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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama, Congressional Leaders To Discuss Zika, Government-Wide Spending; CDC Director Says Agency 'Essentially Out Of Money' To Address Outbreak

Associated Press: CDC Director: ‘Essentially out of money’ to fight Zika
“The head of the government’s fight against the Zika virus said that ‘we are now essentially out of money’ and warned that the country is ‘about to see a bunch of kids born with microcephaly’ in the coming months. Friday’s warning from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden came as lawmakers start to sort out a stopgap government funding bill that is being targeted to also carry long-delayed money to battle Zika…” (Taylor, 9/9).

Associated Press: Obama, Hill leaders meet ahead of federal funding deadline
“President Barack Obama is meeting with the top four leaders of Congress ahead of a month’s-end deadline to fund the government or face a shutdown, and with money all but gone to address the worsening Zika crisis. The White House meeting Monday afternoon is likely to focus on an emerging legislative compromise to address both issues…” (Werner, 9/12).

Associated Press: Puerto Rico doctors warn of scarce resources to fight Zika
“Doctors in Puerto Rico are warning that the U.S. territory does not have the resources to handle the fallout of a Zika epidemic as officials report an uptick in the number of fetuses with malformations that were carried by women infected with the virus…” (Coto, 9/9).

Dallas Morning News: CDC chief blasts Congress on Zika funding: ‘How could they have waited so long?’
“… ‘We’ll look at this delay in time and say: “How could they have waited so long? This was so urgent,”‘ Frieden said, adding that Zika is ‘the very definition of an emergency’ because of its immediate and permanent ramifications. [Last] week, the Senate failed for the third time to advance a bill that would have directed $1.1 billion to the Zika response because of what Democrats called poison pill provisions…” (Leslie, 9/9).

Wall Street Journal: Zika-Funding Deal Nears With Talk of Dropping Planned Parenthood Clause
“Lawmakers are edging closer to breaking a monthslong impasse over funds to combat the Zika virus, as Republican lawmakers and aides said they expected to drop a contentious provision that would effectively block funding to clinics in Puerto Rico that work with Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers and aides from both parties said Friday they anticipated that this month Congress would pass a package combining Zika funding with a spending bill that would keep the government running until early December. The government’s current funding is scheduled to expire at midnight on Sept. 30…” (Peterson, 9/9).

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People Living In Southeast Asia May Have Natural Immunity To Zika, Studies Suggest

NPR: Does Asia Have A Secret Weapon Against Zika?
“…[S]tudies suggest Zika has been lurking in Asian mosquitoes and possibly infecting people silently, for decades — maybe longer. And that means people in the region may already be immune to Zika…” (Doucleff, 9/9).

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G7 Health Ministers Discuss Disease Outbreak Preparedness At Meeting In Japan

Japan Times: G7 ministers to discuss emergency responses to pandemics at Kobe meet
“Health ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized countries began a meeting in Kobe on Sunday to discuss global health issues, including coordinated emergency responses to outbreaks of infectious diseases. … At the meeting, the World Health Organization gave a progress report on a manual for procedures to respond to high-severity disease outbreaks, while the ministers discussed the mechanism for the G7 countries to take coordinated steps to respond to emergency situations…” (9/11).

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Scientific American Previews U.N. General Assembly High-Level Meeting On Drug Resistance

Scientific American: Superbug Explosion Triggers U.N. General Assembly Meeting
“…The threat of antibiotic resistance has become so dire that the United Nations General Assembly is holding a meeting to discuss it this month in New York City. Although WHO has been sounding the alarm on antibiotic resistance for years, this month’s high-level U.N. meeting represents only the fourth time in the international body’s history that its General Assembly — a global deliberative body that primarily grapples with issues like war and economics — has held a meeting to tackle a health topic. (The other three were HIV, noncommunicable diseases, and Ebola.)…” (Maron, 9/7).

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Southeast Asian Nations Agree To Establish Global Health Emergencies Response Fund, WHO Announces

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Asian nations plan fund to better prepare for health emergencies, says WHO
“Eleven countries in South and East Asia on Friday agreed to establish an emergency fund to strengthen their health services to better respond to outbreaks of diseases, including emerging viruses such as Zika, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday…” (Bhalla, 9/9).

U.N. News Centre: At regional U.N. meeting, Southeast Asian countries agree to establish dedicated health emergency preparedness fund
“… ‘The new funding stream for emergency preparedness … is an expression of the solidarity shared within the region, as well as recognition that preparedness is less costly than response,’ the U.N. World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Director for the South-East Asia Region, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said in a news release [Friday]…” (9/9).

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U.N.-Led Funding For Haiti Cholera Response Down This Year, As Disease Case Numbers Rise

Reuters: Cholera blamed on U.N. peacekeepers surges in Haiti as funding vanishes
“U.N.-led foreign funding has dried up for Haiti’s fight against cholera, thought to have been introduced by Nepali peacekeepers, triggering a surge of deaths this year even as the global body vowed to help overcome the epidemic. … Because of the funding crunch, many charity teams that do street work to trace the source of local outbreaks wound down activities from April, treatment centers have been shuttered, and those still active complain of shortages of antibiotics…” (Brice et al., 9/9).

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Sri Lanka's Success In Becoming Malaria-Free Raises Hope Other Countries Could Follow Suit

The Guardian: Dozens of countries poised to drive out malaria by 2020
“Hopes of eliminating malaria from more than 30 countries with a total population of two billion have risen following the successful removal of the disease from Sri Lanka. Public health officials said 13 countries … had reported no cases for at least a year and may well follow the success of Sri Lanka, which this week declared itself malaria-free after meeting the criterion of going three years without an infection…” (Boseley, 9/9).

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Nigeria, Southern Africa Facing Food Shortages, Need Aid, U.N. Agencies Warn

Bloomberg News: Nigeria’s Borno Faces World’s Worst Food Crisis, UNICEF Says
“The food crisis unfolding in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state is probably the worst in the world at the moment, with 4.5 million people in need of assistance out of which one million are in danger of extreme malnutrition, according to the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF…” (Mbachu, 9/9).

Bloomberg News: Africa Drought Leaves 14 Million Needing Food Aid, WFP Says
“The effects of a drought ravaging Southern Africa is worsening and the number of people relying on food aid will double to 14.1 million by the end of the year, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. Currently some 7.5 million people in Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe require assistance to feed themselves, the WFP said in an e-mailed statement Friday…” (Crowley, 9/9).

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Melinda Gates Discusses Efforts To Place Women, Girls At Center Of Development, Health Efforts

Macleans: Melinda Gates on sexism, contraceptives, and global development
“…The [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] has just pledged US$80 million over three years to improve data collection on the situation of women and girls in the world. The 52-year-old philanthropist spoke with L’actualité magazine ahead of a Montreal conference later this month of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, where the Gates Foundation will push the importance of focusing on women and girls when combating these diseases…” (Mercier, 9/10).

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Aid Agencies Call On Zimbabwe President Mugabe To Allow Fair Food Aid Distribution

The Guardian: Zimbabwe urged to put compassion before politics in distribution of food aid
“Aid agencies have called on President Robert Mugabe’s government to look beyond political differences and prioritize humanitarian principles after the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of partisan food aid distribution. The commission’s chairman, Elasto Mugwadi, revealed this week that an official investigation into reported discrimination in the distribution of food had uncovered evidence of political bias and theft of relief items, and reports of assault…” (9/10).

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IPS Examines Ugandan Women's Access To Sex Education, Contraceptives, HIV Prevention Methods

Inter Press Service: Myths, Secrets, and Inequality Surround Ugandan Women’s Sex Lives
“…[T]he Christa clinic in Jinja, Uganda, … serves a poor community near the banks of Lake Victoria and the source of the Nile river, providing free and low-cost family planning services. Services such as these are patchy at best in Uganda which has one of the highest birth rates in the world: the average Ugandan women will give birth to six babies during her lifetime. A different, more concerning, statistic has emerged in Uganda and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years. Young women are becoming HIV-positive much younger than their male peers…” (Rowlands, 9/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Must End Stalemate Over Zika Funding, Take Action Against Virus

Boston Globe: Zika toll mounts as Congress dithers
Editorial Board

“…[T]he stalemate in Congress over a $1.1 billion plan to fight the Zika virus is hard to fathom, even in a hyper-partisan era. It not only puts lives at risk, but courts deep skepticism about whether our government can live up to a core principle: tending to public health. … Congress must work out a bipartisan compromise before the start of the new fiscal year in October. … Zika prevention should not be a privilege reserved only for the wealthy; protecting the health of a city, state, or country’s population is an essential function of government, whether it involves protection from drunk drivers or mobilizing against an epidemic. As the social costs of Zika climb, the partisan bickering in Washington amounts to congressional malpractice” (9/11).

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Prioritizing Women's Rights Should 'Be At The Center' Of Zika Response

The Hill: Zika and the inter-connected fate of women’s rights
Caitlin Horrigan, associate director of global advocacy for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Michelle Dixon, co-director of the Global Progressive Hub

“…Adequately resourcing the Zika fight is not just an American women’s rights issue, it’s a global one. At home and abroad, we should prioritize the rights of women and empower them with the information and services to protect themselves and their families. The world is inter-connected, and that means investing in our shared stake in the health and well-being of all people, no matter where they live. In the fight against Zika, that not only means that Congress should pass a Zika package that broadens access to contraception, but also recognizes that women and their empowerment must be at the center of the response” (9/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Continued Investments In Global Fund Critical To Ending Malaria, TB Epidemics

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: #WhyNow: Invest to Fight Malaria and Tuberculosis
True Claycombe, policy manager at Friends of the Global Fight, discusses the importance of investing in the Global Fund’s continued support of malaria control programs and TB diagnosis and treatment efforts, writing, “Now is the time to invest in evidence-based programs that work” (9/9).

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