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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Rep. Lee Denounces Trump Administration's Proposed FY17 Reduction Options For PEPFAR; HHS Secretary Price Defends Recommended Cuts To NIH

CBS SF: White House Proposes Immediate Cuts To Pell Grants, HIV Research, Food Assistance
“The Trump administration isn’t waiting until 2018 to try to slash federal spending that it has deemed unnecessary. The White House is proposing an immediate $18 billion in cuts to government programs that promote education, scientific research, health, job training, and diplomacy, programs already approved for 2017. … [Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)], a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, drew attention to proposed cuts of nearly $350 million to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and [domestic] HIV/AIDS programs, warning, ‘President Trump’s proposed reductions to PEPFAR and other HIV/AIDS programs would be a humanitarian catastrophe’…” (Albarazi, 3/29).

STAT: Tom Price defends proposed cuts at NIH, citing ‘indirect’ expenses
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price on Wednesday defended the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to medical research, saying that the National Institutes of Health budget is plagued by unnecessary expenses. … The remarks came a day after reports that the administration had proposed an additional $1.2 billion cut to the NIH for the current fiscal year, on top of a suggested $5.8 billion cut for 2018. The NIH’s 2016 budget totaled $32.3 billion…” (Facher, 3/29).

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Aid Groups, Former U.S. Officials Warn Cuts To Foreign Aid Could Have Wide-Ranging Impacts

Financial Times: Aid officials sound warning on Trump’s proposed cuts
“U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash overseas aid risk destabilizing the world’s most fragile nations and inflaming extremism, aid groups and former U.S. officials warn. … His planned cuts come at a time when the U.N. is warning that the world faces its biggest humanitarian crisis since the end of the second World War, with 20m people facing starvation and famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria. Mr. Trump’s budget has also drawn criticism from Republicans and Democrats and it has little chance of being passed by Congress in its current form…” (Fick, 3/29).

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Slate Examines When U.S. Officials Knew Of Cholera In Haiti, Political Implications Of U.N., U.S. Responses

Slate: What They Knew, and When They Knew It
“…As seen in newly revealed emails, reported here for the first time, officials at the highest levels of the U.S. government were aware almost immediately that U.N. [peacekeeping] forces likely played a role in the [Haitian cholera] outbreak. Multiple federal agencies, from national security officials to scientists on the front lines, shielded the United Nations from accountability to protect the organization and themselves. … As he left office in December, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was forced to grudgingly apologize for the organization’s role in poisoning Haiti’s watershed and propose a plan to end the epidemic. Member states, however, are refusing to provide the $400 million he promised. The result is an ever-deepening health crisis in which about one Haitian dies from cholera per day, amid incalculable cost to the country’s economy and social fabric. Those actions and inactions fostered mistrust and damaged reputations — including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s — helping pave the way for the first explicitly anti-humanitarian U.S. presidency in a century…” (Katz, 3/30).

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Former South Carolina Governor David Beasley To Lead World Food Programme

Devex: U.N. selects David Beasley, Trump supporter and former U.S. politician, to lead WFP
“David Beasley, a Republican politician from South Carolina, will lead the World Food Programme as its new executive director, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General José Graziano da Silva confirmed in a public announcement on Wednesday. Beasley was a one-term governor of South Carolina in the 1990s and was a supporter of President Donald Trump throughout his contentious election campaign against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, also a former governor of South Carolina, nominated Beasley — one of more than 20 nominees — for the position…” (Lieberman, 3/29).

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WHO Launches Campaign To Reduce Medication Errors, Promote Patient Safety

U.N. News Centre: Medicines should help, not harm, says U.N. health agency launching global patient safety ‘challenge’
“Underlining that medicines should fulfill their real purpose — help people, not harm them — the United Nations health agency [Wednesday] launched a world-wide ‘Challenge’ that that seeks to reduce severe, avoidable medication-associated damage across the globe by half over the next five years. ‘We all expect to be helped, not harmed, when we take medication,’ said the Director-General of the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, announcing the new campaign Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety…” (3/29).

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Researchers Propose Theory For Why Fewer Zika-Related Microcephaly Cases Recorded In Brazil Last Year

STAT: Why were there fewer microcephaly cases from Zika last year?
“…A new and intriguing letter to the New England Journal of Medicine offers a theory for how to explain the missing microcephaly cases, the babies that were predicted to be born in Northeastern Brazil after Zika’s second wave of infection in the early part of 2016. The authors suggest the region’s first wave of Zika may have been its only wave of Zika to date. Something that caused similar illness, likely the chikungunya virus, was probably responsible for the high level of fever and rash illnesses Brazil recorded in 2016, they theorized…” (Branswell, 3/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Should Increase State Department's Budget Not Cut It

New York Times: Ignoring Diplomacy’s Past and Its Future Promise
Editorial Board

“…The State Department and foreign aid have long been targets for budget cutters because many Americans don’t understand what these programs do. Polls show that Americans overestimate how much federal spending goes to these programs. The actual number for foreign aid is about one percent of the budget … [Through foreign aid investments,] American interests are also advanced by helping other countries become more stable. A health program begun by President George W. Bush helped check the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and then was used to stop an Ebola epidemic in West Africa during the Obama administration. … None of this is to say the State Department cannot be made more efficient. Tax dollars should be spent wisely. But rather than slashing the department’s budget, … Mr. Trump should be urging Congress to increase it…” (3/29).

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Cuts To U.S. Foreign Aid Programs Threaten Global Health, 'America's Prestige,' National Security

Huffington Post: U.S. Budget Cuts for Aid Programs Are a False Economy
Thomas Kenyon, CEO of Project HOPE

“Quite simply, America is the linchpin of the system of global health development and humanitarian assistance. But the recent release of the White House’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget blueprint unveiled stark cuts to foreign aid which, if implemented, would risk endangering the health and well-being of millions of people around the world as well as our nation’s historic role as a lifeline to those in need. And since instability and deprivation are also threats to U.S. national security, it would be in America’s interest for Congress to mitigate the budget reductions for USAID and State Department programs, and to safeguard the U.S. government’s role in humanitarian assistance and development of life-saving health programs. The proposed budget cuts of about one third for State and USAID will put the lives of vulnerable people in peril, increase poverty, and undermine America’s prestige in the world. We should remember, for instance, that millions of people are alive today because of U.S.-provided antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS and five million children still draw breath owing to treatment funded by the U.S. taxpayer for diarrhea and pneumonia. Not only is this the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, but it provides an incalculable fund of goodwill towards the United States. … Aid programs should not just be seen as a giveaway but as a vital plank of any strategy to keep America safe…” (3/29).

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President Trump Should Address Looming Famine In Africa, Middle East Nations As National Security Threat

Financial Times: The famine abroad that Donald Trump fails to notice
Edward Luce, Washington columnist and commentator for the Financial Times

“…The cable channels are so busy feasting on President Donald Trump they have scant airtime for starvation. … The more time everyone spends reacting to his tweets, the less we focus on the U.S. president’s in-tray, including the largest famine since the second World War. Mr. Trump has said nothing on a crisis that spans Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, northern Nigeria, and threatens up to 20 million lives. Any of his predecessors, Republican or Democrat, would have made it a priority by now — George W. Bush perhaps more than any. The Trump administration has contributed nothing to the $4.4 billion U.N. emergency appeal. … Of the few people in place [in the Trump administration], James Mattis, the secretary of defense, is best placed to know what is at stake in Africa. A few years ago, General Mattis told Congress: ‘If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.’ … Mr. Trump has proposed increasing the Pentagon’s budget by $54 billion next year. Spending $1 billion of that on famine relief would achieve more on the ground in Africa for U.S. national security than a dozen new frigates. That is almost certainly the kind of advice Mr. Mattis is giving. Is Mr. Trump listening?…” (3/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Majority Of Committee Members, Panelists At U.S. House Hearing Oppose Major Cuts To Foreign Assistance Budget

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: House Panel Finds Near Consensus against Foreign Aid Cuts
Erin Collinson, senior associate for policy outreach, and Christine Gilbert, policy outreach intern, both with CGD, write about a House Foreign Affairs Committee’s hearing titled “The Budget, Diplomacy, and Development” held on Tuesday. “All three witnesses — the Hoover Institute’s Stephen D. Krasner, AEI’s Danielle Pletka, and Former Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns — aligned themselves in clear opposition to cutting the 150 account by [about] 30 percent. More surprising still, participating committee members from both sides of the aisle — with one notable exception — expressed disappointment, if not dismay, regarding the White House’s treatment of U.S. foreign assistance and diplomacy in its FY 2018 budget blueprint. Committee members and testifying witnesses emphasized the need for U.S. foreign policy to employ all ‘three Ds’: defense, diplomacy, and development,” they write (3/29).

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'Science Speaks' Outlines Proposed Health-, Science-Related Cuts In President Trump's FY17 Budget Reduction Plan

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Trump proposes $18 billion cuts to spending this year, with steep, immediate drops in science, health, human services investments
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” outlines proposals to cut federal spending on science and health programs included in the Trump administration’s FY 2017 budget reduction plan submitted to Congress last week. She notes, “The Infectious Diseases Society of America, which produces this blog, responded to the proposal with a statement Monday expressing concern about the impacts of funding cuts to global and domestic public health and research efforts, adding: ‘As we’ve seen with recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika, addressing infectious diseases abroad is an essential component of protecting the U.S., and Congress should not accept these proposed reductions’…” (3/29).

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Brookings Institution Report Assesses Health Governance Capacity Of, Offers Recommendations For Low-, Middle-Income Countries

Brookings Institution’s “TechTank”: Brookings report assesses health governance capacity in low- and middle-income countries
Jake Schneider, research assistant at the Brookings Institution; John Villasenor, nonresident senior fellow for governance studies at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation; and Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies and founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, discuss findings from a Brookings report assessing the health governance capacity of 18 low- and middle-income countries, noting, “The report provides several recommendations for creating a health governance environment conducive to investment in global health R&D. These [include] improving transparency and strengthening management capacity, lowering (or eliminating) tariffs on medical products and expediting regulatory reviews of new drugs, investing in health care infrastructure, and increasing spending on health care in targeted ways” (3/29).

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With U.S. Budget Pressures, FBOs Will Play More Vital Role In Expanding U.S. Efforts To Alleviate Poverty, Global Hunger

Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs: Guest Commentary — Not Your Grandma’s FBO: Today’s Faith-Based Organizations Play A Key Role In Global Food Security
Daniel Speckhard, president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, discusses the role of faith-based organizations in working to alleviate poverty and food insecurity globally, writing, “As U.S. foreign assistance comes increasingly under budgetary pressure, the role of private faith-based and secular non-profits will loom even larger. They are able to leverage U.S. government support with private donations to extend and expand American efforts to fight poverty and global hunger” (3/29).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash features a blog post by Jon Lomøy, director general of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, about the growing threat of drug-resistant TB, and a commentary by Kate Thomson, head of Community Rights and Gender Department at the Global Fund, about how “the Global Fund partnership relies on local experts to find new ways to remove barriers to health services” (3/30).

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New Issue Of Global Health: Science And Practice Journal Available Online

Global Health: Science and Practice: March 2017
The March issue of the Global Health: Science and Practice online journal features articles on various topics, including a commentary on collecting more accurate data on family planning users and original articles on family planning and contraceptive usage in four African nations (March 2017).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Continues Efforts To Promote Gender Equality In Development

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Celebrating Women and Girls during Women’s History Month
Marita Eibl, acting senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment at USAID, discusses the agency’s efforts to promote gender equality in development, including efforts to end preventable child and maternal deaths globally (3/29).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

Kaiser Family Foundation Budget Summary Analyzes Global Health Aspects Of White House's FY17 Reduction Options To Congress

Kaiser Family Foundation: White House Submits FY17 Reduction Options to Congress
This budget summary highlights global health-related funding contained in the White House’s proposed cuts for FY 2017, submitted to Congress on March 24, 2017. The White House proposal identifies reduction options for PEPFAR’s HIV efforts and programs for tuberculosis, family planning and reproductive health, polio, global health security, neglected tropical diseases, nutrition, and vulnerable children, as well as provides descriptions and justifications for the funding cuts (3/29).

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