KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

On Verge Of Declaring Limited Ebola Outbreak Over, Mali Identifies At Least 1 New Unrelated Ebola Death

News outlets report that Mali has confirmed two more cases of Ebola in the capital just as the country was preparing to declare an end to its limited outbreak.

Associated Press: Mali reports 2 new Ebola deaths in capital
“Malian authorities on Wednesday reported two new deaths from Ebola that are not believed to be linked to the nation’s only other known case, an alarming setback as the country tries to limit the epidemic ravaging other West African countries…” (Ahmed, 11/12).

The Guardian: Mali races to head off Ebola outbreak after second death
“…Officials said a nurse died on Tuesday after treating a man who arrived from Guinea at a clinic in the Malian capital, Bamako. The clinic is now in quarantine and under police guard…” (Smith, 11/12).

New York Times: Mali: New Ebola Case Is Confirmed as Response to First Was Wrapping Up
“Mali, which was just coming to the end of 21-day quarantines for 108 people linked to its first Ebola case, now has a second, the government announced Tuesday. The new case, in the capital, Bamako, was not linked to the first case, a two-year-old girl from Guinea who died in the northwestern town of Kayes on Oct. 24, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said…” (McNeil, 11/11).

Reuters: Mali confirms new case of Ebola, locks down Bamako clinic
“…One medical officer, who asked not to be identified, said the nurse who had Ebola died on Tuesday evening while another doctor was ill and had been quarantined. A government spokesman was not available to comment on the nurse’s reported death…” (Penney et al., 11/11).

Reuters: Mali quarantines dozens after Ebola kills second victim
“Authorities in Mali quarantined dozens of people on Wednesday at the home of a 25-year-old nurse who died from Ebola in the capital, Bamako, and at the clinic where he treated an imam from Guinea who died with Ebola-like symptoms…” (Penney/Lewis, 11/12).

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U.N. Seeks Faster, More Flexible Ebola Response Amid Constrained Health Systems, Delays

News outlets report on the U.N.’s efforts to mount a more flexible response to Ebola in West Africa as it faces the challenges of slow diagnostic procedures and constrained health systems.

New York Times: U.N. Seeks a More Nimble Response to Ebola in Africa
“A shortage of international health workers and delays in building Ebola treatment clinics in West Africa are forcing the United Nations to change course in fighting the virus, and to call for smaller and more mobile treatment units that make greater use of local staff — and in turn require more money…” (Sengupta, 11/11).

U.N. News Centre: Stopping Ebola as fast as possible is ‘number one priority’ — U.N. envoy
“The number one priority is to stop Ebola as fast as possible and ‘get ahead of the virus,’ the chief of the United Nations emergency response mission said as the U.N. health agency [Tuesday] reported that efforts to contain the outbreak in West Africa are being hampered by cumbersome diagnostic tests…” (11/11).

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Liberia Sees Decline In Ebola Cases, But Epidemic Still Outstripping Containment Efforts, MSF Warns

Media sources report on Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) appeal for a change of strategy in the fight against Ebola in Liberia, warning that the decline in cases in the West African country does not signal the end of the epidemic there.

Agence France-Presse: MSF calls for strategy change in Liberia’s war on Ebola
“Medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders called Monday for a change of strategy in the fight against Ebola in Liberia, to fund rapid response teams rather than huge isolation units…” (11/10).

The Guardian: Ebola crisis: ‘we are still being outpaced by epidemic,’ MSF head tells MPs
“The Ebola epidemic is still outstripping efforts to contain it, according to doctors from Médecins Sans Frontières who have mounted most of the early response in West Africa. Speaking to MPs from the House of Commons international development committee, MSF’s head of U.K. programs said the apparent decline in numbers in Liberia did not signal the end of the epidemic…” (Boseley, 11/11).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Ebola: Hard-Won Gains in Liberia Must Not Be Undermined
“While the number of new Ebola cases reported in Liberia has declined in recent weeks, the outbreak is far from over and new hotspots continue to emerge across the country, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said [Monday], warning that the international aid response must rapidly adapt to this new phase of the epidemic or risk undermining progress made against Ebola…” (11/10).

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U.S. Urges IMF To Cancel $100M In Debt Owed By Ebola-Stricken West African Nations

Reuters: U.S. urges IMF to cancel debt of Ebola-stricken countries
“The United States on Tuesday proposed that the International Monetary Fund write off some $100 million in debt it is owed by Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to free up more resources for those countries, the hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak…” (Yukhananov, 11/11).

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Ebola Workers Ask U.S. Congress For Help In West Africa, As Committee Set To Evaluate Emergency Funding Request

Associated Press: Ebola workers ask Congress for help
“Health workers on the front line of the Ebola crisis say the need for urgent help isn’t letting up, as Congress begins considering President Barack Obama’s $6.2 billion emergency aid request to fight the disease. … On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee is set to question Obama administration officials about the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak as it begins evaluating the emergency aid request…” (Neergaard/DiLorenzo, 11/12).

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Ebola-Hit West Africa Facing Major Food Crisis, U.N. Special Rapporteur Says

U.N. News Centre: West Africa ‘on brink’ of major food crisis in wake of Ebola outbreak — U.N. expert
“As Ebola continues to ravage West Africa, leaving more than 4,000 people dead, the region is now on the brink of a major food crisis, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food has warned [Tuesday]…” (11/11).

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Ebola Workers Seek Pay In Liberia; Sierra Leone To Compensate Families Of Workers Who Die Of Disease

News outlets report on compensation for Ebola contact tracers in Liberia and the families of health workers who die of the disease in Sierra Leone.

Foreign Policy: Liberia Is Stiffing Its Contact Tracers as Ebola Epidemic Continues
“Some 600 angry Ebola workers surrounded Liberia’s Ministry of Health Monday demanding back pay dating from early September. The ministry employees who track down anyone who may have come into contact with an Ebola victim — a critical process called contact tracing — have never received a dime…” (Garrett, 11/11).

Reuters: Sierra Leone to pay families of health workers who die of Ebola
“Sierra Leone will make a one-off payment of $5,000 to the family of any health worker who dies as a result of treating an Ebola patient, authorities said on Tuesday, as a sixth doctor in the country tested positive for the virus…” (Fofana, 11/12).

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Experts Meet At WHO To Discuss Experimental Ebola Drug, Vaccine Testing

NPR: Medical Experts Look For New Ways To Test Ebola Drugs
“Medical experts are meeting [Tuesday and Wednesday] at the World Health Organization in Geneva to figure out how to test potential Ebola drugs in Africa. In addition to determining which experimental drugs should be the highest priority, the experts are sorting through some difficult ethical issues…” (Harris, 11/11).

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Bill Gates Meets With German Chancellor Merkel, Praises Country's Investments In Global Health, Ebola

Deutsche Welle: Bill Gates praises German investment in global health
“At a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates lauded the German effort to fight Ebola, as well as its investments in health programs in developing countries all over the world…” (11/11).

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Obama Commends Recovered N.Y. Ebola Doctor; U.S. Nurses Plan Strike To Protest Insufficient Ebola Preparedness

News outlets report on several Ebola-related stories in the U.S.

Associated Press: Obama calls Ebola doctor, commends him for service
“President Barack Obama is commending a physician who recovered from Ebola for his selflessness in going to West Africa to fight the virus…” (11/11).

New York Times: Plenty of Hugs as Craig Spencer, Recovered New York Ebola Patient, Goes Home
“…As Dr. Craig Spencer, New York City’s first Ebola patient, demonstrated over and over and over again on Tuesday, hugging is the new doctor’s note, the proof that the patient is well, that the public should not be afraid and that in the United States, the disease is not the terror-inducing epidemic it is in West Africa…” (Hartocollis/Santora, 11/11).

The Atlantic: The Quiet End to the U.S. Ebola Panic
“…The news out of New York brings the grand total of Ebola cases currently in the U.S. back down to zero. For now, the borderline hysteria that began with the arrival, diagnosis, and subsequent death, of Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas is resembling so many other crises of the moment, in with a bang and out with a whimper…” (Berman, 11/11).

The Hill: White House: N.Y. Ebola case won’t be last
“The doctor discharged Tuesday from a New York City hospital after recovering from Ebola won’t be the last U.S. case of the deadly virus, the White House warned Tuesday…” (Sink, 11/11).

New York Times: With Persistence and Phone Calls, Defending Against Ebola
“…New York City’s defense against the Ebola epidemic — and at least the hypothetical threat that it will percolate through the city’s mass transit system, schools, and dense neighborhoods — is this 24-hour-a-day [telephone tracking] operation now keeping track of almost 300 people, believed to be the largest monitoring effort in the country…” (Hartocollis, 11/11).

Reuters: California nurses strike ahead of larger protest over Ebola measures
“Nearly 20,000 nurses went on strike in California on Tuesday over patient care issues that include what their union views as insufficient protection for nurses who may care for patients stricken with the deadly Ebola virus, in a prelude to broader national protests expected on Wednesday…” (Dobuzinskis, 11/11).

Reuters: U.S. nurses to protest, strike over Ebola measures
“Nurses across the United States will stage protest rallies and strikes on Wednesday over what they say is insufficient protection for health workers dealing with patients possibly stricken with the deadly Ebola virus…” (Skinner, 11/12).

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Uganda Declared Free Of Hemorrhagic Marburg Virus

News outlets report Uganda has been declared free of Marburg, an Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever.

Agence France-Presse: Uganda declares itself free of Ebola-like Marburg virus
“Ugandan health officials on Tuesday declared the country free of the Ebola-like Marburg virus after completing a 42-day surveillance period under World Health Organization (WHO) rules…” (11/11).

CNN: Uganda declared free of Marburg, an Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever
“…The declaration by the United Nations health agency comes after a 42-day surveillance period since the death of a health worker who contracted the virus. This included a period of isolation for those with whom he had come in contact…” (Ntale, 11/11).

Reuters: Uganda says free of Ebola-like Marburg after outbreak in September
“…A total of 197 people were in contact with the health care worker, but none of them were found to have been infected, Junior Health Minister Sarah Opendi told a news conference…” (11/11).

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UNHCR Faces Increasing Pressure To Assist Displaced In Syria, Iraq As Winter Begins

News outlets report on UNHCR’s warning that a cold winter and food shortages threaten those displaced by conflict in Syria and Iraq.

Reuters: U.N. says 13.6 million displaced by wars in Iraq and Syria
“About 13.6 million people, equivalent to the population of London, have been displaced by conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and many are without food or shelter as winter starts, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday…” (Miles, 11/11).

U.N. News Centre: As funds dry up, U.N. agency warns of ‘very tough’ winter for displaced in Syria, Iraq
“An ongoing funding shortage coupled with a sharp growth in recent internal displacements is placing increasing pressure on United Nations efforts to assist millions of refugees across Iraq and Syria as they prepare for the onset of a long and cold winter, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) has warned…” (11/11).

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Public Health Experts Face Challenges In Reversing Malnutrition In Afghanistan

IRIN: Afghan malnutrition — the search for solutions
“…[Malnutrition] affects more than 40 percent of Afghan children, killing thousands every year and leaving millions with permanent disabilities. … A government-backed report highlighted the extent of malnutrition in the country, yet experts say efforts to tackle the problem are hampered by cultural norms, shrinking health budgets, and the short-term nature of aid donations…” (11/11).

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El Salvador's Abortion Ban Wrongly Jails Women, Rights Groups Say

Thomson Reuters Foundation: El Salvador’s abortion ban puts women behind bars for decades
“…[H]undreds of women [are] believed wrongly jailed in El Salvador for defying a ban on abortion, accused of inducing abortions when in fact they suffered miscarriages, stillbirths, or pregnancy complications, women’s rights groups say…” (Moloney, 11/11).

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China Has Not Seen Increase In Childbirth Numbers Since Loosening Family Planning Rules

Foreign Policy: ‘Having a Second Kid Isn’t as Simple as Adding Another Pair of Chopsticks’
“When China loosened its family planning rules a year ago in November, allowing more couples to have a second child, it was big news. It marked the biggest reform of China’s strict family planning rules — which limited most urban couples to one child and rural families to two if their first was a girl — in three decades. And naturally, there were expectations of a baby boom. But the numbers are in and, so far, there hasn’t even been a boomlet…” (Olesen, 11/11).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.N. Envoy Says Ebola Can Be Stopped With More Volunteers; Other Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of Epidemic

CNN: Ebola is not a death sentence
David Nabarro, U.N. secretary general’s special envoy on Ebola

“Ebola is not a death sentence. That is the lesson to the world from the release this week of Dr. Craig Spencer from a hospital in New York. … That’s the good news: Health care can make a difference. In, Africa, however, too many Ebola patients are dying from the disease, nearly 5,000 from the about 13,500 cases that have been reported. Yet we can dramatically reduce this rate and ensure the disease is not spread. … But much more is needed, especially medical personnel to work in Ebola treatment units and others to train West Africans who are volunteering to work in their own communities. Several governments and nongovernmental organizations from Africa and around the world have stepped up to provide skilled health care workers, but many more will need to join them to complete the task…” (11/11).

USA TODAY: China’s Ebola aid a mere pittance
Lionel Beehner, editor of Cicero Magazine and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, and Prabhjot Singh, a global health expert at Columbia University

Wall Street Journal: Ebola and American Role Models
David Feith, Wall Street Journal editorial page writer

Devex: Ebola: Why we must play the long game
Michael Schreiber, president and COO of Concern Worldwide USA

Project Syndicate: The Ethics of Fighting Ebola
Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University and laureate professor at the University of Melbourne

Scientific American: Ebola Quarantines: Can we stop the charade now?
Judy Stone, infectious disease specialist and author

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Opinion Pieces Address Issues Surrounding Malnutrition, Hunger

The following opinion pieces address issues surrounding global malnutrition and hunger.

Huffington Post: Think We Can’t End Global Malnutrition By 2030? Think Again
Lawrence Haddad, senior research fellow at IFPRI

“…Malnutrition — in the form of stunting, obesity, heart disease, and early death — affects at least two billion people worldwide. These numbers gave urgency to the writing of the Global Nutrition Report, to be released on Nov. 13, which aims to accelerate global malnutrition reduction by strengthening our collective ability to hold ourselves to account for commitments made and by identifying new commitments. The report was convened by over 30 countries and organizations and was delivered by a global independent expert group. In order to make rapid strides in reducing malnutrition, the report addresses the many misconceptions that interfere with progress…” (11/11).

New York Times: Don’t Ask How to Feed the 9 Billion
Mark Bittman, New York Times lead food columnist

“…The difference between you and the hungry is not production levels; it’s money. … The solution to malnourishment isn’t to produce more food. The solution is to eliminate poverty. … We don’t have to increase yield to address any of those issues; we just have to grow food more smartly than with the brute force of industrial methods, and we need to address the circumstances of the poor. Our slogan should not be ‘let’s feed the world,’ but ‘let’s end poverty'” (11/11).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Islamic States Pledge $85M For Health Systems Strengthening In Ebola-Hit Nations

Islamic Development Bank: OIC-IDB Ebola Conference Donors Pledge $85m to Strengthen Health Systems in Ebola Affected Countries
“Donors to the joint Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank, held in Jeddah, have announced an urgent financial aid package to countries suffering from the threat of Ebola epidemic. In addition to the financial pledges, the assistance also included material resources, equipment and supplies, as well as trained heath workers and associated work force…” (11/10).

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November 12 Marks World Pneumonia Day

Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia: World Pneumonia Day
The Global Coalition “provides leadership for World Pneumonia Day and is comprised of over 140 NGOs, academic institutions, government agencies, and foundations. Pneumonia is one of the most solvable problems in global health and yet a child dies from the infection every 20 seconds.” An infographic (.pdf) is available online (accessed 11/12).

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PSI Impact Magazine Focuses On Health Workers

PSI: Impact Magazine
In its latest issue, PSI’s Impact Magazine focuses on health workers and includes a commentary from USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and an interview with Senegal Health Minister Awa Coll-Seck, among other articles (Issue No. 18).

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