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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Guinea Reports New Ebola Cases Shortly After End Of Flare-Up Declared In Sierra Leone

Agence France-Presse: Guinea govt says two people have died from Ebola
“Two people from the same family have died from Ebola in Guinea, the government said Thursday, as the WHO declared a flare-up of the virus in neighboring Sierra Leone over…” (3/18).

CIDRAP News: Cases in Guinea end West Africa’s short-lived Ebola-free status
“…So far there’s no word on the source of infection in the village, and a government spokesman told Reuters that vaccines have been taken to the area, which is now under quarantine…” (Schnirring, 3/17).

Deutsche Welle: Guinea government confirms that two people have died from Ebola
“…The two bodies, belonging to a man and a woman, tested positive for Ebola months after the outbreak had been declared over in the West African country, and mere hours after neighboring Sierra Leone had announced the end of the recent flare-up of the virus there…” (3/18).

Reuters: Guinea says two people tested positive for Ebola
“…Residents and authorities remain on edge across West Africa, though in many areas procedures to combat Ebola remain lax, experts say…” (Samb et al., 3/17).

USA TODAY: New Ebola cases confirmed in Guinea
“…A woman and her 5-year-old son tested positive for the virus and were taken to a treatment center, it said…” (Onyanga-Omara, 3/18).

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WHO Declares End Of Ebola Flare-Up In Sierra Leone, Warns More Cases Possible

News outlets report on a WHO statement declaring the end of an Ebola flare-up in Sierra Leone.

Agence France-Presse: S. Leone Ebola flare-up over, virus halted in West Africa: WHO
“The latest flare-up of Ebola in Sierra Leone has ended with no confirmed cases of the virus now in West Africa, the U.N. said Thursday, as the country celebrated a ‘joyous’ milestone…” (Johnson/Simon, 3/17).

New York Times: Ebola Flare-Up Has Ended in Sierra Leone, WHO Says
“…The organization said that two incubation periods — or 42 days — had passed since the last known victim had tested negative for the deadly virus. But hours after the WHO’s declaration, Guinea announced that two people in that country had tested positive for Ebola, Reuters reported…” (Searcey, 3/17).

Reuters: Sierra Leone Ebola flare-up over for now, but more likely: WHO
“…[The WHO] said that more flare-ups are possible because the virus can persist in the eyes, central nervous system, and bodily fluids of some survivors…” (McAllister/Samb, 3/17).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. confirms Sierra Leone’s Ebola flare-up is over, but cautions more are possible
“…Commending the country’s government, partners, and people on the ‘effective and swift response’ to the flare up, WHO said: ‘From nurses, vaccinators, and social mobilizers to contact tracers, counsellors, and community leaders, Sierra Leoneans in affected districts mobilized quickly and their involvement and dedication was instrumental and impactful’…” (3/17).

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As Liberia's Ebola Crisis Ends, Cases Of TB, Other Infectious Diseases Rise

STAT News: As Ebola wanes, a spike in infectious diseases sweeps through Liberia
“The Ebola crisis here may be over, but its impact can be seen at health clinics across the country. Running water is sporadic. Drugs are in short supply. And with the medical system still reeling, Liberia is now recording a spike in cases of tuberculosis and other treatable infections…” (Thomas, 3/16).

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U.N. Officials Urge Focus On Gender Equality During World Humanitarian Summit

U.N. News Centre: U.N. officials call for concrete commitments on gender equality at World Humanitarian Summit
“Top United Nations officials [Thursday] called on leaders to attend the World Humanitarian Summit in May and make concrete commitments to enhance gender equality, as women and girls are ‘central’ to humanitarian action…” (3/17).

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New TB Medications, Shorter Regimens Could Transform Treatment For Drug-Resistant Strains

The Lancet: Changing the game for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis
“…New drugs and shorter regimens … could help improve the worrying, global situation for MDR-TB. The current treatment regimen is long and hard on patients, and there is already extensive resistance to existing second-line drugs…” (Ghanashyam, 3/19).

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U.N. Appeals To Syrian Government To Allow Humanitarian Aid Access In Besieged Areas

VOA News: U.N. Blocked From Delivering Aid to Besieged Areas in Syria
“The United Nations is appealing to the Syrian government to provide the permits needed to send humanitarian aid convoys into besieged and hard-to-reach areas and to allow a life-saving vaccination campaign for children to go ahead. … The U.N., however, says it has not received permission to enter six areas — most government-controlled — where hundreds of thousands of people have received no relief supplies for more than one year…” (Schlein, 3/17).

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Zimbabwean Government Makes New Push To End Child Marriage

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Zimbabwe ramps up pressure on parents to stop child marriages
“…For although Zimbabwe this year outlawed child marriage, many parents and guardians continue to sanction under-age traditional marriages and withdraw rape charges in exchange for a bride price but this is now putting them in the sights of the law. … A fresh push by Zimbabwean government to tackle child marriage could land guardians … in trouble in the southern African nation where child marriage is rife…” (Phiri, 3/17).

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Men In India, Pakistan Joining Campaigns To End FGM In Dawoodi Bohra Community

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Men join campaigns in India against FGM rituals among the Bohra
“Men in India and Pakistan are joining a campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM), adding greater heft to the movement in the deeply patriarchal Dawoodi Bohra community…” (Chandran, 3/17).

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U.N. Report Suggests More Efforts To Address Food Insecurity In Cyclone-Hit Areas Of Myanmar

U.N. News Centre: Myanmar: U.N. recommends measures to address ongoing food insecurity in cyclone-hit areas
“More than seven months after Cyclone Komen struck Myanmar, poor rural communities are still seeing increased levels of food insecurity, a situation highlighting their vulnerability to withstand similar emergencies in the future, warns a joint United Nations agency report released [Thursday]…” (3/17).

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Yellow Fever Outbreak Kills 158 People In Angola

Reuters: Angola’s yellow fever death toll rises to 158: WHO
“A yellow fever outbreak in Angola that began late last year has killed 158 people, up from 50 a month ago, as deaths from the disease transmitted by mosquitoes accelerate, a World Health Organization official said on Friday…” (Coroado/Strydom, 3/18).

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Editorials and Opinions

Lancet Pieces Discuss Developments In TB Diagnostics, Treatments, Policies

The Lancet: Unite to end tuberculosis
Editorial Board

“March 24 marks World TB Day. This year, the theme is ‘Unite to end tuberculosis.’ WHO calls on governments, civil society, and the private sector to unite to end the tuberculosis epidemic — a much-needed approach to tackle this deadliest of diseases. … Today’s Lancet offers an up-to-date overview of the latest developments in tuberculosis diagnostics, treatments, and policies. … A united approach is indeed required to deliver on the promise to end tuberculosis. A convergence between infectious diseases and NCDs — on the basis of their increasingly shared risk factors — could enable a renaissance not only in tuberculosis research but also in the energy and consistency of tuberculosis prevention and treatment programs” (3/19).

The Lancet: Why are people living with HIV still dying of tuberculosis?
Peter Godfrey-Faussettemail, senior science adviser at UNAIDS, professor of infectious and tropical diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and chair of the Data Safety Monitoring Board for the ANRS STATIS trial; and Helen Ayles, research director at the Zambia AIDS Related Tuberculosis Project (ZAMBART) and senior lecturer at LSHTM

“…[S]tudies highlight the ongoing tragedy of deaths associated with late presentation with advanced HIV disease. The solution is conceptually easy, has widespread political support, and has been advocated for many years, but clearly remains a challenge in many communities. We should remove the social, financial, and health and laboratory system barriers that prevent earlier diagnosis of HIV; we should offer antiretroviral therapy to all people with HIV long before their CD4 cell counts fall to the levels seen in the participants in these studies; and, as [the REMEMBER study published in the current Lancet] reminds us, we should screen all HIV-positive individuals for tuberculosis, with the best tools that we have available and, where there is no strong suspicion of tuberculosis, we should offer individuals isoniazid preventive therapy” (3/19).

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International Community Should Cooperatively Manage Water Sources

Project Syndicate: Managing the Politics of Water
Prince El Hassan bin Talal, founder and chair of the Arab Thought Forum and the West Asia-North Africa Forum and distinguished member of the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace, and Sundeep Waslekar, president of Strategic Foresight Group

“…The international community should encourage countries to embrace [transboundary] cooperation by creating financial instruments that make concessional and preferential funds available [to protect shared river basins]. … Likewise, the international community should act promptly to save critical water infrastructure from acts of violence and terrorism. … The U.N. should consider creating special peacekeeping forces to protect them. … Finally, international law should be designed to prevent, not just resolve, conflicts. In particular, a robust global treaty is needed to regulate emissions into bodies of water. … In the future, conflicts will increasingly be about water quality, as irrigation practices, industrialization, and urbanization contribute to rising pollution levels. World Water Day is the ideal occasion to launch a new agenda for water wisdom…” (3/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Administrator Discusses Administration's TB Budget In U.S. House; Advocates Worry Funding Cuts Could Harm Global Progress Against Disease

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: With TB now No. 1 global infectious disease killer, USAID justifies cuts to global TB funding
Rabita Aziz, policy research coordinator for the Center for Global Health Policy, reports on a House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee hearing where USAID Administrator Gayle Smith testified on USAID’s budget, and highlights the discussion around cuts to the USAID TB program. Aziz writes, “While the Obama administration has proposed cuts to the USAID TB program for the past five years, Congress has always reversed the cuts. This time, however, advocates argue that a reversal of cuts is not enough: new funds are needed to implement the National Action Plan to Combat MDR-TB, or else TB will remain the world’s biggest infectious disease killer” (3/17).

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Friends President Derrick Discusses Bipartisan Support For Global Health Investments, Upcoming Global Fund Replenishment

Friends of the Global Fight Blog: Friends President Deb Derrick at N.C. State: The Global Fund and U.S. Support
“In February, Friends of the Global Fight President Deb Derrick had the opportunity to talk about ‘Mosquitoes and Malaria Elimination’ at North Carolina State University as part of their Great Animal Seminars. In the first of a two-part series, we share a few excerpts of her one-hour presentation, focusing on the bipartisan support for global health investments; the importance of the Global Fund to fighting malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis; and the importance of the Global Fund’s replenishment effort later this year…” (3/17).

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