KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Welcomes New Funding For DRC Ebola Outbreak, Calls For More U.S. Assistance; Details Of Government's New Strategy To Contain Virus Emerge

Agence France-Presse: WHO hails new DRC aid in fight against Ebola
“The head of the WHO on Saturday said a shortage in funding to halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo was finally being filled. Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said that several countries had renewed pledges of financial aid after the Ebola outbreak was declared an international emergency earlier this month…” (7/27).

Financial Times: Ebola outbreak fails to trigger World Bank pandemic bonds
“Bonds issued by the World Bank with the aim of helping developing countries deal with pandemics are facing fresh scrutiny as investors continue to enjoy high returns while the Ebola outbreak worsens in central Africa. … On Wednesday, the World Bank said it would give $300m in grants and loans to DRC to step up its aid response. But funding connected to the World Bank’s pandemic bonds, issued in 2017, has been less forthcoming…” (Asgari, 7/26).

New York Times: In Congo, a New Plan to Fight Ebola Follows a Government Power Struggle
“Faced with a lethal Ebola outbreak threatening eastern Africa, public health officials are conceding that their battle plan is failing and have proposed a comprehensive new strategy for containing the virus. It envisions reframing the epidemic as a regional humanitarian crisis, not simply a health emergency. That may include more troops or police to quell the murders and arson that have made medical work difficult, as well as food aid to win over skeptical locals. The Democratic Republic of Congo also plans to deploy a second vaccine to form a protective ‘curtain’ of immunity around outbreak areas. … The health ministry’s strategic plan for the period from July to December, written in cooperation with the WHO, has not been officially released but is circulating among the donors and health agencies, and a copy was obtained by The Times. While it envisions a much broader response, the plan is vague on specifics — omitting even references to which vaccines should be used…” (McNeil/Grady, 7/26).

Reuters: WHO says it could use more U.S. help on the ground in Ebola fight
“The United States could bolster the battle against the Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo by allowing more of its experts to travel to the outbreak zone, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Friday. … ‘It is hard to fight a battle without your best ally at your side,’ WHO’s emergencies chief Mike Ryan told reporters, when asked about CDC’s deployment. ‘But our colleagues in CDC have provided amazing support, both in Congo, in the surrounding countries, here in Geneva, in our operation centers in backstopping and providing high-level technical assistance to the response,’ Ryan said…” (Miles, 7/26).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from AFP TV, Agence France-Presse, BBC News, Health Policy Watch (2), The Observer, VOA News (2), and Xinhua News (2).

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Trump Administration Provides Details Of Fetal Tissue Research Restrictions

Science: Trump administration releases details on fetal tissue restrictions
“The National Institutes of Health (NIH) [Friday] detailed how President Donald Trump’s administration will implement restrictions it announced in June on the use of human fetal tissue in research. For some researchers, the announcement brings relief: The policy doesn’t kick in immediately, meaning grant applications already in the pipeline at NIH won’t be affected. But starting in late September, scientists applying for grants will need to explain in detail why they need to use fetal tissue and how it will be obtained. And young investigators supported by training awards will be barred from using fetal tissue altogether…” (Kaiser/Wadman, 7/26).

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WHO Report Calls For More Efforts To End Global Tobacco Epidemic, Including Blocking Industry Interference

The Guardian: Battle against tobacco epidemic is far from won, WHO report finds
“The battle against the global tobacco epidemic is far from won, even as more countries adopt measures such as smoke-free environments and warnings on packaging to curb its use, a new report has revealed. The report from the World Health Organization reveals that lives are still at risk from tobacco, with billions of people living in countries that have not yet fully implemented even one of six effective measures to control tobacco recommended by the organization…” (Davis, 7/26).

Reuters: WHO says e-cigarettes, ‘smoke-free’ products do not help reduce cancer
“Electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products are not helping fight cancer, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, urging smokers and governments not to trust claims from cigarette firms about their latest products. The seventh ‘WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic’ said blocking the industry’s interference was critical to cutting the harm from tobacco use…” (Miles, 7/26).

The Telegraph: Tobacco industry interference holds back efforts to stamp out smoking
“…The report highlights the range of tactics cigarette firms employ to influence policy such as setting up front groups to fabricate support, influencing scientists, making unproven claims, and exaggerating the economic importance of the industry. The report highlights the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, fully funded by cigarette company Philip Morris International…” (Gulland, 7/26).

Additional coverage of the WHO report is available from Deutsche Welle, Health Policy Watch, Quartz, Reuters, U.N. News, and VOA News.

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WHO Calls For Political Leadership, Funding To Eliminate Hepatitis On World Day

U.N. News: Eliminating hepatitis calls for ‘bold political leadership, with investments to match,’ U.N. health chief says
“Calling for ‘bold political leadership’ ahead of World Hepatitis Day, the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged countries to take advantage of recent reductions in the costs of diagnosing and treating viral hepatitis and scale up investments in disease elimination. A new study by WHO, published on Friday in Lancet Global Health, found that investing $6 billion per year in eliminating hepatitis in 67 low- and middle-income countries would avert 4.5 million premature deaths by 2030, and more than 26 million deaths beyond that target date…” (7/26).

VOA News: WHO: Low-Cost Generic Drugs Can Eliminate Hepatitis by 2030
“In advance of World Hepatitis Day on Sunday (July 28), the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to invest in affordable treatments that could reduce the number of infections and save millions of lives. … The World Health Organization says hepatitis B and C infections affect about 325 million people globally and kill about 1.4 million every year. WHO’s hepatitis team leader, Marc Bulterys said that makes hepatitis the second most lethal infectious disease just behind tuberculosis. … Bulterys said of the 71 million people living with chronic hepatitis C, only one in five has been diagnosed and 5 million treated…” (Schlein, 7/26).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Libya: Attack on field hospital near Tripoli kills five doctors (7/28).

Associated Press: Africa’s booming cities face a severe toilet crisis (Muhuzuma, 7/27).

Borgen Magazine: Obesity in Mexico (McClurg, 7/27).

CNBC: Rising temperatures will put 1 billion more people at risk of infectious disease, Morgan Stanley warns (Stevens, 7/27).

Devex: Uzbekistan tests innovative financing model for hepatitis (Root, 7/29).

Dawn/HuffPost: An HIV Outbreak Hit One Of Pakistan’s Poorest Districts — And Infected Over 700 Children (Jajja, 7/26).

Fox News: Women plastic surgeons in Africa leading charge against most underreported health epidemic impacting males (McKay, 7/27).

Health Policy Watch: React Africa 2019: Universal Health Coverage Can Help Combat Antimicrobial Resistance (Kamadi, 7/25).

NPR: How To Bring Cancer Care To The World’s Poorest Children (Adams, 7/26).

PRI: From measles to the flu, more Turkish parents are saying no to vaccines (Neumann, 7/26).

SciDev.Net: Feces to fertilizer: innovations to solve the world’s toilets crisis (Vesper, 7/26).

The Telegraph: Fears over Muslim parents withdrawing children from ‘non-halal’ flu vaccine (Gardner, 7/28).

USA TODAY: A teeny-tiny arm implant could, one day, prevent HIV for a full year (Hines, 7/26).

VOA News: Consistency Key to Fighting Malaria With Insecticide-Treated Bed Nets (Hensley, 7/26).

Xinhua News: Viral hepatitis epidemic effectively controlled in China: official (7/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Reliable Funding Necessary To End Ebola, Shore Up Global Health Security

The Hill: Crisis bill due: Who will pay for Ebola?
Carol A. Heimer, professor of sociology at Northwestern University, research professor at the American Bar Foundation, and public voices fellow through the OpEd Project

“…A [public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)] ‘is not for fundraising,’ Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, stressed in his announcement [on the decision to declare Ebola a PHEIC]. Labeling an outbreak an emergency doesn’t automatically release any funds. Yet financial support is badly needed … Without additional funds, the WHO and humanitarian organizations will have to curtail critical activities, … thereby permitting Ebola to spread. … What can be done to shore up funding for global public health? … Acknowledging that the security implications of some health emergencies necessitate additional funding and better coordination, the United Nations created a Mission for Ebola Emergency Response during the 2014-16 West African Ebola outbreak. In a similar spirit, in 2015 the WHO created a Contingency Fund for Emergencies to permit more nimble responses to health emergencies. Despite these initiatives, the funding crisis continues. … Only with reliable funding for responding to emergencies and building core capacities can the International Health Regulations make global health security a reality…” (7/26).

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Author Of New Book Discusses History Of Mosquitoes, Diseases They Carry

New York Times: The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us
Timothy C. Winegard, author of “The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator”

“…Mosquitoes are our apex predator … Flying solo, the mosquito does not directly harm anyone. It is the diseases she transmits that cause an endless barrage of death. Yet without her, these pathogens could not be vectored to humans. … The mosquito and her diseases have accompanied [people] around the world and have been far more lethal than any manufactured weapons or inventions. … Today, roughly four billion people are at risk from mosquito-borne diseases. … [P]erhaps now, as in the past, we are underestimating the mosquito. She evolved to endure global showers of the eradication chemical DDT and may genetically outflank Crispr as well. History has shown the mosquito to be a dogged survivor. … Across the ages, we have been locked in a life-or-death struggle for survival with the not-so-simple mosquito. Historically, we did not stand a chance” (7/27).

A review of the book from which this essay is adapted is available from the New Yorker.

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends Of Global Fight Endorses End Pandemics 2020 Platform

Friends of the Global Fight to End AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Friends of the Global Fight Endorses the End Pandemics Platform
“Friends of the Global Fight is proud to join dozens of organizations in endorsing the End Pandemics 2020 platform. End Pandemics 2020 is a collection of ‘organizations and individuals who have come together to encourage all candidates for U.S. president in 2020 to chart a bold, human-rights based path for U.S. leadership to end the world’s three deadliest epidemics, to stop future pandemics, and to respond to the global health threats posed by climate change…'” (7/28).

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New Asian Global Health Forum Could Help China, World Exchange Global Health Experiences, Experts Say

BMJ Opinion: Ilona Kickbusch and Gabriel Leung: China steps up to convene a new global health meeting
Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, and Gabriel M. Leung, dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, discuss China’s expanding role in global health and highlight the inaugural Global Health Forum of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), noting, “The opportunities for this to become an exciting forum to exchange experiences between China and the world is enormous, especially if the cross linkages to other Chinese initiatives, like its strong programs in Africa or its Belt and Road Initiative, are included. The exchanges on technological innovations hold great potential. As international participation increases its health diplomacy impact could become significant” (7/26).

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U.N. Economic And Social Council Calls On Countries To Scale Up AIDS Response, U.N. General Assembly To Set High-Level Meeting Date

UNAIDS: United Nations Economic and Social Council calls for urgent action to scale up the AIDS response
“The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has adopted a resolution that calls on countries to urgently scale up evidence-informed programs to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. It says the AIDS epidemic is not yet over and calls for reinvigorated efforts by all stakeholders. … [T]he resolution calls on the United Nations General Assembly to decide by no later than September next year the date of a high-level meeting to review progress made on the United Nations commitment to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030…” (7/26).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Reaffirms Commitment To Promote Rights Of Persons With Disabilities Globally

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: U.S. Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities Remains Strong Around the World
Cherith Norman Chalet, U.S. ambassador for U.N. Management and Reform and‎ alternative representative to the General Assembly, recognizes the 29th anniversary of the U.S. passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), writing, “In the spirit of that important milestone, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations is working to promote global respect for the human rights and dignity of all persons, including persons with disabilities.” Chalet highlights U.S. support for the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2475 on Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflict, which is “the first ever Security Council resolution to address the human rights of persons with disabilities,” as well as the U.S. endorsement of the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which “sets forth a global agenda to make humanitarian actions more receptive to the needs of people with disabilities”  (7/26).

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CDC Newsletter Highlights World Hepatitis Day 2019

CDC’s “CDC Around the World”: World Hepatitis Day 2019
This issue of “CDC Around the World” contains a blog post on efforts to control hepatitis B in Sierra Leone; a piece on CDC’s hepatitis A response; an infographic on World Hepatitis Day, which takes place annually on July 28; and a video on the global impact of Hepatitis B (7/28).

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