KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Amid IAS 2017, HIV Experts Express Concern Over Impact Of U.S. Budget Cuts On Efforts To Eliminate Disease

Devex: HIV advocates fear U.S. cuts and ‘gag rule’ could undermine global progress
“Even as HIV researchers buzzed about scientific advances and policymakers championed significant gains, this week’s International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science was dominated by concerns over global funding and worries that continued drops might undercut recent progress. The most acute concerns center around the United States, the largest global donor to HIV care. If Congress adopts President Donald Trump’s proposed … cuts in funding for HIV programs in ongoing budget negotiations, the world could see as many as 90,000 additional AIDS-related deaths starting next year, the Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated. The loss of funding would further drain a diminishing pool of resources. A joint report from KFF and UNAIDS released ahead of the conference showed a 7 percent drop in global donor funding for HIV in 2016, plunging totals to a six-year low…” (Green, 7/28).

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Foreign Policy Experts Offer Numerous Recommendations For U.S. Foreign Assistance Program Reforms

Devex: In Trump’s U.S. aid shake-up, advocates see a window for long-sought reforms
“If President Donald Trump’s administration undertakes a good-faith effort to improve United States foreign assistance programs, there will be plenty of advice on how best to do it. Already this month, three leading development think tanks have released detailed, thoroughly argued blueprints for U.S. aid reform, covering issues ranging from hiring and personnel management, to contracting and procurement, to changing the way America delivers humanitarian assistance. They are hoping to find a receptive audience in a White House that has sent shockwaves through the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development by signaling it plans to carry out a heavy-handed reform…” (Igoe, 7/28).

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Media Outlets Report On Global Impact Of Hepatitis, WHO Calls For Elimination Of Hepatitis B, C On World Day

Devex: Deadly lack of action on hepatitis in Asia, experts say
“While progress is made on other global health issues, hepatitis-related deaths continue to increase — a situation that campaigners are calling attention to on World Hepatitis Day. Between 2000 and 2015, … deaths from viral hepatitis increased by 22 percent to 1.34 million, and that figure is expected to climb further if current policies on surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment are not improved, according to this year’s World Health Organization global hepatitis report…” (Ravelo, 7/28).

Healio: WHO launches injection safety campaign for World Hepatitis Day
“As a part of the World Health Organization’s ongoing efforts to promote education and awareness about hepatitis prevention, the organization will launch the ‘Get the Point: Make Smart Injection Choices’ campaign in advance of World Hepatitis Day…” (Bennett, 7/27).

Reuters: Hepatitis drugs more affordable but disease still deadly: WHO
“Prices of drugs to cure hepatitis C and to treat hepatitis B are dropping dramatically, offering affordability and hope to 325 million people living with the viral liver disease that can be fatal, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday…” (Nebehay, 7/27).

U.N. News Centre: Ahead of World Day, U.N. agency says fight against hepatitis ‘gaining momentum’
“On the eve of World Hepatitis Day, the United Nations health agency released a study that reveals efforts to eliminate the disease are gaining momentum globally. ‘It is encouraging to see countries turning commitment into action to tackle hepatitis,’ said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (7/27).

VOA News: WHO: Hepatitis B, C Could Be Eliminated by 2030
“…WHO reports viral hepatitis B and C affected 325 million people and caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015, and is calling for the elimination of the public health threat by reducing new infections by 90 percent and death by 65 percent by 2030…” (Schlein, 7/27).

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Seoul Conference Addresses Future Of Global Health Security Agenda

Homeland Preparedness News: With GHSA conference underway, world considers best path forward for disease control
“In Seoul, South Korea, dozens of countries [gathered] this week to discuss the future of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which seeks to protect the world from infectious disease threats and has formed the backbone of biosecurity initiatives across the globe for more than three years. … In the lead-up to the conference, more than 100 health and health security organizations … banded together in a call for the GHSA’s continued operation for at least another five years. The current lifespan of the organization is scheduled to conclude in 2019, and members are currently hammering out what form future operations would take…” (Galford, 7/26).

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The Economist Examines Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility Created To Help Fund Future Disease Outbreak Responses

The Economist: Fighting disease with finance: Pandemic bonds, a new idea
“…The World Bank says the probability of another pandemic in the next 10 to 15 years is high. That is why it has issued $425m in pandemic bonds to support its new Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), which is intended to channel funding to countries facing a deadly disease…” (7/27).

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Warring Sides In Yemen Pledge To Allow Aid Delivery; UNICEF Executive Director Calls For End Of Conflict

Associated Press: AP Interview: Yemen factions said to have pledged easing aid
“Warring sides in Yemen’s civil war promised visiting U.N. agency chiefs to clear obstacles to aid delivery in a nation where cholera is spreading rapidly and hundreds of thousands of children are severely malnourished, the head of the U.N. child welfare agency said Thursday. … The way to end the entirely man-made disaster is clear, said Anthony Lake, the executive director of UNICEF. ‘Stop the war,’ he said, addressing those involved in the civil war, both inside and outside Yemen…” (Laub, 7/28).

BBC News: Yemen conflict: A nation’s agony as cholera and hunger spread
“…Yemen’s health, water, and sanitation systems are collapsing after two years of war between government forces — backed by a Saudi-led coalition carrying out air strikes — and the rebel Houthi movement…” (7/27).

The Guardian: ‘A children’s crisis’: now 80% of all kids in Yemen are in need
“…The impact of war and hunger on the country’s 12.5 million young people has been compounded by what the directors of the World Health Organization, the U.N. Children’s Fund, and the World Food Programme described in a joint statement as ‘the world’s worst cholera outbreak in the midst of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis’…” (Lyons, 7/27).

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UNICEF U.K. Executive Director Speaks About Humanitarian Organization Reform In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Head of UNICEF U.K. on the need for humanitarian reform
“International humanitarian organizations need to put more resources into ‘foresight, knowledge, and analysis,’ take on more risk, maintain their independence from security actors, and be prepared to downsize in the wake of localization trends if they are to stay relevant and effective in a challenging aid environment, according to Mike Penrose, the new executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund in the United Kingdom. … Devex caught up with Penrose … to find out more about his work at UNICEF U.K., and how he sees the humanitarian sector evolving…” (Edwards, 7/27).

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UNFPA Acting Director Natalia Kanem Discusses Demographic Dividend, Reaching SDGs In IPS Interview

Inter Press Service: “The Time is Now” to Invest in Youth, Girls
“…The U.N. Population Fund’s (UNFPA) new acting Executive Director Natalia Kanem, who assumed her new role after the unexpected death of former Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin, sat down with IPS to discuss the issues, challenges, and goals towards achieving the demographic dividend and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (Yakupitiyage, 7/28).

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Militants Block Humanitarian Aid From Reaching Somalis In Need Of Nutrition, Medical Assistance

The Guardian: Al-Shabaab militants ban starving Somalis from accessing aid
“Islamist militants in Somalia have imposed a ban on humanitarian assistance in areas they control, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to choose between death from starvation and disease or brutal punishment. … Somalia is suffering its worst drought in 40 years, with the effects of climatic catastrophe compounded by war and poor governance…” (Burke, 7/27).

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Myanmar Requests WHO Assistance In Addressing Swine Flu Outbreak; At Least 6 Dead, 30 Infected

Agence France-Presse: Myanmar seeks WHO help with deadly swine flu outbreak
“Myanmar health authorities have asked the U.N.’s health agency for help to combat a deadly outbreak of swine flu that has sparked alarm in the commercial capital. At least six people have died and 30 more have been infected over the past week, most of them in the country’s biggest city Yangon, a senior health ministry official said Thursday…” (7/27).

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BMJ Analysis Raises Questions Regarding Advice To Finish Treatment Courses Of Antibiotics

CNN: Researchers question whether you should really finish your antibiotics
“The standing argument that failing to complete a course of antibiotics could fuel the rise of antibiotic resistance has little evidence, a group of United Kingdom researchers argue in a new paper. In an analysis published in the medical journal the BMJ on Thursday, they say that completing a course of antibiotics may instead increase the risk of resistance…” (Rahim, 7/27).

The Guardian: Rule that patients must finish antibiotics course is wrong, study says
“…[T]he experts say ‘the idea that stopping antibiotic treatment early encourages antibiotic resistance is not supported by evidence, while taking antibiotics for longer than necessary increases the risk of resistance’…” (Boseley, 7/26).

Washington Post: New debate on antibiotics: Do you really need to take the full course?
“…Several infectious disease experts agreed these are questions worth asking, but that it’s premature to drop the decades-old advice…” (Cha, 7/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Foreign Assistance Overhaul Can 'Make Our Aid Stronger, Smarter'

Devex: Opinion: It’s time to build a new U.S. agency for global development
George Ingram, senior fellow at the Brookings Intuition; Tessie San-Martin, president and CEO of Plan International USA; and Connie Veillette, senior fellow at the Lugar Center, all co-chairs of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN)

“…The Trump administration has a unique opportunity to rewrite the development playbook to make our aid stronger, smarter, and more driven to achieve better results for the American people, as well as people in developing countries. To seed that effort, we recently released a proposal that streamlines U.S. aid architecture into two new agencies: a consolidated aid agency and a development finance corporation. … Our proposal aims to bring together the best of U.S. development efforts into a coherent structure that is driven by objectives, results, and mission. … This proposal offers several concrete avenues for how to pursue efficiencies while also empowering each of the three D’s [(development, diplomacy, and defense)] to focus on what they do best. We look forward to a long overdue conversation in the development community as colleagues release their own proposals for how to modernize and maximize the way in which we deliver U.S. foreign assistance” (7/27).

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Global Community Must Continue To Invest In Vaccines, Strengthen Immunization Systems

Devex: Opinion: Vaccination rates are high — but they’re not high enough
Orin Levine, director of vaccine delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Mike Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

“…Here’s what we see in this year’s [WHO/UNICEF report on global immunization coverage]: overall high but stagnating levels of protection, with a few places where there are as many people unprotected as protected, and some alarming holes in protection in unexpected places. … Immunization is an essential component of the armor that protects us from risks at home and abroad. … [W]e cannot let success lead to complacency and stagnation. We must continue to invest in vaccines and strengthen the systems that protect our communities. We must also commit to reporting the most accurate numbers, even if it is politically challenging and the numbers are not the most convenient ones. While these figures might reveal lower coverage rates in the near term, the information is essential for targeting our efforts to increase coverage and … ensur[ing] that no child anywhere suffers from vaccine-preventable diseases” (7/27).

The Lancet: Collaborating to achieve Global Vaccine Action Plan goals
Alan R. Hinman, consulting senior adviser at the Center for Vaccine Equity, and Walter A. Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center and professor at Emory University

“…Although mechanisms to facilitate coordination and cooperation between global immunization partners currently exist, they are insufficient to address the many unmet needs of countries and partners and to provide the structure and support needed to achieve the [Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP)] goals. A new approach is urgently needed. We propose convening a new GVAP coalition that is complementary to existing mechanisms of partner coordination and whose aims are to achieve the GVAP goals, including its disease reduction targets, by taking a global perspective that encompasses all countries. The coalition’s primary purpose would be to work at global and national levels to facilitate collaborative action, contributing to and building from what now exists and involving a broader range of partner organizations. The coalition would also serve as a collaborative mechanism for advocacy, resource mobilization, and accountability” (7/29).

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Funding, Political Will Needed To Translate Scientific Advancements Into Action To End AIDS

Science: We still need to beat HIV
François Dabis, director of the French Research Agency on HIV and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS), and Linda-Gail Bekker, president of the International AIDS Society (IAS)

“Despite remarkable advances in HIV treatment and prevention, the limited political will and leadership in many countries … have fallen short of translating these gains into action. … The Paris Statement describes five scientific priority areas for building a new public health agenda that meets the challenge of this ongoing epidemic in the face of shrinking resources. Vaccine research and development should be globally coordinated and supported through public-private partnerships. Simpler and efficient [antiretroviral therapy (ART)] drug formulations are needed for long-term use. Biomedical preventive and therapeutic measures must be tailored to at-risk groups and key populations through multidisciplinary, evidence-based approaches to test, prevent or treat, and retain in care, while addressing stigma and discrimination. HIV persistence and viral control mechanisms must be understood through basic research to envision a functional or complete cure. Economic research and innovative financing models should be devised to ensure that new strategies can be universally applied at full scale while also strengthening health systems. The foundation of all five priorities requires funding to pull society through this next collective drive to end the pandemic…” (7/28).

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Fogarty International Center Helps Safeguard U.S., World Against Future Epidemics

The Lancet: Closing the NIH Fogarty Center threatens U.S. and global health
Salim S. Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and pro vice-chancellor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and colleagues

“The budget set out by the Trump administration for the 2018 fiscal year proposes cutting … [funding for] the John E. Fogarty International Center … Despite its modest size, the Fogarty Center has become a crucial contributor to health research worldwide over the past 50 years by funding the training of over 6,000 scientists in developing countries, including many of the world’s leading scientists in infectious disease research. The advancement of scientific expertise in developing countries is essential to ensure sufficient local capacity to detect and rapidly respond to epidemics at their point of origin. This local expertise will allow outbreaks to be quickly contained and their effects minimized, thereby directly protecting the health and safety of people in the USA and worldwide. … As a major beneficiary of global health initiatives, the USA should therefore value and expand the work of the Fogarty Center. This center is a major contributor to global health, both domestically and internationally, and to safeguarding the USA and the world against future epidemics” (7/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Trump Administration's Proposed Budget Cuts Could Harm Global Health, Increase International Instability, Experts Say

Brookings Institution: How the Trump budget harms global health and weakens international stability
Jake Schneider, research assistant at the Brookings Institution, and Darrell West, director and vice president of governance studies and director of the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings, discuss the potential impacts of the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to foreign assistance for global health, writing, “[T]he Trump budget cuts are occurring amid dramatic slowdowns in public sector global health spending and limited private sector spending. That combination portends serious medical ramifications for the developing world and a possible increase in international instability. Both are problematic from the standpoint of American and world interests” (7/27).

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New USGLC Report Discusses Role Of U.S. Diplomacy, Development Programs In Stimulating U.S. Economy

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: New USGLC Report: Investments in Diplomacy, Development Boost U.S. Economy, Create Jobs
“The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition [Thursday] released its report America’s Global Economic Leadership: A Strategic Return on U.S. Investment, making the case for why U.S. diplomacy and development programs are critical to our economic prosperity…” (7/27).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Continues To Work With Global Partners To Eliminate Hepatitis B

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Vaccination remains the most cost-effective strategy to get on track with hepatitis B elimination in resource-limited settings
Rania Tohme, team lead at the CDC’s Global Immunization Division, discusses global efforts to address hepatitis B and the challenges facing vaccine accessibility and delivery in resource-limited settings. “At the moment, the most cost-effective approach in resource-limited settings is provision of the hepatitis B vaccine birth dose followed by 2-3 additional doses of pentavalent vaccine. … [M]ore efforts are needed to promote hepatitis B vaccine birth dose introduction and increase vaccination in Africa and Asia. CDC’s commitment to collaborating with global partners to eliminate hepatitis B will continue to contribute to the impact of hepatitis B vaccination,” she writes (7/27).

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