KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Bank, U.N. Officials Say Mixed Progress On Ebola In West Africa, But Improvements No Reason To Let Down Guard

News outlets report on comments from World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and Anthony Banbury, head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), about mixed progress on Ebola in West Africa.

Reuters: World Bank chief sees mixed progress in West Africa Ebola battle
“The World Bank’s president on Wednesday reported mixed progress in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, pointing to encouraging signs in Liberia and a more worrisome trend in neighboring Sierra Leone…” (Kim/Munroe, 11/5).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. envoy warns against letting guard down, ‘even for a second’
“The U.N. envoy coordinating the global response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa said in the Liberian capital [Tuesday] that when national governments, partners, and communities work together, ‘dramatic improvement’ can be achieved, but cautioned against ‘even for a second [thinking] that everything is okay’…” (11/4).

Link to individual story

Former Government Officials Say Ebola Epidemic Shows U.S. Vulnerabilities To Disease Outbreaks

CQ News: Ebola Outbreak Reveals Domestic Vulnerabilities, Say Former Officials
“…The most basic lesson is that another country’s epidemic can become a serious threat to the United States, notes Andrew S. Natsios, who served in the George W. Bush’s administration as head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. … Jack C. Chow, a former World Health Organization assistant director general and ex-U.S. ambassador for global health and HIV/AIDS in the Bush administration, said the United States should press for the formation of international medical teams — health SWAT teams that train together and are ready to be deployed across multiple national borders…” (Ferguson, 11/4).

Link to individual story

Guardian Podcast Examines Slow International Response To Ebola In West Africa

The Guardian: What does the Ebola crisis reveal about the state of global health? — podcast transcript
In a podcast, The Guardian “examine[s] why the global health community was so slow to mobilize [against Ebola], and what can be done to prevent a recurrence of the crisis” (Boseley/Krysiak, 11/4).

Link to individual story

Humanitarian Agencies Adopt New Strategies For Ebola Efforts

IRIN: Aid agencies adapt to Ebola challenge
“From using Bitcoins to fundraise, to adopting new strategies to prevent malaria victims appearing to be Ebola cases, to working with new partners — aid agencies in West Africa are learning to adapt fast…” (11/4).

Link to individual story

Australia To Staff Ebola Clinic In Sierra Leone

News outlets report on Australia’s announcement that it would staff an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone amid pressure from donors to do more in its efforts to fight the disease in West Africa.

Associated Press: Australia to staff Ebola hospital in Sierra Leone
“Australia’s prime minister said Wednesday that his government expects to staff a British-built Ebola hospital in Sierra Leone by the end of the month after reaching a deal with Britain on treating Australian health workers who might become infected with the deadly disease…” (11/5).

BBC News: Australia to contract private medical firm to fight Ebola
“Australia is contracting a private company to staff and operate an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone, Prime Minister Tony Abbot has said…” (11/5).

Reuters: Australia bows to pressure to step up Ebola fight in Africa
“Australia will fund an Ebola treatment clinic in Sierra Leone, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday, responding to pressure from the United States and others to do more to tackle the deadly outbreak at its West African source…” (Feast, 11/5).

Link to individual story

Ebola Quarantines In Sierra Leone Hindering Food Security

Associated Press: Thousands break Ebola quarantine to find food
“…Large swaths of the West African country have been sealed off to prevent the spread of Ebola, and within those areas many people have been ordered to stay in their homes. The government, with help from the U.N.’s World Food Programme, is tasked with delivering food and other services to those people. But there are many ‘nooks and crannies’ in the country that are being missed, Jeanne Kamara, Christian Aid’s Sierra Leone representative, said Tuesday…” (DiLorenzo, 11/4).

Link to individual story

Text Message Campaign Helped Senegal Stop Ebola Outbreak, WHO Says

Media sources report on the WHO’s announcement that a text messaging campaign helped Senegal stop a local Ebola outbreak.

CQ HealthBeat: Text Messaging Aids in Ebola Fight, WHO Says
“…Senegal’s recent stamping out of Ebola was achieved not only through its rapid infectious disease control work but also by using a novel approach relying on text messages, the WHO said in a posting on its website Tuesday…” (Reichard, 11/4).

WHO: Government of Senegal boosts Ebola awareness through SMS campaign
“…Through the SMS campaign, launched in partnership with major mobile phone operators in Senegal, people were encouraged to alert health authorities of anyone showing signs of a fever and bleeding by calling a toll-free number. The messages were shared ahead of large-scale public events, including football matches and rallies…” (November 2014).

Link to individual story

Gavi In Talks To Pay For Ebola Vaccine

Bloomberg News: Bill Gates-Backed Group Weighs Funding for Ebola Vaccine
“…[Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] is in talks with Glaxo[SmithKline], the World Health Organization, and others about paying for [new Ebola] vaccines, and its board will make a decision when it meets next month, said Seth Berkley, Gavi’s chief executive officer…” (Bennett, 11/4).

Link to individual story

Researchers Developing Faster, Easier Ebola Diagnostic Tests

New York Times: Researchers Seek Crucial Tool: A Fast, Finger-Prick Ebola Test
“Searching for a new way to attack Ebola, companies and academic researchers are now racing to develop faster and easier tests for determining whether someone has the disease. Such tests might require only a few drops of blood rather than a test tube of it, and provide the answer on the spot, without having to send the sample to a laboratory…” (Pollack, 11/4).

Link to individual story

Stephen Lewis, Archbishop Emeritus Tutu Comment On HIV/AIDS In South Africa At Press Briefing

News outlets report on comments made Tuesday at a press conference in Johannesburg organized by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

The Guardian: U.K. has ‘signed a death warrant’ for South Africans with HIV-AIDS
“One of the world’s leading AIDS activists has accused Britain of ‘signing a death warrant’ for South Africans in need of treatment after withdrawing aid from an influential campaign group, which now faces ruin. Stephen Lewis, a former U.N. special envoy for AIDS in Africa, bitterly criticized the Department for International Development (DfID) over its decision to stop funding activists who forced the South African government to reverse its policy of AIDS ‘denialism,’ saving millions of lives…” (Smith, 11/5).

SAPA/Independent Online: SA’s HIV/AIDS fight not over: Tutu
“The HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa is not over and people need to recommit themselves to eradicating the virus, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday. ‘AIDS is not over while one person still needs ARV (antiretroviral) medicines, or dies of tuberculosis,’ Tutu said in a pre-recorded message at a Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) briefing in Johannesburg…” (11/4).

Link to individual story

NIH Announces Start Of Global Clinical Trial To Evaluate Early HIV Treatment In Infected Newborns

Los Angeles Times: International baby trial hopes to find Achilles’ heel in HIV
“…On Monday, the National Institutes of Health announced the start of a global clinical trial in which newborns infected with the virus that causes AIDS will be given medication within two days of birth. (The Mississippi baby received anti-HIV therapy 30 hours after birth. The child’s mother stopped treatment after 18 months.)…” (Morin, 11/4).

Link to individual story

New Type Of Chikungunya Appears In Brazil

Scientific American: New Type of More Problematic Mosquito-Borne Illness Detected in Brazil
“…[N]ew findings from Brazil suggest that [the risk of chikungunya in] the Americas could be on the rise. Pedro Vasconcelos, director of the Evandro Chagas Institute, Brazil’s confirmatory laboratory, warns that in one of the country’s 26 states it has detected the more problematic African strain of chikungunya. That form of chikungunya is the second to arrive in Brazil, joining the Asian-derived strain carried by A. Aegypti that is already circulating throughout the Western Hemisphere, he told Scientific American…” (Maron, 11/4).

Link to individual story

U.N. Steps Up Humanitarian Aid Appeal As Winter Temperatures Hit IDPs In Iraq

U.N. News Centre: Iraq: as cold weather hits displaced persons, U.N. steps up humanitarian appeal
“As temperatures plummet across Iraq amid a steadily advancing cold season, humanitarian resources are urgently required in order to satisfy the needs of over one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) scattered across the country, a senior United Nations official in Iraq warned [Tuesday]…” (11/4).

Link to individual story

WHO Guidelines Aim To Reduce Global Number Of Opioid Overdose Deaths

News outlets report on new WHO guidelines aimed at reducing the number of opioid overdose deaths worldwide.

U.N. News Centre: Opioid overdose claims 70,000 lives each year — U.N. health agency
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidelines [Tuesday] aimed at reducing the number deaths related to opioid overdose covering a range of drugs — from morphine and heroin to painkillers such as oxycodone — that claim nearly 70,000 lives each year. The guidelines recommend expanding access of the inexpensive medication naloxone, ‘which can completely reverse the effects of opioid overdose and prevent deaths due to opioid overdose’…” (11/4).

Reuters: WHO recommends naloxone to prevent 20,000 overdose deaths in U.S.
“More than 20,000 deaths might be prevented every year in the United States alone if naloxone, used to counter drug overdoses, was more widely available, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday…” (Miles/Kelland, 11/4).

Link to individual story

Nigeria's Cholera Outbreak Exacerbated By Insecurity

Media sources report on a cholera outbreak in Nigeria, where insecurity and conflict have exacerbated the disease’s spread.

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Nigeria violence pushes refugees and cholera across borders
“West Africa is struggling to control a cholera outbreak that has spread from Nigeria to nearby countries, exacerbated by insecurity and waves of refugees fleeing an Islamist insurgency in the country’s north, aid agencies said…” (Hussain, 10/31).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Nigeria: Outbreak of cholera in Borno State
“An epidemic of cholera broke out in Borno State in the northeast of Nigeria at the end of September. Already operating in this remote state that is difficult to get to and where the provision of health care is extremely limited, MSF is now responding to this latest epidemic. There have been 4,500 cases and 70 deaths from cholera in barely a month in Borno State’s capital and principal town Maiduguri and the number of cases continues to rise…” (11/3).

Link to individual story

Taliban's Opposition To Polio Vaccinations Endangering Pakistani Children, Hindering Eradication Efforts

Central Asia Online: Taliban’s anti-polio stance endangers KP, FATA children
“Taliban opposition to the oral polio vaccine (OPV) continues to endanger the lives of Pakistani children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). … The militants’ headstrong stance is provoking anger among parents. ‘We curse the Taliban for depriving my child of vaccine,’ said Sultan Shah, a North Waziristan man whose 18-month-old son Akram Shaw, tested positive for polio in June 2012. ‘The Taliban are proven enemies of children’…” (Yusufzai, 11/4).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Angles Of Ebola Epidemic

Wall Street Journal: WHO Is Responsible?
Editorial Board

Noting comments made Monday by WHO Director-General Margaret Chan attributing the Ebola epidemic to “the result of neglect of ‘fundamental public health infrastructures,’” and, “‘Because Ebola has historically been confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually nonexistent,’” the editorial states, “So even as Dr. Chan denounces racist capitalism for indifference to Ebola, she is beseeching the same Western industry to compensate for her ineptitude — while also attempting to weaken or destroy the profit-making impetus to develop new cures and treatments and finance the world’s drug innovation. If she has a point about the economics of research and development for rare plagues, that’s why the U.S. spends billions of dollars on the National Institutes of Health and maintains other programs to search for pharmaceutical public goods. These public-private efforts — especially antiretroviral therapies for AIDS — have saved far more lives in poor countries than any political crusade the WHO has funded. The least Dr. Chan could do is apologize, instead of making the world’s last remaining free pharma markets her alibi” (11/4).

Washington Post: It’s too early to declare victory against Ebola
Editorial Board

“…Several factors may be at work [with a decline in Ebola cases in Liberia but surges in Sierra Leone and Guinea], and all of them suggest caution and vigilance. First, the totals are likely an undercount. … Second, the decline in Liberia is due in part to effective use of special burial teams, which make sure that the dead are safely interred without infecting relatives who, by custom, often touch the deceased. … A third and important factor is that, in this outbreak, Ebola has surged and then seemed to fade, only to come back again. … The Ebola virus epidemic demands a relentless, sustained response from the entire world until the fire is extinguished and the embers are cold. Right now, the fire is still burning” (11/4).

Roll Call: Making the Case for Foreign Aid: There Is No “Them” Only “Us”
Bill Frist, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and a physician, and Jenny Eaton Dyer, executive director of Hope Through Healing Hands

“…[The Ebola] outbreak is a stark reminder that our own health and prosperity is directly linked to that of the developing world. Foreign aid is a catalyst for building healthier families and communities — and in turn, helping our own. … As we consider how best to respond, let’s also consider how best to strengthen the infrastructure of health systems in poor countries, and how to provide simple interventions, like family planning, to save the lives of millions of mothers and children around the world” (11/5).

The New Yorker: Cuba’s Ebola Diplomacy
Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker staff writer

Foreign Policy: The Pulpit Takes On a Plague
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

The Hill: International aid is vital to combat the spread of Ebola
Gyude Moore, deputy head of Liberia’s Presidential Delivery Unit

New York Times: Treating Ebola Without Fear
Abraham Verghese, author and professor at Stanford University

Link to individual story

Revitalized Global Partnership Can Ensure That Women Live Violence-Free

Inter Press Service: Ending Violence Against Women — A Global Responsibility
Lakshmi Puri, assistant secretary general of the United Nations and deputy executive director of U.N. Women

“Addressing violence against women, in all of its forms, is a global imperative and should be one of the international community’s top priorities, including in forthcoming intergovernmental processes, such as the post-2015 development agenda. … In addressing such a complex phenomenon, which is embedded in gender inequality and harmful gender stereotypes, more needs to be done, beyond the adoption of additional international instruments and national legal and policy frameworks. It is critical to ensure that accountability mechanisms are in place; that funding for implementation is adequate, predictable, and sustainable; and that the means of implementation are strengthened. A revitalized global partnership and political will can make the difference in ensuring the right of women and girls to live a life free of violence” (11/4).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

Gender Focus Essential For Effective U.S. Response To Ebola

Center for Strategic & International Studies: U.S. Ebola Response: Strategies for Women and Girls
Janet Fleischman, an independent consultant and senior associate for the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, discusses the “importance of gender strategies in U.S. health and development programs,” as well as the incorporation of these strategies into the U.S. Ebola response (11/4).

Link to individual story

Eradicating Malaria Possible Within 25 Years

The Lancet Global Health Blog: Malaria eradication: let battle commence
Richard Feachem, director of the Global Health Group at the University of California and a Malaria No More U.K. policy adviser, discusses malaria eradication, following Bill Gates’s calls for renewed commitment to the goal this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (11/3).

Link to individual story

Accurate, Reliable Global Health Data Vital For Successful Programs

Center for Global Development’s “Global Health Policy Blog”: Shaping the Market for Global Health Data
Amanda Glassman, senior fellow and director of global health policy at CGD, and Prashant Yadav of the University of Michigan, discuss the importance of accurate collection of global health data, writing, “…[W]ithout data on past consumption and unmet needs, program planners and global financiers cannot budget appropriately, pharmaceutical and vaccine companies cannot plan investments, and it is harder to understand how programs are performing and how patients’ needs are changing over time…” (11/4).

Link to individual story

Internal Reorganization, 'Growing Irrelevance' Threaten World Bank

Center for Global Development’s “Views from the Center”: My Two Big Worries about the World Bank
CGD President Nancy Birdsall discusses two of her concerns regarding the World Bank, including the bank’s internal reorganization process and “an existential threat of growing irrelevance and obscurity as rising incomes in big emerging markets reduce the demand for and logic of the bank’s country loan model…” (11/3).

Link to individual story

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KFF | twitter.com/kff

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.