KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- Devex Examines Outcomes Of 73rd UNGA, Global Goals Week
Devex: After UNGA, crucial questions around U.S. development, humanitarian aid, technology, and more
“As the dust settles from the whirlwind of one of global development’s busiest weeks, it is a time to figure out what might have a lasting impact. Some issues rose to more prominence than expected, while others fell short. Education seems to have emerged as a winner, whereas TB’s moment in the spotlight failed to bring expected commitments. … This Global Goals week and the 73rd United Nations General Assembly raised many questions with few concrete answers. Here’s a look at some of the key events, conversations, and issues to come out of the meetings…” (Saldinger et al., 10/1).
- IRIN Examines Trump's Appearance At U.N. General Assembly, U.S. Position On Foreign Aid
IRIN: As Trump runs low on targets, aid sector asks: are we next?
“…Several leading participants [last] week in New York spoke of their disappointment that diplomacy and multilateralism are on the retreat, making it harder to disentangle some of the world’s most intractable problems and conflicts — from Syria and Yemen to refugee resettlement and climate change. And with the Trump administration running low on multilateral punching bags, relief officials and U.N. observers are now worried that the political weaponization of aid might become the next frontier, with the U.S. reducing vital funding for assistance programs overseas that don’t fit its agenda…” (Oakford, 9/28).
- Media Outlets Continue Coverage Of U.N. High-Level Meeting On TB
Global Health NOW: High-level Hopes to End TB
“The U.N. General Assembly’s first ever High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis this past Wednesday culminated in a slew of commitments to end the disease that kills more people than any other infectious disease — 1.6 million in 2017, by the WHO’s count. … Out of 193 U.N. member states, fewer than 30 leaders attended, [Médecins Sans Frontières] noted in a statement released after the meeting adjourned that threw some cold water on the optimistic promises at the meeting’s close…” (Myers, 9/28).
Vox: The deadliest infectious disease is becoming drug-resistant
“…A rapidly growing number of patients are developing drug-resistant tuberculosis, which kills more people than any other drug-resistant pathogen. The persistence of TB is the reason the United Nations General Assembly held its first High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis Wednesday, which experts hope will trigger an influx of cash and attention for the treatment and diagnosis of a neglected disease…” (Higgins, 9/28).
- WHO Raises Risk Assessment Of DRC Ebola Outbreak To 'Very High' As Violence Threatens Response
CIDRAP News: More DRC Ebola cases as risk raised to ‘very high’
“As new Ebola cases continue in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) [Thursday] raised the risk assessment for spread of the disease within the country and regionally from ‘high’ to ‘very high’ while keeping the risk of international transmission of Ebola virus disease (EVD) low…” (Soucheray, 9/28).
U.N. News: Violence and displacement in Ebola-hit DR Congo threatens humanitarian response
“Increasing violence in Ebola-affected areas of north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) threatens the safety of tens of thousands of people there, the U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said on Friday…” (9/28).
- Advocates Urge WHO To Consider E-Cigarettes, Similar Products As Harm Reduction Mechanisms To Tobacco Control
Financial Times: Campaigners urge WHO to give vaping a chance
“Seventy leading public health experts and anti-tobacco campaigners have urged the World Health Organization to adopt a more sympathetic attitude to e-cigarettes and other alternatives to smoking, ‘which have the potential to bring the epidemic of smoking-caused disease to a more rapid conclusion.’ Their joint letter to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, is intended to influence this week’s conference of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Geneva, which frames international health policy on the issue…” (Cookson, 9/30).
- Several African First Ladies Offer Advice, Comments Ahead Of U.S. First Lady Melania Trump's Visit To Continent
VOA News: African First Ladies Share Thoughts Ahead of Melania Trump’s Trip
“First ladies in several African countries hope their American counterpart will find ways to tackle problems, with a nuanced understanding of the African experience, when she visits the continent next week. The first ladies of Mozambique, Namibia, and Sierra Leone spoke to VOA in New York during the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly and shared advice for U.S. First Lady Melania Trump…” (Solomon/FitzPatrick, 9/29).
- China Reports Increase In Number Of People With HIV/AIDS
Al Jazeera: China sees AIDS cases surge
“The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in China surged 14 percent over the past year with most cases transmitted through sex rather than blood transfusions, state media reported on Saturday…” (9/29).
- Death Toll From Indonesian Earthquake, Tsunami Climbs Over 800
New York Times: Indonesia Tsunami Death Toll Climbs Above 800
“…[On Friday,] twin natural disasters — a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami that unleashed an 18-foot wave — turned parts of [Indonesia’s] Palu and the surrounding strip of coastline into a graveyard. As of Sunday evening, national disaster mitigation officials said that at least 832 people had been confirmed killed…” (Beech et al., 9/30).
Wall Street Journal: Scramble to Rescue Survivors of Indonesia Quake and Tsunami as Death Toll Rises
“…Aid workers in Palu, a city of 380,000, scrambled Sunday to free people caught in the rubble of collapsed buildings…” (Sentana/Otto, 9/30).
Washington Post: ‘There’s a smell of dead bodies’: Toll climbs in Indonesia as desperate relatives try to reach disaster area
“…Three days after the disaster, thousands remained homeless, in desperate need of everything from medicine and blankets to food and water. Hundreds were still unable to reach their loved ones, as bodies piled up at government offices and officials rushed to bury them for fear of disease…” (McLaughlin et al., 10/1).
- More News In Global Health
Agence France-Presse: Yemen doctors despair as babies starve in ‘orphaned province’ (9/28).
CNN: World’s first human case of rat disease discovered (Senthilingam/Picheta, 9/28).
Deutsche Welle: When nature calls, there’s a problem in parts of Ghana (Kaledzi, 9/28).
Devex: Can faith groups convince Australia to act on foreign aid (Cornish, 10/1).
Devex: Innovation at Save the Children: A return on investment, literally (Cheney, 9/28).
The Economist: The poor world and the rich world face different problems with their waste (9/29).
Global Health NOW: Global Health NOW Live: What Disasters Can Teach You (Simpson, 9/28).
Inter Press Service: More Women Owning Agricultural Land in Africa Means Increased Food Security and Nutrition (Yakupitiyage, 9/30).
New York Times: China’s Health Care Crisis: Lines Before Dawn, Violence and ‘No Trust’ (Wee, 9/30).
South China Morning Post: ‘I was lucky, they weren’t’: why a Wall Street banker quit his high-flying job to help China’s AIDS orphans (Yan, 9/30).
USA TODAY: 100 years ago, influenza killed as many as 50 million people. Could it happen again today? (Rice, 9/28).
VOA News: Afghan Provincial Officials: Taliban Are Interfering in Polio Vaccination Efforts (Zaland, 9/30).
Washington Post: Argentines sacrifice vacations, Internet and even food as economic crisis intensifies (Cosoy, 9/28).
Xinhua News: New HIV infections rising dramatically in Philippines: data (9/29).
Editorials and Opinions
- U.S., International Community Must Not Be Complacent About Global Health Security, Outbreak Preparedness
Foreign Policy: The Next Pandemic Will Be Arriving Shortly
Lisa Monaco, senior fellow at New York University Law School’s Center on Law and Security and Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Vin Gupta, assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, fellow at the Center for Global Development, and physician and officer in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps
“…The prevailing laissez-faire attitude toward funding pandemic preparedness within President Donald Trump’s White House is creating new vulnerabilities in the health infrastructure of the United States and leaving the world with critical gaps to contend with when the next global outbreak of infectious disease hits. … Global health security should not be seen solely as the pursuit of development do-gooders or international policy wonks. Rather, the clear lessons of Ebola and prior pandemics for the current U.S. administration should be that fighting disease outbreaks requires the sort of consensus-building and galvanization of global resources that last week’s U.N. General Assembly was meant to celebrate and sustain. Cynical critiques of such cooperation ignore the mutual interdependence of our global community, which can’t be overturned by a speech or temporary set of inward-looking policy platforms. Pandemic preparedness is a matter of national security and needs to be treated that way. The greater the complacency, the bigger the next crisis will be” (9/28).
- Global Community Must Prioritize NCDs, Including Childhood Cancer
New York Times: A Promising Step in Tackling Childhood Cancer
“…While high-income countries like the United States have made tremendous strides against [acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)] and a string of similar childhood cancers, those gains have not trickled down to low- and middle-income countries, many of which simply don’t have the resources to treat complex diseases. … The result of those deficits is not surprising, but it is striking. In rich countries, 80 percent of children with diseases like ALL survive. In many poor countries, 80 percent die. That inversion marks one of the greatest health disparities in the world … This week, St. Jude announced a five-year, $15 million partnership with the World Health Organization, aimed at expanding [global access to pediatric cancer treatments]. … Together, they are well equipped to finally close this inexcusable survival gap. But their success will hinge on several other entities. Individual governments need to prioritize noncommunicable diseases like cancer, and work harder to provide universal health coverage; the drug and device industries need to come to the table on pricing — the technology of cancer care is expensive, but it can be made affordable. And wealthier countries need to contribute resources of their own to the effort. Such investments can only strengthen the global economy in the long run … If world leaders can recognize that benefit, hundreds of thousands of children around the world may finally have [a chance]…” (9/29).
- Prevention, Innovation Key To Addressing NCDs
Health Policy Watch: Risks And Ultimate Rewards: Innovative Ways To Beat Chronic Diseases
Thomas Cueni, head of the IFPMA
“…Prevention and innovation are the two key weapons in the fight against [non-communicable diseases (NCDs)]. … Progress made in recent years in combating the four main killers [– cardiovascular failure, cancer, respiratory illnesses, and diabetes –] has been remarkable … These gains are the result of many kinds of innovation … The huge burden of NCDs on health care systems and societies … will continue to rise unless governments persuade people to change their lifestyles and encourage investment in research. Equally important, health care systems must be adequately funded to ensure an environment conducive to innovation for further scientific discoveries and dynamic technologies. These will reduce death rates, improve health outcomes, and offer a better quality of life to millions of patients” (9/28).
- 'Moonshot' Effort On Understanding Human Immune System Needed For Progress On Vaccines
New York Times: Letter to the Editor: For Progress on Vaccine
Wayne Koff, president and chief executive of the Human Vaccines Project
“…Despite decades of work and billions in investment, vaccines for HIV, tuberculosis, cancers, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases have evaded our best efforts, and we remain woefully unprepared for the next pandemic. This lack of progress is largely due to a fundamental gap in our understanding of how our immune system prevents and controls disease. Rather than primarily funding individual efforts on single diseases, we need significant resources focused on decoding the human immune system, on a moonshot-level scale of the Human Genome Project. Technological advances in biomedicine and computer sciences have provided the tools necessary to undertake this effort, but we must act before these diseases take an even greater toll” (9/28).
- Achieving SDGs Requires Commitment From Global Leaders, Citizens To Address Climate Change
Project Syndicate: Social Solidarity for Sustainable Development
Gro Harlem Brundtland, acting chair of The Elders
“…Climate action is integral to progress in [peace, justice, and human rights]. … But a sufficiently bold climate strategy demands courage and political commitment from leaders. … [E]very head of state, every government, and every citizen has a responsibility to ensure that we achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. … Achieving the SDGs — and, thus, tackling the climate crisis — will require us to stand up to the vested political, business, and economic interests that seek to maintain our current unequal order. It will also demand that we overhaul our unsustainable lifestyles and our patterns of production and consumption, while confronting the issue of rapid population growth. Everyone will have to pull their weight…” (9/28).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- UNAIDS Discusses PEPFAR's 15th Anniversary, Successes
UNAIDS: PEPFAR: the first 15 years
In this feature story, UNAIDS discusses the 15th anniversary of PEPFAR, including the program’s 2018 Progress Report, published on Sept. 27. The article states, “Over the past 15 years, PEPFAR has dramatically changed the landscape of the global response to HIV, and bipartisan support across successive administrations since its launch has continued to ensure that PEPFAR expands its work towards controlling the AIDS epidemic…” (9/28).
- Avert Article Discusses Link Between HIV, Abortion, Need For Broader Sexual, Reproductive Health Rights For Women
Avert: HIV and abortion — a human rights challenge
This post discusses sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), examines the potential impact of the Mexico City policy on SRHR, and provides “an overview of the link between HIV and abortion and the need for broader sexual reproductive health rights for women” (9/28).
- World Bank Partners With Madagascar To Reduce Childhood Stunting, Promote Nutrition
World Bank: Reducing Childhood Stunting with a New Adaptive Approach
This post discusses the social and economic effects of childhood stunting and highlights a World Bank partnership with Madagascar aimed at helping the country maintain and expand its National Community Nutrition Program. The post notes, “Madagascar has set reducing stunting in children under five years of age as one of its main goals, and its partnership with the World Bank will help the country promote good nutrition and development from the earliest days of children’s lives” (9/28).
- October 2018 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online
WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
This special-themed October 2018 WHO Bulletin features articles on global eye care, including an editorial on the benefits of integrating eye care into health systems; an article on achieving dedicated programs and funding for eye care; and a systematic review on interventions to improve school-based eye-care services in low- and middle-income countries (October 2018).
From the U.S. Government
- U.S. HHS Secretary Azar Traveling To Brazil, Argentina For Health Security, G20 Health Ministers' Meetings
U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Brazil: Secretary of Health Alex Azar to Attend Meetings in Brazil and Argentina for G20 Health Ministerial Meeting
This week, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar “will participate in bilateral meetings with government officials to discuss the ongoing collaboration between the United States and Brazil towards global health security and our bilateral science partnership. In Fortaleza, Brazil Secretary Azar will meet with families to learn about Zika and microcephaly and how our two nations can work together to enhance and protect our citizens against global health threats. … On October 3 and 4, Secretary Azar will represent the United States at the G20 Health Ministerial Meeting in Mar Del Plata, Argentina…” (9/28).
- KFF Releases Updated Primer On U.S. Engagement In Global Health
Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government Engagement in Global Health: A Primer
This updated primer provides a comprehensive overview of the U.S. government’s engagement in global health issues. Specifically, the document includes information about global health challenges; provides a brief history of the evolving responses of the U.S. government and other stakeholders; describes the U.S. agencies and programs involved in global health and the federal budget supporting these efforts; and explores how the U.S. engages with multilateral institutions and international partners (9/28).