KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Lack Of Emergency Funding, Resources To Address Zika Hinders Effective Response, CDC Director Says

TIME: We’re Fighting Zika ‘With One Hand Tied Behind Our Backs,’ CDC Director Says
“It’s been a little over a week since the Senate failed to pass emergency funding for the Zika epidemic, right in the midst of mosquito season. And while Zika hasn’t started spreading locally stateside, emergency responders who are trying to fight it are already feeling an economic pinch. ‘We have an unprecedented health threat, and we don’t have the robust resources that would enable us to respond most effectively,’ says Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in an interview with TIME. ‘Without additional resources, this is like fighting a fight with one hand tied behind our backs’…” (Sifferlin, 7/26).

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Europe Reports First Zika-Linked Microcephaly Case In Infant Of Spanish Woman Who Traveled To Latin America; Honduras Reports 8 Cases Of Birth Defect

New York Times: Woman With Zika Virus in Spain Gives Birth to Baby With Microcephaly
“A woman infected with the Zika virus gave birth on Monday to a baby with microcephaly in Barcelona, in what is probably the first case of its kind in Europe, according to the hospital where the infant was born. The woman is believed to have caught the Zika virus while traveling in Latin America, the region where Zika has spread most widely…” (Minder, 7/25).

Reuters: Honduras detects 8 cases of babies with Zika-related defect
“Health officials in the Central American nation of Honduras on Tuesday reported eight cases of newborns with microcephaly born to women who were infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy…” (Palencia, 7/26).

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Southern African Countries Appeal For $2.8B In Emergency Drought Relief Funding; USAID Pledges Additional $127M

The Guardian: Southern Africa appeals for billions to cope with El Niño devastation
“Southern African countries have launched an emergency appeal for $2.8bn (£2.1bn) to help feed nearly 40 million people hit by one of the worst regional droughts in 35 years…” (Vidal, 7/26).

Mail & Guardian: USAID pledges US$127 million for the SADC region humanitarian drought relief aid
“The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has allocated [an additional] US$127 million to fund the procurement of humanitarian aid and social safety nets to save nearly 17 million people affected by a regional drought in six Southern African nations…” (7/27).

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U.S. Suspends More Than $200M In Syrian Humanitarian Aid Contracts Over Fraud Suspicions

Washington Post: Suspecting fraud, U.S. suspends some Syrian aid programs
“While the White House has placed humanitarian aid at the heart of its Syria policy, the government agency charged with disbursing it has frozen more than $200 million in contracts, fearing significant fraud. As fighting deepens night­marish conditions across northern Syria, the suspensions have affected the delivery of medicines, food, and other life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of civilians since December. An investigation into the suspected fraud was formally announced in April, but details did not emerge until a congressional hearing this month…” (Loveluck, 7/26).

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UNICEF Reiterates Attacks On Health Facilities Violate International Humanitarian Law Following Bombings Of Clinics In Syria

U.N. News Centre: Recent attacks on hospitals in Aleppo ‘can amount to war crimes’ — UNICEF
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reiterated [Tuesday] that attacks on health facilities are a blatant violation of international humanitarian law and can amount to war crimes, in response to the recent airstrikes on four hospitals and a blood bank in eastern Aleppo city in Syria…” (7/26).

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WHO Moving Toward Delisting Transgender As Mental Disorder In Medical Codebook

New York Times: WHO Weighs Dropping Transgender Identity From List of Mental Disorders
“The World Health Organization is moving toward declassifying transgender identity as a mental disorder in its global list of medical conditions, with a new study lending additional support to a proposal that would delete the decades-old designation. The change, which has so far been approved by each committee that has considered it, is under review for the next edition of the WHO codebook, which classifies diseases and influences the treatment of patients worldwide…” (Belluck, 7/26).

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Amid Security Concerns, U.N. Agencies, Health Ministry Ramp Up Efforts To Stem Cholera Outbreak In South Sudan

Xinhua News: Insecurity hampers fight against cholera outbreak in S. Sudan: health agencies
“…The U.N. children’s fund (UNICEF) said on July 20 that dozens of people may have cholera following a rise in suspected cases in the capital Juba, Terekeka and Jonglei states. However, the mystery still remains unconfirmed due to lack of laboratory equipment needed for diagnosis. UNICEF South Sudan spokesperson, Timothy James Irwin, told Xinhua that tackling the current outbreak seems difficult because of security threat to aid workers, bad roads, and reduction in number of aid partners needed to deliver health services to affected populations…” (7/25).

WHO: WHO and Ministry of Health expand cholera response to minimize future risk
“In a move to prevent a cholera outbreak from spreading, the Ministry of Health of South Sudan with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and health partners are ramping up disease surveillance and treatment efforts. Across the country, 271 cholera cases have been reported, including 14 deaths since 12 July 2016…” (7/25).

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Nations Must Stockpile, Be Prepared To Increase Vaccine Manufacturing Supplies In Event Of Disease Outbreak, Conference Hears

SciDev.Net: Ebola response crippled by low stocks of vital items
“Glass vials, coolers, and chicken eggs needed for vaccine manufacture are the first things lacking when a global pandemic breaks, so governments should stockpile them or be ready to rapidly increase their supply, a U.K. conference has heard. With the ongoing Zika epidemic and several dangerous flu strains on the rise, global logistics must be urgently improved to beat future mass outbreaks, said a panel at the EuroScience Open Forum [Monday]…” (Vesper, 7/26).

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Rwanda, Zipline Robotics Company To Test Drones For Health Supply Delivery

The Guardian: From killing machines to agents of hope: the future of drones in Africa
“Some are killing machines. Others are pesky passions of the weekend hobbyist. As such, drones have not always been welcomed in our skies. Across Africa, however, projects are being launched that could revolutionize medical supply chains and commercial deliveries, combat poaching and provide other solutions for an overburdened, underdeveloped continent. … Enter Zipline, a California-based robotics company which has designed a fixed-wing drone to deliver medical essentials to rural health facilities [being tested in Rwanda]…” (Flood, 7/27).

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HIV-Positive Malawian Man Paid To Have Sex With Young Girls In 'Cleansing' Ritual Arrested Under Presidential Order

Washington Post: Malawi police arrest HIV-positive man paid by parents to have sex with scores of young girls
“Eric Aniva, who is HIV-positive, unabashedly claimed he has had sex with more than 100 women, most of them underage. Some were as young as 12. He was paid to do this, often by the girls’ parents, he said. On Tuesday, he was arrested on orders from President Peter Mutharika, who learned of the incidents through an interview Aniva gave the BBC last week. Aniva was charged with defilement, Malawi Police Inspector General Lexten Kachama told the Associated Press…” (Andrews, 7/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

Focus On Health Of Poorest Women, Children 'Key To Global Stability'

The Hill: Better health for poor women and children will strengthen global security
Gary L. Gottlieb, CEO of Partners In Health

“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently released its third annual Acting on the Call report. It details the progress that is being made to improve maternal and child health in 24 priority countries. For the first time, this year’s report focuses on the poorest 40 percent of the world’s population. … The USAID vision is critical because attention to the needs of the poorest of the poor, and especially women and children, is humane and moral, and it is key to global stability. … At Partners In Health, we applaud USAID’s focus on the very poorest populations and on women and children. As we know too well, social injustice and care disparities cause the greatest suffering and misery; the opportunity for breathtaking improvements is at our fingertips. … We not only can deliver first-world health services to women and children, we must do so. Global health is key to global order and security. In a world increasingly concerned about the contagion of disorder and chaos, USAID has outlined a path to a safer, more secure future for everyone” (7/26).

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International Community Should Pool Resources To Address Threats Of Antibiotic Resistance, Infectious Diseases

Project Syndicate: The Global Security Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance
Tadataka Yamada, venture partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners

“…The global threat of emerging or resistant infections must be viewed first and foremost in [the context of investing in national defense and security], with all countries committed to providing financing, intellectual capital, and available resources to support the discovery, development, manufacture, stockpiling, and equitable distribution of new antimicrobial agents and vaccines. … Country investments should be pooled to create a substantial pipeline of products to combat infectious threats. … An alternative would be to create a full-fledged, global, not-for-profit pharmaceutical company with a research budget equal to that of the world’s top five for-profit companies, and with the singular objective of creating a pipeline of products to address the challenge of infectious threats. … It goes without saying that this would be a complicated undertaking, with many details to be worked out. But somehow we must suspend disbelief and take action now, lest we be caught off-guard against an imminent global threat. This is a battle we cannot afford to lose” (7/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

'Science Speaks' Continues Coverage Of Presentations, Sessions Held At AIDS 2016 Conference

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2016: Partners project demonstrates preventive power of antiretroviral treatment
Reporting on the AIDS 2016 conference in Durban, Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses results from the Partners Demonstration Project, which “showed access to immediate HIV treatment for a person living with HIV, along with access to immediate prophylactic antiretroviral medicine for the person’s uninfected partner nearly eliminates risk of HIV transmission between partners” (7/26).

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: AIDS 2016: While drop in medical circumcisions raises concerns, study shows impacts of targeted approaches for the HIV prevention measure
Barton summarizes a session at the conference that focused on voluntary medical male circumcision and “highlighted modeling exercises … to identify age groups and geographic locations that could be reached respectively with the most immediate, efficient, and cost-effective benefits” (7/26).

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