KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands To Focus On Disease Elimination During 5-Year Term

Aidspan: Global Fund Board selects Peter Sands to be the next executive director
“Peter Sands will be the next executive director of the Global Fund. The decision was made by the Board on 14 November at its 38th meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The decision comes five years less a day after Mark Dybul was selected to be the executive director in 2012. Dybul’s term ended on 31 May 2017. Since then, Marijke Wijnroks has been serving as interim executive director…” (Garmaise, 11/14).

Devex: Exclusive: New Global Fund chief Sands eyes disease elimination as goal
“Peter Sands, the new executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, wants his organization to be more technologically savvy, learn more from its past experiences, and learn from them quickly. That’s how he believes the Global Fund will build on its previous work tackling its targeted diseases and, in the foreseeable future, eliminating them…” (Ravelo, 11/15).

Financial Times: Former StanChart chief to run Global Fund for health
“…The appointment of the former senior banker comes at a sensitive time for international aid, with the U.S., the U.K., and other donor countries reconsidering their support against a backdrop of tightening budgets and competing pressures on development assistance. Mr. Sands told the Financial Times his priorities would include enhancing value for money…” (Jack, 11/14).

Intellectual Property Watch: Global Fund Chooses Former U.K. Banker Peter Sands As New Director
“…Sands, who previously served as chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank, and is chairman of the World Bank’s International Working Group on Financing Pandemic Preparedness, is also a research fellow at the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government…” (New, 11/14).

New York Times: Peter Sands Named Head of Global Disease-Fighting Agency
“…In a brief telephone interview, Mr. Sands said he viewed the job as an ‘enormously exciting opportunity’ and that he hoped to eventually have ‘elimination of the three diseases as epidemics by 2030 firmly in sight’ during his term, which ends in 2022. At the same time, he said, ‘I’m not going to pretend that getting people to write large checks is going to be easy’…” (McNeil, 11/14).

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Secretary Of State Tillerson Indicates U.S. Considering Sanctions For Individuals Responsible For Violence Against Rohingya

Associated Press: Tillerson says U.S. considers individual sanctions for Myanmar
“U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that his country was deeply concerned by ‘credible reports’ of atrocities committed by Myanmar’s security forces and called for an independent investigation into a humanitarian crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya flee to Bangladesh. Speaking at a joint news conference with leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar’s capital, Tillerson said the U.S. would consider individual sanctions against people found responsible for the violence, but he would not advise ‘broad-based economic sanctions’ against the entire country…” (Htusan, 11/15).

VOA News: Tillerson in Myanmar on Mission to Resolve Rohingya Crisis
“…The top U.S. diplomat was expected to deliver a strong message to the Burmese generals as U.S. lawmakers push for economic sanctions and travel restrictions to the country. The Rohingya minority have long been denied citizenship and other rights in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which views them as immigrants from Bangladesh despite the fact that many families have lived in Myanmar for generations…” (11/15).

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U.N. Agencies, E.U. Highlight Threat Of Antimicrobial Resistance During World Antibiotic Awareness Week

EURACTIV: Antimicrobial resistance set to become bigger killer than cancer by 2050
“…Ahead of European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 18 November, the E.U. and public health stakeholders are aiming to raise awareness of this issue and make it a policy priority in the member states. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) currently claims 25,000 lives in the E.U. every year and 700,000 worldwide, but is projected to become a bigger killer than cancer by 2050, unless drastic action is taken…” (White, 11/14).

Newsweek: There’s an antibiotic apocalypse that’s going to send us back to the Dark Ages of medicine
“…Overuse of antibiotics is one of the issues the World Health Organization would like to make more people think about this week. The agency has declared the week of November 13 to be ‘World Antibiotic Awareness Week.’ This is WHO’s third antibiotic awareness week…” (Sheridan, 11/13).

U.N. News Centre: Antibiotic resistance is ‘crisis we cannot ignore,’ U.N. warns, calling for responsible use of these medicines
“As World Antibiotic Awareness Week began on Monday, the United Nations, through its Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), called for responsible use of antibiotics in humans and animals to reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance. ‘Antibiotic resistance is a global crisis that we cannot ignore,’ said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO. ‘If we don’t tackle this threat with strong, coordinated action, antimicrobial resistance will take us back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery’…” (11/13).

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Greater Access To Diabetes Prevention, Treatment Needed, Especially Among Women, U.N. Says On World Diabetes Day

U.N. News Centre: Promote affordable, equitable access to diabetes medicines and information for women, U.N. urges
“On World Diabetes Day, the United Nations health agency has said that women — especially those in low-income countries — are particularly vulnerable to diabetes, a condition that can be prevented or delayed with medication, regular screening, and healthier lives…” (11/14).

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Rise Of African Philanthropists Influences Discussion Of Funding Priorities

Financial Times: Rise of Africa’s wealthy class drives change from within
“…The rise of Africa’s wealthy class, and the greater capacity of some governments to drive growth and development independently, is giving Africans more say over the type of programs they want funded. It is a noisy debate…” This article is part of an FT report titled “African Philanthropy” (Pilling, 11/15).

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Devex Examines Importance Of Partnerships For Achieving Global Health Goals

Devex: How to make global health partnerships work: Key insights from the field
“Partnership will be the key to UNITAID’s new $50 million, five-year investment in increasing antimalarial treatment for pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. … The Transforming Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Optimal Pregnancy — or Tiptop — program … is implemented by a partnership between Jhpiego, a nonprofit affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)…” (Pallares, 11/13).

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Thousands Of Rio De Janeiro Women Protest Proposal To Outlaw Abortion Without Exception In Brazil

Associated Press: Thousands protest proposal for total abortion ban in Brazil
“Thousands of women marched through the streets of Rio de Janeiro on Monday to protest a recent congressional committee vote to make abortion illegal without exception in Brazil. … [T]he congressional committee last week adopted a measure that would remove [the nation’s current exceptions to abortion], provoking widespread outrage though many Brazilians hold conservative views on abortion. … The measure is part of a constitutional amendment, so it would need a super-majority in both Congress’ lower house and the Senate to become law…” (11/14).

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Researchers In Puerto Rico Work To Quantify Hurricane Maria's Impacts On Various Health Indicators

Nature: Puerto Rico struggles to assess hurricane’s health effects
“…[T]he [research] team — co-led by José Cordero of the University of Georgia in Athens — has managed to contact several hundred women to begin assessing whether Hurricane Maria has worsened drinking-water contamination, stress, and infectious disease that could harm developing fetuses. This wasn’t what the researchers set out to study six years ago when they started a project to assess the impact of pollution on pre-term births. But Cordero’s team is one of several research groups that have scrambled to quantify Hurricane Maria’s immediate health impacts, even as team members struggle to fulfill their own basic needs [on the island]…” (Reardon, 11/5).

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HRW Report Urges China To End 'Conversion Therapy' Among LGBT People

Associated Press: Rights group urges China to ban abusive gay ‘conversion’
“The Chinese government should stop hospitals and other medical facilities from subjecting LGBT people to conversion therapy that in some cases has involved electroshock, involuntary confinement, and forced medication, a human rights group said Wednesday…” (Liu, 11/15).

BuzzFeed News: Human Rights Watch: China’s Public Hospitals Are Still Electroshocking LGBT People
“…Seventeen people interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they had been subjected to electroshocks, been confined against their will, and had medication forced on them. Most of those people endured the treatment at hospitals overseen by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, the top health care regulator in the country…” (Rajagopalan, 11/14).

CNN: Strapped into chairs and electrocuted: How LGBT Chinese are forced into ‘conversion therapy’
“…According to HRW, the pseudoscientific practice is widespread in China, carried out in public hospitals and government approved clinics even though homosexuality is neither a crime nor regarded as a mental illness in the country. China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, which oversees hospitals, did not respond to a request for comment…” (Griffiths, 11/14).

Quartz: “You are sick”: The first-hand accounts of 17 LGBT people in China forced into conversion therapy
“…All of the cases took place between 2009 and 2017. … ‘If Chinese authorities are serious about ending discrimination and abuse against LGBT people, it’s time to put an end to this practice in medical facilities,’ said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch, in a press release…” (Huang, 11/14).

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Activists Oppose Proposed Law To Legalize Marriage For Children As Young As 9 In Iraq

The Guardian: ‘Catastrophic’ Iraq law could legalize marriage for children as young as nine
“A new law that could legalize marriage for children as young as nine in Iraq would be ‘catastrophic,’ setting back women’s rights by half a century, activists said. The proposal, an amendment to Iraq’s personal status law, would allow clerics of Muslim sects to govern marriage contracts. Public demonstrations were held last weekend by civil society and women’s rights groups against the amendment…” (McVeigh, 11/14).

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More News In Global Health

The Atlantic: The Muslim Overpopulation Myth That Just Won’t Die (Varagur, 11/14).

Bloomberg: Deadly Air Pollution Becomes a Common Enemy for Rivals India and Pakistan (Kay/Marlow, 11/14).

CIDRAP News: Brazilian study indicates Zika may have hit poor hardest (Soucheray, 11/14).

CNN: 16,000 scientists sign dire warning to humanity over health of planet (Christensen, 11/15).

Devex: Mobile clinics bring stable care to moving populations in Somaliland (Jerving, 11/14).

Inter Press Service: Aid Groups Sound Alarm on DRC Crisis (Yakupitiyage, 11/13).

New York Times: She Took On Colombia’s Soda Industry. Then She Was Silenced (Jacobs/Richtel, 11/13).

New York Times: In Africa, Rural Clinics Entice Pregnant Women With ‘Baby Pictures’ (McNeil, 11/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Health Community Should Use Technology, Digital Systems To Improve Immunization Coverage, Delivery

Nature: Immunization needs a technology boost
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…[A]chieving 100 percent [routine immunization] coverage will require better insight into which children are missing out. For that, we need a new approach: the global health community must move to digital systems. … We should be more ambitious in defining what 100 percent vaccination coverage means. Although the common measure of routine immunization coverage suggests that only one in five children misses out, the reality is much bleaker. … Expanding indicators to include all the WHO-recommended antigens will help. And in theory, governments have already signed up to finding a solution to the problem of birth registration. Both moves are essential to improve understanding of how many children are fully immunized. A third essential ingredient is information technologies targeted at helping the developing world. If we want to make sure that preventable childhood deaths are actually prevented, we need to go digital” (11/13).

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Partnerships, Diverse Leadership Necessary To Eliminate Malaria Worldwide

Project Syndicate: A Global Plan to End Malaria
Maha Barakat, member of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board

“…For disease eradication, partnership is essential. That is why Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, has contributed $30 million to the Roll Back Malaria partnership, the preeminent global framework for action against malaria. I am proud to sit on the board of Roll Back Malaria, because I believe that diversity of leadership perspectives is vital to finding solutions to combat the disease, particularly as we begin a bold new chapter in the quest to eliminate it. The landscape of leaders supporting global health is expanding, and now represents populations around the world. This is important, because partnerships like Roll Back Malaria must work globally to save the greatest possible number of lives. We hope to encourage further global collaboration this week, as Abu Dhabi convenes more than 200 leaders in disease eradication at a forum called Reaching the Last Mile. This meeting aims to share insights and best practices on how to map, control, or eliminate preventable diseases, including innovations that could ultimately bring an end to malaria globally…” (11/14).

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Transparency In Reporting Clinical Trial Results Critical To Improving Pandemic Preparedness

Devex: Opinion: Where’s the data? Missing trial results undermine pandemic preparedness
Till Bruckner, founder of TranspariMED

“In the fight to control global pandemics, public health agencies and governments face a monumental challenge: The results of around half of all clinical trials are not public, leaving huge gaps in medical knowledge. The invisibility of medical research results may make it difficult, if not impossible, to tell which drugs and vaccines work. … This missing data can cost missed opportunities, misdirected programs, or even billions of dollars on the wrong drug. … A handful of countries have passed transparency laws, but they only cover a minority of trials and have not been properly enforced. … In recent years, the U.N. has tried to rewrite the rules of the game to improve pandemic preparedness. … [A] U.N. panel called on governments worldwide to pass legislation requiring all clinical trial results to be fully reported. And in May this year, the WHO managed to convince over a dozen major public and philanthropic research funders to commit to ensuring that all clinical trials they fund report their results within 12 months at most. Transparency advocates have welcomed these initiatives…” (11/14).

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Food Assistance, WASH Access Vital To Health Of Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh

Project Syndicate: Feeding Myanmar’s Refugees
Michael Dunford, emergency coordinator for the World Food Programme in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

“…The Rohingya [refugees in Cox’s Bazar] are safe from persecution, but the threat of illness and malnutrition pursues them. … The sight of young children playing barefoot in filthy water, or wading in streams flowing with human waste, is ubiquitous. Toilet-building campaigns are underway, but much more is needed to reduce the risk of waterborne-disease outbreaks. As the number of refugees grows daily, cases of malnutrition, especially among mothers and young children, are rising. … To prevent malnutrition from taking hold, the international community needs more resources and more funding across many sectors. … But food assistance alone is not enough to overcome this crisis. Poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water can just as easily undermine health. … The role of the WFP and the international community supporting the Bangladeshi authorities is to ease the Rohingya’s hardship today, and push for solutions that help them realize their aspirations tomorrow” (11/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Highlights Topics Discussed At World Health Summit In Berlin

European Public Health Alliance: Hot topics in public health go global in Berlin at the World Health Summit
Sascha Marschang, director of operations and membership at EPHA, highlights various topics discussed at the World Health Summit in Berlin, including health security, antimicrobial resistance, and vaccination (11/15).

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Frontline Health Workers Share Experiences At Global Forum On Human Resources For Health

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: The Humanity behind Frontline Health Care
Margarite Nathe, senior editor and writer at IntraHealth International, discusses a session at the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, during which six frontline health workers from around the world shared their experiences as health workers (11/14).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Articles On Stigma In Special Issue Of TB Journal

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Stigma surrounding tuberculosis keeps patients from services, worsens health risks, but remains largely unmeasured, unaddressed
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses articles in a special issue of the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease focused on how stigma and “attitudes about tuberculosis compromise care at every level — from detection, to diagnosis, to treatment, … to access to the newest, and for many patients, last resort treatments.” Barton also highlights a commentary in BMJ Global Health that “examines how HIV activism rallied against stigma with a focus on science” (11/13).

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Gates Foundation Announces Next Round Of Grand Challenges Explorations Awards

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Bold Ideas to Tackle Health & Development Problems — Announcing The Next Wave of Grand Challenges Explorations Winners
In this blog post, Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director of discovery and translational sciences in the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announces winners of the foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations awards (11/13).

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From the U.S. Government

NIAID Director Highlights Lessons From 3 Decades Of Responding To Infectious Disease Outbreaks

NIH: Three decades of responding to infectious disease outbreaks
“…In an essay in Annals of Internal Medicine published online [Tuesday], [Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),] reflects on the ways efforts have been marshaled to address infectious disease outbreaks of the past three decades. … The essay also considers how presidential administrations have responded to the appearance of pathogens ranging from West Nile virus and Ebola to, most recently, the arrival of Zika virus in the Americas…” (11/14).

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