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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

NIH Official, Florida Governor Urge Congress To Approve Emergency Zika Funding

Bloomberg BNA: Fauci: Zika Funding Lack Hurts Other Health Efforts
“It’ll be ‘very destructive’ to other public health efforts if Congress doesn’t provide the Zika funds requested by the Obama administration, the head of the NIH’s infectious disease programs said May 3. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, reiterated previous statements about the need for Congress to appropriate the $1.9 billion requested by President Barack Obama in February to combat the mosquito-borne virus that’s been spreading throughout the Americas…” (Baumann, 5/3).

The Hill: Florida’s GOP governor urges Congress to approve Zika funding
“Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) will meet with GOP leaders in Congress next week, urging them to drop the ‘political grandstanding’ and quickly approve funds to fight the Zika virus…” (Ferris, 5/4).

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4 Zika-Linked Microcephaly Cases Confirmed In Panama, Health Ministry Says

Reuters: Panama confirms four microcephaly cases tied to Zika
“Four babies born with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus have been confirmed in Panama, the health ministry said on Wednesday, out of 264 total cases of the mosquito-borne infection in the country. … Fourteen pregnant women have contracted the virus, and six babies who were infected with Zika were born with malformations, including the microcephaly cases, the health ministry said…” (Moreno/Yukhananov, 5/5).

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Infection With Wolbachia Bacteria Blocks Mosquitoes From Transmitting Zika, Study Shows

New York Times: Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes Could Slow Spread of Zika Virus
“…Ever since the Zika outbreak began in Brazil last year, scientists have suspected that Wolbachia might protect mosquitoes from the virus. Now, researchers have confirmed this hunch, providing the first solid evidence that releasing Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes into the wild could help quell the epidemic…” (Zimmer, 5/4).

Reuters: Bacteria blocks mosquitoes from transmitting Zika: Brazilian study
“…The new study, by researchers at Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and published in Cell Host & Microbe, takes advantage of the naturally occurring strain of bacteria known as Wolbachia, which live in insect cells and are found in 60 percent of common insects. The method involves inserting the bacteria into mosquito eggs, which then pass the bacteria along to their offspring…” (Steenhuysen, 5/4).

Wall Street Journal: Study Sees Way to Limit Mosquitoes’ Ability to Spread Zika
“…The findings represent a potentially important step in combating the spread of the Zika virus, which has raced across much of the Americas, reaching epidemic proportions in parts of Brazil, where health authorities say it has caused a surge in cases of babies born with serious brain abnormalities…” (Johnson et al., 5/4).

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Water Shortages Will Hurt Economies In Middle East, Central Asia, Africa By 2050, World Bank Report Shows

The Guardian: Global water shortages to deliver ‘severe hit’ to economies, World Bank warns
“Water shortages will deliver a ‘severe hit’ to the economies of the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa by the middle of the century, taking double digits off their GDP, the World Bank warned on Tuesday. By 2050, growing demand for cities and for agriculture would put water in short supply in regions where it is now plentiful — and worsen shortages across a vast swath of Africa and Asia, spurring conflict and migration, the bank said…” (Goldenberg, 5/3).

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MSF Will Not Attend World Humanitarian Summit, Organization Announces 'With Disappointment'

IRIN: MSF pulls out of World Humanitarian Summit
“…The international medical organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors Without Borders), announced [Wednesday] that it is not going to the World Humanitarian Summit. In a statement, MSF said it was pulling out ‘with disappointment,’ after months of preparatory discussions. MSF believes the summit may let those most responsible for spiraling humanitarian need — governments — off the hook. The summit has lost its way and become, in MSF’s opinion, ‘a fig-leaf of good intentions’…” (Parker, 5/5).

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World Humanitarian Summit To Examine Aid Reform For Hunger Emergencies In Ethiopia, Other Vulnerable Nations

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Can aid reform end Ethiopia’s repeated hunger emergencies?
“…Millions of farmers and herders across Africa have been pushed into crisis by drought this year, raising questions about the ability of aid to break the hunger cycle, despite a resolve to do so after famine killed 260,000 people in Somalia in 2011. How to make people less vulnerable to natural disasters, and improving the aid response when they do strike, are key themes of the World Humanitarian Summit on May 23-24 in Istanbul…” (Migiro, 5/4).

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Pregnant Women Face Increased Risks Without Access To Health Care In War Zones, Expert Says

NPR: Pregnant Women Are The ‘Forgotten Victims’ Of War
“… ‘Nobody wants to drive through the streets because it is too dangerous [in war zones],’ says Dr. Andrew Weeks, an obstetrician and expert on maternal deaths who published a chilling editorial about the risks of war for pregnant women in the journal The BMJ. ‘There are no taxis. There’s no money. So you start walking or being carried to the nearest health facility, which is in ruins. Of course you’re going to die. You haven’t got a chance.’ And it’s not just a lack of medical care, he says. Direct attacks on pregnant women are another concern…” (Sohn, 5/4).

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Deutsche Welle Interviews NTD Expert Martin Kollmann About Drug Access In Marginalized Communities

Deutsche Welle: ‘More progress needed’ to eliminate tropical diseases
“Millions struggle with tropical diseases causing blindness and other disabilities. DW talks to expert Martin Kollmann about getting vital drugs to the communities that need them the most — amid war, famine, and unrest…” (Rasper, 5/4).

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With Waning Donor Support, Some Ghanaians Lack Access To HIV Medications

Deutsche Welle: Ghanaians still struggle under the weight of HIV/AIDS
“…Previously, almost the entire budget for the management of HIV/AIDS in Ghana was funded by donor agencies, including the Global Fund. But since the country declared its middle income status, donor support has waned. Providing testing kits and drugs is now a challenge. HIV patients are struggling to get adequate drugs to manage their conditions. … The Ghana AIDS Commission, the agency responsible for the management of HIV/AIDS cases in Ghana, has begun lobbying the private sector for financial support…” (Suuk, 5/4).

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Guinea Aims For Significant Economic Growth Following Slowed Investment Because Of Ebola Epidemic

Reuters: Guinea seeks rebound from Ebola with double-digit growth by 2020
“Guinea is targeting double-digit GDP growth by 2020 as it seeks to rebound after the Ebola virus slowed investment and hurt the mining sector, Prime Minister Mamady Youla said on Wednesday…” (Samb/Pennetier, 5/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

France To Mobilize G7 Nations To Improve Access To Medicines, Promote Innovation To Bolster Global Health Security

The Lancet: Towards a global agenda on health security
François Hollande, president of France

“…[The] right to health is a matter of urgency. … The interdependencies [of disease outbreaks] on a global scale amplify the unpredictability and the volatility of the threat, while these epidemics accentuate poverty and inequalities. … France, on behalf of its core values, will continue to be at the forefront of the fight. … A long-standing political willingness is necessary to reverse the global burden of disease. … France is determined to fight against the prohibitive price of certain new drugs, all while promoting innovation. France has therefore taken the initiative to mobilize the G7: for the first time this year, a meeting of the Health Ministers of the seven richest countries of the world should initiate a dialogue and coordination among the regulatory authorities, the pharmaceutical industry, and patients. This action will be accompanied by a resolution to ensure effective access to care for patients. … I now call for the international community to take on its responsibilities. … Our commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 is at stake; as is the cohesion of the international community at a time when health risks represent one of the major threats to peace and security” (5/1).

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Partnerships' Important Roles To Be Highlighted At World Humanitarian Summit

Huffington Post: Reflecting on Gayle Smith’s Message of Hope
Samuel A. Worthington, CEO of InterAction

“One of the things I enjoy the most as CEO of InterAction is the chance to bring together the NGO community and its partners each year at our annual forum. … This year we had a special honor and treat — a keynote address by recently appointed USAID Administrator Gayle Smith. Her remarks were not only poignant and captivating, but timely. … Gayle spoke of the many growing crises around the world — from war and intractable conflicts, to famines and disease — and the imperative role that partnerships play when working with communities to not only respond, but help people recover and rebuild. U.S. humanitarian NGOs are adapting in a time of unprecedented challenges. On behalf of our members, InterAction will make commitments at the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit. We are honored to recognize the heroes among us who strive every day to make the world a more just, safe, and equitable place…” (5/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

MSF Report Examines Gaps In, Offers Policy Recommendations For Medical R&D

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: With biomedical research driven by profit rather than need, MSF examines why innovation fails to address world’s biggest health problems
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses a recently released report by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), “examining the impacts of priorities currently driving pharmaceutical research and development, as well as ways to enable, incentivize, and ensure innovations that address the most pressing, but currently neglected infectious disease challenges globally…” (5/4).

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