KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Congressional Failure To Act On Zika Funding Could Hurt GOP, Analyst, Republican Senator Say

The Atlantic: Why Zika Needed An Ounce of Prevention
“In all likelihood, Congress was never all that close to finding a way to push past factional politics and fund efforts to fight Zika. Lawmakers have adjourned for recess after a failure to find common ground on the issue … Congress’s lack of concern about Zika mirrors that of the public. In a recent Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, only 16 percent of all people are very worried about Zika as a public health threat. There is a great deal of risk to these attitudes, however, and Congress knows well from delayed action on previous epidemics that the American health care system makes rapid responses to established diseases difficult and costly…” (Newkirk, 4/29).

Roll Call: How Zika Could Bite the GOP
“It could take just one pesky mosquito bite to put the public against Senate Republicans. Or so says one of the GOP senators involved in drafting supplemental legislation to address a public health response to the Zika virus, an illness that’s been shown to cause serious birth defects. ‘I think if you have one case of Zika infection that, you know, we could have done something about then we own it,’ South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters Thursday…” (Lesniewski, 4/29).

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U.S. Reports First Zika Fatality In Puerto Rico; CDC Official Discusses Possibility Of Wider U.S. Outbreak In Interview

CNBC: Zika to create ‘small number’ of U.S. cases, a cure will ‘take time’: CDC
“…[A] 70-year-old man in Puerto Rico infected with the disease died from complications, according to health officials, becoming the first U.S. casualty from the deadly infection. In an interview with CNBC, a top public health official warned the United States could very well see more instances. ‘The mosquitoes that carry Zika are in parts of the United States,’ Dr. Denise Jamieson, chief of the women’s health and fertility branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told ‘On the Money’ in a recent interview…” (Gillies, 4/30).

The Guardian: Zika virus: first American dies of complications linked to disease
“…A Puerto Rican man in his 70s died in February from ‘complications related to severe thrombocytopenia,’ the CDC reported in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report…” (Jamieson, 4/30).

New York Times: First U.S. Death Tied to Zika Is Reported in Puerto Rico
“…Puerto Rico now has 683 confirmed Zika infections in its outbreak, which began in December; 89 are in pregnant women, according to Dr. Ana Ríus, the territory’s health secretary. Fourteen of those women have given birth, and all their babies are healthy, she said…” (McNeil/Victor, 4/29).

USA TODAY: First Zika death in U.S. lived in Puerto Rico
“…Although 426 travelers have been diagnosed with Zika in the continental U.S., the virus is not yet spreading among mosquitoes here, and there have not been any homegrown cases, according to the CDC. The Obama administration this week announced that it will provide $5 million to Puerto Rican health clinics…” (Szabo, 4/30).

VOA News: U.S. Sees 1st Zika Death Amid Funding Stalemate
“…The White House has requested nearly $2 billion in emergency funding to target the mosquito that carries Zika and promote the development of a vaccine. The Republican-led Congress has yet to act, saying more information is needed…” (Bowman, 5/1).

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Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Responds To Quora Question On How To Address Zika, Calls For Additional Funding

Newsweek: Quora Question: Hillary Clinton on How We Stop Zika in the U.S.
“Quora Questions are part of a partnership between Newsweek and Quora, through which we’ll be posting relevant and interesting answers from Quora contributors throughout the week. … Answer from Hillary Clinton, senator, secretary of state, and 2016 presidential candidate: … I recently asked two of my senior campaign advisers to go to Puerto Rico to learn more about how Zika is affecting the island and what we can do to mitigate an outbreak. One thing was clear from their discussions with local health and government officials, visits to impacted neighborhoods, and observations at women’s health clinics: We need more resources to stop the spread of this disease…” (5/1).

Quartz: Hillary Clinton: This is my plan to combat Zika
“…First, we must do everything we can to educate the public — especially pregnant women — about the dangers of Zika so that people know to protect themselves against mosquito bites and against sexual transmission of the disease. … Next, we have to develop a rapid diagnostic test for Zika … We need to invest in treatments and a vaccine. And we have to step up mosquito control and abatement, and improve access to health and family planning services…” (4/30).

TIME: Hillary Clinton Calls on Congress to Fight ‘Serious and Urgent’ Threat of Zika Virus
“… ‘We need to do everything we can to fight Zika — but we can’t do that without adequate resources,’ she wrote. ‘Congress should immediately provide emergency funding for Zika testing and treatment, mosquito control, family planning, and to support maternal and infant health’…” (4/29).

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U.S. Vice President Biden, Pope Francis Urge More Investment In Cancer Research, Care During Vatican Conference

Bloomberg: Joe Biden Looks for Pope’s Help on Cancer After Son’s Death
“…On Friday, Vice President Joe Biden sought a lift from Pope Francis for the White House’s ‘moonshot’ effort to cure cancer. Speaking at a Vatican conference on regenerative medicine, Biden asked foreign governments and pharmaceutical companies to join a U.S. endeavor to share data and resources to speed the development of new cancer treatments…” (Sink, 4/29).

Reuters: Biden gets papal blessing for his global war on cancer
“U.S. Vice President Joe Biden took his crusade against cancer to the Vatican on Friday and heard Pope Francis call for an ‘economic paradigm shift’ where medical research is dictated by need rather than profit. … In his address, Francis called on the scientific community to pay more attention to people afflicted with rare conditions, saying these patients often did not receive enough notice because the potential economic returns were deemed insufficient…” (Pullella/Rampton, 4/29).

Roll Call: Biden Gets Pope’s Support for Cancer ‘Moonshot’
“…But hurdles abound in herding so many public and private-sector entities, all which have divergent research and profit motives. And it is unclear whether even the help of one of the world’s most influential and beloved religious leaders will bring all the parties Biden is courting to the table…” (Bennett, 4/29).

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France To Push For International Regulations For New Drug Pricing At G7 Meeting

Reuters: France gets G7 to discuss global regulation of medicine prices
“France will press its G7 partners this month to launch an ‘irreversible’ process to control the prices of new medicines, part of a global drive to make life-saving drugs more affordable, three sources told Reuters. President Francois Hollande said in March he would push for the international regulation of drugs prices when he meets other G7 leaders in Ise-Shima, Japan on May 26-27…” (Blamont/Vey, 5/2).

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U.S. Defense Department Releases Final Report On Bombing Of MSF Hospital In Kunduz, Afghanistan

The Atlantic: The Fallout From the Kunduz Airstrike
“Sixteen U.S. military personnel are being disciplined for the errors that led to the U.S. bombing of a civilian hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last October, the Defense Department announced Friday. … The hospital in Kunduz was run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian group. In the aftermath of the October 3 bombing that killed 42 people, MSF called for a never-before-used mechanism of the Geneva Conventions to investigate the strike, and General John Campbell, the most senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan, acknowledged the ‘hospital was mistakenly struck’…” (Calamur, 4/29).

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Ebola Can Lie Dormant But Become Infectious In Recovered Patients, Study Says

NPR: Ebola Carriers? Why The Virus Keeps Coming Back
“Just when health officials think the Ebola outbreak is over in West Africa, the virus pops up again seemingly out of the blue. It’s happened at least five times so far. Now scientists are starting to figure out why: The virus can lie dormant in a survivor for more than year and then re-emerge to infect others. It’s called a ‘persistent infection.’ It’s rare. But it has played a big role in keeping Ebola around in Liberia, an international team of scientists reports Friday in the journal Science Advances…” (Doucleff, 4/29).

Reuters: Study of Liberia Ebola flare-up shows need for longer vigilance
“… ‘It remains unclear … how Ebola virus is able to lay dormant in an infected host, but … the virus may replicate more slowly and persist in immune-privileged sites, such as the eye and testes, long after the acute, symptomatic phase of disease has occurred,’ the researchers wrote…” (Kelland, 4/29).

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New York Times Features Photo Essay On Maternal Health Care In Sierra Leone After Ebola

New York Times: How Ebola Destroyed Maternal Health Gains in Sierra Leone
“…[Sierra Leone] is still reeling from the effects of the Ebola outbreak, which has crippled its health care system. Monique Jaques, an American photographer who traveled to Sierra Leone late last year to photograph Ebola’s aftermath for a broader project on maternal health in West Africa, documented the plight of … three women…” (O’Reilly, 5/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss U.S. Military's Investigation Into Bombing Of Civilian Hospital In Afghanistan

Wall Street Journal: Accountability in Kunduz
Editorial Board

“The Pentagon on Friday released the results of its investigation into the mistaken bombing of a hospital last October in Afghanistan … Sixteen military personnel have been punished in the attack, including one general officer, which typically means demotions and an end to careers. This still isn’t enough for Doctors Without Borders, whose doctors manned the hospital in Kunduz where 42 people died and which wants an independent investigation to consider a potential war-crimes prosecution. … Decisions on the battlefield must be made in real time with lives in the balance, and failing to act can also result in casualties. No military does more than America’s to avoid bombing civilians, and none does more to hold its soldiers accountable. … Doctors Without Borders does brave work in war zones, but its anger in this case should be directed at the Taliban, which invaded Kunduz for its own terrorist purposes and put Afghan civilians under siege” (5/1).

New York Times: The Wrong Way to Handle the Kunduz Tragedy
Eugene R. Fidell, professor at Yale Law School

“…As matters currently stand, there will be no Kunduz trial. Instead, 16 members of the American military, including a general, have received disciplinary action or adverse administrative action, including letters of reprimand, removal from command, transfer out of Afghanistan and requiring recertification in a job specialty. Given the loss of life and damage to a hospital which, by definition, is a protected site under the law of armed conflict, it is hardly surprising that many view these actions are inadequate. … Among the challenges a case like Kunduz presents is how to achieve accountability in an era in which an attack on a protected site is not the act of an isolated unit or individual. … No one should be content if matters are left where they currently stand. That would be an injustice for the victims not just of this tragic mistake, but of future ones as well” (5/1).

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Strong Partnerships, Political Will Can Advance Vaccine Development, Help Prepare For Disease Outbreaks

Huffington Post: When It Was Even Scarier
Anne Schuchat, CDC deputy director

“…Working with global partners and national governments, it is crucial we prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks before they spread; finish the job of polio eradication and secure its legacy through resilient immunization systems and sustained high coverage of measles vaccine. … Our Ebola response showed we could move candidate vaccines from pre-clinical testing into large-scale field trials faster than ever. … Improvements in science and global collaboration can help vaccine development against Zika advance even more rapidly. … Nature will continue to pose new and unexpected disease threats. But thanks to strong partnerships and political will, we are today, and can be tomorrow, better prepared to overcome them…” (4/29).

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Investing In Vaccine Research, Innovation Critical To Achieving SDGs

Devex: Delivering the next generation of vaccines
Cécile Vernant, head of E.U. advocacy for Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung

“…If we are serious about ending [malaria, HIV, TB, and other diseases of poverty] by 2030, then we will need new and innovative vaccines. … If we are to harness the latent potential in vaccine research, how are we to do it? 1. Sustainable and sufficient funding … 2. A coherent investment strategy … 3. Support for innovation across the development cycle … As we move into the next era of global development policy — the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — we need to secure and build on this progress, to achieve breakthroughs in the fight against diseases such as HIV, TB, and malaria. Investing in research and innovation targeted at these diseases now and in the right policy environment could usher in the next revolution in immunization” (4/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

WHO, UNICEF Directors Release Statement Deploring Attacks On Health Care Facilities, Workers In Syria

UNICEF: Statement by Margaret Chan, WHO director general, and Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director, on attacks on medical facilities and personnel in Syria
In this joint statement, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake say, “Attacks on [medical personnel] and on health facilities and the denial of health care services as well as medical equipment and supplies anywhere in Syria, are not only a blatant violation of International Humanitarian Law, but deprive families and communities of essential health care when they need it most. UNICEF and WHO urge all parties to the conflict to end all attacks on health facilities, personnel, and ambulances, and to allow the provision of health services to the many innocent civilians in desperate need” (4/29).

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Clinical Infectious Diseases Supplement Examines TB Control In Health Settings

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Health workers face tuberculosis risks up to three times those of general population, while infection control, worker protections lag
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses articles in a Clinical Infectious Diseases supplement on tuberculosis control in health settings and the disease’s occupational hazards to frontline workers (4/28).

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