KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Mexico City Policy's Impacts Far-Reaching; African Nations Likely To Feel Greatest Effects

Devex: African countries to feel worst of U.S. health aid cuts, report says
“African countries, and those where abortion services are legal, will likely feel the greatest impacts of the United States’ expanded ‘global gag rule’ — also known as the Mexico City policy — according to new findings by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The U.S. provided bilateral global health assistance to 64 countries in Fiscal Year 2016 … the American health and policy research non-profit organization reported Thursday. … ‘The main take-away from this analysis is that the impact of the Mexico City policy is potentially far reaching — the policy prohibits legal activities in more than half the countries in which the U.S. government provides bilateral health assistance,’ Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of global health & HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Devex. ‘So, the extent that a foreign NGO wants to receive U.S. government health funding, they would, at the very least, have to certify compliance with the policy and, in some cases, discontinue legal activities,’ she said. … ‘This is especially the case for foreign NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa, since approximately 60 percent of the countries that allow for abortion in at least one instance not permitted by the Mexico City Policy are in this region,’ [Kates] wrote,” (Lieberman, 5/5).

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U.S. Congress Includes $990M Additional Funding For Famine Relief In FY17 Budget Deal

Humanosphere: U.S. quietly boosts funding by $990 million to prevent historic famines
“A budget deal struck by the U.S. Congress [last] week to prevent a government shutdown was viewed as a rebuke to proposed cuts by the Trump administration. Both political parties agreed to continue funding existing programs and went a step further by providing $990 million in additional funds for international famine relief…” (Murphy, 5/5).

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The Economist Examines How Foreign Aid Increasingly Funneled Through Private, For-Profit Firms

The Economist: A growing share of aid is spent by private firms, not charities
“…Though not all countries break down aid spending according to the type of contractor used, data from those that do suggest that a growing share of aid is funneled, not through charities or non-profit foundations, but through consultancies and other private-sector contractors that profit from the work. Nearly a quarter of USAID spending in 2016 went to for-profit firms, a share that was two-thirds higher than in 2008. Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) counts its spending slightly differently: in 2015-16, 22 percent of bilateral spending (as opposed to money that it paid to multilateral organizations such as the U.N.) went to contractors, most of them for-profit companies, up from 12 percent five years earlier…” (5/4).

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Taiwan Expresses Desire For Invitation To Attend World Health Assembly As Observer Over Chinese Objections

Associated Press: Taiwan pushes for inclusion in global health summit
“Taiwan is pushing for a last-minute invitation to an annual World Health Organization summit amid rising pressure from Beijing to isolate the island by blocking its participation in international events. Online registration for the 10-day World Health Assembly closes Monday. Although Taiwan has attended as an observer since 2009, China has been stepping up diplomatic pressure on Taiwan’s government over President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to endorse Beijing’s view that Taiwan is Chinese territory…” (Brown, 5/8).

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U.N.'s Global Road Safety Week Highlights Efforts To 'Save Lives: Slow Down'

U.N. News Centre: ‘Save Lives: Slow Down,’ urges U.N. health agency ahead of Global Road Safety Week
“Spotlighting the relationship between speeding and traffic fatalities — speeding contributes to one in three traffic deaths — the U.N. health agency, ahead of Global Road Safety Week, is urging countries to take measures to curb dangerous driving behavior…” (5/5).

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UNFPA Urges Global Community To Support Midwives On International Day

U.N. News Centre: On International Day, U.N. honors midwives as family ‘partners for life’
“The United Nations population agency [Friday] urged governments and development partners to expand midwifery programs and promote an environment where midwives can effectively serve the needs of women and their families. ‘Midwives save lives, support and promote healthy families, and empower women and couples to choose whether, when, and how often to have children,’ said Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) on the occasion of International Day of the Midwife…” (5/5).

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Venezuela Faces Severe Shortages Of Food, Medicines; Government Resists Aid Offers

Wall Street Journal: Venezuela Is Starving
“…The Catholic charity Caritas and a team led by Susana Raffalli — a specialist in food emergencies who has worked in Guatemala, Africa, and other regions tormented by hunger — are monitoring conditions here. … Caritas said nearly a fifth of children under age five in [four Venezuelan] communities suffered from chronic malnutrition, which stunts growth and could mark a generation. … By World Health Organization standards, Caritas’s findings constitute a crisis that calls for the government to marshal extraordinary aid. But authorities have resisted offers of food and aid from abroad. The country’s growing malnutrition is made worse by a breakdown in health care, the spread of mosquito-borne illness, and what the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela has called a severe shortage of medicines…” (Forero/Castro, 5/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Investing In Foreign Aid Will Protect Americans

TIME: How to Keep America Safe
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…The U.S. government, one of the world’s most influential donors, is considering dramatic cuts to health and development programs around the world. I understand why some Americans watch their tax dollars going overseas and wonder why we’re not spending them at home. Here’s my answer: These projects keep Americans safe. And by promoting health, security, and economic opportunity, they stabilize vulnerable parts of the world. … [O]ver the years I have come to see the tangible ways in which American aid benefits Americans too. … Protecting Americans, preventing epidemics, saving lives: aid delivers phenomenal benefits, and for a bargain. It represents less than one percent of the federal budget, not even a penny out of every dollar. It is some of the best return on investment anywhere in government. This money is well spent, it has an enormous impact, and it ought to be maintained” (5/4).

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Values, Human Rights Central To U.S. Foreign Policy

New York Times: John McCain: Why We Must Support Human Rights
John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona

“…In a recent address to State Department employees, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said conditioning our foreign policy too heavily on values creates obstacles to advance our national interests. With those words, Secretary Tillerson sent a message to oppressed people everywhere: … [W]e make policy to serve our interests, which are not related to our values. … There are those who will credit Mr. Tillerson’s point of view as a straightforward if graceless elucidation of a foreign policy based on realism. … What I’ve learned is that it is foolish to view realism and idealism as incompatible or to consider our power and wealth as encumbered by the demands of justice, morality, and conscience. In the real world, as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression and corruption and cruelty is reality. By denying this experience, we deny the aspirations of billions of people, and invite their enduring resentment. … Human rights exist above the state and beyond history. They cannot be rescinded by one government any more than they can be granted by another. … Our values are our strength and greatest treasure. … To view foreign policy as simply transactional is more dangerous than its proponents realize. Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity, and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three…” (5/8).

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Long-Term Investments In Development, Food Assistance Vital To Famine Response

The Hill: Fighting famine is the right thing to do, but building resilience is equally important
Judith Rowland, U.S. policy and advocacy manager for Global Citizen

“Overcoming partisanship and ‘America First’ discourse from the White House, Congress voted [last] week to provide $990 million in emergency funding for famine response as part of the 2017 federal budget. This funding will provide critical and life-saving relief for some of the more than 20 million people across Northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen who are facing threat of famine, starvation, and death. … Funding famine response is the right thing to do. But it is also critical that we start asking difficult questions about how famine can be prevented and resilience can be promoted. Funding for development assistance, especially USAID’s Feed the Future program, is vital for promoting agricultural development, nutrition, and resilience. … Targeted long-term investments in development aid can put people on a long-term path to a more hopeful future. … We must choose to prevent famine by investing in development and food assistance for communities in need” (5/5).

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WHO Remains Committed To Vaccine R&D, Accessibility

Huffington Post: WHO Is The Driving Force To Reach All People With Vaccines
Brice Bicaba, Burkina Faso’s director of disease control

“…Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective interventions we have in public health. As long as we can reach children with a vaccine, they will be protected for life. … More children are being immunized worldwide than ever before, with the highest level of routine coverage in history. … When systems for vaccine procurement and delivery operate as a fully integrated component of a health system, they can drive the move towards universal health coverage. There is more work to be done, especially in research and development. … WHO remains committed to making new vaccines more accessible, faster. It is doing this by driving initiatives around an African vaccine regulatory forum and addressing the urgent need to expand clinical trial capacity and strengthen procedures to speed up licensing of new vaccines and technologies. WHO continues to work through powerful public-private partnerships with international and national health leaders to make immunization more than the biggest success stories of modern medicine, but the greatest success story ever. With the success of the Meningitis Vaccine project, we’re well on our way.” (5/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Guttmacher Institute Policy Analysis Examines Impacts Of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance

Guttmacher Institute: Just the Numbers: The Impact of U.S. International Family Planning Assistance
This policy analysis examines the benefits of U.S. international family planning assistance and the impacts of decreasing or eliminating this funding. According to the analysis, “[E]ach decrease of $10 million in U.S. funding would result in the following: 433,000 fewer women and couples would receive contraceptive services and supplies; 128,000 more unintended pregnancies, including 57,000 more unplanned births, would occur; 55,000 more abortions would take place (the majority of which are provided in unsafe conditions); and 250 more maternal deaths would occur” (5/5).

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Health Affairs Column Examines Philanthropic Funding For AIDS

Health Affairs Blog: New In The Journal: Are Foundations Still Interested In HIV/AIDS?
Lee-Lee Prina, a senior editor at Health Affairs and the journal’s GrantWatch columnist, writes, “An update on philanthropic funding in the area of HIV/AIDS is the subject of the GrantWatch column in the May 2017 issue of Health Affairs. This epidemic has been going on for decades, so it was time to see whether foundations still have it on their radar screens…” (5/5).

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CSIS Podcast Features Episodes On Roles Of Private Sector Engagement, Innovation In Women's, Family Health

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Task Force Member Steve Davis on Innovation and More
Steve Morrison, senior vice president at CSIS and director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH and a member of the CSIS Task Force on Women’s and Family Health, about “PATH’s mission, the importance of private sector engagement, and the role of innovation in women’s and family health” (5/5).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Take as Directed”: Task Force Member Jeff Sturchio on Private Sector Engagement
Sara Allinder, deputy director and senior fellow at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, speaks with Jeff Sturchio, president and CEO of Rabin Martin and a member of the CSIS Task Force on Women’s and Family Health, about the role of the private sector in women’s and family health (5/5).

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FT Health Discusses Global Drug Pricing Reform, Features Interview With Former Rwandan Health Minister Agnes Binagwaho

FT Health: Drug pricing must be reformed
The latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter discusses access to medicines and global drug pricing reform, and features an interview with Agnes Binagwaho, “Rwanda’s former health minister and current vice chancellor of Partners in Health’s new University of Global Health Equity.” The newsletter also provides a roundup of other global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 5/5).

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From the U.S. Government

PEPFAR Approves $483M Country Operational Plan 2017 Budget For South Africa

U.S. Embassy & Consulates In South Africa: PEPFAR Approves 2017 Budget to Support South Africa’s Fight Against HIV/AIDS and TB
“On April 25, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy Ambassador Deborah Birx approved PEPFAR’s $483 million Country Operational Plan 2017 (COP2017) budget for South Africa, an increase over 2016. The COP2017 budget will support South Africa’s HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) programs through September 2018…” (5/5).

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USAID Publishes New Issue Of 'FrontLines'

USAID: FrontLines
The May/June issue of USAID’s FrontLines features several articles on various maternal and newborn health issues and an article describing how a Boston-based social enterprise provides lab and other health care equipment to universities in Ghana (May/June 2017).

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