KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama Will Be Awarded Most Of Emergency Ebola Funding Request, Sen. Graham Says

Associated Press: Obama to get most of $6.2B request to fight Ebola
“President Barack Obama will be awarded the bulk of his $6.2 billion request to fight Ebola in Africa, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee said Thursday. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Thursday that Obama won’t get the full $1.5 billion he requested for a contingency fund but he’s getting the green light for other portions of the request…” (Taylor, 12/4).

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U.S. Officials To Discuss Options For Increased Ebola Response Role In Sierra Leone

Washington Post: U.S. is weighing more aid to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone
“The United States is weighing an increase in aid, including a possible military component, to help fight the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the country in West Africa where the deadly virus is spreading the fastest, officials said Thursday. … Top officials from the Pentagon, the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are scheduled to discuss the options at a White House meeting Friday, [an] official said. The U.S. response will depend largely on whether Congress approves the Obama administration’s $6.2­ billion Ebola emergency request, officials said…” (Sunand/Sieff, 12/4).

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U.S. Military Testing New Ebola Isolation, Evacuation Units With Plan To Deploy In January

CQ News: Military Develops New Ebola Evacuation Units
“The military this week began testing an isolation unit to treat and evacuate service members deployed to West Africa who become infected with the Ebola virus, a senior officer said Thursday. … The units … will be available for deployed forces to begin using in early January, Gen. Paul Selva, chief of U.S. Transportation Command, said during a breakfast with reporters. The military plans to buy about 12 of the units…” (Scully, 12/4).

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Liberia Issues Crowd-Control Order Ahead Of Senatorial Election In Effort To Prevent Ebola Spread

New York Times: Liberia Bans Election Rallies to Fight Ebola
“President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Thursday banned all rallies and other mass gatherings in Monrovia before the senatorial election scheduled in less than two weeks, asserting that they risked worsening the spread of the Ebola outbreak. … In issuing the crowd-control order, Ms. Johnson Sirleaf argued that large concentrations of people at election rallies — especially in the Monrovia area, where half the population of four million lives — were precisely the situations that could spawn new infections…” (MacDougall/Gladstone, 12/4).

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German Donation To U.N. Of 400 Cooler-Equipped Motorbikes Will Facilitate Ebola Testing In West Africa

U.N. News Centre: Cooler box-equipped motorbikes donated to U.N. will speed up Ebola testing process in West Africa
“…The head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), headquartered in Accra, Anthony Banbury, thanked the German people for their donation. ‘It’s really been a great partnership. It’s an excellent example of international collaboration,’ he said. UNMEER spokesman Ari Gaitanis said: ‘Using these bikes will help cut down transport times, in some areas quite dramatically, given some of the terrain involved’…” (12/4).

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Makeshift Community Care Centers Attempt To Care For Ebola Patients In Sierra Leone

NPR: World’s Slow Response To Ebola Leaves Sierra Leone Villages Scrambling
“…International governments and aid groups have scrambled to open Ebola treatment centers in [Sierra Leone]. … In the meantime, most sick people are being directed to makeshift, government-run centers. … These community care centers — and larger holding centers — were originally conceived of as temporary triage posts. … But right now, there’s no better place to go. So sick people are getting stuck at these triage centers…” (Aizenman, 12/5).

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Rehydration Salts, Intravenous Fluids Could Help Save Ebola Patients' Lives, Experts Say

The Guardian: Number of Ebola deaths could be cut by use of basic measures, say experts
“Basic medical interventions such as giving Ebola patients rehydration salts and fluids from bigger bags could cut the death toll in West Africa in the absence of a proven cure, experts in tropical diseases write on Friday in the Lancet…” (Boseley/O’Carroll, 12/4).

Reuters: Simple intravenous fluid could save many Ebola patients, specialists say
“Simple intravenous fluid drips could save the lives of many West African Ebola patients, but are being neglected because of a perception that there is no effective treatment for the disease, specialist doctors said on Friday…” (Kelland, 12/5).

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U.N. SG Releases Synthesis Report On 17 SDGs, Says No Plan To Lower Number Of Goals, Targets

News outlets discuss the release of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Development Goals synthesis report.

Devex: Ban Ki-moon’s (early) vision for post-2015
“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon revealed Thursday his vision for the post-2015 development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals when these expire at the end of next year…” (Luke, 12/5).

The Guardian: U.N. secretary general says no plans to reduce sustainable development goals
“The U.N. secretary general has ruled out any immediate cut in the number of proposed Sustainable Development Goals with the launch on Thursday of his synthesis report, The Road to Dignity by 2030. In the report, Ban Ki-moon reaffirmed the 17 goals and 169 targets proposed by the U.N. Open Working Group that will come into force after the Millennium Development Goals expire next year…” (Ford, 12/4).

Inter Press Service: U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals Remain Intact
“…The 17 post-2015 goals, negotiated over a period of nine months, cover a wide range of socio-economic issues, including poverty, hunger, gender equality, industrialization, sustainable development, full employment, quality education, climate change, and sustainable energy for all…” (Deen, 12/4).

U.N. News Centre: Road to Dignity by 2030: U.N. chief launches blueprint towards sustainable development
“…In the report’s conclusion, the secretary general issues a powerful charge to Member States, saying: ‘We are on the threshold of the most important year of development since the founding of the United Nations itself. We must give meaning to this organization’s promise to ‘reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person’ and to take the world forward to a sustainable future … [We] have an historic opportunity and duty to act, boldly, vigorously, and expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all, leaving no one behind’…” (12/4).

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U.N. Sustainable Development Officials Discuss Post-2015 Agenda In Interviews

SciDev.Net: Q&A: The best ways to track the SDGs
“…For nations to track progress on the 17 SDGs currently proposed, a significant expansion of the public sector would be required, but tracking may also mean making better use of private-sector firms’ own data, [Guido Schmidt-Traub, executive director of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN),] says. But indicators are not an exact science, and some developing countries may struggle to gather the massive amount of new data needed. Here, Schmidt-Traub talks about this challenge and the ‘data revolution’ that could help to monitor the SDGs…” (Sharma, 12/4).

U.N. News Centre: Interview with Amina J. Mohammed, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning
“…Ms. Mohammed spoke with the U.N. News Centre ahead of the release of the secretary general’s synthesis report — The Road to Dignity by 2030 — which will guide Member States in their negotiations leading up to next year’s U.N. Special Summit on Sustainable Development, which will adopt the post-2015 development agenda…” (12/4).

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World Bank Annual Report Recommends Development Policies Reflect Human Behavioral Drivers

News outlets discuss the World Bank’s annual World Development Report, which was released on Thursday.

Inter Press Service: World Bank Calls for Development Policy “Redesign” around Human Behavior
“The World Bank has taken an unusual but highly visible step away from traditional economics, encouraging policymakers and development implementers to place far more emphasis on research into local human behavior when drawing up plans and projects. Such a focus would strengthen understanding on the ways in which habits, biases, and collective impulses impact on interventions in, say, health, education, or encouraging personal savings…” (Biron, 12/4).

MarketWatch: Behavior research key to solving development issues, World Bank chief says
“Using human behavior research is key to solving development challenges, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Thursday in reviewing a new World Bank development policy for 2015. Kim said his recent trip to West Africa served as yet another reminder that changing behavioral patterns was the most effective way to combat Ebola…” (Kim, 12/4).

World Bank: World Development Report 2015 explores “Mind, Society, and Behavior”
“…The newly launched report argues that development policies based on new insights into how people actually think and make decisions will help governments and civil society more readily tackle such challenges as increasing productivity, breaking the cycle of poverty from one generation to the next, and acting on climate change…” (12/2).

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Food Price Index Holds Steady For 3rd Consecutive Month, FAO Reports

U.N. News Centre: Food prices, stable for third straight month, appear to have ‘bottomed out’ — U.N.
“After some volatile movements in recent months, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) Food Price Index held steady in November, marking the third consecutive month of stability…” (12/4).

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Food Aid Freeze To Syria Could Force Refugee Children Into Work, Early Marriage, UNICEF Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.N. food aid halt pushing more Syrian refugee girls to early marriage
“The halt in U.N. food supplies to 1.7 million Syrian refugees makes it more likely that refugee children will be forced to go to work or marry early to help their families survive, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said on Thursday…” (Mis, 12/4).

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15 Indians Left Blind After Cataract Surgeries At Free Camp; Cases Illustrate Dangers Of Country's Poor Medical Care

Reuters: Fifteen Indians blinded after surgery with suspected infected tools
“Fifteen Indians lost their sight after a doctor used suspected infected equipment to remove cataracts at a free eye surgery camp, the latest incident to highlight the dangers of shoddy medical treatment in the country…” (Macaskill, 12/5).

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At Least 10 Pakistani Children Test HIV-Positive After Receiving Blood Transfusions

Reuters: Pakistani children test positive for HIV after blood transfusions
“At least 10 Pakistani children who received blood transfusions have tested positive for HIV, officials said Thursday, with a leading medic predicting the discovery could be just the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ The children were receiving regular transfusions for the blood disease thalassemia…” (Houreld, 12/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Broaden Focus Of Existing Disease-Specific Programs To Include Efforts To Reduce NCDs

The Lancet: NCDs and an outcome-based approach to global health
Thomas Bollyky of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Ezekiel Emanuel, Eric Goosby, David Satcher, Donna Shalala, and Tommy Thompson, all members of the CFR Independent Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases

“…Although the health and economic consequences of NCDs are large and escalating, the international aid response to this epidemic is not. … The urgency of this situation led the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) to convene an Independent Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases, and its report, The Emerging Global Health Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, was released on Dec 5, 2014. … The international programs established during the past decade primarily to address HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases provide a positive legacy on which to build. The international community should consider expanding the mandate of these programs from their current disease-focused goals to more outcome-oriented measures for improving health in the targeted countries and populations. The time to act on NCDs is now” (12/6).

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Governments, Donors Should Sustain South Africa's TAC Organization, Others Like It

The Lancet: Appeal to global donors to save the Treatment Action Campaign
Peter Piot of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Françoise Barré-Sinoussi of Institut Pasteur; Quarraisha Abdool Karim and Salim Abdool Karim of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), and Chris Beyrer of Johns Hopkins University, on behalf of 67 signatories

“…Many activist organizations have contributed to the response to HIV but undoubtedly one of the most effective health and human rights movements has been the [Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)] in South Africa. … This is why we are alarmed to hear that TAC is facing closure, apparently due to the perception from many donors and governments that either the end of AIDS is nearing or that South Africa is a middle-income country that is not in need of donor support. Nothing could be further from the truth. Allowing the TAC (and similar organizations in other countries) to die from lack of funding will have very grave consequences. … In 2014, let us mark 10 years of antiretroviral treatment in South Africa as a moment when we were reinvigorated and as a moment when we give civil society the support they need and deserve…” (12/6).

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Ebola Epidemic Illustrates Why Water, Sanitation Key To Global Health, Development

The Hill: Ebola’s missing solution
James Kowalski, dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City

“…Without the resources to maintain basic personal hygiene, the foundational building block to health security is missing. The global water and sanitation crisis, ever-present in tens of thousands of villages and cities around the world, is another kind of epidemic that kills thousands of children every day, stunts the growth of others, and causes lifelong chronic illness — animating more poverty. That same water and sanitation crisis in West Africa also makes the response to Ebola slower and riskier for everyone — from family members caring for the sick and burying their dead, to the medical workers trying to heal them. … The Ebola outbreak is a tragic illustration and another reason why water and sanitation is the keystone cure to global health and development…” (12/4).

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Employing Peer Therapists Could Be Effective Strategy To Treat Depression In Developing Countries

New York Times: A Depression-Fighting Strategy That Could Go Viral
Tina Rosenberg, author and former editorial writer for the New York Times

“…Depression is the most important thief of productive life for women around the world, and the second-most important for men. … We know how to treat depression. What we don’t know yet is how to make effective treatment cheap, culturally appropriate, convenient and non-stigmatizing — all needed to get treatment out to millions and millions of people. But some researchers are finding out. … These studies were proof that depression could be treated in poor countries by lay people. Now these researchers are trying to figure out how to streamline these interventions to the minimum outlay of resources needed to maintain excellent results. Many models are being tried, which integrate mental health care into primary care, employ community health workers, or piggyback therapy on to other kinds of services. But one very promising strategy is to rely on peers as therapists…” (12/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Investment In Global Health Security Urgently Needed

White House National Security Council: Why Global Health Security Is an Emergency
Ambassador Susan Rice, the president’s national security adviser, discusses disease threats and the Global Health Security Agenda, writing, “…To secure the American people from global epidemics, we must stop these epidemics at their source. That requires building health care infrastructure in the most vulnerable countries. To do so, we must have the resources we need to get the job done. If we fail to invest now, we can be certain it will cost us more in the future — in lives lost, dollars spent, and risk to Americans…” (12/4).

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NTD Expert Peter Hotez Named As U.S. Science Envoy

U.S. Department of State: Announcement of U.S. Science Envoys
The State Department announced the names and area of expertise of four new U.S. science envoys, including Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who will focus on global health and vaccine development in Saudi Arabia and Morocco (12/4).

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