KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Signs Pandemic And All-Hazards Preparedness Bill Into Law

Bloomberg Law: Emergency Pandemic Prevention Bill Gets Trump’s Signature
“The president renewed the country’s pandemics and weapons of mass destruction response programs when he signed [the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019 (S. 1379)] into law June 24…” (Lee, 6/25).

Homeland Preparedness News: Pandemic and all-hazards preparedness, response law emboldens U.S. disaster recovery efforts
“…The far-reaching law ensures the United States will be better prepared to respond to a wide range of public health emergencies, whether man-made or occurring through a natural disaster or infectious disease…” (Riley, 6/25).

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NBC News Examines Impacts Of Trump Administration's Expanded Mexico City Policy

NBC News: Trump’s foreign aid policies endanger women, experts say
“…Global health campaigners warn that decisions made in Washington are making conditions worse for women around the world… In January 2017, President Donald Trump re-instated the Mexico City policy, widely referred to as the global gag rule … The ‘vast majority’ of foreign nongovernmental organizations subject to the policy have agreed to the conditions, [a USAID spokesperson] statement said. For those that have refused, ‘USAID has worked to transition the activities to other highly qualified partners while minimizing disruption of services,’ according to the statement. The spokesperson added that the State Department and USAID are monitoring the policy and a final review of its implementation will be released in the coming months. But experts say the evidence is clear and they are calling the policy an attack on human rights…” (Givetash, 7/2).

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Specific Guidance On Domestic Funding Necessary For Full UHC Implementation, Experts Say

Devex: Without ‘concrete’ directives, new UHC agreement could fall flat
“The onus to help everyone — including the most marginalized — secure universal health care coverage will likely depend more on individual government spending than on new foreign assistance, experts say. Funding will be a critical, but not guaranteed, element in the forthcoming universal health coverage agreement governments will sign in September during the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session. … The current ‘zero draft’ of the UHC agreement, published in May, recognizes the need for a ‘paradigm shift’ and a boost in domestic investment to guarantee health care access for all. But it does not include specific domestic funding commitments, which will be key for full UHC implementation, global health experts tell Devex…” (Lieberman/Ravelo, 7/2).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Continues To Grow With 41 Cases Recorded Over Past Few Days

CIDRAP News: Ebola outbreak reaches 2,338 cases among violence in Ituri
“Over the weekend and through [Monday], the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Ministry of Health recorded 41 more cases of the deadly disease, including another case detected in a vaccinated health worker. … Late last week, the United Nations (U.N.) voiced concerns about ongoing massacres and ethnic violence in the DRC’s Ituri province, according to U.N. News…” (Soucheray, 7/1).

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Gavi CEO Seth Berkley Discusses Vaccine Complacency, Misinformation In EURACTIV.com Interview

EURACTIV.com: Vaccines are victim of their own success, global health expert says
“…Speaking on the sidelines of 2019 European Development Days, the chief executive of the GAVI global vaccine alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, said reaching the maximum level of vaccination coverage used to be the primary health challenge in the past. ‘But the challenge today is that people choose not to vaccinate their children,’ he said, adding that this trend was, ironically, caused by the fact that vaccines have eradicated the most lethal diseases. … This high efficiency in tackling infectious diseases led to a form of complacency, giving rise to the spread of various rumors and concerns, according to the expert…” (Fortuna, 7/1).

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New Report On Health Security In Indo-Pacific Region To Inform Australian Investment, Engagement

Devex: Indo-Pacific health security threat data gathered in DFAT report
“In planning and responding to issues of health security, access to information on the health landscape — including health risks and ability to respond — is important. But in planning the priorities of the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade found the information wasn’t easily accessible. … An investment of more than $250,000 Australian dollars ($175,000) to bring together the risks and capacities of countries in the region helped produce ‘The State of Health Security in the Indo-Pacific Region’ report. … Findings from the report were brought together through the Australian aid lens, to incorporate themes of gender, disability, and climate change. According to DFAT, the report will help shape its investment and engagement in the region…” (Cornish, 7/2).

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Warren Buffett To Donate $3.6B In Berkshire Hathaway Stock To 5 Foundations, Including Gates

Wall Street Journal: Warren Buffett to Donate $3.6 Billion of Berkshire Stock to Five Foundations
“Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will donate his shares worth about $3.6 billion to five foundations, as part of his plan to give away most of his wealth to charities and other philanthropic efforts. The company said Monday that Mr. Buffett, 88 years old, plans to convert 11,250 shares of his Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock into roughly 16.9 million shares of Class B stock. Around 16.8 million of the Class B shares will be donated to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and NoVo Foundation…” (Chin, 7/1).

Additional coverage of Buffett’s donations is available from CNN Business, Forbes, and Los Angeles Times.

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Saudi Arabia, UAE Yet To Disburse Funding To Fulfill $1B Pledge For Yemen Aid; U.N. Warns Of Possible Slowdown In Humanitarian Operations

New Humanitarian: Key Gulf donors yet to deliver on Yemen aid promises
“A record-breaking $1 billion pledge from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to humanitarian operations in Yemen has gone unfulfilled for four months — a gap the U.N. says could soon lead to a slowdown in much-needed aid. The two countries, which head a coalition fighting on one side of Yemen’s war, promised the money at a Geneva conference in late February. … But more than four months later, despite multiple meetings between U.N. humanitarian officials and leaders of the two countries — including a late May visit to Riyadh by U.N. relief chief Mark Lowcock — the money has still not been disbursed…” (Slemrod/Parker, 7/2).

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More News In Global Health

Borgen Magazine: The Pneumococcal Vaccine Price Drop (Halliburton, 7/1).

Financial Times: Brazil reports burst of dengue fever cases (Harris, 7/2).

The Guardian: Fifty years of HIV: how close are we to a cure? (Siddons/Graham, 7/2).

The Lancet HIV: Russia considers legislation to tackle rising AIDS denialism (Holt, July 2019).

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Editorials and Opinions

Human Development Approach Provides Route To Achieve SDGs

Inter Press Service: Is there a Co-Relation Between Human Development & SDGs?
Pedro Conceição, director of the U.N. Development Programme’s Human Development Report

“…There are many links between the human development approach and the 2030 Agenda. But it is worth noting up front that the two are fundamentally different things. … The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a globally agreed tool for assessing development progress. Human development, meanwhile, is a philosophy — or lens — for considering almost any development issue one can think of. In other words, the SDGs provide a development destination. Human development allows one to design the route to get there. … [T]he [Human Development Report (HDR)] has an important role to play in ensuring we keep one eye on the horizon, even if most attention is focused on the next 11 years. … The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs — with their universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity — foreshadow a better world that the human development approach is helping to build. But the story of global development will not end in 2030. It is our job to ensure that human development thinking will continue to shape the global development landscape for the rest of the 21st century” (7/1).

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UHC Efforts Need To Focus On Inclusivity Of All Ages, Genders, Especially Older Women

Devex: Opinion: Time to deliver on older women’s health
Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance, and Kate Bunting, CEO of HelpAge USA

“…Leveling the playing field earlier in a woman’s life has exponential impacts across her lifetime. An education helps her earn a better income; reproductive health care enables her to plan for a family; and access to appropriate health services ensures she can be there for her family and participate in what matters to her. Preventing and treating [non-communicable diseases (NCDs)] across the life course will not only help her live longer, it will also improve her odds of having enough resources to manage multiple challenges later on. … Older women … are at risk of ‘multiple jeopardy’ where social disadvantages — such as lower education levels, lack of secure income, lack of mobility, and widowhood — combine to exacerbate age-related disabilities and chronic conditions. Currently, global health and development discussions remain largely focused on girls and women of reproductive age, even though older women will represent an increasingly larger proportion of the world population. If universal health coverage is to be meaningful in name and spirit, we need to focus on all ages and pair that with the need to transform health systems to a chronic care model, which is essential for aging populations with large NCD burdens…” (7/1).

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Private Sector Investment In Health, Youth Population Could Help Kenya Realize Demographic Dividend

Inter Press Service: Kenya’s March Towards Demographic Dividend with Investments in Health Sector Partnering with The Netherlands
H.E. Frans Makken, ambassador of the Netherlands to Kenya

“Demographic dividend is a term which is increasingly preoccupying discussions among development economists and the donor community in general in Kenya. The term refers to countries with the greatest demographic opportunity for development and those that are ushering in a period in which the working-age population has good health, quality education, decent employment, and a lower proportion of young dependents. … However, whether Africa can reap the benefits of a future demographic dividend will depend on how the continent prioritizes those [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] that will give the continent a competitive edge through its youth. … As the Netherlands is moving from aid to trade, we strongly believe in the contribution of the private sector in achieving the SDGs and investing in the youthful population. … By advancing shared-value partnerships, Kenya will be able to sustainably create more health, education, and employment opportunities for its young people and offer a safety-net to many. Indeed, Kenya is on the way to realizing its demographic dividend; together, we can … make the journey to that goal shorter. Kenya can become a blueprint for the rest of Africa” (7/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Addressing Ebola In DRC Requires Coordinated Effort On All Levels, Brookings Expert Says

Brookings Institution’s “Order from Chaos”: Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo: It’s more than a public health problem
Col. Michael T. Evans, federal executive fellow at the Brookings Institution, discusses how mistrust of the government and multi-generational conflict impact the spread of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and offers recommendations on containing the outbreak. Evans writes, “Effectively dealing with Ebola in the DRC involves a coordinated effort on all levels. The DRC government must earn the trust of its citizens and demonstrate leadership and competence in this crisis — and, of course, in all government affairs” (7/1).

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Strengthening Regulatory Systems Key To Reaching UHC, WHO Says

World Health Organization: Why we need strong regulatory systems to reach universal health coverage
This post discusses the need for strong regulatory oversight of health products in order to achieve universal health coverage and highlights the launch of WHO’s five year plan “Delivering Quality-assured Medical Products for All 2019-2023,” which outlines work and activities to reach four main objectives: strengthening country and regional regulatory systems, increasing regulatory preparedness for public health emergencies, strengthening and expanding WHO prequalification, and increasing the impact of WHO’s regulatory support activities (7/1).

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Analysis Shows Large Positive Returns On HIV Treatment

Health Affairs: In Health Affairs: Large positive returns on HIV treatment
In an analysis examining the costs and achievements of antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV, “Steven Forsythe of Avenir Health and coauthors evaluated data used by UNAIDS to calculate that in the period 1995-2015, antiretroviral therapy (ART) averted 9.5 million deaths worldwide, with global economic benefits of $1.05 trillion. The authors also found that for every $1 spent on ART, $3.50 in benefits was realized globally. Including future projections, the authors estimated that in 1995-2030, approximately 40.2 million new HIV infections could be averted …, with economic gains reaching $4.02 trillion in 2030. With different countries achieving different results for the different targets, the authors recommend analyses of national treatment program performance to enhance overall benefits and efficiency…” (7/1).

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Gates Foundation Expert Discusses Ways To Avoid Complacency In Vitamin A Supplementation Coverage

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “The Optimist”: The danger of complacency: Lost progress in vitamin A distribution
Shawn Baker, director of the nutrition team at the Gates Foundation, discusses the importance of vitamin A supplementation coverage and outlines ways in which the global community can avoid complacency: “sustain commitment and action … bundle effective interventions … prioritize evidence collection to tailor approaches … work to improve diets” (6/28).

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July 2019 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The July 2019 WHO Bulletin features articles on various topics, including an editorial examining policy options for addressing diet-related non-communicable diseases; a news article on sharing lessons on childhood cancer treatments; and a research article on health worker strikes in low-income countries (July 2019).

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From the U.S. Government

NIH Fogarty International Center Pledges To Prioritize Diversity At All Levels

NIH Fogarty International Center: Statement on increasing diversity in the global health workforce
In a statement, Roger I. Glass, director of the Fogarty International Center and associate director for global health research at the NIH, discusses the importance of increasing global health workforce diversity, noting, “We will continue to make diversity at all levels a priority as we plan our own meetings and will include it in the decision-making criteria we use to consider speaking invitations from others” (7/1).

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