KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Senate Impasse Over Zika Funding Hardens Ahead Of Friday Adjournment

The Hill: Senators block dueling Zika proposals for second day
“Senators blocked dueling proposals funding a response to the Zika virus for the second time this week with days left before lawmakers leave for a recess that lasts until September. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) tried to bring up the $1.1 billion deal spearheaded by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected. The Kentucky Republican, in turn, tried to bring up a GOP-supported conference report, but Nelson objected…” (Carney, 7/12).

The Hill: Reid: McConnell ‘stringing us along’ on Zika
“Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ripped Republicans over a stalemate over funding to combat the Zika virus Tuesday, the latest sign the issue will likely be punted into the fall. ‘It’s clear that the Republican leader [Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell] has been stringing us along. He never had any intention of coming back to the negotiating table,’ Reid said from the Senate floor. ‘Republicans have no desire to work with us … now, or any time in the future. It’s all been a charade’…” (Carney, 7/12).

POLITICO: Senate war escalates over Zika
“…In a pitch to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called for striking several provisions in the Zika measure loathed by Democrats. … But Republicans have made it clear that the only Zika measure that can be sent to the White House before recess is the one passed by the GOP-controlled House — over Democratic objections…” (Kim/Haberkorn, 7/12).

Wall Street Journal: Zika Stalemate Hardens as Senate Republicans Reject New Democratic Proposal
“…Congress is expected to adjourn Friday for a seven-week recess through Labor Day and there was little evidence Tuesday that any bipartisan agreement would arrive before week’s end. … President Barack Obama is expected to veto the GOP-backed Zika bill if it were to pass both chambers. If Congress is unable to approve any new Zika funding, the administration’s efforts to stop the virus will be interrupted…” (Peterson/Armour, 7/12).

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After Significant Gains, Declines In Global HIV Incidence Stall, New Infections Rising In Some Regions; More Effort Needed To End AIDS By 2030, UNAIDS Warns In New Report

Agence France-Presse: Quest to end AIDS epidemic at risk: U.N.
“Efforts to end the global AIDS pandemic by 2030 are lagging, the U.N. warned Tuesday, decrying rising numbers of new HIV infections among adults in many regions, with Russia especially hard-hit…” (Larson, 7/12).

The Guardian: HIV infecting 2m more people every year, warns U.N.
“Talk of the end of AIDS was premature, according to a new U.N. report that reveals the steady decline in new HIV infections stalled five years ago and that, in some areas, the numbers are rising again. … If [trends continue], it will be impossible to meet the U.N. goal of eradicating AIDS by 2030…” (Boseley, 7/12).

Reuters: Action needed as decline in HIV cases stalls: U.N. AIDS agency
“…An estimated 1.9 million adults had become infected with HIV every year for at least the past five years. Globally, some 36.7 million were now infected, the United Nations AIDS agency (UNAIDS) said in a report. New HIV infections among adults, defined as over 15 years old, were now rising in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caribbean, and Middle East and North Africa, the report said…” (Kelland, 7/12).

U.N. News Centre: Warning of stalled progress against HIV infections, new U.N. report urges stepped-up prevention efforts
“…The report notes that in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, annual new HIV infections increased 57 percent from 2010 to 2015. After years of steady decline, the Caribbean saw a nine percent rise among adults. In the Middle East and North Africa, annual new HIV infections increased by four percent. There have been no significant declines in any other regions of the world. New HIV infections declined only marginally in Western and Central Europe and North America, as well as Western and Central Africa, since 2010…” (7/12).

VOA News: New HIV Infections on Rise in Some Regions
“…The report says young women in sub-Saharan Africa are particularly at risk of HIV/AIDS, with 75 percent of new infections among adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19. Other vulnerable groups, it says, include gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers and their clients, transgender people, injecting drug users, and prisoners” (Schlein, 7/12).

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Singer Annie Lennox, Other Activists Call On Donor Governments To Increase Pledges To Global Fund To Fight AIDS, TB And Malaria

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Singer Annie Lennox urges governments to step up funding for AIDS, malaria, and TB
“Ending some of the world’s deadliest diseases is within reach but only if donor governments dig deeper into their pockets to fund the fight against AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, singer and activist Annie Lennox said on Tuesday. Lennox was among activists calling on Britain to pledge 1.2 billion pounds ($1.58 billion) to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ahead of its summit in September to urge governments to commit more money to fighting the diseases…” (Zweynert, 7/12).

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El Niño, La Niña Weather Patterns Create Conditions Possibly Leading To Increase In Africa's HIV Incidence, UNICEF Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: El Niño, La Niña could lead to spike in new HIV infections in Africa: UNICEF
“Drought exacerbated by the El Niño weather pattern could lead to a spike in new HIV infections in Southern Africa as women and girls turn to sex to survive and patients miss treatments, the United Nations childrens’ agency UNICEF said on Tuesday…” (Mis, 7/12).

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News Outlets Examine State Of HIV Epidemic In South Africa, Worldwide As International AIDS Conference Set To Begin In Durban 16 Years After First Held There

Global Health NOW: Return to Durban: IAS President Chris Beyrer’s Q&A, Part 1
“…Before International AIDS Society President Chris Beyrer departed for Durban, he sat down with GHN Editor-in-Chief Brian W. Simpson to share his thoughts on what to look for in the conference, the current state of the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and where things are headed. The result is this 4-part Q&A. In the first installment, Beyrer, the Desmond M. Tutu Professor in Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, contrasts the state of global HIV/AIDS during the last IAS conference in Durban in 2000 with today…” (Simpson, 7/11).

Global Health NOW: The Access Issue: IAS President Chris Beyrer’s Q&A, Part 2
“How can the global community expand treatment to the 20 million people with HIV who still don’t have it? What will it take to extend HIV prevention efforts to key populations like men who have sex with men and sex workers? International AIDS Society President Chris Beyrer discusses these and other issues in the latest installment of his Q&A with GHN Editor-in-Chief Brian W. Simpson…” (Simpson, 7/13).

Reuters: AIDS conference returns to a changed South Africa
“The South Africa that hosts a global AIDS conference next week has come a long way from the ‘AIDS pariah’ that did so 16 years ago, when then President Thabo Mbeki stunningly dismissed the link between HIV and the disease. At the epicenter of the worldwide AIDS pandemic, South Africa now boasts the largest treatment program in the world, with 3.4 million people receiving the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs that allow those living with HIV to lead normal lives. The contrast with the Mbeki era … could hardly be sharper…” (Vernon, 7/13).

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New U.N.-Backed Partnership Aims To End Violence Against Children

U.N. News Centre: U.N.-backed partnership, support fund launched to end violence against children
“A United Nations-backed partnership and fund were launched [Tuesday] to make achieving the new global target to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence and torture against children a public priority and a collective responsibility. End Violence Against Children — The Global Partnership brings together the United Nations, governments, foundations, civil society, academia, the private sector, and young people in driving action towards achieving the targets to end violence by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (7/12).

Washington Post: The CDC and WHO are teaming up to end the ‘contagious disease’ of child violence
“…On Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced the first coordinated plan to end violence against children. It includes a seven-point strategy that consists of many practical measures, such as implementing and enforcing laws that limit young people’s access to firearms; changing beliefs and values around gender roles, which would presumably target countries where girls have fewer rights and less freedom; creating safe environments by doing things like improving housing; increasing parent and caregiver support; strengthening economies; shoring up support services such as treatment programs for juvenile offenders; and educating children in life and social skills…” (Cha, 7/12).

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Activists Welcome Efforts To End Child Marriage In Tanzania, Gambia But Say Tradition, Penalties Present Challenges

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Tanzania High Court rules against child marriage but cultural beliefs still a concern
“A landmark court ruling raising the legal age of marriage for girls in Tanzania to 18 will have little impact in ending child marriage if parents continue to marry off their daughters for bride price rather than educating them, campaigners said…” (Makoye, 7/12).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Gambia ban on child marriage could spark backlash, activist fears
“Women’s rights activists on Friday welcomed Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s decision to ban child marriage, but said jailing parents who marry off their daughters could spark a backlash in a country where a third of girls are wed before they turn 18…” (Guilbert, 7/8).

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Evidence Shows Ebola Survivors Can Harbor Active Virus In Certain Organs

Foreign Policy: Ebola Lives on in Survivors’ Eyeballs and Testicles
“…There are at least 17,000 Ebola survivors … in West Africa, and many face … ruthless stigmatization. Since the beginning of the crisis, health professionals have pushed communities to reintegrate survivors. … But there’s now evidence that, when it comes to fear of Ebola survivors at least, the folk wisdom of Sierra Leone may have had it right. No one is advocating for discrimination, of course, but doctors and scientists have determined that some survivors still carry the active virus in the so-called immune-privileged pockets of their bodies — places like the inner eye or testes, where antigens can survive without immune system detection — and could potentially pass it on to others. Survivors, in other words, could potentially be the source of another full-blown outbreak…” (Baumgaertner, 7/12).

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New Documentary Film Highlights Efforts To Eradicate Yaws

U.N. News Centre: Feature: Eradication of Yaws, disease that ‘begins where roads end,’ is within sight, says WHO doctor in new film
“When Dr. Oriol Mitjà, a Spanish technical adviser for the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), arrived in Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea, he expected to stay only a month. But after meeting hundreds of children covered in debilitating lesions, he stayed on, found a cure for their ailment, and spurred an international campaign that, if successful, will lead to the eradication of only the second disease in history…” (7/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Strengthening MASH Act Would Support Mosquito Control Efforts, Stop Zika

The Hill: Why we must SMASH mosquitoes to stop Zika
Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)

“…[W]e should take steps to invest in the tools we have to control mosquitoes and the programs we have to support mosquito control. That’s why we have introduced bipartisan legislation — the Strengthening [Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health (MASH)] (SMASH) Act — that would authorize $130 million every year for the next five years for mosquito control. We are facing a long-term problem — the question is not whether we will spend our tax dollars to address this problem but when. We think it’s smarter that we make the investment both when it is cheaper and before people get sick. Let’s not be penny wise and dollar foolish when it comes to public health preparedness and protecting Americans. Instead, let’s learn from our history, take action now, and support the programs necessary to SMASH Zika and better prepare for the next mosquito-borne threat we may face” (7/12).

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Obama Administration Faced Foreign Aid Challenges, Potentially Remembered For Efforts To End Extreme Poverty, Address Climate Change

Devex: President Obama and his development legacy
John Norris, executive director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at the Center for American Progress

“…With the economic crisis and Republicans in Congress reflexively opposing anything proposed by President Obama, the days of wine and roses were gone. If the Obama administration wanted to create a lasting development legacy, such plans would have to be largely ‘budget neutral’ and not require congressional authorization. Any number of bold plans were simply nonstarters. … There were also two very significant pushes from the Obama late in his administration that will affect the contours of the development landscape for years to come. First, the president committed to the core goal of ending extreme poverty around the globe within a generation. … The other important achievement in the late stages of the administration was the Paris climate change agreement. … Both the Bush and Obama teams are proud of their development records and legacies, and able to lay out compelling arguments supporting their respective track records. The challenge for the next president: identifying which parts of these mutual legacies to preserve; putting their own stamp on development; and doing all this without making the current development machinery even messier than it already is” (7/12).

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Global Political Leaders Must Take Action To Advance Efforts Against Antimicrobial Resistance

Project Syndicate: Global Cooperation as a Life-and-Death Issue
Jim O’Neill, commercial secretary to the U.K. Treasury, honorary professor at Manchester University, visiting research fellow at Bruegel, and chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance

“…[I]n May the Review on [antimicrobial resistance (AMR)] that I lead published its strategy for tackling such infections, laying out proposals to ensure the development of the necessary new antibiotics, and to use existing antibiotics more efficiently in humans and agriculture. … With our final report complete, the Review will now continue to make the international case for action directly to political leaders. … While high-level meetings and speeches about AMR send the right message, they will mean nothing if we do not manage to translate the current momentum into concrete action, beginning at the G20 and U.N. meetings this September. … [E]fforts to fight AMR should be incorporated into broader economic development strategies, including the implementation of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, progress should be measured, not only so that policymakers, companies, and health systems can be held accountable, but also so that others can emulate their successes. … Finally, to account for changing political priorities and personalities, we need a constant champion in the fight against AMR. … Over the last couple of years, governments, industry, and international organizations have made important strides in meeting the AMR threat. But the really hard decisions must be taken now. If we are to prevent the slow-motion car crash of rising AMR, our leaders must take evasive action now…” (7/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

House Appropriations Committee Approves FY17 SFOPS Bill, Including Global Health Funding

U.S. House Committee on Appropriations: Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
“The House Appropriations Committee [Tuesday] approved the fiscal year 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The legislation targets funding to U.S. foreign policy priorities, including programs that will address instability around the world. … The bill also provides critical humanitarian aid to war-torn and impoverished areas around the globe and dedicates funds to address health threats overseas before they reach the United States…” (7/12).

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Upcoming White House Summit Offers Opportunity For Obama Administration To Set, Advance Global Development Agenda

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: Making the Most of the White House Global Development Summit
Scott Morris, senior fellow at CGD and director of the Rethinking U.S. Development Policy initiative, discusses the upcoming White House Summit on Global Development and highlights the current administration’s potential development legacy. Morris writes, “[T]he mark President Obama leaves on U.S. development policy will depend on locking in a set of practices and reforms that promote sustainable development outcomes, invest in innovations, emphasize partnerships, foster accountability in our efforts and those of our partners, and encourage local ownership” (7/12).

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U.S. To Provide $439M In Additional Assistance To Humanitarian Response To Syrian Conflict

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis
“Secretary Kerry announced [Tuesday] that the United States is providing nearly $439 million in additional lifesaving humanitarian assistance for those affected by the war in Syria. This new funding brings U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to this conflict to nearly $5.6 billion since the start of the crisis. … Through this humanitarian funding, the United States continues to provide emergency food, shelter, safe drinking water, medical care, humanitarian protection services, and other urgent relief to millions of people suffering inside Syria and the more than 4.8 million refugees from Syria in the region…” (7/12).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash contains an article and video reflecting on Global Fund-supported HIV treatment efforts over the past 16 years, as well as a fact sheet on the Global Fund’s latest results (7/13).

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