KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Bank, USAID, E.U. Announce Additional Funding For DRC Ebola Outbreak; U.S. Senate Hearing, U.N. Security Council Meeting Discuss Response, Challenges

CIDRAP News: Ebola region rocked by more violence as new funds announced
“…[On Wednesday,] the World Bank Group announced an additional $300 million to help scale up response efforts in the DRC. … According to the World Bank, the money will cover the Ebola-affected health zones in DRC and enable the government, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, World Food Programme, International Organization for Migration, and other responders to step up the frontline health response. Also [Wednesday], the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an additional $38 million for the outbreak, which includes $15 million directed toward the WHO. USAID has given $136 million to the outbreak since August of 2018…” (Soucheray, 7/24).

Devex: Ebola funding increases as crisis worsens
“The European Union is set to allocate a further €30 million ($33.4 million), and USAID has committed over $38 million in additional funding to the Ebola crisis as donors come under pressure to up their commitments. The World Bank, which has been under scrutiny recently for its Ebola funding disbursements, has also announced $300 million in additional grants and credits for the response. Monique Pariat, director general of the humanitarian aid department at the European Commission, told members of the European Parliament that the outbreak will continue ‘well into 2020.’ … The $300 million from the World Bank will come from the International Development Association — its funding window for lowest-income countries — and the bank’s Crisis Response Window. … The bank says the amount is ‘approximately half’ of anticipated funding needs in the fourth strategic response plan, which has yet to be finalized…” (Chadwick/Ravelo, 7/25).

Devex: U.S. Senators search for ways to aid Ebola response in latest hearing
“U.S. Senators were looking for ways Congress might be able to assist in furthering Ebola response efforts at a hearing on Wednesday. In the 2014 outbreak, part of the answer was a $5.4 billion special appropriations package, but administration officials testifying at the hearing said money may not be the solution now. … Senators at a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing expressed their concern for the situation, summed up by the subcommittee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, as ‘everybody up here wants to help you, give us a quick shopping list of how we can help you.’ But the panel of administration officials from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the State Department didn’t exactly take him up on the offer. The hearing instead touched on a number of issues involved in the ongoing epidemic — including funding, DRC leadership, and security concerns…” (Saldinger, 7/25).

U.N. News: ‘Deadly environment’ plus ‘political and social’ obstacles hinder Ebola fight in DR Congo, Security Council hears
“The problems of eradicating Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are not only medical, but also linked ‘to a variety of political and social factors,’ the head of the U.N. mission in the country told the Security Council on Wednesday. ‘Along with continuing high levels of community distrust around the response to the epidemic,’ Leila Zerrougui — U.N. special representative and head of the U.N.’s Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) — said that militants, including the ADF and Mai-Mai groups, have caused ‘a deadly environment’ for the people working to counter the virus, ‘to the point of being specifically threatened and killed by armed groups’…” (7/24).

Washington Times: USAID offers nearly $40M more for Ebola fight
“…The [U.S.] money will support on-the-ground efforts to track the disease and prevent new infections, train health workers, and promote safe burials, so the disease does not spread from deceased patients to community members. Beyond the DRC, the money will help Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda prepare for possible cases…” (Howell, 7/24).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg, The Hill, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Nature, Reuters (2), San Diego Union-Tribune, Science, and U.S. News & World Report.

Link to individual story

More Focus, Political Will Needed To Help Governments Build Better, More Transparent Domestic Financial Systems, Experts Say

Devex: Domestic resources for development a ‘highly neglected’ action area, experts say
“Development leaders crafted the Addis Ababa Action Agenda with an eye on mobilizing domestic public resources. But the focus on helping countries raise more funds and effectively manage them, borne from the Financing for Development Forum in 2015, has since been eclipsed by a focus on private capital and private business, according to some development experts. … More focus, more resources, and importantly more political will are needed to improve the ability of countries to effectively and transparently tax and manage their finances…” (Saldinger, 7/24).

Link to individual story

Private Foreign Investments As Important As Foreign Aid In Low-Income Countries, CGD Study Says

Reuters: Private capital as important as aid to poor countries, study says
“Private capital inflows are, on average, as important now to the economies of the world’s low-income countries as foreign development assistance, according to a study published on Wednesday by the Center for Global Development. In Africa, where most of those nations are located, the inflows have been bolstered by foreign direct investment (FDI) from China, which is rapidly catching up with traditional players. … Worryingly, however, the study found that growth in private capital inflows to low-income countries did not correlate to increased domestic private investment…” (Bavier, 7/24).

Link to individual story

U.K. PM Johnson Appoints Alok Sharma As International Development Secretary

Devex: DFID survives another day as Alok Sharma named new secretary of state
“Alok Sharma was named as the U.K.’s latest secretary of state for international development on Wednesday, joining the cabinet of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He becomes the Department for International Development’s fifth leader in four years, with insiders saying that frequent changeovers have become a source of disruption and frustration internally. Nonetheless, it was a moment of quiet relief for the development community amid speculation that DFID might lose its secretary of state under aid skeptic Johnson and be asked to report to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. … Little is known about [Sharma’s] views on aid, but he released a statement Wednesday saying ‘we will work across the whole of government to deliver Brexit and make sure U.K. aid is tackling global challenges that affect us all, such as climate change, disease, and humanitarian disasters’…” (Abrahams, 7/25).

Link to individual story

More News In Global Health

Bloomberg: Climate Change May Draw $200 Billion Vaccine Boom, Analyst Says (Flanagan, 7/24).

Financial Times: GSK market hopes boosted by two-drug HIV trial (Neville/Kuchler, 7/24).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Highlights from the RCOG World Congress (McIntosh, August 2019).

New Humanitarian: Drugs and hunger: What awaits Colombia’s newly displaced families (Sherriff, 7/24).

Reuters: Elton John AIDS fundraiser brings in $6 mln for Kenya HIV testing (Mills, 7/25).

Reuters: Swiss minister under fire for tobacco sponsorship of Expo pavilion (Miller, 7/24).

Science: Simpler HIV treatment and prevention strategies take center stage (Cohen, 7/24).

Xinhua News: 9 million most vulnerable Yemenis benefit from cash assistance: UNICEF (7/25).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Asks If Americans Learned To Fear Ebola Less After West African Outbreak

STAT: What if we’re no longer afraid of Ebola?
Helen Branswell, senior writer at STAT

“…Why isn’t [the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] getting more attention? … I wonder if the West African outbreak taught citizens of the U.S. and other countries that typically help out in an Ebola outbreak a different lesson. Maybe the idea that eventually took root was that Ebola wasn’t the threat to us that we thought it was. … That definitely shouldn’t be the lesson anyone took from that horrible outbreak. What West Africa and northeastern DRC should teach us is that struggling states with weak health systems are fertile ground for hard-to-contain disease outbreaks that will be massively expensive to stop if they aren’t addressed quickly and aggressively. … But in the meantime I am left wondering if we have learned to fear this virus less. And in the process, if we have let Ebola drift toward the column of bad diseases — things like cholera and yellow fever, Guinea worm and malaria — that we’re not so concerned about. Sure, they sicken and kill lots of people. But they don’t do it here” (7/25).

Link to individual story

Global Fragility Act Highlights Importance Of Funding Conflict Prevention For Development

Devex: Opinion: What the Global Fragility Act could mean for development investments
Elisabeth Dallas, director, and Brittany Patterson, senior manager, both with the Chemonics Peace, Stability, and Transition practice

“The Global Fragility Act requires the U.S. government, in collaboration with civil society, to develop a 10-year strategy to enhance stability and to reduce violence and fragility globally. The GFA — recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and up for a full vote by the Senate — provides a unique opportunity to shift the way the international development community views and implements conflict prevention programming. … Implementing partners, in conjunction with the local networks they have established, can identify windows of opportunity to interrupt cycles of violence and recognize early warning signs of potential conflict. As such, we argue that there are five best practices that will help guide effective conflict prevention efforts: 1. Move away from making decisions in a vacuum … 2. Treat implementing partners as equal partners by establishing a forum for government-civil society collaboration … 3. Leverage other sector-based programs for prevention … 4. Recognize that humanitarian actors can play an instrumental role … 5. Assess conflict dynamics early and often to inform stabilization programming … The GFA provides an opportunity now to act on a concept that has eluded development practitioners for far too long — convincing donors that funding conflict prevention is worth the investment. We encourage senators to follow the lead of their colleagues in the House of Representatives and pass this innovative legislation…” (7/25).

Link to individual story

Opinion Piece Discusses Foreign Private Investment In Low-Income Countries

Inter Press Service: Foreign Private Investment in Low-Income Countries: More Important Than You Think
Nancy Lee, senior policy fellow, and Asad Sami, research assistant, both at the Center for Global Development

“In a world of stagnating public aid, limited fiscal space, and rising public debt in low-income countries (LICs), can they realistically expect to rely more on private finance from foreigners? What does the evidence suggest? Our new paper looks at recent cross-border private capital inflows to LICs. You might be surprised at what has happened since the global financial crisis. Foreign private investment has caught up to foreign aid as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) for the median LIC. … China more than doubled its stock of [foreign direct investment (FDI)] in Africa between 2011 and 2016 — and the amount is now closing in on that of large traditional direct investors like the United States, United Kingdom, and France. Much attention has been paid to China’s role as a creditor to Africa; its role as a rapidly growing direct investor has received less attention. … [T]here is also not-so-good news. More private foreign investment does not necessarily mean more private domestic investment in LICs. And private inflow ratios do not predictably rise with country per capita income. That means that donors reducing concessional finance as countries move out of LIC status should not assume private inflows will take up the slack” (7/24).

Link to individual story

Addressing Underlying Causes Of Poverty Critical To Ensuring Sustainable Peace, Development In Sahel

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: It’s time to address the root causes of human suffering in the Sahel
Mark Lowcock, U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, emergency relief coordinator, and head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

“…[W]e must break [the] cyclical nature of dealing with short-term needs and address what are long-term causes. Unless we address underlying causes [of poverty, including climate change], the military and humanitarian efforts in the Sahel will fail. Three areas of action are needed: First, the Sahel needs sustained development investment to build basic services, improve infrastructure, manage population growth, and find more diversified income sources for people. … Second, strong national leadership, together with more effective international support, is needed to strengthen the rule of law, judicial systems, and human rights frameworks, which can help bring sustainable peace and development to the region. … Third, we need to continue to save and protect lives. … [W]e need to do a lot more to treat the real causes for the continued crisis in the Sahel. We owe it … as an investment in peace and development that will ultimately benefit us all” (7/19).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

Devex Deputy Editor Discusses Mexico City Policy's Potential Impacts In Blog Post

Prospect Magazine: Foreign aid, abortion, and a new reminder of the Trump administration’s cruelty
Jessica Abrahams, deputy editor of Devex and former production editor of Prospect, writes in her Prospect blog about the Trump administration’s reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City policy. Abrahams writes, “Two and a half years on, new research has confirmed just how harmful this rule really is. As the evidence continues to mount, so does the damage inflicted on vulnerable groups. … The existing studies have only been able to examine the impact of earlier iterations of the gag rule — data that would allow a full analysis of the current version is not yet available. … [T]he full impacts of the [current iteration of the] policy are still revealing themselves, as contracts expire without being renewed, surveys are conducted and figures gathered” (7/25).

Link to individual story

Human Rights Watch Discusses Nominee For U.S. Ambassador To U.N. In Geneva

Human Rights Watch: U.S. Senate: Oppose Nominee to U.N. Mission in Geneva
“The United States Senate should reject Andrew Bremberg’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Human Rights Watch said [Wednesday]. … The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva needs to be able to fully represent the United States in global efforts to address women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive rights, and other humanitarian and health challenges. … Bremberg has demonstrated in his confirmation hearing and written responses that he will not uphold women’s sexual and reproductive rights…” (7/24).

Link to individual story

Research In Africa Represents Important Contribution To Progress On HIV/AIDS, CFR Senior Fellow Says

Council on Foreign Relations: Taking a Moment to Recognize HIV/AIDS Research in Africa
Michelle Gavin, senior fellow for Africa studies at CFR, acknowledges the importance of three studies that were published last week on HIV/AIDS, writing, “The work done in these African countries by local and international scientists, public officials, and community leaders advances knowledge and improves health outcomes for people everywhere. HIV/AIDS continues to take a heavy toll on Africa, but it’s a global problem. This African research is a contribution to humanity” (7/24).

Link to individual story

Pregnant Women Face Challenges Accessing Maternal Care In Venezuela, Flee To Colombia For Care

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees: Pregnant women flee lack of maternal health care in Venezuela
Alejandra Roma, associate communications officer at UNHCR, discusses the challenges that pregnant women face in accessing maternal health care in Venezuela, causing them to flee to Colombia for care (7/23).

Link to individual story

From the U.S. Government

USAID Announces More Than $38M In Additional Assistance To Help End DRC Ebola Outbreak

USAID: The United States Announces More Than $38 Million in Additional Assistance to Contain the Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing more than $38 million in additional assistance to help end the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including $15 million in new funding to the World Health Organization. This brings the total USAID funding for the response to Ebola to more than $136 million since the beginning of the outbreak in August 2018. With this funding, the United States is providing lifesaving assistance, through on-the-ground partners, including activities to prevent and control infections in health facilities, enhanced surveillance for the disease, training for health care workers, community-engagement efforts, the promotion of safe and dignified burials, and food, to support people and communities affected by Ebola. In addition, the United States is funding critical preparedness efforts in the neighboring countries of Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda. The funding announced … is in addition to contributions from other U.S. departments and agencies and the U.S. private sector…” (7/24).

Link to individual story

U.S. Senate Committee On Foreign Relations Subcommittee On Africa And Global Health Policy Holds Hearing On Ebola

U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: Confronting Ebola: Addressing a 21st Century Global Health Crisis
During a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy hearing on Wednesday, Tibor Nagy, assistant secretary at the Bureau of African Affairs; Marcia Bernicat, principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; Tim Ziemer, senior deputy assistant administrator at the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance; and Mitch Wolfe, chief medical officer at the CDC, provided testimony on U.S. efforts to address the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (7/24).

Link to individual story

CDC Newsletter Highlights Uganda's Ebola Preparedness, Response Efforts

CDC’s “CDC Around the World”: Uganda Preparedness and Response to Ebola
This issue of “CDC Around the World” contains a blog post on three responders’ experiences addressing Ebola in Uganda; a piece on the role of preparedness and CDC’s investments in Uganda to improve response efforts in the country; an infographic mapping outbreaks and public health emergencies in Uganda that were investigated by CDC-supported Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) fellows; and a video on efforts led by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Uganda Red Cross to address Ebola at the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda (7/24).

Link to individual story