Author: Elizabeth Kohlway

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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

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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

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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

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Advocacy Update ~ September 11, 2017

This post was written by Danielle Heiberg, GHC Senior Advocacy Manager.

Last week, Congress returned from August recess and got to work, tackling not only the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the debt ceiling, but also appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, which begins on October 1.

The legislation to provide disaster relief funds to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, includes a short term deal to raise the debt limit through December and a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open until December 8. In the Senate, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) had proposed an amendment to offset the funds needed for Hurricane Harvey relief by cutting from USAID funding. The Senate voted to table the amendment by 87-10, with the 10 no votes all cast by Republicans.

The Senate Appropriations Committee also took up the State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-H) appropriations bills, which funds programs at NIH and CDC. Similar to the House, the Senate rejected President Trump’s budget that recommended drastic cuts to much of global health programs, and foreign assistance in general. The Committee recommended mostly flat funding for global health programs at USAID and the State Department, and recommended increased funding to TB and flat funding for Malaria by using unobligated funds from the Ebola Emergency Response fund. In the Labor-H bill, the Committee recommended increased funding for the Fogarty International Center (which was zeroed out in the President’s budget); increased funding for NIAID; and decreased funding for the Global Public Health Protection and Global Disease Detection in the Center for Global Health at CDC. See full funding chart below.

Of particular note in the SFOPs bill, was an amendment passed by the full committee to allocate “not less than” $585 million for bilateral family planning/reproductive health programs; repeals the Mexico City Policy (or Global Gag Rule); and mandates a U.S. contribute to UNFPA of $37.5 million. The amendment, introduced by Senator Jeanne Sheehan (D-NH), passed mostly along party lines, but with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) voting no, and Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) voting yes. As the House was voting on the floor on their version of the SFOPs bill, which contains language diametrically opposite to this amendment, the language will most likely be stripped out during final negotiations between the two chambers.

Also of significance is the strong language that the Committee inserted in the SFOPs report to blunt some of the actions taken by the Trump administration, especially in regards to the administration’s “redesign,” or reorganization plans, and the fear that the administration may simply not spend appropriated funds. The SFOPs report included language that the Committee feels that the President’s proposed International Affairs budget does not reflect “our increased attention to public safety and national security [that] sends a clear message to the world – a message of American strength and resolve.” The Committee also stressed that “diplomacy and development remain cost effective national security tools.”

In regards to reorganization, the Committee cited that their questions remain “largely unanswered” and is “concerned that the administration has a predetermined outcome for the reorganization or redesign.” The Committee included language that any reorganization plan is “subject to prior consultation and regular notification procedures.”

The Committee also included language reminding the administration of the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, which limits “the authority of the administration to reduce or withhold funding provided in law by action or inaction.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of Capitol Hill, the House began work on a minibus (or an “octobus” as some called it), to deal with the remaining eight appropriations bills, which includes SFOPs and Labor-H. The House voted on a number of amendments to the bill, but did not get to amendments for SFOPs until late Thursday. Of particular note, an amendment from Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) to increase funding to TB failed. An amendment in Labor-H offered by Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-NY) would cut $14 million from CDC global health to increase funding for community block grants is expected to be voted on this week. The House has an additional 400 amendments to vote on, before final passage of the minibus.

With the CR in place until early December, Congress has a few months to work out final numbers and language. However, it will be crunch time to pass the final FY18 bills and negotiate a new debt ceiling, coupled with a desire to return home for the holidays.

Appropriations Budget Table (as of September 2017)

* House: Includes $250 million from remaining Ebola response funds; Senate: Includes $100 million from remaining Ebola response funds
** Includes $20 million from remaining Ebola response funds;
*** Funding from remaining Ebola response funds; An additional $130 million reserve fund is also made available for “programs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to unanticipated and emerging health threats only if the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committee that it is in the national interest to respond to such threats”
**** The International Organizations and Programs (IO&Ps) is zeroed out. The House recommended funding for UNICEF in the Global Health Programs account.

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GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY: INVESTING GLOBALLY MATTERS LOCALLY

This post was written by Anupama Varma, Communications Associate at Global Health Council.

The panel of speakers at the event.

A disease outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere.” – Dr. Tom Frieden, former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In today’s world, when diseases can reach American borders in less than twelve hours, it is more imperative than ever that the global health community open space for dialogue on global health security. The World Bank estimates that the United States could have a loss of $80 billion dollars each year due to a global health security risk. Hence, the country must be prepared. The latest initiative, the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), aims to improve transparency through Joint External Evaluations (JEE) and develop lasting multilateral relationships among WHO member nations in order to ensure a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.

Global health security starts at home – making sure the United States has the tools to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats. It is also critical that efforts address building systems and capacity in low- and middle-income countries with weak health infrastructures that prevent them from adequately responding to disease outbreaks. As Amie Batson, Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President of Strategy and Learning at PATH, reminds us, “We are only as strong as the weakest country in the system.”

Dr. David Smith, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, delivers keynote speech.

In July, Global Health Council (GHC) partnered with one of its organizational members, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to host “Global Health Security: Investing Globally Matters Locally,” on Capitol Hill focused on current and future global health security efforts. Friends of the Global Fight also released a new brief highlighting how U.S. investments in bilateral health programs fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, in coordination with strategic investments in The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), save millions of lives and protect the U.S. from future disease threats. Dr. David Smith, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, delivered the keynote speech, and a panel of speakers from PATH, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and CDC discussed how investments in global health prevent epidemics at their sources and reduce the likelihood that infectious diseases will undermine public health in the United States.

The key takeaways from the panel discussion include:

1.) Technical expertise for global health security exists, but designated leadership is required.

2.) Epidemic preparedness is critical in order to ensure economic, social, and political security, as well as the stability of all nations, including the U.S.  As Garrett Grigsby, Director of the Office of Global Affairs at HHS, reiterated, “We can pay now, or we can pay a lot more later.”

3.) According to Dr. Nancy Knight, Director of the Division of Global Health Protection at CDC, “The key to successful global health security efforts lies in community-based response.”

4.) The focus of global health security is on four core areas: improving surveillance systems, strengthening laboratory capacity and capability, developing a robust global health workforce, and building a strong emergency operations and response system.

5.) The GHSA has become a model for governments to emphasize ownership of their borders.

6.) It is critical to work not only with governments and international organizations, but also with the private sector to increase the impact of global health security efforts.

7.) According to Dr. Audrey Jackson, Senior Fellow at CSIS’s Global Health Policy Center, tuberculosis (TB) remains a primary health threat to the U.S., and multilateral relationships such as The Global Fund are critical to fight TB.

Ultimately, U.S. leadership is key to the global health security vision and mission, and could help save millions of American lives both here and abroad.

Download the Friends of the Global Fight brief.
View Dr. David Smith’s keynote speech.
Advocate for global health security using facts and figures and success stories from GHC’s Global Health Briefing Book.
Join GHC’s Global Health Security Roundtable. The purpose of the Roundtable is to provide a space for NGOs, private sector organizations, and academia to work together to advance sound policy and advocate for robust investment in global health security. Learn more.

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