KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump's Budget Blueprint, Obamacare Repeal Legislation Could Cut Funding To Programs Meant To Protect Americans From Infectious Disease Threats

The Atlantic: The Tiny Trump Budget Cut That Could Blind America to the Next Zika
“…[W]ith [U.S. President Trump’s] budget threatening to carve large gaping gashes into the flank of American science, it’s easy to lose sight of the damage that even small nicks can inflict. Consider the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) program. It’s a little-known, unglamorous, and modest fund. But it’s also vital for America’s ability to respond to infectious diseases, and especially to unforeseen emergencies like Ebola, Zika, or whatever else is coming next. If the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act goes ahead, the ELC’s budget will be cut in half…” (Yong, 3/18).

New York Times: Trump Plan Eliminates a Global Sentinel Against Disease, Experts Warn
“…The federal budget to stop [infectious disease] threats is infinitely smaller than the Pentagon’s, and the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the National Institutes of Health, and particularly its plan to eliminate the Fogarty International Center at the NIH, would, global health experts say, make America vulnerable again. The Fogarty center, based in Bethesda, Md., was one of the few specific trims in President Trump’s ‘skinny budget.’ It is an odd target: Eliminating it would save only $69 million. The administration did not explain why it was picked, leaving scientists to surmise that it was because the center’s grants pay American doctors to train foreign ones. Mr. Trump has a well-known ‘America First’ bent…” (McNeil, 3/17).

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Trump Administration's Proposed U.N. Funding Cuts Threaten Responses To Acute Humanitarian Crises, Long-Term Development Goals, Experts Say

Associated Press: Trump foreign aid cuts counter global development goals: E.U.
“President Donald Trump’s proposed deep cuts to humanitarian aid go against the global development goals the United States committed to in 2015, the European Union’s international development chief warned Friday…” (Meseret, 3/17).

Los Angeles Times: With 20 million people facing starvation, Trump’s foreign aid cuts strike fear
“President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the United Nations, which runs agencies such as the World Food Programme and UNICEF, come at a time when famine is reaching a crisis point in parts of Africa, and children in some countries are dying of starvation. The timing of the proposed cuts has sent chills through the international aid community, which fears that a retreat by the U.S. in relief funding could make a bad situation worse…” (Dixon, 3/19).

Wall Street Journal: Trump Budget Proposals Prompt Concern at U.N.
“Diplomats and officials at the United Nations warned that President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts in U.S. spending on U.N. programs risked hampering institutional reforms and leaving a financial void that will be difficult to fill. Mr. Trump’s 2018 budget, revealed on Thursday, slashes spending on peacekeeping and climate programs at the U.N. The exact details and allocations of funds for the U.N. aren’t yet clear…” (Fassihi, 3/18).

Washington Post: Why Trump’s plan to slash U.N. funding could lead to global calamity
“…The United Nations warned against the proposed cuts Thursday. ‘Abrupt funding cuts can force the adoption of ad hoc measures that will undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts,’ U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’s spokesman said in a statement. French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said the cuts could result in instability worldwide. ‘America’s retreat and unilateralism, or even the perception of it by other players, would create the risk of coming back to the old spheres of influence policy, and history teaches us that it has only led to more instability,’ Delattre told Reuters…” (Wang, 3/18).

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U.S. Delegation To U.N. Commission On Women Meeting Includes Delegates Who Do Not Support Increased Access To Birth Control

Huffington Post: Trump Sends Anti-Birth Control Delegates To U.N. Commission On Women
“An estimated 225 million women in the world who want to avoid pregnancy lack access to safe and reliable contraceptives. But President Donald Trump appointed two delegates to the 61st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this week who believe birth control access is ‘antithetical to the values and needs of women worldwide’…” (Bassett, 3/17).

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U.N. Raises Only About $2M Of $400M For Haiti Cholera Fund

Agence France-Presse: U.N. Haiti cholera fund still falls short despite British aid
“A new appeal by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres for funding to help Haiti’s cholera victims has fallen short, with only Britain responding to the call, U.N. officials said Friday. With only two percent of the needed $400 million raised, Guterres had written to all member states last month to appeal for aid to Haiti, where more than 9,000 people died of cholera in a 2010 epidemic. Britain was the only country to come forward, pledging $622,000…” (3/17).

New York Times: After Bringing Cholera to Haiti, U.N. Can’t Raise Money to Fight It
“…A trust fund created to help finance the strategy has only about $2 million, according to the latest data on its website. Just six of the 193 member states — Britain, Chile, France, India, Liechtenstein, and South Korea — have donated. Other countries have provided additional sources of anti-cholera funding for Haiti outside the trust fund, most notably Canada, at about $4.6 million, and Japan, at $2.6 million, according to the United Nations. Nonetheless, the totals received are a fraction of what [is] envisioned. … Diplomats said part of the problem could be traced to simple donor fatigue, as well as to many countries’ reluctance to make financial commitments without certainty that the money will be used effectively…” (Gladstone, 3/19).

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Ebola Survivors Face Physical, Mental Health Issues, Lack Access To Health Care, NGO Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Three years after Ebola outbreak declared in Guinea, survivors still suffer — charity
“Three years after the world’s worst recorded Ebola outbreak was first declared in Guinea, hundreds of survivors who suffer from physical and mental health problems are struggling to access care, a medical charity said on Friday. More than 1,100 people in Guinea survived the deadly virus — around a third of whom are estimated to suffer from depression, and four in 10 from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA). … Yet many survivors cannot afford health care, said Ivonne Loua, a doctor who runs ALIMA’s survivor care program in Guinea…” (Guilbert, 3/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Foreign Aid Helps Keep Americans Healthy

Forbes: Bill Gates Is Right, USAID Is Not Just Foreign Aid, It Aids The U.S.
Bruce Y. Lee, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, executive director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and director of operations research at the International Vaccine Access Center

“…[In an op-ed for TIME, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,] went on to explain that USAID work helps prevent and control epidemics such as the Ebola outbreak and the spread of HIV/AIDS, create[s] jobs for Americans and people around the world, strengthens markets for U.S. goods, and protect[s] Americans such as our military members. In other words, foreign aid actually helps improve the health of Americans. … The challenge is that not everyone may realize the far-reaching benefits of USAID’s programs because its programs involve such complex systems and a plethora of direct and indirect effects (e.g., improving health systems in low- and middle-income countries in Africa reduces the risk of a disease outbreak that could eventually lead to a global pandemic that otherwise would affect all Americans). … In the end, USAID is an investment, and the emphasis should be on the word development. Not investing in America’s established place in the world will eventually make America sick…” (3/18).

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WHO Must 'Change With The Times' To 'Remain Relevant,' 'Fulfill Its Mission'

Devex: Opinion: Putting people first at the WHO — from ill health to public health emergencies
Tedros Adhanom, special adviser to the prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

“…If I am asked why I am in [the race for next WHO director general], my answer is simple: Because I care. … As an outsider to the WHO bureaucracy — and a person who comes from the developing world — I will ensure that the human faces behind the issues are front and center at every discussion. … There are … very real and practical obstacles facing the WHO in carrying out its mission. Funding, or the lack thereof, is particularly concerning. It is unacceptable that the budget of an institution vital to ensuring humanity’s health and the world’s progress and prosperity is smaller than some single hospitals in the developed world. So, I’ll be clear about this: One of my first priorities if elected as director general will be to address this issue. I will work to expand funding sources and to enhance the flexibility and predictability of WHO financing. … Secondly, I will work closely with member states to help minimize the penchant to favor parochial, national interests over the regional and global good. … The world is a completely different place now than it was in the post-World War II era when the WHO was established. We are living in an increasingly complex, hyper-connected planet where humanity is facing an existential threat posed by climate change. And if the WHO is to remain relevant and fulfill its mission, it needs to change with the times” (3/20).

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Policymakers, Drug Companies Must Prioritize Biomedical Research To Address Antimicrobial Resistance

Fox News: We must fight the deadly superbug threat with every tool we’ve got
Claire Pomeroy, president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

“…The number of new antimicrobial agents in development has slowed and the antibiotic pipeline is insufficient. Investigators must embrace the importance of this field of research; policymakers must ensure that regulations do not discourage R&D; and pharmaceutical companies must invest in their development. We must prioritize research to develop new drugs; to identify new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat infection; and to clarify the best ways to use the antimicrobial tools available to us. … [W]e must also explore new ways to combat infection — from behavioral interventions that can decrease spread of disease, to strengthening health care infrastructure so infections are treated quickly before they can extend to others. … We must join our voices to make this public health threat a policy and research priority and impress upon our elected representatives and policymakers at home and abroad the importance of funding for biomedical research…” (3/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Organizations React To U.S. President Trump's Proposed Budget Cuts To Foreign Aid

MFAN: MFAN Community Pushes Back on Trump Administration’s Deep Proposed Cuts to Foreign Assistance
Jill MacArthur, program & membership coordinator at MFAN, highlights a roundup of reactions from the MFAN community to President Trump’s budget blueprint released last week, and notes, “MFAN has come out strongly opposing this deep and disproportionate cut [to the State Department and USAID]” (3/17).

Save the Children: President’s Proposed Budget Cuts Will be Catastrophic to Future of Mothers and Children in the U.S., Abroad
“Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) [Thursday] announced their strong opposition to the president’s proposed massive budget cuts to international development, humanitarian assistance, and domestic programs that will have disastrous impacts on the health, education, and safety of mothers and children at home and abroad…” (3/16).

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6 Ways Emerging Technologies Can Connect Global Health, Innovation, Social Impact

PATH: 6 ways SXSW connects global health and innovation for social impact
Cassi Flint, executive and internal communications assistant; Ken Anderson, senior media relations associate; and Lippi Doshi, communications and digital advocacy officer, all at PATH, discuss emerging technologies seen at this year’s SXSW and outline “six ways [they] saw the intersection and fusion of global health, innovation, and impact at SXSW.” They highlight advances in digital technology, understanding the needs of the end user, the idea that technology is an “increasingly powerful enabler,” the role of partnerships, the role of arts and artists, and the use of virtual reality as a storytelling tool (3/17).

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FT Health Examines U.S. President Trump's Budget Outline, Features Interview With WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar

FT Health: Making America unhealthy again
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter features an article examining U.S. President Trump’s budget outline’s potential impacts on health-related issues and foreign aid and an interview with Sania Nishtar, candidate for WHO director general from Pakistan (Jack, 3/17).

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