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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Bipartisan U.S. Senate Negotiators Work Toward Deal On Zika Funding; House Remains Stalled

CNN: As Zika spreads, lawmakers search for deal on funding
“Bipartisan Senate negotiators reported progress Thursday on talks to boost funding to combat Zika, the dangerous mosquito-borne virus spreading across the Americas that can cause birth defects in children. But they remain apart on key points and a deal isn’t likely before next week at the earliest, senators from both parties told CNN…” (Barrett et al, 4/21).

The Hill: GOP chairman: Senate to vote on Zika funding in ‘near future’
“The Senate Appropriations Committee is planning to bring a major funding package for fighting the Zika virus to the floor of the Senate ‘in the near future,’ its chairman said Thursday. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) confirmed for the first time Thursday that committee members from both parties have been quietly working on an emergency funding bill to meet at least some of President Obama’s request on the Zika virus…” (Ferris, 4/21).

Reuters: Senators close to proposal on Zika funds: Republican committee chairman
“…Democrats and Obama administration officials have urged the Republican-controlled Congress to grant nearly $1.9 billion in emergency funds to combat Zika, a virus borne by mosquitoes that can cause microcephaly, a rare birth defect. But many Republicans have said they need more information from the administration before approving the measure…” (Cornwell, 4/21).

Roll Call: Senate Makes First Move on Zika Emergency Funding
“…Appropriators didn’t disclose how much money the package would contain. … Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., announced on the Senate floor Thursday that he and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would introduce legislation to fully fund the administration’s $1.9 billion request…” (McCrimmon, 4/21).

STAT: Senate closing in on deal to boost funding to combat Zika virus
“…The latest developments confirm that the Senate is taking a different path from the House, where the top Republican appropriators are still resisting the Obama administration’s call for $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funds, saying the administration hasn’t answered a series of detailed questions about how the money would be used…” (Nather, 4/21).

Washington Post: In the GOP House, Infant Lives probe accelerates while Zika funding request stalls
“…GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, say they are open to providing more funding for the Zika response once the Obama administration answers questions about its request. But their cautious approach in responding to the virus, now strongly linked to infant microcephaly, stands in contrast to the aggressive probe now being waged into fetal tissue procurement and research practices by the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. That disconnect has fueled Democratic attacks on both the funding impasse and the highly polarized fetal tissue investigation…” (DeBonis, 4/22).

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American Public Views U.S. Engagement In Global Health Lesser Priority Than Terrorism, Human Rights, Climate Change, Survey Shows

Becker’s Hospital Review: Poll: Public ranks global health lesser priority behind terrorism, human rights, and climate change
“A majority of Americans want the U.S. to either lead or take a major role in trying to solve international problems, including improving health for people in developing countries, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of the public’s views on America’s role in global health. However, for the ways in which the U.S. might engage in world affairs, improving the health for people in developing countries is not the public’s top priority…” (Gooch, 4/21).

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Shifting Attention, Funding To Diseases Deemed More Urgent Threatens Malaria Progress, Study Says

Reuters: Countries on verge of beating malaria face new threat, study says
“Nations on the verge of eliminating malaria risk falling short of their goal, just as it lies within reach, due to funding being shifted elsewhere, researchers said on Thursday. Global aid has moved to areas where malaria remains widespread, while internal domestic funding gets diverted to fighting other diseases perceived as more urgent, said researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, in a study published in The Lancet medical journal…” (Malo, 4/22).

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WHO To Emphasize Vaccine Successes During World Immunization Week

U.N. News Centre: Immunization ‘game-changers’ should be the norm worldwide, says U.N. health agency
“The U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) announced that during World Immunization Week 2016, which begins Sunday, it will be highlighting recent gains in immunization coverage, and outlining further steps countries can take to meet global vaccination targets by 2020…” (4/21).

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Shifts In Funding Streams, Expectations Affecting Traditional Development Aid, Experts Say

Inter Press Service: How the Definition of Development Aid is Being Eroded
“The traditional definition of aid is being eroded at the same time that governments have committed to achieving the U.N.’s ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on development, told IPS Thursday. … ‘We are concerned about states withdrawing their responsibility and saying the private sector should do it,’ said [Aldo Caliari, who represents civil society in U.N. Financing for Development (FfD) negotiations and] who is also director of the Rethinking Bretton Woods Project at the Washington, D.C.-based Center of Concern…” (Rowlands, 4/21).

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Refugees Can Carry Rare, Neglected Diseases To European Host Nations, Doctors Hear At Conference

Science: Refugee crisis brings new health challenges
“…Many of the migrants come from countries where public health systems are in disarray, and some are infected with pathogens that are rare, or even unheard of, in Europe. … At the meeting [of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases], Dutch scientists presented evidence of scabies, a mite infestation, in up to a third of asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa; another study showed that about one in 300 refugees screened in the German state of Thuringia was a carrier of Salmonella or Shigella, an unusually high percentage. … The bigger challenge is how to ensure that refugees don’t get sick after their arrival. … Many refugees also arrive unprotected from deadly diseases, because war and unrest have interrupted vaccination programs in their home countries…” (Kupferschmidt, 4/22).

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Spinal Meningitis Poses Risk To 450M Africans In 2016, Experts Say

Agence France-Presse: 450 million Africans threatened by spinal meningitis
“Spinal meningitis, which can kill in 24 hours, poses a threat to 450 million Africans this year, according to medical experts from eight of the continent’s countries. Meningococcal meningitis is a global burden that affects 1.2 million people every year and causes the death of 135,000 of them, said the doctors from West and Central Africa…” (4/21).

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Mosquito-Borne Diseases Pose Threat To Quake-Hit Ecuador, CARE International Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Zika, dengue fever pose ‘immediate threat’ in quake-hit Ecuador — charity
“Mosquito-borne diseases including the Zika virus and dengue fever pose an ‘immediate threat’ to survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Ecuador four days ago, an international charity said on Thursday. Efforts to help more than 24,000 people whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the 7.8 magnitude quake were hampered by heavy rain, and clean water remained one of the biggest needs, charity CARE International said…” (Mis, 4/21).

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Recovery Progress Faces Multiple Challenges 1-Year After Earthquakes In Nepal

The Lancet: Nepal’s slow road to recovery, 1 year after the earthquakes
“A year after Nepal’s earthquakes, survivors are still living in makeshift shelters in 31 of the country’s 75 districts, which were all affected by the disaster. Poor coordination, slow dispersal of assistance, and a growing conflict in the southern frontier that led to a devastating economic blockade are among the difficulties facing rebuilding efforts…” (Mishra, 4/23).

U.N. News Centre: Nepal: one year after earthquake, U.N. food relief agency focuses on most vulnerable
“A year after an earthquake in Nepal that killed more than 9,000 people and led to damages and losses estimated at $7 billion, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said [Thursday] that it is working with the government so those most vulnerable to food insecurity are not left behind…” (4/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Prioritizing HIV Prevention, Treatment Among Women In Sub-Saharan Africa Critical To Controlling AIDS Epidemic

Washington Post: Why Africa’s HIV crisis continues to devastate young women
Michael Gerson, opinion writer

“…High rates of HIV infection among young women [in sub-Saharan Africa] are a medical crisis for which there is no purely medical answer. Norms need to be changed. The empowerment of young women has become an essential health priority. … There is now significant focus and funding dedicated to this issue from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The U.S. global AIDS coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, has announced an initiative called DREAMS, designed to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women in high-burden ‘hot spots’ in 10 African countries. … The theory: Surround them with support and services in every part of their lives. HIV testing and counseling. Contraceptive information and access. One-stop facilities to report gender-based violence and receive care. Financial literacy programs. Educational subsidies. Outreach to religious and traditional leaders. Outreach to young men to challenge destructive gender norms and attitudes … If this model proves effective, it will need to be quickly brought to scale. Sexism, it turns out, is not only unfair but also unhealthy. To stop an epidemic, young women … must no longer feel alone” (4/21).

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Approval Of Bipartisan Global Food Security Act Signals U.S. Commitment To End Hunger

Huffington Post: Bipartisan Leadership on Food Security Should be Applauded
Lindsay Coates, executive vice president at InterAction

“…[B]y sharing U.S. expertise in agriculture development and working in partnership with smallholder farmers we can continue the progress already being made in tackling global hunger. … [T]he recent approval of the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567/S. 1252) by voice vote in the U.S. Senate and by an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives is a clear signal of the commitment by congressional leadership to the fight against global hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty. … We look forward to continuing to work with members of Congress and key partners in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to enact the Global Food Security Act before the end of this Congress” (4/21).

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Long-Term Investments In Global Health Capacity Vital To Emergency Response Preparedness

Global Health NOW: Important vs. Urgent
Roger L. Glass, director of the Fogarty International Center and associate director for global health research at the NIH

“…I view ‘urgent’ global health problems as those that present suddenly and are responded to in crisis mode. … ‘Important’ global health problems seem to me to be those big issues — HIV, malaria, TB, polio — that we’ve been working on for a long time, require sustained effort and commitment, and can produce fatigue on behalf of the donors, as well as implementers. … We don’t have the resources currently available to fix all the global health problems, so we must prioritize. … [W]e know that preparedness is less expensive to support than emergency response. We need to prepare for future outbreaks, of whatever agent arises. At Fogarty, our core mission is to build research capacity in low- and middle-income countries — and I believe that’s a long-term investment that pays huge dividends. … Only by addressing the ‘important’ issue of global capacity development can we hope to be prepared for the next ‘urgent’ pandemic that is sure to come” (4/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Fact Sheet Examines U.S. Government And Global Malaria Efforts

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Malaria Efforts
This updated fact sheet examines the U.S. government’s role in global malaria efforts, including the President’s Malaria Initiative and funding; effective malaria interventions; and global goals for control and eradication (4/21).

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U.N.'s Zero Draft On Fast-Track To End AIDS Released To Public For Feedback, Input

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Draft of U.N. HIV political declaration released along with calls for comments
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses the release of the U.N.’s Zero Draft on the Fast-Track to End AIDS in the age of Sustainable Development, writing, “[T]he draft sets specific targets, while also calling for efforts that confront and reverse poverty, inequities, and discrimination that fuel HIV incidence and deaths. … The release of the draft opens a brief window for feedback and input with member states set to begin informal review and discussions of the draft April 25” (4/20).

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'Science Speaks' Highlights Recently Released Global Health-Related Article, Survey, Website

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: A partnership to strengthen lab capacities, a poll presents Americans’ take on global outbreak responses and Zika, a new website, and more … We’re reading about health readiness
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses a piece in the Journal of Infectious Diseases that examines the role of public-private partnerships in meeting health care challenges in Africa, particularly in improving lab capacities; a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey of American perceptions on the U.S. role in global health, including perceptions on Zika; and the launch of Global Health Technologies Coalition’s new website (4/21).

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