KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Releases Global TB Report, Calls For Increased Efforts To End TB Ahead Of U.N. High-Level Meeting

CIDRAP News: WHO report warns efforts to end TB are falling short
“The number of new tuberculosis (TB) cases continued to decline in 2017, and fewer people died from the disease, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) 2018 Global TB Report. But efforts to make the world’s deadliest infectious disease a ‘disease of the past’ need to be ramped up, agency officials said [Tuesday]…” (9/18).

Devex: Scant improvement on TB underscores need for urgent actions, say campaigners
“With huge gaps remaining in tuberculosis detection and treatment, advocates are urging world leaders to take a strong stand at next week’s United Nations high-level meeting to put an end to the disease. They want leaders to commit, at an unprecedented rate, to scaling up diagnosis and treatment of all forms of TB infection…” (Ravelo, 9/19).

HuffPost: Tuberculosis Remains World’s Top Infectious Killer, But A Turning Point May Be Near
“…Prior U.N. high-level meetings have rallied global support and resources to make rapid progress in fighting health crises. The meeting adds to growing political support against TB. The disease was included in last year’s G20 leaders’ declaration, the WHO ministerial conference on tuberculosis led by Russian President Vladimir Putin in November, and the ‘game-changing’ pledge by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end TB by 2025…” (Weber, 9/18).

U.N. News: U.N. tuberculosis summit ‘historic opportunity’ to put response ‘back on track’: new WHO report
“…U.N. chief António Guterres, speaking in June at a preparatory civil society hearing held at United Nations headquarters, said that, to win the fight against tuberculosis, it is necessary to tackle the ‘social drivers’ of the disease — in particular poverty and inequality — head on, making greater efforts to provide universal health coverage and combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. … Whilst under-reporting and under-diagnosis are mentioned as major challenges in the fight against TB, the most urgent stumbling block is funding…” (9/18).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s TB report is available from Healio, Science Speaks, The Telegraph, United Press International, and Xinhua News (2).

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Trump Administration Releases New National Biodefense Strategy

CIDRAP News: White House shines high-level spotlight on biodefense
“The Trump administration [on Tuesday] released a new National Biodefense Strategy, along with an order from President Donald Trump that directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take the coordinating lead and establishes a cabinet-level biodefense steering committee…” (Schnirring, 9/18).

The Hill: Trump directs government to step up defenses against bioterrorism
“…Trump’s order establishes a Biodefense Steering Committee, led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, to coordinate defense efforts across the federal government, and tasks the national security adviser with reviewing threats and updating preparations on an annual basis. … The planning is meant to counter both man-made biological weapons and naturally occurring diseases like Ebola, Azar said…” (Sullivan, 9/18).

VOA News: U.S. Unveils New Biodefense Strategy
“U.S. President Donald Trump introduced the new national strategy for combating disease outbreaks and bioterrorism Tuesday, on the anniversary of the 2001 anthrax attacks on the United States that left five people dead. In a statement, the president said, ‘Biological threats emanate from many sources, and they know no borders’…” (Melton, 9/18).

Washington Times: Trump tasks HHS with ongoing review of biodefense
“President Trump signed a memo Tuesday ordering the government to come up with better defenses against bio-attacks, saying the threat of a coordinated attack, the accidental release of lab pathogens, or an outbreak of Ebola is ‘very real.’ Senior officials said Mr. Trump felt there wasn’t a clear line of accountability in case of an attack, and he wanted to make sure all parts of government are aware of their responsibilities…” (Howell, 9/18).

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NPR Examines Why U.S. Ranks Near Bottom Of CGD's Commitment To Development Index

NPR: Why The U.S. Ranks At The Bottom In A Foreign Aid Index
“…According to an annual index released Tuesday by the Center for Global Development that ranks 27 of the world’s wealthiest countries, the U.S. scored dead last on foreign aid contributions and quality — despite being the largest donor in dollar amount. … Not only that, but by the measures of the index, American aid is also poor quality. … On the other hand, American aid given through international organizations like the World Bank or Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria scored relatively high for quality…” (Lu, 9/18).

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Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers Report Says Progress In Poverty Reduction Threatened, Offers Suggestions For Improvements

Business Insider: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says there’s opportunity in these 13 areas to make the world better
“…The second annual [Goalkeepers Report], released Tuesday, focuses on the ‘formidable challenge’ of improving the lives of people in low-income countries, from reducing poverty to increasing access to safe sanitation, with a particular emphasis on African countries…” (Kotecki, 9/18).

CNBC: Gates Foundation warns decades-long progress in fighting disease and poverty may reverse
“…In its second year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation produced the report with the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to track progress on 18 data points from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They released it Tuesday as the U.N. General Assembly convenes…” (LaVito, 9/18).

Quartz: Bill and Melinda Gates: The world’s priority should be poverty reduction in Africa
“… ‘Decades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling,’ they write in a report released [Sept. 18] by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. ‘If current trends continue, the number of poor people in the world will stop falling — and could even start to rise.’ Demographics are a driving factor: The world’s population is growing fastest in its poorest regions, notably parts of Africa…” (Delaney, 9/18).

VOA News: Africa’s Youth Population, Poverty Spur Gates Foundation’s Giving
“…To date, the Gates Foundation has invested more than $15 billion ‘in projects relevant to Africa,’ the Gatekeepers report says, while promising to spend more. It has targeted three areas for investment: health, education, and agriculture. … The foundation subsidizes a range of health programs, from childhood vaccination and good nutrition, but it gives special attention to family planning and HIV interventions…” (Moudou, 9/18).

Washington Post: The war on global poverty ‘hangs in the balance’
“…Even ‘in tough political times,’ [Melinda Gates said in an interview], many wealthy countries have maintained steady commitments to global health. But in the case of the United States, where the Trump administration is seeking to gut humanitarian aid and has rolled back funding for reproductive-rights projects abroad, Gates expressed dismay. ‘It’s incredibly disappointing to see the U.S. leadership deteriorating and the view of the United States deteriorating because of some of the egregious things that have been said by this current administration,’ she said, adding that she still had faith in lawmakers in Congress to support international aid projects…” (Tharoor, 9/19).

Additional coverage of the Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers report is available from Fast Company, Fortune, Quartz, and Xinhua News.

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New SDG Gender Index Aims To Measure Progress Toward Gender Equality, Calls For More Data Collection

Devex: A new index shows how to measure gender equality in the SDGs
“…The SDG Gender Index, released by Equal Measures 2030 to coincide with a meeting in Canada of female foreign ministers, [provides] an analysis and assessment of more than 250 data points related to 12 of the 17 SDGs with clear connections to gender equality. … It is a snapshot of what can be achieved and what should be done to create a baseline that will help monitor countries’ progress…” (Cornish, 9/19).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Gender equality index highlights big data gaps ahead of 2030 deadline
“…[Equal Measures Director Alison] Holder said results for the first countries covered by the index — Colombia, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Senegal — showed a mixed picture. ‘Every country has major gender equality challenges they are grappling with. This is why we need a new index to measure and track performance,’ she added…” (Batha, 9/19).

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Media Outlets Continue Coverage Of U.N., World Bank Report On Global Child Mortality

Quartz India: More infants died in India last year than in Pakistan, China, and Ethiopia put together
“The world’s fastest growing major economy recorded the highest number of infant and neonatal deaths in 2017, according to the annual report of the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME), released on Sept. 18. The report relied on World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and World Bank figures…” (Singh, 9/18).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Child deaths from preventable causes cut by half since 2000 — U.N.
“…World leaders adopted the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, a year in which 11.2 million children below age 15 died from preventable diseases, a lack of clean water, malnutrition, and during birth. That number fell to 6.3 million in 2017 — or one child dying every five seconds — according to the [report]…” (Taylor, 9/18).

United Press International: WHO: Child mortality, tuberculosis crises on track to worsen by 2030
“…Most of the deaths of children younger than five years are due to pneumonia, malaria, and other treatable diseases or complications during birth. Geographical elements have greatly contributed to the number of child deaths as more than half of the deaths of children under the age of five took place in sub-Saharan African and one-third took place in Southern Asia…” (Uria, 9/18).

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Burkina Faso Arrests At Least 30 People For Illegal FGM Procedures Sending More Than 50 Girls To Hospital

Associated Press: Burkina Faso arrests 30 over illegal female circumcisions
“Burkina Faso authorities have jailed more than 30 adults after they carried out botched female genital mutilation on nearly 60 infants and girls who have been hospitalized…” (9/18).

BBC News: Burkina Faso botched FGM leaves 50 girls in hospital
“…Not all girls who underwent the circumcision have been traced, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Laurence Marshall Ilboudo, said. Two 60-year-old women, along with the parents of some of the girls, have been arrested…” (9/17).

The Guardian: Burkina Faso botched FGM leaves 50 girls in hospital
“…FGM has been illegal in Burkina Faso since 1996, making it one of the first African countries to outlaw the practice…” (Ratcliffe, 9/18).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: 100 Die in Nigeria Flooding as Toll Expected to Rise (9/18).

BBC News: Zambia aid: U.K. suspends funding over corruption fears (9/18).

BBC News: Yemen conflict: A million more children face famine, NGO warns (9/19).

Bloomberg: Lagarde Says World Needs to Spend More to Meet Development Goals (Mayeda, 9/17).

City Press: Women’s rights movement SheDecides targets SADC (Mkize, 9/18).

Devex: Venezuela crisis is ‘on the scale of Syria,’ UNHCR says (Welsh, 9/19).

Devex: How Bill Gates thinks about climate change, innovation, and the SDGs (Cheney, 9/19).

Intellectual Property Watch: Negotiated Deal Stands For U.N. Tuberculosis Declaration (Branigan, 9/18).

U.N. News: Agreement over buffer zone to spare civilians in Syria’s Idlib welcomed by top U.N. officials (9/18).

VOA News: U.N.: S. Sudan Doing Little to Stop Rape, Sexual Violence (Schlein, 9/18).

VOA News: Zimbabwe President Calls for Permanent End to Medieval Diseases Cholera, Typhoid (9/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Ending Global TB Requires Commitment Of Leaders, Additional Resources

Washington Post: Tuberculosis is curable. So why are so many people still dying of the disease?
Editorial Board

“…[Millions of people infected with TB] remain undetected and untreated. … The effort has been neglected for too long. On Sept. 26, world leaders at the United Nations will hold the first high-level meeting on combating TB. A draft declaration contains a commitment to find and treat those in the 3.6 million gap, and, more broadly, to provide diagnosis and treatment to 40 million people with tuberculosis over the next four years. The declaration also commits the leaders to overcoming the crisis of multidrug-resistant TB. The words are promising, but progress against TB will require the leaders to take action when they go home, and not to again neglect a disease that can be cured” (9/18).

Dallas News: Tuberculosis is largely unknown in developed nations for one reason: Resources
Michael Shiloh, physician and scientist specializing in TB research and patient care

“…Just as tuberculosis has become a rare disease in most developed countries because of effective and ample resource allocation, the avenue to success in the global fight against tuberculosis must be paved with resources. … [T]he pace of investment in infectious diseases research in general and tuberculosis research in particular has not met global demand. … [Vaccine research and drug development] goals are attainable but only through the joint efforts of researchers, doctors, nurses, and public health officials along with strong and unwavering support of world leaders and governments, including our own. If we are going to banish the silent pandemic of tuberculosis, we must raise public awareness of its pervasiveness and global toll, and rededicate ourselves to our mission. In the modern era, no individual or society should suffer from such an ancient yet curable disease” (9/19).

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'Aggressive,' 'Sustained' Investment In Global Health R&D Critical To Accelerating Progress On HIV/AIDS

STAT: Don’t let HIV ravage a generation poised to transform Africa
Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[W]e must find new and better ways to dramatically accelerate progress on HIV/AIDS and start to turn ideas into solutions more quickly. That demands aggressive, sustained investment in global health research and development into new methods for preventing HIV by governments, private enterprise, and philanthropic foundations … If we keep doing the same things, the same way, we run the serious risk of a resurgent HIV/AIDS epidemic that will rob people in the world’s poorest places of the chance for long, healthy, productive lives — that’s the peril. The potential is that discovering, developing, and delivering more effective treatments and prevention methods for HIV/AIDS will unleash healthy, thriving young populations that will build healthy, thriving economies” (9/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Bill Gates Discusses Release Of 2018 Goalkeepers Report

Gates Notes: How to keep up progress on global health
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the release of the foundation’s Goalkeepers 2018 report, which tracks progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (9/18).

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Ending HIV, TB, Malaria By 2030 Requires Increased Investment, 'Constantly Refined Approaches,' Global Fund ED Says

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s “VOICES”: We Must Act Urgently to End HIV, TB and Malaria
Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands discusses results from the Global Fund’s recently released results report, writing, “To meet the Sustainable Development Goal of ending the [HIV, TB, and malaria] epidemics by 2030, we must act with urgency to surmount … challenges. The key is to reinvigorate the political commitment to mobilize more funding, international and domestic. We must constantly refine our approaches … We must renew our determination to address the gender and human rights barriers that fuel the epidemics. And we must recognize that the fight to end epidemics is an integral part of the journey toward universal health coverage, a fundamental building block of global health security and a crucial element of the overall sustainable development agenda” (9/18).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 342 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes articles on various topics, including the Global Fund’s recently released Results Report 2018 and the Office of the Inspector General’s recent report on the Global Fund’s transition management process (9/19).

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WHO, U.S. CDC, Africa CDC Work With Zambia Ministry Of Health To Strengthen Country's Efforts To Address Ebola

WHO Africa: WHO and CDC support the Ministry of Health to strengthen capacity for detection, investigation and response to Ebola Virus Disease in districts bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo
“The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Beni, North Kivu province poses a risk of the disease spreading beyond the borders of the country to its neighboring countries including Zambia. It is for this reason that the WHO Country Office in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and Africa CDC has provided financial and technical support to the Ministry of Health through the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) to strengthen capacity for prevention, detection, investigation, and response to Ebola Virus Disease in districts bordering the DRC…” (September 2018).

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From the U.S. Government

HHS Assistant Secretary Discusses New Biodefense Strategy

HHS Blog: National Biodefense Strategy: Protect the Nation Against all Biological Threats
HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert P. Kadlec discusses the Trump administration’s new National Biodefense Strategy, which includes a “range of coordinated actions to counter biothreats, reduce risks, and prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents.” Kadlec writes, “Whether a natural outbreak, an accidental release, or a deliberate attack, biological threats are among the most serious we face, with the potential for significant health, economic, and national security impacts. Therefore, promoting our health security is a national security imperative” (9/18).

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