KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Appears Before Senate Foreign Relations Committee To Discuss Agency's Budget

Devex: In ‘enlightening’ USAID budget hearing, new chairman calls for careful scrutiny
“In his first U.S. Agency for International Development budget hearing as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator James Risch said Wednesday that U.S. foreign assistance spending must be strategic, aligned with U.S. national interests, and must eliminate duplication and waste. USAID Administrator Mark Green was before the committee to testify about the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget request, which for the third year in a row proposed a drastic funding cut for foreign assistance programs. Many bipartisan members of Congress have come out strongly against the request … In his opening statement, Risch acknowledged the host of challenges facing the world, among them forcible displacement, hunger, famine, Ebola, and restricted access to polio vaccines…” (Welsh, 5/9).

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Devex Examines Impacts Of Trump Administration's Aid Restrictions On Countries Not Meeting Anti-Human Trafficking Criteria

Devex: Exclusive: ‘Haphazard’ White House crackdown on human trafficking disrupts aid
“The Trump administration’s desire to crack down on global human trafficking may restrict U.S. efforts to fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The White House’s decision to enforce tighter aid restrictions on countries that do not meet anti-trafficking criteria — and a lack of transparency from the administration about how those decisions are being made — has led to confusion and uncertainty about which programs will be allowed to continue, and which will be suspended, Devex has learned…” (Igoe, 5/9).

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Washington Post Examines Possible Impacts Of U.S.'s 'Maximum Pressure' Policy On Humanitarian Situation In North Korea

Washington Post: North Korea is facing a food crisis. ‘Maximum pressure’ by the U.S. may make it worse.
“North Korea is slashing food rations after the worst harvest in a decade. It is also struggling with one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world. Aid workers and food security experts are now asking: Is the U.S. policy of ‘maximum pressure’ on Kim Jong Un’s regime making the problems worse? … Analysts say there is no doubt that the ultimate blame for the humanitarian crisis rests with Pyongyang, which has spent hugely on nuclear advances and other military projects while neglecting the welfare of ordinary citizens. But leading medical and humanitarian experts also argue that U.S.-led sanctions — which include fuel imports — have also stifled North Korean agriculture and prevented the arrival of vital medical aid. … ‘U.S. policy is to ensure that the strict implementation of sanctions does not impede the delivery of legitimate humanitarian assistance to the North Korean people,’ said a State Department email…” (Denyer, 5/8).

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U.S. Sending Naval Hospital Ship To Venezuela Region To Assist With Refugee Care

The Hill: U.S. sending hospital ship to aid Venezuelan refugees
“The U.S. will send a hospital ship to help with a refugee situation resulting from political turmoil in Venezuela. The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort will provide medical services to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, focusing on areas that have housed refugees who have fled Venezuela during the presidency of Nicolás Maduro, the Pentagon said Tuesday in a statement…” (Frazin, 5/8).

VOA News: U.S. to Send Military Hospital Ship to Venezuelan Region
“…U.S. officials have said recently they are considering military options in Venezuela, as the U.S. intensifies diplomatic and economic pressure on the oil-rich country. The U.S. has recognized National Assembly and opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president and has called on President Nicolás Maduro to resign…” (Babb, 5/7).

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U.N. SG Guterres Commits 'Whole United Nations System' To Helping End Ebola Outbreak In DRC

U.N. News: DR Congo: Ebola claims over 1,000 lives, Guterres commits ‘whole’ U.N. system, to help ‘end the outbreak’
“Now in its tenth month, the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has claimed more than a thousand lives, prompting Secretary-General António Guterres to throw the support of ‘the whole United Nations system’ into stemming the spread of the deadly virus. Mr. Guterres expressed concern over the number of new Ebola cases in the east of the DRC on Wednesday, reiterating U.N. support ‘for efforts to end the outbreak’…” (5/8).

Additional coverage of the Ebola outbreak in DRC is available from Al Jazeera, CIDRAP News, New York Times, and Reuters.

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U.K. MPs Call For Prioritizing Climate Change In Aid, Giving More Attention To Addressing Sexual Abuse In Aid Sector

Devex: U.K. aid must take ‘radical action’ on climate change, Parliament says
“The new U.K. secretary of state for international development has rallied behind a call from Parliament for major changes to the United Kingdom’s aid strategy to address the climate emergency. A report released Wednesday by the International Development Committee — the cross-party parliamentary group tasked with scrutinizing aid spending — argues that unless the U.K. puts climate change at the heart of its strategy, the effect of other overseas aid spending will be nullified…” (Root, 5/8).

The Guardian: Aid funding must recognize climate change emergency, say MPs
“…Climate change must be placed at the center of aid strategy and funding, if it is to address the seriousness of threats facing developing countries, the committee said. It urged a minimum spend of £1.76bn annually and a halt to funding fossil fuel projects in developing countries, unless they can demonstrate they support transition to zero emissions by 2050…” (McVeigh, 5/8).

The Guardian: Aid sector action to tackle abuse ‘completely unsatisfactory,’ say MPs
“Private aid companies and charities will be asked to reappear before MPs, after evidence given on tackling sexual abuse was condemned as ‘completely unsatisfactory.’ Stephen Twigg, chair of the international development committee (IDC), said he intended to invite representatives of both groups back. … Rory Stewart, who appeared before MPs on Tuesday for the first time as secretary of state for international development, said dramatic improvements had been made on safeguarding over the past 12 months…” (Ratcliffe, 5/8).

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Michel Sidibé Immediately Resigns Position As UNAIDS Executive Director To Fill Role As Mali Health Minister

Associated Press: Head of embattled UNAIDS to leave post immediately
“The United Nations’ AIDS agency said Wednesday its executive director is leaving the post immediately, following allegations he mishandled sexual assault claims at the agency that is tasked with helping end the HIV epidemic. UNAIDS said Michel Sidibé will become health minister in his native Mali ‘with immediate effect.’ He will be replaced by his Swedish deputy, Gunilla Carlsson, on a temporary basis…” (Keaten, 5/8).

Additional coverage of Sidibé’s resignation and appointment as Mali’s health minister is available from New York Times and Reuters.

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U.N. Experts, Agency Warn Of Continuing Humanitarian Crises Surrounding Food Shortages, Violence In Sahel, NENA Regions

U.N. News: Sahel crisis reaching unprecedented levels, warn top U.N. humanitarian officials
“Repeated and increasingly sophisticated armed attacks in the Sahel and food shortages linked to last year’s severe drought, have reached unprecedented levels, putting the future of a ‘whole generation’ at stake, three top U.N. humanitarian officials said on Wednesday…” (5/8).

U.N. News: Around 52 million in Near East, North Africa, suffering chronic undernourishment, new U.N. food agency report reveals
“Hunger continues to rise as conflicts and protracted crises have worsened in the Near East and North Africa region (NENA), which is likely to affect food security for years to come, warned the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Wednesday…” (5/8).

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Rural Area Residents Driving Global Rise In Obesity, Nature Study Shows

NPR: Study Shatters Preconceived Notions About Urban Vs. Rural Obesity
“…A new paper in the May 8 journal Nature has shattered the preconceived notions of urban versus rural body types. More than 1,000 researchers representing the Non-Communicable Disease Coalition analyzed 2,009 studies of more than 112 million adults from 200 countries. In the most comprehensive analysis of urban/rural weight gain to date, they assessed changes in body mass index, a measure of body fat based on height and weight, between 1985 and 2017. … The researchers found that more than 55 percent of the global rise in obesity comes from rural areas. With the exception of women in sub-Saharan Africa, BMI is rising in rural areas as fast as or faster than in cities…” (Brink, 5/8).

Additional coverage of the study is available from Agence France-Presse, Nature, USA TODAY, and Washington Post.

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More News In Global Health

The BMJ: Indian campaigners ask government to stop relying on handouts of bedaquiline to ensure supply (5/9).

Deutsche Welle: World in Progress: Yemen’s forgotten humanitarian crisis (Steffen, 5/8).

Devex: Q&A: Don’t be satisfied with ‘great progress,’ former UNICEF official warns (Lieberman, 5/9).

Forbes: Antimicrobial Resistance Is Being Called A Sustainable Development Issue (Ro, 5/9).

Reuters: Cholera, more civilian casualties feared in Libya: WHO (Nebehay, 5/8).

SciDev.Net: Climate now biggest driver of migration, study finds (Vesper, 5/8).

SciDev.Net: Deforestation decreases drinking water access in Malawi (Michael-Phiri, 5/9).

The Telegraph: How a Wikipedia for drug discovery is disrupting big pharma (Majid, 5/8).

U.N. News: Hundreds of wounded Gaza protesters risk limb amputation without immediate help, warns top U.N. official (5/8).

VOA News: Aid Groups in Bangladesh Try to Stop Rohingya Child Malnutrition (Grunebaum, 5/9).

VOA News: Mozambique Scrambles to Contain Cholera Outbreak (5/8).

Xinhua News: Kenya plans to achieve sanitation targets by 2030 (5/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Communities Must Address Stigma, Share Message That Effective HIV Treatment Can Prevent Spread Of Virus

Thomson Reuters Foundation: OPINION: Stop doubting the evidence — people living with HIV and on effective treatment cannot pass it on
Ian Green, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust

“…[P]eople living with HIV and on effective medication cannot pass on the virus to others, with or without a condom. That’s not won’t or don’t, but can’t pass it on. … However, unfortunately due to the misconceptions and myths that surround HIV, many people still believe this not to be true. … [T]he fact that so many people living with HIV will still have to face stigma and discrimination due to people who refuse to believe the scientifically proven power of modern-day effective treatment is nothing short of heart breaking. … By helping to share the message and ensuring that people know the facts about HIV and effective treatment, we hope to tackle stigma and remove the fear that often surrounds the virus” (5/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Public Figures Urge U.S. Congress To Provide Strong Support To Global Fund In FY20 Budget

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Leading public figures make statement in support of the Global Fund
In a letter to Congress, Elton John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation; Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.; Rick Warren, pastor at Saddleback Church; Charlize Theron, founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project; Bill Frist, former U.S. Senate majority leader; and Tom Daschle, former U.S. Senate majority leader, discuss the role of the Global Fund in ending the HIV, TB, and malaria epidemics and urge Congress to appropriate $1.56 billion for the Global Fund in FY 2020. The group writes, “This amount is consistent with continuing the U.S. government’s ‘leader’s share’ in providing 33% of resources for this lifesaving organization. A strong signal of support and investment from the U.S. Congress will save millions of lives and be catalytic in leveraging the action needed from other donors to join forces with the United States to finally end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria once and for all” (5/8).

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As World Environment Day Approaches, U.N. Environment Programme Urges Collective Action Against Air Pollution

United Nations Environment Programme: Air pollution hurts the poorest most
“…Clean air is a human right, and a necessary pre-condition for addressing climate change as well as achieving many Sustainable Development Goals. Air pollution does not only damage human health, it also hampers the economy in many ways. As we approach World Environment Day with its theme of ‘air pollution,’ U.N. Environment urges the world to address this silent killer by living the 4Rs: reduce, recycle, reuse, recover … Governments are encouraged to strengthen their monitoring of air quality and adhering to World Health Organization guidelines, while leading joint actions on finance, environment, health, and industry at national and city level…” (5/9).

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IHME Experts Discuss Role Of Diverse Data Sources In Understanding Global Burden Of Diarrhea

PATH’s “DefeatDD Blog”: Data Sources for the Global Burden of Diarrhea
Chris Troeger, research scientist, Sofia Redford, engagement manager, and Molly Biehl, project officer, all with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), discuss the role of data and the use of diverse data sources in understanding the global burden of diarrhea (5/8).

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