KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Senators Press Defense Leaders On Impacts Of Potential Cuts To Foreign Aid Spending

Devex: Defense Department officials pressed on aid, as military emerges as key voice in budget debate
“U.S. foreign aid came up repeatedly in two defense-related congressional hearings this week, drawing attention to the impact of the White House’s proposed budget cuts in conversations meant to focus on the military. Five senators at the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee hearing on Wednesday sought Defense Secretary James Mattis’s and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford’s comment on the impact of President Donald Trump’s proposed … cuts to the foreign aid budget. Mattis and Dunford offered tempered replies. But the exchanges are indicative of how the defense community is emerging as a key voice in the fight to push back against cutting State Department and aid budgets. A number of retired generals have spoken out publicly and met with lawmakers about the damage such reductions could cause to American influence across the globe…” (Saldinger, 3/23).

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Bill Gates Meets With U.S. Congressional Leaders To Discuss Foreign Aid Spending, Global Health Efforts

The Hill: Gates advocates for foreign aid during Capitol Hill meetings
“Bill Gates met with several congressional leaders on Tuesday to discuss foreign aid and global health issues. Gates’s representatives did not specify which lawmakers Gates was meeting with, but reporters from The Hill saw Microsoft’s founder entering the offices of Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. In his Capitol Hill meetings, Gates stressed the potential impact that budget cuts could have on programs backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to a Gates Foundation spokesperson. These programs include efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, to contain malaria, and to deliver vaccines…” (Breland, 3/22).

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Drug-Resistant TB Threatens Global Control Efforts, Researchers Warn In Lancet Report

The Guardian: Decades of TB progress threatened by drug-resistant bacteria, warn experts
“The rise of multi-drug resistant bacteria threatens to overturn decades of progress on tuberculosis (TB), experts are warning. Multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains of TB are causing increasing concern, says a new report in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal. Migration and travel mean that drug-resistant cases of tuberculosis that are difficult to treat have appeared in almost every part of the world…” (Boseley, 3/23).

Reuters: Rise of superbug tuberculosis hampers global control efforts
“…While some new antibiotics with the potential to treat some drug-resistant strains are becoming available for the first time, experts who conducted a global study said that without accurate diagnostics, better case tracking, and clear treatment guidelines, their effectiveness could rapidly be lost. ‘Resistance to anti-tuberculosis drugs is a global problem that threatens to derail efforts to eradicate the disease,’ said Keertan Dheda, a University of Cape Town professor who co-led research published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal…” (Kelland, 3/22).

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Governments Must Invest More In Clean Water, Sanitation, World Water Council Says; 1 In 4 Children To Face Water Shortages By 2040, UNICEF Report Shows

Associated Press: African governments urged to spend more on clean water
“Nearly a third of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe drinking water, the World Water Council said Wednesday, urging governments to contribute adequate amounts of their budgets toward projects aimed at making safe water widely available. … Globally, at least 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water source contaminated with feces, and half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025, according to the World Health Organization…” (Muhumuza, 3/22).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: One in four children may face severe water shortages by 2040: UNICEF
“One in four children — 600 million in total — may live in areas with severely limited water resources by 2040, putting them at risk of deadly diseases like cholera and diarrhea, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said on Wednesday…” (Capelouto, 3/22).

U.N. News Centre: ‘Nothing can grow without water,’ warns UNICEF, as 600 million children could face extreme shortages
“…In its report, Thirsting for a Future: Water and children in a changing climate, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) explores the threats to children’s lives and wellbeing caused by depleted sources of safe water and the ways climate change will intensify these risks in coming years. ‘This crisis will only grow unless we take collective action now,’ said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in a news release announcing the report, launched on World Water Day…” (3/22).

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Once Approved By WHO, New Rotavirus Vaccine Could Protect Millions Of Children From Diarrheal Disease

New York Times: New Vaccine Could Slow Disease That Kills 600 Children a Day
“A new vaccine against a diarrheal disease that kills about 600 children a day worked well in a large trial in Africa and appears to be a practical way to protect millions of children, scientists said on Wednesday. The new vaccine against rotavirus, the most common cause of death from diarrhea in children under age five, is made by an Indian company and was tested in Niger by Doctors Without Borders. … It must be approved by the World Health Organization before it can be widely distributed, a process that is underway…” (McNeil, 3/22).

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Global Health NOW Features 4-Part Interview With WHO Director-General Candidate Sania Nishtar

Global Health NOW: The Changemaker: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar’s Q&A, Part I
“The next WHO director general needs be a changemaker, a campaigner who can meet with heads of state on critical health issues and persuade them to ‘get it done,’ says Sania Nishtar, one of three finalists in the running to lead the organization. … In a four-part Q&A with GHN, Nishtar discusses what her priorities would be as DG, what needs to change at WHO, the role of politics in global health and the reasons why she should be elected to WHO’s top leadership role. In this first installment, Nishtar shares what she considers her top qualification for the job, confronts the idea that the next DG should be from Africa and explores WHO’s readiness for the next global pandemic…” (Simpson, 3/20).

Global Health NOW: Culture Change: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar’s Q&A, Part II
“…In this second installment of a four-part Q&A with GHN, Nishtar says she has ‘the ability to accelerate reforms, break silos, and speak truth to power … leading on hard issues and making changes in WHO accordingly.’ Progress on these fronts will enhance WHO’s ability to secure sufficient funding, according to Nishtar…” (Simpson, 3/21).

Global Health NOW: The Politics of Global Health: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar’s Q&A, Part III
“…In this third installment of a four-part Q&A with GHN, Nishtar discusses the need to better communicate WHO’s mission, the challenges of resolving trans-border risks, and the need for the organization to develop political clout…” (Simpson, 3/22).

Global Health NOW: Closing Argument: WHO DG Candidate Sania Nishtar’s Q&A, Part IV
“In the final part of GHN’s Q&A with her, Sania Nishtar makes her closing argument for why she should be WHO’s next director general. Nishtar emphasizes her history working in Pakistan’s government as a federal health minister, her ability to ‘speak truth to power,’ her experience founding a civil society organization, and her record of integrity and transparency…” (Simpson, 3/23).

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U.K.'s DEC Warns Of Potential Increase In Waterborne Disease Incidence In Drought-Stricken East African Nations

International Business Times: Cholera threatens millions in drought-hit East Africa as famine looms
“Fears of a cholera outbreak in drought-ravaged East Africa are increasing. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in the U.K. warned of an ‘alarming surge’ of waterborne diseases in the area, where millions have gone hungry due to lack of rain and prolonged insecurity. … DEC members, including charities Red Cross and World Vision, are working on the ground to provide, among other things, access to clean water to millions of vulnerable people…” (Iaccino, 3/22).

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Brazil Requests 4M Doses Of Yellow Fever Vaccine From International Emergency Stockpile Group Amid Outbreak

STAT: Facing significant yellow fever outbreak, Brazil appeals for more vaccine
“Brazil, in the grips of an unusually large yellow fever outbreak, has asked for millions of doses of vaccine from an international emergency stockpile. The body that maintains and manages the stockpile, the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision, has approved the release of more than 3.5 million doses of the vaccine, according to the Brazilian office of the Pan American Health Organization. The office said the vaccine should arrive in Brazil over the next few days. The request signals public health officials’ increasing concern over the scale of Brazil’s outbreak…” (Branswell, 3/21).

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El Salvador Could Overturn Law Banning Abortion In All Circumstances To Allow Procedure In Some Cases

The Guardian: Support building for landmark move to overturn El Salvador’s anti-abortion law
“El Salvador’s controversial law banning abortion in all circumstances, which has provoked ruthless miscarriages of justice, could be overturned in what has been described as an historic move. Momentum is building around a parliamentary bill proposing to allow abortion in cases of rape or human trafficking; when the fetus in unviable; or to protect the pregnant woman’s health or life…” (Lakhani, 3/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

USAID Works With Communities In Tajikistan To Increase Capacity To Maintain, Operate Safe Water Systems

Medium: With Water Pours Out Hope
Jessica Benton Cooney, communications specialist for USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

“…With USAID support installing inexpensive water systems, rural villages and towns like Khojaabdolon  –  whose residents comprise 73 percent of the Tajikistan’s population  —  are gaining access to safe drinking water. In collaboration with the government of Tajikistan, USAID seeks to improve the capacity of local governments to deliver municipal services to citizens. These efforts have increased citizen empowerment through the establishment of a management structure within the local village councils to maintain and operate the water systems. … Happy with what they have achieved together through this process, villagers said they have learned that prosperity is in their hands. … USAID is working to provide inexpensive water systems, [help communities] take pride in their efforts to become self-reliant, and make their community a more appealing place to settle. With water flows hope in the village, as citizens now have time to dream of a better future for themselves and their community…” (3/22).

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India Must Mobilize Resources To Fully Implement National Strategic Plan For TB Elimination

Devex: Opinion: In India, eliminating tuberculosis isn’t just a health issue — it’s an economic one
Madhukar Pai, Canada research chair in epidemiology and global health at McGill University, Montreal, director of McGill Global Health Programs, and associate director of the McGill International TB Centre; Jorge Coarasa, senior economist with the health, nutrition, and population global practice of the World Bank

“Last month, India’s finance minister announced the government’s plan to eliminate tuberculosis by 2025 during the unveiling of the country’s Union Budget for 2017-2018. This is a welcome move: While ridding people of the burden of any disease is a worthy goal by itself, TB elimination provides perhaps one of the strongest economic cases for public intervention. … Three weeks after the bold target of eliminating TB in India by 2025 was announced, India’s Revised National TB Control Program published a draft of a new National Strategic Plan for TB Elimination 2017-2025 — which if approved, funded, and fully implemented, could be a game change in the fight against TB in India. … The cost of implementing the new NSP is estimated at $2.5 billion over the first three years, a steep increase over the current budget. … India must start backing its ambitions with rupees. Therefore, the real test of whether the bold plan by the Health Ministry can be implemented and the ambitious target set by the Finance Ministry achieved will be whether enough resources can be mobilized to find, treat, and offer quality care to all TB patients, regardless of where they seek care” (3/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Blog Post, Podcast Examine Potential Impact Of Trump Administration's FY18 Budget Blueprint

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: Putting Foreign Aid Cuts in Context
Jared Kalow, research assistant at CGD, discusses the Trump administration’s budget blueprint and its potential impact on the international affairs budget, writing, “Put funding for the 150 account in context, and you better understand the broader trend [of U.S. funding] and two crucial points: (1) the 150 Account is a tiny slice of the federal budget, so proposed cuts will contribute little toward shoring up much larger accounts like national defense; and (2) increases in foreign assistance over the past sixteen years have supported U.S. development efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and helped deliver on a historic U.S. commitment to fight global HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa” (3/22).

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: What Do the Trump Administration’s Budget Cuts Mean — and What Do They Mask? — Podcast with Scott Morris and Amanda Glassman
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, speaks with Scott Morris, senior fellow and director of the U.S. Development Policy Initiative, and Amanda Glassman, chief operating officer and senior fellow, both with CGD, about what the Trump administration’s budget blueprint and funding cuts could mean for the U.S. role in global development (3/22).

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U.S. Military Leaders Urge Members Of Congress To Support Full Funding Of State Department, USAID

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: Military Leaders on Capitol Hill Today Push to Protect State Department, USAID Budget
“Members of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s National Security Advisory Council — an elite group of retired three and four star generals and admirals — [were] on Capitol Hill [Wednesday] urging members of Congress to support fully funding the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The high-ranking military officers’ visit to Capitol Hill … follows the now widely cited letter to House and Senate Leadership last month defending the State Department, USAID, and other development agencies as ‘critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way’…” (3/22).

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Ahead Of World TB Day, TB Survivors, Researchers, Advocates Discuss Disease Elimination Progress, Challenges At Capitol Hill Event

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Adding up tolls of drug resistance, threats to research and hurdles to progress, TB survivors, scientists, and advocates gather on Capitol Hill
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” reports from an event on Capitol Hill during which TB survivors, researchers, and advocates gathered to discuss TB’s global impact, the development of new diagnostic technology and treatments, and the challenge of drug resistance (3/22).

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WHO Issues New Ethics Guidance To Help Ensure Protection Of All TB Patients' Rights

World Health Organization: WHO issues ethics guidance to protect rights of TB patients
“New tuberculosis (TB) ethics guidance, launched [Wednesday] by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to help ensure that countries implementing the End TB Strategy adhere to sound ethical standards to protect the rights of all those affected. … The new WHO ethics guidance addresses contentious issues such as the isolation of contagious patients, the rights of TB patients in prison, discriminatory policies against migrants affected by TB, among others…” (3/22).

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Chicago Council Guest Commentaries Discuss Ways To Address Global Food Security

Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Guest Commentary — Confronting Our Biggest Challenges: Innovation And Collaboration Will Drive Food Security
Krysta Harden, vice president of public policy and chief sustainability officer at DuPont, discusses DuPont’s efforts to establish partnerships to address global food security challenges, writing, “Solutions must be collaborative — reached in concert with communities, governments, NGOs, and farmers who know the ‘facts on the ground’ and with global businesses who have the specialized expertise or resources to help solve particular problems. … We welcome those conversations and invite people to reach out to us to establish new, robust connections that will have a meaningful impact and make positive change” (3/21).

Chicago Council on Global Affairs: Guest Commentary — Food Crisis And Famine: A Compelling Call To Create Strategic Food Reserve Systems
Samrat Singh, research associate at Imperial College London, discusses the need to establish emergency reserve food and agriculture systems, writing, “As the world faces the biggest food crisis since 1945, there is a clear and urgent need to develop and support a network of national and regional food and agriculture input reserve systems. … While the causes of this crisis are complex and at times seemingly intractable, prompt and preemptive support through strategic food reserves can prevent the precipitous collapse of food security…” (3/22).

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Wilson Center Workshop Examines Ways To Close Maternal Health Gaps In India

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: For India, Achieving the Next Generation of Maternal Health Goals Requires New Approaches
Francesca Cameron, program assistant with the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, discusses a two-day workshop organized by the Wilson Center and the Maternal Health Task Force on improving maternal health in India. Workshop participants discussed the challenges of meeting the needs of rural women in India, the progress made in designing and implementing interventions for women, and the need for a community health approach to close the remaining maternal health gaps in the region (3/23).

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From the U.S. Government

MCC Helps Strengthen Cabo Verde's Water, Sanitation Sector

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Empowering Cabo Verde to Better Deliver Water and Sanitation to Its People
Benjamin Edwards, program officer for the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Cabo Verde, discusses the MCC’s efforts to support the government of Cabo Verde in strengthening its water and sanitation sector through the MCC-Cabo Verde Compact (3/22).

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