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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Most U.S. Troops To Return From Ebola-Hit Liberia By April; Obama To Make Announcement At White House Event

ABC News: U.S. Military to End Ebola Relief Mission in Liberia
“The U.S. military is ending its Ebola relief mission in West Africa, with the last American troops scheduled to leave Liberia by April 30…” (Martinez, 2/10).

Agence France-Presse: U.S. to withdraw troops from Ebola mission in West Africa
“…A force that at one point reached 2,800 has been scaled back to about 1,300 troops and ‘nearly all will return by April 30,’ Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement…” (2/10).

The Hill: Obama to bring back U.S. troops fighting Ebola
“…The president will announce those plans at a White House event on Wednesday and also outline further steps the U.S. is taking to prevent Ebola cases at home…” (Mali, 2/10).

New York Times: Obama to Recall Military Personnel From Ebola Zone, Officials Say
“…The announcement reflects vindication for Mr. Obama and the administration, whose slow and at times bungled initial response to the Ebola outbreak raised questions about the president’s ability to handle fast-moving global crises. But the ceremony also raises questions about whether Mr. Obama is prematurely claiming success on what he had labeled a national security priority, opening himself to criticism should Ebola again spiral out of control…” (Davis, 2/10).

Reuters: Obama to bring back most U.S. troops fighting Ebola in Africa
“…The number of new cases each week has dropped to about 150 in recent reports, down from more than 1,000 new cases per week in October, the White House said…” (Rampton, 2/10).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Military to End African Ebola Role
“…Administration officials said the end of the major U.S. military role didn’t signal an end to America’s efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa. The U.S. is providing funding and support for 10,000 medical professionals and support staff working across the region…” (Nissenbaum/Barnes, 2/10).

Washington Post: Most U.S. troops will return from Ebola fight by end of April
“…The White House cited ‘the improved epidemiological outlook’ and said that the remaining Defense Department personnel would be ‘leveraging’ relations with military forces­ in Liberia and other regional allies and help strengthen measures for disease prevention…” (Mufson/Eilperin, 2/11).

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German, Norwegian, Ghanaian Leaders Urge U.N. To Develop, Adopt Better Approaches To Handle International Crises

Associated Press: Leaders to U.N.: We need better crisis response after Ebola
“A trio of world leaders says the devastating Ebola outbreak exposed the ‘weakness’ of international crisis response and is seeking a solution. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and Ghanaian President John Mahama have asked the U.N. secretary-general to create a high-level panel and commission a report on how the world can be faster and more coordinated in the face of disaster…” (Anina, 2/10).

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Addressing Social, Cultural Aspects Of Ebola Critical To Stopping Epidemic, Experts, Health Workers Say

Reuters: Mistrust and machetes thwart efforts to contain Ebola in Guinea
“…In [Guinea,] the country where West Africa’s Ebola outbreak began, hostility towards aid workers — fueled by ever more far-fetched rumors — is undermining efforts to contain the deadly virus…” (Hussain, 2/10).

SciDev.Net: Lessons from the social response to Ebola
“…The need for a social science perspective became clear from an early stage in the outbreak in West Africa. Some of the interventions typical of Western medicine and science clashed, at times violently, with social norms and traditional beliefs…” (Makri, 2/10).

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Ebola Treatment Clinical Trials Face Hurdles As Number Of Patients Shrinks

ScienceInsider: ‘Positive’ results for Ebola drug upsets plans for trials
“…The Guinean government has already announced it wants to make [the experimental Ebola drug] favipiravir available to more people, and if the results hold up to greater scrutiny, they could force a change in the design of other clinical trials going forward. Meanwhile, the decline in new cases has investigators revamping or even canceling trials at a time when manufacturers finally have enough supplies to test some of the most promising experimental drugs…” (Kupferschmidt/Cohen, 2/10).

Washington Post: The search for an Ebola cure is gearing up — but there may be too few patients
“The race to find a cure for Ebola is heating up, with scientists launching experiments in West Africa that are among the most ambitious ever aimed at taming the devastating disease. But they are encountering an unexpected challenge: finding enough Ebola patients as the outbreak recedes…” (Brittain, 2/10).

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NPR Examines Kaiser Family Foundation Poll On Americans' Knowledge About Foreign Aid Funding

NPR: Guess How Much Of Uncle Sam’s Money Goes To Foreign Aid? Guess Again!
“…In December, the Kaiser Family Foundation polled 1,505 people. Only 1 in 20 knew the right answer: less than 1 percent of the $4 trillion federal budget goes to foreign aid. The average respondent estimated that 26 percent went toward assisting other countries. … Even coming up with a definition of ‘foreign aid’ is tough. So we spoke to five specialists to soak up some foreign aid smarts…” (Rutsch, 2/10).

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Vaccines Vital To Protecting Populations As Climate Change Heightens Disease Threats

Mother Jones: Vaccines Are One of Our Best Weapons Against Global Warming
“…There are a number of reasons that vaccines will play an important role in our efforts to adapt to a warming world. The most obvious is their ability to protect vulnerable populations from diseases that will be made worse by climate change…” (Schulman, 2/11).

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Inequality, Stigma, Discrimination Drive HIV Epidemic In Caribbean

Inter Press Service: Inequality Fuels HIV Epidemic in the Caribbean
“…The Caribbean is one of the most heavily affected regions in the world, with adult HIV prevalence about one percent higher than in any other region outside sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV pandemic in the Caribbean is fueled by a range of social and economic inequalities and is sustained by high levels of stigma, discrimination against the most at-risk and marginalized populations, and persistent gender inequality, violence, and homophobia…” (Brown, 2/10).

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Indonesia Makes MDG Progress But Problems Of Inequality Pose Challenges

Wall Street Journal: Indonesia Gets Mixed Grade on Millennium Development Goals
“Indonesia has met many of its Millennium Development Goals in the nearly 15 years since they were adopted by United Nations members, but efforts have been uneven, a new report says…” (Otto, 2/11).

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19 Die From Cholera Outbreak In Flooded Parts Of Mozambique

Reuters: Cholera outbreak kills 19 in flood-hit Mozambique
“A cholera outbreak in parts of Mozambique hit by floods has killed 19 people, the government said, raising the death toll from one of the worst disasters to hit southern Africa in years…” (Mucari, 2/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Investment In Global Immunizations Can Protect Americans, Children Worldwide

Los Angeles Times: The measles outbreaks that matter the most aren’t happening here
Andrea Gay, executive director of children’s health at the United Nations Foundation and a member of the Measles & Rubella Initiative

“…There are still millions of children around the world who don’t have access to the measles vaccine. … Simply put, we need more resources for the global effort. … One way is for Congress to devote resources to this goal as it considers the U.S. commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda … Measles anywhere is measles everywhere, including the United States. An investment in global immunization can help prevent future importations of the virus and — even more significant — can help ensure that no child anywhere dies of a preventable disease like measles” (2/10).

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Ebola Workers Who Return To U.S. Need Proper Support, Care

NPR: Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’ Is Feeling Kind Of Lost
Karin Huster, who spent six weeks as Partner in Health’s clinical manager at the Maforki Ebola Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone

“…The mental health of those returning from the Ebola battlefield has seldom been addressed. Yet we know all too well that those who have worked under extremely stressful conditions — witnessing deeply disturbing scenes or having put their lives on the line day in and day out — are at markedly increased risk of experiencing some form of post-traumatic stress when returning home…” (2/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Report Highlights Ways African Countries Invest Domestic Resources To Address AIDS, TB, Malaria

Friends of the Global Fight: Domestic Health Investments in Africa Continue Upward Momentum
“In a report released [Tuesday], Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria highlights ways in which Global Fund implementing countries are increasing domestic investments in health. The report, titled Innovation for Greater Impact: Exploring Resources for Domestic Health Funding in Africa, illustrates how, through a variety of approaches, African governments are mobilizing additional resources to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria…” (2/10).

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Health Care Workers Play Important Role In Educating Parents About Immunizations

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: The Vaccine Talk: A Crucial Moment for Parents, Children, and Health Workers
Margarite Nathe, senior editor/writer at IntraHealth International, discusses how misinformation is a common factor in resistance to immunizations worldwide and the importance of health care workers in bridging the gap “between misinformation and a parent’s decisions about vaccination. … For health workers, communication skills are key. And so is training…” (2/10).

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More Than 700K Children Treated For Intestinal Worms In Vietnam

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect”: Success in Vietnam: More than 700,000 School Children Treated!
Alex Gordon, communications associate for the Global Network and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, writes, “Over the span of two months, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, together with World Vision Australia, treated more than 700,000 school children for intestinal worms. Generous donations from END7 supporters helped support this massive effort to reach every primary school in the nine target provinces across the country…” (2/10).

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Blog Post Discusses Efficacy Of Bednets In Malaria Prevention

Humanosphere: Bednets failing to reduce malaria in Uganda, maybe everywhere
In a guest post, science writer Robert Fortner discusses an unpublished study “showing persistently high transmission and increasing incidence of malaria in rural Uganda despite universal bednet coverage and effective anti-malaria treatment. … [The] findings suggest that some experts are quietly, sometimes reluctantly, beginning to dig deeper into the assumption that bednets are as effective as claimed…” (2/10).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.