KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Air Pollution Killed Nearly 500K Infants In 2019, State Of Global Air Study Shows

DW: Air pollution killed nearly half a million newborns in 2019, report finds
“Some 476,000 infants across the world died from the adverse effects of exposure to air pollution in 2019, a new global study has found. The State of Global Air study released Wednesday said nearly two-thirds of those deaths were related to the burning of poor-quality fuels for cooking…” (Jones, 10/21).

The Guardian: Polluted air killing half a million babies a year across globe
“…Exposure to airborne pollutants is harmful also for babies in the womb. It can cause a premature birth or low birth weight. Both of these factors are associated with higher infant mortality. … Babies born with a low birth weight are more susceptible to childhood infections and pneumonia. The lungs of pre-term babies can also not be fully developed. ‘They are born into a high pollution environment, and are more susceptible than children who went to term,’ said Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute in the U.S…” (Harvey, 10/21).

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1 In 6 Children Living In Extreme Poverty Pre-COVID-19; Figures Set To Worsen, UNICEF, World Bank Report Says

U.N. News: One in six children living in extreme poverty, with figure set to rise during pandemic
“An estimated one in six children — or 356 million globally — were living in extreme poverty before the COVID-19 pandemic began, and this is set to worsen significantly, according to a new World Bank Group and U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) analysis released on Tuesday. … The analysis shows that the number living in extreme poverty decreased moderately, by 29 million, between 2013 and 2017. However, UNICEF and the World Bank Group warn that any progress made in recent years, has been ‘slow-paced, unequally distributed, and at risk’ due to the economic impact of the pandemic…” (10/20).

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COVID-19 Pandemic Hindering Already Slow Progress On Women's Rights, U.N. Report Says; Women's, Girls' Mental Health Suffers Amid Pandemic In Lower-Income Countries

Devex: The pandemic takes its toll on women and girls’ mental health
“Experts are sounding the alarm about the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of women and girls in lower-income countries. … [W]omen and girls in low- and middle-income countries are facing a cluster of social and economic burdens that make them particularly vulnerable to high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, according to research findings and feedback from global development teams on the ground…” (Smith, 10/20).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. says pandemic will slow already minuscule progress in women’s rights
“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to grind down progress toward gender equality that already was creeping along at a snail’s pace, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Gender-based violence and inequities in the workplace and political leadership are nearly as bad as they were 25 years ago, the global agency said in a report ‘The World’s Women 2020’…” (Lavietes, 10/20).

U.N. News: New U.N. gender study: Women ‘far from having an equal voice to men’
“The COVID-19 pandemic is ‘interrupting efforts’ to achieve gender equality and threatening to ‘reverse hard-won gains’ over the past decades, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday. Introducing the 2020 edition of The World’s Women: Trends and Statistics, Liu Zhenmin, chief of the U.N.’s economic and social affairs department (DESA), said that over the last two decades, ‘attitudes of discrimination are slowly changing’ and women’s lives have improved with regard to education, early marriage, childbearing, and maternal mortality, all while progress has stagnated in other areas…” (10/20).

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Most People Would Get COVID-19 Vaccine If Recommended By Government, Employer, Poll Shows

Reuters: Most people would get COVID-19 vaccine if offered by government or employer: poll
“Most people would get a COVID-19 vaccine if their government or employer recommended it, results of a global poll showed on Tuesday, amid growing concerns about public distrust of the shots being developed at speed to end the pandemic. … The poll was overseen by the Vaccine Confidence Project (VCP), a global surveillance program on vaccine trust funded by the European Commission and pharmaceutical companies among others, as well as Business Partners to CONVINCE, a U.S./British initiative that is partly government funded…” (Mason/Nebehay, 10/20).

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Chinese Drugmaker SinoPharm Establishing Coronavirus Vaccine Production Lines; China Using Vaccine Diplomacy To Boost Ties To Some Nations

AP: Chinese drugmaker setting up vaccine production lines
“A state-owned Chinese drugmaker is setting up production lines to supply 1 billion doses of two possible coronavirus vaccines that are being tested on 50,000 people in 10 countries, the company chairman said Tuesday. Testing by SinoPharm Group is ‘in the last kilometer of a long march,’ chairman Liu Jingzhen said at a news conference. He gave no indication when results are expected…” (10/20).

Financial Times: China’s Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy steals a march on U.S.
“China is promising preferential access to its Covid-19 vaccines to countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as Beijing uses inoculations as a new tool to bolster its ties with nations neglected by the U.S. … China aspires to be a global vaccine supplier with four Chinese products now in phase 3 trials, the final stage intended to ensure safety and effectiveness before approval for public use. Although U.S. pharmaceutical groups including Johnson & Johnson and Moderna also have advanced vaccines in development, Washington has shown no interest in helping to distribute them overseas…” (Shepherd et al., 10/20).

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U.S. DHS Less Involved In Addressing COVID-19 Than During Past Epidemics

Washington Post: DHS led the way on past health crises, but it has been less visible during the coronavirus outbreak
“…The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has a history of helping to lead the U.S. response to public-health threats such as swine flu and Ebola, standing with the nation’s top medical experts to emphasize that the threat to the nation is severe. But during the months-long coronavirus pandemic that has affected much of American society, one of the country’s largest federal agencies has instead publicly promoted immigrants, anarchists, and smugglers as more dangerous to the United States than a virus with a death toll that experts say could double to 410,000 by the end of the year…” (Sacchetti, 10/20).

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Greater Share Of HIV Prevention Funding Must Focus On Key Populations To Reach 2030 Goal Of Ending AIDS Epidemic, Study Says

The Telegraph: Funding for HIV prevention within the world’s most marginalized communities ‘woefully inadequate’
“Funding to help prevent new HIV infections within the world’s most marginalized communities is ‘way off track,’ a landmark study has found. Key populations — which include gay and bisexual men, transgender people, sex workers, and people who inject drugs — represented more than half of all new HIV infections in 2018 alone. However only two percent of the total amount spent on the global HIV response went towards supporting these groups and their partners, according to an analysis by Aidsfonds and Communities of Change. Just 11 percent of all prevention funding between 2016 and 2018 was spent on these marginalized communities. The study, which is the first of its kind to look at support for these groups in lower- and middle-income countries, warns that the United Nations goal of ending the global AIDS epidemic by 2030 will not be met unless more is done to address this funding gap…” (Kelly-Linden, 10/20).

Devex examines Nigeria’s efforts to prioritize self-testing for HIV.

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Trusted, Reliable, Up-To-Date Data Important For Evidence-Based Policymaking, U.N. SG Says On World Statistics Day

U.N. News: Trusted data helps us all ‘understand the changing world’: Guterres
“Current, reliable, and trusted data help us to ‘understand the changing world’ in which we live, the U.N. chief said on Tuesday in his message for World Statistics Day. Statistics are ‘fundamental for evidence-based policymaking … [and] drive the transformations that are needed,’ in order to ensure no-one is left behind, upheld Secretary-General António Guterres. And the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the increasing importance of data to save lives and recover better…” (10/20).

Devex reports on how poor data on groundwater is hindering efforts to improve climate resiliency.

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U.N. Organizations, Partners Must Do More To Stop Sexual Exploitation Among Volunteers, UNICEF, UNHCR Representatives Tell Parliamentary Committee

The Telegraph: Aid charities admit they are not doing enough to stop volunteers sexually exploiting vulnerable people
“Aid charities have admitted they are not doing enough to prevent their volunteers from assaulting vulnerable people abroad. Representatives from the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF and refugee agency UNHCR told Parliament’s international development committee that the organizations must do ‘much more’ to combat sexual abuse attributed to their organizations and partners…” (Penna, 10/21).

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Kenya's Efforts To Eradicate FGM By 2022 See Setback With Nearly 3K Victims Paraded Through Streets Over Past Month

The Guardian: Kenyan efforts to end FGM suffer blow with victims paraded in ‘open defiance’
“Kenya has seen a setback in its progress to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) after an open parade in defiance of the government clampdown on the practice took place this week. Almost 2,800 girls from the Kuria community in south-western Kenya have undergone FGM, which involves the removal of the outer layers of female genitalia and sometimes the clitoris, in the past three weeks, say local activists. Every day since late September, girls who have undergone the practice have been paraded in the region’s main urban centers, where they have been showered with gifts, including cash. The gifts, according to the activists, are designed to encourage other young girls to undergo FGM. Kenya is viewed as a regional champion in the fight against FGM and the parades will be seen as a setback to government efforts to eradicate the practice by 2022…” (Muiruri, 10/21).

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Pledging Conference Raises $1.7B For Humanitarian Crises In Sahel Region

Devex: $1.7B raised for ‘toxic brew’ of crises in Sahel
“A pledging conference hosted by Germany, Denmark, the European Union, and the United Nations raised $1.7 billion Tuesday for the Central Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. In announcing that total, U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock called the conference ‘a successful event’ with a ‘really good outcome.’ Of the pledged funds, $997 million is for the rest of 2020, while the remaining $725 million is for 2021 and beyond…” (Welsh, 10/21).

U.N. News: U.N. chief appeals for urgent action to reverse ‘downward spiral’ in Central Sahel
“The world must act now to reverse the situation in Africa’s central Sahel region, where humanitarian needs are at ‘a breaking point,’ U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told a high-level conference on Tuesday to address the burgeoning crisis. U.N. agencies report that needs in the border region between Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have reached record levels due to rising violence, insecurity, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, creating one of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crises…” (10/20).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Al Jazeera: Ireland, Wales to re-enter lockdown as COVID-19 surges in Europe (10/20).

AP: Another chunk of England faces tight virus restrictions (Lawless, 10/21).

AP: Belgium limits care home visits as COVID-19 cases increase (Petrequin, 10/21).

Borgen Magazine: Infant and Maternal Mortality Rates: Finland vs DRC (Davis, 10/20).

NPR: Ebola Never Went Away. But Now There’s A Drug To Treat It (Beaubien, 10/20).

PRI: Public health experts warn against herd immunity strategy to manage COVID-19 (Gordon, 10/20).

Reuters: Modi says committed to COVID-19 vaccine for all citizens (Jain et al., 10/20).

STAT: Covid-19’s wintry mix: As we move indoors, dry air will help the coronavirus spread (Cooney, 10/21).

Xinhua: Kenya calls for more efforts to fight other diseases in Africa amid COVID-19 (10/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Collaboration Critical To Ending COVID-19 Pandemic, Chair Of U.K.'s Vaccine Taskforce Writes In Opinion Piece

The Telegraph: Ending the pandemic requires collaboration, funding and creative thinking — there is much yet to do
Kate Bingham, chair of the U.K.’s Vaccine Taskforce

“…With the search for a safe and effective vaccine well underway, it is vital that countries pool their resources to ensure fair global access to this vaccine or vaccines when they’re found. No country can stand alone in this, and no country should be isolated. As we all know, Covid-19 doesn’t respect borders. No one is safe until we’re all safe. Unless countries all over the world have a mutual interest in working together, there is little we can do. … But simply discovering a vaccine is not enough. The job is not yet done — we will need to continue to work together to solve the shared challenges to a global immunization campaign. We will need creative thinking at the largest and the smallest scales…” (10/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Next Administration, Congress Can Enhance U.S. International Engagement Through Diplomacy, Development, Brookings Expert Writes

Brookings Institution’s “Up Front”: How the next administration can enhance U.S. engagement in global development
George Ingram, senior fellow for global economy and development at the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings, summarizes a new paper on “how the administration and 117th Congress that will assume office in January 2021 can enhance the U.S. government’s ability to address global development.” Ingram writes, “[P]olicymakers must secure American prosperity and security. That prosperity and security will not come from a fortress America but from an America fully engaged with allies and international organizations to address challenges to and opportunities to promote global peace and prosperity. It is only with effective tools of diplomacy and development, working in a supportive, unified manner, that the U.S. will maximize its international influence. And it is only through elevating and respecting the expertise and central role of the development side of the equation that both development and diplomacy will maximize their leverage and effectiveness” (10/21).

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Amref Health Africa, AVAC, Friends Of Global Fight Launch Protecting Global Gains Initiative

Amref Health Africa/AVAC/Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria: Protecting Global Gains
Amref Health Africa, AVAC, and Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria launched the new Protecting Global Gains initiative. According the initiative’s site, “Protecting Global Gains is a partnership of concerned advocates dedicated to sharing the innovative approaches that are helping communities combat COVID-19 without losing ground in other areas. The stories and tools provided here are intended to support program implementers looking for practical solutions, arm advocates with the data and anecdotal evidence they need for effective advocacy, and inspire a new approach to building systems that are flexible, resilient, and centered on people’s context-specific needs” (10/21).

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Brookings Launches New Center For Sustainable Development

Brookings Institution’s “Up Front”: Why Brookings is starting a Center for Sustainable Development
John R. Allen, president of Brookings, discusses the launch of the Brookings Institution’s new Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), which aims to embody an “institutional commitment to the global sustainable development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals” (10/21).

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Pakistan's Polio Immunization Campaign Reaches More Than 39M Children

UNICEF: Pakistan’s nationwide polio vaccination campaign reaches 39 million children
Sajida Mansoor, communications officer at UNICEF, discusses Pakistan’s nationwide polio vaccination campaign, in which more than 260,000 trained frontline health workers went door-to-door to vaccinate more than 39 million children under-five (10/19).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Providing Humanitarian Assistance To Address Severe Flooding In Vietnam, Cambodia

USAID: USAID Provides Immediate Assistance in Response to Widespread Flooding in Vietnam and Cambodia
“The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing a total of $200,000 in immediate humanitarian aid to support efforts to respond to severe flooding in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Kingdom of Cambodia. … In response [to the flooding], USAID is working with the Vietnam Red Cross Society in Vietnam and the World Food Programme in Cambodia to provide emergency assistance to people affected by the flooding…” (10/20).

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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 21, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/21).

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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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.