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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Government Review Of Mexico City Policy Implementation Misleading, NGOs Say

Bustle: Trump’s Global Gag Rule On Abortion Review Has This Glaring Problem, According To Activists
“In its six-month review of the Trump administration’s expanded global gag rule, the State Department presented a pretty rosy picture of the controversial policy’s rollout — but global nonprofits say the agency isn’t telling the whole story. In the report, the State Department [said] four organizations had lost funding due to the policy… Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights groups, however, argue the global gag rule review is misleading. … To its credit, the State Department seems aware it’s a bit early in the game to review a policy that hasn’t even been fully implemented…” (Brinlee, 2/9).

CNN: Health groups dispute Trump admin claims on abortion funding
“…State Department officials weren’t able to say how much money the four groups would have received, or how much money will go to the groups that agreed to the conditions. The rules haven’t yet been applied to another 500 NGOs, but will be before the end of this fiscal year, the officials said. A report posted on the agency’s website said that even if aid groups refused to comply with the policy, the amount of funding directed to recipient countries would remain the same. It is ‘too early to analyze systematically what effect, if any, this will have on programming,’ the report said. But international aid groups disagreed, pointing to reproductive health clinics that have already had to close and outreach teams that have been scaled back, leaving women with no access to health services…” (Gaouette, 2/9).

Devex: NGOs push back on positive U.S. review of ‘global gag rule’
“Global health organizations called the United States State Department’s new findings that the vast majority of foreign NGOS are complying smoothly with its reinstated Mexico City Policy ‘skewed’ and ‘premature and inadequate.’ … Trump’s reinstatement of the law received widespread condemnation by NGOs and other government aid groups, prompting some European states to move to address funding shortfalls amid accusations that the global gag rule would endanger women’s health and reproductive rights worldwide. Administration sources were pointing to the State Department report as evidence that the rule has not had such a disruptive impact. However, critics pointed out the State Department’s analysis did not offer any information on how much funding is wrapped up in the loss of these contracts. … ‘This incomplete review tells a misleading story,’ said Latanya Mapp Frett, executive director of Planned Parenthood Global. … NGOs and research organizations have been working to assess the full extent of the global gag rule’s impact…” (Lieberman, 2/12).

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Trump Administration's Approach To U.S. Foreign Aid Disruptive, Puts Lives At Risk Worldwide, Experts Say

The Guardian: Fears grow that Trump’s threat to U.S. foreign aid is putting lives at risk
“America’s … foreign assistance program is facing ‘unprecedented’ disruption a year into Donald Trump’s presidency, according to former top officials who have described the White House’s approach as deeply counterproductive and putting lives at risk. … Questions over the future of the U.S. aid budget, and what the purpose of American aid should be, have also been injected into the wider ideological struggle over America’s global role, including the fear that an isolationist Trump is leading a wide-ranging U.S. withdrawal from international institutions…” (Beaumont, 2/10).

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Media Outlets Explore Potential Impacts Of Funding Cuts On CDC's Public, Global Health Initiatives

PBS NewsHour: How will CDC cuts affect health programs abroad and at home?
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recently lost hundreds of millions of dollars in funding cuts, including a $750 million cut in December. On Friday, President Trump signed a bill that slashed $1.35 billion from its Prevention and Public Health Fund over the next 10 years. Ashley Yeager, associate editor at The Scientist, joins Hari Sreenivasan from Raleigh, North Carolina. … [H]undreds of millions of dollars are being funneled away from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention and Public Health Fund. December’s tax reform law stripped $750 million dollars from the program, moving that money to the [Children’s] Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, instead. And [last] week, President Trump signed a bill cutting $1.35 billion from the PPHF over the next 10 years…” (2/11).

The Scientist: Cuts to Prevention and Public Health Fund Puts CDC Programs at Risk
“…[Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association (APHA),] noted that the recent announcement to not renew funding for global health initiatives to monitor Ebola and other outbreaks is intertwined with the PPHF, as well. By choosing not to renew the supplemental package, the CDC will reduce or stop work in 39 of 49 foreign countries focused on preventing infectious disease epidemics and other health threats. Slashing those programs, along with financial support for PPHF, which provides infrastructure and support for some of those programs, hampers the CDC’s broader capacity to respond to and contain disease outbreaks…” (Yeager, 2/9).

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Daily Nation Article Outlines PEPFAR's Successes, Challenges In Kenya

Daily Nation: Millions of Kenyans saved by U.S. anti-AIDS initiative
“…About one million of the 1.6 million HIV-positive Kenyans are now receiving life-saving medicines through this U.S. global initiative known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). … These accomplishments are being touted by U.S. officials as part of a series of events and pronouncements marking PEPFAR’s 15th anniversary…” (Kelley, 2/11).

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U.K. Government To Determine Future Of Oxfam Funding Following Haiti Scandal Revelation

Associated Press: Oxfam to meet with development officials amid Haiti scandal
“Oxfam officials are set to meet with Britain’s international development secretary in a bid to retain government funding amid a deepening scandal over sexual misconduct by the charity’s workers in Haiti…” (2/12).

BBC News: Oxfam Haiti sex claims: Charity ‘failed in moral leadership’
“…[U.K. International Development Secretary] Penny Mordaunt will meet the charity on Monday to hear more about claims staff used prostitutes in Haiti in 2011. She said Oxfam had failed in its ‘moral leadership’ over the ‘scandal’…” (2/11).

Devex: Oxfam announces reforms, due to meet U.K. aid chief after sexual misconduct scandal
“…On Sunday, the charity announced a slew of measures which it said would ‘strengthen the prevention and handling of sexual abuse cases.’ Those measures would include an independent review of the case and of the organization’s recruitment practices in emergency settings…” (Abrahams, 2/12).

Financial Times: U.K. government warns Oxfam it could withdraw funding
“…Ms. Mordaunt said she expected the charity to provide full details of the allegations at a meeting in London on Monday, warning that the government would stop its £32m in annual funding for Oxfam if the charity failed to do so…” (Blitz, 2/11).

Financial Times: Oxfam denies cover-up of Haiti prostitutes scandal
“Oxfam has denied that it tried to cover up the use of prostitutes by its senior staff during the relief effort that followed the 2010 Haiti earthquake…” (Brown, 2/9).

Washington Post: Theresa May blasts Oxfam over allegations that it exploited disaster victims for sex
“…Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told Reuters that Oxfam needed to do more to prevent such ‘horrific behavior’ from repeating, after the relief group admitted last week that some of its workers paid survivors of a 2010 Haiti earthquake for sex…” (Selk/Rosenberg, 2/12).

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More News In Global Health

HuffPost: The Hidden Tragedy In Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee Camps (Perria, 2/10).

New York Times: Promising Malaria Drug Has a Striking Drawback: Blue Urine (McNeil, 2/9).
NPR: Blue Dye Kills Malaria Parasites — But There Is One Catch (Columbus, 2/9).

Reuters: U.S. welcomes offloading of humanitarian aid in Yemen’s Hodeidah (Zargham, 2/9).

Reuters: UAE, Qatar donate funds to stave off Gaza health crisis (al-Mughrabi, 2/9).

Reuters: World Food Programme warns of deeper hunger across southern Africa (Roelf, 2/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Funding To Support CDC's Frontline Outbreak Response Efforts Critical To Preventing, Responding To Future Pandemics

Washington Post: The next pandemic will come sooner or later. The CDC needs money to prepare.
Editorial Board

“…At the time of the Ebola crisis, Congress approved a one-time, five-year emergency supplemental spending package … Anticipating that that money will run out in October 2019, the CDC has begun notifying country directors to begin planning withdrawal from 39 of 49 countries. This is not a pullout of all CDC programs — activity abroad will go on in such areas as fighting polio, malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis — but it does mean retreating from frontline outposts for preventing, detecting, and responding to outbreaks. … A retreat will be counterproductive. The money is a small fraction of what pandemics can cost later on. … Congress should not let the CDC effort lapse. … [I]f the resources are available, this program merits a claim on them. The next pandemic will come along sooner or later. The United States should not wait for the winds and waters to carry it here; far better to be prepared and vigilant abroad, and to fully underwrite the CDC’s ability to do so” (2/11).

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World Bank Should Adopt Clear, Effective Strategy To Achieve SDGs, End Extreme Poverty

Project Syndicate: The World Bank Needs to Return to Its Mission
Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor at Columbia University and director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network

“…The World Bank declares that its mission is to end extreme poverty within a generation and to boost shared prosperity. These goals are universally agreed as part of the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. But the World Bank lacks an SDG strategy, and now it is turning to Wall Street to please its political masters in Washington. The Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, should find a better way forward … Projects [from the World Bank-Wall Street partnership], designed for profit or at least direct cost recovery, are not even remotely sufficient to end extreme poverty. Poor countries need grants, not loans, for basic needs like health and education. Kim should draw on his experience as the global health champion who successfully battled against AIDS, rather than embracing an approach that would only bury poor countries in debt. We need the World Bank’s voice and strenuous efforts to mobilize grant financing for the SDGs. … Bill Gates is [putting his wealth into personal philanthropy], with historic results, for public health. Which billionaires will champion the SDGs for education, renewable energy, fresh water and sanitation, and sustainable agriculture? With a clear SDG plan, the World Bank would find partners to help it fulfill its core, historic, and vital mission” (2/9).

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3 Ways U.S. Should Prepare For Future Influenza Pandemic

The Conversation: 3 ways the U.S. should prepare for the next flu pandemic
Lance Gable, associate professor at Wayne State University

“…If the world were to face a new strain of flu similar in novelty and virulence to the 1918 virus, our capacity to prevent a pandemic would still fall short because we have not made sufficient progress in science, infrastructure, or implementation of preparedness plans. So how can the U.S. improve its ability to stop a new flu pandemic, as well as to reduce the annual impact of influenza infections? First, researchers need to improve the flu vaccine. … Second, to prevent flu pandemics, public health officials need more and better information about influenza outbreaks. … Finally, government officials and other members of the health community need to pay more attention to plans for public health emergency preparedness. … [W]ith a higher level of commitment and attention, we can greatly improve our pandemic response systems and save lives” (2/9).

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Aid From WHO, U.N. Agencies Potentially Enabling Assad's Regime In Syria

Foreign Policy: Hypocritic Oath
Annie Sparrow, medical doctor and assistant professor at the Arnhold Global Health Institute at the Icahn School of ­Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York

“…International humanitarian law requires free movement of civilians and humanitarian access to them — both of which have been routinely denied by [Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s] forces [in Eastern Ghouta]. … Responsibility for this grim state of affairs lies mainly with the Syrian authorities, but U.N. humanitarian agencies, faced with the unenviable task of negotiating with a regime that has no qualms about killing civilians, have often played along. … WHO continues to subsidize the [the Syrian Ministry of Defense] even though none of those medical supplies are permitted to reach Ghouta. … The deprivation in Eastern Ghouta is all the more alarming because it is occurring down the road from specialized labs and pharmacies in Damascus and the U.N.’s vast humanitarian apparatus in the city, which includes World Food Programme and UNICEF warehouses stocked with food and nutritional supplies, WHO’s piles of essential medicines and equipment, and hundreds of U.N. and other international aid workers. … Four and a half years into the Assad regime’s siege warfare, U.N. agencies have failed to address the fundamental question of whether, by subsidizing these atrocities, their operations in Damascus are doing more harm than good” (2/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Shift In U.S. Fiscal Policy Could Affect Developing Country Debt, 'Set Back Economic Progress'

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Is the New Budget Deal Good for Foreign Aid? Maybe. Is it Good for Developing Countries? Probably Not.
Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at CGD, writes, “Congress and the Trump administration are now pursuing an aggressively expansionary fiscal policy at a time when such an approach seems nearly guaranteed to drive up interest rates. The ripple effects of this directional shift for the developing world will accelerate and exacerbate a trend toward higher costs of borrowing for developing countries and more limited access to capital markets” (2/9).

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HGHI Releases Framework For Global Monitoring Of Disease Outbreak Preparedness

Harvard Global Health Institute: Global Monitoring of Disease Outbreak Preparedness
“…In response to the growing need for an independent global monitoring program, the Harvard Global Health Institute (‘HGHI’), led the development a comprehensive framework for Global Monitoring of Disease Outbreak Preparedness. The report and summary reflect the combined expertise of over 50 public health professionals from institutions from around the world who gathered in Washington, D.C., in April 2017 at the U.S. National Academies of Medicine. The result is a robust, objective, evidence-based monitoring framework structured along four key domains, reflecting a multi-sectoral, ‘whole-of-society’ approach to preparedness…” (February 2018).

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CGD Podcast Highlights Event With World Bank President On Future Of Development Finance

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: Plan B for Development — Podcast with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, highlights a recent CGD event during which World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and CGD President Masood Ahmed discussed the future of development finance. Mirchandani notes, “On this week’s podcast, we hear from Jim Kim on robots, blockchain, multilateralism, and development finance — including the critical role of private actors” (2/9).

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FT Health Discusses E-Cigarettes, How Tobacco Companies Could Capitalize On 'Next Generation' Products

FT Health: Goodbye Big Tobacco, hello Big Vape
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses recent developments related to e-cigarettes and the implications for tobacco companies, as well as provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Dodd, 2/9).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S.-Funded Cranes Help Provide Humanitarian Support In Yemen

U.S. Department of State: U.S.-Funded Cranes Offloading Goods in Yemen
“The United States welcomes reports of the four U.S.-funded World Food Programme cranes offloading goods at Hudaydah port. These cranes are offloading key supplies for the people of Yemen and will allow greater throughput of critical humanitarian assistance and goods…” (2/9).

USAID: Statement By Spokesperson Clayton M. McCleskey On The Operation Of Mobile Cranes In Yemen Port
“…The additional capacity of these cranes will cut in half the average time it takes to unload ships, allowing food, medicine, and other necessities to reach people in need more quickly…” (2/9).

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