KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

UNMEER Model Represents New Option For U.N. Emergency Response; WHO, UNAIDS Heads Visit Mali

News outlets report on the U.N.’s response to Ebola in West Africa.

Devex: How UNMEER is leading the fight against Ebola
“…Encouragingly, the deepening chaos and deafening criticism seem to have prompted the U.N. system to deploy a new kind of operation — the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response — of which the purpose and structure hold great potential for the current Ebola epidemic and many other emergencies to come…” (De Vos, 11/24).

U.N. News Centre: Top U.N. health officials take joint mission to Mali in support of Ebola response
“The Executive Director of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel SidibĂ©, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, have visited Mali in a joint mission to support the country in its efforts to curb the spread of Ebola, as authorities there announced one new case and that two more suspected patients were being tested…” (11/24).

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U.S. General Notes Improvement In Liberian Ebola Outbreak; U.N. Will Miss Containment Goal In Sierra Leone; Mali Records Another Case, Up To 8

Reuters reports on aspects of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali.

Reuters: ‘Dramatic improvement’ in Ebola outlook in Liberia: U.S. general
“A U.S. general in the force helping Liberia fight the Ebola epidemic reported on Monday a dramatic improvement in the situation there and confirmed the cancellation of two planned treatment facilities. Brigadier General Frank Tate, deputy commanding general of U.S. Operation United Assistance, said the drop in the number of cases in the country was all the more encouraging given recent improvements in reporting capacity…” (Farge, 11/24).

Reuters: U.N. to miss Dec. 1 Ebola target due to rising Sierra Leone cases
“The U.N. Ebola Emergency Response Mission will not fully meet its Dec. 1 target for containing the virus due to escalating numbers of cases in Sierra Leone, Anthony Banbury, the head of UNMEER, said on Monday…” (Bigg, 11/24).

Reuters: Mali confirms eighth Ebola case, monitoring 271 people
“Mali said on Monday that another person had tested positive for the Ebola virus, bringing the total number of cases in the West African nation to eight…” (Diallo/Felix, 11/24).

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USAID Aims To Employ Innovation, Technology To Contain Ebola Epidemic

Washington Post: USAID seeks help from ‘maker movement’ in Ebola outbreak
“…About 25 teams were pitching their ideas to a panel of judges from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Defense Department as part of USAID’s ‘Ebola Grand Challenge’ — a request for technology that could slow the deadly virus in exchange for a grant of up to $5 million. The agencies are searching in particular for a more advanced suit that can protect health care workers from Ebola…” (Ravindranath, 11/24).

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U.S. Strains PPE Supplies, Complicating Efforts To Treat Ebola Patients In West Africa

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Buys Up Ebola Gear, Leaving Little for Africa
“…The medical moon suit — which has come to symbolize the Ebola epidemic — is in short supply. … One of the demand spikes isn’t coming from West Africa — but from America. U.S. hospitals and government agencies have strained PPE [personal protective equipment] supplies in some regions, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. … The shortage shows how the deep anxiety over Ebola’s arrival in the U.S. has complicated efforts to fight it in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea…” (Hinshaw/Bunge, 11/24).

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Health Officials Unsure Of Exact Ebola Case Numbers; WHO Reports 15,351 Cases, 5,459 Deaths

National Journal: We Don’t Actually Know How Many Ebola Cases There Are
“…There have been 15,351 reported Ebola cases and 5,459 reported deaths, according to the most recent estimates released by the World Health Organization on Nov. 21. The vast majority of these are concentrated in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. … While they provide important information about the trajectory of the epidemic and how response efforts are working, officials warn that the totals are likely pretty far off base…” (Novack, 11/24).

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Merck Purchasing Rights To NewLink's Experimental Ebola Vaccine

News outlets report on a deal between pharmaceutical companies Merck and NewLink to develop, test, and market a potential Ebola vaccine.

NPR: Merck Partners With NewLink To Speed Up Work On Ebola Vaccine
“[Monday] NewLink Genetics said it has made a deal with drugmaker Merck to research, develop, manufacture, and distribute [its] experimental Ebola vaccine. That move will put the two leading Ebola vaccine programs [the other being GlaxoSmithKline’s] on more equal footing…” (Harris, 11/24).

Reuters: Merck buys rights to NewLink’s experimental Ebola vaccine
“Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) on Monday said it would buy worldwide commercial rights to NewLink Genetics Corp’s (NLNK.O) experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus. NewLink, whose subsidiary licensed commercial rights to the rVSV-EBOV vaccine in 2010, said it would receive $50 million plus royalties from Merck…” (Pierson, 11/24).

Wall Street Journal: Merck Obtains Rights to Experimental Ebola Vaccine
“…NewLink, of Ames, Iowa, has been developing a vaccine dubbed rVSV-EBOV, which NewLink licensed from the Public Health Agency of Canada. … The U.S. National Institutes of Health is planning a larger, human study in early 2015 to test rVSV-EBOV as well as another experimental Ebola vaccine co-developed by the NIH and GlaxoSmithKline PLC. Johnson & Johnson also is developing an experimental vaccine in partnership with Bavarian Nordic of Denmark…” (Loftus, 11/24).

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DRC's Experience With Ebola Helped It Quash Outbreak, Unlike West African Nations With No Ebola History

NBC News: A Tale of Two Outbreaks: Why Congo Conquered Ebola
“Two outbreaks, two entirely different outcomes. The World Health Organization has declared an outbreak of Ebola over in the Democratic Republic of Congo after just 66 cases and 49 deaths. It lasted three months. Yet the epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea’s been going for nine months, with more than 15,000 cases, 5,000 deaths and no end in sight. What’s the difference? Experts say experience matters — it was the seventh outbreak in the former Zaire. But equally important is the fact that the village where it started was extremely remote, and the country has a rudimentary system of health care workers who know to look out for Ebola…” (Fox, 11/24).

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Attention On Ebola Epidemic Distracts From Chikungunya Outbreak In Latin America, Caribbean

The Guardian: Chikungunya: Ebola pushes South American epidemic out of the spotlight
“The Americas are experiencing an epidemic that has been largely ignored by the rest of the world as it focuses on West Africa’s Ebola outbreak. The debilitating mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has infected almost one million people since it first emerged in South America and the Caribbean less than a year ago. The virus has rapidly spread across the Americas, causing huge pressure on health services in some of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere…” (Lakhani, 11/24).

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U.N. Launches Campaign To End Violence Against Women

News outlets report on the launch of the U.N.’s campaign to end gender-based violence, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which takes place annually on November 25.

Al Jazeera: U.N. calls for end to violence against women
“The U.N. today marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with a call to end what it calls a ‘global pandemic’ of aggression against women and girls. ‘Orange your Neighborhood’ is the name of the campaign which runs from November 25 to December 10. The 16 days of activism against gender violence encourages individuals around the world to galvanize into action, organizing events and debates on relevant issues. The color orange has been chosen to symbolize a brighter, violence-free future…” (11/25).

U.N. News Centre: #OrangeUrHood campaign kicks off U.N.-led effort to end violence against women
“[Monday night], for the first time ever, both the iconic United Nations Headquarters complex and the Empire State Building in New York [were] bathed in orange light to kick off the ‘Orange YOUR Neighborhood’ campaign ahead of the International Day to End Violence Against Women…” (11/24).

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U.S. Expresses Concern Over Gambian Law Restricting LGBT Rights

Media sources report on the U.S. Department of State’s press statement expressing concern over a Gambian law restricting LGBT rights.

Associated Press: U.S. condemns Gambia’s anti-gay law
“The U.S. State Department on Monday condemned the decision by Gambia’s president to approve a law imposing life imprisonment for some homosexual acts…” (11/24).

U.S. Department of State: U.S. Concerned by Passage of Discriminatory Law, Arrests of LGBT Individuals
“We are dismayed by President Jammeh’s decision to sign into law legislation that further restricts the rights of LGBT individuals and are deeply concerned about the reported arrests and detention of suspected LGBT individuals in the Gambia…” (Rathke, 11/24).

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Indian Lab Confirms Drugs Used In Mass Sterilization Program That Killed At Least 13 Were Tainted

VOA News: Lab: India’s Deadly Post-Sterilization Drugs Tainted
“An Indian laboratory has confirmed that drugs used as part of mass sterilizations at a government-run health camp, which killed at least 13 women and made dozens ill, were tainted…” (Pasricha, 11/24).

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Gates Foundation To Require Open Access To Journal Articles On Research It Funds

Vox: The Gates Foundation pushes to make more academic research free and open to the public
“Starting in January 2017, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will require all of the researchers it funds to be published in a manner that is free for the public to read, according to a recent statement. … The Gates Foundation spends about $900 million each year funding scientific research — which results in about 1,400 research papers on various aspects of global health…” (Locke, 11/24).

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Amref Health Africa, WHO Begin First African Health Conference

Africa Science News: Experts meet in Nairobi for the first African Health Conference
“Amref Health Africa and the World Health Organization (WHO) [on Monday] initiated the three-day international health conference focused on how Africa can influence the global health agenda with the aim of improving health care on the continent…” (Akasa, 11/24).

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Experts Discuss Global Health Collaboration In Devex Google Hangout

Devex: The future of public, private sector, and NGO collaboration in global health
“There’s a firm consensus among global health experts that collaboration between the public and private sectors and NGOs is crucial to address emerging global health issues. In this Google Hangout, Devex’s Michael Igoe reached out to representatives of different organizations who share the importance of leadership in cracking the tough health problems…” (Jimeno, 11/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic, Responses

Wall Street Journal: Poll: Ebola Was a Bigger Story Than the Midterms
Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation

“…When the Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed the [American] public for our Kaiser Health News Index, we found that the public followed Ebola in the U.S. more closely than any other story over the past month — and much more closely than the midterm elections. … Public attention may have been driven by fear that Ebola would spread in the U.S., the Ebola media frenzy, the gripping human-interest stories, or a combination of all these. Ebola in West Africa was the second most closely followed story, suggesting that Ebola was truly on the public’s radar screen. … So what does it say that Americans followed a public health threat here more closely than our national elections? We didn’t ask which story they thought was more important to the future of the nation. But it’s possible that would have elicited a different answer” (11/24).

Foreign Affairs: The Real Cost of Ebola: Letter From Monrovia
Javier Alvarez, country director for Mercy Corps in Liberia

“…To encourage as quick a recovery as possible, programming aimed at improving local economic health, restoring incomes to normal levels, strengthening the agricultural sector (including ensuring that farmers resume normal planting in 2015), and improving transport conditions is absolutely necessary. To be sure, containing the spread of the virus remains the priority in Liberia. The country and the international aid community must also work to lessen the economic impact of the Ebola crisis. Indeed, steps can be taken to achieve both of those goals, provided they are done in consultation with health authorities…” (11/24).

Dallas Morning News: Ebola’s scary, but we have plenty of neglected diseases at home
Jim Landers, columnist

“…As with Ebola, the many pathways linking Dallas to the rest of the world have made [neglected diseases] local illnesses. Every global city has similar health problems. Neglected tropical diseases have the attention of U.S. government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for International Development, and from other governments and health care relief groups. Many major pharmaceutical companies have been willing to help if funding can be made available so they at least break even. … Meanwhile, poverty, climate, and conflict are helping these diseases gain the upper hand…” (11/24).

Inter Press Service: How Ebola Could End the Cuban Embargo
Arturo Lopez-Levy, visiting lecturer at Mills College

“…It’s rare for politicians from these two countries to stray from the narratives of suspicion and intransigence that have prevented productive collaboration for over half a century. Yet that’s just what has happened in the last few weeks, as Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power spoke favorably of Cuba’s medical intervention in West Africa, and Cuban President Raul Castro and former president Fidel Castro signaled their willingness to cooperate with U.S. efforts to stem the epidemic. As it causes devastation in West Africa and strikes fear in the United States and around the world, Ebola has few upsides. But one of them may be the opportunity to change the nature of U.S.-Cuban relations, for the public good…” (11/24).

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Opinion Pieces Address Issues Surrounding International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women

Huffington Post: Meet The Men Who Are Saying ‘No’ To Violence Against Women
Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver

“…Today, as we recognize the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I’ve asked four of these extraordinary young men — Thierry Kajeneza, Yemurai Nyoni, Remmy Shawa, and SM Shaikat — to share their personal stories about engaging boys and men to end gender-based violence. From Burundi to Bangladesh, these leaders are taking action and inspiring community members to build a safer and healthier world for girls and women…” (11/25).

Huffington Post U.K.: A Force for Change in Women’s Lives
Lee Webster, head of policy and influencing at Womankind Worldwide

“…New research from Womankind Worldwide has documented the work of women’s rights organizations in tackling violence against women and girls in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Zambia. … Despite the evidence that their work is effective in challenging inequality and tackling violence against women, women’s rights organizations have something else in common — they face a chronic lack of funding. … The international community needs to step up and match the commitment and drive of women’s rights organizations with the cash to drive forward their work” (11/25).

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U.N.'s Water, Sanitation Report Shows Slow Progress In Addressing Targets

Inter Press Service: Water and Sanitation Report Card: Slow Progress, Inadequate Funding
Tim Brewer, policy analyst at WaterAid

“…Last week’s World Health Organization report produced by U.N. Water, the Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS), has provided a sobering picture of water and sanitation services so necessary to health care systems around the world. … The state of water and sanitation is a global health crisis. Some 10 million children have died since 2000 of diarrheal illnesses, directly linked to growing up without clean water, basic toilets, and hygiene. It is possible to reach everyone, everywhere with water, sanitation, and hygiene education, but it will require strong political will, a comprehensive and accelerated approach, and financing…” (11/24).

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More Effort Needed To Engage HIV-Positive Mothers, Infants In Health Care System

Huffington Post: Countdown to Zero
Mitchell Besser, founder of mothers2mothers

“…Since 2011, the [Global Plan Towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive] has succeeded in catalyzing African governments to develop strategies and direct substantial resources towards reducing pediatric HIV infections and promoting maternal health. … Yet even with this progress a staggering number of children are still infected with HIV — almost 700 each day worldwide, which is one new infection every two minutes. Clearly much more effort is needed to reach the Global Plan’s target of reducing new infections among children by 90 percent by 2015. … By more fully engaging HIV-positive mothers in the health care system, we can ensure that they continue to follow the treatment and interventions so critical to their health and that of their babies” (11/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CDC Director Recognizes Work Of Ebola HCWs, Public Health Specialists

CDC’s “Our Global Voices”: Tom Frieden: What I’m Thankful For
CDC Director Tom Frieden recognizes frontline health workers and public health specialists in West Africa, expressing his appreciation and thanks for their work containing the Ebola epidemic (11/24).

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Blog Post Recognizes 10 Global Health Advancements

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Ten global health advancements I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving
Marissa Chmiola, GHTC’s communications officer, discusses 10 global health advancements, including progress in vaccine research for hookworm and dengue, development of women-specific HIV prevention methods, and formulations of pediatric tuberculosis treatments, as well as other topics (11/24).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 256 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter focuses on issues discussed at and outcomes of the Fund’s 32nd Board meeting, held November 20-21 (11/24).

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