KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Expanded Mexico City Policy Impacting Access To Health Services, Including HIV Treatment, Prevention, Groups Say

Associated Press: Trump’s global gag rule goes far beyond abortion, groups say
“President Donald Trump’s dramatic expansion of a ban on U.S. [global health] funding to foreign organizations that promote or provide abortions has left impoverished women around the world without treatment for HIV, malaria, and other diseases, health groups say, calling it ‘devastating’ because Trump went where no administration had gone before. … Health workers say Trump’s expansion of the global gag rule is especially damaging because NGOs increasingly offer a range of services in [rural] communities. Closing an outreach center means that treatment for HIV and other diseases, for both men and women, disappears as well…” (Anna, 1/23).

VICE News: Ugandan sex workers are working without condoms because of Trump administration policy
“Uganda made a bold commitment to end AIDS by 2030, the first pledge of its kind for any country in Africa — or the world. But now that goal may be out of reach, because of cuts in funding from its biggest donor of health aid: the United States. … Trump’s version [of the Mexico City policy goes] a step further saying that any foreign NGO that refuses to comply with the rule risks losing funding for essentially all global health programs. The move has experts seriously concerned about how these cuts will impact programs aimed at reducing HIV and AIDS in some of the hardest hit communities around the world. … VICE News goes to Kampala, Uganda, to speak with sex workers who are struggling to find condoms…” (1/22).

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U.S. Official Signals Efforts To Counter Recommendations Put Forth By U.N. High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines

Intellectual Property Watch: U.S. Working To Block U.N. High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Ideas In Geneva And Capitals
“The United States, possibly working with like-minded countries, is working to prevent the further spread among international organizations in Geneva of recommendations put forward by the 2016 United Nations High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, considering them to be ideological driven and dangerous to economic growth. The comments were made by a U.S. official speaking to a recent U.S. industry event in Washington, D.C., involving many of the U.S. intellectual property attachés, at which two attachés from Geneva described latest developments and strategy for the coming year…” (New, 1/22).

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U.N. Health, Trade, Intellectual Property Agencies To Discuss Innovative Technologies, Health-Related SDGs At Symposium

Intellectual Property Watch: WTO, WHO, WIPO Symposium To Look At Innovative Technologies And U.N. SDGs
“Three major international organizations in Geneva dealing with health, trade, and intellectual property rights will come together next month to look at how innovative technologies can help to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals related to health…” (New, 1/22).

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U.N. Agencies, Member States Must Act Decisively, Ambitiously To Meet SDGs, U.N. SG Guterres Says

U.N. News Centre: U.N. chief outlines reforms that ‘put Member States in driver’s seat’ on road to sustainable development
“Sustainable development is a fundamental human right and humanity’s best chance for a future of peace and prosperity, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday, laying out the case for Agenda 2030 to be at the center of U.N. activities. Mr. Guterres underscored that to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development … , strategic choices needed to be taken between an evolutionary approach and a more ambitious pathway…” (1/22).

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WHO DG Calls For Universal Health Coverage, Outlines Agency's Successes In Address To Executive Board

Intellectual Property Watch: New WHO Director Calls On Board To Join In “Intensive” Period Of Change
“All human beings should receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship, such is the definition of universal health coverage, a key point of discussion at the World Health Organization Executive Board meeting this week. New WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Dr. Tedros) opened the event by presenting his vision for the future, and the collective work to accomplish necessary changes to the U.N. health agency…” (Saez, 1/22).

VOA News: WHO Chief Calls for Universal Health Care
“The World Health Organization’s director general is calling on the agency’s 192 member states to adopt universal health care as the best way of guaranteeing health for all. This is the first time Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has addressed the 34-member executive board since assuming his post in July as the first African head of the World Health Organization. And the former Ethiopian health minister was not shy about touting his accomplishments during his first six months in office…” (Schlein, 1/22).

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Wealth Gap Continues To Grow Between Rich, Poor, Oxfam Report Says

The Guardian: Inequality gap widens as 42 people hold same wealth as 3.7bn poorest
“The development charity Oxfam has called for action to tackle the growing gap between rich and poor as it launched a new report showing that 42 people hold as much wealth as the 3.7 billion who make up the poorest half of the world’s population. In a report published on Monday to coincide with the gathering of some of the world’s richest people at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Oxfam said billionaires had been created at a record rate of one every two days over the past 12 months, at a time when the bottom 50 percent of the world’s population had seen no increase in wealth…” (Elliot, 1/21).

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North Korea's Humanitarian Crisis Tops List Of Most Neglected Worldwide, CARE Report Shows

The Guardian: North Korea tops list of world’s most neglected humanitarian crises
“The deepening humanitarian emergency in North Korea is the least reported in the world, according to a study that measures media coverage of crises across the globe. While insults traded between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un dominated headlines, North Korea’s severe food shortages, estimated to have left two in five of its population undernourished, received little attention from the world’s news outlets, the report said…” (Ratcliffe, 1/23).

Reuters: 70 million people suffer in world’s neglected crises: CARE
“…North Korea, followed by Eritrea and Burundi, lead the list, CARE International said in a report, ‘Suffering in Silence — The 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2017.’ ‘As our report shows, 70 million people in the 10 least-reported major emergencies were suffering in silence,’ [Laurie Lee, interim secretary general of CARE,] told a news briefing. Such emergencies account for one-third of the 220 million people in need of humanitarian assistance but received only two percent of the funding, he said…” (Nebehay, 1/22).

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More News In Global Health

The Australian: Bill Gates asks for Australia’s help in ridding Asia of malaria (Stewart, 1/23).

BBC News: The president who made people take his bogus HIV cure (1/22).

News Deeply Women And Girls: In Northern Uganda, Male Mentors Spread the Word on Family Planning (Santoshini, 1/22).

New York Times: Killing of Mother-Daughter Team Shakes Polio Fighters in Pakistan (McNeil, 1/22).

Reuters: Brazil’s death toll from yellow fever triples: WHO (Alper, 1/22).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: With newfound democracy, Gambia faces resurgence in FGM and child marriage (Peyton/Jahateh, 1/23).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Indian police extort transgender sex workers, increasing HIV risk — study (Srivastava, 1/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Economic Forum Has Potential To Generate Innovative Development Deal Discussions

Devex: In Davos, the art of the development deal
Raj Kumar, founding president and editor-in-chief of Devex

“…There’s nothing new about looking for money under every rock to solve global challenges. What’s new is the potential to use innovative tools to blend together different kinds of funding — just at the moment that’s needed most. It’s what’s known as the ‘billions to trillions’ agenda, and it’s a way to raise the whole new level of finance the SDGs require. It’s tailor made for Davos. … Some [deals] are officially supported by the World Economic Forum such as the vaccine initiatives Gavi and CEPI; many more are business transactions among the billionaires and corporate titans gathering here. Now that global development has entered an era of financial innovation, Davos has more relevance than ever. We’re entering an era of Davos dealmaking for development. A kind of financial engineering for good. Picture billionaire philanthropists, corporate titans, NGO chiefs, multilateral development bank presidents, aid agency heads, and, yes, finance ministers from the Global South, plotting and planning together. At Davos this year, we’ll be on the lookout for these kinds of deals…” (1/23).

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Opinion Piece Outlines 5 Agenda Items To Heed At WHO's Executive Board Meeting

Devex: Opinion: 5 agenda items to watch at WHO’s annual board meeting
Johanna Ralston, CEO of the World Obesity Federation and executive in residence at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy; and Naveen Thacker, president of the Asia Pacific Pediatric Association and chair of the Strategic Advisory Group on Immunization of the International Pediatric Association

“…With WHO’s new leader, Dr. Tedros, committed to steering the organization in a new direction, the [WHO Executive Board] meeting provides a bellwether for how dynamic the organization will be in tackling the global health challenges in the next five years. Here are five things to watch out for on the agenda. 1. Access to medicine. If there is one issue that ignites the media, it’s how much prices for new — and old — medicines are soaring. … 2. Noncommunicable diseases. The biggest drivers of death and disability across the globe include everything from cervical cancer, to mental health, to obesity, which is now being viewed as a gateway disease to a plethora of cancers, as well as diabetes and heart disease. … 3. Polio transition. One of the great public health stories of our time seems to be in its final chapter. … 4. Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis has long been in the shadow of HIV, having received exponentially less funds … 5. Snakebites. Snakebites tend to affect poor rural communities, which is one of the reasons they get so little attention…” (1/22).

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Opinion Piece Recounts 18 Successes In Global Health In 2017

Project Syndicate: A Year of Successes in Global Health
Melvin Sanicas, regional medical expert at Sanofi Pasteur — Asia, Japan, and the Pacific

“…[P]erhaps the most significant achievements of the last 12 months were in global health. I count 18 unique successes in 2017, many of which will help sow the seeds of progress for the months and years ahead. The first notable success occurred early in the year, when a Guinness World Record was set for the most donations of medication made during a 24-hour period. … India’s elimination of active trachoma was another milestone … A third key health trend in 2017 was further progress toward the elimination of human onchocerciasis … Fourth … is a dramatic drop in the number of Guinea-worm disease infections. … Efforts to eradicate leprosy earned the fifth spot on my list, while vaccine advances in general were sixth. … Number seven is the dramatic progress made in eliminating measles. … The war on Zika is number eight … Number nine is polio eradication. … Rounding out my top 10 was the creation of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) … Huge gains in disease control and prevention were made last year, and the next few items on my list (11 through 16) reflect progress on specific illnesses. … The final two successes are reminders of how much work remains. … As the global health community resets its annual clock … we should take a moment to reflect on the 12 months recently ended. Even in a mediocre year, the global health community saved millions of lives. Imagine what we will achieve in an extraordinary year” (1/23).

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Global Community Must Address 'Paradox' Of Global Hunger, Obesity

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Global hunger and obesity
Paul Newnham, Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) advocacy hub coordinator at the ‎World Food Programme

“…Why do we see continued hunger and a concurrent rise in people eating too much, and the wrong types of foods? … This paradox is not easily addressed but the future health of our planet and its population is at stake. Changes need to be carried out from household to production level and involve all of the supply chains in between. The co-existence of double and triple burdens of malnutrition calls for integrated action that tackles malnutrition in all its forms: from the causes of obesity to the causes of wasting and stunting. It requires all countries to evaluate and restructure their food systems in their entirety. Laws around food-marketing, educating consumers, and ethical supply chains are just a few areas that must be part of the food discussion in order to build a sustainable, equitable food future for everyone. This is just one of many paradoxes within our food system. Now more than ever we need to engage people more intentionally to effect change…” (1/22).

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Study On TB Mutations Could Help R&D Of Drug Resistance Tests, Provide Other Insight For TB Research Community

Thomson Reuters Foundation: New TB mutations could transform tests for drug resistance
Taane Clark, professor of genomics and global health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and alumni staff of LSHTM; and Ruth McNerney, LSHTM alumni and honorary associate professor at University of Cape Town

“…Our inability to detect drug resistance has serious implications. … A newly published paper in Nature Genetics … looked at resistance to 14 drugs using bacteria that had been isolated from TB patients from more than thirty countries … While the study confirmed previously described resistance mutations it also increased the number of mutations associated with resistance to TB drugs. … These findings will support the pharmaceutical industry in developing more accurate rapid molecular tests for drug resistance, inform new ‘whole genome’ approaches being rolled out to profile TB bacteria for clinical decision making, and also provide important new data and insight for the TB research community. The long-term goal of course is to ensure patients receive effective treatment and cure themselves of TB, but that will also have the crucial knock-on effect of preventing the further spread of resistance…” (1/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Amnesty International USA, CHANGE Call On President Trump To Rescind 'Global Gag Rule,' Congress To Pass Global HER Act

Amnesty International USA: One Year After Trump Reinstated It, Global Gag Rule Must Go
“One year after President Trump reinstated the ‘global gag rule,’ which bars health care providers around the world from providing or counseling clients on abortions [as a condition for receiving U.S. global health funding], human rights and women’s rights groups issued a call for an end to the policy once and for all. Amnesty International USA and the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) call on President Trump to rescind the policy and for Congress to pass the Global HER Act to end it…” (1/22).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights HHS Official's Remarks On Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Health Care Financing At WHO Executive Board Meeting

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: WHO Executive Board Meeting: HHS Global Affairs leader cites need to increase investments in worldwide health emergency preparedness
Rabita Aziz, a writer with “Science Speaks” and senior specialist in global health policy for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, discusses a session at the 142nd WHO Executive Board Meeting during which “Garret Grigsby, director of the HHS Office of Global Affairs, delivered remarks highlighting the need to increase investments in worldwide public health emergency preparedness … While other high- and middle-income country representatives delivered remarks in support of WHO’s activities and plans for strengthening universal health coverage, Grigsby did not offer support or opposition, but commented that the U.S. government wants to see the WHO and member states work to reduce health care costs to increase access to health care globally” (1/22).

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World Economic Forum Should 'Deliver On 3 Crucial Areas,' ONE Co-Founder Says

ONE: Dear ‘Davos Man’: Do three things and die happy
Jamie Drummond, co-founder of ONE and executive director of global strategy at ONE, discusses his involvement with the World Economic Forum, writing, “This will be my last World Economic Forum unless this one helps deliver on three crucial areas in the fight against extreme poverty and gender inequality — the global education emergency, women’s economic empowerment, and ambitious financing to back Africa’s huge youth boom” (1/22).

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