KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Bipartisan Resolution Introduced In House To Reaffirm U.S. Commitment To Global Fund

Homeland Preparedness News: Reps. McCaul, Engel introduce bill to support Global Fund to fight AIDS and other diseases
“Legislation to provide financial support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. … [H.Res.517] affirms the historical U.S. commitment to providing 33 percent of funding to the Global Fund. It also supports ongoing efforts by other donors to increase their financial commitments. The Trump administration had proposed cutting the U.S.’s traditional contribution to the Global Fund…” (Kovaleski, 7/30).

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HHS Makes Little Progress Toward Implementing U.S. Outbreak Detection System, GAO Says

Bloomberg Law: Overdue Outbreak Detection System Leaves Patchwork Defense
“The U.S. should have had a nationwide network to monitor for the next viral outbreak or biological threat a decade ago. It still doesn’t. … The agency responsible for making that system happen, the HHS, is more than a decade overdue to build a comprehensive biological threat awareness network. Although the agency says it’s taking steps toward meeting that goal, the Government Accountability Office says little progress has been made since Congress first tasked it with the responsibility. … The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019, which became law in June, gives the HHS until no later than September 2023 to establish networks for public health communications and surveillance and to modernize the public health awareness system. Valerie Melvin, managing director of the information technology and cybersecurity team at the GAO, who led the last report on the HHS’s progress, said the new law might get the effort moving…” (Alder, 7/30).

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Groups Call On U.S. Senate To Oppose Nomination Of Andrew Bremberg For U.S. Representative To U.N. In Geneva Over Views On Women's Rights

The Independent: Trump’s pick for U.N. representative condemned for ‘extreme views’ on women’s rights
“…Human Rights Watch has called for the U.S. Senate to reject [Andrew] Bremberg’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva — saying his views on women’s [sexual and reproductive] rights are at loggerheads with international human rights law. The organization joined 38 other groups in a letter urging members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to reject his nomination. His nomination was scheduled for a vote last week but has now been rearranged for this coming Wednesday…” (Oppenheim, 7/30).

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2nd Ebola Case Confirmed In DRC City Of Goma, On Border With Rwanda, Health Officials Say

Associated Press: 2nd confirmed Ebola case in Congo’s city of Goma dies
“The man who became the second confirmed Ebola case in Congo’s major crossroads city of Goma has died, officials said Wednesday, adding that he may never have known he had the virus. The second case renewed fears in the bustling city on the Rwandan border that has an international airport, and it complicated efforts to contain a yearlong outbreak already challenged by rebel attacks and community mistrust…” (Mwanamilongo, 7/31).

The Hill: Ebola crisis anniversary sparks concerns of long-term threat
“Public health officials are worried that the year-old Ebola epidemic is spiraling out of control, and that the international response lacks either the urgency or funding to contain rampant transmission. Thursday marks a year since the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which began with the death of a 65-year-old woman in a remote province. In the intervening months, the virus has since spread across an international border … and to the city of Goma, the regional capital…” (Wilson, 7/31).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, BBC News, Deutsche Welle, Reuters, U.N. News, VOA News, and Xinhua News (2).

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WHO Surveys Show Significant Increase In Resistance To Common HIV Treatments

Nature: Alarming surge in drug-resistant HIV uncovered
“Health authorities have uncovered an alarming surge in resistance to crucial HIV drugs. Surveys by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that, in the past 4 years, 12 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas have surpassed acceptable levels of drug resistance against two drugs that constitute the backbone of HIV treatment: efavirenz and nevirapine. … Overall, 12% of women surveyed had a drug-resistant form of HIV, compared with 8% of men. Particularly concerning, says the report, is the high level of resistance in infants with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa…” (Mega, 7/30).

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New Report Highlights Health-Related Impacts Of Climate Change In Australia, Pacific Region

The Guardian: Climate crisis already causing deaths and childhood stunting, report reveals
“Climate change is ‘absolutely’ already causing deaths, according to a new report on the health impacts of the climate crisis, which also predicts climate-related stunting, malnutrition, and lower IQ in children within the coming decades. The report, From Townsville to Tuvalu, produced by Monash University in Melbourne, pulled together scientific research from roughly 120 peer-reviewed journal articles to paint a picture of the health-related impacts of the climate emergency in Australia and the Pacific region…” (Lyons, 7/31).

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Devex Examines TB In North Korea 1 Year After Global Fund Cuts, Highlights Calls For Resumption Of Grants

Devex: How is North Korea coping with TB one year after Global Fund grant cuts?
“Advocates working to address the tuberculosis burden in North Korea are calling on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to resume its grants in the country in the next two months to ensure thousands of patients don’t fall out of treatment. The call comes just a few months before the fund’s sixth replenishment conference in October. In less than a year, about 100,000 TB patients in North Korea dependent on Global Fund-financed drugs will be left with no medicines after the remaining buffer stocks run out by June 2020…” (Ravelo, 7/31).

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U.N. Humanitarian Chief Calls On Security Council To Take Action On Syria Conflict; Some U.N. Security Council Members Call On SG Guterres To Investigate Hospital Attacks

Associated Press: U.N.: Onslaught in Syria may spark humanitarian disaster
“The U.N. humanitarian chief urged the Security Council on Tuesday to take action to end the ‘bloody onslaught’ in Syria’s last opposition-held stronghold, warning that continued violence could create the worst humanitarian disaster of the 21st century…” (Lederer, 7/30).

Reuters: Two-thirds of U.N. Security Council ask U.N. chief for Syria hospital attacks inquiry
“Two-thirds of the United Nations Security Council — including the United States, Britain, and France — asked Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday to investigate attacks on U.N.-supported medical facilities in northwest Syria, diplomats said. … ‘At least fourteen U.N.-supported facilities on the list of deconflicted facilities have been damaged or destroyed in northwest Syria since the end of April,’ they told Guterres, according to the agreed request seen by Reuters…” (Nichols, 7/30).

U.N. News: ‘Do something’; U.N. relief chief urges Security Council action to stop the Syrian carnage unfolding ‘in front of your eyes’
“… ‘On 26 July, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) identified at least 450 civilians who have been killed since late April — including more than a hundred in the last two weeks alone,’ Mark Lowcock, the U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, reminded Council members. Many hundreds more have been injured, over 440,000 displaced, and dozens of civilians killed or injured by shelling of the Security Council-listed terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the non-State armed groups associated with them…” (7/30).

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War In Yemen Set Back Country's Development Progress 20 Years, U.N. Official Warns

Associated Press: U.N. official says war in Yemen knocked country back 20 years
“A top U.N. official warned Monday that Yemen’s devastating five-year civil war has knocked the country back 20 years in terms of development and access to education. … The stalemated conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, thrust millions to the brink of famine and spawned the world’s most devastating humanitarian crisis…” (Van Ruymbeke, 7/30).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Bangladesh grapples with country’s worst dengue outbreak (Jahangir, 7/31).

Devex: Q&A: WHO’s work on vision ‘needs to go on,’ expert Alarcos Cieza says (Lieberman, 7/31).

Devex: Reducing stigma in health facilities to achieve UHC (Politzer, 7/31).

The Guardian: British man charged with distributing bleach ‘cure’ to Ugandans (Mwesigwa, 7/30).

Reuters: Chinese province considers ‘three-child policy’ to halt population decline (Stanway, 7/31).

WIRED: The World Health Organization Says No More Gene-Edited Babies (Molteni, 7/30).

Xinhua News: Early marriages declining in Namibia: report (7/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Must Work To Improve Development In Africa By Continuing To Invest In PEPFAR, Other Programs, Opinion Piece Says

International Policy Digest: More than Just Investment: Why America Was Once So Popular in Africa
Nick J. Danby, student, chair of the Alexander Hamilton Society, and international editor of the law review at Harvard University

“…Countering Chinese and Russian influence in Africa remains a top priority for the U.S., but the most prudent way to win over African leaders and citizens is by demonstrating that American officials truly care about Africa’s well-being. … If the Trump administration wishes to engage African leaders and dissuade them from partnerships with the Chinese and the Russians by teaming up with U.S. companies, it must develop a strategy that goes far beyond an anachronistic amalgam of trade and investment. The U.S. must first build off of the goodwill and trust it fostered with PEPFAR by not only continuing to fund PEPFAR … but also other programs that can improve Africa’s standard of living, whether that be through strategic health diplomacy or the vast array of other issues their civilians must endure on a daily basis. … The U.S. should … work toward improving Africa with the Africans. By caring about the continent’s welfare, Chinese and Russian influence will soon dwindle” (7/30).

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Coordinated Global Action Vital To Effective NCD Response In Low-, Middle-Income Countries

The BMJ: Time to align: development cooperation for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases
Téa E. Collins, adviser for the Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases at the WHO, and colleagues

“…Until recently, … non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have not been seen as part of the global development agenda, and external resources for their prevention and control have been negligible. A change in the disease profile from communicable diseases to NCDs in low- and middle-income countries resulted in the inclusion of NCDs in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Nonetheless, health systems in those countries are ill prepared to deal with the high epidemiological and economic costs of chronic conditions. These conditions have now been recognized in global political forums. … What does the combination of greater political intent and weak existing ability to deal with NCDs mean for development assistance for health? … For country specific assistance for NCDs, and to deal with imbalance in the allocations of development assistance for health to incorporate NCDs, we propose some immediate priorities. Firstly, countries must be supported to have fully costed multisectoral action plans. … Secondly, countries need help to introduce robust intragovernmental coordination and oversight functions. … Thirdly, full examination of legislative function and oversight for the regulation of products and processes harmful to health, including those of polluting industries, is vital for countries to be able to scale up their national responses. Fourthly, international support will be required to help low- and middle-income countries to communicate the urgent need for accelerated investments in NCD prevention and control. … Finally, the integration of NCDs into universal health coverage assessment, planning, financing, and capacity building will need large scale normative and technical assistance” (7/31).

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Democracy, Addressing Authoritarianism Critical To Ending Human Trafficking, Opinion Piece Says

TIME: Human Trafficking Has a Hidden Cause — and It’s on the Rise Worldwide
Prachi Vidwans, research associate at the Human Rights Foundation, and Malaak Jamal, policy officer at the Human Rights Foundation, both co-authors of HRF’s 2018 report on trafficking and authoritarianism

“…After nearly two decades of international commitment to end modern slavery, one thing is clear: States are simply not doing enough. … Human trafficking is an epidemic in and of itself. But it’s also a symptom of other deeply rooted, international challenges — the refugee crisis, civil conflict, poverty, and more. … But there’s another root cause that is rarely, if ever, discussed: authoritarianism. … Yet few anti-trafficking experts and advocates discuss the relationship between weak anti-trafficking policies and authoritarianism. This year’s [U.S. Department of State] trafficking report urges governments to ‘look inward’ to address trafficking within their own borders making it distinct from past reports. Doing so requires transparency, accountability, the rule of law, and free and public discourse — rare resources under authoritarian regimes. Yet the words ‘democracy’ and ‘authoritarianism’ are never even mentioned in the State Department’s report. And this oversight is not new: Year after year, the report fails to discuss how authoritarianism contributes to human trafficking. … If we really want to end human trafficking, we need to work together to empower its victims by advocating fundamental rights. Democracy must be a part of the conversation” (7/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Democratic U.S. Presidential Candidates Articulate Positions On Africa's Growing Population

Council on Foreign Relations: The Democratic Candidates on Africa’s Growing Population
“CFR invited the Democratic candidates to articulate their positions on twelve critical foreign policy issues before the second set of presidential debates. The questionnaire was sent to all candidates on July 8. Candidates’ answers are posted exactly as they were received.” In this post, candidates answered the following question: “By 2050, Africa will account for 25 percent of the world’s population according to projections by the United Nations. What are the implications of this demographic change for the United States, and how should we adjust our policies to anticipate them?” All questions CFR posed may be viewed here (7/30).

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WHO Should Allow Taiwan Fair Representation At World Health Assembly, Taiwan Advocate Says

University of Nottingham’s “Taiwan Insight”: Health Care for All Humanity? The Case of the World Health Organisation and Taiwan
Najee Woods, writer for American Citizens for Taiwan and member of Formosan Association for Public Affairs, discusses the World Health Organization’s exclusion of Taiwan from global health discussions, writing, “Since the late 1990s, Taiwan has attempted on numerous occasions to gain observer status within WHO, but requests were not considered in the [World Health Assembly (WHA)] agenda. Taiwan does not have the same privileges that other WHO member-states enjoy, such as access to information on the latest outbreaks and epidemics. … Purposely excluding Taiwan by prioritizing the [People’s Republic of China’s (PRC)] political ambitions over the health of all runs contrary to the intention of the WHO constitution. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus constantly promotes the idea of health care for all humanity. But … [u]ntil WHO allows Taiwan fair representation at WHA, the director general’s words are nothing more than an empty slogan” (7/29).

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OHCHR Provides Statement On World Day Against Trafficking In Persons

U.N. Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons — 30 July 2019: “Profound change” needed for social inclusion of survivors of trafficking, says U.N. rights expert
“In a statement to mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, urges States to step up efforts to ensure compensation for people who are trafficked: ‘It is critically important that States invest in long-term solutions to ensure social inclusion for survivors of human trafficking. This means ensuring that there are robust procedures by States to allow victims to access to justice and remedies including compensation. Profound changes are needed in States’ approaches to migration and trafficking. Restrictive and xenophobic migration policies and the criminalization of migrants, as well as of NGOs and individuals providing humanitarian aid, are incompatible with effective action against human trafficking…” (7/29).

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Hold More Global Health Meetings In LMICs To Ensure Inclusivity, Equity, Researcher Says

BMJ Opinion: Ulrick Sidney: Visas for global health events — too many are losing their seat at the table
Ulrick Sidney, a research associate at Harvard’s Program in Global Surgery and Social Change, member of the international team of InciSioN, and resident of Cameroon, discusses the importance of inclusivity at global health conferences and the challenges many researchers, scientists, and health workers from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) face in obtaining visas to attend these meetings in high-income countries (HICs). Sidney recounts his experience being denied a visa to attend the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva and calls for more global health conferences to be held in LMICs. He concludes, “Global health specialists have a responsibility to create a more inclusive community. Solving the problem of attendance at conferences would be one step towards equity” (7/30).

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