GHC Announcements

President’s Update to Member CEOs

Last month marked yet another annual World Health Assembly (WHA), a convening of government representatives, civil society advocates, and other stakeholders around the global health agenda. As always, Global Health Council was there in full force, hosting nearly 100 delegates from 18 countries for critical meetings and engaging side events with policymakers. A number of our members were featured in panel conversations and media coverage, including patient and provider, champions from the field. All told, it was a solid showing for our community.

I was struck by how many new faces and organizations were joining WHA for the first time and think it signals a couple of things. First, that people across the global health community realize an increasing value of participating in various global dialogues, including WHA, with health ministers, international partners, and fellow advocates. But I think it also demonstrates support for a new vision and leadership at WHO, one that invites and embraces meaningful collaboration across sectors in pursuit of a bold global health agenda and “triple billion” targets. It’s encouraging to see more global health actors actively seeking out these opportunities and that being well-received by multilateral entities and policymakers, especially at a time when ongoing government commitments and resources are being called into question.

We have a chance to replicate this type of energy at upcoming high-level meetings on non-communicable diseases and TB in New York this fall as well as other forums such as G7 or G20 summits and additional multilateral events next year. More than background observers and bystanders in the galleries of these important meetings, advocates are increasingly becoming key players in critical policy discussions focused on the future of global health. It is ever-more important that we consider not only how the public sector or donors will address global health challenges, but what we all should be doing collectively – NGOs, donors, corporations, and policymakers – to reach our end goal. This isn’t a new idea but its execution is, as evidenced by the taskforce charged with assessing WHO’s engagement with civil society across its work. In reality, this is a welcome shift that’s been a long time coming and still has some ways to go before “outsiders” are fully-integrated into meetings across global health priorities. However, we can celebrate advocates having an elevated voice and role.

And we, as advocates, have a job to keep showing up to these forums in meaningful, visible ways to promote or protect such platforms. Let’s not only see ourselves as external actors defending a cause but also embrace our role as internal influencers driving an agenda. Let’s also keep passing the mic to other champions who don’t often have a seat at the table: those affected by or working on the frontlines of issues we’re trying to address through our work. Ultimately, we want the presence and voice of advocates like us to be the norm across global policy forums and enhance the conversations and commitments made to advance lifesaving initiatives around the world.

 

 

 

 

Loyce Pace, President and Executive Director, Global Health Council

 

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

Advocacy Update ~ May 21, 2018

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

The following advocacy update was written May 21. A few additional highlights:

1.) The rescission package has stalled in the House. There do not seem to be enough votes to pass the legislation in its current form. The administration reportedly is considering changes to the proposal, including changing or removing the proposed rescission of Ebola funding. A vote is not expected in the House until sometime in June.

2.) This week the House and the Senate released 302(b) allocations, or topline spending levels for the FY2019 appropriations bills. For the State-Foreign Operation bills, the House provided $54 billion ($46 billion in base funding and $8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)) and the Senate provided $54.4 billion ($46.4 billion in base and $8 billion in OCO). Compared to the FY2018 enacted level, the Senate provides an additional $400 million in funding, while the House provides level funding. For Labor-Health, Human Services, the House provided $177.1 billion, which is level funding compared to FY2018 enacted, and the Senate provided $179.288 billion.

3.) Due to the World Health Assembly, we are unable to provide a summary of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s hearings. A summary will be included in the next advocacy update.

Rescissions

On May 8, President Trump sent a “special message” to Capitol Hill with his recommendations for rescissions, or cuts to already appropriated funding. Included in the rescission package is a $252 million cut to remaining unobligated Ebola response funding from the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account at USAID. The announcement of the rescissions came a day after the WHO declared a new outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although it is not expected to have an effect on any U.S. response.

House leadership is bypassing the Appropriations Committee and will bring the bill, H.R. 3, directly to the floor for a vote. However, it’s not clear if they have the 218 votes needed for passage. It’s also unclear when it would come up for a vote; it was expected to be on the floor this week, but the failure to pass the farm bill on Friday might have thrown the House schedule into turmoil. Congress is in recess next week for the Memorial Day holiday, so it might not be until early June. While this process plays out, the proposed funds for rescission are impounded, meaning agencies are unable to spend the funds. The Senate is not expected to act on rescissions until the House passes its bill (if the House does not pass the bill, it’s unlikely the Senate will do anything).

Many members of Congress have stated that they are opposed to rescissions, but there could be a little more support for rescissions targeting appropriated funding prior to FY2018. The White House is expected to send another special message to Congress with proposed rescissions for FY2018 accounts at later date.

GHC’s Global Health Security Roundtable and the Global Health Security Agenda Consortium sent a letter to Congressional leaders opposing the proposed Ebola rescissions. Read the letter to Senate Leadership (and the identical letter sent to House Leadership).

Rescission FAQ

Fiscal Year 2019 Updates

Congress is in full swing with the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriation process. Since USAID Administrator Mark Green testified in April, Congress has held a hearing with Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, who testified on the FY2019 budget for HHS. This week, Congress will hold hearings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who will testify on the FY2019 State Department budget. Congress is preparing for markups for appropriation bills which are expected to begin in June.

Appropriations Mark Ups

The Appropriations committees are determined to get the budget process back on track. Senate Chair, Richard Shelby (R-AL), and House Chair, Hal Rogers (R-KY), would like the appropriations process to return to normal, with the 12 appropriations bills brought to the floor and voted on, and there are rumors that the Senate may cancel or shorten their August recess to finish up. The Senate Appropriations Committee announced that the committee will mark up the State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) bill the week of June 18 and the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) bill the week of June 25. Despite the motivation to stay on track, there are some who believe that Congress will still need to pass a Continuing Resolution for FY2018 through the midterm elections. Since President Trump has signaled his unwillingness to sign another omnibus during his term, the bills may need to pass as standalone legislation, or as several “minibuses” (several appropriations bills grouped together).

HHS Secretary Azar Testifies on FY 2019 Budget Request

In early May, Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), testified in front of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations subcommittee on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget Request for HHS. The two-hour hearing mainly focused on U.S. domestic health priorities. In Secretary Azar’s opening statement, he highlighted global health security and stated that “one of the most effective ways to protect Americans from the threat of infectious diseases is to enable other countries to follow through on their own commitments to contain and respond to disease threats.” During the hearing, Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) advocated for continued funding for the CDC’s Center for Global Health, stating that, “the funding is necessary, as seen with the Ebola outbreak, which had huge consequences on Americans.”

Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to Testify on Fiscal Year 2019 State Department Budget

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, May 23, at 9:00 am and before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, May 24, at 10:00 am. This is Secretary Pompeo’s first appearance in front of the committees since he was sworn in.

Senate Webcast link: https://tinyurl.com/sfrchearing

House Webcast link: https://tinyurl.com/hfachearing

Ziemer Departs National Security Council

Also in early May, Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer was let go from his position as the head of global health security on the White House’s National Security Council (NSC). His departure came a day after the WHO declared an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to Ziemer’s departure, the global health office in the NSC was folded and staff shuffled into other offices. Although U.S. officials have stated that the United States remains committed to the Global Health Security Agenda, the timing of Ziemer’s departure, along with the proposed rescissions to Ebola funding and the new outbreak, has many worried. In a Huffington Post article, GHC Executive Director Loyce Pace stated, “We really need a strong leader in place from the U.S. who will help coordinate an interagency response and can really provide that kind of assurance and contribute to the progress made in global health security.”

In addition, Congressmen Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Ami Bera (D-CA) sent a letter to the White House expressing concern that the administration is retreating from is commitment to global health security. Read the letter.

 

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