KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Lancet Examines Implications Of President Trump's Proposal To Cut Foreign Assistance For U.S. Role In Global Health

The Lancet: Trump’s foreign aid proposal rattles global health advocates
“The announcement by the Trump administration that it wants to massively reduce foreign assistance has sent a shock wave through the global health community, which is concerned that such steep cuts could have devastating consequences, affecting millions of people around the world. The Trump administration wants to cut foreign assistance by more than a third to help pay for its goal of a US$54 billion increase in the military budget. … Although Congress is expected to soften Trump’s far-reaching cuts, nobody knows by how much. Even small cuts to foreign aid as a percentage of total spending could have major effects because the USA is such a large contributor in raw dollars. … Although foreign aid makes up less than one percent of the total U.S. budget, the steep cuts that have been proposed would be likely to have impacts across every aspect of global health programming, said Jen Kates, vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. ‘Whatever cuts happen, the result would be to diminish the role of the U.S. in development and global health in the world’…” (Loewenberg, 3/11).

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World Bank Issues First Bond Aimed At Raising Funds For Sustainable Development Goals

Financial Times: World Bank issues bond aimed at highlighting sustainable development
“The World Bank is hoping to draw attention to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals with a sale of unusual bonds. Payouts on the securities, which are relatively small, will be linked to the stock market performance of 50 companies considered to be making a significant contribution to the goals, including Nestle and Danone…” (Moore, 3/9).

Reuters: World Bank issues first U.N. sustainable development bond
“…The deal represents the first issue from the World Bank’s ‘SDGs Everyone’ initiative announced in January. Unlike a typical Green bond, where proceeds are earmarked for specific environmental projects, proceeds from SDG issues will be used for general development projects…” (Bartholomew, 3/9).

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U.N. World Food Programme, Partners Developing Supply Chain Information Platform To Better Respond To Health Emergencies

U.N. News Centre: New U.N. supply chain system to slash delays, save lives in large-scale health crises
“In collaboration with partners and as a part of a global supply chain network, the United Nations emergency food relief agency has set about developing the first-ever information platform to better manage supply chains and efficiently match deliveries with demand in responding to large-scale health emergencies such as pandemic outbreaks. … The new system will bring together supply chain and logistics information and enable end-to-end tracking of pandemic response items such as protective clothing and medical equipment within a country facing an outbreak, thereby helping ensure quick and appropriate delivery of supplies to people in need…” (3/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Cutting, Reforming U.S. Foreign Aid Could Make Assistance More Effective, Efficient

Foreign Policy: Savaging State and USAID Budgets Could Do Wonders for Results
Gordon Adams, professor at American University’s School of International Service and distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center, and Richard Sokolsky, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“…Budget and political realities under the Trump administration are likely to force State and USAID to live with less [funding]. This may be an opportune moment for these institutions to think about how they carry out their missions, and how they might deliver more effective diplomacy and assistance with fewer resources. This institutional adaptation to fiscal realities should be rooted in a more strategic vision of the relationship among development, security, and governance in U.S. foreign assistance funding. Here are some fundamental reforms Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should consider as his budget shrinks. … [Such reforms fall under d]evelopment assistance … Humanitarian assistance … Security assistance … Governance focus … Organizational recalibration … State and USAID are facing four years of shrinking budgets with their stewardship of foreign aid put under a microscope by the White House and Congress. Implementing these reforms would enable both agencies to make their programs more effective and efficient and to save resources — and might even persuade these skeptics to give the international affairs budget more priority” (3/9).

The Hill: Trump’s suspicion of foreign aid to Africa is right on the money
Al Mariam, professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino

“…The Trump administration appropriately questions how much of the aid given by the U.S. to Africa is susceptible to corruption, fraud, abuse, and waste in Africa. … African regimes that are heavily dependent on the safety net of foreign aid, receive sustained infusions of multilateral loans and a perpetual supply of humanitarian assistance will behave differently if they were left to their own devices to deal with the consequences of a mismanaged economy, debilitating corruption, and proliferating grinding poverty. But by shifting the moral risk of economic mismanagement, political incompetence, and corruption to the U.S. and other Western donors, and because these donors impose no meaningful penalty or disincentive for poor governance, inefficiency, corruption, and repression, African regimes stay afloat and cling to power for decades abusing the human rights of their citizens and stealing elections. … The Trump administration should provide aid to African regimes only if they meet stringent conditions of accountability and transparency. The era of U.S. foreign policy of aid handouts and alms giving to Africa generously supported by American taxpayers, without strict accountability, must end. The Trump administration’s proposal to reduce foreign aid is a step in the right direction” (3/9).

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Mexico City Policy Damaging To Women's Health, Should Be Repealed

Toronto Sun: The trouble with Trump and the gag rule
Farzana Hassan, columnist at the Toronto Sun

“…I object to [the Mexico City policy] despite being a long-time advocate of the sanctity of human life even at its earliest and most fragile. The problems of [women in developing countries] are far too compelling for any subjective take on these issues. … If one examines the effects of the lack of funding to organizations who enable abortions for these impoverished, marginalized, and often greatly abused women, one can easily understand that it is mainly these women who would be negatively affected by the global gag rule. … The global gag rule … is an ill-thought-out approach to fighting abortion in order to satisfy the domestic pro-life lobby. This is not as much a domestic issue, nor should it be a partisan one. The executive order is a step back in fighting serious global health problems. Any administration genuinely concerned about the well-being of the world’s most disadvantaged women would immediately repeal it” (3/9).

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New Field Of 'Planetary Health' Demands Attention, Action

The Lancet: Offline: Planetary health — the great acceleration
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…[T]he present climate predicament facing our planet and its peoples was an emergency, and an insufficiently recognized one at that. Now we have an American president who is recommending dramatic cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Something has gone badly wrong in our public discourse about the threat of climate change. The idea of planetary health — the health of human civilizations and the ecosystems on which they depend — was an opportunity to establish the gravity of the danger facing humanity. … Planetary health is a new field. Half of [The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health], together with a broader group of health, environmental, and earth scientists and policymakers, had gathered [last week] in New York to discuss the urgency of its development. … One book was clutched tightly by several participants in New York — Tony McMichael’s posthumously published Climate Change and the Health of Nations. … It is the first book-length manifesto for planetary health. And it comes at a critical moment. Economic nationalism has usurped environmentalism. Cooperation between nations is under threat. Multilateralism is being eroded. … He tells the story for the first time of ‘the historical interplay between climate change, human health, disease, and survival.’ It is a magnificent treatise. It demands our attention. And action” (3/11).

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Lessons From Pediatric HIV Response In Africa Can Inform Action On Childhood Cancers, Blood Disorders

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Can we fight childhood cancer in Africa the same way we fought HIV?
Joseph Lubega, assistant professor of pediatrics at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and Baylor College of Medicine and director of the East Africa Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training Program, and Phangisile Mtshali, director of Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s SECURE THE FUTURE program

“…[I]f we apply the solutions that turned the pediatric HIV and AIDS crisis in [some African] countries into a global health success story, we know that the seemingly impossible becomes achievable. … In that spirit, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, and BIPAI, in partnership with the governments of Botswana, Malawi, and Uganda are providing $100 million to create an innovative hematology-oncology treatment network. The comprehensive initiative, called Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Excellence), will build long-term capacity to treat and quickly improve the outcomes of thousands of children with blood disorders and cancer in Southern and East Africa. Additionally, this initiative will support construction, equipping, and operating of regional pediatric hematology-oncology clinical facilities. … Is the road ahead for treating pediatric cancer and blood disorders in Southern and East Africa challenging and complicated in so many ways? Yes. But the most important, fundamental lesson we can take from our HIV experience is that this can be done, and this can be done well…” (3/9).

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Empowering Women, Girls Critical To HIV Response

The Hill: Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — let’s empower women globally
Kelsey Louie, chief executive officer at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC)

“…On National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is imperative that we recognize the threat of HIV facing women of all ages, encourage steps towards ending the epidemic among women, and empower women to affect the global response to HIV. Around the world, women encounter institutional barriers that increase the risks and impact of HIV. The failure by public institutions to promote comprehensive sex education, both in the United States and abroad, has limited awareness of the dangers of HIV infection for women. … Our response to the HIV epidemic must empower women, and provide them with the ability to protect their health. In order to create and implement policies to mitigate the HIV crisis among women, we must address the roots of the epidemic — institutionalized sexism, economic disparities, and violence against women…” (3/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MFAN Co-Chairs Send Letter To Secretary Of State Tillerson Outlining View Of Agency's Successes, Priorities

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: MFAN Letter to Secretary of State Tillerson
In this letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, MFAN Co-Chairs George Ingram, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children; and Connie Veillette, senior fellow at the Lugar Center, highlight U.S. foreign aid successes, including PEPFAR 3.0 and the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, as well as future priorities. “In particular, we hope you will prioritize the following: Ensure that USAID has the budget and policy authority needed to remain the United States’ lead development agency and become a stronger, complementary partner to the diplomatic and defense communities; Invest in the ability of the State Department and USAID to engage in strategic planning, measurement of results, and partnerships. …; Work with Congress to develop a shared vision and strategy for U.S. global development that is built on a foundation of sound strategic planning, accountability for results, and evidence-based systems that enable the spending of resources according to needs,” they write (3/9).

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Americans 'Should Be Proud' Of How U.S. Foreign Assistance Helps People Worldwide, Keeps Nation More Secure, Expert Says

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: International Aid Is More than Altruism
Barbara Stilwell, senior director of Health Workforce Solutions, discusses U.S. foreign assistance, writing, “Most Americans grossly overestimate the percentage of the United States federal budget spent on overseas aid, which is in fact less than one percent. It works out to an average of $73 per person per year in the United States. … As individuals, and as a nation, we should be proud of what we contribute to peace in the world, as well as to the wellbeing of individuals who otherwise might not survive. Without our $73 ‘free gift to unnamed strangers,’ many health and development programs would have to close, and many people would suffer as a consequence. … We should be proud of the good it does around the globe and the benefits we can all expect from a healthier, more peaceful, and stable world” (3/9).

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Blog Post Examines Reinstatement, Expansion Of Mexico City Policy

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: USAID amends guidelines with first phase of “global gag rule” — just in time for International Women’s Day!
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses USAID’s publication of guidance on the reinstated Mexico City policy; concern among NGOs about the reach of the expanded policy under the Trump administration; and the creation of the “She Decides” initiative to raise funds aimed at filling the gap created by the policy (3/9).

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Global Health Advocates Must Hold G7 Leaders Accountable For Investments To End Malnutrition

Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food for Thought”: Guest Commentary — Holding World Leaders to Account to End Malnutrition
Lucy Martinez Sullivan, executive director of 1,000 Days, writes, “As the G7 heads of state prepare to meet in Taormina, Italy, in May for this year’s summit, an opportunity to take concrete action to improve nutrition is readily available. … Together, we need to ensure that G7 governments — including the United States — prioritize development assistance investments that are so critical to improving nutrition around the world. Now is not the time to retreat from investments that will build the next generation of healthy, productive families and communities. With so many uncertainties as to what the future holds, one thing is certain: investing in nutrition saves lives and grows economies. It’s a win-win and a promise that must be kept” (3/9).

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Public, Private Sector Collaboration Critical To Improving Global Food Security

Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ “Global Food for Thought”: Guest Commentary — Private Sector Intervention in Global Food Security
Alaa Murabit, Sustainable Development Goal global advocate, U.N. high-level commissioner for health employment and economic growth, and MIT Media Lab Director’s fellow, discusses the importance of private sector involvement in food security solutions, writing, “Food security will be an increasingly critical security priority for global leaders in the coming decades. International coordination to improve financing systems for humanitarian aid requires public and private sector leaders that can build resilient food systems in the context of an increasingly interdependent and volatile global landscape. … The alignment of global food security must involve public and private actors. This will enable nations to meet both demands on the food system and emergency humanitarian crises into the long-term, achieved by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and food availability…” (3/9).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. State Department Releases State Of Global Partnerships 2017 Report

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Partnering for a Better Future: How Partnerships are Advancing Sustainable Development
Thomas Debass, acting special representative for global partnerships at the State Department, discusses the release of the U.S. Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships’ annual report, which “highlights 17 partnerships, one for each [Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)], and showcases how the U.S. government is leveraging the resources, knowledge, and experiences of private sector partners to tackle the SDGs” (3/9).

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