KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama Administration To Shift $81M From Various Government Programs To Fund Zika Vaccine Research

ABC News: Feds Use Funds for Medicaid, Children’s Services to Avoid Delaying Zika Vaccine Research
“Federal health officials have been forced to take $81 million in funds from various government programs, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Administration for Children and Families, in order to avoid delaying research on Zika vaccines, according to a letter from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell…” (Mohney/Marshall, 8/11)

The Hill: Administration shifts funds to boost Zika vaccine work
“…In a letter to Congress, Burwell portrayed the move as a last resort given the inaction from Congress in providing new funding, and continued to urge lawmakers to approve new funds when they return in September…” (Sullivan, 8/11).

New York Times: With Congress Deadlocked, White House Diverts Funds to Fight Zika
“…The local spread of the illness in the continental United States, with the first cases reported late last month, has raised the political stakes surrounding the federal government’s response…” (Davis, 8/11).

POLITICO: Administration shifts more funds to Zika fight
“…Congress stalemated on a $1.1 billion Zika compromise package before its long summer recess. Both parties have been holding events and issuing statements, blaming the other for not funding the effort to stop the virus, which can cause devastating birth defects. The White House initially had asked for $1.9 billion…” (Haberkorn, 8/11).

Reuters: U.S. government shifts $81 million to Zika vaccine research
“…In a letter addressed to Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat and minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said she was allocating $34 million in funding to the National Institutes of Health and $47 million to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to work on Zika vaccines…” (Steenhuysen/Clarke, 8/11).

TIME: Obama Administration Moves $81 Million to Fight Zika
“…Burwell said the two programs would likely run out of money by the end of the month to fight off the spread of Zika, and would need $538 million over the next year…” (Gajanan, 8/11).

USA TODAY: Obama administration moves money around to fund Zika vaccine
“…Money for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which launched the first phase of a Zika vaccine trial last week, will come from other institutes within the NIH, Burwell said in a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The institutes tapped for money will include the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Administration for Children and Families, which helps to fight poverty…” (Szabo, 8/11).

Wall Street Journal: New Zika Funding to Come From Inside NIH
“…Anthony S. Fauci, who heads the NIH’s overall response to Zika, said that short-term transfers of funds within NIH and HHS, such as those announced Thursday, aren’t a permanent solution at all. Transferring the money will mean taking money from cancer research and other causes, he said…” (Burton/McWhirter, 8/11).

Washington Post: Obama administration to shift $81 million to fight Zika
“… ‘The failure to pass a Zika emergency supplemental has forced the administration to choose between delaying critical vaccine development work and raiding other worthy government programs to temporarily avoid these delays,’ Burwell wrote…” (Snell/Dennis, 8/11).

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U.S. Surgeon General Encourages Puerto Rico To Ramp Up Zika Prevention Public Education Campaign

Associated Press: U.S. official urges Puerto Rico to step up fight against Zika
“The U.S. surgeon general on Thursday urged Puerto Rico to step up its public education campaign against Zika as he warned that 25 percent of the island will be infected with the mosquito-borne virus by year’s end. Dr. Vivek Murthy said during a visit to the U.S. territory that local officials need to boost mosquito control efforts and make contraception more accessible and affordable…” (Coto, 8/11).

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In Interview, Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Expresses Hope Congress Will Approve Zika Funds Soon

The Hill: Trump calls for Congress to fund Zika efforts
“Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would call on Congress to set aside money to combat the Zika virus. In an interview with the Miami Herald, Trump said he would ask lawmakers to ‘let some of the funds that they’re asking for come in.’ ‘Yeah, I would. Absolutely,’ he said. ‘They’re fighting for it, and hopefully that’s going to be approved very soon’…” (Neidig, 8/11).

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After 2 Years With No Cases, Nigeria Records 2 Polio Cases In Children

Associated Press: Nigeria reports first 2 cases of polio in years, WHO says
“Nigeria has reported the first two cases of polio after more than two years, in an area newly liberated from Islamic extremists who attacked polio vaccinators in the past, the government and the World Health Organization said Thursday…” (Faul, 8/11).

The Atlantic: A Wild-Polio Outbreak in Nigeria
“August 11, 2016, was supposed to be a historic day for the global effort to eradicate the polio virus. This Thursday would have marked two years since someone on the African continent last contracted the wild-polio virus…” (Meyer, 8/11).

New York Times: 2 Polio Paralysis Cases in Nigeria Set Back Eradication Effort
“…The discovery dashed the hopes of global health authorities to be able to declare the continent polio-free soon. Nigeria’s last case of wild polio virus was reported in July 2014. The continent’s last was reported in Somalia a month after that. The WHO requires three years with no confirmed cases before declaring a region polio-free…” (McNeil, 8/11).

Reuters: Nigeria reports first polio cases in two years — WHO
“…Nigeria and the U.N. agency are conducting immunization campaigns and strengthening surveillance systems that help catch the virus early, the WHO said in a statement on the latest setback to its global program to eradicate polio…” (Nebehay, 8/11).

STAT: Polio rears its head in Nigeria, after two years with no cases
“…The development is one the community of people fighting polio had been dreading. … Now the fear is about how many cases there will be — and over how large a distance — before the outbreak can be brought under control…” (Branswell, 8/11).

U.N. News Centre: Nigeria reports first polio cases since 2014, highlighting urgency of immunization — U.N. health agency
“…WHO added that the two new cases have underscored that reaching the children in affected areas requires vaccinating populations that move in and out of inaccessible areas and areas plagued by violence due to the Boko Haram insurgency, particularly in Nigeria’s north-east…” (8/11).

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Number Of Women, Girls At Risk Of, Survivors Of FGM In U.S. Triples Since 1990, GAO Report Shows

Washington Post: With 500,000 female genital mutilation survivors or at risk in U.S., it’s not just someone else’s problem
“…[A] Government Accountability Office report reveals an alarming trend: the number of women and girls in the United States potentially facing or who have already suffered mutilation has grown threefold since 1990. A practice that should be extinct, now concerns many more people than the population of Atlanta. Female genital mutilation generally isn’t considered a U.S. problem. But it is, primarily because of increased immigration from countries where it is practiced, rather than widespread cutting here…” (Davidson, 8/11).

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Hair Salon-Based Contraceptive Educational Program To Expand From Guinea's Rural Areas To Cities

The Guardian: Conakry hairdressers dispense cut-and-dried contraceptive advice to women
“…Five salons across Conakry have been dispensing family planning advice since 2012, and they have been so successful that the project — the brainchild of Jhpiego, a health organization associated with Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. — is about to be extended to salons in Guinea’s seven major cities…” (Maclean, 8/11).

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NPR Examines Efforts To Eliminate River Blindness

NPR: How Worm Warriors Are Beating An Unbeatable Worm
“How do you get rid of river blindness? It’s all about the worm. … But that cycle of transmission and infection is so complex that until recently, many experts believed elimination as a goal was unattainable. Now the World Health Organization target date to achieve it is 2025, thanks to the widespread distribution of a game-changing medicine and what [Frank O. Richards, director of the Carter Center’s river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis programs,] calls the ‘vision’ of accomplishing the possibility, encouraged by the successful strategies employed in the Carter Center’s fight against Guinea worm…” (Cole, 8/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Continuous Support For Mass Treatment Could Lead To River Blindness Eradication

Los Angeles Times: Can river blindness enter the elite club of eradicated diseases?
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa

“…Completely eliminating onchocerciasis [also referred to as river blindness] from all areas where it is known to exist would take the world to an extremely rare place: disease eradication. … The battle against river blindness has been waged with two key weapons. Insect control is one factor, but the most decisive intervention involves treating entire communities repeatedly with the anti-parasite medication ivermectin. … Repeating mass treatment over several years can eventually eliminate the disease from an endemic region. … By maintaining support for the battle against river blindness, we will continue to blaze a trail toward elimination for other neglected diseases to follow — to a point in the not too distant future when the club of the eradicated disease may have several new members” (8/11).

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Initiative Of USAID's Global Health Fellows Program Brings Diverse Thinking Into Field

Huffington Post: Global Health Corporate Champions In Ghana — An Emerging Market Bootcamp
Amanda MacArthur, chief program officer at PYXERA Global

“…The learning that comes out of [initiatives like USAID’s Global Health Corporate Champions] is not one-sided, nor is it limited to nonprofits. Applying professional skills in a cross-sector, emerging market setting builds a participant’s leadership chops — accelerating emotional intelligence and increasing their understanding of the nuances of working in a globalized economy. … Drawing in different mindsets to health challenges traditionally tackled by one sector unlocks new thinking. The Global Health Corporate Champions was conceived in collaboration with USAID’s Global Health Fellows Program (GHFP) II with the aim of diversifying the global health workforce by attracting corporate expertise. Implemented by the Public Health Institute and PYXERA Global, it brings business operational skills into the field of global health, which is a critical element of diversity…” (8/11).

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Investing In Adolescent Women's Contraceptive Needs 'Must Be At The Heart Of Global Health And Development Strategies'

Devex: Addressing contraceptive needs of adolescent women in developing regions
Ann Starrs, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute

“…[M]any young women who want to avoid pregnancy are not receiving the services they need to protect their health and delay childbearing. This is especially true in the poorest countries and in the poorest communities within countries. … A recent report by the Guttmacher Institute shows why meeting adolescent women’s contraceptive needs should rank high on the global agenda. … These significant health benefits would bring about additional broad and long-term social and economic benefits — not just for adolescent women, but also for their families, their communities, and their countries as a whole. It would spare young women and their families the adverse consequences of early childbearing, secure significant savings in spending on maternal and child health care, and boost young women’s education and economic prospects. It would reduce poverty and, ultimately, help nations achieve their developmental goals. The evidence is clear: Investing in adolescent women’s contraceptive services in developing regions must be at the heart of global health and development strategies” (8/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Infographic On Zika Outbreak

Kaiser Family Foundation: The 2015-2016 Zika Outbreak
This updated Kaiser Family Foundation infographic “offers key facts about the Zika virus, tracks the increasing number of countries reporting local transmission over the past year, and breaks down how key U.S. government agencies are responding to Zika” (8/11).

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Blog Post Highlights CDC MMWR Report On Zambian Bubonic Plague Outbreak

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Zambia plague outbreak yields lessons learned — again
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” highlights an article published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on a bubonic plague outbreak in Zambia. Barton notes, “The outbreak highlights needs for improved diagnostic tools, laboratory capacities, and health worker training” (8/11).

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Haiti's Medical Staff Strike Challenges Country's Health System

Humanosphere: Haiti’s nationwide doctor strike continues with no end in sight
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses Haiti’s nationwide medical staff strike, “which has spread to more than a dozen state-run hospitals and led to countless deaths as hospitals scramble to provide care for neglected patients. … [T]he nationwide strike has posed a new public health challenge that Haiti’s medical system isn’t equipped to handle,” Nikolau writes (8/11).

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