KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In Interviews, Gateses Express Concerns Over Expansion Of Mexico City Policy, Effects Of Trump Administration's 'America First' Policy On Global Health Bipartisanship

The Guardian: Trump’s ‘global gag’ aid rule endangers millions of women and children, Bill Gates warns
“The ‘global gag rule’ imposed by Donald Trump, blocking U.S. funds to any [foreign] organization involved in abortion advice and care overseas, could impact millions of women and girls, endangering their lives and those of their babies, Bill and Melinda Gates have warned. … Bill Gates said their foundation would not be able to bridge the potential funding gap. ‘The U.S. is the No. 1 donor in the work that we do. Government aid can’t be replaced by philanthropy. When government leaves an area like that, it can’t be offset, there isn’t a real alternative. This expansion of this policy, depending on how it’s implemented, could create a void that even a foundation like ours can’t fill’…” (Boseley, 2/14).

USA TODAY: Bill Gates: New nationalism could put global health in danger
“…For the first time since creating the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the billionaire and his foundation co-chair wife find themselves in the role of convincing governments that funding global health initiatives is in the national interest. In interviews with USA TODAY, both expressed deep concern over the inward-looking nature of the newly elected governments in the U.S. and Great Britain. … The Gateses worry a new nationalist view in the U.S. and its U.K. ally could jeopardize the $30 billion and $16 billion in foreign aid respectively that, when combined with the foundation’s $40 billion endowment, are critical to preventing deaths in poor countries. … Here in the U.S., Gates is concerned that the new administration’s agenda could jeopardize a historically bipartisan commitment to global health…” (della Cava, 2/14).

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In Annual Letter, Bill, Melinda Gates Outline Development Successes, Impact Of Warren Buffett's $30B Gift To Foundation

GeekWire: What Bill and Melinda Gates are doing with Warren Buffett’s $30 billion, a decade after historic gift
“‘It was the biggest single gift anyone ever gave anybody for anything.’ That’s how Bill and Melinda Gates describe Warren Buffett’s $30 billion donation in an open letter to the famous investor, 10 years after his historic gift. The letter, released publicly today, is a report to Buffett on the progress toward the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s goals to prevent childhood death, end disease, and improve the lives of people around the world. … [T]he bulk has gone to global health, supporting the Gates Foundation and its partners in areas such as vaccine distribution, access to contraceptives, and scientific research to help the world’s poorest people…” (Bishop, 2/14).

Quartz: Bill and Melinda Gates wrote a letter to Warren Buffett about the best deals in philanthropy
“…In their account for Buffet of the foundation’s work, the Gates make the case for optimism, rooted in progress over the past few decades fighting extreme poverty and childhood mortality. They say 122 million children’s lives have been saved since 1990 thanks to a reduction in mortality rates. ‘There is no greater value than this,’ Bill Gates writes in the letter. ‘Saving children’s lives is the best deal in philanthropy.’ The Gates cite vaccinations and contraception as two of the most effective investments in saving and improving lives…” (Delaney, 2/14).

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Former USAID Administrator Gayle Smith To Head ONE Campaign

Devex: ONE Campaign announces Gayle Smith as CEO
“The ONE Campaign, the poverty-fighting advocacy organization co-founded by philanthropist and U2 frontman Bono, on Tuesday said Gayle Smith, the former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will be its next president and CEO. The announcement comes less than a month after Smith stepped down from her role at USAID at the conclusion of the Obama administration on Jan. 20. She will assume her position in late March, according to ONE’s announcement. Smith succeeds former CEO Michael Elliott, who died in July 2016, and interim CEO Adrian Lovett…” (Igoe, 2/14).

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Small Percentage Of People Infected With Ebola Considered 'Superspreaders,' Responsible For 61% Of Cases In West Africa, Study Shows

Agence France-Presse: Small percentage of people spread most Ebola cases: study
“Most of the people infected with Ebola in the West Africa epidemic that began in 2014 got sick through contact with a small number of ‘superspreaders’ with the disease, researchers said Monday…” (2/13).

International Business Times: Sierra Leone: Ebola ‘superspreaders’ accounted for over 60% of cases
“Just three percent of people with Ebola were involved in about 61 percent of transmissions of the disease in the 2014-15 epidemic in West Africa. These people have been termed ‘superspreaders’ and were often young people under the age of 15 or people over the age of 45. They were also more likely to have been treated at home rather than in a hospital, according to a paper published in the journal PNAS…” (Henriques, 2/13).

Washington Post: Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds
“…If superspreading had been completely controlled, almost two-thirds of the infections might have been prevented, scientists said. … ‘Superspreading was more important in driving the epidemic than we realized,’ [Benjamin Dalziel, an assistant professor of population biology at Oregon State University and a co-author of the study,] said…” (Sun, 2/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

To 'Put America First,' Trump Administration Should Expand Funding For Global Health Research, Response

The Hill: America’s dangerous and dwindling commitment to global health
Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine and population and family health at the Columbia University Medical Center

“…Decreasing American support for humanitarian assistance and the World Health Organization would undoubtedly have drastic health repercussions around the globe and here in the United States. … If the Trump administration truly wants to put America first, it should significantly expand funding for global health research and response. This will allow the United States to re-assert itself as a global health leader and improve the lives of billions of people around the world while protecting American citizens at the same time. … Being better prepared to identify and respond to public health threats would allow the U.S. to spend significantly less and respond better than we did to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. That response required an enormous U.S. investment both in West Africa and to protect Americans at home, at a cost many times higher than better prevention and preparedness would have been. For further proof, just look at the American investment in eradicating smallpox. The United States saves the total of all its contributions to ending smallpox every 26 days because it does not have to vaccinate or treat the disease. That’s a deal no good businessman could pass up” (2/13).

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U.S. Scientists Must Be Vocal, 'Reject Interference' From Politics

New York Times: When Canadian Scientists Were Muzzled by Their Government
Wendy Palen, associate professor of biology at Canada’s Simon Fraser University and board chair of the nonprofit Evidence for Democracy

“Less than a month into the Trump presidency, and the forecast for science seems ominous. Scientists at federal agencies have been hit with gag orders preventing them from communicating their findings, or in some cases, attending scientific conferences. Social media accounts and websites have been censored, and at least one agency was asked to identify personnel who worked on climate policies. Now there are proposals for slashing research budgets and gutting funding that could affect the training of the next generation of scientists. To top it all off, President Trump’s cabinet nominees and senior advisers include many who are climate deniers or doubters. Canadians experienced a similar assault on science a decade ago under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. … Ultimately, Canada’s scientific community came together to save our research, galvanized support to fight back, and captured the attention and concern of the public. I hope our experience — in the spirit of science transcending borders — can be instructive. … So here’s our advice as the Trump administration gears up. Spotlight and champion scientists’ refusal to kowtow to intimidation. … Evidence and objective reality are the foundation of successful policy and governance. Openness is as vital to science as it is to democracy. We cannot allow hard-won knowledge to be ignored or distorted. To fight the snuffing of the light of scientific inquiry, learn from your neighbors to the north. Reject interference. Stay vigilant and stay vocal. In other words, stay scientists” (2/14).

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'Substantive' U.S.-Africa Partnerships Could Help 'Make America Great Again' In Africa

The Hill: ‘Make America Great Again’ in Africa
Rosa Whitaker, CEO and president of the Whitaker Group

“…[H]ow might President Trump ‘Make America First Again’ in Africa? It starts with the recognition that the recent decline in U.S. influence was not inevitable and is only reversible by prioritizing economic engagement over social policies and aid. … Secondly, Trump might administer a sea-change in how America assesses and manages international aid programs, by reforming the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). … Development schemes should primarily focus on humanitarian interventions and enterprise solutions to address poverty. … Thirdly, President Trump’s Africa Policy should recognize Africa’s parallel: the poorest and at the same time among the world’s fastest growing regions. America therefore, has reasons both economic and of principle for strong U.S. engagement. … Finally, through enriched relationships with African countries, President Trump might harness continent-wide support for U.S. goals on the international stage…” (2/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Guttmacher Institute Analysis Discusses Barriers To Providing Sexual, Reproductive Health Services To Women In Humanitarian Settings

Guttmacher Institute: The Growing Challenge of Meeting the Reproductive Health Needs of Women in Humanitarian Situations
“…Women and girls are at particular risk when a region or country’s social, health, and other support systems collapse, exposing them to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, STIs (including HIV), and maternal illness and death. And yet, sexual and reproductive health services in humanitarian settings continue to lag far behind the enormous need, argues a new analysis in the Guttmacher Policy Review. … [Sneha Barot, author of the new analysis,] notes that these long-standing and structural challenges are now compounded by rising nationalism in the United States and many European donor countries. This trend could result in fewer resources being allocated in the future for aid and relief efforts in general and for sexual and reproductive health services in particular. The analysis also examines the role of the U.S. government specifically…” (2/13).

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Wilson Center, Save The Children Event Examines Challenges Of Providing Maternal, Newborn Health In Urban Settings

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: The Urban Disadvantage: Rethinking Maternal and Newborn Health Priorities
Nancy Chong, intern for the Maternal Health Initiative at the Wilson Center, discusses remarks made by panelists at an event on urban maternal and newborn health hosted by Save the Children and the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative. Panelists included Robert Clay, vice president of global health at Save the Children; Lynn Freedman, professor and director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program at Columbia University; Shanon McNab, associate director of the Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program at Columbia University; and Lani Crane, a health and nutrition specialist for Save the Children. The panelists discussed the challenges that urban communities face in providing maternal and newborn health services and how “the idea that one can expect better health outcomes in urban settings … is no longer true” (2/14).

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'Trump's Muzzling' Of U.S. Scientists Threatens Public Health, Canadian Professor Says

BMJ Blogs: Chris Simms: Trump and the role of data driven resistance in global health
Chris Simms, a professor at Canada’s Dalhousie University’s School of Health Administration, discusses “Trump’s muzzling of government scientists” and their efforts to resist, the potential impacts on global health issues, and the experiences of Canadian scientists who faced similar restrictions under Prime Minister Stephen Harper (2/10).

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Highlighting Progress In International Development Plays Important Role In Garnering Support For Foreign Aid

Overseas Development Institute: With aid under attack, we need stories of development progress more than ever
In the first of a three-part blog series on ODI’s Development Progress project, Elizabeth Stuart, head of program at ODI, discusses the benefits of highlighting stories of progress within international development, writing, “Providing these kinds of stories should counter the misconception that most aid is wasted — all the more necessary at a time when there is a media onslaught against development cooperation. … Continuing with this affirming research agenda will help shore up support for development assistance, and more broadly to counter the narrative of nihilism that ‘nothing is getting better’ in poor countries” (2/13).

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9 Countries Commit To Halving Preventable Maternal, Newborn Deaths In Health Facilities Over Next 5 Years

WHO: Nine countries commit to halve maternal and newborn deaths in health facilities
“Today, nine countries — Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda — committed to halving preventable deaths of pregnant women and newborns in their health facilities within the next five years. Through a new Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, supported by WHO, UNICEF, and other partners, the countries will work to improve the quality of care mothers and babies receive in their health facilities…” (2/14).

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From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Fact Sheet Examines U.S. Role In International Family Planning, Reproductive Health

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and International Family Planning & Reproductive Health Efforts
This updated fact sheet examines the U.S. government’s role in family planning and reproductive health worldwide, including key issues and challenges for U.S. efforts (2/9).

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