KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

45M People Facing Severe Food Shortages In Southern Africa, WFP Warns

The Guardian: U.N. sounds alarm over unprecedented levels of hunger in southern Africa
“Southern Africa is in the throes of a climate emergency, with hunger levels in the region on a previously unseen scale, the U.N. has warned. Years of drought, widespread flooding, and economic disarray have left 45 million people facing severe food shortages, with women and children bearing the brunt of the crisis, said the World Food Programme (WFP)…” (McVeigh, 1/16).

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Japanese Authorities Confirm Man Being Treated For New Coronavirus After Traveling To Wuhan, China

AP: Patient in Japan confirmed as having new virus from China
“Japan’s government said Thursday a man treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new coronavirus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan…” (Yamaguchi, 1/16).

New York Times: Japan Confirms First Case of New Chinese Coronavirus
“…It was the second confirmed case of the new coronavirus reported outside of China in the last week. In Thailand on Monday, the authorities detected the virus in a 61-year-old Chinese woman who was visiting from Wuhan, the capital of the central Chinese province of Hubei…” (Wee, 1/15).

Reuters: Japan confirms first case of infection with new China coronavirus
“…The State Department issued a health alert update on Wednesday about travel to the Wuhan region. It referenced a Watch Level 1 Alert by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging citizens traveling in the region to avoid contact with animals, animal markets or animal products, among other precautions. … The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the new virus could spread and has warned hospitals worldwide…” (Gallagher, 1/15).

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DRC's Beni Health Zone Sees Resurgence In Ebola Cases; Health Workers Face Challenges Of Violence, Misinformation

CIDRAP News: Cases traced to Mabalako still fueling DRC Ebola outbreak
“A known transmission chain from Ayola health zone in Mabalako, a town in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is linked to a resurgence of Ebola in Beni health zone, which hadn’t seen an Ebola case in 29 days, and new cases in Musienene health zone, where no cases had been reported for 132 days…” (Soucheray, 1/15).

PBS NewsHour: How war and misinformation are complicating the DRC’s Ebola battle
“An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has plagued Democratic Republic of Congo for nearly a year and a half, with more than 3,000 people getting sick and 2,000 dead. Major medical advances in prevention and treatment have kept the disease’s toll from rising, but ongoing war — and attacks on medical teams — have forced the response to a standstill. Special correspondent Monica Villamizar reports…” (Villamizar, 1/15).

Additional coverage of the DRC outbreak and ongoing research into Ebola vaccines is available from Homeland Preparedness News and New Humanitarian.

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3 African Countries Begin Pilot Program Using Malaria Vaccine Among Infants

AP: 3 African countries trying out 1st malaria vaccine in babies
“…The southern African nation [of Malawi] is rolling out the shots in an unusual pilot program along with Kenya and Ghana. Unlike established vaccines that offer near-complete protection, this new one is only about 40% effective. But experts say it’s worth a try as progress against malaria stalls: Resistance to treatment is growing and the global drop in cases has leveled off…” (Anna/Neergaard, 1/16).

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Humanitarian Groups Operating In Iraq, Middle East Fear Security Backlash After U.S. Killing Of Iranian General

Devex: In wake of U.S.-Iran clash, aid groups fear access, security blowback
“In the wake of the U.S. strike in Baghdad that targeted and killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, international aid groups operating in Iraq and throughout the Middle East fear they could face backlash against Western influence in the region and lose their ability to access the communities in which they currently implement programs…” (Igoe, 1/16).

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More News In Global Health

AFP: Pakistan says Facebook to help in fight against polio (1/16).

AP: U.N. report lays out agonies faced by Syrian children amid war (Keaten, 1/16).

BBC News: HIV infections among gay and bi men fall by 73% in U.K. (Haigh, 1/16).

Borgen Magazine: Measles Outbreak in the DRC: Treatment and Prevention (Turner, 1/15).

International Centre for Investigative Reporting: Malaria: Global health communities celebrate 2 billion mosquito nets delivered worldwide (Akinremi, 1/16).

McGill Reporter: Meeting the global health challenge of worms that cause disease (Usher, 1/15).

SciDev.Net: Hundreds dead as Yemen flu outbreak spreads (Aldaghbashy, 1/15).

Science Times: Deforestation Can Lead to Wider Malaria Transmissions, Says Scientists (1/15).

U.N. News: Sudan: Lives of traumatized, displaced women in West Darfur under threat (1/15).

U.N. News: Philippines volcano: U.N. stands ready with support, as thousands told to flee (1/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Maintain U.K. Commitment To Supporting World's Poorest By Keeping DFID Separate From Foreign Office, Expert Says In Opinion Piece

The Guardian: Losing DFID would be a calamity for the world’s poor — and for Britain
Simon Bishop, deputy CEO of Plan International U.K.

“Britain has a proud track record of supporting the world’s poorest through its aid commitments. This is not only morally the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. … Disrupt this commitment by merging the Department for International Development (DFID) into the Foreign Office and diverting more aid to U.K. national interest, and you produce a lose-lose: the world’s poorest (wrongly) suffer, and significant British soft power immediately drains away, at precisely the time when the country is trying to redefine its role in the world. … To effectively project Global Britain in the years ahead, there is no doubt the three Ds — defense, diplomacy, and development — need to work more closely together, arguably helped by a better-funded Foreign Office, as well as a continued commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defense. The most effective way to achieve this is through separate departments, staffed by people with relevant skills, run by separate secretaries of state, who are then effectively coordinated through a strong and active National Security Council…” (1/16).

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International Donors, Governments Must Address National Security, Outbreak Preparedness, Community Engagement For Ebola Vaccine Success, Opinion Piece Says

Project Syndicate: Why an Ebola Vaccine Is Not Enough
Ifeanyi M. Nsofor, CEO of EpiAFRIC and director of Policy and Advocacy for Nigeria Health Watch

“…Without doubt, [the recently approved Ebola vaccine] Ervebo could be a game changer in tackling future Ebola outbreaks. But, in order to help protect health workers and communities, the vaccine must be delivered safely, sustainably, and equitably. That seems unlikely in many countries where Ebola is endemic, owing to security, systemic, and social challenges. Unless these challenges are addressed, Ervebo won’t be effective. … Above all, international donors must work closely with African governments and national public health institutes to ensure that the vaccine can be delivered to everyone who needs it” (1/16).

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Experts Commend China, Hong Kong, WHO For Response To Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, Call For Universal Coronavirus Vaccine Development In Opinion Piece

Foreign Policy: China Deserves Some Credit for Its Handling of the Wuhan Pneumonia
Daniel Lucey of Georgetown University Medical Center and Annie Sparrow, assistant professor of population health science and policy at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

“…Within weeks of detection of the initial outbreak in December in Wuhan, China has already identified the novel coronavirus (‘nCoV’) that is the likely cause of infection in 41 patients and shared the genetic sequence of that virus with the world to allow for specific laboratory testing. China’s rapid recognition of this outbreak is particularly remarkable given that it is winter, when influenza and other infections cause many respiratory illnesses that make it difficult to tell whether any particular case of illness is the responsibility of a new respiratory disease. The major clue to this outbreak was that the initial patients had all had recent exposure to a single seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. … Beyond the credit Beijing should rightly take for acting relatively swiftly on this disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also played a key supporting role. … However it plays out, the Wuhan pneumonia is unlikely to be the last such outbreak. While China and Hong Kong seem to have pulled off a scientific success story and an impressive level of national preparedness, control at a global level requires timely and complete information-sharing — or, even better, a universal coronavirus vaccine that could end this kind of epidemic for good” (1/14).

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More Opinions In Global Health

Devex: Opinion: Improving health outcomes in Papua New Guinea
Amy Gildea, managing director of international development, Asia Pacific for Coffey (1/15).

Devex: Opinion: Advances in AI and satellites can help us meet the SDGs
Rhiannan Price, director of the sustainable development practice at Maxar (1/16).

Forbes: Tokyo, 15 Others: Newest Cities In Bloomberg Partnership Against World’s Leading Killer
Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes senior contributor (1/15).

The Hill: Reframing the antimicrobial resistance crisis
Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and Greg Salmieriais, fellow at the Anthem Foundation (1/15).

IPS: In Dealing With Climate Change: Foresight is Key
Esther Ngumbi, assistant professor in the Entomology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and senior food security fellow with the Aspen Institute (1/15).

This Day Live: Strengthening Health Security in Nigeria
Martins Ifijeh, health journalist (1/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Experts Outline Global Health Opportunities for U.K. Post-Brexit

Center for Global Development: Four Ways the U.K. Can Shape Global Health Post-Brexit
Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, and colleagues write, “With a new government in majority and Brexit certainty greater, there is an opportunity for the U.K. to make a global mark in four areas of global health and development. … (1) expanding access to pharmaceuticals by making health product markets work for the poor; (2) tackling the U.K.’s shortage of health professionals through a win-win global skills partnership; (3) embedding health security within the broader defense and stabilization strategy; and (4) improving multilateral performance through the application of appropriate incentives, all while avoiding micromanagement and moving decision-making authority closer to beneficiary countries…” (1/14).

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CGD Expert Discusses Strategies For Strengthening Medicine Quality In LMICs

Center for Global Development: Improving Medicines Quality in LMICs: Role of Market and Financing Institutions
Prashant Yadav, visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, discusses the risks of poor quality medicines for global health, highlights the findings of a new report from the National Academies titled, “Stronger Food and Drug Regulatory Systems Abroad,” and outlines strategies for strengthening quality regulation in low- and middle-income countries, including the roles of donors and development finance (1/15).

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Brookings Analyst Highlights Data Showing Poverty, Health Care SDG Projections For Sub-Saharan Africa

Brookings: Figure of the week: Poverty and health care SDG projections in sub-Saharan Africa
Dhruv Gandhi, senior research analyst in the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings, discusses Brookings’ recent release of its annual Foresight Africa publication, highlighting a figure that presents various poverty and health care SDG projections for sub-Saharan Africa (1/15).

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Royal Philips CEO Outlines Strategies For Improving Access To Care Globally

World Economic Forum: Here’s how to improve access to healthcare around the world
Frans van Houten, chief executive officer at Royal Philips, discusses strategies for improving access to care globally, including the roles of the private sector and technology (1/15).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Meet To Discuss Conflicts, Humanitarian Assistance

USAID: USAID Administrator Green’s Meeting with Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
“On January 13, 2020, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green met with the United Nations (U.N.) Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, who directs the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The two officials discussed some of the world’s most-pressing man-made crises, including Yemen, Venezuela, South Sudan, and Syria. Administrator Green expressed USAID’s continued commitment to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations around the world. During the meeting, Mr. Lowcock provided an overview of the U.N.’s recently launched 2020 Global Humanitarian Overview, which projects that 168 million people will need humanitarian aid in 2020. The two officials also noted the operational constraints and access challenges that continue to limit the ability of aid groups to reach vulnerable populations, especially those affected by conflict” (1/15).

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