KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration's 2018 Budget Proposal Might Ask For Smaller Cuts To State, USAID Than Expected; Could Request Cuts Of More Than 50% For U.N. Funding, Sources Say

POLITICO: Cuts to State will be reduced in final Trump proposal
“The State Department budget won’t be getting cut as deeply as President Donald Trump initially suggested after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson successfully pushed back with the White House, according to people familiar with the plans. The budget blueprint expected later this week will still trim funding for both the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development next year, but by less than the 37 percent initially floated in preliminary documents sent out by the White House in late February. The budget revision is expected to include ‘staged cuts’ spread out over several years, instead of the immediate hit, according to a senior administration official, who said that the White House is giving Tillerson time ‘to do a deeper analysis on foreign aid’…” (Goldmacher/Dawsey, 3/13).

Foreign Policy: White House Seeks to Cut Billions in Funding for United Nations
“State Department staffers have been instructed to seek cuts in excess of 50 percent in U.S. funding for U.N. programs, signaling an unprecedented retreat by President Donald Trump’s administration from international operations that keep the peace, provide vaccines for children, monitor rogue nuclear weapons programs, and promote peace talks from Syria to Yemen, according to three sources…” (Lynch, 3/13).

The Hill: Trump wants U.N. funds cut more than 50 percent: report
“…The push for the drastic reductions comes as the White House is scheduled to release its 2018 topline budget proposal Thursday … It’s not clear if Trump’s budget plan, from the Office of Management and Budget, would reflect the full extent of Trump’s proposed cuts to the U.N. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has suggested phasing in the major reductions over the coming three years. One official close to the administration told Foreign Policy that Tillerson has flexibility about how best to implement the reduction…” (Hensch, 3/13).

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U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Birx Addresses Potential Impacts Of Mexico City Policy, Budget Cuts On PEPFAR Operations, Highlights Importance Of Data

Devex: Amb. Birx on PEPFAR in the Trump era
“U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx played down the potential impact of the reinstated ‘global gag rule’ will have on PEPFAR programs. While the exact implications remain unclear, she told Devex that the agency’s focus on data has it well positioned to track and plan for whatever budget it gets. … ‘We’re lucky we have comprehensive data now so if there are budget cuts, we will be able to make them in the areas that won’t impact our ability to control this epidemic. And that’s our job,’ she said. … She repeatedly stressed to Devex that PEPFAR’s specific, granular data can track any potential issues and project needs. ‘We’ll be a group that can really answer,’ she said. ‘I think this White House is very responsive to data’…” (Saldinger, 3/14).

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At CSW Opening Session, U.N. Leaders Call For Greater Efforts To Educate, Empower Women

Associated Press/TIME: Women’s Rights Are Under Attack Worldwide, Warns U.N. Chief
“Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday that women are suffering ‘new assaults on their safety and dignity’ around the world, pointing to extremists subjugating women and governments curtailing women’s freedoms and rolling back laws against domestic violence. He told the opening session of the Commission on the Status of Women that educating and empowering women will unleash their potential and prevent ‘challenges that arise from violent extremism, human rights violations, xenophobia, and other threats’…” (Lederer, 3/13).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. Commission on Status of Women opens with calls for more men to stand up for equality
“…In her address, U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted a slow progress in gender equality. ‘The much-needed positive developments are not happening fast enough, nor are they reaching tipping point in numbers of lives changed,’ she said. ‘Let us agree to constructive impatience’…” (3/13).

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Inaugural Access To Vaccines Index Ranks Companies Based On Efforts To Expand Immunization Coverage

New York Times: Vaccine Makers Ranked on Pricing and Research
“The pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi sell the most vaccines and earn the most money doing so, while the Serum Institute of India sells the most vaccines at a discount, according to the first Access to Vaccines Index, which was released last week. The new index is produced by the Dutch foundation that issues the biennial Access to Medicines Index, which ranks drug manufacturers according to how easy it is for people in poor countries to get the companies’ lifesaving medications…” (McNeil, 3/13).

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More Syrian Children Killed In 2016 Than Any Other Of 6-Year Conflict, Marking 'Unprecedented Suffering,' UNICEF Says

CNN: 2016 was ‘rock bottom’ for children in Syria, says UNICEF
“More Syrian children were killed in 2016 than in any other year of the six-year conflict, making last year the worst on record for children in the war-torn nation, according to children’s charity UNICEF…” (Perry, 3/13).

Newsweek: 2016 Was ‘Worst Year’ for Syrian Children: UNICEF
“…The number of children killed in the conflict in 2016 — 652 — marked a 20 percent increase from the previous year…” (Gaffey, 3/13).

NPR: 2016 Was Worst Year Yet For Children Caught In Syria’s War, UNICEF Says
“…In another unsettling trend, 851 children were recruited and used in the conflict in 2016 — double the figure who were recruited in 2015, UNICEF says…” (Chappell, 3/13).

U.N. News Centre: ‘Unprecedented suffering’ for Syrian children in 2016 — UNICEF
“… ‘The depth of suffering is unprecedented. Millions of children in Syria come under attack on a daily basis, their lives turned upside down,’ said the UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Geert Cappelaere in a news release announcing the study Hitting Rock Bottom — How 2016 became the worst year for Syria’s children. ‘Each and every child is scarred for life with horrific consequences on their health, well-being, and future,’ he added…” (3/13).

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U.N. Falling Short Of $400M For Haiti Cholera Fund, Raising 2% Of Goal So Far

VOA News: U.N. Fund to Fight Cholera in Haiti at 2 Percent of Goal
“Late last year, the United Nations promised to strengthen its fight against the spread of the deadly cholera disease. U.N. peacekeeping troops unknowingly brought the disease to Haiti seven years ago. But, so far, the U.N. has raised just a small amount of the estimated $400 million it needs over the next two years to fight the disease. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres wrote that the voluntary funding received so far makes up only two percent of its goal. It has received around $8 million in funding…” (Guensberg/Cesar, 3/12).

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Researchers Aim To Educate West African Residents About 'Gene Drives' Before Releasing Modified Mosquitoes In Effort To Reduce Malaria Burden

STAT: In a remote West African village, a revolutionary genetic experiment is on its way — if residents agree to it
“…It may be six years before the gene drive mosquitoes are actually released in Burkina Faso, but scientists are already working around the clock to prepare the community for their release. Researchers in Mali and Uganda are also working toward the same goal under the banner of the ‘Target Malaria’ project, propelled by $70 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and support from research laboratories in England and Italy. … But scientists still face a challenge: making sure that people understand and accept the newfangled genetic technology behind it all. That means building trust and doing basic education — explaining not only the impact of genetically engineered insects arriving in their homes, but also what genetics is in the first place…” (Swetlitz, 3/14).

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ProPublica Examines How U.S. Medical Surplus Pushes Up Cost Of Health Care, Is Redirected Overseas By Non-Profit Groups

ProPublica: What Hospitals Waste
“…[Partners for World Health founder Elizabeth] McLellan estimates the goods [donated to her group by several U.S. hospitals] right now are worth $20 million. Sure, that’s a rounding error in the overall waste tab, but it starts being real money if you add up the discards of all the nation’s medical facilities. … Last year Partners sent seven containers overseas, each weighing up to 15,000 pounds and with an estimated value of up to $250,000. One is being sent to Syria this week. It includes an ultrasound machine ($25,000), a dozen trocars ($4,400), and an infant warmer ($3,995). MedShare, a Georgia-based nonprofit more than 10 times the size of Partners, sent 156 containers of discarded medical supplies to developing countries last year, each one worth as much as $175,000. As lawmakers debate, ProPublica is setting off to document the rarely examined — and mind-boggling — ways your health care dollars are frittered away. Our first stop: the world of ‘medical surplus’…” (Allen, 3/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

European Global Health Strategy Would Benefit Public Health, Show European Leadership, Promote E.U. Values

The Lancet Global Health: If not now, when? Time for the European Union to define a global health strategy
Elizabeth M. Speakman, research fellow; Martin McKee, professor; and Richard Coker, professor, all at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…[I]t has never been so vital for the [European Union (E.U.)] to demonstrate that it is indeed a union, that it is a force for good, and that this positive influence goes beyond Europe’s borders. … A European global health strategy would be a practical step towards ensuring coherence with its substantial global aid program and its economic interests beyond E.U. borders. It would facilitate a clearer, better coordinated response to public health threats, thus dovetailing with the E.U.’s security as well as public health interests. It would be a self-protective measure since the next pandemic is likely to arise from outside Europe. A global health strategy would set clear roles and responsibilities for the different E.U. [director generals] and agencies, accompanied by transparent monitoring and accountability. It would also demonstrate the Union’s authority, expertise, and fundamental integrity. … A prominent E.U. global health strategy would not only benefit global health. It would also show leadership from Europe, promoting the values of which the E.U. is justifiably proud: respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality, and the rule of law” (April 2017).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Mexico City Policy 'Plays Politics With Women's Lives,' MSF-USA Board Member Says

Doctors Without Borders/Medium: Is the Global Gag Rule Truly Pro-Life?
Aerlyn Pfeil, midwife and a member of the Médecins Sans Frontières-USA board of directors, discusses the potential impacts of the Mexico City policy on women’s health worldwide, writing, “The [global gag rule] is not saving lives; it plays politics with women’s lives. … The truth is that defunding organizations that provide safe, informed reproductive health services increases the risk of a life lost. Denying a woman access to health care puts her life and the lives of the children she feeds at risk. … If we want women and girls around the world to have healthy, meaningful lives, they must be given opportunities for safe, complete, and informed reproductive health care. They must not be used as political pawns” (3/8).

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CGD Announces 3 New U.S. Development Policy Expert Hires

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: New People and a Renewed Commitment to CGD’s U.S. Development Policy Agenda
Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative at CGD, announces three new CGD hires, including Jeremy Konyndyk, former director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID; Nancy Lee, former deputy CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation; and John Hurley, former director for international debt and development policy at the U.S. Department of Treasury (3/13).

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CFR Update Highlights Publications On Women And Foreign Policy

Council on Foreign Relations: Women and Foreign Policy Update
This CFR update highlights several publications on women and foreign policy, including several posts from the CFR blog “Women Around the World,” a symposium report from the December 2016 event “Women’s Participation in Conflict Prevention and Resolution,” and multiple opinion pieces written by CFR staff and fellows (February 2017).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Department Of State Announces Delegation To U.N. Commission On The Status Of Women

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Delegation to the 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women
“The Department of State is pleased to announce the U.S. delegation to the 61st Session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), to be held March 13 through 24, 2017 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The CSW’s annual two-week session is the most important annual meeting on women’s issues at the United Nations. … Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, will serve as the head of delegation. Ambassador Michele J. Sison, deputy U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, will serve as the deputy head of delegation. They will be accompanied by two public delegates: Lisa Correnti, executive vice president, Center for Family & Human Rights (C-FAM); and Grace Melton, associate for social issues at the United Nations, The Heritage Foundation…” (3/13).

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