KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Secretary Of State Pompeo Speaks To Employees, Promises To Revive Agency's 'Swagger'

New York Times: Pompeo Promises to Return ‘Swagger’ to the State Department
“…Mike Pompeo … assured hundreds of diplomats on Tuesday that he not only knew many of them already, but that he also had a deep appreciation for their work and commitment to the United States. ‘You chose to be a foreign service officer, or a civil servant, or to come work here in many other capacities — and to do so because you’re patriots, and great Americans, and because you want to be an important part of America’s face to the world,’ Mr. Pompeo said in brief remarks during a formal arrival ceremony at the department’s headquarters…” (Harris, 5/1).

NPR: State Department Employees Eager To See What Pompeo Brings As Secretary Of State
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already been on an overseas trip, but Tuesday [was] his first actual day in the office at the State Department. Employees are eager to hear how he plans to bring back this agency’s ‘swagger.’ … Pompeo is promising the staff that he won’t spend all his time cloistered in his seventh floor office, and he’s already capitalizing on his close ties to the president, who never came to the department when [former Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson was here but will do so [Wednesday]…” (Keleman, 5/1).

Vox: Mike Pompeo spent his first week as secretary of state being the anti-Rex Tillerson
“…Experts say the new secretary may be setting a new tone for how the State Department — and U.S. diplomacy more generally — will operate now that he’s at the helm. … He allowed multiple journalists to travel with him on his foreign trip, took questions on the record from them on the plane, and appeared Sunday on ABC’s This Week. That’s quite the turnaround from the Tillerson days, but it’s also a return to the norm. It’s expected that secretaries of state frequently appear in public and speak with the press, natural things to do for the nation’s top diplomat…” (Ward, 5/2).

Washington Post: Before U.S. diplomats, Pompeo pledges to ‘listen and learn’
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … announced Tuesday that he is lifting a hiring freeze on family members of employees posted overseas. The decision to end the freeze, which slashed their numbers by almost a third last year, removed a thorn in the side of many diplomats whose spouses accompany them abroad and find it hard to obtain jobs in a foreign country. … ‘Ensuring that we have the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time to effectively carry out the department’s foreign policy goals is crucial to our continued success,’ he wrote in an email he signed just ‘Mike’…” (Hudson/Morello, 5/1).

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U.S. Unprepared For Natural Or Manmade Biological Threats, Experts Say

Homeland Security Today: U.S. ‘a Lot More Fragile Than We Realize’ on Biothreats, Experts Warn
“The nation is critically underprepared to confront transnational biological threats ranging from DIY bioterror agents to natural pathogens that outpace current pharmaceuticals and overwhelm medical facilities, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense heard at [an April 25] event at the Hudson Institute…” (Johnson, 4/27).

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Ambient Air Pollution Responsible For 7M Early Deaths Annually, WHO Report Shows

Bloomberg: Air Pollution Kills 7 Million People a Year, WHO Reports
“Toxic levels of pollution leads annually to the early death of an estimated seven million people, according to a new World Health Organization report. Nine of 10 people around the world are exposed to dangerously high levels of pollutants that can lead to cancer and cardiovascular diseases, according to the study, which drew off the most-recent 2016 data…” (Hodges, 5/1).

CNN: Which cities face most, least air pollution according to new WHO data
“…The study is an analysis of what the WHO says is the world’s most comprehensive database on ambient air pollution. The organization collected the data from more than 4,300 cities and 108 countries…” (Christensen, 5/1).

The Guardian: Air pollution inequality widens between rich and poor nations
“…[L]evels of contamination vary widely depending on government actions and financial resources. For the first time, the report included regional historic data, which showed that more than 57 percent of cities in the Americas and more than 61 percent of cities in Europe had seen a fall in PM10 and PM2.5 particulate matter between 2010 and 2016. But these gains were set against a worsening trend in other regions. The most rapid deterioration was in South and Southeast Asia, where more than 70 percent of poor cities suffered worsening air quality. The Middle East was also badly affected…” (Watts, 5/1).

Reuters: Through a fog of data, air of Indian cities’ looks dirtiest
“…Globally, outdoor air pollution has remained high and largely unchanged in the past six years, while household air pollution has gotten worse in many poorer countries, as people continue to cook with solid fuel or kerosene, instead of cleaner fuels such as gas and electricity. ‘The transition to clean fuels and technology in the home, clean household energy, is too slow. It’s been three decades and we still have three billion people primarily relying on (polluting) fuels and technologies, and that’s for cooking alone,’ said WHO technical officer Heather Adair-Rohani…” (5/1).

Additional coverage of the WHO Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database is available from BBC News, CBS News, The Guardian, Healio, The Hill, and Xinhua News.

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U.N. Guidance Encourages Governments To Implement Efforts Promoting Exclusive Breastfeeding

Devex: New U.N. guidance aims to boost exclusive breastfeeding worldwide
“New United Nations guidance aims to standardize breastfeeding and push governments to take ownership of the education and monitoring that could help boost lackluster global rates of exclusively breastfeeding infants. … [T]he United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization … jointly issued the revised 10-step guidance in mid-April…” (Lieberman, 5/2).

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Billionaire Michael Milken, World Bank's Jim Kim Discuss Human Capital Index Project, Valuing Human Health

Quartz: A billionaire philanthropist says it’s time to put an economic value on human health
“…In a seminar this week on the future of health, at the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, the former junk-bond king [Michael Milken] underlined his support of the World Bank’s forthcoming Human Capital Index project, due to be released later this year. It will rank countries according to how much they invest in the health and education of their people, and how much impact those investments have. It’s a project championed by World Bank President Jim Kim, who spoke on the same panel as Milken at the event…” (MacLellan, 5/1).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Energy targets off course as clean cooking neglected: Report (Chadwick, 5/2).

The Guardian: Ovarian cancer diagnoses ‘will rise 55% in the next 20 years’ (Boseley, 4/30).

The Guardian: Older people accused of faking poor health to get aid, study shows (Ratcliffe, 4/30).

New York Times: Tick and Mosquito Infections Spreading Rapidly, CDC Finds (McNeil, 5/1).
Washington Post: Diseases spread by ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas more than tripled in the U.S. since 2004 (Sun, 5/1).

Reuters: WHO says unprecedented dengue outbreak hits La Reunion (Miles/Blamont, 5/1).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Child brides sold into sex slavery, domestic work, say Indian officials (Srivastava, 5/1).

U.N. News: Almost 500,000 affected as devastating floods inundate central Somalia — U.N. mission (5/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Fund Board Should Reverse Decision To Suspend Grants To North Korea

NK News: Why is the Global Fund pulling out of North Korea?
Kwonjune J. Seung, medical director at the Eugene Bell Foundation

“…In a decision that garnered little media coverage, on February 21, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria … announced that it was suspending its grants in North Korea, after eight years of working in the country. … For those with an understanding of the tuberculosis epidemic in North Korea, the sudden announcement came as an unwelcome shock. North Korea has one of the highest TB rates in the world. … Because North Koreans are largely cut off from external humanitarian aid, they desperately need support from the Global Fund, which was designed to operate in the most difficult environments, free of political pressure that can block governments and NGOs. When the Board of the Global Fund meets on May 9, I hope they will reverse the decision to pull out of North Korea, not because the political winds have changed, but because they believe … that all people deserve health care for treatable illnesses, no matter the government under which they live…” (5/2).

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African Governments, Private Sector Must Ensure Neediest Can Access Health Care

HuffPost: Growth In Private Health Care In Africa Is Leaving The Poorest Behind
Benedict Peters, CEO of Aiteo Group

“As more and more Africans can afford private health care and insurance, global health care providers are finally realizing the development opportunity of this emerging market. However, … the emphasis appears to be in catering to a growing commercial interest in a manner that may leave behind the most severely constrained — the poor. … [T]he private sector is more concerned with diseases that are non-communicable and associated with more affluent lifestyles, such as diabetes and heart conditions, than communicable diseases that blight poor and rural areas. The responsibility for fighting these diseases has fallen to governments and international aid organizations. … Across Africa, more must be done to grow and drive greater access to public health systems. Whilst the affluent few can afford to pay for their treatment, either in new private facilities or abroad, publicly funded facilities are essential to extend health care provision to the neediest. This is something that must be embraced and managed, but cannot be ignored” (5/1).

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Efforts To Address Reproductive Health Needs Of Rohingya Refugees Require 'Significant Dedicated Support'

Devex: Opinion: The long road to addressing sexual and reproductive health needs of Rohingya refugees
Sandra Krause, reproductive health program director at the Women’s Refugee Commission

“…[T]here has been a tremendous effort on the part of [Bangladesh’s] national government, U.N. agencies, and both national and international nongovernmental organizations to address the enormous needs of the Rohingya refugees, including health, protection, shelter, water and sanitation, psychosocial, and other concerns. … [The] extraordinary efforts [of UNFPA and its partners in Cox’s Bazar] demonstrate the power and potential of health providers working in tandem … to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of the expanding Rohingya population in the face of many obstacles. Building on this work to improve both the coverage and quality of these services, including for adolescents and marginalized populations, will require significant dedicated support from donors and implementing agencies. … [O]ur visit to Cox’s Bazar reinforced our appreciation for the remarkable sexual and reproductive health care response to date, the need to scale up these exemplary efforts, and a deeper understanding of the long and difficult road ahead” (5/1).

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Life-Long Education About Benefits Of Immunization Can Help Prevent Vaccine Hesitancy

EURACTIV: Reaping the full benefits of vaccination
Patricia Massetti, associate vice president and European vaccines lead at MSD and board member at Vaccines Europe

“…Vaccine hesitancy is one of the reasons why vaccination policies are falling short of achieving their full potential [in the E.U.] … [W]e need to shift towards a more holistic, life-course approach to vaccination. This consists of vaccinating people across their life-span and educating them about the importance of vaccination from childhood and into adulthood. … By educating people about vaccination from an early age, and continuing this into adulthood, we could fight vaccine hesitancy more effectively because individuals would be more health literate. … [Vaccination] policies should embrace a life-course immunization view in order to create a Europe free of diseases that can be prevented through vaccination” (5/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

GHTC Releases State-By-State Analysis On Benefits Of U.S. Investment In Global Health R&D

Global Health Technologies Coalition: As White House seeks big cuts in global health research, new state-by-state analysis shows U.S. government investment brings jobs, health security to states while saving millions of lives worldwide
“The Trump administration’s proposal to slash funding to fight global health threats … could cost states thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic investment and put the health of residents at risk, according to a new state-by-state analysis released [Tuesday] on Capitol Hill by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC). This first-of-its-kind analysis quantifies how federal funding to create vaccines and treatments to combat deadly global diseases also benefits American states…” (5/1).

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CGD Blog Post Highlights Experts' Remarks On Global Health Security, Pandemic Preparedness

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: It’s (Past) Time We Prepare for the Next Pandemic
Rebecca Forman, research assistant for the global health policy team at CGD, discusses takeaways from a panel discussion at a recent Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) event on U.S. leadership in global health and health security, writing, “While the group highlighted the scary realities that pandemics present, they also expressed optimism and explored ideas for how we can improve on pandemic preparedness … The bottom-line? The next pandemic is just a matter of when. It’s (past) time that we prepare” (5/1).

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CGD Experts Discuss Availability Of, Challenges Surrounding Data On Global Health Commodity Procurement

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: The State of Global Health Commodity Procurement: Moving from Data Points to the Bigger Picture
Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy and senior fellow at CGD; Janeen Madan Keller, senior policy analyst at CGD; and Daniel Rosen, senior associate and Freeman chair in China studies at CGD, discuss the efforts of CGD’s working group on the Future of Global Health Procurement, which is “exploring the availability of data (or lack thereof) related to global health commodity markets” and “trying to understand the current state of health commodity procurement in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) — specifically which commodities are procured, by whom, how, and at what price. While there has been progress in improving data availability, the data are spotty and challenges abound…” (5/1).

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From the U.S. Government

GAO Finds U.S. State Department, USAID Documents Related To 'Protecting Life In Global Health Assistance' Not Subject To Congressional Review Act

U.S. Government Accountability Office: Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development: Applicability of the Congressional Review Act to the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Fact Sheet and Revised Standard Provisions for U.S. Nongovernmental Organizations
“In response to a letter from Senators Shaheen, Cardin, Blumenthal, and Murray and Representatives Lowey, DeGette, Engel, and Lee, GAO issued an opinion on whether two 2017 documents, the ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance’ Fact Sheet issued by the Department of State (State) on May 15, 2017, and the revised ‘Standard Provisions for U.S. Nongovernmental Organizations’ issued by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on March 2, 2017, are ‘rules’ for purposes of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). We concluded that State’s Fact Sheet and USAID’s Standard Provisions implement President Trump’s Mexico City Policy and, as a consequence, in accordance with federal judicial precedents they are not subject to CRA…” (5/1).

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U.S. Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Delivers Welcome Remarks To Employees

U.S. Department of State: Welcome Remarks to Employees
In remarks delivered to U.S. State Department employees, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “The United States diplomatic corps needs to be in every corner, every stretch of the world, executing missions on behalf of this country, and it is my humble, noble undertaking to help you achieve that” (5/1).

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NIH Releases Statement On World Asthma Day

NIH: NIH statement on World Asthma Day 2018
“On World Asthma Day 2018, the National Institutes of Health stands with people worldwide to renew our commitment to advance understanding of asthma and develop effective strategies to manage, treat, and ultimately prevent the disease. … An estimated 235 million people worldwide, including 24.6 million in the United States, have asthma. … Together, we can advance our shared mission to develop and implement effective strategies for the management, treatment, and prevention of asthma…” (5/1).

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