KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CDC Report Emphasizes Importance Of U.S. Global Health Security Contributions

CQ HealthBeat: CDC Plays Up Global Health Security Contribution as Cuts Loom
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday published a report highlighting the agency’s contribution to global health security, as the Trump administration proposes cuts to those programs and the agency’s overall budget could face pressure. The report, in the CDC-published journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, details its response to worldwide outbreaks and pandemics [and] emphasizes the United States’ contribution to helping other countries implement what’s known as the Global Health Security Agenda…” (Siddons, 9/21).

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U.S. Announces Nearly $700M In Additional Humanitarian Funding For War-Torn Syria, Surrounding Region

The Hill: U.S. announces $700M in aid for Syrians stuck in war zone
“The State Department announced on Thursday that the U.S. is providing nearly $700 million in additional humanitarian aid for Syrians caught in the middle of the country’s bloody civil war. … The aid announced Thursday brings the total amount of money to Syria from the U.S. to more than $7 billion since 2012…” (Manchester, 9/21).

Reuters: U.S. announces near $700 million in humanitarian aid to Syria
“…Nearly $516 million will be destined to assistance inside Syria, according to the statement. Around the region, Jordan will receive about $88 million, Turkey $35 million, Lebanon $29 million, Iraq $15 million, Egypt $13 million, and regional organizations $2 million…” (9/21).

U.N. News Centre: Sustained engagement vital to address immense humanitarian needs in Syria — U.N. official
“Sustained international attention and engagement is vital as the Syrian conflict moves into its seventh year and the suffering of civilians shows no signs of waning, a top United Nations official said [Thursday]. … In April in Brussels, some $6 billion was pledged by over 40 governments for the humanitarian response this year, with a further $3.7 billion pledged for 2018…” (9/21).

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U.S. Committed To Humanitarian Aid, Disaster Response, USAID Administrator Mark Green Says

Washington Post: Despite proposed budget cuts, officials say the U.S. is committed to humanitarian aid
“…[Six] disaster assistance response team[s] currently [are] dispatched by the U.S. Agency for International Development to countries struck by disasters, both natural and man-made. ‘America is and will remain the world’s leading humanitarian donor,’ Mark Green, the head of USAID, said in announcing the response team’s arrival in Mexico. ‘Whether it’s responding to an earthquake, drought, or conflict, America is committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with people in their hour of need. It is who we are as Americans.’ Green has been driving home that point repeatedly at the U.N. General Assembly this week. Many have questioned the Trump administration’s commitment to foreign aid, including emergency humanitarian assistance…” (Morello, 9/21).

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Global Efforts Suppressing Famine In 4 Nations, But More Funding Needed To Alleviate Hunger, U.N. Officials Warn

Los Angeles Times: The U.N. World Food Programme is seeing substantial funding, but it’s still not enough to meet global needs
“Funding for the United Nations World Food Programme is substantial compared with other times in the agency’s history, but more is needed to meet global needs, the agency’s executive director said. The United States is responsible for more than half the funding, David Beasley, executive director of the program, said this week during side briefings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. … Beasley said that even though the WFP has substantial donations, ‘the needs are not being met’…” (Simmons, 9/21).

U.N. News Centre: Global action keeping famine at bay but failing to prevent suffering, U.N. chief warns
“Nearly seven months after the United Nations issued an urgent call for action to counter the threat of famine in South Sudan, Somalia, northeast Nigeria, and Yemen, global efforts have kept that crisis at bay but millions of people still suffer and many are dying at this very moment, Secretary-General António Guterres warned [Thursday]…” (9/21).

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Saudi Arabia Faces Criticism Over Military Action In Yemen; U.S., U.K., Qatar Expected To Announce New Humanitarian Aid For Crisis, Envoy Says

Devex: Exclusive: U.N. envoy says new Yemen aid forthcoming
“The United States, the United Kingdom, and Qatar will announce new funding for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen on Friday during a high-level meeting at the United Nations General Assembly on the situation, the U.N. special envoy for humanitarian affairs told Devex…” (Dickinson, 9/21).

Foreign Policy: As Cholera-Wracked Yemen Starves, Saudis Paint Rosy Picture of Their Relief Efforts
“Saudi Arabia’s king sent a senior adviser to the United States this week to paint a picture of a generous nation working to ensure food and medicine reaches the suffering civilians of Yemen, even as it pursues a devastating air war against Houthi rebels. But international relief organizations, human rights advocates, and a growing number of U.S. lawmakers say Saudi Arabia and its military partners are aggravating the mounting humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen by delaying or blocking access for emergency aid to areas controlled by Houthis, including a crucial port and the country’s airport…” (De Luce, 9/21).

Newsweek: Children at war: Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen but blames humanitarian disaster on Iran-backed Houthis
“…The aim of [Senior Adviser Abdullah al-Rabeeah’s] public relations blitz appears to be twofold: to deflect attention from the two-year air campaign by a Saudi-led military coalition against Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and to keep Riyadh off a U.N. list of countries that kill and cripple children in war…” (Broder, 9/21).

Xinhua News: Cholera death toll rises to 2,103 in war-torn Yemen: WHO
“The death toll of the cholera epidemic in war-torn Yemen has increased to 2,103 since it broke out in April, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday. The suspected cases have risen up to 704,544, WHO said on its official Twitter account…” (9/21).

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Melinda Gates Discusses Importance Of U.S. Foreign Aid, World's Progress On Health Indicators In PBS Interview

PBS NewsHour: Why Melinda Gates thinks the U.S. must protect foreign aid
“As President Trump stressed his ‘America-first’ approach in remarks to the United Nations this week, Bill and Melinda Gates hosted a conference to unveil the results of a three-year-long Gates Foundation study on the world’s major health issues. Judy Woodruff spoke with Melinda Gates about the importance of U.S. leadership in world health, and how tech is affecting teens today…” (9/21).

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Philanthropists Pledge $34M To Improve Gender-Related Development Data Collection

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Philanthropists pledge millions for better U.N. data on women
“Philanthropists pledged millions of dollars to fund U.N. data gathering on Thursday, saying it was vital to learn more about the world’s women to tackle the poverty that disproportionately affects them. Pledges totaling $34 million were unveiled during a side event of the United Nations annual General Assembly, a week-long meeting in New York of world leaders and diplomats…” (Malo, 9/21).

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New Pricing Agreement On Single-Pill HIV Medication To Expand Access To Treatment In LMICs

Devex: Health organizations partner for ‘milestone’ pricing agreement on superior HIV drug
“A new pricing agreement for HIV drugs could represent an ‘unprecedented’ step toward making superior medications available faster and at a large scale in low- and middle-income countries. … The pricing agreement is the result of a coordinated effort by pharmaceutical manufacturers, United Nations agencies, NGOs, and national governments…” (Igoe, 9/22).

Science: New single-day pill for HIV treatment promises more bang for less buck
“For about $75, the governments in South Africa and Kenya will soon be able to treat an HIV-infected person for one year with a pill taken once a day that contains a ‘best-in-class’ combination of three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. … The annual per-person cost of the new pill, made by generic manufacturers, is also about $25 less than the least expensive similar triple-ARV combo pill on the market…” (Cohen, 9/21).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. hails landmark pricing deal for faster rollout of ‘game-changing’ HIV treatment
“… ‘What we are talking about today with this life-changing announcement is about the quality of medicine, is about equity, is about the dignity, is about access to medicine as a human right,’ Michel Sidibé, executive director of the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), told a press conference at U.N. Headquarters…” (9/21).

VOA News: UNAIDS Calls for ‘Fast-Track’ Approach to Curbing Epidemic
“…The reduced-price AIDS drugs will be available for purchase by public sector organizations next year, and estimates show the partnership likely will save more than $1 billion in medical costs over the next six years…” (9/22).

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More Progress Needed On Antimicrobial Resistance, Experts Say

U.N. Dispatch: One year after promising to tackle Antibiotic Resistance, the U.N. assesses its progress
“…In March 2017, the U.N. announced the creation of the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance … On the sidelines of this year’s U.N. General Assembly in New York, members of this new group gathered with government officials, public health advocates, and pharmaceutical industry representatives to discuss what progress has been made since September 2016. The consensus: Not enough progress has been made…” (9/21).

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Highly Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreading In Southeast Asia, Researchers Report

Associated Press: Superbug’s spread to Vietnam threatens malaria control
“Vietnam’s main malaria treatment is failing at an alarming rate because of a highly drug-resistant superbug that has spread into the southern part of the country from western Cambodia, scientists said Thursday…” (9/21).

BBC News: Alarm as ‘super malaria’ spreads in Southeast Asia
“…The team at the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said there was a real danger of malaria becoming untreatable. … In a letter, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the researchers detail the ‘recent sinister development’ that has seen resistance to the drug artemisinin emerge…” (Gallagher, 9/22).

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As Temperatures Rise In Africa, More Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Thrive In New Places, Researchers Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — Move over malaria: Mosquitoes carrying Zika, dengue may thrive in warmer Africa
“…The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University. In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that now battle the disease…” (Guilbert, 9/22).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Spending On Foreign Aid Vital To Global Health, Security

Deseret News: Jay Evensen: Think the U.S. should cut foreign aid? Think again
Jay Evensen, senior editorial columnist for Deseret News

“…[T]he world now has disease and preventable childhood deaths on the run … The United Nations and many other organizations are making this happen, but the United States is a primary force behind the good news. … Nations that get a handle on the epidemic of dying babies are less likely to succumb to radical ideologies that threaten peace in the rest of the world. Poor health, poverty, and despair provide fertile ground for violent alternatives. … [U.S. spending on foreign aid] represents a much smaller percentage of the economy than what many other nations give. That isn’t so much an argument to give more as it is to not cut back on what the nation currently gives. If we’ve learned anything over the last 20 years, it is that pandemics, desperation, and radicalization don’t quietly confine themselves to small corners of the world” (9/21).

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Mexico City Policy Could 'Stymie Efforts' To Control Global AIDS

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Trump and AIDS
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (Change)

“…Though Mr. Trump’s proposal to reduce funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, … was rejected by both the House and the Senate appropriations committees, the administration’s version of the global gag rule — which is a dramatic expansion of previous iterations — remains in effect. Research by Fordham University shows that the global gag rule drastically curtailed community-based HIV testing and condom distribution programs. This is why President George W. Bush explicitly exempted PEPFAR funding from the policy. Mr. Trump’s decision to include PEPFAR and expand the global gag rule’s reach underscores this administration’s gross incompetence when it comes to global health. Now is not the time to stymie efforts to control the spread of an epidemic that knows no borders. Legislation like the Global HER Act is a critical step to making sure that progress toward ending AIDS is not reversed” (9/21).

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Global Financing Facility Could Help Countries Maximize Available Resources For Reproductive, MNCA Health

Devex: Opinion: Making the case for the Global Financing Facility
Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[T]he Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committing $200 million to kick off the replenishment of the trust fund supporting the [Global Financing Facility (GFF)] … The GFF trust fund established at the World Bank links grant funding to International Development Assistance or International Bank for Reconstruction and Development projects. This substantially increases the scale of available funding for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child health, and adolescents at country level. Country-led. Evidence-based. Customer-focused. Integrated. Results-oriented. This is still a relatively new approach, but the GFF has the potential to generate more sustainable financing for health over the long term by mobilizing support from donor governments, private sector partners, and a country’s own domestic resources. It’s an idea worth investing in” (9/21).

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World Leaders Should 'Increase Resolve' To Address Global Hunger

New York Times: World Hunger Haunts the U.N. Festivities
Editorial Board

“As the leaders of the world posture and sermonize for the United Nations General Assembly this week, a growing global specter should spur common concern among them: World hunger, after a decade-long decline, spiked last year, because of scourges like global warming and civil conflicts that show little sign of abating. The number of undernourished human beings on the planet increased from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated, in a report timed for the world leaders’ annual review of their hopes and fears for the planet. … If the diplomats at the United Nations are paying attention to the world out there, the report should prod them into a fresh look at hunger and an increased resolve to drive it back down. … Unfortunately, President Trump … has already proposed a severe cut in funding for the organization. But the United Nations is larger than any of its members. Its ultimate constituency is humanity itself. The planet’s diplomats have been put on notice that, whatever their differences, they cannot afford to let up in the fight against global hunger” (9/22).

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Prevention, Control Of NCDs Requires Action From Governments, Global Community

The Lancet: Beating NCDs can help deliver universal health coverage
Tabaré Ramón Vázquez, president of Uruguay, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO

“In WHO’s drive to ensure good health and care for all, there is a pressing need to step up global and national action on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and the factors that put so many people at risk of illness and death from these conditions worldwide. … At the 70th World Health Assembly in May 2017, governments endorsed the updated set of ‘best buys’ and other recommended interventions for the prevention and control of NCDs, which — when implemented — can support countries to reach Sustainable Development Goal target 3.4 of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030. By implementing these measures, governments will protect health, make populations stronger and more productive, save on health care costs, and — when they implement taxes on tobacco, sugary drinks, and alcohol — generate revenues that can be ploughed back into universal health coverage. … Changing the NCD paradigm is essential. … [W]e must expect — and help — governments to make the healthy choice the norm for their citizens. We look forward to meeting with government leaders in Uruguay to discuss ways to do just that” (9/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Council On Foreign Relations Analysis Examines U.S. Funding For U.N., Impacts Of Proposed Cuts

Council on Foreign Relations: Funding the United Nations: What Impact Do U.S. Contributions Have on U.N. Agencies and Programs?
Amanda Shendruk, a data visualization designer at the Council on Foreign Relations, uses visual representations to examine U.S. funding to the U.N. and the potential impacts of proposed cuts to the funding (9/21).

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Reliable, High-Quality Health Data Vital To Addressing Growing NCD Burden

Health Affairs Blog: Addressing The Gap In Noncommunicable Disease Data With Technology And Innovation
Kelly Henning, public health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, discusses the role of data in addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), writing, “By closing gaps in health data, countries can react swiftly to shifting disease burdens, identify leading causes of death, and plan for the future. The growing burden of NCDs, specifically in low- and middle-income countries, highlights a need for policymakers to access high-quality NCD risk-factor data to inform decision making and resource allocation and understand NCD trends over time” (9/21).

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From the U.S. Government

PMI Launches 4 New Country Programs, Expands 1 Existing Program In Africa

President’s Malaria Initiative: PMI Launches and Expands in West and Central Africa
“The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will launch new country programs in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, and Sierra Leone, and expand its existing program in Burkina Faso. With the addition of five new focus countries in West and Central Africa, PMI will have programs in 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria remains a significant public health problem…” (9/21).

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CDC's Global Rapid Response Team Conducts Training Workshop For Emergency Response Activities

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: CDC Global Rapid Response Team Pilots Workshop for Senegal and Burkina Faso
This blog post discusses the role and work of the CDC’s Global Rapid Response Team (GRRT), highlighting a workshop during which participants discussed how to adapt guidelines for rapid response teams (RRT) to their country’s individual contexts and needs. The blog post notes, “CDC remains committed to improving the response capabilities of countries worldwide. Skill-building exercises like this RRT training ensure global health security by creating a more prepared world, ready to respond to whatever disease or emergency strikes next” (9/19).

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