KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

British, U.S. Officials, Airlines Address Ebola Outbreak

News outlets report on British and U.S. government reaction to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, as well as reaction from airlines and Liberian immigrants in the U.S.

Financial Times: Hammond calls emergency meeting on Ebola
“Philip Hammond, [British] foreign secretary, is holding an emergency meeting of officials and ministers on Wednesday to discuss the potential threat to Britain from the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa…” (Pickard, 7/30).

Reuters: U.K. Foreign Secretary says Ebola outbreak “a threat” to Britain
“…Hammond said no British citizens were believed to be affected and no cases had been reported in Britain, but said he would chair an emergency meeting of officials on Wednesday to look at what precautions were needed…” (7/30).

CQ HealthBeat: CDC Educating Health Workers About Ebola Transmission
“Public health officials say they are teaching American health care workers how to isolate patients exposed to Ebola and to protect themselves from the virus that kills most people it infects. During a telephone press briefing Monday, Stephan Monroe of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said the outbreak shows the need for lawmakers to fund a proposed $45 million dollar ‘global security’ initiative at CDC that is designed to strengthen public health agencies in developing countries…” (Reichard, 7/29).

Roll Call: CDC Sees Low Ebola Risk to United States Via International Flights
“…Stephan Monroe, the deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, told reporters Monday that ‘it’s possible that someone could become infected with the Ebola virus in Africa and then get on a plane to the United States.’ But, he added, ‘It’s very unlikely that they would be able to spread the disease to fellow passengers’…” (Curry, 7/29).

Agence France-Presse: Pan-African airline suspends flights to Ebola hit countries
“Pan-African airline ASKY suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone over the worsening Ebola health crisis, as the Liberian football association said it halted all activities in the country…” (7/29).

Associated Press/Seattle Times: Liberians in U.S. worry about Ebola outbreak
“An outbreak of Ebola in West Africa may seem like a distant threat to many Americans, but it is causing some to cancel travel plans and stirring fear in Minnesota, which has the largest Liberian immigrant population in the United States…” (Forliti, 7/29).

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S. Leone's Head Ebola Doctor Succumbs To Virus; Other HCWs Infected

News outlets report on the death of a leading physician in Sierra Leone and other health care workers affected by the Ebola outbreak. Health care workers are battling the virus as well as fear from local communities that they are helping to spread the disease.

Agence France-Presse: Head doctor at S. Leone Ebola clinic dies of virus
“A doctor in charge of an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone has become another victim of the deadly virus, the country’s health chief said Tuesday…” (7/29).

Associated Press: Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens
“…Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, who was praised as a national hero for treating the disease in Sierra Leone, was confirmed dead by health ministry officials there. He had been hospitalized in quarantine…” (Larson et al., 7/29).

Reuters: Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor dies from virus
“The death of Sheik Umar Khan, who was credited with treating more than 100 patients, follows those of dozens of local health workers and the infection of two American medics in neighboring Liberia, highlighting the dangers faced by staff trying to halt the disease’s spread across West Africa…” (Fofana/Bailes, 7/30).

Agence France-Presse: U.S. Ebola doctor ‘weak and quite ill,’ says colleague
“An American doctor who has contracted the dangerous Ebola virus in Liberia is ‘weak and quite ill,’ a colleague of his told AFP on Tuesday. Kent Brantly, 33, became infected with Ebola while working with patients in the Liberian capital, Monrovia…” (Sheridan, 7/29).

NPR: American Doctor Sick With Ebola Now Fighting For His Life
“A doctor trained in Fort Worth, Texas, is now a victim of the Ebola outbreak he was battling. Kent Brantly, 33, had been caring for Ebola patients in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, for several months when he noticed he had symptoms of the deadly virus last Wednesday…” (Silverman, 7/29).

Agence France-Presse: Canadian doctor quarantined after exposure to Ebola
“A Canadian doctor has put himself in quarantine as a precaution after spending weeks in West Africa treating patients with the deadly Ebola virus alongside an American doctor who is now infected, local media said Tuesday…” (7/29).

New York Times: Fear of Ebola Breeds a Terror of Physicians
“…Health workers [in Guinea] say they are now battling two enemies: the unprecedented Ebola epidemic, which has killed more than 660 people in four countries since it was first detected in March, and fear, which has produced growing hostility toward outside help. On Friday alone, health authorities in Guinea confirmed 14 new cases of the disease…” (Nossiter, 7/27).

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Efforts To Develop Ebola Vaccine Underway But Lack Funding

News outlets report on efforts to develop vaccines and other treatments for Ebola virus, which continues to spread in West Africa.

The Atlantic: Where Does Ebola Come From?
“The worst Ebola virus outbreak ever is ravaging Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. So far, the disease has killed 670 people and infected more than 1,000, including an American doctor and aid worker…” (Khazan, 7/29).

NBC News: ‘No Market’: Scientists Struggle to Make Ebola Vaccines, Treatments
“At least four vaccines are being developed to protect people against Ebola, including one that protects monkeys completely against the deadly virus. Several groups are also working on treatments, but one of the most promising is stuck in safety testing…” (Fox, 7/29).

Scientific American: When Will We Have a Vaccine for Ebola Virus?
“…A vaccine to help battle future Ebola outbreaks may be just a few years away … But it has been hard to raise money for human safety tests. To learn about the latest advances as well as obstacles, Scientific American spoke to Thomas Geisbert, a virologist in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston…” (Sneed, 7/29).

KHOU-TV/USA TODAY: Texas lab targets Ebola virus with work on vaccine
“…[University of Texas Medical Branch Professor Thomas Geisbert’s] efforts to create an effective vaccine are funded by a $26 million National Institutes of Health grant awarded collaboratively with Profectus BioSciences, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp., and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center…” (Williams, 7/29).

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Human Rights Activists Urge Obama To Include Anti-Gay Discrimination In Africa Summit Agenda

Associated Press: Activists want gay rights on Africa summit agenda
“Human rights and gay rights activists on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to ensure that the issue of anti-gay discrimination in Africa is on the agenda at next week’s summit in Washington with more than 40 African leaders…” (Crary, 7/29).

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USAID Welcomes Congressional Approval Of Assessing Progress In Haiti Act

News outlets report on the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act of 2014, which is awaiting President Obama’s signature to become law.

Devex: USAID welcomes Haiti oversight legislation
“The U.S. Agency for International Development welcomes the U.S. Congress’s new attempt to assert greater oversight of assistance and reconstruction programs in Haiti. The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act of 2014 passed by unanimous vote in the House on Friday and is now pending U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature to become law…” (Igoe, 7/29).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Where has all the Haiti aid money gone? U.S. to keep closer track
“[The] U.S. Congress has passed a bill that will make it easier to track the billions of dollars of American aid money spent in Haiti, a think tank said…” (Moloney, 7/30).

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NGOs Wonder Whether Resources To End FGM, Child Marriage Will Reach Communities In Need

Devex: Gender equality takes center stage — but will resources reach the grassroots?
“…[W]ith new data revealing the extent of both longstanding practices [of female genital mutilation and child marriage], representatives from organizations based in the ‘global south’ questioned whether promised resources would actually trickle down to those working directly with communities at risk…” (Patton, 7/29).

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HIV Epidemic Smaller, Malaria Kills More Than Previously Thought, Study Says

The Guardian: ‘HIV global death estimates are wrong’
“The researcher behind a recent Lancet study says we have overestimated AIDS epidemic and underestimated malaria deaths…” The newspaper interviews Theo Vos, one of the authors of the report and professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle (Young, 7/29).

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Debate Underway On Goals To Replace MDGs

VOA News: Planning Post-2015 Development
“The U.N. Millennium Development Goals are due to expire at the end of next year. Debate is underway on what should replace them. One U.N. official says they should be based, in part, on the findings of the 2014 Human Development Report…” (DeCapua, 7/29).

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Harvard/UNICEF Poll Shows Pakistani Parents Suspicious About But Allow Child Polio Vaccinations

NPR: Polio’s Surge In Pakistan: Are Parents Part Of The Problem?
“Health workers are trying to convince parents to let their children take a vaccine, but the program faces violent opposition. Researchers from Harvard [and UNICEF] polled the parents; the results surprised them. … [The] question that was most important to their poll: If a health worker came to your door, did you let them vaccinate your child? Practically every parent, 95 percent, said yes” (Aizenman, 7/30).

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Burma's Rohingya Minority Continue To Face Hunger, Disease In Refugee Camps

Washington Post: Malnutrition, disease rising in camps of Burma’s Rohingya Muslims
“…The United Nations says that 135,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims are still stuck in refugee camps on the western coast of Burma, two years after the government rounded them up in the wake of religious violence that left villages scorched, thousands homeless, and more than 200 dead…” (Gowan, 7/29).

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Zambia To Be Among First Countries To Achieve AIDS-Free Generation, CDC Country Director Says

News outlets report on a CDC official’s statement that Zambia is on track to become one of the first countries to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

Zambia Daily Mail: ‘Zambia on path to HIV-free generation’
“U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outgoing country director Lawrence Marum says Zambia is on a path to becoming the first country to achieve an HIV-free generation…” (Mvula, 7/29).

Lusaka Times: Zambia among first to achieve HIV/AIDS free generation — CDC
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Zambia (CDC) says Zambia will be among the first countries to achieve the target of an HIV- and AIDS-free generation…” (7/29).

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U.N. Opens Meeting On Global Aging

VOA News: U.N. Panel Meets on Global Aging
“This week, a U.N. panel opens a three-day meeting on the aging of the global population. It’s part of a process that could lead to a new international treaty to protect the rights of older persons…” (DeCapua, 7/28).

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Hydroelectric Dam Construction In Mekong Basin Threatens Cambodia's Food Security

IRIN: Planned dams threaten Cambodia’s food security
“The planned construction of 88 hydroelectric dams in the lower Mekong basin by 2030 will cause food security challenges in Cambodia, experts say…” (7/28).

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HIV Infection Rate In Uganda's Fishing Communities Higher Than National Average

VOA News: Uganda’s Fishing Communities Encounter Higher HIV/AIDS Risks
“More than 130,000 people who live in 42 fishing villages along Uganda’s shores of Lake Victoria have an HIV infection rate that is three to four times higher than the national average in this country of 36 million people…” (Lewis, 7/28).

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Philippines Welcomes Birth Of 100-Millionth Citizen Amid Concerns Over Population Growth

NPR: Birth Of 100-Millionth Person In Philippines Greeted With Joy, Concern
“The Philippines on Sunday welcomed its 100-millionth citizen — a baby girl named Chonalyn who was born at a hospital in the capital, Manila. … But the celebration is mixed with concern in the Philippines, a predominately Catholic country with one of the fastest growing populations in Asia. Many in the country struggle to meet the basic necessities of life…” (Neuman, 7/27).

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Kenya Might Not Achieve Maternal Mortality MDG Target By 2015

Thomson Reuters Foundation: The cost of maternal death in Kenya
“The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline of 2015 is approaching but there are concerns that Kenya will fail to achieve some of them. This includes the goal of reducing the maternal mortality rate from the current 360 deaths per 100,000 live births to the targeted 147 per 100,000 live births…” (Kamadi, 7/28).

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PSI-Zimbabwe Says Cervical Cancer Screening Demand Up Among Women

Newsday: Demand for cervical cancer screening surges
“A Population Services International-Zimbabwe (PSI) top official [on Monday] said demand for cervical cancer screening had surged over the past months as more and more women were now keen to know their health status…” (Nyela, 7/29).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces, Editorial Discuss Ebola Outbreak In West Africa

The following opinion pieces and editorial discuss the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Financial Times: Ebola stirs noise while silence greets other killers
Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…Maternal mortality and other scourges like it may not fit the typical public health professional’s definition of an emergency. The monthly toll does not readily fall — there has been little improvement in Sierra Leone since the beginning of this decade — but nor does it rise. An infectious disease, by contrast, can kill at a faster rate with every week that it is allowed to spread. But they are emergencies all the same. There is no contradiction between fighting maternal mortality and preventing the next Ebola epidemic. Both can be stopped with the same kind of long-term investment in health infrastructure. These investments do not involve cutting-edge technology, although they are logistically complex. They will take time, but they will also endure” (7/29).

New York Times: Ebola Outbreak in Liberia
Lewis Brown, minister for information of Liberia

“…The Liberian government is unequivocal in its determination to help local and international medical teams reach the affected. … This week we established a national task force charged with public education, ensuring that people take active steps to limit contamination and the spread of the virus. … Through a united effort — national, regional and international — this outbreak can be contained” (7/28).

New York Times: The Ebola Outbreak
“…Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has declared a national Ebola emergency. The governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria must also act with equal urgency to raise public awareness, put additional trained medical personnel on the ground, and trace patients’ contacts with others. The current Ebola outbreak is more than a sum of national emergencies. It is now a regional crisis, and the whole of West Africa must act to contain it” (7/29).

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Congress Should Support Protection Provisions For Migrant, Trafficked Children

Roll Call: What You Don’t Know About Migrant Children May Kill Them
Jen Smyers, associate director for immigration and refugee policy with Church World Service

“…Our country has an obligation — moral and legal — to provide protection to … [migrant and trafficked] children, and to not deport them back to gangs and unspeakable violence. The 2008 trafficking law exists for this very purpose. But right now, Congress is trying to roll back important protections in this law to ‘deport these children more quickly.’ … This is not the answer. And this cannot be the American response. It is unconscionable that Congress would roll back a law because more children are in need of its protection. Instead, we need to provide these children the protection, care, counseling, and legal assistance they need to apply for asylum and protection…” (7/30).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Senate LHHS Appropriations Bill Supports Global Health Programming At NIH

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Senate supports global health R&D in LHHS appropriations bill
Marissa Chmiola, communications officer at GHTC, discusses the Senate Appropriations Labor and Health and Human Services (LHHS) Subcommittee’s fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations legislation and its support for global health programming at NIH (7/29).

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William Foege On Vaccinations, Smallpox

ScienceBlogs’ “Aetiology”: A conversation on smallpox and vaccination with Dr. William Foege
Tara Smith, associate professor of epidemiology at Kent State University, discusses global vaccinations and smallpox with William Foege, “one of the scientists who led the global smallpox eradication efforts” (7/29).

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Social Workers Play Important Role In Creating An AIDS-Free Generation

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: A look at AIDS 2014: It is time for a caring hand
In a guest post, Helen Cornman, deputy director of AIDSFree at JSI, discusses the importance of social workers’ support and counseling to help “bring the power of relationships and an interdisciplinary approach to create sustainable solutions for an AIDS-free generation” (Barton, 7/29).

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