KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration's Expanded Mexico City Policy, Proposed Budget Cuts Could Harm Prevention, Treatment Efforts For Zika, Other Infectious Diseases In U.S., Abroad

Yahoo News: U.S. Zika fears rise as Trump proposes foreign aid cuts
“…[G]lobal health experts warn that [Zika] and [other diseases] like it will be much more difficult to contain in the future as Trump moves ahead with the reenactment and expansion of the Mexico City policy, a ruling that blocks U.S. federal funding for [foreign] NGOs and agencies that provide abortion counseling or referrals in any way. … [U]nlike prior policies under Republican administrations, Trump’s plan includes cuts to all global health assistance, not just reproductive health. … And experts say the results could be devastating…” (Conley, 6/6).

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U.S. President Trump Taps Francis Collins To Remain As NIH Director

Nature: Trump says Francis Collins will stay on at the NIH
“U.S. President Donald Trump has chosen Francis Collins to lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on a permanent basis, the White House announced [Tuesday]. Collins, who has led the agency since August 2009, is a holdover from the administration of President Barack Obama — and is now the first NIH director since the 1970s to be chosen by two presidents…” (Morello, 6/6).

POLITICO: Trump will keep NIH director
“…There has long been speculation about whether Trump would keep Collins on to oversee the $34 billion per year medical research agency. Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican doctor from Maryland, had also been in the running to be NIH chief…” (Allen, 6/6).

ScienceInsider: Trump retains Collins as NIH director
“…The decision comes despite a recent call from some conservative members of Congress to fire Collins because he supports embryonic stem cell research…” (6/6).

STAT: Trump keeps Francis Collins as NIH director
“…The continuation announced Tuesday isn’t a guarantee that Collins will remain in place for any specific length of time, spokespeople for both the White House and the NIH confirmed. He continues to serve ‘at the pleasure of the president,’ an NIH spokeswoman said…” (Mershon, 6/6).

Washington Post: Francis Collins will stay on as head of NIH
“… ‘I am honored to continue as the director of the National Institutes of Health and consider it a great privilege to serve at a time of unprecedented opportunity to advance health and relieve suffering through biomedical research,’ Collins said in a statement…” (Bernstein, 6/6).

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WHO's Updated Essential Medicines List Includes Section Ranking Antibiotics To Address Drug Resistance

Intellectual Property Watch: New WHO Essential Medicines List: Antibiotics, Hepatitis C, Leukemia, TB
“…The Model List of Essential Medicines issued [Tuesday] is the 40th edition, which ‘is an international blueprint for the most important medicines at our disposal to address global priority diseases,’ Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director general, Health Systems and Innovation, told a press briefing [Tuesday]. The WHO also issued a Model List of Essential Medicines for Children…” (Saez, 6/6).

Reuters: WHO ranks antibiotics in a bid to counter drug resistance
“The World Health Organization published a new classification of antibiotics on Tuesday that aims to fight drug resistance, with penicillin-type drugs recommended as the first line of defense and others only for use when absolutely necessary…” (Miles, 6/6).

STAT: In bid to fight superbugs, WHO tries to keep certain antibiotics largely off the table
“…The section on antibiotics divides these critical drugs into three categories. Those that should be go-to drugs for common infections are listed as ‘access’ antibiotics. Others for which growing resistance is a problem are listed under the category ‘watch’ to signal they should not be first or second options. The final category is ‘reserve’ — a name that signals that these are drugs that should only be used to treat infections for which other options have failed…” (Branswell, 6/6).

U.N. News Centre: Updating essential drugs list, U.N. health agency aims to preserve potency of ‘last resort’ antibiotics
“…In addition to the antibiotics, new drugs included in the WHO Essentials Medicines List (EML) contain new medicines, such as two oral cancer treatments, a new pill for hepatitis C (HepC) that combines two medicines, a more effective treatment for HIV as well as an older drug that can be taken to prevent HIV infection in people at high risk, new pediatric formulations of medicines for tuberculosis (TB), and pain relievers…” (6/6).

Washington Post: WHO creates controversial ‘reserve’ list of antibiotics for superbug threats
“…The updates are part of the WHO’s Model Lists of Essential Medicines for 2017, which is updated every two years as a guide for what each country should stock. The list is used by many national governments as the basis of their own recommendations, regulations, and insurance coverage decisions…” (Cha, 6/6).

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WHO DG-Elect Tedros Reiterates Achieving Universal Health Coverage Will Be 'Top Priority' Of U.N. Agency

Thomson Reuters Foundation: New WHO chief vows to leave no one behind in health care
“…Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said achieving universal health coverage would be a ‘top priority’ during his five-year term as head of the Geneva-based U.N. agency. ‘Globally an estimated 400 million, approximately one in 17 people, lack access to essential health services, that’s unacceptable,’ Tedros, as he is known, said via video-link, joining a panel debate on Tuesday at Chatham House, a London-based think tank…” (Suliman, 6/6).

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'Little Short Of A Revolution' Needed To Improve Mental Health Care Worldwide, U.N. Expert Says

U.N. News Centre: Nothing short of a ‘sea change’ will end years of gross neglect in mental health care — U.N. expert
“Citing decades of neglect in mental health care, a United Nations human rights expert [Tuesday] denounced ‘biomedical gatekeepers’ who perpetuate stigma and urged States and psychiatrists to act with courage to reform a ‘crisis-hit system built on outdated attitudes.’ ‘We need little short of a revolution in mental health care to end decades of neglect, abuse, and violence,’ Dainius Pūras, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health, said after presenting his latest report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva…” (6/6).

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NPR Profiles Life, Work Of UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin

NPR: He Called Himself An ‘Honorary Woman’: Remembering A U.N. Crusader
“He was a world leader who was not a household name. But he definitely made an impact as an advocate for the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls. Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, died on Sunday night at his home. ‘Our world lost a great champion of well-being for all, especially women & girls,’ tweeted U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres…” (Columbus, 6/6).

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N. Korea Rejects S. Korean Group's Offer Of Anti-Malaria Supplies Because Of South's Support Of U.N. Sanctions

Associated Press: N. Korea rejects S. Korean group’s offer of malaria help
“A South Korean civic group which offered to provide anti-malarial supplies to North Korea said Monday the North has rejected its proposal because of the South’s support of new U.N. sanctions…” (Kim, 6/5).

Newsweek: North Korea rejects malaria package from the South after sanctions
“…New president Moon Jae-in had given the group permission to reach out to North Korea as part of a greater plan to expand civilian exchanges between the two countries…” (Ross, 6/6).

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CNN Examines Russia's Worsening HIV Epidemic

CNN: On the front lines of Russia’s ‘staggering’ HIV epidemic
“…The Russian Federal AIDS Center reports that infection rates grew at an average of 10 percent annually for the past five years. In December, the center said that there were more than 1.1 million diagnosed cases of HIV in Russia. ‘It is staggering,’ said Dr. Masoud Dara, head of the World Health Organization’s Joint Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Program. For the past decade, the problem has only been getting worse. … Experts … argue that the worsening HIV epidemic in Russia is due to a perfect storm of factors, including questionable government policies and neglected societal problems…” (Watson et al., 6/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration's Proposed Reductions To Global Health Budget Threaten U.S. Pandemic Prevention, Response System

The Conversation: How Trump’s global health budget endangers Americans
Gerald W. Parker, Andrew Natsios, and Christine Crudo Blackburn, all with the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service and Texas A&M University

“…The … reduction in [global health] funds that President Donald Trump seeks would … devastate our already underequipped pandemic prevention and response system. In turn, that would undercut our ability to respond to future outbreaks. We recommended … that the U.S. centralize its leadership on biodefense — that is, its response to biological threats from naturally occurring emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, accidental releases, or attacks. In addition, local authorities and community leaders should do more to counter the anti-vaccine movement, and the federal government should redouble its efforts to strengthen public health institutions in developing countries. … [T]he U.S. should spend more — not less — on global health security and basic public health in low-income countries. … To be sure, Trump’s proposed budget, does call for a new, emergency response fund to battle disease outbreaks. While necessary, that innovation would not bridge the gap created by the lack of a national biodefense strategy. … Shortchanging efforts to prevent pandemics will increase their threat worldwide. It will also make Americans less safe no matter where those outbreaks start” (6/6).

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U.S. Congress, Trump Administration Should Invest In Public Health Emergency Response Fund

The Hill: Congress, learn from Zika and Ebola — Update U.S. emergency fund
Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute

“The public health community has been closely watching proposals for a badly needed public health emergency response fund. Such a fund would jump-start the response efforts in the event of a public health disaster and avoid the political wrangling and partisan gridlock that delayed the response to Zika virus. … In order for a meaningful fund to be created it needs to address complex questions about its purpose, triggers for use, funding levels, and be the product of a deliberative process that includes the various stakeholders who will be affected by it. … [A]n emergency fund needs to provide the fiscal resources to respond to a disaster that affects the public’s health, without drawing from preparedness resources and other life-saving public health activities. … The importance of creating such a fund cannot be overstated, but it should also not be oversimplified. … [I]t will ultimately be up to Congress and the Trump administration to invest the time and political capital to make it happen” (6/6).

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International Community Should Support Health As Global Public Good

Huffington Post: Health Is A Global Public Good
Linda P. Fried, dean and DeLamar professor of public health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

“…It’s time for the world community to support health as a global public good, for we will all bear the consequences of inaction. In the case of infectious disease, we must prevent outbreaks through stronger health and disease-prevention systems around the world. In the case of noncommunicable diseases, we must prevent unnecessary suffering and economic loss that exacerbates poverty and increases instability, and invest in the approach with the highest return: prevention. … We must support quality health care, effective treatment, and population-wide disease prevention. … Seeing health as a global public good is vital. Not only does it underscore our shared future but it shifts the focus to prevention. … Health is key to the aspirations of individuals, nations, and regions of the world. If we approach it from a global standpoint, we have a far greater chance of success. The U.N. World Health Assembly reflects a shared global aspiration. It’s time to strengthen that commitment and fund it sufficiently, so that preventable deaths and years lived on ill health — no matter where they occur — become a thing of the past” (6/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Integrating Nutrition Into Agricultural Programs Could Help Address Malnutrition In Africa

Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs: Guest Commentary — To Fight Malnutrition In Africa, Embed Nutrition In Agriculture Programs
Mercy Lung’aho, nutritionist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and 2017 Aspen Institute New Voices fellow, discusses how the agricultural sector can address malnutrition in Africa, writing, “[A]griculture must nourish communities in three ways. First, the agricultural and health sectors must work together and agree on what constitutes a healthy diet in our context. … Second: we need to increase farmer incomes over the long term. … And last but not least: agriculture can influence nutrition by empowering women to better manage their time and energy expenditure…” (6/6).

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