KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Approach To Countering Human Trafficking Left Some Foreign Aid Funding In Limbo, Including Ebola Support

Foreign Policy: U.S. Stopped Vital Foreign Aid Programs in the Name of Counter-Trafficking
“For over six months, the Trump administration’s drive to clamp down on human trafficking has quietly wreaked havoc on [support for] important U.S.-funded aid programs around the developing world, including money that could have helped alleviate the new Ebola outbreak in Central Africa. … Until very recently, the administration issued little and in some cases no guidance on exactly what programs should face funding cuts under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), leaving in limbo critical projects on demining former war zones, combating the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and even countering human trafficking themselves. … The Trump administration’s approach has left aid organizations — and even some U.S. officials involved in the deliberations — fuming as they watch important aid projects stall in the name of countering human trafficking. … Congressional aides say the State Department finally agreed to lift some restrictions on aid, including aid related to combating Ebola, in recent weeks — just as the department rolled out the 2019 TIP Report on June 20…” (Gramer, 6/26).

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U.S., Partners Working Together To 'Reset' DRC Ebola Outbreak Response; Total Reaches 2,277

CIDRAP News: Ebola total climbs to 2,277 amid security, reintroduction worries
“The pace of new Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held steady last week, but health officials are worried about activity rising in areas where transmission was low and new security incidents in several locations that threaten response operations. Meanwhile, the DRC health ministry yesterday reported 18 new cases, and the World Health Organization (WHO) online Ebola dashboard today reflects an additional 12 cases, which would boost the outbreak total to 2,277…” (Schnirring, 6/26).

Deutsche Welle: Ebola epidemic ‘should be a wake-up call for peace in DRC’
“… ‘This epidemic should be a wake-up call,’ says [Gisela Schneider, director of Difaem, a German NGO which has been working with local church-based health organizations in the region for several years]. ‘We should all do everything to achieve peace. We have the medical intervention, we have the vaccines, we know how to sensitize people … everything is in place but they can’t be made use of in a conflict zone’…” (Oneko, 6/26).

Devex: U.S. looks to ‘reset leadership and coordination’ as Ebola outbreak worsens
“… ‘There are some significant shifts underway right now,’ Tim Ziemer, senior deputy assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, said Wednesday [at the American Enterprise Institute]. ‘We have been teaming up with our international partners: the World Bank, the U.K. government, and the E.U. They’re the principal other investors in addition to the United States, and there was an acknowledgment that we need a total reset in three major areas,’ he said. … With the new leadership structure, the U.S. government hopes to see a new strategic plan produced by the end of July…” (Igoe, 6/27).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Becker’s Hospital Review, CNN, and Homeland Preparedness News.

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U.K. International Development Secretary Stewart Discusses Future Of Nation's Development Funding, Progress Toward SDGs

BBC News: Overseas aid: Stewart says funding may be shifted ‘away from humans’
“Overseas aid funding may need to be shifted away from humans to the natural environment to protect the planet and reduce poverty, Rory Stewart has said. The international development secretary told MPs hard decisions would be needed if the U.K. was serious about mitigating the impact of climate change globally…” (6/26).

Devex: Rory Stewart: DFID may come under greater FCO control
“Despite fears that the U.K. Department for International Development could be merged with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office under a new prime minister, aid chief Rory Stewart has predicted that scenario is unlikely — but warned the department could face a ‘reorganization’ that sees it brought under greater FCO control. … Stewart’s prediction has worried members of the aid community who have long expressed concerns about what a [Boris] Johnson premiership could mean for DFID. They argue that FCO has a poor track record when it comes to spending aid money effectively and transparently, whereas DFID has performed consistently well across a series of reports…” (Edwards, 6/27).

The Guardian: Rory Stewart: Boris Johnson win would bring DfID tenure to ‘heartbreaking’ end
“Rory Stewart has said it would be ‘heartbreaking’ to leave his job as international development secretary were Boris Johnson to become the next prime minister. Stewart, an anti no-deal candidate who was knocked out of the Tory leadership contest after last week after a television debate, has vowed not to serve in a Johnson cabinet. … Stewart said he expected Johnson to retain the 0.7% target of gross national income for overseas aid, and hoped DFID would remain a standalone department despite Johnson’s previous suggestions that it should be brought into the Foreign Office…” (McVeigh, 6/26).

The Telegraph: U.K. aid should focus on climate and putting British experts into the field
“International development secretary Rory Stewart has said that U.K. aid must focus on ‘quality not quantity.’ … ‘I’m trying to move the department away from saying we have educated 60 million girls to focusing on whether they’re really learning to read and write. So I’ve been moving to more of a focus on inspection and quality. ‘And making sure it isn’t just a question of girls sitting in school for seven hours but what are they really learning,’ he said. … Mr. Stewart was speaking to reporters at Torriano Primary School in Camden, north London, which he was visiting to speak to pupils about the U.K.’s progress towards the United Nation’s Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals….” (Gulland, 6/26).

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Former Executive Director Of Global Fund Confident Organization Will Meet $14B Replenishment Target

Devex: Former director optimistic Global Fund replenishment can be reached
“In the face of budget deficits and rollercoaster politics among some of the biggest donors to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, former executive director Mark Dybul is confident the organization will meet its replenishment target of $14 billion this year. … ‘What it will take is for people to recognize the links between health and economic growth, which are rock solid,’ Dybul said in an interview, adding that he was optimistic the multilateral health partnership will reach its target despite attempts from the Trump administration to reduce its funding…” (Root, 6/27).

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South Africa To Call For Support For Developing Countries In Implementing SDGs At G20 Summit

Xinhua News: S. Africa wants G20 summit to ensure support for developing countries
“South Africa will take advantage of the upcoming G20 Summit in Japan to ensure support for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in Africa and other developing countries, the presidency said on Wednesday. … The summit will focus on eight key themes spanning global economy, trade and investment, innovation, environment and energy, employment, women’s empowerment, development, and health…” (6/26).

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WHO-Supported Study Shows 'Strong Evidence' HPV Vaccines Effective In Preventing Cervical Cancer, Should Be Expanded

CNBC: WHO study finds ‘strong evidence’ HPV vaccine can prevent cervical cancer
“International researchers say there’s ‘strong evidence’ the HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer and should be expanded to boys and adults, according to a World Health Organization study published Wednesday in The Lancet…” (LaVito, 6/26).

Reuters: Study shows major real-world impact of cervical cancer vaccines
“…[The] team gathered data on 60 million people over eight years from 65 separate studies conducted in 14 countries and pooled it to assess the vaccines’ impact. They found that the two HPV types that cause 70% of cervical cancers — known as HPV 16 and HPV 18 — were significantly reduced after vaccination, with an 83% decline in infections in girls aged 13 to 19 and 66% drop in women aged 20 to 24 after five to eight years of vaccination…” (Kelland, 6/26).

The Telegraph: Cervical cancer could be eliminated within decades, scientists say
“…The research, funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and led by Canadian researchers, examined progress in 14 countries … Researcher Professor Marc Brisson of Laval University, Canada said: ‘Because of our finding, we believe the WHO call for action to eliminate cervical cancer may be possible in many countries if sufficient vaccination coverage can be achieved.’ He said that this should be achieved ‘in decades’ if uptake remains high, with a ‘substantial reduction’ in cases of cervical cancer in the next 10 years. Elimination of disease would mean fewer than four cases per 100,000 people, under WHO classifications…” (Donnelly, 6/26).

Additional coverage of the study is available from BBC News, The Guardian, and NBC News.

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More News In Global Health

The Atlantic: What Facebucks Can Do for the Global Poor (Lowrey, 6/27).

Avert: Infants less likely to become HIV-infected with male partner involvement (Mahon, 6/26).

The Guardian: ‘People are very scared’: fighting dengue fever in Brazil — in pictures (6/27).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Recognition for Chagas disease (Burki, July 2019).

New Humanitarian: Inside Somalia’s mental health emergency (Mumin/Rhodes, 6/26).

New York Times: Scabies Means Misery. This Pill Can End It (McNeil, 6/26).

NPR: How A Former Child Bride Got A Fatwa Against Child Marriage (Neilson, 6/26).

Quartz: How France is convincing its citizens to get vaccinated (Whiting, 6/26).

Reuters: Afghanistan records tenth polio case in 2019 as security worsens: officials (Sediqi/Mackenzie, 6/26).

The Telegraph: Agonizing eye disease may soon be consigned to history books (Gulland, 6/27).

U.N. News: Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: U.N. drugs report (6/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Strategic, Cross-Cutting Approach To Global Health Transitions Critical To Ensuring Middle-Income Countries Not 'Left Behind'

Global Health NOW: The ‘4 Ds’ that Threaten Middle-Income Countries
Shashika Bandara, policy associate; Kaci Kennedy McDade, policy associate; Hanna Huffstetler, associate in research; and Wenhui Mao, senior policy associate, all at the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at the Duke Global Health Institute

“In the last 2 decades, more than 30 countries moved from low-income to middle-income status, a billion people were lifted out of poverty, and there were major reductions in maternal and child mortality globally. Despite this progress, middle-income countries, where over 70% of the world’s population now live, are facing unprecedented challenges. The progress they’ve made is threatened. In particular, 4 key phenomena — which we call the 4Ds of global health transition — are rapidly reshaping the nature of health in MICs: 1. Disease … 2. Demographics … 3. Donor Financing … 4. Domestic Funding … These interlinked transitions threaten to stall or even reverse global health progress. A focus on tackling diseases or mobilizing domestic resources in isolation will not be sufficient. A ‘joined up’ strategic approach is crucial. … The 4Ds of transition are underway whether or not countries are prepared for them. Without immediate attention, we risk jeopardizing the remarkable gains made over the past 2 decades and leaving MICs behind” (6/26).

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HIV Epidemic In Pakistan Must Spur Government To Action, Editorial Says

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: HIV epidemics in Pakistan
Editorial Board

“The Lancet Infectious Diseases has received several letters from concerned health professionals in Pakistan about HIV epidemics that appear to have stemmed from unsanitary and unregulated medical practice, usually in isolated, rural towns. … The reports of HIV epidemics in Pakistan linked to health providers (legitimate or not) have highlighted a potentially unappreciated source of the burden of bloodborne infections in the country, which has previously been attributed to transmission among the country’s considerable population of injecting-drug users and sex workers. These reports are concerning for several reasons. First, they could indicate a worrying but potentially addressable knowledge gap in infection control processes and mechanisms of HIV transmission among health workers in Pakistan. Second, they could suggest a severe lapse in regulation of the country’s health system, which allows people without appropriate training and certification to call themselves doctors. Third, they could lead to fear and mistrust of the health system, further exacerbating the country’s health woes and putting health targets out of reach. The response to the HIV outbreak in Larkana has been fairly swift, involving various international agencies and provincial and federal governments. … However, it should not have taken this tragedy to spur action. The health authorities in Pakistan must at least now use it as a catalyst for change” (7/1).

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Opinion Piece, Letter To Editor Discuss Key Development Issues For G20 Leaders To Consider During Summit

Public Finance International: Spending on nature would be the investment of a lifetime
Margaret Kuhlow, finance practice leader at World Wildlife Fund, and Andrew Deutz, director of global policy, institutions, and conservation finance at the Nature Conservatory

“When world leaders gather this weekend in Osaka for the G20 Summit, attention will turn once more to the challenge of realizing sustainable and inclusive economic growth that includes progress toward poverty reduction, human health, and women’s empowerment. … The most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to deliver resilience and prosperity is to radically increase investment in nature-based solutions. This would help achieve emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, and deliver Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, life below water, and life on land. In meeting such enormous challenges, nature is our strongest ally. We need a much deeper commitment to nature-based solutions … It is still scientifically and technically possible to restore nature, deliver the SDGs, and avert dangerous climate change — but that world is only possible if people and nature thrive together…” (6/26).

Financial Times: Letter: Act against illegal fishing to boost food security
Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, co-chair of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, and member of the Friends of Ocean Action; and Shigeru Ito, chair of the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) Initiative, and chief executive officer and president of the Maruha Nichiro Corporation Japan

“G20 governments have the chance this week to close the net on illegal fishing, an enterprise that is fueling food insecurity, violence, and poverty … This message was strongly supported by members of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy … They emphasized that illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in our seas is putting fish stocks in peril and jeopardizing a vital supply of food and nutrition for billions of people. Up to 20 percent of all wild fish caught each year globally … is harvested illegally. This undercuts the millions of fishers who are playing by the rules. Many illegal operations are run by criminal organizations that enslave their crews and use the ships for human trafficking. Fortunately, there is a powerful platform for governments and policymakers to help combat this threat. The U.N. Port State Measures Agreement is an international treaty, in line with key targets of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, to keep illegal fish out of ports. Eighty-six countries have now signed up. We need G20 countries and all important flag and port states to join them and implement this agreement” (6/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Paper Discusses Opportunities For U.S. Engagement To Help Africa Address Demographic Shifts

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Demographic Trends and Youth Empowerment in Africa: Opportunities for U.S. Engagement
Janet Fleischman, senior associate with the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, discusses opportunities for U.S. engagement in helping African countries address demographic shifts, including through “expanding access to adolescent health, voluntary family planning, HIV services, educational opportunities for girls, and youth employment, and ensuring the meaningful engagement of young people in program design and implementation” (6/26).

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UNAIDS, Global Fund Sign Strategic Framework To Strengthen, Accelerate Support To Help Countries End AIDS

UNAIDS: UNAIDS and the Global Fund sign new strategic framework to strengthen joint support to countries in ending AIDS
“UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) have signed a strategic framework for cooperation and collaboration to strengthen and accelerate support to countries’ efforts to end AIDS. The framework outlines the existing, wide-ranging scope of collaboration between the two organizations, and highlights specific areas for enhanced cooperation to help focus efforts and resources where they are needed most. … Under the new framework, UNAIDS and the Global Fund will advocate for a more robust response to HIV, support each other’s activities and processes, and continue to provide strategic information, technical support, and capacity building to countries. The two organizations will advocate for increased global and domestic funding, work to improve data collection and systems, and ensure data is used strategically for decision making and implementation…” (6/27).

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WHO, European Commission Sign Next Phase Of UHC Partnership Program For 2019-2022

World Health Organization: Alongside European Development Days, WHO and the European Commission reinforce cooperation to help countries move towards universal health coverage
“WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica signed the next phase of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) partnership program for 2019-2022, worth €123.75 million (US$135 million), on 18 June 2019. During the signing ceremony, Dr. Tedros recognized the importance of primary health care ‘as a cornerstone of universal health coverage’ and added that ‘WHO has no higher priority than universal health coverage … It not only improves health, it also helps to reduce poverty, drive inclusive economic growth, and advance gender equality.’ Commissioner Mimica commented, ‘We will not reach our objectives on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 just by tackling specific diseases, we need a more comprehensive outlook and to make sure that the overall health system gets the financing it needs’…” (6/26).

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