KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Sweden Announces $290M 3-Year Pledge To Global Fund, Increase Of 14%

Health Policy Watch: Sweden Steps Up Fight Against Epidemics With Strong Pledge to Global Fund
“Sweden pledged to increase its support to the Global Fund by 14%, committing some SEK 2.85 billion (US $290 million) over the next three years, one of the latest in a line of donors to step to the call of the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment Conference, coming up next week on October 9-10 in Lyon. The pledge was announced Thursday by Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, Peter Eriksson…” (3/10).

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Funding Gaps Increase Risk Of HIV, TB Epidemic Rebound In Some Countries, MSF Report Warns

The Telegraph: HIV and TB at risk of ‘epidemic rebound’ as funding gaps increase, MSF warns
“Countries across the globe are at risk of witnessing an HIV and tuberculosis ‘epidemic rebound’ because of a decline in funding, experts have warned. In a 56-page report published on Monday, global aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières said that a rapid shift in funding models for HIV and TB is putting a decade of progress in jeopardy…” (Newey, 10/7).

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Major Protocol Enters Into Force In Effort To Reduce Air Pollutants, Prevent Premature Deaths

U.N. News: Ground-breaking clean air protocol to guard human health and the planet, enters into force
“European and North American countries will take a major stride in cleaning up the atmosphere next Monday, 7 October, through the implementation of an amended legally binding treaty to limit the amount of emissions polluting the air. … The Gothenburg Protocol, established back in 1999, sets forth legally binding emissions reduction commitments for 2020 and beyond, for major air pollutants, and is rooted in the UNECE’s 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), originally intended to stop the occurrence of acid rain. Beyond targeting well-known air pollutants, the Protocol was updated in 2012 to include reduction of fine particulate matter, pollutants shown to cause devastating climate change effects over short periods of time. U.N. experts have deemed air pollution a human rights violation — a deadly, man-made problem responsible for some seven million premature deaths, every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (10/4).

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WHO Moves Guinea Worm Target Eradication Date To 2030 As Parasite Again Defies Elimination Efforts

NPR: The End Of Guinea Worm Was Just Around the Corner. Not Anymore
“Next year was supposed to be the end of the line for Guinea worm. … But that goal moved further out of reach [last] week, when the World Health Organization quietly revealed that it has moved its expected Guinea worm eradication date, which had been 2020, ahead a decade, to 2030. The change was first reported in Nature. … This isn’t the first time Guinea worm has defied its internationally designated expiration date: The first deadline was 1991 — then 2009, then 2015, then 2020…” (McDonnell, 10/4).

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U.N. News Highlights Actions Being Taken To Achieve 2030 SDG Of Zero Hunger

U.N. News: Can we feed the world and ensure no one goes hungry?
“Enough food is produced today to feed everyone on the planet, but hunger is on the rise in some parts of the world, and some 821 million people are considered to be ‘chronically undernourished.’ What steps are being taken to ensure that everyone, worldwide, receives sufficient food? … Achieving the 2030 goal of Zero Hunger, in other words ensuring that nobody goes hungry wherever they are in the world, remains a major challenge…” (10/3).

Additional coverage of nutrition is available from The Guardian, which features several images from Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Liberia, part of a new exhibition in London.

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Probiotic Pills, Greater Understanding Of Human Microbiome Could Help End Malnutrition Worldwide, According To Bill Gates

The Telegraph: Probiotic pills could bring an end to malnutrition, says billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates
“Probiotic pills could hold the key to ending malnutrition across the globe within the next two decades, according to the billionaire Bill Gates. Probiotics, or ‘good’ bacteria, are thought to help maintain a healthy gut and are commonly added to foods such as Yakult or Actimel yoghurt. Many view these so called ‘functional foods’ as a gimmick but Mr. Gates, who is giving the annual Hawking Fellowship Lecture at Cambridge University Union on Monday, believes the science that underpins them could save millions of lives…” (Newey, 10/7).

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DRC Ebola Outbreak Shifts To Rural Areas, WHO Says; Health Officials Mark 1,000th Survivor

CIDRAP News: WHO notes Ebola shift to rural areas, posing new challenges
“In its latest snapshot of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there’s a clear shift away from densely populated urban areas toward sparsely populated rural areas. And in other developments, Tanzanian health officials again denied covering up Ebola cases, Hong Kong health officials have isolated a patient with a suspected Ebola infection while testing is under way, and global officials marked the 1,000th survivor of the outbreak…” (Schnirring, 10/4).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and related news is available from Health Policy Watch, New Times, and U.N. News.

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New York Times Examines Impact Of Indian Government's Security, Communication Crackdown In Kashmir Impacting Access To Health Care

New York Times: In a Race Against Death, No Way to Call a Doctor
“…Two months after the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s autonomy and imposed harsh security measures across the Kashmir Valley, doctors and patients here say the crackdown has taken many lives, in large part because of a government-imposed communication blackout, including shutting down the internet. Cancer patients who buy medicine online have been unable to place orders. Without cell service, doctors can’t talk to each other, find specialists or get critical information to help them in life-or-death situations. And because most Kashmiris don’t have landlines in their homes, they can’t call for help…” (Yasir et al., 10/7).

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More News In Global Health

ABC: Predicting — and preventing — future pandemics (Swan/Bullen, 10/7).

AFP: Edible sensor helps TB patients take their meds: study (10/4).

Al Jazeera: WHO to hold Philippines summit after polio outbreak (Alindoga, 10/7).

Bloomberg: Female Leadership in Global Health (10/4).

CNN: Half of India couldn’t access a toilet 5 years ago. Modi built 110M latrines — but will people use them? (Regan/Suri, 10/5).

Devex: Q&A: Prioritizing primary health care for UHC (10/7).

Global Health NOW: Diabetes on the Rise in Senegal (Nye, 10/4).

Reuters: Kenya struggles to cope with growing number of heroin users (Fick, 10/7).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Fewer children, fewer climate risks? Niger ponders a controversial option (Malo, 10/7).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Celebrity HIV disclosures whittle away at stigma (Greenhalgh, 10/4).

U.N. News: FIFA and U.N. kick off healthy living campaign, to harness global game’s ‘huge potential’ (10/4).

USA TODAY: Diseases like West Nile, EEE and flesh-eating bacteria are flourishing due to climate change (Weise, 10/5).

Xinhua: WHO expresses concern over growing threat of obesity in western Pacific region (10/7).

Xinhua: Cambodia’s top court upholds 25-year prison term for doctor who infected people with HIV (10/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Leaders Must Have Political Will To Fund, Implement Highly Effective Health Programs, NYT Columnist Says

New York Times: World Leaders Once Made Miracles, and Can Again
Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times

“…We live in an age of miracles when a group of public health nerds, backed by world leaders and front-line health workers, can save lives by the million. … Yet today the kind of global leadership we saw in the early 2000s is gone. Bravo to French President Emmanuel Macron for remaining a supporter of multilateral aid, but he’s the exception. President Trump has tried to slash aid, although in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike have resisted … We have proven that we have the capacity to save lives, improve education and health, create opportunities for women and girls — yet we also seem to have lost interest. … One ray of sunshine: Leaders at the United Nations last month committed themselves to achieving universal health coverage by 2030. Here in America, we’re still feuding about access to medical care, but countries like Chile, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Thailand, and Kyrgyzstan are showing that moving toward universal coverage is possible even with limited resources. If these countries can manage it, why is the most powerful country in the history of the world stymied?…” (10/5).

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New Understanding Of Microbiome Functioning Can Help Solve Malnutrition Within 20 Years, Bill Gates Says

The Telegraph: Why probiotics could hold the key to solving malnutrition — the world’s worst health problem
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“I get asked a lot what I would choose if I could only solve one problem. My answer is always malnutrition — the greatest health inequity in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, it’s responsible for about half of all childhood deaths. … [T]hanks to new scientific breakthroughs I believe we will find a way to solve the issue of malnutrition within 20 years. … The basic insights we’re gaining into how nutrition works will also have huge benefits for the developed world. … [T]hat is going to not only help prevent malnutrition and obesity, but lots of other diseases — like asthma, allergies, and some autoimmune diseases, which may be trigged by an unbalanced microbiome. If we can figure nutrition out — and I believe we will within the next two decades — we’ll save millions of lives and improve even more” (10/7).

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UNGA Delegations Should Reject Partnership Invitations From Tobacco Industry, Related Organizations, STOP Partner Writes

Health Policy Watch: Close The Doors That Help Tobacco Companies Influence U.N. Policy
Deborah Sy, a partner in STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products) and Head of Global Public Policy and Strategy at the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control

“…STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products) led an open letter, co-signed by 142 public health groups and individuals from 42 countries, calling on every member and observer at the UNGA to abide by the model policy and reject any engagement with the tobacco industry — including invitations from tobacco companies or those furthering their interests and proposals that support tobacco industry partnerships, funding, and positions. … The message is simple: It is impossible to produce, market and sell tobacco products in a way that is compatible with public health or the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda, so partnerships with the tobacco industry directly contradict the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s time to close the door on the tobacco industry and its allies” (10/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Denmark Announces Increased Pledge To Global Fund

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Denmark Increases Pledge in Fight Against Epidemics
“The Global Fund thanked Denmark for its strong commitment to the fight against HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria with a new pledge of DKK350 million — a 16.6% increase over the previous period. Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus Prehn reiterated Denmark’s commitment to invest with the Global Fund to reach the most vulnerable…” (10/7).

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Yazidi Survivors Of Violence In Iraq Face Mental Health Challenges, Need Services, MSF Says

MSF: Iraq: Yazidi survivors of violence face overwhelming mental health needs
“The massive violence suffered by the Yazidi religious minority in northwestern Iraq has led to a severe and debilitating mental health crisis, including many suicide attempts, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said [Friday], highlighting the need for mental health services in Iraq’s conflict-affected communities…” (10/4).

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Medicines Patent Pool Updates MedsPaL Database To Include Additional Small Molecule Medicines

Medicines Patent Pool: The Medicines Patent Pool publishes intellectual property status of 18 drugs added to WHO Essential Medicines List
“The Medicines Patent Pool [last week] announced the first of a two-step update of its database MedsPaL to include additional patented small molecule medicines following the publication of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s updated Model List of Essential Medicines (EML) in July. Launched in 2016, MedsPaL is a free resource on the intellectual property status of patented medicines included in the WHO EML for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Initially covering selected HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis medicines in LMICs, MedsPaL expanded to all patented treatments on the EML in 2017…” (10/2).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. State Department Announces $25M In Additional Support For UNICEF-Implemented Emergency Cash Transfer Program In Yemen

U.S. Department of State: United States Announces $25 Million to Support Emergency Cash Transfer Program in Yemen
“[Last] week, the United States announced $25 million in additional aid to support the people of Yemen through the UNICEF-implemented Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT) program. This funding complements more than $2.2 billion in U.S. humanitarian assistance since 2015 and will help 1.5 million Yemeni households — approximately 9 million people — access basic goods and services on the local economy…” (10/4).

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