KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Ebola Response Must Strengthen West Africa's Health Care Systems, Officials Say

NPR: Officials Hope To Use Ebola To Build Africa’s Health Care Capabilities
“…[A]id officials are hoping [Ebola] may help to address long-festering shortcomings in West Africa’s health care systems. … [T]alk in the international community is about moving from crisis management to long-term change — building systems that not only contain Ebola now but improve overall health in the long term…” (Cadei, 12/9).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola response must include efforts to bolster health systems — U.N. Economic, Social Council chief
“While the priority is to stop the Ebola outbreak, measures must also ensure that the emergency response is linked to longer-term efforts to strengthen health systems in those countries hit the hardest, the president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said [Thursday]…” (12/11).

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U.N. Humanitarian Veteran Will Head UNMEER Starting In January

Reuters: U.N. names veteran humanitarian official as new head of Ebola mission
“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed veteran humanitarian official Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania on Thursday as the new head of its mission to fight an outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. Ahmed, who has 28 years of U.N. experience in humanitarian and development affairs, will replace Anthony Banbury as leader of the U.N. Ebola Emergency Response Mission (UNMEER) in January, a U.N. statement said…” (Bigg, 12/11).

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Geneva Hospital Temporarily Suspends Ebola Vaccine Trial After Some Participants Experience Joint Pain

Financial Times: Merck’s Ebola vaccine trial suspended
“The race to stem the spread of Ebola suffered a setback on Thursday when researchers suspended a clinical trial of a new vaccine, and U.S. officials said an American nurse with exposure to the disease would be admitted to a special treatment facility…” (Crow, 12/11).

New York Times: Hospital Pauses Test of an Ebola Vaccine Licensed to Merck
“A test of an experimental Ebola vaccine recently licensed to Merck has been temporarily paused after some vaccinated volunteers experienced pain in their joints, a medical center in Geneva announced on Thursday…” (Pollack, 12/11).

NPR: Unexpected Joint Pain Seen In Test Of Experimental Ebola Vaccine
“…The hospital has already given the vaccine to 59 people, and was about to inject another 15. But researchers there decided to hold off on those next 15 people for a week or so, while they pause to take a closer look at the people who experienced mild pain in their hands and feet. All told, the Geneva hospital plans to inoculate 115 volunteers…” (Harris, 12/11).

Wall Street Journal: GAVI to buy $300M in Ebola Vaccines, While a Merck Trial is Suspended
“…A Merck spokeswoman sent us a note saying ‘these events have not been reported at any of the other clinical sites. It is not known at this time whether these events are related to the vaccine or not. We understand the level of vaccine being administered in the trial, which is being conducted at a number of other sites, will proceed using lower doses of the vaccine’…” (Silverman, 12/11).

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Mali Says No More Ebola Cases Detected After Reporting 6 Deaths, 2 Recoveries

Reuters: Mali says has no remaining Ebola cases as last patient recovers
“Mali has no remaining cases of the Ebola virus as the last patient in the country has recovered and left hospital, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday. Six people have died of Ebola in Mali, while two others have recovered…” (Diallo et al., 12/11).

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Saudi King Pledges $35M For Ebola Control Efforts, Treatment Centers

Associated Press: Saudi pledges $35 million for fight against Ebola
“The Islamic Development Bank says the Saudi king has pledged $35 million to help fight Ebola in hard-hit West African countries. … The bank says the grant will be used to provide … thermal sensors and medical examination equipment designed to diagnose the virus and keep public spaces safer… [and establish] medical testing centers in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, as well as Mali…” (12/11).

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Guardian Health Editor Reports On Ebola From West Africa

The Guardian: Ebola diary: Malaria medicine delivered under darkness
“The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, is traveling in West Africa, looking at the impact of the Ebola epidemic and the reasons why it has taken off in the region with such devastating effect…” The newspaper provides links to Boseley’s past reports (12/12).

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Senate Removes Provision From Coast Guard Bill That Could Have Affected Food Aid Distribution

Catholic News Service/National Catholic Reporter: CRS, nonprofits beat back clause in bill that could have cut food aid
“Catholic Relief Services and a host of other nonprofit agencies that distribute food aid overseas were successful in getting lawmakers to purge a provision in a bill that could have cut the amount of food aid they would be able to distribute in the future…” (Pattison, 12/11).

Humanosphere: Potentially damaging food aid reform cut from Coast Guard bill
“…It was expected that Senators Chris Coons, D-Del., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would mount an opposition to the provision. Needing unanimous consent to pass the bill in the Senate, the two Senators leveraged their colleagues to remove the provision…” (Murphy, 12/11).

Roll Call: Corker, Coons Prevail In Battle Over Cargo Preference
“…The cargo preference, which dates back to 1954, requires that a certain percentage of commodities purchased by the government be shipped in U.S.-flagged vessels. Under current law, 50 percent of food aid must be shipped on U.S. flag-ships…” (Curry, 12/11).

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Barbara Bush Calls For U.S., Global Action To Improve Nutrition

U.S. News: Barbara Bush Wants to Help Improve Nutrition Worldwide
“If babies do not get proper nutrition from the time they are conceived to two years after their birth, they risk irreversible mental and physical damage. For former first daughter Barbara Bush, CEO of Global Health Corps, this is a call to action — both abroad and in the United States. … [A] Global Health Corps initiative will address nutrition deficiency in low-income communities…” (Leonard, 12/11).

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India Implements Price Controls For 52 Additional Essential Drugs, Bringing Total To Nearly 400

Reuters: India extends price caps to 52 more essential drugs
“…The additional drugs, including painkillers and antibiotics, join a list of nearly 400 essential treatments under price control in India, where a majority of people live on less than $2 a day and health insurance is scarce…” (Siddiqui, 12/12).

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Bill Would Update Sexual Offense Laws, Introduce Legislation Against Child Marriage In Somalia

The Guardian: Somalia sexual offenses bill hailed as vital step towards lasting change
“…The bill will define rape as a crime against a person, rather than a crime against morality, as it characterized at present. It will criminalize gang rape and introduce legislation against child marriage, human trafficking, sexual harassment, and offenses committed against vulnerable groups such as internally displaced people…” (Sperber, 12/11).

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Community Organization Educates Sex Workers In Mozambique About HIV/AIDS Prevention

The Guardian: Mozambique sex workers learn to put life before money as HIV rates increase
“… ‘We tell the women: first life, then money,’ says Esperanza Malumbe, the founder of a local community-based organization, Abavamo, which aims to educate and empower Mozambican sex workers. … Abavamo not only hands out condoms and femidoms to the women, but also teaches them how to negotiate safe sex with men. And, if a client cannot be convinced, then there are strategies for that too…” (Ellison, 12/12).

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Growing Popularity Of Immunizations Among Tanzania's Maasai Presents Successes, Challenges

CNN: Staying alive: Why measles won’t take down the Maasai
“…With the increasing popularity of immunization among the Maasai, and Tanzanian population as a whole, the key challenge health teams now face is one of supply, not demand. More children are requesting vaccinations than local stocks are equipped for, particularly in the most remote regions where accurate headcounts are not possible…” (Senthilingam, 12/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Congress Should Quickly Approve Funding For U.S., African Ebola Efforts

The Hill: Ebola epidemic should be considered from a national security perspective
Ron Dellums, former U.S. representative from California

“…Understanding the high cost of combating the Ebola virus in Africa and here at home, congressional appropriators included vital funding for those efforts. I urge the U.S. Congress to swiftly pass the FY15 appropriations package so that these funds can get to the front lines to fight this global health crisis. We cannot play politics with human lives…” (12/11).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Maternal, Child Health, Reproductive Rights, Family Planning

Devex: Let’s support national actions to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths
Mariam Claeson, director of maternal, newborn and child health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…As we move into 2015 and beyond, we find ourselves at the dawn of the Sustainable Development Goals. As we move forward, we need to do better for the world’s mothers and newborns, starting by keeping them at the heart of our post-2015 health efforts. … [A]s a global community, we must support government, local communities, and civil society to seize critical opportunities, implement evidence-based plans, take action, and ensure that the resources are available to deliver on commitments…” (12/11).

The Lancet: Offline: Making it happen for women and girls
Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet

“…There are reasons for concern. Women’s and children’s health is almost invisible in the 17 draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), produced by an Open Working Group of the United Nations during the summer. … Substantial progress for women and girls has been made. But large gaps remain. … WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, U.N. Women, and the secretary general himself should use the next three months to devise a strategy, advocacy, and communication plan to ensure that the health of women and children is put at the center of sustainable development. Don’t repeat the mistakes that tarnished the MDG era” (12/13).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: The rights way forward for international family planning programs
Elizabeth Schlachter, director of Family Planning 2020, and Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India

“…On Human Rights Day this week, and over the course of the days ahead, we shall celebrate the achievements of partners throughout the world in advancing women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment through expanding access to family planning. It is the work of governments, donors, civil society, and advocates that has brought the advances we have seen in the past years. Our work is far from over, but we have seen the ways that collaboration and commitment can make a difference for individual women and girls…” (12/11).

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Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Universal Health Care In Post-2015 Development Agenda

The Lancet: Universal health coverage post-2015: putting people first
Editorial Board

“Dec 12, 2014, marks the world’s first Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day. … UHC is indeed considered one of the key components of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be finalized in September 2015. … UHC beyond 2015 must start and end with people. Listening to different experiences with illness and specific needs in all contexts, learning from other countries — not only those who have excellent services and 100 percent coverage, but also from national programs that have given users of health services a role in accountability — will mean that strong responsive systems can be built. Health can then be claimed as the universal right that post-2015 generations can fully deliver on” (12/13).

EurActiv: A rights-based approach to health is fundamental to the post-2015 framework
Linda McAvan, British labor MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber

“…I cannot emphasize enough the importance of prioritizing health within the post-2015 agenda … Health is a crucial element of sustainable development and we must focus on promoting equitable and sustainable universal health coverage in the new global framework. Health is fundamental to poverty eradication and pivotal to tackling inequities across developing nations. … It is not only about ensuring that everyone, everywhere has the right to health but also making progress towards Universal Health Coverage, which will accelerate social and economic growth, fundamental to sustainable development” (12/12).

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Health, Climate Change Should Be 'Fully Integrated' Into Post-2015 Development Agenda

The Lancet: Health and climate change: the end of the beginning?
Maria Neira, director of the WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, and WHO colleagues

“…In September, the Climate Summit hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon brought together 125 heads of state in New York, USA, to make commitments to ease the path to a planned international climate change agreement in Paris, France, in 2015. … This discussion moved beyond the now well-known health risks presented by climate change towards emphasis on health opportunities that could be realized through sustainable choices in sectors such as transport, electricity generation, and food and nutrition. … Health and climate change are not standalone issues, but link to every aspect of development. They should therefore be fully integrated into the new Sustainable Development Goals…” (12/13).

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Behavioral Economic Policies Can Provide Effective, Inexpensive Solutions To Health, Development Problems

New York Times: In Praise of Small Miracles
David Brooks, columnist

“…The World Bank has just issued an amazingly good report called ‘Mind, Society and Behavior’ on how the insights of behavioral economics can be applied to global development and global health. The report, written by a team led by Karla Hoff and Varun Gauri, lists many policies that have already been tried and points the way to many more. … Behavioral economics policies are beautiful because they are small and concrete but powerful. They remind us that when policies are rooted in actual human behavior and specific day-to-day circumstances, even governments can produce small miracles…” (12/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Policy Insight Discusses Key Considerations For U.S. Global Health Policy Agenda

Kaiser Family Foundation: Shaping the U.S. Global Health Policy Agenda: Key Considerations for the Future
In the latest post in the foundation’s Policy Insights series, Jen Kates, vice president and director of global health and HIV policy, and Josh Michaud, an associate director with the global health policy team, outline eight questions that are likely to shape the U.S. global health response in the last two years of the current presidential term and beyond (Kates/Michaud, 12/11).

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Violence In South Sudan Must Stop To Alleviate Food Security Challenges

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: South Sudan: The Threat of Worsening Hunger
Dina Esposito, director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, discusses the challenges of providing food and humanitarian aid to people in South Sudan due to ongoing violence (12/11).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 257 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features several articles, including those addressing the number of people reached and services provided by Global Fund-supported programs, and the impact and challenges of the fund’s new funding model (12/11).

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