KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration's Efforts To Remove Sexual, Reproductive Health Language From U.N. Resolution May Violate Law, 4 Democratic Senators Write In Letter

The Guardian: U.S. effort to remove ‘sexual health’ from U.N. agreement may violate law, say senators
“The Trump administration may have violated federal law by lobbying more than 70 countries to remove protections for ‘sexual and reproductive health’ from a U.N. agreement, according to a letter from four U.S. senators seen by the Guardian. The letter from the senators, all high-ranking Democrats, focuses on an effort from the Trump administration to remove ‘sexual and reproductive health’ from a high-level U.N. agreement on universal health coverage. … The letter was signed by the U.S. senators Dianne Feinstein of California, Patty Murray of Washington, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey. ‘We are also concerned the letter may violate the Siljander Amendment, which prohibits use of foreign assistance in lobbying “for or against abortion,”‘ the senators wrote…” (Glenza, 10/30).

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Sanctions Associated With Civilian Deaths In North Korea, Report Says

The Hill: Nearly 4,000 civilian deaths in North Korea tied to sanctions: report
“Sanctions against North Korea contributed to more than 4,000 civilian deaths last year due to a lack of access to humanitarian assistance, according to a new report commissioned by Korea Peace Now, an international group dedicated to permanently ending the Korean War. … United Nations programs that address malnutrition, hygiene and sanitation issues, reproductive health, and vitamin A deficiencies were hit especially hard, according to the report…” (Budryk, 10/30).

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Climate Change May Stamp Out Possibility Of Reaching SDGs, U.N. Climate Secretariat Member Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Climate change could put development goals beyond reach, U.N. official warns
“As global warming brings wilder weather, more harvest failures, and the risk of growing migration and poverty, ‘sustainable development as we think of it today may be out of reach,’ a top U.N. specialist in climate change losses warned on Wednesday. … [W]ith the planet heating up fast, serious threats — from expanding cities facing rising seas and floods to small islands watching their coral reefs die and water supplies turn salty — mean those ‘worthy’ global goals may no longer be the right focus, said Koko Warner of the U.N. climate change secretariat…” (Goering, 10/30).

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Devex Examines Role Of Global Action Plan For Health In Coordinating 12 Multilateral Agencies' Activities, Achieving SDG3

Devex: Can the Global Action Plan for Health breathe life back into SDG3?
“The new Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, which commits 12 multilateral agencies to better coordinate their activities in a bid to revitalize the 2030 Agenda for health, was the star of the recently concluded World Health Summit in Berlin. … The goal at this year’s WHS was to position the global action plan within the constellation of existing global health plans and to begin explaining what its pledge ‘to accelerate country progress on the health-related Sustainable Development Goals’ might practically involve…” (Green, 10/31).

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Price Of TB Treatment To Drop Significantly In 100 LMICs Under Deal Among Unitaid, Global Fund, Sanofi

The Guardian: Antibiotic price drop could stop millions from developing tuberculosis
“The price of a drug crucial to prevent tuberculosis is to be slashed by two-thirds in a deal that could stop millions from developing the disease. … Access to the antibiotic, rifapentine, would stop this ‘latent’ TB from becoming active. … The price drop, negotiated on a volume basis by Unitaid, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, means the drug can be used in 100 low- and middle-income countries…” (Lamble, 10/31).

Additional coverage of the deal is available from Devex, Health24, and Science.

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Ebola Survivors' Immunity Questioned After Death In DRC; J&J Announces 2nd Ebola Vaccine Set To Launch Soon; WSJ Examines Ebola Treatment Trials In Congo's Conflict Zones

CIDRAP News: DRC Ebola total rises as South Sudan clash kills screeners
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [Wednesday] reported one new Ebola case, alongside a new report of a security clash in South Sudan that killed three aid workers who were staffing an Ebola screening checkpoint. In other developments, a new assessment from the World Health Organization (WHO) of the outbreak said the incidence of new cases over the past week remained steady, but the movement of patients from the few remaining hot spots still pose a risk of spread to other areas…” (Schnirring, 10/30).

Reuters: Exclusive: WHO, Congo eye tighter rules for Ebola care over immunity concerns
“The World Health Organization and Congolese authorities are proposing changes to how some Ebola patients are cared for, new guidelines show, after a patient’s death challenged the accepted medical theory that survivors are immune to reinfection. There are many unanswered questions surrounding the circumstances of the woman’s death in Democratic Republic of Congo, which has not previously been reported…” (Prentice/Bujakera, 10/31).

STAT: Second Ebola vaccine set to be used soon in Democratic Republic of the Congo
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo will begin using a second Ebola vaccine as early as next week, the company developing the experimental product, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), said Thursday. J&J announced it is donating enough of the product to vaccinate up to 500,000 people. The vaccine will be used as part of a clinical trial…” (Branswell, 10/31).

Wall Street Journal: ‘Ebola Is Now a Disease We Can Treat.’ How a Cure Emerged From a War Zone.
“…In a medical breakthrough that compares to the use of penicillin for war wounds, two new drugs are saving lives from the virus and helping uncover tools against other deadly infectious diseases. They were proven effective in a gold-standard clinical trial conducted by an international coalition of doctors and researchers in the middle of armed violence…” (McKay, 10/30).

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Bloomberg Examines Scientists' Efforts To Eradicate Dengue As Philippines Outbreak Exceeds 360K Cases

Bloomberg: Scientists Race to Stop the World’s Fastest Spreading Tropical Disease
“About 40% of humanity is at risk of contracting dengue fever. In episode two of Bloomberg’s Moonshot, meet the scientists trying to eradicate it…” (Snyder, 10/30).

Outbreak News Today: Philippines dengue outbreak continues rise, 360K cases to date
“In a follow-up on the dengue epidemic in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) is reporting an additional 10,000 or so cases since our last report. From the beginning of the year through Oct. 12, 360,646 dengue cases have been reported, including 1,373 deaths…” (10/30).

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Philip Morris International Joins International Development Group, Raising Questions Over Motives, Devex Reports

Devex: Exclusive: Philip Morris International continues its development charm offensive
“…This week, the multinational corporation, which manufactures Marlboro cigarettes — and which has, in recent years, pledged to pivot toward ‘smoke-free’ tobacco products — became the newest dues-paying member of the Washington chapter of the Society for International Development, an international network committed to advancing global development. PMI’s latest effort to court health and development organizations highlights a challenging question for institutions that are in the business of convening diverse players around a common platform: Which organizations should and should not be granted a seat at the table?…” (Igoe, 10/31).

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Philippines’ multisector approach to break the cycle of stunting (Ravelo, 10/30).

Financial Times: Future of AI and Digital Healthcare (Multiple Authors, 10/31).

Forbes: How Merck For Mothers Is Addressing Maternal Mortality (Taylor, 10/30).

Reuters: E.U. countries to give Sudan 466 million euros in grants, aid: SUNA (Khalek/Saba, 10/30).

STAT: Bill Gates spends billions on global health. With Alzheimer’s, his science adviser says, money is not the issue (Florko, 10/31).

U.N. News: Reparations for sexual violence in conflict — ‘what survivors want most, yet receive least’ (10/30).

VOA News: 1 in 5 Rohingya Child Refugees Suffer Severe Mental Health Issues (Grunebaum, 10/30).

Xinhua: Interview: China contributing to Africa’s efforts in fight against HIV/AIDS: A.U. official (10/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Data Analytics, Geospatial Mapping Can Improve Infectious Disease Prediction, Detection, Response, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Is geospatial data the key to leaving no one behind?
Jennifer Bencivenga, member of the global programs and impact team at eHealth Africa (eHA)

“…[C]omputational and technological advancement, when harnessed correctly, can help protect against cholera and similar infectious diseases. … In response to the 2018 cholera outbreak in Nigeria, eHA’s geographic information system and data analytics team worked with the [Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s] disease surveillance team and cholera technical working group to conduct a hotspot mapping of cholera, using historical outbreak data. The analysis of these datasets … helped to identify specific trends, significant cholera hotspots, and relative risk across the country. These insights were then used by the NCDC National Incident Coordination Centre to strategically plan the response and allocate resources to support affected communities. … The technology used in the eHA and NCDC project can be used to improve infectious disease prediction, detection, and response in all environments, and for underserved and hard-to-reach communities, these insights can be particularly transformative. … Integrating technology into traditional problem-solving enables us to be proactive, rather than reactive, in these efforts…” (10/31).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

New WHO Report Examines Leading Causes Of Death In Cities, Highlights Areas For Government Action

WHO: New WHO report to bolster efforts to tackle leading causes of urban deaths
“A new report by the World Health Organization offers guidance and tools for urban leaders to tackle some of the leading causes of death in cities. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes — kill 41 million people worldwide every year, and road traffic crashes kill 1.35 million. … The report, titled ‘The Power of Cities: Tackling Non-Communicable Diseases and Road Traffic Injuries’ is geared towards mayors, local government officials, and city policy planners. Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, it highlights key areas where city leaders can tackle the drivers of NCDs, including tobacco use, air pollution, poor diets, and lack of exercise, and improve road safety…” (10/31).

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Experts Call For More Global Action On Healthy Diets, Sustainable Food Systems

BMJ Opinion: Urgent call for human rights guidance on diets and food systems
Kent Buse, chief of strategic policy directions at UNAIDS, and colleagues discuss the importance of healthy diets and sustainable food systems. The authors write, “Earlier this year, the Lancet Commission on Obesity called for ‘a radical rethink of business models, food systems, civil society involvement, and national and international governance’ to address the interlinked crises of obesity, undernutrition, and climate change. We agree, and suggest that international human rights law, institutions, and mechanisms provide important opportunities for norm setting, advocacy and accountability which are currently underutilized” (10/30).

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MSF, Activists Call For Lower Prices, Better Access To TB Drugs During Lung Health Conference

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders: MSF and TB activists disrupt opening of TB conference to protest high drug prices
“The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is urging pharmaceutical corporations to make improved drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) treatment affordable and available for hundreds of thousands of people around the world who desperately need it. MSF joined tuberculosis (TB) activists to disrupt the opening ceremony of the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad [Wednesday] as barriers to access to three new drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) drugs — bedaquiline, delamanid and, most recently, pretomanid — prevent the scale-up of treatment all over the world. While these drugs can offer people a better chance to be cured, only 20 percent of those living with DR-TB who need these newer drugs have been able to access them…” (10/30).

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