KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO DG-Elect Tedros Faces Challenges At Agency With Waning Influence, Potential Funding Losses

Vox: The WHO’s new boss is tasked with an impossible job
“…Last week, the WHO elected Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its new leader, the first time an African has won the top spot at the United Nations’ public health agency. … Tedros inherits a fraught organization. … Today, the agency is facing the real possibility that it might lose a significant chunk of its already small budget: The WHO’s largest contributing country, the United States, may be pulling back on its support. … ‘I think it’s likely that the Trump administration will try to reduce funding to the WHO as part of a more general push to reduce its global footprint and investment in international organizations,’ said Jennifer Kates, [vice president and] director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. ‘If the U.S. pulls back [its funding],’ she added, ‘there’s a vacuum in terms of that role in leadership on development funding’…” (Belluz, 5/31).

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U.S. Withdrawal From Paris Climate Agreement Could Significantly Impact Global Health, Experts Say

Fortune: Why Ditching the Paris Climate Deal Could Have Significant Health Consequences
“President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from the historic Paris climate agreement, according to multiple media reports. If he does, the move could have significant implications for global health, according to experts. That’s because, as the World Health Organization (WHO) notes, the effects of climate change cut across multiple kinds of health care needs…” (Mukherjee, 5/31).

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NCDs Must Garner More Attention From Global Health Community, Michael Bloomberg Says In Philanthropies' Annual Letter

Inside Philanthropy: Hold the Malaria Nets: Bloomberg’s Contrarian Vision for Global Health Funding
“…Bloomberg wants donors and governments to fixate less on a handful of notorious communicable diseases — a benefit concert list that also includes HIV/AIDS, polio, and tuberculosis — and focus more on the biggest killers that stalk humanity. That’s the dominant message of his annual letter for Bloomberg Philanthropies, released [Wednesday]…” (Callahan, 5/31).

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Intentional Targeting Of Health Care Facilities In Syria Fueling Migrant Crisis; Proposed USAID Cuts Could Exacerbate Problem

Foreign Policy: Hospitals Become the Front Line in the Syrian Civil War
“…The intentional destruction of hospitals is one of the most important factors driving Syrians out of their country, fueling the largest global migrant crisis since World War II. To save patients and medical workers, staff have moved entire hospitals underground into basements and caves, constructing military-like fortifications to try to keep operating even as the bombs keep falling. … But now those efforts could be endangered. U.S. and U.N. grants have helped make these expensive protections possible, but USAID faces drastic budget cuts as part of President Donald Trump’s America First platform. As a result, aid groups worry that reduced funding will put innocent lives at risk, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and allow extremist groups to fill the void…” (Allen-Ebrahimian, 5/31).

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CFR Senior Fellow Laurie Garrett Discusses New WHO DG's Challenges, Priorities In Global Health NOW Interview

Global Health NOW: Electing WHO’s New DG: Laurie Garrett Q&A, Part I
“This year’s election of the new director general of the WHO was a victory not only for Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus but for transparency, says Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health with the Council on Foreign Relations. She has followed global health for more than 30 years as a journalist and an author …, attending the World Health Assembly meetings since the 1980s. During a brief break the day after Tedros’s May 24 election, Garrett reflected on the DG election process as well as priorities and prospects for Tedros’s tenure…” (Simpson, 5/30).

Global Health NOW: Advice for Tedros: Laurie Garrett Q&A, Part II
“…In the second part of GHN’s Q&A with her, Garrett considers Tedros’s challenges with the paltry WHO budget and how to give the people a voice at the World Health Assembly…” (Simpson, 5/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Fully Fund Global Health Programs In FY18 Budget, Including Family Planning, Reproductive Health, HIV Prevention, Treatment Efforts

Huffington Post: Trump’s Global Health Agenda Exposes Lies And Deception
Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

“…[O]ne week before the release of Trump’s proposed FY18 budget, the State Department included family planning and reproductive health as an international health program supported by U.S. global health assistance. … At that briefing, State Department officials listed the programs that would be impacted by Trump’s [expanded Mexico City policy, or] global gag rule. That the State Department would list family planning and reproductive health among health programs impacted by the policy when they knew such funding would be eliminated in Trump’s FY18 global health budget is deceptive. … The twofold action of restricting all global health assistance [through the Mexico City policy] and eliminating family planning and reproductive health funding reinforces what many global health advocates and experts know: Trump’s agenda has nothing to do with global health and everything to do with cutting off access to family planning and reproductive health services. … This is not a time for advocates to scramble for crumbs from the table. It is the time to push Congress for a humane budget that shows the world that the U.S. cares about women and girls. They can start by fully funding a global health agenda that includes family planning and reproductive health and HIV prevention and treatment” (5/31).

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Governments Need To Change Mindset About Non-Communicable Diseases, 'Modest Actions' Can Make Impact

Bloomberg View: Small Steps Can Save Millions of Lives
Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News

“For the first time in human history, more people around the world are dying from noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, than communicable ones, such as malaria and polio. This change occurred in higher-income countries at some point in the middle of the last century. In lower-income countries, the shift is just a few years old. The way we think about mortality, however, has not kept up with this new reality. We tend to accept these deaths as unavoidable. They’re not. Changing this false perception is critically important to saving millions of lives across the globe. … [W]e know that with modest actions, governments can reduce the likelihood that their citizens will fall victim to nearly every category of disease and injury. … In each of these areas [– data collection, tobacco control, obesity prevention, and road safety –] the return on investment will be enormous, because many of the best solutions require relatively small sums — often to support grassroots organizing and advocacy campaigns. And even better, many require no money at all — just for government leaders to change their mindset” (5/31).

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NYT Columnist Discusses Burden Of NCDs, Efforts Of Michael Bloomberg To Address Prevention Efforts

New York Times: How We Really Die
Frank Bruni, columnist for the New York Times

“Over recent years, without much media fanfare, something fascinating occurred, a reminder that for all the ways in which we seem to be sliding backward, we’re lurching forward, too. The developing world turned a corner — thanks to medical advances, rising wealth, and more — and communicable diseases like malaria and AIDS now kill fewer of its people than noncommunicable ones like heart disease, strokes, respiratory ailments and diabetes do. But awareness of this progress lags far behind it. … That discrepancy is showcased in an open letter that Michael Bloomberg publishes every year to explain the direction of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which gives away hundreds of millions of dollars annually, much of it to promote health. He provided me with an advance copy and sat down with me last week to underscore its plea that nonprofits and governments work harder to fight noncommunicable diseases…” (5/31).

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Donor Cooperation Key To Success In International Development

Project Syndicate: New Paths for Leadership in International Development
Mark Suzman, chief strategy officer and president of global policy and advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Official development assistance (ODA) helps to save lives, build more stable and safer societies, and project soft power around the world. … Beyond Europe, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar are also among the world’s largest significant ODA donors — a reality of which not many people are aware. … Aid cannot solve all the problems facing Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa. But it can support the emergence of more stable, more prosperous, and healthier societies that are less vulnerable to civil war or terrorism. The Gates Foundation believes that donors from the Muslim world, in particular, have an integral role to play in addressing poverty and instability. Far more can be achieved together — by combining resources and sharing expertise — than separately. … Observers often point to the soft-power benefits of providing aid to developing countries. But they often fail to notice the advantages brought about by strengthening relationships among donor countries that work together to advance international development. Donor countries would do well to embrace this reality and seize opportunities to build ties with new global partners that share their commitment to fighting poverty” (5/31).

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African Communities Struck By Food Crises Try To Fill Gaps In Aid

Washington Post: Covering the world’s biggest hunger crises, I saw people with nothing give everything to save a life
Kevin Sieff, the Washington Post’s Africa bureau chief

“Over the past few months I’ve reported from Somalia, South ­Sudan, and Nigeria, sites of the three largest hunger crises in sub-Saharan Africa. In each country, overstretched humanitarian organizations have failed to raise sufficient funds to feed and house all of those in need. An untold number of people, most of them children, have died of malnutrition and preventable diseases. The United Nations has declared a famine in parts of South Sudan, and says the other two nations are in danger of suffering the same tragedy. But in each of those countries, I’ve been struck by the way some of the world’s poorest people have stepped in to fill the void. Such generosity in no way erases the massive need for international assistance. But we often overlook the ways that Africa’s most desperate people are managing to help one another…” (5/31).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Mark Dybul Ends 4-Year Term As Global Fund Executive Director

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s “Voices”: Megatrends and Maximizing Impact
“On 31 May, Mark Dybul completed a four-year term as executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The following is adapted from remarks he recently made to the Global Fund Board. ‘…We are at the tipping point of ending the HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria epidemics. But tipping points can go either way — success or failure. New and urgent challenges confront us. The last stages of a battle are often the toughest. Every inch of progress we make from here will be harder and costlier than the last. If we fail, the epidemics will rebound…” (5/31).

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Infographic Shows Impacts Of Trump Administration's Proposed $225M Cut To U.S. Global Fund Commitment

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: Infographic: How Budget Cuts Would Impact Global Health
“On the heels of the Trump administration’s FY18 budget request, Friends of the Global Fight released this infographic, which demonstrates the human impact of a proposed $225 million budget cut to the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund. If enacted, the Global Fund calculates that a budget cut would translate to fewer lives saved, fewer infections averted, and lost economic opportunities…” (5/31).

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CGD Blog Posts, Briefs Provide Insight Into Trump's FY18 Budget Request

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Get Up to Speed on What President Trump’s Budget Would Mean for Foreign Aid
Erin Collinson, senior associate for policy outreach at CGD, writes, “The White House delivered an FY2018 budget request, featuring deep spending reductions, to a less-than-receptive Congress early last week. In a series of blog posts, CGD experts sounded off on the proposed cuts to foreign aid and the philosophy that seems to guide them … Read a selection of budget-related analysis below. And for greater context, dig into CGD’s newly released U.S. Foreign Assistance Agency Briefs, which outline the role and objectives of key agencies and departments responsible for delivering U.S. foreign assistance…” (5/31).

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'Science Speaks' Blog Post Examines NIH Justification Document For Trump's Proposed FY18 Budget Cuts

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Office of AIDS Research gets a shout out — and a $544 million cut in NIH budget “justification”
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a newly released document titled “NIH Justification of Estimates for Appropriations Committees, which distributes, but does not justify, the Trump administration’s proposed cut of more than 21 percent of the budget of the world’s leading research entity…” (5/31).

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CSIS Podcast Features Weekly Global Health News Roundup, Including WHA Outcomes, Implications Of Trump's FY18 Budget Request

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: The Week in Health: Election of Tedros as WHO Director General and President Trump’s FY18 Budget Request
“Take as Directed is introducing new weekly episodes focused on noteworthy issues, events, and news in global health policy. These weekly episodes will be in addition to our usual programming. This is the first current events episode. It focuses on the main outcomes from the World Health Assembly (WHA), the election of Ethiopia’s Tedros as first WHO director general from Africa, the implications on global health of President Trump’s FY18 budget request, and HHS Secretary Price’s trips to Liberia and the WHA. Guests include Lindsay Plack, director of government relations for the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign; J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center; and Nellie Bristol, senior fellow, CSIS Global Health Policy Center” (Allinder, 5/31).

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