KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. SG Guterres Discusses U.N. Reform, Global Goals Financing

Devex: U.N. chief António Guterres cautions financing will impact reform process
“The scope of United Nations reform might not be as big as initially envisioned, due to financial restraints and a lack of specialized budget, according to U.N. chief António Guterres. In an exclusive interview with Devex Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar on Wednesday, Guterres said there are ‘severe problems of coordination’ across the U.N., including work to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030…” (Lieberman, 9/21).

U.N. News: Financing the 2030 Agenda: What is it and why is it important?
“António Guterres launches his strategy to finance the 2030 Agenda plan to ‘transform the world’ on 24 September, ahead of the General Assembly’s annual general debate. How high on the secretary general’s to-do list is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? Well, the timing of the meeting to discuss financing the Agenda might be a clue: it takes place on Monday afternoon, just before the General Debate of the General Assembly on Tuesday morning, when the eyes of the world turn to the U.N. Headquarters in New York…” (9/23).

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Devex Reports From U.N. On Reform Plan, UNDP Strategy, Private Sector Involvement In Famine Prevention

Devex: Q&A: U.S. Ambassador Chalet on the U.S. and U.N. reform
“…Last Wednesday, the U.S. Congress confirmed Cherith Norman Chalet, a reform and management expert at the mission for the past 10 years, as the new U.S. representative for U.N. management and reform. … Devex caught up with Chalet on Thursday, on the sidelines of a humanitarian data visualization event co-hosted by the Tableau Foundation, to discuss how the planned U.N. reforms align with the U.S. vision, and where they differ…” (Lieberman, 9/24).

Devex: UNDP Administrator Steiner on U.N. reform, UNDP strategy, and humanitarian aid nexus
“The United Nations Development Programme is busy rolling out its new strategy, with pressure to implement it rapidly as broader U.N. reforms are set to go into effect at the start of 2019, said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. ‘We need to reinvent the way we think about development, about development partnerships, and cooperation,’ he told Devex Sunday at the Social Good Summit…” (Saldinger, 9/24).

Devex: Tech companies join in effort to help prevent famine
“…In an effort to harness technology to help prevent famines, the World Bank partnered with global technology firms, U.N. agencies, and humanitarian organizations to develop the Famine Action Mechanism, or FAM — the first global mechanism that is dedicated to preventing future famines…” (Cheney, 9/24).

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U.N. High-Level Meeting On NCDs Presents Opportunity To Step Up Efforts, Stakeholders Say

Health Policy Watch: United Nations Meeting On Noncommunicable Diseases: ‘A Make Or Break Moment’
“After falling short of achieving commitments made at the first and second United Nations high-level meetings on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in recent years, the Third High-Level Meeting on NCDs taking place [September 27] presents an opportunity for world leaders to either step up their response, or risk falling further behind, according to stakeholders…” (Branigan, 9/20).

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President Trump Says U.S. Committed To 'Fighting Drug Epidemic Together' With Other Nations At High-Level Meeting On World Drug Problem

Associated Press/CBS News: Trump to U.N.: “We commit to fighting the drug epidemic together”
“President Donald Trump in his address at a high-level meeting on the ‘Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem,’ said that the United States is committed to ‘fighting the drug epidemic together’ as the ‘scourge’ of drug addiction continues to grip much of the U.S. and its closest allies around the world. At least 124 countries have already signed up to support the global coalition to combat drugs, something Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said is making a difference in the worldwide fight against drugs…” (9/24).

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Governments Should Responsibly Regulate Currently Illegal Drug Markets, Global Commission Says In Report

Reuters: Regulate: ex-world leaders’ solution to ‘failed’ drug war
“More governments should turn away from a repressive war on drugs that has ‘failed’ and look to proven strategies to implement regulated markets for risky substances, a group of former presidents and leaders said in a report published Monday. … The report, ‘Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs’ by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, will be released at an event on Monday in Mexico City…” (O’Boyle, 9/24).

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Alcohol Responsible For 3M Deaths Worldwide Annually, Mostly Among Men, WHO Report Shows

U.N. News: Alcohol abuse kills three million people a year, most of them men — WHO report
“More one in 20 deaths in 2016 — three million people, mostly men — were caused by harmful use of alcohol, according a report released on Friday by the World Health Organization (WHO). … WHO’s Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 reveals that of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were caused by injuries (from traffic accidents, self-harm, and violence); 21 percent were due to digestive disorders; and the remainder were caused by cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders, and other health conditions…” (9/21).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, The BMJ, Forbes, Fortune, The Guardian, Reuters, UPI, U.S. News & World Report, and Xinhua News.

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Devex Examines Politicization Of Aid In U.K.

Devex: The new politics of aid
“As the United Kingdom’s main political parties meet for their annual conferences over the next two weeks, there should be plenty for the aid community to digest — from ministerial speeches to topical fringe events — at a time when the key parties are taking divergent approaches to international development in both policy and rhetoric. More than any time in recent years, aid has become a political battleground, with politicians from the right and left making very different cases for how and why the U.K. should pursue its development goals…” (Hargrave, 9/24).

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Ebola Hotspots In Congo Threaten Outbreak Response Progress, WHO Warns; More Than 150 Children Orphaned, Separated By Disease, UNICEF Says

U.N. News: DR Congo: Amid renewed risk of spread, Ebola virus leaves over 150 children orphaned or unaccompanied
“New Ebola virus hotspots in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are threatening progress made in tackling the deadly disease and increasing its risk of spreading, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday. To date, there have been 142 cases of Ebola in the country’s northeast, with 97 deaths. According to WHO, the cities of Beni and Butembo, in North Kivu, have become the new hotspots for the disease. … According to the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the disease has left more than 150 children and adolescents either orphaned or separated from their caregivers…” (9/21).

Additional coverage of the Ebola outbreak in Congo is available from the Associated Press, CIDRAP News, and Xinhua News (2).

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Famine Threatening Yemen, U.N. Humanitarian Chief Warns

The Guardian: Deadly Yemen famine could strike at any time, warns U.N. boss
“A famine inflicting ‘huge loss of life’ could strike at any time in Yemen, as food prices soar and the battle rages over the country’s main port, the U.N. humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, has warned. Lowcock said that by the time an imminent famine is confirmed, it would be too late to stop it…” (Borger, 9/24).

Additional coverage of this story is available from Agence France-Presse and U.N. News.

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U.S. Reinforces Counter-Terrorism Controls On New USAID Grants, Contracts For Aid To Syria

IRIN: U.S. tightens counter-terror clampdown on Syria aid
“The U.S. government has reinforced counter-terrorism controls on aid operations in Syria. New contractual terms require U.S.-funded organizations to get special permission to provide relief in areas controlled by extremist groups. The move further complicates aid operations for those trapped in Syria’s last rebel stronghold, Idlib, where two thirds of its three million people need assistance…” (Parker, 9/21).

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More News In Global Health

ABC News: Australian HIV rates declining overall, but not for everyone (Sedghi, 9/24).

Associated Press: Raw sewage in streets: Cholera is Zimbabwe’s latest crisis (Mutsaka, 9/22).

Associated Press: Despite strong laws, domestic violence in Brazil is rampant (Christofaro, 9/21).

Deutsche Welle: Cholera outbreak in Nigeria’s northeast kills nearly 100 (9/22).

Devex: Q&A: How to leapfrog progress in primary health care (9/21).

The Guardian: Why do women still die giving birth? (Ford, 9/24).

Health Policy Watch: Budget Shortfalls Cripple Health Services In Tanzania Public Hospitals (Makoye, 9/19).

The Hill: Ireland to offer free abortions after ban’s repeal (Folley, 9/21).

HuffPost: The War On Drugs — In Your Bacon (Levitt, 9/22).

TIME: Bill Gates Talks to TIME About a Coming ‘Third Wave’ of Development in Africa (Kluger, 9/21).

Wall Street Journal: Murder by the Numbers (Luhnow, 9/20).

Washington Post: Hunger, not violence, fuels Guatemalan migration surge, U.S. says (Miroff/Sieff, 9/22).

Xinhua News: E.U. provides 25-mln-euro grant to end polio, support Afghan children (9/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Letters To Editor Urge More Funding To Address Global TB

Washington Post: Letters to the Editor: We need to put more money toward tuberculosis research

Mel Spigelman, physician, president, and chief executive of TB Alliance

“As the World Health Organization has pointed out, drug-resistant tuberculosis infections are on the rise. And yet, funding for TB research and development of the tools we need, including new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines, is woefully inadequate … [The] lack of significant progress against an ancient and curable disease is alarming. TB treatments, especially against drug-resistant strains, must be simpler, shorter, more effective, safer, and affordable. This goal is readily achievable so TB therapy can play its role in the elimination of the disease. However, this can be done only with a substantially greater degree of funding” (9/21).

Colin Smith, director of communications at RESULTS

“…Both the House and Senate have called for an increase in global TB funding. When they pick up budget negotiations again in December, they should go with the higher House number, which would boost next year’s TB budget by $41 million. Tuberculosis is preventable, treatable, and curable. The world may be full of intractable problems, but this doesn’t need to be one of them” (9/21).

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World Leaders Must Commit To Advancing UHC To Effectively Address TB, NCDs, Mental Health

Project Syndicate: Governments Must Stand Up for Health
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO

“…[W]hile TB and NCDs are very different types of health threats, the best response to them is the same: We must build stronger health systems that are capable of delivering universal health coverage (UHC). … The principles underlying UHC apply equally to protecting people against TB, NCDs, and promoting mental health. But while the urgent need for UHC is widely understood, real change will not happen without a greater commitment from the highest levels of government. … By highlighting the challenges posed by TB and NCDs, the U.N. is giving political leaders a unique chance to put the well-being of their citizens first. They should remember that promoting health pays dividends on many other fronts, too, from economic development to security. … The U.N. General Assembly is a unique opportunity for world leaders to foster a true global good — better health for their citizens — by advancing universal coverage to end TB, beat NCDs, and promote better mental health” (9/21).

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Investing In Skilled Health Workers Vital To Achieving SDGs

Devex: Opinion: Skilled health workers are the foundation of a healthy world
Vanessa Kerry, CEO and co-founder of Seed Global Health

“…[H]ow do we achieve reductions in deaths from preventable, treatable diseases, address the burgeoning [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)], and increase access to universal coverage for all? The answer is building a health workforce able to address these challenges. … Yet while the evidence shows that we must invest in skilled health workers, not enough has been done to prioritize their funding and support. … Doctors, nurses, midwives, and other skilled workers are critical to supporting the health system overall, serving not only as care providers but as sources of ongoing training, and even strategy, for solving health system challenges. … [N]one of the [Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs)] health targets can be achieved without the health professionals who diagnose and treat disease in all its complexity. Overlook the major role they have in creating strong health systems, or fail to invest in building their capacity — and sustainability will remain a faraway dream” (9/21).

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Global Community Must Prevent Violence, Address Underlying Causes Of Humanitarian Crises

Washington Post: We can, and must, prevent the next Yemen
Neal Keny-Guyer, chief executive of Mercy Corps

“…The international community must learn from [the] devastation [in Yemen]. To avert another Yemen, Syria, or Iraq, we must prevent violence before it erupts. We can accomplish this by helping at-risk communities improve governance, promote fair economic growth, and protect natural resources. … As global leaders convene in New York [this] week to address the world’s most pressing security challenges, … they must resist the temptation to focus solely on current crises while downplaying or avoiding discussions of their underlying causes. Conflict prevention must be our primary responsibility to humanity. As a global community, we will be unable to tackle the other challenges of our time — addressing the unprecedented refugee crisis, ending poverty, and reducing hunger — without first preventing violence before it begins. Let’s learn from the crises in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere and take action now to ward off the next violent conflict” (9/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

FT Health Discusses Findings From WHO Global TB Report, Features Interview With GFF Director

FT Health: D-Day for tuberculosis
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses findings from the 2018 WHO Global Tuberculosis Report and features an interview with Mariam Claeson, director of the Global Financing Facility, who talks about the GFF’s efforts and how the organization differs from other multilateral initiatives. The newsletter also provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Dodd, 9/21).

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New Report Tracks Commitments To Global Strategy To End Preventable Maternal, Newborn, Child Deaths By 2030

Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health: Commitments to Every Woman Every Child’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030)
“A new report called Commitments to Every Woman Every Child’s (EWEC) Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) — commissioned by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) in collaboration with the Every Woman Every Child Secretariat and Family Planning 2020, tracks commitments to the EWEC Global Strategy over the period of September 2015 to December 2017. The EWEC Global Strategy is a roadmap for ending all preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths, including stillbirths, by 2030, and improving their overall health and well-being…” (9/23).

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GSMA Director General Discusses Impact Of Mobile Technology On SDGs

World Economic Forum: More than just a phone: mobile’s impact on sustainable development
Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, discusses the impact of mobile technology in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 2: Zero hunger, SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy, and SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities. Granryd writes, “[T]he mobile industry is making important progress in advancing the SDGs — progress made possible by operators integrating the SDGs into their core strategies, activities, and values. But there is still work to do…” (9/20).

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CGD Experts Discuss Venezuela's Public Health Emergency, Offer Recommendations For International Response

Center for Global Development: Call a Spade a Spade: Venezuela is a Public Health Emergency
Roxanne Oroxom, policy analyst, and Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer, senior fellow, and board secretary, both at CGD, discuss Venezuela’s health and humanitarian situation and outline how the international community can respond. The authors write, “Accounts of persistent medicine stockouts, rampant disease spread, and rising mortality rates have poured out of Venezuela for years, and the situation has only deteriorated since then. It’s time to give Venezuela’s crisis its rightful designation: a public health emergency” (9/21).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Official Discusses Nation's Participation In UNGA

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Outlining American Interests at the United Nations General Assembly
Kevin E. Moley, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the State Department, discusses U.S. participation in this week’s 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly and writes, “For the United States, the U.N. must show real and tangible value to American interests. At this year’s UNGA, the Trump administration will underscore and advance those interests in the clearest possible terms” (9/21).

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GAO Report Examines Banking Access Challenges Of USAID's Implementing Partners

U.S. Government Accountability Office: Humanitarian Assistance: USAID Should Improve Information Collection and Communication to Help Mitigate Implementers’ Banking Challenges
“U.S. agencies partner with nonprofit organizations to deliver humanitarian assistance around the world. Unstable or high-conflict areas, where aid is often needed, have a higher risk of financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorism financing. Banks may limit risk by limiting services to those areas — which we found can reduce agency partners’ ability to deliver assistance. The U.S. Agency for International Development — a major source of aid — should address its partners’ banking access challenges to ensure the agency can meet its humanitarian objectives. We recommended collecting and sharing information to help mitigate the challenges” (9/20).

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