KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

More Than 8,100 Ebola Deaths Recorded In West Africa; Sierra Leone Reports Largest Increase, WHO Says

Associated Press: U.N.: Ebola kills 8,153 people in West Africa, infects 20,650
“The World Health Organization says at least 8,153 people have died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Geneva-based body said Monday that the total number of confirmed, probable, and suspected deaths from the disease comes from 20,656 cases in the three most affected countries — a mortality rate of 39 percent…” (1/5).

CIDRAP: Ebola deaths top 8,000; exposures trigger health worker evacuations
“As deaths in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak officially topped 8,000 over the weekend, leadership of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) changed hands, and Guinea launched a new effort to battle the disease amid continuing reports of community resistance…” (Schnirring, 1/5).

Reuters: Ebola deaths top 8,000 in worst-hit West Africa: WHO
“…Sierra Leone recorded the biggest rise in fatalities, with 88 since the previous figures were issued on Jan. 2” (Nebehay, 1/5).

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WHO Calls For Tripling Of Epidemiologists For Ebola Efforts

VOA News: Battling Ebola with Data
“The World Health Organization recently called for 900 more epidemiologists to join the battle against Ebola in West Africa. That’s triple the current number. Epidemiologists study the patterns of disease outbreaks to determine how they spread and where they may go next…” (DeCapua, 1/5).

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#ISurvivedEbola Campaign Allows Ebola Survivors To Share Stories, Address Stigma

Reuters: Ebola survivors in West Africa to share stories via mobile app, to help fight stigma
“Ebola survivors in the three West African countries worst hit by the epidemic will share their stories through a mobile application to be launched on Monday, in a UNICEF-backed campaign to inform and fight stigma around the disease…” (1/5).

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J&J Begins Human Trials Of Experimental Ebola Vaccine

Bloomberg News: J&J Injects First Volunteer in Race to Make Ebola Vaccine
“Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) started a trial of its experimental Ebola vaccine in the U.K. and said it will produce two million courses of the shot this year…” (Bennett, 1/6).

Reuters: J&J, Bavarian Nordic start clinical tests in Ebola vaccine race
“…The initiation of the Phase I study in Britain, which had been expected about now, marks further progress in the race to develop a vaccine against a disease that has killed more than 8,000 people in West Africa since last year…” (Hirschler, 1/6).

Wall Street Journal: J&J Begins Human Testing of Ebola-Virus Vaccine
“…J&J said some volunteers have already received their initial vaccine dose, and enrollment is expected to wrap up by the end of the month. The early-stage clinical trial is being led by the University of Oxford’s pediatrics department…” (Dulaney, 1/6).

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African Nations Receiving U.S. HIV/AIDS Funding Could Spend More Of Their Own Money To Address Disease, Study Says

New York Times: African Nations Can Help More on AIDS, Study Says
“The 12 African countries that receive most of the American taxpayer dollars spent fighting AIDS could do much more to pay their own way, according to a new study. … The study, by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Results for Development Institute in Washington, was published in the January issue of The Lancet Global Health and paid for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…” (McNeil, 1/5).

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Devex Discusses How Stalled Foreign Aid Bills Might Fare In 114th U.S. Congress

Devex: Can 2014’s aid legislative losers make a comeback in the 114th Congress?
“…The new, Republican-dominated Congress could present new challenges — and some unexpected boons — for bills that pertain to foreign aid. … [Devex] compiled a list of aid legislation that stalled in 2014 and considered the bills’ respective chances at making a comeback. Here’s a look at the past, present, and future of aid legislation in the U.S. Congress as we enter a season of cautious optimism in Washington, D.C. …” (Anders, 1/5).

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Devex Examines Roles Of NGOs, Private Companies In Promoting Food Security

Devex: How companies and NGOs can work together to tackle food security
“…Toward the end of last year, Devex Impact caught up separately with John Mendesh, General Mills’ vice president of research and development, and Brent Wibberley, director of PFS programs at TechnoServe, to talk to them about the private sector’s role in furthering agricultural productivity and nutritious foods. The two organizations partner closely on Partners in Food Solutions, a nonprofit organization which taps the business expertise of companies like General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM, and Bühler to help improve the capacity of small food processors in the developing world…” (Saldinger, 1/5).

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GHIT Fund Helping Pharmaceutical Companies To Develop NTD Treatments

Japan Times: Japanese drugmakers addressing neglected tropical diseases, and not just out of altruism
“…A total of one billion people are currently infected with NTDs, a major obstacle to development in poorer countries. To address the problem, the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund, a Japan-initiated organization, assists in the development of new drugs. … It has subsidized 30 new drug development programs, with six of them now in the clinical trial stage…” (1/6).

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Some Ugandan MPs Continue Efforts To Criminalize Homosexuality Despite Previous Law Being Annulled

The Guardian: Gay Ugandans face new threat from anti-homosexuality law
“…Despite being annulled by the country’s constitutional court on a technicality last summer, MPs haven’t given up on attempts to further criminalize homosexuality. According to a leaked draft, a new law is in the making. … It not only curbs acts of homosexuality, but also the ‘promotion’ of it…” (Houttuin, 1/6).

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Number Of HIV Infections Surpasses 200 In Cambodian Village

Radio Free Asia: Number of Cambodian Villagers Infected With HIV Rises to More than 200
“The number of people infected with HIV in a remote village in western Cambodia’s Battambang province has risen to more than 200, including poor farmers who are saddled with loans, local officials said…” (1/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

'U.S. Foreign Assistance Must Remain Strong' To Continue Progress In Health, Development

Roll Call: From Aid to Impact: Supporting U.S. Foreign Assistance
Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), Kay Granger (R-Texas), and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)

“…Even with significant strains on the federal budget, [U.S.] foreign assistance must remain strong. The international affairs budget supports programs with low-cost interventions that generate high-impact results, saving lives in the fight against disease, poverty, and hunger. It also offers a small price for a big return, as the foreign aid budget only represents one percent of the federal budget. We must continue to financially support the United States’ foreign assistance programs, for it is a smart investment for our global stability and one we look forward to championing together in the 114th Congress” (1/6).

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U.S. TB Funding Should Reflect Global Threat Posed By Drug-Resistant Strains

New York Times: Losing the Fight Against Tuberculosis
Patrick Adams, freelance journalist

“…Americans can no longer afford to be indifferent to the rise of drug-resistant tuberculosis. … At least in the short term, poor countries need the specialized expertise only America can provide. When the president’s budget requests for the next fiscal year are released, they should reflect the reality that if drug-resistant tuberculosis is allowed to flourish in faraway slums, it will most certainly return to haunt us — and at potentially great cost” (1/5).

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Providing Basic Public Health Measures Will Save More Lives Than Fighting Terrorism

Bloomberg Businessweek: Fighting Disease, Not Terrorism, Will Save More Lives in 2015
Charles Kenny, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development

“…If we dealt with the major causes of tragically early death with the same urgency we devote to combating terrorism, we could see even more progress in 2015 and the years that follow. … The past 12 years suggests how rapidly we can make progress if we focus on the biggest causes of tragically premature deaths worldwide — first among which are infectious diseases. … It isn’t about drones or cruise missiles; it’s about the provision of the most basic public health measures…” (1/5).

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'Basic Health Care For All' Achievable, Even In Poorer Nations

The Guardian: Universal health care: the affordable dream
Amartya Sen, professor at Harvard University and a Nobel prize-winning economist

“…[A] number of poor countries have shown, through their pioneering public policies, that basic health care for all can be provided at a remarkably good level at very low cost if the society, including the political and intellectual leadership, can get its act together. There are many examples of such success across the world. None of these individual examples are flawless and each country can learn from the experiences of others. Nevertheless, the lessons that can be derived from these pioneering departures provide a solid basis for the presumption that, in general, the provision of universal health care is an achievable goal even in the poorer countries…” (1/6).

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Sierra Leone, Other Ebola-Hit Nations Need Assistance From Wealthy Nations To Recover

The Guardian: Sierra Leone was recovering but Ebola has changed everything
Tamsin Evans, freelance writer based in Freetown

“…Even when the Ebola outbreak is over, its wider effects are going to be felt for a long time. A whole generation is out of education. Investors have left. The stigma from the civil war has been replaced by Ebola, and will be lasting. The health care system has been brought to its knees. … Still people say: ‘Salone e tranga, wi go try fo kick di Ebola, wi go tinap back’ — Sierra Leone is strong, we will try to get rid of Ebola, we will stand up again. To do this Sierra Leone, and all Ebola-hit nations, need the wealthy countries of the world to stand with them. If there are any small mercies, perhaps it’s that the Ebola outbreak has brought the struggling health care system here to the world’s attention…” (1/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Provision Of Electricity, Energy Vital To Africa's Continued Economic Growth

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Don’t Let Ebola Obscure Africa’s Larger Promise and Challenges
Elizabeth Littlefield, president and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, discusses Africa’s economic growth and the importance of electricity and energy development in continuing progress (1/5).

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