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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Zika Spending Package Fails To Garner Votes In U.S. Senate Needed To Break Filibuster; White House Calls On Congress To Fully Fund Emergency Request

The Atlantic: Why the U.S. Senate Blocked Funding to Combat Zika
“…The bill, which had already passed the House, failed to win the 60 votes it needed to break a filibuster as senators fell almost entirely along party lines in a 52 to 48 tally. Democrats opposed provisions restricting funding to Planned Parenthood and spending cuts that Republicans insisted on including to offset part of the $1.1 billion in money earmarked for Zika prevention and treatment…” (Berman, 6/28).

CQ News: Zika Funding Up in the Air After Senate Blocks Moving Ahead
“The Senate on Tuesday voted to block a final $1.1 billion Zika virus spending package, scrambling plans to provide much-needed resources for public health agencies to combat the mosquito-borne disease this summer…” (McCrimmon, 6/28).

CQ News: Meltdown Over Zika Funding Leaves Both Sides Angry, Frustrated
“…But beyond the blame game — which Democrats and Republicans engaged in vigorously on the Senate floor and in hallways with reporters — lawmakers from both parties told CQ they see the Zika fallout as a symptom of a larger problem with Congress as an institution. Lawmakers are increasingly unwilling to come together to solve tough problems, they said…” (Mejdrich/Shutt, 6/28).

The Hill: Overnight Healthcare: Blame game over Zika funding
“…Both parties agree that the virus is a real and growing health crisis; each blames the other for the failure to act…” (Sullivan, 6/28).

The Hill: McConnell pledges redo vote on Zika after break
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned lawmakers Tuesday they would vote again on a $1.1 billion package to fight the Zika virus after their July Fourth recess…” (Carney, 6/28).

Mother Jones: Congress Once Again Fails to Fund the Fight Against Zika
“…It has already been more than four months since President Barack Obama first submitted a request for $1.9 billion in emergency funds to combat the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to devastating birth defects…” (D’Amora, 6/28).

New York Times: Zika Bill Is Blocked by Senate Democrats Upset Over Provisions
“…The stalemate, accompanied by a sharp war of words on the Senate floor, raised the prospect that the partisan divide in Congress was hindering the government’s ability to respond effectively to a pressing public health emergency…” (Herszenhorn, 6/28).

Reuters: U.S. lawmakers deadlock on agreeing funds to fight Zika virus
“…Democrats were especially angry that the Republican proposal that failed on Tuesday would not allow funding to go to private entities such as the women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood, although the Zika virus can be sexually transmitted…” (Cornwell, 6/28).

Reuters: White House chides Congress for failing to fund Zika
“White House spokesman Josh Earnest, on Tuesday, chided Republicans for failing to push forward with the president’s request for funding to combat the Zika virus and address an urgent public health crisis…” (Rascoe et al., 6/28).

Roll Call: After Senate Stalls, White House Digs in on Zika Funding
“…The White House continued to signal it is in no mood to compromise, making it difficult to see how lawmakers will strike an accord that satisfies enough of them and Obama. Underscoring the bad blood, [a] White House official called the House-passed measure, which the Senate attempted to move toward a final vote, an ‘irresponsible, underfunded, and purely partisan’ effort…” (Bennett, 6/28).

USA TODAY: Bill to provide $1.1 billion Zika funding dies in Senate vote
“…Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., immediately made a motion to reconsider the vote, raising the possibility of another vote on the same bill next week. ‘We’ll address this matter again (next week) and hopefully respond…to this pending health care crisis,’ he said…” (Kelly, 6/28).

Wall Street Journal: Zika Spending Bill Is Blocked by Senate Democrats Due to Planned Parenthood Exclusion
“A stalemate in Congress over funding to combat the Zika virus will give lawmakers a scant two weeks in July to overcome differences that have only grown deeper and more partisan since President Barack Obama first requested the emergency money in February…” (Hughes/Armour, 6/28).

Washington Post: Efforts to fight Zika fail as lawmakers play politics with looming health crisis
“…The inaction came amid dire warnings from medical experts about Zika, which can cause devastating birth defects in babies whose mothers are infected while pregnant. Public health experts said money is desperately needed to develop a vaccine, educate the public, and learn more about the virus, which can be spread through mosquitoes and through sexual activity…” (Zezima, 6/28).

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Zika Studies In Mice, Monkeys Show Promise, Concern; Cuba Reports No Zika Transmission Since March

Reuters: Zika vaccines prove 100 percent protective in mice; monkey study shows promise
“Mice given a single shot of one of two experimental Zika vaccines were completely protected when exposed to the virus one to two months later, a promising sign that similar vaccines under development for humans will protect against Zika, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday…” (Steenhuysen, 6/28).

Reuters: Cuba reports no Zika transmission since March; Dengue all but eliminated
“Cuba has successfully held off the Zika epidemic and in the process all but eliminated dengue fever and other mosquito-carried illnesses, state-run media reported on Tuesday. Public Health Minister Roberto Morales Ojeda told a Council of Ministers meeting that a series of measures taken this year to eliminate the Aedes strain of mosquito that carries Zika and other viruses had drastically reduced infestations…” (Frank, 6/28).

Washington Post: Zika infections last much longer during pregnancy, monkey study shows
“New research on monkeys found some good news that could have implications for humans: One infection with the Zika virus protects against future infections. But along with good news were some troubling findings. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Duke University found the virus persisted in the blood of pregnant monkeys for much longer — up to 70 days — compared to the 10 days it lasted in males and non-pregnant female monkeys…” (Sun, 6/28).

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WHO Appoints Chief Of New Health Emergencies Program

Deutsche Welle: WHO elects new chief to beef up health emergencies unit
“Peter Salama, an Australian epidemiologist who is currently UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, has been tapped to head the WHO’s health emergencies unit and will take up his post in July…” (6/28).

Reuters: WHO appoints ex-UNICEF health expert to head new emergency unit
“…The new unit is designed to provide rapid support for any country or community facing a health emergency arising from disease, natural or man-made disasters or conflict, the WHO said…” (Kelland, 6/28).

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U.N. 2016 Humanitarian Appeal Up To Record $21.6B Due To Natural Disasters, El Niño, Conflict

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. hikes 2016 humanitarian appeal to record $21.6 bln after new disasters
“The United Nations has raised its 2016 humanitarian funding appeal to a record $21.6 billion from $19.7 billion, partly due to new disasters including a cyclone that battered Fiji and an earthquake that hit Ecuador, as well as the deepening impact of El Niño. The money will go to help 95.4 million people hit hardest by conflicts and natural disasters in 40 countries, although a total of 130 million are in need of aid, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said…” (Rowling, 6/28).

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World Food Prize Awarded To Researchers Who Developed Vitamin A-Enriched Sweet Potato

NPR: How The Humble Orange Sweet Potato Won Researchers The World Food Prize
“…Those orange-fleshed sweet potatoes [for sale] along the road that day represented the triumph of a public health campaign to promote these varieties — which, unlike their white-fleshed counterparts, are rich in Vitamin A. Today, that campaign got some high-level recognition at a ceremony at the U.S. State Department. Four of the main people behind it will receive the 2016 World Food Prize. This prize is billed as the foremost international recognition of efforts to promote a sustainable and nutritious food supply…” (Charles, 6/28).

Reuters: Sweet potato experts win World Food Prize
“…Maria Andrade of Cape Verde, Robert Mwanga of Uganda and American Jan Low, who all are from the Lima, Peru-based International Potato Center, and American Howarth Bouis of the international research group HarvestPlus were honored in a ceremony at the U.S. State Department. Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, called their work ‘a breakthrough achievement in developing and implementing biofortification’…” (Kushkush, 6/28).

VOA News: Researchers Earn World Food Prize for Combating Malnutrition
“…The team developed and distributed Vitamin A-enriched strains of the orange fleshed sweet potato that could better withstand conditions including drought and disease in Africa. They launched the multi-year effort in a bid to help combat the effects of Vitamin A deficiency, which can contribute to blindness and premature deaths in children and pregnant women…” (Dockins, 6/28).

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Devex Examines Terminology Surrounding Family Planning, Contraception

Devex: Out with ‘family’ planning, in with ‘future’ planning
“…Today, the two words that have so long acted as the umbrella term for women’s ability to choose the spacing and timing of their births are no longer serving young people who aren’t managing their reproductive health in the context of marriage. Adolescents view their need for access to contraception not just as a way to decide when to become pregnant, but as a path for them to plan their education, their relationships, their finances, and their futures as a whole…” (Rogers, 6/28).

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Smartphone Technology Could Improve Access To Cervical Cancer Screening For Women In Poor, Rural Areas

Global Health NOW: In Cervical “Selfies,” A Solution
“…[A new smartphone] innovation, by Israeli based firm MobileODT, is a compact medical device that comprises a powerful microscope and lighting. It incorporates an Android enabled mobile phone that takes a photograph of the cervix. This non-intrusive system enhances visual assessment (EVA) while storing a digital copy, which is relayed to a specialized application that interprets the image and also links up to other specialists for further consultation…” (Akpe, 6/28).

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DRC Aims To Begin Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign By July 20, Health Minister Says

Bloomberg: Congo Plans Mass Vaccinations Against Yellow Fever in Late July
“…The government will use reduced doses of the vaccine, of which there’s currently a shortfall, to immunize those at risk, [DRC Health Minister] Felix Kabange Numbi told reporters Monday in the capital, Kinshasa. The program could begin by July 20, with the reduced doses providing protection from the mosquito-borne illness for at least 12 months, he said” (Wilson, 6/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Global, Domestic Zika Responses Must Include Funding For Contraception, Reproductive Health Care

The Hill: Real relief for Zika includes family planning
Latanya Mapp Frett, executive director of Planned Parenthood Global, and Hal Lawrence, executive vice president and CEO of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

“…As Congress finally negotiates funding for a comprehensive response to Zika, family planning must be part of the response, globally and domestically. … It’s challenging that too many governments have, only now with the Zika crisis, acknowledged the value of family planning. Sexual and reproductive health care, including contraception, is our first and best weapon against this crisis. If women’s decision-making around pregnancy was recognized in the law, the disaster we face now would be far less severe. It is time for Congress to take meaningful action to combat Zika. The Senate must prioritize health care, education, and contraception, not politics. Let’s put women and families at the center of our Zika response and fund family planning as a part of that relief” (6/28).

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Next WHO Director General Will Need To Create Streamlined, Flexible Organization

PLOS Medicine: A Global Champion for Health — WHO’s Next?
Clare Garvey, Thomas McBride, Linda Nevin, Larry Peiperl, Amy Ross, Paul Simpson, and Richard Turner, PLOS Medicine editors

“…The next [WHO] director general will need to heed critics of the organization and craft a process of streamlining and restructuring to produce a new WHO that is demonstrably effective in leading responses to threats to health, and efficient in doing so. … WHO’s next director general should be a proven leader and advocate, perhaps from a low-income or middle-income country. The new recruit will be greeted by a full in-tray, and featuring prominently are likely to be the constraints imposed by WHO’s current funding mechanisms. … Above all, the incoming leader of WHO will need to be open-minded and creative. … We look forward to welcoming a new leader for WHO with the energy and vision to remold the organization to meet the health needs of the world’s people and societies for the 21st century” (6/28).

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Production, Fair Pricing Of Medicines Critical To Achieving Universal Access To Quality Health Services

Huffington Post: A Comprehensive And Fair Solution To The Price Of Medicines
Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director general at the WHO

“…[T]he price-setting mechanisms for commodities that are inextricably linked to people’s health and survival must be made more transparent so that we can, as a global community, devise effective solutions. To that end, the World Health Organization is planning to … develop a fair pricing model that can affordably deliver the medicines needed by patients while keeping companies interested in developing new and better treatments and producing generic treatments. … [B]y 2030, the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, all countries must be able to provide full coverage for quality health services to their entire populations. The only way we can reach that objective is to enter a social contract between the public and private spheres so that innovation and generic production can respond effectively to global public health needs — both in the quality and effectiveness of the treatments, their availability, and their affordability” (6/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S., Partners Address Food Insecurity In Sierra Leone Resulting From Ebola Outbreak

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Ebola’s Second Punch: Hunger
Michael Stulman, regional information officer for West and Central Africa at Catholic Relief Services (CRS), discusses the Ebola outbreak’s impact on food security in Sierra Leone and highlights U.S. efforts, including cash distributions, to address hunger and economic development (6/28).

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Blog Post Outlines 3 Ways Global Health Community Can Address Adolescent Health Needs

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: History’s Largest Generation Isn’t Getting the Health Care It Needs to Thrive
Aimee Jakeman, intern for the Wilson Center’s Maternal Health Initiative, discusses a new Lancet commission on the health needs of adolescents, and highlights three considerations: taking contextual and cultural differences into account when evaluating adolescent health needs; improving the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents; and involving adolescents in planning and executing adolescent health programs (6/29).

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'Science Speaks' Discusses Diagnostic Practice Challenges In Resource-Limited Settings

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: ‘Test and treat’ is the ideal — but ‘guess and treat’ is the more common reality
Rabita Aziz, staff writer for “Science Speaks” and policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses the diagnostic practices of clinicians in many low- and middle-income countries, writing, “For diagnostic products to have impact and lead to patients being placed on appropriate treatment, clinicians must change the way they approach diagnosis and treatment, and patients must change their expectations … But in resource-limited settings, sometimes health care workers have no choice but to guess and treat” (6/27).

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