KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

ABC News Reports On State Department Budget, Implications Of Proposed Cuts By Trump Administration

ABC News: What slashing the State Department budget by one-third would really mean
“…The White House announced a 10 percent increase in military spending Monday that would add about $54 billion to the Pentagon’s budget — paid for by historic cuts in non-defense spending. Foreign aid is a prime target, with reports that the budget for the State Department and USAID could be cut by as much as 30 percent or even 37 percent. The White House has not confirmed either of these numbers, and its full budget proposal has not yet been released. But what would slashing the State Department by one-third actually mean? … The reported numbers received big blowback from retired senior military leaders and former top State Department officials — but also some Republican foreign policy hawks on Capitol Hill. But to others on the right, this is exactly where cuts should start…” (Finnegan, 3/1).

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The Atlantic Examines State Department Operations Under Trump Administration

The Atlantic: The State of Trump’s State Department
“…This week began with reports that President Donald Trump’s budget proposal will drastically slash the State Department’s funding, and last week ended with White House adviser and former Breitbart head Stephen Bannon telling the attendees of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that what he and the new president were after was a ‘deconstruction of the administrative state.’ At the State Department, which employs nearly 70,000 people around the world, that deconstruction is already well underway. … There hasn’t been a State Department press briefing, once a daily ritual, since the new administration took over five weeks ago — though they’re scheduled to resume March 6. These briefings weren’t just for journalists. They also served as a crucial set of cues for U.S. diplomats all over the world about policy priorities, and how to talk about them. With no daily messaging, and almost no guidance from Washington, people in far-flung posts are flying blind even as the pace of their diplomacy hasn’t abated…” (Ioffe, 3/1).

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Some Democrats Wear White During President Trump's Speech To Congress To Protest Administration's Record On Women's Rights, Including Mexico City Policy

Independent: Donald Trump says he will ‘invest in women’s health’ as ‘Global Gag Rule’ slashes funds to women’s health charities
“Donald Trump told Congress he wanted to ‘invest in women’s health,’ just weeks after reinstating the Mexico City policy blocking U.S. funds to any [foreign] organization involved in abortion advice and care overseas. The U.S. president signed an order reinstating the policy known as the ‘global gag rule’ on his first day in office. … To protest the U.S. leader’s poor track record on women’s rights at home and abroad, dozens of female Democrats wore white as he spoke…” (3/1).

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Nations Attending 'She Decides' Conference In Brussels Pledge Millions To Fill Gap Left By Mexico City Policy Reinstatement

Associated Press: Donors pledge nearly $200 million for family planning
“Nations and philanthropists pledged close to $200 million Thursday for family planning at an international conference that aimed to make up for the gap left by President Donald Trump’s ban on U.S. funding to [foreign] groups linked to abortion…” (Casert, 3/2).

E.U. Observer: Trump order tests E.U. credibility on women’s rights
“…Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway have already promised €10 million each to ‘She Decides,’ a global crowdfunding campaign launched by the Dutch minister of development, social democrat Lilianne Ploumen…” (Eriksson, 3/1).

The Guardian: Countries pledge millions of dollars for safe abortions after Trump order
“…About 50 governments are attending the hastily convened one-day She Decides conference in Brussels on Thursday, with early pledges closing in on $100m (£80m)…” (Rankin, 3/2).

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WHO Emphasizes Importance Of R&D For Drug-Resistant TB After Excluding Disease From List Of Priority Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Science Speaks: TB partners, patients ask: How does a bacterium responsible for nearly a third of drug-resistance deaths not make list of R&D priority pathogens?
“The day after the World Health Organization announced it had produced its ‘first ever’ list of drug-resistant bacteria for which new medicines are the most urgently needed, the agency released a second announcement on the topic Tuesday, emphasizing its recognition of drug-resistant tuberculosis, which had been left off the list, as ‘a top priority for WHO and for the world’…” (Barton, 3/1).

U.N. News Centre: Drug-resistant tuberculosis continues to be serious health threat says U.N. health agency
“…According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the past 50 years, only two new antibiotics addressing drug-resistant tuberculosis have made it to the third phase of trials. … ‘Addressing drug-resistant tuberculosis research is a top priority for WHO and for the world,’ says WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. ‘More than $800 million per year is currently necessary to fund badly needed research into new antibiotics to treat tuberculosis’…” (3/1).

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Financial Times Special Report Focuses On Rare Disease Research

Financial Times: Combating Rare Diseases
“The small number of individuals with an orphan disease often makes research, identification, and recruitment for clinical trials difficult. But today there is surging interest in a sector focused on a growing number of rare diseases that had been neglected…” (2/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. National Security Does Not Just Depend On Military, But Also On Diplomacy, Foreign Aid

New York Times: However Much Trump Spends on Arms, We Can’t Bomb Ebola
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“…The [Trump] administration plans a $54 billion increase in military spending, financed in part by a … cut in the budgets of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. That reflects a misunderstanding about the world — that security is assured only when we’re blowing things up. It’s sometimes true that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, … but it also emerges from diplomacy, foreign aid, and carefully cultivated good will. … The military is one of the strongest advocates for nonmilitary investments — because generals know that they need diplomacy and aid to buttress their hard power. … Our security is advanced not just by being scary, but also by winning friends. President Trump will face a crisis — maybe with North Korea, maybe with China, maybe with some new pandemic — and he will need not just a robust military but also the cooperation of friendly nations…” (3/2).

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Managing Emergencies Effectively Is 'Not A Partisan Matter'

POLITICO: Donald Trump, Master of Disaster?
Jeremy Konyndyk, former director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

“…How an administration handles major emergencies like [Ebola] heavily shapes its legacy. Mismanaging a high-profile crisis can irreparably harm a presidency … But more importantly, it can have dire consequences for Americans at home, American interests abroad, and vulnerable people around the world. Getting these crises right is not a partisan matter — there is no particular liberal or conservative policy platform on crisis response, and there have been highly effective emergency managers in both Democratic and Republican administrations. It is instead a matter of competence. … There is no partisan or political reason that President Trump need ignore the expertise of scientists and career public servants, run a weak [National Security Council (NSC)] process, break with bipartisan consensus on foreign affairs funding, undermine his credibility as a source of public information, or alienate America’s friends and allies. But if these problems are to be fixed, the course correction must start now. Global crises do not tend to wait for us to be ready” (3/1).

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Aid To Fragile States Critical, But New Recommendations On How To Support Fragile States' Development Needed

The Guardian: Even in an age of austerity, aid works. We have to keep giving
David Cameron, former U.K. Prime Minister

“…[T]he debate shouldn’t be whether we spend money on aid: it should be how we spend that money. The answer is to shift our focus to address the failure of states to govern effectively, which is increasingly responsible for the suffering we see around the world. … As prime minister, I made sure that half [of] Britain’s aid spending went to the most fragile states. … [M]uch of the work that has been done [around fragile states] has yet to be translated into workable policies. That is why I am chairing the new Commission on State Fragility, Growth, and Development, with Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government and the London School of Economics. … We want to generate the most cutting-edge recommendations that governments, donors, and NGOs can put into practice. … One crucial question we hope to answer is how to enable the private sector to play its role. … Another is how to help governments create a tax base so they can pay for their own development. … Britain has always led the way when it comes to making this a safer, fairer, more prosperous world. … [K]eeping our promises on aid makes us uniquely well placed to argue for a new approach. This new commission is determined to play its part” (3/2).

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Strong Immunization Programs Require Long-Term, Sustained Investments

Huffington Post: How countries can maintain health gains from immunization
Gina Lagomarsino, president and chief executive officer of Results for Development (R4D)

“…Many different types of interventions can save lives — but the fact is immunization programs are one of the best investments a government can make. … Strong immunization programs require sustained and predictable funding for vaccine procurement and supply chains as well as primary care facilities and staff that deliver immunization as part of a broader program of health services. As countries transition away from development assistance, their governments must plan to ensure adequate and sustainable financing for these efforts. This is not easy. … Mobilizing greater domestic resources to support vital programs — like immunization — will become increasingly important when traditional donor funding plateaus or declines — and as more countries move from low- to middle-income status. In preparing for these transitions, and recognizing that middle-income countries are home to the majority of the world’s poorest populations, the global development community must help strengthen local capacity and systems with practical how-to advice and support” (2/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USGLC Post Discusses Implications Of Cuts to Foreign Aid, Reactions From Congress

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Republicans and Democrats Agree: Foreign Aid Cuts Would Hurt U.S. National Security
Sean Hansen, government relations and policy associate at the USGLC, discusses the Trump administration’s federal budget proposal, including the potential cuts to the State Department and USAID. Hansen writes, “This week, the White House released the first hint of what its fiscal priorities will be with its FY18 budget outline. In case you missed it, national security and defense spending stole the spotlight — with reports that the State Department and USAID could be cut up to 37% from FY17 levels, while the Department of Defense may see a $54 billion increase in funding. But in the battle to defeat international terrorism and ensure America’s national security, we must look beyond just the Defense Department to keep Americans safe. But don’t just take it from me — Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle agree.” Hansen lists quotes from members of Congress addressing the potential cuts and the importance of foreign aid and development (3/1).

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Global Fund ED Candidates Should Have Capacity To Make Progress On 'Results, Efficiency, Money'

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Global Fund Executive Director Reboot
Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer and senior fellow at CGD, discusses the continuation of the Global Fund’s executive director search process, writing, “Advocates exert strong influence over the Global Fund through the media and big donors have veto — so its ED selection process should acknowledge the realpolitik and vet candidates broadly and in the public domain, while giving due consideration to candidates’ capacity to navigate difficult political and financial headwinds. As the executive director search reboots, I am looking for candidates that have clarity, concrete plans, and capacity to make progress in three areas — the big 3 — that are essential to the Fund’s survival: results, efficiency, and money. … Implementing this agenda requires the ability to manage a Board and a set of interests and advocates that all point in different, sometimes contradictory, directions. For its part, the Board needs to recognize the crisis now faced, and empower the ED — once selected — to focus on the big 3, even if that means letting other issues take the backseat for a time” (3/1).

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Global Health TV Posts Address Malaria Drug Resistance, Cervical Cancer In Low, Middle-Income Countries

Global Health TV: Combating Drug Resistance in Malaria, Though Preventable; Cervical Cancer Causes Half Million Cases Per Year
Recent Global Health TV posts include a video interview with Dr. Leann Tilley of the University of Melbourne discussing how scientific advances, specifically those within biophysics, “can help understand and predict the behavior of malaria parasite within the human body,” in an effort to address drug resistance, and an article examining cervical cancer and prevention efforts in low- and middle-income countries (February 2017).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Works With Developing Countries To Prepare For Emergencies With Medicine Stockpiles

CDC’s “Public Health Matters Blog”: Stockpile Expert Helps Responders Prepare for Emergencies
Tom Jackson, senior training adviser for the CDC’s Division of Strategic National Stockpile, discusses the importance of having a stockpile of medicines on hand during emergencies and describes the CDC’s work helping developing countries “figure out how to make their supply chains work in any type of public health crisis” (2/27).

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