KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Nations Pledge $1B For ACT-Accelerator, Funding Shortfall Remains; Leaders Call For More Global Cooperation On Vaccine Development, Distribution

Devex: World leaders pledge $1B for ACT-Accelerator
“A handful of global leaders pledged roughly $1 billion on Wednesday at a high-level event for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, with the bulk of it going to vaccines. Several pharmaceutical companies also made commitments ensuring broad distribution of COVID-19 tools. However, around half of the funding had already been announced prior to the event, and still leaves the accelerator with a massive funding shortfall. The ACT-Accelerator, launched in April, is meant to help speed up the development of COVID-19 tools, and ensure their equitable distribution, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. The accelerator is composed of four pillars — diagnostics, treatments, vaccines, and health systems connectors — and requires $38 billion in funding to deliver on its goals…” (Ravelo, 10/1).

Al Jazeera: COVID-19: U.N. calls for more support for ‘people’s vaccine’ plan
“António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has again called for a ‘quantum leap in support’ for a global vaccine plan to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Sweden promised nearly $1bn in funds to support developing nations’ secure access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. … The initiative aims to deliver two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021, 245 million treatments, and 500 million tests…” (10/1).

Devex: Q&A: Why Jerome Kim is ‘hopeful’ but cautious about distributing a COVID-19 vaccine
“The future prospects of an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine — or, more likely, multiple vaccines — hung over the United Nations General Assembly’s opening 75th session last week. Experts like Jerome Kim, director general of the South Korea-based International Vaccine Institute, say that approving a vaccine is only the first of many complicated steps to ensuring that everyone across the world has access to one or more doses — and that they will actually take the vaccine, amid disinformation campaigns…” (Lieberman, 9/30).

DW: COVID-19: Global alliance comes to Africa’s rescue in vaccine rush
“In the race for a coronavirus vaccine, many African countries feel disadvantaged. An international vaccine coalition has pledged millions of doses for developing nations. But experts warn that Africa must do more…” (Schwikowski, 9/30).

U.N. News: Guterres urges more countries to step up and fund global COVID-19 vaccine effort
“…The Secretary-General called on developed countries — which have devoted many trillions of dollars to respond to the socio-economic impacts of the crisis in their own countries — to ‘invest a small fraction of that, to stop the spread of the disease everywhere’ …” (9/30).

U.S. News & World Report: Gates Foundation, Pharmaceutical Companies Join to Advance Coronavirus Vaccines
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has joined forces with 16 pharmaceutical companies to advance manufacturing and equitably distribute coronavirus vaccines. … Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation, announced on Wednesday that 16 CEOs signed a communique stating their ‘commitments to help ensure equitable & effective global allocation of #COVID19 interventions’ …” (Lardieri, 9/30).

Xinhua: Singapore’s deputy PM calls for strengthening global cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines
“Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat called for strengthening international cooperation on vaccines, when he delivered a pre-recorded video message at the high-level United Nations General Assembly event on COVID-19 response on Wednesday evening…” (9/30).

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Gender Inequality 'Overwhelming Injustice', Says U.N. Secretary General 25 Years After Landmark Beijing Conference On Women

AP: 25 years after U.N. women’s meeting, equality remains distant
“Twenty-five years ago, the world’s nations came together to make sure that half of Earth’s population gained the rights, power, and status of the other half. It hasn’t happened yet. And it won’t anytime soon. In today’s more divided, conservative, and still very male-dominated world, top U.N. officials say the hope of achieving equality for women remains a distant goal. ‘Gender inequality is the overwhelming injustice of our age and the biggest human rights challenge we face,’ U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has said. Last week, in his address at the virtual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly, he said the COVID-19 pandemic has hit women and girls the hardest…” (Lederer, 10/1).

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Devex Examines Issues Surrounding Gender Data, Including Cost, Quality, Use

Devex: Gender data: How expensive is it, really?
“…As the pandemic continues, calls grow louder for sex-disaggregated data to guide policy and address impacts of a health crisis that could force an additional 96 million people into extreme poverty by 2021, 47 million of whom are women and girls. Building a ‘core gender data system’ capable of generating the gender data indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals should be a priority for all stakeholders, [Shaida Badiee, managing director of Open Data Watch] told Devex. But the surveys, censuses, and administrative systems included in a core gender data system have many other applications, making it challenging to break down the exact cost of just gender data. … Still, the question is not necessarily just one of funding, but rather the improved availability, reliability, and use of data. Donor misalignment and weak plans for in-country data use are where gender data progress is more likely to get stuck, experts told Devex…” (Rogers, 10/1).

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WHO Vows To Investigate Sexual Abuse Allegations From DRC Ebola Outbreak Response; New Report Examines U.K.'s Efforts To Support Survivors Of Peacekeeper Abuse

New York Times: WHO Workers Are Accused of Sex Abuse During Ebola Response in Congo
“The World Health Organization, already struggling to lead a global response to the coronavirus pandemic, has been hit with potentially damaging allegations that doctors and other employees working on the agency’s response to an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo peddled jobs for sex. The New Humanitarian, a nonprofit news organization based in Geneva, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation published on Tuesday the findings of a yearlong investigation in which 30 of 51 women interviewed reported exploitation by men identified as working for the WHO on the Ebola outbreak starting in 2018. The WHO, a United Nations agency which says it has a policy of zero-tolerance toward sexual abuse, said its leadership and staff were outraged by the reports and promised a ‘robust’ investigation…” (Cumming-Bruce, 9/30).

Devex: U.K. not doing enough to support survivors of peacekeeper abuse, report says
“The United Kingdom’s work to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse at the hands of international peacekeepers has not done enough to support victims and survivors, according to a report from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact. The U.K. government has positioned itself as a leader in fighting sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in the humanitarian and development sectors, which has been a priority since the #AidToo scandals that surfaced in 2018 and continue to emerge now…” (Worley, 9/30).

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Foreign Policy Examines Trump Administration's Efforts To Incorporate Views On Sexual, Reproductive Health, Abortion, Other Issues Into International Agreements

Foreign Policy: Trump Officials Seek to Push Social Conservative Values in International Agreements
“In the past four years, the Trump administration has taken this battle to international organizations on an unprecedented scale, going further than past Republican administrations to try to stamp out references to sexual and reproductive health, family planning, and other phrases that they argue condone abortion — as well as new norms on gender identity and sexual orientation…” (Gramer/Lynch, 9/30).

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Devex Reports On USAID's Guidance Pausing Staff Diversity, Inclusion Training

Devex: Update: USAID pauses all diversity and inclusion training
“The U.S. Agency for International Development has paused diversity and inclusion trainings in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on combating race and sex stereotyping. The guidance released by USAID on Wednesday night, and obtained by Devex, ordered the heads of all bureaus to ‘put a hold on upcoming diversity and inclusion trainings, seminars, and other related fora as we, in conjunction with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), conduct a review of the content of these programs.’ … On Sept. 22, Trump issued an executive order in an attempt to ‘combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating,’ based on the administration’s belief that trainings including terms such as ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ ‘intersectionality,’ ‘systemic racism,’ ‘positionality,’ ‘racial humility,’ and ‘unconscious bias’ are divisive and discriminatory. An accompanying memorandum instructs agencies to identify training programs related to diversity and inclusion held during fiscal year 2020, including those conducted by outside vendors, and determine the amount spent on them. They are also ordered to review the trainings to determine whether they ‘teach, advocate, or promote the divisive concepts’ and to include provisions in future contracts prohibiting training that is inconsistent with the executive order…” (Igoe, 9/30).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Al Jazeera: ‘Humanity waging war on nature’: U.N. chief (9/30).

AP: Auditor general: Kenya to lose millions in COVID-19 response (Odula, 9/30).

The Atlantic: This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic (Tufekci, 9/30).

Devex: Partnering for health: Advancing resilient health systems (10/1).

Devex: Q&A: The need for flexibility and innovation in TB care — now more than ever (10/1).

Devex: Why we need to invest in health care workers now (Donback, 9/30).

The Hill: Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines (Hellmann, 9/30).

The Hill: Fauci calls for racial and ethnic diversity in coronavirus vaccine trials (Bernal, 9/30).

New York Times: Huge Study of Coronavirus Cases in India Offers Some Surprises to Scientists (Mandavilli, 9/30).

SciDev.Net: Malaria: Africa’s nagging health burden (Amutabi, 9/30).

Scientific American: Protecting against COVID’s Aerosol Threat (Barber, 10/1).

Washington Post: The secret to Australia’s success in beating the coronavirus? Being an island helps. (Patrick, 10/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Global Distribution Of Future COVID-19 Vaccines; Pandemic's Impact On Global Poverty, Economy; Importance Of Public Health Approach To Address Pandemic

Forbes: Vaccines Are On Their Way: Now We Need To Decide Who Gets Them
David Walcott, founder of NovaMed and founding partner of the Visionaries’ Summit (9/30).

Project Syndicate: The COVID-Climate Nexus
Jeffrey Frankel, professor of capital formation and growth at Harvard University and research associate at the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research (9/30).

Wall Street Journal: Leave No Country Behind in the Post-Covid Recovery
Robert B. Zoellick, former World Bank president, former U.S. trade representative, former deputy secretary of state, and author (9/30).

Washington Post: When we need public health most, our leaders are waging war against it
Celine Gounder, internist, infectious diseases specialist, and epidemiologist at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center, host of the podcast “Epidemic,” and CNN medical analyst (9/30).

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Opinion Piece Outlines Recommendations On How To Reform, Strengthen USAID

The Hill: There is hope for the future: Create USAID 2.0
R. David Harden, managing director of the Georgetown Strategy Group

“…USAID needs a hard reset. USAID 2.0 will have to build dynamic global climate and health surveillance systems, unleash private capital and talent, innovate, and partner more effectively. … First, USAID should build a Climate Resilient Early Warning System and Network (CREWSNET), modelled after its groundbreaking work in the mid-1980s to establish the Famine Early Warning System (FEWSNET). … Second … USAID 2.0 should build upon Power Africa to create a Climate Investment Fund that expands private sector solutions for renewable power, water, and sanitation by leveraging private capital markets, technology, and talent to African, Asian, and Latin American markets to begin mitigating climate impact and creating a new century for American leadership, technology, and trade. Third, Andrew Natsios, former USAID administrator in the George W. Bush administration, recently proposed an infectious disease early warning system (PEWS) to partner with FEWSNET. As Natsios envisions it, PEWS would rely on satellite imagery, market data, animal health, and other data synthesized to predict and track early pandemic breakouts. … Fourth, humanitarian responses to complex emergencies and subsequent stabilization efforts in fragile or post-conflict countries are an increasingly large portion of the USAID budget. The operations, response, and results of these response efforts need to be ‘hacked’ to better determine results and value. … Fifth, Raj Shah, former USAID administrator in the Obama administration, set up the Global Development Lab — an innovative idea that never really took root within the agency. … Finally, USAID and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should work more closely together for the benefit of both agencies…” (9/30).

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Study Examines Impact Of Mexico City Policy On Health Services In Kenya

The Conversation: Insights into how the U.S. abortion gag rule affects health services in Kenya
Boniface Ushie, associate research scientist at African Population and Health Research Center, and colleagues

“…Kenya relies heavily on foreign aid to finance its sexual and reproductive health services. … The African Population and Health Research Center, in partnership with the Global Health Justice and Governance Program of Columbia University, carried out a study to establish how Trump’s expanded [Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule,] affected sexual and reproductive health services including family planning, safe abortion, and post-abortion care in Kenya. We found that in the first 18 months, the expanded rule’s effects transcended the limitation of abortion care. It affected funding and disrupted collaboration and health promotion activities. It also strengthened opposition to sexual and reproductive health and rights. These losses weaken NGO support to the Kenyan health system and … will likely have a substantial impact on clients seeking sexual and reproductive health services. … In light of evidence of the effects of this policy, the U.S. government should reconsider how it affects people living in different contexts. And the Kenyan government must figure out how to lessen the impact of the global gag rule on its health system. It is critical for the Kenyan government to look to its own policies and increase budgetary allocation for sexual and reproductive health services so that they cushion the impact of the global gag rule. In addition, policymakers in the U.S. should work to permanently repeal the policy in light of ample evidence demonstrating its adverse impact” (9/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Applauds Updated Version Of Heroes Act Released By House

AVAC: Global AIDS Policy Partnership Statement in Support of Heroes Act 2020
“The Global AIDS Policy Partnership (GAPP) applauds and strongly supports the provision of much-needed funding to global health efforts as part of the next COVID-19 relief package, led by the House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. … Funding allocated in the Heroes Act would allow us to safeguard decades of progress against HIV, TB, and malaria and save millions more people from these diseases…” (9/29).

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Friends Applauds House Leadership for Critically Needed Support of the Global Fund in Revised COVID-19 Emergency Bill
“Last evening House of Representatives leadership posted a revised COVID-19 emergency bill, the Heroes Act, which includes $3.5 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to support low- to middle-income countries to bolster health systems and respond to COVID-19. ‘If enacted, this legislation will save many lives and protect fragile gains against the AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria epidemics,’ said Chris Collins, president and CEO [of] Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria…” (9/29).

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Blog Posts, Releases Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19, Including Impact On AIDS, TB, Malaria Efforts; Importance Of WASH; Global Vaccine Access; Other Global Health Topics

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: How COVID-19 is affecting the global response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (9/30).

Global Citizen: The U.K. Is Set to Become the Largest State Donor to the WHO to Help Fight COVID-19
Helen Lock, content writer at Global Citizen (9/30).

IntraHealth International’s “VITAL”: Stop a Pandemic Without Water? Health Workers across the World Need WASH
Lindsay Denny, health adviser at Global Water 2020 (9/30).

ONE Campaign: Why global vaccine access is the key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic
Arielle Witter, social and editorial coordinator at The ONE Campaign (9/30).

UNICEF: Statement by Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF Executive Director at the high-level side event on the ACT-Accelerator at the 75th session of U.N. General Assembly (9/30).

WHO: U.N. welcomes nearly $1 billion in recent pledges — to bolster access to lifesaving tests, treatments and vaccines to end COVID-19 (9/30).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 387 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes an article on two recently released reports by the Global Fund and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation addressing the HIV, TB, and malaria epidemics amid COVID-19, and an article on Global Fund implementer countries that are not on track to spend grant funds in the current allocation period (9/30).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Launches $100M Project To Anticipate, Address Threats Posed By Emerging Zoonotic Diseases

USAID: USAID Announces New $100 Million Project to Anticipate Threats Posed by Emerging Infectious Diseases
“[On Wednesday], the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched Strategies to Prevent Spillover (STOP Spillover) a five-year, $100 million project to anticipate and address threats posed by the emerging zoonotic diseases that pose the greatest risk of jumping from animals to humans. STOP Spillover will play a significant role in the implementation of the U.S. Government’s Global Health Security Strategy, including support for the Global Health Security Agenda…” (9/30).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of October 1, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/1).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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