KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

More Than Half Of People Living With HIV Taking Medication, AIDS-Related Deaths Nearly Cut In Half Since 2005, UNAIDS Report Shows

Associated Press: For 1st time, over half of people with HIV taking AIDS drugs
“For the first time in the global AIDS epidemic that has spanned four decades and killed 35 million people, more than half of all those infected with HIV are on drugs to treat the virus, the United Nations said in a report released Thursday. AIDS deaths are also now close to half of what they were in 2005, according to the U.N. AIDS agency, although those figures are based on estimates and not actual counts from countries…” (Cheng, 7/20).

BBC News: AIDS deaths halve as more get drugs
“…A report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) showed deaths had fallen from a peak of 1.9 million in 2005 to one million last year. … Worldwide, 36.7 million are living with HIV and 53 percent of them are getting the therapy that [has the potential to provide] a near-normal life expectancy…” (Gallagher, 7/20).

The Economist: Some good news and some bad, in the fight against HIV
“…Less happily, the rate of new infections, though dropping, is not doing so as fast as UNAIDS and its allies had hoped. In 2016 1.8m people became infected. That is down from a peak of 3.2m in 1997, but has declined by only 16 percent since 2010. On present trends, the official U.N. target of reducing the figure to 500,000 a year by 2020 looks hopelessly optimistic…” (7/20).

Reuters: Scales tip in AIDS fight as death rates decline, treatment rates rise
“…The report warned, however, that not all regions are making progress. In the Middle East and North Africa, and in eastern Europe and central Asia, AIDS-related deaths have risen by 48 percent and 38 percent respectively, it said, mostly due to HIV-positive patients not getting access to treatment…” (Kelland, 7/20).

ScienceInsider: For first time in history, half of all people with HIV are getting treatment
“…As the report emphasizes, ‘substantial progress’ has been made toward 90-90-90. Based on 168 countries reporting data, the overall bottom line for the world was 70-77-82 in 2016. Seven countries have hit the 90-90-90 target, and 11 others are close. ‘Remarkable progress,’ in the report’s words. But it does not sugarcoat the situation. ‘Within this clear-cut picture of progress lurk troubling barriers to success’…” (Cohen, 7/20).

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U.S. House Appropriations Committee Approves SFOPs Budget Bill With $10B In Cuts

Devex: House committee approves foreign aid budget in late-night session
“On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations approved a U.S. foreign affairs budget bill that would cut funding to the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other international agencies and organizations by $10 billion. … Now that the appropriations committee has approved the budget bill, it can move to the full House of Representatives for a vote…” (Igoe/Edwards, 7/20).

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U.S. Ambassador To U.N. Haley Criticizes African Nations For 'Collective Failure' On Hunger Crises Responses; U.N. SG Guterres Calls For More International Cooperation With Continent

Associated Press: U.S. criticizes Africa for ‘failure’ on famine threat
“U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley sharply criticized African nations on Tuesday for their ‘collective failure’ to respond to the threat of famine facing more than 14 million people … Haley said the looming famines in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan are primarily caused by armed conflict and represent ‘a tragic example’ of the failure of those governments to address the causes, and of the combatants to allow access to alleviate suffering…” (Lederer, 7/20).

VOA News: U.N. Chief Urges More International Cooperation on Africa
“The U.N. secretary-general urged the international community Wednesday to, in his words, ‘change the narrative’ about Africa. Antonio Guterres said countries should cooperate more with the continent to recognize its vast potential and prevent and manage conflicts there. Guterres told a Security Council debate about enhancing peace and security in Africa that the African Union and the United Nations have a shared interest in neutralizing conflicts before they escalate and managing them effectively when they do happen…” (Besheer, 7/19).

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Progress Seen On Tobacco Control But Industry Continues To Interfere With Regulation, WHO Report Shows

The Guardian: Tobacco companies interfere with health regulations, WHO reports
“Cigarette manufacturers are attempting to thwart government tobacco controls wherever possible, even as governments make progress regulating the products, a new World Health Organization report has found…” (Glenza, 7/19).

Reuters: Tobacco industry blocking anti-smoking moves: WHO
“…Countries with partly state-owned tobacco companies, such as Japan which has a stake in Japan Tobacco Inc, should ‘firewall’ their health policy-setting from their commercial interests, the United Nations agency said…” (Nebehay, 7/19).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. reports more people warned against tobacco use, but industry interference continues
“… ‘One-third of countries have comprehensive systems to monitor tobacco use. While this is up from one-quarter of countries monitoring tobacco use at recommended levels in 2007, governments still need to do more to prioritize or finance this area of work,’ according to the U.N. World Health Organization’s report on the global tobacco epidemic, which was launched [Wednesday] on the side-lines of the U.N. High-level political forum on sustainable development in New York…” (7/19).

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Conflict Continues To Exacerbate Cholera Outbreaks In Yemen, Somalia, Hinder Polio Immunization Efforts In Syria

CIDRAP News: Thousands more cholera cases reported in Yemen, Somalia
“In a pair of outbreak updates yesterday, Yemen confirmed another 35,000 cholera cases, while Somalia reported a slight slowdown, with only 1,121 cases reported in the past few weeks. The outbreaks are part of ongoing outbreaks in several countries in the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden regions…” (Soucheray, 7/19).

Foreign Policy: The Human Toll of Yemen’s Unending War
“…More than two years of intense urban fighting have left at least 10,000 people dead across the country and laid waste to many of Yemen’s population centers. Airstrikes and artillery have decimated essential infrastructure: hospitals, water pipelines, electricity grids. Yemen historically relied on imports for 90 percent of its food. But severe restrictions on those imports — food, medicine, and fuel — have led to shortages across the country. It’s no surprise that Yemen is on the verge of famine, and local doctors are struggling to stop the cholera epidemic sweeping the country…” (Faite, 7/20).

Reuters: U.N. hopes for lull in Syria battles with Islamic State for polio campaign
“The United Nations is hoping that battles against Islamic State in Syria will calm sufficiently for it to carry out a vaccination drive against polio, starting on Saturday, U.N. agencies said on Wednesday…” (Miles, 7/19).

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Chile Senate Approves Measure To Allow Abortion In Some Circumstances; Bill Faces Hurdles To Become Law

Associated Press: Chile Senate OKs bill allowing abortion in some cases
“…In a marathon session lasting well past midnight, the Senate voted to allow abortions when a mother’s life is in danger, when the fetus is not viable, and in cases of rape. A version of the bill was approved in 2016 by the lower house, where a vote on changes introduced by the Senate was postponed to Thursday. President Michelle Bachelet supports the measure and has said she would sign the law. But opposition lawmakers from the conservative political bloc Chile Vamos said they would appeal it to Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal, which could rule it unconstitutional…” (Vergara, 7/20).

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UNFPA Acting Director Natalia Kanem Discusses Organization's New Focus, Impacts Of U.S. Funding Cuts In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: UNFPA chief on why it pays to have healthy youth
“…The UNFPA, led by its new acting executive director, Natalia Kanem, is driving at the connection between youth engagement — including access to sexual and reproductive health services and employment — and the economic gains developing countries stand to make over the next few decades. … Kanem — a pediatrician who assumed her new post in June after the unexpected death of her former boss, Babatunde Osotimehin — sat down with Devex at UNFPA’s midtown Manhattan office this week to discuss the organization’s new focus and the impact of U.S. funding cuts…” (Lieberman, 7/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Should Approve Measures for Public Health Emergency Funding

Scientific American: Robust Emergency Fund Needed to Respond to Future Disease Outbreaks
Editorial Board

“…[T]he U.S. is woefully unprepared to meet [the] threat [of disease outbreaks] because it does not set aside money to beat back an outbreak before it can spread. … A mechanism is already in place to deal with natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. … Creating a similar ‘rainy day’ fund — and providing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with permission to use it in advance — could save lives and money, both at home and overseas. … Legislators from both the Democratic and Republican parties have recognized the problem and are trying to do something about it. … But introducing legislation (or making a vague promise in the president’s budget) does not help if Congress fails to pass it. Lawmakers need to follow through by approving [the Public Health Emergency Response and Accountability Act and/or a proposal for a one-time appropriation of $5 billion for emergency health] for the president to sign to ensure that the money will be there when the next public health emergency strikes” (July 2017).

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National Governments, Global Community Should Increase Investments In Antimicrobial Resistance R&D

Project Syndicate: How to Fight Antimicrobial Resistance
Jörg Reinhardt, chair of the Novartis Board of Directors

“Two weeks ago, G20 leaders committed to working together to address one of the world’s most pressing and perplexing security threats: antimicrobial resistance (AMR) … Each G20 country has promised to start implementing national plans to fight AMR in earnest, and to do more to promote new treatments against resistant microbes. To that end, G20 leaders are calling for an international ‘R&D Collaboration Hub’ to ‘maximize the impact of existing and new antimicrobial basic and clinical research initiatives.’ And they have promised to explore how market incentives can be used to encourage new research. … The G20’s national action plans will, we hope, help us to meet these commitments. But political leaders, too, must marshal the will to turn words into action. We urgently need more resources to monitor resistance, stronger incentives for R&D, and innovative financing mechanisms to ensure widespread access to accurate diagnoses and quality medicines. The world cannot afford to lose the fight against AMR. Winning it will require large-scale public-private cooperation, underpinned by political leadership that makes global public health a top priority” (7/20).

Devex: Opinion: How to generate increased investment to tackle antimicrobial resistance
Paul Schaper, executive director for global policy at ‎Merck Sharp & Dohme

“…To ramp up antimicrobial R&D, innovative financing solutions that will incentivize sustained investment in this field are needed. The current model fails to provide a sufficient economic return to spur the level of R&D investment that society needs. … Given the unique challenges of the antibiotic market, governments have a role to facilitate conditions to enable a sustainable environment for investment in antimicrobial R&D. … I’m encouraged by the strides made recently to bring the critical issues of antimicrobial resistance to the forefront and the robust engagement of the private sector. … The global community must seize this moment and act to ensure a future where, even in the face of the ongoing microbial evolution, we continue to enjoy the health and economic benefits of having effective antimicrobial treatments. With the support of key stakeholders across the globe to stimulate antimicrobial R&D and advocate for innovative financing models, I am confident that we will” (7/19).

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U.N., Nations Must Aim To Sustain Peace, Development As 'Two Sides Of Same Coin'

Huffington Post: Sustainable Development And Sustaining Peace: 2 Sides Of The Same Coin
Magdy Martínez-Solimán, U.N. assistant secretary general and UNDP assistant administrator and director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, and Oscar Fernández-Taranco, U.N. assistant secretary general for Peacebuilding Support

“…Sustaining peace and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin, and this is the fundamental principle that the United Nations of the 21st century must now stand for. For any country to reach a lasting peace, the journey must always be led by its own people. The role of the U.N. is to support this journey, providing the experience, expertise, and using the convening power at its disposal to give countries in crisis the best chance at stability and prosperity. Peace is not simply a benchmark to achieve. It requires ongoing, dynamic participation from the entire society in its governance and economy to ensure that conflicts don’t escalate into violence. That is why a country’s development must be inclusive and sustainable; it gives everyone a stake in a shared future…” (7/19).

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World Humanitarian Day Provides Opportunity To Raise Awareness Of 'Toxic Mix Of Conflict, Disease, Famine,' Applaud Dedication Of Health Workers, Others

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Cholera in Yemen: war, hunger, disease … and heroics
Editorial Board

“The harms done by war are many and complex. Death, injury, and displacement are the most obvious, but infection is also closely intertwined with conflict. Across the Middle East and Africa, outbreaks of infection have occurred as a direct effect of war, compounded by food and water shortages, displacement, and damage to infrastructure and health services. Nowhere is this web of interconnections more clear than in the cholera epidemic in Yemen. … The toxic mix of conflict, disease, and famine is not confined to Yemen. Outbreaks of cholera have also been reported recently in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan, and it is no coincidence that the disease has emerged in countries dealing with wider humanitarian crises brought about by fighting, drought, and displacement. … Aug. 19 marks the U.N.’s World Humanitarian Day. Not only is it time to raise awareness of humanitarian crises around the world, but also it’s a chance to applaud the bravery and dedication of health workers and others striving to alleviate suffering in the most dire situations…” (August 2017).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Briefing Paper Discusses Opportunities, Challenges For DREAMS Program In Malawi, Implications For U.S. Policy

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Addressing HIV in Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Malawi
Janet Fleischman, senior associate (non-resident), and Katey Peck, former research associate, both with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, note this briefing paper “provides an overview of the DREAMS program in Malawi, a public-private partnership led by PEPFAR; it discusses some of the major implementation opportunities and challenges, and concludes with implications for U.S. policy…” (7/19).

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Positive Steps Made Toward Prioritizing Africa's Development At G20

ONE: The G20: Did it seize the historic opportunity to kickstart its partnership with Africa?
Suzanne Seiller, research assistant for security and development at the ONE Campaign, discusses this year’s G20 Summit and its role in Africa’s development, writing, “While some of the G20 initiatives for Africa could have been more ambitious, positive steps have been made to set the path towards making Africa’s development, and the African youth, a priority for the G20 in the future” (7/19).

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Stanford Health Policy Researcher Eran Bendavid Argues Against Cuts To U.S. Foreign Aid, Saying Funding Helps Others, Protects Americans

Stanford Medicine’s “Scope”: Foreign aid cutbacks could harm health of Americans, Stanford health policy researcher argues
Beth Duff-Brown, communications manager for the Center for Health Policy and Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford University, notes how Stanford health policy researcher Eran Bendavid has spoken out against proposed cuts to U.S. foreign aid, writing, “Saving lives and improving health in other parts of the world is an investment, he said, in the well-being of American lives.” Duff-Brown highlights a recent commentary Bendavid published in PLOS Medicine, which states, “…U.S. foreign aid for health has arguably been the single most important driver of the last 20 years’ health improvements in developing countries” (7/19).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Discusses Global Fund's Year-End 2016 Results

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash features an announcement from the Global Fund that it released its year-end 2016 results, which highlight the progress made by Global Fund-supported HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria programs (7/20).

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From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Budget Summary Analyzes Global Health Aspects Of House FY18 SFOPs, HHS Appropriations Bills

Kaiser Family Foundation: House Appropriations Subcommittees approve FY 2018 State & Foreign Operations (SFOPs) and Health & Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Bills
This budget summary highlights global health-related funding in the House FY 2018 State & Foreign Operations (SFOPs) and FY 2018 Labor, Health & Human Services (LHHS) appropriations bills, which were approved by the House Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday. Funding provided to the State Department and USAID through the Global Health Programs (GHP) account, which represents the bulk of global health assistance, totaled $8.3 billion, $404 million (5 percent) below the FY 2017 enacted level and $1.8 billion (28 percent) above the president’s FY18 request. Funding provided to CDC for global health matched the FY17 enacted level ($435.1 million) and was $85.1 million (24 percent) above the president’s FY18 request (7/19).

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Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet On U.S. Role In NCD Efforts

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Non-Communicable Disease Efforts
This updated fact sheet discusses U.S. government global non-communicable diseases (NCDs) efforts and funding, global statistics related to NCDs, and international goals to address NCDs (7/18).

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