KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New Ebola Death Confirmed In Sierra Leone 1 Day After WHO Declares End Of Outbreak

Agence France-Presse: Joy over Ebola victory crushed by Sierra Leone death
“The World Health Organization confirmed Friday a new death from Ebola in Sierra Leone just a day after West Africa celebrated the end of the outbreak…” (Johnson/Simon, 1/15).

Associated Press: New Ebola case emerges in Sierra Leone
“…Tests on a 22-year-old woman who died earlier this month in Sierra Leone’s north proved positive for the virus, Francis Langoba Kellie, spokesman for the Office of National Security, told a local radio program…” (Roy-Macaulay, 1/15).

BBC News: Ebola virus: New case emerges in Sierra Leone
“…The BBC’s Umaru Fofana in the capital Freetown said health officials were now urgently seeking those who had come into contact with the victim…” (1/15).

NPR: Sierra Leone Reports Ebola Death, 1 Day After Outbreak Declared Over
“… ‘The reality is this outbreak’s not over,’ Dr. William Fischer of the University of North Carolina told NPR back in November, after new Ebola cases had been reported in Liberia. ‘It’s just changed’…” (Chappell, 1/15).

Reuters: Sierra Leone Ebola victim exposed 27 others to disease: NGO report
“A woman who died of Ebola this week in Sierra Leone potentially exposed at least 27 other people to the disease, raising the possibility of further transmission as a regional epidemic appeared nearly over, according to an aid agency report…” (Fofana/McAllister, 1/15).

USA TODAY: New Ebola case confirmed in Sierra Leone
“…The WHO said it stressed in its statement declaring the outbreak over on Thursday that the virus could return in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone because it persists in survivors after they have recovered…” (Onyanga-Omara, 1/15).

Washington Post: New Ebola case confirmed in Sierra Leone, one day after the outbreak was declared over
“… ‘The Sierra Leone government acted rapidly to respond to this new case,’ the U.N. health agency said. ‘Through the country’s new emergency operations center, a joint team of local authorities, WHO, and partners are investigating the origin of the case, identifying contacts, and initiating control measures to prevent further transmission’…” (du Lac/Sieff, 1/15).

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News Outlets Examine Ebola Epidemic's Lessons, Mysteries, Response Failures

Nature: Spread of Ebola ends: 7 lessons from a devastating epidemic
“…The epidemic has been one of the worst international health disasters in history: unprecedented in its duration as well as the number of people it infected and killed. Here are seven lessons that health officials and the world at large have learned from the harrowing event…” (Hayden, 1/14).

NPR: 5 Mysteries About Ebola: From Bats To Eyeballs To Blood
“…We asked Dr. Daniel Bausch, an expert on Ebola who is now working with the World Health Organization, to list the top five mysteries researchers still need to clear up…” (Aizenman, 1/14).

SciDev.Net: Ebola over, but WHO failure pinned on politicians
“…Many involved in the crisis found the WHO’s response to the epidemic in West Africa inept, dysfunctional, even shambolic,’ writes Adam Kamradt-Scott, a health security researcher at the University of Sydney, Australia. But such bodies ‘are ultimately the creations of governments,’ and member states that limited the organization’s budgets and powers must share the blame, he adds in the paper published in the journal Third World Quarterly on 4 January…” (Rabesandratana, 1/15).

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UNICEF Confirms Malnutrition Among Children In Syria's Madaya; U.N. SG Warns Withholding Food Constitutes War Crime

The Guardian: Severe malnutrition confirmed among children in Madaya
“Cases of severe malnutrition have been confirmed among children in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, hours after the U.N. chief, Ban Ki-moon, described the use of starvation tactics in the civil conflict as a war crime…” (Shaheen, 1/15).

New York Times: In Syrian Town Cut Off From the World, Glimpses of Deprivation
“…After nearly five years of civil war in Syria, the United Nations estimates that 400,000 people are trapped behind battle lines by the government, the Islamic State, or rival insurgents…” (Barnard et al., 1/14).

New York Times: As Aid Reaches Syrians, U.N. Chief Says Withholding Food Is a War Crime
“… ‘Let me be clear: The use of food as a weapon of war is a war crime,’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday in a speech to the General Assembly. ‘All sides, including the Syrian government, which has the primary responsibility to protect Syrians, are committing atrocious acts prohibited under international humanitarian law’…” (Sengupta/Cumming-Bruce, 1/14).

Reuters: UNICEF confirms severe malnutrition in Syria’s besieged Madaya
“…Dozens of deaths from starvation have been reported by monitoring groups, local doctors, and local aid agencies from Madaya, which is besieged by Syrian pro-government forces. UNICEF said that out of 25 children under the age of five screened by its staff and the World Health Organization, 22 showed signs of ‘moderate to severe’ malnutrition…” (Davison/Perry, 1/15).

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The Lancet Examines Global Fund Tactic To Recover Misused Money From Countries Failing To Reimburse

The Lancet: Global Fund plays hard ball on corruption
“Called the approach of last resort, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has introduced a new measure that punishes countries for failing to reimburse money owed to the organization. The move involves deducting funds from new grants in an amount equivalent to double that which a country owes. Over the past year, the approach has been used in cases where it has been impossible for the Global Fund to recover misused money despite extensive efforts over several years…” (Usher, 1/16).

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Large Philanthropic Foundations Influencing Health, Development Agendas In Poor Nations, Report Says

The Guardian: Are Gates and Rockefeller using their influence to set agenda in poor states?
“…Using their immense wealth and influence with political and scientific elites, organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and others are promoting solutions to global problems that may undermine the U.N. and other international organizations, says the report by the independent Global Policy Forum, which monitors the work of U.N. bodies and global policymaking…” (Vidal, 1/15).

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WFP, Indian Government, Private Sector To Work Together To End Hunger By 2030

U.N. News Centre: U.N. food relief agency boosts efforts to end global hunger by 2030 with new partnerships in India
“The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is promoting agreements with the Indian government and business sector to boost nutrition in the world’s second most populous country, with 1.3 billion people, a vital step in eradicating global hunger by 2030…” (1/14).

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Number Of U.S. Girls, Women At Risk Of FGM Increases Threefold, Study Shows

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.S. girls, women at risk of genital mutilation has tripled: study
“More than half a million women and girls in the United States live at risk of female genital mutilation, a threefold increase in recent years due to the rise in immigrants from countries where it is practiced, a government study said on Thursday. … The report said the estimated 513,000 women and girls at risk were born or have a parent born in a nation where female cutting is a tradition…” (Wulfhorst, 1/14).

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Stigma Complicates HIV Prevention, Treatment Efforts In Papua New Guinea

The Lancet: In Papua New Guinea, HIV/AIDS-related stigma is still rife
“Living with HIV in Papua New Guinea is liable to mean a life on the streets, abandoned by those closest to you. For Margaret Anton, an activist with AIDS support group Igat Hope based in the capital, Port Moresby, it is all too personal a story…” (McCall, 1/16).

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Mass Distribution Of Ivermectin Helping To Prevent, Treat River Blindness In Ghana

NPR: What A Difference A Drug Makes In The Fight Against River Blindness
“…[O]ver the past three decades, much of the world has made steady progress against the debilitating condition. And much of the credit for that progress is linked to ministries of health introducing the drug ivermectin. Mass distributions of ivermectin tablets have sent onchocerciasis rates plummeting. The village of Beposo 2 in central Ghana is one of those places…” (Beaubien, 1/15).

NPR: The Farmer And Fisherman Who Lost His Sight To River Blindness
“…[60-year-old Emmanuel Kwame, who’s completely blind,] is well aware his life would have been very different if these drugs had come earlier. He says the worst thing about onchocerciasis was that it hit him when he was in his 20s and robbed him of the chance to marry…” (Beaubien, 1/14).

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Number Of Thailand's Dengue Cases Could Increase This Year, Researcher Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Spike in dengue cases expected in Thailand in 2016, expert says
“…In Thailand, the 2016 caseload may be on par with the last big outbreak in 1987, when there were about 170,000 cases, said Dr. Usa Thisyakorn, professor of pediatrics at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and chairwoman of Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA)…” (Tang, 1/14).

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Devex Examines Outdoor Equipment Company's Evolution Into Global Health Innovation

Devex: How a partnership led an outdoor equipment company to start a new division
“When Mountain Safety Research, an outdoor equipment manufacturer, donated gear following the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, the team started to ask whether some of its products might be adapted to meet the needs of remote villages. A deep partnership with PATH, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on global health innovation, evolved over time and eventually led MSR to launch a global health division last May. The launch of MSR Global Health coincided with the release of its debut product, a chlorine device now being piloted in Kenya and Mali…” (Cheney, 1/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Accountability, Transparency, 'Greater Government Commitment' Needed To Achieve Global Vaccination Targets

Huffington Post: A Reality Check On the Global Vaccination Program
Utibe Effiong, physician, New Voices fellow at the Aspen Institute, and research scientist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health

“…[The 2015 Strategic Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE)] report rightly focuses on leadership and … accountability systems as two investment areas that can take the [Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP)] forward. But I believe that the factors highlighted in earlier SAGE reports — data quality, community involvement, and vaccine supply — are still important to meet vaccination targets in countries like Nigeria. … The challenges to improving health care quality, including information and communication technologies, need to be addressed with legislation, better standards, greater investment, and new infrastructure. … Accountability and transparency at all levels of the vaccine procurement and distribution mechanism will help ensure the right vaccines are available at the right time and place. The GVAP goal of freeing all children from vaccine-preventable diseases is an ambitious one. … With greater government commitment, it can be hoped that this lofty goal will soon become an achievement for all of humanity” (1/14).

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National Obesity Strategies Must Go Beyond Sugar Taxes

The Lancet: Obesity: we need to move beyond sugar
Editorial Board

“…Obesity has been on the public health agenda for more than a decade in many countries with little effect. … [A]lthough national obesity strategies are welcome and much needed, they need to be comprehensive by involving all relevant government departments and also covering both prevention and treatment. … Any national strategy should have clear guidance on treatment of established overweight and obesity. … Obesity needs much more serious attention than countries and global health organizations are currently prepared to give. The goal of sugar reduction by introducing a sugar tax is a small step in the right direction. Nevertheless, it should not distract us from the need for far deeper and broader measures” (1/16).

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The Lancet Examines China's Health Reform Challenges

The Lancet: Child health in China: great progress but challenges ahead
Editorial Board

“…Progress has been unprecedentedly astonishing for child survival in China, but so have been the existing and emerging challenges for child health. Huge disparities in child health remain pervasive in China. … Furthermore, China is short of at least 200,000 pediatricians because of the relatively low pay and low status of pediatricians but high pressure from pushy parents. … Additionally, children are uniquely vulnerable to environmental hazards, and children in China are exposed to a wide array of environmental threats … Having achieved spectacular results with child survival, China now needs to focus on child and adolescent health. Health inequality, the crisis of pediatricians, and the serious polluted environment in China urgently need to be addressed to secure the future of the next generation as health care reforms progress” (1/16).

The Lancet: Offline: Health — the Chinese dream
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…[C]lose observers are anxious that China’s health reforms have stalled. This week, the Government of China convened a forum of international advisers to discuss urgent challenges facing the country. Health was a prominent concern. … What to do? … First, continue to deepen health reform to build a resilient, equitable, and learning health system. … Second, prioritize primary care. … Third, take the quality of care delivered by the health system far more seriously. … Fourth, upgrade public health systems by establishing independently chaired national strategy boards to review and report on actions across major areas of public health — notably, tobacco control, overweight and obesity, environmental health, mental health, and road injuries. Fifth, re-engineer the health workforce, the biggest obstacle to health reform. Finally, seize the opportunity of global health: define and finance a global health strategy for China and identify health as a key foreign policy objective for the government as part of its ‘go-global’ initiative…” (1/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post, Statement Discuss End Of West Africa's Ebola Outbreak, Impacts On Health Care Systems, Workers

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Ebola: Known chains of transmission ended, leaving changed health landscape
Antigone Barton, senior writer and editor of “Science Speaks,” discusses the WHO’s declaration of the end of all known Ebola transmission chains in West Africa, highlighting comments made by WHO representatives at a press conference where the news was announced (1/14).

Frontline Health Workers Coalition: Statement: Continued focus needed on heroic frontline health workers as Ebola recovery begins in West Africa
“Frontline Health Workers Coalition (FHWC) Director Vince Blaser issued the following reaction to the World Health Organization’s declaration [on Thursday] that all known chains of Ebola transmission have been stopped in West Africa: ‘WHO’s announcement is excellent news for all who have been involved in the fight to end this epidemic, especially for the communities in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone who have faced immeasurable hardships and heartbreak from this virus. Frontline health workers have rightly been widely recognized for their heroic actions and central role in getting all three countries to zero’…” (1/14).

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Transactional Sex, Other Factors In Malawi Threaten Country's HIV Response

Key Correspondents Reporting for Action on HIV: Harmful cultural practices resurface and threaten Malawi’s HIV response
Joseph Ganthu, volunteer reporter for the Network of Journalists Living with HIV, discusses the prevalence and implications of certain practices in Malawi, including the practice of transactional sex, that are impacting the country’s national HIV response (1/14).

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