KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New Republic Examines Impacts Of Trump Administration's Expanded Mexico City Policy

New Republic: The Growing Toll of the Global Gag Rule
“…Last Thursday, peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet published a study confirming what reproductive health experts have long suspected: Surveying 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa between 1995 and 2014 (a time period during which the gag rule was reinstated by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones), the countries relying heavily on U.S. aid saw much higher rates of abortion — 40 percent more — when the gag rule was in place. In other words, in addition to the steep costs imposed on other forms of health care when the gag rule is instituted, it has the exact opposite effect of what conservative policymakers say they intend…” (Schreiber, 7/3).

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Devex Examines UNFPA Funding Levels Following Decrease In U.S. Support

Devex: How UNFPA rebounded from U.S. funding cuts
“Advocacy and a collection of strong donors have helped remedy the ‘big blow’ that U.S. funding cuts dealt the U.N. Population Fund two years ago, said Arthur Erken, director at UNFPA’s division of communications and strategic partnerships. A broader recognition of the need to finance sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially in humanitarian settings, has allowed UNFPA to rebound to funding levels it saw prior to U.S. cuts, Erken said. … UNFPA took a financial hit … when it lost the United States as a top donor and policy supporter, shortly after President Trump entered office in January 2017. … UNFPA is still nearly $200 million short of its requested $536 million in humanitarian funding to reach 35 million women, girls, and young people with sexual and reproductive health care in 2019, according to Erken. But it is again operating with $350 million in annual core funding for 2019 — nearly the same amount the agency had before the U.S. cuts…” (Lieberman, 7/3).

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Impact Of Foreign Aid Needs Unbiased Evaluation, Experts Say In BMJ Global Health Editorial

The Guardian: U.K. government among those exaggerating impact of aid
“A ‘success cartel’ of major donor agencies, including the U.K. government, is exaggerating its impact in the world’s poorest countries, hundreds of researchers have warned. Writing in the journal BMJ Global Health, academics raised serious concerns about the independence of evaluations into global health and development projects, and called for greater safeguards to stop powerful bodies from influencing results…” (Ratcliffe, 7/3).

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DRC Ebola Case Confirmed Near South Sudan Border; Los Angeles Times Examines International Response To Outbreak

Associated Press: Ebola case reported not far from South Sudan border
“Authorities have confirmed an Ebola case not far from Congo’s border with South Sudan, a country with a weak health care system after years of civil war that is vulnerable to the potential spread of the deadly disease…” (Mednick/Larson, 7/2).

Los Angeles Times: As Ebola outbreak rages, the world just watches. Some call it ‘malignant neglect’
“…When [the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak ended], world leaders took a solemn vow: Never again. Health officials studied the failures of their sluggish and haphazard response so they would recognize the warning signs of a crisis not to be ignored. That crisis is now here. Yet with Ebola spreading eastward into Uganda, epidemiologists and aid groups are dismayed by the many indications that the pledge has been forgotten. … This time, the U.S. and other key global powers are mostly watching from the sidelines. On Tuesday, the U.S. Agency for International Development said it would contribute ‘more than $98 million’ to the response in Congo, though the specifics have yet to be announced…” (Baumgaertner, 7/2).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from CIDRAP News, New Humanitarian (2), and Xinhua News.

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U.N. World Food Programme Ramps Up Food Aid Deliveries To DRC's Ituri Province Amid Hunger Crisis

U.N. News: DR Congo: U.N. food agency triples aid in strife-hit Ituri province
“Food aid is being tripled for troubled Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to respond to what the World Food Programme (WFP) has described as the world’s second largest hunger crisis in the world, after Yemen. In addition to worsening hunger, communities in north-east DRC face a deadly Ebola outbreak and inter-ethnic clashes…” (7/2).

Additional coverage of the situation in DRC’s Ituri province is available from Associated Press and Xinhua News.

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International Working Group Issues Statement Calling Vaccine Hesitancy 'Man-Made,' Urging Social Media Companies, Others To Address Misinformation

Becker’s Hospital Review: Global health experts urge Google, Facebook to crack down on spread of vaccine misinformation
“Members of the International Working Group on Vaccination and Public Health Solutions issued a statement July 2 in which they called on search engines, social media platforms, governments, and educators to prevent the dissemination of inaccurate information about childhood vaccination…” (Park, 7/2).

HealthDay News: Anti-Vaccine Movement a ‘Man-Made’ Health Crisis, Scientists Warn
“…The new Salzburg Statement on Vaccine Acceptance, published July 2 [in the Journal of Health Communication], has been endorsed by 60 leaders in public health from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia…” (Preidt, 7/2).

UPI: Scientists call on social media companies to provide better vaccine information
“… ‘We are alarmed that the WHO this year declared vaccine hesitancy a top-ten international public health problem. This is a man-made, dangerous, and wholly unnecessary crisis,’ Scott Ratzan, founding editor of the Journal of Health Communication and [statement] author, said in a news release. According to the statement, vaccines have helped to save up to 3 million lives by preventing diseases such as hepatitis B, meningitis, measles, and polio. Additionally, researchers say that every dollar spent on vaccination brings back $44 in public good…” (Dyson, 7/2).

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Zika Remains Threat Worldwide, Researchers Warn

New York Times: The Zika Virus Is Still a Threat. Here’s What Experts Know.
“…As health officials struggled to halt its spread, the [Zika] virus galloped through Latin America and the Caribbean [in 2016] and eventually reached the United States, sickening more than 200 people in Florida and Texas and prompting countless travelers to cancel vacations in the tropics. Then, seemingly overnight, the epidemic evaporated and public attention moved on. But Zika, it turns out, did not vanish. … The virus, which is mostly spread by mosquitoes but also through sex with an infected person, is still circulating in Brazil and other countries that were at the center of the epidemic, and two years ago the same strain from the Americas arrived in continental Africa for the first time. That strain, researchers recently discovered, had been causing birth defects in Asia long before the Zika epidemic of 2016. … On Tuesday, the World Health Organization issued a report on Zika that listed 61 [countries with endemic populations of the mosquito that spreads the virus], among them densely populated behemoths like China, Egypt, and Pakistan as well as much of Africa…” (Jacobs, 7/2).

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Number Of New HIV Cases Hits 18-Year Low In 2018; New Diagnoses Down 30% Among MSM, Largely Unchanged Among Other Populations

ABC News: HIV diagnoses in Australia hit 18-year low, but there is still a way go
“Australia has solidified its reputation as a world leader in HIV prevention, recording its lowest number of new HIV cases in almost two decades. However, challenges remain in reducing transmission among heterosexuals and the Indigenous population. New figures released [Tuesday] by the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales reveal 835 HIV diagnoses were made in 2018, the lowest number on record since 2001. … Over the past five years, HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men have reduced by 30 percent. However, the number of new cases among heterosexual Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and gay and bisexual men born overseas has remained largely unchanged…” (Willis, 7/2).

Additional coverage of the report is available from The Guardian and Science.

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Africa Closing In On Polio-Free Certification While Number Of Cases Rises In Pakistan

The Telegraph: Africa on track to be declared polio free but cases rise in Pakistan
“Africa is on track to be declared polio-free within the next couple of months, the head of the World Health Organization’s polio initiative has said. … This good news is tempered by the fact that the virus is still present in Pakistan and Afghanistan — the last two countries to report cases of the wild virus. There have been 27 cases of the disease in Pakistan this year, compared to 12 in the whole of 2018. And there have been 10 cases so far in Afghanistan…” (Gulland, 7/2).

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Researchers Use CRISPR Technology To Eliminate HIV DNA From Human-Model Mice

CNBC: Researchers say they’re closer to finding cure for HIV after using CRISPR technology to eliminate disease in live mice for the first time
“Researchers say they’re one step closer to finding a potential cure for HIV after successfully eliminating the virus in living mice for the first time. Using a combination of CRISPR gene-editing technology and a therapeutic treatment called LASER ART, scientists at Temple University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center said they erased HIV DNA from the genomes of animals in what they call an unprecedented study that was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications…” (Turner, 7/2).

Additional coverage of the study is available from CNN, PBS NewsHour, STAT, and TIME.

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: U.N.: Sudan’s health supply shortage exacerbated by crisis (7/2).

Devex: Wasted food means wasting time to meet SDGs, researchers say (Welsh, 7/3).

Pulitzer Center: Waiting for Hope: Venezuela’s Crumbling Public Health Infrastructure (Sandoval, 7/2).

Reuters: In battle for Libya’s oil, water becomes a casualty (Laessing/Elumami, 7/2).

U.N. News: From the Field: facing up to the extreme mental health pressures of conflict (7/2).

Washington Times: Interview: How the loss of food source diversity compares to the danger of climate change (Garred, 7/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Strengthening Primary Health Care, Building Resilient Systems Critical As Climate-Related Shocks Occur

Project Syndicate: Safeguarding Health in a Warming World
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…A resilient primary health care system is the best defense against [climate change and natural disasters]. Yet it occupies little space on the climate agenda. … Beyond compromising immediate disaster response, failure to build resilience into health care systems undermines the long-term delivery of basic health interventions, exacerbating the vulnerability of the system — and of the population it serves. … Without effective primary health care, the response to shocks will always be reactive, costly, and inefficient. Fortunately, there is already a system in place that can facilitate the delivery of the necessary level of care. … The immunization system — which, to be sure, should be expanded to reach all children — can serve as a foundation on which to build primary health care. With community relationships, supply chains, trained staff, data monitoring, disease surveillance, and health records already in place, it becomes far easier to deliver other health interventions that can benefit both individuals and the wider community, such as nutritional supplements and malaria-prevention programs. Even if the world manages to prevent the average global temperature from rising more than 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, we will need to brace ourselves for a dramatic increase in climate-related health emergencies. The expansion and strengthening of primary health care is an effective — and cost-effective — means of building resilience against the challenges that await us” (7/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Releases July 2019 Issue Of Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: July 2019
In the July 2019 CSIS Global Health Policy Center Newsletter, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, highlights recent publications, podcasts, and events hosted by CSIS, including a policy briefing on how the U.S. can engage in promoting young people’s health and development in Africa in the midst of demographic shifts; a podcast episode in which Sara Allinder, executive director and senior fellow at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, and Haim Malka, deputy director and senior fellow at the CSIS Middle East program, speak with Akihiro Seita, director of health and WHO special representative for UNRWA, and Elizabeth Campbell, director of UNRWA’s Washington, D.C., office, “about their concerns for Palestinian refugees’ health as humanitarian aid declines amid continuing political uncertainty in the region”; and a recent event on HIV/AIDS in the U.S. (July 2019).

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WHO, Partners Deliver Health Care To Displaced People In Northwest Syria Using Mobile Clinics

World Health Organization: WHO delivers health care to displaced people in north-west Syrian Arab Republic
This post discusses the deployment by WHO and partners of eight mobile clinics to provide primary health care services for displaced people in northwest Syrian Arab Republic, noting, “These mobile clinics are often the only source of health care to people who have been cut off from access to regular health services as a result of the ongoing conflict in the area. … Each mobile clinic, consisting of a doctor, a midwife, a nurse, and a community health worker, offers services for child health, nutrition, communicable and non-communicable diseases, maternal and newborn health, and is equipped with essential medicines and medical devices” (7/2).

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G20 Leaders Reaffirm Commitment To Eradicate Polio, End AIDS, TB, Malaria Epidemics

Global Polio Eradication Initiative: G20 Leaders “Reaffirm Commitment to Eradicate Polio”
“In Osaka, Japan, G20 Leaders met on 28-29 June 2019, and discussed major challenges facing the world and the importance of eradicating polio. The G20 declaration states, ‘We reaffirm our commitment to eradicate polio as well as to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria and look forward to the success of the sixth replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.’ The pledging event of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative will be hosted by the UAE in November 2019 to ensure full financing and implementation of the efforts to finish the job…” (7/3).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Providing More Than $98M In Assistance To Respond To Ebola In DRC

USAID: The United States is Providing $98 Million in Assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Response to the Ebola Outbreak
“The United States is providing more than $98 million in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in response to the Ebola outbreak since it began in August 2018. … With this funding, USAID is providing lifesaving assistance, including infection prevention and control activities, training for health care workers, community engagement interventions, promotion of safe and dignified burials, and food assistance for people and communities affected by Ebola. This assistance is also bolstering preparedness efforts in Goma city for communities at risk of Ebola…” (7/2).

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