KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Outlets Discuss Future Of World Bank, Potential Nomination Of Woman As President Following Jim Yong Kim's Resignation

The Lancet: Jim Yong Kim steps down from World Bank
“On Jan. 7, the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim stunned the international development community with his announcement that he was leaving his post. The unforeseen move has created a leadership crisis and concerns about the future direction of the world’s most influential multilateral finance and development institution…” (Zarocostas, 1/26).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Contemplates Appointing First Female President of World Bank
“The race to select the next president of the World Bank could be shaped by a strong international desire for the institution to have its first female president. … The White House hasn’t settled on a pick, but diplomats, former World Bank officials, and close observers of the bank agree that were Washington to nominate a woman, it would discourage other countries from challenging the American pick…” (Zumbrun, 1/24).

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Ebola Spreads Into Region Of DRC With High Security Risks, WHO Says; Survivors Helping Care For Patients, Orphans

Al Jazeera: Ebola survivors fight disease as DR Congo outbreak rages on
“Dozens of Congolese Ebola survivors are dispelling rumors and caring for patients and lone children in the world’s second-deadliest outbreak, health workers said on Thursday…” (1/24).

CIDRAP News: Ebola infects 3 more in DRC; virus evidence found in West Africa bat
“Three more people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were confirmed as having Ebola in the country’s ongoing outbreak, and in a related development, researchers from Liberia and the United States [Thursday] reported genetic evidence of the Ebola outbreak virus in a bat in Liberia, the first such detection in West Africa…” (Schnirring, 1/24).

Reuters: Ebola spreads to high-risk area of Congo: WHO
“Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak has spread southwards into an area with high security risks, the World Health Organization said. … [T]he outbreak in a region of Congo with frequent fighting makes it hard for health workers to move around and monitor potential sufferers and to spread messages about how to avoid becoming sick…” (Miles/Nebehay, 1/25).

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Progress In Reducing Infant Mortality Reversed In Crisis-Hit Venezuela, Study Shows

Devex: Venezuela crisis reverses infant mortality progress by 18 years, Lancet finds
“Venezuela has wiped out 18 years of gains in infant mortality rates as the country continues to experience economic and political instability that has triggered a massive humanitarian crisis, a new paper published in The Lancet has found. ‘There has been a constant denial from government officials of the health crisis in recent years,’ said Jenny García, one of the report’s authors. ‘Losing 18 years of progress is a lot. That is really shocking. After having 50 years of constant decreasing infant mortality, we still are going back to the ’90s’…” (Welsh, 1/25).

The Telegraph: Child deaths rocket as Venezuela descends into economic and social breakdown
“The progress made in reducing the rates of death among babies less than a year old in Venezuela has completely reversed as the country has descended into an economic and humanitarian crisis. Once one of the richest countries in South America, Venezuela is now in meltdown. Thousands of protesters have been thronging the capital’s streets in recent days in a bid to topple president Nicolas Maduro, whose economic policies are blamed for hyper-inflation and a breakdown of public services…” (Gulland, 1/24).

Additional coverage of the crisis in Venezuela is available from the New York Times (2), U.N. News, and Washington Post.

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Private Investment For Humanitarian Efforts Gains Steam At Davos

Devex: Humanitarian investing gathers speed at Davos
“Finding ways to channel more private investment into humanitarian settings was a hot topic this year at Davos — the World Economic Forum’s 48th annual meeting in Switzerland — which included the tentative launch of a development impact bond to create jobs for Syrian refugees. … The development impact bond is part of a broader effort to attract new financing for humanitarian efforts in the face of an increasing number of protracted crises…” (Edwards, 1/25).

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Prince William Calls On Global Leaders To Destigmatize, Take Action On Mental Health

New York Times: In Davos, Prince William Calls for Action on Mental Health
“Prince William, who has long spoken publicly about his emotional struggles, has taken his campaign for mental health awareness to Davos, Switzerland, urging global leaders to help break the stigma…” (Karasz, 1/24).

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Humanitarian Challenges To Continue In 2019, UNOCHA Report Says

NPR: A Little Optimism, A Lot Of Pessimism: The 2019 Outlook For Humanitarian Crises
“It’s quite clear that 2018 was a tough year for the world’s humanitarian agencies. … This year, the challenges will continue in full force, according to an annual report from UNOCHA, the U.N. humanitarian agency, called World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2018. … That’s because the root causes are increasingly a messy mix of conflict, climate shocks, poverty, and social inequalities…” (Lu, 1/24).

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India, Ecuador, Peru Call For TRIPS Flexibilities In Draft UHC Resolution

Intellectual Property Watch: India, Ecuador, Peru Bring TRIPS Flexibilities Into WHO Universal Health Coverage Discussions
“…As the 144th session World Health Organization Executive Board [meets Thursday] until 1 February, delegates are discussing draft resolutions to be adopted by the Board. One of those topics is universal health coverage (UHC), in the context of the preparation for the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on universal health coverage, later this year. … In a 22 January leaked draft resolution, India, as well as Ecuador and Peru, suggested to ‘promote increased access to affordable, safe, effective, and quality medicines and diagnostics and other technologies, including by making use, to the fullest extent, of the TRIPS [World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights] flexibilities for the protection of public health and to achieve health for all’…” (Saez, 1/24).

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WHO DG Tedros Says Preliminary Investigation Into Alleged Misconduct Due By Week's End

Devex: Tedros addresses alleged misconduct at WHO
“The World Health Organization’s director general has addressed allegations of misconduct within the organization, which were sent to WHO directors in anonymous emails. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that the organization’s Office of Internal Oversight Services’ preliminary review of the allegations made against several members of staff is due by end of the week and that any substantiated allegations will be reported to member states…” (Ravelo, 1/25).

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U.K. Announces 5-Year National Action Plan To Reduce Antibiotic Use, Resistance

CIDRAP News: U.K. aims to cut antibiotics 15% in 5-year AMR plan
“…The five-year national action plan calls for a 10 percent reduction in the number of antibiotic-resistant infections in people by 2025, a 15 percent decrease in human antibiotic use by 2024, and a 25 percent decrease in the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals by 2020. To encourage development of new antibiotics, the government will test a new payment model that will reimburse pharmaceutical companies based on how valuable their drugs are to the National Health Service (NHS), rather than on the quantity of antibiotics sold…” (1/24).

Xinhua News: Britain launches five-year antimicrobial resistance action plan
“…The plan covers animals and the environment as well as human health. The government has committed to working with veterinarians and farmers to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals by 25 percent between 2016 and 2020, with objectives to be refreshed by 2021. The pharmaceutical industry will also be expected to take more responsibility for antibiotic resistance…” (1/25).

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European Union 3rd Largest Global Funder Of R&D For Neglected Diseases, G-Finder Report Shows

Science|Business: E.U. now world’s third-biggest spender in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria
“The E.U. is now the world’s third-biggest contributor — behind the U.S. and the U.K. — to global R&D into new products to prevent, diagnose, control, or cure neglected diseases in developing countries, according to the latest annual report published by the Australian charity, Policy Cures Research. The report says European Commission spending on these diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, rose by 50 percent, to $119 million, in 2017. The figure does not include national funding by E.U. member states…” (Wallace, 1/24).

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In South Sudan, Widespread Trauma Following Wars But Little Access To Mental Health Care

Al Jazeera: In South Sudan, stigma and underfunding plague mental health care
“…South Sudan suffered two civil wars before it won independence from Sudan in 2011, and is only now regaining its footing from its own civil war that lasted from 2013 until 2018. The country’s three practicing psychiatrists and 29 psychologists are all in Juba. … The Juba Teaching Hospital is the only public medical facility that provides psychiatric care; the availability of psychotropic drugs is inconsistent and limited. If the 12-bed ward is full, or if a patient is not eligible to take a bed, the mentally ill are often detained in Juba’s Central Prison…” (Bauomy, 1/18).

IRIN: South Sudan: “The whole country is traumatized”
“…The government, reeling from the day-to-day fallout of the war and political dysfunction, offers little to no support. … Less than two percent of nationwide funding is put towards the health sector, and no money is specifically allocated for mental health services, according to Dr. Felix Lado Johnson, the state minister of health in Juba…” (Mednick, 1/21).

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More News In Global Health

The Guardian: Police arrest 19 people over FGM gang attacks on women in Uganda (Okiror, 1/24).

IRIN: ‘New humanitarians’ take a seat at the table (1/24).

Reuters: WHO warns of deadly outbreak of rat-borne hantavirus in Argentina (Kelland, 1/24).

STAT: After ‘CRISPR babies,’ international medical leaders aim to tighten genome editing guidelines (Begley, 1/24).

U.N. News: ‘Stigma plays a big role’ in failure to tackle world opioid crisis, advocate tells U.N. (1/24).

U.N. News: ‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’ (1/24).

U.N. News: Environment and health at increasing risk from growing weight of ‘e-waste’ (1/24).

UPI: Clinical trial starts for temperature-stable tuberculosis vaccine (Dyson, 1/23).

Washington Post: As youth anger over climate change mounts, protests spread around the globe (Noack, 1/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress, Civil Society Have Opportunity To 'Revolutionize' Approach To Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights

The Hill: How to revolutionize U.S. policies on women’s health and rights globally
Beirne Roose-Snyder, director of public policy at the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

“…This month marks two years since [President] Trump signed the [Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule (GGR)]. While there isn’t hope for this administration to end the policy, the new House of Representatives … presents opportunities for change. … Congress and U.S. civil society have an opportunity to revolutionize how sexual and reproductive health and rights are articulated and protected by U.S. policy. … But to revolutionize our approach, we must first hold our policymakers accountable to their U.S. global commitment to protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. … To do this, Congress and advocates need a shared understanding of comprehensive, evidence-based sexual and reproductive health policy and funding that is grounded in human rights. They need tools, like the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Index: Grading U.S. Global Health Assistance, to demonstrate what works and what does not. By monitoring the U.S. government’s work and demanding improvement, we can create a roadmap for the future. … As this new class of U.S. policymakers takes their place at the helm of our nation’s political and legislative decision-making, I urge them to think critically and act compassionately toward those affected by Trump’s dangerous policies. Codifying U.S. support for sexual and reproductive health and rights and ending the GGR is a good place to start” (1/24).

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Investment In, Prioritizing Diagnostics Vital To Containing Ebola, Other Outbreaks

Nature: Where are the Ebola diagnostics from last time?
Lieselotte Cnops, postdoctoral researcher in the neglected tropical diseases unit at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, and colleagues

“…Diagnostics are fundamental to containing outbreaks. Without such tests, it is impossible to trace whether people with the disease have infected others, whether the virus persists in survivors, or to investigate the cause of deaths. … [T]he various Ebola diagnostic approaches need to be evaluated and the best ones prioritized. Most importantly, developers must be incentivized to sustain their investment in diagnostics during and after epidemics, so that health workers are not scrambling to obtain tests when the next outbreak arrives. … We think that two actions are urgently needed to improve the availability of diagnostics — both in the current DRC Ebola outbreak and in future crises. Evaluate and prioritize specific diagnostics. … Incentivize developers. … Together, these steps will help to ensure that investments made during one outbreak are not wasted. Such efforts must be sustained so that they can help people to tackle the next crisis” (1/22).

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HRW's World Report Suggests Human Rights, Health Under Threat By Autocratic Leaders, But 'Rise Of Resistance' Shows Hope

The Lancet: At the turn of the tide: human rights and health in 2019
Editorial Board

“…This year’s annual report [from Human Rights Watch] sends a clear message: that human rights violations propagated by autocratic leaders throughout 2018 continue to imperil the health of the world’s most vulnerable populations. … But there are reasons for hope. Unlike previous annual reports, World Report 2019 paints a brighter picture of the future. … [A]mid political chaos and despite mounting pessimism around rights abuses and attacks on democracy by populists on both the far left and far right, 2018 was a remarkable year for human rights. … This rise of resistance against the autocracy must not lose momentum in 2019. Every day, in so many parts of the world, the health of women and children is attacked and reproductive rights are violated. In countries facing the consequences of pollution and climate change, or fighting outbreaks of infectious disease, vulnerable, marginalized, and minority populations are being overlooked. An access abyss in palliative care persists, and mental health is still neglected. Much of the pushback in the past year played out at the U.N. and the European Parliament, underlining the importance of solidarity and the collective voice. This global unity is a force that needs to be harnessed to truly shift the power dynamics in 2019 and to make it a year of triumph for both human rights and health. It will be a tough journey” (1/26).

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Investing In Water Management Vital To Achieving Water Security

Devex: Opinion: We rely on water for everything we need. Why don’t we manage it that way?
Betsy Otto, director of WRI’s Global Water Program

“…Water is a vital input for everything people do, from food production to energy extraction to supporting hygiene and health. Although there are water challenges on the horizon, we shouldn’t throw our hands up in defeat. There is reason for hope and cause for action on water challenges. Managing water like the essential substance that it is can help achieve water security. [The following are three] steps toward water security: 1. Take a water inventory … 2. Align water management with growth … 3. Invest in good water management … While it’s true that 2019 will be another year where water is a top risk, it’s not too late to change course. Water can become a top priority if we begin managing it like it’s the most important substance in the world — because it is” (1/24).

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Universal Healthy, Sustainable Diet Must Work For Everyone, Including Vulnerable Populations

The Conversation: Any ‘planetary diet’ must also work for the poorest and most vulnerable
Andrew Salter, professor of nutritional biochemistry at the University of Nottingham and member of the management team at Future Food Beacon

“…The diet [that the EAT-Lancet Commission] came up with [in its report published on January 16] is likely to split opinion, as it would fundamentally impact on many people’s daily lives. … The EAT-Lancet report cannot be ignored. It starkly points out the catastrophic consequences for the planet of continuing with ‘business as usual.’ Yet it is important that, as agriculture becomes more efficient and sustainable, we still consider the health and well-being of the most vulnerable in society. This includes not only the one billion people who remain in danger of malnutrition in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but also many of the poorest people within the large urban conglomerates of our wealthy countries. If adopted, the report suggests that the dietary changes recommended could save more than 11 million lives each year. While most would welcome a longer and healthier life, these represent more mouths to feed in an aging population. As people get older, their nutritional needs change and about a third of people living in care homes in the U.K. suffer from some degree of malnutrition. Ironically, this is often associated with a lack of high-quality protein, such as is found in meat and dairy products [that the report recommends reducing]. This perhaps raises even more profound questions over what we wish to achieve for the future of humanity” (1/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

IPPF Blog Post Highlights Impact Of Mexico City Policy On NGO In Senegal

International Planned Parenthood Federation: The Global Gag Rule: Senegal is finding innovative ways to provide healthcare despite funding cuts
This post discusses the impact of the Mexico City policy on an NGO in Senegal and highlights ways in which the NGO is working to provide health care despite funding shortfalls (1/23).

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Members Of U.S. Congress Urge Trump Administration To Increase Pledge To Global Fund In Next Replenishment

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Congress Urges the Administration to Increase U.S. Support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
“[On Thursday] a bipartisan group of 137 U.S. members of Congress urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the administration to increase the U.S. pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) for 2020-2022. The Global Fund will hold its sixth replenishment in October 2019. The U.S. pledged $4.3 billion for the last replenishment in 2016…” (1/24).

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Health, Development Experts, Global Fund Call On Private Sector To Step Up Efforts To Address HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria Epidemics

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s “VOICES”: Global Fund Partnership Rallies the Private Sector to Step Up the Fight Against Epidemics
“At the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Bill Gates, Bono, Gayle Smith, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Seth Berkley join the Global Fund’s Executive Director Peter Sands to call on world leaders and the private sector to step up the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The Global Fund recently announced its Sixth Replenishment fundraising target of US$14 billion for the next three years to help save 16 million lives and get the world back on track to end AIDS, TB, and malaria as epidemics. Leveraging the private sector’s expertise and resources are critical to this success, and the Global Fund is calling on the private sector to mobilize at least US$1 billion to step up the fight…” (1/24).

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World Economic Forum Releases Several Articles On Global Health, SDGs

World Economic Forum: Mankind’s first tool to fight malaria also kills (Nusser, 1/24).

World Economic Forum: The world’s e-waste is a huge problem. It’s also a golden opportunity (Ryder/Zhao, 1/24).

World Economic Forum: Anti-vaccine sentiment one of 10 biggest health threats, says WHO (Wood, 1/24).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Announces Intention To Provide Assistance To Venezuelan People

U.S. Department of State: United States Is Ready To Provide Urgent Humanitarian Aid to the People of Venezuela
“[Yesterday], Secretary of State Pompeo announced that the United States is ready to provide more than $20 million in initial humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela as they struggle to cope with severe food and medicine shortages and the other dire impacts of their country’s political and economic crisis caused by the illegitimate Maduro regime…” (1/24).

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NIH Begins Early Human Clinical Trial Of Temperature-Stable TB Vaccine, Reports Early-Stage Trial Results Of Ebola Treatment

National Institutes of Health: Temperature-stable experimental tuberculosis vaccine enters clinical testing
“Vaccinations have begun in a Phase 1 human clinical trial testing a freeze-dried, temperature-stable formulation of an experimental tuberculosis (TB) vaccine candidate. … Many vaccines require a temperature-controlled system during transport, which can be costly and logistically challenging. Freeze-dried powder vaccines can be distributed at a cheaper cost to remote, low-resource settings…” (1/23).

National Institutes of Health: Investigational monoclonal antibody to treat Ebola is safe in adults
“The investigational Ebola treatment mAb114 is safe, well-tolerated, and easy to administer, according to findings from an early-stage clinical trial published in The Lancet. … The investigational treatment is currently being offered to Ebola patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under compassionate use and as part of a Phase 2/3 clinical trial of multiple investigational treatments. … The authors note several advantages for deploying mAb114 in an outbreak setting, including the ease and speed of its administration, and its formulation as a freeze-dried powder that does not require freezer storage…” (1/25).

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