KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump, Bill Gates Meet To Discuss Global Health, Development Programs

Associated Press/CBS News: Bill Gates, Trump meet to discuss foreign aid
“Tech billionaire Bill Gates met with President Donald Trump to discuss progress in programs for global health and development as well as domestic education. Gates, who as the co-founder of Microsoft is the world’s wealthiest man, highlighted the ‘indispensable role that the United States has played in achieving these gains,’ his foundation said in a statement…” (3/20).

Bloomberg: Trump Meets Bill Gates After President Seeks Cuts in Foreign Aid
“…White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the two spoke about their ‘shared commitment to finding and stopping disease outbreaks around the world.’ Gates, who wrote an article saying cuts to foreign aid Trump proposed would make America ‘less safe,’ didn’t speak to reporters afterward…” (Olorunnipa, 3/20).

Forbes: Bill Gates, Opponent of Plan To Cut Foreign Aid, Meets With President Trump At The White House
“…Details about the exchange weren’t immediately available, but Gates Foundation spokeswoman Sarah Logan said in an email before the meeting that Gates would be talking with U.S. government officials about development initiatives. ‘The foundation has a long history of working with officials on both sides of the aisle to pursue shared priorities like global health and development and domestic education,’ Logan wrote. ‘Bill will meet with members of the administration and congressional leaders to discuss the tremendous progress made to-date in these areas and the critical and indispensable role that the United States has played in achieving these gains’…” (Sirtori-Cortina, 3/20).

Vox: Bill Gates takes his campaign against “America First” directly to Donald Trump today
“In a TIME magazine opinion article on Friday, Gates argued for why the cuts to global health in Trump’s budget proposal last week would actually make Americans sicker and less safe. ‘I understand why some Americans watch their tax dollars going overseas and wonder why we’re not spending them at home,’ Gates wrote. ‘Here’s my answer: These projects keep Americans safe. And by promoting health, security, and economic opportunity, they stabilize vulnerable parts of the world’…” (Belluz, 3/20).

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Amb. Deborah Birx Discusses Potential Impacts Of Mexico City Policy On PEPFAR In Devex Interview

Devex: Q&A with Ambassador Deborah Birx: ‘This White House is very responsive to data’
“While the top-line budget has been released by President Donald Trump’s administration, questions remain around how various foreign aid programs will fare. There are uncertainties about how funding and the reinstated ‘global gag rule’ could affect PEPFAR … and broader global health challenges. … Devex sat down with Ambassador Deborah Birx, the U.S. global aids coordinator, before the budget was released, to discuss the impacts of the reinstated global gag rule (also called the Mexico City policy), what PEPFAR implementers need to know about future priorities, and the agency’s focus on prevention among girls…” (Saldinger, 3/20).

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Devex Examines Parallels Between Australia's Efforts To Cut Foreign Aid Under Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Trump Administration's Proposals In U.S., NGOs' Roles

Devex: Why is foreign aid an easy cut?
“…Just as Trump promised voters that foreign spending would take a back seat, so too had Tony Abbott, who won the 2013 election for prime minister with a vow to chop Australia’s foreign aid budget. … In Australia, the development sector has been strong in their opposition to the cuts. In the U.S., the development sector is beginning to fight back. But will it be enough? Parallels between Australia and the U.S. reveal that for many voters, foreign aid is an easy cut. Devex reveals why and the important role nongovernmental organizations will play in creating change…” (Cornish, 3/20).

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Study Uses Mathematical Models To Predict Number Of HIV Cases By 2035, How Various Interventions Could Reduce Incidence

International Business Times: HIV vaccine and UNAIDS targets could cut new cases from 49 million to just 17.3 by 2035
“Over the next 20 years, there will be 49 million new cases of HIV, a mathematical model has indicated. This number, however, could be drastically reduced if current interventions are acted upon and a vaccine is introduced in the next four years. A team of scientists led by Jan Medlock of Oregon State University examined the ongoing pandemic in 127 countries to establish a model predicting how many cases will be diagnosed between 2015 and 2035. They then worked out how big an impact different approaches to prevention would have…” (Osborne, 3/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.N. Should Be Responsible For Ensuring Cholera Campaign In Haiti Succeeds

New York Times: U.N. Accepts Blame but Dodges the Bill in Haiti
Editorial Board

“…The United Nations has the duty to end the cholera crisis because the United Nations caused it. … Only last December did [the U.N.] apologize and promise to make things right. The secretary general at the time, Ban Ki-moon, promised strenuous efforts, called the ‘New Approach,’ to eradicate cholera from the country. That unfinished job has fallen to Mr. Ban’s successor, António Guterres. The New Approach envisions spending $400 million, but has raised only about $2 million. … [The U.N.] declared the ‘end in sight’ for cholera — in 2013 — and is now hoping, under a new leader, to overcome the donor fatigue, inattention, and neglect that have robbed Haitians of their right to healthy lives. … Mr. Guterres needs to use every bit of skill and good will to compel and cajole member nations and philanthropies to make the cholera campaign succeed — and with it, to settle the United Nations’ moral debt to Haiti…” (3/21).

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Birth Spacing, Family Planning Counseling Integral To Achieving FP2020's Goals

STAT: Birth spacing, and the information and tools to do it, can save women’s and children’s lives
Monica Kerrigan, vice president of innovations at Jhpiego

“…Access to family planning is one of the most cost-effective investments a country can make in its future. … In most countries, counseling about birth spacing and family planning has never been an integral component of the prenatal care and maternal and newborn health services. But it needs to become an urgent priority. … We also need to ensure that providers are competent and confident to provide the safe, effective, long-acting methods of contraception that women prefer, namely implants and IUDs. Supplies must be on hand so women can begin using these methods as soon after delivery as they choose. And we need new approaches for tracking and monitoring women so they and their newborns get comprehensive care, including immunizations and counseling on breastfeeding, nutrition, and family planning. FP2020’s ambitious goals require us to be even more innovative, committed, and persistent as we urgently focus on meeting the unmet need…” (3/21).

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Cancer Prevention In Latin America Could Help Inform Prevention Strategies For Latino Population In U.S.

The Hill: Cancer prevention in Latin America also serves us here
Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, and Eric T. Rosenthal, independent journalist and founder of the National Cancer Institute’s Designated Cancer Centers Public Affairs Network

“With the proposed federal cutbacks in medical research, global health, and diplomacy, it falls to other resources to continue critically needed programs and services that must forge ahead rather than fall backward or be abandoned. … There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the cancer problem. Latin Americans and Americans of Latino or Hispanic heritage are not a genetically homogeneous group and different nations have various challenges related to dealing with cancer prevention and treatment. But by working together, sharing experiences, and exploring solutions, we can learn more about what works or doesn’t, and much of that information has implications for serving the growing Latino population in the United States, as well. … We don’t expect to be able to prevent all cancers, but we hope that our [March 29 Concordia-hosted roundtable discussion on cancer prevention, screening, and early detection in Latin America at Miami Dade College] will be the beginning of a Pan-American effort to work collaboratively to identify common issues and develop specific strategies to prevent or reduce cancer incidence, or find it at an earlier, treatable stage” (3/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CSIS Report Offers Vision For U.S. Approach To Supporting Health Of Adolescent Girls, Young Women Globally

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Her Health, Her Lifetime, Our World: Unlocking the Potential of Adolescent Girls and Young Women
The CSIS Task Force on Women’s & Family Health on Monday released a report outlining recommendations for the Trump administration and Congress related to supporting the health and development of adolescent girls and young women worldwide. The report calls for “a new and different U.S. approach to foreign assistance: one that creatively integrates key health interventions — improving maternal and newborn health, increasing access to voluntary family planning, reducing anemia, and expanding access to the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer — with education and other development efforts. It promises to deliver concrete and enduring returns on investment, firmly establish adolescent girls and young women as a pillar of long-term economic growth and opportunity, as well as bring vital benefits to Americans,” (March 2017).

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Blog Post Criticizes Gates's Annual Letter, Says More Focus Needed On Root Causes Of Poverty, Poor Health

Humanosphere: Gates Foundation’s rose-colored world view not supported by evidence
In this guest opinion piece, Martin Kirk, co-founder and campaign policy director of /TheRules, and Jason Hickel, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics and author, criticize Bill and Melinda Gates’s annual letter, writing, “There are two big problems with the letter. First, some of their examples are just wrong. Second are errors of omission. There’s a lot they just don’t talk about.” Kirk and Hickel continue, “The Gates Foundation has undoubtedly made some valuable contributions to [health and development] work, particularly in the area of vaccines, and that should be acknowledged and celebrated. But to tell such a reductive, self-aggrandizing story isn’t optimism, it’s deception. It is false to think that we can get lasting change by only speaking of what alleviates some of the worst suffering while ignoring almost everything that causes it. It is also disingenuous to claim that poverty can be eradicated with more charity and foreign aid…” (3/20).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC Testing Fractional Dose Vaccination For Yellow Fever

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Yellow Fever Vaccination Response
Kimberley Fox, immunizations systems branch chief, and Jennie Harris, epidemiologist, both with CDC’s Global Immunization Division, discuss the agency’s evaluation of fractional dose vaccinations for yellow fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The authors note, “If the fractional dose is found to provide a sufficient immune response, fractional dose vaccination may be used more frequently in outbreak response campaigns. This would reduce the vaccine supply needs during outbreaks and significantly increase the global capacity to respond to large outbreaks…” (3/20).

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