KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

News Outlets Publish Articles Recognizing World Malaria Day, Calls For Increased Prevention Efforts

Los Angeles Times: World Malaria Day brings a call to help prevention: ‘Zero malaria starts with me’ (Gomez, 4/25).

The Telegraph: Governments must be held accountable on commitments to fight malaria (Gulland, 4/25).

The Telegraph: World Malaria Day: how a remote tribal region is bucking the global trend (Wallen, 4/25).

The Telegraph: Malaria in Sierra Leone: video stories behind the stats (Jewell et al., 4/25).

U.N. News: ‘Zero malaria starts with me’ U.N. health agency urges grassroots responsibility on World Day (4/25).

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Media Outlets Continue Coverage Of Malaria Vaccine Pilot Program In African Countries

BBC News: Malaria: Africa pilots world’s first vaccine in major trial (4/25).

Deutsche Welle: Malaria vaccination: Paving the way to immunity (Fricke, 4/25).

The Lancet: RTS,S malaria vaccine pilots in three African countries (Adepoju, 4/27).

Nature: First proven malaria vaccine rolled out in Africa — but doubts linger (Maxmen, 4/25).

New York Times: Widespread Testing Begins on Malaria Vaccine That Is Only Partly Effective (McNeil, 4/24).

Quartz: The new malaria vaccine program for African children is promising but still quite limited (Adepoju, 4/27).

SciDev.Net: Malaria vaccine rollout in children ‘ends hiatus’ (Michael-Phiri, 4/26).

VICE: The World’s First Malaria Vaccination Is Here (Joshi, 4/25).

Vox: Malaria is among the world’s biggest killers of children. Now there’s a vaccine (Piper, 4/24).

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DRC Authorities Arrest Suspects In Murder Of Ebola Doctor As Health Workers Threaten Strike Over Safety Concerns

Agence France-Presse: DR Congo arrests 11 over murder of doctor fighting Ebola
“Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo said they arrested 11 suspects Thursday in the [April 19] murder … of a doctor with the World Health Organization (WHO) who was fighting an Ebola outbreak in the country…” (4/25).

CIDRAP News: DRC’s 23 Ebola cases today top daily record
“The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) [Friday] said Ebola infections have been confirmed in 23 more people, a record number for one day, coming on the heels of worsening conditions in hard hit areas of North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The surge of cases, which often happens after attacks on the Ebola response, puts the new outbreak total within striking distance of 1,400 cases, and [Friday] the fatality count reached 900…” (Schnirring, 4/26).

NPR: Why Health Workers In The Ebola Hot Zone Are Threatening To Strike
“The doctors and nurses who work in the heart of the Ebola outbreak zone in Democratic Republic of the Congo say they’ve had enough. For weeks they’ve been subjected to threats of violence and even actual assaults. On Wednesday they gave the government an ultimatum: Improve security within one week or we’ll go on strike…” (Aizenman, 4/25).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Associated Press, Axios, The BMJ, CIDRAP News, The Economist, and Reuters.

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Pakistan Suspends Nationwide Polio Vaccination Drive After Health Workers, Security Officers Attacked, Killed

CNN: Pakistan’s anti-vaccination movement leads to string of deadly attacks
“A string of deadly attacks in Pakistan targeting health care workers has sparked fears that the spread of misinformation is fueling a resurgence of violence against those attempting to rid the country of polio. Attacks were reported on Monday in Bannu, Wednesday in Buner, and Thursday in Quetta. One polio vaccination worker and two policemen have been killed. Public health experts say there is concern that these attacks are exacerbating what is already one of the world’s most intractable public health threats…” (Saifi/Shah, 4/26).

Deutsche Welle: Pakistan suspends polio vaccine drive after health worker attacks
“Pakistani authorities have suspended the anti-polio campaign ‘for an indefinite period’ across the country amid increasing violent attacks on polio workers. An anti-polio drive was launched in all districts of the country on April 22…” (Shams, 4/27).

Additional coverage of the polio vaccination drive and violence against health workers is available from Agence France-Presse, New York Times (2), Reuters, The Telegraph, and UPI.

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21.1M Children Globally Miss Out On First Dose Of Measles Vaccine Annually, UNICEF Estimates

Quartz: More than 20 million kids miss out on the first dose of the measles vaccine every year
“Amid news of serious measles outbreaks in several countries around the world, the United Nations Children Investment Fund (UNICEF) released a report [last] week showing that 21.1 million children miss out on the first dose of the measles vaccine every year, creating a ‘pathway’ to the global outbreak. … According to UNICEF, only 85% of kids globally received a first dose of the vaccine in 2017, and only 67% received the second dose. That is far below the 93-95% threshold the World Health Organization says is required for herd immunity … In a press release, UNICEF blamed this on ‘lack of access, poor health systems, complacency, and in some cases fear or skepticism about vaccines’…” (Timsit, 4/25).

Additional coverage of the report is available from Al Jazeera, CNN, and New York Times.

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Devex Examines USAID's TB Strategy In Kyrgyzstan, Globally

Devex: USAID’s TB strategy as seen from Kyrgyzstan
“…USAID’s TB strategy worldwide … is twofold: focusing on local capacity building in order to ultimately rely on local solutions and resources; as well as funding research and development to move to a purely oral treatment regimen in concordance with the latest World Health Organization guidelines. In Kyrgyzstan and other post-Soviet states, USAID’s strategy to defeat TB includes cutting health care expenditures — in part by putting an end to interminable hospital stays. What this looks like on the ground is shortened treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB, and limiting hospital stays to two months or until patients are no longer contagious, with treatment continued on an outpatient basis and supplemented with support and follow-up by social workers…” (Ravindran, 4/25).

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U.N. SG Guterres Appeals For Greater International Support For Southern Africa Following 2nd Major Cyclone In 6 Weeks

U.N. News: U.N. appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone
“With Mozambique and Comoros battling heavy rains and raging flood waters in the wake of Cyclone Kenneth — the second major storm to hit southern Africa in the past six weeks — the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are supporting national authorities in assessing needs and providing help. U.N. Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Sunday that Secretary-General António Guterres is appealing to the international community for additional resources, critically needed to fund the response to the twin tragedies in the immediate, medium- and longer-term…” (4/28).

Additional coverage of the damage from Cyclones Kenneth and Idai is available from The Guardian, New York Times, and Reuters.

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Taiwan Receives Global Health Information From Allies Attending World Health Assembly Amid Meeting Rejection

VOA News: Blocked from WHO, Taiwan Gets Global Medical Info from Friends
“Taiwan’s anticipated rejection from observing a third consecutive World Health Assembly will slow its access to world health information including disease outbreaks. But the government used to those rejections has found a series of backdoors to get the health alerts and other updates that it needs. … Some of the 16 countries that both recognize Taiwan diplomatically and belong to the WHO also pass along information from health assemblies…” (Jennings, 4/26).

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U.N. Launches Global Investors For Sustainable Development Alliance To Better Align International Financing With SDGs

Devex: New investor alliance launches to tackle SDG financing
“The United Nations has announced the creation of a Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance, which will bring together a group of chief executive officers as part of its efforts to more closely align the international financial system with the 2030 agenda. The alliance … was announced at the Financing for Development Forum and will be officially launched in September…” (Saldinger, 4/26).

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More News In Global Health

Al Jazeera: Bill Gates on ending disease, saving lives: ‘Time is on our side’ (4/27).

Associated Press: U.N.: No screen time for babies; only 1 hour for kids under 5 (4/24).

Devex: How medical marijuana could help this country finance the SDGs (Saldinger, 4/26).

Devex: Solar holds promise for remote health facilities, but key gaps remain (Jerving, 4/26).

Devex: Q&A: Changing attitudes for global health progress (Root, 4/25).

Devex: Nigeria’s biggest cause of permanent blindness is failing to attract attention (Adepoju, 4/24).

The Guardian: Girls in Bangladesh learn to talk their way out of forced marriage (Griffin, 4/29).

PBS NewsHour: Peruvian women alleging forced sterilization seek justice (Kay, 4/28).

SciDev.Net: Funding Africa’s mHealth innovators only half solution (Owings, 4/25).

The Telegraph: World’s largest medical drone delivery network takes flight in Ghana (Knott, 4/24).

VOA News: World Free of Malaria, HIV, Cancer Possible with Vaccines (Pearson, 4/26).

WIRED: The Antibiotics Business Is Broken — But There’s a Fix (McKenna, 4/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts, Funding Needed To Continue Progress Toward Global Malaria Elimination

Devex: Opinion: Combating the deadliest animal on Earth
Tom Hart, North America executive director of the ONE Campaign

“…After over 15 years of strong U.S. support for the Global Fund, we’ve reached an impasse where President Trump appears ready to trade our hard-fought gains for a white flag of surrender. Last month, the White House proposed a budget that would drastically cut the U.S. historic contribution to the Global Fund … Pulling back [from the Global Fund] now will signal retreat at a time when we should be doubling down on the progress we’ve already made. The heartbreaking reality of malaria is that children — who through no fault of their own were born into a home without a bed net or a village without a hospital — are its biggest target. It’s within our collective power to stop this outrage, but getting there will require the United States and other donors to continue their full-throated support of programs including the Global Fund that are helping stop malaria one bite at a time…” (4/25).

The Hill: New malaria vaccine: A new biotechnology for the children of Africa
Peter J. Hotez, vaccine scientist, professor of pediatrics, and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine

“…While lives have been saved, the overall progress in the fight against malaria is still slow, and it would be great to have in-hand a game-changing technology to accelerate future public health gains. … [T]he most effective way to save lives is through the development, testing, and ultimately introduction of a vaccine. For malaria, several vaccines are in different stages of product and clinical development, but the one furthest along is known as RTS,S … The delivery of a partially-protective vaccine [such as RTS,S] being used alongside of existing measures is a relatively new idea in the global health community, and one that might take time for policymakers to accept. But it’s one that we’ll need to get used to. … I hope it becomes the first of several new vaccines to come online for the world’s most prevalent neglected diseases” (4/25).

Miami Herald: We can — and must — stop malaria in the Americas
Henri R. Ford, pediatric surgeon and dean of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

“…Malaria elimination in the Americas is … a matter of health security. … Ongoing support to programs such as the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is essential. … Strong U.S. leadership must work with country partners to save lives, protect public health across the region, and prevent a malaria resurgence here at home. Overcoming the challenge of diagnosing and treating malaria in remote areas will require continued partnerships between governments, the private sector, communities, and international institutions. Support from entities like PMI and the Global Fund, with sustained investment from donor countries including the U.S., has helped save millions of lives from malaria. This disease can be wiped out, but not if we stand still. We must step up the fight to end malaria in the Americas — and everywhere — for good” (4/24).

The Telegraph: Tackling malaria at the grassroots is key to its elimination
Olivia Ngou, founder and executive director of Impact Santé Afrique and member of Civil Society for Malaria Elimination (CS4ME) and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria

“…As we mark World Malaria Day on April 25 it is time to think again about how to combat a disease that still kills 250,000 children in Africa every year. Scientific research into vaccines and drugs is of course vital, but working with communities to tackle the disease where it hits — in villages and towns across Africa — is a key part of the battle. … Civil Society 4 Malaria Elimination was established to tackle the disease at the grassroots. It is the first global network of community and civil society organizations working for the elimination of malaria. It aims to promote more inclusive and effective programs that focus on communities and are based on social, gender, and human rights. … I see the concrete progress we are making every day but we must take the fight to the people the disease hits hardest” (4/25).

The Hill: Malaria kills 1,000 children daily, now there’s a vaccine to fight it
Chris Plowe, professor of medicine, molecular genetics and microbiology, and global health at Duke University and director of the Duke Global Health Institute

“…The vaccine [launched last week] in Malawi is no silver bullet. … Still, there is good reason to hope that the ‘world’s first’ will be followed by something better, perhaps soon. A completely different vaccine — one that, in a strange but satisfying biological twist, is actually manufactured in mosquitoes — will soon be rolled out in a large field test on Bioko Island off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, aiming to eliminate malaria there. What these vaccines have in common, along with many of our best malaria drugs over the last century, is that they were developed with U.S. government funding, including long-term funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and especially the Department of Defense malaria research programs. The importance of this sustained public commitment to innovation cannot be overlooked. If we hope to read news about tomorrow’s more effective vaccines, we need to remain committed to funding the search for better tools today…” (4/24).

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Opinion Piece Discusses U.S. Opposition To Portions Of Draft U.N. Resolution On Sexual Violence In Conflict

The Conversation: U.S. obstructs U.N. resolution on rape. Why? A long history of religious nationalism
J.M. Opal, associate professor of history and chair of history and classical studies at McGill University

“A U.N. resolution to punish those who use rape as a weapon of war and to help those who survive such atrocities may not happen due to U.S. opposition. That’s right: the United States government is opposing a measure to combat systematic rape. The issue, apparently, is that the resolution mentions family planning clinics. … the worry is that a woman from a war zone might choose to terminate a pregnancy rather than have her rapist’s child. … In the case at hand, evangelicals push for a total ban on any U.S. support for abortion providers, anywhere in the world, and the administration obliges … And so a U.N. resolution that should be a no-brainer becomes a non-starter…” (4/28).

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Opinion Piece Explores Trump Administration's Actions On Women's Economic Empowerment, Health, Rights

Foreign Policy: The White House Won’t Empower Women. Sudan’s Protests Will.
Sisonke Msimang, author

“…The White House global economic program for women hopes to promote business opportunities. Indeed, it echoes a wider focus within the Trump administration on job creation and economic development, rather than on human rights, good governance, and other traditional staples of U.S. foreign policy. And while the focus on jobs has some merits, the Trump administration has … doubled down on the global gag rule [also known as the Mexico City policy], which denies U.S. government [global health] funding to [foreign nongovernmental] organizations that provide [or promote] abortions [as a method of family planning] outside the United States. Many of these groups also support family planning, HIV treatment, primary health care, and nutrition programs — none of which can be funded if they provide abortions, even if using another donor’s money. … As women around the world focus on the toughest and most strategic issues for women — abortion, gender violence, and family planning — the U.S. government is unfortunately … underwriting programs that barely address the practical needs of women in poor countries while using the global gag rule to undermine their access to essential services…” (4/25).

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Achieving Health For All Requires 'Change In Mindset,' Political Commitment, Effective Partnerships

Science: Health for all
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF

“…Achieving health for all will … require a change in mindset. We must examine the barriers that deny health care to so many others. Such barriers can take different practical, cultural, or social forms, but identifying them can inform the development of new tailored solutions. … This new mindset will require a shift in business models. Instead of seeking solutions that have the greatest utilitarian value, it could be better to look for innovative solutions that have an intended disproportionate impact, largely benefiting the few rather than the many. … As the 2030 deadline looms for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), … providing health for all is likely to become increasingly more difficult. The good news is that nations have already taken the first major step with the SDG Global Action Plan, a commitment made last year by global health agencies to unite around efforts to accelerate progress. The hope is to start implementing a plan in September 2019. Health for all is achievable, but this vision requires new thinking by everyone” (4/26).

SciDev.Net: Child immunization as key pathway to health for all
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO of Amref Health Africa and chair of the UHC2030 Steering Committee

“…One particular entry point to universal health coverage is immunization … All children — no matter where they are born — should have access to prevention as well as health care including live-saving vaccines. This is a fundamental principal of universal health coverage. Yet low-income, migrant, and marginalized groups continue to face disproportionate challenges accessing prevention and quality, affordable health care. … Achieving health for all in Africa means paying close attention to the needs of these key populations. … [V]accines truly embody the principle of universal health coverage because immunized children are protected from disease no matter where they live. … As commitment to reaching the last mile in health gains momentum, it is critical that we come together as a community — political leaders, technical experts, and civil society alike — to find ways to deliver basic health care services such as immunization to every person no matter where they come from. … [T]o be successful, these commitments at the political level need to be coupled with effective partnerships and an engaged civil society, reflecting the local circumstances and national dialogues that must shape each country’s unique pathway towards health for all” (4/26).

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Global Public Health Authorities Must Take Urgent Action In DRC To Ensure Ebola Does Not Spread

Washington Post: Health officials must learn from their mistakes before Ebola jumps the fence — again
Editorial Board

“…Global public health authorities need to figure out not only how to save lives with medical treatment but also how to do so in war zones, as is sometimes accomplished, albeit with difficulty, in humanitarian relief. In the case of Ebola, the primary health care tactic is to contain the virus inside a ring, interrupting transmission, a process that requires several steps: surveillance, case investigation, contact tracing, and vaccination. … Yet, lately, case counts have risen to double digits on many days. A surge of violence has intimidated many people from seeking treatment, making the virus harder to contain. … The WHO response has been far better than its disastrous performance in 2014 but is still … short of what’s needed to fight the outbreak. Everyone needs to wake up to the urgent needs and long-term lessons, before Ebola again jumps the fence” (4/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Fact Sheet Examine Global Efforts To End Malaria On World Day

American Enterprise Institute’s “AEIdeas”: Taking stock of the war against malaria
Roger Bate, AEI visiting scholar, writes, “The malaria situation has improved markedly since the launch of [the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)], and the donor community has done a great job in more than halving cases and deaths from malaria. One can only hope that these gains will continue, but that can only happen if we combat problems, especially product theft” (4/25).

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO): Zero Malaria Must Start With Pregnancy
This blog post states, “While the World Health Organization (WHO) joins with partners to keep malaria high on the political agenda, mobilize additional resources, and empower communities to take ownership of malaria prevention and care, FIGO insists that the challenge of malaria infection during pregnancy cannot be ignored…” (4/25).

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Step Up The Fight Against Malaria
This fact sheet examines efforts and progress on ending malaria worldwide, stating, “Malaria remains a fight we can win, if we build and maintain unwavering commitment. We have the tools to end malaria…” (April 2019).

ONE Blog: How the Global Fund is tackling malaria at every angle
Robyn Detoro, digital coordinator at the ONE Campaign, discusses how the Global Fund and partners “are taking a multi-pronged approach to fighting back against malaria…” (4/25).

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FT Health Recognizes World Malaria Day With Articles On Global Malaria, Interview With Head Of RBM Partnership

FT Health: Taking the fight to malaria
In recognition of World Malaria Day, which takes place annually on April 25, the latest issue of the Financial Times’ weekly global health newsletter examines progress toward ending global malaria, highlighting an FT Health special report on the epidemic, which includes an article on the challenges of attracting private sector capital to address the epidemic. The newsletter also features an interview with Abdourahmane Diallo, former health minister of Guinea and newly appointed chief executive of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, who discusses RBM priorities and the likelihood of ending the epidemic, as well as provides a round-up of global health-related news stories (Jack/Dodd, 4/26).

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HRW Criticizes U.S. Stance On U.N.'s Resolution On Sexual Violence In Conflict

Human Rights Watch: U.S. Stance at U.N. a Backward Step on Women’s Rights
“The United States’ threat to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution on sexual violence in conflict because it mentioned women’s reproductive health services is another deeply cynical and cruel step in its assault on women’s rights in U.S. foreign policy, Human Rights Watch said…” (4/25).

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Lancet Piece Discusses Past, Present, Future Of Global Health Financing

The Lancet: Past, present, and future of global health financing: a review of development assistance, government, out-of-pocket, and other private spending on health for 195 countries, 1995-2050
The Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network provides an overview of the past, present, and future state of global health financing across 195 countries, noting, “Financing for global health has increased steadily over the past two decades and is projected to continue increasing in the future, although at a slower pace of growth and with persistent disparities in per-capita health spending between countries. Out-of-pocket spending is projected to remain substantial outside of high-income countries. Many low-income countries are expected to remain dependent on development assistance, although with greater government spending, larger investments in health are feasible. In the absence of sustained new investments in health, increasing efficiency in health spending is essential to meet global health targets…” (4/25).

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From the U.S. Government

U.S. Government Agencies Recognize World Malaria Day

USAID: Statement from USAID Administrator Mark Green on World Malaria Day
USAID Administrator Mark Green states, “The U.S. government is an unwavering partner to national governments, other donors, multilateral organizations, the private sector, faith communities, academic institutions, and many others on the journey to Zero Malaria. This year’s World Malaria Day theme, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me,’ recognizes this important role we all play in ending malaria. Today, I reaffirm the steadfast support of the United States to this goal…” (4/25).

NIH: NIH statement on World Malaria Day 2019
This statement from B.F. (Lee) Hall and Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recognizes research by and supported by NIAID to develop treatments and vaccines for malaria. The researchers state, “On this World Malaria Day, we reaffirm our commitment to advancing the best research to reach our goal of ‘zero malaria'” (4/25).

USAID/Medium: The Journey of a Malaria Bed Net
Alexandra West, strategic communications and content intern in USAID’s Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, discusses efforts to deliver bed nets to rural Madagascar, writing, “With [the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)] and the Global Fund’s support, over 20 million Malagasy people are now protected from malaria after receiving more than 13 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets. It takes a ship, a truck, a zebu, a canoe, and a back to deliver life-saving malaria nets to millions of Malagasy people. It’s a challenge, but it is possible  –  and so is ending malaria for good” (4/25).

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From KFF

KFF Tracking Poll Examines Public Opinion On U.S. Role In Global Health

Kaiser Family Foundation: Where Does Public Opinion Stand on the U.S. Role in Global Health?
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has been tracking public opinion on the U.S. role in global health for the last decade. Now, more than two years into President Trump’s administration, the April 2019 KFF Health Tracking Poll examines whether this period, which has been marked by a changing U.S. stance toward international affairs, has shifted the public’s attitudes on these key issues. This brief provides an overview of KFF’s latest findings, and also looks at whether there have been any changes over time (Kates/Michaud et al., 4/24)

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