KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

White House Criticizes Congress For Not Approving Zika Funding; Signaling Shift, House Republican Leaders Say Additional Funds Needed, Bill In Works

CQ News: White House, Appropriator Exchange Words Over Zika Funding
“The White House and the top House appropriator traded barbs Wednesday about funding to combat the Zika virus, with the White House saying lawmakers have ‘frittered away’ a chance to protect Americans — especially pregnant women and unborn children. … The administration last week shifted $589 million in existing funds from other programs to counter the virus…” (Bennett, 4/13).

The Hill: Obama will sign ‘meager’ Zika bill, White House says
“…The bipartisan legislation, which the House passed Tuesday, adds the Zika virus to a list of diseases that qualifies for a ‘priority review’ voucher from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). … But it does not increase federal funding to address the Zika virus, which has been the subject of a fierce partisan debate on Capitol Hill…” (4/13).

The Hill: Overnight Healthcare: House GOP readies Zika funding plan
“House GOP leaders are working on a bill to approve more funding for the fight against the Zika virus by the end of the year as they face mounting pressure from the White House. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the head of the House Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday he would support immediate action through a supplemental funding request, but is waiting on details from the administration…” (Ferris/Sullivan, 4/13).

International Business Times: Zika Virus Funding: States Feeling The Squeeze As Congress Holds Out On $1.8 Billion In Emergency Money
“… ‘Relying on existing pots of money will likely damage public health in some way, shape, or form, if additional money is not provided,’ [Josh Michaud, an associate director on the global health policy team at the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation,] said. Of the $589 million that the White House cobbled together last week, $510 million of that came from funding for Ebola that was intended to help wipe out that virus for good and prevent future epidemics…” (Whitman, 4/13).

Reuters: Republican, signaling a shift, says more money needed for Zika fight
“Senior U.S. House of Representatives Republican Tom Cole said on Wednesday more funds will be needed to fight the Zika virus in the United States, signaling a shift from insistence by many Republicans that the Obama administration should use existing funds for the effort to combat the growing threat…” (Cornwell, 4/13).

Roll Call: Zika Spurs War of Words
“…House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) accused the administration of stonewalling lawmakers on their efforts to better understand how it would use a proposed $1.9 billion in emergency monies to combat the virus. Rogers said he is seeking additional information on exactly what the administration wants to do with the money, saying the White House’s initial request had scant details…” (Bennett, 4/13).

USA TODAY: White House: Zika bill is ‘two months late and $1.9 billion short’
“…The Obama administration has been ramping up pressure on Congress to approve its [nearly] $2 billion emergency funding request for mosquito eradication, vaccine development, and laboratory capacity…” (Korte, 4/13).

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CDC Confirms Zika Causes Birth Defects, Calls For Intensified Efforts To Prevent Virus's Spread

CNN: Zika virus definitely causes birth defects, CDC says
“The Zika virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday…” (Goldschmidt, 4/13).

New York Times: Zika Virus Causes Birth Defects, Health Officials Confirm
“…The conclusion should settle months of debate about the connection between the infection and these birth defects, called microcephaly, as well as other neurological abnormalities, the officials said…” (Belluck/McNeil, 4/13).

PBS NewsHour: It’s confirmed. Zika virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects, CDC says
“…The health agency’s assessment is not based on a single piece of evidence, but rather months of careful evaluation and the growing number of reports showing a biological connection between the brain disorders. A synopsis of those findings has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Akpan, 4/13).

Reuters: Confirmation that Zika causes microcephaly shifts debate to prevention
“… ‘There isn’t any doubt that Zika causes microcephaly,’ Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told reporters in a conference on Wednesday…” (Steenhuysen/Berkrot, 4/13).

Wall Street Journal: CDC Confirms Link Between Zika Virus and Birth Defects
“…[T]he agency said it hopes that declaring Zika a cause of birth defects in children will help to intensify efforts to raise public awareness of the risks of Zika infection, control the mosquitoes that spread the virus, and develop a vaccine against it…” (McKay, 4/14).

Washington Post: CDC confirms Zika virus causes microcephaly, other birth defects
“…It is the first time a mosquito-borne virus has been linked to congenital brain defects…” (Sun, 4/13).

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USAID Launches 'Combating Zika And Future Threats Grand Challenge'

U.S. News & World Report: USAID Challenges Innovators to Combat Zika
“The United States Agency for International Development is calling for global innovators to ‘get creative’ with ideas to combat the escalating threat of Zika virus. … The ‘Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge,’ launched Wednesday with plans to invest as much as $30 million in development of successful ideas…” (Randall, 4/13).

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House Passes Global Food Security Act Aimed At Codifying Feed The Future Initiative

POLITICO: Obama’s food security initiative advances
“President Barack Obama’s five-year Feed the Future initiative moved one step closer to being cemented into law Tuesday after the House passed the Global Food Security Act in a 370-33 vote. The bill authorizes roughly $1 billion a year to address hunger and assist farmers in developing countries. … All eyes are now on the Senate for a companion bill…” (Evich et al., 4/13).

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Stalled International Aid, Low Domestic Investment Threaten Developing Countries' Gains In Health, Studies Show

Livemint: International aid for malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS declines
“Two studies published in the medical journal The Lancet reveal the health financing crisis facing developing countries as a result of stagnating international aid and low domestic investment. Between 2000 and 2009, international aid increased at around 11 percent each year. However, since 2010, annual growth has been a meager 1.2 percent, hampering projects in developing countries to maintain and improve health…” (Singh, 4/14).

Reuters: Health financing crisis threatens developing countries, experts say
“…Nearly half of 80 developing nations are unlikely to meet by 2040 the international target for health care to be deemed universally available — spending of $86 per person per year — two studies published in The Lancet medical journal said. … The research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzed health spending for 184 countries from 2013 to 2040 based on World Health Organization (WHO) and IHME data and trends in development assistance between 1900 and 2015…” (Mis, 4/13).

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Increased Aid Spent On Hosting Refugees In 2015; Additional Spending Did Not Detract From Funding For Existing Development Programs, OECD Figures Show

The Guardian: Hosting refugees now uses 9% of foreign aid budgets
“The amount of foreign aid money rich nations spend on dealing with the impact of the refugee crisis at home has almost doubled over the past year and now accounts for nine percent of all development expenditure, according to the latest official figures. … Many of the European countries most affected by the mass migration of people recorded surges in their official development assistance (ODA) in 2015 … The OECD says that all these rises, to greater or lesser extents, were caused by growing in-donor refugee costs…” (Jones, 4/13).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Development aid hits record as spending on refugees doubles — OECD
“…OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said most donors had avoided diverting money from development programs to cover the costs of the European refugee crisis. The rise in spending on refugees in donor countries did not have a significant impact on development programs as half the donors used money from outside their aid budgets to cover these costs, the OECD said…” (Mis, 4/13).

Wall Street Journal: OECD: Spending by Developed Countries on Refugees Almost Doubled in 2015
“…In its annual review of the aid programs of 28 rich country governments, the OECD said the cost of hosting refugees rose to $12 billion [in 2015] from $6.6 billion in 2014. But it found those extra funds weren’t taken from existing aid budgets, which increased over the year and are set to do so in future. … The Paris-based research body calculates that including spending on refugees, aid budgets rose by 6.9 percent from 2014 to total $131.6 billion. Excluding the cost of hosting refugees, aid spending still rose by 1.7 percent. However, relative to the size of developed economies, aid spending was unchanged…” (Hannon, 4/13).

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Migrants' Remittances Totaled More Than Official Aid To Developing Countries In 2015, World Bank Brief Shows

NPR: Who Gives More To The Developing World: Aid Donors Or Migrant Workers?
“Developing countries got $131 billion in official aid in 2015. And they got $431.6 billion in remittances — money sent home by migrants who are working abroad. That’s the astounding number in the World Bank’s new Migration and Development Brief. … NPR’s Ari Shapiro [spoke with] Dilip Ratha, lead author of the brief and head of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development…” (4/13).

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10 Of 46 Largest Aid Donors Meet Transparency Commitments, Report Shows

Devex: Only 25 percent of aid meets transparency benchmark
“More than five years after top donors pledged to make all aid transparent by 2015, data compiled in the Aid Transparency Index and released Wednesday by Publish What You Fund found that only 10 donors, responsible for only a quarter of all aid, are hitting the mark…” (Anders, 4/13).

The Guardian: Big aid donors failing to lift the lid on how they spend their cash
“…Publish What You Fund, a global campaign for aid transparency, analyzed funds from 46 donors and found that most had failed to uphold commitments made in 2011 in Busan, South Korea, to publish details of their development projects to a common open standard: the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This year’s index shows that 10 out of 46 of the largest and most influential donors, which account for 25 percent of global aid, provided enough information to enable recipient governments to plan, or for citizens to hold their governments to account, said Rupert Simons, CEO of Publish What You Fund…” (Chonghaile, 4/13).

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Low-Cost Expansion Of Basic Maternal, Infant, Child Health Care In LMICs Could Reduce Mortality Rates, Study Says

Quartz: Expanding life-saving health care in poor nations would cost $5 per person, researchers say
“…New research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that we could expand health care for mothers, infants, and children in low- and middle-income nations for less than $5 per person per year.  … The study, published on April 9 in The Lancet, said that bringing these services to 90 percent of those in need in 74 of the 75 neediest nations would drastically reduce maternal and child mortality rates in those countries…” (Rodriguez, 4/13).

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Growing Disparities In Health, Well-Being Between Poor, Middle Class Children In Wealthy Nations, UNICEF Report Shows

Newsweek: Wealthy Countries Show Growing Inequality in Children’s Health, Income: UNICEF
“Children in wealthy countries face increasing inequality in health, income, and life satisfaction, according to a new study from the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF…” (Westcott, 4/13).

New York Times: U.N. Reports Growing Inequality Among Children in Rich Nations
“…The study, published by the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, focused not on the gap between the richest and poorest segments of societies but rather on the widening disparities between children at the bottom and their peers in the middle…” (Gladstone, 4/13).

VOA News: U.N.: Wealthy Countries Failing Disadvantaged Children
“…The UNICEF report ranking the well-being of children in 41 high-income countries analyzes the consequences of this growing inequality. The gap between rich and poor in most wealthy countries is at its highest level in three decades…” (Schlein, 4/13).

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U.N. Could Have Prevented Haitian Cholera Outbreak With $2K In Screening Tests, Prophylactic Antibiotics, Study Says

The Guardian: U.N. could have prevented Haiti cholera epidemic with $2,000 health kit — study
“…A team of Yale epidemiologists and lawyers has looked at how the cholera bacterium was introduced to Haiti by United Nations peacekeepers relocated there in the aftermath of its 2010 earthquake. Yale’s startling finding is that simple screening tests costing $2.54 each, combined with preventive antibiotics at less than $1 per peacekeeper, could have avoided one of the worst outbreaks of the deadly disease in modern history. … By its reckoning, the epidemic could have been prevented for less than $2,000 — a tiny drop of the $2.2bn that estimates suggest must be spent over the next decade before the disease is eradicated…” (Pilkington/Clarke, 4/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Somalia's Prime Minister 'Rightfully Joining' Movement Against FGM By Signing Petition Supporting Ban

New York Times: A Step Forward on FGM
Lindsay Crouse, staff editor at New York Times

“…Somalia’s prime minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, has taken the remarkable step of signing onto a petition endorsed by more than 1.3 million people that calls on his own government to fully ban [female genital mutilation (FGM)]. His attention is important because UNICEF estimates that almost all … of girls and women in Somalia between 15 and 49 are subjected to some form of the practice. … The bill’s supporters aim for legislation to be passed in the Somali parliament next month. … Of course, as we’ve seen, legislation can only do so much. … But political recognition of the problem is an important step, particularly for an issue that rarely engages public attention at all, let alone consequential political support. … Prime Minister Sharmarke is rightfully joining the international outcry” (4/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Statements Highlight Importance Of Development Aid Transparency

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s “Voices”: Transparency on Development Aid Saves Lives
Upon the release of Publish What You Fund’s 2016 AID Transparency Index, which listed the Global Fund among the top five donors for aid transparency, Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, discusses the fund’s commitment to transparency and accountability in accelerating the end of the AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria epidemics (4/13).

Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network: On Transparency, U.S. Agencies See Some Improvement but Fall Short of Commitment to Global Standard
“…MFAN is pleased to see continued improvement toward greater transparency by the six U.S. agencies evaluated. However, while all of the U.S. agencies have made improvements since the last full index in 2014, the United States overall still fell short of meeting its commitment to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) by the end of 2015,” said MFAN’s co-chairs, George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette, in a statement (4/13).

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: USAID Continues to Deliver on Aid Transparency
Wade Warren, assistant to the administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning, discusses USAID’s commitment to and progress on aid transparency, writing, “Getting exactly to where we want to be on aid transparency is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re not there yet. We are proud of efforts to date and remain fully committed to continuing to make significant progress on aid transparency” (4/13).

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: New Report Ranks the Global Fund as a Leader in Aid Transparency
“…This ‘Very Good’ rating in the 2016 Aid Transparency Index is an improvement for the Global Fund, which in 2013 and 2014 was rated in the ‘Good’ category, according to this comparison chart. The Global Fund has commended the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) for its spirit of accountability; transparency is crucial to fulfilling the Global Fund’s mandate and operations as the world’s largest public health financier…” (4/13).

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Study, Report Examine Global Health Spending Trends

Humanosphere: Challenging road ahead for universal health care in low- and middle-income countries
Katie Leach-Kemon, policy translation specialist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), discusses findings from a new study published in The Lancet, which estimates that by 2040, disparities in health spending in high- and low-income countries will continue to exist. She also examines IHME’s latest Financing Global Health report and accompanying data visualization tool, which presents trends in development assistance for health (4/13).

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CGD Blog Post Discusses Mental Health As Part Of Global Health Agenda

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: A New Language for Global Mental Health: Economics
Victoria de Menil, program manager at the Mental Health Innovation Network, and Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of Global Health Policy, and senior fellow at CGD, discuss upcoming high-level meetings on mental health as part of the global health agenda; the application of development economics on the field of mental health; and recommendations made by CGD’s Making Room for Mental Health Working Group to increase mental health coverage and move toward universal health coverage (4/13).

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