KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. SG Guterres Calls For More Investment In Universal Health Coverage, Urges Nations To Draw Lessons From COVID-19 Pandemic

U.N. News: U.N. chief urges greater investment in universal health coverage, starting now
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of strong public health systems and emergency preparedness for communities and economies globally, the U.N. Secretary-General said on Wednesday, calling for greater investments in universal health coverage. Launching his latest policy brief, ‘COVID-19 and Universal Health Coverage,’ Secretary-General António Guterres called on everyone to draw ‘hard lessons’ from the pandemic, for which the world was not prepared…” (10/7).

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Novel Coronavirus Vaccine May Be Ready This Year, WHO DG Tedros Says; U.S. Officials Expect Efficacy Data On Experimental Vaccines To Be Available By Mid-November

Reuters: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready by year-end, says WHO’s Tedros
“A vaccine against COVID-19 may be ready by year-end, the head of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for solidarity and political commitment by all leaders to ensure equal distribution of vaccines when they become available…” (Nebehay, 10/6).

STAT: Race for Covid-19 vaccine slows as regulators, top Warp Speed official tap the brakes
“The race for a Covid-19 vaccine slowed on Tuesday, as both U.S. regulators and the head of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative tapped ever so softly on the brakes. The Food and Drug Administration released strengthened rules for authorizing any Covid-19 vaccine on an emergency basis. And Moncef Slaoui, co-chair of Operation Warp Speed, revealed that the government’s vaccine fast-tracking effort has urged manufacturers not to apply for emergency use authorization until they have significant amounts of vaccines to deploy. That could push back even the first such authorization — expected to be for a vaccine being made by Pfizer and BioNTech, if it proves to be effective — into sometime in mid- to late November…” (Branswell/Herper, 10/6).

AP: Australia expects COVID-19 vaccination is still a year away (McGuirk, 10/7).

Reuters: China in talks with WHO over assessing its COVID-19 vaccines for global use (Geddie/Aravindan, 10/6).

Reuters: U.S. vaccine program head Slaoui expects Pfizer, Moderna vaccine data readouts in November-December (Maddipatla, 10/6).

Reuters: Exclusive: Moderna vaccine trial contractors fail to enroll enough minorities, prompting slowdown — sources (Steenhuysen, 10/6).

STAT: As AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine trial remains on hold in U.S., participants waiting on a second dose are in limbo (Robbins, 10/6).

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White House Clears Stricter FDA Safety Standards For COVID-19 Vaccine Testing After Efforts To Block Guidance

AP: FDA publishes vaccine guidelines opposed by White House
“The Food and Drug Administration released updated safety standards Tuesday for makers of COVID-19 vaccines despite efforts by the White House to block them, clearing the way for requirements that are widely expected to prevent the introduction of a vaccine before Election Day…” (Perrone/Miller, 10/6).

New York Times: In Reversal, White House Approves Stricter Guidelines for Vaccine Makers
“…The move, which was cleared by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, appeared to be an abrupt reversal a day after The New York Times reported that White House officials, including Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, were blocking the guidelines. Top FDA officials were caught by surprise when they learned midafternoon that the new guidelines had been cleared…” (Zimmer/Weiland, 10/6).

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IMF Support Programs Amid COVID-19 Could Push At Least 80 Countries Into Years Of Austerity, 500 Charities Warn

Reuters: COVID aid could bring years of austerity, charities warn IMF
“Five hundred of the world’s leading charities and social groups have sent a letter to the International Monetary Fund warning that its support programs, which have had to be ramped up to cope with COVID-19, were condemning many countries to years of austerity. The concern raised before the IMF and World Bank annual meetings next week said current programs would see 80 countries required to implement austerity worth on average 3.8% of their annual economic output between 2021 and 2023…” (Jones, 10/6).

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Europe Must Face 'COVID-19 Fatigue,' Go Beyond Science To Adequately Address Pandemic, WHO Official Says

CNBC: Rising levels of pandemic fatigue are being seen in Europe, WHO warns
“Rising levels of ‘Covid-19 fatigue’ are being seen in Europe, the regional director of the World Health Organization said Tuesday. Hans Kluge said that the ‘huge sacrifices’ made to contain the coronavirus had come ‘at an extraordinary cost, which has exhausted all of us, regardless of where we live, or what we do’…” (Ellyatt, 10/6).

The Guardian: Europe must go beyond science to survive Covid crisis, says WHO
“…Hans Kluge, the WHO’s Europe director, said that while fatigue from months of uncertainty and disruption was measured differently in different countries, aggregated survey data from across the region suggested that in some cases it had reached levels of over 60%. Medical science alone would not be enough to get through the crisis, he warned, with authorities needing the ‘courage and empathy’ to listen properly to the public and develop policies based on a better understanding of people’s needs and behaviors…” (Henley, 10/6).

CNN: Only four countries in Europe are below a critical coronavirus threshold (Woodyatt/Frater, 10/5).

Devex: ‘Do not be afraid to tell uncomfortable truths,’ Germany tells COVID-19 evaluation panels (Ravelo, 10/7).

NPR: A Comparison Between German And U.K. Pandemic Responses (Langfitt/Schmitz, 10/7).

Science: ‘It’s been so, so surreal.’ Critics of Sweden’s lax pandemic policies face fierce backlash (Vogel, 10/6).

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News Outlets Examine Trump Administration's Impacts On Science, Actions On Coronavirus Prevention Strategies

Nature: How Trump damaged science — and why it could take decades to recover
“…Over the past eight months, the president of the United States has lied about the dangers posed by the coronavirus and undermined efforts to contain it; he even admitted in an interview to purposefully misrepresenting the viral threat early in the pandemic. … Trump has also eroded America’s position on the global stage through isolationist policies and rhetoric. By closing the nation’s doors to many visitors and non-European immigrants, he has made the United States less inviting to foreign students and researchers. And by demonizing international associations such as the World Health Organization, Trump has weakened America’s ability to respond to global crises and isolated the country’s science…” (Tollefson, 10/5).

Vox: The CDC calls for quarantining even after a negative test. The White House isn’t listening.
“…As Trump, Pence, and McEnany fail to take precautions, they set a poor example for the rest of the country at a time, experts say, the U.S. needs better, steadier leadership on how to overcome the coronavirus. … The CDC is very clear about this: If a person comes into close contact with someone known to have a coronavirus infection, defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, that person should get a test and quarantine for 14 days. The CDC says the person should self-isolate for the two full weeks even if they test negative and don’t develop symptoms…” (Lopez, 10/5).

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HHS Whistleblower, Former BARDA Director Rick Bright Resigns From NIH Post

POLITICO: HHS whistleblower Rick Bright resigns from government
“Rick Bright, the federal vaccine chief-turned-whistleblower who was reassigned to a different agency and subsequently criticized the Trump administration’s pandemic response, has left the federal government, Bright’s lawyers announced on Tuesday. … Bright was abruptly removed as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in April and reassigned to NIH, and he alleges that he was demoted because he opposed political pressure linked to an unproven Covid-19 treatment…” (Diamond, 10/6).

Additional coverage of Bright’s resignation is available from AP, CBS News, and STAT.

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Nearly Half Of U.K.-Based Development NGOs Expect Staffing Cuts Due To Pandemic-Related Economic Pressures, Survey Shows

Devex: Exclusive: Survey shows scale of financial difficulties facing U.K. NGOs
“Nearly half of U.K.-based development NGOs expect to lay off staff members amid economic pressures caused by the pandemic, according to a survey, with 10% of organizations saying they will likely have to make more than one-fifth of their workers redundant. Forty-six percent of organizations polled by Bond, a network for NGOs, said they had made staff redundant or were likely to because of COVID-19. And despite their bigger budgets, staff at larger organizations were more at risk…” (Worley, 10/6).

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Aid Groups, Humanitarian Organizations Should Face Consequences For Sex Abuse, Experts Tell U.K. Parliament Committee

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Aid groups should face tougher action over sex abuse by staff — experts
“Aid organizations and humanitarian agencies should face tougher action including funding cuts if they do not tackle sexual abuse by staff, aid experts told U.K. parliamentarians on Tuesday amid a sex-for-jobs scandal during an Ebola crisis in the Congo. … The hearing came after an investigation last week by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the New Humanitarian revealed 51 women accusing mainly foreign aid workers of forcing them into sex during an Ebola outbreak in the Congo between 2018-2020…” (Elks, 10/6).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Sri Lanka widens curfew, bans gatherings as virus surges (Mallawarachi, 10/7).

AP: Indian capital launches campaign to curb toxic air pollution (Saaliq/Ghosal, 10/6).

BBC News: Measles in DR Congo: By air, boat and foot to deliver the vaccine (10/6).

Devex: As Africa reopens, researchers see new chance for data-driven response (Cheney, 10/6).

Devex: The winners and losers in Australia’s 2020 aid budget (Cornish, 10/6).

Devex: U.K. aid helps countries stand up to Chinese ‘bullying,’ says former DFID chief (Worley, 10/6).

The Guardian: Women’s health organization president resigns following bullying and racism investigation (Ford, 10/7).

U.N. News: Report outlines long road to post-COVID recovery for Latin America and Caribbean (10/6).

U.N. News: DR Congo: Children suffering ‘unrelenting violence,’ UNICEF deeply concerned (10/6).

Washington Post: ‘There are no words’: As coronavirus kills Indigenous elders, endangered languages face extinction (McCoy/Traiano, 10/6).

Washington Post: U.S. ranks near bottom of advanced nations in child wellness — new report (Strauss, 10/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Awarding WHO Nobel Peace Prize Would Affirm Need For Global Solidarity Amid Pandemic, Opinion Piece Says

Washington Post: Why the WHO deserves the Nobel Peace Prize
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of the U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches podcast

“…The [Trump] administration’s campaign against the WHO has been swift and severe. … Still, the WHO has been able to mount a global response to the pandemic that is succeeding in two key ways that are particularly salient to the considerations of the Nobel Committee. First, the WHO is successfully holding the line against covid-19 from spreading through the world’s most vulnerable populations. … The WHO is also at the center of a global cooperative effort to distribute a covid-19 vaccine worldwide. … Conferring the Nobel Peace Prize on the WHO would be interpreted in the United States as a political act — and it will be. The WHO is simultaneously playing offense against covid-19 and defense from domestic political forces in the United States that seek to scapegoat the WHO for Trump’s handling of the crisis. Awarding the WHO the Nobel Peace Prize would provide the organization a much-needed morale boost while affirming the fundamental premise that a global pandemic can be confronted only through global solidarity” (10/6).

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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19, Including Contact Tracing, Mental Health Of Frontline Workers, Vaccine Development, Inequities In Access To Medical Oxygen

Al Jazeera: Contact tracing is essential to break COVID-19 transmission
Ibrahima Soce Fall, assistant director general for emergency response at the WHO (10/7).

Devex: Opinion: Psychological first aid for front-line workers in quarantine
Andy Solomon-Osborne, head of mental health and psychosocial support for Action Against Hunger’s Ethiopia team (10/6).

Nature: Plan now to speed vaccine supply for future pandemics
Kate Bingham, chair of the COVID-19 U.K. Vaccine Taskforce and managing partner at SV Health Investors (10/6).

Project Syndicate: Preventing the Next Zoonotic Pandemic
Vanda Felbab-Brown, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author (10/6).

STAT: Is ‘it can’t hurt’ the rationale for giving Trump unproven Covid-19 treatments?
Adam Cifu, internal medicine physician and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, and Vinay Prasad, hematologist-oncologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (10/6).

STAT: Access to medical oxygen: a glaring global inequity
David Walton, physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Jim Ansara, founder of Shawmut Design and Construction, both co-founders of Build Health International (10/6).

Washington Post: Human volunteers can help ensure we have an effective vaccine more quickly
Editorial Board (10/6).

Washington Post: Americans want to trust the experts on the coronavirus. That isn’t easy
Stephanie Ternullo, PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Chicago (10/6).

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Preventing Sexual Misconduct In Aid Sector Requires Holistic Approach Examining Systems, Rules, Opinion Piece Suggests

New Humanitarian: Why transactional sex is difficult to stop in the aid sector
Jasmine-Kim Westendorf, senior lecturer in international relations at La Trobe University, Australia and author

“…Recently, there has been a flurry of activity to strengthen prevention and accountability mechanisms for sexual misconduct in the humanitarian sector. … While important, these initiatives will not get to the heart of this problem unless the sector truly grapples with the dynamics of power, gender, and entitlement that shape the choices made by some aid workers to exploit and abuse locals, and that mean that few are reported or investigated in the first instance. … To more effectively prevent and punish sexual misconduct, organizations and aid workers must engage more openly and honestly with their behaviors in relation to local communities. Instead of relying on a conduct and discipline approach governed primarily by HR systems, organizations need to complement rules-based training with ongoing opportunities for discussion about a mission and their role in it, to ensure personnel understand not only what rules govern their behaviors, but why they have been deployed, how their everyday behaviors affect the goals and outcomes of a humanitarian mission, and to what end certain behaviors have been proscribed. They need to ensure that leadership is committed and accountable to safeguarding policies and have an understanding of gender and power as driving forces of misconduct. And they need to move away from understanding sexual misconduct as something individual staff perpetrate, but see it as the product of the complex environments in which they work and address the causal and contextual factors that give rise to them. This is critical, because while the number of perpetrators is small, the effects they have are huge: on the lives of their victims, the outcomes of the missions they work within, and on global perceptions of the legitimacy of the humanitarian project” (10/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Address Role Of Mortality Data, Global Cooperation In Global Health Security

Center for Global Development: Mortality Data in COVID-19 and Beyond: The Bedrock of Global Health Security
Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, CEO of CGD Europe, and senior fellow at CGD, and Eleni Smitham, research assistant at CGD (10/6).

BMJ Opinion: If the U.K. wants to lead in global health, it must demonstrate a commitment to international laws which underpin global governance
Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy at London School of Economics (10/7).

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Faith Communities Participate In Online HIV Interfaith Conference To Address Challenges Related To Achieving Global HIV Targets

UNAIDS: Faith communities discuss the way forward in the HIV response
“More than a thousand people of faith working in the HIV field recently came together for an online HIV interfaith conference, Resilience & Renewal: Faith in the HIV Response. … During the three-day meeting, the participants identified joint action to address some of the challenges and emerging issues related to the achievement of the 2020 and 2030 HIV targets. All people of faith were invited to sign the online declaration of commitment to the HIV response: Our Promise to Action — Resilience & Renewal: Faith in the HIV Response. The conference also saw the launch of the 13 Million Campaign to engage faith leaders, individuals, and communities to promote access to health services by the 13 million children, women, and men living with HIV who are not yet on antiretroviral therapy…” (10/6).

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Wilson Center Event Discusses Role Of Indigenous Midwives In Maternal Health

Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Knowledge Keepers: Why We Need Indigenous Midwives
Hannah Chosid, staff intern with the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, discusses a recent Wilson Center event with the UNFPA and International Confederation of Midwives on indigenous midwifery (10/7).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Acting Administrator Provides Statement On Sexual Exploitation, Abuse Allegations In DRC; Agency Launches Community Of Practice With Dutch Ministry Of Foreign Affairs

USAID: Statement by USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Allegations in the Democratic Republic of Congo
“We at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are gravely concerned about the recent allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by personnel employed by international organizations and relief agencies in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)…” (10/6).

USAID: USAID Launches Community of Practice on Accountability for Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment With the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (10/6).

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USAID Acting Administrator Travels To Kenya, Announces $7M To Help Nation Recover From Pandemic-Related Economic Losses

USAID: United States Announces $7 Million To Help Kenya Recover From Economic Losses From COVID-19
“The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced a new, three-year Local Works program that will provide up to $7 million to support local communities in the Mara landscape and Northern and Coastal Kenya as they recover from the loss of tourism and livelihoods because of the pandemic of COVID-19…” (10/6).

USAID: Readout Of USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa’s Travel To The Republic Of Kenya
USAID Acting Spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala provides an overview of USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa’s visit to Kenya (10/6).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of October 7, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/7).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here.

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