KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Must Prepare For Long-Term Response To Ebola In DRC, CDC Director Says; Agency Ready To Send More Personnel

Homeland Preparedness News: U.S., global partners struggle to contain Ebola outbreak in Congo, federal officials say
“The United States is struggling to support the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other partners in fighting what has become the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak, federal public health officials on Thursday told members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The United States currently is not meeting its target to diffuse the outbreak early…” (Riley, 3/15).

New York Times: Ebola Epidemic in Congo Could Last Another Year, CDC Director Warns
“The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is not under control and could continue for another year, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview on Friday. ‘Let’s not underestimate this outbreak,’ he said. His outlook was less optimistic than that of the director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said at a news conference on Thursday that his goal was to end the outbreak in six months…” (Grady, 3/16).

NPR: U.S. Government Beefs Up Presence Near Congo’s Ebola Epicenter
“…Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC director, tells NPR that he’ll be assigning about a dozen health experts to work in the DRC for a year and positioning at least some of them much closer to the epicenter than earlier teams. … [The] State Department [has] restricted the CDC’s Ebola experts to Congo’s capital, Kinshasa — on the west side of the country, nearly 2,000 miles from the outbreak zone on the eastern side. … Redfield, fresh off a fact-finding visit to the outbreak zone last week, told NPR there’s a limit to what CDC experts can accomplish when they are so physically removed from the epicenter…” (Aizenman, 3/15).

Roll Call: Ebola outbreak response slowed by security fears, distrust
“…To be sure, even if the security situation has limited the CDC’s ability to respond, the U.S. government has been able to contribute in other ways. An experimental Ebola vaccine, which grew from a partnership between the National Institutes of Health and the Liberian government during the 2014 outbreak, is being used in a vaccination campaign. Experimental Ebola treatment drugs are also being tested in controlled trials in the DRC, which are a partnership between that country’s health research agency and the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the institute’s leader, Anthony Fauci, told the subcommittee…” (Siddons, 3/15).

STAT: CDC’s Redfield: It could take another year to control Ebola in DRC
“… ‘I would love to see this outbreak end in six months, like my friend [WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] continues to hope for. But I think the reality, the practical reality, is this is going to be a longer road. And we need to start planning for it,’ [Redfield] said. That could prove challenging from a funding point of view. The WHO and other United Nations agencies involved in the outbreak are already struggling to raise the money needed to finance the response through July of this year. Agencies and nongovernmental organizations working to stop the virus have estimated their efforts will cost $148 million — but have only been able to raise about 60 percent of that amount, Tedros said…” (Branswell, 3/15).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from CIDRAP News, Health Policy Watch, Inside Philanthropy, and UPI.

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Media Outlets Report On Trump Administration's Efforts To Change Women's Rights, Reproductive Health Language During Negotiations At U.N. CSW Meeting

The Guardian: U.S. accused of trying to dilute global agreements on women’s rights
“U.S. officials in New York are attempting to water down language and remove the word ‘gender’ from documents being negotiated at the U.N., in what is being seen as a threat to international agreements on women’s rights. In negotiations at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which resume at U.N. headquarters this week, the U.S. wants to replace ‘gender’ in the forum’s outcome document with references only to women and girls. The move follows similar attempts by the U.S. last year to change language in documents before the U.N. human rights council. In draft documents, seen by the Guardian, the U.S. is taking a step further at CSW by refusing to reaffirm the country’s commitment to the landmark Beijing declaration and platform for action … The Beijing agreement is regarded as the blueprint for global women’s rights. Although it is not legally binding, the document is used widely by activists to hold their governments to account on policy related to women…” (Ford, 3/18).

Washington Post: Christian conservatives in Trump administration build global antiabortion coalition
“… U.S. negotiators seek to excise references to ‘universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights’ — which they argue promotes abortion and normalizes sexual activity among youth — in an annual document about empowering women by the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women. They also want to replace ‘gender-responsive’ with ‘family-centered’ in calls for more-inclusive public services. … The United States sought to influence global resolutions on reproductive rights on several occasions last year, according to country representatives and civil society advocates, but had stumbled on its own. … This year, observers say, the U.S. group has come back better prepared, more knowledgeable about the players, and more sophisticated — and more likely to be effective. Civil society groups focused on women’s rights expressed dismay at the efforts. They accused the United States of putting unfair pressure on poor countries that depend on U.S. foreign aid, and also of aligning with countries with poor human rights records…” (Cha/Sun, 3/15).

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STAT Examines Disagreement Between MSF, CEPI Over Access Policy

STAT: Doctors Without Borders blasts coalition working on vaccine development
“A feud has broken out between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Doctors Without Borders, which accused the public-private coalition devoted to vaccine development of watering down a policy for equitable access to any treatments. Despite several pleas by Doctors Without Borders, CEPI declined to reinstate portions of its original access policy…” (Silverman, 3/15).

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Cyclone Idai Hits Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Killing At Least 150; U.N. Ready To Respond With Humanitarian Aid

Associated Press: Cyclone Idai hits Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, killing 150
“Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone that has killed nearly 150 people, left hundreds more missing, and stranded tens of thousands who are cut off from roads and telephones in mainly poor, rural areas. Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries, according to the U.N. and government officials… (Mutsaka, 3/16).

U.N. News: U.N. standing with Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique as Southern Africa death toll from deadly cyclone mounts
“… ‘The Secretary General is saddened by the loss of life, destruction of property, and displacement of people due to the heavy rains and flooding,’ said a statement from António Guterres on Sunday … ‘The United Nations expresses its solidarity with the Zimbabwe authorities and stands ready to work with them as they respond to the humanitarian needs resulting from this disaster,’ Mr. Guterres added. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), preliminary projections indicate that at least 1.7 million people were affected in the direct-path of the cyclone in Mozambique, with a further 920,000 in Malawi…” (3/17).

Additional coverage of the damage from Cyclone Idai is available from Reuters, U.N. News, and VOA News.

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: WHO: Deadly plague breaks out on Uganda-Congo border (3/14).

Borgen Magazine: The Road to Defeating Rotavirus Diarrhea (O’Brien, 3/17).

Devex: Inside the largest hub for global humanitarian medical aid in the U.S. (Cheney, 3/18).

Health Policy Watch: DNDi-led Study Finds Safer, Shorter Treatment For Debilitating Chagas Disease (Schlesinger, 3/15).

Health Policy Watch: UNAIDS Urges Worldwide Reform Of Drug Policies — Links To HIV Prevention, Human Rights (Fletcher, 3/14).

Health Policy Watch: Global Health Benefits Of Reaching Climate, Environment Targets Could Be US$ 54.1 Trillion — Says U.N. Report (Branigan, 3/12)

Homeland Preparedness News: Mosquito-killing drug found to effectively combat malaria among children (Galford, 3/15).

NPR: The Risks Of A Cesarean Section (Singh, 3/17).

SciDev.Net: Environmental degradation threat to health, says U.N. (Nakweya, 3/18).

Science: Curing HIV just got more complicated. Can CRISPR help? (Cohen, 3/15).

STAT: An AIDS therapy involving parasite injections was discredited. China is reviving it — for cancer (Qiu, 3/18).

Xinhua News: At least 12 died, over 4,000 infected due to cholera outbreak in Sanaa, Yemen (3/18).

Xinhua News: S. Africans with TB symptoms urged to get tested, treated (3/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

White House Must Step Up Efforts Against Ebola In DRC

Washington Post: The world’s second-worst outbreak of Ebola is underway in Congo. Where is the concern?
Ronald A. Klain, Washington Post contributing columnist and White House Ebola response coordinator from 2014 to 2015

“…Fighting Ebola in Congo is the sort of global health challenge that requires White House leadership. Adding significantly more U.S. disease fighters in Congo, and placing them closer to the outbreak, would be dangerous but needs to be considered; the White House has, so far, refused to allow it. Rallying nations in the region to put together a multinational, security-equipped response force needs a White House push. Preparing a vastly expanded response if the epidemic escalates — including potentially a mass vaccination campaign in Congo — requires White House-level resources. That is sadly missing. More broadly, the kind of outbreak seen in Congo — a deadly mix of disease, conflict, rejection of expert intervention, and violence — may be the new normal in global disease fighting. This is especially true as climate change exacerbates risk factors. Instead of ramping up efforts to confront these challenges, the White House recently proposed cutting back U.S. global investment in fighting infectious diseases. In 2014, there were no simple solutions to an Ebola epidemic that saw 1,000 new cases every week. The Obama administration took unprecedented action to help end that humanitarian crisis. It was risky, controversial, and difficult — just as doing so today would be. But when faced with challenges, great nations don’t sidestep, they step up” (3/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Examines Aspects Of FY 2020 Foreign Assistance Budget Request

Center for Global Development: Trump’s Foreign Assistance Budget Request, in 3 Charts
Erin Collinson, director of policy outreach at CGD, examines several aspects of the President’s FY 2020 foreign assistance budget request, including economic support and development assistance, humanitarian assistance, international financial institutions, and global health (3/15).

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Malaria No More Opposes Cuts To Malaria-Related Program Spending In Trump Administration's FY 2020 Budget Request

Malaria No More: Proposed Presidential Budget Cuts Would Derail U.S. Efforts To Combat Malaria
“Malaria No More strongly opposes the sweeping cuts to lifesaving, cost-effective global health programs requested in President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget request. The request significantly decreases U.S. funding to the two largest entities working to drastically reduce deaths and illness from malaria thereby putting the world on a path to ending the disease — the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria…” (3/15).

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IDSA Discusses Senate Hearing On Ebola, U.S. Global Health Investments

Infectious Diseases Society of America: Ebola Hearing Highlights Global Health Investment Payoffs, Ongoing Needs
“The Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee’s hearing on the continuing Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo brought the unprecedented challenges posed by the current outbreak, as well as the responses needed before policymakers Thursday. Most concerning was evidence that in the sixth month of an ongoing international response, the outbreak remains largely uncontrolled. The reasons, as highlighted in testimony from public health, global development, and biomedical research leaders, include active military and civil strife in the affected areas, that, while unprecedented in previous Ebola outbreaks, has long been a factor recognized to raise risks of infectious disease spread worldwide…” (3/15).

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New CSIS Report Discusses Challenges, Opportunities Of Feed The Future In Nigeria

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: New Report Pushes for Greater Focus on Resilience in Feed the Future’s Work in Nigeria
Truett Sparkman, intern with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, highlights discussion at an event launching a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on advancing food and nutrition security in Nigeria through Feed the Future. Sparkman notes, “The report critiques the USAID global food security and hunger program, Feed the Future, which is attempting to expand on its work reducing poverty and malnutrition by adding a third priority: building resilience in the second phase of its campaign,” and highlights remarks from Julie Howard, senior adviser with the CSIS Global Food Security Project; Greg Collins, deputy assistant administrator and resilience coordinator with the Bureau for Food Security at USAID; Ambassador Johnnie Carson, senior adviser at the U.S. Institute of Peace; Adesoji Adelaja, professor at Michigan State University and global fellow for the Wilson Center’s Africa Program; and Dina Esposito, vice president of technical leadership at Mercy Corps (3/18).

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CGD President Highlights 7 Potential Priorities For U.S. World Bank President Nominee

Center for Global Development: Establishing Credibility and Legitimacy: Seven Challenges for David Malpass
CGD President Masood Ahmed highlights seven priorities the U.S. nominee for World Bank president, David Malpass, should consider endorsing: “1. Support Africa’s development and integration into the world economy. … 2. Target the people left behind. … 3. Help middle-income countries make the right development choices. … 4. Mainstream work on global public goods. … 5. Be an active player in the debate on development pathways for the 21st century. … 6. Engage actively with the other players who finance development. … 7. Don’t move around the boxes!” (3/15).

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TB Control Programs Must Strengthen Private Sector's Ability To Diagnose, Treat Patients, Experts At CUGH Say

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: CUGH 2019: Researchers say training, resources for the ‘private sector,’ including traditional healers, will be critical to TB control
Rabita Aziz, writer at “Science Speaks” and senior global health policy specialist at IDSA, highlights remarks made at the 2019 Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) about finding missing TB cases. Christy Hanson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Madhukar Pai of McGill University spoke about the important role of the private sector, including traditional and faith healers along with licensed medical professionals, in detecting TB cases. Aziz writes, “TB control programs need to strengthen private providers’ ability to find and treat patients” (3/15).

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FT Health Discusses WHO's Global Influenza Strategy, Features Interview With Save The Children U.K. CEO

FT Health: war on flu and pneumonia; sleep hype; space medicine
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses the WHO’s recently launched global influenza strategy for 2019-2030 and features an interview with Kevin Watkins, chief executive officer of Save the Children U.K., who discusses the organization’s efforts to respond to global pneumonia. The newsletter also provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 3/15).

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