KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

'Significant Mistakes Were Made' In Handling Of USAID Global Health Supply Chain Contract, U.S. House Committee Report Says

Devex: ‘Significant mistakes’ in USAID global health supply chain, House says
“The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday found in a report that ‘significant mistakes were made by all parties’ in handling the U.S. Agency for International Development’s global supply chain contract with Chemonics International. The report was released at the conclusion of a congressional oversight investigation after Devex last year revealed the agency’s $9.5 billion contract faced chronic problems. … The mistakes were made ‘at virtually every level and stage of the contract — from contract solicitation and the evaluation of proposals, through the transition, and into implementation,’ the report found. There was no evidence that the supply chain issues interrupted treatment for any patients who were already receiving care, the report found. ‘Nevertheless, these mistakes did result in delays and unacceptable performance under USAID’s largest-ever contract, jeopardizing U.S. global health priorities and undermining the program’s value to American taxpayers,’ the report said…” (Welsh, 10/16).

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WHO To Convene Emergency Committee To Consider Severity Of, Next Steps In DRC Ebola Outbreak

CIDRAP News: More Ebola cases as WHO weighs emergency declaration
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded six more cases of Ebola over the weekend, including three community deaths, which raise more concern about the spread of the disease in the region. The new cases lift the outbreak total to 211, including 135 deaths. Twenty-four suspected cases are still under investigation…” (Soucheray, 10/15).

Reuters: WHO to meet on Congo’s Ebola outbreak as toll soars
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday it would convene an emergency committee to decide whether Congo’s Ebola outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern as confirmed cases and deaths from the virus spiraled…” (Mahamba et al., 10/15).

U.N. News: World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo
“…The Emergency Committee, scheduled for Wednesday at WHO headquarters in Geneva, will decide whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the spread of the disease…” (10/15).

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London Summit, Lancet Commission Report Call For More Attention To Mental Health

NPR: Report: World Support For Mental Health Care Is ‘Pitifully Small’
“It’s a major milestone in the fight to recognize mental health and mental illness as global issues: a comprehensive report from the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health, three years in the making, released this past week at a London summit with royals Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, in attendance to show their support for the cause. But it was not a celebratory event. Threaded throughout the 45-page report is a lament that the world is ignoring millions of suffering people…” (Silberner, 10/15).

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U.N. SG Guterres Calls On Countries To Ensure Rights Of Rural Women, Girls On International Day

U.N. News: Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: U.N. chief
“Marking International Day of Rural Women, on Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on countries to ensure that women and girls living in rural areas can enjoy their human rights as this would enable making ‘progress for all’…” (10/15).

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Devex Reviews Outcomes Of WHO Western Pacific Region Meeting

Devex: At WHO regional meeting, an urge for better health systems
“The annual regional meeting of the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific office concluded Friday, with a new regional director, several new regional frameworks and actions plans, and a reminder that amid recent health successes, the region still has much to do to improve health systems and eliminate deadly diseases…” (Ravelo, 10/15).

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Up To 13M Yemenis At Risk Of Starvation If War Continues, U.N. Warns

The Guardian: Yemen on brink of ‘world’s worst famine in 100 years’ if war continues
“Yemen could be facing the worst famine in 100 years if airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition are not halted, the U.N. has warned. If war continues, famine could engulf the country in the next three months, with 12 to 13 million civilians at risk of starvation, according to Lise Grande, the agency’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen…” (Summers, 10/15).

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More News In Global Health

The Atlantic: A Simpler Way to Get to the Bottom of Mysterious Illnesses in Poor Countries (Yong, 10/16).

CNN: Fareed Zakaria GPS: Man vs. Microbe (10/14).

Devex: A new ‘forever fund’ for food security (Rogers, 10/16).

Devex: IFC releases draft impact investment guidelines (Edwards, 10/15).

Devex: Q&A: Listening as the key to global health success (10/16).

Foreign Affairs: Capsule Review: Epidemic: Ebola and the Global Scramble to Prevent the Next Killer Outbreak (van de Walle, November/December 2018).

New York Magazine: Fake Pills, Long Waits, Few Doctors: 5 Start-ups Trying to Improve Health Care Around the World (Nosowitz, 10/15).

New York Times: Abortion Debate in Australia Has a New Element: Women in Power (Rojas, 10/15).

New York Times: Tiny Nanoparticles to Treat a Huge Problem: Snakebites (McNeil, 10/12).

STAT Plus: Controversy over a Sanofi dengue vaccine caused a crisis of confidence in the Philippines (Silverman, 10/15).

The Telegraph: Polio eradication target at risk as new cases recorded in Africa (Gulland, 10/15).

Vox: Heart disease used to be an ailment of the rich. But it’s now striking the world’s poor (Higgins, 10/15).

Xinhua News: Environmental monitoring key as world reaches global eradication of polio: study (10/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

USAID Remains Committed To Innovative Research, Acting On Evidence

Devex: Opinion: USAID cautiously optimistic about cash benchmarking — and clear about its limitations
Melissa Patsalides, acting deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning

“…[W]hile we are watching the USAID pilots around cash benchmarking with cautious optimism, we understand it has clear limitations … The 21st-century reality of development is that we work in environments that are unstable, in transition, or consistently evolving. So we need a range of approaches for gathering evidence. In recent years, USAID has really pushed the boundary in this space, with a number of efforts to test measurement methods and approaches and ensure our monitoring, evaluation, and learning ‘toolkit’ is fit for purpose. … I am encouraged by the many examples we already have of USAID staff seeking out and acting on evidence to improve the development results our programs are getting … Here at USAID, we are committed to innovative research, but more importantly to use that data to advance our mission. As others have noted, how we act on evidence is the most interesting part of the story” (10/15).

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President Trump's Expanded Mexico City Policy Threatens Reproductive Rights

Devex: Opinion: Trump’s first blow against reproductive rights was in the developing world
Brian Dixon, senior vice president of Population Connection Action Fund

“…Trump kicked off his presidency by enacting the global gag rule, [also referred to as the expanded Mexico City policy] … He then moved to [withhold funding from] the United Nations Population Fund … It’s up to us to hold him accountable for what he’s done. In the Senate, a bipartisan group of legislators has rallied behind Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-N.H.) Global Health, Empowerment and Rights Act, which would permanently repeal the global gag rule. Representative Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) is leading a similar bill in the House. If we do not stand up for reproductive rights everywhere, for all people, none of us will have any left when the final domino falls” (10/15).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Global Lack Of Pandemic Preparedness, Make Recommendations

Devex: Opinion: No, we are still not ready for a global pandemic
Gabrielle Fitzgerald, CEO of Panorama

“…Whether a new disease or old, I believe we are still woefully unprepared for a global pandemic. … Last year, I co-authored a report that synthesized the recommendations from seven major post-crisis reports and commissions and wrote an analysis of progress against them. We found that many of the proposed reforms had not yet been implemented. Unfortunately, one year later, progress is decidedly mixed. In a report published this summer in the British Medical Journal, we reviewed dozens of initiatives, organizations, and tools to increase global capacity to manage outbreaks. Important steps have been taken … There are significant areas that still need attention, however. … [T]here are specific steps the world must take to ensure we have the structures in place to prepare for a global pandemic. Leadership … Coordinated planning … Funding … We have no idea what the next deadly emerging infectious disease will be, or where it will come from. But it is absolutely clear that the world cannot let the progress that has been made in fighting localized outbreaks lull us into thinking we are prepared for a global pandemic” (10/15).

Vox: A pandemic killing tens of millions of people is a real possibility — and we are not prepared for it
Ron Klain, White House Ebola response coordinator from 2014-2015 and former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore

“…We cannot totally eliminate the risk of pandemics in the near term. But a three-pronged agenda focused on mitigating that risk — pushing for better and faster vaccine development and deployment, a stronger emergency response infrastructure, and a more robust global health security system — can make us safer. … New political and social trends further increase our risk level. A rising tide of anti-vaccine sentiment in the U.S. and Europe is raising the risk … The ability of social media to rapidly spread false information … is another source of danger … And then there is the risk factor of isolationism and xenophobia. … Reducing our risk from these dangers is a vast undertaking … But three items should top our agenda: 1) Improve vaccine development and deployment … 2) Strengthen U.S. epidemic preparation and response … 3) Bolster global response capabilities … In the end, the question we will face is not if a massive global pandemic will hit, but when. … The more we do now to accelerate vaccine research and deployment, bolster the home front for the coming threat, and invest in a global health security agenda and response capacities, the better we will fare when that day comes” (10/15).

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Investing In Health Systems, Infrastructure Vital To Sustainability Of Global Health Gains

The Telegraph: Why the developing world needs infrastructure as much as aid
Thomas J. Bollyky, director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations

“Miracles have happened in global health over the last fifteen years. … But the sustainability of this era of miracles in global health is uncertain. … In too many countries, too little is being done to ensure that the children and infants surviving to adulthood find adequate health systems and employment opportunities to accommodate their needs as adults. … With limited access to health care and many people still too poor to purchase it out of pocket, cases of cancers, diabetes, and heart diseases are surging in many lower-income countries. Foreign aid to address these noncommunicable diseases has been lacking. … We live in an era of great and welcome progress in the global fight against infectious disease. That fight must continue, and we should continue to invest in it. But we must also recognize that progress against plagues and parasites cannot be measured just against the countless lives that were once lost … to those infectious diseases. The real miracles in global health happen when lives are saved in an environment where those individuals can seize precious opportunities and prosperity that have come with health improvements in the past” (10/15).

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Opinion Pieces Address Political Support, Transformation Of Food Systems To Prevent All Forms Of Malnutrition

Inter Press Service: Zero Hunger: Our Actions Today Are Our Future Tomorrow
José Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

“…This year, World Food Day … aims to remind the international community of its fundamental political commitment to humanity — the eradication of all forms of malnutrition — and raise awareness that achieving a Zero Hunger world by 2030 … is still possible. … However, world leaders have to bear in mind that the concept of Zero Hunger is broader and not limited to the fight against undernourishment. … Zero Hunger encompasses the eradication of all forms of malnutrition. So it is not just about feeding people but nourishing people as well. … Food systems must be transformed in a way so that all people can consume healthy and nutritious food. We need to address obesity as a public issue, not as an individual problem. This requires the adoption of a multi-sectoral approach … It must be a collective effort towards healthy diets that include, for instance, the creation of norms such as labeling and the banning of some harmful ingredients, the introduction of nutrition in the school curriculum, the adoption of methods to avoid food loss and waste, and the establishment of trade agreements that do not hamper access to locally grown, fresh, and nutritious food from family farming. … It is time to renew our commitment and, even more important, the political support towards a sustainable world free from hunger and all forms of malnutrition” (10/15).

The Telegraph: Malnutrition is a staggering global burden — we must give new meaning to the food we eat
David Nabarro, curator of the Food Systems Dialogues and professor at Imperial College, London, and Lawrence Haddad, executive director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition; both 2018 World Food Prize Laureates

“…The burden of malnutrition carried by the planet is staggering. Together, high body weight, poor diets, and child and maternal malnutrition account for half of all the world’s combined mortality and morbidity. … We need to give new meaning to the food we eat. It is not about fueling the body but about nourishing it. We also need to repurpose our food systems: from commerce that is indifferent to the health of people and the planet, to commerce that seeks to enhance financial returns through caring for those very same goals. … Food systems, which shape the journeys of foods from farms, forests, and oceans, will not respond to silver bullets. They need to be viewed and shaped from multiple perspectives. They require people and organizations from all walks of society to come together in food systems alliances to identify ways to move forward on multiple fronts at several levels: local, national, and global. Dialogue is essential to this, as is leadership. … Malnutrition is not inevitable; it is a choice. … Sustainable Development Goal number two challenges us to end malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. We believe that goal is not a platitude, rather a commitment that rallies us all and brings us together” (10/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

New Website Provides Scores For Nations' Disease Outbreak Preparedness

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Site provides global view of outbreak preparedness
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights the recently launched PreventEpidemics.org, a website created by Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, that uses data from the WHO-developed Joint External Evaluations to score nations on disease outbreak preparedness. Barton notes, “In addition to country level scores on national abilities to identify, monitor, and control outbreaks, it provides up-to-date news of current outbreaks” (10/15).

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CFR, IHME Experts Examine Implications Of 3 Recent Reports On Global Quality Health Care

Health Affairs Blog: Three More Billboards On The Long Road To Global Quality Health Care
Thomas J. Bollyky, director of global health at the Council on Foreign Relations; Krycia Cowling, researcher at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington; and Diana Schoder, research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations, highlight three reports released this year (by the WHO, the World Bank, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in July; by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in August; and by the Lancet Global Health Commission on High Quality Systems in the SDG Era in September) on quality health care. The authors write, “[T]here is a fair amount of consensus within the global health community regarding the urgent need for improved quality of care in low- and middle-income nations and on the substance of what that quality care should entail. That consensus in these reports may also reflect, however, a shared reluctance to engage in this context in a hard-nosed assessment of the reasons why poor quality of care remains so widespread or to assign responsibility and accountability to specific actors for overcoming those obstacles” (10/15).

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U.K. Announces New Aid Package To Treat, Prevent Malnutrition Among Yemeni Children

GOV.UK: New U.K. aid package to provide life-saving help to millions of Yemeni children at growing risk of famine
“The U.K. is providing a major new U.K. aid package to help screen, prevent, and tackle malnutrition in Yemen, Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt announced today. … Today’s U.K. aid package will screen 2.2 million children under the age of five for malnutrition and provide urgent treatment for 70,000 of the most vulnerable children. … Last year U.K. aid support to UNICEF helped to successfully treat over 166,000 children for severe acute malnutrition and 1.4 million children for common illnesses. … Today’s U.K. aid package of a £96.5 million program will fund UNICEF to tackle malnutrition in Yemen over three years…” (10/16).

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Urgent Measures Needed To Eradicate Hunger, CFS Delegates Say

Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.: No time to lose to reverse negative hunger and malnutrition trends
“There’s still time to deliver on the global pledge to eradicate hunger but ‘urgent measures’ are needed to reverse the recent increase in the number of hungry people, speakers at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) said [Monday]. … The CFS, open to the civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders, and is the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for policy coherence and convergence on food security and nutrition…” (10/15).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Highlights U.S. Development Efforts In Central America During Remarks

USAID: U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green’s Remarks at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America
In remarks at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, USAID Administrator Mark Green discusses USAID’s approach to development in Central America, highlighting U.S. efforts to provide food and humanitarian assistance to the region through its Feed the Future programs (10/15).

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