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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Not As Widespread In U.S. As Once Feared, Zika Continues To Spread In Americas, Elsewhere

Washington Times: Zika largely spares U.S. as virus wreaks havoc worldwide
“The Zika virus roared onto the scene last year as the scourge of the summer, but it’s slinking off the radar as 2017 dawns, having left far less devastation in the U.S. than analysts had warned. Worldwide, the situation is still dire. Thousands of babies have been born with Zika-related defects in Latin America, though only a few dozen babies have been born with defects in the U.S. Those are chiefly cases in which the mothers or their partners are infected while traveling…” (Howell, 1/3).

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Gates Foundation To Invest Up To $140M In Implantable HIV Prevention Device Research

Quartz: Bill and Melinda Gates are now backing a tiny implantable drug pump designed to prevent HIV infection
“…A daily dose of PrEP can reduce the risk of contracting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent. Getting patients to take the drug daily, a problem with most chronic diseases, is critical for preventing HIV effectively. Hoping to address this issue, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is investing $140 million to help Intarcia Therapeutics, a Boston-based biopharmaceutical company, develop a tiny implantable drug pump…” (Bagri, 12/31).

Wall Street Journal: Gates Foundation to Invest Up to $140 Million in HIV Prevention Device
“…The matchstick-size pump … can hold six or 12 months’ supply of medicine and is designed to deliver microdoses continuously to patients, ensuring they stay on the treatment. The new investment, which Intarcia announced [December 29], comes amid a flurry of fresh efforts to develop HIV prevention strategies…” (Winslow, 12/29).

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Coalition For Epidemic Preparedness Innovations Aims To Develop Disease Prevention, Vaccine Technologies To Quickly Respond To Outbreaks

CNBC: Prepping vaccines is only one way to prepare for the next epidemic
“…[T]hough responses [to disease outbreaks] have accelerated, public health defenses don’t galvanize until after the threat has emerged. To get ahead of the next epidemic, a new group has been formed, called CEPI, which stands for Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Its founding partners are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of India, the Wellcome Trust, and the World Economic Forum. And its collaborators include vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline and Merck. … The coalition has two main goals: get work started on known potential threats, and develop new vaccine technologies that can be deployed faster if a previously unidentified threat emerges…” (Tirrell, 12/22).

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Politics Should Not Influence Access To Health Care, Global Health Corps CEO Barbara Bush Says

Business Insider: Barbara Bush: Health care should not be political
“Former first daughter Barbara Bush (George W. Bush’s daughter) has spent the last seven years trying to get more millennials involved with global health issues — a mission she doesn’t believe should be associated with politics at all. Bush, 35, is the CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps, a nonprofit attempting to develop a new generation of leaders in the health sector…” (Varinsky, 12/21).

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Number Of HIV Cases Passes 1M In Russia; Experts Criticize Government Strategies To Address Epidemic

Foreign Policy: New Year, New Possibly Discriminatory HIV Registry in Russia
“…Though roughly one percent of Russians are HIV-positive, Moscow refuses to acknowledge that an epidemic. … Russia eschews more modern tactics of fighting HIV and instead favors of a zero-tolerance policy for drug use and ‘moral education,’ the preferred cure of the Orthodox Church. Now, however, it has added a third tactic: a national registry of HIV patients, launched with the new year…” (Tamkin, 1/3).

New York Times: HIV Cases Surpass a Million in Russia, but Little Is Done
“…The president has remained largely silent on HIV. Over all, activists said, the combination of indifference toward victims, government financial austerity, hostility toward foreign funds, and a powerful camp of AIDS deniers all amounts to the lack of a coherent national effort. Experts criticized a new, rather vague Russian government strategy on fighting HIV that was released in October for lacking a plan of execution or any new money…” (MacFarquhar, 12/28).

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U.N.-Supported Vaccination Campaign Helps End Yellow Fever Epidemic In Angola

Reuters: Angola declares end to world’s worst yellow fever epidemic in decades
“Angola declared the end of the world’s worst yellow fever epidemic in a generation on [December 23] after a U.N.-backed vaccination campaign of 25 million people that resulted in no new cases in six months…” (Coroado/Brock, 12/23).

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Pakistani City Of Quetta Begins Polio Immunization Campaign After Discovery Of Type 2 Viral Strain In Sewage

Reuters: Pakistani city launches new polio campaign after rare strain found
“Pakistan began a special five-day polio immunization campaign in the southwestern city of Quetta on Monday for children under five after a rare strain of the virus was found in sewage samples, officials said…” (Johnson/Yousefzai, 1/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.K.'s Demand For More Accountability, Transparency For International Development Aid Should Be Viewed With 'Cautious Optimism'

Thomson Reuters Foundation: 2016: reasons to be (cautiously) optimistic
Saira O’Mallie, U.K. interim director of ONE

“…[W]hile it’s tempting to have a pessimistic view of 2016, it wasn’t without positives for the world’s poorest. … But more needs to be done in 2017. … June’s U.K./E.U. Referendum precipitated the change in government and Priti Patel’s appointment as secretary of state for international development. She announced more action to curb corruption by increasing accountability and transparency, and demanding U.K. aid is strictly linked to results. And this she demonstrated in September when the U.K. pledged £1.1 billion the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria — but only if several conditions around transparency and effectiveness were met. … Some wish for [Patel] to speed up her overhaul, but Ms. Patel has so far shown she can deliver on making sure taxpayers’ money is being used as intended — to end poverty. As we leave 2016 and its seismic political shocks to history, we can look ahead into 2017 with cautious optimism” (12/21).

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Philippines Supreme Court's Restraining Order On Reproductive Health Law Will Hinder Achievement Of Government's Demographic, Health, Economic Goals

Inter Press Service: Family Planning in the Philippines: Stalled Again
Barry Mirkin, former chief of the Population Policy Section of the United Nations Population Division

“With the landslide victory of the tough talking … Roberto Duterte to the presidency of the Philippines in May 2016, news reports of the South-East Asian country have been dominated by the president’s often controversial statements and policies … One such notable event, which slipped below the radar, was the granting of a second temporary restraining order in 2016 by the country’s Supreme Court on the distribution of most contraceptives. … The [country’s reproductive health] law would have provided public funding for contraceptives for poor women. The [Catholic] Church continues to promote only withdrawal and abstinence as acceptable methods of family planning in the Philippines. … The most recent court decision took place despite the fact that the newly elected president in his first State of the Union speech stressed the urgency of family planning for alleviating widespread poverty, currently affecting one quarter of the country’s population. Duterte has also declared that the three child family was sufficient. … In the continued absence of effective, safe, free, widespread, and readily available modern contraceptives, it will be extremely difficult to achieve any of the government’s stated demographic, health, and economic objectives. In the case of the Philippines, its destiny now rests on the decision of the Supreme Court and its 15 justices” (12/28).

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New Outbreaks Like Zika Divert Attention From Existing Mosquito-Borne Disease Challenges

The Guardian: Outbreaks like Zika distract us from other medical emergencies
Gary Finnegan, editor in chief at Break Dengue

“…[E]fforts to develop … dengue response strategies are being slowed down by the outbreak of a more headline grabbing mosquito-borne virus — Zika. … The Zika outbreak has, quite rightly, spent a long time in the spotlight. But we can’t simply move the attention away from Zika and on to the next new story. We can’t afford to narrow our focus to one particular disease or outbreak. Innovative mosquito control measures could help to curb the number of people who become infected [with Zika, dengue, and other mosquito-borne diseases], while research on new treatments for one disease can often turn up leads in the fight against another. … Disease surveillance tools can prove invaluable in mapping cases worldwide and providing authorities and NGOs with valuable information to help reduce the spread of the disease. Let’s take this opportunity to put the spotlight on all the major challenges posed by other diseases and to further develop tools such as Dengue Track that will help us overcome them as a group…” (12/28).

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7 International Family Planning Issues To Consider In 2017

Devex: Opinion: 7 international family planning trends that will shape 2017
Christopher H. Purdy, president and CEO of DKT International, and Phil Harvey, chair of the DKT Board of Directors

“Use of modern contraception is increasing in developing countries, including in historically low-performing regions such as West Africa. However, contraceptive adoption must rise further in order to reach the ambitious goal of 120 million more family planning users by 2020 set by the Family Planning 2020 movement. In this complex global policy area there are numerous trends that will play out in 2017 — and beyond — that need to be monitored. We outline the major issues to watch out for below: 1. A focus on FP2020 goals — increasing quantity and quality. … 2. The Trump effect. … 3. The abortion pill — use is increasing. … 4. Condoms are here to stay. … 5. Some ‘new’ contraceptives (and how we use them). … 6. Young people are key. … 7. The Zika effect…” (12/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Wilson Center Event, Podcast Highlight Reproductive Health Care Services Provision In Crises

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Displaced and Disrupted: Closing the Gaps in Maternal Health in Conflicts and Crises
Nancy Chong, an intern for the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, discusses a December 8 Wilson Center event, titled Closing the Gaps of Maternal Health in Conflict and Crises. The panel discussion featured expert speakers in women’s and refugee health. A video of the event is available online (12/21).

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: Reproductive Health Care in Crises Has Come a Long Way, Says Sandra Krause, But There’s More to Be Done
In this podcast, Sean Peoples, a multimedia producer working with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, speaks with Sandra Krause, program director for reproductive health at the Women’s Refugee Commission, about providing reproductive health services in crisis situations (12/23).

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Wilson Center Blog Post Reviews State Of The World Population Report, USAID Report On Family Planning Benefits In Sub-Saharan Africa

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: State of the World Population 2016, and Fostering Development Through Family Planning
Anam Ahmed, an intern at the Wilson Center, discusses recommendations from UNFPA’s 2016 State of the World Population report to invest in 10-year-old girls, as well as a recent report from USAID exploring “the cross-sectoral benefits of family planning in sub-Saharan Africa” (1/4).

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From the U.S. Government

PEPFAR Releases 2017 Draft Guidance, Calls On Civil Society To Review, Submit Feedback By Jan. 9

PEPFAR: Feedback Requested on the Draft PEPFAR Fiscal Year 2017 Country/Regional Operational Plan (COP/ROP) Guidance
“PEPFAR’s stakeholders are a critical part of efforts toward achieving sustained control of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and, ultimately, an AIDS-free generation. All stakeholders and other interested parties are invited to review and provide feedback on the draft PEPFAR Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 COP/ROP Guidance prior to its finalization. … Note that this year’s guidance also includes our 2017 Technical Considerations. Please fill out the online form with as much specificity as possible, submitting a separate form for each individual section. … All feedback must be submitted no later than close of business Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, Eastern Standard Time…” (12/30).

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