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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House Subcommittees Release Draft Spending Bills Addressing Foreign Aid, Global Health, NIH Funding

Devex: U.S. aid budget moves forward, but Democrats plan to fight cuts
“A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee approved a budget bill to fund U.S. foreign affairs programs Thursday, despite Democrats’ vows to fight back against the spending plan on a number of fronts. The bill includes an overall $10 billion cut from 2017 foreign affairs spending levels and the expansion of the controversial ‘global gag rule,’ which restricts funding for family planning. It maintains some of the accounts and programs that the Trump administration sought to cut, but it also takes a harsh swing at budget items Republicans are loath to support…” (Igoe, 7/14).

Nature: U.S. lawmakers seek $1.1-billion boost for the NIH
“The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) would see its budget rise by US$1.1 billion in 2018, to $35.2 billion, under a spending proposal released on 12 July by lawmakers in the House of Representatives. The legislation explicitly rejects a plan by the administration of President Donald Trump to cut the NIH’s budget by 18 percent in 2018…” (Morello, 7/12).

Science Speaks: House subcommittee spending bills save Fogarty, reject radical Trump global health cuts
“With a $1.1 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health as well as an NIH budget that includes $73 million for the Fogarty International Center, … the two House funding subcommittees with jurisdiction over most global and domestic health programs posted bills Wednesday…” (Barton, 7/13).

STAT: NIH fetal tissue research would be barred under House panel’s spending plan
“A House subcommittee’s draft 2018 spending plan would prohibit federal funds from being spent on research that uses fetal tissue, a symbolic win for conservatives who are also taking aim at money for family planning and public health programs around the country…” (Facher, 7/13).

VOA News: House Panel Advances Bill to Cut State Department Budget
“A House of Representatives Appropriations subcommittee has advanced a spending bill that would cut the State Department’s 2018 fiscal budget by [approximately] 14 percent compared to this year’s budget…” (Saine, 7/13).

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Trump Administration's Proposed Budget Cuts Create Uncertainty Over Future WFP Donations

Bloomberg: U.S. Aid Too Little, Too Late?
“Food aid advocates are praising $331 million in U.S. assistance to alleviate hunger in Africa and the Middle East, even as they wonder whether President Donald Trump will make good on plans to cut assistance from the world’s biggest humanitarian donor. The pledge is part of a $639 million relief package for South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen announced at last week’s G20 summit, and will shore up U.S. donations to the United Nations World Food Programme … The contribution was welcomed by the WFP, but the agency also warned that Trump’s push to cut foreign aid has created uncertainty over future donations, which have already slowed responses to humanitarian crises…” (7/13).

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U.N. General Assembly Approves Use Of Haiti's Unspent $40.5M Peacekeeping Funds For Cholera; U.S. Will Not Contribute More

Associated Press: U.N. Assembly backs $40.5 million for Haiti cholera victims
“The General Assembly adopted a resolution Thursday backing the U.N. chief’s appeal to member states to transfer $40.5 million in unspent funds from Haiti’s peacekeeping mission to help victims of a cholera outbreak that has afflicted over 800,000 people…” (Lederer, 7/14).

VOA News: U.N. Approves Use of Unspent Funds on Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic
“…The 13-year-long peacekeeping mission ends in October, and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says $40.5 million will be left over. He is giving countries that are part of the mission 60 days to inform him whether they are willing to carry out the transfer of unspent money. Deputy U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison has said the U.S. will not contribute, noting it has already spent $100 million to help Haiti fight cholera…” (7/13).

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Reuters Special Report Examines Years-Long Philip Morris Campaign To Undermine WHO Framework Convention On Tobacco Control

Reuters: Special Report: Inside Philip Morris’ campaign to subvert the global anti-smoking treaty
“…Reuters has found that Philip Morris International is running a secretive campaign to block or weaken … provisions [of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, or FCTC,] that save millions of lives by curbing tobacco use. In an internal document, the company says it supported the enactment of the treaty. But Philip Morris has come to view it as a ‘regulatory runaway train’ driven by ‘anti-tobacco extremists’ — a description contained in the document, a 2014 PowerPoint presentation. Confidential company documents and interviews with current and former Philip Morris employees reveal an offensive that stretches from the Americas to Africa to Asia, from hardscrabble tobacco fields to the halls of political power, in what may be one of the broadest corporate lobbying efforts in existence…” (Kalra et al., 7/13).

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85% Of American Voters Unaware Of Hunger Crises In Africa, Middle East, But Most Show Concern When Told Of Situations, IRC Poll Says

The Guardian: Poll reveals 85% of Americans oblivious to hunger in Africa and Middle East
“Less than a fifth of Americans are aware that extreme hunger threatens the lives of 20 million people in Africa and the Middle East, yet the overwhelming majority regard it as the most pressing global issue once they have been told, a poll of U.S. voters has revealed. Research by the International Rescue Committee showed that millennials, loosely defined as young adults born between 1981 and 1997, are the generation most concerned about solving the hunger crisis in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria…” (Summers, 7/13).

Huffington Post: Most Americans Oblivious To Extreme Hunger Crises Overseas
“…The poll findings support United Nations data showing a trend of ‘public fatigue,’ or a decline in interest, in global hunger crises for the first time in several years. Somalia and South Sudan, in particular, ‘crises which normally command high levels of public attention,’ have declined in internet traffic and searches, the U.N. noted in its 2016 Data and Trends report. The slackening interest comes at a time when the world faces its worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, yet many global powers, including President Donald Trump’s administration in Washington, are fighting to drastically reduce foreign aid…” (Cook, 7/13).

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Former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Valerie Amos Discusses Current Development Challenges In SciDev.Net Interview

SciDev.Net: Q&A: Leaders need to ensure people feel connected, heard
“Valerie Amos served as U.N. under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator from 2010-2015. In September 2015, she became director of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, U.K. — the first black woman to lead a British university. … Amos was in Canberra, Australia, from 18 to 20 June to speak at the Australian National University’s 2017 Crawford Australian Leadership Forum. She shared her views with SciDev.Net on developmental and humanitarian challenges currently facing the world…” (Bhandari, 7/13).

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New WHO Strategic Framework Highlights Need To Improve Access To Medical Products For All

Intellectual Property Watch: Access To Medicines For All By 2030: New WHO Strategic Framework Sets Vision
“…The new WHO Medicines and Health Products Programme Strategic Framework 2016-2030 ‘Toward Access 2030,’ issued this week, underlines the need to increase access to essential, high-quality, safe, effective, and affordable medical products for all. The United Nations has agreed [to] a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The strategic framework sets a vision for ‘A world where every child, man and woman has access to the quality essential medicines, vaccines, and other health products they need to lead a healthy and productive life’…” (Saez, 7/13).

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Dominican Republic's Congress Rejects Upholding Nation's Total Abortion Ban; Conflicting Decision In Senate Opens Way For Another Vote On Issue

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Dominican vote opens door to possible easing of total abortion ban
“Congress in the Dominican Republic rejected upholding the nation’s total ban on abortion this week, approving a step that would allow the procedure for ending life-threatening pregnancies and those resulting from rape or incest. The lawmakers in the lower house voted against a decision in May by the Dominican Senate, which turned down recommendations made by President Danilo Medina to amend the criminal code and ease the nation’s abortion ban. … The contrasting decisions in each house pave the way for another vote to be introduced…” (Moloney, 7/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Must Fully Fund CDC To Protect Americans

The Hill: 6 devastating effects of cutting CDC funding
Bill Frist, heart and lung transplant surgeon and former Republican U.S. Senate majority leader from Tennessee, and Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC

“…[T]he fiscal year 2018 federal budget for CDC needs to protect the agency so it can protect Americans. The administration’s proposed budget would slash CDC spending …, devastating life-saving programs and setting back more than a decade of progress. Here are just a half-dozen examples from the scores of proposed cuts: 1. Weakening our capacity to prevent or promptly detect epidemics at home and globally … 2. Eliminating research centers … 3. Eliminating CDC’s programs to prevent colon and skin cancer … 4. Cutting immunization programs would result in more childhood illness … 5. Cutting tobacco control and other programs that protect Americans against the leading causes of death: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke … 6. Dismantling HIV prevention programs in the U.S. and globally. … As budget negotiators face hard decisions, they should keep this essential reality in mind: behind every CDC budget line, there are Americans who depend on the agency’s incredible expertise and its commitment to protecting lives. There is too much at stake to fail to fully support the CDC, the first line of health defense for us all” (7/13).

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G20 Lacks Concrete, Specific Actions On Global Health

The Lancet: Offline: The G20 and health — platitudes and broken promises
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…The 15-page final Declaration from G20 leaders was full of platitudes. … Global health appeared on page eight. The G20 recognized that their nations had a ‘crucial role’ in pandemic preparedness. They agreed that strong health systems are important. They called on the U.N. to keep global health a priority. They stressed the need for cooperative action. The value of the health workforce. The importance of the International Health Regulations. Polio eradication got a mention. Migration too. … They advocated more money for WHO’s work. They called for national action plans to tackle antimicrobial resistance. And they suggested a new International Research and Development Collaboration Hub for product development. But these warm words were missing one thing — concrete and specific actions. The G20 is a growing threat to global health. … Their first and only concern is economic growth. For the first time, a G20 Presidency had placed global health at the center of the group’s discussions. What an opportunity. They flunked it” (7/15).

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Canada's Foreign Aid Strategy Signals Commitment To Women, Gender Equity

The Lancet: Canada’s feminist foreign aid agenda
Editorial Board

“…The announcement on June 9 of a CAN$5 billion annual aid plan for the next five years, directed at women’s organizations in the Global South, has now been welcomed as a feminist foreign aid strategy. Ninety-five percent of Canadian foreign aid will now be committed to criteria specific to women, with the goal of empowering and improving the health and wellbeing of girls and women and their children. … Canada’s focus on the vulnerability of women in areas of conflict signals new commitments to gender equity; ensuring women’s rights over their own bodies, and providing access to reproductive and sexual health rights that are otherwise under extreme attack. … [Canadian Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau’s government now needs to fulfill all other areas of promise, bucking the global trend for populism, and setting an example that other countries can follow” (7/15).

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Global Leaders Must Prioritize Development Strategies That Protect Environment, Public Health

Project Syndicate: The Health Costs of Environmental Change
Shaukat Aziz, prime minister of Pakistan from 2004 to 2007

“…Up to a quarter of the world’s disease burden is associated with human-caused environmental factors, the [Emerging Markets Symposium at the University of Oxford’s Green Templeton College] found. … Repairing the Earth’s natural systems, and restoring the health of the planet’s most vulnerable populations, is possible. But success will require radical changes in environmental, economic, and social policies. … Rigorous environmental stewardship is compatible with economic growth, social progress, and political stability. This is true for even the poorest countries that pursue environmentally sound policies that promote healthy, non-destructive models of development. … The [Paris] agreement’s remaining signatories must work collectively to solve the world’s environmental challenges, paying close attention to the health costs of inaction…” (7/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Highlight Pledges Made At London Family Planning Summit, Next Steps For Donors

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Family Planning Summit Raises Much-Needed Funds. Now It’s Time for Donors to Stop Being Polite and Start Getting Real.
Rachel Silverman, senior policy analyst with CGD, discusses her attendance at this week’s London Family Planning Summit, writing, “With significant new money raised for the cause — an important accomplishment given the uncertainty around sustained U.S. funding and the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy — it’s now time for donors to get serious about optimizing the efficiency, impact, and sustainability of family planning programs.” Silverman highlights a CGD report published last year that provides “recommendations for donors to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of their investments” (7/13).

Inside Philanthropy: Chasm: What Are Funders Doing To Close Big New Gaps in Aid for Family Planning?
Sue-Lynn Moses, global editor of Inside Philanthropy, and David Callahan, founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, discuss the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation’s family planning funding, writing, “[O]ne hopes the Gateses and the Buffett family are thinking outside the box, right now. One thing about family planning is that investments today pay major dividends for decades to come by preventing unwanted pregnancies, slowing population growth in poor countries, and keeping women alive. … Overall, there’s a compelling case for donors to front-load their giving on family planning. Especially right now.” Moses and Callahan highlight other organizations that made pledges at the London Family Planning Summit (7/13).

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Honduras Passes Bill Making Child Marriage Illegal; Other Countries Should Follow, HRW Researcher Writes

Human Rights Watch: Time to Get Serious about Child Marriage in Latin America
Heather Barr, senior researcher at the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, discusses the passage of a bill making child marriage illegal in Honduras, writing, “For the many other countries in Latin America that need urgently to end child marriage, it is time to follow Honduras’ lead. Honduras has joined the growing, global movement to relegate the harmful practice of child marriage to the past. Let’s hope other countries across Latin America will follow suit” (7/13).

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Expanded Access To Medicine Allows Treatment Of 85M People For Trachoma, Improving Prospects For Disease Elimination

WHO: 85 million people treated for trachoma through expanded access to medicine
“New data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) show a remarkable 63 percent increase in the number of people treated with an antibiotic for trachoma during the period 2014-2016, considerably improving prospects for the global elimination of the disease. The surge is mainly due to an expanded access to donated azithromycin…” (7/13).

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