Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Birx Addresses Proposed PEPFAR Budget Cuts, Program Results In Briefing

Devex: Proposed PEPFAR budget cuts have been helpful, says U.S. global AIDS coordinator
“U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Deborah Birx said Monday that the Trump administration’s repeated proposals to cut funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief have been helpful in pushing partner governments to be more effective. ‘That has actually helped me in communication with governments to talk about how the expectation of this administration is that our programs become more and more impactful with the dollars we have,’ Birx said at a State Department briefing. She noted that PEPFAR has been ‘fully funded’ during the past three years. … Birx said that despite the flat budget, the initiative is delivering stronger results…” (Igoe, 11/26).

Link to individual story

World Must Take Quick Action To Avoid Serious Climate Change Impacts, U.N. Report Says

Associated Press: U.N.: ‘Quick wins’ needed to keep climate goals within reach
“Countries have procrastinated for too long and need to begin making steep cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions immediately, or risk missing agreed targets for limiting global warming, top United Nations officials said Tuesday. The appeal by Inger Andersen, who heads the U.N. Environment Program, and others came days before governments gather in Madrid for an annual climate change meeting. ‘We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020,’ Andersen said, as her agency published its annual ’emissions gap’ report showing the amount of planet-heating gases being pumped into the atmosphere hitting a new high last year, despite a near-global pledge to reduce them…” (Keaten et al., 11/26).

Washington Post: In bleak report, U.N. says drastic action is only way to avoid worst effects of climate change
“…Tuesday’s U.N. report offers a grim assessment of how off-track the world remains. Global temperatures are on pace to rise as much as 3.9 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, according to the United Nations’ annual ’emissions gap’ report, which assesses the difference between the world’s current path and the changes needed to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord…” (Dennis, 11/26).

Additional coverage of the report and reaction is available from CNN, The Guardian, TIME, and U.N. News.

Link to individual story

U.N. Agencies Evacuate Dozens Of Ebola Team Staff From DRC Following Violence, Ongoing Insecurity

CIDRAP News: More violence continues to stall Ebola response in DRC hot spots
“The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) [Monday] said Ebola response operations in two hot spots remain paralyzed for the sixth day in a row, which could prolong the outbreak, amid a report of an attack on a United Nation peacekeeping office in Beni. In other developments, 4 new cases were reported over the weekend and through [Monday], raising the outbreak total past 3,300 to 3,303…” (Schnirring, 11/25).

Reuters: WHO, UNICEF evacuate 76 staff from Ebola teams in Congo due to insecurity
“The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday evacuated dozens of their staff working on the Ebola epidemic from the town of Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to the worsening security situation. Rebels believed to belong to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed eight people in an overnight raid on Sunday…” (Nebehay/Depetris, 11/26).

Additional coverage of the violence in DRC and its impact on the Ebola outbreak response is available from AFP, AP, Reuters, and U.N. News.

Link to individual story

Number Of Measles Cases Continues To Rise Worldwide, According To WHO

New York Times: Measles Cases Continue to Rise Around the World
“There has been a rapid increase in the global measles outbreak, with reported cases jumping 300 percent in the first three months of 2019 compared with the same period last year, according to the World Health Organization. As reasons for the increase, the organization has cited a deep mistrust of vaccines, gaps in immunization coverage, and lack of access to health care facilities or routine checkups…” (Dahir, 11/26).

Link to individual story

Fortune Feature Examines Controversy Over Sanofi Dengue Vaccine In Philippines

Fortune: Epidemic of Fear: How the Trouble-Ridden Debut of a Breakthrough Vaccine Sparked a Panic
“…[W]hile the Philippine news media and most of the politicians involved have moved on, the Dengvaxia controversy continues to have a profound and lasting impact. … In the Philippines, where immunization coverage was already dangerously low, the Dengvaxia scare caused vaccination rates to fall even further, opening the door to infectious diseases once believed to be on the wane. … Which brings up the first of this tale’s tragic, even Shakespearean twists: the fact that the Dengvaxia controversy may well bury forever a vaccine that actually works — not for everyone but for huge swaths of populations in countries where dengue is an urgent and growing public health problem. … Twist No. 2 is this: There is a good chance that Dengvaxia didn’t cause the tragic deaths of those 148 children…” (Fry, 11/26).

Link to individual story

Army's Infectious Disease Research Center To Reopen With Limited Operations; More Details On USAMRIID Shutdown Emerge

Frederick News-Post: CDC inspection findings reveal more about USAMRIID research suspension
“The Army’s premier biological laboratory on Fort Detrick reported two breaches of containment earlier this year, leading to the Centers for Disease and Control halting its high-level research. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases announced Friday that it would restart its operations on a limited scale. As it works to regain full operational status, more details about the events leading to the shutdown are emerging…” (Mongilio, 11/23).

Link to individual story

New York Times Feature Examines Impact Of Climate Change On Seasonal Rains, Water Supply In India

New York Times: India’s Ominous Future: Too Little Water, or Far Too Much
“The monsoon is central to Indian life and lore. It turns up in ancient Sanskrit poetry and in Bollywood films. It shapes the fortunes of millions of farmers who rely on the rains to nourish their fields. It governs what you eat. It even has its own music. Climate change is now messing with the monsoon, making seasonal rains more intense and less predictable. Worse, decades of short-sighted government policies are leaving millions of Indians defenseless in the age of climate disruptions — especially the poor…” (Denton/Sengupta, 11/25).

Link to individual story

More News In Global Health

ABC Science: Women in climate change hotspots face greater burdens when under environmental stress (Lyons, 11/26).

AP: Red Cross reports new outbreak of dengue fever in Yemen (Lederer, 11/25).

AP: U.N. launches campaign against gender violence targeting rape (Lederer, 11/25).

BBC: Lassa fever ‘at risk’ Britons sent home from Sierra Leone (11/25).

Borgen Magazine: Improving Child Health in India (Nettles, 11/25).

Devex: Ronald Cohen on what’s needed to drive impact investment to lower-income countries (Saldinger, 11/26).

Devex: The impact of Egypt’s mass hepatitis C screening on health care workers (11/26).

Devex: Women at center of post-earthquake nutrition efforts in Nepal (Welsh, 11/26).

Devex: U.N. launches guidelines on disability inclusion in humanitarian action (Root, 11/25).

Xinhua: Somalia, U.N. launch campaign to vaccinate 1.7 mln children against measles, polio (11/26).

Xinhua: Nigeria vows to end HIV scourge by 2030 (11/26).

Xinhua: Polio cases in Philippines climbs to eight (11/25).

Xinhua: Kenya reports outbreaks of cholera, visceral leishmaniasis (11/25).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

World Must Recognize Effectiveness Of Global Fund's Multilateralism, Gates Foundation Official Writes In Opinion Piece

Project Syndicate: ​The most important story you missed in 2019
Mark Suzman, chief strategy officer and president of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Each of us probably overlooks tens of thousands of important news stories every year. But the biggest one that people missed in 2019 happened on October 10 in a conference hall in Lyon, France, where a gathering of government officials, business leaders, and philanthropists pledged $14 billion to an organization called the Global Fund. … The replenishment is vitally important news, first and foremost because of the sheer number of lives it will help to save. … But what happened on October 10 in Lyon is critical for another reason: it illustrates how we are at a pivotal point in history, from which the world might move in one direction or another. On one hand, the successful recent fundraising effort was a testament to the way the world went about solving humanitarian crises in the early years of this century. Multilateralism, it turns out, worked — and worked extremely well. … On the other hand, the fact that no similar multilateral organization has been established since the early 2000s — at least not on such a scale — should give us pause. … I often wonder what would have happened had the AIDS crisis emerged 20 years later than it did. Would we be able to create the Global Fund today? The answer, I think, is no. It would be very difficult to build support for that kind of initiative in this environment. Last month’s news from Lyon, then, is part of an ongoing story. Will the world realize that multilateral coalitions work and reverse course? Or is the era of multilateralism at an end?…” (11/22).

Link to individual story

Development Initiatives, Experts Must Keep 'Persistent Focus' On Scaling, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Scaling up development impact — the opportunities and challenges
Johannes F. Linn, nonresident senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution, distinguished resident scholar of the Emerging Markets Forum, and senior adviser at the Results for Development Institute (R4D)

“…While we pursued the scaling agenda at Brookings, others in the development community also increasingly focused on how to scale. So, together with Larry Cooley of Management Systems International, we created the Scaling Up Community of Practice, dedicated to bringing together professionals interested in scaling up development impact. This CoP now consists of over 500 participants from over 200 organizations engaged in regular exchanges about how best to support scaling in education, health, agriculture, social enterprises, youth employment, and nutrition, in fragile states and through effective monitoring and evaluation. … But the biggest challenge is how to internalize, mainstream, and sustain the scaling idea and approach in an organization. Two fundamental barriers remain … : the pervasive focus on one-off projects with little or no incentive for staff in the institutions to think beyond the project’s life; and the fact that institutional memories are short, as new managers look for new ideas and initiatives rather than building on those of their predecessors. What is the answer to this challenge? A relentlessly persistent focus on scaling by those who care about development impact at scale” (11/25).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

UNAIDS, Other Organizations Release Statements, Resources In Advance Of World AIDS Day

ONE: Let’s talk about why AIDS is still a crisis (11/25).

UNAIDS: World AIDS Day 2019 message from UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima (12/1).

UNAIDS: Women are leading the response to HIV in their communities (11/25).

UNAIDS: Ensuring that people and communities have the power to choose, to know, to thrive and to demand is the key to ending AIDS (11/26).

UNICEF: Over 300 children and adolescents die every day from AIDS-related causes (11/26).

Link to individual story

Elsevier Report Examines HIV/AIDS Research Publication Volume, Finds U.S. Top Producer

Elsevier: U.K. and South Africa are Chasing the U.S. in Run for Top Producer of HIV/AIDS Related Research, New Elsevier Report Finds
Elsevier released a new report examining the volume of HIV/AIDS research publications produced by countries. According to the report’s webpage, “The United States is the top producer of HIV/AIDS related research, followed by the U.K., South Africa, and China. In terms of the relative activity in HIV/AIDS research, output is highest in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria, reflecting the high priority of this research in countries where the disability-adjusted life years lost due to HIV/AIDS per 100,000 individuals is high, along with the strong research culture in these countries. International collaboration is a key feature: of the top 10 institutions that produce the most research on HIV/AIDS, more than half of the output involves international collaboration” (11/26).

Link to individual story

World Bank Officials Discuss Importance Of Quality Health Care In Efforts To Achieve UHC

World Economic Forum: Poor quality is healthcare’s silent killer. Here’s what we can do about it
In this post, Gabriel Goldschmidt, director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Muhammad Ali Pate, global director of Health Nutrition and Population and director of the Global Financing Facility at the World Bank Group, discuss the challenge of quality health care access within the context of universal health coverage. The authors describe several World Bank Group initiatives to improve and assess health care, writing, “As we head down the path of UHC, we at the World Bank Group believe that now, more than ever, we must translate this commitment to concrete actions and place the issue of quality at the front and centre of our efforts. … We look forward to rolling out the World Bank Group’s system-wide quality tool … globally. Embedding quality in health systems will save lives and improve the health we purchase with money spent in healthcare” (11/25).

Link to individual story

U.N. Environment Programme Story Describes Efforts To Promote Planetary Health Diet

U.N. Environment Programme: Food for thought: dietary changes can improve our health, health of planet
“…Momentum is growing, however, for a shift to sustainable diets that protect the health of people and planet. At the C40 cities network summit in Copenhagen, just before this year’s celebration of World Food Day, 14 cities signed up to the Planetary Health Diet. If adopted universally, this diet would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, feed 10 billion people and save 11 million lives each year. … The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) — which works with C40 on a range of issues — is doing its part to reform food systems and bring a host of environmental benefits. UNEP works with the One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme in three key areas…” (11/25).

Link to individual story

Experts Discuss Need For Inclusiveness In European, Global Efforts To Achieve UHC In BMJ Opinion Piece

BMJ Opinion: Leaving nobody outside our healthcare systems — in Europe or elsewhere
Jeffrey V. Lazarus, head of the health systems team at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and an associate professor at the faculty of medicine at the University of Barcelona; Denis Onyango, programmes director at the Africa Advocacy Foundation (AAF); and Freek Spinnewijn, director of the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) and president of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), discuss efforts in Europe, and elsewhere, to achieve universal health coverage and the need for inclusiveness in those efforts. The authors write, “Ultimately, reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring UHC in all countries, rich and poor, will require governments to ensure that health systems are responsive to the needs of all communities” (11/25).

Link to individual story

From the U.S. Government

PEPFAR Releases Latest Results At Briefing; Draft 2020 COP Guidance Available For Comment

U.S. Department of State: Briefing by U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy Ambassador Deborah L. Birx (11/25).

U.S. Department of State: PEPFAR Latest Global Results (11/25).

U.S. Department of State: Draft PEPFAR COP 2020 Guidance Available for Public Comment (11/25).

Link to individual story

U.S. Agencies Release Statements, Resources In Advance Of World AIDS Day

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: World AIDS Day — December 1 (11/22).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: World AIDS Day 2019, Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community (Birx/Giroir, 11/25).

U.S. Department of State: World AIDS Day 2019 (11/25).

National Institutes of Health: NIH Statement on World AIDS Day 2019 (11/25).

Link to individual story

White House Releases Annual Report On U.S. Global Health Security Efforts

White House: Statement from the Press Secretary on the Global Health Security Agenda
“The White House has released the annual report, ‘Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda: Results and Impacts of U.S. Government Investments,’ which illustrates that the United States continues to elevate global health security as a national and global priority. The Trump Administration will continue strengthening the global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, as demonstrated by the May 2019 release of the first U.S. Global Health Security Strategy. The Strategy seeks to expand global health infrastructure, improve international resilience, and strengthen national defenses against biothreats to the American homeland, including by building capacity for governments to comply with their obligations under the International Health Regulations (2005). … The President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2020 proposes resources specifically dedicated to protecting the United States and its partners abroad from deadly infectious disease threats…” (11/25).

Link to individual story