KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines Motivations Of Aid Donors

Devex: With nationalism on the rise, are aid donors becoming more selfish?
“On Wednesday Tim Burchett, a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, suggested to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the administration might consider using foreign aid as a stick, instead of a carrot. ‘Will the U.S. be leveraging American foreign aid to encourage countries to stand with us at the U.N. as has been suggested?’ Burchett asked Pompeo, who was on Capitol Hill to defend the administration’s third straight proposal to enact deep cuts in international affairs spending…” (Igoe, 3/28).

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European Parliament Calls For More Aid Money In E.C.'s Proposed 2021-27 Budget, Focus On SDGs

Devex: European Parliament demands more ambitious aid budget
“The European Parliament called for more aid money and for refocusing it on the Sustainable Development Goals Wednesday as it agreed its position on the European Commission’s proposed 2021-2027 budget for overseas spending. Last summer, the commission proposed uniting the European Union’s development funding streams into a single instrument worth €89.2 billion ($100.3 billion). But NGOs worried that poverty eradication did not feature among the instrument’s objectives — while plans to address migration did. … Other proposals include increasing the budget for the new single instrument — the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, or NDICI — by almost €4 billion; beefed-up powers to suspend E.U. funding for countries that violate human rights; stronger language in support of sexual and reproductive health rights; raising the target for climate and environment-related spending from 25 percent to 45 percent; having gender equality as a significant objective in 85 percent of aid programs; and increasing the funds eligible to be counted as official development assistance from 92 percent to 95 percent…” (Chadwick, 3/28).

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Warming Global Temperatures Will Help Spread Mosquito Range, Widen Distribution Of Diseases, Study Shows

CNN: Climate change could expose 1 billion more people to bug-borne diseases, study says
“About a billion more people might be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases as temperatures continue to rise with climate change, according to a new study. As the planet gets warmer, scientists say, diseases like Zika, chikungunya, and dengue will continue spreading farther north…” (Christensen, 3/28).

NPR: CHART: Where Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Will Go In The Future
“…Based on estimates of future temperatures across the world, the authors of a study published this week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases mapped where the mosquitoes that transmit diseases like dengue and Zika might travel if climate change continues unchecked. Based on their worst-case scenario projections, the researchers believe as many as a billion people could be newly exposed to these illnesses within the century…” (Ellis, 3/28).

Additional coverage of the study is available from HealthDay News, PBS NewsHour, and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Disease Heavily Impacts Africa's Economy, WHO Report Shows

The Telegraph: Disease costs Africa an ‘astounding’ $2.4 trillion in lost productivity every year
“Disease is causing an ‘astounding’ drain on Africa’s economy, costing the continent almost $2.4 trillion each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In a report launched at the Africa Health Forum on Wednesday, the WHO said the continent’s economy will continue to suffer unless African governments ramp up spending on health…” (Newey, 3/28).

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Hearsay, Mistrust Inhibit DRC Ebola Response, Study Shows, As Number Of Cases Continues To Grow

Agence France-Presse: Health worker mistrust worsening DR Congo Ebola outbreak: study
“Hearsay and mistrust in health workers may have thwarted attempts to contain Ebola during the current outbreak of the deadly disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo, researchers said Wednesday…” (3/28).

CIDRAP News: As Ebola rages in DRC, survey highlights wide mistrust
“The Ebola total in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) grew by 14 [Thursday], amid a fragile security situation in an outbreak region that is still experiencing sporadic violence and pockets of mistrust, according to the latest updates…” (Schnirring, 3/28).

Devex: In Ebola-hit DRC, wins and challenges of community engagement
“…There have been 964 confirmed cases of Ebola out of 1,029, and 577 confirmed deaths out of 642 in Ituri and North Kivu provinces since the start of the outbreak, as of March 27, according to DRC’s Ministry of Health. At present, 239 suspected cases are under investigation. Security has been a particular challenge in containing the outbreak, and mistrust amongst the community has added to the task…” (Ravelo, 3/28).

The Telegraph: One in four people in Ebola-affected areas believe disease is fake
“…The survey, in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, underlines how much public mistrust authorities such as the World Health Organization and the DRC ministry of health are up against in their efforts to control the disease. Experts have been struggling to bring the epidemic in the North Kivu region of DRC to a close since it emerged last August…” (Gulland, 3/28).

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Number Of Cholera Cases In Mozambique Increases In Cyclone Idai Aftermath

Associated Press: Mozambique cholera cases jump to 139 a day after outbreak
“Cholera cases in Mozambique among survivors of a devastating cyclone have shot up to 139, officials said, as nearly 1 million vaccine doses were rushed to the region and health workers desperately tried to improvise treatment space for victims…” (Anna, 3/29).

Deutsche Welle: Mozambique cholera outbreak underscores U.N. warning on extreme weather
“…Beira, which was devastated by Cyclone Idai on March 15, had been without water until just three days ago. Although tap water is now available, authorities are warning residents that they must disinfect it before drinking. The news comes on the same day that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a new report on the impact of climate change on world health. … The paper, which U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres described as a ‘wake up call,’ reports that extreme weather affected people and development on every continent in 2018…” (3/28).

Additional coverage of the aftermath of Cyclone Idai is available from Bloomberg, Reuters, and The Telegraph.

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24% Of Venezuelan Population In Need Of Humanitarian Aid, Internal U.N. Report Shows

Agence France-Presse: Nearly a quarter of Venezuelans need aid: internal U.N. report
“About 24 percent of Venezuela’s population — seven million people — are in dire need of humanitarian aid, according to an internal U.N. report that showed malnutrition and disease were on the rise as living conditions plummet. The report obtained by AFP on Thursday was presented this week to President Nicolas Maduro’s government, which has blamed U.S. sanctions for Venezuela’s economic crisis, and to opposition leader Juan Guaidó…” (3/28).

Devex: Aid groups adapt services to meet needs of Venezuelans on the move
“…Many of the people who are now fleeing a lack of basic food and medical supplies in Venezuela do not have the resources to travel via bus or plane, so they are making the journey into Colombia and beyond by foot. … The situation is posing a challenge for NGOs — which have traditionally not had to stand up humanitarian responses in Colombia — to effectively meet the needs of poor, vulnerable, and mobile migrants and asylum-seekers…” (Welsh, 3/29).

Reuters: Venezuelans facing ‘unprecedented challenges,’ many need aid — internal U.N. report
“…The [U.N.] report’s findings contrast with comments from President Nicolas Maduro, who has said there is no crisis and no need for humanitarian aid, blaming U.S. sanctions for the country’s economic problems. … ‘The politicization of humanitarian assistance in the context of the crisis makes delivery of assistance in accordance with the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence more difficult,’ reads the 45-page U.N. ‘Overview of Priority Humanitarian Needs’ in Venezuela…” (Nichols/Cohen, 3/28).

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Media Outlets Continue Reporting On Patent Rights Of HIV Prevention Drug

CBS SF Bay Area: Gilead Cashes In On HIV Treatment Patented By Government (Borba, 3/27).

Los Angeles Times: Taxpayers funded this HIV research. The government patented it. Now a company profits (Rowland, 3/28).

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More News In Global Health

Borgen Magazine: Global Emphasis on Vaccination (Tasneem, 3/28).

Devex: New framework to get the localization balance right (Cornish, 3/29).

Los Angeles Times: Using genetics to try to figure out how to get mosquitoes to stop biting us (Netburn, 3/28).

The Telegraph: The migrants plucked from the sea, only to face TB in Libyan detention centers (Hayden, 3/25).

Xinhua News: More than 250 people die each day from TB in Western Pacific region: WHO (3/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Smart Investments Vital To Improving African Countries' Health Systems

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Getting more health care for your money
Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa

“…[R]esearch has shown that health and economic development are deeply intertwined. … Investing in health care makes economic as well as humanitarian sense. But if we dig down into the data we have collected around health care in [Africa], an important trend emerges: It is not only investing more, but investing smartly. World Health Organization (WHO) analysis of health expenditures and healthy life expectancy — or the number of years a person can expect of ‘good health’ — has found the link weak. … [W]e need to pay attention to how money is spent on health. And this has explicit implications on how we develop health care policy across the region. … [A] change in direction — and a focus on primary care through health workforce and infrastructure investment — would improve the health systems in countries that aren’t performing as well as they could. … You don’t need to be rich to be healthy” (3/28).

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International Efforts Needed To Stop Spread of Ebola In DRC

Financial Times: The world must wake up to the threat of latest Ebola outbreak
David Pilling, Africa editor at the Financial Times

“…This is the tenth recorded [Ebola] outbreak in Congo. Congolese authorities have a strong record in stopping its spread. But conditions this time are altogether more difficult. Eastern Congo is prey to dozens of armed militias … Health centers run by Médecins Sans Frontières have come under armed attack, endangering the lives of health professionals and scattering infected patients back out into the community. … People’s lack of trust is the most serious issue. … Attempts to gain trust through community outreach have had mixed results. … Ebola circulates in bats. In the world’s poorest communities, the virus occasionally jumps over into humans. That is a problem not only for those directly affected, but for an interconnected world in which viruses can ricochet with the speed of a commercial aircraft. Heroic Congolese and foreign health workers are battling Ebola in the most hostile conditions imaginable. It is in everyone’s interest that they succeed” (3/28).

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Robust, Sustained International Response Critical To Post-Cyclone Recovery For Southern Africa

Axios: Cyclone-lashed southern Africa needs more support for recovery
Gayle E. Smith, president and CEO of the ONE Campaign

“…The U.N. called [Cyclone] Idai ‘one of the worst natural disasters to hit southern Africa in living memory.’ Shortages of food and clean water and the risk of contracting fatal diseases like cholera or malaria only make the situation worse. Like the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the post-Idai emergency didn’t initially receive the attention crises of this scale often do, though the international humanitarian system has begun to respond. … Even the smallest shocks to regions like southern Africa can trigger vicious cycles of poverty, violence, and conflict — and the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai was anything but small. Hundreds of thousands of people now depend on a robust international response that will need to be sustained from emergency management through to rebuilding” (3/28).

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Challenges Remain For Guinea Worm Disease Eradication Efforts

The Lancet: Guinea worm disease eradication: a moving target
Editorial Board

“Deadlines for the eradication of Guinea worm disease have come and gone without success. The first deadline was set in 1991 … This target was not met, so a second 2009 deadline was set; this too was not met. After an additional failed deadline in 2015, a new date of eradication has been scheduled for 2020. However, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Carter Center … puts even this new target in question. … As surveillance and detection continue to evolve to track the changing epidemiology, additional challenges stymie the goal of eradicating Guinea worm disease. In most settings where the parasite circulates, ongoing or sporadic conflict and considerable migration facilitate transmission and challenge surveillance. Still, progress has been remarkable using simple but effective public health methods. The employment of these measures must continue. Eradication of Guinea worm disease is a noble goal, but the added challenges and complexities now facing the program suggest that this aim is, at best, many years away. At worst, it is simply a pipe dream” (3/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

World Data Lab Experts Discuss Poverty Trends In Africa

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: Poverty in Africa is now falling — but not fast enough
Kristofer Hamel, chief operating officer; Baldwin Tong, research analyst; and Martin Hofer, research analyst, all at World Data Lab, discuss poverty trends in Africa, highlighting progress and challenges to ending poverty on the continent. The authors write, “As the global poverty narrative shifts towards Africa, … it seems clear that ending extreme poverty by 2030 seems almost impossible at this point. However, it is important to note that the continent has turned the corner and poverty levels could come down substantially over the next decade” (3/28).

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WHO Africa Health Forum Establishes Roadmap For Achieving Health Security, UHC

WHO Regional Office for Africa: WHO Africa Health Forum closes with a road map to achieving universal health coverage and health security
“The second World Health Organization’s (WHO) Africa Health Forum culminated [Thursday] with a road map that governments in the region as well as partners should urgently implement to manage and mitigate Africa’s health needs. … To take universal health coverage to the next level, the recommendations call for faster action in building stronger, more resilient national health systems, the prioritizing of primary health care, ensuring that vulnerable groups are reached, the strengthening of public-private partnerships, and greater, more efficient, investment. Greater preparedness and prevention of disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies as well as preparedness for detecting and responding when they do occur and preparedness for the impact of natural disasters formed the core of recommendations for health security…” (3/28).

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International Community Should Devise Innovative, Sustainable, Scalable Solutions To Water Scarcity In MENA Region, Sustainability Expert Says

World Economic Forum: Water scarcity is a growing problem across the Middle East. Is this how we solve it?
Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, chief sustainability officer at Majid Al Futtaim Holding, discusses water scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, writing, “Unless we devise multiple innovative, sustainable, and scalable solutions to the water problem, we cannot have a future in which no one is left behind, as envisioned through the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. Let’s pledge to contribute to this endeavor in whichever way we can to secure a better future for our MENA region” (3/29).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Continues Cyclone Response Efforts In Mozambique

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: United States Assists Those Affected by Cyclone Idai and How You Can Help
Aimee Lauer, response manager for USAID’s Mozambique Cyclone Response, discusses the U.S. humanitarian and emergency response efforts to assist those affected by the cyclone, including the deployment of USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to the affected area and the announcement of additional emergency funding (3/28).

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USAID Newsletter Focuses On Women In Global Health

USAID’s “Global Health News”: Women Paving the Way in Global Health
USAID’s Spring 2019 newsletter focuses on the contribution of women in global health. “Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate women who are paving the way for future generations. This month, and every month, we recognize the strength and resilience of women, whose contributions to global health are improving the lives of their children, families, communities, and nations” (March 2019).

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Experts Discuss Link Between Women's Empowerment, Water At World Water Day Event

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: A Call to Action: Supporting Women Through Water, World Water Day 2019
Caitlin Hawes of the Bureau of Ocean and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State highlights discussion from a recent event recognizing International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, and World Water Day. Speakers included Marcia Bernicat, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; Jennifer Sara, senior director of the World Bank’s Global Water Practice; Laura Schultz, acting deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education, and Environment at USAID; Mina Guli, founder of Thirst; and Chris Long, NFL player and founder of Waterboys (3/28).

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