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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

House Democrats Attempt To Force Vote On Zika Funding As July 4th Recess Approaches

The Atlantic: House Democrats Try to Force Another Vote on Zika
“Congressional lawmakers started formal negotiations last week on Zika funding, but things aren’t moving fast enough for House Democrats…” (Kelly, 6/21).

CQ News: Zika Spending Talks Headed for the Finish Line, But No Deal Yet
“…A Democratic Senate conferee indicated that negotiations were among leaders as well as the chairmen and ranking Democrats of the House and Senate Appropriations committees. The final product is expected to contain funding closer to the Senate’s proposed $1.1 billion emergency spending package (HR 2577), although the package is also expected to include at least partial offsets to make it palatable to Republicans in both chambers…” (McCrimmon/Mejdrich, 6/21).

The Hill: Democrats file discharge petition on Zika funding bill
“…Democrats said Tuesday they have filed a discharge petition to bring up a Zika funding bill from the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, New York Rep. Nita Lowey. The last-ditch move comes just three days before Congress leaves town for its Fourth of July recess — a date that public health experts have called a crucial deadline to get resources out to vulnerable states…” (Ferris, 6/21).

Washington Post: Congress may be nearing a deal on Zika funding
“…Sen. Patty Murray, (D-Wa.), who helped write the Senate legislation, on Tuesday pressed for her fellow negotiators to finish their work and adopt the Senate-passed language. … Both congressional proposals fall short of the $1.9 billion requested by President Obama — but White House officials are less critical of the Senate figure…” (Snell, 6/21).

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NIH Announces Large Study To Follow Pregnant Women In Zika-Affected Countries

Associated Press/PBS NewsHour: NIH launches massive study of pregnant women in Zika-hit regions
“Researchers are beginning a study of up to 10,000 pregnant women in Puerto Rico, Brazil, and other Zika-hit parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, to better understand the virus’ threat. The U.S. National Institutes of Health announced the study Tuesday, saying researchers will enroll participants starting in the first trimester and compare the birth outcomes of those who become infected with Zika and those who don’t…” (6/21).

Science Speaks: Zika pregnancy and infant study to seek information on scope of risks from virus, strategies to meet impacts
“…The Zika in Infants and Pregnancy — ZIP — study is planned to include sites in Brazil and Colombia as well as other countries and territories experiencing active transmission, that have not been confirmed, and will recruit women through prenatal clinics as well as through other community based facilities…” (Barton, 6/21).

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Haiti So Far Avoids Serious Zika Predictions, But Experts Unsure Why

Washington Post: While Latin America struggles over Zika, Haiti faces epidemic with a shrug
“…The poorest nation in the region appeared to be primed for a Zika explosion, with woeful sanitation, urban overcrowding, a threadbare health system, and plenty of mosquitoes. But nearly six months after the first Zika cases were confirmed in Haiti, the most dire predictions have not materialized. That is the good news. The bad news is that no one is really sure why…” (Miroff, 6/21).

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Most MERS Cases In New Riyadh Outbreak Linked To Misdiagnosed Woman, WHO Says

CIDRAP News: WHO details Riyadh hospital MERS outbreak as new UAE, Saudi cases noted
“The World Health Organization (WHO) [Tuesday] released more details about a MERS-CoV outbreak at King Khalid University Hospital in Riyadh, triggered by a woman whose illness wasn’t detected until after she was admitted to a vascular surgery ward. In other new MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) developments, the WHO said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported a new case and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) announced a pair of new cases, both from Jeddah…” (Schnirring, 6/21).

Reuters: WHO says Saudi misdiagnosis caused MERS outbreak
“The wrong diagnosis of a woman suffering from the MERS coronavirus led to more than 49 other patients and medical staff being exposed to the disease in a Saudi hospital, the World Health Organization said in a statement on Tuesday…” (Miles, 6/21).

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More Than 700 Medical Workers Killed In Syrian War; Doctors, NGOs Develop Underground Hospital System

Agence France-Presse: More than 700 doctors killed in Syria war: U.N.
“Attacks on hospitals since Syria’s war broke out five years ago have left more than 700 doctors and medical workers dead, many of them in air strikes, U.N. investigators said Tuesday. The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria also condemned horrific violations by jihadists and voiced concern that Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants may have recruited hundreds of children into their ranks…” (Larson, 6/21).

New Yorker: The Shadow Doctors
“…In the past five years, the Syrian government has assassinated, bombed, and tortured to death almost seven hundred medical personnel, according to Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that documents attacks on medical care in war zones. (Non-state actors, including ISIS, have killed twenty-seven.) … Despite the onslaught, doctors and international NGOs have forged an elaborate network of underground hospitals throughout Syria…” (Taub, 6/27).

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More Than Half Of Yemen's Population Facing 'Emergency' Food Insecurity, Report Says

U.N. News Centre: More than half of Yemen’s population now food insecure — U.N.
“Vast swathes of war-torn Yemen — 19 out of 22 governorates — are facing severe food insecurity, and the situation within affected areas is likely to deteriorate if conflict persists, according to a new assessment by the United Nations and partners…” (6/21).

VOA News: Amid War, Yemenis Face Dire Food Insecurity
“…The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) shows that 19 or 22 governorates of Yemen face severe food insecurity, and that over half of the country’s population faces ’emergency’ levels, the fourth level on a five-tier system of food insecurity classification…” (Sarai, 6/21).

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Many Widows In Sub-Saharan Africa Stripped Of Rights, Advocates Say Ahead Of International Day

Thomson Reuters Foundation: From cleaning corpses to sex with strangers, widow rituals fuel disease in Africa
“…Millions of widows in sub-Saharan Africa are left destitute after being disinherited and robbed of their property, women’s rights campaigners said ahead of International Widows’ Day on Thursday. Many … are abused and exploited by their in-laws, forced to undergo cleansing rituals, or marry one of their husband’s relatives in a practice known as widow inheritance…” (Kouagheu/Guilbert, 6/22).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Fund Zika Without Using Ebola Funds

Miami Herald: Congress must fully fund battle against Zika and Ebola
Sylvia Burwell, U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services

“…[Some members] in Congress want to meet [the Zika] challenge by stripping funds away from our Ebola response and our continued efforts to prepare countries to build up their public health capabilities. In asking us to redirect critical Ebola money to Zika, they’re forgetting the lessons we learned. We have to finish the job on Ebola, even as we act now to slow the spread of Zika. We continue to see Ebola flare-ups in West Africa … We can’t sacrifice one urgent health priority in the name of another. As Congress understood in 2014, an investment in our global health community is an investment in the health of our nation. Now, we’re looking to Congress to properly fund the effort to fight Zika, and to do it without sacrificing the commitments we have already made to strengthen global health security around the world and here at home” (6/20).

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Preventing, Managing Zika Requires Rights-Centered Approach For Women

The Lancet Global Health: The right(s) approach to Zika
Editorial Board

“…[P]oor women in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and elsewhere have been let down by their governments. They are at the center of the [Zika] epidemics; they are scrutinized and lectured, but lack of access to basic reproductive services and restrictive abortion laws have stripped them of a choice when faced with the dire consequences of the virus on their health and that of their children. This imbalance has been recognized and is being acted upon … In early April, the Pan American Health Organization issued a guidance document on the key ethical issues raised by the epidemic that … include the duty of all governments to provide information, respect the right to choose, and provide access to comprehensive reproductive health care and social support to women affected by Zika and their children. In many ways, Zika is the epitome of the interdependence of health and human rights. Controlling vectors is an essential step, but it will be ineffectual without a rights-centered approach” (July 2016).

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Women's, Girls' Reproductive Rights 'Should Be At Heart Of Every Development Program'

The Guardian: The Guardian view on family planning: the unsung human right
Editorial Board

“…Next month marks the halfway stage of the Family Planning 2020 initiative, an attempt to get 120 million more women and girls in 69 countries using contraception, that was launched at a London conference in 2012. According to the U.N.’s population fund, there are twice that number who would like to be able to avoid getting pregnant if they could. … Breaking down the barriers that stop women and girls having the right to choose should be at the heart of every development project. This is a vital aspect of women’s health; yet it often feels like the poor relation in development. … [T]he scale of the task of breaking down the barriers that stop it being a universal right is daunting. But for women and girls everywhere, it must become a development priority” (6/21).

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Emphasis On Equity, Health Care Access Critical To Ending Preventable Child, Maternal Deaths

Huffington Post: Reaching the Unreached: How an Emphasis on Equity Can Help End Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health and child and maternal survival coordinator at USAID

“…Equity is at the heart of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s 2016 Acting on the Call report. … As more and more countries and communities are lifted out of poverty, new approaches are needed to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of efforts to improve global health outcomes. … As we enter the era of the Sustainable Development Goals, we have the opportunity to not just reduce preventable child and maternal deaths, but to effectively end them. Through an emphasis on equitable access to services and sustainable, innovative finances for health that reach all members of a population, we can accelerate our progress towards achieving global goals in health and other sectors. Our goal, after all, is to improve health and wellbeing worldwide — not just for some, but for all” (6/21).

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NYT Editorial, Letter To Editor Discuss Red Cross's Humanitarian Relief Efforts In Haiti

New York Times: Trust Deficit at the Red Cross
Editorial Board

“After calamities, people donate millions of dollars to the American Red Cross, believing it is uniquely equipped to provide prompt humanitarian aid. The latest evidence that their faith has been misplaced came this week in a report by Senator Charles Grassley about the charity’s poor response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. … Senate investigators found that the Red Cross spent about 25 percent of the $488 million raised for Haiti relief on administrative costs and fundraising. That is unusually high … [The organization] should … significantly beef up its oversight and accounting operations and provide detailed, timely information about how it spends and accounts for relief funding. Early this month, it took a step in the right direction by releasing a breakdown of the money it had spent on Haiti relief. It would be unfortunate if Americans were hesitant to donate after the next catastrophe. The Red Cross should make every effort to win their confidence” (6/17).

New York Times: The Red Cross’s Defense of Its Haiti Relief Efforts
Gail J. McGovern, president and chief executive at the American Red Cross

“…Your editorial misses the mark … by not scrutinizing the assertion that 25 percent of the $488 million donated to the American Red Cross for Haiti relief went only to administrative costs and fundraising. Only nine percent went for management, general, and fundraising expenses, sometimes called overhead. The rest went for costs vital to providing humanitarian aid. These costs include paying for staff members (a majority of whom are Haitian) and infrastructure to help manage and oversee approximately 100 projects we funded. This isn’t ‘overhead’ — it is what makes the delivery of humanitarian aid possible. … While our response has been examined closely, there have been no findings of fraud or abuse. We believe that our disaster response efforts remain worthy of the public’s trust” (6/21).

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Latest World Health Assembly Meeting Highlighted Many Global Health Challenges, Actions

Inter Press Service: What is Missing on the Global Health Front?
Martin Khor, executive director of the South Centre

“The last World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva (23-28 May) discussed the manifold global health crises that require urgent attention, and adopted resolutions to act on many issues. We are currently facing many global health related challenges, and as such multiple actions must be taken urgently to prevent these crises from boiling over. … World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan gave an overview of some of the successes and further work needed on the global health front. … WHO Assistant Director-General Keiji Fukuda said that focus in the upcoming year will include: making progress on the Global Action Plan (established in 2015), further developing the global stewardship framework, and involving political leaders by meeting in the United Nations headquarters in New York in September…” (6/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Challenging Assumptions Of Sexual Violence In Conflict Important Step In Creating Awareness, Preventative Measures

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: To Prevent Sexual Violence In Conflict, We Have To Understand It First
Recognizing the International Day to Eliminate Sexual Violence in Conflict, held on June 19, Catherine Russell, ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues at the State Department, outlines various assumptions related to sexual violence in conflict, writing, “By exploring [the connections between ideologies that allow sexual violence and create instability], challenging our assumptions, and broadening the conversation, we can gain a better understanding of this issue — and put preventative measures in place…” (6/19).

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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 290 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including two articles on the fund’s new key performance indicator framework for monitoring results, a news and analysis piece on the recent U.N. political declaration on ending AIDS, and an article outlining Global Fund awards totaling $179 million for 13 country grants (6/8).

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