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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Congress Releases FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, Including Global Health Program Funding

The House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on Monday announced the release of the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014” (HR 3547), which includes funding for U.S. global health programs.

Washington Post: Lawmakers unveil massive $1.1 trillion spending bill in bipartisan compromise
“Congressional negotiators unveiled a $1.1 trillion funding bill late Monday that would ease sharp spending cuts known as the sequester while providing fresh cash for new priorities, including President Obama’s push to expand early-childhood education. … The measure also continues a ban on the use of federal funding to perform most abortions, including abortions in the District and for federal prisoners. But Republicans agreed to jettison other contentious proposals, including a ban on new federal regulations for greenhouse gases and the ‘global gag rule,’ which sought to prohibit U.S. funding for organizations that give women information about abortion” (Montgomery et al., 1/13).

International Business Times: How The Omnibus Spending Bill Restricts Abortion Funding
“Congress unveiled its comprehensive $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill on Tuesday, containing many familiar pro-life clauses restricting the use of federal funding for abortions. … Though the omnibus appropriations bill contains a number of pro-life measures, some conservative groups feel that it doesn’t go far enough in defunding abortions on the federal level” (Brown, 1/14).

The Hill’s Healthwatch: Advocates bemoan omnibus funding level for NIH
“Health research advocates say that despite a funding increase, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cannot fully pursue its mission under the 2014 omnibus spending package…” (Viebeck, 1/14).

ScienceInsider: U.S. Science Agencies Get Some Relief in 2014 Budget
“…For agencies that provide major support for the physical sciences, the new budget represents a healthy boost over 2013 spending levels, which were depressed by the sequester’s five percent bite. … Biomedical research advocates are offering mixed reaction to the NIH numbers…” (Mervis, 1/14).

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Activists, NGOs React To Nigerian Law Criminalizing Same-Sex Marriage, Relationships

News outlets summarize the response of activists, experts, and non-governmental organizations to a new law in Nigeria outlawing same-sex marriage and relationships, as well as membership in gay rights groups.

Agence France-Presse: Same-sex ban ‘legalizes’ homophobic violence: gay Nigerians
“Gay activists on Tuesday vowed to fight the Nigerian government after the country outlawed same-sex unions, warning the act legitimized homophobic violence and increased fears of persecution…” (1/14).

Associated Press: Dozens arrested for being gay in north Nigeria
“First the police targeted the gay men, then tortured them into naming dozens of others who now are being hunted down, human rights activists said Tuesday, warning that such persecution will rise under a new Nigerian law…” (Faul, 1/14).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: New anti-gay law to slow Nigeria’s fight against HIV/AIDS — experts
“A new anti-gay law signed on Monday by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan risks hindering progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said…” (Caspani, 1/14).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. human rights chief denounces ‘draconian’ anti-homosexuality law in Nigeria
“The United Nations human rights chief today voiced her alarm at a ‘draconian’ new law in Nigeria that further criminalizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, organizations and activities, as well as people who support them…” (1/14).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS and the Global Fund express deep concern about the impact of a new law affecting the AIDS response and human rights of LGBT people in Nigeria
In a joint press release with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS expressed “deep concern” about the law, saying, “…The new law could prevent access to essential HIV services for LGBT people who may be at high risk of HIV infection, undermining the success of the Presidential Comprehensive Response Plan for HIV/AIDS which was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan less than a year ago…” (1/14).

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U.N. Concerned Over Malnutrition In Syria; Ban Calls Situation 'Heart-breaking'

Two articles report on the continuing humanitarian crisis in Syria, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit with Syrian refugees and concerns over malnutrition.

Reuters: U.N. feeds record 3.8 million in Syria but concerned by malnutrition
“The U.N.’s World Food Programme (WFP) delivered rations to a record 3.8 million people in Syria in December, but civilians in eastern provinces and besieged towns near the capital remain out of reach, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. The agency voiced concern at reports of malnutrition in besieged areas, especially of children caught up in the nearly three-year-old civil war, and called for greater access…” (Nebehay, 1/14).

U.N. News Centre: In show of solidarity, Ban, senior U.N. officials visit Syrian refugees in northern Iraq
“Visiting with Syrian refugees in northern Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called ‘heart-breaking’ what he saw in Kawrgosik camp, saying he was particularly saddened to see so many young children, women and vulnerable people suffering from ‘this man-made tragedy’…” (1/14).

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World Bank's Kim Says Health Care Is A Human Right

Bloomberg News: World Bank’s Kim Says Health Care ‘Is a Right for Everyone’
“Health care is a human right that all nations should seek to provide for everyone to help foster economic growth and political stability, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said. ‘Health care is a right for everyone, in every country, rich or poor,’ Kim said in remarks [Tuesday] at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. ‘Not providing health, education, and social protection is fundamentally unjust — in addition to being a bad economic and political strategy’…” (Peralta, 1/14).

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GlobalPost Examines U.S. Spending In Haiti Since 2010 Earthquake

GlobalPost: Four years after the Haiti earthquake, what have billions in U.S. aid bought?
“In the four years since Haiti’s disastrous earthquake, the United States has promised $3.6 billion in aid, at least $2.8 billion of which has already been spent. Has it helped? GlobalPost examined more than one dozen studies and audits to estimate how much of that money made it through U.S. government and NGO bureaucracies to the ground in Haiti — and what good it did there…” (Kushner, 1/15).

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WFP Concerned Over Cuts To Food Aid In Zimbabwe

News outlets report on the World Food Programme’s (WFP) food aid cuts due to lack of funding.

Reuters: WFP forced to cut food aid to 1 million Zimbabweans
“A million Zimbabweans benefiting from United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) aid are facing hunger due to a lack of funding that has caused deep cuts in assistance, the organization said on Tuesday…” (Dzirutwe, 1/14).

VOA News: WFP Seeks $60 Million to Avert Hunger in Zimbabwe
“The World Food Programme says it is very concerned about food security as Zimbabwe enters the peak of its so-called hunger season — the last three months before the traditional harvest. The U.N. agency is experiencing a shortage of funding to avert hunger in the southern African nation where about two million people need food assistance…” (Mhofu, 1/14).

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Methadone, Clean-Needle Programs Help HIV Prevention Efforts In Ukraine

Bloomberg News: Methadone Clinics Help Ukraine Succeed on HIV Prevention
“Ukraine is checking the spread of HIV for the first time in more than a decade by handing out methadone and clean needles to drug users, measures long embraced in the U.S. yet still opposed in neighboring Russia…” (Bennett, 1/14).

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Reports Examine Dietary Shifts Worldwide

IRIN: Future diets and the world’s expanding waistlines
The news service examines calculations from Oxfam and a new report from the Overseas Development Institute that both look at changing diets worldwide. “…Perhaps the most interesting figures are not from the richest or poorest countries, but those in between — emerging economies making the transition to middle- or higher-income status. … As people get richer, they want to eat more meat, fish and dairy products, more fried food, more sweets and cakes, washed down with fizzy drinks. … Combined with moving to the cities, having less time to cook and leading less active lives, the dietary shift has brought expanding waistlines and an epidemic of ill-health…” (Blunt, 1/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

PEPFAR Pledges Support For 'Saving Mothers, Giving Life'

Huffington Post: Saving Mothers, Giving Life: New Year, New Results for Maternal Health
Deborah von Zinkernagel, acting U.S global AIDS coordinator, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

“…A newly published study in the Lancet estimates that a quarter of all deaths among pregnant and postpartum women in sub-Saharan Africa are due to HIV. That’s one reason why I am so encouraged by new results from an innovative public-private partnership in which the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) plays a critical role in Uganda and Zambia. In one year alone, this partnership helped to cut maternal deaths due to childbirth in areas of these two countries by 30-35 percent — a truly remarkable achievement. … As the 2015 deadline for achieving the MDGs approaches, the tremendous strides made through ‘Saving Mothers, Giving Life’ in just one year give me — and all those who work with and support PEPFAR — great hope for our collective ability to improve maternal health as a critical component of achieving an AIDS-free generation” (1/14).

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Nations Must Employ Multiple Tactics To Eliminate Polio By 2018

New York Times: Eradicating Polio Everywhere
“It has been three years since the last new case of polio was reported in India. The country can now be declared polio-free. India’s victory is an important milestone in the global effort to eliminate polio. … But the viral disease remains a threat. … [T]he number of countries where polio is present rose to eight from four between December 2012 and December 2013, with polio spreading out of Nigeria into the Horn of Africa and from Pakistan into the Middle East. … With eradication of polio so close, these nations need to redouble efforts to combat the disease. … India’s technical and logistical success and Pakistan’s efforts to enlist trusted local leaders are important examples to follow. All of these tactics will be necessary to eradicate polio in 2014 and to ensure that by 2018 this terrible virus is gone for good” (1/14).

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NTD Treatment, Prevention Will Accelerate Global Poverty Reduction

The Guardian: NTDs: treatment could lift one in six people out of poverty
Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

“A global effort is now underway to make sure that access to medicine and other interventions will be possible for the one in six people worldwide afflicted by NTDs. … Ultimately, endemic countries must self-finance NTD programs within existing budgetary structures to ensure sustainability; however, leadership from both donor and endemic countries is needed now to quickly develop and expand programs. By including NTDs and specific targets in the post-2015 development agenda, we will support country-led efforts to reach control and elimination goals, improve the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people, and accelerate progress in global poverty reduction by 2030 and beyond” (1/14).

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Recent Releases

House, Senate Appropriations Committees Release FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act

Several organizations summarize information on the FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill released Monday.

Kaiser Family Foundation: FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act Released
“The House and Senate Committees on Appropriations announced the release of the ‘Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014’ (HR 3547), which includes funding for U.S. global health programs. A significant portion of U.S. funding for global health, including funding at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State, is outlined in the bill, however, total funding for global health is not currently available as some funding provided through USAID, HHS, and DoD is not yet available. The table below compares the bill to final FY 2013 enacted (post-sequestration) and the president’s FY 2014 budget request…” (1/13).

ONE: International Affairs budget: 2014 House numbers are in
“Last night, after months of negotiations, Congress released the fiscal year 2014 federal budget bill. The omnibus was the result of a deal struck late last year between the House and the Senate over the federal budget…” (Heimbach, 1/14).

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: International Affairs Budget Update, 1-14-14
“Since returning from the holiday recess last week, Congress has been racing against the January 15 deadline to finalize the $1.012 trillion FY14 omnibus appropriations bill, as agreed to under the budget deal reached in December. Last evening, Appropriators filed the final spending package that includes all 12 annual appropriations bills, including State-Foreign Operations…” (Preston, 1/14).

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CGD Paper Outlines Priority Areas For Next U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

“…I convened a group of stakeholders — including advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and researchers — to discuss the future direction of PEPFAR and consider top priorities for the next Global AIDS Coordinator. … The resulting paper ‘Clear Direction for a New Decade: Priorities for PEPFAR and the Next U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator’ lays out four priority ‘hows,’ each with actionable recommendations, that may help [nominee Deborah Birx] realize the potential of PEPFAR’s current strategy and demonstrate clear gains in the years to come…,” Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and Jenny Ottenhoff, policy outreach associate at the center, write in CGD’s “Global Health Policy” blog (1/14).

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USAID Official Speaks About U.S. Response To Typhoon Haiyan In Philippines

USAID’s “IMPACTblog” presents remarks made by USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia Greg Beck at a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies conference on the U.S. response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. “…The government of the Philippines has been building their capacity and their ability to respond quickly and effectively over the last decade. We’ll continue to work very closely with the government to further strengthen that capacity, recognizing that this is not the last of the emergencies that we’re going to be seeing” (1/14).

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Consortium To Track Aid Spending Data From Public, Government Sources

In the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) “Global Health Policy” blog, Amanda Glassman, director of global health policy and a senior fellow at CGD, and Yuna Sakuma, a CGD research assistant, write about the AidData Research Consortium (ARC), a research collaborative based at William & Mary, that “will compile sub-national spending data from both public and aid sources, make data available to the public and researchers, and facilitate a consortium of researchers — including CGD researchers — working on policy-relevant issues. … AidData’s work is a step in the right direction for development and aid effectiveness, particularly in the health sector where coordination efforts can be stymied by lack of subnational data on spending and impact…” (1/14).

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Blog Examines U.S. Government Attention To South Sudan

Beth Schwanke, senior policy counsel at the Center for Global Development (CGD), writes in the center’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy” blog about recent congressional discussion regarding South Sudan. “…Ongoing congressional attention to South Sudan, including the House Foreign Affairs’ Committee’s hearing Wednesday, as well as once the current crisis has passed, will go a long way in ensuring the kind of sustained administration attention to South Sudan that will be needed” (1/14).

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Women, Nutrition Keys To Sustainable Development

“Undernutrition creates a cycle of poverty that is difficult to escape. It plagues more than one in three children in most developing countries and impacts not only an individual’s ability to learn and grow, but also the economy of an entire country. Without a fit and healthy workforce, countries cannot prosper. This is why we believe better nutrition is key to sustainability. It is also why we place women at the center of our work — as women are most likely to determine whether their children eat a safe, diverse and quality diet…,” Laura Birx, an agriculture-nutrition program officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog (1/14).

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State Department Video Highlights U.S. Official's Trip To Visit Syrian Refugees In Iraq

Writing in the State Department’s “DipNote” blog, Christine Getzler-Vaughan, a program officer in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, presents a video of recent travel by Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard, who “recently returned from a trip to Erbil, Iraq, where she visited with Syrian refugees, local government officials, and international organizations and non-governmental organizations who are doing direct outreach with refugees on the ground…” (1/14).

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Humanosphere Says U.N. Not Screening Asymptomatic Peacekeepers For Cholera Despite Report

“…Despite telling CNN otherwise, the U.N. is not taking steps to ensure its peacekeepers do not carry cholera from country to country,” development blogger Tom Murphy writes in Humanosphere. “It came as a surprise when U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told CNN in October that the U.N. was screening peacekeepers for cholera. ‘Part of our lessons learned from [Haiti] has been to screen peacekeepers for cholera,’ said Haq. It would be an important change in U.N. policy. But it is not true. ‘No, that’s a bit if misquote. I said that screening was something that had been considered. However, following WHO policy (which does not call for screening people for cholera if they’re asymptomatic), that was dropped,’ said Haq to Humanosphere, via email…” (1/14).

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