Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- IMF Prepares $150M Relief Package For 3 West African Nations Hit Hardest By Ebola; World Bank Warns Of Long-Term Economic Damage
Devex: New Ebola relief could prompt IMF reforms
“The International Monetary Fund is preparing another Ebola relief package worth $150 million for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia — aid that may pave the way for larger reforms to one of the IMF’s disaster relief mechanisms…” (Anders, 1/12).
Reuters: IMF to provide new funds to help three main Ebola-hit nations
“…The money could be made available in the first quarter of this year and would add to $130 million disbursed by the Fund in September. The epidemic has damaged the economies of the three West African states, two of which, Liberia and Sierra Leone, are recovering from civil wars…” (Giahyue, 1/8).
U.N. News Centre: World Bank says Ebola puts future prosperity of Liberia, Sierra Leone ‘at high risk’
“Job losses and food insecurity are among the far-reaching and persistent socio-economic impacts of Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the results of two new World Bank Group surveys released [Monday]…” (1/12).
- WHO Criticizes Governments' Ebola Responses, Says Agency Should Be Given More Power In Health Emergencies
Reuters: After Ebola, WHO blames governments and seeks more clout
“The World Health Organization says governments flouted their obligations during the Ebola crisis and wants more power to tackle health emergencies in [the] future, documents published by the international agency showed on Monday…” (Miles, 1/12).
- Developing, Testing Ebola Vaccines Presents Major Challenges, Report Says
News services discuss a new report released Monday by the Wellcome Trust and CIDRAP titled, “Fast-Track Development of Ebola Vaccines: Principles and Target Product Criteria.”
CIDRAP News: Report maps complex challenges to Ebola vaccine efforts
“As experimental Ebola vaccines start to head toward large clinical trials in Africa, a report released today by academic experts and a British charitable foundation spelled out the complexity of the challenges involved in providing a vaccine to help stop West Africa’s sprawling epidemic…” (Roos, 1/12).
Reuters: “Extreme measures” needed to see Ebola shot development through
“…In an interim report on a roadmap for vaccines against the current and any future outbreaks of the deadly virus, infectious disease specialists Jeremy Farrar and Mike Osterholm said the scope of effort was ‘too complex for any single government, organization, or company.’ They called for sustained public-private sector partnership and commitment…” (Kelland, 1/12).
- China Boosts Ebola Support To West Africa With Additional Health Workers
Associated Press: China sending large Ebola relief team to West Africa
“China is ramping up its assistance in the fight against Ebola by dispatching an additional 232 army medical workers to West Africa, state media reported Tuesday…” (1/13).
- Sierra Leone's Health System Unequipped To Deal With Mental Health Problems From Ebola, Report Says
The Guardian: Ebola takes mental health toll where ‘life has frozen’ in Sierra Leone
“Ebola is causing mental health problems in Sierra Leone, with the country’s overstretched health system unable to deal with the psychosocial legacy of the outbreak, according to a report by the International Medical Corps. … The NGO warns that psychosocial and mental health need to be considered part of the Ebola response in treatment facilities and community outreach, as well as in the longer term to make mental health an integral part of the country’s health system when it can rebuild…” (O’Carroll, 1/12).
- 126 Guinea Worm Cases Recorded In 2014, Former President Carter Announces At New Museum Exhibit On Disease Eradication
New York Times: At Museum, New Front in Guinea Worm Fight
“There were only 126 cases of Guinea worm reported in the world last year, a 15 percent drop from the year before, according to former President Jimmy Carter, who has fought for decades to eradicate the debilitating disease … Mr. Carter made the announcement Monday at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he presided over the opening of a new exhibition, ‘Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease’…” (McNeil, 1/12).
- Government Investment, Behavior Change, Improved Health Care Access Contributing To Global Decline In New HIV Cases
Christian Science Monitor: HIV/AIDS: What’s behind the decline in new infections
“Global efforts in recent decades to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS — reported to have killed some 39 million people — appear to be having an effect. The number of newly infected individuals worldwide is down 38 percent since 2001. Increased government investment in prevention, broad public-information campaigns on healthy behavior, and improved access to health care all are credited with contributing to the decline…” (Qayyum, 1/12).
- 212 Cambodian Villagers Infected With HIV; Outbreak Linked To Contaminated Needles
Reuters: Cambodia finds 212 with HIV where unlicensed medic operated
“Cambodian health authorities have found 212 villagers infected with HIV in a district where an unlicensed medic has been charged with murder on suspicion of spreading the virus with contaminated equipment…” (Thul, 1/10).
VOA News: HIV Outbreak Linked to Infected Needles
“A government-led investigation … ‘showed that the percentage of people that reported receiving an injection or intravenous infusion as part of their health treatment was significantly higher among the people who tested positive for HIV than the people who were HIV negative,’ the Cambodian Health Ministry’s National Center for HIV/AIDS said in a joint statement with the World Health Organization and UNAIDS. ‘This difference is statistically significant’…” (Sothanarith, 1/12).
- Community-Based Workers Spread Family Planning Messages In Laos; Experts Say More Women Needed In Role
The Guardian: Condoms and contraceptive pills reach rural Laos
“…While CBD [community-based distribution] workers … are proving critical in reaching remote and mountainous areas once cut off from family planning services, there is an important element missing — women. According to a Laos government spokesperson, of the 74 CBD workers in four provinces of the country, only one is a woman. … Health workers agree that the next step is to see more women not only receiving family planning advice, but giving it too…” (Kweifio-Okai, 1/13).
- 800 Tanzanian Girls Return Home After 3 Months In Safe Houses To Escape FGM
Agence France-Presse: Tanzanian girls return after escaping genital mutilation
“…Some 800 school girls fled to shelters run by charities and church organizations, which offer protection during the months FGM is traditionally carried out, from October to December. Some of the shelters are given police protection to ensure the girls remain safe…” (1/12).
Editorials and Opinions
- Partnership, Innovation Critical To Finding Quick Solutions To Disease Outbreaks
Forbes: Gates Foundation CEO: A Picture Of Hope In Early Ebola Vaccine Trials
Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
“…Ebola surely won’t be the last crisis we face. Tackling today’s era of global challenges will require the enormous innovative capacity of business. It will require bold new partnerships, such as the one we saw with this Ebola vaccine [now undergoing clinical trials]. Above all, it will require a commitment to ensuring that all people — no matter where they were born or how much they can pay — have access to the life-saving medicines they need. … When we act quickly and generously — when we commit to doing whatever it takes to save lives — we can achieve beautiful results” (1/12).
- Supporting Disease Research Is 'Legitimate And Necessary Government Function'
Richmond Times-Dispatch: An Ebola Vaccine?
“Concern about the spread of Ebola has waned in recent weeks. It would diminish more if a vaccine existed. … NIH officials say an Ebola vaccine could be a year or two closer to fruition had funding been adequate. The claim sounds self-serving; no agency has ever said it had enough money. It also could be true. Either way, the Ebola scare offers a bracing reminder that basic research is a legitimate and necessary government function — especially when it focuses on disease and other threats to the nation’s general welfare” (1/11).
- Disaster Preparedness, Investment In Haiti Will Help Nation Recover From 2010 Earthquake
Devex: Learning the hard way: Lessons from the Haiti earthquake
Ruth Ayarza, regional manager for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance
“…Although the United Nations set up clusters around specific themes such as nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene [following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti], no group was established for HIV, leading to an interruption in service delivery. … With more than half of the people living with HIV living in fragile states, we need to do more to link local organizations and networks, including networks of people living with HIV, to national and local disaster preparedness training and systems so that they are fully equipped to respond to the needs of communities at times of conflict and natural disasters…” (1/12).
Huffington Post: 5 Years Later, Haiti Is Embracing Its Potential
John Groarke, USAID/Haiti Mission director
“…At USAID, we’re striving to facilitate this shift [to empower Haitians and further discourage dependency]. … Thanks in large part to USAID and the Centers for Disease Control, the incidence of cholera is down dramatically from the height of the outbreak in 2010 and 2011, and we will continue to work with our Haitian and international partners to monitor, treat, and prevent the disease. … Let’s do our part to help Haitians to consign the cynicism, despair, and hopelessness too often unfairly associated with Haiti to the dustbin of history, along with the remainder of the post-earthquake rubble” (1/12).
- MNCH, Reproductive Health Should Be Priority In 2015
Huffington Post: Women, Newborns and Health: Today’s Evidence, Tomorrow’s Post-2015 Agenda
Petra ten Hoope-Bender, director of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health at ICS Integrare, and Sheetal Sharma, research associate at ICS Integrare
“…In 2015, our way forward is to empower women to ensure they get the health care they need and deserve. We will do this by launching a new set of workforce and health system planning and implementation tools: the SRMNH Workforce Assessment Handbook, which helps countries identify the workforce they need to cover population needs for [sexual, reproductive, maternal, and newborn health (SRMNH)] services; and the Midwifery Services Framework, which helps them set up or strengthen midwifery services…” (1/12).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- South Africa Announces Global Fund-Supported HIV Program Promoting Sex Worker Rights
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: South African HIV Program on Rights of Sex Workers
“The South African National AIDS Council said that a long-awaited HIV program catering specifically to the needs of sex workers — 60 percent of whom are estimated to be living with HIV — became firmly established during the course of 2014. … It is funded by a grant of about US$8.5 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria,” according to a Global Fund press release (1/12).
- Global Fund, Zambian Government, NGO Sign $234M In Grants For HIV, TB, Malaria Efforts
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Zambia and Global Fund Sign $234 Million in New Grants
“The Government of the Republic of Zambia, the Churches Health Association of Zambia, and the Global Fund [on Friday] reaffirmed their partnership, signing four new grants worth US$234 million to fight HIV, TB, and malaria in Zambia,” according to a Global Fund press release (1/9).
- Release Of 'The Art Of Saving A Life' Project Coincides With Immunization Funding Meeting
Skoll World Forum: Elevating Art to Advance Science: A New View of Vaccination in 2015
Christopher J. Elias, president of global development at the Gates Foundation, discusses the “The Art of Saving a Life” project, for which the foundation “asked musicians, writers, filmmakers, painters, sculptors, and photographers to share stories of immunization’s impact, both on the course of history and in the lives of those vaccinated.” Elias notes, “The timing of The Art of Saving a Life coincides with a high-level event hosted [on January 27] by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin to mobilize funds for immunization programs through 2020” (1/9).
- Ebola's Economic Impacts In West Africa Will Be Felt Into Future
Wired’s “Superbug”: The Long Tail of Ebola: Depressing African Economic Progress
Journalist Maryn McKenna writes in her blog about two recent World Bank reports that discuss Ebola’s economic impacts in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. “The ripples of Ebola could be felt for some time to come — and until the disease is contained, which it is not yet, the full bill for the damage will be incalculable,” she writes (1/12).