KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Unsure Of U.S. Assistance Situation In War-Torn Syria; Humanitarian Groups Face Challenges Reaching Impacted Populations

Associated Press: Aid groups scramble to reach Syrians as battle lines shift
“Humanitarian groups in northeastern Syria are scrambling to provide aid to hundreds of thousands of people as rapidly shifting battle lines make it increasingly difficult to reach them. Nearly all foreign aid workers have been evacuated because of security concerns, and there are fears that local staff could face reprisals, either at the hands of Turkish-led forces pushing in from the north or Syrian troops fanning out across territory held by the embattled Kurds…” (Krauss/Rosa, 10/17).

Devex: Exclusive: USAID unsure of operational status in Syria, Mark Green says
“U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green said his agency is not sure whether its programs in Northeast Syria are still operational in the wake of a Turkish invasion. ‘It’s very hard for any of us to get accurate information from the ground right now, understandably. We will do humanitarian assistance, as we have for years, whenever conditions allow us to, whenever it’s safe and secure,’ Green told Devex in an interview. ‘I just can’t tell you with any specificity. I’m not trying to dodge the question, I actually just don’t know because of the status at any given time’…” (Welsh, 10/17).

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U.S. Rep. Houlahan To Introduce Bill To Restore U.S. Funding To UNFPA

TIME: This Freshman Congresswoman Wants to Restore U.S. Funding to U.N. Reproductive-Health Agency
“When Pennsylvania Rep. Chrissy Houlahan first came to Washington, D.C. nine months ago, the Air Force veteran knew she wanted to carve out a policy niche in promoting women’s rights both domestically and internationally. On Thursday, she will continue her pursuit of that by introducing a bill to restore U.S. funding to the United Nations Populations Fund, which provides financial assistance for reproductive health initiatives and family planning in developing countries. While the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate even if it gets approved in the House of Representatives, it signifies the first legislative effort to restore funding since the Trump administration first withdrew support from UNFPA two and a half years ago…” (Abramson, 10/16).

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U.N. SG Guterres Convenes 30 Business Leaders In Effort To Ramp Up SDG Investments

Financial Times: Global business chiefs pledge to boost sustainable development
“Chief executives from 30 of the world’s biggest companies have promised to do more in support of investment to tackle a shortfall measuring trillions of dollars a year in funding the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals…” (Edgecliffe-Johnson, 10/16).

U.N. News: Business leaders join U.N. to rev up sustainable development investments
“In a bid to scale up investment efforts to reach sustainable development targets, the Secretary General on Wednesday convened the first meeting of a new U.N.-backed corporate alliance to discuss plans for spending on sustainability, likely to be in the trillions of dollars. The Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD), a U.N.-supported coalition of 30 business leaders, works to provide decisive leadership in mobilizing resources for sustainable development, with the core objective being to identify incentives for long-term sustainable investments…” (10/16).

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Disparities In Child Mortality Persist In 99 LMICs, Even Within Nations, Study Shows

The Telegraph: Children’s lives are ‘cut short’ as countries urged to tackle inequality
“Millions of children’s lives are being ‘cut short’ because countries are failing to tackle health inequality, research has found. The study, published in Nature, mapped death rates at the district level in 99 low- and middle-income countries and found that despite the huge progress made in cutting the number of child deaths over recent years, there are still great differences, even within the same country…” (Gulland, 10/16).

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Keeping Girls In School Could Help Reduce Poverty, Hunger In Africa, Economist Jeffrey Sachs Says In World Food Day Lecture

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Keep girls in schools to end hunger and poverty, Sachs tells governments
“Keeping girls in schools in Africa is key to lowering the fast-growing continent’s high fertility rates and ultimately ending hunger and poverty, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs said Wednesday. … Africa currently has the world’s highest rates of fertility, with 4.6 births per woman compared to the global average of 2.9, according to a United Nations report released in June. Girls leaving school early and entering motherhood is the ‘overwhelming reason’ for this, Sachs told representatives of world leaders in a World Food Day lecture at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)…” (Win, 10/16).

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News Media Continues Coverage Of World Food Day, Related Reports, Efforts To Improve Nutrition

Al Jazeera: World Food Day: The fight against food waste (Siddiqui, 10/16).

IPS: World Food Day 2019 — ‘Our Actions Are Our Future’ (10/14).

U.N. News: Obesity rates soar due to dramatic global diet shift, says U.N. food agency (10/16).

Xinhua: Bangladesh observes World Food Day (10/17).

Xinhua: S. African children facing challenge of malnutrition: U.N. report (10/15).

Xinhua: Uganda strives to bring down malnutrition levels (10/16).

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Low Ebola Case Numbers In DRC Outbreak Promising But WHO Warns Of Continued Hot Spots; NPR Examines Challenges Getting Water In Congolese City

CIDRAP News: WHO: Insecure Ebola hot spots pose resurgence risk elsewhere
“In its weekly detailed analysis of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said another week of low case numbers is promising, but it worries that the remaining hot spots are in insecure areas that could seed new infections to other health zones where transmission has ended…” (Schnirring, 10/16).

NPR: Residents In Goma Are Struggling To Gather Water While Fighting Ebola
“The Congolese city of Goma sits on the giant Lake Kivu. But the city has been without running water for years. Residents talk about the challenge of gathering water when they’re also fighting Ebola…” (Peralta, 10/16).

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N. Korea Could Face Shortage Of TB Medications, Eugene Bell Foundation Warns, Announces Expansion Of TB Control Project In Country

NK News: North Korea could face major tuberculosis medication shortage, NGO warns
“North Korea could face a shortage of medication needed to treat drug-susceptible tuberculosis (TB) medication, the Eugene Bell Foundation NGO warned on Thursday, urging South Koreans to play a more active role in providing humanitarian aid to the DPRK. The shortage, the group said, was tied to international financing organization the Global Fund’s February 2018 decision to withdraw from DPRK operations. … But speaking at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday, Eugene Bell Foundation board member Choi See-moon said the North Korean government is yet to agree to a resumption of the Global Fund’s humanitarian assistance work…” (Ji, 10/17).

Yonhap: N. Korea allows charity group to expand TB program to more districts
“North Korea has allowed a charity group to expand its tuberculosis (TB) control project beyond Pyongyang in an indication that the communist nation recognizes the seriousness of the problem, the chief of the organization said Thursday. Stephen Linton, chairman of the Eugene Bell Foundation based in the United States and South Korea, made the remark during a press conference in Seoul after foundation officials made a three-week visit last month…” (Yi, 10/17).

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Niger President Urges Reduction In Nation's Birth Rate To Adapt To Climate Change

The Guardian: Niger’s president blames explosive birth rate on ‘a misreading of Islam’
“A misreading of Islam led to Niger’s explosive birth rate, hampering the country’s fight to adapt to the climate crisis and preserve its shrinking resources, the country’s president has said. … [Mahamadou] Issoufou claims he has been slowly driving down his country’s birth rate of more than seven children per woman, the highest birth rate in the world for the past decade…” (Wintour, 10/17).

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More News In Global Health

Borgen Magazine: A New XDR Medicine Could Save Lives (Hwang, 10/16).

CNBC Africa: Improving health outcomes in Africa (Awoniyi, 10/16).

The Guardian: Did a ‘white savior’s’ evangelical zeal take a deadly turn in Uganda? (Mwesigwa/Beaumont, 10/17).

Homeland Preparedness News: Scientists decode immune response of Ebola vaccine (Galford, 10/16).

Miami Herald: Child dies in Cuba after receiving vaccine made in India. It’s not the first time (Torres/Pentón, 10/15).

New York Times: ‘We Looked to Escape Death’: Violence Uproots Nearly 500,000 in Burkina Faso (Marks, 10/15).

Quartz Africa: African governments need to fix their problematic relationship with data on their own countries (Kazeem, 10/16).

STAT: Calling embryo editing ‘premature,’ Russian authorities seek to ease fears of a scientist going rogue (Dobrovidova, 10/16).

U.N. News: Ending extreme poverty crucial to sustainable future for all: U.N. chief (10/16).

Xinhua: U.N. calls for heighten efforts to end hunger in South Sudan (10/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Can Take Leadership In Fighting Hunger Domestically, Internationally, Reps. Write In Opinion Piece

The Hill: On World Food Day, united in the fight against hunger at home and abroad
Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio)

“…As members of Congress on this World Food Day, we hope that the universality of food — and the knowledge that too many around us don’t have enough to eat — is a reality that can unite us. … Worldwide, 1.3 billion people lack access to sufficient food and more than 10,000 children die each day as a direct result of hunger. … We are proud to help alleviate this need thorough the U.S. food aid system, which pairs U.S. farm goods with the people who need them most. … Key U.S. domestic and international anti-hunger initiatives, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food for Peace, Food for Progress, and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Programs, have taken great strides toward fighting domestic and global hunger. … The current administration has pushed drastic cuts or complete elimination for SNAP, Food for Peace, McGovern Dole, and other programs. If we want to end hunger, we cannot allow opponents of these programs to frame the anti-hunger effort as zero sum — that helping someone else must have less. … At home and around the world, food is a national security issue…” (10/16).

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5 Shifts Needed To Undertake Global Public Investment Approach To SDG Financing, Experts Write

Devex: Opinion: Embracing global public investment can get financing for development back on track
Jonathan Glennie, senior fellow at the Joep Lange Institute, and Harpinder Collacott, executive director at Development Initiatives

“As the international community seeks to build momentum behind the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, the question of how to fund them is a priority for everyone. … A new approach is needed to help us meet our ambitions: an approach that is inspiring, yet grounded in pragmatism, an approach reflecting the universality of the SDG agenda, where everyone has a part to play and is motivated to act. This brings us to ‘global public investment’: a new, simple and much-needed big idea that has the potential to revolutionize concessional international public finance intended for sustainable development. … Getting there requires five achievable shifts. Some are underway, while others need greater impetus; all require a new mindset from that of the past. Collectively, these shifts set out a new approach that gives us the best chance of financing the SDGs…” (10/17).

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Governments Must Take Action Based On New Child Mortality Data For LMICs, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Says In Opinion Piece

Nature: Data on child deaths are a call for justice
Michelle Bachelet, U.N. high commissioner for human rights and former president of Chile

“The chances of newborns surviving to adulthood have never been greater: in the past 20 years, rates of childhood death have fallen by more than half. Nearly all 193 United Nations member states have made tremendous progress. But within each country, disparities condemn many children to premature death. A study in Nature this week zooms in on the 99 low- and medium-income countries where, in 2017, 93% of deaths of children under 5 happened. … Tackling child mortality requires efforts across all government functions — providing access to medical treatment is just one element. If governments are to uphold citizens’ rights to health, they must consider the social determinants of children’s well-being. … Truly universal and high-quality health coverage demands policies that extend beyond the strictly medical framework. It requires measures to uphold the whole range of human rights and to combat inequality and deprivation. … Hard data, like those published this week, must be followed up by action across the whole spectrum of government and society” (10/16).

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Private Sector Entities Can Help Maintain, Strengthen Health Systems In Fragile Environments, Opinion Piece Says

Global Health NOW: Fragile States Need Private Sector Allies
Marian W. Wentworth, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health

“…When a country’s government is frozen by conflict, natural disasters, financial crisis, or another crippling event, its health care system is all too likely to follow. Health workers flee or fall victim themselves, and hospitals run out of medicine and go dark. Others must step in to fill the void. The private sector, in all its forms, is the place to look. … Private actors come in different shapes and sizes — for-profit, not-for-profit, faith-based, and entrepreneurial — but they are often solving similar problems as public organizations: getting products to people, leveraging technology, mobilizing financial resources, and providing specialized labor. They can be valuable allies, not just in easing immediate needs but also in constructing a better-performing, reliable health sector in which all systems function well. … To equitably achieve global health goals — eradicating disease, achieving universal health coverage — we must leave no one behind. That means tapping every potential ally to help meet the needs of people who live in difficult circumstances, especially people with the least resources” (10/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Reports Kingdom Of Eswatini Reduces TB Incidence By More Than Half

WHO: Hope restored in the Kingdom of Eswatini as tuberculosis incidence reduced by more than half
“…Once labeled the country with the world’s highest TB incidence, the Kingdom [of Eswatini] has turned the tide and reduced the scourge by more than half. … In 2011, the Government of Eswatini declared TB a national emergency, paving way for an accelerated emergency response that included creating awareness about the disease, prevention, quick diagnosis, effective treatment, patient support, and follow-up. … After all the interventions, hope replaced the scourge in the Kingdom. Incidence was reduced to around 300 cases per 100,000 population in 2017, from the 1,250 it had been in 2009…” (10/16).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Green Announces New Feed The Future Partnerships With Private Companies, University

USAID: USAID Administrator Mark Green Announces New Feed the Future Partnerships and an Open Call for Co-Creation
“[Wednesday] in keynote remarks in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green announced three new Feed the Future partnerships with John Deere, Mastercard, and Cornell University to reduce global hunger and poverty. Speaking at the annual World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue symposium, the administrator also announced a forthcoming call for co-creation with USAID to design the agency’s next generation of biotechnology investments aimed at helping smallholder farmers in developing countries tackle their agricultural challenges…” (10/16).

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