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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. President Obama, Congressional Leaders Cite Progress Toward Zika Funding, Continuing Resolution

CQ News: Exclusive: Deal Near on Three-Month CR With Funds For Zika, Vets
“CQ has learned that Senate Republican and Democratic negotiators working through the weekend to avert a government shutdown are moving toward a three-month stopgap spending bill that would include emergency aid to fight Zika as well as the fiscal 2017 Military Construction-VA bill…” (Krawzak, 9/11).

The Hill: Governors to Congress: don’t delay on Zika funding
“As members of Congress return from their summer recess, the nation’s governors have a top agenda item for them: Act on Zika virus funding…” (Pattison, 9/12).

Reuters: Obama hopeful on spending, Zika funds after meeting Congress leaders
“President Barack Obama said after meeting with the top four congressional leaders on Monday he was encouraged that lawmakers would be able to pass short-term spending legislation to keep the government open during the 2017 fiscal year…” (Gardner et al., 9/12).

Reuters: U.S. Congress to advance Zika funding bill: Sen. McConnell
“Leaders in the U.S. Congress on Monday were making progress toward temporarily funding the government in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 and providing money to battle an outbreak of the Zika virus, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said…” (Cowan, 9/12).

VOA News: Obama Pushes Congress to Pass Bills to Fund Government, Fight Zika
“…Obama said Congress urgently needs to approve additional funds to develop diagnostic tools and vaccines that will solve the Zika problem for good…” (Saine, 9/12).

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CDC Uses New Emergency Response Teams To Address Zika Outbreak

Kaiser Health News/USA TODAY: CDC deploys new rapid response teams to fight Zika
“…[B]uilding on its experiences with Ebola in 2014, the [CDC] has created new rapid response teams, called CDC Emergency Response Teams (CERT), that bring expanded expertise to contain an outbreak as quickly as possible. These groups include not only epidemiologists but also scientists with backgrounds in a particular disease itself, such as Zika. In the case of Zika, entomologists, vector technicians, communications specialists, and public health scientists have been part of the teams…” (Anderson, 9/12).

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In BMJ Global Health Article, Experts Call For WHO To Outsource Some Responsibilities

The Guardian: World Health Organization should outsource key duties, experts say
“…Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) [Global Health], Professor Joel Negin of the University of Sydney and Dr. Ranu Dhillon of Harvard Medical School say that only radical reform of the organization will ensure it can get sufficient funding in the coming years and tackle public health crises. … At the heart of the vision for reform outlined in the article is a radical change to the way the WHO operates, with vital activities outsourced to other key players in the global health field, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, and frontline humanitarian response groups including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)…” (Grant, 9/12).

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Increase In Global Food Prices Between 2007-2011 Prompted Shift To 'Junk Food,' Research Shows

The Guardian: Global food crisis triggered cultural shift towards junk food, say researchers
“Millions of people who struggled to pay for traditional staple foods like maize, rice, and wheat when global food prices dramatically rose between 2007-2011 have switched to Western-style processed ‘junk-food’ alternatives that are high in sugars, fats, and salt, a four-year study across 10 countries has found…” (Vidal, 9/9).

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Devex Examines Challenges To, Strategies For Effective Health Markets

Devex: Taking the pulse of health markets: Challenges and strategies
“…In this article, Devex explores what makes an effective health market, some of the challenges blocking market access in developing countries, and strategies that stakeholders can use to remove key barriers — from forming innovative partnerships, to developing markets, to social marketing, and medical franchising…” (Politzer, 9/12).

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Global Open Data For Agriculture And Nutrition Consortium Working To Utilize Data To Reach Zero Hunger Goal

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Hidden data: the new weapon that could beat hunger
“…Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), a consortium of 340 organizations from international farming research groups to universities and agribusiness giants, will meet in New York on Thursday and Friday to discuss progress on their ‘open data revolution to zero hunger.’ By making public information already being gathered from satellites, fields, and villages, GODAN aims to spur innovation — from cheaper crop insurance to farm weather apps — to feed more of the estimated 800 million people who go hungry each day…” (Goering, 9/13).

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Vaccination Campaign Brings Yellow Fever Outbreak Under Control In Angola, DRC, WHO Says

Reuters: WHO says Angola, Congo yellow fever outbreak under control
“A yellow fever outbreak in Angola and Congo has been brought under control by a major vaccination campaign, the head of pandemic and epidemic diseases at the World Health Organization said on Tuesday…” (Miles, 9/13).

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Sierra Leone's School Ban On Pregnant Students Disadvantages Young Women, Human Rights Advocates Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: After Ebola, ban on pregnant pupils sours return to school in Sierra Leone
“…The government and United Nations last year launched alternative classes for pregnant students, which will continue to cater for those who fall foul of the ban as Sierra Leone starts its first full academic year since the Ebola outbreak. Yet countless girls will suffer stigma and discrimination unless the ban is lifted in the West African nation where only six in 10 girls aged 15 to 24 are literate, compared with three-quarters of boys in that age range, human rights activists say…” (Guilbert, 9/13).

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Sri Lanka Overcame Setbacks To Be Declared Malaria-Free

New York Times: ‘Big Success Story’: Sri Lanka Is Declared Free of Malaria
“After a long struggle, Sri Lanka, the large island nation southeast of India, was declared free of malaria last week by the World Health Organization. It has been more than three years since the last case. … Sri Lanka almost succeeded in eliminating malaria 50 years ago, but its huge effort fell apart. The country became the example most frequently cited by malariologists to show how defeat could be pried from the jaws of victory…” (McNeil, 9/12).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Congressional Stalemate Over Zika Virus Response

STAT: Back from Zika hot zone, ‘Mosquito Lady’ to Congress: Move it!
Maureen Dowd, columnist for the New York Times

“…When I got back to D.C. [from Puerto Rico], Joe Biden was on the steps of the Capitol proclaiming Zika a national emergency and urging Congress to stop stonewalling a bill to fight the spread of the pathogen and develop a vaccine. … As was true with Ebola, we can be slow on the uptake with viruses. We often don’t take them seriously enough, especially when they first hit in disadvantaged parts of the world like Africa and the Caribbean. … Puerto Rico is pushing through the [Zika] crisis, even as Congress dithers. But Vice President Biden is right. The battle over a terrifying virus should not be a political football. Congress, act” (9/12).

The Hill: U.S. and Puerto Rico must cooperate on Zika
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.)

“…The most important thing Congress can do is stop squabbling and fund the president’s request for a national strategy to fight Zika, which would include funding to help Puerto Rico address the disease at ground zero. Doing nothing is what this Congress is good at, but there comes a time when Republican leaders need to put their country before their party — even in an election year — and let the resources and experts of the federal government fight this disease. … Congress must act now. The CDC must be allowed to act now. … Puerto Rico — and Puerto Ricans — must understand how serious this really is and address it aggressively with all tools at their disposal, including help from the federal government. We need to act in concert for the good of Puerto Rico and the United States” (9/12).

The Hill: What the Democrats won’t tell you about Zika
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.)

“…The Democrats continue to justify their nay votes by lambasting Republicans for inserting radical ‘poison pill riders’ that hurt women and destroy the environment … Rather than challenging politicians to back up their claims with facts, the media thrive off headlines of congressional inaction. … [Senate Democrats] are more concerned with politicizing an issue that has devastating effects on pregnant women and their babies than they are about doing their jobs and passing legislation. They have more fun using their false, politicized statements to dominate the media narrative and make the American public believe blatant lies” (9/12).

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U.N. High-Level Meeting Should Implement 'Powerful Coordinating Body' On Antimicrobial Resistance

PLOS Medicine: Antimicrobial Resistance: Is the World UNprepared?
Editorial Board

“…September’s high-level meeting at the U.N. … should take the opportunity to put in place a powerful coordinating body to implement the necessary multifaceted response to [antimicrobial resistance (AMR)]. It will be the responsibility of countries and multilateral donors to ensure that adequate financial support is mandated, along with a commitment to create a viable and sustainable model for research and development. Active leadership will be needed to negotiate prudent and explicit country-level standards for antibiotic management, animal husbandry, and other relevant issues. That inaction or lack of coordination could bring the era of effective antibiotic treatment to an end is simply unthinkable” (9/12).

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Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Challenges, Strategies For Health Financing

The Lancet Global Health: Financing for health: where there’s a will…
Editorial Board

“On Aug 23, WHO quietly released a report that should be essential reading for all. … The analysis is a timely reminder that the issue of domestic health financing is not simply a function of economic development. … [T]he WHO report highlights an all-too-commonplace failure to actually spend the money set aside for health. … These failures seem to come down to a fundamental deficiency in public expenditure management, and are an obvious yet under-recognized target for analysis and reform. … [T]he report drills down into the question of spending prioritization within the health sector itself. Evidence shows that recent increases in health expenditure in Africa have not tended to favor expansion of primary care services nor those most accessible to poorer people. … What are the recommendations, then? Revenue (i.e., tax) collection is a key target for strengthening, and, … tobacco taxation is a prime candidate. … [I]dentification of defined benefits and alignment with appropriate payment mechanisms is another key recommendation of the WHO report, and feeds into the need for better engagement between ministries of health and finance and cultivation of long-term, sustainable sources of health financing…” (October 2016).

Devex: Lessons in bond financing for stronger health systems
Tim Crocker-Buqué, PhD candidate, and Sandra Mounier-Jack, senior lecturer, both at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“The [International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm)] remains unique in international development. … As a result of IFFIm’s perceived success, bond financing has been proposed as a way of raising funds for a wide variety of issues in international development, including malaria control, noncommunicable diseases, and education. … To evaluate whether bond financing is a suitable mechanism to fund an international development issue, we propose applying the following four criteria: 1. Can the financing be secured elsewhere? … 2. Is the financing for a once-only cost? … 3. Is there a tangible benefit to accessing funds early? … 4. Is there a plan to measure the outcomes of the financing? … It will be too late if we wait until the next crisis is upon us, which is why there needs to be clarity about the role that bond financing can play in development and consideration of establishing an IFFIm-like international institution to be able to access capital in this way at the time it is most needed” (9/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

World Health Assembly Adopts Global Strategy On Human Resources For Health

Global Health Council Blog: A Strategy to Deliver a Fit-For-Purpose Global Health Workforce
Vince Blaser, director of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, describes the World Health Assembly’s adoption of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030, which “sets out a vision of ‘accelerating progress towards universal health coverage and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring equitable access to health workers within strengthened health systems’ and a series of milestones by 2020 and 2030 to achieve this vision” (Kohlway, 9/9).

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