KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Calls Increase For Congress To Reconvene During Recess To Pass Zika Funding Legislation

Forbes: Obama Tries to Budge Congressional Republican Resistance Against Zika Funding
“At President Obama’s press conference on August 4, he tried to awaken Congress about its failure to pass a $1.1 billion funding bill to deal with the looming Zika pestilence…” (Tiefer, 8/4).

The Hill: HHS warns: Zika vaccine funding running dry
“The Obama administration is warning that the world’s first Zika virus vaccine will likely be stalled if Congress doesn’t approve new funding before the end of the summer recess. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expected to exhaust its $47 million in Zika vaccine funding by the end of August, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell warned in a letter to Capitol Hill this week…” (Ferris, 8/4).

Huffington Post: Obama Tells Congress To ‘Do Its Job’ On Zika
“Saying the Zika threat is ‘getting critical,’ President Barack Obama called on Congress Thursday to go back to work and pass the funding he has sought since February to combat the disease now spreading in Florida. Lawmakers failed to pass any funding to deal with the mosquito-borne disease before they went on their seven-week break last month. Since then, at least 15 Americans have gotten infected in the Miami area…” (McAuliff, 8/4).

POLITICO: Senate Dems make new call to cancel recess and pass Zika bill
“The ‘Bring Congress Back’ calls from Democrats are in full swing. More than 40 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, pushing the two top Republicans to reconvene Congress so lawmakers can pass funding to deal with the Zika virus…” (Kim, 8/4).

Reuters: Obama, Senate Democrats urge Zika funding vote as reserves run low
“… ‘Our experts at the CDC, the folks on the front lines have been doing their best in making due by moving funds from other areas, but now the money we need to fight Zika is rapidly running out,’ Obama said at a press conference at the Pentagon. He warned that development of a vaccine for the virus could be delayed if Congress does not provide any more money and urged Americans to contact lawmakers to pressure them to take up the issue…” (Morgan/Rascoe, 8/4).

Roll Call: Blame Game Over Congressional Zika Response Heats Up
“Republicans and Democrats on Thursday continued bashing each other for a lack of congressional action to combat the Zika virus. Both sides failed to reach an agreement on a spending package before leaving town in July for a seven-week recess. In a letter to Republican leaders, Senate Democrats again suggested cutting their recess short to return to the Capitol to pass new funding for Zika. Also Thursday, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wrote an op-ed column for USA Today defending the House-adopted conference report on Zika spending that was blocked by Senate Democrats in July over their objections to offsets and policy language dealing with contraception, environmental protections, and more…” (McCrimmon, 8/4).

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More Than 40 U.S. Military Personnel Infected With Zika

The Atlantic: Zika’s Threat to the U.S. Military
“More than 40 members of the U.S. military have contracted the Zika virus this year in countries where it is present, government officials said; among them a pregnant woman, for whom Zika can be particularly dangerous. The news was first reported by the Military Times Monday. The total count stood at 33 service members then, but has risen to 41 in the past week, Military Times reported Wednesday…” (Koren, 8/4).

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Unless More Effort Made, Child Malnutrition Will Persist Beyond 2030, Save The Children Report Says

The Guardian: Malnutrition will not end by 2030, warn campaigners
“Millions of children will continue to suffer far into the next century from physical and mental stunting as a result of undernutrition, Save the Children has found, despite world leaders pledging last year to eradicate all forms of malnutrition by 2030…” (Hodal, 8/5).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Child hunger here to stay unless world ‘dramatically changes course’ — charity
“…On current trends, by 2030 there will be 129 million children under five whose growth is stunted by lack of food, according to research published by Save the Children ahead of an international summit on nutrition in Rio on Thursday. Groups most likely to miss out on progress in curbing hunger include children from ethnic minorities, those in disadvantaged regions of their country, disabled children, and children affected by war, Save the Children said…” (Whiting, 8/4).

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Associated Press Investigates Alleged Mismanagement Of Yellow Fever Vaccine Shipments To Angola

Associated Press: U.N. bungles response to Africa’s yellow fever outbreak
“The World Health Organization and its partners shipped more than six million yellow fever vaccines to Angola in February to quash an emerging epidemic, yet when they asked country officials the following month what happened to the vaccines, they discovered that about one million doses had mysteriously disappeared. Of the shipments that did make it to Angola, some vaccines were sent to regions with no yellow fever cases, while others arrived at infected areas without syringes. In neighboring Congo, some vaccines weren’t always kept cold enough to guarantee they would be effective. This lack of oversight and mismanagement has undermined control of the outbreak in Central Africa, the worst yellow fever epidemic in decades, an Associated Press investigation has found…” (Cheng et al., 8/5).

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VOA News Examines Conflicts Between China's Health, Economic Growth Programs

VOA News: China Battles Conflicts in Health Sector as WHO Raises Concerns
“…It turns out that the Chinese government is playing two conflicting roles. It has taken some significant measures to ensure public health. At the same time, the government is engaged in activities that can result in increased health risks. [The Silk Road program, formally called One Belt, One Road (OBOR)] is just one of them…” (Dasgupta, 8/5).

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Devex Examines DfID's Potential Moves Under Prime Minister May To Leverage Aid Commitments In Trade Deals

Devex: New DfID head divides U.K. aid community over trade focus
“…Many breathed a sigh of relief last week when [Prime Minister Theresa] May publicly confirmed her government’s commitment to spending 0.7 percent of gross national income on aid — dispelling rumors that the aid budget worth 11 billion pounds ($14.6 billion) is on the chopping block. But anxieties rose again when the new head of DfID, Priti Patel, reportedly met with officials of the U.K.’s new Department for International Trade to discuss how aid commitments could be leveraged to negotiate trade deals with emerging countries…” (Anders, 8/4).

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Kenyan County's Initiative Encourages Traditional Birth Attendants To Refer Pregnant Women To Hospital

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Kenya’s traditional midwives in frontline of drive to cut maternal deaths
“…Kisumu County in western Kenya has begun an initiative to involve traditional birth attendants in interventions to curb maternal deaths. The midwives are taught about the dangers of unskilled deliveries and assigned the task of referring pregnant mothers to hospital. For every referral, a traditional birth attendant at Migosi Hospital is paid 300 Kenyan shillings (around $3). Health officials in Kisumu hope that hospital deliveries will improve the overall health of women and children…” (Langat, 8/3).

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Pakistan's Polio Workers Determined To Eliminate Polio Despite Militant Attacks

IRIN: Pakistan teams defy militant attacks to wipe out polio this year
“…Over the past few years, half a billion doses of vaccine have been given each year to Afghan and Pakistani children, and the World Health Organization says we are now in the final stretches of the global battle against polio. … The main reason the disease persists is that militants often attack health workers and block them from going to areas under their control…” (Saeed, 8/5).

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PMA2020 Project Uses Mobile Technology To Improve Access To Family Planning, Reproductive Health Data

SciDev.Net: Mobile tech enables family planning data access
“…Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020), which uses … mobile technology, provides information useful for reporting, planning, operational decisions, and advocacy at the community, country, and global levels. The project is currently implemented in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa — Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, and Uganda — and two countries in Asia (India and Indonesia) through in-country partner universities and research organizations, with the aim of building local capacity. PMA2020 is a US$40 million project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…” (Ligami, 8/4).

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Plan International CEO Discusses Challenges In Collecting Accurate Data On Births Among Adolescent Girls

Devex: Finding data points to shed light on girls left behind
“Reproductive age is defined as between 15 and 49 by every demographic health survey in the world. But girls under 15 account for two million of the 7.3 million births that occur to adolescent girls under 18 every year in developing countries, according to UNFPA. ‘They don’t show up in the statistics,’ Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, told Devex [in this video interview filmed] at Women Deliver 2016. … Now, a joint initiative led by Plan, the International Women’s Health Coalition, KPMG, ONE Campaign, and Women Deliver seeks to ensure decision-makers are held accountable on promises to achieve equality for girls and women during the 15-year implementation of the world’s development goals…” (Rogers, 8/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

White House, Senate Democrats Should Not Politicize Zika Response

USA TODAY: Drop the politics, put health first: Paul Ryan
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), speaker of the House

“We shouldn’t be politicizing the Zika threat. We should be fighting it. From the start, the Republican-led Congress has made it a priority to enact smart measures and secure resources to protect the public. Back in February, we urged the Obama administration to jumpstart this effort with existing resources. … Yet to this day, hundreds of millions of dollars remain unspent. … We need the White House and Senate Democrats to drop politics and put the public’s health first. We hope for a change of heart, and soon” (8/3).

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WHO Should Create List Of Essential Diagnostics

Forbes: Why The World Needs An Essential Diagnostics List
Lee Schroeder, assistant professor at the University of Michigan; Timothy Amukele, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; and Madhukar Pai, director of the McGill Global Health Programs

“…A recent NEJM article proposes a simple way to improve access to critical diagnostics: make a list. … The [Model List of Essential Medicines (EML)], a global health success, has improved access to medicines. Sadly, there is no equivalent Model List of Essential Diagnostics (EDL). Such a list would be impactful for these reasons: 1. Improve patient care and clinical outcomes … 2. Help detect emerging infectious threats … 3. Increase affordability … 4. Reduce antimicrobial resistance … 5. Improve regulation and quality of diagnostics … 6. Facilitate laboratory accreditation and training … 7. Improve supply chain and laboratory infrastructure … 8. Facilitate change in health care provider behavior … 9. Inform new technology development … 10. Facilitate epidemiological surveys, program evaluation and disease elimination … While many agencies could establish an EDL, WHO is the obvious choice, since they maintain the EML, make health policies, run prequalification programs, and oversee international health regulations. So, we call upon WHO to take the lead in creating a List of Essential Diagnostics. We also call on key stakeholders …, civil society …, and donors … to support WHO to make this happen” (8/4).

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U.N., Countries Must Address All Barriers To Improve Access To Medicines

Devex: U.N. needs to look beyond patents for improving access to medicines
David J. Olson, technical adviser for the Palladium Group

“…[L]eaks from [U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines’] highly secretive proceedings suggest that the secretary general told the panel to focus on intellectual property and patents to the exclusion of other issues that hamper access to medicine — weak health systems, questionable government policies, a lack of health workers, and a lack of resources. … Far from being barriers to access to medicines, patents and intellectual property have improved access … One of the biggest barriers to access to medicines is lack of resources, particularly developing countries’ own funding of the health of its citizens (which is where most of the funding should be coming from). In 2001, African leaders … pledged to allocate 15 percent of their national budgets to health. … Twenty countries did not reach even the 10 percent level. Until that changes, and the U.N. looks beyond patents for real solutions, access to medicines will continue to be a problem” (8/4).

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Strengthening Tobacco Control Efforts, Raising Tobacco Taxes Could Advance Progress On SDGs, Decrease Global NCD Burden

Huffington Post: A Development Challenge The World Can Overcome
Laurent Huber, executive director at Action on Smoking & Health (ASH USA)

“…Comprehensive tobacco control programs and increases in tobacco taxes will help countries around the world achieve [Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)] 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and decrease the global [non-communicable diseases (NCD)] burden. In addition, fighting tobacco use would advance progress on many other goals in the SDGs … World leaders have signaled that taking action is essential to attaining sustainable development by 2030. All countries must seize this opportunity and invest in one of the ‘best buys’ to reach development objectives: strengthen tobacco control and raise taxes on tobacco products. It will pay dividends in the health of our citizens and in accelerating development overall. The tobacco related epidemic is a development challenge the world can overcome in the next 15 years” (8/4).

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Brazil's Experience Shows Long-Term Political Commitment Vital To Improving Food Security, Nutrition

Huffington Post: Reaching Nutrition Goals: A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Mesfin Teklu, vice president for health and nutrition at World Vision International

“…One day before the [Olympic Games’] Opening Ceremonies, leaders will gather at Casa Brasil for the Nutrition for Growth event — a key moment and important opportunity to help solve the Olympic-sized problem of child malnutrition. … [Brazil] has significantly improved food security and nutrition over the past few decades. Brazil’s approach shows that long-term political commitment can deliver real results … Increased investment in nutrition is urgently needed if we hope to scale up action to meet the hunger and nutrition goals, save lives, and improve economies. … I hope and pray that, under Brazil’s leadership, other governments and many other crucial actors will take full advantage of the Nutrition for Growth event and forthcoming pledging summit; that they will all consider this a golden opportunity to make real strides in the marathon effort needed to end malnutrition and build a hunger free world” (8/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Continue Coverage Of AIDS 2016 Conference

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2016: Conference features release of “heavy” WHO guidelines
Reporting on the AIDS 2016 conference, Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a conference session on WHO’s latest HIV treatment guidelines (8/4).

ACTION Blog: AIDS 2016: A reason for optimism for TB advocates
Reporting on the AIDS 2016 conference, David Bryden, TB advocacy officer at RESULTS, highlights global TB efforts discussed during the conference and writes, “The AIDS movement is facing some of the biggest challenges it has ever faced, including a crisis on financing for HIV programs, yet by taking up the call to better integrate TB and to support TB research, we can save more lives. Following this year’s International AIDS Conference, I am hopeful that, with solidarity, we can defeat TB and HIV together” (8/4).

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Long-Term Political Will, Funding For Health Systems Improvement Critical To Ending Preventable Maternal Deaths

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Women Around the World”: Ending Preventable Maternal Death
Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners In Health, discusses ways in which the organization addresses women’s health issues globally, including supporting community health workers, providing prenatal care early, supporting facility-based deliveries, and supporting the provision of emergency obstetrical care. Mukherjee adds, “[T]he political will and funding for women’s health must support a long-term approach to build the systems of care that women need … [E]nding unnecessary maternal death will improve the lives and livelihoods of all” (8/3).

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Humanitarian Organizations Must Respond Quickly To Emergency Situation In Nigeria's Borno State

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: Humanitarian Emergency in Northeast Nigeria
Jean-Hervé Bradol, emergency coordinator for Borno State and research director at the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Center for Reflection on Humanitarian Knowledge and Action (CRASH), discusses the humanitarian crisis that has developed since Boko Haram’s occupation of Borno state in Nigeria, writing, “In the context of an inadequate aid system, medical actors must adjust their protocols and practices to provide as much assistance as quickly as possible during the limited time teams have in these highly insecure areas of Borno state” (8/4).

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