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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Harvard, London School Panel's Report Provides 10 Recommendations For Ebola Reform At WHO, Within Health Systems

News outlets highlight findings from a report published in The Lancet on the Ebola epidemic response by a panel convened by Harvard University’s Global Health Institute (HGHI) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

BBC News: Ebola global response was ‘too slow,’ say health experts
“A slow international response and a failure of leadership were to blame for the ‘needless suffering and death’ caused by the recent Ebola epidemic, an independent panel of global health experts has concluded. The panel’s report, published in The Lancet, said major reforms were needed to prevent future disasters…” (11/23).

CNN: Ebola crisis: WHO slammed by Harvard-convened panel over slow response
“…The panel … called for extensive reform in the way infectious diseases are managed around the world, but singled out the WHO in particular for criticism. ‘The most egregious failure was by WHO in the delay in sounding the alarm,’ said Ashish K. Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute…” (Ap, 11/23).

International Business Times: Ebola Outbreak: Health Experts Panel Criticizes WHO For ‘Slow’ Response To Epidemic
“…The panel … said that a lack of leadership and accountability resulted in the WHO’s failure to tackle the epidemic in time. The experts mainly criticized the organization for delaying its response and a decision to declare Ebola a public health emergency, after Guinea and Liberia alerted the health agency of the outbreak…” (Sonawane, 11/23).

Nature: Ebola experience leaves world no less vulnerable
“…The report comes from one of four major post-Ebola review panels that are expected to call for overhauling the way the international health community prevents and responds to outbreaks; others have been convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations, and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine. The current report lays out 10 recommendations for better preventing, detecting, and responding to outbreaks; for speeding research on diseases that cause them; and for reforming the global systems that manage them…” (Hayden, 11/22).

New York Times: Panels Advise Bolstering WHO for Crises Like Ebola
“…The group also recommended that an independent committee rather than the agency’s director general be charged with declaring future international public health emergencies, and that records of its deliberations be made public. A winnowing of the WHO’s priorities is also needed, the group said, noting that donors often choose to support pet projects, weakening the organization’s core functions…” (Fink, 11/22).

Reuters: Global health experts accuse WHO of ‘egregious failure’ on Ebola
“… ‘We need to strengthen core capacities in all countries to detect, report, and respond rapidly to small outbreaks in order to prevent them from becoming large-scale emergencies,’ said Peter Piot, LSHTM’s director and the chair of the panel. He said reform of national and global systems to respond to epidemics is not only feasible, but also essential ‘so that we do not witness such depths of suffering, death, and social and economic havoc in future epidemics’…” (Kelland, 11/22).

Wall Street Journal: Experts Propose Changes to How Infectious Diseases Are Handled
“…The panel said its recommendations are meant to counteract systemic problems such as political disincentives, lack of investment, and poor accountability that led an outbreak that started in a Guinean village nearly two years ago to spin out of control. ‘This epidemic has really exposed the fault lines in national and international systems,’ said Peter Piot, director of the LSHTM and chair of the panel. Ebola could be a game-changer much like HIV/AIDS, which ‘created global health,’ bringing scientists and human-rights activists together, Dr. Piot said…” (McKay, 11/22).

WIRED: We Blew It With Ebola. Scientists Don’t Want That to Happen Again
“…The report isn’t just about Ebola, the authors stress. ‘It’s about the next pandemic. It’s how we get ready for the virus we haven’t discovered yet,’ says Ashisha Jha, director of Harvard Global Health Institute and another panelist…” (Zhang, 11/22).

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Liberia Records 3 New Ebola Cases, Monitors 153 People After Possible Exposure

Deutsche Welle: New cases of Ebola found in Liberia, health authorities say
“Health officials reported on Friday that three new cases of Ebola were found in Liberia. The diagnoses are a setback for the region as it struggles to end the epidemic…” (11/20).

New York Times: Ebola Cases in 3 Family Members Confirmed in Liberia
“…The most recent outbreak, which officials are calling the fourth wave, was confirmed after a 15-year-old boy with symptoms of Ebola [… had a test come] back positive on Thursday, as did tests on Friday for his father and a brother, the official said, adding that at least seven health care workers may have treated the teenager without the protective equipment essential for Ebola cases…” (MacDougall/Cooper, 11/20).

Reuters: New Ebola cases hit Liberia after country declared virus free
“…Bruce Aylward, who leads the Ebola response for the U.N. World Health Organization, said the patient had no history of contact with an Ebola survivor or victim…” (Giahyue, 11/20).

Reuters: Liberia monitors over 150 Ebola contacts as virus re-emerges
“Liberia has placed 153 people under surveillance as it seeks to control a new Ebola outbreak in the capital more than two months after the country was declared free of the virus, health officials said…” (Giahyue, 11/22).

VOA News: New Ebola Cases Found in Previously Virus-Free Liberia
“…Liberia was declared Ebola-free on May 9, but new cases emerged in June. The World Health Organization declared the country Ebola-free again on September 3…” (11/20).

Washington Post: Ebola mystery: It’s back in Liberia, and officials are stumped about how boy got infected
“…Aylward said it’s possible the boy’s case is not part of the original outbreak — which appears to be over — but may be due to the persistence of the virus in some survivors who can then pass it along to others. Recent studies have shown that the virus can live in the semen, eyes and other parts of the body long after it appears to be cleared in the blood. He said this reflects ‘a fundamental shift and change in the epidemiology of the outbreak’…” (Cha, 11/20).

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U.K. Government, Gates Foundation Establish £1B Fund Aimed At Ending Malaria, Addressing Other Infectious Diseases

News outlets report on the establishment of a £1 billion fund, supported by the British government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as part of the global effort to end malaria and other infectious diseases.

BBC News: U.K. government sets up £1bn fund to fight malaria
“The U.K. government is to create a new £1bn fund aimed at eradicating malaria and other infectious diseases. The Ross Fund will be run in partnership with U.S. philanthropists, Bill and Melinda Gates. It is named after Sir Ronald Ross who became Britain’s first Nobel Prize winner in 1902 for his discovery that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes…” (11/22).

ITV: Britain creates £1bn fund to tackle malaria
“…Of the £1 billion, £305 million is focused on malaria and other infectious diseases such as TB, including the development of new drugs, diagnostics and insecticides. Another £188 million will help tackle ‘diseases of epidemic potential’ such as Ebola; £200 million will be spent on ‘neglected tropical diseases’; and £310 million will be targeted at ‘drug-resistant infections’…” (11/22).

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U.N.'s Ban Announces High-Level Panel On Health Technology Innovation, Access

U.N. News Centre: Ban establishes eminent panel to help broaden access to quality medicines at affordable costs
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the establishment of 15-member High-Level Panel on health technology innovation and access, in an effort to escalate investments in research and development for diseases where financial returns are not guaranteed. The panel will be co-chaired by Ruth Dreifuss, former president of Switzerland, and Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana…” (11/20).

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U.N. Marks Universal Children's Day, Says World Remains 'Deeply Unfair' Place For Children Despite Progress

U.N. News Centre: On Universal Children’s Day, U.N. says world remains ‘deeply unfair’ place for children
“Marking Universal Children’s Day, the United Nations [Friday] highlighted that the world remains a ‘deeply unfair’ place for the poorest and most disadvantaged children despite major advances since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 26 years ago [Friday]. … A UNICEF report released [Friday] entitled For every child, a fair chance: The promise of equity, presents a statistical picture of how the world’s most marginalized children have fared against basic human development indicators…” (11/20).

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Military, University Public Health Scientists Study Chagas Disease In Texas

The New Yorker: America’s War on the Kissing Bug
“…Military science has tightly defined parameters; when it comes to parasitology, only research with practical applications gets funded. [At Army Public Health Command at Joint Base San Antonio], the spectre of risk to personnel — and expensively trained working dogs — meant that a lot of money and attention could be directed toward Chagas. … Military scientists aren’t the only ones working with Chagas in Texas, even if they may be the best funded…” (Smith, 11/20).

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Laos Receives International Praise For Response To Recent Polio Outbreak, Xinhua Reports

Xinhua News: Feature: Laos’ commitment to polio response after fatal case attracts international kudos
“The sad news of the death of an eight-year-old Lao boy from a variant of the polio virus in October a decade and a half after Laos was declared free of the polio virus has drawn international attention to this Southeast Asian nation with a young and growing population. A month and a half later after the outbreak, which fortunately had only two fatalities from four confirmed cases, local and international health authorities have expressed confidence that the situation has been remedied…” (11/21).

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GlobalPost Looks At Efforts To Prevent HIV Among Younger Women With 'Sugar Daddies' In South Africa

GlobalPost: The new front line in the fight against HIV: ‘Sugar daddies’
“…This is the new front line in fighting the HIV epidemic: stopping the older men who infect South Africa’s young women and girls with the virus that causes AIDS. The sugar daddy phenomenon is a transactional relationship in which a young woman has sex with an older, wealthier man in exchange for gifts or money — for example, he might pay for school fees, cell phone airtime, or even the rent…” (Conway-Smith, 11/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

TPP Would Provide National Security Benefits, Help Protect U.S. From Risks Such As Disease Outbreaks

POLITICO: Why Asian trade is a national security issue
David Carden, a partner with law firm Jones Day and former U.S. ambassador to ASEAN; and David Adelman, a partner with the law firm Reed Smith and former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore

“…The provisions in the [Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)] — and the deeper engagement with our friends it will bring — are crucial to protecting the United States from a wide variety of non-traditional security risks. … Such risks include the possible re-emergence of pandemic diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory System, or SARS, which was first discovered in Asia and killed thousands as it spread to three dozen countries. … The trade deal also addresses some non-traditional risks more explicitly. For example, illegal fishing would decline, which would help meet the nutritional needs of the developing world and thus lessen disruptive human migration. The deal also aims to reduce deforestation and illegal animal trafficking, which contribute respectively to the effort to curb climate change and the incidence of zoonotic diseases. … The far ranging benefits of the TPP brings into clear focus the realization that we must do our part to fulfill America’s obligation as a leading citizen of the world” (11/23).

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'Political Window' Of Opportunity To Reform IHR 'Rapidly Closing'

The Lancet: The International Health Regulations 10 years on: the governing framework for global health security
Lawrence O. Gostin, Mary C. DeBartolo, and Eric A. Friedman of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University

“…Despite shortcomings, the International Health Regulations is an important governing framework. Yet, a crisis of confidence in the Regulations exists, with the Review Committee on International Health Regulations functioning during Ebola currently deliberating. We propose a series of operational and legal reforms. … 10 years after its adoption, the time has come to realize the International Health Regulations’ promise. The unconscionable Ebola epidemic opened a window of opportunity for fundamental reform — both for the International Health Regulations and the organization that oversees the treaty. That political window, however, is rapidly closing. Donor fatigue, fading memories, and competing priorities are diverting political attention. Empowering WHO and realizing the International Health Regulations’ potential would shore up global health security — an important investment in human and animal health, while reducing the vast economic consequences of the next global health emergency” (11/22).

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Simple Interventions Can Help Continue To Reduce Child Mortality

TIME: How the World Is Improving Children’s Health (And Where We’re Falling Short)
Editorial Board

“…In recognition of the [Declaration of the Rights of the Child], every Nov. 20 is now observed as Universal Children’s Day, and … [t]he news this year, as in so many other years, is decidedly mixed. … Most of the improvement has come from simple interventions … The … lingering bad news is that the majority of [child deaths] come even earlier — newborns claimed in their first year or even first day of life. But the good news buried deeper still is that the interventions in these cases are even simpler. … Taking care of the world’s children really ought to be a lot easier than not taking care of them. The most powerful line of genetic code our species carries is to protect and nurture not just our own daughters and sons, but those of the rest of the world. That is the only way the species goes on at all. A Universal Children’s Day is a good time to feel sorrow for the fact that we forget that simple truth — and pride at the work that’s being done to set things right” (11/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Issue Brief Examines U.S. Ebola Response, FY15 Emergency Appropriation

Kaiser Family Foundation: The U.S. Response to Ebola: Status of the FY2015 Emergency Ebola Appropriation
“…This issue brief seeks to shed light on [the U.S. Ebola epidemic response], focusing on the $5.4 billion emergency Ebola funding and providing an overview of its international activities, the agencies carrying out these activities, and the status of funding to date…” These findings were discussed at a public briefing held by the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Video of the event will be available on Kaiser’s website (11/23).

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Blog Post Examines Recent Study Findings On Antibiotic Resistance Among Meat Animals, Humans

National Geographic’s “Phenomena: Germination”: Apocalypse Pig: The Last Antibiotic Begins to Fail
In her blog, journalist Maryn McKenna explores recent “very bad news” regarding antibiotic resistance in meat animals and humans, and how the use of older, cheaper antibiotics in agriculture is contributing to the spread of drug resistance (11/21).

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