KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Trump Administration Considering Shift Of Population, Refugees, Migration Bureau Out Of State Department To USAID

Foreign Policy: White House Weighs Taking Refugee Programs Away From State Department
“The Trump administration is considering shifting migration programs worth billions of dollars out of the U.S. State Department to another government agency, a move that would signal a historic shift in how refugees are handled, according to current and former officials. … At issue is the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, which manages a budget of roughly $3.4 billion. The bureau, which oversees the U.S. government’s refugee program, is a critical tool of American diplomacy, according to current and former officials. … Officials in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) favor transferring the overseas humanitarian assistance programs out of the State Department bureau to the U.S. Agency for International Development, which handles other relief programs…” (De Luce/Gramer, 5/2).

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Family Health Options Kenya Nurse Discusses Impacts Of Trump Administration's Reinstated Mexico City Policy On Provision Of Services In NPR Interview

NPR: Kenyan Clinic Rejects Trump Abortion Policy, Loses $2 Million In U.S. Aid
“…FHOK [Family Health Options Kenya, Kenya’s oldest provider of sexual and reproductive health services] disagreed with the terms of the ‘Mexico City’ policy, which has been reinstated by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan first issued it. … On a visit to Washington, D.C., this spring, Melvine Ouyo, an FHOK reproductive health nurse, sat down with NPR to discuss the effects of losing that much [U.S. global health] funding. One of the organization’s 14 clinics has closed down, and a clinic in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum and where Ouyo works, could be next. FHOK has also ceased outreach services to underprivileged communities, which it estimates has affected more than 76,000 women and young girls to date…” (Ingber, 5/2).

Additional coverage of NPR’s interview with Ouyo is available from Bustle and The Hill.

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3 African Nations Stand By U.N. Votes Despite U.S. Threat To Cut Aid

VOA News: African Nations Defiant to U.S. Aid Threat Over U.N. Voting
“Three African nations singled out for their track record of voting against the U.S. at the United Nations say they stand by their votes — even if those choices may result in the U.S. cutting back on aid. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made the threat to cut aid in a written statement last week after the State Department released its annual report on U.N. voting trends by member countries. … The United States provides hundreds of millions of dollars in aid each year to [Burundi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe]. It goes, among other things, toward improving HIV/AIDS prevention, economic growth, agriculture, food security, refugee assistance, education, and maternal and child health” (Powell, 5/2).

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U.K. International Development Secretary Addresses Cross-Government Spending Of U.K. Aid Money In Parliamentary Evidence Session

Devex: Cross-government aid spending ‘not set in stone,’ says Mordaunt
“The head of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development has said the plan to spend 30 percent of U.K. aid money through other government departments is ‘not set in stone,’ and hinted she would not be afraid to reclaim DFID’s money if necessary. Speaking in an evidence session before the International Development Committee on Wednesday, Penny Mordaunt said she was broadly supportive of non-DFID agencies spending official development assistance, but that so far the money has not all been well spent…” (Edwards, 5/3).

The Guardian: Penny Mordaunt told to ‘get a grip’ over use of aid budget by rival departments
“Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, has been told to ‘get a real grip’ on aid spending amid questions over millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money going to China. In a testing evidence session before MPs on the International Development Committee, Mordaunt was repeatedly challenged about aid spending by areas of government other than the Department for International Development (DFID). … Mordaunt said that while DFID did not provide aid money to China, the country remained a ‘key partner for us.’ ‘So we will continue to work with them,’ she said. ‘We are particularly pushing them, encouraging them to do more with global health security and to lean in on the humanitarian front’…” (McVeigh, 5/3).

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European Commission Proposes €100B Science-Related Research Spending Plan For 2021-27

Science: European Commission proposes €100 billion research spending plan
“The European Commission [Wednesday] proposed spending €100 billion on research between 2021 and 2027 under its next continent-wide science funding program. That is less than some research groups had hoped for. Still, they say it is a good — but not great — opening bid in what are expected to be lengthy negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Union’s (E.U.’s) member states on a final spending plan…” (Rabesandratana, 5/2).

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Taiwanese Officials Fear Missing Deadline To Gain Invitation To World Health Assembly

Washington Free Beacon: Taiwan Unlikely to Overcome Chinese Roadblock to World’s Top Health Summit
“Taiwan is making a last-ditch appeal to the World Health Organization (WHO) to participate in its annual global health summit amid a concerted effort by China to block the island from admittance for the second year in a row. Despite the backing of key allies, including the United States, Taiwanese officials believe the effort is likely to fall short ahead of WHO’s May 7 deadline to issue invitations to the World Health Assembly (WHA)…” (Johnson, 5/3).

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Survey Examines Aid Sector Workers' Attitudes Toward Media Coverage Of Humanitarian Crises

IRIN: Mainstream media coverage of humanitarian crises falls short, new survey finds
“Mainstream media coverage of humanitarian crises is ‘selective, sporadic, simplistic, and partial,’ according to a new consumer survey. Respondents indicated widespread dissatisfaction with the quantity and quality of mainstream news coverage and highlighted a desire for more investigative reporting and scrutiny of the aid sector itself. The in-depth survey was conducted before the widely reported Oxfam U.K. sexual misconduct scandal by Dr. Martin Scott, a senior lecturer in media and international development at the University of East Anglia (UEA), and humanitarian news agency IRIN News…” (5/1).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: Mothers a last line against outright famine in Yemen’s war (Michael, 5/3).

BioPharm International: Pandemic Fears Stoke Calls for New Vaccines and Global Health Initiatives (Wechsler, 5/2).

Global Health NOW: Fogarty’s 50 Years and New Frontiers (Myers, 5/2).

The Guardian: Uganda launches major vaccination drive as deadly cholera outbreak bites (Okiror, 5/3).

News Deeply: New Research Shows Cash Transfers Have Limited Impact on Malnutrition (Green, 5/2).

SciDev.Net: AI dengue prediction tool trialled in Asia, Latin America (Irwin, 5/2).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: New York takes lead on U.N. global goals reporting (Moloney, 5/2).

U.N. News: Vitamin A deficiency puts 140 million children at risk of illness and death — UNICEF (5/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Taiwan Can Better Assist Countries In Achieving Universal Health Coverage If Allowed Observer Status At WHA

The Diplomat: Taiwan’s National Health Insurance: A Model for Universal Health Coverage
Chen Shih-Chung, minister of health and welfare for the Republic of China (Taiwan)

“…[W]e believe that Taiwan’s health care system can serve as a model for other countries. Taiwan has a constructive role to play in creating a robust global health network, and the best way to share our experience with other countries is through participation in the World Health Assembly and the WHO. … It is regrettable that political obstruction led to Taiwan being denied an invitation to the 70th WHA as an observer last year. … Taiwan remains committed to helping enhance regional and global disease prevention networks, and assisting other countries in overcoming their health care challenges. Against this backdrop, Taiwan seeks to participate in the 71st WHA this year in a professional and pragmatic way, as part of global efforts to realize the WHO’s vision of a seamless global disease prevention network. … We therefore urge the WHO and related parties to acknowledge Taiwan’s longstanding contributions to promoting human health worldwide, recognize the significance and legitimacy of Taiwan’s involvement as an observer in this year’s WHA. Because we believe that to achieve health for all, Taiwan can help” (5/2).

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Letter To Editor Expresses Disappointment Over El Salvador's Failure To Reform Abortion Law

New York Times: Letter to the editor: Abortion in El Salvador
John O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice

“I applaud your April 26 online editorial for laying out the case for reforming El Salvador’s extreme abortion law, but was deeply disappointed to see El Salvador’s leadership miss a historic opportunity to do right by its citizens. As a Catholic committed to social justice and women’s autonomy, I am brokenhearted to see time and again the Catholic hierarchy playing politics with women’s lives. … From Chile to Ireland, citizens in traditionally Catholic countries have been given the chance to debate the morality of draconian abortion laws that punish women, especially poor women. And as we saw in Chile, the majority of Catholics ultimately come to the conclusion that we must trust women and put their freedom and dignity first. It is upsetting that El Salvador’s leaders have reneged on this moment to reform an unjust law that has brought so much pain, especially to the most vulnerable women” (5/2).

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Letter To Editor Discusses Use Of DDT For Malaria Control

Wall Street Journal: Letter to the Editor: We Were Winning the War Against Malaria
Jay Lehr, science director at the Heartland Institute

“Regarding Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan’s ‘How Long Till the Final World Malaria Day?’ (op-ed, April 25): Dr. Narasimhan conveniently omits the fact that in the early 1970s malaria was all but eliminated by one of the most important pesticides ever invented — DDT. While study after study proved DDT to be effective in eliminating the malaria-carrying mosquito, the EPA’s first administrator, William Ruckelshaus, chose to ignore the opinions of his own study group and ruled against the continued use of DDT. The world followed and the exponential increase of malaria deaths followed around the world. … Novartis surely will profit from continued efforts to control malaria through methods that will never equal what was already being accomplished by DDT…” (5/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Senators Call For Sustained FY19 Funding Levels For PEPFAR, Global Fund

Friends of the Global Fight: Thirty-three U.S. Senators call for robust Global Fund and PEPFAR funding in FY 2019
“On April 27, U.S. Senators sent a letter to Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of the Senate Appropriations Subcommitee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS). The letter calls for sustained FY 2019 funding levels for two extraordinarily successful humanitarian assistance programs — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria…” (5/2).

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UNICEF Urges Action To Improve Coverage Of Vitamin A Supplementation Among Children

UNICEF: Over 140 million children at greater risk of illness as they miss life-saving vitamin A supplements
“Over 140 million children are at greater risk of illness, hearing loss, blindness, and even death if urgent action is not taken to provide them with life-saving vitamin A supplements, warns UNICEF in a new report released [Wednesday]. Two doses of vitamin A every year can save thousands of children’s lives, yet as the report finds, the coverage of this low-cost intervention fell alarmingly in 2016…” (5/2).

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U.N. Dispatch Examines U.S. State Department Report On Voting Practices At U.N., Potential Impact On U.S. Foreign Aid

U.N. Dispatch: State Department Juked the Stats in Report on Voting Patterns at the United Nations
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch, discusses the U.S. State Department’s recently released report that compares “America’s voting record at the United Nations to that of every other country in the world … to quantify and demonstrate how often other countries vote with the United States or against it.” Goldberg writes, “[The] interpretation of the results is somewhat disingenuous. For the first time, the annual Voting Practices in the United Nations report tweaked its methodology to make it appear the United States is more isolated than it actually is. … This matters because [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] Nikki Haley has threatened to tie countries’ voting records at the U.N. to American foreign aid…” (5/1).

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Special Pediatrics Article Examines Tobacco Industry's Engagement With UNICEF, Urges UNICEF To Cease Partnerships

Pediatrics: The Tobacco Industry and Children’s Rights
In a special article, Yvette van der Eijk, post-docorate scholar at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues examine the tobacco industry’s engagement with UNICEF, writing, “As part of its mission to protect children’s rights, UNICEF should end all partnerships with the tobacco industry and its front groups” (May 2018).

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From the U.S. Government

Mike Pompeo Sworn In As U.S. Secretary Of State In Official Ceremony At State Department

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Mike Pompeo Sworn in as 70th U.S. Secretary of State
This blog post highlights the swearing-in ceremony of Mike Pompeo as the 70th U.S. Secretary of State and notes, “Secretary Pompeo delivered remarks underscoring his commitment to carrying out the mission of the department. The secretary also emphasized that he and his team will be relentless in confronting global threats to U.S. national security and to defending the rights and values of Americans” (5/2).

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