Advocacy Update: Top Things to Know This Week

July 24, 2023

House and Senate approve FY24 SFOPS appropriations bill

House and Senate appropriators have taken vastly different approaches to funding the fiscal year (FY) 2024 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPS) bill this year. The House budget proposed a $3.6 billion for global health programming at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is a $542 million decrease from FY23 enacted levels.The House bill also prohibits funding to the UN Population Fund and reinstates the Mexico City Policy, prohibits funding to the World Health Organization, and puts other multilateral funding at risk by eliminating the International Organizations and Programs Account entirely. Global Health Council, together with 75 additional organizations, released a statement noting that the FY24 budget being proposed by the House Appropriations SFOPS Subcommittee falls woefully short of the resources needed to address the world’s converging crises and severely undercuts critical global health and humanitarian assistance programs. Our full statement can be viewed here. The House Appropriations Committee passed the bill on a party line vote.

Separately, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved their FY24 SFOPS appropriations bill, which provides $61.608 billion in topline discretionary funding. In particular, the bill provides $10.3 billion to bolster global health and prevent future pandemics, including $4.2 billion for USAID and $6 billion for the State Department, a decrease of $239 million below the FY23 enacted level. The decrease is due to reduced funding in the bill for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria given a statutory 30% cap on U.S. contributions to the Global Fund. Appropriations for maternal and child health, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, family planning and reproductive health, and the Health Reserve Fund increased compared to FY23 enacted levels, while all other global health areas remained flat. The FY24 Senate SFOPS appropriations bill reduces funding by one percent from FY23 levels and comes in 10% below the President’s Budget Request partially due to constraints put in place by the debt limit agreement.

The House and Senate will now need to reconcile the differences in their respective bills and come to a final agreement before the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Given how far apart the two chambers are on appropriations writ large, a Continuing Resolution is likely to give appropriators more time to come to an agreement.

INB holds sixth meeting and continues negotiations on a pandemic accord

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument On pandemic prevention, preparedness and response met for its sixth meeting from July 17-21. The purpose of the meeting was to continue consideration and negotiations for the Bureau’s text of the WHO CA+ and discuss the progress from the informal intersessional meetings of the Drafting Group in relation to Articles 9 (Research and Development), 12 (Access and Benefit Sharing), and 13 (Supply chain and logistics) of the Bureau’s text. During the opening session, many Member States were concerned that the Bureau’s text of the WHO CA+ did not reflect their inputs. Drafting group discussions took place behind closed doors with the opening and closing plenaries broadcast to the public. 

Additionally, the fourth meeting of the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (WGIHR) will take place July 24-28 to discuss amendments to specific articles. More information can be found here. The INB and the WGIHR also held two joint sessions to share how their respective work aligns with one another.

CDC Director approves CDC and NCEZID reorganization 

On June 28, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the reorganization of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID). The CDC modified its structure and the NCEZID was reorganized to improve collaboration between science and public health programs within NCEZID, as well as with our partners across and outside the agency, to increase public health impact, particularly in infectious disease response readiness and health equity.

Pandemic Fund allocates first grants to help countries be better prepared for future pandemics

On July 20, the Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board approved grants under its first round of funding allocations aimed to boost the resilience to future pandemics in 37 countries across six regions. The selected projects will receive funding to strengthen disease surveillance and early warning, laboratory systems, and health workforce.

CDC reform efforts found at CDC Moving Forward page

Updates on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Moving Forward initiative, which represents CDC’s efforts to transform how the agency operates by refining and modernizing its structures, systems, and processes to address longstanding challenges and strengthen its ability to deliver on its core mission, can be found here. The agency also launched Clean Slate to overhaul the website; the relaunch is expected to occur in early 2024.

GAO releases report on USAID’s Bureau for Global Health

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report USAID: Management Improvements Needed to Better Meet Global Health Mission notes the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Bureau for Global Health has not: documented lessons learned from addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, assessed its performance bureau-wide, addressed negative behaviors, such as bullying, that affect its culture, nor aligned staffing with its mission and priorities. The report also mentions that addressing such issues would help the Bureau respond to future global health crises and carry out its mission.

Africa CDC, WHO and RKI launch a health security partnership to strengthen disease surveillance in Africa

On July 18, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the WHO, and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced the launch of a Health Security Partnership aimed at strengthening disease surveillance and epidemic intelligence in Africa. The first phase will be implemented in six African Union Member States including The Gambia, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Tunisia, and South Africa, and will later be expanded to additional countries.

New report from UNAIDS shows AIDS can be ended by 2030, outlines path to get there

On July 13, UNAIDS released a report The Path that Ends AIDS that contains data and case studies that highlight that ending AIDS is a political and financial choice and that the countries and leaders who are already following the path are achieving exceptional results. The report also highlights that HIV responses succeed when they are anchored in strong political leadership, which includes following the data, science, and evidence; tackling the inequalities holding back progress; enabling communities and civil society organizations; and ensuring sufficient and sustainable funding.