KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

On World AIDS Day, Progress Recognized But Challenges Remain

News outlets discuss various reports and statements made in recognition of World AIDS Day, marked annually on December 1.

USA TODAY: 26th World AIDS Day seeks to show support, urge investment
“People around the world Monday will join forces to show their support for those living with the AIDS virus, as well as those who have died from the disease, when the 26th World AIDS Day is marked. … This year’s theme is ‘Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation’…” (Onyanga-Omara, 11/30).

Financial Times: ‘Milestone’ in fight against AIDS as treatment outpaces infections
“…This marks the first time since antiretroviral medicines were introduced 27 years ago that treatment of HIV has expanded at a higher rate than incidence of the virus itself…” (Ward, 12/1).

Reuters: AIDS campaigners say pandemic has finally reached tipping point
“…But in a report to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the ONE campaign, an advocacy group working to end poverty and preventable disease in Africa, warned that reaching this milestone did not mean the end of AIDS was around the corner…” (Kelland, 11/30).

The Guardian: Millions with HIV die for lack of access to AIDS drugs, MPs say
“Millions of people with HIV die because they cannot get access to AIDS drugs, according to a cross-party group of MPs. … Its report says the global effort to get the drugs to children and adults in low and middle-income countries and save lives is still falling short, in part because of high prices charged by pharmaceutical companies and cuts in donor funding…” (Boseley, 11/30).

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HIV Case Numbers Increasing In Europe, Central Asia, WHO Warns

News outlets report on a WHO warning issued on Thursday that the number of HIV cases in Europe and Central Asia is increasing.

Deutsche Welle: WHO warns on HIV spread in Europe and Central Asia
“The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday that the HIV/AIDS virus remains a very present danger in Europe and Central Asia, with 80 percent more new HIV cases in 2013 compared with 2004…” (11/27).

Reuters: Europe and Central Asia failing to curb spread of HIV: WHO
“Despite major advances in treating and preventing HIV, Europe and Central Asia have failed to tackle the epidemic, with some 136,000 people becoming newly infected with the incurable AIDS virus last year, health officials said on Thursday…” (Kelland, 11/27).

UPI: Russia warns of HIV/AIDS epidemic
“…The virus, which causes AIDS, infected 136,235 people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia last year, an 80 percent increase over 2012, the WHO and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported, adding 80,000 of those cases were in Russia. Previously, Eastern Europe and Central Asia reported annual declines in AIDS cases in the past decade…” (Adamczyk, 11/27).

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1.1M HIV Infections In Children Prevented, But Disparity In Treatment Access Hampers Further Progress, UNICEF Says

Media sources report on UNICEF data on HIV among children released on Friday.

U.N. News Centre: Ahead of World AIDS Day, U.N. children’s agency urges more investment, access to treatment
“An estimated 1.1 million HIV infections among children under 15 have been averted, but disparity in access to treatment is hampering progress towards reaching a global goal of reducing new infections in children by 90 percent, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said [Friday] ahead of World AIDS Day…” (11/28).

UNICEF: UNICEF: 1.1 million HIV infections in children averted
“…This extraordinary progress is the result of expanding the access of millions of pregnant women living with HIV to services for the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT). These include lifelong HIV treatment that markedly reduces the transmission of the virus to babies and keeps their mothers alive and well…” (11/28).

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West African Ebola Toll Reaches Nearly 7,000 Deaths, 16,000 Cases, WHO Reports

News outlets report on the number of Ebola cases and deaths reported by the WHO on Friday.

International Business Times: Ebola Outbreak: Nearly 7,000 Dead, 16,000 Likely Infected With Virus, Says World Health Organization
“Almost 7,000 people have died of Ebola virus disease and more than 16,000 either have had the virus or are likely to have been infected, according to media accounts of World Health Organization figures reported Friday. Both are significantly higher than those previously released by WHO…” (Rabouin, 11/29).

Reuters: Death toll from Ebola outbreak nears 7,000 in West Africa: WHO
“The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak on record has reached nearly 7,000 in West Africa, the World Health Organization said on Saturday. The toll of 6,928 dead showed a leap of just over 1,200 since the WHO released its previous report on Wednesday…” (Flynn, 11/29).

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As Ebola Case Numbers Grow In Sierra Leone, Government, Experts Call For More International Assistance

News outlets report on the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.

Associated Press: Ebola death toll up, Sierra Leone needs more beds
“Sierra Leone will soon see a dramatic increase in desperately needed Ebola treatment beds, but it’s still not clear who will staff them, according to the top United Nations official in the fight against the disease…” (DiLorenzo, 11/29).

New York Times: Sierra Leone to Eclipse Liberia in Ebola Cases
“Sierra Leone will soon displace Liberia as the worst-hit of the West African countries ravaged by Ebola, the World Health Organization said Wednesday…” (Gladstone, 11/26).

The Guardian: Boost Ebola aid to Sierra Leone, Justine Greening told
“Justine Greening, the international development secretary, has been warned by senior medical professionals that Sierra Leone risks ‘a public health disaster’ worse than Ebola unless U.K. efforts to contain the virus are significantly stepped up. In an open letter signed by 53 doctors, charity representatives and a former British diplomat, Greening is told the government needs to quickly review operations in Sierra Leone to avert further crisis…” (O’Carroll, 11/27).

Reuters: Sierra Leone seeks U.S. military help to fight Ebola
“Sierra Leone appealed to the United States on Wednesday to send military aid to help it battle Ebola as it falls behind its West African neighbors Guinea and Liberia in the fight against the virus…” (Farge, 11/26).

Reuters: Canada to deploy military health staff to Sierra Leone in Ebola fight
“Canada will send up to 40 military staff to Sierra Leone to help battle Ebola, the government said on Thursday as it also launched a campaign to recruit health care workers to help operate treatment centers in three West African countries…” (Ljunggren, 11/27).

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Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promising Results In Early Human Trial, Scientists Report

News outlets report on results from the first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine, which U.S. scientists say appears to be safe and capable of producing an immune response.

CNN: Scientists: ‘Positive’ results in 1st human trial of experimental Ebola vaccine
“The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said, raising hopes that protection from the deadly disease may be on the horizon…” (Smith-Spark, 11/29).

Reuters: Ebola vaccine from Glaxo passes early safety test
“An experimental Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline caused no serious side effects and produced an immune response in all 20 healthy volunteers who received it in an early-stage clinical trial, scientists reported on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Begley, 11/26).

USA TODAY: Experimental Ebola vaccine appears safe, NIH says
“The first experimental Ebola vaccine to be tested in humans appears safe and capable of stimulating the immune system, according to a small, early clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health…” (Szabo, 11/26).

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Canadian PM Harper Announces Funding For Maternal, Child Health Initiatives

News outlets report on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s announcements of funding for two global health initiatives.

Canadian Press/Huffington Post Canada: Harper Announces $500 Million In Vaccination Aid In Senegal
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has earmarked $500 million to a program aimed at providing vaccines for impoverished children around the world, in the hopes of spurring other rich countries to follow suit. … The money is part of a $3.5 billion fund the Conservatives announced last May at a summit in Toronto aimed at financing Canada’s maternal, newborn, and child health strategy from 2016-2020…” (11/28).

Canadian Press/Huffington Post Canada: Harper Announces $150M In Aid To Improve Health Of Women And Children
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced Canada will spend $150 million over five years to help improve the health of women and children in developing countries. Speaking at a clinic Sunday in Senegal, Harper said the federal government’s contribution to the Micronutrient Initiative will help deliver an estimated 400 million vitamin A and zinc supplements per year to kids under the age of five…” (11/30).

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U.N. Humanitarian Assistance Head Valerie Amos Steps Down, Ban Announces

Devex: Valerie Amos steps down as U.N. humanitarian aid chief
“Valerie Amos, the top United Nations official for humanitarian assistance, is stepping down after four years in charge of overseeing U.N.-led international relief efforts in some of the world’s most troubled nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Wednesday…” (Santamaria, 11/27).

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Reuters Examines Obama Administration's 'Power Africa' Initiative

Reuters: Exclusive: Obama plan to ‘Power Africa’ gets off to a dim start
“…[T]he U.S. president’s flagship project for Africa [Power Africa] has already achieved 25 percent of its goal to deliver 10,000 megawatts of electricity and bring light to 20 million households and businesses, according to its annual report. But the five-year plan has not yet delivered the power. Power Africa has not measured its progress by counting actual megawatts added to the grid but promises of additional power made in deals it says it helped negotiate, according to sources inside the project and documents seen by Reuters…” (Brock, 11/28).

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132 Dead Of Cholera This Year In Haiti, U.N. Report Shows

Agence France-Presse: Haiti cholera outbreak kills 132 in 2014
“Haiti’s cholera epidemic has killed 132 people and may have infected nearly 15,000 others so far this year, a U.N. agency report said Wednesday…” (11/26).

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BRAC, Gates Foundation To Test Mobile Money In Bangladesh In Effort To Improve Economic, Health Outcomes

Forbes: Global Health Looks To BRAC And Gates Foundation For Mobile Money
“Bangladesh is going digital. Not in smart watches, sensor-based clothing, or electronic health records, but in money. Mobile money. Money, that according to BRAC and the Gates Foundation could improve the economic and health outcomes of the country, especially of women and children…” (Fisher, 11/29).

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PATH Introduces Mobile Diagnostic Test For River Blindness

Forbes: Tech’s Next Challenge In Global Health: Tools, Not Apps
“…Health apps are growing by the day. But, beyond apps, we need diagnostic tools that are easy, portable, and reliable, according to PATH, the Seattle-based non-profit working on global health challenges. … This month, PATH produced a new tool for diagnosing river blindness, a disease that affects nearly 18 million globally (stats that are often unheard of)...” (Chhabra, 11/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of HIV/AIDS In Recognition Of World AIDS Day

Inter Press Service: People with Disabilities Must Be Counted in the Fight Against HIV
Rashmi Chopra, a fellow in the Health and Human Rights Division at Human Rights Watch

The Guardian: HIV/AIDS cannot be beaten without water
Barbara Frost, chief executive of WaterAid; Chris Bain, director of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development; Ben Simms, director of StopAIDS; and Lois Chingandu, executive director of SAfAids

The Lancet: AIDS: transforming global health
Robin Gorna, executive director of AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy (ASAP)

Devex: An end to AIDS: A reality within our lifetime, if we work hard enough
Linda McAvan, Theresa Griffin, Anneliese Dodds, and Seb Dance, all British members of the European Parliament (MEPs)

Devex: 5 ways to end AIDS by 2030
Margarite Nathe, senior editor and writer at IntraHealth International

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Strengthen Health Care Systems In West Africa To Create Stability, Eliminate Poverty

Globe And Mail: In West Africa, disease just as devastating as war
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, president of Mali

“…Long after this [Ebola] outbreak has been brought under control, people in the region will continue to suffer; feeling its impact on trade, agriculture, public health services, human migration, and the economy for years to come. This should serve as a wake-up call to us all that infectious disease is not just a consequence of poverty, but a major cause of it as well. … Today, Ebola has taught us that infectious disease is equally capable of ignoring borders and destabilizing regions as any armed conflict. … Together we can create stability and eradicate poverty, but that journey must begin by strengthening immunization and health systems to ensure our people are healthy and our children protected from disease” (11/26).

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Taliban Militants' Attacks On HCWs In Pakistan Creating Regional Vulnerability To Polio

New York Times: The Taliban’s Reign of Terror
Editorial Board

“Militant gunmen killed four members of a polio vaccination team in Pakistan in late November, deepening the government’s struggle against an outbreak of the disease that is threatening neighboring countries. … The Taliban vows to kill any parent or worker involved in vaccination. Dozens of health care workers have been murdered in the last two years by militants. The disease has spread deeper into neighboring Afghanistan, and experts warn it could threaten India. The Pakistan government has tried broad countermeasures, including a mandate that departing travelers be vaccinated at anti-polio stations along its borders. But the Taliban’s campaign has left parents and health workers wary and the population vulnerable to a dread disease” (12/1).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. Government Blogs Recognize World AIDS Day

AIDS.gov blog: TODAY: Live webcast of the White House World AIDS Day Event
“…The White House will honor this worldwide observance on Monday, December 1, with an important World AIDS Day event focusing on this year’s federal theme, ‘Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation’…” (12/1).

AIDS.gov blog: Conversations in 2014: The Global Response to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
“In the lead-up to our annual observance of World AIDS Day on December 1, we at AIDS.gov are reflecting on some of the stories that generated interest on our blog in 2014. [Here] we look back at some posts about global efforts to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and move us closer to achieving the goal of an AIDS-free generation…” (11/26).

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: World AIDS Day 2014: Closer to an AIDS-Free Generation
Shannon Hader, director of the CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS, writes, “…The theme for World AIDS Day 2014 — ‘Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation’ — reflects the drive to focus on interventions proven to work and to partner with a broad range of stakeholders to achieve control of the HIV epidemic and, ultimately, an AIDS-free generation. CDC plays a key role in fighting the epidemic…” (11/30).

White House: Presidential Proclamation — World AIDS Day, 2014
In a proclamation, U.S. President Barack Obama states, “…As a Nation, we have made an unwavering commitment to bend the curve of the HIV epidemic, and the progress we have seen is the result of countless people who have shared their stories, lent their strength, and led the fight to spare others the anguish of this disease. Today, we remember all those who lost their battle with HIV/AIDS, and we recognize those who agitated and organized in their memory. On this day, let us rededicate ourselves to continuing our work until we reach the day we know is possible — when no child has to know the pain of HIV/AIDS and no life is limited by this virus…” (11/29).

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Program Helps Promote Nutrition Behaviors In Uganda

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Inspiring the Next Generation of Nutrition Leaders in Uganda
Asasira Adera and Carol Noel, nutrition trainees working with SPRING/Uganda, and Alexis Strader, knowledge management program officer at John Snow Inc., discuss the role of trained nutritionists in promoting behaviors to improve nutrition at the community level (11/26).

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December 2014 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The December 2014 WHO Bulletin includes news and research articles on various topics, as well as editorials on health systems resilience and health policy and systems research (December 2014).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash discusses Thailand’s transition from Global Fund support ahead of schedule, a pact on insecticide-treated bednets, mobilization of private funding in low- and middle-income nations, and HIV prevention efforts in Cuba (11/28).

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