KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Failed To Engage Local, International Partners In Ebola Response, Independent Panel Reports

News outlets discuss the first report of the WHO’s Ebola Interim Assessment Panel, released on Monday.

Agence France-Presse: Experts denounce WHO’s slow Ebola response
“A U.N.-sponsored report on Monday denounced the World Health Organization’s slow response to the Ebola outbreak and said the agency still did not have the capacity to tackle a similar crisis…” (5/11).

International Business Times: Ebola: WHO recognizes responsibility in the slow response to epidemic
“…Requested during the special session of the executive board on Ebola in January 2015, WHO’s Ebola Interim Assessment Panel found that the United Nations (U.N.) agency had failed to mobilize the broader humanitarian systems, including non-governmental organization resources, such as community development workers and volunteers, in the early stages of the spread…” (Buchanan, 5/11).

Wall Street Journal: Experts Criticize World Health Organization’s ‘Slow’ Ebola Outbreak Response
“…An independent panel led by Barbara Stocking, former head of humanitarian charity Oxfam, said in its first report on the agency’s response to Ebola that there was ‘strong, if not complete, consensus that WHO does not have a robust emergency operations capacity or culture’…” (Roland, 5/11).

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WHO Declares Ebola Epidemic Over In Liberia, Cautions Residents To Remain Vigilant

News outlets report on the WHO’s declaration that the Ebola epidemic is over in Liberia, which has been Ebola-free for 42 days.

Agence France-Presse: WHO declares Liberia Ebola-free
“The U.N. health agency on Saturday declared Liberia Ebola-free, hailing the ‘monumental’ achievement in the West African country where the virus has killed more than 4,700 people…” (5/9).

Associated Press: Liberia cautiously marks end of Ebola after 4,700 deaths
“…Saturday marks 42 days since Liberia’s last Ebola case — the benchmark used to declare the outbreak over because it represents two incubation periods of 21 days for new cases to emerge…” (Paye-Layleh/Larson, 5/9).

The Atlantic: Liberia’s Ebola Nightmare Is Over
“…The news was met with jubilation in Liberia, which along with Sierra Leone and Guinea was the country most affected by the virus. But officials tempered their joy with a note of caution…” (Schiavenza, 5/9).

Los Angeles Times: Liberia declared Ebola free, though risks remain, WHO warns
“… ‘While WHO is confident that Liberia has interrupted transmission, outbreaks persist in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, creating a high risk that infected people may cross into Liberia over the region’s exceptionally porous borders,’ the [WHO] said in a statement Saturday…” (Dixon, 5/9).

New York Times: Liberia Is Declared Free of Ebola, but Officials Sound Note of Caution
“…The room, packed with reporters, workers from Doctors Without Borders and other aid agencies and dignitaries, including the American ambassador to Liberia, Deborah R. Malac, burst into applause, and some people cried, according to health officials who were present…” (Fink, 5/9).

New York Times: Liberia, Ravaged by Ebola, Faces a Future Without It
“…Local and international health officials are now focusing on extinguishing the waning Ebola epidemic in Guinea and Sierra Leone. But they have a bigger goal as well: shoring up beleaguered health systems that were inadequate long before Ebola struck…” (Onishi, 5/8).

New York Times: Liberia Conquers Ebola, but Faces a Crisis of Faith
“…Desperately, the country is trying to rebuild just about everything, from its health and education systems to its economy and international image. But in the dim hall of the United God Is Our Light Church, its generator turned off to shave costs, the congregation has been trying to repair something more fundamental: its spirit…” (Onishi, 5/9).

Reuters: Liberia declared Ebola-free, but outbreak continues over border
“…President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who toured Ebola treatment units in the capital Monrovia, said that, while Liberia could take pride in winning the battle against the disease, work was not finished…” (Toweh/Giahyue, 5/10).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola virus transmission ends in Liberia — U.N. health agency
“…The [WHO] said it will maintain an enhanced staff presence in Liberia until the end of the year as the response transitions from outbreak control, to vigilance for imported cases, to the recovery of essential health services…” (5/9).

Washington Post: In Liberia, Ebola outbreak is declared officially over
“…Following Liberia’s announcement, the White House press secretary Josh Earnest released a statement praising the milestone and highlighting the Obama administration’s continued support…” (Holley, 5/9).

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U.N., Partners Begin Vaccination Campaigns In Liberia After Measles Outbreak Erupts

NPR: As Ebola Leaves Liberia, Measles Makes A Forceful Comeback
“…Just as Liberia is getting ready to declare itself Ebola-free, another disease has cropped up. This January a measles outbreak erupted. So far this year, there have been 562 cases; seven were fatal…” (Beaubien, 5/8).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. to begin polio and measles vaccinations as Ebola transmissions plummet in Liberia
“United Nations agencies and their partners [Friday] announced a massive campaign to vaccinate more than 600,000 children against polio and measles in Liberia as a crucial step towards recovery and the restoration of health services in the West African country, where Ebola transmissions have dwindled in recent weeks…” (5/8).

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Building Strong Health Systems Key To Addressing Health Challenges In Africa, WHO Africa Region Director Says

VOA News: African Countries Urged to Invest More in Health Systems
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on African countries to invest more in strengthening their health systems. WHO Director for the Africa region, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, says the 2015 Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health currently receiving additional inputs from stakeholders will go a long way in helping countries deal with communicable diseases and epidemics affecting millions of people…” (Khumalo, 5/8).

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GSK, UNC-Chapel Hill Partner To Establish Research Center, Company Aimed At Finding HIV/AIDS Cure

New York Times: Drugmaker and University Ally to Seek Cure for AIDS
“Years ago, curing AIDS was considered so out of the question that some scientists dared not even mention the possibility. But in the latest sign that attitudes are changing, the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is teaming up with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to start a research institute and a company aimed at curing HIV infection and AIDS…” (Pollack, 5/10).

Reuters: Hunt for AIDS cure accelerates as GSK and U.S. experts link up
“…GSK is tapping into the latest expertise by creating an HIV Cure center with the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and establishing a new jointly owned company. The drugmaker said on Monday it would invest $20 million to help fund the work for an initial five years…” (Hirschler, 5/10).

Wall Street Journal: HIV Cure Is Goal of Glaxo-UNC Chapel Hill Partnership
“…The $20 million investment by Glaxo over five years comes on the heels of the company’s decision to retain its 78 percent stake in ViiV Healthcare, a business it owns jointly with Pfizer Inc. and Shionogi & Co. of Japan that develops drugs for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Taken together, the moves signal Glaxo’s ambition to play a major role in a new generation of HIV therapies, Glaxo Chief Executive Andrew Witty said in an interview…” (McKay, 5/10).

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Nations Should Reduce Food Waste To Improve Food Security, G20 Agriculture Ministers Say

Reuters: Food wastage an ‘enormous’ global concern, G20 says
“Food wasted by consumers is an enormous economic problem and nations should ensure excess food is given to the hungry instead of being thrown away, agriculture ministers from the G20 said on Friday. The two-day meeting in Istanbul has focused on problems of food security and nutrition, including the impact of climate change. A reduction in the amount of food wasted would improve food security, the ministers said in their final communique…” (5/8).

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France, Gates Foundation Announce Dual Initiative To Improve Immunization Programs In Africa's Sahel Region

Devex: Amid differences, forging a successful partnership
‘…[French Development Agency (AFD) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] announced a dual initiative to improve vaccination and immunization programs in the Sahel region of Africa — a 100 million euro ($113.2 million) initiative spanning 2016 to 2020. … Devex caught up with Philippe Orliange, AFD’s director of partnerships, on the sidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Global Forum on Development in Paris last month…” (Tyson, 5/8).

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E.U. States Disagree Over Abortion, Contraception In Development Policy; Council To Reopen Discussions

EurActiv France: E.U. divided over abortion in development policy
“…The E.U.’s member states have not escaped the divisive debate over sexual and reproductive rights. ‘The problem with sexual and reproductive rights is that they cover the sensitive subjects of abortion and contraception,’ a French diplomatic source explained…” (Barbière, 5/11).

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WHO Issues Guidelines For Naming New Diseases In Effort To Prevent Stigmatization

International Business Times: World Health Organization Issues Guidelines For Naming New Diseases
“Scientists should avoid using geographic locations, people’s names, and any cultural references while naming diseases in order to prevent stigmatizing communities and damaging economies, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement released Friday…” (Pandey, 5/9).

New York Times: WHO Urges More Care in Naming Diseases
“…Concerned about the inaccuracies and stigmas that names of illnesses can confer upon people, animals, regions, and economies, the World Health Organization on Friday announced ‘best practices’ for naming new human infectious diseases. It called on ‘scientists, national authorities, and the media’ to heed the recommendations…” (Gladstone, 5/8).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Swine flu or monkey pox? Think again on disease names, WHO says
“…The guidelines say a name should consist of generic descriptive terms based on the relevant symptoms such as respiratory disease, neurologic syndrome, or watery diarrhea…” (Batha, 5/8).

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Kenyan Governor Bans Eating, Selling Raw Food After Cholera Outbreak In Nairobi's Kibera Slum

International Business Times: Kenya Cholera Outbreak 2015: Nairobi Bans Raw Food, Hawking To Contain Spread Of Water-Borne Illness In Kibera Slum
“A Kenyan governor has banned eating raw food and shuttered businesses that sell food from residences in and around Nairobi after a deadly cholera outbreak in the city’s Kibera slum. Eight people from Kibera have died from the bacterial disease and about 100 others were hospitalized Friday, local reports said…” (Winsor, 5/8).

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Violent Clashes In South Sudan Force Aid Groups To Withdraw, Ten Of Thousands To Flee

Reuters: Tens of thousands flee fighting in South Sudan, aid groups withdraw
“Tens of thousands of people have fled fierce fighting in South Sudan’s northern Unity State and humanitarian organizations have withdrawn staff from the area, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other groups said on Saturday…” (Dumo, 5/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Building Resilient Health Systems Vital To Preventing Future Outbreaks

New York Times: Ebola-Free, but Not Resilient
Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Bernice Dahn, minister-designate of health for Liberia

“…A resilient health system combines active surveillance mechanisms, robust health care delivery system, and a vigorous response to disease. … When a resilient system is in place, cities and countries alike are prepared to yield what we call a ‘resilience dividend’ — benefits that are independent of crises. Building trust with the public, enhancing access to quality care, and investing in public health are all wise investments at any time, helping to increase productivity and growth. … One lesson from Ebola is clear: in a resilient health system, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Liberia not only reminds us of the necessity to create such a system, but also can help to show the path forward” (5/10).

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SDGs Must Prioritize Key Populations In Universal Health Care Targets

Huffington Post: New Development Goal Falls Short of Protecting Those Most at Risk
David J. Olson, global health communications expert

“…[T]he language currently proposed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) falls short of prioritizing the most marginalized and vulnerable groups … Unfortunately, the UHC target and indicators do not meet the specific needs of the most marginalized, stigmatized, and underserved people in the world … If health care is not accessible to these groups, the global commitment to ending AIDS and deliver UHC by 2030 will simply not be achieved. … The International HIV/AIDS Alliance says there is still time to lobby for a more inclusive UHC indicator and that the heads of the WHO and World Bank ‘have an opportunity to change the course of history and improve the health of millions'” (5/8).

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Huffington Post Opinion Pieces Recognize Mother's Day, Discuss Maternal, Child Health

Huffington Post: To Be or Not to Be… A Mom
Pamela Barnes, president and CEO of EngenderHealth

“…Motherhood is a transformational experience, and the decision to become a mother should be a choice that every woman is empowered to make for herself. But not every woman has the opportunity. Today, 225 million women in developing countries want to decide for themselves when and if to have children, but lack access to contraception…” (5/8).

Huffington Post: How Lessons From Haiti and Miracles in Nepal Show Us What Is Possible
Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts

“…We believe that every mother has the right to access the care she needs during pregnancy and childbirth to support her health and to prevent and manage potential complications. Failure to meet this need means that this Mother’s Day, and every day, 800 girls and women will continue to die when they could survive and thrive…” (5/10).

Huffington Post: A New Type of Mother’s Day Gift
Akash Goel, resident physician at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University

“…While the final list of goals and targets are under discussion for the post-2015 development agenda, known as the Sustainable Development Goals, now is a time to re-prioritize maternal and reproductive health among not only governments and development institutions but also the private sector. … This year, let’s give a different kind of gift to our mothers — one that elevates that status of maternal health in the SDGs…” (5/10).

Huffington Post: A Promise to the Missing Moms
Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA

“…We need to build resilient health systems that can deliver quality care. We know that investments in midwifery services are the most cost-effective. … When world leaders meet in September at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to enshrine the new post-2015 development agenda, we need to generate the political will to drastically drive down and end avoidable maternal deaths in our lifetime. We also need strong leadership at the local level to push the agenda forward…” (5/8).

Huffington Post: Celebrating All Brave Women This Mother’s Day
Susan Sarandon, actress, activist and mother

“…This Mother’s Day, I am taking the opportunity to celebrate all mothers, but especially those who are up against some of life’s biggest challenges. It might surprise you to learn that every year there are 1.5 million women living with HIV giving birth around the world. … I stand in solidarity with these women this Mother’s Day, with the hope that in a short time we live in a world where each and every baby is born free of HIV” (5/10).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Report Examines Foreign NGO Engagement In U.S. Global Health Efforts

Kaiser Family Foundation: Foreign NGO Engagement in U.S. Global Health Efforts: Foreign NGOs Receiving USG Support Through USAID
This new report examines the role of foreign NGOs that received U.S. government global health funding through USAID in FY 2013. The report summary notes, “The greatest number of foreign NGOs worked on HIV. Additionally, the highest amount of funding was for HIV-related activities. … Foreign NGOs received USG global health funding through USAID for efforts carried out in 42 countries and across multiple regions, including Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East…” (Moss, 5/11).

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Empower Women By Including Them In All Aspects Of Society

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Why Moms Matter to U.S. Foreign Policy
U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell highlights stories of mothers worldwide who “counter violent extremism,” “promote health and well-being,” and “inspire champions for equality,” writing, “So on Mother’s Day — and every day — we can do more than thank women for the many ways they make life better for their children, their communities, and their countries. We can reaffirm our commitment to include them and empower them in all aspects of society” (5/8).

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State Department Congratulates Liberia On Ending Ebola, Urges Caution, Continued International Support

U.S. Department of State: Statement on the World Health Organization’s Announcement on Liberia
In a statement, Marie Harf, acting department spokesperson, says, “The United States congratulates the people of Liberia on reaching the important milestone marked by the World Health Organization’s announcement that the current outbreak of Ebola in Liberia has ended after having gone 42 days without any new cases. … We urge Liberians to continue to be vigilant, as the threat of a renewed Ebola outbreak will remain in the region until all the affected countries reach the equivalent milestone…” (5/9).

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement In Current Form Would Negatively Impact Global Health

Health Affairs Blog: The Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Threat To Global Health?
Deane Marchbein, president of the Doctors Without Borders USA Board of Directors, writes, “Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) … [is] deeply concerned that the [Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)], in its current form, will lock-in high, unsustainable drug prices, block or delay the availability of affordable generic medicines, and price millions of people out of much-needed medical care…” (5/8).

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PATH Launches New Fundraising Campaign, Works With Gates Foundation

Humanosphere: PATH on a ‘new’ campaign for global health equity
Humanosphere founder and lead journalist Tom Paulson writes, “…[W]atch out for more talk of ‘global health equity’ — the buzz phrase of the moment and the theme of PATH’s annual breakfast and a new $100 million fundraising campaign…” He also discusses the relationship between PATH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (5/8).

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Seed Global Health Enables Doctors, Nurses To Educate Health Care Providers In Africa

ONE: Training the next generation of Africa’s doctors and nurses — one ‘seed’ at a time
Cornelia Lluberes, global health research assistant at the ONE Campaign, interviews Vanessa Kerry, co-founder and CEO of Seed Global Health, about the organization, which gives “health professionals the opportunity to serve as educators in sub-Saharan Africa” (5/8).

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