KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

In Exit Memo, USAID Administrator Smith Says Future U.S. Global Development Efforts Require 'Hard Work Ahead'

Devex: In exit memo to Obama, USAID chief points to ‘hard work ahead’
“In a cabinet exit memo delivered to President Barack Obama on Thursday, outgoing U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith pointed to eight years of progress but warned advancing U.S. global development efforts will require ‘hard work ahead.’ Smith, who will vacate her position when President-elect Donald Trump takes office on Jan. 20, listed six recommendations for ‘building the USAID the world needs’…” (Igoe, 1/5).

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U.N. SG Guterres, U.S. President-Elect Trump Have 'Very Positive Discussion' In Introductory Phone Call, U.N. Spokesperson Says

Reuters: After disparaging United Nations, Trump and new U.N. chief talk
“New United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres spoke with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday, and the two had ‘a very positive discussion on U.S./U.N. relations,’ said a U.N. spokesman, a week after Trump slammed the world body on Twitter. Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister and U.N. refugee chief who began his five-year term on Sunday, spoke by phone with Trump, who will take office on Jan. 20, said U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq…” (Nichols/Heavey, 1/4).

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CDC Director Frieden Reflects On Time At Agency Before Resigning On January 20

Medscape: CDC’s Tom Frieden, MD, Looks Back on the Work of Saving Lives
“In a changing of the federal guard, Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, intends to submit his resignation as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) once President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20. Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, the 56-year-old Dr. Frieden has headed the CDC longer than any of his predecessors except for the late David Sencer, MD, who served from 1966 to 1977. … Looking at his tenure as CDC director, Dr. Frieden said the agency … help[ed] Americans to be safer and healthier. The CDC did so not only by putting out infectious disease fires such as Ebola but also by quietly strengthening the infrastructure of public health both here and abroad…” (Lowes, 1/6).

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ONE Campaign Expresses Concern Over Increases In Humanitarian Aid Spending For In-Country Refugees Instead Of Migration's Root Causes

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Charities alarmed as aid spending shifts from poor countries to refugees
“…Official development assistance (ODA) reached a record $131.4 billion in 2015, a rise of 6.6 percent in real terms from 2014, according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) figures released on Wednesday. Of that total, $12.1 billion was spent on hosting and processing refugees in rich countries — around double the amount spent in the previous year. The Paris-based think tank said the rise in spending on refugees in donor countries did not have a significant impact on development programs because half the donors used money from outside their aid budgets to cover these costs. However … [a]dvocacy group ONE, which campaigns to fight extreme poverty, said rich nations should tackle the root causes of forced migration instead of using aid money to host refugees in their own country…” (Taylor, 1/4).

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Several Humanitarian Aid Groups Look Ahead To 2017 Priorities

Thomson Reuters Foundation: With crises set to worsen, what are aid groups’ priorities for 2017?
“After a year of record humanitarian needs, 2017 looks set to be even more challenging for aid agencies as they brace for the fallout from protracted conflicts and other escalating crises. … The Thomson Reuters Foundation asked [several aid agencies — including UNHCR, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, World Vision, Christian Aid, Norwegian Refugee Council, ActionAid, and Save the Children –] to name their three priorities for 2017…” (Bacchi, 12/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Investment In Global Health Essential To U.S. Diplomacy, Economy, National Security

The Hill: Global health is good business — Trump should get in the prosperity
Chris Collins, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…America’s investment in global health is one area that should stand outside the political fray. … [C]ontinued and increased investment in global health provides an important opportunity to build on bipartisan support, end major epidemics, and realize enormous humanitarian and economic benefits. There are four points to consider as the new president and Congress begin their work. First, it is important to maintain the bipartisan support for global health established over eight Congresses and two presidential administrations. … Second, while the primary goal of global health programs is to save lives, investing in ending epidemics has considerable economic return on investment. … Third, we have been reminded repeatedly by outbreaks such as Zika and Ebola that disease knows no borders. … Finally, investing in global health is an essential part of U.S. diplomacy and national security. … Amid the many controversies today, global health investment stands alone. It saves the lives of millions of men, women, and children every year, and is also one of the best strategic investments we can make in American security and prosperity” (1/5).

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Global Development Community Should Recommit To Continuing Successful Work

Devex: A message from Raj Kumar: ‘Don’t duck’
Raj Kumar, founding president and editor in chief of Devex

“…[G]lobal development is working. We know this and have the data to prove it. Investing in healthier people and societies, in a cleaner more stable planet, in more open and inclusive democracies pays off. … So here’s the question: in an environment of political headwinds, of British tabloids questioning the fundamentals of what we do, should we duck our heads and go about our work quietly? Should we, as many in Washington, D.C., have suggested of late, try to fly under the radar of a new administration? It’s something to think about as we take stock of all we accomplished in 2016 — all the thousands of NGOs large and small, the private sector initiatives, the government and donor agencies, the foundations and institutions that make up the Devex community. If you focus on the big picture, it’s clear that this community — made up of over one million professionals that we have the pleasure to serve at Devex — is on the right side of history. So … ignore the headlines and take the time to recommit to the important work you do…” (12/23).

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In Debate Over Aid Spending, Global Community Must Consider Cost-Effectiveness Of Investing In Prevention

Descrier: Keeping aid agencies on their toes
Margaret Koffman, freelance researcher and development consultant

“In its reviews of the country’s aid spending at the start of December, the British government awarded multinational aid organizations grades based on the ‘value for money’ they offer British taxpayers. … Britain might be among the world’s top donors, but the Conservative Party sees Britain’s charitable spending as a prime target for the chopping block. The [Multilateral Development Review’s] findings have already created consternation in the aid community. … While other aid spending questions may be earning more headlines, the debate between the WHO and the British health community over fighting growing smoking rates in sub-Saharan Africa is exactly the kind of issue where the British government can secure the most savings. … Dealing with tobacco-related illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease will divert already strained aid budgets away from the types of projects that can create long-term growth. Instead of financing durable initiatives, the global community will be called upon to deliver yet more band-aid solutions. This is the lesson global health bodies should understand: an ounce of prevention is worth millions of pounds in cures” (1/5).

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WHO Would Better Communicate Health Messages By Creating New Consumer-Focused Web Site

Devex: Opinion: Should the WHO split in two?
Rick Lesaar, writer with the blog Health and Communications and strategic communications planner at Crabtree + Company

“Directly off the World Health Organization’s home page is a list of over 280 health topics addressed by the agency. They cover a number of diseases you would expect, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, yellow fever, dengue, as well as a number of conditions you might not, such as hearing loss, sunburn, passive smoking, and cellphones. It’s these latter topics that prompt the question: Should the WHO split its online presence in two? … If WHO were to divide and differentially curate its information between two different sites, one attuned for the general public and personal health, and another to researchers and practitioners of public health, it might find more interest, acceptance, and use from both audiences. … A new site could employ a more engaging format with fewer stories, larger graphics, scrolling pages, and more. A site like this might be more appealing to younger viewers, precisely those to target for changes in behavior as opposed to those in need of treatment. … I think this experiment is worth the risk: Do it. Leave the current site unchanged, but create the new site and carefully track its influence and affect, not just its page views. WHO’s mission is so critical that arguably it actually has an obligation to try new approaches and become more effective…” (1/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Brookings Institution Research Collaboration Examines How To Increase Private Sector Investment In Global Health R&D

Brookings Institution: Spurring private investment in global health research and development
Jake Schneider, research assistant at Brookings, John Villasenor, nonresident senior fellow for governance studies and the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings, and Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies and founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings, discuss the importance of “incentivizing investors and pharmaceutical companies to raise their investment in global health R&D.” They write, “A team of researchers in the Center for Technological Innovation at the Brookings Institution, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, recently began a two-year project aimed at finding ways to address this investment shortfall. The project recognizes the need to complement the research on the social returns to global health R&D by examining the potential financial returns to private sector global health R&D investors, and offers policy solutions that can boost those returns.” They note a health governance capacity index is expected to be released in March 2017 and a report on global health R&D spending is set to be published in the summer (1/5).

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CGD Blog Post Highlights Key U.S. Development Policy Questions To Consider During Secretary Of State Nominee Tillerson's Senate Hearings

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: The Tillerson Hearings
Beth Schwanke, director of policy outreach at CGD, discusses key questions regarding U.S. development policy priorities to consider during Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1/5).

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From the U.S. Government

Secretary Of State Kerry Delivers Exit Memo, Discusses Agency's Diplomacy, Development Achievements

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Exit Memo: Secretary Kerry Underscores the Impact of U.S. Global Leadership
This blog post discusses Secretary of State John Kerry’s exit memo, which assesses “the U.S. Department of State’s diplomacy and development achievements during the Obama administration” (1/5).

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Feed The Future's 2016 Review Highlights Impacts Of Initiative's Global Food Security Efforts

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Feed the Future: 2016 Year in Review
This blog post discusses Feed the Future’s progress and achievements in 2016, highlighting the impact of U.S. leadership and partnerships in working to address poverty and hunger through agricultural development and to achieve global food security (12/20).

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