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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Washington Post Examines U.S. Foreign Assistance Budget

Washington Post: Everything you ever wanted to know about the U.S. foreign assistance budget
“…Using the State Department’s request to Congress for a 2017 budget, we compiled what we thought was a comprehensive look at the U.S. foreign assistance budget. That budget request is a complex stew of programmatic acronyms, thickened by confounding numerical overlaps and an endless roster of government agencies. … [About one percent] of the entire federal budget is devoted to foreign assistance … In a Kaiser Family Foundation [poll] published in early 2015, the average respondent thought that 26 percent of the federal budget went to foreign aid…” (Bearak/Gamio, 10/18).

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U.S. Health Officials Outline Distribution Of Federal Zika Funds

CIDRAP News: Zika funding to be split among CDC, NIH, emergency fund
“Two weeks after Congress allocated $1.1 billion in supplemental funding to fight Zika, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced [Tuesday] during a teleconference how the pie of Zika funding will be sliced among major players…” (Soucheray, 10/18).

CQ HealthBeat: Administration Offers More Zika Spending Details
“…The $1.1 billion emergency supplemental, passed as part of a continuing resolution to fund the government (PL 114-223), included $933 million to the Department of Health and Human Services. That amount included $394 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; $152 million for the National Institutes of Health; and $387 million to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund…” (Siddons, 10/18).

NBC News: Zika Funds Not Going Anywhere Fast Until Next Year, HHS Says
“Hundreds of millions of dollars approved by Congress last month to fight Zika won’t go anywhere until the beginning of next year — almost a full year after it was first requested, federal officials said Tuesday. That’s because it’s entered the slow, bureaucratic world of the federal funding process. Cities, states, and counties have to bid on the money, and federal agencies then decide who to give it to…” (Fox, 10/18).

Reuters: U.S. health officials outline Zika spending priorities
“…$40 million is aimed at expanding primary health care services in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, and $20 million for projects of national and regional significance in those areas. Puerto Rico has been particularly hard hit by Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that has been linked with a rare birth defect known as microcephaly. The virus has spread to almost 60 countries and territories since the current outbreak was identified last year in Brazil…” (Clarke, 10/18).

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UNICEF Reaches Deal With Vaccine Suppliers To Halve Price Of Combined Vaccine Against 5 Childhood Diseases

Reuters: UNICEF clinches vaccine deal to protect children from five diseases
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday it had reached an agreement with six vaccine suppliers to provide a combined vaccine against five deadly childhood diseases for half the price it currently pays. An estimated 5.7 million deaths a year could be averted under the deal to send 450 million doses to 80 countries between 2017-2020, the agency added…” (Nebehay, 10/19).

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Steady Progress Being Made In Post-Hurricane Haiti But More 'Robust' Response Needed, U.N. Special Adviser Says

Reuters: U.N. fears more cholera in Haiti after storm, says protests slowing relief
“The scale of a cholera outbreak in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew may be underreported because remote areas are cut off, a United Nations official in charge of controlling the disease said on Tuesday, adding protests over slow aid made the problem worse…” (Brice, 10/18).

U.N. News Centre: Haiti: U.N. special adviser calls for ‘robust’ hurricane response to tackle ‘extremely difficult’ situation
“Hurricane Matthew, which ripped through Haiti 13 days ago, has left more than 700,000 people in an ‘extremely difficult situation,’ United Nations Special Adviser David Nabarro said [Tuesday], and while steady progress is being made, led by Haitians themselves, the response must be accelerated as the needs are still great, frustrations are high, and access to hard-hit areas remains tough…” (10/18).

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U.N. Will Resume Aid To Aleppo Only When Ceasefire Plans Ensure Safety For Aid Workers

Reuters: No U.N. aid for Aleppo until Russia’s ceasefire plan guarantees safety also
“The United Nations said on Tuesday that Russia’s plan for a ceasefire will not mean any supplies get into besieged eastern Aleppo because Russia, Syria, and other groups fighting in the city have not yet given guarantees of safety for aid workers. Syria’s government would also need to overturn its decision last week to refuse to allow aid into the eastern part of the city, where the U.N. estimates 275,000 civilians and 8,000 rebel fighters are trapped…” (Miles/Nebehay, 10/18).

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WHO Appeals For $22.35M To Prevent Cholera Epidemic In War-Torn Yemen

VOA News: War-torn Yemen Faces Threat of Cholera Epidemic
“The World Health Organization warns that war-torn Yemen is facing the threat of a cholera epidemic. The WHO is urgently appealing for $22.35 million to prevent the deadly disease from spreading throughout the country. The World Health Organization reports 340 suspected cases of acute watery diarrhea. It says 18 of the cases are confirmed to be cholera…” (Schlein, 10/18).

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USAID To Strengthen Investigation Into Possible Illicit Activities Relating To U.S.-Funded Malaria Programs In Nigeria

Channels Television: U.S. To Investigate Funding Of Anti-Malaria Initiatives In Nigeria
“The U.S. government says it is setting up a framework within Nigeria to help curb the proliferation of fake and adulterated antimalarial drugs. To this end, the United States government has launched a campaign against the theft and counterfeiting of antimalarial drugs donated by the American government to support the National Malarial Control Program in Nigeria…” (10/18).

Today: U.S. to investigate illicit diversion of USAID-funded malaria products, funds
“…Head of investigation [in the] Office of the Inspector General, USAID, Jonathan Schofield, told journalists in Abuja at the relaunch of Make A Difference (MAD) malaria hotline that the investigation bureau entrusted with the task of probing such illicit activities relating to malaria programs found some ‘troubling patterns’ in Nigeria. He explained that the probe will only be restricted to U.S.-funded projects and will be in collaboration with Nigerian law enforcement agencies…” (Bello, 10/19).

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U.S. Government, Global Fund Support Distribution Of Nearly 2M Insecticidal Nets In Zimbabwe

VOA News: U.S. Govt, Global Fund Distribute 2 Million Malaria Prevention Nets
“The United States government and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) supported distribution of 1,785,000 long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to Zimbabwean communities at risk for malaria in August and September of this year…” (Dube, 10/18).

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Brazilian Mothers Of Children With Zika-Related Birth Defects Say Government Must Do More To Assist With Health Care Needs

Associated Press: Where Zika struck hardest, Brazil moms say more help needed
“…[A] surge late last year in [Zika-related] cases of babies born with small heads in northeast Brazil set off worldwide alarm about the virus, which was later linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly. When the connection was made, then-President Dilma Rousseff promised that affected families would get the help they needed. While the government has provided therapy and some financial assistance, mothers such as [21-year-old Angelica] Pereira say it doesn’t come close to meeting their overwhelming needs caring for children with severe development delays…” (Licon, 10/19).

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Severe Malnutrition Plagues Northeastern Nigeria Due To Boko Haram; Some Aid Workers Say Situation Qualifies As Famine

Los Angeles Times: How a terrorist group set off a famine, affecting thousands of families
“…The famine killing thousands of children in northeastern Nigeria is forcing parents to take drastic measures, and aid workers fear the death toll will continue to spiral upward. The famine is the product of Boko Haram’s scorched-earth attacks, which stopped farmers from planting, fishermen from casting their nets, and traders from plying their goods. But aid from the Nigerian government and the international community only recently began to increase for a population that, already struggling with chronic malnutrition, has been tipped into starvation by the crisis. … At least 65,000 people are in famine in Nigeria, according to aid experts, and 2.5 million children are malnourished…” (Dixon, 10/19).

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6 Hospital-Associated Infections Cause Larger Burden Than HIV, Influenza, TB Combined, Study Shows

Deutsche Welle: Why hospital infections are a bigger threat than HIV, influenza, and tuberculosis
“You would think it was the other way around. But six health care-associated infections are a bigger burden on hospitals than influenza, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis together. The big six are pneumonia, urinary tract and surgical site infections, Clostridium difficile (CDI, which results in antibiotic-associated diarrhea), neonatal sepsis, and primary bloodstream infections. And they are all things you can contract while being treated for other things in hospital. That’s the conclusion of a study [published] on Tuesday in PLOS Medicine…” (Breitenbach, 10/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress, Incoming Administration Should Prioritize International Family Planning Programs, Investments To Create Resilient, Sustainable Future

The Hill: Want a more resilient world? Give mothers access to the tools they deserve
Bill Frist, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and founder of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Michelle Nunn, president & CEO of CARE

“…Thanks to U.S. foreign assistance, maternal and child mortality rates have dropped drastically in the past decade, as more mothers time and space their pregnancies. At a time of budget constraints, we must ensure that all of our federal programs are effective … We must continue to ensure mothers and their families have access to the tools they … need and deserve. This is particularly important during times of crisis and disaster. We applaud the Senate for passing international family planning at the level of $622.5 million in FY17, and we call on leaders in Congress to protect these funding levels when they finalize their appropriations work after the upcoming November election. We also urge the incoming presidential administration and the next Congress to prioritize international family planning programs within their FY18 budget requests and appropriations bills next year. … Through investments in women and girls, these programs will help women fulfill their potential and build a more sustainable future for their families and communities. And in the face of danger, they will be able to better control their family’s destiny and face the future with strength and resiliency…” (10/18).

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U.S. Must Invest In Prevention To Adequately Prepare For Next Public Health Crisis

Huffington Post: One More Time With Zika: Investment in Prevention Costs Less, Means Better Health
Deborah Klein Walker, vice president and senior fellow at Abt Associates, and Christopher Spera, division vice president for U.S. health at Abt Associates

“…Investments in local, state, and federal public health infrastructure are necessary to stop the spread of Zika and other infectious diseases in the United States, as well as address the health outcomes for those who are infected. … [I]t is extremely important for people to take actions to limit exposure to the virus. According to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll in September 2016, [about] 90 percent of Americans have heard something about Zika, but fewer are taking precautions to reduce Zika … [W]e need to be prepared for the next public health crisis that confronts us in the future. We must embrace lessons learned from our experiences with major public health crises of the past decade (e.g., SARS, Ebola, H1N1, and Zika). … Resources should be allocated at all levels of government to continue to address the Zika crisis and prepare for the next one … As the economic leader in the world, the United States can do better in preparing for public health crises and set the direction for other countries” (10/18).

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UNICEF, GPEI Working To Immunize Every Child Worldwide With Polio Vaccine, Eradicate Disease

Huffington Post: The End Of Polio Is In Sight
Stefanie Carmichael, communications specialist with UNICEF Canada

“…The world is closer than ever before to ending polio. … In 1988, UNICEF joined the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to ensure the oral polio vaccine would be available for every child. Cost-effective and easy to administer, the polio vaccine is our best tool for eliminating polio once and for all. That’s why UNICEF has been working with governments, partners, and donors to conduct mass immunization campaigns each year … [U]ntil every single child around the world has received the polio vaccine, the threat remains very real. … The end of polio is in sight. UNICEF and the GPEI are working to eradicate the disease once and for all by 2019…” (10/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Innovation Critical To Ending Preventable Maternal, Child Deaths

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Harnessing the Power of Innovation to Save Mothers and Children
Amie Batson, chief strategy officer and vice president of strategy and learning at PATH, discusses the role of innovation in accelerating progress toward ending preventable maternal and child deaths, writing, “USAID should focus even more attention on supporting countries to develop, introduce, and scale the highest-priority innovations … With increased support to harness the power of innovation, I’m optimistic that USAID, low- and middle-income country governments, partners like PATH, and other stakeholders can end preventable maternal and child deaths and build stronger health systems and communities” (10/18).

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Venezuelan Government's Failure To Address Malaria Causes Increase Of Cases In Country, Health Officials Say

Humanosphere: Government ‘indifference’ leads to malaria surge in Venezuela, health officials charge
Humanosphere journalist Lisa Nikolau discusses an increase of malaria cases in Venezuela this year, writing, “The Venezuelan government’s attempts to downplay the country’s most pressing public health issues have likely contributed to this year’s alarming increase in malaria cases. … This year’s surge in Venezuela’s malaria cases has now been a topic of concern among eradication and health professionals worldwide, as the epidemic threatens to spread into neighboring Colombia and Brazil…” (10/18).

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