Global Health Policy Center Monthly Newsletter: September 2017

Dear colleague,
Welcome to the September 2017 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.


  • Ukraine’s Health Sector: Sustaining Momentum for Reform: Ukraine's headline-grabbers usually center around macroeconomic stability, corruption, and the ongoing conflict in the East. For the last year, however, an important linchpin of reform -- the health sector -- has been the subject of intense development and debate. This report by Judyth Twigg, Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, discusses recent health trends and health sector reform efforts in Ukraine. It argues that providing every Ukrainian with access to affordable, high-quality health care is foundational for the country's trajectory toward greater democracy and European integration, but that there is currently a narrow window of opportunity for Ukraine to bring this crucial area of public services up to European standards.

  • The HIV Working Group: In February 2017, we convened an expert working group on HIV to discuss critical issues affecting continued U.S. leadership on HIV and progress toward control of the pandemic. The working group was led by Sara Allinder, GHPC Deputy Director and Senior Fellow; Janet Fleischman, GHPC Senior Associate; Todd Summers, GHPC Senior Advisor; and Richard Downie, Acting Director of the CSIS Africa Program. The group was comprised of experts in academia, implementation, policy, research, and industry who examined four key areas: the evolution of and next steps for the U.S. response; the Global Fund-PEPFAR relationship; HIV response sustainability and country ownership; and the needs of adolescent girls and young women. These efforts culminated in eight papers, described below and available on the working group’s webpage.

  • Advancing Country Partnerships on HIV/AIDS: Richard led the sub-working group on sustainability and country ownership of HIV responses. Based on ideas generated in his sub-working group, Richard published a paper in August that responds to proposed cuts in global HIV/AIDS funding, defines country ownership and sustainability, and analyzes advances and obstacles to country ownership. His paper calls for accelerated country transitions from PEPFAR and Global Fund funding for certain countries through thoughtful planning and collaboration with country partners while stimulating additional ownership from others not ready for financial transition. The paper also recommends that Congress holds PEPFAR accountable for reporting and addressing barriers to sustainability.

  • The Global Fund and PEPFAR: Complementary, Successful, and Under Threat: In this policy brief, Todd, co-chair of the sub-working group on the Global Fund-PEPFAR relationship, explains the complementarity, results-driven focus, financing, and coordination of PEPFAR and the Global Fund. By working closely together, the Global Fund and PEPFAR have supported access to life-sustaining antiretroviral treatment for nearly 20 million people. Yet today, their continued success is imperiled by potential retrenchment of U.S. political and financial support. Todd’s paper enumerates concrete steps Congress and the administration can take to fully harness these programs’ unique strengths, improve their impact, and ultimately provide an even more compelling case to American taxpayers for continued and even expanded financial support for both.

  • Opportunities for U.S. Leadership at Its Moment of Reckoning on Global HIV: In this expanded version of a short policy brief released in June, Sara describes the history and evolving strategy of U.S. engagement with HIV. Written for a non-technical policy audience, the paper recommends that the Trump Administration and Congress protect the unique whole of government bilateral and multi-lateral U.S. approach to global HIV; strive for epidemic control of HIV in target countries while sustaining investments in others; invest in programs for adolescent girls and young women; maintain vaccine and cure research; and incentivize partner country self-reliance.

  • In January 2017, Sara and Lily Dattilo, Program Manager and Research Associate, traveled to Cambodia and Thailand to examine the achievements and sustainability of U.S. partnerships on HIV in the southeast Asia region. In two country studies, “U.S. HIV Investment in Cambodia: Small Program, Big Opportunity” and “The U.S.-Thai Partnership against HIV,” they make recommendations for future partnership with these small programs, explaining the benefits to the U.S. of relatively low-cost technical collaborations and extolling the importance of well-planned financial and technical transitions out of these countries.

  • Other working group publications include “A Moment of Reckoning for U.S. Leadership on Global HIV,” “The Next Frontier: Stop New HIV Infections in Adolescent Girls and Young Women, and “Addressing HIV in Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Malawi: The DREAMS Partnership.”

Podcast Episodes:

  • What Are the Barriers to Reaching Children with Immunizations?: Recent World Health Organization and UNICEF data reveal that one in 10 infants worldwide did not receive any vaccines in 2016. Vaccines are considered one of the most effective and cost effective public health tools. Yet, despite new focus on building immunization systems that can routinely reach all the world’s children with this potentially lifesaving intervention, many gaps remain. In this episode, which was hosted by Senior Fellow Nellie Bristol, we asked Dr. Jon Kim Andrus, Adjunct Professor and Senior Investigator in the Division of Vaccines and Immunization at the University of Colorado, and Lora Shimp, Senior Immunization Technical Expert and Specialist in Communication and Behavior Change with John Snow, Inc., to reflect on what is being done to improve immunization systems, and why vaccinating children has been so difficult in some areas.

  • Polio Outbreak in War-Torn Syria: On June 8, the World Health Organization reported an outbreak of vaccine-related polio cases in war-torn Syria. As of August 1, 30 total cases of vaccine-derived polio virus had been reported, with 29 of the cases concentrated in the Deir-al-Zour governorate. Deir-al-Zour, one of the hardest hit regions of the Syrian civil war, has been largely cut off from outside health and humanitarian organizations since mid-2014, when ISIS gained control of nearly the entire area from Syrian rebel forces. Since that time, international groups have only been able to conduct sporadic and partial vaccination campaigns within the governorate, with the most recent occurring in March and April earlier this year. Two response campaigns have been planned for the current outbreak in both the Deir-al-Zour and Raqqa governorates. The first started on July 22, targeting 328,000 children under the age of five in Deir-al-Zour and 120,000 children in Raqqa. In this episode, which I hosted, Dr. John Vertefeuille, Polio Eradication Branch Chief and Incident Manager in the Global Immunization Division at the CDC, discusses the outbreak, the response effort, and what this means for the region moving forward. John has a long and distinguished history with the CDC, serving as country director in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Haiti before assuming his current role.

  • Why CDC Must Work Globally to Protect Americans’ Health and Security: Rebecca Martin is Director of the Center for Global Health at CDC. Dr. Martin has worked both domestically and internationally in immunization, HIV, and health system strengthening and now leads CDC’s global efforts to protect and improve health globally through science, policy, partnership, and evidence-based public health action. In this episode, which I hosted, we asked her to reflect on CDC’s work in health security and recent experiences with Ebola and Zika.

  • Global Tuberculosis and U.S. Health Security: In this episode, which was hosted by Sara, Audrey Jackson, GHPC Senior Fellow, discusses the rising global threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis and its importance to U.S. health security. She presents recommendations to the U.S. government from her July 2017 report, “Protecting the United States from the Health Security Risk of Global Tuberculosis.”

  • GHTC Report: Return on Innovation: On July 20, the Global Health Technologies Coalition unveiled a new report “Return on Innovation: Why Global Health R&D is a Smart Investment for the United States.” In this episode, which I hosted, Courtney Carson, Policy and Advocacy Officer at the Global Health Technologies Coalition, discusses the report’s main findings.

  • What Happened at the July 2017 International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science?: The International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science was held in ParisJuly 23-26. The conference brought together more than 5,000 scientists, clinicians, public health experts, community leaders, and people living with HIV to discuss the latest developments in HIV-related research. In this episode, which was hosted by Sara; Lisa Carty, Director of the U.S. Liaison Office of UNAIDS; and Chris Beyrer, Desmond Tutu Professor of Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and former President of the IAS, discuss the main outcomes from the July Conference as well as UNAIDS’s 2017 Annual Report released ahead of the meeting.

  • The London Summit and the Outlook for International Family Planning: In this episode, which was hosted by Janet, Beth Schlachter, Executive Director of FP2020, discussed the London Summit on Family Planning that took place in July 2017, at which approximately $2.5 billion in new money was pledged for international family planning. We asked her to reflect on the unique FP2020 partnership, its achievements as well as the challenges it faces in meeting its goals in the world’s 69 lowest income countries. She stressed the importance of continued U.S. leadership in family planning, both in its bilateral assistance and in technical support at the country level, and her concerns about the global impact that would result if the U.S. abandons this role.

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