KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Denied Visas For Some Women To Attend U.N. CSW Meeting, Petition Claims

BuzzFeed News: The U.S. Denied Visas To Women From Africa And The Middle East Hoping To Attend The U.N.’s Women Conference
“Dozens of women have been denied visas to attend a major United Nations women’s conference in New York. According to campaigners, women from African and Middle Eastern countries that fell under Donald Trump’s travel ban were disproportionately affected. The U.S. is obliged under a 70-year-old treaty to not restrict people or NGOs from attending the U.N. headquarters. In protest, women’s rights campaigners are petitioning the U.S. Mission to the U.N. to streamline visa procedures for those traveling to the U.N. The Commission on the Status of Women is an annual conference, running this year from March 11-22, where representatives from member states, NGO workers, and women’s rights activists gather to evaluate the global progress on gender and equality. According to the petition, an ‘unprecedented’ number of visa denials for women hoping to attend CSW has been witnessed…” (Jha, 3/20).

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U.S., International Health Officials Easing Zika-Related Travel Warnings

Washington Post: As Zika danger wanes, travel warnings are eased for pregnant women
“U.S. and international health officials are easing warnings against travel to regions with Zika virus because the threat has diminished markedly since the virus began to sweep across the globe four years ago. The World Health Organization designated Zika a global health emergency in 2016, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told women who were pregnant or might become pregnant to stay away from nearly 100 countries or regions. The mosquito-borne virus can cause severe birth defects. Last month, the CDC downgraded its warning; a spokeswoman said the WHO will soon follow with similar, less-restrictive travel recommendations. Officials said the disease has died down in most of the world — although they think it is still circulating at a much lower level…” (Sun, 3/20).

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World Can Eradicate TB By 2045 But Only With Greater Investments In Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, Lancet Commission Report Says

Agence France-Presse: Tuberculosis can be eradicated by 2045: experts
“The world can eradicate tuberculosis by 2045 if the fight against the killer disease is properly funded, an international team of experts said Wednesday. Warning of the immense economic and social costs of inaction, they said that better screening, treatments, and public awareness were needed to reduce the more than 10 million cases recorded every year…” (3/20).

Livemint: In TB reality check, Lancet report says Indian, global goals unrealistic
“…According to The Lancet report, increased political will, financial resources, and increasing research to develop new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent TB will help achieve the goal. The Lancet Commission on TB was published ahead of World TB Day on 24 March. The report estimates that there are significant financial benefits of reducing TB mortality — the savings from averting a TB death are estimated to be three times the costs, and may be much greater in many countries…” (Thacker, 3/21).

The Telegraph: Wiping out TB by 2045 could cost up to $10bn a year
“…The World Health Organization (WHO) first declared TB a public health crisis in 1993, and last year the first-ever U.N. High-Level Meeting on TB made ending the disease a global priority. … The commission was timed to launch six months after the meeting as a way of building momentum on the commitments made there, said Mike Reid, co-author of the report. ‘Despite the huge amount of political will shown at the meeting, countries still haven’t ponied up in terms of investing where they said they would,’ said Dr Reid, assistant professor of global health [at the] University of California San Francisco. … [The commission] says that the 10 countries with the highest burden of the disease need to implement specific measures to make a significant dent in rates of the disease…” (Gulland, 3/20).

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WHO Releases Updated Guidelines To Improve Treatment Of Drug-Resistant TB, Accelerate Progress To End Disease

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: WHO finalizes MDR-TB treatment guidance recommending shift from injections
“…[T]he World Health Organization [Wednesday] released updated guidelines for treating TB that does not respond to first-line treatments. … The guidelines are part of a larger plan aiming to speed access to successful treatment for tuberculosis worldwide…” (Barton, 3/20).

VOA News: WHO: New Oral Treatment More Effective in Combating Multidrug-Resistant TB
“…In advance of this year’s World TB Day, March 24, the World Health Organization is issuing a call to action to eradicate the disease by 2030. As part of these efforts, the WHO is launching an oral drug regimen it says can more effectively treat people with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. … The WHO says it is hopeful the new oral treatment program it is launching will be more effective in controlling the spread of the particularly virulent form of tuberculosis…” (Schlein, 3/20).

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DRC Health Officials Announce New Ebola Case Detected In City Of Nearly 1M

CIDRAP News: Spike in Ebola cases continues in DRC
“According to the World Health Organization’s Ebola dashboard, officials [Wednesday] recorded 12 new Ebola cases in the ongoing outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The cases bring the outbreak’s total to 980 cases, including 606 deaths…” (Soucheray, 3/20).

Deutsche Welle: Ebola outbreak spreads to new city in conflict-hit Congo
“The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed a case of the deadly Ebola virus in Bunia, the second-largest city in the country’s east with a population of nearly one million people. The patient is a six-month-old baby. The Health Ministry said the parents ‘appear to be in good health.’ The ministry has launched an investigation to determine how the baby was infected…” (3/21).

PBS NewsHour: Can Uganda block Ebola’s spread from neighboring Congo?
“Eastern parts of Democratic Republic of Congo are suffering from the second-worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in history, with more than 500 dead so far. Neighboring Uganda is watching with concern as the crisis unfolds, wary of allowing Ebola to spread to its people. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on measures Uganda is taking at its borders in an effort to keep Ebola out…” (3/20).

Reuters: Congo Ebola outbreak spreads to city of Bunia
“…The current outbreak is the second-deadliest in history behind the 2013-16 epidemic in West Africa that is believed to have killed more than 11,000 people. Five Ebola centers have been attacked since last month, sometimes by armed assailants. The violence led French medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to suspend its activities at the epicenter of the outbreak last month” (Mahamba/Ross, 3/20).

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U.N. Allocates $20M In Emergency Funding For Cyclone Idai Disaster In Southeast Africa; Others Pledge Assistance

Associated Press: ‘There is death all over’: Cyclone Idai toll rises above 300
“Mozambique began three days of national mourning on Wednesday for more than 200 victims of Cyclone Idai, while the death toll in neighboring Zimbabwe rose to more than 100 from one of the most destructive storms to strike southern Africa in decades…” (Mutsaka, 3/20).

U.N. News: U.N. allocates $20 million in emergency funding, as Cyclone Idai disaster unfolds
“As the full scale of the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in South-East Africa continues to be assessed, the U.N. and humanitarian partners are ramping up the provision of emergency food, shelter, water, and health care supplies to hundreds-of-thousands who have been affected across Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. The U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $20 million on Wednesday to ensure aid reaches those most affected…” (3/20).

Washington Post: ‘It was too late’: Hundreds are dead as rescue efforts stall in Mozambique and Zimbabwe
“…The European Union said it was releasing $3.9 million in emergency aid, while Britain has pledged $7.9 million. The United Arab Emirates announced that it was sending about $5 million in emergency aid including food supplies, supplements for children, medicine and shelter supplies for 600,000 people across Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. It said it would also send Red Crescent delegations to assess the situation on the ground ‘so that further assistance plans’ can be implemented. Three Indian navy ships also diverted to Beira, arriving Tuesday and distributing food, medicine, clothing, and water. The Indian navy said it was assisting with evacuations…” (Chitagu et al., 3/20).

Washington Post: Thousands still need rescuing as aid agencies struggle with cyclone aftermath in Mozambique
“…For now the aid agencies and local authorities struggling to help people are woefully underequipped with just two U.N. helicopters that arrived from Uganda and South Africa and one cargo aircraft. There is also an urgent need for flat-bottomed boats to venture out into the flooded areas to find people…” (Bearak, 3/21).

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IPS, VOA Videos Recognize World Water Day, Theme Of 'Water For All'

Inter Press Service: VIDEO: Water for All — World Water Day 2019
“…World Water Day — celebrated on March 22nd — is observed internationally as a day to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues, and to take action to make a difference. This year’s World Water Day theme, ‘Water for All,’ is focused on tackling the water crisis as it affects marginalized groups, including women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people, and many others” (3/19).

VOA News: World Water Day 2019: Leaving No One Behind
“March 22 is the annual observance of World Water Day. … [A]ccording to a report from UNICEF and the World Health Organization, nearly a billion people today live without access to clean drinking water…” (Arabasadi, 3/21).

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More News In Global Health

SciDev.Net: Study taps genes in sewage to track drug resistance (Buguzi, 3/20).

Vox: How deadly pathogens have escaped the lab — over and over again (Piper, 3/20).


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Editorials and Opinions

Global Health Investments Should Be Paired With Support For Democracy, Accountable Governance

CNN: Democracy is good for your health
Tom Bollyky, director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Tara Templin, health policy Ph.D. student at Stanford University

“…Together with colleagues from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Bilkent University, we published a study in The Lancet that is the first comprehensive assessment of the links between democracy, adult health, and disease-specific mortality in 170 nations over 46 years, 1970 to 2016. The findings are dramatic. … A nation’s democratic experience — a measure of how democratic a country has been and for how long — matters more than its gross domestic product in the reductions in deaths in a country from cardiovascular diseases, transportation injuries, cancers, and other noncommunicable diseases. … In the past, global health initiatives were strictly apolitical. Many of the largest recipients of foreign health aid rank among the least democratic nations of the world. But our research results suggest that it is not sustainable to treat a political system and the health of the people governed by it as unrelated. … [The study findings] require ensuring global health investments are paired with greater international support for democracy and governance … Healthy populations can only be sustained with healthy and accountable political systems. … [G]lobal health programs still have more work to do to put that insight into practice” (3/20).

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WASH Remains Critical To Health Security

Daily Caller: The Congo’s Ebola Outbreak Highlights a Big Mistake in Global Health Security
Lindsay Denny, senior public health program associate for the Center for Global Safe WASH at Emory University and technical adviser for Global Water 2020

“…The absence of water/sanitation/hygiene is a daily threat. … It is not some unpronounceable drug that alone will prevent or contain everything from neonatal infections to pandemics like Ebola. It’s soap and water, the single-most effective method for containing the millions of germs living within the walls of a hospital. That makes handwashing a particularly powerful and cost-effective tool for doctors, nurses, and midwives around the world — as it should, quite literally, be at their fingertips. But it is not. … Health security clearly requires that sustainable water, sanitation, and good hygiene practice be the non-negotiable part of health care everywhere, and that certainly includes inside hospitals and health care facilities. WASH remains the untapped and cost-effective opportunity to improve health security for our own sake as well as the tireless work of frontline health care workers who defend us all. Its global neglect is reckless” (3/20).

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World Must Act To Address NCDs Among Women

STAT: Noncommunicable diseases among women: a ‘slow motion disaster’
Robyn Norton, principal director of the George Institute for Global Health, and Katie Dain, chief executive officer of the NCD Alliance

“…Today, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), once considered diseases of affluence, are, along with injuries, the leading causes of death and disability among women in developing and developed countries alike. … Women in low- and middle-income countries often face a triple burden of reproductive and maternal health conditions, communicable diseases, and noncommunicable diseases, which combine and interact to erode health. … We must act fast to put the brakes on this slow-motion disaster. Governments must adopt a gender-transformative, evidence-based approach to tackling noncommunicable diseases across the life course as a key part of progress towards ensuring universal health coverage for all. We need to break down traditional silos and foster new collaborations and partnerships with the maternal and child health community and others. … We also urgently need a better understanding of women’s health throughout the life course, going well beyond the reproductive years. Research to understand the impact of sex and gender on health, and the factors that influence health trends for women and men, must be prioritized. … Let us be clear: We are racing the clock on this global health emergency…” (3/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Experts Outline 6 Issues, Make Recommendations For Gavi To Address At Upcoming Board Meeting

Center for Global Development: Gavi@20: What’s Next for Global Immunization Efforts
Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer, senior fellow, and Board secretary at CGD, and colleagues present “a preliminary set of six short notes that examine different dimensions of Gavi’s work and make recommendations for ways to address identified issues.” The Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is scheduled to meet next week to discuss a new strategy and replenishment (3/20).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 352 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes pieces on various topics, including an article on the Trump administration’s FY 2020 budget proposal as it relates to the Global Fund, a commentary on country coordinating mechanisms, and a feature on the India Health Fund (3/20).

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New Report Highlights Challenges Women Face In Global Health, Social Workforce

Gender Equity Hub: The WHO Gender Equity Hub Releases Groundbreaking Report Revealing the Detrimental Challenges to Gender Equity in the Global Health Workforce
“The Gender Equity Hub (GEH), co-chaired by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Women in Global Health Network (WGHN), has released [a] report on the current state of gender equity in the global health and social workforce. The report … highlights the unique barriers that female global health and social care workers face compared to their male colleagues, negatively impacting their well-beings and livelihoods and limiting the delivery of high-quality care. The GEH argues that improved gender equity in the global health workforce would result in widespread social and economic benefits, including reducing the global health worker shortage, strengthening the movement for gender equality and women’s empowerment, and fueling economic growth and development…” (3/20).

World Health Organization: Female health workers drive global health
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus discusses findings from the report, noting, “[G]ender transformative action is needed to address occupational segregation, leadership, harassment, and gender pay gap in the health and social workforce. … [T]he time to commit to investing in decent work for women in the health and social care workforce in now” (3/20).

World Health Organization: 10 key issues in ensuring gender equity in the global health workforce
This post outlines 10 key issues that emerged from the report on gender equity in the health workforce (3/20).

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WEF Writer Discusses Impact Of Air Pollution On Children's Health, Development

World Economic Forum: Our poisonous air is harming our children’s brains
Douglas Broom, senior writer for formative content at WEF, discusses the impacts of air pollution on children’s health and development, writing, “Action is becoming increasingly urgent. A 2018 United Nations report said that although child mortality rates have more than halved in the past two decades, poor air quality has led to higher death rates among children in their first year of life. Unless we act now, years of progress on child health could be reversed” (3/20).

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RBM Partnership To End Malaria Announces New CEO

RBM Partnership to End Malaria: RBM Partnership to End Malaria Appoints Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo as CEO
“The RBM Partnership to End Malaria [on Wednesday] announced the appointment of Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, MD, MPH as the Partnership’s next CEO. Dr. Diallo, currently Minister and Health Adviser to the President of Guinea, brings to the role extensive leadership experience and expertise in national and international public health systems. He will take office on 8 April 2019 and will attend the official celebration of World Malaria Day in Paris on 25 April 2019 as his first engagement on behalf of the Partnership…” (3/20).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Sends Disaster Assistance Team To Mozambique For Cyclone Idai Response

USAID: Statement by Acting USAID Spokesperson Tom Babington on the Deployment of the Disaster Assistance Team to Mozambique in Response to Cyclone Idai
“[On Wednesday], the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) [activated] a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Mozambique to lead the U.S. government’s response to Cyclone Idai, which has caused catastrophic flooding, killed hundreds of people, and affected hundreds of thousands of others in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. To date, USAID has mobilized $700,000 in total assistance to support emergency water, sanitation, hygiene, and shelter needs in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi caused by torrential rain and flooding in early March, followed by Cyclone Idai…” (3/20).

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CDC Works To Improve Clean Water Access To Stop Spread Of Hepatitis E In Namibia

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Promoting access to and use of clean and safe water to stop hepatitis E
Matthew Goers, Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer with CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection, discusses CDC’s work in Namibia to provide clean and safe water to prevent the spread of hepatitis E, writing, “We at CDC work in partnership with countries and organizations worldwide to strengthen capacity to provide safely treated water, monitor waterborne disease outbreaks, and ensure access to water for the most vulnerable. Everyone should have the chance to lead a healthy life, and we can help people achieve this through promoting access to and use of clean and safe water” (3/20).

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From KFF

KFF Updates Fact Sheet On U.S. Global Family Planning, Reproductive Health Statutory Requirements, Policies

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and International Family Planning & Reproductive Health: Statutory Requirements and Policies
This updated fact sheet summarizes the major statutory requirements and policies pertaining to U.S. global FP/RH efforts over time and identifies those currently in effect. These laws and policies collectively serve to direct how U.S. funds are spent, to where and which organizations funds are provided, and generally shape the implementation and define the scope of U.S. global FP/RH activities (3/20).

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