KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Director Calls For Additional Funding For Zika; Virus Now 'Implicated' In Causing Neurological Complications

News outlets report on a WHO update on the Zika situation.

The Guardian: WHO: Zika virus ‘implicated’ in large numbers of brain-damaged babies
“Zika virus is now ‘implicated’ in the large numbers of brain-damaged babies in Brazil and the increase in the nerve disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome, according to experts at the World Health Organization, who say urgent action is needed to deal with a growing crisis…” (Boseley, 3/22).

New York Times: Birth Defects Tied to Zika in Panama
“Panama has reported its first case of birth defects associated with the Zika virus, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday — new evidence of the epidemic’s potentially dangerous effects spreading throughout the region…” (Tavernise, 3/22).

Reuters: WHO begs for $4 million to prepare for millions of Zika cases
“The World Health Organization is still waiting for its members to stump up another $4 million to tackle the growing threat from the Zika virus, WHO chief Margaret Chan said on Tuesday. … The WHO and its American arm PAHO have asked for $25 million to fight Zika and have received $3 million, and are now in an ‘active discussion’ over the next $4 million, said Chan, who called the funding situation ‘pretty serious’…” (Miles, 3/22).

U.N. News Centre: Zika: ‘the more we know the worse things look,’ U.N. health agency chief reports
“The head of the United Nations health agency [Tuesday] reported that in less than a year, the status of Zika has changed from ‘a mild medical curiosity’ to a disease with severe public health implications, warning that ‘the more we know the worse things look.’ … ‘The virus is currently circulating in 38 countries and territories,’ she told reporters…” (3/22).

USA TODAY: Funding for Zika hasn’t materialized, WHO says
“The World Health Organization has received only $3 million of the $56 million needed from its member countries to fight the Zika virus, officials said Tuesday. The WHO has asked for $25 million for its own efforts to fight Zika during the first six months of the year. Those efforts include sending staff to countries grappling with the disease and organizing scientific meetings, said Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director general. The other $31 million would go to other groups, including nonprofits…” (Szabo, 3/22).

VOA News: Proof of Zika’s Link to Neurological Disorders Grows
“… ‘Though the association is not yet scientifically proven, [a high-level] meeting concluded that there is now scientific consensus that Zika virus is implicated in these neurological disorders,’ she said. ‘The kind of urgent action called for by this public health emergency should not wait for definitive proof’…” (Schlein, 3/22).

Washington Post: Zika: More than 2,500 babies born with microcephaly in Brazil, WHO predicts
“The World Health Organization said Tuesday that it expects Brazil will have more than 2,500 babies born with a severe birth defect known as microcephaly if current trends continue in the Zika virus outbreak…” (Sun, 3/22).

Link to individual story

U.S. House Speaker Ryan Says Administration Has Sufficient Money To Address Zika In Unused Ebola Funding

Associated Press: Ryan: No spending bills without broader budget plan
“…Ryan is backing up Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., in a fight with the administration over Obama’s almost $2 billion request to combat the Zika virus that is threatening unborn children in Latin America with disastrous birth defects and has spread to the U.S. on a limited basis. Rogers says that the quickest way to get the money to fight Zika would be to use money that’s left over from the $5 billion approved in 2014 to combat the Ebola crisis. … But the administration already has plans for the unused money, including ongoing action against Ebola, ramping up anti-malaria efforts, and helping 17 countries with their health care systems…” (Taylor, 3/22).

Reuters: House Speaker Ryan says U.S. has ‘plenty of money’ for Zika
“… ‘There is plenty of money in the pipeline right now, money that is not going to Ebola, that was already in the pipeline, that can go immediately to Zika,’ the Wisconsin Republican told reporters. He provided no details, but said the money could be ‘reprogrammed’ from other purposes. … Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee estimate that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State Department have up to $2.7 billion in combined unobligated funding that could be tapped for Zika…” (Morgan, 3/22).

Link to individual story

Guinea Identifies Additional Ebola Cases; At Least 5 Dead In Flare-Up

Agence France-Presse: At least 5 dead in Guinea Ebola flare-up: health officials
“Ebola has likely killed five people in Guinea after re-emerging in the country’s south, health authorities said Tuesday, as Liberia announced it was closing their shared border to guard against the spread of the virus…” (Bah, 3/22).

Bloomberg Business: Guinea Reports 3 New Cases of Ebola, 3 Probable Deaths to Virus
“Guinea on Wednesday recorded three new, confirmed cases of Ebola and three deaths, probably due to the virus, the government said…” (Shone, 3/23).

Reuters: Fifth person dies in Guinea Ebola flare-up
“A fifth person has died of Ebola in southeast Guinea since March 17, a health official told Reuters on Tuesday, raising concerns that a recent flare-up of the deadly virus could spread…” (Samb/McAllister, 3/22).

Link to individual story

Focus On Municipal Sanitation, Hospital Hygiene Can Help Stem Antimicrobial Resistance, Report Says

Media sources discuss a new report from the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance titled, “Infection prevention, surveillance and control: limiting the development and spread of drug resistance.”

National Geographic: To Slow Down Antibiotic Resistance, Focus on the Basics
“A project chartered by the British government, which has been examining everything that can be done to stem the tide of antibiotic resistance, in its next-to-last report has focused on the basics: municipal sanitation and hospital hygiene…” (McKenna, 3/22).

Xinhua News: Global coordination needed to tackle AMR: report
“…The report … is the last in a series of interim reports by the Review, before it presents its final recommendations to the British prime minister in May, and will set out a package of actions to tackle drug-resistant infections globally. It makes the case that many countries made the greatest progress in tackling infectious diseases in the 19th century, long before modern antimicrobial drugs were available, by focusing on disease prevention and investing in public sanitation infrastructure. Such an approach is still vital today, said the report…” (3/22).

Link to individual story

U.S./NATO Commander Apologizes To Staff, Families Affected By MSF Hospital Bombing In Kunduz

Reuters: U.S. and NATO commander apologizes for Médecins Sans Frontières bombing
“The new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has apologized for the American attack on a hospital last year that killed 42 people and wounded 37 more. General John W. Nicholson met family members of victims and the staff of the now-closed Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, which was captured by Taliban insurgents for several days last year, to express his condolences. … A U.S. investigation found that the 3 October air strike was a ‘tragic and avoidable’ incident, primarily caused by human error. The U.S. military has disciplined more than a dozen personnel, including officers, following the strike…” (Sultani, 3/22).

Link to individual story

While Better Prepared To Address Food Insecurity, Ethiopian Government Admits Need For Assistance Amid Multiple Humanitarian Crises Worldwide

Foreign Affairs: The Curse of Ethiopia’s Success
“…In short, Ethiopia’s ability and means for providing emergency relief has changed beyond recognition since 1984. … But there are limits to what Ethiopia can prepare for. … And so, in October 2015, Addis Ababa acknowledged that it needed help and asked for international partners to help it provide food assistance. … Herein lies a major challenge for Ethiopia: The country is competing for international funds with other grave humanitarian disasters, such as the wars in Syria and Yemen and the international migrant emergency…” (Jeffrey, 3/22).

Link to individual story

China Arrests 37 Associated With Sales Of Improperly Stored Vaccines

Associated Press: China detains dozens after sales of poorly stored vaccines
“Police in eastern China have detained 37 people implicated in a scandal involving the selling of poorly refrigerated and probably ineffective vaccines, state media reported Wednesday…” (3/23).

BBC News: China vaccine scandal: 37 arrested
“…The estimated $88m (£61m) worth of vaccines were not properly refrigerated or transported. The illegal vaccine ring, said to have been in operation since 2011, has sparked widespread anger in China…” (3/23).

Reuters: China vaccine scandal stokes anger as regulators come under fire
“…The government has said the vaccines themselves were real, although traded illegally. The issue of regulation, from food and drugs to online sales, has become increasingly contentious in China as it looks to cast off a reputation for poor quality and safety…” (Jourdan et al., 3/23).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding World Water Day

The Hill: We can do better on water
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)

“…The national and global need for increased investment in water infrastructure is desperate and urgent. We have the resources to take action — what’s been lacking is the urgency to pull the pieces together. This World Water Day, let’s focus our attention on solving these challenges in the coming months to spare unimaginable and unnecessary human tragedy” (3/22).

Devex: The clean water and sanitation crisis: How we can do better
John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation

“…The impact and sustainability of WASH initiatives can be improved by rigorous monitoring of each intervention, the adaptation of projects to meet local needs and ensure broad participation in the planning and execution phases, and the understanding that technologies are only as strong as the accompanying maintenance, expertise, and training required to keep them functional. … Engaging with stakeholders through the lens of sustainability, and with the solid data to back it up from robust assessments, will bring more clean water and adequate sanitation resources to the 2.5 billion people who deserve more from the development community” (3/22).

The Hill: Water: The one symbol shared by all religions
Brian McLaren, senior fellow with Auburn Seminary and board member and leader of Convergence Network and Center for Progressive Renewal, and Susan Barnett, founder of Faiths for Safe Water and Impact Communications

“…Americans fund and support access to global WASH (Water/Sanitation/Hygiene) work through their houses of worship, faith-based and non-governmental organizations. But long-term success is impossible without the funding, leadership, and influence of the U.S. government. It’s not just imperative that funding for the Water for the World Act be robust, every global health and development policy and piece of legislation must contain provisions for sustainable clean water and sanitation. … At a time of tight budgets, this approach is smart, logical, and cost-effective…” (3/22).

Devex: We all have a role to play to achieve water security
Nitin Paranjpe, president of the Home Care Business of Unilever

“…Communities, businesses, and governments all have an interest in ensuring that we manage this scarce resource sustainability and equitably. It is critical for those who lack access to water today, but it is also essential if we want our communities and economy to thrive in the future…” (3/22).

Devex: Sanitation for all: Scaling up is hard to do
Jan Willem Rosenboom, senior program officer for the water, sanitation, and hygiene strategy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[A] project that aims to change behavior should be designed on the basis of knowledge about those drivers in the local context. … Also, comparing trends in sanitation access and use prior to and after an intervention can provide important information about the additive effect of the intervention … Finally, flexible, guiding sanitation policies are likely to be more appropriate than fixed prescriptive policies. … Government investment in effective knowledge exchange and outcome monitoring are likely to be more useful in supporting the design of effective [WASH] programs than prescriptions about specific approaches used throughout the country…” (3/22).

Link to individual story

Private Sector Global Health Investments Should Focus On Health Systems Building, Beware Of Vertical Approaches

The Wire: The Gates Foundation and the Anatomy of Philanthrocapitalism
Urvashi Aneja, associate professor in international relations at the Jindal School of International Affairs

“…While [the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s (BMGF)] philanthrocapitalism undoubtedly injects the much-needed financial resources into global development programs, it is important to pay attention to the kind of development paradigm that is promoted as a result and the broader implications of such philanthrocapitalism. BMGF’s philanthrocapitalism, like much of private sector investments for development, tend to promote vertical, issue-based solutions that are often rooted in new technologies and innovation. … However, this vertical approach does not contribute to building urgently needed health systems in the developing world. … The broader point is not to assign blame to a particular actor such as BMGF, but to consider the contradictions and limitations of the reliance of private finance, and global philanthropy in particular, for development solutions. It is also to highlight the need for close and regular scrutiny of their power and practice. Finally, it is to argue that without adequate investments and safeguards by states, and greater democratic debate about the nature of private aid monies and investments, organizations such as BMGF can provide at best, partial solutions and at worst, entrench the very systems whose symptoms they seek to address” (3/23).

Link to individual story

Public-Private Partnerships Create Opportunity To Engage China In Global Health Security

Forbes: China’s Contribution To Global Health Security Through Pharma Partnerships
Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations

“…[A] public-private partnership (PPP) can offer an integrated and systematic approach to the development and purchase of needed vaccines, drugs, and therapies for public health challenges. … While PPP is increasingly becoming a buzz word in the Chinese economy, pharmaceutical PPPs remain largely alien in China’s new drug development. … Despite this, private foundations and international NGOs have forged partnerships with Chinese state-owned enterprises in R&D. … Relying on PPPs to deal with global health security threats has its own drawbacks. … Still, PPPs offer an important means to engage China to contribute to global health security in an efficient and effective manner” (3/22).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Analysis Of FY17 Global Health Budget Request

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Global Health Budget: Analysis of the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request
A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis examines President Barack Obama’s FY 2017 budget request, which “included $10.3 billion in total funding for global health programs. This marks the first time in three years that the request for global health is higher than the previous year enacted level, and represents the largest request since FY12. If enacted by Congress, it would represent the highest level of global health funding to date (excluding emergency funding for Ebola provided in FY15)” (3/22).

Link to individual story

Several Blog Posts Recognize World Water Day, Highlight Programs Helping To Improve Access

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: On World Water Day: El Niño Threatens Food Security in Africa
Shannon Smith, deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department, discusses the effects of the El Niño weather pattern on sub-Saharan Africa’s water supplies, as well as U.S. government efforts to create resiliency and supply food and humanitarian aid in several nations (3/22).

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: World Water Day: 2 Ways U.S. Partnerships are Making an Impact
Miriam Smallman, communications intern at USGLC, looks at “how global water investments — made possible through American public-private partnerships — are transforming local communities and [making] the world a healthier, more livable place…” (3/22).

U.S. Global Leadership Coalition: A Clean Water Vision of Clarity
Elizabeth Holtan, digital communications manager at USGLC, discusses a partnership between World Vision and Kohler Co., a water technology company. Kohler created “a ceramic filtration system named KOHLER® Clarity™, which first began field tests with World Vision in India, Lebanon, Kenya, and Zambia this past November…” (3/22).

Humanosphere: Water and sanitation: Informal settlements pose unique challenges, and locals fill the gaps
Charlie Ensor, freelance journalist, discusses how increased urbanization and illegal settlements put “pressures on already struggling water and sanitation services,” and how in some cases community-led solutions are helping alleviate the situation (3/22).

Link to individual story

FDA's Priority Review Voucher Program Can Be Used More Proactively To Improve Disease Outbreak Preparedness

Health Affairs Blog: To Improve Pandemic Preparedness, Update The Priority Review Voucher Program
Ken Gustavsen, executive director of corporate responsibility at Merck and senior vice president of the Merck Foundation, discusses how the FDA’s priority review voucher (PRV) program “could be used far more proactively to help address future pandemics before they strike. … [R]egularly reviewing the PRV [disease] list and revising it to include top potential threats would be a simple yet critical step in helping to improve the state of public health readiness to address the next pandemic…” (3/22).

Link to individual story

U.K. To Increase Zika Funding To $5.7M

U.K. Government: U.K. trebles funding to tackle Zika virus
“U.K. funding for rapid research into tackling the Zika virus is set to increase to £4million [$5.7 million], the government has announced today (21 March 2016), as British scientists continue to lead the way in tackling this global emergency. The development of an online database to allow visual information on cases to be studied by scientists across the globe and plans to study the link with birth defects are just some of the vital projects that will be able to go ahead thanks to this investment…” (3/21).

Link to individual story

CGD's 'Millions Saved' Features Global Health Case Studies From LMICs

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Millions Saved: Time for Optimism, but Not Complacency in Global Health
Amanda Glassman, vice president for programs, director of global health policy, and senior fellow; Rachel Silverman, senior policy analyst; and Lauren Post, program associate, all with CGD, describe the organization’s newest edition of Millions Saved, a collection of global health stories that take “a hard look at 22 global health programs implemented in low- and middle-income countries in the last 10 years. In each case we describe what worked and what can be learned for other settings and disease issues” (3/22).

Link to individual story

CGD Analyst Discusses Prioritizing, Measuring SDG Indicators

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: How Will We Measure the SDGs? — Podcast with Casey Dunning
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, CGD vice president of communications and policy outreach, speaks with CGD Senior Policy Analyst Casey Dunning about how the 230 approved indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals might be prioritized and measured (3/22).

Link to individual story

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 283 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including pieces on the fund’s upcoming replenishment round and an article on a community-led TB program in Burkina Faso (3/23).

Link to individual story

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.