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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

PEPFAR Abstinence Programs Not Associated With Reduction In HIV Risk Behavior In Africa, Study Shows

Bloomberg: It’s Tough to Stop Sex, Study of U.S. AIDS Effort Shows
“…The U.S. has spent more than $1.4 billion since 2004 telling young people in Africa to abstain from sex before marriage and then commit to a single partner. That funding didn’t influence the number of sex partners people had, the age at which they started having sex, or teen pregnancy rates, according to a study published on Monday in the journal Health Affairs by researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine…” (Tozzi, 5/2).

San Diego Union-Tribune: Federal HIV abstinence program ineffective in Africa, study finds
“…[A]n examination of the behavior of nearly 500,000 people in 22 countries failed to find any evidence that the education program had made any difference in changing behavior, the study found. So the study suggested PEPFAR should shift funding to other initiatives that have shown more effectiveness…” (Fikes, 5/2).

SF Gate: Stanford HIV study casts doubt on abstinence efforts in Africa
“…Already, funding for such programs has dropped off substantially under the Obama administration, from a peak of $260 million in 2008 to less than $50 million this year. The new report, published in the journal Health Affairs, suggests that the money would be better spent on HIV prevention programs that have been shown to cut infection rates, such as promoting condom use, circumcising males, and distributing drugs that protect people from the virus that causes AIDS…” (Allday, 5/2).

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U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan Of Florida First House Republican To Support Obama Administration's Zika Funding Request

The Hill: First GOP rep backs Obama’s Zika funding request
“Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) on Monday became the first House Republican to publicly back President Obama’s nearly $2 billion emergency funding request for combating the Zika virus. Buchanan, whose home state is at risk of an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus as early as next month, said he is hoping to end months of gridlock between the White House and GOP leadership, who have locked horns on the funding request…” (Ferris, 5/2).

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Amid Zika, Political Debates Address Abortion, Women's Health

NPR: Should The U.S. Reconsider Its Stand On Foreign Aid For Abortion Clinics?
“…[Zika] has been directly linked to a birth defect that results in an abnormally small head and brain damage. In Latin America, where many countries have strict bans on abortion, some citizens and government officials are asking whether such bans should be reconsidered, at least in infected mothers. And in the United States, a decades-old discussion has been reignited: Should the country rethink its stance on funding abortion initiatives abroad, put forth in what’s known as the Helms Amendment?…” (Garsd, 5/2).

POLITICO Pro: Democrats frame Zika funding as a women’s issue
“In a new twist on the Zika funding battle, Democrats are framing the fight for emergency funding as a women’s issue — part of their broader narrative heading into the fall elections about what they call the Republicans’ war on women…” (Cook, 4/29).

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Decreasing U.S. Funding For Neglected Diseases R&D Puts World At Risk, GHTC Report Warns

SciDev.Net: Lack of U.S. cash for neglected disease R&D raises fears
“The lack of U.S. funding to tackle neglected diseases is leaving the world ill-prepared to deal with future and ongoing epidemics such as Zika, a report warns. In the report, the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), a U.S. non-profit that seeks to boost health funding, says U.S. spending on non-emergency research and development (R&D) into neglected diseases fell in 2014…” (Kollipara, 5/3).

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European Medicines Agency Endorses Gel To Disinfect Newborns' Umbilical Cord Stumps

New York Times: Fight to Prevent a Newborn Infection Receives a Lift
“A gel used to prevent infections in the umbilical cord stumps of newborns was endorsed by the European Medicines Agency last week, an important step toward distribution of the disinfectant in poor countries. … The new gel, a joint venture of Save the Children and the pharmaceutical company GSK, contains chlorhexidine, also used in a disinfectant mouthwash the company makes…” (McNeil, 5/2).

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Increased Access To Midwives Could Curb Maternal, Newborn Mortality In Nigeria, Women's Rights Activist Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Invest in “army of midwives” to cut stillbirths, maternal deaths in Nigeria
“Investing in an ‘army of midwives’ across Nigeria will cut the number of stillbirths and women dying during or after giving birth, a leading women’s rights activist said ahead of the West African nation’s first global conference on midwifery. … Toyin Saraki, founder of women’s rights charity Wellbeing Foundation Africa, said the value of midwives in Nigeria is being shown in the unlikeliest of places — camps for internally displaced people (IDP) uprooted by Boko Haram militants…” (Guilbert, 5/3).

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El Salvador Struggles To Curb High Rates Of Teenage Pregnancy, Health Official Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Incest, lack of sex education drive teen pregnancies in El Salvador
“Rape at the hands of relatives and a lack of sex education are driving pregnancies among girls in El Salvador, which is struggling to stem one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Latin America, according to a top health official. More than a third of all pregnancies in the Central American nation are among girls aged 10 to 19, and girls as young as nine have become pregnant, said Deputy Health Minister Eduardo Espinoza…” (Moloney, 5/2).

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Editorials and Opinions

Investment In, Coordination Of R&D Essential To Responding To Global Infectious Disease Threats

Nature: Policy: Security spending must cover disease outbreaks
Tadataka Yamada, commissioner on the Global Health Risk Framework Commission and venture partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners; V. Ayano Ogawa, associate program officer for the Global Health Risk Framework Commission at the U.S. National Academy of Medicine; and Maria Freire, commissioner on the Global Health Risk Framework Commission, and president and executive director of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

“…[T]he Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future — an independent, international panel — published recommendations in January for addressing future global infectious disease threats. … Here we expand on the R&D element of these recommendations. … Society — national governments, industry, charities, and others — needs to invest an extra $1 billion per year for 15 years, over and above the amount currently being spent on R&D for infectious diseases and global preparedness. … To build and expand on independent public and private-sector activities and ensure synergy, we propose the creation of an independent high-level expert committee … to coordinate research activities, prioritize investments, monitor progress, minimize duplication of effort, and make timely decisions. … Three principles should guide R&D for epidemic or pandemic disaster preparedness. First, we must maintain consistently high ethical and scientific standards, particularly during crises. Second, we must define protocols and approaches to engage local scientists and community members early in the conduct of research. And third, we must agree on ways to expedite medical-product approval, manufacture, and distribution. It is imperative that these recommendations are adopted on a global scale. … We cannot afford to lose this battle” (5/3).

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Instead Of 'Reactive Funding Surges,' U.S. Needs To Take 'Comprehensive Approach' To Accelerate Eradication Of Disease Threats

The Hill: Malaria and other neglected diseases are the itch that must be scratched
Ashley Birkett, director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI)

“…A new report from the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) highlights some … funding problems. The U.S. government’s investment in research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases like malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS has stagnated … Echoing these findings is peer-reviewed research just released in The Lancet, which said that a shift in funding away from malaria in particular could endanger elimination efforts in countries … right on the verge of finally beating the disease. What funding the United States has provided is helping to generate a significant number of promising drugs, vaccine approaches, and other technologies. … Here in the United States, we are supremely lucky that most of us don’t have to deal with the consequences of these diseases on a daily basis, but that makes it easy for us to become complacent — particularly when disease incidence is on a downward trajectory. … The next global epidemic will always be lying in wait unless we’re stocked with the right weapons to fight them. Instead of reactive funding surges, we need a more comprehensive approach so that we can accelerate the eradication of all of these neglected diseases…” (5/2).

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Recent Releases

Study Examines PEPFAR Investments In Governance, Health Systems

Health Affairs: PEPFAR Investments In Governance And Health Systems Were One-Fifth Of Countries’ Budgeted Funds, 2004-14
Corrina Moucheraud, assistant professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and colleagues “analyzed PEPFAR budgets for governance and systems for the period 2004-14 to ascertain whether PEPFAR’s stated emphasis on strengthening health systems has been manifested financially. … The share of planned PEPFAR funding for governance and systems increased from 14.9 percent, on average, in 2004 to 27.5 percent in 2013, but it declined in 2014 to 20.8 percent. This study shows that the size of a country’s PEPFAR budget was negatively associated with the share allocated for governance and systems (compared with other budget program areas); it also shows that there was no significant relationship between budgets for governance and systems and HIV prevalence…” (May 2016).

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CDC-Supported Program Helps Train Workers To Identify, Respond To Food Insecure Areas In Ethiopia

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: A Ray of Hope for a Better-Prepared Ethiopia
Lucy Boulanger, program director at CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP) in Ethiopia, discusses Ethiopia’s Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), a network of university-based training programs that educate workers to collect and analyze public health data in order to identify and respond to areas with food insecurity. “Trainees are matching their data to logistics to get this food where it is most urgently needed. They are constantly re-evaluating the situation and making adjustments using an evaluation tool that looks at seven pillars of response: surveillance, case management, supplies and logistics, coordination, human resources, communication, and social mobilization,” Boulanger notes (5/2).

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Wilson Center Event Examines Progress In, Priorities For Maternal, Newborn Health

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: After Mexico City and Before Copenhagen: Keeping Our Promise to Mothers and Newborns
Haodan “Heather” Chen, an intern with the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, recaps an April 13 Wilson Center event during which panelists reviewed progress in maternal and newborn health and priorities through 2030, and discussed efforts to improve policy and programs following the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference (GMNHC) held in Mexico City in October 2015 and prior to the Women Deliver conference to be held in Copenhagen later this month (5/3).

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In Collection Of Blog Posts, Experts Discuss Markets' Roles In Improving Global Health

PATH Blog: Markets Matter: experts share why strong markets are essential for global health
This blog post highlights “Markets Matter, a collection of thought leadership pieces from a diverse group of nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and donors” on “the role well-functioning markets play in supporting access to health products…” (4/27).

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May 2016 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The May 2016 WHO Bulletin includes editorials, news, research, and policy articles regarding the Global strategy for women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health (2016-2030), including an editorial on sexual and reproductive health and rights in emergencies, as well as research on strategies for making progress on the global goals for women’s and children’s health (May 2016).

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