KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Few Foreign Aid Groups Reject Mexico City Policy, Trump Administration Reports; Analysts Warn Of Incomplete Picture Of Impact

Associated Press: U.S. says abortion gag rule cost only 4 organizations funding
“The Trump administration said Wednesday that only four international organizations and a dozen of their local partners have refused to accept new rules for spending U.S. assistance that ban health care funds from being used to promote or perform abortions overseas. The International Planned Parenthood Federation is among those that declined. The administration said that out of 733 organizations whose funding came up for renewal under the new restrictions, 729 had agreed to the rules and had their grants approved as of the end of the last budget year in September. Another roughly 500 grants had not been subjected to the new criteria as of Sept. 30, 2017, but will before the end of the current fiscal year, it said…” (Lee, 2/7).

NPR: Few Groups Reject Abortion-Restricted U.S. Global Health Funds
“…[O]pponents of the policy caution that the administration’s statistics offer too incomplete a picture to draw conclusions about the policy’s impact. … Analysts also caution that many of the grantees covered by the administration’s statistics are essentially U.S.-based pass-through groups — meaning they ultimately pass on their U.S. aid money to foreign partners on the ground. … The administration reports that it is aware of at least 12 such sub-grantees that have refused as of last September. Perhaps most significantly, the review did not include any information about whether or not the policy has led to a reduction in health services for poor people. Officials said they would continue to monitor the policy’s implementation, and issue another review by end of this year…” (Aizenman, 2/7).

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U.S. Secretary Of State Tillerson To Scale Back State Department Redesign Plan

POLITICO: Tillerson scales back State Department restructuring plan
“…It’s not clear whether Tillerson has modified his goals for shaking up the department because he’s encountered stumbling blocks or because he never really intended to make huge structural changes in the first place. But his more limited ambitions could assuage fears — expressed by many veteran diplomats — that he will oversee a gutting of the State Department that could hobble American diplomacy at an uncertain moment in world politics…” (Toosi, 2/7).

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IARC Defends Finding Glyphosate 'Probably Carcinogenic' In Statements Presented In U.S. House Hearing

E&E News/Science: WHO rebuts House committee criticisms about glyphosate cancer warning
“The World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency is firmly defending its finding that a widely used herbicide is ‘probably carcinogenic’ despite reports cited by key House lawmakers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC’s) unwavering stance was publicly revealed [Tuesday] by Oregon Representative Suzanne Bonamici, the top Democrat on the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment, at a full committee hearing on the controversial 2015 glyphosate evaluation. … Bonamici entered into the hearing record a series of responses that IARC Director Christopher Wild has sent to the panel in recent months…” (Hiar, 2/7).

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WHO DG Tedros Discusses Plans For Organization In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A: Tedros on internal policies, staff engagement, and legacy
“For the past six months, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been laying the groundwork for how he will run and lead the institution. Now, member states and observers in the global health community are watching closely to see what comes next. As part of our exclusive interview with the WHO aid chief, Devex sat down with Tedros to learn more of his plans for the organization, how he aims to move forward with his gender parity goals amid a new United Nations policy that could affect succession planning, what his plans are to promoting a more open recruitment process at the organization, and what legacy he intends to leave WHO…” (Ravelo, 2/8).

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WHO To Establish Health Reserve Army To Respond To Emerging Diseases, Outbreaks

VOA News: WHO to Set Up Health Reserve Army to Tackle Emergencies
“The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he is establishing what he calls a health reserve army to tackle emergencies and newly emerging diseases. Ghebreyesus said he has been spending the past seven months working on a strategic plan to reform and improve the World Health Organization. He said a major focus of this plan is on implementing swifter, more effective emergency response measures…” (Schlein, 2/7).

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Christian Science Monitor Examines Feminist Foreign Policy In Practice

Christian Science Monitor: Can foreign policy be feminist? Sweden says yes.
“A doctor in a sparsely furnished Nairobi clinic, providing a young woman with birth control. A job-training center throwing open its doors to women in Armenia. A United Nations delegate urging the assembly to consider gender in its global climate change policy. If those are the answers, then this is the question: What, exactly, does a feminist foreign policy look like? It’s a question that has been floated many times since October 2014, when Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, announced that her country planned to become the first in the world to put feminism at the heart of its foreign affairs…” (Brown, 2/7).

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#MalariaMustDie Campaign Kicks Off Effort To Combat Complacency Surrounding Elimination Efforts

Devex: New campaign seeks to reignite political support for the fight against malaria
“…Wednesday marked the launch of the campaign #MalariaMustDie. … The #MalariaMustDie campaign launches ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will bring leaders from 52 nations to London, United Kingdom, this April, as 90 percent of Commonwealth citizens live in malaria-affected countries…” (Cheney, 2/8).

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New Gates Foundation Malaria Program Director Specializes In Disease Modeling, Simulations

Devex: Exclusive: Gates Foundation hires a new malaria program director
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is bringing Philip Welkhoff of the Institute for Disease Modeling on as its new malaria program director, Devex has learned…” (Cheney, 2/8).

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More News In Global Health

Agence France-Presse: ‘Fake’ doctor accused of infecting 46 Indians with HIV arrested (2/7).

Associated Press: AP Exclusive: AP finds food used as weapon against Rohingya (Klug, 2/8).

Business Day: Gates has an audacious battle plan to fight malaria (Cohen, 2/8).

Deutsche Welle: Dengue: risks and side effects of the world’s first vaccine (Märzhäuser, 2/7).

Devex: DFID’s economic development work failing to include women, watchdog says (Edwards, 2/8).

IRIN: Afghan attacks force aid rethink, leave local NGOs more exposed (Arsalai/Khan, 2/8).

Quartz: Only a handful of countries are backing a life-saving HIV prevention drug (Foley, 2/7).

Science: How a surging stockpile of vaccines could help conquer cholera (Kupferschmidt, 2/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

Potential Downsizing Of CDC's Global Epidemic Prevention Activities Could Threaten U.S. National Security

The Hill: The U.S. can’t afford to reduce global public health funding
Daniel M. Gerstein, senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and adjunct professor at American University

“…[The proposal to downsize the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) global epidemic prevention activities in 39 of 49 countries] is potentially dangerous and could place the U.S. at significant risk. … [T]he programs provide sentinels for a broader global disease monitoring system of which the U.S. is a significant beneficiary. Over the past decade, many have come to recognize public health as a national security issue worthy of funding levels that promote and support global health preparedness and response systems. Some disease events — either naturally occurring outbreaks such as influenza or intentional use of pathogens in biological warfare or bioterrorism — have serious national security implications. Having international and partner systems that promote information sharing in real-time, pre-incident preparedness, and response capabilities are important components of public health efforts in the U.S. … Without renewed funding, the long-term outlook could include weakened global disease surveillance and response systems, less capable partner nations and an increased likelihood of global disease outbreaks that would undoubtedly threaten the U.S.” (2/7).

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Health Ministries Should Consider 3 Elements When Deciding To Invest In UAVs To Deliver Health Care

Devex: Opinion: Your guide to investing in UAVs for delivering health care
Yasmin Chandani, director of inSupply, and David Sarley, senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“[Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)], also known as drones, have become a hot topic in public health for their potential in delivering life-saving medicines, blood, or vaccines to people in remote areas. But … not enough [of the conversation] comes from the perspective of health ministry officials, who have to make hard choices with little information. … The three most important elements that affect the decision to invest are the priority health objectives — which determines the product and demand — geography, and the characteristics of the UAV itself. … The decision whether to purchase UAVs offers the opportunity for a strategic system redesign that can optimize service levels while considering costs. And of course, money is not the only concern of supply chains. Speed, availability, and broader health benefits matter too, especially when it comes to opportunities for saving lives. … Our aim is to ensure countries are in the driver’s seat for deciding when and how to invest in UAVs…” (2/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Offers 4 Recommendations For U.S. International Development Reform

Stanford Social Innovation Review: The Art of the Development Deal
Richard Crespin, CEO of CollaborateUp, senior fellow for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and adjunct professor at George Washington University, discusses how “the administration should apply a ‘shared value’ test, by pursuing trade and foreign policy opportunities that further U.S. interests while also furthering international development.” Crespin makes four recommendations for U.S. reform of international development: “First, align spending with American security interests and local needs. … Second, focus on solvable problems. … Third, institutionalize co-creation to solve market or structural failures. … Fourth, set clear exit strategies, pivoting from philanthropy to local ownership” (Winter 2018).

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CGD Blog Post Discusses U.S. Role In Pledging At IFAD

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Why It’s Important to Get the United States Back to the Pledging Table at IFAD
Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at CGD, discusses U.S. involvement with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the potential implications if the U.S. does not make a pledge this year (2/7).

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High Rates Of HIV Care, Treatment Retention Could Help Reduce HIV Incidence, Study Shows

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: How to cut HIV incidence? Researchers do the math and find keeping patients in care is pivotal
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses results from a study modeling how treatment retention of people living with HIV could help reduce the number of new infections. Barton notes, “The study’s data and calculations are limited to U.S. numbers but its findings, which include needs to strengthen testing and care linkage as well as prevention efforts, reflect global challenges” (2/7).

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Blog Post Highlights Role Of Governance In Building Responsive Community Health Systems, Workforce

Frontline Health Workers Coalition: 5 Insights on How Governance Can Help Build a Responsive Health Workforce
Kate Greene, senior associate, and Mary Houghton, senior communications and knowledge management specialist, both at Abt Associates, discuss five takeaways from an event hosted by Abt Associates on the role of governance in building responsive community health systems. These include strengthening the community health workforce and the need for a centralized authority to develop and enforce guidelines for safe and effective treatment; the need to make community health workers a visible part of the health system at large; the need for governance mechanisms to support community-based organizations and health workers; the importance of having diverse policy interventions; and the role of community engagement in improving the performance of health workers and health systems (2/1).

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South Sudan Declares End Of Its Longest, Largest Cholera Outbreak

World Health Organization: South Sudan declares the end of its longest cholera outbreak
“South Sudan declared the end of its longest and largest cholera outbreak on Wednesday (February 07), with no new cases of cholera reported in over seven weeks…” (2/7).

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