KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

International Health Experts Discuss African Ebola Outbreak Responses

News outlets discuss the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Africa with international health experts.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. envoy says ‘war’ on Ebola could take six more months
“The U.N.’s Ebola envoy said Monday the fight against the epidemic was a ‘war’ which could take six more months, as its global health body claimed the disease was affecting an ‘unprecedented’ number of medical staff. David Nabarro, a British physician the United Nations appointed to coordinate the global response to the crisis, was in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown for the fifth day of a tour of the region…” (Johnson, 8/25).

AllAfrica: West Africa: With Better Ebola Response, ‘Outbreak Would Be Over’ — CDC’s Tom Frieden
“As a fifth African country on Sunday announced Ebola deaths, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), left for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the hardest-hit countries. Friday afternoon he spoke by phone from his Atlanta, Georgia, office with AllAfrica’s Tami Hultman about the Ebola toll and what he expects from his visit…” (Hultman, 8/25).

Democracy Now!: Dr. Paul Farmer on African Ebola Outbreak: Growing Inequality in Global Health Care at Root of Crisis
“As the death toll from the West African Ebola outbreak nears 1,400, two American missionaries who received experimental drugs and top-notch health care have been released from the hospital. We spend the hour with Partners in Health co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer discussing what can be done to stop the epidemic and the need to build local health care capacity, not just an emergency response…” (Gonzalez/Goodman, 8/22).

Washington Post: Looking for leadership in the Ebola epidemic
“…Dr. Joanne Liu, a physician who leads [Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF)] International Board and International General Assembly, has … called the Ebola outbreak ‘unprecedented’ and says it needs an equally extraordinary response. We spoke with her by telephone on Thursday from Geneva, a week after she returned from 10 days in West Africa, about MSF’s response to the epidemic and the leadership in the region…” (McGregor, 8/25).

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Liberian Doctor Treated With Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Dies

News outlets report on a Liberian doctor who has died of Ebola despite being treated with the experimental drug ZMapp.

Agence France-Presse: Liberian medic treated with experimental Ebola drug dies
“A Liberian doctor treated with experimental American anti-Ebola serum ZMapp has died, a minister in the West African nation said on Monday…” (8/25).

Associated Press: Liberia: Doctor given experimental Ebola drug dies
“…Dr. Abraham Borbor, the deputy chief medical doctor at Liberia’s largest hospital, had received ZMapp, along with two other Liberians. He ‘was showing signs of improvement but yesterday he took a turn for the worse,’ and died Sunday, Information Minister Lewis Brown told the Associated Press…” (Paye-Layleh/Gillies, 8/25).

New York Times: Liberian Doctor Treated With an Experimental Drug Dies From Ebola
“A Liberian doctor with Ebola who was given ZMapp — the same experimental drug given to two infected Americans — has died, officials said Monday…” (McNeil, 8/25).

Reuters: Liberian doctor who received rare Ebola drug ZMapp dies
“…Abraham Borbor’s death could curb optimism about the drug that mounted last week when two U.S. aid workers who caught Ebola in Liberia were declared free of the virus after receiving the same treatment at a hospital in the United States…” (MacDougall, 8/25).

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Flight Restrictions Into, Out Of Ebola-Affected Nations Hampering Outbreak Response, U.N. Warns

U.N. News Centre: Flight restrictions hamper ability to battle Ebola, U.N. cautions
“The United Nations [Monday] cautioned against flight restrictions into and out of Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, saying such limitations were preventing the transport of critically needed health workers and supplies, as well as contributing to economic and diplomatic isolation of the region…” (8/25).

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WHO Sending Supplies, Staff To DRC, Where 2 People Have Died Of Ebola

Reuters: WHO says sending supplies for Ebola outbreak in Congo
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday it has sent protective equipment for medical staff to Democratic Republic of Congo, where authorities have confirmed two cases of Ebola in a remote area…” (8/25).

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Liberia's President Orders Investigation Into Ebola-Related Violence In Quarantined Neighborhood

VOA News: Liberia’s President Calls for Probe of West Point Ebola Violence
“President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for creation of a board of inquiry to look into last week’s Ebola-related rioting and deadly shooting in the West Point slum of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia…” (Butty, 8/25).

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Scientists Attempting To Identify Animal Reservoir Of Current Ebola Outbreak

Washington Post: The animal source of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa eludes scientists
“Along with struggling to stem the spread of Ebola in West Africa, scientists are racing to figure out where the disease came from. … If researchers can figure out which animal carries the virus and how it made the leap to people in West Africa, they may be able to suggest strategies to prevent or contain similar occurrences in the future…” (Hesman Saey/Science News, 8/25).

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New York Times Examines South Africa's AIDS Response

The New York Times discusses South Africa’s AIDS response, including progress and challenges.

New York Times: AIDS Progress in South Africa Is in Peril
“…[South Africa] has won high praise from world AIDS experts for its [AIDS] response … Though few Americans or even South Africans realize it, the nation owes much of its success to [PEPFAR]. It has poured more than $3 billion into South Africa, largely for training doctors, building clinics and laboratories, and buying drugs. Now that aid pipeline is drying up as the program shifts its limited budget to poorer countries, so the South African government must find hundreds of millions of dollars, even as its national caseload grows rapidly…” (McNeil, 8/25).

New York Times: Three Approaches to Beating the AIDS Epidemic in South Africa
“South Africa’s AIDS epidemic is at its worst in high-risk subgroups like gay men, prostitutes, truckers, prisoners, miners, and patients who don’t take their drugs regularly. To have any hope of beating the epidemic, it must focus on such groups, experts say. Many pilot projects to do that have been started with aid from the United States government program called PEPFAR. Here are some of them…” (McNeil, 8/25).

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WHO Calls For E-Cigarette Regulation

News outlets report on the WHO’s call for stricter regulation of electronic cigarettes and bans on their use and advertising.

The Guardian: U.N. agency calls for e-cigarette regulation
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a long-awaited report on electronic cigarettes that calls for regulation of the devices and their contents, as well as bans on indoor use, advertising, and sales to minors. The United Nations health agency, in a report to be debated by member states at a meeting in October, voices concern at the concentration of the multibillion dollar market in the hands of transnational tobacco companies…” (8/26).

Reuters: WHO urges stiff regulatory curbs on e-cigarettes
“The World Health Organization (WHO) stepped up its war on ‘Big Tobacco’ on Tuesday, calling for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising, and sales to minors…” (Nebehay, 8/26).

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More STI Cases Occurring Among Youth In Thailand, U.N. Report Says

News outlets discuss the findings of a report (.pdf) released by UNICEF that says more HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI) cases are occurring among young people in Thailand.

U.N. News Centre: HIV infections on rise among young gay men, other at-risk groups in Thailand — U.N. study
“An estimated 70 percent of new sexually transmitted infections cases are occurring among young people, especially among men who have sex with men, those involved in sex work, and those who inject drugs in Thailand, where ‘social media, online dating websites, and mobile application make it much easier for young people to meet others in order to engage in casual sex,’ says a new United Nations report…” (8/25).

VOA News: New Rise in HIV/AIDS Cases Among Young in Thailand
“Thailand’s young people are facing a new rise in HIV infections — the virus that causes AIDS. Researchers say they are finding it tougher to reach at-risk populations with messages about safer sex. In a report released Monday, UNICEF says 70 percent of all sexually transmitted infection cases in Thailand are occurring among people between the ages of 15 and 24…” (Herman, 8/24).

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Drugs To Prevent Premature Labor Deaths Underused, Lancet Study Says

New York Times: Premature Labor Drugs Underused, Study Says
“Each year, roughly one million children worldwide die after being born prematurely, yet two strategies that are effective in preventing these deaths are largely underused, researchers have found. … [T]he largest study to examine use of these drugs worldwide, which included data from 359 facilities in 29 countries, found that only 18 percent of women in spontaneous premature labor received both treatments, and 42 percent had neither. The study was published this month in The Lancet…” (Saint Louis, 8/25).

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Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea In Australia Raises Concerns Over Disease's Spread

Australian Associated Press/The Guardian: ‘Sex superbug’ fears over powerful new drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea
“Concerns are mounting over a powerful new form of gonorrhea after a patient was found to have the highest level of drug resistance to the disease ever reported in Australia. … The discovery of the case in Australia, which resulted in a health alert in July, has also prompted warnings in New Zealand, where sexual health clinics are on high alert amid fears the new strain will spread there…” (8/25).

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Advocacy, Grassroots Organizations Educate, Empower Adolescents In Bangladesh

Inter Press Service: Bangladeshi Girls Seek Equal Opportunity
“…Called ‘Kishori Abhijan,’ meaning ‘Empowering Adolescents,’ the project is a brainchild of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and educates young people on a range of issues, from gender roles, sex discrimination, and early marriage, to reproductive health, personal hygiene, and preventing child labor. … Already, efforts to spread awareness are bearing fruit. According to UNICEF, some 600,000 adolescents around the country, 60 percent of them girls, are now educated on issues like the legal marriage age of boys and girls, as well as the importance of education and family planning, as a direct result of grassroots advocacy…” (Haq, 8/25).

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The Guardian Speaks With Experts About Experimental New TB Drug PaMZ

The Guardian: What does new drug PaMZ mean for TB and HIV treatment?
“Earlier this year, the TB Alliance announced that it was ready to start clinical trials for PaMZ, its new tuberculosis (TB) drug. PaMZ is a combination of three drugs, two of which have not been licensed for TB treatment before. … To find out more about the potential value of the new drug, we asked four professionals what impact they see it having on their work…” (Filou, 8/26).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials Address Issues Surrounding African Ebola Outbreak

The following editorials address issues surrounding the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Financial Times: The aid needed to stop Ebola’s spread
Editorial Board

“…If there is one international organization that is facing up to the task at hand, it is the Nobel Prize-winning agency Médecins Sans Frontières [(MSF)]. … MSF says the disease is spiraling out of control and its own staff are stretched to breaking point. More help is needed, including epidemiologists, disaster management teams, and physicians. Finances must be made available so that local medical staff are rewarded for the risks they take. … The world should be standing with the people of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea and helping their governments to establish the requisite controls to staunch the spread of Ebola. It is not the moment to cut and run” (8/25).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Ebola in West Africa
Editorial Board

“The high case fatality, terrible hemorrhagic symptoms, and lack of vaccine or cure explain the fear that Ebola provokes. Yet the notion of a global outbreak of Ebola, fostered by parts of the mass media, seems unjustified. … It’s worth noting that human Ebola transmission has never occurred outside [of] Africa. Sadly, the fragility of health systems is one reason why Ebola is proving hard to stop in West Africa. … The epidemic reinforces the need for nations to invest in health infrastructure and disease surveillance to keep pace with other developments in Africa. Efforts to contain Ebola should not divert resources from more mundane infections, such as malaria, which have a far higher long-term disease burden” (September 2014).

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'Donor Support For The NGO Code Of Conduct Is Vital' To Reach AIDS-Free Generation

The Lancet: The end of AIDS and the NGO Code of Conduct
James Pfeiffer of Health Alliance International and colleagues

“…The NGO Code of Conduct outlines a set of proposed best practices for NGOs to support local public services. … Donor support for the NGO Code of Conduct is vital. Donors can fund projects that support public health systems and insist that grantees follow the Code’s best practices. The Code consortium is now rolling out a campaign to enlist donors and ministries of health to use the NGO Code of Conduct as a way to hold NGOs accountable. The end of AIDS cannot be achieved through a patchwork of uncoordinated NGO projects, private providers, and underfunded public health systems. Conscientious donors, using the NGO Code of Conduct, can help strengthen local services and build the public national health systems capable of producing an AIDS-free generation” (8/23).

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USAID's Commitment To Nature Protection Benefits Development

Huffington Post: Bringing Conservation and Development Together
Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy

“Development and conservation are often viewed as separate or even opposing needs. The truth is, we simply won’t be successful in addressing either the world’s economic or environmental challenges unless we bring them together more often. … [USAID’s new Biodiversity Policy] shows that USAID invests in conservation because it works. Sustainability is good business. … I applaud USAID for recommitting to nature protection, and for articulating the important connections between conservation and human development. We’ll need a world where communities and businesses develop sustainably and with nature in mind” (8/25).

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Devex Series On USAID History 'Overlooks Some Important Issues'

Devex: USAID history and reform we can agree on
Andrew Natsios, former USAID administrator

“Devex has done a service for the development community by focusing attention on administrators of the U.S. Agency for International Development from the agency’s founding up to the present. The series, ‘USAID: A history of U.S. foreign aid,’ attempts to capture the complexity of international development and its place in American foreign policy. The greatest challenge in writing a series on such a broad subject is what to include and what to ignore. Understandably, space limitations meant the author, John Norris, could not include a comprehensive view of each administrator’s accomplishments, but too much of the series focuses on the superficial and overlooks some important issues…” (8/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Progress Made On MDG 6, But Challenges Remain

Health Affairs Blog: Partnership And Progress On The Path To Achieving Millennium Development Goal 6
Deb Derrick, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Peter Yeo, vice president of public policy and advocacy at the United Nations Foundation, examine progress to date on MDG 6 — combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases — as well as the challenges that remain to reach the goal before the December 2015 deadline and to creating the post-2015 development agenda (8/25).

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Blog Posts Examine Controversy Over Newsweek's Ebola Cover Story

The following blog posts examine the controversy over Newsweek’s cover story on Ebola.

Humanosphere: Newsweek’s racist and misinformed Ebola cover story
Development blogger Tom Murphy discusses the controversy over Newsweek’s cover, which features a chimp as the sole cover image and is getting backlash from academics, activists, and diplomats who say that “the image of a monkey is racist and the article is factually incorrect” (8/25).

Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage”: The long and ugly tradition of treating Africa as a dirty, diseased place
Laura Seay, assistant professor of government at Colby College, and Kim Yi Dionne, assistant professor of government at Smith College, write, “…This cover story is problematic for a number of reasons…” They examine those issues (8/25).

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Delayed Ebola Outbreak Response Has Short, Long-Term Impacts

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: The Global Response to the Ebola Fever Epidemic: What Took So Long?
Mark Siedner of Harvard Medical School and John Kraemer of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University discuss the impact of the delayed global response to the Ebola epidemic. “…The delay in action has been devastating. The most obvious cost has been the lives of those unnecessarily taken by Ebola…” (8/22).

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