KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump Expected To Sign Executive Orders To Withdraw From TPP, Reinstate Mexico City Policy, CNN Reports

CNN: Trump to withdraw from TPP, reinstate ‘Mexico City policy’ on abortion
“President Donald Trump on Monday will start to unravel the behemoth trade deal he inherited from his predecessor, as two sources familiar with the matter told CNN he plans to sign an executive order to withdraw from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. … Two other sources told CNN that other executive orders planned for Monday included reinstating the Mexico City abortion rules … The executive order on TPP is expected to be the first Trump will issue Monday, a senior White House official said, and will amount to the administration’s first major action on foreign policy…” (Diamond et al., 1/23).

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Group Of U.S. Republican Senators Introduce Resolution Asking President Trump To Reinstate Mexico City Policy, Expressing Desire For Permanent Statute

St. George News: Senators ask Trump to restrict family planning aid to foreign countries
“A group of Republican U.S. senators, including Utah Sen. Mike Lee, introduced a resolution Friday to permanently establish a statute that would prevent foreign aid [for family planning purposes from] going to any organization that provides or promotes abortion as an option for family planning, asking President Donald Trump to immediately reapply the Reagan-era policy. Lee joined Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Ted Cruz of Texas, John Cornyn of Texas, and Rand Paul of Kentucky to introduce a modernized version of President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 ‘Mexico City policy’…” (1/22).

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Experts At Brookings Institution's Foresight Africa Panel Discuss Trump Administration's Possible Impacts On Africa

Devex: Development experts debate Trump’s likely impact on Africa
“Development experts at the annual Foresight Africa panel hosted by the Brookings Institution believe development and business opportunities for President Trump’s administration in Africa are vast, ranging from technology and infrastructure to road creation and renewable energy. But they also said it is too early to know exactly what the Trump administration’s priorities are regarding the continent. … Fears around Trump’s plans in Africa increased drastically with the recent publication in the New York Times of a four-page questionnaire from his transition team to the State Department that posed questions such as, ‘Is PEPFAR worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?’…” (Roby, 1/23).

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Devex Examines 5 Development-Related Stories To Follow Under Trump Administration

Devex: 5 development stories to watch in the Trump era
“Donald Trump’s Friday inauguration ushers in a new era in American development policy — one currently shrouded in uncertainty. U.S. aid agencies have yet to see a landing team from the administration, and Trump himself has given few clues as to his policy, though his nominees for key posts as secretary of state and the ambassador to the U.N. have hinted at what may come in their confirmation hearings. … Against this backdrop Devex is looking ahead at what some of the big storylines are as Trump takes the reins — and what the global development community should be watching as the next four years unfold. 1. Climate change and energy. … 2. The national security-development nexus. … 3. Women and girls. … 4. U.S. role in multinational institutions. … 5. Africa’s growth…” (Saldinger, 1/20).

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Bill Gates, Ray Chambers Launch End Malaria Council To Build Political Will, Mobilize Resources, Support Innovation To Eliminate Disease

Devex: Gates doubles down on malaria eradication with influential new group
“[Friday marked] the launch of the End Malaria Council, a group of influential public and private sector leaders committed to eradicating malaria, convened by Bill Gates and Ray Chambers. … Through this new council, they will mobilize the voices and networks of members around three areas, according to the announcement: ‘building political will, mobilizing resources, and supporting the development of new tools to find, prevent, and treat malaria’…” (Cheney, 1/20).

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NPR Examines Use Of Impact Evaluations Among Health, Development Aid Programs

NPR: How Do You Know If Aid Really Works? Turns Out … We Often Don’t
“…[F]or decades, questions [of aid effectiveness] have been left unanswered. Instead health and development aid for the world’s poorest has largely been designed based on what seems reasonable, rather than what can be proved with hard evidence. Since the early 2000s, however, a growing movement of social science researchers have been pushing policymakers to do ‘impact evaluations’ of their programs. That’s a phrase used in the world of aid that means checking whether your program is achieving its ultimate objective — say raising incomes or reducing disease…” (Aizenman, 1/21).

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WTO Agreement Allowing Developing Countries To Import Generic Medicines Takes Effect

Reuters: WTO deal on importing generic medicines comes into force
“A World Trade Organization agreement allowing poor countries to import generic medicines came into force on Monday, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo told Reuters, after the deal reached the required two-thirds support of WTO members…” (Miles, 1/23).

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New York Times Examines History Of DDT For Malaria Prevention

New York Times: Rachel Carson, DDT, and the Fight Against Malaria
“…[I]n a new offering from Retro Report, [the New York Times presents] a series of video documentaries examining major news events of the past and their continued resonance. Several interwoven threads shape this installment: the global battle against malaria; the nationwide ban on almost all uses of DDT that the EPA imposed in 1972; and the work of Rachel Carson, who became a guiding spirit of the modern environmental movement with her groundbreaking 1962 best seller ‘Silent Spring.’ … The reality is that the American ban on DDT did not extend to other nations, although some later enacted their own prohibitions. For that matter, the pesticide was not completely banished in the United States or elsewhere; the EPA declared it acceptable if public health was at risk. And despite a decline in its effectiveness because of overuse, it remains a valued anti-malaria tool in many countries, principally for spraying indoors, where its potency is enhanced and its impact on nature is kept low…” (Haberman, 1/22).

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Editorials and Opinions

Continued U.S. Leadership In Global Health Can Help 'Make America Great Again'

Huffington Post: How Can President Elect Donald Trump ‘Make America Great Again?’
Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH

“…By fostering healthier, more prosperous communities, [programs like the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)] create a safer and more secure world. This is fundamental to American global leadership and key to our national interest. … If anything, we should consider doing more, not less. … Even in this period of uncertainty and polarization, I believe we all still share a few basic beliefs. One is that healthier societies are more stable, more productive, and more secure. Another is that a primary role of government is to do all that it can to ensure that every child is born with a reasonable chance to live a healthy and productive life. Continued American leadership in global health and development is a powerful way to realize both of these beliefs — here and abroad. I can’t imagine a more effective way to put America first than this” (1/20).

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Reinstating Mexico City Policy Could Undo Reproductive Health Progress For Women Worldwide

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Trust a grandmother: Trump’s chance to learn from gag rule’s past mistakes
Judy Kahrl, member of the Board of Directors of Pathfinder International and founder of Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (GRR)

“…With the stroke of a pen, President Donald Trump may undo vital reproductive health progress by imposing the global ‘gag rule’ — a punitive, short-sighted measure which has dire implications for millions of women around the world. The global gag rule denies foreign organizations which receive U.S. family planning assistance the right to use their own funding to provide services, referrals, or even information related to legal abortion. This means even in countries where abortion is permitted by law, local health practitioners who receive U.S. funds are prohibited from mentioning abortion as a medical option to their patients … If President Trump brings back the gag rule (also known as the Mexico City policy), clinics overseas, many in remote and impoverished areas, may have to choose between receiving U.S. aid or providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. … We cannot turn back the clock on women around the world…” (1/22).

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U.S. President Trump, Congress Should Take Steps To Fulfill 'Several Pro-Life Actions'

The Hill: Time for Trump to make good on his pro-life promises
Melanie Israel, research associate for the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society

“…President Trump can take several pro-life actions now that he sits inside the Oval Office. For starters, he could reinstate the Mexico City policy … Potential pro-life action for the Trump administration is by no means limited to executive orders or HHS policymaking. Under the Kemp-Kasten amendment, President Trump has the authority to withhold funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) … The new administration can also commit to enforcing the Helms amendment and other longstanding prohibitions on funding abortion in international programs. More broadly, it can ensure that every government agency involved with the federal grant process does not discriminate against faith-based, life-affirming organizations. … As the March for Life gathers this week, pro-life leaders are hopeful that their voices will be heard and have new impact as a new administration and new Congress get to work” (1/22).

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Next WHO Director General Should Exhibit Decisive Leadership, Restore Confidence In Agency

STAT: Here’s how the next director general can rebuild the World Health Organization
Ed Whiting, director of policy and chief of staff at Wellcome

“…Here are several qualities we believe the new [WHO] director general needs to have, along with several actions the WHO should take to recapture the world’s confidence. First and foremost, the WHO needs more effective political leadership to regain trust. … The WHO must also strengthen its unique role in alerting the world to health emergencies and coordinating the responses to them. … The WHO should lead the fight for access to innovative health care for all. … Clear, decisive leadership on all of the above will go a long way to restoring confidence in the WHO — a vital prerequisite to attracting the financial support the organization so desperately needs. … The next director general should also make a greater effort to better develop the WHO’s relationships with civic society and the private sector … The arrival of a new director general in a few months offers an opportunity for reform that the WHO must put to good use” (1/23).

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WHO Should Break 'African-Leadership Glass Ceiling,' Elect Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus As Next Director General

Project Syndicate: Breaking the WHO’s Glass Ceiling
Peter A. Singer, chief executive officer of Grand Challenges Canada, and Jill W. Sheffield, independent consultant and advocate for women’s health and rights

“…[W]e believe that [Tedros Adhanom] Ghebreyesus is the most qualified person for the job [of WHO director general]. Our endorsement is based on three considerations that are important in any hiring process, and especially for a position such as this: the candidate’s past achievements, leadership style, and the diversity that he or she brings to the table. … [Ghebreyesus’s] is precisely the kind of experience and expertise that the WHO needs in today’s global health environment, and it explains why the African Union has officially endorsed Ghebreyesus’s candidacy. Amazingly, in its almost 70-year history, the WHO has never had a director general from Africa. This fact alone is not a reason to pick a candidate; but in Ghebreyesus’s case, his direct experience working in developing countries makes him uniquely qualified to tackle our toughest global health problems, which tend to hit developing countries the hardest. It is time to break the WHO’s African-leadership glass ceiling. Sustainable development is truly achievable only when leaders of global institutions are from the communities most affected by those institutions’ work. Ghebreyesus’s candidacy presents the WHO with an historic opportunity, which its Executive Board should seize on January 25” (1/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Newly Launched CEPI Focuses On 'Critical Part' Of Preparing For Emerging Epidemics, Bill Gates Writes

Gates Notes: Preparing for the Next Epidemic: A First Step
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses how the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) could help contain future epidemics, writing, “CEPI’s focus on vaccine development is a critical part of getting prepared for whatever pathogens threaten us next. … My great hope for CEPI is that it will help enable the world to produce safe, effective vaccines as quickly as a new threat … emerges…” (1/18).

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