Author: Elizabeth Kohlway

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One Year Later

Global Health Council (GHC) President & Executive Director Loyce Pace pens a letter to the leadership of GHC member organizations recapping her first year at GHC.

December 1, 2016.

That was the day I started my tenure with Global Health Council as its new executive director. I didn’t quite know what to expect. The organization was due for an update of its strategic plan. At the same time, Washington had just been rocked by a shocking election result. We were also anticipating a change of the guard at WHO. I found myself asking what critical role GHC should play in the global health advocacy space and how effective we could be, ultimately. And I heard from you, as leaders of our member and partner organizations, where you see our value and why you have joined us.

We all had to dig a little deeply for a sense of optimism coming into 2017, given all the unknowns. I reflected often on being a so-called peacetime versus wartime CEO and implications of the latter, not only for GHC’s mission but our core purpose as a global health community. We are advocates at heart who are called to “find our fight” amidst a set of circumstances that certainly aren’t business as usual. Meanwhile, we have our pragmatic side: a small voice that wants to find some level of compromise and constructive engagement, which lends itself to incremental progress. I would say both have their place.

Of course, pushing back on bad policy and poor decision-making is essential. There were a number of disturbing events early on that we collectively opposed, the proposed federal budget being only one example. I was proud of our community for how fervently and vociferously we spoke up and out against drastic cuts. That wasn’t just the right thing to do; it was our only option. And we did it together, as one voice. GHC also expressed concern regarding an expansion of the Mexico City Policy and its impact on global health outcomes worldwide. And we challenged WHO on how it engages with non-state actors.

Equally important is for global health organizations to take a closer look at ourselves and make adjustments to how we do business. It could simply be a matter of changing how we talk about what we do, finding better language to describe the benefits of global health investments in terms of GDP or national security. This has resonated with multiple audiences. Likewise, identifying different messengers has proven valuable. But there’s a deeper evolution afoot: global health leaders are asking themselves what partners, programs, or protocols they must put in place to sustain the progress they’ve realized so far, perhaps without solid government funding and leadership. This is a shift I’ve come to realize Global Health Council can also help our community navigate and reconcile. Thus, our upcoming symposium.

As I look ahead to 2018, it seems we share a confidence that was lacking this time last year. Now, I have no doubt we will win critical battles. We’ll certainly continue to face challenges, but our community has grit and resilience that serve us well. We also use our resources to play both offense and defense in a way that is smart and thoughtful. An ideal path forward is one in which we are just as bold in advocacy as we are in innovation. I am grateful to our awesome community for teaching me the value of working along this spectrum during my first year, and look forward to even more lessons in the years to come.

Thank you for your support of GHC, and being part of our ongoing efforts to improve health worldwide.

Global Health Council 2017 Call to Action

Advocacy Update ~ October 23, 2017

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager, and Melissa Chacko, Policy Associate, Global Health Council.

Senate Passes Budget Resolution

Late last week the Senate passed a Budget Resolution, setting topline funding amounts for the appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, but similar to the House, the chamber really set up the vehicle for tax reform. The bill maintains spending at 2017 levels, but over the next ten years would cut nondefense spending, ending in 2027 with a $106 billion cut. For the International Affairs Budget, the bill contains $39.5 billion in base funding (the funding breakdown for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) between defense and international affairs was not specified).

Although the vote was along party lines (with all Democrats and Independents, along with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), voting no), some Republicans downplayed its importance. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) stated, “At the end of the day, we all know that the Senate budget resolution will not impact final appropriations.”

Congress has until December 8, when the Continuing Resolution (CR) expires, to work out a final spending bill for the eight remaining appropriations bills for the fiscal year.

Reach Act Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

In early October amidst the hustle and bustle of the budget resolution debates, U.S. Representatives David Reichert (R-WA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Daniel Donovan (R-NY) reintroduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (H.R. 4022) in the House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation aims to accelerate the reduction of preventable child, newborn, and maternal deaths, putting us within reach of the global commitment to end these deaths within a generation. The Senate reintroduced the Reach Act in August, which now has 14 cosponsors. Read GHC’s statement.

 

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESNTATIVES INTRODUCES LEGISLATION AIMED TO SAVE LIVES OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD

Washington, DC (October 13, 2017) – On October 10, Global Health Council (GHC) applauded U.S. Representatives David Reichert (R-WA), Betty McCollum (D-MN),Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Daniel Donovan (R-NY), who reintroduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (H.R. 4022) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation aims to accelerate the reduction of preventable child, newborn, and maternal deaths, putting us within reach of the global commitment to end these deaths within a generation.

“We are in reach of ending preventable maternal and child deaths—a great accomplishment in part due to U.S. leadership and investments in maternal and child health programs. Although we have drastically reduced the number of maternal, newborn, and child deaths, every day, 800 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth and more than 16,000 children still die from preventable causes,” said Loyce Pace, GHC President and Executive Director. “The Reach Every Mother and Child Act is an important step to ensure that we end these preventable deaths within a generation.”

The Reach Act builds upon the success of such global health initiatives as PEPFAR and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and would enact key reforms that increase the effectiveness and impact of USAID maternal and child survival programs. The U.S. Senate reintroduced the Reach Act in August.

Specifically, the legislation would require a coordinated U.S. government strategy that addresses ending preventable child and maternal deaths, as well as institute reporting requirements to improve efficiency, transparency, accountability, and oversight of maternal and child health programs. In addition, it would establish the position of Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator at USAID and ensure that the return on U.S. investments are maximized through a scale-up of the highest impact, evident-based interventions. The legislation would also allow USAID to explore innovative financing tools.

The Reach Act is supported by more than 50 diverse non-profit and faith-based organizations working to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child mortality at home and abroad.

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About Global Health Council

Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org. Follow GHC on Twitter or “Like” us on Facebook for more information.

Media Contact

Elizabeth Kohlway
Communications & Member Engagement Manager
Global Health Council
(703) 717-5251

Civil Society Statement Recognizing the Role of Global Health in Development

Download PDF version of statement here.

As organizations that work around the world to ensure healthier, safer lives for all people, we join together to support sustained and strengthened U.S. commitment to global health.

Health is the backbone of strong and stable communities, which makes global health – in addition to humanitarian relief, democracy and governance, disaster assistance, agriculture development, and education – a critical component of how the United States engages with the world. By investing in global health and development, the United States helps to build healthier and more self-reliant communities, which are more economically and politically stable. U.S. leadership in global health is critical to reaching the finish line on bold global health initiatives.

Global health programs also are some of the greatest successes of U.S. foreign assistance, and have contributed to tremendous gains in health around the world, including a halving of preventable child deaths, a 60 percent decrease in deaths from malaria, and a 45 percent reduction in maternal mortality since 1990. They are also some of the most critical, putting the U.S at forefront of fighting future disease threats, building resilient health systems, and promoting global health security. Global health programs play an important role in meeting objectives across other evelopment priorities, as well, including food security and gender equality.

As the Administration considers the organization of the U.S. government, including international development and diplomacy operations, it is critical to recognize and sustain global health functions that support maternal and child health; HIV/AIDs; tuberculosis; malaria; neglected tropical diseases; family planning and reproductive health; water, sanitation, and hygiene; nutrition; noncommunicable diseases; research and development; workforce development; and global health security.

Any reorganization of U.S. foreign aid and diplomacy operations must prioritize:

Distinct and deliberate tracks for development and diplomacy. While development and diplomacy work hand-in- hand to promote our humanitarian and security interests, they offer different and unique perspectives on U.S. global engagement. U.S. global health efforts exemplify this distinction, as programs work to improve health in the most vulnerable populations worldwide, not just in those areas of strategic national interest. Accordingly, agenda-setting, priorities, and budgets for these two areas of foreign policy must remain distinct and deliberate.

Global health as a prominent and distinct feature of U.S. foreign aid and development. Global health is multi- faceted and cross-cutting – and one that is not confined to national borders, low economic or humanitarian development status, or emergency operations. For U.S. humanitarian and strategic objectives, it is just as important for global health efforts to address challenges stemming from a natural disaster as it is to target endemic health issues that may prevent a country from achieving growth and stability. It is critical that any redesign or restructuring of U.S. development and diplomacy programs maintains a prominent and distinct place for global health that recognizes and supports the diverse and cross-functional health challenges facing low- and middle-income countries.

Maintaining and supporting technical expertise in development, including global health. U.S. global health programs have a track record of success and high-impact because they are supported by strong and deep technical expertise at USAID and the State Department. To continue and build upon this legacy of success, it is vital to maintain and support technical experts for the full range of U.S. global health programs and priorities.

Global health is a critical component of U.S. development and diplomatic engagement, and must be sustained. As such, the unique attributes and value-add of global health programs must receive appropriate attention, and be included at the highest levels of strategic discussions on government organization.

We strongly urge any redesign plan to commit to continued U.S. leadership in global health and support and sustain the cross-cutting development and diplomatic initiatives that help people live longer, healthier lives.

Action Against Hunger Advocates for Youth ALIMA USA
American College of Cardiology American Heart Association American Public Health Association AVAC
CARE USA
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) CORE Group
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Elizabeth R Griffin Research Foundation
FHI 360
FIND
Frontline Health Workers Coalition
Fund for Global Health Georgia AIDS Coalition Global Health Council Global Health Strategies
Global Health Technologies Coalition
HarvestPlus
Health Systems Management Helen Keller International IMA World Health
Infectious Diseases Society of America
IntraHealth International Johns Snow, Inc. (JSI) Millennium Water Alliance MMV
Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Roundtable
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Council RESULTS Austin SPOON
TB Alliance
The American Academy of Pediatrics
The Hunger Project
Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Washington Global Health Alliance
WaterAid
White Ribbon Alliance

Global Health Council Releases Recommendations for Six-Month Review of Mexico City Policy

Washington, DC (September 15, 2017) — Today Global Health Council released a statement of principles, endorsed by over 100 civil society organizations, on the upcoming six-month review of the impact of the expanded Mexico City Policy. The State Department proposed a six-month review of the policy’s impact on U.S. global health programs, which have saved and improved the lives of millions around the world. As the timeline approaches for the six-month review, the statement of principles provides recommendations for a review that is meaningful and comprehensive, and proposes an annual review to understand how the policy affects U.S. programs and their outcomes long-term.

“We recognize that the State Department has committed to reviewing the impact this policy has on the lives of so many around the world,” stated Loyce Pace, Global Health Council President and Executive Director. “Given the expanded policy has far-reaching effects across a number of programs and beneficiaries, we feel it is critical to be thoughtful about its implementation and evaluation during the time it remains in effect. We hope that the State Department will give serious consideration to our recommendations to ensure a thorough, transparent, and fully-accountable review.”

Specifically, the statement recommends that the review be comprehensive and transparent, and include the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders, including staff from impacted agencies, implementing organizations, donor and host country governments, and civil society in the U.S. and in aid-recipient countries. In addition, the review should clearly state how the State Department will address any issues, such as disruption in health access, that have arisen as a result of the policy.

On January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which requires foreign non-governmental organizations to certify that they will not use their own funds to provide information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or to advocate for access to abortion services in their own country as a condition of receiving U.S. global health assistance. In May, the State Department released guidance on the implementation of the expanded policy and at the time committed to conducting a six-month review of its impact on global health programs.

View the full Civil Society Recommendations for the 6-month Review of the Mexico City Policy.

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About Global Health Council

Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org.

Follow GHC on Twitter or “Like” us on Facebook for more information.

Media Contacts

Liz Kohlway, Communications & Member Engagement Manager
Global Health Council
ekohlway@globalhealth.org
(703) 717-5251