KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Tillerson Launches New Strategy Guiding U.S. Global HIV/AIDS Programs; PEPFAR To 'Accelerate Implementation' In 13 Countries

Devex: PEPFAR to ‘accelerate’ implementation in 13 countries under new strategy
“U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will launch a new strategy to guide U.S. global AIDS programs for the next three years on Tuesday, during his engagement at the United Nations General Assembly. The new strategy calls for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to ‘accelerate implementation in a subset of 13 high-burden countries that have the potential to achieve epidemic control by 2020’…” (Igoe, 9/19).

Reuters: U.S. AIDS strategy to focus on 13 countries close to controlling epidemic
“…PEPFAR will continue to operate programs in more than 50 countries. To maximize its impact, however, it will focus much of its efforts on 13 countries that are nearing epidemic control – the point where there are more deaths each year from AIDS than there are new HIV infections. Those countries include Kenya, Zambia, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Haiti, and Rwanda. … Five of the target countries — Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe — are already nearing control of their HIV epidemics, based on national surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Columbia University, and local governmental and non-governmental partners…” (Steenhuysen, 9/19).

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The Economist Examines Proposed State Department, USAID Reforms

The Economist: Why America’s overseas aid agency needs reform
“On September 14th, Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, presented the outline of a reform plan for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Office of Management and Budget. … But fixing the organization chart only responds to a symptom of America’s aid problem. The underlying malaise is an outdated and increasingly baroque legal and regulatory framework…” (C.K., 9/18).

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More Must Be Done To Address Non-Communicable Diseases, WHO Warns In Progress Report

U.N. News Centre: ‘Window of opportunity’ closing on non-communicable diseases, warns U.N. health agency
“Millions around the globe are dying prematurely from diseases such as cancer or heart disease, the United Nations health agency warned, urging governments to step up efforts to control non-communicable diseases (NCDs). … [T]he latest edition of the WHO Non-communicable Disease Progress Monitor shows that progress around the world to control such conditions [has] been uneven and insufficient…” (9/18).

VOA News: WHO: Too Many People Dying Prematurely From Non-communicable Diseases
“…The biggest risk factors are tobacco, the harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and lack of physical activity. WHO director for the prevention of non-communicable diseases, Douglas Bettcher, said the world is not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of cutting premature NCD deaths by one-third by 2030…” (Schlein, 9/18).

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Global Health Likely To Receive Significant Attention At UNGA

TIME: Why Global Health Is Center Stage at the United Nations General Assembly
“…The theme of this year’s UNGA General Debate — where world leaders, including President Donald Trump, will deliver statements on issues of international concern — is ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.’ … U.N. leaders say that global health will likely receive significant attention, even though it is not on the formal agenda as it was last year, when there was a high-level meeting on antibiotic resistance…” (Sifferlin, 9/18).

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Slower Than Expected Progress On SDGs Raises Doubts On Reaching Goals, TRF Survey Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Exclusive — Confidence in U.N.’s global goals faltering amid slow progress — survey
“Ambitious global goals aimed at ending poverty and inequality by 2030 are moving more slowly than expected and would struggle to get approval from United Nations members if put to a vote today, an exclusive survey showed on Tuesday. The Thomson Reuters Foundation asked policymakers, campaigners, and executives with an interest in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) how they viewed the progress of the blueprint of 17 goals that won unanimous support from the 193 U.N. member states two years ago…” (Wulfhorst, 9/19).

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Universal Health Coverage 'A Rights Issue,' WHO DG Tedros Says During Social Good Summit Panel

TIME: World Health Organization Leader Says Universal Health Coverage is a ‘Rights Issue’
“…[WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus] made his case for [universal health coverage] during the Social Good Summit in New York City, an annual event leading up the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). ‘Universal health coverage should be (viewed) as a rights issue,’ said Tedros during the panel interview. … Tedros gave five main reasons for why he is advocating for universal health coverage…” (Sifferlin, 9/18).

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Interim Global Fund ED Discusses Efforts To Reach UHC, Other Development Goals In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Global Fund interim ED says universal health coverage is driving work, poses challenges
“The campaign for universal health coverage is gaining momentum and influencing the direction of organizations, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the organization’s interim executive director told Devex. There are many challenges in ensuring that all citizens, everywhere, have access to health care, but first, a basic platform of care must be established, said Marijke Wijnroks in the interview. … Wijnroks talked with Devex about how the fund’s work continues to transform, keeping in mind the 2030 development and health care agendas…” (Lieberman, 9/19).

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Abu Dhabi To Host Global Health Forum Focused On Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases

Devex: Exclusive: Abu Dhabi to launch campaign to reach ‘last mile’ on preventable disease
“The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi will host a Global Health Forum later this year that will serve as a ‘stepping out’ for the United Arab Emirates’ role as a major player in eliminating neglected tropical disease, Devex has learned. The November 15 event — in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carter Center — will serve as a culmination of past UAE efforts in combating diseases such as polio and malaria, as well as a launch point for an ambitious new push to lead the fight going forward, Dr. Maha Barakat, the director general of the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi, told Devex in an interview…” (Dickinson, 9/19).

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Accountability, Political Will Needed To End Child Marriage, Improve Equality, Health Access Among Adolescent Girls, Women

Devex: Accountability needed to end child marriage, improve health access
“Three African heads of state have warned their peers that without accountability and political intervention, the problem of child marriage is set to worsen, posing a severe developmental threat to much of the world. … Across the street, meanwhile, U.N. officials and ministers made a similar plea for adolescent girls and women, with the release of a new U.N. report that calls for greater transformative accountability for young women…” (Lieberman, 9/19).

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Gates Foundation To Publicly Release 'Goalkeepers' Report At Awards Dinner This Week

New York Times: Bill and Melinda Gates Grade the World’s Health
“Bill and Melinda Gates handed the world a report card last week, assessing its progress on 18 global health indicators: infant mortality, AIDS, vaccine use, smoking rates, and so on. Called ‘Goalkeepers,’ the report was a huge statistical effort, three years in the making, aimed squarely at the world leaders gathering at the United Nations General Assembly this month. To draw extra attention to it, the Gateses will hold an awards dinner and a public release this week featuring former President Obama…” (McNeil, 9/18).

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Blockchain Technology Could Help Streamline International Aid Distribution

Fast Company: How Blockchain Could Transform The Way International Aid Is Distributed
“…The technology behind cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, blockchain is essentially a shared digital ledger system: a decentralized database that allows information to be exchanged among several parties but not altered. Transactions become blocks of data that are chained together, making everything transparent and easy to review. … [O]ne of its most profound uses, say advocates, may be in international aid, where documentation is scarce and operating budgets are low. By eliminating intermediaries, blockchain technology creates faster, safer, and, ultimately, cheaper ways of doing business…” (Paynter, 9/18).

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WHO, Partners To Launch Vaccination Campaigns In Yemen, Northeastern Nigeria To Combat Cholera Outbreaks

Agence France-Presse: WHO urges Yemen to accept vaccines as cholera crisis deepens
“The World Health Organization on Monday urged Yemen to approve cholera vaccinations it has offered to help contain an epidemic that could affect nearly a million people by year’s end…” (9/18).

Reuters: WHO plans global war on cholera as Yemen caseload nears 700,000
“The World Health Organization will next month launch a strategy to stop cholera transmission by 2030, it said on Monday, as an unprecedented outbreak in Yemen raced towards 700,000 suspected cases with little sign of slowing down. The WHO is also trying to keep the lid on a flare-up in Nigeria while tackling many entrenched outbreaks in Africa and an epidemic in Haiti, where almost 10,000 people have died since 2010…” (Miles, 9/18).

VOA News: Urgent Action Under Way to Prevent Spread of Cholera in West Africa
“An emergency vaccination campaign is getting under way in northeastern Nigeria to prevent a deadly cholera outbreak from spreading to other countries. The World Health Organization reports the potentially devastating cholera situation is emerging in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria. During the past few months, it says 2,600 suspected cases of this fatal disease, including 48 deaths, have occurred in this former stronghold of Boko Haram…” (Schlein, 9/18).

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Pakistan Aims To Immunize 37M Children For Polio Over 4 Days

Associated Press: Pakistan kicks off nationwide polio drive, citing success
“…Dr. Rana Mohammad Safdar, the national coordinator for polio eradication, said Monday that some 250,000 campaigners would try to reach more than 37 million children under the age of five in the next four days…” (9/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Continue To Fund Foreign Aid, Global Health Programs That 'Pay Enormous Dividends'

Seattle Times: Gates Foundation’s $120 million fuels PATH’s lifesaving work
Editorial Board

“…Earlier this month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation presented a $120 million grant to PATH, … [which] is using the grant to scale up its vaccine-development program. … This follows Bill Gates’ decision this summer to give $4.6 billion of Microsoft stock to the foundation. His largest gift since 2000, it brings the value of his charitable donations to $50 billion, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Breathtaking, but still nowhere near enough to combat the spread of scourges such as malaria and AIDS. Gates noted last week that the foundation’s spending remains relatively small compared with foreign aid and research funded by government, which President Donald Trump wants to cut. … Continued aid from the U.S. and other nations is critical to maintain progress seen [in global health] in recent decades. … If Congress and Trump want to make America and the world greater, they will continue funding foreign aid programs that are relatively small expenditures yet pay enormous dividends…” (9/18).

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International Community Must Continue Focus On HIV Treatment As Prevention In Order To End Epidemic

New York Times: In Africa, a Glimpse of Hope for Beating HIV
Tina Rosenberg, co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network

“…Zimbabwe is one of the world’s worst-governed countries and has suffered a staggering economic decline. But it’s doing right by people with HIV — a lot better than the United States. … If you reach [UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 goals], you end up with 73 percent of people with HIV being noncontagious. That 73 percent is the tipping point, at which the epidemic starts to burn out. … A recent survey … found that Zimbabwe is … at 60.4 percent. … Malawi and Zambia are close to the tipping point. Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world, has just become the first that we know of to have achieved the target of 73 percent. … A large part of this success is due to George W. Bush, whose administration established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, in 2004. … The budget President Trump submitted to Congress would have thrown this progress into reverse. … Both the House and Senate appropriations committees ignored him … Now we know that treatment is prevention. Do it wide and well enough, and AIDS could be defeated…” (9/19).

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Investing In Health Workforce Necessary To Achieve 'Equitable, Universal Health For All'

The Hill: Health workers go unnoticed at U.N. General Assembly
Jim Campbell, director of the health workforce department at the WHO

“…[I]nvesting in health workers is one of the best investments a nation can make. … If we are to take seriously what’s needed to meet the health needs of low- and middle-income nations, all nations must come together around health workforce and health systems planning that guides decision-making, prioritizes policy, and importantly, funds the much-needed transformation of the global health workforce. … [P]olicy frameworks including the Global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030, the Health workforce requirements for universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals, and the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth provide the roadmap that will make progress possible like never before. They are the blueprint for focused global action to achieve equitable, universal health for all. … If we are to achieve SDG3 and UHC, it will be because we prioritized the health worker. Are they not already the very heart of the health system?” (9/18).

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Partnerships, Integrating Health Programs Into National Services, Policy Critical To Achieving UHC

Devex: Opinion: Universal health coverage and the power of partnerships
Ann Aerts, head of the Novartis Foundation

“…Access to adequate health care should be universal, no matter where you live or what your income. … [H]ow do we achieve a more inclusive global health system? We must reassess our ideas of health care delivery and look at the issue holistically. We must recognize that disease and health are not discrete episodes in our lives, but part of a bigger picture. We need agile health services to respond to this, with more networks and better quality of care. … [T]he development of innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions can support and advance [universal health coverage (UHC)]. All stakeholders must work together to continue to implement programs that offer solutions to some of the world’s most pressing health issues … However, we have learned that it is only when governments share in this endeavor and integrate solutions — digital or otherwise — into national services and policy that we can make UHC a reality” (9/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Podcast Features Interview With Tom Frieden On New 'Resolve' Initiative

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Dr. Tom Frieden on His New Initiative “Resolve to Save Lives”
In this podcast episode, Steve Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, speaks with Tom Frieden, president and chief executive officer at Resolve, about the new initiative, “a $225 million, five-year initiative … [that] aims to save millions of lives from cardiovascular disease and make the world safer from epidemics. Resolve is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” (9/18).

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Safeguarding Health Care In Conflict Situations Should Be At Center Of Human Rights Agenda

Physicians for Human Rights Blog: Defending Health Care is at the Heart of the Human Rights Agenda
Susannah Sirkin, director of international policy and partnerships and senior adviser at Physicians for Human Rights, discusses health care from a human rights perspective, writing, “Attacks on health [personnel and facilities] … represent a public health crisis … [T]his crisis also belongs at the heart of the human rights agenda … [I]t is critical for the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council to document assaults on health as part of their routine human rights assessments” (9/18).

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From the U.S. Government

PEPFAR Releases Strategy For Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control, Announces Progress Toward Controlling Epidemic In 5 African Countries

U.S. Department of State: Secretary Tillerson Launches PEPFAR Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control
“Today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released the new U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017-2020), which reaffirms U.S. support for HIV/AIDS efforts in more than 50 countries, ensuring access to services by all populations, including the most vulnerable and at-risk groups. The Strategy also outlines plans to accelerate implementation in a subset of 13 high-burden countries that have the potential to achieve HIV/AIDS epidemic control by 2020…” (9/19).

U.S. Department of State: Five African Countries Approach Control of Their HIV Epidemics as U.S. Government Launches Bold Strategy to Accelerate Progress
“Data released today from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) show that the HIV epidemic is coming under control in Lesotho. These results add to prior PEPFAR-supported Population-based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIAs) announced in the last nine months for Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe…” (9/19).

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PEPFAR, Mastercard Announce Partnership To Explore Digital Technologies, Data Analytics For HIV Prevention, Treatment In Africa

PEPFAR: PEPFAR and Mastercard Launch Partnership to Address HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control
“At the 2017 Concordia Annual Summit, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Mastercard announced a new public-private partnership aimed at accelerating progress toward HIV/AIDS epidemic control. The partnership will explore the use of digital technologies and data analytics to improve access to and outcomes of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services in Africa…” (9/18).

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At 72nd U.N. General Assembly Session, President Trump Calls For U.N. Reform

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: President Trump Calls for United Nations Reform at 72nd Session of the U.N. General Assembly
This blog post discusses President Trump’s participation in the 72nd U.N. General Assembly, during which “the President underscored the need for international cooperation on United Nations reform” (9/18).

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