KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Ebola Outbreak Continues To Spread In West Africa

News outlets report on the worsening Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has killed at least 660 people and infected more than 1,000.

Agence France-Presse: West Africa Ebola death toll reaches 660: WHO
“The death toll in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak has risen to 660, with the number of cases surpassing 1,000, the World Health Organization said Friday…” (7/25).

Agence France-Presse: U.S. monitoring Ebola outbreak, aiding bid to stop spread
“U.S. officials are closely monitoring the outbreak of deadly Ebola virus which has now reached Nigeria, and is working with governments and aid groups to try to stop the spread…” (7/26).

Agence France-Presse: Two Americans, Freetown resident latest Ebola victims
“Alarm soared in West Africa Monday over the deadliest Ebola virus outbreak yet, with an American doctor and a missionary contracting the disease in Liberia and the death of the first victim from Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown…” (Sylla, 7/28).

Associated Press: Ebola kills Liberian doctor, 2 Americans infected
“One of Liberia’s most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, officials said Sunday, and an American physician was being treated for the deadly virus, highlighting the risks facing health workers trying to combat an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people in West Africa — the largest ever recorded…” (Paye-Layleh, 7/27).

Reuters: U.S. doctor contracts Ebola in Liberia
“A 33-year-old American doctor working for a relief organization in Liberia’s capital has tested positive for the tropical disease Ebola, according to a statement from Samaritan’s Purse…” (Farge, 7/26).

ABC News: American Doctor With Ebola Described as ‘Meticulous,’ ‘Strong Individual’
“Dr. Kent Brantly may be fighting a deadly viral infection himself, but that hasn’t stopped him from working to help others. The 33-year-old American doctor, who was treating Ebola patients, was reported to be sitting up in his isolated hospital bed and working on his computer after he contracted the deadly virus this week…” (Mohney, 7/27).

Reuters: Nigeria government confirms Ebola case in megacity of Lagos
“A Liberian man who died in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos on Friday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said…” (Onuah/Miles, 7/25).

Agence France-Presse: Nigeria on red alert after first Ebola death
“Nigeria was on alert against the possible spread of Ebola on Saturday, a day after the first confirmed death from the virus in Lagos, Africa’s biggest city and the country’s financial capital…” (Awoniyi, 7/26).

Associated Press: Nigeria death shows Ebola can spread by air travel
“Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world’s deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa’s largest city with 21 million people…” (Murdock, 7/26).

Reuters: Liberia shuts border crossings, restricts gatherings to curb Ebola spreading
“The Liberian government on Sunday closed most of the West African nation’s border crossings and introduced stringent health measures to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed at least 660 people across the region…” (MacDougall/Felix, 7/27).

Reuters: Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies in ambulance
“A Sierra Leone Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer, died in an ambulance on the way to [the] hospital, a health official said…” (Fofana, 7/27).

Reuters: Ebola center in Sierra Leona under guard after protest march
“Police were guarding an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone on Saturday, the day after thousands marched on the clinic following allegations by a former nurse [that] the deadly virus was invented to conceal ‘cannibalistic rituals’ there, a regional police chief said…” (Fofana, 7/26).

Al Jazeera: Liberian man sets health ministry on fire over Ebola handling
“A Liberian man walked into the country’s health ministry offices Wednesday and set the second floor wing on fire after reportedly losing a family member to the Ebola virus…” (7/24).

CNN: Ebola outbreak: Is it time to test experimental vaccines?
“Ebola virus disease is sweeping across West Africa in the largest outbreak of the virus to date. Mortality rates are currently at 60 percent in a disease where up to 90 percent of infected people can die. But despite this lethality there remain no licensed treatments or vaccines available, nearly 40 years after the disease was first discovered…” (Senthilingam, 7/25).

Financial Times: Ebola outbreak poses threat to African economies
“…This is the first big outbreak in West Africa and the region has no experience in dealing with the disease and is ill equipped to combat it…” (Ward/Blas, 7/25).

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WHO Calls For Improved Access To Hepatitis C Treatments, Prevention On World Hepatitis Day

News outlets observe World Hepatitis Day, which takes place annually on July 28, and report on advances in hepatitis C prevention.

Financial Times: Advances in hepatitis C research prompt calls for improved prevention
“…This year has seen the introduction of a breakthrough medicine for hepatitis C which, in more than 90 percent of cases, will cure the disease within 12 weeks. Further drugs are expected to be approved in the next few months, representing the biggest advance in treatment for hepatitis C since the virus was identified in 1989…” (Ward, 7/27).

Financial Times: Politics of prevention is part of the cure for hepatitis C
“…The stark picture [of hepatitis C rates] … raises a concern common to HIV and other diseases: the need to focus on enhanced prevention alongside efforts to introduce a cure. Despite current advances in treatments, much more needs to be done to avoid new cases of infection…” (Jack, 7/27).

VOA News: Elimination of Chronic Hepatitis Feasible
“The World Health Organization reports viral hepatitis, which kills nearly 1.5 million people a year, could be eliminated. In marking World Hepatitis Day (July 28), WHO says intensifying testing, prevention, and treatment efforts is key to tackling one of the world’s most serious diseases…” (Schlein, 7/27)

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AIDS 2014 Closes With Memorial, Calls To Reduce Stigma

Inter Press Service: AIDS Conference Mourns the Dead, Debates Setbacks
“The 20th International AIDS Conference concluded [Friday] as the first in its history that remembered not just the 39 million people worldwide who have died of AIDS but also those who lost their lives in the crashed MH17 flight carrying six of its delegates, one of whom was the past president of the International AIDS Society (IAS)…” (Mendoza, 7/25).

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CDC Poised To Receive Extra Funds For Polio Initiatives In Pakistan, Syria

CQ HealthBeat: CDC May Get Extra Funds to Combat Polio in Pakistan, Syria
“With polio becoming a growing concern in nations such as Pakistan, Syria, and Cameroon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be poised to get extra money for its work on a global eradication initiative against the crippling disease…” (Young, 7/25).

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U.N. Agencies Call For More Support To Fight Food Insecurity In Africa's Sahel

U.N. News Centre: U.N. agencies urge greater support to fight mounting hunger crisis in Africa’s Sahel region
“Two United Nations agencies today urged the international donor community to renew its commitment to fight hunger and food insecurity in the Sahel by strengthening the resilience of destitute families in the region…” (7/25).

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U.N. Reports Alarming Rates Of Malnutrition In Somalia

News outlets report on food shortages in Somalia and the country’s acute need for food aid.

Agence France-Presse/New York Times: U.N. Warns of a Food Shortage 3 Years After Somalia’s Famine
“More than 350,000 people here in Somalia’s capital are in acute need of food aid as the government and charities struggle to cope with the situation, the United Nations warned Saturday, and other Somali cities are also facing a similar crisis…” (7/26).

Reuters: U.N. warns of alarming malnutrition rates in Somali capital
“The United Nations has reported alarming rates of malnutrition in the Somali capital where aid agencies cannot meet the needs of 350,000 people due to insufficient funds, drought, and conflict…” (Blair, 7/27).

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U.N. Calls For Increased Efforts To Stop Potential Famine In South Sudan

News agencies report on the worsening food crisis in South Sudan, as the United Nations calls for increased donor efforts to fight potential famine.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. warns of world inaction as South Sudan famine looms
“Top U.N. aid chiefs have begged donors to increase efforts to stave off looming famine in South Sudan, where a third of the population are in crisis after months of war. Nearly a million children aged under five face acute malnutrition, the World Food Program (WFP) and U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said in a joint statement released late Friday, after their top directors visited the impoverished nation…” (7/26).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. warns of ‘hunger catastrophe’ for South Sudanese children
“Two United Nations humanitarian agencies today called for action to stop a potential famine in South Sudan which they said is being allowed to happen, just as it occurred in Somalia and the Horn of Africa three years ago…” (7/25).

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Indonesian Health Minister Questions UNAIDS Gap Report

The Jakarta Post: Indonesia questions new UNAIDS report
“Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi has strongly questioned the validity of a Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) GAP Report released in Geneva on July 16, which categorized Indonesia as a country of concern given its increase in HIV new infections, along with several African countries…” (Widiadana, 7/26).

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Forced Sterilization Mistakenly Believed To Stop HIV Transmission

The Guardian: Women with HIV fight crushing injustice of forcible sterilization
“…Speaking at the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, [South African human rights activist Sthembiso] Mthembu said global action was needed to stop women being forced into the procedure [of sterilization], in the mistaken belief it stopped HIV transmission. … The Association for Women’s Rights in Development says forced sterilization involves surgically removing or disabling reproductive organs without full or informed consent, and is a clear violation of bodily integrity and autonomy…” (Davey, 7/25).

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Women In Power Help Promote Gender Equality In Rwanda, U.N. Women Head Says

BBC News: Rwanda female MPs ‘pioneers’ in gender equality
“Rwanda is a leading example of what women can do if they are in positions of power, the executive director of U.N. Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, told BBC Africa” in a radio interview (7/25).

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Nearly 570 Dead Of Encephalitis In Indian Outbreak

Reuters: India battles to contain ‘brain fever’ as deaths reach almost 570
“Almost 570 people in India have died after contracting encephalitis, commonly known as ‘brain fever,’ health authorities said on Friday, warning the death toll may rise with more people still at risk…” (Bhalla, 7/25).

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Northern Nigerian Doctors' Strike Affecting HIV/AIDS Care

VOA News: Nigeria Doctors’ Strike Threatens HIV/AIDS Care
“Nearly a month into a nationwide doctor’s strike, HIV/AIDS patients in some parts of northern Nigeria say health care is rapidly declining, and they have become largely dependent upon foreign aid organizations. Doctors say the strike is the only way they know to rescue Nigeria’s flailing health care system, but nurses accuse strikers of abandoning public care in favor of more lucrative private practices…” (Murdock, 7/25).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Strategies, Challenges Around HIV Control

The following opinion pieces discuss different aspects of HIV prevention, care, and treatment.

The Conversation: It takes a global village: how we got ahead in HIV control
William Bowtell, executive director of Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at UNSW Australia

“…The world is now more than halfway along the path from AIDS to HIV, but none of these great achievements would have been possible without sustained funding commitments, stretching out over years and decades. … To consolidate our gains, and to drive new HIV infection rates down still further, billions of new dollars will be needed. But … we must develop innovative and imaginative new methods of securing critical funding. The international response to HIV has always been a hotbed of radical policy innovation and implementation — from the bold prevention initiatives undertaken in Australia to the creation of the Global Fund itself. By following the right strategies, backed by adequate funding, the world is closer towards the end of HIV and AIDS than at any time in the last three decades. Now is not the time to relent” (7/23).

Devex: Scientific solutions can only go so far if HIV stigma and discrimination remain
Stefan Seebacher, head of the health department at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“…Stigma, discrimination, and fear of criminal punishment still prevent so many people, especially hard-to-reach communities such as men who have sex with men, transgender people, and sex workers, from coming forward to get critical testing and the help they need to access services and start treatment. Scientific progress and the development of HIV prevention and treatment tools can only be effective, and save lives, if people come forward to benefit from them. Cultural prejudice, religious taboos, and abominable laws that criminalize homosexuality are denying people their fundamental right to good health and it is imperative that our demands for these kinds of restrictions to be lifted are heard…” (7/25).

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Affordable Hepatitis C Medicine Can Cut Number Of New Infections

Financial Times: Global push can bring remedies within reach of all who need them
Stefan Wiktor, team leader of the WHO’s global hepatitis program, and Gottfried Hirnschall, director of WHO’s HIV department

“We are witnessing a remarkable transformation in the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection (HCV). Intensive research is beginning to yield a number of new ‘direct-acting antiviral’ medicines that have shortened and simplified treatment of HCV and produced high cure rates. This offers a real possibility that we can dramatically reduce the numbers of people who die each year from liver cancer and cirrhosis because of HCV infection. … An estimated 500,000-700,000 people die each year from liver cancer and cirrhosis caused by HCV. The new treatments provide a remarkable opportunity to cut the number significantly and prevent new infections. This can only be realized if there is a global effort to make the medicines affordable and to invest in health care services in order that the medicines can reach those who need them” (7/27).

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New Development Goals Should Be 'Discrete, Quantitative, Achievable'

Wall Street Journal: Smart Aid for the World’s Poor
Matt Ridley, member of the British House of Lords and author

“…The lesson, surely, from this first round of setting development goals is the need to be even more ruthlessly selective next time. A list of eight goals is too long for most outsiders to remember. … Several development experts I spoke to say that the new list should have just five discrete, quantitative, achievable goals. … Figuring out the best way to help the world’s poor isn’t like solving a math problem. There are not right and wrong answers. But there are better and worse answers, and the only way to assign those priorities is to set aside our sentimental commitments and do the hard work of assessing costs and benefits” (7/25).

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Cooperation Vital To Achieving Development Goals

Devex: Better when we’re together
Steve Hollingworth, president of Freedom from Hunger

“…As a development community, we must continue to evolve our thinking about how — and with whom — we will continue to make progress toward the MDGs. How can various segments of our community work more closely with each other and how can non-traditional actors such as the private sector contribute to meeting development objectives? … Only by working together, in a generous and collaborative spirit, can we ever hope to deliver on these audacious promises” (7/25).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

AIDS.gov Blog Speaks With Experts About AIDS 2014 Highlights

Miguel Gomez, director of AIDS.gov and senior communications adviser at the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at HHS, interviews experts about issues discussed at the 20th International AIDS Conference.

AIDS.gov blog: Conversations from AIDS 2014: Practitioner Bisola Ojikutu, M.D., MPH
“At the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Bisola O. Ojikutu, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a senior adviser at JSI, and asked her to offer her reflections on some of the key ideas she’s heard at the conference…” (Gomez, 7/25).

AIDS.gov blog: NIH’s Dr. Carl Dieffenbach Shares Final Thoughts from AIDS 2014
“As the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) drew to a close in Melbourne, Australia, we asked Dr. Carl Dieffenbach from NIH/NIAID to provide a summary of conference highlights…” (Gomez, 7/25).

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The Guardian To Host Q&A Session On Reaching An AIDS-Free Generation

The Guardian: Live Q&A: how can we reach an ‘AIDS-free generation’?
Holly Young, content coordinator on The Guardian’s Global Development Professional Network, discusses the AIDS 2014 conference and announces a live question and answer session hosted by The Guardian on achieving an AIDS-free generation (7/25).

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Blog Pays Tribute To HIV/AIDS Researchers, Advocates Killed In MH17 Crash

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: In the wake of loss, we’re reading about six lives and legacies that moved the world closer to justice, equity, and global health
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses “the lives and legacies of Joep Lange, Jacqueline van Tongeren, Glenn Thomas, Lucie van Mens, Martine de Schutter, and Pim de Kuijer,” HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates who were killed in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (7/25).

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