Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

China Confirms More Deaths, Cases In Coronavirus Outbreak As First Case Detected In U.S.; WHO Convenes Emergency Committee To Consider PHEIC Declaration

The Hill: Trump says U.S. has coronavirus ‘totally under control’
“President Trump said Wednesday that he had been briefed on the outbreak of a new virus from China and that the United States had the situation ‘totally under control.’ Trump was asked about the new coronavirus in an interview with CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, one day after the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first U.S. case of the virus in Washington state…” (Chalfant, 1/22).

Reuters: Trump says U.S. in ‘great shape’ with plan for coronavirus
“…Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Trump said: ‘We do have a plan and we think it is going to be handled very well. We’ve already handled it very well. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) is terrific. Very professional…’ ‘We’re in great shape and I think China is in very good shape also,’ Trump told reporters before a one-to-one meeting with Nechirvan Barzani, president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq…” (Alper, 1/22).

Seattle Times: Snohomish County man has the United States’ first known case of Wuhan coronavirus
“A Snohomish County resident is infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, the first confirmed case in the United States of a mysterious respiratory infection … The patient is a man in his 30s who lives alone. He had been traveling solo since November in Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million where the outbreak appears to have originated, health officials said…” (1/21).

STAT: CDC details first U.S. case of novel virus spreading in China
“…The U.S. is the fifth country outside of China to report cases of the virus, provisionally known as 2019-nCoV. Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have picked up a handful of cases, all in people who had recently been in Wuhan. Also on Tuesday, the World Health Organization on Tuesday raised the possibility that the new virus may be transmitting in an ongoing, sustained manner between people — which, if confirmed, would make it significantly more difficult to stop…” (Branswell, 1/21).

U.N. News: UN health agency to gauge global threat, as China confirms coronavirus transmission between humans
“…In a message released on social media, WHO said that the agency’s Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, will ‘convene an Emergency Committee on the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) under the International Health Regulations,’ with the aim of ascertaining ‘whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage it’…” (1/21).

Wall Street Journal: As Virus Spreads, Isolated Taiwan Risks Being a Loophole in War on Epidemics
“Taiwan’s first reported case of a patient infected by a deadly coronavirus spreading across Asia turns a spotlight on Beijing’s attempts to exclude the self-governing island from the World Health Organization, which Taiwanese officials say hinders an effective global response to public-health crises. China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has in recent years squeezed the island’s ability to participate in international affairs, including by blocking its representatives from United Nations agencies overseeing global health and aviation…” (Cheng et al., 1/22).

Washington Post: As families tell of pneumonia-like deaths in Wuhan, some wonder if China virus count is too low
“…Chinese leader Xi Jinping has also become involved in the response effort, on Monday issuing a directive to ‘put people’s safety and health as the top priority and take effective measures to curb the spread of the virus.’ This order was emblazoned across state media. … Xi’s association with the response marked a sharp contrast to the official response to the swine flu outbreak that erupted last year and caused pork prices to spike ahead of politically sensitive holidays. At that time, that crisis was handled by the prime minister and other economic officials. … Still, there is plenty of evidence that the Communist Party is trying to control the narrative…” (Fifield et al., 1/22).

Additional coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and response is available from BBC, CNBC, Financial Times (2), Foreign Policy, The Guardian, New York Times (2) (3), NPR, Reuters (2) (3) (4), Science, Science Speaks, The Telegraph, U.S. News, and Washington Post (2).

Link to individual story

Independent Assessment Team Urges DRC, U.N. Peacekeeping To Address Insecurity In Beni Amid Ebola Outbreak Response

U.N. News: Joint U.N.-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks
“Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the U.N. peacekeeping operation in the country, MONUSCO, are being urged to develop a comprehensive joint strategy to address insecurity in Beni territory, located in the east. The recommendation follows an independent assessment into deadly attacks allegedly carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group during the latter part of last year, which sparked violent protests against the Government and the U.N…” (1/21).

Link to individual story

Health Care Is Human Right, UNAIDS Executive Director Says, Urging World Leaders To Ensure Access To Quality Services

U.N. News: Healthcare’s a human right, not ‘a privilege for the rich’ UNAIDS argues at Davos
“The U.N. agency devoted to ending AIDS as a public health threat is calling on top politicians and governments across the world to ensure the right to quality healthcare is upheld, and not just a privilege to be enjoyed by the wealthy. In a press release issued as the World Economic Forum gets fully underway in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said that the right to health ‘is eluding the poor and people trying to lift themselves out of poverty are being crushed by the unacceptably high costs of health care,’ with at least half the world’s population unable to access essential health services…” (1/21).

Link to individual story

Lack Of New Drug Development, Antibiotic Access Gaps In Poorer Nations Hinder Efforts Against Antimicrobial Resistance, Annual Report Says

The Guardian: Lack of antibiotics in low-income countries ‘worsening superbugs threat’
“Many antibiotics are unavailable in poorer countries despite higher infection rates, exacerbating the threat of drug-resistant superbugs, according to a report to be presented to world leaders and the bosses of top pharmaceutical companies in Davos. The report, released by the Access to Medicine Foundation, an Amsterdam-based non-profit group, also shows that the number of new treatments being developed for common infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea has fallen…” (Kollewe, 1/21).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Bloomberg and Reuters.

Link to individual story

Gates Foundation Launches Gates Ag One Non-Profit Focused On Aiding Smallholder Farmers Impacted By Climate Change

Devex: Exclusive: Gates Foundation launches new agriculture-focused nonprofit
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is creating a new nonprofit to bring scientific breakthroughs to smallholder farmers whose yields are threatened by the effects of climate change. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Agricultural Innovations, or Gates Ag One, will be based in St. Louis, Missouri, and led by Joe Cornelius, who is currently a director within the foundation’s Global Growth & Opportunity division. The new entity will work with the Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Development Team and other partners across sectors to accelerate the development of innovations that are needed to improve crop productivity and help smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women, adapt to climate change…” (Cheney, 1/21).

Link to individual story

More News In Global Health

AFP: Half C.Africa population needs humanitarian aid: U.N. (1/21).

Borgen Magazine: The End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act (Frazer, 1/22).

CNBC: Tracking Africa’s development outcomes (1/22).

Devex: Sierra Leone’s plans to improve education — one meal at a time (Ravelo, 1/22).

Devex: Europe’s Africa strategy déjà vu (Chadwick, 1/22).

New Humanitarian: In eastern Burkina Faso, spreading violence and little international aid (Mednick, 1/21).

NPR: How Much Should The Public Be Told About Research Into Risky Viruses? (Greenfieldboyce, 1/21).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Guatemala’s children bear brunt of prolonged drought and rising heat (Moloney, 1/21).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Coronavirus Outbreak, Ways To Prepare For, Prevent Future Outbreaks

Nature: Stop the Wuhan virus
Editorial Board

“…China’s health authorities … must continue to report what they know and what more they are uncovering [about the coronavirus outbreak]. The emerging situation requires global coordination and leadership from the World Health Organization, with the support of public health agencies worldwide. Researchers must work fast, collaboratively, and transparently to address the key research questions. The world has had plenty of practice with SARS and avian flu — we should know what to do. … Now is the time to stop this outbreak spiraling into a global health emergency” (1/21).

Bloomberg: The Next Pandemic Will Come. Here’s How to Prepare
Andreas Kluth, member of Bloomberg’s editorial board

“…For one thing’s certain: the next pandemic will come … The questions are when, where, and how, and whether we’ll be ready collectively. … What, then, are my lessons from the SARS outbreak [in 2003]? First, that we must plan for human nature, both in its perfidy and its heroism. … The biggest lesson, which China seems to have learned, is that the government must be ruthlessly honest and transparent. The more facts, the better. Hide nothing. … Another lesson is [that] … [s]creening and surveillance, which should usually be used with caution in free societies, becomes necessary in an outbreak and is effective. … But the most profound lesson is that we must cooperate as a species, with a geopolitical approach that seems to have gone out of fashion: multilateralism…” (1/21).

IPS: Why the Coronavirus Should Worry Us All
Ifeanyi Nsofor, medical doctor, CEO of EpiAFRIC, and director of policy and advocacy for Nigeria Health Watch

“…[G]overnments, national public health institutes, communities, private sector, and global health actors must act rapidly to contain this outbreak and others happening elsewhere. Also, processes must be put in place to prevent future outbreaks. These are four interventions to ensure response and prevention happen. First, increased screening at international borders using computerized thermal cameras should be intensified. … Second, prepare for the spread of fake news on infectious diseases and be proactive about pushing out the right information to counter it. … Third, governments in consultation with national public health institutes should designate specialized centers for handling suspected cases. … Fourth, all governments must invest in epidemic preparedness…” (1/21).

Link to individual story

Rebuilding Trust In Health Care Critical To Building Resilient Health Systems, Fortune Editor In Chief Writes

Fortune: Want to stop an outbreak in its tracks? Start with trust
Clifton Leaf, editor in chief at Fortune

“The key to building resilient health care systems around the world is rebuilding trust in health care. That was one of the fundamental points made in a fascinating panel discussion I moderated [Tuesday] morning on the first official day of programming here at the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum [in Davos, Switzerland]…” (1/21).

Link to individual story

Development Sector Must Transform To Deliver Progress On SDGs, ONE Co-Founder Writes In Opinion Piece

Devex: Opinion: How to transform the development sector for a decade of action and delivery
Jamie Drummond, advocacy entrepreneur and co-founder of ONE

“It’s been five years since the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed, but it isn’t just the rise of populism that has slowed the sector’s progress toward delivering the goals. The [development] sector itself hasn’t risen sufficiently to the challenge. … The sector must be challenged to transform … 2020 is the time for that transformation to truly begin. We can make this happen by realizing these four actions: agreeing to some core shared messaging and branding; networking for advocacy and policy change impact around key moments in 2020; upskilling core operational best practice, especially around digital, data, and transparency standards; and looking deeply at our behavior and our funding to ensure true 2030 compliance throughout the sector…” (1/21).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Graphic Illustrates Types Of U.S. Foreign Assistance

MFAN: Types of Foreign Assistance and American Interests
This piece provides a pie chart illustrating U.S. foreign assistance and notes, “At around 1% of the federal budget, all types of U.S. foreign assistance advance American interests and national security. While some foreign aid is designed for immediate strategic considerations, U.S. development and humanitarian aid should be free from transactional use” (1/21).

Link to individual story

Epidemiologist Urges U.S. Congress To Examine Domestic Disease Outbreak Preparedness

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Outbreaks of lethal diseases like Ebola and the Wuhan coronavirus happen regularly. The U.S. government just cut funding for the hospitals that deal with them
Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist, discusses the U.S. health strategy of tiered response systems for hospitals faced with patients infected with special pathogens, as well as federal funding for the program which is set to expire this year. Popescu concludes, “The next epidemic could start with a patient checking in at a local urgent care clinic. Congress needs to ask if its current plan for special pathogen response prepares the country for that. It’s likely the answer is no” (1/22).

Link to individual story

Georgetown University Graduate Student Discusses 3 Takeaways From Latest Request To Global Fund's Board For Aid To Venezuela

Georgetown Public Policy Review: Three Takeaways From The Latest Request To The Global Fund’s Board For Aid To Venezuela
Roxanne Oroxom, graduate student at Georgetown University, discusses three takeaways from the latest request to the Global Fund’s Board for aid to Venezuela: “Takeaway 1: The initial funding for Venezuela was not governed like the Global Fund’s typical investments, and those differences will carry into the second round of support … Takeaway 2: Even external monitoring and accountability efforts have faced significant barriers … Takeaway 3: Venezuela’s procurement process remains weak and the country continues to rely heavily on donations of medical supplies.” Oroxom concludes, “The Global Fund should get high marks for its commitment to transparency and willingness to provide aid to an otherwise ineligible country. However, the crisis in Venezuela requires much more from the international community…” (1/21).

Link to individual story

Save The Children, ACTION Brief Describes Immunization Landscape, Spotlights 5 Countries' National Immunization Coverage

Save the Children: Gavi At 20 Years — Delivering On The Promise Of Immunization: How Far Have We Come?
Yanira Garcia-M, global health analyst at ACTION, and Claire Leonie Ward, health advocacy adviser at Save the Children, recognize the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum and the 20th anniversary of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; highlight the launch of a new brief that discusses the impact of immunization and the importance of immunization equity through an analysis of five countries’ national immunization coverage; and provide a call to action “to ensure that all children are reached through access to affordable vaccines and a strong primary health care (PHC) system, a first step towards universal health coverage” (1/21).

Link to individual story

Blog Post Discusses Youth Leadership In Global Movement To End Mental Health Crisis

World Economic Forum: What young people can teach world leaders about mental health in 2020
Naeem Dalal, a Global Shaper with the Lusaka Hub, and Jazz Thornton, founder of The Voices of Hope, discuss the global movement to tackle the mental health crisis with a focus on youth leaders, as well as Speak Your Mind, the first global campaign demanding government action on mental health (1/21).

Link to individual story

From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Updates Legislation Tracker

KFF: U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker
This tracker provides a listing of global health-related legislation introduced in the 116th Congress. Currently, there are more than 50 pieces of legislation related to global health. The tracker was updated with new bills and recent status changes for others (1/17).

Link to individual story

KFF Updates Fact Sheet On Key U.S. Government Officials In Global Health

KFF: Key Global Health Positions and Officials in the U.S. Government
This updated fact sheet lists U.S. government positions and officials related to global health, including links to agencies and officials’ profiles, when available (1/17).

Link to individual story