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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House Republicans Introduce $622M Zika Funding Measure; House, Senate Expected To Vote This Week On Competing Bills

Associated Press: House GOP unveils $622M measure to combat Zika virus
“House Republicans have unveiled a $622 million measure to battle the Zika virus, offering President Barack Obama just one-third of the money he requested almost three months ago…” (5/16).

CNN: House and Senate at odds on Zika funding plans
“The Republican-controlled House and Senate are on a collision course about how to deal with the spread of the Zika [virus], pushing separate proposals for federal funding to combat the virus, and complicating efforts to deliver emergency money quickly to agencies hoping to develop a vaccine and head off new cases…” (Walsh/Barrett, 5/17).

CQ News: House GOP Unveils Zika Response; Democrats Say It’s Not Enough
“House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers unveiled House Republicans’ $622.1 million, fully offset anti-Zika spending bill on Monday, and was immediately rebuked by Democrats for not allocating the full amount requested by the Obama administration…” (Shutt/Mejdrich, 5/16).

CQ News: Zika Aid Fight Arrives on House and Senate Floors This Week
“Both the House and Senate dive into work this week on a supplemental appropriation to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus that is known to cause serious birth defects. At least four proposals are teed up for floor votes in the two chambers. The differences among the approaches reflect considerable division between — and within — the Republican and Democratic parties as to how Congress should be spending money on what’s deemed by many to be a public health emergency due to worsen as the summer months arrive…” (Mejdrich, 5/16).

The Hill: House GOP unveils $622 million Zika bill
“…The [$622 million] measure is fully paid for, in part by shifting over unspent money that was intended to fight Ebola, the House Appropriations Committee said. The House is likely to vote on the bill, which would provide a fraction of the $1.9 billion requested by the White House, this week…” (Sullivan, 5/16).

The Hill: Reid: GOP ‘beyond reckless’ on Zika virus funding
“Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday ripped Republicans over funding to fight the Zika virus, arguing lawmakers should move a stand-alone bill to match President Obama’s $1.9 billion request. ‘Senate Republicans are giving half of what they need to fight this ravaging virus. This is beyond reckless,’ Reid said on the Senate floor. ‘Republicans are trying to haggle as if this is some sort of bidding war’…” (Carney, 5/16).

Huffington Post: House Zika Bill Is $1.3 Billion Short Of Obama’s Request
“…The administration had already transferred nearly $600 million from the Ebola effort and other programs to fund its response. [Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)] said the committee will consider additional funding not as an emergency, but in the regular appropriations process for 2017, which is underway now…” (McAuliff, 5/16).

Reuters: U.S. House to weigh $622.1 million in new Zika funding
“…The bill would offset the new spending by taking $352.1 million from an Ebola fund and another $270 million from a Department of Health and Human Services administrative account…” (Cowan/Gardner, 5/16).

STAT: House Zika bill would provide less than half of White House request
“…White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the new bill provides ‘only about a third of what our health professionals say is necessary to protect the American people.’ The administration wants $1.9 billion in Zika funds. The Senate is set to vote on Tuesday on a bipartisan compromise that would fund the effort at $1.1 million…” (Nather, 5/16).

United Press International: House Republicans raise bill to spend $622M in unused federal money for Zika fight
“…The money would be available to federal agencies over the final five months of fiscal year 2016. The bill’s language makes it clear that the money would be given out with substantial oversight and ‘tight controls’…” (Ware, 5/16).

USA TODAY: Congress to vote on Zika funding; bills fall far short of Obama’s request
“After more than three months of fighting between the White House and Congress over emergency funding to combat the Zika virus, the Senate appears poised Tuesday to approve $1.1 billion for prevention and treatment programs to combat the mosquito-borne illness…” (Kelly, 5/17).

VOA News: U.S. Weighs More Zika Funding
“…Even if these measures clear the two chambers, the outlines for a final accord are not clear. To date, there have been more than 500 cases of Zika contamination in the United States, all of which so far have been associated with overseas travel. Last week, Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory in the Caribbean Sea, reported its first case of Zika-borne microcephaly” (Bredemeier, 5/16).

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New WHO Guidelines Aimed At Improving Care For FGM Survivors; Some African Men Speaking Out Against Practice

Deutsche Welle: WHO issues guidelines to treat 200 million female genital mutilation victims
“The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday issued the first ever guidelines to help health workers treat those suffering from the mental and physical trauma of female genital mutilation (FGM)…” (Winter, 5/16).

Slate: The World Health Organization Issues New Guidelines on Caring for Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation
“…Due to increasing migration from countries where the practice is common, WHO representatives said, a rising number of doctors in countries not known for FGM — including the U.S. and countries in Europe — are encountering patients with FGM-related complications…” (Cauterucci, 5/16).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Female genital mutilation is a men’s issue, say African activists
“…The global movement to end FGM has been galvanized by women activists across Africa who have risked death threats to speak out against a practice widely condemned as a serious human rights abuse. But now a small number of men are joining their ranks. In Kenya, there is even a Maasai cricket team that campaigns against FGM…” (Batha, 5/17).

U.N. News Centre: New guidelines on improving care for female genital mutilation issued by U.N. health agency
“…The guidelines build on and contribute to international efforts to stop female genital mutilation, underlining the recognition that action must be taken across sectors to stop the practice and help those who are living with its consequences. The recommendations focus on preventing and treating obstetric complications; treatment for depression and anxiety disorders; attention to female sexual health such as counseling; and the provision of information and education…” (5/16).

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Women Deliver CEO Launches 'Deliver For Good' Campaign At Conference; Celebrities, Experts, Others Call For Integrated Approach To Achieve Gender Equality

The Guardian: ‘We can’t keep looking at women as body parts or diseases,’ says Women Deliver CEO
“A new global campaign that makes the case for investing in women and girls was launched on the opening day of the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen on Monday. The Deliver for Good campaign highlights 12 critical areas that, with greater investment, could improve the lives of women and girls and speed up efforts to achieve gender equality. ‘We can’t keep looking at girls and women as body parts or diseases. This has to be integrated,’ said Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver…” (Ford, 5/17).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Annie Lennox and Denmark’s Princess Mary call for men to join women’s campaign
“Singer Annie Lennox and Denmark’s Princess Mary called on Monday for men to join the fight for women’s equality as they opened the world’s biggest women’s health and rights conference in a decade in Copenhagen. Some 5,500 delegates from over 160 countries — including policymakers, business leaders, health workers, activists, and celebrities — are attending the fourth Women Deliver conference…” (Batha, 5/16).

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Digital Crowdsourcing Platform Allows Indian Women To Track Corruption In Government Maternal Health Services

Deutsche Welle: Crowdsourcing corruption in India’s maternal health services
“The Mera Swasthya Meri Aawaz (MSMA) project is the first of its kind in India to track illicit maternal fees demanded in government hospitals located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. MSMA (‘My Health, My Voice’) is part of SAHAYOG, a non-governmental umbrella organization that helped launch the project. MSMA uses an Ushahidi platform to map and collect data on unofficial fees that plague India’s ostensibly ‘free’ maternal health services…” (Okitoi-Heisig, 5/17).

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New York Times Magazine Examines Possible Scenarios Leading To Bombing Of MSF Hospital In Kunduz, Afghanistan

New York Times Magazine: Doctors With Enemies: Did Afghan Forces Target the MSF Hospital?
“The U.S. government’s report has ruled it an accident. But mounting evidence suggests that Afghans’ mistrust for the nonprofit medical group might have set the tragedy in motion…” (Aikins, 5/17).

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Fast Company Profiles Maverick Collective, Co-Founded By PSI Executive, Norway Princess

Fast Company: How A Princess And A CEO Are Applying The VC Model To Philanthropy
“…[In 2011, Kate Roberts, a senior vice president with Population Services International (PSI), and Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway] decided that if the current model for philanthropy wasn’t working to lift girls out of poverty, they needed to create something new, combining Roberts’s development and marketing experience — plus access to PSI’s 9,000 employees across 65 countries — with the crown princess’s international clout and track record of giving voice to those in need. They devised a strategy to enlist women (who were able to invest at least $1 million each) to run innovative pilot programs, though Roberts makes sure to point out that the organization [they co-founded, the Maverick Collective,] ‘is not a club for rich women’…” (Hullinger, 5/16).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Piece Urge U.S. Congress To Approve Zika Funding, Better Prepare For Disease Outbreaks

Boston Globe: Funding to fight Zika virus shouldn’t wait
Editorial Board

“…Congress must treat Zika as a health emergency and fully fund the Obama administration’s $1.9 billion proposal to combat it. … Money is not only needed for more research to understand the disease, but also to develop a vaccine and faster and better tests for Zika, as well as for mosquito control efforts. … Congress should approve Zika funding before leaving for another recess. … [O]nly a prompt, focused, and fully committed response will prevent the virus from doing the kind of damage it’s already doing to mothers, babies, and others in nearby nations and Puerto Rico” (5/17).

Huffington Post: The Zika Virus: Pandemic Preparedness Is Needed Now!
Susan Blumenthal, public health editor at the Huffington Post, senior fellow in health policy at New America, clinical professor at Tufts and Georgetown University Schools of Medicine, and senior policy and medical adviser at amfAR; Ladan Fakory, health policy fellow at New America; and Alec Kingston, a health policy intern at New America

“The spread and impact of the Zika virus is yet another wake-up call for the global community, following the Ebola crisis, that infectious diseases pose significant threats to human health and international security. … The Zika pandemic underscores the importance of prevention and public health preparedness in mitigating the spread of disease and promoting global health. … Making significant investments now to strengthen the scientific knowledge base, develop new global health technologies that can be deployed in combination with proven public health practices, as well as strengthen health systems with a coordinated national and international response, will ensure our ability to fight Zika and other emerging infectious disease threats more swiftly and effectively, moving from peril to progress in the years ahead…” (5/16).

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Investing In Women, Girls Critical To Economic Development, Global Health

Huffington Post: Igniting Change by Investing in Girls and Women
Tedros Adhanom, minister of foreign affairs for Ethiopia

“…Securing the health and rights of girls and women is a necessary condition if we are to [achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. We need advocates from all branches of government and every corner of civil society to work collaboratively in leading the charge. We must acknowledge the inherent linkages between human rights, gender equity, and health. And national governments and global donors must commit to providing equal access to education, health care, employment, and representation in political and economic decision-making circles. … [G]irls and women are the keys that will unlock sustainable development. They are also at the center of the healthier and more resilient societies we desire. The onus is now on us to ignite change by putting them first” (5/16).

Devex: Taking care of business
Priya Agrawal, executive director of Merck for Mothers, and Gina Lagomarsino, co-founder, chief operating officer, and managing director at Results for Development Institute

“…[T]he private sector already plays a prominent role in maternal health across the developing world. … Yet the private sector is often overlooked as part of the ‘formal system,’ leaving it largely unregulated and of variable quality. To address these issues, the global health community must find ways to help governments more effectively engage with private providers and link them to quality of care improvement initiatives. … Governments and partners can change the landscape of maternity care by integrating more small-scale providers … into the broader health system through payment and quality initiatives that help them provide affordable, quality care to lower-income patients and create sustainable small businesses” (5/16).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Better lives for girls are coming, but we must speed up
Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International

“…Now is the time to galvanize the movement for girls’ rights that has emerged in recent years, to become ever more impatient for change. … Progress remains stubbornly slow in part because we lack the numbers to track it. … That’s why we’re launching a new partnership to fill the data gaps. Real data, relevant to girls, will enable us to see how fast progress is being made to end early and forced marriage, to achieve gender parity in secondary education, to abolish female genital mutilation, and to ensure girls have the same job opportunities as boys. We also need to see the reality of [girls’] lives, so often overlooked. We need to hear the voice of girls …: girls with insight into the barriers, with experience of overcoming them. Because the people who are really going to change things are girls themselves” (5/16).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Delivering for women and girls
David Nabarro, special adviser of the U.N. secretary general

“…[T]he 16-19 May 2016 Women Deliver conference … will be an important moment to discuss how to best implement [the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and the 2030 Agenda] and to measure our success. The Global Strategy envisions a world in which women, children, and adolescents realize their rights to physical and mental health and well-being, benefit from social and economic opportunities, and are fully able to participate in shaping prosperous and sustainable societies. … Achieving the Global Strategy requires well-targeted investment in research and smart innovation, yielding up-to-date and relevant knowledge that is made freely available in response to the local needs and national priorities within all nations. … Great things have been done to help increase the potential of every women and every child. But there is so much more to be done…” (5/16).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: The First 1000 Days: delivering for mothers, children, and societies
Rachel Toku Appiah, nutrition program manager at Graça Machel Trust

“…Traditionally, nutrition has been a neglected area, and there is an urgent need to not just use the existing funds more efficiently and effectively, but also increase the overall domestic financial envelope to fund key nutrition strategies and interventions. From saving lives to ending poverty to fueling economic growth, proper nutrition, especially in the first 1,000 days, can be a significant game-changer for governments as they finalize their investment-cases to help achieve their [Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)] targets. It’s a fortuitous window of opportunity that our policymakers must fully leverage if they want to build healthy, thriving, and happy societies. The cost of not doing so, in lives lost and in dollars, is far too high” (5/17).

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WHO Must Convene Emergency Committee To Coordinate International Response To Angola's Yellow Fever Outbreak

Project Syndicate: The Return of Yellow Fever
Melvin Sanicas, program officer and global health fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…In southwestern Africa, Angola is facing a serious yellow fever epidemic — its first in 30 years. … The good news is that, unlike Zika or Ebola, yellow fever can be controlled with an effective vaccine, which confers lifelong immunity within a month of administration. … [T]o end the outbreak, vaccination has to continue not only in Luanda, where an additional 1.5 million are at risk of infection, but also encompass other affected provinces. This will be a major challenge. … The WHO is working closely with several partners and the Angolan government to combat the current outbreak. But, as some health experts have pointed out, even more needs to be done. The WHO now must convene an emergency committee to coordinate a broader international response, mobilize funds, and spearhead the rapid scale-up of vaccine production, as well as a ‘standing emergency committee’ capable of addressing future public health crises quickly and effectively” (5/16).

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G7 Leaders Should Address Global Health Care Worker Shortage To Improve Epidemic Preparedness

Huffington Post: G7 Leaders Can Help Close the Global Health Care Workforce Gap
Rob Lovelace, senior fellow at the Trade Union Sustainable Development Unit

“…Addressing the global health care worker shortage is one of the most important steps the G7 can take immediately to improve future epidemic preparedness. … There is no denying health care workers are the backbone of sustainable, resilient health systems or that the success or failure of the G7’s global health commitments will ultimately rest in their hands. With global pandemics like HIV, TB, and malaria yet to be vanquished, preventable [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)] causing untold lifetimes of suffering, our world rocked by outbreaks of Ebola and the Zika virus, and the near certainty of new global health threats, how can we possibly afford to continue to take health care workers for granted? The answer is we can’t” (5/16).

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Global Coalition Needed To Cut Pollutants, Reduce Non-Communicable Diseases

Mail & Guardian: Air pollution responsible for one in every eight deaths worldwide
Margaret Chan, WHO director general; Børge Brende, Norway’s minister of foreign affairs; and Amina Mohammed, environment minister of Nigeria

“…One of the fastest and most cost-effective ways for targeting the gradual and often imperceptible changes wrought by climate may be by tackling the visible: smog and haze over our kitchens and landscapes. … What is needed now is a global coalition of health, environment and climate actors, to expand awareness and drive change at the grassroots, where it will count. … By cutting air pollutants from sources that also emit climate pollutants, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and turn the tide on the epidemic of non-communicable diseases. We can translate the Paris Agreement into one of the strongest public health agreements of our time. The solutions exist. We need to spread the word about their health and environment benefits, and catalyze political action…” (5/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Gates Foundation Announces $80M Over Next 3 Years To Fill Gender Data Gaps, Accelerate Progress For Women, Girls

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announces $80 Million Commitment To Close Gender Data Gaps And Accelerate Progress For Women And Girls
“In her keynote speech [Tuesday] at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced that the foundation will commit $80 million over the next three years to close gender data gaps and help accelerate progress for women and girls around the world. Alongside the Gates Foundation’s commitment, partners across governments, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations have also agreed upon a new statement of principles regarding gender data and its importance for accelerating development outcomes…” (5/17).

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