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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Experts Express Concerns Over WHO Head's Handling Of Ebola, Politicization Of Agency

New York Times: Effort on Ebola Hurt WHO Chief
“…Diplomacy is an inevitable, even necessary, part of running the world’s main health organization, vital to getting fractious countries to cooperate for the sake of global health, [WHO Director-General Margaret Chan’s] critics acknowledge. But Dr. Chan, they say, has been too willing to accommodate the wishes of governments, at times reluctant to call them to task and at other times too ready to bow to the demands of donors — even when it puts the world’s health at risk. Not until August, after 1,000 Africans had died and Ebola had spread to Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, did Dr. Chan declare the outbreak a global emergency…” (Sengupta, 1/6).

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UNMEER Must Scale Up Ebola Efforts To Reach Zero Cases, New Head Says

U.N. News Centre: On first visit to hard-hit nations, new U.N. Ebola mission chief vows scaled-up support to end crisis
“… ‘I want to visit the affected countries not only to see what’s already been done — I know we have made a lot of progress — but to see what we can do to get to zero cases as fast as possible,’ said Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed. ‘Beyond that, we also need to scale up our efforts to re-establish basic social services, strengthen health services, support economic activity, and build these countries’ resilience,’ he added…” (1/6).

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U.S. Military's Liberia Ebola Mission Winding Down As Cases Drop, Treatment Facilities Built

Military Times: More U.S. troops return from Ebola mission
“The U.S. military mission to help contain the Ebola virus has begun winding down as hundreds of troops return home from West Africa earlier than expected. … The number of new Ebola cases reported in Liberia has dropped dramatically since U.S. troops arrived and began building treatment facilities and providing logistical support for the civilian-run health care system…” (Tilghman, 1/6).

Washington Post: The Pentagon’s mission against Ebola is quietly shrinking
“…The U.S. military completed the last of 17 Ebola treatment units it planned to build last month. … Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, who leads the military task force in Liberia, told the Wall Street Journal last month that the United States will decide in coming days whether to redeploy troops there to Sierra Leone and Guinea or just shrink the size of the mission in Liberia…” (Lamothe, 1/5).

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Ebola Can Unite West Africa Through Regional Response To Epidemic, A.U. Head Says

Agence France-Presse: Ebola ‘challenge’ will promote unity in West Africa: A.U. chief
“…Regional experience in fighting the deadly virus ‘should consolidate our solidarity and our mutual support,’ A.U. chief Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the president of Mauritania, told journalists late Monday in the Liberian capital Monrovia…” (1/6).

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PBS NewsHour Speaks With Sen. Coons, Former UNMEER Head Banbury About Future Of Ebola Epidemic

PBS NewsHour: What’s next in the global response to Ebola?
PBS correspondent Gwen Ifill speaks with “Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa Affairs, [who] has just returned from Monrovia. And Anthony Banbury [who] has just completed a 90-day term as head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response…” (1/6).

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Several Companies Working On Experimental Ebola Vaccines In Unprecedented Effort

Daily Beast: The Race for the Ebola Vaccine
“…Although a few smaller companies have become involved in the race for a vaccine, three major pharmaceuticals are taking the lead — each pursuing a different vaccine. The trials are unprecedented for a variety of reasons, including the rapid timeline (trials of this nature generally take 3-4 years)…” (Haglage, 1/7).

VOA News: Governments, Competitors Cooperate to Produce Ebola Vaccine
“…Several potential vaccines are being developed and are now in clinical trials. This increases the possibility of developing at least one that is effective against Ebola. And if more than one is effective, so much the better. It would increase the chances of that large numbers of people could be immunized, and bring the outbreak to an end. It could also mean there would never again be another Ebola epidemic as bad as this one” (Pearson, 1/6).

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#VaccinesWork Campaign Aims To Encourage Vaccination Through Art

New York Times: Gates Foundation Uses Art to Encourage Vaccination
“…[Vik] Muniz, the Brazilian-born photographer known for his unorthodox materials, has been working with the MIT bioengineer and designer Tal Danino on a series of trompe l’oeil images of microscopic organisms: cancer cells, healthy cells, and bacteria. … The work now has another meaning. It will be used in a new online campaign, The Art of Saving a Life, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The intent is to promote vaccination just in time for an international effort to raise funds to inoculate millions, especially in poor nations. The campaign, to be released online on Wednesday, is the first time that the foundation has commissioned artists in the service of a cause…” (Ryzik, 1/6).

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UNICEF North Korea Office Audit Warns Oversight Lacking On Some Health Projects

Fox News: UNICEF’s North Korea office barred from oversight of its own health projects, audit probe warns
“…While UNICEF is supposed to be supporting an array of health and education programs in the country — including campaigns financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) — and is supposed to be monitoring their progress, the audit notes that the agency’s international staff are banned from entering 35 of North Korea’s 208 counties, which hold about 13 percent of the nation’s roughly 25 million people…” (Russell, 1/6).

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Ethiopian Women Use Peer Education To Spread Trachoma Prevention Strategies In Local Communities

VOA News: Army of Women Educates on Trachoma in Ethiopia
“An army of women in Ethiopia has been recruited to teach friends and neighbors how to prevent trachoma, an eye disease that’s preventable but still very common in many parts of Ethiopia…” (Lewis, 1/6).

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Middle-Income Nations Simultaneously Addressing Obesity, Malnutrition

EurActiv: New health extremes in developing countries: Obesity and malnutrition
“Middle-income developing countries confront two extremes within the public health sector. While a large percentage of the population is underweight and malnourished, a growing number of people are adopting an unhealthy, western-influenced lifestyle, dispensing with physical activity and consuming fast food…” (1/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

PEPFAR Focusing On 'Collaboration To Achieve Impact' In 2015

Huffington Post: Accelerating Progress Toward an AIDS-free Generation in 2015
Deborah Birx, ambassador-at-large and coordinator of the U.S. government activities to combat HIV/AIDS

“…As of September 2014, through the generosity of the American people, PEPFAR is supporting life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 7.7 million men, women, and children, but our work is not done. This year promises to be a transformative year in the HIV/AIDS response, as PEPFAR works with partners to implement our strategic plan to curb the epidemic in high-burden areas. Two thousand fifteen offers us all the opportunity to accelerate progress toward an AIDS-free generation with increased emphasis on collaboration to achieve impact” (1/6).

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Behavior Change, Innovation, Political Will Critical To Reaching WASH Goals

Huffington Post: For 2015, Three Must-Haves for Sanitation
Sanjay Wijesekera, chief of water, sanitation and hygiene, and associate director of programs at UNICEF

“…For the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, 2015 is an ‘almost, but not quite’ date. The world did reach the water MDG — in 2010, in fact — but that still leaves 750 million people without this most basic of services. … I think there are three must-haves that can make a world of difference with the sanitation problem. 1. The creation of a ‘new normal’ … to make open defecation unacceptable. … 2. Affordable sanitation … 3. Political will…” (1/6).

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International Family Planning Will Have 'Interesting Year'

Devex: 7 family planning trends to watch for in 2015
Christopher Purdy, president and CEO of DKT International, and Phil Harvey, founder of DKT International and chair of the DKT Board of Directors

“This year promises to be an interesting one for international family planning. Here are seven issues and trends to watch for: 1. The abortion pill. … 2. Emergency contraceptive drugs. … 3. More women using contraceptives. … 4. Pfizer’s Sayana Press [injectable contraceptive]. … 5. Contraceptive social marketing. … 6. Increased use of IUDs. … 7. New leaders…” (1/6).

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Ebola Recovery Provides Opportunity For Liberia To Build Trust In Government, International Donors

Global Policy Journal: The Ebola Opportunity
Blair Glencorse, executive director of the Accountability Lab in Liberia, and Ashoka Mukpo, a journalist and former civil society advocate who contracted Ebola in Liberia

“…[F]ew if any countries in the region have health care systems that could have withstood Ebola’s onslaught. But it would be a mistake to think that the lessons of this terrible year are limited to the health sector alone. After a lengthy post-war period where the international community poured billions of dollars into reconstruction, Liberia remains a fragile state whose citizenry is deeply wary of its government. … It is thus critical that the world redoubles its efforts to help Liberia build an inclusive society where people trust both their own leaders and the outside world…” (1/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Richard Feachem Discusses Role Of Research, Policy, Private Sector In Malaria Response

Development Policy Centre’s “Devpolicy Blog”: Research, policy and the private sector: Sir Richard Feachem on malaria
“…Professor Gabriele Bammer of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at ANU interviewed Sir Richard [Feachem, director of the Global Health Group at UCSF Global Health Sciences,] on the role of researchers, policymakers, and the private sector in the global malaria response…” (Feachem/Bammer, 1/6).

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Ebola Epidemic Highlights Need For More HCWs In West African Nations

Humanosphere: More support needed for local health workers responding to Ebola, advocates say
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy interviews several health care worker advocates and writes, “Many problems coalesced to make a usually controllable [Ebola] outbreak a crisis. One of those pieces is the lack of health care workers who can respond to emerging health problems in all of the countries…” (1/6).

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Decriminalization Of Sex Work Could Avert Future HIV Infections, Lancet Article Says

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Want to change the course of HIV epidemics? Decriminalizing sex work could have greatest impact, researchers say
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses a Lancet article, titled “Global epidemiology of HIV among female sex workers: influence of structural determinants,” that was originally published online in July as part of the journal’s series on HIV and sex workers (1/6).

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