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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CDC Director Warns Agency 'Basically Out Of Money' For Zika Response, Requests Congress Include Emergency Funding In Stopgap Spending Measure

CQ News: CDC Director Pushes for Zika Funds in Stopgap Spending Bill
“A stopgap spending measure without any additional funding for Zika would continue to complicate the federal response to the virus, Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on Tuesday. Frieden said that if a continuing resolution keeps CDC funding flat for the first few months of the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1, it will further delay the start of long-term research projects and will force the agency to make tough decisions about which accounts it might borrow from…” (Siddons, 8/30).

The Hill: CDC director on Zika: ‘Basically, we’re out of money’
“… ‘Basically, we’re out of money,’ Dr. Tom Frieden told reporters at a briefing in downtown Washington. ‘Congress needs to do something.’ Frieden is delivering his most urgent appeal since February for lawmakers to approve some or all of the Obama administration’s $1.9 billion request, about a week before the end of Congress’s summer recess…” (Ferris, 8/30).

Huffington Post: Congress Could Act On Zika Soon
“Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week after a seven-week break, and while a Zika funding bill has been stuck in the Senate over Democratic objections to particular policy riders and concerns that the $1.1 billion approved in the bill would come at the expense of other programs, Republican leaders indicated on a conference call late last week that they’re prepared to do something on Zika…” (Fuller, 8/30).

New York Times: U.S. Funding for Fighting Zika Virus Is Nearly Spent, CDC Says
“…As of Friday, the CDC had spent $194 million of the $222 million it was allocated to fight the virus, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the agency. Congress left for its summer recess without approving additional funding. Now that the virus is actively circulating in Florida, Dr. Frieden is pressing his case for funding with new urgency…” (Tavernise, 8/30).

Washington Post: Centers for Disease Control will run out of money to fight Zika in U.S. next month
“…Negotiations in Congress over a $1.9 billion Zika spending package fell apart in late June. Federal health officials have shifted money from elsewhere in the Department of Health and Human Services to fund the domestic response…” (Sun, 8/30).

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Singapore Confirms 82 Local Zika Cases; U.S., Other Countries Issue Travel Warnings

Quartz: Singapore now has 82 locally transmitted Zika cases, nearly twice the number of the United States
“Singapore — with a population of five million — has almost double the number of locally transmitted Zika cases as the U.S., with a total of 82 as of Aug. 29, according to the country’s health ministry. That compares to the U.S. state of Florida where 43 people have contracted the disease locally as of the same date. Florida remains the only state in the U.S. to have recorded locally transmitted Zika cases, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Tan, 8/30).

Reuters: Singapore confirms 26 more local transmission Zika cases: media
“Singapore confirmed 26 more cases of locally transmitted Zika infections on Tuesday, bringing the tally to 82, local media reported, citing the health ministry and National Environment Agency…” (Zaharia, 8/30).

Reuters: Singapore confirms Zika spread; U.S. and other countries issue travel warnings
“Confirmed cases of Zika virus in Singapore rose to 82 on Tuesday, as the United States joined a growing list of countries warning pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant to avoid travel to the city-state. … On Tuesday, the United States warned pregnant women not to travel to Singapore, joining Australia, Taiwan and South Korea…” (Zaharia et al., 8/30).

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More Than 300M People In Asia, Africa, L. America Risk Infection With Waterborne Diseases Because Of Increasing Pollution, UNEP Report Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: More than 300 million at risk of life-threatening diseases from dirty water: U.N.
“More than 300 million people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are at risk of life-threatening diseases like cholera and typhoid due to the increasing pollution of water in rivers and lakes, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said. Between 1990 and 2010, pollution caused by viruses, bacteria, and other micro-organisms, and long-lasting toxic pollutants like fertilizer or petrol, increased in more than half of rivers across the three continents, while salinity levels rose in nearly a third, UNEP said in a report on Tuesday…” (Mis, 8/30).

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WHO Releases New Treatment Recommendations For Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia

CIDRAP News: Antibiotic resistance prompts new WHO STD guidance
“Because of rapidly increasing resistance to antibiotics, the World Health Organization (WHO) [on Tuesday] announced revised treatment recommendations for three sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia…” (Schnirring, 8/30).

Science: The world may soon run out of drugs to treat gonorrhea
“[Tuesday], the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines for treating gonorrhea that reflect the sobering reality that this sexually transmitted disease is becoming ever more difficult to treat. WHO recommends no longer using quinolones, a class of antibiotics that has become less and less effective. And for the first time, the agency makes suggestions on what to do when none of the standard drugs work…” (Kupferschmidt, 8/30).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency: Antibiotic resistance forces updates to recommended treatment for sexually transmitted infections
“…In the news release, WHO noted that resistance of these STIs to the effect of antibiotics has increased rapidly in recent years and has reduced treatment options. Of the three STIs, gonorrhea has developed the strongest resistance to antibiotics. Strains of multidrug-resistant gonorrhea that do not respond to any available antibiotics have already been detected. Antibiotic resistance in chlamydia and syphilis, though less common, also exists, making prevention and prompt treatment critical…” (8/30).

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Snakebites Growing Public Health Concern, Affecting About 5M People Worldwide Annually

Nature: Vipers, mambas, and taipans: the escalating health crisis over snakebites
“…Snakebites are a growing public health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, around five million people worldwide are bitten by snakes each year; more than 100,000 of them die and as many as 400,000 endure amputations and permanent disfigurement. Some estimates point to a higher toll: one systematic survey concluded that in India alone, more than 45,000 people died in 2005 from snakebite — around one-quarter the number that died from HIV/AIDS…” (Arnold, 8/30).

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Philippines' Economy Loses $7B Per Year Because Of Child Malnutrition, Report Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: A growing problem, child malnutrition costs Philippines $7 billion in a year
“Child malnutrition cost the Philippines $7 billion or nearly three percent of its GDP in one year in terms of education spending and lost productivity, while hunger-related stunting is on the rise among children, a global aid agency said on Tuesday. A report by Save the Children found that the combined losses, calculated with data from 2013, are more than triple the cost of damage inflicted by 15 natural disasters that hit the Southeast Asian country last year…” (Tang, 8/30).

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Lack Of Training, Access To Medical Facilities Hamper Maternal, Newborn Health In Guinea

The Guardian: Giving birth in Guinea: a life or death lottery bereft of midwives and medicine
“…Doko [health center’s] midwives have not had any training in 20 years. If they had, they might have known how to give the baby who died mouth to mouth resuscitation or proper compressions. Thousands of babies die from preventable causes each year. One of the things that the response to Ebola brought was medical supplies, the like of which had not been seen in a generation. … Even when staff do know how to use [supplies], obstetric equipment does not solve a problem many women have — getting to a clinic…” (Maclean, 8/30).

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Ebola Virus Particles Detected In Survivors' Semen More Than 1 Year Post-Infection

Reuters: Ebola virus lasts in semen for up to 565 days: study
“The largest analysis yet has found Ebola virus particles present in semen as long as 565 days after recovery from an infection, highlighting the potential role of sex in sparking another outbreak, researchers reported on Tuesday. The study, published in the Lancet Global Health, involved 429 men seen between July 2015 and May 2016 who were part of the Liberian government’s Men’s Health Screening Program (MHSP), the first national semen testing program for Ebola virus…” (Steenhuysen, 8/30).

Washington Post: Ebola stayed in the semen of one man for 565 days
“…[The study] shows that of the 429 men who were tested, nine percent, or 38 Ebola survivors, had fragments of the Ebola virus in their semen. Of the 38, 63 percent had semen samples that tested positive for Ebola one year later. One man was found to still carry Ebola a shocking 565 days after he recovered from illness. That’s a full year and 200 days…” (Cha, 8/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Zika Response

Nature: Don’t redirect Ebola cash to Zika vaccines
Editorial Board

“…Taking money from much-needed research and health care to develop a vaccine against one disease itself costs lives. … When Congress returns to session on 6 September, the U.S. administration should insist on a permanent fund from which public health agencies can draw, similar to that made available for natural disasters. It should also dedicate more money to international surveillance, detection, and health care systems … and implement more stringent vector-control strategies to keep many viruses in check. … The Obama administration has rightly called for permanent emergency funds and money for overall infrastructure improvement. But its willingness to sacrifice necessary research and development programs to stick Band-Aids on the latest public health scare erodes its credibility. When a truly deadly and pervasive pathogen appears in the United States, will there be any Band-Aids left?” (8/30).

The Hill: Zika is a public health emergency; we need to work together to confront this head on
Richard Burr (R-N.C.)

“…Passing the Zika aid bill now is imperative; but more funding isn’t everything. … We must make sure that promising Zika medicines become a reality and that we continue to innovate so that we are ready for the next curve ball Mother Nature throws at us. … Congress should remove barriers to innovation at the National Institutes of Health to help make [the availability of a Zika vaccine by 2018] a reality. …[S]marter government can be an ally to the researchers, scientists, and innovators who are on the front lines every day, searching for cures. It would be a shame for the brokenness of Washington to make an already tragic situation with Zika worse. North Carolinians are counting on Congress to prove that we can tackle tough problems by working together, keep our children and families safe, and act responsibly with the finite resources we have…” (8/30).

The Hill: Zika is here — why is Congress not?
Jeffrey D. Klausner, professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

“…It is critical that this country’s decision makers, from Congress to counties, take the long view towards infectious diseases, an approach that is sustainable. … The United States must move from a reactive response to a proactive one. … There is almost certainly another infectious disease waiting to emerge, gradually developing and spreading while we focus our attention on the latest publicity-spawning threat. If the nation does not improve its overall response to infectious disease from the ground up, then this next threat will again catch us by surprise and wreak havoc before we effectively respond. When it does, one can only hope that Congress won’t be on vacation” (8/30).

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New York Times 'Room For Debate' Features Several Opinion Pieces Examining U.S. Anti-Prostitution Pledge, HIV Prevention Efforts

New York Times: Room for Debate: The Anti-Prostitution Oath and Foreign Aid for HIV/AIDS
Multiple authors

“Foreign NGOs that receive funds from the United States for HIV prevention must sign an anti-prostitution pledge — a statement of unequivocal opposition to prostitution — even though that policy was overturned for domestic organizations by the Supreme Court. Some say that requiring NGOs to sign the oath excludes sex workers from meaningful assistance by reinforcing stigmas. Others say that it is necessary because legitimizing prostitution is a tacit sanction of human trafficking and abuse. Is the anti-prostitution pledge doing more harm than good for HIV prevention?” The newspaper features opinion pieces from Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE); Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women; Betania Santos, a member of the Davida Collective and coordinator of the Associação Mulheres Guerreiras, or Warrior Women Association, and Laura Murray, deputy executive director of Davida; and Shelby Quast, director of the Americas Office of Equality Now (8/30).

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Achieving SDGs Requires Concerted Cross-Sector Efforts, Including Financing, Accountability

Inter Press Service: Revisiting the Journey to the Sustainable Development Goals
Felix Dodds, senior fellow at the Global Research Institute, senior affiliate at the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, and associate fellow at the Tellus Institute

“…It is vital to remember that the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] are a soft law agreement, meaning that governments are not legally required to deliver on the commitments. One of the promising additions to the monitoring process has been the recognition that parliaments can play a monitoring role on their executives in fulfilling their commitments. This could be through the use of parliamentary committees and perhaps an annual debate in countries’ parliaments on how national implementation is progressing. … Steering the course of global change to a just and sustainable future requires a concerted effort across all sectors. By providing a unifying agenda amidst enormous global diversity, the SDGs are providing the basis for potentially mounting a concerted movement for positive change. To achieve that outcome, the way in which major obstacles such as financing and accountability are overcome will make the difference in securing transformational change” (8/31).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WASH Efforts Essential To Humanitarian Efforts, Protecting Health Workers In South Sudan

Frontline Health Workers Coalition: WASH on the Front Line
Assumpta Nantume, communications associate at the Global Health Council, discusses the role of WASH efforts in South Sudan, where conflict and violence has resulted in a worsening humanitarian crisis. She writes, “Ensuring access to WASH services plays an important role in safeguarding the health and well-being of individuals and communities. It plays an equally important role in protecting the health workers who protect our communities. A lack of basic WASH services compromises the ability to provide safe care and presents serious health risks to both those who seek treatment and those who provide it” (8/26).

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CFR Backgrounder Examines Efforts To Eradicate Malaria

Council on Foreign Relations: Can Malaria Be Eradicated?
In this CFR Backgrounder, Danielle Renwick, a copy editor and writer at CFR, examines the challenges of malaria eradication efforts, including costs, prevention strategies, and drug resistance (8/30).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash contains a video on Cameroon-born football player Samuel Eto’o’s experience contracting and recovering from malaria, as well as an article on the Global Fund’s malaria efforts and results in West Africa (8/30).

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