than 15 years and a critical tool for countering China, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, or DFC, has a lot of expectations to live up to as it opens its doors. The new agency, created with the passage of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development, or BUILD Act, in 2018, officially began operations Jan. 2 after a budget-related delay. … Devex spoke with several development experts and DFC watchers about what they’re looking for from the agency in its first year and what concerns they have…” (Saldinger, 1/14).

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Trump Administration Limits On Fetal Tissue Funding Impacting Research Into Major Diseases

Washington Post: Trump restrictions on fetal tissue research unsettle key studies and scientists
“A recent Trump administration decision to limit funding of research that uses fetal tissue is already disrupting research into major diseases, including AIDS, Down syndrome, and diabetes, scientists say. The controversial federal funding rules, announced seven months ago, are reshaping scientists’ research paths and the grants they seek from the National Institutes of Health…” (Goldstein, 1/13).

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WHO Warns Of 'Limited' Human-To-Human Transmission Of New Coronavirus In China, To Put Emergency Committee On Notice

Reuters: WHO says new China virus could spread, it’s warning all hospitals
“There has been ‘limited’ human-to-human transmission of a new coronavirus that has struck in China, mainly small clusters in families, but there is potential for wider spread, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday…” (Nebehay, 1/14).

U.N. News: U.N. health agency urges China to continue search for source of new virus, as Thailand case emerges
“It is ‘essential’ for China to continue investigating the source of a previously unknown strain of coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Monday, following confirmation that an infected patient is being treated in Thailand. … WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is planning to consult with the members of the agency’s Emergency Committee, and could call for a meeting of the Committee at short notice…” (1/13).

Additional coverage of the outbreak is available from AFP, CIDRAP News, STAT, and WIRED.

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WHO DG, U.N. General Assembly President Set Out Priorities For 2020, Including Climate Change, Reaching SDGs

The Telegraph: Climate change and air pollution are among the top threats to global health
“Climate change, conflict, and the gap between rich and poor are among the top threats to global health, the World Health Organization has said. In a belated set of new year resolutions WHO has set out how it will tackle the 13 greatest threats to the world’s health over the next decade…” (Gulland, 1/13).

U.N. News: ‘No shortcuts to a healthier world’: WHO chief sets out health priorities for the decade
“…The agency recommends that countries spend one percent of their gross domestic product on primary health care, to give more people access to the quality essential services they need, close to where they live. Other WHO priorities include expanding access to medicines, stopping infectious diseases, and protecting people from dangerous products…” (1/13).

U.N. News: Global Goals top General Assembly President’s priority list
“The President of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly on Monday set out his 2020 priorities, which aim to make the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality by the start of the next decade. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, spelled out that these encompass peace and security, quality education, zero hunger, climate action, poverty eradication, and inclusion…” (1/13).

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Gates Foundation Awards $1.4M Grant To International Vaccine Institute To Support Low-Cost Oral Cholera Vaccine Manufacturing

Homeland Preparedness News: Gates Foundation awards $1.4M to help cholera fight
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a $1.4 million grant to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) to ensure standards and reagents are available to low-cost oral cholera vaccine (OCV) manufacturers…” (Kovaleski, 1/13).

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News Outlets Report On 10-Year Anniversary Of Haiti Earthquake, Recovery Efforts, New Humanitarian Challenges

Miami Herald: Haiti’s biggest hospital still not built 10 years after quake. That’s not the worst of it
“On Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by a massive earthquake. The disaster claimed 316,000 lives, left 1.5 million homeless and another 1.5 million injured. As the anniversary approaches, the Miami Herald, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, will look at questions around aid and rebuilding over the past decade in the series Haiti Earthquake: A Decade of Aftershocks…” (Charles, 1/11).

New Humanitarian: Hunger in Haiti: Ten years after catastrophe struck, a new crisis looms
“…Ten years later, the Caribbean nation is on the brink of another, very different, crisis. Nearly four million people are facing severe hunger. Many are among the tens of thousands still displaced from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck a decade ago, killing more than 100,000 people — some estimates say more than 300,000 — and leaving 1.5 million homeless…” (Obert, 1/13).

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WHO Designates 2020 As Year Of The Nurse And Midwife To Celebrate Health Workers, Highlight Shortages

PRI: 2020: The year of the nurse and midwife
“…[I]n the world of health and medicine, 2020 is the year of the nurse and midwife. The World Health Organization designation signifies a concerted push to boost the global nursing workforce in the face of growing health care shortages and ambitious efforts to reach a United Nations goal of universal health coverage around the world by 2030…” (Gordon, 1/13).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: U.N. shuttering of Syria crossings creates new burden for local NGOs, millions of civilians (Lieberman, 1/14).

Devex: Can gender-based violence services find a foothold in humanitarian settings? (Rogers, 1/14).

The Economist: Globally, roads are deadlier than HIV or murder (1/13).

The Guardian: Fox urges Johnson to merge Foreign Office and aid department (Wintour, 1/13).

New Humanitarian: Inside Idlib’s bombed-out hospitals and clinics (Al Hosse/Edwards, 1/13).

SciDev.Net: ‘Vaginal tobacco,’ a risky cocktail for West African women (Djamessi, 1/13).

Washington Post: Genetic sequencing of measles suggests a much older history for the virus (Blakemore, 1/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Examines Whether International Financing Facilities Helping Or Hindering Domestic Health Investments

Devex: Opinion: Are global financing institutions lending a hand or imposing handcuffs?
Rosalind McKenna, senior program officer with the Open Society Public Health Program, and Josea Rono, managing partner at E&K Consulting Firm

“…There is no doubt that country ownership — and country leadership — is critical. We need to put national governments at the center of generating and allocating resources and deciding priorities [for spending on health services]. Yet more than four years after [the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children, and Adolescents’ (GFF)] launch, new research shows limited evidence that national governments are actually committing domestic resources to meet the health needs that GFF was created to address. … If international financing institutions really want to help governments deliver health goals, they need to consider whether they are simultaneously tying the hands of governments. Sustainable health financing requires rethinking the burden of debt faced by many countries and the types of economic policies that will allow health systems to flourish. … We need to get honest about whether the processes we are putting in place to mobilize those resources are working as best they could” (1/14).

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Price Cut For TB Prevention Drug Underscores Need To Identify, Treat Those At Risk Of Disease, Expert Writes In Opinion Piece

The Conversation: Preventing TB: a big drug price cut paves the way for global scale-up
Gavin Churchyard, honorary professor at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Public Health and CEO of the Aurum Institute

“…Talks to lower the price [of the antibiotic rifapentine] from US$45 to US$15 for a three-month course [to prevent tuberculosis (TB)] took more than a year to complete and involved Sanofi, Unitaid, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in collaboration with the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility and the United States PEPFAR initiative. Now we — those of us who have been working to bring preventive therapy to the people whose lives depend on it — must roll up our sleeves and make it happen. … The [WHO TB prevention] guidelines now include three months of rifapentine and isoniazid taken weekly for people living in countries with a high TB burden. … All prevention programs must begin with finding the people who need TB preventive therapy…” (1/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

BMJ Collection Examines Goal Of Achieving Fair Pricing Of Medicines

The BMJ: Achieving fair pricing of medicines
“…Drug development pipelines are full but mostly focus on potentially profitable diseases that mainly affect high-income countries. In short, the free market does not effectively provide affordable access to medicines for all. Affordability and innovation can coexist so that patients can sustainably access medicines. However, it is challenging to find agreement on a single definition of fair pricing, and health systems have struggled to achieve a balance between affordability and need. This collection of articles outlines evidence and further research that is needed to balance affordability and innovation of medicines” (Multiple authors, 1/13).

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Expert Discusses Privacy, Human Rights Implications Of Digital Health

BMJ Opinion: Ilona Kickbusch: The dark side of digital health
Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, discusses some of the implications of extensive data collection and other aspects of digital health for privacy and human rights (1/14).

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WHO/Europe, Partners To Host Workshop On Preventing Violence Against Children

WHO Regional Office for Europe: Violence against children: tackling hidden abuse
“Each year, at least 55 million children experience some form of violence in the WHO European Region, including physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological violence. … WHO/Europe, with support from Nordic Cooperation and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, will convene a workshop in Tallinn, Estonia, on 14-15 January 2020 to review progress and share guidance on addressing this hidden social problem. The Estonian Government will host the workshop…” (1/13).

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More Newborns Surviving In South Asia, But Region Not On Track To Achieve Regional, SDG Newborn Targets, UNICEF Release Says

UNICEF South Asia: 100,000 newborn lives saved since 2018
“South Asia is making progress in saving the lives of newborn babies. Since 2018, an additional 100,000 newborn lives have been saved in South Asia. This is because of progress made in expanding access to, quality, and utilization of newborn health services. Despite this positive progress, however, the region is not on track to achieve the UNICEF Regional Office of South Asia headline result of saving 500,000 additional newborn lives by 2021. If progress continues at the same pace, 250,000 will be saved — not 500,000. The region is also not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal newborn target…” (1/14).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Green Releases Statement On 10-Year Anniversary of Earthquake In Haiti

USAID: Statement by USAID Administrator Mark Green to Commemorate the 10-Year Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haïti
“…[A]s we mark ten years since the devastating earthquake that hit the country on January 12, 2010, the United States sends our condolences to the people of the Republic of Haïti and commends their enduring commitment to building a stronger nation. We remember the hundreds of thousands who were killed, and stand in solidarity with those whose lives were forever changed that day. We salute the determination of the Haitian people, who responded with courage in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake — digging through tons of rubble to save their neighbors — and continue to strive every day to improve their lives…” (1/12).

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