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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Congress Adjourns For Spring Break Without Voting On Supplemental Funding For Zika Response

CQ HealthBeat: Appropriators Split on Zika Response, CDC Gun-Violence Research
“Democrats could eventually persuade Republicans in Congress to agree to provide some extra funds for addressing the Zika virus, according to a top House appropriator. House Republicans are still evaluating whether extra funds are needed to combat Zika, a mosquito-borne virus linked to birth defects, said Tom Cole, R-Okla., the chairman of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations subcommittee, after a Wednesday hearing. He left open the possibility that extra funds could be provided eventually. … Lawmakers appear to have swung away from a more freehanded approach to providing supplemental funds in the middle of budget cycles…” (Young, 3/23).

NBC News: Congress Goes Home for Easter Break Without Paying for Zika Fight
“Congress took off from Washington Wednesday afternoon without voting to appropriate any of the $1.9 billion the Obama administration has asked for to fight Zika and leaving top health officials feeling a little desperate…” (Fox, 3/23).

STAT: Congress just went on spring break without voting on emergency Zika measure
“…The adjournment followed appeals from the House minority leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi, and other top Democrats for Congress to remain in Washington for a vote on the measure. Republicans support further efforts to deal with Zika but are insisting that the Obama administration first use funds that have already been appropriated…” (Nather, 3/23).

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France President Hollande To Push For International Regulation Of Medicine Prices At G7, G20 Summits

Reuters: France’s Hollande to seek regulation of medicine prices at G7, G20 summits
“French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday he would push for international regulation of medicine prices at a G7 summit in Japan in May and a G20 meeting in China in September. ‘The idea is to be able to fight soaring medicine prices and allow for regulation to take place at an international level,’ he said the sidelines of a World Health Organization meeting in Lyon, eastern France. Hollande did not elaborate…” (Hirschler/Blamont, 3/23).

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87M Children Under Age 7 Risk Brain Development Impairment Growing Up In Conflict Zones, UNICEF Says

News outlets report on new data from UNICEF showing millions of children could be suffering brain development impairment by growing up in conflict zones.

Daily Beast: Growing Up in a War Zone Permanently Damages Kids’ Brains
“…You don’t have to be fighting in a war to suffer irrevocable brain damage from one. That’s the finding from a new United Nations report released this week showing that an estimated 87 million children under the age of seven have lived their entire lives in conflict zones, an environment so stressful that it has the potential to significantly impact the development of their brains…” (Haglage, 3/24).

Deutsche Welle: Nearly 87 million small children are growing up in conflict zones, says UNICEF
“…Children in crises were at risk of living in a state of ‘toxic stress’ which inhibited brain cell connections, the U.N.’s children’s fund said…” (3/24).

International Business Times: Conflict Zone Children At Risk Of Toxic Stress, Stunted Brain Development, UNICEF Warns
“… ‘Conflict robs children of their safety, family and friends, play and routine,’ Pia Britto, UNICEF Chief of Early Childhood Development, said in a statement…” (Sonawane, 3/24).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Nearly 87 million children under 7 live in conflict zones, brains not developing — UNICEF
“…Exposure to extreme trauma may hinder the development of brain cell connections, essential for health, emotional wellbeing, and ability to learn, UNICEF said…” (Mis, 2/24).

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Brazil's National Development Bank To Provide $136M For Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment Of Zika, Other Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Reuters: Brazil’s BNDES provides $136 million to fight Zika, related illnesses
“Brazil’s National Development Bank will provide 500 million reais ($136.6 million) in funding to fight mosquito-borne illnesses, including the Zika virus, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday. The funds are to help bolster the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, including dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, which has spread rapidly across the Americas in recent months…” (Boadle, 3/23).

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NPR Interviews IRC Official About New Analysis Examining Lessons Of Ebola Epidemic Responses

NPR: Politics And Ebola Are Not Such Strange Bedfellows, Report Says
“…[T]he International Rescue Committee [on Wednesday issued] a new report on the [Ebola] epidemic and its aftermath. (Actually it’s an analysis of previous Ebola reports from the World Health Organization, Bill Gates, the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, and others.) … We interviewed the IRC’s senior health director, Emmanuel d’Harcourt, about the recommendations in the group’s report and its focus on the importance of understanding local and national politics when responding to a medical crisis…” (Silver, 3/23).

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On World TB Day, News Outlets Examine Efforts To Treat TB, Drug-Resistant Strains In India

Agence France-Presse: Drug resistance adds to India’s tuberculosis menace
“…As India marks World TB Day on Thursday, it faces an estimated 2.2 million new cases of the disease a year, more than any other country, according to the World Health Organization. The government says it is stepping up its fight, with Health Minister J.P. Nadda earlier this week launching a new drug to help beat the growing menace of drug-resistant tuberculosis…” (3/24).

Devex: The right dose, the right chance: India’s battle with drug-resistant TB
“…Too few diagnostic laboratories, thousands of people living in crowded, unsanitary slum conditions and not enough adequately trained health care workers have made India home to the world’s largest epidemic of drug-resistant TB…” (Cousins, 3/24).

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India On Saturday To Begin Nationwide Rotavirus Immunization Campaign

Wall Street Journal: India Sets Major Offensive Against Deadly Virus
“…The highly contagious rotavirus, which can be contracted from food or water contaminated with feces, kills about 120,000 children under the age of five each year in India. On Saturday, India is set to begin one of the biggest public health campaigns in its history, with plans to immunize millions of children against the virus, which can also stunt growth among survivors…” (Bhattacharya, 3/24).

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Somali Prime Minister Signs Online Petition Proposing Federal Ban On FGM

The Atlantic: The Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia
“Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is joining a campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia. Sharmarke signed an online petition proposing a federal ban of the long-standing practice that 98 percent of Somali women undergo…” (Turkson, 3/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Recognize World TB Day, Discuss Steps To End Epidemic

Commercial Appeal: Editorial: Funding to fight tuberculosis is a worthy effort
Editorial Board

“…On this World Tuberculosis Day it is important to remember that TB is not a disease that only impacts the planet’s developing nations, although the intense poverty and dearth of medical care in some countries is destroying families and local economies. … But … good … can happen when caring nations, civil societies, and the private sector pool their resources for a good cause” (3/24).

CNN News: World Tuberculosis Day: The ancient disease that still takes 4,000 lives a day
Linda-Gail Bekker, professor of medicine at Cape Town University, deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Center, and president-elect of the International AIDS Society

“…In 2016, it is salient to ask what can the TB world learn from HIV and vice versa? … Moving the global TB response forward will ultimately need committed political leadership that understands the urgency of a TB-free world with the same sense of commitment and urgency that we seek a world free of HIV. … To complement renewed political commitment it is clear that that to move towards the goal of the elimination of many diseases including TB, we’ll need to cross-pollinate ideas across disciplines and sectors…” (3/24).

Greenville Online: Commentary: We can eradicate TB worldwide
Judy Bello, professor of english and director of the Writing Center at Lander University

“…It may be a cliché, but we really do live in a global economy, and what affects the world affects us. … The eradication of diseases like TB should concern us all — not as a threat to our national health so much as a threat to the development and prosperity of the world’s people. And that, in the long run will affect us more” (3/24).

The Guardian: 14,600 pills over two years — there has to be a better way to treat TB
Philippe Douste-Blazy, chair of UNITAID

“…The international community must do more to support public funding of research. Their support can play a catalytic role in helping to defeat this ancient scourge, which is still one of the most lethal infectious diseases. … First, we need to provide shorter, more effective treatment. … [W]e need diagnostic tools better suited to the needs of children … New ideas can change the trajectory of the pandemic…” (3/24).

Huffington Post: ‘Make it Stop’: The Tender Casualties of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
Jennifer Furin, infectious diseases specialist, medical anthropologist, and lecturer at Harvard Medical School

“…The children affected by [drug-resistant TB (DR-TB)] have given us a clear mandate to which we should all pledge ourselves on this commemorative day: make it stop. Demand that new drugs for children be registered; that global guidelines be rapidly updated to endorse better treatment for children; that donors prioritize funding initiatives that focus on this vulnerable population; that post-exposure prevention measures become a part of routine care…” (3/22).

The Hill: This World TB Day, tuberculosis is still a global threat
Former Rep. J. Phillip Gingrey (R-Ga.), senior adviser at the District Policy Group

“…Despite the dangers of TB, not enough money has been invested in research and development (R&D) to accurately diagnose, treat, and search for a vaccine to prevent the disease. … We need to unite as a global community to encourage policymakers and funders to make TB a priority and devote more funding to vaccine technologies and treatments…” (3/24).

Huffington Post: U.N. Special Envoy on Tuberculosis: Giving Voice to the Voiceless
Eric Goosby, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on tuberculosis

“…I praise President Obama for his commitment to global health, especially during tough economic times. Yet, with TB now taking the most lives around the globe, I remain puzzled by the size of this year’s [proposed] cut to critical TB programs. It is not just the size of the cut. It is the magnitude of the impact. … It is once again up to Congress to make needed investments in testing and treatment and research and development. Congress has the ability to turn the tide and rid the world from TB. We have the cure, we now need the political will…” (3/24).

Orlando Sentinel: Funding will save millions worldwide from tuberculosis
Susan Keller, attorney

“…The Global Fund now has a plan that will save eight million more lives and prevent 300 million infections in the next three years. This fall, world leaders will come together to pledge their support for that plan. If they commit the resources required, together we can not only continue to save lives, but actually be on track to end these epidemics for good. … The U.S. should commit to investing a third of the resources needed over the next three years to put that plan into action” (3/23).

Huffington Post: Tuberculosis Cannot Be Silenced By Political Borders
Maree Nutt, CEO of RESULTS International Australia

“…It’s time for Australia to lead the way in terms of TB prevention and treatment by pledging a commitment of $300 million to the Global Fund as part of an overall increase to the Australian aid budget. Why is Australia’s pledge so important? Firstly, investing in the Global Fund represents an excellent return on investment. … Of course, our country’s health security is a factor. But, most importantly, people … depend on Australia’s commitment…” (3/24).

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Zika Provides Opportunities To Address Access To Reproductive Health Services, Rights Of Women, Adolescents

Devex: Zika response — a chance to address gaps in women’s rights
Giselle Carino, regional director for the Western Hemisphere at the International Planned Parenthood Federation

“…[T]he [Zika] epidemic has highlighted two key failures of governments in the [Latin America and the Caribbean] region: a lack of investment in sexuality education and quality sexual and reproductive health services like care during pregnancy, and a deep denial of the human rights of women and adolescents. … The women’s right movement has a rich history throughout the region, and while our path is just, it has never been easy. Zika provides us the opportunity to have these difficult conversations, to open a dialogue around the issue of abortion and women’s rights in general, as well as social support and access to health services for children born with disabilities. Most importantly, it paves the way for the political will needed to create a world of inclusion, choice, and opportunity for all” (3/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Fact Sheet, Blog Posts, Press Releases Discuss Issues Surrounding TB, Recognize World Day

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Government and Global Tuberculosis Efforts
This updated fact sheet discusses U.S. government global TB efforts and funding, global statistics related to the disease, and international goals to control and treat TB (3/23).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS calls for stronger partnerships to end the epidemics of tuberculosis and HIV
“On World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, UNAIDS is calling for stronger partnerships and a united approach to end the twin epidemics of TB and HIV and save millions of lives…” (3/24).

PLOS Blogs: Ending a Global Epidemic: Tuberculosis in Children #UnitetoEndTB
Rudolph (Rudi) Thétard, project director and infectious diseases specialist of the African Strategies for Health project at Management Sciences for Health, and Catherine (Keri) Lijinsky, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis adviser at USAID’s Bureau for Africa, discuss a new analysis released on World TB Day showing “that in African countries, a persistent divide between policy and practice threatens to impede progress gained for addressing childhood TB across the region” (3/23).

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Take 1.5 minutes for 1.5 million lives
“In this guest post, Dara Erck, vice president of external affairs at Aeras, a global nonprofit biotechnology organization, highlights a new video launched on World TB Day to raise awareness of the urgent need for new tools to combat tuberculosis (TB)” (3/24).

World Health Organization: WHO calls on countries and partners to ‘Unite to End Tuberculosis’
“In advance of World TB Day, to be observed on 24 March, WHO is calling on countries and partners to ‘Unite to End Tuberculosis’…” (3/22).

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: World TB Day 2016
Shannon Hader, director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB, discusses the CDC’s efforts to control TB both nationally and globally, writing, “Addressing … gaps in TB prevention and care will require all of us to Unite to End TB, including greater investment and political will from all corners of the globe” (3/22).

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Battling TB and other outbreaks ‘staff, stuff, space, and systems’ still lacking
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses statements by Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners In Health, and TB survivor Nauman Rana at a pre-World TB Day event hosted by USAID last week (3/22).

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Access to medicine, diagnostics, and human rights … We’re reading how to fight TB
Anitgone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses the release of Médecins Sans Frontières’ fourth edition of DR-TB Drugs Under a Microscope, an article by the African Society for Laboratory Medicine on improving TB diagnostics, and a Kenyan court case on whether “confining tuberculosis patients to prison for the duration of their treatment is a violation of human rights” (3/23).

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CSIS Blog Post Examines Progress Of, Challenges To DREAMS Initiative In South Africa

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Fulfilling DREAMS in South Africa
Richard Downie, deputy director of and fellow with the CSIS Africa Program, discusses the progress of and key challenges facing the DREAMS initiative in South Africa, including attaining its own “ambitious” goals, developing new metrics on HIV prevention, addressing national-level health policy gaps, and shifting social and behavioral norms (3/23).

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Creating More Health Worker Jobs Would Benefit Global Health, Economic Growth, Gender Equality, WHO Says

WHO: Health workers: a triple return for health, economic growth, and employment
“Creating more jobs for health workers holds the potential to bolster health and health security, spur inclusive economic growth, and empower women and youth, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said [Wednesday] after the first meeting of the Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth Lyon, France…” (3/23).

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Health Systems Strengthening In LMICs Vital To Address NCDs

Health Affairs Blog: The Fight Of A Lifetime: Health Systems And Chronic Diseases
Mario Ottiglio, director of public affairs, communications, and global health policy at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), discusses the importance of health systems strengthening in low- and middle-income countries to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and outlines “three concrete steps for building health system capacity in a substantial and sustainable manner: Integration and continuity of care for NCDs at the primary care level and training of health care providers; Promotion of regulatory system strengthening; Collection, analysis, and dissemination of relevant data…” (3/23).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash recognizes World TB Day by including a short video “highlight[ing] the progress and challenges facing the world in order to meet the global goal of ending the [tuberculosis] epidemic by 2030” and an interview with Lucica Ditiu, executive director for the Stop TB Partnership (3/24).

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