KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Senate Fails To Advance Zika Funding Measure For Third Time; Many Hope Compromise Can Be Reached In Stopgap Spending Bill

CNN: Senate resumes gridlock as Zika funding vote fails
“The top Republican and Democratic Senate leaders returned from their seven-week summer recess Tuesday and picked up where they left off in July — harshly blaming the other’s party for inaction on critical bills to battle Zika and fund the government. In a pair of votes, Democrats blocked taking up GOP bills to pay for a public health response to the virus and to fund the Pentagon next year leaving in doubt Congress’ ability to pass either bill…” (Barrett, 9/6).

The Hill: Senate blocks Zika funding
“A divided Senate on Tuesday again rejected a funding bill to fight the Zika virus … In a 52-46 procedural vote, the Senate failed to win the 60 votes necessary to move forward and end debate on a conference report with the House on the issue. Democrats nearly unanimously voted to block the $1.1 billion funding bill, which was approved by House Republicans in June but has now failed three times in the Senate because of divisive language targeting Planned Parenthood…” (Ferris, 9/6).

The Hill: Rubio: Drop Planned Parenthood fight to approve Zika funding
“The Senate GOP’s top advocate for Zika funding said Tuesday the best chance of getting money out the floor this month is by attaching it to the must-pass government spending bill. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is endorsing a plan to save the much-disputed public health package by wrapping it into the stopgap spending bill that’s due in Congress by Sept. 30…” (Ferris, 9/6).

Huffington Post: Congress Resumes With Another Zika Failure
“…While federal health officials juggled money around to keep the most vital Zika efforts running, they have warned that money is set to run out by the end of the month. At some point, Congress will have to give up the partisan provisions or let the entire Zika response lapse, even while mosquito season continues in large parts of the country…” (McAuliff, 9/6).

Morning Consult: Dozens of Health Groups Renew Push for Bipartisan Zika Funding
“More than 50 health advocacy organizations welcomed congressional leaders back to town Tuesday by renewing their calls for a bipartisan Zika package. The groups, including the March of Dimes, the Sierra Club, Research!America, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, are calling for Congress to move past the political fight that has dogged the government’s response over the past several months and pass a package that can pass both chambers and be signed by President Obama. … A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released last week found that 36 percent of Americans believed Congress passing funding for the Zika virus should be a top priority for Congress, while an additional 40 percent say it’s an important, but not top, priority…” (McIntire, 9/6).

Mother Jones: Congress Is Running Out of Time to Pass Zika Funding
“…International aid was a major component of the White House’s original [Zika funding] proposal: Out of a total $1.9 billion in Zika funding, more than $500 million would have gone abroad, says Adam Wexler, director of the Global Health Budget Project at the Kaiser Family Foundation. That amount has shrunk considerably in the bills now circulating in Congress, but it still includes funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the State Department, and international CDC programs. Without a detailed plan, it is hard to say what the impact of U.S. aid would be. In a huge and comparatively wealthy country like Brazil, for example, U.S. funding would make little difference. But according to Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy at Kaiser, some cash-strapped nations would certainly benefit from the support. ‘In a country like Haiti … it might make a big difference,’ Michaud said…” (D’Amora, 9/6).

New York Times: Senate Democrats Block Zika Bill Over Planned Parenthood Provisions
“…Because of the standoff, lawmakers say they expect to address the funding issue by the end of the month as part of a must-pass, stopgap spending measure. That legislation would be intended to keep the government funded because it seems increasingly likely that Congress will not pass its annual spending bills by then…” (Huetteman/Tavernise, 9/6).

POLITICO: Zika funding bill fails — again
“…The lack of funding is already hurting efforts to battle the mosquito-borne virus responsible for severe birth defects. A top Obama administration health official told POLITICO that progress on up to four possible Zika vaccines at the National Institutes of Health will have to stop if funding isn’t approved by the end of this month…” (Haberkorn, 9/6).

POLITICO: Clinton: Congressional Republicans ‘playing games’ with Zika funding
“…Speaking at a rally in Florida, where concern over the spread of Zika is high, [Democratic presidential nominee Hillary] Clinton attacked congressional Republicans for ‘playing games’ by tying political non-starters to such critical public health legislation…” (Nelson, 9/6).

Washington Post: Another failed Zika vote could be the start of a resolution
“…[L]awmakers in both parties said they now hope negotiations will begin in earnest to quickly come up with a bipartisan deal to address the potential public health crisis. … After months of bickering over the details of a deal, many in Congress expect that lawmakers now back in Washington after a seven-week break will feel a renewed urgency to find a solution this month before heading home for the elections…” (Snell, 9/6).

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Three-Quarters Of Americans Support Increased Federal Funding For Zika Research, Prevention Efforts, March Of Dimes Poll Shows

The Hill: Poll: 3 in 4 support boost in funding to combat Zika virus
“Three-quarters of Americans support an increase in federal research dollars to help fight the Zika virus, according to a poll released Tuesday. The survey, which was commissioned by the nonprofit health advocacy group March of Dimes, shows high levels of public support for action on Zika. Nearly 90 percent of Democrats support the funding increase, compared to about 65 percent of Republicans…” (Ferris, 9/6).

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News Outlets Examine Congress's Science-, Health-Related Docket As Session Resumes

CQ HealthBeat: Zika, Public Health, Cures Top Health Agenda
“Lawmakers return this week with plans to address one big ticket health-related item: funding to address the Zika virus. They also plan to move forward with lower-ranked priorities like markups of public health legislation and a hearing on post-acute care legislation that would affect services people receive after serious illness…” (Mershon/Young, 9/6).

New York Times: Five Things to Know About Congress’s Fight Over Zika
“Congress has had difficulty accomplishing much in this session, even where a potential health crisis like the Zika virus is concerned. Here are five questions that help explain the debate…” (Huetteman, 9/6).

Science: Congress returns, with a long science to-do list and not much time
“Congress returns … from a seven-week summer break with a lengthy list of unfinished business, some of great interest to the U.S. research community — and just a few weeks to tackle it. Lawmakers aren’t likely to pare that list by much before they return to the campaign trail for a final push before Election Day on 8 November. But they will have a second shot when they return for a lame-duck session after voters have chosen a successor to President Barack Obama and a new Congress…” (9/6).

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WHO Clarifies Guidance On Pregnancy Counseling In Zika-Affected Areas, Changes Recommendations On Sex For Travelers To Those Countries

Associated Press: U.N. changes guidance about sex for travelers to Zika zones
“The U.N. health agency is changing its advice to travelers returning from areas facing a Zika virus outbreak, saying both men and women should now practice safe sex or abstinence for six months. The World Health Organization’s guidance applies to all travelers, whether or not they show symptoms of the virus…” (9/6).

New York Times: WHO Clarifies Advice on Sex and Pregnancy in Zika Regions
“The World Health Organization on Tuesday clarified — once again — its advice on sexual transmission of the Zika virus, saying that couples living in areas where it is circulating should be offered contraception and counseling to help decide whether to become pregnant…” (McNeil, 9/6).

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Zika Virus Found In Tears Of Mice, Study Shows; Finding Could Impact Transmission Routes, Researchers Say

Washington Post: Zika’s persistence in the eye may play a role in spreading the virus, study finds
“…In a study published Tuesday in Cell Reports, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis describe the effect of Zika virus infections in the eyes of mouse fetuses, newborns, and adults. The study suggests that the eye could be a reservoir for the virus. Eye infection raises the possibility that people could become infected with Zika through contact with tears from infected people, they said…” (Sun, 9/6).

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War, Poverty Drive Nearly 50M Children From Homes; Children Account For Almost Half Of All Refugees, UNICEF Report Says

Al Jazeera: UNICEF: 50 million children uprooted by crises
“War and poverty have forced 50 million children around the world from their homes, according to UNICEF. Up to 28 million of the children have been uprooted by violent conflict, with nearly as many abandoning their homes in search of a better life, says a report released by the U.N. agency…” (9/7).

Deutsche Welle: UNICEF reports 28 million children homeless globally due to conflict
“…Children make up about a third of the world’s population, but account for almost half of all refugees, UNICEF said in its report issued on Tuesday. The number of child refugees has doubled in the last decade, the report ‘Uprooted: The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children’ states…” (9/7).

The Guardian: Nearly half of all refugees are children, says UNICEF
“…Just two countries — Syria and Afghanistan — comprise half of all child refugees under protection by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), while roughly three-quarters of the world’s child refugees come from just 10 countries…” (Hodal, 9/6).

New York Times: Nearly 50 Million Children Are Refugees, UNICEF Report Finds
“…UNICEF issued the report a few weeks before the annual United Nations General Assembly, when world leaders will converge to meet against a backdrop of the protracted conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and other parts of the Middle East and Africa that together are helping to drive the global refugee and migrant crises…” (Gladstone, 9/6).

VOA News: UNICEF: 50 Million Children Displaced Worldwide
“…The UNICEF report calls for addressing the root causes of migration and refugees, mainly conflict, violence, and extreme poverty. It also urges measures to prevent xenophobia and discrimination against refugees, in addition to measures to prevent exploitation and abuse of children on the move” (Besheer, 9/7).

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Global Polio Experts Reassess Prevention, Detection Strategies Following Detection Of 3 Polio Cases In Nigeria

Science: Nigeria outbreak forces rethink of polio strategies
“Hit with a report of a third case of polio in northern Nigeria, leaders of the global eradication effort are asking themselves how they could have been so terribly wrong about the country. … The beleaguered Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is finally entering the home stretch, and program leaders were just about to declare a hard-earned victory in Nigeria — three years without a case of wild poliovirus. Then, in mid-August, the country reported two polio cases in children in Jere and Gwoza districts. Within days, DNA sequencing confirmed that the virus had been circulating in the region undetected for about four years…” (Roberts, 9/6).

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Southeast Asian Health Ministers, WHO Reaffirm Commitment To Achieving Goal Of Controlling, Eliminating NTDs

U.N. News Centre: U.N. and Southeast Asian health officials reaffirm commitment to ending neglected tropical diseases
“Health ministers in Southeast Asia [Tuesday] reaffirmed their commitment to achieve the target of controlling, eliminating, and eradicating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with the United Nations health agency voicing its support for their efforts…” (9/6).

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New Studies Examine Global Ovarian, HPV-Related Cancer Rates, The Guardian Reports

The Guardian: Fall in ovarian cancer deaths worldwide linked to contraceptive pill use
“Deaths from ovarian cancer have fallen around the world, largely because of the widespread use of the contraceptive pill, according to a major new study. Another factor is the decline in long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), according to Italian academics who carried out the study, published in leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology…” (Boseley, 9/5).

The Guardian: HPV infection rates plummet after vaccine with China the next frontier
“…Monday marks the 10-year anniversary of the [human papillomavirus (HPV)] vaccine being released in Australia, and research led by the Royal Woman’s hospital in Victoria and published to coincide with the anniversary has found that HPV infection rates have plummeted … by up to 90 percent, the researchers say. They found similarly significant decreases in genital warts and cervical abnormalities in many of the 129 countries they examined. In China, however, … the number of HPV-related cancers remains high…” (Davey, 9/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Response To Public Health Crises, Including Zika, 'Fragmented, Underfunded'

The Conversation: U.S. response to Zika: Fragmented and uneven
Scott L. Greer, associate professor at the University of Michigan

“…[W]ho is in charge during a public health crisis [in the U.S.]? Formally, a wide variety of local governments under the aegis of states. But because public health in the U.S. is fragmented and often underfunded, the federal government’s money and expertise give it a great deal of influence to shape responses. … Pressure is mounting on Congress to act. Three-quarters of the public in a Kaiser Family Foundation survey think it is an issue that needs to be addressed when Congress returns from recess on Sept. 6. … Fear of Zika might start to overcome partisanship, but there is no guarantee that will happen before Nov. 8. … Looking at Washington might make us glad that all does not depend on federal politics. But that is not so comforting when we consider the funding and capacity of local and state governments in the areas, particularly along the Gulf Coast, that are most endangered…” (9/5).

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U.S. 'Must Immediately Invest' In Efforts To Develop Zika Vaccine

Wall Street Journal: The Coming Trials of Generation Zika
W. Ian Lipkin, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

“…The question is how large we will allow [Zika’s] impact to be. … The best path forward is a global vaccination program to reduce the impact of Zika here and in the developing world where resources to address the social and economic consequences are even more scarce. Unlike HIV, it will not be difficult to engineer an inexpensive and effective Zika vaccine. … It will take up to $1 billion and two to three years to complete the process of safety and efficacy testing, manufacture, and distribution. This is a nonpartisan challenge that cannot wait until after the November election. We must immediately invest the relatively modest resources needed to prevent our own and future generations from being defined by an infectious agent” (9/6).

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Addressing Antibiotic Resistance Requires Understanding, Appreciation Of Global Microbiome

Nature: Use antimicrobials wisely
Peter S. Jørgensen, researcher at the Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and colleagues

“…Tackling [antibiotic] resistance urgently requires the scaling back of the massive overuse of antibiotics to secure the liveability of Earth in the long term. … A U.N. declaration currently under discussion must set global targets, accelerate implementation of the [2015 Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance], plug its gaps, and ensure stronger accountability and interagency coordination. It must emphasize the many benefits of microbes. … The complexity and gravity of [drug] resistance call for the immediate mass mobilization of society. Maintaining the susceptibility of microbes to drugs for global health is a matter of sustainable development. Improving understanding about humankind’s dependence on the global microbiome should lead to action on many other important issues involving microorganisms. These issues include infectious diseases, food security, natural resources, and environmental conservation. … This month’s U.N. high-level meeting is a rare opportunity for global collective action on human interactions with microbes. It must protect both the lifesaving power of antibiotics and the ability to use them when necessary” (9/7).

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Nigeria Requires Coordinated Effort To Address Malnutrition, Prevent Famine

Al Jazeera: Nigeria’s fight against ill-health and malnutrition
Toyin Saraki, founder president of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa

“…Nigeria has proved that through a concerted and coordinated effort, disasters can be averted. The horrendous Ebola outbreak that caused such devastation throughout Nigeria’s West African neighbors was successfully contained in Nigeria. This is in no small part due to government planning and structures. Equally, there is a precedent for state and non-state collaboration. … If we can replicate such coordination we can stop the risk of famine in Nigeria; it is not simply an issue of money. It is time to have a frank conversation about how to put the necessary structures and standards in place to ensure ill-health and malnutrition are addressed, before they become endemic … Many countries in Africa have adequate foreign aid and adequate policy initiatives but the process falls apart once implementation begins. This is at least understandable for some states but for Nigeria — considering the stage it is at and its development journey — the country should be doing better. It has to do better” (9/7).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief Examines Status Of Funding For Zika In U.S.

Kaiser Family Foundation: The Status of Funding for Zika: The President’s Request and Congressional Proposals
This new issue brief provides a landscape of the current status of Zika funding in the U.S. and compares President Obama’s emergency request to Congress to the three congressional proposals thus far. The brief notes the president’s emergency request is significantly above the amount proposed in the three congressional bills. The proposals also differ by whether the funding would be “new” appropriations or entirely offset by changes to prior appropriations; the period of time for which funds would be available; the activities supported; and restrictions on how the funding would be utilized (Wexler/Oum/Kates, 9/6).

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White House Fact Sheet Describes Newly Established Bilateral Partnership Between U.S., Laos, Including Global Health Commitments

White House: FACT SHEET: U.S.-Laos relations
This fact sheet describes the newly established partnership between the U.S. and Laos, including the U.S. commitment to helping Laos achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the U.S. prioritization of Laos as a Global Health Security Agenda partner country (9/6).

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USAID Releases Technical Issue Briefs Providing Overview Of Agency's Family Planning Efforts In 13 LAC Countries

USAID: Technical Issue Briefs: Latin America and the Caribbean
USAID released a series of technical issue briefs providing an overview and history of the agency’s work in family planning assistance in 13 countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region (September 2016).

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Better Data 'At The Heart' Of Improved Public Health Responses In Vietnam

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: How Better Data Means Better Decisions in Emergencies
Quang Tran, technical officer at PATH Vietnam, discusses efforts in Vietnam to improve health systems through the use of data visualizations and centralized health reporting systems, writing, “Data is at the heart of a good response. In Vietnam, CDC, PATH, and other partners are finding new ways to gather, store, and analyze data to improve epidemiologic intelligence during emergencies and beyond. Together, we are creating a single, centralized system that will help responders see more complete data, and see it better” (9/7).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 295 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics including an analysis of a new health financing management tool for African governments; a roundup of donor pledges to the Global Fund replenishment; and an article on the Global Fund’s enhanced focus on gender equality in its 2017-2022 strategy (9/7).

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