KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Report On Final Days Of World Health Assembly

CBS News: World Health Organization removes “gender identity disorder” from list of mental illnesses (Lewis, 5/28).

Devex: Transparency, migrant health wrap up 72nd World Health Assembly (Ravelo/Chadwick, 5/29).

Global Health NOW: A View Inside the Whirlwind: Loyce Pace on #WHA72 (Simpson, 5/28).

NPR: Snakebites And Kissing Bugs Among Surprise Items On World Health Agenda (Simpson, 5/28).

NPR: WHO Redefines Burnout As A ‘Syndrome’ Linked To Chronic Stress At Work (Chatterjee/Wroth, 5/28).

NPR: Is ‘Gaming Disorder’ An Illness? WHO Says Yes, Adding It To Its List Of Diseases (Kamenetz, 5/28).

TIME: The World Health Organization Will Stop Classifying Transgender People as Having a ‘Mental Disorder’ (Haynes, 5/28).

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U.K., Germany, Hungary Disassociate From Resolution On Drug Pricing Transparency Passed By World Health Assembly

The Guardian: U.K. refuses to back ‘game-changing’ resolution on drug pricing
“The U.K. government has refused to sign up to a global resolution on greater transparency for drug pricing. The resolution urges governments and others buying health products to share information on actual prices paid, and pushes for greater transparency on patents, clinical trial results, and other factors affecting pricing from laboratories to patients. … [T]he U.K., Germany, and Hungary have disassociated themselves from the resolution, which had already been watered down…” (Lamble, 5/28).

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Conflict, Early Marriage, Lack Of Access To Education Impact 690M Children Worldwide Despite Some Progress, Save The Children Report Says

Al Jazeera: A quarter of world’s children robbed of their childhood: Report
“An estimated 690 million children are being robbed of their childhood today due to conflict, early marriage, and exclusion from education, among other factors, even as progress was made over the last two decades, according to an international aid group. In its annual report published on Tuesday, Save the Children, said the overall situation for children has improved in 173 of 176 countries since 2000, but one in four under the age of 18 is still being deprived of the right to a safe and healthy childhood. Those living or fleeing conflict zones are among the most vulnerable, it said…” (Aziz, 5/28).

Additional coverage of the Save the Children report is available from Devex, Foreign Policy, The Telegraph, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and VOA News.

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More Secure Environment Needed To End DRC Ebola Outbreak, U.N. Official Says; MSF Warns Contact Tracing Too Low

Associated Press: Aid group: Most new Ebola cases were not known contacts
“The World Health Organization emphasized progress in the fight against Ebola in eastern Congo even as Doctors Without Borders warned Tuesday that efforts to trace new cases to previous ones are largely failing. WHO emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan told reporters in Geneva that disease surveillance has improved even as the number of attacks against health workers rose three-fold over the last five months. … Doctors Without Borders, which pulled out of Ebola treatment centers in Butembo and Katwa earlier this year because of the violence, said contact tracing is still too low…” (Keaten/Larson, 5/28).

CIDRAP News: WHO experts say violence preventing end of Ebola outbreak
“[Tuesday] experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) said the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is being fueled by violent security incidents. ‘The outbreak could be stopped … but without a secure environment it’s not possible,’ said Matshidiso Moeti, MBBS, MSc, WHO regional director for Africa, in a teleconference…” (Soucheray, 5/28).

Reuters: East Congo villagers kill Ebola health worker, loot clinic
“A mob in eastern Congo killed an Ebola health worker and looted a clinic [on Saturday], the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, underscoring a breakdown in public trust that is hampering efforts to contain the deadly virus. … Health workers have been attacked six times in the last eight days, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the closing session of the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva on Tuesday…” (Mahamba et al., 5/29).

U.N. News: DR Congo: Strengthened effort against Ebola is paying off, but insecurity still major constraint — U.N. health agency
“…To strengthen the coordination of the response and ‘create a much more enabling environment,’ this week, the deputy head of the DRC peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, David Gressly — newly appointed U.N. emergency Ebola response coordinator — will be arriving in the city of Butembo, at the epicenter of the outbreak. Among several other key objectives, his role will be to help strengthen the DRC government’s engagement around security, in a bid to reconcile various warring parties in the area. In parallel, a scale-up of operations in the region from health and humanitarian organizations is also expected…” (5/28).

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Nigeria, Africa Could Eliminate Wild Polio Virus Next Year If No New Cases Detected, WHO Regional Director Says

Reuters: WHO counts down Africa polio clock despite fears of new outbreak
“Africa could be declared free of endemic ‘wild’ polio early next year if a strain last seen in Nigeria almost three years ago does not resurface, the World Health Organization’s Africa director said on Tuesday. … Wild polio still circulated in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and an environmental sample was found in sewage in Iran earlier this month, but all recent African cases have been ‘vaccine-derived’ polio…” (Miles, 5/28).

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North Korea Builds Military Power While Citizens Starve, U.N. Human Rights Report Says

VOA News: U.N.: North Korea Builds Its Military While Its People Starve
“The U.N. human rights office has accused the North Korean government of starving its people while building up its military power. It finds people are trapped in a system of endemic corruption and repression, which keeps them mired in lifelong poverty and deprivation. The report is based on first-hand accounts of more than 200 escapees interviewed in South Korea during the past two years…” (Schlein, 5/28).

Washington Post: North Koreans struggle to survive amid corruption and crackdowns on markets, says U.N. report
“…The U.N. human rights office called for drastic change in North Korea, where failure of centralized economic planning has pushed people to seek their livelihoods in a precarious parallel economy. … The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, called for greater attention to the rights of ordinary people in North Korea while the international community pursues diplomatic engagement with the regime…” (Kim, 5/28).

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Continued Military Operations In Syria's Idlib Interrupting Humanitarian Operations, Including At Health Facilities, Immunization Centers, U.N. Official Says

Associated Press: U.N. warns more Idlib military action will overwhelm aid needs
“The U.N. deputy humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that further military operations in northwest Syria’s Idlib province will overwhelm aid efforts, stressing that an estimated 3 million people are caught up in crossfire in the last rebel stronghold. Assistant Secretary-General Ursula Mueller told the Security Council that humanitarian operations in many areas where there are active hostilities have been suspended, explaining that many of the U.N.’s humanitarian partners have been displaced. This means the suspension of health, nutrition, and protection services previously supporting some 600,000 people, including 21 immunization centers that have ceased operations, Mueller said. It also includes at least 49 health facilities that have suspended or partially suspended activities for security reasons, she said…” (Lederer, 5/28).

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Argentine Lawmakers To Introduce New Legislation To Legalize Abortion After Similar Measure Failed To Pass Senate Last Year

Associated Press: Abortion-rights activists renew battle in Argentina
“Argentine activists launched a renewed effort Tuesday seeking to legalize elective abortions in the homeland of Pope Francis after narrowly falling short last year. Lawmakers said they would introduce a bill that would legalize abortion for pregnancies up to 14 weeks. A similar measure last year passed the lower house of Congress but was defeated in the Senate under heavy opposition by religious groups…” (Henao, 5/28).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: AP Exclusive: Sackler foreign firm caught up in opioid probe (Galofaro/D’Emilio, 5/29).

Devex: Global Financing Facility prepares for leadership shake-up (Edwards, 5/29).

Devex: Q&A: Igniting the power of girls and women in global health (5/29).

Devex: Child hunger threatens Africa’s economy, report says (Root, 5/28).

Homeland Preparedness News: FDA authorizes first Zika diagnostic test for marketing (Galford, 5/28).

The Lancet HIV: Nigeria’s new HIV/AIDS conundrum (Adepoju, June 2019).

STAT: Fertility clinics around the world asked ‘CRISPR babies’ scientist for how-to help (Begley, 5/28).

U.N. News: Artificial intelligence summit focuses on fighting hunger, climate crisis and transition to ‘smart sustainable cities’ (5/28).

VOA News: Pakistan Trying to Grapple With Its Biggest HIV Outbreak (Gul, 5/28).

VOA News: Severe Drought Puts 2 Million Somalis at Starvation Risk (Nor, 5/28).

WIRED: The Radical Plan To Change How Antibiotics Get Developed (McKenna, 5/28).

Xinhua News: U.N. team, donors assess responses to Cyclone Idai devastation in Zimbabwe (5/28).

Xinhua News: U.N. warns poor waste management threatens human settlement globally (5/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.K. Should Continue To Invest In Foreign Aid Through DFID

Devex: Opinion: The death of DFID?
Alex Thier, chief of policy, planning, and learning at USAID from 2013-2015, director of U.S. assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2010-2013, and former executive director of the Overseas Development Institute

“Of the countless casualties piling up on the Brexit funeral pyre, there may be a new one coming with far-reaching consequences beyond British shores: the potential demise of the U.K. Department for International Development. … The threat to DFID’s existence and independence comes from Boris Johnson, the arch-Brexiteer and former British foreign secretary and London mayor who is most likely to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister. As foreign secretary, Johnson maneuvered to absorb DFID into the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. … This play for the robust resources of British foreign aid is not new. The Tories have tended to want to consolidate the power of the foreign aid purse into the foreign office, and Labour to create an independent entity. … The core lesson of the last few years — with climate crises, pandemics, and mass displacement — must be that so-called ‘development’ problems are actually fundamental national security issues. The ability to deal with extremism, migration, and threats to the global food supply are top priorities on anyone’s list, and foreign assistance will be an absolutely critical tool to addressing them. If anything, more diplomatic power must be redirected to addressing these problems, rather than winnowing the aid resources. … If Johnson and Britain want influence and results, they will do well to invest their money effectively in things that are critical to planetary stability and survival. That’s what DFID is there for” (5/28).

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Developing Trust With Local Communities Vital To Ebola Response In DRC

New Humanitarian: Resetting the Ebola response in Congo means trusting the people affected
Juliet Bedford, director at Anthrologica, and Melissa Leach, director at the Institute of Development Studies

“After more than 1,240 deaths since the Ebola outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo last August, international agencies and partners are calling for a reset in the Ebola response — requiring the adoption of a strengthened strategy centered on community ownership. … [I]t is only through strengthening community-based surveillance and locally led response actions that the outbreak will be controlled. … Building capacities at the local level is, however, only part of the solution. ‘Trust’ works both ways. It is impressed on communities that they must trust the response, but it is vital that the response trusts communities. … [C]reating more space to enable meaningful community participation in this context is urgently needed. This will not be an easy reset, but it is essential if the current outbreak is to come to an end” (5/24).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Opinion: Ebola patients are human beings not biosecurity threats
Valérie Gruhn, nurse who has worked for MSF in DRC, Iraq, and Kenya

“…Behind every Ebola ‘case’ were real people that were afraid — afraid to have their limited belongings burned to prevent the disease from spreading, afraid they wouldn’t be able to celebrate the lives of their loved ones when burying them, afraid they would be taken against their will into a treatment center. … It will not be possible to end this outbreak without building the trust of those affected. We have to listen to the needs of communities, see them as people, give them choices when it comes to managing their health, and involve them in every aspect of the Ebola response” (5/28).

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First Ladies Have Leadership Role To Play In Efforts To End HIV/AIDS

STAT: First ladies can help lead the fight against HIV/AIDS
Agnes Mahomva, Zimbabwe country director for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and permanent secretary of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care

“…[W]omen need to lead on HIV/AIDS. A personal understanding of gender inequality and disempowerment gives them greater insight into overcoming those obstacles and better serving vulnerable populations. … [F]irst ladies have a special place in the rich history of women’s leadership on AIDS. … Citizens often see their first ladies as role models and moral leaders — a natural advantage in delivering sociocultural messages to the public. … First ladies also can leverage their authority to publicly denounce stigma and discrimination — social forces that interfere with diagnosis and care by forcing people living with HIV into the shadows. … [M]ost importantly, first ladies can play a crucial role in amplifying all women’s voices. Through their positions in national leadership, they have a natural platform for speech and advocacy that other women may struggle to access. Such privilege bestows opportunity — not just to make a difference themselves, but to make heard the voices and empower the actions of women of all ages who are living with and affected by HIV…” (5/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

New Report Outlines 6 Steps To Preventing Maternal Mortality Globally

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: New Report: Six Steps Towards Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality
Nazra Amin, intern at the Wilson Center, and Yuval Cohen, intern with the Maternal Health Initiative at the Wilson Center, discuss results from a new report outlining six steps to preventing maternal deaths globally. The report, by Sarah B. Barnes and Elizabeth Wang of the Maternal Health Initiative and Geeta Lal of UNFPA, recommends the following steps, according to Amin and Cohen: “1. Take a rights-based approach to women’s health. 2. Follow a holistic life-cycle approach to woman-centered care … 3. Pay attention to emerging issues: comprehensive sexuality education and non-communicable diseases. 4. Acknowledge the impact of unsafe abortions and promote quality post-abortion care. 5. Ensure accountability at all levels and focus on data collection, disaggregation, and reporting. 6. Do not silo investments in women and newborns” (5/29).

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U.N. Agencies Recognize Importance Of Prioritizing Menstrual Hygiene On World Day

UNFPA: Menstruation is not a girls’ or women’s issue — it’s a human rights issue
In recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day, recognized annually on May 28, UNFPA Representative for Somalia Anders Thomsen calls for the prioritization of menstrual hygiene and working “towards the elimination of violence against women and girls, and the guarantee of all rights, including reproductive rights, for all women everywhere” (5/28).

UNICEF: Breaking the Cycle of Silence — Menstruation Matters
Sara Alhattab, multimedia content creator at UNICEF Jordan, discusses challenges that girls face due to menstruation and limited access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, and highlights UNICEF’s efforts “to support adolescent girls by providing better sanitation facilities and hygiene education in schools so that every girl is supported and empowered to learn and reach her full potential” (5/28).

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WHA Delegates Approve Creation Of World Chagas Day

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative: Following 110 years of neglect, an official day for Chagas disease is declared
“The International Federation of People Affected by Chagas Disease (FINDECHAGAS) … celebrates the creation of the World Day of People Affected by Chagas at the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. The Federation has for many years celebrated April 14th as a non-official day dedicated to people living with Chagas disease and has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to recognize it as an official day. … The inclusion of World Chagas Day in the global health agenda may help to attract international attention to Chagas and mobilize resources to increase access to diagnostics and treatment for those affected…” (5/24).

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