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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

West African Presidents Outline Post-Ebola Aid Appeal Ahead Of Meeting With Obama Wednesday

AllAfrica: West Africa: Presidents Appeal for Post-Ebola Aid Ahead of Obama Talks
“…In a guest column published on AllAfrica ahead of a meeting with President Barack Obama of the United States on Wednesday, Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Alpha Conde of Guinea, and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone identify five key elements in their appeal for help: Building resilient public health systems; Developing transport, power and telecommunications infrastructure to bring about regional integration; Backing for private sector-led recovery efforts, and a resumption of air travel in the region; Technical and financial support for immediate cash help to the most vulnerable people hit by the Ebola crisis; and [a] total cancellation of the countries’ foreign debt…” (4/15).

Reuters: Obama to meet West African presidents on Wednesday to discuss Ebola
“U.S. President Barack Obama is due to meet the presidents of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone on Wednesday to discuss progress on the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the White House National Security Council said on Twitter” (Rampton, 4/14).

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U.S., Africa Partner To Establish African CDC, Health Officials Announce

NPR: Disease Detection Gets A Boost With Plans For A CDC In Africa
“…[A]s the worst Ebola outbreak in history winds down, African health officials announced Monday they will partner with the U.S. to establish a continent-wide African CDC…” (Burress, 4/14).

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Second Ebola Vaccine Trial Underway In Sierra Leone

Agence France-Presse: Ebola vaccine trial begins in Sierra Leone
“Thousands of health care workers in areas of Sierra Leone that are grappling with Ebola will now begin receiving an experimental vaccine against the often deadly virus, officials said Tuesday…” (4/14).

The Hill: CDC begins Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone
“…The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has partnered with local health officials and disease researchers in Sierra Leone to launch the trial, which will include 6,000 health care workers on the frontlines of the disease…” (Ferris, 4/14).

ScienceInsider: Second Ebola vaccine trial may be too little, too late
“…Since peaking at the end of November, the number of newly reported cases in Sierra Leone has dropped steadily, from 95 four weeks ago to just 21 last week. That makes it very unlikely, that the trial — led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation — can get a statistically significant result, says Stephan Becker, a virologist at the University of Marburg, Germany…” (Kupferschmidt, 4/14).

USA TODAY: Testing of Ebola vaccine is underway in Sierra Leone
“…The vaccine being rolled out in Sierra Leone was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed to NewLink Genetics, which has licensed the vaccine to Merck. The vaccine has been tested on 800 people in Africa, Canada, Europe, and the USA. A second Ebola vaccine, developed at the National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline, is also in clinical trials in West Africa…” (Szabo, 4/14).

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Global Water, Food Supplies Threatened By Over-Consumption, Climate Change, FAO Report Says, Urging Reform

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Over-consumption, climate change threaten food security, water supply — FAO
“There will be enough water to produce food for 10 billion people in 2050, but over-consumption and the impact of climate change threaten food security and water supplies in many regions, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday…” (Mis, 4/15).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. warns of 2050 deadline for dwindling water supplies, urges government action
“…The report — entitled Towards a water and food secure future and launched [Tuesday] at the World Water Forum in concomitance with the World Water Council — urges government policies and public and private investment to ensure that crops, livestock, and fish are sustainably produced in ways also aimed at safeguarding water resources. Without such measures, the report warns, efforts to reduce poverty, increase incomes, and ensure food security in many developing nations will become increasingly difficult…” (4/14).

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WHO Calls For Disclosure Of All Clinical Trial Results, In Effort To Increase Transparency, Minimize Misinformation

Reuters: WHO demands disclosure of all clinical trial results
“The World Health Organization called on Tuesday for the release of clinical trial results for all drugs, vaccines, and medical devices — whatever the result — in the latest salvo against the withholding of data…” (4/14).

World Health Organization: WHO calls for increased transparency in medical research
“…The move aims to ensure that decisions related to the safety and efficacy of vaccines, drugs, and medical devices for use by populations are supported by the best available evidence…” (4/14).

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Africa's Economic Growth Rate Predicted To Stall In 2015; Continent Falls Short In Eliminating Extreme Poverty, World Bank Data Show

International Business Times: Sub-Saharan Africa Falls Behind In Fight Against Extreme Poverty: World Bank Report
“Economic development has lifted more than a billion people from extreme poverty in the last 25 years, and the number of citizens living on less than $1.25 per day has declined in every region of the globe except one: sub-Saharan Africa. Data from the World Bank say that developing countries in East Asia, Latin America, and South Asia have seen the number of citizens in extreme poverty — that is, living on less than $1.25 per day — on the decline. But in sub-Saharan Africa, these rates are increasing despite the region’s fast-paced economic development in recent years…” (Caulderwood, 4/14).

Wall Street Journal: Sub-Saharan Africa’s Economic Growth Rate to Stall in 2015
“…Economic output is expected to grow by 4 percent across the region in 2015, the World Bank said in its biannual economy report ‘Africa Pulse,’ significantly below the historic average of 4.4 percent. While that is still well above the global economy average, seen by the World Bank at 2.9 percent for 2015, the decline highlights how vulnerable the world’s second-fastest growing region is, both from trouble at home and abroad…” (Stevis, 4/13).

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Combination Of Factors Contributing To Rise In Egypt's H5N1 Cases, WHO Says

CIDRAP News: WHO: Several factors fueling surge of H5N1 in Egypt
“…The WHO said the surge of cases in Egypt that started in November appears to be caused by a combination of factors, including increased H5N1 circulation in poultry. It said there are reports of an increased number of outbreaks and H5N1 detections in Egyptian poultry compared with previous months and compared with this time frame in past years. … The WHO said other factors that could be fueling the unprecedented surge include an increasing number of small farms and household flocks, lower risk awareness, and colder weather, which could put people in closer proximity to poultry and create a more favorable environment for virus survival…” (Schnirring, 4/14).

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Despite Access Challenges, UNICEF Delivers Humanitarian Supplies To Northeast Syria

U.N. News Centre: U.N. delivers much needed humanitarian supplies to vulnerable groups in Syria
“Despite huge challenges in getting access, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has managed to deliver much-needed humanitarian supplies to Qamishli in north-east Syria, a spokesperson for the agency said today…” (4/14).

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UNICEF Delivers Aid To Yemen During Ceasefire

CNN: Hope amid the carnage: U.N. aid reaches victims of Yemen bloodshed
“…[A] brief, peaceful window has been delicately negotiated following a special request from the U.N. — but it won’t last long. UNICEF hopes there will be just enough time to deliver vital food and supplies, helping to ease the country’s worsening humanitarian crisis. More than 100,000 Yemeni civilians have fled their homes since fighting began, and OCHA, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, estimates that 15.9 million people here are in need of assistance…” (Walsh, 4/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Food Aid Reform Would Allow More Lives To Be Saved At No Additional Cost

The Hill: Farm to table on a global scale
Emily Luchetti, pastry chef and chair of the Board of Trustees of the James Beard Foundation

“…The U.S. is the most generous food aid donor in the world, and I am proud of the incredible life-saving impact of what our taxpayer dollars has achieved. … Today, red tape mandates that all food aid must be purchased from U.S. grain traders and be shipped on U.S.-flagged vessels, even if cheaper food is available closer to where it’s needed. This means that only a little more than half of the food aid spent ends up in the form of food. … Simple common sense reforms, like the ones proposed in a bipartisan bill recently introduced in the Senate by Sens. Corker (R-Tenn.) and Coons (D-Del.), can make the necessary reforms that would help save millions more lives with no additional costs to us taxpayers. This bill would start turning our food aid program into a global humanitarian version of farm to table. And that’s a good thing…” (4/14).

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WHO Needs To Reform To Uphold Mandate Of 'Directing And Coordinating Authority' On Global Health

JAMA: Reforming the World Health Organization After Ebola
Lawrence Gostin of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center

“…In January, the WHO Executive Board proposed major reforms, which the World Health Assembly will consider in May. The outcome of the reform movement could affect the WHO’s status and credibility for a generation. Here are 5 reforms I propose needed to uphold the WHO’s constitutional mandate as ‘the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.’ 1. Ensure sustainable funding … 2. Reform the WHO’s regional structure by empowering WHO’s director-general to appoint regional directors … 3. Improve WHO governance by empowering stakeholders to harness the creativity of civil society … 4. Exert WHO’s constitutional authority by setting an ambitious agenda of health treaties and voluntary codes … 5. Build health system capacities to help prevent the next global health emergency…” (4/14).

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U.S., World Leaders Should Increase WASH Funding To Advance Equality For Women, Girls

Huffington Post: Toilets: A Simple and Surprising Way to Advance Equality for Girls and Women
Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of the Global Poverty Project

“Getting a toilet into every home could be one of the best ways to promote equality for girls and women. … By increasing funding for water and sanitation … in fiscal year 2016, the United States can continue to expand opportunities for girls and women around the world. … Lack of access to sanitation is a problem worldwide. Of course, increasing access to toilets is not a silver bullet. Heightened assistance is needed to see similar progress in countries around the world. We must call on world leaders to increase funding for water and sanitation” (4/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Fact Sheet Outlines U.S. Federal Funding For HIV/AIDS Included In President's FY16 Budget Request

Kaiser Family Foundation: U.S. Federal Funding for HIV/AIDS: The President’s FY 2016 Budget Request
This fact sheet includes information from the President’s FY16 budget request. “…[R]eleased on February 2, 2015, [the budget request] includes an estimated $31.7 billion for combined domestic and global HIV efforts. Domestic HIV is funded at $25.3 billion and global at $6.3 billion in the request. The FY 2016 request represents a 3.1 percent increase ($956 million) over the FY 2015 enacted level, which totaled $30.7 billion…” (4/13).

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CDC Partners With Donors, Communities To Find Innovative Ways To Reach Those Affected By Ebola

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Stopping Ebola by Land, Water and Air
CDC Director Tom Frieden discusses the importance of speed and access to communities in Ebola response efforts (4/14).

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U.S. To Support A.U. Efforts To Establish African CDC

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Supporting Capacity Building Efforts To Help Africa Cope With Health Threats
“DipNote” bloggers discuss Secretary Kerry’s remarks at the signing of “a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) in support of the African Union’s plan to establish an African version of the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC). … Under the new memorandum, the United States’ CDC will provide expert technical help to support a surveillance and response unit, an emergency operations center, and to provide fellowships for African epidemiologists who will provide their services to the newly created African Center in Addis Ababa…” (4/14).

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World Bank Releases 2015 Edition Of World Development Indicators

World Bank: New 2015 edition of World Development Indicators shows 25 years of progress, but much left to do
Neil Fantom, a manager at the World Bank, and Masako Hiraga, a senior statistician/economist in the Development Data Group of the World Bank, write, “We’re pleased to announce that the 2015 edition of World Development Indicators (WDI) has been released. WDI is the most widely used dataset in our Open Data Catalog and it provides high-quality cross-country comparable statistics about development and people’s lives around the globe. As usual you can download or query the database, read the publication, and access the online tables…” (4/14).

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WHO Feature Story Examines Ebola Response In Liberia

WHO: Liberia succeeds in fighting Ebola with local, sector response
This WHO feature describes “[t]he story of how Liberia’s most populous county, Montserrado, turned around an exponentially-growing Ebola outbreak … WHO’s team and national officials, aided by veterans from WHO’s polio eradication group in India, decentralized the response, using quality management principles that empowered local teams and held them accountable for results. These local sector teams involved more than 4,000 community members, using business best practices and an incident management system to vastly improve surveillance, case finding, contact tracing, and overall management of key response activities…” (April 2015).

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