KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Trump's New Travel Ban Likely To Affect Scientists' Travel, Research

Nature: What Trump’s new travel ban means for science
“U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a revised version of his controversial travel ban. … Many scientists affected by the first policy have struggled to understand whether it is safe for them to leave the United States to visit family, attend scientific conferences, or conduct research. The new policy may not offer these people much comfort, says Stefano Bertuzzi, executive director of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, D.C. … And there are many scientists whose movements will still be restricted under the new ban, which takes effect on 16 March. … Some scientific societies worry that the ban will be seen as a sign that the United States does not welcome foreigners — even those who are not from the six banned countries…” (Reardon, 3/6).

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'Access To Vaccines Index' Examines Companies' Investments, Actions To Improve Immunization Coverage

Intellectual Property Watch: First Access To Vaccines Index Published
“An ‘Access to Vaccines Index’ was released [Monday] in the Netherlands that claims to ‘reveal the first landscape of vaccine company actions to improve immunization coverage.’ The index ‘finds a high level of diversity in how vaccine companies are improving access to vaccines for people living in poorer countries. This diversity is generally linked to the size of their portfolios and pipelines,’ according to the report website. The new report was published by the Access to Medicine Foundation, which is known for its Access to Medicines Index ranking companies on their performance…” (3/6).

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Melinda, Bill Gates Discuss Global Health Efforts On CBS Sunday Morning

CBS: Sunday Morning Conversation with Melinda Gates
Jane Pauley interviews Melinda and Bill Gates about their efforts to reduce child and maternal mortality through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; how the use of data informs their actions; and how improving access to contraceptives for women worldwide is a priority for the foundation (3/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress, Trump Administration Should Commit To Investing In Global Health

The Hill: Leading with our hearts and minds
Eric P. Goosby, professor at the University of California, San Francisco and the U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on tuberculosis

“…It is imperative that those who run and advocate for global health programs prove that money invested in providing assistance to those who are suffering from deadly infectious diseases is being spent well. In fact, I believe that Congress and the new administration have an obligation to continue to hold our feet to the fire. … At the same time, we must all take a step back and remember why the United States embraced the challenge of tackling global health in the first place. … In introducing PEPFAR during his 2003 State of the Union Address, President [George W.] Bush declared that ‘we must all remember our calling, as a blessed country, is to make the world better.’ … A 2015 Bipartisan Policy Center Report concluded that PEPFAR made the countries it serves stronger, more stable, more prosperous, and more capable. … Similarly, our efforts to combat tuberculosis and malaria have helped restore economic and political stability across the globe — resulting in strengthening our own security here at home. … Like our bilateral programs, public-private partnerships such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, have produced significant results in terms of lives saved and economic benefits. … While the United States’ bipartisan commitment to global health programs has made tremendous strides, we are still leaving many people behind. … And these are the very same people who could likely bear the brunt of President Trump’s rumored 37 percent cut to the State Department’s budget. … [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson must fight for critical programs. And Congress must once again stand strong and invest in global health. Failure to do so could set us back for generations to come” (3/6).

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U.S. Congress Should Protect Progress Made In Global AIDS Response By Maintaining Funding

The Hill: It’s up to Congress to protect millions of people living with HIV around the world
Jamila Headley, managing director of the Health Global Access Project and Aspen New Voices fellow

“…President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal imperils the progress made over 13 years of PEPFAR and the Global Fund. The budget outline made public on [February 27] could cut foreign assistance spending by as much as 37 percent — meaning fewer people on HIV treatment, more preventable deaths, and greater instability around the world. The value and success of the U.S. government’s investments in the AIDS response are widely recognized by citizens and political leaders alike. A 2015 poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that there is strong popular support for these programs, with seven in 10 Americans believing that U.S. investment in global health was in their interest. Even Vice President Mike Pence, President Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have publicly voiced their support for PEPFAR and the Global Fund. … The president’s budget could spell the reversal of over a decade of progress and put the world on track for a disastrous end to what has been an incredible story of transformation in the global AIDS response. The good news is that Congress has the ultimate power to set the budget. … President Trump just threw down the gauntlet. It is up to the House and Senate to defend America’s proud legacy — and the lives of millions of people living abroad” (3/6).

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Vaccine Manufacturers Group Improving Immunization Access In Islamic Nations, Could Serve As Model For Collaborative Development Approaches

Los Angeles Times: One way the Islamic world is tackling its problem with childhood vaccines
Muhammad Naeem Khan, assistant secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

“…Most vaccines are imported from developed nations, making them unaffordable for those who need them most in developing nations. And vaccine shortages … only compound the problem. … [W]ith the Islamic world’s limited-production capacity and medical research capabilities, addressing that deficit has required innovative collaborations between the public, private, and nongovernment sectors. This resulted in the 2014 creation by the [Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)] of the Vaccine Manufacturers Group, a unique collaboration of the public and private sectors. The group, a network of major vaccine producers across OIC member states, enables producers to pool resources, know-how, and research. Its long-term goal is ambitious: to jointly develop affordable vaccines across the Islamic world. … [T]he OIC’s Vaccine Manufacturers Group could be a model for other future development approaches the organization might undertake in the Islamic world. … [I]t is precisely that ability to unite governments, civil society, and private enterprise behind one common purpose and program of action that is bringing the Islamic world closer to a vital goal: easy access to affordable, potentially lifesaving vaccines” (3/3).

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Clean Air Regulations Critical To Responding To Global Air Pollution

Washington Post: Air pollution around the world takes a staggering toll
Editorial Board

“…[F]ocusing only on the pollution challenges of the past, not those of the present or the future, ignores vast volumes of evidence on the ecological and human damage various types of pollution still cause. … Fine particulates from fuel burning, among other things, penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream, encouraging heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and respiratory infections. … Decades of environmental rules have resulted in relatively low — though not necessarily comfortable — particulate pollution levels in the United States and other developed nations. … Yet Americans do not know how good they have it. … The misery is concentrated: Half of air pollution’s death toll was in China and India alone. … Beyond appreciation for effective environmental enforcement, there are at least two lessons. First, major developing nations such as China and India must find a way to grow their economies without substantially degrading their air quality. Second, if world governments continue to press major developing nations on cross-border pollution matters, they will be aided by popular internal demand for cleaner air” (3/5).

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Female Community Health Volunteers Critical To Nepal's, USAID's Response To NTDs

Huffington Post: What My Aunt, A Health Volunteer In Nepal, Taught Me About Women And Neglected Diseases
Kalpana Bhandari, monitoring and evaluation adviser at ENVISION

“…[Female community health volunteers (FCHVs) form Nepal’s] health system’s backbone, providing basic maternal and child health, family planning, and community-based health services. … Although many FCHVs are illiterate or semi-literate, they are trained by Nepal’s government and trusted by their communities. They are on the frontlines of Nepal’s fight against [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)], creating awareness and distributing medicines during mass treatment campaigns. … Beyond my home country, I look at the bigger picture of how many people are treated across the countries and NTDs that USAID is targeting. … USAID began collecting treatment numbers by gender in 2012, and generally, we see a promising picture: Across the board, we are reaching men and women equally with NTD preventive treatments. … [T]he role and impact of women in the fight against NTDs goes beyond data and numbers. … To my aunt and the thousands of other volunteers throughout the world working every day to keep their communities healthy, I want to say thank you for your dedication and commitment” (3/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Trump Administration Issues Guidance On Mexico City Policy Implementation For Family Planning Assistance; Application To Other Global Health Assistance Expected Later, PAI Reports

PAI’s “Washington Memo”: One Down, the Rest to Go: Global Gag Rule Reimposed on Family Planning
In this newsletter, PAI describes the publication of the new “Mexico City Policy (March 2017)” section in the guidance governing USAID funding to overseas nongovernmental organization (NGO) partners. The section “is ‘applicable to all awards that include family planning funds,'” according to the newsletter. “As outlined in a March 2nd agency notice to USAID headquarters and field staff, the [global gag rule (GGR)] section is to be inserted in new USAID family planning assistance grants and cooperative agreements and existing USAID FP agreements ‘when such agreements are amended to add incremental funding.’ The notice also reiterates for emphasis that the GGR does not apply to agreements with foreign governments or multilateral organizations, which are composed of governments, consistent with implementation during the previous Bush administration,” PAI adds, concluding, “Timing of the announcement of an implementation plan to apply the Trump global gag rule to the rest of U.S. global health assistance remains unclear but is moving forward through an interagency process which is expected to present recommendations to the secretary of state in the next several weeks” (3/6).

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Any Proposed U.S. Multilateral Aid Review Should Focus On 'Traditional' Aid, Compare Similar Types Of Funding, Expert Says

Center for Global Development’s “U.S. Development Policy”: A Key Question If You Are Reviewing Multilateral Organization Effectiveness: Do We Need a Multilateral Solution?
Charles Kenny, senior fellow at CGD, discusses proposals to institute a multilateral aid review system in the U.S. and how such a system might evaluate various organizations, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. He writes, “Perhaps the best choice would be to limit it to apples to apples comparisons: voluntary contributions to organizations that mainly do ‘traditional’ aid of the type that could be delivered either bilaterally or multilaterally. That’s (broadly) the route the British [Multilateral Aid Review (MAR)] took. But if the review has to be broader, it should use different sets of metrics to judge different types of financing…” (3/6).

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Global Dispatches Podcast Explores Foreign Aid, Implications Of Possible Cuts

Global Dispatches Podcast: What We Mean When We Talk About “Foreign Aid”
In this podcast, Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of the U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, speaks with Joel Charny, U.S. director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, about the White House’s expected proposal to cut U.S. foreign assistance. Charny “does a good job of walking me through the big picture questions surrounding foreign aid, but also some of the specific on-the-ground implications of what cuts would mean. He also discusses why this is a uniquely bad time to be cutting back on foreign aid,” Goldberg says (3/6).

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Blog Post Explains Benefits Of U.S. Foreign Assistance, Reasons To Maintain Budget

Development Set: 4 Reasons Why Foreign Aid Is As American As Apple Pie
In this blog post, Humanosphere correspondent Tom Murphy discusses proposed cuts to U.S. foreign assistance, writing, “Like any government program, U.S. foreign aid is not perfect. Some programs fail, and there are cases of financial mismanagement. However, the budget does a lot of good. And it is in the self-interest of the United States to leave it be. Here are four reasons why. 1. It makes America healthier. … 2. It makes America safer. … 3. It helps American companies. … 4. It helps America’s future generations…” (3/3).

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