KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump's Budget Proposal, GOP Health Care Bill Would Cut CDC's Prevention Fund That Helps States Implement Immunization Programs, Monitor Disease Outbreaks

NBC News: GOP Health Care Bill Would Cut CDC Fund to Fight Killer Diseases
“…[T]he new health care replacement bill released Monday night by Republican leaders in Congress would slash a billion-dollar prevention fund designed to help protect against [infectious disease] and other threats. The Prevention and Public Health Fund accounts for 12 percent of the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … The CDC uses it to help states deliver vaccines, watch for infectious diseases, keep an eye out for lead in water, promote breastfeeding in hospitals, prevent suicide, and watch out for hospital-associated infections…” (Fox, 3/8).

STAT: Obamacare repeal and Trump’s spending plan put CDC budget in peril
“…Congressman Tom Cole, a Republican who leads a key panel that oversees CDC’s budget, said it was ‘too early to tell’ what would happen or whether his party could do anything to make the agency’s funding whole. … The Oklahoma congressman warned of the consequences of deep cuts to CDC, even if he is at the same time supportive of increased defense spending. ‘What CDC does is probably more important to the average American than, in a sense, the Defense Department,’ he said. ‘You’re much more likely to be killed in a pandemic than you are in a terrorist attack, so you need to look at it that way. Those investments are extraordinarily important for the protection of the country’…” (Facher/Scott, 3/7).

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Trump Administration's New Travel Ban Likely To Continue Impacting Medical, Science Researchers, Students

Huffington Post: Trump’s New Travel Ban Could Hinder Research On HIV And Mental Health
“…When President Donald Trump signed a temporary ban on travel from seven countries in January, [researchers’ and academics’] plans were thrown into disarray. And although the revised ban, announced Monday, represents a major political defeat, it still leaves research projects in flux. Researchers warn that it’s likely to disrupt academic and medical work — more than 7,000 doctors from the now-six impacted countries are practicing in the U.S. — while discouraging bright students from coming to the United States…” (Liebelson, 3/7).

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WHO Director General Candidates Appear At Moderated Discussion In Geneva To Highlight Platforms

Intellectual Property Watch: WHO Director General Candidates Showcase Campaigns To The World
“It has been a grueling campaign for the three final candidates for the post of director general of the World Health Organization and their latest public foray was dubbed a ‘moderated discussion.’ The event was organized on 6 March by the Global Health Centre at Geneva’s Graduate Institute, in cooperation with the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United Nations Foundation. Each of the three remaining candidates: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopia), Sania Nishtar (Pakistan) and David Nabarro (United Kingdom) have had to take time off their normal jobs to campaign in front of their peers and the public. The candidates all have the backing of their national governments…” (Kenny, 3/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

In Recognition Of International Women's Day, Opinion Pieces Discuss Importance Of Investing In Women's Health

Nigeria’s Guardian: To be bold for change
Mabingue Ngom, director for West and Central Africa Region at the United Nations Population Fund

“…The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, Be Bold for Change, echoes the need for bold action to accelerate gender parity, eliminate maternal mortality, and invest in young people especially young women and girls. Taking bold action requires setting the right priorities, ensuring equitable distribution, and avoiding the costly mistakes of the past. Therefore, the most important question is ‘where do we put our money, time, and resources to get the maximum return?’ … Two … smart investments are (a) investing in young people and (b) investing in maternal health. … The costs of not taking action now on these critical developmental issues means that poverty eradication efforts will be undermined, economic growth slowed, inequalities sustained, and countries will miss out on a vast source of human capital needed to take sustainable development forward in the 21st century. … [T]he role of the community and individual champions cannot be underestimated. In particular, we need high profile public advocates for maternal health and the rights of young people to reach their full potential in Africa” (3/8).

Huffington Post: A Day for Women’s Health
Robyn Norton, co-founder of the George Institute for Global Health

“…[A]s countries around the world continue to develop, and as the number of people living in extreme poverty (living on less that USD $1.90 per day) continues to decrease, we’re seeing a rise in the significance of [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)], which persist as a killer of both men and women. … If we as the global health community are forward-thinking, and we stay a step ahead, we can ensure that health threats that have commonly affected men don’t begin to affect women as well. It’s worth noting that all of this is of course predicated on an essential research practice at all levels of global health: disaggregation by sex and gender of health data collection and analysis. … When our approach to research and health systems development is truly gendered, then we can save millions of women dying prematurely. On this International Women’s Day, as we celebrate the decades of progress that we’ve made, let’s renew our commitment to continue the important, urgent work of improving the lives of all women” (3/7).

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Women Play Leading Role In Advancing HIV Research

STAT: Women are leading the way in HIV research
Linda-Gail Bekker, president of the International AIDS Society and co-director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Center at the University of Cape Town, and Anthony S. Fauci, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

“…Women now represent half of the people living with HIV around the world. To end this pandemic, women are advancing research on the front lines as scientists in laboratories and clinics and as leaders of large, international clinical trial efforts. Women are also making a difference in clinics around the world as participants in clinical trials, volunteering to help us better understand and fight the disease, one person at a time. Women are setting examples, breaking down barriers, and demonstrating the value that inclusivity brings in scientific research. Because of their efforts, more trials will ensure that the unique biology of women is taken into account as new HIV treatment and prevention tools are developed, tested, and ultimately used by both sexes. … As HIV researchers, we see every day how our work to end this pandemic depends on strong women. We have met countless women along this journey who have given unconditionally, volunteering their time, their bodies, and their hope to drive the scientific process. We thank and salute them” (3/8).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Challenges Of Ending Child Marriage In Bangladesh

Project Syndicate: A Blueprint for Ending Child Marriage
Sajeda Amin, senior associate at the Population Council; M. Niaz Asadullah, professor at the University of Malaya; Sara Hossain, lawyer at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and honorary executive director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust; and Zaki Wahhaj, senior lecturer at the University of Kent

“…What can be done to end [child marriage]? … Unfortunately, [in Bangladesh,] legal efforts to protect women and girls by criminalizing aspects of child marriage face significant obstacles, due to the prevailing political culture, the accommodation of religious extremists, and the persistence of gender bias. … The existing law penalizing aspects of child marriage — the Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) of 1929 — … stipulates terms of imprisonment or a fine for anyone who ‘contracts,’ ‘solemnizes,’ or arranges a marriage with a girl under 18. But, with some recent exceptions, it is frequently ignored and rarely enforced. In the last three years, various drafts of a bill to give the law more teeth have been proposed. But the proposals focused on criminalizing facilitation or participation; none would invalidate child marriage itself. … Bangladesh’s success in empowering girls and ending child marriage will hinge on strengthening the rule of law by closing existing loopholes. … It is still possible for Bangladesh to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating child marriage by 2030. If the government leads, we are confident that the people of Bangladesh will eagerly follow” (3/7).

Al Jazeera: The dangers of the new child marriage law in Bangladesh
Soumya Guha, acting country director in Bangladesh for Plan International

“On February 27, the Bangladesh government passed a law that would allow for child marriage to occur in ‘special circumstances.’ … Bangladesh has made regional and global commitments to end child marriage. The government even committed to ending all child marriage by 2041. How are we meant to achieve these goals when we will allow child marriage to occur in certain circumstances? … The act, as it currently states, does not require the consent of the girl or boy, in order for a marriage to occur. Her parents and the court may approve if the decision is in the ‘best interest of the under-aged girl or boy.’ … This special provision is not only a step backwards for the eradication of child marriage in the country, but also demonstrates a harmful violation of a child’s right to be heard, informed, and involved in decisions that impact on her life. … The future of Bangladesh is vested in its young people. … This law has unimaginable impact and has the ability to change the future of millions of girls in our country. This is why they must have a bigger say in their future. We must not continue to decide for them” (3/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PEPFAR 2017 Annual Report To Congress Highlights Successes, Encourages Sustained Support

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: PEPFAR 2017 Report to Congress tells a success story at its halfway point
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses the PEPFAR 2017 Annual Report to Congress. Barton concludes, “[T]he report notes HIV is not controlled yet, and with an approaching boom of adolescents (thanks in part to PEPFAR success in averting infant infections and deaths), the advances made will face their biggest test yet, if not supported. The work, the report says, is only halfway there. But, it indicates, if PEPFAR’s history is a guide, it has the ingredients of a story that will make history” (3/7).

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Human Rights Watch Q&A Examines Potential Implications Of Mexico City Policy

Human Rights Watch: Trump’s “Mexico City Policy” or “Global Gag Rule”
In this Q&A, Human Rights Watch explains the Trump administration’s reinstated and expanded Mexico City policy. The piece discusses how the policy could affect foreign NGOs in practice, as well as U.S. global health assistance, and how other governments are responding to the funding gap the policy will produce (3/7).

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Investors Announce $25M To Improve Access To Water, Sanitation In Latin America

Humanosphere: Investors pour $25 million into better water and sanitation in Latin America
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses the announcement made by the FEMSA Foundation, Coca-Cola Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the One Drop Foundation to invest “$25 million into an initiative to improve access to water and sanitation in some of the poorest countries of Latin America. … The initiative aims to improve water and sanitation for 200,000 people across México, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Paraguay before 2021” (3/7).

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Blog Post Examines Steps To Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Antimicrobial Resistance: Saving Our Medicines is Everyone’s Duty
Nina Cromeyer Dieke, content editor of the Longitude Prize at Nesta, and Cath Sleeman, quantitative research fellow with Nesta, outline steps to limit the development of, diagnose, and treat antimicrobial-resistant infections. “The medicines we choose to take now don’t affect us alone; they affect bacteria that travel around the world and pass their resistance to others. … [W]e must all do our part to conserve our precious drugs for the future,” they conclude (3/6).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash recognizes International Women’s Day with several stories about women in health. The issue features “the story of Abida Nowroz, one of the new nurses who will provide health services in rural communities, including testing and treatment for TB and malaria;” a blog post by “Ange Kagame, an advocate for female empowerment and the daughter of Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda,” about the importance of engaging girls and women to end AIDS; and the latest from the fund’s “Focus On” series, which “explain[s] how the Global Fund is focusing sharply on women and girls to improve their health” (3/8).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. State Department Supports Programs To Help Women #BeBoldForChange

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2017
In this blog post, Irene Marr, who serves in the Secretary’s Office for Global Women’s Issues at the State Department, writes, “As we celebrate more than 100 years since the inaugural International Women’s Day, we are once again reminded that despite the great strides women and girls from all walks of life have made, endemic challenges — often mired in cultural, social, and political norms — still keep half the population worldwide from realizing its full potential.” Marr highlights several of those challenges, including gender-based violence, and discusses U.S.-supported programs working to empower women worldwide “with the tools, knowledge, and access to” #BeBoldforChange (3/7).

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USAID, DOD Interagency Project Trains Bangladeshi Surgeons To Perform Fistula Surgeries

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Partnering to Improve Women’s Lives in Bangladesh
Kristen Byrne, the strategic communications and outreach specialist for USAID’s Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation, discusses the birth complication of obstetric fistula and how USAID’s Fistula Care Plus project “trains doctors and nurses to perform fistula surgery and provide expert pre- and post-operative care and work in communities to prevent fistulas through access to quality, timely care during labor. … USAID and DOD collaborated on a joint medical mission in November 2016 to train local Bangladeshi medical personnel on improved techniques for fistula repair and prevention. The training was possible through a one-year interagency agreement between USAID and the U.S. Army Pacific Command (PACOM)…” (3/7).

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