KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Must Accept Legal Responsibility, Issue Apology For Haitian Cholera Outbreak, U.N. Human Rights Rapporteur Says In Report

Agence France-Presse: U.N. refusal to recognize role in Haiti cholera a ‘debacle’: expert
“The United Nations’ refusal to admit full responsibility for the years-long cholera epidemic that has claimed more than 9,000 lives in Haiti is a debacle that it has a duty to correct, a U.N. expert said Tuesday…” (10/25).

Agence France-Presse/France 24: Haiti cholera scandal ‘the U.N.’s Watergate,’ says body’s own human rights adviser
“…The comparison was made by Philip Alston, professor of law at NYU and the United Nation’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, who labelled the U.N.’s ‘explicit and unqualified denial’ of being behind the outbreak ‘a disgrace’ in a scathing report presented to the intergovernmental body on Tuesday…” (Ball/Le Masurier, 10/26).

Foreign Policy: Human Rights Expert to U.N. Chief: It’s Not Too Late to Say Sorry to Haitians for Cholera
“…In order to restore the U.N.’s reputation as the world’s chief defender of human rights, [Alston] said, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon must accept full legal responsibility for the introduction of cholera into Haiti by U.N. peacekeepers and issue an unqualified apology to the Haitian people…” (Lynch, 10/25).

The Guardian: U.N.’s own expert calls its actions over Haiti cholera outbreak ‘a disgrace’
“…[Alston] said that flawed and unfounded legal advice provided by the U.N. lawyers was preventing it from accepting responsibility for the outbreak…” (Quinn, 10/25).

NPR: Linked To Haiti Cholera Outbreak, U.N. Considers Paying Millions In Compensation
“…The U.N. is currently hashing out a plan that could spend nearly half a billion dollars to address cholera in Haiti. The plan includes compensating Haitians who were ‘most affected’ by the outbreak. This may include direct payments to Haitians who got sick or lost a family member to the disease…” (Beaubien, 10/25).

Reuters: U.N. legal stance on Haiti cholera likely pushed by U.S.: expert
“… ‘There is reason to believe that the position adopted by (the U.N. Office for Legal Affairs) in 2013 was consistent with views strongly pressed at the time by the United States,’ said Alston, noting that the United States has a strong interest in the issue as a close neighbor of Haiti and the largest contributor to the U.N. peacekeeping budget. He said the United States seemed to believe that the United Nations ‘must follow American legal practice, which generally takes the view that legal responsibility should never be accepted when it can possibly be avoided because one never knows the consequences for subsequent litigation.’ The U.S. mission to the United Nations was not immediately available to comment on Alston’s remarks…” (Nichols, 10/25).

U.N. News Centre: ‘We have to do the right thing,’ deputy U.N. chief says on intensified response to cholera outbreak in Haiti
“Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson [Tuesday] urged the international community to show solidarity with the Haitian people as they struggle to cope with the impact of Hurricane Matthew and an ongoing cholera epidemic, particularly through financial support for the new United Nations system-wide approach to tackle the spread of the disease…” (10/25).

VOA News: U.N. Criticized for Failure to Admit Legal Role in Haiti Cholera Outbreak
“… ‘If the United Nations bluntly refuses to hold itself accountable for human rights violations, it makes a mockery of its efforts to hold governments and others to account,’ Alston wrote in a report to the General Assembly…” (10/25).

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Zika Virus Will Become Endemic In U.S.; CDC Needs More Flexibility To Respond To Outbreaks, Agency Director Says

Miami Herald: Zika virus will ‘become endemic,’ CDC leader says
“The nation’s highest ranking infectious disease expert delivered some sobering news on Zika to a Miami audience on Tuesday, telling them that the mosquito-borne virus is more widespread than Florida health officials have reported and that the rapid spread of pathogens such as Zika represents ‘the new normal’ in an age of global travel and trade, booming cities, and climate change. ‘Here’s the plain truth: that Zika and other diseases spread by Aedes aegypti [mosquito species] are really not controllable with current technologies. So we will see this become endemic,’ Tom Frieden, a physician and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a group of about 100 people gathered at the InterContinental Miami hotel for The Atlantic magazine’s CityLab conference…” (Chang, 10/25).

USA TODAY: Zika virus ‘not controllable’: CDC director’s grim warning
“…Frieden said the federal government is hamstrung when responding to public health emergencies like Zika … The CDC receives a $14 billion annual budget, but Congress only allows the agency to use $2.5 million to respond to emergencies, leading to the drastic cuts in several programs, Frieden said. By comparison, Frieden had nearly $40 million in emergency funds as commissioner of the New York City Health Department, he said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, meanwhile, has broad discretion over its $13 billion annual budget. The CDC, however, doesn’t have such flexibility. The agency must seek congressional approval anytime it responds to a public health emergency…” (Gomez, 10/25).

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Scientists Working To Understand Cluster Of Zika-Related Birth Defects In Northeastern Brazil

Washington Post: Scientists are bewildered by Zika’s path across Latin America
“…[T]o the great bewilderment of scientists, the epidemic has not produced the wave of fetal deformities so widely feared when the images of misshapen infants first emerged from Brazil. Instead, Zika has left a puzzling and distinctly uneven pattern of damage across the Americas. According to the latest U.N. figures, of the 2,175 babies born in the past year with undersize heads or other congenital neurological damage linked to Zika, more than 75 percent have been clustered in a single region: northeastern Brazil…” (Phillips/Miroff, 10/25).

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WHO's IARC Asked Panel Members Not To Disclose Documents Under U.S. FOIA, Reuters Reports

Reuters: EXCLUSIVE — WHO cancer agency asked experts to withhold weedkiller documents
“The World Health Organization’s cancer agency — which is facing criticism over how it classifies carcinogens — advised academic experts on one of its review panels not to disclose documents they were asked to release under United States freedom of information laws. In a letter and an email seen by Reuters, officials from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cautioned scientists who worked on a review in 2015 of the weedkiller glyphosate against releasing requested material…” (Kelland, 10/25).

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Multilateral Aid Organizations Must Show 'Value For Money' Or Risk Having Funding Cut, U.K. International Development Secretary Says

The Guardian: Priti Patel warns aid organizations must provide value for money or face cuts
“U.K. funding to major multilateral organizations that deliver aid, such as the World Bank, could be cut unless they provide ‘value for money,’ the international development secretary has said. Priti Patel was speaking on a trip to Kenya where she also indicated she wanted to use Britain’s £12bn aid budget to help deliver trade deals in the wake of Britain’s departure from the E.U. Britain gives more than £4bn of its aid budget to global organizations including the E.U. and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Department for International Development (DfID) is preparing to publish a review of the work of such organizations…” (Quinn, 10/25).

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Gates Foundation Grants $210M To University Of Washington For Population Health Initiative

Reuters: Bill Gates foundation gives $210 million to Seattle-based university
“Microsoft founder Bill Gates through his foundation has donated $210 million to an initiative based at the University of Washington in Seattle aimed at improving people’s health around the world, university officials said on Tuesday…” (Dobuzinskis, 10/25).

Seattle Times: Record gift to UW: $210M from Gates Foundation toward bold goal of improving world’s health
“…The new building will house many of the players in the UW’s Population Health Initiative, announced in May by UW President Ana Mari Cauce and envisioned as a major focus of the UW’s faculty, researchers, and students for the next 25 years. Virtually every college and department at the university is expected to play some kind of role…” (Long, 10/25).

Vancouver Sun: Bill Gates Foundation gives University of Washington $210 million
“… ‘This is really much more than about a building,’ UW President Ana Mari Cauce said in an interview last week. ‘The building is really about catalyzing a vision — an initiative that we launched last spring to really be first in the world in terms of population health.’ The initiative pulls together research and resources from across campus and disciplines to help people live longer, healthier, and more productive lives…” (Le, 10/25).

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HIV/AIDS Researchers Gather To Discuss History, Future Of Epidemic

ScienceInsider: At gathering of HIV/AIDS pioneers, raw memories mix with current conflicts
Science reporter Jon Cohen describes a meeting of HIV/AIDS scientists recently held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in New York. “…A most unusual conference on the history and future of HIV/AIDS research would begin later that evening, and [Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Robert Gallo] would be the stars for the central roles their laboratories played in discovering this peculiar retrovirus and proving that it caused the devastating disease…” (10/25).

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U.N. Abandons Plans For Medical Evacuations From Aleppo

Reuters: U.N. aborts plan to evacuate patients from Aleppo, blames all parties
“The United Nations has abandoned plans to evacuate patients from besieged rebel-held east Aleppo which it had hoped to accomplish during a three-day lull in fighting last week, blaming all parties to the conflict for obstructing efforts…” (Barrington, 10/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Women 'Leading The Charge' In Efforts To Eradicate Polio

Medium: Celebrating the Women Leading the Fight to Eradicate Polio
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Because of the extraordinary efforts of millions of vaccinators worldwide  –  most of them women  –  there have only been 27 cases of polio in the world this year. The battle to get to zero, however, requires determination and persistence, and women are leading the charge. … [P]rogress [against polio] is fragile, and there is always a risk of resurgence until the virus is completely wiped out. … Because of [the heroism of vaccinators, many of whom are women], soon there will be a generation of children for whom polio is just a chapter in a history book” (10/24).

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Investing In WASH Infrastructure Vital To Preventing Cholera Outbreaks In Haiti, Worldwide

Miami Herald: We need a better strategy to fight against cholera
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…[F]or a highly preventable disease like cholera, vaccine stockpiles while certainly helpful cannot be a long-term solution. … Right now, the immediate focus and hope is that we can prevent a large outbreak in Haiti by leveraging vaccine stockpiles to buy us time while [water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)] interventions are improved or put in place. But for the long-term we need to find other solutions to prevent cholera, rather than relying upon outbreak response as the last resort, especially given current global population trends. … The global health community could increase stockpiles to reflect the increase in risk, but how big is big enough? Clearly, when a disease is as preventable as cholera the focus has to be on preventing the causes in the first place through investment in WASH infrastructure. For now, though, in Haiti let us just hope that one million doses of vaccine will be enough” (10/25).

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MNCH, TB Practitioners Should Work Together To Prevent Childhood TB

Devex: Opinion: Tuberculosis is a forgotten priority for child health
Luis Tam, global technical lead for maternal, newborn, and child health at Management Sciences for Health

“…[Maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH)] practitioners are seldom trained and encouraged to think of TB as a childhood disease, and what to do when confronted with a potential case. Moreover, MNCH and TB practitioners usually have none or limited collaboration for patient consultation and referral. … As a global community of MNCH and TB practitioners, we need to facilitate a speedy learning of these best practices. Here are a few ways that TB programs can capitalize on existing MNCH services. 1. Improve the identification of children infected or diseased with TB who are in contact with an index TB patient. … 2. Call on existing community- and facility-based MNCH providers. … 3. Utilize community-based peer support groups. … 4. Engage existing community-based MNCH organizations. … If the global health community can identify and collectively address TB with today’s innovations and collaborations that exist today, we can prevent these tragic childhood deaths” (10/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PMI FY 2017 Country Malaria Operation Plans Available Online

President’s Malaria Initiative: Resource Library: FY 2017 MOPs
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) posted its FY 2017 Malaria Operational Plans, which detail progress, challenges, and planned activities in each country under PMI (October 2016).

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CGD Podcast Discusses Working Within, Respecting Cultural Norms To Reduce FGM, Early Marriage Incidence

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: How to Tackle FGM and Early Marriage — and Still Respect Culture: Podcast with President Joyce Banda and Kakenya Ntaiya
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, speaks with Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi and distinguished visiting fellow at CGD, and Kakenya Ntaiya, a survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM), about the practices of FGM and early marriage, as well as strategies of working within and respecting cultural norms to reduce the practices (10/25).

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ONE Blog Post Discusses Challenges Of TB Surveillance, Treatment, Prevention

ONE Campaign: 5 things to know about the number one infectious killer in the world
Jenny Ottenhoff, global health policy director at ONE, and Spencer Crawford, global health research assistant at ONE, discuss why ending TB remains elusive, including challenges involved with surveillance, drug resistance, and funding shortfalls (10/25).

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Preconference Event For 47th Union World Conference On Lung Health Focuses On Challenges, Future Of TB Control

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health: WHO preconference meeting sizes up the challenges, imagines a world without TB
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses preconference events for the 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health being held in Liverpool (10/25).

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