KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Outlines Plan To Reset U.S. Foreign Policy In Post-Trump Era, Including Ending Mexico City Policy

Bloomberg: Biden Outlines Plans to Reset U.S. Foreign Policy After Trump
“Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden said Thursday that he would lead a sweeping overhaul of U.S. foreign policy to reverse many of Donald Trump’s actions. … Biden pledged to end a range of Trump policies, including the travel ban halting immigration from a group of mostly Muslim countries, efforts to cut down on asylum applicants, and the global gag rule [also known as the Mexico City policy], which blocks federal [global health] funding for [foreign] nongovernmental organizations that provide services related to abortion…” (Epstein, 7/11).

Vox: Joe Biden wants to restore the pre-Trump world order
“…And he pledged to resume sending substantial foreign aid to the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to tackle the corruption, violence, and poverty that are forcing thousands to flee to the U.S. border. These are nearly all accomplishments and programs achieved under Obama that Trump has more or less undone. Biden promised to put them back, and then strengthen and adjust from there…” (Kirby, 7/11).

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WHO To Convene Panel Again To Consider DRC Ebola Outbreak As Public Health Emergency; Ebola Case Confirmed In Goma; 2 Health Workers Killed

Agence France-Presse: Pastor confirmed with Ebola as disease spreads in DR Congo
“The first case of Ebola has been confirmed in Goma, the biggest city to have been affected by the disease since its outbreak in eastern DR Congo last August, the health ministry said on Sunday…” (7/14).

The Guardian: Ebola virus reaches Congolese city of Goma
“…The Congolese health ministry said a man who had arrived in the regional center on Sunday had been quickly transported to an Ebola treatment center. Authorities said they had tracked down all the passengers on the bus the man had taken to Goma from Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the disease…” (Burke/Boseley, 7/15).

Reuters: U.N. calls for hundreds of millions in more aid to fight Ebola
“Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak could last much longer and cost far more in money and lives unless U.N. member states inject hundreds of millions of dollars now, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told Reuters on Monday…” (Miles, 7/15).

Reuters: Congo rules out using additional trial vaccines to combat Ebola
“Congo will not permit the use of further experimental vaccines as it combats an Ebola outbreak because doing so risked ‘confusing the population,’ the government said on Friday. Health workers have vaccinated more than 130,000 people during the nearly year-long epidemic in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with an experimental vaccine manufactured by Merck that has proven highly effective…” (Mahamba/Pujol-Mazzinil, 7/12).

Washington Post: First Ebola case confirmed in Congo city of Goma, right on Rwanda border
“…At a high-level meeting of global health officials in Geneva [July 15], the head of the World Health Organization said he would reconvene a panel of scientists to determine whether the outbreak now ranks as a public health emergency of international concern, a designation that would unlock more resources to stop it but that has been declined three times before. … Near the outbreak’s epicenter in the city of Beni on Monday, two health workers were killed by unknown assailants…” (Bearak, 7/15).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Al Jazeera, Associated Press (2), BBC News, Breitbart News, CNN, France 24, Health Policy Watch, Reuters, and VOA News.

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Devex Discusses Regional Global Health Security Capacity, Support With Several Experts

Devex: 3 global health leaders outline their health security visions
“…Within Africa and the Pacific, leaders are emerging to encourage greater action on the issue of health security within their regions. At the 2019 Global Health Security conference in Sydney, Australia, last month, the message was clear that the world needs to do more to prepare for global epidemics and pandemics. Devex caught up with … [several] global health leaders about how they are working to improve engagement and build global health security capacity and support within their countries…” (Cornish, 7/15).

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Foreign Policy Examines Memo To U.N. SG Guterres Suggesting Role For Tobacco Industry In Working Toward SDGs

Foreign Policy: Document of the Week: Is the U.N. Revisiting the Ban on Big Tobacco?
“…[A] quiet lobbying campaign by the [tobacco] industry, which has a large presence in Geneva, to broker a cease-fire with the United Nations may be bearing some fruit. On his final day on the job, Michael Moller, who stepped down last month as the head of the U.N. office in Geneva, wrote an appeal to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres suggesting that it may be time to end a moratorium on U.N. cooperation with the tobacco industry. We are sharing his note as our Document of the Week. … The memo has fueled suspicions among some U.N. staff that the influence of tobacco giants — including Japan Tobacco International, the owner of Camel and Winston brands (outside of the United States), and Philip Morris International, with a large corporate presence in Geneva — is being felt behind the scenes at the U.N. and the World Health Organization…” (Lynch, 7/12).

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Fox News Discusses Chinese Leadership At U.N. Agencies, U.S. Reaction

Fox News: Chinese influence surges at U.N., as U.S. warns of ‘concerted push’ to advance agenda
“The recent election of a Chinese official to a top U.N. organization is the latest sign of a steadily growing influence of China at the world body — something the U.S. is viewing as a ‘concerted push’ by China to advance its interests and authoritarian agenda abroad. Qu Dongyu, a Chinese government official, was elected as the next director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization last month, meaning that Chinese officials now run four out of 15 specialized U.N. agencies…” (Evansky/Shaw, 7/14).

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OECD Development Assistance Committee Agrees To New Guidelines For Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Harassment

Devex: Donors issue safeguarding guidelines as focus moves to implementation
“Thirty of the world’s major aid donors agreed on a new standard on preventing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment Friday, vowing to hold each other to account for improving their procedures. The recommendation from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee — the group that sets the rules for the world’s biggest donors — is not legally binding, but DAC Chair Susanna Moorehead told Devex it would feed into the committee’s peer review process…” (Chadwick/Lieberman, 7/15).

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Johnson & Johnson Testing Experimental HIV Vaccine In U.S., Europe, Africa

CNBC: Johnson & Johnson to test HIV vaccine in U.S. and Europe
“Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is set to test an experimental HIV vaccine in the U.S. and Europe sometime this year, the company confirmed with CNBC. The experimental J&J vaccine is a mosaic-based preventative immunization that targets various strains of the HIV virus. … The company is also conducting a phase 2 clinical trial for the vaccine in Africa, in which 2,600 women in five southern African countries will be immunized. Initial results from that trial are expected by 2021, J&J said…” (Lovelace/Turner, 7/12).

Additional coverage of the upcoming clinical trial is available from Bloomberg and Reuters.

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Fake Finger Marking Complicates Polio Vaccination Drives, Coverage In Pakistan

Reuters: Fake polio markers highlight risks to Pakistan vaccination drive
“Pakistan’s polio eradication campaign has hit serious problems with an alarming spike in reported cases that has raised doubts over the quality of vaccination reporting and prompted officials to review their approach to stopping the crippling disease. … Officials estimate that so-called fake finger marking, sometimes in collusion with health workers, is hiding the true scale of refusal rates — and thus gaps in vaccination. In some areas, as many as 8% of families may be refusing or avoiding vaccination, a level which would mean the disease is not eradicated…” (Ahman/Mackenzie, 7/15).

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New Trial Begins Of Salvadoran Woman Accused Of Intentional Miscarriage

Associated Press: Salvadoran accused of abortion faces retrial, hefty sentence
“A young woman who birthed a baby into a toilet in El Salvador faces a second trial for murder Monday in a case that has drawn international attention because of the country’s highly restrictive abortion laws. Evelyn Beatriz Hernández had already served 33 months of her 30-year sentence when the Supreme Court overturned the ruling against her in February and ordered a new trial, with a new judge. This is the first retrial of an abortion case in a country that aggressively pursues legal cases against women who have experienced miscarriages and obstetric emergencies, accusing them of murder…” (Aleman, 7/15).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: The informal networks resisting Honduras’s abortion ban (Brigida, 7/12).

Associated Press: Spike in femicides raises alert in Bolivia (Flores, 7/12).

CNN: DOH raises alert with rapid spike of dengue cases in PH regions (7/15).

Devex: African activists seek universal access to sanitary products (Adepoju, 7/15).

Global Press Journal: Fake and Missing Drugs ‘Frustrate Government’s Effort’ To Combat Malaria in Uganda (Agiresaasi et al., 7/14).

The Guardian: U.S. anti-pill campaigners promote menstruation tracking app in Nigeria (Glenza, 7/15).

Health Policy Watch: Global Action Plan For Health: Addressing Determinants Of Health Key To SDG Progress (Branigan, 7/11).

Health Policy Watch: Resolutions To Combat Childhood Marriage and Increase Access to Medicines Approved by U.N. Human Rights Council (Fletcher, 7/11).

Homeland Preparedness News: Experts support a future Manhattan Project for Biodefense to thwart new threats (Riley, 7/12).

New Humanitarian: Mental health — the lasting scars of crisis (7/12).

NPR: How One Community Brought Child Mortality Down From 154 To 7 Per 1,000 Live Births (Yeung, 7/12).

NPR: A Call For More Research On Cancer’s Environmental Triggers (Shattner, 7/12).

Quartz India: How an Indian tycoon fought Big Pharma to sell AIDS drugs for $1 a day (Eban, 7/15).

Xinhua News: UNFPA says South Sudan’s maternal death rate highest in the world (7/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

NYT Columnist Discusses Trump Administration's 'Commission On Unalienable Rights'

New York Times: Trump’s Ominous Attempt to Redefine Human Rights
Roger Cohen, columnist for the New York Times

“For the Trump administration to establish a ‘Commission on Unalienable Rights’ to examine the meaning of human rights, as it did this month, is a little like Saudi Arabia forming a commission on multiparty democracy or North Korea a commission on how to end famine. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so ominous. … The administration has excised reproductive rights from the annual State Department Country Reports on Human Rights. It watered down a recent United Nations Security Council resolution on victims of rape in armed conflict. It has withdrawn from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The United Nations Human Rights Committee and Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination are both without a United States member. … Trump, having shown willful neglect toward human rights, now wants to redefine them…” (7/12).

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Private Sector Must Play Role In Ensuring Gender Equality

Devex: Opinion: Using the power of the private sector to deliver on gender equality
Mary-Ann Etiebet, lead and executive director of MSD for Mothers, and Anna Van Acker, president and managing director at Merck Canada Inc.

“…All of us recognize that when women are healthy, productive, and active, the effect on their families, communities, and economies creates a better tomorrow. The rich dialogue throughout the [June 2019 Women Deliver] conference made clear that business and the private sector have a powerful role to play to make gender equality a reality. We also recognized that there continues to be meaningful opportunities for collaborations and bigger impact. At the end of the conference, Women Deliver President and CEO Katja Iversen asked all participants, ‘how will you use your power for good when you get home?’ In response to Iversen’s challenge, we are continuing to advance three areas to deliver on the private sectors’ commitment to helping women deliver. 1. Developing radical collaborations to mobilize resources … 2. Create inclusive environments that value women’s experiences … 3. Apply a gender equality lens to our own work … We must always consider gender equality in our work from our partnerships and investments in improving health, to creating and upholding our own workplace values. Here at Merck, we will continue to help deliver on the promise of a gender equal world” (7/12).

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Building Awareness Vital To Preventing, Treating Leishmaniasis

The Conversation: Leishmaniasis needs more attention: it causes skin lesions, and can kill
Ramona Hurdayal, lecturer and team leader at the Leishmaniasis Research Group at the University of Cape Town, and Raphael Taiwo Aruleba, PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town

“…Leishmaniasis was first identified in the 1900s. Since then significant progress has been made in diagnosis, treatment, and overall management. But, despite all efforts there’s still no vaccine. Which is why the WHO considers it a neglected disease of the world — under-funded and under-researched by both private and public organizations … Beyond the therapies, the next important area of work is integrating awareness to prevent and manage the spread of the disease. … [P]reventative measures … must be strengthened. … In line with this, the WHO has targeted neglected diseases, including leishmaniasis, for control and elimination by 2030. This roadmap is being implemented to achieve the health-related 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development goals, together with policymakers, governments, NGOs, philanthropists, stakeholders, industries, and essentially, the general public. The starting point is that prevention is better than cure. Central to this theme is awareness — in endemic areas as well as more broadly. But, to build this awareness, we need a wider platform to reach a larger audience, both public and private” (7/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Women's Global Development And Prosperity Initiative Can Draw On Lessons From MCC To Support Gender Policy Reform, CGD Experts Say

Center for Global Development: Capturing W-GDP’s Impact on Policy Reform: Lessons from MCC
Megan O’Donnell, assistant director for CGD’s Gender Program and senior policy analyst at CGD, and Sarah Rose, policy fellow at CGD, discuss the challenges in measuring the impact of the Trump administration’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) and how the initiative can “draw on lessons from [the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)] and elsewhere to better use its investments and its indicators to support meaningful gender-related policy and legal reform” (7/12).

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U.N. Launches State Of Food Security And Nutrition In The World 2019 Report

United Nations: Joint statement by the Principals of FAO, WHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, and U.N. OCHA on ending the scourge of malnutrition in children
In a joint statement, the principals of the U.N. humanitarian system discuss the effects of malnutrition and announce, “The United Nations is working to put a more unified response in place. To draw attention to the growing problem of malnutrition and bring the international community together for an integrated response, the United Nations will launch the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World … to share the latest information on the number of individuals in the world suffering from hunger and more importantly the number of children still wasted and stunted” (7/14).

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UNAIDS Discusses Progress Against Discriminatory Laws, Criminalization

UNAIDS: Charting progress against discrimination
“Criminalization affects access to health services, housing, education, social protection, and employment. The criminalization of same-sex sexual relationships, sex work, or drug use prevents people from accessing health care services, including HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. … Countries that decriminalize drug use and make harm reduction services available have seen reductions in new HIV infections. … [R]eductions in new HIV infections are not the only outcome — other outcomes include improvements in well-being and trust in law enforcement, reductions in violence, and increased access to health care and support services. Above all, however, decriminalization of people results in them no longer being seen as criminals and stigmatized by society” (7/12).

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