KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- U.N. SG Criticizes Lack Of International Cooperation On Pandemic; As Virus Continues Global Spread, Nations Work To Contain Resurgent Outbreaks
AP: U.N. chief criticizes lack of global cooperation on COVID-19
“The United Nations chief criticized the total lack of international coordination in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday and warned that the go-it-alone policy of many countries will not defeat the coronavirus. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview with the Associated Press that what needs to be done is to make countries understand that by acting in isolation ‘they are creating the situation that is getting out of control’ — and that global coordination is key…” (Lederer, 6/23).
Washington Post: Countries around the world scramble to contain coronavirus flare-ups as U.S. states remain open
“In nations around the world that saw new coronavirus infections decline in recent weeks, spikes in confirmed case numbers have alarmed officials, and sent Australia, Germany, Portugal, and South Korea, among other countries, scrambling to respond to resurgent outbreaks. Within the countries in question, the new flare-ups are mostly rooted in identifiable regions, where officials launched or expanded aggressive containment efforts this week…” (Noack, 6/23).
Additional coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.N. response is available from DW, Japan Times, and VOA News.
- Pandemic Hinders Access To Health Care Services, COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests For Women, Children, Groups Say
Reuters: Exclusive: Women, babies at risk as COVID-19 disrupts health services, World Bank warns
“Millions of women and children in poor countries are at risk because the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting health services they rely on, from neonatal and maternity care to immunizations and contraception, a World Bank global health expert has warned. Monique Vledder, head of secretariat at the bank’s Global Financing Facility (GFF), told Reuters in an interview the agency was gravely worried about the numbers of children missing vaccinations, women giving birth without medical help, and interrupted supplies of life-saving medicines like antibiotics…” (Kelland, 6/24).
Thomson Reuters Foundation: In conflict-hit countries, coronavirus testing may not reach women
“Big gaps between the number of male and female coronavirus cases in parts of Africa and the Middle East suggest that women may be struggling to access testing or care, an aid agency said on Wednesday. In Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, more than 70% of reported cases were male, compared to a global average of 51%, and the same was true in Central African Republic, Chad, and Somalia, said the International Rescue Committee (IRC)…” (Peyton, 6/24).
- Majority Of Global Fund-Supported HIV, TB, Malaria Programs Disrupted Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
The Telegraph: Fight against malaria, TB and HIV hit as resources diverted to Covid-19, survey shows
“The fight against malaria, HIV, and TB has been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, risking a huge rise in the number of deaths and infections. A survey of the 106 countries where the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria targets its budget found that nearly three quarters of programs have been disrupted as a result of the pandemic…” (Gulland, 6/24).
- South Africa To Begin Africa's First Novel Coronavirus Vaccine Trial; WHO Outlines Vaccine Allocation Framework; Sanofi Predicts Early 2021 Vaccine Approval
Al Jazeera: South Africa to start continent’s first coronavirus vaccine pilot
“South Africa plans to roll out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, according to the university leading the pilot, as the country grapples with the highest number of coronavirus cases in Africa. The vaccine candidate, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute in the United Kingdom, is already being evaluated there, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial…” (6/23).
POLITICO: WHO sets out vaccines allocation plan
“The World Health Organization has set out its proposal for the distribution of future coronavirus treatments and vaccines, with over four billion doses needed to vaccinate the world’s priority populations. In a document presented to its member countries on June 18, the WHO writes that the goal of its Global Allocation Framework should be to reduce Covid-19 mortality and protect health systems. Accordingly, three groups should receive priority vaccinations: Health care workers; adults older than 65; and adults with comorbidities such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity…” (Furlong, 6/23).
Reuters: Sanofi eyes approval of COVID-19 vaccine by first half of 2021
“French drugmaker Sanofi SA said on Tuesday it expects to get approval for the potential COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline Plc by the first half of next year, faster than previously anticipated…” (Blamont, 6/23).
Additional coverage of efforts to develop a novel coronavirus vaccine and effectively distribute a successful product is available from Bloomberg (2), FRANCE 24, Health-e News, and NPR.
- Some Experts Feel More Research Needed To Fully Determine Hydroxychloroquine's Usefulness In Treating, Preventing COVID-19
Devex: The hydroxychloroquine conundrum
“The World Health Organization’s decision to stop the hydroxychloroquine arm of a large-scale clinical trial, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s revocation of the drug’s emergency use authorization has cast doubts over the drug’s potential to treat COVID-19 patients. But experts are divided on whether more research is required to rule out the efficacy of the drug. Some have long been convinced the drug also known as HCQ bears no benefits in treating COVID-19, or if it does it will likely be small. For those stakeholders, the decisions taken by WHO and U.S. FDA are welcome, if not long overdue. But others argue not all aspects of the drug’s benefits have been ruled out to date — for example, on how beneficial the drug is as a prophylaxis…” (Ravelo, 6/24).
- U.S. International DFC Working To Reshore Manufacturing Of PPE, Generic Drugs, Pharmaceutical Ingredients Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, CEO Says
Reuters: Exclusive: New U.S. development agency could loan billions for reshoring, official says
“U.S. government financing for projects to return critical supply chains to the United States as part of coronavirus response efforts could reach tens of billions of dollars and clients may include a projected $12 billion Taiwanese semiconductor plant, the head of the agency managing the funds told Reuters. The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. is talking to companies about reshoring the manufacturing of personal protective equipment, generic drugs, and pharmaceutical ingredients, DFC Chief Executive Adam Boehler said in an interview on Monday…” (Lawder, 6/23).
- Coronavirus Not Under Control In U.S., Fauci Testifies Before House Committee, Says Trump Never Told Officials To Slow Testing
The Hill: Fauci gives Congress COVID-19 warning
“Anthony Fauci, the administration’s top infectious disease doctor, told a House panel on Tuesday that rising U.S. cases of COVID-19 are ‘disturbing’ as new signs emerged of the United States falling further behind other countries in containing the novel coronavirus. The coronavirus is surging in more than half the country, and states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona are setting records of new cases almost daily…” (Weixel, 6/23).
New York Times: Fauci, Citing ‘Disturbing Surge,’ Tells Congress the Virus Is Not Under Control
“…Dr. Fauci’s assessment, delivered during a lengthy hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, painted a much grimmer picture of the coronavirus threat than the one given by President Trump, who claimed last week that the virus that had infected more than two million Americans and killed more than 121,000 would just ‘fade away.’ ‘The virus is not going to disappear,’ said Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who testified that the virus was not yet under control in the United States…” (Stolberg/Weiland, 6/23).
STAT: Top U.S. health officials say they were never told to slow down Covid-19 testing, contradicting Trump
“Four key government health care officials said Tuesday that despite recent remarks from President Trump, they were never ordered to ‘slow down’ diagnostic testing for Covid-19. Their testimony at a congressional hearing came just three days after the president, at a campaign rally, told supporters that he had ordered a deceleration of Covid-19 testing. During a rally in Tulsa, Okla., Trump misleadingly escalated his long-standing claim that the high U.S. case count is simply a result of thorough testing…” (Facher, 6/23).
Additional coverage of Fauci’s and other experts’ testimonies is available from Forbes, The Guardian, The Hill, POLITICO (2), Roll Call, USA TODAY, and Washington Post.
- Canada Pledges C$93.7M To Fund Sexual, Reproductive Health Projects Amid COVID-19
RCI: Canada announces $93.7M funding for sexual and reproductive health
“Aid groups are praising Ottawa’s pledge to allocate $93.7 million to fund projects supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights for millions of women and girls in developing countries whose access to these services has been severely curtailed as a result of the pandemic. Canada’s International Development Minister, Karina Gould, made the announcement at the #SheDecidesNow Virtual Round Table on Monday. … Canada’s pledge is part of the commitments announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019 and in 2017. It does not represent new funding but fleshes out the broad funding announcements made by the Trudeau government at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference in Vancouver in June 2019, where Canada pledged to increase its funding for women and girls’ health around the world to $1.4 billion every year starting in 2023, with half of this money dedicated to sexual and reproductive health projects…” (Sevunts, 6/23).
- E.U. May Ban American Travelers As Some U.S. States See Record Numbers Of COVID-19 Cases; Judge Orders Brazil President To Wear Mask; Yemen Facing Increased Cases As Aid Funding Depleted
Reuters: All African countries now have coronavirus lab testing capacity — WHO chief (Paravicini, 6/24).
U.N. News: Devastating South Sudan coronavirus deaths,’a tragedy that can be prevented,’ Security Council hears (6/23).
Al Jazeera: Indonesia children at risk as COVID-19 disrupts vaccination drive (Washington, 6/23).
CNN: The country where hundreds of thousands of people haven’t heard of Covid-19 (Watson, 6/24).
The Guardian: Pakistan Covid-19 doctors witness black market deals in blood plasma (Ellis-Petersen/Baloch, 6/23).
New Humanitarian: How do you translate a pandemic? (Dore, 6/23).
NPR: Leaders Want Internet Ban Lifted In Rohingya Area As COVID-19 Misinformation Spreads (Sullivan, 6/24).
New York Times: E.U. May Bar American Travelers as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus (Stevis-Gridneff, 6/23).
New York Times: U.K. Leader Lifts Wide Variety of Coronavirus Restrictions (Landler/Castle, 6/23).
Wall Street Journal: Rise in Coronavirus Cases in Berlin Fuels Concern About Second Wave (Pancevski, 6/23).
Wall Street Journal: French Contact-Tracing App Struggles with Slow Adoption. It Isn’t Alone (Schechner, 6/23).
AFP: Judge orders Brazil’s Bolsonaro to wear mask (6/23).
New York Times: Virus Gains Steam Across Latin America (Ahmed et al., 6/23).
Vox: How Bolsonaro has left Brazil’s Indigenous people vulnerable in the pandemic (Castro, 6/23).
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Races Across Brazil and Latin America, a Warning to Poor Nations (Magalhaes et al., 6/23).
Washington Post: Chile celebrated success against the coronavirus — and began to open up. Infections have soared (Bartlett, 6/23).
Al Jazeera: Yemen coronavirus cases expected to surge as U.N. aid dries up (Al-Shamahi, 6/24).
New York Times: The Hajj Pilgrimage Is Canceled, and Grief Rocks the Muslim World (Hubbard/Walsh, 6/23).
PBS NewsHour: War-ravaged Yemen facing deadly new threat in COVID-19 (Ferguson, 6/23).
CNN: Coronavirus pandemic could lead to up to 500,000 fewer U.S. births, study suggests (Howard, 6/23).
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Cases Hit Daily Records in Some U.S. States (Ansari, 6/23).
Washington Post: Seven states report highest coronavirus hospitalizations since pandemic began (Knowles et al., 6/23).
Xinhua: New York Times slams U.S. policy of mass deportations as “public health hazard” (6/23).
- Lack Of Access To Oxygen Supply In Poor Nations Hinders Treatment For COVID-19 Patients
AP: Scarce medical oxygen worldwide leaves many gasping for life
“Soaring demand for oxygen prompted by the coronavirus is bringing out a stark global truth: Even the right to breathe depends on money. … [I]n poor countries, from Peru to Bangladesh, it is in lethally short supply. Across sub-Saharan Africa, oxygen is a costly challenge for government-funded medical facilities such as Guinea’s Donka public hospital in the capital, Conakry…” (Hinnant et al., 6/24).
New York Times: In Poor Countries, Many Covid-19 Patients Are Desperate for Oxygen
“…Many patients severely ill with Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, require help with breathing at some point. But now the epidemic is spreading rapidly in South Asia, Latin America, and parts of Africa, regions of the world where many hospitals are poorly equipped and lack the ventilators, tanks, and other equipment necessary to save patients whose lungs are failing. The World Health Organization is hoping to raise $250 million to increase oxygen delivery to those regions. The World Bank and the African Union are contributing to the effort, and some medical charities are seeking donations for the cause…” (McNeil, 6/23).
- Racial, Ethnic Disparities Found In USAID Promotion Practices, Says GAO Report
Devex: Minorities less likely to get promoted in USAID civil service, watchdog finds
“Promotion rates in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s civil service are significantly higher for white employees than for racial and ethnic minorities, according to a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office. GAO found that the odds of promotion for early-career to midcareer USAID civil service employees were 31% to 41% lower for racial and ethnic minorities than for white people between fiscal years 2002 and 2018. … The report comes amid protests over systemic racism and discrimination in the U.S. and after reports that USAID employees have circulated a letter calling on acting Administrator John Barsa and agency leaders ‘to improve hiring outreach, fix our broken talent pipeline, and ensure that incoming and current nonwhite staff have equal opportunities and are paid and promoted equitably to their colleagues’…” (Igoe, 6/23).
- Aid Transparency Research Raises Concerns About DFID, FCO Merger, Publish What You Fund Campaign Says
Devex: DFID merger causes ‘serious transparency challenge’ for U.K. aid
“Research shows a vast discrepancy in the transparency of aid spending by the U.K.’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development. The ‘2020 Aid Transparency Index,’ published Wednesday by the Publish What You Fund campaign, found that DFID — which spends the bulk of U.K. official development assistance — is one of the world’s most transparent donors, rating it as ‘very good.’ Research commissioned by the U.K. government has found that seven out of 10 departments are not spending aid transparently enough to meet its own targets. But FCO — currently the U.K. government’s third-largest ODA-spending department, with an aid budget of £633 million ($792 million at current conversion rates) in 2018 — languished near the bottom of the index, with a rating of ‘fair.’ The report comes just a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that DFID would be folded into FCO, a move PWYF described as causing a ‘serious transparency challenge’ for U.K. aid. The research was carried out before the merger was announced…” (Worley, 6/24).
- New Partnership Aims To Improve Country-Specific Data On Drug Resistance In 4 African Nations
Devex: New partnership aims to increase antimicrobial resistance data in 4 African nations
“Drug-resistant infections are viewed by global health experts as one of the biggest threats to human health, with the United Nations estimating that antimicrobial resistance could lead to 10 million deaths each year by 2050 if no action is taken. But despite predictions like this, a main stumbling block is the lack of data available to understand the global scale of the problem. A new partnership between Pfizer, Wellcome, and the governments of Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda aims to increase the amount of country-specific data on this issue so that health officials in those countries and around the world can better understand what sort of interventions are needed to tackle antimicrobial resistance…” (Jerving, 6/24).
- More News In Global Health
Borgen Magazine: Global Vaccine Summit Unites Countries for Gavi’s Vaccination Work (Marabito, 6/23).
CEO Magazine: Bill Gates: who will get a coronavirus vaccine first (Horswill, 6/24).
Devex: Can women’s health clinics regain ground after ‘the most disruptive interruption’? (Lieberman, 6/24).
Devex: Q&A: The role of faith-based organizations amid COVID-19 (Root, 6/23).
Devex: Sector boundaries are blurring, says CARE secretary general (Root, 6/24).
Devex: ‘Keys to the Latin Bank’: How an American president could influence development at IDB (Welsh, 6/24).
The Guardian: Jordan smoking rates highest in world amid claims of big tobacco interference (Safi/al-Tahat, 6/23).
NPR: Bleak UNICEF Report On Kids And COVID-19 … But There Is Hope (Kritz, 6/23).
Outside Online: How Do We Prevent the Next Pandemic? (Yu, 6/24).
Science: COVID-19 cancels charity galas and walks. Science is paying the price (Cahan/O’Grady, 6/24).
Spectrum News 1: Rep. Schiff Demands FDA Repeal Blood Donation Guidelines on Gay Men (Nguyen, 6/23).
U.N. News: Frontline public servants lauded for ‘remarkable acts of service to humankind’ (6/23).
Editorials and Opinions
- Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Continued Global Spread, Role Of International Cooperation
Barron’s: A Covid-19 Vaccine Should Be a Public Good. Here’s How to Make That Happen
Kendall Hoyt, assistant professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and author (6/24).
The Conversation: In many countries the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, not slowing
Adam Kamradt-Scott, associate professor at the University of Sydney (6/23).
Devex: NGOs are withdrawing from Africa when surge capacity is needed most
Hajir Maalim, regional director for the Horn of Africa and eastern Africa at Action Against Hunger (6/23).
The Hill: Coronavirus shows we need more international cooperation, not less
Scott Greytak, advocacy director for the U.S. Office of Transparency International, and Kyle Ainge, juris doctor candidate at the University of Tulsa College of Law (6/23).
The Hill: Forget the WHO — where is U.S. leadership at the WTO?
Naotaka Matsukata, senior USTR official in the George W. Bush administration and former senior executive for a global pharmaceutical manufacturer (6/23).
The Hill: Congress should rein in the FDA
C. Boyden Gray, former counsel to Vice President George H.W. Bush from 1981-1989 and White House counsel from 1989-1993, former U.S. ambassador to the European Union in 2006 and special envoy for European and Eurasia affairs during the George W. Bush administration, and Roger D. Klein, faculty fellow at the Center for Law, Science and Innovation at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and policy adviser to the Heartland Institute (6/23).
New York Times: The Pandemic Is Still Raging. The President Pretends Otherwise
Editorial Board (6/23).
Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus Was a Punch in the Mouth
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal (6/23).
- Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss DFID Merger, Gender Data, WHO, Corruption In Aid Sector
Devex: How to make the DFID merger work
Simon Gill, managing director of the Overseas Development Institute (6/23).
Devex: Who killed DFID?
Phil Mason, former member of the U.K. Overseas Development Administration and Department for International Development (6/24).
Devex: 6 ways to work with tech companies to advance gender data
Samhir Vasdev, program and partner manager for the Global Impact Partnerships team at Facebook (6/24).
Nature: Getting out of the World Health Organization might not be as easy as Trump thinks
Editorial Board (6/23).
New Humanitarian: We know more about fraud and abuse in aid. It’s time to stop it
Oliver May, consultant at Deloitte (6/22).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- Blogs, Releases Address Impacts Of COVID-19 Pandemic On HIV, TB, Malaria, Maternal Health, Adolescent Sexual, Reproductive Health, Other Issues
Global Fund: Global Fund COVID-19 Report: Deaths from HIV, TB and Malaria Could Almost Double in 12 Months Unless Urgent Action is Taken (6/24).
UNAIDS: Community-led responses in the time of COVID — UNAIDS global survey (6/24).
WHO: Breastfeeding and COVID-19 (6/23).
WHO: IOC joins forces with WHO and the United Nations to fight COVID-19 (6/23).
Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: COVID-19 Could Have Devastating Effects on Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Zara Ahmed, associate director of federal issues at the Guttmacher Institute, and colleagues (6/24).
World Bank: Beyond COVID-19 (coronavirus): What will be the new normal for health systems and universal health coverage?
Agnès Soucat, director for Health Systems Governance and Financing at the WHO; Francesca Colombo, head of the Health Division at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and Feng Zhao, program leader in the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank (6/23).
World Economic Forum: Lives and livelihoods, universal health coverage and case increases: WHO briefing
Joe Myers, writer for formative content at the World Economic Forum (6/23).
From the U.S. Government
- Outcomes Of USG COVID-19 Serology Testing Workshop Published In Immunity Journal
NIH: Experts identify steps to expand and improve antibody tests in COVID-19 response
“More than 300 scientists and clinicians from the federal government, industry, and academia published a report of their conclusions and recommendations on COVID-19 serology studies online in Immunity. The group gathered for an online workshop in May to discuss the role of serology testing in understanding and responding to the COVID-19 public health crisis and to explore strategies to address key scientific knowledge opportunities and gaps in the emerging field…” (6/23).
- U.S. Announces Additional Foreign Assistance To El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras
U.S. Department of State: United States Provides Additional U.S. Foreign Assistance for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
In a press statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discusses additional U.S. foreign assistance for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, noting, “These additional funds will assist in making these countries more secure and prosperous by enabling private sector-led economic opportunity and provide critical, lifesaving assistance” (6/24).
- KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic
KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of June 24, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (6/24).
Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.