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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Congress Allays Global Development Community's Fears Of Major Budget Cuts In FY17 Budget Deal

Devex: Budget bill puts Congress in U.S. aid driver’s seat
“Late Sunday night, the United States Congress agreed to a budget deal to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown. But the spending plan also sent a reassuring message from lawmakers to the U.S. global development community, whose programs have been under threat from the Trump administration…” (Igoe, 5/2).

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Several Congressional Staffers Note Dispute Between Congress, White House Over Administration's Proposal To Eliminate State Department's Office Of Global Women's Issues

Foreign Policy: In Trump’s Plan to Gut Foreign Aid, Battle Lines Drawn Over Global Women’s Issues
“Women’s issues remain a heated area for debate in Washington as the federal budget battle plays out. And there’s a crucial office in the State Department now facing its own existential battle amid Trump’s plans to gut funding for foreign aid and diplomacy. Several congressional sources told Foreign Policy one of the sharpest disputes between Congress and the White House over the budget is the proposed elimination of the ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues — a State Department posting that coordinates the U.S. government’s women’s development and empowerment programs around the world. Trump’s proposed foreign aid and development budget completely zeroes out the $8.25 million allotment for the ambassadorship, created by President Barack Obama in 2009…” (Gramer/Mellen, 5/1).

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U.S. Must Do More To Prepare For Disease Outbreaks, Bioterrorism, Panel Members Say

NBC News: Worse Than Ebola: U.S. Not Preparing for the Next Bio-Threat
“The U.S. government is slacking off on preparing for the next big pandemic or biological terrorism attack and is not only endangering its citizens but also missing out on a great opportunity to score political points, experts said Monday. Protecting the United States from the next pandemic of killer flu, or from a bioterrorist strike, is something Republicans and Democrats can easily agree on, a top congressional appropriator told a biodefense panel. … Yet the money hasn’t been there, and no one person or agency is in charge of making sure the United States is ready for the next outbreak of Ebola or Zika or the next anthrax attack, [Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)] and other experts said at a meeting of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C…” (Fox, 5/1).

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No Movement On Trump Administration's Expected Pick For USAID Head Amid Questions About Agency's Future

POLITICO: Trump’s USAID pick stuck in the mud
“Former GOP Rep. Mark Green is the Trump administration’s expected pick to lead the United States Agency for International Development, but has struggled to close a deal with the Trump administration, according to four sources with knowledge of the talks. For weeks, Green has been the sole candidate to lead USAID… In addition to trying to secure a title bump for himself, Green has been unable to get solid assurances that the agency won’t be gutted or devoured by the State Department during Trump’s tenure…” (Kulgren et al., 5/1).

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Coalition Of Global Health Organizations Issue 'Call To Action' For G20 To Invest In NTDs, Drug Resistance, Disease Preparedness

Devex: ‘Call to action’ for G20 health ministers ahead of Berlin meeting
“A coalition of global health organizations came together Friday to urge G20 health ministers to do more to tackle pandemics, drug resistance, and neglected diseases, describing health as a ‘global security issue’ as it appears prominently on the G20 agenda for the first time. The coalition issued a ‘call to action’ at a conference on global health innovation in Berlin, Germany, demanding that G20 health ministers commit new long-term investment to pandemic preparedness, as well as to health technologies to combat antimicrobial resistance, and poverty-related and neglected diseases, when they meet in the German capital in May…” (Young-Powell, 5/2).

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WHO, Global Partners Should Address Cumulative Exposure To Environmental Threats As Health Emergency, World Vision Adviser Says

Devex: Cumulative exposure: A deadly health emergency that is ignored
“…[T]he world is missing health crises many magnitudes larger than Ebola because of an inability to recognize the impacts of cumulative exposure to a changing environment, said Gerard Finnigan, a regional health and nutrition adviser for South Asia and Pacific at World Vision International. Speaking at the inaugural Asia Pacific Humanitarian Leadership conference last week, Finnigan said the global community has yet to address a discrepancy between the actual and perceived impact of health events…” (Seiff, 5/2).

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Poor Economics, Conflict, Unpredictable Weather Fueling African Nations' Food Insecurity

Wall Street Journal: Economics and Bad Weather Amplify Africa’s Food Crisis
“A toxic mix of economics, bad weather, and conflict is fueling record starvation levels in Africa, as prices of staple foods touch records in half the continent’s 54 countries amid the worst harvests in three decades. The countries worst affected, including South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria, are plagued by civil war. But even in relatively stable regions, rising inflation and foreign-exchange shortages have exacerbated conditions…” (Bariyo, 5/1).

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1.4M Children In Somalia At Risk Of Acute Malnutrition, UNICEF Warns

Reuters: Acute malnutrition surges in Somali children: UNICEF
“Some 1.4 million children in drought-hit Somalia are projected to suffer acute malnutrition this year, 50 percent more than estimated in January, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday…” (Nebehay, 5/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Should Honor Commitment To Women, Girls By Fully Funding U.S. Foreign Assistance

Devex: Opinion: Women and girls are greatest return on foreign assistance investment
Lyric Thompson, director of policy and advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women

“…The leaked document [obtained by Foreign Policy outlining the Trump administration’s FY18 State Department and USAID budget request] paints a disastrous picture for foreign aid, and also reveals the Trump administration’s intentions to completely eliminate the gender architecture that has been a proud and bipartisan tradition over the course of several recent administrations. … [These budget details, however,] do not spell the end of the story for our budget and appropriations process. The power of the purse ultimately rests with Congress, and last week nearly 80 organizations came together with the International Center for Research on Women in calling on appropriators to honor American commitments to women and girls around the globe by fully funding our foreign assistance. … It is worth the penny that it costs on the American tax dollar to support women entrepreneurs and peacemakers, to defend against gender-based violence and promote maternal health. … Hopefully, our congressional leaders will agree” (5/1).

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Italy's Measles Outbreak Could Be Result Of Vaccine Skepticism

New York Times: Populism, Politics and Measles
Editorial Board

“…A serious outbreak of measles in Italy and in some other European countries could well be the result of a drop-off in vaccinations caused by utterly misguided and discredited claims about their dangers. … In Italy, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) led by the comedian Beppe Grillo has campaigned actively on an anti-vaccination platform, … repeating the false ties between vaccinations and autism. To these and other skeptics, the measles outbreak in Italy should sound a piercing alarm. … Combating vaccine skepticism is not easy, because even the countless studies by innumerable health groups affirming that there is no link between vaccines and autism have failed to penetrate the fog spread by Mr. Grillo and his ilk. The Italian measles outbreak, unfortunate as it is, does give health authorities an opportunity to strengthen their case by pointing to concrete evidence of what inevitably follows when vaccinations drop off” (5/2).

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WHO Member States Should Elect Ethiopia's Former Minister Of Health, Tedros Adhanom, As Next WHO Director General

Huffington Post: Dr. Tedros is the Leader the WHO Needs
Nicole Schiegg, strategic communications consultant and former USAID senior adviser

“In three weeks leaders from all over the world will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, for the annual World Health Assembly. For the first time in history, countries have the opportunity to elect an African and a former minister of health to lead the World Health Organization. While the other two candidates in this race are accomplished, Dr. Tedros Adhanom of Ethiopia is the best choice for director general. There has never been someone more qualified to lead WHO at this pivotal moment in its history. … Anyone who knows Dr. Tedros will tell you he never held back when advising donors on how their money should be invested. His validation was a key driver to successfully launch the roadmap to end preventable child and maternal death. … Not often do you encounter a leader who has impacted so many lives and stayed true to his roots. It is without a doubt that Dr. Tedros is the leader the WHO needs at this critical time. Electing Dr. Tedros is the best way to ensure better health for all the world’s people” (5/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PLOS Blogs Opinion Series Discusses Who Should Fill Role Of Next WHO Director General

PLOS Blogs’ “Your Say”: Opinion: Who should lead WHO (Pt 1 of 3)? Dr. Tedros, nominee of the Government of Ethiopia.
Zaeem UI Haq, health adviser with Save the Children, discusses the credentials of the three candidates for WHO director general and writes, “Tedros [Adhanom Ghebreyesus] stands out as the most promising candidate to lead the World Health Organization at this crucial time … My top three reasons reflect the facts that: He has spearheaded the health sector reform in his country and provid[ed] exemplary leadership over the past decade; [h]e has galvanized bilateral and multi-sectoral partnerships that culminated in his country achieving the Millennium Development Goal for child survival; [h]e has forged regional partnerships and [is] generating global momentum for accelerating sustainable development” (4/5).

PLOS Blogs’ “Your Say”: Opinion: Who should lead WHO (pt 2 of 3)? Why I support Pakistan’s “Great Reformer”
Fareed Minhas, head of the Institute of Psychiatry at the Rawalpindi General Hospital and director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Research, Training, and Substance Abuse in Pakistan, discusses WHO director general candidate Sania Nishtar’s qualifications for the role, highlighting several of her achievements in global health, including her leadership in developing Pakistan’s national plan on noncommunicable diseases and reforming the country’s health sector. Minhas writes, “The current scale of the global health challenges should not be underestimated but I have no doubt that Sania would hit the ground running and accelerate the WHO agenda so that it’s reputation is restored and more importantly, it’s truly fit for purpose” (4/17).

PLOS Blogs’ “Your Say”: Opinion: Who should lead WHO (Pt. 3 of 3)? Dr. David Nabarro, “a frontline clinician and global health leader”
Rashid A. Chotani, professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, executive director of the MCC Medical Clinic, senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and adjunct professor at George Washington University, discusses WHO director general candidate David Nabarro’s qualifications for the role, writing, “Dr. Nabarro is a truly global leader who puts the needs and aspirations of people above all other considerations. His ‘catalytic approach’ will improve relevance and realism, impact and efficiency in all of WHO’s work. … I urge all nation states to support the best candidate, Dr. David Nabarro” (5/1).

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Brookings Experts Examine Potential Implications Of Reductions In U.S. Funding For U.N. Agencies

Brookings Institution: What would U.S. cuts to the U.N. look like?
John McArthur, senior fellow, and Krista Rasmussen, research analyst, both with Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution, consider the implications of cuts to U.S. funding for the U.N. by “examining U.N. system budget data for 2014, the most recent year with full information available.” They note, “The consequences of potential declines in U.S. contributions to the U.N. are specific to each organization…” (5/1).

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Most Global Health Aid Targets Those Younger Than Age 60, Study Shows

Health Affairs: Vast Majority Of Development Assistance For Health Funds Target Those Below Age Sixty
Vegard Skirbekk, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and a professor at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and colleagues note development assistance for health increasingly “targets younger more than older age groups, relative to their disease burden.” The researchers note this discrepancy increased between 1990 and 2013 and examine possible reasons for the increase (May 2017).

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WHO Releases 10-Year Review Report Chapter Focusing On Climate Change, Air Pollution, Antimicrobial Resistance

WHO: A global health guardian: climate change, air pollution, and antimicrobial resistance
This chapter of the WHO’s “Ten years in public health 2007-2017” report focuses on climate change, air pollution, and antimicrobial resistance. “Global defenses against universal transboundary threats to health, like climate change, air pollution, and antimicrobial resistance, depend on WHO’s role as a guardian of public health. This role involves tracking rapidly evolving threats, quantifying the harm to health, and sounding the alarm. WHO also works to raise political awareness and extend advice on the best protective strategies for safeguarding public health. In these — as in many other areas — protective strategies require collaboration with multiple non-health sectors” (May 2017).

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May 2017 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The May 2017 WHO Bulletin includes editorials, news, and research and policy articles on various topics, including an editorial addressing tuberculosis and drug resistance, a research paper on equity in ownership of insecticide-treated bednets in sub-Saharan Africa, and a perspective piece on drug policy reform for noncommunicable diseases in low-income countries (May 2017).

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From the Kaiser Family Foundation

Kaiser Family Foundation Budget Summary Analyzes Global Health Aspects Of FY17 Omnibus Released By Congress

Kaiser Family Foundation: Congress Releases FY17 Omnibus
This budget summary highlights global health-related funding contained in the FY 2017 Omnibus bill released by Congress on Monday. The bill provides funding for the U.S. government through the rest of the fiscal year including for U.S. global health programs at USAID, the Department of State, and the CDC. Total known funding for U.S. global health programs in the FY 2017 Omnibus is $9.4 billion, which is approximately $235 million (2.6 percent) higher than the FY 2016 enacted level. The analysis includes tables that compare U.S. global health funding in the FY 2017 Omnibus to the FY 2016 enacted levels, the House and Senate FY17 appropriations bills, and proposed cuts submitted by the Trump administration to Congress in March 2017 (5/1).

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