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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Number Of Ebola Deaths Passes 1,200 In West Africa, WHO Says

The WHO reports the number of Ebola deaths in West Africa has surpassed 1,200.

New York Times: Ebola Death Toll in West Africa Tops 1,200
“As West African nations grapple with the worst-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the death toll had exceeded 1,200 and announced increased efforts to forestall hunger in areas isolated by quarantine measures…” (Cowell, 8/19).

Reuters: Liberia fights Ebola in capital, West Africa toll tops 1,200
“Liberia battled on Tuesday to halt the spread of the Ebola disease in its crowded, run-down oceanside capital Monrovia, recording the most new deaths as fatalities from the world’s worst outbreak of the deadly virus rose above 1,200…” (MacDougall/Nebehay, 8/19).

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WHO, Travel Groups Recommend Ebola-Hit Nations Screen Outbound Travelers

News outlets report on the WHO’s recommendations made Monday that Ebola-hit countries screen outbound travelers at border crossings.

Associated Press: U.N. urges exit screening for Ebola at some airports
“Ebola-affected countries should immediately begin exit screening all passengers leaving international airports, sea ports, and major ground crossings, the U.N. health agency said on Monday…” (Heilprin, 8/18).

International Business Times: World Health Organization Calls On Ebola-Hit Countries To Screen Departing Travelers For The Disease
“Countries suffering from the Ebola outbreak should screen passengers departing from airports, seaports and international border crossings for signs of the virus, the World Health Organization recommended Monday…” (Mangla, 8/18).

Reuters: Ebola-hit countries must screen all departing travelers: WHO
“…In a statement, the U.N. health agency reiterated that the risk of getting infected with Ebola on an aircraft was small and said there was no need for wider travel or trade restrictions…” (8/18).

Roll Call: WHO, Aviation Groups Urge Focus on Containing Ebola, Not Inhibiting Air Travel
“…The statement came from the WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Tourism Organization, Airports Council International, the International Air Transport Association, and the World Travel and Tourism Council…” (Curry, 8/18).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. health agency requests exit screening of travelers leaving affected countries
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today said any persons with an illness consistent with Ebola should not be allowed to travel by air, sea or land from affected countries unless it is part of a medical evacuation, as it also expressed concern over the threats and harassment of health workers in West African countries developing into a ‘worry element’…” (8/18).

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Liberia Locates 17 Ebola Patients Who Fled Clinic

Reuters: Liberia says has located all 17 runaway Ebola patients
“Liberia has found all 17 suspected Ebola patients who fled a quarantine center in Monrovia at the weekend and transferred them to another clinic, the information minister said on Tuesday…” (8/19).

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Ebola Health Workers Face Challenging Conditions, Long Hours

Associated Press: Ebola health workers battle death, heat, rumors
“Doctors and nurses fighting Ebola in West Africa are working 14-hour days, seven days a week, wearing head-to-toe gear in the heat of muddy clinics. Agonizing death is the norm. The hellish conditions aren’t the only problem: Health workers struggle to convince patients they’re trying to help them, not hurt them…” (Cheng, 8/18).

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Ebola Survivors Sometimes Face Stigma When Returning Home

New York Times: Surviving Ebola, but Untouchable Back Home
“…Here in the Ebola zone, the world is divided in three: the living, the dead, and those caught in between. For those lucky enough to survive, coming home is another struggle entirely. … When they go home, some are greeted warmly, with hugs and dancing. But others … feel a chill of wariness, or worse. In some places, health workers said, the neighbors flee…” (Nossiter, 8/18).

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NIH Accelerates Human Clinical Trials Of Experimental Ebola Vaccine

Los Angeles Times: U.S. speeds up human clinical trials for promising Ebola vaccine
“Researchers at the National Institutes of Health are accelerating human clinical trials for what scientists hope is a promising new vaccine to combat the deadly Ebola virus…” (Levine, 8/18).

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U.N. Launches 500 Days Of Action To Meet MDGs; Development Leaders Reflect On MDGs

News outlets report on the 2015 deadline to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which was 500 days away on Monday.

The Guardian: How the MDGs have changed the world: eight leaders reflect
“[A]s the 2015 deadline looms, we asked global development’s influencers and campaigners to reflect on how the MDGs have changed the world, giving concrete examples of transformation…” (Duncan, 8/17).

U.N. News Centre: MDG Momentum: U.N. launches 500 days of action to build a better world
“With Malala Yousafzai by his side, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Monday] marked 500 days of action until the deadline to reach the Millennium Development Goals, known worldwide as the ‘MDGs’…”  (8/18).

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2013 Most Dangerous Year For Humanitarian Workers, Study Says

To mark World Humanitarian Day, The Guardian reports on a recently released study on the plight of humanitarian workers and profiles 10 aid workers.

The Guardian: Deaths of humanitarian aid workers reach record high
“Last year was the most dangerous on record for humanitarian workers, with 155 killed, 171 seriously wounded, and 134 kidnapped as they attempted to help others in some of the world’s most dangerous places, new research has shown. The study, released to mark World Humanitarian Day, also reveals that 79 aid workers have died so far this year, making the first eight months of 2014 deadlier for the humanitarian community than the whole of 2012…” (Jones, 8/18).

The Guardian: World Humanitarian Day: voices from the field
“…World Humanitarian Day — which marks the anniversary of the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in 2003 when 22 people died — is intended to highlight the plight of aid workers. We profile 10 people working in some of the world’s most dangerous areas, who reveal in their own words why they do it…” (Jones/Kweifio-Okai, 8/19).

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CDC Scientist Rushed Through Lab Procedures, Accidentally Contaminated Bird Flu Samples With Deadly Strain

News outlets report on the investigation into the contamination of bird flu samples by a CDC scientist.

Reuters: In CDC bird flu mix-up, U.S. agency cites sloppy science, failed reporting
“A U.S. government scientist working with bird flu rushed through lab procedures in order to get to a staff meeting, setting off what could have been a fatal mishap, health officials said on Friday…” (Begley, 8/15).

Washington Post: CDC scientist took shortcuts handling deadly bird flu virus, investigation finds.
“An investigation into the mistaken shipment of deadly bird flu virus from a government laboratory earlier this year found that a scientist took shortcuts to speed up the work and accidentally contaminated the samples, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday…” (Sun/Dennis, 8/15).

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Aid Agencies Stretched To Limits By Simultaneous Humanitarian Crises

NPR: World’s Aid Agencies Stretched To Their Limits By Simultaneous Crises
“For the first time, the United Nations is handling four major humanitarian crises at once: refugee crises in Syria and Iraq as well as civil wars in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, where millions are at risk of famine. Meanwhile, West Africa is experience a devastating Ebola outbreak. The world’s aid agencies are stretched to their limits…” (8/19).

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Humanitarian Crisis Continues In Iraq, U.N. Says

News outlets report on developments on the humanitarian crisis and military action in Iraq.

Agence France-Presse: Pope calls for U.N. rather than U.S. action in Iraq
“Pope Francis called Monday for collective action through the United Nations to ‘stop unjust aggression’ in Iraq, in an implicit criticism of unilateral U.S. air strikes there…” (Kadri/de la Vaissiere, 8/18).

Associated Press: U.N. undertakes polio vaccination campaign in Iraq
“The United Nations said Monday it was undertaking a mass polio vaccination campaign in Iraq, hoping to reach millions of children as the highly contagious virus crosses from Syria into neighboring countries…” (Janssen/Hadid, 8/18).

The Guardian: Iraq crisis: U.S. and Britain call off rescue of Yazidis on Mount Sinjar
“The U.S. and Britain are stepping back from launching a risky military mission to rescue thousands of Iraqis stranded on Mount Sinjar after claiming that special forces on the ground found their condition was better than expected…” (Ackerman/Watt, 8/14).

New York Times: U.S. Pulls Back on Plans for a Mountain Rescue
“…The team had found that there were not tens of thousands of Yazidis on the mountain anymore, only between 4,000 and 5,000. They were no longer starving; many pallets of food and water dropped by the American planes remained unopened…” (Cooper et al., 8/14).

New York Times: Despite U.S. Claims, Yazidis Say Crisis Is Not Over
“Yazidi leaders and emergency relief officials on Thursday strongly disputed American claims that the siege of Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq had been broken and that the crisis was effectively over, saying that tens of thousands of Yazidis remained on the mountain in desperate conditions…” (Nordland, 8/14).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. declares Iraq ‘Level 3 Emergency’ to trigger more resources, speed up aid delivery
“The United Nations has designated its highest level emergency for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, citing the scale and complexity of the situation, which is impacting tens of thousands of people that have been forcibly displaced by the armed group, Islamic State (IS)…” (8/14).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. humanitarian agencies scaling up efforts as Iraq’s displacement crisis deepens
“Amidst an expanding displacement crisis in Iraq, several United Nations humanitarian organizations are scaling up efforts to get food and water to people fleeing attacks by the Islamic State (IS)…” (8/18).

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Expanding Family Planning Services Can Reduce HIV Infection In Children, Study Says

Inter Press Service: Helping Uganda’s HIV-positive Women Avoid Unplanned Pregnancies
“…In the last decade, Uganda’s modern contraceptive use among women has slowly increased from 18 percent to 26 percent. Though low, this level of contraceptive use likely averted 20 percent of pediatric HIV infections and 13 percent of AIDS-related children’s deaths, says a study. Expanding family planning services can substantially reduce child infections, it concluded…” (Fallon, 8/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Better Data Collection Needed To End AIDS

The Hill: Poor data imperils global effort to end AIDS
Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, and Gregorio Millett, vice president and director of public policy for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research

“…While the responsibility for good data lies with many, three major global institutions could make a huge impact by improving their approaches: UNAIDS, the U.S.-funded PEPFAR program, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. … In a new report available at endingaids.org this week, we call on these organizations to dramatically improve their collection, analysis, and reporting of HIV/AIDS information. Data from all three agencies needs to be coordinated and accessible at more frequent intervals. Good decisions always require good information. When resources are limited, data matters even more. With global AIDS funding trailing far short of what is needed, we have to prioritize those treatment and prevention strategies that can save the greatest number of lives, and then aggressively monitor progress…” (8/18).

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Devex Opinion Pieces Mark 500 Days Until MDG Deadline Expires

Devex published several opinion pieces marking 500 days until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire and discussing achievements thus far as well as remaining challenges.

Devex: A very important 500 days
Emily Cabon, youth ambassador with the ONE Campaign

“…For the new development goals to succeed, all ages need to bang the drum for development, but it is the youth who will bang the loudest and the longest. It is vital that young people play a central role in shaping these goals. In effect, they must ‘own’ them. … [Monday] mark[ed] 500 days to help forge that change. Extreme poverty can be eradicated in my generation and it is down to us to demand that this vision for the future becomes a reality…” (8/18).

Devex: Sanitation for all: The MDGs and beyond
Jan Eliasson, appointed deputy secretary-general of the United Nations

“There has been significant progress over the last 20 years by governments, global citizens, and the private sector in tackling the main obstacles to sustainable development: poverty and disease. The Millennium Development Goals have shown us what can be achieved with successfully applied targeted financial policies and human ingenuity to many entrenched global challenges. … We have just 500 days before the MDG deadline is reached and before we begin to shape the post-2015 agenda. We must press on to address the remaining challenges, save lives, and set our world on course for a better future…” (8/18).

Devex: 500 days and counting: Progress for girls and women means progress for all
Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Women Deliver, and Katja Iversen, CEO at Women Deliver

“August 18 marks 500 days remaining before the Millennium Development Goals expire at the end of 2015. Some countries are on track to meet those goals and some are not, and central to the difference is their relative levels of investment in women and girls. … The post-2015 development framework is being developed as we write, and Women Deliver is working to ensure that decision makers prioritize maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights, especially in countries where inequality prevails and where it would help development most…” (8/18).

Devex: Progress in the Millennium
Mahmoud Mohieldin, corporate secretary at the World Bank and the president’s special envoy on the MDGs, the Post-2015 process, and financial development

“…[W]ith 500 days left before the end of 2015, the MDGs are less a leap of imagination and more of a challenge that many leaders feel is within reach. … Achieving this requires strong and more inclusive growth, as well as policies that build human capabilities and improve access to markets help create lasting opportunities for poverty reduction. The international community needs to work in partnership with governments to build capabilities to manage global shocks, reduce environmental risk, and increase financing for development. A strong accountability framework for delivery, reinforced by good data and robust measurement must support concrete action plans at the country level” (8/18).

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'Accelerated Investment' Needed To Reach MDGs 4, 5

Huffington Post: Expanding Sexual, Reproductive Health to Score Development Goals
Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA executive director

“With just 500 days left to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we must all intensify our actions to hit our targets, especially the MDG 5 targets to reduce maternal death and achieve universal reproductive health. … The Roadmap to Accelerate Achievement of Maternal and Newborn Survival provides a comprehensive action plan across the spectrum of reproductive, maternal and newborn health to intensify efforts to achieve by 2015, the development goals (4 and 5) of reducing child death and improving maternal health. But to reach our targets, accelerated investment is urgently needed…” (8/18).

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Mothers, Children Need Assistance During Emergencies, Disasters

Huffington Post: When Disaster Strikes, Mothers and Newborns Are the Most Vulnerable
Julia Wiklander, founder of Girls’ Globe

“…This year’s State of the World’s Mothers Report, released by Save the Children, shows that mothers and children face the greatest risk of death during emergencies. … Around the world, mothers and their babies need us. The countries with the highest rates of maternal mortality are countries with internal conflict or other emergencies. Thus, we cannot discuss maternal, newborn, and child health without speaking about peace and security…” (8/18).

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Saving Newborns Involves Implementing '5 Simple Steps'

Huffington Post: The 5 Easiest Things We Can Do to Save Newborns
Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF

“…Experts in the field have taught us that the first 24 hours of life are critical to a baby’s survival. About a third of all newborn deaths happen on the day they are born, many of them from preventable causes. Thanks to a new body of research, we know that we can reduce this mortality rate significantly by following five simple steps. 1. Wrap the baby up; 2. Give her air; 3. Clean the cord; 4. Breastfeed; 5. Hold the baby close … Promoting proper neonatal care through these five steps is an important component of UNICEF’s mission: Protecting the world’s most vulnerable mothers and their babies in some of the most dangerous and remote parts of the world…” (8/19).

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Ambitious Targets, Common Vision Needed To End Malnutrition

Huffington Post: Development Goals Must Adapt to New Nutrition Challenges
Marc Van Ameringen, executive director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

“…One of the areas that the MDG’s largely overlooked was nutrition. Yet, good nutrition underpins the achievement of almost every development goal — from reducing child mortality and boosting maternal health, to lifting people out of poverty by enabling them to attend school and earn a living. … We can eliminate malnutrition. And, I believe that it’s possible to do so by 2030. Ambitious targets and a common vision are a great start. But, to fix the food system we need a framework that drives stakeholders to work together, regardless of their differences. In the post-2015 world all actors must play their part if we are to reach the goal of ending malnutrition within our lifetimes” (8/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PEPFAR Helps To Advance MDGs

PEPFAR: 500 Days from 2015 MDGs Target: How is PEPFAR Contributing?
The blog post describes how PEPFAR is contributing to advancing six of the eight Millennium Development Goals. “…PEPFAR is the foundation of much of what can be done to meet our global health and development goals…” (8/18).

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Blog Post Discusses Article On PEPFAR, Call For Better Data Collection

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: PEPFAR’s South Africa “transition”: Nearly 20 percent of patients went unaccounted for when care was transferred, study finds
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses several articles looking at PEPFAR in South Africa and calling for better HIV/AIDS data collection (8/18).

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USAID Psychosocial Counselors Support Grieving Communities Affected By Ebola

USAID’s “Impact”: On the Frontlines of the Ebola Response: an Inside Look at a Program to Help the Grieving
USAID’s Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) discusses the challenges that psychosocial counselors face when interacting with grieving communities affected by Ebola (8/18).

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Jeffrey Sachs Discusses Impact Of MDGs On International Community

U.N. Dispatch: Episode 30: Jeffrey Sachs
Mark Leon Goldberg, managing editor of U.N. Dispatch, interviews Jeffrey Sachs, economist and anti-poverty activist, about his experience working in global health and development, as well as his thoughts on the MDGs (8/18).

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Multidimensional Approach Important For Keeping Health Workers Safe In Conflict Zones

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: A Multidimensional Approach to Safeguarding Health Workers
Aanjalie Collure, a communications fellow with IntraHealth International, discusses the importance of comprehensive measures for keeping health care workers safe in Libya and other conflict zones (8/18).

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