Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: July 2018

Dear colleague,

Welcome to the July 2018 newsletter from the Global Health Policy Center (GHPC) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)! We invite you to catch up on our latest content.

Upcoming CSIS Conference and Microsite Launch:

Realizing a Polio-Free World—Sustaining U.S. Support for Global Polio Eradication: On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, from 9:00am-12:30pm, GHPC will host an international conference to highlight the role the U.S. is playing in global polio eradication and how that role will evolve as eradication is achieved. National governments and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) are edging toward global polio eradication, focusing the bulk of attention and resources toward the few remaining areas where the wild virus continues to circulate. While ensuring eradication remains the top priority, the global health community is also preparing to sustain valuable immunization and disease response tools developed during the initiative.

Keynote presentations will be delivered by Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader (R-KY), and by Robert Redfield, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with speaker introductions from John Hamre, President and CEO of CSIS, and Mike McGovern, International PolioPlus Committee Chair of Rotary International. Video messages from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Christopher Elias, President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will also be presented at the conference. The first panel on U.S. Contributions to Achieving and Sustaining Eradication will feature USAID and CDC representatives. The second panel, featuring several polio experts, will focus on GPEI Approaches for Reaching Mobile, Refugee, and Migrant Populations. Learn more and register here.

This conference will also feature the launch of a new digital tool, Building Global Health Capacity Through Polio Eradicationwhich explores U.S. financial and technical support for the network of disease surveillance, laboratories, and vaccine-delivery systems that were developed by the GPEI. The site will highlight the formidable leadership and support CDC and USAID have offered toward eradication. It also will illustrate how polio assets are already aiding countries in preventing, detecting, and responding to disease outbreaks and what would be needed for them to be sustained into the future.

Save the Date:

Health Security in a Disordered World: On August 6, 2018The CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security will host a public event on U.S. leadership in meeting the burgeoning health needs of vulnerable populations living in the midst of conflict and disorder. The event is held in collaboration with the University of Washington Department of Global Health, PATH, the Washington Global Health Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Senator Patty Murray, senior Democratic senator from the state of Washington and a member of the CSIS Commission, will provide the opening keynote address, followed by an expert panel. The event will be held at the University of Washington in Seattle. More details to come shortly.


Health Security Downgraded at the White House: The decision to dismiss Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer and eliminate the global health security directorate within the White House National Security Council staff implicitly signals that the White House does not consider health security to be a true national security policy priority. It is no longer clear who at a senior level in the White House will be in charge of the U.S. response to dangerous outbreaks. The price of this vacancy to U.S. national interests will be significant if corrective action is not taken soon. In this commentary, I discuss the failures during the Obama administration’s response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic that motivated the creation of this post in 2016 and the risks now posed by the Trump administration’s decision to dissolve it.

Recent Events:

“Saving Mothers, Giving Life”—Lessons Learned from the 5-Year Partnership: On June 21, GHPC hosted a public event to highlight lessons learned from the 5-year Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) initiative—a public-private partnership to dramatically reduce maternal and newborn mortality, implemented in Zambia, Uganda, and Nigeria.

The event featured a presentation of the remarkable outcomes that SMGL implementers achieved, including reductions in maternal mortality of 44% in Uganda and 41% in Zambia in the districts targeted by the program. The presentation of outcomes was followed by three high-level panel discussions. In the first panel, health leaders from Uganda, Zambia, and Nigeria offered their perspectives of the program, highlighting how new domestic policies were shaped by the initiative and calling for continued support for the SMGL system-wide approach to ensure more mothers and newborns can be saved. The second panel featured the perspectives of the SMGL Leadership Council partners, including Merck for Mothers, Project C.U.R.E., the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Every Mother Counts. The third panel focused on the U.S. government takeaways from SMGL and the implications of these lessons for future global health partnerships, featuring Ambassador Deborah Birx of PEPFAR, USAID’s Alma Crumm Golden, and former Ambassador to Uganda Scott DeLisi (photo below). GHPC Deputy Director and Senior Fellow Sara Allinder offered opening remarks and moderated the second panel and Janet Fleischman, Senior Associate, moderated the first and third panels. If you were unable to join us, video of the event is available on-demand here.

From left to right: Janet Fleischman, CSIS; Alma Crumm Golden, USAID; Ambassador Scott DeLisi, former U.S. Ambassador to Uganda; and Ambassador Deborah Birx, PEPFAR

Take as Directed Podcast:

European Leadership in Humanitarian Aid and Emergency Health Response: Christos Stylianides serves as the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and is the European Union Ebola Coordinator. Christos joins us for this episode to discuss how the current Ebola response has differed from the response in 2014 and the leading role that Europe is playing. He also discusses his current work to expand resources for education services for children and adolescents living through crises and emergency situations.

The Global Threat of Yellow Fever: In 2016, the World Health Organization announced that a single full dose of yellow fever vaccine would provide lifelong protection from the virus. However, due to global shortages and complicated production requirements, there has not been sufficient supply to meet the demands of recent outbreaks. As a result, fractional doses, or about one-fifth of a full dose, were used as a stopgap measure in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016 and now the same is happening in Brazil in 2018. These diluted doses are known to offer only one year of protection against the virus. In this episode of Take as DirectedDaniel Lucey, a senior scholar with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, joins us to discuss the threat of yellow fever, our lack of
preparedness, and the potential for a significant outbreak in Asia.
The Role of the IFRC in Humanitarian Response and Preparedness: In this episode, Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), joins us to discuss the different roles that IFRC plays across the vast array of populations they serve, their current work on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the lessons they learned from the previous outbreak. Mr. Sy has also been named co-chair of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, and he describes the current state of the planning for this new independent monitoring body launched by WHO and the World Bank on May 24 at the 71st World Health Assembly.

The podcast series is available here and on iTunes. Please subscribe using the podcast app. 


Uganda: Senior Fellow Nellie Bristol and Program Coordinator and Research Assistant Isra Hussain attended a week-long training for polio epidemiologists in Kampala, Uganda, in early June. During the training for the Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) program, CDC, WHO, and UNICEF staff gave presentations and facilitated case studies. Trainings occur twice a year and teach polio and other vaccine-preventable disease surveillance and immunization skills to selected international professionals who are then deployed to countries seeking additional polio program support. STOP is one of the topics GHPC will explore in “Building Public Health Capacity through Polio Eradication,” a multimedia product CSIS will launch on July 10 at its international conference on polio eradication. Nellie and Isra also met with CDC and Clinton Health Access Initiative staff in Kampala to discuss Uganda’s efforts to introduce new vaccines.


New Hire:

Samantha Stroman joined us in June as a Program Coordinator and Research Assistant and will primarily support our health security research agenda. Prior to joining CSIS, she interned in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She is also a former GHPC intern. Samantha recently graduated with a B.A. in global affairs from Yale University.

Stay up to date on all of our events by visiting the Global Health Policy Center program page.

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

J. Stephen Morrison
Senior Vice President and Director, Global Health Policy Center
Center for Strategic and International Studies