KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

G20 Leaders Urge Governments To Commit More Resources To Ebola Epidemic Reponses In West Africa

News outlets report on the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, where leaders released a statement vowing to mobilize resources to end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Ebola also was addressed in the G20 Leaders’ Communiqué.

Agence France-Presse: World leaders vow to ‘extinguish’ Ebola
“The world’s most powerful economies vowed on Saturday to ‘extinguish’ the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa, as the vast desert nation of Mali scrambled to prevent a new outbreak of the killer disease…” (Parry, 11/15).

Agence France-Presse: U.N., aid groups step up pressure on G20 over Ebola
“The United Nations Saturday called on G20 leaders to intensify their response to the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, warning of a major food crisis if they fail to act. Speaking in Brisbane, where the two-day G20 leaders meeting is being hosted by Australia, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined with international aid agencies in urging concrete actions to fight the disease…” (11/14).

Bloomberg News: G20 Commits to Extinguish Ebola, Address Economic Costs
“…The G20 leaders urged governments that haven’t contributed to the fight against the disease to provide financial aid, medical staff, equipment, and medicine. The spread of the virus highlights the threat to the global community from infectious epidemics, they said in the statement…” (Scott, 11/15).

The Guardian: David Cameron presses for indemnities to speed Ebola vaccinations
“David Cameron is to put pressure on other G20 countries that have done little or nothing to fight the Ebola epidemic that has claimed 5,000 lives in Africa. In addition, a World Bank emergency pandemic fund is being proposed, to respond more quickly to disease outbreaks in an implicit admission that the world has been slow to tackle the epidemic, and Britain is pressing for pharmaceutical companies to be given indemnities so they can produce life-saving vaccines quickly…” (Wintour, 11/14).

Reuters: G20 statement on Ebola stops short of financial commitments
“The Group of 20 world leaders on Saturday committed to mobilizing resources to combat the Ebola epidemic that has killed some 5,000 people, but stopped short of agreeing to a global pandemic fund. … The G20 statement called on both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to explore new flexible mechanisms to address the economic effects of future comparable crises, but did not specify a particular approach...” (Wardell, 11/15).

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Few Promising Ebola Drugs In Development, WHO Says; Canada Begins Domestic Trial Of Test Vaccine

News outlets report on various aspects of Ebola vaccine and treatment development.

Agence France-Presse: Very few drugs, trial sites in search for Ebola cure: WHO (Larson, 11/14).
Associated Press: WHO sees few promising Ebola drugs in pipeline (11/14).
Bloomberg News: Ebola Vaccine Challenge: Motorbikes and Kerosene Fridges (Kitamura, 11/16).
The Economist: Unchained malady (11/15).
Reuters: WHO starts survey of Ebola treatments, says none proven so far (Miles, 11/14).
Reuters: No safety concerns yet in trials of GSK’s Ebola vaccine (Kelland, 11/17).
TIME: WHO: These Are the Most Promising Ebola Treatments (Park, 11/14).
VOA News: WHO Sets Clinical Trial Criteria for Ebola Drugs (Schlein, 11/14).
Agence France-Presse: Canada to begin Ebola vaccine trials (11/14).
Reuters: Canada begins domestic trial of experimental Ebola vaccine (Hodgson, 11/14).

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Ebola Affecting Development Goals In Sierra Leone; U.S. Ambassador Says More Coordination Needed In Response

News outlets report on Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Inter Press Service: Ebola Outbreak Affects Key Development Areas in Sierra Leone
“The outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone has badly affected the West African country’s move towards meeting key development goals. Agriculture, which is the mainstay of the economy, has been the worst hit as many farmers have succumbed to the disease and many more have abandoned their farmlands in fear of contracting the virus…” (Fofana, 11/17).

Washington Post: Ambassador John Hoover: Ebola a challenge for U.S. diplomatic team in Sierra Leone
“…He sees progress in that battle in the eastern part of Sierra Leone, but the epidemic is flaring in the western part of the country. … Hoover noted that the response to the epidemic in Sierra Leone poses a management challenge, and he sees a need to ‘sharpen coordination’…” (Achenbach, 11/16).

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Liberian Ebola Case Numbers Show Slight Decline, But WHO Warns Country Must Be Vigilant; Chinese Medics Arrive To Boost Response

News outlets report on continued efforts to contain Ebola in Liberia.

Agence France-Presse: Liberians rejoice but Ebola still a threat, says WHO (Dosso, 11/14).
Reuters: Liberia sets national target of no new Ebola cases by December 25 (Toweh, 11/16).
U.N. News Centre: Amid signs of new Ebola cases, U.N. health official tells Liberians ‘you must hunt the virus’ (11/14).
Washington Post: Ebola cases plummet in Liberian hot spot as aid groups gain community trust (Sun, 11/14).
Agence France-Presse: Chinese medics in Liberia to beef up Ebola fight (Dosso, 11/17).
Reuters: Chinese team arrives in Liberia to staff Ebola clinic (11/16).

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U.N. Withdraws Contract Renewal With Mali Clinic That Missed Ebola; U.S. Adds Screening For Travelers From Mali As Country Faces New Ebola Cluster

News outlets report on Ebola in Mali and the U.S. response to new cases in the country.

Associated Press: Mali on high alert with new Ebola cluster
“…For nearly a year, Mali had been spared the virus now blamed for killing more than 5,000 people across West Africa despite the fact the country shared a porous land border with Guinea, the country where the epidemic first erupted. Now there are least three confirmed Ebola deaths, and two other suspected deaths in Mali’s capital, Bamako. Residents here who have seen the horrific death tolls from Ebola in neighboring Guinea now fear the worst…” (Ahmed, 11/16).

Reuters: U.N. scraps clinic contract as Ebola exposes Mali readiness gaps
“The United Nations mission in Mali has canceled plans to renew a contract with a private clinic providing care to its peacekeepers after a case of Ebola was missed and spread from there…” (Lewis, 11/16).

Reuters: U.S. heightens Ebola screening for travelers from Mali
“The United States is adding Mali to the list of countries whose travelers get special Ebola screening after a number of cases in the West African nation, the government said on Sunday…” (Simpson, 11/16).

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Guinea's Remote Villages Now Cooperating With Outside Health Workers

New York Times: Fear of Ebola Opens Wary Villages to Outsiders in Guinea
“…Residents in [this remote Guinean] region have killed local officials proselytizing about Ebola, blocked barely passable roads with trees, and vehemently refused help from outsiders, viewing them as propagators of the virus in moon suits of protective gear. But now, in Guinea’s inaccessible Forest Region, where staunch resistance has stymied efforts to fight the outbreak since its inception, villagers are finally opening up, surrendering their sick and dead after being battered by the virus…” (Nossiter, 11/16).

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Trust, Communication Critical In Fight Against Ebola In West Africa, Researchers Say

Baltimore Sun: Public health experts stress importance of trust in West Africa as they fight Ebola
“When public health workers began canvassing West African villages this spring and summer warning of something called Ebola, they were met with fear — but not of the deadly virus. … Residents said the outbreak was a scheme to collect aid money, or even to collect body parts. … It wasn’t until they saw Ebola’s death toll that residents began to trust health workers. But if that trust had been in place when the virus first appeared, the outbreak, which has killed 5,000 people this year, might have gone differently, according to [Timothy] Roberton and Hopkins colleagues, who evaluated the outbreak response for the Red Cross…” (Dance, 11/17).

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Government Partnerships With Private Foundations Become Critical In Ebola Response

Washington Post: In Ebola fight, private foundations provide critical financial aid
“…The unpredictable nature of the Ebola virus has made the government’s partnerships with private donors critically important in the crisis response. Working outside the politically charged federal appropriations process and the sometimes sluggish bureaucracy, foundations and private individuals have been able to offer much-needed relief for those on the front lines…” (Cha, 11/16).

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Separate Ebola Outbreak In DRC Declared Over

News outlets report on an announcement that the separate outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo has ended.

Associated Press: Congo says its separate Ebola outbreak is over
“Congolese officials say its separate Ebola outbreak that killed dozens of people this year as an unrelated Ebola epidemic swept West Africa is now over. Congo’s Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi made the announcement Saturday…” (11/15).

Reuters: Congo declares its Ebola outbreak over
“…Congo’s outbreak, which killed 49 of the 66 people infected in the remote northwestern Equateur province, is unrelated to the outbreak in West Africa, where at least 5,177 people are known to have died in the worst Ebola outbreak on record…” (11/15).

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U.S. Pledges $3B To International Climate Fund For Developing Countries

News outlets report on President Obama’s pledge of $3 billion to the United Nations Green Climate Fund while at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

Los Angeles Times: Obama to pledge $3 billion in climate aid for developing countries
“President Obama will pledge $3 billion to an international climate fund aimed at helping developing countries prepare for and slow the effects of climate change, a White House official said Friday…” (Hennessey/Banerjee, 11/14).

New York Times: U.S. to Give $3 Billion to Climate Fund to Help Poor Nations, and Spur Rich Ones
“…It is not clear whether Mr. Obama’s $3 billion pledge will come from existing sources of funding, or whether he will have to ask Congress to appropriate the money. … The American contribution is meant to spur other countries to make similar pledges…” (Davenport/Landler, 11/14).

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WFP Executive Director Cousin Speaks About Ending Hunger In POLITICO Interview

POLITICO: Lessons from Leaders: Ending hunger
“As the 12th executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, Ertharin Cousin leads the largest humanitarian organization in the world. In the next video feature of POLITICO’s series Lessons from Leaders, Cousin tells Lois Romano how her childhood during the Civil Rights movement in Chicago prepared her to take on the mission of ending hunger in her lifetime…” (Romano, 11/16).

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Tests Show Tainted Medication Responsible For Indian Sterilization Campaign Deaths; State Recalls Pills As Company Denies Contamination

News outlets report on various issues surrounding the deaths of 13 women who took part in a government-sponsored Indian sterilization campaign, including autopsy and drug testing results and the history of sterilization programs in the country.

Al Jazeera: Why Indian women are victims of sterilization ‘cattle camps’ (De Bode, 11/14).
Financial Times: India’s efforts to control its population are still stuck in the past (Kazmin, 11/14).
New York Times: Post-Mortems of Victims Point to Tainted Medication in India Sterilization Deaths (Raj/Barry, 11/13).
New York Times: Indian State Recalls Pills Linked to Sterilization Deaths (Raj/Barry, 11/14).
Reuters: Rat poison chemical found in pills linked to Chhattisgarh sterilization deaths (Kalra/Shah, 11/15).
Reuters: Company denies rat poison in pills linked to India sterilization deaths (Shah, 11/16).
Reuters: Sterilization deaths expose India’s struggle with faulty drugs (Kalra, 11/14).

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Vaccine-Derived Polio Detected In 2 African Nations; Wild Type 3 Polio Possibly Eradicated, CDC Reports

Media sources report on cases of vaccine-derived polio detected in two African nations, the possible eradication of wild poliovirus type 3, and a WHO report on a recent polio meeting.

Agence France-Presse: Polio cases confirmed in South Sudan, Madagascar: WHO
“The World Health Organization said Friday it had confirmed unrelated cases of polio in South Sudan and in Madagascar, blaming low vaccination coverage…” (11/14).

New York Times: Rare Vaccine-Derived Polio Discovered in 2 Countries
“…New rounds of vaccination will be conducted in December in both areas. … ‘Vaccine-derived polio paralysis’ is a rare but small risk inherent in oral vaccine, so the polio eradication campaign is trying to introduce injectable vaccine wherever it is safe and practical…” (McNeil, 11/14).

BBC News: Polio eradication program reaches ‘major milestone’
“A ‘major milestone’ in the battle to eliminate polio globally has been reached, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said. Its experts think a second of the three forms of poliovirus has been eliminated after mass vaccination campaigns…” (Gallagher, 11/14).

CDC MMWR: Possible Eradication of Wild Poliovirus Type 3 — Worldwide, 2012
“…WPV type 3 (WPV3) has not been detected in circulation since November 11, 2012. This report summarizes the evidence of possible global interruption of transmission of WPV3, based on surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and environmental surveillance…” (11/14).

WHO: WHO statement on the third meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus
“…The Committee noted that the international spread of wild poliovirus has continued since 31 July 2014, with at least three new exportations from Pakistan into neighboring Afghanistan. There has been no other documented international spread of wild poliovirus since March 2014…” (11/14).

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WFP Halves Food Rations For Refugees In Kenya Due To Lack Of Funds, Appeals For More Aid

News outlets report on the U.N. World Food Programme’s announcement it must cut food rations for refugees in Kenya because of funding shortfalls.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. halves Kenya refugees’ food after aid shortfall
“Food rations vital for half a million refugees in Kenya will be slashed in half due to an aid shortfall, the United Nations said Friday in an appeal to donors…” (11/14).

U.N. News Centre: Lacking funds, U.N. agency turns to ‘last resort,’ cuts food rations for refugees in Kenya
“Starting [Saturday], about half a million refugees, mainly from Somalia and South Sudan, living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in remote areas in northern Kenya will receive reduced rations from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as a result of insufficient funding…” (11/14).

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Mexico Reports First Locally Transmitted Case Of Chikungunya Virus

Reuters: Mexico detects first case of mosquito-borne chikungunya virus
“Mexico has detected its first domestic case of the painful mosquito-borne viral disease chikungunya in the southwest of the country, the state government of Chiapas said on Saturday…” (Gomez/Graham, 11/15).

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Wall Street Journal Reports On Record Dengue Outbreaks Across Asia

Wall Street Journal: Dengue Fever Outbreaks Strike Asia
“Though much of the world is focused on the Ebola virus, pockets of Asia are struggling with record outbreaks of a mosquito-borne infectious disease called dengue fever, which has no specific drug treatment…” (Wang, 11/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

New York Times: The Shifting Ebola Epidemic
Editorial Board

“Recent gains in controlling the Ebola epidemic in West Africa have been encouraging, but they offer no reason for complacency. … Given the changing shape of the epidemic, United Nations and American officials are considering a more nimble response that would deploy smaller, more geographically dispersed treatment centers, rather than complete all of the large treatment units that were planned. Some nonprofit groups recommend sending rapid-response teams by helicopter to remote villages. As the outbreak moves, international assistance must keep up with shifting needs” (11/15).

New York Times: Ebola and the Lost Children of Sierra Leone
Chernor Bah, former refugee from the civil war in Sierra Leone, youth advocate for the Global Partnership for Education, and a co-founder of A World at School

Washington Post: The Ebola outbreak generated greater response from Republican lawmakers
Lindsey Cormack, visiting assistant professor at Stevens Institute of Technology

The Hill: The missing element in the fight against Ebola
Rev. Jennifer Crumpton, minister in New York City, affiliated with Park Avenue Christian Church

GlobalPost: Lessons from Ebola: Health care in Africa needs a PEPFAR-like approach
Richard Marlink, professor at Harvard School of Public Health and executive director of Harvard’s AIDS Initiative

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Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Deaths Of Women In Indian Sterilization Program, Access To Family Planning

Financial Times: India should empower, not sterilize, women
Editorial Board

“…The [sterilization] tragedy … goes far beyond a one-off mistake. It stems from an endemic failure in India to adequately address the issue of women’s empowerment, particularly when it comes to sexual relations and child-rearing. … India’s addiction to sterilization is born of a misconception that its birth rate is out of control. Statistics do not bear this out. … India would do better to embark on a serious attempt to empower its women. Study after study has shown that, when women take greater control of their lives, society benefits. Many of India’s chronic social problems — from child malnutrition and illiteracy to violence against women — would be greatly diminished by policies that emphasize women’s rights in schools, at work, in the family, and in the bedroom…” (11/16).

Huffington Post: On the Tragic Deaths and Injuries Sustained by Women in the Indian State of Chhattisgarh
Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA executive director

“Tewodros Melesse, director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and I are deeply saddened by the reports of the tragic deaths and injuries sustained by women undergoing surgical contraception in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. We join their families, as well as the people and governments of India, in mourning the departed. … It is critical to ensure the quality of service for all contraceptive methods, as well as the availability of a full range of modern contraceptives, which must always be chosen freely by fully-informed men and women, without any forms of incentives. In addition, surgical contraception must always be administered in safe and sanitary conditions. We welcome the government’s initiation of investigations, and we call for all those responsible to be held accountable to avoid impunity for those who provide services at low standards. Accountability will uphold choices of individuals and quality of service…” (11/14).

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Investing In National Health Care Systems Can Boost Economies

CNN: Why health matters to economies
Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health

“There’s a well-understood correlation that as the economy of a country improves, so the health of its citizens improves. What may be less obvious is that the opposite is also true — improving the health of a nation’s citizens can directly result in economic growth, because there will be more people able to conduct effective activities in the workforce. … Investing in the health of a nation’s citizens is one of the smartest things a leader can do…” (11/14).

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U.S. Should Rethink Cuban Medical Defection Program

New York Times: A Cuban Brain Drain, Courtesy of the U.S.
Editorial Board

“…It is incongruous for the United States to value the contributions of Cuban doctors who are sent by their government to assist in international crises like the 2010 Haiti earthquake while working to subvert that government by making defection so easy [through the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program.] … The Cuban government has long regarded the medical defection program as a symbol of American duplicity. It undermines Cuba’s ability to respond to humanitarian crises and does nothing to make the government in Havana more open or democratic. As long as this incoherent policy is in place, establishing a healthier relationship between the two nations will be harder. Many medical professionals, like a growing number of Cubans, will continue to want to move to the United States in search of new opportunities, and they have every right to do so. But inviting them to defect while on overseas tours is going too far” (11/16).

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Laws Not Enough To End Female Genital Mutiliation

New York Times: Fighting Female Genital Mutilation
Mona Eltahawy, author

“…Many international treaties designate female genital mutilation a violation of the human rights of girls and women. On Oct. 30, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, announced a global campaign to end it within a generation. … Laws are not enough. … We need nothing short of a recognition that ending female genital mutilation is part of the ‘social justice and human dignity’ revolution that we began in Egypt in January 2011. We can better protect our girls when we recognize that those chants of our revolution are essentially demands for autonomy and consent — for all” (11/16).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts Address Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Welcoming the G20’s Commitment To Stop Ebola and Strengthen Global Health Security
Gayle Smith, special assistant to President Obama and senior director at the National Security Council, writes, “[The G20] communique signals a commitment on the part of the world’s largest and most powerful countries to see [the Ebola] challenge through and to recognize infectious outbreaks for what they are: global threats…” (11/15).

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Ebola Fear and Stigma — Part 1 and Part 2
Seth Gannon, research assistant with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, writes in Part 1 about the influence of fear and stigma on U.S. public health policies surrounding the Ebola epidemic. In Part 2, he addresses “the underlying psychology of irrational fear and how public officials can best keep the calm in this and similar episodes” (11/14).

BMJ Blogs: Tackling a pandemic: Is Ebola the definitive lesson?
Laura Reques Sastre, a resident doctor of preventive medicine and public health at the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid, Spain, and Aser García Rada, a pediatrician and freelance journalist, discuss the different responses to Ebola in the U.S. and Europe compared with those in West Africa (11/14).

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FHWC Releases Policy Recommendations On Improving Health Workforce

Frontline Health Workers Coalition: Building a Resilient, Sustainable Health Workforce to Respond to Ebola and Other Future Threats
FHWC recently released policy recommendations to address the “urgent need for increased support for frontline health workers and the systems that support them in the [West African] region and around the world” (November 2014).

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India's Vaccine Delivery Scale Up Shows Commitment To Future Generations

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: A Commitment to India’s Children
Raj Ghosh, deputy director of India vaccine delivery at the Gates Foundation India, discusses the Indian government’s plan to scale up pentavalent vaccine delivery to all states and introduce several other vaccines by 2015. The plan “is a commitment to saving lives of our future citizens from some of the most infectious but vaccine preventable diseases…” (11/17).

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