KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Global Community Can End AIDS By 2030 With Fast-Track Strategy, UNAIDS Report Says

Media sources report on the launch of a new UNAIDS report advocating a fast-track strategy to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. warns over threat of AIDS rebound
“…The U.N. [on Tuesday] warned the HIV virus risks spiraling back out of control unless world leaders bolster action now by agreeing to ‘fast-track’ efforts to eradicate AIDS…” (11/18).

Bloomberg Businessweek: AIDS Could Be Ended as Threat to Global Health by 2030, U.N. Says
“…Expanding treatment to 90 percent of people with HIV by 2020 from 38 percent now will help reverse the epidemic, preventing 21 million deaths and 28 million infections in the following decade, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, wrote in a report [released Tuesday]. Maintaining current treatment levels would enable the epidemic to rebound, jeopardizing years of progress…” (Bennett, 11/18).

The Guardian: U.N. report urges rapid and tough action to beat AIDS epidemic by 2030
“…[A] failure to take rapid and tough action now will mean the current opportunity to end AIDS is lost, said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé. ‘We have bent the trajectory of the epidemic,’ he said at the launch of the report at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). ‘Now we have five years to break it for good or risk the epidemic rebounding out of control’…” (Boseley, 11/18).

Reuters: U.N. says fast-track plan can end global AIDS threat by 2030
“…In its annual update on the AIDS pandemic … UNAIDS estimated that by June 2014 some 13.6 million people globally had access to antiretroviral medicines — a dramatic improvement on the five million who were getting treatment in 2010. But even that is still a way off UNAIDS’ fast-track target known as 90-90-90 — aimed at having 90 percent of people with HIV knowing they are HIV-positive, 90 percent of diagnosed people on treatment, and 90 percent of those on treatment able to use the medication to suppress the amount of virus in their bodies to a low level…” (Kelland, 11/18).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. urges ‘fast-track’ approach to end AIDS epidemic by 2030
“…The fast-track approach emphasizes the need to focus on the counties, cities, and communities most affected by HIV, and recommends that resources be concentrated on the areas with the greatest impact. In particular, the approach highlights that efforts are needed in the 30 countries that together account for 89 percent of new HIV infections worldwide. To fast-track national responses in these 30 priority countries will require extensive mobilization of human, institutional, and strategic international partners, as well as significant commitments from both national and international sources, UNAIDS said…” (11/18).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS reports that reaching Fast-Track Targets will avert nearly 28 million new HIV infections and end the AIDS epidemic as a global health threat by 2030
“…The report was launched at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), during an event hosted by David Gere, Director, UCLA Art & Global Health Center. The Executive Director of UNAIDS was joined by special guest Charlize Theron, United Nations Messenger of Peace and Founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project…” (11/18).

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Obama Urges Congress To Approve Emergency Ebola Funding; House Panel Hears Testimony On Efforts

News outlets report on comments made Tuesday regarding the U.S. response to Ebola from President Barack Obama and other lawmakers and officials.

Agence France-Presse: Obama says Ebola fight far from over in W. Africa
“U.S. President Barack Obama warned Tuesday that the fight to stem the Ebola outbreak was far from over in West Africa, and called for continued vigilance despite some progress in the region…” (11/18).

Bloomberg News: Obama Warns Ebola Threat Remains Until Outbreak Halted in Africa
“President Barack Obama said the death of an Ebola patient in Nebraska [Monday] is a reminder of how the danger will remain until the outbreak is contained at the source in Africa…” (Keane, 11/18).

The Hill: Obama: ‘We cannot be complacent’ on Ebola
“President Obama warned Tuesday that the deadly Ebola virus ‘is still going to be a danger’ to Americans as he pressed lawmakers to approve more than $6 billion in emergency funding to fight the disease…” (Sink, 11/18).

Reuters: Obama says West Africa still has far to go in containing Ebola
“… ‘We are nowhere near out of the woods yet in West Africa,’ Obama told reporters as he met top advisers, including Ebola response coordinator Ron Klain…” (Holland, 11/18).

VOA News: Obama: ‘Push Forward’ in Fight Against Ebola
“…Members of the U.S. Congress are examining how to help West Africa’s struggle to cope with the outbreak, including with medical needs, logistics, and disease education…” (11/18).

Wall Street Journal: Obama: ‘Nowhere Near Out of the Woods’ on Ebola
“…Mr. Obama’s remarks came a day after the death of Martin Salia, a surgeon who contracted Ebola working in Sierra Leone and was admitted Saturday to the Nebraska Medical Center’s biocontainment unit in Omaha. He was the 10th Ebola patient to be treated in the U.S. and the second to die…” (Tau, 11/18).

Washington Post: Obama on Ebola in West Africa: ‘We are nowhere out of the woods’
“…[White House Press Secretary Josh] Earnest said that the White House has been ‘candid’ about the fact that while it is very unlikely that there will be a widespread Ebola outbreak in the United States, ‘the risk to the American people is not eliminated until the disease has been stopped in its tracks in West Africa’…” (Zezima, 11/18).

The Hill: GOP renews attack on Obama’s Ebola response
“House Republicans are again aiming criticism at President Obama’s response to Ebola, renewing calls for travel bans and quarantines, even as public attention on the disease continues to wane. Rep. Tim Murphy, who leads the House Oversight Committee’s health subpanel, on Tuesday slammed the administration for repeatedly opposing policies that have been adopted by ‘respected institutions,’ such as the U.S. military…” (Ferris, 11/18).

NBC News: Bases Covered: U.S. and Africa Need Ebola-Ready Hospitals, Experts Say
“The United States must establish a network of Ebola-qualified hospitals both at home and in the West African countries fighting the growing epidemic, experts said Tuesday. … ‘There is an urgent need to reinforce basic public health systems in countries, such as those in West Africa, where disease threats can quickly arise and ultimately threaten the health of Americans,’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told a hearing of the House oversight subcommittee…” (Fox, 11/18).

Washington Times: House Republicans push for Ebola travel ban
“House Republicans begged for clarity from the Obama administration, saying a series of early missteps shook their faith in the U.S. response, while the nation’s largest union of registered nurses called on the Labor Department to mandate optimal protection for health care workers who might treat Ebola in American hospitals…” (Howell, 11/18).

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Ebola-Stricken West Africa Faces Shortage Of HCWs, E.U., Aid Groups Warn

News outlets report on warnings about a shortage of health care workers who can treat Ebola in West Africa from E.U. officials returning from the region and humanitarian workers testifying before a House subcommittee.

Associated Press: E.U.: many more health workers needed for Ebola
“Thousands more physicians, especially epidemiologists, and other health professionals are needed to halt and eradicate Ebola, European Union officials said Tuesday after returning from countries in West Africa hit by the deadly epidemic…” (Dahlburg, 11/17).

CQ HealthBeat: Front Line Workers Say Ebola Relief Marred by Shortages, Poor Planning
“The slowing of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has made it clear that fewer treatment units are needed than originally thought but big shortages of medical workers and protective gear mar the international response, witnesses told lawmakers at a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday…” (Reichard, 11/18).

The Hill: NGOs: Ebola doctors desperately needed
“The pipeline of Ebola doctors and nurses in West Africa is still running dry even as money increasingly flows into the region, leaders of the nongovernmental effort warned Tuesday. ‘We face a severe shortage of adequately trained health professionals, both national and international,’ Rabih Torbay, a vice president of the nonprofit International Medical Corps, told a congressional panel…” (Ferris, 11/18).

NPR: Aid Groups See A Drop-Off In U.S. Health Volunteers To Fight Ebola
“The federal agency that oversees many American health care workers volunteering in Ebola-stricken regions of West Africa says there’s been a significant decline in the number of people who are willing to go. International aid groups attribute that drop to the mandatory quarantine rules implemented by New York and New Jersey last month…” (11/18).

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Aid Agencies Adapt West African Ebola Responses, As Officials In Those Countries Try To Coordinate Efforts

News outlets report on how humanitarian aid agencies are adapting to implement Ebola responses in West Africa, as well as the coordination among those groups with West African officials.

Devex: Ebola puts humanitarian supply chains to the test
“…The very nature of relief supply chains is to operate in dynamic and chaotic environments. But in the face of the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded, achieving the well-established humanitarian goal of delivering the right supplies in the right quantities to the right locations at the right time has proven to be a massive — and mostly unique — challenge, even for the most seasoned emergency responders…” (De Vos, 11/17).

The Guardian: Ebola crisis forces aid agencies to rewrite the rules
“…[A]dapting has become second nature for those responding to a situation unprecedented in modern times. Amid a belated influx of international aid, operating manuals are being updated by organizations scrambling to stem an outbreak. With the death toll across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone topping 5,000 this month, everything from equipment to medical trials to psychology handbooks is being tested, upgraded, and refashioned…” (Mark, 11/19).

Wall Street Journal: For West Africa’s Ebola Czars, Crisis Requires a Juggling Act
“…Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone face a collective health crisis that would tax the most-developed countries. But added to their burden is coordinating the many do-gooder agencies. How these [West African] officials carry out those duties will help determine how fast their countries can contain Ebola…” (Gauthier-Villars, 11/18).

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AFP Examines How IMF, World Bank Policies Might Have Impacted West Africa's Ability To Respond To Ebola

Agence France-Presse: IMF, World Bank policies may share blame in Ebola crisis
“…The two powerful development institutions have loosened their purse strings to help fight Ebola, which has killed more than 5,100 people mainly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone since early this year. But at the same time they are accused of having weakened public health services in West Africa as they imposed rigorous controls on borrower country budgets…” (Tordjman, 11/19).

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World Bank Estimates Ebola's Economic Impact In Africa To Be $3-4B, Lower Than Worst-Case Scenario

Reuters: Ebola’s impact on Africa economy might be less than feared: World Bank
“The cost of the Ebola epidemic on sub-Saharan Africa’s economy is likely to be closer to $3-$4 billion, rather than a worst-case scenario of $32 billion, the World Bank’s chief economist for the continent said on Wednesday…” (Brock, 11/19).

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WHO Initiatives Aim To Stimulate Innovation In Effort To Develop Rapid Ebola Tests

Media sources report on the WHO’s launch of two initiatives that aim to develop more rapid and safe Ebola diagnostic tests, which the agency says are urgently needed in West Africa.

Reuters: WHO seeks swifter Ebola test to help stamp out epidemic
“The World Health Organization is seeking faster and cheaper tests to detect the Ebola virus to help stamp out the last few cases of the deadly fever once the main epidemic has been tackled, WHO officials said on Tuesday…” (Miles, 11/18).

WHO: Urgently needed: rapid, sensitive, safe and simple Ebola diagnostic tests
“…Efforts to contain the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa are currently hampered by cumbersome, slow, and complex diagnostic tests that impose a number of additional logistical challenges, including requirements for a high level of laboratory biosafety and staff expertise in using sophisticated machines. … For all these reasons, WHO has launched two urgent initiatives to stimulate diagnostic innovation and expedite the delivery of better and faster tests to West African countries — compressed into months instead of years…” (11/18).

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Gates Foundation Pledges $5.7M Toward Ebola Treatment Trials

News outlets report on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s pledge of $5.7 million to test experimental Ebola treatments in West Africa.

BBC News: Ebola outbreak: $5.7m pledged for blood plasma trials
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $5.7m towards a program to increase production of experimental Ebola treatments in Guinea and other affected countries…” (11/18).

Bloomberg News: Gates to Fund Ebola Survivor Blood, Chimerix Drug Trials
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $5.7 million to help produce and test potential blood-based therapies and antiviral treatments for Ebola. The funds will support efforts in West Africa to evaluate plasma and other blood products from survivors of Ebola virus disease as a means of treating the infection in others, the Seattle-based foundation said in an e-mailed Nov. 18 statement. Various drug candidates will also be tested, including Chimerix Inc. (CMRX)’s antiviral brincidofovir…” (Gale, 11/18).

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Billions Lack Clean Drinking Water, Sanitation; Funding Gaps Hamper WASH Progress, U.N. Says

News outlets report on the findings of a U.N. report, released on World Toilet Day, showing nearly two billion people use water contaminated by feces and funding gaps are hampering the progress toward access to clean water and sanitation.

Bloomberg News: 10 Million Child Deaths Attributed to a Lack of Toilets
“In a world in which 14 percent of the population in the 21st century still defecate outdoors, children remain among the most vulnerable to a lack of toilets, contamination from human waste, and dirty water…” (Hackley, 11/19).

The Guardian: Water target least on-track among all development goals, U.N. says
“Halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is ‘the least on-track target’ of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as 2.5 billion people still lack basic sanitation facilities. A lack of investment in water, hygiene, and sanitation as well as government failure to plan country-wide programs has hindered progress, according to the U.N. Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water report…” (Anderson, 11/19).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Almost two billion people use water contaminated by feces
“…According to WHO, inadequate water supply and sanitation results in annual economic losses of $260 billion. Even though aid money for the sector is at an all time high, 1.8 billion people are exposed to contaminated water, said a report published on World Toilet Day by WHO and U.N. Water. Most of the funds go towards investments in water and only a quarter to sanitation, while rural areas are often neglected…” (Mis, 11/19).

VOA News: Billions of People Still Lack Good Sanitation and Water
“…The United Nations reports 82 percent of the 1.1 billion people practicing open defecation live in just 10 countries in Asia and Africa, with India accounting for more than half that number…” (Schlein, 11/19).

WHO: U.N. reveals major gaps in water and sanitation — especially in rural areas
“…Investments in water and sanitation yield substantial benefits for human health and development. According to WHO estimates, for every dollar invested in water and sanitation, there is a US$ 4.3 return in the form of reduced health care costs for individuals and society. Millions of children can be saved from premature death and illness related to malnutrition and water-borne diseases. Adults can live longer and healthier lives…” (11/19).

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International Nutrition Conference Begins In Rome; FAO Chief Urges 'Collective Effort' To Defeat Malnutrition

News outlets report on the start of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (CIN2) in Rome and comments made by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization head at a related conference on Tuesday.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. global meet on malnutrition kicks off in Rome
“Political leaders from around the world gathered in Rome Wednesday for a three-day U.N. conference on malnutrition aimed at tackling a global scourge which afflicts poor and rich alike…” (Milasin, 11/19).

Devex: What to watch out for at ICN2
“…In an exclusive interview ahead of the conference, we sat down with prominent economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram, FAO assistant director-general and coordinator for economic and social development…” (Santamaria, 11/19).

U.N. News Centre: Ahead of major conference, U.N. official urges ‘collective effort’ to boost global nutrition
“…Speaking [on Tuesday] at a meeting organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which represents lawmakers from over 170 countries, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva declared nutritional improvements to be a collaborative mission uniting international stakeholders and their counterparts in government…” (11/17).

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Nigeria Should Commit To Policies That Promote Family Planning, UNFPA Head Says

Associated Press: U.N. Agency Encourages Family Planning in Nigeria
“The executive director of the United Nations Population Fund is encouraging family planning in Nigeria to manage the country’s population growth. Babatunde Osotimehin told the Associated Press that allowing women to decide when to have children would benefit Nigeria’s economy…” (Oduah, 11/18).

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Experts, Activists Call For Stricter Regulation Of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry After Sterilization Deaths

Financial Times: Sterilization tragedy highlights India’s bad-drug crisis
“…While final forensic results are still awaited, Indian drug industry executives and health activists say the questions over the medicine distributed at the sterilization camp [where 13 women died last week] highlights the urgent need for tougher regulation of India’s domestic pharmaceutical industry…” (Kazmin, 11/19).

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Egypt Sees Slow Reduction In FGM, But Practice Still Widespread

Associated Press: Egypt making slow progress on genital mutilation
“Raslan Fadl, the first doctor in Egypt to be put on trial for committing female genital mutilation, is still practicing even through a 13-year-old girl died after he performed the procedure. … Fadl’s continued popularity demonstrates the challenges to curbing the practice in Egypt, where more than 90 percent of women are estimated to have undergone it — one of the highest rates in the world. … The U.N. says there appears to be a slow reduction in the rate of the practice, but that it is still widespread…” (Kennedy, 11/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Examine U.S., Global Ebola Efforts, Ability To Respond To Future Epidemics

Project Syndicate: Ebola and Beyond
Lawrence Gostin, professor of global health law at Georgetown University

“…The West African Ebola epidemic should inspire a course correction on international health policy, reinforcing the need for rapid-response tools and strong health care infrastructure. Establishing frameworks to provide scalable, sustainable funding to achieve these goals is a wise and affordable investment — one that is in everyone’s interest. This is one humanitarian response that would provide vast benefits worldwide, now and in the future” (11/19).

Roll Call: On Ebola Funding, Don’t Forget Lessons from the AIDS Epidemic
Claire Pomeroy, president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation

“…How much [medical and public health research] funding is enough? It’s time for us to have that national conversation once again. We do not know what the superbugs of tomorrow will look like. But we do know that novel pathogens will emerge or existing ones will mutate, and that as global travel and migration inexorably increase, disease knows no border. It is time for us to stop chasing at AIDS and Ebola from behind, and take stock of our capacity to commit” (11/19).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Access To Water, Sanitation On World Toilet Day

The Conversation: Imagine life without a proper toilet: that’s the reality for 1 in 3 people
Juliet Willetts, associate professor and research director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney

“…World Toilet Day remains a critical means to raise awareness globally about one of the many important things we take for granted. Every day, 1,400 children die from preventable diseases, like diarrhea, caused by unclean water and inadequate sanitation. … The coming months will be a critical time when U.N. member states debate [WASH] goals. Australia has the opportunity to argue for a dedicated goal for WASH, which will be critical to ensuring the chronically underfunded sanitation sector becomes a political priority…” (11/18).

Devex: Gender perspectives on sanitation for sustainable development
Begoña Lasagabaster, acting head of U.N. Women’s policy division

“…Gender equality and access to clean, safe, and private sanitation must be prioritized in the post-2015 development agenda, taking into account the particular needs of women and girls to secure economic progress, and ensure a life of dignity and safety for all” (11/19).

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Congress Must Pledge Support To Gavi To Save Children's Lives

New York Times: Death Without Regrets
Bob Dickerson, volunteer with RESULTS

“…[Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] has a plan to save more than five million kids’ lives in the years ahead — many from things as basic as pneumonia and diarrhea. But Gavi needs the funding to do it. We must take action. … Don’t be sitting in the bleachers at this historical moment. Let’s take on Gavi in a way that Congress can’t ignore. Let’s get media. Let’s get the congressional support we need. Let’s get the president to commit NOW to contributing a minimum of $1 billion over four years to Gavi — even before the pledging conference begins. Let’s give other donors a reason to stretch and to give in a way that reaches or tops the $7.5 billion global goal…” (11/18).

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Global Nutrition Report Provides Insights Into Underweight, Overweight Malnutrition

Huffington Post: The Global Nutrition Report: New Data to Tackle Double Burden of Malnutrition
Marion Roche, technical adviser for the Micronutrient Initiative

“…[W]ith the recent launch of the Global Nutrition Report, we have, for the first time in the last 20 years, an up-to-date and succinct overview of global malnutrition. … The Global Nutrition Report provides the opportunity to think about reducing both underweight and overweight malnutrition. We don’t want to shift the growth curve from underweight to overweight, we want to improve the quality of diets, reduce infections and illness, and ensure that mothers, children, families, communities, and countries have access to the micronutrients they need for optimal health and development” (11/18).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Efforts Help Mitigate Typhoon Haiyan's Impact On Philippines, Strengthen Country's Resilience

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: One Year Later — the Road to Resilience After Typhoon Haiyan
Nancy Lindborg, USAID assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, discusses the continued effects of Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines, as well as U.S. efforts to help mitigate its impact and enhance the resiliency of the country (11/18).

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Melinda Gates Discusses Importance Of Clean, Safe Toilets In India

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: The Spirit of Swachh Bharat: Safe Sanitation for Women and Girls
Melinda Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the lack of clean and safe toilets in India, the impact on women and girls, and a citizen movement to build toilets (11/18).

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CSIS Report Examines MNCH In Ghana

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Improving Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health in Ghana
Katherine Bliss, senior associate with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, and Cathryn Streifel, program manager and research associate at the center, examine maternal, neonatal, and child health in Ghana in this report (11/18).

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ONE Launches 'Ebola Response Tracker'

ONE: Ebola Response Tracker
ONE launches an interactive infographic capturing donor aid for the Ebola response in West Africa (11/18).

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'Science Speaks' Discusses Findings Of PROMISE Study On PMTCT

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission: Study underscores WHO B+ guidelines
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses findings released Monday from the PROMISE (Promoting Maternal-Infant Survival Everywhere) study examining the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (11/18).

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