KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Diplomacy, Development Investments More Cost Effective Than Defense Spending For U.S. Security, U.S. Military Official Says

Devex: Investment in diplomacy, development more effective than defense, says senior U.S. military official
“One of the United States’ top military officials spoke out Monday about the importance of diplomacy and development alongside defense in keeping the country safe. ‘Dollar for dollar, every dollar spent on diplomacy and development — the growth of democratic institutions or at least civil institutions in countries that allow their leadership to be sensitive to the needs of their citizens — are immensely more effective … than having to deploy soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines to a crisis where we have to fix a problem. We’re an immensely expensive enterprise,’ said General Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff…” (Saldinger, 6/19).

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Growth In Humanitarian Aid Funding Slowed For 2nd Year In 2017, Report Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Growth in aid funding slows for second year
“Growth in humanitarian aid slowed for the second year running in 2017 as government spending virtually stagnated, according to a report published on Tuesday that said the industry needed to find new ways of funding its work. Overall aid increased by three percent year on year, with private donors accounting for almost all that growth, the annual Global Humanitarian Assistance Report showed…” (Beresford, 6/19).

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WHO Releases 11th Edition Of International Classification Of Diseases

Xinhua News: WHO releases new int’l classification of diseases
“The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday released the latest 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which provides a common language that allows health professionals to share health information across the globe. For the first time the ICD is completely electronic and has a much more user-friendly format, thanks to unprecedented involvement of health care workers who have joined collaborative meetings and submitted proposals…” (6/18).

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WHO Formerly Recognizes 'Gaming Disorder' As Mental Health Problem

Associated Press: Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem
“Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a mental health condition…” (Keaten/Cheng, 6/18).

U.N. News: For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization
“…While some media reports welcomed the formal designation of ‘gaming disorder’ within WHO’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) as helpful to sufferers, others saw it as causing needless concern among parents…” (6/18).

Additional coverage of this story is available from CNN, The Hill, and Reuters.

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New York Times Examines Efforts To Eliminate Guinea Worm Among Humans, Dogs In Chad

New York Times: The Man Who (Almost) Wiped Out the Guinea Worms
“Dr. Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben’s days on the front lines of the guinea-worm wars often end with a dinner of what he calls ‘poulet à la bicyclette’ — chicken so lean and muscular that it could ride in the Tour de France. But before anyone on his team eats, one tradition must be honored. Dr. Ruiz-Tiben raises a beer: ‘To the demise of the worm!’ ‘To the demise of the worm!’ cry all in attendance, clinking glasses. It is a ritual he has followed for decades, ever since becoming the chief strategist in the war against the Guinea worm run by the Carter Center, the global health philanthropy established in Atlanta by former President Jimmy Carter…” (McNeil, 6/18).

New York Times: Nearly Eradicated in Humans, the Guinea Worm Finds New Victims: Dogs
“…In [Chad, an] arid central African country, the long global struggle to eliminate a horrifying human parasite has encountered a serious setback: dogs. They are being infected with Guinea worms, and no one knows how. Scientists are desperate to solve the puzzle. If the answer isn’t found soon, or if the worms begin to spread widely into other species — a handful already have been found in cats and even baboons — then 32 years of work to end the scourge may crumble, said Mark L. Eberhard, a parasitologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (McNeil, 6/18).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Holds Steady, As Health Workers Track, Contain Cases

CIDRAP News: More suspected Ebola cases noted, but total holds steady
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced 11 new suspected cases of Ebola over the weekend in Bikoro and Iboko, the remote health zones where the current outbreak began in the middle of May, but the outbreak total has not risen. The case count now stands at 64 cases (38 confirmed, 14 probable, and 12 suspected). The total is actually two cases lower than the DRC’s previous count of 66 because officials have ruled out several cases previously listed as suspected…” (Soucheray, 6/18).

VOA News: How DRC’s Ebola outbreak has been contained
“…Despite difficult-to-traverse terrain and local communities’ skepticism of health care workers, from the start of the outbreak, officials got in front of the disease and kept it in check. Several factors made the DRC response markedly different than previous outbreaks, saving countless lives…” (Solomon, 6/18).

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More News In Global Health

Intellectual Property Watch: The Myth Behind Health And Trade Agreements — Q&A With Othoman Mellouk (6/18).

News Deeply: Doctors Without Borders: Undernutrition Is a Community Health Issue (Green, 6/18).

Newsweek: What is Disease X? Deadly bird flu virus could be next pandemic (Andrew, 6/15).

NPR: As Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise, Major Crops Are Losing Nutrients (Kennedy, 6/19).

Reuters: Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO (Miles, 6/18).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: As Venezuela’s health system crumbles, pregnant women flee to Colombia (Moloney, 6/18).

U.N. News: ‘Worst devastation I have seen,’ says U.N. refugee envoy Angelina Jolie, as she visits West Mosul (6/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Should Not 'Shy Away' From Discussing Ethical Steps To Stabilize Population Growth, Including Improving Access To Contraceptives

Washington Post: Talking about overpopulation is still taboo. That has to change.
Frances Kissling, president of the Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy; Jotham Musinguzi, director general of Uganda’s National Population Council; and Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp professor of bioethics at Princeton University

“…Both feminists and population stabilization advocates now agree that providing reproductive health services to women is first and foremost a right in itself, as well as the best and most ethical way to slow population growth. … Yet population remains an unmentionable topic in international policy circles. … That should not be the case. … Today we should be able to safely broach the potential problems of population growth and ethical ways to respond to it. Melinda Gates has shown one way of doing this, by focusing on making contraceptives more readily available to the 214 million women who do not want to become pregnant over the next two years but do not have effective preventive methods. Equally important is providing women with access to emergency contraception following unprotected sex and making safe abortion available to women who need it. … Finally, a central part of every discussion about population must be educating girls and women and ensuring opportunities for their participation in work and political life. … We should not shy away from discussing what actions are ethically permissible to facilitate a stable level of population growth, nor should we leave this discussion in the hands of the affluent. The conversation about ethics, population, and reproduction needs to shift from the perspective of white donor countries to the places and ­people most affected by poverty, climate change, and environmental degradation” (6/18).

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Disease Outbreak Prevention Funding Should Go Toward Human Surveillance Not Broad Genomic Surveys To Mitigate Outbreaks

Nature: Pandemics: spend on surveillance, not prediction
Edward C. Holmes, professor of biology at the University of Sydney; Andrew Rambaut, professor of molecular evolution at the University of Edinburgh; and Kristian G. Andersen, assistant professor of immunology and microbiology at the Scripps Research Institute

“The resurgence of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo this May is a stark reminder that no amount of DNA sequencing can tell us when or where the next virus outbreak will appear. … Broad genomic surveys of animal viruses will almost certainly advance our understanding of virus diversity and evolution. In our view, they will be of little practical value when it comes to understanding and mitigating the emergence of disease. We urge those working on infectious disease to focus funds and efforts on a much simpler and more cost-effective way to mitigate outbreaks — proactive, real-time surveillance of human populations. … Rapid identification of viruses can be achieved only if [genomic] technologies — and the people trained to use them — are globally available, including in resource-limited regions where the risk of outbreaks might be higher. … Ultimately, the challenge is to link genomic, clinical, and epidemiological data within days of an outbreak being detected, including information about how people in an affected community are interacting. Such an open, collaborative approach to tackling the emergence of infectious disease is now possible…” (6/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Oxfam Adviser Highlights 6 Findings Of 2018 Global Humanitarian Assistance Report

Oxfam’ s “From Poverty To Power”: The Global Humanitarian Assistance 2018 report is out today — here are six top findings
Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB, outlines six top findings from the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2018: “1. Humanitarian Assistance (HA) mainly goes to a small number of countries; … 2. HA is growing in absolute terms and as a percentage of overall aid budgets; … 3. HA still mainly flows via the big aid organizations; … 4. Local NGOs are still living off scraps — localization ain’t happening; … 5. Emergencies aren’t emergencies any more — they are long-term crises; … [and] 6. Cash Transfers are on a roll” (6/19).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Recent Pieces On TB, Death Data, AMR

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: What we’re reading: Realities to keep in mind when planning to eliminate TB and other diseases
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses several global health-related articles addressing various topics, including an open letter on TB written by a U.N. special rapporteur in preparation for the upcoming U.N. High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis; an editorial on the importance of collecting death data; and an opinion piece on the threat of antimicrobial resistance (6/18).

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New Issue Of NIH Fogarty International Center's 'Global Health Matters' Newsletter Available Online

NIH Fogarty International Center: Global Health Matters
The most recent issue of the Fogarty International Center’s newsletter contains various articles addressing global health issues, including several pieces marking the center’s 50 year anniversary; a Q&A with Mark Kaddumukasa, a former Fogarty trainee and current grantee studying epilepsy in Uganda; and a profile of Vivek Naranbhai, a former Fogarty fellow and HIV researcher working in South Africa (May/June 2018).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Releases Report Examining Countries' 'Self Reliance' In Preventing Maternal, Child Deaths

USAID: Acting on the Call 2018: A Focus on the Journey to Self-Reliance for Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths
“…The 2018 Acting on the Call report focuses on 25 countries’ journeys to self-reliance for preventing child and maternal deaths. Self-reliance is a country’s ability to finance and implement solutions to its own development challenges. … In the report, we recount progress since the 2012 Call to Action as well as identify gaps in order to inform future programming and areas that need strengthening during the journey to self-reliance. For the first time ever, we’ve calculated the return on our investment to eliminate bottlenecks to improving health services. As in past years, this analysis builds on previous efforts and continues to refine how USAID works with governments to meet their health goals…” (6/19).

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