KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Private Sector Can Help Improve Global Health, Profit From Innovation, Bill Gates Says In Conference Speech

Barron’s: Bill Gates: Big Pharma and Startups are Key to Gains in Global Health
“There has been enormous progress in addressing health problems in the developing world in the past 25 years and much more can be accomplished with greater involvement by major pharmaceutical companies and start-ups, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates tells Barron’s…” (Bary, 1/8).

Bloomberg Technology: Bill Gates Says Private Sector Can Profit From Public Health
“…Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and the second-richest person in the world, told private sector companies on Monday that he needs their help to solve pressing issues in global health. Drugmakers stand to benefit financially from joining the combined efforts, Gates said in prepared remarks at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco…” (Levingston, 1/8).

Devex: Bill Gates makes the business case for breakthroughs in global health
“…[Gates] outlined ambitious goals for global health, such as cutting the number of annual deaths of children under five down to 2.5 million in the next 15 years. And as he asked the private sector to join the Gates Foundation and its partners in this work, which is the key priority of the largest foundation in the world, he made the case not in terms of corporate social responsibility, but rather because it makes good business sense…” (Cheney, 1/9).

Forbes: Bill Gates Tells Healthcare’s Capitalists How To Save Five Million Kids
“… ‘It’s true that government-funded basic science research shines a light on promising pathways to health advances,’ Gates says. ‘Philanthropy can help nurture the best ideas through discovery and development and balance the risk-reward equation for private-sector partners. But industry has the skills, experience and capacity necessary to turn discoveries into commercially viable products.’ Global health, he says, needs the private sector…” (Herper, 1/8).

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Former USAID Administrator Henrietta Holsman Fore Appointed To Head UNICEF

Devex: Former USAID chief Henrietta Holsman Fore named UNICEF executive director
“Henrietta Holsman Fore is the next executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres announced [December 22]. Fore will take over for Anthony Lake, whose term as UNICEF executive director end[ed] on Dec. 31…” (Saldinger, 12/22).

VOA News: Henrietta Holsman Fore Appointed New UNICEF Lead
“…Fore served as the first female administrator of the United States’ Agency for International Development, or USAID, from 2007 to 2009. She also served in the U.S. State Department and as Director of the United States Mint. Earlier in her career, from 1989 to 1993, she served as Assistant Administrator for Asia, and Assistant Administrator for Private Enterprise at USAID…” (Melton, 12/22).

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Trump Administration Names Nominees To Head Millennium Challenge Corporation, Peace Corps

Devex: White House adviser to be nominated for top job at MCC
“The Trump administration has named its nominee to lead the Millennium Challenge Corporation. The administration plans to nominate top White House official Sean Cairncross to the post, the White House said on Thursday, according to political website The Hill. MCC is an independent United States aid agency that provides grants to promote economic growth, poverty reduction, and good governance…” (Saldinger, 1/5).

Devex: MCC CEO nominee would bring political ties, but some question expertise
“…Following the announcement, a number of people on social media pointed out that Cairncross seemed to lack development or foreign policy experience, but others, in conversation with Devex, have pointed out that some other MCC CEOs haven’t had that much development experience either coming in, and that his political connections should be useful for the agency…” (Saldinger, 1/8).

Devex: Trump nominates Josephine Olsen as Peace Corps chief
“President Donald Trump nominated Josephine Olsen to be director of the Peace Corps on [January 3]. Olsen is currently a visiting professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore School of Social Work, but has spent decades in a variety of roles at the Peace Corps, including as acting director in 2009…” (Igoe, 1/4).

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Ongoing Humanitarian Crises In African, Middle Eastern Nations Could Worsen In 2018

Devex: 5 African crises to watch in 2018
“A recently published analysis by the Assessment Capacities Project, or ACAPS, a Geneva-based humanitarian think tank, is warning international aid agencies to prepare for a busy year ahead, as many of 2017’s persistent humanitarian crises are expected to worsen and shrinking humanitarian budgets will hamper addressing the needs of affected populations…” (Roby, 1/8).

Los Angeles Times: It’s a new year. But the outlook on some of the world’s biggest problems is as dismal as ever
“Thousands of people killed or on the run from war. Governments overwhelmed by the pressing needs of ballooning populations. Cities devastated by natural disasters. When it comes to the world’s biggest problems, the outlook for 2018 isn’t any better than recent history…” (Simmons, 1/9).

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More News In Global Health

New York Times: India’s Supreme Court Orders Review of Gay Sex Ban (Schultz, 1/8).

Reuters: Three die in South Sudan in mystery outbreak — WHO (Miles/Nebehay, 1/8).

Reuters: India top court sets aside order canceling larger tobacco health warnings (Kalra/Mohanty, 1/8).

U.N. News Centre: Millions of children across Somalia vaccinated against measles in U.N.-backed campaign (1/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Must Finalize FY18 Budget Deal, Uphold U.S. Commitment To Humanitarian Response Funding

The Hill: Congress can’t shortchange America’s humanitarian responses
Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Abby Maxman, president and CEO of Oxfam America

“…The United States of America has always been an essential player in the field of humanitarian response. … In order to preserve this leadership, Congress must avert budget cuts to humanitarian aid … The United Nations is predicting 135.7 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance in 2018, an increase over this year. More than 76 million people are projected to need emergency food assistance in 2018 as well. … Given these daunting circumstances, we urge Congress and the budget negotiators to quickly arrive at a budget deal to avoid automatic spending cuts and provide at least the same amount of funding for critical humanitarian, development, and diplomacy programs as enacted for fiscal 2017. … Congress must urgently work out a permanent funding deal for next fiscal year that does not shortchange America’s humanitarian response in the midst of record-breaking need. Anything less would be immoral” (1/8).

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HHS Secretary Nominee Alex Azar's History With Pharmaceutical Industry Could Threaten Access To Medicines, U.S. Global Health Initiatives

The Hill: Alex Azar is bad medicine for HHS
Hilary McQuie, director of U.S. policy and grassroots mobilization at the Health Global Access Project (GAP)

“…Americans want government action to address the crisis of out of control domestic drug price increases, and they overwhelmingly support successful global health initiatives overseas like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. With [former drug company executive Alex Azar] leading HHS, both would be imperiled. We need a credible advocate for patients, one who will take measures to curtail price gouging and limit corporate overreach in domestic and foreign rule making and enforcement. HHS is tasked to provide leadership and expertise in global health diplomacy and policy to contribute to a safer, healthier world. The world deserves a secretary who will neither misuse nor export our own deeply problematic drug monopoly regime to any other country. The Senate should cast off the influence of drug company campaign contributions and reject Mr. Azar’s nomination for this important post” (1/6).

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U.S. Government, Others Must Prioritize Development Of Universal Flu Vaccine

New York Times: We’re Not Ready for a Flu Pandemic
Michael T. Osterholm, professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and Mark Olshaker, writer and documentary filmmaker

“…Given the century of medical progress since [the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic], one might conclude that we are far better prepared today to deal with such a worldwide catastrophe. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. … The only real solution is a universal vaccine that effectively attacks all influenza A strains, with reliable protection lasting for years, like other modern vaccines. … But there is no apparent effort to make these vaccines a priority in the current administration. Its National Security Strategy published last month cites Ebola and SARS as potential bioterrorism and pandemic threats, yet makes no mention of the risk of pandemic influenza nor any aspect of critical vaccine research and development. … The eradication of smallpox in the 1960s and ’70s was arguably the greatest achievement in the annals of public health. We have the tools to potentially accomplish this with influenza, and with the stakes as high as they are, isn’t it worth a Manhattan Project-scale effort to defend ourselves?…” (1/8).

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'Fake News' Fuels Dangerous Mistrust Of Vaccines, Could Enable Outbreaks

Wired U.K.: Fake news and distrust of science could lead to global epidemics
Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project (VCP) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Peter Piot, director of LSHTM

“Vaccines are one of the most important scientific inventions of all time, preventing millions of cases of disease every year and helping to consign once-deadly outbreaks to history. Yet these vital public-health tools are under threat from growing public mistrust in immunization and the rise of so-called ‘fake news’ drowning out expert voices. This ‘anti-vax’ sentiment and pushback against scientific evidence threatens public health around the world, from measles outbreaks in the U.S. and across Europe, prompting stricter vaccination laws, to persisting polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan. If this trend continues, 2018 could see a devastating resurgence of deadly diseases previously on the brink of eradication. … Rumor outbreaks and their contagion not only put stresses on immunization programs, they are ubiquitous across the health field. … In 2018, when we face the next major infectious disease outbreak, it will be a test of how well we use — or abuse — the technologies and knowledge we’ve gained since [the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which caused an estimated 50 million deaths]” (1/9).

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Public-Private Partnerships Critical To Ensuring Adequate Global Health Financing

Devex: Opinion: How public-private partnerships can unlock billions for health financing
Arnaud Bernaert, head of global health and healthcare industries and system initiative at the World Economic Forum, and Dessislava Dimitrova, lead for health systems and healthcare joint ventures at the World Economic Forum

“…Recent estimates by the World Health Organization published in The Lancet state that reaching SDG 3 — which addresses healthy lives and well-being — would require new investments increasing over time from an initial $134 billion annually to $371 billion by 2030 in order to address the health challenges for 67 low- and middle-income countries. … It is clear that no single government, civil society, or the private sector can foot this bill. New mindsets, technologies, models for collaboration, financing, and delivery approaches are needed to ensure all people receive the care that they need. The good news is that we have already seen a few projects successfully tackling challenges of similar magnitude. … Building on the experiences with public-private partnerships, we might yet be able to find the billions our world’s global health goals require” (1/3).

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Controversial New WHO Global TB Programme Director Must 'Reach Out To A Skeptical TB Community'

The Lancet: Tuberculosis: criteria for global leadership?
Editorial Board

“Tereza Kasaeva is to be the new Director of WHO’s Global Tuberculosis (TB) Programme. She joins WHO from Russia’s Ministry of Health. But instead of a warm welcome, she will arrive in Geneva amid potentially disabling controversy. … [I]n the case of Kasaeva, activists have raised questions about her international expertise and experience. They are frustrated that she was named without any external call for candidates and that there was no consultation with the broader TB community. … WHO’s reputation — indeed, its political leverage — depends on the agency’s technical credibility. The sharp divisions that Kasaeva’s appointment has created bode ill for efforts to align the TB community during a year when the disease will receive unprecedented attention at a high-level meeting to be held during the 2018 U.N. General Assembly. It will now be important for Kasaeva to reach out to a skeptical TB community to reassure them of her commitment to engage and build a powerful movement for action on this still neglected disease” (1/6).

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International Community Must Work To Improve Access To Palliative Care In Developing Countries

Devex: Opinion: Africa needs investment in palliative care
John Rhee, medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Emmanuel Luyirika, executive director of the African Palliative Care Association

“…Dwindling aid budgets will continue to disrupt necessary end-of-life and palliative services for patients in Africa. Many programs have already been forced to scale back due to reduced foreign aid budgets. … Global actors and stakeholders can focus efforts on increasing access to palliative care in Africa, using the model of the World Health Organization’s public health strategy for palliative care: 1. Palliative care-specialized services … 2. Education … 3. Policies … 4. Medicines … Due to this shifting landscape and overall decreases in funding, governments in Africa will need to increase the share of funding for palliative care. Not doing so will result in millions dying with minimal-to-no access to palliative care and pain management…” (1/3).

Project Syndicate: Prisoners of Pain
Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University and laureate professor at the University of Melbourne

“…Last October, the Lancet Commission on Palliative Care and Pain Relief issued an impressive 64-page report arguing that relieving severe pain is a ‘global health and equity imperative.’ … Each year 25.5 million people die in agony for lack of morphine or a similarly strong painkiller. Only 14 percent of the 40 million people requiring palliative care receive it. … People suffer because relieving pain is not a public policy priority. There are three main explanations for this. For starters, medicine is more focused on keeping people alive than on maintaining their quality of life. And patients suffering a few months of agony at the end of life are often not well positioned to demand better treatment. Third, and perhaps most important, is opiophobia. … While opioids can be harmful and addictive, as America’s current crisis demonstrates, the fact that something can be dangerous is not sufficient reason to impose extreme restrictions on its clinical use. … This is not merely foolish; in the words of the Lancet Commission, it is also a ‘medical, public health, and moral failing and a travesty of justice'” (1/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Podcast Episode Features Interview With PATH Expert On U.S. Leadership In Global Health Security

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: PATH Offers Global Health Security Roadmap for Continued U.S. Engagement
Steve Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, speaks with Carolyn Reynolds, vice president for policy and advocacy at PATH, on “the importance of continued U.S. leadership in global health security and the ways in which PATH is working to keep the health security conversation front and center throughout ongoing budget discussions” (12/20).

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WHO DG Visits Madagascar, Calls For More Investment In Health System To End Plague Epidemics

WHO: WHO Director-General: invest in health to end plague in Madagascar
“The Director-General of WHO has outlined his vision for a Madagascar free of plague epidemics during a three-day visit to the island nation that started on 7 January 2018. ‘Madagascar can make plague epidemics a thing of the past through strategic investments in its health system — including better access to health care, improving preparedness, surveillance and response capabilities, and implementing the International Health Regulations,’ said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus…” (1/8).

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PLOS Article Discusses Madagascar Plague Outbreak, Strengthening Health System To Prevent Future Outbreaks, Epidemics

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Madagascar can build stronger health systems to fight plague and prevent the next epidemic
Matthew Bonds, assistant professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder/co-CEO of PIVOT, and colleagues examine the recent plague outbreak in Madagascar and discuss how an integrated health system strengthening approach can help prevent outbreaks, as well as epidemics, in the future (1/4).

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Blog Post Discusses Role Of Structural Interventions In HIV Prevention Efforts

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Keeping the balance in how we prevent HIV: Evaluating structural interventions
In this guest post, Jim Thomas, associate professor of epidemiology in the Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the MEASURE Evaluation project in the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, discusses the role of structural interventions in preventing HIV. Thomas writes, “To pursue structural interventions is not to back off on clinical interventions. But by the same token, pursuing clinical interventions should not mean backing off from addressing underlying and pernicious structural factors. Unlike smallpox, this complex epidemic requires a multifaceted approach” (1/8).

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Blog Post Highlights Role Of Frontline Health Workers In Achieving Patient-Centered Care, SDG 3

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Integration of Frontline Health Workforce Will Determine Success of SDGs, Universal Health Coverage in 2018 and Beyond
Vince Blaser, director of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, discusses the role of frontline health workers in delivering patient-centered care and helping countries achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 — “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” This post also appears on the Frontline Health Workers Coalition blog (1/8).

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New Issue Of Global Health: Science And Practice Journal Available Online

Global Health: Science and Practice: December 2017
The December issue of the Global Health: Science and Practice online journal features articles on various topics, including research articles on increasing women’s participation in a President’s Malaria Initiative indoor residual spraying program in Africa and family planning efforts in Jordan, including USAID’s family planning investment in the country; a commentary on the World Health Organization’s experience with developing guidelines on the relationship between HIV and contraception use; and an editorial on the role of modeling in global health research and its use in advocacy efforts (December 2017).

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From the U.S. Government

Blog Post Highlights 10 Examples Of USAID's Work In 2017

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Be Inspired: 10 Examples of How Aid Works
This blog post highlights 10 examples of USAID’s work in 2017, including the agency’s efforts related to natural disasters, food insecurity, and maternal and newborn health (1/4).

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