KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

G20 Health Ministers Issue Detailed Declaration Addressing Global Health Goals

Health Policy Watch: G20 Health Ministers Issue Detailed Declaration On Global Health Goals
“A G20 Health Ministers Declaration, issued after a two-day meeting of ministers in Okayama, Japan, has endorsed rapid achievement of universal health coverage, a more effective support of healthy aging, increased attention to health emergencies and their underlying causes such as poverty and weak health systems, and more forceful action on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The detailed 11-page statement by health ministers of the world’s 20 largest economies — goes well beyond the more general commitment by G20 leaders to advance global health goals, which was issued at the close of their two-day meeting on 27-28 June…” (Fletcher, 10/22).

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Ebola Returns To Butembo, DRC, Officials Confirm; KFF Releases Analysis Of Donor Funding For Outbreak

CIDRAP News: More Ebola cases in DRC, including Butembo
“[Friday] the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC’s) Ebola technical committee (CMRE) confirmed that the virus had returned to Butembo, just 10 days after the former hot spot was cleared of the disease. … Earlier this month, DRC officials tweeted that the last remaining patients at an Ebola treatment center in Butembo had been discharged, a sign the virus was on the retreat from that area of North Kivu province. … [Friday] the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) published the first analysis of donor funding during this Ebola outbreak — the world’s second largest — and said the United States leads donors…” (Soucheray, 10/25).

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No Country Fully Prepared For Large Disease Outbreaks, Global Health Security Index Shows

Homeland Preparedness News: Few countries prepared for global disease outbreaks
“Countries are not prepared for the possible international spread of new or emerging pathogens or for the deliberate or accidental release of dangerous agents, according to a new index that assesses the capabilities of 195 nations. The Global Health Security Index is a joint project by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, with research by The Economist Intelligence Unit…” (Adrien, 10/25).

Newsweek: Not A Single Country On Earth Is Properly Prepared For A Disease Epidemic, First-Of-Its-Kind Global Study Reveals
“…The level of unpreparedness is highlighted by the fact that the average overall score for countries rated in the index was about 40 on a scale which went up to 100 (meaning fully prepared.) And even among the 60 highest-income nations, the average score was still only around 52. … Researchers assessed countries in the index across a variety of factors based on data from international bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO,) the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Bank…” (Georgiou, 10/25).

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New WHO Study Shows Two-Thirds Of Women Stopped Using Contraception, Resulting In One-Quarter Of Pregnancies Being Unintended

U.N. News: One-in-four pregnancies unplanned, two-thirds of women foregoing contraceptives
“Around two-thirds of sexually active women surveyed in a new U.N. study indicated that although they wished to avoid or postpone having children, they had stopped relying on contraception out of concern for how it was affecting their health. As a result, around a quarter of all pregnancies are unplanned. That’s according to World Health Organization (WHO) findings published on Friday…” (10/25).

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Media Outlets Examine LGBTQ Laws, Human Rights In Uganda, Other Countries

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Uganda moves to allay fears over anti-gay sex law
“Uganda has sought to reassure sexual minorities that they are safe, saying it has no plans to introduce the death penalty for gay sex after reports of rising homophobic attacks. LGBT+ rights campaigners in Uganda have expressed concerns about a spate of attacks after a minister said earlier this month that the government planned to reintroduce a bill colloquially known as ‘Kill the Gays.’ In a statement on Thursday, President Yoweri Museveni’s office denied that and said attacks on LGBT+ people should be reported to police for investigation so that perpetrators could be ‘brought to book’…” (Bhalla, 10/26).

Washington Post: Uganda arrested 16 LGBTQ activists. Here’s where else gay rights are a battleground in the world.
“This week Ugandan police arrested 16 LGBTQ activists on charges of gay sex — which is punishable by life imprisonment. Police arrested them at the sexual health organization where they worked and lived and cited condoms, lubricants, and anti-HIV medicines found there as evidence of a crime. Police then subjected them to forced anal exams, which can amount to torture under international law, before releasing them on bail, according to a statement by activists. They are not alone. At least 68 countries — including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore — have laws on the books criminalizing same-sex relations involving consenting adults, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch…” (Berger, 10/26).

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Philippines Health Department Confirms 3rd Polio Case After Reemergence Of Disease

CNN Philippines: Health dept. confirms third polio case
“The Health Department has confirmed the third polio case in the country after the communicable disease reappeared in nearly two decades. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the third confirmed case is a four-year-old girl from Datu Piang town in Maguindanao province who had no oral polio vaccine…” (10/28).

Additional coverage of the Philippines polio outbreak is available from Rappler and Xinhua.

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Reuse Of Needles, Other Unsterilized Medical Equipment Likely Cause Of HIV Outbreak In Pakistani City, Officials Say

Fox News: Hundreds of Pakistani children test positive for HIV after rogue doctor reused syringes, report says
“Health officials in a southern Pakistani city say a rogue pediatrician’s reuse of syringe needles has led to nearly 900 children testing positive for HIV since an epidemic began earlier this year, according to a Saturday report…” (Betz, 10/27).

The Hill: 900 children test positive for HIV in Pakistani city
“…Since April, about 1,100 citizens have tested positive for HIV, including 900 patients under 12 years old. Health officials suspect the real numbers could be much higher. Officials arriving to the city discovered that many of the infected children were patients of the same pediatrician, Muzaffar Ghanghro, who served many of the city’s poorest families…” (Axelrod, 10/26).

New York Times: Panic in Pakistani City After 900 Children Test Positive for HIV
“…Mr. Ghanghro was arrested and charged by the police with negligence, manslaughter and causing unintentional harm. But he has not yet been convicted, and in an interview with the New York Times, he insisted he is innocent and has never reused syringes. … Health officials now say that Mr. Ghanghro is unlikely to be the sole cause of the outbreak. Visiting health workers saw many cases of doctors reusing syringes and I.V. needles. Barbers take the same razor to the faces of multiple customers, they said, and roadside dentists crack away at patients’ teeth on sidewalks with unsterilized tools…” (ur-Rehman/Abi-Habib, 10/26).

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More News In Global Health

ABC News: PNG’s population is booming, but many women remain under intense pressure to have babies (Whiting, 10/26).

CNBC: Can we predict the future? Bill Gates says yes, in this one area (Locke, 10/25).

Devex: Q&A: Should Ebola care be integrated into DRC’s public health system? (Root, 10/28).

Devex: Tough choices for low-income countries on road to UHC (Lieberman, 10/28).

Economic Times: Immunization is one of the most cost-effective interventions in public health: Christopher J. Elias (Akhter, 10/27).

Health Policy Watch: WHO Launches Digital Health Action Plan To Guide Expert Group’s Work (Ren, 10/25).

Newsweek: Gates Foundation, NIH Bet On Gene Therapy To Bring Cheap HIV And Sickle Cell Cures To Sub-Saharan Africa (Moyler, 10/25).

NPR: UNICEF’s Top Syria Official: ‘We Have Witnessed Huge Amounts Of Distress’ Among Kids (McDonnell, 10/25).

Xinhua: Health alliance calls for global efforts on chronic respiratory diseases (10/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

National, International Leaders Must Take Action To Prepare For Disease Outbreaks, Global Health Security Index Authors Write

Global Health NOW: No Country is Fully Prepared for High-Consequence Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Jennifer Nuzzo, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and Elizabeth Cameron, vice president of Global Biological Policy and Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative

“…Results from our GHS Index published [October 24] demonstrate the stark reality that no country is fully prepared for significant infectious disease outbreaks. Many countries are lacking in essential public health and health system capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to health emergencies. There is even less evidence that countries have demonstrated the ability to exercise these capacities in an actual emergency. The Index also considers countries’ political, socioeconomic, and environmental risks, which can affect their abilities to contain disease outbreaks. The data show significant vulnerabilities in many countries. … Every country has a responsibility for understanding, tracking, improving, and sustaining national health security. In addition, international organizations also have a role to play, as the level of international need has eclipsed the ability of many individual governments to fill identified gaps. Health security is a collective responsibility — it’s time for all national and global leaders to be accountable for urgent action” (10/24).

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Women's Economic Empowerment Programming Must Incorporate SRHR, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Decent work for women calls for sexual and reproductive rights
Sarah Gammage, director of gender, economic empowerment, and livelihoods at the International Center for Research on Women, and Dana Stefov, women’s rights policy and advocacy specialist and the policy lead on sexual and reproductive health and rights and women’s economic equality at Oxfam Canada

“Reproductive health and decent work are inextricably linked for women. … So why do programs that claim to promote women’s economic empowerment, or WEE, ignore this foundational barrier to their success? Evidence citing the economic benefits of investing in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda are easily identified in the work and recommendations of development actors in the health sphere, yet limited reference and acknowledgment of SRHR exists in policy and programming on WEE. … For progress in WEE, we must invest in SRHR. This means that our approach to WEE policy and programs should be grounded in a reproductive justice framework with the goal of removing the systemic and structural barriers to their employment education and self-actualization that women, especially marginalized women, face…” (10/25).

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Opinion Piece Outlines 4 Strategies To End Mistreatment Of Women During Childbirth

The Hill: 4 ways to end the abuse of women during childbirth
Ifeanyi M. Nsofor, CEO of EpiAFRIC, director of policy and advocacy at Nigeria Health Watch, and 2019 Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity at George Washington University

“…[According to the findings of a new study published by The Lancet, o]ne third of new mothers report abuse during childbirth in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar, and Nigeria, including 35 percent who experienced physical abuse; 75 percent who faced surgical enlargement of the vagina to ease delivery without their consent; 56 percent who did not consent to a caesarean section and 5 percent of women and their babies who were detained in the health facilities because of inability to pay their bills. … The mistreatment of women during childbirth must end, and these are strategies that can help. First, train all doctors and midwives on respectful maternity care. … Second, use technology to empower women and their families to report cases of abuse and rate the quality of care received in health facilities. … Third, improve the social status of women by ensuring all girls are in school and women are economically empowered. … Lastly, when cases of abuse of women during childbirth are reported, health regulatory agencies must investigate and enforce penalties…” (10/27).

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Eradication Of Guinea Worm Will Require Multifaceted, One Health Approach, Editorial Says

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Dracunculiasis — a case study for infection eradication
Editorial Board

“…Since 2012, guinea worm infections have been identified in dogs, cats, and even baboons. Canine guinea worm infections in particular are numerous and appear to be increasing … Although this increase is probably due to increased surveillance, and there is no evidence of direct transmission from dogs to humans, it puts the eradication of guinea worm further out of reach. … Fortunately, it seems that controlling transmission of guinea worm in dogs and other animals will require a similar approach to that already in place for human transmission, albeit with greater emphasis on a One Health approach. … Whether eradication of dracunculiasis by 2030 is realistic awaits to be seen, but the actions and achievements of the global eradication campaign to date should be applauded, and guinea worm should be considered a case study of the multifaceted approach needed in any infectious disease eradication effort” (11/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Disaggregated Data On Health Disparities, Interventions Needed To Achieve Universal Health Coverage, Experts Say

The BMJ: Putting health equity at heart of universal coverage — the need for national programs of action
In this BMJ analysis, Eric A. Friedman, Lawrence O. Gostin, Matthew M. Kavanagh, all with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, and colleagues argue that “[b]etter data on health disparities and commitment to interventions focused on the determinants of inequality are essential” (10/25).

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WHO Releases Statement Recognizing Forthcoming World AIDS Day

World Health Organization: World AIDS Day 2019: communities make the difference
In advance of World AIDS Day held annually on December 1, the World Health Organization released a statement about its activities in recognition of the day. According to the statement, “WHO will join the Government of Rwanda and partners in commemorating World AIDS Day 2019 on 1 December in Kigali, Rwanda. The campaign leads to the 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA2019), taking place in Kigali, Rwanda on 2–7 December 2019” (12/1).

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