KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration's Harder-Line Policies On Pakistan, Afghanistan Could Threaten Polio Immunization Efforts In Region

The Guardian: Trump policy set to hinder war on polio in Pakistan
“…In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the big obstacle [to polio elimination], experts say, is not lack of money to fight it, but mistrust of the western governments who bankroll the vaccines. Now Donald Trump could be about to deepen that mistrust. If the U.S. president makes good on his bellicose threats to take a harder line on Pakistan, he will undoubtedly incite anti-U.S. sentiments, which in the past have led to attacks on polio workers and prompted tribal leaders to ban vaccination campaigns…” (Rasmussen/Janjua, 9/29).

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Tom Price Resigns As HHS Secretary Amid Controversy Over Spending On Chartered Flights

The Atlantic: The Resignation of Tom Price
“Tom Price resigned as secretary of Health and Human Services Friday, amid a controversy over spending more than $1 million in taxpayer money on private and military jets…” (Graham, 9/29).

New York Times: Health Secretary Tom Price Resigns After Drawing Ire for Chartered Flights
“…His departure was the latest from an administration buffeted by turbulence at the top, and capped a week of setbacks for the president…” (Baker et al., 9/29).

Roll Call: Price Resigns as HHS Secretary, Trump Accepts
“…Don J. Wright will serve as acting secretary effective at 11:59 p.m. Friday…” (Bennett, 9/29).

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U.S. To Invest $170M In Completing Research On Experimental Ebola Vaccines, Drugs

Reuters: U.S. invests $170 million in late-stage Ebola vaccines, drugs
“The U.S. government is investing more than $170 million to help two new vaccines against the Ebola virus and two Ebola drugs complete the steps needed for approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the department of Health and Human Services, said on Friday it would buy the drugs and vaccines and keep them in a national stockpile, which would be used to protect Americans in the event of an outbreak of the deadly disease…” (Steenhuysen, 9/29).

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People With Undetectable Viral Loads Due To Antiretroviral Therapy Have 'Effectively No Risk' Of Sexually Transmitting HIV, CDC Confirms

NBC News: Those With Undetectable HIV at ‘Effectively No Risk’ of Transmitting Virus, CDC Says
“Following the lead of hundreds of HIV experts and prevention organizations around the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week stated there is ‘effectively no risk’ of an HIV-positive person with an undetectable viral load — the amount of HIV in blood — sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner…” (Sopelsa, 9/29).

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U.S. Military Responds To Hurricane Disaster In Puerto Rico, Other Disasters Worldwide

PRI: When disaster strikes, it’s the U.S. military that’s often the most capable responder
“…James Stavridis is a former supreme allied commander at NATO and current dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. As a former U.S. Navy admiral, Stavridis has experience with emergency response missions. He spoke with The World’s Matthew Bell about U.S. military involvement with the recovery operation in Puerto Rico…” (Bell, 9/29).

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News Outlets Examine Health-Related Impacts Of Hurricane Maria On Puerto Rico

Bloomberg: The Hurricane Did One Good Thing for Puerto Rico: It Blew Away Zika
“Hurricane Maria’s devastation had a silver lining for Puerto Rico: It killed, for now, most of the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. … But when a storm as strong as Hurricane Maria strikes, ‘those mosquito populations pretty much get wiped out,’ according to Thomas Skinner, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Flavelle, 9/29).

Wired: After Hurricane Maria, could Puerto Rico be at risk of cholera?
“… ‘These factors — the presence of the V. cholerae bacterium, poverty, collapsed infrastructure, and lack of potable water access — create a toxic mix that could promote cholera outbreaks in Puerto Rico during the coming days and weeks,’ writes Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, in an article posted Tuesday. ‘Hurricanes Maria and Irma might indeed be those perfect storms.’ Spokespeople for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention downplayed the risk of cholera (but not of other possible outbreaks)…” (Rogers, 9/29).

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WHO Calls For Better, More Integrated Health Care For Older Persons

U.N. News Centre: Tapping into talents of older persons can boost Global Goals, says U.N. on International Day
“On the International Day of Older Persons, the United Nations is urging the world to tap into the often overlooked contributions of older persons, and calling for integrated care to improve well being and ensure they have the opportunity to contribute to development…” (10/1).

VOA News: WHO: Good Health Care for Older Persons Falling Short Globally
“…The World Health Organization says the health of older people would improve if all ailments were taken into consideration when an individual seeks relief for one specific illness or disease. For example, chronic pain might be linked to an individual’s difficulties with hearing, seeing, walking, or performing other activities” (Schlein, 10/1).

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Devex Summarizes Takeaways From European Meeting On Sexual, Reproductive Health Rights

Devex: ‘Don’t let the U.S. set the agenda’: Takeaways from EuroNGOs on reproductive rights
“Advocates dedicated to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) met in Brussels last week to strategize on how best to combat emerging populist movements they see as a threat to their cause — stressing the need for a ‘smarter’ and more unified approach to advocacy, and for collaboration rather than competition. The SRHR community celebrated World Contraception Day on September 26, but many believe that hard-won rights are at risk as conservative political, religious, and populist movements gain footholds across Europe, in the United States, and in developing countries. … Devex was on the ground for the conference in Brussels. Here are five key takeaways…” (Edwards, 10/2).

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Western Fast Food Industry Contributing To Growing Obesity, Diabetes Cases In Ghana, Raising Concerns Among Health Experts

New York Times: Obesity Was Rising as Ghana Embraced Fast Food. Then Came KFC
“…KFC’s presence in Ghana so far is relatively modest but rapidly growing, and it underscores the way fast food can shape palates, habits, and waistlines. Research shows that people who eat more fast food are more likely to gain weight and become obese, and nutrition experts here express deep concern at the prospect of an increasingly heavy and diabetic population, without the medical resources to address a looming health crisis that some say could rival AIDS…” (Searcey/Richtel, 10/2).

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Yemen On Track To Record 1M Cholera Cases By Year's End; U.N. To Send War Crimes Experts

Al Jazeera: Yemen cholera outbreak could hit one million by 2018
“The humanitarian situation in Yemen is a ‘catastrophe,’ and cholera cases could hit a million by the end of the year, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned…” (9/29).

BBC News: Yemen war: U.N. agrees to send war crime experts
“The U.N. has agreed to send war crimes investigators to Yemen to examine alleged violations committed by all parties to country’s civil war. The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to set up a group of ’eminent’ experts…” (9/29).

CNN: ‘Unprecedented’ cholera outbreak could reach 1 million in Yemen
“…Alexandre Faite, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Yemen, described the scale of the outbreak as ‘unprecedented’ on Friday. Faite said the number of suspected cases there stands at about 750,000 — up from almost 276,000 as of July 5…” (Senthilingam/Bhattacharjee, 9/29).

PBS NewsHour: Biggest challenge of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis is making the world pay attention
“…Yemen has been torn apart by a two-year-old civil war, as a coalition led by Saudi Arabia fight against Houthi rebels and their allies. For more on all of this, I’m joined now by Jamie McGoldrick. He’s the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Yemen…” (Brangham, 9/28).

Reuters: Yemen cholera cases could hit 1 million by year-end: Red Cross
“…Civil war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 people since it began in March 2015…” (Nebehay, 9/29).

United Press International: Oxfam: Yemen cholera outbreak nearing largest in recorded history
“…British charity Oxfam said the epidemic is already the fastest-growing in recorded history and is expected to soon surpass the 754,373 cases recorded in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti…” (Uria, 9/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Lawmakers Should Scrutinize Reach Act's Definitions, Metrics Before Approving Legislation

The Hill: The most cost-effective way to save a life depends how you define saving a life
Rebecca Oas, associate director of research at the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam)

“…Given the stated purpose of the bill, it is not surprising that the Reach Act, both now and in its 2015 iteration, received a great deal of bipartisan support from lawmakers who believe that mothers and babies around the world deserve the chance to survive and thrive. But while ambitious goals and soaring rhetoric may serve to gather support, it is the definitions and metrics that ultimately determine whether legislation can succeed. … Given that no less than a third of this bill’s child beneficiaries are phantoms of statistical convenience, such dubious accounting should not form the basis of an accountability framework, much less be used to determine the best use of funding from the American taxpayer. … Ultimately, the determination of what is the most cost-effective way to save the most lives hinges on how you define saving a life. The definitions undergirding the goals of this legislation are, simply put, quite a reach” (10/1).

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Work Must Continue To End Open Defecation In India, Worldwide

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Realizing Gandhi’s dream — 80 years on, India still strives for perfect sanitation
Anthony Lake, director of UNICEF

“Eighty years ago, Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, writing of the India he envisioned and dedicated his life to building, mused that an ideal village would be one that enjoyed ‘perfect sanitation.’ It was no idle wish. Gandhi had seen the harms caused by inadequate sanitation and hygiene. … Today, as the nation and indeed, the world, celebrate Gandhi’s birthday, his dream of perfect sanitation for India may be closer to becoming a reality than ever before. … The challenges India still faces to become open-defecation free are substantial. But India is showing that it can be done. And it must. Not only in India, but everywhere that open defecation threatens lives and futures. … That is why the Sustainable Development Goals include a target to end open-defecation everywhere. If we are serious about realizing the promise of the SDGs, we need to work together to realize Gandhi’s dream — for India and for the world” (10/2).

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Singapore's Health Care System 'Easily Misused' By Conservatives, Liberals As Good Example

New York Times: What Makes Singapore’s Health Care So Cheap?
Aaron E. Carroll, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine; and Austin Frakt, director of the Partnered Evidence-Based Policy Resource Center at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System, associate professor with Boston University’s School of Public Health, and adjunct associate professor with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

“Singapore’s health care system is distinctive, and not just because of the improbability that it’s admired by many on both the American left and the right. … [I]t spends far, far less than the United States does. Yet it achieves some outcomes Americans would find remarkable. … Singapore’s health system also has a mix of public and private health care delivery organizations. … What also sets Singapore apart, and what makes it beloved among many conservative policy analysts, is its reliance on health savings accounts. … The most frustrating part about Singapore is that, as an example, it’s easily misused by those who want to see their own health care systems change. Conservatives will point to the Medisave accounts and the emphasis on individual contributions, but ignore the heavy government involvement and regulation. Liberals will point to the public’s ability to hold down costs and achieve quality, but ignore the class system or the system’s reliance on individual decision-making…” (10/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Achieving, Sustaining HIV/AIDS 'Epidemic Control' Vital Goal For PEPFAR, Donor Countries

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Controlling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic by 2020 Will Not End U.S. Responsibilities in Severely Affected Countries
Mead Over, senior fellow, and Roxanne Oroxom, research associate, both with CGD, discuss epidemic control of HIV/AIDS, which PEPFAR defines as “occurring ‘when the total number of new HIV infections falls below the total number of deaths from all causes among HIV-infected individuals.'” They conclude, “Reaching epidemic control, by suppressing AIDS mortality and pushing new HIV infections even lower, is the most policy-relevant HIV/AIDS objective for the governments of recipient countries, and therefore for donors like PEPFAR. It is an essential milestone on the road to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic” (9/29).

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New Issue Of Global Health: Science And Practice Journal Available Online

Global Health: Science and Practice: September 2017
The June issue of the Global Health: Science and Practice online journal features articles on various topics, including an editorial and research article on maternal death surveillance and response, a field action report on helping rural areas implement tobacco control policies in India, and a letter to the editor on Angola’s contraceptive market landscape (September 2017).

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FT Health Discusses Efforts To End Unsafe Abortions, Features Interview With Tom Frieden

FT Health: Ending unsafe abortions
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter highlights a recent WHO report on abortion safety and legalization and includes an interview with Tom Frieden, former CDC director who is leading the new global health initiative called Resolve to Save Lives. The issue also features a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Dodd/Jack, 9/29).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Highlights Efforts Of Several Humanitarians Working In Syria, Iraq

USAID/OFDA/Medium: And the Oscar for Public Service goes to … USAID!
“More than 360 people have served on our Syria and Iraq disaster teams. Now is your chance to meet a few of the amazing humanitarians who are this year’s winners of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in the category of National Security and International Affairs…” (9/27).

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