KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Secretary Of State Tillerson Defends Trump Administration's Proposed Diplomatic, Foreign Aid Budget Cuts In Senate Committee Hearings

Associated Press/New York Times: Tillerson Faces Strong Pushback on Diplomatic Budget Cuts
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson faced harsh bipartisan criticism on Tuesday as he tried to defend the Trump administration’s proposed slashing of America’s diplomatic and foreign aid budget. Testifying before two Senate committees, Tillerson faced tough questions about the administration’s proposal to cut funding for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development by more than 31 percent in the fiscal year beginning in October…” (6/13).

CQ News: Tillerson Says He Still Believes in Paris Pact, But Backs Trump
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has previously backed the U.S. staying in the Paris climate agreement, told lawmakers on Tuesday that his views have ‘never changed’ but that he respects President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the international accord aimed at slowing global warming.​ … Tillerson indicated he still believed the U.S. should have kept a seat at the table but that he was not able to sway the president…” (Nawaguna, 6/13).

Devex: Senators promise rewrite of Trump’s foreign aid budget in hearings
“Senators dismissed United States President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to foreign assistance in two hearings on Tuesday, with members from both parties promising to not use the White House proposals as a guide in 2018 appropriations for aid. Members of both the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations made it clear that the budget Congress puts forward is likely to look quite different from the administration’s proposals…” (Saldinger, 6/14).

New York Times: Will Cuts Hurt Diplomacy? Tillerson Tries to Ease Senate’s Worries
“…Senators repeatedly asked whether issues such as the promotion of human rights, the protection of democracy, the campaign against human trafficking, or efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons were priorities for the administration. Mr. Tillerson assured the lawmakers that they were. But Republican and Democratic senators pressed a fundamental question: How can the Trump administration say it champions those efforts if it is cutting budgets for a range of important diplomatic initiatives — and eliminating others outright? Each time, Mr. Tillerson patiently answered that priorities should not be judged only by dollars spent…” (Harris, 6/13).

Washington Post: Senators sharply question State Department budget cuts
“… ‘Throughout my career I have never believed, or experienced, that the level of funding devoted to a goal is the most important factor in achieving it,’ said Tillerson, former chief executive of ExxonMobil. ‘Our budget will never determine our ability to be effective — our people will.’ Several other high-profile hearings were underway while Tillerson was on the hot seat, and most senators wandered away after grilling the top diplomat. In part, that was an acknowledgment that the money Congress ultimately allocates to the State Department is going to be higher than the administration ­requested…” (Morello/Gearan, 6/13).

VOA News: Tillerson Defends Proposed Cuts to Diplomacy, Foreign Aid Programs
“…[Senate Foreign Relations] Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Republican, predicted Trump’s budget proposal would not remain intact as it makes its way through Congress. ‘The budget that’s been presented is not going to be the budget that we’re going to deal with,’ Corker said. Tillerson told lawmakers a review of the State Department and USAID is underway to determine how to reorganize them. He said the review would be completed at the end of 2017…” (6/13).

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Devex Publishes 2nd Part Of Series Examining How Mexico City Policy Will Impact Family Planning, Reproductive Health Activities Of Colombia's Profamilia

Devex: ‘Global gag rule’ hampers reproductive health actors in rural Colombia
“Around the world, women’s health care providers and those they serve are bracing for the impact of the ‘global gag rule.’ But what does the policy look like on the ground from the perspective of those running soon-to-be cut programs? And how will the women who count on such programs get by? To find out, Devex spent a week with the rural teams of Profamilia, Colombia’s largest family planning provider. This is the second of a three-part series…” (Rogers, 6/14).

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WHO Confirms Vaccine-Derived Polio Cases In DR Congo In 2 Separate Clusters

CIDRAP News: WHO reports 2 polio clusters in the DRC, new details in Syria
“The World Health Organization (WHO) [Tuesday] said two separate circulating vaccine-derived polio clusters have been detected in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as it also revealed new details about a similar outbreak in a conflict-ridden area of Syria. Health officials there are following up on three confirmed cases and 58 cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP)…” (Schnirring, 6/13).

Reuters: WHO confirms Congo polio outbreaks in new eradication setback
“…Like the Syrian outbreak, the four Congolese cases were caused by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2, which emerges in areas with only patchy vaccine coverage after being excreted by people who have been vaccinated…” (Miles, 6/13).

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Cholera Outbreak Grows In Yemen; Resurgence Of Disease Linked To Malnutrition, Conflict

CNN: Yemen cholera outbreak grows, with children bearing brunt
“A cholera outbreak in war-torn Yemen continues to spread at a rapid pace. Over 124,000 cases have been recorded as of Tuesday, with 923 people — a quarter of them children — dead in the current outbreak, the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a statement Tuesday…” (Scutti, 6/13).

Humanosphere: Global spread of cholera amid famine are symptoms of political collapse
“The world is witnessing a resurgence of cholera accompanying several hunger crises that threaten more than 20 million people in four countries. Some 100,000 people are estimated to be sick with the water-borne, often fatal bacterial disease in war-torn Yemen. Cholera outbreaks have also struck Nigeria, South Sudan, and Somalia in the past year…” (Murphy, 6/13).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Cholera rages across Yemen, one child infected every minute: charity
“…Thousands of people could die in the coming months with up to 300,000 cases predicted [in Yemen], Save the Children said, adding that the infection rate had tripled in a fortnight. Two years of civil war, near-famine conditions, and a lack of access to clean water have exacerbated the spread of cholera…” (Batha, 6/13).

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With More Than 1K Deaths From Meningitis This Year, Nigeria Warns Disease Could Spread Due To Vaccine Shortage

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Nigeria prey to more deadly meningitis outbreaks amid vaccine shortage
“Hit by one of its deadliest meningitis outbreaks in years, with more than 1,000 deaths, Nigeria could struggle to contain future epidemics due to a shortage of vaccines, health experts said. Africa’s most populous country has recorded about 14,500 suspected cases and at least 1,150 deaths so far this year — up from 33 in 2016 — in two-thirds of its 36 states, said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)…” (Guilbert, 6/13).

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1.4M People In Europe, Central Asia Die Prematurely Due To Polluted Environments; At Ministerial Conference, U.N. Agencies Urge More Action

U.N. News Centre: Polluted environments kill 1.4 million in Europe annually; U.N. agencies urge stepped-up action
“As some 1.4 million people in Europe and Central Asia die prematurely each year from polluted environments, United Nations agency heads at high-level meeting call for regional leaders to scale up action to stem environmental deaths and diseases. ‘In the era of Sustainable Development, we can prevent the 1.4 million environment related deaths by making health a political choice across all government sectors,’ said Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, World Health Organization regional director for Europe (WHO/Europe), at the opening of the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Ostrava, Czech Republic…” (6/13).

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More Than 10% Of World Obese, IHME Study Examining 195 Countries Shows

New York Times: More Than 10 Percent of World’s Population Is Obese, Study Finds
“More than 10 percent of the world’s population is now obese, a marked rise over the last 30 years that is leading to widespread health problems and millions of premature deaths, according to a new study, the most comprehensive research done on the subject. Published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study showed that the problem had swept the globe, including regions that have historically had food shortages, like Africa. The study, compiled by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and funded by the Gates Foundation, looked at 195 countries, essentially the world’s population, finding that rates of obesity at least doubled in 73 countries — including Turkey, Venezuela, and Bhutan — from 1980 to 2015, and ‘continuously increased in most other countries’…” (Richtel, 6/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Must Maintain Foreign Assistance To Help End Preventable Maternal, Child Deaths

The Hill: Cutting foreign aid is a mistake — and the consequences will be severe
Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

“…A lot of people may look at foreign assistance and think it’s a waste of money. That’s simply not true. In fact, because of the U.S. commitment to reducing the child mortality rate, an estimated 100 million children have been saved since 1990. Additionally, maternal mortality rates have dropped 44 percent. … With simple, cost effective interventions — like immunizations; treatment for diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria; and improved sanitation — millions of children are alive today that otherwise wouldn’t be. … By slashing our foreign aid budget, we risk undoing 30 years of remarkable progress. We are at the point of being able to end preventable maternal and child deaths in low-income countries if we wanted to. The treatments are there; it’s just the political will that is missing. … As we prepare to discuss the fiscal year 2018 federal budget, I’d like my colleagues in Congress to focus on how to make vaccines and other life-saving interventions available to more kids in the world…” (6/13).

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Rotary International's Leadership In Polio Eradication Efforts Serves As Example For Global Community

Medium: Thinking Locally and Acting Globally: The Amazing Legacy of Rotary International
Chris Elias, president of global development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Today, thanks to the hard work and the leadership of more than a million Rotarians around the world, we are rapidly approaching one of the greatest achievements in human history: the eradication of polio. … As the world nears the end of the fight against polio, it’s fitting that we return to the same forum that launched Rotary’s global focus on eradication: the annual Rotary International Convention … [Monday], I joined Rotarians at the convention, and it’s clear to me that they remain as fiercely committed as ever to seeing the end of this disease. … While some in Washington today are urging cuts in foreign aid  –  investments that amount to less than one percent of the U.S. budget  –  these new pledges [of $1.2 billion made at the conference] send a strong signal to the world: investing in children’s health is worth it and makes us all better off. And there is so much more we can accomplish by continuing to support critical programs. In fact, we can reduce child deaths another 50 percent by 2030 if the United States and other governments continue to invest in vaccines, maternal and newborn health, and the prevention and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria…” (6/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Study Examining U.S. President's Malaria Initiative Provides Evidence For Health Aid Effectiveness

PLOS Medicine: The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and under-5 child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: A difference-in-differences analysis
Aleksandra Jakubowski, PhD candidate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues examine the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) using a difference-in-differences analysis “to determine whether the trends in health outcomes in PMI-recipient countries differed significantly from the trends in these outcomes in PMI non-recipient countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over the past two decades. … The study provides evidence that introduction of PMI was associated with significant reductions in child mortality in SSA, primarily through increased access to malaria prevention technologies” (6/13).

PLOS Medicine: Malaria control adds to the evidence for health aid effectiveness
Eran Bendavid, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University, discusses the effectiveness of foreign aid for malaria control, examining the study by Jakubowski and colleagues. Bendavid writes, “U.S. foreign aid for health has arguably been the single most important driver of the last 20 years’ health improvements in developing countries. … The U.S.-financed retreat of malaria now adds to the pantheon of global health achievements. In this issue of PLOS Medicine, Aleksandra Jakubowski and colleagues provide an independent evaluation of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative that adds meaningful evidence to the literature on health aid effectiveness” (6/13).

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CGD's 'Voices Of Experience' Event Speaks With 3 Former U.S. Treasury Under Secretaries For International Affairs About Economic Policies

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: A Bipartisan View from Three Former Treasury Officials
Gailyn Portelance, a research assistant at CGD, discusses takeaways from a CGD event where “three former Treasury Under Secretaries for International Affairs took the stage: Tim Adams of the Institute of International Finance, Lael Brainard of the Federal Reserve, and Nathan Sheets of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The conversation, moderated by CGD Board Member Tony Fratto, revealed the ‘esprit de corps’ of the International Affairs team, and covered everything from the central yet oft under-the-radar role the Office of International Affairs plays in the formulation and execution of international economic policy, to each Under Secretaries’ proudest moments. … [T]he event highlighted significant policy continuity across administrations and a nonpartisan approach to key decisions” (6/13).

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Global Fund Continues To Support Global Health Innovations To Curb HIV, TB, Malaria Epidemics

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: Innovations Helping Global Fund Curb Epidemics
John McMannis, communications manager at Friends of the Global Fight, discusses several Global Fund-supported innovations in global health, including a mobile app that aims to assist community outreach workers; a pharmacy dispensing unit that provides antiretroviral drugs to people with HIV; an online purchasing platform that aims to streamline procurement operations, optimize costs, and support countries transitioning out of Global Fund financing; and a project that “leverages Coca-Cola’s logistics, supply chain, distribution, and marketing expertise to help African governments connect the dots to surmount logistical challenges” (6/13).

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Blog Post Highlights Challenges, Priorities For WHO DG-Elect Tedros

World Policy Blog: Can Dr. Tedros Save the WHO?
Craig Moran, an independent geopolitical consultant, discusses the election of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the next director general of the World Health Organization and several challenges he faces in the position. Moran writes, “If the WHO is going to have any chance of staying relevant during the next global health emergency — whether it be cholera in Yemen, Ebola in the DRC, or some unknown new disease — Tedros is going to have to live up to his campaign pledges and reform the agency’s credibility, accountability, and disaster response mechanisms…” (6/13).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 314 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including Kenya’s TB/HIV funding request to the Global Fund, which focuses on scaling up HIV prevention among key populations and prioritizes innovative TB case finding activities; Mozambique’s TB/HIV funding request to the Global Fund, which proposes scaling-up its key populations programs; and an Office of the Inspector General audit that concluded risk management processes at the Global Fund need improvement (6/14).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. State Department Blog Post Summarizes Tillerson's Testimony On FY18 Budget In Senate Committee Hearings

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Secretary Tillerson Speaks Before U.S. Senate Foreign Relations, Appropriations Committees on FY 2018 Budget Request
On Tuesday, “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified on the fiscal year 2018 budget before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Foreign Operations. The budget request supports the president’s ‘America First’ vision with a commitment to four key national priorities: 1. Defending U.S. National Security; 2. Asserting U.S. Leadership and Influence; 3. Fostering Opportunities for U.S. Economic Interests; 4. Ensuring Effectiveness and Accountability to the U.S. Taxpayer…” (6/13).

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From KFF

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Analysis Modeling Impact Of Proposed Global Health Budget Cuts On HIV, TB, Family Planning, MNCH

Kaiser Family Foundation: What Could U.S. Budget Cuts Mean for Global Health?
This new analysis models the potential impact of the administration’s proposed FY18 budget request, as well as two budget scenarios with more modest decreases, on global health using newly developed budget impact models that examine the relationship between funding levels in U.S.-supported countries and health outcomes for HIV, TB, family planning, and maternal, newborn, and child health (6/13).

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