KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Sierra Leone's Government Overwhelmed By Ebola Surge; More Treatment Centers, Attention To Orphans Needed

News outlets report on a surge of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, where a lack of treatment centers is hindering efforts to contain the disease, and the challenges of children in the country orphaned by Ebola.

Inter Press Service: Hopes of Controlling Sierra Leone’s Ebola Outbreak Remain Grim
“The fight against the deadly Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa seems to be hanging in the balance as Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Abubakar Fofana told IPS that the government is overwhelmed by the outbreak…” (Fofana, 11/6).

Reuters: Ebola surging in Sierra Leone amid lack of treatment centers: U.N.
“The number of Ebola cases is surging in Sierra Leone due to a lack of treatment centers, the United Nations said, while scarcity of food may also be forcing some people to leave quarantined areas, risking further spread of the virus…” (Flynn/Felix, 11/6).

The Guardian: Sierra Leone’s Ebola orphans face a situation ‘worse than war’
“…The Ebola response is so focused on containment of the disease that there is no team of officials working in the slipstream of the burial teams to register orphaned dependents. The country’s ministry of social welfare, gender and children’s affairs puts the number of orphans in Sierra Leone at 2,600, but organizations including UNICEF believe the real figure could be more than 7,000…” (O’Carroll, 11/7).

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Lower Number Of Ebola Cases In Liberia Raising Hopes, But Officials Warn Of Possible Resurgence

News outlets report on various aspects of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, where a lower number of reported cases is raising hopes among officials and residents but survivors are facing stigma.

Associated Press: U.N. Ebola chief optimistic of future drop in cases
“The U.N.’s Ebola chief said an extraordinary global response over the past month has made him hopeful the outbreak could end in 2015, though he cautioned that the fight to contain the disease is not even a quarter done. ‘Until the last case of Ebola is under treatment, we have to stay on full alert,’ Dr. David Nabarro said Thursday in an interview with the Associated Press. ‘It’s still bad’…” (Lederer, 11/7).

NPR: In Liberia, Ebola Makes ‘Pariahs’ Out Of The Sick, Says NYT Reporter
“Fresh Air” host Terry Gross interviews Helene Cooper, who “grew up in Liberia and still has family there. … Cooper spent two weeks last month in Liberia, covering the Ebola epidemic. She’s the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times and flew into Liberia with U.S. military troops whose mission was to build new Ebola treatment centers…” (11/6).

Washington Post: As Ebola infections drop, Liberian capital reawakens
“…[E]ver so slowly, signs of normalcy are returning to the capital. With the rate of new Ebola infections down, traffic is up. Boys play soccer and girls play kickball, less afraid of skin-to-skin contact than they were a few short weeks ago. Businesses are welcoming back a few workers — not many, and not all at once, but some. Discussions have begun about when and how to reopen the schools without reigniting the epidemic. Perhaps in January, some say…” (Bernstein, 11/6).

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ECOWAS Leaders Appoint Togo President Gnassingbe To Head Region's Ebola Response

Reuters: West African leaders name Togo’s president to lead Ebola response
“West African leaders on Thursday appointed Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe to supervise the region’s efforts to contain the deadly Ebola epidemic, which has killed nearly 5,000 people, mostly in the region. The [Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)] leaders who gathered in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, called for accelerated efforts to make vaccines available against the disease, which has infected some 13,567 people in eight countries…” (Kpodo, 11/6).

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National Journal Examines U.S. Funding For Ebola Efforts

National Journal: Is Ebola Funding One Thing the White House and Congress Can Agree On?
“Tensions are high between the White House and Congress following Tuesday’s elections, but the Obama administration is confident it’s found one area where Democrats and Republicans can still work together: fighting Ebola…” (Novack, 11/6).

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Facebook Launches Ebola Donation Button

News outlets report on Facebook’s launch of an Ebola donation button, where users can donate money to three charities’ efforts.

The Hill: Facebook adds button for Ebola donations
“Being able to stop the spread of Ebola before the epidemic grows would be equivalent to stopping HIV 30 years ago, according to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg has given millions of dollars toward fighting the virus … Starting on Thursday, Zuckerberg is encouraging the 1.3 billion users of Facebook to make donations of their own to fight the outbreak” (Hattem, 11/6).

Reuters: Facebook launches Ebola charity donation button
“Facebook Inc. said users would now have option to donate directly to various Ebola relief charities through a button at the top of their News Feeds. Facebook users can donate to three charities — International Medical Corps, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Save the Children — starting today, the company said on its website on Thursday…” (Tharakan, 11/6).

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Africans Unfairly Stigmatized Over Ebola, Uganda's Environment Minister Says

Huffington Post U.K.: Stop Stigmatizing Africans Over Ebola, Says Ugandan Minister Ephraim Kamuntu
“All Africans are being unfairly stigmatized because of Ebola, with the Western world feeling more entitled to high standards on care than victims on the continent, one of Uganda’s most influential politicians has said. Ephraim Kamuntu, Uganda’s minister for the environment, told HuffPost U.K. his government felt like they were seeing the same stigmatization that occurred during the HIV/AIDS crisis happening again…” (Elgot, 11/6).

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New York Times Examines Risks Humanitarian Aid Workers Face In Ebola-Hit Nations

New York Times: Doing Good in Harm’s Way
“…In the anxiety and anger swirling around the questions of quarantine for health care workers returning from West Africa, the quiet heroism and determination of people like Dr. [Rick] Sacra and the organizations they work for can be forgotten. … Other kinds of risk seem to be rising in hot spots like Syria, where aid workers and journalists have been beheaded by Islamic State militants. Doing good no longer provides a protective shield, said Jim Lanning, director of applications and logistics for International Relief and Development, a group in Arlington, Va…” (Schwartz, 11/6).

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Experimental Ebola Vaccine Trials Could Begin In West Africa In January

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. says experimental vaccine trials in West Africa could begin by January
“The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) [Thursday] said the Ebola crisis response ‘needs to scale up, get better, and perform faster,’ as the U.N. health agency reported that if judged safe, larger scale trials of an experimental vaccine could be taken to hard-hit West African countries as early as January 2015…” (11/6).

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Canada's Tekmira To Produce Experimental Ebola Treatment For U.S. DoD

Reuters: Tekmira to produce Ebola treatment for U.S. Dept of Defense
“The U.S. Department of Defense has exercised an option with Canada’s Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. for the company to make 500 courses of its experimental treatment for Ebola, Tekmira said on Thursday. The treatment targets the Ebola-Guinea virus variant, which is responsible for the worst outbreak on record that has hit hardest in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. It works by preventing the virus from replicating…” (11/6).

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BRICS Development Bank Could Take On Health, Development Challenges Such As TB

Devex: Can the BRICS bank rally global outcasts around TB treatment?
“Some of global development’s emerging players could fill a void in aid to the world’s most isolated countries — and their citizens who desperately crave basic services. … [N]ew actors are emerging, and some experts speculate that the recently launched BRICS development bank — officially called ‘New Development Bank’ — could take on some of the health and development challenges facing those countries like tuberculosis…” (Anders, 11/6).

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Water Essential Element To Global Peace, Development Agenda, U.N. Official Says

U.N. News Centre: Water central to global peace, development, U.N. deputy chief tells London summit
“The most basic of all human rights — water — is also a central element in global affairs and the development agenda with wide implications on international peace and security, the deputy secretary-general [Jan Eliasson] told participants [Thursday at] the World Water Summit held in London…” (11/6).

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East African Community States Behind In Reaching MDGs 4, 5, Forum Chair Says

Xinhua News: East Africa lagging in MDGs 4 and 5: regional assembly
“The East African Parliament on Thursday said that the East African Community (EAC) partner states are lagging behind in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Four and Five on child and maternal health. The East African Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Population, Health and Development Chair Martin Nduwimana told a maternal health forum in Nairobi that the region is still grappling with unacceptably high levels of mortality among women, particularly around the time of delivery and newborns within the first year of birth…” (11/7).

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CDC Issues 'Watch' Alert For Chikungunya In Caribbean; At Least 800K Affected In Region

New York Times: A Mosquito-Borne Virus Sweeps the Caribbean
“…[A]t least 800,000 people this year in the Caribbean and surrounding nations … contracted the chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-GUN-ya) virus, a mosquito-borne illness similar to dengue, which causes fever and muscle pain that is sometimes severe. … Nearly 1,500 travelers to the region, often people visiting their families in the Caribbean, brought the disease back to the United States this year, according to the CDC. … The CDC has issued a ‘watch’ alert for the Caribbean, which means tourists should take normal precautions…” (Robles, 11/5).

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Autism Program Funding In Ethiopia Faces Catch-22; Mothers Create Care Center

Devex: For aid to Ethiopia’s autistic, the numbers don’t add up
“…[T]hose few aid organizations that do provide services to Ethiopia’s autistic children face a difficult paradox: Their students require highly individualized, focused attention and low staff-to-child ratios, while most donors want to see big beneficiary numbers before they agree to provide any financial support…” The article discusses the Nehemia Autism Center, founded by six mothers of autistic children in a village near central Addis Ababa (Igoe, 11/6).

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U.S. Researchers Unsure Of Impact Of Temporary Federal Ban On Some Experiments

NPR: How A Tilt Toward Safety Stopped A Scientist’s Virus Research
“As cases of a worrisome respiratory virus continue to pop up in the Middle East, scientists who study it in the U.S. are struggling to understand how they’ll be affected by a government moratorium on certain kinds of experiments…” (Greenfieldboyce, 11/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

Improved Transparency For DoD Development Assistance Would Help Coordination, Resiliency

The Hill: Will the new Congress be serious about accountability?
Diana Ohlbaum, an independent consultant who serves as co-chair of the Accountability Working Group of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

“…Given the Pentagon’s prominent role in building everything from foreign militaries to Ebola treatment facilities, American taxpayers have a right to know how this money is being spent and what is being achieved. Yet once again this year, the DoD earned a ‘poor’ rating in the 2014 Aid Transparency Index. … Among U.S. government agencies, the MCC came in first (making it the only U.S. agency among the top seven internationally), followed by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID, the State Department, and the Treasury Department. The Department of Defense received the lowest score of the bunch, ranking 38 among 68 donors analyzed. … As the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) explains in a recent paper on aid effectiveness, if we want to ensure that our aid has maximum positive impact, then we need data that can be used to compare costs and benefits across programs and to obtain feedback from local stakeholders. Aid transparency not only improves coordination within and between governments, but helps to build stronger, more resilient, and more capable partners by empowering civil society to serve as a check and balance on executive authority…” (11/6).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Continuing Ebola Efforts In West Africa, U.S. Aid To Region

Washington Post: The world is still far from the finish line on Ebola
Karen Attiah, Washington Post Opinions deputy digital editor

“…As the Ebola hysteria dies down, it is imperative to remember that the world is still in a race against time with the virus. Institutions such as USAID, WHO, and MSF should be held to account for their promises on the ground in West Africa. At the same time, highlighting the successful efforts of local Africans who are on the front lines is crucial. The advantage of African-led groups is that they were there before Ebola, and they will be there once the international community packs up to go home” (11/6).

Bloomberg View: Next Ebola Challenge: Spending the Money
Christopher Flavelle, editorial writer

“…Preventing the next outbreak of Ebola means building functioning health care systems in Liberia, as well as Guinea and Sierra Leone. That almost certainly means spending more money than foreign donors have been willing to turn over so far — and spending it on the types of primary care initiatives where disbursements have lagged appropriations by the greatest amount. So when the White House says that preventing the next outbreak of Ebola means getting more money from Congress, that’s only part of the problem. Just as hard is spending it — unless the U.S. and others are willing to significantly relax their standards for accountability and oversight” (11/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Policies Can Spur Robust Antibiotic Development Pipeline

Health Affairs Blog: Addressing The Threat Of Antibiotic Resistance: Policy Solutions To Fix A Broken Pipeline
Rachel Zetts, who supports research and advocacy for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ antibiotics and innovation project, and Allan Coukell, Pew’s senior director for drugs and medical devices, examine the antibiotic development pipeline and discuss policies that would spur drug development in light of an increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections (11/6).

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Maternal, Newborn Health 'Intimately Linked'; Services Should Be Integrated

Healthy Newborn Network: Over 28,000 deaths in the first day of life in Bangladesh reminds the urgency of MNH services integration
Mohammod Shahidullah, professor and chair in the Department of Neonatology at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), discusses the link between maternal and newborn health, and how “integrated service packages can maximize the efficiency for health services” (11/6).

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Increased Health Care Spending In India Has Potential Individual, Societal Benefits

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: The Economics of Health in India
Girindre Beeharry, director of the Gates Foundation’s India Country office, discusses health care financing in India and the potential benefits of increased spending on the household and macro levels (11/6).

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