KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Congress Approves Continuing Resolution, Including $1.1B In Zika Response Funding

CQ News: Senate Passes Stopgap Spending Bill, Speeds it to House
“The Senate Wednesday passed a 10-week continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 9 and avert a partial government shutdown at the end of the week. The chamber voted 72-26 in favor of final passage of the underlying legislative vehicle (HR 5325) for the stopgap spending package, following a series of procedural votes…” (McCrimmon/Shutt, 9/28).

CQ News: Advocates Praise Zika Funding in Continuing Resolution
“…The continuing resolution filed earlier this week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would fund the government until Dec. 9 and includes $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funds. … The additional money for Zika research was welcome news to advocates who have pushed for additional federal funding to combat the virus…” (Williams, 9/28).

The Hill: Congress approves $1.1B in Zika funds
“House passage of a government funding bill late Wednesday night means that funding for the Zika virus has finally been approved…” (Sullivan, 9/28).

New York Times: Congress Approves Spending Bill, Averting Government Shutdown
“…The stopgap spending bill, which would fund the government through Dec. 9, had been ensnarled in a debate over financing for the lead-tainted water system in Flint, Mich. But an agreement between congressional leaders late Tuesday … appeared to ameliorate Democratic concerns, clearing the way for the Senate to pass the spending bill, 72 to 26. The House followed suit late Wednesday, approving the measure 342 to 85…” (Huetteman, 9/28).

NPR: Congress Ends Spat, Agrees To Fund $1.1 Billion To Combat Zika
“…President Obama asked for $1.9 billion in emergency federal funding back in February to fight Zika. The administration has been using money shifted from other accounts, including money that had been specified for studying and fighting Ebola, and for state-level emergency preparedness, to address the Zika threat…” (Kodjak, 9/28).

Roll Call: House Easily Passes 10-Week Stopgap Spending Bill
“…In addition to continuing fiscal 2016 levels for programs through Dec. 9 — though that level was knocked down by just under half a percent to fit under budget caps — the package also includes $1.1 billion in funding to respond to the Zika virus, $500 million in flood relief for Louisiana and other states, and full fiscal 2017 appropriations for military construction and veterans…” (Mejdrich/McCrimmon, 9/28).

STAT: Congress approves $1.1 billion in Zika funding
“…For several months, Health and Human Services department officials have told lawmakers that the funding for vaccine development at the would be depleted by the end of August; and that they were running out of money transferred from other programs, such as Ebola…” (Kaplan, 9/28).

USA TODAY: Congress approves deal to keep government open, fight Zika
“…The White House issued a statement Wednesday saying that it supports the compromise bill, which President Obama is poised to sign into law no later than Friday…” (Kelly, 9/28).

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CIDRAP News Examines Challenges Of Implementing U.N. Declaration On Antimicrobial Resistance

CIDRAP News: After the U.N. declaration on AMR, what comes next?
“With last week’s approval of a United Nations (U.N.) declaration on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), world leaders have made a commitment to fight the rise of drug-resistant pathogens and ensure continued access to life-saving antibiotics. Now comes the hard part: Turning the commitment into action…” (Dall, 9/28).

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WHO Calls For Medical Evacuation Corridors In Aleppo As Airstrikes Continue To Hit Hospitals In Rebel-Held Part Of Syrian Capital

BBC News: Syria conflict: Aleppo evacuation corridors needed, WHO says
“The World Health Organization wants safe routes to be set up immediately to evacuate sick and wounded Syrians from besieged parts of the city of Aleppo. A spokeswoman said there were only 35 doctors left to care for hundreds of trapped patients, and that the number of casualties was rising…” (9/27).

U.N. News Centre: ‘No words left’ to describe suffering of children in Aleppo — UNICEF
“Children in Aleppo are trapped in a ‘living nightmare,’ a senior official of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said [Wednesday], stressing yet again, the direness of the situation, particularly for the children, in Syria’s war-ravaged Aleppo…” (9/28).

Wall Street Journal: Aleppo Airstrikes Continue as City’s Hospitals Reach Breaking Point
“The continuing Syrian and Russian bombardment of Aleppo has put an intense strain on the city’s medical and rescue capabilities, leaving bodies under rubble and wounded patients to die in overwhelmed hospitals, according to medical workers and emergency responders…” (Abdulrahim, 9/28).

Washington Post: Darkness and fear in Aleppo as the bombs rain down
“…In the small hours of Wednesday morning, it was the turn of two hospitals to be hit in the dark. The hospitals, the two biggest in eastern Aleppo, were struck by bombs shortly after 3:30 a.m., killing two patients and putting the buildings out of use for the victims of more bombings later in the day. Such is the tenor of life in rebel-held Aleppo, which had become accustomed to regular airstrikes in the four years since rebels seized control of the eastern portion of the city — but nothing like the intensity of the past week…” (Sly/Loveluck, 9/28).

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UNICEF, MSF Warn Of Severe Food Insecurity In Boko Haram-Hit Regions Of Nigeria

Associated Press: 75,000 could starve to death in Nigeria after Boko Haram: U.N.
“As many as 75,000 children will die over the next year in famine-like conditions created by Boko Haram if donors don’t respond quickly, the U.N. Children’s Fund is warning. That’s far more than the 20,000 people killed in the seven-year Islamic uprising…” (Faul/Umar, 9/29).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Hunger ‘deadlier than violence’ in Boko Haram-hit northeast Nigeria
“Living conditions for people uprooted by Boko Haram violence and seeking refuge in camps and towns across northeast Nigeria are more deadly than the conflict between the Islamist militants and the army, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Wednesday. Hunger and malnutrition is widespread among the displaced in Borno State, not just in remote, previously inaccessible areas, but also in the capital Maiduguri, the medical aid group said…” (Guilbert, 9/28).

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26M Yemenis Face Starvation Amid Humanitarian Crisis Caused By War

Xinhua/New China: Humanitarian situation worsens as 26 million Yemenis face starvation
“The impoverished Arab country of Yemen is now one step closer to famine, according to a United Nations (U.N.) report. People here wonder how much more suffering can 26 million Yemenis bear? … The airstrikes and fighting on the ground have killed over 10,000 Yemenis, many of them women and children, and injured around 35,000 others, according to a U.N. report. Over three million have been displaced…” (al-Azaki, 9/28).

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U.N. Marks World Rabies Day, Urges Human, Animal Health Authorities To Better Address Disease

U.N. News Centre: On World Day, U.N. urges rabies control beyond human and animal health services
“Officials at the United Nations [Wednesday] urged human and animal health authorities around the world to step up and more effectively address rabies — a preventable but fatal disease that still claims the lives of an estimated 60,000 people each year — as the international community marks World Rabies Day…” (9/28).

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Delhi Faces Annual Outbreaks Of Dengue, Chikungunya During Monsoon Season

Associated Press: In annual ritual, Delhi struggles with dengue, chikungunya
“…The cycle of illness and packed hospital ‘fever clinics’ plays out every year as monsoon rains fill puddles and open drains in the teeming city, creating swarms of mosquitoes that thrive in the warm, damp weather. Some years it’s mainly dengue; in others, it’s mostly chikungunya. The epidemics start promptly in August and stay for months, sickening tens of thousands and killing dozens, each year seeming to catch the government and population unprepared for it…” (9/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Government's Leadership On NTDs 'Built Platforms' For Further Progress On Control, Elimination Goals

The Hill: A bold bet by the U.S. to end the world’s most neglected diseases
Lisa Rotondo, director of ENVISION, USAID’s flagship global NTD project implemented by RTI International

“This year, the U.S. government marks 10 years of commitment to fighting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). … The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched arguably the largest public-private partnership in its history and one of the most underrated global development success stories of our time. It’s an effort backed by longstanding bipartisan leadership and support in Congress for foreign assistance, and specifically for global health. … Now, the NTD-fighting community stands at a crossroads: We must accelerate our work if we want to achieve ambitious control and elimination goals, while simultaneously building a strong foundation that will sustain success after 2020. … We have built platforms that can now deploy a decade of experience and tools more effectively and further than ever before. The U.S. government’s bold bet 10 years ago to invest in NTDs — as well as our collective achievements as a community — is making a real impact in the lives of hundreds of millions of people. We can’t lose momentum now…” (9/28).

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U.N. General Assembly Must Begin Negotiations On Treaty To Prohibit Global Health Security Threat Of Nuclear Weapons

The Guardian: Banning nuclear weapons is crucial for global health
Ira Helfand and Tilman Ruff, co-presidents of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War; Sir Michael Marmot, president of the World Medical Association; Frances Hughes, CEO of the International Council of Nurses; and Michael Moore, president of the World Federation of Public Health Associations

“…Nuclear weapons release intense ionizing radiation that jeopardizes any immediate survivors; causes acute and long-term illnesses, including cancers, that are often deadly; and leaves a legacy of genetic and intergenerational health harm. … Earlier this year, our federations, the main bodies representing millions of physicians, nurses, and public health professionals around the world, presented these facts to a special U.N. working group on nuclear disarmament. … The working group recommended — by a majority of more than three to one — that the General Assembly mandate negotiations, to start next year, on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. … An evidence-based understanding of what nuclear weapons actually do invalidates all arguments for continued possession of these weapons by anyone, and requires that they urgently be prohibited and eliminated as the only course of action commensurate with the existential danger they pose. … Banning and eliminating nuclear weapons is a high global health priority. The General Assembly has the opportunity to move us towards this critical goal. It must not fail to act” (9/28).

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Global Health Diplomacy Must Be Understood, Utilized To Gain 'Bigger Picture' View, 'Real, Lasting Change'

Devex: What do Ban Ki-moon, Justin Trudeau, Usher, and Bill Gates have in common? Global health diplomacy
Gabrielle Fitzgerald, an executive in the philanthropic and global health fields, and Peter Small, founding director of the Global Health Institute at Stony Brook University

“…Much of the progress we have seen recently on vaccines, nutrition, and global health security is due to global health diplomacy … We believe that at its core, global health diplomacy simply means finding ways to incentivize governments to achieve health goals for their citizens. … Why is it so important for global health professionals to identify and understand global health diplomacy? First, global health diplomacy represents the reality that health issues are inherently political. … Second, global health diplomacy is fundamental to making progress towards major global health challenges. … In conclusion, to effectively navigate the complex field of global health, one must take time to understand the role of global health diplomacy. Too often we focus on the practical solution at hand, instead of taking a step back to see the bigger picture. But, when we do look at the broader diplomatic, financial, and geopolitical context, then it becomes possible to plot the most effective course to overcome a global health challenge for real, lasting change…” (9/29).

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Provision Of Clean Cookstoves, Fuel Can Empower Women, Help World Reach SDGs

Huffington Post: Unleashing the Power of Women and Clean Cooking
Radha Muthiah, CEO of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and Wanjira Mathai, director of the Partnerships for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER) and an Alliance Advisory Council member

“…As global leaders met again this month in New York and plan to meet this autumn in Morocco to restate their commitment to the global development and climate goals, they must keep the focus on proven solutions that are already delivering tangible impacts, particularly for women and girls. One of these solutions is changing how people in developing countries cook. … The good news? Progress is being made. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, alongside its 1,500 diverse partners, is working to develop and increase adoption of clean cooking technologies and fuels. … And when working together, efforts like these can have tremendous impact, providing millions of households access to cleaner, more efficient cookstoves and fuels. These clean cooking solutions can address basic needs, but also open up further opportunity by quelling energy and time poverty. … If we are to reach our shared Sustainable Development Goals, the way forward is clear: It is time to invest in solutions at the household level. … It is time to help change the way billions of people cook” (9/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N. Security Council Resolution On Protecting Health Care In Conflict Needs To Be Strengthened

IPI Global Observatory: Security Council Can Do More to Protect Health Care in Conflict
Leonard S. Rubenstein, director of the program on human rights, health, and conflict at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and core faculty at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, discusses the need to strengthen a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in May focused on protecting health care in conflict. He writes, “So what action should the Security Council take to further the objectives of its resolution? It must first and foremost ensure civilians in Syria access to aid and medical services without fear of attack. But it needs to take steps [to] change the behavior of governments throughout the world over the short and intermediate term as well. Three actions in particular would advance protection … First, the Security Council should take strong steps toward ending impunity … Second, it should demand that governments and their militaries take actions designed to advance protection of health services — and to report on them publicly … Third, the Security Council should strengthen knowledge about attacks on health care as they occur” (9/27)

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Article Examines Differences Among Abortion Laws In Mexico, Latin America

Council on Hemispheric Affairs: Mexico’s Choice Abortion Laws and their Effects Throughout Latin America
Sarah Faithful, research associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, discusses the history of abortion laws in Mexico and the wide differences among laws across Mexican states. Faithful specifically examines the impact of Mexico City’s abortion laws and explores the potential influence of these laws, as well as other laws across Latin America, on the abortion laws of other Mexican states (9/28).

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38 Research Papers Added To PLOS Blue Marble Health Collection

PLOS Blogs’ “Speaking of Medicine”: Expanding the Blue Marble Health Collection
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases co-Editor-in-Chief Peter J. Hotez, Chief Editor of PLOS Medicine Larry Peiperl, and Editorial Project Manager of PLOS Collections Nathaniel Gore discuss the latest update to the Blue Marble Health Collection, a series of research papers on infectious and non-communicable diseases that have “important policy implications.” The authors note, “In this latest update, 38 research papers have been added to the collection” (9/28).

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