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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Senate Blocks Continuing Resolution Including Zika Spending; Negotiators Continue Work To Prevent Government Shutdown Friday

Associated Press: Senate blocks stopgap bill to prevent shutdown this weekend
“A must-do bill to prevent the government from shutting down this weekend and to fund the fight against the Zika virus is stalled in the Senate, held up by bipartisan opposition as the clock ticks toward a Friday deadline. Democrats, demanding money so Flint, Michigan, can address its lead-contaminated water crisis, overwhelmingly opposed the measure in a Senate test vote Tuesday. So did a dozen of the Senate’s most conservative members. The 45-55 vote ties up the stopgap funding bill — for now at least…” (9/27).

CQ News: Four Days Left in Fiscal 2016, Senate Rejects Republican CR
“…Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had laid down the measure in the form of a substitute amendment to the legislative vehicle (HR 5325). Following that vote, senators couldn’t gather the votes to limit debate on the underlying legislative vehicle, either, voting 40-59 to reject invoking cloture. This means lawmakers will have to head back to the negotiating table and hash out a deal palatable enough to garner 60 votes in the Senate that would pass through the House before Friday at midnight to avert a partial government shutdown…” (Mejdrich, 9/27).

CQ News: It Might Be an Emergency, But Zika Response Will Take Years
“…[J]ust because Zika is an emergency does not mean that most of the funds allocated for it in a stopgap spending bill will be spent any time soon. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies receiving $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funds will have to obligate the money before the end of fiscal 2017, but spending can go on for several years. So even though Zika aid has been a main legislative fight this year, the response money will likely be spent well through 2021, as research into the mosquito-borne virus continues and a vaccine moves through a multi-phase trial…” (Shutt/Krawzak, 9/27).

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Americas Becomes World's First Region To Eliminate Measles, PAHO/WHO Declare

Agence France-Presse: WHO declares Americas world’s first measles-free region
“Measles has been [eliminated] from the Americas after decades of vaccination efforts, the world’s first region to rid itself of the highly contagious disease, global health authorities said Tuesday…” (Sheridan, 9/27).

The Atlantic: The Measles-Free Americas
“…The news came during a meeting of World Health Organization ministers from throughout the Americas. It makes the fifth vaccine-preventable disease the region has eliminated, including smallpox and rubella. Measles, a particularly deadly disease, can cause brain swelling, blindness, and pneumonia…” (Phippen, 9/27).

CIDRAP News: Americas region first to achieve measles elimination
“…At a media briefing, Carissa Etienne, MD, PAHO director, said, ‘This is proof of the remarkable success that can be achieved when countries work together steadfastly for common goals’…” (Schnirring, 9/27).

NBC News: Measles Has Been Eliminated in the Americas, WHO Says
“… It’s the first time the highly contagious virus has been eliminated in an entire region, although it has been eliminated in individual countries, such as the United States. It was sustained vaccination campaigns that got the job done, WHO said…” (Fox, 9/27).

New York Times: Americas Region Declared Free of Endemic Measles
“…The hemisphere’s last case of endemic measles — meaning one that did not spring from an imported strain — was in 2002. Normally, it takes three years without cases to declare a disease [eliminated] from a region, but in this instance it took 14 years…” (McNeil, 9/27).

U.N. Dispatch: This deadly, child killing disease has just been eradicated from an entire hemisphere
“…According to the World Health Organization, before mass vaccination was initiated in 1980, measles caused nearly 2.6 million annual deaths worldwide. In the Americas, 101,800 deaths were attributable to measles between 1971 and 1979. Still, measles killed some 115,000 children worldwide last year…” (Shaikh, 9/27).

VOA News: The Americas Becomes First Region of World to Eliminate Measles
“…The goal now, said officials, is to maintain the gains through the widespread vaccination of youngsters beginning at the age of one, and making sure they get a booster shot at 18 months…” (Berman, 9/27).

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U.S. Pledges Additional $364M In Humanitarian Aid To Syria, Bringing Total To $5.9B Since 2011

The Atlantic: The United States’s $364 Million Humanitarian Aid to Syria
“The U.S. State Department announced Tuesday the United States would commit more than $364 million in humanitarian aid to those affected by the Syrian civil war. ‘Through this humanitarian funding, the United States continues to provide emergency food, shelter, safe drinking water, medical care, humanitarian protection services, and other urgent relief to millions of people suffering inside Syria and the more than 4.8 million refugees from Syria in the region,’ said Anne Richard, the assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration. The State Department said the announcement brings the total amount of U.S.-pledged assistance to $5.9 billion since 2011, when the civil war first began…” (Serhan, 9/27).

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Unsafe Abortion Responsible For Nearly 50K Deaths Of Women Annually, Group Of U.N. Human Rights Experts Say

U.N. News Centre: Repealing anti-abortion laws would save the lives of nearly 50,000 women a year — U.N. experts
“Warning that unsafe abortions kill nearly 50,000 women each year, United Nations human rights experts [Tuesday] called on states across the world to repeal restrictive abortion laws and policies, and all punitive measures and discriminatory barriers to access safe reproductive health services. ‘Criminalization of abortion and failure to provide adequate access to services for termination of an unwanted pregnancy are forms of discrimination based on sex,’ they said in a joint statement on the eve of the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion…” (9/27).

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Two-Thirds Of World Lacks Access To Basic Radiology Services

The Atlantic: Most of the World Doesn’t Have Access to X-Rays
“…The World Health Organization estimates that two-thirds of the planet does not have access to basic radiology services: simple x-rays, which can show a cracked bone or lung infection, and ultrasounds, which use sound waves to picture a growing fetus, track blood flow, or guide a biopsy. … The global radiology gap is far less discussed than infectious disease outbreaks and natural disasters, but its dangers to public health are every bit as urgent…” (Silverstein, 9/27).

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CNN Examines Global Impact Of Fungi Infections, Related Deaths

CNN: How fungi kill millions globally
“…[T]hese tiny organisms can be fatal and kill an estimated 1.5 million people globally each year. It’s a shockingly high figure and is greater than the number of people who die from malaria, more than twice the number of women who die from breast cancer, and an equivalent number to those who die from tuberculosis, or HIV, each year, according to professor Neil Gow, president of the Microbiology Society…” (East, 9/27).

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Final Steps In Polio Eradication Outlined In Recent GPEI Report

CIDRAP News: Last steps in polio eradication prove challenging
“…Now, a report by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) sheds light on the last hurdles researchers and scientists must jump before they can say polio is banished from the earth. The report, ‘Polio will not end everywhere until everywhere ends it,’ was published in August and describes logistical and organizational difficulties reaching the three remaining [wild poliovirus (WPV)] reservoirs in the world: Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It is the IMB’s 13th report since April 2011…” (Soucheray, 9/27).

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World Bank Board Appoints Jim Yong Kim For Second 5-Year Term As President

Bloomberg News: World Bank Appoints President Jim Yong Kim for Second Term
“Jim Yong Kim was appointed for another five-year term as World Bank president … In re-appointing Kim, the board cited his ‘leadership and vision,’ which included overseeing a commitment by member nations to end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost income growth for the bottom 40 percent of earners in every developing nation, the lender said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. Kim’s new term will begin July 1, 2017…” (Mayeda, 9/27).

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Guinea Considers Integrating Traditional Healers Into Health Care System To Alleviate Mistrust

The Guardian: Healers cure mistrust in Guinea’s health system after horrors of Ebola
“…Traditional healers, who in this West African country mainly forage for remedies in the forest, are believed to be the first port of call for around 80 percent of sick Guineans. A dire shortage of health workers means there is not much competition for these men and women who live in the communities they treat. They are thought to have divine powers, and enjoy unquestioning trust. This trust proved crucial during the Ebola outbreak, when traditional healers were persuaded to refer patients to treatment centers and were taught how to stop it spreading. Now, the government is considering trying to integrate traditional healers into the health care systems more generally in Guinea, to help fight other diseases including malaria, cholera, meningitis, and measles…” (Maclean, 9/28).

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Activists In South Africa Demand Country Update Patent Laws To Help Improve Access To Medicines

Quartz: South Africa’s outdated patent laws are standing in the way of affordable, lifesaving drugs
“…Protests in Pretoria on Sept. 27 sought to highlight the exorbitant prices of many lifesaving drugs in the country. [The group of activists behind the Fix the Patent Law campaign] lay the blame on medical patent laws that allow drug companies to charge full price for medication that can be purchased for much less in other parts of the world. The hepatitis B treatment, for instance, costs about $400 in South Africa, compared to just $35 in India…” (Chutel, 9/27).

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HIV Infection Rate Among Young, Gay Men In Southeastern China Growing Rapidly, Report Shows

Wall Street Journal: China Grapples With HIV Cases Among Gay Men, but Stigma Runs Deep
“A health report from a southeastern corner of China has brought a disturbing truth into the open: HIV infections are growing rapidly among young, gay Chinese men. The trend is worrying health authorities — and prompting criticism of their efforts to respond — in a country that until 2001 classified homosexuality as a mental illness and where there is almost no public discussion of gay issues or rights. The report this month from health authorities in Nanchang, a city of five million, said the HIV infection rate among students at the city’s colleges grew by 43 percent annually in the past five years. More than 80 percent of the new cases were the result of male same-sex encounters…” (Wang, 9/27).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.N. General Assembly Takes Necessary Steps To Address Antimicrobial Resistance

New York Times: The World Wakes Up to the Danger of Superbugs
Editorial Board

“…Last week, amid other pressing business, 193 nations at the United Nations General Assembly signed a declaration summoning each of them to a war against a powerful and resourceful enemy: superbugs … Excessive and improper use of existing drugs by doctors, patients, and farmers has hastened the natural process through which microbes develop immunity. And scientists and pharmaceutical companies are not developing new medicines fast enough to replace ineffective treatments. … This puts a burden on governments to invest more in research and development. Governments could also offer incentives … to companies that develop new vaccines and antibiotics, and they could contractually agree to buy medicines to assure companies that they will have a market for their products. The United Nations was right to ring the alarm about superbugs, a growing danger that requires a global response” (9/28).

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Leveraging Partnerships Critical To Achieving Global Food, Nutrition Security, SDGs

Devex: Ending hunger and malnutrition: How to leverage partnerships that work
Laté Lawson-Lartego, senior director for food and nutrition security at CARE USA

“…To truly achieve food and nutrition security for all, we must tackle the vicious cycle of malnutrition. … We need to be sure we’re creating programs that commit to making changes for the most excluded people — especially women — and that we’re thinking about scale. … We need to harness the power of the many players now in the development sphere — including multistakeholder partnerships, research institutes, civil society and communities engagement, and the private sector — but, we can’t let this dilute the responsibility from governments at all levels to make the needed change happen. … There are terrific examples of breakthrough thinking that happen as a result of ‘unlikely allies’ working together both across and within sectors to take advantage of expertise and assets that can leapfrog results and impact created with traditional approaches. Here are five essential pieces of advice for every partnership to help navigate challenges: 1. Ensure we share common values. 2. Know where our expertise and assets can be leveraged. 3. Establish trust and open dialogue between our organizations. 4. Be ready to be challenged and find a middle ground. 5. Stay the course and be persistent to achieve your end goal…” (9/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Vaccinating Dogs For Rabies Critical To Animal, Human Health In Ethiopia

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: The Reality of Rabies in Ethiopia: When Man’s Best Friend Becomes the Enemy
Emily Pieracci, a veterinarian at the CDC, discusses the burden of rabies in Ethiopia, the importance of vaccinating dogs against the disease, and U.S. efforts to help the Ethiopian government design and implement a rabies elimination plan (9/27).

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Former Portuguese Prime Minister Guterres Continues To Lead Polls For Next U.N. Secretary General

Humanosphere: Guterres extends lead in race for next U.N. Secretary General
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses the status of the race for the next U.N. secretary general, noting the latest poll shows “former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres … is on the brink of securing the job, but the next poll will provide some needed clarity” (9/27).

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Commentary Discusses Abortion Rates, Access To Safe Services In Developing Countries

Rewire: Abortion in Developing Regions: What Progress Since 1990?
Ann M. Starrs, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, recognizes International Safe Abortion Day, which takes place annually on September 28, and discusses the need for access to safe abortions in developing countries. Starrs highlights results from a recent study that “found that most developed regions have seen a marked decline in the rate of abortion, … [which] suggests that women and couples in developed countries have become more successful at avoiding unintended pregnancies … [However, in] developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, the overall rate of abortion has barely changed over the same time period” (9/27).

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