KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Signs $1.3T FY18 Omnibus Spending Bill Following Veto Threat; Experts Examine Bill For Signals About Development Policy

Devex: What the budget bill says about the future of U.S. aid
“On Friday, United States President Donald Trump signed — reluctantly — a massive spending bill that the U.S. development community has hailed as a rebuke of the administration’s proposals to slash foreign affairs funding. … As they pored over the 2,000-plus page bill, development experts hunted for winners and losers — and for signals as to how lawmakers will seek to steer U.S. development policy this year and into the future. With this bill, Congress showed a clear intention to exert strong oversight of any reforms or major changes to U.S. development programs, and they maintained funding to programs with strong bipartisan support…” (Saldinger/Igoe, 3/26).

New York Times: Trump Signs Spending Bill, Reversing Veto Threat and Avoiding Government Shutdown
“President Trump, hours after threatening to veto a $1.3 trillion spending bill and throwing the capital into turmoil, signed it into law on Friday, yielding to advisers and Republican leaders who urged him against manufacturing a government shutdown crisis…” (Davis et al, 3/23).

Washington Post: Trump signs $1.3 trillion spending bill despite veto threat on Twitter
“…The legislation funds the federal government for the remainder of the 2018 budget year, through Sept. 30 … The spending bill is widely expected to be the last major legislation that Congress will pass before the November midterm elections, increasing pressure to jam the bill full of odds and ends, with provisions addressing areas as varied as guns and invasive carp…” (Wagner et al., 3/23).

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U.S. FY18 Omnibus Spending Bill Includes $10M To Help Haiti Address Cholera

Miami Herald: Trump didn’t want to give Haiti $11 million for cholera. So Congress found another way
“Included in the $1.3 trillion spending package that was passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump on Friday is $10 million to help Haiti fight cholera. Sen. Patrick Leahy, who unsuccessfully tried to get the Trump administration last year to turn over $11 million in unspent Haiti peacekeeping money to the United Nations’ cholera plan, led the charge on getting the appropriation for small, locally based projects in communities severely impacted by the deadly waterborne epidemic. … Tim Rieser, Leahy’s foreign policy aide, said the funds are being drawn from the balance of unused emergency funds for the Ebola crisis, which has several hundred million dollars left over…” (Charles, 3/23).

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Advocates, U.N. Leaders Call For More Action Against TB, Say Tide Turning On World Day

The Guardian: Eradicating poverty would dramatically reduce TB cases, study finds
“Programs to tackle poverty could be just as effective in the fight against tuberculosis as medicines and vaccines, research has found. Eradicating extreme poverty would lead to an 84 percent reduction in TB cases by 2035, according to a report published to coincide with World Tuberculosis Day on Saturday. Nine scientists and policymakers carried out research examining incidences of TB across 192 countries for a study that appears in Lancet Global Health…” (Summers, 3/24).

HuffPost: ‘This Is Real Momentum’: World TB Day Finally Marks A Promising Shift
“…[U]sually on World TB Day on March 24, the global health community rallies around that point. Then another year goes by. But this year, advocates agree, the energy is different. … All of this is part of the build-up to Sept. 26, the first U.N. high-level meeting on tuberculosis, which global health experts consider to be the pivotal moment the movement has been working toward…” (Weber, 3/24).

U.N. News: ‘Bold action’ needed to end tuberculosis, AIDS — U.N.
“Claiming more than 4,500 lives daily, tuberculosis (TB) continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide as well as the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, the United Nations said Friday, ahead of World Tuberculosis Day. ‘The world has the resources to end the interlinked epidemics of tuberculosis and HIV, but political commitment and country action are lacking,’ said the executive director of UNAIDS — the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV and AIDS — Michel Sidibé. ‘Political, religious, and civil society leaders need to step up to guarantee everyone the right to breathe, to live free from tuberculosis and AIDS,’ he added…” (3/23).

Xinhua News: U.N. calls for actions to end TB, AIDS by 2030
“…To address the challenges, UNAIDS has outlined a series of important actions, such as ensuring rights-promoting and non-discriminatory service delivery for all; empowering communities to demand their right to health; giving a new impetus to the response to TB and HIV by impelling political, religious, and civil society leaders; and innovating for new medicines and vaccines…” (3/24).

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U.S. CDC, Uganda Partnership Helps Nation Quickly Detect Disease Outbreaks

NPR: How Fast Can An Outbreak Be Detected?
“…Since 2010, a first-of-its-kind program has helped Ugandans quickly detect and respond to deadly viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) — like Ebola, Marburg, Rift Valley fever, and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. It’s run by the Ministry of Health, the Uganda Virus Research Institute, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which started up the endeavor. Because of the program, Uganda has cut the time it takes to confirm an outbreak from an average of two weeks to an average of 2.5 days…” (Lu, 3/23).

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U.N. Security Council Must Do More To Reduce Conflict In Order To Improve Global Food Security, WFP Head Says

U.N. News: Security Council can and must do more to break the link between conflict and hunger, says U.N. relief officials
“Hunger is on the rise worldwide mainly because ‘people won’t stop shooting at each other,’ the head of the United Nations food relief agency said Friday, telling the Security Council that if it did more to break the link between conflict and hunger, countless lives could be saved. David Beasley, the head of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) told the 15-member body that resolving conflicts and ensuring peace are indispensable to achieve food security…” (3/23).

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Researchers Hoping To Open Large Artemisinin Production Facility In Kentucky, Bring Down Price Of Malaria Treatment

Lexington Herald-Leader: Wanted: Former Kentucky tobacco farms to join fight against malaria
“Once known for expertise in growing tobacco, Kentucky is poised to become the epicenter of production of a similar plant that is used to cure malaria, called artemisia or sweet wormwood. … The plants produce a molecule called artemisinin that can cure malaria for only a few dollars a box. But that’s still too expensive for most of the people in the world at risk for getting the mosquito-borne disease, said Kerry Gilmore, who is running a research team at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany, that has figured out a way to make the medicine much more efficiently and cheaply … Most of the existing artemisia crop is grown in Asia but moving large-scale production to Kentucky should stabilize supply and could give Kentucky farmers another lucrative crop…” (Patton, 3/23).

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More Political Will, Urban Planning Needed To Stem Traffic-Related Injuries, Deaths, Report Says

Forbes: Death Toll On World’s Roads Grows, But Not Will To Stop It, New Report Finds
“… ‘Securing Safe Roads: The Politics of Change,’ released on Friday [by the Overseas Development Institute and partners], showed that it is the poorer sections of society that bear the brunt of traffic-related injuries and deaths, and that both politicians and the public tend to blame individual road users for collisions, rather than policymakers or planners. About 90 percent of the world’s traffic fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries, where urbanization is fastest, according to the World Health Organization…” (Mohn, 3/24).

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More News In Global Health

Asian Correspondent: Not just a toilet: Access to public facilities can be a lifeline for many women (Richards, 3/26).

Associated Press: UNICEF calls on Yemen’s warring sides to stop impeding aid (3/24).

Devex: Q&A: How South Sudan stopped Guinea worm disease in its tracks (Pallares, 3/26).

Devex: Q&A: Why mental health needs to be a higher funding priority (Cornish, 3/26).

Devex: Global bodies urge Asia-Pacific’s citizens to demand cleaner air (Rogers, 3/23).

The Economist: How Bangladesh vanquished diarrhea (3/22).

The Guardian: UNICEF predicts fresh outbreak of deadly cholera in Yemen (Wintour, 3/26).

Homeland Preparedness News: Georgetown University signs collaboration agreement with CEPI for scientific training (Galford, 3/23).

Quartz: India can’t eliminate tuberculosis by 2025 without curbing smoking (Thomas, 3/26).

Reuters: A child dies, a child lives: why Somalia drought is not another famine (Fick et al., 3/23).

Reuters: Congo crisis worsening, E.U. says, as government shuns aid conference (Mahamba/Bavier, 3/26).

Reuters: Drug shortages cripple Angola’s health service (Eisenhammer, 3/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: South Africa pushes to combat HIV among girls #blessed by sugar daddies (Fallon, 3/26).

Vanguard: Polio Eradication: Six northern govs, monarchs reaffirm commitment to partnering Dangote, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (3/26).

VOA News: U.N. Steps Up Aid for Thousands of Syrians Fleeing War Zones (Schlein, 3/23).

Xinhua News: Cambodia sees success in HIV/AIDS fight in last decade: health official (3/26).

Xinhua News: Tuberculosis cases in Western Pacific countries cut by 14 pct in past decade: WHO (3/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Recognize World TB Day, Call On Leaders To Make Meaningful Commitments At U.N. High-Level Meeting

The Lancet: The upcoming U.N. general assembly resolution on tuberculosis must also benefit children
Anne K. Detjen, health specialist for childhood tuberculosis at UNICEF, and colleagues

“… The Child and Adolescent TB Working Group of the Stop TB Partnership proposes that countries commit to the following targets [at the U.N. High-Level Meeting on TB in September] … (1) by 2019, all states have established an inter-ministry task force and developed a funded action plan to address child tuberculosis comprehensively across maternal, child, and adolescent populations; (2) by 2022, 90 percent of children with household exposure to an infectious tuberculosis case … receive preventive therapy each year; (3) by 2022, 90 percent of children with tuberculosis and MDR tuberculosis are diagnosed…, given appropriate treatment, and reported to national tuberculosis programs; and (4) from 2018, countries steeply increase their research funding to address the needs of children, especially for research towards the development of new child-friendly diagnostics, treatments, and an improved vaccine” (3/23).

Baltimore Sun: ‘TB anywhere is a threat to people everywhere’
Allison Berkowitz, adjunct instructor at Simmons College

“…There are two line items in the Department of State USAID requests that will go a long way toward eradicating TB. The first is … for bilateral tuberculosis; and the second is … for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Please urge all our Maryland representatives in the U.S. House and our two U.S. senators to champion these two critical line items in the fight against TB. … This money can help prevent the senseless deaths of 1.7 million people internationally and the suffering of 9,200 Americans, several hundred here in Maryland, who require TB treatment each year. They can do it, but they need to hear from us, so please help” (3/25).

HuffPost: We Can Cure Tuberculosis If World Leaders Step Up
Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on tuberculosis

“…As we head toward the [U.N. High-Level Meeting (UNHLM)] on TB, I am honored to be co-chairing the Lancet Commission on TB, which is working to issue recommendations on how to put the world on a path to defeating the disease. The commission is focused on four areas for action. First, we must ensure implementation of evidence-based strategies to combat the disease. … Second, it is critical that we invest in TB research and development. … Third, significant resources must be dedicated to implement strategies to end TB. … Finally, we must address the serious social, financial, and clinical barriers to care that undermine TB control efforts… It is also my hope that between now and the UNHLM in September, all who care about ending TB use their voices to demand that their leaders act. … Let us seize [this moment] and build a TB-free world once and for all…” (3/24).

PLOS Medicine: Time for high-burden countries to lead the tuberculosis research agenda
Madhukar Pai, director of Global Health Programs at McGill University and associate director of the McGill International TB Centre

“…The world cannot depend on a few wealthy countries with very low TB incidence to support all the research that is required to tackle TB. High-burden, middle-income countries with high TB rates must step up. They have the potential to transform the global TB research agenda through increased domestic funding, collaborative networks, and transnational research partnerships. By taking the lead on TB research, high-burden countries not only can meet their own national strategic plan goals but can also take a leading step towards fulfilling the commitment to end the TB epidemic, with targets to reduce TB deaths by 95 percent and to reduce TB incidence rate by 90 percent between 2015 and 2035” (3/23).

HuffPost: It’s Time For The World’s Leaders To Support The Fight Against Tuberculosis
Brenda Shanahan, Dean Allison, and Mobina Jaffer, members of the Global Health Caucus on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Canada

“…[O]n Sept. 26, 2018 the United Nations (U.N.) will host a High-Level Meeting (HLM) on TB. … March 24 is World TB Day, which marks the kick-off to a global campaign — Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free World. Canada’s all-party parliamentary Global Health Caucus on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria are great examples of leaders who are working hard to make a TB-free world a reality. The caucus is made up of parliamentarians who are champions for the eradication of TB in Canada and across the globe. … [T]he caucus has been working to help build the necessary political momentum in Canada and around the world to end TB for good. … This is the kind of leadership we need to end TB…” (3/23).

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Robert Redfield 'Wrong Person' To Serve As CDC Director

Foreign Policy: Meet Trump’s New, Homophobic Public Health Quack
Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…Robert Redfield, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former University of Maryland opioids and AIDS researcher, … is exactly the wrong person for the job [of CDC director]. … [T]he CDC desperately needs a leader who can promise stability and expertise. Redfield represents the opposite … The CDC will not thrive with Redfield as its leader. He will not serve as a powerful advocate for strong science, expansion of global health and domestic HIV efforts, or separation of religious and empirical perspectives in decision-making. … Redfield has plenty of ethical conflicts at the intersection of his religious and scientific views” (3/23).

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E.U. Should Lead On Global Health Research, Innovation

Euractiv: E.U. leaders — Making Europe the world leader on global health must be your legacy
Cecile Vernant, head of the E.U. office of Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW)

“…In 2018, the European Commission and E.U. leaders can [put] global health at the heart of the E.U.’s research agenda for the next decade. … Investing in global health as part of the E.U.’s next multiannual financial framework means making sure that global health [research and innovation (R&I)] secures the funding to develop the accessible and affordable medical solutions we need to put an end to tuberculosis and other diseases of poverty — like malaria and HIV & AIDS; committing to a dedicated and ambitiously funded R&I partnership instrument with sub-Saharan-Africa…; and ensuring that the E.U.’s research agenda for the next decade delivers on the Sustainable Development Goals … By supporting these key recommendations, European leaders would not only be answering the call for global health leadership this World TB Day, but they could also ensure that their legacy — and the legacy of the E.U.’s research agenda in the next decade — is one of millions of lives saved…” (3/23).

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'Pro-Choice Policies' Decrease Unsafe Abortions, Prevent Deaths Among Women

The Guardian: Want to lower the abortion rate? Support pro-choice policies
Jill Filipovic, blogger at Feministe

“Want to lower the abortion rate and prevent maternal deaths worldwide? Support pro-choice policies. That’s the takeaway from a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, which looks at abortion around the world. … We know safe, legal abortion decreases abortion-related deaths. We know widespread access to contraception, and especially reliable long-acting methods like the IUD, decreases unintended pregnancies and in turn abortions. … The global numbers on abortion tell a clear story of progress and feminist gains. But we’re not nearly as far as we could be — only because those who claim to value ‘life’ are compromising women’s lives for their own ideological aims” (3/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Responds To FY18 Omnibus Spending Bill

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Spending bill boosts NIH, USAID TB, lifts Fogarty, flatlines PEPFAR, Global Fund
Rabita Aziz, a writer with “Science Speaks,” discusses global health-related aspects of the FY18 Omnibus spending bill approved by Congress last week (3/23).

Global Fund: Global Fund Thanks U.S. Congress for Steadfast Support against HIV, TB and Malaria
“The Global Fund applauds the U.S. Congress for approving $1.35 billion in funding for the Global Fund for the 2018 U.S. fiscal year. This tremendous support from the United States is essential as the Global Fund accelerates progress in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria…” (3/23).

Health GAP: Statement from Health Gap on Flat Funding the Global HIV Response in the Omnibus Spending Bill
In a statement responding to the FY18 Omnibus spending bill, Jamila Headley, managing director of Health GAP, writes, “The reality is, funding for the U.S. global HIV response has been stagnating for years, and it’s time for a reckoning. Though Congress took a step in the right direction by rejecting Trump’s cuts, one in two people living with HIV still don’t have access to life-saving treatment and while it’s possible to end AIDS as an epidemic by 2030, we won’t get there without $850 million in additional PEPFAR funding in the fiscal year 2019 budget — the minimum amount needed to put us on track” (3/23).

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MSF, U.N. Organizations Recognize World TB Day

The following pieces recognize World TB Day, which takes place annually on March 24.

Médecins Sans Frontières: Tuberculosis: “An obvious, urgent focus for MSF” (3/22).

PLOS Blog’s “Speaking of Medicine”: WANTED! Leaders who will dare ask what tuberculosis patients really want (Nyang’wa, 3/23).

UNAIDS: Breathe — Let’s end TB and AIDS by 2030 (3/23).

UNDP: Time to end the neglect (Dhaliwal, 3/23).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash focuses on World TB Day and includes articles on “the challenges that lie ahead but also on the unprecedented political momentum building to end this millennia-old disease” (3/23).

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FT Health Recognizes World TB Day, Features Interview With S. African Medical Research Council President

FT Health: Time for action on tuberculosis
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter recognizes World TB Day and discusses global progress and commitment toward ending TB. The newsletter also features an interview with Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), and provides a round-up of other global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 3/23).

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From the U.S. Government

NIH, USAID Recognize World TB Day, Recommit To Ending Epidemic

NIH: NIH Statement on World Tuberculosis Day 2018
Christine F. Sizemore, chief of the Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Diseases Section in the NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases; Richard Hafner, chief of the TB Clinical Research Branch in the NIAID Division of AIDS; and Anthony S. Fauci, director of NIAID, say, “Today, in commemoration of World TB Day, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), renews and reinvigorates its commitment to the research needed to end this ancient scourge” (3/23).

USAID: Statement from USAID Administrator Mark Green on World Tuberculosis Day
Marking World TB Day, USAID Administrator Mark Green says, “USAID remains committed to saving millions of lives by ending the tuberculosis epidemic by 2030. We will continue to invest resources, leverage contributions from others, and ensure a coordinated and effective response. Building resilient and sustainable tuberculosis programs will contribute significantly to our broader goal of transforming families, communities, and countries so they can thrive and prosper” (3/23).

USAID: World TB Day 2018
“…As the lead U.S. government agency for international TB care efforts, USAID is working to reach every person with TB, cure those in need of treatment, and prevent new TB infections, as outlined in the U.S. Government Global TB Strategy and the National Action Plan for Combating Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis…” (3/23).

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