KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Examine U.S., WHO Relationship, U.S. Leadership, CDC Role In Pandemic Response, U.N. Human Rights Statement On Access To Abortion In American States

Nature: What the growing rift between the U.S. and WHO means for COVID-19 and global health
“Experts in health policy are contending with the real possibility that the United States will pull away from the World Health Organization (WHO), fracturing a relationship that began in the wake of the Second World War. They say that the repercussions could range from a resurgence of polio and malaria, to barriers in the flow of information on COVID-19. Scientific partnerships around the world would also be damaged, and the United States could lose influence over global health initiatives, including those to distribute drugs and vaccines for the new coronavirus as they become available, say researchers…” (Maxmen, 5/27).

POLITICO: U.S. abdicating global leadership role, leader of European development bank says
“The leader of one of the world’s most prominent development banks today accused the United States — its biggest shareholder — of a lack of leadership, and called for a new global agreement for development financing to help repair economic damage from the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking at a joint POLITICO-Atlantic Council virtual event, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) President Suma Chakrabarti said the amount of private and public financing now required to fix economies battered by coronavirus is a quantum leap beyond the current capacity of multilateral financial institutions…” (Heath, 5/27).

U.N. News: U.S. states ‘manipulating’ COVID-19 pandemic to restrict abortion access, rights experts charge
“Independent U.N. human rights experts fear that some authorities in the United States are using the COVID-19 pandemic to restrict access to abortion, with at least eight states suspending procedures deemed medically unnecessary. Members of the U.N. Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls issued a statement on Wednesday expressing regret that states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee ‘appear to be manipulating the crisis’ to curb women’s reproductive rights…” (5/27).

WBUR: The CDC And The Pandemic: A Look Inside The Public Health Agency
“The CDC was once one of the most respected public health agencies in the world. Now, it’s barely visible in the middle of a pandemic. So what happened?…” (Scheimer/Chakrabarti, 5/28).

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WHO Launches Foundation To Broaden Base Of Donors, Provide Greater Flexibility To Respond To Current, Future Health Challenges

The Telegraph: WHO creates foundation to tap into new donations, including from the public
“For the first time in its 72-year-history the World Health Organization (WHO) will welcome donations from the public, individual donors, and corporate partners as it launches a foundation arm to help it tackle the most pressing global health challenges. The historic move comes just weeks after the U.S. threatened to permanently halt funding to WHO. … [T]he launch of the WHO Foundation, will broaden the body’s donor base, providing sustainable funding models and more flexibility for the WHO to respond to present and future health challenges, said Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus…” (Kelly-Linden, 5/28).

Additional coverage of the launch of the WHO Foundation is available from Devex, Reuters, and U.N. News.

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European Commission Proposes $825B Coronavirus Recovery Package, Including Additional $18.2B In Foreign Aid

Devex: After COVID-19, European Commission pushes for more foreign aid
“The European Commission on Wednesday proposed an additional €16.5 billion ($18.2 billion) for the European Union’s foreign spending as part of its COVID-19 recovery package, sparking relief among NGOs that had feared further cuts. The proposal, which must still be approved by E.U. states, would allocate €86 billion to the bloc’s main development instrument for 2021-2027, up 8.6% form the commission’s first outline in 2018. The increase is even greater when compared with the latest numbers proposed at a meeting of heads of state in February, where the instrument was down to €75.5 billion. The additional resources would be mostly drawn from a €750 billion recovery fund, also announced Wednesday, to be raised by borrowing on financial markets…” (Chadwick, 5/28).

Washington Post: E.U. proposes $825 billion coronavirus rescue plan giving Brussels power to raise money for first time
“European Union leaders on Wednesday proposed an $825 billion coronavirus rescue plan that would give Brussels major new tax and spending powers of the sort held by a federal state. Proponents are calling it Europe’s ‘Hamiltonian moment,’ after the 1790 agreement, engineered by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, that transformed the United States from a loose confederation of former colonies into a true federation with a central government. If approved, the E.U. plan could bind the bloc together at a moment when it seemed at risk of spinning apart under the pressure of the novel coronavirus pandemic. If the plan fails — either to win support or to deliver benefits — euroskeptic politicians could be emboldened, both in rich nations such as Germany and struggling ones such as Italy…” (Birnbaum et al., 5/27).

Additional coverage of the E.C. spending proposal is available from New York Times, NPR, and Wall Street Journal.

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Health Experts Warn Against 'Vaccine Nationalism' In Race To Develop Coronavirus Vaccine

NPR: In The Battle Against COVID-19, A Risk Of ‘Vaccine Nationalism’
“The race to defeat the coronavirus can be viewed in two very distinct ways. One is based on international cooperation, with a vaccine treated as a ‘global public good.’ The other is competitive, a battle between nations that’s being described as ‘vaccine nationalism.’ Many are hoping for the former, but are seeing signs of the latter…” (Myre, 5/27).

Wall Street Journal: ‘Vaccine Nationalism’: A New Dynamic in the Race to Quash Coronavirus
“…The resulting picture is what public-health experts call ‘vaccine nationalism,’ as the international pursuit for a desperately needed shot shifts into a contest of which world power can immunize its population first. A coronavirus vaccine would be a monumental prize for the first country able to manufacture it at scale, a civilizational triumph comparable to the moon landing. It would allow the winner to revive its economy months ahead of others and then select which allies get shipments next, centering the global recovery on its medical output…” (Loftus et al., 5/27).

Additional coverage of issues related to SARS-CoV-2 vaccine research is available from CNN, Reuters, and Washington Post.

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COVID-19 Impacting Africa's Efforts Against TB, Malaria; India Faces Locust Swarms Amid Pandemic; E.U. Governments Ban Malaria Drug For Coronavirus; 14M At Risk Of Hunger In Latin America; Number Of Cases In Gulf Arab States Passes 200K

AFRICA

Devex: Strengthening Africa’s ability to ‘decode’ the coronavirus (Jerving, 5/28).

DW: Coronavirus hampers Africa’s fight against malaria, TB (Cascais, 5/27).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Obstacles to COVID-19 control in east Africa (Nakkazi, 6/1).

Reuters: Africa hit by sustained community spread of coronavirus: disease centre (Paravicini, 5/28).

Reuters: ‘No masks, no gloves’: Kenyan government under fire over quarantine centers (Mersie/Houreld, 5/27).

Science: Study tells ‘remarkable story’ about COVID-19’s deadly rampage through a South African hospital (Nordling, 5/25).

ASIA

AP: Virus, heat wave and locusts form perfect storm in India (Schmall, 5/28).

New York Times: ‘Overtaken by Aliens’: India Faces Another Plague as Locusts Swarm (Gettleman/Raj, 5/27).

Science: As India’s lockdown ends, exodus from cities risks spreading COVID-19 far and wide (Chandrashekhar, 5/27).

EUROPE

Financial Times: U.K. had no stocks of protective gowns when coronavirus struck (Hodgson, 5/27).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: COVID-19 lockdown of Roma settlements in Slovakia (Holt, 6/1).

Reuters: E.U. governments ban malaria drug for COVID-19, trial paused as safety fears grow (Blamont et al., 5/27).

LATIN AMERICA

Al Jazeera: Venezuela health system ‘grossly unprepared’ for COVID-19 crisis (5/26).

AP: U.N.: Virus could push 14 million into hunger in Latin America (Armario, 5/28).

AP: Indigenous leader calls for help in Brazil’s biggest reserve (Fisch/Savarese, 5/28).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Death threats after a trial on chloroquine for COVID-19 (Ektorp, 6/1).

New Humanitarian: How Brazil’s COVID-19 response has fallen to community leaders (Osborn, 5/27).

NPR: During Colombia’s Coronavirus Lockdown, Needy Residents Signal SOS With Red Rags (Otis, 5/27).

Reuters: In Brazil’s shadow, laid-back Uruguay curbs COVID-19 (Werner et al., 5/28).

Reuters: Most Brazilians want tougher lockdowns even as economic cost mounts (Simões/McGeever, 5/27).

Scientific American: How Anti-Science Attitudes Have Impacted the Coronavirus Pandemic in Brazil (Fraser, 5/27).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: ‘No time’: Latin America’s slum dwellers lead coronavirus battle (Teixeria et al., 5/25).

Wall Street Journal: Brazil’s Daily Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses That of U.S. (Lewis/Magalhaes, 5/27).

MIDDLE EAST

The Guardian: Fast fashion: Pakistan garment workers fight for rights amid Covid-19 crisis (Toppa, 5/27).

New Humanitarian: Palestinians in Lebanon say coronavirus help is too little, too late (Sewell/Chehayeb, 5/27).

Reuters: Total number of coronavirus cases in Gulf Arab states surpasses 200,000: Reuters tally (Barrington et al., 5/27).

NORTH AMERICA

AP: AP-NORC poll: Half of Americans would get a COVID-19 vaccine (Neergaard et al., 5/27).

The Guardian: More than 100,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. Here is that tragic story in figures (5/27).

New York Times: As a Federal Coronavirus Expert Frets, the Capital Moves to Reopen (Steinhauer, 5/27).

STAT: When hard data are ‘heartbreaking’: Testing blitz in San Francisco shows Covid-19 struck mostly low-wage workers (McFarling, 5/28).

Washington Post: Military virus aid could look different if 2nd wave hits (Baldor, 5/27).

Washington Post: Coronavirus on the border (Sieff, 5/27).

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COVID-19 Pandemic Impacting Girls' Access To School, Maternal, Child, Women's Health, Worsening Period Poverty

Devex: Many girls won’t go back to school when lockdown is over
“Around 90% of the world’s schoolchildren were confined to their homes in April, and if history is any indication, many girls won’t return to school once lockdowns are lifted. As a result, the coronavirus pandemic could threaten decades of progress for gender equality and girls’ education, experts say. They point to past experiences, such as school closures during the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, which led to girls remaining out of school in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone…” (Smith, 5/27).

The Guardian: Denied beds, pain relief and contact with their babies: the women giving birth amid Covid-19
“…Unable to have a birth companion, coerced into undergoing medical interventions, denied pain relief, and separated from their newborns. This is the new reality for expectant and new mothers in many countries, as experts warn the coronavirus outbreak is leading to an infringement of women’s birth rights…” (Summers, 5/28).

The Independent: Menstrual Hygiene Day: Period poverty is getting worse during lockdown, charity warns
“Shortages of sanitary products and price hikes during the coronavirus pandemic have led to a rise in period poverty, a children’s charity has warned. As countries around the globe have been forced into lockdowns to help curb the spread of Covid-19, people across the globe are facing increasing struggles to access the sanitary products and facilities they need to manage their periods hygienically and with dignity…” (Young, 5/28).

Reuters: Pandemic worsens pain of periods for women across the world: NGO
“…About three-quarters of health professionals in 30 countries surveyed by Plan International, from Kenya to Australia, reported supply shortages, while 58% complained of rising and prohibitive prices of sanitary products. Around half the respondents cited reduced access to clean water to help manage periods, and a quarter worried about greater stigma or discriminative cultural practices linked to menstruation for women who were trapped at home by lockdowns…” (McPherson, 5/28).

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Researchers Begin Examining Epidemiology, Surveillance Of COVID-19, How Nations' Responses Differed

New York Times: Coronavirus Epidemics Began Later Than Believed, Study Concludes
“The first confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe and the United States, discovered in January, did not ignite the epidemics that followed, according to a close analysis of hundreds of viral genomes. Instead, the outbreaks plaguing much of the West began weeks later, the study concluded. The revised timeline may clarify nagging ambiguities about the arrival of the pandemic…” (Zimmer, 5/27).

NPR: Some Countries Have Brought New Cases Down To Nearly Zero. How Did They Do It?
“…Although the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow globally, there are places that have managed to successfully control COVID-19…” (Beaubien, 5/27).

STAT: Wastewater testing gains traction as a Covid-19 early warning system
“What only a month ago had been merely an intriguing laboratory finding about analyzing wastewater to detect the virus that causes Covid-19 has quickly leapt to the threshold of real-world use. With swab tests still plagued by capacity issues, inaccuracy, and slow turnaround, testing wastewater for the novel coronavirus’ genetic signature could give communities a faster way to spot a rebound in cases — as soon as this fall…” (Begley, 5/28).

Washington Post: Researchers ponder why covid appears more deadly in the U.S. and Europe than in Asia
“It is one of the many mysteries of the coronavirus pandemic: Why has the death toll from covid-19 apparently been lower in Asia than in Western Europe and North America? Even allowing for different testing policies and counting methods, and questions over full disclosure of cases, stark differences in mortality across the world have caught the attention of researchers trying to crack the coronavirus code. Parts of Asia reacted quickly to the threat and largely started social distancing earlier on. But researchers are also examining other factors, including differences in genetics and immune system responses, separate virus strains and regional contrasts in obesity levels and general health…” (Denyer/Achenbach, 5/28).

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U.K. Home Office To Expand Overseas Development Assistance Portfolio, Recruit ODA Director

Devex: U.K. Home Office wants to ‘significantly expand’ ODA portfolio
“The department, which mostly spends aid on issues around migration, is recruiting a director of ODA…” (Worley, 5/27).

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Outspoken Playwright, AIDS Activist Larry Kramer Dies At 84

New York Times: Larry Kramer, Playwright and Outspoken AIDS Activist, Dies at 84
“Larry Kramer, the noted writer whose raucous, antagonistic campaign for an all-out response to the AIDS crisis helped shift national health policy in the 1980s and ’90s, died on Wednesday morning in Manhattan. He was 84. … An author, essayist, and playwright — notably hailed for his autobiographical 1985 play, ‘The Normal Heart’ — Mr. Kramer had feet in both the world of letters and the public sphere. In 1981 he was a founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the first service organization for HIV-positive people … He was then a founder of a more militant group, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), whose street actions demanding a speedup in AIDS drugs research and an end to discrimination against gay men and lesbians severely disrupted the operations of government offices, Wall Street, and the Roman Catholic hierarchy…” (Lewis, 5/27).

Additional coverage of Larry Kramer’s legacy is available from CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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More News In Global Health

AP: Through kids’ eyes: Virus outbreak brings sadness, fear, joy (Irvine, 5/27).

The Atlantic: Listen: It’s a Small World Health Organization (Hamblin/Wells, 5/27).

CIDRAP News: Antibiotic use rising for sick kids in low-resource nations (Dall, 5/26).

Devex: World Food Programme pulls COVID-19 fundraising images after backlash (Chadwick, 5/27).

Financial Times: Designing insurance for the next pandemic (Ralph et al., 5/27).

Forbes: Why ‘Irresponsible’ Governments Are Failing To Protect Citizens From Covid-19, Climate Change (Vetter, 5/26).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Wolbachia, a bacterium fighting on our side (Burki, 6/1).

Nature: The epic battle against coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories (Ball/Maxmen, 5/27).

New Humanitarian: EXCLUSIVE: Health woes, outrage, and toxins near Ethiopia gold mine (Gardner, 5/27).

POLITICO: NIH director: ‘No way of knowing’ if coronavirus escaped from Wuhan lab (Brennan, 5/27).

Reuters: First poverty, now pandemic threatens access to electricity (Rowling, 5/28).

U.N. News: COVID-19: A ‘new and deadly threat’ for civilians caught up in violence (5/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Women's, Children's Health

BMJ Global Health: Protecting children in low-income and middle-income countries from COVID-19
Salahuddin Ahmed, research director at the Projahnmo Research Foundation and PhD candidate with the NIHR Global Health Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE), and colleagues (5/26).

Borgen Magazine: Why the Global Health Security Act Is So Important
Sara Olk, writer for the Borgen Project (5/28).

The Conversation: Periods in a pandemic: women and girls in low-income settlements need more support
Caroline Kabiru, senior research scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center (5/28).

Devex: A reminder during COVID-19 — Africa is not a monolith
Hloni Bookholane, medical doctor, Fulbright scholar, and master of public health student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (5/27).

Devex: Key considerations for tracing COVID-19 with geospatial data
Cassandre Pignon, West Africa regional director at IDinsight (5/26).

Devex: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate
Marni Sommer, associate professor of sociomedical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University; Virginia Kamowa, menstrual health and hygiene specialist at the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and co-coordinator of the Global Menstrual Collective; and Therese Mahon, regional programs manager for South Asia and global lead for menstrual health at WaterAid (5/28).

Devex: To accelerate search for COVID-19 vaccine, look to HIV and act globally
Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC (5/27).

Financial Times: To beat Covid-19, find today’s superspreading ‘Typhoid Marys’
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator at the Financial Times and visiting lecturer in science journalism at City University in London (5/27).

Foreign Affairs: Where Is Russia’s Strongman in the Coronavirus Crisis?
Alexander Baunov, senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center and editor in chief of Carnegie.ru (5/27).

Foreign Affairs: The COVID-19 Crisis in Emerging Markets Demands a Once-in-a-Century Response
Brad W. Setser, Steven A. Tananbaum senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (5/27).

Foreign Policy: Yes, Blame WHO for Its Disastrous Coronavirus Response
Salvatore Babones, adjunct scholar at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney and associate professor at the University of Sydney (5/27).

New York Times: We Need a Voice for Public Health in the President’s Cabinet
Michael S. Sparer, chair of the department of health policy and management at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University (5/28).

Project Syndicate: How to Protect Refugees in a Pandemic
Agnes Igoye, senior Aspen New Voices fellow, Uganda’s deputy national coordinator for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, and head of the Ugandan Immigration Training Academy (5/27).

Project Syndicate: Central Asia’s Diverse COVID-19 Responses
Djoomart Otorbaev, prime minister of Kyrgyzstan from 2014-15 (5/27).

STAT: Challenge trials can speed development of a Covid-19 vaccine. Planning for them needs to start now
Josh Morrison, co-founder of 1Day Sooner (5/28).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Women and children will pay for this pandemic — unless we act
Kersti Kaljulaid, president of the Republic of Estonia; Helen Clark, board chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH); Jorge Alcocer Varela, Mexico’s secretary of health; and Graça Machel, founder of the Graça Machel Trust (5/27).

Washington Post: Iran’s strategy for fighting covid-19 could backfire
Amir A. Afkhami, associate professor of psychiatry, global health, and history at George Washington University (5/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Statements Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

Center for Global Development: Introducing the COVID-19 Multi-model Comparison Collaboration
Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy and senior fellow at CGD, and colleagues (5/27).

Center for Global Development: Disease Forecasting during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Have We Learned from Previous Outbreaks?
Hiral Shah, senior policy analyst at CGD, and colleagues (5/27).

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: COVID-19 Threatens to Derail Fight Against HIV, TB and Malaria
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund (5/27).

Health Affairs: Ending The COVID-19 Pandemic Requires Effective Multilateralism
Marco Schäferhoff, co-founder of Open Consultants and former contractor for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the WHO, and Gavin Yamey, professor of global health and public policy at Duke University (5/27).

Intrahealth International’s “Vital”: Leveraging the Power of Digital Technologies and Data Systems against COVID-19
Rebecca Saxton-Fox, team lead with the Center for Digital Development at the USAID Global Development Lab, and colleagues (5/26).

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN): WATCH: Responding to COVID-19 Globally: Policy Recommendations for Effective Foreign Assistance (5/26).

ONE: The collective effort gives me hope, but we can’t turn inward
Jen Kates, senior vice president and director of Global Health & HIV Policy at KFF (5/27).

Science Speaks: China CDC Director on COVID-19: ” …the market is just another victim. The virus existed before the infections happened in the market”
Daniel Lucey, infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center and senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neill Institute (5/27).

Science Speaks: Cost of pandemic includes setbacks to South Africa tuberculosis testing, diagnoses
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer at Science Speaks (5/27).

U.N. Environment Programme: COVID-19: Four Sustainable Development Goals that help future-proof global recovery (5/26).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Newsletter Highlights World No Tobacco Day

CDC’s “Around the World”: World No Tobacco Day
The latest issue of CDC’s “Around the World” newsletter recognizes World No Tobacco Day and highlights a collection of resources on youth and tobacco (May 2020).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of May 28, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 have been added to the tracker (5/28).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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KFF Updates PEPFAR Fact Sheet

KFF: The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
This fact sheet looks at the history, funding, and future outlook of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. government’s major global initiative to combat HIV/AIDS (5/27).

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