KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO, U.S. Official Warn Ebola Outbreak Will Worsen, As Death Toll Reaches 1,550

News outlets report on the widening scope of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Associated Press: U.S. official warns Ebola outbreak will get worse
“A third top doctor has died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, a government official said Wednesday, as a leading American health official warned that the outbreak sweeping West Africa would get worse…” (Roy-Macaulay/Paye-Layleh, 8/27).

Nature: World struggles to stop Ebola
“…The international aid group Médecins Sans Frontières has called the world’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa ‘dangerously inadequate.’ … To end the crisis, developed countries and aid groups need to send more people with expertise in treating infectious diseases, public health experts say…” (Hayden, 8/26).

New York Times: Ebola Could Eventually Afflict Over 20,000, WHO Says
“As the tally of deaths from the worst known outbreak of the Ebola virus continued its seemingly inexorable rise, the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the epidemic was still accelerating and could afflict more than 20,000 people — almost seven times the current number of reported cases — before it could be brought under control…” (Cumming-Bruce/Cowell, 8/28).

Reuters: Ebola toll tops 1,550, outbreak accelerates: WHO
“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,552 people out of 3,069 known cases in four countries and ‘continues to accelerate,’ the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday…” (Nebehay, 8/28).

Reuters: WHO says Ebola outbreak could strike 20,000 people
“The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect more than 20,000 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday in a bleak assessment of the deadly disease. The United Nations health agency issued a strategic plan to combat the outbreak in four West African nations where it said the actual number of cases could already be two to four times higher than the reported 3,069. The death toll stands at 1,552…” (8/28).

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U.S., U.N. Pledge Additional Funding To Help African Nations Address Ebola

News outlets report on additional funding from the U.S. and U.N. to help nations in Africa address Ebola

ABC News Radio: USAID Pledges Additional $5 Million to Combat Spread of Ebola
“The U.S. Agency for International Development on Wednesday pledged an additional $5 million to help fight the continuing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. In total, USAID has committed approximately $19.6 million since the outbreak began in March…” (Milman, 8/27).

Agence France-Presse: U.N. releases $1.5mn to help DR Congo fight Ebola
“The United Nations on Wednesday allocated $1.5 million (1.1 million euros) to help the Democratic Republic of Congo fight Ebola, just days after the country confirmed its first cases this year…” (8/27).

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Ebola Outbreak Causing Economic Damage In West Africa, As Affected Countries Increasingly Isolated

News outlets report on the economic damage being caused in Africa because of the Ebola outbreak, as additional airlines announce temporary service suspensions.

The Guardian: Ebola epidemic takes toll on business in quarantine zones and across Africa
“…Rural farmers … — whose rice, cocoa and cassava fields account for nearly half Sierra Leone’s gross domestic production — are among the hardest-hit in the economic fallout of the world’s biggest Ebola epidemic. The repercussions have radiated from these far-flung villages to the country’s financial markets, prompting cutbacks by multinational firms whose revenues had previously spurred double-digit growth and allowed Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea painstakingly to rebuild their war-shattered economies over the last decade…” (Mark, 8/27).

Reuters: Ebola causing huge damage to W.Africa economies: development bank
“The worst-ever Ebola outbreak is causing enormous damage to West African economies as foreign businessmen quit the region, the African Development Bank said, while a leading medical charity branded the international response ‘entirely inadequate’…” (Olu-Mammah/Fofana, 8/28).

Reuters: Botswana blocks copper trucks from Congo on Ebola fears-Times of Zambia
“More than 100 trucks hauling copper from the Democratic Republic of Congo have been denied entry into Botswana over fears of an Ebola outbreak in Congo, leaving the trucks stranded at a border crossing, local media reported on Thursday…” (8/28).

Agence France-Presse: Ebola zone countries isolated as airlines stop flights
“The three nations at the center of the West African Ebola outbreak were left increasingly isolated Thursday as more airlines suspended flights to the crisis zone…” (Johnson, 8/28).

Agence France-Presse: Air France suspends Sierra Leone flights over Ebola
“Air France said it was suspending its flights to Sierra Leone from Thursday because of an Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 1,400 people in West Africa…” (8/27).

Associated Press: Citing Ebola, Air France suspends flights
“France on Wednesday recommended that its citizens leave the African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia because of the outbreak of Ebola there, and Air France temporarily suspended its three flights a week to Sierra Leone…” (8/27).

Reuters: France tells citizens, Air France to avoid Liberia, Sierra Leone over Ebola
“The French government on Wednesday recommended its nationals avoid Sierra Leone and Liberia due to the risk associated with the Ebola virus and asked Air France-KLM to suspend flights to the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown…” (Ponthus/Callus, 8/27).

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Doctor In Nigeria Dies Of Ebola As Health Minister Warns Against Complacency

News outlets report on Nigeria’s efforts to stem Ebola’s spread, after an infected Liberian-American brought the disease to Lagos through air travel.

Agence France-Presse: Nigeria warns against complacency in Ebola fight
“Nigeria’s health minister on Wednesday warned against complacency in the country’s fight against Ebola, despite only one patient remaining in hospital isolation with the virus…” (8/27).

Reuters: Doctor dies of Ebola in Nigeria’s oil hub Port Harcourt
“A doctor in Nigeria’s oil industry hub of Port Harcourt has died from Ebola fever, after he was infected by a man linked to the first case in Africa’s most populous country, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. … The total number of recorded cases had risen by two to 15, [Heath Ministry spokesperson Dan Nwomeh] said, the other one being the wife of the doctor who is showing Ebola symptoms and whose test results are awaited…” (Cocks, 8/28).

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WHO Workshop Aims To Educate African Health Experts On Ebola

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N.-organized workshop aims to boost Africa’s defenses against deadly disease
“A three-day workshop organized by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) aimed at strengthening Africa’s defenses against the Ebola outbreak is underway with health experts from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe…” (8/27).

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Aid Groups Preparing To Deliver Food To West African Nations Affected By Ebola Outbreak

Washington Post: Groups rush to avoid food crisis in Ebola-stricken areas
“With food stocks running low in Ebola-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, international organizations are preparing for a looming food crisis amid concerns that imports are being affected and farmers in areas quarantined will not be able to harvest and deliver their crops…” (Hogan, 8/27).

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Emory Infectious Diseases Expert Discusses Ebola Treatment In Interview

Scientific American: Ebola Doctor Reveals How Infected Americans Were Cured
“…Bruce Ribner, medical director of [Emory University Hospital’s] Infectious Disease Unit, sat down with Scientific American to explain how the two Americans were cared for, the lessons that could be applied to help patients across Africa, and why the hysteria over flying the two individuals back to the U.S. was unfounded…” (Maron, 8/27).

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GSK Experimental Ebola Vaccine Soon To Be Tested In Humans

News outlets report on GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) plans to test its experimental Ebola vaccine in humans.

Bloomberg News: Glaxo’s Ebola Vaccine to Be Tested for Safety in Humans
“U.S. scientists will begin enrolling patients as soon as next week in clinical safety trials of GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s experimental Ebola vaccine as the death toll from the disease rises in West Africa…” (Edney, 8/28).

Reuters: GSK Ebola vaccine fast-tracked into U.S., U.K., and African trials
“An experimental Ebola vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline is being fast-tracked into human studies and the company plans to build up a stockpile of up to 10,000 doses for emergency deployment, if results are good…” (Hirschler, 8/28).

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U.N. Experts Call For Action On Climate-Related Health Risks At Global Conference

News outlets report on the WHO’s call for action on climate and health-related activities at the first-ever global conference on health and climate, which opened Wednesday in Geneva.

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Act now on climate change or face growing health risks – U.N.
“Swift action to tackle climate change would reduce the damage to global health caused by rising air pollution and more extreme weather, top U.N. officials said on Wednesday…” (Rowling, 8/27).

U.N. News Centre: Experts at U.N. conference call for action to mitigate climate-related health risks
“Experts are urging the international community to act fast to reduce climate change and its health consequences at the first-ever global conference on health and climate, which opened [Wednesday] at the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO)…” (8/27).

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Economists Criticize Proposed U.N. Development Goals

Financial Times: Proposals for U.N. development goal face criticism
“Proposals for a new set of U.N. development goals, used to shape national and international policies for raising living standards, have been criticized by the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think-tank founded by the Danish environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg. A group of 32 economists who reviewed the proposals concluded that many targets were either excessively vague or too expensive to meet, according to an analysis published by the Copenhagen center on Wednesday…” (Crooks, 8/27).

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Civil Society Meeting At U.N. Discusses Post-2015 Development Agenda

U.N. News Centre: Civil society gathers at U.N. to help shape new vision for global development, prosperity
“Civil society converged on United Nations Headquarters in New York today to make their voices heard regarding the future global development agenda that will point the way forward on a range of issues such as eradicating poverty, eliminating hunger, and combating disease…” (8/27).

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Activists Upset Over Ugandan Law Criminalizing HIV Transmission

VOA News: HIV Prevention Act Angers Ugandan AIDS Activists
“Uganda’s president recently signed the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act into law. The bill criminalizes the transmission of HIV and also enforces mandatory testing. Such provisions have upset activists who want to de-stigmatize Uganda’s HIV-positive community…” (Paulat, 8/27).

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U.N. Food Aid Reaches More Than 700,000 Iraqis Since June, WFP Reports

News outlets report on the U.N.’s announcement that it has scaled-up its food aid operations and reached more than 700,000 Iraqis since June.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. scales up food supplies for Iraqis fleeing conflict
“The U.N. food aid agency said Wednesday that a convoy of supplies had reached 2,000 desperate families, crammed into the Iraqi city of Karbala after fleeing jihadist attacks. It said the delivery brings to 700,000 the total number of Iraqis receiving World Food Programme assistance since June…” (8/27).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. operation to feed displaced Iraqis reaches over 700,000 people
“Food aid convoys from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have reached displaced Iraqis in Karbala, southwest of Baghdad, bringing the number of people receiving food assistance to over 700,000 people since the start of violence in mid-June…” (8/27).

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Secondary MERS Infections Mild Among Patients' Families, Study Shows

Reuters: Scientists find mild cases of MERS among patients’ families
“Fewer than half of Saudi Arabian patients in a study passed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus to household members, and many of those who developed secondary infections contracted mild cases of MERS, global researchers reported on Wednesday…” (Steenhuysen, 8/27).

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Japan Confirms First Dengue Cases In 70 Years

Agence France-Presse: Japan confirms first dengue fever infections in 70 years
“Japanese health officials said Thursday that three young people have contracted dengue fever, the first such infections in the country in nearly 70 years…” (8/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Investigate High Turnover Rate Of Global Fund IG Position

Huffington Post: Who’s Next as the Top Cop at the Global Fund?
Bea Edwards, executive and international director of the Government Accountability Project

“Just recently, Martin O’Malley, the third Inspector General in three years at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, announced he would step down in December, cutting short a six-year commitment to the quasi-private, intergovernmental organization based in Geneva. … So what’s going on there? The Global Fund does not seem to be able to keep a senior oversight official in office. … The U.S. Congress, which appropriates over $1 billion annually for the Global Fund, ought to look into this. U.S. taxpayers willingly finance treatment and prevention of disease both in this country and in poor countries, but this is beginning to look like systemic corruption…” (8/27).

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SDGs Must Include Measurable, Feasible Health Goals

BMJ: The 2030 sustainable development goal for health
Gavin Yamey and Rima Shretta of the Global Health Group at the University of California-San Francisco, and Fred Newton Binka of the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ghana

“…As the MDGs come to an end, a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) will be debated during the U.N. General Assembly that starts on 24 September 2014. These goals will have a 2030 end date. They could catalyze further transformations in global health. … Could the SDGs be as influential as the MDGs? Yes — if the first draft can be transformed from utopian ‘fairy tales’ into a prioritized list of measurable goals, targets, and interim milestones that all countries can achieve, with a central role for health and new approaches to development finance” (8/26).

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Nurses Caring For Ebola Patients Deserve Recognition, Support

Christian Science Monitor: In Ebola crisis, time to honor the nurses
Editorial Board

“…Only in recent weeks have these nurses [in West Africa] begun to receive recognition and gratitude for defying the fear and stigma of working with Ebola patients. Dozens of nurses, along with doctors and other health workers, have died after not taking proper precautions. Many have been abandoned by family or friends out of blind fright over the virus. And many foreign health workers have fled Africa. …[T]hese health care heroes can find spiritual strength in their calling to aid others who are most in need. Their humane labors also deserve more support and thanks from a world still watching how Africa deals with the Ebola crisis” (8/25).

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New York Times Publishes Letters To The Editor In Response To Its Ebola Coverage

New York Times: In Ebola Crisis, Hope and Heroism
Multiple authors

The New York Times presents several letters to the editor in response to the newspaper’s coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The authors address issues surrounding the treatment of Ebola patients, including the use of ZMapp and how the disease is affecting health care workers (8/27).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Partnership, Coordination Will Strengthen NTD Elimination Programs In Nigeria

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End The Neglect”: Going Beyond Cooperation: Why it’s Critical for NTD Control and Elimination in Nigeria
Benjamin Nwobi, resident program adviser for RTI International and the ENVISION project in Nigeria, and Sunday Isiyaku, country director for Sightsavers in Nigeria and lead for the UNITED Project, detail “a new alliance aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) program and maximizing the impact of resources directed at NTD control and elimination” (8/27).

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Blog Post Examines Role Of FBOs In Global Health, Development

Global Health TV: Are donors adequately funding faith groups for maximum impact in global health?
David Olson, a global development communications consultant, discusses the role of faith-based organizations in global public health and development (8/26).

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Scientists Meet To Discuss Efforts To Find HIV Cure

Humanosphere: Beyond the Berlin patient — seeking a cure for HIV/AIDS
Tom Paulson, founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere, writes about the Conference on Cell & Gene Therapy for HIV Cure that took place in Seattle this week. He discusses several different approaches scientists are taking in their efforts to cure HIV infection (8/27).

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Blog Post Summarizes News About Ebola Outbreak

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Ebola outbreak: “Unprecedented” and familiar, global health emergency calls for solidarity, innovation, communication
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, summarizes several articles written about the West African Ebola outbreak (8/27).

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