KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Health Officials, Experts Warn Additional U.S. Funding Necessary To Effectively Respond To Zika

The Hill: Officials sound alarm on Zika funding
“…[T]he White House said [shifting money from Ebola to Zika] is only a temporary solution, and raised pressure on congressional Republicans to fulfill the administration’s emergency request for $1.9 billion in new funds. Health experts say they are distressed that money is being taken away from Ebola efforts, an important need in its own right, and that Congress is not providing more to fight Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that, while mild for most people, is dangerous for pregnant women. The virus has been linked to serious birth defects in babies…” (Sullivan, 4/10).

ScienceInsider: Funding shift for Zika helps NIH, but more research money requested
“The White House’s decision this week to shift $589 million in unspent Ebola response funding to fighting Zika won’t require cutting any Ebola research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But the Obama administration still is requesting more help from Congress to both fund Zika efforts and replenish money shifted away from Ebola, says Anthony Fauci, the head of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland…” (Kollipara, 4/8).

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In Break From Republican Party, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio Supports White House Request For $1.9B In Emergency Zika Funding

The Hill: Rubio breaks with GOP, backs Obama Zika request
“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Friday broke with other congressional Republicans and supported the White House’s request for $1.9 billion in new funding to fight the Zika virus. The backing of Rubio, who was endorsed by many leading congressional Republicans while running for president, could give a boost to the funding request, which has so far received an icy reception from Republicans on Capitol Hill…” (Sullivan, 4/8).

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Additional Neurological Disorder Might Be Linked With Zika, Researchers Report

The Guardian: Zika virus may cause broader range of brain disorders than previously believed
“The Zika virus may cause a wider range of brain disorders than previously thought, according to a small study released on Sunday. Scientists already suspect the mosquito and sex-spread virus causes fetal brain disorder and temporary paralysis…” (Yuhas, 4/10).

Reuters: Brazilian scientists find new Zika-linked brain disorder in adults
“…[Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM,] typically occurs in the aftermath of an infection, causing intense swelling in the brain and spinal cord that damages myelin, the white protective coating surrounding nerve fibers. It results in weakness, numbness, and loss of balance and vision, symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis…” (Steenhuysen, 4/10).

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Telemedicine Allows Brazilian Families With Zika-Related Microcephalic Infants To Consult Specialists

NPR: Brazilian Doctor Crafts System Hailed As ‘Way Forward’ For Combating Zika
“…Dr. Sandra Mattos, a pediatric cardiologist, checks in with her tiny patients [with microcephaly and their parents] from her laptop. Her screen is split, showing various hospital rooms around Brazil’s northern Paraiba state. Mattos is practicing telemedicine, which allows doctors like her to diagnose and treat patients at a distance. The rational is pretty straightforward — it gives people in remote communities access to specialist care…” (Garcia-Navarro, 4/10).

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Interruption Of Polio Transmission Possible Within 12 Months, WHO Says

The Guardian: Polio cases could be wiped out within 12 months, says World Health Organization
“The World Health Organization is confident polio is in its dying days and could be eradicated within 12 months, despite challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the virus is still endemic and vaccination campaigns are sometimes targeted by extremists…” (O’Carroll, 4/11).

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Large Investors Urge World's Largest Food Producers To Limit Antibiotic Use In Meat Supply

Financial Times: ‘Systemic’ antibiotics crisis troubles big investors
“Big investors managing $1 trillion of assets have called on the world’s largest food companies to end the excessive use of antibiotics in their meat supply chains, amid fears ‘systemic overuse’ of these drugs is damaging human health and hurting financial returns…” (Mooney, 4/10).

Reuters: Investor group launches campaign to curb antibiotic use in food
“…The move follows warnings from the World Health Organization that the world is moving towards a post-antibiotic era in which many infections would no longer be treatable because of the overuse of antibiotics…” (Jessop et al., 4/10).

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More Development Effort Needed In Africa To Meet Needs, Build Resiliency, Achieve Food Security, U.N. Officials Say

U.N. News Centre: U.N. officials urge boost in development action to meet humanitarian challenges in Africa
“Greater efforts in preparedness response, recovery, and development interventions are needed from humanitarian actors for African nations to meet the immediate needs of their citizens, become more resilient to shocks and crises, and ultimately achieve food security, senior United Nations officials stressed [Friday]…” (4/8).

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Foreign Investment Needed To Restart Sierra Leone's Post-Ebola Economy, President Koroma Says

Associated Press: Sierra Leone president urges foreign investment post-Ebola
“…President Ernest Bai Koroma said Thursday great efforts are needed to restart the economy — especially the agricultural sector, which suffered most during the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people, mostly in West Africa…” (4/7).

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Large Nonprofits Shaping Seattle Into Global Health Center

New York Times: For Some Top Nonprofits, Changing the World Begins in Seattle
“…The result: In trying to change the world, [the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Allen Institute for Cell Science] are also changing their backyard. Their causes, such as clean water, sanitation, and health, are spawning a new ecosystem of global health care companies, research institutes, and academic expertise at places like the University of Washington…” (Johnson, 4/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Create Federal Position Aimed At Improving, Coordinating National Security Efforts Against Biological Threats

Indy Star: Rep. Susan Brooks: U.S. needs incentives, leader to battle Zika, biological weapons
Rep. Susan W. Brooks (R-Ind.)

“…[T]he underlying problem isn’t this one disease [Zika virus], or the next, whose name we don’t yet know — the problem is our inability to mobilize quickly and effectively to identify, contain, treat, and eliminate any kind of biological threat to people in the United States. … I am working in Congress to lead proactive efforts to protect and defend our country and its citizens from the threat of outbreak, epidemic, or an act of biological terror in the United States. … [T]here is a need for a single leader responsible for controlling, prioritizing, coordinating, and holding federal agencies accountable for improving our national security in the face of biological threats. … The next administration must prioritize our national biodefense, and re-establish a central leadership role under the president to oversee these efforts across agency lines. … [W]ith the right incentives, programs, and leadership in place, we can be ready for what will come next, no matter what it is” (4/10).

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U.S. Must Prepare For Potential Spread Of Zika Virus

New York Times: Zika Is Coming
Peter J. Hotez, pediatrician and microbiologist at Texas Children’s Hospital, and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine

“…If mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus reach the United States later this spring or summer, [Houston, New Orleans, Miami, Biloxi, Miss., or Mobile, Ala.,] are the major urban areas where the sickness will spread. … Several Zika vaccines are being created, but none will be ready in time for this year’s epidemic. In place of a vaccine we need a robust program of mosquito control and environmental cleanup in the poorest neighborhoods of our Gulf Coast cities and in Florida. … We need to improve access to contraception, and provide pregnant women with proper window screens for their homes and information about the risk of Zika. Finally, we will need to train teams to visit homes in poor neighborhoods and instruct occupants on how to empty water containers and spray for mosquitoes … At the federal level this effort would need to bring in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But we’ll also need parallel approaches at the state, county, and city levels. … Zika is a potentially devastating health crisis headed for our region, and we might have only a few weeks to stop it before pregnant women become infected” (4/8).

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Global Community Should Support WHO Guidance On Breastfeeding, Address Breast Milk Substitute Marketing Issues

Devex: Protect breastfeeding, the ultimate personalized medicine
Elizabeth Zehner, project director, and Elizabeth Ransom, director of communications and advocacy, both with Helen Keller International’s Assessment and Research on Child Feeding Project

“…[R]aising awareness — and breastfeeding rates — among mothers will require changes in how milk substitutes are marketed across the globe. Helping address misperceptions about infant formula and encouraging breastfeeding could contribute significantly to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. … National laws should align with the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes. … New guidance developed by WHO on Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children … reaffirms that all milk products marketed for feeding infants and young children are breast milk substitutes and their promotion is prohibited. Cross-promotion of these milks with complementary foods … is also identified as inappropriate. The global community must support this new guidance and work together to protect breastfeeding and the health of infants and young children” (4/8).

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Africa's Digital Health Systems Must Have Right 'Infostructure' To Support Region's Health Systems Strengthening

Devex: How can Africa prepare for post-2015 digital health investments?
Richard Gakuba, international digital health/e-health consultant

“…[I]f developing African countries are to truly harness future digital health investments to strengthen health systems, they will need to ensure that the right ‘infostructure’ and institutional capacity are in place first. … While many African countries have not yet invested heavily in digital health, some of the best digital health implementations have occurred in Africa. … Global health commitments to invest in digital health can and certainly should aim at leveraging efforts and commitments readily available in Africa … African countries can position themselves well to contribute to the architecture of future global digital health by: Putting the right digital health policies and governance structures in place … Developing digital health strategic plans and corresponding resources … Building an ‘infostructure’ that can support existing and future digital health systems … Implementing information systems that are cost-effective and scalable … Evaluating and documenting achievements in digital health…” (4/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

GHTC Blog Posts Examine Obama Administration's Decision To Redirect Ebola Funds To Zika Response

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: President will redirect Ebola funds for Zika, but where is the money from and where will it go?
Courtney Carson, GHTC’s senior policy and advocacy associate, examines the Obama administration’s re-programming of Ebola funding to the U.S. Zika response and potential consequences (4/8).

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Funding by crisis is no cure for global health threats
Stephen Higgs, president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and professor at Kansas State University, and Erin Will Morton, director of GHTC, discuss the Obama administration’s decision to redirect Ebola funding to the U.S. Zika response, writing, “It’s time U.S. policymakers stop funding by crisis and commit to sustainable, long-term investment in global health R&D so the most effective health solutions are available when they are needed” (4/11).

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Food Tank Blog Post Features Interview With CSIS Global Food Security Project Director

Food Tank: Ten Questions with Kimberly Flowers, Director of the Global Food Security Project
“Food Tank, in partnership with American University, is hosting the 2nd Annual Food Tank Summit in Washington, D.C., on April 20-21, 2016. This two-day event will feature more than 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. … Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Kimberly Flowers, the director of the Global Food Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who will be speaking at the summit…” (Furbank, 4/8).

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Global Health Council Director Christine Sow Speaks With Humanosphere About State Of Global Health Field

Humanosphere: A chat with Christine Sow: The future of global health
Imana Gunawan, social media manager and producer of the Humanosphere podcast, writes, “For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with Christine Sow, director of the Global Health Council based in Washington, D.C. We wanted to get Dr. Sow’s take on the current state of global health because the field appears to be in a fairly critical, transitional period…” (4/8).

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Experts Speak At Launch Of CGD's New Book Examining Global Health Program Successes, Failures

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: Millions Saved: An Examination of Past Success and Predictions for the Future of Global Health
Maile Young, communications intern at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, discusses a launch event for the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) new book, “Millions Saved: New Cases of Proven Success in Global Health.” She highlights findings from the book — which “aims to examine value for money in global health programs, as well as understand system failures” — and comments from speakers, including Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of Global Health Policy, and senior fellow at CGD; Abraham Aseffa, scientific director of the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) in Ethiopia; Samuel Ochieng of the Children’s Services Department in the Kenyan government; and Jamie Drummond, co-founder of ONE (4/11).

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