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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Devex Examines Potential Impacts Of Cuts To U.S. Foreign Assistance

Devex: What would deep cuts to U.S. foreign aid look like?
“For U.S. aid advocates, last month’s news that the Donald Trump administration will seek massive cuts to U.S. foreign affairs funding came as an unwelcome, though not unexpected, blow. The intervening days have seen a flurry of speculation and warnings about what cuts of the magnitude President Trump is proposing — up to 37 percent — would mean for U.S. global development programs and the populations they serve. … If an event Monday at the Center for Global Development was any indication, deep cuts to foreign aid spending will likely also bring about tense discussions about whether some cuts are warranted and how they should be done. … One question loomed large: will dramatic cuts finally lead to foreign aid reform? Although contentious, the conversation found agreement that foreign aid policy is guided by outdated legislation in great need of updating. The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act was passed in 1961 and has been added to over the years, but has not been overhauled…” (Igoe/Saldinger, 3/15).

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U.S. President Trump's Preliminary Budget To Include Proposed Cuts To State, USAID, U.N.; Final Numbers Could Change, State Department Spokesperson Says

CNN: White House demands deep cuts to State, U.N. funds
“The White House has instructed the State Department and the U.S. mission to the United Nations to cut their budgets for U.N. programs nearly in half, including U.S. peacekeeping and development assistance, two senior U.S. officials told CNN on Monday. The dramatic cuts, which include [reductions] in funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, reflect a desire by the Trump administration to reduce U.S. commitments to international organizations…” (Labott/Cohen, 3/14).

Washington Post: White House seeking significant cuts to U.S. payments to United Nations
“…U.S. officials cautioned that the outline of President Trump’s preliminary budget, to be released Thursday, is unlikely to reveal much in the way of intentions for specific programs. ‘We’re early in the process with respect to budget numbers … it may look very differently a couple weeks or a couple of months down the road,’ acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday. But the outline could provide an indication of how the administration plans to deal with an international institution that Trump during his campaign said caused more problems than it solved, and was ‘just a club for people to get together and talk and have a good time’…” (DeYoung/Demirjian, 3/14).

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In Letter To U.S. President Trump, Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus Co-Chairs Urge Continued Bipartisan Support For Global, Domestic AIDS Programs

Mic: Co-chairs of Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus urge Trump to take action to end epidemic
“Throughout his campaign and tenure as president thus far, Donald Trump has remained relatively mum on the issue of HIV/AIDS. But in a letter sent to the president on Tuesday, the co-chairs of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus urged Trump to continue decades of effort to make battling the epidemic a public health priority at the federal level. … In the letter, [Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.)] call on Trump to continue support for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — a federal initiative created by former President George W. Bush — which they laud for increasing the number of people receiving treatment for the deadly disease by ‘nearly 11.5 million’ over the last two decades…” (Rodriguez, 3/14).

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Former CDC Director Frieden Discusses U.S. Preparedness, Efforts To Address Infectious Diseases In Scientific American Interview

Scientific American: Is the U.S. Ready for Future Disease Threats?
“During Tom Frieden’s seven and a half years as director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, his agency was buffeted by crises that included government furloughs, H1N1 flu, laboratory safety issues, an earthquake in Haiti, and outbreaks of Ebola and Zika virus. To better manage emerging diseases — and to detect them before they spread globally — the agency is now working with dozens of countries to boost diagnostic and testing capabilities. Frieden spoke with Scientific American during his last week on the job about some of the nation’s future health challenges, as well as his most memorable moments as director…” (Maron, April 2017).

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U.K.'s Disasters Emergency Committee Launches Appeal To Fund Humanitarian Assistance To East Africa

The Guardian: ‘Countless lives at stake’ warn NGOs as hunger in East Africa prompts major appeal
“A major appeal is being launched on Wednesday to help more than 16 million people facing hunger in East Africa. The Disasters Emergency Committee is calling for funds to scale up the response to drought in the region and prevent ‘hunger on a massive scale,’ while aid agencies warn that ‘countless lives are at stake.’ … The U.K. government has said it will match-fund the first £5m donated by the public to the DEC appeal. DEC member charities are already working to deliver food, treatment for malnutrition, and clean drinking water…” (Lamble/Quinn, 3/14).

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Global Health NOW Interviews National Public Health Institute Of Liberia Director-General Tolbert Nyenswah

Global Health NOW: Rebuilding Liberian Public Health: A Q&A with Tolbert Nyenswah
“After the devastating Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015, Liberia began to rebuild its health system. The need to strengthen Liberian expertise in infectious disease preparedness and response and a host of other areas became obvious. Cue the creation of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, which was established by the Liberian government in December 2016. … Tasked with launching the institute is its first director general, Tolbert Nyenswah, a former deputy minister of health for disease surveillance and epidemic control who led the country’s response to Ebola. In a wide-ranging Skype interview with GHN last Friday, Nyenswah shared his plans for the institute and its priorities in the coming years…” (Simpson, 3/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

Proposed Cuts To State Department, Other Agencies Would Threaten National Security Establishment's Ability To 'Do Its Job Properly'

Washington Post: The Trump White House’s plan to starve the foreign policy establishment
Daniel W. Drezner, professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

“…[President] Trump’s proposed budget threatens to gut an already starved State Department. … What’s interesting is that many of Trump’s other cuts — to the Centers for Disease Control, United Nations peacekeeping, the Coast Guard, TSA, and FEMA — are like those aimed at the State Department. They save small sums of money, but only by eliminating insurance programs that might come in handy during an emergency — particularly a foreign policy emergency. If you think there will be no need to commit nonmilitary American resources to address a serious pandemic or foreign policy crisis or peacekeeping issues, then you’re an America Firster who is happy with these cuts. If you think that the national security establishment can’t do its job properly when starved of staff and budget, then all of this should concern you immensely. It certainly concerns the military, which will have to pick up the slack…” (3/14).

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Business Sector, Governments Must Form Partnerships To Achieve SDGs

Huffington Post: The Business Case for the Sustainable Development Goals
Doug Frantz, OECD deputy secretary general

“…We need to convince the business sector and governments that we will fail to achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] unless they form an unprecedented partnership. Governments cannot do it alone. Official Development Assistance, administered through the OECD Development Assistance Committee, is critical, but far from enough. Foundations, charities, and NGOs have big roles to play, but they can’t lift this burden. … Government leaders need to take into account the interests of business when they discuss investments. … Business leaders need to see that the SDGs are not just a public good — they are good business. … We need … concrete steps to establish a common language between governments and business in order to start a meaningful dialogue on the value of the SDGs to take us from the world we have to the world we want to have” (3/14).

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Gates Foundation Should Test Development, Poverty Alleviation Approaches In Randomized Trials

Vox: Bill Gates wants to give the poor chickens. What they need is cash.
Chris Blattman, Ramalee E. Pearson professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy and the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts

“Dear Bill, … I’m writing you to say that, when it comes to donating to the poor, cash is still probably your best bet. … Given the state of current research, neither of us can say definitively whether livestock or cash is better — or under what circumstances one might be better than the other. But the answer is in easy reach if only someone would conduct a thorough experiment to test the two approaches. It is irresponsible of us not to do so. … Giving away chickens probably works best if we give them to just a few of the poor. … ‘Give a man a start-up grant,’ I say, ‘and he can buy chickens, or fishing lessons, or open a shop.’ Cash is more versatile than livestock or skills. And time and again, the research has shown that the poor make good investment choices when given the opportunity. … When it comes to ending poverty, you could tell people that we don’t know the answer yet, but it is answerable. You could say: ‘The future is randomized trials testing different poverty programs against one another in many countries, focusing on cost-effectiveness’…” (3/14).

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Health Innovations Should 'Know No Borders'; Experts Should Look Past Distinction Between Local, Global Health Systems

STAT: Global health innovations can be game-changers at home, too
Aikaterini Mantzavinou, Bryan J. Ranger, Emma Costa, Samuel Rodriques, and Hok Hei Tam, all students at MIT and cofounders of the MIT Cost-effective Health Care Initiative; Rajarshi Banerjee, associate at Ropes & Gray LLP.; and Lindsay Brownell, MIT alumna and freelance science writer

“…[I]nnovations that emerge in developing countries tend to be labeled as solutions for ‘global health.’ But that term has a specific — and possibly misleading — connotation in the United States. … [I]n a world where health issues in rich and poor countries are becoming more similar, innovation should know no borders. Health care solutions that emerge in developing countries, or that are researched and funded in the United States but aimed at developing countries, could help address health care challenges here in the United States. As active participants in Boston’s life sciences ecosystem, we believe that the faster we can do away with the distinction between ‘global health’ and our ‘local’ health care system — in the public perception, as well as among researchers, policymakers, businesses, and philanthropists — the better our chances of finding sustainable solutions to health care challenges everywhere in the world” (3/14).

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Proactive, Integrated Approach Including Vaccination Critical To Control Dengue

Huffington Post: 4 Billion People At Risk Of Being Infected With The Fastest Growing Mosquito-Borne Disease
Melvin Sanicas, vaccinologist and public health physician

“…No specific antiviral therapy exists [for dengue], but after decades of research, we now have a vaccine. A vaccine could have a major public health impact if the particular disease has a high incidence. The effect on the overall incidence of dengue will depend largely on the number of people who become vaccinated. The approach to dengue is almost always reactive — only when there is an outbreak. It is important to be pro-active in controlling dengue before it becomes an even greater threat. An integrated approach of vector control, public awareness, monitoring and surveillance, and vaccination will lead to great progress in the control of the disease and will eliminate dengue as a public health problem firstly in endemic areas” (3/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Event Examines Potential Budget Cuts To U.S. Foreign Assistance

Center for Global Development “U.S. Development Policy”: Cuts to the 150 Account: Searching for a Constructive Path Forward in Foreign Aid
Beth Schwanke, director of policy outreach at CGD, highlights a CGD-hosted panel discussion examining the potential foreign assistance budget cuts expected in President Trump’s budget preview. “CGD’s Scott Morris, CAP’s John Norris, AEI’s Danielle Pletka, and Heritage’s Jim Roberts found a few areas of agreement, if more in the way of constructive suggestions to Congress and the administration on ways forward,” Schwanke writes, outlining those areas (3/14).

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Companies Can Merge Business Goals With SDGs To Advance Sustainable Business, Development

Harvard Business Review: How Companies Can Champion Sustainable Development
Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean of international business & finance at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and founding executive director of Fletcher’s Institute for Business in the Global Context, discusses findings from a research effort examining how the private sector can invest in sustainable development while also pursuing their own interests. Chakravorti writes, “Given that the SDGs provide a powerful framework for companies to mobilize, organize both internally and with partners, and take action, the first step is to stop trying to visualize the entire SDG framework, and frame it as a hierarchy of connected and sequenced goals. This helps prioritize and build a logic for choice and to integrate the strategy for building a sustainable business with the company’s strategy for engaging in sustainable development” (3/14).

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