KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Climate Change Represents Public Health Crisis, Damaging World's Oceans, Reports Warn

ABC News: Why climate change is also a public health problem
“Climate change — marked by rising sea levels, ice loss, and extreme weather — is accelerating, according to a new report, which found that the five-year period between 2014 and 2019 was the warmest on record. … While climate change’s environmental effects are well-documented, it’s not just the planet that stands to suffer as climate change intensifies, explained Joy Shumake-Guillemot from the [World Meteorological Organization (WMO)]. The climate crisis is also a public health crisis. … As the Earth warms, extreme weather events, increased disease risk and even compromised health facilities could become more common…” (Schumaker, 9/25).

New York Times: The World’s Oceans Are in Danger, Major Climate Change Report Warns
“Climate change is heating the oceans and altering their chemistry so dramatically that it is threatening seafood supplies, fueling cyclones and floods and posing profound risks to the hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts, according to a sweeping United Nations report issued Wednesday. … Fish populations are already declining in many regions as warming waters throw marine ecosystems into disarray, according to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking…” (Plumer, 9/25).

Additional coverage of the reports is available from The Atlantic, BBC, CBS, CNN, The Guardian, NPR, Quartz, and VOA News.

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Inaugural SDG Summit Ends With Renewed Commitment, Acknowledgement Goals Off-Track, Hope For Future, U.N. Deputy Chief Says

U.N. News: Sustainable development summit a reminder of ‘the boundless potential of humanity’
“The first U.N. summit on the progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development closed on a hopeful note, with Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed declaring that the two-day event had been a reminder of ‘the boundless potential of humanity to create a better future for all.’ … The deputy U.N. chief said that she had drawn three concrete messages from the summit: a renewed commitment from world leaders to implement the agenda, which she described as critical to respond to the world’s greatest challenges; an acknowledgement that the goals are off track, and a determination to step up efforts to achieve them; and clarity on the task ahead, with a decisive decade left to ‘nurture more ambitious global action; local action and people action’…” (9/25).

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U.S. Gathers Nearly 350 Commitments From 33 Nations To Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

Axios: U.S. pushes global effort to fight antibiotic resistance at U.N. meeting
“While praising ‘real progress’ in the fight against growing antimicrobial resistance, HHS Secretary Alex Azar challenged individuals and private and public organizations around the world to renew efforts to end the ‘scourge of AMR’ while speaking Monday at the U.N. General Assembly…” (O’Reilly, 9/24).

Becker’s Hospital Review: U.S.-led push against antibiotic resistance adds hundreds of global supporters
“Since it was launched last year, the United States’ AMR Challenge has gathered nearly 350 commitments from 33 countries to implement specific actions to combat antibiotic resistance. The CDC and HHS led the global initiative, which includes commitments to antibiotic resistance efforts from pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, food animal producers and purchasers, and medical professionals and healthcare systems…” (Vaidya, 9/24).

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PAHO/WHO Designate CDC's Center For Global Health As Collaborating Center For Biosafety And Biosecurity

Homeland Preparedness News: CDC designated as a Collaborating Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Center for Global Health was designated as a Collaborating Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). The designation [is] the first awarded to a CDC/WHO collaborating center. The experts will assist PAHO/WHO in their efforts to help countries safely handle and contain dangerous diseases, such as Ebola, influenza, and polio. The designation is valid for four years…” (Kovaleski, 9/25).

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U.N., Google, Partners Launch 'Data For Now' Initiative To Improve Data, Information Usage For SDG-Related Work

Devex: New Google, U.N. partnership aims to ‘turn on the tap’ to SDG data
“…Some of the biggest players in development and the private sector — including the United Nations and World Bank Group, as well as Google and Alibaba Group — launched a new partnership on Wednesday to jumpstart global data work and close the information gap impeding progress on the SDGs. The new initiative, Data For Now, will link Google Earth satellite imagery and mobile phone data with governments that need better understanding of some of the most complex development challenges, such as food insecurity or disease outbreaks…” (Lieberman, 9/26).

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Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers Event Highlights Importance Of Closing Inequality Gap, Launches 3 New Accelerators

Xinhua: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation calls for efforts to narrow global inequality gap
“Bill and Melinda Gates co-hosted the third annual Goalkeepers event [in New York] on Wednesday, highlighting the critical importance of closing the global inequality gap to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). … Three new partnerships, called ‘Accelerators,’ were announced at the event, namely increasing access to prenatal supplements for women, expanding innovative family planning programs for young couples, and mobilizing critical global support for mental health services…” (9/25).

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Ebola Outbreak In DRC Beginning To Slow, WHO DG Says, Warns Of Complacency; WHO Continues To Seek Information On Suspected Tanzania Cases

CIDRAP News: Ebola cases continue slow rise as security problems persist
“The number of Ebola cases continues to slowly rise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) outbreak, with four more cases reported [Wednesday], as global health officials released their latest overview of needs to prevent more spread to the DRC’s neighbors through the end of the year. In other developments, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest detailed situation report [Tuesday] that pockets of insecurity continue to hamper the response…” (Schnirring, 9/25).

U.N. News: Signs DR Congo Ebola outbreak finally ‘on the retreat’ but risk of international spread, ‘still high’
“The second worst Ebola outbreak in history is ‘on the retreat’ said the U.N.’s health agency chief on Wednesday, warning however that there is no room for complacency, with dozens of new cases each week still being recorded in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ‘It’s not over, until it’s over’ said Tedros Adhanom Gheybreyesus, speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, after a meeting co-hosted by WHO and the DRC Government, on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly, bringing together regional ministers for health, on Ebola preparedness and response…” (9/25).

Wall Street Journal: WHO Seeks Answers on Suspected Ebola in Tanzania
“More than a year into a deadly Ebola epidemic in Congo, international public health officials suspect the government of neighboring Tanzania is hiding a spate of cases of the virus. … If Ebola has reached Tanzania, it would mark a serious new stage in the epidemic. … Tanzania has never dealt with Ebola before and deliberate efforts to conceal patients would slow measures that have been effective in containing outbreaks…” (McKay/Bariyo, 9/25).

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WHO, DRC Government To Launch Emergency Vaccination Program For World's Largest Measles Outbreak

BBC: DR Congo: Vaccine campaign for world’s largest measles outbreak
“More than 800,000 children are to be targeted for vaccination in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after a measles outbreak killed more than 3,500 people this year. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Congolese government aim to carry out the emergency program across the country in slightly more than a week…” (9/26).

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Afghanistan's Taliban Lifts Ban On WHO, With Conditions

Reuters: Afghanistan’s Taliban lifts ban on World Health Organization
“Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgency has lifted a ban on World Health Organization activities in areas the militants control, a spokesman for the Islamist group said, reversing a stance that had been complicating efforts to eradicate polio. … In the statement, the Taliban gave a guarantee of safety for WHO staff but also set conditions for its return, including only doing health work, getting the insurgency’s permission before hiring workers and only carrying out polio vaccine campaigns in health centers…” (Sediqi/Carsten, 9/25).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Mexican state becomes 2nd jurisdiction to legalize abortion (9/25).

BBC: The tiny kingdom fighting an epidemic (Ro, 9/26).

Reuters: Health workers aim to save lives of mothers and babies with smartphone data (Kelland, 9/25).

Reuters: Liberian hospital patients turned away as medical strike bites (Toweh et al., 9/25).

SciDev.Net: World leaders sign historic declaration on universal health coverage (Arkin, 9/25).

STAT: A devastating illness rocked Uganda, then disappeared. Disabled children — and a mystery — remain (Corley/Mbabazi, 9/26).

VOA: WFP: Zimbabwe Facing Worst Food Insecurity in Memory (Mavhunga, 9/25).

Washington Post: Shuping Wang, whistleblower who exposed China’s HIV/AIDS crisis, dies at 59 (Langer, 9/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Lancet Infectious Diseases Editorial Calls On Donors To Fully Fund Gavi In 3rd Replenishment

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Moving towards equitable access to vaccination
Editorial Board

“Progress in childhood immunizations has stalled for almost a decade. … The Global Vaccine Action Plan, which aims to ensure equitable access to vaccines by 2020, is not on track to meet its targets. This stagnation hampers global health and development and is a key issue for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to address in its third replenishment round from 2021-25. … The next Gavi 5-year plan calls for investment of at least US$7·4 billion (slightly down from $7·5 billion in the period 2016-20), with the objective of immunizing 300 million children against 18 diseases and saving up to 8 million lives. … Achieving global equitable vaccination will boost economies, improve global health security, and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: not just those related to health, but also poverty, inequalities, education, and more. A well-funded and strategically astute Gavi is essential to reaching this goal. It needs strong support now more than ever before” (10/1).

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UHC Possible With Country Investment, Organizational Leadership, Public-Private Partnerships, Opinion Pieces Say

Devex: Opinion: Investing in health can move UHC from utopia to reality
Diane Gashumba, minister of health in the Republic of Rwanda

“Universal health coverage represents the aspiration for all people in the world to receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. Such a proposition may sound utopian — even impossible — but I believe we can achieve it. Lessons from my country, Rwanda, show that with determination, leadership, and investment, we can go far. … To ensure that we meet the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, we shall continue our efforts to increase domestic financing for health. At the same time, we shall need to retain the support of our development partners. … I encourage all leaders in the health sector across Africa to express their commitment to working to increase domestic financing and to voice the importance of the Global Fund for ongoing and planned health programs in their countries. As we step up to the fight to achieve UHC, the success of the replenishment of the Global Fund this year will be pivotal” (9/25).

Devex: Opinion: If we want universal health coverage, we need complete business leaders
Chris LeGrand, president of DAI Global Health

“…The UHC 2030 goals are essential but, in my opinion, unachievable without radical thinking executed through nimble, forward-leaning organizations acting in networks carefully orchestrated to produce tangible results. Complete business leaders must step up to make this happen. … Complete leaders are well-rounded and grounded, can integrate across disciplines, and can inspire diverse constituencies to produce results. … What is needed is a convergence of the public sector, with its mission, policy-setting mandate, reach, and resources, and the private sector, with its focus on innovation, results, efficiency, and financial sustainability. … Marrying public and private sector interests in the pursuit of UHC will require us to adopt novel technical and management models, create unconventional partnerships, integrate myriad sources of financing, leverage digital tools and approaches, and win sustained political commitment…” (9/25).

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Multisectoral Approach Needed To Train, Support, Protect Frontline Health Workers, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Health care providers risk their lives for others. How can we care for them?
Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli, director of the United Arab Emirates Pakistan Assistance Program

“…Not only do [frontline health workers] help to treat and prevent diseases, they also work tirelessly to win hearts and minds. The global health and development community must work together to equip these workers with the funds, protection, and tools they need; if we are to finally put diseases like polio to the sword for good. … Health workers are not only exposed to risks in being in close contact with infection and disease, but they can also become entangled in political conflicts and even civil wars. … Despite these very real dangers, health workers continue to work tirelessly to prevent and treat diseases worldwide. … Ensuring global health security measures will require a huge amount of political will and financial investment to adequately equip and protect health workers, so they can deliver the highest quality care. This work cannot be done by one body and relies on international cooperation across public-private sectors…” (9/26).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Spain Contributes €100M To Global Fund, First Direct Donation Since 2010

Global Fund: Global Fund Applauds Spain’s €100 Million Pledge
“The Global Fund applauds the announcement by the government of Spain that it will contribute €100 million to the Global Fund over the next three years. The pledge marks the return of Spain as a donor and demonstrates the country’s strong commitment to end the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria and build stronger and more sustainable health systems around the world. … In the past, Spain has contributed more than US$700 million to the Global Fund, making it the 12th largest public donor in cumulative terms. Due to budgetary constraints, Spain’s last contribution was made in 2010. In 2017, Spain re-engaged with the Global Fund through the Debt-To-Health initiative, by signing debt swap agreements with Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia that freed €15.5 million to be reinvested in HIV, malaria, and health systems programs…” (9/25).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 364 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter features several pieces on the Global Fund’s October replenishment conference in Lyon, France, as well as other articles examining the Global Fund’s results and country coordinating mechanisms (9/25).

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Guttmacher Experts Highlight World Contraception Day, Need For More R&D Support For Sexual, Reproductive Health Interventions

Guttmacher Institute: World Contraception Day: Celebrating Progress and Maintaining Momentum
Heather D. Boonstra, director of public policy, and Leah H. Keller, senior policy editorial assistant, both with the Guttmacher Institute, highlight World Contraception Day, recognized on September 26. The authors write, “In recent decades, there have been significant advancements in access and technology that have expanded individuals’ ability to make decisions about their own sexual and reproductive health. It is critical that advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders work to maintain these hard-fought gains and drive new ones. One proven way to do this is to invest in research and development (R&D) of sexual and reproductive health interventions, including in particular for innovative technologies that simultaneously offer pregnancy, HIV, and other STI prevention. Such R&D support would impact the lives of millions of people here and abroad…” The authors outline areas that could be improved through R&D (9/25).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Adminsitrator Provides Takeaways From UNGA, Discusses U.S. Humanitarian Assistance Approach

USAID: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green On U.S. Government Development Engagement at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
In this transcript, USAID Administrator Mark Green provides highlights from the 74th session of UNGA, discusses a new U.S. funding commitment supporting Venezuela, and talks about the Ebola outbreak in DRC. Green also answers questions from the audience, which were largely focused on the U.S. approach to humanitarian assistance (9/25).

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Go Further Public-Private Partnership Provides Cervical Cancer Screening, Treatment For More Than 500K Women With HIV In Africa

U.S. Department of State: Go Further partnership reaches over half a million HIV-positive women with cervical cancer screening in its first year
“On the margins of the 2019 United Nations General Assembly, former President George W. Bush and Ambassador Deborah L. Birx announced that the Go Further partnership to end AIDS and cervical cancer has reached over half a million HIV-positive women with cervical cancer screening and treated thousands of women for pre-invasive cancerous lesions in its first year. The partnership aims to reduce new cervical cancer cases by 95 percent among the estimated 3.8 million HIV-positive women who live in eight high-burden African countries. … Launched in May 2018, Go Further is an innovative public-private partnership between the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the George W. Bush Institute (Bush Institute), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and Merck (known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada)…” (9/25).

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Ebola Eradication Act Of 2019 Passes Senate, Referred to House Committee On Foreign Affairs

U.S. Congress: S.1340 — Ebola Eradication Act of 2019
This bill passed the Senate and was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on September 24. The bill “directs the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to immediately assist in efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and other vulnerable countries to combat the Ebola outbreak that began in August 2018. The bill also directs the USAID to report to Congress on its efforts in the eastern part of the DRC and on proposed additional legal authorities needed to improve such efforts” (9/24).

The Kaiser Family Foundation is following the bill through its U.S. Global Health Legislation Tracker, which will be updated as the bill progresses.

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