KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Senate To Consider 3 Proposals For Emergency Zika Funding Next Week

Associated Press: Senate deal reached on reduced Zika funding measure
“Top Senate negotiators announced agreement Thursday on a $1.1 billion emergency funding measure to battle the Zika virus. That’s less than President Barack Obama’s $1.9 billion request, which has upset some senior Democrats…” (Taylor, 5/12).

CQ News: Senate Appropriators Forge Bipartisan Deal to Fight Zika
“…The agreement, between Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., conflicts with the insistence of top Democrats in the House and Senate who say the Zika fight needs a full $1.9 billion, as the White House has requested. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier Thursday that $1.1 billion would be ‘completely inadequate.’ And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a statement Thursday afternoon blasting the $1.1 billion funding level…” (Mejdrich, 5/12).

The Hill: Senate to vote on Zika funding
“…Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture Thursday on three Zika-related amendments to an appropriations bill that will come up for a vote next week. The funding will be tacked onto a package that combines the transportation and military construction appropriations bills…” (Ferris, 5/12).

New York Times: Senate to Consider 3 Proposals to Finance Fight Against Zika
“…Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, on Thursday initiated procedural steps to take votes on a proposal that would grant the Obama administration’s full $1.9 billion request as well as two other measures that would provide $1.1 billion…” (Herszenhorn, 5/12).

POLITICO: Senate plans vote on Zika money next week
“…Two votes will be on spending plans costing $1.1 billion — one paid for and one not. The plan that will be offset — which is backed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) — would be paid for by cutting Obamacare’s prevention fund, a move that is all but certain to face opposition from Democrats. The third plan to be voted on will be a larger package of $1.9 billion. While that larger spending measure is not paid for, it will be backed by Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, whose home state is likely to face the brunt of the virus. Those votes are scheduled to occur on Tuesday…” (Everett/Haberkorn, 5/12).

Reuters: Senate sets votes on competing Zika funding plans
“…White House spokesman Josh Earnest welcomed ‘any sort of forward momentum in Congress’ while continuing to push for the full $1.9 billion. ‘It could not be clearer that Congress needs to take action to help our states and our local officials fight the Zika virus. That is critical for health and safety of the American people,’ Earnest said…” (Cowan/Gardner, 5/12).

Washington Post: Senate reaches deal on Zika funding, will vote Tuesday
“…Some in the Senate hope that swift action and broad bipartisan support for the compromise will force House leaders to adopt a similar package, according to several aides. There is a strong chance that none of the individual spending bills that pass the Senate will ever become law, but aides said a Senate-passed Zika funding option could also easily be included in negotiations on a year-end spending bill” (Snell, 5/12).

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WHO, IOC Do Not Recommend Delaying, Canceling Rio Olympics Despite Warning From Public Health Expert

BBC News: Olympics 2016: IOC insists Games will go ahead despite Zika
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that it sees no need to cancel, delay, or move the Rio Olympic Games because of the Zika virus threat. However, IOC medical director Richard Budgett said that it would continue to monitor the situation closely…” (5/11).

CNN: Postpone or move Olympics to prevent Zika ‘catastrophe,’ professor urges
“With the Zika outbreak widening in Brazil, a leading Canadian public health professor says the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro should be postponed or moved to prevent ‘a foreseeable global catastrophe’ resulting in the deaths of adults and in babies born with malformed heads…” (Drash, 5/12).

The Guardian: Zika virus makes Rio Olympics a threat in Brazil and abroad, health expert says
“…Speaking to The Guardian on Thursday, Attaran described the idea of going ahead with the games as both ‘indescribably foolish’ and ‘monstrously unethical.’ The potential risks to visitors range from brain-damaged children to death in rare instances, he added. ‘Is this what the Olympics stand for?’…” (Kassam, 5/12).

New York Times: WHO’s Zika Guidelines Don’t Include Delaying Olympics
“The World Health Organization on Thursday urged athletes and travelers planning to attend the Olympics in Brazil, the epicenter of the Zika epidemic, to take a series of steps to guard against infection, but the agency made it clear that it was not calling for the Summer Games in August to be canceled or postponed…” (Belluck, 5/12).

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Risk Of Post-Surgical Death Higher Among Patients In Low-, Middle-Income Countries Compared With High-Income Nations, Study Shows

Reuters Health: Death after surgery three times more likely in lower-income countries
“How many people survive after emergency surgery is one measure of the quality of care they have access to, and post-surgery death rates in low- and middle-income countries suggest quality needs to be better, researchers say. Using mortality rates within 24 hours and 30 days after emergency abdominal surgery as a measure, the study covered 58 countries and found risk of death was three times higher in low-income compared to high-income nations.

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U.N. Food Agencies Warn Additional Aid Needed To Prevent 'Humanitarian Disaster' In Yemen

IRIN: WFP warns money running out to feed Yemen
“With ongoing violence and peace talks on fragile ground, Yemen’s population faces a new threat: the World Food Programme has warned that a funding shortfall may soon force it to halt operations in the country…” (Al-Sakkof/Slemrod, 5/12).

U.N. News Centre: Yemen’s food situation on verge of ‘humanitarian disaster’ — U.N.
“The food security and nutrition situation in Yemen will turn into a humanitarian disaster unless urgent funding is accessible for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to deliver timely aid in the April/May cereal and vegetable planting season and the summer fishing season, and vaccinate livestock before winter, the United Nations agency has warned…” (5/12).

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Washington Post Examines WHO Director General Elections

Washington Post: The World Health Organization is electing a new leader. Here’s what you need to know.
“…WHO Director-General Margaret Chan will complete her term, and the World Health Assembly will vote on her successor in May 2017. What’s different about this election is increased transparency. Candidates will participate in a public process to share their visions of the WHO and to answer questions from member states. The election process will now allow for the active involvement of member states in deciding who is best suited to lead the WHO…” (Busby et al., 5/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

WHO's New Treatment, Testing Recommendations For Drug-Resistant TB 'Offer Hope'

Huffington Post: A Turning Point in the Battle Against Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health and child and maternal survival coordinator at USAID, and Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO Global TB Program

“…[T]wo new recommendations [on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)] from WHO offer hope. The first, on a shorter treatment regimen for MDR-TB patients, and the second, on a rapid diagnostic to guide its use. These recommendations can be lifesaving to the majority of MDR-TB patients globally. … However, the implementation of these new recommendations may take time and present some challenges at country level. WHO and USAID are working closely with technical and funding partners to ensure adequate resources and support for the uptake of the rapid test and shorter, cheaper regimen in countries. … While countries implement these new recommendations, research towards ultra-short regimens, such as those under trial by the TB Alliance and those supported by UNITAID, need to continue without distraction. … If we unite efforts and resources, we can forge ahead to end TB and MDR-TB” (5/12).

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Congress Should Respond 'Quickly' To Zika

The Hill: Funding the fight against Zika
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)

“…[The U.S.] should be taking the lead on developing quick and accurate testing, eliminating the backlog of Zika tests causing some women to wait 30 days for answers, understanding exactly how the disease is spread, educating the public and particularly women of child-bearing age, and finding a vaccine. But we must take these actions quickly. … While the health impacts of a Zika outbreak would be staggering, so would be the financial impacts … As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care, I’m committed to highlighting challenges facing moms, and exploring solutions in Congress — and right now there is no single threat to the health of infants in the U.S. more deserving of swift congressional action. … I don’t want expectant parents or those who will be starting families to face the risk of severe birth defects this virus causes on a massive scale, and know that Congress could have done more to stop it…” (5/12).

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Funding Requirements Lead To 'Difficult Trade-offs' Between HIV Prevention, Treatment Efforts

The Hill: HIV in 2016: do we vaccinate now or pay more to treat later?
Jason Reed, epidemiologist and senior technical adviser with Jhpiego

“…To reach [the goal of an AIDS-free generation] … both approaches — primary prevention to protect uninfected people and drugs to treat those already HIV-infected — must be used simultaneously, without delay and almost universally. The Catch-22? There currently isn’t enough money to pay for both approaches at the levels required, leading to difficult trade-offs. … [For instance, the] current PEPFAR leadership has shuttered countless circumcision clinics in a rush to abide by extant U.S. congressional funding ‘earmarks’ for treatment. … If preventing HIV through male circumcision — the single most cost-effective HIV prevention strategy for the hardest hit countries — is too expensive, how can immediate and lifelong treatment for all HIV-positive people be anything but impossible? Either both prevention and treatment options are possible — an epidemiologically sound formula for balancing ounces of prevention and pounds of care — or the end of AIDS will be indefinitely postponed” (5/12).

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U.S. Should Invest In Efforts To End Preventable Maternal, Child Deaths, Protect Children

Huffington Post: On Capitol Hill: Elevating the Voice of Children
Anne Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International

“…Millions of children in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas are confronting unspeakable hardship and daily dangers — physical abuse, inadequate nutrition and care, forced marriages, hazardous work, and so much more. It is vital to their safety and wellbeing that the United States government, together with millions of Americans acting on their own through donations, continue to make programs that serve these children an ongoing priority. … Ending preventable deaths among mothers and children and ensuring that all boys and girls grow up in safe and nurturing environments are dual issues that rise above politics and transcend the lines on a world map that divide us. … While children in rural villages, urban slums, and indigenous communities may not be able to advocate for themselves with the U.S. Congress, rest assured we are working diligently to ensure that their voices and concerns are being heard in our halls of power” (5/12).

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Data Equality Critical To Achieving Gender Equality

Medium: We Won’t Achieve Gender Equality Without Data Equality
Gro Harlem Brundtland, vice chair of the United Nations Foundation, and Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation

“…[M]uch of the [development] data available — especially data that reflects the lives of girls and women, both independently and relative to boys and men  —  is incomplete or biased. This begs the question: As we work to fulfill bold global promises to alleviate poverty and leave no one behind, how can we achieve gender equality if we do not have data equality? … Because [women’s lives] and experiences have not been prioritized by the data collection system, disadvantages caused by gender inequality cannot be detected or understood, which prevents practical solutions. … We need more and better gender data to have the complete data picture. … If we really want to achieve gender equality, we need leaders from every sector to help start the gender data revolution. … To achieve gender equality, we must commit to data equality” (5/12).

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Public, Private, Philanthropic Sectors Must Coordinate, Commit To Achieving SDGs

The Guardian: Philanthropists can’t eradicate global poverty, but we can make a start
Jane Wales, vice president of the Aspen Institute and founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum

“…When it comes to financing poverty eradication, the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] are, by necessity, as much of a clarion call as they are a commitment. … [W]hile philanthropy’s contributions are significant, the combination of governmental development assistance and private philanthropy is measured in billions; the funding shortfall for the SDGs is in the trillions. Foundation leaders and development economists agree that capital markets, growing where there is sound policy, must be tapped. … Meeting the SDGs will require the engagement of all three sectors; the comparative advantage of each suggests a clear division of labor. The public sector has the authority to set public goals, advance norms, and mobilize funds through taxation. The private sector creates wealth, and offers both efficiency and scale. And, by virtue of its independence, the charitable sector — philanthropies and those they support — has the risk appetite, agility, creativity, and audacity required to devise novel methods for meeting the boldest of goals” (5/12).

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Humanitarian, Development Work Should Remain Separate To Better Deliver Short-, Long-Term Results

The Guardian: Don’t blur the lines between development and humanitarian work
Marc DuBois, independent consultant and researcher currently working with Here-Geneva

“…The humanitarian/development divide imposes institutional divisions onto the real world of people in crisis. The urgency of food, water, health care, or shelter needs in Syria or eastern DRC displaces but does not diminish the longer-term hopes and aspirations of people in terms of wanting economic progress, a functioning health care system, or political empowerment. Short-term and long-term problems intermingle, perhaps especially in crisis situations and complex emergencies. … From dramatically different goals come dramatically different methods and approaches. In simple terms, maintaining neutrality and independence drives humanitarian actors towards ‘state avoidance’ while development requires much more of a partnership approach. … The sensible solution is to let humanitarians deliver on the immediate needs, empower others to end those needs in the first place, and ensure the two work better together. Folding humanitarian action into development, as [the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS)] aims to do, is not the answer” (5/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

UNDP Administrator Discusses Humanitarian Relief, Building Resiliency In CGD Podcast

Center for Global Development’s “CGD Podcast”: “Emergency Development” Needed in Syrian Refugee Crisis — Podcast with UNDP’s Helen Clark
In this podcast, Rajesh Mirchandani, vice president of communications and policy outreach at CGD, speaks with Helen Clark, administrator of the U.N. Development Programme, ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit. Clark discusses how “governments and international institutions are shifting their focus from traditional humanitarian relief to more sustainable ways to help millions of displaced people” (5/10).

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