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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

White House, U.S. Health Officials Urge House To Approve Zika Funding Measure Before Summer Recess

The Guardian: ‘One week left’ to pass Zika funding bill in U.S. House, Democrats warn
“The head of the Centers for Disease Control, congressional Democrats, and the second-in-command at the Department of Homeland Security called for Republicans to bring a Zika funding bill to the floor — again…” (Glenza, 7/7).

The Hill: Obama gets involved in last-ditch push for Zika funding
“President Obama this week has personally lobbied leaders in Congress over funding for the fight against the Zika virus. Obama has spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as well as top Senate Democrats over the ‘past few days,’ White House homeland security adviser Amy Pope told reporters Thursday…” (Ferris, 7/7).

Miami Herald: Sen. Bill Nelson calls for do-over in Senate Zika funding standoff
“With one week left to pass a Zika funding bill before the summer congressional recess, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson on Thursday called for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to allow a new vote on a stripped-down $1.1 billion Zika funding package, then send the measure to the House of Representatives for reconsideration…” (Pugh, 7/7).

Reuters: U.S. Democrats pressure Republicans for bipartisan Zika funding
“…On Thursday, Democrats called on McConnell and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan to revive a bipartisan measure that passed the Senate in May. McConnell has said he would stick with the current legislation, which was agreed by House and Senate negotiators and has already passed the House…” (Morgan, 7/7).

TIME: White House and Democrats Make Last-Ditch Zika Funding Plea
“Democratic members of Congress and White House officials said the country is beyond a ‘day late and a dollar short’ on allocating funds to combat the Zika virus in a White House conference call urging Congressional action on Thursday…” (Rhodan, 7/7).

U.S. News & World Report: Democrats: GOP Playing Politics on Zika
“… ‘This is not a time to play political games. It’s a time to compromise and get something done,’ Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Thursday’s call…” (Leonard, 7/7).

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U.S. Congress Approves Foreign Aid Transparency And Accountability Act To Monitor, Evaluate Foreign Aid Programs

Devex: U.S. Congress approves long-sought Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act
“It was first introduced more than five years ago, but after many negotiations, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act has been approved by the United States Congress and is on its way to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. The legislation will require U.S. government agencies to closely monitor and evaluate all foreign aid programs based on their outcomes and improve transparency by publicly sharing the data about what’s working and what’s not, in large part through the foreignassistance.gov portal…” (Saldinger, 7/7).

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Aid Agencies Laud Passage Of U.S. Global Food Security Act Of 2016

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Aid agencies hail U.S. bill to end global hunger and malnutrition
“Aid agencies have hailed the passage of a U.S. bill that aims to eliminate hunger and poverty around the world by helping smallholder farmers, especially women, with investments targeted at increasing productivity and improving nutrition. The Global Food Security Act of 2016, which enshrines in law the U.S. government’s global hunger initiative Feed the Future, is designed to promote food security, resilience, and nutrition through investments in agriculture…” (Mis, 7/7).

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U.S. House Subcommittee Endorses FY17 Draft Labor-HHS Funding Measure Including Increase For NIH

The Atlantic: Another Step Forward for National Institutes of Health Funding
“Following in their Senate colleagues’ footsteps, a House subcommittee signed off on a budget increase for the National Institutes of Health Thursday. The increases for fiscal year 2017 confirm lawmakers’ public pledges to establish a pattern of improved budgets for the agency, which before last year saw more than a decade of flat funding. … [L]awmakers will eventually negotiate a final budget number in the months to come…” (Kelly, 7/7).

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Some U.S. Congress Members Look To FEMA Disaster Relief Fund As Model For Infectious Disease Threat Preparedness

CQ HealthBeat: Disaster Relief Overhaul May Be Model for Viral Threat Fund
“Lawmakers in both parties are eyeing the overhauled Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund as a possible model for a proposed reserve fund to address emerging infectious threats such as the Zika virus. … Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut sees the Disaster Relief Fund as a model for addressing infectious threats. ‘By allocating funding ahead of time, we can better prepare for and respond to these events,’ DeLauro, the ranking Democrat on the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said earlier this year. ‘The U.S. prepares for disasters like hurricanes, and there is no reason why we should not do the same for outbreaks of disease’…” (Young, 7/7).

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Health Officials, U.N. Envoy Warn More Must Be Done To Address Health, Development Impacts Of El Niño, Climate Change

Agence France-Presse: Climate change health impacts loom large
“The world should brace for potentially devastating impacts on human health due to climate change, top policymakers and officials from around the globe meeting in Paris said Thursday. Some of these consequences may be avoided if humanity radically curbs its use of fossil fuels in coming decades, but many are already being felt, they said at the opening of a two-day conference run by the World Health Organization (WHO) and hosted by France…” (Hood, 7/7).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Interview-World must stop next El Niño harming development — U.N. envoy
“Governments have been too slow to respond to droughts and floods linked to the El Niño weather pattern, and must do better next time if global development goals are to be met, said Mary Robinson, U.N. special envoy for El Niño and climate. … The United Nations says there is a shortfall of $2.5 billion for aid needed this year to help more than 60 million people affected by El Niño in 22 countries across Southern and Eastern Africa, Central America, and the Pacific…” (Rowling, 7/7).

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WHO Director Of Essential Medicines Discusses Agency's Plan To Devise Fair Drug Pricing Model

STAT: Q&A: Why the World Health Organization plans a fair pricing model for drugs
“Over the next year, the World Health Organization wants to develop a fair pricing model for pharmaceuticals. … The trick is to find the right balance between access to affordable medicines and enticing companies to develop new and improved medicines, while also ensuring lower-cost generics remain available. We spoke with Suzanne Hill, the WHO director of essential medicines and health products, about how the agency hopes to get this done…” (Silverman, 7/7).

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WFP Announces $610M Shortfall To Address Drought Relief In 7 Southern African Nations

Reuters: U.N. food agency says faces $610 million shortfall for southern Africa drought relief
“The United Nations’ food agency said on Thursday it needed $730 million over the next 12 months for relief in seven Southern African countries hit hard by a blistering drought and faced a $610 million shortfall. The World Food Programme (WFP) said in a statement the seven countries were Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Madagascar, Swaziland, and Zambia…” (Stoddard, 7/7).

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Sierra Leone's Trauma Counselors Work To Assist Ebola Survivors

The Guardian: Mental health experts in Sierra Leone aim to pluck out heart of Ebola mystery
“…For nearly two years, Ebola stormed across this corner of West Africa, devastating communities and health systems that were already among the world’s poorest. But within that public health emergency was a second crisis, acute but nearly invisible: one of mental health care…” (Brown, 7/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global Food Security Act Of 2016 Will Help U.S., World Make Progress Toward Ending Hunger, Malnutrition

Huffington Post: Congress Takes Bipartisan Stand Against Global Hunger
Lindsay Coates, president of InterAction

“…The Global Food Security Act … is an exciting step forward in building the political will needed to end global hunger and malnutrition. Utilizing new approaches and the knowledge and commitment of a diverse coalition, the act will leverage our country’s efforts under a comprehensive government strategy to combat hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. It also promotes country ownership and accountability in the countries where we work … Today’s action by Congress ensures that the United States will continue to play a leadership role in the effort to ensure that families around the globe are hunger free in the decades to come…” (7/7).

Devex: Now is the time for the U.S. to change its approach to food security
Hugh Evans, co-founder of Global Citizen and the Global Citizen Festival, and Michele Sullivan, president of the Caterpillar Foundation

“…The Global Food Security Act will improve food and nutrition security for millions of individuals worldwide by taking a comprehensive and strategic approach to U.S. foreign assistance programs focusing on hunger. … The act is a true example of how global citizens, civil society, and policymakers from both sides of the political aisle can come together to make the world a stronger and better place. The legislation is also a shining representation of what a 21st century aid strategy, with the U.S. working alongside governments from around the world, can look like. Let’s get this bill on the books and get vital nutrition to those who need it the most” (7/7).

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Zika Response Highlights U.S. Politics Surrounding Family Planning, Abortion

Huffington Post: The Undeclared War on Contraception
Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute

“…Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have been waging [a war on contraception] for several years now. They have pursued this war under many banners. It has been fought under the ‘pro-life’ banner. It has been fought under the banner of ‘fiscal responsibility.’ It has been fought under the banner of ‘religious liberty.’ It is now being fought under the banner of ‘fighting Zika.’ … Anyone truly concerned about the Zika virus — inside or outside the United States — should be seeking to provide additional contraceptive support to women who are at high risk for being infected with Zika. … It’s time to end the undeclared war on contraception” (7/8).

U.S. News & World Report: Abortion Politics in the Age of Zika
Carol Sanger, professor at Columbia University

“…The age of Zika is not the time … to play politics with women’s health or their rights. As things stand now, Congress refuses to help women avoid pregnancy, while some states are hell-bent on burdening access to abortion for women whose pregnancies are unwanted. In the coming months, more and more Zika-infected women will become pregnant. Some will decide to keep their pregnancies and care for their microcephalic infants into childhood and beyond. Others may make a different choice, law permitting. Right now the law in several states does not permit, but seems content to force unwanted motherhood on what may be a large class of women subject to a new environmental threat” (7/7).

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International Community Must 'Do Better' In Responding To HIV Among MSM

The Lancet: The global response to HIV in men who have sex with men
Chris Beyrer of the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues

“In July, 2012, The Lancet published a series on gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and HIV … Proposed actions ranged from the setting of targets for global funding, policy reform, and operations research, to improvements in effective HIV prevention and treatment services, including expanded access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and increased coverage of antiretroviral treatment (ART). … Although the response to AIDS has seen important research advances and continued reduction in incidence and expansion of treatment access for those living with HIV, the global epidemic in gay men and other MSM remains severe and is clearly one of the defining challenges ahead in the effort to control the HIV pandemic. … MSM are overburdened and under-resourced in the global HIV response. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the need for expanded funding, access to services, and policy reform, insufficient progress is being made in the prevention and treatment of HIV in these men and their communities. We can do better, and we must if we are to have any hope of success in controlling HIV spread worldwide” (7/9).

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More Focus Needed To Improve Health Of Indigenous People Worldwide

The Lancet: Indigenous health: a worldwide focus
Editorial Board

“…[I]t makes no difference where you live if you are Indigenous — you will be worse off health-wise, regardless of the economic status of that country. Why do such large differences exist between populations living in the same country? The answer is related to poverty, poor education levels, employment status, and access to health services, and whether Indigenous people are actually counted, which they are not in some countries. So, what can be done to improve the lot of Indigenous and tribal peoples worldwide? [A collaborative paper published in The Lancet examining the health of Indigenous and tribal people globally] calls upon the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals to take specific account of Indigenous people, especially the goals directed at ending poverty, improving health and education, and reducing inequalities. Policymakers should follow Australia’s lead and make Indigenous disadvantage a national policy priority. Without that, the situation will remain unchanged, with … people continuing to die much earlier than they should and women dying unnecessarily in childbirth. The next steps for the group will be to revisit these data in a few years, to see what governments have done now that the health inequalities have been brought clearly into focus” (7/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CDC Documents West African, U.S. Ebola Responses In MMWR Supplement

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: CDC details two years of Ebola response
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” writes, “In a more than 100-page supplement to its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the agency recounts challenges it met with both emergency and sustained responses that included limited capacities in the three most-affected countries to detect and prevent the spread of the virus and issues complicating communicating the threats posed by Ebola in West Africa as well as in the United States…” (7/7).

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Paper Examines Next Steps For Addressing NTDs Under Sustainable Development Agenda

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: What Is Next for NTDs in the Era of the Sustainable Development Goals?
In this paper, James Smith and Emma Michelle Taylor, both of the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh, “reflect on the NTD lobby’s efforts to gain traction in the wide-ranging post-2015 agenda by making the case that NTDs are crosscutting and by lobbying for NTD indicators” (7/7).

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