KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Quick Public Health Actions Helped Prevent Spread Of Ebola In Mali

Media sources report on the public health investigations and contact tracing that helped prevent the spread of Ebola from an infected two-year-old girl who crossed the border from Guinea to Mali.

Los Angeles Times: How Ebola spread to Mali: The lessons learned
“…WHO officials helped the ministries of health in Mali and Guinea trace what happened to the family of the two-year-old girl, who was diagnosed in the western city of Kayes on Oct. 23 and died the following day…” (Zavis, 11/10).

New York Times: In Quick Response, Mali Thwarts an Ebola Outbreak
“Using old-fashioned detective work, public health workers in Mali, one of the world’s poorest nations, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, tracked and quarantined 108 people in two cities and a few roadside towns who may have had contact with a two-year-old girl from Guinea who died of Ebola on Oct. 24…” (McNeil/Höije, 11/10).

Reuters: Mali due to declare 108 Ebola-free after quarantine
“…Mali became the sixth West African country to report a case of Ebola when a two-year-old girl died last month, leading to an urgent search for anyone who may have been infected during her 1,200-km bus trip from Guinea to the Malian town of Kayes…” (Miles, 11/10).

WHO: Mali case, Ebola imported from Guinea
“Investigations undertaken by Ministries of Health in Mali and Guinea, assisted by WHO, have clarified the early exposure history of Mali’s first Ebola case. The index case in Mali, a two-year-old girl who resided with her family in the urban commune of Beyla, Guinea, was diagnosed with Ebola, in Kayes, Mali, on 23 October and died on the following day…” (11/10).

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1 in 7 Pregnant Women In West Africa Risk Dying In Childbirth, Charities Say

News outlets report on assertions from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) that one in seven pregnant women in Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa could die due to overwhelmed hospitals and health workers’ fear of contracting the disease.

The Guardian: One in seven pregnant women could die in Ebola-hit countries, say charities
“One in seven women in countries hit by the Ebola epidemic could die in pregnancy or childbirth because hospital services are overwhelmed, say charities…” (Boseley, 11/10).

International Business Times: Ebola Could Kill One in Seven Pregnant Women in Affected Countries
“…Charities forming the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) have warned that hospitals in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, which already had some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, are overwhelmed, with pregnant women being left to give birth without proper medical care…” (Bermingham, 11/11).

Reuters: One in seven women risk dying in childbirth in Ebola-hit countries
“The rate of women dying in childbirth in West African countries hit by the Ebola epidemic is soaring, with as many as one in seven at risk of death as fear of contact with bodily fluids prevents people helping them, aid charities warned on Tuesday…” (Kelland, 11/10).

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Governments, Aid Groups Try To Keep Pace With Shifting Ebola Epidemic

Washington Post: Governments, groups striving to become as agile as the Ebola virus
“The news out of West Africa in recent days — good and bad — has demonstrated a fundamental challenge in the fight against Ebola: The virus is more nimble than the human response to it. … The looming question now is whether governments and other organizations can find a way to become as agile as the virus, which has vanished suddenly in some hard-hit places while erupting just as quickly in new locations…” (Sun et al., 11/10).

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Progress Made On Ebola, But World Must Learn Lessons To Stop Future Epidemics, Gates Says

News outlets report on comments made by Bill Gates on the response to Ebola at a conference in London.

BBC News: Bill Gates: Progress being made on Ebola
“…News that the number of new cases in Liberia is declining suggests the tide may be turning, [Gates] told the BBC. He is hopeful of similar gains in Sierra Leone and Guinea. Mr. Gates, who has committed $50m to the international effort, believes an important factor is educating local communities in the handling of bodies of Ebola victims…” (Pym, 11/10).

Press Association/The Guardian: World must learn lessons of Ebola to stop future epidemics, says Bill Gates
“The world has ‘a very significant chance’ to halt the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said. But speaking to MPs and peers in the Palace of Westminster, Gates warned it was vital to learn the lessons from the current outbreak to ensure the world is ready for other, more virulent diseases that can be expected to follow in Ebola’s wake…” (11/10).

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Google Launches Campaign To Raise Money For Ebola Efforts

Agence France-Presse: Google to boost Ebola donations
“Google launched a campaign Monday to raise money to fight Ebola, tossing $10 million into the pot and saying it will match donations to the fund two to one…” (11/11).

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New York Doctor Recovered From Ebola, Set To Be Released

New York Times: Craig Spencer, New York Doctor With Ebola, Will Leave Bellevue Hospital
“Craig Spencer, the New York City doctor who became the first person in the city to test positive for Ebola, is free of the virus and is set to be released from Bellevue Hospital Center on Tuesday, hospital officials said on Monday. … Dr. Spencer’s recovery adds to the evidence that when treated in advanced American hospitals, Ebola has a far lower fatality rate than in West African field hospitals starved of doctors, nurses and equipment…” (Hartocollis, 11/10).

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First U.S. Ebola Treatment Center Opens In Liberia

Associated Press: U.S. opens new Ebola treatment unit in Liberia
“The United States Monday opened the first of 17 Ebola treatment units it is building in Liberia. The new clinic opened in Tubmanburg, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of the capital, Monrovia. The number of people with Ebola appears to be declining in the capital, Monrovia, but more cases are popping up in other areas of the West African country, according to the World Health Organization…” (Paye-Layleh, 11/10).

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Former Congressman Comments On Ebola Funding Request; House Committees Schedule Hearings On Epidemic

News outlets report on comments from a former congressman on President Obama’s request for Ebola funding and two scheduled hearings on the epidemic in the House.

Devex: Obama won’t get $6.2B for Ebola, says former congressman
“U.S. President Barack Obama is not likely to receive the $6.2 billion in emergency funding to combat the Ebola virus, according to a source at a postelection analysis meeting for government contractors held Friday. While the announcement of Obama’s request — yet to be officially answered — filled newspapers this week, former Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia said it simply won’t happen…” (Luke, 11/10).

The Hill: House to hold two more Ebola hearings
“House Republicans have scheduled two more hearings on the U.S. response to Ebola, focusing on the health system’s readiness for more cases and the development of cures and treatments. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Health and Oversight and Investigations will host the events on Tuesday and Wednesday…” (Viebeck, 11/10).

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House Democrats Urge Leadership To Increase NIH Funding

The Hill: House Dems urge leaders to increase NIH funding
“House Democrats on Monday urged Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to include more funding for the National Institutes of Health in the next government funding bill. In a letter to Boehner and Pelosi, more than 100 House Democrats called for setting NIH’s funding level to the agency’s pre-sequester level, adjusted for inflation…” (Marcos, 11/10).

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Rapid Economic Growth Not Spurring Increase In African Health Care Spending

Los Angeles Times: African health spending lags despite rapid economic growth
“…Ebola has focused attention on the inability of local [African] health systems to contain a major disease outbreak. But even in African nations untouched by the epidemic, health systems are struggling with insufficient financing and poor organization. That is holding back progress against malaria, HIV/AIDS, and basic health problems such as infant mortality. … Despite rapid economic growth, countries including Mozambique are spending on areas other than health care, leaving much of Africa with too few clinics, hospital beds, doctors, and health workers, and with inadequate systems for linking them together…” (Levey, 11/10).

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Government Action, Simple Interventions Help Narrow Child Mortality Gaps In Developing Countries, Study Shows

Media sources report on findings from a Stanford University School of Medicine study showing that gaps in child mortality rates between the poorest and richest households shrank in most developing countries included in the study.

Stanford Medicine: In developing countries, child mortality rates fell most among poorest families, study finds
“The child mortality gap has narrowed between the poorest and wealthiest households in a majority of more than 50 developing countries, a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine has found. This convergence was mostly driven by the fact that child mortality rates declined the fastest among the poorest families. In the countries where the gap increased, the study identified a common thread: poor governance…” (Potter, 11/9).

VOA News: Child Mortality Gap Narrows in Developing Countries
“Child mortality rates have dropped to record lows in developing countries. Improved government action and simple protective health measures are narrowing the mortality gap in children under five years old between the richest and the poorest families…” (Berman, 11/10).

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Devex Examines Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance's Rebranding Efforts

Devex: The evolution of global health’s ‘best-kept secret’
“…[T]hose who are familiar with Gavi believe the organization has been very discreet about its work and could do more to raise awareness about its mission — a point that the survey [of key global health stakeholders] reinforced. Immediately after finding out the results of the survey, the public-private partnership, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2015, worked on rebranding itself…” (Ravelo, 11/10).

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Indian Sterilization Program Leaves 10 Women Dead, Dozens Hospitalized

News outlets report on the deaths of 10 and hospitalizations of dozens of Indian women who underwent sterilization procedures in the central state of Chhattisgarh.

Bloomberg News: Doctor Used Infected Tools on Indian Women as 10 Dead
“An Indian surgeon used infected instruments to sterilize 83 women in about six hours, according to a local medical official, leaving 10 of them dead and another 69 hospitalized in the central state of Chhattisgarh…” (Krishnan, 11/11).

Financial Times: Indian women die after sterilizations
“A government-sponsored mass sterilization program in India went tragically wrong this week, with eight women dying and dozens more left critically ill after undergoing the procedure at a clinic in the rural state of Chhattisgarh…” (Kazmin, 11/11).

Reuters: Ten women die after botched surgery at sterilization ‘camp’ in India
“…The women fell ill on Monday after having laparoscopic tubectomies two days earlier at a so-called family planning camp at a village. Such camps are held regularly in Chhattisgarh and other Indian states as part of a long-running effort to control India’s booming population…” (Dash, 11/11).

Wall Street Journal: India Sterilization Deaths Prompt Medical Inquiry
“…A committee formed to investigate the deaths had so far not reached any conclusion, local officials said. As of Tuesday morning, 68 of the women operated on had been admitted to four hospitals across the district, according to Dr. [Amar Singh] Thakur, the divisional joint director of health services in the district. Several remained in a critical condition, according to local officials…” (Seervai/Anand, 11/11).

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UNICEF Conference In India To Explore Sanitation Improvement To Prevent Malnutrition, Stunting

New York Times: Talks in India to Focus on Link Between Hygiene and Growth
“Responding to new research that links childhood malnutrition with poor sanitation, UNICEF began a conference [in New Delhi] Monday to explore ways of encouraging better hygiene so children can avoid the devastating consequences of stunting…” (Harris, 11/10).

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Monkey Form Of Malaria Spreading Among Humans In Malaysia, Scientists Say

New York Times: A Rare Form of Malaria Is Spreading in Malaysia
“A rare and sometimes lethal form of malaria usually found only in monkeys is becoming so common in Malaysia that it accounts for most malaria hospitalizations there, scientists have found…” (McNeil, 11/10).

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A.U.-U.N. Team Finds No Evidence Supporting Mass Rape Allegations In North Darfur Town

U.N. News Centre: U.N. mission finds no evidence confirming alleged mass rapes in North Darfur town
“After being granted access [Sunday] to investigate allegations of the mass rape of 200 women and girls in a town in North Darfur, Sudan, the African Union-United Nations hybrid mission has said that its team found no evidence confirming the claims and received no information regarding the purported acts…” (11/10).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces, Letter To Editor Discuss Issues Related To Ebola Epidemic

New York Times: Epidemics of Confusion
Lawrence Altman, senior scholar at the Wilson Center and former New York Times senior medical correspondent

New York Times: Letter to the Editor: Big Pharma and Ebola
John Castellani, president and chief executive at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

The Hill: Role for Taiwan in the fight against Ebola
Kent Wang, advisory commissioner for the Overseas Chinese Affairs Council of Republic of China (Taiwan) in the U.S.

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U.S. Should Support Gavi With $250M Annually Over Next 4 Years

The Missoulian: Urge U.S. leaders to support Gavi
Carla Mettling, co-chair of the Missoula chapter of RESULTS

“…[T]he work of multilateral aid groups gives hope in this dismal picture [of acute and ongoing health emergencies]. One such is Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which vaccinates children against the major childhood killers — measles, rotavirus diarrhea, pneumonia — and helps countries build up their health systems in order to do so. … U.S. leadership has always been central to Gavi’s success. We are a founding partner and its fourth-largest donor. Gavi is now in the midst of trying to raise $7.5 billion to pay for vaccinating 300 million additional children around the world, which would save the lives of five million to six million of them. The U.S. can do its part by pledging $250 million per year for the next four years…” (11/10).

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Cost-Effective Post-2015 Development Targets 'Can Make A World Of Difference'

Devex: Smarter targets for the U.N.: The best thing any of us can do
Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center

“…[M]y think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus, has engaged in a project to determine which [post-2015 development] targets will do the most good per dollar spent. … Imagine taking the U.N. document and overlaying it graphically with economic evidence. … And that’s exactly what we’ve done with the final document of the U.N. Working Group on the SDGs that proposes 169 targets. … Reducing malaria and tuberculosis is a phenomenal target, preliminarily painted green. … On the other hand, HIV eradication is both hard and much less effective. Because of the higher costs and lifelong treatment, it is only yellow, not green. … If well-documented economic arguments can help to swap just one poor target for one phenomenal one, leveraging trillions of dollars in development aid and government spending can make a world of difference…” (11/10).

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Devex Continues #HealthyMeans Series With Opinion Pieces On Health Care Access

Devex: Want to fight dengue effectively? Get access to communities with local volunteers
Walter Cotte, under secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Devex: Universal health coverage: An empty promise without focusing on chronic diseases
Katie Dain, executive director of the NCD Alliance

Devex: 3 ways the public sector can work with business to fight chronic diseases
Jacob Gayle, vice president of Medtronic Philanthropy

Devex: HIV in children — we need to do more
Manuel Goncalves, executive team member of ViiV Healthcare

Devex: Time to end AIDS and (finally) leave no one behind post-2015
Marielle Hart, policy manager with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

Devex: How to end a neocolonialist approach to global health training
Michelle Morse, deputy chief medical officer for Haiti at Partners In Health

Devex: How to improve access to affordable health care
Craig Moscetti, independent consultant and freelance writer

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Private, Non-Profit Contributions Vital To Ebola Efforts

The White House Blog: Hailing the Contributions of the Private and Non-Profit Sectors to the Ebola Fight
Gayle Smith, special assistant to President Obama and senior director at the National Security Council, discusses the importance of private and non-profit contributions to efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, including recent announcements from Facebook and Google (11/6).

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Activists Call For Tripling Of Annual TB Research Spending

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: #CoughUpTheTBMoney: TB activists call for tripling annual spending on TB research
“In this guest post, Mike Watson Frick — TB/HIV program officer at Treatment Action Group (TAG) — writes about the state of tuberculosis (TB) research funding and civil society actions that took place at the recent Union World Conference on Lung Health in Barcelona, Spain” (Chmiola, 11/10).

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Investments In HCWs Vital To End AIDS

IntraHealth’s “Vital”: To Eradicate HIV by 2030, We Must Invest in Health Workers
Consultant Richard Seifman writes about UNAIDS’ fast-track strategy to end AIDS, saying it “will require greater investments not only in antiretroviral therapies, rapid viral load testing kits, and condoms, but in strengthening fragile health systems. That means financing better health infrastructures, building laboratories, and — perhaps most importantly — investments in health workers, on whose shoulders will fall the burden of reaching the most at-risk populations in underserved communities…” (11/10).

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Another Ugandan Bill Seeks To Criminalize Homosexuality

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Uganda Parliament committee tries again with bill that would criminalize HIV prevention services
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses the “latest draft of a bill targeting ‘unnatural sexual practices’ from a Uganda Parliament committee seeking to replace the country’s nullified Anti-Homosexuality Act…” (11/10).

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