KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Bipartisan Task Force Defends U.S. Foreign Aid, Proposes Giving USAID Seat On White House National Security Council

Bloomberg: Senators Defend Foreign Aid in Fresh Pitch Against Trump’s Cuts
“A bipartisan task force of U.S. senators and former diplomats is pushing back against the Trump administration’s effort to cut funding for foreign aid and development, urging instead that the strategy for overseas assistance should be revamped. Far from reducing the role of such ‘soft power’ diplomacy, the task force … proposed giving the U.S. Agency for International Development a seat on the White House’s National Security Council. In a report to be released on Monday, the group also calls for a national diplomacy and development strategy to set priorities for spending…” (Wadhams, 7/24).

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Malaria Eradication Advocates Push For U.S. Congress To Maintain, Increase Funding For Efforts

Devex: Making the case for malaria eradication in a tight budgetary environment
“…[T]here has been a shift over the past decade from shrinking the malaria map to getting rid of the disease for good, and malaria eradication advocates say current funding levels cannot get us to that goal. The closer malaria gets to zero, the more difficult and expensive the effort to eradicate the disease will become, due to challenges ranging from drug-resistant strains to weak health systems, they say. Now advocates who want to make sure the ongoing U.S. budget process maintains or even increases funding to fight malaria are pointing to a growing body of evidence about the return on investment in a disease that remains the leading cause of death in many developing countries…” (Cheney, 7/24).

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Advocates At IAS 2017 Express Concern Over Proposed U.S. Funding Cuts To Global AIDS Programs

Agence France-Presse: ‘Draconian’ U.S. funding cuts would cost lives: AIDS meeting
“Leaders in the fight against HIV on Sunday urged the U.S. government, the largest donor to global AIDS research and treatment, to reject ‘draconian’ funding cuts proposed by President Donald Trump. Any funding lapse, they said, will be counted in human lives…” (Le Roux, 7/23).

Agence France-Presse: Headway on AIDS threatened by funding slowdown
“…If adopted by Congress, the 2018 Trump budget could deprive some 830,000 people … from life-saving anti-AIDS drugs, according to calculations by the Kaiser Family Foundation … A Trump budget could lead to nearly 200,000 new HIV infections, according to … KFF…” (Le Roux/Hood, 7/22).

Deutsche Welle: AIDS conference: U.S. cuts could hurt fight against HIV virus
“…International AIDS Society (IAS) President Linda-Gail Bekker … urged the United States to maintain the country’s previous financial commitment to research aimed at defeating the deadly virus and warned that the costs of reduced funding would take a human toll…” (7/24).

International Business Times: Global HIV/AIDS Programs Under Threat From Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts
“…Last week, the United Nations said more than half of all people [living with HIV] have access to treatment but advocates remain concerned [about] Trump’s proposed budget cuts from the biggest donor nation…” (Roy, 7/23).

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Scientists Report Encouraging HIV Treatment, Vaccine Research Findings At IAS 2017 Conference

Financial Times: New vaccine enters the battle against AIDS
“A new AIDS vaccine will begin large-scale trials in southern Africa at the end of this year, in what is hoped will be a breakthrough in the 30-year scientific battle against the disease. Promising early clinical data on the vaccine, developed by Johnson & Johnson with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), were released at the International AIDS Society conference in Paris on Monday…” (Cookson, 7/24).

The Guardian: Cocktail of drugs could prevent 10,000 HIV deaths a year, claim scientists
“A package of low-cost drugs designed to prevent deadly infections among people who are starting HIV treatment late could save 10,000 lives a year across sub-Saharan Africa, scientists believe…” (Ratcliffe, 7/24).

Reuters: HIV fight advances with new drug cocktails, fresh vaccine hopes
“Three decades after approval of the first-ever AIDS treatment, HIV medicine is seeing a new wave of innovation with scientists reporting positive data on Monday for improved drug cocktails and a novel experimental vaccine. Adding to optimism is the success of antiretrovirals in preventing infection — an approach known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) — as well as growing hopes for an eventual ‘functional’ cure that may keep the virus at bay without drugs…” (Hirschler, 7/24).

Reuters: HIV and cancer teams double up to seek out new disease killers
“HIV experts at an international conference starting on Saturday are keenly courting colleagues in oncology to explore whether advances in harnessing the immune system against cancer can help the search for a cure for AIDS…” (Kelland, 7/22).

STAT: Strong results for a new HIV drug will be a big boost to Gilead Sciences
“An experimental HIV pill from Gilead Sciences suppressed the virus in newly diagnosed patients at a rate statistically equivalent to that of a similar, rival drug from GlaxoSmithKline, according to results from a late-stage clinical trial presented Monday. The positive data supporting Gilead’s new HIV pill, a second-generation integrase inhibitor called bictegravir, are vitally important to the Foster City, Calif.-based biotech company…” (Feuerstein, 7/24).

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African Child Infected With, Treated For HIV As Newborn In Remission For 8.5 Years, Researchers Report At IAS 2017

CNN: Rare case of 9-year-old in HIV remission for years — without drugs
“A 9-year-old South African child diagnosed with HIV when he was one month old has been in HIV remission for 8.5 years — without regular treatment. This is the first reported case of a child controlling their HIV infection without drugs in Africa and the third known case globally…” (Senthilingam, 7/24).

The Guardian: Child treated for HIV at birth is healthy nine years on without further treatment
“…Researchers say they hope to learn from the case of the child, born in South Africa, to save others from having to take powerful daily medication as they are growing up and for the rest of their lives…” (Boseley, 7/24).

Reuters: Hopes for HIV cure revived by African child in remission
“…The child, whose name and gender were not disclosed, was part of a clinical trial in which researchers were investigating the effect of treating HIV-positive babies in the first few weeks of life, and then stopping and starting the ART medicines whilst checking whether their HIV was being controlled…” (Kelland, 7/24).

Washington Post: New hope for HIV cure as child remains virus-free years after final treatment
“…Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, struck notes of both optimism and caution when speaking about [the child]. … ‘It is exciting to see this. It is encouraging to see a child going for such a long period of time without rebounding,’ Fauci said. ‘But we don’t have the full answers to what this means yet’…” (Cha, 7/24).

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Donations To She Decides International Family Planning Initiative 'Still Coming In,' Spokesperson Says

Devex: She Decides fund for family planning takes shape
“Six months after U.S. President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of an extended ‘global gag rule,’ the She Decides family planning movement launched in its wake is beginning to take shape. A spokesperson told Devex that donations ‘have risen substantially’ since the She Decides conference in March, when approximately $190 million were raised to support organizations affected by U.S. funding cuts and restrictions. And that money is ‘still coming in’…” (Edwards, 7/21).

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IRIN Examines Donor Reporting Of In-Country Refugee Spending

IRIN: Aid credibility at stake as donors haggle over reporting rules
“The world’s rich countries spend billions at home but report it as ‘aid,’ exploiting a loophole that enables donors to mislead the public and cut vital development budgets. IRIN has dug into the data to reveal the worst offenders and the extent of a practice that topped $15 billion last year, seriously undermining the credibility of aid statistics…” (Parker, 7/21).

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U.N. SG Guterres Seeks To Reform Organization To Enable More Progress On SDGs

Christian Science Monitor: A disrupter at U.N.: Can new chief shake up bureaucracy to speed progress?
“António Guterres, who took over as United Nations secretary general early this year, acknowledges that the world community has made encouraging progress in improving people’s lives over recent decades. … Still, Mr. Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal and past head of the U.N.’s refugee agency, is dissatisfied. The rate of that progress is too slow, he repeatedly asserts, and conflicts are allowed to set back too many countries and destroy too many lives when preventive intervention might have averted the loss. In other words, with everything the 21st century offers, we should be doing even better…” (7/21).

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WHO Announces Prequalification For Hepatitis C Drug, HIV Self-Test

Intellectual Property Watch: WHO Prequalifies First Generic Hepatitis C Drug And First HIV Self-Test
“…[T]he World Health Organization has announced the prequalification of the first generic version of sofosbuvir, a ‘critical’ medicine for treating hepatitis C. Treatment for hepatitis C under patent has been notoriously priced at extreme high levels, putting it out of reach of patients in economies of all sizes. … At the same time, the U.N. health agency announced a new oral self-test for HIV that gives results in as little as 20 minutes, which it hopes will increase diagnosis and treatment…” (New, 7/21).

STAT: WHO moves to widen access to generic Sovaldi in dozens of countries
“…[T]he WHO wants to encourage greater use of lower-cost versions of Sovaldi in dozens of countries where public health advocates say availability has been impeded by bureaucratic delays to an access plan hatched three years ago by Gilead Sciences, which sells the brand-name drug…” (Silverman, 7/21).

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U.N. High-Level Panel Event Examines Path To Improving Access To Medicines Worldwide

Intellectual Property Watch: The Case For Nations To Act On Medicines Access
“A range of speakers, including top health officials from both a developed and developing country, last week laid out the case for why the world’s leaders must now launch a shift in the way medicines all populations need are developed and priced. The need for global collaboration is clear, speakers said, but who will lead? The 17 July event was titled, ‘U.N. Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines: Advancing Health-Related SDGs through Policy Coherence.’ The panel came in the context of the U.N. High Political Forum on Sustainable Development taking place during the week at the U.N. headquarters in New York…” (New, 7/23).

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GHTC Director Discusses Organization's New Report On U.S. Global Health Innovation Investments In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Why the U.S. should invest in global health innovation — for its own sake
“…[A global health event on Thursday] was organized by the Global Health Technologies Coalition, 25 nonprofit organizations advocating for research and development for new drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other global health technologies to coincide with the release of a report called ‘Return on innovation: Why global health R&D is a smart investment for the United States.’ Following the event, Devex spoke with Jamie Bay Nishi, director of GHTC, about takeaways from the report and how they will inform the organization’s advocacy efforts…” (Cheney, 7/21).

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On NPR's TED Radio Hour, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley Discusses Ebola Vaccine Development, Outbreak Preparedness Investments

NPR: Seth Berkley: How Can We Prevent The Next Epidemic?
“Since 1976, there have been two dozen Ebola outbreaks — yet there is still no vaccine. Epidemiologist Seth Berkley says vaccine development is the key to prevent future infectious disease outbreaks…” (7/21).

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Yemen's Cholera Outbreak 'Worst Ever'; 600K Cases Expected By Year's End, Oxfam Projects

Al Jazeera: Yemen crisis ‘an absolute shame on humanity’
“International human rights organization CARE has denounced the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Yemen, which is also suffering from a cholera epidemic, as ‘an absolute shame on humanity’…” (7/23).

CIDRAP News: Yemen’s cholera epidemic called ‘worst ever’ by Oxfam
“In just over three months, Yemen has reported more than 368,000 cholera cases, the most recorded in a single year, according to the nongovernmental organization Oxfam…” (Soucheray, 7/21).

Deutsche Welle: Yemen’s cholera outbreak worsens as Oxfam projects 600,000 cases
“International aid organization Oxfam projected Friday that the number of cholera cases in Yemen could rise to more than 600,000. The announcement comes after the World Health Organization announced that almost 370,000 suspected cases of cholera and 1,828 deaths have been reported since the outbreak began in April. That’s higher than the previous annual record of 340,311 in Haiti in 2011…” (7/21).

U.N. News Centre: Rainy season worsens cholera crisis in Yemen; U.N. agencies deliver clean water, food
“…U.N. agencies, including WHO and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), are scaling up access to clean water and sanitation, and setting up treatment centers for oral rehydration therapy and other measures. The response is also focused on providing food as the country remains on the verge of famine. Seventeen million people are currently hungry in the war-torn country, making then more vulnerable to catching the bacteria…” (7/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Country Leadership, Globalism Vital To Achieving Universal Health Coverage

STAT: To achieve universal health care, we need country leadership and globalism
Seth Berkley, chief executive officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO

“…Both country leadership and globalism are needed to [achieve universal health coverage] … Universal health coverage is first and foremost a political choice for countries themselves to make. … There is no one-size-fits-all model of universal health coverage, and different countries will choose different services to support. … We need global leaders to highlight and benchmark best practices across geographies and across incomes, to secure political commitment, and to make the case for the resources needed, by showing where and how it has worked. We also need the international community to help countries tailor these best practices to fit their needs. Let’s use the opportunity … at the next United Nations General Assembly in September 2017 to make universal health coverage a reality” (7/21).

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International Food Standards Play Key Role In Ending Hunger, Promoting Economic Growth

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Acting together for food safety
Roberto Azevêdo, director general of the World Trade Organization, and José Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

“…[I]nternational food standards play a key role in protecting human health, the environment, consumers’ interests, and international trade. The joint activities of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have provided a stable, transparent, and predictable framework for international trade in food by providing internationally agreed rules and standards on food quality, safety, and nutritional value. … This framework’s success … depends on international food standards being defined in a transparent, inclusive, and science-based fashion. … International trade and food safety are complementary and contribute to achieving the U.N.’s broader Sustainable Development Goals, such as ending hunger and promoting economic growth, good health, and well-being. FAO and the WTO are more committed than ever to working together in this direction” (7/21).

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U.S. Should Learn From Brazil's Experience With Zika, Address Sanitation Issues In Poor Communities

CNN: What Brazil could teach U.S. about Zika
Amanda Klasing, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch

“…The [Zika] outbreak in Brazil exposed longstanding human rights problems that in turn exacerbated its impact. … Some communities in Alabama face conditions that are similar [to Brazil’s] in important ways. Like the northeast of Brazil, U.S. Southern states are some of the poorest, and there are pockets of communities and homes within them that have no safe disposal for raw sewage. Activists … are raising the alarm bells over how years of poor sanitation has a negative health impact on people, and children in particular. … Local mosquito transmission of the Zika virus has already taken place in Texas and Florida. There’s no evidence that a serious U.S. outbreak is on the horizon, but Zika is only one of many public health problems that could be spurred into being by the ‘right’ mix of bad conditions. Brazil serves as an important lesson. Mosquitoes and neglected tropical diseases thrive in forgotten pockets of poverty. The United States should take note” (7/22).

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International Self-Care Day Opportunity To Ensure Women, Girls Can Proactively Maintain Own Health

Huffington Post: Women and Girls Must Become Champions for Their Own Health
Erica Mann, member of the Board of Management and president of the Consumer Health Division at Bayer AG, and Betsy McCallon, chief executive officer at White Ribbon Alliance

“…[International Self-Care Day is] an opportunity for all of us — individuals, governments, and organizations — to advocate and make self-care a health care priority. … [Self-care] ensures that individuals have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to proactively maintain their own health. … The power lies in self-care’s ability to empower individuals to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families — putting them in control. This is especially important for society’s most vulnerable: women, newborns, and children. … On International Self-Care Day, Bayer and White Ribbon Alliance call upon everyone to embrace the principles of self-care. Each and every one of us has a part to play in developing and promoting health information, supporting women to make decisions about their own health, and in calling for policies that create an enabling environment for self-care” (7/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Fund's Latest Results, UNAIDS Report Show Progress In Global Health

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: Global Fund, UNAIDS Report Significant Progress in Global Health
Katie Broendel, senior communications manager at Friends of the Global Fight, highlights a video and fact sheet on the Global Fund’s latest results and discusses data from the recently released UNAIDS report (7/21).

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FT Health Discusses HIV Progress, Features Interview With UNAIDS' Michel Sidibé

FT Health: Mixed progress on HIV
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses progress made in global HIV efforts and features an interview with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, during which he discussed top priorities, funding issues, and the rise in HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The newsletter also provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack, 7/21).

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From the U.S. Government

New PEPFAR Data Indicate 4 African Countries Approaching Control Of HIV Epidemics

U.S. Department of State: Update on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
“Today, the United States announced that through support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) four African countries are approaching control of their HIV epidemics. Groundbreaking new PEPFAR data show that the HIV epidemic is coming under control across all age groups in Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Additional PEPFAR-supported studies released in December 2016 for Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe also demonstrate significant progress toward controlling the HIV epidemics in these countries…” (7/24).

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