KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Secretary Of State Tillerson Says State, USAID Overhaul Could Save Taxpayers Up To $10B; Full Plan Likely Not Available Until Year's End

Foreign Policy: Tillerson Offers State Department Employees First Look at Redesign
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered an initial glimpse into his plans to overhaul the department in an email sent to department employees on Wednesday evening, saying his proposal could save taxpayers some $5 to $10 billion in the next five years. … Tillerson emphasized work to better align the State Department’s and USAID’s missions and policies, but stopped short of saying he wanted to fold the aid agency into State entirely, a proposal that had been floated in months past…” (Gramer, 9/14).

New York Times: Diplomacy? Tillerson Says His Top Priority Is Efficiency
“…Members of Congress have complained that Mr. Tillerson has given them almost no details of his plans, and a spending blueprint passed last week by a crucial Senate committee largely rejected Mr. Tillerson’s proposed cuts, with a bipartisan group of senators saying that now was not the time to retreat from diplomacy. Mr. Tillerson must provide the White House with an outline of his redesign by Friday, although he has said that the full details will most likely not be available until the end of the year, with implementation beginning next year…” (Harris, 9/14).

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U.S. House Approves FY18 Spending Bills, Including Federal Research, Science Budgets; Final Levels Yet To Be Determined

Science: U.S. House approves 2018 spending bills, but process far from finished
“The U.S. House of Representatives [Thursday] took a major step toward setting federal science budgets for the 2018 fiscal year that begins 1 October. But Congress is still far from the finish line, and final spending levels aren’t likely to be finalized until late this year at the earliest. … The good news for the research community is that the 211-to-198 vote by the House largely rejects deep cuts to science programs proposed by President Donald Trump earlier this year…” (Malakoff, 9/14).

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Poor Diet, Tobacco Use, Mental Health Disorders Leading Causes Of Death, Disability, Global Burden Of Disease Papers Show

The Guardian: Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths, global disease study reveals
“Poor diet is a factor in one in five deaths around the world, according to the most comprehensive study ever carried out on the subject. Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. … Five papers on life expectancy and the causes and risk factors of death and ill health have been published by The Lancet medical journal…” (Boseley, 9/14).

NBC News: You Might Be Surprised by What Kills Us
“…The latest look at what is killing people around the world has a lot of good news, however. Infectious diseases such as the AIDS virus and malaria are killing fewer people and childhood death rates have hit a new low, the international team, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, reported…” (Fox, 9/15).

Reuters: Mental disorders, poor diets, and tobacco make the world sick
“…The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, published on Friday in The Lancet medical journal, found that while life expectancy is increasing, so too are the years people live in poor health. The proportion of life spent being ill is higher in poor countries than in wealthy ones. … Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, which led the study … said a ‘triad of troubles’ — obesity, conflict, and mental illness — is emerging as a ‘stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyles’…” (Kelland, 9/14).

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Conflict, Climate Change, Global Economic Slowdown Fueling Rise In Number Of Hungry People Worldwide, U.N. Report Shows

Bloomberg: World Hunger Worsens as War and Climate Shocks Hit Food Security
“The number of people suffering from hunger last year rose at the fastest pace since at least the beginning of this century as conflicts and climate-related issues curbed access to food. Those categorized as hungry increased by about 38 million to 815 million in 2016, accounting for 11 percent of the global population, according to a report from the United Nations…” (De Sousa, 9/15).

The Guardian: ‘Alarm bells we cannot ignore’: world hunger rising for first time this century
“…A foreword to the report, written jointly by the heads of the five U.N. agencies, said: ‘Over the past decade, conflicts have risen dramatically in number and become more complex and intractable in nature. This has set off alarm bells we cannot afford to ignore: we will not end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 unless we address all the factors that undermine food security and nutrition. Securing peaceful and inclusive societies is a necessary condition to that end’…” (McVeigh, 9/15).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Factbox — Global hunger rises for first time in a decade — U.N. agencies
“…The number of hungry in 2016 was 815 million, up from 777 million in 2015. Numbers of hungry began to rise in 2014. The largest number live in Asia (520 million), followed by Africa (243 million), and Latin America and the Caribbean (42 million). Africa has the highest rates of hunger (20 percent), followed by Asia (11.7 percent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (6.6 percent)…” (Whiting, 9/15).

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Sub-Saharan African Nations Need New Strategic Vision To Transform Health Sectors, Lancet Commission Report Says

Xinhua News: African experts urge new vision to transform health sector amid challenges
“Countries in the sub-Saharan African region must adopt a new strategic vision that revolves around policy reforms, innovative financing, and adoption of new technologies in order to transform their health sectors, experts said on Thursday. The experts, who spoke during the launch of a report on the status of health in Africa in Nairobi, stated that a radical policy shift, visionary leadership, research, training, and technology adoption are key to transforming the critical sector against a backdrop of a rising disease burden…” (Lagat, 9/14).

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The Economist Examines Gates Foundation's 'Goalkeepers' Report

The Economist: Great strides have been made against disease and poverty
“…A report from the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] published on September 13th suggests that progress on several [health and development] fronts may be starting to falter. For a variety of reasons, from demography to American and European politics, Mr. Gates fears that campaigns to eradicate extreme poverty, HIV, and malaria are going awry. He also believes that the rich world has not noticed. … Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, describes the report as ‘a wake-up call’…” (9/14).

The Economist: The Gates Foundation is worried about the world’s wellbeing
“…Their report examines future scenarios, considering 18 global challenges from cutting child mortality to increasing financial inclusion, based on different degrees of optimism and pessimism. … The couple argue that the decisions that the world makes over the next two years or so will have a huge impact on the futures of millions, if not billions, of people…” (9/14).

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Policies Governing Dual-Use Research Meant To Preserve Biosecurity Fall Short, National Academies Report Shows

NPR: Efforts To Prevent Misuse Of Biomedical Research Fall Short
“For years, the government has been trying to reduce the risk that legitimate biological research could be misused to threaten the public’s health, but those efforts have serious shortcomings. That’s the conclusion of a report released Thursday by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that examined existing practices and policies on so-called dual-use biological research…” (Greenfieldboyce, 9/14).

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UNICEF Scaling Up Response To Influx Of Rohingya Refugees Into Bangladesh

Associated Press: The Latest: UNICEF estimates 240,000 children fled Myanmar
“The U.N. children’s agency is estimating that 240,000 children have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state into neighboring Bangladesh over the last three weeks. UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado says that figure — amounting to about 60 percent of the estimated 391,000 total refugees — includes about 36,000 children aged under one year old. She says the agency also estimates 52,000 pregnant and lactating women…” (9/15).

U.N. News Centre: UNICEF scales-up relief for Rohingya facing critical ‘shortages of everything’
“Amid an acute shortage of humanitarian supplies for the thousands of Rohingya arriving every day in Bangladesh, having fled violence in Myanmar, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is undertaking a ‘massive’ scale-up of its emergency operations to ensure that those most vulnerable are not endangered further…” (9/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Lancet Editorial, Opinion Piece Examine GBD Study's Evolution, Challenges Ahead

The Lancet: Life, death, and disability in 2016
Editorial Board

“… The [Global Burden of Diseases (GBD)] is a herculean effort that annually tracks disease burden across countries, time, age, and sex. … Overall, the findings [in this year’s report] show that the world is becoming healthier, but progress is uneven. People are living longer, but with more disease. … One message from [the papers in the report] is that there are certain health issues that need specific attention in different countries. … We propose that WHO, the World Bank, and other technical and multilateral agencies join together annually to discuss the GBD findings, and how they should influence decision making. … To recognize [new climate-related] risks, the GBD will have to consider developing additional health-related metrics that relate to planetary health: such as concerning biodiversity, climate change, and ecosystem services. Therein lies a challenge for the next GBD” (9/16).

The Lancet: Measuring global health: motivation and evolution of the Global Burden of Disease Study
Christopher J.L. Murray, professor at the University of Washington and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and Alan D. Lopez, Melbourne Laureate professor and the Rowden-White chair of global health and burden of disease measurement at the University of Melbourne, director of the Global Burden of Disease Group in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, and affiliate professor at IHME

“…During the past 25 years, the scope, magnitude, and uses of the GBD Study have increased substantially. The study has continued to evolve in an attempt to provide a robust scientific framework for measurement of health worldwide. Despite evolution, the scope to improve the GBD Study, primarily through increased scientific collaboration and data sharing, is considerable. Progress will come from many directions: sharing data that have been collected but not analyzed, strategic efforts to collect new data to fill critical gaps, improved methods for correction for bias in data processing, innovations in statistical modelling, and enhanced clarity on the meaning of different results in different locations. Importantly, the GBD Study has become an essential public good — a dynamic, collaborative scientific effort that routinely provides the essential information required to support decision makers everywhere to improve the health of populations” (9/16).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Report From Lancet Commission On The Future Of Health In Sub-Saharan Africa

The Conversation: Why the path to longer and healthier lives for all Africans is within reach
Alex Ezeh, executive director of the African Population and Health Research Center; Nelson Sewankambo, professor of internal medicine at Makerere University; and Peter Piot, director and Handa professor of global health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…The Lancet Commission believes: ‘that by 2030 Africans should have the same opportunities for long and healthy lives that new technologies, well-functioning health systems, and good governance offer people living on other continents.’ To achieve this, the report offers 12 strategic directions that all sub-Saharan countries should consider in their policies and plans. These include the promotion of health, prevention of disease, and expansion of access to treatment and care. … [E]ach country must adapt these in line with its specific needs, resources, and culture. … The Commission report underscores the need for Africans to take the lead on the health, scientific, and development challenges in close collaboration with the global research community. … These measures, together, will represent ‘a serious shift in mindsets,’ which the commissioners argued is key to achieving meaningful and sustainable change in health in sub-Saharan Africa” (9/13).

The Lancet: Africa and health: a Commission to accelerate success
Richard Horton, editor in chief, and Selina Lo, senior editor, both at The Lancet

“…With the election of the first WHO director general from an African nation, together with a renewed health transformation plan designed by the WHO Regional Office for Africa, multilateral leadership for Africa has never been stronger. The Commission believes that the next decade is a crucial period for the continent. If the right policies are put in place, the trajectory for health and health care in African nations could reach a dramatic inflection point. The part played by the international community in supporting this African vision will be important, and possibly even decisive. But this Commission argues that only if Africans are empowered to lead Africa free from the bondage and neo-colonialism of western nations will these hopes be fully realized. We present this Commission in the belief that there has never been a better moment for African health leaders to guide their nations to unrivaled prosperity…” (9/13).

The Lancet: Longer and healthier lives for all Africans by 2030: perspectives and action of WHO AFRO
Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa

“The Path to Longer and Healthier Lives for All Africans by 2030: the Lancet Commission on the Future of Health in sub-Saharan Africa is of great interest to the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO). This Commission by Irene Agyepong and colleagues expresses its conviction that a health system ensuring positive health outcomes for everyone, irrespective of socioeconomic class, gender, religion, or location, is possible and realizable in the African region, despite many challenges. … WHO AFRO will draw from the recommendations of the Lancet Commission that reinforce many of our priorities and ideas. We, like Agyepong and colleagues, are optimistic that our common vision will be realized” (9/13).

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Global Fund Continues To Invest In Improving Women, Girls' Lives, Health Systems To Achieve Global Health Security

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Why we should invest in global health security
Marijke Wijnroks, interim executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“Investing in global health is a highly cost effective way to achieve greater security and stability, to protect communities worldwide from infectious disease, and to halt emerging health threats. … It is becoming starkly evident that young people, in particular adolescent girls and young women, face extraordinary levels of risk. … The Global Fund supports work that breaks down gender inequalities that drive the spread of disease, and we invest in programs specifically focused on improving the health of adolescent girls and young women. … The Global Fund partnership will use evidence and experience in the face of change to innovate and evolve. We will not look for quick wins over sustainable impact. We will support efforts to eliminate barriers to diagnosis and treatment. To reach the unreached and marginalized. To prevent new infections. To deliver value for money. To end epidemics” (9/14).

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Despite Recent Achievements, Many Challenges Lie Ahead For Control, Elimination, Eradication Of NTDs

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Global health policy and neglected tropical diseases: Then, now, and in the years to come
Thomas Fürst of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and colleagues

“…[B]eing considered in the vast [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] agenda will not automatically ensure or even further raise the profile of [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)]. … [M]uch has been achieved in the fight against NTDs over the past years with regards to (global) health policy and financing, but major challenges are still ahead … In order to address these challenges and sustain the momentum also when NTD prevalences and morbidities dwindle, it may be advisable to complement the original rallying cry about the ‘neglect’ of the respective tropical diseases. Major achievements and particularly historic opportunities for success in the control, elimination, and — in the cases of dracunculiasis and yaws — even eradication of NTDs should be strongly emphasized to ensure a continued buy-in from existing partners and to mobilize additional stakeholders” (9/14).

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New Global Fortification Data Exchange Tool Provides Information To Help Nutrition Community End 'Hidden Hunger'

Devex: Opinion: Fighting hidden hunger with data
Lawrence Haddad, executive director of GAIN, Scott J. Montgomery, director of the Food Fortification Initiative, Jonathan Gorstein, executive director of the Iodine Global Network, and Homero Martinez, senior adviser to the Micronutrient Forum Secretariat, all members of the Global Fortification Data Exchange core group

“…For those working to combat hidden hunger with food fortification, a new global data tool sheds light on the status of national food fortification programs, and provides data to guide informed actions toward achieving optimal micronutrient intake through food fortification. … By consolidating all available data, the tool exposes data gaps and identifies areas where others in the nutrition community might contribute. The [Global Fortification Data Exchange (GFDx)] is a resource to address, with unprecedented confluence of evidence, one of the most wide-reaching global health problems. Hidden hunger damages communities and the economies of entire nations; it puts expectant mothers at risk, increases mortality, and impairs cognitive development of newborns, all of which undermine the efforts to end global poverty. It will take collective, sustained commitment to translate momentum into results to eliminate hidden hunger” (9/14).

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Global Supply Chains Need Partnerships To Help Move World Toward Achieving SDGs

HuffPost: Global supply chains and the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals
David MacLennan, chair and chief executive officer of Cargill

“… If we are to achieve [the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] in the next 13 years, it’s clear that more needs to be done. Specifically, we’ll have to find new ways of working together and combine our creative forces to build ‘a decent life for all on a sustainable planet,’ which is this year’s [U.N.] General Assembly theme. Cargill is committed to doing our part to help push the Global Goals forward. … Our main focus is on sourcing, making, and moving food around the world, and developing innovative ways to nourish people and the planet. … To maximize our impact we have to work with partners who complement our strengths. … I am optimistic that next week’s UNGA meetings will yield tangible outcomes and new creative ways that our global supply chains, connected with the insights and capabilities of our partners, will be a catalyst for faster, and even more meaningful progress” (9/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Offers 10 Common Reform Priorities For U.S. Diplomacy, Development Architecture

MFAN: Recent Redesign Proposals Converge on 10 Priorities for Reform
In this post, Stephanie Cappa, deputy director and senior policy adviser at MFAN, lists 10 common priorities for reforming the U.S. diplomacy and development architecture. The post also includes links to the proposals from which these 10 recommendations were derived (9/14).

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