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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Emails Show WHO Senior Staff Delayed Declaring Ebola As Global Emergency, AP Reports

Associated Press: Emails: U.N. health agency resisted declaring Ebola emergency
“In a delay that some say may have cost lives, the World Health Organization resisted calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a public health emergency until last summer, two months after staff raised the possibility and long after a senior manager called for a drastic change in strategy, the Associated Press has learned…” (Cheng/Satter, 3/20).

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Guinea Struggles To Control Ebola Outbreak, Reports Highest Weekly Number Of Cases So Far This Year, WHO Says

Reuters: Guinea says number of Ebola patients more than doubles since Feb
“The number of suspected Ebola patients in Guinea has more than doubled from last month, the health ministry said on Thursday, highlighting a ‘fourth phase’ of the epidemic after a dip in cases in early 2015…” (Samb/Farge, 3/19).

U.N. News Centre: Guinea reports highest weekly Ebola case total so far this year, new U.N. data shows
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has reported the highest weekly number of Ebola cases in Guinea so far this year and noted that while transmission was confined to a narrow geographically contiguous arc straddling the capitals of Guinea and Sierra Leone, the population is highly mobile, thus creating a challenge ‘to prevent the seeding of new outbreaks’…” (3/19).

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Sierra Leone To Implement 3-Day Lockdown In Ebola Hotspots, Affecting Close To 2.5M People

BBC News: Ebola crisis: Sierra Leone lockdown to hit 2.5m people
“Sierra Leone is to enforce a three-day lockdown of key parts of the country to try to contain the Ebola epidemic. … A three-day curfew in September, keeping people at home under quarantine, was hailed as a success by authorities, despite some criticism. The country’s National Ebola Response Center says a new lockdown will come into place next week…” (3/19).

Reuters: Sierra Leone to lockdown Ebola hotspots next week: officials
“Residents in Sierra Leone’s remaining Ebola hotspots will be confined to their houses for three days next week, officials said, as the government tries to snuff out an outbreak that has killed over 10,200 people across West Africa…” (Olu-Mammah/Farge, 3/19).

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Liberia To Pay $5K To Families Of HCWs Killed By Ebola

Associated Press: Liberia: Families of health workers killed by Ebola get $5k
“Liberia’s government has begun making payments to the families of health workers who died of Ebola in the world’s worst ever outbreak, an official said Thursday. … Ebola has killed 180 health workers in the country, according to the World Health Organization…” (3/19).

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News Outlets Discuss Various Aspects Of Ebola Recovery, From Disease Preparedness To Hunting For Virus's Origin

Devex: The case for EOCs post-Ebola
“Emergency operation centers have been critical in stemming potential Ebola outbreaks in several West African countries like Nigeria and Mali, but there remain doubts about whether countries would keep them post-Ebola…” (Ravelo, 3/19).

The Economist: Pandemic disease: Never again
“…The [Ebola epidemic] suggests that the world’s defenses against epidemics, though they have been strengthened since the rapid spread of SARS in 2002 and 2003 demonstrated their weaknesses, could do with reinforcing still further…” (3/21).

IRIN: Beyond the outbreak: leading expert on what the Ebola crisis can teach us
“…Dr. Jimmy Whitworth, who has just taken up a new post as professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine [to lead] a three year project on epidemics and preparedness … spoke to IRIN News about what he will be trying to do…” (3/19).

Washington Post: Deep in the jungle, hunting for the next Ebola outbreak
“More than 3,000 miles from the fading Ebola crisis in West Africa, a team of U.S.-funded researchers is hunting deep in a remote rain forest for the next outbreak. They aren’t looking for infected people. They’re trying to solve one of science’s great mysteries: Where does Ebola hide between human epidemics?…” (Sieff, 3/19).

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USAID's Chief Innovation Officer VanRoekel Steps Down, Agency Confirms

FedScoop: Exclusive: Steven VanRoekel steps down from USAID role
“Steven VanRoekel, the chief innovation officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development, has left his role with the agency, FedScoop has learned…” (Otto, 3/17).

Washington Post: Steven VanRoekel steps down from USAID
“…VanRoekel led an effort to bring technology into the fight against the Ebola virus in West Africa. He left his post at the White House last fall to become the agency’s chief innovation officer…” (Jayakumar, 3/19).

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Threat Of Global Water Crisis Fuels Need To Better Manage Water Supply, U.N. Says

News outlets report on findings from the U.N. World Water Development Report 2015.

Deutsche Welle: U.N. calls for action as global water crisis looms
“The U.N. has warned that the world will soon face a crisis of huge dimensions if water management does not improve. Population growth and climate change are among the factors fueling the problem…” (3/20).

LiveMint: Urgent need to manage water more sustainably: U.N. report
“By 2030, the world will be staring at a 40 percent shortfall in water supply unless there is a dramatic improvement in water management, according to a report released by the United Nations on Friday ahead of World Water Day on 22 March…” (Aggarwal, 3/20).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: ‘Business as usual’ will create a thirsty planet in 15 years, says U.N.
“…Competition for water between water-thirsty sectors means better management is essential to ensure everybody gets the water they need, said the World Water Development Report. With ‘business as usual’ the world is facing a ‘collapse in our global socioeconomic system,’ Richard Connor, lead author of the report, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation…” (Mis, 3/19).

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Improving WASH Access For Women Would Benefit Global Productivity, Economy, Report Says

Forbes: Water Access Improvements Will Improve Global Productivity
“The Water For Women report released [Friday] written by a private-public partnership for the United Nations World Water Day highlights how very much global productivity can rise if the access of the poorer half of the world’s population to water improves. … The Water For Women report begins with this clarifying point: ‘It’s estimated that globally [women and girls] spend 200 million hours every single day simply collecting water for themselves and their families — time that could be spent in education, working and earning, with their family, or contributing to the community’…” (Springer, 3/20).

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Women's Rights Groups Concerned Renegotiation Of Some SDGs Could Renew Debate Over Inclusion Of Reproductive Health Rights

The Guardian: Women’s rights activists alarmed by U.K. unease over development targets
“…The U.K. is understood to be unhappy with some of the targets contained in the proposed set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and wants to reopen negotiations. Women’s rights groups said on Thursday that renegotiating the targets at this stage could prompt renewed debate on the inclusion of targets on women’s reproductive rights, still a controversial area for some governments, and violence against women…” (Ford, 3/19).

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Food Aid To Cyclone-Hit Vanuatu Slow As PM Appeals For Assistance; UNICEF Dispatches Aid To Nearby Tuvalu

Australian Associated Press: ‘Officials holding up Vanuatu food aid’
“No food aid packages have been distributed in Vanuatu, seven days after Cyclone Pam struck the island nation. It’s understood huge quantities of emergency food and other aid are sitting idle in the Vanuatu Mobile Force barracks in the capital Port Vila. Local newspaper the Vanuatu Daily Post reports that National Disaster Management Office officials are arguing over the distribution of aid…” (Silk, 3/20).

Radio New Zealand International: Vanuatu PM: ‘Please provide food’
“Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, says the government will struggle to feed its people over the coming months as the recovery operation after Cyclone Pam gets underway…” (3/20).

U.N. News Centre: UNICEF rushes emergency supplies for cyclone-affected Tuvalu
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today…” (3/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Series To Examine How Accountability, Country Ownership Can Advance U.S. Aid To Achieve Better Development Results

Devex: Advancing U.S. foreign aid reform for better development results
George Ingram, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children; and Connie Veillette, senior fellow at the Lugar Center, and all co-chairs of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN)

“…[T]he Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network launched a policy paper last spring focused on how to make U.S. foreign assistance dollars, and the structures and policies that allocate and spend those dollars, work better. In it, we laid out our vision for ‘The Way Forward’ on foreign aid reform, focusing on two powerful and mutually reinforcing pillars: accountability through transparency, evaluation, and learning; and country ownership of the priorities and resources for and implementation of development. … Over the coming weeks, we will be doing a deeper reflection on our two pillar issues of country ownership and accountability and the specific actions we laid out in our policy paper that the U.S. government can take to strengthen foreign aid and development policy and practice. We will also look ahead to the opportunities to make progress on reform in 2015, both at the U.S. level and globally. We hope this series will spark a dialogue in the community…” (3/18).

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World Leaders Should Include Global Health Security In SDGs

The Lancet: We need a sustainable development goal 18 on global health security
Ilona Kickbusch of the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva and colleagues

“…The increasing recognition of global health security needs to be integrated into the post-2015 development agenda and SDGs. We propose to add global health security as SDG18. This new SDG could be formulated as, ‘Take appropriate action to reduce the vulnerability of people around the world to new, acute, or rapidly spreading risks to health, particularly those threatening to cross international borders.’ … There is still time for negotiators to define SDG18 more precisely and to bring stakeholders on board — during SDGs negotiations at the U.N., at the 2015 World Health Assembly, at the G7 meetings, and upcoming meetings of the BRICS, the African Union, and other regional bodies…” (3/21).

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Iranian Bills Aimed At Increasing Population Growth Use Women's Rights As 'Political Tools'

The Lancet: Family planning in Iran
Editorial Board

“Last week, Amnesty International published a report in response to changes in Iranian law, which they say ‘pose a major threat to the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls in Iran.’ … There are two bills currently under consideration. … In view of Amnesty’s report, we are alarmed by the potential damage to women and Iranian society, as women’s rights are used as political tools. Repercussions could see a worsening of nationwide poverty, inequality, and even child survival and mortality. We acknowledge the potential problems of Iran’s aging population, but these bills are not the best solution” (3/21).

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European Leaders Should Take 'Concrete And Immediate Steps' Against TB In Eastern Europe

EurActiv: Political action is needed to stop Tuberculosis
Evan Lee, vice president of global health programs at Eli Lilly and Co. and a member of the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board

“On 30-31 March, Latvia will take advantage of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union to convene European leaders in Riga for the 1st Eastern Partnership Ministerial Conference on Tuberculosis and Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis. Greater political commitment to fight tuberculosis is urgently needed, as Eastern Europe is struggling with some of the highest rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) worldwide. … Upon conclusion of the Ministerial Conference, delegates will be invited to adopt the Riga Declaration on Tuberculosis. It is my hope that the declaration will focus on concrete and immediate steps that can be taken to help people living with TB and MDR-TB in Eastern Europe, and prevent this disease from further wreaking havoc…” (3/19).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Organizations, Media Should Keep General Public Engaged, Informed On Global Health Issues

PLOS “Speaking of Medicine”: Engaging the Public on Global Health
Blog contributor Sara Gorman “discusses the need to keep the general public engaged and informed on global health issues.” She cites the findings of a 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation survey of Americans on the U.S. role in global health and writes, “[R]egular engagement in global health issues might prevent the kind of needless and sometimes dangerous hysteria we witnessed with the Ebola epidemic and also target people’s attention and concern to where it would be most helpful” (3/19).

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Longer Breastfeeding Associated With Higher IQ, Better Socioeconomic Status, Study Shows

Humanosphere: Breastfeeding longer may contribute to later success, study finds
“A new study from Brazil shows that children who breastfed longer had higher IQs and overall improved socioeconomic status,” Humanosphere reporter Tom Murphy writes about a study published this week in The Lancet Global Health, noting, “The big news is that the breastfeeding associated improvements occurred across socioeconomic status…” (3/19).

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TB Patients In Swaziland, Surrounding Nations Should Undergo Further Testing To Determine Drug Resistance, Study Suggests

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: MSF: More than a quarter of MDR-TB cases in Swaziland not caught by ‘front line of defense’ in fighting the disease
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, reports on the findings of a study by researchers from Médecins Sans Frontières and other organizations showing a rapid test for drug-resistant tuberculosis might miss some cases due to a mutation in the bacterium and their recommendations that patients in Swaziland, where the study took place, and surrounding countries undergo further testing (3/19).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
The latest issue of the Global Fund News Flash highlights the career of HIV researcher Stefano Vella; a Bank of America female mentoring program called Vital Voices; the partnership between the German international cooperation, GIZ, and the Global Fund; and the work of Mickey Chopra of UNICEF who chairs the independent evaluation advisory group conducting the Strategic Review 2015 for the Global Fund (3/19).

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