KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New CDC Director Emphasizes Science-Based Interventions, Disease Outbreak Preparedness In Agency All-Hands Meeting

STAT: New CDC director predicts U.S. can end AIDS epidemic within seven years
“The AIDS epidemic in the United States could be ended in the next few years, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection predicted Wednesday, saying that health officials have all the tools they need to prevent its spread. Dr. Robert Redfield, a former AIDS researcher who has spent decades treating people infected with HIV, made the remark in an all-hands meeting for CDC staff on his second full day at the Atlanta-based agency. … He also called emergency preparedness — protecting ‘the health of the American public from that which we don’t expect’ — the agency’s most important mission. Whether those threats are pandemic influenza — ‘my biggest fear’ — or a new or re-emerging infectious diseases threat or bioterrorism, the CDC must be ‘100 percent prepared,’ Redfield said…” (Branswell, 3/29).

Washington Post: In emotional speech, CDC’s new leader vows to uphold science
“…The 66-year-old Redfield, a longtime AIDS researcher appointed to the job a week ago, was overcome by emotion twice during his brief remarks and a question-and-answer session. The University of Maryland medical professor had sought the top job at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health for more than a decade. … Redfield came across as knowledgeable and well briefed. … Several staff members noted his strong embrace of science and said they were especially gratified to hear him say that if the CDC has evidence to support a public health intervention, the intervention should be applied. … Although his supporters point to his strong background in infectious disease and global health, public health experts inside and outside the agency say one of his biggest challenges will be his limited governmental public health experience, especially involving emergency responses. Redfield spoke about organizing a relief effort during the 2010 Haiti earthquake and about his experiences working in Africa on the PEPFAR program…” (Sun, 3/29).

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FY18 Omnibus Contains $480M For New CDC Laboratory

Associated Press: CDC gets $480 million to replace lab for deadliest germs
“…Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Congress for funds to build a new state-of-the-art laboratory building. CDC officials got $480 million for the endeavor. Money for the project was tucked inside a $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page government spending bill passed by Congress last week…” (Stobbe, 3/29).

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NGOs Express Concern Over Potential Further Cuts To Australia's Foreign Aid

Devex: Is the Australian Aid budget being cut again?
“With a little over a month until the 2018 budget is released in Canberra on May 8, new concern has been raised that Australia’s aid budget may be reduced by 10 percent, or 400 million Australian dollars. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been telling implementing partners — including NGOs — that internal modeling is investigating where the proposed cuts can be made, confirmed the Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific Senator Claire Moore. From the information being received, NGOs believe the aid program is once again at risk…” (Cornish, 3/29).

The Guardian: Save the Children deplores reports of Coalition $400m foreign aid cut
“…Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that DFAT was modeling a number of scenarios, including a substantial reduction in aid to Southeast Asian nations that are considered to have reached ‘middle-income status.’ An alternative scenario, according to the Fairfax report, is for Australia to stop delivering aid in one whole sector, such as health. Australia’s foreign aid contribution, $3.9bn in 2017-18, is already its lowest on record, just 22 cents for every $100 of gross national income. … Save the Children’s director of public affairs and policy, Mat Tinkler, called on the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to rule out further cuts for developing countries…” (Hutchens, 3/28).

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Some Health Specialists Concerned Brazil Cannot Meet Goal Of Vaccinating Entire Population For Yellow Fever

The Guardian: Brazil faces new yellow fever outbreak — and questions over lack of preparedness
“The country plans to vaccinate its entire population against the lethal mosquito-borne disease but specialists doubt its capacity to do so…” (Phillips, 3/28).

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Health Officials Express Concern Over Detection Of Super-Resistant Gonorrhea Case In U.K.

CBS News: “Huge concern” about spread of super-resistant gonorrhea
“Health officials in the U.K. say a man contracted a strain of gonorrhea that is resistant to multiple drugs used to treat the infection. The ‘super-resistant’ infection is the first case of its kind in the country, and raises concerns about the growing problem of bacteria that don’t respond to standard treatments…” (Welch, 3/29).

NPR: Gonorrhea Strain Thwarts 2 Main Drugs, Raising Concerns It’s Becoming Untreatable
“…It’s the first report of a gonorrhea case worldwide that is resistant to both ceftriaxone and azithromycin, the pair of drugs typically effective in treating the disease, according to Public Health England, a U.K. government agency. The strain showed high-level resistance to azithromycin and resistance to ceftriaxone…” (Kennedy, 3/29).

Washington Post: ‘Our greatest fear’: Highly drug-resistant gonorrhea confirmed by health officials
“… ‘This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics,’ Gwenda Hughes, who leads the sexually transmitted infection section at Public Health England, said Wednesday in a statement…” (Bever, 3/29).

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PBS NewsHour Examines Growing Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance

PBS NewsHour: The problem with overusing antibiotics
“…[B]etween 2000 and 2015, antibiotic use more than doubled worldwide, according to a study by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … Here’s what we know about antibiotic resistance, and how researchers are trying to fight it…” (Santhanam, 3/29).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: To weather shocks in Asia-Pacific, strengthen these four resilience capacities, says UNDP region chief (Rogers, 3/30).

Devex: How ECLAC is helping Latin America achieve the SDGs (Saldinger, 3/30).

Global Health NOW: South Africa Sours on Sugary Drinks (Cullinan, 3/29).

The Guardian: Mosquito early warning app detects the insects from their buzz (Sample, 3/29).

NPR: What If A Drug Could Make Your Blood Deadly To Mosquitoes? (Whitehead, 3/29).

Quartz Africa: Bill Gates is treating Nigeria like a startup he invested in — and that’s a good thing (Kazeem, 3/29).

U.N. News: U.N. appeals for support to tackle ‘massive’ health needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh (3/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

New CDC Director's Past Views On HIV/AIDS, Lack Of Experience Raise Concerns

Rewire.News: We Should Be Concerned About Trump’s Latest Pick to Lead the CDC
Lisa Needham, attorney, adjunct law professor, and deputy editor of Lawyerist

“…[T]here’s no indication that [new CDC Director Robert Redfield] is prepared to lead an agency with 12,000 employees and a $7 billion budget. Redfield is associate director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, an organization that has 300 employees and a budget of $105 million. There’s an outside chance, of course, that Redfield’s social views on HIV and AIDS have significantly evolved since [the 1990s]. … There’s even a chance that he’ll flourish at running an incredibly large and complex agency even though he has no background running anything of the sort. However, it’s distressing that his past beliefs, combined with his very thin public health experience, wouldn’t disqualify him from heading the CDC…” (3/29).

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Development Funders Must Understand Role In Blended Finance Ecosystem To Achieve SDGs

Devex: Opinion: Development funders — here’s how to leverage blended finance to meet the SDGs
Greg Snyders, global finance partner at Dalberg Advisors and co-leader of the firm’s Investing for Development Practice, and Braden Currey, analyst at Dalberg Advisors

“…For blended finance to mobilize capital at the scale required to address the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], development funders need to think carefully about their role in the blended finance ecosystem. Some organizations will be able to operate across the blended finance archetypes; many more will be best served by specializing in one domain while seeking out partners active in other parts of the ecosystem. This choice of ‘where to play’ for development funders will be increasingly important as more and more companies and financial institutions dip their toe into the blended finance world and seek to make sense of the varied objectives and capabilities of development funders. The growth of blended finance will depend on it” (3/29).

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Drowning Prevention, Safe Access To Water Critical To Achieving SDGs, Ensuring 'No One Is Left Behind'

Devex: Opinion: Drowning is responsible for more deaths than malnutrition. It’s time for change.
Nguyen Phuong Nga, ambassador and permanent representative of Vietnam to the U.N., and colleagues

“…[I]n our efforts to achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] and make the U.N. Decade on Water successful, we must address the issue of water access in the fullest sense … While our focus has been on access to safe water, it is critical to draw the attention of the global community to the need for safe access to water. Each year, drowning is responsible for more deaths than malnutrition or maternal mortality. … [T]o date, drowning has been absent from political debate and has not received the level of public attention it deserves. That’s why we have launched the Group of Friends on Drowning Prevention, to mobilize governments from across the geographic and political spectrum to act on this common cause; to ensure that the issue of drowning prevention is recognized and receives resources commensurate with its impact on communities worldwide. … [W]e call upon the president of the General Assembly and fellow leaders to recognize the importance of safe access to water alongside access to safe water. If we are to achieve the [SDGs] and ensure that no one is left behind, inaction is not an option” (3/29).

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Global Support Needed To Completely Eliminate Practice Of FGM

STAT: Millions have been traumatized by female genital mutilation. The practice must end
Katherine McKenzie, faculty at Yale School of Medicine, director of the Yale Center for Asylum Medicine, and Public Voices fellow with the OpEd Project

“…While [female genital mutilation (FGM)] is traditional in some cultures, there are no medical benefits to the procedure, and it violates a girl’s human rights. According to a recent UNICEF report, FGM is practiced in 30 countries, and at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM. The International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM last month highlighted the importance of eliminating this practice. As we contemplate the gains women have made during March’s Women’s History Month, we must recognize that girls worldwide continue to be at risk for lasting damage through FGM. … Together with the medical community, families worldwide need to support the complete elimination of this practice, and keep girls safe, healthy, and unharmed” (3/29).

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Letters To Editor Discuss Ways To Address Global Antimicrobial Resistance

The Guardian: Letters: Ways to step up the fight against global antimicrobial resistance
Margaret Batty, director of global policy and campaigns at WaterAid, and Matt Ball, senior media relations specialist at the Good Food Institute

“…World decision-makers must acknowledge the pivotal role that water, sanitation, and hygiene play in preventing infection and reducing the spread of resistant pathogens, before the next global health crisis hits. Investment in all three elements of water, sanitation, and hygiene must be prioritized and coordinated with other efforts to address the rise of antimicrobial resistance, globally, nationally, and locally…” (Batty, 3/29).

“Your report makes a strong case for concern about the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. But it ignores the elephant in the room … The developed world still uses a lot more antibiotics than developing countries, and the vast majority of these are fed to animals on factory farms. … Moving quickly to plant-based and clean meat is the best thing we can do to avoid pandemics of antibiotic-resistant superbugs” (Ball, 3/29).

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Despite History Of Conflict, South Sudan Makes Significant Progress Toward Eradicating Guinea Worm Disease

The Lancet: Good news for the world’s newest nation
Editorial Board

“Despite South Sudan’s crippling civil war, the country has interrupted the transmission of Guinea worm disease, announced the Carter Center on March 21. This disease is now on the edge of eradication, with only six countries reporting low rates of infection. … [T]he history of efforts against Guinea worm disease is entwined in the civil wars that have afflicted [Sudan and South Sudan] for more than 50 years. Although both governments have been criticized for fueling ethnic clashes, consistent government support [for preventive public health measures] has been pivotal in South Sudan’s victory against Guinea worm disease. This success is also founded on the concerted efforts of the Carter Center. … South Sudan’s accomplishment shows that even in the most precarious situations, substantial progress against Guinea worm disease is possible” (3/31).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Brookings Senior Fellow Discusses Proposed BUILD Act

Brookings Institution: Building a robust U.S. development finance institution
George Ingram, senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution, discusses proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress to form the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, which would create a new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) as the successor to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Ingram outlines several concepts to consider, including effectively blending private and public financing (3/29).

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MFAN Releases Statement Thanking Congress For Rejecting Trump Administration's Proposed Development, Foreign Aid Cuts In FY18 Omnibus

MFAN: MFAN Thanks Congress for Rejecting Steep Cuts to Development, Advancing Aid Effectiveness in FY2018 Omnibus
In a statement delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette write, “MFAN wishes to thank Congress for rejecting the Trump administration’s proposed massive cut to development and foreign assistance in the final Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus. … With this budget, Congress reiterates its commitment to maintaining U.S. leadership on development and diplomacy and exercising its oversight role. MFAN is particularly pleased to see many aid effectiveness and reform elements incorporated in the final bill…” (3/29).

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FT Health Highlights NTD Festival, Features Interview With MSH Senior Fellow Emeritus Jonathan Quick

FT Health: The art of public health messaging
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter highlights the recent International Society of Neglected Tropical Diseases Festival 2018. The newsletter also features an interview with Jonathan Quick, senior fellow emeritus at Management Sciences for Health and author of The End of Epidemics, and provides a round-up of other global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 3/29).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID's March 2018 Global Health Newsletter Highlights Role Of Women In Health Sector

USAID’s “Global Health News”: Women Transforming Health
In recognition of Women’s History Month, USAID’s March 2018 newsletter highlights “stories that showcase what happens when women are empowered to play an active role in the health sector, transforming the lives of people in their communities and beyond” (March 2018).

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State Department Blog Post Highlights Mobile Technology Helping To Identify Mosquito Breeding Grounds

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Arming Citizen Scientists With an App to Identify Zika Carriers
Avery Waite, program analyst at USAID’s Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact, discusses an app developed to identify breeding sites for mosquitoes potentially carrying the Zika virus. Waite writes, “Funded by NASA, the app, called GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper, allows anyone with a smartphone to identify potential mosquito breeding sites and count samples of mosquito larvae. … This information enters a global database, which can be used by scientists to predict mosquito population dynamics and potentially by public health authorities to manage risk of diseases, such as the Zika virus and dengue” (3/29).

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