KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.K. Disabilities Minister Penny Mordaunt To Replace Priti Patel As International Development Secretary

The Guardian: Penny Mordaunt replaces Priti Patel in May’s cabinet
“Penny Mordaunt, the Brexit-backing disabilities minister, has been appointed international development secretary to replace Priti Patel, who resigned from the cabinet on Wednesday night. Mordaunt’s appointment will appease many Eurosceptic MPs who wanted to see the prime minister preserve the balance of leave and remain supporters in the cabinet after the departure of Patel, who has been one of the government’s most pro-Brexit voices…” (Elgot, 11/9).

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U.S. Congress Considers Sanctions Against Myanmar's Military In Response To Rohingya Refugee Crisis

VOA News: U.S. Congress Weighs Sanctions on Myanmar Military Over Rohingya Crisis
“Proposed sanctions against the Myanmar military should move quickly through the U.S. Congress due to strong bipartisan support, lawmakers told VOA. The Burma Sanctions Bill in the House of Representatives and a companion bill in the Senate would apply economic pressure on military generals with the aim of ending the ongoing violence inflicted on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, also known as Burma…” (Gypson, 11/9).

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Former U.N. SG Ban Calls On U.S. To Pass Universal Health Coverage

The Guardian: Ban Ki-moon urges U.S. to shun ‘powerful interests’ and adopt universal health care
“The former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Americans to pass universal health coverage at a speech in New York City on Tuesday, marking a dramatic intervention of world leaders into the U.S. health care debate. Ban called on the U.S. to stop ‘powerful interests’ from prioritizing ‘profit over care’ as part of a global delegation pushing the U.S. to adopt a publicly financed health system similar to those in other wealthy countries…” (Glenza, 11/9).

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WHO Health Systems Director Discusses Challenges To Delivering Universal Health Coverage In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: WHO’s health systems chief on reaching UHC
“A growing international political consensus is emerging around reaching universal health coverage. … Dr. Rüdiger Krech, the WHO’s director of health systems and innovation, said overcoming the barriers to delivering basic medical care will require not just political commitments but global collaboration, policy implementation, and sustained follow-through. He spoke to Devex about both the challenges and how they should be addressed…” (Green, 11/9).

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Universal Flu Vaccine Could Prevent Widespread Epidemic, Researchers Say

Global Health NOW: U.S., World Still Not Ready for Another Flu Pandemic
“Despite countless breakthroughs in medicine since the 1918 flu pandemic, one key advance continues to elude researchers. Without a universal vaccine to combat ever-changing flu strains, another pandemic threatens to overwhelm U.S. health care system, warns Tom Inglesby, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. … ‘Beyond the U.S., where there is even more limited health care capacity, the problem would be even greater,’ Inglesby said…” (Ferraro, 11/8).

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New Delhi, Lahore Experiencing Air Pollution At Least 30 Times Safe Levels

CNN: Breathing in Delhi air equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day
“…[As New Delhi] woke up Friday to a fourth straight day of heavy pollution, practical considerations were being overtaken by more serious concerns, with journalists and doctors warning residents of the long-term health implications…” (Wu, 11/10).

The Guardian: ‘Half my lung cancer patients are non-smokers’: toxic air crisis chokes Delhi
“…The air has heavy metals and other carcinogens at levels more than 30 times World Health Organization limits, conditions likened by medics to smoking at least 50 cigarettes in a day…” (Safi, 11/10).

New York Times: In Lahore, Pakistan, Smog Has Become a ‘Fifth Season’
“…While Delhi’s air quality has generated headlines worldwide in recent days, experts say the air in Lahore rivals the Indian capital’s for toxicity. The problem is not limited to the city; in 2015, according to a World Health Organization estimate, almost 60,000 Pakistanis died from the high level of fine particles in the air, one of the world’s highest death tolls from air pollution…” (Zahra-Malik, 11/10).

Reuters: India to spray capital from on high amid deepening smog emergency
“India plans to spray water over its capital, New Delhi, to combat toxic smog that has triggered a pollution emergency, officials said on Friday, with conditions expected to worsen over the weekend. Illegal crop burning in farm states surrounding New Delhi, vehicle exhaust in a city with limited public transport, and swirling construction dust have caused the crisis, as they do every year…” (Jain, 11/10).

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Nearly All Cholera Epidemics Originate In Asia, Bacterial Genome Studies Show

Science: Asia is the cradle of almost every cholera epidemic, genome studies show
“…By sequencing and comparing hundreds of bacterial genomes, [scientists] have shown that all of the explosive epidemics of cholera in Africa and the Americas in the past half-century arose after the arrival of new strains that had evolved in Asia. The work, published in two Science papers this week, could put to rest an old debate about the role of environmental factors in cholera’s global burden…” (Kupferschmidt, 11/9).

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NPR Examines Reasons For India's High TB Mortality

NPR: Why Does India Lead The World In Deaths From TB?
“…Why is India bearing the brunt of [TB] infections? And will the government be able to meet its goal of eliminating tuberculosis by 2025? … ‘A high mortality tells us several things. One is that there is a delay in diagnosis. And that people who get diagnosed aren’t given adequate treatment,’ says Dr. Jennifer Furin, a lecturer at the Harvard Medical School in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine…” (Sachdev, 11/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration Should Follow Through On Promise To Be 'Champion' For Haiti

Washington Post: How Trump can be Haiti’s ‘champion’
Editorial Board

“…Now is the moment for Mr. Trump’s administration to make good on [the promise to be a champion for Haiti]. It faces a stark choice with enormous repercussions: whether to grant another extension for some 50,000 Haitians living legally in the United States, or to expel them, a decision that would be devastating not just for thousands of screened, law-abiding migrants and their 27,000 U.S.-born children but also for Haiti itself, whose economy is heavily dependent on the remittances they send home. … No country in the Americas is as dependent on remittances as Haiti, and the losses it would sustain if [temporary protected status (TPS)] were revoked for the 50,000 Haitians in the United States would be a severe blow. … A great nation that wants to remain great, and to be seen as such, understands that its prestige and stature are diminished if it disregards the well-being of weak, dependent, and friendly neighbors. Haiti is a test of the proposition that a great nation, as Mr. Trump seemed to understand, must sometimes be the ‘champion’ of a weak one” (11/9).

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Increasing Availability Of Essential Medicines Critical To Global Health Security

Project Syndicate: How to Boost Access to Essential Medicines
Justus Haucap, professor of economics at Heinrich-Heine University

“…[L]ow- and middle-income countries … need help improving drug delivery and managing chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes, which impose an immense burden on their economies. … Unfortunately, the WHO’s leadership, like much of the West, … has been distracted by an ideological obsession with drug prices. … [P]ublic health analysts have identified a handful of structural reforms that would largely eliminate existing bottlenecks that are hindering the distribution of essential medicines. The first trouble spot is infrastructure. … A second problem, even in areas with adequate infrastructure, is the prevalence of bureaucratic and economic barriers that limit access to essential medicines. … A third problem is that there are too few health care workers. … Flawed — or nonexistent — health-finance schemes are the fourth, and perhaps the largest, barrier to drug delivery in many countries. … Increasing the availability of essential medicines is imperative for improving health care outcomes for hundreds of millions of people around the world. … We can do much to close the global health security gap; but undermining patent protections for new drugs will do precisely the opposite” (11/9).

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Repurposing Existing Products Could Speed Up Drug, Vaccine Development

STAT: How to speed up drug and vaccine development during a public health crisis
Michelle L. Rose, principal consultant, and Claudia K. Fehling consultant, both with Halloran Consulting Group

“…The entire process [of drug and vaccine development], from basic research to Food and Drug Administration approval, averages about 10 years for drugs and 10 to 15 years for vaccines. A public health crisis doesn’t change the process or let you circumvent any of the steps involved. One way to speed up drug or vaccine development is to leverage existing products through repurposing. That means using an existing drug or vaccine for a different use than the one it was approved for. Because the drug or vaccine has already been tested for safety and is being manufactured, it can likely be rapidly disseminated. … Funding tends to arrive after a public health crisis has already begun. … [R]epurposing represents a promising solution for speeding up drug or vaccine development during public health crises…” (11/9).

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'Strong, Efficient, Equitable Health Systems' Necessary To Effectively Prevent, Treat Childhood Pneumonia

The Lancet: The case for action on childhood pneumonia
Editorial Board

“…Save the Children, in a report released on Nov. 2, makes the case that pneumonia is a forgotten killer, and they are right. Despite collective support for Gavi, and WHO and UNICEF’s global plan of action for pneumonia and diarrhea, no international initiative or campaign has yet spurred attention to the extent required. … Save the Children’s new global campaign has the backing of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who calls for pharmaceutical companies, donors, and U.N. agencies to come together and negotiate affordable vaccination. But vaccines are not enough, as the report concedes. Tackling pneumonia is achievable only with strong, efficient, and equitable health systems. This means action to support proper diagnosis and treatment of suspected cases, and to deliver vaccines via skilled health workers, cold storage chains, and well-governed procurement and delivery infrastructure. The case for saving children’s lives from pneumonia is clear — it will be realized only by strengthening health systems” (11/11).

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More Research Needed On Climate Change As Driver Of Child Marriage To Effectively Target Interventions

News Deeply: How Climate Change Drives Child Marriage
Lakshmi Sundaram, executive director of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage

“…With the effects of climate change already a reality for many of the world’s poorest countries, how do we make sure they don’t result in a generation of lost childhoods? Most crucially, governments and NGOs need to pay special attention to the risk of child marriage when they are planning their responses to the humanitarian disasters caused by climate change. These responses must be driven by women and girls who have been affected by child marriage. … There is still a lot we need to learn about the link between child marriage and climate change. This will help us target our responses more effectively. As temperatures rise, coasts erode, and thousands flee their homes, girls are the most vulnerable. We must not let them be forgotten in the story of the fight against climate change” (11/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

OECD's Decision On What Qualifies As Foreign Aid Could Have Global Implications

U.N. Dispatch: An Obscure Debate in the U.K. Over What Counts as ‘Foreign Aid’ Has Big Global Implications
Writer Joanne Lu discusses a debate raised by the U.K. at a recent meeting of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The issue at hand “is how the United Kingdom gets to count the aid it is spending on hurricane relief in some of its overseas territories. … [F]or now, the U.K., and the other 29 major donor countries, do not have a green light to count emergency spending in their own high-income territories toward their ODA targets, especially if it diverts funding from existing beneficiaries. But this topic clearly hasn’t been closed — nor should it be…” (11/9).

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Blog Post Discusses Outbreak Preparedness, PATH Report On U.S. Global Health Security Leadership

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Analysis: Commitment to global health research, training, investment is critical to U.S. interests
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses disease outbreak preparedness, including a recently released report from PATH outlining “a series of strategic and investment recommendations to maximize the impact of U.S. global health security leadership” (11/9).

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WHO Goodwill Ambassador Misstep Should Not Affect Agency's Reform Efforts

McGill International Review: WHO Let Mugabe Out? Political Pressure and the Future of the WHO
MIR author Maddie Clark discusses WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ appointment and withdrawal of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador. Clark writes, “Multinational forums are often infuriating, but they do have potential for reform; WHO is no exception. This was displayed in the quick revocation of the ambassador appointment: a politically motivated selection was forgone at the behest of the general public. There remains much to be done before WHO can become once again ‘the directing and coordinating authority on international health work,’ but the timely removal of Mugabe from consideration for a goodwill position does not appear to have set the organization even farther back on their quest for redemption” (11/9).

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Paper Examines How 'Crisis Modifiers' Could Make Development Aid System More Flexible

Overseas Development Institute: Crisis modifiers: a solution for a more flexible development-humanitarian system?
In this paper, Katie Peters, senior research fellow, and Florence Pichon, research officer, both at ODI, discuss how new innovative risk financing options could help make the development aid system more flexible. They write, “This paper showcases evidence from the use of the [Providing Humanitarian Assistance for Sahel Emergencies (PHASE)] crisis modifier and situates crisis modifiers as a potential ‘solution’ for a more flexible aid system — if they are accompanied by a fundamental shift in the way development actors design their programs and respond to predictable risks” (November 2017).

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Both Individuals, Policymakers Responsible For Making Good Health Decisions

PLOS Blogs’ “Global Health”: Individual choice versus public policy: who is to blame for the obesity crisis?
In this interview, Sandro Demaio, “who is medical officer for noncommunicable diseases and nutrition for the World Health Organization, argues it is not just individuals who have to take charge of their health, but also governments who need to make better political decisions about public health policy” (11/9).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Recognizes World Pneumonia Day

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Announcement: World Pneumonia Day — November 12, 2017
CDC recognizes World Pneumonia Day, which takes place annually on November 12, and “aims to highlight the huge toll pneumonia takes on children and adults worldwide” (11/10).

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