KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration's National Security Strategy Highlights Key Development Issues

Devex: What the U.S. National Security Strategy says about global development
“The new United States National Security Strategy, released Monday, outlines a U.S.-centric development policy … [and] puts in writing what U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green has been saying in speeches since he took the position: That ‘the purpose of U.S. foreign assistance should be to end the need for it,’ that U.S. foreign assistance will not promote dependency, and that it will prioritize working with countries, or ‘aspiring partners’ as it puts it, that are aligned with U.S. interests…” (Saldinger, 12/19).

The Hill: Trump tries ‘America First’ national security strategy
“…The 55-page document, drafted over the course of a year, places the United States in competition with ‘revisionist’ powers like Russia and China that want to realign the world in their interests while eroding American security and prosperity. ‘Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition,’ Trump said during a speech meant to outline the strategy…” (Williams/Fabian, 12/18).

New York Times: Trump Delivers a Mixed Message on His National Security Approach
“…The strategy — which administration officials said was drawn from speeches that Mr. Trump had delivered during the 2016 campaign and as president while at the United Nations and on trips in Europe and Asia — ranges widely and includes jihadi extremism, space exploration, nuclear proliferation, and pandemics. But it is animated by a single idea: that the world has been on a three-decade holiday from superpower rivalry; and it suggests that that holiday is now over…” (Landler/Sanger, 12/18).

POLITICO: Trump: U.S. can’t guard its interests abroad if it doesn’t ‘protect prosperity at home’
“…[I]n some cases the document seems at odds with Trump’s record. His State Department has been targeted for a cut of roughly 30 percent and is dealing with a raft of unfilled ambassadorships and other key diplomatic posts. But the new strategy says the U.S. ‘must upgrade our diplomatic capabilities to compete in the current environment.’ And while members of Congress and foreign diplomats have condemned Trump for undermining democratic norms and showing little regard for human rights issues, the strategy declares that ‘America’s commitment to liberty, democracy, and the rule of law serves as an inspiration for those living under tyranny.’ Those contrasts, and the nonbinding nature of the document, leave Trump critics skeptical that it is worth taking seriously…” (Samuelsohn/Crowley, 12/18).

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Democratic Lawmakers Inquire About Alleged Prohibited Words In CDC Budget Documents; 7 Words Already Used Less In Trump Budget, Analysis Shows

CQ News: Members Seek Info From HHS on ‘Banned Words’ in Budget Plans
“…[O]n Monday, lawmakers involved in CDC funding and oversight wrote to Eric D. Hargan, the acting HHS secretary, to verify whether these words and phrases have been banned, and why. ‘This explicit prohibition on the use of certain words or phrases unnecessarily inserts ideology into the work of the CDC,’ Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., wrote in a letter to Hargan. Respectively, they are the ranking members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversee the CDC. Murray is also the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees most of HHS’s discretionary spending. In a statement to CQ, HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said that HHS not not banned employees from using certain words…” (Siddons, 12/18).

ScienceInsider: CDC word ban? The fight over seven health-related words in the president’s next budget
“…On Friday, the Washington Post reported that CDC officials last week flagged seven words and phrases — diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, fetus, science-based, transgender, and vulnerable — that should not be used in connection with the budget document, due out in early February 2018. An analysis by ScienceInsider of the past four CDC budget requests finds that such a policy may have already gone into effect: Those words, in toto, appeared two-thirds less frequently in Trump’s 2018 budget request to Congress than in former President Barack Obama’s final budget submission for 2017…” (Cohen, 12/18).

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UNAIDS, Partners Assess Progress Toward 'AIDS Free' Agenda, AIDS-Related SDG Target

Devex: Child treatment, HIV prevention top UNAIDS priorities as it eyes SDG target
“In an ambitious effort to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, as set out by the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations has adopted a strategy that focuses on fast-tracking ending the disease among children, adolescents, and young women by 2020 through increased access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services. Under the framework, ‘Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free,’ this three-tier initiative led by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief met during the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, or ICASA, earlier this month to share global progress updates and hear from those impacted by the programming provided…” (Roby, 12/19).

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U.S., U.K. Call On Saudi-Led Coalition To Open Yemen's Ports To Allow Humanitarian Aid Access

CNN: In Yemen, the markets have food, but children are starving to death
“…In Yemen, aid workers are hunkered down in secure compounds in cities out of fear for their safety and boxes of Plumpy’nut rarely get to where they are most needed. In Yemen, children … die because by the time they get treatment, the damage is irreversible. The United Nations estimates that 8.4 million people in Yemen are just ‘a step away’ from famine and that it will be the worst the world has seen in many decades. Both sides are using food as a weapon of war, but the crisis is caused primarily by a brutal air, land, and sea blockade imposed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition…” (Ward, 12/19).

Press Association/The Guardian: Saudi Arabia told by U.K. minister to stop blocking Yemen aid
“Saudi Arabia has ‘no excuse’ for blocking aid to Yemen, the [U.K.] international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said as she warned that ‘using starvation as a weapon’ was a breach of humanitarian law. The U.K. is set to provide an emergency £50m aid package to help feed millions of Yemeni people caught in what she called ‘the world’s worst humanitarian crisis’…” (12/17).

Reuters: United States calls for delivery of U.N. aid shipments to Yemen
“…John Sullivan, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, discussed Yemen with the leaders of international organizations on Friday and underscored that Washington was pressing for restoration of full humanitarian and commercial access to Yemen, the department said. Sullivan told the leaders the United States was calling for ‘the delivery of World Food Programme shipments that have not reached Hudaydah since late November, and the installation of new cranes at Hudaydah port,’ it said in a statement…” (Brice, 12/18).

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WHO Africa Regional Director Moeti Discusses Agency's Funding Challenges, Lessons Learned From Ebola

Al Jazeera: WHO: Africa’s health care suffering from lack of funding
“A lack of funding is hampering the fight to improve health care in Africa, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional director for the continent has warned, calling for additional resources to improve access to life-saving treatments. … Al Jazeera spoke to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, on the obstacles facing the organization in the region, what lessons were learned from the Ebola crisis, and what future does the continent face in light of the WHO’s funding shortage…” (Ghani, 12/17).

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Pakistan Orders Dozens Of Foreign Aid Groups To Close, Leave Country

The Guardian: ‘Illegal and primitive’: Pakistan expels foreign aid groups in droves
“The Pakistani government has ordered a number of foreign charities and rights groups to close down their operations and leave the country by the end of January. Over the past few days, the interior ministry has sent letters to 29 major international non-government organizations (INGOs), including Action Aid and Marie Stopes, telling them to shut their offices and leave within 60 days…” (Janjua, 12/18).

NPR: ‘Panic And Confusion’ As Pakistan Orders Foreign Aid Groups To Shut Down
“…Aid workers said the move could upend services to the country’s neediest people. The groups on the list do everything from providing contraception to women to helping farmers purchase drought-resistant seeds. In addition, the aid workers say, hundreds of local jobs could be threatened. The notice came in early December. Since then, ‘there’s a sense of panic and confusion’ in the nonprofit community, says Mohammed Qazilbash, country director of Oxfam Pakistan…” (Hadid, 12/18).

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West African Nations Affected By Ebola Addressing Outbreak-Related Corruption, Fraud Charges

USA TODAY: There’s a new Ebola epidemic facing African nations: This one involves corruption
“Barely two years after West African nations defeated a deadly Ebola scourge, they are confronting a new epidemic: corruption. … In an internal audit, the Switzerland-based Red Cross said it discovered inflated purchase orders, payments to non-existent workers, and padded expense accounts…” (Kamara, 12/19).

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Polio Immunization Campaign Begins In Afghanistan's Worst-Hit District; Country Records 12 Cases In 2017

New York Times: In Polio’s Worst-Hit District, Vaccinators Strain for Access
“Shahwalikot, a district in southern Afghanistan that is largely controlled by the Taliban, has the sad distinction of being the polio capital of the world. Four new cases have been reported there this year, out of 17 worldwide — the indirect consequence of a war that is also killing and maiming children in increasingly large numbers. … Pleading for cooperation before the immunization campaign began, Toby Lanzer, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan, said the surge in polio cases in Shahwalikot had the potential to ultimately put hundreds of thousands of Afghan children at risk…” (Shah/Mashal, 12/19).

Xinhua News: Polio cases reach 12 in Afghanistan so far this year
“The number of polio cases recorded in Afghanistan has risen to 12 this year with a new confirmed case in last week, a local newspaper, Daily Outlook Afghanistan, reported on Tuesday…” (12/19).

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Local Women Offer More Influence To End FGM Through Stories Of Personal Experiences

Christian Science Monitor: In push to end FGM, local women offer influential message
“…[W]hen a local woman — a woman people in the community have gossiped with in the local market or knelt beside in mosque — stands up and says she suffered, it’s much harder for those around her to claim that anti-FGM activism is simply an import of a finger-wagging West, says Mary Small, the acting executive director of GAMCOTRAP, the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, an NGO founded in the 1980s to fight [female genital mutilation (FGM)]…” (Brown, 12/18).

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New Yorker Profiles Partners In Health Co-Founder Ophelia Dahl, Organization's Work

The New Yorker: Ophelia Dahl’s National Health Service
“…Recently, Ophelia Dahl was in Rwanda, speaking to a group of graduate students at the University of Global Health Equity, which was opened in 2015 by Partners in Health, an aid organization that Dahl co-founded when she was very young. … On the Partners in Health Web site, the organization’s stated purpose is to bring the benefits of modern medical science to some of the poorest people in the world. (The group operates in Haiti, Peru, Mexico, Siberia, the Navajo Nation, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Lesotho, and Liberia, in addition to Rwanda.) But Partners in Health also aspires to do something more amorphous, more imaginative, and more improbable: ‘to serve as an antidote to despair’…” (Levy, 12/18).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Global effort to get kids out of orphanages gains momentum (Mutler et al., 12/19).

Bloomberg: The Fight to Eradicate Break-Bone Fever Faces Another Setback (Paton, 12/18).

Devex: New data gateway helps developing countries collect crucial information (Cornish, 12/18).

Devex: Responding to East Africa’s food security crisis in 2017, preparing for next year (Jerving, 12/18).

Devex: U.N.’s Alston tailors language to talk about development in the U.S. (Lieberman, 12/18).

Inter Press Service: No Health Protection for Migrant-Women Healthcare Givers (Kamal, 12/18).

Xinhua News: Roundup: WHO certifies Kenya as Guinea worm-free country (12/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Leadership On Global HIV, TB, Malaria Efforts Benefits National Interests

National Interest: A Marshall Plan for Global Health
Mark P. Lagon, chief policy officer at the Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and distinguished senior scholar at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University

“…America’s role at the forefront of controlling [HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis] may appear as an act of global goodwill, but it also provides equally positive benefits for our nation. Disease knows no boundaries, and in a world of accelerating travel and migration, international health security has become a top priority to our own interests, prosperity, and safety. … While the United States has been at the vanguard against global infectious diseases through PEPFAR, [the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)], the USAID TB program and financing organizations like the Global Fund, U.S. funding has plateaued in recent years. … While we have made admirable progress in reducing three massive killers over some fifteen years, investments are still much needed until epidemiological control is established. … Managing epidemics requires the United States to sustain efficacious bilateral programs such as PEPFAR, PMI, and USAID’s TB program. Backing collective instruments such as the Global Fund … is smart foreign policy. … Without U.S. leadership on global health, we squander past investments that have demonstrated through hard numbers their big impact, economic value, and opportunities to reap the single, most successful area of ‘soft power’ influence in the last two decades. The stakes are anything but low” (12/18).

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Attempts To 'Erase' Some Words From Science Discourse Will Harm Public Health

Boston Globe: How censorship can harm public health
Elizabeth Sommers, governing councilor of the American Public Health Association and a member of the Boston University School of Public Health Alumni Leadership Council; and Sandro Galea, dean and Robert A. Knox professor at Boston University School of Public Health

“On Friday, a Washington Post report suggested that a directive was issued to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that bars the agency from using seven words and phrases in CDC budget materials and official documents. … The Department of Health and Human Services has since downplayed the report in the day after its release, and CDC director Brenda Fitzgerald has tweeted her assurance that there are no banned words at CDC. But it speaks volumes about the Trump administration’s attitude toward science that even the possibility of censoring words, however ‘unofficial’ it may have been, was ever raised at all. … This latest attempt by the Trump administration to erase language that can shape the ideas of public health is one further attempt at creating alternate realities, which in this case may limit our ability to improve health. … Words matter. The words we use frame our ideas, our hypotheses, and eventually our actions. The administration’s attempt to limit the words that public health can use is a backhanded way to hobble our science and our work to create healthy populations, restricting the CDC’s scope of action without targeting the actions themselves. … Without public health, we face a much more vulnerable world…” (12/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Moving Office Of Global AIDS Coordinator Out Of U.S. State Department Could Have 'Profoundly Negative Impact' On HIV/AIDS Efforts, O'Neill Institute Report Says

O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law at Georgetown University: Removing the Global AIDS Coordinator from State Department Could Have “Profoundly Negative Impact,” Report Finds
“Moving the Office of Global AIDS Coordinator, which oversees and manages the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), out of the U.S. State Department would likely provide little benefit and could have a profoundly negative impact on its ability to effectively lead the global fight against HIV/AIDS, concludes a report with input from leading global health experts and former officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations. The findings, issued [Monday] in a report published by the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, represent the first analysis from the global health community and experts in PEPFAR operations to examine proposals to reorganize the State Department and USAID…” (12/18).

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Stop TB Partnership, Global Fund Sign Collaboration Agreement To Find, Treat Missing TB Cases

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Stop TB and Global Fund Deepen Cooperation to Find Missing Cases of TB
“The Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund [on Monday] signed a new collaboration agreement to contribute towards the goal of finding and treating an additional 1.5 million people with tuberculosis who are currently missed by health systems. Under the TB Strategic Initiative, the Stop TB Partnership will work with national TB programs and partners in 13 countries, providing technical support through a combination of innovative approaches and best practices to remove barriers to accessing TB services, with a particular focus on key populations and vulnerable groups…” (12/18).

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WHO Report Provides Assessment Of Health Inequalities In Indonesia

World Health Organization: Addressing inequalities on the road to ‘health for all’ in Indonesia
This new WHO report provides an assessment of health inequalities in Indonesia, noting “that the state of health and access to health services varies throughout Indonesia and identifies a number of areas where action needs to be taken” (December 2017).

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From the U.S. Government

Trump Administration Releases U.S. National Security Strategy

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: President Trump Releases National Security Strategy
This blog post discusses the administration’s newly released National Security Strategy (NSS), as well as highlights statements from U.S. officials on the strategy. The blog post notes, “The NSS identifies four vital national interests, or ‘four pillars’: protect the homeland, the American people, and American way of life; promote American prosperity; preserve peace through strength; and advance American influence” (12/18).

USAID: Statement from USAID Administrator Mark Green on the National Security Strategy
In a statement on the National Security Strategy, USAID Administrator Mark Green says, “As the world’s leading development and humanitarian assistance agency, USAID is in the forefront of helping our nation respond to, counter, and prevent complex threats and crises around the globe, while creating a more economically prosperous world. … We will reform and modernize our development tools to achieve the best possible outcomes for our aspiring partners, and for the United States. USAID is guided by the principle that foreign aid’s purpose is to end the need for its existence, by helping partners achieve self-reliance. With this aim, USAID will bring to bear our most sophisticated development tools to support the four pillars outlined in this year’s National Security Strategy” (12/18).

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