KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Fund Announces Peter Sands As New Executive Director

Devex: Breaking: Peter Sands is new Global Fund executive director
“Peter Sands was announced as the new executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday. … Sands — the former CEO of Standard Chartered PLC — beats three other candidates to the leadership role: Simon Bland of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS; Frannie Leautier, formerly of the the African Development Bank; and Anil Soni of the global pharmaceutical company Mylan” (Ravelo, 11/14).

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U.S. Secretary Of State Tillerson To Visit Myanmar Under Pressure To Sanction Nation's Military For Persecution Of Rohingya Muslims

New York Times: Rohingya of Myanmar Learn That ‘Never Again’ Doesn’t Always Apply
“If Myanmar presented a test of the world’s pledge to stop atrocities and protect civilians, then it is difficult to recall a clearer failure. The country’s military has expelled hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a minority group, in full view of the world. The violence was preceded by months of warning signs. Myanmar, a poor country with few allies, proceeds largely unimpeded. … Sovereignty often prevails. The idea that states have the right to act within their borders and protect their interests dates back centuries. It is in many ways the core principle around which the international system is built…” (Fisher/Moe, 11/13).

POLITICO: Tillerson confronts human rights nightmare in Myanmar
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Myanmar on Wednesday amid growing pleas for the Trump administration — which has been harshly criticized for downplaying human rights issues — to more forcefully intervene in what some observers call an anti-Muslim genocide there. U.S. lawmakers and activists are urging Tillerson to sanction Myanmar’s military if it doesn’t stop what a top United Nations official has called ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ against the Rohingya Muslim minority…” (Toosi, 11/14).

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Some Yemen Ports To Reopen, Saudi-Led Coalition Announces; PBS Examines U.S. Role In Yemen Conflict

PBS NewsHour: Cholera, hunger, and war are ravaging Yemen. What role does the U.S. play?
“A brutal, three-year civil war in Yemen has drawn in regional and global powers, led to the fastest growing cholera epidemic and, perhaps soon, famine. A Saudi coalition is lifting a recent blockade on the country after aid groups warned it would trigger a humanitarian disaster, but millions remain vulnerable. P.J. Tobia offers an update on the conflict and what the U.S. is doing there…” (Woodruff, 11/13).

Reuters: U.N. warns millions at risk in Yemen, urges Saudi coalition to open ports
“[A] U.N. aid coordinator called on the Saudi-led coalition to open all Yemen’s seaports urgently on Tuesday, saying millions of lives were at risk. … ‘We have some 21 million people needing assistance and seven million of those are in famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid,’ U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said…” (Miles, 11/14).

VOA News: Saudi-Led Coalition to Reopen Some Yemen Ports
“A Saudi-led coalition says it will reopen some airports and seaports in Yemen in order to allow in humanitarian aid. … A coalition statement said the first ports to reopen would be those under control of the Yemeni government, including Aden, Mukalla, and Mocha…” (11/13).

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Record Low Number Of Polio Cases Recorded In 2017, UNICEF Says; New Report Warns Of Eradication Effort Funding Drawdown

Devex: How Pakistan got to near zero on polio
“…Two years ago, Pakistan’s inability to eradicate the disease — along with just Afghanistan and Nigeria — left it on the verge of international pariah status. … Now, the country is on the verge of eradication, and officials orchestrating what they hope is the final stretch are determined to not let anything get in the way. The hard-won successes are the culmination of a complete revamp in strategy, predicated by improvements in security…” (Khan, 11/14).

STAT: As the eradication of polio nears, a new crisis for global health looms
“…[A]s the [polio eradication] finish line comes into view, officials are largely overlooking a big potential problem, a new report warned Monday. … Funding for the [Global Polio Eradication Initiative] is scheduled to be halved by 2019, and to cease after that, except in countries that are still battling polio then or at high risk of seeing the virus return. That will severely deplete the resources of a number of already cash-strapped countries, straining their capacity to continue to vaccinate against polio and other childhood diseases like measles and rotavirus, which causes severe and sometimes life-threatening diarrhea…” (Branswell, 11/13).

VOA News: Pakistan, Afghanistan Report Historic Dip in Polio Cases
“Afghanistan and Pakistan officially are now the only two nations across the globe to have reported wild polio virus cases so far this year, though the numbers of cases have declined to historic lows. … ‘As of 9 November 2017, there are 14 cases of wild polio virus globally — nine in Afghanistan and five in Pakistan — the lowest number recorded in history,’ UNICEF reported Monday…” (Gul, 11/13).

Xinhua News: Italy donates 5 million U.S. dollars to help eradicate polio in Afghanistan
“The Italian government donated 4.3 million euros (5 million U.S. dollars) to the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) to help eradicate polio in Afghanistan, a UNICEF statement said here on Tuesday. ‘Of this amount, 2.5 million euros (2.9 million dollars) will go to UNICEF and WHO, which are both working in the framework of the National Emergency Action Plan for Polio (NEAP) aimed at interrupting the disease transmission in Afghanistan,’ the statement said…” (11/14).

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TB To Cause Nearly $1T In Lost Economic Output By 2030 Unless More Action Taken To Treat, Prevent Disease, Report Warns

Devex: TB to cost world economy $1 trillion by 2030, warns report
“Tuberculosis will cost the world economy close to $1 trillion in lost economic output by 2030, unless countries step up efforts to fight the disease, according to a report launched today by the Global TB Caucus, a group of over 2,300 parliamentarians from 130 countries. The disease cost the world more than $600 billion from 2000 to 2015. The study launches ahead of the first World Health Organization Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB, which will take place in Moscow on November 16-17…” (Pallares, 11/14).

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Devex Examines Global Emergence Of Zoonotic Infectious Disease Threats

Devex: The shifting face of pandemic threats
“…Around 70 percent of all infectious diseases are zoonotic, moving from animals — usually livestock — to humans, through either contact or the consumption of animal products and by-products. … ‘And yet only 4.5 percent of development money, of aid, goes to agriculture,’ Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director of the International Federation for Animal Health — the global trade association for leading animal pharmaceutical health companies — told Devex. … [A]id donors and investors are beginning to pick up the pace, but Delia Grace, joint program manager of animal and human health at [the] International Livestock Research Institute told Devex that a concerted effort to monitor, prevent, and contain infectious disease isn’t really materializing — despite the widely accepted threat posed by zoonotic-borne disease…” (Anders, 11/13).

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Discover Magazine Examines How Doctors, Researchers Worked To Get Mental Health Recognized On Global Level

Discover: A Global State of Mind
“Mental illness knows no borders. One relentless Indian psychiatrist pushes to make treatment a standard around the world…” (Silberner, December 2017).

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Puerto Rico Experiencing Mental Health Crisis Following Hurricane Maria, Public Health Officials Warn

New York Times: After Hurricane, Signs of a Mental Health Crisis Haunt Puerto Rico
“…The violent winds and screeching rains of Hurricane Maria were a 72-hour assault on the Puerto Rican psyche. There are warning signs of a full-fledged mental health crisis on the island, public health officials say, with much of the population showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Puerto Rico was already struggling with an increase in mental illness amid a 10-year recession that brought soaring unemployment, poverty and family separation caused by migration. Public health officials and caregivers say that Maria has exacerbated the problem…” (Dickerson, 11/13).

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Death Toll From Earthquake On Iran-Iraq Border Passes 530; Rescue Efforts Underway

Associated Press: Rescuers search debris after Iran-Iraq quake kills over 530
“Rescuers on Tuesday used backhoes and heavy equipment to dig through the debris of buildings toppled by a powerful earthquake on the border between Iran and Iraq that killed over 530 people, with weeping women crying out to God as aid workers found new bodies…” (Karimi/Nasiri, 11/14).

New York Times: Iran-Iraq Earthquake Kills More Than 450
“…The quake, recorded at 9:18 p.m. on Sunday, was felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan. The epicenter was near Ezgeleh, Iran, about 135 miles northeast of Baghdad, and had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, according to the United States Geological Survey. Seismologists in the country said it was the biggest quake to hit the western part of Iran…” (Erdbrink, 11/13).

VOA News: Earthquake on Iran-Iraq Border Kills 400
“…The World Health Organization has sent an emergency response team, including ambulances and surgical kits…” (Schwartz, 11/13).

Washington Post: Death toll in Iran-Iraq earthquake tops 400, state media says
“…Iran sits atop major fault lines and has suffered devastating earthquakes. In 2003, the historic city of Bam, in southeastern Iran, was destroyed by an earthquake that killed more than 26,000 people” (Cunningham/Salim, 11/13).

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Bill Gates Hopes Investment Will Help Lead To Treatments, Prevention For Dementia, Alzheimer's

Associated Press: Bill Gates gives $50 million to combat Alzheimer’s
“…In a statement, Gates says men in his family have suffered from Alzheimer’s. He says he’s hopeful that in time Alzheimer’s could be a chronic condition treatable with medication…” (11/13).

CNN: Bill Gates’ newest mission: Curing Alzheimer’s
“…[Gates] sat in front of our cameras exclusively to tell [CNN correspondent Sanjay Gupta] how he hopes to find a cure to a disease that now steals the memories and other cognitive functions of 47 million people around the world. … It’s the first time Gates has made a commitment to a noncommunicable disease. The work done through his foundation has focused primarily on infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria, and polio…” (Gupta, 11/14).

TIME: Bill Gates Just Made a Massive Investment in Alzheimer’s Disease Research
“Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, announced that he is investing $100 million toward Alzheimer’s disease research. Half of that will go to the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital effort that includes philanthropic, government and pharmaceutical partners…” (Park, 11/13).

Washington Post: Bill Gates joins the fight against Alzheimer’s — and it’s personal
“…Through his investment, Gates said, he hopes to help make progress in better understanding the disease, detecting, and diagnosing it sooner, and finding ways to keep it from progressing…” (Bever, 11/13).

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WHO Special Initiative To Address Climate Change's Health Impacts On Small Island Developing Nations

Devex: WHO initiative aims to tackle health impacts of climate change
“World Health Organization officials have announced a new initiative to address the health impacts of climate change on small island developing states. The global health body called for a tripling of international support for those nations’ health systems and for more evidence on the link between climate change and health…” (Green, 11/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

5 Priority Areas Senate Foreign Relations Committee Should Consider To Protect U.S. State Department

Foreign Policy: Can Senator Corker Save the State Department?
Daniel B. Baer, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

“…As chair of the [Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC)], [Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)] should … use his power to attempt to curb the damage being done to our diplomatic corps and to the U.S. ability to execute foreign policy objectives consistent with our security and economic interests. Corker (and his colleagues on the committee, particularly the Republicans) have the power to send a message to the administration that the deconstruction of our diplomatic presence and decimation of our diplomatic corps will not be idly tolerated. Here’s five things that should top his list: 1. Refuse to hold a hearing for Trump’s nominee as director general of the Foreign Service. … 2. Force the department to staff up at the center. … 3. Cap political appointees. … 4. Don’t schedule hearings for any political appointee who is appointed to fill a post that is currently held by a career diplomat who has not completed a three-year tour. … 5. Call Secretary Tillerson before the SFRC to testify about the decimation of the State Department’s senior leadership. … [T]he members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should use their powers of confirmation, authorization, and convening to push back on behalf of the American people” (11/13).

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USAID Restructuring Should Separate Agency's 4 Primary Objectives

The American Interest: Curing USAID
Jeffrey Cochrane, writer and former USAID economist

“In a recent TAI article, ‘Making Diplomacy Great Again,’ former Ambassador James Jeffrey argued for a simplification of the State Department’s mission. … Where State arguably has two competing diplomacies [– state-to-state realpolitik diplomacy and ‘transformational’ diplomacy –] USAID has four very different types of assistance programs [– security assistance, humanitarian assistance, public health assistance, and development assistance]. … [A]ll four of USAID’s objectives address real needs that in one way or another also serve the security interests of the United States. The problem is that they are all so different, yet are housed within a single organization. … [T]he best bet at USAID is to reorganize so that each of the four important but competing, or at least highly dissimilar, objectives is housed in a separate organizational structure, thereby affording each a better chance to succeed. … Positive results are much more likely to follow. … USAID’s historic mission will be terminated if Congress approves the president’s [FY 2018] budget, and yet that historic mission remains as valid today, when poverty and despair continue to breed terrorism and extremist ideologies, as it was in 1961 when the principal fears were Cuba, Vietnam, and nuclear proliferation. The vote should take place sometime before December. A lot is riding on it” (11/14).

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Gates's Investment In Alzheimer's Suggests Expansion Of Public Health Agenda To Include Aging Population

HuffPost: Bill Gates, Alzheimer’s, and an Aging Health Agenda
Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging

“…[T]he … impact of the $100 million [Bill] Gates has now donated to find the cure for Alzheimer’s is the literal and profound reframing of global public health now and forever defined by the health needs of our aging global society. Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB have not been fully conquered, but with the most visible and energetic of the establishment philanthropists turning his sights to the disease of aging — Alzheimer’s — we have forever reimagined the contours of global public health. … In explaining why he’s making this donation, Gates identified five areas where he believes we need to see progress: better understanding the disease; better diagnostics; a more diverse drug pipeline; faster clinical trials; and better use of data. While each of these areas is absolutely valid and worthy of the Gates funding, it is worth asking: what else? As we reboot our public health agenda, other issues also emerge: Caregiving inside the home. … [Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)], active aging, and functional ability. … This is new — this idea that good health policy can enable functional ability for conditions of aging as well as diseases that afflict — and this is what Gates is effectively achieving by moving his philanthropy from the targets of last century to the needs of this one…” (11/13).

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Private Sector, Governments, Donors Need 'Renewed Commitment' To Make Further Progress Against Pneumonia

Global Health NOW: It’s Time to Take the Air Out of Pneumonia
Keith Klugman, director of pneumonia at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[O]verall progress [against pneumonia] remains intolerably slow compared to other childhood diseases. … Most urgently, [pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)] must become more affordable so it can reach every child who needs it. … [W]e believe that to reach every child, pharmaceutical companies, governments, and aid donors should commit to getting this cost below $5. Additionally, when kids do fall ill, governments must ensure that oxygen therapy and antibiotics are readily available. We must continue to build awareness about pneumonia, its symptoms, and its treatments. … Especially with emerging antibiotic resistance, tackling pneumonia is an urgent priority. … [W]ith renewed commitment, we will finally take the air out of a disease that has stolen the breath of far too many” (11/13).

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Communities Should Be At Center Of National, International Epidemic Preparedness, Response Plans

Devex: Opinion: Putting communities at the center of disease prevention
Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“…All actors in global health security … need to ask themselves if they have done enough to incorporate communities, including local volunteers, into national and international epidemic preparedness and response plans. … Last week, at our global Red Cross and Red Crescent meetings in Antalya, Turkey, we began a process that we hope will lead to better recognition of, and support for, this critical community role. We adopted an ambitious resolution that, among other things, commits our global network to work with governments to intensify their efforts to build early alert and rapid response capacity in high-risk communities. Very specifically, we will advocate to governments to include our Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, in line with their auxiliary role, in national disease control, preparedness, and response frameworks. Looking internally, we will also commit to put the safety of our volunteers and staff responding to these dangerous situations at the center of our coordinated plans. Plague, Zika, Ebola: these were wake-up calls. What follows could be worse. We need to be ready — the communities that are on the frontline of these threats need us to be ready” (11/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Post Discusses USAID Redesign, Recommendations Presented In 'Redesign Consensus' Document

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: Redesign Should Support an Independent USAID
Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and former USAID administrator, discusses recommendations presented in the Redesign Consensus for USAID’s redesign, including having an “independent USAID with authority and responsibility over its own budget and policy” and “USAID should have a central role on development issues in the executive branch” (11/13).

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Gavi Calls For Coverage Of 3rd Dose Of PCV To Be Included As Vaccine Indicator For SDGs

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: Pneumonia vaccine saves 500,000 lives in world’s poorest countries
“The rollout of pneumonia vaccine has prevented the deaths of over half a million children in developing countries over the past decade, Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said [Sunday]. … This week in Bahrain global health experts are set to agree on the final vaccine indicators for the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], setting the framework for global immunization efforts until 2030. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is calling for coverage of the third dose of [pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)], among other vital vaccines, to be included as an indicator to ensure the global health community does not lose focus on expanding access to this lifesaving vaccine” (11/12).

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PLOS Medicine Announces Special Issue On Climate Change, Health, Calls For Research Submissions

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: PLOS Medicine Special Issue: Climate change and health
“…The editors of PLOS Medicine, together with Guest Editors Jonathan Patz, Global Health Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Madeleine Thomson, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University, are pleased to announce a special issue on Climate Change and Health, to publish in Summer 2018. Alongside research articles, the special issue will include commissioned perspectives by leaders in the field. We invite high quality research submissions covering a broad range of policy relevant climate change-related health outcomes…” (11/13).

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Research On Hypnozoites Could Help Eradicate Malaria

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Innovation: Expanding the Fight Against Malaria
Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the work of Dennis Kyle, a parasitologist who led a team of researchers to try to understand hypnozoites, sporozoites of P. vivax malaria infection that may linger in the body after treatment and can awaken to cause a renewed bout of the disease (11/13).

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