KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Fund Announces 4 Candidates For Executive Director Position

Devex: Who is on the shortlist for Global Fund’s new executive director?
“…[T]he board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced Monday the latest set of candidates it is considering for the position. The list includes an eclectic mix of candidates with diverse backgrounds to replace former Executive Director Mark Dybul, who stood down in May after a four-year term. Two of the candidates have extensive experience in the financial industry, while the other two have spent the bulk of their careers working in global health, including previous engagements with the Global Fund…” (Ravelo, 10/24).

Intellectual Property Watch: Global Fund For AIDS, TB & Malaria Narrows Director Candidates To Four
“…According to a recent update which provides details of the selection process leading to a November decision, there were 109 candidates in the pool after the deadline for applications closed in July. The announcement comes some eight months after restarting the search process for a new executive director…” (New, 10/23).

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Devex Examines Strategies For, Challenges To Global Health Security

Devex: Working toward global health security: Strategies and challenges
“…[M]any high-level political, economic, and security leaders both at the national and international level are making the case that investing in global health and creating emergency funds and procedures to prevent, identify, and respond to emerging threats are … important. But what is at stake, and what are some key strategies and challenges related to building true global health security?…” (Politzer, 10/23).

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Global Health Community, Zimbabweans Express Confusion, Outrage Over WHO Goodwill Ambassador Incident Involving President Mugabe

Reuters: Mugabe would have rejected WHO role, says spokesman after its U-turn
“Robert Mugabe would have rejected the role of World Health Organization goodwill envoy had he been formally asked, his spokesman said on Tuesday, days after state media cheered the Zimbabwean president’s appointment…” (Dzirutwe, 10/24).

STAT: How a blunder over Robert Mugabe has cost the WHO goodwill it needs
“The global health community is struggling to make sense of a blunder that has shaken confidence in the new director general of the World Health Organization and given rise to concerns — both outside and within the WHO — about the impact the episode will have on the credibility of the agency he leads…” (Branswell, 10/23).

VOA News: Outrage, Condemnation in Zimbabwe over President’s Global Health Post Nomination
“Outrage against the nomination of Zimbabwe’s president as a World Health Organization goodwill ambassador led to his swift removal from the post over the weekend. But the outrage appears strongest in his home country, where Robert Mugabe is largely blamed for ruining his nation’s economy and health system during his 37 years in power…” (Powell/Mhofu, 10/23).

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Donors Pledge $344M At U.N.-Backed Conference To Support Rohingya Refugees; U.S. Withdraws Military Assistance From Myanmar

BBC News: Myanmar Rohingya crisis: U.S. withdraws military assistance
“The U.S. is withdrawing military assistance units from Myanmar over the country’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine state. … Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said his country held Myanmar’s military leadership ‘accountable’ for its crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority, adding that the U.S. was ‘extraordinarily concerned’ by the situation…” (10/24).

Devex: In Geneva, governments applaud Bangladesh, fall short on U.N. Rohingya appeal
“On Monday, a host of countries and organizations came together to pledge about $200 million in new funding for the response of what is now being called the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis — the forced displacement of Rohingya from Myanmar. Though an exact sum for new commitments made on Monday is still unclear, a total of about 35 countries and organizations have now pledged $344 million in commitments for both Bangladesh and Myanmar responses since the crisis began on August 25…” (Rogers, 10/24).

IRIN: Bangladesh resists greater UNHCR role in Rohingya crisis
“Bangladesh is refusing calls from some states and NGOs for a bigger role for the U.N.’s refugee agency in the international response to the Rohingya refugee crisis. As previously reported by IRIN, Bangladesh, in an unorthodox move, has chosen the International Organization for Migration to lead international relief efforts, not UNHCR…” (Parker, 10/23).

U.N. News Centre: Rohingya crisis: Donors pledge $344 million at U.N.-backed conference to support aid efforts
“…The pledging conference was co-organized by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). It was co-hosted by the European Union and the Government of Kuwait. Also speaking [Monday], IOM Director-General William Lacy Swing underscored that while sustainable life-saving assistance for the refugee population in Bangladesh needs to be ensured, the root causes of the crisis need to be addressed…” (10/23).

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African Leaders Pledge To End Child Marriage In West, Central Africa By 2030 At International Conference

Deutsche Welle: Save the Children opens Senegal talks on child marriages
“…One of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals is to make child marriage illegal worldwide by 2030. In order to achieve this, Save the Children is hosting a three-day international conference in Senegal starting on Monday, with representatives of various governments, religious authorities, and children’s rights organizations on hand to discuss the issue with young people and U.N. agencies…” (Müller-Plotnikow, 10/22).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: African leaders join forces in pledge to stamp out child marriage
“African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. … The conference in Senegal’s capital Dakar, which included government, civil society, and religious representatives from 27 countries, was the first gathering of its kind to address child marriage in the region…” (Peyton, 10/23).

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Global Efforts To Eliminate Polio Make Progress

VOA News: Almost To The End Of Polio
“There are only two places in the entire world where children have caught polio this year: Afghanistan and Pakistan. In these countries, the virus is not circulating throughout, but only in very remote or very small areas. Nearly 30 years ago, the polio virus paralyzed 1,000 children a day in 125 countries. The numbers have dropped so dramatically thanks to a global effort to wipe out the polio virus…” (Pearson, 10/24).

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African Development Bank Launches 2 New Initiatives As Part Of 'Feed Africa' Strategy

Devex: With 2 new initiatives, AfDB’s ‘Feed Africa’ strategy takes shape
“…The [African Development Bank (AfDB)] launched two new initiatives, part of its ‘Feed Africa’ strategy, one aimed at accelerating technologies across the continent and another focused on transforming the African savannahs into productive agricultural land…” (Saldinger, 10/24).

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Roadmap For Zoonotic TB Goals Intentionally Set High To Attract Attention To Prevention Efforts

Devex: New zoonotic TB road map sets intentionally ambitious targets
“A group of United Nations agencies, scientific groups, and advocacy organizations last week laid out the ambitious Roadmap for Zoonotic Tuberculosis that one of its authors describes as intentionally aiming too high. Setting moonshot goals, experts told Devex, aims to catalyze much-needed energy and attention to combating zoonotic TB, which is carried by animals but infects humans through unpasteurized milk, raw or undercooked meat, and direct contact with infected animals. It is airborne as well…” (Cousins, 10/23).

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Better Data Needed To Support Efforts To End Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking, Advocates Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: From ending sex slavery to child soldiers, campaigners say more data needed
“More and better data is needed to track progress in the global drive to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking as many victims — including people trafficked for their organs and child soldiers — are going uncounted, leading anti-slavery groups say. About 40 million people were trapped as slaves last year — mostly women and girls — in forced labor and forced marriages, according to the first joint effort by key rights groups to count the number of victims worldwide, published last month…” (Guilbert, 10/23).

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Severe Malnutrition Among Children In Damascus Suburb Shows Crisis Of Food, Medical Supply Shortages In Syria

The Guardian: Syria: shocking images of starving baby reveal impact of food crisis
“The continuing suffering of civilians living under siege in Syria has been brought into sharp focus by new images of a malnourished baby who later died of starvation in a suburb of Damascus controlled by the opposition…” (Shaheen, 10/23).

Wall Street Journal: Deaths of Syrian Children Signal Worsening Aid Crisis
“…Residents said they fear the situation will worsen as government forces making steady gains against Islamic State elsewhere in Syria turn attention back to conquering the few areas still under opposition control. … There are 68 other cases of severe malnutrition in the suburb, all in children under five years of age, said [Mohamad Katoub, advocacy manager with the humanitarian group, the Syrian American Medical Society]…” (Abdulrahim, 10/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Plays 'Irreplaceable Role' In Global Development, Health

Salt Lake Tribune: Stewart and Frist: The indispensable role of America in the world
Bill Frist, former Republican Senate majority leader from Tennessee, cardiothoracic surgeon, and founder of Hope Through Healing Hands; and Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), member of the House Appropriations and Select Intelligence Committees

“…[The United States] must be smart in how we engage internationally, and apply newer models of foreign assistance that reward effectiveness and results, that promote innovation, and that recognize the indispensable role of economic growth as the engine that lifts populations and countries out of poverty. As our new USAID Administrator Mark Green often says, U.S. development assistance is a ‘hand up, not a handout.’ We must empower leaders like Administrator Green by giving them the authority and flexibility they need to reform and improve our foreign assistance programs so that they achieve maximum impact. … [W]e must not lose sight of the irreplaceable role the United States plays in promoting stability, prosperity, and dignity throughout the world. … Challenges such as pandemics, violent extremism, and forced migration will be exponentially more difficult to deal with if the United States retreats from its leadership role in global development and health” (10/23).

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World Leaders Must Sustain Investments, Focus On Disease Prevention To Achieve Global Health Security

Devex: Opinion: No time to disarm — keeping up the global health security momentum
Carolyn Reynolds, vice president of policy and advocacy at PATH

“…The Trump administration and Congress should continue to prioritize investments in global health security and come together behind a comprehensive strategy that is adequately funded, as outlined in a new [PATH] report [that outlines recommendations for how the U.S. government can take action to prevent the next pandemic]. Top priority should be given to building the preparedness of low- and middle-income countries — where the next deadly outbreak is most likely to occur due to weak health systems. This will require sustained investments. … Research and development is another strategic investment to advance global health security. … Finally, global health programs that are not traditionally thought of as ‘epidemic preparedness’ — such as those designed to deliver vaccines, fight HIV and AIDS, polio, tuberculosis, and malaria, and to reach mothers and children with quality care — should also be considered part of our global health security arsenal…” (10/23).

Project Syndicate: Preempting the Next Pandemic
Stephen J. Thomas, infectious diseases physician, professor of medicine, and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical University

“…Building an effective prevention and containment strategy — being bio-prepared — is the best way to reduce the threat of a global contagion. … [W]e need to redefine how we think about preparedness, moving from a reactive position to a more proactive approach. Money earmarked for preparedness must be allocated at levels sufficient to have the required impact. Limitations on how it can be spent should be loosened. Funding sources must be opened to allow for multi-year commitments. Health care providers and first responders must receive proper training. And long-term solutions such as establishing and connecting bio-surveillance systems should be expanded and strengthened … Failing to invest appropriately in prevention of infectious disease outbreaks puts all of us at risk, whenever or wherever the next one occurs” (10/23).

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U.S. Should Continue To Support WHO Following Goodwill Ambassador Misstep

New York Times: The Mugabe Pick Shouldn’t Hurt the World Health Organization
Editorial Board

“…[WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ appointment and rescission of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe as goodwill ambassador] is certain to add to the chorus of criticism from some conservative quarters of the United States that has accompanied the United Nations since its founding … Much of that has focused on the perception that the United Nations is controlled by a majority that is inimical to American interests and values and obsessed with trashing Israel, and more broadly on the notion that the United States should stay away from all multilateral organizations. That attitude, which is sadly prevalent in President Trump’s view of the world, is particularly unwarranted for the WHO, whose global health mission is one the United States should support, especially in preventing the spread of global threats like Ebola. … The real question, however, is not whether multinational forums take actions that are often infuriating — they do — but whether the way to combat this is to pull out” (10/24).

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U.S. Should Designate Rohingya Crisis As Genocide, Do More To Support Refugees

Washington Post: A genocide is taking place. Luckily we Americans have other things to worry about.
Christian Caryl, editor at the Washington Post

“…[In response to the Rohingya refugee crisis, the] United States can demand and orchestrate sanctions against the Burmese military and government. It can organize pressure in international bodies. And it can demonstrate its visible opposition to those responsible and its support for the refugees. … What if our United States government were to come straight out and officially designate what’s happening to the Rohingya as a ‘genocide?’ That could potentially transform how the rest of the world discusses the issue. … What’s eminently clear is that Burma’s military is doing its best to drive these poor, stateless people out of the country and never let them back in again. And once that’s done, the foundations of Rohingya life in Burma will be over. Their refugees will be scattered among the nations that host them, but their life in Burma will be beyond reconstruction. … Isn’t this something that our country, at least, should go on the record as opposing?…” (10/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO Recognizes Health Workers Critical To Progress Against Polio

WHO: Unsung heroes on World Polio Day
This post recognizes World Polio Day, which takes place annually on October 24, and discusses the role that health workers play in polio eradication (October 2017).

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Interview Discusses Importance, Role Of Advocacy In Strengthening Global Health Workforce

Seed Global Health: Advocating for Health Workers: Interview with Vince Blaser
Daisy Winner, program communications coordinator for Seed Global Health, highlights an interview conversation between Zack Langway, director of communications at Seed Global Health, and Vince Blaser, director of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC), about the role advocacy plays in strengthening the global health workforce (10/18).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Recent Global Health Developments

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: What we’re reading: Who?! for WHO goodwill ambassador? new routes to UNAIDS data and the costs of fighting, neglecting HIV
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses several recent developments in global health, including WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ rescinded appointment of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as WHO goodwill ambassador for noncommunicable diseases in Africa; a report published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases on reaching U.S. national HIV/AIDS goals by 2020; and UNAIDS’ updated website (10/23).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Delegation To Attend Global Health Security Agenda Meeting

White House Blog: Securing Global Health through U.S. Leadership
Admiral Tim Ziemer, senior director for global health security at the National Security Council, discusses a U.S. delegation’s attendance at an upcoming Global Health Security Agenda meeting in Kampala, Uganda. Ziemer writes, “We have three objectives at this year’s GHSA meeting. First, we want to ensure that GHSA is extended to 2024. There is still much work to do to realize the original GHSA vision of a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats. Second, we want our partners to sustain and strengthen their GHSA commitments. Finally, we want to foster partnerships to promote sustainability and coordination across all sectors, including with non-governmental stakeholders, to prevent the next outbreak…” (10/23).

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White House Proclaims October 24 As United Nations Day

White House: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims October 24, 2017, as United Nations Day
“On United Nations Day, we recognize the more than seven decades of contributions the United Nations has made to peace and security among nations. … Although a great deal of work remains to be done for the United Nations to realize its full potential, we reaffirm our commitment to its goals in order to build a better tomorrow for future generations…” (10/24).

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USAID Responds To Dominica's Water, Sanitation Needs After Hurricane Maria

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Improving Access to Water in Dominica
Tim Callaghan, senior regional adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean at USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), discusses USAID’s efforts to respond to water and sanitation needs in Dominica after Hurricane Maria (10/23).

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