KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Senate Democrats Argue Recess Should Be Postponed Until Zika Funding Compromise Reached

CQ News: Democrats: Women’s Health Services Lacking in Zika Funding Bill
“Senate Democrats on Thursday doubled down on their claims that the GOP-written Zika virus response package the Senate rejected Tuesday was largely a Republican assault on women’s health…” (McCrimmon, 6/30).

The Hill: Senate Dems: No August break without Zika deal
“Top Senate Democrats lashed out at Republicans Thursday, arguing they shouldn’t leave for a seven-week recess without reaching a deal to fund the fight against the Zika virus. ‘We’re going on a seven-week vacation … and unless the Republicans become sensible, the Zika virus will have no work done,’ Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters. ‘This is really outrageous that we’re going to go on vacation while this national emergency is pending’…” (Carney, 6/30).

TIME: Republicans and Democrats Play Chicken With Zika Funding
“…Indeed, the Senate has just three working days next week following the July 4 break to pass Zika funding, or it will punt until September, when Congress is next in session. The Zika bill failed a Senate vote on Tuesday, largely because of Democratic opposition to what they called ‘poison pills’ [in the package]…” (Newton-Small, 6/30).

Washington Post: March of Dimes petitions Congress to fund fight against Zika
“The March of Dimes is petitioning lawmakers to fund Zika prevention efforts, days after congressional efforts to fight the virus failed. The organization, which works to end premature birth and birth defects, put a petition on its website Thursday to tell lawmakers that fighting Zika should be a bipartisan effort…” (Zezima, 6/30).

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As U.S. Congress Continues To Dispute Zika Funding, Majority Of Americans Support Additional Investment In Disease, Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Shows

Bloomberg: The World Can’t Even Find Pocket Change to Fight Zika
“More than five months after U.S. President Barack Obama requested $1.9 billion to fight the Zika epidemic, members of Congress are going home to July 4 barbecues without approving a spending bill. While Washington’s dysfunction is predictable given the current electoral climate, less noticed has been the global inertia facing efforts to combat the mosquito-borne disease…” (Tozzi, 6/30).

Morning Consult: Most Americans Want Zika Funding, Poll Finds
“The Zika virus is on most Americans’ radar. Nearly three-fourths of Americans think the government should invest more money in research and preventing the spread of the virus, according to a poll released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The data comes after the Senate failed this week to pass a spending bill that would address the Zika virus…” (McIntire, 6/30).

Washington Examiner: Poll: Three in four Americans want Zika funding
“…[According to the Kaiser survey, m]ajorities of voters in both parties want more investment in Zika. Eighty percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans said more money should be spent on prevention efforts. Meanwhile, a Zika-funding bill remains stalled in Congress, as Senate Democrats continue blocking a $1.1 billion bill advanced by Republicans. The parties are in dispute over how much to spend and whether to offset the spending. President Obama has requested $1.9 billion…” (Cunningham, 6/30).

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U.N. Human Rights Council Creates Expert Role To Monitor LGBT Rights

New York Times: U.N. Panel Moves to Curb Bias Against LGBT People
“The United Nations’ main human rights body on Thursday adopted measures to strengthen protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, despite fierce resistance from Muslim and African countries…” (Cumming-Bruce, 6/30).

Reuters: U.N. rights council creates role of expert to protect LGBT people
“…After a heated debate lasting almost four hours, the 47-member state [U.N. Human Rights Council] overcame strong objections by Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries to adopt a Western-backed resolution by a vote of 23 states in favor and 18 against with six abstentions. The United Nations expert, still to be named, will have a three-year mandate…” (Nebehay, 6/30).

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U.N., Government, Health Sector Officials Meet To Discuss Global Health Security Preparedness

U.N. News Centre: U.N., global health officials meet in Southeast Asia to discuss security preparedness
“After recent outbreaks of Ebola, Zika, and yellow fever, senior health officials from the United Nations, governments, and other institutions are prioritizing global health security preparedness given ongoing concerns about national health systems that are weak, fragmented, and under-funded…” (6/30).

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WHO Calls For Greater Effort, Investment To Improve African Pharmaceutical Systems, Access To Medicines

Xinhua News: WHO calls for efforts to improve pharmaceutical systems in Africa
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for greater commitment and higher investment in Africa to build strong pharmaceutical systems and improve access to quality medicines in countries of the continent. … The European Union (E.U.); the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP); and WHO on Wednesday met in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to take stock of progress made by a joint four-year program to improve access to quality medicines in 15 sub-Saharan African countries…” (6/30).

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Health Care Workers Risking Lives To Provide Care In Conflict Zones, Panel Says

Global Health NOW: Losing Lives to Save Lives
“ ‘Kunduz.’ Prior to this declarative utterance, Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Laurie Garrett had presided Tuesday over a meeting at CFR in New York by launching hard questions at panelists from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Program on Human Rights, Health and Conflict at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her line of inquiry focused on those who are losing lives to save lives: health care workers targeted by not only ramshackle regimes and terrorist groups, but also major states (most notably Syria), for the ‘crime’ of providing health care…” (Yakutchik, 6/30).

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Syrian Civil War Allows Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Outbreak To Take Hold

NPR: ‘The Aleppo Evil’ Is Making A Comeback
“…The disease, now known as Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis, or CL, is not unique to Syria. It’s found in parts of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and southern Europe, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But ever since Syria’s civil war started in 2011, what had been a persistent — but relatively controlled — nuisance has turned into a full-fledged outbreak…” (Hallett, 6/29).

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60K Syrian Refugees On Jordanian Border Without Access To Food, Medicine, MSF Warns

New York Times: After Attack, Syrian Refugees Grapple With Food Shortage on Jordan’s Edge
“…For a week, since a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing seven Jordanian security officials, the [Syrian] refugees, now numbering at least 60,000, have not had access to food or medicine, as they had in previous months. Only three times since then have water trucks reached them, carrying what the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders estimated to be equivalent to a 1.5-liter bottle of water a day…” (Sweis/Sengupta, 6/30).

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Media Outlets Examine New Technologies' Roles In Delivering Health Care, Supplies

The Economist: Help from above
“…Rwanda will soon be a laboratory for one of the most hyped technologies around. … If all goes well, drones could cut a 3.5-hour trip by car to and from one of the country’s five blood banks to less than 45 minutes, a potentially life-saving difference for a mother hemorrhaging after giving birth…” (7/2).

SciDev.Net: Telemedicine saves lives in disaster zones
“…I spoke to Raghu Venugopal, a doctor based in Canada, who runs [Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF)] telemedicine network. Established six years ago, the network uses an encrypted online portal where medics in the field can upload case files, photographs, ultrasounds, and X-ray images, and seek advice from specialists working in MSF headquarters or hospitals thousands of miles away…” (Mathers, 6/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should No Longer Delay Zika Funding Package

Bloomberg: Congress Dithers While Zika Spreads
Editorial Board

“Congress is giving the Aedes aegypti mosquito every chance to gain an advantage in the fight against the Zika virus. No one knows exactly when the first such mosquito will transmit the virus inside the U.S., but it might happen before lawmakers manage to pass a bill to pay for its prevention and control. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats blocked a Republican plan to partly fund President Barack Obama’s [$1.9 billion] request — issued more than four months ago — for money to fight Zika. … Congressional Republicans offered $1.1 billion, with strings attached. … It’s possible that Congress’s latest failure is merely posturing — that lawmakers have made their partisan points and plan to approve funding for Zika next month when they reconvene. If so, it’s small comfort. Congress may take most of the summer off, but Aedes aegypti doesn’t” (6/30).

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Opinion Piece, Editorial Discuss Syrian Health, Humanitarian Crisis

New York Times: In Syria, Starving Instead of Fasting
Avi Asher-Schapiro, freelance journalist

“…It’s hard to overstate the psychological and physical devastation food deprivation unleashes during Ramadan, a holiday organized around the ritual of fasting all day, and feasting with family all night. … After five years of civil war, the international community is no closer to solving a vexing problem: A vast majority of starving civilians are being besieged by the Assad regime, but humanitarian aid groups cannot enter blockaded territories without regime approval, and they must stage their convoys from regime-controlled Damascus. … Before the war, Ramadan was the happiest time of year in Madaya, [Syria]… Each family would cook a different dish and share it with neighbors at sunset to break the fast. Now there’s no food to offer, and besides, people are too drained, after a year of nearly starving to death, to walk the streets and greet their neighbors…” (6/30).

The Lancet: Syria: a health crisis too great to ignore
Editorial Board

“…As the needs of civilians in Syria increase, medical assistance is being decimated and, in many cases, deliberately targeted. … Attacks on medical personnel, facilities, and civilians in conflicts are unacceptable, and they are war crimes. What has become frighteningly apparent is that such crimes are a prevailing and increasing feature of the Syrian conflict. The U.N. Security Council and international community need to return to the negotiating table to find solutions for peace, stability, and upholding of humanitarian law in this war-devastated nation. The horrors of Syria are too great to ignore” (7/2).

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Investing In Local Solutions Key To Controlling Yellow Fever Outbreak In Angola

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Yellow fever in Angola: Are we repeating the mistakes of Ebola?
Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“…The international community and the Angolan authorities can still put the lessons of Ebola into real action and prevent [the yellow fever] crisis from surging out of control. Ebola has shown us that public health solutions must begin and end with local communities. Community engagement is essential. … In Angola and surrounding countries, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is supporting National Societies to work with communities to stop yellow fever transmission. Community-driven solutions to vector control, health promotion, and vaccination are the key. But communities cannot solve every problem themselves. Weak surveillance, limited vector control, and poor health care are some of the root factors behind the outbreak and these must be addressed through a broad range of partners. The people of Angola need an urgent and coordinated response, where support is targeted to local needs and concerns and made available now” (6/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Discuss Global Health-Related Aspects Of Senate FY17 SFOPs Appropriations Bill

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2017 State & Foreign Operations Bill
Houston Ernst, policy director at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, discusses global health funding aspects of the Senate FY 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that was passed on Wednesday, writing, “This legislation recommends $8.67 billion in funding for many lifesaving global health programs, including global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria assistance. Global HIV/AIDS programs would receive the largest portion of this funding, with almost $6 billion going to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Global Fund. The committee’s FY 2017 funding recommendation for the Global Fund is $1.35 billion…” (6/30).

Human Rights Campaign: ‘Global Gag Rule’ Blocked on Bipartisan Senate Committee Vote
Andrea Levario, HRC senior public policy advocate, discusses Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-N.H.) amendment to repeal the Mexico City policy, otherwise known as the “global gag rule,” and restore funding for international family planning in the Senate FY17 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, writing, “Although lawmakers were successful in removing the global gag rule during the committee markup, an amendment could be offered to reinstate the provision when the bill is considered by the full Senate. HRC is working closely with our coalition partners to defeat any such effort” (6/30).

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Senate agrees on global health funding, small boost for TB
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, examines global health-related items in the Senate FY17 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (6/29).

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U.S. Must Strengthen Preparedness For Future Public Health Threats, HHS Report Says

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health: U.S. Needs Greater Preparation for Next Severe Public Health Threats, Independent Panel Finds
“In a report released [Thursday] by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an Independent Panel formed to review HHS’s response to Ebola made several recommendations on how the nation’s federal public health system should strengthen its response to major public health threats, both internationally and domestically. … The panel’s recommendations emphasize the critical need for constant focus and ongoing funding for preparedness and response necessary to change systems and policy if the U.S. is to be sufficiently prepared for public health crises…” (6/30).

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U.S. Foreign Assistance Efforts Integral To Global Development, Diplomacy

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: U.S. Foreign Assistance: A Decade of Impact
Hari Sastry, director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources at the State Department, reflects on the office’s efforts over the past decade, writing, “Looking back on our decade of impact — on the milestones we have achieved, on the tools we have created to make foreign assistance more manageable and accessible — inspires us to look to the future. … As we collaborate closely with government agencies, we must continue to invite and engage the private sector and nonprofit communities. Our organizations may be different, but our goal is shared: to advance our development and diplomacy objectives, so that our world is more safe, secure, and prosperous for all people…” (6/30).

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Study Examines Standards Of WHO-Recommended TB Treatment Regimens In Low-Income Countries

Humanosphere: Report: WHO based TB care on cost in low-income countries, violating standard
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses a new paper published in the Health and Human Rights Journal examining WHO-recommended TB care in developing countries. He writes, “Between 1993 and 2002, the WHO made treatment recommendations in low-income countries based on cost — treatment that was deemed substandard in wealthy countries. The action violated patient rights and was in opposition to the very standards set out and enforced by the WHO, researchers from Duke University and Harvard Medical School said…” (6/30).

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July 2016 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The July 2016 WHO Bulletin includes editorials, news, research, and policy articles on various topics, including an editorial on engaging young people in preventing noncommunicable diseases; news articles addressing environmental issues and public health; a review on traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths in Africa; and a perspective piece on community health worker programs following the West African Ebola epidemic (July 2016).

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