KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Financial Times Special Report Focuses On Health Agenda Of G20 Meeting

Financial Times: World leaders confront a catalogue of health problems at G20 meeting
“The U.S. election of President Donald Trump and the U.K.’s plans to leave the E.U. have raised concerns among global policymakers over the two countries’ commitment to their leading roles in tackling the world’s health challenges. Both are important international aid donors. But other nations are already stepping forward to play a greater part…” (Jack, 7/7).

Financial Times: Germany puts Africa’s health on G20 agenda
“On the face of it, promoting health as part of the G20 agenda might look like good public relations on the part of Angela Merkel. But for the German chancellor, who this year presides over the G20 grouping of big economies, … health care is a key element of Germany’s engagement with the developing world — Africa in particular. The country’s refugee crisis highlighted for many Germans that the troubles of the rest of the globe, which once seemed far removed from their prosperous towns and cities, could come marching up to their front doors…” (Wagstyl, 7/7).

Financial Times: FT Health: G20
“Health can no longer be just a local or regional concern. Now more than ever, we need global cooperation to address issues such as Africa’s rising population, antimicrobial resistance, China’s c-section problem, HIV prevention, and corporate wellness schemes…” (Multiple authors, 7/7).

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'My Country First' Policies Inhibiting Progress On SDGs, Report Says

Deutsche Welle: ‘My country first’ policy a threat to global goals — report
“World leaders have been urged to strengthen efforts to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were agreed by 193 member states in 2015. The appeal was made in a report released on Thursday by the Bertelsmann Foundation, timed to coincide with the G20 summit in Hamburg this weekend…” (Martin/Harper, 7/7).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: ‘My country first’ threatens global goals with U.S., China, Russia lagging: report
“…Scandinavian countries are leading the way among 157 nations ranked by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Bertelsmann Stiftung, a German social responsibility foundation. But income inequality, high consumption levels and carbon emissions put the United States at No. 42 in the list while Russia was ranked 62nd and China 71st. … The SDSN, a U.N.-connected group that promotes the SDGs, said the world’s most powerful nations are failing to lead the way…” (Wulfhorst, 7/6).

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U.S. Senator's Amendment Would Limit Drugmakers' Prices Of Medicines Developed With Defense Department Funding

STAT: A proposal would limit prices on meds developed with Defense Department dollars
“A U.S. senator is trying to lower prices for medicines that are discovered with taxpayer dollars, and his effort amounts to a new twist to unraveling a complicated controversy that has embroiled the U.S. Department of Defense, large drug makers, numerous lawmakers, and consumer groups. Late last month, Angus King (I-Maine) successfully added an amendment to a Defense Department funding bill that consumer groups say would effectively allow an end run around drug makers that priced products — which were developed with taxpayer dollars — higher than what is charged in seven other countries. The trigger would be determined by median prices and per capita income compared with the U.S…” (Silverman, 7/6).

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WHO DG Tedros To Review Agency's Travel Spending

Associated Press: U.N. health agency’s new chief says he will check travel costs
“…In a ‘Town Hall’ speech given to staffers in Geneva and in regional and country offices, Tedros said he would be examining ‘the recent uproar over travel costs.’ … ‘WHO must deliver value for money,’ Tedros said upon taking office this week. ‘I am reviewing the situation thoroughly and will ensure that our resources are used efficiently.’ After he was elected in May, Tedros said that if WHO’s travel costs were not justifiable, they would have to be addressed…” (Cheng, 7/7).

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Extensively Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Becoming More Common Worldwide, WHO Data Show

CIDRAP News: Global officials warn of pan-resistant gonorrhea
“New data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that resistance to the only remaining treatment for gonorrhea is emerging globally, and that widespread treatment failure is likely in the coming years unless new antibiotics are developed…” (Dall, 7/6).

CNN: This STD is becoming ‘smarter’ and harder to treat
“… ‘The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,’ said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the WHO, in a news release…” (Chavez, 7/7).

Nature: Untreatable gonorrhea on the rise worldwide
“Gonorrhea is becoming as incurable as it was in the 1920s, before the first drugs to treat it were discovered. More than 60 percent of countries surveyed around the world have reported cases that resist last-resort antibiotics, according to an announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 6 July. The announcement included information about a new gonorrhea drug in development…” (Maxmen, 7/7).

Reuters: WHO warns of imminent spread of untreatable superbug gonorrhea
“…Wi, who gave details in a telephone briefing of two studies on gonorrhea published in the journal PLOS Medicine, said one had documented three specific cases — one each in Japan, France, and Spain — of patients with strains of gonorrhea against which no known antibiotic is effective…” (Kelland, 7/7).

STAT: New data show gonorrhea increasingly resistant to antibiotics
“…[G]lobal surveillance for drug-resistant gonorrhea is spotty, and is done more commonly in affluent countries than in low-income countries. The report included data from only 77 countries. Most African nations — and the rate of gonorrhea is high in parts of Africa — did not report…” (Branswell, 7/6).

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Cholera Epidemic Worsening Daily In Yemen; Children Urgently Need Humanitarian Assistance, UNICEF Says

Al Jazeera: UNICEF: 10 million Yemeni children need urgent help
“About 10 million children in Yemen are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, according to UNICEF, as the country copes with the war between the Saudi-backed government forces and the Houthi rebels. In a statement posted on its official Facebook page on Thursday, UNICEF’s Yemen office said that most children in Yemen lacked basic medical care, adequate nutrition, fresh drinking water, suitable sanitation, and education…” (7/6).

Devex: With limited aid, Yemen cholera ‘getting worse every day’
“…Conflict, lack of supplies, costly logistics, and inadequate funding have all deterred or prevented humanitarians from scaling up. Yet even more critically, Yemen itself has few coping mechanisms left after more than two years of conflict. By the time cholera struck, public services in Yemen had collapsed, including the systems for health and water. … Until the conflict ends, few expect that grim reality to change…” (Dickinson/Lieberman, 7/6).

New York Times: Cholera Spreads as War and Poverty Batter Yemen
“…Cholera is also on the rise in the Horn of Africa because of long-simmering conflicts there. Yemen’s African neighbors, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya, have had a total of about 96,000 cholera cases since 2014, international aid groups say. The crises in Africa, however, pale in comparison to the one in Yemen. Since a severe outbreak began in late April, according to UNICEF, cholera has spread to 21 of the country’s 22 provinces, infecting at least 269,608 people and killing at least 1,614. That is more than the total number of cholera deaths reported to the World Health Organization worldwide in 2015…” (Almosawa/Youssef, 7/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Continue To Use 'Soft Power,' Invest In PEPFAR To Improve Global Health, U.S. National Security

CNN: Trump should not relinquish ‘soft power’
James Stavridis, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

“…[R]ecently [President Trump] proposed a cut of 26 percent for global health programs [at the State Department and USAID] — ‘the lowest level of funding since FY 2008,’ according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Funds for AIDS alone would drop by about $860 million. While I am not proposing a specific ratio of spending, I believe there is a symbiotic relationship between hard and soft power and that, in both cases, we need to invest in the programs that succeed. … And if the Trump administration needs proof that soft power carries great weight, it need look no further than the previous Republican White House. The President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, launched by George W. Bush and extended under Barack Obama, has been critical in the fight against AIDS in Africa. … I want to see more PEPFARs, not fewer. … [N]ational security and global health are inextricably linked. … It was 36 years ago that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of what would later become known as AIDS. We have the chance to make this terrible disease a horror of the past. Let’s continue to seize the opportunity” (7/7).

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World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility Represents Innovative Approach To Rapid Response To Health Threats

Washington Post: A worthy legacy of the Ebola catastrophe
Editorial Board

“One of the most disturbing lessons to emerge from the Ebola virus disease epidemic in West Africa in 2014-2015 was how unprepared the world was for it. … The [World Bank] has announced the issuance of $500 million in specialized bonds and derivatives that will help poor countries cope with a pandemic such as Ebola. The effort will create a trust fund, the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, that can be quickly deployed for pandemic response, complementing the WHO fund. … One big advantage is that instead of waiting around for slow-moving national governments to fund a disease response, the resources necessary for saving lives will be available quickly, when they can do the most good. … Of course, money isn’t everything — political decisions, biomedical research, proper alerts, and communication are also critical factors in a rapid response. But having a robust fund to send in the first teams is a promising and innovative step forward by the World Bank, and a worthy legacy of the Ebola catastrophe” (7/6).

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U.N. Secretary General Outlines 8 Principles To Improve U.N. Development System

Inter Press Service: U.N. Needs a 21st Century Development System
António Guterres, U.N. Secretary General

“…The 2030 Agenda is our boldest agenda for humanity, and requires equally bold changes in the U.N. development system. … Yet we all know that the system is not functioning at its full potential. We are held back by insufficient coordination and accountability on system-wide activities. … First, the U.N. development system must accelerate its transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the 2030 Agenda. … Second principle, we need a much stronger focus on financing for development. … Third principle, we need a new generation of country teams that are tailored to the specific needs of each country. … Fourth principle, we must resolve the ambiguity in the role of resident coordinators. … Fifth principle, for too long, reform efforts in the field have been hindered by the lack of similar efforts at headquarters. … Sixth principle, we need to foster a more cohesive U.N. policy voice at the regional level. … Seventh principle, the accountability of the U.N. development system is a matter of priority. … Eighth principle, and last, there is a critical need to address the unintended consequences of funding that have hampered our ability to deliver as one. … I am convinced that, together, we can take the bold steps that the new agenda requires and that humanity also deserves…” (7/6).

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Attacks On Health Facilities, Workers In Syria, Yemen Should Be Considered War Crimes

STAT: Attacks in Syria and Yemen are turning disease into a weapon of war
Homer Venters, director of programs at Physicians for Human Rights

“…Today we are seeing another cruel method of warfare emerge on the battlefield: the weaponization of disease, particularly in Syria and Yemen. … [T]he pace of attacks on health facilities, workers, and resources in Syria and Yemen is massive and unrelenting. In the past three years, combatants in these conflicts have actively targeted health and humanitarian facilities and indiscriminately decimated civilian infrastructure. … We must not make the mistake of thinking of these deaths and illnesses as collateral damage of war. They are not accidental, and the destruction of medical and sanitation infrastructure is part of a cruel, illegal, and intentional strategy. … [T]here must be independent investigations of violations of international law when it comes to targeting health and humanitarian resources. There must also be regular and public reporting of incidents at the United Nations Human Rights Council and Security Council. We must recognize and prosecute these acts as war crimes, specifically as violations of the Geneva Convention. … [W]ithout accountability and clear condemnation from the international community, millions more lives are at stake” (7/7).

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Lancet Commission To Explore 'Complex Dimensions' Of Sub-Saharan Africa's Health Challenges

The Lancet: An African-driven health agenda
Editorial Board

“The first WHO Africa health forum closed on June 28 in Kigali, Rwanda, with commitments from governments to ensure universal health coverage. … But health is much more than just health care, and universal health coverage alone cannot confront the considerable challenges of the continent. … Financing universal health coverage is far from clear; with declining donor assistance, countries will be challenged to fund and sustain health care systems. Intensifying these political and economic challenges are demographic shifts. … The paradoxes of Africa — abundant with natural resources yet much impoverishment, financial losses to corruption that exceed gains through foreign aid, the double burdens of persistent infectious disease alongside growing chronic conditions — present a myriad of health challenges. Yet to speak of one Africa is to discount the rich cultural, linguistic, economic, and political diversity of the region. The Lancet’s African-led Commission on the future of health in sub-Saharan Africa, launching in Nairobi in September, will explore these complex dimensions” (7/8).

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Strengthening Health Systems Requires 'Strengthening Everyday Resilience'

Devex: Opinion: To fight the next Ebola, the G20 need to empower people to respond to everyday challenges
Lucy Gilson, professor at the University of Cape Town and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“…Any attempt to strengthen health systems must take seriously well-recognized stressors such as increasing workloads, changing health needs, resource challenges, and less-often identified but routine challenges. … [W]hat do global leaders need to do to nurture everyday resilience in the face of chronic stress — and so also strengthen health systems? First, they need to understand that the ‘personal’ is absolutely integral to a functioning and responsive health system. … Second, and most critically, global leaders must pay attention to how they engage with health systems. … Strengthening everyday resilience demands that we all — governments, donors, researchers, communities, health professionals — work with the resources that health systems already have — their people and relationships. This must be done as we take wider action to confront inequality at all levels. If we do not do that, then efforts to safeguard disease outbreaks will be meaningless” (7/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

G20 Meeting Should Address Multiple Global Health Issues, Including Antimicrobial Resistance, Experts, NGOs Say

American Enterprise Institute’s “AEIdeas”: G20 and antibiotic resistance
AEI Visiting Scholar Roger Bate highlights draft text from a call to action against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) expected to be adopted at this weekend’s G20 meeting. He writes, “Perhaps most heartening is the call for ‘quality’ antimicrobials. The tendency of most governments in emerging markets is to buy the cheapest products. It will be interesting and important to see if G20 nations actually follow their rhetoric” (7/6).

Médecins Sans Frontières: MSF urges G20 to take action on health issues
“Ahead of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, where global health is on the agenda for the first time, the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called on G20 leaders to follow through on the declaration made by their health ministers in late May. … MSF asks the G20 leaders to take action on the following issues: Attacks on medical facilities: turn U.N. Security Resolution 2286 into concrete actions … TB and drug-resistant infections: investing in research and development (R&D), and making treatments affordable for all people … Emergency preparedness and response…” (7/6).

Undark: Needed at the G20 Summit: A Global Assault on Drug-Resistant TB
Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, writes, “With broad international support, the G20 has a key opportunity to agree on a mechanism to develop new antibiotics to tackle drug-resistant infections, overcoming present market failures and supercharging the antibiotics pipeline. … World leaders should specifically include TB in their G20 outcome document this weekend. … Without global action, we will hurtle toward a post-antibiotic era. New drugs are needed for now and for the future” (7/6).

Wellcome: G20 summit: act now in the fight against epidemics
“The G20 summit starts today in Hamburg. As world leaders sit down for talks, Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome’s director, and Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson, urge them to keep up the momentum in tackling infectious disease outbreaks.” They write, “What we need now is the continued political commitment to the policies and investments needed to enable CEPI and other incentive models that encourage research and development. … Working together, we can develop the tools to secure and advance human health, bolster economies, and give the world reason to truly celebrate our humanity and our ingenuity” (7/7).

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CSIS Report Says U.S. Government Must Make Strategic Domestic, Global Investments To Address TB

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Protecting the United States from the Health Security Risk of Global Tuberculosis
In this report, Audrey Jackson, a senior fellow with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses the global spread of tuberculosis, including drug-resistant strains, writing, “To be effective in protecting Americans from a costly and potentially deadly disease, the U.S. government must address TB and drug-resistant TB both domestically and globally.” Jackson makes several recommendations for the Trump administration and Congress to “invest strategically in domestic and global TB programs and research and development (R&D) that will contribute to ending the TB epidemic” (7/5).

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CSIS Podcast Features Episodes Discussing Global HIV Response, Children's Health, U.S.-India Relationship On Health

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: What is the state of the global HIV response and children’s health?
Sara Allinder, deputy director and senior fellow at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with Charles Lyons, president and chief executive officer of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, about the global HIV response and children’s health (6/23).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: The U.S.-India Relationship on Health
Nellie Bristol, senior fellow at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with Richard Downie, deputy director and fellow with the CSIS Africa Program, about recommendations for the future of U.S. engagement in India (7/5).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash includes a news article on the election of Jeremiah Chakaya Muhwa, a TB expert from Kenya, as the new chair of the Technical Review Panel; a video highlighting the work of a village malaria worker in the Mekong region; and an article describing the work of Dignity Association, a community group in Sierra Leone working to eliminate stigma and discrimination toward men who have sex with men (7/6).

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From the U.S. Government

Georgia State Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald Appointed As CDC Director, ATSDR Administrator

HHS: Secretary Price Appoints Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., as CDC Director and ATSDR Administrator
“Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., named Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., as the 17th director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). … Dr. Fitzgerald has been the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and state health officer for the past six years. … Dr. Fitzgerald, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, has practiced medicine for three decades…” (7/7).

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