KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Reviews Global Health, Development Issues Discussed At World Economic Forum

Devex: How global development issues fared in Davos
“…[I]n a fast-moving set of conversations tackling the world’s geopolitical and business challenges [at the World Economic Forum], the development issues can get lost. Here’s what made a splash this year and what didn’t fare as well. Women’s empowerment and gender equality … Global health … Youth … A changing private sector … Development financing … The SDGs and action…” (Saldinger, 1/29).

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African Union, First Ladies Call For Additional Efforts To Address HIV, Malaria, NTDs At Meetings

KBC: First Ladies from Africa draw six-point agenda to combat HIV/AIDS
“Renewed campaigns to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa were the major highlights when the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) 20th Ordinary General Assembly closed in Addis Ababa Monday. At the end of the three-day OAFLA meeting that brought together First Ladies from 16 countries …, the members drew a six-point agenda aimed at driving a re-energized campaign against the AIDS/HIV menace across the continent. The OAFLA meeting was held concurrently with the 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union (A.U.) Summit…” (1/29).

New Times: African leaders call for more efforts to fight malaria, neglected diseases
“African leaders under the umbrella organization, African Leader Malaria Alliance (ALMA), have called on member states to up their stakes in ensuring that malaria as well as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are eliminated on the continent. … The African Leaders Malaria Alliance is a coalition of 49 African heads of state and government working across country and regional borders to eliminate malaria by 2030…” (Tashobya, 1/29).

Xinhua News: Malaria remains Africa’s major health problem: officials
“The African Union (A.U.) and the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that the malaria epidemic remains Africa’s major health care challenge. A.U. and WHO officials, together with ministers of A.U. member states and global health care partners, expressed the concern during a high-level panel meeting on malaria held on Friday on the sidelines of the 30th A.U. summit at the A.U. headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa…” (1/26).

Xinhua News: Women, youth, sex workers most affected by HIV in Africa: report
“Women, youth, sex workers, prisoners, and people who inject drugs are among the most affected by the HIV epidemic, a new report revealed Saturday. As the first of its kind conducted by an African Union (A.U.) organ, the report was published this weekend by A.U.’s African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHRP). It gives a comprehensive analysis of the legal and human rights issues pertinent to the HIV in the African continent…” (1/28).

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Media Outlets Summarize Outcomes Of WHO Executive Board Meeting

Devex: 13 things to know about WHO’s Geneva deliberations
“…Though a stark contrast to the flashy, fast-paced atmosphere of the World Economic Forum, the deliberations at the WHO headquarters in Geneva had their own share of entertaining and intense moments. Here’s what to know from WHO’s weeklong 142nd executive board meeting…” (Ravelo, 1/29).

Intellectual Property Watch: WHO Executive Board Agrees On Actions To Boost R&D, Access To Medicines
“After long deliberations, the World Health Organization Executive Board agreed [Friday] to ask member states and the organization to implement recommendations aiming at improving innovation and access to medicines…” (Saez, 1/26).

Intellectual Property Watch: Importance Of Flu Pandemic Preparedness Confirmed By WHO Board Decision
“One hundred years after the great Spanish flu pandemic, World Health Organization members [Friday] underlined their satisfaction with the organization’s framework to get countries best prepared for the next pandemic: The WHO Executive Board agreed on keeping most of the funds coming to the framework for preparedness measures, and a smaller portion for response measures, unless emergency strikes…” (Saez, 1/26).

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USAID PREDICT Collaboration Aims To Identify Emerging Infectious Diseases Before Outbreaks

Smithsonian.com: Can Virus Hunters Stop the Next Pandemic Before It Happens?
“…For more than 15 years, the ecologist and evolutionary biologist [Kevin Olival] has scoured the globe for samples from animals that harbor some of the scariest undiscovered viruses as part of the global nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance. … EcoHealth Alliance is partnering with a larger collaboration known as USAID PREDICT, a $200 million global project aimed at detecting, preventing, and controlling infectious emerging diseases before they become full-blown pandemics…” (Morrison, 1/25).

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Former British PM Tony Blair Discusses Importance Of Governance For Development Successes In Devex Interview

Devex: Tony Blair says improving governance is key to development
“Tony Blair, former British prime minister and founder of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, defended globalization in an interview with Devex, but said the key to its success is to make it work better for everyone. Blair did not appear on the public agenda at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos last week, but had private meetings with key stakeholders to make progress on both governance in Africa and peace in the Middle East…” (Cheney, 1/29).

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Taxes On Sugary Beverages Becoming More Common Globally; Experts Warn Taxes Are Not Silver Bullet To Solve Obesity, NCDs

Malnutrition Deeply: Taxing the World Out of Obesity
“…Taxes on sugar sweetened beverages have quickly become the most prominent strategy in the global push to reduce overweight and obesity, as well as linked noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) that include diabetes and cardiovascular disease. … Taxes on sugary drinks have been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and are now being championed by members of a new global task force of bankers and finance ministers set to consider fiscal policies to improve health. … Nutrition experts are doing everything they can to encourage the trend, helping countries model the economic benefits and taking advantage of the rollout of the taxes to educate consumers about more nutritious alternatives to the taxed items. But they are also realistic about how much the taxes can accomplish…” (Green/Cousins, 1/26).

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West African Nations Continue To Feel Strains Caused By Ebola Outbreak

Deutsche Welle: West Africa wonders: What if the Ebola epidemic returns?
“Diseases such as Ebola and Lassa fever are highly contagious and life-threatening. Three years ago more than 11,000 people died of Ebola in West Africa. There is a high risk of new epidemics in the region…” (Müller-Jung, 1/27).

Los Angeles Times: Two years after West Africa was declared Ebola-free, health and financial burdens persist
“…Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the nations hit the hardest by the outbreak, have not had a reported Ebola case since at least March 2016, well beyond the official measure for being declared free of the virus, which is 42 consecutive days. But the countries remain vulnerable to flare-ups, their health systems are dogged by a shortage of medical staff and subpar facilities, and survivors of the disease continue to struggle to piece their lives back together…” (Simmons, 1/26).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Q&A: ‘Nothing could have prepared me for Cox’s Bazar,’ reproductive health expert says (Rogers, 1/29).

Malnutrition Deeply: Funding for Nutrition Only Comes During Emergencies: Save the Children (Byatnal, 1/26).

NPR: Africa Is Suffering A Silent Crisis Of Stroke (McDonnell, 1/26).

NPR: Rare Disease Finds Fertile Ground In Rohingya Refugee Camps (Beaubien, 1/27).

Reuters: UNICEF sees growing signs of malnutrition crisis in Venezuela (Miles, 1/26).

Reuters: How Sanofi’s setback could lead to better dengue vaccines (Steenhuysen, 1/29).

Reuters: South Sudan, facing humanitarian crisis, waives some fees for aid groups (Dumo et al., 1/29).

STAT: Gilead is accused of an ‘unethical’ access policy for an HIV prevention drug (Silverman, 1/26).

U.N. News Centre: ‘Enough is enough;’ world cannot become numb to killing of children, says top UNICEF official in Syria (1/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Political Will, Investments In Education, Health Vital To Ensuring Equity, Addressing Poverty

Devex: Opinion: Building a shared future in a fractured world starts with education and health
Julia Gillard, chair of the Board of Directors at the Global Partnership for Education and distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general

“…[W]hat creates a shared future for a nation is to invest in its people. If you provide everyone with affordable health care and education, then you drive up economic growth and drive down inequity and poverty. In doing so, the damaging political and economic fractures in a society are reduced. … Investing in education and health is not charity. … The costs associated with inaction are as devastating as this return on investment is impressive. … In today’s world, the large majority of countries can actually afford to provide universal health coverage and universal access to quality education. It’s less a question of economics than of political will. For the few low-income or conflict-affected countries that can’t finance health and education from their own coffers, donor funding from multilateral organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Partnership for Education can help to strengthen health and education systems. … Changes of mindset, real commitment, and action are needed. With the necessary political will, we can accomplish the seemingly impossible, whether it is eradicating a disease such as polio or ensuring that every child has a good, basic education to prepare for a rich, meaningful, healthy life” (1/26).

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Global Community Should Commit To Achieving Gender Parity In Global Health

Devex: Opinion: A call to action on gender equality in global health
Roopa Dhatt, executive director and co-founder of Women in Global Health (WGH); Ann Keeling, policy fellow at WGH; Nicole Schiegg, strategic adviser to WGH and partner in the C5 Collective; and Kelly Thompson, programming specialist at WGH

“…Achieving gender equality requires bold action from strong leaders … We call on WHO and its member states to continue to promote gender equality in WHO leadership positions in Geneva and throughout the regions and country offices. This requires the meaningful engagement of men and women in the technical programs of WHO, as well as active monitoring, data generation, and the adoption of evidence-based best practices that promote gender parity and equality in health governance across WHO and in member states. … We will propose reforms to the WHO secretariat that will institute specific measures to achieve gender parity in their top leadership; ensure equal representation of both women and men in our delegations to the World Health Assembly and WHO Executive Board meetings and regional governance meetings; and maintain gender parity in the organization of all panels and events that we convene during the WHA and other high-level international and regional global health events. … WGH will continue to work for gender equality and women’s leadership at all levels in the global health workforce because gender equality is smart global health…” (1/26).

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Research Community Should Focus Efforts On Developing Universal Flu Vaccine

Los Angeles Times: A world without flu? It’s possible
Editorial Board

“…[I]t’s time for the [U.S.] to focus its efforts on developing universal flu vaccines that provide long-term protection from all strains. … [U]niversal vaccines are well within the realm of possibility. … There’s also hope for improved if not quite universal vaccines as soon as five years from now. That prospect is why Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has made it an agency priority to push for better vaccines. Another motivating factor: the risk of a flu pandemic that reaches Stephen King-like proportions. It’s been a century since the Spanish flu infected as much as a third of the global population, and epidemiologists say humanity is due for another “Big One.” Because pandemics happen when influenza viruses make huge mutations, rather than small shifts, seasonal flu shots would offer little to no protection. Let’s not wait until then to stop treating the flu like a familiar, if troublesome, annual house guest. Finding a better way to fight this serial killer needs to be given at least as much urgency as attacking the next sexy virus that pops up in the news” (1/26).

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Governments Must Protect, Ensure Safety Of Community Health Care Workers

CNN: They were murdered for the crime of trying to keep children healthy
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…Community health workers risk their security to protect their nation’s children from polio. And their government must do more to protect them. Those who go out each day to give drops that immunize children from one of the world’s most wretched diseases cannot be an endangered species, hunted like animals by militants who would see their life-saving work extinguished. They deserve their nation’s protection and the respect of the entire world. Words alone will not shield them: vigilance and protection are required. And that includes a government that guarantees their safety…” (1/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

ONE Co-Founder Urges World Leaders, WEF To Take 'More Urgent Action' On Development Finance, Other Challenges

ONE: Did Davos deliver any ‘humane intelligence?’
Jamie Drummond, co-founder and executive director for global strategy at ONE, highlights discussions and challenges presented at the World Economic Forum (WEF), writing, “[M]ore urgent action is needed from world leaders and the WEF to rise to the urgent challenges ahead of us — above all by galvanizing a game-changing development finance deal” (1/26).

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Global Partnership For Zero Leprosy Aims To Accelerate Progress Toward Leprosy Elimination

Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy: New Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy launches to accelerate progress toward a world without leprosy
“Ahead of World Leprosy Day on Sunday 28 January 2018, several leading leprosy groups have joined forces to launch a Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy to accelerate progress towards a world without leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease. … The Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy will coordinate action in three key areas: (1) accelerating research in new diagnostic and therapeutic tools, interventions, and strategies to interrupt leprosy transmission; (2) mobilizing technical assistance and expertise to strengthen existing national programs and accelerate translation of new evidence into action; and (3) increasing advocacy and fundraising…” (1/26).

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WHO Surveillance Data Reveal High Levels Of Antibiotic Resistance Globally

WHO: High levels of antibiotic resistance found worldwide, new data shows
“WHO’s first release of surveillance data on antibiotic resistance reveals high levels of resistance to a number of serious bacterial infections in both high- and low-income countries…” (1/29).

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FT Health Highlights 3 Reports On AMR, Features Interview With Head Of Novartis Foundation On New Global Partnership For Zero Leprosy

FT Health: New benchmarks in superbug struggle
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter highlights three recently released reports on antimicrobial resistance. The newsletter also features an interview with Ann Aerts, head of the Novartis Foundation, who discusses the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy, as well as provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Cookson/Jack/Dodd, 1/26).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Podcast Discusses First Published Report On Possible Association Between Zika, Microcephaly

Podcasts at CDC: Defining Moments in MMWR History: Possible Association Between Zika Virus Infection and Microcephaly — Brazil, 2015
“On January 22, 2016, MMWR first published a report on the possible association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly. This was the first of more than 60 MMWR reports on Zika virus. In this podcast, Dr. Sonja Rasmussen chats with Dr. Peggy Honein, co-lead for the Pregnancy and Birth Defects Task Force for CDC’s Zika response, about the mosquito-borne flavivirus” (1/11).

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From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Publishes New Issue Brief On U.S. Global Health Policy Under Trump Administration

Kaiser Family Foundation: A Check Up on U.S. Global Health Policy, After One Year of the Trump Administration
“…In this brief, we take stock of the U.S. global health response on the occasion of one year of the Trump Presidency and look ahead to the global health policy issues that are likely to be front and center in the coming months and years. Overall, there are a mix of challenges facing the U.S. global health response, some of which pre-dated Trump and others that are the result of decisions and actions of the administration, including proposals to significantly scale back funding. At the same time, global health programs still enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress and, according to our just-released poll, about half of the public still wants the U.S. to play a major or leading role in improving health in developing countries…” (Kates et al., January 2018).

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