KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Congressional Zika Conference Committee Meets, Promises Swift Deal

Associated Press: Republican negotiators promise quick end to Zika talks
“Republicans in control of negotiations on long-delayed funding to combat the Zika virus are promising a quick agreement, as behind-the-scenes negotiations have focused on a potential deal in the range of a $1.1 billion measure passed by the Senate last month…” (Taylor, 6/15).

CQ News: Zika Conference Committee Launches Work, But Few Details Emerge
“The first gathering Wednesday of House and Senate members negotiating a Zika virus response package revealed no details of what the group’s final product may look like, but members on both sides voiced optimism they will complete their work swiftly…” (McCrimmon, 6/15).

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Researchers Report Findings Of Large Epidemiological Study Involving Nearly 12K Pregnant Women Infected With Zika Virus In Colombia

NPR: Zika Infection Late In Pregnancy Carries Little Risk of Microcephaly
“For months, scientists in Colombia have been working on a massive study. They’ve been tracking the health of thousands of pregnant women to try to figure out key questions surrounding the Zika virus. Now the team has published its first major findings, and they offer a glimmer of good news…” (Doucleff, 6/15).

Science: No wave of Zika birth defects in Colombia — yet
“Zika virus infections late in pregnancy may pose less risk to the fetus than widely feared. Researchers report today that they found no overt birth defects among 616 babies in Colombia whose mothers showed symptoms of Zika virus disease in their third trimester of pregnancy…” (Vogel, 6/15).

TIME: Nearly 12,000 Pregnant Women in Colombia Have Zika
“…In the report released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, Colombian researchers and scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that as of April, there were 65,726 cases of Zika reported in Colombia, with double the number of infections in women compared to men (this could be due to the fact that more women may be tested due to the risks to pregnancy)…” (Sifferlin, 6/15).

Wall Street Journal: Zika Appears to Pose Less of a Threat to Fetus if Contracted Late in a Pregnancy
“…None of the babies born to 616 women in Colombia who were diagnosed with Zika during their third trimesters was born with microcephaly or brain abnormalities, according to the study, published by public health scientists in Colombia and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the New England Journal of Medicine. The majority — 82 percent — of the babies were born at term at normal birth weight…” (McKay, 6/15).

Washington Post: Zika can cause microcephaly even if moms have no symptoms, report says
“…Cases of microcephaly are starting to emerge in Colombia. From Jan. 1, 2016 through April 28, 2016, four infants were born with microcephaly and had laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infections. But none of these infants’ mothers had symptoms of the disease during pregnancy and were not reported as part of the government’s monitoring…” (Sun, 6/15).

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On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, U.N. SG Ban Says Ending Elder Violence, Neglect Important Step To Achieving SDGs

U.N. News Centre: On World Day, Ban calls for ending elder abuse as a pathway towards Global Goals
“Marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Wednesday] emphasized that ending neglect, abuse, and violence against older people is crucial as the international community continues to work together towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and fulfill their underlying pledge to leave no one behind…” (6/15).

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Nations Must Improve Adolescents' Access To Health Care, Safeguard Rights, U.N. Expert Says

U.N. News Centre: States must do more to safeguard adolescent health rights — U.N. expert
“A United Nations human rights expert[, Dainius Puras, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health, on Wednesday] called on states to remove all legal barriers to access health facilities, goods, and services interfering with the rights of adolescents to be heard and taken seriously, and that limit their right to make autonomous decisions…” (6/15).

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More Than 41M People In Southern Africa Food Insecure Due To Drought; 21M Need Immediate Assistance, SADC Says

Reuters: More than 41 million people in Southern Africa face food insecurity: trade bloc
“An estimated 41 million people are food insecure with 21 million people requiring immediate assistance in Southern Africa, a regional economic bloc said on Wednesday, after a drought ravaged the region. The Southern African Development Community director for food, agriculture, and natural resources, Margaret Nyirenda, said in a statement that a new report also showed that nearly 2.7 million children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition…” (Dludla, 6/15).

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Aid Delivery To Syria Remains Highly Challenging; WFP Defends Neutrality Of Deliveries

IRIN: U.N. defends impartiality of Syria aid
“The World Food Programme has hit back strongly at allegations that the U.N. has allowed its aid operations in Syria to be controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, emboldening the siege warfare tactics that have become characteristic of the five-year war. ‘We act impartially, neutrally, and independently, and have contact with all parties to negotiate unimpeded and safe access to all vulnerable people who are in need,’ a WFP spokesperson told IRIN by email…” (Slemrod, 6/15).

Reuters: Escalation in violence locks out aid, food for rebel-held parts of Aleppo — NGOs
“Aid has been cut from rebel-held areas of Aleppo for the longest period since the Syrian civil war began due to an escalation in air strikes and bombardments, driving up food prices and choking efforts to ease the plight of residents…” (Barrington, 6/15).

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Local Health Workers, NGOs Face Challenges To Improving Contraception Access In Rural Myanmar

The Guardian: Baby blues: rural Myanmar’s desperate need for family planning services
“…About 40 percent of women in Myanmar use contraception, but in Chin State the figure is closer to three percent. … But improving access to family planning services is an uphill battle. Many people believe using contraception defies God’s wishes and promotes promiscuity. The logistics of reaching people are also tough…” (England, 6/16).

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ActionAid International Chair Speaks With EurActiv.com About Ending Inequality, Child Marriage

EurActiv.com: ActionAid chief: Africa’s ‘child marriage’ is actually rape
“Ahead of this year’s European Union Development Days, the NGO ActionAid is focussing on the issue of inequality, with the launch of the report, The Price of Privilege. Nzaradzayi Gumbonzvanda is the chair of ActionAid International, and the African Union goodwill ambassador to end child marriage in Africa. Gumbonzvanda spoke to Euractiv.com’s Matthew Tempest ahead of the E.U. Development Days…” (Tempest, 6/15).

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PolitiFact Examines Work Of Clinton Foundation, CHAI To Improve Access To HIV/AIDS Treatment

PolitiFact: Clinton: Clinton Foundation helped 9 million with lower-cost AIDS drugs
“…We’ll … explore if the Clinton Foundation actually had a hand in making HIV/AIDS drugs more affordable for nine million people? … Two experts in HIV/AIDS treatment, Jennifer Kates at the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Ellen ‘t Hoen call the [Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)] an important player. … If anything, Clinton understated the number of people who have benefited from the program. We rate this claim True” (Greenberg, 6/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Obama Administration Should Raise Travel Alert To Prevent Spread Of Zika Virus To U.S.

Washington Times: Stopping the spread of Zika
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

“…[N]either the CDC nor the WHO go far enough to protect the health of travelers throughout the world. While CDC alerts include special precautions for pregnant women, the warnings for men and women hardly seem sufficient when compared to the potential consequences. Instead of demanding that Congress provide more funds for activities that may or may not be effective in stopping the virus, the administration should start with one simple step that would be guaranteed to slow the spread of Zika to the United States: raise the travel alert to Level 3 for Brazil, Colombia, and other countries with high levels of Zika infections. … Our citizens, men and women, pregnant or otherwise, need their government to provide accurate information about the potential risks of traveling to countries where the Zika virus is spreading. The Obama administration has no excuse not to raise the travel warnings to Level 3 for Brazil and Colombia and probably other countries” (6/15).

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Improving Access To Maternal Care Critical For Health Of Women, Families

Medium: Improving Access to Maternal Health Care for Tomorrow
Christy Turlington, founder of Every Mother Counts

“…[G]irls and women all over the world die from preventable and treatable pregnancy-related complications like hemorrhage, infection, hypertension, cardiac disorders, malaria, and malnutrition. Many [people] wanted to know why this still happens in the 21st century and how they could help. That’s when Every Mother Counts was born. … We’ve funded work to make essential maternity care accessible in 13 countries, including the U.S., and we’ve helped educate hundreds of thousands of Americans, health providers, mothers, philanthropists, and advocates about the challenges we face and solutions we need to improve maternal health. … Change is needed and thousands stand with us as we work to educate, advocate, and provide support to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for every mother, everywhere” (6/13).

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Fisheries Management, Marine Conservation Policies Should Focus More On Human Health Outcomes

Nature: Nutrition: Fall in fish catch threatens human health
Christopher D. Golden, research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and associate director of the Planetary Health Alliance at the Harvard University Center for the Environment; and colleagues

“…Combining data on dietary nutrition, and fish catch, we predict that more than 10 percent of the global population could face micronutrient and fatty-acid deficiencies driven by fish declines over the coming decades … This … underlines the need for nutrition-sensitive fisheries policies. … Mitigating losses of biodiversity and income have been at the heart of fisheries-management policies. In our view, there should be a much stronger emphasis on human health. … These policy changes are possible. We believe that improvements in fisheries management and marine conservation can serve as nutritional delivery mechanisms. … Without [management reforms to global fisheries], the health of the poor is at risk” (6/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet Examining Global Polio Eradication Efforts, U.S. Response

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Polio Efforts
This updated fact sheet examines global polio eradication efforts and the U.S. government’s role in addressing polio worldwide, including current programs, funding, and challenges (6/10).

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Public, Private Sectors Must Work Together To Solve Africa's Health Worker Shortage

GE Healthcare’s “The Pulse”: Africa Will be Short Six Million Healthcare Workers by 2030, But it Can Still Achieve its Commitment of Universal Health Care if it Takes Action Now
Kate Tulenko, vice president of health systems innovation at IntraHealth International, discusses the health worker shortage in Africa and describes possible solutions to address this challenge. She writes, “One such solution is to find the intersection of public and private health systems, leveraging the existing infrastructure, technology, workforce, and experience that comes from such deeply rooted organizations with local presence. In Kenya, for example, IntraHealth, GE Healthcare, and USAID are partnering to ensure that Kenya has enough health workers to meet its needs…” (6/15).

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Blog Post Highlights Potential Benefits, Challenges Of HIV Self-Testing

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Is HIV self-testing an answer, or another obstacle?
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, reporting from the McGill Summer Institute in Infectious Diseases and Global Health, highlights a discussion on diagnostic technologies, during which participants highlighted potential benefits and challenges of HIV self-testing, including reaching marginalized populations and connecting those who test positive to existing health care systems. Aziz notes a South African study is underway to test a smartphone application “that informs individuals on how to self-test and links them to care” (6/15).

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