KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Florida Governor Pushes For Zika Funding On Capitol Hill; State's Representatives Press For Clean Bill As Negotiators Continue To Struggle With Contraception Services Language

Associated Press: Florida Gov. Scott presses for Zika money, blasts Democrats
“Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott came to Washington on Tuesday to press for long-overdue money to fight the Zika virus, making his case for the money with top congressional Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan — while blasting away at the Obama administration and Democrats like three-term Florida Sen. Bill Nelson…” (9/13).

CQ News: ‘Clean’ Zika Funding Bill Pushed by Florida Delegation
“Florida lawmakers from both political parties continued to push for a clean Zika funding bill on Tuesday as congressional leaders got closer to releasing details of the stopgap funding package expected to contain money to address the mosquito-borne illness. Members of the state’s House and Senate delegation as well as its governor spent much of the day advocating for a bill that does not contain any of the political policy provisions that stalled it in the Senate earlier this year. The most controversial one deals with Planned Parenthood funding in Puerto Rico…” (Shutt, 9/13).

CQ HealthBeat: Contraception Services Vexes Stopgap Bill Talks
“Optimism about Senate passage this week of a stopgap spending bill has dimmed as negotiators continue to wrestle with how to adjust Zika funding provisions on contraception services — particularly language restricting the flow of funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates in Puerto Rico. Senate negotiators seeking to finesse funding restrictions for contraception services have so far been met with objections from House Republicans…” (Jenks, 9/14).

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Puerto Rico Needs U.S. Funding To Help Avoid Potential Widespread Effects Of Zika Epidemic, The Atlantic Reports

The Atlantic: The American Zika Outbreak
“…As Congress dithers over funding for Zika prevention on the mainland, the island commonwealth of Puerto Rico is at a stage well beyond the reach of a preemptive strike. … Whether or not lawmakers consider it a bailout, the clearest solution in Puerto Rico is a significant injection of federal funds and a bolstering of women’s health services on the island. … Yet even if [$1.1 billion in Zika spending] is passed without restrictions on Planned Parenthood, that funding still may not be enough for prevention on an island with clearly favorable year-round conditions for Zika, with a beleaguered health infrastructure, and with a health insurance program that has been chronically underfunded. If the emergency bill is the end and not the start of public health debate over Zika funding, Congress’s scramble to protect the mainland could very well come at the cost of Puerto Rico…” (Newkirk, 9/13).

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Blood, Body Fluids Of Zika Patients Could Be Infectious, CDC Warns In Case Study Of Utah Man

ABC News: CDC Still Stumped by Mystery Zika Case in Utah
“More information on a mysterious case of Zika infection in Utah has come to light, health officials said [Tuesday]. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the case of a Utah man who contracted a Zika infection although he was not exposed through a mosquito or sexual transmission. Their findings were published [Tuesday] in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report…” (Mohney, 9/13).

Washington Post: Zika virus may spread through bodily fluids, study finds
“…[I]nformation released Tuesday by federal and state health officials suggest that contact with bodily fluids, such as tears, discharge from infected eyes, saliva, vomit, urine, or stool, could have been how a Utah man became infected after caring for his elderly father. The father died in June after contracting Zika from travel abroad. The father’s blood had a level of infectious virus 100,000 times as high as the average level reported in people infected with Zika, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (Sun, 9/13).

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U.N. High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Report Supports Compulsory Licensing For Life-Saving Drugs, More Government-Funded R&D

Financial Times: Poorer countries need rapid access to generic drugs, U.N. says
“Poorer countries struggling to afford expensive life-altering drugs should be allowed to override pharmaceutical patents so they can access a cheaper supply of generic drugs, according to a U.N. report published on Wednesday. … According to a much-awaited report from the U.N. High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, countries that are struggling to afford drugs should instead be able to unilaterally issue ‘compulsory licenses’ that would allow them to quickly access a generic supply without the branded drugmaker’s permission…” (Crow, 9/14).

The Guardian: U.N. calls on big pharma to reduce cost of life-saving medicines
“A United Nations High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines has called for major changes to the way in which research and development (R&D) of life-saving medicines is funded in order to make them more affordable for patients around the world and fight neglected diseases. The report from the panel, established by the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, warns that ‘it is imperative that governments increase their current levels of investment in health technology innovation’ in order to provide ‘fair rewards for the inventors while ensuring that prices remain fair and affordable’…” (Grant, 9/14).

Reuters: U.N. panel challenges market-based approach to drug R&D
“…The final report, issued on Wednesday, calls for a de-linkage of R&D costs and drug prices — at least in areas where the system is failing, such as tropical diseases and the hunt for new antibiotics against ‘superbug’ resistant bacteria. It urges the U.N. secretary general to start a process for governments to negotiate global agreements on the coordination, financing, and development of priority research programs…” (Hirschler, 9/14).

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New U.N. Report Examines Development Successes, Challenges Of World's 48 Least Developed Countries

U.N. News Centre: U.N. report calls for synergies between universal 2030 Agenda and goals for least developed countries
“The world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs) have experienced some positive developments, yet challenges remain with new risks and uncertainties threatening development gains, according to a new United Nations report released [Tuesday]…” (9/13).

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Health Officials Plan Polio Immunization Campaign In 4 Countries After Disease Re-Emerges In Nigeria

NPR: Nigeria Has To Wipe Out Polio — Again
“…Last year, the World Health Organization declared the country to be ‘polio-free.’ That milestone meant the disease was gone from the entire continent of Africa, a major triumph in the multibillion-dollar global effort to eradicate the disease. But … [t]hree new cases of polio have been confirmed in areas liberated from Boko Haram militants, prompting health officials to launch a massive campaign to vaccinate millions of children across four countries in West and Central Africa…” (Beaubien, 9/14).

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Ebola Epidemic Spurred Health System Improvements, Focus On Reducing Maternal Mortality In Sierra Leone

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — Ebola lessons spur on Sierra Leone’s fight against maternal deaths
“…Maternal and child deaths spiked as a result [of the Ebola epidemic], and the country’s maternal mortality rate soared to 1,360 deaths per 100,000 births last year from 1,100 in 2013, U.N. data shows. The government and the United Nations say they have learnt lessons from the Ebola epidemic, which sparked a fresh drive to improve the health system — on which less than 10 percent of the state budget is spent — and reduce maternal deaths…” (Guilbert, 9/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Should Continue To Exhibit Bipartisan Leadership In Foreign Assistance Programs By Establishing Global Health Crisis Rapid Response Capacity

TIME: The Surprise Bipartisan Success Story of Congress: American Aid
Liz Schrayer, president and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

“‘Washington is broken, nothing is getting done’ is a mantra we hear often these days. Yet there is one issue that has continuously broken through in this Congress with bipartisan support: America’s foreign assistance programs. Five major pieces of bipartisan legislation on global development have been signed into law in less than two years — on food security, energy, rights for women and girls, water and sanitation, and aid transparency — all in an effort to advance America’s interests in the world. … Yet the latest Zika epidemic is a reminder that even global health issues can get caught up in partisan bickering. … The next Congress and administration should break this cycle of responding to global health crises one-by-one, effectively allowing them to become enmeshed in a broken Washington. We need to establish a smart and efficient rapid response capacity … that empowers our global health professionals to prevent and respond without the interference of partisan politics. … When it comes to America’s foreign assistance programs, it simply [is] not true that this is a ‘do-nothing Congress.’ … From energy and food security to rights for women and girls, Washington should be applauded for its leadership on foreign assistance and American engagement. It’s time to add on one more bipartisan victory with the fight against Zika…” (9/13).

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Continued Investments In Global Fund Will Help 'Build Resilience And Independence' Among Girls, Young Women To Prevent HIV

Huffington Post Canada: It Is Time To Rally Around Young Women And Girls
Monica Geingos, first lady of the Republic of Namibia

“…Oppression of women and appropriation of their sexual reproduction processes by men has meant that as we press forward with efforts to end HIV as an epidemic, adolescent girls and young women in their reproductive age have been left way behind. … We must do more for our young women and girls. … We have to be innovative. … The Global Fund is investing strongly in improving the health of women and girls, by advancing gender equality and supporting programs that can build resilience and independence among young women and girls. … To achieve this goal, among others, the Global Fund is holding a replenishment conference on September 16-17, in Montreal, Canada. … With sufficient domestic and international investments in health and other social programs that affect women’s health, we can move ahead in laying a foundation for transformation of the lives of Africa’s women and girls. … Educated and empowered women will raise children who have the power to seize opportunities, prevent diseases and live successfully” (9/13).

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Broken Medical Equipment In Low-Income Countries Represents Lack Of Local Health Worker Engagement In Donation Decision Process

NPR: Rage Against The Busted Medical Machines
Nahid Bhadelia, infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center and director of infection control at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory

“…When medical equipment breaks down in the developing world, it often stays broken. There are usually few supply chains to get replacement parts, and local technical expertise is sparse. Even when the machinery isn’t broken, it may not be useful. … I have also noticed that there is often a mismatch between the equipment donated and the capacity of the health care facility to actually use the machine. … [T]he issue of broken medical equipment leaves me uneasy because it is a literal and figurative representation of the power differential between the donor and recipient. Many poor communities accept donations regardless of what they are due to dire needs and not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth. But the sheer waste speaks loudly to the importance of engaging health care workers and other members of low-income communities in the decision process” (9/8).

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Elimination Of Maternal, Neonatal Tetanus Possible With Improved Access To Care

Huffington Post: Reaching Mothers to Reach Children
Folake Olayinka, Aspen New Voices fellow

“…The occurrence of neonatal tetanus is a triple failure: of vaccination services, [antenatal care (ANC)], and obstetric care. Yet India has shown by its elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus that prevention, even in poorly served areas, is possible. … With such low ANC attendance and poor access to care in many places, the goal of maternal vaccinations and positive pregnancy outcomes remains elusive for many. … Large expansions in antenatal care coverage are still needed to provide the strong platforms to achieve and sustain maternal vaccinations and antenatal care to all pregnant women. … Providing care for the mother during pregnancy has huge implications not just for her health but also for the child she carries and her community. Many health problems in pregnant women can be prevented, detected, and treated during antenatal care by trained health workers. India is a good example of how to do just that” (9/13).

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Providing Water, Sanitation Services To All Critical To Eradicating Extreme Poverty By 2030

Devex: A tale of clean cities: How to solve the urban sanitation challenge
Andrés Hueso, senior policy analyst for sanitation at WaterAid

“…Providing urban sanitation services to [cities’ entire populations], including those who are very poor and often have no ownership of their land and few if any legal rights, is a complex challenge, but a vital one. … To be effective, planning must be adapted to the specific context and phase of sanitation development, be linked to financing opportunities, and become a continual learning process. … Unless all city dwellers have adequate sanitation services, there will always be a health risk to the entire population. This is a message that those involved in urban sanitation should promote, as it will prompt authorities to include and prioritize reaching slums and poorer households in their efforts. That will be the only way to realize the ambitions to eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, and reaching everyone everywhere with clean water and sanitation” (9/12).

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Syria's Civil War Could Lead To Long-Term Mental Health Challenges, Consequences For Children

Washington Post: I treated kids in a Syrian hospital. We have no idea how to heal their trauma.
John Kahler, pediatrician and volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society

“…[The war in Syria] is maiming children emotionally as well as physically. … [The] environment [in Aleppo] has led to epidemics of anxiety and depression among Syria’s children. These mental health challenges can have long-term consequences on the child’s ability to learn and to form meaningful relationships. Once this war is over, we’ll need to conduct a major mental health assessment and treatment for these children. Physical safety and rebuilding will be the easy part. Healing the spirit and soul is much harder. The United States and Russia have implemented a plan to reduce violence in Syria. Given the failure of all the other agreements, the people of Aleppo wait cautiously but hopefully for some sunlight in this pervasive darkness” (9/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Highlights Comments By HHS Officials, Obstetrics, Pediatric Groups' Representatives On Zika Epidemic, U.S. Response

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Without new funding by Oct. 1, Zika responses will be limited, HHS says
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses comments made by HHS officials and representatives of national obstetrics and pediatric groups during a media call on the Zika epidemic held Tuesday morning. “Without new funding, they said, new Zika response activities will not be initiated after Oct. 1,” Barton notes (9/13).

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