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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Army Major General Winding Down Ebola Mission In Liberia While Awaiting Possible Redeployment Order To Sierra Leone, Guinea

Foreign Policy: ‘We Are Fighting an Enemy, and the Enemy Is Ebola’
“…In a recent sit-down interview with Foreign Policy, [Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky] reflected on the accomplishments of his 2,500-person task force and his immediate plans for the future [as the U.S. Army’s mission in Liberia is winding down]. For a significant portion of his unit, those plans involve getting on a U.S.-bound plane. … But while Volesky is shifting the work to other organizations, planning continues for a possible redeployment to Sierra Leone and Guinea, where the Ebola crisis is far less contained…” (Castner, 1/14).

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Ebola's Long-Term Impacts On West African Economies, Agriculture Becoming Apparent As Disease Spread Slows

The Atlantic: Ebola’s Hidden Costs
“…Even as Ebola infection rates appear to be leveling off in [Sierra Leone], the disease’s less visible but long-term impacts on communities and the economy are taking shape. … In other words, the number of people in Sierra Leone who have died from Ebola — just over 3,000, to date — will be only a fraction of the number who will go hungry from it…” (Hamilton, 1/14).

VOA News: Ebola Brings West Africa Economic Development to Screeching Halt
“A new study by the United Nations Development Program finds the Ebola epidemic is dramatically setting back prospects for economic development in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The study urges recovery plans for West Africa’s three Ebola-affected countries to begin now and not to wait until the deadly disease is contained…” (Schlein, 1/14).

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Recorded Ebola Case Numbers Slow In 3 Hardest-Hit West African Nations, WHO Says

Deutsche Welle: Ebola case numbers drop in hardest-hit countries
“The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that Sierra Leone and Guinea had seen a slump in their weekly totals of confirmed Ebola cases since August last year, according to its latest situation report. The other hard-hit West African state, Liberia, also recorded a two-day period with no new cases last week, and had its lowest weekly total since June, the U.N. health agency said…” (1/14).

The Hill: New signs of progress against Ebola in West Africa
“…The dwindling number of cases — if it continues — could indicate that the epidemic is starting to abate after nearly 8,500 deaths. A total of 21,296 people have been sickened by the virus since last year…” (Viebeck, 1/14).

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President Of Sierra Leone Aims For Zero New Ebola Cases In Country By End Of March

Associated Press: Sierra Leone president predicts 0 Ebola cases by March end
“Even as his country registered 19 new Ebola cases over a 24-hour period, Sierra Leone’s president is predicting there will be zero new confirmed cases by the end of March. President Ernest Bai Koroma also predicted that his West African country — one of three hardest hit by the outbreak — would be Ebola-free by World Health Organization standards by May…” (Roy-Macaulay, 1/15).

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CDC Director Calls On U.S. Health Facilities To Allow French-Speaking HCWs To Assist In Guinean Ebola Efforts

Devex: CDC calls for French-speaking medical personnel to combat Ebola in Guinea
“The ongoing fight to control the Ebola epidemic in Guinea will require dozens of highly qualified French-speaking medical personnel, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden. ‘We’re asking health departments around the U.S. to lend us people for three to six months,’ Frieden told Devex Tuesday…” (Tyson, 1/14).

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China Approves New Polio Vaccine, As Beijing Pushes To Lead Innovative Drug Market

Reuters: China approves new polio vaccine, shows innovative muscle
“China has approved a new polio vaccine, the first of its kind to be produced in the country, a month after local authorities gave the green light for a home-grown Ebola vaccine amid Beijing’s push to become a world leader in producing innovative drugs…” (Jourdan, 1/15).

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Researchers Seek To Understand Aging HIV Population's Increased Risk Of Chronic Diseases

Wall Street Journal: Researchers Delve Into HIV-Infected Population’s Aging Risks
“Faced with an aging HIV-infected population, international researchers are trying to understand whether the virus or the medications that treat it may accelerate aging. As the life expectancy of those with HIV has increased dramatically since the 1990s because of better medicine, so too has the risk of other chronic diseases typically associated with age, like diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline…” (Wang, 1/14).

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'Action/2015' Campaign Seeks To Spur World Leaders To Move On Climate Change, Poverty

Financial Times: Advocacy groups launch global anti-poverty campaign
“A thousand organizations around the world are launching a high-profile campaign named ‘Action/2015’ on Thursday, as they seek to put pressure on world leaders to make progress in the fight against climate change and global poverty ahead of two crucial summits this year…” (Giugliano, 1/15).

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India Rejects Gilead's Hepatitis C Drug Patent Request; Decision Will Allow Local Companies To Make Generic Versions

Financial Times: India spurns Gilead over hepatitis C patent
“India’s patent controller has rejected a patent application from Gilead Sciences for a key compound for its blockbuster hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, a refusal that activists said would allow Indian companies immediately to start producing cheap generic versions of the medicine…” (Kazmin/Ward, 1/14).

Reuters: India rejects Gilead’s Hepatitis C drug patent request
“…The application had been opposed by Indian generic drugmaker Natco Pharma Ltd and New York-based Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) on the grounds that the drug, chemically called sofosbuvir, is not inventive enough compared with a previous formulation, according to patent office order documents seen by Reuters on Wednesday…” (Chatterjee, 1/14).

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Severe Flooding Displaces Thousands, Destroys Crops In Mozambique, Malawi

Associated Press: 10 people killed, thousands displaced, in Mozambique floods
“…Mozambique’s government Monday issued a red alert for disaster readiness for the central and northern provinces. The government also urged people in low-lying areas to find shelter on higher ground…” (Camillo, 1/14).

The Guardian: Half of Malawi declared disaster zone after flooding
“The Malawi government has declared half the country a disaster zone and appealed for international humanitarian help after torrential rains killed at least 48 people, left 70,000 homeless, and destroyed bridges and roads…” (Jones, 1/14).

Reuters: Malawi floods kill at least 48, damage crops
“…Malawi’s Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned of heavy rainfall and flash floods for the next two to three weeks…” (Banda, 1/14).

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Dengue Fever Deaths Among Cambodian Children Down 64% In 2014

Xinhua: Dengue fever kills 21 Cambodian kids last year, down 64 pct
“At least 21 Cambodian children had been killed by dengue fever last year, a decrease of 64 percent from 59 deaths in 2013, [a] local newspaper reported Wednesday…” (1/15).

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Southern Nigerian State Records 20 Cholera Deaths, Many More Infections

Agence France-Presse: Cholera kills 20 in Nigeria
“A cholera outbreak in southern Nigeria’s Rivers State has killed 20 people and infected scores more, the state health commissioner, Sampson Parker, said Wednesday…” (1/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Communicating Data On Injectable Contraceptive Use, HIV Risk Needs 'Multi-Faceted Approach'

RH Reality Check: The Latest Study on Depo-Provera and HIV: Far More Complex Than Most Headlines Suggest
Emily Bass, program director at AVAC

“A newly published study by Lauren Ralph et al and an accompanying commentary in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases is stirring up questions about the relationship between Depo-Provera, and other progestogen-only injectable contraceptives, and the risk of HIV acquisition among HIV-negative women. … This study is a potent reminder that this issue needs all hands on deck to clarify what is known and unknown, and to help articulate that the way forward doesn’t hinge on one number, one trial, or one opinion. … It [needs] a multi-faceted approach to match the multi-faceted reality of women’s health needs — that may not fit in a headline, but it’s the honest truth and an urgent priority” (1/12).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

PEPFAR's Focus On Partnerships With Other Agencies Will Move World Forward On AIDS

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Fighting HIV: Time to Focus, Says Debbi Birx
Todd Summers, senior adviser at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, discusses a recent blog post by Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Deborah Birx on the PEPFAR 3.0 agenda. Summers outlines areas of focus for PEPFAR in its work with other organizations, including UNAIDS, the WHO, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (1/14).

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Blog Post Outlines Debate Over Commentary Blaming IMF For Weakening Health Systems In West Africa

Humanosphere: Wonks disagree over whether IMF contributed to Ebola crisis
Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy outlines recent debate among researchers and experts over a Lancet commentary “arguing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) helped to weaken health care in the West African countries struggling with Ebola.” He writes, “By the end, the debate found itself with three camps. One said the IMF is to blame, another says it is not, and a third saying yes and no. As with anything it appears the truth might be found in the middle of the extremes” (1/14).

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Health Systems Strengthening Must Be Part Of Development, Especially After Ebola, NGO Officer Says

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: In Sierra Leone, Life and Health Systems Grind to a Halt as Ebola Rages On
Margarite Nathe, senior editor/writer at IntraHealth International, interviews Mohamed Jallow, a grants officer with the organization, about the Ebola epidemic in his native country of Sierra Leone and the progress that’s been made in containing the disease there. “Ebola’s impact will extend beyond the obvious loss of life and effects on the health system. … Ebola has shown us that you can never neglect the health sector at the expense of development. They go hand-in-hand,” he said (1/14).

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Drug Resistance Lower Than Previously Thought Among People On PrEP, Study Shows

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: PrEP: Risk of resistance to antiretroviral drugs used to prevent infection is lower than thought, study finds
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses a study published in the January 13 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases showing that pre-exposure prophylaxis “poses lower risks of later resistance to the drugs than previously thought” (1/14).

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