KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Senate Passes BUILD Act To Create New Development Finance Agency

Devex: A new U.S. development finance agency takes flight
“On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed the Better Utilization of Investment Leading to Development, or BUILD Act, which will create a new U.S. government agency — the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. Development experts called it the biggest change in U.S. development policy in 15 years. The DFC will combine the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority, add new development finance capabilities, including equity authority, and have a higher lending limit than its predecessor…” (Saldinger, 10/4).

Financial Times: U.S. Senate passes $60bn foreign development bill
“The Senate has passed a bill that will create a $60bn agency to invest in developing countries in what has been sold to Donald Trump, the U.S. president, as a way of countering China’s growing global influence. In a rare spirit of bipartisanship, on Wednesday the Senate passed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act by 93 votes to 6…” (Pilling/Politi, 10/3).

The Hill: Senate sends FAA authorization to Trump’s desk
“…[A five-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization bill] includes the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act, or BUILD Act, which would dramatically increase funding for global development and infrastructure projects. ‘I am thrilled this bill is headed to the president’s desk and I am grateful for the hard work and support of Senator Corker, the administration, and our partners on both sides of the aisle who worked tirelessly to get the BUILD Act across the finish line,’ Democratic Sen. Christopher Coons (Del.), who spearheaded the BUILD Act with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), said” (Carney, 10/3).

Reuters: Congress, eying China, votes to overhaul development finance
“…The measure creates a new agency, the U.S. International Development Finance Corp., that consolidates the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) and other government development organizations. Those institutions lend money for projects such as energy, ports, and water infrastructure in developing countries. The White House said in a statement that Congress had taken an important step toward fulfilling Trump’s commitment to reform development finance institutions ‘so that they better incentivize private-sector investment in emerging economies and provide strong alternatives to state-directed initiatives that come with hidden strings attached’…” (Zengerle, 10/3).

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International Court Of Justice Orders U.S. To Ensure Iran Sanctions Do Not Interfere With Humanitarian Aid; U.S. Subsequently Withdraws From 1955 Treaty

New York Times: U.S. Withdraws From 1955 Treaty Normalizing Relations With Iran
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that the United States was pulling out of a six-decade-old treaty with Iran that had provided a basis for normalizing relations between the two countries, including diplomatic and economic exchanges. The largely symbolic move came hours after the International Court of Justice ordered the United States to ensure that a new round of American sanctions imposed against Tehran this year did not prevent food, medicine, and aircraft parts from reaching Iran…” (Wong et al., 10/3).

Reuters: World Court orders U.S. to ensure Iran sanctions don’t hit humanitarian aid
“…Judges at the International Court Of Justice (ICJ) handed a small victory to Tehran, which had argued that sanctions imposed since May by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump violate terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries. But U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected the decision. He said the United Nations court, often called the ‘World Court,’ had no jurisdiction over the sanctions, which Pompeo said were essential to U.S. security interests, and that Washington would ‘terminate’ the little-known treaty with Iran…” (van den Berg, 10/3).

Washington Post: United Nations’ court rules U.S. must allow humanitarian trade with Iran
“…Wednesday’s verdict is binding, but the court, located in The Hague, lacks the power to enforce its decisions … The 15-member panel of judges ruled that the United States ‘must remove’ any impediments to the free exportation to Iran of goods required for humanitarian needs, as well as spare parts for civil aviation safety. The court said the assurances given by the United States that its sanctions would have limited humanitarian impact were ‘not adequate to address fully the humanitarian and safety concerns raised by’ Iran…” (Cunningham/Morello, 10/3).

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Some Delegates Say Trade-Offs Made With U.S. Impacted U.N. HLM Political Declarations On NCDs, TB

Devex: ‘Tax for TRIPS’ deal altered U.N. declarations on NCDs, TB
“Last week, a crucial high-level political declaration on tuberculosis passed at the United Nations General Assembly secured a partial victory for advocates of affordable medicines. At the same time, a high-level declaration on noncommunicable diseases also passed at UNGA was criticized for lacking teeth. Now, delegates have told Devex that a diplomatic trade-off on tax and intellectual property rights between the United States and countries of the G77 group impacted the outcomes. … The U.S. government denied the trade-off…” (Byatnal, 10/4).

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Media Outlets Report On Other Aspects Of U.N. High-Level Meeting On TB

The Lancet: U.N. High-Level Meeting to end tuberculosis disappointing
“Tuberculosis experts have labelled the first-ever U.N. High-Level Meeting on the world’s biggest infectious disease killer a ‘disappointment.’ … There was widespread hope the meeting would represent a historic milestone in the fight against a disease that killed 1.6 million people last year. But fewer than 20 heads of state turned up for the meeting. Leaders from some high-burden tuberculosis countries, including India and Russia, and donors that had promised to help fund the response were missing…” (Cousins, 10/3).

RT News: Information conquers disease: Media and volunteers help defeat TB in China
“At the U.N. General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Ending Tuberculosis (TB), Peng Liyuan, wife of the Chinese president, urged the global community to unite in the fight against this deadly disease. … In her speech, China’s first lady noted that her country was making progress in the fight against the disease thanks to two factors: enhanced prevention measures and an information policy spread by media and volunteers involving 700,000 people…” (10/3).

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Additional Investments In, Expansion Of Global Financing Facility Could Save Up To 35M Lives Of Women, Children In Poor Nations, BMJ Analysis Shows

The Telegraph: Call for more funding to save lives of 35m women and children in world’s poorest countries
“Up to 35 million lives could be saved by 2030 if a fund dedicated to improving the health of women and children is extended to 50 countries. An independent analysis of the Global Financing Facility (GFF) estimated that if the fund manages to attract an additional $2 billion from donors it could extend from 27 to 50 countries, saving up to 34.7m lives. … The analysis, published in the BMJ Global Health journal, projected the impact of the fund for the period 2017 to 2030…” (Gulland, 10/3).

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WHO Tobacco Control Meeting Takes Steps To Prevent Industry Influence

Devex: At anti-tobacco conference, a race to beat industry tactics
“When they take their seats at the World Health Organization’s tobacco-control meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, this week, delegates [to the eighth session of the Conference of the Parties] should keep a keen eye out for unsavory tactics by the tobacco industry. … [A]t previous conferences, the meetings have been plagued by concerns of industry presence. The industry has been reported to exert different tactics to enter the conference venue using public badges … These repeated attempts by the industry have forced parties to the convention to close their sessions from the public, even barring the media from attending. They’ve done this in previous COPs, and had to enforce the same restriction this week. They’ve also decided to limit webcast sessions to the opening and potentially closing plenaries in this year’s meeting…” (Ravelo, 10/4).

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U.N. Security Council Calls For End To Violence In DRC Region Affected By Ebola Outbreak

Associated Press: U.N. calls for end to Congo fighting to combat Ebola outbreak
“The U.N. Security Council called Wednesday for an immediate end to hostilities by all armed groups in northeastern Congo to combat a deadly Ebola outbreak. Council members stressed the urgency of getting medical teams to the affected areas quickly ‘because the disease can spread rapidly, including to neighboring countries, possibly impacting regional stability’…” (Lederer, 10/3).

Additional reporting on the Ebola outbreak response efforts in Congo is available from Axios and Reuters.

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WHO Reports 10 Deaths Among 32 New MERS Cases In Saudi Arabia Over Past 3 Months

CIDRAP News: New Saudi MERS illness as WHO profiles recent cases
“Saudi Arabia [Wednesday] confirmed one more MERS-CoV case, in a man who is a household contact of an earlier reported patient, and the World Health Organization (WHO) posted an update on 32 Saudi cases over the summer, of which 12 were part of illness clusters…” (Schnirring, 10/3).

Reuters: Ten die of MERS in Saudi Arabia among 32 cases in last three months: WHO
“…The latest cases, recorded between June 1 and September 16, bring the global total of laboratory-confirmed MERS cases to 2,254, with 800 deaths, the United Nations agency said in a ‘disease outbreak’ statement on its website…” (Kelland, 10/3).

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Australia On Track To Eliminate Cervical Cancer Through National Vaccine, Screening Programs, Study Shows

CNN: Australia set to ‘eliminate’ cervical cancer by 2028
“Australia is set to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer, aided by its national vaccination and screening programs, says a new study…” (Avramova, 10/3).

Newsweek: Cervical Cancer: Australia Set To Wipe Out Disease In 20 Years In World First
“…If current trends continue, by 2022, instances of cervical cancer are expected to fall to less than six in 100,000, and to four in 100,000 by 2035. The promising forecast is attributed to the successful rollout of national vaccine and screening programs, the authors said…” (Gander, 10/3).

New York Times: In Australia, Cervical Cancer Could Soon Be Eliminated
“…And by 2066, the researchers say, less than one woman per year could receive that diagnosis. ‘Australia is on track to become the first country to eliminate cervical cancer,’ said Karen Canfell, a cancer epidemiologist and the director of Cancer Research at Cancer Council NSW, the organization which led the study. ‘I think this shows the way forward for other countries’…” (Albeck-Ripka, 10/3).

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More News In Global Health

Christian Science Monitor: Culture shift: What’s behind a decline in drinking worldwide (Llana/Traub, 10/3).

Devex: India counts down to its open defecation elimination goal (Rogers, 10/4).

The Guardian: ‘I will not give them the baby’: the plight of Cambodia’s detained surrogates (Handley/Meta, 10/2).

NPR: Why Infanticide Is A Problem In Senegal (Gaestel, 10/3).

Reuters: Venezuelan hospital encourages ‘kangaroo’ baby care to spare incubators (Sequera/Berwick, 10/3).

U.N. News: WHO supports Zimbabwe with 1.4 million vaccinations to beat cholera outbreak (10/3).

VOA News: Aid Groups Denounce Burundi’s 3-Month Ban on NGOs (Solomon/Nduwimana, 10/3).

Wall Street Journal: Survivors of Indonesian Quake and Tsunami Scrounge for Staples (Otto/Lyons, 10/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Invest Resources In Democracy Building, Good Governance In Africa

Fox News: Melania Trump’s Africa trip could provide the best kind of U.S. outreach
Christopher Harvin, co-founder of Vanguard Africa and partner at Sanitas International

“…[T]here is no better way to help Africa’s next generation — to solidify their aspirations for prosperity and peace — than to focus on democracy building and supporting good governance. … The first lady’s visit to Africa is an opportunity to focus on these and other causes of the crises Africa is grappling with — namely, the lack of democratic foundations and leadership, in addition to its apparent symptoms like the lack of basic services, health care, and quality education. … By focusing efforts and awareness on … the root causes of continued crises across the continent … the United States can help empower the citizens in Africa to take true ownership over their futures and their democratic process. By investing time and resources to building democracy and accountable leadership, the first lady and the Trump administration can realistically contribute to what we all ultimately desire: a brighter, more prosperous and stable future for Africa and for U.S. national interests” (10/3).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Role Of Private Investments, Blended Finance In Achieving SDGs

Live Mint: Opinion | Blended finance for meeting the SDGs
Mahua Acharya, former assistant director general of the Global Green Growth Institute

“Blended finance is in fashion in the development finance world. It refers to the merging of public and private funds to maximize development impact and is most often called upon in reference to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that countries valiantly agreed to in 2015. … For blended finance to change development finance, it has to scale. For this to happen, five fundamental issues that are inherent to the way public and private capital is managed, need to be addressed. … The first is to do with the way money is managed. … The second relates to how money is monitored. … The third is related to the pricing of risk. … The fourth relates to how failure is handled. … And finally, the biggest hurdle to public and private monies coming together lies in an ideological difference between governments and businesses. … All this notwithstanding, the larger goal of blending is a noble one and it is time that a common understanding were achieved among the blenders of capital so that both sides know what to expect” (10/4).

Devex: Opinion: Global financial markets could be game changer for health
Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute Geneva and member of the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs, and Christian Franz, managing director of CPC Analytics

“If we want to achieve [universal health coverage (UHC)] under the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we need to strike a balance between global health priorities and commercial and economic interests. How? By proactively engaging global financial players. … Global financial markets have a key role to play in improving the prospects for global health … Not only are new financing partnerships key to achieving UHC, investing in global health also offers significant return opportunities. … Adding the health component to investment criteria and proactively factoring in the commercial determinants of health and its associated costs to societies will significantly reduce investment risks while promoting global health. … Investment in [non-communicable disease (NCD)] prevention for a company’s own workforce also directly affects profitability and productivity. … [G]lobal health should be an agenda item at all high-level political and financial fora, especially in light of the rising health care costs, the growing trend toward an economic market for health, and the ‘financialization’ of global health…” (10/3).

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Stigma, Discrimination, Misunderstanding Surrounding Menstruation Must End

CNN: It’s time for women and girls to speak about their periods
Amina J. Mohammed, deputy secretary general of the U.N.

“If we are to achieve true gender equality, we need to tackle everything that contributes to the discrimination and marginalization of women — including menstruation. … When menstrual hygiene is properly managed, it contributes to social and economic empowerment and growth, across the board. … For centuries, women and girls have quietly managed their menstruation as best they can, often while fulfilling demanding roles in their families and communities. It is time women and girls spoke out about their daily struggles. It is time to claim our rights and those of our daughters and granddaughters, to dignity, health, and education. It is time for the world to step up. Thankfully, we are now beginning to see change. … Educating boys while their attitudes and beliefs towards girls and women are evolving is critical. We need to spread the word: menstruation is natural and manageable — while it may also be painful, uncomfortable, or plain inconvenient. … Let’s do everything we can to invest in menstrual health and end stigma and discrimination. It is time to lift up the rights of girls and women everywhere” (10/3).

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International Community Must Work Together To Sustainably Eradicate Hunger

Inter Press Service: Making Every Euro Count in the Fight Against Malnutrition
José Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

“…What do we really need to do to eradicate all forms of malnutrition? In the first place, we need to acknowledge that this battle should receive high priority. … Secondly, we need more funds. … Governments can’t do it on their own, nor can those with deep pockets acting alone. The same applies to international agencies, NGOs, civil society, and/or the private sector working. We really need to combine and align our efforts. … Food production should be done in a way that is sustainable and generates dividends in other areas. Policies towards eradicating hunger need to address every element of the food system. … Even when priorities pile up on our agendas, we must not leave aside food and nutrition, which lie at the heart of life, health, and development. To be sure, we are equally obliged to make the most out of every euro we spend on this front, and ensure that it leads to sustainable and long-term positive effects that reach everybody, especially the most vulnerable. There is no time — nor money — to be wasted” (10/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD, MFAN Welcome Passage Of BUILD Act

Center for Global Development: Boom: A New U.S. Development Finance Corporation!
Todd Moss, senior fellow, and Erin Collinson, director of policy outreach, both at CGD, discuss the passage of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act of 2018, which aims to “streamline and strengthen U.S. development finance tools by establishing a full-service U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC).” The authors write, “This policy change will modernize the U.S.’s development finance agency, and allow the U.S. to play a leadership role in addressing poverty, while promoting American businesses around the world” (10/3).

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: MFAN Hails Final Passage of BUILD Act and the Modernizing of U.S. Development Finance
In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, Co-Chairs George Ingram, Lester Munson, and Tessie San Martin welcome the passage of the BUILD Act, writing, “MFAN has advocated for development finance reform and has engaged with Congress on this legislation to promote a consistent development mandate, transparency, strong linkages to USAID, and learning and evaluation systems. MFAN is pleased that these considerations were incorporated into the legislation” (10/3).

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Wilson Center Event Examines Strategies To Improve, Sustain Quality Maternal, Child, Newborn Care

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Saving Lives: Focusing on Outcomes to Improve Maternal and Newborn Healthcare Quality
Isabel Griffith, intern with the Maternal Health Initiative at the Wilson Center, highlights discussion at a recent Wilson Center event on strategies to improve and sustain high-quality reproductive, maternal, and newborn care at scale. Griffith summarizes comments made by the panelists, including Kathleen Hill, maternal health team lead of USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program (MSCP), and others (10/3).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 343 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes articles on various topics, including a news article on the Global Fund’s announcement that it will donate $5 million to Venezuela for HIV treatment, a news article on the U.N. High-Level meeting on TB, and an analysis examining countries’ needs for better data to accurately forecast funding gaps in Global Fund grants (10/3).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Releases Statement On Passage Of BUILD Act

USAID: U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green on the Creation of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC)
In a statement on the passage of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act of 2018, USAID Administrator Mark Green says, “The provisions of the BUILD Act fully align with the President’s National Security Strategy and the Reshaping American Government in the 21st Century reorganization and reform plan. … The creation of the USIDFC creates a unique opportunity for USAID to scale up its use of financing tools for development significantly. … The USIDFC will catalyze market-based, private-sector development, spur economic growth in less-developed countries, and advance the foreign policy interests of the United States” (10/3).

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USAID Releases September 2018 Issue Of Innovation And Impact Newsletter

USAID: Innovation and Impact Newsletter — September 2018
The September issue of USAID’s Innovation and Impact Newsletter lists several publications featuring the Utkrisht Impact Bond, one of the first impact bonds aimed at reducing maternal and newborn deaths; highlights past and upcoming events, including a recent U.N. General Assembly event on development in Haiti and an upcoming event on accelerating innovation at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and features several other articles on various global health topics (September 2018).

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