KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New U.S. Approach To Human Rights Harms Reproductive Health, LGBTQ+ Rights, Advocates Say

The Guardian: U.S. reframing of human rights harms women and LGBT people, advocates say
“Mike Pompeo has stepped up his campaign to change the U.S. approach to human rights, reframing them as ‘unalienable rights’ rooted in American traditions, with a particular emphasis on religious freedom. Since establishing a commission on unalienable rights, made up mostly of religious conservatives, the secretary of state has had its report formally adopted by the State Department on 26 August, despite widespread objections from human rights groups. Those groups argue that Pompeo’s approach establishes a hierarchy of rights, downgrading the status of issues like women’s right to reproductive health and LGBTQ+ rights to a second, optional tier. They also point out that it legitimizes claims by authoritarian regimes that rights are based in national traditions…” (Borger, 9/17).

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WHO DG Urges Nations To Join COVAX; Agency Releases Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution Plan; Some Developing Countries Push To Limit Patent Protections On Successful Vaccines

ABC News: World Health Organization announces distribution plan for COVID-19 vaccine
“…The World Health Organization and its appointed Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, or SAGE, have released a worldwide vaccine distribution plan — it pushes back on so-called vaccine nationalism, the idea that each country should prioritize its own citizens. Instead, the WHO touts a global approach, prioritizing vaccination among the most vulnerable people everywhere…” (Harrison, 9/15).

U.N. News: WHO chief makes last push for countries to join multilateral COVID-19 vaccine effort
“Countries which have not signed on to a global mechanism that has pledged to provide fair and timely access to a COVID-19 vaccine, are urged to do so before Friday, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told a virtual meeting of Member States, held on the eve of the deadline. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reminded participants that so far, more than 170 countries have expressed interest in joining the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility…” (9/17).

Wall Street Journal: Developing Countries Push to Limit Patent Protections for Covid-19 Vaccines
“A group of developing countries, backed by United Nations agencies and activist groups, is pushing to limit patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines being tested by some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies so that inexpensive copies can be produced for poorer nations. South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Pakistan, and others argue they won’t be able to afford to protect their people without lower-cost, generic alternatives to the vaccines now being tested by companies such as Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca PLC, and Moderna Inc…” (Shah, 9/17).

Homeland Preparedness News: WHO urges equitable access to COVID-19 tools, maintenance and preparation (Galford, 9/17).

Reuters: Exclusive: France won’t buy vaccines through WHO’s COVAX scheme — ministry source (Blamont et al., 9/17).

Reuters: Latin American nations seek more time to join WHO vaccine plan (Boadle et al., 9/17).

Reuters: WHO says safety comes first as over 170 nations join COVID-19 vaccine plan (Geddie/Aravindan, 9/17).

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International Community Must Work To Protect Safety Of Health Care Workers, WHO Says On World Patient Safety Day; HCWs Represent 1 In 7 COVID-19 Cases Globally, Agency Notes

U.N. News: Protect health workers to save patients, WHO reiterates on World Patient Safety Day
“COVID-19 has reminded the world of the vital role health workers play in relieving suffering and saving lives, the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) has said, underlining the need to ensure their safety and protection. ‘No country, hospital, or clinic can keep its patients safe unless it keeps its health workers safe,’ said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general. Towards that end, to ensure health workers have the safe working conditions, training, pay, and respect they deserve, the U.N. health agency released the Health Worker Safety Charter, on Thursday, coinciding with the World Patient Safety Day…” (9/17).

Washington Post: Health-care workers make up 1 in 7 covid-19 cases recorded globally, WHO says
“Health-care workers account for 1 in 7 coronavirus cases recorded by the World Health Organization, the U.N. agency said this week. ‘Globally, around 14 percent of covid-19 cases reported to WHO are among health workers, and in some countries it’s as much as 35 percent,’ WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference in Geneva. The figures are disproportionate: Data collected by the WHO suggest that health workers represent less than 3 percent of the population in the majority of countries and less than 2 percent in almost all low- and middle-income countries…” (Mellen/Taylor, 9/17).

Additional coverage on health worker safety and impacts from the pandemic is available from Axios, Financial Times, Fox News, The Lancet, and VOA News.

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Conflicting Messaging On Coronavirus Vaccines Between Drug Companies, Trump Sows Confusion, Raises Concerns Over Political Influence

Washington Post: Vaccine companies reveal their study designs, even as Trump sows confusion
“President Trump stood before a televised audience Wednesday and proclaimed that ‘results are very good’ for vaccines targeting the novel coronavirus. A day later, Moderna and Pfizer, two front-runner drug companies developing a shot, released the full rule books for their studies, revealing that no one yet knows conclusively whether a vaccine is safe and effective — not even company executives. Trump’s imprecise, extemporaneous comments about vaccines have frequently clashed with messages from government officials, outside scientists, and companies. That discord has intensified concerns that political pressure will force a vaccine to be prematurely approved but also has sown public confusion as important public health messages have become entangled with politicians’ appeals to voters and companies’ communications to shareholders…” (Johnson, 9/17).

Additional coverage of concerns over politics influencing science is available from CNBC.

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Research Funding For Emerging Diseases Rarely Reaches Countries Where Most Impact Felt, G-FINDER Report Shows

SciDev.Net: Keep focus on emerging infections, Disease X: analysts
“Research funding for emerging infectious diseases rarely reaches the countries where such diseases do the most harm, according to [a] new data analysis that highlights how spikes in funding trail off when disease outbreaks stop making headlines. Despite rapid growth of global spending to tackle emerging infectious diseases, which largely impact the developing world, much of the basic research and development takes place in industrial countries — usually those that provide the funding. This is according to the latest G-FINDER report, compiled by global health think tank Policy Cures Research and published [Thursday]…” (Vesper, 9/17).

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South Africa Eases Lockdown Restrictions As Coronavirus Cases Drop; India On Track To Pass U.S. As Worst-Affected Country; Virus Spread In Europe Continues To Worsen; Conflict, COVID-19 Impact Tens Of Millions In Yemen; CDC Testing Guidance Did Not Undergo Scientific Review


AP: AP Interview: South Africa to know true virus toll in weeks (Meldrum, 9/18).

BBC: Coronavirus: South Africa eases strict lockdown as cases drop (9/17).

Devex: Paying the price: Pandemic puts DRC’s fragile health system at risk (Mednick, 9/17).

PRI: A new study on coronavirus songs in Africa looks at the impact of music with a message (Peavey, 9/17).


Al Jazeera: Red Cross warns of COVID-19 fueling discrimination in Asia (9/17).

AP: Asia Today: India’s coronavirus cases jump by another 96K (9/18).

Devex: Shortage of health care workers plagues India’s fight against COVID-19 (Byatnal, 9/17).

IPS: COVID-19 — Possible Human Rights Crisis in Asia as Disparities Expected to Widen (Russell, 9/17).

NPR: India On Track To Surpass U.S. As Country Worst Affected By COVID-19 (Frayer, 9/17).

Reuters: Red Cross warns coronavirus is driving discrimination in Asia (McPherson, 9/17).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: More children wed, risk trafficking in Rohingya camps in pandemic — U.N. (Karim, 9/17).

USA TODAY: Eight people in Indonesia who refused to wear face masks ordered to dig graves for COVID-19 victims as punishment (Bote, 9/15).


AP: Virus clusters at French universities give Europe a lesson (Corbet/Siegel, 9/18).

AP: WHO Europe chief urges nations to keep up virus quarantines (Keaten/Cheng, 9/17).

The Hill: WHO official warns Europe coronavirus spread is now worse than in March (Moreno, 9/17).


Wall Street Journal: In Brazil, Covid-19 Deals New Blow to Children Disabled by Zika (Magalhaes/Pearson, 9/18).


U.N. News: ‘Tens of millions of Yemenis’ devastated by unabated war and COVID-19 (9/17).


New York Times: CDC Testing Guidance Was Published Against Scientists’ Objections (Mandavilli et al., 9/17).

STAT: Trump’s attacks highlight CDC’s stumbles on public health messaging (Facher, 9/17).

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SDGs Off-Track To Reach 2030 Goal As U.N. General Assembly Gathers For 75th Session; Trump Will Not Attend In-Person

Devex: How off track are the SDGs, exactly? We don’t know, but it might not matter
“The pandemic has set the ambitious, but shaky, Sustainable Development Goals even further off track for completion by 2030. But exactly how badly has COVID-19 derailed progress? As the U.N. General Assembly meets for its 75th session, delegates will be taking stock at a number of forums and high-level meetings looking at how the pandemic has impacted the 17 goals and their 169 targets, which measure indicators on gender equality, education, food insecurity, poverty, health, climate action, and more…” (Lieberman, 9/18).

Devex: ODA influx needed to prevent ‘terrifying’ SDG backslide in fragile states
“With elusive progress on the Sustainable Development Goals in fragile contexts drastically compromised by COVID-19, there is a critical need for effective aid spending, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s ‘States of Fragility 2020’ report…” (Welsh, 9/18).

U.S. News & World Report: A New World Disorder
“…The U.N. had planned this year’s General Assembly, which began this week and lasts into early October, as an occasion to honor the 75 years since the Allied victors of World War II founded the organization in an effort to avoid the mass destruction of war and spread economic prosperity. But the global coronavirus pandemic has shuttered the U.N.’s midtown headquarters and reduced this year’s General Assembly to a series of online meetings. The muted U.N. celebrations are a telling symbol of how the pandemic and inward-looking domestic politics are threatening to change a long-standing world order defined by increasing global cooperation — with the United States as its standard-bearer…” (Drew, 9/18).

VOA News: Trump Will Not Attend U.N. General Assembly
“White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said President Donald Trump will not attend the United Nations General Assembly next week. … Many heads of state are sending recorded messages for the virtual gathering, but it was not immediately clear whether Trump would submit a message for the annual event or if he would participate virtually…” (9/18).

Additional coverage of Trump’s decision to not attend the General Assembly meeting in-person is available from POLITICO and USA TODAY.

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World Food Programme Head Calls On Donor Nations, Billionaires To Help Avert Famine Amid Global Hunger Crisis Worsened By COVID-19

AP: U.N. food chief urges rich to help keep millions from starving
“The World Food Programme chief warned Thursday that millions of people are closer to starvation because of the deadly combination of conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and he urged donor nations and billionaires to help feed them and ensure their survival. The U.N. program’s chief David Beasley told the U.N. Security Council that the response to his warning five months ago of a potential ‘hunger pandemic’ had averted famine and kept people alive but the work wasn’t done…” (Lederer, 9/18).

Additional coverage of Beasley’s comments is available from CNBC and U.N. News.

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Chronicles of a Pandemic (9/17).

Devex: In COVID-19 response, make climate change priority (Cornish, 9/18).

Devex: What do development advocates want from the U.K.’s integrated review? (Worley, 9/17).

Borgen Magazine: Exploring Gender Inequality in Yemen (Jones, 9/18).

The Lancet: Brazilian doctors condemn new rules on abortion (Alves, 9/19).

The Telegraph: Prof Jeff Sachs: ‘Our politicians didn’t listen to pandemic warnings — then a devilish virus hit’ (Newey, 9/17).

Wall Street Journal: Contact Tracing, the West’s Big Hope for Suppressing Covid-19, Is in Disarray (Dalton, 9/17).

Xinhua: At least 36 children die in measles outbreaks in Philippines this year (9/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Topics Related To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Lockdowns, Vaccines, Science, Misinformation

Bloomberg: Covid-19 Lockdowns May Have Saved Kids’ Lives
Justin Fox, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (9/17).

Bloomberg: In Latin America, a Covid Vaccine Is No Panacea
Mac Margolis, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (9/17).

The Lancet: COVID-19: a stress test for trust in science
Editorial Board (9/19).

Project Syndicate: Fighting the COVID Infodemic
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, co-winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of HIV and former president of the International AIDS Society, and Adeeba Kamarulzaman, dean of the faculty of medicine and professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Malaya and president of the International AIDS Society (9/18).

Scientific American: When Politics Distorts Science
Claudia Wallis, science journalist (9/17).

STAT: A vaccine alone won’t stop Covid-19. We also need a trusted plan for it
Luciana Borio, infectious disease physician, vice president at In-Q-Tel, and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Jesse L. Goodman, infectious disease physician, professor of medicine at Georgetown University, and director of its Center on Medical Product Access, Safety, and Stewardship (9/17).

Washington Post: What sets apart countries that successfully handled the pandemic? Failure.
Fareed Zakaria, foreign affairs columnist at the Washington Post, host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, and contributing editor for The Atlantic (9/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Discuss Preventing COVID-19's Impacts On Ethnic Minorities, Food Security In South Africa, HIV Care In Jamaica

BMJ Opinion: Covid-19: how can we prevent people from ethnic minorities being disproportionately affected in a second wave?
Rebecca F. Baggaley of the Department of Respiratory Sciences at the University of Leicester and colleagues (9/18).

ONE Campaign: These women are fighting food insecurity in their community during COVID-19
Megan Gieske, storyteller and photographer (9/17).

UNAIDS: COVID-19 brings Jamaican people living with HIV closer together (9/18).

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Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2020 To Take Place Next Week, Focus On 5 Key Themes

World Economic Forum: Everything you need to know about the Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2020
Terri Toyota, head of the Sustainable Markets Group and member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum, discusses the fourth Sustainable Development Impact Summit, set to take place from September 21-24, and highlights five key themes to be discussed: shared prosperity, catalyzing cooperation, better business, harnessing technology, and liveable planet (9/18).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC's MMWR Discusses Progress Toward Poliovirus Containment Implementation, Global Eradication

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Progress Toward Poliovirus Containment Implementation — Worldwide, 2019-2020
Daphne B. Moffett, lead for polio containment at the WHO, and colleagues discuss progress on worldwide poliovirus containment implementation and maintaining global poliovirus eradication (9/18).

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USAID Announces 4 New Partnerships With Feed The Future Innovation Labs

USAID: USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick Announces New Partnerships With The Feed The Future Innovation Labs
This release describes an announcement by USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick regarding “four new partnerships under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food-security initiative.” The new partnerships include Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Animal Health, International Research Grants from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement, Innovation to Impact Initiative, and Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems (9/17).

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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 September 18, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (9/18).

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. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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