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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Half Of Americans Uncomfortable Visiting Zika-Affected Parts Of Florida, One-Third Say Congressional Action To Fund Outbreak Response Should Be 'Top Priority,' Kaiser Family Foundation Poll Shows

Associated Press: Poll: Half of Americans wary of travel to U.S. Zika zones
“Nearly half of Americans polled say they are wary of traveling to places in the U.S. where people have been infected with the Zika virus by mosquitoes, such as parts of Florida. A poll released Thursday on Americans’ health care attitudes by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 48 percent would be uncomfortable traveling to Zika infection areas within the U.S., and up to 61 percent felt uneasy about traveling to Puerto Rico or non-U.S. Zika zones…” (Anderson, 9/1).

The Hill: Poll: Most want Congress to pass Zika funding
“…A poll released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 36 percent of the public says Congress passing Zika funding is a ‘top priority,’ with another 40 percent saying it is ‘important but not a top priority.’ Just nine percent say it is ‘not too important,’ and five percent say funding should not be approved at all. Both parties have so far been blaming the other for a lack of funding…” (Sullivan, 9/1).

Miami Herald: Poll: Half of Americans ‘not comfortable’ visiting Florida due to Zika spread
“…According to the poll, the Zika virus outbreak continues to be the health policy story most followed by Americans, with interest taking off after health officials confirmed the nation’s first cases of people being infected by mosquitoes in a section of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood…” (Chang, 9/1).

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More Than 2.5M People In Asia, Africa At Risk Of Zika Infection, Analysis Shows

Associated Press: Where’s Zika going next? Maybe China, India, or Nigeria
“Scientists trying to predict the future path of Zika say that 2.6 billion people living in parts of Asia and Africa could be at risk of infection, based on a new analysis of travel, climate, and mosquito patterns in those regions. Some of the most vulnerable countries include India, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, according to the research…” (Cheng, 9/1).

Vox: Zika in Florida is getting all the attention. But here’s where the real threat is.
“… ‘Many of [these] areas have a rather limited health [care] capacity,’ said Isaac Bogoch, study author and infectious diseases specialist at the Toronto General Hospital. ‘These countries might be slow to detect the virus — and they might not have the capabilities to do mosquito surveillance, mosquito-control efforts, or perhaps provide appropriate maternal screening and management for pregnant women affected with the virus’…” (Belluz, 9/1).

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Singaporeans Take Precautions Against Zika As Case Count Rises To 151

Associated Press: Singapore in battle mode against Zika after infections rise
“Singapore is encouraging residents to use insect repellent, clear blockages in drains, and wear long-sleeved clothing to protect themselves from mosquitoes after the number of Zika infections rose to 151 in the city-state…” (Liang, 9/2).

Reuters: Cover up, stay in: Singaporeans wary as Zika spreads
“…One of the world’s leading financial hubs, Singapore is the only Asian country with active transmission of the mosquito-borne virus, which generally causes mild symptoms but can lead to serious birth defects in pregnant women. Authorities say they have found over 150 cases since the first locally contracted infection was reported a week ago, and with the virus spreading beyond the cluster where it was initially detected, more people are taking precautions…” (Ungku/Aravindan, 9/2).

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Cuba's Intensive Zika Prevention Campaign Works To Contain Virus; Nation Records 3 Locally Acquired Cases

Associated Press: Cuba reports remarkable success in containing Zika virus
“Six months after President Raul Castro declared war on the Zika virus in Cuba, a militarized nationwide campaign of intensive mosquito spraying, monitoring, and quarantine appears to be working. Cuba is among the few countries in the Western Hemisphere that have so far prevented significant spread of the disease blamed for birth defects in thousands of children. Only three people have caught Zika in Cuba…” (Weissenstein, 9/2).

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Guinea-Bissau Zika Cases Not Same Viral Strain As Latin America's, WHO Says

Agence France-Presse: Guinea-Bissau Zika cases not from Americas strain: WHO
“Zika cases found in Guinea-Bissau do not stem from the virus strain linked to a surge in birth defects in Latin America, the World Health Organization said. … While the African strain of the virus found in the country had ‘not been associated with microcephaly and other neurologic complications, further surveillance is needed,’ the U.N. health agency said, pointing out that so far there had been ‘very few confirmed cases of the African lineage’…” (9/2).

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Dengue Vaccine Should Be Used With Caution In Nations With Low Disease Prevalence, Study Shows

CNN: New dengue vaccine could instead cause more cases, experts warn
“This may go against what typically comes to mind when you think about vaccines, but the newly licensed vaccine against the dengue virus — trade name Dengvaxia — could lead to an increase in the number of cases of the disease if not implemented correctly, experts warn in a new study. … [I]n the new study, published Thursday, Ferguson used data from [previously conducted] clinical trials to assess the impact of using the vaccine in different settings and found that its use in areas with low levels of disease, where people are unlikely to have been previously exposed to dengue, could lead to an increase in people severely affected by the infection due to the complexities of the virus and the way it interacts with our immune system…” (Senthilingam, 9/1).

VOA News: Dengue Fever Vaccine Could Cause Severe Illness
“…In countries with a high prevalence of the disease, [Isabel Rodriguez-Barraquer of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the study’s primary authors,] said, the vaccine should not be a problem. Investigators concluded Dengvaxia can reduce severe illness and hospitalizations by 20 percent to 30 percent in such places. But in countries with a low prevalence, where only 10 percent of the population has been previously infected with dengue, the vaccine ought to be used with caution. Ideally, Rodriguez-Barraquer said, people should be tested before being vaccinated, to see whether they have been infected by dengue in the past…” (Berman, 9/1).

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South Africa Begins Test-And-Treat Strategy For All People Living With HIV

Associated Press: South Africa to give free HIV treatment to all infected
“South Africa said Thursday it will now provide free treatment to all people infected with HIV, regardless of the condition of their immune system. The country leads the world in infections. Before the announcement by the country’s health department, people were eligible for free treatment based on a certain measure of their white blood cells, which fight infection…” (9/1).

Xinhua News: South Africa implements HIV universal test and treat program
“…The government believes the new measure will stop the transmission of HIV and also improve life expectancy in the country. … South Africa has the world’s biggest treatment program covering over 3.4 million people…” (9/1).

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India's Government To Launch First-Ever Leprosy Vaccine, Developed In-Country

The Guardian: India rolls out world’s first leprosy vaccine as fight goes on ‘war footing’
“…Today India accounts for more than 60 percent of the world’s new leprosy cases and health officials have quietly moved to a ‘war footing’ against it, one senior researcher says. This week the government announced a major step: the world’s first leprosy vaccine, developed in-country but tied up for years in testing, will be rolled out in Gujarat and Bihar, two states where the problem is sharpest…” (Safi, 9/1).

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La Niña Weather Pattern Could Exacerbate Drought, Hunger In Somalia, U.N. Says

Reuters: U.N. worried La Niña will worsen ‘dire’ drought in Somalia
“The La Niña weather phenomenon is likely to worsen drought and hunger in Somalia, especially in the north where many people and their animals are migrating in search of water after four failed rainy seasons, the United Nations said on Thursday…” (Migiro, 9/1).

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Acute Malnutrition Rates 'Critical' In Northeast Nigeria, Experts Say

The Economist: Nigeria’s food crisis: Hunger games
“…All told, the U.N. estimates that 240,000 children in Borno are suffering from severe acute malnutrition — the deadliest category of it. More than 130 will die each day without assistance. Across the wider northeast of Nigeria, a population equivalent to New Zealand’s is in need of food aid. … Nigeria cannot excuse itself as a failed state. It is Africa’s second-biggest economy. Things should never have got this bad. That they did is largely because of Boko Haram…” (9/3).

IRIN: Malnutrition rates in Nigeria “horrifying”
“The world may have finally woken up to the child hunger emergency in northeastern Nigeria, but the latest data shows, if anything, a deepening crisis. Levels of Global Acute Malnutrition recorded in July and August were well over the 15 percent threshold deemed ‘critical,’ and, in some cases, higher than 50 percent, meaning more than half the children surveyed suffered from moderate or severe acute malnutrition…” (Egbejule, 9/1).

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In Mozambique, Some Girls Forced Into, Turn To Sex Work To Survive

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Poor Mozambique families take girls’ virginity, force them into sex work
“…Women’s rights campaigners say scores of mostly orphaned girls in Mozambique have suffered … sexual initiations at the hands of their guardians, who offer them to rich, older men in exchange for food, clothes, cash, or even a goat. … The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF has also recognized the threat [of natural disasters], warning in July that drought exacerbated by El Niño could lead to a spike in new HIV infections in southern Africa as more women and girls turn to sex to survive…” (Mwareya, 9/2).

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The Guardian Profiles mothers2mothers Group That Mentors HIV-Positive Mothers

The Guardian: Pregnant and diagnosed with HIV: the group providing support for mothers
“…[mothers2mothers (M2M)] started in 2001 and has helped 1.4 million HIV-positive mothers in nine sub-Saharan African countries. It currently operates in Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Uganda, Swaziland, and Zambia — seven countries where it has virtually eliminated mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) among its patients, with a 2.1 percent transmission rate (the U.N. classifies virtual elimination as less than five percent)…” (McNeish, 9/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Continued Investments Critical To Ending HIV, TB, Malaria Epidemics

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Battle against HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria at tipping point
Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund

“…The next three to five years will determine if we are the generation to end [the HIV, TB, and malaria] epidemics, or if we will pass them on for generations to come. But scientific breakthroughs and better health policy alone will not win the day. … We must embrace those who are different from us — who are ‘other’ — and create the inclusive human family we are meant to be. … Together, through the programs we support, 20 million lives have been saved and many millions more have been improved. Later this month when leaders meet in Montreal to replenish the Global Fund for the next three years, they have an opportunity to give future generations a world free from the epidemics of AIDS, TB, and malaria. The decisions is ours. We can end it. For good” (9/1).

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Supply Chains Need To Be Strengthened To Ensure Life-Saving Vaccines Reach Those In Need

Forbes: Are Vaccines Getting To Where They Need To Go?
Bruce Y. Lee, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center, and director of operations research at the International Vaccine Access Center

“…Without vaccine supply chains, vaccines cannot make it to the people. Without making it to the people, vaccines can’t do anything. And when vaccines can’t do anything, the life-saving and improving power of vaccines and money invested in them go to waste. … Indeed, numerous vaccine supply chains around the world aren’t performing well and struggling to make ends meet. … In recent years, the tide has been turning so that more attention and efforts have focused on improving vaccine supply chains in low- and middle-income countries. … Ultimately, vaccines can help prevent disease, avoid suffering and save lives. But they have to reach people to do their job…” (8/31).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Addressing Health Needs Of Women, Girls, Youth Critical To Achieving SDGs

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: #WhyNow: Because Investing In Women, Girls, And Youth Is The Key To A Healthy Future
This blog post discusses the impact of malaria and HIV on young people and the importance of investing in the health of women, girls, and youth to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (9/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.