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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

CDC Director Expresses Confidence World Can Eliminate Ebola; USAID Official Says Focus Now On Guinea

Reuters: CDC director ‘confident’ can get to zero Ebola cases
“The director of the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention said on Tuesday he was ‘confident’ that the Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa can be brought under control but that ‘we are by no means out of the woods’…” (Clarke, 1/13).

Reuters: USAID: Eyes on Guinea as Liberia, Sierra Leone improve on Ebola
“The rate of new Ebola cases in Liberia has plunged, Sierra Leone is beginning to turn the corner in dealing with the deadly virus, and health officials are now focused on Guinea, a USAID official said on Tuesday. Guinea is ‘where we have our eye on at the moment,’ said Jeremy Konyndyk, director of the USAID office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance…” (1/13).

Science Speaks: Frieden on Ebola: With “no alternative but to get to zero,” challenges remain getting, staying there
A Capitol Hill discussion held Tuesday, titled “The Ebola Crisis in West Africa: An Update on Progress, Challenges and the Road to Recovery,” included panelists “Rabih Torbay of International Medical Corps, Jeremy Konyndyk of the USAID office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, moderator Gwendoloyn Mikell of Georgetown University, Dr. Tom Frieden of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Saran Kaba Jones of FACE Africa” (Barton, 1/13).

VOA News: CDC Director ‘Confident’ World Can Reach Zero Ebola Cases
“…Frieden noted that the epidemic, which started in Guinea about a year ago, could have been prevented if the countries had been better prepared. ‘If a year ago we had surveillance systems in the … region where the disease emerged, it is quite possible that we could have responded quickly and ended the outbreak long ago, before so many lives and so much devastation happened,’ he said…” (1/13).

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Liberia Can End Ebola By June If Correct Measures Taken, Study Shows

News outlets discuss a study published in PLOS Biology presenting a model showing how Liberia could end Ebola by June 2015.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola could end in Liberia by June
“Liberia, the African nation at the center of world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, could see an end to the epidemic by June if 85 percent of sick people get hospital care, U.S. researchers said Tuesday…” (1/13).

VOA News: New Study Suggests End of Ebola in Liberia by June
“…[John Drake, a professor at the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia and lead author of the report,] said the model used took into account variables such as how many patients are hospitalized and how many health care workers are infected, rates of transmission from funerals where the corpses of victims are touched, and the relative effectiveness of Ebola control measures…” (Butty, 1/14).

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Liberia's Ebola Response Head Says Country On Track To Contain Epidemic

Reuters: Liberia says limits Ebola spread to just two counties
“Liberia is on the verge of containing the spread of the Ebola virus with only two of its 15 counties reporting new infections, the head of the country’s Ebola response said on Tuesday…” (Giayhue/Felix, 1/13).

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U.K.'s Labour Criticizes DfID For Not Committing To Long-Term Health Development In West Africa

The Guardian: Labour attacks government’s record on Ebola and aid
“Labour has attacked the [U.K.] government’s record on overseas aid, questioning the wisdom of reducing funding to Sierra Leone and Liberia before the Ebola outbreak and accusing David Cameron of trying to use aid to ‘detoxify’ the Conservatives…” (Jones, 1/14).

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Ebola Health Workers Caring For Pregnant Women Face Risks, Must Make Quick Treatment Decisions, Experts Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Ebola health workers face life or death decision on pregnant women: experts
“…Health workers [in West Africa] have very little time to decide whether a pregnant woman with complications is free of Ebola and should have the necessary intervention, or may have Ebola and should have minimal procedures, experts said in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology…” (Guilbert, 1/14).

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Ebola Provides Opportunity To Further Curb FGM Practice In Sierra Leone

Bloomberg News: Ebola Forces Secret Societies to Curb Female Circumcision Rites
“As the death toll from Ebola approaches 9,000 in West Africa, the illness has at least temporarily disrupted female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice that brutally harms young girls. The respite is giving human rights activists an opportunity to more permanently curb the tradition, which involves circumcision to partially or completely remove female genitalia…” (Gbandia/Kitamura, 1/13).

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Catholics In Philippines Increasingly Support Contraception Use, As Pope Visits Country

Wall Street Journal: Pope Faces Changing Attitudes on Birth Control in Philippines
“Pope Francis lands in the Philippines Thursday facing a rapidly changing society where Catholicism remains strong, but where some Catholics dismiss the Church’s line on sex and birth control as outdated. … Last year, the Philippine Supreme Court approved a landmark Reproductive Health Law, clearing the way for the government to start giving thousands of families access to contraception for the first time in a country with a high birthrate and stubborn poverty level. The Roman Catholic Church fought the measure, but many rank and file Catholics were in favor…” (Moss, 1/14).

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UNICEF Steps Up Assistance For 7M Children At Risk In Middle East Due To Winter Weather

U.N. News Centre: Millions of children face ‘untold misery’ as powerful winter storm sweeps Middle East — U.N.
“At least seven million internally displaced and refugee children are in desperate need of assistance as bitter winter snows and torrential rains continue to batter the Middle East, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urged [Tuesday]…” (1/13).

VOA News: Cold Winter Jeopardizes Hundreds of Thousands of Syrian Children
“The U.N. Children’s Fund says it is stepping up assistance for hundreds of thousands of Syrian children at risk of illness and death due to bitterly cold weather. … [UNICEF reports] at least five children who have died in Syria and one in Lebanon…” (Schlein, 1/13).

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Violence, Instability Threatens Food Security Of Nearly One-Third Of CAR's Population

U.N. News Centre: Central African Republic: U.N. agency warns of food insecurity amid ongoing instability
“The unpredictable and hostile security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is having severe consequences for the country’s population still in dire need of humanitarian assistance, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) declared [Tuesday]. … WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs pointed to the agency’s recent report evaluating the food security situation in the CAR and warned that 30 percent of the total population, or some 1.5 million people, were considered as being in a moderate to severe food security situation…” (1/13).

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Protestors Accuse Malawi's Government Of Mishandling HIV/AIDS Funding

VOA News: Protesters Give Malawi Government 100-Day Ultimatum
“Malawi-based civil society groups on Tuesday presented government officials with a petition seeking redress of bad leadership and financial problems that have caused government employees to strike. Issued along with a 100-day deadline to respond to their concerns, the petition outlines a range topics, from unfair election laws to misallocation of charitable funding by the National AIDS Commission (NAC)…” (Masina, 1/13).

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Children With HIV At Higher Risk Of Death From Pneumonia, Study Shows

VOA News: HIV Kids Are High Risk for Pneumonia
“A new study said HIV-positive children are much more likely to die from pneumonia than children who are not infected with the AIDS virus. … Researchers said deaths from pneumonia among HIV-positive children could be dramatically reduced by expanding current treatments. … The study was commissioned by the World Health Organization and published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal…” (DeCapua, 1/13).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. 'Will Not Rest' Until Ebola Epidemic Stopped

Fox News: CDC chief: Why I have hope about 2015 Ebola fight
Tom Frieden, CDC director

“…As long as there is a single case of Ebola in West Africa, none of us are safe. But as 2015 begins, I am hopeful. Hopeful about the progress that’s being made in West Africa, where survivors are increasing with each passing day. Hopeful about heroic health care workers, burial team members, ambulance drivers, and many others who have vowed not to rest until their countrymen are safe and the epidemic is over. And, most of all, hopeful because of the lessons we’ve learned and new resources we now have to apply those lessons both at home and abroad. We will not rest until the epidemic has been stopped…” (1/13).

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Holding Public Attention On Ebola, Other Outbreaks Important For Longer-Term Public Health Improvements

IRIN: Uneven Distributions: What we talk about when we talk about Ebola
Paul Currion, humanitarian consultant

“…People aren’t talking about Ebola as much as they used to — definitely not as much as they should be … The struggle isn’t going badly, all things considered, but this isn’t going to be the last outbreak we’ll have to manage — we’re still waiting for that big influenza pandemic, remember? To avoid catastrophe next time, we need to be better prepared, which means that we need a longer-term commitment: to re-examine the logic of the global public health system, to focus on a more holistic approach, and to invest in health systems in at-risk countries…” (1/13).

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Static Sustainable Development Goals Do Not Allow For Dynamic Interventions, Debate Over Local Best Practices

SciDev.Net: Single SDG targets are impractical and unrealistic
David Sumpter, professor of applied mathematics; Shyam Ranganathan, PhD student in applied mathematics; and Ranjula Bali Swain, associate professor in the department of economics, all at Uppsala University

“…Predictions of development progress should be dynamic and interactive. … By accumulating data and comparing forecasts with outcomes, scientists can engage stakeholders in an active debate about what can be expected in the future. Setting targets for and pushing assessments into the distant future misses the point of understanding and communicating progress in development, which is to continually debate about how goals can be attained. … We shouldn’t make the same mistake twice: unrealistic, static goals won’t work…” (1/13).

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Improvements In Food Management Can Lead To Greater Fairness, Justice Globally

Inter Press Service: For the Good of Humanity — Towards a Culture of Caring
Andrew MacMillan, former director of the Field Operations Division of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

“…Nowhere is the need for greater fairness more apparent than in the realm of food management — where we face a crazy situation in which, though ample food is produced, the health of more than half the world’s population is now damaged by bad nutrition. … We can already see a renewed FAO in action [under the leadership of José Graziano da Silva] — committed to ending hunger and malnutrition, more focused in its goals, working as one and embracing partnerships for a better present and future. … Hopefully 2015 will be a year in which the world’s leaders will become the champions of the justice and fairness … to which so many of us aspire” (1/13).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation, CSIS Webcast Features CDC Director Discussing Global, U.S. Efforts To Contain Ebola Epidemic

Kaiser Family Foundation: Where Do We Stand in The Fight Against Ebola? A Conversation with CDC Director Tom Frieden
On Tuesday, January 13, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a conversation with CDC Director Tom Frieden to discuss his recent trip to assess the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, made opening remarks, and Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director, global health policy center at CSIS, moderated the conversation, presented here as an archived webcast (1/13).

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USAID Works To Strengthen Health Care Workforce To Achieve AIDS-Free Generation

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Invest in Health Workers to End AIDS
Diana Frymus, the health systems strengthening adviser in the Office of HIV/AIDS, writes, “In most countries with a high HIV burden, health work force shortages are commonplace and create significant barriers to combating the epidemic.” She discusses USAID’s work to strengthen health care capacity as part of its efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation (1/13).

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Recommendations Focus On How Best To 'Reactivate' West African Economies Following Ebola

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: West Africa after Ebola: Focus on Health Systems, Households, and Firms
Amanda Glassman, senior fellow and director of global health policy at CGD, discusses the potential for long-term damage from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and current efforts to “reactivat[e] affected households and economies.” She summarizes recommendations on how to best spend money on “health systems, households, and firms” in the region that came from a December 2014 CGD roundtable discussion (1/13).

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Haiti's Lymphatic Filariasis Program Makes Strides Toward Disease Elimination

CDC’s “Neglected Tropical Diseases”: Despite Earthquake, Lymphatic Filariasis Program in Haiti Is a Success
This CDC blog post discusses efforts to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) using a mass drug administration (MDA) strategy in Haiti. “…When the elimination program began, nearly half of people in the most affected areas were infected; today, fewer than three in 100 people test positive for infection, proving that despite a host of challenges, the LF program stands as an exceptional public health success in Haiti…” (1/12).

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Improving Maternal, Newborn Survival Requires Training, Community Buy-In For Lifesaving Practices

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Making Childbirth Safer: It Takes a Sales Force
Atul Gawande, executive director of Ariadne Labs; Vishwajeet Kumar, founder and CEO of Community Empowerment Lab; Ruth Landy, principal at Strategic Communication for Social Impact; and Mariam Claeson, director of the MNCH team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discuss improving maternal and newborn survival through community education and the adoption of basic protocols that can lead to lifesaving practices, as well as the BetterBirth trial taking place in rural India (1/12).

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