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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Senate Committee Approves FY18 SFOPs Appropriations Bill, Votes To Reinstate UNFPA Funding, Overturn Mexico City Policy

Devex: Senate committee backs reversal of Mexico City policy
“The Senate appropriations committee unanimously approved a foreign aid funding bill that contains limited budget cuts, including amendments to both repeal the Mexico City policy — the so-called ‘global gag rule’ — and provide $10 million in climate change-related funding. The gag rule repeal is still likely to face significant opposition in the House…” (Saldiner, 9/8).

Foreign Policy: Senate Committee Votes Against Administration on Anti-Abortion Global Gag Rule
“In a vote that marks a rejection of the Trump administration’s foreign aid budget and approach to family planning policy abroad, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved Thursday to reinstate funding for the United Nations Population Fund and overturn the global gag rule, a longstanding Republican policy that forbids U.S. support for international health organizations that offer or discuss abortion services…” (Mellen, 9/7).

Foreign Policy: Senate Panel Rejects Trump Plan for Cutting Foreign Assistance
“…The Senate Appropriations Committee approved [$51.35 billion] for the State Department, foreign operations, and related programs in its 2018 appropriations bill — almost $11 billion above President Trump’s request. … Among other things, the bill provides over $6 billion for humanitarian assistance [and disaster relief] — almost $1 billion above the administration’s request. The panel is also restoring $10 million in U.S. funding for the U.N. climate change agency, overruling Trump’s call to end spending on it. In a surprising move, the committee also passed an amendment overturning Trump’s policies limiting funding and access to women’s reproductive health care and family planning abroad…” (Gramer, 9/7).

POLITICO: Senate appropriators rebuke Trump on abortion policy
“…Overriding the ban — which Republican presidents customarily put in place days after being inaugurated — would mark an embarrassment for the Trump administration. But the appropriations bill is quite unlikely to be finalized as written. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) noted at the markup the GOP-led House would insist on keeping the Trump policy in place…” (Haberkorn, 9/7).

STAT: Senate panel votes to reverse Mexico City Policy, signaling support for global family planning assistance
“…[F]amily planning advocates expressed little optimism that the measure would actually be adopted. Capitol Hill’s current conventional wisdom also holds that a full budget deal is less likely than a continuing resolution that largely preserves the spending status quo. The vote, nonetheless, is another indication of GOP legislators’ reluctance to go along with many White House positions on health, from repealing the Affordable Care Act to reducing funding for biomedical research to its desire to more specifically direct money destined for overseas health organizations…” (Facher/Swetlitz, 9/7).

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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY18 Labor-HHS-Education Bill, Including $2B Increase For NIH

CQ News: Senate Panel Sends Largest Non-Defense Spending Bill to Floor
“Senate appropriators approved the fiscal 2018 Labor-HHS-Education bill on Thursday, voting 29-2 in favor of the largest non-defense spending measure, which allocates $164.1 billion in discretionary funding to the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education. … The bill would provide $36.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a $2 billion increase over fiscal 2017. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would get about $7.2 billion, a slight increase over 2017 levels…” (Wilkins/Siddons, 9/7).

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Slate Examines How Public-Private Partnership Allowed Chagas Disease Treatment To Become More Affordable

Slate: A New Strategy to Undermine Big Pharma’s Price Gouging Actually Worked
“…This is actually a story of how advocates and physicians squared off against Big Pharma’s price gouging and federal policy loopholes — and won. … [I]f the … story [of the Chagas treatment benznidazole] offers any lessons, it’s that partnerships between nonprofits and pharmaceutical companies might be a legitimate and necessary strategy for keeping drugs affordable in the United States. This requires a lot more collaboration, among patients, doctors, and public health advocates. But until lawmakers get their act together, these private-public partnerships might be one way forward” (Hernández, 9/7).

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Experimental Drug Trials Conducted Outside U.S., Canada Raise Ethical, Scientific Standard Questions

STAT: It’s not just one suspect herpes vaccine trial: Most experimental drugs are tested offshore — raising concerns about data
“…The globalization of clinical trials has brought new treatments to historically neglected populations and generated data more representative of the world’s diversity. But the change has not come without side effects: Companies, researchers, and regulators are increasingly grappling with cultural differences — and more seriously, lapses in ethical and scientific standards — that sometimes arise when trials are conducted in countries without a strong tradition of robust clinical research. And those lapses can have serious consequences for the data that’s used to support medical decision-making…” (Robbins, 9/8).

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Sanofi Halts Zika Vaccine Research But Other Candidate Vaccines Move Forward In Development

CNN: Sanofi stops work on Zika vaccine while others forge forward
“French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi SA paused development of a Zika virus vaccine candidate in response to funding cuts by the U.S. government, the company said in a statement on its website last week. … ‘Right now, there’s no indication that Sanofi is anything other than just sort of an individual situation that doesn’t necessarily impact other companies,’ [NIAID Director Anthony] Fauci said. His institute is working on a number of vaccine candidates based on several approaches…” (Scutti, 9/7).

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Laos Decreases Maternal Mortality With Midwife Training Program, But Funding Under Threat From U.S., European Aid Cuts

South China Morning Post: Midwife crisis: Laos slashes maternal mortality but Trump defunding threatens the progress made
“…Small health centers have been estab­lished across rural areas and — with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) — 1,700 midwives have been trained to staff them. In 2015, Laos became one of only nine countries world­wide to meet the U.N.’s goal of decreasing maternal mortality from the 1990 level by 75 percent. … Despite such progress, Laos still has the highest maternal mortality rate in Southeast Asia, and UNFPA plans to expand the midwife program to the remotest regions of the mountainous nation. Issues with funding from developed countries, however, may put brakes on the agency’s work: countries in Europe are blaming the costly refugee crisis there; in the United States, the world’s largest contributor of health care aid, the issue is abortion…” (Liljas, 9/8).

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U.N. Agencies Support Relief Efforts In Nations Hit By Hurricane Irma

U.N. News Centre: U.N. supporting national relief efforts as Hurricane Irma threatens nearly 50 million people
“United Nations agencies are supporting relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which has already wreaked havoc on Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean islands and is en route towards the United States…” (9/7).

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Asia-Pacific Region Key Player In Efforts Against Pollution, U.N. Environment Head Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Interview — Asia must lead charge for pollution-free planet — U.N. environment head
“Asia-Pacific — home to more than half the world’s population and some of its fastest-growing economies — is a key battleground in the fight against pollution, one of the biggest threats to the planet and its people, the U.N. environment chief said…” (Win, 9/7).

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Doctors, Hospitals In India Must Make Greater Effort To Decide On Abortion For Child Rape Victims Outside Of Legal System, Court Says

The Guardian: Indian girl allowed abortion amid claims doctors ‘afraid to help’ child rape victims
“The Indian supreme court has ruled that a 13-year-old rape victim in Mumbai who was left pregnant after the attack can have a termination. It follows a landmark ruling last month that said doctors should make greater effort to support victims of sexual assault regardless of the country’s abortion laws. … The court ruling was accompanied by an order instructing hospitals to establish a medical board to investigate and determine such cases, avoiding the need for legal hearings…” (Dhillon, 9/7).

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Sierra Leone's Recovery From Deadly Mudslide Slow But Steady

Los Angeles Times: Sierra Leone faces long slog to recovery after devastating mudslide
“It’s been almost a month since torrential rains caused widespread flooding and a mountainside to collapse on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, sending a blanket of mud into several communities. Life is gradually returning to normal, but residents of the devastated regions face a slog toward recovery. … All told, almost 6,000 people were affected by the disaster in some way, the International Organization for Migration said in its Sept. 4 situation report…” (Simmons, 9/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Cuts To Foreign Aid 'Immoral, Short-Sighted, And Costly'

The Hill: Former members to Congress: Don’t cut foreign aid
Claudine Schneider (R-R.I.), Barbara Kennelly (D-Conn.), Lynn C. Woolsey (D-Calif.), and Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio), all former members of Congress

“…The fight against global poverty is one of our country’s proudest traditions and smartest investments. From economic development to increased government accountability, from basic services like education, to life-saving programs like vaccines and food aid, foreign aid is crucial. … At a time of rising needs, any cuts to foreign aid is immoral, short-sighted, and costly — both to people experiencing disaster and displacement, and to the U.S. standing in the world. … Despite popular rhetoric, cutting aid or making it less effective won’t close the government’s budget gap or make America more secure — but it will close the door on a better future for the world’s most vulnerable communities and the future well-being of the United States. Congress must protect this small but critical part of our country’s budget to save lives, help people lift themselves out of poverty, spur economic growth, and make the world a better and safer place” (9/7).

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USAID's Country Ownership Approach To Development Allows U.S. To Maintain Progress, Goodwill With Recipient Countries

Devex: Opinion: How USAID is primed to transition countries from aid
Justin Fugle, senior adviser for policy and program outreach at Plan

“…Every president has promised foreign assistance will create the conditions under which it is no longer necessary … USAID’s history shows that successful transitions are planned and implemented with the partner countries and driven by development priorities. … The sustainability and legacy of U.S. development assistance requires strengthening the capacity of local systems to produce development outcomes. … One can see a clear link between locally owned programs and the growing power of developing economies. No longer reliant on U.S. aid, they are more than ready to take the lead in their national progress and build strategic partnerships with the United States. This shift in the underlying power dynamics will manifest itself regardless of whether aid programs continue. Yet, by practicing an ownership approach to transitions, USAID would have a better chance of maintaining the progress and goodwill resulting from our support to these emerging powers and potential allies” (9/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Examines Global Health-Related Amendments To FY18 Appropriations Bills

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Appropriators approve sustained global health, boost to TB, increased research funding, reject expanded global gag rule
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses the Senate Appropriations Committee’s passage of the Labor-HHS-Education and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bills, including global health-related aspects of each bill (9/7).

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CGD Podcast Discusses 2017 Development Index Rankings

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: Where Does Your Country Rank on Development? — CDI Podcast with Ian Mitchell and Anita Käppel
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, speaks with Ian Mitchell, deputy director of CGD Europe, and Anita Käppeli, policy analyst at CGD, about the results of CGD’s Commitment to Development Index (CDI), which ranks “27 of the world’s richest nations based on seven policy areas: aid, finance, technology, environment, trade, security, and migration” (9/7).

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European Leaders To Gather At WHO Annual Regional Committee Meeting To Set Health Priorities

WHO: European leaders set new roadmap to achieve 2030 Agenda and improve 900 million people’s health and well-being
“…In Budapest, Hungary, on 11-14 September 2017 [health leaders gathering at the annual meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe] will take decisions on health priorities that will have an impact on the health and well-being of about 900 million people in the WHO European Region, including in the European Union, central and eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and central Asia…” (9/7).

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BMJ Series Highlights Antimicrobial Resistance In SE Asia

The BMJ: Antimicrobial resistance in South East Asia
“The BMJ’s collection on ‘Antimicrobial resistance in South East Asia’ is a series of 15 articles highlighting how antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become a critical political, social, and economic problem in the WHO South East Asia region … where there is possibly the highest risk globally for emergence and spread of AMR…” (September 2017)

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