KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

USAID Administrator Shah To Leave Post In February

Associated Press: U.S. international aid head to step down
“The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development says he will step down from the post in February. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah has led the agency since 2010…” (12/17).

Devex: Rajiv Shah to step down as USAID administrator
“…With Shah’s departure from USAID, the White House will consider candidates to replace him. Barring a new appointment, Deputy Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt would step into the role of acting administrator until a permanent administrator is nominated and confirmed. The process leading to Shah’s appointment took almost a year…” (Igoe, 12/17).

USA TODAY: USAID head to step down
“…Rajiv Shah, who has led USAID for five years, said in a statement that the agency is answering President Obama’s call to end extreme poverty across the globe…” (Jackson, 12/17).

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Senate Passes Water For The World Act; Obama Expected To Sign

The Hill: Senate OKs ‘nice little water bill’ — hold the ISIS
“The Senate on Monday evening passed a bill to provide developing countries access to clean drinking water, which almost became a vehicle for a declaration of war earlier this month. The Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014, sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), would improve access to clean water and sanitation around the world…” (Wong, 12/16).

Humanosphere: U.S. clean water legislation passes under the wire
“Sen. Thomas Coburn, R-Okla., lifted his hold on the Water for the World Act late last night to clear the way for the Senate to pass the bill. It comes roughly a week after the House of Representatives passed the same bill, putting it only a President Obama signature away from becoming law. It was a last-minute victory for water activists as Congress heads into its holiday recess…” (Murphy, 12/16).

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More, Better Data On Women, Girls Will Help Inform Development, Health Policies

Devex: More data on women and girls on the way
“…The Millennium Challenge Corp., PEPFAR, the World Bank, several U.N. agencies, and other development organizations came together Monday to make new commitments through Data2x, an initiative led by the United Nations Foundation that works to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through partnerships that improve the collection and use of data to guide policy and investments…” (Saldinger, 12/16).

Newsweek: Could Big Data Be the New Gender Equality Tool?
“…By partnering with a multitude of organizations, the Data2X platform says it hopes to start a ‘gender data revolution,’ which will allow policymakers to recognize problems more clearly and better create informed policy…” (Walker, 12/16).

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U.N.'s Ban Plans Visit To West Africa; Unlikely Agency Will Meet Year-End Ebola Targets

Agence France-Presse: U.N. chief to travel to Ebola-hit countries: U.N. sources
“U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will travel to Ebola-hit countries in West Africa this week to raise awareness about the health crisis, U.N. officials said Tuesday…” (12/17).

New York Times: U.N. Secretary General to Visit Ebola-Plagued Nations
“…The trip, which is to begin later this week, seems designed to send a message of solidarity with the three affected countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. … United Nations officials insist that they are making progress in containing the disease: Its growth has slowed in some places. Even so, they admit they are unlikely to meet their year-end goal of treating all patients and safely burying all the dead…” (Sengupta, 12/16).

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Quickly Identifying, Isolating Ebola Cases Central To Stopping Epidemic, CDC Director Says

NPR: Endless Ebola Epidemic? That’s The ‘Risk We Face Now,’ CDC Says
“…[CDC Director] Dr. Thomas Frieden is visiting West Africa this week to figure out how to reduce the time it takes to find new Ebola cases and isolate them. Otherwise, Ebola could become a permanent disease in West Africa…” (Doucleff, 12/15).

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Experts Call For Focus On Localized Ebola Outbreaks To Slow West African Epidemic

Devex: Battle against Ebola to go ‘mini, local’ — experts
“…Fighting [Ebola] in West Africa now requires smaller but more medical teams in the countryside while stakeholders are increasingly thinking about how to address the long-term effects of the outbreak, according to sources who attended Friday a high-level meeting with U.N., E.U., and NGO experts in Brussels…” (Kramers, 12/16).

Reuters: Sierra Leone to start house-to-house searches for Ebola patients
“…Health workers will seek Ebola victims and anyone with whom they have had contact, transporting those infected to new British-built treatment centers, according to a government plan announced this week…” (Farge et al., 12/17).

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Britain To Intensify Ebola Response In Sierra Leone; No U.S. Military Support Needed, British Official Says

Reuters: No need for U.S. army help in Sierra Leone Ebola fight: Britain
“Britain said on Tuesday it would not be seeking U.S. military assistance to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone where it expects to see ‘enormous change’ by the end of January following a surge in response measures. … Speaking on the eve of the month-long surge in and around the capital Freetown announced by the government earlier this week, the head of the British taskforce Donal Brown said he expected a breakthrough within four to six weeks…” (Farge, 12/16).

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Challenges Remain In Efforts To Pay, Retain Ebola Workers In Sierra Leone

The Guardian: Sierra Leone Ebola hospital staff threaten strike over risk pay
“Staff at a hospital in Sierra Leone are threatening to go on strike, claiming the government has not been paying them risk allowance for working with patients with Ebola for months. … A strike would close the hospital, which is largely funded by the Swiss Sierra Leone Development Foundation. The NGO has previously provided enough to cover the hospital’s running costs of about $1m a year and half of staff salaries but it is running out of funds, leaving staff without pay since September…” (O’Carroll, 12/16).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. says health workers in Sierra Leone to receive hazard pay using mobile money
“Response workers battling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will receive ‘hazard pay’ for the first time in Sierra Leone using mobile money because ‘unless there is a certain element of incentives, or danger pay, it’s very difficult to attract and retain people,’ the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced [Tuesday]…” (12/16).

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Agencies Working To Develop Faster Ebola Diagnostic Tests

VOA News: Better Ebola Tests Expected Within Months
“…Health agencies agree there is an urgent need for innovative ways to provide rapid, sensitive, safe, and simple testing. WHO, Doctors Without Borders, and the private organization the Foundation of Innovative New Diagnostics are working with a number of companies to develop the tests and review them in record time…” (Schlein, 12/15).

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New Prevention Strategies Needed To Address Emerging Infectious Diseases, Cut Economic Losses, Study Says

TIME: Here’s How Much the Next Ebola Will Cost Us
“…In a new report from the EcoHealth Alliance published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), experts estimate that the world will see about five new emerging infectious diseases each year and that we need new prevention strategies to cut economic losses…” (Sifferlin, 12/16).

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WFP Continues Food Aid To Syrian Refugees With Recent Fundraising Success But More Money Needed In 2015

U.N. News Centre: Syria: U.N. food agency’s operations secure after funding drive; must raise more in 2015
“Having raised $88 million in a 10-day global fundraising effort, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) [Tuesday] said its funding for December 2014 was secure and the agency could resume providing food assistance through electronic vouchers to 1.7 million refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey. … In the first three months of next year, WFP would need $339 million to support operations related to the Syria crisis…” (12/16).

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Cambodians Infected With HIV In Remote Village Likely Caused By Contaminated Needles

Agence France-Presse: Cambodia village reports mass HIV/AIDS infection
“Cambodian health authorities on Tuesday said more than 80 people — including children and the elderly — who tested positive for HIV/AIDS in a single remote village may have been infected by contaminated needles…” (12/16).

Radio Free Asia: More Than 80 Cambodian Villagers Test Positive For HIV/AIDS
“…According to a preliminary investigation, the mass infection was likely caused by contaminated needles during medical treatment by an unqualified health care provider. … [Secretary General of Cambodia’s National AIDS Authority] Teng Kunthy said the mass infection was distressing in light of Cambodia’s recent work in fighting HIV/AIDS, which has won praise from the international community…” (Chamroeun et al., 12/16).

Xinhua/Shanghai Daily: Number of Cambodian villagers infected with HIV/AIDS reaches 106
“… ‘As of Wednesday afternoon, 775 villagers had been tested for the virus and 106 of them were confirmed positive for HIV/AIDS,’ [Hei Sik, head of a Battambang HIV/AIDS test program,] told Xinhua, adding that the HIV/AIDS-positive people are aged from three years old to 82…” (12/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Federal Ebola Efforts, Plight Of Physicians In Sierra Leone

Washington Post: Federal employees are heavily involved in the fight against Ebola
Joe Davidson, columnist

“…Though [Ebola] is centered 4,500 miles away and has affected very few in the United States, federal employees, both civilian and military, are in the forefront of the battle against the deadly disease. … One of them is Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health. … The Federal Diary spoke with Fauci at his NIH office in Bethesda about the ways the federal workforce is fighting Ebola…” (12/16).

Washington Post: Sierra Leone’s crisis deepens as doctors die of Ebola
Claudena Skran, Edwin and Ruth West professor of economics and society at Lawrence University

“…[N]early 10 percent of Sierra Leone’s doctors have perished from Ebola since the epidemic started in March. … Their deaths are not just personal tragedies for family and loved ones but also a tragedy for the country in its fight against Ebola and other health problems. … Even as new cases decline elsewhere in West Africa, Ebola continues to spread in Sierra Leone, the country’s response hindered by the tragic loss of its most trained medical personnel. … In order for this battle to be won, others will need to step in to fill the void left by the passing of … physicians in Sierra Leone” (12/16).

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Innovation, Increased Resources, Cooperation Can Eradicate Malaria

Huffington Post: The World Health Organization’s Annual World Malaria Report
Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More

“…Now is the moment to put the world on a path to eradicating malaria within a generation, a feat that would rank as one of the greatest humanitarian achievements in history. To do that we need to think differently — we need to invent a new generation of tools that puts us on offense against malaria: hypersensitive diagnostics, next-gen treatments, new vector controls. … We also need to rethink how we fund malaria. … In addition to increased resources, global government and health leaders must work together to bring an end to the ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa…” (12/16).

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Private Financial Backing, Strong Coordination Can Help Eliminate NTDs

The Guardian: Pills, philanthropy, and parasitic worms
Ellen Agler, chief executive, and Warren Lancaster, senior vice president of program, both at the End Fund

“…The global movement to end NTDs has seen significant momentum in recent years. One of the most promising aspects of this is that new partners have joined the efforts, including private philanthropists who may never have even heard of these diseases a few years ago. … In the four years of [a privately funded] program, Burundi reached 90 percent of school children at risk of schistosomiasis through eight rounds of MDA. At the end of the program in 2011, national prevalence of schistosomiasis had been reduced from 12 percent to 1.4 percent. … With continued coordination, shared learning, and dedication, there is a strong chance we can realize the goals of the WHO Roadmap to eliminate NTDs” (12/16).

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Investments In Young People's Reproductive Health Will Help Boost Economic Growth In Developing Nations

Huffington Post: Securing the Future With Youth Reproductive Health
John Seager, president of the Population Connection Action Fund

“…[W]ithout the ability to control when and how to have a family, young people won’t be able to drive the economic and social progress needed to secure a prosperous future for our planet and its inhabitants. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, and that means governments and the international community would be foolish not to make investing in their reproductive health an immediate priority. … Investments in this arena will certainly help improve the lives of individual young people, but they can also help developing countries, where most youth reside, achieve accelerated economic growth…” (12/16).

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7 Innovations That Would Greatly Impact Global Health

The Guardian: Seven breakthroughs that will transform global health
Shashi Buluswar, executive director at the Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

“…Working with more than 1,000 experts, we have analyzed where new technologies can make a game-changing difference in the fields of global health, food security and agriculture, education, human rights, the digital divide, access to water, gender equity, access to electricity, and resilience against climate change. Focusing on global health, the most important breakthroughs we have identified are: 1. HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) vaccines; 2. Short-course TB treatments; 3. Microbicides to protect women against HIV/AIDS and human papillomavirus (HPV); 4. A drug that completely cures malaria; 5. A tool to diagnose several diseases; 6. Temperature-change-safe vaccines; 7. Solar-powered devices for maternal, child, and primary health care…” (12/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Grants $10M To DNDi For NTD Drug R&D

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative: DNDi Receives US$ 10 Million from USAID to Develop New Drugs for Neglected Filaria Patients
“The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has been awarded US$ 10 million by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop new treatments for onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) — the first-ever USAID grant for neglected tropical disease research and development (R&D)…” (12/16).

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Teamwork Vital To Operation Of USAID-Established ETU In Sierra Leone

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: A Look into the Hot Zone of Sierra Leone’s New Ebola Clinic
Carol Han of the Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) writes about the teamwork required to operate the Ebola Treatment Unit established by USAID “in the town of Lunsar in Sierra Leone’s Port Loko district — an area with one of the highest rates of Ebola in the country…” (12/16).

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Blog Post Examines Risk-Benefit Analysis For U.S. Institutions Supporting HCWs Volunteering In Ebola-Affected West Africa

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Supporting Those Who Go to Fight Ebola
Michelle Mello of Stanford University, Maria Merritt of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Scott Halpern of the University of Pennsylvania “discuss health care institutions’ responsibilities to support their employees’ volunteer efforts in Ebola-affected regions. … The concerns that may motivate hospitals to discourage volunteers do not outweigh the countervailing considerations. At a minimum, institutions ought not to impede service; ideally, they would promote it…” (12/17).

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Friends Of Global Fight Report Highlights Role Of FBOs In HIV, TB, Malaria Efforts

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: New Friends Report Highlights the Role of the Faith Community in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
“Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today released ‘A Critical Partnership: The Lifesaving Collaboration Between the Global Fund and Faith-Based Organizations,’ a report which details the strong partnership between the Global Fund and the faith community and highlights opportunities for further engagement. … Close collaboration with the faith community is particularly important to the success of Global Fund programs; churches, mosques, synagogues, and other faith-based organizations (FBOs) play a role at all stages of its operations,” the press release states (12/16).

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Blog Examines Lessons From Senegal's Work In Advancing Women's Health, Family Planning

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Partnerships to Advance Family Planning: Lessons from Senegal
Janet Fleischman, senior associate, and Catherine Streifel, program manager and research associate for the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discuss the Ouagadougou Partnership and lessons learned from Senegal’s efforts to advance women’s health and family planning (12/16).

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Partners Working To Introduce Injectable Polio Vaccine, Eradicate Disease

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: On the Path to Polio Eradication: Ensuring Lasting Protection
Jos Vandelaer, chief of UNICEF’s Global Immunization Program, and Michel Zaffran, coordinator of WHO’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), discuss the progress made in introducing the injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) into routine immunization programs in 126 countries before the end of 2015 (12/11).

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Nigeria's Efforts To Improve Vaccine Supply Chain Can Serve As Model For Other Countries

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Simple But Impactful: Transforming Nigeria’s Vaccine Supply Chain
Inuwa Yau, an immunization specialist with UNICEF Nigeria, and Mahmud Mustapha Zubair, director of the Department of Logistics and Health Commodities at NPHCDA, write, “With support from Gavi, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, and other partners, the Nigeria National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) recently created and rolled out a national vaccine stock performance management (VSPM) dashboard,” which “has been cited as a strong example of how better supply chain data and processes lead to increased access” (12/16).

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