KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- Trump Administration Cuts All Funding For UNFPA, Citing Concerns Over 'Coercive Abortion Or Involuntary Sterilization' In China
Al Jazeera: U.S. ends funding for United Nations Population Fund
“The State Department has announced it is ending U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the international body’s agency focused on family planning as well as maternal and child health in more than 150 countries…” (4/3).
Associated Press: Trump admin cuts off U.N. agency’s funds over abortion concern
“The Trump administration said Monday it was cutting off U.S. funding to the United Nations agency for reproductive health, accusing the agency of supporting population control programs in China that include coercive abortion. By halting assistance to the U.N. Population Fund, the Trump administration is following through on promises to let socially conservative policies that President Donald Trump embraced in his campaign determine the way the U.S. government operates and conducts itself in the world…” (Lederman, 4/3).
BuzzFeed News: The Trump Administration Just Cut All Funding For The U.N.’s Family Planning Agency
“…Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas J. Shannon said in a policy document obtained by BuzzFeed News that UNFPA ‘supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization’ in China. Such support would be a violation of the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment, the document says…” (Moore, 4/3).
Devex: Trump administration cuts all future U.S. funding to UNFPA
“…The Kemp-Kasten amendment — first enacted in 1985 and previously used by other Republican presidents — prohibits foreign aid to an organization that is involved in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. The State Department letter, dated March 30, 2017, provides some information on the history of the Chinese government’s state-sponsored family planning program … as well as statements on how the UNFPA works closely with the Chinese government…” (Lieberman, 4/4).
Huffington Post: Donald Trump Defunds Global Maternal Health Organization
“…President George W. Bush used the same policy to defund the UNFPA from 2002 to 2008, arguing that the organization’s presence in China constituted participation in the country’s ‘one child’ coercive family planning policy. The UNFPA does not provide or promote abortions. The organization works in China to make reproductive health programs voluntary and rights-based…” (Bassett, 4/3).
New York Times: Trump Cuts Off Funding for U.N. Agency That Supports Contraception
“…The United States is one of the top donor nations to the United Nations, and the denial of funding was one of President Trump’s biggest moves yet to reduce financing for family planning…” (Sengupta/Gladstone, 4/3).
- Outgoing WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin Denounces Trump Administration's Proposed Budget Cuts For U.N. Agencies
Associated Press: U.N. food program head warns of U.S. budget cuts amid famine
“The outgoing head of the United Nations’ World Food Programme said Monday she is certain the U.S. Congress will reject the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts for U.N. aid agencies, saying ‘No one in America believes that “America First” means that other people must die.’ Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, whose friendship with former President Barack Obama predated his presidency, on Tuesday winds up five years of leading the world’s largest anti-hunger humanitarian organization. The Trump administration tapped former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley to replace her, and U.N. officials appointed him last week…” (Winfield, 4/4).
The Hill: U.N. World Food Programme head rips Trump budget
“…Cousin said she hopes Trump’s administration ‘will recognize that the security of the United States is directly related’ to ensuring food security and development opportunities for the world’s poor people. ‘The policies of the Obama administration will reflect that they “got” that,’ she said. ‘The policies of the Trump administration would suggest that they don’t believe that that is the case’…” (Hensch, 4/3).
- U.S. Officials Traveling To East Africa To Assess Drought, Humanitarian Conditions
Humanosphere: U.S. mum on global hunger crisis, sends officials to assess East African drought
“Two officials with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are traveling to East Africa this week to meet with governments and humanitarian actors about the emerging hunger crises in the region. They arrive at a time when $4.4 billion is needed to help some 20 million people, and the Trump administration is seeking to cut the foreign aid budget…” (Murphy, 4/3).
- Congressional Republicans, Democrats Express Opposition To Trump Administration's Proposed Cuts To NIH Budget
New York Times: Plan to Cut Funding for Biomedical Research Hits Opposition in Congress
“A proposal by President Trump to cut federal spending for biomedical research by 18 percent — just months after Congress approved bipartisan legislation to increase such spending — has run into a buzz saw on Capitol Hill, with Republicans and Democrats calling it misguided. … While [NIH] does some research in its own laboratories, it distributes most of its funds to scientists around the country who are investigating cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, AIDS, and other illnesses, as well as basic science that has no known link to a particular disease…” (Pear, 4/3).
- STAT Examines Health-, Science-Related Policies Under Obama, Trump
STAT: Obama vs. Trump: Early report card on how health and science are changing
“…Three months ago, STAT looked at five key [health- and science-related] areas and assessed whether Trump was likely to diverge from Obama — or not. Now we’re revisiting those issues, focusing on the new president’s record so far. … In his first 70 days, Trump hasn’t yet faced an outbreak on the scale of the Ebola and Zika crises that tested Obama — though an avian flu strain has been wreaking havoc in China. But public health officials remain wary, after Trump showed a predilection for health conspiracies and fear-mongering while he was a private citizen. And, once again, Trump’s spending plans signal a major shift from the Obama years…” (Scott, 4/4).
- New York Times Examines WHO Director General Election, Profiles Candidates
New York Times: The Campaign to Lead the World Health Organization
“In May, the World Health Organization will select a new director general, a choice that will affect the health of hundreds of millions in the developing world — perhaps even more if a global pandemic were to emerge. … The election comes at pivotal moment for the WHO. The organization that the candidates hope to lead has reached a crossroads, and many experts believe it suffers from a crippling identity crisis. … On most issues, the candidates’ positions are similar. … But in interviews with the New York Times and in public forums, the candidates have dodged some fundamental questions. None will say what they will cut from the agency’s strained budget. None will name any countries, foundations, or corporations they think have too much influence. … Following are short profiles of the three candidates to lead the WHO…” (McNeil, 4/3).
- Progress Seen On Reducing Child, Adolescent Mortality Worldwide But Inequality Grows Between Low-, High-Income Nations
CBS News: “Remarkable” progress against childhood deaths, but inequality grows
“Despite a dramatic decline in the number of deaths among children and adolescents worldwide in the past few decades, global progress remains uneven, according to new research. The study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, found that childhood and adolescent deaths worldwide dropped by nearly half — from 14.2 million in 1990 to just over 7.2 million in 2015…” (Welch, 4/3).
NPR: Child Deaths Drop From 14.2 Million In 1990 To 7.3 Million In 2015
“…The children in poor countries who might have died as babies or toddlers a few years ago live long enough to suffer from the effects of birth defects or develop mental health problems or cancer. And increasingly, they live long enough to bear the burden of war and violence in their countries…” (Brink, 4/3).
Reuters Health: Progress uneven as global child death rates fall
“…Countries with low social and economic statuses shoulder a much larger child and adolescent mortality burden compared to countries with better income, education, and fertility levels, researchers found. ‘The relative difference between the best and the worst is growing,’ said Dr. Nicholas Kassebaum, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. Kassebaum and dozens of other researchers in the Global Burden of Disease Child and Adolescent Health Collaboration analyzed data from 195 countries on children and adolescents up through age 19…” (Seaman, 4/3).
- Devex Examines Reactions To New WHO Guidance On HIV Risk, Progesterone-Only Contraceptive Use
Devex: HIV, family planning groups grapple with new WHO guidance on popular contraceptive
“The World Health Organization’s reclassification last month of progestogen-only injectable contraceptives has triggered a critical debate in the family planning community over how to manage the potential link between higher rates of HIV acquisition and one of the most popular birth control methods in many at-risk communities. Reviewing the past 35 years of research, the international health body noted the persistent ambiguity in findings linking injectable progestogen to higher rates of acquiring HIV. WHO reclassified the contraceptive to say its benefits still outweigh any risks, but said ‘women considering progestogen-only injectables should … be advised about this, about the uncertainty over a causal relationship, and about how to minimize their risk of acquiring HIV’…” (Green, 4/4).
Editorials and Opinions
- Proposed Cuts To Foreign Aid Threaten U.S. National Security Interests
The Atlantic: What Trump’s Foreign Aid Budget Means to the Rest of the World
Andrew Natsios, executive professor at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service and director of the school’s Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs
“…Today, the notion that threats to American national security interests don’t merit a robust foreign aid program is preposterous. The spread of infectious diseases, such as Ebola and Zika; the threat of radical Islamist terrorist movements across North Africa, which are destabilizing to our friends and allies; the mass-migration crisis that is changing the face of American and European politics; an aggressive and expansionary Russia that’s preying on weak states, such as Ukraine; and the growing number of fragile and failing states are all direct threats to the national security interests of the United States. … When federal spending must be cut, the least painful reductions politically are in the foreign affairs budget, because the immediate pain is felt by people who do not vote in American elections. Yet a feast or famine approach to aid spending never lasts very long. When new threats confront the United States abroad, policymakers invariably turn to the State Department and USAID to confront them. Then, the foreign aid and diplomacy infrastructure has to be rebuilt, a process that cannot happen overnight. … This is why 121 retired generals and admirals wrote to Congress, which will soon be crafting its own budget, urging the cuts be reversed. It’s also why powerful Republican senators and a few House committee chairmen announced that the proposed aid cuts were, in the words of Senator Lindsey Graham, ‘dead on arrival'”(4/4).
- Citizen Engagement In Uganda Helps Keep Governments Accountable To Ensure Leaders Prioritize, Fulfill Health Commitments
Huffington Post: Getting The Message Home: Advocacy For Health Accountability In Uganda
Deogratias Agaba, community empowerment officer at PATH/Uganda
“…[At PATH’s Advocacy for Better Health (ABH), accountability] means turning up the volume of citizen voices. We achieve this by building the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to advocate to decision-makers at both the local and national levels. … Our citizen empowerment and advocacy approach has brought a number of successes. Due to the vigilance of citizens, in many health facilities, health workers are no longer perpetually absent from duty. In other facilities, district officials have stationed more health workers, especially midwives, and decision-makers have committed to address gaps affecting the delivery of high-quality services. In some communities, new cadres of health care workers have begun work in facilities that were previously understaffed. All of this means better health care for the citizens in those communities — and a more accountable government. … Accountability for health begins at home, and a stronger civil society can mean a stronger, more responsive government. But first, citizens must know how to pressure leaders to fulfill their health commitments. We look forward to continuing our work across Uganda to empower citizens to demand that leaders prioritize the health of every citizen” (3/30).
- Melinda Gates Interviews Barbara Bush About Co-Founding Global Health Corps, Supporting Women In Global Health Leadership Roles
ELLE: Melinda Gates Interviews Barbara Bush on Her No. 1 Priority
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
“I like to celebrate Women’s History Month not only by remembering women who have changed the world already, but also by celebrating the women who are making history as we speak. That’s why I was thrilled to have the chance to catch up with Barbara Bush, cofounder of Global Health Corps. Not only is Global Health Corps training and mobilizing the next generation of leaders to solve the world’s most pressing global health problems, but its entire senior leadership team is made up of women! I asked Barbara about what inspired her to launch Global Health Corps, the women who have contributed to its success, and her advice for other young women who want to make an impact. … If you could only tackle one issue, what would it be? [Bush:] Access to health care! Not the sexiest issue, but it’s a lifesaver. Many can’t access a doctor during childbirth, or lifesaving medication when sick, or even basic health information, as there are too many barriers standing in the way. Fixing this is complex and it’s the long game, but completely possible…” (3/30).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- 'Science Speaks' Examines Various Pieces On Global Health Spending
Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Cut funding to health research, services, aid? We’re reading responses…
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses various articles on global health funding, including a perspective piece on the potential impact of the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to NIH; a piece arguing for increased spending on infectious disease preparedness; a letter asserting that public health spending should respond to all critical health concerns, not only HIV; and a piece written more than 20 years ago focused on the role of NIH (4/3).
- Laurie Garrett Discusses Recent Developments In Global Health
Council on Foreign Relations’ “Garrett on Global Health”: Letter
In this letter, Laurie Garrett, CFR senior fellow for global health, discusses the current state of global health policy and highlights several articles she recently has written, including pieces on U.S. policy and globalization and their impact on global health; antimicrobial resistance and the impact of antibiotics on the environment; and global health governance. Garrett also highlights a number of global health-related articles written by other experts (4/3).
- CFR Expert Brief Addresses Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Efforts To Curb Spread
Council on Foreign Relations: Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbugs’ Are Here
Laurie Garrett, CFR senior fellow for global health, and Ramanan Laxminarayan, director and senior fellow with the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, present this expert brief on the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and efforts to curb the spread of such bacteria. They conclude, “To avert a global health crisis and protect the utility of precious medicines, the Group of Twenty and General Assembly should set a target this year of 2020 for the complete global cessation of all growth-promoter uses of antibiotic chemicals” (4/3).
- April 2017 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online
WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The April 2017 WHO Bulletin includes editorials, news, and research and policy articles on various topics, including an editorial on antimicrobial resistance and the need for global commitments to be translated to regional and national action; a news article on social innovation for health care delivery in Africa; a research article on socioeconomic support to enhance tuberculosis prevention and treatment in Peru; and an article on lessons learned from 12 oral cholera vaccine campaigns in resource-poor settings (April 2017).
From the U.S. Government
- USAID Recognizes World Health Worker Week
USAID: World Health Worker Week
In recognition of World Health Worker Week, which takes place this year from April 2-8, USAID discusses the impact and role of health workers in strengthening health systems worldwide and provides resources on USAID’s efforts to strengthen health systems and support the global health workforce (April 2017).