KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Outlines Key Stories To Follow During 74th U.N. General Assembly, High-Level Summits

Devex: 74th UNGA: What Devex is watching
“The buzz within the halls of the United Nations is growing louder ahead of the annual U.N. General Assembly debates, which kick off their 74th session early next week. … Devex will be on the ground, finding the takeaways from flashy events and conducting exclusive interviews on universal health coverage, climate action, and Sustainable Development Goals financing. We will also be paying attention to new funding announcements and partnerships. These are a few of the key stories we’ll be following throughout the week…” (Lieberman et al., 9/20).

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Adam Boehler Appears To Have Support Of Senate Foreign Relations Committee To Become CEO Of New U.S. International Development Finance Corporation

Devex: Boehler sails through hearing for top job at new U.S. DFC
“Adam Boehler looks poised to become the CEO of the soon-to-be-launched U.S. International Development Finance Corporation after a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday. Boehler, the administration’s nominee to lead the agency, was asked only a few questions and appeared to have the support of senators in attendance at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing…” (Saldinger, 9/20).

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U.K. Medical Professionals Cite Climate Change, Misinformation As Major Threats To Global Health, Survey Shows

The Guardian: Climate emergency poses major threat to future global health, say top medics
“The climate crisis represents the biggest threat to the future of global health over the next quarter of a century, according to a survey of top medical professionals. The vast majority of members of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, some of whom are responsible for significant discoveries in tropical diseases that plague poorer countries, believe governments and health bodies are failing to prepare adequately for the medical impacts of global heating. They also expressed concern that ‘misinformation and anti-science’ posed a dangerous threat to the future of health care…” (McVeigh, 9/20).

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Global Progress Recorded In Childbirth Safety, But All Nations Must Provide Better Medical Care, U.N. Agencies Say In New Report

U.N. News: Despite progress in childbirth safety, one woman or baby dies every 11 seconds
“Childbirth survival rates are now a ‘staggering success’ compared with the year 2000, but one pregnant woman — or her child — still dies every 11 seconds from largely preventable causes, U.N. health experts said on Thursday. In a joint appeal for all nations to do more to provide better medical care for all, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) outlined several ways to help protect the 2.8 million pregnant women and newborns who die every year…” (9/19).

Additional coverage of the report is available from The Guardian, The Telegraph, VOA, and Xinhua.

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Philippines Health Officials Report 2nd Polio Case, Announce Vaccination Program For Children Under 5

CNN Philippines: DOH confirms second polio case in PH
“A day after health officials declared an outbreak of the disease in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed a second case of polio in the country. In a statement, DOH announced that a five-year-old boy from Laguna is the second confirmed case of the infectious disease, which causes nerve injury leading to possible paralysis…” (9/20).

Reuters: Philippines to vaccinate millions as polio virus resurfaces in 2 children
“…Health officials appealed to parents and care givers of children to take part in the government’s polio vaccination program, which comes as the Philippines grapples to tackle twin outbreaks of dengue and measles that have killed more than 1,000 people since January, most of them children. … Vaccination teams will aim to administer polio drops to every child younger than five, [Rolando Enrique Domingo, an undersecretary of the Department of Health,] added…” (Lema/Morales, 9/20).

Additional coverage of the polio outbreak is available from CNN, Devex, The Hill, and UPI.

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Global Fund Board Approves New Grant For TB-, Malaria-Related Work In North Korea

NK News: Global Fund board approves $41.7 million grant for North Korea TB-malaria work
“The board of the Global Fund, an international aid financing organization, has approved a new $41.7 million grant for work related to tackling tuberculosis and malaria in North Korea, a spokesperson told NK News on Thursday…” (Hotham, 9/20).

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Commonwealth Nations Meet To Assess Progress Toward Gender Equality

The Guardian: Commonwealth ministers look to revitalize progress on gender equality
“Ministers from across the Commonwealth are meeting in Kenya this week to discuss ways to accelerate efforts to end gender inequality. Gender and women’s affairs ministers from 53 states will explore the gains and the gaping holes in progress in several key areas, including women in leadership, ending violence, and increasing access to family planning services. … The Commonwealth’s annual report on gender equality, expected to be published later this year, shows existing efforts are not effecting significant, lasting change…” (Ford, 9/19).

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Gates Foundation Plans To Present India PM Modi With Award Despite Protests From Human Rights Groups, Nobel Laureates

New York Times: As Narendra Modi Heads to U.S., Controversy Follows Him
“As Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India prepares for a big trip to the United States, human rights groups and three Nobel Peace Prize winners have criticized the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its plan to bestow a prestigious award upon Mr. Modi next week during his visit. The Nobel laureates sent a letter to the Gates Foundation stating that under Mr. Modi’s leadership, ‘India has descended into dangerous and deadly chaos that has consistently undermined human rights, democracy.’ … The Gates Foundation, which focuses on health and anti-poverty programs, is honoring Mr. Modi for his ambitious Clean India campaign, centered on an initiative that has built 100 million new toilets in India over the past five years — roughly 40 every minute. … The foundation says it still plans to present Mr. Modi with the Goalkeepers Global Goals Award at a ceremony in New York on Tuesday. … In response to the mounting questions, the Gates Foundation released a statement explaining its decision. ‘Globally, sanitation-related diseases kill nearly 500,000 children under the age of 5 every year,’ it said. ‘Yet despite its importance, sanitation has not received significant attention. A lot of governments are not willing to talk about it, in part because there are not easy solutions’…” (Venkataraman et al., 9/20).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Central America’s dengue epidemic deadly in Honduras (Sherman, 9/20).

Bloomberg: Aspen Strikes Deal With India’s Laurus to Cut Cost of HIV Drugs (Prinsloo, 9/20).

The Guardian: People v mosquitos: what to do about our biggest killer (Winegard, 9/20).

The Guardian: U.S.-China trade war imperils efforts to beat poverty, warns Bill Gates (McVeigh, 9/19).

New York Times: India Plans to Ban E-Cigarettes, as Global Backlash Intensifies (Abi-Habib et al., 9/19).

NPR: Russian Lab Explosion Raises Question: Should Smallpox Virus Be Kept Or Destroyed? (Kritz, 9/19).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Disaster victims to double by 2050 in climate-battered world — aid group (Malo, 9/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Says White House Memo On Foreign Aid Review Would Weaken U.S. Security

Washington Post: The Trump administration prepares a new assault on U.S. soft power
Josh Rogin, Washington Post columnist

“…[T]he White House has prepared a draft National Security Presidential Memorandum, which I obtained, that would — if implemented — completely reshape U.S. foreign aid to become a tool of this administration’s agenda and an ineffective one at that. … Cutting aid to countries that don’t fully support U.S. policy is penny-wise, pound-foolish. Problems such as terrorism, global health, and climate change know no borders. Will the United States really cut Ebola assistance to African countries that do business with China? We fight Ebola over there so we won’t have to fight it here at home later on. … If [President Trump] were to actually sign and implement this proposal, he would only further undermine America’s influence and, by extension, weaken the security of both the United States and the world” (9/19).

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Universal Health Coverage Must Guarantee SRHR, Opinion Piece Says

Project Syndicate: A War of Words Fought over Women’s Bodies
Katja Iversen, president and CEO of Women Deliver

“This month, the United Nations General Assembly will hold a high-level meeting to secure a commitment by member states to deliver universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection and access to essential health-care services, medicines, and vaccines for all. But just how much countries commit to services that meet the unique needs of girls and women as part of their UHC implementation is still up for debate. … [F]or universal health coverage to be truly universal and transformative, it must embrace gender equality in all forms — and that also means providing explicit guarantees of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). … SRHR enables women to reach their full potential by, among other things, participating in their economies, politics, and societies. This boosts the wellbeing of families and communities, thereby contributing to overall economic growth and sustainable development. … ‘Health care for all’ includes sexual and reproductive health, and ‘all’ includes every person, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, ability, migration status, gender identity or expression, indigeneity, health condition, class, or caste. To have any chance of delivering this, SRHR must be recognized, funded, and manifested in every country and community in the world…” (9/19).

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International Community Should Strengthen Local Health Systems To Address Outbreaks, Other Health Issues, Says Opinion Piece

Newsweek: Measles Is Now Killing More People In The DRC Than Ebola
Jeremy Rossman, honorary senior lecturer in virology and president of Research-Aid Networks at the University of Kent, and Matthew Badham, PhD candidate in molecular virology at the University of Kent

“Ebola outbreaks, such as the current one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has claimed 2,074 people’s lives, are widely covered in the media. But another virus is ravaging the DRC with minimal publicity. That virus is measles. … In July 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, partly in response to international pressure and fear of the disease spreading to other countries. Measles has been given no such status. … How then should the international community respond to outbreaks to protect both the overall health of a community and the global spread of a specific disease? Perhaps the solution is as recently proposed by Doctors Without Borders and The Alliance for International Medical Action. They suggested that instead of the international community delivering targeted aid for only Ebola, resources should be deployed to strengthen local infrastructure and provide a decentralized capacity to provide care to all communities. This may enable a country to contain an Ebola outbreak while still responding to outbreaks of other infectious and non-infectious diseases, providing better care for local communities…” (9/19).

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Gavi's Work To Deliver Vaccines Validated By Receipt Of 2019 Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award, CEO Says

Scientific American: We Deliver Vaccines to the World’s Poorest, Hardest-to-Reach Children
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…Between 2021 and 2025, Gavi intends to reach more than 300 million additional children with vaccines, saving up to eight million additional lives. … We’re expanding the portfolio of vaccines that we support to 18, up from just six when Gavi launched nearly two decades ago. … When we protect children from devastating diseases with vaccines, their families, communities, and countries and, indeed, the entire world reap the benefits. I’m very proud that this has been recognized by the Lasker Foundation, which has bestowed on us the prestigious 2019 Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award, highlighting the momentous, everyday efforts of Gavi and its partners to increase access to vaccines in the world’s poorest countries. The Public Service Award — which recognizes major improvements in, and support for, medical research and public health — is one of the most gratifying validations of Gavi’s work and impact” (9/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Partnerships, Investments Essential To Implementing Health Sector Reforms To Achieve UHC In Africa, Mali President Says

Global Fund’s “VOICES”: Next Stop: Universal Health Coverage for all Africans
In this post, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, president of the Republic of Mali, discusses the launch of health reform in his nation, which, he writes, “has made primary care completely free of charge for pregnant women and children under age 5, and deployed and trained tens of thousands of community health workers to work as closely as possible with 18 million Malians, spread throughout our vast territory.” Keïta continues, “In this mission, partners such as the Global Fund are essential. … Investing in health is a clear priority and an essential foundation for the economic development of our country and our continent” (9/19).

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More Than 29M Infants Born Into Conflict In 2018, UNICEF Says

UNICEF: 29 million babies born into conflict in 2018
“More than 29 million babies were born into conflict-affected areas in 2018, UNICEF said [Thursday]. Armed violence across countries including Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen meant that, throughout last year, more than 1 in 5 babies globally spent their earliest moments in communities affected by the chaos of conflict, often in deeply unsafe, and highly stressful environments. … Providing safe spaces for families and their young children living through conflict — where children can use play and early learning as outlets for some of the trauma they have experienced; and providing psychosocial support to children — and their families — are critical parts of UNICEF’s humanitarian response…” (9/19).

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World Bank, UNFPA Pieces Discuss New Child, Maternal Mortality Data Released By U.N., Partner Agencies

World Bank: Despite remarkable progress, 15,000 children and 800 women still die every day mostly of preventable or treatable causes (Suzuki/Kashiwase, 9/19).

UNFPA: Preventable maternal deaths down from 2000, but rate of progress at a crawl (9/19).

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Researcher Proposes 5 Ways To Make New Business Case For Global Development Goals

Oxfam’s “The Politics of Poverty”: We need a new business case for the SDGs
In this post, Uwe Gneiting, a researcher in Oxfam America’s Private Sector Department, discusses “five ways to reimagine why it pays for companies to help tackle the world’s toughest challenges.” He concludes, “At this year’s UNGA, let’s not slap new labels on old wine. Let’s create a business case worthy of the challenges and the opportunities we face” (9/19).

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UNAIDS Piece Discusses Implications Of Climate Change, Environmental Disasters For People With HIV

UNAIDS: How climate change is affecting people living with HIV
“On the eve of the United Nations Climate Action Summit, taking place in New York, United States of America, on 23 September, it is clear that climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. Often, the impact is greatest in regions already facing other challenges, with vulnerable groups of people, including people living with HIV, the most affected…” (9/20).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Green To Attend UNGA, Meet With Partners

USAID: USAID Administrator Mark Green Travels to UNGA
“U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green will travel to New York City, from September 23-27, 2019 to participate in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Administrator Green will meet with bilateral and multilateral partners to discuss the journey to self-reliance, private-sector engagement through a new collaboration ethic, and other development and humanitarian assistance priorities…” (9/19).

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