KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

HIV/AIDS Progress Slowing, Action Needed To Meet Global Goals, UNAIDS Warns In New Report

Financial Times: AIDS battle threatened by complacency, U.N. body says
“The global battle against AIDS has reached a crucial phase, with partial success in saving lives through drug therapy ‘giving way to complacency,’ according to the body coordinating the U.N. response to the disease. Reviewing the current state of the epidemic, UNAIDS has issued a ‘wake-up call’ for stronger action to prevent new infections. In 2017, 1.8m people were newly infected with HIV, bringing the number worldwide living with the virus to a record 36.9m…” (Cookson, 7/18).

The Guardian: UNAIDS chief refuses to quit over handling of sexual misconduct claims
“… ‘We have more than 15 million people waiting for treatment. We have many new infections occurring. My job is not yet done,’ said Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS … As the agency published its latest comprehensive report on the epidemic ahead of the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam next week, he said the battle against HIV/AIDS was at a precarious stage, with progress against the rising tide of infection inadequate in many countries and money and time running out…” (Boseley, 7/18).

Reuters: U.N. says global fight against AIDS is at “precarious point”
“…[A] rapid and sustained increase in people getting treatment helped drive a 34 percent drop in AIDS-related deaths from 2010 to 2017. AIDS deaths in 2017 were the lowest this century, at fewer than a million people, the report said. But Sidibé also pointed to what he said were ‘crisis’ situations in preventing the spread of HIV, and in securing sustained funding…” (Kelland, 7/18).

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U.S. House Passes BUILD Act To Create New Development Finance Agency

Devex: U.S. House of Representatives approves development finance bill
“The United States House of Representatives passed the BUILD Act easily on Tuesday, moving the bill yet closer to becoming law. The Better Utilization of Investment Leading to Development Act would create a new agency that would combine the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority, as well as expand U.S. development finance capabilities…” (Saldinger, 7/18).

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Former U.S. President Obama Delivers 2018 Mandela Annual Lecture, Defends Multilateralism

Devex: Obama weighs in on development, democracy, and climate
“Former United States President Barack Obama issued a lengthy defense of multilateralism Tuesday, arguing that despite the current ‘backlash’ against globalization, the best answer to technological shifts, migration, climate change, and pandemic diseases is more international cooperation. Delivering the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, South Africa, Obama spoke for 83 minutes about ‘a moment in time at which two very different visions of humanity’s future compete for the hearts and the minds of citizens around the world’…” (Chadwick, 7/18).

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Al Jazeera Examines History Of U.S. Position On Breastfeeding

Al Jazeera: ‘U.S. has long protected commercial interests over breastfeeding’
“Health advocates say it’s long been U.S. policy to ‘bully’ other countries to protect interests of formula manufacturers…” (Tilve, 7/17).

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Activists At U.S.-Russia Summit Protested Mexico City Policy

Yahoo! News: Protesters Don Pregnancy Bellies and Trump Masks at U.S.-Russia Summit in Helsinki
“Protesters wore comical Donald Trump masks at a demonstration in Helsinki Senate Square, Finland, as the U.S. President met Russian President Vladimir Putin for a highly anticipated summit. Members of the protest group #ResistGag also donned pregnancy suits as they campaigned against Trump’s policies on reproductive rights, Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported…” (7/17).

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U.S. Government Creates Stockpile Of Newly Approved Smallpox Drug

Business Insider: The FDA just approved a drug to treat smallpox in case of a bioterrorism attack — here’s why that scenario is so scary
“…The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on July 13 that it had for the first time approved a drug that could treat smallpox if it were ever released as a weapon in a terrorist attack. The medication is called TPOXX (tecovirimat)…” (Loria, 7/17).

HuffPost: Why The FDA Just Approved A Drug For Smallpox, A Disease That No Longer Exists
“…In a less-than-comforting statement, the FDA assured the public that the drug’s creation was just preemptive — you know, just in case bioterrorists choose to unleash smallpox on the world again…” (Mosbergen, 7/17).

Newsweek: Smallpox Drug Will be Stockpiled by U.S. Government in Case of Bioterrorism Attack
“…Siga Technologies, now based in New York, has already delivered two million treatments of the antiviral pill called Tpoxx, or tecovirimat, which the government will stockpile in case of a terror attack…” (Spear, 7/17).

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No Country On Track To Meet All SDGs; U.S., Russia Rank Low On Integrating Goals Into Policies, Institutions, Study Says

Quartz: The U.S. and Russia are doing the least to achieve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals
“In 2015, all 193 member states of the United Nations adopted 17 global goals to end poverty, protect the planet, reduce inequality, and generally improve the well-being of everyone in the world. Three years later, no country is yet on track to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the target date of 2030. That’s the bleak conclusion of a huge study by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which assess the progress of all 193 countries in achieving the SDGs. … After conducting a survey to gauge how strongly the SDGs were integrated into institutions and policy, the U.S. ranked right at the bottom. Just ahead of it was Russia…” (Nelson, 7/17).

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Bill Gates, Other Donors Commit $30M To Venture Fund Aimed At Developing Alzheimer's Diagnostic Test

CNN: Bill Gates jump-starts research for an affordable Alzheimer’s test
“…Gates announced [Tuesday] that he has joined a coalition of philanthropists who are investing $30 million to create a venture fund called Diagnostics Accelerator. ‘We need a better way of diagnosing Alzheimer’s — like a simple blood test or eye exam — before we’re able to slow the progression of the disease,’ Gates wrote in a statement announcing the investment…” (LaMotte, 7/17).

Financial Times: Bill Gates to back new Alzheimer’s research fund
“…[T]he biggest problem is that Alzheimer’s is almost always diagnosed after a patient has started exhibiting memory loss, at which point the disease has already inflicted significant damage to the brain. A majority of Alzheimer’s researchers think this delay is partly responsible for the failure to find a drug that can halt or reverse the disease…” (Crow, 7/17).

TIME: It’s Nearly Impossible to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease in Living People. Bill Gates Wants to Change That
“…[T]he Diagnostics Accelerator, a project with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), … will focus on creating new strategies for diagnosing the disease. Gates is joined by Leonard Lauder, co-founder of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, the Dolby Family, and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, among others in the effort…” (Park, 7/17).

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Brazil's Infant Mortality Rate Increased Between 2015-16; Experts Blame Zika Outbreak, Health Cuts

The Guardian: Zika and health cuts blamed for rise in baby death rates in Brazil
“The number of children dying in their first year of life has risen in Brazil for the first time since 1990. It’s a worrying setback for a country once seen as a model of poverty reduction. The infant mortality rate rose by nearly five percent between 2015 and 2016, an increase health officials and specialists have blamed on the outbreak of the Zika virus that year, as well as cuts to health services prompted by an economic crisis from which Brazil is struggling to recover…” (Phillips, 7/17).

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More News In Global Health

CIDRAP News: Uganda reports Rift Valley fever outbreak (Schnirring, 7/17).

Health24: Motsoaledi blames lack of sex ed in schools after latest HIV figures (Sehoai, 7/18).

HuffPost: Where Shoes Are A Luxury, A Nightmarish Disease May Be Lurking (Gardner, 7/17).

IRIN: In Conversation With: George Okoth-Obbo, head of operations at the U.N. refugee agency (7/17).

News Deeply: In South Sudan, Effects of Hunger Will Linger After the War Ends (Thompson, 7/17).

SciDev.Net: Q&A: “The big threat is that drug resistance is moving to India” (Rabesandratana, 7/17).

U.N. News: ‘Unlock full power of business’ to achieve Global Goals, U.N. deputy chief tells forum (7/17).

U.N. News: The world ‘must rally’ to support one million Rohingya refugees, U.N. Migration chief says (7/17).

VOA News: Congo Ebola Outbreak Expected to End Next Week (Schlein, 7/17).

Xinhua News: Chinese vice president meets WHO director general (7/17).

Xinhua News: Uganda procures medicines for HIV carriers to address shortage (7/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Efforts To Counter WHA Breastfeeding Resolution Put Business Before Health

Greensboro News & Record: Our Opinion: United States’ stance on breast-milk resolution was a bad formula
Editorial Board

“When did recommending that breast milk is healthier for most babies become a matter of international tension? … What could be wrong with that? Apparently a lot. So much that the United States has threatened tariffs and other sanctions against one of its smaller allies that had led an effort [at the World Health Assembly] to reinforce the intrinsic value of breast milk. … The U.S., in its ever business-before-health-and-environment mentality, didn’t like the idea of doing anything that might affect the … infant formula industry, which only a few companies control, mostly American. … Don’t our leaders have better things to do?” (7/17).

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Blended Finance Could Play Critical Role In Attracting Private Capital, Achieving SDGs

The Hill: Unshackle private capital to deliver Sustainable Development Goals
Paul Horrocks, head of the private finance for sustainable development unit at the OECD’s financing for sustainable development division; Aron Betru, managing director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets; and Christopher Lee, director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets

“…[To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),] the development finance community needs to encourage greater participation by private banks by ensuring the efficient and innovative use of money loaned or invested to support the goals. Blended finance … can play a critical role in attracting private capital. … According to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey, guarantees (financial products that minimize or remove risk for investors) have particular promise. … Additional research into the compatibility of guarantees with regulations would be a significant step forward, but there are more immediate actions that would help make the SDGs achievable. First, modify guarantees to address the needs of private capital. … Second, bilateral and multilateral stakeholders must better align their strategies with those of regulatory policymakers and the private sector. … The SDGs present a unique challenge. Only through alignment, shared responsibility, collaboration, and understanding the impact of regulatory changes on all developed countries’ policies can the goals be reached” (7/16).

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Clear Labeling Could Help Address Obesity, Influence Consumers To Choose Healthier Food

Bloomberg: Fight Obesity With Frank Food Labels
Jessica Fanzo, Bloomberg distinguished professor at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the Berman Institute of Bioethics, and the Department of International Health of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“No country, rich or poor, is immune to the rapid rise in overweight and obesity among both adults and children. But a few are finding they can push back against the dangerous trend by making sure their citizens get clear information about the groceries they buy. … [Consumers] can be steered toward healthier choices by government-mandated labels that clearly tell them what dangers might lurk inside the package. To be effective, such labels need to be prominent and instantly readable. … Still needed are more comprehensive measurements of the degree to which labeling systems influence food-industry behavior, and to what extent they lead to an improvement in overall public health. But the evidence already suggests that every country should consider requiring clear front-of-package food labels. … This is not a heavy-handed move, an overstepping of governmental authority. It’s a worthwhile effort to give consumers the information they need to make dietary choices to protect their health” (7/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

UNAIDS Event Highlights Role Of Business In AIDS Response

UNAIDS: Ending AIDS is everyone’s business
This update summarizes comments made at a UNAIDS event held on July 16 during the ministerial segment of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York. The update states, “Business leaders have met to explore how more and better action by business can be mobilized for the AIDS response, in alignment with the work of governments, civil society, and donors…” (7/17).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights 2018 International AIDS Conference Affirmation Statement

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: An affirmation on the way to AIDS 2018: Much has changed, not enough, and some for the worse
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights the affirmation statement of the 2018 International AIDS Conference, “The Amsterdam Affirmation: People, Politics, Power,” released on Tuesday ahead of next week’s conference in the Netherlands (7/17).

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Global Fund, ICRC To Collaborate On Enhancing HIV, TB, Malaria Response In Conflict-Affected Areas, Detention Centers

International Committee of the Red Cross: Global Fund and ICRC join forces to enhance response to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in conflict-affected areas
“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met Monday to announce a collaboration agreement focused on providing better care to individuals and communities burdened by these diseases in hard-to-reach conflict-affected areas and detention centers. The letter of intent was signed by Yves Daccord, the ICRC director general, and Peter Sands, the Global Fund executive director. It will see both organizations exchange knowledge and expertise, and work together on areas of common concern, including collaborating on the response to HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria and exploring ways to expand systemic health capacity in penitentiary systems…” (7/17).

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Lancet Global Health Article, Commentary Examine Tracking Aid For RMNCH

The Lancet Global Health: Tracking aid for global health goals: a systematic comparison of four approaches applied to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health
Catherine Pitt, assistant professor in the Department of Global Health and Development at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and colleagues compare the methodologies of four initiatives — Countdown to 2015, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the Muskoka Initiative, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — to estimate aid for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH). The authors note, “The four approaches are likely to lead to different conclusions about whether individual donors and recipient countries have fulfilled their obligations and commitments and whether aid was sufficient, targeted to countries with greater need, or effective. We recommend that efforts to track aid for the Sustainable Development Goals reflect their multisectoral and interconnected nature and make analytical choices that are appropriate to their objectives…” (August 2018).

The Lancet Global Health: Improving tracking of aid for women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health
In an accompanying commentary, Gavin Yamey, director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health (CPIGH) at Duke University’s Duke Global Health Institute; Marco Schäferhoff, managing director at Open Consultants; and Kaci Kennedy, policy associate at CPIGH, cite results from the study by Catherine Pitt and colleagues and discuss the proceedings of a consultation convened to develop a new method to “accurately track spending on RMNCH by donors and low-income and middle-income governments and, ultimately, accelerate progress in reducing maternal and child deaths worldwide” (August 2018).

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WHO Director General Discusses China's Belt And Road Development Initiative, Recognizes Global Health Role

WHO: China’s Belt and Road to Redefine Global Health Role
In a commentary, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus discusses the ways in which China’s “Belt and Road” development initiative also extends to health, writing, “The World Health Organization commends China’s efforts to integrate health into its economic partnerships. … Together, we can ensure that, on the path to economic development and globalization, health is a platform for growth and trade, not an afterthought. There is unlimited potential, and a window of opportunity for WHO and China to advance a new era of strategic partnership on global health” (July 2018).

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Together For Girls Leaders Discuss Sexual Violence, HIV Prevention Among Girls, Young Women

Council on Foreign Relations: To End the HIV Epidemic, Focus on Sexual Violence Prevention
In a guest post, Gary M. Cohen, founder and board chair of Together for Girls, executive vice president of global health at BD (Becton Dickinson and Co.), and president of the BD Foundation, and Daniela Ligiero, executive director and CEO at Together for Girls, discuss the importance of sexual violence prevention in preventing the spread of HIV, writing, “Preventing HIV among girls and young women demands a more ambitious, holistic, and flexible approach — one that includes attention to sexual and gender-based violence. … We cannot effectively prevent HIV among these young people unless we redouble our efforts to address violence prevention and response for adolescent girls” (Cohen/Ligiero, 7/17).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Green Discusses U.S. Support Of Bangladesh's Development Efforts

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Journeying to No Man’s Land
USAID Administrator Mark Green discusses his recent visit to Bangladesh, noting the mass migration of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh, as well as the country’s development gains. Green writes, “The United States stands with Bangladesh on its development journey, and we will continue to work closely together on global health and food security, as well as economic development and democratic governance.” The piece originally appeared on Medium, in USAID’s “2030: Ending Extreme Poverty in This Generation” publication (7/17).

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Director Of CDC's Center For Global Health Testifies On U.S. TB Response Before House Subcommittee

CDC: The Threat of Drug-Resistant TB in Southern Africa
During testimony last week before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Rebecca Martin, director of the CDC’s Center for Global Health, discussed the global threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) and CDC’s role in addressing the epidemic. Martin said, “Like other infectious threats, TB (and especially drug-resistant TB) jeopardizes the health, security, and prosperity of America and our partners. … Political will is critical from every country combating TB. … [H]eads of state will gather in September 2018 at the United Nations General Assembly for the first-ever high-level meeting on TB, which could lead to new commitments from countries and accelerate progress where it is needed most. The world is focused on the TB epidemic, and we must seize the moment together to halt this global threat in its tracks” (7/12).

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From KFF

Donor Government Funding For HIV Rose In 2017 Largely Due To Shift In Timing Of U.S. Support, KFF/UNAIDS Report Shows

Kaiser Family Foundation/UNAIDS: Kaiser/UNAIDS Study Finds Donor Government Funding for HIV Rose to US$8.1 Billion in 2017 due to Shift in Timing of U.S. Support
“Donor government disbursements to combat HIV in low- and middle-income countries increased 16 percent from US$7 billion in 2016 to US$8.1 billion in 2017 — though the higher total stems largely from the timing of U.S. funding and is not expected to last, a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) finds. The increase follows two years of declines in donor support for HIV and results largely from a boost by the United States, the world’s largest donor nation, which increased disbursement from US$4.9 billion in 2016 to US$5.9 billion in 2017, including funds appropriated but not spent from previous years. New U.S. appropriations have been flat for several years, suggesting that future disbursements will likely fall back to prior levels…” (7/18).

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