KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. SG Presents Roadmap For Financing SDGs At High-Level Dialogue

U.N. News: U.N. chief sets out roadmap to ‘raise ambition,’ fund sustainable development
“In his opening remarks to the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, held at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday, U.N. chief António Guterres outlined his roadmap for financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the U.N.’s blueprint for the transition to a healthier planet and a fairer world…” (9/26).

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Global Fund Executive Director Tells Devex Fund In 'Pretty Good Place' Ahead Of Replenishment Conference

Devex: Global Fund chief: ‘I’m not going to count my chickens’
“…With two weeks to go before the replenishment conference, Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands was in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, working to rally support and make the case for investing in the fight against three global epidemics. ‘I’m not going to count my chickens,’ Sands told Devex in an interview. But he said the fund appears to be ‘in a pretty good place’…” (Igoe, 9/27).

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NIH Must Do More To Safeguard Taxpayer-Funded Research Against Foreign Influence, HHS IG Reports Say

STAT: NIH must better protect research from foreign influence, federal watchdog says
“Foreign governments and corporations could profit from American academic institutions’ failure to safeguard taxpayer-funded biomedical research, according to a set of new reports from a federal watchdog. The reports, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, show that 54% of research institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health — some 1,013 universities and academic centers — failed to publish financial conflict-of-interest policies online…” (Facher, 9/27).

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U.S. Officials Call On Nations To Stop Using Cuba's Medical Missions, Alleging Program Represents Form Of Human Trafficking; Cuba Denies Accusation

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.S. says Cuban medical missions are trafficking doctors
“United States officials on Thursday called on all nations to stop using Cuba’s medical missions, which send doctors around the world, saying that Cuba refused to pay the medical staff and held them against their will. Cuba’s international medical missions are a form of human trafficking and modern slavery, U.S. State Department officials told a news conference in New York…” (Wulfhorst, 9/26).

The Lancet: Cuba’s doctors-abroad program comes under fire
“The Cuban government has strongly denied recent allegations by the USA that Cuba is violating human rights by exploiting medical professionals it sends abroad to help those in need. From Brazil to Kenya to Angola, criticism ranges from the reduced wages these doctors receive while abroad, to Cuban doctors taking positions that could have been given to local doctors…” (Alves, 9/28).

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Rwanda On Track To Achieve HIV Epidemic Control, Survey Shows

New Times: Survey: Rwanda on track to achieve HIV epidemic control
“New data released Wednesday demonstrates Rwanda’s remarkable progress toward achieving HIV epidemic control — particularly in attaining high levels of linkage to treatment and viral load suppression among people living with HIV. Results from the Rwanda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (RPHIA) show that 76 percent of all HIV-positive adults, including almost 80 percent of HIV-positive women, have achieved viral load suppression, a widely used measure of effective HIV treatment in a population. … ‘Rwanda has made tremendous progress by reaching or exceeding the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets particularly among women and, nationally, by attaining 84-98-90 among adults,’ reads a related press release. The survey is a joint effort by the Government of Rwanda, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and ICAP at Columbia University…” (Karuhanga, 9/26).

New Times: How Rwanda has managed to keep HIV/AIDS in check
“Five things, including the power of good leadership, are behind Rwanda’s remarkable progress toward achieving HIV epidemic control, particularly in attaining high levels of linkage to treatment and viral load suppression among people living with HIV. Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, the director general of [the] Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), noted this as he explained the new data released Wednesday, during an interview with the New Times on Thursday…” (Karuhanga, 9/27).

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Global Project Aims To Map Mental Illness Worldwide, Improve Data

The Guardian: New global ‘scorecard’ to map extent of mental illness crisis
“A global initiative to measure the extent of mental illness around the world and identify some of the most effective treatments [was] unveiled in New York on Wednesday. The Countdown Global Mental Health 2030 project is aimed at improving the sketchy data for illnesses like depression and anxiety, and establishing proper metrics so that countries can be compared with one another. A scorecard will be produced every two years, so that the best performing countries can be held up as examples to the rest…” (Rice-Oxley, 9/25).

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States In Mexico, Australia Decriminalize Abortion

The Guardian: ‘We have made history’: Mexico’s Oaxaca state decriminalizes abortion
“Women’s rights activists in Mexico are celebrating after the southern state of Oaxaca decriminalized abortion in a move that they hope signals broader reforms to ensure reproductive rights in what is still a conservative and deeply Catholic country…” (Agren, 9/26).

NPR: Australia’s Largest State Lifts Abortion Restrictions
“Lawmakers in Sydney have voted to decriminalize abortion in the country’s most populous state, overturning legal restrictions that have been in place since the start of the 20th century. On Thursday, lawmakers in New South Wales voted to pass the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019…” (Zialcita, 9/26).

Reuters: FACTBOX — 10 facts on abortion as Mexico and Australia lift bans
“Women’s rights activists celebrated on Wednesday as Mexico’s Oaxaca state made it legal to terminate a pregnancy in the first 12 weeks, while Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, allowed terminations for women up to 22 weeks pregnant. Here are 10 facts about abortion laws worldwide…” (Lopez, 9/26).

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More News In Global Health

AFP: WHO welcomes Taliban decision to lift ban on health workers (9/26).

CIDRAP News: Study implicates Asian Zika strain in African microcephaly cases (Schnirring, 9/26).

Devex: Q&A: Putting health workers at the center of global health goals (9/27).

Devex: Are there enough cases to declare a malaria epidemic in Burundi? (Jerving, 9/27).

HealthCheck: Why Indian Pharmacies Are Reluctant To Stock Abortion Pills (Habershon, 9/24).

Quartz India: India’s seemingly generous maternity law benefits merely 1% of its women (Kapur, 9/25).

The Telegraph: A glimmer of hope in the fight against a flesh-eating ‘silent killer’ (Newey, 9/25).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Asylum seeker’s daughter faces deportation from Britain despite FGM risk (Berton, 9/26).

Xinhua: WHO sees reduction of cholera deaths toll in Somalia (9/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

World Must Take More Integrated Approach To UHC To Fulfill Health As Human Right, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: The U.N. political declaration on UHC undermines health as a human right
Jean Claude Mugunga, physician and associate director of monitoring, evaluation, and quality at Partners In Health

“…The version of universal health coverage presented in the political declaration that world leaders adopted in the United Nations General Assembly on Monday definitely doesn’t align with my beliefs. The central problem is that it represents selective ‘sets of services.’ The danger of ‘nationally determined sets’ is that governments could interpret the phrase to mean a limited range of health services, such as those that are profitable commodities, and leave much of the health needs to the whims of private markets. A UHC that means a few select services for everyone while the rest are left to the market does not serve to promote equity. It also exaggerates the agency of resource-poor countries to ‘determine’ these sets of services. Overall, this serves to undermine the meaning of health as a human right. … My concept of truly transformative UHC is an integrated approach encompassing primary, secondary, and tertiary care that meets the health needs of the whole population with high-quality care that includes social support and addresses the social determinants of health. It has to be country-led, and adequately financed to address gaps on both the demand and supply-side of high-quality care. … Without significant and sustained external funding, and in an era of globalization, there needs to be an increasingly globalized notion of who bears responsibility for protecting and fulfilling the right to health” (9/26).

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In Opinion Piece, CGD President Discusses Leveraging Global Finance Institutions, Better Spending ODA To Achieve SDGs

Devex: Opinion: Time to get serious about financing the SDGs
Masood Ahmed, president of the Center for Global Development

“…Recognizing the need to recalibrate the projections of private finance and domestic resource mobilization is not, of course, a reason to give up on the 2030 goals. Instead, it should motivate us to move forward on at least the following two areas: Let’s first come out of the U.N. high-level dialogue committed to tapping the full financing power of global development finance institutions. … A necessary outcome is also for nations to use their official development aid more efficiently, with higher budgets. For a resource that is so precious — and getting harder to mobilize in the face of growing nationalism in many countries — it is striking how much ODA is still badly used. … Now is a good moment for each world leader to commit to improving their own aid spending policies and practices…” (9/26).

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World Must Invest More In Sexual, Reproductive Health To Build On Gains Under ICPD, Achieve SDGs, UNFPA Regional Director Writes

Thomson Reuters Foundation: OPINION: Reproductive health, rights and choices: A vision created 25 years ago is more urgent than ever
Bjorn Andersson, U.N. Population Fund’s regional director for Asia and the Pacific.

“…[Women worldwide] are benefitting from a women’s empowerment movement galvanized 25 years ago through the Programme of Action that emerged from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. … The world of today is very different from that of 1994. We are seeing significant pushback on women’s rights and choices, impacting essential health services including family planning and contraception, even in countries that have long been champions. Against this backdrop, and on this World Contraception Day, we urge governments to build on the gains under ICPD by investing all the more in sexual and reproductive health under the umbrella of universal health coverage. … [W]ithout achieving the vision of ICPD, we quite simply won’t achieve the vision of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals — that of leaving no one behind” (9/26).

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Innovative Financing, Efficient Spending, Technology Needed To Invest In Frontline Health Workforce, Opinion Piece Says

Project Syndicate: Investing in Frontline Health Workers
Maha Barakat, board chair of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and research director at the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi

“…The power of frontline health workers to improve global health has been proven time and again. … Yet the world continues consistently to underestimate the capabilities and contributions of frontline health workers. This not only undermines their ability to do their jobs effectively; it also puts them at significant risk, with widespread misinformation about vaccines, for example, fueling attacks against those who provide them. … Such conditions are discouraging skilled people from joining the ranks of frontline health workers. … Fortunately, the international community has started to recognize this. … [W]e must make better use of innovative financing mechanisms that mobilize private capital to support the creation of resilient health systems and a strong frontline health workforce. At the same time, steps should be taken to ensure the most efficient possible use of funding. … The final piece of the puzzle is technology, which can support health workers on the ground…” (9/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

UNAIDS Urges World Leaders To Increase Investments To End AIDS

UNAIDS: Without sustainable financing the AIDS response will fail
“This week, the United Nations General Assembly committed itself to achieving universal health coverage by 2030. It also pledged to accelerate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending AIDS, by 2030. Those commitments show that there is political will to respond to the gravest crises facing the world. In 2016, the General Assembly agreed, in the Political Declaration on Ending AIDS, to a steady scale-up of investment in the AIDS responses in low- and middle-income countries … Instead of a steady increase, global financing for HIV is decreasing. The political commitment is simply not being matched with the financing required to turn the vision of an end to AIDS into reality…” (9/26).

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IFRC, IsDB Launch One WASH Fund, New Financing Mechanism To Address Cholera In OIC Countries

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: New “game-changing” financing mechanism to end cholera launched at U.N. General Assembly
“The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) [Thursday] unveiled a major new initiative to combat cholera and other diarrheal diseases in 29 member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). … The One WASH Fund is a scalable outcome fund model that uses an innovative financing mechanism designed to attract new philanthropic and private investor capital by combining Islamic social finance contributions with traditional humanitarian donor financing…” (9/26).

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Global Fund Releases Video Highlighting Organization's Efforts To Address Global Health Security, Strengthen Health Systems

Global Fund: Global Health Security: Saving Lives Today, Preparing for Tomorrow’s Threats
This video by the Global Fund discusses global health security and highlights the organization’s efforts to address epidemics and strengthen health systems (9/26).

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Carter Center Launches New Fundraising Campaign To Eradicate Guinea Worm

Carter Center: Carter Center Challenges Donors to Help Eradicate Guinea Worm Disease
“The Carter Center Board of Trustees announced it is launching a $40 million fundraising campaign, including a $20 million Carter Center Challenge Fund, toward the eradication of Guinea worm disease, and Alwaleed Philanthropies, a global philanthropic foundation, said it would invest the first $1 million in matching support. … The Carter Center, working with core partners including the WHO, has led the global campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease since 1986, when an estimated 3.5 million people a year in 21 countries were infected with the often meter-long worms that slowly and painfully erupt from wounds in the skin. As of Aug. 31, 36 provisional cases had been reported in 2019…” (9/26).

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From the U.S. Government

PEPFAR Releases 2019 Annual Report To Congress
U.S. Department of State: PEPFAR 2019 Annual Report to Congress
PEPFAR released its 15th annual report to Congress. According to the report’s executive summary, “PEPFAR has maintained strong bipartisan support across three U.S. presidents and nine U.S. congresses. In December 2018, the PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018 was signed into law to extend provisions of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 for an additional five years through 2023. This marks another significant milestone in PEPFAR’s history of lifesaving work — which is enabled through the U.S. Congress’ unwavering commitment to the program and the American people’s compassion and generosity that make PEPFAR possible, never veering from the core focus and ensuring that every U.S. taxpayer dollar is optimally focused for impact…” (September 2019).

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HHS, USAID Heads Hold Meetings With Health Officials At UNGA

HHS: Secretuary Azar Attends Meeting of Regional Ministers of Health on Ebola Preparedness and Response at UNGA (9/25).

USAID: USAID Administrator Mark Green’s Meeting with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, the Honorable Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D. (9/26).

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CDC Newsletter Recognizes World Heart Day

CDC’s “Around the World”: World Heart Day
The latest issue of CDC’s “Around the World” newsletter highlights World Heart Day, recognized annually on September 29. The issue features a blog post on the Thai Global Hearts Project, a story on the Trinidad and Tobago (TT) Global Hearts Initiative, an infographic on cardiovascular diseases, and a video from the World Heart Federation (9/26).

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