KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Liberian President Says Country Will Need Help Rebuilding After Ebola, To Meet With Obama To Discuss Epidemic Response

Associated Press: AP Interview: Liberia leader urges help in post-Ebola phase
“…In an interview with the Associated Press, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Liberia needs outside help to see through its ‘post-Ebola agenda’ of building up basic public services — development that she said was needed to prevent another deadly epidemic from becoming ‘a global menace’…” (Schreck, 2/22).

Reuters: Obama to host Liberian president, discuss Ebola response
“U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Washington [this] week to discuss government efforts on the Ebola virus that ravaged West Africa, the White House said on Friday…” (Chiacu, 2/20).

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Health Officials, Doctor Concerned About Ebola Eradication, Rebound Of Disease

New York Times: Leaders of Ebola Fight at U.N. Express Worry About Eradication
“The top two health officials managing the Ebola epidemic cast doubt Friday on a pledge by West African leaders to reduce new cases to zero by mid-April, and expressed concern about a possible rebound of the disease…” (Gladstone, 2/20).

Reuters: Ebola doctor fears deadly scenes may yet be repeated
“… ‘This whole epidemic has been plagued by conspiracy theories about Ebola, including that it was a creation of the government designed to get aid money,’ [British doctor Nathalie] MacDermott told Reuters during a short break at home in Britain before returning to Liberia. ‘There are certain behaviors still ongoing that are very concerning. It’s a very fragile situation’…” (Kelland, 2/20).

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West African Nations Should Develop, Control Post-Ebola Recovery Plans, Donors Say

The Guardian: Aid donors say Ebola-hit countries must direct effort to rebuild their economies
“Leaders of the three West African countries worst affected by Ebola will meet donors and partners in March to discuss how to regenerate their economies. … One message coming from traditional donors is that the recovery must be owned and managed by the governments of the three countries. Donors can and should provide money but must not dictate the process…” (Chonghaile, 2/23).

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Obama Administration Announces Additional Funding For Domestic Ebola Preparedness

The Hill: New funding announced for U.S Ebola preparedness
“The Obama administration on Friday announced around $200 million in new funding to increase Ebola preparedness in the United States…” (Sullivan, 2/20).

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WHO Approves Quick Test For Ebola

NPR: 15-Minute Ebola Test Approved For Fighting The Epidemic
“…The World Health Organization approved the first quick test for Ebola Friday. The test gives results in about 15 minutes, instead of hours. So people infected can get treatment and be quarantined more quickly…” (Doucleff, 2/20).

Reuters: WHO approves 15-minute Ebola test by Corgenix
“…The test, developed by Corgenix Medical Corp, is less accurate than the standard PCR test but is easy to perform, does not require electricity, and can give results within 15 minutes, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said…” (2/20).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency approves rapid test for Ebola as decline in cases appears to level off
“…The new test, which can provide results within 15 minutes, ‘is able to correctly identify about 92 percent of Ebola infected patients and 85 percent of those not infected with the virus,’ according to WHO. In comparison, the turn-around time of current tests for Ebola can vary between 12 and 24 hours, it said…” (2/20).

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WHO Launches Campaign Urging Global Adoption Of Single-Use Syringes By 2020

BBC News: WHO urges shift to single-use smart syringes
“Smart syringes that break after one use should be used for injections by 2020, the World Health Organization has announced. Reusing syringes leads to more than two million people being infected with diseases including HIV and hepatitis each year…” (Gallagher, 2/23).

Press Association: Endorsement for one-use syringe
“…Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the WHO HIV/AIDS department, said implementation of the syringes ‘should be an urgent priority for all countries’…” (2/23).

WHO: WHO calls for worldwide use of “smart” syringes
“…[T]he World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a new policy on injection safety and a global campaign with support from the IKEA Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help all countries tackle the pervasive issue of unsafe injections…” (2/23).

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Air Pollution Slows Economic, Agricultural Growth, Cuts Lifespans In India, Study Says

New York Times: Polluted Air Cuts Years Off Lives of Millions in India, Study Finds
“More than half of India’s population lives in places with such polluted air that each person loses an average of 3.2 years in life expectancy, according to a recent study by researchers from the University of Chicago, Yale, and Harvard. … [R]esearch has shown that India’s air pollution problems may cut agricultural production by a third…” (Harris, 2/21).

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Inclusion Of Persons With Disabilities In Post-2015 Development Agenda Fundamental, U.N. Experts Say

U.N. News Agency: Rights of people with disabilities cannot be ignored in development agenda, U.N. experts
“‘One billion people — 15 percent of the world’s population — are persons with disabilities, and their rights cannot be ignored,’ a group of United Nations human rights experts said [Friday], as they urged negotiators and U.N. Member States to include rights of such persons in the new development framework…” (2/20).

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Small-Scale, Indigenous Food Systems Should Be Included In Sustainable Development Plans

Inter Press Service: Indigenous Food Systems Should Be on the Development Menu
“Overcoming hunger and malnutrition in the 21st century no longer means simply increasing the quantity of available food but also the quality. … Organized to reflect on this, among other issues, the second Global Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, held at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) from Feb. 12-13 in Rome, discussed solutions that combine the need to ensure food security and a balanced diet for all with the knowledge of indigenous peoples’ food systems and livelihoods as a contribution to sustainable development…” (Gasbarri, 2/23).

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Infrastructure Improvements, Agricultural Research Would Help Lower Food Waste, Study Shows

Wall Street Journal: Better Infrastructure Would Cut Food Waste
“…Reducing post-harvest waste by just 10 percentage points could lower food prices and prevent 60 million people from going hungry, [a recent study by the Copenhagen Consensus Center] says. That means building more reliable infrastructure so food gets to markets and refrigeration faster. But doing so would come at an enormous cost — $240 billion worldwide over the next 15 years, the study estimates. A better option, the study suggests, is putting more money toward agricultural research that could help increase crop yields…” (Schonhardt, 2/22).

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HIV/AIDS Patients In Burkina Faso Face Potential Cuts To Food Aid, WFP Says

Associated Press: Burkina Faso: Food aid shortage threatens HIV patients
“Thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS in Burkina Faso could soon face cuts in food assistance because of a funding shortage, the World Food Programme has warned. The shortage threatens more than 12,000 patients and other people affected by HIV/AIDS, local WFP representative Jean-Charles Dei said this week…” (Ouedraogo, 2/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

In Working Toward Zero Ebola Cases, World Must Prepare For Future Outbreaks

New York Times: Finishing Off Ebola
Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator

“…[E]ven as America takes pride in the job we have done [in the Ebola response], it is also important to remember that the job is far from done. We must get to zero Ebola in West Africa. … We also have to end the stigma associated with Ebola patients and responders. … Most importantly, the global community’s tardy reaction to the Ebola outbreak, the early stumbles, and incoherent leadership by the World Health Organization compel us to ask whether we will be better prepared for the next Ebola outbreak. … Beating the epidemic in West Africa is now achievable. But as we finish the job and embrace the survivors and responders, we must also prepare for the next epidemic, before it is upon us” (2/20).

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New York Times 'Room For Debate' Features Several Opinion Pieces Examining Use Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Eliminate Dengue

New York Times: Room for Debate: Can Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Eliminate Dengue Fever?
Multiple authors

“Dengue fever has become pandemic, its range expanding even to places like the Florida Keys where it hadn’t existed. One solution proposed in Florida and tried elsewhere, is to kill the mosquitoes that spread the virus by releasing genetically modifying males to produce offspring that would quickly die. Is it safe and sensible to put genetically changed mosquitoes into the environment to fight disease?” Multiple authors answer this question and others in several opinion pieces published as part of this New York Times “Room for Debate” (2/23).

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India's Government Must Address Country's Air Pollution Problem

New York Times: Cutting Through India’s Smog
Editorial Board

“Proof of the grave air pollution problem confronting India is seen not just in the suffocating smog that on many days crowds out the sun in New Delhi, the world’s most polluted city. It can be measured as well in the fact that the country has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases, which kill an estimated 1.5 million Indians every year. … Yet the government has failed to address with any urgency what is indisputably a national health emergency. And it is more than just a national emergency. … India’s inaction is a problem for everybody, not just its more than 1.2 billion people…” (2/23).

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SDGs Present Opportunity To Address NTDs, Other 'Lost Causes'

The Guardian: Will the SDGs be the last hope for lost causes?
Dominic Haslam, director of policy and program strategy at Sightsavers

“…Despite many NTDs being straightforward to prevent or treat and progress being made to treat more people than ever before, they are still rarely prioritized in global health spending. … The needs of people and planet are multiple; it is inevitable that we won’t see new funding mechanisms for each one. But the SDGs are a bold attempt to ‘leave no one behind,’ a call I believe will see NTDs and other so-called ‘lost causes’ — and the millions of people they represent — finally brought out of the fringes of the development agenda” (2/20).

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Food Pricing Remains Both Political, Economic Issue In Developing Democracies

Washington Post: Where and why food prices lead to social upheaval
Cullen S. Hendrix, assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and Stephan M. Haggard, Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies at School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego

“…Global commodity markets may have cooled of late, but food prices are likely to remain a hot-button political as well as economic issue. Our findings point to the difficult tradeoffs facing governments in developing countries as they attempt to pursue two different definitions of food security simultaneously: food security as an element of human security, and food security as a means of ensuring government survival and quelling urban unrest. These tradeoffs appear to be particularly acute for developing democracies” (2/22).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID, Guinea's Ministry Of Health Work In Conjunction To Train Frontline Health Care Workers In Ebola Efforts

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Guinean Doctor Survives Ebola, Pays ​I​t Forward
Jacqueline Aribot, senior monitoring and evaluation adviser, and Alisha Horowitz, associate editor for USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program, discuss the story of a Guinean doctor who survived Ebola and describe how USAID and Guinea’s Ministry of Health are working together to properly train frontline health care workers treating Ebola patients (2/20).

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DevPolicy Blog Features Interview With Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul

Development Policy Centre’s “DevPolicy Blog”: The future of the Global Fund
Director of the Development Policy Centre Stephen Howes recently spoke to Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The blog features a condensed transcript of the interview and a podcast of the full conversation is available online (2/23).

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Humanosphere Podcast Examines Global Vaccine Beliefs

Humanosphere: Heidi Larson: The global picture of the ‘vaccine confidence gap’
“For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with Heidi Larson, a professor of anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who studies, among other things, public trust (and mistrust) of vaccines…,” Tom Paulson, founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere, writes (2/20).

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