KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Secretary-General Guterres Denounces U.S. Defunding Of UNFPA; U.S. Belief Agency Supports Coercive Abortion, Sterilization In China 'Erroneous,' UNFPA Says

Agence France-Presse: U.S. funding cut to UNFPA could be devastating for women: Guterres
“The U.S. decision to cut funding to the U.N. Population Fund is based on an inaccurate perception and could be devastating for the health of women and girls worldwide, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday…” (4/4).

BBC News: U.S. withdraws funding for United Nations Population Fund
“The U.S. says it is withdrawing funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an agency that promotes family planning in more than 150 countries. The State Department says the agency supports or participates in a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China. But the UNFPA says this is an ‘erroneous claim,’ and that its work does not break any U.S. laws…” (4/4).

Deutsche Welle: U.S. cuts funding to U.N. family planning body
“…The move comes after President Donald Trump in January reinstated an expanded version of the so-called ‘global gag’ rule…” (4/4).

The Guardian: Trump administration halts money to U.N. population fund over abortion rules
“…Following weeks of speculation, a letter to Bob Corker, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced the State Department was dropping the funding because the UNFPA ‘supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.’ The cut provoked a storm of outrage and anger with activists attacking what they call Trump’s ‘anti-women agenda’…” (Ford/Khomami, 4/4).

Humanosphere: U.S. defunds U.N. Population Fund, cutting health services to 9 million people
“…According to estimates from the U.N. Foundation, the loss of funding for just one year will prevent the delivery of services, including sexual and reproductive health assistance and gender-based violence counseling, to nine million people in humanitarian settings…” (Nikolau, 4/4).

Newsweek: U.S. Cuts $32 Million in Funding to U.N. Family Planning Agency
“…The UNFPA rejected the allegations and said it ‘regrets the decision’ by the United States to pull the funding, which amounts to $32.5 million for the 2017 financial year. The money will be transferred to the U.S. Global Health Programs account to support family planning, maternal, and reproductive health activities in developing countries…” (Gaffey, 4/4).

NPR: Citing Abortions In China, Trump Cuts Funds For U.N. Family Planning Agency
“…At a press conference, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric predicted the funding loss ‘could have devastating effects on the health of vulnerable women and girls and their families around the world.’ The ramifications would mainly be felt in countries other than China since UNFPA’s spending there has actually dwindled to minimal levels in recent years…” (Aizenman, 4/4).

U.N. News Centre: U.S. funding cuts to U.N. population agency based on ‘inaccurate perception’ — U.N. chief
“…Mr. Guterres, who was previously the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said that he saw first-hand the life-saving character of UNFPA, which is active in more than 150 countries and territories. ‘He appeals to donors to increase their support for UNFPA to allow it to continue its critical work during this difficult period,’ [a] spokesperson said…” (4/4).

Vox: Women and children last: Trump strips global family planning organization of U.S. funds
“…It’s not the first time the U.S. has defunded the UNFPA. The George W. Bush administration similarly cited Kemp-Kasten to strip funding in 2002, claiming UNFPA was complicit in forced sterilizations and abortions as part of China’s one-child policy. … Like the global gag rule (or ‘Mexico City policy’), which denies [non U.S.] global health organizations the right to even discuss abortion as a condition for receiving U.S. aid money, defunding the UNFPA is done, traditionally, by Republican administrations catering to a conservative base. Democratic presidents — including President Obama in 2009 — typically reinstate the funding…” (Wildman, 4/4).

Washington Post: Trump administration to eliminate its funding for U.N. Population Fund over abortion
“…The cuts to UNFPA are the first of many the administration has said it expects to make in funding to the United Nations and its agencies. The State Department said its determination, which was made last week, was based on China’s family planning policies that ‘still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntarily sterilization, and UNFPA partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies.’ It specifically cited population-control measures known initially as the ‘one-child policy’ limiting how many children a woman may have. Chinese policy was amended a year ago to raise the birth limit to two children for a married couple, or three with official permission…” (Morello, 4/4).

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Former U.S. President Bush Promotes PEPFAR, Cervical Cancer Programs In Botswana, Says U.S. Government Must Continue Support For Global Health Programs

Reuters: Former U.S. president Bush touts signature Africa AIDS program in Botswana
“Former U.S. President George W. Bush touted his signature aid project for Africa during a visit to Botswana on Tuesday, saying he hoped Washington would recognize its importance in saving lives threatened by AIDS. … ‘I hope our government when they analyze what works around the world will understand that PEPFAR has saved over 11 million lives,’ he said. ‘And while progress has been made we’ve got to continue to stay in this battle in order to save lives. Every human life matters. And I hope the people of America understand that through their generosity millions now live.’ … Bush said cervical cancer was now the leading cause of death among women in Botswana…” (Stoddard, 4/4).

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World 'Really Not Ready' For Pandemic Outbreak Response, World Bank President Kim Says

Devex: Pandemic response a cycle of ‘panic and neglect,’ says World Bank president
“‘We are really not ready’ for another pandemic outbreak on the scale of the 2014 Ebola crisis, World Bank President Jim Kim has said, adding that international support for the bank’s new pandemic financing facility has collapsed to just two donors. Speaking yesterday at the opening session of the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, U.K., Kim said that ‘what happens every time’ in the face of pandemics is a cycle of ‘panic, neglect, panic, neglect.’ While the World Bank has established a Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility since the Ebola outbreak, which is backed by insurers and will ensure that funds can be dispersed quickly in response to future outbreaks, the international community has fallen back into a ‘lull’ and remains ill-prepared, he said, describing the situation as ‘scary’…” (Edwards, 4/5).

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News Outlets Examine Risk Of Pandemic Disease Outbreak

CNN: Seven reasons we’re at more risk than ever of a global pandemic
“…Public health experts believe we are at greater risk than ever of experiencing large-scale outbreaks and global pandemics like those we’ve seen before: SARS, swine flu, Ebola, and Zika. … Experts are unanimous in the belief that the next outbreak contender will most likely be a surprise — and we need to be ready…” (Senthilingam, 4/3).

International Business Times: When Will The Next Epidemic Be? Global Pandemic Risk Greater Than Ever
“…An increasing world population moving closer together amid more urbanization than ever before creates an easier scenario for a potential disease to be transmitted, [Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,] said. Humans moving into previously undisturbed territories mean new animals transmitting new infections, while global travel means faster and easier movement of diseases. Civil unrest hinders a country’s ability to respond to a health crisis, while fewer doctors and nurses in developing regions mean those areas likely won’t be able to adequately combat a disease. Climate change and its consequent natural disasters like floods mean an increase in vector-borne illnesses like those carried by mosquitos…” (Pignataro, 4/4).

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Zika Infection In Pregnant Women Poses Greater Risk To Newborns Than Previously Thought, U.S. Data Show

New York Times: One in 10 Pregnant Women With Zika in U.S. Have Babies With Birth Defects
“One in 10 pregnant women in the continental United States with a confirmed Zika infection had a baby with brain damage or other serious birth defects, according to the most comprehensive report to date on American pregnancies during the Zika crisis. The report, published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also provided more evidence that the risk of birth defects was greater when women were infected in the first trimester of pregnancy. Fifteen percent of women with confirmed Zika infection in the first trimester had babies with birth defects, the report found…” (Belluck, 4/4).

Washington Post: Zika poses even greater risk for birth defects than was previously known, CDC reports
“…These estimates are higher than what U.S. health officials have previously reported and underscore the serious risk for birth defects posed by Zika virus infection during pregnancy. With warm weather, a new mosquito season and summer travel approaching, prevention is crucial to protecting the health of mothers and babies, said Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s acting director. It may seem like Zika is last year’s problem, she said, but that is not true, and pregnant women, their male partners, and clinicians can’t be complacent…” (Sun, 4/4).

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MERS Virus Infects 10 People In Saudi Arabian Hospital Outbreak, WHO Reports

Reuters: MERS causes new Saudi hospital outbreak: WHO
“Ten people have caught the MERS coronavirus after an outbreak in a hemodialysis unit in a hospital in Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, without giving details of how the virus was able to spread within the hospital…” (Miles, 4/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration's Budget Cuts Could Threaten U.S. Ability To Respond To Pandemics

The Conversation: How the Trump budget undercuts security risks posed by pandemics
Maureen Miller, professor at Columbia University Medical Center

“…The U.S. is a leading member of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a growing international partnership created to respond to infectious disease threats. Yet the Trump budget slashes funding for the very agencies mandated to prevent pandemics. … While preventing pandemics is expensive, it’s infinitely cheaper than the costs of actual pandemics. … The closer we come to identifying where an outbreak will occur and which disease will be the likely culprit, the faster we can prioritize areas of highest risk. Targeted prevention strategies include developing diagnostics and vaccines in enough quantity to inoculate the population at immediate risk. Since outbreaks often happen in remote areas with limited health infrastructure, the ability to vaccinate and detect disease will involve health systems strengthening — again beginning with regions at highest risk of known outbreak potential. … We have the tools to provide a formidable, cost-effective first pass at pandemic prevention. It’s time to get the most bang for the buck we still have left — and to protect our national security on all fronts” (4/4).

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President Trump Should Name White House Science Adviser

STAT: Why President Trump needs to finally name a science adviser
John P. Holdren, professor of environmental policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and former science adviser to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

“…[I]t would be unwise in the extreme for the president to let the current vacuum in science advice in the White House persist. Insights from science and technology are relevant to many of the decisions about actions and policies that a president must make … While scientific insights won’t be the only factors the president considers in any given decision, it would be foolish for him to make policy or take action without having the relevant scientific facts. … Every president stocks the White House with people who can advise him on the economy, national defense, and foreign relations. And nearly all presidents in modern times have understood that science and technology are so central to all of those top-tier issues — and practically every other issue on the nation’s agenda — that science and technology advice in the White House is no less essential. One must hope that President Trump comes to understand this, too” (4/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Discusses U.S. Withdrawal Of UNFPA Funding, Reasons Why Kemp-Kasten Law Should Not Apply

U.N. Dispatch: Trump Just Made Giving Birth Much Riskier for Millions of Moms Around the World … For *Literally* No Good Reason
Mark Leon Goldberg, managing editor of U.N. Dispatch, discusses the Trump administration’s decision to cut U.S. funding for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) by invoking the Kemp-Kasten law, writing, “In the past, this law was invoked by Republican administrations over claims that UNFPA somehow supported China’s one-child policy. … Now, the Trump administration is invoking this same law to cut U.S. funds for UNFPA … This is despite the fact that 1) China ended its one-child policy in 2015; 2) UNFPA specifically excludes safe abortion services from the methods of family planning it provides; and 3) UNFPA actively advocates against forced sterilization. … Now, for literally no good reason, the Trump administration is withholding money from a key international agency that saves the lives of mothers and babies” (4/4).

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Original Supporters Of 2004 'Bioshield' Legislation Discuss Need For U.S. Biomedical Preparedness At Bipartisan Policy Center Event

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Original backers of 2004 ‘Bioshield’ legislation say lapse leaves gap in pandemic, biological attack preparedness
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights remarks made at a Bipartisan Policy Center event during which former Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) discussed the need for U.S. biomedical preparedness, as well as the need for longer-term funding for the Project Bioshield Act of 2004 that was enacted to “encourage the development of medicines and vaccines against biomedical threats” (4/4).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 308 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including a news article on how the Trump administration’s budget proposals will impact the Global Fund, an analysis on Russia’s management of its HIV epidemic, and a commentary by the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) about the “three qualities that the next executive director of the Global Fund should exemplify” (4/5).

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From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet Examining PEPFAR’s Role, Efforts

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
This updated fact sheet examines the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its role in addressing global HIV/AIDS, including treatment and prevention targets, results, funding, and challenges (4/5).

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