KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Pandemic Preparedness Better But Room For More Improvement, Experts Say

Washington Post: U.S. readiness for a viral outbreak has improved, but there’s a long way to go
“…Now, with word of the first U.S. patient to contract the new virus that has killed 17 people in China comes the inevitable question: Is the United States better prepared for the catastrophic outbreak authorities have long feared? ‘The big picture,’ said Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who oversaw the Ebola response, ‘is that we’re better prepared than we were before, but not nearly as prepared as we need to be’…” (Bernstein/Sun, 1/22).

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WHO Committee Delays Decision On Whether To Declare Coronavirus Outbreak An International Emergency

STAT: WHO postpones decision on whether to declare China outbreak a global public health emergency
“The World Health Organization on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether to declare the ongoing outbreak of a novel virus that originated in China a global health emergency, with agency officials saying they needed more information to reach a consensus. Following a meeting of a WHO emergency committee, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, said he had asked the committee to continue the discussion Thursday…” (Joseph, 1/22).

Additional coverage of the committee’s decision to delay its findings is available from CNBC, The Hill, NBC, Reuters, Science, Science Speaks, and U.N. News.

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Chinese Authorities Impose Unprecedented Travel Restrictions On Several Cities, Cancel New Year Celebrations In Effort To Stop Coronavirus Spread

New York Times: The authorities ban travel from more cities, affecting millions
“The authorities expanded travel restrictions to several Chinese cities near Wuhan, the epicenter of a mysterious outbreak of coronavirus, hours after announcing that 17 people had died and more than 570 had contracted the disease. … The Chinese authorities on Thursday morning closed off Wuhan — a major port city of more than 11 million people and the center of a respiratory virus that has spread halfway around the world — by canceling flights and trains leaving the city, and suspending buses, subways, and ferries within it…” (1/23).

Reuters: Wuhan lockdown ‘unprecedented,’ shows commitment to contain virus: WHO representative in China
“China’s decision to lock down Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, shows how committed the authorities are to contain a viral outbreak that emerged in a seafood market there, a World Health Organization representative in Beijing said on Thursday. Gauden Galea told Reuters the move, also now replicated in nearby Huanggang, was beyond WHO guidelines…” (Crossley, 1/23).

Washington Post: Chinese cities cancel New Year celebrations, travel ban widens in effort to stop coronavirus outbreak
“Major Chinese cities, including the capital of Beijing and virus-hit Wuhan, have banned all large gatherings over the coming Lunar New Year festival, the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, in an effort contain the rapidly spreading outbreak…” (Fifield, 1/23).

Additional coverage of travel restrictions is available from Financial Times, Fox News, New York Times (2), Reuters, and Washington Post.

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News Outlets Examine China's Response To Coronavirus Outbreak, Lessons Learned From SARS

AP: Years after SARS, a more confident China faces a new virus
“As a viral outbreak spread from the central Chinese city of Wuhan this week, the ruling Communist Party’s central political and legal affairs commission issued a stern warning: ‘Whoever deliberately delays and conceals reports will forever be nailed to history’s pillar of shame.’ The proclamation Tuesday signaled both China’s growing confidence and its greater awareness of censorship’s pitfalls…” (Wang, 1/22).

Bloomberg/Washington Post: Why China’s Mystery Illness Is Reviving Fears of SARS
“There’s alarm in central China where a mysterious outbreak of pneumonia has been linked to a new coronavirus — a family of bugs responsible for diseases that range in severity from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. Because some of the patients worked or shopped at a seafood market where live animals and wildlife parts were also reportedly sold, there was concern that the pathogen might have come from animals, as SARS probably did — reviving memories of the epidemic that killed almost 800 people about 17 years ago…” (Gale, 1/22).

New York Times: China Silences Critics Over Deadly Virus Outbreak
“…Today, China faces the spread of another mysterious disease, a coronavirus, which so far has killed 17 people and infected more than 570. And while Beijing’s response has improved in some ways, it has regressed in others. It is censoring criticism. It is detaining people for spreading what it calls ‘rumors.’ It is suppressing information it deems alarming…” (Yuan, 1/22).

Reuters: WHO commends China measures in Wuhan to limit virus spread
“The World Health Organization (WHO) director general said on Wednesday that measures being taken in the Chinese city of Wuhan to close down transport to limit spread of the new coronavirus showed commitment to minimizing risks locally and abroad…” (Nebehay, 1/22).

Additional coverage of China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and how it compares with SARS is available from Financial Times, New York Times, NPR (2), and Washington Post.

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Human Vaccine Trials For New Coronavirus Could Begin In 3 Months; Virus Yet To Be Named

The Hill: Coronavirus vaccine could begin human trials in three months
“A top official at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Wednesday that human trials for a vaccine to counter a new strain of coronavirus behind an outbreak of viral pneumonia in China could begin within three months…” (Bowden, 1/22).

STAT: It’s been sequenced. It’s spread across borders. Now the new pneumonia-causing virus needs a name
“…The pneumonia-causing virus, which is spreading rapidly in China and beyond, is currently being identified as 2019-nCoV, shorthand for a novel or new (i.e. ‘n’) coronavirus (CoV) that was first detected in 2019. The disease it causes doesn’t yet have a name, either, though Wuhan SARS or Wu Flu are among of the options being thrown around on the internet…” (Branswell, 1/23).

Additional coverage of what is known about the novel coronavirus is available from AP, Global Health NOW, New York Times (2), PBS NewsHour, Scientific American, STAT, and Washington Post (2).

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ICJ Orders Myanmar To Take Steps To Protect Vulnerable Rohingya Muslims Ahead Of Broader Ruling On Genocide; Independent Commission Finds War Crimes, No Genocide In 2017 Crackdown

Al Jazeera: Myanmar finds war crimes but no genocide in Rohingya crackdown
“A commission set up to investigate the 2017 crackdown in Rakhine that led hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim Rohingya to flee Myanmar, has concluded that while some soldiers probably committed war crimes there was no genocide. The Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) released the findings of its investigation, but not the full report, to the country’s president on Monday, a few days before the United Nations’ top court is set to rule on whether to impose urgent measures to stop the alleged continuing genocide in Myanmar…” (1/20).

Wall Street Journal: U.N. Court Orders Myanmar to Take Steps to Protect Rohingya Muslims
“The United Nations’ main court said Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable and ordered the country to take urgent steps to protect the minority group while a broader case on whether it committed genocide is heard. The lawsuit at the International Court of Justice, which was filed last year, relates to brutal crackdowns by Myanmar’s security forces that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh in 2017. … At this stage, the court isn’t deciding on the allegation of genocide itself, but ruled Thursday on a request for provisional measures to safeguard the Rohingya from further harm until the final verdict is passed…” (Mandhana/Solomon, 1/23).

Additional coverage of the ICJ order is available from CNN, DW, Financial Times, New York Times, Reuters, and Washington Post.

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More News In Global Health

BBC: Zimbabwe doctors end strike after billionaire’s offer (1/22).

CIDRAP News: WHO calls antibiotic pipeline insufficient (Dall, 1/22).

Devex: In Nigeria, there is no quick fix for antibiotic abuse (Adepoju, 1/23).

The Guardian: Millions at risk after toxins found in Harare water supply, study finds (Chingono, 1/22).

New York Times: Smokers Should Quit at Least 4 Weeks Before Surgery, WHO says (Jacobs, 1/22).

PTI/The Week: Tax reforms can bridge public financing shortfall: UNAIDS (1/22).

Reuters: Paraguay’s President Abdo contracts dengue fever amid outbreak (Cristaldo, 1/22).

U.N. News: U.N. chief outlines solutions to defeat ‘four horsemen’ threatening our global future (1/22).

U.N. News: Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe, but it’s not inevitable: new U.N. report (1/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Continued U.S. Support For PEPFAR, New Partnerships Vital To Help Treat, Prevent Cervical Cancer Among Women Living With HIV, Opinion Piece Says

The Hill: Collaboration is key to reaching women at risk for cervical cancer
Crystal Cazier, program manager for the Global Health Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute

“…Go Further, a partnership between the George W. Bush Institute, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), UNAIDS, and Merck, works to prioritize women living with HIV in cervical cancer programs. … The integration of cervical cancer screening and treatment into HIV care has been a critical factor in Go Further’s ability to scale quickly. PEPFAR built a well-functioning model for care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa upon which additional health services have been successfully delivered, including for cervical cancer. … Congress’s continued support of PEPFAR has allowed women to not only survive HIV but to thrive throughout their lifetimes. Congress should maintain full funding for PEPFAR and allow the program the flexibility it needs to build on its success by integrating services into the HIV platform, including for cervical cancer, and following a public health approach, like PEPFAR’s DREAMS program. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it protects the investments U.S. taxpayers have made in PEPFAR over the past 17 years. As we build additional services into the PEPFAR platform, we are making progress towards ensuring broad access to quality health care. Integration is a strategy for advancing access, but full integration of all key health services is not immediately realistic everywhere. … Coordination between HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer should be reflected not just in implementation but among organizations working for improved health outcomes at all levels, whether civil society and community groups or large multilateral and global partnerships…” (1/22).

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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Coronavirus Outbreak, Epidemic Preparedness

Bloomberg: Preparing for a Pandemic Makes Economic Sense
Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg opinion columnist and professor of economics at George Mason University (1/21).

Bloomberg: Deadly Virus in China Should Scare World Leaders to Action
Adam Minter, Bloomberg opinion columnist (1/21).

New York Times: Is China Setting Itself Up for Another Epidemic?
Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations (1/23).

STAT: Former CDC director Tom Frieden on 3 key questions about the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China
Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives (1/22).

Washington Post: China should embrace the lessons of previous outbreaks to combat the new coronavirus
Editorial Board (1/22).

Washington Post: The world is better prepared for the coronavirus threat. But we remain tragically vulnerable.
Scott Gottlieb, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (1/23).

Washington Post: We’re past ‘if’ on the coronavirus. We’re on to ‘how bad will it be?’
Ronald A. Klain, White House Ebola response coordinator from 2014 to 2015 and adviser to the Biden presidential campaign, and Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services from 2009 to 2016 (1/22).

Washington Post: Governments need people’s trust to stop an outbreak. Where does that leave us?
Leana S. Wen, emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (1/22).

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New Decade, New Roadmap Bring New Opportunities In Efforts To End NTDs, Editorial Says

The Lancet Global Health: Taking the neglected out of neglected tropical diseases
Editorial Board

“…Jan. 30 will mark 8 years since the London Declaration on NTDs. That same date will also mark the inaugural World NTD Day. … 2020 is set to be a pivotal year for NTDs as the first roadmap ends and WHO finalizes the Roadmap 2021-30 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. … A new decade and a new roadmap bring new opportunities to end the suffering of neglected populations. World NTD Day invites us to regroup to #BeatNTDs: For good. For all” (February 2020).

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DKT International Leaders Discuss 8 Trends For Reproductive Health In 2020 In Devex Opinion Piece

Devex: Opinion: Predictions 2020 — what will shape reproductive health issues in the coming year?
Phil Harvey, founder of DKT International and chairman of the DKT board of directors, and Chris Purdy, president and CEO of DKT International

“…We predict the following eight issues and trends in the reproductive health space will impede and facilitate access to and use of contraceptives and safe abortion products and technology … [T]he importance of family planning extends beyond that of its health benefits — it is also critical in empowering women, encouraging self-care and personal responsibility, and improving overall quality of life. These developments will continue to impact women and couples around the world, not only in their ability to easily access contraceptives and health services, but also in the positive shift they create in turning a taboo conversation into a global imperative” (1/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Fund, Stop TB Partnership, Business Entities Launch New 'Ending Workplace Tuberculosis' Initiative

Global Fund: Ending Tuberculosis is Good for Business — New Initiative Launched to End Tuberculosis in the Workplace
“At the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, a multi-sectoral group of partners [on Wednesday] launched a new initiative — called Ending Workplace Tuberculosis — aimed at engaging major businesses in the fight against tuberculosis. Initiated by the World Economic Forum; Johnson & Johnson; Royal Philips; Fullerton Health; the Confederation of Indian Industry; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the Stop TB Partnership, this initiative will leverage the untapped potential of businesses in countries disproportionately impacted by TB to roll out awareness, detection, and treatment programs to reach millions of workers, their families, and communities…” (1/22).

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Rotary, Gates Foundation Renew Partnership To Eradicate Polio; Rotary Announces Additional Funding

Rotary: Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extending fundraising partnership to eradicate polio
“Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are renewing their longstanding partnership to end polio, announcing a joint commitment of up to $450 million to support the global polio eradication effort. … In addition to the extended funding partnership with the Gates Foundation, Rotary is also announcing US$45 million in funding for polio eradication efforts in countries throughout Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan), and Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, and the Philippines). The funding will help support crucial polio eradication activities such as immunization and disease detection, research, and community mobilization…” (1/22).

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Latest Issue Of AMA's Journal Of Ethics Features Articles On Health Professionals' Responses To Disease Outbreaks

American Medical Association: When global health emergencies strike, how should doctors respond?
“Over the last few years we have seen outbreaks of Ebola, dengue, Zika, measles, influenza, and the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. These outbreaks continue to increase in frequency, in part, because of global interconnectedness, which allows viruses to travel from one region to another in a matter of hours. How should physicians, health professionals, and other sectors address global public health emergencies? The January issue of the AMA Journal of Ethics features numerous perspectives on how health professions should respond to global public health emergencies…” (1/22).

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Pharma Industry Expert Discusses Efforts To Address AMR In Europe

Euractiv: Fighting antimicrobial resistance requires action on many fronts
Koen Laenen, regulatory affairs and quality manager at Medicines for Europe, discusses antimicrobial resistance and the steps European entities and the AMR Industry Alliance are taking to address the issue (1/22).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Launches Up To $130M In Awards For Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health, Family Planning Projects

USAID: USAID Announces Up To $130 Million to Accelerate Reductions in Maternal, Newborn, and Child Deaths
“On December 27 and December 31, 2019, the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the first two in a series of global health awards to accelerate reductions in maternal, newborn, and child mortality and morbidity in high-burden countries. These two awards — collectively valued at up to $130 million, subject to annual appropriations — fall under the MOMENTUM suite of projects, which aims to increase the capacity of host-government institutions and local non-governmental organizations to introduce, deliver, scale-up, and sustain the use of evidence-based, high-quality maternal, reproductive, newborn, and child health care and voluntary family planning…” (1/22).

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CDC Newsletter Highlights Work In Tanzania, Including On HIV, Global Health Security

CDC’s “Around the World”: CDC Tanzania: Working Together to Save Lives
The latest issue of CDC’s “Around the World” newsletter highlights a collection of resources about the CDC’s work in Tanzania, including activities focused on HIV and strengthening epidemiological capacity in the country (1/21).

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