KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Congress Adjourns For Summer Recess Without Approving Funding For Zika Response

CIDRAP News: Senate impasse postpones Zika funding talks till fall
“In the last chance for Congress to act on a Zika funding bill before it breaks for a 7-week recess, members of the Senate [Thursday] failed to advance a House version of a compromise bill, putting federal support for response activities on hold until fall…” (Schnirring, 7/14).

CQ News: Senate Again Rejects Moving to a Vote on Zika, Veterans Funding
“…Thursday’s 52-44 vote, which came about two weeks after the first vote on June 28, followed weeks of terse floor speeches by Democrats and Republicans. During that time leaders of both parties criticized each other over policy provisions and offsets, but made no progress during actual negotiations…” (Shutt, 7/14).

The Hill: Senate punts Zika fight to the fall
“…Sixty votes were needed to move forward with the Zika money, which is attached to a larger military and veterans spending bill. The vote comes as lawmakers are at a standstill over how to get the Zika proposal to President Obama’s desk before the summer recess…” (Carney, 7/14).

New York Times: Congress Recesses, Leaving More Stalemates Than Accomplishments
“Congress limped out of town Thursday for a seven-week recess, leaving behind a trail of partisan fights, a failed bill to help fight the Zika virus, a stalemate on gun safety, and a few mundane accomplishments that members hoped to sell as awesome to voters in an unsparing mood…” (Herszenhorn/Steinhauer, 7/14).

Roll Call: Senate Rejects Zika Package Again, No Signs of a Deal
“…Democrats have repeatedly criticized Republicans for including language in the conference report that they say would prevent funds from going to Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico…” (Shutt, 7/14).

STAT: Senate still stuck on Zika, leaves funding unresolved until September
“…In the meantime, the Obama administration has warned that the country’s response would be hampered without new funding for Zika. Some of the activities that could be stopped or postponed include research into the virus’s link to birth defects, mosquito-tracking across the United States, and support for state and local rapid response…” (Scott, 7/14).

TIME: Zika Funding Bill Fails as Congress Is Unable to Reach Compromise
“…After this week, Congress will recess till September. That punts funding for research and prevention of a virus that is proven to cause severe birth defects in infants and has already infected more than a thousand travelers in the continental United States. Zika has infected more than a million people in Central and South America. Hundreds of babies have been born with shrunken heads, a disease called microcephaly, from mothers infected with Zika…” (Drabold, 7/15).

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U.S. State Department Calls On Private Sector To Develop Tools To Prevent, Treat Zika

Devex: U.S. government looks to private sector for Zika tools
“The U.S. State Department is reaching out to private sector partners to help the Obama administration devise new tools to control and treat the Zika virus outbreak in the Americas. On Wednesday, the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Partnerships held roundtable discussions with business representatives, and in the coming weeks the administration will announce a ‘private sector call to action,’ according to Amy Pope, deputy homeland security adviser and deputy assistant to the president…” (Igoe, 7/14).

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Zika Epidemic Possibly Peaked In Brazil, Could Be Over in 1-3 Years, Study Shows

The Guardian: Zika epidemic has peaked and may run its course within 18 months, say experts
“The Zika virus epidemic in Latin America is likely to run its course within the next 18 months, according to a study by researchers in the U.K. and U.S…” (Davis, 7/14).

Reuters: Zika outbreak to end in two to three years, scientists predict
“…The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Science, estimated that infections from the mosquito-borne virus will become so widespread in affected countries that populations will develop what is called ‘herd immunity’…” (Steenhuysen, 7/14).

STAT: Could the Zika threat in Latin America be over in 1-2 years?
“…If these estimates are right, they represent good news and bad news. Women trying to hold off on getting pregnant because of the risk Zika poses to fetuses may have to wait less time before they can try to have children. But a quick departure will make it tough for scientists to develop a Zika vaccine: if Zika virus isn’t circulating, you cannot prove a vaccine protects against it…” (Branswell, 7/14).

USA TODAY: Zika outbreak may have peaked in Brazil, researchers say
“…Researcher Karin Nielsen, who is conducting a study of pregnant women infected by Zika in Rio de Janeiro, said she and her colleagues haven’t diagnosed the virus in a pregnant woman since April. … Zika seems to have been replaced in Rio by another mosquito-borne virus, called chikungunya, Nielsen said…” (Szabo, 7/14).

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Devex Examines Foreign Aid Platform Of New U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May

Devex: What DfID appointment and new PM’s voting record tell us about ‘May-era aid’
“…With the exception of the Girl Summit, [British Prime Minister Theresa] May has rarely taken a stand on aid-related issues, and little is known about how May’s aid agenda compares to former Prime Minister David Cameron’s relatively aid-positive platform. Her voting record yields a few clues: ambivalence toward climate and emissions regulation as well as the Sustainable Development Goals; disinterest in accommodating refugees and aiding in the migrant crisis; and complete silence on the U.K.’s commitment to spend 0.7 percent of gross national income on aid…” (Anders, 7/15).

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Economist Sir Angus Deaton Urges Better Quality Data To Measure Aid Interventions

Devex: Why this Nobel Prize-winning economist believes the data behind the SDGs ‘doesn’t add up’
“The $2 dollar of income per day benchmark may not be a fair or accurate way to measure extreme poverty, Nobel prize-winning economist Sir Angus Deaton said on Tuesday. Speaking at the Overseas Development Institute, he urged development actors to improve the quality of data used to measure aid interventions…” (Anders, 7/14).

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More Efforts Needed To Diagnose, Treat HIV, Related Infections Among Prisoners, Lancet Series Says

Agence France-Presse: Experts urge action against HIV prison ‘incubators’
“Public health experts called Friday for far-reaching measures against prison ‘incubators’ of HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis. Inmates are much more likely to carry infectious diseases than the general public, they said, and will spread the deadly germs as soon as they are released. Yet the response to the HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis epidemics in prisons had been ‘slow and piecemeal,’ said Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society and lead author of a series of papers published by The Lancet…” (Le Roux, 7/14).

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International AIDS Conference Returns To South Africa, Now Host To Largest HIV Treatment Program In World

Nature: South Africa ushers in a new era for HIV
“…Next week, the International AIDS Conference returns to Durban — but to a radically changed outlook. The government’s AIDS denialists have quietened, and international funding has poured in. Today, around half of the country’s seven million people with HIV are on [antiretrovirals (ARVs)] — the biggest such program in the world…” (Nordling, 7/13).

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As More Children Survive Birth Complications, Number Affected By Preventable Blindness Increasing, Specialists Say

The Guardian: Preventable blindness in children on the rise in poorer countries
“The number of children suffering from preventable blindness is increasing, partly because more children are surviving complicated births in low- and middle-income countries, specialists say. Worldwide, about 19 million children under the age of 15 are blind, with 12 million of these cases preventable or treatable…” (Kweifio-Okai, 7/15).

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India Eliminates Yaws, Maternal, Neonatal Tetanus, WHO Announces

U.N. News Centre: Yaws and maternal and neonatal tetanus eliminated from India — U.N. health agency
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) [Thursday] announced the elimination of yaws, and maternal and neonatal tetanus, to India and hailed its public health achievements as examples to other countries…” (7/14).

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Poverty, Food Insecurity Contribute To TB Becoming Leading Cause Of Death In Madagascar

Al Jazeera: Madagascar: The vulnerability to tuberculosis
“…While many people imagine the country as a wildlife mecca, it is one of the poorest in the world, with at least 80 percent of the population living in extreme poverty and half of all children under five years old suffering from chronic malnutrition. The associated problems, particularly the struggle for food — as malnutrition increases susceptibility to the disease, according to the World Health Organization — have contributed to TB becoming the leading infectious killer in Madagascar…” (Worley, 7/14).

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Women In El Salvador Could Face 50-Year Jail Terms For Abortion If Country's Congress Approves Proposed Law

The Guardian: El Salvador abortion law change could leave women facing 50 years in jail
“El Salvador already has some of the most draconian anti-abortion laws in the world, but they could become even stricter if Congress adopts an opposition proposal to imprison women for up to 50 years if they terminate a pregnancy…” (Watts, 7/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Absence Of Funding For Zika Efforts Could Delay Public Health Responses To Virus

New York Times: Congress Takes a Vacation Without Doing Anything About Zika
Editorial Board

“Members of Congress are leaving Washington for seven weeks without passing a bill to pay for the fight against Zika. Their failure to do so will delay the public health response to the mosquito-borne virus that causes birth defects, unnecessarily putting thousands of people at risk. … The House last month passed a bill that would allocate $1.1 billion to fight Zika by funding vaccine development, mosquito control efforts, and other programs. But Republican lawmakers attached so many objectionable provisions to the measure that Democrats have effectively blocked the bill in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to cut off debate and bring legislation to a vote. … The absence of funding … is expected to cause major problems. Many local governments need federal assistance to control mosquitoes in the coming weeks. And researchers at the National Institutes of Health may be forced to stop tests on a potential vaccine as well as efforts to develop tools that can quickly diagnose Zika infections … It’s always troubling to see good legislation hijacked to score political points. In this case the timing could not be worse” (7/14).

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U.S. Must Continue Leadership Role In Financing End Of AIDS Epidemic

Devex: Funding the end of an epidemic: #WhyNow?
True Claycombe, policy manager at Friends of the Global Fight

“…[The funding needed to reach the goal of 90-90-90 by 2020] will be a combination of public and private investments, from increases in domestic financing from implementing countries, and donors like the Global Fund, PEPFAR, and UNAIDS. … [S]ome critics … have claimed that the Global Fund’s [spending] target is too low, and that the HIV/AIDS community is overestimating how much will actually come from domestic financing. While it is not reasonable to completely discount domestic financing, we must be realistic in order for donor governments, including the United States, to continue to finance the fight. … The United States is the number one donor to the Global Fund and essentially sets the benchmark for what other countries are willing to commit. Thus, the United States must continue its leadership role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. #WhyNow? Because with continued and robust investments, we have an opportunity to be the generation that put an end to the epidemic…” (7/14).

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U.N. High-Level Meeting Offers Opportunity For Global Community To Mobilize Around Universal Provision Of Antimicrobials

The Lancet: U.N. High-Level Meeting on antimicrobials — what do we need?
Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, and senior research scholar and lecturer at Princeton University, and colleagues

“…The [U.N. General Assembly High-Level Meeting of Heads of State] must develop realistic goals, stimulate political will, mobilize resources, and agree on an accountability mechanism for global collective action on [the issue of global access to effective antimicrobials]. … We believe that the [meeting] should establish a U.N. High-Level Coordinating Mechanism on Antimicrobial Resistance (HLCM) with four core functions … First, advocacy is needed to raise awareness about lack of access to antibiotics and drug resistance. … Second, robust monitoring and evaluation is needed on global and national enforceable targets for antimicrobial access, appropriate use, policies implemented, and resistance rates in human, agricultural, veterinary, and environmental sectors. … The third function of the HLCM is mobilization of resources. … The fourth function is multisectoral domestic coordination. … Sustainable access to effective antimicrobials is a key development issue and the September 2016 U.N. General Assembly High-Level Meeting is a rare opportunity to change how we as a global community use the only currently feasible method to treat bacterial infections. It is an opportunity that should not be squandered because of lack of ambition…” (7/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation, UNAIDS Joint Report Finds Donor Government Funding For HIV Fell Last Year For First Time In 5 Years

Kaiser Family Foundation: Kaiser/UNAIDS Study Finds Donor Government Funding for HIV Fell in 2015 for First Time in 5 Years
“Donor government funding to support HIV efforts in low- and middle-income countries fell for the first time in five years in 2015, decreasing from US$8.6 billion in 2014 to US$7.5 billion, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and UNAIDS released in advance of the 2016 International AIDS Conference…” (7/15).

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White House Summit On Global Development To Reflect Upon, Help Catalyze Progress To End AIDS, Hunger, Extreme Poverty

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: The White House Summit on Global Development: Reflecting on Real Progress
Tonya Somanader, director of digital rapid response for the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House, writes, “Since the very beginning of the administration, President Obama has defined development as an investment in the future for shared progress and prosperity. And through initiatives like Feed the Future and Power Africa, we — a host of U.S. government agencies — have catalyzed change. We are at the edge of history — and have a big opportunity to be the generation that ends HIV/AIDS, global hunger, and extreme poverty. And we cannot — and have not — made this progress alone. … To recognize this progress and ensure it continues, on July 20, 2016, President Obama will host the White House Summit on Global Development…” (7/14).

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Number Of Food Insecure Estimated To Decrease To 6% Of World Population By 2026, USDA Research Shows

Humanosphere: USDA: New projections estimate global hunger will drop to 6 percent by 2026
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses findings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) most recent International Food Security Assessment, which says the percent of the global population that has inadequate access to food is projected to drop from 17 percent to six percent by 2026. Nikolau notes the report uses a new model that “makes it possible to study the impact of income and prices shocks to global trends in food demand and insecurity” (7/14).

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In Debate, U.N. Secretary General Candidates Discuss Whether Organization Should Take Responsibility For Haitian Cholera Epidemic

Humanosphere: A lone hand raised on the question of U.N. responsibility for cholera in Haiti
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses the first-ever televised debate of U.N. secretary general candidates, during which candidates were asked whether the U.N. should apologize for the Haiti cholera epidemic. Murphy notes that only one candidate, Costa Rican diplomat Christina Figueres, said that the U.N. should take responsibility for the 2010 outbreak, which was allegedly started by unsanitary conditions at a U.N. peacekeeping camp (7/14).

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