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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Congress Passes Global Food Security Act; Bill Codifies Feed The Future Initiative

Humanosphere: U.S. Congress passes Global Food Security Act
“In a rare act of bipartisanship, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Global Food Security Act (S 1252). It bolsters efforts by the U.S. to eliminate hunger and malnutrition globally by providing backing to existing programs, including the Obama administration’s Feed the Future program…” (Murphy, 7/6).

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Casey’s global food security bill heading to the White House
“All that U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s global food security bill lacks now is the president’s signature. … The legislation solidifies the country’s commitment to existing programs including Feed the Future, a … program created by the Obama administration in 2009 in an effort to stabilize food prices in impoverished countries by investing in small farms, woman-owned farms, and agricultural education programs in Africa, Asia, and Central America. The measure ensures that Feed the Future and programs like it continue after Mr. Obama leaves office…” (Mauriello, 7/7).

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Says Zika Funding Bill Will Be Considered Again; Minority Leader Vows To Block

CQ News: Reid: Obama Would Back $1.1 Billion in Emergency Zika Spending
“Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that President Barack Obama would support $1.1 billion in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus, but declined to say when the administration communicated this to him. ‘I’m willing, the president’s willing, Patty Murray’s willing to take $1.1 billion dollars, the one that passed here,’ Reid said following weekly caucus lunches. The Nevada Democrat was referring to the compromise package reached between Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that was added as an amendment on a 68-30 vote to the hybrid Transportation-HUD and Military Construction-VA measure package (HR 2577) in May…” (McCrimmon/Mejdrich, 7/6).

The Hill: Reid warns Dems will block Zika funding again
“Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday warned that Democrats will once again block Zika virus funding in an upcoming redo vote, signaling that lawmakers have made little progress on finding a compromise. ‘Republicans are no closer to getting serious about Zika. … This bad legislation will never pass and will never get a presidential signature,’ the Senate Democratic leader said from the Senate floor…” (Carney, 7/6).

POLITICO: HHS spending Zika money slowly, amid big funding battle
“The Obama administration has so far distributed only about one-sixth of the unspent Ebola funding that it diverted to combat the Zika virus, according to administration officials. The White House in April [reprogrammed] $589 million to the Zika virus amid congressional squabbling over approving new emergency funding. Since then, the administration has distributed $112 million, according to HHS figures shared with POLITICO…” (Haberkorn/Everett, 7/6).

Reuters: U.S. Senate leader says will try again to pass Zika bill
“The U.S. Senate will make another attempt to pass a bill dealing with the Zika virus during the current session, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday. ‘As I’ve said before, the Senate will revisit this important issue over the current work period,’ McConnell said on the Senate floor. ‘We’ll give Democrats another opportunity to end their filibuster of funding that’s critical to controlling Zika and supporting our veterans’…” (Walsh, 7/6).

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U.S. House FY17 Labor-HHS-Education Draft Spending Bill Would Create Reserve Fund For Outbreak Response

CQ News: House Spending Draft Would Establish Infectious Disease Fund
“House appropriators proposed creating a reserve fund in an annual spending bill to allow for swift responses to emerging health threats such as the mosquito-borne Zika virus. While that proposal may have bipartisan appeal, other provisions in the fiscal 2017 Labor-HHS-Education draft likely will renew bitter divisions over workplace and gun policies…” (Young, 7/6).

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Viral Hepatitis Is A Leading Cause Of Death, Disability Worldwide, Study Shows

Agence France-Presse: Hepatitis outstrips AIDS, TB as killer: report
“Virus-caused hepatitis has become a leading cause of death and disability in the world, killing more people in a year than AIDS, tuberculosis, or malaria, a report said Thursday. Deaths from infection, liver disease, and cancer caused by viral hepatitis increased by 63 percent from 890,000 in 1990 to 1.45 million in 2013, according to a review of data collected in 183 countries. By comparison, in 2013 there were 1.3 million deaths from AIDS, 1.4 million from tuberculosis, and 855,000 from malaria, said the report, published in The Lancet…” (7/6).

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International Red Cross Launches Emergency Appeal For Angolan Yellow Fever Outbreak, Worst In Decades

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Angola battling worst yellow fever outbreak in decades needs help, says Red Cross
“Angola is suffering its worst outbreak of yellow fever in 30 years with 350 deaths since last December, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Wednesday as it launched an emergency appeal for funds…” (Malo, 7/6).

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Philippines Only Asia-Pacific Nation With Rising Teenage Pregnancy Rate, UNFPA Says

Associated Press: Philippines only country in Asia where teen pregnancy rising
“The Philippines is the only Asia-Pacific country where the rate of teen pregnancies rose over the last two decades and the slow decline of its overall fertility rate may deprive the country of the faster economic growth expected in places that have more working-age people than younger and older dependents, the U.N. Population Fund said Thursday…” (7/7).

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Traumatic Events Increasing Mental Illness In South Sudan, With 'Almost Total' Lack Of Care, Amnesty International Report Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Cannibalism, rape, and death: trauma as South Sudan turns five
“Mass killings, rape, torture, abductions, and forced cannibalism have led to an increase in mental illness in South Sudan, with patients routinely housed in prisons due to an ‘almost total’ absence of mental health care, a rights group said on Wednesday. There are only two practicing psychiatrists for South Sudan’s 11 million people, Amnesty International said in a report ahead of the country’s fifth anniversary of independence on July 9…” (Migiro, 7/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Decision To Continue Rio Olympic Games Amid Zika, U.S. Politics Around Epidemic Response Efforts

USA TODAY: Olympic Zika fears flip out: Our view
Editorial Board

“…[I]f public health decisions are to be driven by facts, not fear, the decision to begin the Games on Aug. 5, as scheduled, is reasonable. … But when public health officials give advice on postponing or moving the Olympics — as the WHO did in May, when it recommended going forward — the decision can send either a calming message or a dangerous one. If countries believe there will be a high price — such as losing major events, or facing travel and trade bans — for letting the world know about outbreaks, they will instead be tempted to keep secrets. … Such silence could be devastating to worldwide public health. Postponing or moving the Games because of overblown Zika fears would have been a decision unworthy of a medal” (7/6).

Chicago Tribune: Commentary: Congress lets abortion politics derail Zika fight
Arthur L. Caplan, director of medical ethics at the New York University Langone Medical Center’s Department of Population Health, and Kelly McBride Folkers, research associate with the center’s Division of Medical Ethics

“…Without a coordinated federal effort, [the number of confirmed cases of Zika in the U.S.] will continue to rise. … Public support for federal funding to fight Zika is consistent across party lines among voters. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released June 30, 81 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of Republicans, and 73 percent of independents surveyed supported investing more federal money to combat Zika. … The Zika virus doesn’t care if you are a Republican or a Democrat. Zika virus prevention isn’t a partisan issue, and anti-Zika funding shouldn’t be either. Abstinence, condoms, counseling, improved testing, bug spray, and mosquito control are essential in the fight against Zika. If they don’t work, abortion ought to be an option. A public health crisis where those at the greatest risk are pregnant women is not the time to re-engage in stale, dangerous politics about contraception and abortion” (7/5).

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5 Core Transformations Must Occur In Order To Achieve SDGs

Thomson Reuters Foundation: To achieve the SDGs we need to change five things
Andrew Norton, director of the International Institute for Environment and Development

“…[H]ow can we map transformational change to the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]? … I have already referred to the principle of universality — a transformation whereby our view of development is no longer about aid or other transfers to the poorest countries, but applies in all country contexts. … The second transformation is in the core framing of the goal set — … from human development in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to sustainable development. … The third transformation is towards equity and away from rising inequality at the country level. … And the fourth transformation is in the area of the catch-all SDG 16 on governance — and involves powerful countries in particular becoming far more effective at acting to prevent large-scale conflict. … The final over-arching transformation is at the level of national politics. … To maintain a progressive global stance will require attention to social inclusion at the national level. To protect human progress in any given country will require collective action between nations to ensure peace, prosperity, and a liveable planet. Achieving the transformation in national politics implied by the SDGs is the biggest challenge of all” (7/6).

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Experiences From TB Response In Syria Could Translate To Other Conflict Settings

Devex: 4 lessons learned tackling tuberculosis in Syria
Håkan Björkman, manager of UNDP’s partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…[E]xperiences in Syria have highlighted four vital lessons that could help inform efforts to combat TB in other conflict zones: Courage and innovative thinking on the frontlines … Strengthen and support existing local systems … Reach everyone you can … Vigilance in spotting multi-drug resistant TB … These lessons from Syria are important for the global response to TB. We must keep the momentum going. Progress made in the midst of war is fragile and must be nurtured. The courageous people of Syria need continued support and resources to do their jobs” (7/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Administration Discusses Passage Of Global Food Security Act Of 2016

White House Blog: Congress Passed the Global Food Security Act. Here’s Why That’s Historic
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice discusses the impact of U.S. efforts to address global food security, as well as the passage of the Global Food Security Act, which “reaffirms the United States’ commitment to ending global hunger, poverty, and child malnutrition” (7/6).

White House: Statement by the President on the Passage of the Global Food Security Act of 2016
“…Today, I’m proud to see that Congress has passed S 1252, the Global Food Security Act of 2016, an overwhelmingly bipartisan piece of legislation that will put Feed the Future, our global hunger and food security initiative, into law…” (7/6).

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New Paper Examines Overlapping Priorities In Medical Intelligence, National Security, Global Health

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine: Medical intelligence, security, and global health: the foundations of a new health agenda
In a recently published paper, Gemma Bowsher and colleagues of the King’s Centre for Global Health examine how medical intelligence, security agendas, and global health priorities overlap, writing, “Here, we outline some of the ways in which this has happened in the recent past during the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa and in the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. intelligence services. We evaluate medical intelligence and the role it can play in global health security; we also attempt to define a framework that illustrates how medical intelligence can be incorporated into foreign policy action in order [to] delineate the boundaries and scope of this growing field” (July 2016).

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Blog Post Addresses Global Increase In Vector-Borne Neglected Tropical Disease Incidence

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: What’s with these Vector-borne Neglected Tropical Diseases?
“Peter Hotez and Serap Aksoy, co-editors in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, contemplate the recent rises in various vector-borne NTDs around the world…” The authors write, “A take-home lesson is that, to understand complicated occurrences such as the rise of vector-borne NTDs in Latin America and Europe, we’ll need to consider establishing new and interdisciplinary dialogues between biomedical scientists interested in tropical infections and social scientists, including economists and anthropologists, and earth scientists interested in the environment…” (7/6).

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Journal Supplement Examines PMTCT Program Implementation

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Research identifies barriers, answers to reaching families with proven measures for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses findings from studies “collected in a supplement edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes on Advancing PMTCT Implementation Through Scientific Research.” In particular, Barton highlights experiences from a church-based HIV program in Nigeria and a study on access to virologic testing for infants in Zambia (7/6).

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