KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

The Hill Examines Trump Administration's Decisions, Proposed Budget Cuts Related To HIV/AIDS Domestically, Globally

The Hill: Groups working to end AIDS fear losing ground under Trump
“Advocates working to end the AIDS epidemic fear they may lose ground under the Trump administration after coming within reach of ending the disease’s siege in the U.S. and abroad. While former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush made fighting AIDS one of their administrations’ top priorities, President Trump has proposed massive cuts to prevention programs, failed to fill key positions that advise the administration on the issue, and has at times made disparaging remarks about countries suffering from the epidemic. … [T]he Trump administration has proposed cuts [to global AIDS in its] budget requests. … ‘The president’s budget, while Congress may or may not act on it, it’s still a statement of priorities and the values of an administration,’ said Jen Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. ‘It does send the message these certain areas are not as important as others’…” (Hellmann, 2/27).

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More Than 150 Organizations Sign Letter To U.S. Secretary Of State Denouncing Paring Back Of 'Critical Language' In Annual Human Rights Report

POLITICO: Global health organizations condemn State Department directive
“More than 150 organizations that deal with human rights, health, and development issues co-signed a letter to the State Department expressing concern toward the department’s decision to pare back ‘critical language’ in its annual report on global human rights. … The State Department is following a directive to eliminate sections of the annual report regarding societal views on family planning. A section of the report on racial, ethnic, and sexual discrimination will also be trimmed. … State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said officials ‘will sharpen the focus of the report on abuses of internationally recognized human rights and the most egregious issues,’ however the 166 co-signing organizations expressed concerns that the decision will change the way the U.S. government reports on women’s health…” (Goldberg, 2/26).

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USAID Takes 'Unique' Regional Approach To Development, Health Issues In West Africa, Mission Director Says

Devex: Q&A: USAID West Africa chief says his division’s tactics are ‘unique in the USAID world’
“For the West Africa Regional branch of the United States Agency for International Development, a longstanding priority has focused on collaborating with multinational organizations to create regional solutions to problems facing the 15 countries comprising the Economic Community of West African States. … ‘Many of the issues or challenges that the countries in West Africa face are similar whether terrorism, climate change, trade, or health pandemics,’ USAID West Africa Regional Mission Director Alex Deprez told Devex. ‘All of the countries are facing the same challenges and instead of taking each issue piecemeal, through a bilateral approach, we try to look at how these issues affect the region as a whole and help African states come up with common solutions to common problems’…” (Roby, 2/26).

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Global Health Organizations, Duchess Of Cambridge To Launch Nursing Now Campaign To Raise Status, Profile Of Nursing

Devex: Global nursing movement launches
“Midwives and nurses play an important role in disease promotion, prevention, and treatment and are often a patient’s first entry into care. But across the world, their numbers are far from sufficient … Recognizing these challenges, global health organizations, nurses and leaders, to be joined by the Duchess of Cambridge, are launching a new three-year campaign today, called Nursing Now, aimed at raising the profile of nursing worldwide and to call for more investments in their training and growth. The campaign will be led by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, with support from the International Council of Nurses and WHO…” (Ravelo, 2/27).

Press Association/Daily Mail: Duchess of Cambridge to launch nursing campaign
“…Nursing Now aims to support nurses to become leaders so they can play a greater role in health policy decision-making, helping countries meet the pressing health challenges of the modern-day world. … Nursing Now was founded by nurses and other health experts based on the findings of the 2016 Triple Impact report, produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health. It found that empowering nurses boosts health globally and also helps improve gender equality and build stronger economies” (2/26).

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Russia Refuses To Implement U.N.-Backed Cease-Fire In Syria, But Putin Orders Daily 'Humanitarian Pause' In Fighting

Devex: Ceasefire set for Eastern Ghouta, but humanitarian solution still out of reach
“A daily five-hour pause in fighting in the besieged area of Eastern Ghouta, Syria, starts on Tuesday. But a senior humanitarian adviser at Médecins Sans Frontières warns that the move is unlikely to create safe, adequate humanitarian conditions for the approximate 400,000 people who have been trapped in the Damascus suburb…” (Lieberman, 2/27).

Washington Post: Syria Cease-Fire Must Take Effect Immediately, U.N. Chief Warns
“As bombs continued to rain down on the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta on Monday, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, demanded that the Syria cease-fire resolution that the Security Council adopted unanimously over the weekend take effect immediately…” (Cumming-Bruce et al., 2/26).

Wall Street Journal: Russia Not Ready to Implement Cease-Fire in Syria, Official Says
“Russia said Monday it wasn’t prepared to implement a cease-fire in Syria endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, even as European and U.S. officials demanded an immediate end to the fighting. In a televised news conference, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there would be no quick end to the attacks on Eastern Ghouta near Damascus or in Idlib Province as Moscow supported the Syrian government’s bombing raids there, adding that all sides must first agree on how to implement the cease-fire so it ‘would be complete and full scale across all of Syria’…” (Norman et al., 2/26).

Washington Post: Putin orders ‘humanitarian pause’ in besieged Damascus suburb
“Russia said Monday that it had ordered a daily five-hour truce for a rebel-held enclave outside Damascus, even as a more extensive cease-fire approved by the U.N. Security Council this weekend has failed to quiet Syria’s warring parties. The ‘humanitarian pause’ ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ally of the Syrian government, appeared to be aimed at showcasing Russia’s influence as world powers scrambled to halt some of the worst bloodshed of Syria’s civil war…” (Cunningham/Troianovski, 2/26).

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U.N. Failed To Implement 2017 Recommendations To Reform Syrian Aid Response

IRIN: EXCLUSIVE: U.N. shelved 2017 reforms to Syria aid response
“The U.N. officials running Syrian relief efforts failed to implement the key recommendations of a 2017 review of its operating principles despite being criticized for allowing the government of Bashar al-Assad to dictate where and when aid is delivered, IRIN has found. … Humanitarian access, rather than being kept separate from the war, as prescribed by the Geneva Conventions, has been one of the most highly politicized aspects of the Syrian conflict…” (Beals, 2/26).

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Global Virome Project Aims To Identify Unknown Zoonotic Diseases, Provide Data For Epidemic Responses

CNBC: Scientists launch an ambitious effort to find viruses lurking in the wild that could cause pandemics
“Scientists want to identify viral threats lurking in the wild. … Scientists only know 263 such viruses that have infected humans. The Global Virome Project estimates that 263,000 unknown viruses in wildlife are capable of infecting people, meaning researchers know of about 0.1 percent of them. The international partnership also estimates the total number of viruses in wildlife is 1.7 million, and that finding all of them would cost about $7 billion. It wants to find 71 percent of the unknown viruses, an effort it estimates will cost $1.2 billion over a 10-year period…” (LaVito, 2/26).

Drovers: Global Virome Project Aims to Prevent Pandemics
“…Researchers from several participating institutions, led by Dr. Dennis Carroll, director of global health security and development at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), recently published the article in the journal Science. The Global Virome Project builds on the USAID’s PREDICT program, which has found more than 1,000 unique viruses in animals and humans. This viral discovery program is led by Dr. Jonna Mazet, the paper’s anchor author and executive director of the One Health Institute at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine…” (Maday, 2/26).

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More Than 7M People In South Sudan Facing Severe Food Insecurity, U.N. Agencies Warn

Reuters: South Sudan close to famine, facing “toughest year”: aid groups
“South Sudan is close to another famine, aid officials said on Monday, after more than four years of civil war and failed cease-fires in the world’s youngest nation…” (Dumo, 2/26).

U.N. News: South Sudan: A year after averting famine, ‘food insecurity outlook has never been so dire,’ U.N. warns
“One year after famine was declared in parts of South Sudan, three United Nations agencies warned on Monday that without sustained humanitarian assistance and access, more than seven million people in the crisis-torn country — almost two-thirds of the population — could become severely food insecure in the coming months…” (2/26).

Xinhua News: U.N. agencies warn 7 mln people in S. Sudan at risk of rising hunger
“…The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP) also warned that progress made to prevent people from dying of hunger could be undone…” (2/26).

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Vodafone Foundation To Provide Mobile Phone Data To Government Of Ghana To Help Track, Contain Disease Outbreaks

The Guardian: Vodafone to track users in Ghana to halt spread of epidemics
“Vodafone is partnering with the government of Ghana to share the movements of its customers to help track and contain the spread of epidemics such as the Ebola virus. The charitable arm of the mobile phone company said it would provide real-time tracking data from its 8.7 million customers in Ghana, which could provide invaluable information on population movements during an outbreak…” (Sweney, 2/26).

Reuters: Vodafone’s mobile data to be deployed to fight epidemics in Ghana
“…The level of activity at each mobile phone mast will provide a heat map of where people are and how far they are moving during an outbreak, while the data gathered will be used for decision-making in a number of areas — including health, agriculture, and transportation, it said. … The program, which will launch later this year, will be funded by the Vodafone Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Vodafone Foundation said” (Sandle, 2/26).

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More News In Global Health

Newsweek: Strep vaccine could save lives and reduce health care costs — so why don’t we have one? (Sheridan, 2/26).

Reuters: Yemen’s cholera epidemic likely to intensify in coming months: WHO (Dadouch, 2/26).

SciDev.Net: Malaria parasite route to Americas traced (de Oliveira Andrade, 2/27).

Xinhua News: Global Fund finances malaria and HIV/AIDS control actions in Angola (2/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Moving DCA Out Of USAID Could Reduce Agency's Ability To Incorporate Private Sector Into Development Work

Devex: Opinion: The Development Credit Authority needs to stay in USAID
Eric G. Postel, associate administrator at USAID from 2011-2017, and Andrew Natsios, executive professor and director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University

“…[T]he planned legislation [to transform the Overseas Private Investment Corporation into the ‘U.S. development finance institution’ (DFI)] contains one especially destructive provision that is unnecessary to achieve its broader intent [for a more robust global financing platform]. It calls for the consolidation of the United States Agency for International Development’s flagship private sector engagement tool, the [Development Credit Authority (DCA)], into the new DFI. … Having seen the development of the DCA tool and its significant expansion within USAID, we are alarmed by the notion that it should now be stripped from the agency and placed into the new DFI to ‘increase operational efficiencies’ and ‘reduce redundancy.’ In our view, doing so will have the exact opposite effect and will greatly reduce USAID’s ability to incorporate the private sector into its development work. … DCA’s enthusiastic and bipartisan supporters in Congress are unlikely to allow this to happen. And even if they do for political reasons, the need for the tool is so strong within USAID that we predict it will eventually be recreated inside USAID by some future administration. Let’s save the trouble and get this right” (2/26).

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Canada Should Seize Leadership Role In Global Health Equity

Toronto Star: Canada has an opportunity to lead the G7 on global health equity
Kelley Lee, professor and Tier 1 Canada research chair in Global Health Governance in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University; and Stephanie A. Nixon, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and director of the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation at the University of Toronto

“As many countries turn inwards in uncertain times, Canada has an opportunity to show leadership in a domain where we have traditionally excelled: global health. … But as Canada assumes the G7 presidency in 2018 — solidifying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge that ‘Canada is back’ — there is hardly time for complacency. This past week, … The Lancet launched a series analyzing Canada’s contributions to health at home and abroad. In our paper, we call on the Prime Minister to use the G7 presidency to seize a leadership role in global health equity. This requires meeting four challenges. The first is to close the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples arising from colonization. … Second, we should reject a ‘Canada first’ agenda that makes economic self-interest a priority in global health. … Third, we need to better leverage one of our greatest assets: diversity. … Fourth, … [w]e need to develop and commit to a Canadian Global Health Strategy to create a unifying vision for Canada’s efforts and impact in the world. … The G7 presidency in 2018 should be a platform for the government to back its words with concrete actions, if Canada is to be truly back” (2/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Podcast Episodes Discuss USAID, WHO Priorities, Polio Transition

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: USAID Priorities and Future Outlook in Global Health
Sara Allinder, deputy director and senior fellow at the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, speaks with Alma Crumm Golden, deputy assistant administrator in the Bureau for Global Health at USAID, about “her priorities at USAID, the role of the private sector, and how the agency might need to shift its approach to adapt to potential cuts to global health funding outlined in President Trump’s FY 2019 budget request” (2/26).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: The 142nd WHO Executive Board Meeting and Planning for Polio Transition
Nellie Bristol, senior fellow at the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, speaks with John E. Lange, senior fellow for global health diplomacy at the United Nations Foundation, and Jenifer Healy, chief of staff at the Office of Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about issues discussed at the 142nd WHO Executive Board meeting, including WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ “proposed program of work and key priorities, the U.S. priorities for the WHO this year, and the current state of polio transition and the WHO transition plan presented at the meeting” (2/13).

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HER Initiative Engages Private Sector, Empowers Women, Girls In Efforts To Address HIV

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Multiplier for U.S. Policy: The Global Fund and HER (HIV Epidemic Response)
Mark P. Lagon, chief policy officer at Friends, and Annika Holkeboer, student at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and former policy intern at Friends, discuss the unveiling of the HER (HIV Epidemic Response) initiative, an “effort to mobilize private sector engagement to empower women and girls in the fight against HIV.” The authors write, “[T]he HER initiative is important for numerous reasons: It focuses on a particularly vulnerable, yet vital, demographic group that is critical to controlling HIV, and important for sustainable economic development — women and girls. HER brings more private sector donors and partners to the table … All the more, it vividly demonstrates the Global Fund’s value for money to the U.S. — multiplying the impact of U.S. leadership to successfully defeat the major epidemics of our time and help transition affected countries from international aid to full domestic ownership of their disease responses” (2/26).

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CGD Expert Suggests 5 Keys Areas To Be Addressed At Senate Hearing For MCC CEO Nominee

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Five Questions for MCC’s CEO Nominee — for Tomorrow’s Hearing and Beyond
Sarah Rose, policy fellow at CGD, highlights the background of the Trump administration’s nominee for CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, who is scheduled to appear at a Senate hearing today. Rose suggests senators ask Sean Cairncross — “a relative unknown in the development community” — questions related to five development-related issues, including “a limited pipeline of future partners … the potential for new regional authority … the need to mobilize private capital … a continued focus on results … [and] the need to use data wisely” (2/26).

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