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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N.'s Ban Warns Against Quarantines For Ebola HCWs, While 75% Of Americans Support Such Policies

Reuters reports on several aspects of quarantine policies for Ebola workers, from comments by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to American opinion on the practice.

Reuters: U.N.’s Ban warns against quarantining Ebola health workers
“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Monday against ‘unnecessarily’ strict restrictions on the movement of health workers who have been fighting the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. In some U.S. states officials have imposed quarantines on health professionals returning from three Ebola-ravaged West African countries, but the U.S. federal government opposes such measures…” (Nasralla/Dahl, 11/3).

Reuters: Nurse, Maine settle Ebola quarantine suit
“Maine has reached a settlement with a nurse who was briefly quarantined in her home after treating victims of Ebola in West Africa, allowing her to travel freely in public but requiring her to monitor her health closely and report any symptoms. The settlement, filed in nurse Kaci Hickox’s home town of Fort Kent, in Maine’s far north, keeps in effect through Nov. 10 the terms of an order issued by a Maine judge on Friday…” (Sherwood/Jenkins, 11/3).

Reuters: Americans strongly back quarantine for returning Ebola health workers
“Nearly 75 percent of Americans surveyed in a Reuters/Ipsos poll believe medics returning to the United States after treating people with Ebola should be quarantined, and 80 percent believe the health care workers’ movements should be controlled…” (Allen, 11/3).

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World Bank Head Urges Asia To Send More HCWs To Africa

News outlets report on World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s call for Asia to send more trained health workers to Ebola-affected West Africa.

Agence France-Presse: World Bank chief urges Asian health help in Africa
“World Bank President Jim Yong Kim Tuesday urged Asia to send trained health workers to Ebola-stricken West Africa, warning the focus on stricter border control was not the solution…” (11/4).

Reuters: Asia must do more to help global Ebola fight: World Bank
“Asian countries are not contributing enough to the global effort to fight Ebola, despite having a wealth of trained medical personnel who could help stop the spread of the deadly virus, World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim said on Tuesday…” (Pearson, 11/4).

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WHO Head Criticizes Drug Companies For Slow Ebola Vaccine Research; UNICEF Boosts Staff In West Africa

News outlets report on WHO Director-General Margaret Chan’s criticism of the pharmaceutical industry’s historically slow research into diseases mainly found in developing nations, like Ebola, and UNICEF’s plans to boost its staff in affected nations.

New York Times: WHO Assails Delay in Ebola Vaccine
“The leader of the World Health Organization criticized the drug industry on Monday, saying that the drive for profit was one reason no vaccine had yet been found for Ebola. In a speech at a regional conference in Cotonou, Benin, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the WHO, also denounced the glaring absence of effective public health systems in the worst-affected countries…” (Gladstone, 11/3).

U.N. News Centre: UNICEF to boost staff in Ebola-hit countries; U.N. health chief deplores lagging vaccine research
“As the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced today that it plans to boost its staff in countries on the frontlines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the head of the U.N. World Health Organization attributed the lack of research into cures and vaccines for Ebola to the fact that the disease has historically been confined to poor African nations…” (11/3).

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Health Officials Reassessing Needs In Liberia After Recent Declines Of New Ebola Cases

Washington Post: As Ebola declines in Liberia, health officials reassess response plans
“The rate of new Ebola infections here has declined so sharply in recent weeks that even some of the busiest treatment facilities are now only half-full and officials are reassessing the scale of the response needed to quell the epidemic. … [S]ome worry that this is just the latest temporary lull in the worst Ebola outbreak on record…” (Bernstein, 11/3).

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WFP Charters Ship To Bring Food Supply To Ebola-Hit Liberia, Sierra Leone

Bloomberg News: U.N. Charters Food Ship for Africa as Ebola Disrupts Supply
“The United Nations’ food-aid agency chartered a ship to transport supplies to West African countries hit by Ebola as trade disruptions linked to the outbreak stoke food prices in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The two-month vessel charter has helped the World Food Programme, which is providing meals for Ebola victims and quarantined communities, skirt issues getting food to stricken countries for now, spokesman Alexis Masciarelli said…” (Ruitenberg, 11/3).

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Ebola Crisis Can Serve As Model For Fighting Bigger Epidemics, But More Preparation Needed, Gates Says

Wall Street Journal: Ebola Crisis Offers Lessons, Warnings on Epidemics, Bill Gates Says
“Bill Gates says there are many lessons to be learned from the Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa. The biggest, he says, is that the world has far to go before it is prepared to combat an even-larger disease threat…” (McKay, 11/4).

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China Quietly Mounting Large Aid Operation For Ebola In West Africa, But Chinese Philanthropists Donate Little

News outlets report on the Chinese role in responding to the West African Ebola epidemic.

Reuters: Ebola crisis highlights China’s philanthropic shortfall
“China has contributed over $120 million to fight the spread of the Ebola virus, but its billionaire tycoons — it has more than anywhere outside the United States — have, publicly at least, donated little to the cause, underscoring an immature culture of philanthropy in the world’s second-biggest economy…” (Rajagopalan, 11/4).

ScienceInsider: China ramps up efforts to combat Ebola
“In the unfolding Ebola crisis, much attention has focused on the relief efforts of Western countries and the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders. Out of the limelight, China is mounting one of its largest aid operations ever, driven in part by increasing political and business interests in Africa…” (Larson, 11/3).

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Australia To Send Volunteer HCWs To Sierra Leone

Sydney Morning Herald: Ebola: Abbott government relents, will send Australian volunteers to treat victims
“The Abbott government is set to announce that it will assist several hundred Australian expert volunteers travel to one of the Ebola hotspots of Africa to help control the epidemic. The government has struck an agreement to manage a British field hospital in Sierra Leone, according to diplomatic sources. An official announcement is expected on Wednesday…” (Hartcher, 11/4).

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Canada Commits New Funding For Ebola Vaccine, Treatment R&D

Reuters: Canada commits funding for Ebola vaccine research, stockpile
“Canada announced new funding on Monday for clinical trials into an Ebola vaccine, and to create a stockpile of the vaccine and experimental treatments for use in the event the deadly disease reaches the country…” (Mordant, 11/3).

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Nigerian Academy Of Science Head Criticizes African Response To Ebola

ScienceInsider: Nigerian virologist delivers scathing analysis of Africa’s response to Ebola
“After Oyewale Tomori finished his talk on Ebola here at the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance, there was stunned silence. Tomori, the president of the Nigerian Academy of Science, used his plenary to deliver a scathing critique of how African countries have handled the threat of Ebola and how corruption is hampering efforts to improve health…” (Kupferschmidt, 11/3).

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Nigeria's Polio Infrastructure Repurposed To Address Ebola Outbreak

NPR: It Turns Out That Fighting Polio Is Good Training To Fight Ebola
“Nigeria has been a stubborn hot spot of polio — and that turned out to be a good thing when it came time to fight Ebola. In late July, a patient with the deadly Ebola virus arrived from Liberia. Health workers knew what to do. The country has created a massive public health effort to wipe out polio; institutions and strategies were repurposed to fight Ebola. On the other hand, anti-polio efforts in the countries hit hardest by Ebola are on hold — and that could lead to disaster…” (Silberner, 11/3).

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Number Of Women, Girls With Access To Contraception Rising, But More Must Be Done, FP2020 Report, Melinda Gates Say

News outlets discuss a new report from Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) and Melinda Gates’s comments on the report and access to contraception.

The Guardian: Family planning drive reaches millions of women and girls
“The number of women and girls accessing contraceptives in developing countries rose by 8.4 million last year, but efforts to bring family planning to millions of women who have not been reached are not moving fast enough, according to a report published on Monday. … The report, Partnership in Progress, assessed how the funding boost had influenced women’s reproductive health standards in the world’s poorest countries…” (Kweifio-Okai, 11/3).

Reuters: Melinda Gates backs contraception for healthier, wealthier future
“Giving the millions of women who need it contraception and pregnancy advice will help avoid illness, disadvantage and poverty for current and future generations, Melinda Gates said on Monday. The co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation told Reuters she is encouraged by progress in the past two years in putting family planning at the center of woman and child health programs, but says more needs to be done to ensure all women can choose freely whether and when to have children…” (Kelland, 11/3).

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HIV-Positive Women Were Forcibly Sterilized, Namibia Court Says

News outlets report on Namibia’s Supreme Court ruling that health care workers sterilized three HIV-positive women without their informed consent.

Agence France-Presse: HIV-positive women forcibly sterilized in Namibia, says court
“Namibia’s Supreme Court on Monday found that HIV-positive women were forcibly sterilized after giving birth — a decision hailed by activists as a victory for women throughout Africa…” (11/3).

Associated Press: Court: Namibia forcibly sterilized women with HIV
“Namibia’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that health workers sterilized HIV-positive women without their consent, a human rights group said Monday. The 2012 judgment that was upheld had found that health workers had coerced three HIV-positive mothers to sign sterilization consent forms they did not fully understand, and while in labor, the Southern Africa Litigation Center said…” (Chutel, 11/3).

Al Jazeera: Namibia court upholds sterilization verdict
“Namibia’s Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that health workers sterilized HIV-positive women without their consent. … The Southern Africa Litigation Centre said the ruling sends a message to the government to stop the practice in the southwestern African nation, and elsewhere on the continent…” (11/3).

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HIV Patients In Yemen Denied Health Care, HRW Says

Media sources highlight claims from Human Rights Watch that HIV patients in Yemen are denied health care services.

New York Times: HIV Patients in Yemen Face Hospital Evictions
“Patients infected with HIV are being ordered out of hospitals in Yemen, even when they are in dire need of care, a human rights group says…” (McNeil, 11/3).

Human Rights Watch: Yemen: HIV Patients Denied Health Care
“People with HIV and AIDS are routinely denied care within Yemen’s health care system, Human Rights Watch said in an October 2014 letter to the Yemeni minister of health released today. Yemeni authorities should end discrimination by health workers against people with HIV and ensure patients’ equal access to health care services, as mandated by a 2009 law…” (11/3).

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Nearly 1M Somalis Need Urgent Food Aid Following Floods, U.N. Says

Wall Street Journal: Some One Million Somalis in Urgent Need of Food Aid, Says U.N.
“Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are in urgent need of food assistance as floods have destroyed crops and eroded an already precarious food supply, aid officials said Monday…” (Bariyo, 11/3).

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Aid, Small Harvests Avert South Sudan Famine, But Risks Remain, WFP Says

Reuters: South Sudan famine temporarily averted, but risks remain: U.N.
“Aid and some small harvests have helped stave off a feared famine in South Sudan, but any more fighting there could still leave millions facing severe hunger next year, a senior World Food Programme (WFP) official said on Friday…” (Jorgic, 11/4).

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New Faster Diagnostic Test For River Blindness Less Expensive, Painful

Devex: New tool makes diagnosing river blindness faster, cheaper, and less painful
“…With funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH worked with the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and South Korea-based manufacturing firm Standard Diagnostics to roll out the new diagnostic tool, which they hope will play a critical role in accelerating the eradication of river blindness…” (Tyson, 11/3).

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Sanofi Says Dengue Vaccine Could Be Available Late 2015

News outlets report on the testing of an experimental dengue vaccine, which the maker says could be available next year.

Reuters: Sanofi says first dengue vaccine may be available in second half of 2015
“Sanofi said on Monday that a late-stage clinical study showed that its dengue vaccine candidate met its main goal and was highly effective against severe cases of the disease. The French drugmaker’s Sanofi Pasteur division intends to file for registration for the vaccine in several endemic countries next year, it said in a statement…” (Regan, 11/3).

Times of India: Dengue vaccine tested on Indian adults, found safe
“…In an exclusive interview to TOI, the vaccine makers Sanofi Pasteur revealed that their first study of the vaccine on Indian adults (aged 18-45 years) across five sites in India — Delhi, Ludhiana, Bangalore, Pune, and Kolkata — found the vaccine ‘safe and immunogenic in Indian adults’ with results comparable to other clinical studies in Asia…” (Sinha, 11/2).

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Experimental Malaria Vaccine Being Tested In Kenya, Showing Good Results

VOA News: New Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise in Kenya
“…[S]cientists in Kenya say that next year, a new malaria vaccine will be available that could add an important component to malaria control and potentially eradicate the disease. … Although existing interventions have helped to reduce the disease over the past decade, scientists in this lab in western Kenya are working on a vaccine — with the help of Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and other partners — that could add an important component to malaria control…” (Yusuf, 11/3).

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Deforestation Likely Spurring Increase In Formerly Rare Monkey-Borne Malaria Strain In Malaysian Patients

Motherboard: Deforestation Is Clearing the Way for a Rare Monkey-Borne Malaria
“Malaysia’s forests are disappearing at a faster rate than just about anywhere else in the world. And with the rise of deforestation has come another troubling trend: A formerly rare form of malaria, which is capable of jumping from macaques to humans, is now the leading cause of malaria hospitalizations in the country…” (Mead/Koehbler, 11/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola Epidemic, Response

New York Times: Fighting an Epidemic With Hands Tied
Lawrence Altman, physician and former New York Times senior medical correspondent

“…Beyond the obvious dangers to health care workers — more than 270, mostly African, have died so far this year — a host of obstacles stand in the way of anyone who may want to help stem a catastrophe. Foremost among them, perhaps, is that with no central agency in charge, volunteers often cannot be placed when and where they are most needed. … Many people ask why foreigners should respond to an epidemic far from home, even if imported cases may significantly threaten people in their own country. The tradition of doctors’ and nurses’ accepting personal risks in caring for patients seems to be a casualty in the growing commercialism of medicine and academia…” (11/3).

Foreign Policy: Journey to the Center of an Epidemic
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…During my first morning on the ground I was met with the African smells and sights I have known so well during my three decades of travel on this continent, but with one crucial difference — no hugging, wild gesticulations, comradely macho handshakes, or girlish kiss-kiss greetings. … Whether or not Liberia now has Ebola on the run will not be certain for several days, as teams of U.S. CDC epidemiologists and their Liberian counterparts scour remote communities all over this country in search of hidden disease victims, embers for fresh outbreaks. But one thing is clear: Life goes on in impoverished Liberia in the face of this calamitous epidemic” (11/3).

New York Times: The Capacity to Treat, and to Spread
Abigail Zuger, physician and New York Times columnist

“…[Ebola] appears minimally transmissible among humans save in settings when friends, relatives, or licensed professionals care for the ill. This pattern forces a completely new examination of health care workers’ rights and responsibilities to infected patients and to the community at large. … [I]t seems to me that health care workers will do themselves a big favor by taking ownership of the situation and acknowledging that choosing to be part of the solution to this infection, sadly, turns us into part of the problem. Wouldn’t it be sensible and politic for us all gracefully to accept the fact that a terminal three weeks of limited liberty is necessarily a part of this particular job?” (11/3).

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Prevention Of Dengue Could Be A Reality, Trials Show

New England Journal of Medicine: Preventing Dengue — Is the Possibility Now a Reality?
Stephen Thomas of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

“Dengue is a mosquito-borne flaviviral illness that is endemic in the tropics and subtropics. … Although mortality is relatively lower than that for other tropical infectious diseases, the scale of human suffering and economic resources that are expended to control dengue makes it a major global public health problem. … After decades of attempts to develop a dengue vaccine, the results of a phase 3 efficacy trial that are now described in the Journal are a milestone. … The efficacy trial by Villar et al. shows that we can protect populations from dengue disease and perhaps even reduce the proportion of patients with severe disease. Although the available results are not broadly generalizable across diverse populations, a foundation for additional studies has been laid. … For now, practitioners should remain optimistic that one day it will be possible to prevent dengue” (11/3).

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Malaria Elimination Possible With Ambition, Innovation

The Guardian: Eliminating malaria: how close can we get?
James Whiting, executive director of Malaria No More U.K., and Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More U.S.

“…Thanks to more than a decade of dramatic progress in reducing cases of and deaths from malaria, such an ambitious goal — to remove malaria from the whole planet — backed by investment and innovation in the tools and solutions we use to fight the world’s oldest disease, is something we can conceivably achieve in our lifetimes. … We will continue to work on a powerful array of ways to defeat this disease because, given the resurgence risk, standing still is simply not an option. Do we have an ambitious agenda? Yes. Can we afford not to be this ambitious? With a child dying every minute from a disease that is costing Africa £8bn annually, we think not” (11/3).

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Devex #HealthyMeans Opinion Pieces Address Global Health Challenges, Opportunities

Devex: How to help us live longer — and better — lives
Catherine Cheney, special projects editor at NationSwell

Devex: Good for health, good for business
Claire Hitchcock, director for community partnerships in GSK’s global health programs team, and Peter Muchiri Ngatia, director of capacity building at AMREF Health Africa

Devex: Social marketing poised to make major contribution to 2020 family planning goal
David Olson, global development communications consultant

Devex: Healthy workplaces: A smart solution to a global health crisis
Nalini Saligram, CEO and founder of Arongya World

Devex: An unparalleled opportunity to improve the health of the most vulnerable. Will we take it?
Mesfin Teklu Tessema, director for maternal child health and infectious diseases at World Vision International

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From the Global Health Policy Community

State Department Fields Questions From African Diaspora Communities On U.S. Ebola Response

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: U.S. Department of State Engages African Diaspora Communities on the U.S. Response to the Ebola Crisis
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs David Duckenfield summarizes questions and answers from a State Department conference call with more than “200 members of the African diaspora community to discuss the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola crisis. … U.S. government officials provided call participants with an update on the U.S. government’s response and listened to their ideas and suggestions about how the government can coordinate with African diaspora communities across the United States” (11/3).

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CGD Interviews Candidate For WHO Africa Regional Director

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Selecting WHO’s Next Africa Regional Director: An Interview with Candidate Dr. Jean Marie Okwo-Bele
Amanda Glassman, senior fellow and director of global health policy at CGD, and Yuna Sakuma, a CGD research assistant, note the WHO this month will select its next regional director for Africa. “…As part of a series of blogs on this topic, Dr. Jean Marie Okwo-Bele, currently director of the WHO Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, provides us with his views on current challenges and vision for the future of WHO AFRO” (11/3).

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India Continues To Make Progress In Family Planning

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Report shows progress on India’s Family Planning commitment
Jyoti Vajpayee, senior program officer of family planning at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation India, discusses the progress India has made on its “commitment to include family planning as a central element of its efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage” (11/2).

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November 2014 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The November 2014 WHO Bulletin includes news and research articles on various topics, as well as editorials on climate change and health, and health in ASEAN nations (November 2014).

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