KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines DFID Secretary's Stance On Foreign Aid

Devex: New DFID chief shows tougher side
“The United Kingdom’s new secretary of state for international development has offered a glimpse of her plan for the country’s aid budget, emphasizing an ‘aid in the national interest’ agenda and calling on developing countries to increase their own tax contributions or risk being cut off. In an op-ed published by The Telegraph newspaper and also speaking on BBC Radio’s the Today program on Monday, Penny Mordaunt, who took over as head of the Department for International Development in November, appeared to call for greater DFID control over aid money being spent by other government departments and delivered a stark warning to contractors who fail to meet DFID targets…” (Edwards, 1/16).

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NIH Prioritizes Development Of Universal Flu Vaccine 100 Years After Influenza Pandemic

Associated Press: Century after pandemic, science takes its best shot at flu
“…There’s no way to predict what strain of the shape-shifting flu virus could trigger another pandemic or, given modern medical tools, how bad it might be. But researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, ways to boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time. … [Anthony Fauci of NIH] is designating a universal flu vaccine a top priority for NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases…” (Neergaard, 1/17).

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As Part Of 'Answers' Feature, Foreign Policy Examines Needs Of Global Vaccine Market

Foreign Policy: The Answers Are Out There: Inoculate Against a Global Vaccine Crisis
“…Any hope of protecting the world, generally, against the resurgence of old microbes, as well as the emergence of new ones — man-made biological menaces, for example — hinges on resolving the breakdown in the manufacturing of vaccines and moving the best, most applicable pharmaceutical innovations into the commercial pipeline for affordable access…” This article is one of six in a Foreign Policy collection examining “solutions to many of the world’s toughest problems” (Garrett, 1/16).

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HuffPost Examines Intersection Of Poverty, Neglected Tropical Diseases

HuffPost: Why The World Ignores Diseases Of Poverty
“More than one billion people worldwide are infected with diseases of poverty. These conditions disproportionately afflict the world’s poorest, either in the developing world, or in developed countries with extreme inequality. … Because they’re not big killers, these diseases don’t attract a lot of funding that would go toward researching new drugs or providing hard-hit areas with greater support, according to Dr. W. Evan Secor, a microbiologist in the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s tough to get people to pay attention to diseases that aren’t already well-funded, he added…” (Ensor, 1/16).

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Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis Affects Virtually All Of Country's Children, UNICEF Report Says

Agence France-Presse: 5,000 children killed or injured in Yemen war: U.N.
“The war in Yemen has killed or injured more than 5,000 children and left another 400,000 severely malnourished and fighting for their lives, the U.N. children’s agency said on Tuesday…” (1/16).

U.N. News Centre: Nearly every child in war-torn Yemen now needs humanitarian aid — UNICEF
“As the brutal conflict in Yemen nears its grim third anniversary, malnutrition, and disease are running rampant in the country and virtually every child there is dependent on humanitarian aid to survive, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday…” (1/16).

VOA News: Infants in War-torn Yemen Dying at Alarmingly High Rate
“A report by the U.N. children’s fund finds babies born in war-torn Yemen are dying at an alarmingly high rate because of the collapsing health system, lack of food and clean water. … The agency’s report, called ‘Born into War,’ describes the violent, hopeless situation of displacement, disease, poverty, and hunger into which these children are born…” (Schlein, 1/16).

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WHO Recommends Yellow Fever Immunization For Visitors To Brazil's Sao Paulo State

Associated Press: WHO: All of Sao Paulo state at risk for yellow fever
“The World Health Organization announced Tuesday that it now considers all of Sao Paulo state at risk for yellow fever, recommending that all international visitors to the state be vaccinated. That puts the megacity of Sao Paulo on the list…” (DiLorenzo, 1/16).

Reuters: WHO recommends yellow fever shot to Sao Paulo visitors
“…But Brazil’s Health Ministry said the WHO recommendation, coming just weeks before Carnival when tens of thousands of tourists descend on Brazil, would not cause it to change its advisory that only travelers going to rural areas need to get vaccinated. Deputy Health Minister Antonio Carlos Nardi said Carnival celebrations in February were in urban areas and that visitors would not be at risk if they stayed in cities…” (Boadle, 1/16).

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More News In Global Health

National Geographic: Maybe Rats Aren’t to Blame for the Black Death (Greshko, 1/15).
Washington Post: The classic explanation for the Black Death plague is wrong, scientists say (Guarino, 1/16).

New York Times: Mathilde Krim, Mobilizing Force in an AIDS Crusade, Dies at 91 (McFadden, 1/16).

NPR: We Asked, You Answered: What Shaped Trump’s View Of Poor Countries? (Gharib, 1/16).

Science: One of history’s worst epidemics may have been caused by a common food poisoning microbe (Chen, 1/16).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Amid wet weather, Zimbabwe’s Mutare sees hike in malaria deaths (Mambondiyani, 1/16).

U.N. News Centre: Dire situation for Rohingya children could become ‘catastrophic,’ as new threats loom — UNICEF (1/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Needs Universal Flu Vaccine To Prevent Repeat Of 1918 Pandemic

Scientific American: We Need a Universal Flu Vaccine before the Next Pandemic Strikes
Catharine I. Paules, medical officer in the Office of the Director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Anthony S. Fauci, director of NIAID

“…The remarkable capacity of influenza viruses to undergo antigenic drift or shift to overcome and escape human population immunity leaves us vulnerable to a public health disaster potentially as serious as the 1918 pandemic. To meet this global health challenge, scientists are working to develop ‘universal influenza vaccines’ — new types of inoculations that can provide protection not only against changing seasonal influenza viruses but also against the inevitable pandemic viruses that will emerge in the future. … The hurdles in the development of such vaccines are daunting. But we are optimistic that we can apply existing tools and experimental strategies to meet the challenge. As we note the centennial of the 1918 flu pandemic, let us remind ourselves of the importance of this line of research in preventing a repeat of one of the most disastrous events in the history of global health” (February 2018).

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Public-Private Partnerships 'Not Magic Bullets' To Reaching Health-Related SDGs

Inter Press Service: PPPs Likely to Undermine Public Health Commitments
Anis Chowdhury, former professor of economics at the University of Western Sydney and former senior U.N. official; and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former U.N. assistant secretary general for economic development

“…Health care PPPs in low- and middle-income countries have raised concerns about: competition with other health programs for funding, causing inefficiencies and wasting resources; discrepancies in costs and benefits between partners typically favoring the private sector; incompatibility with national health strategies; poor government negotiating positions vis-à-vis powerful pharmaceutical and other health care service companies from donor countries. … Donor-funded PPPs are typically unsustainable, eventually harming national health strategies, policies, capacities, and capabilities. PPPs may divert domestic resources from national priorities, and thus undermine public health due to financial constraints they cause. … PPPs are certainly not magic bullets to achieve the SDGs. While PPPs can mobilize private finance, this can also be achieved at lower cost through government borrowing. Instead of uncritically promoting blended finance and PPPs, the international community should provide capacity-building support to developing countries to safeguard the public interest, especially equity, access, and public health, to ensure that no one is left behind” (1/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Experts Discuss 'Strategic Transitions' At USAID, Offer Advice To Agency

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: How Can USAID Work Itself Out of a Job? Ideas for Smart Strategic Transitions
Sarah Rose, policy fellow at CGD, and Erin Collinson, senior policy associate and assistant director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at CGD, discuss their recent paper, Working Itself Out of a Job: USAID and Smart Strategic Transitions, and outline key themes from the paper, including “lessons learned from past transitions,” “the pros and cons of using quantitative benchmarks to identify countries for transition — and an idea for how to do it,” and “defining U.S. engagement through the transition process and beyond” (1/16).

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BMJ Opinion Discusses WHO DG's Comments On Agency's Governance, Financing

BMJ Opinion: Charles Clift: Tedros is refreshingly honest about the deficiencies in WHO governance and financing
Charles Clift, senior consulting fellow at the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, discusses comments made by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus about the WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work (GPW) and the WHO’s governance and financing at a November 2017 meeting of the WHO’s executive board. Clift writes, “This was a remarkably candid performance. The themes were not entirely new, although few have been so explicit about the deficiencies in WHO governance. But Dr. Tedros’ willingness to lay it on the line for member states is refreshing. His predecessors have generally been extremely cautious in biting the hands that feed them. For that very reason the strategy is a high risk one. If member states fail to respond in any substantial way, then this leaves Dr. Tedros in charge of an organization he considers is not fit for purpose. Yet his boldness can only be admired” (1/16).

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Podcast Addresses Relationship Between Gender Equality, Economic Development

Project Syndicate: CFR’s Rachel Vogelstein on the Economic Case for Gender Equality
This podcast features an interview with Rachel Vogelstein, Douglas Dillon senior fellow and director of the women and foreign policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations, who discusses the relationship between gender equality and economic development (1/16).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Funds Mobile Cranes In Yemen To Help Offload Humanitarian Supplies, Medicine In Country

USAID: Statement from USAID Administrator Mark Green on the Arrival of Mobile Cranes to Yemen
“The United States welcomes the arrival of four mobile cranes at Yemen’s Hudaydah port. Upon installation, these cranes, purchased by the World Food Programme with U.S. government funding, will offload essential supplies for the people of Yemen. … The arrival of the cranes is a positive step toward addressing a dire humanitarian situation. More than 22 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen, and the country is simultaneously facing the world’s largest food-security emergency and worst cholera outbreak. … Since Fiscal Year 2017, the United States has provided nearly $768 million in humanitarian assistance for Yemen. We remain committed to supporting the Yemeni people, but, ultimately, a political solution to this conflict is the only way to end their suffering and advance long-term stability in Yemen” (1/15).

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