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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Congress Under Tight Deadline To Pass Zika Funding, Puerto Rico Debt Bills Before Elections

Wall Street Journal: Clock Ticks for Congress on Zika, Puerto Rico Bills
“Congress left town last week without completing bills to combat the Zika virus or deal with the debt crisis in Puerto Rico, two pressing issues that will require lawmakers’ attention in the narrow window they have left for legislating this year…” (Hughes, 6/1).

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Puerto Rico Faces Health, Budget Crises Needing Congressional Attention

CQ News: Puerto Rico Zika Outbreak Highlights Medicaid Woes
“Puerto Rico is facing three converging crises demanding congressional attention: hundreds of cases of Zika, a $72 billion fiscal disaster, and growing financial concerns about its Medicaid program. As lawmakers consider a $1.1 billion package to combat the nationwide spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus that causes birth defects, the territory’s longstanding problems with funding its joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor are coming to a head…” (Evans, 6/2).

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Some Experts Express Doubts Over Capacity Of, Funding For African Disease Control Agency

Scientific American: Africa Starts Its Own Disease Control Agency
“…African states and the U.S. agreed to collaborate to create an agency that would respond to outbreaks, sync communications between member states, and improve public health preparedness. … Others are not convinced the new operation will have enough money or expertise to make a difference…” (Yasmin, 6/1).

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U.S. State Department Calls On WFP To Begin Aid Air Drops In Syria

Reuters: World Food Programme should aim to start Syria aid air drops: State Department
“The U.S. State Department called on Wednesday for the World Food Programme to move ahead with planning to deliver humanitarian aid to besieged Syrian communities by air, saying ground delivery of aid has been insufficient to help those caught in the civil war…” (Mohammed/Alexander, 6/1).

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4.6M People Face Food Insecurity In Burundi, WFP Warns

U.N. News Centre: Burundi: U.N. agency warns 4.6 million people facing food insecurity
“Some 4.6 million people in Burundi are food insecure, with more than 500,000 of them requiring urgent emergency food assistance, the United Nations food relief agency has said, warning that food stocks are stretched as a result of the fragile socio-economic context in the country…” (6/1).

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WHO Member Nations Pass Resolution To Add Mycetoma To NTD List

Global Health NOW: Attention Finally for a Neglected Disease
“By the time mycetoma — a terrifying and obscure tropical infection — reached the discussion floor of the World Health Assembly at the end of last week, most officials had flown home. … [I]t was Ahmed Fahal, the Sudanese director of the world’s only Mycetoma Research Center, who remained to ask WHO’s member nations to make the condition number 18 on the official list of 17 neglected diseases. … [T]he resolution passed at 10am Saturday morning…” (Maxmen, 5/28).

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Global Health NOW Interviews WHO Official About Antimicrobial Resistance

Global Health NOW: Resistance Fighter: A Q&A with Keiji Fukuda
“Delegates to last week’s 69th World Health Assembly heard copious reasons for the global community to fear the rising tide of antimicrobial resistance. However, Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s special representative on the issue, finds at least one reason for some cautious optimism: The world is finally waking up to the threat posed by AMR. … [T]he assistant director general took a few minutes to talk about AMR and prospects for global action with Brian W. Simpson, editor-in-chief of Global Health NOW…” (5/30).

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International Meetings Address Attacks On Health Care Facilities, Worker Safety

Devex: WHO calls for information hub on health care attacks
“Its inclusion may have been unofficial, but respect for international humanitarian law — which included ending attacks on health care facilities worldwide — was still on the agenda at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul last week. In Geneva, health ministers attending the World Health Assembly weighed in on a global strategy to meet current and future demands for a health workforce…” (Ravelo, 5/31).

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Unknown Hemorrhagic Disease Outbreak Affecting Northern South Sudan

NPR: Mysterious Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak Stumps Disease Detectives
“…The situation in South Sudan today is a far cry from that in West Africa a few years ago. But it’s still concerning, the World Health Organization said. So far, there have been 51 cases — including 10 deaths — from an unknown disease in the northern part of South Sudan. The main symptoms of the disease are similar to those seen with Ebola: unexplained bleeding, fever, fatigue, headache and vomiting. But the culprit definitely isn’t Ebola…” (Doucleff, 5/31).

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Pakistan Closer Than Ever To Eliminating Polio

Foreign Policy: Pakistan’s Quiet Revolution Against Polio
“…Over the last 25 years, millions of health workers like Naseeba have gone to incredible lengths to vaccinate children against polio around the world. It is because of them that we’re now closer than ever to seeing this paralyzing disease wiped from the planet…” (Jabar, 6/1).

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The Guardian Profiles Group Of Women Who Sell Contraceptives In Rural Pakistan

The Guardian: The ‘Avon ladies’ of Pakistan selling contraception door to door
“From 8am to 4pm, 25-year-old Samina Khaskheli travels door-to-door in rural Pakistan handing out free samples of condoms, birth control pills, and intrauterine devices. … Samina is a worker for the Marginalised Area Reproductive Health Viable Initiative — Marvi — once a popular emblem of female independence in Sindhi folklore. Today, Marvi refers to a network of literate or semi-literate village women aged 18 to 40 who travel door-to-door selling contraceptives…” (Toppa, 6/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Establishing Health Emergency Fund Could Allow U.S. To Respond Better To Disease Threats

New York Times: Hustling Dollars for Public Health
Editorial Board

“…[E]very time an emergency like [Zika] happens, public health officials must go begging bowl in hand to Congress for the funds to deal with it. … The obvious answer [to this problem] is to establish a permanent pool of money that federal health authorities can tap into quickly … Such a fund would allow agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mobilize their resources to contain emerging threats like Zika and Ebola before they become large-scale problems. The money would be used for research, for vaccine development, and to prevent the spread of the disease in the United States and overseas. … [C]reating a system that is at once generous and disciplined by strong internal controls should be possible. … Without a less restricted fund, health officials fighting Zika have had to move money and scientists away from programs focused on other diseases, like Ebola, malaria, and dengue. Robbing existing programs is sure to hurt public health the longer it goes on” 6/2).

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Partnerships, Coordinated Approach To Health Care Critical To NCD Control, Prevention

Forbes: A WHO-Led Effort Is Needed To Fight Diseases
Suresh Kumar, executive vice president of external affairs at Sanofi

“…[Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)] are growing more common, because too many countries — even rich ones like the United States — face difficulties expanding access to treatments or educating patients and health care providers about proper disease prevention and management techniques. To save tens of millions of lives, WHO officials must unite patients, health care organizations, and political leaders in a coordinated approach to health care. … [P]harmaceutical companies cannot beat back the rising prevalence of chronic diseases by themselves — nor can any non-profit or governmental organization. That’s why the World Health Organization should bring these groups together and forge new, deeper partnerships. By facilitating increased coordination, the WHO can ensure that patients and doctors have the education, training, and medicines they need to prevent diseases from occurring and manage them when they do” (6/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Discusses Zika Response, Including Prevention, Funding

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: In Zika, as in Ebola responses, emergency responses meet status quo
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses updated guidance and recommendations from the WHO and CDC on preventing sexual transmission of the Zika virus, as well as shortfalls in funding for the global response to the virus (6/1).

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Blog Post Examines Challenges To Addressing Breast Cancer In Haiti, Progress In Care

Humanosphere: In Haiti, breast cancer doesn’t need to be a death sentence
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses the challenges to addressing breast cancer in Haiti, citing fear, stigma, and a lack of support for patients. However, she notes progress, writing, “There’s no doubt that cancer care in Haiti has a long road to navigate before matching the early detection programs and survival rates like those in North America, Sweden and Japan. But clinics … have made enormous strides in improving access to chemotherapy, mastectomies, breast reconstruction, and other treatments in a country where, just a few decades ago, they were not yet an option” (6/1).

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PATH, Partners Working To Help Countries Strengthen Surveillance, Vaccine Systems To Safeguard Against Yellow Fever, Other Diseases

PATH: Yellow fever: an old disease with new plot twists
Hope Randall, digital communications officer in the Vaccine Development Program at PATH, writes, “PATH and our partners are working to help fortify countries’ strongholds against yellow fever and other emerging threats…” (6/1).

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