Month: November 2017

3 Ways Tax Reform Efforts Could Impact America’s Moms and Babies

1,000 Days supports a range of federal programs that are critical for millions of America’s moms and babies during the critical 1,000-day window, or the time from a woman’s pregnancy through her child’s second birthday.

Programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are essential to ensuring that women and babies receive access to healthy food, nutrition counseling, and breastfeeding support. They are core pieces of a healthy first 1,000 days for our nation’s children.

But unfortunately, future funding for WIC, SNAP and many other federal programs that America’s families rely on is at risk.

Congress is currently considering a tax reform plan that, if passed, would:

  • Increase the federal deficit by over a trillion dollars, squeezing out future spending on federal programs that provide critical services for millions of America’s families.
  • Threaten funding for public health and key health care interventions, making it harder for women and their babies to access needed services and supports.
  • Repeal a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that is estimated to result in steeply rising health care premiums and leave 13 million people without health insurance.

For these reasons, 1,000 Days has serious concerns with the pending tax package being debated by Congress. Reducing federal funding for critical government services and limiting access to affordable health coverage will hurt moms, children, and families.

Instead, we urge Congress to pass legislation that protects all families’ access to the health care, nutrition supports, and other key services they need to thrive today and into the future.

Milan Global Nutrition Summit and SUN Global Gathering Inspire Action

This past week, 1,000 Days traveled to Milan, Italy and Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire to be a part of two groundbreaking events in the global nutrition movement: the Global Nutrition Summit and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Global Gathering.

Milan Global Nutrition Summit

In Milan, the Global Nutrition Summit brought forth new commitments from new funders in the philanthropic community. $3.4 billion was mobilized, with $640 million in new commitments from family foundations and the Power of Nutrition, signaling a growing interest from diverse stakeholders. New investors in nutrition add a much-needed infusion of capital that will help drive innovation and research to save and improve more lives with good nutrition.

The program included inspiring remarks from notable attendees including Kofi Annan and Graca Machel. Graca Machel reminded us that it is unacceptable to not do more to combat malnutrition. The global community has set goals for ourselves, including a set of global nutrition targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and we must work to achieve them. As Ms. Machel urged, these goals should be viewed as promises to future generations and “you never break a promise to a child.”

Ms. Graca Machel Urges Greater Action On Nutrition

Ms. Graca Machel urges greater action on nutrition, saying the current scale of the problem is unacceptable

Onward to Abidjan, SUN Global Gathering

In Abidjan, we were united with hundreds of people from around the world working to keep those promises and ensure that no child suffers from malnutrition. The SUN Global Gathering brought together government officials, nutrition experts, the private sector and advocates dedicated to ending malnutrition.

For the first time since the Global Gathering started in 2012, the event was held in a SUN country, Cote d’Ivoire. Strong political leadership and high-level participation, combined with the energy and enthusiasm from all participants, demonstrated that the global movement for nutrition is alive and well — and growing.

Country and Civil Society Driven

The SUN movement is a truly country-driven movement, composed of vibrant partnerships in 60 countries and three Indian states. Within this movement are the more than 2,000 organizations that comprise the SUN Civil Society Network which are integral to advocacy, awareness raising, and building political will for nutrition. They sit at the center of SUN efforts, with access to decision makers, media and constituencies. Funding for civil society is critical for the global nutrition movement to be successful and to grow, but it is nearly impossible to find sufficient resources. If we want world leaders to pay attention to nutrition, we need to ensure that nutrition civil society is thriving in every country.

There’s also much more that can be done to widen the tent for nutrition and bring together new actors in every country. As an African proverb says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Together we can go far, but we need to continue to bring others along with us, including those working in other sectors, to have the most impact.

Mwandwe Chileshe Speaks With Former SUN Coordinator David Nabarro

1,000 Days global health corps fellow, Mwandwe Chileshe speaks with former SUN Movement Coordinator David Nabarro

Our Inspiration

As advocates working to improve nutrition for women and children, we are never alone. Our allies and colleagues around the world work alongside us for a better future. Our collective outrage that malnutrition is still responsible for nearly half of all child deaths drives us. But that outrage is just the starting point. As the Global Nutrition Summit and the SUN Global Gathering put front and center, it’s the stories of progress and change, the people working tirelessly for this cause globally, and the commitment to building a world free from malnutrition that continue to inspire a global movement.

Update: Open Invitation For Constructive Dialogue On Infant Feeding Recommendations Still Stands

In the interest of being transparent, 1,000 Days is posting publicly the message our Executive Director, Lucy Sullivan, sent today to the co-founder of the Fed Is Best Foundation. 1,000 Days has joined nearly 100 organizations to request a meeting with the co-founders of the Fed Is Best Foundation. Our hope is to engage in a constructive dialogue to discuss the concerns they have raised with respect to our nation’s infant feeding recommendations and associated health care practices.

Dear Dr. del Castillo-Hegyi,

As you know, almost 100 organizations have requested to meet with Fed is Best in hopes of engaging in a constructive conversation on infant feeding recommendations and associated health care practices. Many of these groups work directly with breastfeeding mothers and have seen first-hand the problems caused by infant feeding complications. They help support parents, work with under-served families and communities, advocate for sick and vulnerable newborns, and are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of mothers and babies.

I will share your “open letter”, as you have asked, with these organizations despite the fact that your letter is unfortunately riddled with inaccuracies and distortions. For example, never once did we indicate that we wanted a closed-door meeting. We are committed to transparency as well and would have gladly made public the proceedings of our meeting with Fed is Best.

Given that your letter indicates that you “have not had the time or interest” and it is a “lower priority” to meet with the 95 organizations that have requested a meeting, it seems that Fed is Best is not interested in trying to find ways to work together for the benefit of mothers and their babies. Moreover, based on the approach you outlined in your open letter, it appears that Fed is Best has no intent in constructively engaging with the many organizations that can be your allies in tackling infant feeding issues. Rather, it would seem that you have chosen to criticize and attempt to discredit groups—including the World Health Organization (WHO)—that have reached out to Fed is Best in good faith.

I personally do not understand how attacking organizations like WHO and other groups helps serve the interests of mothers and babies or advance what you say is your top priority: saving babies’ lives. Nevertheless, our invitation to meet with you remains open, assuming you can approach the meeting with a spirit of honest collaboration and with the intent of trying to find common ground in order to help families get the support they need to give their babies the strongest start to life. In the meantime, I wish you luck with your endeavors.

Sincerely yours,

Lucy M. Sullivan

CHIP Must Be Funded – But Not At The Expense Of Other Public Health Programs

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Championing Healthy Kids Act (H.R. 3922). While 1,000 Days supports the legislation’s inclusion of funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Community Health Centers, and other health programs, we are deeply concerned about some of the offsets included in the bill. Specifically, the House bill cuts billions from the Prevention and Public Health Fund and jeopardizes families’ access to critical health coverage.

It has been more than a month since funding for CHIP expired. Without immediate Congressional action, health care for 9 million children and 370,000 pregnant women will remain in jeopardy. Additionally, funding for community health centers and other public health programs expired at the end of September. Congress is long-overdue in extending funding for these programs. However, by cutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund to pay for these extensions, Congress is undermining the very health care system America’s families depend on. The Prevention and Public Health Fund provides funding for many critical initiatives, including breastfeeding support programs, strengthening the public health infrastructure, and reducing health disparities. Together, these programs ensure pregnant women, young children and their families have access to the health care and support they need to be healthy and thrive.

1,000 Days urges Congress to find a bipartisan path forward that ensures all children and their families will have access to quality health coverage, without threatening other important public health programs.

Statement on the Global Nutrition Summit

1,000 Days celebrates the 2017 Global Nutrition Summit, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Nutrition Report, for putting nutrition at the forefront of the global agenda. As the world faces competing challenges, we must remain laser focused on the often-overlooked crisis of malnutrition that continues to be responsible for 45% of child deaths and a major obstacle to the achievement of economic prosperity.

The Global Nutrition Summit offered an opportunity to highlight the critical importance and cost-effectiveness of good nutrition to save and improve lives – and in response – recommit to ending malnutrition by 2030, a goal that requires sustained political will from all stakeholders.

In total, the summit mobilized $3.4 billion for nutrition, including $640 million in new commitments. The Eleanor Crook Foundation, a U.S.-based family philanthropy, pledged $100 million by 2030 to focus on research, capacity building and advocacy for good nutrition. In a tremendous reflection of American generosity and leadership, thirteen U.S. civil society organizations pledged a collective $1.17 billion for 2018 – 2020 for nutrition. Additional commitments from foundations in Switzerland, Nigeria, Nepal, and India will also contribute to transformative programming. Several affected countries, including Côte D’Ivoire, El Salvador, and Madagascar, made commitments to expand domestic efforts to fight malnutrition. These combined efforts should embolden governments and donors alike to follow suit with investments of their own that are similarly targeted and impactful.

If we are to end malnutrition, efforts must be urgently redoubled to ensure investments in nutrition are reaching the most vulnerable populations. The newly released Global Nutrition Report, an annual publication designed to hold donors accountable for commitments to global nutrition, serves as a sobering reminder that almost every country in the world is affected by poor nutrition, devastating families and destabilizing the global economy.

Turning the tide on malnutrition will require nothing short of a “turbo-charged” effort. With new funding and demonstrated political will, the Global Nutrition Summit can be the spark that ignites a global response. 1,000 Days is committed to work in partnership with all stakeholders to make this a reality.

Open Enrollment: 5 Things You Need To Know

Thanks to the efforts of millions of Americans around the country, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains the law of the land and young children and their families can still get the health insurance they need to thrive.

That means that on Wednesday, November 1 those that need comprehensive health insurance coverage that begins on January 1, 2018 can purchase it—often with significant financial help—through HealthCare.gov and state marketplaces.

Don’t let the headlines detract from this fact: moms and babies need health insurance to access critical services that are vital during the first 1,000 days—and it is available!

While we must remain vigilant to defend health care from ongoing threats, we also need to ensure that everyone who needs health insurance gets signed up. Soon, millions of Americans will be able to go to HealthCare.gov to choose a health plan that meets their needs. Leading up to and during open enrollment, we all must get the word out and help ensure people get covered.

Here are the top five things you need to know about open enrollment:

    1. Open Enrollment starts on November 1 and ends on December 15!

      Need health insurance for 2018? You must enroll between November 1 and December 15, 2017.This is the only time in the year to purchase health insurance through the Marketplace (other than in some very limited special life changes). So it’s important to get enrolled during this limited, open enrollment window! Coverage purchased during open enrollment begins January 1, 2018.

    2. HealthCare.gov (or your state’s marketplace) has information about the health plans available in your area.

      If you want to see what coverage options are available in your community, HealthCare.gov or your state marketplace has the information you need. Starting November 1, 2017, you can enroll in a plan that meets your health needs and the needs of your family. And coverage could be more affordable than you think. For many, significant financial help is available based on income and family status. Health insurance plans also offer help paying out-of-pocket expenses for some families. These subsidies are all still available to consumers and have not been impacted by any of the recent debates in Washington, DC.

    3. Shop around!

      Take some time to compare health plans in your area and understand what coverage options are available. HealthCare.gov or your state’s marketplace make it easy to do this. Understanding the differences among the plans is important and can help you choose the best option for your family. You may be able to even save some money!

    4. Help is available. So ask for it!

      Free expert help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is available online, over the phone, or in person. They can help answer your questions and assist with filling out the paperwork. To find a professional in your area, check out localhelp.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

    5. Spread the word!

      Know someone who needs health coverage? Spread the word! Open enrollment is just 45 days this year—and outreach efforts are limited. Please share this information with anyone you know who needs health insurance. We all can help ensure our family, friends and co-workers get connected and enrolled in the health coverage they need.