KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Media Outlets Continue To Examine Foreign Aid, Global Health Aspects Of President's FY 2019 Budget Request

Devex: Trump budget proposes more U.S. aid cuts, but backs new DFI
“President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget request included all of the expected proposals to cut United States global development spending, but it also endorsed one of the most significant aid reform ideas to gain serious traction in years: Creating a new development finance institution. … Even as U.S. aid groups greeted the White House budget with dismissal and derision, some members of the development community found reason to celebrate an achievement that has been a long time in the making. Tucked between the calls for cuts and reductions that pepper Trump’s second budget request, was a proposal to create something new, a U.S. development finance institution. Anticipating parallel efforts in Congress, the White House called for the creation of ‘a new, enhanced U.S. development finance institution that will build the capacity and capability of developing countries and the private sector to drive sustainable change and economic growth, and thereby reduce the need for traditional development assistance, and reduce risks and costs to the American taxpayer.’ As Devex reported last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers are currently hashing out the details of what this new institution might look like, and what its specific authorities will be…” (Igoe, 2/13).

Intellectual Property Watch: Trump Budget Would Slash Funding For Health, International Organisations
“The Trump administration this week proposed drastic cuts in funding for international activities including foreign policy and global health in 2019, while further building up military and big business activities. Programs related to international activities will have to prove their value to American interests and other countries are demanded to pay more, according to the proposed budget sent [Monday] to Congress, which is ultimately expected to set about the task of restoring numerous programs…” (New, 2/13).

Daily Beast: Trump’s Budget Cut for HIV/AIDS Would Kill 300,000 People Per Year, Report Says
“Three-hundred thousand deaths per year. That’s the human cost of President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut … global HIV funding in 2019, … according to a report by the ONE campaign. And it comes just when American-led efforts are paying off, and the global tide of the epidemic appears to be turning…” (Michaelson, 2/13).

U.N. Dispatch: Here’s How Trump’s Budget Request Would Impact the United Nations
“The White House released its budget request to Congress this week. The document is a formal expression of the Trump administration’s budget priorities for the next fiscal year, FY 2019. And when it comes to foreign affairs spending, those priorities are heavily titled against diplomacy, development, humanitarian affairs, and non-military international affairs. … Here are some of the ways this budget would impact the United Nations and its agencies, according to [an] analysis provided by the Better World Campaign…” (Goldberg, 2/13).

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Media Outlets Continue To Report On Annual Letter From Bill, Melinda Gates, Their Comments On President's Budget Priorities

TIME: Bill and Melinda Gates: Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Foreign Aid Will Lead to More Deaths
“Bill and Melinda Gates used their 10th annual letter to answer tough questions about their work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — and to defend funding for health work and international aid, just a day after President Donald Trump’s budget proposed slashing resources to these areas…” (Ducharme, 2/13).

Livemint: Bill and Melinda Gates: The world needs to adapt to what’s happening and what we know is coming
“…Marked with handwritten notes, the letter talks about headlines being full of news about political division, violence, natural disasters, and sexual harassment (written in red in the margin) and then contrasts them with the brilliant work done by scientists who are inventing cutting-edge tools to cure disease, dedicated government leaders who are being creative about prioritizing health, and acknowledges the work of brave and brilliant individuals across the world who are imagining new ways to transform their communities…” (Chowdhry, 2/14).

NPR: Bill Gates Addresses ‘Tough Questions’ On Poverty And Power
“…After the letter was published on Tuesday, Bill Gates joined Ari Shapiro of NPR’s All Things Considered to answer a few more tough questions…” (Shaprio, 2/13).

The Hill: Melinda Gates rips Trump’s ‘misguided’ budget
“Melinda Gates tore into President Trump’s proposed budget, warning against cutting funds for programs that help women and children. Gates, a philanthropist and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said [in] a statement that budgets are a ‘reflection of our priorities.’ ‘When we cut funding for the programs that are keeping women and children alive, it sends a signal to the world that we do not care about their lives or futures,’ she said in the statement, according to Time…” (Savransky, 2/13).

CNBC: In their 2018 annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates share the secret to their optimism (Mejia, 2/13).

U.S. News & World Report: Gates Letter: Bill and Melinda Talk Wealth, Trump (Trimble, 2/13).

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Bill Gates Expresses Vision For China's Role In Global Health

Xinhua: China’s growing innovation capacity to play bigger role in global health: Bill Gates
“China was once a recipient of development aid, but now it is a major financial and technology contributor to global health. ‘China has done a very strong job of addressing health inequality and poverty over the past decades. What we’d like to see is the innovation of China not only continues to help with all the domestic things, but also benefits other developing countries,’ Bill Gates said Tuesday in an interview with Xinhua…” (2/13).

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Devex Highlights Key Takeaways From Australasian Aid Conference, Including Global Health Topics

Devex: Takeaways from the 2018 Australasian Aid Conference
“The 2018 Australasian Aid Conference, hosted by the Development Policy Centre and The Asia Foundation in Canberra on Feb. 13 and 14, brought together development and humanitarian researchers and professionals to discuss and debate the current state of aid. From understanding economic conditions that lead to government instability to health, gender, and the modern objective of Australian and Asian donors, here are the key takeaways from two days of insightful discussion. … Over the coming days, Devex will be providing more insights from the Australasian Aid Conference, with special reports on LGTBIQ+ communities following natural disasters, and creating better linkages between research and creation of aid policies” (Cornish, 2/14).

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Study Estimates Future Health, Economic Impacts Of Vaccines In Developing Countries

Health Day/U.S. News & World Report: Vaccines Can Stem Poverty, Not Just Disease, Study Suggests
“Vaccines can provide major health and economic benefits for people in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new study by Harvard researchers. It estimated that increased spending to ensure wider distribution of 10 vaccines in 41 such countries over 15 years could prevent up to 36 million deaths. This also could keep 24 million people out of poverty caused by medical costs, the study predicted…” (Preidt, 2/14).

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Study Finds Many Young Women With HIV In 7 African Countries Unaware Of Infection

The Guardian: Many young African women with HIV unaware they are infected
“Less than half of young women with HIV in seven southern and east African countries are aware they are infected, according to a wide-ranging study. … Only 46.3% of those infected were aware that they had the disease, and only 45% of those with the infection were receiving treatment and virally suppressed. The two-year survey, published by the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, has flagged up the severe shortfalls in reaching the UNAIDS targets for young women and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa that set out to ensure that by 2020, 90% of HIV-infected people would be aware of their status; with another 90% of that total receiving anti-retroviral treatment, and 90% of those virally suppressed. The researchers interviewed more than 28,000 young women under the auspices of surveys funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief…” (Beaumont, 2/14).

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More News In Global Health

AP/Boston Globe: Nigeria reports 450 suspected cases of Lassa fever; 37 dead (2/14).

U.N. News: Some four million Iraqi children in need says UNICEF, ahead of investment conference in Kuwait (2/12).

U.N. News: UN agency sets ambitious target to reduce hunger and poverty for millions worldwide (2/13).

Wall Street Journal: Flu Fears Spread in China Ahead of Lunar New Year Holiday (2/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Trump Administration Should Strengthen Global Health Security To Prevent Potential Flu Pandemic

Washington Post: Trump could help curb a potential pandemic. Instead, he has been silent.
Ronald A. Klain, former senior White House aide to both Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign

“…[W]e are confronting [the 2018 flu outbreak] without a confirmed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a number of states — with encouragement from the Trump administration — instituting work requirements for Medicaid coverage, which widens gaps in coverage, and, above all, with no leadership from the White House on the flu response. … How bad could [an influenza] pandemic be? 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed more than 600,000 Americans — more than World Wars I and II combined. … Our best defense against such a pandemic reaching our shores is an investment in global health security: stopping diseases overseas. … [A]n ‘America First’ mind-set toward health security is dangerous. Disengaging from the world not only turns our back on humanitarian needs abroad — it also increases the risk that those crises will reach our shores. … For a fraction of what the president wants to spend on his pointless barrier with Mexico, we could make ourselves infinitely safer from infectious diseases. The president could quickly close the leadership hole at CDC by nominating its senior career official, Anne Schuchat, to the top job. He could back plans for a Public Health Emergency Fund that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have supported. He could put pandemic preparedness and response on his agenda for this year’s G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires…” (2/13).

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Trump Administration Impacting Human Rights Globally

Foreign Affairs: Giving Up the High Ground
Sarah Margon, Washington director of Human Rights Watch

“…In country after country, the Trump administration is gutting U.S. support for human rights, the rule of law, and good governance, damaging the overarching credibility of the United States. … On foreign policy, … the administration has dismissed or damaged the global human rights framework. … [The Trump administration] has put in place policies that set back the rights of women and girls around the world. … [P]erhaps the greatest threat to women will come from Trump’s expansion of the so-called Mexico City policy … The United States is by far the world’s largest health donor, so the rule will inflict untold harm on women, girls, and their families. It will likely hinder hard-fought progress on health care in poor and middle-income countries, particularly those that rely heavily on U.S. resources. Affected health programs may have to cut not only their family planning offerings but also services linked to child health, including vaccinations and the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. … It stands to reason that an expanded version of the policy will lead to even more preventable maternal deaths, due to an increase in both unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions — to say nothing of its effect on efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and child malnutrition. … [U]nless it changes course dramatically, the Trump administration — and the president himself — will remain one of the greatest threats to human rights in decades” (March/April 2018).

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Africa Faces 3 Key Challenges For Managing Humanitarian Crises

Project Syndicate: Three Humanitarian Challenges for Africa in 2018
Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, regional director for Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“…Somalia’s [response to its cholera outbreak in mid-2017] gives me great hope for Africa’s future. But it also serves as a reminder that local capacity is easily inundated during times of crisis. While some parts of Africa have become self-sufficient in terms of public health, others continue to lean heavily on global aid. … [T]hree key challenges this year are likely to pose the severest tests of Africa’s ability to manage humanitarian crises. The first challenge is violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. … The second challenge this year is Somalia’s food insecurity, which, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, is expected to intensify this year. … Finally, the very scourge that Somalia contained last year will continue to rear its head elsewhere in the region. … [T]he international development community must do more to invest in grassroots solutions, empowering Africans rather than treating them as subcontractors to their own suffering. Not only are local organizations better positioned to navigate complex cultural and linguistic landscapes; they also have more to lose if they fail. … When local ingenuity and international support align, the cycle of suffering can be broken. For many African countries, the ability to look confidently beyond the next crisis is the first step on the long road to self-reliance” (2/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Organizations Issue Statements Addressing Proposed Cuts To Foreign Aid, Global Health In President's FY 2019 Budget Request

Global Health Council: Global Health Council Rejects Proposed Cuts to Global Health Programs and U.S. Foreign Assistance
“[Monday] the Trump administration released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 that contains a 30 percent decrease in the foreign affairs budget, including global health programs, at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State. In addition, cuts were recommended for programs at the Department of Health and Human Services that support global health … These proposed cuts undermine the impact of previous U.S. investments, as well as the leadership role the United States has in the world…” (2/12).

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: President Trump’s FY19 Budget Repeats Reckless Cuts to Foreign Aid Effectiveness
In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, co-chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette discuss President Trump’s FY 2019 budget request, writing, “The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) is gravely concerned over the President’s proposed 30 percent cut from FY17 levels to the International Affairs Budget, which is out of step with global needs and U.S. interests. These deep and disproportionate cuts would threaten our national security, diminish America’s standing in the world, and reverse progress that has been made in building more accountable and effective development institutions…” (2/13).

Treatment Action Group: Statement on POTUS FY19 Budget Release
“Treatment Action Group (TAG) vehemently opposes cuts in the Trump administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposal, which severely threaten the accelerated progress of recent years towards ending the domestic and global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemics. The latest budget proposal, released [Monday], continues a pattern by the current administration to undermine critical programming and health care necessary to public health globally and in the United States…” (2/13).

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Blog Posts Discuss President Trump's FY 2019 Budget Request

Brookings Institution: What Trump’s budget would mean for the State Department — snap judgments
Thomas M. Hill, visiting fellow in governance studies at Brookings, provides topline thoughts on the Trump administration’s FY 2019 budget request for the State Department and USAID, as well as on the budget act signed into law last week (2/13).

ONE: Congress should ignore President Trump’s 2019 budget request
Samantha Urban with ONE writes, “The White House has released President Trump’s budget request for 2019. Like last year, President Trump is calling for a 30 percent cut to the international affairs budget, which would severely impact the progress in the fight against poverty and preventable disease. … The budget isn’t all bad news, though. Buried in the 2019 proposal is an important bipartisan idea: new tools for stronger and modernized private-sector engagement in developing countries. It’s not a replacement for foreign aid, but efforts to build infrastructure, start businesses, and expand energy access in developing countries could bring tens of billions of dollars in new investment — not to mention the ingenuity, expertise, and resourcefulness of the private sector — to the fight against extreme poverty. While ONE is disturbed by the proposed cuts to the State Department and USAID in the President’s 2019 budget proposal, we strongly support the modernization of America’s engagement with the private sector to help developing countries” (2/13).

Rewire: Trump Budget Proposal’s ‘Shameful Priorities’ Devalue Marginalized Lives
Rewire reporter Christine Grimaldi discusses funding for health programs in the Trump administration’s FY 2019 budget request, noting, “[H]ealth and human rights advocates say its message is clear: Some programs are as expendable to the administration as the women and vulnerable populations they are meant to help” (2/13).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Recent Pieces On Global Health Security, Trump's Call To Limit Foreign Aid To 'America's Friends'

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: What we’re reading: Global Health insecurity, why the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and ending AIDS at home
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses recent articles on global health security funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and President Trump’s recent comments about who should receive U.S. foreign aid (2/13).

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Blog Post Discusses Progress, Challenges Of Global Malaria Efforts

AEI’s “AEIdeas”: We’ve made great progress on malaria, but challenges remain
Roger Bate, visiting scholar at AEI, discusses the progress of and challenges to malaria efforts globally (2/13).

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New Report Identifies 31 Countries That Are 'Severely Off Track' To Achieving End Of Extreme Poverty By 2030

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: The road to ending poverty runs through 31 severely off track countries
Geoffrey Gertz, post-doctoral fellow, and Homi Kharas, interim vice president and director, both for global economy and development at Brookings, discuss findings from a report identifying countries that are least likely to achieve the end of extreme poverty by 2030. The authors write, “We find there are 31 countries that are projected to have poverty headcount ratios of at least 20 percent in 2030. We refer to these places as severely off track countries (SOTCs). … While the scale of challenges facing SOTCs is daunting, history also shows us that progress is possible. Indeed, if we had set about identifying a list of severely off track countries 20 years ago, it likely would have included two countries that have achieved dramatic successes in recent years … Such experiences demonstrate that countries that are currently off track are able to get back on track, and are not destined to fail” (2/13).

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From the U.S. Government

Department of State, USAID Publish FY 2018-2022 Joint Strategic Plan

U.S. Department of State: Joint Strategic Plan for the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development, Fiscal Year 2018-2022
This media note announces the FY 2018-2022 Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) published by the Department of State and USAID, which “will guide strategic planning of foreign policy and development efforts, and shape the core of progress and accountability reports. The JSP comprises four goals: protecting America’s security at home and abroad; renewing America’s competitive advantage for sustained economic growth and job creation; promoting American leadership through balanced engagement; and ensuring effectiveness and accountability to the American taxpayer” (2/13).

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