KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Congressional Appropriators Express Concern Over Trump Administration's Proposed Cuts To USAID's FY19 Budget, U.S. Family Planning Funding

Devex: Congressional appropriators push back on U.S. foreign aid cuts in two hearings
“In a pair of hearings this week, United States Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green was challenged about the administration’s proposed cuts to the agency’s budget in fiscal year 2019, with lawmakers saying the deep cuts would not stand. … Green, whose job is to defend the administration’s position, spent much of his time repeating himself as lawmakers tried to get him to say that the funds requested would be insufficient. … A trio of women, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat from New York, and Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat from California, all raised concerns about family planning funding, including [proposed] cuts to the United Nations Population Fund [for FY19], the need to properly evaluate the health impacts of the ‘global gag rule’ being imposed across [the majority of] global health funding and the importance of family planning policy based on science. Green said the administration was studying the impacts of the implementation of the gag rule, or Mexico City policy, and was working on a strategy to reprogram money that would have gone to UNFPA [in FY18]…” (Saldinger, 4/27).

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U.S. Senate Confirms Mike Pompeo As Secretary Of State

Los Angeles Times: Senate confirms Pompeo as Trump’s second secretary of State, and he quickly gets to work
“Overcoming a bruising confirmation fight, the Senate voted Thursday to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as President Trump’s second secretary of State … The vote was 57 to 42, an unusually low margin of approval for America’s top diplomat, a position that normally draws broad bipartisan support to give a president his chosen candidate to conduct foreign policy…” (Wilkinson, 4/26).

New York Times: Senate Confirms CIA Chief Mike Pompeo to Be Secretary of State
“…Shortly after the vote at the Capitol, Mr. Pompeo went across the street to the Supreme Court, where he was sworn in by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Mr. Pompeo then dashed to Joint Base Andrews, where a plane was waiting to fly him to Brussels for a meeting of NATO allies…” (Harris/Kaplan, 4/26).

Additional coverage of this story is available from ABC News, Fox News, Newsweek, POLITICO, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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Trump Administration Does Not Commit Additional U.S. Aid For Syria At International Conference

The Hill: Trump cuts to foreign funding leaves humanitarian aid for Syria short: report
“President Trump’s failure to commit funding for the Syrian humanitarian crisis reportedly leaves the United Nations millions short of its goal for aid…” (Gstalter, 4/26).

Reuters: Syria donors fall short without U.S. aid, warn of cruel end-game
“International donors raised $4.4 billion in emergency aid for Syria and its neighbors this year on Wednesday, but the total fell well short of the U.N. target for 2018 after the United States failed to submit a pledge. … ‘A number of important donors have not yet been in a position to confirm their financing for 2018,’ U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock told a news conference. ‘That includes the United States, which has been providing more than $1 billion a year to Syria and the region in recent years’…” (Baczynska/Emmott, 4/25).

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El Salvador Legislature Fails To Vote On Amendments To Relax Nation's Abortion Ban

New York Times: Supporters of El Salvador’s Abortion Ban Foil Efforts to Soften It
“El Salvador’s national legislature adjourned Thursday without voting on proposals to allow exceptions to the country’s total ban on abortion, thwarting the first challenge to one of the world’s toughest laws. The failure of the Legislative Assembly, El Salvador’s legislative branch, to consider two proposals that would have allowed doctors to end pregnancies under limited conditions leaves intact the country’s two-decade-old ban on abortions…” (Malkin/Palumbo, 4/26).

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In Efforts To Join WHO Assembly, Taiwan Draws Attention To Its International Health Assistance

VOA News: How Taiwan Benefits if it Fails to Join the WHO Assembly
“Taiwan can turn a failed bid to join the World Health Organization’s annual assembly in its favor this year by generating moral support in its struggle against political rival China, experts say. … A failed effort to observe the World Health Assembly would still give Taiwan limelight overseas for drawing attention to its billions of dollars’ worth of medical charity — an argument the government in Taipei uses to push its bid — analysts say. The bid, failed or otherwise, would also make China and the WHO look more interested in politics than health, they add. … The U.S. Congress unanimously backs Taiwan’s bid, said Coen Blaauw, executive director of the Taiwan advocacy group Formosan Association for Public Affairs…” (Jennings, 4/27).

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GAVI Making Progress On Childhood Immunizations But Challenges Remain Ahead Of December Review Conference

Deutsche Welle: Vaccination remains a challenge in Africa
“Donors pledged $7.5 billion to the global vaccine alliance GAVI in 2015 to immunize millions of people worldwide. Ahead of a review conference in December, GAVI says it’s on track. But challenges remain. … A new funding conference is likely to take place in 2020” (Pelz, 4/26).

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The Economist Special Report Examines Efforts To Reach Universal Health Care, Other Global Health Topics

The Economist: Special Report: An affordable necessity
This special report examines several aspects of health care, including a piece by John McDermott, public policy editor at The Economist, on universal health care’s benefits and challenges; an article on the growing incidence of non-communicable diseases in developing countries; and a piece on financing and political will for UHC (Multiple authors, 4/26).

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More News In Global Health

Agence France-Presse: Peru to indict ex-president Fujimori over forced sterilizations (4/26).

Devex: Attacks on aid workers, health facilities leave millions in South Sudan without care, report finds (Lieberman, 4/27).

The Guardian: Malaria on the march along the Thai-Myanmar border — in pictures (Kumar/Hodal, 4/27).

The Guardian: ‘Gene map for depression’ sparks hopes of new generation of treatments (Sample, 4/26).

Reuters: Morocco struggles to curb rise in number of girls married underage (Abdennebi, 4/26).

SciDev.Net: Western Pacific falls short on universal health coverage (Felongco, 4/25).

STAT: Shoebox-sized lab can diagnose infectious diseases from a drop of blood (Branswell, 4/25).

VOA News: A Possible Malaria Vaccine Poisons the Anopheles Mosquito (Lapidus, 4/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. State Department Should Monitor All Human Rights, Including Reproductive Rights

The Hill: State Department removes reproductive rights indicators from annual country reporting
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights

“Last Friday’s release of the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices has a gaping hole: the ‘Reproductive Rights’ section has disappeared. … With his confirmation now settled, Secretary of State Pompeo should understand — and reverse — his predecessor’s dramatic about-face in U.S. efforts to protect the rights of women. … Reproductive rights are internationally recognized human rights. It is imperative that the State Department monitors all human rights, including those most deeply affecting women. Human rights in general — and reproductive rights in particular — … are established legal obligations under international law which protect individuals all over the world from discrimination, violence, injury, and death. Failure to collect evidence of violations to reproductive rights aligns with the administration’s scornful treatment of women, survivors of sexual violence and abuse and, increasingly, the very large world beyond U.S. borders” (4/26).

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France President Emmanuel Macron Should Advocate For Increased E.U. Aid To Reach 0.7% GNI Target

Devex: Opinion: France has great ambitions for international development. It needs to act on them.
Friederike Röder, director of ONE France

“…[France President Emmanuel Macron] has visited Africa nine times in nine months, created a new advisory body — the Presidential Council for Africa — and set a goal to increase aid to 0.55 percent of GNI by 2022. While this number is still below the international target of 0.7 percent…, it’s still a significant figure for international development. … One test for Macron’s leadership on development, and the international scene in general, will be the European Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework, the E.U.’s financial plan for the next seven years. … [The E.U.’s] budget will decide whether they are on track to reach the collective commitment of allocating 0.7 percent of their collective GNI to development and whether they will help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. … To reach the global player level the E.U. so desires, it will need a very strong external budget, and a radical increase in E.U. aid … Now, Macron needs to translate this into a financial reality — speaking up in favor of an MFF that sets the E.U. on track for the 0.7 percent” (4/26).

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Global Community Should Address Gaps In Immunization Coverage

Scientific American: There’s Good News and Less Good News about Worldwide Immunization
Ngozi Erondu, infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2017 Aspen New Voices fellow, and associate fellow at the Chatham House Center on Global Health Security

“It’s World Immunization Week, and we have a lot of successes to celebrate. … [But as] a global community, we still have many immunization obstacles to overcome because coverage rates at the global, regional, and even country levels often mask the pockets of unvaccinated populations, the existence of which allow diseases to fester and keeps us all vulnerable, especially children. … [U]nimmunized pockets in highly industrialized countries should motivate governments to be more sensitive to the needs of specific groups and to adapt immunization services accordingly. … Amid the celebrations of new policies, the colorful vaccination campaigns, and the proclamations of higher coverage rates, let us remember that lurking in our midst are immunization gaps that span from the crowds at Disneyland to the markets of South Kivu. Let us not let our guard down: vaccines work — but only when enough people have been immunized” (4/26).

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El Salvador Should Approve Legislation To Relax Nation's Abortion Laws

New York Times: El Salvador’s Chance to Save Women’s Lives
Editorial Board

“…El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly is considering two amendments to its penal code relating to the abortion ban, neither of which is by any means comprehensive. … If lawmakers do not vote for the bill by the end of the day, they could call an extraordinary session by Monday — which is a fairly common practice there, and something for which advocates of the bill are strongly pushing this year. In May, a more conservative majority will take power, and the lifesaving legislation will become much less likely to pass. … The push to relax El Salvador’s abortion law is supported by not only Salvadoran doctors, but also by the nation’s health ministry and, according to a survey conducted by a local women’s rights group last year, by nearly three-quarters of its citizens. But even if doing so were not popular, passing this legislation would be the right thing to do — a positive step toward recognizing the human rights of Salvadoran women and girls…” (4/26).

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Argentina's Abortion Debate Could Spur Broader Action On Women's Rights Issues During Country's 2019 Electoral Campaign

The Conversation: Argentina’s abortion legalization debate ignites soul searching on women’s rights
Virginia García Beaudoux, professor at the University of Buenos Aires

“…[In Argentina, the] abortion debate has given rise to legislative discussions about long-ignored problems like the gender pay gap and parental leave. And late last year, Congress surprised Argentineans by passing a law requiring that 50 percent of all candidates nominated by political parties to run for office be women. Is Argentina on the verge of a huge leap forward in gender equality? … Social problems like maternal mortality, the gender pay gap, and sexism in the workplace have long been ignored during electoral cycles. Now, [during the 2019 campaign,] political parties will be compelled to declare their stance on these issues. Candidates will have to propose policy solutions and explain their ideas to citizens. This will make for some heated and passionate confrontations, but that’s a good problem. Because when a subject enters the political debate, it sends a powerful message to society that it’s worth discussing — and needs resolving” (4/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Highlights Findings From IHME Report On 2017 Global Health Financing

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Report shows drop in HIV funding threatens gains in high-burden, low-income countries
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses findings from a recently published IHME report that analyzes trends in global health financing, noting the “report examines the impacts of those trends on the attainment of universal health coverage, and on goals to end the global public health threat of HIV” (4/26).

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Blog Post Discusses Importance Of Immunization In Preventing Diseases

Devpolicy Blog: How immunization is vital to win the war against disease
Recognizing World Immunization Week, Mark Rice, policy and advocacy manager for RESULTS International Australia, highlights the success of immunization campaigns in preventing disease over the past 100 years, and looks forward to two 2018 events that “will increase attention to the progress we are making in ensuring all children have access to vaccinations”: updates on the Global Vaccine Action Plan at the World Health Assembly in May and the Mid-Term Review for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, scheduled for December (4/27).

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Scaling Up Vasectomy Services Could Help Kenya Achieve Family Planning Goals, Study Suggests

IntraHealth International: New Study Suggests Vasectomy Could Help Kenya Achieve Its Family Planning Goals
“Results from a 2018 qualitative study in Kenya suggest that scaling up vasectomy services could help the country build on decades of family planning progress and help achieve its family planning goals, including increasing its modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) to 66 percent by the year 2030…” (4/25).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. President Trump Congratulates Mike Pompeo Upon Swearing In As 70th Secretary Of State

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Pompeo Sworn In as Secretary of State, Departs for NATO Ministerial and the Middle East
“Mike Pompeo was sworn in as the 70th U.S. Secretary of State on April 26, 2018. … Following his swearing-in, Secretary Pompeo will travel to Brussels, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Amman, April 26-30…” (4/26).

White House: Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State
“…Having a patriot of Mike’s immense talent, energy, and intellect leading the Department of State will be an incredible asset for our country at this critical time in history. He will always put the interests of America first. He has my trust. He has my support. Today, he has my congratulations on becoming America’s 70th Secretary of State” (4/26).

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New Issue Of NIH Fogarty International Center's 'Global Health Matters' Newsletter Available Online

NIH Fogarty International Center: Global Health Matters
The most recent issue of the Fogarty International Center’s newsletter contains various articles addressing global health issues, including an opinion piece by Fogarty Director Roger I. Glass, reflecting on the FIC’s accomplishments over the past 50 years, and an article on a program in Zimbabwe that aims to address the country’s mental health treatment gap (March/April 2018).

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Drug Combination To Prevent HIV Transmission From Pregnant Woman To Fetus Likely Does Not Increase Preterm Birth Risk, Re-Analysis Shows

NIH: Anti-HIV drug combination does not increase preterm birth risk, study suggests
“A drug combination aimed at preventing transmission of HIV from a pregnant woman to her fetus likely does not increase the risk for preterm birth and early infant death, according to a re-analysis of two studies funded by the National Institutes of Health…” (4/25).

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