Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines Trump Administration's Foreign Assistance Review Process, Potential Outcomes

Devex: U.S. aid experts ask — how much will Trump’s development review matter?
“The fate of the Trump administration’s foreign assistance review has been a lingering question for the U.S. aid community for months. Now that it appears the process will likely produce some kind of policy outcome, the next question on everyone’s mind is whether or not it will matter. People with knowledge of the foreign assistance review process believe U.S. President Donald Trump will refer to it in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly next week, though they said even some within the administration are not sure what to expect…” (Igoe, 9/18).

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Devex, NPR Examine Trump Administration's Freeze On Foreign Aid To Northern Triangle

Devex: Is ‘blocking movement’ a measure of U.S. aid success in Northern Triangle?
“Reorienting all U.S. foreign assistance in the Northern Triangle would fundamentally change the way organizations can respond to challenges in the region…” (Welsh, 9/18).

NPR: Trump Froze Aid To Guatemala. Now Programs Are Shutting Down
“…In 2018, at least 116,000 Guatemalans crossed the southern U.S. border — more than from any other country except Mexico. Its people were fleeing rural poverty, food insecurity, climate change, and drug-related violence. Over the past few decades, the U.S. government has sought to remedy these internal problems by channeling hundreds of millions of dollars through dozens of local and international nongovernmental organizations that carry out development and humanitarian programs on its behalf. The months since the freeze was announced [in April by the Trump administration] have been chaotic for those groups, which in the Northern Triangle usually rely on the U.S. for the lion’s share of their operating budget. Now, as their coffers run dry, they’re scaling back programs or ending them early, closing their offices and laying off dozens of staff…” (McDonnell, 9/17).

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Drop In DRC Ebola Cases But Too Early To Predict Slowing Of Outbreak, WHO Says; DRC Former Health Minister Charged With Embezzlement

AFP: DR Congo ex-health minister charged with embezzlement: lawyer
“Former Health Minister Oly Ilunga of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been charged with embezzling funds allotted for the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, his lawyer told AFP Tuesday. … Ilunga’s lawyers have rejected the embezzlement claim, saying accounts prove that public funds were used ‘exclusively’ for the anti-Ebola battle…” (9/17).

CIDRAP News: WHO: Too early to say if drop in Ebola rate is significant
“According to the latest weekly bulletin from the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) African regional office, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is experiencing a drop in the rate of new cases, but it’s too early to say if that drop is a significant trend forecasting the end of the 13-month-long outbreak in the DRC’s North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri provinces…” (Soucheray, 9/17).

New Times: DR Congo, Rwanda ministers upbeat over joint Ebola fight roadmap
“The Minister for Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba, and her Congolese counterpart Dr. Eteni Longondo, have commended the progress that the two countries have made in implementing a joint roadmap for cross-border efforts meant to combat the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic…” (Umurengezi, 9/18).

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Uganda President Museveni Thanks U.S. Government For Disease Prevention, Treatment, Preparedness Support In Meeting With HHS Secretary Azar

Kampala Post: Museveni Commends U.S. for Support to Combat Viral Diseases
“President Yoweri Museveni has thanked the government of the United States of America for the continued role and support in combating viral diseases in Uganda and the region as a whole. The president was speaking during a meeting with the visiting American Secretary of Health and Human Service, Mr. Alex Azar and his delegation, which called on him at State House, Entebbe on Tuesday. … At a joint press conference, Museveni commended the government of the United States of America for the long-term support to the AIDS programs and other health concerns…” (9/18).

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World Not Sufficiently Prepared For Global Pandemic, Expert Panel's Report Warns

CNN: The risk of a global pandemic is growing — and the world isn’t ready, experts say
“The chances of a global pandemic are growing — and we are all dangerously under prepared, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In a report published on Wednesday by a panel of international health experts and officials, they pointed to the 1918 influenza pandemic as an example of a global catastrophe. That killed as many as 50 million people — if a similar contagion happened today, it could kill up to 80 million people and wipe out 5% of the global economy…” (Yeung, 9/18).

Devex: New report warns of the consequences of inaction on preparedness
“…The call for the world to better prepare for the next outbreak and health emergency isn’t new. But Alex Ross, director of the secretariat of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, said that while there’s been a lot of talk on preparedness, not much has been done to date. ‘After every single major outbreak, and you go back to SARS, H5N1, H1N1, Ebola in 2014-2016, you see the same thing in many of the humanitarian disasters. A lot of money goes into response and then it simply disappears right afterwards,’ he told Devex…” (Ravelo, 9/18).

Fast Company: When (not if) a global pandemic hits, we will not be ready
“…If it’s next year, the world is not in good shape, as described in the [Global Preparedness Monitoring Board’s] first ‘Annual Report on Global Preparedness for Health Emergencies,’ released on September 17. The GPMB started this report after the West African Ebola outbreak that took place from 2014 to 2016. … Cochaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway and former World Health Organization Director-General, and Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the board suggests seven steps world leaders must follow to prepare adequately for a health crisis, like the spread of a global respiratory pathogen…” (Klein, 9/17).

Reuters: World at risk of pandemics that could kill millions, panel warns
“…Calling on governments to ‘heed the lessons these outbreaks are teaching us’ and to ‘fix the roof before the rain comes’, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said they should invest in strengthening health systems, boost funds for research into new technologies, improve coordination and rapid communication systems, and monitor progress continually…” (Kelland, 9/17).

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Child Mortality Decreasing Nearly Everywhere But Disparities Persist, Gates Foundation Report Says

New York Times: Almost Everywhere, Fewer Children Are Dying
“…From 2000 to 2017, all but one of the 97 low-to-middle-income countries that account for the vast majority of deaths of young children lowered their child mortality rates, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with a research team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, led by Stephen Lim, the institute’s senior director of science and engineering. The data reveal a wide disparity of outcomes in early child mortality both across countries and within them. The researchers project that if current rates of progress continue, nearly two-thirds of children in the poorest countries will still live in districts that won’t meet United Nations development goals by 2030…” (Katz et al., 9/17).

VOA News: VOA Interview: Bill Gates
“Living conditions have improved greatly since 2000 even for the world’s poorest people, but billions remain mired in ‘layers of inequality.’ That is the assessment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s third annual report on progress toward U.N. Sustainable Development Goals — 17 measures that most countries have pledged to try to reach by 2030. Those efforts are falling short, says Bill Gates, who spoke to VOA English to Africa’s Linord Moudou. Below is the transcript of the interview…” (9/17).

Additional coverage of the Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers report is available from The Hill, NPR, and VOA News.

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Some Advocates Call On Gates Foundation To Rescind Award For India's Prime Minister Over Human Rights Record

The Hill: Muslim groups ask Gates foundation to rescind honor to Indian prime minister
“A coalition of Muslim and human rights organizations called on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to cancel its plans to award Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi its Global Goalkeeper Award, citing Modi’s controversial revocation of the Kashmir region’s special status…” (Budryk, 9/17).

NPR: Gates Foundation’s Humanitarian Award To India’s Modi Is Sparking Outrage
“…India Prime Minister Narendra Modi … is being cited for building toilets for millions of rural Indians as part of his Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission). His award was announced by an Indian government minister on Twitter earlier this month but the other recipients have not yet been made public. Activists are calling for the Foundation to rescind the award because of Modi’s human rights record…” (Gharib, 9/17).

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Palliative Care Expert Group Condemns U.S. Congress Members' Report On WHO, Opioid Manufacturer Purdue Pharma

The Guardian: U.S. attack on WHO ‘hindering morphine drive in poor countries’
“[A report] on the World Health Organization (WHO) by U.S. politicians accusing it of being corrupted by drug companies is making it even more difficult to get morphine to millions of people dying in acute pain in poor countries, say experts in the field. Representatives of the hospice and palliative care community said they were stunned by the Congress members’ report, which they said made false accusations and would affect people suffering in countries where almost no opioids were available. … The report by the Democratic congresswoman Katherine Clark and the Republican congressman Hal Rogers, published in May, has undermined efforts to encourage governments to buy generic morphine or other appropriate opioids and doctors to prescribe them, dealing a severe blow to the struggle to help people dying in acute pain from cancer, AIDS, injuries, and other conditions, the [International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHCP)] says…” (Boseley, 9/18).

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More News In Global Health

Borgen Magazine: Why Lifting Women out of Poverty is Essential (Grant, 9/18).

The Economist: Climate change is making it harder to reduce poverty in Malawi (9/16).

Homeland Preparedness News: Kenya, Ghana and Malawi launch world’s first malaria vaccine (Galford, 9/17).

New Humanitarian: Why you don’t want to be a Venezuelan woman right now (Collins, 9/17).

Reuters: Scientists release sterile mosquitoes in Burkina to fight malaria (Ndiaga/Ross, 9/18).

Scientific American: Mapping HIV Prevalence in Sub-Saharan Africa (Lewis, September 2019).

VOD/Global Voices: Five years after HIV outbreak in a Cambodian commune, villagers feel forgotten (Prathna, 9/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Primary Health Care, Patient Participation, Recognition Of Social Factors' Impacts On Health Important To Include In U.N. UHC Declaration

The Conversation: Universal health coverage alone won’t radically improve global health
Maisam Najafizada, assistant professor of population health policy at Memorial University of Newfoundland

“…As a researcher in the area of public health and health systems, I hope that any global meaningful standard for universal health coverage will include benchmarks for primary health care including patient participation in health systems. These are necessary to enable countries to effectively evaluate the true impact of health investments. The U.N.’s current 2012 policy on global health doesn’t address this concern. A new political statement supporting UHC should. … A meaningful statement about UHC must address the fact that ensuring health is beyond the scope of ministries of health and the health-care sector alone, and that social factors impact health and community participation. … For the sake of better global health, U.N. decision makers should realize a vision for people to lead healthy lives, not just create policy that responds to illness” (9/17).

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Taskforce On Women And NCDs Outlines 3 Key Commitments For Leaders At High-Level Meeting On UHC

Devex: Opinion: How to ensure all women have access to the health services they need
Sally Cowal, senior vice president for global health at the American Cancer Society; Emma Feeny, senior advocacy adviser at the George Institute for Global Health; and Maia Olsen, program manager for NCD Synergies at Partners In Health

“…On Sept 23., the world’s leaders will gather in New York and commit to accelerating progress toward universal health coverage. Leaders should not waste this opportunity … These are the three key commitments that we, the Taskforce on Women and NCDs, are calling for. 1. Include women in decision-making … 2. Promote a rights-based approach to health systems strengthening … 3. Commit to the routine collection and analysis of disaggregated data … Governments must commit to providing effective, gender-sensitive health services; addressing all barriers to care, including a lack of health information; and prioritizing the needs of the most marginalized women and girls…” (9/17).

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International Community Must Address Complacency Surrounding Vaccines To Prevent Disease Resurgence

Devex: Opinion: The real problem with vaccine hesitancy
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…The only thing preventing most diseases from coming back is the fact that an average of 86% of the world’s children now receive basic vaccination … This is a huge accomplishment, but it has also helped create a false sense of security that modern medicine can make infectious disease a thing of the past. The reality is that there are very few diseases that can be completely eradicated, like smallpox. For the vast majority of them, we can at best keep them at bay. The fundamental failure to understand this is what lies behind vaccine hesitancy. If we don’t solve this problem now and start to recognize the relentless nature of this battle, then there is a very real risk they will start to make a more significant comeback as more people, unfamiliar with the diseases become complacent…” (9/18).

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More Precise Data Helps Drive More Effective Interventions To Combat Global Inequality

The Atlantic: We Need a More Targeted Approach to Combatting Global Inequality
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, and Melinda Gates, both co-founders and co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…When you start to understand global inequality at the local level, it changes how you think about interventions. … The key is identifying those in need, analyzing how to help, and delivering solutions directly to them. And a few governments around the world are starting to experiment with doing just that. … All these targeted efforts rely on data, and that’s why the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invests so much in data — collecting more of them, analyzing them in more sophisticated ways, and sharing findings with leaders and advocates who need to understand them. … This new trove of health and education data makes us both more impatient and more optimistic. We’re more optimistic because we see a clear path to eliminating inequality — and more impatient because more countries, including our own, need to follow it” (9/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Resources Address Various Aspects Of Development Financing For Health, Climate Change, Poverty

European Sting: Here’s how to close the $176 billion health financing gap (Guilford/Kurowski, 9/18).

ODI: Financing the end of extreme poverty: 2019 update (Manuel et al., September 2019).

Oxfam: How can we think about climate change financing within a climate of inequality? (Paul, 9/17).

World Bank: Better together: Finance and health ministers can deliver a win-win for their countries (Ahmed/Savedoff, 9/16).

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WorldRiskReport 2019 Focuses On Access To Water Supply, Dangers Of Water-Related Environmental Events

Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft/Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict: WorldRiskReport 2019
This annual report focuses this year on water supply. The report’s launch page states, “[A]ccess to sufficient clean and safe water varies widely around the world, with the poorest often having to pay the most. Water shortages do not only affect a country’s agriculture and health care, also important development processes fall short when children are sent to fetch water instead of going to school. Extreme natural events and the effects of climate change intensify water-related problems as they push long-established water supply processes to their limits. Therefore, providing water security means two things: on the one hand, guaranteeing people access to water supply, and on the other hand, protecting people from the dangers of water…” (9/17).

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From the U.S. Government

HHS Secretary Azar Meets With Ugandan President To Discuss Ebola Preparedness
HHS: Secretary Azar Meets with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Ebola Preparedness
“[Tuesday], September 17, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, joined by other senior U.S. health officials, met with the Republic of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni regarding the multilateral response to contain the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). … During the meeting, President Museveni and Secretary Azar discussed continuing this successful partnership and how to work together to prevent the spread of Ebola and strengthen surveillance efforts….” (9/17).

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