KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama Requests $6.2B In Emergency Funding For Domestic, West African Ebola Responses

News outlets report on a request made Wednesday by President Barack Obama for $6.2 billion in emergency funding for Ebola responses in the U.S. and West Africa. The White House released a fact sheet on the request.

Associated Press: Obama seeks $6.2 billion for Ebola fight
“President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked Congress for $6.2 billion in emergency funds to confront Ebola at its source in West Africa and to secure the United States against any possible spread…” (Kuhnhenn/Taylor, 11/5).

Bloomberg News: Obama Said to Seek $6.2 Billion in Emergency Ebola Funds
“…The funding will include about $4.6 billion for immediate actions and $1.5 billion in a contingency fund to assure access to resources as needed, according to a 28-page request to House and Senate leaders from the Office of Management and Budget…” (Allen/Drajem, 11/5).

CQ News: White House to Seek Billions in Emergency Ebola Funding
“…The administration is seeking $2.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services. About three-quarters of that funding would go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to respond to the outbreak and other infectious disease threats. The White House also asked for $2.1 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development and other State Department humanitarian assistance; $157 million for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency to manufacture vaccines for clinical trials; and $112 million for the Pentagon and efforts by its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s to address the virus, among other requests…” (Hallerman/Young, 11/5).

New York Times: Obama Requests $6 Billion for Ebola
“…The request comes just after the midterm congressional elections on Tuesday in which Republicans took control of the Senate, dealing devastating losses to Democrats across the country and a rebuke to Mr. Obama that will complicate his efforts to advance his agenda. The White House described the proposal as a chance for collaboration between the president and Capitol Hill…” (Davis, 11/5).

Washington Post: Obama seeks $6 billion from Congress to fight Ebola in Africa, United States
“…In a letter to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), President Obama said the money would fund a comprehensive strategy ‘to contain and end the outbreak at its source in Africa, enhance domestic preparedness, speed the procurement and testing of vaccines and therapeutics, and accelerate global capability to prevent the spread of future infectious diseases’…” (Achenbach et al., 11/5).

Associated Press: Comparing Ebola request to other health spending (11/5).
Foreign Policy: In About-Face, Obama Consults Republicans on Ebola, Islamic State (Francis, 11/5).
The Hill: New $6B Ebola funding request would dwarf previous commitment (Shabad, 11/5).
Reuters: Obama seeks $6.2 billion to combat Ebola: officials (Zengerle/Cowan, 11/5).
Vox: Why Obama wants Congress to spend $6.2 billion more to fight Ebola (Belluz, 11/5).

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U.S. Public Health Officers Prepare To Treat HCWs Infected With Ebola In Liberia

News outlets report on the opening of a U.S.-run hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, where members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will treat health care workers who become infected with Ebola while treating patients.

The Hill: U.S. health officers to begin treating Ebola overseas (Ferris, 11/5).
New York Times: Treating Those Treating Ebola in Liberia (Fink, 11/5).
USA Today: U.S. uniformed officers to treat Ebola patients in Liberia (Zoroya, 11/6).
Washington Post: U.S. field hospital for health workers to open in Liberia (Bernstein, 11/5).

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Ebola Outbreak Highlights Need For U.S. To Rethink Health Assistance Strategies In Africa, U.S. Official Says

CQ News: Ebola Outbreak Underscores Need to Rethink African Aid Strategy, Top Diplomat Says
“Once the current Ebola emergency has passed, the U.S. government needs to take a hard look at its strategy for delivering health assistance to Africa, the State Department’s senior diplomat for the continent said. … [U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda] Thomas-Greenfield, who served from 2008 to 2012 as U.S. ambassador to Liberia, said an ‘Ebola-type epidemic’ would likely come again to Africa. To prepare for the next outbreak, she said, local public health sectors need to be rebuilt stronger…” (Oswald, 11/4).

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World Bank's IFC Pledges $450M For Ebola-Hit West African Nations; Bank Working To Establish Emergency Epidemic Fund

News outlets report on the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation’s pledge of $450 million to the three countries hardest hit by Ebola — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — and efforts by the World Bank and other international agencies to establish an emergency epidemic fund.

Associated Press: Ebola countries to get $450 million in financing
“…The International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank Group, announced that the package will include $250 million in rapid response projects and at least $200 million in investment projects to support the economic recovery of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea after the Ebola outbreak is controlled…” (Lederer, 11/5).

Reuters: World Bank brings Ebola funding to nearly $1 billion
“…The announcement from the bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) brings total World Bank commitments for Ebola to nearly $1 billion in the past three months, an unprecedented rapid response for a development institution that has been accused of dragging its feet on project approval in the past…” (Yukhananov, 11/5).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. warns of economic hardship in Ebola-hit countries as World Bank agrees finance package
“…The announcement by the IFC/World Bank Group also noted that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries and spreads to neighboring States, the two-year regional financial impact could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015…” (11/5).

Xinhua News: World Bank to launch emergency fund to combat Ebola
“The World Bank is working with the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and other multilevel developing banks to create an ‘epidemic emergency fund’ to fight against Ebola and other epidemics in future, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said here on Tuesday…” (11/4).

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U.N. Lacks Resources To Defeat Ebola, U.N. Ebola Coordinator Says

BBC News: Ebola outbreak: U.N. ‘lacks resources’ to fight deadly virus
“The head of the U.N. mission charged with fighting Ebola in West Africa has told the BBC he does not yet have the resources necessary to defeat it. Tony Banbury said more help was urgently needed, despite significant contributions from the U.K., China, Cuba, and the U.S….” (11/6).

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WHO Revises Ebola Death Toll Downward Due To Change In Data Source

Reuters: WHO revises Ebola death toll lower, virus slowing in Liberia
“The World Health Organization said on Wednesday it continued to see a slowdown in weekly Ebola cases in Liberia, although incidence of the disease was still rising in Sierra Leone and stable in Guinea. … It said the revision was caused by a change in the source of the data. Previously it had combined patient databases and country reports from health ministries and WHO offices, but it had switched to relying entirely on the country reports…”

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WHO Asks Canada, Australia To Justify Ebola Travel Restrictions

News outlets report on the WHO’s request for Canada and Australia to justify their decisions to restrict travel from Ebola-hit West African countries.

Agence France-Presse: Canada, Australia must explain visa block on Ebola nations
“The World Health Organization said Wednesday it had asked Canada and Australia to justify their decisions last week to suspend migration from Ebola-hit West African countries…” (11/5).

CIDRAP: WHO asks Canada to justify Ebola-related travel restrictions
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is demanding that Canada justify its recent decision to restrict travel from the West African countries hit hard by Ebola, the Canadian Press reported today…” (Schnirring/Roos, 11/4).

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Media Sources Report On Various Aspects Of Ebola Drug, Vaccine R&D

Media sources report on various issues surrounding research into Ebola vaccines and treatments.

Associated Press: U.S. officials unveil plan to test Ebola drugs (Marchione, 11/5).
CIDRAP News: FDA, industry officials vow to minimize barriers to Ebola vaccines (Roos, 11/5).
Reuters: U.S. Ebola researchers plead for access to virus samples (Steenhuysen, 11/5).
Reuters: E.U. scheme commits $350 million for research on Ebola vaccines, tests (Hirschler, 11/6).
WHO: New study sheds light on the importance of supportive care for Ebola patients (11/6).

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WHO AFRO Nominates Agency Veteran Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti As Next Regional Director

News outlets report the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) on Wednesday nominated Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, a physician from Botswana, as the agency’s next Regional Director for Africa.

Agence France-Presse: WHO appoints new Africa chief after Ebola criticism
“The Africa arm of the World Health Organization — which has been criticized for being slow to react to Ebola — appointed a new director Wednesday. Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti immediately vowed to improve the response of countries worst hit by the epidemic…” (11/5).

Associated Press: Amid Ebola disaster, WHO picks new Africa chief
“…The results of the five-candidate election were made public at a meeting of the U.N. agency in Benin and came amid the worst outbreak of the dreaded disease ever seen…” (Ahissou/Cheng, 11/5).

Reuters: WHO veteran elected as head of Africa office amid Ebola criticism
“…Moeti joined the WHO in 1999 as regional adviser for Women’s and Adolescent Health. Before that, she worked in Botswana’s Ministry of Health. She has also held senior positions within the organization, including a stint as regional adviser on the WHO’s HIV/AIDS program and head of its Malawi office…” (Elijah/Felix, 11/5).

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Additional Federal Funding For HIV Vaccine Research Needed, Experts Say At CSIS Event

Media sources report on an event held Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, titled “Ending Epidemics Through Technology: Developing an HIV Vaccine.”

CQ HealthBeat: Advocates Cite Promising AIDS Vaccine Research in Quest for Funds
“AIDS experts said Tuesday that it’s critical to push for higher levels of federal funding to develop an AIDS vaccine, citing promising developments but shying away from predicting when an effective vaccine might be available…” (Reichard, 11/4).

Devex: Can Ebola help leverage funds for HIV?
“…[A]s global health leaders pointed out Tuesday in Washington, D.C., the spotlight on Ebola could help, not hinder, public health professionals seeking funds for HIV research and other public health initiatives…” (Tyson, 11/5).

Science Speaks: Dr. Fauci: “Why we really do need an HIV vaccine in spite of the spectacular successes in prevention”
“…[National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony] Fauci was joined by Mitchell Warren of the HIV research advocacy group AVAC and Margie McGlynn of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative — IAVI — at the Center for Strategic and International Studies…” (Barton, 11/5).

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World Must Prepare For Aging Population, WHO, Lancet Say

Media sources report on calls from the WHO to prepare for a global aging population and the publication of a series in The Lancet on the issue.

The Lancet: Series on Aging
“This Series on Aging highlights a neglected area in the health sector and in social and economic-policy development. The six papers address issues related to mortality, morbidity and disability, wellbeing, and potential health system responses. The series provides a much-needed synthesis of the evidence, and suggests possible strategies to address the health and wellbeing of older adults…” (11/6).

VOA News: WHO: World Must Prepare for Aging Population
“The World Health Organization (WHO) says governments must prepare now to deal with an increasingly aging world. Otherwise, it warns the growing burden of chronic disease will seriously affect the quality of life of older people and create economic and other hardships for national health systems. These findings appear in a new series on health and aging published in the British journal, The Lancet…” (Schlein, 11/5).

WHO: “Aging well” must be a global priority
“A major new series on health and ageing, published in The Lancet, warns that unless health systems find effective strategies to address the problems faced by an aging world population, the growing burden of chronic disease will greatly affect the quality of life of older people. As people across the world live longer, soaring levels of chronic illness and diminished wellbeing are poised to become a major global public health challenge…” (11/6).

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Polio Incidence Reaches 15-Year High In Pakistan As Violence Escalates Against Polio Workers

News outlets report on the resurgence of polio in Pakistan and the continued targeting of polio workers by extremists.

Associated Press: Polio incidence hits 15-year high in Pakistan
“The incidence of polio in Pakistan hit a 15-year high on Wednesday, as the prime minister vowed to rid the country of the crippling disease in the next six months despite a Taliban campaign to kill workers distributing vaccines for it…” (Ahmed, 11/5).

Foreign Policy: Into the Abyss: The Escalating Violence Against Pakistan’s Polio Workers
“This year has been a disastrous one for Pakistan’s campaign to eradicate polio, and 2014 isn’t even over yet. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), there have been 220 cases of polio in Pakistan in the past 10 months, a number far greater than the 93 cases in all of 2013. … One of the central reasons for this increase is that extremists are successfully targeting polio workers in violent attacks…” (Sterman, 11/5).

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U.N. Human Rights Panels Issue Joint Statement On Prevention, Elimination Of Harmful Practices On Women, Girls

U.N. News Centre: U.N. rights panels outline States’ obligation to prevent harmful practices on women, girls
“For the first time, two United Nations human rights committees have joined forces to issue a comprehensive interpretation of the obligations of states to prevent and eliminate harmful practices inflicted on women and girls, such as female genital mutilation, crimes committed in the name of so-called honor, forced and child marriage, and polygamy…” (11/5).

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U.N. Refugee Agency Launches Campaign To Eliminate Statelessness

Associated Press: U.N. refugee agency moves to wipe out statelessness
“The U.N. refugee agency launched an ambitious campaign Tuesday to wipe out statelessness in the next decade with the goal of preventing millions from spending their entire lives without legal documentation. The goal is to focus attention on people who are not recognized in their countries and do not have birth certificates, identity papers or other documents, and to prevent babies born to refugees from being denied legal papers…” (Katz, 11/4).

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Global Humanitarian System Reaching Limits In Dealing With Crises Worldwide, U.N. Refugee Head Says

U.N. News Centre: Humanitarian system ‘scrambling’ to meet skyrocketing needs, warns U.N. refugee agency chief
“The global humanitarian system has reached its limits in dealing with the upward trend in forced displacement due to mounting pressures from conflicts and persecution around the world, the head of the United Nations refugee agency warned [Wednesday], calling on the humanitarian community to ‘think out of the box’ when it comes to funding emergency response…” (11/5).

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Sudan Denies Peacekeepers Access To Darfur To Investigate Mass Rape Report

Reuters: Sudan denies U.N. access in Darfur to look into mass rape report
“Sudanese troops denied U.N. and African Union peacekeepers access to a town in the country’s western Darfur region to investigate reports of an alleged mass rape of some 200 women and girls, the United Nations said on Wednesday…” (11/6).

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The Guardian Compares Health Care Systems Of 8 Countries

The Guardian: How sick are the world’s health care systems?
“The NHS is in trouble and its chief executive has requested £8bn to save it. But how does Britain’s system compare with health care around the world — and what can we learn? From hard-pressed India to highly organized Germany, eight Guardian correspondents report…” (Kaiman et al., 10/29).

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Experimental Hepatitis C Vaccine Safe In Humans, Study Says

News outlets report that an experimental vaccine for hepatitis C has shown to be safe for humans.

Los Angeles Times: Experimental hepatitis C vaccine shows promise, researchers say (Morin, 11/5).
Reuters: GSK hepatitis C shot shows promise, bodes well for Ebola vaccines (Kelland, 11/5).
TIME: Hepatitis C Vaccine Safe In Humans, Study Finds (Sifferlin, 11/5).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Ebola Quarantines, Development Of Treatments, Vaccines

New England Journal of Medicine: Panic, Paranoia, and Public Health — The AIDS Epidemic’s Lessons for Ebola
Gregg Gonsalves, HIV/AIDS activist and co-director of the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health, and Peter Staley, HIV/AIDS activist

“For those of us who lived through the early days of the U.S. AIDS epidemic, the current national panic over Ebola brings back some very bad memories. The toxic mix of scientific ignorance and paranoia on display in the reaction to the return of health care workers from the front lines of the fight against Ebola in West Africa, the amplification of these reactions by politicians and the media, and the fear-driven suspicion and shunning of whole classes of people are all reminiscent of the response to the emergence of AIDS in the 1980s. … Why has it been so easy, again and again, to slip into this kind of reaction to a public health issue, and why has it been so difficult for promoters of evidence-based practice to find remedies for it? … Allowing rigorous, independent judicial review before a quarantine is ordered to ensure that it is the least restrictive way to protect health may be an important component in the reform of state quarantine laws. But another lesson from the AIDS epidemic is that we cannot let down our guard. We all have to become activists if we are to protect the public health from being used as a tool to serve primarily political purposes, as it has been over the past few weeks in the United States” (11/5).

Al Jazeera: Ebola in West Africa is a wake-up call
Els Torreele, director of the Access to Medicines Initiative of the Open Society Foundations, and Piero Olliaro, head of intervention and implementation research at the WHO’s Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases

“Eight months into the world’s worst Ebola outbreak, we have lost 5,000 lives and expect to see more infections and deaths in the coming months. The reason is simple: We have no drug to cure Ebola, or vaccine to prevent it. It didn’t have to be this way. If medicines were actually developed to respond to health needs, we would already have effective vaccines and drugs to prevent and control this deadly disease. … Our current system for developing new medicines is by design ill-suited to address the world’s health needs. … The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has been a wake-up call. It questions the effectiveness of our emergency preparedness and highlights the need for strengthening our health system. But, it should not stop there. We must seize this moment to rethink our drug and vaccine research and development system, aspiring for one that can respond to such a crisis because it is propelled by global need — not corporate greed” (11/6).

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U.N. Campaign To Address 'Hidden' Issue Of Statelessness

The Guardian: Statelessness is an evil that has been hidden for too long
Hélène Lambert, professor of international law at the University of Westminster in London

“[Tuesday], the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) launched its campaign to end statelessness by 2024 … This is an ambitious task, almost bold, yet feasible considering UNHCR’s achievements in the last three years and its awareness of the need to build an international social movement to ‘champion’ the cause of statelessness, on a par with the work being done on landmines, child soldiers, and rape in armed conflict. Statelessness affects the enjoyment of all the rights which most of us take for granted, for instance the right to work, the right to vote, the right to welfare benefits or welfare, and a child’s right to education…” (11/5).

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Development Progress Made in Haiti, Continued International Support Needed

Huffington Post: Haiti Is on the Turn
Denis O’Brien, founder and chairman of Digicel

“While [Haiti] has received significant investments from foreign aid and private partners, more still remains to be done to help the Haitian people create self-sufficient communities. … What’s required is international support with the Haitian government to strengthen the country’s health care system and develop a better sanitation system. The sooner we can work together on both, the sooner unnecessary deaths can be prevented. … I’m confident that through ongoing collaboration we’ll be able to do even more in order to not only save lives but build the foundation for Haiti’s sustained development” (11/5).

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Brazilian Organization Serves As Model For 'Holistic' Anti-Poverty Programs

Huffington Post: An Action Plan to Help Sick Kids Break out of Poverty
Hans Hickler of Brazil Child Health

“Brazil Child Health (known in Brazil by its Portuguese name, Associação Saúde Criança) supports underserved, poor women with chronically sick children and their families. Most of these families live in the favelas (urban slums) of Brazil, and do not have access to even basic citizenship rights. Brazil Child Health provides families with a holistic two-year Family Action Plan that addresses their total wellbeing — not just health, but also housing, income generation and education, as well as legal and psychological support. … In the long term, Brazil Child Health aspires to scale its proven methodology, making it available globally to break the cycle of misery and poverty that impacts so many families facing serious health and social barriers” (11/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

White House Blog Post Answers Questions About U.S. Ebola Emergency Funding Request

U.S. White House’s “White House Blog”: Fighting Ebola: 5 Things You Need to Know About Emergency Funding to Combat the Disease
Tanya Somanader, deputy director of digital content for the Office of Digital Strategy at the White House, discusses specifics of the Obama administration’s recent request to Congress “to help bolster America’s resources in the fight against Ebola by providing $6.18 billion toward our whole-of-government efforts” (11/5).

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6 Ideas For New U.S. Congress To Advance Development, Foreign Policy Goals

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: Six Development Proposals for the Next Republican-Led Congress
Following Tuesday’s midterm elections in the U.S., Ben Leo, senior fellow and director of Rethinking U.S. Development Policy at CGD, outlines “six no-cost or low-cost ideas where the next GOP-led Congress could make important progress over the next two years in advancing U.S. development, foreign policy, and commercial priorities” (11/5).

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Al Jazeera Highlights Documentary On HIV Treatment Access In Developing Countries

Al Jazeera: Fire in the Blood
Al Jazeera highlights the documentary film “Fire in the Blood,” which addresses “the challenges NGOs, doctors, and activists face in their fight against big pharma and patent laws that prevent millions of HIV/AIDS patients in the developing world from accessing lifesaving drugs…” The film will air November 7 on Al Jazeera English (11/1).

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