KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Ivanka Trump's Women's Global Development And Prosperity Initiative Announces $27M In First Batch Of Grants

Associated Press: Ivanka Trump’s women’s initiative announces $27M in grants
“A White House initiative spearheaded by Ivanka Trump to help women in developing countries get ahead economically announced its first batch of grants on Wednesday: $27 million for 14 projects in 22 countries, mostly in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative was launched in February with an initial investment of $50 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development…” (Superville, 7/10).

Devex: U.S. announces first funding for women’s economic empowerment initiative
“…Launched in February, the W-GDP initiative aims to reach 50 million women by 2025 through its work in three key areas: supporting workforce development and skills training; helping women entrepreneurs with access to markets, capital, and networks; and working to change laws, regulations, and norms that limit women’s ability to fully participate in the economy…” (Saldinger, 7/11).

VOA News: Ivanka Trump Women’s Initiative Announces $27M in Grants
“…Speaking in a panel discussion co-hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday, Ivanka Trump emphasized that economic empowerment of women is ‘smart from a development assistance standpoint’ and ‘critically important from a national security perspective.’ … USAID Administrator Mark Green noted that ‘investing in women builds countries that are resilient and self-reliant’…” (Widakuswara/Chakarian, 7/10).

Additional coverage of the announcement is available from Fox News and The Hill.

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U.K. Should Not Waiver On Commitment To SRHR, Other Health Issues, Politicians Say

Devex: U.K. must not be ‘browbeaten’ by U.S. on SRHR, say politicians
“The United Kingdom should not be ‘browbeaten’ by the United States into changing its stance on sexual and reproductive health and rights, among other health issues, said U.K. politicians during a debate on universal health coverage Wednesday. ‘The Trump administration is clearly standing in the way of many of the things we’ve talked about [during this debate], not least SRHR,’ said Stephen Twigg, a Labour member of parliament and chair of the International Development Committee, the cross-party group that scrutinizes aid spending. … With reproductive rights under increasing threat from ‘some developed nations,’ said Alistair Burt, a Conservative MP and former minister in the Department for International Development and Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the U.K. must not waiver on its own commitment to the issue as part of the broader UHC agenda…” (Root, 7/11).

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U.N. Begins Measles Vaccination Campaign In Ebola-Hit DRC Province Amid Calls For Additional Funding For WHO Response

CIDRAP News: CDC’s adapted Ebola virus works in trials, as pressure for funds grows
“[Tuesday] researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published encouraging findings that showed the antiviral remdesivir and antibodies in the ZMapp treatment regimen were effective in fighting the current strain of Ebola. The findings were published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. … In order to contain and ultimately end the current Ebola outbreak in the DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the United States must fulfill its funding promise to the World Health Organization (WHO), and other nations must also take on the challenge of beating this disease. That’s the message of an editorial [Tuesday] in Nature…” (Soucheray, 7/10).

U.N. News: Mass measles vaccination campaign begins in Ebola-hit DR Congo province
“Health workers have started a massive measles vaccination campaign in north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a region that’s in the grip of the second deadliest Ebola virus outbreak on record. U.N. Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Thursday that it aims to inoculate 67,000 children in Ituri province…” (7/11).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Bloomberg and TIME.

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Media Outlets Discuss World Population Day, Including Growth Projections, Concerns Over Women's Rights, Health

CNN: The world’s population is nearing 8 billion. That’s not great news
“It took thousands of years for the global population to hit 5 billion, which happened in 1987. Some 32 years later, we’re closing in on 8 billion. This explosive growth concerns leaders at the United Nations, who created World Population Day in 1989 to raise awareness about the problems caused by overpopulation. The holiday is observed annually on July 11…” (Davis/Griggs, 7/11).

Devex: Time to work together, say family planning and conservation groups
“A new campaign championing the benefits of combining family planning and conservation action — two sectors that have not seen eye to eye in the past — has been endorsed by more than 150 groups from both sides. The Thriving Together campaign, officially launched Thursday to mark World Population Day, aims to drive support for the idea that improving access to family planning is not only good for women and girls — enabling them to space their children and prevent unwanted pregnancies — but can also be critical to biodiversity conservation efforts by taking pressure off local environments…” (Edwards, 7/11).

U.S. News & World Report: Africa to Lead World in Population Growth
“Africa is expected to lead the world in population growth by the end of the century, according to an analysis published on Wednesday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. The analysis comes ahead of World Population Day, the annual July 11 United Nations event that seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. Pew’s analysis is based on the World Populations Prospects Report published last month by the U.N…” (Chapman, 7/10).

Xinhua News: Pregnancy-related issues still leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19: U.N. chief
“… ‘Around the world, we are seeing pushback on women’s rights, including on essential health services. Issues related to pregnancy are still the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19. Gender-based violence, which is rooted in inequality, continues to take a horrific toll,’ [United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres] said in his message on World Population Day to be observed on July 11. Speaking of the overall situation, the secretary general said that while the world’s population overall continues to increase, this growth is ‘uneven’…” (7/11).

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Resurgence Of Polio Complicating Efforts To Eliminate Disease On Multiple Fronts

Science: Surging cases have dashed all hope that polio might be eradicated in 2019
“The global initiative to eradicate polio is badly stuck, battling the virus on two fronts. New figures show the wild polio virus remains entrenched in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, its other holdout, where cases are surging. In Africa, meanwhile, the vaccine itself is spawning virulent strains. The leaders of the world’s biggest public health program are now admitting that success is not just around the corner — and intensively debating how to break the impasse…” (Roberts, 7/10).

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Sri Lanka Eliminates Measles, WHO Says

CNN: Sri Lanka is measles-free, World Health Organization says
“Sri Lanka has defied the global trend in the battle against measles, with the country declared free of the highly infectious disease by the World Health Organization on Tuesday. The country reported its last homegrown case of the virus in May 2016, WHO said in a statement. Sporadic cases reported in the last three years were imported from abroad but were quickly detected, investigated, and received a rapid response, WHO added…” (Hunt, 7/10).

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Australia On Path To Nearly Eliminate HIV Transmission By 2030 But Prevention Efforts Must Remain Strong, Experts Say

New York Times: How Australia Could Almost Eradicate HIV Transmissions
“It took universal health care, political will, and a health campaign designed to terrify the public, but nearly four decades into the HIV crisis, Australian researchers say the country is on a path toward making transmissions of the virus vanishingly rare. The fight is not yet won, the experts caution, and the last stretch of disease eradication efforts is often the toughest. … The most recent advance in Australia’s battle against the virus, which is seen as a model around the world, is the rapid adoption of a drug regimen known as PrEP…” (Albeck-Ripka, 7/10).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Ex-U.N. chief joins chorus of concern over floods at Rohingya camps (7/11).

CIDRAP News: U.K. to test new payment model for antibiotics (Dall, 7/10).

Deutsche Welle: Libya conflict: No end in sight to humanitarian crisis (7/9).

Deutsche Welle: Health insurance for world’s poorest people (Zimmerman, 7/10).

Devex: ‘Difficult policy choices lie ahead’ to improve Rohingya nutrition, research finds (Welsh, 7/11).

Financial Times: The drugs don’t work: a global antibiotics crisis (Garrahan, 7/10).

New Humanitarian: Midyear update: Ten humanitarian crises and trends to watch in 2019 (7/10).

Newsflare: Health officials warn over severe outbreak of dengue fever in Thailand (7/11).

New York Times: Even Moderate Air Pollution May Lead to Lung Disease (Bakalar, 7/10).

Quartz Africa: Startups trying to fix Nigeria’s broken health care system are winning global investor interest (Kazeem, 7/10).

Reuters: President urges Tanzania’s women to ‘set ovaries free,’ have more babies to boost economy (Ng’wanakilala, 7/10).

U.N. News: ‘Nothing left to go back for’: U.N. News hears extraordinary stories of loss, and survival as Mozambique rebuilds from deadly cyclones (7/10).

UPI: United Nations predicts global food prices will drop over next decade (Higgins, 7/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

WHO, U.S. Must Step Up DRC Ebola Response Efforts

Washington Post: It’s time to declare a public health emergency on Ebola
Ronald A. Klain, Washington Post contributing columnist, White House Ebola response coordinator from 2014 to 2015, and adviser to Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign; and Daniel Lucey, senior scholar with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and adjunct professor of medicine-infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center

“…[I]t is time for the WHO to declare the [Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)] a public health emergency of international concern — a ‘PHEIC’ — to raise the level of global alarm and signal to nations, particularly the United States, that they must ramp up their response. … While the Trump administration has taken some positive steps, it has not been on par with the increasing challenge. … Instead of self-congratulation, the United States should release ‘non-emergency’ aid to Congo that is being withheld in the absence of a presidential waiver under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Such aid could enable the proposed expansion of public health efforts in Congo beyond Ebola. Second, the White House should reverse its policy ordering Centers for Disease Control and Prevention personnel to stay out of outbreak zones in northeast Congo. … Third, the United States must step up to do more to make Ebola countermeasures — specifically the leading Ebola vaccine — more available. … This is the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history, and it will only get worse as it enters its second year. The WHO and the United States must urgently step up their actions before this simmering tragedy explodes into something far worse” (7/10).

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U.S. Sanctions On Venezuela Risk Contributing To Potential Famine

New York Times: Trump Doesn’t Have Time for Starving Venezuelans
Francisco Rodríguez, chief economist at Torino Economics, former head of research at the United Nations’ Human Development Report Office, and former head of Venezuela’s Congressional Budget Office

“Over the past two years, Washington has imposed increasingly punitive economic sanctions on Venezuela. … The sanctions were designed to choke off revenues to the regime of Nicolás Maduro. Its architects claimed they would not generate suffering for Venezuelans. The reasoning was that Mr. Maduro would quickly back down, or the military would force him out before the sanctions could begin to have an effect. That was wrong. … Given that most of the population is already living at near-starvation levels and that the country depends on imports to feed itself, further cuts in foreign purchases risk producing the first Latin American famine in over a century. The risks of famine — and what needs to be done to stop it — are lost in the conversation among Washington policymakers and the Venezuelan opposition. … How to stop hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans from starving to death this year should be front and center of the international community’s debate on how to help Venezuela. … The reality of sanctions is not that simple. Ignoring the suffering they’re causing is not going to bring democracy to Venezuela. What it will do is make Venezuelans poorer and their plight more desperate. Famines do not topple dictatorships. They only lead to loss of lives” (7/10).

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Ensuring Universal Health Coverage, Strengthening Health Systems Vital To Improving Access To Malaria Vaccine

Project Syndicate: Making the Most of the Malaria Vaccine
Ifeanyi M. Nsofor, medical doctor, CEO of EpiAFRIC, director of policy and advocacy for Nigeria Health Watch, and 2019 Atlantic fellow for health equity at George Washington University

“A new malaria vaccine now being piloted in sub-Saharan Africa, where 90% of malaria cases occur, could be a game changer in global health. But, if the new vaccine is to fulfill its potential, health ministries will need to make some important changes. … One weakness lies in the storage and delivery of vaccines. … To fulfill the purpose of childhood vaccinations, the cold chains leading to children everywhere — including in remote areas — must be safeguarded and, where necessary, strengthened. … Yet another imperative for countries across Asia and Africa is to reduce their dependence on Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for funding vaccination programs. … Rather than continue to depend on external donors — and risk suffering the consequences of donor fatigue — countries need to take control of their vaccination programs. One way to do that is by introducing publicly funded universal health coverage. … [C]ountries should be working to … [ensure] health coverage — including financial-risk protection and access to essential health care services, medicines, and vaccines — for all. … Immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions. The RTS,S [malaria] vaccine is no different, especially because it can be deployed through existing immunization programs. But delivering them remains a challenge in some areas. If leaders fail to meet that challenge, millions more children may not make it to their fifth birthdays” (7/11).

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Accountability, Humanitarian Relief Needed To Help Syrians

The Guardian: Syrians are watching their crops burn. These crimes of starvation must end
Mohammad Kanfash, director of Damaan Humanitarian Organization, and Ali al-Jasem, consultant and researcher at the Center for Conflict Studies at Utrecht University

“…The Assad government has relentlessly used a ‘kneel or starve’ strategy during the war [in Syria] to reduce opposition-held urban enclaves to submission. This has involved sealing off besieged areas and denying access to food and other essentials including water, health care, electricity and gas, employment, and money. There have also been targeted attacks on bakeries, health facilities, markets, livelihoods, and agriculture. Humanitarian relief has been restricted or blocked and relief workers attacked. … [P]eople in Syria need immediate help. Many Syrian lives are believed to have been lost through starvation. The destruction of crops threaten more lives, a fear shared by the U.N. Syrians desperately need collective action. As well as accountability, they need machinery and vehicles so they are able to respond to emergencies and combat future fires [in food crop fields]. Without this support, and without the pursuit of justice, those who willfully destroy food, water sources, medicine, and other objects indispensable for life will be given a green light to continue the abuse. We can’t let this happen” (7/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Pew Research Center Discusses U.N.'s Population Projections

Pew Research Center: For World Population Day, a look at the countries with the biggest projected gains — and losses — by 2100
John Gramlich, senior writer/editor at the Pew Research Center, discusses population growth in Africa, highlighting how the list of the 10 most populous countries in the world has changed and how it is projected to change. Gramlich notes, “Four of the 10 most populous countries in the world will no longer be among the top 10 in 2100 — and all four will be supplanted by rapidly growing nations in Africa, according to recently released population projections from the United Nations (7/10).

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Food, Water Security 'Inherently Interconnected,' Blog Post Says

Chicago Council on Global Affairs “Global Food for Thought”: Next Generation 2019 — Achieving Security through Water Security
Jill Baggerman, MS candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses her experience attending the Chicago Council’s Food Security Symposium, noting her attendance “broadened my understanding of water policy as it relates to the agricultural sector. In particular, the panels … opened my eyes to how public institutions can more effectively link with the private, academic, and nongovernmental sectors. Water systems are inherently interconnected, but if we steward these linkages well — with governmental accountability and robust stakeholder involvement in decision-making processes — then our water system will be more resilient to respond to water stress” (7/10).

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MSF's Alert Magazine Highlights 20 Years Of Access Campaign

Médecins Sans Frontières’ Alert Magazine: MSF Access Campaign: 20 Years of Advocacy in Action
Médecins Sans Frontières released its Summer 2019 issue of Alert Magazine. The issue highlights 20 years of the organization’s Access Campaign, which aims to increase access to medicines globally (July 2019).

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