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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Ebola Efforts Will Continue, Shift In West Africa; Most U.S. Troops To Be Withdrawn, Obama Says

News outlets discuss a speech by President Barack Obama regarding the withdrawal of troops from the West Africa Ebola response and the U.S.’s continued efforts to eliminate the disease.

Associated Press: Obama says U.S. has ‘risen to the challenge’ of fighting Ebola
“President Barack Obama heralded a ‘new phase in the fight’ against Ebola on Wednesday and said progress against the outbreak in West Africa will allow the U.S. to withdraw nearly all American troops sent to Liberia last fall…” (Kuhnhenn, 2/11).

Foreign Policy: Ebola’s Toll Was Horrific. It Could Have Been Much Worse
“… ‘Our focus now is getting to zero. Every case is an ember that could light a fire,’ Obama said at a celebratory news conference Wednesday praising the U.S. troops and doctors who had traveled to Africa to help fight the disease … ‘We’re shifting from fighting the epidemic to extinguishing it’…” (Francis, 2/11).

The Hill: Obama: U.S. has risen to the challenge of Ebola
“… ‘We have risen to the challenge,’ Obama said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. ‘And remember, there was no small amount of skepticism about our chances. People were understandably afraid, and if we’re honest, some stoked those fears’…” (Sullivan, 2/11).

NBC News: U.S. Ebola Fight Moves to New Phase
“…[Obama] said the American aid effort, by far the largest single country’s contribution, set an example and made other countries confident to step up and help…” (Fox, 2/11).

New York Times: Withdrawing Troops, Obama Calls for Vigilance on Ebola
“…Mr. Obama praised the military effort, which he said had become a ‘hope multiplier’ that persuaded other nations to join in the effort to stop the spread of the disease. And he thanked the volunteers who rushed to the continent at great personal risk when the threat from the disease became clear…” (Shear/Davis, 2/11).

Reuters: Obama says world needs to learn from Ebola ‘wake-up call’
“…Obama said the outbreak was a ‘wake-up call’ for the world, and that wealthy countries needed to invest to ensure that poor nations have basic health systems to detect and fight diseases. ‘This is not charity,’ he said in a speech at the White House. ‘The investments we make overseas are in our self-interest’…” (Rampton, 2/11).

Wall Street Journal: Barack Obama Marks End of U.S. Military’s Ebola Response
“…According to the White House, U.S. efforts resulted in the construction of 10 Ebola treatment units. Those units will be handed over to aid groups, international organizations or government contractors” (Tau, 2/11).

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U.S. Officials At House Hearing Warn West African Ebola Epidemic Not Over

CQ News: Officials: U.S. Aid Helping Defeat Ebola, But Fight Continues
“Emergency funding and other U.S. assistance has helped to drastically slow the rate of new Ebola cases, but administration officials warned Wednesday that the crisis is far from over and some spending will need to continue. ‘We are not on a smooth glide path toward zero new cases, which is the goal we must achieve,’ Steven Browning, the State Department’s special coordinator for Ebola, said at a House Appropriations State-Foreign Operations hearing…” (Ethridge, 2/11).

The Hill: U.S. officials warn Ebola fight ‘far from over’
“… ‘[T]he fight is far from over,’ [Jeremy Konyndyk, the director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance,] added at the hearing … ‘We know based on previous outbreaks that it can be a long and bumpy road to get to zero’…” (Sullivan, 2/11).

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USAID Administrator Speaks About U.S. Ebola Response In PBS NewsHour Interview

PBS NewsHour: Ebola efforts shift from keeping up with new cases to eliminating the epidemic
PBS correspondent Jeffrey Brown interviews USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah about the U.S. Ebola response in West Africa and President Obama’s announcement regarding a shift in response (2/11).

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West African Nations, U.N. Continue Efforts To Reach Zero Ebola Cases, Prevent Future Disease Outbreaks

Agence France-Presse: Ebola-hit Sierra Leone announces disease control agency
“Sierra Leone announced Tuesday the launch of an infectious diseases prevention agency, saying it would convert its Ebola clinics into treatment and research units for some of the world’s deadliest viruses…” (Johnson, 2/10).

Associated Press: Liberia president calls for zero Ebola cases, vigilance
“Liberia’s president vowed Wednesday that the country would get to zero Ebola cases soon as the U.S. military announced it will be withdrawing most of its troops who have spent the last several months helping to battle the disease…” (Paye-Layleh, 2/11).

U.N. News Centre: Top U.N. development programme official starts West Africa visit focused on Ebola recovery
“The top United Nations development official, tasked by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to lead the organization’s system-wide Ebola-related recovery effort, [Wednesday] began a visit to West Africa, where a new study recommended better programs for women who have been disproportionately impacted by the disease…” (2/11).

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West Africa Sees Rise In Ebola Cases For Second Week, WHO Says

Agence France-Presse: Ebola cases on the rise for second week: WHO
“The number of new Ebola cases in West Africa rose for the second week running after a previous fall, including a ‘sharp increase’ in Guinea, the World Health Organization said Wednesday…” (2/11).

Reuters: West Africa sees spike in Ebola cases as decline stalls: WHO
“…West Africa recorded 144 new confirmed cases of Ebola in the week to Feb. 8 compared with 124 the previous week, the WHO said in a report. ‘Despite improvements in case finding and management, burial practices, and community engagement, the decline in case incidence has stalled,’ the U.N. agency said…” (Samb/Farge, 2/11).

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PAHO, WHO Issue Epidemiological Alert On Measles Outbreak In Americas, Call For Strengthened Surveillance

CIDRAP: California, Chicago report more measles; PAHO issues alert
“Officials in California and Chicago have reported more measles cases, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is warning that the Americas face a ‘major challenge’ in keeping measles at bay…” (2/10).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency urges stepped-up surveillance to prevent spread of measles in the Americas
“The recent outbreaks of measles — one of the leading causes of deaths among young children — in the United States and Brazil suggest that immunization rates in some areas have dropped below levels needed to prevent the spread of imported into the Americas, according to the United Nations health agency…” (2/11).

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Despite Rising Measles Vaccination Rates Worldwide, Eradication Goal Remains Elusive

Nature: Measles by the numbers: A race to eradication
“…Measles debate has reached fever pitch in the United States after an outbreak that began in December at Disneyland in southern California. … However, the bigger problem lies elsewhere. The United States was declared free of measles in 2000, and all outbreaks since then have been sparked by imported cases, which will continue to occur until measles is eradicated worldwide…” (Butler, 2/11).

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U.N.-Hosted Forum Focuses On Advancing Women's Health, Achieving Post-2015 Development Goals

U.N. News Centre: U.N.-hosted Forum opens in New York, seeks to identify aims on women’s health for post-2015
“United Nations Headquarters in New York hosted the inaugural World Women’s Health and Development Forum [on Wednesday], bringing together world leaders, representatives of U.N. system entities, scientists, health care professionals, and members of civil society, the media, and the private sector to discuss how best to advance the health, wealth, and empowerment of women worldwide…” (2/11).

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NTDs Must Be Eliminated To End Hunger, Improve Education, Advocacy Group Says

Reuters: World must tackle neglected diseases to end hunger
“Attempts to end global hunger and improve education are being hampered by a little known group of diseases that affect the world’s poorest and must be tackled too, [Marianne Comparet, director of the London-based International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases,] said…” (Whiting, 2/12).

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NPR Discusses 50 Top Innovations To Improve Health, Development In Developing Nations

NPR: The 50 Most Effective Ways To Transform The Developing World
“There are so many projects in global health that sometimes it’s hard to figure out which ones are the most important. So Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to list the 50 breakthroughs that would most transform the lives of the poor, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Shashi Buluswar, an author of the study, spoke with Morning Edition’s Renee Montagne…” (2/11).

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New Automated Mapping System Will Help Speed Earthquake Disaster Response

Reuters: New digital maps speed up aid response after earthquakes
“…The Automatic Disaster Analysis and Mapping system (ADAM) pulls information from the U.S. Geological Survey, World Bank, and World Food Programme databases, getting aid workers vital facts from earthquake zones within minutes of a quake, as opposed to the old, manual search system which took hours…” (Arsenault, 2/11).

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Rapidly Rising NCD Rates Threaten Development Gains In Pacific Islands, Health Ministers Say

Inter Press Service: Diabetes Epidemic Threatens Development Gains in Pacific Islands
“The rapid rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Pacific Islands, which now cause 75 percent of all deaths, is one of the greatest impediments to post-2015 development, health ministers in the region claim…” (Wilson, 2/11).

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India's National HIV/AIDS Program Faces Drug, Supply Stock Outs, Activists Say

Wall Street Journal: Activists Claim India’s Free HIV/AIDS Program Is In ‘Shambles’
“India has run out of critical supplies under its state-run HIV/AIDS program, activists say, leaving tens of thousands of infected patients without access to life-saving drugs…” (Rana, 2/12).

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Aid Agencies Urge Donors To Step Up Humanitarian Response In Yemen

The Guardian: Yemen facing ‘forgotten crisis’ as humanitarian disaster looms
“As Yemen teeters towards political collapse and foreign embassies close their doors and evacuate staff, aid agencies are warning that more than half the country’s nearly 26 million people risk a humanitarian disaster. Describing Yemen’s humanitarian situation as a ‘forgotten crisis,’ Grant Pritchard, head of advocacy for Oxfam in the capital Sana’a, said that international donors, including wealthy Middle Eastern nations, needed to step up to the plate and provide funds for the nearly 16 million people, or 61% of the population, in need of assistance…” (Chonghaile, 2/12).

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Madagascar Plague Outbreak Slows; 71 Dead From Disease, WHO Says

Reuters: Spread of plague slows in Madagascar, death toll at 71: WHO
“An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has slowed but 71 people among the 263 known to have caught the disease since last September have died, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday…” (Miles, 2/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

Religious Ideology Should Not Restrict Women's Access To Modern Contraceptives

Project Syndicate: Population and the Pope
Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University and laureate professor at the University of Melbourne

“…Providing [women worldwide] with access to contraception would help them plan their lives as they wish, weaken demand for abortion, reduce maternal deaths, give children a better start in life, and contribute to slowing population growth and greenhouse-gas emissions, thus benefiting us all. Who could oppose such an obvious win-win proposition? The only naysayers, we may suspect, are those in the grip of a religious ideology that they seek to impose on others, no matter what the consequences for women, children, and the rest of the world, now and for centuries to come” (2/11).

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As Obesity Rates Rise, China Must Address Nutrition Through Policy Decisions

The Guardian: Fat China: how are policymakers tackling rising obesity?
Paul French, author

“…By 2012, China’s Ministry of Health estimated that as many as 300 million Chinese people are obese in a population of 1.2 billion. This total makes China the second most obese nation after the USA in numbers of overweight citizens. This rise in obesity translates into a major health care policy problem. … China is currently experimenting with community-based interventions through the National Plan of Action for Nutrition in China. … In the next decade, China’s health care planner will have to dig deep to fight obesity” (2/12).

The Guardian: China: nutrition guiding light or ticking time bomb?
Lawrence Haddad, co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report

“…Of grea[t] concern in the future are the rapid increases in overweight and obesity in China. … But it is not too late. China has the opportunity and the means to show the rest of the world how to slow and reverse the apparent tsunami of obesity. It has the opportunity because the problem is not yet unmanageable and its economy is strong. This generates policy possibilities. It has the means, because of the strong ability of the state to shape the environment to make it less ‘obesogenic’: to make healthy choices easier and more likely…” (2/12).

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Vaccines Represent 'Vital Early Weapon' For Next Ebola Outbreak

The Lancet Global Health: Ebola vaccines: an uncertain future?
Zoë Mullan, editor of The Lancet Global Health

“…The rapid roll-out of these [Ebola vaccine] trials has been tremendously impressive. … Vaccines are not a magic bullet. Nothing can replace the basic tenets of public health epidemiology and community mobilization. But in the early days of a new outbreak in an unprepared population, as in all likelihood will happen again, vaccines can be a vital early weapon. Once we are reasonably assured of safety and efficacy, everything must be done to ensure that stockpiles are ready and the necessary clearances for their use are in place” (2/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Summarizes Obama's Remarks On U.S. Ebola Response

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Progress in the Fight Against Ebola
The blog post summarizes President Barack Obama’s remarks regarding the U.S. Ebola response in West Africa made on Wednesday during a White House event (2/11).

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U.K., International Community's Response To Ebola Was Inadequate, U.K. Parliamentary Committee Says

U.K. Parliament: U.K.’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa
The U.K. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee issued comments on the response to the Ebola epidemic, saying, “[DfID] was far too slow to react to the developing situation, missing an opportunity to contain quickly the outbreak of Ebola in at least Sierra Leone. The Department relied on the view of the World Health Organization and paid insufficient attention to the views of NGOs on the ground that a massive deployment of resources and healthcare workers was needed to fight the outbreak. Had the Department acted sooner, both lives and money would have been saved.” The committee included recommendations for further response efforts (2/11).

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PrEP Effective Only When Drugs Taken As Prescribed, Study Shows

Humanosphere: HIV prevention trial exposes adherence challenge
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy discusses results of a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection. “Treatments to prevent the spread of HIV are extremely effective, only when people take them correctly. … The study, conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, is a small set-back for the potential of [PrEP] to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS…” (2/11).

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