KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Secretary Of State Tillerson Lauds PEPFAR's Successes, Expresses Continued Support For Global Health Security Agenda

CIDRAP News: Secretary Tillerson lauds global health security agenda
“In a keynote speech in Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] at the Grand Challenges network annual meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson voiced support for U.S. collaboration on global infectious disease issues, including ongoing efforts to battle threats such as HIV and malaria. He also signaled U.S. support for extending to 2024 the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) … He said PEPFAR is a good example of focused investments with public-private partnerships to tackle a daunting public health problem…” (Schnirring, 10/5).

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U.S., U.N. Responses To Rohingya Emergency Hampered By Lack Of Access, Growing Influx Of Refugees Into Bangladesh

Devex: Access greatest barrier to U.S. response to Rohingya crisis
“A lack of access is the biggest impediment to aid from the United States reaching the Rohingya Muslim minority in northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, U.S. officials said in a congressional hearing on Thursday. … As a result of the government and military crackdown on access for USAID and NGOs, most of the U.S. efforts are supporting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, though flooding there has slowed aid delivery and a recent report said the influx of new refugees is outpacing resources, creating further challenges and the potential for disease to spread…” (Saldinger, 10/6).

The Guardian: Rohingya crisis: U.N. ‘suppressed’ report predicting its shortcomings in Myanmar
“The U.N. commissioned and then ‘suppressed’ a report that criticized its strategy in Myanmar and warned it was ill-prepared to deal with the impending Rohingya crisis, sources have told the Guardian. The review, written by a consultant and submitted in May, offered a highly critical analysis of the U.N.’s approach and said there should be ‘no silence on human rights’…” (Stoakes/Holmes, 10/5).

The Guardian: Myanmar military accused of killing dozens of fleeing Rohingya villagers
“The Myanmar military killed dozens of Rohingya villagers as they gathered to seek safety following the outbreak of violence in Rakhine state, according to witness reports collected by human rights experts. … The reports, which have been collated by Human Rights Watch, follow a statement from the U.N. committees for women’s and children’s rights warning that the violence in Rakhine state ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’…” (Ratcliffe, 10/4).

Reuters: U.N. fears ‘further exodus’ of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar
“The United Nations braced on Friday for a possible ‘further exodus’ of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh six weeks after the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency began, U.N. humanitarian aid chief said. Some 515,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine in an unrelenting movement of people that began after Myanmar security forces responded to Rohingya militant attacks with a brutal crackdown…” (Nebehay/Birsel, 10/6).

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Puerto Rico's Health System Works To Meet Basic Needs After Hurricane Maria Heavily Damages Island's Power, Water Infrastructure

The Lancet: Puerto Rico’s health system after Hurricane Maria
“A fortnight after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, the island’s shattered health system struggled to meet even basic needs, and girded itself for a lengthy recovery…” (Alcorn, 10/7).

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U.N. Ends Peacekeeping Mission In Haiti, Blamed For Introducing Cholera To Country

Al Jazeera: U.N. peacekeepers leave Haiti: What is their legacy?
“The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti lowered its blue flag on Thursday, 13 years after it began. While the mission has been credited with helping bring stability to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, it has also been mired in controversy. The mission is blamed for bringing cholera to the country, and at least 134 of its peacekeepers have been involved in sexual abuse scandals…” (10/5).

Associated Press/Washington Post: U.N. ending 13-year military peacekeeping mission in Haiti
“…[T]he U.N. will start a new mission made up of about 1,300 international civilian police officers, along with 350 civilians who will help the country reform a deeply troubled justice system. Various agencies and programs of the international body, such as the Food and Agricultural Organization, will also still be working in the country…” (Sanon, 10/5).

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Madagascar's Plague Outbreak Grows, Prompting Government To Temporarily Close Public Institutions

Bloomberg: Plague Outbreak Kills 30 People in Madagascar With Hundreds Ill
“An outbreak of pneumonic plague in the Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar has killed 30 people, with almost 200 others infected, the Public Health Ministry said…” (Rahagalala, 10/5).

Washington Post: ‘Black Death’ outbreak strikes Madagascar, killing 30 and triggering panic
“…Experts say they can’t remember the last time the death toll was so high. Last year, 63 people died over the course of the year, out of 275 cases. As a result of the outbreak, Madagascar is temporarily shutting down its public institutions…” (Eltagouri, 10/5).

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Angola's 2.4% HIV Prevalence Rate 'Worrying,' UNAIDS Country Director Says

Xinhua News: UNAIDS director says Angola’s HIV/AIDS prevalence “worrying”
“Country Director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Michel Kouakou said Thursday the 2.4 percent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Angola is ‘worrying,’ despite the government’s efforts. UNAIDS’ actions in Angola will continue to focus on supporting the government in actions to fight the disease, the official told the press on the sidelines of a national workshop aimed at strengthening the country’s community health system…” (10/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Biomedical Research Plays 'Critical Role In Comprehensive Pandemic Preparedness'

JAMA: The Critical Role of Biomedical Research in Pandemic Preparedness
Hilary D. Marston, Catharine I. Paules, and Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

“…Even for pathogens not yet identified as major human health threats, research on related organisms can bolster efforts in the event of an outbreak. … In shaping the research agenda for pandemic preparedness, prediction of microbes likely to cause outbreaks is often more art than science; as HIV, SARS, and Zika have demonstrated, no single algorithm will ‘get it right’ all the time. For this reason, several research approaches are pursued in pandemic preparedness, including (1) pathogen-specific work; (2) platform-based technology; and (3) prototype-pathogen efforts. Each approach has strengths and weaknesses. … Whether dealing with HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola, Zika, or the inevitable unanticipated pathogen that will surely emerge, research has played and will play a critical role before, during, and after the outbreak. Looking ahead, the biomedical research community must maintain its critical role in comprehensive pandemic preparedness” (10/4).

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Global Governance Structure For Research Necessary Piece Of Epidemic Preparedness

The Lancet: In search of global governance for research in epidemics
David H. Peters, director of the Alliance for a Healthier World and professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues, all members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Clinical Trials

“…A recent U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee report on clinical research in the Ebola epidemic includes recommendations to build workable governance and implementation arrangements for research during major epidemics — specifically for collaborative planning and coordination mechanisms between epidemics, and for rapid research response during an outbreak. … Better coordinated and transparent processes are needed that will engage a broader range of stakeholders and facilitate efforts to agree on goals and working principles. The governance arrangements should distribute responsibilities to those agencies best positioned to lead key areas, while respecting national leadership, limiting conflicts of interest, and taking into consideration the interests, ideologies, power, and accountabilities of key stakeholders. The processes need to reinforce consensus building and learning, and provide a platform for decisive action during a crisis. The pathway will not be easy. But to fail is to invite chaos to the next global health crisis” (10/7).

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Global Task Force On Cholera Control Develops 'Bold Vision' For Cholera Eradication

The Lancet: Cholera: ending a 50-year pandemic
Editorial Board

“… In response to [the threat of cholera], the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC), has brought together representatives from cholera-affected countries, donors, and technical experts to develop a Global Roadmap to 2030. … The novelty of the GTFCC eradication strategy is based on three key axes. First, the emphasis on rapid response to outbreaks: controlling epidemics through community engagement, improved early warning surveillance, and the rapid delivery of cholera control kits, [oral cholera vaccines (OCV)], and WASH supplies. Second, the strategy implements a multisectoral approach in hotspots of endemic cholera. … The third axis is the coordination of operational support, local and global resourcing, and technical expertise delivered by GTFCC. … The bold vision of the Global Roadmap is welcome but the challenges that lie ahead should not be underestimated … Ending cholera depends both on successful delivery of the prevention strategies on the ground and mitigating risks to the Global Roadmap at a high-level (securing financing, ensuring vaccine availability, and galvanizing political will). The technical ability to control cholera is within our capabilities…” (10/7).

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Businesses Have Role To Play In Addressing Climate Change, Achieving SDGs

Washington Post: My company’s carbon footprint is the size of a small country. We need to act.
Stephen Badger, chair of Mars Inc.

“…One of the key characteristics of the Paris agreement is that it extends beyond governments to engage businesses. … [P]eople often asked me if there really is a sound business case for tackling issues such as climate change and poverty. The answer is an unqualified yes. First, investment in operating sustainably delivers cost savings. … Second, for a company such as Mars that is dependent on agriculture, our investments are creating a more resilient and resource-efficient supply chain where smallholder farmers and others can thrive. … Finally, there are rewards for doing the right thing. … [W]e must drive an agenda that is forward-looking and focused, demonstrating what we stand for through our actions as a business. This is a call to action for all in business to double down in support of the Paris agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Business not only has a seat at the table; it has a vested interest in collaborating with everyone at the table…” (10/5).

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'Power Of Technology' Can Help Achieve SDGs

Devex: Opinion: Why technology will power SDG success
Ernest Darkoh and John Sargent, co-founders of BroadReach

“…To reach the 2030 [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] finish line having achieved the goals, the development industry — NGOs, donors, governments, and the private sector — must fully embrace the transformative power of technology: the missing factor. When leaders have data-driven insights into performance in real-time, they can move forward expeditiously. When they have [artificial intelligence-driven, or AI-driven] prognostic models of potential risks and opportunities, they can focus resources for optimal impact. When they have mobile access to best practice operational solutions, they can replicate reliable service delivery across multiple layers of program activity in multiple geographies. When they have consolidated data in one place, they can fulfill reporting requirements efficiently. And, when they share a platform for instantaneous communications, they can collaborate for the common good” (10/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Congress Introduces New Legislation To Examine Contributions To Multilateral Institutions

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Congress Wants to Take a Closer Look at Multilateral Institutions
Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at CGD, discusses new legislation introduced in Congress to develop a way to assess U.S. contributions to multilateral institutions through multilateral aid reviews (MARs). Morris writes, “It is encouraging to see such strong intellectual leadership coming from the Hill on the details of U.S. foreign assistance. But as the legislation itself recognizes, leadership on a MAR must ultimately come from the executive branch. Unfortunately, very little from the past nine months reassures me that this administration would approach a MAR as a means to strengthen multilateralism, rather than a way to walk away from longstanding multilateral partners” (10/5).

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NIAID Director Discusses Lessons Learned In Responding To Emerging Infectious Diseases

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Dr. Fauci’s testimony: Pandemics leave lessons
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses remarks made Wednesday in front of Congress by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, on lessons learned responding to emerging infectious diseases over the years (10/5).

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Oxfam Releases 4th Edition Of U.S. Foreign Aid 101 Resource

Oxfam: Wondering how U.S. foreign aid works? We’ve got you covered.
“…[T]here’s a new resource to help you get all the facts on U.S. foreign aid: Oxfam’s newly updated Foreign Aid 101 report. Foreign Aid 101 tackles the big questions on U.S. foreign aid: What it is, why the U.S. gives it, why it matters, and how we can make it a better tool for fighting poverty around the world. The report also contains all-new stories of people around the world who are using foreign aid to improve their own lives and their communities…” (10/5).

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Regional Initiatives Play Important Role In Efforts To Eliminate Malaria

PLOS Medicine: Regional initiatives for malaria elimination: Building and maintaining partnerships
Andrew A. Lover of the Malaria Elimination Initiative of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues discuss the need for well-coordinated regional initiatives (RIs) to eliminate malaria, as well as their activities, challenges, structures, and limitations. The authors conclude, “RIs have an important role to play in the malaria elimination landscape but require careful design, implementation, and evaluation to ensure alignment with outcomes…” (10/5).

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Australian Senator Discusses Importance Of Nation's Foreign Aid To Region's Health

Devpolicy Blog: Aid cuts undermine regional health security
Australian Senator Penny Wong, leader of the opposition in the Senate, shadow minister for Foreign Affairs, and a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, discusses recent cuts to Australia’s foreign aid spending and highlights the importance of international health assistance. She concludes, “As we move forward in developing our response to the health challenges of our region, Labor will work to deliver a program that meets the communicable and non-communicable health needs determined by our region and which best match Australia’s ability to make the biggest impact on health outcomes” (10/6).

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Investments In Girls' Education Will Help Improve Women's Reproductive Health, Mitigate Climate Change

Brookings Institution: Promote girls’ reproductive rights in order to ensure equitable climate action
In this blog post, the second in a series related to a new paper on girls’ education and climate change, Christina Kwauk, postdoctoral fellow, and Amanda Braga, research analyst, both at the Brookings Center for Universal Education, discuss the role of girls’ education in addressing women’s reproductive health and climate change. They write, “The link between higher levels of schooling and lower rates of fertility for women shows that an investment in girls’ education is, indirectly, an investment in climate change mitigation by curbing population growth within the planet’s carrying capacity. … We must look toward a holistic, rights-based approach to girls’ and women’s reproductive health to safeguard not only the future of those girls and women, but also the future of our planet” (10/5).

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From the U.S. Government

In Remarks At Grand Challenges Meeting, U.S. Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson Highlights U.S. Commitment To Global Health, Development

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Secretary Tillerson Addresses Global Health Challenges at Grand Challenges Annual Meeting
This blog post discusses U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks at this week’s Grand Challenges Annual Meeting, where he highlighted programs and initiatives, like PEPFAR and the Global Health Security Agenda, that demonstrate the U.S. commitment to global health and development (10/5).

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