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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Leadership Discusses Shortcomings In Ebola Response, Lessons Learned, Next Steps For Outbreak Preparedness

Reuters: WHO leadership admits failings over Ebola, promises reform
“The World Health Organization has admitted serious failings in its handling of the Ebola crisis and pledged reforms to enable it to do better next time, its leadership said in a statement seen by Reuters on Sunday…” (Miles, 4/19).

TIME: WHO Has Acknowledged the Failings of Its Ebola Crisis Response
“… ‘We can mount a highly effective response to small and medium-sized outbreaks, but when faced with an emergency of this scale, our current systems — national and international — simply have not coped,’ said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, Deputy Director-General Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, and the organization’s regional directors in a joint statement dated April 16. The statement listed eight lessons WHO learned from the crisis, including ‘communicating more clearly what is needed’…” (McSpadden, 4/19).

WHO: WHO leadership statement on the Ebola response and WHO reforms
“…We have taken note of the constructive criticisms of WHO’s performance and the lessons learned to ensure that WHO plays its rightful place in disease outbreaks, humanitarian emergencies, and in global health security…” (4/16).

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World Bank Pledges $650M Over 12-18 Months For Recovery In Ebola-Hit West African Nations

CIDRAP News: World Bank boosts recovery for Ebola outbreak nations
“At an Ebola summit at its spring meeting in Washington, D.C., today, the World Bank Group announced that it will provide at least $650 million over the next 12 to 18 months to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone recover, while providing new estimates of the epidemic’s impact. In other developments today, top-level World Health Organization (WHO) officials vowed to take up reforms suggested by its executive board in the wake of the outbreak, and Doctors without Borders (MSF) handed over a key Ebola treatment unit (ETU) in Monrovia to Liberia’s health ministry…” (Schnirring, 4/17).

U.N. News Centre: Last mile of Ebola struggle ‘may be most difficult,’ Ban says in Washington
“While there has been important progress over recent months, the Ebola epidemic remains a pressing challenge, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said [Friday], stressing that on the road to eradicating the scourge the ‘last mile’ may be the toughest…” (4/17).

USA TODAY: Ebola’s toll: $2.2B economic hit for W. Africa
“The Ebola epidemic that swept through West Africa this year sucked $2.2 billion from the economies of the three countries hit hardest by the disease, the World Bank said Friday. Sierra Leone’s economy lost $1.4 billion, Guinea lost $535 million, and Liberia lost $240 million, according to gross domestic product (GDP) estimates released Friday by the World Bank…” (Leger, 4/17).

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CDC Revises Guidelines To Urge Ebola Survivors To Abstain From Sex, Use Condoms

New York Times: Signs Ebola Spreads in Sex Prompt a CDC Warning
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines on Ebola transmission on Sunday night, urging survivors to abstain from all forms of sex or use condoms every time ‘until more information becomes available,’ rather than three months as previously recommended…” (Fink, 4/19).

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Liberia's Ebola Response Includes Meeting Mental Health Needs Of Survivors, Other Challenges, Health Ministry Official Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: ‘Exhausted’ Liberia struggles with long Ebola ‘to do’ list
“Treating trauma and the mental health issues of Ebola survivors is one of the many challenges facing ‘exhausted’ Liberia, a senior health ministry official said…” (Zweynert, 4/17).

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CHAI Announces New Donor Disclosure Policy, Foreign Government Donor Criteria

CBS News: Clinton health charity defends new foreign donations rule
“A new policy of the Clinton Health Access Initiative allows potentially any foreign government to donate millions to the Clinton family’s largest philanthropy, CBS News’ Julianna Goldman confirms…” (Flores/Goldman, 4/17).

Wall Street Journal: Clinton Health Charity Could Accept Gifts From Any Country Under New Rule
“…The new rules depart sharply from the rest of the Clinton Foundation’s ventures, which accept foreign donations from just six nations. The more lenient policy, posted on the website of the Clinton Health Access Initiative late Thursday, would potentially permit donations from countries that have stirred controversy in the past for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton…” (Grimaldi, 4/17).

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U.N. Appeals For $274M In Humanitarian Aid To Address Crisis In Yemen

Agence France-Presse: Saudis pledge to fund aid for Yemen, keep up air raids
“Saudi Arabia, which is leading a bombing campaign against Shiite rebels in Yemen, pledged Saturday to cover the entire $274 million in humanitarian aid sought by the United Nations for conflict-torn Yemen…” (al-Jabiri, 4/18).

Inter Press Service: U.N. Struggles to Cope with New Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen
“The United Nations, which is providing humanitarian aid to over 50 million refugees worldwide, is struggling to cope with a new crisis in hand: death and destruction in Yemen. In an urgent appeal for 274 million dollars in international aid to meet the needs of some 7.5 million people affected by the escalating conflict, the U.N.’s Humanitarian Coordinator Johannes Van Der Klaauw said Friday, ‘The devastating conflict in Yemen takes place against the backdrop of an existing humanitarian crisis that was already one of the largest and most complex in the world’…” (Deen, 4/17).

U.N. News Centre: As Yemen fighting surges, U.N. humanitarian arm issues urgent appeal for country’s civilians
“…[U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA)] flash appeal for Yemen calls for $273.7 million in order meet the life-saving and protection needs of some 7.5 million people who are increasingly under threat…” (4/17).

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Haiti's MoH Announces 300% Increase In Cholera Cases In First Quarter 2015

Reuters: Early Haiti rains bring risk of bleak cholera season
“Haitian officials are reporting a spike in cholera cases late last year and carrying over into the first three months of 2015 as an early start to the rainy season has public health workers worried. As of March 28, the Haitian Ministry of Health confirmed at least 11,721 cases of cholera, more than a 300 percent increase from the same period last year…” (Granitz, 4/17).

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Brazil Using Soldiers To Educate São Paulo Neighborhoods About Dengue Control

Wall Street Journal: Brazil City Calls In Army to Fight Dengue
“Brazil’s biggest city has called in the army to help combat a deadly outbreak of dengue fever that has sickened hundreds of thousands of people nationwide. Soldiers will next week begin going door-to-door in some of São Paulo’s hardest-hit neighborhoods to educate residents on fighting mosquitoes, Mayor Fernando Haddad said on Friday…” (Jelmaye/Lewis, 4/17).

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Malawi's Sexual Initiation Camps Just As Harmful To Girls As Child Marriage, Activist Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Malawi’s forced sex camps hurt girls as much as child marriage: campaigner
“The custom in Malawi of sending girls to sexual initiation camps is just as harmful as child marriage and must end if the nation is serious about protecting girls’ rights, a teenager who escaped being a child bride said. Memory Banda, 18, said the tradition of early sexual initiation, seen as a way of preparing pubescent girls for marriage, was forcing girls to have sex and exposing them to the risk of HIV infection…” (Zweynert, 4/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

New York Times Letters To The Editor Address U.S., International Responses To Ebola Epidemic

New York Times: Letters to the Editor: The American Response to Ebola
Multiple authors

Multiple authors, including Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID; Sebastian Kevany, a research associate at the Institute for Global Health Delivery and Diplomacy at UCSF; and Jonathan Quick, president and chief executive of Management Sciences for Health, among others, respond to a New York Times article and opinion piece criticizing the U.S. and international reponses to the West African Ebola epidemic (4/20).

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West Africa's Post-Ebola Rebuilding Requires Support From International Community

Washington Post: Rebuilding after Ebola will require the world’s help
Editorial Board

“The ravaging of populations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea by the Ebola virus over the past year has been devastating. The virus killed 10,702 people and left behind vast economic and emotional tolls. The rest of the world responded slowly to the outbreak but eventually rallied. Now it is time to do the same with the aftermath and extend a hand for rebuilding. … One of the most profound lessons of the Ebola disaster is that, in addition to the need for treatment centers and provisions, an outbreak is a crisis of human behavior. Fear can unleash irrational and dangerous actions that only spread the illness. It is essential to build trust with people affected. … [L]essons must be learned and learned well, because there will be a next time” (4/17).

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Congress, Obama Administration Should Take Steps To Ensure Protection Against Biological Outbreaks

The Hill: Preparing for the next biosecurity threat
Paul Chaplin, co-chair of the Alliance for Biosecurity and president and CEO of Bavarian Nordic, and Elizabeth G. Posillico, co-chair of the Alliance for Biosecurity and president and CEO of Elusys Therapeutics

“…Unfortunately we live in a world in which the potential for a biological outbreak, natural or man-made, is ever-present. … We must, therefore, strive to be prepared for the most likely and the most disruptive potential threats. This is true at home and equally true around the globe. … Therefore, while we are encouraged by the [Obama] administration’s commitment to support new, innovative medical countermeasures, more needs to be done — including sustained and robust government investments — to better prepare for an attack or outbreak. Toward that end, Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced an amendment included in the final Senate Budget Resolution that endorses strengthening national security by fully funding the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund through 2025…” (4/17).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Foreign Assistance, Food Aid Budgets

The Hill: Real possibility of ending hunger and extreme poverty
David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World

“A world without hunger and poverty is no longer a dream. … Increased political commitment is crucial to real progress against hunger and poverty. Over the last five years, Bread for the World and other faith groups have had to play defense. Powerful forces in the U.S. Congress have been pushing for deep cuts in all the programs that are focused on people in poverty. But thanks in part to a coalition of faith leaders and faith-grounded activists across the country, the cuts to these programs have so far been minimal. Remarkably, we have increased U.S. funding for international development assistance in each of the last four years. … The real possibility of dramatic progress against hunger and poverty is moving many religious believers to insist that our political leaders help to make this dream come true” (4/17).

Huffington Post: Congress Must Hear the Cries of Hunger From Abroad
William Lambers, author of ‘Ending World Hunger’

“As Congress debates the foreign aid budget, they should hear the cries of hunger from abroad. They should also listen to the echoes of history. … The actions Congress takes in the coming months will have a major impact on the fates of the hungry people worldwide, for Congress will decide the funding for the U.S. Food for Peace program. … We can definitely increase the resources for food aid programs, which are about less than one tenth of one percent of the federal budget. They can certainly be increased from this relatively tiny level of spending. Food is peace. Congress must remember this as it crafts the new budget in the coming months…” (4/17).

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SDGs Must Include Women's Sexual, Reproductive Rights, Gender Equality

The Guardian: ‘Women need the same rights as men, because development needs equality’
Samah Krichah of Le Labo’ Démocratique; Nzira Deus of Movfemme; Natasha Sajjad of Rutgers WPF Pakistan; Mariana Mancilla of Balance; Diakhoumba Gassama of the Senegalese Council of Women; and Sarah Gold of the International Women’s Health Coalition

“[Last] week, ministers and women’s rights activists convened in New York for the annual Commission on Population and Development, which assesses progress against agreements made at a conference in Cairo in 1994. We asked members of Resurj, a global alliance of young feminists, what their governments are doing to support young women and the changes they would like to see…” (4/17).

Huffington Post: A Golden Opportunity to Tackle Gender Inequality
Tewodros Melesse, head of the International Planned Parenthood Federation

“…This month, the Commission on Population and Development (CPD 48) — which tracks progress of the Programme of Action laid out in the ground-breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) — is taking place. It’s theme, ‘Realizing the future we want: integrating population issues into sustainable development, including the post-2015 development agenda,’ and its timing couldn’t be more significant. The original ICPD put women’s rights, empowerment, and well-being at the center of discussions about population growth and development and this year — more than ever — it’s critically important that we stay true to those goals…” (4/17).

The Guardian: Sustainable development must prioritize women’s sexual health
Sarah Shaw, project manager for the ICPD at the International Planned Parenthood Federation

“…Between now and September, governments will continue to discuss the proposals for the post-2015 development framework, and there is no guarantee that one, if not both, references to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights will remain in the document. While there is a lot of support from governments from every region, there is still opposition. There are some countries that would like to block attempts to promote gender equality and initiatives that would give women control over their lives. If this happens, we will be failing the 800 mothers who die each day from preventable causes, the 225 million women who want contraception yet can’t get access it, and the young people who are not given the sexual education to protect themselves from HIV. … We are on the brink of a global change. We can make that happen” (4/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Blog Posts Discuss Progress Made In West Africa To End Ebola Epidemic

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Road to Redemption: How One Liberian Hospital is Recovering from Ebola
Carol Han, press officer with the Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team, discusses the experience and progress of Redemption Hospital, one of Liberia’s largest government-run facilities, in its efforts to end and recover from the Ebola epidemic (4/17).

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: From Vaccinations to Vitamins: Ensuring West Africans Get Critical Care Amid Ebola Crisis
Nic Corbett, deputy blog editor of Impact, discusses how USAID has been working with West African governments to “[restore and strengthen] their health care systems so that any future outbreaks of Ebola can quickly be extinguished” (4/18).

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U.S. Investments Helping Improve Contraception, Family Planning Access In Senegal

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: U.S. and Senegalese Investments in Family Planning Are Paying Off
Sara Stratton, director of West and Southern Africa programs at IntraHealth International, writes, “In Francophone West Africa, acceptance of family planning and use of modern contraception has been increasing over the last four years. … This would not have been possible without the support of the U.S. government. The U.S. is an important partner in the region. Along with UNFPA, the U.S. is the major supplier of contraceptives and assistance related to strengthening the supply chain (at the country and regional levels)…” (4/17).

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CGD Blog Post Commends U.S. Support For Establishment Of African CDC

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Bravo to the U.S. for Supporting Africa’s Own Center for Disease Control
Mead Over, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, discusses and lauds the U.S. agreement to support the establishment of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (4/17).

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To Achieve AIDS-Free Generation, More Must Be Done To Address HIV Among Young Women, Girls

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Addressing HIV Risk in Adolescent Girls and Young Women
Janet Fleischman, a senior associate with the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, and Katherine Peck, a program coordinator and research assistant at the center, examine HIV/AIDS among young women and girls in Eastern and Southern Africa in this new report. “…After years of neglect, a global convergence is emerging around the urgency of going beyond biomedical interventions to address the social and economic factors driving HIV risk for adolescent girls and young women. Whether this new attention can catalyze reductions in new HIV infections represents a fundamental challenge for controlling the AIDS epidemic” (4/17).

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