KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New U.S. Development Finance Corporation Aims To Begin Operations In October

Devex: 2 months until launch, how is the new U.S. DFI shaping up?
“With two months before the new U.S. Development Finance Corporation is set to open its doors, the agency’s architects continue to resolve political issues and iron out operational details. In June, the board of directors of the U.S. DFC approved its bylaws and its risk and audit committees, a move the Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s Press Secretary Laura Allen called ‘a critical step toward laying the legal foundation for the agency’ in an email to Devex. OPIC has been working on a new tool that DFC will use to measure development impact called the ‘Impact Quotient,’ which should be released in the coming weeks, according to Allen. The agency is also working to finalize a coordination report outlining how DFC and the U.S. Agency for International Development will work together, which has to be submitted to Congress as one of the final steps before DFC can open its doors…” (Saldinger, 7/30).

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USAID Working To Engage Technology Companies In Silicon Valley To Support Global Efforts

Devex: To support global priorities, USAID doubles down on Silicon Valley ties
“Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, is no stranger to Silicon Valley. … As the agency’s private sector engagement strategy takes shape, Glick said technology will be a focus for her. It’s also the industry she is most familiar with: Prior to joining USAID, she spent 12 years with the information technology company IBM. A key message Glick has brought to the agency is how the private sector has a different mindset when it looks at the markets where USAID works. … USAID has experimented with a number of models to engage Silicon Valley over the years, including a tech sector liaison for its Global Development Lab, and the agency is eager to explore further partnerships with companies in the Bay Area…” (Cheney, 7/29).

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U.S. Sanctions Limiting Access To Needed Medicines, Iranians Say

Associated Press: Iranians say U.S. sanctions blocking access to needed medicine
“…With Iran’s economy in free fall after the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal and escalated sanctions on Tehran, prices of imported medicines have soared as the national currency tumbled about 70% against the dollar. Even medicines manufactured in Iran are tougher to come by for ordinary Iranians, their cost out of reach for many in a country where the average monthly salary is equivalent to about $450. Iran’s health system can’t keep up and many are blaming President Donald Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign for the staggering prices and shortages. … While the United States insists that medicines and humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions, restrictions on trade have made many banks and companies across the world hesitant to do business with Iran, fearing punitive measures from Washington. The country is cut off from the international banking system…” (Nasiri, 7/30).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Hits 1-Year Mark With Surge In Confirmed Cases

CIDRAP News: DRC sees cases surge as Ebola outbreak hits 1-year mark
“This week, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) North Kivu and Ituri provinces will hit the 1-year anniversary of its start, but a surge of cases over the weekend gives little hope the outbreak is close to contained. Since the end of last week, the DRC has recorded 41 more cases of the deadly virus, including 12 cases confirmed [Monday]. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) online Ebola dashboard, the outbreak total now stands at 2,671 cases. The dashboard also recorded a total of 1,782 deaths, an increase in 20 fatalities over the weekend…” (Soucheray, 7/29).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from VOA News and Xinhua News.

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The Guardian Launches 'Running Dry' Series Examining Impacts Of Climate Change On Food Security, Water, Environment, Migration In Central America

The Guardian: ‘People are dying’: how the climate crisis has sparked an exodus to the U.S.
“As part of the Running Dry series, the Guardian looks at how drought and famine are forcing Guatemalan families to choose between starvation and migration…” (Lakhani, 7/29).

The Guardian: Living without water: the crisis pushing people out of El Salvador
“El Salvador will run out of water within 80 years unless radical action is taken, a study found, while corporate interests, corruption, and gangs worsen the problem…” (Lakhani, 7/30).

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Drug-Resistant Malaria In Asia Complicating Treatment, Threatening Spread To Sub-Saharan Africa

VOA News: Southeast Asia’s Most Effective Anti-Malaria Drug Is Becoming Ineffective
“Scientists warn the most effective drug used to treat malaria is becoming ineffective in parts of Southeast Asia — and unless rapid action is taken, it could lead to a global health emergency. Writing in The Lancet journal, researchers from Thailand’s Mahidol University and Britain’s Oxford University say parasites that carry malaria are developing resistance to a key drug combination across multiple regions of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam…” (Ridgwell, 7/29).

Washington Post: A drug-resistant strain of malaria is making the disease ‘almost untreatable’ in southeast Asia
“…A major concern is that the strains will spread to sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is most common and logistically hard to treat. … Ultimately, scientists say, the only way to completely eradicate these resistant strains is to eradicate the disease itself in the region. Such efforts have taken place around the world since 1955, when the World Health Organization created the Malaria Eradication Program. Since then, dozens of countries have been declared as malaria free, but only two of them, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, are in southeast Asia…” (Mellen, 7/29).

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Bangladesh, Vietnam Work To Contain Dengue Fever Outbreaks

Agence France-Presse: Bangladesh struggles to contain record dengue outbreak
“Bangladesh is in the grip of the country’s worst-ever dengue fever outbreak, officials said Monday, with hospitals overflowing and social media flooded with pleas for blood donors. Eight people have died and there have been 13,637 cases of the disease so far this year, with nearly 1,100 people — most of them children — diagnosed in the last 24 hours, according to official figures…” (7/29).

Xinhua News: Dengue fever infections surge in Vietnam in 7 months
“Between Jan. 1 and July 29, Vietnam spotted over 105,000 dengue fever patients, more than trebling the cases in the same period last year, Vietnam News Agency reported on Tuesday. Of the over 105,000 dengue fever patients, 10 have died, the agency quoted the country’s Health Ministry as saying. On Monday, health minister instructed health departments of cities and provinces nationwide to intensify early detection and rapid containment of dengue fever outbreaks…” (7/30).

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More News In Global Health

The BMJ: WHO tobacco report: smoking cessation services must be stepped up (Mahase, 7/29).

Borgen Magazine: Dose Poles Simplify Elephantiasis Treatment (Santos, 7/29).

CNBC: Morgan Stanley launches new tool to let advisers, investors measure sustainable investing goals (Konish, 7/29).

Devex: Can sweet potatoes reduce widespread vitamin A deficiency in Africa? (Jerving, 7/30).

Devex: France aid reforms and how they affected 2018 funding commitments (De Vos, 7/26).

The Guardian: ‘My message is simple: use the toilet’: tackling open defecation in Nigeria (Unah, 7/30).

Homeland Preparedness News: CEPI partners with Valneva to develop Chikungunya vaccine (Kovaleski, 7/29).

New Humanitarian: Uptick in suicides signals deepening mental health crisis for Iraq’s Yazidis (Westcott, 7/29).

New York Times: They Survived Colonization and War. But Venezuela’s Collapse Was Too Much (Casey/Iguarán, 7/30).

Washington Post: World health, by the quite interesting numbers (Blakemore, 7/29).

Xinhua News: S. Africa’s HIV prevalence estimated at 13.5 pct (7/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Investment Important To Help Nations Develop Health Capacity, Respond To Outbreaks, Opinion Piece Says

The Hill: Why an ‘America First’ approach won’t work in Ebola pandemic
Kevin Berry, assistant professor of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage

“…For government officials in the U.S. focused on a policy of ‘America First,’ the primary concern related to emerging infectious disease is the threat and potential cost to the U.S. Suggested policies often include travel and trade restrictions on countries experiencing outbreaks and a focus on domestic preparedness rather than foreign aid. … This is … the wrong approach from an ‘America First’ perspective. Reducing the risk of an outbreak threatening the U.S. means rapidly responding to smaller outbreaks overseas and building health care capacity in hotspots for disease emergence. … By building capacity abroad, the U.S. reduces the probability of an outbreak reaching its own shores. … [D]onor nations should look to partner with international and private organizations to make more lasting, long-term investments in health capacity to prevent and quickly respond to outbreaks. The investment in a mobile ‘standing army’ of capacity to respond to outbreaks in disease hotspots could have potential economic returns in response to diseases like Ebola, and, after large start-up costs, would only require investments to maintain existing capacity” (7/29).

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Opinion Piece Discusses Debate Related To Using Genetically Altered Mosquitoes To Address Malaria

Wall Street Journal: Environmental Extremists Favor Mosquitoes Over Mankind
Richard Tren, co-founder of Africa Fighting Malaria

“…Target Malaria is a Gates Foundation-supported research effort to develop genetically modified sterile mosquitoes. Its approach is to drive modified genes through a mosquito population to produce sterile females or cause the breeding of only males. The goal is to reduce mosquito populations so much that the malaria parasite cannot be spread from person to person. … The activist opposition to Target Malaria is part of a larger and growing campaign against all modern genetic technologies and pesticides used in both disease control and agriculture. … The emergence of resistant strains of mosquitoes and malaria parasites means public health programs need new tools…” (7/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Fund Open Letter Pledges To 'Step Up The Fight' To End AIDS, TB, Malaria Epidemics

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Step Up The Fight: Open Letter To 7-Year-Olds Everywhere
This open letter — published on the newly launched stepupthefight.org and signed by various experts, celebrities, and other individuals — discusses efforts needed to end the AIDS, TB, and malaria epidemics by 2030 and urges the global health community to step up investments (July 2019).

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Brookings Experts Discuss Preliminary Findings Of Analysis Examining SDG Financing Landscape

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: How much does the world spend on the Sustainable Development Goals?
Homi Kharas, interim vice president and director, and John McArthur, senior fellow, both for Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution, summarize preliminary findings of an analysis examining “how much the world’s governments are already spending on SDG-related issues every year, how spending varies across income levels, and how the spending patterns link to country-by-country estimates of needs.” Kharas and McArthur highlight 5 findings in particular: “1. Global public sector SDG spending is already more than $20 trillion per year … 2. SDG spending rises proportionately with GDP per capita … 3. Minimum SDG spending needs are approximately $300 per capita … 4. Financing gaps vary by income level and by country … 5. [There are three] substantial opportunities to fill the financing gap” (7/29).

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New Report Reveals Minimal Progress Toward Achieving SDGs In Africa

Brookings Institution’s “Africa in Focus”: Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals: A long way to go
Belay Begashaw, director general at the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa, discusses a recent report that “reveals that minimal progress has been made and, in some instance, there is complete stagnation” toward achieving the SDGs in Africa by 2030. Begashaw highlights data gaps in measuring progress, challenges to governance and financing, and the potential global repercussions of not achieving the SDGs in Africa (7/29).

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Preliminary Figures Suggest Annual Spending Needs To Rise 6-Fold To End Preventable Maternal Deaths By 2030

United Nations Population Fund: Want to end preventable maternal deaths? Spend (at least) six times more by 2030
“How much would it cost to achieve a world where no woman dies from pregnancy-related causes, lacks access to modern family planning, or is subject to harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) or child marriage — all in about 10 years? New preliminary figures compiled by researchers from UNFPA and Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with Victoria University and Avenir Health, reveal that to end preventable maternal deaths in 76 high-burden countries by 2030, annual spending would need to rise six-fold, to $7.8 billion from $1.4 billion in 2018…” (7/29).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Fact Sheet Provides Overview Of Current Status Of DRC Ebola Outbreak

USAID: Democratic Republic of the Congo — Ebola Outbreak
This fact sheet highlights key developments of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and provides an overview of the current situation, including details on insecurity, health, preparedness and prevention efforts, food security, and humanitarian funding for the response (7/29).

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From KFF

KFF Releases Explainer On DRC Ebola Outbreak, U.S. Response

Kaiser Family Foundation: The Current Ebola Outbreak and the U.S. Role: An Explainer
The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), recently declared a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ by the WHO director general, is now second only to the West Africa outbreak of 2014-2015 in terms of number of cases and deaths. This new KFF explainer reviews the history of the outbreak in the DRC, which U.S. agencies are involved, how U.S. personnel are assisting, global response activities, and the role of vaccination in controlling the outbreak. The explainer also discusses how the U.S. government might change its approach and engagement in the DRC going forward, such as by providing additional funding or allowing U.S. government personnel to work directly in the outbreak zone (Moss/Michaud/Kates, 7/29).

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