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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Senate Compromise Zika Spending Package Stalled; House Speaker Ryan Says All Options Open

Associated Press: Obama wants $1.9B to fight Zika: Where does it stand?
“President Barack Obama’s $1.9 billion request for emergency money to combat the Zika virus has been sitting before Congress for more than two months, and there’s no obvious path forward despite a growing threat in the hot summer months and increasing public anxiety…” (Taylor, 4/28).

CQ News: Zika Emergency Spending Could Be Threatened by Senate Blowup
“A compromise package under negotiation by Senate appropriators that would combat the Zika virus appeared in danger Wednesday as Democrats attacked Republicans anew for not moving fast enough. A joint news conference on the Zika virus with House and Senate Democrats came just an hour after a Senate meltdown over the chamber’s first appropriations bill, which could further complicate plans to pass Zika emergency funding alongside a regular appropriations measure…” (McCrimmon, 4/27).

The Hill: Overnight Healthcare: More trouble for Zika funding
“…The lead negotiator on the funding package, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said she had not heard from her GOP counterparts on the Senate Appropriations Committee in about a week. She said the radio silence comes after multiple promising conversations about a funding deal…” (Ferris/Sullivan, 4/27).

The Hill: Zika alarm rings out in D.C.
“Dozens of lobbying groups flocked to Capitol Hill in the first three months of 2016 to lobby on Zika amid growing alarm about the spread of the virus. In all, 57 companies, organizations, trade groups, and universities reported advocating on Zika in some way between January and March, including the U.S. Travel Association, the March of Dimes, the National Pest Management Association, GlaxoSmithKline, and Vanderbilt University…” (Wilson, 4/27).

Reuters: House Speaker Ryan: All options open on Zika funding
“House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday said a range of options to provide funds to fight Zika, adding that lawmakers take the threat seriously but have not yet decided the best way to allocate resources to prevent and combat the deadly virus…” (Heavey, 4/27).

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MSF Delivers Petitions To Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline Asking For Lower-Cost Pneumonia Vaccines

The Guardian: Shareholders urged to push for cheaper pneumonia drugs
“Shareholders are being urged to use the annual general meetings of Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline to put pressure on the companies to lower the price of their life-saving pneumonia vaccines…” (Kollewe, 4/27).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Charity urges price cut for pneumonia vaccine for poor children
“Global charity Médecins Sans Frontières delivered a petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures to pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. on Wednesday, asking the drugmaker to slash the price of its pneumonia vaccine for poor children. Supporters of a proposal to cut the vaccine price to $5 U.S. per needy child took their petition, and a baby’s crib covered with signatures, to the company’s New York City headquarters on the eve of its annual shareholder meeting. They made the same request of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which also makes a vaccine to prevent pneumonia…” (Malo, 4/27).

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Proportion Of Income Spent On Health Care Will Continue To Increase For People Living In Developing Nations, Study Shows

SciDev.Net: World’s poorest face large ongoing health bills
“By 2040, people in developing countries will continue to spend a greater proportion of their own money on health care than those in the developed world as national health spending is failing to keep up with demand, a Lancet study warns…” (Shankar, 4/28).

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Malaria Elimination Possible With More Investment, Former WHO Official Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: With more cash, we can eliminate malaria within our lifetime: ex-WHO official
“Malaria can be eliminated soon, but only with much more investment, both to get rid of the disease and to keep it at bay, a former senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) said. … ‘It’s very crucial that the world understands that … malaria can be got rid of. That we’re not condemned to live with such a dreadful disease — which is preventable and treatable — beyond our generation,’ Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho said in an interview…” (Whiting, 4/27).

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North Korea's Food Security Worsening Due To Drought, FAO Warns

Associated Press: U.N. says North Korea food security worsening
“The U.N. food agency says water scarcity has caused a drop in North Korea’s food production for the first time since 2010, threatening to worsen food security in the reclusive nation…” (4/27).

International Business Times: Drought-hit North Korea ‘facing food security threat’
“…Cristina Coslet, the agency’s North Korea monitor, said government-distributed food rations, on which about 70 percent of the population rely on, had decreased ‘considerably’ over the past year. Total food production declined nine percent in 2015, the first drop in output in five years…” (Arvinth, 4/28).

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MSF-, ICRC-Backed Syrian Hospital Destroyed In Aleppo Airstrike; At Least 27 Killed

The Guardian: Airstrike on MSF-backed Aleppo hospital kills patients and doctors
“A Syrian hospital backed by Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been destroyed in an airstrike in Aleppo, killing patients and doctors including one of the last pediatricians remaining in the rebel-held part of the city…” (Shaheen/Black, 4/28).

Washington Post: Airstrike destroys Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, killing staff and patients
“…It was not immediately clear who carried out the air attack. The Syrian air force and allied fighters have been waging missions in the area against rebels factions opposing the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The overnight raids — including a direct hit on Aleppo’s al-Quds hospital — killed at least 27 people, rights monitors and rescue volunteers said…” (Cunningham, 4/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Mobilizing Global Health Resources Will Require Strong Public Finance Systems, Additional Investments

Huffington Post: Mobilizing Resources to Finance Global Health Priorities
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health and child and maternal survival coordinator at USAID

“On April 14 and 15 I had the pleasure to co-host, together with the World Bank, the first annual forum on Resource Mobilization for Universal Health Coverage. … Significant progress in global health during the last few decades has opened the possibility of closing the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor countries in the span of one generation, a grand convergence vision that is now enshrined in the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. This trend, however requires additional investments equivalent to about $70 billion a year, according to the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health. The good news is that this level of investment in the health sector has the potential to yield economic returns of nine to 20 times its cost. Unfortunately, despite the high projected return on investment, development assistance for health remains stagnant. … Now that the notion of affordable and quality health care for all is enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, we need to think about how to pay for this and how best to strike a balance between efficiency and compassion” (4/27).

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CDC Will Continue Efforts To End Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Global immunization: 50 Years of work and success
Rebecca Martin, director of the CDC’s Center for Global Health

“…CDC will continue working closely with governments and ministries of health in countries where disease takes a heavy toll and where immunization systems have gaps. … At the same time, CDC will continue to conduct research and share best practices to ensure governments can detect and respond to infectious disease threats before they become national, regional, or international crises. … This year we are building on our role as the lead of the global Polio Oversight Board to focus efforts at transitioning the resources of polio to end other childhood disease like measles. We … are guided by what we’ve achieved so far, the indisputable need of what’s left to be done, and the understanding that CDC, working arm-in-arm with ministries of health and an array of other partners, won’t stop until the job is finished” (4/26).

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Improving Routine Vaccinations, Boosting Population Immunity Against Diseases Critical To Global Health Security

Devex: Measles — the canary in the coalmine
Seth Berkely, CEO of the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…[A]ttention must focus on where measles outbreaks still occur — not just because of the tens of thousands of lives the disease claims each year, but because these represent the reservoirs of infectious disease for the world. To do this we need to stop focusing just on catch-up campaigns whenever there is a flare up, and instead concentrate our resources on improving routine immunization to boost population immunity against multiple diseases, and supplement this with campaigns as needed. And in the meantime, whenever and wherever an outbreak occurs we need to treat it as a warning of a potential vulnerability in the preparedness of those countries. In global health security terms, measles is the proverbial canary in the coal mine” (4/27).

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Globally Coordinated Vaccine Rollout Could End Polio, Yield Lessons For Strengthening Immunization More Broadly

TIME: Historic Global Vaccine Rollout Could End Polio Forever
Walter Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center, professor at Emory University, and former director of the United States’ National Immunization Program

“…Since we no longer need to protect against wild type 2 [polio virus], we’re replacing the trivalent vaccine with a bivalent version that doesn’t include the type 2 strain and thus significantly reduces the risk of vaccine-derived polio. This is a massive effort as the current vaccine must be removed from all health facilities in 155 countries and replaced by the bivalent vaccine — all over a two-week period. This switch is one of the final steps in the polio endgame plan to stop the disease once and for all. … This globally coordinated vaccine project will yield important lessons for strengthening immunization more broadly. … As we embark on this global switch, we will learn more about how to deliver vaccines all over the world and protect children from other diseases that kill millions each year…” (4/27).

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Liberia Should Pass Legislation To Ban FGM, Protect More Women, Girls

The Guardian: Liberia needs to muster the courage to ban FGM
Mary Wandia, FGM program manager at Equality Now

“…Unlike neighboring countries such as Guinea and Sierra Leone, Liberia has already managed to significantly reduce FGM prevalence … However, unless tough legislation is enacted and properly implemented, it may be difficult to accelerate this change and the lives and wellbeing of millions more girls will be put at risk. [Liberian President Ellen] Johnson-Sirleaf is well positioned to ‘muster the courage’ to do what is necessary to ensure that Liberia bans FGM — either as part of the current domestic violence bill, or as a standalone bill, as a matter of urgency. There has been too much discussion and not enough action. Liberia cannot afford to keep making statements to make it seem like it is doing something, without following through and putting real measures in place, which promote and protect the rights of its girls” (4/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 286 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including an article on the main decisions made at the Global Fund Board meeting, an analysis on grant performance and risks in the Nigeria portfolio, and an article discussing the fund’s new strategy for 2017-2022: “Investing to End Epidemics” (4/28).

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