KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. State Department Will Redirect FY18 Funds Meant For 3 Central American Countries After Completing Review

Devex: Following review, U.S. ‘will not provide new funds’ to Central America
“The U.S. State Department has completed a review of U.S. foreign assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras nearly three months after President Donald Trump announced he would cut off aid to the ‘Northern Triangle.’ State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that previously awarded grants and contracts from fiscal year 2017 will go ahead, which is welcome news for many implementers who feared the breadth of the cuts and had been left largely in the dark about how operations would be impacted. … But funds allocated under fiscal year 2018 … will be directed toward other projects…” (Welsh, 6/18).

Additional coverage of the announcement is available from Associated Press, CBS News, Fox News, and Reuters.

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USAID Reopens Permanent Mission In Somalia; Administrator Green Announces $185M In Humanitarian Aid During Visit To Mogadishu

Devex: The ‘political dimension’ to the USAID move to Mogadishu
“The U.S. government reopened a permanent mission of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Somalia on Monday, 28 years after it closed when civil war led to the collapse of the central government. The decision to reopen a mission, according to USAID, was fueled by the Somali government’s ‘commitment to meaningful reform and re-engagement with the international community.’ … But the reopening of the USAID mission also has a ‘very political dimension,’ said Matt Bryden, strategic adviser to Sahan, a Somalia-focused think tank. It could be used to bolster the central government’s dismissal of federal member states, he said…” (Jerving, 6/18).

VOA News: U.S. Reopens Permanent USAID Mission in Somalia
“The United States is reopening its permanent U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Somalia, 28 years since its closing on January 5, 1991. Although the U.S. never formally severed diplomatic relations with Somalia, the U.S. Embassy in Somalia was closed in 1991, when the civil war in the 1980s led to the collapse of the country’s central government in 1991…” (Ching, 6/17).

Washington Post: The U.S. is pouring millions into Somalia despite concerns over dependency on aid
“The U.S. government’s top official in charge of foreign aid traveled to Somalia’s capital on Monday to announce a large humanitarian assistance package, but not[ed] that humanitarian aid is a ‘necessary evil’ for the drought- and conflict-plagued country where the American military has engaged in counterterrorism ­offensives for almost 30 years…” (Bearak, 6/17).

Xinhua News: U.S. provides 185 mln USD in humanitarian support for Somalia
“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided 185 million dollars in humanitarian assistance to help Somali people facing acute food shortage. USAID Administrator Mark Green said in a statement issued on Monday evening that the funds will address food insecurity and acute malnutrition, and deliver safe water and emergency health care to people affected by ongoing conflict and prolonged drought…” (6/18)

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Number Of Ebola Cases Spike Again In DRC; Uganda Approves 3 Experimental Treatments

Associated Press: Kenya patient free of Ebola, as Congo, Uganda fight outbreak
“Kenya remains free from Ebola as test results show that a sick woman does not have the deadly hemorrhagic fever, while neighboring Uganda and Congo battle a stubborn outbreak of the disease…” (Odula, 6/17).

CIDRAP News: Ebola case counts spike again in DRC
“Over the weekend, the ministry of health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded 28 new cases of Ebola, and [was expected to] confirm another 20 new cases [Monday]. With nearly 50 cases in 3 days, the outbreak is experiencing another spike in activity following the discovery of cases in neighboring Uganda last week. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Ebola dashboard, the outbreak total now stands at 2,168 cases…” (Soucheray, 6/17).

Reuters: More than 300,000 flee Congo violence, complicating Ebola fight: U.N.
“More than 300,000 people have fled inter-ethnic violence in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo since early June, complicating the tracing and treatment of patients at risk from Ebola, U.N. aid agencies said on Tuesday…” (Nebehay, 6/18).

Reuters: Uganda clears three experimental Ebola treatments, watches for spread
“Health workers have got the all-clear to use three experimental Ebola treatments in Uganda, a week after the deadly disease spread over the border from Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said on Tuesday…” (Biryabarema, 6/18).

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Global Progress Made On WASH But Billions Continue To Go Without Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation, Handwashing Facilities, U.N. Report Notes

The Telegraph: Number of people forced to go to the toilet in the open cut by half
“The number of people around the world forced to go to the toilet in the open has halved since 2000, according to new data. A report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF that tracked household access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services found that in 2017 the number of people who practice ‘open defecation’ has reduced from 1.3 billion people in 2000 to 673 million in 2017…” (Gulland, 6/18).

U.N. News: Billions globally lack ‘water, sanitation and hygiene,’ new U.N. report spells out
“Some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely-managed drinking water, while 4.2 billion go without safe sanitation services and three billion lack basic handwashing facilities, according to a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). … The Joint Monitoring Programme report, ‘Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017: Special focus on inequalities,’ finds that while significant progress has been made toward achieving universal access to WASH, there are huge gaps in the quality of services provided…” (6/17).

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World Population Expected To Grow At Slower Pace, Reach 9.7B In 2050, Grow Increasingly Older, U.N. Report Estimates

Associated Press: U.N.: World population expected to rise to 9.7 billion in 2050
“The world’s population is getting older and growing at a slower pace but is still expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050, the United Nations said Monday…” (Lederer, 6/17).

New York Times: The Globe Is Going Gray Fast, U.N. Says in New Forecast
“…Women are having fewer babies, the number of elders is rising fast, and an increased number of countries face population declines, according to a projection of world population trends released Monday by the United Nations…” (Gladstone, 6/17).

U.N. News: 9.7 billion on Earth by 2050, but growth rate slowing, says new U.N. population report
“… ‘The World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights,’ estimates that the next 30 years will see the global population add an extra 2 billion people to today’s figure of 7.7 billion, and, by the end of the century, the planet will have to sustain around 11 billion…” (6/17).

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Multiple Factors Hindering Global Progress On Development Goals, U.N. Report Says

Inter Press Service: U.N.’s Development Goals Remain Largely Elusive
“The United Nations, in a new report to be released next month, has warned ‘there is no escaping the fact that the global landscape for the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has generally deteriorated since 2015, hindering the efforts of governments and other partners.’ And the commitment to multilateral cooperation, so central to implementing major global agreements, is now under pressure, says the 35-page report, due to be released ahead of the upcoming high-level political forum (HLPF) of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), July 9-18. The reasons for the roadblocks include a spreading economic recession, a decline in development aid, the diversion of funds into humanitarian emergencies, the widespread military conflicts, the growing economic losses from natural disasters, the downsizing of operations by cash-strapped U.N. agencies, the rise of right-wing governments, and the increasing challenge to multilateralism, among others…” (Deen, 6/18).

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World Food Programme Might Suspend Operations In Yemen Unless Efforts Taken To Ensure Proper Aid Delivery, Executive Director Tells Security Council

New Humanitarian: U.N. gives ultimatum to Yemen rebels over reports of aid theft
“The World Food Programme will start to suspend its operations in parts of the country Houthi rebels control as soon as this week if the group does not agree to implement a biometrics system intended to prevent aid fraud, the head of the U.N. agency said on Monday. WFP Executive Director David Beasley told the U.N. Security Council he had signed agreements with the Houthis on biometric registration of aid recipients starting last December, but ‘every time we got close to actually putting those agreements into place, there would be a new roadblock’…” (Parker/Slemrod, 6/17).

U.N. News: Yemeni children ‘dying right now’ due to food aid diversions Beasley warns Security Council
“…David Beasley was briefing the Security Council on the continuing dire humanitarian situation, along with the U.N. relief chief, Mark Lowcock, and the U.N. special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who provided updates on the search for a political solution to end more than four years of brutal fighting between the Houthis and the Saudi-led pro-government coalition. ‘We continue to face fierce resistance to simply just doing our job to keep people alive,’ said Mr. Beasley bluntly, noting that it was 18 months ago when WFP first uncovered ‘serious evidence that some food was going to the wrong people’…” (6/17).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Pakistan struggles with unprecedented HIV infections in children (Burdon-Manley, 6/16).

allAfrica: Africa: After ECHO, Let’s Find Out Why Women Are Not Using Barrier Methods (Ncube, 6/18).

BBC News: Face to face with DR Congo’s deadly vipers (6/18).

Bloomberg: Deadly Superbugs Win as Wall Street Flees Makers of Antibiotics (Langreth, 6/17).

Devex: Adolescent girls face violence, forced marriage in refugee communities (Cornish, 6/18).

Devex: The rise of digital health and its potential to push progress on UHC (Donback, 6/17).

Healio: 1 million child-friendly TB courses ordered since 2016 (Gramigna, 6/17).

Inter Press Service: Air Pollution Ranked as Biggest Environmental Threat to Human Health (Thampoe, 6/17).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: African survivors of female circumcision call for help with mental trauma (Peyton, 6/18).

Washington Post: The Big Number: 22 percent of people in conflict-affected areas have mental disorders (Searing, 6/17).

Xinhua News: EU donates 2.8 mln USD to emergency reproductive health services in Iraq (6/17).

Xinhua News: Sri Lanka eliminates mother-to-child HIV, Syphilis infection: health authorities (6/17).

Xinhua News: China unveils plan for tuberculosis control (6/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration's Policies Threaten Sexual, Reproductive Health Rights Domestically, Abroad

Newsweek: Trump’s War on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is Global | Opinion
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

“…Over the past 50 years, the global community has evolved in its acceptance and promotion of [sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)] as a critical framework to address poverty. Its approach to sustainable development has shifted away from population control as a means to achieve economic growth and toward a plan focused on human rights and gender equality. But after decades of momentum favoring the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, the Trump administration is waging a radical and calculated plan to unravel this global consensus … The Trump administration’s [policies on SRHR are] a global attack on our rights, and the people who are most impacted don’t have a voice in U.S. policy. As we fight for our rights at home, we stand in solidarity with millions of people around the world. The framework focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights is the right one, and together we will defend it” (6/17).

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International Community Should Protect Global Health Cooperation For Procurement In 'Post-Aid World'

Devex: Opinion: Protecting hard-won global health gains in a ‘post-aid’ world
Janeen Madan Keller, senior policy analyst and assistant director of global health, and Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy and senior fellow, both at the Center for Global Development

“Transitioning away from donor aid is global development good news. Countries are growing wealthier and increasingly self-sufficient. But within this broader success story, withdrawal of donor support for procuring high-quality medicines, diagnostics, and devices threatens to leave middle-income countries in the lurch. … If we want to ensure universal access to lifesaving health products, the transition from current global health mechanisms — the so-called ‘end of aid’ — cannot be the end of global health cooperation. Instead, global health institutions must sustain, and possibly expand, global cooperation for procurement with an evolving toolkit tailored to the changing context. At the global and regional levels, new and expanded pooled procurement mechanisms can help counter the perverse effects of fragmentation, while donor support for information-sharing, market intelligence, and e-platforms can equip public purchasers with greater visibility into product quality and pricing. Finally, even after countries have transitioned from external aid, donors should consider continued subsidies for specific products that have important positive externalities or that are marginally cost-effective. By reimagining global cooperation for procurement, we can protect hard-won gains and accelerate progress in global health — even in a ‘post-aid’ world” (6/17).

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WHO, Country Governments Must Take Leadership Roles To Ensure Access To Global Markets For Quality Generic Drugs

STAT: As global markets for generic drugs fail, poor people pay the price
Rachel Silverman, policy fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and Amanda Glassman, executive vice president at CGD and CEO of Center for Global Development Europe

“Healthy competition from generic drugs is often held up as a ‘cure’ for high drug prices — a shared concern across rich and developing countries alike. For many low- and middle-income countries, however, a new report from the Center for Global Development … shows that global markets for generic medicines are failing, leaving the poorest patients without safe and affordable essential medicines. The first point of failure is drug quality. … The second point of failure is limited competition. … Healthy generic competition can help keep medicine prices in check. … The World Health Organization and country governments need to focus on enhancing competition and creating an enabling and adequate policy environment for quality generics competition. … Patients around the world are being harmed by failing global markets for generic drugs. With leadership from the WHO and national governments, countries can take a big step in the right direction to close this gap, which severely affects the world’s poor” (6/17).

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Collaborative Effort To Dispel Health Misinformation Vital To Pandemic Preparedness

New York Times: We Must Prepare for the Next Pandemic
Bruce Schneier, fellow and lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School

“When the next pandemic strikes, we’ll be fighting it on two fronts. The first is … understanding the disease, researching a cure, and inoculating the population. The second is … fighting the deluge of rumors, misinformation, and flat-out lies that will appear on the internet. … When the next pandemic strikes, accurate information will be just as important as effective treatments. … It’s not just misinformation about which treatments work (and are safe), and which treatments don’t work (and are unsafe). Misinformation can affect society’s ability to deal with a pandemic at many different levels. … This is going to be something that government health organizations, medical professionals, social media companies, and the traditional media are going to have to work out together. … We need to solve the problem of misinformation during pandemics together — governments and industries in collaboration with medical officials, all across the world — before there’s a crisis. And the solutions will also help us shore up our democracy in the process” (6/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Report Discusses Future Of Global Health Procurement

Center for Global Development: The Changing Landscape of Global Health Procurement, Explained in Four Graphs
Janeen Madan Keller, senior policy analyst and assistant director of global health, and Rachel Silverman, policy fellow, both at CGD, discuss a CGD working group report on global health procurement and highlight four graphs that help explain why “national and international procurement systems are often failing to deliver access to essential medicines at affordable prices” (6/17).

Center for Global Development: Four Recommendations to Accelerate Global Access to Quality, Affordable Health Products
In a separate post, Keller and Silverman continue to discuss the CGD report’s results and highlight four recommendations to accelerate global access to quality, affordable health products: “1. Sustain and expand global cooperation for procurement and targeted innovation … 2. Reform WHO guidance and policy to support modern and agile procurement policy and practice … 3. Professionalize procurement by building capacity and driving strategic practice … 4. Support in-country procurement policy reform” (6/17).

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'Science Speaks' Discusses Expert's Critique Of WHO Committee's Decision To Not Recognize DRC's Ebola Outbreak As Emergency

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Global Health Security 2019: Committee’s failure to declare Ebola emergency undermines WHO’s legitimacy, experts say
Rabita Aziz, senior global health policy specialist at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, who is covering the Global Health Security conference in Sydney, Australia, taking place from June 18-20, highlights discussion of the WHO emergency committee’s recent decision not to recognize the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Aziz writes, “The decision by [the WHO emergency committee] … may contribute to an erosion of the multilateral agency’s legitimacy and authority over the long term, experts said … The decisions not to declare PHEICs not only impact the response to the outbreak, as the declaration of PHEICs often acts as a ‘clarion call’ to the international community, mobilizes funding, and helps accelerate responses, [Mark Eccleston-Turner of Keele University] said, but also carry long-term implications for international law. … ‘We already know that states are ignoring the [international health regulations (IHR)] by not reporting outbreaks,’ Eccleston-Turner said. ‘This is a fragile international agreement predicated on trust. The chances of states ignoring their IHR obligations only increases as the WHO ignores PHEIC criteria,’ he added” (6/17).

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Wellcome Expert Highlights 5 Actions To Accelerate Progress Toward Health SDGs

Wellcome: We’ve only got 10 years left. And no, I’m not talking about climate change.
Alex Harris, head of global policy at Wellcome, outlines “five simple but challenging actions” to accelerate progress toward the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on discussions surrounding the Global Action Plan launched in October 2018 (6/18).

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