KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S., Global Funds For Zika Response Lacking; American Public Supports More Federal Funding

Roll Call: Kaine Cites the Pope in Urging Anti-Zika Dollars for Planned Parenthood
“… ‘The uniform focus for members of Congress should be, “Let’s solve the problem,”’ Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said at a meeting in Richmond. Kaine, a practicing Catholic whose Senate voting record shows support for abortion rights despite personal opposition, emphasized the importance of allowing funding from the proposed supplemental to combat Zika to flow to Planned Parenthood…” (Lesniewski, 7/5).

Tribune News Service/Spokesman-Review: ‘Surge’ of funds to fight Zika virus isn’t materializing
“More than five months after President Barack Obama requested $1.9 billion to fight the Zika epidemic, members of Congress went home to Fourth of July barbecues without approving a spending bill. While Washington’s dysfunction is predictable given the current electoral climate, less noticed has been the global inertia facing efforts to combat the mosquito-borne disease…” (Tozzi, 7/2).

Washington Times: Voters insistent Congress needs to do more against Zika
“…Public perception of the threat is a mixed bag, with 3-in-4 people saying Zika poses a major threat to pregnant women, yet only 13 percent feel it is a major threat to them personally, the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation said in its June tracking poll. About 3-in-4 people, including the majority of Republicans, say Congress should invest more money in research on Zika and efforts to prevent the disease’s spread…” (Howell, 7/4).

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Public-Private Partnerships Formed To Develop Zika Vaccine Candidates

Reuters: France’s Sanofi partners U.S. Army to speed up Zika vaccine
“French drugmaker Sanofi said on Wednesday it had struck a research and development deal with the U.S. Army to speed up the development of a vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus…” (Blamont/Hirschler, 7/6).

Wall Street Journal: Brazilian Researchers Join With U.S. in Hunt for Zika Vaccine
“A leading Brazilian biomedical research center is teaming up with the U.S. and the World Health Organization in the latest effort to develop a vaccine for the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The Butantan Institute here has said it would partner with a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the new vaccine for the virus…” (Johnson/Jelmayer, 7/5).

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NIH To Fund Study Of Zika Among U.S. Olympic Athletes, Staff

The Hill: NIH to study Zika in Olympic athletes
“U.S. researchers are launching a study of hundreds of American Olympic athletes and staffers this summer to learn more about the effects of the Zika virus, which has plagued South America…” (Ferris, 7/5).

Reuters: U.S. to fund Zika virus study of U.S. Olympic team
“…The study, announced on Tuesday, seeks to determine the incidence of Zika virus infection, identify potential risk factors for infection, evaluate how long the virus remains in bodily fluids, and study reproductive outcomes of Zika-infected participants…” (Berkrot, 7/5).

USA TODAY: Study on Zika exposure seeks to include some athletes, USOC staff
“Researchers will monitor Zika virus exposure in a group of athletes, coaches, and U.S. Olympic Committee staff at the Rio Olympics thanks to a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Carrie L. Byington, who also chairs the USOC’s infectious disease advisory group, will lead a team examining how long the virus remains in the body and identifying factors that affect the infection…” (Axon, 7/5).

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Polio Surveillance System Could Be Employed To Detect Zika-Linked Neurological Condition, WHO Researchers Say

Reuters: WHO urges use of polio detection systems to screen for Zika-linked disorder
“A neurological condition linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus could be targeted globally with existing national programs for detecting polio, a paper co-authored by World Health Organization researchers said on Tuesday. … Surveillance systems in place in 177 out of 194 WHO member states currently check for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) as part of the U.N. agency’s global polio eradication program. The stools of children younger than 15 years are analyzed in laboratory to confirm polio or identify non-polio AFP cases, which include Guillain-Barré syndrome cases[, a condition sometimes linked to Zika]…” (Nebehay, 7/5).

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WHO To Launch Large Cholera Vaccination Program In Haiti, U.N. Health Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Interview: U.N. health official discusses unprecedented vaccination campaign to tackle cholera in Haiti
“The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative for Haiti, Jean-Luc Poncelet [Tuesday] stressed that vaccines along with water chlorination programs, and longer-term efforts to improve water and the overall health system, are vital to fight the prevalence of cholera in the country. … WHO is embarking on a large-scale vaccination program in 2016 and 2017 that aims to reach an unprecedented 750,000 people in the administrative area known as Department Centre…” (7/5).

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WHO To Begin Emergency Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign In Angola, DRC Despite Syringe Shortage

Reuters: WHO to launch emergency yellow fever vaccination in Angola, Congo
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that it will launch emergency yellow fever vaccination campaigns along the border between Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Congolese capital Kinshasa next month…” (Ross, 7/6).

Reuters: Shortage of syringes hampers Congo’s fight against yellow fever
“A shortage of syringes is hampering plans to vaccinate people in Democratic Republic of Congo against a yellow fever epidemic despite the arrival of more than one million doses of vaccine, health officials said on Tuesday…” (Ross, 7/5).

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50K Children At Risk Of Starvation In Nigeria Due To Boko Haram Insurgency, Disruptions In Food Supplies, U.N. Warns

Agence France-Presse: Boko Haram’s other human tragedy: malnutrition
“…Northeast Nigeria has been torn apart for the last seven years by Boko Haram insurgents. … With homes and businesses destroyed and farmland devastated, the United Nations has warned that some 50,000 children could starve to death this year in Borno state alone if nothing is done…” (Hazlewood/Abubakar, 7/5).

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More Children In Malaysia Face Disease Risk As Parents Reject Vaccines In Fear Of Breaking Religious Edicts

Reuters: Some Malaysians’ rejection of vaccines fans fears of disease surge
“More children are falling victim to contagious diseases in Muslim-majority Malaysia, worrying health authorities as parents reject immunization programs for fear the vaccines used infringe strict religious rules…” (Latiff, 7/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Congress Must Stop 'Ideological Pandering' On Zika Funding, Uphold Women's Reproductive Rights

TIME: Women and Children Are Political Pawns In the Zika Funding Battle
Abigail R.A. Aiken, assistant professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and faculty associate at the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and James Trussell, professor and emeritus at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and honorary fellow of the University of Edinburgh

“…Without funding to provide timely access to contraception, advisories from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to delay or carefully plan pregnancy are meaningless. Such hollow advisories may also have the unintended consequence of harming women rather than helping them. Our study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed the [negative] consequences of official advisories against pregnancy on Latin-American women who were already pregnant or unable to avoid pregnancy. … [T]he Zika crisis brings the issue of reproductive rights sharply into focus. At the heart of Congress’s failure to ensure equitable access to contraception and abortion is a craven political choice: that reproductive autonomy and individual liberty matter less than ideological pandering. This posturing must stop. With such high stakes, those with the power to make public policy that places women in control of their own reproductive decisions must ensure safe, legal, and accessible reproductive choices” (7/5).

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U.N. Should Acknowledge Role In Haitian Cholera Epidemic

New York Times: The Cholera Epidemic the U.N. Left Behind in Haiti
Editorial Board

“…Unless there is a dramatic change in approach, the [Haitian cholera] epidemic will damage the legacy of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will leave his post at the end of the year. There are basic steps he can take before then. For starters, the international community needs to redouble efforts to fight this preventable and curable disease. … Beyond that, the United Nations must acknowledge its role in the epidemic. Only by doing that will it be able to establish stronger safeguards for future peacekeeping operations. … Finally, Mr. Ban should heed the organization’s watchdogs who urged him last year to establish a system to compensate victims…” (7/6).

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Global Food Security Act Could Contribute To 'Paradigm Shift' In U.S. Foreign Aid

The Hill: It is time for a paradigm shift in U.S. foreign aid
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), member of the Foreign Affairs and Agriculture Committees

“…It is time for a paradigm shift in the manner in which the United States administers foreign aid. This change will not happen overnight, but can be accomplished through small, incremental changes to the system. This is why I support Senate bill, S 1252, the Global Food Security Act of 2016 (GFSA). … The GFSA will, for the first time, place limits on disaster aid and will establish monitoring and reporting requirements that will enable Congress to assess the full scope of U.S. investments in international food security. … [The bill would also establish] clear goals and objectives that align international food security and disaster assistance with broader U.S. national security, economic, and humanitarian interests. … Retooling how we spend our foreign aid dollars, making sure we have a clear mission, and implementing proper oversight is the right thing to do for the long-term health and stability of our nation. The Global Food Security Act of 2016 is a good first step in accomplishing these goals…” (7/5).

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Democratic Platform Draft To Repeal Helms Amendment Shows Strong Support For Women's Health

Huffington Post: One Step Closer to Repealing Helms
John Seager, president of Population Connection and Population Connection Action Fund

“…Given that the U.S. is the biggest financial contributor to family planning efforts abroad, [the Helms Amendment] remains a huge obstacle for organizations and clinics dedicated to empowering women to make their own reproductive choices. … Time and time again, research has shown that restricting access to abortion does not stop or even reduce its incidence. While we celebrate the Democrats’ decision to include the repeal of [the Helms Amendment] in the [Democratic] Platform draft, we have to continue our work with vigilance and ensure the draft’s approval and the repeal of the law. Women … around the world will continue to have abortions when they need them. We have a choice: Do we support them and ensure that those abortions are safe, or do we watch them die in dangerous illegal procedures?” (7/5).

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President Bush Left Development Legacy Including PEPFAR, MCC

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

“…While [George W.] Bush had campaigned on a platform of ‘compassionate conservatism,’ few expected global development to be a high priority for the incoming administration … But expectations, the global strategic order, and much of American political life were profoundly upended by the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Leaders of both parties quickly recognized that development was an important and undermaintained part of the U.S. international posture, ushering in a period of dramatically increased budgets for development … The administration launched two new, and massive, development initiatives that ran directly counter to the popular perception that Republicans either did not care about development or only cared about it for purely security purposes. These two new efforts, the Millennium Challenge Corp. and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are absolutely central to Bush’s development legacy … If fortune does indeed favor the bold, most historians will be kind to the Bush development legacy…” (7/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Joint External Evaluation Team Examines U.S. Federal Agencies' Abilities To Respond To Public Health Threats

CDC’s “Public Health Matters Blog”: Global Health Security: How is the U.S. doing?
This blog post describes the work of the Joint External Evaluation Team, a team of international experts from several different countries tasked with assessing countries’ capacity under the International Health Regulations (IHR) to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to natural, accidental, or deliberate public health threats. The blog post notes, “The U.S. requested this unbiased review of its response capabilities and hopes that the entire world will do the same. Like other countries who have undergone this process, the U.S. will soon share the final report of the Joint External Evaluation with the public” (7/5).

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IHME Director Discusses Importance Of Accurate, Transparent Public Health Data

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: Setting a new standard for how we measure global health
“Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, discusses the Guidelines for Accurate and Transparent Health Estimates Reporting (GATHER) statement and the importance of ensuring accurate and transparent reporting of public health research…” (7/5).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 291 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics including an article on France’s pledge of €1.8 million for the Global Fund’s fifth replenishment and an analysis of the fund’s new co-financing requirements (7/6).

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