KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

President Trump To Propose $54B Increase In Military Spending With Significant Cuts To Foreign Aid

Foreign Policy: Trump’s Defense-Heavy Budget Plan Sets Up Showdown With State Dept.
“President Donald Trump stunned U.S. diplomats and many security experts on Monday as he pledged what he called a ‘historic increase’ of $54 billion in military spending to be offset by cuts to the State Department and other federal agencies. U.S. officials said Foggy Bottom would be required to send a plan to the White House within 48 hours to cut as much as 30 percent of its budget, a bold proposal that would force the elimination of foreign assistance programs and a massive reorganization of the State Department…” (Hudson/O’Toole, 2/27).

New York Times: Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending
“President Trump put both political parties on notice Monday that he intends to slash spending on many of the federal government’s most politically sensitive programs — relating to education, the environment, science, and poverty — to protect the economic security of retirees and to shift billions more to the armed forces…” (Shear et al., 2/27).

New York Times: Critics Assail Cuts in Foreign Spending as Trump Moves to Boost Military
“…[T]he proposed Pentagon increase has been greeted with criticism from military spending hawks, in part because White House officials say Mr. Trump will call for a significant cut in foreign aid, including programs that military officials say contribute to global stability and are seen as important in helping avoid future conflicts…” (Cooper et al., 2/27).

POLITICO: Diplomats worry Trump plans to starve State with cuts
“…The proposed cuts are the latest sign that Trump is bent on pursuing hard military power, not diplomacy or other ‘soft’ tools, as the main vehicle to advance U.S. interests abroad. It’s a stance that could put Trump at odds with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as well as Defense Secretary James Mattis, who once told lawmakers: ‘If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.’ Critics of the Trump budget plans noted that cuts to foreign aid could damage the U.S. standing in numerous strategically important countries…” (Toosi, 2/27).

ScienceInsider: Trump’s 2018 budget will squeeze civilian science agencies
“The chunk of the federal budget that includes most of the U.S. government’s spending on basic science would shrink by 10.5 percent in 2018 under a plan outlined today by President Donald Trump and administration officials. It is unlikely that all civilian science budgets would see cuts under the proposal — and some could even get increases…” (Malakoff, 2/27).

Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump Is Set to Boost Military Spending
“…The funding request faces an uncertain fate in Congress, which must pass spending bills with 60 Senate votes and often adopts pieces of the president’s budget proposal while discarding others. Democrats are certain to oppose drastic cuts in nondefense spending, and Republicans are split between pressing for deficit reduction and higher military spending…” (Bender et al., 2/27).

Link to individual story

More Than 120 Retired Military Generals, Admirals Call On Congress To Maintain Funding For Diplomacy, Foreign Aid Under Trump Administration

The Hill: Retired generals urge Congress not to cut funds for diplomacy
“More than 120 retired generals and admirals are calling on Congress not to slash funding for diplomacy and foreign aid after the Trump administration said its budget proposal would do just that. … ‘We know from our service in uniform that many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone — from confronting violent extremist groups like ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) in the Middle East and North Africa to preventing pandemics like Ebola and stabilizing weak and fragile states that can lead to greater instability’…” (Kheel, 2/27).

Link to individual story

Global Fund Board To Continue Search For Executive Director

Devex: Global Fund board restarts executive director search process
“The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was expected to choose a new executive director from a field of three finalists on Monday but, instead, it decided to restart the search process…” (Saldinger, 2/27).

The Lancet: Controversy embroils selection of new Global Fund head
“…The final stages of the race to become the next Executive Director of the Global Fund have been marred by anonymous allegations and a candidate’s withdrawal…” (Zarocostas, 2/28).

ScienceInsider: After fracas, Global Fund abandons plan to pick new chief and reopens search
“… ‘Due to issues encountered in the recruitment process, the Board felt they were unable to bring the process to conclusion,’ reads a statement issued by the Global Fund, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland. … Global Fund officials have asked its board members not to publicly discuss details of [the] decision to relaunch the search…” (Cohen, 2/27).

Link to individual story

WHO Releases List Of 12 Drug-Resistant Bacteria Posing Greatest Health Threat To Humans

Financial Times: WHO raises alarm over drug-resistant superbugs
“The World Health Organization has issued a call to arms to companies and governments to develop antibiotics to combat superbugs’ growing resistance to existing medicines…” (Viña, 2/27).

Fortune: The WHO Says These 12 Deadly Superbugs Pose the Greatest Health Threats to Humans
“Global health officials on Monday unveiled a first-of-its-kind list of the world’s most deadly ‘superbugs’ in a bid to urge businesses and governments to get serious about developing new antibiotics…” (Mukherjee, 2/27).

Humanosphere: WHO’s most wanted: 12 families of bacteria that threaten humanity
“…WHO officials hope that this list we will spur research and development of new antibiotics. Many of the bacteria listed are already resistant to multiple antibiotics…” (Murphy, 2/27).

Nature: The drug-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest health threats
“…The agency’s aim in listing these ‘priority pathogens’ is to steer funds towards development of the most crucial antimicrobials. Researchers say the list is a useful reminder of the danger of bacteria that are becoming resistant to antibiotics…” (Willyard, 2/28).

New York Times: Deadly, Drug-Resistant ‘Superbugs’ Pose Huge Threat, WHO Says
“…The WHO report rated research on three pathogens as ‘critical priority.’ They are carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, along with all members of the Enterobacteriaceae family resistant to both carbapenems and third-generation cephalosporins…” (McNeil, 2/27).

STAT: WHO releases list of world’s most dangerous superbugs
“… ‘Antibiotic resistance is growing and we are running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time,’ said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health systems and innovation…” (Branswell, 2/27).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency lists antibiotic-resistant bacteria which pose human threat
“…G20 health experts will meet this week in Berlin. The list is intended to spur governments to put in place policies that incentivize basic science and advanced R&D by both publicly funded agencies and the private sector investing in new antibiotic discovery. While more R&D is vital, alone, it cannot solve the problem. To address resistance, there must also be better prevention of infections and appropriate use of existing antibiotics in humans and animals, as well as rational use of any new antibiotics that are developed in future” (2/27).

Link to individual story

U.N. Receives Pledges For $672M Toward Humanitarian Aid, Famine Relief In Nigeria, Lake Chad Region

The Guardian: Donors pledge $672m at Oslo summit to avert famine in Nigeria and Lake Chad
“A third of the $1.5bn in emergency funding sought by the U.N. this year to prevent a famine in Africa’s stricken Lake Chad region has been raised at a summit in Oslo. The U.S. has not yet made any new pledge of money. Aid agencies must get food to almost three million people by July to avert a famine in the region. The conditions for a largely neglected crisis have been created by drought, chronic poverty, and Islamist insurgents Boko Haram, the U.N. said on Friday…” (Quinn, 2/24).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Must Continue Bipartisan Support For PEPFAR 'To Do What's Right'

The Hill: What America First really means
Susan Michaels-Strasser, assistant professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, implementation director of ICAP at Columbia University, and public voices fellow with the OpEd Project

“…As our country considers retreating and rebuilding to ‘Make America Great Again’ versus engaging in the wider world in both word and deed, my strongest argument for bold engagement, comes from the actions of a prior Republican president. It’s the story of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) envisioned by former President George W. Bush to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic and sustained through eight years of the Obama administration. It is a story of unwavering commitment to do what’s right amidst catastrophe. … My experience with PEPFAR confirmed for me that it is exactly when we are feeling most vulnerable and afraid that we need to engage. … We must continue to engage if we want to prevail and if we want to preserve our dignity. I’ve seen firsthand how PEPFAR has not only strengthened our standing in the world but how this kind of assistance can be the best medicine against the disease of terrorism. It’s a model, a metaphor, a bipartisan commitment that must continue and grow in these uncertain times. There is much still that needs to be done. … Continued support for PEPFAR remains essential to meet the remaining challenges. … Our best protection is engagement…” (2/27).

Link to individual story

U.S. Budget, International Donors Must Consider Increased Funding For Global Food Security

The Hill: Famine In South Sudan: A turning point in global food security: 2017
Rick Leach, president and CEO of World Food Program USA

“…The start of this year signals the launch of a new humanitarian appeal cycle … While the U.N. global appeal covers a range of humanitarian relief (e.g. shelter, health, education), the food assistance needs alone are staggering. … Food security is central to global stability. … The U.S. has a long bipartisan history in supporting global food security and consistently leads the international community in the fight to end hunger. Major donors in Europe and in the Middle East have increased their contributions. But even with increased attention and burden-sharing, need is growing faster than funding. … In 2017, the global community will either rise to meet the unprecedented food assistance needs, or we will choose to bear a much higher cost at a later date, assuredly under conditions of increased global instability. At this point, the final outcome of the 2017 U.S. congressional budget process is uncertain, but it is important that the decision-making around that process is informed by the reality of growing threats of famine and the human costs they represent” (2/27).

Link to individual story

4 Reasons Why Mexico City Policy Will Potentially Harm Women, Girls, Global Community

Mic: Here are 4 reasons Trump’s ‘global gag rule’ on abortion will be a disaster
Jennifer Redner, senior policy adviser, and Harry Samuels, government affairs associate, both at the American Jewish World Service

“…The newest iteration of [the Mexico City policy] shackles U.S. foreign aid to religious and ideological requirements that undermine evidence-based public health interventions and broader human rights. … [The provisions] also undermine the national interest of the U.S. in promoting healthy, stable, and prosperous societies. … Here are four reasons the global gag rule will harm women, girls, and communities around the world: To state the obvious, less abortion information and care will be available because of the global gag rule. … The global gag rule will have a chilling effect on health care providers who offer contraception and family planning services. … The new global gag rule will likely have consequences beyond the realm of family planning and reproductive health. … The global gag rule renders U.S. investments in promoting global health and protecting human rights less effective. … For these four reasons, this new sweeping Trump administration version of the global gag rule will have far-reaching and devastating effects on people and communities around the world. … We need to make our voices heard, fight this radical attack on human rights, and protect the U.S. national interest by upholding the core principles of our foreign policy” (2/27).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

Australian Government Should Pledge Political, Financial Support For Sexual, Reproductive Health Care In Light Of Mexico City Policy

Human Rights Watch: The Australian Government Should Stand by Women Impacted by Global Gag Rule
Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch, discusses the potential implications of the Mexico City policy reinstatement and expansion on women’s health, foreign NGOs, and health clinics, writing, “This damaging policy restricts women’s choices, promotes censorship of critical health options, and will reduce overall availability of a range of health services in many places. … The Australian government should protect the investments it has been making in global health through its foreign assistance. The Australian government should stand with women and girls and for evidence-based health care by pledging sustained political and financial support for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care” (2/28).

Link to individual story

Blog Post Outlines Leadership, Personal Qualities Next WHO Director General Should Possess

Global Health Governance Blog: Courage, Vision, and Independence — Qualities needed for the Next Director-General of the World Health Organization
Tikki Pang and Gianna Gayle Herrera Amul, both of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, discuss the qualities previous WHO director generals possessed and qualities the next WHO director general should possess, writing, “[I]n addition to technical, political, diplomatic, and managerial skills, the next [director general] should have personal qualities of courage, independence, decisiveness, integrity, and vision” (2/26).

Link to individual story

From the U.S. Government

CDC Blog Post Recognizes World Birth Defects Day

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: World Birth Defects Day 2017 Raises Global Awareness of Birth Defects
Jennifer Williams of the CDC’s Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders discusses World Birth Defects Day, which takes place annually on March 3 and aims to “raise global awareness of birth defects and increase opportunities for prevention” (2/27).

Link to individual story

From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet On Key U.S. Government Officials In Global Health

Kaiser Family Foundation: Key Global Health Positions and Officials in the U.S. Government
This updated fact sheet lists U.S. government positions and officials related to global health operations, including links to agencies and officials’ profiles, when available (2/24).

Link to individual story

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.