KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Sen. Graham Says Senate Likely Will Restore White House's Requested Cuts To USAID Budget

Devex: Proposed U.S. budget cuts ‘insane,’ senator says at hearing with USAID chief
“U.S. Senate appropriators were quick to dismiss the administration’s budget request, which proposed slashing global development funding. Instead, they asked several questions to highlight areas where they thought the proposed cuts would be particularly detrimental in a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing Tuesday. They didn’t, however, seem to blame U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green, who was testifying. ‘We’re not going to approve this budget reduction. It’s insane, it makes no sense, it makes us less safe,’ Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who chairs the state and foreign operations subcommittee, said of the budget. … He added that he was confident the committee would restore the … cut, which he called a short-sighted approach to the problems in the world. … Graham asked Green if USAID could wisely spend the additional money if Congress restored the proposed cuts, to which Green replied yes. … The wide-ranging hearing addressed a number of foreign aid priorities, including: … Global Health … Mexico City Policy…” (Saldinger, 5/1).

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GPEI Releases Polio Endgame Strategy For 2019-2023

Devex: Polio endgame strategy includes tech, new vaccines
“The Global Polio Eradication Initiative hopes to use novel oral polio vaccines and adopt smartphone technologies in the next five years, under a new strategy unveiled on Tuesday. Several novel oral polio vaccines designed to eliminate the risk of vaccine-derived polio cases are currently being developed by PATH and partners. … Meanwhile, smartphone technologies such as e-Surve will help in disease surveillance and faster response. … GPEI is also planning to establish a regional hub in Amman, Jordan, allowing for easier coordination and increased technical support for polio vaccination programs in the two polio-endemic countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. … These are just some of the new approaches GPEI will be implementing under its new strategy from 2019 to 2023…” (Ravelo, 5/1).

The Telegraph: World has ‘limited window of opportunity’ to eradicate polio, experts warn
“There is a ‘limited window of opportunity’ for the world to consign polio to the history books, experts launching a new five-year eradication plan have warned. The Polio Endgame Strategy, published on Tuesday, says that efforts to eradicate the final cases of the disease are proving difficult due to war, mass migration, and weak health systems — meaning many children miss out and do not receive vital vaccinations. … The new strategy, published by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, says that reaching these children is ‘the primary underlying challenge’ in attempts to stop all new cases of the debilitating disease…” (Newey, 4/30).

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Study Examines Malaria Spending, Shows Shortfall Based On WHO Target

Homeland Preparedness News: Study examines malaria spending shortage
“A landmark study maintains while 2016 global malaria spending totaled $4.3 billion, it fell short of the World Health Organization’s target goal of $6.6 billion. The University of Washington School of Medicine Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) analysis, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, provides comprehensive and comparable estimates of total spending on the disease while tracking government, out-of-pocket, and donor spending…” (Clark, 4/30).

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Ghana Begins Roll Out Of Malaria Vaccine For Children

U.S. News & World Report: Test Malaria Vaccine to Roll Out in Ghana and Kenya
“In the coming weeks, children under 2 years of age will be receiving the first anti-malaria vaccine in Ghana and Kenya in a groundbreaking effort to target eliminating one of the world’s biggest killers of children…” (Radu, 4/30).

VOA News: Ghana Launches Malaria Vaccine for Children
“…Ghana is the second African country to get the vaccine, which is expected to reduce cases of the mosquito-borne and sometimes fatal disease. But experts caution that other malaria-prevention measures are still necessary. It took more than thirty years and almost one billion dollars to develop the malaria vaccine launched in Ghana [Tuesday]. The vaccine, known as RTS-S, reduces cases of the mosquito-spread disease in children by up to 40 percent…” (Knott, 4/30).

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WHO Leaders Reiterate Commitment To Ending DRC Ebola Outbreak, Call For International Community To Close Funding Gap

Associated Press: Congo Ebola cases hit record for most reported in single day
“…Health experts are expressing growing alarm about the number of people sickened with the Ebola virus who are never reaching treatment centers, allowing the disease to spread to caregivers and countless others. Monday set a new record in this outbreak of 27 confirmed cases in a single day, Congo’s health ministry said. Over the past four days 93 cases had been confirmed…” (Maliro et al., 4/30).

CIDRAP News: WHO officials visit Ebola hot spot, call for more support
“In the wake of violent attacks in Butembo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that killed a World Health Organization (WHO) responder, two top WHO officials [Tuesday] wrapped up a visit to the city, as the surge of cases continued in the outbreak, with 14 new cases reported. Also [Tuesday], African countries near the DRC met in Kampala … to review their Ebola preparedness steps and form new plans for preventing and responding to the possible arrival of the virus within their borders…” (Schnirring, 4/30).

U.N. News: Ebola situation worsening in DR Congo, amidst growing ‘funding gap’ U.N. health agency warns
“…World Health Organization (WHO) [Director-General] Tedros Ghebreyesus and the agency’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, reiterated their commitment to ‘defeat Ebola.’ During the visit, Dr. Moeti and Mr. Tedros assessed the next steps needed to adjust the response, after meeting local political, business, and religious leaders, calling on them to accelerate their efforts to help stabilize conditions on the ground. … Tedros [added] that the challenges can only be tackled if the international community steps in to ‘fill the sizeable funding gap,’ which is around 50 percent underfunded…” (4/30).

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Mozambique In Need Of Urgent Humanitarian Relief Following Cyclone Kenneth, Aid Agencies Say

BBC News: Mozambique: Cyclone Kenneth aftermath leaves 200,000 at risk
“Mozambique requires urgent life-saving relief to deal with the destructive aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth, an aid organization has said. Save the Children says the humanitarian situation is significant and life-threatening and more funds are needed…” (Diseko, 4/30).

U.N. News: U.N. aid teams scramble to reach ‘most remote places’ cut off by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique
“…The government of Mozambique is reporting that at least 38 people died during the second massive cyclone to hit southern Africa in six weeks, following on from the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai. Kenneth partially or fully destroyed nearly 35,000 houses, close to 200 classrooms; and at least 14 health facilities have been hit, OCHA reported…” (4/30).

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Thomson Reuters Foundation Examines Various Aspects Of Global Burden Of Disease Report's Latest Data On Nutrition

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Death by diet: the race to transform the world’s bad food habits
“…Data show one in five deaths worldwide in 2017 was linked to unhealthy diets in both poor and rich countries as burgers and soda replaced traditional diets and a warming planet impacted the variety of crops grown. The Global Burden of Disease study by the U.S.-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said unhealthy eating is killing 11 million people a year, up from 8 million in 1990 — while smoking kills about 8 million people a year…” (Win et al., 4/29).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Beyond rations: food aid struggles to adapt to modern crises
“…Although awareness about malnutrition has increased in the last few decades, aid agencies still struggle to provide a balanced diet in poor, remote places, said several nutrition advisers for international charities. With U.N. figures showing wars, persecution, and other violence have driven a record 68.5 million people from their homes, more people than ever are dependent on food aid — and for longer periods, making it critical for rations to be nutritious…” (Peyton, 4/30).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Food firms globally whip up wacky ways to battle bad diets
“…Around the globe, worries about human health, animal welfare and the environment are driving food firms to find wacky ways to keep people’s weight down and diseases at bay. For poor diet has overtaken smoking as the world’s biggest killer, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease study, causing 20 percent of deaths globally in 2017…” (Banerji/Win, 4/30).

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Former U.S. Health Secretary Tom Price Calls For Taiwan's Inclusion In World Health Assembly

Taiwan News: Former U.S. Health Secretary in Taipei, calls for Taiwan’s participation in WHO
“[Tuesday] in Taipei, a joint health conference hosted by Taiwan, the United States, and Japan took place, with leaders calling for Taiwan’s increased participation in World Health Organization (WHO) activities. In attendance at the workshop aimed at combating tuberculosis, was former U.S. Health Secretary under the Trump administration, Tom Price, who advocated for Taiwan’s inclusion as a ‘country’ in the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland…” (DeAeth, 4/30).

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U.N. Condemns Attacks On 3 Health Care Facilities In Northwestern Syria

Agence France-Presse: Attacks on Syria health facilities condemned by UN
“Shelling of areas in northwestern Syria in the past three days has damaged a medical center and put two hospitals out of service, the United Nations said on Tuesday. ‘The U.N. is deeply disturbed by three separate reported attacks on hospitals and health facilities in northwestern Syria, depriving thousands of people of their basic right of health,’ said David Swanson of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs…” (4/30).

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More News In Global Health

ABC: Melinda Gates: Why lifting up women is the most important global health program (5/1).

Borgen Magazine: U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Northern Triangle (Barsham, 4/30).

Borgen Magazine: U.S. Foreign Assistance to El Salvador (Mayer, 5/1).

The Guardian: Cutting obesity would slash number of early deaths, research finds (Boseley, 5/1).

NPR: U.S. Measles Outbreaks Are Driven By A Global Surge In The Virus (Beaubien, 4/30).

Reuters: Drought puts 2.3 million people at risk in Angola – UNICEF (Eisenhammer, 4/30).

Xinhua News: Swedish FM underscores women’s rights to sexual, reproductive health in UNFPA lecture (5/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Donors Must Reconsider Approach To Aid, Prioritize Poverty Reduction

Devex: Opinion: Aid isn’t going to the world’s poorest people. Why?
Sara Harcourt, senior policy director at the ONE Campaign

“The first thing apparent in the latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee’s figures was that for the second year in a row, global aid levels have decreased. More worrying, however, is another emerging theme: Donors are prioritizing short-term political goals over long-term development and poverty reduction. Despite repeated commitments to reverse the trend in declining aid to the [least developed countries (LDCs)], aid flows to LDCs and countries in Africa have fallen … This is in spite of overwhelming evidence that these are the places with the greatest needs. … So what is the reason that aid is not going to where it is needed most? Several trends may explain this persistent challenge: 1. Aid staying in donor countries … 2. Aid being used to leverage private finance … 3. Aid in the national interest … To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, donors must reconsider their approach and commit to delivering aid in a way that prioritizes alleviating poverty. Political considerations will always be relevant, but aid must do the job it’s meant for, and donors must be transparent about their motivations…” (4/25).

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International Community Must Take Action, Protect Civilians, Aid Volunteers In Syria

Washington Post: My organization is still working to save lives in Syria — even though the world looks away
Raed Al Saleh, founder and director of Syria Civil Defense/White Helmets

“…The conflict in [Syria] has dragged on for eight long years and shows no sign of abating. … Many governments have recently cut most of their funding to civil society groups in the area, citing the presence of extremist groups — even though the civilian population, which overwhelmingly opposes such groups, is in desperate need of aid and support. … As the bombs continue to fall, I worry constantly about the volunteers and the people they’re trying to protect. Our work is not only in search and rescue. Hundreds of thousands of civilians live in displacement camps across northwest Syria where they are vulnerable not just to airstrikes but to extreme weather. … I ask people around the world to take the side of the Syrian people, in support of our demands for a free, peaceful, and democratic country. We have been failed by politicians, but we still have hope that ordinary people will hear our pleas to stop the war and intervene to protect the civilians in Syria” (4/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Friends Of Global Fight Releases Visualizations Showing Potential Impact Of Changing U.S. Share To Global Fund

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Maintaining the U.S. Share to the Global Fund is Good Policy
This resource provides visualizations highlighting the potential impact of changing the U.S. funding share to the Global Fund from 33 percent to 25 percent, noting, “A new 25 percent U.S. funding cap would seriously undermine the work of the Global Fund” (4/30).

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Save The Children Expert Highlights 3 Key Priority Areas To Ensure Sustainability Of Gavi's Immunization Programs

Save the Children: Shaping the Immunization Landscape — Getting it Right for 20 Million Children
As Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, prepares to develop its next five-year strategy and for its third replenishment in 2020, Kirsten Mathieson, senior health policy and research adviser at Save the Children, highlights three key issues Gavi should prioritize to ensure the programmatic and financial sustainability of its immunization programs: primary health care, equity, and market shaping (4/30).

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CGD Experts Highlight Obstacles To Domestic Resource Mobilization

Center for Global Development: Enhancing Domestic Resource Mobilization: What are the Real Obstacles?
Sanjeev Gupta, senior policy fellow at CGD, and Mark Plant, director of Development Finance and senior policy fellow at CGD, discuss key issues that emerged from a roundtable of finance ministers on political and structural impediments to raising domestic resources (4/30).

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Researchers Examine Cost, Cost-Effectiveness Of Preventing Maternal Deaths

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s ‘New Security Beat‘: How Much Does It Cost to Save a Mother’s Life?
Ben Johns, senior associate and scientist at Abt Associates, and Claudia Morrissey Conlon, U.S. government lead for Saving Mothers, Giving Life, discuss recent research aimed at understanding the cost and cost-effectiveness of preventing maternal deaths. The authors write, “To understand how much money would be needed to address all key delays that prevent women from accessing life-saving medical care in a timely manner — delays in seeking, reaching, and receiving care — we tallied the costs. We then calculated cost-effectiveness. … The results of our three-delay costing study, which were recently published in Global Health: Science and Practice, reveal critical information needed to comprehend the magnitude of funding needed to eliminate these preventable deaths…” (4/29).

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Systematic Review Explores Reasons Why Women In Countries Where Abortion Is Legal Sometimes Seek Informal-Sector Abortions

BMC: Why do women still resort to informal sector abortions in countries where abortion is legal?
Giuliano Russo, lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, and Sonia Chemlal, masters student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, discuss findings from a recent systematic review examining informal sector abortions and reasons why women in countries where abortion is legal decide to seek abortions outside of formal health care settings (4/25).

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From the U.S. Government

HHS Secretary Azar Attends Health Ministerial Meeting In Peru, Calls For Coordinated Response To Health Impacts Of Forced Displacement In Region

HHS: Secretary Azar Attends Health Ministerial Meeting in Lima, Peru in Response to Health Impacts of Forced Displacement in the Region
“On Tuesday, April 30, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar attended a health ministerial meeting in Lima, Peru entitled, ‘Strengthening Regional Coordination in Response to the Impacts of Forced Displacement.’ This regional conference … provided a forum for countries receiving displaced populations to continue high-level talks … with the objective of coordinating efforts to standardize health care practices throughout the region. … In his remarks and throughout the day, Secretary Azar urged his colleagues to work together to help mitigate the health challenges arising from Venezuelans fleeing their own country and arriving in countries throughout the region with health issues that have worsened due to poor diet and lack of reliable access to medications and vaccinations…” (4/30).

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CDC Takes Regional Approach To Responding To Emerging Fungus

CDC: Taming a Triple Threat Fungus
This post discusses CDC’s efforts in Central America to respond to the Candida auris (C. auris) fungus, an emerging fungus that is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, challenging to treat because it is resistant to multiple antifungal medicines, and rapidly spreads in hospitals and nursing homes (4/30).

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