KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Progress Against Malaria Stalls, World Report Shows; WHO, Partners Launch Campaign Targeting High-Burden Nations

Associated Press: WHO: Malaria reductions stall after progress
“The World Health Organization says progress in reducing the number of people contracting malaria has stalled after several years of global declines…” (11/19).

Devex: World Malaria Report 2018: 3 critical questions
“…There were 219 million cases of malaria in 2017, up from 217 million in 2016, according to the ‘World Malaria Report‘ released Tuesday by the World Health Organization…” (Ravelo, 11/19).

New York Times: The Fight Against Malaria Has Reached a Standstill
“…Without openly criticizing any particular country, officials made it clear that some are doing too little to protect their citizens. ‘The past year has seen lights and shadows,’ said Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, the WHO’s malaria program director. … Donor governments, Dr. Alonso said, must double what they now give if they hope to push new infection rates down fast enough to meet targets for 2030 set by the United Nations. … But donors have complained that some countries have become too dependent and must spend more of their own money…” (McNeil, 11/19).

Reuters: Faltering malaria fight should refocus on high-risk countries, says WHO
“…The [new WHO ‘high burden to high impact‘ response] plan, involves making better use of detailed data to target areas where bednets or more widespread use of indoor spraying would have a greater impact. Protection for pregnant women and children from malaria also remained too low, the report found. ‘We recognize we have to do something different — now,’ WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said…” (Kelland, 11/19).

U.N. News: U.N. health agency launches action plan as global malaria cases rise
“…Although India — which represents four percent of the global malaria burden — showed progress in reducing the disease (a drop of almost a quarter), cases in the African countries rose by 3.5 million compared to the previous year. A positive note was struck in Paraguay, which has this year been certified as malaria free, the first country in the Americas to receive this status in 45 years: the number of countries nearing elimination has now grown from 37 to 46, and three countries — Algeria, Argentina, and Uzbekistan — have requested official malaria-free certification from WHO…” (11/19).

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5 Companies Conduct Majority Of Global Health Research In Priority Disease Areas, 2018 Access To Medicines Index Shows

Devex: One trend in access to medicines may be cause for concern
“Five companies are carrying out 63 percent of the most urgently needed global health research and development projects in the priority areas of malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis. But having just a handful of companies responsible for most of the progress can jeopardize access to medicines, according to the 2018 Access to Medicines Index, which was released on Monday…” (Cheney, 11/20).

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Amid Violence, Suspension Of Vaccination Efforts, DRC Reports 21 More Ebola Cases

CIDRAP News: DRC reports 21 more cases of Ebola amid more violence in Beni
“…Over the weekend and through [Monday], the [Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)] recorded 21 more cases of Ebola, for a total of 373 cases, including 216 deaths. Seventy-two cases are suspected and under investigation. The World Health Organization (WHO) evacuated 16 people after their residence was hit by a shell that did not explode, and Ebola surveillance and vaccination efforts were stalled in Beni for at least 24 hours…” (Soucheray, 11/19).

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The Guardian Examines Doctors', Experts' Efforts To Eradicate Sleeping Sickness In DRC

The Guardian: The big sleep: how the world’s most troubled country is beating a deadly disease
“…If you were going to try to stamp out a lethal disease, you wouldn’t want to be doing it here. Yet that is what’s happening. In [the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)], a country tarnished in international eyes by war and violence, Congolese doctors are finally winning the battle with sleeping sickness, a disease of west and central Africa that became an epidemic thanks partly to the enforced displacement of peoples and poverty caused by the policies of invading European colonialists…” (Boseley, 11/16).

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World Toilet Day Spotlights Shortage Of, Lack Of Access To Sanitation Facilities Worldwide

Associated Press: World Toilet Day highlights global sanitation crisis
“Poor countries around the world are facing a dangerous shortage of toilets that puts millions of live at risk, according to campaigners marking World Toilet Day by urging governments and businesses to invest more in sanitation. The toilet crisis is most severe in parts of Africa and Asia facing extreme poverty and seeing a population boom…” (Muhumuza, 11/19).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Lack of school toilets puts 620 mln children in danger — report
“A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published on Friday. Children at one in three schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries…” (Karim, 11/15).

U.N. News: Toilet talk is essential to help 2.5 billion people who have nowhere to relieve themselves
“It’s not every day you see a giant inflatable toilet installed in downtown Geneva outside the U.N., but that’s what was on view [Monday], in a bid to raise awareness about the fact that more than 890 million people still defecate in the open. The many problems associated with not having your own place to go are highlighted by the Water Supply and Collaborative Council (WSSCC), which is responsible for bringing this super-size replica to Geneva on World Toilet Day. It’s commemorated every year on 19 November, as the organization’s Rolf Luyendijk explains to U.N. News’s Daniel Johnson” (11/19).

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U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Provides Care To Venezuelan Refugees Off Coast Of Colombia

The Guardian: U.S. navy hospital ship stokes tensions by giving Venezuelan refugees free care
“A U.S. navy hospital ship moored off Colombia has started giving free medical care to Venezuelan refugees, in a move likely to rile officials in Caracas who deny the existence of a humanitarian crisis in their own country — and have long been suspicious of the close relationship between Colombia and the U.S. … Some three million Venezuelans have fled political turmoil and economic hardship at home, including one million who have taken shelter in Colombia, which has struggled to deal with the exodus…” (Daniels, 11/18).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Nigeria’s doctors are leaving in droves (Adepoju, 11/20).

Global Health NOW: Malaria Dogs (Simpson, 11/19).

Reuters: Emergent-Valneva Zika vaccine clears early trial (Mathias, 11/19).

Undark: The Ethical Quandary of Human Infection Studies (Nordling, 11/19).

U.N. News: Ending inequality means ending ‘global pandemic’ of violence against women — U.N. chief (11/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Country-Led Initiatives, Global Partnership Vital To Achieve Success In Malaria Control

The Lancet: Countries must steer new response to turn the malaria tide
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, and Kesete Admasu of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria

“An alarm bell is ringing around the world today: for the second straight year, there is a flatlining of what had been a steady decline in the global malaria epidemic. … [I]n the past two years, there has been a worrying halt in progress, especially in the highest-burden countries. Both the reduction in cases and levels of investment in treatment and innovations have stalled. These findings are captured in WHO’s World Malaria Report 2018. The report provides a wake-up call, one countries and malaria control partners all need to respond to. … These results are helping to galvanize new action. A clear sign is the new country-focused ‘high burden to high impact’ malaria response … The new ‘high burden to high impact’ approach is founded on four pillars: galvanizing and mobilizing political attention to reduce malaria deaths; driving impact through strategic use of information; establishing the best global guidance, policies, and strategies for malaria endemic countries; and, importantly, implementing a coordinated, country-driven response. … Achieving impact in the fight against malaria is one of the most pressing health challenges. The potential for real success is greatest when country-led commitment and global partnership are fostered and maintained” (11/19).

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Public, Private Sectors Can Collaborate To Build Trust, Reduce Risks To Achieve UHC

Forbes: The Roadblocks To Universal Health Coverage And How NGOs Can Help Remove Them
Pape Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth International

“…Forty years ago, the global health community committed to achieving primary health care for all by 2000. But today, about half of the world’s population still does not have full access to essential health services. Could public-private partnerships finally get us there? … How do we move from small- and mid-scale pilot partnerships between the public and private sectors to big, collaborative impact on global health? … Two things are stopping us: risk and trust. … With the right due diligence and dialogue, we can design partnerships that level the playing field between those who have the money and resources and those who have the reach. … This will be a long journey. We’ll need to take turns driving to get there in one piece. By building solid communication into our partnerships, we can agree who’s turn it is and when. I’m hoping that at next year’s [Africa Health Business Symposium (AHBS)], we’re not still talking about potential risks, but rather learning from the collaborations and investments that were seeded [at last month’s symposium] in Johannesburg. And after the global community descended on Astana for the Global Primary Health Care Conference in October, I hope multilateral agencies, donors, private-sector actors, government representatives, and country-level voices can continue the honest dialogue that builds the trust we need to succeed” (11/19).

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Opinion Piece Calls For Reinstatement Of Global Fund's TB Funding In North Korea

STAT: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un: authoritarian love in the time of TB
Jonathan Shaffer, Ph.D. student in sociology at Boston University studying the politics of global health

“President Donald Trump, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis — the airborne bacterium responsible for causing tuberculosis, the deadliest infectious disease on the planet — are embroiled in a potentially awkward three-way love triangle. … [I]n North Korea, the combination of ongoing famine, densely packed cities, deeply impoverished rural regions, and a poorly functioning health system is driving an uncontrolled TB epidemic that is making worse an already dire humanitarian crisis. … In February, the Global Fund announced it was pulling its meager funding … to stanch the spread of tuberculosis in the country… The Global Fund is a multilateral global health funding agency … that has been the paragon of a human rights approach to global health financing. It is also supposed to be apolitical. … Not only does this episode sully the Global Fund’s well-regarded reputation as an impartial, apolitical, human-rights-focused global health financing agency, but it also has the terrifying potential to destabilize the geopolitics of a region that is already hanging by a thread. … Trump should direct his administration to call for the immediate reinstatement (and expansion) of the Global Fund’s efforts to care for people with tuberculosis in North Korea” (11/19).

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Efforts Encouraging Toilet Use Might Be As Important As Improving Access To Sanitation Facilities

Washington Post: It’s World Toilet Day. Why do so many people lack adequate sanitation facilities?
YuJung Julia Lee, assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at Colorado State University

“…No. 6 on the list of U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is to achieve universal access to adequate sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2030, recognizing the dangers of waterborne disease. But 61 percent of the global population still lacked safely managed sanitation services in 2015. Why has progress toward this goal been so hard to achieve? Rural Africa and South Asia are where the sanitation problems are concentrated — and India has one of the worst sanitation records. More than half of the rural population still practices open defecation. Here are three things my research on India’s sanitation progress suggests: 1. The answer is not just constructing more toilets. … 2. Having more women in leadership roles helps improve sanitation. … 3. Promoting latrine use is key. … If the goal is to improve global public health through sanitation, [our] research findings suggest looking not just at achieving universal toilet access but also paying more attention and resources to efforts to encourage their use” (11/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Posts, Statement Address Newly Released World Malaria Report

Friends of the Global Fight: New WHO Report Shows Need to Increase Investment in Tackling Malaria (11/19).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: WHO 2018 Malaria report finds increased cases amid stalled responses (Barton 11/19).

Tropical Health Matters: Malaria funding may never be enough, but better program management should be possible (Brieger, 11/19).

U.N. Dispatch: Map of the Day: Where Malaria Has Been Defeated (Goldberg, 11/19).

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Friends Of The Global Fight Highlights Takeaways From Latest Global Fund Board Meeting

Friends of the Global Fight: Key Takeaways: The Global Fund’s 40th Board Meeting
This Friends of the Global Fight post highlights key takeaways from the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund)’s Board meeting on November 14-15 in Geneva, Switzerland, including “getting on track to end the epidemics,” “leveraging financing,” and “stepping up on human rights” (11/19).

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CGD Expert Examines Development Cooperation, Competition, U.S. Approach, In Brookings Blog

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: What happens when development cooperation becomes development competition
Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at the Center for Global Development, discusses development cooperation and competition among donors in this guest blog post. Morris writes, “If there is one thing that major donor countries have agreed on, it’s the need to cooperate, with developing country ‘partners’ and with each other when it comes to the delivery of development assistance.” Morris then examines emerging competition among some donors, particularly the U.S. response to Chinese development finance. Morris concludes, “Rather than seek to lure countries away from China’s money, U.S. policy would do well to recognize it as a reality and seek to reform its problematic features. Achieving that will require cooperation, with like-minded countries — of which there are many — and with the Chinese themselves” (11/16).

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