GHC Announcements

Global Health Security Roundtable Welcomes Additional U.S. Funding for Ebola Response

Washington, DC (May 23, 2018) — The Global Health Security Roundtable welcomes U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s announcement that the U.S. is contributing an additional $7 million in response to the evolving Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bringing the total U.S. commitment to $8 million. From May 8 – 21, the outbreak has led to 58 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases, including 27 deaths, and the number of cases is expected to increase.

This recent outbreak illustrates the continuing threat of infectious diseases to the United States and the world, and the outstanding need to more effectively finance prevention, detection, and response. While the Roundtable is encouraged to see today’s announcement of additional support, it is critical to note that this commitment comes just two weeks after a proposed $252 million rescission of Ebola supplemental funding, which Congress allocated in 2015 to assist with comparable future outbreaks.

History has shown us that as successful public health interventions stem an outbreak or lead to an overall decline in infectious disease rates, public funding for those very programs is subsequently cut in favor of other priorities, leaving us vulnerable to the next infectious disease threat. The Global Health Security Roundtable calls on the Administration and Congress to prioritize future and preventive investments in preparedness, and notes that it should not come at the expense of other lifesaving global health and development programs, which often serve as the backbone of health security programming. Additionally, the Roundtable reiterates the need for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other U.S. agencies to have access to the same types of financing as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Emergency Response Fund, in support of a comprehensive U.S. response to outbreaks such as that in the DRC.

The ongoing threat that epidemics and pandemics pose to U.S. health, economic, and national security interests demands dedicated and sustained funding for global health security, with a concerted focus on enabling low- and middle-income countries to strengthen their capabilities in proven public health interventions. Although it may be impossible to completely prevent the emergence and spread of infectious threats, the United States and the world can be much better prepared, coming together behind a comprehensive U.S. strategy for outbreaks, robust investments, and continued vigilance both at home and abroad.

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About the Global Health Security Roundtable

Managed by Global Health Council and chaired by Beth Cameron (Nuclear Threat Initiative), Carolyn Reynolds (PATH), and Annie Toro (U.S. Pharmacopeia)—the Global Health Security Roundtable is a diverse coalition of over 40 organizations that seek to provide effective tools for U.S. Congress and the current administration on the importance of investments in global health security.

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.

Media Contact

Liz Kohlway, Senior Manager, External Affairs & Operations
Global Health Council
ekohlway@globalhealth.org
(703) 717-5283

Global Health Council Rejects Proposed Cuts to Global Health Programs and U.S. Foreign Assistance

Washington, DC (February  12, 2018) — Today the Trump administration released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 that contains a 30 percent decrease in the foreign affairs budget, including global health programs, at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State. In addition, cuts were recommended for programs at the Department of Health and Human Services that support global health, global health research and development, and global health security. These proposed cuts undermine the impact of previous U.S. investments, as well as the leadership role the United States has in the world.

At a time when we are in sight of achieving an AIDS-free generation, ending preventable child and maternal deaths, and eradicating polio, Global Health Council is deeply concerned that drastic budget cuts would roll back these milestones, as well as slow efforts to strengthening global responses to disease outbreaks such as Zika and Ebola.

“For the second year in a row, the Trump administration has gutted foreign assistance and global health programs, which not only jeopardize the gains we have made in global health, but also our commitments to build stronger, more self-reliant communities around the world,” stated Loyce Pace, President and Executive Director of Global Health Council. “The President’s budget document acknowledges the importance of these programs and the process of transitioning countries from aid to self-reliance, but cuts the very programs that will help to get them there.”

Last year, Congress soundly rejected President Trump’s budget for FY2018. Global Health Council calls on Congress to do the same this year by continuing to support global health and development programs in International Affairs account. Funding these critical accounts that support health, WASH, education, nutrition, and gender programs, as well as humanitarian responses, ultimately strengthens U.S. leadership around the world and fosters a safer, more prosperous America.

Appropriations Budget Table (as of February 2018)

Key accounts (in thousands):

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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. Global Health Council published “Global Health Works: Maximizing U.S. Investments for Healthier and Stronger Communities,” comprehensive consensus recommendations and impact stories available at www.ghbb.globalhealth.org.

Follow GHC on Twitter or “Like” us on Facebook for more information about our #IHeartGlobalHealth campaign.

View the PDF statement.

Media Contacts

Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager  
Global Health Council
dheiberg@globalhealth.org
(703) 717-5286

Global Health Council Statement on the Release of the Six-Month Review of Mexico City Policy

Washington, DC (February 8, 2018) —  Today Global Health Council responds to the Department of State’s recently released 6-month review of the expansion of the Mexico City Policy (renamed to the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance). The State Department proposed the review to gauge the policy’s impact on U.S. global health programs. Specifically, this review focuses on implementation challenges since the reinstatement of the policy.

“While Global Health Council recognizes the Department of State conducted a review six months after the reinstatement of the policy, we believe that this initial analysis does not offer a complete picture,” stated Loyce Pace, Global Health Council President and Executive Director. “This review is only the first step to understanding the full impact of the expansion. Given the expanded policy has far-reaching effects across a number of programs and beneficiaries, we urge the State Department to prioritize and ensure the full participation of civil society and other stakeholders in the review to be completed in 2018.”

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.

Last year, Global Health Council released a statement of principles endorsed by over 100 civil society organizations, which provided recommendations for a review that is meaningful and comprehensive, and proposed an annual review to understand how the policy affects U.S. programs and their outcomes long-term.

Global Health Council is concerned that the first review does not fully embrace the recommendations put forth in this statement. Of particular concern is that the policy does not affect programs until a foreign NGO receives new funding, therefore the current review, which covered the period May through September 2017, cannot provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact. Full implementation of the policy could come as late as September 30, 2018. As a result, while initial challenges to implementation were documented, the significant impacts of the policy will not be evident until much later.

Moreover, while the State Department did solicit feedback from civil society organizations, the comment period was less than two weeks and minimal guidance was offered to ensure comprehensive comments were provided.

“Global Health Council remains committed to ensuring that transparent and thorough reviews are conducted each year,” said Pace. “U.S. investments in global health have helped millions of people around the world, and it is critical that we understand the impact of this policy and how we can mitigate harm.”

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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

Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager
Global Health Council
dheiberg@globalhealth.org
(703) 717-5286

 

 

142nd WHO Executive Board (EB) Session Updates

Global Health Council (GHC) is hosting a delegation to the 142nd Session of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Executive Board (EB) Session. The WHO EB Session is currently in progress in Geneva, Switzerland and will conclude on January 27The following updates were provided by Danielle Heiberg, Senior Advocacy Manager, Global Health Council.

142nd WHO EB Meeting in session. Photo credit: Danielle Heiberg

MORE INFORMATION ON THE WHO EB SESSION

VIEW JOINT EB STATEMENTS FROM GHC & MEMBERS

Reflections on WHO’s Thirteenth Global Programme of Work (GPW13) – Women in Global Health

Make sure to follow @GlobalHealthOrg on Twitter to stay informed of live updates from our delegates and partners attending the Session.

Day 3: Midway Through

The EB covered several topics today: Public Health Preparedness and Response (NSA statements); Polio Transition; Health, environment and climate change; and Addressing the global shortage and access to medicines and vaccines.

Matt Robinson with GHTC provided a short write up on the last issue:

The afternoon session on access to medicines produced far less controversy than expected. Though the topic remains contentious overall, the late introduction of a resolution asking WHO to spend the next year developing a “roadmap” for its work on access to medicines appeared to defuse any simmering tension by providing the opportunity for more dialogue behind closed doors. The session reached such consensus that New Zealand actually proposed closing debate without hearing statements from non-EB members, unless there were any objections. As a result of the resolution, expect this debate to continue over the coming year.

GHC members presented statements on preparedness and responsepolio transition and access to medicines.

The GHC delegation met with members of the U.S. delegation at the WHO EB Session.

In addition, GHC’s delegation met with Garrett Grigsby and Jenifer Healy from the Office of Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Tomorrow, (Thursday, January 25), the debate will begin with the Global strategy and action plan on public health, innovation, and intellectual property, followed by the agenda items on the high-level meetings on NCDs and TB. The EB will be in session during the day, as well as the evening in order to get through a number of agenda items.

 

 



Day 2: Public Health Preparedness and Response

Today the Executive wrapped up agenda item 3.1 on the draft Global Programme of Work. GHC read a statement that included a few areas of concern specifically on health workforce, WASH and polio transition.

The EB also considered WHO reform, as well as agenda item 3.3. on Public Health Preparedness and Response. The session ended later so that all Member States could provide their interventions. Tomorrow morning (Wednesday, January 24) the session will open with statements from NSAs. PATH will read a statement on behalf of GHC, AAP, PATH, GHTC, and IDSA.

Philippe Guinot, PATH, reads the EB statement on Agenda 3.3 Public Health Preparedness and Response on behalf of GHC, AAP, PATH, GHTC, and IDSA.

The U.S. government, led by Garrett Grigsby from the Office of Global Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, delivered a statement on preparedness and response that touched on several ideas (special thanks to Annie Toro for the summary):

1) Highlighted the importance for the Joint External Evaluations (JEEs) to drive preparedness and HSS
2) Enforced standard operating procedures to ensure consistency across regions
3) For health emergencies, a dashboard should be shared with member states
4) R&D – work with all partners in emergency contexts
5) Full IHR implementation is key and an obligation of WHO
6) Consider the important role of sectors outside of health for security purposes
7) Consider issues regarding biosafety as well as national and financial issues for biosecurity

To find out what is next on the agenda, follow the daily journals (published every morning, Geneva time) here: http://apps.who.int/gb/e/e_eb142.html.

 



Day 1: Tedros’ Dialogue with Member States

The WHO Executive Board (EB) session kicked off with a dialogue between Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Member States. Dr. Tedros’ speech focused on three key elements: Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Global Health Security (GHS), and what the WHO of the future looks like.

A few highlights:

1) Dr. Tedros will send letters to the heads of all Member States challenging them to commitment to three concrete steps to achieve universal health coverage. He will ask Member States to make their commitments at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) in May.
2) Since the start of his tenure, Dr. Tedros has been working to strengthen foundations of organization; developing a plan to transform that includes a “rethink” of resource mobilization for the agency; and building strong leadership including achieving gender parity in top ranks and geographical diversity.
3) Dr. Tedros put out a call to Member States to commit in-kind supply donations and personnel to a “Global Health Reserve Army” that could be ready to respond to an outbreak within 72 hours.
4) In regards to funding for WHO, Dr. Tedros spoke several times about the need for “unearmarked” funds to allow the agency greater flexibility in addressing priorities.

Dr. Tedros’ comments should be available here.

Before adjourning for the day, the EB began member statements on agenda item 3.1 the Global Program of Work. On the second day, the remaining 15 Member States will give their statements followed by non-state actors.

We expect several statements to be read by our delegation today on the Global Program of Work, Public Health Preparedness and Response, and possibly, Polio Transition Planning.

 

 

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