KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Leaders Request Clarification From OMB Director On Agency's Role In State, USAID Reorganization

The Hill: Lawmakers question OMB on role in State Dept., USAID reorganization
“Top lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney on Tuesday demanding to know what role the agency will play in reorganizing the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The letter, signed by committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), among others, states that while the State Department and USAID have been forthcoming with details regarding their impending reorganization, the OMB has not clarified what role it will play in the two agencies’ transformation…” (Bowden, 9/12).

POLITICO: Lawmakers want more info on State Department redesign as proposal comes due
“…The lawmakers’ letter comes as State and USAID are due to send Mulvaney a reorganization proposal as early as this week, following up on an executive order issued by President Donald Trump six months ago. The letter also follows a Senate panel’s vote last week to fully fund State and USAID — a rebuke to Trump’s proposal to slash their budgets by a third. ‘We firmly believe that reforming the diplomatic and development architecture of the United States should enhance — not impede — the ability of the State Department and USAID to advance our most pressing foreign policy priorities,’ the letter states…” (Toosi, 9/12).

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Gates Foundation's 'Goalkeepers' Report Highlights Global Health, Development Successes, Challenges, Warns Cuts To Donor Funding Threaten Progress

Agence France-Presse: Progress in fight on poverty, but more work needed: Bill Gates
“Great progress has been made since 1990 in alleviating global poverty, but much remains to be done, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said in a report out Wednesday…” (9/13).

Business Insider: Bill Gates reveals the biggest public health threats over the next 10 years
“Bill and Melinda Gates have released their first-annual ‘Goalkeepers’ report, a celebration of key milestones in public health and a look at which issues are still most pressing. The wins include sizable declines in childhood mortality and HIV infection rates, while the ongoing struggles include family planning and equality for women…” (Weller, 9/13).

Deutsche Welle: Gates Foundation: World has made ‘huge progress’ in reducing child mortality
“Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data looks at how well the world is meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will publish the report annually until 2030, the year set by the international community to meet these targets…” (Nyambura, 9/13).

Devex: Bill Gates says progress on the SDGs is possible but not inevitable
“…Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data was produced in partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which received $279 million from the Gates Foundation earlier this year, building on the $105 million grant that stood up the effort a decade ago…” (Cheney, 9/13).

GeekWire: Bill & Melinda Gates launch annual ‘Goalkeepers’ report to track progress toward key U.N. goals for 2030
“…[T]he report is also meant to be a word of warning to governments considering cutting programs that provide aid to the developing world. Several of the charts include predictions for how these health metrics will change by 2030, with green indicating the best case scenario and red the worst…” (Nickelsburg, 9/12).

The Guardian: Bill Gates: Don’t expect charities to pick up the bill for Trump’s sweeping aid cuts
“Bill Gates has warned that organizations like his are ‘absolutely not’ prepared to plug the yawning gaps in development aid that will result from funding cuts, including those proposed by President Trump. Speaking to the Guardian ahead of the U.N. General Assembly meeting, which opens for general debate next week, the billionaire philanthropist said simply: ‘There’s no way to balance a cut in [a] rich country’s generosity’…” (Hodal, 9/13).

Quartz: Bill and Melinda Gates: We’re on a course to miss 2030 development goals for health and poverty
“…A 10 percent annual drop in donor funding for HIV treatment — roughly similar to the level of the cut proposed by the White House — could result in the deaths of an additional 5.6 million people by 2030, according to analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington that’s included in the Gates report…” (Delaney, 9/13).

Reuters: Progress on global poverty and disease at risk, Gates says
“…But opposition Democrats and many of Trump’s fellow Republicans have blasted his plan, saying they will reject it. Congress, not the administration, controls U.S. spending. Gates said his foundation is working hard to secure continued U.S. government funding for global health and development and remained hopeful the proposed cuts will not be approved” (Kelland, 9/13).

Seattle Times: Bill Gates: Global health cuts would increase AIDS deaths
“… ‘Up until now there has been tremendous support for global health by the U.S. government, and it’s been bipartisan,’ said Jen Kates, director of global health and HIV policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation, which specializes in health policy analysis. ‘I think this election threw much of that up in the air.’ Trump’s proposed ‘America First’ budget would cut civilian foreign aid by about a third. … Gates said it appears Congress will reject those cuts and maintain funding at current levels in most areas. But he cautioned that the final outcome ‘still hangs in the balance’…” (Doughton, 9/13).

Washington Post: Melinda Gates decries ‘loss of U.S. leadership’ in global aid
“Melinda Gates is calling on world leaders to step up global aid funding, saying ‘a loss of U.S. leadership’ is resulting in ‘confusion and chaos’ in some of the most vulnerable corners of the planet. The billionaire philanthropist and her husband, Bill, who spoke in separate interviews at the offices of their charitable foundation last week, have deep concerns about the global repercussions of the federal budget debate in Washington…” (Cha, 9/13).

WIRED U.K.: Stop funding major health issues at your peril, warns Bill Gates
“…Outside of the U.S., Gates says that it’s encouraging that even with the change of Prime Minister, the U.K. has re-committed to the 0.7 percent U.N. aid spending target. Countries like Sweden, Norway, the UAE go above this, while France is looking to increase on their 0.55 by 2020. ‘I’d feel very good about the U.K. on a bipartisan basis has been very generous,’ Gates says…” (Christian, 9/13).

Additional coverage is available from Business Day, Business Insider, The Independent, Livemint, NPR, and Xinhua News.

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Singapore, Nordic Nations Top List Of Countries Progressing Toward Achieving Health-Related SDGs, Lancet Study Shows

CNN: Singapore, Nordic countries outrank U.S. in achieving U.N. health goals
“Are nations around the globe on track to meet health-related Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030? A new analysis finds outstanding achievements — but a great deal of work still needed — before the goals can be reached. This is based on measurements of 37 of 50 health-related targets proposed by the United Nations that include infant mortality, vaccination, rates of various diseases (tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria, among them), smoking, child abuse, violence, and universal health coverage. The study, published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet, also ranks 188 nations. Singapore is at the top of the list, followed by Iceland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Israel, Malta, Switzerland, and the U.K. The United States trails these standout nations, landing in the 24th spot on the index…” (Scutti, 9/12).

VOA News: World’s Nations Make Progress on Some, But Not All, Health Goals
“…The news comes in a report published Wednesday by the British journal The Lancet that analyzed health-related Sustainable Development Goals in 188 countries. The 17 wide-ranging goals spearheaded by the U.N. focus on improving health and education, ending poverty, combating climate change, making cities more sustainable, and protecting oceans and forests. They were adopted at a U.N. summit in 2015. … The report, which was funded by the U.S. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said the findings should help shape policies in order to address long-standing and emerging health challenges. Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics Evaluation and a professor of global health at the University of Washington, was the lead author…” (Pearson, 9/13).

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With $225M In Funding From Bloomberg, CZI, Gates Foundation, Former CDC Director Tom Frieden Launches Resolve Initiative Aimed At Preventing Cardiovascular Deaths, Disease Outbreaks

CQ HealthBeat: Former CDC Director to Lead Global Cardiovascular Initiative
“Thomas Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will lead a $225 million initiative aimed at reducing deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, he announced on Tuesday. … While most of the organization’s resources would be devoted to cardiovascular disease, Frieden said it would also support efforts to fight infectious disease outbreaks…” (Siddons, 9/12).

Devex: Bloomberg, CZI, Gates join forces in their ‘resolve’ to save lives
“With $225 million, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [Tuesday] launched Resolve, a five-year initiative focused on preventing cardiovascular disease and epidemics. … Resolve will be implemented by a team of global health professionals at Vital Strategies, a New York-based organization working to improve public health systems in more than 60 countries, whose major donors include Bloomberg Philanthropies…” (Cheney, 9/12).

The Guardian: Resolve health initiative aims to save 100m lives worldwide
“…The latest initiative has two distinct aims. One is to cut deaths from heart disease and stroke through three simple measures: reducing sodium intake worldwide, banning trans fats from foods in all countries, and getting people with high blood pressure on treatment. The other is to help low- and middle-income countries prepare to deal better with the inevitable epidemics he says will come along, from flu to SARS…” (Boseley, 9/12).

Healio: Ex-CDC chief Frieden launches global health program with $225M in funds
“… ‘After leaving CDC, I had the opportunity to think big, to look at the leading causes of death around the world and to combine that with lessons learned in nearly three decades of work in public health in this country and around the world,’ Frieden, who stepped down from the CDC on Inauguration Day, said during a teleconference…” (9/12).

HuffPost: Former CDC Director’s New Initiative Aims To Save 100 Million Lives
“…The initiative will receive $225 million over five years from the Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, marking the first time those three major philanthropic players have collaborated in funding such a project…” (Weber, 9/12).

New York Times: Frieden’s Next Act: Heart Disease and Preparing for New Epidemics
“…In a conversation with the New York Times, Dr. Frieden discussed his new work, and looked back on some old battles…” (Belluck/Hoffman, 9/12).

NPR: Tom Frieden’s New Venture Combines 2 Disparate Health Threats
“… ‘The connection between the two initiatives is that strengthening public health systems is at the core for each. We’ll work in partnership with governments and organizations’…” (Cole, 9/12).

Reuters: Former U.S. CDC director takes aim at outbreaks, heart disease
“…To fight heart disease, the group will invest in efforts to reduce the amount of artery-clogging trans-fats from their menus, a reprise of Frieden’s efforts in 2006 as New York City health commissioner to ban trans-fats from restaurants. They also aim to support countries’ efforts to reduce sodium and increase treatment of high blood pressure, which kills 10 million people every year, more than from all infectious diseases combined…” (Steenhuysen, 9/12).

STAT: Former CDC director Tom Frieden to launch new global health initiative
“… ‘With the vantage point I have from the past eight years at CDC and the past 20 years working in global health, I identified specific areas where the world is at a tipping point. And with strategic investments we can make an enormous difference saving lives. And that’s how we designed this’…” (Branswell, 9/12).

Washington Post: Former CDC chief launches $225 million global health initiative
“… ‘I hope five years from now we’ll look back and see this was the inflection point for rapid progress in preventing global cardiovascular disease deaths and improving epidemic preparedness,’ Frieden said. ‘In a few years, we hope that blood pressure control, sodium reduction, elimination of trans fats, and strong public health systems will have become the new normal’…” (Sun, 9/12).

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Bloomberg Philanthropies' Global Business Forum To Debut At Global Goals Week

Devex: Bloomberg Philanthropies aims to make splash during Global Goals Week
“Bloomberg Philanthropies is set to arrive at Global Goals Week and refocus an already packed schedule in New York. The philanthropy giant’s launch of a major new event is set to make the week a little more glitzy and aim to shift the focus toward the role of the private sector in driving a transparent, sustainable global economy forward. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Business Forum, an all-day event on Sept. 20 at the Plaza Hotel in midtown Manhattan, may serve as an answer to which platform could replace the star-studded Clinton Global Initiative, which closed its doors last year after more than a decade…” (Lieberman, 9/12).

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Philip Morris International Launches $1B Foundation To Reduce Global Tobacco Smoking

Bloomberg: Philip Morris Pledges $1 Billion to Fight Smoking
“Philip Morris International Inc. said it will spend about $1 billion setting up a foundation to reduce the prevalence of smoking as the maker of Marlboro cigarettes aims to convert smokers into consumers of devices that don’t burn tobacco…” (Pfanner/Mulier, 9/13).

Financial Times: Philip Morris pledges $1bn to stub out tobacco smoking
“…The … group, one of the largest cigarette producers, last week registered the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World as a U.S. charitable organization, with the stated aim of making grants on ‘how to best achieve a smoke-free world and advance the field of tobacco harm reduction’…” (Jack, 9/12).

Fortune: Philip Morris Pledges Almost $1 Billion to Anti-Smoking Fight
“…The foundation will be headed up by Derek Yach, a former World Health Organization (WHO) executive who has been a notable advocate for the switch to e-cigarettes that heat, rather than burn, nicotine-packed substances…” (Meyer, 9/13).

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Stalled Zika Vaccine Research Shows Challenges Of Vaccine R&D

STAT: The race for a Zika vaccine slows, a setback for efforts to head off future outbreaks
“The development of a type of Zika vaccine that authorities had hoped to usher to the market has proven more challenging than some scientists and pharmaceutical companies had expected, people involved in the research have told STAT, posing a setback for efforts to avoid future outbreaks of the disease…” (Branswell, 9/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Foreign Aid Continues To Be Critical Strategic Investment, 'One Of Our Best Exports'

Wall Street Journal: Bill and Melinda Gates: Let’s Keep Investing in the World’s Poor
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…President Donald Trump has recommended a cut of some 30 percent to the State Department’s budget, which includes the funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development and most of America’s investments in global health. Congress is unlikely to go along with such large cuts, but our best guess is that, by the time the dust settles, key foreign aid programs will be scaled back. Even modest cuts would represent the reversal of a long-term trend of increasing U.S. support for foreign aid, and a similar mood of retrenchment has taken hold elsewhere. … Foreign aid isn’t perfect. … But U.S. foreign aid is spent purposefully and measured constantly, and on balance, it is extremely effective. … Our country’s modest investment in the well-being of the poorest saves and improves lives, frees up vast amounts of human potential that’s been locked away by disease and poverty, and helps prevent global crises before they happen. Generosity is one of our best exports. We are confident that Americans will want their government to continue making strategic investments in a safer, healthier, more prosperous world” (9/13).

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U.S. Congress Must Ensure Consistent Funding Levels For State Department, Reaffirm Agency's Core Mission

New York Times: Senators in Search of a Foreign Policy
Editorial Board

“…Two people who understand the urgency of helping the [State Department] recover from the damages inflicted by Mr. Trump are Senators Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont. Leading members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, they have sought to rally their colleagues around a bipartisan spending bill for 2018 that would strengthen the department and replenish important foreign aid programs. … As interesting as the bipartisan vote [to approve $51 billion for the State Department, about $11 billion more than the president’s request,] was the Republican-led committee’s report, which pulled no punches in blistering Mr. Trump and his aides for proposing a budget in May that amounted to an ‘apparent doctrine of retreat’ from the world. … The committee bill would rescind many of these reductions and go beyond the numbers by imposing unprecedented restrictions to protect certain programs and operations from administrative meddling. … Like all institutions, the department can benefit from improvements. But there is no sign that Mr. Trump and his team understand its core mission and its importance in a turbulent world. With their bill, Mr. Graham, Mr. Leahy, and their fellow committee members have ringingly reaffirmed that mission. The rest of Congress should ensure that a strong version of it becomes law” (9/13).

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Resolve Initiative Aims To Save 100M Lives By Reducing Global Burden Of Cardiovascular Disease, Preventing Epidemics

The Lancet: Saving an additional 100 million lives
Thomas R. Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve, and Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies

“…Despite being the leading cause of mortality and premature death, cardiovascular disease is largely preventable through simple, inexpensive, but underused actions. … Building on the recently released WHO Global Hearts Initiative, Resolve aims to accelerate progress, reduce heart attacks and strokes, and save 100 million lives. The Resolve initiative — housed at Vital Strategies, a global health non-profit organization — supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, and will provide support for global and national efforts to scale up focused and effective interventions. … For the cardiovascular health initiative described here and an associated initiative to prevent epidemics, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will provide a combined US$225 million in the coming five years. … Scientific progress, political leadership that has created successful programs in some countries, and dedicated health care professionals have laid the foundation for rapid progress against cardiovascular disease. The world is at a tipping point in its ability and resolve to save lives from this disease. Resolve will support key organizations and engage new partners to accelerate global and national action to save 100 million lives” (9/12).

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Policymakers Should Approach Health From Larger, 'Planetary' Scale

POLITICO: Health at a planetary scale
Howard Frumkin, physician, professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health, and member of the steering committee of the Planetary Health Alliance; and Samuel Myers, physician, senior research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and director of the Planetary Health Alliance

“…While human health is now, by most metrics, better than it’s ever been, ongoing planetary changes threaten to reverse that progress. These threats require a new approach to health research and health policy — a new paradigm that has come to be called ‘planetary health.’… Planetary health asserts that human beings cannot thrive over time while degrading the ecological life support systems that sustain us. Like traditional public health, it defines health broadly, including physical, mental, and social well-being; it considers health not just as an individual attribute, but across entire populations; and it pays special attention to those who are most vulnerable. However, it works at large scales … It rejects the false dichotomy of people vs. nature and holds that to protect people, we must protect natural systems. … Ultimately, if the insights of planetary health are going to yield their full benefits, it will fall to policymakers to think big — to see the connections among issues such as natural resource management, energy, agriculture, and urban development, and to place human health and well-being at the center of their decisions…” (9/13).

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U.N. Member States Must Give U.N. Leadership 'Space To Act Decisively'

The Guardian: The U.N. is failing — states must back off and give its leader the power to act
Helen Clark, former head of the U.N. Development Programme and former prime minister of New Zealand

“…I advocate the empowerment of the secretary general to take bold initiatives and run the organization as an effective leader and chief executive must. International organizations need leaders empowered to act. Yes, there must be systems of accountability, but when they hamper action on everything from courageous diplomacy for peace to streamlining management, as they do now, they become counterproductive. Worse, they can leave a secretary general looking weak, indecisive, and hamstrung because of fear of offending member states. So, member states must ease up, and give the secretary general and his/her managers the space to act decisively. Coupled with that, there should be only one term served by a secretary general, to avoid the over-caution that is inherent in aiming to secure a second mandate from the day the first one begins. If steps like these aren’t taken, the U.N. will continue to diminish in relevance. The world needs an effective U.N. The current limitations on its capacity to lead and act need to be addressed urgently” (9/13).

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Mobile Technology Can Help Improve Health Care Access For Mothers, Children

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Bridging the maternal health care divide with mobile technology
Joakim Reiter, group external affairs director at Vodafone

“About 830 women around the world die each day due to pregnancy or childbirth complications. The suffering is completely unnecessary but this is where mobile technology can help. … USAID and the Vodafone Foundation have established a broader program called ‘Mobilizing Maternal Health’ in Tanzania. Building on the work fighting obstetric fistula, its goal is to find ways that mobile communications can improve access to health care and help educate women in rural areas about pregnancy and childbirth. … The onus is on governments, donors, private companies, and international organizations to continue working together to harness the power of mobile technology to give every woman and child around the world access to quality health care” (9/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Brookings Report Examines Private Sector Spending On Global Health R&D, Discusses Barriers, Opportunities

Brookings Institution: How much does the private sector invest in global health R&D?
Jake Schneider, research assistant, John Villasenor, nonresident senior fellow of governance studies at the Center for Technology Innovation, and Darrell West, director and vice president of governance studies and founding director of the Center for Technology Innovation, all at the Brookings Institution, discuss results from a new Brookings report examining the private sector and global health R&D spending. “Looking to the future, private sector spending in global health R&D must increase to counteract a likely slowdown in public health investment,” the authors write. In the paper, they “make several recommendations for improving private investment in global health R&D” and “argue that there is a mismatch between investment levels and the burden of disease … for specific diseases” (9/12).

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Mark Dybul Returns To Georgetown University As Director Of New Center For Global Health And Quality

Georgetown University Medical Center: As Director of New Global Health Center, Dybul Comes Home to Georgetown
Kat Zambon, director of communications at Georgetown University Medical Center, discusses the return of Mark Dybul, former executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to Georgetown University. Zambon writes, “As the inaugural faculty co-director with Charles B. Holmes … of the new Center for Global Health and Quality (GHQ), Dybul will work with top philanthropic, NGO, and governmental partners around the world to respond to new and emerging global health challenges and scale up quality services while maximizing resources” (9/8).

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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 includes an article discussing the Global Fund Results Report 2017, which contains results through the end of 2016 and “shows a decline of one-third in the number of people dying from AIDS, TB, and malaria in the countries where the Global Fund invests.” The issue also features an article by Marijke Wijnroks, interim executive director of the Global Fund, on the fund’s investments in global health security (9/13).

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