KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

31 U.S. Senators Send Letter To President Trump Urging Him To Cease 'Despicable Attacks' On Women's Health, Rights

Huffington Post: U.S. Senators Ask Trump To Stop Being Terrible For Women
“A hundred days after an unprecedented number of women around the world marched to protest President Donald Trump, 31 U.S. senators penned a letter asking him to cease his ‘despicable attacks’ on women’s health and women’s rights. ‘Fears of attacks on women’s health and the fundamental rights so many women value led to this historic march,’ Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) wrote Tuesday in the letter, which was co-signed by 29 other Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). … ‘We ask that you listen to the millions of people who have urged you to support women’s rights and cease these despicable attacks.’ The senators listed eight major ways Trump’s administration has hurt or tried to hurt women’s health in America and around the globe…” (Bassett, 5/2).

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NIH To Receive $2B Increase Under Bipartisan Congressional Budget Deal

Washington Post: Five big wins: Congress boosts medical science funding in key areas
“Congress unveiled a bipartisan budget late Sunday that contains a number of welcome surprises for researchers who had been panicking since March, when President Trump proposed deep funding cuts for science and health. Under the deal, the National Institutes of Health will get a $2 billion boost in fiscal year 2017, as it did the previous year. … The NIH budget continues support for key areas of research, such as precision medicine and neuroscience, that were priorities under President Barack Obama; adds funding to target diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer; and combats emerging threats such as antibiotic-resistant infections…” (Cha, 5/1).

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G20 Health Officials To Simulate Response To Potential Disease Outbreak At Upcoming Meeting

Associated Press: Top Health Officials to Simulate Disease Outbreak Response
“Top health officials from the 20 leading and emerging economies are planning to simulate their response to a possible global disease outbreak. A memo on the May 19-20 summit in Berlin states the meeting will include a four-hour ‘tabletop exercise’ involving ministers and representatives from international organizations. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo on Tuesday…” (5/2).

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Global Community Must Do More To End 'Impunity' For Health Care Worker, Facility Attacks, Report Says

Devex: ‘Staggering’ number of attacks on health care workers reported in 2016
“There was a ‘staggering’ — yet ultimately unknown — number of violent attacks on health care workers, patients, and facilities in 2016, stretching across at least 23 countries in conflict or states of political unrest, a new report has found. … [W]ithout a global data collection system on health care attacks, it remains difficult to capture an accurate assessment of the dangerous, sometimes deadly, landscape for many health care workers and their patients…” (Lieberman, 5/3).

NPR: Report: Health Workers Attacked In 23 Countries Last Year
“…Leonard Rubenstein, a lawyer who directs a program on human rights, health, and conflict at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, … is the editor of a new report called ‘Impunity Must End’ about aggression against health facilities and health workers globally last year. Syria is definitely the most dangerous place to practice medicine ‘in terms of the intensity and impact of the attacks,’ according to the report. The authors say at least 108 Syrian hospitals were hit in 2016, ‘most by Syrian government and Russian forces’…” (Beaubien, 5/3).

Global Health NOW: Ending Impunity for Attacks on Health Care: Q&A with Leonard S. Rubenstein
“… ‘Our findings cry out for a level of commitment and follow-through by the international community and individual governments that has been absent since the passage of Security Council Resolution 2286 a year ago,’ said Leonard S. Rubenstein, director of the Program on Human Rights, Health and Conflict at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. GHN spoke to Rubenstein to learn more about the findings in the report and where the [Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition] hopes to effect change…” (Myers, 5/3).

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HIV Researchers Discuss Prospect Of Ending AIDS At Fortune Brainstorm Health Meeting

Fortune: Fortune Brainstorm Health 2017 Livestream
“Our second Fortune Brainstorm Health conference is here! We kick things off on Tuesday, May 2 in San Diego, Calif., where we will convene a powerful community of leaders at the forefront of the revolution that is underway in 21st century health care…” (Nusca, 4/20).

Fortune: The Future of HIV Vaccine Development
“Drs. Larry Corey and Diane Havlir discuss what it will take to get to zero HIV infections worldwide at the Fortune Brainstorm Health conference, May 2nd, 2017…” (5/2).

TIME: Doctors Discuss What it Will Take to Rid the World of AIDS
“…Dr. Larry Corey, the principal investigator of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, recently launched a highly ambitious HIV vaccine study, which will test a protective antibody on thousands of people around the world. ‘I am cautiously optimistic,’ said Corey during a panel discussion at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference on Tuesday. Corey says researchers could start seeing very early results from the trials as early April 2019…” (Sifferlin, 5/2).

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Amid Yellow Fever Outbreak, Health Officials Urge Brazilians To Stop Killing Monkeys That Serve As Disease Beacons

New York Times: Brazil Yellow Fever Outbreak Spawns Alert: Stop Killing the Monkeys
“As fears spread in Brazil over the resurgence of yellow fever, health officials are issuing a warning: Stop killing the monkeys. … Infectious disease specialists say people are taking aim at the wrong target. Mosquitoes, not monkeys, are actually the vector for the virus, and the monkeys are dying from yellow fever in much higher numbers than people in Brazil. Those who kill the monkeys are making matters worse by depleting primate populations that serve as beacons for where yellow fever is spreading, epidemiologists said…” (Romero et al., 5/2).

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Number Of Children In Somalia With Acute Malnutrition Up 50% This Year, UNICEF Says

International Business Times: UNICEF revises upwards number of children in Somalia suffering from famine
“The number of children in Somalia suffering from acute malnutrition this year has ‘shot up’ by 50 percent, according to estimates by the United Nations’ children’s agency, UNICEF…” (Buchanan, 5/2).

U.N. News Centre: Somalia: 1.4M children to suffer acute malnutrition this year — U.N. agency
“… ‘The combination of drought, disease, and displacement are deadly for children, and we need to do far more, and faster, to save lives,’ Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Somalia representative. Somalia is in the midst of a drought after rains failed in November 2016, for a third year in the row. About 615,000 people looking for food and water have been displaced since then…” (5/2).

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7.7M People In Ethiopia Need Emergency Food Aid, As Drought Goes Overlooked, Underfunded

Washington Post: Ethiopia is facing a killer drought. But it’s going almost unnoticed.
“…On Thursday, the Ethiopian government increased its count of the number of people requiring emergency food aid from 5.6 million to 7.7 million, a move that aid agencies say was long overdue. The figure is expected to rise further as southeast Ethiopia confronts another fierce drought. But with food crises erupting across the continent and the government’s budget strained by last year’s drought, the money isn’t there to fight it. There could eventually be as many people in Ethiopia needing emergency food assistance as in Somalia and South Sudan combined…” (Schemm, 5/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

WHO Must Regain 'Primacy,' 'World's Trust' As Leading Health Agency Through Demonstrated Commitment To Transparency, Accountability

Devex: Opinion: A new deal for health
Sania Nishtar, founder and president of Heartfile, co-chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, and candidate for WHO director general

“…How can the WHO, as the world’s only universal membership multilateral agency and the world’s lead health agency, drive [toward the vision of health for all], given that the vision for health — universal attainment of the highest possible level of health and well-being — is a shared responsibility, especially in view of the fragmented nature of global, regional, and even some national systems. From my perspective, in order to deliver, first and foremost, the WHO must function to the highest possible standard of efficiency, transparency, and accountability, free from patronism and undue influence. … My vision for a new WHO focuses on the need for the organization to reclaim its primacy and regain the world’s trust as its lead health agency. I stand on my record as a builder and reformer, and someone who has demonstrated commitment to transparency and accountability. I will accelerate meaningful reform of the organization. … By supporting my candidacy, member states will be casting their vote for reform, transparency, and accountability, and an earnest desire for change. United, we will solve the health challenges of today and tomorrow, and restore the WHO we all need” (5/2).

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Secretary Of State Tillerson Must Begin Nomination Process For State Department's Senior Staff

New York Times: The State Department Deserves Better
Editorial Board

“Barring a course change, the State Department is expected to limp along without most of its senior staff until well into 2018. … Even citizens who are deeply jaded about the government must realize that with the world in turmoil, it’s dangerous for one of the departments most responsible for managing the chaos to be treading water. … Three months into his tenure, [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson has done almost nothing to select nominees for the White House to consider for nearly 200 State Department jobs that require Senate confirmation, The Times’s Gardiner Harris reported. … Mr. Tillerson’s laid-back approach to filling top management positions, especially the workhorse jobs of assistant secretary, is nevertheless risky. … He needs the best possible permanent team to help him” (5/3).

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Innovation, Financial Investments, Addressing Implementation Gaps Vital To Ending TB

Huffington Post: Bridging The Gap Between Tuberculosis Innovation And Access
Madhukar Pai, Canada research chair in epidemiology and global health at McGill University, director of McGill Global Health Programs, and associate director of the McGill International TB Centre; and Jennifer Furin, lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, infectious diseases specialist, and medical anthropologist

“…At long last, new diagnostics and drugs [for TB] have emerged. … But … availability does not necessarily result in widespread access. … There are many barriers to adoption and scale-up of new tools: lack of adequate funding to national TB programs, regulatory hurdles, high cost of tools, restrictive policies, bureaucratic apathy, implementation failures, and, in the case of new drugs, a desire to protect the drug (as opposed to protecting patients) coupled with excessive concern about potential side effects … The clock is ticking and urgent action is needed if we are committed to ending TB in a mere 13 years. This means embracing innovation, increasing financial investments in TB, addressing implementation gaps, and making sure that new technologies are available in the service of those who are trying to survive…” (5/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Releases 10-Year Review Report Chapters Focusing On NCDs, Universal Coverage, Global Health Security

WHO: Noncommunicable diseases: the slow motion disaster
This chapter of the WHO’s “Ten years in public health 2007-2017” report focuses on “the rise of chronic noncommunicable diseases. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, once linked only to affluent societies, are now global, and the poor suffer the most. These diseases share four risk factors: tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. All four lie in non-health sectors, requiring collaboration across all of government and all of society to combat them…” (May 2017)

WHO: Other dimensions of the NCD crisis: from mental health, aging, dementia and malnutrition to deaths on the roads, violence, and disability
In this chapter, WHO “draw[s] attention to conditions that impact the health and safety of all people. This year’s focus on depression builds awareness of mental health. Healthy aging is a key priority, including assisting those who battle dementia. The fight against malnutrition now includes the opposite extreme of obesity. Road deaths, the biggest killer of people aged 15-29, are targeted, as is support for people with disabilities and those suffering violence, especially women and children…” (May 2017)

WHO: From primary health care to universal coverage — the ‘affordable dream’
In this chapter, WHO discusses “a renewed focus on primary health care [since] the launch of the 2008 World Health Report. When countries sought guidance on financing health care, WHO commissioned a 2010 report on universal health coverage, a concept then pioneered as central to the Sustainable Development Goals and the ambition to leave no one behind…” (May 2017).

WHO: Health security: is the world better prepared?
For this chapter, WHO writes, “Lessons learned from the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014 were the catalyst to creating our new Health Emergencies Programme, enabling a faster, more effective response to outbreaks and emergencies. We help countries meet the International Health Regulations and enable R&D collaboration to develop new vaccines and treatments … Subsequent outbreaks of Zika and yellow fever have shown that we are moving in the right direction but more work is needed to ensure that the world is better prepared to handle the next epidemic…” (May 2017).

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Ahead Of World Hygiene Day, WHO Calls On Countries To Strengthen Infection Prevention, Control Programs To Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

WHO: “Fight antibiotic resistance … it’s in your hands”
“World Hand Hygiene Day, marked globally on 5 May, highlights the importance of hand hygiene in health care. The slogan of this year’s campaign is “Fight antibiotic resistance … it’s in your hands,” illustrating the important relationship between good infection prevention and control practices like washing your hands and preventing antibiotic resistance. … [T]he World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on countries and health care facilities to strengthen infection prevention and control programs based on WHO guidelines on core components of infection prevention and control programs. … WHO also calls on infection prevention and control leaders to implement WHO’s core components for infection prevention, including hand hygiene, to combat antibiotic resistance…” (5/2).

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Blog Post Examines Results Of New Opinion Poll On Australian Politics, Aid

Devpolicy Blog: New opinion data on aid spending, and 2017-18 Federal Budget preview
Camilla Burkot, research officer at the Development Policy Centre, discusses the results of a new opinion poll on Australian politics and national opinion trends, writing, “50 percent of respondents to the poll indicated they would like to see ‘assistance to the needy in the rest of the world’ decreased. Just 11 percent of respondents wanted to increase foreign aid spending, and 30 percent think that spending should be maintained at the current level. … Though a 50 percent approval rating for cutting aid might seem dismal, it’s worth noting that these latest results can actually be interpreted as a rise in approval for aid spending over the last three years. In May 2014, a similar poll examining approval for decisions made in the now-notorious 2014-15 Federal Budget found that 64 percent of respondents approved of freezing foreign aid…” (5/2).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Pieces On India's New HIV Law

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: We’re reading about India’s new HIV law as a measure of progress and missed opportunity
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights pieces examining “the rights that are both protected and unaddressed under India’s new HIV law” (5/2).

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