KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In Speech, Devex Interview, USAID Administrator Mark Green Outlines Priorities For Feed The Future

Devex: USAID chief outlines vision for agriculture, food security
“For U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green, investments in agriculture are something of a no brainer — in part because he has seen what it’s like for the U.S. to operate in countries without a clear strategy on agriculture and food security. … He began to outline his priorities and next steps for the initiative in a speech at the Borlaug Dialogue in Iowa on Thursday, and in an interview with Devex…” (Saldinger, 10/20).

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Pollution Causes Estimated 9M Premature Deaths Annually, 1 In 6 Deaths Worldwide, Lancet Commission Finds

CNN: Pollution linked to 9 million deaths worldwide in 2015, study says
“…In 2015, nearly one in six deaths, an estimated nine million worldwide, was related to pollution in some form — air, water, soil, chemical, or occupational pollution, according to a new report published Thursday in The Lancet…” (Scutti, 10/20).

Deutsche Welle: Pollution killing more people than war and violence, says report
“Environmental pollution is killing more people every year than smoking, hunger, or natural disasters, according to a major study released in The Lancet medical journal on Thursday…” (10/20).

Financial Times: Pollution-related deaths exceed 9m per year
“…A two-year project carried out by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, sponsored by The Lancet journal, concluded that air pollution was the biggest contributor, accounting for 6.5m premature deaths, while water pollution causes 1.8m deaths. A further 0.8m died from pollution in the workplace…” (Cookson, 10/19).

The Guardian: Global pollution kills 9m a year and threatens ‘survival of human societies’
“…The vast majority of the pollution deaths occur in poorer nations and in some, such as India, Chad, and Madagascar, pollution causes a quarter of all deaths. The international researchers said this burden is a hugely expensive drag on developing economies…” (Carrington, 10/19).

NPR: Report: Pollution Kills 3 Times More than AIDS, TB, And Malaria Combined
“… ‘Pollution in rapidly developing countries is just getting worse and worse and worse. And it isn’t getting the attention it deserves. It needed to be rigorously studied,’ says Dr. Philip Landrigan, pediatrician and professor of environmental medicine and global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is the lead author of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health along with Richard Fuller, president of Pure Earth, which works to clean up pollution in poor countries. We talked with Landrigan about the commission’s findings…” (Brink, 10/19).

STAT: Pollution to blame for 1 in 6 deaths worldwide, study finds
“…Addressing pollution seems to save big bucks. The researchers report that every dollar invested in U.S. air pollution control since 1970 — when the Clean Air Act passed — has produced roughly $30 in benefits. Much of that comes from increased productivity from healthier people” (Thielking, 10/19).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: India tops global pollution deaths of 9 million a year — study
“…India fared worst, with 2.5 million people dying early because of pollution, followed by China with 1.8 million deaths … [R]apidly industrializing nations are worst affected and regulation could help to protect health as they develop, said the commission, which brings together more than 40 international health and environmental authors” (Pujol-Mazzini, 10/19).

Washington Post: Pollution kills 9 million people each year, new study finds
“… ‘When you’re looking at developing countries, you really have to address this challenge if you want to move people out of poverty and into the middle class,’ said Gina McCarthy, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator who was not involved in the study but had studied its conclusions. ‘It is holding people back.’ And the warming of the Earth’s climate is likely to fuel more deaths in the absence of international action, she said…” (Dennis, 10/19).

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Children Make Up Most Of Rohingya Refugees, Lack Food, Water, Health Care, UNICEF Report Says

Associated Press: UNICEF: Rohingya Children Refugees Face ‘Hell On Earth’
“UNICEF says the children who make up most of the nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar are seeing a ‘hell on earth’ in overcrowded, muddy, and squalid refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh…” (10/20).

CBS News: “The magnitude of the challenge is daunting” in the crisis of Rohingya children, UNICEF says
“…Next week in Geneva, UNICEF — the U.N.’s children relief fund — is sponsoring an international pledging conference, calling for $434 million…” (Falk, 10/19).

Reuters: Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh in dire state: UNICEF
“Nearly 340,000 Rohingya children are living in squalid conditions in Bangladesh camps where they lack enough food, clean water, and health care, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday. Up to 12,000 more children join them every week, fleeing violence or hunger in Myanmar, often still traumatized by atrocities they witnessed, it said in a report ‘Outcast and Desperate’…” (Nebehay, 10/19).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. migration chief urges more support for Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar or ‘thousands will suffer’
“The United Nations migration agency and its partners are supporting Bangladesh in coordinating assistance for the influx of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, including with clean water and sanitation, shelter, food, and psychosocial care for the most vulnerable…” (10/19).

VOA News: U.N.: Rohingya Children Cast Out of Their Land Face a Bleak Future
“…The UNICEF report graphically describes the fearful existence of these many children. It says they arrive in Bangladesh — painfully thin, malnourished, and hungry. After having escaped a near-death experience, the report says the children find themselves living in flimsy shelters. They are reduced to drinking dirty water and having to scrounge for whatever food might be available…” (Schlein, 10/19).

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Reuters Review Finds Significant Differences Between Draft, Published Versions Of IARC Report On Glyphosate

Reuters: In glyphosate review, WHO cancer agency edited out “non-carcinogenic” findings
“…Documents seen by Reuters show how a draft of a key section of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) assessment of glyphosate — a report that has prompted international disputes and multi-million-dollar lawsuits — underwent significant changes and deletions before the report was finalized and made public. … The edits identified by Reuters occurred in the chapter of IARC’s review focusing on animal studies…” (Kelland, 10/19).

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Health-Related SDGs Unattainable Without More Political Commitment, Funding, Experts At World Health Summit Say

Devex: World Health Summit urges political will to follow up on UHC commitments
“…As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, all United Nations member countries committed to reaching UHC by 2030. Specifically, they pledged to ensure access to a range of health services — from promotion to rehabilitation — at costs that are affordable. That task is formidable, especially in low- and middle-income countries, speakers at the three-day [World Health Summit in Berlin] cautioned. Political leaders must confront issues such as health worker shortages and spotty information systems, even as they try to construct financing schemes to fund UHC. They must make concrete plans and financial commitments, advocates said…” (Green, 10/20).

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Governments Endorse Plan To Address NCDs As Development Priority At WHO-Backed Conference

U.N. News Centre: Governments endorse U.N.-backed plan to tackle cancer, diabetes, and other deadly diseases
“Global leaders have pledged to take bold action to reduce suffering from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which include the world’s leading killers — heart and lung diseases, cancers, and diabetes — the United Nations health agency has reported. Governments on Wednesday endorsed the Montevideo Roadmap 2018-2030 on NCDs as a Sustainable Development Priority at the opening of the three-day global conference in the Uruguayan capital after which the strategy is named, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the country’s presidency…” (10/19).

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UNICEF's New Strategy Combines Development Theories, Humanitarian Crises-Type Responses

Devex: As U.S. interest wanes, UNICEF pivots strategy
“…The new strategy merges development theories with humanitarian urgency. UNICEF plugs into existing institutions to build a long-term response, but utilizing the extra personnel, expertise, and funding that humanitarian crises require. Particularly in protracted crises, the approach offers a way to build something permanent, while also spending on one-off costs…” (Dickinson, 10/20).

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Illicit Financial Flows Must Be Stopped In Africa For Nations To Reach SDGs, Experts Say

Devex: Curbing illicit financial flows key to reaching SDGs in Africa
“Curbing illicit financial flows out of Africa is a vital part of the domestic resource mobilization toward the Sustainable Development Goals, experts at the Pan African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Tax said last week in Nairobi. The continent is estimated to be losing at least $50 billion through illicit financial outflows every year, according to the report of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa established by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa…” (Jerving, 10/19).

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NPR, Harvard School Of Public Health Host Webcast Exploring Polio Eradication Efforts

NPR: Webcast: Can The World Finally Wipe Out Polio?
“The world is incredibly close to wiping out polio. This year the number of polio cases has shrunk to fewer than a dozen. And those cases are in just two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan. … On Friday at 11 a.m. ET, NPR and the The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health will present a discussion with polio experts: ‘Eradicating Polio: Reaching the Last Child.’ The panelists will talk about how the world has come so close to this ‘last mile’ of polio eradication and what steps need to be taken to end transmission…” (Beaubien, 10/20).

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Uganda Reports 1 Confirmed, 1 Probable Case Of Marburg Virus; WHO Working With Local Officials

Associated Press: Marburg hemorrhagic fever kills 1 person in Uganda
“One Ugandan has died of Marburg, a highly infectious disease that, like Ebola, manifests as a viral hemorrhagic fever, Uganda’s health minister said Thursday. Tests on a 50-year-old woman who died Oct. 17 came back positive for Marburg, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told reporters Thursday…” (Muhumuza, 10/19).

Reuters: Uganda confirms one case of Ebola-like Marburg virus
“…The East African nation last suffered a Marburg outbreak in 2014. Marburg is from the same family of viruses as Ebola, which killed thousands in West Africa in 2014” (Biryabarema/Fick, 10/19).

World Health Organization: WHO supports containment of rare virus on Uganda-Kenya border
“WHO is working to contain an outbreak of Marburg virus disease (MVD) that has appeared in eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya. … One suspected and one probable case are being investigated and provided with medical care. An active search for people who may have been exposed to or infected by the virus is underway…” (10/20).

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Ebola Survivors Experience Eye Complications, Including Cataracts Among Youth

New York Times: Ebola’s Legacy: Children With Cataracts
“…Cataracts usually afflict the old, not the young, but doctors have been shocked to find them in Ebola survivors as young as five. And for reasons that no one understands, some of those children have the toughest, thickest cataracts that eye surgeons have encountered, along with scarring deep inside the eye…” (Grady, 10/19).

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Discrimination, Stigma Help Fuel HIV Incidence Increase In Russia, Eastern Europe

Deutsche Welle: Hate, discrimination lead to rise of HIV in Russia, experts say
“Experts are shocked over the spread of HIV in Russia and Eastern Europe. The problem has reached epidemic proportions, despite the fact that methods for stopping the spread of the virus are well known…” (Esipov, 10/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Government Should Allow USAID To Join Puerto Rico Humanitarian Response Efforts

HuffPost: Let USAID Help Puerto Rico
Ben Barer, journalist and former USAID employee

“U.S. disaster relief agencies are struggling but failing to restore electricity, water, food, and medical care to 3.4 million citizens on Puerto Rico since two hurricanes hit last month. … The failure to allow USAID to join in rescue and relief operations in Puerto Rico is a classic form of turf war, so beloved by the Washington bureaucracy. … Although officials from FEMA and USAID note that funding for foreign aid is separate from U.S. disasters, … the U.S. president has the authority to shift funds and cover a USAID foray into American territory. … Why can’t USAID — the agency with the most experience in delivering humanitarian assistance — join in the apparently weak effort to help out the victims of hurricanes Irma and Maria? It is time to change the way we keep USAID disaster experts blocked off from U.S. territory emergencies. With dozens of years of expertise responding to tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, drought, and other emergencies, the foreign aid agency is a world leader and should be engaged in Puerto Rico” (10/19).

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Trachoma Elimination In Laos, Cambodia Demonstrates Possibility Of Ending Need For Foreign Assistance

Devex: Opinion: Eliminating the need for foreign assistance, one country at a time
Paul Weisenfeld, executive vice president of RTI International’s International Development Group

“…Eliminating trachoma in Laos and Cambodia shows that fundamentally solving — not just reducing — complex challenges through development assistance is possible. … [USAID’s flagship neglected tropical diseases project] ENVISION supports national programs to carry out a variety of interventions and activities that have proven effective in the fight against NTDs … There are several key elements of our approach to carrying out these core activities that can help other development programs achieve and sustain their goals. 1. Become part of the national health system’s DNA … 2. Measure, measure, and measure some more … 3. Strengthen local capacity … 4. Leverage global partnerships … Mark Green’s goal for USAID — to eliminate the need for foreign assistance — is shared across the international development community. The ongoing success of USAID’s own ENVISION project demonstrates clearly that we can and are achieving this goal, one country at a time” (10/19).

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Ending Modern Slavery, Child Labor Remains 'Formidable Challenge'

TIME: Modern Slavery Is Real and 40 Million People Are Trapped In It
Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labor Organization; Andrew Forrest, chair of the Walk Free Foundation; William Lacy Swing, director general of IOM, the U.N. Migration Agency

“…Modern slavery remains very much a feature of today’s global economy, and is present in almost every country. … No nation is immune from this problem. Each must design their own prevention and protection policies. Several international legal instruments can provide guidance … But law and policy must go further, focusing on prevention, on protecting victims, on remedies, and on tackling the root causes of the abuses. … For now, ending modern slavery and child labor remains a formidable challenge. We must move faster if we are to reach the ambitious target set by the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals of ending child labor by 2025 and modern slavery by 2030 — and to make this the world we wish to live in” (10/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

In Blog Post, Former WFP Director Lists 'Ingredients' To End Global Hunger

Agri-Pulse: Opinion: Recipe for Creating Zero Hunger
Ertharin Cousin, Payne distinguished lecturer at Stanford’s Spogli Institute, visiting fellow in their Center on Food Security, and distinguished fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, discusses the “ingredients” needed to end global hunger, including peace and stability, “sustainable and durable food systems (from fork to farm), elimination of malnutrition (particularly stunting), elimination of food waste, and universal access to nutritious food all year long — all quite feasible.” Cousin also discusses the importance of partnerships among governments, donors, civil society and NGOs, multilateral institutions, and the private sector to end hunger (10/19).

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Public Sector Should Incentivize Private Sector To Develop New Antibiotics, UNCTAD Official Says

U.N. Conference on Trade and Development: Fighting the war on antibiotic resistance with new investment schemes — Q&A with Christoph Spennemann
“With medical experts warning of a ‘post-antibiotic apocalypse,’ UNCTAD legal officer Christoph Spennemann explains why joint public-private investment is the missing weapon in the war against the spread of antibiotic resistance…” (10/20).

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