KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Secretary Of State Nominee Rex Tillerson Voices Support For PEPFAR, MCC, Waffles On Women's Programs In Senate Hearings

Devex: Rex Tillerson outlines U.S aid vision, with few commitments to climate change and health, during Senate hearings
“Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, offered general support for furthering U.S. foreign aid and its development agenda as secretary of state, but expressed reservations on various hot-button topics — including women’s health and climate change — during an all-day Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing. … Tillerson remarked favorably on the work of the independent U.S. foreign aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation and PEPFAR, a global initiative initiative that offers programs and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infections…” (Lieberman, 1/11).

Huffington Post: Rex Tillerson Hints At Support For State Department Women’s Programs
“Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, offered tentative support on Wednesday for State Department programs that provide contraceptives and economic aid to women in developing countries. But the former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive stopped short of pledging to commit at least the same amount of money to such programs. ‘As I understand it, we currently invest something around a half a billion dollars a year in programs directed at family planning through foreign assistance,’ Tillerson said during his Senate confirmation hearing. ‘I think that’s an important level of support’…” (Kaufman/Peck, 1/11).

Rewire: Tillerson Waffles on Reproductive Rights, Climate Change, Russia
“…Trump’s transition team last month asked the State Department to name employees working on gender equality and gender-based violence. During the confirmation hearing Wednesday, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said that action sends a ‘chilling message.’ She pressed Tillerson on whether he would commit to continuing State Department and USAID programs dedicated to empowering women. Tillerson answered with a direct ‘yes.’ But he dodged a follow-up question on family planning programs, saying that he would have to examine all aspects before giving a similar commitment…” (Grimaldi, 1/11).

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter Plans To Meet With Trump Administration To Promote Disease Eradication Efforts

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Pres. Jimmy Carter hopes to push disease eradication with Trump administration
“…During a press conference Wednesday at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Carter said disease eradication programs, like the ones the Carter Center helps lead, depend on money from government agencies, such as USAID, and from other countries and private donors. Carter said he uses his influence to encourage governments and donors across the world to stay involved, including the U.S. ‘Of course, [disease eradication efforts] are dependent on USAID, and I’ll be meeting with President-elect Trump and also with his new secretary of state, who is in charge of USAID, just to let them know what we are doing,’ Carter said…” (Quinn, 1/11).

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CDC Director Frieden Speaks With National Geographic About Tenure At U.S. Disease Control Agency

National Geographic: Exclusive: Biggest Worries, Wins of U.S. Disease Control Chief
“As the 16th director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thomas R. Frieden has had to tackle some of the biggest disease challenges the U.S. agency has faced in decades. … As is customary for political appointees, Frieden submitted his resignation after the election, and unless the Trump presidential transition asks him to stay on, he will leave his job at noon ET on Friday, January 20. Last week, Frieden sat for an interview with Maryn McKenna at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss his experiences in office, his hopes for the agency’s future, and his worries about the world’s ongoing health crises…” (McKenna, 1/11).

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Former U.S. Ebola Response Coordinator Klain Outlines Concerns Over President-Elect Trump's Disease Outbreak Preparedness

Becker’s Hospital Review: Former U.S. Ebola czar: 3 reasons Trump’s views are bad for pandemic preparedness
“Ronald Klain, a lawyer who served as Ebola czar from 2014 to 2015, spoke out against President-elect Donald Trump’s views on pandemic preparedness during a panel Tuesday hosted by the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center and Harvard Global Health Institute. … ‘These are issues that should really transcend politics,’ he said…” (Punke, 1/11).

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USAID, U.S. Pharmacopeia Supporting Efforts To Develop Test To Detect Fake, Substandard Medicines

Wall Street Journal: A New Way to Detect Fake Medicines
“…Fake, substandard, and otherwise compromised medicines are a deadly global problem. For Pakistan-born bioengineer Muhammad Zaman, the crisis in Lahore [in which more than 200 people died from contaminated medicine in 2011-12], … was an extra catalyst to continue efforts that he’d embarked upon the previous year — by invitation from the U.S. Agency for International Development and in partnership with U.S. Pharmacopeia, which sets medical standards used worldwide — to find a novel way to detect such medicines before they harm patients…” (Bloch, 1/11).

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Devex Examines Challenges To WHO Reform, Upcoming Director General Elections

Devex: Election sees WHO’s future role in question
“…Ultimately, who leads WHO will have a consequential impact not just on the organization but on all of global health. At the same time, the incoming director general will face significant constraints on her or his ability to reform the agency, which has both a notoriously sclerotic bureaucracy and a budget that is too small for its global mandate and overwhelmed with earmarks. In interviews with Devex, over a dozen current and former senior officials from WHO, the U.S. and other governments, and global health experts discussed how the organization has lost ground in global health, needs to regain its leadership position, and must strengthen its reputation and independence…” (Loewenberg, 1/12).

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The Guardian Profiles David Nabarro, U.K.'s WHO Director General Candidate

The Guardian: The Briton vying to become the world’s most powerful doctor
“He was the U.N. troubleshooter tasked with galvanizing the world’s response to the Ebola epidemic and led the fight against cholera in Haiti, just as he did earlier against global pandemic flu. So on paper, David Nabarro may seem the ideal candidate to become the world’s most powerful doctor. In practice, the Briton faces a stiff contest, with five other candidates also vying to take over from Margaret Chan in May 2017 as head of the World Health Organization, the troubled U.N. body much criticized for its slow response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak…” (Boseley, 1/12).

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PolitiFact Examines Global Mortality Data For HIV, TB

PolitiFact: Does tuberculosis top HIV/AIDS as the deadlier disease?
“…[In a January 7 opinion piece in The Hill, Harvard student Nick] Seymour said tuberculosis is now a bigger killer than HIV/AIDS. Numbers from the United Nations and the World Health Organization support that, but another equally credible source, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said the death tolls are about the same. The data’s not good enough for highly precise estimates. … The one undisputed point is that death rates are falling faster for HIV/AIDS than for TB. Both sets of data back that up. In that respect, TB is the more threatening infectious disease because the world is having a harder time getting ahead of it. … On balance, we rate this statement Half True” (Greenberg, 1/11).

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Mali Eliminates Guinea Worm Disease, According To Government Figures, Carter Center

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Mali eradicates Guinea worm in global milestone against parasitic disease
“Mali has eliminated Guinea worm disease bringing the world a step closer to eradicating the debilitating parasitic disease that is now only endemic in three African countries, the U.S.-based Carter Center said, citing provisional government figures. Guinea worm afflicted 3.5 million people 30 years ago but is now only endemic in South Sudan, Chad, and Ethiopia, where there were 16 reported cases last year, according to the organization…” (Zweynert, 1/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Donors Should Step Up Funding To Haiti To Address Cholera, WASH Efforts

Thomson Reuters Foundation: What helping Haiti teaches us about global public health
David Nabarro, U.K.’s candidate for director general of the WHO

“…The scale of [effort to respond to the cholera epidemic in Haiti] really does depend on funding, and there remains a serious shortfall in both the response to cholera and the repair of livelihoods following the hurricane. Here are my suggestions to the international community on how we address these issues: Firstly — recognition. … Secondly — reassurance. … Third — a request. … Funds are sorely needed … As executor for a trust fund set up by the U.N., I am responsible to ensure all funds we receive are used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Over the next three years, we will require at least $400M to support the Haiti Cholera Response. We not only ensure that donors have a say in how the funds are used, but we will also ensure that funds are properly applied to both the cholera response and to enabling all Haitians to have access to drinkable water and sanitation. Pressures on donor countries to top-up the coffers of humanitarian agencies working in war situations are important and well understood. But the needs of the people of Haiti … are less well documented. They need and deserve our attention: they rely on the support we are able to afford them” (1/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Highlights 3 New Members Of 115th Congress's Senate HELP Committee

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: 115th Congress and Global Health: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions gets three new members
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights three new members of the 115th Congress’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which “oversees most of the agencies, institutes, and programs of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Administration on Aging, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.” The highlighted members include Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.) (1/11).

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From the U.S. Government

In Farewell Address, President Obama Highlights U.S. Foreign Policy Successes, Areas For Continued Efforts

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: President Obama Highlights Foreign Policy Achievements In Farewell Address
This blog post discusses President Obama’s January 10 farewell address and highlights his remarks on foreign policy and global issues. Those issues include climate change; challenges and threats to democracy and national security; the importance of the U.S. military, intelligence community, and law enforcement; and the importance of remaining engaged in global human rights efforts (1/11).

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U.S. State Department Official Discusses 4 Multilateral Investments To Continue Into 2017, Beyond

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Four Worthy Multilateral Investments for 2017 and Beyond
Tracey A. Jacobson, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the U.S. State Department, discusses the U.S. role at the U.N. and highlights four multilateral investments made by the Obama administration that should continue under the next administration, including efforts to protect human rights, commitments to address humanitarian challenges, investments in U.N. peacekeeping, and sustaining progress on LGBTI rights (1/11).

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