KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Congress's Standstill On Zika Funding Continues As July 4th Recess Approaches

CQ News: No Progress on Zika Funding Package Seen as Recess Beckons
“Lawmakers are preparing to leave for recess with Zika talks at a standstill. Republicans insist the Senate must reconsider a vote to reject advancement of a $1.1 billion aid package, while Democrats want Republicans to work with them on a new deal…” (Mejdrich, 6/29).

The Hill: Senate Dems pledge to keep fighting over Zika
“Senate Democrats on Wednesday pledged to keep fighting over funding to combat the Zika virus as lawmakers head toward a Fourth of July recess with no deal in sight. ‘It’s the last thing Republicans should be playing politics with. We all know that Zika poses a serious threat,’ Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told reporters. ‘Read our lips. Read our lips. … We are not relenting’…” (Carney, 6/29).

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NIH, CDC Need Funds To Continue Zika Vaccine Research, Response; Experts Testify More Can Be Done To Educate Public About Prevention

CQ News: NIH, CDC Say They’ll Be Strapped Without New Zika Funds
“The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were dealt a significant blow to their Zika response plans on Tuesday when the Senate failed to move forward with a spending bill meant to boost the federal fight against the virus, officials with those agencies told CQ. … Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, said in an interview that his agency will run out of money ‘soon’ to continue its ongoing Zika-related research and the second phase of a Zika vaccine trial…” (Shutt, 6/29).

CQ News: Congress Can Take Small Steps Now on Zika, Groups Say
“With the Senate at an impasse over how to proceed on a response to the Zika virus, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee invited experts to discuss preparation for the spread of the virus, which can cause birth defects in babies when pregnant women are infected. Some experts testified that more can be done to teach people about mosquito control on their own properties and that some populations needed easier access to contraception to guard against a disease that can also be spread sexually…” (Siddons, 6/29).

The Hill: Zika vaccine trials could halt without new funds, official says
“…[Fauci] said that so far, the NIH has been able to go forward with vaccine research by shifting money from other areas. He hopes to start phase I trials in late August or early September. That money has come from funding to combat the 2014 Ebola epidemic and other diseases, such as tuberculosis, Fauci said. But he warned that for the phase II trials, there will be no more money to shift over…” (Sullivan, 6/29).

USA TODAY: Fauci: Zika vaccine efforts may be halted without Congressional funding
“… ‘If we don’t get the money, it’s not question of speed or not, it’s a question of whether the vaccine effort will be blunted or completely aborted,’ said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health…” (Miller, 6/29).

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New Surveys From Kaiser Family Foundation, Washington Post-ABC Show Widespread Support For Zika Funding Among Americans

CNBC: Few Americans fear Zika, but want more money spent on fighting the virus
“A strong majority of Americans favor the idea of spending more money to prevent the spread of the Zika virus in the United States, even though relatively few of them fear the virus personally, a new poll revealed Thursday. Just 13 percent of Americans said they see Zika as a major threat to them personally, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey. And 63 percent said they believed the virus will be contained to a small number of cases, the survey found. But 72 percent of Americans said the United Sates should invest more money on combating the spread of Zika in the country, Kaiser found…” (Mangan, 6/30).

The Hill: Poll shows broad support for more Zika funding
“Nearly three-quarters of respondents in a new national survey — including a majority of Republicans — believe the federal government should spend more to prevent the Zika virus from spreading in the U.S. The new figures, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation Wednesday morning, could up the pressure on congressional leaders as they look to break a weeks-long impasse over Zika funding…” (Ferris, 6/30).

International Business Times: Zika In The U.S.: Most Americans Want More Federal Money To Combat Virus At Home Amid Squabble In Congress, Poll Shows
“…According to the [Kaiser Family Foundation] survey, 85 percent of those polled have heard of the Zika virus, and 72 percent said the government should invest more money in preventing it from spreading in the United States. Democrats were more likely to support such funding than Republicans, with 80 percent saying the U.S. should spend the money compared to 66 percent of GOPers. Similarly, 73 percent of respondents said the U.S. should invest more money in Zika-related research, with more Democrats (81 percent) supportive than Republicans (68 percent)…” (Whitman, 6/30).

Kaiser Health News: Most Americans Want More Federal Money To Stop Zika: Poll
“…The partisan divide is widest on the matter of federal funding to give women access to reproductive health choices and services, according to the survey. Overall, 65 percent of Americans supported that as did 81 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Independents. Among Republicans, backing dropped to 46 percent…” (Galewitz, 6/30).

Washington Post: Americans were more worried about Ebola than they are about Zika
“The global spread of the Zika virus and its links to severe birth defects have yet to worry most Americans, and few are taking measures to limit their exposure to the mosquito-borne disease, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. … In the Post-ABC poll, Americans of all political persuasions agreed that Congress should allocate money for the nation’s Zika response…” (Dennis et al., 6/30).

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Bipartisan Group Of U.S. Lawmakers Suggest Obama Administration Exercise Leadership In Urging U.N. Accountability For Haitian Cholera Epidemic

The Guardian: Congress faults Obama for not being tough with U.N. over Haiti’s cholera crisis
“A bipartisan group of 158 members of Congress has accused the Obama administration of a failure of leadership over the cholera scandal in Haiti in which at least 30,000 people have died as a result of an epidemic caused by the United Nations for which the world body refuses to accept responsibility. … Led by John Conyers, a Democratic congressman from Michigan, and Mia Love, a Republican congresswoman from Utah, the letter‘s signatories include many of the most senior voices on foreign affairs on Capitol Hill…” (Pilkington, 6/29).

New York Times: Lawmakers Urge John Kerry to Press U.N. for Haiti Cholera Response
“…In a letter sent to Mr. Kerry … the lawmakers expressed exasperation with what they described as the United Nations’ failure to ‘comply with its legal and moral obligations to provide cholera victims with access to an effective remedy.’ The letter also chided the Obama administration for ‘the State Department’s failure to take more leadership in the diplomatic realm,’ saying this could be perceived as a limited American commitment to ‘an accountable and credible U.N.’ While most of the signers were Democrats, the letter was extraordinary partly because of its bipartisanship in a climate of polarized politics in Washington…” (Gladstone, 6/29).

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U.N. SG Ban Appoints 12 Members To Global Health Crises Task Force

U.N. News Centre: U.N. chief appoints 12 experts to his task force to prevent and manage future health crises
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Wednesday] announced the membership of his Global Health Crises Task Force, which aims to help countries and communities prepare and respond to emergencies, such as the recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika. Naming of the Task Force follows a report released this past February, in which a high-level panel laid out 27 recommendations for national, regional, and international action to better prepare and more proactively respond to health emergencies…” (6/29).

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GSK's Malaria Vaccine Loses Efficacy Over Several Years Among Kenyan Children, Study Shows; Researchers To Test 4 Dose Regimen

Agence France-Presse: Malaria vaccine loses effectiveness over several years: study
“An experimental vaccine against malaria known as Mosquirix — or RTS,S — weakens over time and is only about four percent effective over a seven-year span, researchers said Wednesday…” (6/29).

The Guardian: Malaria vaccine study raises questions about effectiveness and dosage
“…In spite of the results of the trial in Kilifi, Kenya, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, those behind the development of the vaccine said it must still be rolled out in pilot programs to thousands of children in Africa by the World Health Organization as planned. The children will be given four doses rather than three…” (Boseley, 6/29).

Reuters: Limited protection of GSK’s malaria vaccine dwindles in 7 years
“…[R]esearchers said the decline in its efficacy over time is fastest in children living in areas with higher than average rates of malaria. This raises questions about whether Mosquirix can play a meaningful role in fighting malaria, they said, and suggests a four-dose schedule would be needed if it were used…” (Kelland, 6/29).

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Government-Backed Funding Initiatives Help Spur Antibiotic Research

Bloomberg: There’s Big Money Again in Saving Humanity With Antibiotics
“…With the planet on the brink of losing its miracle cures for bacterial diseases, research incentives from governments are spurring drugmakers to renew efforts to fight antimicrobial resistance and replenish the arsenal of infection-fighting drugs. Giants such as Roche Holding AG and Merck & Co. are stepping up their efforts in the field while a host of startups seek partners to help market new products…” (Gale, 6/30).

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Up To 4.8M People In South Sudan Face 'Unprecedented' Food Shortages Due To Conflict, U.N. Agencies Warn

Reuters: Up to 4.8 million South Sudanese face severe food shortages — U.N.
“Up to 4.8 million people in South Sudan face severe food shortages in coming months, the highest level since a conflict erupted more than two years ago, U.N. agencies said on Wednesday. … ‘The deteriorating situation coincides with an unusually long and harsh annual lean season, when families have depleted their food stocks and new harvests are not expected until August. The level of food insecurity this year is unprecedented,’ the U.N. agencies said in a joint statement…” (Dumo, 6/29).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agencies: South Sudan at risk of ‘hunger catastrophe’
“…The figure does not include some 350,000 displaced people seeking refuge at U.N. Protection of Civilians areas or other camps, who are entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance…” (6/29).

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South Africa To Provide ARVs To All HIV-Positive Residents In Effort To End AIDS Epidemic

Science: South Africa’s bid to end AIDS
“…South Africa has pledged to ramp up efforts to end its massive HIV/AIDS epidemic, the world’s largest. Come September, it will offer every infected person [antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)], which both stave off disease and make people less infectious. … [T]he obstacles faced by South Africa provide a sobering reality check to the lofty, laudable aspiration of ending AIDS, a topic that promises to occupy center stage [in July] in Durban at the biannual International AIDS Conference…” (Cohen, 6/29).

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Conflict In CAR Leaves Health Facilities, Agriculture In Disarray, Leading To High Child Malnutrition Rates

Thomson Reuters Foundation: FEATURE-Children face “staggeringly high” hunger in conflict-hit Central African Republic
“…Across the Central African Republic, up to 60 children die every day due to malnutrition, according to aid organization Action Against Hunger (ACF), which runs [a local hospital nutrition] unit. Three years of conflict have damaged many health facilities or left them empty and disrupted farming in a country where three in four people rely on agriculture to survive…” (Dear, 6/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Letter To Editor Urge U.S. Congress To Act, Fund Zika Response

New York Times: Congress’s Failure to Fund Zika Response
Editorial Board

“…Now, with mosquito season upon us, and despite evidence that a potentially calamitous health crisis could be around the corner, Congress has yet to provide money for a serious response [to Zika]. … Then, last week, the House approved $1.1 billion in Zika funding, but with restrictions that Senate Democrats found deeply objectionable. Under the bill, only public health departments and Medicaid-run clinics would receive Zika funds to provide contraception and maternal care. Private health centers, including Planned Parenthood, would be ineligible. … Given the urgency of the matter, it is not asking too much of House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, to agree on a generous bill without unjustifiable restrictions. Allowing the crusade against Planned Parenthood to get in the way of protecting the public is inexcusable” (6/30).

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Needed: Urgent Action to Fight Zika
Johan S. Bakken, president, Infectious Diseases Society of America

In response to a New York Times article published June 18, Bakken writes, “… The article makes clear that we are not prepared for the inevitable escalation of [Zika] cases this summer. Last February, President Obama sent Congress an emergency request for funding to combat Zika. Public health demands leadership in a time of such crisis. Congress must act” (6/29).

Wall Street Journal: The Zika Democrats
Editorial Board

“…After spending months demanding more funding to combat the Zika virus, [Senate Democrats] voted down their own priority to foment the chaos they believe will work to their political benefit in the fall. … Since microcephaly is a natal condition and Zika can be transmitted sexually, Democrats naturally conscripted ‘women’s health’ as a wedge. The bill makes block grants to hospitals, local health departments, and public insurance programs like Medicaid. Democrats objected because the bill does not specifically identify Planned Parenthood as a candidate for grants. … Even amid a public health crisis, Democrats think voters won’t care about the details and instead will punish the GOP for dysfunction in Washington” (6/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Budget Summary Analyzes Global Health Aspects Of FY17 Senate SFOPs Bill

Kaiser Family Foundation: Senate Appropriations Committee approves FY 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
This budget summary highlights global health-related funding contained in the FY 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. “… A press release from the committee states that funding in the bill for global health would total $8.67 billion, $89 million (1%) above the President’s request, $162 million (2%) above the FY 2016 enacted level, and $252 million below (-3%) the House SFOPs appropriations bill…” (6/30).

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Kaiser Family Foundation Updates Fact Sheet Examining U.S. Government's Role In Global Health

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Health
This updated fact sheet examines the U.S. government’s global health response. “…In addition to acting as a donor by providing financial and other health-related development assistance (e.g., commodities, like contraceptives) to low- and middle-income countries, the USG operates programs and delivers health services, provides technical assistance and other capacity-building support, participates in major international health organizations through global health diplomacy and other efforts, conducts research, supports international responses to disasters and other emergencies, and partners with governments, non-governmental groups, and the private sector…” (6/29).

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Guttmacher Institute Study Examines Key Reasons Women In Developing Countries Who Want To Use Contraceptive Methods Do Not

Guttmacher Institute: New Study Examines Why Women in Developing Countries Who Wish To Avoid Pregnancy Do Not Use Contraceptives
“Sexually active women in developing countries who have an unmet need for contraception, meaning they wish to avoid pregnancy but are not using any contraceptive (traditional or modern), generally cite one of several key reasons for not using a method, according to a new report published by the Guttmacher Institute. The report, Unmet Need for Contraception in Developing Countries: Examining Women’s Reasons for Not Using a Method, is based on research conducted by Gilda Sedgh and colleagues…” (6/29).

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