KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

American Ebola Survivor Calls For More U.S., International Effort To End DRC Ebola Outbreak; U.N. Security Council Recognizes Need To End Violence Hampering Response

Associated Press: Former Ebola patient calls attention to current outbreak
“As the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history rages in Congo, a doctor who survived the deadly disease five years ago worries that people aren’t paying enough attention. ‘We need the United States government and the international community to step up in a bigger way to come to the assistance of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo to help bring an end to that outbreak before more lives are lost,’ Dr. Kent Brantly told reporters Friday…” (Harris, 8/2).

BBC News: Half of Ebola cases in DR Congo ‘unidentified’
“Only about 50% of cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being identified, the government’s response coordinator has said. Jean-Jacques Muyembe warned that the current deadly outbreak could last up to three years…” (8/2).

CIDRAP News: Ebola reports show more health workers infected
“[Thursday] the Democratic of the Congo (DRC) resumed publishing daily reports on the country’s ongoing Ebola outbreak, adding more details about the response in Goma and noting that 149 health workers have now been infected with the deadly virus…” (Soucheray, 8/2).

U.N. News: Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response
“The U.N. Security Council on Friday expressed grave concern about the current Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and stressed the urgency of broad cooperation in the response, as ‘the disease could spread rapidly, including to neighboring countries, possibly having serious humanitarian consequences and impacting regional stability.’ In a statement presented by Jacek Czaputowicz, foreign minister of Poland, which holds the Council’s presidency for the month of August, the 15-member body emphasized the need for continued cooperation and coordination with the DRC government to address the Ebola outbreak, as well as with the States in the region…” (8/2).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from Agence France-Presse (2), Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, BBC News, Bloomberg, The BMJ, Devex, France 24, Health Policy Watch, New Humanitarian, PBS, Reuters (2), TIME, and Xinhua News.

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News Outlets Examine Trump's Shifting Views On Transporting Health Care Workers Infected With Ebola In Africa To U.S. For Treatment

The Atlantic: The Rank Hypocrisy of Trump’s Ebola Tweets
“…To recap, from 2014 to 2016, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone experienced the largest Ebola epidemic of all time, infecting more than 28,000 people and killing more than 11,000. Many American health workers flew to the affected countries to help. Two of them — [the physician Kent] Brantly and the nurse Nancy Writebol — became infected themselves in July 2015, and were airlifted back from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Both recovered. But their arrival sparked fear, especially among those who believed Ebola to be a super-contagious virus that would rapidly spread through the country. … And no single person fanned those flames with more enthusiasm than [Donald] Trump. … To be clear, if Trump had wielded presidential power at the time and had acted on his sentiments, Brantly and Writebol would be dead. Hence the gross hypocrisy of retweeting a celebration of Brantly’s successful return and treatment when he tried to oppose it. … In fairness to Trump, his administration’s response to the current Ebola outbreak, now entering its second year in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been more responsible than his earlier rhetoric…” (Yong, 8/3).

Mother Jones: 5 Years Ago, Trump Said an Ebola Doctor Should ‘Suffer the Consequences!’
“President Donald Trump on Saturday retweeted a message from evangelical leader Franklin Graham celebrating the recovery of Kent Brantly, a doctor who contracted Ebola five years ago while fighting a devastating outbreak of the disease in Liberia. … The heroism of Brantly, Writebol, and the people who saved their lives is absolutely worth celebrating. But it’s a remarkable about-face for the president. Trump, who at the time was not yet a Republican presidential candidate, spent days stoking fears about the threat he (wrongly) claimed the evacuation posed to people in the United States. He demanded that the Obama administration ‘stop the EBOLA patients from entering the U.S.’ and declared that people who fight deadly diseases overseas ‘must suffer the consequences!’…” (Schulman, 8/3).

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Administration Submits Report To Congress Outlining How New U.S. International Development Finance Corporation Will Work With USAID

Devex: Report outlines how new DFC and USAID will work together
“One of the final steps required before the opening of the new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation is now complete. The administration has submitted a coordination report to Congress outlining how the new institution will work with the U.S. Agency for International Development and other government agencies. … The report addresses the importance of links between the two agencies as key to the U.S. maintaining its leadership in international development and says that access to the DFC’s financing tools will be ‘critical’ to USAID’s ‘journey to self-reliance’ framework aimed at helping countries move past aid…” (Saldinger, 8/5).

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Al Jazeera Examines Economic Benefits Of Breastfeeding For World Week

Al Jazeera: Get milk: The economic benefits of breastfeeding
“As the globe celebrates World Breastfeeding Week this August 1-7 — and as it gears up for the third World Breastfeeding Conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro this fall — here’s the rundown on the surprising economics of breastfeeding…” (McGinty, 8/2).

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The Guardian Discusses Women's Lack Of Access To Reproductive Health Services, Safe Abortion In Kenya's Kibera

The Guardian: ‘We lose so many women’: the tragedy of unsafe abortion in Kibera
“With terminations outlawed in Kenya, women and girls in its largest slum have to rely on expensive and unreliable under-the-counter pills, toxic chemicals, or other homemade remedies. The consequences can be fatal…” (McVeigh, 8/5).

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U.N. Investigates Alleged Corruption Among Staff In Yemen; WFP, Yemeni Rebels Reach Deal To Resume Food Deliveries

Associated Press: U.N. probes corruption in its own agencies in Yemen aid effort
“…More than a dozen U.N. aid workers deployed to deal with the wartime humanitarian crisis have been accused of joining with combatants on all sides to enrich themselves from the billions of dollars in donated aid flowing into the country, according to individuals with knowledge of internal U.N. investigations and confidential documents reviewed by the Associated Press. The AP obtained U.N. investigative documents, and interviewed eight aid workers and former government officials…” (Michael, 8/5).

Associated Press: U.N. food agency, Yemeni rebels reach deal to restore aid
“The U.N. food agency on Sunday said it reached an agreement with Yemen’s rebels to resume food deliveries to rebel-controlled parts of the country after suspending the aid for over a month. The partial suspension of aid to the capital, Sanaa, began in June amid accusations that the rebels, known as Houthis, were diverting the food from the hungriest people in the war-torn country, which has been pushed to the brink of starvation…” (Magdy, 8/4).

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More News In Global Health

Associated Press: New Zealand government plans to ease abortion restrictions (Perry, 8/5).

Borgen Magazine: Mitigating the Effect of Anti-Vaxxers on Global Health (Ramos, 8/5).

Borgen Magazine: The Eradication of Malaria in Argentina and Algeria (Hall, 8/3).

Borgen Magazine: Legislation to Tackle Violence Against Women Around the World (Bryant, 8/3).

Health Policy Watch: WHO Calls On Countries To Scale Up Hepatitis Services, Invest In Elimination (Branigan, 7/29).

VOA News: The Worth of A Girl: Child Marriage Around the World (Weaver, 8/4).

Xinhua News: 47 dead, over 200,000 infected with dengue in Sri Lanka (8/5).

Xinhua News: Bangladesh dengue cases reach nearly 25,000 as nationwide outbreak continues unabated (8/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Actions Needed To End Ebola Outbreak

The Telegraph: Getting funds to workers on front line is critical to ending Ebola outbreak
David Malpass, president of the World Bank Group

“In the last few weeks, the latest Ebola crisis has reached a tipping point. … I see four areas of urgent action that can, if done right, fight this epidemic effectively. First, we need to direct money and support where it is needed most: to the health workers and frontline responders. … Second, we must go beyond health. … Third, resources should get the most value-for-money, including financial accountability. … Lastly, we need to redouble our efforts to address the underlying sources of fragility and poverty. … The World Bank will continue working with WHO and other organizations to direct resources to the people battling this epidemic and to the communities that need the most support. We remain on the ground in [the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)], are committed as a long-term partner, and will keep working in other countries where an Ebola outbreak may strike. The prospects for so many depend on bringing this latest outbreak to a timely end, and it will take an organized, well-financed, multi-national effort to succeed” (8/2).

CNN: The battle against Ebola is far from over
Claire E. Sterk, 20th president of Emory University and Charles Howard Candler professor of public health

“…Five years ago this week, Emory University Hospital stepped forward to accept its first patient with Ebola virus disease, Dr. Kent Brantly. In the midst of the largest outbreak since the disease was first recognized in 1976, Emory provided care to Brantly and three additional health care workers in our Serious Communicable Diseases Unit — at the time one of just four high-level biocontainment wards in the United States. But serious challenges remain. This week also marks one year since the most recent Ebola outbreak began in the DRC. … To combat this latest Ebola outbreak — and to confront the broader challenges of public health for tomorrow — we must look toward comprehensive approaches that are driven by members of affected communities and supported by those who have the knowledge or means to make a lasting difference. Working together, we can build trust and prepare for what comes next. Doing so is a matter of global human rights. Our shared future depends on it” (8/2).

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Breast Milk Should Be Included In GDP Calculations To Properly Value Benefits

The Conversation: The National Breastfeeding Strategy is a start, but if we really valued breast milk we’d put it in the GDP
Julie Smith, honorary associate professor at Australian National University

“Australia’s new National Breastfeeding Strategy sets ambitious goals. By 2022 it wants 40% of Australian babies to exclusively breastfeed until they are six months old. … By 2025 it wants 50%. … The goals are welcome. But one of the reasons we need them is because we don’t properly value what is just about our most valuable nutritional resource. Statistically, breast milk is almost invisible. … That’s why two Nobel Prize winners, economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, agree on including human milk in conventionally defined GDP. They say its exclusion distorts priorities. … A new study by World Bank economist Dylan Walters and colleagues finds that the economic costs of not breastfeeding globally amounts to US$1 billion a day. They are not only the treatment costs for infectious illness, but also the costs of higher rates of maternal diabetes and breast cancer as well as the costs of higher childhood obesity and chronic disease, and the lifelong economic consequences of cognitive losses in children who were not sufficiently breastfed. … Australia’s new strategy reflects an important shift. It responds to evidence suggesting that breastfeeding practices are strongly influenced by commercial factors such as marketing, as well as by the employment and financial and health care environment mothers find themselves in. … The home production of other food products is included in GDP, including the cows milk produced and consumed on farms. Leaving out breast milk distorts goals and helps distort incentives. It’s time making mothers’ milk counted, and governments invested” (8/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Experts Discuss 4 Recommendations On How To Best Allocate Ebola Funding

Center for Global Development: Committing and Allocating Ebola Financing: What’s Next for the DRC?
Carleigh Krubiner, policy fellow, and Liesl Schnabel, program associate, both at CGD, provide recommendations on how best to allocate Ebola funding to ensure “funds get to where they are needed.” Recommendations include: “1. As more money is committed, prioritize transparency and coordination … 2. Where possible, utilize low-cost options that are effective, efficient, and scalable … 3. Align financing for Ebola preparedness in neighboring countries with contributions towards costed National Action Plans for Health Security … 4. Anticipate the future — make sure that global health funders prioritize global health security and outbreak response in their operational plans” (8/2).

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Under-Funded Health Systems, Lack Of Attention Drive Drug-Resistant TB, TB Activist Says

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Activist confronts the ‘father’ of drug-resistant TB
In this guest post, Abigail Mudd, medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine, interviews international TB activist Timur Abdullaev, who lives with HIV and is a two-time survivor of TB. Mudd notes, “He owes his life, he says, to treatment supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and now he also depends on the multilateral initiative for his continued health. … ‘Under-funded health systems are the mother of multidrug-resistant TB,’ he told Science Speaks, ‘lack of attention is the father.’ And while the Global Fund is the biggest international funding source for TB responses in low-income countries, as Eastern Europe economies grow, the role of the initiative is receding, leaving some national budgets to pick up the costs of first-line TB medications…” (8/2).

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August 2019 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The August 2019 WHO Bulletin features articles on various topics, including an editorial on the role of political economy in achieving global health targets; an article on the importance of rehabilitation within the continuum of care and achieving universal health coverage; and a research article on the long-term impact of a community-led sanitation campaign in India (August 2019).

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From the U.S. Government

One Year Into DRC's Ebola Outbreak, CDC Continues To Remain Committed To Response Efforts

CDC: CDC Remains Committed One Year into the Fight against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
This post discusses CDC’s efforts to respond to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), noting, “One year into the fight against Ebola, CDC and the U.S. government remain committed to working with and empowering the ministries of health of DRC and neighboring countries, in collaboration with other international partners, to ensure the outbreak response is well coordinated to stop the spread of disease and end the outbreak. CDC is committed to strengthening the health care system in DRC to help reduce the risk of future outbreaks, not only of Ebola, but of other diseases such as HIV, measles, tuberculosis, and malaria. CDC’s commitment to global health goes hand in hand with CDC’s commitment to the safety and security of the American public” (8/1).

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