KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Concerns Over Accountability, Response To Sexual Harassment Allegations At Fore Of UNAIDS Board Meeting

Health Policy Watch: Accountability, Sexual Harassment Concerns In Spotlight At UNAIDS Board Meeting
“Accountability and prevention and response to harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power, are high on the minds of delegates [who attended] a three-day meeting of the ruling body of UNAIDS [last] week in Geneva. … Deborah Birx, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator and U.S. special representative for global health diplomacy, told a session of the [UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB)] on 27 June: ‘The United States requires for its work in HIV/AIDS, a strong and healthy UNAIDS, which includes ensuring that the organization has a clear and robust approach to eliminating all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination’…” (Zarocostas, 6/28).

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EGPAF's Chip Lyons Discusses PEPFAR's Impacts On Efforts To End AIDS In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Chip Lyons on PEPFAR’s ‘great leap into the unknown’ of controlling HIV and AIDS
“…Devex spoke to Charles, or Chip, Lyons, president and chief executive officer of [the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF)], about how PEPFAR changed the calculus for organizations working to stem the tide of AIDS, and how the initiative has evolved in the 15 years since its founding…” (Igoe, 7/5).

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Health Experts Urge Action On NCDs Ahead Of U.N. High-Level Meeting

Devex: Ahead of UNGA, over 50 health experts sign letter for action on NCDs
“A powerhouse cast of United Nations, civil society, and academic leaders have come together to call for bold, practical action to reduce the global epidemic of noncommunicable diseases. More than 50 health experts co-signed a letter published in The Lancet [June 28], which provided an eight-point agenda to accelerate progress ahead of the United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of NCDs in September…” (Rogers, 6/29).

Devex: Q&A: Why beer, wine, and spirits producers need to be at the NCDs table
“…[H]ow can [alcoholic beverage] producers affect change in global health? According to [Henry Ashworth, CEO of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking], it’s through dialogue, partnerships, and supporting global frameworks designed to reduce harmful drinking. Sitting down with Devex, he explained this in more detail…” (7/2).

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WTO Panel's Support Of Plain Packaging For Tobacco Could Bolster Developing Countries' Efforts On NCDs, Experts Say

Devex: What the WTO decision on plain packaging means for developing countries
“…Tasked with delivering findings on whether plain packaging impedes intellectual property rights or creates a technical barriers to trade, [a panel of World Trade Organization judges] delivered their ruling on June 28, saying that the health outcomes of the measure far outweighed any business impacts. The decision has major impacts for developing countries looking to battle the array of noncommunicable diseases associated with smoking…” (Cornish, 7/4).

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OECD-FAO Report Examines Countries' Dependency On Food Imports, Recommends Agricultural Changes

U.N. News: Poorer countries set to be ‘increasingly dependent’ on food imports, says U.N. food agency report
“Poorer countries with rising populations and scarce natural resources are likely to be ‘increasingly dependent’ on imports to feed their people, according to an annual report jointly compiled by the United Nations food agency, launched on Tuesday. … The Agricultural Outlook recommends that regional countries re-orient policies away from cereals that require intensive watering, toward rural development, poverty reduction, and farming of higher-value horticulture products…” (7/3).

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MSF To End Involvement With DRC Ebola Response This Month As Outbreak Comes Under Containment

The Hill: Doctors Without Borders to pull out of Congo as Ebola scare wanes
“Doctors Without Borders will end its involvement in the international response to an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the heart of Africa later this month, a sign that public health officials believe the outbreak has been largely contained…” (Wilson, 7/2).

Washington Times: Ebola outbreak ‘contained’ as lessons of 2014, trial vaccines avert global panic
“…Health officials said about 50 infections were detected and 29 deaths were attributed to the outbreak, which was discovered in early May. They are waiting until later this month to declare the outbreak over — after at least six weeks, or two incubation periods, have passed since the last infection…” (Howell, 7/4).

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Global Fund's Withdrawal From North Korea Leaves Nation With 1 Year To Find New Donor For TB Medicines, Diagnostics

Science: Major donor nixes effort to combat tuberculosis crisis in North Korea
“…On 30 June, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria [pulled] the plug on its grants to North Korea, which has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis (TB) in the world. The pullout leaves the isolated nation with about one year to line up a new source of medicines and diagnostics to combat a deepening TB crisis…” (Stone, 6/29).

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Vaccine-Derived Polio Outbreak In DRC Threatens Eradication Efforts

Science: Alarming polio outbreak spreads in Congo, threatening global eradication efforts
“Overshadowed by the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), another frightening virus is on the loose in that vast, chaotic country: polio. … The outbreak also underscores the latest complication on the bumpy road toward polio eradication. It is caused not by the wild virus hanging on by a thread in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and perhaps Nigeria, but by a rare mutant derived from the weakened live virus in the oral polio vaccine (OPV), which has regained its neurovirulence and the ability to spread…” (Roberts, 7/2).

Vox: A vaccine we don’t even use anymore is a reason polio keeps spreading — yes, really
“…The outbreak of vaccine-derived polio was first registered last June, in Maniema province, the central-eastern part of DRC. It has since spread to the south, and popped up in two provinces in the north. ‘It’s worrying because it’s spreading,’ said Michel Zaffran, director of the polio eradication program at the World Health Organization, who added that the government is not yet taking the outbreak seriously enough. … The success of the global polio eradication campaign may hinge on the outcome of the DRC’s polio outbreak…” (Belluz, 7/5).

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Indonesia's Anti-LGBT Policies Leading To Increase In HIV Incidence, Harming Public Health, HRW Report Says

CNN: Indonesia’s crackdown on LGBT people fuels HIV crisis, report says
“A crackdown against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Indonesia is leading to a rise in HIV infections and causing a public health crisis, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. The report documents how attacks, raids, and an attitude of open hostility towards LGBT groups by Indonesian authorities and Islamist militant groups has derailed public health efforts to prevent and curb HIV…” (Smith, 7/2).

Additional coverage of this story is available from Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Reuters, TIME, and VOA News.

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Measles spreads in Brazil after cases come from Venezuela (7/4).

Devex: Nigeria tackles cholera outbreak using housecalls, jingles, and health advisories (Unah, 7/5).

Devex: Cities and NCDs: Montevideo’s menu for reducing sodium intake (Ravelo, 7/4).

The Guardian: Breakthrough made in fight to end virginity testing in Afghanistan (Kelly, 7/5).

The Guardian: Brazil: measles outbreak that infected 500 may devastate indigenous people (Phillips, 7/3).

News Deeply: Concerns Over Nigerian Private Sector’s Role in Ending Malnutrition (Udobang, 7/3).

Newsweek: Zika Virus Might Still Pose a Silent Threat to Pregnant Women (Spear, 7/3).

New York Times: U.N. Reports Sharp Increase in Children Killed or Maimed in Conflicts (Sugiyama, 6/27).

Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Disease of poverty’: Malaria ‘back with a vengeance’ in Australia’s closest neighbors (Aubusson, 6/30).

U.N. News: Food safety critical to development and ending poverty: FAO deputy chief (7/2).

USA TODAY: Egypt pushes population control: ‘Two is Enough’ (Wirtschafter/Nader, 7/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Call On U.S. Congress To Pass HER Act To Permanently Repeal Mexico City Policy

Rewire: The Effects of the Global Gag Rule Are Being Felt Everywhere
Melvine Ouyo, reproductive health nurse at Family Health Options Kenya, and Alexa Henderson, medical student at Ohio State University and member of the national board of Medical Students for Choice

“…As health care providers, present and future, our ethical duty to cause no harm, protect our patients’ safety, and save lives is paramount. That’s why we feel compelled to speak out against the Trump administration’s unjust and dangerous policy … which censors health care providers and restricts the services we can make available. … [The Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule,] has always taken the form of an executive order that the White House occupant can unilaterally impose or rescind. We must continue to elevate the issue and implore U.S. lawmakers to enact the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act in Congress, which would create a permanent legislative repeal of the global gag rule, prevent a future president from reinstating the policy, and end the senseless suffering of people, particularly women and girls, worldwide. … We must resist Trump’s war on women at every turn and fight back against his destructive policies at home and abroad by demanding Congress members pass the HER Act to permanently repeal the global gag rule…” (7/2).

Project Syndicate: Ending America’s Global War on Reproductive Freedom
Tlaleng Mofokeng, vice chairperson of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition of South Africa

“…[H]ealth care professionals in South Africa — and far beyond — are raising the alarm about Trump’s expanded [Mexico City] policy. … [N]ew strategies are needed to fight the global gag rule. … [D]eveloping countries need to begin moving away from conditional aid that restricts health providers’ ability to work in accordance with local laws. … But just as important as domestic support is backing from U.S. lawmakers … [P]assage of the HER Act would create a permanent, legislative repeal of the global gag rule, and return a sense of apolitical morality to U.S. foreign aid. … In South Africa, every woman has the legal right to control and make choices about her reproductive health. But that right is being trampled by a form of neocolonialism that ties aid to the political whims of the U.S. party in power. South Africa’s people have decided to enact one of the world’s most liberal abortion laws; politicians 8,000 miles away should not be allowed to reverse their choice” (7/3).

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U.S. Government Should Engage In CEPI To Advance Development Of Vaccines Against Future Pandemics

Washington Diplomat: Op-Ed: Public, Private Sectors Must Work Together to Manage Next Pandemic
Kåre R. Aas, Norway’s ambassador to the U.S.

“…History has taught us that there will be future deadly global pandemics. We therefore need to invest in better tools, effective early detection, and a more robust global response system. The key to avoiding massive loss of life is the timely availability of vaccines. … A main challenge is that there is no market for vaccines to fight epidemics. Nothing is driving industry to create vaccines for diseases we cannot anticipate. Therefore, only a public-private partnership could address that market failure. … [The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)] works with pharmaceutical companies to push promising vaccine candidates through trials. … The United States has a unique depth of scientific and technical expertise. CEPI already collaborates with several U.S.-based companies, for instance to advance the development and manufacture of vaccines against Nipah and MERS. Norway strongly encourages the U.S. government to engage in the coalition. I hope for a strong and coordinated global effort to prevent new pandemics — and I hope it won’t take another global wake-up call to make that happen” (6/29).

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Progress Against Global Malaria Shows Signs Of Stalling

Washington Post: The malaria fight stalls as children die by the hundreds of thousands
Editorial Board

“For years, global public health officials have been at war with malaria … The number of cases and deaths has steadily dropped for a decade and a half. … But the battle shows signs of stalling. … As [Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,] pointed out, globally, tools that brought progress are wearing out. The nets, sprays, and drugs ‘aren’t working as well as they used to.’ … For the first time, a vaccine shows partial protection against malaria in young children and has been cleared for pilot introduction in Africa to complement other efforts. Over the longer run, there is hope that technology such as the genetic editing tool known as CRISPR can be used to modify mosquitoes so they don’t spread the disease. This seems like an example of the kind of genetic editing that would present a handsome payoff to humankind and be worth the risk if it works. The fight against malaria can’t be won with a dramatic ‘moonshot’ campaign but rather by action on many fronts. A stall, after so much promise, would be terrible and costly” (7/1).

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E.U. Remains Committed To Addressing Global NCDs

Devex: Opinion: How the E.U. is battling against threats to the world’s health
Neven Mimica, E.U. commissioner for international cooperation and development

“…The European Union is strongly committed to playing a leading role in the global movement against [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)]. We are supporting partner countries’ efforts to maximize health benefits on an equitable basis by strengthening health systems and policies … At the global level, the E.U. is bringing together global, national, and local partners to reinforce health systems and to promote a systemic approach in the fight against NCDs. … Tackling the burden of NCDs requires strong leadership in more than just the health sector alone. … NCD prevention and control strategies must therefore be multisectoral in nature. … 2018 will be a decisive year in the fight against NCDs, as the third high-level meeting on NCDs will take place in September 2018, in New York. It is also vital to feature the fight against NCDs in the debates on the post-2020 period that are currently unfolding in Brussels and in the other European capitals. Let us make sure that we make the most of these opportunities to create the conditions for fulfilling our global promise of reaching the [Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs)] targets, including the target on NCDs, by 2030” (7/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Expert Examines White House Decision To Dissolve Directorate For Global Health Security

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Health Security Downgraded at the White House
J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, discusses the recent White House decision to dissolve the directorate for global health security and biothreats, writing, “[T]he Trump administration implicitly is signaling that it flatly rejects the notion that health security ranks as a true national security policy priority. … The price to U.S. national interests will be big, unless corrective action is taken soon” (6/28).

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CGD Expert Discusses PEPFAR Funding, New Acceleration Strategy

Center for Global Development: Will PEPFAR “Acceleration” Put Its Money Where Its Mouth Is?
Rachel Silverman, senior policy analyst and assistant director of Global Health Policy at CGD, discusses PEPFAR’s Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control, which identifies 13 target countries where PEPFAR will focus on accelerating progress toward epidemic control, and examines how funding allocation has changed among the countries receiving bilateral PEPFAR funding. Silverman writes, “It’s clear that money talks — and these figures demonstrate that PEPFAR’s ‘acceleration’ strategy is a serious endeavor, backed up by the potential for large reallocations between its target countries” (7/2).

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Devex Webinar Examines USAID Reorganization

Devex: Webinar: Inside the USAID reorganization
This Devex webinar features James Richardson, USAID senior adviser and coordinator of the agency’s Transformation Task Team (T3), who discusses the agency’s reorganization efforts (7/2).

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MFAN Event Examines Gender Integration Within Development Community, USAID Transformation

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: Ensuring Gender Integration in USAID Transformation
Emily Brehob, a graduate intern at MFAN, writes, “On June 12th, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Plan International, Save the Children, and MFAN co-hosted Transforming Foreign Aid: Putting Women and Girls at the Center. This event, with Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Representative Kay Granger (R-Texas) as honorary co-hosts, highlighted how the development community is mainstreaming gender issues, especially in the context of USAID’s ongoing Transformation initiative…” (6/29).

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Poor Quality Health Services Holding Back Progress On Improving Health, Reaching UHC, OECD-WHO-World Bank Report Says

World Health Organization: Low quality health care is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally
“Poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels, according to a new joint report by the OECD, World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank. Today, inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate or unnecessary treatment, inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities or practices, or providers who lack adequate training and expertise prevail in all countries. … These are just some of the highlights from Delivering Quality Health Services — a Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage. The report also highlights that sickness associated with poor quality health care imposes additional expenditure on families and health systems…” (7/5).

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July 2018 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The July 2018 WHO Bulletin features articles on various issues, including an editorial on hepatitis B prevention; a news article on cholera vaccination in conflict zones; a review article on cash interventions for tuberculosis treatment; and a policy paper examining China’s 2015 tobacco tax increase (July 2018).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 338 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes articles on various topics, including the approval of an additional $234 million in new grants; the recovery of funds owed related to Office of the Inspector General audits and investigations; and an Aidspan report examining countries’ use of data to inform grant implementation (7/4).

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FT Health Discusses WHO's Classification Of 'Gaming Disorder,' Features Interview On Priority Review Voucher

FT Health: Battle begins over gaming disorder
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses the WHO’s inclusion of “gaming disorder” in its new Classification of Diseases and features an interview with Jeffrey Moe, joint proposer of the Priority Review Voucher, “an incentive designed to stimulate the development of drugs for tropical and rare diseases by awarding a voucher granting accelerated U.S. regulatory review.” The newsletter also provides a roundup of global health-related news stories (Dodd/Jack, 6/29).

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From KFF

KFF Releases Side-By-Side Comparison Of PEPFAR's Authorizing Legislation

Kaiser Family Foundation: PEPFAR Reauthorization: Side-by-Side of Existing Legislation
“The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. government’s global effort to combat HIV and the largest global health program devoted to a single disease … Three major pieces of authorizing legislation govern PEPFAR’s HIV response, as well as U.S. participation in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and bilateral assistance for tuberculosis (TB) and malaria programs … This brief provides a side-by-side comparison of changes to PEPFAR’s authorizing legislation over time. In addition, it identifies which authorities are due to expire at the end of this fiscal year” (Moss/Kates, 7/2).

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