KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Rejects Calls From Health Experts To Move, Postpone Rio Olympics Because Of Zika

Associated Press: U.N. health agency rejects Rio Olympics postponement call
“The World Health Organization says there is ‘no public health justification’ for postponing or canceling the Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of the Zika outbreak…” (Moulson, 5/28).

Deutsche Welle: WHO says ‘no public health justification’ for postponing Olympics over Zika virus
“…WHO’s comments come a day after 150 health experts from around the world issued an open letter urging the global health body to delay or cancel the games in Brazil, where the virus has hit the hardest…” (5/28).

NPR: World Health Organization Dismisses Calls To Move Or Postpone Rio Olympics
“…[The letter] called on WHO to conduct a new assessment of its recommendations regarding Zika and the games, citing concerns about the medical consequences of the strain of the virus found in Brazil…” (Kennedy, 5/28).

Reuters: Delaying Rio Games would give ‘false security’ on Zika: WHO panel head
“…Extensive travel in a globalized world is the issue, not the Games that start on August 5, said David Heymann, chair of the Health Protection Agency in Britain who also leads the WHO panel of independent experts on Zika…” (Nebehay, 5/30).

Wall Street Journal: Health Experts Call for Rio Olympics to Be Moved Over Zika Threat
“…The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also refrained from calling for the Olympics to be moved, taking a similar stance as the WHO by recommending pregnant women not go, and that travelers take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitoes…” (Lewis/McKay, 5/27).

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WHO Zika Response Program 13% Funded, 'Severely' Affecting Efforts, Spokesperson Says

Agence France-Presse: WHO says Zika response plan only 13 percent funded
“The World Health Organization’s Zika response program is only 13 percent funded, ‘severely’ compromising efforts to combat the virus that is increasingly becoming a global threat, the U.N. agency said Monday. But the significant funding gaps in the $17.7 million (15.9 million euro) plan are not having a major impact on Brazil’s efforts to keep the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro safe, WHO spokeswoman Nyka Alexander told AFP…” (5/30).

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Consensus Reached On WHO Infant Formula Guidance; Advocates Fear Lukewarm Acceptance By Some Governments

Reuters: WHO guidance on infant milk formulas gets lukewarm backing
“National health officials stopped short on Friday of fully endorsing World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to end the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes and baby foods for newborn and older infants. Activists said the consensus, hammered out in negotiations chaired by Ecuador, overcame resistance by dairy producers led by the United States, European Union, and New Zealand. But they said they feared that national health authorities will not feel obliged to implement the recommendations because the compromise language fell short of calling for applying the WHO guidelines clearly favoring breastfeeding for infants…” (Nebehay, 5/27).

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WHO Report On NCDs Shows Little Progress Since 2010

Devex: The NCDs fight awaits data, pushes need to change perceptions
“The global fight toward the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases is not faring well — at least according to the latest World Health Organization report on countries’ progress against the nine voluntary targets member states adopted years ago on the disease…” (Ravelo, 5/27).

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G7 Must Remain Focused On Global Development, Health, Environmental Issues, U.N.'s Ban Says

U.N. News Centre: In Japan, Ban calls on G7 to back global goals, climate action, U.N. humanitarian response efforts
“Addressing world leaders at an event on the side lines of the G7 meeting currently under way in Nagoya, Japan, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the gathering to remain focused on key U.N. and global priorities: climate change; humanitarian action, refugees, and migrants; global health; and the Sustainable Development Goals…” (5/27).

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U.N., Rotary International Partnership Can Help Eradicate Polio, SG Ban Says

U.N. News Centre: ‘Our partnership is stronger than polio,’ says Ban, prasing Rotary International’s support of U.N. goals
“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Sunday] praised the ‘invaluable partnership’ between Rotary International and the United Nations, telling delegates gathered in Seoul, Korea, for the organization’s annual international conference that Rotarians had been instrumental in working with the U.N. to defeat polio…” (5/29).

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Advocates Warn Western Donors' Funding Cuts To UNFPA Could Hurt Women's Reproductive Health, Rights Worldwide

Inter Press Service: UNFPA Funding Cuts Threaten Women’s Health in Poorer Nations
“The U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), which has played a key role in ensuring maternal health and promoting reproductive rights of millions of women worldwide, is expected to suffer over $140 million in funding cuts by Western donors this year. Arthur Erken, director of the Division of Communications and Strategic Partnerships at UNFPA, told IPS some key donors are reducing contributions not only to UNFPA but also to the entire international development community…” (Deen, 5/26).

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West African Nations Better Able To Respond To Disease Outbreaks After Ebola, WHO Regional Director Says

VOA News: W. Africa Better Prepared to Contain Future Ebola Outbreaks
“The World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa says West Africa is better prepared to tackle future outbreaks of Ebola. In an exclusive interview with VOA, Matshidiso Moeti says Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are now able to respond more quickly to emergencies because of upgrades to their surveillance, laboratory, and health care systems…” (Schlein, 5/29).

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Large Non-Profit Foundations Serve As Important Funding Sources For, Can Profit From Biotech Start-Ups

Reuters: How Wellcome and Gates charities profit from helping biotech
“The Wellcome Trust medical charity is to profit from U.S. approval of a new diagnostic cancer test, the first commercial product funded by the organization since the sale of its pharmaceuticals business to Glaxo in 1995. The regulatory green light shows how the world’s health care leading charities are becoming important sources of finance for biotech start-ups and can gain when the young firms they back succeed…” (Hirschler, 5/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Issues Surrounding U.S., Global Zika Response, Outbreak Preparedness

Washington Post: Congressional Republicans are playing games with a public health emergency
Editorial Board

“…To fight an outbreak requires resources and time. Congress is undermining the effort on both counts. Vaccine development, now underway, is a long-term project; surveillance is a multi-year endeavor; creating rapid diagnostics is a major undertaking; mosquito control is fragmented in local governments, often uneven and urgent. Those on the front lines need to know — now — that programs to fight Zika will not start and stop. When members of the House and Senate return next week, they must immediately go to conference and pass emergency supplemental funding, along the lines of the Senate bill, to enable a determined and serious battle against the Zika virus. Scientists and public-health experts know what to do. Why are Republicans in Congress impeding their necessary work?” (5/30).

Slate: Zika’s Getting All of the Attention. It Shouldn’t.
Donna A. Patterson, author

“…To lessen the impact of future epidemics, it is crucial to look beyond the disease in the headlines and prepare a broad response strategy. Countries and communities with inadequate health facilities, wherever they are in the world, should be targeted for improvements. Medical personnel in developing countries and rural regions of developed countries should be incentivized to stay in the areas and not become part of a growing trend of ‘brain drain’ in areas that need doctors, nurses, and midwives the most. As the world continues to get smaller via international travel and exchange, it is important to remember that borders are porous and global health security in remote areas is as significant as it is in major cities. … The disease that doesn’t make the headlines is no less deadly than the one playing on loop on your television” (5/27).

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WHO's Reforms, Future Leader Should Address Fundraising, Improving Epidemic Responses

Foreign Policy: WHO’s Fairy Dust Financing
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…[I]t will take a lot more than minor reorganization and promises of cash to bring the World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 member nations up to readiness status for … future epidemics. That kind of preparedness begins with leadership and mutual trust between the institutions of public health, political leaders, and the populations they are supposed to serve. This is a feat that WHO has not, by any measure, accomplished. … [F]or the last two years, the [World Health Assembly] has added the equivalent of fairy dust to the mix, voting for budget increases but then leaving it up to Director-General Margaret Chan to mysteriously conjure up the agreed-upon additions. … Th[e] Ise-Shima G7 summit … calls for WHO reform, improved epidemic responses, and funds to support them. … One low-cost item that could cut through the fairy dust would involve changing how WHO chooses its next leader. … [However, the new voting] process stinks and is unlikely to produce a new leader fit to lead WHO and stand at the helm of the next pandemic…” (5/27).

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Female Leadership, Involvement Necessary To Advance Women's, Children's Health

Fortune: How G.E. and U.N. Women Plan to Put More Women in Top Global Health Jobs
Terri Bresenham, president & CEO of G.E. Healthcare Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, and Lakshmi Puri, U.N. assistant secretary general and deputy executive director of U.N. Women

“…To create meaningful and sustainable change in the disparity affecting women’s and girls’ health, we need to substantially increase the number of female leaders in the global health sector. Health care systems that connect to the needs of women and children can be more effectively developed by women who have experienced the same journey. … With the sixty-ninth World Health Assembly this week, we are calling on every global health and development stakeholder to commit to advancing women in global health leadership. We need women in leadership roles so that they can make and influence funding, resourcing, and policy decisions. We need ample growth opportunities and education programs for women in every organization. And we need to inspire the next generation of emerging female health leaders through mentorship and networking…” (5/26).

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Addressing Menstruation Critical To Women's Social Progress, Health

Devex: #MenstruationMatters to all, not just girls
Brian Arbogast, director of the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…Lack of water and sanitation and access to menstrual hygiene products … impacts women’s and girls’ health, dignity, comfort, and ability to fully participate in their communities. … Information about menstruation is all too often severely lacking. … We need … to make menstrual hygiene products more widely available and affordable. And these policies have to be coupled with increased efforts to provide universal and sustainable sanitation systems, access to clean water, and safe disposal. … But if we are going to tackle taboos and drive progress, the fight can’t just be left to women. We all benefit, whatever our gender, from a world in which women can contribute fully and fairly…” (5/27).

The Guardian: We don’t know enough about menstruation and girls are paying a price
Bibi van der Zee, editor of the Global Development Professionals Network, and Katherine Purvis, journalist

“…For millions of [girls], a universal lack of clear information and education makes menstruation a source of shame and embarrassment. … That sense of shame, the sense of being guilty of an activity so secret that that no one will even talk about it, is then compounded by cultural prejudices and beliefs around menstruation which vary from country to country and region to region. … The new generation of researchers and campaigners who now are shaking this subject out of the shadows are determined, however, that things are going to change…” (5/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

White House Fact Sheet Describes G7 Summit, Including U.S. Commitment To Global Health

White House: FACT SHEET: The G7 Summit at Ise-Shima Japan
This fact sheet describes the recent G7 summit, which took place in Japan on May 26-27, and the U.S. commitment to global and political priorities, including advancing global health and the global health security agenda, advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality, and promoting sustainable development (5/27).

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69th World Health Assembly Approves Resolutions On Various Global Health Issues

WHO: Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly closes
“The Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly closed [Saturday] after approving new resolutions on WHO’s Framework for Engagement with Non-State Actors; the Sustainable Development Goals; the International Health Regulations; tobacco control; road traffic deaths and injuries; nutrition; HIV, hepatitis and STIs; mycetoma; research and development; access to medicines; and integrated health services…” (5/28).

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CDC, WHO Discuss Efforts To Reduce Tobacco Use On World Day

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: World No Tobacco Day — Tobacco Surveillance in Barangay Looc, Province of Zambales, Philippines; Reflections on GTCB’s Worldwide Impact
Edward Rainey, IT specialist and public health analyst with the CDC Foundation’s Office on Smoking and Health’s Global Tobacco Control Branch (GTCB), discusses U.S. efforts in the Philippines to obtain data on the burden of tobacco (5/27).

WHO: World No Tobacco Day 2016: Get ready for plain packaging
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan discusses the agency’s efforts and approach to tobacco control, noting, “This year on World No Tobacco Day, being held on 31 May, WHO is calling on governments to get ready for plain packaging of tobacco products. … The evidence tells us that plain packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products. It restricts tobacco advertising and promotion. It limits misleading packaging and labeling. And it increases the effectiveness of health warnings” (5/30).

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