KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Pandemic Disproportionately Impacting Poor, Most Vulnerable Populations, U.N. SG Warns Ahead Of International Day For The Eradication Of Poverty

IPS: Global Poverty Soars — As Incomes of World’s Billionaires Hit New Highs
“Addressing poverty eradication last week, just ahead of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17, U.N. chief António Guterres warned that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are falling ‘disproportionately on the most vulnerable: people living in poverty, the working poor, women and children, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups’…” (Deen, 10/15).

AP: G-20 suspends poor nations’ debt payments for 6 more months (Crutsinger/Batrawy, 10/14).

AP: Pandemic driving children back to work, jeopardizing gains (Verza et al., 10/15).

IPS: Why We Need Trees to End to Poverty — Landmark Report (Kentish, 10/15).

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COVID-19 Worsening Malnutrition In Some African Regions; Cases Increase In Europe, Causing Concern; India Set To See Surge As Holiday Season Approaches; Pandemic Stalls Regional Reforms In Latin America;


AP: South Africa extends relief grants to help poor amid virus (Magome, 10/15).

VOA News: Coronavirus Pandemic Worsens Hunger, Malnutrition in Parts of Africa (Amanor, 10/15).


AP: Asia Today: Sydney lifts quarantine for N. Zealand travelers (10/16).

New York Times: What Happens When Covid-19 Meets Toxic Air? India Is About to Find Out (Gettleman/Kumar, 10/15).

Reuters: India’s peak holiday season set to send COVID-19 cases surging (Thomas et al., 10/15).


AP: Swiss hospital chief: Europe at ‘turning point’ vs. COVID (Keaten/Achoui-Lesage, 10/16).

NPR: London And Other English Cities Declared To Be At High Alert For COVID-19 (Chappell, 10/15).

PRI: Sweden and Denmark have taken two very different approaches to COVID-19. What’s working? (Carstensen, 10/15).

Reuters: Amid COVID surge, WHO urges Europe to step up controls now to save lives (Kelland, 10/15).

Reuters: France’s new COVID-19 cases set new 24-hour record, above 30,000 (10/15).

U.N. News: COVID-19 rise in Europe a great concern, says WHO regional chief (10/15).


New Humanitarian: Venezuelan migrants left in the lurch as COVID-19 stalls regional reforms (Bitterly, 10/15).

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News Outlets Examine Various Aspects Of R&D, Distribution Of Potential Coronavirus Vaccines

AP: China rapidly expands use of experimental COVID-19 vaccines (Wu, 10/16).

Bloomberg: Getting a Vaccine Where It Needs to Go (LaVito, 10/15).

Devex: Africa needs to go beyond COVAX to secure vaccine doses, experts say (Chakamba, 10/16).

NPR: Pfizer Seems To Lead Coronavirus Vaccine Development Race. How Did It Get Ahead? (Palca, 10/15).

POLITICO: The ‘nerdy virologists’ steering the U.S. vaccine race (Owermohle, 10/16).

PRI: Vaccine expert: Trial hurdles are ‘totally normal’ on path toward immunity (Hills, 10/15).

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Interim Results From WHO's Solidarity Trial Show Remdesivir, Interferon, Other Treatments Show Little Or No Impact On Survival Among Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

Science: Remdesivir and interferon fall flat in WHO’s megastudy of COVID-19 treatments
“One of the world’s biggest trials of COVID-19 therapies released its long-awaited interim results yesterday — and they’re a letdown. None of the four treatments in the Solidarity trial, which enrolled more than 11,000 patients in 400 hospitals around the globe, increased survival — not even the much-touted antiviral drug remdesivir. Scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) released the data as a preprint on medRxiv last night ahead of its planned publication in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Kupferschmidt, 10/16).

Additional coverage of the study’s interim results is available from Financial Times, The Hill, New York Times, Reuters, and The Telegraph.

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Experts, Public Health Groups Denounce 'Herd Immunity' Strategy Supported By Trump Administration; ProPublica Examines CDC's Handling Of COVID-19 Pandemic

The Hill: Health experts say ‘herd immunity’ strategy would kill thousands
“Public health experts are growing alarmed that the Trump administration is increasingly embracing scientists who argue against lockdowns and restrictions as a means to control the coronavirus pandemic. … In a document known as the Great Barrington Declaration, signed earlier this month, they embrace a concept known as ‘herd immunity,’ in which a population builds up enough resistance to a pathogen that it runs out of victims to infect. … In a statement Thursday, groups like the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the American Public Health Association, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, and the Public Health Institute condemned the declaration and the flaws in its arguments…” (Wilson, 10/16).

ProPublica: Inside the Fall of the CDC
“…A vaunted agency that was once the global gold standard of public health has, with breathtaking speed, become a target of anger, scorn, and even pity. How could an agency that eradicated smallpox globally and wiped out polio in the United States have fallen so far? ProPublica obtained hundreds of emails and other internal government documents and interviewed more than 30 CDC employees, contractors, and Trump administration officials who witnessed or were involved in key moments of the crisis…” (Bandler et al., 10/15).

Additional coverage of reactions to the administration’s support of a “herd immunity” strategy is available from The Hill (2).

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Science Examines How Biden Presidency Could Impact Science-Related Policy

Science: A Biden presidency could have a ‘remarkable’ impact on science policy — but also face hurdles
“If former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidential election, he will face high expectations from the U.S. scientific community. Its members will be counting on him to bring science and leadership to the fight against COVID-19 while reversing a host of moves by President Donald Trump that many researchers regard as disastrous. A President Biden will have vast authority to move quickly to undo many Trump policies. But he could be hampered by forces beyond his control, including which party controls the Senate, the ideological complexion of the courts, and — when it comes to fighting COVID-19 — the progress of science itself. Here’s a look at some science-related actions Biden will likely pursue, and how quickly he might be able to accomplish them…” (Malakoff, 10/15).

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U.S. DFC Identifies Priorities, Commitments In First Development Strategy

Devex: DFC identifies its priorities in first development strategy
“The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation released its development policy Thursday — a document that identifies priority sectors and a set of commitments on development outputs. The strategy will guide DFC’s work through 2025, though it may adapt and change over time, and outlines targets for how DFC aims to invest $25 billion and mobilize about $50 billion from the private sector…” (Saldinger, 10/16).

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WHO Establishes Independent Commission To Investigate Sexual Abuse Claims In DRC

Reuters: WHO names independent body to investigate DRC sex abuse claims
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was setting up a seven-person independent commission to investigate claims of sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers during the recent Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo. In an investigation published last month by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The New Humanitarian, more than 50 women accused aid workers from the WHO and leading charities of demanding sex in exchange for jobs during the 2018-2020 crisis. Five out of seven of the organizations named in the expose have pledged to investigate, as has Congo’s health ministry. Leading the WHO inquiry will be Aichatou Mindaoudou, former minister of foreign affairs and of social development of Niger, and Julienne Lusenge, a Congolese human rights activist, the U.N. agency said in a statement…” (Peyton, 10/15).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: U.N. aid chief: Funding shortage cuts aid to 4 million Yemenis (Lederer, 10/15).

Devex: Which bilateral donors are supporting mental health? (Smith/Cordale, 10/14).

Devex: $100M genomic sequencing initiative launches in Africa (Chakamba, 10/15).

STAT: Thank this Ebola-fighting African doctor for monoclonal antibody treatments (Jenson, 10/15).

U.N. News: Invest in rural women, help them build resilience to future crises, urges U.N. chief (10/15).

Washington Post: Africa’s largest dam powers dreams of prosperity in Ethiopia — and fears of hunger in Egypt (Bearak/Raghavan, 10/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Food Fortification, Canada's Vaccine Efforts, Global Inequality

Al Jazeera: Preventing ‘hidden hunger’ in the time of pandemic
Allison Oman Lawi, acting director of nutrition at the World Food Programme, and Penjani Mkambula, head of program for large scale food fortification at GAIN (10/16).

Washington Post: Canada is trying to secure millions of covid-19 vaccine doses. It should share.
David Moscrop, contributing columnist for the Washington Post and social sciences and humanities research council postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa (10/15).

Washington Post: A pandemic should be the great equalizer. This one had the opposite effect
Fareed Zakaria, foreign affairs columnist for the Washington Post, host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, and contributing editor for The Atlantic (10/15).

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Opinion Piece Discusses U.S. International Aid Policies Related To Abortion

New Humanitarian: America must stop using international aid to export anti-abortion ideology
Anu Kumar, president and CEO, and Patty Skuster, senior legal adviser, both at Ipas

“…The anti-abortion … position held by so many American leaders and policymakers — exaggerated by the current administration — puts the United States at odds with much of the rest of the world and diminishes its historical leadership on global health and human rights issues. … America can — and should — reshape its role in the humanitarian sector, and the world. What’s at stake if it doesn’t take up this charge? Ultimately, people’s lives, the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world, as well as the causes of human rights and social justice. Americans believe that people in developing countries deserve the safety and dignity of basic health care. That must include comprehensive reproductive health care. Americans also believe the United States plays an important role in making the world a better place by addressing poverty, disease, and injustice. Their politicians must listen” (10/15).

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Global Health Community Must Recognize Correlation Between Health, Socio-Demographic Index, Editorial Says

The Lancet: Global health: time for radical change?
Editorial Board

“…[The latest Global Burden of Diseases report] reveals, once again, that health depends on more than health systems. The strong correlation between health and the socio-demographic index — a summary metric of a country’s overall development based on average income per capita, educational attainment, and total fertility rates — suggests that the health sector should consider redefining its scope of concern. … Although attention should be given to controlling community transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and protecting those most vulnerable to its consequences, success will require a more capacious strategy. COVID-19 is a syndemic of coronavirus infection combined with an epidemic of non-communicable diseases, both interacting on a social substrate of poverty and inequality. The message of GBD is that unless deeply embedded structural inequities in society are tackled and unless a more liberal approach to immigration policies is adopted, communities will not be protected from future infectious outbreaks and population health will not achieve the gains that global health advocates seek. It’s time for the global health community to change direction” (10/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Issue Briefs, Statements Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Impacts On Adolescent Girls, Young Women; Africa's Economy; Humanitarian, Resilience Investing

Center for Global Development: Coping with COVID-19: The Pakistan Experience
Ijaz Nabi, non-resident fellow with CGD (10/15).

Friends of the Global Fight: The Impact of COVID-19 on Adolescent Girls and Young Women and Needed Responses (10/15).

Johns Hopkins University’s “Hub”: Study identifies dire economic impact of COVID-19 in Africa
Laura Wells, senior communications specialist at Jhpiego (10/15).

Think Global Health: Leading by Example: COVID-19 Infections at the Highest Levels of Government
Priyanka Sethy, research intern in the global health program, and Samantha Kiernan, research associate on global health, economics, and development, both at the Council on Foreign Relations (10/13).

Think Global Health: National Security Risks and the American Weak Link
Ans Irfan, public health scientist, faculty at George Washington University, and director of policy and programs with the DrPH Coalition, and colleagues (10/14).

Think Global Health: COVID-19 Shows Us It’s Time to Tackle Obesity and Overweight
Katherine Leach-Kemon, policy translation manager at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and colleagues (10/15).

Think Global Health: The Thousand Natural Shocks of COVID-19
Kevin O’Rourke, freelance scientific writer at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and colleagues (10/13).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS supports a temporary WTO waiver from certain obligations of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19 (10/15).

World Economic Forum: Humanitarian and resilience investing in the COVID-19 era
Axel van Trotsenburg, managing director of operations at the World Bank, and colleagues (10/15).

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Blog Posts Recognize Global Handwashing Day, Discuss Role Of WASH In Global Health

Global Handwashing Partnership: This simplest act can make the world a better place
Nadine Leslie, CEO of Suez’s North America operations, recognizes Global Handwashing Day and discusses the positive impact of handwashing on five areas: health, nutrition, education, equity, and economy (10/15).

WHO: Handwashing can’t stop — millions of lives are at stake
Ray Norman, global sector lead for WASH at World Vision International, and Bruce Gordon, unit head for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health and Environment, Climate Change and Health at the WHO, discuss the importance of good hand hygiene, writing, “[W]hat the global community does or does not do to sustain handwashing now could save or kill millions of vulnerable children, slow or drive the spread of antimicrobial resistance, and also determine the first line of defense for adolescents, adults, and the elderly. … Access to clean water and hygiene facilities must be urgently prioritized for every person, especially the most vulnerable families, with infrastructure built so this access is permanent…” (10/15).

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The Lancet Publishes 2019 Global Burden Of Disease Study Highlights, Analysis

The Lancet: Five insights from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019
GBD 2019 Viewpoint Collaborators (10/17).

The Lancet: Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019
GBD 2019 Diseases and Injuries Collaborators (10/17).

The Lancet: Global age-sex-specific fertility, mortality, healthy life expectancy (HALE), and population estimates in 204 countries and territories, 1950–2019: a comprehensive demographic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019
GBD 2019 Demographics Collaborators (10/17).

The Lancet: Global burden of 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019
GBD 2019 Risk Factors Collaborators (10/17).

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CSIS Releases 3rd Episode In HIV Docuseries Focused On Advent Of ARVs, Launch Of Funding Mechanisms

CSIS: The Pandemic Paradox — HIV on the Edge Episode 3: The Magic Years
” ‘The Magic Years’ is the third episode of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center’s five-episode docuseries on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. This episode covers the period of the epidemic’s history that included the advent of antiretroviral drug therapies and the launch of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) (10/15).

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CSIS's 'Reset The Table' Series Examines Urbanization, Food Security In Latest Posts

CSIS’s “Reset the Table”: Private Sector Solutions to Urban Food Insecurity
Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, co-founder of AACE Foods, Sahel Consulting, and Nourishing Africa (10/14).

CSIS’s “Reset the Table”: Growing Cities, Growing Food Insecurity: How to Protect the Poor during Rapid Urbanization
Marie Ruel, director of the Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (10/14).

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ProQuest Interviews Partners In Health Chief Medical Officer Joia Mukherjee

ProQuest: Where Education, Activism and Global Health Care Meet
Courtney Suciu, ProQuest’s lead blog writer, highlights a conversation with Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners In Health and professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, about PIH’s approach to health care, education, and human rights (10/14).

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From the U.S. Government

PEPFAR Announces Expansion Of DREAMS Program In South Africa

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in South Africa: U.S. PEPFAR Expands DREAMS Program, Investing R1.4 billion in South Africa’s Young Women
“Beginning this month, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is significantly expanding its DREAMS program in South Africa, to ensure that the next generation of young women can grow up to be Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe. … The newly expanded DREAMS programs will increase support for economic strengthening, skills training, and job readiness for young women, and accelerate the availability of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a proven HIV prevention method…” (10/15).

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Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa Releases Statement Recognizing World Food Day

USAID: Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa On World Food Day
As part of his statement recognizing World Food Day on October 16, Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa said, “In communities where food systems were already fragile, the pandemic of COVID-19 is having an outsized impact and threatening to reverse years of hard-earned progress in pulling people out of the vicious cycle of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. As the global leader in humanitarian assistance and development, the United States will continue to help those in need and save lives. In addition to addressing immediate challenges, we are helping communities become more resilient for years to come…” (10/16).

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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 16, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/16).

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.

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