KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. Ebola Official Says More Ebola Preparations Needed; WHO Calls Expert Meeting

News outlets report on the U.N. response to the Ebola outbreak, including a WHO meeting set for the beginning of September.

Agence France-Presse: U.N.’s top Ebola official wants preparations for ‘flareup’
“The United Nations’ new pointman on Ebola said Friday he was preparing for a possible flareup of the epidemic in West Africa…” (8/21).

U.N. News Centre: Humane world cannot let West Africa suffer ‘on such extraordinary scale’ — U.N. health chief
“The newly appointed United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola today began his visit to countries affected by the deadly disease, as the head of the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) appealed for ‘massive, coordinated and targeted assistance’ in the months ahead, saying ‘a humane world cannot let the people of West Africa suffer on such an extraordinary scale’…” (8/21).

RIA Novosti: World Health Organization to Convene Meeting on Ebola Treatment in Geneva on September 4-5
“The World Health Organization (WHO) will hold a meeting of experts in early September, who will discuss the possible methods of treating [the] Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the organization said in a statement…” (8/22).

Reuters: WHO says drawing up six-nine month strategy to combat Ebola
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that it had drawn up a draft strategy plan to combat Ebola in West Africa over the next six to nine months, implying that it does not expect to halt the epidemic this year…” (Nebehay, 8/22).

Reuters: WHO holding talks next month on Ebola treatments
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it would convene talks early next month on potential treatments and vaccines to contain the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa…” (8/22).

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Ebola Stressing Already Strained Health Systems In West Africa; Affected Nations Call For More Assistance

News outlets discuss how Ebola is straining already struggling health systems in West Africa and those countries’ calls for additional assistance.

Devex: More money, people and coordination needed to contain Ebola — E.U. expert
“European scientists are working round the clock at the prestigious Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome to set up a mobile laboratory soon to be deployed in Ebola-affected villages in West Africa. This will be the second such lab emerging from the EuropeAid-funded Emlab project, which seeks to establish ‘three deployable mobile laboratory units for the detection and diagnosis of infectious pathogens up to the highest risk group 4’…” (Pasquini, 8/22).

NPR: Why Ebola Is Making It Harder To Provide Good Health Care
“[Fewer malaria cases will be treated] because some health clinics have closed as a result of Ebola — out of panic, or because the virus has taken a toll on staff — and partly because families are afraid to come to clinics because they think they might catch Ebola there. But it’s also partly because community health workers — who are trained to help identify children in need of care for malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia — are being told to back off [from drawing blood for diagnostic tests]…” (Harris, 8/21).

Reuters: More medics urgently needed to fight West Africa Ebola: experts
“Hospitals battling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa desperately need more staff, as local doctors leave their posts and foreign doctors are reluctant to come forward, medical experts said during an online debate on the disease…” (Whiting, 8/21).

Reuters: Surviving Ebola: Africa cries out for health care boost
“Surviving sickness can make you stronger. So while a western corner of Africa writhes in the deadly grip of the Ebola virus, there are signs this emergency may serve as a wake-up call to strengthen spending and investment on public health care in the world’s least developed continent…” (Stoddard/Fletcher, 8/21).

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International Community's Response To Ebola Outbreak Criticized

Reuters summarizes criticism of the global community’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Reuters: Ebola response of MSF and ‘boiling frog’ WHO under scrutiny
“A decade ago, scientists would have laughed at the idea of Ebola as a public health emergency of international concern. Today, they are shocked at the glaring gaps the deadly virus has exposed in the global response to the current outbreak…” (Hussain, 8/21).

Reuters: Lack of leadership hurts Ebola fight in West Africa: MSF
“Efforts to curb the deadly Ebola epidemic that swept across four West African states are being undermined by a lack of leadership and emergency management skills, the international head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Thursday…” (Nebehay, 8/21).

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American Ebola Patients Released From Hospital

News outlets report on the release of two aid workers from the Atlanta hospital where they were treated for Ebola.

ABC News: Ebola Patient Dr. Kent Brantly Says ‘God Saved My Life’
“Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly have been cured of the Ebola virus and released from Emory Hospital in Atlanta…” (Curry, 8/21).

New York Times: Ebola Patient Revels in ‘Miraculous Day’ as He and Another Exit Hospital
“To evaluate the condition of Dr. Kent Brantly, the American aid worker who became the first person to be treated for Ebola in the United States, all anyone needed to do Thursday was notice what he was not wearing. Gone was the bulky white suit he wore when he arrived Aug. 2, amid heavy security, at Emory University Hospital here…” (Blinder/McNeil, 8/21).

NPR: ‘I Am Thrilled To Be Alive’: American Ebola Patients Released From Hospital
“The two U.S. patients who were treated for Ebola have been discharged from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where they had been in an isolation ward since returning from Liberia early this month. They are the first patients treated for Ebola on American soil…” (Chappell, 8/21).

Politico: 2 Americans with Ebola released from hospital
“Two Americans have been successfully treated for Ebola and discharged from a hospital in Atlanta, where officials Thursday said they were confident that they posed no threat to public health…” (Norman, 8/21).

Reuters: U.S. aid workers pose no public risk after Ebola treatment: doctor
“Two American aid workers discharged from an Atlanta hospital after being treated for Ebola pose no health risk to the public, an Emory University Hospital doctor said on Thursday…” (Bavier/Flynn, 8/21).

Reuters: U.S. aid workers who survived Ebola leave Atlanta hospital
“Appearing thin but smiling, a Texas doctor who weeks ago entered an Atlanta hospital in a full-body biohazard suit to be treated for Ebola said on Thursday he was ‘thrilled to be alive’ as doctors declared him virus-free and safe for release…” (McKay et al., 8/22).

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Ebola Focusing Spotlight On Experimental Drugs, Financial Incentives For Research Into Neglected Disease Treatments

News outlets discuss the use of experimental drugs to treat Ebola and the potential for financial incentives for additional research into treatments.

ABC News: Experimental Ebola Drug’s Role in Americans’ Recoveries Remains Unclear
“American Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly credited doctors, God, and an experimental drug for his recovery today. But experts say it’s unclear whether the drug, known as ZMapp, helped or hindered his recovery…” (Moisse, 8/21).

IRIN: Ebola horror hastens use of test drugs
“Ebola’s devastation in West Africa has catapulted experimental drugs from labs to patients and shaken up vaccine development, which was hitherto patchy as outbreaks of the virus have tended to be spasmodic and geographically limited…” (8/21).

NPR: Would A Prize Help Speed Development Of Ebola Treatments?
“…What would it take to make Ebola drugs a clinical reality? Financial incentives might help. … For Ebola, there may need to be more financial help to get research started and a reward for success…” (Hensley, 8/21).

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African Nations Take Measures To Prevent Ebola's Spread Across Their Borders

News outlets report on African nations’ measures to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Agence France-Presse: Senegal closes border as U.N. warns on Ebola flare-up
“Senegal has become the latest country to seal its border with a West African neighbor to ward off the deadly Ebola virus, as the new U.N. pointman on the epidemic said preparations must be made for a possible flare-up of the disease…” (Ettaba/Dosso, 8/22).

Reuters: South Africa bans travelers entering from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone
“South Africa said on Thursday that due to fears over the spread of the Ebola virus it was banning travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone from entering the country, apart from its own citizens…” (8/21).

Reuters: Africa tightens Ebola travel curbs as affected countries face food shortages
“African countries tightened travel curbs on Thursday in an effort to contain the Ebola outbreak, ignoring World Health Organization warnings that such measures could heighten shortages of food and basic supplies in affected areas…” (MacDougall, 8/21).

VOA News: South Sudan Steps Up Guard Against Ebola
“Health officials in Juba have stepped up efforts to ensure the deadly Ebola virus does not spread to South Sudan. Armed with thermometers and notepads, a team of health officials has set up shop in tents that have been pitched just meters away from where planes land at Juba’s busy international airport…” (Rwakaringi, 8/20).

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Liberian Government Provides Food, Water Assistance In Ebola-Quarantined Area; Boy Dies From Gunshot Wound After Violent Clashes

News outlets report on the situation in a quarantined Liberian neighborhood, where violence broke out and food shortages are expected.

Associated Press: Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola
“Government officials handed out bags of rice and sachets of drinking water Thursday to residents of an impoverished slum in Liberia’s capital where tens of thousands of people have been barricaded in an effort to stop the spread of Ebola…” (Paye-Layleh/Larson, 8/21).

New York Times: Liberian Boy Dies After Being Shot During Clash Over Ebola Quarantine
“A teenage boy who was wounded on Wednesday during clashes at an Ebola-stricken neighborhood in Monrovia, Liberia, died of bleeding and hypothermic shock after being shot in his legs, said Dr. Mohammed Sankoh, the medical director of Redemption Hospital…” (Onishi, 8/21).

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70 Die From Outbreak Of Hemorrhagic Illness In DRC; WHO Denies Ebola Link

Reuters: WHO says 70 die from illness in Congo, denies Ebola link
“At least 70 people have died in northern Democratic Republic of Congo from an outbreak of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, denying that the illness was Ebola…” (Bakumanya/Farge, 8/21).

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Outgoing U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Says Security Council Should Do More To Address Serious Crises

VOA News: Navi Pillay Scolds U.N. Security Council for Inaction on Global Crises
“Outgoing U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has scolded the United Nations Security Council for its lack of action on some of the world’s most serious crises, saying hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved through greater council responsiveness…” (Besheer, 8/21).

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Uganda Will Not Achieve AIDS-Free Generation With 'Backwards' HIV Law, Activists Say

Inter Press Service: No Hope for AIDS-Free Generation in Uganda as Controversial HIV Bill is Signed into Law
“HIV/AIDS activists are adamant Uganda will not achieve an ‘AIDS-free generation’ now a ‘backwards’ HIV/AIDS bill criminalizing the ‘willful and intentional’ transmission of the disease has been signed into law…” (Fallon, 8/21).

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Politics Will Not Interfere With Health Policy, India's Health Minister Says

Business Insider: Politics Will Not Come In Way Of Health Policy: Harsh Vardhan
“[India’s] Health Minister Harsh Vardhan [Thursday] said that politics would not affect the health program and policies of the country. ‘For the health of the nation, the health of government departments needs to be improved. I will not let politics to interfere in the health of the country,’ said Vardhan while launching a music video on child health and immunization…” (8/21).

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Double Vaccine Offers Better Protection Against Polio, Study Says

News outlets report on a study’s findings that using two types of polio vaccines could give better protection and speed up efforts to fight polio.

Associated Press/The Guardian: Polio double vaccine gives better protection, study finds
“For decades, there’s been a tug-of-war between the oral and inactivated polio vaccines over which is more effective at preventing the paralyzing disease. Researchers have now resolved the dispute and say that pairing them are better than either alone…” (8/22).

BBC News: Double vaccines ‘could hasten the end of polio’
“Using both types of polio vaccine could speed up efforts to free the world of the disease, research suggests. The oral vaccine is leading the fight to eradicate polio, but trials in India show an additional injection of inactivated virus boosts immunity…” (Gallagher, 8/21).

TIME: Polio’s Two Vaccines Are More Effective When They’re Combined
“A double vaccine could help battle polio in some of the world’s most remote and conflict-torn regions as new research suggests giving a single vaccine shot to children who have already had the oral vaccine greatly boosted their immunity…” (Park, 8/21).

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3 MDG Fund To Help Boost Myanmar's Health Care Services

Xinhua/GlobalPost: Myanmar to boost health care services with 3 MDG Fund
“Myanmar will boost its health care services with the help of Three Millennium Development Goals (3 MDG) Fund, according to the Ministry of Health Friday. By using 300 million U.S. dollars provided by the 3 MDG Fund, Myanmar will initiate public health care services in urban and rural areas, aiming to raise health awareness, provide health-related information, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases…” (8/22).

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The Guardian Interviews U.N. Women Executive Director

The Guardian: U.N. Women’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on women’s empowerment
“Longtime champion of social justice and women’s rights, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka offers her thoughts on the important role women have to play in economies…” (8/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Ongoing Ebola Outbreak

An editorial and several opinion pieces address the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

The Lancet: Ebola: a failure of international collective action
Editorial Board

“…Although WHO is now leading the international response to the crisis, it was initially slow to act at the high level that was needed. … The crisis shows the importance of sufficient levels of multilateral funding for WHO — the only international agency capable of coordinating the response to a health crisis with global dimensions. There are other lessons from this outbreak, including the need for increased investment in health system strengthening. … The international community must show the collective responsibility and global solidarity absent at the start of this outbreak to bring it to an end. Its failure to do so is allowing a disaster of unprecedented proportions to unfold in West Africa” (8/21).

Huffington Post: Ebola Isn’t Unique: Women Are Significantly More Likely to Die in Disasters
Soraya Chemaly, feminist, writer, and satirist

“…The truth is that while epidemics affect genders differently, what is happening right now gender-wise in countries affected by Ebola is the norm in disasters across the globe. … Gender matters. In the case of Ebola, deeply understanding the role that its construction plays in transmission and mortality could have immediate effects. … Persistently, paternalistically, believing that men alone will find solutions to problems largely defined by their own experiences, and that everyone will benefit by benevolent extensio, is the meta-disaster that unites these events…” (8/21).

TIME: 1,400 Are Dead From Ebola and We Need Help, Says Doctors Without Borders President
Joanne Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

“The epidemic won’t be contained without more treatment centers, coordinated action, logistical assets, and health workers. … Slowing and then halting this outbreak requires much more than money and statements. The only way to contain the epidemic is to increase the response capacity in affected areas … Meaningful and coordinated action is needed on the ground today if we don’t want to be reduced to counting the dead for many weeks to come, whether from Ebola or other far less sinister diseases” (8/21).

The Guardian: Ebola has caused Liberia’s cauldron of dissatisfaction to boil over
Robtel Neajai Pailey, Liberian writer and researcher at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies

“…The lack of quality health care in Liberia is not from lack of financing, as most people have argued. It is from the mismanagement of funds. Contrary to what has been reported, Liberia is not poor; it is poorly managed. … Just as armed conflicts ended in Liberia, Ebola too will be overcome. But when the war on Ebola ends, Liberia and its people, domestically and transnationally, must begin an earnest conversation about how to solve the crisis of citizenship” (8/22).

The Lancet: Ethical considerations of experimental interventions in the Ebola outbreak
Annette Rid, of King’s College London, and Ezekiel Emanuel, of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

“…The global response to the current Ebola outbreak has initially been slow and inadequate. Now that the response is picking up, the international community needs more focus on strengthening of health systems and infrastructure and less on experimental treatments. Adoption of containment measures with a view to strengthen health systems and infrastructure is the most effective way to curb this epidemic and prevent future ones; it has positive externalities for health promotion and offers fair benefits to communities who engage in research in this outbreak. Experimental Ebola treatments or vaccines should only be deployed in clinical trials…” (8/22).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Global health beyond Ebola
Jeffrey Koplan, vice president of global health at Emory University, and Carlos del Rio, chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health

“…With Ebola virus at the forefront of media coverage and general discussion, it is important to note that community knowledge is a powerful deterrent to fear. Education can help dispel myths and support practical prevention tools for this and other serious communicable diseases. … Global health affects us all. Rather than reacting through panic and fear to just one current disease threat of the moment, the best approach to preventing and limiting the spread of communicable and non-communicable diseases is preparedness, research, training, and partnership…” (8/21).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Prescribe caution with unproven drugs
Philip Rosoff, professor of pediatrics and medicine at Duke University Medical Center

“…It may seem reasonable to bypass normal regulatory pathways to demonstrate both safety and efficacy for [Zmapp, the experimental Ebola drug], and take the chance it might work. But despite these desperate circumstances, caution should be paramount when approving the use of an unproven drug. … No matter how this is decided, insufficient time and thought have been devoted to creating a fair and equitable system to distribute the (potential and questionable) benefits of this experimental therapy…” (8/21).

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Children, Youth Must Be Focus In Post-2015 Development Agenda

Huffington Post: Put Children and Youth First in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages-USA

“…The Post-2015 Development Agenda must call on ALL countries to ensure children and families in need have access to the social and medical services necessary to overcome life’s challenges. It must also ensure all children and youth have access to quality education and vocational training, as well as to decent work and livelihood opportunities after completing their studies. Finally, governments must commit to upholding the right of all children to grow and develop in a loving family environment, safe from violence…” (8/21).

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Private Investment Needed To Improve Sanitation In India

Huffington Post: Creating Enterprises to Provide Sanitation Solutions in India
John Sauer, head of external relations for international programs at Water For People

“It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think of the sanitation situation in India. … But there is reason for optimism if you look at the story of three entrepreneurs in Bihar — Umesh Prasad Nirala, Raghunath Prasad, and Mohan Prasad — and learn about their progress and potential to do much more with some changes to the regulatory and economic environment…” (8/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Investing In Science, Technology Research In Africa

USAID’s “Impact”: The Power of Scientific Research Investment in Africa
Andy Sisson, acting director of the U.S. Global Development Lab, writes, “…Building lasting partnerships with African leaders, thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators is at the core of USAID’s approach, which seeks to end extreme poverty by investing in Africa’s greatest resource: its people. Many of our newest initiatives reflect not only our renewed commitment to science and technology, but the central importance Africans play in global affairs throughout the 21st century…” (8/21).

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Liberia Struggling To Face Unprecedented Ebola Outbreak

Two blogs address the situation in Liberia, which is facing an unprecedented Ebola outbreak.

Humanosphere: How Liberia quarantine may help spread Ebola
Tom Paulson, founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere, discusses the potential risks and benefits of using quarantine as a public health measure during infectious disease outbreaks (8/21).

PLOS’s “Speaking of Medicine”: Ebola: Liberians Destined for Extinction
Liberian medical student Gondah Lekpeh discusses the situation in Liberia, writing, “…Here in Liberia, the virus is spreading like wildfire, devouring the life of everyone along its path. Limited health resources, ignorance, stigmatization, denial, and cultural burial rites are fueling the spread of the disease…” (8/21).

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Blog Discusses Ugandan Law Criminalizing HIV Transmission

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Uganda’s HIV criminalization, mandatory testing bill signed into law against local and international cautions of harms to health, human rights
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses Uganda President Yoweri Museveni’s recent approval of the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014, and advocates’ concerns over the new law (8/20).

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Gender Considerations Important For Global Health Interventions

IntraHealth’s “Vital”: What Does Gender Equality Mean for Health Workers — and for Health Systems?
Caitlin Snyder, an IntraHealth-UNC fellow, discusses the importance of gender considerations in health programs and systems, and notes, “…You can explore these concepts further in the Global Health eLearning Center’s new online course, Gender and Health Systems Strengthening — a free how-to guide for promoting gender equality in global health interventions…” (8/21).

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