KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Bloomberg Philanthropies' Data For Health Initiative Showing Progress In Indo-Pacific Region After Australian Contribution

Devex: How Bloomberg’s Data for Health initiative is helping reshape Australian aid
“When Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced a $15 million contribution to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Data for Health initiative in March 2015, the program became a key way for Australia to improve outcomes of its overseas health aid. Two years since its launch, Data for Health is showing its worth, allowing the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other partners such as the CDC Foundation and Johns Hopkins University to work with governments in developing countries on evidence-based health policies. For the first time, programs covering everything from infant mortality rates to traffic deaths can draw from a robust body of data. And the early results are impressing stakeholders…” (Cornish, 2/27).

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Public Health Officials Adopt 'Colombo Statement' To Enhance Action On Migrant Health

Inter Press Service: Huge Health Needs for World’s One Billion Migrants
“With an estimated one billion migrants today — or one in every seven people — their health needs are huge. Nevertheless, health systems are struggling to adapt and consequently access to health services among migrant populations varies widely and is often inadequate. This has been the key issue before senior public health officials from over 40 countries, who met on February 23 in Colombo, concluding that addressing the health needs of migrants reduces long-term health and social costs, enhances health security, and contributes to social and economic development…” (2/24).

U.N. News Centre: At global U.N. consultation, health leaders underline need for action on migrant health
“…The ‘Colombo Statement,’ adopted [Thursday] at the second Global Consultation on Migrant Health, aims to address the health challenges of increasingly mobile populations … Highlighting the importance of the issue, Davide Mosca, the director of Migration Health Division at the U.N. International Organization for Migration (IOM), added: ‘This can only be realized through the implementation of well-managed and coordinated migration policies, which include financial risk protection and equal access to quality health services.’ The Colombo Statement also calls for mainstreaming migrant health into key national, regional, and international agendas and promotes international solidarity for equitable migrant health policies, a shared research agenda, and the development of global frameworks to ensure migrant health is protected…” (2/24).

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U.N. Secretary-General Guterres Asks Countries To Commit To $400M Plan To Address Cholera In Haiti

Agence France-Presse: U.N. Haiti cholera fund fails to draw pledges
“A U.N. fund set up for Haiti’s cholera victims is failing to draw support, with only two percent of the needed $400 million raised so far, according to a letter by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres…” (2/24).

U.N. News Centre: Secretary General asks Member States to express intention on financing U.N. plan to tackle cholera in Haiti
“United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has asked Member States to inform him by 6 March if they intend to make voluntary financial contributions to the implementation of the new U.N. plan to counter cholera in Haiti, his spokesman said [Friday]…” (2/24).

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Climate Change Affecting Global Public Health, Facilitating Spread Of Some Diseases, Malnutrition

Huffington Post: There’s A Reason Zika Virus Became A Pandemic In 2015
“The term ‘climate change’ may bring to mind images of stranded polar bears in faraway places, but the globe’s changing weather also has serious and immediate health consequences for human beings — especially those who live in poor and developing countries. But when it comes to efforts to combat climate change, the current administration has suggested its priorities lie elsewhere. … [W]hat they may not realize is that climate change is already having a direct and immediate threat to public health, both here and abroad…” (Almendrala, 2/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Cutting U.S. Foreign Assistance Budget, Including Global Health Spending, 'Would Be A Serious Mistake'

Washington Post: ‘America first’ shouldn’t mean cutting foreign aid
Michael Gerson, syndicated columnist, and Raj Shah, former USAID administrator, and both senior fellows with Results for America

“…Putting foreign assistance on the chopping block would be a serious mistake, by any definition of the national interest. … Slashing this tiny category of discretionary spending for the sake of budget control would be a form of deception — a sideshow to avoid truly important (and unpopular) budgetary choices. … [O]ver the past two decades and past two presidential administrations, health and development spending has evolved into a rigorous, innovative, and professional enterprise dedicated to measured outcomes. … But why does this emphasis on rigor and outcomes matter to U.S. foreign policy? How does foreign assistance serve definable American interests? Many of our most dangerous global challenges — such as terrorism, the drug trade, and pandemic diseases — gather strength in countries, or regions within countries, that are poorly governed, often corrupt, and marked by high levels of poverty, hunger, and disease. These places are incubators of risks to the United States. … But gains in hope, health, and stability reduce these threats and better protect Americans. … An ‘America first’ approach to foreign assistance could mean deploying foreign aid even more rigorously to help keep America safe … There are specific actions the new administration can take to deliver on this vision. It should designate a ‘coordinator for development’ who is empowered to ensure results from U.S. foreign assistance programs. … Under these circumstances, aid should be categorized in the budget as national security spending, not ‘non-defense discretionary’ spending. And the Trump national security team should make sure American leadership on these issues remains the bipartisan priority it has been for decades, starting with proposing and defending a strong budget commitment to these efforts right now…” (2/24).

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Trump Administration Should Fully Fund U.S. International Affairs Account, Including PEPFAR, To Save Millions Of Lives

Washington Post: Make America benevolent again
Cathleen Falsani, author, journalist, and member of an advisory board for girls and women at ONE

“As President Trump and his administration create their first budget request for Congress in the coming weeks, they have an opportunity to fund fully the U.S. international affairs account — a decision which is not only the smart choice, but also the benevolent one. Observers fear there may be huge cuts proposed to the foreign affairs account…, which funds all our global health and foreign assistance programs … [including PEPFAR], established by [President George W. Bush] in 2004 with bipartisan support and popular support, particularly among evangelical Christian constituents. PEPFAR has been spectacularly successful, saving millions of lives around the world, especially among what the Bible might call ‘the least of these.’ … During the span of three U.S. presidential administrations, all of which have renewed its fiscal support, PEPFAR has helped mitigate the ‘AIDS emergency’ to such an extent that it is entirely possible we will witness the first AIDS-free generation before the Trump administration ends. But without Trump’s leadership and strong support in the arcane U.S. budget process, PEPFAR and so many other programs that save and improve the lives of millions of souls around the globe will be put at grave risk unnecessarily. … Whether you believe America is great, was great, or might be great again, the key to true greatness is neither might nor bravado, superior fire power nor bombast. It is something substantially smaller yet infinite in its impact. A tiny pill that gives life. A miniscule fraction of our nation’s massive budget that saves millions of lives” (2/24).

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U.S. Government Must Increase Global Health R&D Funding To Protect Americans, Stimulate U.S. Economy

The Hill: As global disease threat rises, U.S. funding for research falls
Jamie Bay Nishi, director of the Global Health Technologies Coalition

“…[I]nfectious diseases and other emerging health challenges are a threat everywhere — and not just a problem for low-income countries. The United States and the entire world must be equipped with tools to quickly address emerging threats, small and large. … Yet, U.S. government funding for researching these and other diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria has reached historic lows. … We cannot wait for an epidemic to trigger R&D — it is simply too late. Real-time, responsive funding cannot make up lost ground. Today’s innovations are the result of yesterday’s R&D investments. By reducing U.S. commitments now, we undermine our ability to respond to future threats. … To uphold President Trump’s promise to keep Americans safe and prosperous, the U.S. government must reassert its leadership in global health innovation, increase research funding, and recommit to advancing the R&D needed to conquer major disease threats of our times. American-led innovation is an antidote to the threat of disease and key to eliminating HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and pandemics that will emerge as Ebola did several years ago. Through strong, sustainable investments in R&D for global diseases, the U.S. government can protect Americans and stimulate the U.S. economy, while delivering a healthier, more prosperous, and stable world” (2/24).

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'Humanitarian Financing Is In Need Of An Overhaul,' Additional Funding To Prevent Impending Famines

Financial Times: The season of famine looms across Africa
Editorial Board

“…Emergencies bring out the best humanitarian instincts. Often the Western public responds generously … When faced with a real crisis, aid workers spring to action with war room mentality and lives are saved. Yet many more lives could be spared — and funds saved — were preventive action taken earlier. … To be fair, the global context is grim. Between 2000 and 2014 there was a more than twelvefold surge in funds raised for humanitarian action, which rose from $2bn to $24.5bn. Yet despite those increases, only 62 percent of total needs identified were being met. Climate change, natural disasters, conflict, and associated economic turmoil have together made 125m people around the world dependent on humanitarian aid. … The problem is not just funding shortfalls. The whole architecture of humanitarian financing is in need of an overhaul. If aid agencies are to nip disasters in the bud, they require reliable data. … Aid agencies also need a pipeline of upfront financing commensurate with the needs. For this, there has to be a much larger pool of resources within the U.N. system for fighting emergencies. U.N. agencies could be more open to working with local non-governmental organizations. Too often they act like multinational wholesalers subcontracting to their favorite retailers, the big western charities they trust. Sometimes, national actors are better equipped to act early in the field…” (2/22).

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Public, Private Sectors Can Work Together To Improve Health Systems, Solve 'Health Workforce Crisis'

Huffington Post: Five Investments Countries Can Make for Healthier People and Economies
Pape Amadou Gaye, IntraHealth International President and CEO

“…For years, global health and development have been the domains of aid workers and the public sector, of governments and nongovernmental agencies, all working with limited resources to solve huge problems in the midst of other huge problems — meeting the need for new hospitals and health centers in the remotest regions, for example, while also struggling to bring much-needed electricity and roads to them. These problems are too big for the public sector alone. We need new stakeholders, and an all-new architecture for working together — not only for greater global good, but for greater economic well-being, as well. … By pooling [public sector] resources and know-how with businesses and creating thriving mixed markets for health care, we can help solve the health workforce crisis and help countries build stronger populations and economies. I have a few ideas for how we can work together to get there: Better data use. … Stronger education and training institutions. … A focus on primary health care. … Tap into the diaspora. … Policies that pave the way for collaboration…” (2/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

India Can End Malnutrition With Political Will, Commitment Of Resources

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: A cost we can’t afford: The human and economic costs of malnutrition and how India can end this scourge
Sue Desmond-Hellmann, chief executive officer of the Gates Foundation, discusses the links among nutrition and improved health, better education, and economic growth, with a focus on India. She writes, “If India is willing to commit similar attention and resources to fight malnutrition [as it did for its universal sanitation initiative] — and insist that we will no longer accept the unacceptable — it will be a turning point in the health and prosperity of the country. Malnutrition was once called India’s ‘national shame.’ Ending it will be a national triumph” (2/26).

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Humanosphere Podcast Examines Connection Between Wealth Inequality, Health

Humanosphere: Ichiro Kawachi: How wealth inequality fuels poor health, and vice versa
Imana Gunawan, Humanosphere’s social media manager and podcast producer, and Tom Paulson, Humanosphere founder and executive editor, speak “with Ichiro Kawachi, a physician and epidemiologist with all sorts of titles at Harvard University — chairman of the department of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb professor of social epidemiology. What we talk with Kawachi about is the connection between the wealth inequality and health…” (Gunawan, 2/24).

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From the U.S. Government

Despite Challenges, CDC, Other Global Health Agencies Administer Childhood Immunizations In Effort To Eradicate Polio In Nigeria

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: CDC Maintains Vigilance to Eradicate Polio in Northern Nigeria
Chimeremma Denis Nnadi, an epidemiologist in the Polio Eradication Branch of the CDC’s Global Immunization Division, discusses his work with the Global Immunization team in Nigeria, which “is closer than ever to eradicating polio.” Nnadi notes the challenges that remain in vaccinating children who reside in hard-to-reach areas, concluding, “I know that, together with other global health and humanitarian agencies, we will continue finding ways to reach and vaccinate children in conflict-affected regions and elsewhere until polio is eradicated” (2/24).

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