KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Approves U.S. International Development Finance Corporation; Administration Seeking To Counter Chinese Influence Abroad, New York Times Reports

New York Times: Trump Embraces Foreign Aid to Counter China’s Global Influence
“President Trump, seeking to counter China’s growing geopolitical influence, is embracing a major expansion of foreign aid that will bankroll infrastructure projects in Africa, Asia, and the Americas — throwing his support behind an initiative he once sought to scuttle. With little fanfare, Mr. Trump signed a bill a little over a week ago that created a new foreign aid agency — the United States International Development Finance Corporation — and gave it authority to provide $60 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and insurance to companies willing to do business in developing nations…” (Thrush, 10/14).

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Legal Working Group Helping NGOs Navigate Expanded Mexico City Policy

BuzzFeed News: Inside The Covert Group Of Lawyers Working To Fight The ‘Chilling Effect’ Of Trump’s Abortion Policy
“A cabal of lawyers has been working pro bono and under the radar for nearly two years to fight against the harm they say President Donald Trump’s anti-abortion foreign policy is causing globally. … [T]he group of lawyers made it their mission to mitigate the policy’s harm by negotiating with the administration and providing legal counsel to organizations that think the policy has been misapplied to them. The group is considering litigation against the U.S. government over the policy as well. … The chief concern of the group, four of its members told BuzzFeed News, is making sure organizations in countries that rely on U.S. funding to provide health care are not ‘over-complying’ with the Mexico City policy, meaning ending family-planning programs that don’t technically violate the policy, out of fear of the U.S. cutting funding — a phenomenon advocates call the ‘chilling effect’…” (O’Connor, 10/12).

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White House Adds 2 Women Ambassadors To List Of Possible Replacements For U.S. Ambassador To U.N. Haley, Officials Say

POLITICO: White House considers 2 female ambassadors to replace Haley at U.N.
“The White House is adding two high-profile women, both confirmed ambassadors, to the list of candidates to succeed Nikki Haley at the United Nations, according to two senior administration officials: Jamie McCourt and Kelly Knight Craft. … McCourt, the American ambassador to France and Monaco, is a former corporate attorney and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers whose 2009 divorce from former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt became tabloid fodder. … Craft, the American ambassador to Canada, is the [wife] of billionaire coal baron and Republican mega donor Joe Craft…” (Johnson et al., 10/12).

Roll Call: No to ‘Ambassador Ivanka’ — President Signals Daughter Won’t Be U.N. Envoy
“President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to signal he will not nominate his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He used a tweet to say it is ‘nice’ that ‘everyone’ wants his daughter to be the U.S. envoy to the global body. But then he added this: ‘She would be incredible, but I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!’…” (Bennett, 10/12).

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Number Of Confirmed, Suspected Ebola Cases Tops 200 In DRC; CDC Withdraws Onsite Experts Over Security Concerns

CIDRAP News: DRC Ebola cases top 200 as security problems fuel the spike
“With 11 new Ebola cases confirmed [Oct. 11 and Oct. 12], the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak total climbed to 205 cases, amid new warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the security problems are getting worse and threaten to undermine the response, especially in Beni, the main hot spot…” (Schnirring, 10/12).

STAT: Ebola experts from CDC were pulled from outbreak zone amid security concern
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was forced to withdraw its Ebola experts from an outbreak zone in the Democratic Republic of the Congo several weeks ago amid heightened security concerns, a decision that is fueling worry over the impact on efforts to contain the epidemic, according to U.S. officials and public health experts familiar with the matter. The Ebola experts — among the most experienced on the planet — and other U.S. government employees have been told by the State Department that they cannot travel to eastern DRC to help with the on-the-ground response…” (Branswell, 10/14).

Additional coverage of the ongoing DRC Ebola outbreak and responses is available from Al Jazeera, Associated Press, CIDRAP News, Deutsche Welle, The Guardian, NPR, PBS NewsHour, Reuters, SciDev.Net, and VOA News (2).

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Global Health Aid Saved Nearly 700M Lives Since 1990; New Commitments Needed To Maintain Progress, ONE Report Says

Devex: Almost 700M lives saved by global health aid, report claims
“Global health aid has prevented almost 700 million deaths since 1990, a report released by the ONE Campaign on Monday claims. The ‘Empowered Citizens, Empowered Systems’ report, launched at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany, assesses global health progress to date and recommends next steps to reach the 2030 sustainable development agenda. It found that international financing and innovation has helped saved millions from preventable diseases — but adds that progress could be stalled or even reversed unless radical new commitments are made…” (Root, 10/15).

Reuters: International aid saves 700 million lives but gains at risk: report
“… ‘The lives saved amount to twice the population of the United States,’ said Gayle Smith, the ONE Campaign’s chief executive. ‘We’ve shown that we can do this, and to slow down — or step back — at this critical juncture would be to leave progress on the table’…” (Kelland, 10/14).

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Devex Examines 5 Takeaways From 2018 World Bank Meetings

Devex: 5 takeaways from the World Bank meetings in Bali
“Thousands of delegates and development professionals are on their way back home after a week of discussions about the future of human capital, climate change, infrastructure, and finance at the World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia. … Every three years, the bank’s annual meetings escape Washington, D.C., to a member country’s backyard. In 2021, Morocco will take up the charge, the bank announced on Sunday. By then, we will know even more about the pace of the world’s energy transition, the state of human capital development, the successes and failures of China’s massive infrastructure push, the evolution of the World Bank’s governance structures, and the balance of public and private financing. Here is what we learned this week…” (Edwards/Igoe, 10/15).

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IRIN Examines Famine Action Mechanism Initiative Aimed At Using Data, AI, New Financing Mechanisms To End Famine

IRIN: Famine and the machine
“…[A] multi-billion dollar venture is betting that big data and smart money can make famine a thing of the past. The Famine Action Mechanism initiative, or FAM, is led by the World Bank and draws on its $1.8 billion kitty for famine-prone countries. It is taking a fresh look at how famines happen and what it would take to prevent them, including artificial intelligence (AI)-driven analytics, social safety nets, and new forms of financing. The FAM project is rooted in the belief that donor funding decisions now rely too much on ‘personal networks as well as political discretion.’ … Critics, however, say no amount of machine learning and creative financial architecture will change donor decision-making, and warning systems and monitoring tools already exist. It’s political will, not algorithms, they say, that’s the missing ingredient…” (Parker, 10/12).

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U.N. Demands Closure Of Australia's Offshore Detention Centers For Refugees, Asylum Seekers After MSF Expelled From Nauru

Devex: MSF staff outline grave dangers to refugees after Nauru halts mental health services
“A day after Médecins Sans Frontières condemned Nauru for halting ‘desperately needed’ mental health services on the island, the government has hit back, accusing the organization of being ‘political activists’ who worked to advance their ‘political agenda’ against Australia’s offshore processing policy for asylum seekers and refugees…” (Ravelo/Cornish, 10/12).

The Guardian: U.N.: ‘health crisis’ demands closure of Australia’s offshore detention centers
“The United Nations has called on Australia to immediately evacuate its offshore detention centers to prevent an unfolding health crisis. Doctors from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were ejected from Nauru on Wednesday and the U.N. high commissioner for refugees has warned that many asylum seekers who have attempted self-harm or have critical health issues now have no access to medical care…” (Zhou, 10/12).

NPR: Why MSF Had To Stop Offering Mental Health Care To Refugees In Nauru
“…They arrived in Australia by boat, coming from such countries as Iran, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Syria; the government sent them to Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Most of them have been there four years…” (Cohen, 10/12).

Reuters: United Nations urges Australia to evacuate offshore refugees over health crisis
“…The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday that more than 1,400 people are still being held on both islands, which have hosted Australia-bound migrants and asylum-seekers since 2013…” (Kelly, 10/13).

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More News In Global Health

Global Health NOW: Driving Change and Saving Lives (Powder, 10/11).

Health Policy Watch: Innovative Financing: New Health Bonds Tested For Impact (Anderson, 10/11).

Health Policy Watch: Women Suffer In Tanzania’s Deadly Backstreet Abortions (Makoye, 10/8).

ImpactAlpha: After a dozen deals, Global Health Investment Fund has overcome a rocky start (Pothering, 10/10).

NPR: Rate Of C-Sections Is Rising At An ‘Alarming’ Rate, Report Says (Doucleff, 10/12).

Reuters: Zika virus cases spike in India’s Jaipur as peak tourist season nears (Siddiqui, 10/14).

Reuters: Gene editing kills malaria carrying mosquitoes (McDill, 10/12).

VOA News: WHO Cracks Down on Illicit Sale of Tobacco (Schlein, 10/11).

Vox: Why Bill Gates is worried (Klein, 10/15).

Xinhua News: World Health Summit kicks off in Berlin (10/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Efforts To End AIDS, TB, Malaria Epidemics, Build Strong Health Systems Inseparable

Devex: Opinion: The false dichotomy between ending epidemics and building health systems
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“Is it better to improve people’s health by tackling specific diseases or by strengthening health systems? That’s a perennial debate in the global health community — between those enthusiastic about the power of disease-focused ‘vertical’ programs, and others who stress the sustainability of system-oriented ‘horizontal’ interventions. … This dichotomy between disease-specific strategies and the pursuit of universal health coverage is simply false. The reality is that we won’t eliminate AIDS, TB, or malaria without building resilient health systems that are truly universal and reach the poor, the marginal, and the most vulnerable people who often get left behind. The other reality is that a health system that isn’t effectively protecting people from AIDS, TB, and malaria isn’t much good as a health system. … Ultimately, we need more money for both. … The interdependence between ending the epidemics and building the health system isn’t just theory. … To achieve [Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3] of greater health and well-being for all, we must both end the epidemics of AIDS, TB, and malaria and build stronger health systems that can deliver universal health coverage. The debate should not be about which to do, but about how we achieve both” (10/12).

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Achieving SDGs Requires Governments To Carefully Monitor Domestic Budgets For Efficiencies

Devex: Opinion: Achieving the SDGs will require more than domestic resource mobilization
Sanjeev Gupta, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development

“According to a recent IMF analysis, [low-income developing countries (LIDCs)] will need resources equal to 14.4 percent of their gross domestic product on average to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in five areas: education, electricity, health, roads, and water. One way to bridge this gap is by strengthening the domestic tax capacity of LIDCs, which could mobilize roughly 40 percent of the needed resources, or five percent of GDP … However, generating additional revenue equal to five percent of GDP in LIDCs will be challenging … This makes it imperative for policymakers to improve the efficiency of existing spending, which could potentially generate as much incremental resources as domestic taxation. … Countries should periodically review their spending programs … to identify inefficiencies. Further, assistance from international institutions and donor countries should extend beyond strengthening tax systems to enhancing the efficiency of spending programs. How countries spend their revenues should be a central part of this support. By focusing on both sides of the budget, rather than just increasing taxation, countries can generate more resources domestically and make faster progress on achieving the SDGs. And, perhaps most importantly, generating financing internally rather than from external sources is more sustainable and puts LIDCs in control of their own destinies over the long term” (10/12).

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Ending Child Marriage Critical To Achieving Gender Equality SDG

The Hill: Want gender equality? Let’s start with ending child marriages
Megan E. Corrado, human rights attorney and director of advocacy at Women for Afghan Women

“…Child marriage is recognized as a human rights violation under international law because it adversely affects the rights of girls and women. It bars them from being able to consent to marriage, receive an education, have health care, and live without fear or exploitation. … Women’s full participation in decision-making and society is imperative to eliminating gender inequality, discrimination, violence, and poverty. Restricting child marriage is a critical first step to ensuring girls can continue their education, freely exercise their rights, effectively participate in political, social, and economic life, and enter the ‘GirlForce.’ Governments must both enact and enforce appropriate laws, devoid of discriminatory legal loopholes, to unleash the cultural change necessary to achieve the gender equality goal of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Agenda and give girls the opportunities they deserve” (10/12).

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Indefinite Mandatory Offshore Detention Of Refugees, Asylum Seekers On Nauru Must End

The Guardian: As doctors working on Nauru, we thought we were helping. Now I know we were not
Nick Martin, general practitioner and former senior medical officer on Nauru

“…The ongoing human rights travesty that is indefinite mandatory detention and the treatment of asylum seekers [on Nauru] never seems to be far away from the news. … [Upon returning to Australia after working on Nauru as a medical officer, the] time came to take a long, hard look to see if I was actually part of the solution or accept that, after this long, doctors are increasingly being forced, by the way the systems on Nauru have been set up by the government, to be a major part of the problem. … There is an argument that the health professionals involved are in danger of breaking their own professional codes of ethics. They are being used as complicit agents in what is now widely seen as an inhumane and vicious program that shames Australia on the world stage. … At medical school I was taught that the four principles of medical ethics are autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-malfeasance. … Each of these principles is increasingly being breached, simply as a completely avoidable outcome of the practice of indefinite offshore detention” (10/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Expert Discusses Potential Value, Limitations Of USAID's 'Journey To Self-Reliance' Roadmaps

Center for Global Development: USAID’s Country Roadmaps are a Small, Early Step on the Journey to Self-Reliance
Sarah Rose, policy fellow at CGD, discusses the potential value and limitations of USAID’s “Journey to Self-Reliance” roadmaps, writing, “Though the roadmaps are the first visible manifestation of USAID’s self-reliance approach, the ‘Journey’ is about so much more than metrics. … In the end, what really matters for advancing USAID’s self-reliance goals will be how missions meaningfully collaborate with local stakeholders; how plans to support partner country capacity and commitment are built into project activities; how procurements are structured to involve and build the capacity of local actors; how USAID takes a gradual, consultative, and well thought out approach to strategic transitions for select countries” (10/12).

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Brookings Experts Summarize G20 Eminent Persons Group's Findings On Global Development Finance

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: Systems thinking for multilaterals: New report on global financial governance
Amar Bhattacharya, senior fellow for global economy and development, and Homi Kharas, interim vice president and director for global economy and development, both at Brookings, write, “The report of the G20 Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Global Financial Governance, chaired by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, released [last] week at the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Bali, offers consequential ideas for making the global financial system work for all. The report covers development finance as well as reforms for global financial resilience. This post summarizes the content of the development finance portion…” (10/12).

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CSIS Releases October 2018 Issue Of Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: October 2018
In the October 2018 CSIS Global Health Policy Center Newsletter, J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, highlights publications, podcasts, and past and upcoming events hosted by CSIS. The newsletter includes links to a joint event hosted by CSIS and the Kaiser Family Foundation on observations from the U.N. High-Level Meetings on Tuberculosis and NCDS, and a two-part podcast series hosted by Morrison, who speaks with CDC Director Robert Redfield on CDC’s commitment to polio eradication and efforts to address the ongoing opioid epidemic (October 2018).

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FT Health Discusses Global Mental Health, Features Interview With Co-Founder Of JC Flowers Foundation About Malaria Efforts

FT Health: The global scourge of mental ill health
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter highlights the issue of global mental health and features an interview with Chris Flowers, head of JC Flowers & Co. and co-founder of the JC Flowers Foundation, who discusses the role of faith-based organizations in global malaria efforts. The newsletter also provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Dodd/Jack, 10/12).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Releases Statement On Reauthorization Of Global Food Security Act

USAID: Statement by Administrator Mark Green on the Reauthorization of the Global Food Security Act
“On Thursday, President Trump signed into law the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act … This reauthorization is a powerful reaffirmation of the United States’ commitment to ending global poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. … The passage of the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act through both chambers of Congress, with overwhelming bipartisan support, demonstrates the United States’ strong commitment to empowering smallholder farmers and strengthening communities and economies to protect and accelerate their progress on their journey to self-reliance…” (10/12).

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