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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. House, Senate Continue Zika Funding Negotiations; House Passes Measure Easing State, Local Pesticide Use For Mosquito Control

CNN: House passes narrow Zika measure designed to remove red tape
“The House of Representatives approved a bill Tuesday that makes it easier for state and local governments to spray pesticides to kill mosquitoes and stop the spread of the Zika virus…” (Walsh, 5/24).

CQ News: Difficult Negotiations Begin Over Competing Zika Response Bills
“Negotiations over a Zika response bill continued on Tuesday, but House and Senate lawmakers are still divided over the fundamental components of dueling spending bills passed by the two chambers…” (McCrimmon/Shutt, 5/24).

The Hill: House Dems lining up against Senate Zika bill
“The head of the House Democratic Caucus warned Tuesday that he’ll oppose anything less than the full funding President Obama has requested to combat the Zika virus. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said both the House’s $622 million bill and the Senate’s $1.1 billion proposal are insufficient to address the escalating crisis…” (Lillis, 5/24).

The Hill: House votes to loosen EPA pesticide rules to fight Zika
“The House voted along party lines Tuesday to approve a bill that would loosen pesticide regulations in the name of fighting the Zika virus. Democrats almost unanimously opposed the bill, which was recently retooled by House GOP leaders as an effort to prevent the spread of Zika…” (Ferris, 5/24).

NBC News: Doctors Say Zika Funding From Congress Critical as Some Republicans Remain Suspicious
“Federal health agencies are not trying to sneak extra money out of Congress as part of their Zika funding request, a top health official said Tuesday, as some lawmakers remain wary of where it’s all going. The money’s really needed to help fight a frightening and mystifying virus — one that affects the most vulnerable of all, said Dr. Tony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases…” (Fox, 5/24).

New York Times: Political Battles Color Congressional Feud Over Zika Funding
“The feud on Capitol Hill over responding to the rapidly spreading Zika virus would seem to be largely a fight over how much money is needed to fight the mosquito-borne scourge. But lurking just beneath the surface are issues that have long stirred partisan mistrust, including Republicans’ fears about the use of taxpayer money for abortion and possible increased use of contraception, and Democratic worries about protecting the environment from potentially dangerous pesticides…” (Herszenhorn, 5/24).

PBS NewsHour: What’s behind biting political fight in Congress over Zika funding?
“…Back in February, the White House put together a $1.9 billion proposal aimed at mosquito control, education about Zika, plus boosting research into the virus and a possible vaccine. Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate moved a compromise measure for less than two-thirds that amount over the next year, $1.1 billion. But the also-GOP-controlled House signed off on a bill for $622 million over six months. Joining me now from opposite sides of this funding divide are Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, and Representative Bob Gibbs, Republican from Ohio…” (Woodruff, 5/24).

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NPR Interviews Former Ebola Czar Ron Klain About U.S. Zika Response, Outbreak Preparedness

NPR: Former White House Ebola Czar Urges Congress To Act Faster On Zika
“NPR’s Kelly McEvers speaks with Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator, about his op-ed piece in the Washington Post about the Zika virus. He says the U.S. needs to create a public health emergency management agency, like FEMA for health emergencies, so our country is ready to act quickly without having to wait for Congress…” (McEvers, 5/24).

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Nations, NGOs, Others Pledge Multiple Commitments At Inaugural World Humanitarian Summit; U.N.'s Ban Calls For Action

IRIN: Is the Grand Bargain a Big Deal?
“The ‘Grand Bargain’ is the name for a package of reforms to humanitarian funding, launched at the World Humanitarian Summit. Thirty representatives of donors and aid agencies produced 51 ‘commitments’ to make emergency aid finance more efficient and effective. To some it hasn’t gone nearly far enough. Others say, given a few short months, the bureaucracies did well to find so much to agree on…” (Parker, 5/24).

U.N. News Centre: WHS: Humanitarian summit has ‘set new course,’ says Ban, calling for action on commitments
“Hailing the global community’s achievements at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Tuesday] called for commitments made to be taken forward for transformative change from the top down and from the ground up…” (5/24).

U.N. News Centre: WHS: New charter for persons with disabilities endorsed at U.N. humanitarian summit
“…The Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action urges government representatives as well as leaders of non-governmental organizations and funding bodies to ensure that their future humanitarian actions will be inclusive of people with disabilities, based on five principals…” (5/24).

U.N. News Centre: WHS: Humanitarian aid is ‘failing’ — in an interview, U.N. adviser tells why
“The humanitarian sector is failing to protect civilians from violence, a top U.N. adviser stressed today at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul, Turkey. Jan Egeland, who is at the two-day conference in his capacity as secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, is also the special adviser to Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy for Syria, where millions of people are in besieged areas with little to no food or medical assistance…” (5/24).

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At WHA, DNDi, WHO Launch Antibiotic R&D Initiative, Attendees Discuss Outbreak Preparedness

Intellectual Property Watch: Initiative To Find New Antibiotics Being Launched At WHA
“A new initiative seeking to develop new antibiotic treatments [was] launched [Tuesday] at the annual World Health Assembly. The Global Antibiotic Research and Development (GARD) is a partnership between the World Health Organization and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)…” (5/24).

NPR: WHO Plans To Reshape Itself To Better Handle International Outbreaks
“…[WHO Director-General Margaret] Chan issued this warning in Geneva at the annual meeting for the WHO. She’s trying to reshape that agency so it’s better at handling international outbreaks. But as NPR’s Michaeleen Doucleff reports, there are several obstacles…” (Doucleff, 5/24).

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U.N. Environment Programme Report Highlights Need For Clean Cook Stoves, Other Efforts To Improve Air Quality

U.N. News Centre: U.N. report paints mixed picture of global responses to declining air quality
“Noting that from 2008 to 2013, air pollution levels in urban areas increased by eight percent, a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) spotlights the need to support introduction of more renewable energies and clean cook stoves, some of the vital actions aimed at combating this public health emergency…” (5/24).

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Close To 8.4M People Need Food Aid In Malawi Due To El Niño-Induced Crop Failures, Minister Says

Reuters: More than half of Malawi’s population need food relief — minister
“More than half of Malawi’s population is in need of food aid after an El Niño-induced drought decimated crops, the minister of agriculture said on Wednesday. … “[C]lose to 8.4 million people will need food because they have partially or completely lost their crops through El Niño-induced dry spells,’ Godfrey Chaponda told Reuters…” (Banda, 5/25).

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More Than 400K People To Receive Food Aid In Nigerian Region Affected By Boko Haram, WFP Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Food aid to avert famine threat in Boko Haram-hit northeast Nigeria: U.N.
“More than 400,000 people in Boko Haram-hit northeast Nigeria will receive food aid to avert the threat of famine as the lean season approaches, the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday…” (Guilbert, 5/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Investing In Challenging Operating Environments Critical To Ending HIV, TB, Malaria Epidemics

Huffington Post: Overcoming Challenges in Global Health
Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“…The fight against [HIV, TB, and malaria] is more important than ever in a world increasingly affected by natural disasters, conflict and economic crises. … This new reality is why the Global Fund has prioritized challenging operating environments — countries that experience disease outbreaks, natural disasters, armed conflicts, and weak governance. … The only way to maximize the impact of our investments and end these epidemics is by reaching everyone, empowering communities, and removing human rights-related barriers to services. … We have to work hard to reach key populations and cater to each country’s unique stage and context, enhancing our flexibility and responsiveness and strengthening our partnership. We must grasp the historic opportunity to become better people and societies built on the firm foundation of an inclusive human family” (5/24).

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Liberalism, Capitalism, Democracy Contributed To Recent Global Health Gains

Washington Post: Things have never been better?
Jennifer Rubin, opinion writer at the Washington Post

“…[W]ealth creation alone does not automatically result in healthier and richer people around the globe. It takes both public efforts such as George W. Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, which has saved millions of lives, and private efforts such as those of the Gates Foundation, which invests in ‘vaccines to prevent infectious diseases — including HIV, polio, and malaria — and support(s) the development of integrated health solutions for family planning, nutrition, and maternal and child health.’ Small-L liberalism that helps produce wealth … and values in support of human dignity underwrite the phenomenal advances we see. We should be wary of demagogues who would dismantle or severely hinder the economic system that creates such prosperity … or who trash U.S. global leadership and small-D democratic values … Perhaps if more people understood the historic gains made in just this past generation, they’d be less inclined to tear down the architecture that produced such progress” (5/24).

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World Leaders Should Think Beyond Financing To Ensure Health Systems Address Needs Of All Communities

The Guardian: Investing in health is not cheap, but it is not a luxury either
Sara Bennett, chair of Health Systems Global, and Edward Kelley, co-chair of the quality in universal health and health care thematic working group of Health Systems Global

“…[T]he biggest challenge of all is not just how to finance care, but how to organize and deliver quality health services for all communities. … [F]or accelerated action, we need political commitment, money, and better knowledge. … We urge those meeting in Geneva [for the World Health Assembly] and Ise-Shima [for the G7] this week to tackle these global health challenges by thinking beyond financing, and asking how can we organize and deliver quality health services to all communities. By making health systems more resilient, we will also be able to respond more quickly and effectively to new disease outbreaks, and other future health emergencies” (5/25).

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Private Sector Can Improve Efforts To Promote Gender Equality, Women's Health

Devex: 4 ways for the private sector to support women’s health
Carolyn Rodehau, technical deputy for reproductive health workplace programs at Meridian Group International, Inc. and associate on the Evidence Project at Population Council

“… In their supply chains in low- and middle-income countries, companies can be far more proactive in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment by promoting women’s health. Here are four practical actions companies can take immediately when it comes to improving both the health and equality of the women working in their supply chains. 1. Ensuring access to quality health services. … 2. Addressing gender-specific vulnerabilities and unique health needs of women. … 3. Providing health educational materials. … 4. Capturing the ‘right’ data. … It’s time to move the corporate discussion on the [SDGs] and women’s empowerment beyond public commitments to a better way of doing business that addresses women’s health in business operations in low- and middle-income countries” (5/24).

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Recent Releases

Investing In Health Systems Critical To Disease Control, Prevention Efforts

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Resilient Health Systems Can Prevent and Contain Pandemics
Irene Koek, acting deputy assistant administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, discusses USAID’s investments in health system strengthening and the importance of resilience, writing, “As the world becomes increasingly connected, we must ensure that health professionals are able to address the complex, multi-sectoral disease detection, response, prevention, and control challenges in their countries and regions. In this context, resilience is about helping other countries be more well-rounded and prepared to create a safer, healthier world for all” (5/24).

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U.S. Helping Nations Become More Secure Through Global Health Diplomacy

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Global Health Diplomacy at the World Health Assembly
Judith Garber, acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), discusses the U.S. delegation’s attendance at the World Health Assembly and the importance of global health for security and prosperity. She writes, “The United States is working to help countries build their capacity to provide their citizens with decent health care; and to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks before global epidemics occur…” (5/24).

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U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund Critical To Humanitarian Efforts

U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund: Why we need a U.S.$1 billion Central Emergency Response Fund
Stephen O’Brien, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the U.N., and colleagues discuss the role of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in providing humanitarian assistance in conflict situations and highlight the need for more funding, writing, “New contributors and larger contributions, coupled with innovative financing solutions are needed for the CERF to effectively respond to today’s global humanitarian needs. Many lives depend on it” (May 2016).

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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 288 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features articles on various topics, including articles on the fund’s strategic focus on the promotion of rights and gender equality and its role in scaling up coverage to address HIV, TB, and malaria in key populations; how the fund’s new strategy for 2017-2022 is focusing on health system strengthening; and how the new WHO recommendations for MDR-TB could lower the cost of treatment as well as improve outcomes (5/25).

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