Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines Foreign Aid, Development Aspects Of Negotiations, Bills Related To U.S. Budget

Devex: U.S. lawmakers move to block White House ‘rescission’ attempts
“A battle for control over U.S. foreign aid spending is playing out in between the lines of a budget bill currently making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives. Lawmakers have included new language and policy guidance in their latest foreign affairs budget bill — which passed through committee on Thursday — that pushes back against recent attempts by the Trump administration to retract foreign aid funding that had already been appropriated by Congress…” (Igoe, 5/17).

Devex: Fund sharing and fragility in spotlight at Africa policy congressional hearing
“The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee held a wide-ranging hearing Thursday focused on how the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense can coordinate on Africa policy. … Officials at the hearing touched on Ebola, instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Cameroon, and discussed opportunity in Ethiopia and how agencies might best work together…” (Saldinger, 5/17).

Devex: Implementers, missions in the dark about Central America assistance cuts
“Seven weeks after President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement that he would stop U.S. foreign assistance to the ‘Northern Triangle,’ implementers remain largely in the dark about if and how their programs in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras may be impacted. … Amid concern that the move is another way for a Trump administration skeptical of foreign assistance to restrict U.S. funding, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, and Ranking Member Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, introduced a bill last week that would obligate the administration to spend the money Congress appropriates for the Northern Triangle…” (Welsh, 5/17).

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The Guardian Examines Influence Of C-Fam Organization On U.S., Other Countries' Policies At U.N.

The Guardian: Revealed: the fringe rightwing group changing the U.N. agenda on abortion rights
“…[The Center for Family and Human Rights, or C-Fam,] has emerged … to become a powerful player behind the scenes at the U.N. With a modest budget and a six-strong staff led by the president Austin Ruse, it has leveraged connections inside the Trump administration to enforce a rigid orthodoxy on social issues, and helped build a new U.S. coalition with mostly autocratic regimes that share a similar outlook. And that coalition has already significantly shifted the terms of the U.N. debate on women’s and LGBT rights. … The outsize influence of C-Fam, and the increasing importance of evangelical Christians — like the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo — in the top reaches of the Trump administration, has helped turn the tide on the world stage on issues involving women’s reproductive rights and access to family planning clinics…” (Borger/Ford, 5/16).

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Devex Previews Issues Likely To Be Discussed At World Health Assembly

Devex: 72nd World Health Assembly: Here’s what you need to know
“World Health Organization members will gather for the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, next week, with lively debate expected on a range of internal and external questions facing the United Nations’ health body. Market transparency … Ebola in DRC … WHO reform … Snakebite strategy … Health workers … Preparations for the UHC high-level meeting … Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories…” (Ravelo/Chadwick, 5/17).

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Red Cross Warns More Funds Needed For DRC Ebola Response; Some Health Workers Disguise Themselves To Avoid Violence

Agence France-Presse: Red Cross warns underfunding could hamstring DRC Ebola response
“The Red Cross warned Thursday that critical underfunding could force it to cut vital work to rein in the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo at a time when case numbers are soaring. Without more funds, it would need to begin ‘dramatically’ scaling back its operations within two weeks, Emanuele Capobianco, health director of the International Federation of the Red Cross told reporters in Geneva…” (5/16).

CIDRAP News: Ebola setting in ‘unpredictable calm’ as cases rise by 21
“Security problems have eased a bit into an ‘unpredictable calm,’ as the outbreak continues to intensify, the World Health Organization (WHO) said [Thursday], as Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) health officials reported 21 more cases…” (Schnirring, 5/16).

Washington Post: With more than 1,100 dead, Congo’s Ebola outbreak is only getting worse. Now doctors are forced to go undercover
“Some doctors fighting the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history are afraid to wear scrubs. They mask their identities to avoid harassment and violence in Congo, where the epidemic is spreading at the fastest rate since it started in August — and where rampant misinformation fuels a distrust of outsiders in medical garb. … Fear is changing tactics among aid staffers, who set out to convince communities that Ebola is real and they were there to help end it…” (Paquette/Sun, 5/16).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from the Associated Press, Axios, and New Humanitarian.

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Pharmaceutical Industry Improving Access To Medicines, Growing R&D Pipelines, But More Efforts Needed, Analysis Says

Financial Times: Pharma industry improves access to medicines in developing world
“Pharmaceutical companies have made good progress in promoting global health over the past 10 years by providing more and better medicines to the developing world, according to an independent assessment of their performance. The study by the Amsterdam-based Access to Medicine Foundation comes at a time when the pharmaceuticals industry is facing widespread criticism from campaigners who say that companies’ overwhelming priority is to maximize returns to shareholders at the expense of public health…” (Cookson, 5/16).

STAT: Pharma is making progress addressing global health, but it’s still a mixed bag
“…Drug makers are taking steps to reach people on very low incomes and R&D pipelines have grown, but patient access programs have been confined to just a few diseases, only some companies are tackling the risks of unethical sales behavior, and still fewer support international trade agreements designed to ensure the poorest people can benefit from medical innovation, according to the analysis. … This mixed bag is a troubling sign that a stubborn gap between not only access to medicines, but enough of the needed treatments remains around the world, according to Jayasree Iyer, who heads the Access to Medicine Foundation, a nonprofit based in the Netherlands that released the report and regularly examines efforts made by drug makers in targeting needed medicines…” (Silverman, 5/16).

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Experts To Discuss Draft Proposal Of Innovative Approach To Creating TB Drug Markets

Devex: A proposed novel approach to TB drug financing
“Global health experts will be discussing a novel approach to bring better tuberculosis drugs to the market on Sunday, the eve of the 72nd World Health Assembly. … The proposal, called ‘Market-Driven, Value-Based Advance Commitment,’ or MVAC, [which was designed by experts at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Office of Health Economics in the U.K.,] builds on a decade-old model that Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and a number of donors tried to implement to bring pneumococcal vaccines in the low- and middle-income market…” (Ravelo, 5/17).

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Foreign Policy Examines History, Impacts Of Abortion Ban Under Communist Romania

Foreign Policy: What Actually Happens When a Country Bans Abortion
“…[O]pponents of the restrictive abortion laws currently being considered in the United States don’t need to look to fiction for admonitory examples of where these types of laws can lead. For decades, communist Romania was a real-life test case of what can happen when a country outlaws abortion entirely, and the results were devastating…” (MacKinnon, 5/16).

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More News In Global Health

Bloomberg Businessweek: How Booming Population Is Challenging Africa (Cohen et al., 5/17).

Cour d’Alene Press: Advocates Hope for Idaho Support for Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Coles, 5/16).

Devex: Q&A: How to change isolationist attitudes for SDG progress (Root, 5/16).

The Guardian: Wellcome Trust investing £80m in snakebite treatment (Boseley, 5/15).

The Guardian: Pakistan doctor held after 437 children diagnosed with HIV (Safi/Baloch, 5/17).

Infectious Disease Advisor: WHO Releases HCV Policy Brief for People Who Inject Drugs (May, 5/16).

The Lancet: Low-cost pneumonia vaccine breaks into global market (Usher, 5/18).

Scientific American: Could a Single Live Vaccine Protect against a Multitude of Diseases? (June 2019).

The Telegraph: ‘Island of Widows’: The mystery disease killing sugarcane workers around the world (Hunt, 5/15).

U.N. News: ‘Starvation’ now a reality for displaced Syrians stranded in camp near Jordanian border (5/16).

Xinhua News: Uganda strives to scale back new HIV infections to meet global targets (5/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Africans Should Lead Continent's Long-Term Health Investment Strategies

Project Syndicate: Investing in Africans’ Health
Carl Manlan, 2016 New Voices fellow at the Aspen Institute and chief operating officer at the Ecobank Foundation

“…Increasing health care spending in Africa is not a matter of ramping up aid … Rather, it is about getting private actors — especially Africans — to seize the relevant business opportunities. … Meeting the health care needs of a growing African population — and thereby ensuring that the continent has a healthy workforce to drive economic transformation — will require funding that is more predictable and sustainable, guided by reliable long-term strategies. Here, the African diaspora should take the lead. … The more stable the investment environment is, the more willing private-sector actors will be to fund the kinds of large-scale interventions needed to unlock Africa’s productive potential. … As leaders gear up for the World Health Organization’s 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva this month, it is worth highlighting the limits of donor-driven development in Africa. To lay the foundations for economic transformation … Africans at home and abroad must step up. In the long term … those whose lives are just beginning will be able to build a more prosperous future and ensure that future generations, too, enjoy longer, healthier, more productive lives” (5/17).

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Ensuring Quality Control Of Drugs Critical To Malaria Elimination Efforts

SciDev.Net: Eliminating malaria demands quality drugs
Sivong Sengaloundeth, former deputy director of the Food and Drug Department in Lao PDR and champion of the Meds We Can Trust Campaign

“…[The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) is] coming to grips with a growing challenge to [eliminating malaria]: drug-resistant malaria. … Resistance to artemisinin was detected in the GMS around the same time researchers discovered that between 38 and 90 percent of sampled artemisinin medicines were substandard or spurious. The medicines did not contain enough active ingredients to effectively kill the malaria parasite, which allowed it to develop immunity to the medicine. … [C]ountries should ensure that the medicines imported or purchased for their health systems are quality-assured. Government agencies — including health, customs, and justice departments — must work across national boundaries to share issues in real time. Timely data sharing will allow us to catch spurious antimalarials before they reach our hospitals, health centers, and market stalls. Consistent data collection will help inform solutions and policy decisions. But these efforts will require more sustained funding from donors and countries alike. Finally, physicians, pharmacists, and health workers who are on the frontlines of malaria response must be equipped with the training and tools they need to detect fake medicines before they ever reach our patients’ hands … By safeguarding [the GMS] region against poor-quality antimalarials, we can carry forward the promise of malaria elimination not just at home but around the world” (5/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Organizations Discuss Passage Of House FY 2020 SFOPs Appropriations Bill

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Friends applauds House Appropriations Committee approval of increased funding for Global Fund’s 6th Replenishment
This post discusses the House Appropriations Committee passage of its FY 2020 funding bill for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs), outlines funding provisions included in the bill that are related to the Global Fund, and highlights comments made by Friends of the Global Fight leaders (5/16).

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: House Appropriators Defend International Affairs Budget with Room for Improvement on Aid Effectiveness
In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, Co-Chairs George Ingram, Lester Munson, and Tessie San Martin discuss the passage of the House FY 2020 SFOPs bill and urge “Congress to strengthen some crucial aid effectiveness provisions as the budget process continues.” The co-chairs state, “As the FY20 appropriations process continues, MFAN encourages adjustments in funding for USAID Operating Expenses and Capital Investment Fund, strengthening provisions on Domestic Resource Mobilization, and carefully considering the resourcing of the new U.S. Development Finance Corporation” (5/16).

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U.S. Investments In Health Aid Improve U.S. Image Abroad, Study Shows

Stanford Medicine: Foreign aid for public health bolsters America’s ‘soft power’
This release discusses findings from a recent study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine on the impact of U.S. foreign aid on other countries’ public opinion. The release states, “Compared with other types of foreign aid, investing in health is uniquely associated with a better opinion of the United States, improving its ‘soft power’ and standing in the world, the study said. Favorability ratings of the United States increased in proportion to health aid from 2002 to 2016 and rose sharply after the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 2003 and the launch of the President’s Malaria Initiative in 2005, the researchers report…” (5/16).

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E.U. Provides Additional €5M In Humanitarian Aid To DRC For Ebola Response

European Commission: Ebola: E.U. provides further €5 million in humanitarian aid in Democratic Republic of Congo
“The E.U. is stepping up humanitarian support with an additional €5 million as the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to experience its biggest Ebola outbreak to date. The confirmed death toll of the epidemic now stands at over 1,000 people. With [this] announcement, total E.U. funding to tackle the disease in the country amounts to €17 million since 2018…” (5/13).

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CGD Report Outlines 3 Lessons For Next Pandemic Response

Center for Global Development: Three Big Lessons for The Next Pandemic Response
Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at CGD, discusses a recent report that explores how policymakers responded to the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa and outlines three lessons for the next pandemic response: “1. Outbreak response strategy does not scale in a linear way. … 2. An evolving response strategy requires a different configuration of actors and capabilities. … 3. Response at scale requires different leadership structures and competencies” (5/16).

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New Network Launches Declaration Of Rights Of People Affected By TB Aimed At Guiding Countries To Implement HLM Commitments

UNAIDS: Declaration of the Rights of People Affected by Tuberculosis launched
“…Reacting to the unacceptable burden of disease and death caused by TB, a new network of TB survivors and affected communities, called TB People, compiled the Declaration of the Rights of People Affected by Tuberculosis, with the support of leading human rights lawyers and the Stop TB Partnership. The declaration, launched on 14 May at the Global Health Campus in Geneva, Switzerland, will guide countries to implement the commitments made at the 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis and will inform the last board meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) before its replenishment meeting in Lyon, France, in October…” (5/16).

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Wilson Center Event Explores Importance Of Community Health

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: The Path to Self-Reliance: Building Community Health
Nazra Amin, staff intern at the Wilson Center, discusses a recent Wilson Center event involving two speaker panels about the importance of community health systems, with a particular focus on voluntary family planning and infectious disease prevention. Event panelists included: Ellen Starbird, director of the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at USAID; A. Jean Affo, chief of party for USAID’s Advancing Partners & Communities (APC) Benin at JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.; Susan Otchere, project director of Mobilizing for Maternal and Neonatal Health through Birth Spacing and Advocacy (MOMENT) at World Vision U.S.; Frederick Mubiru, chief of party for APC Uganda at FHI 360; Rose Macauley, chief of party for APC Liberia and country representative for JSI Liberia; Florence Jean-Louis, director of human development at Fonkoze; James MacNeil, vice president of World Education; Chamberlain Diala, senior technical director of APC at FHI360; and Liz Creel, project director of APC at JSI (5/16).

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From the U.S. Government

HHS Secretary Alex Azar Participates In Bilateral Meetings With Health Ministers, Attends G7 Health Ministerial Meeting In Paris

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Secretary Azar Attends G7 Health Ministerial Meeting and Participates in Bilateral Meetings
This press release discusses HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s participation in bilateral meetings with health ministers during the G7 Health Ministerial Meeting in Paris and highlights his discussions on vaccines, global health security in the context of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, drug pricing, antimicrobial resistance, and strengthening primary health care (5/16).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

KFF Analyzes Global Health Aspects Of House FY 2020 SFOPs Appropriations Bill

Kaiser Family Foundation: House Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2020 State & Foreign Operations (SFOPs) Appropriations Bill
The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2020 State & Foreign Operations (SFOPs) appropriations bill on May 16, 2019. The SFOPs bill includes funding for U.S. global health programs at the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Funding for these programs, through the Global Health Programs (GHP) account, which represents the bulk of global health assistance, totaled $9.3 billion, an increase of $459 million above the FY 2019 enacted level and almost $3 billion above the President’s FY 2020 request. This summary details funding for U.S. global health programs specified in the bill (5/17).

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