KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Report On Protest At AIDS 2018 Opening; U.N. Agencies Call For More Political Commitment To Improve HIV Prevention, Especially Among Teen Girls

Devex: UNAIDS chief confronted by anti-harassment protestors on stage in Amsterdam
“Campaigners hijacked the opening of the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam to protest the presence of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé, who they accused of being ‘an enabler and protector of sexual harassment.’ Sidibé has been criticized for his response to a harassment scandal at the U.N. agency…” (Edwards, 7/25).

Reuters: UNICEF warns of HIV crisis in teen girls, with 20 cases every hour
“Teenagers, and particularly girls, are bearing the brunt of the global AIDS epidemic with around 30 adolescents becoming infected with HIV every hour, according to a report by the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF. Of those 30 new infections each hour among 15- to 19-year-olds in 2017, around 20 — or two-thirds — were in girls, UNICEF said, representing a ‘crisis of health as well as a crisis of agency’…” (Kelland, 7/25).

U.N. News: More ‘political commitment’ needed urgently for HIV prevention: UNAIDS chief
“As HIV infections continue to rise, UNAIDS … called on Tuesday for countries to boost prevention measures and continue facilitating access to treatment. Around 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV and around 50 countries experienced a rise in new HIV infections during last year, according to Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, who was speaking at the ongoing International AIDS Conference in the Netherlands…” (7/25).

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Media Outlets Report On Range Of HIV/AIDS-Related Issues, Developments Emerging From AIDS 2018

CNN: ‘Nobody needs to die of AIDS anymore,’ Elton John says (Senthilingam, 7/25).

health24: Charlize links HIV to inferior status of women at AIDS conference (Cullinan, 7/25).

Reuters: Prince Harry joins Elton John to launch HIV campaign targeting men (Crane/Deutsch, 7/24).

Science: Troubling questions remain about whether a popular HIV drug causes birth defects (Cohen, 7/24).

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News Outlets Continue Reporting On Removal Of TRIPS Flexibilities From U.N. Draft Declaration On TB

Intellectual Property Watch: U.N. Political Declaration On TB Finalized: No Commitment To TRIPS Flexibilities
“…After weeks of heated negotiations over the inclusion of references to TRIPS flexibilities in the operative paragraphs [of the draft of the Political Declaration on the Fight Against Tuberculosis], with the Group of 77 pushing for inclusion and the United States against it, the final text of the political declaration reflects the deadlock of these positions. Due to the inability of member states to reach agreement, the final text does not include substantive reference to TRIPS flexibilities. If no countries object, this final draft of the Political Declaration on TB will be adopted by the General Assembly at the High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis, which will take place on 26 September at the United Nations in New York, and will serve as the authoritative agreement from which action plans will be drawn…” (Branigan, 7/24).

POLITICO: U.S. pressures other nations on U.N. resolution
“…The now-removed sections would have allowed developing countries to override drug companies’ patents in cases of public health need, a practice known as compulsory licensing that can make medicines more affordable — but has drawn drug makers’ ire before. … One paragraph that ‘recognizes the importance of affordable medicines’ remains in what appears to be the final version of the resolution. That’s not enough to protect TB drug access, according to Doctors Without Borders. … Sen. Sherrod Brown in June sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking that the Trump administration commit to language protecting TB medicines’ affordability…” (Diamond et al., 7/24).

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Global Disability Summit Concludes With New Commitments, Calls For Improving Inclusivity

Devex: Global Disability Summit yields 170 new commitments — but what’s missing?
“Tuesday’s Global Disability Summit in London yielded 170 commitments to increase disability inclusion and tackle stigma in lower-income countries, according to the United Kingdom government, from financial pledges, to in-kind devices and technology, to new or amended action plans and charters. But some worried that parts of the disability community were left out, while others described a disconnect between large humanitarian agencies and specialist disability-focused organizations…” (Anders, 7/25).

U.N. News: Ending marginalization of persons with disabilities ‘a matter of justice,’ U.N.-backed summit told
“Inclusive education, economic empowerment, and technological innovations were the focus of discussion on Tuesday as world leaders gathered in London for the first-ever United Nations-backed Global Disability Summit. … Acknowledging that there is more to do to make the world ‘a more equal and just place,’ Achim Steiner, administrator of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), told the participants at the summit how the U.N. is looking to better address disabilities in all settings, ‘to ensure that persons with disabilities are given equal access and voice in society, so that they can realize their fullest possible potential.’ He linked the path to realizing the SDGs to a world free from marginalizing persons with disabilities…” (7/24).

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DRC Confirms End Of Ebola Outbreak; WHO Calls For Sustained Vigilance

Associated Press: Congo confirms end of latest deadly Ebola outbreak
“Congo’s latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus is over, the health ministry announced Tuesday, after a speedy response to limit its spread in remote rural areas and a city of more than one million people. Health experts said the use of a still-experimental vaccine on more than 3,300 people was a major factor in containing the outbreak, Congo’s ninth since the hemorrhagic fever was first identified in 1976…” (Petesch/Mwanamilongo, 7/24).

The Guardian: DRC Ebola outbreak is officially declared over
“…There were 53 cases and 29 deaths in the DRC outbreak that began in early May, but a massive effort began to contain it as soon as the government declared it was Ebola. Although DRC had successfully contained and closed down eight Ebola outbreaks in the past four decades, the most recent appeared on the Congo River, the main arterial transport route through the country…” (Boseley, 7/24).

Wall Street Journal: Congo Declares End to Ninth Ebola Outbreak
“…The WHO warned that there remains a risk of resurgence of Ebola from potentially undetected transmission chains and sexual transmission of the disease by male survivors, who can carry the virus in semen for up to a year. On Monday, a study published in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases also for the first time documented a case in which a woman, who survived Ebola in 2014, transmitted the virus a year later” (Bariyo et al., 7/24).

Additional coverage of this story is available from Agence France-Presse, CNN, Devex, The Hill, Nature, New York Times, Reuters, TIME, and U.N. News.

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15 People Detained In China Vaccine Scandal As Concerns Over Impact Widen

Associated Press: 15 detained in China rabies vaccine scandal
“…Those detained include the CEO of Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd., which has been accused of fabricating production and inspection records following a surprise visit to company offices by inspectors last week. The other 14 were also executives at the company, state broadcaster CCTV said on Wednesday…” (7/25).

CNN: Vaccine scandal exposes the contradictions at the heart of the ‘Chinese dream’
“Health scandals in China have a history of reaching well beyond the country’s borders. … Hundreds of thousands of vaccines have been found to be faulty, sparking widespread fury and panic and leading President Xi Jinping to describe the incident as ‘vile and shocking.’ But the concern shared by many parents in the wake of the scandal — that it might not be isolated to one company, and could be more widespread — risks turning into a backlash against Xi’s government and his key policy of the ‘Chinese dream’…” (Griffiths, 7/24).

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U.N. Ready To Assist In Laos After Dam Collapse Leaves More Than 6K Homeless

U.N. News: U.N. ready to assist rescue and relief effort as dam collapses in Laos, with many feared dead
“Following reports that dozens of people are dead or missing following the collapse of a dam that was under construction in Laos, the United Nations chief on Tuesday said that the world body stands ready to support the rescue and relief efforts, if authorities request it. According to news reports, the collapse of the dam created flash flooding conditions that swept through Attapeu province in south-eastern Laos, submerging villages and leaving more than 6,000 homeless…” (7/24).

Additional coverage of this story is available from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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More News In Global Health

International Business Times: Malaria scare grips Delhi: 75 cases reported so far outpacing dengue and chikungunya (Rai, 7/24).

Nature: Malaria’s ticking time bomb (Maxmen, 7/25).

Reuters: Medical aid group MSF suspends work in part of S.Sudan after office overrun (Dumo/Obulutsa, 7/24).

VOA News: U.N. Launches $22M Appeal to Tackle Ethiopian Displacement Crisis (Schlein, 7/24).

WBUR: Mental Health Solutions An Uphill Battle In Rural Honduras (Miller-Medzon, 7/23).

Washington Post: ‘What is rape, Mom?’: A small town in India grapples with how to protect children (Doshi, 7/24).

Xinhua News: Study explores risk factors linked to chikungunya, dengue outbreaks (7/25).

Xinhua News: WHO to assist Myanmar in snail fever prevention (7/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Donors, Governments Must Increase Support For Harm Reduction Services To Prevent HIV

Devex: Opinion: The global HIV response is neglecting people who use drugs
Naomi Burke-Shyne, deputy director of Harm Reduction International

“…People who inject drugs are one of the most at-risk populations for HIV and over 20 times more likely to contract the virus than the general public. The risks are entirely preventable. Harm reduction services, such as needle and syringe programs and opioid substitution therapy, are proven to prevent HIV and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs and are cost-effective. … Though there is a clear need to scale-up these services, our new research shows international donor funding for harm reduction is falling, and with it placing the global HIV/AIDS response in peril. … It is astounding that in the face of this crisis and with governments claiming they are committed to ending AIDS by 2030, financial support for harm reduction is waning. … The majority of governments exclude, criminalize, and demonize people who inject drugs, in the process creating a barrier for them to access HIV services. Governments are, in effect, creating their own public health crises. … If governments are serious in realizing their shared goal of ending AIDS, donors must increase support for person-centered harm reduction services…” (7/24).

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Integration Of TB-HIV Services, Civil Society Engagement Vital To Ending Both Diseases

Inter Press Service: HIV-TB Connection: Key to Ending Infections
Tom Maguire, communications manager at RESULTS U.K.

“…Globally, progress is being made to integrate TB-HIV services. … The recent integration of the two programs is already helping to identify more cases of both diseases and ensure those that are living with TB/HIV co-infection are put on an appropriate course of treatment. … Civil society organizations (CSOs) and peer educators … play a leading role in the fight to end the world’s two deadliest infectious disease and ensuring no group or individual gets left behind. But their efforts are futile unless governments and donors ensure those that need treatment can access it. … On the road to the first-ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB, advocates are using the AIDS conference to highlight the deadly link between HIV and TB … and to make it clear that attaining the Sustainable Development Goals rests heavily on how well societies understand and treat these diseases” (7/24).

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U.S. Support For Formula Industry Affects Different Races Disproportionately

The Conversation: U.S. support of formula over breastfeeding is a race issue
Andrea Freeman, associate professor at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law

“…American support of the formula industry comes at the cost of the health and lives of black and brown babies, at home and abroad. Both the [U.N. breastfeeding] resolution and the U.S. opposition to it stemmed from a decline in formula sales in the United States. The industry has sought to make up for its considerable domestic losses on the global market. The racial aspects of this local-global dynamic are hidden in plain sight. … Racially targeted marketing of formula has dire consequences, at home and abroad. In the United States, black mothers and children suffer disproportionately from a host of illnesses and conditions linked to formula use, from ear infections to infant mortality. Overseas, families sold on the superiority of formula that lack the means to purchase sufficient quantities often dilute it, with sometimes deadly consequences. … Racism — be it explicit, structural, or unconscious — accounts for the widespread indifference to the racially disproportionate effects of U.S. breastfeeding policies…” (7/23).

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International Community Must Heed Lessons Learned In Ebola Outbreaks To Prevent Future Epidemics

The Guardian: We’ve halted the spread of deadly Ebola in Congo — so what went right?
Oly Ilunga Kalenga, minister of health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

“…With our partners, we applied many of the lessons learned from our experiences in both West Africa and DRC. … While Ebola remains a formidable challenge for DRC and the rest of the world, we raised the bar on our own ability as a country to detect and respond effectively to outbreaks despite highly challenging circumstances. We must continue to improve our capacity to contain diseases and prepare for Ebola outbreak number 10, which we know will happen. This ninth Ebola outbreak in DRC was unlike any other, but the lessons learned here can be applied anywhere in the world. … [I]t is in our common interest to achieve global health security. The first step is to learn from each other and take responsibility by improving our capacity to detect and respond to any outbreak that starts within our national borders” (7/25).

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Sierra Leone's Government Should Resolve Issues Regarding Mismanagement Of Ebola Response, Recovery Funds

Al Jazeera: Why Ebola survivors are suing Sierra Leone
Yusuf Kabba, president of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors

“…[The Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors (SLAES)] … recently announced its intention to join a lawsuit against the government of Sierra Leone in an international court for the mismanagement of the Ebola response and recovery effort, which led to more infections and unnecessary human suffering. … [W]e believe that [Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio] must determine who stole the Ebola funds, hold any perpetrators accountable through criminal penalties, and take steps to ensure that any stolen funds are returned to the government of Sierra Leone. … Sierra Leone should undertake a comprehensive review of what happened during and after the Ebola outbreak, using internationally recognized financial reporting standards. The findings of this review should be made public so we can all understand what happened over the last four years and take the necessary steps to fix it. … We all must hold our governments to higher standards to ensure they allocate donations and funds appropriately during moments of crisis…” (7/24).

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Better Methods Of Evaluation Needed To Accurately Measure Progress Toward Health, Economic Wellbeing

The Hill: Policymakers relying too much on life expectancy in formulating health policy
Jacquelyn Corley, neurological surgery resident at Duke University Medical Center, research fellow at Harvard’s Program for Global Surgery and Social Change, and human rights journalist

“…Even in many of the countries where the most health care progress has been made, there have been few notable economic improvements. … A study published earlier in July in the Lancet Global Health illuminates the discrepancies between improved health outcomes and economic wellbeing. The authors developed a new metric for population level measurements, called poverty-free life expectancy (PFLE). … The authors of the study argue that traditional benchmarks for health, especially life expectancy, fail to accurately capture societal improvements or problems, and that adding the PFLE to our understanding of global populations would allow policymakers to better consider the ‘broad consequences of decisions, policies, and reforms.’ … Regardless of whether PFLE is the right way to quantify poverty in populations, all can agree that global poverty needs to be addressed aggressively and that policymakers, researchers, and others involved in global health need a multidisciplinary approach that will help them properly tackle health care from every angle, including the relationship between poverty and health…” (7/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

AIDS 2018 Official Press Releases Discuss Government Funding For HIV, New Data From Sub-Saharan Africa

AIDS 2018: Donor cuts could threaten global progress on HIV, new research warns
“If donor government funding for HIV continues to fall, nearly two decades of progress against the disease will be in jeopardy, according to new research presented at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) today. … Today’s press briefing, chaired by Jennifer Kates of Kaiser Family Foundation, highlighted the results of three new studies…” (7/25).

AIDS 2018: New HIV data from sub-Saharan Africa highlight challenges and reasons for hope
“Researchers and public health experts presented promising new data on the HIV epidemic and response in sub-Saharan Africa at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) today. … Today’s press conference highlighted five abstracts being presented at AIDS 2018…” (7/25).

The latest official AIDS 2018 press releases are available online.

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'Science Speaks' Continues Coverage Of AIDS 2018 In Amsterdam

Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at “Science Speaks,” and Rabita Aziz, writer at “Science Speaks” and senior global health policy specialist at IDSA, report from the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam on “news, updates, and analysis of new research findings, evidence-based responses, and community action for global access to HIV treatment and prevention.”

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2018: Elton John announces HIV funding for LGBT and people who inject drugs in Eastern Europe, Central Asia (Aziz, 7/24).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2018: Safe injecting sites open public health opportunities across Europe (Barton, 7/24).

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IntraHealth Southern Africa Director Discusses HIV-Related Health, Social Challenges Of Adolescent Women In Namibia

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: Twelve Years Later, HIV in Namibia Looks Very Different
Kate Stratten, director for Southern Africa Programs at IntraHealth International, discusses the HIV-related health and social challenges adolescent girls and young women face in Namibia. Stratten writes, “[W]hile numbers, targets, and results are important, they cannot take priority over providing comprehensive services for those who need them most, including these adolescent girls in Namibia. The need for support groups for young girls and parents is critical if countries are to reach epidemic control. The need for life skills, peer support, and understanding cannot be underestimated” (7/24).

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FHI 360-Supported Study Examines Impacts, Costs Of Using Drones For HIV-Related Lab Services In Kenya

FHI 360’s “Research for Evidence”: Do UAVs have a role in improving viral suppression for people living with HIV in remote Kenya? A study design using system modeling in a GIS
Caleb Parker, research associate and GIS analyst at FHI 360, and colleagues “describe an ongoing FHI 360-funded study that aims to model the potential impact and costs of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — commonly called drones — to transport laboratory specimens in Turkana, Kenya, using data from an existing HIV service delivery program and other open source data.” The authors note the study’s results will inform decision makers about the impacts and cost effectiveness of UAV transportation for HIV-related laboratory samples and supplies (7/24).

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UNICEF Commends DRC's Ebola Response, Notes Ongoing Vigilance Needed

UNICEF: DRC Ebola epidemic ends, but ongoing vigilance is essential to keeping children safe from future outbreaks — UNICEF
“The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [on Tuesday] announced the end of the Ebola virus epidemic, eleven weeks after its declaration in the Province of Equateur, in the country’s northwest. UNICEF commends the effective joint response … ‘It is thanks to the cooperation of all the partners under the coordination of the Government of the DRC, that we’ve been successful in mobilizing communities to adopt behaviors and practices to contain the disease,’ said Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ‘But we have to stay vigilant against future outbreaks by strengthening surveillance systems. Communication and community engagement efforts are also essential to avoiding and controlling new epidemics in the region’…” (7/24).

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GFF Releases 2017-2018 Annual Report

Global Financing Facility: Global Financing Facility Report Shows Early Results in Countries
“The Global Financing Facility in Support of Every Woman Every Child (GFF) [on Tuesday] released its 2017-2018 annual report. The report shows progress in 16 countries over the last three years where GFF-supported countries have invested more resources in high-impact interventions to save and improve the lives of women, children, and adolescents…” (7/24).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID, Partners Launch ATscale Global Partnership For Assistive Technology At Disability Summit

USAID: Global Partnership For Assistive Technology
“…Progress in accelerating access to [Assistive Technology (AT)] has been slow and sporadic, and investments uncoordinated. To tackle these challenges, USAID, led by the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) and the Center for Innovation and Impact (CII), and partners have launched ATscale: A Global Partnership for Assistive Technology. … On July 24, 2018, ATscale was formally launched at the Global Disability Summit by Penny Mordaunt, U.K. secretary of state for international development and Member of Parliament. The partnership aims to help 500 million people get the AT they need by 2030 through service delivery and market-shaping approaches; creating partnerships with the private sector to build and serve markets in the lowest-resource countries; supporting the development of country plans for greater access; and catalyzing innovation to design and introduce suitable AT where needed…” (7/24).

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