KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Health Officials Concerned Congress Will Not Approve Zika Funding Before Summer Recess

POLITICO: Congress will fight over guns, Zika as it sprints for recess
“With just one week left before they leave for a nearly two-month summer break, lawmakers will renew their fights over gun control and Zika money — as Congress sprints to get out of town ahead of the political conventions and the height of campaign season…” (Kim et al., 7/10).

USA TODAY: Top health officials fear Congress will leave without approving Zika funds
“Top federal health officials fear Congress will leave town Friday without approving funds to combat Zika just as the summer mosquito season is peaking and money to fight the virus is about to run out. Mosquito control efforts and the development of a vaccine to protect against the disease could be derailed if lawmakers do not approve funding before they adjourn for a seven-week summer recess, warned Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in interviews with USA TODAY on Sunday…” (Kelly, 7/11).

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Congressional Inaction On Zika, Other Global Health Preparedness Funding Increases Risks Of Future Outbreaks, Media Sources Report

Medill National Security Reporting Project/VICE News: This U.S. government program may have stopped Ebola — but never had the funding it requested
“Six years ago, the scientist leading the U.S. government’s program to catch diseases before they turn into global pandemics went to Capitol Hill with a map of the world. Dr. Scott Dowell was meeting with key congressional staffers to warn them about what he believed were gaping holes in the system designed to detect and contain infectious disease outbreaks, before they could kill thousands or potentially millions of people. In 2010, Dowell was leading the much-touted Global Disease Detection Program at the headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Congress had established the GDD program in 2004, to ‘protect the health of Americans and the global community by developing and strengthening public health capacity to rapidly detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorist threats.’ … Dowell wasn’t the only one sounding the alarm…” (7/8).

POLITICO: Why Congress’s Zika impasse could awaken Ebola menace
“While Congress dithers over the advancing Zika virus, another smoldering epidemic keeps threatening to burst back into flame. Ebola. Emergency funds to fight that deadly virus may run out in October because they were poached to fight Zika … And that’s a major problem because while Ebola has subsided as a threat, it hasn’t ended. … [T]he idea that Ebola is ‘over’ has colored the increasingly partisan stalemate on how much to spend on Zika and where the money should come from…” (Allen, 7/9).

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The Hill Examines U.S. House's Proposed 'FEMA For Public Health' Fund To Ward Off Future Disease Outbreaks

The Hill: GOP backs new fund for public health
“While Congress remains deadlocked over funding to fight the Zika virus, senior GOP leaders are working to head off yet another big public health funding fight. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), and others for weeks behind the scenes have been working on legislation to create an emergency fund for public health crises. They call it ‘FEMA for public health,’ a reference to the Federal Emergency Management Agency that helps communities hurt by disasters…” (Ferris, 7/10).

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ODI Report Says More Action Needed To Implement SDGs; U.N. High-Level Forum To Meet This Week To Discuss Global Goals

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Urgency needed over U.N. goals to slash global poverty, inequality — think tank
“A global commitment to combat extreme poverty and inequality agreed in a blaze of publicity last year needs to be put into action before it is too late, a U.K.-based think tank on development and humanitarian issues warned on Monday. The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) warned in a report that slow implementation of the U.N.’s global goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), would stall advances against rising global inequality…” (Silverstein, 7/11).

U.N. News Centre: Interview: Sustainable Development Goals must be owned by everyone, says senior U.N. official
“Ahead of [this] week’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum, Assistant Secretary-General Thomas Gass talks about sustainable development, leaving no one behind, and why this time ‘it’s for real.’ … In an interview with the U.N. News Centre, Mr. Gass described the Political Forum as ‘a space once a year where Member States and also the population can see how we are moving on the Sustainable Development Goals and take corrective measures to really achieve them within the next 15 years’…” (7/8).

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El Niño's Impacts On Children Set To Continue Despite End Of Weather Pattern, UNICEF Report Says

U.N. News Centre: ‘Monster’ El Niño subsides but impact on children set to worsen as disease, malnutrition spread — UNICEF
“While the 2015-2016 El Niño — one of the strongest on record — has ended, its devastating impact on children is worsening, as hunger, malnutrition, and disease continue to increase following the severe droughts and floods spawned by the event, a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed [Friday]. Making matters worse, there is a strong chance La Niña — El Niño’s flip side — could strike at some stage this year, further exacerbating a severe humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions of children in some of the most vulnerable communities, UNICEF said in a report ‘It’s not over — El Niño’s impact on children’…” (7/8).

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Australian Researchers Declare End Of Nation's AIDS Epidemic, Credit Access To Treatment

International Business Times: Australian researchers say new ‘miraculous’ treatments are wiping out HIV
“Researchers in Australia say they now receive so few cases of people with HIV developing AIDS in any one year, they can say they have ‘beaten’ the disease…” (Piggot, 7/10).

Sydney Morning Herald: AIDS epidemic ‘over’ in Australia, say peak bodies
“…The number of annual cases of AIDS diagnoses is now so small, top researchers and the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations have declared the public health issue to be over. … Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute, told the ABC that antiretroviral medications had been crucial to the epidemic’s decline, allowing people diagnosed with HIV to live healthy, long lives…” (Jeong, 7/11).

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Predictable Funding, Rapid Response Team Critical To Eliminating Cholera In Haiti, U.N. Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Interview: Rapid response team, funding, vital to eliminating cholera in Haiti — U.N. official
“A rapid response mechanism is crucial to tackling an endemic disease such as cholera and eliminating it in Haiti, the deputy head of the U.N. mission there said [Friday], emphasizing that the effectiveness of such efforts requires predictable financing. ‘If we cannot have it [funding] in a predictable nature over the next five years, I believe that we are not having the best rapid response,’ Mourad Wahba, deputy special representative for the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) told the U.N. News Service…” (7/8).

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Computer Algorithm Using Dengue Case Reports From Telephone Hotline Predicts Outbreaks, Study Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: In first, scientists use phones to track dengue outbreaks in poor nations
“Researchers have developed a new method to pinpoint outbreaks of dengue fever by tracking phone calls to public health hotlines, a team of scientists said on Friday. Analyzing patterns of calls in Pakistan’s Punjab region, the researchers forecast suspected dengue cases up to two weeks ahead of time with block-by-block accuracy, the researchers said in a study published in the journal Science Advances…” (Malo, 7/8).

VOA News: Telephone Hotline in Pakistan Predicts Dengue Outbreaks
“…Researchers have created a computer algorithm that uses hotline reports from the public to help forecast the number of dengue cases, two to three weeks before there’s an actual outbreak. By knowing how many people could become infected, public health officials can take preventive measures to limit the impact of dengue on a community. Lakshmi Subramanian, a professor of mathematical sciences at New York University, said the computer model is extremely accurate…” (Berman, 7/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Must Set Aside Debate Around Planned Parenthood, No Longer Delay Funding For Zika Response

Los Angeles Times: A shameful partisan battle over Planned Parenthood threatens crucial Zika funding
Editorial Board

“Will it never end? Crucial emergency funding to fight the spread of the increasingly scary Zika virus, which causes birth defects in unborn babies, has gotten mired in the same tiring partisan fight over contraception and reproductive health that is on endless repeat in Washington. … The delay in funding … has slowed down research and development of a vaccine … This makes the fight over Planned Parenthood more than just ideological. In the absence of a vaccine, the best defense is contraception. So attacking Planned Parenthood is not just unnecessarily provocative, it undercuts the best way to prevent Zika transmission and pregnancy among women of child-bearing age in areas rife with the virus. … Of course. It always seems to come back to Planned Parenthood. Congress must put that fight aside for another day. Today — this week — it’s about preparing for the inevitable spread of Zika and limiting its harm to humans. It’s unbelievable that this task would be up for debate” (7/8).

Washington Post: Zika arrives, Congress shrugs
Editorial Board

“…[A]nother week of gridlock has passed, without action to combat Zika: helping states and local jurisdictions with the difficult mosquito eradication effort; researching new vaccines; improving diagnostics; and educating the public, particularly pregnant women, about the risks. Now there is little time for Congress to act before it goes on summer recess, not to return until September. … Now is the moment to set aside the maneuvering and blame-throwing and negotiate a truly bipartisan compromise — without poison pills, without cuts in other programs — to give public health officials the tools they need. The United States does not need or want a generation of brain-damaged babies. But Congress must act fast to keep that from happening” (7/10).

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International Community Should Take Action In First 1,000 Days Of SDGs To Ensure No One 'Left Behind'

The Guardian: We must act fast on the global goals, or risk leaving the poorest behind
Elizabeth Stuart, research fellow and team leader on the Sustainable Development Goals at the Overseas Development Institute

“…Using current progress on key indicators, [new research] shows just how much harder it will be to reach some of the most relevant goals and targets [of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] if action is delayed. We conclude that if no action is taken in the first 1,000 days of the SDGs — in other words, in the first three years up to September 2018 — then governments risk leaving people behind and failing to achieve certain goals altogether. … So the message is clear: early action is both necessary and possible. What we need is another follow-up moment in 2018 — a high-level summit to review progress, to ensure that ‘leave no one behind’ does not itself get left behind” (7/11).

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Improving Social Protections Critical To Ending Hunger By 2030

Project Syndicate: How to End Hunger
Hilal Elver, U.N. special rapporteur on the Right to Food and research professor of global studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, assistant director general and coordinator for economic and social development at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization

“…The only way to [eliminate hunger by 2030] will be to implement well-designed social protection and scale up pro-poor investments. … Improved social protection can help to ensure adequate food consumption and enable recipients to invest in their own nutrition, health, and other productive capacities. As such investments sustainably raise incomes, they enable further increases in productive personal investments, thereby breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and hunger. … Now, with the adoption of the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], governments everywhere are obliged to take responsibility for ending poverty and hunger, as well as for creating the conditions for ensuring that both are permanently overcome. The upcoming High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development presents an important opportunity to forge the path ahead, setting near- and medium-term priorities. Ending hunger and poverty in a sustainable way is morally right, politically beneficial, and economically feasible. For world leaders, inaction is no longer an option” (7/8).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Voluntary Family Planning Essential To Achieving SDGs, Long-Term Development Strategies

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Family Planning for the World’s Youth Promotes Peace, Health, and Prosperity
In observance of World Population Day, which takes place on July 11, Ellen H. Starbird, director of the USAID Office of Population and Reproductive Health, discusses how voluntary family planning affects long-term development strategies, outlining ways in which voluntary family planning can advance efforts around “people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership” (7/11).

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Participants At Global Conference Propose Recommendations For Implementation Of Paris Agreement

WHO: Global conference sets health action agenda for the implementation of the Paris Agreement
“Participants attending the Second Global Conference on Health and Climate, hosted by the government of France, COP21 presidency, proposed key actions for the implementation of the Paris agreement to reduce health risks linked to climate change,” including moving to more sustainable food production and healthier diets; adopting a new approach to link health economics assessment and climate change; and measuring the progress that countries are making to protect health from climate change (7/8).

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Wilson Center Event Highlights Results, Experiences From Integrated Approach To Population, Health, Environment In East Africa

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: HoPE for Sustainable Development: Results From an Integrated Approach in East Africa
Sreya Panuganti, an intern with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, discusses the work of the Health of the People and Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin initiative (HoPE-LVB), an intervention supported by Pathfinder International, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Packard Foundation, and centered around population, health, and environment (PHE). “Speaking at [a] Wilson Center [event] on June 21, Pamela Onduso, a senior technical adviser on youth advocacy and partnership at Pathfinder International Kenya, defined PHE as ‘an integrated approach to improve access to health services, especially family planning and sexual and reproductive health, while at the same time helping communities to manage natural resources and conserve the critical ecosystems on which they depend.'” The intervention is currently in its third year of a five-year funding cycle; the next two years will focus on bringing the program to scale (7/11).

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