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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Highlights 5 Takeaways From Congressional Hearing On $9.5B USAID Global Health Supply Chain Project

Devex: 5 takeaways from the USAID supply chain hearings
“On Thursday, almost nine months after Devex first reported that the United States Agency for International Development’s largest-ever contract was facing major problems, the U.S. Congress held a hearing to examine the $9.5 billion global health supply chain project. Lawmakers questioned the design of the massive contract, USAID’s decision to award it to Chemonics International, and a system that allows contractors who do not meet performance targets to still get paid. … Here are five takeaways from the hearing. 1. Some lawmakers think USAID should be able to penalize contractors for poor performance. … 2. The PEPFAR chief had limited visibility into the contract as it was being designed and awarded. … 3. USAID is already thinking about how lessons from this project should inform the next global health supply chain award. … 4. USAID became aware of management problems even before Chemonics had delivered any shipments. … 5. USAID is aware of two cases where delays in the supply chain led to program disruption, but cannot say how many people were affected…” (Igoe, 5/18).

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Cutting U.S. Aid To South Sudan Would Further Hurt Civilians In War-Torn Nation, Humanitarians Say

Devex: Despite corrupt regime, cutting off aid to South Sudan isn’t the right move
“Cutting off United States aid to South Sudan would not have the intended effect of punishing the government and instead would create further hardship for civilians in the civil war-torn country, humanitarians say. The Trump administration said last week it was undertaking a review of all U.S. assistance to South Sudan to ensure it ‘does not contribute to or prolong the conflict, or facilitate predatory or corrupt behavior’…” (Welsh, 5/18).

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U.S. Sen. Burr Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Reauthorize Pandemic And All-Hazards Preparedness Act

Homeland Preparedness News: Sen. Burr introduces bipartisan bill to update U.S. bioterror, pandemics law
“U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who crafted and sponsored the nation’s original law protecting public health during man-made and natural disasters, and then took the lead on the law’s subsequent restructuring, again has commanded the next phase of reauthorizing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA). Sen. Burr on May 15 introduced the bipartisan Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018, S. 2852, with U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) signing on as original cosponsors…” (Riley, 5/17).

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USAID Administrator Green Visits Burma, Calls For End To Violence Against Rohingya

Reuters: U.S. aid chief calls on Myanmar to end violence against Rohingya
“The U.S. government’s aid chief called on Thursday on Myanmar to end violence against members of the Rohingya Muslim minority and to provide humanitarian workers and media unhindered access to the country. Mark Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), visited Rohingya refugee camps on a three-day visit to Bangladesh this week…” (Quadir/Rocha, 5/17).

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WHO Calls Congo's Ebola Risk 'Very High,' Convenes Emergency Committee; Health Officials Confirm 14 Of 45 Cases

Associated Press: Congo’s Ebola risk ‘very high’ as confirmed virus cases rise
“Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak now has 14 confirmed cases as health officials rush to contain the often deadly virus in a city of more than one million. … WHO now calls the risk to the public in Congo ‘very high’ and the regional risk high, with the global risk low. The Republic of Congo and Central African Republic are nearby…” (Mwanamilongo et al., 5/18).

CIDRAP News: As Ebola hits major DRC city, WHO convenes emergency panel
“…Also, the WHO [Thursday] said its Ebola emergency committee will meet [Friday] to decide if the developments warrant a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a step that would trigger temporary recommendations and heighten international efforts to battle the spread of the disease…” (Schnirring, 5/17).

The Guardian: Ebola reaches DRC city, raising epidemic fears as 11 new cases confirmed
“…Late on Thursday, the country’s ministry of health announced 11 new confirmed Ebola cases and two deaths, taking the total number of cases to 45 (14 confirmed, 10 suspected, 21 probable). The deaths have occurred in Bikoro, a rural area about 150km from Mbandaka…” (Burke, 5/17).

NPR: WHO Official Discusses Task Of Containing Ebola
“NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talks to World Health Organization Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama about reports of Ebola hitting a port city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, making it much harder to contain…” (5/17).

STAT: WHO to weigh declaration of international emergency over Ebola outbreak
“… ‘While DRC has previously confronted eight outbreaks, the proximity of the current outbreak to neighboring countries, the dispersed pattern of cases, infection of health workers and confirmation in an urban center, connection of this major urban center (Mbandaka) with other major urban centers within DRC and neighboring countries via the Congo river are a cause for concern,’ said [WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus], who traveled to the DRC last weekend to assess the situation and the response…” (Branswell, 5/17).

Wall Street Journal: Congo at ‘Very High’ Risk as Ebola Strikes Major City
“…Congolese officials are planning to start deploying an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by Merck & Co. — the first doses of which arrived in the capital city of Kinshasa on Wednesday — in the coming days. However, heath experts have struggled to keep the vaccine at the necessary below-freezing temperatures in a tropical country with an unreliable electricity supply…” (Bariyo, 5/18).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak is available from Al Jazeera, The Atlantic, BBC News, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, The Hill, HuffPost, New York Times, Quartz, Reuters, and U.N. News.

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WHO Offers Experimental Ebola Vaccine To Outbreak Responders; Congo To Begin Vaccination As Early As This Weekend

The Guardian: Congo enters uncharted territory as it faces gravest Ebola challenge to date
“More than 4,000 doses of an experimental vaccine against Ebola have arrived in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a bid to check the spread of an outbreak that is alarming experts after it travelled from a remote rural area into a million-strong city…” (Boseley, 5/18).

Mother Jones: A Promising New Ebola Vaccine Is About to Be Put to the Test
“… ‘This could be a real paradigm shift in how we respond to Ebola,’ says Dr. Peter Salama, the World Health Organization (WHO) deputy director general of emergency preparedness and response. The DRC Health Ministry says vaccination will start as early as this weekend. If the vaccine successfully halts the outbreak, it could change how the world fights Ebola, and alleviate fear of the horrific disease…” (Jula, 5/17).

Reuters: U.N. staff on way to Congo to get experimental Ebola vaccine
“World Health Organization and other United Nations staff going to the Democratic Republic of Congo as emergency responders to an Ebola outbreak are being offered an unlicensed vaccine as protection before they go. … ‘For the first time, we are offering vaccination to all international responders — and we’ll be doing that in Geneva and in Kinshasa,’ Salama said on Thursday in a telephone interview…” (Kelland, 5/17).

Additional coverage of the experimental Ebola vaccine is available from Reuters, Science, Scientific American, and Smithsonian.

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Bill Gates Discusses 2 Meetings With Trump Where He Answered Public Health-Related Questions

The Guardian: Bill Gates: Trump twice asked me the difference between HIV and HPV
“Bill Gates, the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, has claimed Donald Trump twice asked him the difference between HIV and HPV and knew a ‘scary’ amount about Gates’s daughter’s looks…” (Smith, 5/18).

The Hill: Bill Gates: I had to explain to Trump the difference between HIV, HPV
“…MSNBC’s ‘All in With Chris Hayes’ aired footage Thursday night of the Microsoft founder speaking at a Gates Foundation event, telling the crowd about two meetings he had with Trump, one at Trump Tower during the presidential transition and another at the White House last year…” (Thomsen, 5/17).

HuffPost: Bill Gates Says Trump Didn’t Know The Difference Between HPV And HIV
“… ‘He wanted to know if there was a difference between HPV and HIV,’ Gates said in the clip. ‘So I was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other’…” (Madani, 5/17).

NBC News: Bill Gates says Trump asked the difference between HIV and HPV
“… ‘In both of those two meetings he asked me if vaccines weren’t a bad thing because he was considering a commission to look into ill-effects of vaccines,’ Gates said. ‘And somebody, Robert Kennedy Jr., was advising him that vaccines were causing bad things and I said, “No, that is a dead end, that would be a bad thing, do not do that”‘…” (Jamieson, 5/18).

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More News In Global Health

BBC News: Why mums-to-be are fleeing Venezuela (Watson, 5/18).

Deutsche Welle: What good is AI for UN Development Goals? (Abbany, 5/16).

Devex: More than 30 million people were internally displaced in 2017, report shows (Lieberman, 5/18).

Reuters: Death toll from listeria outbreak in South Africa rises to more than 200 (Heiberg, 5/18).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Worsening security in Afghanistan threatens health gains, minister says (Chaudhry, 5/17).

VOA News: Researchers Take Two-Pronged Approach to Testing for Zika (Lapidus, 5/18).

VOA News: Millions Face Food Insecurity, TB Outbreak in Eastern Ukraine Fighting (Ridgwell, 5/17).

Xinhua News: Frontier technologies can accelerate tackling of global challenges: U.N. report (5/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

BUILD Act Must Include American Finance Standards, Values, Traditions To Be Effective

The Hill: BUILD Act must build in US values for global development projects
Kevin P. Gallagher, director of the Global Development Policy Center at Boston University’s Pardee School for Global Studies, and co-chair of T-20 Task Force on an International Financial Architecture for Stability and Development

“…In its current form …, the [Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act)] is inconsistent with America’s development finance standards, traditions, and values. … For decades now, the International Financial Institutions Act and the Foreign Assistance Act govern America’s involvement in international financial institutions such as the World Bank and U.S. institutions like [the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)]. Enshrined in these acts and institutions are the principles of transparency, accountability, and strong social and environmental standards. … The BUILD Act transfers few of these provisions from OPIC to the new [international Development Finance Corporation (DFC)]. … What is more, the bill lacks strong human rights provisions that protect those involved in development projects and affected communities. The BUILD Act has to build in these pillars of American values and tradition if it is to truly help host nations and their citizens meet development goals while also advancing U.S. commercial and foreign policy interests…” (5/17).

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5 Actions Global Community Must Take To Eliminate TB

Project Syndicate: The Road to a TB-Free World
Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, and Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Stop TB Partnership

“…The international community needs to take five specific actions to eliminate the scourge of TB once and for all. For starters, the gaps in existing health systems must be closed, so that all people have access to services for preventing, diagnosing, and treating TB. … Second, policymakers and health care providers must transform the standard response to TB to make it more equitable, rights-based, non-discriminatory, and people-centered, not just in health settings but also in workplaces, schools, and jails. … Third, we must commit to making the investments necessary to end TB, recognizing that the right thing to do also makes financial sense. … The fourth priority is to leverage the private sector. … Finally, the international community must commit to more decisive and accountable global leadership. … On September 26, the U.N. General Assembly will hold its first-ever High-Level Meeting on TB, and member states will issue a political declaration of intent to tackle this issue. We would urge them to reflect on the five action items above. The path to a TB-free world starts there” (5/18).

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Global Community Should 'Embrace Unconventional Water Resources' To Achieve SDG 6

Project Syndicate: Where the Water Is
Manzoor Qadir, assistant director, and Vladimir Smakhtin, director, both at the U.N. University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health (UNU-INWEH)

“…[G]overnments must abandon their outdated assumption that tapping unconventional water sources would be technically impractical or excessively costly. Efforts should be made to analyze the potential benefits of such investment, taking into account the economic, social, environmental, and health trade-offs of water scarcity. … The private sector also has a role to play in the shift toward unconventional water resources — a role that must extend beyond current efforts to tap desalinated water and urban greywater and wastewater. Finally, local institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and local communities must be mobilized … Sustainable Development Goal 6 calls for universal access to clean water and sanitation. If governments do not embrace unconventional water resources, achieving that goal will be as difficult as getting water from a stone — and the consequences for water-scarce regions will be dire” (5/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Expert Discusses Trump Administration's Actions Suggesting 'Erosion Of U.S. Health Security Preparedness'

Center for Global Development: Global Health Security in the Trump Era: Time to Worry?
Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at CGD, discusses actions the Trump administration has taken “that point toward a serious erosion of U.S. health security preparedness.” He writes, “Taken together, these developments point toward an abandonment of U.S. global investments in health security preparedness; a reduction in resources available for future outbreak response; and a dissolution of the White House’s capabilities to effectively manage either of those things” (5/17).

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WHO DG, Ministers Of Health, Delegates To Discuss WHO's Program Of Work At World Health Assembly

WHO: Director-General brings ambitious agenda for change to World Health Assembly
“After one year in office, WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will open the Seventy-First World Health Assembly next week in Geneva with an ambitious agenda for change that aims to save 29 million lives by 2023. Ministers of Health and other delegates from WHO’s 194 Member States will meet to discuss a range of issues, including the 13th General Program of Work, which is WHO’s five-year strategic plan to help countries meet the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (5/18).

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FfD Forum Should Ensure Countries Deliver On Global Commitments, ONE Policy Manager Suggests

ONE Blog: What the Financing for Development Forum was missing
Kerezhi Sebany, policy manager for multilateral institutions at ONE, discusses the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up (FfD Forum) and notes, “[T]he Forum is void of any measures to make sure countries deliver on their commitments. … If we are going to end poverty, bold leadership is critical to overcoming short-term political calculations and myopic policies. The FfD Forum should be more than a talking shop and needs to focus on and propose actionable steps to tackle bottlenecks” (5/17).

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UNAIDS Calls For Increase In Research, Investment To Develop Effective HIV Vaccine

UNAIDS: UNAIDS urges a scaling up of HIV vaccine research to stop new infections
“On HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, 18 May, UNAIDS is calling for an increase in research and investment to find an effective vaccine to protect people against HIV and stop new HIV infections. In 2016, around 1.8 million people were newly infected with HIV and although the number of new infections has declined in recent years, the world is still far from achieving the UNAIDS Fast-Track Target of reducing new HIV infections to fewer than 500,000 by 2020…” (5/17).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash features several articles on various topics, including the Global Fund’s efforts to address drug-resistant TB in Belarus, discussion from a meeting that took place in Benin in late March with participants from 21 West and Central African countries on effective strategies to accelerate TB efforts globally, and the fund’s “Focus On” series on global health security (5/17).

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From the U.S. Government

NIH Issues Statement On HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

NIH: NIH statement on HIV Vaccine Awareness Day — May 18, 2018
In a statement on HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH, and Maureen M. Goodenow, director of the NIH Office of AIDS Research, discuss progress made in the development of an HIV vaccine and “pledge to continue our pursuit of the goal of developing a safe and effective HIV vaccine that could help end the HIV pandemic” (5/18).

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CDC's MMWR Publishes Reports On Pediatric HIV Treatment In Sub-Saharan Africa, Cholera Outbreaks In Zambia, Zimbabwe

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Trends in Antiretroviral Therapy Eligibility and Coverage Among Children Aged <15 Years with HIV Infection — 20 PEPFAR-Supported Sub-Saharan African Countries, 2012-2016
Amanda Burrage of the Epidemic Intelligence Service and Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis at CDC and colleagues discuss a study on pediatric antiretroviral (ART) eligibility and coverage in PEPFAR-supported sub-Saharan African countries with high HIV burdens (5/18).

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Cholera Epidemic — Lusaka, Zambia, October 2017-May 2018
Nyambe Sinyange of Zambia’s Ministry of Health, the Zambia National Public Health Institute, and the Zambia Field Epidemiology Training Program and colleagues discuss the investigation of, results from, and public health response to Zambia’s cholera outbreak in 2017 (5/18).

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Notes from the Field: Outbreak of Vibrio cholerae Associated with Attending a Funeral — Chegutu District, Zimbabwe, 2018
Jarred B. McAteer of the Epidemic Intelligence Service and Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at CDC and colleagues discuss the epidemiological investigation of a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe that was associated with a funeral (5/18).

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