KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Hillary Clinton Correct In Stating U.S. Congress Has Not Approved New Spending For Zika Response, PolitiFact Reports

PolitiFact: Clinton: U.S. Congress hasn’t ‘allocated one penny’ to fight Zika
“Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stepped into the Zika funding debate and chastised Congress for failing to step up to the plate. … [T]o settle one piece of this fact-check, in terms of committing new dollars explicitly to combat the Zika virus, Congress has not done that…” (Greenberg, 3/25).

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Congress Set To Expand FDA Priority Review Vouchers; Some Raise Concerns Over Program

CQ HealthBeat: Popular Priority Drug Reviews Face Scrutiny
“…Since the priority review voucher program was established in 2007, only nine have been awarded, mostly for drugs treating rare pediatric diseases and some for tropical diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. But five of those were awarded in 2015 alone. With Congress poised to expand the program, the pace could increase. That raised concerns within the Food and Drug Administration about whether it has the resources to handle the faster approval timelines. Others note that companies can win vouchers for drugs that were already approved years earlier in other countries, which limits the incentives to pursue innovative treatments…” (Siddons, 3/25).

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CDC Releases New Interim Guidelines On Zika Prevention

News outlets report on new CDC interim guidelines on Zika prevention.

CQ HealthBeat: CDC Issues New Zika Recommendations
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for the first time issued recommendations to minimize the risk of Zika virus in men and women who are not pregnant, going beyond previous recommendations that only applied to women already expecting children and their partners…” (Siddons, 3/25).

New York Times: CDC Offers Guidelines for Delaying Pregnancy After Zika Exposure
“Federal health authorities said for the first time on Friday how long couples who have been exposed to the Zika virus should wait before trying to get pregnant…” (Tavernise, 3/25).

Reuters: U.S. urges waiting period before conception after Zika infection
“U.S. health officials are recommending that women wait at least two months, and men at least six, before attempting to conceive after infection with Zika, a virus linked to thousands of suspected cases of birth defects in Brazil…” (Steenhuysen, 3/26).

Washington Post: Sex in a time of Zika: CDC issues more detailed guidelines
“…The CDC released the new guidance in three reports. It and the World Health Organization had already issued warnings about the dangers of Zika infection for fetal development — particularly brain damage — and the importance of couples using condoms or abstaining. But with sexual transmission turning out to be more common than initially thought, U.S. health officials became much more specific…” (Sun, 3/25).

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U.N. Commission On The Status Of Women Agreement Acknowledges Gender Equality Vital To Achieving SDGs

U.N. News Centre: U.N. Commission on the Status of Women ends with agreement on foundations to accelerate action
“…According to U.N. Women — the U.N. entity tasked with promoting gender rights — the Commission recognized women’s vital role as agents of development. It acknowledged that progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the heart of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will not be possible without gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls…” (3/25).

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Southeast Asia Faces Child Nutrition Crisis, With Rising Undernutrition, Obesity, U.N. Report Says

VOA News: New Report Shows Hunger and Obesity Rising in Asia
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO), in a new report, warn Southeast Asia faces a child nutrition crisis amid increasing numbers of undernourished and obese children despite decades of economic growth. The agencies are calling for greater regulation of junk food and limiting sugary drinks for children, as well as tackling malnutrition that has resulted in chronic levels of stunted children living in poverty…” (Corben, 3/28).

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Ebola Survivors 'Coping With Immeasurable Loss,' New York Times Reports

New York Times: Ebola, Ruthless to Families, Leaves Liberian Man Alive and Alone
“…[Gaye Dumbai] had lost both parents. Two sisters. One brother. Two aunts. Two uncles. Four nieces and nephews. That remains one of the biggest curses of the disease that ravaged the West African coast in 2014 — the punishment it inflicted on entire families. With the exception of health workers, who contracted the disease by heroically taking care of sick people they did not know, most Ebola victims got sick because they took care of loved ones. Consequently, most of the more than 5,000 people in Liberia who contracted, and then beat, the disease have become walking case studies in coping with immeasurable loss…” (Cooper, 3/25).

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Health Officials Worry Angola's Yellow Fever Outbreak Could Spread; Global Vaccine Stocks Running Low

NPR: A ‘Forgotten Disease’ Is Suddenly Causing New Worries
“The world is in danger of running out of vaccines for a deadly disease: yellow fever. A major outbreak in the African nation of Angola has already depleted the stockpile that world health officials had set aside for emergencies. It’s unclear whether new vaccines can be made in time — even as officials worry that the epidemic could spread through Asia and beyond…” (Aizenman, 3/25).

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WHO Urges China To Strengthen Vaccine Market Regulation

Reuters: China needs tougher enforcement of vaccine regulation: WHO
“China must strengthen regulation of its market for vaccines, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, after a bust of an illegal black market drugs ring this month underscored the country’s regulatory weaknesses…” (Jourdan, 3/28).

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Financial Times Profiles Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Financial Times: The Monday Interview: Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Gates Foundation CEO
“When she is traveling in the developing world, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, a world-renowned oncologist and chief executive of the $40bn Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is often mistaken for a secretary. She finds it funny rather than offensive. ‘They’ll look for the chief executive of the Gates Foundation … and not look for a woman,’ she laughs, when we meet…” (Greenhalgh, 3/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

FDA Should Reform Priority Review Program To Encourage R&D Of, Access To New NTD Treatment, Prevention Options

POLITICO: The Zika loopholes
Willo Brock, senior vice president of external affairs for the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development; Rachel M. Cohen, regional executive director for the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative North America; Jason Cone, executive director of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-USA; and Lindsay McKenna, TB/HIV project officer for the Treatment Action Group

“…In November, seven global health organizations sent a letter to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions leadership asking them to fix critical flaws in the [FDA’s 2007 R&D program] by introducing a requirement that the products earning a [priority review voucher (PRV)] be new and accessible to the people who urgently need them. Now, as the House considers adding Zika to the list of neglected diseases eligible for a PRV, this is a unique opportunity to restore the original intent of the program. Lawmakers should add two provisions to the bill, one requiring that PRVs only be granted to products that are truly novel in terms of introducing new therapeutic or preventative options for patients, and the other requiring companies to consider how products to treat or prevent neglected diseases will be made available and affordable to the people affected by neglected diseases. These changes will help ensure that the PRV program achieves what it should: Encourage investment in innovative products, and make them available to the communities and treatment providers who need them most” (3/25).

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Ebola Epidemic Underscores 'Recurrent Saga Of Dysfunctional Health Care Systems'

NPR: Ebola: We May Have Won The Battle But We Haven’t Won The War
Karin Huster, clinical instructor of global health at the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health

“…Today, 24 months into the epidemic, the latest recurrence of the virus in Guinea is, ironically, the perfect simulation exercise everyone was calling for to measure progress achieved. … Disappointingly, the crucial issues of community mistrust, resistance, and lack of any semblance of [a] surveillance system — the very issues that allowed the epidemic to take hold and spread in the first place — seem to have remained, as if Ebola had never come here before. Sadly, the Ebola epidemic is the recurrent saga of dysfunctional health care systems disintegrating in the face of acute disease. … We will have learned nothing, and history will ineluctably repeat itself, if we do not take a hard, honest look at our failures and at the same time capitalize on the current momentum of interest and goodwill displayed by nations and harness this opportunity to implement truly sustainable solutions that will improve the lives of millions of West Africans” (3/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Women's Economic Empowerment Essential To Achieving SDGs

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Women Around the World”: A Strategic Approach to the New Global Goals
Rachel Vogelstein, senior fellow and director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at CFR, discusses the relationship between women’s empowerment and sustainable development, writing, “[A]mplifying efforts to accelerate women’s full economic participation will be essential — not only to fulfill the targets under Goal Five [of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], but also to advance progress against the entire sustainable development framework” (3/25).

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Governments Should Ensure TB Patients Receive Care

World Bank’s “Voices”: The lessons of Carabayllo: making tough choices in the fight against TB
Carlos Ferreyra, communications officer and Spanish-language online editor for the World Bank’s external and corporate relations, discusses TB survivor Melquiades Huaya Oré’s experience with TB, as well as World Bank president Jim Kim’s statement on TB at a 2015 World Bank Annual Meeting in Peru (3/24).

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