KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

UNFPA Responds To U.S. Withholding Of Funds For 3rd Consecutive Year Under Kemp-Kasten Determination

Inter Press Service: U.S. Defunds UNFPA for Third Consecutive Year — on Misconceived Assumptions
“The Trump administration … has withheld its annual contributions to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) — for the third consecutive year. … ‘This unfortunate (U.S.) decision will impede UNFPA’s crucial work to protect the health and lives of hundreds of millions of women and girls around the globe, including in humanitarian settings. Therefore, UNFPA hopes that the United States will reconsider its position,’ the U.N. agency said in a statement released July 15. … [The statement continues:] ‘UNFPA remains keen to maintain an open dialogue with the U.S. government’…” (Deen, 7/17).

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Trump Administration To Divert More Than $40M In Humanitarian Aid From Central American Nations To Support Opposition In Venezuela

Los Angeles Times: Trump administration diverts Central America aid to U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela
“The Trump administration plans to divert more than $40 million in humanitarian aid from Central America to the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela, according to an internal memo and interviews. The memo, dated July 11 and obtained by The Times, is a notification to Congress from the U.S. Agency for International Development that the money is going to Venezuela in response to an ‘exigent’ crisis involving U.S. ‘national interest’…” (Wilkinson, 7/16).

Reuters: Trump administration plans to divert $40 million in aid to Venezuela’s opposition
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration plans to divert more than $40 million (£32 million) in humanitarian aid for Central America to support the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela, according to an internal document obtained by Reuters on Tuesday. The $41.9 million had been destined for Guatemala and Honduras, two of the three Central American countries at the center of a migration crisis in which thousands of people have fled poverty, violence, and corruption and attempted to cross the southern U.S. border…” (Zengerle et al., 7/16).

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Borgen Magazine Highlights Several Pending U.S. Foreign Aid Bills, Resolutions

Borgen Magazine: Five Pending U.S. Foreign Aid Bills and Resolutions
“…The following list contains information on recent, in progress U.S. foreign aid bills and resolutions introduced by members of the 116th Congress. … House Resolution 826: Sponsored by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.), the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act arrived in the House on Jan. 28, 2019. … House Resolution 854: Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), the Humanitarian Assistance to the Venezuelan People Act of 2019 was introduced Jan. 29, 2019. … Senate Bill 368: Sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights Act arrived in the Senate on Feb. 7, 2019. … House Resolution 189: Sponsored by Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), this resolution gives recognition to the U.S. in maintaining leadership in combating global maternal and childhood malnutrition and supporting USAID’s efforts to find solutions to global nutrition issues. … House Resolution 277: Sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), this resolution upholds the prominence of the ability to obtain a quality education and enables the protection from attacks on education for children in high conflict zones…” (Filenius, 7/16).

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World Must Continue To Work Toward Realizing Sexual, Reproductive, Human Rights Of Women, U.N. SG Says In Speech Marking 25th Anniversary Of Cairo Conference

U.N. News: 25 years after population conference, women still face challenges to ‘well-being and human rights,’ says U.N. chief
“Many women and girls ‘still face enormous challenges to their health, well-being, and human rights,’ Secretary-General António Guterres told a High-level General Assembly meeting on Tuesday convened to mark the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), a milestone in reproductive health and rights. … ‘We are seeing a global pushback on women’s rights, including reproductive rights and vital health services,’ he informed the participants. … ‘Completing the unfinished business of the Cairo Conference will put us on course to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to ensure lives of peace, prosperity, and dignity for all,’ concluded the U.N. chief” (7/16).

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WHO Convenes Emergency Committee To Reconsider DRC Ebola Outbreak International Emergency; DRC Health Minister Refuses Testing Of Additional Vaccine; Children Impacted Heavily, U.N. Says

CIDRAP News: WHO will take up Ebola emergency declaration question for a fourth time
“[Today] Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, the director general for the World Health Organization (WHO), will reconvene the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations to consider yet again if the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a PHEIC (public health emergency of international concern). The meeting, which will take place in Geneva at WHO headquarters, is the fourth such meeting held during this outbreak and was triggered by the detection of the first case in Goma, the heavily populated capital of North Kivu province…” (Soucheray, 7/16).

Reuters: WHO reports new Ebola incident in Uganda amid fears of virus spreading
“The World Health Organization reported a new incidence of Ebola in Uganda on Wednesday, fueling concerns that the virus may be spreading beyond Democratic Republic of Congo, as an expert panel weighs whether to sound the alarm internationally. The WHO said a Congolese fisherwoman traveled across the border to sell fish at Mpondwe market on July 11, where she had four vomiting incidents before returning to Congo and dying of Ebola…” (Miles, 7/17).

STAT: Debate over whether to test a second Ebola vaccine turns acrimonious
“An aggressive push to use a second experimental Ebola vaccine to try to help stop the nearly yearlong outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may have backfired, with the DRC’s health minister insisting the country will not allow use of the vaccine, made by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. … ‘We are in a very critical outbreak in a very complex environment,’ [DRC Health Minister Oly] Ilunga said. ‘We want to have all the human resources dedicated to the outbreak. We don’t want people to be diverted in another clinical trial elsewhere in the country'”(Branswell, 7/17).

VOA News: Children Hardest Hit by Ebola Epidemic in DR Congo
“The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is affecting more children than normal. The United Nations Children’s Fund says kids represent nearly one-third of current total cases, compared to about 20 percent in previous outbreaks…” (Schlein, 7/16).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from the Associated Press, The Guardian, PRI, and U.N. News.

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UNAIDS Report Shows Mixed Global Progress In HIV Prevention, Decline In Funding

U.N. News: ‘Greater urgency’ needed in fight against HIV/AIDS, warns U.N. agency, amidst $1 billion investment cuts
“The U.N. program leading the global effort to end AIDS is calling for greater urgency and more funding in the fight against the disease, with data showing that the pace of progress in reducing new HIV infections is slowing, and some countries experiencing a rising number of cases. The news comes in a new UNAIDS report, Communities at the Centre, launched on Tuesday at a community event in Eshowe, South Africa, which also shows that the global resources available for the AIDS response have declined ‘significantly,’ by nearly $1 billion…” (7/16).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Deutsche Welle, Forbes, The Guardian, Science Speaks, The Telegraph, and Xinhua News.

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DFID Data Show Continuing Shift Toward Centralization Despite Development Secretary's Statements Urging Opposite

Devex: DFID headed toward centralization despite its leader’s concerns
“The amount of money the U.K. Department for International Development spent through its country and regional programs has fallen for the second year in a row, sparking concerns that the department is becoming too centralized despite the new international development secretary of state calling for it to move in the opposite direction. … The shift has prompted concerns about the impact on the quality of U.K. aid and is also at odds with recent statements made by DFID’s current leader Rory Stewart…” (Edwards, 7/17).

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'Fair And Sustainable' Transformative Change Needed To Achieve SDGs, U.N. SG Says In Opening Address At High-Level Meeting

U.N. News: Inclusion, empowerment and equality, must be ‘at the heart of our efforts’ to ensure sustainable development, says U.N. chief
“The world’s people are demanding ‘transformative change that is fair and sustainable,’ Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, calling on government leaders to use the upcoming slate of key United Nations meetings in September to ‘kickstart a decade of delivery and action for people and planet.’ His call for concrete action was the cornerstone of his address to ministers attending the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) — the main U.N. platform monitoring follow-up on states’ actions towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (7/16).

Coverage of a WHO side event at the HLPF is available from the IISD SDG Knowledge Hub.

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Commercial Baby Foods Contain Too Much Sugar, WHO Europe Studies Show

The Guardian: WHO urges ban on high levels of sugar from fruit puree in baby food
“Commercial baby foods contain too much sugar — even when they are labeled as savory meals, says the World Health Organization, which is seeking a ban on added sugars in foods for children under 36 months old…” (Boseley, 7/15).

U.N. News: Baby foods high in sugar, inappropriately marketed in Europe, reveal two U.N. studies
“…[Two] studies from WHO Europe show that a high proportion of baby foods are incorrectly marketed as suitable for infants under the age of six months, when in fact much of it contains inappropriately high levels of sugar…” (7/15).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: WHO notes clusters in recent MERS cases, unveils environmental sampling guide (Schnirring, 7/16).

Reuters: Sierra Leone school defies state ban on pregnant girls in class (Inveen, 7/16).

The Telegraph: Philippines government sounds national alert after steep rise in deaths from dengue (Smith, 7/16).

The Telegraph: Pakistan sees surge in polio cases as parents dupe authorities over vaccination status (Farmer, 7/16).

VOA News: New Tool Finds Bed Net Use Spotty, Raising Malaria Risk (Hensley, 7/16).

Xinhua News: S. African deputy president pledges to put every HIV patient on treatment (7/16).

Xinhua News: India plans to eradicate Tuberculosis by 2025: official (7/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S., International Community Must Step Up Response To Ebola In DRC

TIME: The U.S. Helped Defeat Ebola in 2014. Now, We’re Watching a Crisis Become a Catastrophe
Gayle E. Smith, president and CEO of the ONE Campaign and former administrator of USAID

“…[T]his White House needs to decide whether it’s ready to … lead [on Ebola]. The World Health Organization (WHO) has only received half of the requested funds that are needed to fight the outbreak. While the United States certainly cannot solve this problem alone, we must rally the international community to fight this disease that knows no borders. We also need to get out of our own way. The United States has sent Centers for Disease Control personnel and USAID Disaster Assistance Response Teams — some of the most talented and courageous professionals on the planet — to DRC, but for security reasons, our government has kept them away from the areas hardest-hit by the virus. It’s risky of course, but our best resources need to be on the front line, not the sideline. As someone who has helped fight this ugly disease before, my experience compels me to speak out to Republicans, Democrats, and anyone who is in a position of influence about the steps we can take to help control this outbreak. Right now, we’re watching a crisis turn into a catastrophe. We have the tools to defeat Ebola. What we’re missing is the political will. The time to start caring about Ebola isn’t when it reaches the shores of the United States or Europe, it’s now. If we allow this inferno to engulf more communities and spread to more countries, we will not have Africa, the World Health Organization, or others to scapegoat. All we will need to assign blame is a mirror” (7/16).

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International Community Must Act To Reduce Child Mortality From Acute Diarrhea

Global Health NOW: We Have the Power to Save Children’s Lives. We Must Act.
Inon Schenker, co-director of the Ben Gurion University Global Health Summer Program, Blockchain-Technologies for SDG attainment leader, and senior global health consultant at IMPACT (Jerusalem); and Emma Brofsky, steering committee member of APHA’s GMCHN and co-chair of the Communications Committee for the Maternal and Child Health Section

“…[I]t’s time to talk and advocate for the full treatment for watery diarrhea in children under age 5. It’s a global public health priority. Acute diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under 5. … These deaths are largely preventable through inexpensive, effective treatments that can be administered at home. If every child sickened with acute diarrhea received treatment with [oral rehydration solution (ORS)] and zinc sulfate, more than 300,000 children’s lives could be saved annually. Yet unacceptably few children with diarrhea receive ORS … This powerful treatment combination must be made available to every child who needs it. Governments, humanitarian organizations, health care providers, and funders must align their policies, guidelines, and practices to reduce child mortality from diarrhea to zero” (7/15).

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Public-Private Investment In Local Food Systems Critical To Eradicating Hunger In Africa

The Guardian: Wiping out hunger in Africa could cost just $5bn. What are we waiting for?
Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM

“Billions are spent on humanitarian aid, yet nearly 60 million children across Africa go to bed hungry. … U.N. figures show that more than 250 million people in Africa — one in five — are undernourished, making them vulnerable to disease, deficiencies, and developmental stunting that stops them reaching their full potential. It has to change. Richer donor countries need to show they are serious about helping to eradicate malnutrition and hunger by ripping off the bandage of food aid. This sounds counterintuitive, but donors need to invest in agriculture and local food manufacturing instead so that African countries can become self-sufficient. But this requires a bold new approach funded by public-private investment. … Food security in Africa is an achievable goal. Private companies need to step forward to invest in that brighter future. Together with local farmers and governments, we can eradicate hunger in Africa” (7/15).

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Global Index Shows Some Progress Toward Ending Poverty

Washington Post: Millions have come out of poverty. It’s a reason to hope.
Editorial Board

“…The … global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), based on data from 101 countries, covering 5.7 billion people, provides a snapshot of the progress humankind is making toward the United Nations’ ambitious goal of ending poverty ‘in all its forms everywhere.’ The latest edition of the index confirms the sobering fact that 1.3 billion people, or 23.1 percent of the 101 countries’ population, live in ‘multidimensional poverty’ — characterized by insufficient nutrition, irregular access to safe drinking water, or a lack of physical property. Yet from within the report’s details, a more optimistic picture emerges. When the authors studied changes over time in a subset of 10 countries … they discovered remarkable progress. … Broadly speaking, these hopeful indicators, in what have heretofore been considered some of the planet’s most troubled economies, show the long-term benefits — including to the poor — of market-based reforms, growth, and an open stance toward trade and investment. They also show the benefits of well-designed interventions to provide public infrastructure, such as schools and clinics. Much of the world … remains untouched by these positive trends and policies. Nevertheless, the new report confirms that it is rational to hope for, and work toward, improvement and, indeed, that hundreds of millions of people are already living better today than many would have imagined just a few years ago” (7/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Discuss Impacts Of Expanded Mexico City Policy, Responses Of International Donors

Open Canada: How Trump’s latest efforts to stop abortion increasingly undermine global health
Freelance journalist Urooba Jamal discusses the potential global health impacts of the Trump administration’s expanded Mexico City policy and highlights the limitations of international efforts to respond to the policy (7/16).

Open Global Rights: American policy is strangling health access in the global South
Karen Chonofsky, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and College of Liberal Arts, discusses the effects of the expanded Mexico City policy on access to global health services in developing nations and countries’ efforts to fill in funding gaps resulting from the policy (7/16).

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Organizations Discuss UNAIDS Global AIDS Update, Need For Increased Prevention, Treatment Efforts

Médecins Sans Frontières: Fight is not over as AIDS deaths remain high
This MSF press release highlights key findings from the 2019 UNAIDS Global AIDS Update, including a stagnation in the annual number of AIDS-related deaths, how a lack of access to diagnosis and treatment for opportunistic infections is driving the high number of deaths, and the need for governments and the international community to increase funding and efforts to reduce the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS (7/16).

ONE: 3 reasons the Global Fund is leading the fight against AIDS
This post highlights the findings of the UNAIDS report and discusses three reasons why the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and partners “are stepping up the fight against AIDS, and how they’re doing it” (7/16).

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From the U.S. Government

NIH, Partners To Launch Phase 3 Trial To Evaluate HIV Vaccine Efficacy In MSM, Transgender People

National Institutes of Health: NIH and partners to launch HIV vaccine efficacy trial in the Americas and Europe
“The National Institutes of Health and partners [Monday] announced plans to conduct a Phase 3 HIV vaccine efficacy trial at multiple clinical research sites in North America, South America, and Europe. The trial, called HPX3002/HVTN 706 or Mosaico, will assess whether an investigational vaccine regimen designed to induce immune responses against a variety of global HIV strains can safely and effectively prevent HIV acquisition among men who have sex with men and transgender people…” (7/15).

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