KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CNN, VICE on HBO Examine Impacts Of Mexico City Policy On Reproductive Health Services Provision Worldwide

CNN: How Trump’s anti-abortion agenda impacts women around the world
“For more than 50 years, the United States Agency for International Development has been the largest financial supporter of women’s reproductive health services in the world’s poorest countries, with funding contributing to programs that have lowered maternal mortality rates, unintended pregnancies and the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. But health care workers in the world’s least developed countries have expressed concern that an executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump shortly after he took office last year has left women without access to free contraception, with many turning instead to unsafe abortions. … For many international NGOs, U.S. [global health] aid has been a crucial lifeline for their services that local governments have been unable, or sometimes unwilling to fund. With those NGOs concerned about reduced access to contraception in the world’s least developed countries, we examine how contraceptive access and use has changed globally over time in six charts…” (Fox et al., 5/23).

CNN: Trump’s ban on global abortion funding has led to more abortions
“…[H]ealth workers in Kenya told CNN that the number of backstreet abortions have increased since the United States cut [U.S. global health] aid to family planning programs that provide abortion services, in addition to contraception, in the world’s least developed countries. Ushered in [again] by President Donald Trump’s administration, the Mexico City policy, or global gag rule, was supposed to reduce the number of abortions, but health care workers in Kenya say it’s doing the opposite. The cuts, which left thousands of women in Kenya without contraception, have forced many to resort to risky, backstreet abortions as a form of birth control. … Reliant on international donors for support, communities like [Kenya’s] Kibera are where the Mexico City policy has been felt the most and, so far, the national government says it has been unable to make up the shortfall…” (Elbagir et al., 5/23).

VICE on HBO: Global Gag Rule Debrief
“Trump’s version of the Global Gag Rule didn’t just affect abortion-related services in countries like Uganda. It also affected the most basic health care services in that country and many like it” (Toboni, 5/21).

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U.S. Senate HELP Committee Advances Pandemic And All-Hazards Preparedness Act

CQ News: Senate Panel Advances Health Emergency Preparedness Bill
“A Senate committee on Wednesday approved a bill to reauthorize federal programs for health emergencies like large-scale disease outbreaks or major catastrophes. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced the bill (S. 2852) 22-1. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was the only dissenter. The House has yet to hold a hearing or markup on companion legislation…” (Siddons, 5/23).

Homeland Preparedness News: Senate HELP Committee advances Burr’s bipartisan bill to reauthorize PAHPA
“…S. 2852, introduced on May 15 by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), would reauthorize certain programs under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) that are set to expire on Sept. 30. The law last was reauthorized in 2013 and is on a fast track to the president’s desk. … The bipartisan S. 2852, signed by original cosponsors Sen. [Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)] and U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee, and Bob Casey (D-Penn.), who also serves on the HELP Committee, includes myriad provisions aimed at improving the nation’s preparedness and response to man-made and naturally occurring threats, or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) attacks, as well as emerging infectious diseases, potential pandemics, and antimicrobial resistance…” (Riley, 5/23).

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HHS Secretary Pledges 'More Actions' If DRC Ebola Outbreak Grows; U.S. To Possibly Test Experimental Ebola Treatment In DRC

Associated Press: U.S. health chief pledges more action if Ebola spreads
“President Donald Trump’s top health official said Wednesday that the U.S. and global partners will ‘take the steps necessary’ to try to contain a new Ebola outbreak, asserting that the fight against infectious diseases is one of the administration’s top priorities for the World Health Organization, the U.N. agency taking the lead. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar stopped short of predicting whether the outbreak in Congo … will be contained, but he praised WHO’s early response and vowed: ‘If it spreads, we will take further actions’…” (Keaten, 5/23).

Reuters: U.S. to send experimental Ebola treatment to Congo — official
“U.S. health authorities said on Wednesday they were preparing to send an experimental Ebola treatment to the Democratic Republic of Congo for use in a clinical trial aimed at stemming an outbreak in the country that has spread to Mbandaka, a city of about 1.5 million people. The trial would test the effectiveness of a treatment called mAb114 against the highly contagious virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said in a telephone interview. … Scientists in Fauci’s vaccine research center had just begun a first-in-man trial of the treatment last week when Fauci said he received a request from the health ministry in Congo asking that the treatment be used in a clinical trial there…” (Steenhuysen, 5/23).

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Number Of Confirmed Ebola Cases Reaches 30, Congo Officials Say; Outbreak Has Potential To Spread, WHO Warns

Associated Press: Congo says Ebola cases have reached 30, warns against rumors
“Congo’s Ministry of Health said Thursday the number of confirmed Ebola cases has reached 30, including eight deaths in the three affected health zones in the country’s Equateur province. … As of Thursday, Congo’s health ministry reports a total of 58 cases of hemorrhagic fever: 30 confirmed Ebola cases, 14 probable, and 14 suspected…” (Mwanamilongo, 5/24).

Deutsche Welle: Ebola virus in DRC has ‘potential to expand’ WHO reports
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Ebola virus in the DRC could spread to other countries. Congo’s neighbors have started taking steps to stem a possible cross-border spread of the disease…” (5/23).

Reuters: Why the world needs more than one Ebola vaccine
“In the life-and-death race to make the first effective vaccine against Ebola, one company — Merck — seems bound to win. But others drugmakers, such as Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline, are also in the running — and must stick with it even though they are unlikely to make a profit, experts say, because the world needs more than one Ebola vaccine…” (Kelland/Hirschler, 5/23).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak is available from Al Jazeera, Global Health NOW, NBC News, Reuters, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Washington Post.

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WHA Expected To Pass Resolution To Address Snakebite, Attract Funding

The Guardian: Mambas, medicine and one girl’s race to survive Kenya’s biting problem
“…An estimated one million people are bitten across sub-Saharan Africa, with as many as 20,000 killed by snakebite envenoming. … After decades of neglect, campaigners hope the issue is finally gaining the attention of governments. On Thursday, the World Health Assembly is expected to pass a resolution that could attract increased funding, lead to a more coordinated response from governments and boost research. Alongside the resolution, the World Health Organization (WHO) is developing a roadmap to minimize snakebite death and disability, particularly in low- and middle-income countries…” (Ratcliffe, 5/24).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: South Sudan’s quiet victims of war: With HIV, without help (Mednick, 5/24).

BBC News: Could a Single Injection Help Rid Us of Polio? (Hammond, 5/23).

Devex: What should better disability data look like? (Cornish, 5/23).

Global Health NOW: Getting Local With Clinical Research Capacity (Simpson, 5/23).

The Guardian: ‘The mindset is that boys are not raped’: India ends silence on male sex abuse (Chatterjee, 5/23).

Intellectual Property Watch: 50 Years Of Global Health Progress — Interview With IFPMA Head Thomas Cueni (New, 5/23).

Science: Scientists are declaring war against a leukemia-causing virus that has infected millions (Kupferschmidt, 5/23).

Washington Post: Ireland votes on its abortion ban, a ‘once in a generation decision’ (Booth/Ferguson, 5/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Laws, Policies In Every Nation Should Ensure Women Have Access To Family Planning Services, Including Safe Abortions

The Telegraph: How legal restrictions on abortion are harming women all over the world
Ann M. Starrs, president of the Guttmacher Institute

“…According to a recent study conducted jointly by WHO and the Guttmacher Institute, the overwhelming majority of abortions are safe in countries where the procedure is broadly legal, while most are unsafe in countries where it is highly restricted. … As long as women are being injured or are dying from unsafe procedures, there is a clear need to improve polices and services to prevent that from occurring. … Women and couples worldwide should have the right to safely achieve their desired family size and preferred timing of births. To make this a reality, high-quality, comprehensive contraceptive services need to be available and affordable, so that women and couples can prevent unintended pregnancy whenever possible. But when contraceptives fail or when a woman experiences an unwanted pregnancy for any reason, access to safe services to terminate that pregnancy are essential. Countries should expand the circumstances under which abortion is legal, and ensure safe abortion services are available and accessible. And public awareness campaigns can help to reduce stigma. These are smart moves to promote the health of women, their families, and societies as a whole. Simply put, they are the right thing to do” (5/22).

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President Trump 'Appears Unconcerned' About Addressing Health Threats, Protecting U.S. From Potential Outbreaks

Chicago Sun-Times: The many ways germophobe Donald Trump is making Americans less physically safe
Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, author, and former presidential candidate

“Donald Trump, though a self-described germophobe, appears unconcerned about the exposure of other Americans to germs and disease. Leading infectious disease scientists are warning us of a coming global influenza pandemic — not if, but when — yet Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has closed down a seasoned two-man global health security team. The Washington Post reported the news last week of ‘the abrupt departure’ of Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, a respected scientist from the National Security Council who is the ‘top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic.’ At the time of Ziemer’s expulsion, a new Ebola outbreak in the Congo had just been reported. … Trump wants to take America back to the days of … horrifying influenza epidemics…” (5/23).

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E.U. Must Ensure Trade Policy Makes 'Real Contribution' To SDGs, Does Not Promote Ill-Health

EURACTIV: The E.U. is no progressive free trader: It’s exporting chronic diseases to Latin America
George Thurley, policy officer on Healthy Trade at European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

“…[T]rade deals bring trade-offs, and the E.U. has apparently chosen to put the trade goals of European tobacco companies ahead of their own commitments to sustainable development at home and abroad. … If the E.U. truly wants to be the global progressive trading power, it needs to make sure its trade policy does not promote ill-health, and instead makes a real contribution to the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. … The E.U. should kick tobacco lobbyists in all their guises out of all trade policy and negotiations. … The E.U.’s current raft of trade deals, lacking regard for health at home or abroad, are neither free nor fair. The Commission must take … steps to improve the credibility and coherence of its trade policy” (5/24).

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Michel Sidibé Should Voluntarily Suspend Himself As UNAIDS Executive Director While Expert Panel Examines His Response To Sexual Misconduct Claims At Agency

The Lancet: Offline: Sexual and reproductive rights — health and hypocrisy
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…Michel Sidibé has done much that is good at UNAIDS. … And yet his responses to allegations of sexual misconduct at UNAIDS have been disappointing. … [T]he growing schism over his leadership only shows how divided the AIDS community has become … There are calls for Sidibé to resign or to be fired. Neither outcome should happen. The UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board … issued its terms of reference for an Independent Expert Panel on sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse at the UNAIDS secretariat. The panel will deliver its report by December. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres must then decide Sidibé’s fate. In the meantime, the right response should surely be that Sidibé voluntarily suspends himself during the period of this inquiry. Voluntary suspension would enable an acting executive director … to defuse a disablingly acrimonious dispute and restore confidence in UNAIDS. Defending sexual and reproductive health and rights leaves no room for hypocrisy” (5/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Examines U.S. Support For Global Health Security At WHA, Contradictory Actions Of Trump Administration

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: U.S. voices strong support for health security in Geneva while curtailing support in Washington
Rabita Aziz, writer at “Science Speaks” and senior global health policy specialist at IDSA, discusses U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar’s remarks to the World Health Assembly on strengthening global health security, writing, “The comments in Geneva stand in contrast with administration actions that have included repeated proposals to cut funding that supports global health response and capacity strengthening and have led to the disbanding of the global health security office at the National Security Council” (5/23).

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WHO Provides Updates On Topics Addressed At 71st WHA

WHO: Seventy-First World Health Assembly update, 23 May
This post provides an update on topics addressed at the 71st World Health Assembly, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ebola outbreak; a report from the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme; health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory; access to medicines and vaccines; and a review of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation, and Intellectual Property (5/23).

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Global HIV/AIDS Efforts Provide Blueprint For Addressing NCDs

BMJ Opinion: Svetlana Axelrod and Katie Dain: A blueprint for tackling NCDs
Svetlana Axelrod, assistant director general for NCDs and mental health at the WHO, and Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance and commissioner on the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs, and both co-chairs of the WHO Civil Society Working Group on the Third United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs, discuss challenges to addressing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), writing, “We are at a tipping point. … By learning from the successes of the AIDS epidemic, this is our opportunity to learn from history and deliver justice to those needlessly suffering. We have the blueprint, now it’s time to act” (5/23).

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Global Frameworks Recognize Link Between Malaria, Food Security

Tropical Health Matters: Global Frameworks Link Malaria and Food Security
Bill Brieger, professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, discusses the link between malaria and food security in three global frameworks: the Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Brieger writes, “A thorough reading of the three mentioned documents/frameworks importantly shows that malaria and food security do not exist in isolation. Their potential interaction and intersection happen in a context of poverty, the environment, and climate change” (5/23).

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From the U.S. Government

HHS Secretary Azar Participates In Second Day Of 2018 World Health Assembly

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Readout of Secretary Azar’s Second Day of Participation at the 2018 World Health Assembly
This post provides an update on HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s second day at the 71st World Health Assembly, highlighting some of the discussions and meetings in which the secretary has participated on topics such as global health security, the current status of the Ebola outbreak in DRC, and the private sector’s role in addressing communicable and noncommunicable diseases (5/23).

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USAID Works With Ugandan Government To Scale Up Child Nutrition Interventions

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Fighting Malnutrition Through Diversified Diets
Kate Consavage, a nutrition communications and knowledge management adviser in USAID’s Office of Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition, discusses the global burden of malnutrition and describes USAID’s work “with the government of Uganda to build national and local government-level systems that are critical for scaling up nutrition interventions.” This post originally appeared on May 11 in USAID’s “2030: Ending Extreme Poverty in This Generation” publication on Medium (5/23).

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From KFF

KFF Updates Fact Sheet On Key U.S. Government Officials In Global Health

Kaiser Family Foundation: Key Global Health Positions and Officials in the U.S. Government
This updated fact sheet lists U.S. government positions and officials related to global health operations, including links to agencies and officials’ profiles, when available (5/23).

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