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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama Administration Will Veto Zika Spending Package If Senate Approves Bill

CQ HealthBeat: Friday: Senate Trouble for Zika Response Funding Package
“…Senators face a decision next week on the fate of a supplemental spending package to fund efforts to battle the Zika virus. Senate rules allow the conference report to jump onto the Senate agenda and avoid amendment haggling. However, the measure faces a procedural vote — requiring 60 votes — to proceed toward a final vote. The measure also faces a White House veto threat…” (Jenks, 6/24).

CQ News: Zika Spending Bill Faces Likely Senate Rejection, Certain Veto
“The Zika response package and fiscal 2017 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill passed by the House early Thursday appears to lack the votes to make it through the Senate amid strong Democratic opposition. Even if the Republican-crafted product somehow reaches the 60 votes needed to avoid procedural hurdles in the Senate, it faces rejection from the Obama administration…” (McCrimmon et al., 6/23).

CQ News: Contraception Restrictions in Zika Deal Rile Democrats
“…The package would funnel [$95 million] through the Social Services Block Grant program, directing the funds to cover services provided by public health departments, hospitals, and Medicaid managed care clinics, but not family planning clinics that focus on contraception. Critics in Congress and health groups such as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America say the limits are inappropriate and dangerous, since health officials have confirmed that Zika, typically spread by mosquitoes, can also be sexually transmitted and can cause birth and developmental defects…” (Mershon, 6/23).

The Hill: Senate sets up Zika vote
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is turning the Senate toward a fight over funding to combat the Zika virus. McConnell on Thursday filed cloture on the House-Senate deal on a military and veterans funding bill, which includes the Zika money. The move sets up a procedural vote for next week…” (Carney, 6/23).

The Hill: White House threatens veto of GOP’s Zika bill
“The White House on Thursday officially rejected a $1.1 billion Zika funding package from Republicans that would have forced the administration to pull most of the money from existing health care programs…” (Ferris, 6/23).

Vox: House Republicans used the sit-in to vote on a Zika bill that targeted Planned Parenthood
“…Zika causes severe birth defects, and it can be sexually transmitted. Helping women prevent pregnancy is an important part of Zika prevention efforts. Yet part of the Republicans’ bill effectively excludes Planned Parenthood from distributing birth control under a $95 million grant program…” (Crockett, 6/23).

Wall Street Journal: Gridlock Over Funding Threatens to Stall Obama Plan to Fight Zika Virus
“…President Barack Obama indicated he would veto the Republican-backed Zika measure if it reached his desk, White House principal deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said Thursday. He called the $1.1 billion deal ‘totally inadequate,’ saying that Republican lawmakers had turned a public health issue into a partisan political exercise…” (Armour/Nelson, 6/23).

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Zika's Complexity Contributes To 'Most Difficult' Emergency Health Response For CDC, Official Suggests

The Atlantic: Zika Is the ‘Most Difficult’ Emergency Health Response Ever, CDC Official Says
“…[T]he White House has threatened to veto the [Zika funding] bill. Which would mean still no federal funding for what Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called ‘the most difficult’ emergency response the agency has ever had to do, at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Thursday…” (Beck, 6/24).

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Researchers Identify Potential Link Between Dengue Exposure, Severity Of Zika Infection; Studies Provide Insight Into Possible Vaccine Strategies

The Atlantic: A Surprising Link Between Zika and Dengue
“…New research shows that certain dengue antibodies can either neutralize Zika — or help it replicate. The findings, published in two separate papers on Thursday, may be a crucial step toward developing a vaccine for Zika…” (LaFrance, 6/23).

Reuters: Previous exposure to dengue may make Zika worse, scientists find
“…Dengue infections have increased dramatically over recent decades. The virus causes around 390 million infections a year globally — with 40 percent of the world’s population living in areas of risk. Dengue is common in Brazil, and the health ministry there reported a leap in cases this year…” (Kelland, 6/23).

USA TODAY: People previously infected with dengue may be more vulnerable to Zika virus
“…Authors of a study published Thursday in Nature found that two of the antibodies the body makes to fight dengue also prevent Zika infections. … In a second paper, published in Nature Immunology, researchers found that the vast majority of dengue antibodies do nothing to stop Zika infection. In fact, a lab experiment showed that most dengue antibodies actually helped Zika viruses proliferate and invade cells…” (Szabo, 6/23).

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GAVI Offers Up To $27.5M In Matching Funds To Support Malaria Vaccine Research

Reuters: GAVI alliance offers matched funds for GSK malaria vaccine pilot
“The GAVI global vaccine alliance has offered funding of up to $27.5 million for pilot tests of GlaxoSmithKline’s first-generation malaria vaccine, but only if other organizations promise to match that commitment…” (Kelland, 6/23).

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International Ad Agencies To Launch Campaign Supporting U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

Wall Street Journal: Ad Chiefs Unite to Support U.N. Sustainable Development Program
“…U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be joined by advertising companies WPP PLC, Omnicom Group Inc., Publicis Groupe SA, Interpublic Group of Cos., Dentsu Inc., and Havas SA on Friday to unveil a new collaborative initiative called ‘Common Ground,’ which will help promote the U.N.’s Sustainable Development [Goals]…” (Vranica, 6/23).

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On International Day, U.N.'s Ban Urges Global Community To Improve Visibility, Rights Of Widows

U.N. News Centre: World’s oft-marginalized widows must be part of sustainable development, says Ban
“With nearly half the world’s 259 million widows living in poverty, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Thursday] urged greater efforts to ‘make them more visible in our societies’ and ensure they are a vital part of the U.N. Sustainable Development Agenda’s pledge to ‘leave no one behind’…” (6/23).

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Innovators Look To Scale Up Digital Health Programs In Low-, Middle-Income Countries

Devex: A new era in digital health
“More than a decade of experimentation in digital health has seen the rise of a range of innovations that build on the promise that emerging technologies can dramatically improve health care, especially in low- and middle-income settings. What has also emerged is a range of challenges, as innovators have wrestled with everything from building partnerships to reproducing successful programs in new settings. One of the biggest hurdles has been how to channel the lessons from the proliferation of projects that never grew beyond their pilot stage into scaleable interventions…” (Green, 6/23).

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Efforts To Train Community Midwives In Afghanistan Help Lower Country's Infant, Child Mortality Rates

Washington Post: Afghan babies have been dying in huge numbers for decades. Now, something is changing.
“…[A] recent Afghan government survey found that between 2001 and 2015, the nationwide mortality rate for all infants had fallen from 66 to 45 deaths per 1,000 live births, and from 87 to 55 deaths per 1,000 for all children under five years old. … One key to the greater survival rate has been an intensive effort to recruit, train, and deploy thousands of community midwives to rural areas where there are no hospitals or doctors within reach, according to Ferozuddin Feroz, the Afghan minister of public health…” (Constable, 6/24).

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The Lancet Examines Several Initiatives Underway To Help India Respond To Violence Against Women

The Lancet: Gaps in India’s health response to violence against women
“…One in three women globally experiences violence in her lifetime, according to WHO. With a third of Indian women being exposed to domestic violence, the scale of the problem in India mirrors the global crisis. Several initiatives are underway to improve the country’s response to women who experience abuse…” (Bahri, 6/25).

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WHO Team Investigating Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak In Northern South Sudan

The Lancet: WHO investigates mysterious outbreak in South Sudan
“A team from WHO’s Regional Office for Africa is investigating a mysterious viral hemorrhagic fever outbreak in northern South Sudan that has killed 10 people. At the same time, national health officials are scrambling to put preventive measures in place based on the scant knowledge they have so far. However, in a country where nearly two and a half years of fighting has left the health system in tatters, it is unclear how effective those efforts will be…” (Green, 6/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

'Partisan Baubles' Within U.S. House-Passed Zika Funding Measure Could Mean Continued Delay In Response

Washington Post: It’s us against Zika — whose side is Congress on?
Editorial Board

“…More than four months after President Obama requested nearly $1.9 billion in emergency funding to deal with a public health emergency, the House voted for $1.1 billion but saddled it with unnecessary partisan baubles. This may further delay action against the mosquito-borne virus that can cause severe fetal birth defects. … There is probably insufficient support in the Republican-controlled Senate to pass the House version, which means back to the drawing board, more delay, and more of a chance that Zika will lead to birth defects in the United States. To both parties in Congress, we say: The tiny Zika organism doesn’t care one whit about your acrimony, your blame-throwing, your delays. All Zika knows is how to infect and cause human suffering when it can. Who is going to win this battle: the virus, or us?” (6/23).

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Proper Handwashing Essential To Maternal, Child Health, Infection Prevention

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Let 5-year-old Sherry tell you how handwashing with soap saves lives
Myriam Sidibe, social mission director for Africa at Unilever, and Siddharth Chatterjee, UNFPA representative to Kenya

“…Access to good hygiene, including handwashing with soap, is an important indicator in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The fact is that there is a lot of ground to be covered, not only in households but also in our health facilities. … It is time to begin seeing the provision of clean water and sanitation not only as delivery of hygiene infrastructure, but also as an essential part of infection prevention and therefore a simple way to improve quality of care for mothers and newborns. … [S]trategic public-private partnerships will enable the governments to tap into the expertise and efficiencies offered by the private sector. There are numerous collateral gains from improved maternal and child survival rates, not least being the confidence for parents that pregnancy and childbirth is not a gamble with the life of the mother or baby…” (6/24).

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Recent Releases

United State Of Women Summit Highlights HIV Prevention, Care Among Women, Girls Nationally, Globally

White House Blog: HIV Among Issues Examined During White House’s United State of Women Summit
Amy Lansky, director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, and Caira Woods, senior policy adviser to the Office of National AIDS Policy and Office of National Drug Control Policy, discuss highlights from last week’s United State of Women Summit, including a high-level discussion on the progress and challenges of addressing HIV in women and girls and how the U.S. is responding to HIV globally and nationally. In addition, “Following [one of the panel discussions], we were treated to a sneak preview of the forthcoming Greater Than AIDS campaign, Empowered: Trans Women & HIV. The new public information campaign from the Kaiser Family Foundation seeks to bring greater understanding to the issues faced by transgender women in relation to HIV risk, prevention, and care” (6/23).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.