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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

President Obama Commends U.S. Progress On Ebola During State Of The Union Address

The Hill: Obama touts progress against Ebola
“President Obama said [in his State of the Union address] the United States has made progress fighting Ebola in West Africa and thanked Congress for delivering emergency funds for the effort. … At the same time, Obama called on Congress to support his forthcoming budget and its investments in global health infrastructure…” (Viebeck, 1/20).

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Progress Being Made Against Ebola But Vigilance Must Remain High, U.N. Says

Associated Press: U.N. says despite progress fight against Ebola is far from won
“Close to 1,000 new cases of Ebola were recorded in the last three weeks despite progress in combating the deadly disease and ‘the fight is far from won,’ the U.N. mission chief in West Africa said Tuesday…” (Lederer, 1/20).

GlobalPost: Is this the beginning of the end for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa?
“…Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, warned in a briefing paper last month that ‘the hotspots are constantly moving,’ and called for flexibility in the international aid response to the crisis…” (Conway-Smith, 1/20).

U.N. News Centre: ‘No room for complacency’ U.N. says, urging vigilance in Ebola fight as West Africa marks progress
“…Delivering remarks to an informal U.N. General Assembly meeting on Ebola [Tuesday], the Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon] told a host of delegates and U.N. senior officials that his recent trip to West Africa convinced him that defeating the outbreak is ultimately possible but that the challenge remains in prevailing quickly and in minimizing overall suffering. This, he added, would demand ‘collective determination and clarity of focus’ by all international actors and national stakeholders…” (1/20).

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World Bank Lowers Estimate Of Ebola's Economic Impact On Affected, Surrounding African Nations

News services discuss a new report from the World Bank estimating the economic impact of Ebola on sub-Saharan African nations’ economies.

CIDRAP News: World Bank scales back Ebola region’s financial loss estimate
“…The World Bank’s most recent assessment comes on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In its latest estimate, the group predicted that the economic fallout from the Ebola outbreak on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will total $1.6 billion in lost growth in 2015, much lower than the $25 billion in losses that it projected in early October…” (Schnirring, 1/20).

Reuters: Economic impact of Ebola less severe than first thought: World Bank
“…The GDP impact on countries beyond the three directly affected — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — is now estimated at $500 million as governments make progress in fighting the disease…” (Farge, 1/20).

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U.N.'s Ban Appoints Eric Goosby As New TB Special Envoy

U.N. News Centre: U.N. chief appoints new Special Envoy in move to end Tuberculosis
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Eric Goosby of the United States as his new Special Envoy on Tuberculosis (TB), the U.N. Spokesperson’s office announced [Tuesday]. According to a press release, Dr. Goosby will work towards boosting the profile of the fight against TB and promoting the adoption, financing, and implementation of the U.N. World Health Organization’s (WHO) global End TB Strategy after 2015…” (1/20).

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U.N. Scales Up Relief Efforts To Flood-Affected African Nations; At Least 180 Dead In Malawi

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agencies ramp up aid efforts to flood-hit Southern Africa countries
“With Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar continuing to face torrential rains and worsening floods, United Nations agencies are scaling up relief efforts to assist those affected and displaced in the southern African countries…” (1/20).

Wall Street Journal: Malawi Floods Kill More Than 180
“The number of fatalities from flooding in Malawi rose to more than 180 and around 150 villagers remain missing, as torrential rains continue to disrupt search-and-rescue operations, officials said Saturday…” (Bariyo, 1/17).

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Lack Of Fresh Water Poses Top Global Threat, Not Enough Being Done To Mitigate Risks, WEF Report Says

SciDev.Net: Water crises seen as a top threat in next decade
“Pressure on fresh water resources may be the main global threat in the next decade, but the world is failing to mitigate the risk and avoid a crisis, according to a survey of leaders from business, government, universities, international organizations, and NGOs by non-profit foundation the World Economic Forum (WEF)…” (Del Bello, 1/20).

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OST Banned In Crimea, Ukraine, Putting Drug Users At Increased Risk for HIV, U.N. Envoy Says

Agence France-Presse: AIDS crisis brewing in Crimea and east Ukraine says U.N.
“A lethal health crisis is brewing in Russian-annexed Crimea and war-torn eastern Ukraine, where injecting drug users have lost access to therapy to wean them off heroin, the U.N.’s AIDS envoy said Wednesday…” (Ingham, 1/21).

The Guardian: Ukrainian drug addicts dying due to treatment ban, says U.N.
“As many as 100 drug users in Crimea may have died since the peninsula was annexed by Russia, according to a top U.N. official, due to the fact that the ‘substitution therapy’ they were receiving from Ukrainian authorities [is] illegal under Russian law. Of 800 Crimean users who were on programs using methadone or Buprenorphine, experts believe at least 10 percent have died, according to Michel Kazatchkine, the U.N.’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in the region…” (Walker, 1/20).

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Nigeria Closes In On 6 Months Without Recording New Polio Case, Receives $8.1M To Eradicate Disease

Agence France-Presse: Nigeria nearing six months without single polio case
“Nigeria was on Tuesday awarded $8.1 million in funding for a final push to eradicate polio, as it nears six months without a case of the disease. Rotary International, which is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to wipe out the virus, said the money would go towards vaccination, research, and surveillance programs…” (1/20).

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Chinese Health Officials Say Country's Gender Imbalance 'Serious,' Implicating One-Child Policy

Reuters: China says its gender imbalance ‘most serious’ in the world
“Chinese health authorities on Wednesday described the gender imbalance among newborns as ‘the most serious and prolonged’ in the world, a direct ramification of the country’s strict one-child policy. The statement will add to growing calls for the government to scrap all family planning restrictions in the world’s most populous nation, which many scholars say faces a demographic crisis…” (Wee, 1/21).

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Sri Lankan Health Ministry Prioritizes Chronic Kidney Disease With Unknown Cause

Associated Press: Mystery kidney killer spreads fear in Sri Lanka
“…The [mysterious kidney] disease [in Sri Lanka’s rice-growing region] has killed up to 20,000 people over the past 20 years and sickened another 70,000 to 400,000. … No cases have been detected elsewhere in the country, and research has failed to determine the cause…” (Mason, 1/18).

Associated Press: New Sri Lankan health minister vows to help kidney patients
“Sri Lanka’s new health minister said a mystery kidney disease that has ravaged farmers in part of the country for two decades will be given top priority under the newly elected government…” (Mallawarachi, 1/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

True Sustainable Development Impossible Without Improving Women's Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights

The Guardian: Sustainable development is only possible if women’s health is prioritized
Ann M. Starrs, president and chief executive of the Guttmacher Institute

“…In the months ahead, government negotiators and civil society will grapple with many competing priorities as they try to reach a consensus on a new global development agenda. And, undoubtedly, socially conservative countries and activists who are hostile to sexual and reproductive health rights will lobby against addressing these issues in the final goals. But these core principles must not be compromised or negotiated away. U.N. delegates need to pay attention to the evidence that clearly establishes how investing in sexual and reproductive health benefits women, their families, their communities, and their nations. If they don’t, half of humanity will continue to lag behind and true sustainable development will be impossible to achieve” (1/21).

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2015 Development Summits Aim To Eradicate Extreme Poverty, Address Inequality, Climate Stability

The Guardian: This year’s development summits have many mountains to climb
Kevin Watkins, director of the Overseas Development Institute

“Welcome to the mother of all years for summits on international development. … The central goal of the summits is to chart a course towards the eradication of extreme poverty, more equitable globalization, and climate stability. … Achieving a successful outcome in 2015 will not be easy. We do not live in the best of times for international cooperation. Yet the summits provide an opportunity to build the coalitions needed to address some of the defining challenge of our day — and to restore the credibility of multilateralism” (1/20).

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Bureaucratic Delays Keep India's Vulnerable From Receiving Life-Saving TB Treatment

Wall Street Journal: Inside India: The Deadly Effects of Red Tape
Getta Anand, senior writer for the Wall Street Journal based in Mumbai

“Red tape and over-regulation can kill. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi fights to loosen bureaucrats’ stifling grip on the economy, he also needs to ease Indians’ access to life-saving drugs. India for years has struggled to contain an epidemic of tuberculosis — especially the drug-resistant strains of this deadly and contagious disease. … We need to remove the bureaucratic hurdles that keep India’s most vulnerable from getting the care they need. ‘For infectious diseases where people are dying and existing treatment options are intolerable and failing, faster action rather than more delays are what’s needed,’ says Soumya Swaminathan, director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis” (1/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Congress Should Fix FDA Neglected Disease Drug Voucher Program's Flaws

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: FDA Voucher for Leishmaniasis Treatment: Can Both Patients and Companies Win?
Bernard Pécoul, executive director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), and Manica Balasegaram, executive director of the MSF Access Campaign, discuss how flaws in the FDA Priority Review Voucher (PRV) program have rewarded companies without consideration to patient access to treatments for neglected diseases and they call on Congress to “fix the PRV so that it truly incentivizes R&D, and does not simply reward the registration of an existing drug” (1/20).

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Blog Post Highlights Recent News About West African Ebola Epidemic

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Ebola: Too little, too late, lost lessons from the recent past, too much too late … We’re reading chronicles and updates from West Africa
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, highlights a discussion about Ebola with CDC Director Tom Frieden that took place last week at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C.; a New Yorker piece on the epidemic in Liberia and Sierra Leone; a WHO series of reports on the past year of the epidemic; and a recent Washington Post article on U.S. and international efforts to stem the epidemic (1/20).

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