KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

PolitiFact Examines Sen. Shaheen's Statement Regarding Broader Implications Of Trump's Mexico City Policy

PolitiFact: Yes, Trump’s ‘Mexico City’ abortion policy puts global health money at risk
“…On the Senate floor, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., warned that Trump’s version [of the Mexico City policy] was even more extreme than those of his GOP predecessors. ‘Previously, under President Reagan and the Bush administrations, this policy applied only to family planning funding,’ Shaheen said. ‘But under President Trump’s order, it applies to every program that falls under global health assistance. This means that it puts at risk 15 times more funding and millions more women and families.’ We compared the policies of all four Republican presidents and found that on paper, Shaheen’s number is largely correct, but there’s uncertainty surrounding Trump’s policy. … [Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation,] said that in theory, Trump’s policy puts a lot more funding on the line. ‘Whereas family planning assistance represents about $600 million per year, global health funding overall is close to $10 billion,’ Kates said. … The White House has not clarified how it will interpret the policy. … Given what we know so far, we rate this claim Mostly True” (Greenberg, 2/1).

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Family Planning Is Human Right, UNFPA Executive Director Says, Warning Of Detrimental Impacts Of Mexico City Policy

Associated Press: U.N. official on Trump order: Family planning is a human right
“The head of the United Nations Population Fund says a recent executive order by President Donald Trump on abortion-related funding will not affect the agency’s family planning services, but he insists that family planning is a human right. Babatunde Osotimehin told the Associated Press that ‘anything that reduces funding for family planning services would affect women around the world. Africa has a great need for family planning.’ He has tweeted more than once since Trump’s order that family planning is central to protecting human and women’s rights…” (Meseret, 2/2).

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U.S. President Trump's Immigration Ban Could Inhibit International Research, Prevention Work On Neglected Diseases, Experts Say

Nature: Trump immigration ban upends international work on disease
“Diseases don’t respect borders, laws or walls. And efforts to combat them rely on networks of scientists to detect outbreaks early, understand how the diseases operate, and then intervene. Researchers say that President Donald Trump’s travel ban challenges that process, putting the United States at risk. The policy, enacted on 27 January, bars refugees from entering the country for 120 days, except those from Syria, who are banned indefinitely. Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are banned for 90 days. On 1 February, the White House said that the order did not apply to people from those countries who hold U.S. permanent-resident visas, or green cards. Still, ‘the ban could hamper our ability to learn about the epidemiology of neglected diseases emerging out of conflict zones,’ says infectious disease expert Peter Hotez at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas…” (Maxmen, 2/1).

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More Than Half Of U.S. President Trump's Global Development Council Resign, Devex Reports

Devex: More than half of President Trump’s Global Development Council have resigned
“More than half of the president’s Global Development Council — a high-level advisory group of business, civil society, and academic leaders who offer guidance on U.S. foreign assistance — have resigned, according to a former member of the council who shared information on condition of anonymity. … Devex obtained a copy of one former member’s resignation letter. John Norris — executive director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at the Center for American Progress who served on Hillary Clinton’s transition team — was appointed to the council in 2014. He submitted his resignation letter on Jan. 25, citing the Trump administration’s reinstatement and expansion of the ‘global gag rule’ against family planning services and the administration’s refugee policies…” (Igoe, 2/1).

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Rex Tillerson Sworn In As 69th U.S. Secretary Of State

New York Times: Rex Tillerson Is Confirmed as Secretary of State Amid Record Opposition
“Rex W. Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday in a 56-to-43 vote to become the nation’s 69th secretary of state just as serious strains have emerged with important international allies…” (Harris, 2/1).

Wall Street Journal: Rex Tillerson Wins Senate Confirmation to Be Secretary of State
“…Mr. Tillerson won over skeptical Republicans, including Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida, but continued to face Democratic opposition. … The second closest vote in recent memory, by comparison, was for Condoleezza Rice, who won confirmation 85-13 in 2005. … Mr. Tillerson was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence at a White House ceremony Wednesday evening and was expected to go to the State Department on Thursday…” (Schwartz/Solomon, 2/1).

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Fewer Zika Cases In Latin America This Year But All Countries Must Remain Vigilant, WHO Says

Reuters: Zika ebbing in Latin America but vigilance needed: WHO
“Brazil and Latin America are recording lower numbers of Zika infections than last year, but all countries must remain vigilant against the virus which can cause birth defects, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday…” (Nebehay, 2/1).

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African Leaders Launch Africa CDC, Pledge Continent-Wide Immunization Availability By 2020

The Guardian: Immunization drive hailed as watershed for Africa as leaders target public health
“In a double move hailed as a milestone for public health, African leaders have launched an agency to tackle global threats such as Ebola and pledged to make immunization available throughout the continent by 2020. Under the twin commitments, African heads of state will establish regional health centers around the continent, increase funding for immunization, improve supply chains and delivery, and prioritize vaccines as part of broader efforts to strengthen health systems. At the heart of the new health push will be the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Hodal, 2/1).

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Urgent Action Needed To Address Drug-Resistant Malaria In Southeast Asia, Researchers Warn

Financial Times: Malaria superbugs threaten global health disaster
“Drug-resistant malaria superbugs threaten a global public health disaster unless urgent action is taken to fight their spread in Southeast Asia, authors of new research have warned. The mosquito-borne uber-parasites have taken hold in parts of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia and could sweep into India and on to Africa where most malaria deaths occur, their results suggest…” (Peel, 2/1).

Reuters: Malaria superbugs threaten global malaria control, scientists say
“… ‘We are losing a dangerous race to eliminate artemisinin-resistant … malaria before widespread resistance to the partner antimalarials makes that impossible,’ said Nicholas White, a professor at Oxford University in Britain and Mahidol University in Thailand who co-led the research…” (Kelland, 2/1).

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WHO Recommends People Become More Active To Help Prevent NCDs

U.N. News Centre: With more people sedentary, U.N. health agency urges everyone to get moving
“Not enough exercise contributes to cancer, diabetes, depression, and other non-communicable diseases, according to the United Nations health agency, which is urging people to get up and get active. … WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020 recommends that inactive people start with ‘small amounts of physical activity’ and then gradually increase duration, frequency, and intensity over time…” (2/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Expanded Mexico City Policy Threatens Women's Health, U.S. Leadership In Global Health

Washington Post: The Trump administration threatens to imperil women’s health worldwide
Editorial Board

“Some say the ‘Mexico City policy’ — a restriction on U.S. funds to international organizations that provide, advise, or discuss abortions — looks like a game of ping-pong. Republican administrations implement the rule, and Democratic ones volley it back. If so, President Trump has come to the table with a tennis racket. … Mr. Trump’s executive order takes a giant leap beyond previous GOP incarnations: It’s not just family planning funds that are at risk, but all global health assistance, including funds to combat tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. … The White House has not announced what funding streams are set to go dry under the new policy, or whether Mr. Trump will make any exceptions, but at least one official has signaled that the administration’s intent was indeed to broaden the stricture. If so, a bipartisan tradition of U.S. leadership in global health will come to a catastrophic end” (2/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Blog Post Examines Heritage Foundation Proposal Calling For Scaled Back USAID Funding, MCC Expansion

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Should the Trump Administration Cut USAID to Expand MCC?
Sarah Rose, senior policy analyst at CGD, examines a proposal by the Heritage Foundation that calls for scaling back or phasing out USAID and elevating the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in order to make U.S. foreign assistance more effective. Rose discusses two major concerns with the proposal, writing, “First, the characteristics that make MCC so appealing also limit its scalability. Making the agency significantly larger would compromise much of what makes it work as well as it does. Second, scaling back or phasing out USAID would eliminate several important functions of U.S. foreign assistance that MCC is not designed nor well-suited to address.” Rose suggests different strategies that would “expand the reach of the MCC … expand the proportion of U.S. foreign assistance subject to aid effectiveness principles … and remove legal and policy obstacles that constrain USAID’s effectiveness” (2/1).

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'Science Speaks' Profiles New Leadership, Members Of U.S. House Energy Commerce Committee, Health Subcommittee

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: 115th Congress and Global Health: House Energy and Commerce gets new Chair, new leader, and members for its Health Subcommittee
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses the new leadership and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the new chair of the committee; Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), the new chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health; and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), both new members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health (2/1).

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WHO Director-General Chan Reflects On Latin America Zika Outbreak, Spread Of Disease Worldwide

WHO: Zika: We must be ready for the long haul
Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO, reflects on the Zika outbreak, which the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern from February to November 2016. Chan writes, “In large parts of the world, the virus is now firmly entrenched. WHO and affected countries need to manage Zika not on an emergency footing, but in the same sustained way we respond to other established epidemic-prone pathogens, like dengue and chikungunya, that ebb and flow in recurring waves of infection. … We are now in the long haul and we are all in this together. WHO’s strategic planning and commitment to work with partners for sustained interventions and research should go a long way towards bracing the world for this challenging — and still heart-breaking — effort” (2/1).

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Blog Post Outlines 5 Global Health Stories To Look Forward To In 2017

U.N. Dispatch: 5 Big Global Health Victories to Anticipate in 2017. (This is Humanity Affirming Stuff!)
Alanna Shaikh, an international development professional who writes for U.N. Dispatch, discusses five global health victories to anticipate in 2017, including the elimination of Guinea worm; implementation of a dengue fever vaccine; expected approval of a new shingles vaccine; early results of a Phase III clinical trial for an HIV vaccine candidate; and pilot testing of a malaria vaccine (2/1).

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