KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Government, Public Health Officials Work To Gain Public Trust Amid West African Ebola Outbreak

News outlets explore the issues of leadership and public trust as governments attempt to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Devex: Amid the fog of Ebola, can civil society leaders help keep the peace?
“…The international community is bent on stopping the spread of the [Ebola] virus and bringing the crisis to a peaceful, well-ordered resolution soon. But recently, this public health disaster has shown itself also to have roots in the mistrust between citizens and their government and in the misinformation that can accompany imposed public health decisions and actions…” (Igoe, 8/26).

Foreign Policy: How Not to End a Plague
“…Consent for a quarantine [in West Point, Liberia,] was neither won nor sought from residents, including community leaders; health organizations working to help the government fight Ebola did not endorse it either. … There was, in short, a glaring lack of knowledge and communication surrounding the quarantine — as there has been throughout the crisis of health and governance that is the Ebola outbreak in Liberia…” (MacDougall, 8/26).

Inter Press Service: Building Public Trust is a Key Factor in Fighting West Africa’s Worst Ebola Outbreak
“…In Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, government services and trained medical workers are barely available in regions infected by Ebola. So when heavily equipped medical teams, often backed by foreign experts, go to affected areas, it has been difficult for those local communities to instantly trust them…” (Boisvert, 8/26).

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Ebola Threatens Food Security In Sierra Leone, Liberia

News outlets report on the U.N.’s concerns about food security in Sierra Leone and Liberia due to the Ebola outbreak.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. warns of food crisis in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone
“The United Nations warned Tuesday of a looming food crisis in eastern Sierra Leone, under lockdown since the Ebola-hit West African nation announced a state of emergency…” (8/26).

VOA News: Ebola Threatens Food Security
“The Ebola epidemic is raising serious concerns about food security in Liberia — the country hardest hit by the outbreak in West Africa. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization will conduct rapid assessments of the situation…” (DeCapua, 8/26).

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News Outlets Report On Ebola Outbreak Developments, Including Treatment Of Infected HCWs

News outlets report on developments surrounding the Ebola outbreak in Africa, including the treatment of infected health care workers.

ABC News: Ebola-Stricken Countries Scramble to Build Treatment Centers
“Aid groups in West Africa are scrambling to build treatment centers for the growing number of Ebola patients in the region. The latest construction in Kenema, Sierra Leone, will house patients currently flooding the city’s public hospital…” (8/26).

ABC News: 2 African Ebola Patients to Be Discharged From Hospital After Getting ZMapp
“Two African health workers who received doses of the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp are set to be discharged from the hospital later this week, a Liberian health official told ABC News today…” (Besser, 8/26).

Agence France-Presse: Ebola-hit Liberia fires absentee ministers
“Liberia’s leader has sacked ministers and senior government officials who defied an order to return to the West African nation to lead the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak, her office said…” (Dosso, 8/26).

Associated Press: Ebola has ‘upper hand’ says U.S. health official
“Ebola still has the ‘upper hand’ in the outbreak that has killed more than 1,400 people in West Africa, but experts have the means to stop it, a top American health official said during a visit to the hardest-hit countries. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was in Liberia on Tuesday and later planned to stop in Sierra Leone and Guinea…” (Paye-Layleh, 8/27).

The Guardian: British Ebola patient Will Pooley taking experimental drug ZMapp
“Will Pooley, the first British person to contract the Ebola virus, has been given an experimental drug as part of his treatment in London, it has been revealed on Tuesday…” (Siddique, 8/26).

Reuters: Nigeria says has “thus far contained” Ebola, one case left to treat
“Nigeria’s health minister said on Tuesday authorities had ‘thus far contained’ the Ebola outbreak that started last month, with only one out of 13 confirmed cases still being treated in isolation in the commercial capital Lagos…” (8/27).

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WHO Shuts Lab In Sierra Leone After Employee Contracts Ebola; Worker Flown To Germany For Treatment

News outlets report on the WHO’s actions to improve safety for its employees and contractors working in African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, as the first WHO employee infected with Ebola arrives in Germany for treatment.

New York Times: WHO Moves Team in Sierra Leone After a Medical Worker Contracts Ebola
“The World Health Organization announced Tuesday that it had removed its Ebola response teams from a region of Sierra Leone that has been hardest hit by the outbreak after a Senegalese epidemiologist there contracted the virus…” (Fink, 8/26).

Reuters: WHO shuts Sierra Leone lab after worker infected with Ebola
“…[WHO spokesperson Christy Feig] said she could not assess what impact the withdrawal of WHO staff would have on the fight against Ebola in the Kailahun, the area hardest hit by the disease. The WHO said in a later statement that staff would return after an investigation was completed, adding that testing would continue in the meantime at the Kenema laboratory…” (Fofana/Coulibaly, 8/26).

Associated Press: U.N. scientist with Ebola in Germany for treatment
“A scientist who was infected with Ebola while working for the World Health Organization in Sierra Leone has arrived in Germany for treatment in a Hamburg hospital, officials said Wednesday…” (Rising, 8/27).

Wall Street Journal: Ebola Patient Arrives in Germany for Treatment
“…The Senegalese health worker, the first Ebola patient to be treated in Germany, will be transferred to the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, or UKE, which specializes in the treatment of highly infectious diseases…” (Thomas, 8/27).

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UNICEF Sends Largest-Ever Emergency Aid Shipment To Multiple Crises In August

U.N. News Centre: Amid multiple crises, U.N. children’s agency deploys largest aid operation ever in a single month
“This August the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) shipped 1,000 metric tons of life-saving supplies for children caught in the world’s most urgent crises — the largest emergency supply operation in the organization’s history in a single month…” (8/26).

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Climate Change Action To Be Stand-Alone Goal In SDGs

IRIN: Higher profile for climate change in new SDGs
“Following months of lobbying by poor island states and NGOs, action on climate change is to be a stand-alone goal among the 17 newly agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” (Kindra, 8/26).

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Humanitarian Access In Syria Improves, But Terrorist Groups Continue To Block Aid, U.N. Reports

Reuters: U.N. reports improved aid access in Syria, but outlook bleak
“Humanitarian access in Syria has improved since the U.N. Security Council last month authorized the delivery of emergency aid across the Syrian border without the government’s consent, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a new report. But he warned that designated terrorist groups continue to prevent aid workers from accessing some of the estimated 10.8 million people in Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance…” (Charbonneau, 8/25).

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U.S. Doctors Run 'Surgery Camp' In Uganda, Perform Life-Saving Operations

Associated Press: Amid poverty, U.S. surgeons saving lives in Uganda
“…[A neurological] operation was one of many complex, life-saving surgeries the [American] team [of doctors] performed for a week on Ugandan patients who otherwise had little hope of survival. The operations, which would cost up to $20,000 here, are free while a group of American doctors take part in a ‘surgery camp’ during which they also train local doctors…” (Muhumuza, 8/26).

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Rockefeller Foundation Focuses Health System Strengthening Efforts On Financing

Devex: Why the Rockefeller Foundation prioritizes health financing
“While most donors recognize the MDGs have done their part to advance global health, some point that the U.N.-led global agenda set to expire in less than 500 days also has its downsides. One of the latter is the Rockefeller Foundation, which since 2008 has focused on building the resilience of health systems — although most of its efforts have focused on health financing, part of the World Health Organization’s model of breaking down national health systems into six ‘building blocks’…” (Santamaria, 8/26).

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Saudi Arabia's Strategy To Prevent MERS Contributing To Reduction In Cases

IRIN: Lessons to be learned from the MERS outbreak
“Only a few months ago, the threat from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in large parts of the Gulf region appeared to be growing. … Yet in recent weeks that threat has seemingly fallen away — with only two new cases in the last six weeks in Saudi Arabia. While seasonal changes may have had some effect, Saudi Arabia’s shifting strategies towards the disease also appear to be bearing fruit…” (8/27).

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MSF Begins Cholera Vaccination Campaign For S. Sudanese Refugees In Ethiopia

Reuters: MSF starts cholera vaccination drive for refugees in Ethiopia
“Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it had begun its first mass vaccination campaign against cholera, for South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia’s Gambella region…” (Quick, 8/26).

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Sierra Leone Islands Use Midwives To Reduce Maternal Mortality

Inter Press Service: How Midwives on Sierra Leone’s Almost Untouched Turtle Islands are Improving Women’s Health
“…For island communities [off the southwest peninsula of Sierra Leone] that have very little access to the mainland, basic health information is difficult to come by, therefore the risks — especially those pertaining to pregnancy, become inevitable. With a population of over six million, where women of childbearing age are between the ages of 15 and 49, this West African country has refocused its health initiatives, working tirelessly to strengthen the capacity and training of skilled midwives — an exceptional tool in reducing maternal and infant mortality…” (Erakit, 8/26).

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Sand Fly Discovery Could Lead To Innovative Methods To Fight Leishmaniasis

New York Times: Clues in a Disease Spreader’s Reaction
“…According to research recently published in the journal Parasites and Vectors, the Leishmania parasite affords infected sand flies some immunity against bacterial disease. In other words, what humans experience as a pathogenic invader acts as a probiotic protector for flies — a discovery with potential ramifications for fighting the spread of leishmaniasis…” (Nuwer, 8/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Donor Commitments To Vaccinate Will Help Protect World's Most Vulnerable Children

MSNBC: Immunizing Africa, committing to a healthy future for all
Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, and Philippe Brault, award-winning photographer and filmmaker

“…[W]hile four out of five children globally now receive at least a basic set of vaccines, there still are 1.5 million children who die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases, mostly in poor countries. We must reach that fifth child. …[S]ince it was founded in 2000, [the GAVI Alliance] has helped immunize 440 million people, which will save six million lives. Now, there is a real opportunity to do more. The Alliance has a roadmap to ramp up its activities and immunize another 300 million children by 2020. This will avert the deaths of an additional five million to six million people. At a time when the economies of many donors are still in a delicate state of recovery, it will take commitment and conviction by donors to achieve this goal, alongside the resolve of African leaders and support of global citizens…” (8/26).

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Measuring Untreated Waste Would Better Capture Progress Toward Sanitation Goals

Devex: Choosing the right post-2015 sanitation indicators
Brian Arbogast, director of the water, sanitation and hygiene program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…We need to start thinking about — and measuring — our progress in a way that captures the full sanitation challenge … Fortunately, one single indicator can capture this: the amount of untreated fecal waste that gets released into the environment. A commitment to reduce untreated waste would drive the necessary investments in fecal sludge management in urban and peri-urban areas, while complementing investments to end open defecation in rural areas. As the world turns its attention to creating new post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, I think it’s critical that we set a target to measure and reduce the amount of untreated waste. This one indicator could capture much of the progress sought in the sanitation goals recently proposed by the U.N. Open Working Group on the SDGs…” (8/26).

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Conspiracy Theories Complicate Ebola Outbreak But Might Help Those Affected 'Regain Psychological Equilibrium'

New York Times: Fighting Ebola, and the Conspiracy Theories
Brendan Nyhan, assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College

“…The latest example of the dangers of health misinformation comes from Western Africa, where the response to an Ebola outbreak in four countries has been hampered by conspiracy theories about its causes and phony rumors about how to treat it. False beliefs may not be the biggest obstacle to containing the Ebola outbreak, but they make an awful situation worse. … Anyone facing such a terrifying outbreak would be panicked, distrustful of outsiders bearing a potential death sentence, and eager for any shred of hope. … Until we can help people feel as if the situation is coming under control, we shouldn’t be surprised if they try to regain psychological equilibrium however they can” (8/25).

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Non-Clinical Circumcisions Pose Risks For Boys, Young Men In Sub-Saharan Africa

The Guardian: The death and deformity caused by male circumcision in Africa can’t be ignored
Ally Fogg, writer and journalist

“…Every year across sub-Saharan Africa, hundreds of thousands of boys and young men submit to initiation ceremonies [that include non-clinical circumcision]. … The human devastation left in the wake of these traditions is horrifying. … It may well be that the continent-wide circumcision campaign to prevent AIDS is a principle cause of the institutional silence on the issue. It seems likely that the WHO, UNAIDS, and similar bodies are reluctant to say or do anything that might undermine the drive. Leaving aside the ongoing epidemiological debate about the effectiveness of the strategy, it is self-evident that non-clinical circumcision can be actively harmful, leaving bleeding wounds or incomplete removal of the foreskin which can increase risks…” (8/25).

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Pope Francis Must Address Women's Reproductive Well-Being

The Guardian: Pope Francis has done little to improve women’s lives
Tina Beattie, professor of Catholic studies at the University of Roehampton in London

“Pope Francis has repeatedly said he wants a poor church of the poor. … He has also acknowledged the need to give women a greater say in the life of the church, though he has done little to achieve this. Yet poverty impacts unrelentingly and acutely on women’s lives, and nowhere does the absence of women’s influence manifest itself so clearly as around the church’s teachings on sexual and reproductive ethics. … If the pope wants a church that prioritizes the needs of the poor, then addressing women’s reproductive well-being is fundamental to that goal…” (8/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Launches Interactive U.S. Global Health Budget Tracker

Kaiser Family Foundation: U.S. Global Health Budget Tracker
This new, interactive, online tool lets users follow the global health budget from the president’s budget request through the appropriations process in Congress, as well as see trends over time. Data are provided for global health program areas (e.g., HIV, TB, family planning/reproductive health) by agency (e.g., USAID, CDC) and by major initiative (e.g., PEPFAR). The tracker contains final budget data dating back to fiscal year 2006. On Thursday, September 11 at 1 p.m. ET, the Kaiser Family Foundation will host an interactive web briefing to discuss the tracker and demonstrate how to use it to analyze funding data (8/27).

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State Department Recognizes Women's Equality Day

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Celebrating Women’s Equality Day
Catherine Russell, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, recognizes Women’s Equality Day, which takes place each year on August 26, and discusses the U.S. commitment “to continuing [the] fight [for equal opportunities] for every woman and girl around the globe” (8/26).

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Blog Post Discusses Increasing Tropical Disease Rates In Venezuela

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Venezuela: An Emerging Tropical Disease and Humanitarian Emergency?
Peter Hotez, co-editor in chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and Jennifer Herricks of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, discuss the increasing incidence of tropical diseases, including malaria and dengue, in Venezuela (8/26).

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Blog Post Summarizes News In Global Health Research

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Research Roundup: New TB drugs, the Global Development Lab, licensing agreements, emergency Ebola research, and more
Nick Taylor, GHTC’s senior program assistant, discusses some of the news in global health research from the previous week, including a Center for Global Development interview with former USAID chief scientist Alex Dehgan, among other pieces (8/26).

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