KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Ebola Outbreak Reported In Remote Northeastern Region Of DRC

The Atlantic: The Confusion Over the New Ebola Outbreak
“The Ebola virus has emerged again in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and brought along two of its primary symptoms: confusion and misinformation. Earlier [Friday] morning, the World Health Organization announced that on May 11, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) notified WHO and partners of a case of Ebola, which had been confirmed by a national reference laboratory in Kinshasa…” (Yong, 5/12).

The Hill: Second Ebola case in Congo confirmed
“…So far, three individuals have reportedly died; there are two confirmed cases and 17 other suspected cases. It is still unclear how the first victim who died from Ebola caught the virus…” (5/14).

Reuters: WHO confirms second Ebola case in Congo outbreak
“…Health officials are trying to trace 125 people thought to be linked to the cases identified in the remote northeastern province of Bas-Uele province in northeastern Congo near the border with Central African Republic, WHO’s Congo spokesman Eugene Kabambi said…” (Ross/Farge, 5/14).

Quartz: Don’t panic: the Ebola virus is back
“…This time, the Congolese government’s reaction was quick, sending a team of doctors and scientists to the region to determine the extent of infection. … This is the eighth outbreak in the country, which has been associated with the deadly virus since at least since 1976…” (Chutel, 5/13).

STAT: Ebola outbreak reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“…And this time, for the first time in the history of Ebola outbreaks, there is an experimental Ebola vaccine that can be used to help contain the outbreak, if it’s needed. Supplies of the vaccine, first tested during the widespread West African outbreak, have been stockpiled by Gavi, a public-private partnership that makes vaccines available to lower-income countries…” (Branswell, 5/12).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. informed of Ebola virus outbreak in northern DR Congo
“…Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, [arrived] in Kinshasa this [past] weekend to attend a coordination meeting of the national committee at the Ministry of Health to deal with this emergency and ensure that WHO provides all necessary assistance to the DRC. WHO has also drawn up a comprehensive logistics plan to meet urgent requirements…” (5/12).

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USAID Administrator Nominee Mark Green Receives Bipartisan Support Amid Uncertainties Surrounding Agency's Future

Associated Press: Broad support for a Trump foreign aid nominee, with a catch
“Mark Green is a rare bird in Washington these days — a Donald Trump nominee with broad bipartisan support. But there’s a catch to his potential posting as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The agency faces a starkly uncertain future, including potentially big budget cuts and the possibility of being folded entirely into a restructured State Department…” (Lee, 5/15).

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Abortion Politics Affect U.S. Foreign Aid; Some NGOs Worry Expanded Mexico City Policy Will Have Widespread Negative Impacts On Women's Health

VOA News: Ideological Divide Over Abortion Again Affects U.S. Foreign Aid
“…The deep ideological divide over abortion affects many aspects of American politics, and certainly permeates considerations about U.S. foreign aid. … Restoring the ‘Mexico City policy’ was expected when a Republican administration took over this year, following eight years of Democratic control of the White House. What was not expected was how vigorously Trump would expand the scope of the anti-abortion rule…” (Leoudaki, 5/12).

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Media Outlets Continue To Cover WHO DG Campaign As Agency Prepares To Hold Election Next Week

New York Times: Candidate to Lead the WHO Accused of Covering Up Epidemics
“A leading candidate to head the World Health Organization was accused this week of covering up three cholera epidemics in his home country, Ethiopia, when he was health minister … The accusation against Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was made by [Lawrence O. Gostin, the director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University,] who is also an informal adviser to Dr. David Nabarro, a rival candidate in the race for WHO director general. … Dr. Tedros … denied the cover-up accusation … Dr. Nabarro, reached by telephone on Saturday in China, said he knew of the accusations … but he insisted that he had not authorized their release…” (McNeil, 5/13).

VOA News: WHO to Vote for New Director-General; David Nabarro Wants the Job
“Dr. David Nabarro says he wants to rid the world of two diseases that are close to being eradicated: polio and guinea worm. … ‘The last part of eradicating any disease is always the hardest part,’ Nabarro said during a visit to VOA. ‘If you don’t do it, you lose everything. To do it, you’ve got to really bring all the energy and commitment you can to bear.’ … This is the first time candidates will be elected to become director general of WHO by member nations” (Pearson, 5/14).

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Earlier Action On Hunger Crises Can Help Prevent Famine In Conflict-Affected Nations, U.N. Official Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Early “clues” could avert conflict-driven famine — U.N.
“Looking for early clues of famine rather than waiting for images of dying children is crucial to building the resilience needed to avert full-blown hunger crises, the U.N. aid chief said on Friday, as the world faces four conflict-driven famines. ‘We took a big and very strategic decision at the U.N. … to use the clues we’ve had rather than wait for the proof that we have these famines appearing,’ said Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations’ top humanitarian official…” (Suliman, 5/12).

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Venezuela Replaces Health Minister Following Release Of Report On Nation's Worsening Health

Reuters: Venezuela Replaces Health Minister After Data Shows Crisis Worsening
“President Nicolas Maduro has abruptly dismissed Venezuela’s health minister days after the government broke a nearly two-year silence on data that showed the country’s medical crisis significantly worsening. Gynecologist Antonieta Caporale, who held the post for just over four months, was replaced by pharmacist Luis Lopez, the government said…” (Gupta, 5/12).

United Press International: Venezuela sacks health minister after damning report
“…The report found infant mortality rates had increased 30 percent and the number of women dying in childbirth went up a staggering 65 percent since the last time the government compiled data. It also found increases in preventable diseases like diphtheria and malaria…” (DuVall, 5/12).

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Houthi Shiite Rebels Declare State Of Emergency Over Cholera Outbreak In Yemen's Capital

Agence France-Presse/France 24: Yemen declares state of emergency over cholera outbreak
“Authorities in Sanaa, which is controlled by Shiite rebels, have declared a state of emergency in the Yemeni capital, where a deadly outbreak of cholera has spread rapidly…” (5/15).

Bloomberg: Yemen’s Houthis Declare Health Emergency After Cholera Outbreak
“…Cholera has spread through all the city’s districts, infecting 2,567 people, the rebel-controlled news agency said on Sunday. The disease, transmitted by contaminated food and water, has claimed 116 lives in 14 provinces during the last two weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement…” (Fattah, 5/15).

Deutsche Welle: Deadly cholera outbreak sweeps across Yemen
“…Yemen’s sanitation infrastructure has nearly collapsed after more than two years of conflict between Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government. Approximately 7.6 million people live in cholera-threatened areas, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (5/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Foreign Aid, Funding For Research Critical To Global Health, Health Of Americans

Clarion-Ledger: Foreign aid saves lives; cutting it would be disastrous
Crickett Nicovich, senior adviser of global policy and government affairs at RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund

“…A lot of Mississippians may look at foreign assistance as a waste of our tax dollars. That could not be more untrue. U.S. support for PEPFAR and the Global Fund — both programs started under President George W. Bush — have turned the tide against AIDS. … Additionally, since 1990, U.S. investments have helped to slash the global ‘under-5’ mortality rate by more than half — which means more than 100 million children are alive today who otherwise would not be. … If saving lives and creating opportunity isn’t a good investment, I don’t know what is. … Reach out to our U.S. senators, Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and thank them for maintaining funding for foreign aid and global health this year. Tell them that they should continue to lead with action, that they should continue to work with their colleagues to reject the shameful cuts that the Trump administration has proposed making to these global anti-poverty programs. Don’t be frozen with inaction. Do something” (5/14).

Seattle Times: Americans lose when funds for global health research are cut
Jennifer Slyker, assistant professor of global health at the University of Washington Schools of Medicine & Public Health and co-director of the Global WACh HIV Core

“We in the global health community are greatly encouraged by the work of Congress to increase funding to the National Institutes of Health and continue the Fogarty International Center’s mission to improve health around the world, as well as grow our next generation of researchers. While the 2017 fiscal appropriations preserved the Fogarty International Center through the end of September, Congress will soon begin debating funding for 2018. And Fogarty may be on the chopping block again. … There is a perception that global health programs take taxpayer dollars out of the U.S. and helps other countries but not us. This perception is incorrect. … Why should money to fund global health research come from federal sources rather than private companies? Because taxpayer-supported research helps guarantee that this work focuses on priorities aligned with improving our health and safety, rather than on profit margins. … Who really loses if we turn our back on global health? We, the American people lose. We lose out on the innovative new medical interventions that could someday save our lives. We lose critical opportunities to grow the next generation of scientific leaders. And we make our country more vulnerable to devastating epidemics” (5/14).

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USAID Partnerships Aim To Bring Peace, Prosperity To Fragile States, Improve U.S. National Security

The Hill: Leveraging USAID partnerships promotes peace and prosperity
Greg Huger, senior associate with the Project on U.S. Leadership in Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

“Here is a simple truth: The stability of any nation rises or declines in direct relation to its economic well-being. That’s why the United States — through the U.S. Agency for International Development — has worked for more than half a century to help improve the lives of people around the world as an essential component of U.S. foreign policy. USAID initiatives aimed at improving the economic fortunes of poor populations have been working in parallel with U.S. diplomatic efforts to prevent poverty and social unrest from boiling over into conflict in scores of fragile states around the world. … Over the last two decades, the agency has shifted toward a much more cost-effective and efficient model: private sector and military partnerships. … It is in our interest to use the fastest and most effective means at our disposal — partnerships — to launch efforts that help bring peace and prosperity to regions that pose threats to our national security. We can do this by empowering the agency to provide the staff and seed money necessary to introduce the social and economic benefits of partnerships with the private sector and the U.S. military in the growing list of fragile states which may otherwise serve as breeding grounds for conflict” (5/12).

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If Confirmed, Mark Green Will Face Several Challenges As USAID Administrator

Foreign Policy: Confirm Mark Green as USAID Administrator
Dan Runde, director of the Project on Prosperity and Development and William A. Schreyer chair in global analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

“When President Donald Trump nominated Ambassador Mark Green to run USAID on Wednesday, it was the absolute best choice he could have made. … If confirmed, Green will be one of the most qualified and capable USAID administrators in history. … The Trump administration has expressed an interest in changing the way the United States does business in the foreign assistance space. … As a former politician with deep ties to development, Green is uniquely suited to managing this process, including rising political pressures. If confirmed, Green will confront three key ‘inside the beltway’ issues: 2018 budget … Reorganization … Reform … Green will also be faced with a series of ‘outside the beltway’ challenges in his new role as USAID administrator. A non-exhaustive list of challenges includes: The global refugee crisis … Global pandemics … Combating violent extremism … China as a credible soft power competitor … The ‘Tale of Two Paths’ … These are big challenges without easy answers, and if confirmed, Ambassador Mark Green will have a tough job ahead of him.We should all wish him luck” (5/12).

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Return Of Ebola To DRC Serves As 'Test Of Whether We Are Ready' To Adequately Respond To New Outbreaks

Foreign Policy: Ebola Returns in Congo, a Test of ‘Next Time’
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“In a remote forested region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola virus has resurfaced … This is not a drill. … Compared to the slow pace of response in the Guinea 2014 outbreak, this reaction appears to be swifter and more efficient. … Now the epidemiology skills of the newly reformed international response capacity will be put to the test, as teams of public health experts hit the ground, tracing all the contacts the three deceased individuals had and testing those individuals for Ebola infection. If luck and good sense have reigned, the numbers of additionally infected will be small, quarantines and vaccination will slow further spread, and the world will be able to heave a sigh of relief that the up-to-90-percent lethal Ebola virus was stopped in its tracks. But make no mistake, this is a test of whether we are ready” (5/12).

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Global Community Must Take Action To End 'Pandemic Era'

STAT: An end to pandemics is within reach, but we must redouble efforts now
Daniel Schar, senior regional emerging infectious diseases adviser at USAID’s regional mission in Bangkok

“…When the new [WHO] director general takes the helm on July 1, at the top of his or her list should be a focused and targeted approach to ending the pandemic era. … Can we reduce the likelihood of these yet-unknown viruses finding favorable conditions for emergence as the next pandemic? Absolutely. To start, we must fill the substantial gaps that remain in our understanding of complicated dynamics of transmission risk. … We must also recognize that our sclerotic, siloed health systems no longer reflect the challenges we face today. … Finally, we need to make an economic case for prevention and capitalize the transition to flexible, efficient human and animal health systems that can prevent disease transmission and, if necessary, rapidly detect and contain emergences of infectious diseases before they become pandemics. … A failure to seize current opportunities and hasten the end of the pandemic era leaves our global community — and future generations — exquisitely vulnerable. That’s a legacy no generation should have to bear” (5/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Launches New Programme Budget Portal

WHO: The WHO Programme Budget Portal
“This is WHO’s new Programme Budget Portal, providing further details of the organization’s work, financing, and implementation progress. With quarterly updates this portal will present a better breakdown of our work, navigating through the different categories, programs, and outputs through which WHO’s work is delivered. Countries now specify the financial details at output level in order to meet WHO’s requirement for IATI compliance…” (May 2017)

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Ethiopia's Community Health Worker Program Aims To Improve Child Survival, Can Serve As Model For Other Countries

Gates Notes: Strong Coffee, Stronger Women
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses how Ethiopia’s community health worker program, which aims to deliver primary health care to remote areas and improve child survival, can serve as a model for other countries (5/9).

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Skilled Birth Attendants Critical To Reducing Maternal Deaths In Developing Countries

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Giving Every Mother and Newborn a Chance — No Matter Their Circumstance
Megan Rabbitt, communications manager at USGLC, discusses the role and importance of skilled birth attendants in developing countries, highlighting a program supported by the Survive and Thrive Global Development Alliance, “which brings together public and private partners to promote the health and well-being of mothers and infants around the world” (5/12).

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Study Suggests Drug-Resistant TB Expected To Increase In Some Countries, Identifies Potential Diagnostic, Treatment Solutions

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: Stopping the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis
Katie Broendel, senior communications manager at Friends of the Global Fight, discusses results from a new study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases that suggests drug-resistant TB “is expected to increase in some high-burden countries over the next 20 years. In addition, the study suggests that person-to-person transmission will play a large role in the spread of drug-resistant TB as opposed to inadequate treatment or acquired drug resistance. … The study also identifies some potential solutions, including strengthening infection control and contact tracing measures, as well as developing more rapid, effective diagnostic tests to detect and treat drug resistance” (5/12).

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FT Health Discusses Road Safety, Features Interview With Chelsea Clinton, Devi Sridhar

FT Health: Neglected global killer, Chelsea Clinton, fair drug pricing
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses global road safety and features an interview with “Chelsea Clinton and Devi Sridhar, authors of Governing Global Health: who runs the world and why?” The newsletter also provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack, 5/12).

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From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Explainer On UNFPA Funding & Kemp-Kasten Amendment

Kaiser Family Foundation: UNFPA Funding & Kemp-Kasten: An Explainer
On March 30, the Trump administration announced that it would withhold FY 2017 funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the lead U.N. agency focused on global population and reproductive health, citing the Kemp-Kasten amendment in its decision. This updated explainer from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides an overview of the history and application of this provision on global family planning funds (5/12).

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