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Gutting Global Health Programs Serves No One

Washington, DC (May 23, 2017) — Today the Trump administration released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 that contains a 26 percent decrease in global health funding at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State, as well as the elimination of development assistance. 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. Of note, is the zeroing out of USAID’s family planning programs and critical partnerships through Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These cuts will have a significant impact on current global health programs, and will have a devastating effect on the world’s poor as well as ripple effects for Americans.

Global Health Council is deeply concerned that these drastic budget cuts would impede efforts to fight diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and polio; improving maternal and child health; and strengthening global responses to disease outbreaks such as Zika and Ebola.

These cuts, coupled with the Trump’s administration proposal to reorganize and possibly eliminate federal agencies and programs, signal a shift away from the leadership role the United States has played in development. Gutting global health and development programs and drastically reducing the workforce will not balance the budget and will end up putting Americans at risk for the consequences of U.S. disengagement.

“What we’re dealing with is a public relations campaign, not sound policy. Declaring war on global health and development serves no one. It doesn’t balance the budget or generate jobs or benefit Americans in any meaningful way. These cuts the administration has proposed for agencies and programs only roll back progress we’ve made on making Americans safer from epidemics and instability or more prosperous from innovation and strong economies. We can either invest in what works today or pay many times over for the consequences tomorrow,” stated Loyce Pace, MPH, President and Executive Director of Global Health Council.

Foreign assistance, including global health, accounts for just 1% of the overall federal budget, but this low cost of life-saving programs yields a significant return on U.S. investments. What’s more: U.S. investments in global health work. With support from the United States, we are within sight of an AIDS-free generation; ending preventable child and maternal deaths; and eradicating polio, measles, and guinea worm. These investments in global health contribute to broader foreign policy goals, including stabilizing volatile areas, supporting overseas disaster response, and accelerating trade and development.

Global Health Council calls on Congress to continue to support global health programs, by supporting at a minimum, funding at the FY17 levels for FY2018, but for the greatest impact at least $10.5 billion, and $60 billion overall for the Foreign 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.

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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.

Media Contacts

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

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GHC NEWS FLASH: GLOBAL HEALTH ROUNDUP 5/15/2017

Global Health and the Future Role of the United States Report Released
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics is releasing a report today on Global Health and the Future Role of the United States. In the report, the project committee makes the case for global health in light of current and emerging world threats. The report assesses the changing landscape of global health and outlines priorities for the U.S. government and key mechanisms by which global health engagement can be strengthened. A report launch event in Washington, DC, will be held on May 15, 2017, at which committee members will discuss the recommendations.


PATH Celebrates 40 Years of Innovation
On May 12, 1977, three family planning researchers – Gordon Duncan, Rich Mahoney, and Gordon Perkin — formed a small nonprofit organization with a mission of availing effective forms of modern contraception to couples around the world. The organization came to be known as PATH, and after succeeding at its early goals in contraceptive technology, it expanded its focus to include an array of health technologies. Today, PATH reaches an average of 150 million people in over 70 countries a year with life-saving innovations. The organization has garnered a reputation for excellence and collaboration, for partnering with the private sector, and for smart, effective solutions to global health problems. Congratulations PATH on this incredible milestone; GHC is proud to have you as a member. Read more.


A Call for Accountability to End Attacks on Health Facilities
The Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition (SHCC) released a new report which documents the alarming incidence of deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on health workers, patients, and health facilities during periods of armed conflict and civil unrest across the world. The report, Impunity Must End, is based on information received from UN agencies, independent non-government organization researchers, and local and international media in 23 countries that faced political turmoil and violence in 2016. SHCC is a coalition of more than 30 non-government organizations working to protect health workers and services threatened by civil war and unrest. Their latest report calls on the United Nations Security Council and countries to take concrete steps towards preventing attacks and ending impunity, as recommended last year by the UN Secretary General. Read the full report.


Integrating Health and Development to Save More Mothers
Johnson & Johnson, FHI 360, and UNICEF are working on a project to encourage the development of cross-sector partnerships delivering integrated solutions to end maternal and newborn deaths. The project, an online data tool, focuses on bridging critical data gaps in 16 countries where 70% of global newborn deaths are concentrated. Once completed, the Newborn Survival Map will provide a platform to expose cross-sector opportunities for closer collaboration among partners currently in close geographic proximity. In addition, the map will reveal critical gaps in cross-sector services that could prevent the deaths of many more pregnant women and newborns. To join this effort and get your project on the map, please create a new profile online.

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A Silent Majority: Civil Society & the Election of a New World Health Organization Director-General

This post was written by Loyce Pace, MPH, President and Executive Director of Global Health Council.

Final three candidates for WHO Director-General. Photos from WHO: http://www.who.int/dg/election/candidate-announcements/en/

Next week, Global Health Council (GHC) is bringing a delegation of nearly 70 of its members to attend the Seventieth World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. As always, the agenda is packed with issues and events ranging from emergency preparedness to polio eradication. But this year’s meeting is especially exciting because country representatives (i.e. member states) will also vote for the next leader of the World Health Organization (WHO). Many of us have been tracking that process and are awaiting this individual’s final appointment.

Over the past several weeks GHC hosted all three candidates for WHO Director-General as an opportunity for members of civil society to engage in the dialogue. Although we don’t have a formal vote, implementing organizations, research institutions, philanthropists, corporations, and the like have an important role to play in advancing WHO’s objectives worldwide. We believe the candidates agree and saw it as positive that they each took the time to meet with our members.

Below are some key takeaways from those candidate discussions. GHC will co-host a live-streamed event from Geneva focused on civil society recommendations for the next WHO Director-General during WHA week. As a panelist, I plan on echoing what we’ve gathered from our meetings thus far and inviting our community to sign on to a set of core principles to which we could hold new leadership accountable for in his or her term.

Relationships

Ultimately, WHO exists for and is accountable to its member states. However, partnerships are critical to its success. This includes dialogues and initiatives outside the public sector that could be useful in informing WHO guidelines or strategies and supporting programs or other engagements. That said, many civil society representatives have faced challenges partnering with WHO. Whether limited by their capacity to navigate what can be a confusing bureaucracy or a constant need to reiterate their primary agenda and credibility, non-state actors – as civil society is referenced – and staff alike recognize a need to improve the process by which they work with each other. In recent years, WHO members have stepped in to develop new partnership protocols, although a number of barriers and unanswered questions remain. In the end, we need a clear engagement framework that allows for a range of stakeholders and collaboration across those groups in a way that meets the objective of all parties to drive global health and wellbeing, while also identifying conflict on all sides and protecting against undue influence.

Resources

A major concern for multiple stakeholders (both public and private) is the level of resources available for WHO to fulfill its mandate. The agency increasingly has less funding and fewer resources to carry out its core scope of work, with more funds being earmarked for discrete projects. Engaging with civil society has the potential to unlock additional resources for WHO. For example, major donors like Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become critical financial supporters over the years. Civil society organizations also play a key role in promoting the work of WHO to their governments so that member states understand the value of their contributions that support agency activities. And civil society has the capacity to help member states hold WHO accountable for the funds it receives. Other UN agencies have seen success with this model.

Reputation

How WHO is perceived is just as important as whether it succeeds. With the challenges faced by the agency in recent years, public confidence has waned significantly. While some perceptions might not be entirely warranted, the reality is many people at baseline don’t understand the core function of WHO and, secondly, cannot speak to the effectiveness of its policies and programs. The voice of civil society is absolutely essential to translating both the benefits and challenges of WHO. However, to do so, we must be seen and treated as valuable allies in the organization’s mission. Civil society also has the best access to the global citizens that WHO ultimately serves. So, WHO would do well to maintain strong connections to non-state actors that can advise them on how to be most relevant and beneficial to the global masses.

By harnessing the power of civil society and joining forces across sectors, WHO and its member states stand a better chance at having a measurable impact on communities and saving lives worldwide. We look forward to working with the new WHO Director-General to better engage us as trusted champions. The issues we face worldwide are too vast to be tackled by a single agency or sector. Only by being welcoming and inclusive will we all be successful.

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NTI BROADENS BIOSECURITY MISSION WITH NEW INITIATIVE

This guest post has been provided by GHC-member Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Infectious disease threats – whether naturally occurring, deliberate, or accidental – pose grave risks to human life, the global economy, and political stability. In our increasingly interconnected world, biological crises – from the 2001 anthrax attacks to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa – make plain the need for partnerships between the national security, global health, development, and private sectors. Innovative, synergistic partnerships can identify and fill gaps, enhance accountability, improve threat awareness among leaders, policymakers and private-sector experts, and spark novel approaches to address emerging and persistent threats.

In recognition of this need, Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) recently joined Global Health Council. Mindful that the risk of catastrophic biological events will continue to be magnified by global travel and trade, urbanization, terrorist interest in weapons of mass destruction, and rapid advances in technology that can both create and eliminate disease threats, NTI seeks to engage with the broader health community to jointly address risks posed by the intentional and accidental creation of disease agents, while also improving global capability to fight pandemics and shore up health systems around the world.

At a recent meeting, Dr. Elizabeth Cameron, NTI senior director for global biological policy and programs, discusses the development of a new Global Health Security Index.

The threat is urgent. Although progress has been made to improve global health security – including through the launch of the Global Health Security Agenda, the Alliance for Joint External Evaluations, and the Next Generation Global Health Security Network – most countries remain ill-prepared to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to biological threats. Weak health systems, poor biosecurity practices, and lack of robust disease detection and response mechanisms continue to threaten public health and economies. Despite intermittent focus and funding during periods of crisis, world leaders and policymakers have failed to establish the capacity and financing mechanisms necessary to address biological threats.

For nearly two decades, NTI has worked to address risks posed by bioterrorism, pandemics, and dual-use biotechnology. NTI helped create both regional and global organizations focused on disease surveillance, including initial support for Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance (CORDS), which recognizes the importance of cross-border communication and training, as well as the immediate impact of a biological crisis in one country on neighboring countries and continents. NTI is also a founding member of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Consortium, an international coalition of non-government stakeholders working with governments focused on accelerating progress in global health security.

More recently, NTI launched a new effort to spur more targeted commitments and sustained investments in health security. With generous new grants from the Open Philanthropy Project and the Robertson Foundation, NTI is partnering with the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Economist Intelligence Unit to develop a multi-factorial Global Health Security Index. The Index will be designed to assess national technical, financial and political capabilities to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to epidemic threats with international implications. The first phase will be advised by an international expert panel and will draw from internationally-accepted technical assessments, while incorporating other important factors, such as overall healthcare system strength, commitment to global norms, and the overall risk environment within the country.

For more information about NTI’s biosecurity work, visit the organization’s website.

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GHC NEWS FLASH: GLOBAL HEALTH ROUNDUP 5/01/2017

GHC Reflects on its Own First 100 Days
In global health, we know benchmarks matter. They’re the difference between whether a child reaches his or her 5th birthday or dies of a vaccine-preventable illness. They signal how a health system would respond to the next pandemic or humanitarian crisis. What gets measured gets done, and saves lives. That’s why GHC has been paying attention these first 100 days of 2017. We looked at what we’ve done to serve our members, and opportunities to make the greatest impact. Thank you to all of the global health advocates who have joined us so far. Read more.


GHC Hosts Discussion on U.S. Leadership and Engagement at WHA
On April 25, GHC convened various stakeholders for a critical dialogue on the U.S. government’s priorities at the Seventieth World Health Assembly (WHA70). The one-hour webinar, which attracted over 60 participants from the non-profit, academia, international development, and government sectors, was the second in a series of WHA Policy Scrums organized by GHC in preparation for WHA70. We were honored to have special guest speakers with strong government backgrounds and experience at WHA participate in our webinar and share their insights on the best way for civil society to engage at WHA70. You can view brief notes or watch the full webinar recording that provide a recap of this important conversation. Please join us for our final WHA Policy Scrum and New Delegate Webinar on May 9. Registration details.


A New Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program in Africa
The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) announced that Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi will participate in the WHO-coordinated pilot implementation of the RTS,S malaria vaccine. RTS,S was developed to protect young children from infection by Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest of the malaria parasites affecting humans. It is the first malaria vaccine candidate to be recommended for pilot implementation by WHO, and the first to receive a positive opinion from a stringent regulatory authority, the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The Malaria Vaccine Implementation Program (MVIP) is being coordinated and led by WHO in close collaboration with Ministries of Health in the participating countries and a range of in-country and international partners. Learn more.


Call for Nongovernmental Organizations to apply for Consultative Status with the United Nations
The United Nations invites nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to apply for consultative status with its Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) if they wish to be considered by the NGO Committee in 2018. NGOs that are accredited with ECOSOC can participate in a number of events including, but not limited to, regular sessions of ECOSOC, its functional commissions, and its other subsidiary bodies. Consultative relationships may be established with international, regional, sub-regional, and national non-governmental, non-profit public, or voluntary organizations. Those interested should submit their application and required documents by June 1. View the call for applications.


Global Resolve to End Neglected Tropical Diseases
The NTD Summit 2017, held between April 19 – 22, drew attention to the unprecedented progress and milestones that have been reached in efforts to control, eliminate, and eradicate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) over the last five years. For several decades, development of new drugs and vaccines to target the most debilitating NTDs, categorically described as diseases of poverty, stalled because there was simply no business incentive to do so. Since the signing of the London Declaration on NTDs in 2012, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, NGOs, and other partners have joined forces to bring treatment to millions of people afflicted by NTDs. NTDs kill, disable, disfigure, stigmatize, and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year in lost productivity. Progress in NTD eradication has been touted as a remarkable display of how U.S. foreign assistance works to eliminate obstacles to development. Read more.


Registration is Now Open for the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference
Women in Global Health (WGH) is a movement of dynamic professionals around the world, of all genders and backgrounds, working within many different areas of global health looking to achieve gender equality in global health leadership. WGH believes that diverse, gender-balanced leadership is key for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), improving health and well-being, and are working to give all genders an equitable voice in the global health arena. WGH is pleased to partner with Stanford University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health to present the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference this October 12. Registration is now open for this inaugural event. The conference builds on the global movement to press for gender equity in global health leadership by celebrating great works of emerging and established women in the field and cultivating the next generation of women leaders. More details.

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