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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House Republicans Approve $1.1B Zika Spending Compromise Reached Without Democrats' Input

The Atlantic: Congressional Lawmakers Reach a Zika Deal — Without Democrats
“After less than a week of formal, bipartisan negotiations on Zika funding, congressional lawmakers have reached a deal. The Democrats, though, aren’t involved. We ‘are not a party to any agreement,’ Matthew Dennis, the communications director for Democratic House appropriators, said Wednesday night in reaction to the deal’s emergence. ‘This is an agreement between House [Republicans] and Senate [Republicans]’…” (Kelly, 6/22).

The Hill: House GOP pushes $1.1 billion Zika bill through Dem sit-in
“House Republicans on Thursday approved a spending bill that includes a controversial $1.1 billion plan for the Zika virus in a late-night vote over Democrat protests. The vote, which was 239-171, came in the 15th hour of a dramatic sit-in protest by dozens of Democrats demanding votes on gun control bills…” (Ferris, 6/23).

The Hill: Dems threaten to oppose GOP funding deal on Zika
“…The deal provides about $400 million in new funding while moving around $750 million to the nation’s fight against the virus. … The bill released Wednesday … would use $543 million from an existing Obamacare program as well as $107 million from an Ebola virus fund and $100 million in other ‘unused administrative funding’ within the health department…” (Ferris, 6/22).

International Business Times: Zika In America: Senate To Vote Thursday On $1.1 Billion Deal To Combat Deadly Virus Despite Democrats’ Protest
“…House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly described the deal as a responsible plan and added, ‘Now we need to get this bill to the president’s desk’…” (Pascaline, 6/23).

New York Times: Zika Deal in Congress Likely to Be Delayed Until After Recess
“…[A]s the Republican negotiators announced Wednesday evening that they had reached a tentative agreement — which the House approved early Thursday in a 239-171 vote — Democrats lashed out. They said the proposal was layered with numerous unrelated provisions that they would never accept, including an effort to restrict government financing of Planned Parenthood, the women’s health organization. While Democrats did not have any sway over the House-Senate negotiations, Republicans do not have sufficient votes in the Senate to overcome procedural obstacles and approve the agreement on their own…” (Herszenhorn, 6/23).

Reuters: White House slams Zika funding bill as inadequate
“The White House on Thursday panned new Republican legislation to put $1.1 billion toward fighting the Zika virus, a plan that was much less than the $1.9 billion requested by President Barack Obama…” (Rampton, 6/22).

Roll Call: Obama Sits Out Zika Deliberations on Hill
“The White House on Wednesday wouldn’t rule out a veto of any plan to address the Zika virus outbreak that allocates less than the $1.9 billion in emergency funds that the administration requested in February…” (Bennett, 6/22).

USA TODAY: House approves $1.1 billion deal to combat Zika virus
“…House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., pushed to get the Zika bill passed this week, before House members adjourned for a recess that will last through Independence Day. The House had been scheduled to work through Friday, but the Democrats’ sit-in prompted them to adjourn early Thursday after voting on the Zika bill…” (Kelly, 6/23).

Washington Post: Bipartisan talks on Zika virus break down ahead of July 4 recess
“…[L]awmakers are once again headed home without a tool aimed at fighting the Zika virus at the height of mosquito season. … [Republicans] could face some blowback while at home with their constituents for failing to craft a measure that can pass both the House and Senate before leaving town…” (Snell, 6/23).

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Latin American Women's Online Requests For Abortion-Inducing Pills Increase Amid Zika Epidemic, Study Shows

The Guardian: Abortion demand soars in countries hit by Zika outbreak, study finds
“Demand for abortions has soared among women living in countries hit by the spread of the Zika virus who fear having a baby with severe birth defects, new data show…” (Boseley, 6/23).

New York Times: Abortion Pill Orders Rise in 7 Latin American Nations on Zika Alert
“…Orders [for abortion-inducing pills] from women in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela roughly doubled, while those from Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras went up by from 36 percent to 76 percent, researchers said in a study published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors of the study included a leader of the group based in Amsterdam that is supplying the pills, Women on Web, a nonprofit staffed by doctors helping women from countries where abortion is illegal or restricted to terminate unwanted pregnancies…” (McNeil/Belluck, 6/22).

NPR: Has Zika Pushed More Women Toward Illegal Abortions?
“…[Abigail Aiken, a health policy researcher at University of Texas at Austin,] and some other researchers teamed up with collaborators at Women on Web to run an analysis of every request for abortion pills that women in Latin America had made to the group over the last five years…” (Aizenman, 6/22).

Reuters: Zika fears sent Latin American women seeking abortion alternatives: study
“…The research … is the first to measure the response of pregnant women to Zika warnings in countries where abortion is limited or banned. First detected in Brazil last year, the current Zika outbreak has been linked to more than 1,400 cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect that can lead to severe developmental problems…” (Steenhuysen, 6/22).

STAT: Abortions in Latin America may be rising because of Zika virus fears
“…Requests for abortion-inducing drugs shot up in some Zika-affected countries after the alarm was raised about Zika infection in pregnancy … The requests rose by between 36 and 108 percent. Abortion restrictions are widespread across Central and South America…” (Branswell, 6/22).

USA TODAY: Zika leads more women to seek abortion help
“…Although demand for abortion pills has been especially high in Brazil, women in this country are often unable to receive them. Brazilian customs agents have been confiscating abortion pills sent through the mail since 2013, said co-author James Trussell, an emeritus professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University…” (Szabo, 6/22).

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U.S. Military's Walter Reed Research Institute Working To Develop Zika Vaccine

Wired: Inside the U.S. Army Lab Racing to Create a Zika Vaccine
“…Today, the military maintains one of the biggest, smartest and most robust communicable disease-fighting labs in the country. Before Zika came along, there was Japanese encephalitis, dengue, chikungunya, and West Nile. Today [the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR)] operates research labs in Thailand, Kenya, Uganda, Indonesia, Georgia, and other far-flung locations where researchers check for virus outbreaks. … To mash the accelerator down on a Zika vaccine, Walter Reed scientists are using a manufacturing technology with a proven track record — the ‘dead virus’ method that worked for Japanese encephalitis…” (Niiler, 6/22).

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Southeast Asian Strain Of Drug-Resistant Malaria Has Not Yet Spread Out Of Region, Study Shows

Agence France-Presse: Drug-resistant malaria strain confined to Asia: scientists
“A parasite resistant to the top anti-malaria drug is confined to Southeast Asia and has not yet spread to sub-Saharan Africa as feared, said researchers Wednesday. … An international consortium supported by the World Health Organization conducted the research in 59 endemic countries…” (Santini, 6/22).

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MSF Warns Of 'Humanitarian Emergency' In Nigerian Refugee Camp Where Many At Risk Of Starvation, Dehydration

Deutsche Welle: MSF: Nearly 200 die of starvation at Nigerian refugee camp
“Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Wednesday warned of a ‘catastrophic humanitarian emergency’ unfolding at a camp in northeastern Nigeria sheltering refugees who fled the Boko Haram militant group. ‘Since 23 May, at least 188 people have died in the camp — almost six people per day,’ MSF said in a statement, adding that the deaths were mainly caused by starvation and dehydration…” (6/22).

VOA News: MSF Reports Health Catastrophe in Nigerian Camp
“…An MSF medical team that entered the camp in the town of Bama, in Borno state, for the first time Tuesday discovered 16 severely malnourished children at immediate risk of death and referred them to a therapeutic feeding center. MSF said a rapid nutritional screening found 19 percent of more than 800 children in the camp were suffering from the deadliest form of malnutrition…” (6/22).

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WHO To Begin Emergency Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaigns Next Month In Angola, DRC Aiming To Stem Outbreak

Reuters: WHO to launch emergency yellow fever vaccination in Angola, Congo
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that it will launch emergency yellow fever vaccination campaigns along the border between Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Congolese capital Kinshasa next month. The worst yellow fever outbreak in decades has killed about 345 people in Angola, while Congo declared an epidemic in Kinshasa and two other provinces on Monday after reporting 67 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 other suspected cases…” (Ross, 6/23).

Reuters: Congo almost runs out of yellow fever vaccine amid epidemic
“Democratic Republic of Congo has almost run out of yellow fever vaccine in Kinshasa, in the same week that the government declared an epidemic of the disease in the packed capital and two other provinces…” (Ross, 6/22).

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Editorials and Opinions

Private Sector Investment Critical To Achieving SDGs

Huffington Post: Let’s Make Global Goals Local Business
Lise Kingo, executive director of the United Nations Global Compact

“…[T]he [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] not only identify where we have to be in 2030 to create a sustainable world which leaves nobody behind, but they also outline new opportunities for companies all over the world. … [Achieving the SDGs] will only be possible if we build alliances and partnerships between businesses and all relevant stakeholders to demonstrate the huge potential of a values-driven market approach. It is all about connecting the best ideas and people, co-creating new solutions and communicating them to the world. That’s why we launched our Making Global Goals Local Business campaign, which will be the priority for our organization over the next five years. … The opportunities are huge, but time is short. We urge businesses worldwide to embark on this journey to 2030. We need pioneering corporate leaders and entrepreneurs who can build the sustainable societies of tomorrow — and we need them now…” (6/22).

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Hospitals In Sierra Leone Continue Ebola Response Efforts Despite Health System Challenges

The Conversation: Hospital life in Sierra Leone after Ebola
Tom Solomon, director of the Institute of Infection and Global Health and NIHR Health Protection Research Unit, and professor at the University of Liverpool

“…Work led by my colleagues at the University of Liverpool, and others, has shown that Ebola survivors can be left with a whole series of problems, from joint aches and depression to blindness and deafness. … Even in the most deprived countries there is usually some kind of basic health provision for the poorest people; but here [in Sierra Leone] no money means no health care. … After my brief visit [to Sierra Leone,] there is much to think about. I continue to be amazed by the dignity of the survivors, and the heroic efforts of some of the local and expatriate staff, as well as the patients…” (6/22).

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Lessons From HIV Prevention, Treatment In Kenya May Help Inform Response To Growing NCD Epidemic

Huffington Post: A Christian Warrior For Health Takes On Chronic Disease After Battling AIDS
David J. Olson, global health communications expert

“…[M]any Kenyans are surviving AIDS only to live long enough to be killed by [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)]. … Health programs, therefore, must turn their attention to this new pandemic without losing focus on the existing one (AIDS). … [The Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK)], a network of Protestant church facilities in Kenya, … made significant contributions to the national fight against AIDS in the four most populous provinces of the country with support from various programs funded by the U.S. government and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as Kenyan domestic sources. … ‘A key learning from HIV programs was that you cannot build awareness until there is treatment,’ said [Samuel Mwenda, general secretary and CEO of CHAK]. ‘It’s the same with NCDs. It’s access to treatment that gets individuals and families to learn about heart disease and diabetes and to come forward for diagnosis. When people see others in their communities living long, healthy, and productive lives despite NCDs, it makes them more willing to invest their own time and resources in treatment’…” (6/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Hosts Web Briefing Ahead Of International AIDS Conference In Durban

Kaiser Family Foundation: Web Briefing: Key Issues Ahead of the International AIDS Conference in South Africa
“The Kaiser Family Foundation held an interactive web briefing on Tuesday, June 21, to discuss key issues to be addressed at the upcoming International AIDS Conference on July 18-22. … Chris Beyrer, president of the International AIDS Society; Chris Collins, chief of the Community Mobilization Division at UNAIDS; and Linda-Gail Bekker, president-elect of the International AIDS Society, provided insights on the issues to be discussed during the conference. Jen Kates, Kaiser Family Foundation vice president and director of global health and HIV policy, moderated.” A podcast of the discussion and presentation slides are available on Kaiser’s website (6/21).

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PAHO Journal Special Issue Highlights Role Medical Regulatory Authorities Play In Global Health

PAHO/WHO: Special issue of PAHO journal spotlights efforts to improve regulation of medicines in the Americas
“A special issue of the Pan American Journal of Public Health published by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) with the support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), provides the latest scientific evidence on the regulation of medicines and other health technologies. This new information will help regulatory authorities to make informed decisions, broaden regulatory scope, and learn from the experiences of others. … This special issue seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the role that regulatory authorities play in global health…” (6/22).

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Upcoming Habitat III Conference Provides Opportunity To Address Women's, Girls' Health, Development In Cities

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: In Cities, the New Battlefield for Sustainable Development, Women and Girls Need Help
Daniela Ligiero, vice president of girls and women strategy at the United Nations Foundation, discusses the role of urban development in advancing women’s and girls’ health and development, highlighting the upcoming U.N. Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) as an opportunity to address urban challenges with a gender lens (6/21).

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