KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

At G20, Trump Administration To Encourage Creation Of Global Standards For Transparent, Sustainable Development Financing

Devex: Exclusive: In rebuke to China, Trump seeks G20 endorsement of ‘sustainable’ finance
“As the United States prepares to launch a scaled-up development finance institution, it is pursuing a parallel political effort to push back against what it considers unsustainable and irresponsible lending by China to developing countries. As a starting point, the administration of President Donald Trump will encourage leaders at the November G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to articulate a common set of global standards for infrastructure lending and investments. Their aim is to push for a high-level political recognition that development financing should be transparent and sustainable, according to a senior White House official who was not authorized to speak on the record…” (Igoe, 10/5).

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First Lady Melania Trump Continues African Tour; Media Outlets Discuss Disconnect Between Trip, Administration's Policy Priorities

Associated Press: Melania Trump promotes U.S. agency, Trump wants to cut funding
“Melania Trump spent Thursday in southern Africa promoting the work of a U.S. international development agency whose funding President Donald Trump has twice proposed [cutting]. Lawmakers essentially ignored those requests…” (Superville/Lee, 10/4).

NPR: Melania Trump Stops In Kenya On 4-Nation Solo Trip
“…Her main point, her office has said, is to highlight the work of USAID on the continent. But the words and policies of her husband have also cast a shadow. President Trump has reportedly disparaged African countries and his administration has loosened restrictions on importing trophies from big game hunting. They have also re-instituted a policy that bans [global health] aid from any [foreign] organization that even talks about abortion…” (Peralta, 10/5).

USA TODAY: Melania Trump’s solo trip to Africa offers sharp contrast to President Trump’s policies
“…Melania Trump’s solo trip to Africa has captivated international aid and global health advocates, who have otherwise watched in frustration as the Trump administration moved to defund and deprioritize longstanding American programs aimed at strengthening Africa and solidifying U.S. interests across the developing world. … Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, did not respond to emails seeking comment on the clash between the focus of the First Lady’s trip and her husband’s policies. But the State Department’s spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, dismissed questions about the mixed messages. … ‘The continent of Africa is one that’s extremely important to this administration, to the U.S. government, and I think that is evident in the fact that the First Lady is making her first solo foreign trip to the African continent,’ Nauert said. Others are not convinced the White House sees Africa as ‘extremely important,’ the First Lady’s trip notwithstanding…” (Shesgreen, 10/5).

Additional coverage of the first lady’s tour of four African countries is available from ABC News, New York Times, and VOA News.

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U.S. House Democrats, Civil Society Organizations Send Letters To Secretary Pompeo Urging Inclusion Of Women's Reproductive Rights In State Department's Annual Human Rights Reports

POLITICO: Democrats, rights groups urge State Dept. to bring back reports on women’s reproductive rights
“House Democrats and civil society organizations are urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reconsider the State Department’s exclusion of reproductive rights from its annual human rights reports. Their letters noted that since 2011 these country-specific reports have included detailed information about women’s access to contraception and abortion across the world. This precedent was broken in the 2017 reports, as first reported by POLITICO in February. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, the subsection on gender-based violence was also trimmed down. Ninety-seven civil society organizations have signed a letter calling on Pompeo to immediately restore the human rights reports to their previous form. … In a separate letter, 129 House Democrats have demanded that Pompeo ensure that the section on reproductive rights be included in future reports…” (Sadiq, 10/4).

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U.S. Works To Disentangle SDGs, Climate Policy At IPCC Meeting

SciDev.Net: U.S. prizing climate, development apart in IPCC talks
“U.S. negotiators at key global climate talks are working to prize climate and development apart, documents seen by SciDev.Net show, in a challenge to the orthodoxy that has inextricably linked the two since the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Countries around the world are gathered in Incheon, South Korea, this week to thrash out a landmark U.N. report on whether the world can keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — the most optimistic objective set by governments in the 2015 Paris Agreement…” (Bello, 10/4).

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Congolese Gynecologist Denis Mukwege, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad Awarded 2018 Nobel Peace Prize

New York Times: 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Congolese Doctor and Yazidi Activist
“In the midst of a global reckoning over sexual violence, a Congolese gynecological surgeon and a Yazidi woman who was a captive of the Islamic State were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their campaigns to end the use of mass rape as a weapon of war. The award went to Dr. Denis Mukwege, who has treated thousands of women in a country once called the rape capital of the world, and to Nadia Murad, who became a bold, dignified voice for women who survived sexual violence by the Islamic State. They have worked through grave risks to their own lives to help survivors and bring their stories to the world…” (Callimachi et al., 10/5).

Reuters: Congolese Mukwege, Iraq’s Murad win 2018 Nobel Peace Prize
“…Asked whether the #metoo movement, a prominent women’s rights activist forum, was an inspiration for this year’s prize, Nobel Committee Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said: ‘Metoo and war crimes are not quite the same. But they have in common that they see the suffering of women, the abuse of women and that it is important that women leave the concept of shame behind and speak up’…” (Adomaitis et al., 10/5).

U.N. News: Nobel Peace Prize goes to U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and Congolese doctor, highlighting sexual violence
“…The decision to jointly award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad and surgeon Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will help end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, the U.N. said…” (10/5).

Washington Post: The Nobel Peace Prize 2018 winners brought attention to sexual abuse in conflicts
“…Mukwege has treated thousands of rape victims at his hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Murad has become an outspoken activist about sexual slavery and human trafficking. What they have in common is that they both have lived in parts of the world where it is particularly dangerous to be a woman…” (Harlan/Bearak, 10/5).

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Head Of WHO FCTC Secretariat Discusses Tobacco Industry Interference In Control Efforts

U.N. News: U.N.-led tobacco control advocates denounce ‘increasingly vicious’ industry interference
“Tobacco giants are adopting new ways and ‘disguises’ to push their products, noxious both for people and the environment, and interfere with government efforts to regulate the sale and use of tobacco, the head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, the United Nations-led tobacco control treaty, has told U.N. News. The WHO FCTC, which stands for the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, is the only U.N. global health treaty that advocates for the control of tobacco production, sale and use, to reduce its harmful impacts…” (10/4).

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News Outlets Discuss Concerns Over Dual-Use Research Studies Using Viruses

The Atlantic: A Controversial Virus Study Reveals a Critical Flaw in How Science Is Done
“After researchers resurrected a long-dead pox, some critics argue that it’s too easy for scientists to make decisions of global consequence…” (Yong, 10/4).

New York Times: Viruses Spread by Insects to Crops Sound Scary. The Military Calls It Food Security.
“Critics warn that a Defense Department-funded food security project that is still in the lab could set off a ‘biological arms race’…” (Baumgaertner, 10/4).

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DRC Ebola Response Continues To Face Violence, Resistance To Prevention Efforts

Associated Press: Alarm as Red Cross workers attacked in Congo Ebola efforts
“The international community is sounding new alarm after three Red Cross workers were attacked while trying to contain the latest deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo…” (Petesch, 10/4).

CIDRAP News: DRC Ebola cases rise as security concerns continue
“In updates [Wednesday and Thursday], the Democratic of Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported four more confirmed Ebola cases, three of them in the current hot spot in Beni, and groups [Thursday] raised more concerns about insecurity in the outbreak area…” (Schnirring, 10/4).

MedPage Today: Ebola Response in DRC Threatened by Insecurity, Resistance
“Armed militia activity, as well as community resistance, continues to threaten the response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a late-breaking update [at IDWeek, taking place in San Francisco]…” (Walker, 10/4).

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Indian Government Withdraws Substandard Polio Vaccine, Calms Fears Along With WHO

Quartz India: After contaminated vaccine sparks polio fears in India, WHO calms nerves
“…The detection of contaminated vials of type-2 polio vaccines among batches administered to children in some parts of the country has sparked concern in medical and government circles, besides the public. … The WHO has, however, downplayed the risk, crediting the high routine vaccination coverage in India…” (Singh, 10/4).

Xinhua News: Indian gov’t withdraws “contaminated” polio vaccine, urges people not to panic
“Amid reports that some bivalent oral polio vaccines supplied by a particular company were found ‘not of standard quality,’ Indian authorities have stopped its usage and withdrawn the stocks, the health ministry said Friday. … The ministry however said there was no need to panic and parents should get their children properly vaccinated…” (10/5).

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Aid Slowly Reaching Indonesian Quake-Tsunami Survivors 1 Week After Twin Disasters

IRIN: Toilets and tents: A week after Indonesia’s tsunami, survivors still need basic aid
“Frustrations are mounting in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province as survivors wait for help that’s slow to arrive nearly a week after earthquakes and a tsunami destroyed homes and villages and buried an unknown number of people under rubble…” (Morse, 10/4).

Wall Street Journal: Aid Slowly Reaches Indonesia Tsunami Victims
“…Palu’s port reopened to aid vessels, wrecked hospitals are treating the injured, and an increasing number of military cargo planes are landing at the damaged airstrip. But workers are still having trouble delivering the millions of dollars of international aid to the region on western Sulawesi island struck by the 7.5-magnitude quake and ensuing tsunami…” (Otto/Lyons, 10/4).

Additional coverage of the aid efforts for the Indonesian quake-tsunami is available from Devex, The Guardian and New York Times.

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More News In Global Health

Devex: Syria’s humanitarian crisis not likely to end in 2019, U.N. expert says (Lieberman, 10/5).

Inter Press Service: Over and Under Nutrition: Two Sides of an Unhealthy Coin (Yakupitiyage, 10/4).

IRIN: “If the water finishes, we will leave”: Drought is forcing hundreds of thousands of Afghans from their homes (Glinski, 10/4).

The Lancet: Providing psychosocial support in Kerala after the floods (Chatterjee, 10/6).

NPR: A Global Health Evangelist Is Shocked To Hear He’s A ‘Genius’ (Beaubien, 10/4).

NPR: BBC Looks Back On Epidemic With Documentary: ‘Zika Love Stories’ (Martin, 10/4).

RNZ: PNG polio response campaign seems to be working, WHO says (Tahana, 10/5).

Reuters: Zimbabwe vaccinates 1.4 million to combat worst cholera outbreak in a decade (Dzirutwe, 10/4).

U.N. News: Nigeria inundated by floods; U.N. steps up disease prevention efforts (10/4).

U.N. News: Syria: U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator calls for unimpeded access from within the country (10/4).

Yonhap: WHO includes N. Korea among countries most burdened with tuberculosis: report (10/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Fund Should Expand Focus To Include UHC In Addition To HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria

The Lancet: The Global Fund as an ATM plus
Sjoerd Postma, chief of party at the Health Sector Resiliency Project and focal point/expert for Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Independent Technical Review Panel

“In his [July 7] comment, Richard Horton advocates for an expanded mandate of the Global Fund, with the inclusion of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in addition to its support for the three global high-burden diseases (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria). This notion is welcome … There are several reasons why the Global Fund should become an ATM plus. First, when countries with increasing gross domestic products and decreasing disease burdens receive less funding or graduate from Global Fund support, they not only lose support for the three disease programs, but also support for complementary health systems…, which are also supporting general health service delivery. … Second, countries are diverse and at various stages along the (general, health sector, or health systems) development continuum. … Without these investments, these countries could be at serious risk of reverting back to a higher disease burden, and therefore require additional support, although this support might no longer be available. Third, as suggested by Horton, investing in health workers, health information, governance and accountability, and, I would add, supply chains is indeed crucial to deliver UHC — a package of comprehensive quality health services that is affordable by all. … So, indeed, expansion of the Global Fund mandate beyond the three diseases is required because the ultimate achievement of UHC will be slowed down, not by those three diseases, but by other factors affecting people’s health…” (10/6).

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Bangladesh Must Improve Quality Of Maternal Health Care Services To Meet Maternal Mortality SDG

Devex: Opinion: Why has the decline of maternal deaths stalled in Bangladesh?
Mushtaque Chowdhury, vice chairperson of BRAC and founding dean of the James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University, and Wameq Azfar Raza, economist at the World Bank

“…The recent 2016 Bangladesh Maternal Mortality and Health Care Survey showed no improvement [in the number of women dying during labor] since the 2010 survey. … Despite the fact that in the past eight years there are nearly double the number of health facilities to support mothers the picture has not changed since 2010. Akin to the global experience, Bangladesh is no exception in the paradox where expanded facility deliveries have not lead to a reduction in maternal mortality. The critical element here is the quality and access of the services provided. … The necessary medicines to treat hemorrhage and eclampsia were only available in less than half of the health facilities. I am sad to say that the list of inadequacies goes on. … If we are to achieve the SDG target of only 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030 we need to take substantive and definitive action. The Bangladeshi government needs to commit to improving our health system through its governance and service delivery. Until then this SDG target will simply remain a dream…” (10/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Co-Chairs Mark Passage Of U.S. Aid Data Consolidation Deadline, Release Analysis, Call For New Plan

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: Trump Administration Misses Deadline to Consolidate Aid Data
In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, Co-chairs George Ingram, Lester Munson, and Tessie San Martin note the passage of “the October 1, 2018 date set by the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA) of 2016 for the State Department and USAID to consolidate data collection and web platforms.” The authors continue, “[T]he Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) and Publish What You Fund (PWYF) are releasing an analysis of the two databases and call on the agencies to commit to a single platform that produces quality aid data in a timely manner. … MFAN requests that the administration present a consolidation plan to Congress — including timelines, benchmarks, and resources needed — as part of the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request…” (10/4).

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Wilson Center Podcast Addresses Relationships Among Family Planning, Peace, Security

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Everybody Counts: Saving the World One Condom at a Time
This post discusses the third episode in the Wilson Center’s Everybody Counts podcast series, hosted by Jennifer D. Sciubba, a professor of political demography at Rhodes College. “In this episode, we make the case that family planning is the foundation of peace and security by examining the connections between population growth and political instability. Leading experts Jack Goldstone and Rich Cincotta describe what their research reveals about some of the hottest conflicts today, including Syria and Afghanistan” (10/5).

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BMJ Publishes First Article In New Series On Role Of Cities In Global Health

The BMJ: Cities for global health
Majid Ezzati, a professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London, and colleagues address the role of cities in health in the first article of a new BMJ series. The authors write, “The concentration of knowledge and innovation, economic activity, health care, education, and other public services endows cities with the potential to deliver substantial improvements to the health and wellbeing of their residents and those of other parts of the country. Further, the local politics in cities, whereby politicians and citizens live side by side as members of the same community, provide an opportunity to avoid and resist the exclusionary and austerity trends seen in national politics and economics around the world and to make health inequalities the central focus of urban health policies. … The BMJ is launching a series of articles on important themes in urban health … The series will focus on actions that cities can take to reduce health inequalities and deliver on their potential to create better and healthier lives for all” (10/3).

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IntraHealth Digital Health Researcher Discusses Use Of Activity Trackers In Addressing Hypertension

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: Why Technology Isn’t Always the Answer in Global Health
Avni Varia, digital health researcher at IntraHealth International, discusses the use of technology in global health interventions and her specific research on the use of activity trackers to address hypertension. She writes, “We were excited by the flashiness of digital technology. And we forgot the main purpose of our intervention, which was to find a solution that would be practical and high-impact. We realized we need a plan that centers on behavior change to create positive lifestyle in both diet and physical activity. We need to tackle the high prevalence of hypertension in a holistic manner and from many levels. The synergy of multiple, different interventions will increase the likelihood of success and a sustainable outcome” (10/4).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Newsletter Focuses On Advancing Primary Health Care

USAID’s “Global Health News”: Advancing Primary Health Care
USAID’s latest “Global Health News” newsletter focuses on advancing primary health care. In the newsletter’s introduction, Alma Golden, senior deputy assistant administrator in the Bureau for Global Health, writes, “This October, the global community will come together in Astana, Kazakhstan for the 40th anniversary of the Alma Ata ‘Primary Healthcare for All’ conference, and sign a new declaration committing to the advancement of primary health care in current development programs. Since that first Alma Ata conference, USAID and our partners have achieved significant advances in primary health care, enabling hundreds of millions of women, children, and vulnerable populations to access preventive and life-saving health services. We believe that strong primary health care systems pave the way for countries to build healthy families, stable communities, and productive economies, which lead to self-reliance and greater security worldwide…” (September/October 2018).

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