KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO DG, U.N. SG Comment On Landmark Political Declaration On Universal Health Coverage

U.N. News: Universal coverage race at ‘starting line,’ with new momentum: U.N. health agency
“The race to provide Universal Health Coverage can now get underway, said the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, as nations take to the ‘starting line’ following the most ‘comprehensive international health agreement in history’ — the landmark pledge to improve global health declared by the U.N. just 24 hours earlier. In the wake of Monday’s universal health commitments, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebryesus said the document would serve as ‘a new milestone in our journey towards a healthier, safer, and fairer world,’ dovetailing with the launch of the agency’s own pledge to boost healthier living…” (9/24).

Xinhua: Global leaders at U.N. call for universal health care by 2030
“…The political declaration on universal health coverage was adopted by acclamation at a high-level meeting on the eve of the annual U.N. General Assembly General Debate. The declaration ‘is the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health — a vision for universal health coverage by 2030,’ said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. ‘This is a significant achievement that will drive progress over the next decade on communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, while addressing non-communicable disease and antimicrobial resistance through robust and resilient primary health care systems,’ he said…” (9/24).

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At SDG Summit, UNGA General Debate, Leaders Call For More Action, Strong Cooperation To Achieve Development Goals

U.N. News: Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts — now,’ Guterres declares
“‘The 2030 Agenda is coming to life,’ declared the U.N. chief on Tuesday, referring to the blueprint for a healthier planet and a more just world, as he launched the first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit in New York. However, despite encouraging progress, António Guterres warned that much more needs to be done, and ‘we must step up our efforts. Now.’ The two-day summit, one of the five high-level summits and meetings taking place during the opening week of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly, will allow leaders from government, business, and other sectors to identify specific actions on the road to 2030…” (9/24).

Xinhua: U.N. chief warns SDGs off track, calls for more actions
“… ‘We are off track,’ Guterres said, adding that deadly conflicts, the climate crisis, gender-based violence, and persistent inequalities are undermining efforts to achieve the goals. Uneven growth, rising debt levels, [and] heightened global trade tensions are creating new obstacles to implementation, he said. ‘Half the wealth around the world is held by people who could fit around a conference table’…” (9/25).

Xinhua: World leaders call for multilateral approach towards common challenges
“World leaders attending the ongoing General Debate of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74) on Tuesday voiced strong support for multilateralism and called for international cooperation to tackle common threats and challenges together. … The General Debate of UNGA 74 opened Tuesday at the U.N. headquarters in New York with the theme of ‘Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion’…” (9/25).

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Climate Action Summit Sees Limited Commitment From Largest Emitters While Some Companies, Foundations Take Steps Forward On Adaptation, Mitigation

Devex: U.N. climate summit a ‘stepping stone’ for new action, experts say
“The world’s largest emitters did not answer U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for ‘concrete’ commitments on climate change during the U.N. Climate Action Summit. But some companies, foundations, and other players made it clear this week that they are ready to move forward on climate adaptation and mitigation plans, according to experts on climate change and food security…” (Lieberman, 9/25).

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U.K. Announces £600M Pledge To Support Family Planning Programs In Low-Income Nations, U.S. Forms Coalition Urging Elimination Of SRHR Language, Policies From U.N. Documents

Devex: U.K. announces £600M for SRHR amid U.S. opposition
“The United Kingdom government’s £600 million ($750 million) pledge to support family planning in low-income countries has been applauded by advocates in the wake of opposition to the issue from the United States and other conservative nations. International development secretary Alok Sharma announced the new funding package to world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, cementing the U.K.’s reputation as a leading family planning donor. … He made the announcement during a meeting on universal health care, at which the U.S. spoke out strongly against SRHR, calling for the phrase ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ to be dropped from U.N. documents…” (Edwards, 9/25).

Washington Post: U.S. joins 19 nations, including Saudi Arabia and Russia: ‘There is no international right to an abortion’
“The Trump administration declared there’s no ‘international right to abortion’ at a United Nations meeting in New York this week, calling on other countries to join a coalition pushing the elimination of what it calls ‘ambiguous’ terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health, from U.N. documents. … Other countries, civil society, and women’s rights groups have expressed alarm at the efforts, and accused the United States of aligning with countries like Saudi Arabia and Sudan with poor human rights records and, also, of putting unfair pressure on poor countries that depend on U.S. aid…” (Cha, 9/24).

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President Trump Mentions U.S. Global Initiative To Decriminalize Homosexuality In U.N. Speech

Washington Blade: Trump brings up global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality at U.N.
“In a surprise move, President Trump included in his speech before the United Nations on Tuesday his administration’s global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality in the more than 70 countries where it remains illegal. … The remarks mark the first time ever outside of Twitter Trump has acknowledged the global initiative, which is being spearheaded by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-ranking openly gay person in the Trump administration…” (Johnson, 9/24).

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U.S. Rep. Ami Bera Discusses Plans To Examine Trump Administration's Efforts To Restrict Foreign Aid Funding In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Can lawmakers get to the bottom of White House aid funding delays?
“U.S. lawmakers have expressed growing concern about President Donald Trump’s use of budget rules to restrict — or even retract — U.S. foreign aid funding. … In the House of Representatives, where Democrats are in the majority, lawmakers have pledged to use what authority they have to examine the administration’s foreign aid funding policies and to determine whether there has been an intentional, political effort to disrupt funding for certain countries and programs. One of those lawmakers is Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat from California who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight. Devex spoke with Bera about his plans to clarify why funding delays have occurred and what can be done about it…” (Igoe, 9/25).

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IDSA Reviews U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee's Proposed FY20 Budget For Health Concerns, Including Global Fund, PEPFAR

Homeland Preparedness News: IDSA reviews Congressional funding allocations for health concerns
“Proposed funding allocations by the Senate Appropriations Committee address some of the most urgent threats to public and individual, the Infectious Diseases Society of America said. … The bill also recognizes the role of continued U.S. leadership against infectious disease outbreaks worldwide with $595 million for the CDC Center for Global Health. This funding includes a $100 million increase for the CDC Global Public Health Protection program. The Senate State and Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations subcommittee approved $1.56 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. That represents a $210 million increase over FY19 funding. However, a $50 million cut in funding for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief represents a discouraging step back, IDSA said…” (Kovaleski, 9/24).

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U.S. Announces $52M In New Aid To Venezuela For Pro-Democracy Work; Funding Mostly Repurposed From Aid Originally Earmarked For Northern Triangle Countries

Associated Press: Trump administration to triple democracy aid to Venezuela
“The Trump administration is more than tripling U.S. support for pro-democracy work in Venezuela and for the first time directly funding opposition leader Juan Guaidó as he attempts to set up a government to rival the socialist administration of Nicolás Maduro. The $52 million in new aid was announced Tuesday by Mark Green, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, following a meeting in New York with Guaidó’s envoy Carlos Vecchio, whom the Trump administration recognizes as Venezuela’s ambassador in Washington. The funding was mostly repurposed from aid originally earmarked for Honduras and Guatemala that President Donald Trump cut last year after accusing the Central American countries of failing to stem the flow of migrants to the U.S…” (Goodman, 9/24).

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U.K. DFID Announces £220M Program To Target 5 NTDs In 25 African, Asian Countries

Devex: DFID puts £220M into fighting NTDs
“Health experts have welcomed an ‘unprecedented’ £220 million ($274 million) United Kingdom program for taking an integrated, inclusive, and sustainable approach to tackling some of the worst neglected tropical diseases across 25 countries in Africa and Asia. Funded by the U.K. Department for International Development and announced last week, the program aims to deliver 600 million treatments targeting five NTDs…” (Edwards, 9/25).

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WHO Expresses Concern Over Multiple DRC Ebola Hotspots, Urges Tanzania To Provide Information On Suspected Case; BARDA To Support Research On Experimental Treatment

CIDRAP News: WHO: Multiple DRC Ebola hot spots ‘grave concern’
“In the past week, officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) confirmed 48 new cases and 25 new deaths in an ongoing Ebola outbreak in three of the DRC’s eastern provinces…” (Soucheray, 9/24).

Devex: MSF, WHO lock horns over Ebola vaccine deployment
“Médecins Sans Frontières wants more aid organizations to take part in the Ebola vaccination supply and deployment discussions. The international medical humanitarian organization has wanted to expand people’s access to vaccination in the Ebola-affected region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but said this has been impossible with the World Health Organization’s vaccination restrictions. … WHO disagreed with MSF’s characterization…” (Ravelo, 9/24).

Homeland Preparedness News: BARDA to provide $14M, expertise for advanced development of new Ebola treatment
“The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) intends to provide $14 million and expertise support for the advanced development of an investigational Ebola treatment being pursued by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics of Miami…” (Galford, 9/24).

U.N. News: Tanzania urged to provide more information on suspected Ebola case
“Authorities in Tanzania have been urged by the U.N. to supply further information about the death of an individual from suspected Ebola Virus Disease earlier this month in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. The development comes as neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to tackle an Ebola outbreak that began in August last year…” (9/24).

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Devex, USP Host Discussion With Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands

Devex: A Devex Conversation: Peter Sands
In an event sponsored by Devex and USP, Devex Senior Reporter Michael Igoe on Tuesday interviewed Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands at the Devex UHC Pavilion on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Sands and Igoe discuss the future of global health funding, including the Global Fund’s upcoming replenishment; the impacts of funding on achieving UHC; and the outlook on efforts to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (9/24).

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Rockefeller Foundation, Partners Launch $100M Precision Public Health Initiative To Better Use Data Science, AI

Devex: $100M health initiative aims to democratize data science
“On Wednesday, the Rockefeller Foundation announced a new effort to prevent 6 million maternal and child deaths in 10 countries by 2030. Launched on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, and on the heels of the U.N. High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, the $100 million Precision Public Health initiative aims to ensure that frontline health workers have access to data science tools such as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning…” (Cheney, 9/25).

STAT: A new global initiative aims to use AI to improve public health in the developing world
“…The idea is that AI and data science could provide health workers important insights they might not otherwise have — say, a suggestion, delivered via a tablet notification, about which houses to visit to check on mothers and children in need of care. Initially, the initiative will be funded with $100 million. The Rockefeller Foundation will contribute $60 million, UNICEF will chip in $15 million, and the remaining $30 million will come from the initiative’s other partners — the World Health Organization, the Global Fund, the World Bank Group-backed Global Financing Facility, and the public-private partnership known as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance…” (Robbins, 9/25).

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Business Leaders Face Challenges, Opportunities In Private Sectors' Efforts To Achieve SDGs

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Political uncertainty poses obstacle to U.N.’s global goals, businesses say
“Business leaders complain of being hampered by political uncertainty and market constraints in efforts to fight poverty, inequality, and other ills by 2030, research showed on Tuesday as world leaders met to discuss the United Nations’ global goals. Only one in five chief executives thinks business is playing a critical role in the wide-ranging development goals, according to a study by the United Nations Global Compact, a network of businesses, and consulting company Accenture Strategy…” (Wulfhorst, 9/24).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Business Insider and Forbes.

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Zimbabwe’s capital runs dry as taps cut off for 2M people (Mutsaka, 9/24).

BBC: Can baby boxes save lives in Kenya’s slums? (Wafula, 9/25).

SciDev.Net: India and China top hot spots of antimicrobial resistance in animals (Devraj, 9/24).

The Telegraph: Pakistan becomes latest country to suffer severe dengue outbreak (Farmer, 9/24).

Vox: Scientists have found air pollution particles in pregnant women’s placentas (Samuel, 9/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Piece Discusses Trump Administration Efforts to Form Coalition, Joint Statement Opposing SRHR Language, Policies In U.N. Documents

Rewire.News: The Trump Administration’s Willful Misinterpretation of U.N. Policy
Gillian Kane, senior policy adviser for Ipas

“In advance of this week’s United Nations General Assembly, the Trump administration circulated a letter to U.N. member states calling for a ‘coalition’ to oppose policies advancing reproductive rights and health. … The so-called harmful policies listed by [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar] are, of course, nothing of the sort. Increasing access to sexual and reproductive health care — including abortion — and informing youth and adolescents how to best manage their sexual well-being does not negatively impact the family, national independence, or religious freedom. If adequately funded and backed by political will, these policies improve women and adolescents’ access to quality health care, reduce unwanted pregnancies, reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, and support people in making informed personal decisions about their health and sexuality. … [Monday,] in a pointed rebuke to the Trump administration’s call to action, 58 member states came together to issue a strongly worded defense of sexual and reproductive health and rights. This bodes well, and advocates hope that the [U.N. General Assembly] meeting this week will end with a political declaration that incorporates sexual and reproductive health and rights, including abortion, as an integral part of universal health coverage” (9/24).

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African Nations Must Step Up Political Will, Financing For Universal Health Coverage

Financial Times: How to get adequate and sustainable finance for health in Africa
Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Muhammad Ali Pate, global director for health, nutrition and population at the World Bank Group and director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents; and Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“Even in the poorest countries in the world, huge progress has been made in improving health. … Yet there remains a yawning gap between the aspiration of the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG3) to deliver health and wellbeing for all, and the reality, particularly in Africa. Innovation, better implementation, and renewed political commitment can close part of that gap. But we also need more money. … To deliver truly universal health coverage, leaving no one behind, will require a massive step up in health financing by African governments. … To build a universal healthcare system that leaves no one behind and delivers health and wellbeing for all is ultimately a political choice. … Through deepening our collaboration we aim to enhance our support to Africa’s own efforts to accelerate progress…” (9/24).

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Private Sector Can Play Critical Role In Closing Funding Gap, Building Human Capital To Reach Development Goals In Africa

Business Day: Private sector support for achieving critical development goals is a huge opportunity for business
Mark Suzman, chief strategy officer and president, global policy & advocacy at the Gates Foundation

“It’s difficult to understand an enormous number such as $2.5 trillion. To put it in context, it’s about the size of France’s economy — the seventh largest in the world. It’s also the amount of money we need to find every year [to fill a gap] to ensure the world meets the ambitious sustainable development goals to end global poverty, hunger and inequality. … The public sector, donors and philanthropists obviously have a big role to play in closing this financing gap. But so does the private sector. In fact, private sector investment in the Sustainable Development Goals is a huge opportunity for business, one that could open up $1.1 trillion in market opportunities in Africa alone and make life-altering strides towards achieving critical goals. … We need to close the financing gap, but the need for private sector involvement isn’t about money. It’s also about the skills and competencies the private sector brings to the field. Its ability is to fast-track innovation, eliminate inefficiencies, scale rapidly, and provide sustained interventions. These capabilities make the private sector a critical partner in solving development challenges…” (9/24).

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Editorial, Opinion Piece Address Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers Report

Washington Post: Child death rates are down. It’s cause for optimism.
Editorial Board

“Humankind knows no greater tragedy than the death of a small child. Thanks to quiet but powerful progress in public health, that tragedy is far less common than it once was — including in the planet’s developing regions. Many factors account for these improving numbers, which are laid out in a report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. … Child mortality is far from the only area of improvement. In fact, the Gates Foundation’s report notes, ‘Health and education are improving everywhere in the world.’ … There is no cause for complacency. The report’s title, ‘Examining Inequality,’ is properly intended to emphasize that people’s life chances are still far too often a matter of such factors as geography and gender. … Awareness of these differences can and should help focus resources, including what must be sustained U.S. government support, on those areas where the need is greatest…” (9/24).

Devex: Opinion: Activists — here’s how to use the Gates Goalkeepers report
Jamie Drummond, advocacy entrepreneur who co-founded ONE with Bono and other activists

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2019 Goalkeepers report touches on the existential themes of our time — issues such as gender, climate, and inequality — that most regularly get activists on the streets in democracies. … But whether around financing or how to overcome the bad politics in the way of good policy, or how to scale win-wins between climate and inequality campaigners, the report is too quiet. Campaigners armed with the great data in this report can’t be. Activists need to seize the opportunity presented to take the argument further, faster, shifting where necessary from Bill and Melinda’s mantra of ‘impatient optimism’ toward sometimes impolite activism. … So for all those who would divide humanity, let’s remind them our common biology is inescapable before these [infectious disease] killers. Just as with climate change, so with these infectious diseases — in both cases, we face a common threat that could help us form a stronger global identity. … Global Goals Week 2019 and this Goalkeepers Report are all great parts of the wake-up call. We must now make it much, much louder” (9/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Multiple Agencies, Organizations Launch Global Action Plan To Accelerate Progress Toward Health-Related SDGs

WHO: Stronger Collaboration, Better Health: Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All
“‘The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All’ brings together 12 multilateral health, development, and humanitarian agencies to better support countries to accelerate progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 12 agencies are Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (the GFF); The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund); the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); United Nations Development Fund (UNDP); United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Unitaid; United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women); the World Bank Group; World Food Programme (WFP); and the World Health Organization (WHO). … Under the Global Action Plan, the agencies are better aligning their ways of working to reduce inefficiencies and provide more streamlined support to countries. Through the Plan, the agencies will support countries [to] deliver on the health-related SDGs and related international commitments to health, such as the U.N. High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage and the Astana Conference on Primary Health Care…” (9/24).

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Rockefeller President Highlights Need For Collaboration Among Philanthropists, Other Sectors To Achieve SDGs

Rockefeller Foundation: The Responsibility of Philanthropy to Join Forces to Achieve the SDGs
Rajiv J. Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, discusses the need for collaboration among philanthropists and other sectors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Shah writes, “We believe collaboration with philanthropists, governments, scientists, and businesses can make a meaningful difference in the fight to ensure that no one suffers the indignity of extreme poverty” (9/24).

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Wellcome Expert Discusses New Global Action Plan On Health-Related SDGs, Implications For Research, Innovation

Wellcome: This can be a pivotal moment for global health
Alex Harris, head of the global policy team at Wellcome, discusses the implications of the Global Action Plan to accelerate progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for research and innovation (9/25).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Provides Additional $41.9M For Food Security Efforts In Zimbabwe

U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe: USAID doubles drought response contribution to $86.9 million to assist more than one million Zimbabweans
“The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing an additional US$41.9 million in funding to respond to the critical food security situation in Zimbabwe between October 2019 and April 2020. The funding will ensure that more than one million rural Zimbabweans have access to adequate food supplies before the next harvest…” (9/24).

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