KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Former Cabinet Officials Denounce Trump Administration's Proposed Cuts To Foreign Aid, Medical Research

Associated Press: AP Interview: McConnell rejects Trump’s foreign aid cuts
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday shot down prospects for major parts of President Donald Trump’s budget, rejecting proposed cuts to foreign aid and medical research. … ‘America being a force is a lot more than building up the Defense Department,’ McConnell said. ‘Diplomacy is important, extremely important, and I don’t think these reductions at the State Department are appropriate because many times diplomacy is a lot more effective — and certainly cheaper — than military engagement’…” (Werner, 3/21).

Devex: Stephen Hadley and Madeline Albright team up to ask Congress not to cut foreign aid
“Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley called on Congress together to convene a national debate about America’s role in the world, warned against isolationism, and rejected deep foreign aid cuts recommended in President Donald Trump’s budget [during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday]…” (Saldinger, 3/22).

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Trump's Budget Blueprint Recommends Cutting McGovern-Dole Food For Education Program Providing School Meals To Children In World's Poorest Nations

Washington Post: This program has fed 40 million kids in the world’s poorest places. Trump wants to get rid of it
“Former senator Bob Dole, a pillar of the Republican Party and a staunch supporter of President Trump during his campaign, has accused the president of threatening ‘one of the proudest achievements of my lifetime’ — by cutting a program that has provided school meals to more than 40 million children in some of the world’s poorest countries. … Since 2003, [the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program] has provided school meals in 40 of the world’s most impoverished nations, including several that are currently approaching famine. Trump’s budget recommended eliminating the program, however, citing concerns that it ‘lacks evidence that it is being effectively implemented’…” (Dewey, 3/20).

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U.S. Funding For WHO's International Agency For Research On Cancer Under Threat

POLITICO: Bad news for the bad-news agency
“As President Donald Trump raises the axe on U.S. medical research funding, scientists across the Atlantic are trembling, too. The World Health Organization’s cancer agency, the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has long been a prime purveyor of bad news. Now, with big business blasting it as fake news and Republicans in total control, U.S. funding crucial for IARC’s work is under threat…” (Huet, 3/17).

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LGBTI Rights Remains Contentious Issue At U.N. Status Of Women Meeting

Inter Press Service: ‘Hate Group’ Inclusion Shows U.N. Members Still Divided on LGBT Rights
“A group designated as a hate group [by the Southern Poverty Law Center] for its ‘often violent rhetoric’ against LGBTI rights was an invited member of the United States Official Delegation to the annual women’s meeting, say rights groups. … Including C-Fam on the U.S. delegation reflects ongoing disagreement between U.N. member states — and even within U.N. member states domestically — about the importance of including LGBTI rights within the U.N.’s work…” (Rowlands, 3/20).

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Devex Speaks With Water.org CEO Gary White About World Water Day, Social Impact Investing

Devex: Q&A: CEO of Water.org on bringing water to 5 million people through social impact investing
“Every year, World Water Day presents an opportunity to raise awareness of what is working, and what more is needed, to provide global access to safe water. Last week, Devex moderated a conversation with Gary White, CEO of Water.org, and Michele Sullivan, president of the Caterpillar Foundation, which has provided funding to Water.org’s WaterCredit program, at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Here, White talks to Devex about how ‘social impact investing’ could be the solution to bringing sustainable water access to millions…” (Cheney, 3/22).

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Global Smoking Rates Down Since Implementation Of WHO Treaty On Tobacco Control, But Could Drop Further With More Effort, Study Says

Reuters: Tobacco treaty has helped cut smoking rates, but more work needed
“A global tobacco treaty put in place in 2005 has helped reduce smoking rates by 2.5 percent worldwide in 10 years, researchers said on Tuesday, but use of deadly tobacco products could be cut even further with more work on anti-smoking policies. In a study published in the Lancet Public Health journal, researchers from Canada’s University of Waterloo and the World Health Organization (WHO) found that while progress against what they called the ‘global tobacco epidemic’ has been substantial, it has still fallen short of the pace called for by the treaty…” (Kelland, 3/21).

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Gains In Development Indicators Improved Significantly Since 1990 But Progress Uneven, U.N. Report Shows

U.N. News Centre: Despite progress, world’s most marginalized still left behind — U.N. development report
“A flagship United Nations report launched [Tuesday] finds that although the average human development improved significantly since 1990, progress is uneven, with systemic discrimination against women, indigenous peoples, and ethnic minorities. The latest Human Development Report, released annually by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), found that while many people have greater access to education, health, and sanitation, for example, more focus needs to be paid to who has been excluded and why…” (3/21).

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Report Calls On 'Big Data' To Fill Global Gender Data Gap

Devex: 3 ways gender data could go ‘big’
“More tightly mapped trends in girls’ stunting and access to contraception in Bangladesh. A better understanding of women’s mobility in a Latin American city. Stronger insights into women’s mental health via social media in cities around the world. All of these findings can be traced to big data — and to a three-year project spearheaded by the United Nations Foundation’s initiative Data2X to apply large data sets to help close the gaping gender data gap…” (Rogers, 3/21).

Humanosphere: New report calls for ‘big data’ to help world’s most vulnerable women and girls
“…The report was released [Tuesday] by Data2X, a United Nations Foundation initiative aiming to advance gender equality through improved data collection. Deputy Director Rebecca Furst-Nichols said the report calls for ways to supplement traditional forms of data collection that often unintentionally silence women and girls…” (Nikolau, 3/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. President Trump's Proposed Cuts To NIH 'Would Erode America's Leadership In Medical Research'

New York Times: Why Trump’s NIH Cuts Should Worry Us
Harold Varmus, professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, former director of NIH and the National Cancer Institute

“…[I]t would be a mistake to be complacent about the president’s proposal [to cut the NIH budget by about $5.8 billion], because it is likely to have real consequences. Yes, some have said that the proposed cut to the NIH will be dead on arrival in Congress. But the president’s budget proposal is still important: The administration’s representatives will need to defend it at hearings, and it could be the starting point for negotiations among appropriators. It is not difficult to imagine a compromise in which the NIH suffers a steep reduction. … A substantial NIH budget cut would undermine the fiscal stability of universities and medical schools, many of which depend on NIH funding; it would erode America’s leadership in medical research; and it would diminish opportunities to discover new ways to prevent and treat diseases. … As I have learned from my own time at the NIH, this is not about Republicans versus Democrats. It is about a more fundamental divide, between those who believe in evidence as a basis for life-altering and nation-defining decisions and those who adhere unflinchingly to dogma. It is about a conception of national leadership that connects our economic success and our security to the generation of knowledge, and to the arts and sciences, not just to our military strength. A budget proposal is a concrete manifestation of plans for the nation, a declaration of purpose. In confronting the president’s assault on the NIH, all members of Congress face a moment that will define their character and the future of the country” (3/22).

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Government-Industry Partnerships Vital To Vaccine Development, Sanofi Senior Executive Writes In Response To Bernie Sanders' Op-Ed

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Developing a Zika Vaccine
Elias Zerhouni, president of global research and development for Sanofi

“Re ‘Trump Should Avoid a Bad Zika Deal‘ (Op-Ed, March 11): Bernie Sanders, in our view, doesn’t seem to recognize the importance of government-industry partnerships in protecting the public from potentially devastating infectious diseases. … [T]he United States government is working with a number of different manufacturers who are competing to develop a potential Zika vaccine. As part of this process, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has publicly offered its own vaccine candidate for licensing. Under the license agreement — and assuming the vaccine succeeds — my company, Sanofi, would make significant milestone and royalty payments to Walter Reed, allowing the United States government to recoup its investment. … Sanofi has decades of experience in vaccine development and manufacturing. We have partnered with governments and NGOs around the world, ensuring access to lifesaving vaccines at reasonable prices, and we are proud of our continued efforts to do so” (3/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Examines What Trump Administration's Budget Blueprint Could Mean For 150 Account

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Skinny Budget Skinny on Details
Beth Schwanke, director of policy outreach; Erin Collinson, senior associate for policy outreach; and Jared Kalow, research assistant, all at CGD, discuss the Trump administration’s budget blueprint and illustrate what it could mean for the 150 Account in an interactive, writing, “[W]e should expect deep proposed cuts to many of the remaining lines, including Economic Support Funds (ESF), Development Assistance (DA), and USAID Operating Expenses” (3/21).

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Members Of Congress React To Trump Administration's Proposed Cuts To State, USAID

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: Congressional Leaders Voice Concern About Trump Administration’s Proposed Cuts to State Department and USAID
Jill MacArthur, program and membership coordinator at MFAN, highlights reactions from members of Congress to President Trump’s budget blueprint, highlighting comments “expressing concern over such a severe proposed reduction in the Function 150 Account…” (3/21).

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CSIS Podcasts Discuss U.S. Engagement With Nigeria's Health Sector, Recently Launched CEPI

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Nigeria’s Health Sector and Partnership with the United States
Sara Allinder, deputy director and senior fellow at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center (GHPC), speaks with Audrey Jackson, senior fellow with the CSIS GHPC, and Richard Downie, deputy director of the CSIS Africa Program, about their travel to Nigeria to examine the state of the country’s health sector and recommendations for U.S. engagement in Nigeria (3/10).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: John-Arne Rottingen on CEPI’s Advent and Next Steps
J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at CSIS and director of the CSIS GHPC, speaks with John-Arne Røttingen, interim CEO for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), about CEPI’s advent and next steps (3/7).

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4 Scientists Present HIV, TB Research At Capitol Hill Event

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: In wake of proposed cuts, physician scientists present HIV, TB research, response, results
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses an event on Capitol Hill during which four physician scientists — Myron Cohen, Col. Nelson Michael, Gerald Friedland, and Rochelle Walensky — presented and discussed their work on HIV and TB, as well as the benefits of international health research (3/21).

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Blog Post Makes Recommendations For USAID To Become More Effective

International Policy Digest: Foreign Aid? Change It Already!
Astrid Ansah, a first-year graduate student studying international development at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, discusses ways USAID can make foreign aid more effective. She writes USAID can assume “the role of a facilitator because it will remove the long-standing aspect of local dependency,” choose “implementing organizations that offer the most impactful development objectives because it will refocus the purpose of development and stimulate innovation,” and allow “implementing organizations to set feasible indicators that will still maintain accountability because it will allow programs to produce real results” (3/22).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC, Other U.S. Agencies, International Partners Work To Improve Access To Clean Water, Sanitation In Haiti

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: The Consequences of Contaminated Water
Adrienne Lefevre, health communications ORISE fellow at CDC — with assistance from Rick Gelting, Tom Handzel, and Eric Mintz, all with CDC — recognizes World Water Day, held annually on March 22, and highlights ongoing challenges of access to clean water and proper sanitation in Haiti. She notes, “While Haiti continues to struggle with cholera, the combined efforts of the National Potable Water and Sanitation Directorate (DINEPA), MSPP, CDC, UNICEF, PAHO/WHO, USAID, and other organizations are strengthening the country’s capacity to combat cholera and other infectious diseases…” (3/21).

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