KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CDC To Cut Back Disease Prevention, Surveillance Operations In 39 Foreign Countries Due To Funding Concerns

The Hill: CDC to cut back disease work in foreign countries: report
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to significantly reduce its overseas work to fight disease due to coming funding cutbacks, according to an internal email reported by the Wall Street Journal…” (Sullivan, 1/19).

Wall Street Journal: CDC to Scale Back Work in Dozens of Foreign Countries Amid Funding Worries
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to scale back or discontinue its work to prevent infectious disease epidemics and other health threats in 39 foreign countries because it expects funding for the work to end, the agency told employees. The CDC currently works in 49 countries as part of an initiative called the Global Health Security Agenda, to prevent, detect and respond to dangerous infectious disease threats. … The [funding] package included $582 million in funds to work with countries around the world after the Ebola crisis in 2014 and 2015. But that funding runs out at the end of fiscal 2019. … In an email to U.S. and overseas leaders in its global health center, the CDC said it anticipates that if its funding situation remains the same, it will have to narrow activities to 10 ‘priority countries’ starting in October 2019. … In [the other] 39 countries, the CDC ‘will plan for the completion of its country-based programs,’ transitioning them to other possible funders by October 2020, according to the email…” (McKay, 1/19).

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Women, Health Organizations Worldwide Feel Impact Of Reinstated Mexico City Policy

The Guardian: Trump’s ‘global gag rule’: how women are fighting back — video
“One year after Donald Trump reinstated a ban on U.S. [global health] aid funding for overseas organizations that provide [or discuss] abortion services, opposition is mounting. Rallying under the banner She Decides, women around the world have united to bridge the funding gap created by the U.S. president’s expanded version of the ‘global gag rule,’ which has already forced the closure of hundreds of clinics that provided life-saving family planning services…” (Toussaint-Strauss/Ford, 1/22).

HuffPost: In One Year, Trump Dismantled Reproductive Rights Around The World
“Women’s health clinics from Iowa to Kenya have been forced to close their doors. International nonprofits have lost the ability to provide birth control, HIV testing, and fistula surgeries in the poorest communities around the world. … In a single year, President Donald Trump has already decimated reproductive rights and access to family planning in the U.S. and around the globe. He reinstated and massively expanded the Global Gag Rule, restricting $8.8 billion in U.S. foreign aid funding for international health programs that provide or even mention abortion. He defunded the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a global maternal health organization that provides contraception and pregnancy care to low-income women in 150 countries…” (Bassett, 1/20).

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U.S. Foreign Aid Saves Lives, Trump Administration Wrong To Cut Back, Melinda Gates Says

Financial Times: Melinda Gates hits out at Trump’s ‘alarming’ immigration views
“Melinda Gates has lashed out at President Donald Trump’s description of immigrants from Haiti and Africa as originating from ‘shithole’ countries, with the philanthropist and former Microsoft executive describing the widely reported comments as ‘alarming in every way.’ … Moreover, Mr. Trump’s comments are accompanied by what the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believes is a strategic mistake by the administration to cut aid budgets as part of its ‘America First’ foreign policy. ‘To see an administration pull back … and not invest in the rest of the world, we just don’t think that’s the right direction,’ she says. ‘It is deeply concerning to Bill and me when we see a zero in the family planning line coming from this administration or cuts in foreign aid, when we know … foreign aid saves lives and is changing lives’…” (Donnan, 1/23).

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Guinea Worm Disease Close To Eradication, Carter Center Report Shows

Associated Press: World moves closer to eradicating Guinea worm disease
“A new report says the world is moving closer to eradicating Guinea worm disease … The U.S.-based Carter Center, which leads the eradication campaign, says just 30 cases were reported last year in isolated areas of Ethiopia and Chad. All 15 cases in Ethiopia occurred at a farm where workers drank unfiltered water from a contaminated pond…” (1/20).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Carter Center working to kill this disease
“…The nonprofit targeted the parasitical disease in 21 countries of Africa and Asia in 1986 and took a leadership role to make it happen. If successful, it will be only the second disease in history, after smallpox, to be eradicated. … In 2017, only 20 villages in two African countries provisionally reported cases of Guinea worm disease…” (Quinn, 1/19).

VOA News: U.S. Group: Eradication of Painful Guinea Worm Disease in Sight
“…Mali has not reported any cases of the disease in 25 months, while South Sudan, has not reported any cases in 13 months. The Carter Center labels those achievements by the two African countries as ‘major accomplishments.’ There is no known vaccine or medicine to control Guinea worm disease. It is eradicated by educating people on how to filter and drink clean water…” (1/20).

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U.K. To End Aid Package To Kenya's Drought-Hit Communities In 2024

The Guardian: Cuts to U.K. aid: package to drought-hit Kenya to end in 2024
“British funding of a 10-year-old aid package to drought-hit communities in Kenya is to end in 2024 as part of a new economic partnership with the country, the international development secretary has told the Guardian. The £143m program, which has helped 600,000 vulnerable people in emergencies via direct cash transfers — a system criticized by some Conservatives as the equivalent of exporting the dole — is the first U.K. aid project of its kind that will be wholly taken over by a government in Africa…” (McVeigh, 1/22).

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CARE International Report Examines Most Underreported Humanitarian Crises Of 2017, Reasons For Lack Of Attention

Devex: CARE reveals 2017’s most underreported humanitarian crises — so how can we shape media coverage?
“What makes a humanitarian crisis worthy of media attention? It is a question CARE International asked when analyzing more than 1.2 million global media reports on 40 natural disasters and conflicts affecting at least a million people. In their new report, Suffering in Silence, they not only identify the 10 most underreported humanitarian crises of 2017 but the reasons behind it — with lack of humanitarian and media access, competing natural disasters, and conflicting crises among the key reasons for certain humanitarian stories to fly largely under the radar of public and political attention…” (Cornish, 1/22).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Brazilian state decrees emergency over yellow fever outbreak (1/21).

Devex: What will it take to eliminate pneumonia deaths in children? (Lieberman, 1/22).

Financial Times: India ‘at a turning point’ to tackle pervasive child malnutrition (Kazmin, 1/21).

Forbes: Gates Foundation Funds Research For New Synthetic Malaria Vaccine (Kite-Powell, 1/19).

NPR: What Today’s Headlines About Famine Get Wrong (Aizenman, 1/19).

U.N. News Centre: Amid unprecedented needs, U.N., aid partners launch largest consolidated humanitarian appeal for Yemen (1/21).

Washington Post: Pakistan is close to eradicating polio. A double slaying shows the grim challenges still in the way. (Constable, 1/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Advocates Continue Work To Ensure Women's Health, Rights

HuffPost: Trump’s Attacks On Women Worldwide Mean The Resistance Is Global
Latanya Mapp Frett, executive director of Planned Parenthood Global

“One year ago, on the heels of the largest day of protest in U.S. history and a truly global moment of solidarity on women’s rights, the newly inaugurated president resurrected and radically expanded the harmful global gag rule, a policy that puts politics between a patient and her provider. … This policy would prove to be the first in several sustained attacks on women around the world by this administration. … The attacks on women have been relentless and global in nature. But so, too, has been the resistance. … Planned Parenthood has been working with our partners in D.C. and around the world as well as with our allies in Congress to successfully resist efforts to codify the global gag rule and cuts to international family planning — but the fight continues. One year ago on Monday, January 23, following the vim and vigor of the Women’s March, the president took a pen and signed a death warrant for millions of women around the world. He tried to silence them, to silence us. We won’t be gagged and we certainly won’t be silent” (1/19).

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Trump Administration Has 'Striking Record' Of Anti-LGBT Actions, Harming Health, Human Rights Worldwide

The Hill: Trump administration amasses striking anti-LGBT record in first year
Sean Cahill, director of health policy research at the Fenway Institute

“…[T]he Trump administration … amass[ed] a striking record of executive branch actions that strip LGBT people of nondiscrimination protections. … Some of Trump’s anti-LGBT actions are symbolically important, like not declaring June LGBT Pride Month, as Presidents Obama and Clinton did, and not mentioning gay and bisexual men or transgender women — groups disproportionately burdened by HIV here and globally — in his World AIDS Day declaration. But as documented in a new policy brief by the Fenway Institute, most are much more serious. … A proposed [nearly $1 billion] cut to global HIV prevention and treatment would cause thousands of adults and children to lose treatment, and many would die. Progress cutting new global HIV infections in half over the past 15 years would be reversed. Trump has also reversed American leadership to promote an end to anti-LGBT persecution around the world…” (1/19).

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Strengthening Countries' Capacity To Address Seasonal Influenza Vital To Preventing Emerging Pandemics

Scientific American: Preparing for the Next Influenza Pandemic
Joseph Bresee, pediatrician, associate director for global health in the Influenza Division at the CDC, and director of the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction at the Task Force for Global Health; and Mark McKinlay, director of the Center for Vaccine Equity at the Task Force for Global Health

“…[To create t]he best defense against the ongoing burden of seasonal epidemics and the threat of the next pandemic, we need to solve two problems: a science problem and a capacity problem. The science problem is to create better influenza vaccines. … However, as the work to develop better vaccines progresses, it is essential that countries develop the programs to deliver and administer the vaccines. This is the ‘capacity’ problem, and while not glamorous, may be even more urgent. … The best foundation for an effective system to respond to the next pandemic is a robust, seasonal influenza immunization program in all countries. … Building routine seasonal influenza vaccination programs can provide a country the annual benefits of reducing their influenza burden, and also build critical capacity to protect their populations from the next pandemic or other emerging epidemic threats. This work needs to expand and accelerate in parallel with the development of better vaccines, given the unpredictable timing of the next great pandemic” (1/19).

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Global Community Must Reassess Private Funding For Development To Achieve SDGs

Devex: Opinion: We had high hopes for private finance and the SDGs. Was our optimism unfounded?
Nancy Lee, visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development

“Many were optimistic when the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 that the private sector — and domestic resource mobilization — would fund much of the investment needed to achieve these goals — especially as public aid flows stagnate. As 2018 begins, we would do well to reassess these optimistic projections for private finance for development, and ask are the ‘billions to trillions’ materializing? The data and trends to date are far from encouraging. … Many changes will be necessary, but I would highlight two as fundamental: First, greater risk tolerance and lowered expectations for risk-adjusted returns, and second, a major cultural shift to encourage collaboration rather than competition among the [multilateral development banks (MDBs)]. … Current data do not suggest that private investment of sufficient scale will emerge under the status quo, or that poor countries have a real chance to capture a larger share” (1/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Global Health Innovation Act

Office of Congressman Albio Sires: Congressman Sires’ Global Health Resolution Passes House of Representatives
“…Specifically, H.R. 1660 will provide the oversight needed to gain a clearer picture of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) global health research and development. Over the years, research and development projects have greatly expanded at USAID, searching for advancements towards an HIV- and AIDS-free generation, preventable maternal and childhood deaths, and preventable infectious diseases. H.R. 1660 directs the USAID administrator to report to Congress on the development and use of global health innovations in USAID programs, projects, and activities, ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being spent in the most efficient and effective ways possible…” (1/19).

Global Health Technologies Coalition: GHTC welcomes House passage of the Global Health Innovation Act
“The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) welcomes [Thursday’s] passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Global Health Innovation Act (H.R. 1660), a bipartisan bill that will strengthen efforts by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop lifesaving drugs, vaccines, and other health technologies for people in need around the world…” (1/19).

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MFAN Recommendations On M&E Incorporated Into Accountability Guidance For U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: MFAN Recommendations Embedded in New Accountability Guidance for U.S. Aid Agencies
In a statement delivered on behalf of MFAN, MFAN co-chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette highlight MFAN recommendations that were incorporated into OMB-released “guidelines that set standards pertaining to monitoring, evaluation, and learning for all U.S. foreign assistance agencies.” The co-chairs state, “The OMB process has produced sound policy guidance, however, MFAN remains concerned about the need to maintain proper staffing and resources in order to carry out these important measures. MFAN looks forward to continuing to work with OMB, aid agencies, and Congress throughout the implementation of this new guidance” (1/19).

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Blog Post Outlines Reasons Why Foreign Aid 'Dying Industry,' Finance Important To Development's Future

Brookings Institution’s “Future Development”: The end of aid
Indermit Gill, director of the Duke Center for International Development at the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, discusses the reasons why he feels “foreign aid is a dying industry,” noting he thinks “international aid will end before extreme poverty is eradicated”; “aid flows to Africa have already peaked”; and “development’s future is finance, not foreign aid.” The “blog post is the fourth of a four-part series about the year ahead in economic development, including topics on improving capitalism, the future of mobility, and global growth forecasts” (1/19).

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FT Health Discusses Evidence-Based Global Health Decisions, Features Interview With Harvard's Larry Summers

FT Health: Evidence must trump belief
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses how global health decisions should be made based on evidence rather than “personal belief,” as well as features an interview with Larry Summers, professor at Harvard and co-chair of Michael Bloomberg’s Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health. The newsletter also provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 1/19).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Administrator Highlights USAID's Foreign Assistance Efforts

USAID/Medium: USAID Transforms
USAID Administrator Mark Green discusses the agency’s foreign assistance efforts, writing, “[A]s USAID administrator, I have the privilege of seeing, each and every day, how USAID is helping to transform the world  —  whether by preventing the next global epidemic, responding to a devastating earthquake, or helping a farmer access the tools she needs to grow her business. I believe that the purpose of foreign assistance must be to end the need for its existence. Our goal should be transformed lives  –  countries, communities, and people that are self-reliant and prosperous” (1/18).

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