KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Democratic Lawmakers Criticize White House OMB For Allegedly Obstructing, Politicizing Aid Funding, Devex Reports

Devex: Democratic lawmakers slam White House budget office for obstructing aid funds
“Two Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a strongly worded letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget Wednesday outlining a litany of concerns related to what they consider an abuse of the budget office’s authority, and a pattern of interference in State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development spending. ‘We write to express our deep concerns about the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) increasingly dubious and politicized applications of budget law, as well as the role they have played in impeding other agencies’ ability to use their enacted appropriations,’ wrote Reps. John Yarmuth, chair of the House Committee on the Budget, and Nita Lowey, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations…” (Igoe, 9/19).

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Foreign Policy Examines Trump Administration's Efforts To Push Back On Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights Language At Upcoming U.N. Summit

Foreign Policy: Trump Administration Steps Up War on Reproductive Rights
“The Trump administration is seeking to form a coalition of socially ultra-conservative governments from Brazil to Saudi Arabia to denounce international efforts to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights at a United Nations summit later this month, characterizing such concepts as ‘anti-family’ and ‘pro-abortion.’ The effort sets the stage for a potential clash between the United States and its traditional liberal Western partners as world leaders arrive in New York later this month for a week of U.N. summitry and speeches…” (Lynch/Gramer, 9/18).

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Presidential Science Adviser Outlines Plan To Strengthen Federal Policies On Research Security

Nature: Trump’s top scientist outlines plan to reduce foreign influence on U.S. research
“After months of outcry over whether the United States government is unfairly targeting foreign-born researchers over purported security breaches, President Donald Trump’s science adviser is launching an effort to strengthen national policies on research security. The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is working to establish government-wide requirements for what information researchers need to disclose to receive federal research grants. Presidential science adviser Kelvin Droegemeier, who chairs the NSTC, outlined details in an open letter to U.S. scientists on 16 September. … Droegemeier told Nature that it was too early to say how many people federal agencies have investigated for potential security breaches. … He says he will be visiting academic institutions across the United States in the coming months, to hear directly from scientists affected by, or interested in, the recent crackdown…” (Witze, 9/17).

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U.N. SG Guterres Calls For Global Community To Mobilize To Achieve Stalled SDGs

IPS: As Climate Crisis Worsens & Poverty Rises, U.N. Appears Off-Track on Development Agenda
“The two key goals in the U.N.’s development agenda are the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. But most of the world’s developing nations, currently fighting a losing battle against rising poverty and hunger — and suffering from the devastating impact of climate change — are likely to miss the deadline for most of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the latest report by Secretary-General António Guterres…” (Deen, 9/18).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: World leaders to take stock of ‘faltering’ global goals
“The world is decades behind schedule to achieve ambitious goals to fight poverty, inequality, and other ills, development experts warned on Wednesday, as global leaders prepared to meet to weigh their progress. The high-level summit in New York next week will be the first to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals since they were adopted by the United Nations four years ago…” (Wulfhorst, 9/18).

U.N. News: U.N. summits to urge ‘ambition and action’ on climate change, sustainable development: Guterres
“…For U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, there is no time to lose in the face of climate change, rising inequality, increasing hatred and intolerance; and what he described as an ‘alarming’ number of peace and security challenges. ‘The biggest challenge that leaders and institutions face is to show people we care — and to mobilize solutions that respond to people’s anxieties with answers. The upcoming high-level week is designed to do precisely that,’ he told journalists in New York on Wednesday…” (9/18).

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More Women, Newborns Survive Than Ever Before, U.N. Report Says

Reuters: Among babies and pregnant mothers, a death every 11 seconds, says U.N.
“More women and newborns survive now than ever before, largely thanks to better health care, United Nations data showed on Thursday, but a baby or a pregnant woman still dies every 11 seconds somewhere in the world. A report led by U.N. agencies UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), found that since 2000, child deaths have reduced by nearly half and maternal deaths by more than a third, mostly due to improved access to affordable, quality health services…” (Kelland, 9/19).

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WHO Reports 15 More Ebola Cases In DRC; No Ebola Case In Tanzania, Government Tells WHO

CIDRAP News: Violence, 15 new Ebola cases reported in DRC outbreak
“After [Tuesday’s] warning by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) African regional office to not be overly optimistic about a recent drop in Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the agency [Wednesday] reported 15 new infections on its Ebola online dashboard. The new cases raise the outbreak total to 3,145, including 2,098 deaths; in addition, 493 suspected cases are under investigation…” (Soucheray, 9/18).

Reuters: Tanzania tells WHO it has no Ebola cases — statement
“Tanzania has formally told the World Health Organization (WHO) that it has no cases of Ebola after a woman died there earlier this month from an unknown illness following Ebola-like symptoms, the organization said on Wednesday…” (Mohammed, 9/18).

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Philippines Announces Polio Outbreak After 19 Years Without Case

New York Times: Philippines Declares Polio Outbreak After 19 Years Free of the Disease
“The Philippines on Thursday announced an outbreak of polio, 19 years after the World Health Organization declared the Southeast Asian country free of the infectious disease. Health Secretary Francisco Duque said government scientists have confirmed the ‘re-emergence of polio’ after one case in the southern province of Lanao del Sur and another suspected case of the disease. He blamed ‘poor immunization coverage,’ a lack of sanitation and proper hygiene, and poor surveillance by health workers as among the reasons the disease returned…” (Gutierrez, 9/18).

Additional coverage of the polio case and the epidemic declaration is available from Associated Press, Bloomberg, and Rappler.

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News Outlets Continue Coverage Of Global Preparedness Monitoring Board Report Warning

Fortune: Experts Warn We Aren’t Prepared for a Global Health Crisis: Brainstorm Health (Mukherjee, 9/18).

The Guardian: Experts warn world ‘grossly unprepared’ for future pandemics (McVeigh, 9/18).

Insider: Bill Gates warned that a devastating ‘quirk of nature’ could kill 30 million people in less than a year. Experts say we’re still not doing enough to prepare (Brueck, 9/19).

Vox: The next global pandemic could kill millions of us. Experts say we’re really not prepared (Samuel, 9/19).

The Week U.K.: A world at risk: the mounting threat of pandemic diseases (Power, 9/18).

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Ecuador's National Assembly Votes Against Decriminalizing Abortion In Cases Of Rape, Fetal Malformation

AFP: Ecuador’s lawmakers vote against decriminalizing abortion for cases of rape, fetal malformation
“Ecuador’s National Assembly voted Tuesday against decriminalizing abortion in all cases of rape and for fetal malformation. A decriminalization proposal fell five votes short of the 70 required for its approval, with 59 assembly members voting against and six refraining. In Ecuador, a woman who causes an abortion or allows an abortion to be performed on her faces six months to two years in prison, according to a law in place since 2014…” (9/18).

Additional coverage of the vote is available from BBC and The Guardian.

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India's Government Announces Ban On E-Cigarette Products In Effort To Protect Youth Health

NPR: India Announces Widespread Ban Of E-Cigarettes
“The Indian government announced Wednesday a sweeping ban on electronic cigarette products. The decision was made with the intention of protecting young people from becoming addicted to nicotine. The Cabinet approved the ordinance, which prohibits the manufacture, sale, storage, and advertisement of all e-cigarette products…” (Zialcita/Frayer, 9/18).

Additional coverage of India’s ban on e-cigarettes is available from BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, and Reuters.

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More News In Global Health

Christian Science Monitor: Melinda Gates: What she’s learned (Tyson, 9/18).

CNBC: Bill and Melinda Gates: No matter where you’re born, ‘life will be harder if you are born a girl’ (Clifford, 9/18).

Inside Philanthropy: No Water or Toilets in Health Facilities? That’s Horrifying — And Funders Are Paying Attention (Barnett, 9/17).

Reuters: Unsafe sex: Argentina crisis deflates condom sales as costs rise (Sigal, 9/19).

SciDev.Net: Climate change, fake news top global health concerns (Vesper, 9/18).

Xinhua: Over 85 mln rural women receive free cervical cancer checks: white paper (9/19).

Xinhua: U.N. says private sector key to boost access to contraceptives in Kenya (9/18).

Xinhua: Kenya to host global population summit in November (9/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Countries Should Improve Trust In Health Systems, Community Involvement As Part Of Pandemic Preparedness

Christian Science Monitor: Why global health emergencies first need a dose of trust
Editorial Board

“…While [the DRC Ebola outbreak] appears contained, the [WHO’s declaration of an international public health emergency] was a reminder that medical interventions alone cannot deal with such outbreaks. The missing piece, according to a new report, is trust between communities in crisis and the institutions that serve them. … One of the recommendations is that countries improve their capacity for community involvement well before a crisis hits in order to alleviate fear and trauma. … In many health crises, the first task is often to dampen fear in order to build up social trust. … It is a lesson worth recalling as the world learns to better prepare for health emergencies” (9/18).

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Donor Countries, Media Should Give Funding, Attention To All Crises Impacting DRC

Thomson Reuters Foundation: OPINION: DR Congo — too many crises for one country?
Maureen Philippon, Democratic Republic of Congo country director with the Norwegian Refugee Council

“Ebola is the one topic that makes headlines from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but it is unfortunately only one among several crises affecting the Congolese people. In two very recent reports, DR Congo has come a close second after the widely acknowledged critical humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen. … While we applaud the mobilization of funding and the media focus on the Ebola epidemic, we must continue to plea that the needs of all Congolese people are given equal attention. The humanitarian actors, the donors and the media cannot close their eyes to the suffering of a large group of people just because they are victims of the ‘wrong’ crisis. … Donor countries must also scale up support for food, nutrition, education, and sanitation projects, areas that are essential for people’s survival” (9/19).

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Opinion Piece Urges Scale Up Of International Efforts On Maternal Mortality

The Hill: Fighting the epidemic of maternal and newborn mortality with ‘Big Belly Homes’
Bentoe Zoogley Tehoungue, director of the Family Health Division at Liberia’s Ministry of Health

“…In Liberia and across sub-Saharan Africa, pregnancy can be as dangerous as many infectious diseases or cancers. … In Liberia, postpartum hemorrhage and sepsis remain key killers among mothers, while asphyxia and sepsis are the leading causes of deaths among newborns. Globally, 300,000 women die every year — some 839 every day — from pregnancy-related complications like postpartum hemorrhaging. That’s about the same number of women that die every year from cervical cancer. Yet, the issue of maternal mortality does not spark the kind of consistent, impassioned attention devoted to other pregnancy-related concerns … But maternal mortality has the potential to generate a rare island of consensus in the sometimes stormy waters of reproductive health issues. … If we truly value life — of both mothers and the children they are carrying — we should be dramatically escalating an international effort to ensure maternal mortality is a rare event, rather than the tragically common occurrence it is today” (9/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Fund Releases Results Report 2019

Global Fund: Global Fund Partnership has Saved 32 Million Lives
“Programs supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have saved 32 million lives, according to a report released today. The Results Report 2019 shows great progress against some of the biggest challenges in the fight against the three diseases, while highlighting new threats. The report includes key annual results achieved in countries where the Global Fund invests: 18.9 million people received antiretroviral therapy for HIV; 719,000 HIV-positive mothers received medicine to keep them alive and prevent transmitting HIV to their babies; 5.3 million people tested and treated for TB; 131 million mosquito nets distributed to protect families from malaria…” (9/19).

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New CSIS Report Focuses On Humanitarian Landscape, Access Challenges

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Denial, Delay, Diversion: Tackling Access Challenges in an Evolving Humanitarian Landscape
In this new report, Jacob Kurtzer, deputy director and senior fellow at CSIS, and colleagues discuss the humanitarian landscape, the results of their Task Force on Humanitarian Access, and recommendations for the U.S. government. A summary of the report states, “As humanitarian emergencies become increasingly complex and protracted, blocked humanitarian access will only increase without urgent action. To ensure the ability of aid to reach those who need it most and to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law, the United States should elevate humanitarian access as a foreign policy priority and work to reconcile tensions between critical national security measures and the growing needs of vulnerable populations in fragile, conflict-affected states” (9/18).

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JHU Center For Health Security Issues New Report On Preparedness For High-Impact Respiratory Pathogens

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: Preparedness for a High-Impact Respiratory Pathogen Pandemic
“The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security was commissioned by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) to assess the state of readiness for a high-impact respiratory pathogen pandemic — that is, pathogens with the potential for widespread transmission and high observed mortality. If a high-impact respiratory pathogen were to emerge, either naturally or as the result of accidental or deliberate release, it would likely have significant public health, economic, social, and political consequences. The Center’s report assesses preparedness for high-impact respiratory pathogens that have the potential to cause pandemics, and the Center’s work has informed the GPMB during their drafting of their annual flagship report…” (Nuzzo et al., 9/18).

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Posts Discuss WASH In Health Facilities, Recognize Inaugural U.N. Patient Safety Day

Global Citizen: A Pandemic Killed My Great-Grandfather. Here’s What We Need to Avoid Another.
Mike Paddock, chief engineer at Engineers Without Borders USA, discusses WASH issues at medical facilities around the world. The author writes, “One hundred years ago, the Spanish flu pandemic infected one-third of the planet’s population and killed at least 50 million people, including my great-grandfather. It was fueled by health care facilities with inadequate WASH. Today, our best defense against a pandemic just might be that health care facility in Africa, Asia, or Latin America with adequate WASH to contain infectious disease. … We all need to push local and global leaders to get safe and sustainable water, toilets, and hygiene into health care facilities everywhere. And we need to make sure that what comes out of those facilities has a safe place to go, too” (9/17).

WASH in Health Care Facilities: Risk Remains on the Inaugural U.N. Patient Safety Day
Susan Davis, a WASH and public health advocate, discusses WASH conditions at facilities where women give birth and shares observations from a visit to a particular facility. Davis writes, “When 17 million women give birth in healthcare facilities without adequate water, soap, and toilets every year, that’s a colossal global health problem. … [W]ithout a strong supporting environment — training, regulations, money for maintenance, monitoring — WASH falls apart, and health suffers” (9/17).

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World Bank Piece Highlights Women's Empowerment Program In Sahel, Discusses Implications For Health

World Bank: Coming Together to Help African Girls Create a Brighter Future
“…The [Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend project (SWEDD)] is financed by the World Bank and implemented by the governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. It aims to empower women and adolescent girls and increase their access to quality education and reproductive, child, and maternal health services. The SWEDD is being implemented with technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) through $295 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA), the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries…” (9/18).

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