Breaking News

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):

###

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

Advocacy Update ~ February 12, 2018

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

6 More Weeks of FY18 Appropriations Discussions

On Friday morning, President Trump signed into law a budget deal that includes a six-week stopgap spending bill, the fifth Continuing Resolution (CR) for this fiscal year (FY). This CR will keep the government open through March 23. This latest activity came about after extensive debates on lifting the spending caps and a push by House Democrats for a floor vote on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The budget deal and CR was temporarily threatened by Senator Rand Paul, who blocked a vote until after midnight on Thursday night, resulting in a brief government shutdown – the second one of the fiscal year.

The budget deal resolves the challenge Congress was facing on spending caps and sequestration. The legislation a $320 billion package that raises discretionary and non-defense discretionary spending over the next two years. Breaking this down, defense spending will rise by $80 billion and non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending will rise by $63 billion for FY18, with $21 billion in NDD targeted for domestic priorities. For FY19, defense spending will increase an additional $85 billion and NDD spending will go up an additional $68 billion.

While the increase in NDD spending allows leeway for appropriators to maintain level funding in the International Affairs account (150 account), final allocations, known as 302(b), for each spending bill, still need to be determined. With about one-third of the increase in NDD spending already targeted for specific programs, it doesn’t leave much left to be allocated to other accounts. Moreover, the budget deal includes a cut to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) in the 150 account, meaning that our best hope for level funding for this account is to increase base spending. The 302(b) levels are expected tonight or Tuesday morning. Then appropriators will spend the next six weeks finalizing FY2018 spending bills, most likely wrapping all spending bills into an omnibus bill.

View GHC Appropriations Chart.

President’s FY19 Budget

The President’s FY19 Budget is expected to be released today. It’s unclear if a full budget or a “skinny” budget, with just topline numbers, will be made available. Justifications for the recommendations are not expected until spring. Similar to last year, we expect to see around a one-third cut to the International Affairs budget. GHC will release an analysis of the budget when it is available.

State Department Releases 6-month Review of Mexico City Policy

Last week the State Department released a review of the first six months of the implementation of the expansion of the Mexico City Policy (renamed to the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance). With the review covering May-September 2016, and many awards, particularly within PEPFAR, not yet subjected to the policy, it wasn’t expected that anything more than a superficial analysis could be provided. The review cites that only four NGOs declined to comply with the policy, but over 500 prime recipients of U.S. funding have not yet had to determine compliance. The review primarily acknowledged the need for clarification on parts of the language dealing with financial support, training, and termination due to non-compliance.

The State Department committed to another review to be completed by December 15, 2018. GHC will continue to advocate with the State Department and other agencies for a thorough and transparent review in order to fully understand the impact of and how to mitigate harm from this expanded policy.

Read the Six Month Review.

Read GHC’s statement.

CDC Plans to Pull Back from 39 of 49 Country Posts

In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that CDC would downsize its programs in 39 of the 49 countries where CDC maintains an overseas presence to support global health security activities. The downsizing is in anticipation of the expiring five year Ebola supplemental package at the end of FY19. The remaining ten countries that the CDC plans to focus on are India, Thailand, Vietnam, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Guatemala. In response to this potential scale back, Global Health Council, the Global Health Security Consortium, Next Generation Global Health Security Network, and the Global Health Technologies Coalition sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and others in the administration, to share the concerns on the pending funding cliff and asked for an open dialogue with HHS to discuss how to move forward. Read the letter here. The letter was circulated on news platforms such as the Washington Post and CNN.

Dr. Anne Schuchat Assumes Acting Director Role at CDC

Dr. Anne Schuchat will serve as acting director of CDC following the resignation of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald at the end of January. Dr. Fitzgerald’s resignation came shortly after Politico published reports that exposed her investments in a tobacco company after she accepted the director’s position.

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.”

###

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.

 

 

142nd WHO Executive Board Session Begins in Geneva: GHC Delegation to Read Statements on Multiple Agenda Items

Broken Chair at the Place Des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

This year, Global Health Council (GHC) is hosting a delegation to the 142nd Session of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Executive Board (EB) Session. The EB Session is currently in progress in Geneva, Switzerland and will conclude on January 27.  The full agenda, associated documents, along with the live-webcast link can be accessed at GHC’s events calendar.

Discussion and debate of WHO’s Draft Thirteenth General Programme of Work (GPW) will emphasize three priorities: 1 billion more people with health coverage; 1 billion more people made safer from health emergencies, and 1 billion more people enjoying better health and well-being. WHO, under the leadership of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the organization, plans to reshape its operations, and place greater importance on accountability and impact. The organization intends to use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a foundation for its global health priorities.

As we speak, the following speakers from the GHC delegation are preparing to read their statements at the WHO EB Session. Each of the statements corresponds to specific agenda items featured in the Provisional Agenda (EB 142/1) and are submitted by GHC member organizations.

1) 3.1: Draft 13th General Programme of Work 2019-2023  – The joint statement from GHC supported by ACTION and Frontline Health Workers Coalition will be read by Danielle Heiberg, Global Health Council.

2) 3.3: Public Health Preparedness and Response – This joint statement from GHC supported by PATH, Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) will be read by Philippe Guinot, PATH.

3) 3.4 Polio Transition PlanningThis joint statement from GHC supported by PATH, ACTION, RESULTS UK, and AAP will be read by Philippe Guinot, PATH.

4) 3.6 Addressing the Global Shortage of, and Access to, Medicines and Vaccines – This joint statement from GHC supported by PATH, AAP, and NCD Child will be read by Mychelle Yvette Farmer, NCD Child.

5) 3.7 Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property – This joint statement from GHC, supported by IDSA, will be read by Rabita Aziz, IDSA.

6) 3.8 Preparation for the Third High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), to be held in 2018 – This joint statement from Global Health Council, supported by NCD Child, AAP, and IFPA, will be ready by Mychelle Yvette Farmer, NCD Child.

7) 3.9 Preparation for the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Ending Tuberculosis  – This joint statement from GHC, supported by IDSA, will be read by Rabita Aziz, IDSA.

8) 4.2 Physical Activity for Health – This joint statement by GHC supported by AAP and NCD Child will be read by  Mychelle Yvette Farmer, NCD Child.

9) 4.3 Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030): Early Childhood Development – This joint statement by GHC supported by AAP and NCD Child will be read by Mychelle Yvette Farmer, NCD Child.

10) 4.4 mHealth – This joint statement from GHC supported by Living Goods will be read by Annie Toro, United States Pharmacopeia.

11) 4.6.1 Comprehensive Implementation Plan on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition: Biennial Report – This joint statement from GHC supported by AAP and NCD Child will be read by Mychelle Yvette Farmer, NCD Child.

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