KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Health Officials Highlight Importance Of Mosquito Control In Zika Prevention

The Hill: Top NIH doctor: Zika mosquitoes are ‘very resilient’
“The head of the government’s infectious disease center says health officials are working on a vaccine to combat the Zika virus but face tough challenges controlling the mosquitoes that spread the disease. … [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony] Fauci said the solution is ‘control the mosquitoes, and you can stop an outbreak’…” (Savransky, 8/7).

NPR: ‘No Magic Bullet’ Against Zika-Carrying Mosquito, CDC Director Says
“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden visited Miami, where several people have been infected with Zika. He says the CDC is trying to control the mosquito responsible…” (Suarez, 8/6).

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Zika Epidemic Rekindles U.S. Abortion Debate; All Advocates Agree More Funding Needed To Prevent Disease

USA TODAY: Zika outbreak could reignite abortion debate
“…With nearly 1,000 pregnant women in the U.S. infected with Zika and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising all expectant mothers to be screened for exposure to the virus, the USA is beginning to get a hint about why the issue became so contentious in Latin America this year. … People on both sides of the abortion debate interviewed for this story agreed on one thing: the need for Congress to fund efforts to prevent Zika outbreaks, as well as to develop vaccines and treatments…” (Szabo, 8/5).

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Quartz Looks At Vaccine Research, Development Amid Ebola, Zika Epidemics

Quartz: Why it takes so long to develop a vaccine against a new epidemic
“…Three [Zika] vaccine candidates have been shown to work successfully in monkeys and one is being tested in a human trial, raising hopes that a vaccine may soon be available on the market. But don’t get your hopes too high. Even with such success stories, it is unlikely that any Zika vaccine will be available this year or even early next year. That’s because developing a safe and effective vaccine is difficult in the best of times, and gets harder during an epidemic. Consider the example of Ebola…” (Rathi, 8/5).

Quartz: Zika vaccines are on a fast-track, but it won’t be fast enough to handle the current outbreak
“If it seems like every time an infectious diseases reaches U.S. soil, there’s a mad scramble to develop a vaccine — and an attending public outcry about why we’re playing catch-up — it’s because that’s exactly what happens…” (Wolfson, 8/5).

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In Effort To Reduce Risk Of Zika-Related Birth Defects, Puerto Rican OB-GYNs Offering Women Free Contraceptives

NPR: Puerto Rican OB-GYNs Offer Free Birth Control To Fight Zika
“In Puerto Rico the local association of obstetricians and gynecologists has launched a new attack on Zika. Because Zika primarily is a problem for pregnant women, the doctors are trying to reduce the number of pregnant women by offering free contraception across the island to any woman who wants it…” (Beaubien, 8/6).

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Devex Examines Gates Foundation's Grant Funding For 2015

Devex: Top Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant implementers for 2015
“…The Gates Foundation has five main program areas: global development, global health, global policy and advocacy, communications, and U.S. programs. Global development has consistently garnered the bulk of the foundation’s grant funding, but in 2015 the foundation reported a drop of over $200 million in global development grants. Global health grants also dropped by $130 million, declining from $1.1 billion in 2014 to $980 million in 2015; while grants for U.S. programs increased by $529 million…” (Orlina, 8/5).

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Growing Food Security Crisis Raising Alarms In South Sudan, UNICEF Says

U.N. News Centre: South Sudan: UNICEF sounds alarm on ‘catastrophic’ food insecurity in country
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said [Friday] that it is responding to a growing food security emergency causing malnutrition in children in both rural and urban areas of crisis-gripped South Sudan…” (8/5).

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Sierra Leone More Prepared For Disease Outbreak After Ebola But Still Faces Shortcomings, Officials Say

BBC News: Is Sierra Leone ready for the next epidemic?
“…[E]xactly two years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak a global health emergency, parts of the health system are probably in the best shape they have ever been in. However, there are still ‘major shortcomings,’ according to the WHO…” (Mazumdar, 8/8).

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Senegalese Grandmothers Work To Promote Modern Medicine, From Family Planning To Maternal, Child Care

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — Senegal’s dancing grandmothers lead charge for health over tradition
“…Now [90-year-old Daba] Ndione and other grandmothers are using their influence to promote modern medicine and health care, and discuss issues from family planning and malnutrition to maternal mortality. … Reducing mother and child mortality is one of the biggest health challenges in Senegal, where many women do not seek routine medical care, health workers and experts say…” (Peyton, 8/8).

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Quartz Highlights Venezuela's Economic Crisis, Impacts On Food Security, Nutrition

Quartz: Venezuela’s zoo animals are dying, and if the government continues its policies, people could be next
“…The nutritional value of the average Venezuelan’s diet has already taken a nosedive, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Health, a research center associated with the country’s central university. Carbohydrates account for 75 percent of what they eat; the center calls it a ‘survival diet.’ There have already been some cases of deaths by malnutrition, says Marianella Herrera, the observatory’s director. Among the most vulnerable are young children and pregnant women…” (Campoy, 8/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Congress's Role In U.S. Response To Zika Virus

Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: Congress should go back to work to fight Zika
Editorial Board

“…Health officials continue to combat the [Zika] virus using modest amounts of money from other sources. [Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R)] continues to implore Washington to act, and Florida’s two senators, [Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D)], are united in their call for urgency. Meanwhile, the CDC recently told pregnant women flat-out to avoid the Miami neighborhood where Zika is spreading through mosquito bites. … If the threat to the state’s bottom line can’t spur action, do Florida’s … Zika patients … constitute enough of a crisis to free up money? That’s the only way, after all, to fight Zika: with money. Spraying insecticides, educating the public, treating the sick, studying the virus, and developing a vaccine are expensive propositions. Continuing to ignore a serious public health crisis is exponentially more costly” (8/5).

Quartz: If Zika spreads in the U.S., blame the politicians, not the mosquitoes
Benjamin Spoer, PhD student at NYU’s Global College of Public Health

“…As it stands, there will be no federal funding to combat Zika, at least until lawmakers return from their summer recess. Not because Zika funding itself is controversial, but because legislators decided the epidemic was a chance to push their political agendas. … Part of the reason politicians can get away with this is because Zika primarily affects poor people. … [Last] week, Obama’s former Ebola czar called on Congress to return from its summer recess, put politics aside, and pass the Zika funding bill. This would enable the CDC and local health departments to get the funding they need to research a vaccine, control the mosquito population, and educate people on how to reduce their risks. But until Congress acts, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden predicts the country will be fighting Zika with ‘one hand tied behind our backs'” (8/7).

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High-Income Countries, Industry Leaders Should Invest In Global Efforts To Reduce Lead's Environmental, Health Hazards

New York Times: The Poisoning of Children Around the World
Richard Fuller, president of Pure Earth, and Jack Caravanos, professor of environmental health at the CUNY School of Public Health

“…Severe, persistent lead poisoning is occurring throughout low- and middle-income countries on a massive scale. … Some of the adverse health impacts from lead include neurological damage, a decrease in IQ, anemia, increased blood pressure, chronic headaches, and infertility. … Low- and middle-income countries need help to build a functional, formal infrastructure to collect and safely recycle used lead-acid car batteries. … Ongoing health surveillance, environmental monitoring, and government accountability are crucial systemic elements that must be part of the solution. … The U.S. and other high-income nations, along with industry leaders, need to step up and provide development assistance to address this environmental health crisis and put an end to the mass poisoning of children around the world” (8/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Highlights Key Takeaways From AIDS 2016 Posted On Twitter During KFF/CSIS Event

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: Key Takeaways from #AIDS2016
“The International AIDS Conference (#AIDS2016) in Durban, South Africa, united 18,000 people to discuss recent successes, scientific advancements, and how the global community can end the AIDS epidemic once and for all. Here, we highlight key takeaways from #AIDS2016” on Twitter posted during a recent event hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (8/5).

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WHO Continues Yellow Fever Outbreak Response Efforts In Angola, DRC

WHO: Gains in fight to control yellow fever outbreak: but response must continue
“The yellow fever epidemic in Angola, first reported in late January 2016, appears to be declining, with no new cases confirmed in the last six weeks. However, WHO and partners continue to provide support to Angola as well as to Democratic Republic of the Congo to control the outbreak there…” (8/6).

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