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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Green, HHS Secretary Azar Discuss Ebola Outbreak Response; Cases Pass 2,180 As Conflict, Porous Borders Complicate Efforts

Bloomberg Law: Ending Ebola Outbreak Top U.S. Global Health Priority, Azar Says
“Ending the latest Ebola outbreak that’s infected more than 2,000 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains a top global health priority, President Trump’s health secretary said June 17. ‘We are committed to seeing this battle through to the end,’ Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s State Leaders Summit. ‘But even once it has been halted, we will continue our work to help places like the DRC…” (Baumann, 6/17).

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases top 2,180 as Uganda OKs experimental therapies
“As expected, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [Monday] announced 20 new cases, part of an uptick in activity and transmission that continues in several smaller hot spots, and it added 13 cases [Tuesday], for a total of 2,181. In developments in Uganda, where three imported cases were recently detected, health officials cleared the use of three experimental treatments so that any other cases confirmed in the country can receive similar Ebola care as in the DRC…” (Schnirring, 6/18).

Devex: USAID chief: Key to containing Ebola is transparency
“The humanitarian response to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has failed to contain the virus. In order to effectively ‘reset’ these efforts, responders need to increase the transparency of their operations, said U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green during a meeting with reporters in Nairobi on Tuesday…” (Jerving, 6/19).

New York Times: Hundreds of Thousands Flee Congo Violence, in Region Afflicted by Ebola
“Hundreds of thousands of people have fled an explosion of ethnic violence in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the past two weeks, the United Nations said on Tuesday, creating a new humanitarian emergency in a region where international agencies are struggling to control an outbreak of Ebola…” (Cumming-Bruce, 6/18).

Xinhua News: WHO chief expresses optimism over declining trends of Ebola in eastern DR Congo
“The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has expressed optimism over the declining trends of Ebola in two major epicenters in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In a joint WHO and Uganda ministry of health statement issued [in Kampala] on Monday, Tedros said there is a seemingly declining trend in Butembo and Katwa…” (6/17).

Additional coverage of the Ebola outbreak in DRC and Uganda is available from Associated Press, Deutsche Welle, and VOA News.

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U.S. Senate Confirmation Hearing To Begin For Kelly Knight Craft Nomination As U.S. Ambassador To U.N.

Devex: What to expect from Kelly Craft’s hearing for U.S. ambassador to U.N.
“Kelly Knight Craft, U.S. ambassador to Canada, will state her case for becoming the next United Nations representative when she goes before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning. The ambassador position has been vacant since Nikki Haley left the job in October 2018. … Craft will likely be questioned about her work as ambassador to Canada, including her attendance record. Here’s what else we will be watching for. … Funding for the U.N. … Gender and sexual and reproductive health … Climate change…” (Lieberman, 6/19).

Additional coverage of Craft’s nomination and scheduled hearing is available from Bloomberg, The Hill, POLITICO, and USA TODAY.

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Senate Approves Sean Cairncross As New Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO

Devex: After long wait, MCC welcomes new CEO
“The Millennium Challenge Corporation, which had been without a Senate-confirmed leader for more than two years, now has a new CEO: Sean Cairncross. … While Cairncross’ nomination was originally met with skepticism by some in the development community, it seems many are just happy for MCC to now have a permanent leader with political clout to represent the agency…” (Saldinger, 6/19).

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Wellcome Global Monitor Survey Shows Overall Confidence In Health Workers, Trust In Vaccines, But Higher Levels Of Skepticism In Wealthier Nations

Financial Times: Poorer countries have more confidence in vaccines
“Confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines is greater in poor than wealthy regions of the world, according to the largest survey ever undertaken of attitudes to science and health. In East Africa, 92 percent of respondents to a survey commissioned by the Wellcome charity agreed vaccines were safe, rising to 95 percent in South Asia. However, the figure falls to 59 percent in Western Europe and just 50 percent in Eastern Europe, reflecting doubts about vaccinations and a growing ‘anti-vax’ movement…” (Cookson, 6/18).

The Guardian: Survey shows crisis of confidence in vaccines in parts of Europe
“…The first Wellcome Global Monitor survey, which canvassed attitudes among 140,000 people worldwide, shows clear links between people’s trust in doctors, nurses, and scientists and their confidence in vaccines. It also shows that mistrust in government institutions goes hand in hand with doubts about vaccines’ safety…” (Boseley, 6/19).

The Telegraph: How France — home of the enlightenment — became the vaccine skeptic capital of the world
“People in France are more skeptical of vaccines and the benefits of science than in any other country in the world, according to a major new study on attitudes to science and health. … The survey found that a third of people in France do not believe that vaccines are safe, while 55 percent now see science and technology as a threat to their employment prospects rather than a wealth creator. The data helps to explain the 426 percent increase in measles infections in France last year, when nearly 3,000 cases were recorded…” (Newey/Samuel, 6/19).

Additional coverage of the Wellcome Global Monitor poll is available from Agence France-Presse, BBC News, Reuters, Science (2), and The Telegraph.

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WHO Launches Global Campaign Urging Governments To Adopt AWaRe Tool To Help Reduce Spread Of Antimicrobial Resistance

Axios: With antibiotic resistance growing, WHO promotes monitoring tool
“Due to the lack of new antibiotics in the pipeline, current drugs must be better monitored and prescribed before the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) reaches a ‘Titanic’ stage, World Health Organization scientists warned Tuesday as they launch a campaign to promote the use of a monitoring tool, AWaRe…” (O’Reilly, 6/18).

CIDRAP News: New AWaRe tool aims to guide antibiotic use globally
“…The tool, called AWaRe (for Access, Watch, and Reserve), was developed by the WHO Essential Medicines List to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), antibiotic-related adverse events, and drug costs. ‘Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most urgent health risks of our time and threatens to undo a century of medical progress,’ said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, WHO director general, in a press release [Tuesday] about AWaRe…” (Soucheray, 6/18).

Healio: WHO launches campaign to promote antibiotics classification program
“…Developed in 2017, AWaRe classifies antibiotics into three groups — those used for the most common and serious infections, which should be widely and cheaply available (‘access’); those with higher resistance potential (‘watch’); and those that should be used sparingly or as a last resort (‘reserve’)…” (Gramigna, 6/18).

The Telegraph: Countries risking spread of superbugs by failing to monitor antibiotic usage
“…WHO hopes that the new tool will encourage more countries to collect data on consumption of antibiotics in the different categories — an important way of tackling superbugs. … Most European countries collect data on appropriate use, alongside the Russian Federation, Canada, and a handful of countries in Latin America and Africa. However, there are some notable exceptions: the United States does not track different categories of antibiotic consumption and neither do populous countries such as India — where superbugs are rife — and China…” (Gulland, 6/18).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s AWaRe tool is available from The BMJ, U.N. News, and Xinhua News.

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Nearly 71M People Displaced By War, Violence, Persecution At Home, UNHCR Report Shows

Associated Press: U.N.: Nearly 71 million now displaced by war, violence at home
“A record 71 million people have been displaced worldwide by war, persecution, and other violence, the U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday, an increase of more than 2 million from a year earlier — and an overall total that would amount to the world’s 20th most populous country. The annual ‘Global Trends’ report released by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees counts the number of the world’s refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people at the end of 2018…” (Keaten, 6/19).

The Guardian: More than 70 million people now fleeing conflict and oppression worldwide
“…The figure of 70.8 million displaced people includes 25.9 million refugees, 41.3 million people displaced within their own borders, and 3.5 million asylum seekers. Globally, children make up about half of the refugee population. An estimated 13.6 million people were newly displaced in 2018, according to the report. Last year was marked by sharp increases in people fleeing the economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela…” (Ratcliffe, 6/19).

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Ugandan Civil Society Coalition Files Lawsuit Against World Food Programme Over Alleged Contamination Of Food Aid

New Humanitarian: WFP accused of negligence over Uganda food aid deaths
“A drought-stricken region of Uganda is still searching for answers several months after four people died and hundreds were sickened in an alleged food contamination case that has now become the subject of a lawsuit against the U.N.’s World Food Programme. The Anti-Counterfeit Network, a Ugandan coalition of civil society groups, filed a lawsuit in the High Court on 14 June accusing the WFP of acting negligently in supplying the allegedly contaminated product, known as ‘Super Cereal.’ The filing also named the Ministry of Health for failing to safeguard the public against the allegedly contaminated food. No hearing has yet been set, but the parties named in the lawsuit have two weeks to respond to the allegations…” (Okiror, 6/19).

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Humanitarian Aid Groups Work To Address 'Third Emergency' Of Food Insecurity In Cyclone-Hit Mozambique

Devex: Humanitarian sector prepares for ‘third emergency’ in Mozambique
“…Mozambique was pummeled with two Category 4 cyclones in the span of only six weeks this year, creating one of the worst weather-related disasters to hit the southern hemisphere on record. Cyclone Idai destroyed about 1.8 million acres of crops and Cyclone Kenneth destroyed another 70,000 acres. Because of this, widespread dependency on food aid is expected to continue until the next main harvest, in April of next year. ‘This is the so-called “third emergency,”‘ said Jean-Dominique Bodard, senior emergency response manager at CARE. ‘The first emergency was Cyclone Idai, the second was Cyclone Kenneth, and the third will be this food security situation that can strike the people if they don’t get proper support’…” (Jerving, 6/19).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: More than 100 children die in India in encephalitis outbreak (6/18).

BBC News: Low-income African countries ‘pay 30 times more’ for drugs (6/18).

Devex: Q&A: Peter Sands on what it takes to create effective health systems (Lieberman, 6/18).

Global Health NOW: Mercy Masoo, Leading the Way in WASH and Gender Equality (Myers, 6/17).

The Guardian: Yemen’s Houthi rebels accused of diverting food aid from hungry (McVeigh, 6/17).

Inter Press Service: Rising Population Trends Threaten U.N.’s Development Goals in Asia & Africa (Deen, 6/19).

Quartz India: India may have curbed its fertility rate, but it is still too high (Tanwar, 6/19).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: MSF reports sharp rise in sexual abuse and misconduct complaints (Elks, 6/17).

VOA News: Ugandan Health Workers Warn HIV-Positive Refugees Poorly Tracked (Athumani, 6/19).

Washington Post: Bill and Melinda Gates have spent billions to drive their agenda on education and other issues. Now, they have created a lobbying group to push even more (Strauss, 6/19).

Xinhua News: Polio cases reach to 9 in Afghanistan (6/19).

Yonhap News Agency: Seoul hosts global health conference to combat contagious diseases (6/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.N. Should Prioritize Climate Resilience In UHC Agenda

Devex: Opinion: What does UHC look like in the climate change era?
Diana Schoder, research associate in global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-chair of the Energy and Environment Discussion Group of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy

“When the [World Health Assembly (WHA)] convened last month, there was one predominant message: [universal health coverage (UHC)] is the central priority in global health. … By focusing on UHC, WHA signaled its renewed commitment to a healthier, more equitable world. … [I]f WHO fails to meaningfully prioritize resilience alongside the UHC agenda, these fragile goals of equity will slide back once again. … Climate change is more than a health emergency — it is a health coverage emergency. … The fundamental goals of resilience and UHC are the same: Ensure equity without exception, mitigate health risks, and empower everyone to lead their healthiest lives. The concepts strengthen one another, and at the next annual WHA, they should be better reflected in one another by approving a new, integrated resolution on climate-resilient UHC. An early draft of the political declaration for September’s high-level meeting does include climate resilience, but the U.N. should elevate it to be a priority, which must then carry over to WHA with equal force…” (6/17).

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U.N. Should Name Parties Responsible For Bombing Health, Humanitarian Facilities In Syria

Al Jazeera: Who is bombing hospitals in Syria?
Rashed al-Ahmad, pharmacist from Hama, northern Syria

“…About three years ago, doctors at my health center had to decide whether to share the building’s coordinates with the U.N. As part of its deconfliction mechanism, the U.N. shares the coordinates of humanitarian facilities with parties involved in the Syrian conflict, including the regime and Russia. The hope was that the two allies, the only ones with aerial capabilities in the conflict, would then avoid targeting these buildings. … [Now, t]he reality in Syria [is that] bombing hospitals seems no longer to be a crime and naming the perpetrators seems no longer to be the U.N.’s duty. … Since the conflict began in 2011, there have been at least 516 attacks on health facilities perpetrated by the regime and Russia, killing 890 medical workers. … Despite knowing the risk, our doctors trusted the U.N. and believed that sharing the coordinates of the center would best guarantee our safety. After a great deal of deliberation, last year they contacted the U.N. and provided the needed information. … Today, I live with the heavy conscience that one year ago we probably made a mistake giving the U.N. the coordinates of our center. It is clear by now that the very institutions that are supposed to protect us, civilians, have failed us. And what adds insult to injury is that they won’t even name those who bomb us, kill us, and destroy our homes, hospitals, and schools on a daily basis. But we know who they are and we are not afraid to name them: the Syrian regime and Russia” (6/17).

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Microorganisms Could Help Mitigate Climate Change, Should Be Integrated Into SDGs

Nature: Harness microbes for humanity’s future
Editorial Board

“…In a Consensus Statement published in Nature Reviews Microbiology, 33 leading microbiologists from around the world ‘put humanity on notice’ that the impact of climate change will depend heavily on the response of microorganisms … The Consensus Statement provides for the first time a consolidated global view of the reciprocal effects of microorganisms and climate change. It emphasizes the potential of harnessing microbes to mitigate global warming … Microbiologists have been poorly represented in advisory and executive committees that decide on global environmental and public health policies. Their expertise and advice must be included to help prioritize future actions to mitigate climate change. The statement authors call for microbiology to be integrated into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. (Only one, on good health, explicitly lists microorganisms in its targets and indicators.) As the most abundant organisms on the planet, it’s time that microbes were given more prominence” (6/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Welcomes Senate Confirmation Of Sean Cairncross As Head Of Millennium Challenge Corporation

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: MFAN Applauds Senate Confirmation of Sean Cairncross as CEO for the Millennium Challenge Corporation
In a statement delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), Co-Chairs George Ingram, Lester Munson, and Tessie San Martin applaud “the Senate for confirming Sean Cairncross as chief executive officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), following more than two years of interim leadership at the MCC” (6/18).

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E.U. Signs €102M Contribution Agreement With WHO To Strengthen Health Care Systems In Developing Countries

European Commission: E.U. and World Health Organization team up to boost access to health services in developing countries
“The E.U. [signed] a €102 million contribution agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) at the European Development Days in Brussels [Tuesday]. The E.U. will invest in building health care systems to provide quality services in more than 80 African, Caribbean, Pacific, and Asian countries. … The E.U. contribution will strengthen the WHO cooperation with governments and country stakeholders to build health care systems that provide quality health services to everyone…” (6/18).

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'Science Speaks' Discusses Global Health Security Conference Session On Impacts Of Drug-Resistant TB

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Global Health Security 2019: Unmet needs increase worldwide threat of drug-resistant TB
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 from “a session devoted to the impacts of drug-resistant TB on collective global security against infectious disease threats, including antimicrobial resistance.” Aziz highlights remarks from several experts and writes, “To successfully combat the threat drug-resistant TB poses to global health security, tuberculosis responses need to put people at the center and tailor interventions to affected peoples’ rights and needs” (6/18).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Provides Remarks At Press Roundtable On Ebola During Trip To Africa

USAID: USAID Administrator Mark Green’s Remarks at Press Roundtable on Ebola
During a press roundtable on Ebola, USAID Administrator Mark Green answered questions from reporters and discussed the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Green commented on the U.N. response, as well as the needs for building trust and community-based responses, vaccines to be deployed more broadly, and more effective approaches to addressing security concerns in the region (6/18).

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