KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Green Discusses Intersection Of Personal, Trump Administration Views On Development In Devex Interview

Devex: Exclusive interview: Mark Green says ‘America will continue to play its role in the world’
“…Speaking with Devex, [USAID Administrator Mark] Green shed light on his interactions with the White House and State Department so far, the assurances he has received, and the message he is bringing to U.S. development partners at home and abroad. This is part two of our exclusive interview with Green, which focuses on how his views about development intersect with the Trump administration’s plans and priorities…” (Igoe, 9/26).

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Experts Concerned Risk Of Bioterrorism Increasing As Trump Administration Proposes Cuts To U.S. Funding To Defend Against Attacks

Foreign Policy: The Invisible Threat
“…[E]ven as more U.S. government officials and outside experts sound the alarm over the increasing risk of bioattacks, the funding for science needed to defend against such attacks is threatened. Many top scientific positions in the government that could help call attention to this threat remain open, and President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate the only federal facility devoted to tracking and analyzing potential bioweapons agents including toxins, poisons, and viruses…” (McLaughlin, 9/21).

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Caribbean Islands Battered By Hurricanes Face Food, Water Shortages, Humanitarian Crises

New York Times: In Battered Puerto Rico, Governor Warns of a Humanitarian Crisis
“Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico said on Monday that the island was on the brink of a ‘humanitarian crisis’ nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out its power and most of its water, and left residents waiting in excruciating lines for fuel. He called on Congress to prevent a deepening disaster. Stressing that Puerto Rico, a United States territory, deserved the same treatment as hurricane-ravaged states, the governor urged Republican leaders and the federal government to move swiftly to send more money, supplies, and relief workers…” (Robles et al., 9/25).

New Yorker: “Eden Is Broken”: A Caribbean Leader Calls for Action on Climate Change
“…[O]n Saturday morning, … Roosevelt Skerrit, the forty-five-year-old Prime Minister of the Caribbean island of Dominica, addressed the United Nations General Assembly. … Skerrit, whose country was devastated by Hurricane Maria, declared that ‘Eden is broken,’ and demanded that world leaders acknowledge climate change. ‘To deny climate change is to procrastinate while the earth sinks; it is to deny a truth we have just lived. … We need action and we need it now’…” (Meade, 9/24).

U.N. News Centre: Storm-ravaged Dominica in urgent need of food and water, finds U.N. assessment team
“A United Nations disaster assessment official visiting the small island nation of Dominica, which was battered by Hurricane Maria, said today that an estimated 60,000 to 65,000 people, or 80 percent of the total population, have been affected and that food and water are the most immediate needs…” (9/25).

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Global Youth Wellbeing Index Shows More International Effort Needed To Improve Education, Health, Economics Among Young People 15-29

VOA News: Youths Say Leaders Are Failing Them, Global Study Shows
“People younger than 30 make up half the world’s population, but their wellbeing has improved by only two percent since 2014, says the 2017 Global Youth Wellbeing Index. … The index ranks 30 countries that are home to approximately 70 percent of youths worldwide…” (Nicora, 9/25).

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Unitaid Official Discusses HIV Treatment Pricing Deal In Intellectual Property Watch Interview

Intellectual Property Watch: Unitaid Official Explains How ‘Breakthrough’ HIV Medicine Pricing Deal Brings Best To The Neediest
“…In the midst of the high-level meetings of the annual United Nations General Assembly last week, health officials from the U.N. and foundations announced what they called a breakthrough pricing agreement that will speed the availability of ‘the first affordable, generic, single-pill HIV treatment regimen containing (the key compound) dolutegravir to public sector purchasers in low- and middle-income countries at around $75 per person, per year.’ … In an interview with Intellectual Property Watch after the press conference, Unitaid’s Philippe Duneton explained in detail how the agreement came into being and why it is so important…” (New, 9/25).

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IFRC Secretary General Discusses Providing Health Coverage To People Affected By Conflict, Disaster In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: How can we provide UHC amid disaster?
“…Devex spoke to Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, about some of the biggest challenges workers on the frontlines of conflict and disaster face while providing health coverage to the most vulnerable people…” (Politzer, 9/25).

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WHO, Partners Working To Provide Health Care, Immunizations To Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh

Devex: In Bangladesh, WHO hurries to thwart possible Rohingya refugee disease outbreak
“…Over the past month, 440,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine state amid an outbreak of brutal and targeted violence. The rapid increase in population coupled with low vaccination rates (many Rohingya had long been denied access to medical care in Rakhine) adds up to create a high risk of infectious disease outbreak. WHO has deployed 40 team members … to assess and scale up health services, and is doing its best to support existing overwhelmed medical facilities and complete a first-round measles vaccination campaign…” (Rogers, 9/26).

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Venezuela's Doctors Protest WHO's Lack Of Attention To Poor State Of Health Systems; Nation's Economic Crisis Increasing Hunger Among Families

Al Jazeera: Venezuelan families scavenge for food to survive hunger
“As the economic and political crisis deepens in Venezuela, so do the levels of hunger. A survey by a top university found the average Venezuelan has lost nine kilograms in the past year. Many families are now forced to scavenge for food in what was once South America’s richest country…” (Newman, 9/25).

Reuters: Venezuela doctors in protest urge stronger WHO stance on health crisis
“Venezuela’s doctors, fed up with what they called the World Health Organization’s passive attitude toward the country’s deep medical crisis, protested at the agency’s Caracas office on Monday to demand more pressure on the government and additional assistance. Venezuela is suffering from a roughly 85 percent shortage of medicines, decrepit hospital infrastructure, and an exodus of doctors during a brutal recession…” (Ulmer, 9/25).

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International Aid Organizations Frustrated By Lack Of Progress In South Sudan, Exploring New Relief Models

IRIN: New aid plan needed for South Sudan
“Intense frustration is building across the aid community that despite its best efforts it has been unable to dent the catastrophic levels of suffering in South Sudan, worsened by war and a political class that doesn’t seem to care. … The stock taking, part of a high-level meeting on South Sudan’s crisis held on the sidelines of the U.N.’s General Assembly gathering, was so awful that some aid officials are exploring alternative ways to alleviate the misery…” (Oakford, 9/26).

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India To Use GeneXpert TB Test To Improve Diagnosis Among Children

Devex: India rolls out new TB diagnosis aimed at catching child cases
“…India will soon roll out a national program aimed at speedily spotting cases of TB and drug resistance in all suspected cases. TB has often gone untreated in children because it has also gone undetected. But if children get the drugs they need, the outcomes are often better than those of adult patients. India’s Universal Drug Sensitivity Test, which begins this September, will exploit a relatively new technology called GeneXpert, a molecular diagnostic test for the early diagnosis of TB…” (Cousins, 9/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Republicans, Democrats Should Work Together To Support, Invest In NIH

The Hill: We must work across party lines to restore investment in NIH
Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Scott Peters (D-Calif.)

“…If we want common sense budgeting that reins in long-term health care costs and balances the federal budget, then we need to invest in NIH research to cure disease. … NIH research will be a crucial tool to protect our national security. … Research is not a one-time investment. Scientific discoveries are built on years of investigation, investment, and effort. The Tuesday Group and the New Democrat Coalition have been proud to support recent renewed NIH investments by the House Appropriations Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and we need to continue these common sense, forward-looking policies. We are committed to putting problem solving above partisanship. That’s why Republicans and Democrats are reaching across the aisle to support restoring our nation’s investment in NIH research to cure disease, create jobs, and protect our national security” (9/25).

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Investing In Poor Can Produce Community-, Business-Level Economic Benefits

Forbes: The Gateses Are Right: Invest In The Poor
Kevin O’Marah, chief content officer at SCM World

“…Governments and charitable organizations have long played leading roles in channeling aid to the world’s needy. Judging by the television advertisements used to raise cash, the pitch rests on morality. The Gateses’ editorial says as much: ‘Disease and poverty are the clearest examples we know of solvable human misery, and the moral case for wiping them out is clear on its face.’ To the Gateses it’s all about altruism, and that’s fine. But what if we look at it in selfish terms? Here are four purely self-interested, operational reasons to support continued aid to the poor: 1. The Poor Are Consumers … 2. The Poor Are Producers … 3. The Poor Can Become the Middle Class … 4. The Poor Can Become Your Worst Enemy … Supply chain leaders need not be political. They must, however, choose plant locations, develop distribution networks, hire staff, position inventory, and prepare for disruptions. Investing in the poor is not charity so much as good housekeeping…” (9/21).

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Public-Private Partnerships Play Crucial Role In Achieving Universal Access To Sanitation

Devex: Opinion: How public-private partnerships can wash away poor sanitation
Aleem Walij, chief executive officer at the Aga Khan Foundation USA

“…Sanitation is key to a healthy environment, yet access to sanitation remains far from universal. … Achieving universal access to adequate health services including decent sanitation requires local action everywhere. Such big vision improvements demand partnerships and the biggest advances demand partners from both the public and private sectors. … When it comes to … making moves toward improved sanitation — and with it improved health — public-private ventures can have a role to play. … Partners bring incentives from the private sector together with public sector vision for big changes in health. … [T]he private sector is able to bring creative solutions to financial bottlenecks, provide means for growing local assets to support toilet construction, and execute effective communication campaigns” (9/25).

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Global Cooperation Necessary To Eliminate Drug-Resistant Malaria In Mekong Region, Prevent Spread To Other Regions

New York Times: Taking the Battle Against Malaria to the Mekong
Christopher Plowe, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine

“…[W]ith coordination, hard work, and proper funding, we can achieve our goal [of eliminating malaria from the Mekong region]. … Eliminating multidrug-resistant malaria from the Mekong before it spreads to Africa will require so-called elimination accelerators, including highly sensitive new tests to identify symptom-free carriers of malaria infection, and mass drug treatment of infected groups or populations. We also need closer cooperation from American and European health officials, international health agencies and financiers, local nongovernmental organizations, and especially from the inhabitants and governments of the Mekong region. We must ramp up quickly; drug resistance is spreading; if it spins out of control, we run the risk of a huge resurgence of malaria in other parts of Asia and especially in Africa” (9/26).

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Portugal's Public Health Approach To Drugs Serves As Global Model

New York Times: How to Win a War on Drugs
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“…Portugal … has become a model for a drug policy that is not only compassionate but also effective. … The public health approach arises from an increasingly common view worldwide that addiction is a chronic disease … and thus requires medical care rather than punishment. … [A]lthough the Portuguese model is often described simply as decriminalization, perhaps the more important part is a public health initiative to treat addiction and discourage narcotics use. … On balance, the evidence is that drug use stabilized or declined since Portugal changed approaches … Decriminalization also made it easier to fight infectious diseases and treat overdoses. … The lesson that Portugal offers the world is that while we can’t eradicate heroin, it’s possible to save the lives of drug users — if we’re willing to treat them not as criminals but as sick, suffering human beings who need helping hands, not handcuffs” (9/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Should Continue To Invest In Women's Health In Conflict Situations

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Women and Foreign Policy Program/Women Around the World”: Maternal and Reproductive Healthcare in Humanitarian Crises
Heather Higginbottom, chief operating officer of CARE USA, discusses the impact of maternal and reproductive health programs in conflict situations and the role U.S. funding plays in ensuring that women in these situations can access care. Higginbottom writes, “When we continue to invest in healthy women and families, we invest in the stability and future health of our world. … I hope our nation’s leaders will continue to remember [this] as they consider the U.S. foreign assistance budget and all that it offers to the world: hope, security, safety, and health. From South Sudan to Uganda to the U.S., these are basic human rights that everyone deserves” (9/25).

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Journal Supplement Examines Rewards, Challenges Of Careers In Infectious Diseases

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: What we’re reading: Who needs infectious disease docs? Everyone…
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a series of articles from the Journal of Infectious Diseases supplement that examines the rewards and challenges of careers in infectious diseases (9/25).

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From the U.S. Government

Young People Contribute To Global Health, Development Innovations

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Youth Are Changing the World – How About You?
Ticora V. Jones, acting director of the Center for Development Research and division chief of the Higher Education Solutions Network at USAID, highlights several global health and development innovations created by young people and supported by USAID’s Global Development Lab (9/25).

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