KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Secretary Of State Pompeo Discusses Trump Administration's FY 2020 Budget Request On Capitol Hill

Devex: Mike Pompeo defends budget, policies in U.S. House hearings
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Capitol Hill on Wednesday was marked by a debate on his announcement of the expansion of the Mexico City policy made earlier this week. The hearings, which were meant to be about the administration’s request to cut the [FY 2020] budgets for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, instead focused more on the United States’ role on foreign assistance. While the proposed budget cuts were rejected by lawmakers, the outlook on the implications of the Mexico City policy, or ‘global gag rule,’ were less unanimous. In the last Congress, there was a lot of bipartisanship on foreign affairs, but it seems things may be more contentious this time around — from abortion debates to more pressure on oversight — despite assurances in the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that there were continued efforts to work together…” (Saldinger, 3/28).

Reuters: U.S. lawmakers blast Trump’s plan for diplomatic, foreign aid cuts
“Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress rejected President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to diplomacy and foreign aid budgets as dangerous to national security on Wednesday, setting the stage for a budget battle with the White House. Representative Eliot Engel, Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump’s proposal was ‘dead’ as soon as it arrived in Congress, during the second of two House of Representatives hearings where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took questions from lawmakers for some seven hours…” (Wroughton/Zengerle, 3/27).

Additional coverage of Secretary Pompeo’s testimony on Capitol Hill is available from The New York Times.

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1 Of 4 People In Eastern Congo Do Not Believe Ebola Exists, Study Shows; WHO Names New DRC Ebola Chief

Associated Press: Study: Many in Ebola outbreak don’t believe virus is real
“One out of four people interviewed in eastern Congo last year believed Ebola wasn’t real, according to a new study, underscoring the enormous challenges health care workers are facing in what has become the second-deadliest outbreak in history. The survey released late Wednesday found that a deep mistrust of the Ebola response resulted in those people being 15 times less likely to seek medical treatment at an Ebola health center, according to the study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal…” (Larson, 3/28).

CIDRAP News: WHO names new Ebola chief in DRC as 7 more cases noted
“Peter Graaff is the new World Health Organization (WHO) special representative for the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, appointed Graaff, who previously served as the WHO’s director of Ebola emergency response in Liberia and West Africa…” (Soucheray, 3/27).

SciDev.Net: Q&A: DRC Ebola cases surpass 1,000
“…In an interview with SciDev.Net earlier this month, Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said restoring public trust was key to fighting Ebola, as he announced new research initiatives to tackle the disease…” (Fassassi, 3/28).

Additional coverage of the Ebola outbreak and response is available from Al Jazeera, Quartz, and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Mozambique To Begin Cholera Vaccination Campaign In Cyclone Aftermath; UNFPA Urges Help For Women Affected By Storm

Reuters: Mozambique to start cholera vaccinations next week after cyclone
“Mozambique will start a cholera vaccination campaign next week in areas ravaged by Cyclone Idai, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, after five confirmed cases were detected…” (Eisenhammer et al., 3/28).

U.N. News: ‘Race against time’ to help women who bore brunt of Cyclone Idai: U.N. reproductive health agency
“As the full extent of destruction caused by Cyclone Idai across southern Africa continues to be assessed, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said on Wednesday it was in ‘a race against time’ to protect women who bore the brunt of the storm as they tried to save their households and livelihoods…” (3/27).

Additional coverage of the response to Cyclone Idai is available from Al Jazeera, The Guardian, NPR, U.S. News & World Report, VOA News (2), and Washington Post.

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U.N. Investigating Apparent Airstrike On Yemen Hospital As Cholera Continues To Spread

U.N. News: Yemen hospital airstrike under investigation amid resurgence of deadly cholera
“U.N. human rights staff in Yemen are investigating an apparent airstrike on a hospital in opposition-held territory which reportedly killed at least seven civilians on Tuesday, amid fears that cholera is spreading ‘like wildfire,’ one of the organization’s senior humanitarian officials has warned…” (3/27).

Additional coverage of the airstrike and cholera resurgence in Yemen is available from CIDRAP News, New York Times, and Washington Post.

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U.N. Makes Confidential Appeal To Venezuela's 2 Rival Leaders To End Humanitarian Aid Stalemate

New York Times: U.N. Appeals to Maduro and Guaidó to End Battle Over Humanitarian Aid
“Detailing an increasingly desperate situation in Venezuela, the United Nations made a confidential plea on Wednesday to the country’s two rival leaders to end a political battle over humanitarian aid that has blocked shipments of food and medicine. A copy of a report delivered to representatives of both sides, obtained by the New York Times, casts no specific blame for worsening a crisis in Venezuela that by some estimates has plunged nearly the entire population of 32 million into poverty. … Millions are without regular access to water, food, and medicine. Almost four million people suffer from undernourishment. Crime and disease are flourishing…” (Schwirtz, 3/27).

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Housing Improves Across Sub-Saharan Africa But About Half Of Urban Population Lives In Slums, Impacting Health

The Guardian: Housing in sub-Saharan Africa improves but millions of people live in slums
“From cities to the countryside, Africa has undergone a dramatic transformation in living conditions over the past 15 years, according to a new study. But the research, based on state of the art mapping and published in science journal Nature, also found that almost half of the the urban population — 53 million people across the countries analyzed — were living in slum conditions. Led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the study offers the first detailed estimate of housing quality in sub-Saharan Africa…” (McVeigh, 3/28).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Half urban population of sub-Saharan Africa still living in slums — study
“…The study found 47 percent of people in urban sub-Saharan Africa still lived in slum-like housing, meaning it was overcrowded, lacked good water or good sanitation, or was badly constructed. It found poor sanitation — a key contributor to disease — accounted for much of the substandard housing in the region, where 90 percent of the world’s malaria cases occur, according to the U.N. children’s agency. Tusting said improving housing and sanitation was an effective means of reducing transmission of diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika virus…” (Harrisberg, 3/27).

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Economist Jim O'Neill Criticizes Pharmaceutical Industry For Lack Of R&D Into New Antibiotics

BBC News: Take over pharma to create new medicines, says top adviser
“Part of the drugs industry should be taken over to make new antibiotics, an influential economist has argued. Lord Jim O’Neill, who advised the government on antibiotic resistance, said he was shocked by pharmaceutical companies failing to tackle drug-resistant infections. He said the solution may be to ‘just take it away from them and take it over.’ The pharmaceutical industry said it was not standing still on the issue…” (Gallagher, 3/27).

Financial Times: Industry must turn words into action on superbugs, says Jim O’Neill
“Health experts have intensified criticism of the pharmaceutical industry for failing to respond to the rise of drug-resistant superbugs by developing new antibiotics, at a meeting called by Wellcome, the London-based medical research charity. … Lord O’Neill continues to advocate a ‘play or pay’ mechanism to fix the market. An international body such as the World Health Organization would levy a small charge, perhaps 2 percent, on all drug sales by pharma companies that do not have antibiotic development programs. This would help to fund a market entry prize of $1bn to $1.5bn for each genuinely novel antibiotic that meets a defined medical need…” (Cookson, 3/27).

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More News In Global Health

Borgen Magazine: Collateral Damage — Attacks on Health Care (Flanagan, 3/27).

CIDRAP News: Resistance genes in wastewater shown to mirror clinical resistance (Dall, 3/27).

Daily Princetonian: Q&A with Dr. Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile Health (Patwari, 3/27).

The Guardian: Kenya steps up AIDS battle as building starts on $100m drug factory (Njeru, 3/28).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Measles: a global resurgence (Cousins, 4/1).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Progress and challenges of Lassa fever control in Nigeria (Adepoju, 4/1).

NPR: Is It Time To Rethink The Fly-In Medical Mission? (Silberner, 3/27).

U.N. News: Asia-Pacific showing ‘decisive leadership’ on road to 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, deputy U.N. chief tells key forum (3/27).

U.N. News: Forced pregnancy in Italy violated ‘woman’s human right to health,’ U.N. experts rule (3/27).

Xinhua News: Over 16,000 Ethiopians die due to HIV/AIDS every year: study (3/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Achieving SDGs In Asia-Pacific Requires Equal, Inclusive Development

Devex: Opinion: Sustainable development and equality, 2 sides of the same coin
Armida S. Alisjahbana, Indonesian minister of national development planning; Bambang Susantono, vice president for knowledge management and sustainable development at the Asian Development Bank; Haoliang Xu, assistant administrator and director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at the U.N. Development Program

“…A joint report from our three organizations launched at the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development focuses on [the theme of leaving no one behind], and the changes necessary to put the poorest and most vulnerable first. … [The report] is helping us translate aspirations for equality into concrete policy actions. … Additional and accelerated efforts are needed by all to strengthen climate action, gender equality, civic engagement, and domestic resource mobilization to eradicate poverty once and for all. Equal and inclusive societies are better placed to bring the world to the life-changing ‘zeros’ set out in the SDGs, including zero poverty, hunger, preventable child deaths, AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, discrimination against women and girls, and human trafficking. Now is the time to act” (3/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Organizations Release Statements On Trump Administration's Expansion Of Mexico City Policy

CHANGE: After Failed Attempt at U.N. to Roll Back Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Trump Administration Expands Global Gag Rule to Further Restrict Health Care Around the World (3/27).

PAI: Absolutely Deplorable: Trump Administration’s GGR Interpretation Represents Massive Overreach (3/26).

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WHO Report Estimates Productivity Cost Of Illness In Africa

WHO Regional Office for Africa: Diseases cost the African Region $2.4 trillion a year, says WHO
“The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 630 million years of healthy life were lost in 2015 due to the diseases afflicting the population across its 47 Member States in Africa, now amounting to a loss of more than 2.4 trillion international dollars ($) from the region’s gross domestic product value annually. Non-communicable diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the largest drain on productivity … Other culprits for lost healthy years are communicable and parasitic diseases; maternal, neonatal, and nutrition-related conditions; and injuries…” (3/27).

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GHIT Fund Announces New Drug, Vaccine, Diagnostic Investments, Appoints New Director

Global Health Innovative Technology Fund: GHIT Fund Announces New Investments: A Total of 2.86 Billion Yen in Drug for Schistosomiasis, Dengue, Malaria, and Tuberculosis, Vaccines for Leishmaniasis and Malaria, and Diagnostics for Tuberculosis
“The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced today a total of 2.86 billion yen (US$25.8 million) to support 10 partnerships to develop new lifesaving drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, leishmaniasis, and schistosomiasis. This includes three new projects and seven that will receive continued funding…” (3/28).

Global Health Innovative Technology Fund: GHIT Fund Announces Appointment of Catherine Ohura as New CEO and Executive Director
“The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT) today announced the appointment of Catherine Ohura as the organization’s new CEO and executive director. Ohura brings depth and breadth of expertise and invaluable experience working for R&D and commercial functions…” (3/28).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Secretary Of State Delivers Remarks Before House Committee On Foreign Affairs On Foreign Policy Strategy, FY 2020 Budget Request

U.S. Department of State: State Department’s Foreign Policy Strategy and FY 2020 Budget Request
In an opening statement before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discusses the State Department’s foreign policy strategy and FY 2020 budget request, noting, “[The administration’s budget request is] designed around the National Security Strategy to achieve our foreign policy goals. The request for $40 billion for State Department and USAID puts us in position to do just that. These monies will protect our citizens at home and abroad, advance American prosperity and values, and support our allies and partners overseas. We make this request mindful of the burden on American taxpayers and take seriously our obligation to deliver exceptional results on their behalf…” (3/27).

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USAID Fact Sheet Provides Overview Of Key Developments From Tropical Cyclone Idai Response

USAID: Mozambique — Tropical Cyclone Idai — Fact Sheet #2 FY2019
This fact sheet discusses Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, including the current situation, national and international responses, and the U.S. response (3/25).

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