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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

White House To Use Ebola Funding For Zika Response, AP Reports; Health Organizations Urge Congressional Leaders To Approve Emergency Zika Funding

Associated Press: White House to transfer Ebola funds to combat Zika virus
“The Obama administration is to announce Wednesday it will transfer leftover money from the largely successful fight against Ebola to combat the growing threat of the Zika virus, congressional officials say…” (Taylor, 4/6).

STAT: White House will dip into Ebola funding to fight Zika, possibly ending impasse
“…The move, first reported by the Associated Press, could make it easier to negotiate with congressional Republicans over the rest of the Zika package. The Obama administration had asked for $1.9 billion in emergency funds to fight the spread of the virus, but top House Republicans pushed back, saying the administration should first use any money Congress has already provided for Ebola that hasn’t been spent…” (Nather/Scott, 4/5).

VOA News: Doctors Urge Congress to Fund Zika Research, Preparation
“…Dozens of organizations joined the March of Dimes on Tuesday in urging Congress to approve an emergency funding measure to protect pregnant women and to promote research on the Zika virus. … Because of what they see as an urgent need, 68 patient advocacy and health organizations have added their voices to those of the federal health agencies and Obama in petitioning Congress for new funding to help slow the spread of Zika and to finance programs to develop and test a vaccine…” (Pearson, 4/5).

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WHO, Partners Launch $2.2B Appeal For Humanitarian Health Needs For More Than 79M People In At Least 30 Countries

U.N. News Centre: WHO and partners appeal for $2.2 billion with humanitarian health needs at ‘all-time high’
“Ongoing turmoil in Syria and the impact of drought in Ethiopia are among the diverse and pressing crises cited by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) as the agency and its partners appealed for some $2.2 billion to provide lifesaving health services to more than 79 million people in more than 30 countries facing protracted emergencies this year…” (4/5).

VOA News: WHO: Global Health Emergencies on Rise
“More than 125 million people are living in crisis-affected countries, the World Health Organization reports, saying the three greatest emergencies are Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. … War and violence have wreaked havoc on these countries, says Rick Brennan, WHO’s director of emergency risk management and humanitarian response. The destruction has been felt in the loss of health infrastructure, the loss of staff, and the disruption of health programs like vaccination programs, according to Brennan…” (Schlein, 4/5).

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World Health Day Focuses On Diabetes Prevention, Management; Lancet Report Shows Number Of Adults With Disease Nearly Quadrupled Over Past 35 Years

News outlets discuss World Health Day, recognized annually by WHO on April 7, and this year’s focus on diabetes management and prevention worldwide, as well as a report on diabetes trends published in The Lancet.

Agence France-Presse: Diabetes cases have quadrupled since 1980: WHO
“The number of adults estimated to be living with diabetes has nearly quadrupled over 35 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday, urging huge efforts to change eating habits and increase physical activity…” (Simon, 4/5).

Associated Press: WHO: Diabetes rises fourfold over last quarter-century
“…The Geneva-based agency blamed the growing consumption of food and beverages high in sugar. Diabetes grew around the world, but increased most in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia…” (4/6).

BBC News: Deadly diabetes in ‘unrelenting march’
“…High blood sugar levels are a major killer — linked to 3.7 million deaths around the world each year, it says. And officials said the numbers would continue to increase unless ‘drastic action’ was taken…” (Gallagher, 4/6).

The Guardian: WHO calls for healthier diets to combat alarming surge in diabetes
“…There are 422 million adults living with diabetes globally, most of them in poorer countries with limited access to treatment although the numbers are rising everywhere, says the report released for World Health Day on Thursday. That is 8.5 percent of the global adult population. In 1980, there were 108 million, which was 4.7 percent…” (Boseley, 4/6).

Reuters: Diabetes cases reach 422 million as poorer countries see steep rises
“…In one of the largest studies to date of diabetes trends, the researchers said aging populations and rising levels of obesity across the world mean diabetes is becoming ‘a defining issue for global public health’…” (Kelland, 4/6).

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News Outlets Examine Various Aspects Of Zika Virus, From Research To New Questions Regarding Infection's Lasting Effects

New York Times: In a Remote Ugandan Lab, Encounters With Zika and Mosquitoes Decades Ago
“…With its cool, wet climate, the swampy [Zika forest] area was a giant petri dish for virologists. They decided to make it a field site for a research institute nearby in Entebbe, an outpost of what was then the Buganda Kingdom. … Today, modern labs at the Uganda Virus Research Institute are a hive of science. Its campus is supported by the United States and other Western nations…” (Kron, 4/5).

Reuters: Zika mystery deepens with evidence of nerve cell infections
“Top Zika investigators now believe that the birth defect microcephaly and the paralyzing Guillain-Barré syndrome may be just the most obvious maladies caused by the mosquito-borne virus. Fueling that suspicion are recent discoveries of serious brain and spinal cord infections — including encephalitis, meningitis, and myelitis — in people exposed to Zika…” (Steenhuysen, 4/6).

STAT: Is Zika a permanent threat or a fleeting scare?
“…That like dengue and West Nile virus, this mosquito-spread disease is now going to be a regular fixture — and a perennial risk for pregnant women. But will it? There are more questions than answers about what the future holds for the interplay between humans and the Zika virus. Let’s take a look at some important ones…” (Branswell, 4/5).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agency to train dozens of experts on nuclear-related techniques to identify Zika
“The United Nations atomic energy agency plans to train dozens of participants this month from mostly Latin America and Caribbean countries on how to use nuclear-derived techniques to detect the Zika virus in as short a time as three hours…” (4/5).

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India's Crackdown On Foreign-Funded Health Workers Could Harm Major Initiatives, Including HIV/AIDS, TB Programs, Experts Warn

New York Times: Wary of Outside Influence, India Limits Foreign Involvement in Health System
“…Under the new rules, consultants who have worked within India’s health system for foreign aid agencies for more than three years, a total of around 100 people, will be terminated, said Manoj Jhalani, joint secretary in the Ministry of Health. The roughly 100 who remain will need to be approved by a new screening committee. … Experts warned that if vacancies went unfilled, major health initiatives, like those aimed at fighting the spread of AIDS and tuberculosis, could suffer serious setbacks…” (Barry/Raj, 4/5).

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Doctors, Unlicensed Distribution Contribute To Antibiotic Resistance In India, Country's Agriculture Ministry Says

Bloomberg: Quacks and Chemists Drive India’s Drug Resistance, Ministry Says
“Doctors, unlicensed medical practitioners, and illicit drug sales are the main culprits behind antibiotic resistance in India, the country’s agriculture ministry said in a statement that shifted blame for the growing public health problem away from veterinarians…” (Pearson, 4/6).

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Yellow Fever Deaths In Angola Rise To 225; Concerns Remain Over Vaccine Shortages

Quartz: High global vaccine prices could worsen Angola’s deadly yellow fever outbreak
“…The solution [to the outbreak] so far has been to launch a massive vaccination campaign, and WHO and its partners had already vaccinated 5.7 million people by the end of March. But a global shortage of the already expensive yellow fever vaccine is thwarting efforts to stop the outbreak, and 1.5 million doses of the vaccine are still needed…” (Chutel, 4/6).

Reuters: Angola’s yellow fever death toll rises to 225: health minister
“The death toll from yellow fever outbreak in Angola has risen to 225, with an estimated 1,600 cases now recorded, Health Minister Luis Sambo said on Tuesday…” (Coroado/Mapenzauswa, 4/6).

Science Speaks: Angola yellow fever outbreak features longstanding realities, increasing urgency
“…[T]his week World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan visited Angola [and] called for urgent action to respond to an outbreak of yellow fever there that she called the worst the country has seen in 30 years. It was a reminder that, in the midst of the ongoing impacts of the spread of Ebola and Zika, the concept of responding to predictable health threats before they become emergencies remains far from reality…” (Barton, 4/5).

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Johnson & Johnson Opens First Office Of New Global Public Health Unit In South Africa

Wall Street Journal: J&J Makes Renewed Push Into Africa
“Johnson & Johnson is deepening its business in Africa, adding new research, development, and distribution capabilities to boost sales of new medicines to fight HIV/AIDS and other major killer diseases. The makeover formally kicks off Wednesday in Cape Town, South Africa, with the opening of the first office of a new global public health unit the company created last year…” (Rockoff/McKay, 4/5).

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Rockefeller Foundation Managing Director Speaks With Devex About UHC, SDG Indicators

Devex: Ahead of World Health Day, 3 questions for a UHC proponent
“…[W]hat makes the indicator on financial protection so important in the fight to achieve UHC, and how close or far is the world from meeting this ultimate health goal? Here are a few edited excerpts from Devex’s conversation with Michael Myers, managing director at the Rockefeller Foundation and a strong proponent of universal health coverage…” (Ravelo, 4/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Obama Administration, Congress Should 'Accelerate Progress On Efforts' For Transparent, Accountable, Sustainable Foreign Aid

The Hill: Getting more bang for our foreign assistance bucks
Jim Kolbe, former congressman from Arizona, senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and honorary co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

“…[A]pplying a few, commonsense principles can help ensure assistance dollars are well-spent to help those in need and to spur growth around the world. … First, we need to be working across the aisle, across the House-Senate divide, and down Pennsylvania Avenue. … Second, U.S. assistance is most effective when partner countries are actively involved and take the lead in designing assistance programs. … Third, the public here in the U.S. and in partner countries are demanding more accountability — and the U.S. should be leading the way to respond. … Looking ahead, leaders would do well to remember that the principles of transparency, accountability, and local ownership must be part of our development DNA and not just for USAID, but across all 22 U.S. agencies that deliver foreign assistance. … There may be only nine months before a new administration and Congress are sworn in, but that is time enough for this administration and Congress to heed the lessons we have learned and work together to accelerate progress on efforts to make foreign aid more transparent, accountable, and sustainable…” (4/5).

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Global Community Must Avoid Complacency, Remain Proactive In Face Of Disease Threats

Nature: Viral complacency
Editorial Board

“…Too often in the past, the world has stumbled from epidemic to epidemic, failing to learn the lessons of the last. Emergency responses to the latest threat capture headlines, research, and political attention. But too often this attention quickly fades. … Following the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, a slew of commissions and reports laid out a broad consensus on what needs to be done for a more proactive and sustained preparedness against epidemic threats. These measures include reinforcing public health systems, surveillance, and diagnostic capacities, and training health workers to identify and respond early to disease outbreaks. Weaknesses in these areas have been identified as factors that allowed what was a small Ebola outbreak to spiral out of control. … The big risk is that as the Ebola epidemic fades from memory, the sustained political commitment and funding required will not materialize, and business as usual will resume. That must not be allowed to happen” (4/5).

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Solving Health Workforce Shortage Requires Addressing Other Global Issues, Trends

Huffington Post: 3 Issues We Can’t Ignore If We’re Going to Solve the Health Workforce Crisis
Pape Amadou Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth International

“…The shortfall [in health workers] is staggering. But the solution is more complex than just recruiting more health workers. And the shortage isn’t the only barrier that keeps people from having access to care. In our interconnected world, we can’t address the health worker shortage from inside the bubble of global health — seemingly unrelated world events and trends have a huge impact on health care around the world. Here are just three of the global issues in the news right now that we cannot ignore if we’re going to solve the health workforce crisis: 1. Terrorism … 2. Urbanization … 3. Inequality … Health systems are more than just buildings and policies. Their raison d’être is people — both those who seek health care and those who provide it. And as we celebrate World Health Worker Week April 3-9, we’re celebrating all those who promote greater health and well-being around the world. Investing in them is our best chance at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals…” (4/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Investing In, Optimizing Health Workforce Critical To Achieving AIDS-Free Generation

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Equipping Health Workers to Achieve an AIDS-free Generation
Shayanne Martin, Diana Frymus, and Kim Rogers, all members of the Health Workforce Team in the Office of HIV/AIDS at USAID, discuss the role of health workers in advancing global development and achieving an AIDS-free generation, writing, “The bottom line is that if we want to achieve an AIDS-free generation, a key component will be to better optimize the available workforce for HIV/AIDS services” (4/5).

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PATH Act Would Allow FDA To Approve Antibiotics For Limited Populations, Could Advance Antibiotic Drug Development

Health Affairs Blog: To Fight Antimicrobial Resistance, Allow FDA To Approve New Drugs For Limited Populations
Allan Coukell, senior director for health programs at the Pew Charitable Trust, discusses current global and U.S. efforts to prevent antibiotic drug resistance, as well as challenges to drug development. He examines the bipartisan “Promise for Antibiotics and Therapeutics for Health (PATH) Act [that] would allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve antibiotics for limited populations of patients with serious and life-threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to current treatments” (4/5).

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Global Community Should Increase Commitments To Mental Health Efforts

World Bank’s “Investing in Health”: Mental Health Parity in the Global Health and Development Agenda
Patricio V. Marquez, lead health specialist for Health, Nutrition, and Global Practice at the World Bank, and Shekhar Saxena, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the WHO, discuss the role of mental health in advancing global health and development, writing, “[B]y accepting that mental health is a development challenge, we need to pursue different cross-cutting and multidisciplinary approaches, and funding streams. … Let’s remain optimistic that recent attention and interest on this issue will lead to increased commitments to implementing a global, multisectoral effort to scale up mental health services in primary care and community settings” (4/5).

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CGD Podcast Discusses New Book Examining Global Health Case Studies

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: Millions Saved: What Works in Global Health? — Podcast with Amanda Glassman
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, speaks with Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of Global Health Policy, and senior fellow at CGD, on CGD’s new book, “Millions Saved,” which contains case studies of large-scale global health programs (4/4).

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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 284 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including a joint paper outlining recommendations for countries transitioning from Global Fund support; a progress report on the Global Fund’s special initiatives, which are part of the new funding model; and the announcement of the Global Fund Board’s approval of $630 million for country and regional grants (4/6).

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