KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

President Trump Tests Positive For Coronavirus

New York Times: Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus
“President Trump revealed early Friday morning that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had tested positive for the coronavirus, throwing the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalating the crisis posed by a pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy. Mr. Trump, who for months has played down the seriousness of the virus and hours earlier on Thursday night told an audience that ‘the end of the pandemic is in sight,’ will quarantine in the White House for an unspecified period of time, forcing him to withdraw at least temporarily from the campaign trail only 32 days before the election on Nov. 3…” (Baker/Haberman, 10/2).

Additional coverage of President Trump’s diagnosis is available from a range of news organizations.

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Media Outlets Continue To Cover Global Efforts To Provide Future Coronavirus Vaccines To Poorer Countries

AP: Push to bring coronavirus vaccines to the poor faces trouble
“An ambitious humanitarian project to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the world’s poorest people is facing potential shortages of money, cargo planes, refrigeration, and vaccines themselves — and is running into skepticism even from some of those it’s intended to help most. In one of the biggest obstacles, rich countries have locked up most of the world’s potential vaccine supply through 2021, and the U.S. and others have refused to join the project, called Covax. … It is being led by the World Health Organization, a U.N. agency; Gavi, a public-private alliance, funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that buys immunizations for 60% of the world’s children; and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, another Gates-supported public-private collaboration…” (Cheng/Hinnant, 10/1).

CIDRAP: As COVID-19 total tops 34 million, World Bank offers vaccine plan for poorer nations
“The global COVID-19 total topped 34 million cases [Thursday], as an official from the World Bank announced a $12 billion plan to help lower-income countries buy vaccine[s] and as U.S. lawmakers clung to the hope of a still-elusive stimulus bill to limit the pandemic’s economic damage to families and businesses. … At a side event at the United Nations General Assembly [Wednesday], World Bank President David Malpass said the group is interested in fast-tracking the financing of COVID-19 vaccines, similar to the way it galvanized funding in March to help countries scale up emergency health support. He announced that he is proposing that the World Bank board make $12 billion available to countries to purchase and deploy COVID-19 vaccine[s], once regulatory agencies approve them. He said the additional support would target low- to middle-income countries that don’t have enough access and would help them alter the course of the pandemic for their people…” (Schnirring, 10/1).

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U.N. Releases Annual Report, Discusses COVID-19, Related Challenges Facing World

U.N. News: Annual report: Pandemic recovery must be measured in ‘human rather than economic terms’
“We must ‘commit’ to building a more inclusive and sustainable world, the U.N. chief underscored in his annual report on the Work of the Organization, launched on Thursday. In the Introduction, Secretary-General António Guterres said the international community should reflect on ‘our shared progress as well as … our vision and values’. He highlighted some of the Organization’s accomplishments, such as putting in place vital agreements that codify and protect human rights, setting ambitious goals for sustainable development, and charting a path towards a more balanced relationship with the natural world, among many others. However, he also outlined some challenges ahead, saying more remains to be done to ‘hold back the tides of fear, hatred, inequality, poverty, and injustice.’ The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the world’s fragility, laying bare ‘risks ignored for decades,’ namely, inadequate health systems; gaps in social protection; structural inequalities; environmental degradation; and the climate crisis, flagged the U.N. chief…” (10/1).

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U.N. Marks 25th Anniversary Of Beijing Conference On Women, Urges Fight For Gender Equality, Women's Rights

Reuters: U.N. chief urges equality fight, U.S. slams China for ‘murder’ of baby girls
“U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday of a recent pushback against gender equality and women’s rights and urged people to fight back as the United States slammed China and the world body for ‘the murder of millions of baby girls.’ World leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, took part in a virtual U.N. General Assembly meeting on Thursday on a landmark 1995 women’s conference in Beijing, where then-U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton declared that ‘women’s rights are human rights’…” (Nichols, 10/1).

U.N. News: COVID-19 underscores need to deliver on promise of landmark women’s rights conference
“António Guterres issued the charge in a speech to a U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China. The Beijing Conference, as it is known, marked a significant turning point on the global agenda, making it clear that women’s rights are at the heart of equality and justice around the world. But as the U.N. chief told the gathering, the Conference was also a ‘wake-up call’ as these rights are still being denied, hindered, and ignored everywhere. ‘COVID-19 has emphasized and exploited the continued denial of women’s rights. Women and girls are bearing the brunt of the massive social and economic impact of the pandemic,’ he said, speaking from the rostrum in the General Assembly Hall…” (10/1).

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Sex Abuse Investigation In DRC Prompts Further Probes, Calls For Reform In Aid Sector; Demonstrations In DRC Demand Justice For Decades Of Rapes, Murders In Country's Conflicts

New Humanitarian: Calls for punishment, aid sector reform after sex abuse scandal in Congo
“Aid organizations have vowed to probe allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by Ebola response workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo after an investigation by The New Humanitarian and the Thomson Reuters Foundation prompted widespread outrage and calls for change…” (Kleinfeld, 10/2).

The Guardian: DRC protesters demand justice over unprosecuted rapes and murders
“Women led thousands of people in demonstrations in four cities across the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Thursday, demanding justice for historic murders and rapes committed in the east of the country. Organizers said police beat protesters in Kisangani, one of the cities, as they marked a decade since the U.N. documented hundreds of crimes in DRC between 1993 and 2003 that have not been prosecuted…” (Ahmed, 10/2).

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Malaria Programs Largely On Track Despite Pandemic-Related Challenges, New Data Shows

The Telegraph: Catastrophe avoided as malaria control measures on track across the world
“More than 90 percent of malaria control programs are on track this year, despite restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, new data has found. Deliveries of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, spraying, and preventive treatments for children and pregnant women across Africa, Asia, and the Americas are all going ahead as planned, according to the RBM Partnership to End Malaria. … Many global health experts had feared that disruptions to health services caused by the pandemic and associated lockdowns could see what has been described as a ‘catastrophic’ spike in malaria infections. … The World Health Organization warned in April that malaria deaths could double if essential programs were disrupted. Now, while cases and mortality rates are still expected to rise as a result of disruptions to health services, it is hoped that the worst case scenario has been avoided…” (Rigby, 10/1).

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Devex Interviews Head Of USAID's Bureau For Resilience And Food Security About Meeting Nutrition Needs Amid Pandemic

Devex: Q&A: ‘We cannot wait’ — USAID sees urgency in pandemic hunger response
“Jim Barnhart returned to Washington from his post in Jordan to head the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security in the middle of a pandemic that threatens to push hundreds of millions of people into hunger. The new bureau, created during USAID’s transformation, brings together a host of disciplines previously scattered across the agency — including food security, nutrition, water, resilience, and sanitation and hygiene — under the same roof to improve efficiency and promote multisectoral collaboration. … Barnhart recently spoke with Devex about how RFS is harnessing flexibility to meet both short- and long-term food security and nutrition challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic…” (Welsh, 10/2).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Borgen Magazine: 3 Economic Benefits of International COVID-19 Relief (Messina, 9/30).

Devex: How to move the needle on health worker safety (10/2).

Devex: Q&A: Islamic Relief CEO on faith-based fundraising during COVID-19 (Igoe, 10/2).

Financial Times: Pfizer chief hits out at politicization of Covid-19 vaccine (Kuchler, 10/1).

Forbes: Trump Is ‘Single Largest Driver’ Of Covid-19 Misinformation, Cornell Study Finds (Beer, 10/1).

Fortune: The World Health Organization is leaning on big tech to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic (Goodkind, 10/1).

The Hill: Diversity emerges as key challenge for coronavirus drug trials (Wilson, 10/2).

Washington Post: France announces new coronavirus restrictions as covid-19 cases rise (McAuley, 10/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration Should Do More To Address Global SRHR Goals, Says Opinion Piece

Ms. Magazine: Trump Administration Earns Failing Scores in Meeting Global Commitments to Reproductive Health
Lienna Feleke-Eshete, public policy associate, and Sammy Luffy, senior policy research associate, both at CHANGE

“…On Thursday, CHANGE, a U.S.-based sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) organization, released the 2019 grades for the annual Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Index: Grading U.S. Global Health Assistance. Known as the SRHR Index, it critically assesses the U.S. government’s global health policies, actions, and funding that impact SRHR and measures its performance by grading it annually. In the calculation of the 2019 grades, the SRHR Index identified multiple U.S. government agencies and actors that are failing to live up to their commitments to promoting SRHR across global health assistance for the third straight year. The retroactive, anti-human rights policies enacted and implemented by some of these actors during this administration have resulted in a drastic drop in the U.S. government’s grade from a B in 2016 to a C- in 2019. … It is clear what the U.S. government needs to do to advance SRHR — now it must take action” (10/1).

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Opinion Piece Says U.S. Congress Should Unblock Treasury's Hold On IMF COVID-19 Relief Funding

The Hill: If you could save a million lives, would you do it?
Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

“If you had the opportunity to save a million people from preventable death, would you do it? … This is not merely a rhetorical question, but one that members of the Congress will have to answer in the present. … Right now, legislation has already passed the House of Representatives that would do just that. And it was included in the newly released COVID relief bill that is being negotiated between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. It would require the Treasury Department, which represents our government at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to support a multi-trillion dollar relief package from the Fund. These funds are not loans and therefore will not have to be repaid. They have no conditions attached to them. And they do not cost the U.S. government anything at all — not now, and not at any time in the future. The IMF leadership, and almost all of the 189 member countries — including U.S. allies such as Germany and Canada — are ready to allocate the aid that Congress is considering. The reason it hasn’t already been approved at the IMF is that the U.S. Treasury has said no, and the U.S. — alone — has a veto at the IMF on this matter. .. [I]t’s not at all clear why the Treasury is blocking this desperately needed aid. … Nor is there any reason that it should be a partisan issue … Of course the Congress has a lot on its plate, and is having trouble passing further relief that millions of Americans need to pay their bills and for many, even have enough to eat. But all indications are that Congress will pass major spending bills before the end of the year, including funding to avoid a government shutdown. It would take almost no effort to include the House or Senate bill that would unblock Treasury’s hold on the IMF funding… ” (10/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

UNGA Side Event Highlights Need For Sustainable Health Emergency Preparedness For COVID-19, Future Emergencies

WHO: The best time to prevent the next pandemic is now: countries join voices for better emergency preparedness
“COVID-19 will not be the world’s last health emergency and there is an urgent need for sustainable health emergency preparedness to deal with the next one. This was the strong sentiment shared by participants of the United Nations General Assembly side-event on ‘Sustainable preparedness for health security and resilience: Adopting a whole-of-society approach and breaking the “panic-then-forget” cycle’. The high-level virtual event was co-hosted by Finland, France, and Indonesia, along with the World Health Organization (WHO). … This event marked a crucial dialogue among countries, donors, and partners on building back better for future emergency preparedness during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond…” (10/1).

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Governments Must Recognize Women's Rights, Address Gender Equality, HRW Expert Says

Human Rights Watch: World Leaders Should Champion Gender Equality
Nisha Varia, advocacy director in the Women’s Rights Division at HRW, discusses the importance of addressing gender equality and empowering women and girls, writing, “[Governments] need to recognize that women’s rights are not secondary but integral to addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, looming economic recession, armed conflict, elections, and climate change. Addressing the gender impact of these issues, promoting women’s leadership, and backing up commitments with real economic resources and political will at all levels are essential” (9/30).

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CHANGE Releases Annual SRHR Index, Gives U.S. Overall C- Grade, Marking 3rd Straight Year Of Declining Scores

CHANGE: Newly Released Report Card Gives White House, Department of Health & Human Services Failing Scores in Meeting Global Commitments to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
“[On Thursday], CHANGE, a U.S.-based sexual and reproductive health and rights organization, launched its 2019 grades for the annual Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Index: Grading U.S. Global Health Assistance. CHANGE’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Index (SRHR Index) critically assesses the U.S. government’s global health policies, actions, and funding that impact sexual and reproductive health and rights, and measures its performance by grading it annually. The SRHR Index found that across multiple U.S. government agencies and actors, the United States is failing to live up to its commitments to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights across global health assistance. For the overall U.S. government, 2019 was the third straight year of declining scores…” (10/1).

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Head Of Corus International Discusses Feed The Future, Provides Recommendations To Further Increase Impact

Atlantic Council: Feed the Future: After a decade of success, let’s make it better
Daniel V. Speckhard, president and CEO of Corus International, discusses the role of Feed the Future in addressing global hunger and nutrition and provides recommendations on how the initiative could be strengthened (10/1).

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October 2020 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The October 2020 WHO Bulletin features an editorial on COVID-19 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an article on emergency care during the pandemic, a research article on the impact of the COVID-19 response on global surgery, and articles on other global health related topics (October 2020).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Releases FY 2021 Journey To Self-Reliance Country Roadmaps

USAID: Announcing the Public Release of the USAID Self-Reliance Country Roadmaps for Fiscal Year 2021
“On October 1, 2020, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released the third iteration of our Journey to Self-Reliance Country Roadmaps, and published additional resources related to the Journey to Self-Reliance on the public portal. The Country Roadmaps serve as USAID’s flagship analytical tool for assessing self-reliance in a given country, based on 17 independent, publicly available metrics that capture the concepts of Commitment and Capacity. … This tool allows USAID to assess at a high level where a country sits on its Journey to Self-Reliance, and helps the agency craft our strategies, prioritize our investments, and shape our conversations with partners…” (10/1).

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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 2, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/2).

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. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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