KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In Letter To President Obama, 5 Diverse Groups Express Concern Over Longer Biologics Patent Protections In TPP

The Hill: Five groups urge President Obama to forego longer protections for biologics in the TPP
“Five diverse groups on Wednesday urged President Obama to forego any agreements that would lengthen data protections for high-tech medicines in an expansive Asia-Pacific trade deal. In the letter to the president, the groups — the AARP, Doctors Without Borders, AFL-CIO, Oxfam, and the Consumers Union — said they are concerned about recent reports that the Obama administration is working on a compromise with the pharmaceutical industry and Republican leaders in Congress that would lengthen monopoly protections for biologics beyond what is included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)…” (Needham, 10/26).

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Obama Administration Quietly Implements Policies To Promote LGBT Rights Overseas

Associated Press: OBAMA LEGACY: A quiet mission to export gay rights overseas
“While the world was watching America’s gay rights transformation, the Obama administration was pursuing a quieter mission to try to export the same freedoms overseas to places like sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. The U.S. has deployed its diplomats and spent tens of millions of dollars to try to block anti-gay laws, punish countries that enacted them, and tie financial assistance to respect for LGBT rights. It was a mission animated in part by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s declaration that ‘gay rights are human rights’…” (Lederman, 10/26).

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Researchers To Release Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes In Colombia, Brazil To Help Prevent Transmission Of Zika, Other Diseases

Deutsche Welle: Researchers release bacteria-infected mosquitoes to combat Zika
“Researchers said on Wednesday that they plan to release swarms of mosquitoes infected with bacteria to combat the spread of the Zika virus in Colombia and Brazil…” (10/26).

Devex: Gates Foundation to scale potential game changer in Zika, dengue control
“…The U.K.’s Department for International Development, the United States Agency for International Development, and the governments of Colombia and Brazil, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, will fund the $18 million effort. The Gates Foundation is the largest donor, with $8 million, followed by USAID, and the Wellcome Trust jointly with DfID, both offering $5 million…” (Anders, 10/26).

Seattle Times: Far-out idea, backed by Bill Gates, could help stem Zika epidemic
“…The method, which sounds more like science fiction than traditional disease control, involves infecting mosquitoes with bacteria that prevent the bloodsuckers from transmitting Zika to people…” (Doughton, 10/26).

TIME: Scientists to Deploy Millions of Mosquitoes in Fight Against Zika
“…Wolbachia is currently present in 60 percent of insect species across the globe, but does not exist in the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry Zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses…” (Gajanan, 10/26).

VOA News: $18M Donation to Target Mosquito-borne Diseases
“…Once infected with Wolbachia, the altered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are unable to transmit dengue. When released into the wild, they mate with local mosquitoes, passing the bacteria to their offspring. Within a few months, the wild mosquitoes are unable to spread dengue to humans…” (Berman, 10/26).

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Expect Zika To Reach India, Africa, Wellcome Trust Director Says

The Guardian: Expect Zika virus to reach India and Africa, medical research charity warns
“The Zika virus, which causes brain damage in babies, is likely to spread to India and the continent of Africa, according to the director of the Wellcome Trust, a medical charity deeply involved in research to try to limit the damage. ‘I think we can anticipate global spread,’ said Jeremy Farrar, speaking to The Guardian alongside Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…” (Boseley, 10/26).

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U.N. Special Adviser On Haitian Cholera Crisis David Nabarro Speaks With Devex About Challenges, Funding

Devex: David Nabarro: U.N. fighting cholera with ‘hands tied behind our backs’
“…Following a recent four-day trip to Haiti, [David Nabarro, the U.N. secretary general’s special adviser leading the response to the Haiti cholera crisis,] spoke with Devex about the challenges of tracking cholera in Haiti, funding the crisis, and how he’s applying his experiences with Ebola to the job…” (Lieberman, 10/26).

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Addressing Nutrition Among Women, Girls Will Help Propel SDGs Forward, Micronutrient Initiative Head Says

Devex: Fighting malnutrition is central to empowering women
“… ‘When we talk about progress on health, progress on education, all of these depend on having good nutrition,’ Joel Spicer, president and CEO of Micronutrient Initiative, told Devex at the sidelines of at the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen. Watch the [included video] to learn more about the Right Start initiative, and why nutrition is a great starting point to move forward in many other development goals…” (Jimeno/Rogers, 10/26).

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India's Family Planning Policies Could Focus More On Men, Provide More Contraceptive Options After Court-Ordered Closure Of Sterilization Camps

The Guardian: Will the closure of India’s sterilization camps end botched operations?
“…The Supreme Court’s verdict [ordering the government to shut down sterilization camps across India within three years] is a historic victory for women’s rights activists who have campaigned against sterilization camps for decades. The ruling could mean that, for the first time, India moves away from family planning policies that focus on women rather than men and provide a wider range of contraception, particularly in rural clinics…” (Doshi, 10/26).

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Genetic Analysis Shows HIV Came To U.S. Via Haiti In Early 1970s, Long Before Identification Of First AIDS Cases, 'Patient Zero'

The Atlantic: How One Man Was Wrongly Blamed for Bringing AIDS to America
“HIV arrived in the U.S. from Haiti a decade before the first cases were identified — and well before the so-called Patient Zero contracted the virus…” (Yong, 10/26).

New York Times: HIV Arrived in the U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’
“In the tortuous mythology of the AIDS epidemic, one legend never seems to die: Patient Zero, a.k.a. Gaétan Dugas, a globe-trotting, sexually insatiable French-Canadian flight attendant who supposedly picked up HIV in Haiti or Africa and spread it to dozens, even hundreds, of men before his death in 1984. … But after a new genetic analysis of stored blood samples, bolstered by some intriguing historical detective work, scientists on Wednesday declared him innocent…” (McNeil, 10/26).

NPR: Researchers Clear ‘Patient Zero’ From AIDS Origin Story
“…The scientists also sequenced the virus from eight other men infected with HIV during the 1970s. From these genetic codes, the scientists estimate HIV came to the U.S. from Haiti in 1970 or 1971, but it went undetected by doctors for years…” (Doucleff, 10/26).

Wall Street Journal: HIV First Came to New York City, Then the Rest of the U.S., Research Shows
“…Haiti’s role as a steppingstone in the epidemic has been hotly debated for decades. Some tropical disease specialists argued that medical records at the time suggested, instead, that victims in Haiti had been infected by visitors from the U.S. The scientists, led by evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey at the University of Arizona in Tucson and public health historian Richard McKay at the U.K.’s Cambridge University, published their findings online in Nature…” (Hotz, 10/26).

Washington Post: Mythology of ‘Patient Zero’ and how AIDS virus traveled to the United States is all wrong
“…[The researchers] explained that public health investigators at the time had dubbed [Dugas as] ‘Patient O’ meaning the letter O and not the number zero because he came from ‘Out(side)-of-California,’ but that the letter became confused with the number in the medical literature and popular media and over time became part of the mythology of AIDS despite numerous attempts by some scientists to clarify his role in the epidemic…” (Cha, 10/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Letter To Editor Discuss U.K.'s Approach To Foreign Aid Following Brexit

The Guardian: The Guardian view on development aid: do it better, but do it
Editorial Board

“…British development money has saved, changed, and improved millions of lives in the past five years alone. … It is worth spelling this out, partly because there has been a chorus of protest for months in parts of the media, complaining of ‘foreign aid madness’: a campaign complete with outlandish examples, some ‘simply incorrect’ stories (according to DfID officials) — and convenient silence on the positive case for spending on aid. Incredibly, the new secretary of state for international development [Priti Patel] appears to sympathize. … [T]he positive case for aid is not being made. Unmentioned go the obligations that Britain has to poorer countries, because of the damage it has caused through empire, climate change, and pernicious supply chains. Perhaps hamstrung by the lobbying laws or the need to secure their own DfID funding, Oxfam, ActionAid, and the like are mutely allowing the new minister and her supporters to trash the case for aid. How best to do development aid is always open to evaluation. That it needs doing should not be. The NGOs must get their act together, fast” (10/26).

Financial Times: A muddle-headed approach to foreign aid
Editorial Board

“…Britain’s Secretary for International Development … Priti Patel … appears intent on using her department for … making explicit links between national commercial interests and the budget she oversees … The idea of using the aid budget to promote the export of U.K. goods and services is fanciful at two levels: legislative and financial. … What Britain can do is channel private sector and development expertise toward supporting the type of infrastructure investment that African and other developing countries need to participate in the trading system on more competitive terms. … Theresa May, the prime minister, has pledged to uphold a legally binding commitment to spend 0.7 percent of the national budget on development aid. But her government runs the risk of chipping this away by stealth, channeling the fund to other aims such as promoting trade, curbing migration, and financing the Foreign Office. This would be a huge mistake. Britain has become a leading force in development and has won incalculable influence from it. … If the government is serious about staying engaged with the world after Brexit, it must maintain this leading role. The rhetoric coming out of the Department for International Development will damage Britain’s credibility and interests” (10/25).

Financial Times: U.K. will do more, not less, to help the world’s poorest
Priti Patel, U.K. secretary of state for international development

In a letter to the editor, Patel writes, “Sir, The picture painted by your editorial ‘Patel’s muddle-headed stance on the foreign aid budget’ (October 26) is, unusually, not accurate. In a post-Brexit world the U.K. will do more to help the world’s poorest, not less. My department’s raison d’être is to end extreme poverty forever. … One of my first acts in office was to increase the U.K.’s contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — a highly effective multilateral organization that will use our taxpayers’ money to save millions of lives in coming years. This government will always reject any suggestion of a return to the inefficient and wasteful ‘tied aid’ of the past. The International Development Act remains firmly in place. But I make no apology for demanding more from every organization we work with, or for seeking to champion economic growth, open markets, and greater trade opportunities for developing countries. This is the long-term route out of poverty. The world’s poorest, and U.K. taxpayers, deserve nothing less” (10/26).

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11 Innovations Can Help Cut Maternal, Child Mortality With Proper Investment, Implementation

The Guardian: 11 health innovations to drastically cut maternal and child mortality rates
Amie Batson, chief strategy officer and vice president of strategy and learning at Path

“Achieving the ambitious target to end maternal and child deaths, enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will require ingenuity. The good news is that 11 health innovations could save more than six million mothers and children by 2030, if they are invested in and used widely in 24 priority countries. … The 11 innovations modeled in our analysis, crowdsourced from experts around the world, are gamechanging health technologies and approaches that will have wide-scale impact, ensure healthier babies, protect mothers, and secure better health in the long term. … How will these life-saving innovations be funded? Traditional donors cannot do it alone. Governments in low- and middle-income countries have a critical role to play and so do local entrepreneurs with the potential to take forward affordable solutions. The private sector and social impact investors, also want to engage. But all these groups need better data to assess what is available, what is coming soon, or where there is a gap that requires new ideas…” (10/27).

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Investments In Strengthening Health Systems, Delivering Services Critical To Ending TB

Huffington Post: The Unnecessary Persistence of Tuberculosis
Sandro Galea, dean and professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health, and C. Robert Horsburgh Jr., professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine

“… Why … with a cure at our disposal, is our progress on TB so slow? The answer lies not in the treatment itself, but in our capacity to deliver treatment effectively, and in the broader conditions that weaken the health systems needed to help deal with the disease. … Engagement with reducing the burden of this preventable disease requires an investment in health systems, building on funding to sustain infrastructure that can support programs on a large-scale. … With so many current TB deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries, it is clear that any attempt to end TB will require an investment where it matters most, helping poorer countries build their health systems, raising awareness about TB, and engaging with the challenges of delivering health services to the poorest, worldwide. This is an investment that will pay rich dividends; nations with resources need to double down now” (10/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Continues Engagement On LGBTI, Human Rights Issues At U.N.

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Assessing U.S. Engagement on LGBTI Issues at the United Nations
Wesley Reisser, senior foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, discusses U.S. engagement with the U.N. to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) equality and human rights globally. The blog post also features a podcast in which Reisser speaks with Jean Freedberg, deputy director of HRC Global at the Human Rights Campaign, on the effects of multilateral efforts to address these issues (10/26).

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CGD Blog Post Outlines 10 Suggestions For U.S. Development Under Next Administration

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: 10 (Almost) No-New-Money Ideas for the Presidential Transition Teams on Development
Beth Schwanke, director of policy outreach at CGD, outlines 10 suggestions for the presidential transition team on development, including launching the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, nominating a USAID administrator as soon as possible, appointing a global health senior director to the National Security Council (NSC), and launching a Development Impact Fund pilot (10/26).

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CGD Blog Post Highlights 3 Questions To Consider When Reading FP2020's Upcoming 2016 Progress Report

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: FP2020: Three Things to Ask About Next Week’s Progress Report
Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of global health policy, and senior fellow at CGD, highlights three questions to consider while reading Family Planning 2020’s (FP2020) 2016 progress report, which is expected be released next week: “Does the money match the goal(s)? … Are donor and countries delivering on their funding commitments? To fund what? … Are accountability mechanisms helping to enhance impact and translate financial commitments into disbursements?” (10/26).

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'Science Speaks' Reports On Sessions At 47th Union World Conference On Lung Health

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health: Even ‘free’ TB treatment can come with catastrophic costs
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” reports from the 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health and highlights a panel discussion in which participants discussed the global financial impacts of tuberculosis (10/26).

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health: Final data backs early findings, WHO recommendations, showing shorter MDR-TB treatment course working better
Barton reports on a panel discussion during which researchers presented results from a study conducted in nine African countries that support WHO recommendations to adopt “shorter, more effective, and potentially less damaging treatment for TB that is resistant to more than one first line treatment” (10/26).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash contains a video on a young man’s experience living with TB in the Ukraine and an article on the Global Fund’s efforts to help key populations overcome barriers to health services (10/27).

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