Advocacy Updates ~ October 13, 2020

October 13, 2020

Administration News

USG released Strengthening Health Security Across the Globe report

On September 30, the United States government (USG) released its whole-of-government report demonstrating the determination of the U.S. to continue to advance health security at home and abroad. This annual report highlights the USG’s contributions to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and to partnerships under the GHSA that have improved capabilities in partner countries to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats and outbreaks. The report can be found here. The US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s press release about the report can be found here.

Anniversary of USAID Global Accelerator to End TB

Two years ago, USAID announced the launch of the Global Accelerator to End Tuberculosis (TB) at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). USAID committed to the goal of diagnosing and enrolling an additional 40 million people in TB treatment by 2022. USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa’s statement can be found here.

USAID Releases Self Reliance Country Roadmaps for FY21 

USAID released the third iteration of its Journey to Self-Reliance Country Roadmaps and published additional resources on its public portal for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The Roadmaps serve as USAID’s flagship analytical tool for assessing self-reliance in a given country, based on 17 publicly available metrics that capture the concepts of commitment and capacity. The full press release can be found here.

Congressional News

COVID-19 Relief Negotiations 

On October 1, the House of Representatives passed the revised HEROES Act. This version of the bill includes nearly $10 billion for global health, including: $3.5 billion for Gavi for global vaccine production and distribution in lower-income countries; $3.5 billion for the Global Fund to support low-to middle-income countries to bolster health systems and response to the outbreak; $1 billion for PEPFAR, and $227 million to support health systems overseas in their fight against COVID-19, including $150 million for the Emergency Reserve Fund. The revised text can be found here. A one-page summary of the bill can be found here. A section-by-section summary can be found here

Congressional negotiations with Secretary Mnuchin continued, to a degree, throughout last week with conflicting messages from President Trump about the administration’s appetite for an emergency supplemental to be passed before the election, and what it may include. Given the short timeline and the differences that remain regarding the topline amount of funding and the details of what would be included, the path to a deal before the election continues to be quite uncertain. 

FY21 Continuing Resolution passes

As FY21 neared a close, President Trump signed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government at FY20 levels until December 11. The House passed the legislation on September 22, and the Senate followed with passage on September 30. A section by section summary of the bill can be found here.

International News

WHO Executive Board Special Session

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s Executive Board held a Special Session from October 5-6. Agenda items included updates on implementation of the landmark World Health Assembly resolution on the COVID-19 response and from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. Global Health Council submitted an official statement, available here. GHC also remains in communication with WHO staff about the importance of civil society engagement during these virtual governance meetings and the need for more interaction between civil society and WHO representatives and Member States. If you have specific questions, please contact advocacy@globalhealth.orgThe United States Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Brett Giror delivered virtual remarks at the meeting. His statement can be found here.

ACT Accelerator event at UNGA spurs new investment

As part of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), a high-level side event focused on the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator spurred investments from the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Sweden, among others in support of the vaccine pillar (COVAX). These commitments will reduce the funding gap by $613 million.

Major pharmaceutical companies commit to vaccine access

Also during UNGA, a coalition of 16 pharmaceutical companies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed an agreement to cooperate on vaccine manufacturing and to scale up production to ensure approved vaccines are broadly accessible and distributed as early as possible. Additional information can also be found here.

UN launches Policy Brief on COVID-19 & UHC

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launched his latest policy brief “COVID-19 and Universal Health Coverage” where he calls on everyone to draw hard lessons from the pandemic, especially that under-investment in health can have a devastating effect on societies and economies.

World Bank proposes $12 billion to finance COVID-19 vaccines

At a side event at the UNGA, World Bank President David Malpass said the group is interested in fast-tracking the financing of COVID-19 vaccines and announced a $12 billion plan to help lower-income countries buy vaccines once regulatory agencies approve them.

C20 Summit and Annual Communiqué

The C20 hosted its summit virtually from October 6–10. It’s annual communiqué broadly calls for the adoption of just policies for an inclusive recovery, including upholding transparency and accountability in the COVID-19 response, as well as global solidarity for multilateralism. It includes specific calls for support of the ACT Accelerator and a commitment that any COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough is treated as a global public good.