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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

President Obama Urges U.S. Congress To Approve Zika Funding Prior To Summer Recess

The Atlantic: Obama Calls for Zika Funding — Again
“…On Friday, the president urged Congress to pass legislation to combat the Zika virus, ahead of the July 4 recess. … The president’s remarks came after a disappointing week on the Hill, where Senate Democrats and Republicans struggled to reach a consensus on the Zika funding bill…” (Alvarez, 7/1).

Bloomberg: Obama Says Zika Vaccine Is Likely If Congress Funds Research
“President Barack Obama said U.S. researchers can probably develop a vaccine for the Zika virus more quickly if Congress sets aside partisan squabbling and passes legislation to fund programs aimed at combating the spread of the pathogen that’s been linked to birth defects…” (Olorunnipa, 7/1).

Christian Science Monitor: Why hasn’t Congress passed a Zika funding bill?
“…In a 52-48 vote on [June 28], Senate Democrats blocked a Republican-drafted bill that would have allocated $1.1 billion in emergency funding to fighting Zika. The bill needed 60 votes to pass. Democrats took exception with a provision loosening Environmental Protection Agency restrictions as well as another that prohibited funds from being directed to Planned Parenthood and other women’s health clinics…” (Iaconangelo, 7/2).

The Hill: Obama pushes Congress to approve Zika money before summer recess
“… ‘Congress should not leave, should not adjourn, until they have this done,’ Obama said after receiving a briefing from health officials. Congress is scheduled to leave in mid-July and not return until September, and the fate of any new funding to fight the mosquito-borne virus is seriously in doubt…” (Sullivan, 7/1).

The Hill: Planned Parenthood showdown threatens Zika funding
“A showdown over Planned Parenthood has moved to the center of the battle over funding to battle the Zika virus…” (Sullivan, 7/4).

Reuters: Obama says Congress must end deadlock on Zika funding
“…Obama met with the heads of the Health and Human Services Department, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the nation’s response to the mosquito-borne virus…” (Rascoe, 7/1).

Roll Call: Obama: Congress Should Delay Summer Break to Pass Zika Bill
“President Barack Obama on Friday said lawmakers should pass a ‘good’ bill to respond to the Zika virus outbreak before leaving for a lengthy summer recess while again insisting on a nearly $2 billion funding level Republicans have firmly rejected…” (Bennett, 7/1).

Roll Call: Republicans Shocked White House Won’t Bite on Zika Funding
“Veteran Republicans are flabbergasted that the Obama administration has not once budged during four months of talks in demanding nearly $2 billion to fight the Zika virus outbreak, a posture that’s helped stall emergency legislation…” (Bennett, 7/5).

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3 Zika Cases Confirmed In Guinea Bissau; Officials Working To Identify Viral Strain

Associated Press: U.N. health agency confirms 3 Zika cases in Guinea Bissau
“The U.N. health agency says it and national authorities are investigating whether three cases of the Zika virus discovered in Guinea Bissau are of the same strain as the one behind outbreaks linked to head and brain abnormalities in Brazil and elsewhere…” (7/4).

Reuters: Guinea Bissau confirms three cases of Zika virus, government says
“…Experts have feared the tiny nation could become a gateway for Zika’s spread to mainland West Africa, after an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus was first recorded in the African island chain of Cape Verde late last year…” (Dabo/Bavier, 7/2).

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News Outlets Examine Effects Of Sierra Leone's Ebola Epidemic On Orphans, Women

Al Jazeera: Did the world fail Ebola orphans in Sierra Leone?
“…Although Save the Children’s policy restricts her from addressing specific cases, Deanne Evans, the organization’s child protection manager, spoke generally, explaining that ‘there were a lot of competing demands, and of course in all of that, children fell through the cracks.’ ‘There are children who suffer today because they didn’t get the services they needed and there are children who died because they didn’t get the service they needed,’ Evans says…” (Inveen, 7/3).

Christian Science Monitor: Ebola’s aftermath in Sierra Leone: ‘this is how I know women are so strong’
“…When the Ebola virus struck Sierra Leone and neighboring Guinea and Liberia beginning in early 2014, it killed ferociously — and the majority of both its victims and survivors were women. Ebola struck Sierra Leone’s women in large part because they refused to turn away from their loved ones, says Tina Davies, formerly the coordinator for Ebola survivors at Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children’s Affairs…” (Brown, 7/1).

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More Investment Needed To Support Haiti's Health System, UNICEF Official Says In Interview

U.N. News Centre: Interview: Amid progress in fighting cholera, U.N. official urges support to health care system
“While the incidence of cholera in Haiti has decreased by 90 percent since an outbreak that began shortly after the devastating earthquake of 2010, more investment is needed in the country’s health care system to fully eliminate the disease and address the country’s other health challenges, a top United Nations official [Friday] said. ‘A lot of progress has been made in terms of controlling the disease,’ said Marc Vincent, U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative for Haiti, in an interview with U.N. News Services. ‘But a lot more work needs to be done to eliminate it’…” (7/1).

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International Day Of Cooperatives Encourages More Partnerships To Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

U.N. News Centre: On World Day, U.N. hails cooperatives as drivers of sustainable future
“Cooperatives are an old idea but more relevant than ever as they can be the drivers of a sustainable future, senior United Nations officials said on the International Day of Cooperatives [on Saturday], urging governments to create an enabling environment for these groups to thrive and grow…” (7/2).

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Escalating Violence In CAR Hinders Humanitarian Aid Delivery, U.N. Warns

The Guardian: Aid convoy in Central African Republic finds chaos, hunger, and little hope
“…Across CAR, disease is rife, hunger levels are ‘staggeringly high’ and 2.3 million people need aid, but the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the new spiral of violence is likely to cause additional needs. UNOCHA’s interim humanitarian coordinator in CAR, Michel Yao, warns that the increasing insecurity is hampering the work of humanitarian groups…” (Dear, 7/4).

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U.N., Kenyan Firm Urge Entrepreneurs To Develop Sex Education Tools Using Technology, Social Media

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Kenya seeks tech alternatives to break taboo over sex education in schools
“…Teenagers across Africa urgently need more information about sex to combat soaring rates of HIV and unwanted pregnancies, experts say, as widespread taboos and cultural conservatism prevent discussions in schools and homes. … The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Nailab, a Kenyan firm that supports technology startups, are behind the latest initiative, which targets entrepreneurs for their ideas on providing sex education through technology and social media…” (Wadekar, 7/4).

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Tanzanian Men Who Marry School-Aged Girls Face 30-Year Prison Sentences Under Government Crackdown

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Tanzania launches crackdown on child marriage with 30-year jail terms
“Tanzanian men who marry schoolgirls or get them pregnant now face 30 years in prison as the government takes tougher measures to tackle child marriage and teenage pregnancy. The East African nation has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the world, and 21 percent of girls aged 15 to 19 have given birth, according to a 2015/16 survey conducted by the Tanzania Bureau of Statistics…” (Makoye, 7/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Funding For Zika Response

San Francisco Chronicle: Republican lawmakers are blocking an answer to the Zika virus
Editorial Board

“…The White House proposed $1.9 billion to develop a vaccine, educate the public, and study the virus that’s especially dangerous for pregnant women. But Republicans on Capitol Hill want to load up the plan with pet issues and oddball crusades. After trimming the spending to $1.1 billion, the GOP measure bars private health clinics such as Planned Parenthood from Zika funds, weakens restrictions on pesticide spraying, and lops money from the Affordable Care Act. … Democrats blocked the measure as irresponsible and too flawed to support. But the gridlock leaves the country largely unprepared as mosquito season warms up … Congress has a final shot later this month to craft a deal before the start of campaign season. The prospect of more pointed fingers and rhetoric in the heat of national elections won’t help find a solution. Now is the time for a serious answer to the Zika virus” (6/30).

The Hill: Democrats block crucial Zika funding
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.)

“…Addressing [the Zika] threat head-on is a top priority of Republicans in Congress. We have to do the best we can to prevent the spread of this virus and protect the next generation. But we’re also looking beyond this latest crisis to strengthen our underlying biodefense infrastructure so we can respond rapidly and effectively to both man-made and natural emerging biological threats in the future. … We are fortunate to have programs such as Project BioShield, a program specifically designed to bolster the research, development, and purchase of effective medical countermeasures that protect Americans from biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear threats … The best way to save lives in future outbreaks is to have drugs or vaccines ready before the crisis hits. … Given all of these repeated crises and increased threats, it is bizarre that President Obama has repeatedly attempted to slash funding for Project BioShield in many of his budget proposals over the years … While Democrats in Congress continue to play politics with the health of our women and children, Republicans are offering real, targeted solutions to fighting the Zika virus…” (7/1).

The Hill: Congress: don’t wait to act on Zika until it’s too late
Umair A. Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health in Houston, Texas, and board member of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

“…[W]hile Zika funding is aimed at significantly boosting dollars that would go to vaccine development, academic research, and even for global response, we must not forget that much of the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ efforts in the United States will fall on the shoulders of state and ultimately local public health departments. … Most importantly in the fight against Zika, public health is tasked with engaging our local communities to eliminate sources of mosquito breeding and to raise awareness on the use of personal protective measures to prevent the all-important mosquito bite. Congress must not wait for the first cases of babies with microcephaly in the United States due to exposure to locally-acquired Zika. By then, it will be too late. Adequate funding must be available immediately at the levels required to respond to Zika and in turn to assure the health and the well-being of people and the communities within which they live. Our communities expect it. Our families expect it. Our children expect it. And most importantly, it is the right thing to do” (7/1).

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World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility Will Improve Global Health Security

Washington Post: Jim Yong Kim: A plan to deal with the next pandemic
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group

“…Pandemics are a global security threat, and they demand a truly global response. … This, in fact, is about to happen. … The newly created Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility will leverage money from wealthy countries, capital markets, and the reinsurance industry, and use those funds if needed to mount a rapid early response to shut down an outbreak with pandemic potential — and at a fraction of the cost of delayed action. This facility, which will be up and running later this year, will disburse money quickly through two routes. First, it will open up an entirely new insurance market: pandemic risk insurance. … Second, in the event of emerging or more unpredictable types of outbreaks for which extensive data is not yet available, such as Zika, the facility can use cash to trigger a faster response. … By having a global system at the ready to get money to the right place at the right time, we have the potential to save thousands — even millions — of lives and protect the global economy from trillions of dollars in losses” (7/1).

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U.S. House Should Fully Support Global Food Security Act

The Hill: Fighting global hunger helps us here at home
Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes Inc. and a member of the board of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and General Charles Wald (Ret.), member of the National Security Advisory Council of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

“…Nearly 800 million people across the globe go to bed hungry every night, but America has the tools and the know-how to change this. Our nation’s global food security programs — in partnership with American businesses and NGOs — empower small farmers by giving them access to seeds, agricultural training, and supplies to maintain their land. … The Global Food Security Act — a bipartisan bill, years in the making — will help lift millions in the developing world out of poverty and reduce malnutrition by promoting market-based agricultural reforms. … When the Global Food Security Act comes to the House floor, members on both sides of the aisle have ample reason to lend their full support. Not only will this bolster the American economy and developing countries, but it will also strengthen our national security and promote our nation’s humanitarian values. This bill is a unique and important opportunity for Congress to strengthen American global leadership and make a world of difference around the globe” (7/1).

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U.N. Human Rights Council Takes 'Bold Step' In Creating Monitor For LGBT Rights

New York Times: An LGBT Watchdog at the United Nations
Editorial Board

“The United Nations took a bold step this week toward recognizing that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people fighting for equality are pursuing fundamental human rights. Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council narrowly approved a resolution on Thursday to establish a new watchdog for discrimination and violence against LGBT people. … The independent monitor will travel to investigate and report on systemic violence and discrimination against LGBT people. He or she will operate much like United Nations special rapporteurs who monitor issues like violence against women, freedom of religion, and the use of torture. … The United States is not currently on the Human Rights Council, but Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the resolution, saying it ‘reflects the growing global momentum against human rights violations and abuses that LGBT persons continue to face around the world’…” (7/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Discusses What To Expect At AIDS 2016 Conference

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Blog: ‘AIDS 2016’ Primer: What You Need to Know Ahead of July’s International AIDS Conference
John McMannis, communications manager at Friends of the Global Fight, discusses the significance of and what to expect at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016), which will take place in Durban, South Africa from July 18-22 (7/5).

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