KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Kaiser Family Foundation, USA TODAY/Suffolk University Polls Show Strong Support Among Americans For Congressional Action On Zika Response Funding

Roll Call: Poll: Public Wants Congress to Fund Zika Fight
“Voters want Congress to make funding to battle the Zika virus a top priority, a new poll shows. One-third of more than 1,200 people polled in the Kaiser Family Foundation poll said passing new funding to deal with the outbreak in the U.S. should be at the top of lawmakers’ agenda when they return from summer recess. Another 40 percent said it should at least be considered an important priority…” (Rahman, 9/2).

USA TODAY: Poll: Amid Zika fears, support for funding
“Nearly a third of Americans say fears of the Zika virus are affecting travel or other plans by members of their families, a broad impact that is fueling support for Congress to pass funding to curb spread of the disease in the United States. In a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, those surveyed by more than a 3-1 margin — 62 percent-19 percent — said Congress should approve additional funding to fight the virus rather than continue to divert funds from other programs…” (Page, 9/5).

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Zika To Remain International Public Health Emergency Amid Continued Questions, Disease's Spread, WHO Says

CIDRAP News: WHO continues Zika emergency amid virus spread, unanswered questions
“The World Health Organization (WHO) announced [Friday] that its Zika emergency committee, which met [Thursday], has recommended keeping the public health emergency in place, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced $2.4 million in funding to help five of the nation’s most populated cities detect and manage Zika-related birth defects…” (Schnirring, 9/2).

U.N. News Centre: Citing geographic spread, U.N. emergency committee says Zika remains ‘international public health emergency’
“…WHO first declared Zika an international public health emergency in February. Since it was detected in Brazil late last year, the virus has spread through the Americas and the Caribbean to other regions, including Africa, Oceania, and Asia…” (9/2).

Washington Post: Zika virus is spreading and remains global emergency, according to the WHO
“…After convening its expert committee [last] week, the U.N. health experts said that more research needs to be focused on what other factors besides the mosquito-borne virus could be causing severe birth defects, such as microcephaly…” (Sun, 9/2).

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No New Zika Cases Detected Among Spectators, Athletes During Rio Olympics, WHO Announces

New York Times: No Zika Cases Reported During Rio Olympics, WHO Says
“No Zika infections were reported in Brazil during the Olympics, either among athletes or visitors, the World Health Organization said Friday…” (Tavernise, 9/2).

Washington Post: No new cases of Zika connected to the Olympics, WHO says
“… ‘We don’t have any confirmed cases of Zika amongst travelers or amongst, indeed, athletes,’ said Peter Salama, the head of the WHO’s health emergency program, at a news conference in Geneva on Friday. Salama expects similar conditions to remain during the Paralympics, which start on Sept. 7…” (Payne, 9/3).

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Zika Strain In Singapore Likely Not Imported From South America; 275 Cases Recorded

Bloomberg News: Zika Virus in Singapore Likely Evolved From Southeast Asia
“…The virus in Singapore likely evolved from a strain already circulating in Southeast Asia, and was not imported from South America, where the outbreak has been linked to a condition called microcephaly, in which infants are born with abnormally small heads. The research team is expected to release more details shortly, according to the statement…” (Wong, 9/4).

CNN: Singapore’s Zika cases send warning signal to Asia
“…It’s not yet clear why Zika has spread so suddenly in Singapore. Many of the cases are thought to be locally transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. … [I]t’s the city-state’s high population density and humid climes that offer the perfect breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti. And these are traits shared across many cities in the region…” (Jozuka, 9/5).

Reuters: Zika could impact slowing economy, Singapore bank chief says
“A Zika outbreak in Singapore could have a small impact on the almost $300 billion economy, the central bank chief said on Tuesday, as the mosquito-borne virus spreads across the global financial and transit hub. … [T]he number of reported infections has reached 275, with 17 more cases reported on Tuesday…” (Zaharia/Daga, 9/6).

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Coalition For Epidemic Preparedness Innovations Launched To Bolster Vaccine Candidate Research, Prepare For Disease Outbreaks

The Economist: Vaccines: Putting shots in the locker
“…CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, was founded [August 31] in London, at the headquarters of the Wellcome Trust, a medical charity. It is the joint brainchild of the Wellcome, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum, and the government of Norway, and its purpose is precisely to forearm the world against future outbreaks of disease, without foreknowledge of what those outbreaks will be. … CEPI’s plan is to build up a bank of candidate vaccines for as many as possible of the viral diseases that lurk menacingly on the edges of human society, but in which there is insufficient commercial interest for pharmaceutical firms to do the development work…” (9/3).

Science: New vaccine coalition aims to ward off epidemics
“…The seed of the CEPI idea was planted in a perspective that ran in the 23 July 2015 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, ‘Establishing a Global Vaccine-Development Fund.’ Co-authored by Wellcome Trust Director Jeremy Farrar, the article called for $2 billion in startup money to launch the fund. Last January the idea was discussed during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland…” (Cohen, 9/2).

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WHO Certifies Sri Lanka As Malaria-Free In 'Truly Remarkable' Achievement

Associated Press: WHO certifies Sri Lanka a malaria-free nation
“The World Health Organization on Monday certified Sri Lanka as a malaria-free nation, in what it called a ‘truly remarkable’ achievement. WHO Regional Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh said in a statement that Sri Lanka was among the most malaria-affected countries in the mid-20th century…” (9/5).

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WHO, Partners Reach 7.7M People In Yellow Fever Vaccination Campaign In Kinshasa, DRC

U.N. News Centre: Millions vaccinated against yellow fever in Africa in record time — U.N. health agency
“Together with its partners, the United Nations health agency has vaccinated more than 7.7 million people in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in less than two weeks. These vaccinations are a major part of the largest emergency vaccination campaign against yellow fever ever attempted in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted in a news release…” (9/2).

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WHO Plans Cholera Vaccination Drive In Kinshasa After Disease Infects 18K, Kills More Than 500 In DRC This Year

Agence France-Presse: Cholera kills 517 in DR Congo, jab drive planned: WHO
“A cholera epidemic has killed more than 500 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization said Friday, as it prepared to launch a vaccination campaign in Kinshasa. The United Nations health agency voiced deep concern over the outbreak that has infected some 18,000 people, including 517 who have died, since the beginning of the year…” (9/2).

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Emergency Polio Immunization Campaign Targets 25M Children In Nigeria; WHO Confirms 3rd Case In Country

Associated Press: WHO confirms 3rd case of polio in Nigeria, Rotary Club says
“The World Health Organization has confirmed a third case of polio in an area of Nigeria newly liberated from Boko Haram Islamic extremists, the Rotary Club said Monday, amid fears the disease could resurge in neighboring countries…” (Faul, 9/5).

Associated Press: Nigeria’s urgent polio vaccination drive targets 25 million
“An emergency polio vaccination campaign aimed at reaching 25 million children this year has begun in parts of Nigeria newly freed from Boko Haram Islamic extremists, with fears that many more cases of the crippling disease will likely be found…” (Faul, 9/3).

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Some HIV-Positive Women In Uganda Sterilized Without Consent, TRF Reports

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Feature — HIV-positive Ugandan women complain of forced sterilization in government hospitals
“…A 2015 study carried out in nine districts of Uganda by the International Community of Women living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA) found 72 out of 744 HIV-positive women surveyed had been sterilized. Twenty of them had been forced to undergo the procedure, or it had happened without their consent. Hajarah Nagadya of ICWEA said that 18 of the 20 forced sterilizations had been carried out in government hospitals, and two cases occurred in private clinics. … A spokesman for Uganda’s Ministry of Health said it was not government policy to sterilize women living with HIV/AIDS…” (Kakande, 9/4).

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Number Of Africans Living Near Dams At Risk Of Malaria Set To Nearly Double By 2080 Because Of Climate Change

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Climate change threatens to double malaria risk from African dams, say researchers
“The number of Africans at risk of malaria who live near dams will nearly double to 25 million by 2080 as areas where the disease is not currently present will become transmission zones due to climate change, researchers said on Monday. Without prevention measures, the number of malaria cases associated with dams could triple to nearly three million a year over the same period, they said in a study published in Malaria Journal…” (Mis, 9/4).

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Researchers Examining Prospect Of Eradicating Mosquitoes Through Genetic Engineering

Wall Street Journal: Mosquitoes Are Deadly, So Why Not Kill Them All?
“The death toll from diseases carried by mosquitoes is so huge that scientists are working on a radical idea. Why not eradicate them? … Purposely engineering a species into extinction — or just diminishing it — is fraught with quandaries. Scientists must weigh the potential impact of removing a species on the environment and food chain. It will take years of more research, testing, and regulatory scrutiny before most genetically altered mosquitoes can be released into the wild. And the strategy might not work…” (McKay, 9/2).

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Experts Watch For Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever In Spain After Patient Dies Of Tickborne Illness

New York Times: Doctors on Lookout for Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever in Spain
“Doctors are closely watching about 200 people in Spain after a patient at a hospital in Madrid died of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, the first time the disease has been found in Western Europe in someone who had not traveled to an endemic area. The patient apparently caught the virus after being bitten by a tick, and then passed it to a nurse before he died. It has been known for five years that some ticks in Spain harbored the virus…” (McNeil, 9/5).

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New York Times Profiles Mumbai Physician Calling For Better TB Treatment

New York Times: Battling Drug-Resistant TB, and the Indian Government
“…Where many international and Indian public health experts are cowed into speaking in diplomatic jargon for fear of losing government support for their programs, or even their jobs, [Mumbai physician Dr. Zarir Udwadia] stands out as the most influential voice demanding better treatment for India’s TB patients and unabashedly criticizing the status quo…” (Anand, 9/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Pledge To Replenish Global Fund Critical To National, Global Security

The Register-Guard: Replenish Global Fund
Editorial Board

“…The United States should be foremost among [donors], pledging to continue providing one-third of the [Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s] … budget through 2020. … But as with other foreign aid programs, a strong element of self-interest also justifies the United States’ contribution. Countries that are ravaged by disease become impoverished, unstable, and vulnerable to extremism. Central goals of U.S. foreign policy, ranging from trade promotion to anti-terrorism, are served by effective efforts to combat deadly diseases. There’s also the fact that diseases do not respect national borders. … One good way to fight AIDS, malaria, and TB at home is to fight them abroad. One day … it will be possible to declare victory over AIDS, malaria, and TB. That will be a proud moment for the people of any nation that plays a leading role in that achievement. The United States deserves credit for what it has done so far. Now is not the time to turn away…” (9/6).

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International Community, U.K. Should Invest In Global Fund To Help End TB

The Guardian: TB kills three people every minute — the world must wake up to this pandemic
Jessica Potter, research fellow at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at the Blizzard Institute at Queen Mary University of London

“…The global TB pandemic has been fueled by disregard: political will is limited; investment in diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines is poor; and the HIV epidemic played its role with sufferers around 27 times more likely to get TB. The disease, and particularly MDR-TB, thrives on fractured and underfunded health systems. TB generates global losses of $12bn annually and we need $6.4bn to end this epidemic. I am no economist but where we should spend our money seems clear to me. … For TB, the Global Fund provides over 75 percent of all international finance. Without it, there would not be an international response to the world’s leading infectious killer. … This month, Canada will host the 5th Global Fund replenishment conference. … [T]he U.K. and Germany are yet to donate. There is a moral imperative and a strong economic case for doing so, and yet any chance of success is threatened by insufficient funding, public ambivalence, and nationalist politics. … For now, we wait with bated breath to discover whether the U.K. government will live up to its responsibilities…” (9/5).

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Improving Global Health Requires Addressing Disparities In Access To Diagnostics, Treatments For NCDs

Project Syndicate: Killing Non-Communicable Diseases
Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH

“…[N]on-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory ailments [are] becoming far and away the world’s leading causes of death. … Consider diabetes, one of the fastest-growing NCDs. … [I]n poorer communities, tools and medicines to diagnose and treat diabetes are scarce and often priced beyond people’s means. … Essential medicines and technologies for diagnosing and treating heart disease, cancer, and respiratory ailments are also significantly less available and proportionally more expensive for people in low- and middle-income countries than they are for those in the rich world. … Unless we take action, the crisis will only become more serious. … Today, just one percent of global health financing goes to NCD-related programs. This must change — and fast. Otherwise, the remarkable gains made in improving global health in the last 25 years will be overwhelmed by a rising tide of people who suffer and die from chronic diseases that we know how to prevent and treat” (9/2).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief Examines Key Implementers Of U.S. Global Health Efforts

Kaiser Family Foundation: Key Implementers of U.S. Global Health Efforts
This new issue brief “provides an analysis of the implementing organizations that received U.S. global health funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in FY 2015. It helps to provide a more complete picture of key implementers of U.S. government global health efforts…” (Moss/Kates, 9/6).

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CDC Blog Post Highlights Importance Of Public Health Preparedness In Responding To Disease Outbreaks

CDC’s “Public Health Matters Blog”: The Power of Preparedness
Stephen Redd, director of the CDC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, discusses the importance of public health preparedness, writing, “We can do more to recognize what causes outbreaks, respond to them faster, and bring them under control more effectively. … [W]e must put our investments into work that will make the world a safer place for us all…” (9/2).

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White House Fact Sheet Describes U.S.-China Bilateral Meeting, Global Health Commitments Made

White House: U.S. Fact Sheet for President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with President Xi Jinping
This fact sheet describes the commitments made between the U.S. and China in a meeting on September 3rd “to work together to constructively manage differences and … expand and deepen cooperation” on global priorities and challenges, including global health and global health security, food security and nutrition, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (9/3).

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