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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Emergency Funding Urgently Needed To Address Zika, U.S. Health Officials Tell Congress

The Hill: CDC chief to GOP: Zika funding ‘urgently needed’
“Top federal health officials want Congress to know they urgently need more money to fight the Zika virus — and that time is running out. In media interviews and briefings on Thursday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden stressed that funding from Congress is ‘crucially important and urgently needed’…” (Ferris, 3/10).

New York Times: Health Officials Urge Congress to Fund Zika Research
“…Describing a recent trip to Puerto Rico to survey efforts there to contain the Zika virus, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the island ‘is on the front lines and facing an uphill battle’…” (McNeil, 3/10).

Science Speaks: Frieden and Fauci: While evidence of Zika impacts mounts, lack of funding complicates response, slows work on other health threats
“…Dr. Tom Frieden of the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that while they are able to reallocate some resources in the short term, that comes at the cost of other ongoing work, including to counter dengue and tick borne viruses, and in HIV as well as flu vaccine research…” (Barton, 3/10).

Washington Post: Zika outbreak: ‘The more we learn, the worse things seem to get’
“…On Capitol Hill, Republican appropriators have so far refused to approve [approximately $1.9 million in] emergency funding for Zika. In a Feb. 18 letter, they pointed to roughly $2.7 billion in unspent Ebola response funds that could be redirected to Zika efforts. … If additional funds are needed, they said, they could be considered as part of the fiscal 2017 spending process, which would make additional funds available no sooner than Oct. 1…” (Sun/DeBonis, 3/10).

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves Global Food Security Act

Chattanoogan.com: Senators Corker And Coons Highlight Progress In Reform Of U.S. Global Food Aid
“Senator Bob Corker [R-Tenn.] and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday highlighted progress in their bipartisan effort to fix inefficiencies in the delivery of U.S. global food assistance. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday approved the Global Food Security Act, which contains a first-time authorization for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP)…” (3/10).

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Devex Explores European Medical Corps' Structure, Composition

Devex: What to know about the European Medical Corps
“…[T]he European Union has [launched] the European Medical Corps, a certified team of experts and professionals in public health and emergency medical response who can be rapidly deployed in the event of an emergency. The medical corps — identified as Europe’s contribution to the Global Health Emergency Workforce under WHO — is expected to include emergency medical teams, public health and medical coordination experts, mobile biosafety laboratories, medical evacuation planes, and logistical support teams. Here’s what we think you should know about the E.U.’s latest initiative…” (Ravelo, 3/8).

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Nearly 300 Civil Society, Global Health Organizations Protesting Possible Revisions To SDG UHC Indicator

Devex: How should we measure access to health care?
“Nearly 300 civil society organizations working in global health are lobbying United Nations member states to undo proposed changes in the measurement of universal health coverage as part of the newly approved Sustainable Development Goals. Advocates who had pushed for the UHC to be included in the SDGs now say the revised indicator won’t accurately capture what proportion of the population is able to access health care without suffering financially…” (Ravelo, 3/11).

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U.N. Commission On The Status Of Women To Begin 60th Session Next Week

U.N. News Centre: Upcoming U.N. forum to focus on women’s empowerment, sustainable development
“Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, will be the focus of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which begins its 60th session in New York next week…” (3/10).

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Average Hospital Stay Following Childbirth Too Short For Many Women Worldwide, Study Shows

Reuters Health: Mothers worldwide leaving hospitals too soon after childbirth
“…The World Health Organization suggests that women stay in the hospital at least 24 hours after a vaginal delivery, but researchers found that depending on the region, up to 83 percent of women left before that cutoff. … [Researchers] analyzed average hospital stays after childbirth in 92 countries — including 45 middle-income and 10 low-income countries…” (Seaman, 3/10).

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2.8M Malawians Face Hunger Due To Drought

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Malawi drought brings fresh misery, hunger to flood survivors
“…[M]aize, cooking oil, and legumes [are] being handed out by World Vision, one of a clutch of aid groups responding to an emergency that has left 2.8 million Malawians hungry. Almost 16 million in Southern Africa face hunger this year because of drought exacerbated by an El Niño weather pattern, but Malawi is the worst-hit country with about 17 percent of its population affected…” (Banda, 3/10).

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Liberian Government Closes Red Cross Office, Dismisses Board Amid Investigation Into Ebola Spending

Reuters: Liberia shutters Red Cross amid inquest into Ebola spending
“Police shuttered the offices of the Liberian branch of the Red Cross on Thursday, days after the president dismissed its board of directors amid an investigation into the use of funds destined for the fight against recently ended Ebola outbreak. … While President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s office gave no reason for the decision announced on Tuesday to dismiss the Red Cross’s board, the organization has faced a string of graft accusations in the local press…” (Giahyue/Bavier, 3/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Engagement In Zika Response, Global Health Issues Critical To Strategic Diplomacy

The Hill: Imperative for U.S. leadership in global response to Zika
Anand Parekh, senior adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Ashish Jha, K.T. Li professor of international health and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute

“…We believe that the U.S. has an opportunity, working with the World Health Organization, to improve the health and welfare of countries in the Americas through its response to the Zika virus. A strong, committed global health engagement strategy is good foreign policy as well. Generating goodwill amongst our allies and neighbors will make it more likely that they work with us on other important bilateral issues. This is what strategic health diplomacy is all about. It’s time to take this concept out of the toolbox and witness its ability to do good in the world” (3/11).

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Improving Overall Health Systems More Beneficial Than Treating Diseases As 'Exceptions,' Emergencies

Foreign Affairs: When Exceptions Become the Norm
Adia Benton, assistant professor of anthropology and African studies at Northwestern University and visiting assistant professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School

“…By the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century, HIV exceptionalism — the idea that HIV/AIDS was an exceptional disease that requires an exceptional response — had become a global health mantra. … But the exceptionalist approach has been for the worse. In fact, HIV exceptionalism often allows the disease to be seen as an emergency, rather than as one issue to tackle within a part of a larger health overhaul. In other words, the framing of HIV/AIDS as an emergency has overwhelmed efforts to build robust and resilient health systems in Sierra Leone, for example, and elsewhere. And now the approach has spread beyond HIV, contributing to bungled international responses to other issues, including the Ebola virus. … Instead of treating dangerous diseases as special cases, making general improvements to health systems, it appears, can indeed be a rising tide that lifts all ships” (3/10).

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Emergency Food Aid Urgently Needed To Avert Hunger Caused By Boko Haram

New York Times: Boko Haram and Mass Starvation
Editorial Board

“…The United Nations says more than 50,000 people in northern Nigeria are in imminent danger of starvation, cut off from help in areas where it is too dangerous for aid workers to travel, and that some 1.4 million people in the region lack sufficient food supplies. … This dire situation will only get worse unless action is taken now to avert future hunger. United Nations agencies providing vital assistance in the region are woefully underfinanced and urgently need help from national and individual donors. Getting emergency food aid to the 50,000 people in immediate danger of starvation must be a priority for Nigerian and coalition forces. Tens of thousands of civilians cannot be allowed to die in the effort to starve out Boko Haram…” (3/10).

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Global Community Should Invest In Addressing Antibiotic Resistance

The Guardian: Antibiotic resistance is not theoretical: the threat is real and immediate
Mandeep Dhaliwal, director of health and HIV at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

“…[W]ith coordinated action between government, industry, civil society, and the public at the international, national, and local levels, we can still turn the tide against antimicrobial resistance. … The return on investment makes [responding to antibiotic resistance] the right economic decision. … [W]e know how important antibiotics are and what is needed to protect the world from a doomsday scenario. We have all the information at hand to make critical policy changes. Drug resistance is not a theoretical threat that we should probably do something about. The science is clear: the threat is real and immediate. Now action must follow” (3/11).

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Zimbabwe Government's Rejection Of GMO Food Aid Is 'Humanitarian Outrage'

Wall Street Journal: We May Starve, but at Least We’ll Be GMO-Free
Nayasha Mudukuti, biotechnology student at Chinhoyi University of Technology and member of the Global Farmer Network

“…Zimbabwe will reject any food aid that includes a genetically-modified-organism [GMO] ingredient — such as grains, corn, and other crops made more vigorous or fruitful through GMO breeding. The ban comes just as Zimbabweans are suffering from our worst drought in two decades and up to three million people need emergency relief. … The rejection of GMO food aid is a humanitarian outrage — a man-made disaster built on top of a natural disaster. Yet something even worse lies behind it: a denial of science. GMOs pose no threat to human health, as virtually every scientific and regulatory agency that has studied them knows. … There are no easy solutions to a drought, and even crops with GMOs can’t bring us the rain we need. Yet the drought may serve the purpose of highlighting the madness of Africa’s anti-GMO extremism. After all, we need these GMOs in the form of emergency food aid. But we should be able to enjoy them soon as an ordinary part of farming and food production” (3/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Gender Equality Vital To Ending Extreme Poverty, Reaching Development Goals

Medium’s “USAID 2030”: Why Every Day Should Be International Women’s Day
In recognition of International Women’s Day, USAID Administrator Gayle Smith discusses the impact of women and gender equality on global development, writing, “[I]t’s not just on the economic front where women are poised to make a significant difference. When they are empowered, women lead the way in managing the impacts of climate change. When women play an active role in civil society and politics, governments are more responsive, transparent and democratic. And countries that invest in girls’ education have lower maternal and infant deaths, lower rates of HIV and AIDS, and better child nutrition…” (3/9).

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Vaccines, Access To Toilets, Clean Water Critical To Ending Polio

U.N. Dispatch: Want To Stop Polio? Vaccines Are Crucial. But So Are Toilets.
Karen Coates, senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, discusses the importance of vaccines and access to toilets for the eradication of polio, writing, “Ultimately, it takes a combination of vaccines, toilets, clean water, fresh air, nutritious foods, and education to build strong bodies that go on to live long and healthy lives” (3/9).

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