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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines Selection Process, Candidates For Next UNAIDS Leader

Devex: Meet the UNAIDS leadership contenders
“HIV/AIDS advocates have mixed views on the five candidates shortlisted to lead the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, but agree there is much at stake as the agency fights for its existence. … The names of five shortlisted candidates emerged in June, including four from Africa and one woman. A final decision was expected earlier this month, but insiders say the process has been delayed. Last month, NGO delegates on the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board — a collection of stakeholders that guides the agency’s work — said they want the next executive director to be from the global south…” (Edwards/Ravelo, 7/10).

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Climate Change, Growing Inequality, Lack Of Ambition Impacting Efforts To Achieve SDGs, U.N. Report, SG Say

Associated Press: U.N.: Climate change undercutting work to end poverty, hunger
“Hunger is growing and the world is not on track to end extreme poverty by 2030 and meet other U.N. goals, mainly because progress is being undermined by the impact of climate change and increasing inequality, a U.N. report said Tuesday. The report on progress toward achieving the 17 U.N. goals notes achievements in some areas, including a 49% fall in child mortality between 2000 and 2017 as well as electricity now reaching nearly 90% of the world’s population…” (Lederer, 7/10).

Devex: Climate change, inequality threaten shaky SDG progress, U.N. reports
“…The U.N. released its updated landscape of the 2030 sustainable development agenda on Tuesday, the first day of the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. This year’s two-week forum is set to highlight country progress on six SDGs, focused on education, economic growth, inequality, climate action, peaceful and inclusive societies, and global partnerships for sustainable development…” (Lieberman, 7/10).

U.N. News: Global response to poverty and environmental goals ‘not ambitious enough’
“The global response to realizing poverty and environmental goals agreed by world leaders in 2015 has not been ‘ambitious enough’ according to the U.N. secretary general. In his latest report on the progress towards meeting the targets of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, the U.N. chief António Guterres said that while a ‘wealth of action’ had been taken by governments across the world, ‘the most vulnerable people and countries continue to suffer the most’…” (7/9).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Reuters, U.N. News, and Xinhua News (2).

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German City Of Bonn Serves As Center For U.N.'s Sustainable Development, Climate Activities; Germany Launches Online Platform To Track SDGs

Devex: How Bonn became a sustainable development hub
“…[In June 1991,] the German Bundestag — the country’s parliament — affirmed that the seat of government would return to Berlin [with the reunification of East and West Germany], hosting the central components of the German legislature and executive. That left Bonn, which had served as the capital of West Germany since 1949, out in the cold. … Three years later, policymakers adopted the Berlin/Bonn Act, which detailed the governmental transition to Berlin. But it also made commitments to help position Bonn, which sits along the Rhine River almost exactly in the middle of the country’s west, as an ‘international hub, a city for international organizations,’ [Harald Ganns, senior adviser to the United Nations,] said. … Twenty-five years later, Bonn is now a center for the United Nations’ climate and sustainability activities, pulling in many other organizations working around these issues…” (Green, 7/10).

Xinhua News: German statistics office launches online platform to track SDGs
“A new online platform providing data on the status of development in Germany in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (U.N.) was launched by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on Tuesday. The platform is open source and available in German and English. It contains data on Germany’s progress for 62 percent of the SDG indicators. For one-third of the indicators, Destatis was still ‘exploring data sources’…” (7/9).

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WHO Adds 28 Drugs To Essential Medicines List

Reuters: WHO keeps key lung cancer drugs off its essential medicines list
“The world’s master list of recommended medicines got an update on Tuesday when the World Health Organization (WHO) published a biennial revision, adding 28 drugs including an abortion pill but leaving out several breakthrough treatments for lung cancer. The WHO’s Essential Medicines List, which includes treatments that the WHO regards as global standards that should be available everywhere, aims to help governments make the best choices for their health systems…” (Miles/Miller, 7/9).

Additional coverage of the updated essential medicines and diagnostic lists is available from Becker’s Hospital Review, CIDRAP News, and U.N. News.

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CDC Researchers Create Synthetic Ebola Virus To Test Experimental Treatments, Diagnostics

CBS DFW: Research Shows Two Treatments Effective Against Deadly Ebola Strain
“New research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows two investigational Ebola treatments used in the ongoing outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo are effective in laboratory studies. … The treatments — the antiviral remdesivir and antibodies in the ZMapp treatment — blocked growth of the virus strain causing the outbreak in human cells in the laboratory. The research suggests, according to the CDC, that the treatments may help patients recover from the deadly illness. The study also showed that the lab test most often used in DRC and neighboring countries to diagnose Ebola appears to be accurate for the outbreak strain now circulating in DRC, which researchers are calling the Ituri strain…” (7/8).

STAT: CDC made a synthetic Ebola virus to test treatments. It worked
“Scientists at the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention have created a synthetic version of the Ebola virus circulating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of an effort to determine whether diagnostic tests and experimental treatments being used in the field are effective. The research, conducted in the agency’s most secure laboratories — BSL4 — showed that even though the tests and two of the treatments being used in the field were developed based on earlier variation of Ebola viruses, they continue to be effective against the virus causing the current outbreak, the second largest on record. The results, reported Tuesday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, are encouraging, but also raise questions about why outside research groups have not received direct access to viral specimens from the DRC and instead had to create a synthetic version. The paper noted that there have been no Ebola samples available to the scientific community from the past four outbreaks in the DRC. Those outbreaks occurred in 2014, 2017, and 2018…” (Branswell, 7/9).

Additional coverage of the study and the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from CNBC, CNN, New Humanitarian, and PRI.

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Measles Cases Up 700% In Africa, WHO Says; Chad Declares National Emergency

Al Jazeera: Cases of measles in Africa rise by 700 percent: U.N. body
“Parts of Africa are grappling with an outbreak of measles and the preventable disease is making a comeback because many people here are not being vaccinated. The World Health Organization says cases on the continent have surged by 700 percent this year alone. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Chad where a national emergency has been declared…” (Haque, 7/10).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: Maternal Zika infection tied to poor development in 32% of tots (Roos, 7/9).

CIDRAP News: Data show MERS cases, deaths on decline since 2016 (Soucheray, 7/9).

Devex: What does the commitment to green U.K. aid mean in practice? (Root, 7/10).

The Guardian: Device could bring both solar power and clean water to millions (Davis, 7/9).

NPR: Merck Wants To ‘Empower’ Infertile Women In Africa. Can Music Videos Help? (Gharib, 7/9).

Quartz India: Between domestic chores and agricultural work, rural Indian women have no time for child-rearing (Bhattacharya, 7/10).

Reuters: GSK’s Dovato suppresses AIDS virus at same levels of three-drug regimen (Aripaka, 7/10).

The Telegraph: How prawns could be the key to fighting poverty and a debilitating tropical disease (Gulland, 7/9).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: South Sudan court rules against marriage of girl, 16, in landmark case (Toby, 7/9).

Xinhua News: Dengue outbreaks reported in Cuba: official (7/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S., Other High-Income Countries Must Increase Support To WHO, DRC Ebola Response

Nature: To contain Ebola, the United States must fulfill its promise to the World Health Organization
Editorial Board

“…If the purse strings tighten … and the WHO cannot continue its work, the [Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)] will almost certainly pick up speed. It’s only a matter of time until the virus crosses borders. And yet the governments of the world’s seven largest economies have not committed sufficient funds to the WHO. … Among the G7 nations, Germany and the United Kingdom are on track with combined pledges of nearly $16 million to the WHO’s Ebola response in North Kivu this year. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, and other non-governmental donors have contributed almost $8 million this year. But the United States, Canada, France, Italy, and Japan have not contributed their share. And because the United States is relied upon as the world’s biggest health-emergency funder, its shortfall is disconcerting. … At last month’s G20 summit in Japan, high-income countries, including the United States, declared their full support for the Ebola response. They must now make good on that promise to the WHO. If countries procrastinate, the world risks a repeat of the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, in which a slow response contributed to the loss of more than 11,300 lives in Africa and a cost to taxpayers of more than $3 billion. The WHO needs just a fraction of this to prevent a horrific repeat of history” (7/9).

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Collective Global Effort Needed To End Malaria

Devex: Opinion: Why the elimination of malaria matters more than ever
Abdourahmane Diallo, minister of health of Guinea from 2016 to 2018

“…Globally, more countries are close to [malaria] elimination than ever before with more than half now malaria-free. … Malaria-affected countries need to learn lessons from experiences elsewhere, particularly when it comes to adopting good practice. Those that aren’t on the verge of elimination can take inspiration from knowing that elimination is possible and now, more than ever, must we work to shrink the malaria map. We are at a critical juncture in our fight, with the leading source of international funding, the Global Fund, due for replenishment this year, and malaria cases rising in some high-burden countries. It is crucial that we maintain momentum and do not let the progress of the last 20 years slide, as we face the tantalizing prospect of being able to end malaria within a generation. To do this requires collective global effort. When we work together, we are stronger. Countries that have succeeded in reaching zero cases and have been certified as malaria-free demonstrate the power of collective and collaborative action and set the bar for others to reach and end malaria for good” (7/5).

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Opinion Piece Discusses India's Air Pollution Crisis, Politicians' Underplaying Of Statistics, Quantitative Evidence

Foreign Policy: India’s Deadly War on Experts
Dean Spears, executive director of the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics

“The air pollution in India is almost always bad, but in the winter it’s dire. For the last four national elections, Indians voted in late spring. Perhaps that is why national politics has seen so little attention paid to the ever-worsening air pollution. … Increasingly, many of India’s leading economists and statisticians have spoken out about the dismantling of India’s systems of official statistics and expertise. … Of course, India is not the only country where state statistics are under political threat from nationalism. … Amid this international trend, what makes official nonsense about air pollution so dangerous is the urgency of the threat: India’s air pollution kills over a million people each year. … [I]f politics cannot address the obvious and immediate environmental threat of air pollution, it may be even less likely to bring the quantitative measures that are required for India’s vulnerable population to escape the worst of climate change. … The election could have been a time for citizens to express some degree of preference for quantitative truth. Probably, the same officials would now occupy the same jobs. But perhaps they would have renewed their duties with a little more sense of sober fact that might help meet all of those quantitative targets that they proclaim” (7/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

UNFPA Post Discusses Status Of Cairo Goals To Advance Women's Health, Rights

United Nations Population Fund: Twenty-five years ago, leaders promised to advance women’s health and rights. Have they delivered?
This post highlights the status of five goals the Programme of Action adopted 25 years ago at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. The goals, aimed at helping improve the health and rights of women and girls globally, include: reducing maternal deaths, eliminating violence against women and girls, ending harmful practices against women and girls, ending the unmet need for family planning, and advancing gender equity. The post notes, “Although important gains have been made, many of the goals laid out in that document have not been met” (7/10).

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IntraHealth International Experts Discuss Role Of National Health Workforce Accounts In Helping To Achieve UHC

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: How National Health Workforce Accounts Can Help Governments Achieve Universal Health Coverage
Pamela McQuide, global human resources for health technical adviser, and Wayan Vota, director of digital health, both at IntraHealth International, discuss the role of national health workforce accounts in helping countries “generate and use higher-quality data on their health workforces to not only achieve universal health coverage but also to inform key policy decisions” (7/9).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 360 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features several articles, including a joint opinion piece written by the heads of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, STOP TB Partnership, and UNAIDS, who call for donor commitment in support of the Global Fund’s sixth replenishment; an analysis on how the Global Fund can finance innovation to improve health product supply chains in resource-limited settings; and an opinion piece on the Kenyan High Court’s recent dismissal of the challenge to the country’s criminalization of same-sex relations (7/10).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID OIG Hosts Roundtable To Address Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse In Foreign Assistance Programs

USAID Office of Inspector General: USAID Inspector General Gathers Aid Industry to Address Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Development and Humanitarian Aid Programs
“The U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Inspector General, or USAID OIG, hosted its third annual oversight roundtable for international development and humanitarian aid implementers. This year’s event centered on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse in foreign assistance programs, with participants from approximately 100 USAID implementers discussing common circumstances in which sexual abuse and exploitation can occur based on cases reported to OIG and how to address them. … Through its oversight of humanitarian aid programs, OIG identified substantial vulnerabilities related to the prevention and detection of sexual abuse and exploitation…” (7/9).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Updates Fact Sheet On U.S. Government's Role In Addressing Global TB

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Tuberculosis Efforts
This updated fact sheet explains the U.S. government’s role in addressing the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, including the history of U.S. involvement and funding trends (7/10).

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