Advocacy Updates ~ July 26, 2021
House passes Securing America from Epidemics Act
On July 22, the House passed H.R. 2118, the Securing America from Epidemics (SAFE) Act, under suspension of the rules. This legislation authorizes U.S. participation in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), which is dedicated to vaccinations against future pandemics and is one of the co-leaders of the COVAX initiative. This bill also passed the House in the 116th Congress, but stalled in the Senate.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee to markup global health security legislation
On Wednesday, July 28, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is set to markup S. 2297, the International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act (IPPCRA). IPPCRA was introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), SFRC and Sen. James Risch (R-ID), SFRC Ranking Member, to accelerate and enhance the U.S. international response to pandemics and to effectively operationalize lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. GHC’s Global Health Security Roundtable is tracking this legislation closely as well as its companion bill that passed in the House. If you are a GHC member interested in engaging more on our global health security work, please email email@example.com.
Bipartisan Congressional Global Health Caucus established in 117th Congress
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) have announced the formation of the bipartisan Global Health Caucus for the 117th Congress. Rep. McCollum previously served on the original caucus since 2005. Additional noteworthy caucus members include House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), as well as House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
WHO updates global technical malaria strategy
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) released an updated version of its Global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030. The strategy was originally adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2015 and serves as a framework to guide countries’ progress toward malaria elimination, setting a global target to reduce malaria incidence and mortality by at least 90% by 2030. This updated version was adopted at the World Health Assembly this year through resolution WHA74.9 and reflects lessons learned from the global malaria response over the last five years.
UNAIDS releases 2021 update report and joint report on pediatric AIDS
The UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2021, launched on July 14, highlighted the broadening inequality for individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent studies have shown that people living with HIV experience increased morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 infection and experience unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines and HIV services. Many challenges predating the pandemic have been amplified as well, including access to HIV therapy and basic medical care for marginalized and high-risk populations. On July 21, UNAIDS and its partners released the final report from Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free, a five-year framework that began in 2015 to reduce HIV infections among children and to keep mothers alive. The report reveals that progress toward ending pediatric AIDS has stalled and that none of the 2020 targets were met.
Sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 major themes of UN sustainable development forum
The High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, held from July 6-15, took place as a follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During his opening remarks, Secretary-General António Guterres called for decisive action on four key areas, including ensuring that everyone, everywhere has access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments, and support. In adopting the Ministerial Declaration, the forum committed to advancing pandemic recovery and progress toward the SDGs. Notable commitments include calling on Member States to rapidly scale up and enhance global vaccine production. In USAID Administrator Samantha Power’s remarks at the convening, she noted the U.S.’ strong support for the 2030 agenda and its implementation and voiced concern that COVID-19, the rise of authoritarianism fueled by corruption, and climate change could hinder the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.