KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Bill Gates Discusses Vaccines, U.S. Global Health Funding In Fox News Sunday Interview

The Hill: Bill Gates hopes talk with Trump on vaccine programs was ‘enlightening’
“Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he hopes his conversation with President Trump about vaccines was ‘enlightening.’ ‘You know, we talked about vaccines and how they’re miraculous,’ Gates told ‘Fox News Sunday’ about his two meetings with Trump. ‘We talked about these different programs, and so I’m hopeful that was enlightening to him’…” (Shelbourne, 9/24).

Washington Examiner: Bill Gates ‘disappointed’ by Trump slashing global health funding by a quarter
“Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said Sunday he is disappointed in President Trump for slashing the U.S. budget for foreign aid. ‘In terms of the first budget that he came out with, no, that was a disappointment to us,’ Gates said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ‘It was taking the medical research budget; culled (the National Institutes of Health), bringing that down fairly dramatically; taking the aid programs, including the ongoing HIV commitments. Definitely, I was disappointed’…” (Lim, 9/24).

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Additional Funding, Political Will Needed To End Gender-Based Violence, Experts Say

Devex: $500M pledge on gender-based violence is a start, but won’t solve the ‘huge problem’
“The European Union has pledged $500 million for gender-based violence grants as the single biggest financial commitment to emerge during Global Goals Week. But experts in the sector point out it is still far from enough to solve such a serious problem…” (Lieberman, 9/22).

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More Country-Level Action, Research Into New Antibiotics Needed To Address Resistance, Experts Say

TIME: It’s Been One Year Since the World Took On Superbugs. Here’s What’s Changed
“…Since the 2016 meeting, more meetings and committees have been formed to tackle [antimicrobial resistance (AMR)] and provide recommendations on the global and national level. The WHO has urged countries to develop a national action plan on the issue. Currently, 85 percent of member countries are developing or have developed a plan, but only five percent of countries have developed an AMR action plan that addresses multiple sectors and has been implemented with funding sources and monitoring processes…” (Sifferlin, 9/22).

WIRED: The post-antibiotic era is here. Now what?
“…Just last week, the World Health Organization released a report analyzing all the antibacterial agents currently in clinical development. Its conclusions were grim: not enough drugs, not enough innovation. There’s already some amount of pre-existing resistance to just about every one of the 51 treatments coming down the line. … The antibiotic age might be over. But there’s still a lot to say about what comes next” (Molteni, 9/25).

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Immunization Access, Vaccination Resistance Remain Major Obstacles To Polio Eradication Efforts

Los Angeles Times: We’re close to wiping out polio but two obstacles stand in the way, officials say
“…[T]wo challenges stand in the way [of polio eradication efforts], according to international health officials and children’s advocates. One is the lack of accessibility to particular areas in countries where the disease is prevalent, said Reza Hossaini, director of polio eradication at the United Nations Children’s Fund. … The other obstacle is the continued resistance of some parents to have their children vaccinated. A lack of political commitment, religious norms, and rumors about the possible effects of vaccinations, such as the belief in some Pakistani tribal areas that immunization causes male sterility, could all play a role, health officials said…” (Simmons, 9/21).

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NYT Summarizes Major Global Health-Related Announcements From Global Goals Week

New York Times: World Health Officials Describe Progress Against Tetanus, HIV, and Malaria
“Infant and maternal tetanus was officially eliminated from the Americas this year, the Pan American Health Organization announced on Thursday. … Also [last] week, the President’s Malaria Initiative said it would expand its work to new countries in West and Central Africa, protecting 90 million more people. … A combination of aid agencies, drug companies, and governments also announced that a new three-in-one antiretroviral cocktail to treat HIV would soon be available to 92 countries, including virtually all of Africa, for about $75 a year…” (McNeil, 9/22).

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Sierra Leone Receives 1M Cholera Vaccine Doses From Global Stockpile To Prevent Major Outbreak

Devex: Sierra Leone taps global cholera vaccine stockpile to prevent outbreak
“Distribution of roughly half a million doses of the global cholera vaccine stockpile began in Sierra Leone last week in the first round of a campaign to prevent a widespread cholera outbreak following massive mudslides that killed hundreds of people this August. After a request by the government of Sierra Leone, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization, [Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] made a donation ‘on a compassionate basis,’ of one million doses amid fears of a major outbreak if vulnerable communities are left untreated…” (Roby, 9/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Global Development Redesign Must Adopt Best Practices, Adapt To Changing Needs

The Hill: Best practices in U.S. global development should guide effort to redesign
Jim Kolbe, honorary co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN)

“…If the ultimate purpose of foreign assistance is to ‘end its need to exist,’ as USAID’s new Administrator Mark Green has articulated, then the Trump administration should start its redesign process by looking back on what we’ve learned from 60 years of U.S. global development. The new design should consider what is working across U.S. development efforts and build from there, scaling up best practices that have made our foreign assistance far more efficient and effective in recent years. … [T]o fully embrace best practices we must balance accountability with flexibility. Sustained solutions require the U.S. government and its partners to maintain the ability to harness and adapt to changing needs, resources, capabilities, and opportunities in a timely and coordinated way that supports and enables local leadership. … As USAID considers continued reforms this fall, I urge Administrator Green and his team to remember that harnessing and adopting best practices to changing realities will not only offer the best hope for those our aid seeks to lift up, but will also eventually fulfill the goal of ending the need for the existence of foreign assistance itself” (9/24).

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Development, Global Health Progress Being Made Worldwide Despite President Trump's Approach To Foreign Aid, Diplomacy

The Guardian: The world is moving on — with or without Trump’s crude bravado
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

“…A lot of [President] Trump’s speech [at last week’s U.N. General Assembly] was couched in an exceptionally crude, simplistic manner. … It is the arrogance of a country that has been ‘in charge’ for a long time. But it’s not really in charge any longer … We don’t have to be the indispensable country — we should just be a responsible country, participating and cooperating with other countries. … [T]he good news is that progress is being made across the world and what is happening in the United States won’t stop that. In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals which were discussed at the U.N. last week, there is enormous progress. … I’m watching great breakthroughs in health that are absolutely wonderful, deploying community health workers with smartphones that can fight malaria, that can help mothers with the antenatal visits and safe pregnancy and safe childbirth. They can get malaria under control and AIDS under control, working with the U.N. on a pathway to end the AIDS epidemic in a very realistic science-based way…” (9/23).

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Pakistan Should Invest In Reproductive Health Education To Avoid Overpopulation

New York Times: Pakistan, Let’s Talk About Sex
Mohammed Hanif, author

“…Pakistan’s population now exceeds 207 million, an increase of 57 percent since the last census in 1998. … Overpopulation will be a terrible strain on natural resources and state services. … Despite warnings about a population explosion, we still don’t talk about population control. Talking about population control might require talking about sex … — but ‘sex’ remains a dirty word. … The Pakistani government could have involved the clergy to dispel the common myth that contraception is somehow un-Islamic, but it hasn’t. … Pakistan could also have learned from its former sibling Bangladesh, which has had remarkable success at controlling its population by putting women at the center of door-to-door family planning efforts. … But following Bangladesh’s lead would require acknowledging that women need to be educated about what they can do to not make more babies, and in Pakistan we find it difficult to talk about women’s reproductive health, let alone their sex life…” (9/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

El Salvador's Abortion Ban Constitutes 'Violation Of Human Rights,' Blog Post Says

Council on Hemispheric Affairs: El Salvador’s Ban on Abortion: A Growing Human Rights Crisis
Haley Wiebel, extramural contributor at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, discusses El Salvador’s law prohibiting abortion and its impact on women’s health and rights, writing, “International institutions and governing bodies have condemned El Salvador’s antiabortion law as an egregious violation of human rights. … A change in the current legislation is the only answer for Salvadoran women oppressed by the absolute ban on abortion” (9/21).

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FT Health Highlights U.N. General Assembly Takeaways, Features Interview With Senegal Minister For Women Awa Marie Coll-Seck

FT Health: Dispatches from the United Nations
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses global health-related remarks at last week’s U.N. General Assembly and features an interview with Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Senegal’s minister for women and a member of the Lancet Commission on the future of health in sub-Saharan Africa, who discusses findings from the commission’s report. The newsletter also features a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 9/22).

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IntraHealth International, DAI Partnership Will Help Organizations Make Global Health Advances

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: To Do: Join Forces, Save Lives
The IntraHealth Editorial Team describes a recent affiliation agreement between IntraHealth and DAI. “Our partnership is something new, both for us and for the world of international development. It’s not a merger. It’s not an acquisition. It’s a unique affiliation agreement that will help us work together toward new advances in global health…” (9/22).

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