KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

PEPFAR Aims To Reach 70% Indigenous Organization Funding In Next 30 Months, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Birx Says At Conference

Devex: PEPFAR chief wants 70 percent ‘indigenous’ funding in 30 months
“…Deborah Birx, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator, has directed U.S. agencies involved in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to reach a benchmark of directing 40 percent of their PEPFAR funding to ‘indigenous’ organizations — those based in the developing countries where the programs are operating — in the next 18 months, and to reach 70 percent indigenous funding in the next 30 months. Birx shared those targets, which have not previously been reported, with attendees at the Christian Connections for International Health conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday…” (Igoe, 7/16).

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News Deeply, NPR Discuss Breastfeeding, Infant Formula Debate With Experts, Advocates

News Deeply: Expert Views: What’s Next on the Agenda for Nutrition Advocates?
“Malnutrition Deeply asked nutrition experts and practitioners about the history of U.S. opposition to breastfeeding and how the lessons from the [World Health Assembly (WHA)] will help guide their future approach to this issue…” (Byatnal, 7/13).

NPR: Why The Breastfeeding Vs. Formula Debate Is Especially Critical In Poor Countries
“…President Donald Trump tweeted his rationale for the U.S. position: ‘The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.’ Public health professionals have a different perspective: In poor countries, a mother’s decision about breastfeeding can be critical for her baby’s survival. That’s because formula carries special risks for low-income families…” (Brink, 7/13).

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U.S. FDA Approves First Drug For Smallpox In Case Of Terror Attack

Associated Press: FDA OKs 1st drug to treat smallpox, in case of terror attack
“U.S. regulators Friday approved the first treatment for smallpox — a deadly disease that was wiped out four decades ago — in case the virus is used in a terror attack…” (Johnson, 7/13).

Forbes: FDA Approves TPOXX To Be The 1st Drug For Smallpox
“…[T]he last natural case of smallpox occurred in 1977 and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared smallpox eradicated in 1980. That means that smallpox is not supposed to exist, with the exception of heavily guarded samples…” (Lee, 7/15).

New York Times: Drug to Treat Smallpox Approved by F.D.A., a Move Against Bioterrorism
“…The antiviral pill, tecovirimat, also known as Tpoxx, has never been tested in humans with smallpox … But it was very effective at protecting animals deliberately infected with monkeypox and rabbitpox, two related diseases that can be lethal. It also caused no severe side effects when safety-tested in 359 healthy human volunteers, the FDA said…” (McNeil, 7/13).

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U.S.-Supported Sanctions, Global Fund Withdrawal Hampering North Korean Efforts To Prevent, Treat TB

Associated Press: Despite detente, sanctions on North Korea fan TB epidemic
“…Despite budding detente on the Korean Peninsula since the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, sanctions championed by the U.S. and Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ policy continue to generate hesitation and fear of even unintentional violations. And that is keeping lifesaving medicines and supplies from thousands of North Korean tuberculosis patients…” (Talmadge, 7/14).

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Percentage Of Food Insecure People Will Drop Over Next Decade, Burden Will Shift From Asia To Africa, USDA Report Shows

Devex: Global food security: Insights from USDA projections
“The largest share of today’s 782 million food insecure global population can be found in Asia. By 2028, that figure will shrink by nearly half — though the greatest burden will shift to sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Food Security Assessment for 2018-28. The report, produced by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, predicts the transition to occur as the percentage of food insecure people living in the world declines from 21 percent to 10 percent over the next decade…” (Cornish, 7/16).

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WHO Goodwill Ambassador For SDGs Calls On Civil Society To Be 'Less Civil' At U.N. Hearing On NCDs

Health Policy Watch: Civil Society Called Upon To Be ‘Less Civil’ At U.N. Interactive Hearing On NCDs
“…Civil society made many recommendations to the U.N. and heads of state at the Interactive Hearing on NCDs in the areas of scaling up prevention and control, financing, promoting multi-sectoral partnerships, and ensuring political leadership and accountability. Amid these recommendations, one counter-recommendation to civil society stood out. James Chau, renowned broadcaster in China, writer, and WHO goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and health addressed the audience, saying, ‘Civil society, with respect, can you please be a little less civil?’…” (Branigan, 7/10).

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NYT Examines Public Health Effects Of Soda Consumption In Mexican Town

New York Times: In Town With Little Water, Coca-Cola Is Everywhere. So Is Diabetes.
“…Potable water is increasingly scarce in San Cristóbal de las Casas, a picturesque mountain town in the southeastern state of Chiapas where some neighborhoods have running water just a few times a week, and many households are forced to buy extra water from tanker trucks. So, many residents drink Coca-Cola, which is produced by a local bottling plant, can be easier to find than bottled water, and is almost as cheap. … Residents of San Cristóbal and the lush highlands that envelop the city drink on average more than two liters, or more than half a gallon, of soda a day. The effect on public health has been devastating. The mortality rate from diabetes in Chiapas increased 30 percent between 2013 and 2016, and the disease is now the second-leading cause of death in the state after heart disease, claiming more than 3,000 lives every year…” (Lopez/Jacobs, 7/14).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Q&A: Economist Jeffrey Sachs on jumpstarting lagging SDG progress (Lieberman, 7/16).

Homeland Preparedness News: Tuberculosis vaccines reduce rate of sustained infections, according to study (Martin, 7/13).

VOA News: More Than 200,000 People in Southern Syria Have No Access to Medical Care (Schlein, 7/14).

Xinhua News: Brazil launches campaign to raise vaccination rates (7/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Position On, Debate Over Breastfeeding

Chicago Sun-Times: Editorial: Breastfeeding is best for babies. Remind President Donald Trump
Editorial Board

“…Instead of supporting a self-evident declaration that breastfeeding is healthy and good for babies, the Trump administration bowed to money … It attempted to derail the resolution at the request of U.S. baby-formula manufacturers and dairy and grocery groups. Just two weeks before the World Health Organization meeting, the Department of Health and Human Services met with lobbyists from these various groups. … Baby formula manufacturers don’t need billboards anymore. They’ve got the president of the United States” (7/13).

Washington Post: Trump’s dangerous remarks about breastfeeding
Editorial Board

“…When the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, met in Geneva in May, a resolution supporting breastfeeding was expected to win easy approval. But as the New York Times reports, the U.S. delegation upended the deliberations. … In response, Mr. Trump called the story ‘fake news,’ insisted the United States ‘strongly supports breastfeeding,’ and added, ‘We don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.’ No one is going to deny them access. But the proper policy is to encourage breastfeeding to save lives. Mr. Trump should not send a contrary message” (7/15).

Rewire.News: With Breastfeeding in Political Crosshairs, Advocates Must Reach Out Beyond Our Bubble
Ifeyinwa Asiodu, assistant professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing

“…Breastfeeding is typically nestled comfortably somewhere between maternal and child health. … Yet, breastfeeding is rarely seen as a women’s health, reproductive health, or reproductive justice issue in the United States. … [B]reastfeeding can no longer be separated from reproductive health and reproductive justice. … Breastfeeding is … a critical element of women’s and reproductive health. Health professionals and breastfeeding advocates must think beyond the safe space of our breastfeeding bubbles. We need to think big picture, expand our knowledge, and collaborate with our reproductive health and reproductive justice colleagues” (7/13).

The Hill: Undermining breastfeeding is a tragedy for the poor
Gary Edmonds, president and CEO of Food for the Hungry

“…Any promotion of baby formula as a choice over breast milk undermines efforts to lift the poor out of poverty. … Breastfeeding is a fundamental and cost-effective pathway to promoting healthy child nutrition and reducing infant mortality rates. … It’s critical that anyone engaged in global health and development continue investing in breastfeeding education and sustainable safe drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation infrastructure. … The solution to malnutrition and poverty isn’t baby formula. Let’s make sure the importance of breastfeeding and its overwhelming health benefits is not a battle we’re still fighting” (7/14).

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Global Partnerships, U.S. Leadership Critical To Progress Against Malaria

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: The Fight Against Malaria
Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…The world is at a tipping point in the fight against malaria. This moment is an opportunity to push progress forward rather than risk the dangers of backsliding. … [N]o country can undertake the ambitious goal of ending malaria alone. Global partnerships among donors, local governments, and the private sector are critical to freeing communities from malaria. Thankfully, Congress has continued to demonstrate bipartisan leadership, with both the House and the Senate appropriations committees sustaining funding for the President’s Malaria Initiative, as well as the Global Fund, an agency based in Geneva financing AIDS, TB, and malaria responses. This strong American leadership will prevent millions of malaria infections, and can stop disease resurgence and save lives” (7/15).

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Access To Family Planning Methods 'Acceptable To Different Cultures, Economies' Critical To Saving Lives

The Hill: Family planning is crucial for those in the developing world
Susan Barnett, founder of Faiths for Safe Water

“…[D]espite so many health and economic benefits, somehow the idea of planning ones family has become a dirty word. To deny children a healthy start undercuts so much of the life-affirming good work Americans do around the world. Sensitive, modern family planning is entirely consistent with conservative values and family values. … Access to education and family planning methods acceptable to different cultures and economies — from sophisticated natural planning to safe and cost-effective long-term options — would save so many lives, prevent suffering, and position families for greater security and success. … [I]f we really cared about … the survival and health of millions of women and children, we’d aggressively prevent their suffering and premature deaths with readily available compassionate care that includes education and access to healthy timing and spacing of births” (7/13).

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Individuals, Global Community Must Do More To Save Children From Preventable, Treatable Illnesses

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Beyond the Cave Rescue: Failing to Save Other Children’s Lives
Charles Bresler, executive director of The Life You Can Save, and Peter Singer, founder of The Life You Can Save and professor of bioethics at Princeton University

“The immense outpouring of concern and compassion that has been demonstrated by the worldwide community during the 18-day ordeal of the 12 boys and their soccer coach stuck in a flooded cave in Thailand has been heartwarming. … Juxtaposed with this personal and institutional generosity, however, is our collective failure to save the approximately 7,500 children under five who die every day of preventable or treatable illnesses. … Malaria, for example, kills over 1,000 children every day. Yet just $2 to the Against Malaria Foundation can pay for an insecticide-treated bednet that protects two people from malaria-bearing mosquitoes at night for up to three years. While rescuing the boys from the cave was clearly commendable, distributing bednets saves young children and adults at a dramatically reduced cost” (7/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

NYU Administrator Discusses Impact Of Politicizing Breastfeeding On Women's Rights, Global Health

Political Insights: Politicizing Breastfeeding — The Impact on Women’s Rights and Global Public Health
Katie Dobosz Kenney, graduate program administrator at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, discusses the impact of the politicization of breastfeeding on women’s rights and global health, writing, “[A]t the heart of the World Health Assembly fiasco is the United States advancing the interests of a thriving industry primarily manufactured in the U.S. under the guise of supporting women’s agency; the global public health implications of which are troubling. … It is not the obligation of one nation to solve and aid all global human issues, but it is the human obligation to not exacerbate them. … [T]he need for vigilance and action in the defense of global women’s autonomy and agency will remain” (7/13).

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Brookings Experts Describe Analysis Examining Trends, Gaps In SDG Targets

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: Counting who gets left behind: Current trends and gaps on the Sustainable Development Goals
Homi Kharas, interim vice president and director; John McArthur, senior fellow; and Krista Rasmussen, research analyst, all with global economy and development at the Brookings Institution, share key preliminary results from their in-progress study “examining the SDG targets that squarely focus on measurable improvements in people’s lives — to ensure no one is left behind. … For each indicator, we estimate how many people are on course to have the relevant problem solved by the SDG deadline…” (7/13).

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New Wilson Center Podcast Series Explores How Population Trends Shape World

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Everybody Counts: New Podcast Series on How Global Population Trends Shape Our World
“From mass urbanization to massive refugee flows, high fertility to record low birth rates, global population is changing in unprecedented ways. ‘Everybody Counts,’ a new podcast series hosted by Rhodes College Professor and Wilson Center Global Fellow Jennifer D. Sciubba, launches a lively and thoughtful conversation about the ways human population shapes our world and how we live today. In the first episode, Sciubba talks about what happens when women wait to have kids. … She explores the research about super-low fertility and why a woman would choose to postpone childbearing. Sciubba is joined by author Elizabeth Katkin about the relationship between waiting to have kids and infertility…” (7/13).

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Global Community Must Continue To Examine Lessons From Ebola Outbreak Containment, Experts Say

Harvard Business Review: An Ebola Outbreak Has Just Been Stopped. Here’s What It Tells Us About Containing Epidemics.
Ranu S. Dhillon, instructor at Harvard Medical School and physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Devabhaktuni Srikrishna, founder of Patient Knowhow, discuss the response to and containment of the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, writing, “Global agencies, on high alert after the West African epidemic, leveraged lessons learned and efforts made since then to respond differently in several important ways.” They add, “[A]lthough this outbreak shows that we can respond effectively, it also reveals several vulnerabilities that might get overlooked because things worked out in spite of them. … While we should celebrate the accomplishment and progress signified by the efficient containment of this Ebola outbreak, we should take note of the vulnerabilities that remain, and redouble our efforts to address them before the next epidemic” (7/13).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator For Global Health Testifies On U.S. Response To TB Before House Subcommittee

USAID: Testimony of Irene Koek, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health, Before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations

During testimony last week before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Irene Koek, senior deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Global Health Bureau, discussed USAID’s response to the tuberculosis epidemic in southern Africa and globally. Koek said, “USAID remains committed to ending TB. Administrator Mark Green has declared TB, ‘a fight we can win’ and has actively engaged to bring greater attention and resources to the issue. … We stand at a critical juncture in the road between the path of ending the epidemic and letting the disease continue to kill more people than any other infectious disease each year. With your support, we can help the world take the right path, and end TB” (7/12).

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