KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Fewer Reported Ebola Cases In West Africa Signals Turning Point In Epidemic, But Disease Not Yet Contained, U.N. Says

Agence France-Presse: U.N. warns Ebola epidemic ‘not yet contained’
“The Ebola epidemic is decreasing but is still present in a third of the areas of the three worst affected West African nations, U.N. Ebola coordinator David Nabarro warned Thursday…” (Lebhour, 1/29).

Agence France-Presse: World’s largest Ebola unit dismantled as outbreak retreats
“A potent symbol of the nightmare enveloping West Africa at the height of the Ebola outbreak, the ELWA-3 treatment center is being dismantled and incinerated bit by bit as the region emerges from catastrophe. … [Duncan Bell, field coordinator in Liberia for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),] said the downsizing of ELWA-3’s capacity went hand in hand with a reduction in workers on the ground…” (Dosso, 1/28).

Reuters: Weekly Ebola cases below 100, WHO says endgame begins
“The number of new confirmed Ebola cases totaled 99 in the week to Jan. 25, the lowest tally since June 2014, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, signaling the tide might have turned against the epidemic. … The outbreak has killed 8,810 people out of 22,092 cases, almost all of them in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea…” (Miles, 1/29).

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A.U. Leaders To Discuss Ebola, Preparations For Future Disease Outbreaks

Agence France-Presse: African Union vows Ebola fund as Oxfam calls for ‘Marshall Plan’
“The African Union plans to launch an Ebola fund and disease control center, officials said Wednesday, as aid agency Oxfam warned leaders needed to keep their promises to boost health care systems on the continent…” (1/28).

Devex: Post-Ebola, A.U. plans pan-African CDC
“The African Union will announce the launch of its Ebola Solidarity Fund on Friday during the A.U. summit in Addis Ababa, a first step toward its goal of establishing an African center for disease control by mid-2015…” (Anders, 1/29).

VOA News: A.U. Summit to Discuss Lessons, Stigma of Ebola
“…A.U. assembly members are due to discuss two reports related to the Ebola crisis during the summit. A.U. Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha told reporters the outbreak seemed to be waning, but regional leaders wanted to be prepared for the next possible health crisis…” (Joselow, 1/28).

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Experimental Ebola Vaccine Safe, Elicits Immune Response, Researchers Say

Agence France-Presse: Ebola vaccine is safe, researchers say
“Preliminary results from a clinical trial on an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the U.S. National Institutes of Health suggest it is safe for use, researchers said Wednesday…” (1/28).

Press Association/The Guardian: Cautious optimism follows results from trials of early Ebola vaccine
“…Although the primary goal of the trial was to assess safety, scientists also measured immune responses to Ebola seen in the participants. The vaccine was found to generate immunity with levels of antibodies increasing over a period of 28 days. But independent experts said it did not perform as well as they would have liked…” (1/28).

Reuters: Trial finds GSK Ebola shot is safe and provokes immune response
“…The data, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were from 60 healthy volunteers given the vaccine in Britain between Sept. 17 and Nov. 18 last year…” (Kelland, 1/28).

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UNICEF Appeals For Record $3.1B To Help Children In Humanitarian Emergencies

Thomson Reuters Foundation: UNICEF makes record appeal to help 60 million children in crisis
“The U.N. Children’s Fund launched a record $3.1 billion appeal on Thursday to enable it to help children caught up in a ‘new generation’ of conflicts and disasters round the world, $1 billion more than it sought in 2014…” (Mis, 1/29).

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Summit Attendees Consider U.N. Plan For Food Security In Latin America, Caribbean Region

U.N. News Centre: Caribbean and Latin American Summit take up U.N. agency anti-hunger plan
“…FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva presented on Tuesday the new regional Plan for Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication by 2025 at summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) [taking place this week] in San José, Costa Rica…” (1/28).

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Experts Debate Role Of Public-Private Partnerships In Vaccine, Drug Development

GroundTruth Project/GlobalPost: In Ebola response, Big Pharma and public sector strive to make up for lost time
“…The delayed response [to Ebola] is an example of the diverging interests of public and private sectors when it comes to addressing a public health crisis, say experts from both sides. … Still, some experts question whether the public-private partnership model will be successful in making a vaccine available to the poorest populations. They caution that when private companies get involved in public health, profit motives could dictate who ultimately benefits from the drugs…” (Murray, 1/29).

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El Salvador's Pardon Of Woman Imprisoned For Miscarriage Should Prompt Review Of Similar Cases, U.N. Says

U.N. News Centre: El Salvador’s pardon for woman jailed for miscarriage should pave way for review of similar sentences — U.N. experts
“The decision by El Salvador to pardon a woman convicted of aggravated homicide after suffering a miscarriage must ‘mark a turning point’ for the authorities to review the sentences against all women jailed for pregnancy-related complications, a group of United Nations human rights experts said [Wednesday]…” (1/28).

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Asia-Pacific Must Change Laws, Attitudes To Support Key Populations To End AIDS, U.N. Says

Reuters: Asia needs more cash, campaigns, law changes to end HIV epidemic: U.N.
“The Asia-Pacific region will not meet the goal of ending the HIV epidemic in 15 years unless it changes laws and attitudes hostile to people living with HIV, the head of the United Nations agency on AIDS said on Wednesday…” (Win, 1/28).

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Drug Users, Others Left With Few Health Care Options In War-Torn East Ukraine

Inter Press Service: Marginalized Groups Struggle to Access Health Care in Conflict-Torn East Ukraine
“With international organizations warning that East Ukraine is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe as its health system collapses, marginalized groups are among those facing the greatest struggle to access even basic health care in the war-torn region. … These have included opioid substitution therapy (OST) programs available to drug users across the country…” (Stracansky, 1/28).

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U.N. Cites Challenges Reaching Syrians In Need Of Aid, Says Polio Vaccination Efforts Successful

Agence France-Presse: U.N. aid effort struggling to reach millions in Syria
“…As the war heads toward a fifth year, some 4.8 million Syrians or around 40 percent of the total 12.2 million people in need of help are difficult to reach, said Assistant Secretary-General for aid Kang Kyung-wha…” (1/28).

Reuters: Polio immunization rate in Syria close to pre-war level — WHO
“The proportion of infants immunized against polio in Syria is close to pre-war levels thanks to a vaccination drive triggered by a rare outbreak of the disease, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said…” (Westall, 1/28).

U.N. News Centre: Lack of funding hampering humanitarian aid to war-affected Syrians — U.N. relief official
“…Ms. Kang said the Syria response is now contained in a single plan and appeal, inclusive of assistance both from within the country and through cross-border operations, adding that the response to people inside Syria will require $2.9 billion this year to assist the 7.6 million people displaced within the country, and the 3.8 million refugees…” (1/28).

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Editorials and Opinions

International Community Must Create Broader Support System For Syrian Refugees, Find Road To Peace

New York Times: A New Level of Refugee Suffering
Angelina Jolie, filmmaker, special envoy of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative

“…Syria’s neighbors have taken in nearly four million Syrian refugees, but they are reaching their limits. … They need food, shelter, education, health care, and work. … Much more assistance must be found to help Syria’s neighbors bear the unsustainable burden of millions of refugees. The United Nations’ humanitarian appeals are significantly underfunded. Countries outside the region should offer sanctuary to the most vulnerable refugees in need of resettlement — for example, those who have experienced rape or torture. And above all, the international community as a whole has to find a path to a peace settlement…” (1/27).

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Management Of Global Health Workforce Vital To Strengthening Health Systems, Preparing For Outbreaks

Devex: How migration affects health workforce management
Linda Mans, senior global health advocate on Human Resources for Health project at Wemos, and Sascha Marschang, policy manager for health systems at the European Public Health Alliance

“…It is a universal responsibility to address future [infectious disease] outbreaks, given that we live in an increased interdependent world. This presupposes a prioritization of policy coherence for development, including the sustainable management of health workforce migration at a global level. … The E.U. and its 28 member states should ensure that 50 percent of aid for health is directed toward strengthening health systems, with 25 percent impacting directly on health workforce training and retention — as recommended by WHO — by channeling funds through national health plans and related health workforce strategies…” (1/28).

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Providing Women With Menstrual Products Can Advance Rights, Reproductive Justice

New York Times: Helping Women and Girls. Period.
Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, director of special projects and deputy director of development for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

“…Around the globe, managing menstruation can be a debilitating, even deadly, problem — fueled by a combination of poverty, misinformation, stigma, and superstition. … When it comes to advancing women’s rights and choices, and defining what it means to embrace a proactive reproductive justice agenda, tampon drives are a remarkably easy but infinitely meaningful way to help women take charge, and take care, of their bodies and their lives” (1/28).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.S. State Department Appoints Special Coordinator For Post-2015 Development Agenda

U.S. Department of State: Announcement of Special Coordinator for the Post-2015 Development Agenda
“The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce the appointment of Tony Pipa as Special Coordinator for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Mr. Pipa will lead U.S. engagement and negotiations during the intergovernmental process at the United Nations, where the global community will work to define — and agree upon — an ambitious agenda on sustainable development for decades to come…” (1/28).

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USAID's DART Team Faced Logistical Challenges In Ebola Response

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Anatomy of a Logistics Operation: How USAID is Equipping Ebola Fighters on the Frontlines
Carol Han, press officer for USAID’s Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), discusses the logistical challenges and complex coordination DART members faced in responding to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa (1/28).

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USAID Report Addresses Maternity Care, Midwives' Working Conditions

IntraHealth International’s “Vital”: USAID Tackles Respectful Maternity Care, Better Working Conditions for Midwives
Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, discusses a new report from USAID, a follow-up to its June 2014 report titled “Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality: USAID Maternal Health Vision for Action.” She writes, “We are particularly pleased to see that in addition to quality maternal health care in the new USAID report, there is a commitment to respectful maternity care and better working conditions for midwives…” (1/28).

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Questions Remain Whether WHO Reform Politically, Bureaucratically Feasible

Chatham House: Devil in the Detail for WHO’s Ebola Resolution
Charles Clift, senior consulting fellow at the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, discusses the resolution recently passed by the WHO Executive Board. “…It is very much open to question whether a strategy which seeks to centralize the WHO’s emergency operations, while leaving undisturbed WHO’s ‘normal’ decentralized governance structure, is feasible either bureaucratically or politically…” (1/28).

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Blog Post Discusses Family Planning Programs In India, Pakistan

Global Health TV: Family Planning in India and Pakistan: Trying to Pick Up the Pace of Change
David Olson, a global development communications consultant, discusses challenges to and progress made in family planning in India and Pakistan, highlighting two DKT International programs (1/27).

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