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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Congress Continues Stalemate Over Zika Funding In Last Week Before Summer Recess

The Hill: Reid, McConnell spar over Zika funding
“The Senate’s Republican and Democratic leaders battled Monday over funding to fight the Zika virus, a clear sign that lawmakers have yet to break a stalemate days ahead of a seven-week recess. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tried to bring up the Senate’s original deal — spearheaded by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — that would provide $1.1 billion in funding…” (Carney, 7/11).

Wall Street Journal: Zika Funding Battle Stalls Spending Bills in Congress
“…[A]s Congress enters its last week in session before a seven-week break through Labor Day, lawmakers have yet to pass a single spending bill through both chambers. The closest they have come so far is a military construction spending bill that had broad bipartisan support until it hit a major snag: funding attached to it to help combat the Zika virus…” (Peterson/Armour, 7/11).

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U.S. To Provide $410M Through PEPFAR For HIV Treatment, Prevention Programs In South Africa

Reuters: U.S. pledges $410 million to fight AIDS in South Africa
“The United States on Monday pledged $410 million toward ending the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, the country hardest hit. South Africa has the world’s largest population of people living with HIV, at 6.8 million, and the funds will help expand its antiretroviral program, which provides treatment to more than three million patients…” (Vernon, 7/11).

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In Video Series, Podcast, News Outlets Examine Efforts To End AIDS Epidemic

PBS NewsHour: The End of AIDS?
“PBS NewsHour traveled to six places across the world to find stories of those in the middle of the AIDS epidemic. Will they find an end to AIDS? Watch our six-part series, starting July 11th…” (Brangham/Kane, 7/11).

U.N. News Centre: Podcast: End of AIDS within reach, but Kenneth Cole warns of reversal if treatment push lags
“Ending AIDS means controlling the spread of HIV and lessening its impact on people’s lives, the Joint U.N. Programme fighting the epidemic (UNAIDS) has said, noting that the number of people on antiretroviral treatment today has surpassed the number of new infections each year, and more countries are reporting that zero mother-to-child transmission of HIV is in sight. But in the latest episode of the U.N. Radio podcast series ‘The Lid is On,’ newly appointed UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Kenneth Cole says that if ‘there isn’t a continuation of this initiative, we will see that reverse’…” (7/11).

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VICE News, Partners Report On HIV Epidemic In Chile

VICE News: HIV is spreading in Chile — and lots of people don’t know they have it
“VICE News has partnered with the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and student journalists from the International Reporting Program for ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: Stories of HIV and migration in Chile'” (Hauka, 7/11).

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On World Population Day, Focus Turns To Improving Lives Of Teenage Girls

Deutsche Welle: World Population Day: investing in women
“The world’s population grows by roughly 2.6 people per second. In 15 years, the number of people on earth will have increased from 7.3 billion to 8.5 billion, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). … Better living conditions for women and girls could change this trend, which is why ‘Investing in teenage girls’ is the motto of this year’s World Population Day…” (Cwienk, 7/11).

Devex: How to improve the futures of teenage girls
“In 1987, the United Nations Development Program governing council designated July 11 as World Population Day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. … This year’s World Population Day theme is ‘Investing in teenage girls,’ so Devex spoke with actors across the global development space about what they’re doing to improve the futures of this particular population…” (Espinosa, 7/11).

U.N. News Centre: Stand up for and invest in teenage girls, U.N. says on World Population Day
“…Despite significant gains made in reducing poverty and improving opportunity and well-being for many people around the world, hundreds of millions remain desperate for a chance of a better future, said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Monday] in his message on [World Population Day], celebrated annually on 11 July…” (7/11).

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U.K.'s Brexit Referendum To Impact Aid Amounts To Developing Nations

Devex: The best Brexit for aid
“…The instability caused by the referendum sent the British pound plummeting in the greatest one-day loss since the beginning of the Bretton Woods system. The currency now hovers at a 12 percent loss against the dollar, with knock-on effects for the U.K. aid budget. Currently valued at about $19 billion, British aid has lost $1.9 billion in value since the pound dropped. The aid budget, experts warned, is now under even greater threat. Spending is tied by law to 0.7 percent of gross national income, but growth of gross domestic product will drop by an estimated three percent for 2016. The accompanying decline in GNI will cause a net reduction in aid…” (Anders, 7/11).

Humanosphere: Developing countries take $3.8 billion loss thanks to Brexit
“…For developing countries, the short-term losses add up to about $3.8 billion, according [to a report from] the U.K.-based think tank the Overseas Development Institute. There are some potential benefits in the long term as the U.K. will hopefully stabilize its economy and work out new trade deals, but a lot of uncertainty remains. … The second hit comes from the value of foreign aid dropping by $18.7 billion (based on a 10 percent devaluation of the currency)…” (Murphy, 7/11).

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WFP Launches Innovation Accelerator Initiative To Help End Hunger By 2030

U.N. News Centre: U.N. food relief agency launches innovation project to spur progress towards ending hunger by 2030
“The United Nations food relief agency launched [Monday] an initiative to identify and nurture new technologies and business models which will contribute to the global goal of ending hunger by 2030. Based in Munich, Germany, the Innovation Accelerator combines staff of the World Food Programme (WFP) with experts and entrepreneurs from across the private sector and civil society…” (7/11).

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Africa Regional Commission Certifies Mozambique Polio-Free

Reuters: Mozambique certified polio free: health ministry
“Mozambique has been certified free of polio, the health ministry said on Monday, comparing the achievement to the country’s elimination of leprosy in 2008. The announcement, made on the state news agency, follows a meeting of the Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication, … which reviewed the certification progress of Mozambique, Niger, and Chad…” (Dludla, 7/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. State Department Should Urge U.N. To Take Responsibility For Haitian Cholera Epidemic

Boston Globe: State Dept. should demand U.N. take responsibility in Haiti
Editorial Board

“…Last month, 158 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry urging the State Department to ‘exercise its leadership to ensure that the United Nations … take concrete steps to eliminate the cholera epidemic introduced to Haiti in 2010 by waste from a U.N. peacekeeper camp, and to comply with its legal and moral obligations to provide cholera victims with access to an effective remedy.’ … So far, the State Department has made no official response to the June 29 letter … Kerry should call the U.N. to account, and the State Department should intervene. … Nothing less than a comprehensive overhaul of Haiti’s water and sanitation systems can bring the epidemic to an end. … [T]he U.N.’s efforts have been minimal. At the very least, the U.N. should take its own advisory committee’s advice and find a way to compensate victims. And, as the U.N.’s host nation and biggest financial contributor, the United States, in the voice of Secretary Kerry’s State Department, should demand immediate action” (7/12).

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U.S. Should Defend Rights Of Small-Scale, Female Farmers In Efforts To Attain Global Food Security

The Guardian: Obama’s development legacy rings hollow on farmers’ rights
Claire Provost, fellow at the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London

“While U.S. NGOs erupted in near-giddy applause last week, celebrating the passage through Congress of the Global Food Security Act of 2016, peasant communities in Honduras and land rights activists around the world mourned the death of environmentalist Lesbia Yaneth Urquía, whose body was found in a rubbish dump 160km west of the capital, Tegucigalpa. … [President] Obama is clearly hoping to make food and agriculture a legacy issue for his administration. But without a clear and central vision committed to supporting human rights, U.S. aid-funded initiatives risk repeating the same mistakes well-intentioned elites have made for decades. … The U.S. act, once passed into law, will require the president to coordinate and articulate a cross-government strategy by 1 October. This strategy must put clear commitments to support poor and marginalized communities fighting for their rights at its very core. The act does nod in this direction … but this must be strengthened and followed through. … [E]levating food and agriculture to priority issues is not, on its own, enough. Similarly, raising the profile of female farmers by explicitly referencing them in policy documents is far from a sufficient response to the ongoing and violent persecution of activists…” (7/11).

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Despite Threat Of Drug Resistance, Insecticide-Treated Bednets Still Most Effective Method To Prevent Malaria Transmission

The Conversation: Malaria: should we abandon insecticide-treated bednets?
Mafalda Viana, research fellow at the University of Glasgow, and Angela Hughes, laboratory manager/PhD student

“…A new study we’ve published in PNAS shows that although [drug] resistant mosquitoes don’t die immediately on contact with insecticide-treated bednets, their risk of death in the days and weeks following contact is greatly increased. … The problem with the widespread use of insecticide-treated bednets is that many mosquitoes have now become highly resistant to these chemicals. … To worsen the problem, there is only one type of insecticide that can be safely used to treat bednets. So when mosquitoes become fully resistant, we could enter an era where our primary weapon against malaria can no longer be used and the public health gains achieved so far reversed. … By making new insecticidal products — or finding alternative or other complementary solutions — we may be able to start killing these resistant mosquitoes again. As we wait for these developments, we should continue to use mosquito insecticide-treated bednets. Despite the rapid spread of insecticide resistance, they are still the most effective method to prevent malaria transmission” (7/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Examines Congressional Approval Of Global Food Security Act Of 2016

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: Congress Did Something! For Developing Countries!!
Kimberly Ann Elliott, a senior fellow at CGD, gives her “quick take” on the importance of the U.S. Congress passing the Global Food Security Act of 2016. She notes, “The legislation authorizes President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative, which aims to increase incomes and improve nutrition among the rural poor in 19 focus countries. But the measure also delivers on another important front by authorizing the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP)…” (7/11).

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U.S., Cuban Science Diplomacy Can Help Improve Relations, Researcher Says

World Policy Blog: Science Diplomacy and U.S.-Cuban Relations
Bernabé Malacalza, a researcher in international relations at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Argentina, based at the National University of Quilmes, discusses “Cuban health diplomacy” and science diplomacy between Cuba and the U.S. Malacalza writes that scientific cooperation between Cuba and U.S. “can help those in government, scientific communities, and other sectors make decisions by better understanding the positive outcomes that can result from science diplomacy. They can also serve as a call to action to put an end to the anachronistic rationale of the [U.S.] embargo, taking into account how working in areas of mutual scientific interest can advance U.S. and Cuban national, regional, local, or institutional interests” (7/11).

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Blog Post Explores Benefits Of Partnerships To Train Health Care Workers

BMJ Blogs: Andy Haines: Why health partnerships are good for global health
Andy Haines, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and chair of trustees at THET, discusses the importance of partnerships to improve global health. He writes, “Many health partnerships are supporting health services for isolated rural populations in areas where the nearest care point is 70 miles away. One example is how through health partnerships, THET has helped train over 5,024 community and traditional health workers who provide frontline care for neglected communities. … [P]artnerships can help address the many global health challenges and contribute to the achievement of universal health coverage” (7/11).

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Clinicians Need Better Understanding Of Drug-Resistant TB To Maximize Treatment Results, Survey Shows

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Multi-country survey sheds light on drug-resistant tuberculosis treatment needs
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a survey published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases that “shows a need for better understanding of the dynamics of drug-resistant [tuberculosis], including through tests that do not yet exist. The survey’s findings … show that tuberculosis that is resistant to the most common first-line drug may often also be resistant to a drug used in substitute therapies…” (7/11).

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