KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Senate Committee Approves Amended BUILD Act To Create New U.S. Development Finance Corporation

Devex: BUILD Act for new U.S. development finance corporation sails through Senate committee vote
“The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations easily approved legislation to create a new development finance institution Tuesday, leaving the bill awaiting passage in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The 21-person committee, in a business meeting Tuesday, briefly discussed the Better Utilization of Investment Leading to Development, or BUILD Act, which would create a new agency that would combine the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority, as well as expand U.S. development finance capabilities, before approving an amended version of the bill and passing the legislation with just one ‘no’ vote…” (Saldinger, 6/27).

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U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Approves $2B Increase For FY19 NIH Budget

Science: Senate panel proposes $2 billion, 5.4% increase for NIH
“A U.S. Senate appropriations subcommittee [Tuesday] approved a spending bill that calls for giving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, a $2 billion, 5.4 percent increase to $39.1 billion in the 2019 fiscal year that begins 1 October…” (6/26).

STAT: With bipartisan backing, Congress appears likely to increase NIH budget yet again
“…Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee tasked with funding NIH, announced the agency would receive $39.1 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, a $2 billion increase from 2018. A parallel House committee had provided for a $1.25 billion increase, meaning the NIH’s eventual allocation will likely rest within that range…” (Facher, 6/26).

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World Economic Forum, Lord O'Neill Call For More Effort To Create New Antibiotics, Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

CIDRAP News: World Economic Forum seeks ‘pull’ incentives for new antibiotics
“In a new report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) throws its weight behind the push for ‘pull’ incentives for the development of new antibiotics, which aim to ensure that drugs that reach the market will be profitable. The WEF says it’s time for governments and pharmaceutical companies to collaborate to make ‘tangible, incremental progress’ on designing pull incentives to demonstrate the viability of the approach. The report was issued Jun 22 in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust…” (Roos, 6/26).

Financial Times: Pharma sector failing to tackle superbugs, says O’Neill
“The pharmaceutical industry has failed to seriously commit to the fight against drug-resistant superbugs, Jim O’Neill said on Tuesday, as he called for a new tax on drug sales. Lord O’Neill, the former chief economist of Goldman Sachs, led a U.K. government review of antimicrobial resistance in 2016. … Writing in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, Lord O’Neill gave a downbeat assessment of progress in implementing the recommendations of his 2016 report…” (Cookson, 6/26).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Largely Contained But WHO, Health Officials Remain Cautious

The Guardian: Mbandaka has fought off Ebola — but can the DRC’s equator city recover?
“…Experts and the authorities are working relentlessly to devise containment and vaccination strategies from the local government headquarters and the Iyonda reception center, 15km from the city center. Panic is receding, though the fightback against the spread of the outbreak continues on the ground…” (Gbiako, 6/27).

U.N. News: Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic Congo is ‘largely contained’: WHO
“…A total of 55 cases of Ebola have been recorded during the current outbreak of the often-deadly viral infection and 28 people have died, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (6/26).

Washington Post: Remember that Ebola outbreak in Congo? Looks like they contained it.
“The most serious outbreak of the Ebola virus since an epidemic devastated West Africa two years ago, killed 11,000 people and catapulted the disease back into the global consciousness, is almost assuredly over. Out of an abundance of caution, though, health officials will closely monitor the situation for another three weeks before making the final declaration…” (Bearak, 6/27).

Xinhua News: WHO cautiously confident as Ebola in DR Congo largely contained
“…Despite the cautious confidence, the WHO also warned that a continued aggressive response is still required, given the experience that it only takes one case to set off a fast-moving outbreak. It’s an important step towards reaching the end of the outbreak, but it’s not yet the end, the U.N. health agency said, underlining that it’s still in active response mode with teams following up on as many as 20 alerts per day…” (6/27).

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Polio Returns To PNG 18 Years After Country Declared Free Of Disease

BBC News: Papua New Guinea polio outbreak declared
“An outbreak of polio has been confirmed in Papua New Guinea, 18 years after the country was declared free of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the virus was detected in a six-year-old boy in April…” (6/26).

CNN: Polio outbreak confirmed in Papua New Guinea
“…Papua New Guinea had been certified polio-free since 2000, along with the rest of WHO’s Western Pacific Region…” (Scutti, 6/27).

Newsweek: Polio Resurfaces in Papua New Guinea 22 Years After Country’s Last Infection
“… ‘We are deeply concerned about this polio case in Papua New Guinea and the fact that the virus is circulating,’ Papua New Guinea’s Health Secretary Pascoe Kase said. ‘Our immediate priority is to respond and prevent more children from being infected’…” (Moritz-Rabson, 6/26).

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India Ranks As Most Dangerous Country For Women In Thomson Reuters Foundation Poll

Thomson Reuters Foundation: EXCLUSIVE — India most dangerous country for women with sexual violence rife — global poll
“India is the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labor, according to a poll of global experts released on Tuesday. War-torn Afghanistan and Syria ranked second and third in the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey of about 550 experts on women’s issues, followed by Somalia and Saudi Arabia…” (Goldsmith/Beresford, 6/26).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Factbox: Which are the world’s 10 most dangerous countries for women?
“…The survey was a repeat of a similar poll in 2011 which ranked the most dangerous countries for women as Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia. It asked which five of the 193 United Nations member states were most dangerous for women and the worst for health care, economic resources, traditional practices, sexual and non-sexual abuse, and human trafficking…” (Goldsmith, 6/25).

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More News In Global Health

The Guardian: Misuse of opioids such as tramadol and fentanyl is ‘global epidemic,’ report finds (Beaumont, 6/27).

The Guardian: Death sentence quashed for teenager who killed rapist husband in Sudan (Burke/McVeigh, 6/26).

The Guardian: The Ugandan girl who trekked barefoot to escape marriage at 13 (Okiror, 6/26).

The Guardian: ‘Toxic garbage will be sold here’: Outcry as Brazil moves to loosen pesticide laws (Phillips, 6/25).

New York Times: High-Resolution Snapshot of Zika Virus Reveals Clues to Fighting It (Baumgaertner, 6/26).

U.N. News: Aid teams respond to escalating southwest Syria conflict: 750,000 civilians are at risk (6/26).

U.N. News: Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ — major threat to public health says U.N. study (6/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Pharmaceutical Companies Continue To Push Forward Ebola Vaccine Development

Forbes: Big Pharma Rises To The Ebola Challenge
John LaMattina, senior partner at PureTech Ventures

“Back in 2016, during the emergence of Zika in North America, Professor Michael T. Osterholm wrote an editorial for Science in which he bemoaned the apparent dearth of vaccines for Zika and Ebola. … In fact, at that time two companies, Merck and J&J, were already developing an Ebola vaccine. … Fast forward to the spring of 2018 with a new Ebola outbreak emerging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But this time, the WHO was already armed with 4,300 doses of Merck’s vaccine … ready for rapid deployment to the outbreak area. … Reports are now emerging that these efforts succeeded and officials are cautiously optimistic that the outbreak is over. … J&J is still pushing forward with their vaccine efforts as well. … [The vaccines developed by Merck and J&J] could complement each other. … Here are two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies working on an Ebola vaccine — a vaccine that offers no potential for financial return. These same R&D efforts could easily be used to find vaccines that are needed in the western world, vaccines that certainly would prove to be financially rewarding…” (6/26).

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Middle Eastern, African Countries Should Do More To Address Rising Smoking Rates

Bloomberg: Stop Rising Tobacco Use in Africa and the Middle East: Editorial
Editorial Board

“…Smoking rates are rising fastest in low- and middle-income countries in [the Middle East and Africa], where control measures are relatively weak and tobacco is marketed mainly to men. To reverse this, governments need to more firmly confront the tobacco industry’s efforts to recruit the next generation of smokers. … Public health experts already know how to crack down on such practices and give people incentives to quit, or never start, smoking: by raising tobacco taxes … Taxes are the most cost-effective measure, because they both discourage smoking and provide a source of funding for anti-smoking campaigns and other tobacco-control efforts. Yet few Middle Eastern and African countries have fully imposed and enforced such rules. … One way to raise public support for tobacco control is to call out industry efforts to block or interfere with it … It’s essential, too, in these countries as everywhere, to monitor the tobacco industry’s use of social media to lure adolescents. … Tobacco use, as the entire world should know by now, is the single greatest preventable cause of death. Public health specialists in developed countries have spent decades learning how to fight back — and have saved lives by the millions. Countries in the Middle East and Africa simply need to follow suit” (6/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

20 Donors Announce Contributions, Intentions To Contribute To UNRWA

United Nations: 20 Donors Announce Contributions at Pledging Conference to Bridge Severe Funding Gap for Palestine Refugee Agency
“A total of 20 donors [Monday] announced contributions, or their intention to contribute, to the 2018 budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as officials called for stable financing for the agency amid devastating conflicts and violence in the Middle East. The voluntary contributions were made during a meeting of the Agency’s Ad Hoc Committee, established by the General Assembly as the primary forum for announcing financial support…” (6/25).

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Wilson Center Event Highlights Intersection Of Population Growth, Family Planning, Sustainable Development

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: A More Resilient World: The Role of Population and Family Planning in Sustainable Development
Olivia Smith of the Wilson Center highlights panelists’ remarks at a Wilson Center event on the role of population growth and family planning on sustainable development. Key topics addressed include water security, food security, extreme weather, and integrated approaches to building resilient communities (6/27).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID, Gates Foundation Launch DesignforHealth Website

USAID: Just launched: DesignforHealth Website
“To accelerate the use of design in addressing global health challenges, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID’s Center for Innovation and Impact (CII) have partnered to develop resources to support the understanding, appropriate use, and effectiveness of design in global health. These public goods — co-created with a diverse set of stakeholders across the public and private sectors and developed with the support of Dalberg Design and Sonder Design Collective — provide guidance around when, why, and how design can be used in global health, as well as a strategic roadmap outlining priority activities that can advance the appropriate application of design in global health.” The DesignforHealth website can be found here (6/26).

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