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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Senate Republicans, Democrats Drafting Zika Funding Plan; White House Officials 'Reassured' On Action

Bloomberg: Senate Republicans Preparing to Relent on Funding for Zika
“Senate Republicans are preparing to relent on a major portion of President Barack Obama’s emergency request to respond to the Zika virus. Republicans are drafting a more than $1 billion emergency plan, according to a Republican familiar with the matter, which could be attached to another appropriations bill in a committee as soon as Thursday…” (Dennis, 4/20).

CQ News: Senate GOP Appropriators May Add Zika Funds at Thursday Markup
“…Senate Democrats are working with Republicans on the supplemental appropriations package to combat the Zika virus, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland confirmed to CQ, though details remain sparse. … White House officials are ‘reassured that there appears to be initial steps to rectifying Congress’s failure to act to date’ on an emergency Zika funding bill, Peter Boogaard, White House spokesman, said in a statement to CQ Roll Call…” (Mejdrich/Lesniewski, 4/20).

The Hill: Senate leaders in talks to approve Zika funding
“…The Senate GOP’s efforts to approve funding for the Zika virus before the completion of this year’s appropriations process comes after a weeks-long dispute between administration officials and the GOP-led House Appropriations Committee…” (Ferris, 4/20).

New York Times: Senators Consider Funding Plan to Address Zika Threat
“…The financing, which is being considered by some members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, would supplement the $510 million the Obama administration recently redirected from fighting Ebola toward Zika, as congressional Republicans had urged…” (Huetteman/Davis, 4/20).

Roll Call: Zika Funding Compromise Proves Elusive So Far
“…Senior House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers of Kentucky, say the White House is stonewalling them by refusing to answer questions about a $1.9 billion administration funding request. The Republicans seem skeptical that the Obama administration needs the entire amount to tackle the virus…” (Bennett, 4/20).

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U.S. To Provide Additional $20M To Zimbabwe For Food Assistance During Drought

Reuters: U.S. to feed half a million Zimbabweans until October after drought
“Nearly half a million Zimbabweans will continue to receive food aid for another six months after the United States provided an extra $20 million to help ease hunger in 12 of the country’s districts hit by the worst drought in a generation. … The additional $20 million will bring to $55 million the amount provided by the U.S. to feed hungry Zimbabweans since last year in June…” (Dzirutwe, 4/20).

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U.S. To Provide Nearly $40M In New Humanitarian Assistance To Africa's Lake Chad Region, Ambassador To U.N. Says

VOA News: U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Pledges $40 Million to Aid Lake Chad Region
“The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, says the United States will provide nearly $40 million in new humanitarian assistance for nations in Africa’s Lake Chad region, to provide aid to people whose lives have been affected by Boko Haram violence…” (4/20).

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European Region Reports No New Malaria Cases In 2015, WHO Says In Annual Report

Agence France-Presse: No new malaria cases in Europe, Caucasus, or Central Asia in 2015
“No new cases of malaria originated in Europe, Central Asia, or the Caucasus in 2015, the first year without a transmission for almost 30 years, the World Health Organization said Wednesday…” (4/20).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Europe is malaria free, 214 million cases in rest of world in 2015: WHO
“…The number of indigenous malaria cases dropped to zero in 2015 from 90,712 in 1995, and the last cases were reported in Tajikistan in 2014, it said…” (Whiting, 4/20).

VOA News: WHO: European Region World’s First Malaria-Free
“…The WHO recognizes however, that the European region remains prone of a reappearance of the disease due to importation of cases from areas of the world where malaria is endemic…” (4/20).

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WHO Launches Global Strategy To Prevent Leprosy, End Associated Stigma

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency launches global strategy to end leprosy
“The United Nations health agency [Wednesday] launched a new global strategy for a world free of leprosy, calling for stronger commitments and accelerated efforts to stop disease transmission and end associated discrimination and stigma…” (4/20).

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The Lancet, Australia's Lowitja Institute Release Study On Aboriginal Health In 23 Countries

The Guardian: Indigenous health: wealthy nations not always better than developing countries
“Being indigenous in a wealthy country like Australia, the U.S., or Canada does not necessarily lead to better health outcomes compared to indigenous people living in disadvantaged countries, a landmark study has found. … [T]he Lancet collaborated with Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, the Lowitja Institute, to publish the report, which the authors say should be used as a blueprint for international policy reforms to improve the outcomes for indigenous people worldwide…” (Davey, 4/20).

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Militants Kill 7 Police Officers Guarding Two Groups Of Polio Vaccine Workers In Pakistan

New York Times: 7 Police Officers Guarding Vaccination Team in Pakistan Are Shot Dead
“Seven police officers keeping watch over a polio vaccination campaign were gunned down in two separate attacks in a suburb of Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday, government officials said…” (ur-Rehman/Masood, 4/20).

Reuters: Seven Pakistani policemen killed during anti-polio drive
“…While militants in Pakistan have on numerous occasions attacked teams trying to eradicate the crippling childhood disease, a police chief said his men were target this time, not the health workers…” (Hassan, 4/20).

Wall Street Journal: Gunmen Kill Seven Police Officers Guarding Polio Workers in Pakistan
“…Eight attackers on four motorcycles and armed with pistols targeted two teams in different neighborhoods of the Orangi area of Karachi, police officials said, adding that the shootings happened within minutes of each other…” (Nauman, 4/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress, Obama Administration Should Stop Delays, Respond To Zika Immediately

Washington Post: We must zap Zika before it’s too late
Editorial Board

“Congress and President Obama are engaged in a needless spat over the president’s Feb. 8 request for about $1.9 billion to fight the growing danger of the Zika virus. … Further delay will degrade preparedness for a virus that carries a greater punch than was first believed. … House Republicans are saying that the White House hasn’t provided enough detail. We applaud the congressional urge to apply oversight, but not the delay. Congress and the president have no shortage of staff to investigate, hammer out legislation, create programs, and build an effective response. They must get to work immediately. Zika doesn’t know a Democrat from a Republican…” (4/20).

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Next U.S. President Likely To Continue Support Of, Exhibit Leadership In Global Health Investments

Huffington Post: The Best of America, Part III: The 2016 Election and Bipartisan U.S. Leadership on Global Health
Deborah Derrick, former president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…[T]he United States government has been a leader in [global health] investments and there is nothing about this election which points to a major pivot away from this. U.S. investments in global health and HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria have held steady in recent years, for example, despite overall discretionary funding cuts. These investments are undergirded by robust bipartisan and faith-based support. Simply put, investing in global health is the right and moral thing to do. … [P]rincipals in both parties have seen the phenomenal results of these U.S.-driven investments. … I fully expect that the future leader of the United States will choose to continue this proud legacy, regardless of his or her political leanings” (4/20).

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Reform Of Policies Criminalizing Drug Possession Should Promote Human Development, Health

Inter Press Service: Laws Criminalizing Drug Possession Can Cause More Harm
Tenu Avafia, policy adviser in the HIV, Health, and Development Group at the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), and Rebecca Schleifer, consultant at the UNDP

“…Laws criminalizing drug possession for personal use and other non-violent, low-level drug offenses drive people away from harm reduction services, placing them at increased risk of HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and death by overdose. … Many countries are exploring or initiating law and policy reforms with the aim of giving greater prominence to the Sustainable Development Goals … One such example is the case of Jamaica … Jamaica’s reforms recognize that the connection between drugs and crime is not so straightforward. They put people first and in turn promote its citizens’ human development. The implications of this measure, together with others described in a recent discussion paper released by UNDP, will be important as more countries look to make evidence informed, development sensitive changes to drug policy” (4/21).

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Countries Should Incorporate Surgery Into National Health Frameworks

New York Times: Surgery: The Neglected Stepchild of Global Health
Emily Bruno, medical student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and global surgery research associate with Harvard Medical School, and Mark G. Shrime, research director for the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard Medical School and instructor at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

“… [The people] who die annually because they can’t access surgery are casualties of systemic failure. Surgery has remained the neglected stepchild of global health because fixing systemic failures is daunting. Solutions, however, do exist. It’s simply impossible to address health needs around the world without providing surgical services, and doing so can be just as cost-effective as other global health interventions. Last year, The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery released a template for Ministries of Health to use in drafting National Surgical Plans, with the goal of incorporating surgery into a country’s national health framework. … [I]f the world wants to meet the health goals it has set for itself, surgery can no longer be the stepchild. We need to start a new conversation, with surgery at the center” (4/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Poll Findings On American Public's Views Of U.S. Role In Global Health

Kaiser Family Foundation: Terrorism, Human Rights, and Climate Change Top the Public’s Priority List for U.S. Engagement in World Affairs; Other Issues, Including Health, Rated Important
“When it comes to world affairs, majorities of Americans list fighting terrorism (64 percent), protecting human rights (60 percent), and protecting the environment and fighting climate change (51 percent) as top priorities for the president and Congress, finds a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of the public’s views on the United States’ role in global health. Global health ranks somewhat lower on the public’s priority list, with about a third (35 percent) of Americans saying it is one of the top priorities for U.S. engagement in world affairs, and half (51 percent) listing it as an important priority. When asked specifically about U.S. global health efforts, 69 percent of Americans say improving access to clean water should be one of the top priorities; followed by combating disease outbreaks like Ebola and Zika (62 percent), improving children’s health, including vaccinations, (61 percent) and reducing hunger and malnutrition (61 percent)…” (4/21).

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Senate Passes Global Food Security Act; House, Senate Staffers Working On Compromise Final Bill

ONE Blog: The Global Food Security Act passed the Senate … so what’s next?
Ted Brennan, assistant director of government affairs at the ONE Campaign, writes, “On April 20, the United States Senate passed its version of S. 1252, the Global Food Security Act (GFSA), by unanimous consent. … Since the House and Senate have passed slightly different versions of the GFSA, congressional members and staff are now working to iron out the differences and preparing a final bill that can be quickly passed in both chambers…” (4/20).

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Public-Private Partnership Helps Build HIV/AIDS Laboratory Capacity In Africa

CDC’s “Global HIV/AIDS”: Confronting an Overlooked Challenge to Help Fight Disease in Africa
This blog post discusses the challenge of weak laboratory capacity in African nations and the importance of strengthening the systems to help treat HIV/AIDS. “…To overcome this major health challenge, in 2007 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), PEPFAR, and Becton Dickinson (BD) joined forces with Ministries of Health in four African countries. The results of this innovative partnership, known as Labs for Life, will be released this week for the first time in Washington, D.C. Details of the partnership, including country-specific case studies, are featured in this month’s Journal of Infectious Diseases…” (4/19).

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