KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Revises Ebola Numbers; Deaths Higher, But Cases Lower

News outlets report on the WHO’s revised figures for Ebola cases and deaths, with cases being slightly lower and deaths higher than previously reported.

Agence France-Presse: WHO revises Ebola toll
“The World Health Organization Friday revised its figures showing more people killed by the deadly Ebola virus, but the number of cases of the disease was slightly lower…” (10/31).

Reuters: Ebola death toll rises, fewer cases in Guinea than thought: WHO
“The Ebola epidemic has killed 4,951 people out of 13,567 infected in eight countries, the World Health Organization said on Friday, slightly revising downwards its figures for cases mainly due to ‘suspected cases in Guinea being discarded’…” (Nebehay, 10/31).

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U.N. Ebola Envoy, Coordinator Speak Out About Progress, Challenges In Guinea, Sierra Leone

The U.N. News Centre reports on recent comments from the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ebola David Nabarro and U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response Coordinator Anthony Banbury.

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. envoy says response must be sustained ‘until every last case is contained and treated’
“The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ebola, David Nabarro, appealed [Friday] for the global response to the deadly virus to be sustained ‘until every last case is contained and treated,’ as the United Nations health agency recommended more protective measures for health workers battling the disease on the frontlines of the outbreak…” (10/31).

U.N. News Centre: Citing progress in Guinea, U.N. Ebola response chief says disease ‘still very much a crisis’
“Visiting Guéckédou, Guinea, where the unprecedented outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is believed to have started, the United Nations envoy coordinating the massive global crisis response said that while there are now ‘basically zero’ cases in the town, the challenge will be to replicate the strategy to defeat the disease throughout the country and the wider region…” (11/1).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. Ebola mission chief reports mixed picture in Sierra Leone, as victims outpace beds in Port Loko
“Witnessing yet again the challenging dynamics of the Ebola outbreak unfolding in West Africa, the United Nations envoy coordinating the global response visited Sierra Leone [Sunday], where he reported efforts to halt the virus in former hotspot Kenema are starting to pay off, while some 200 kilometers away, Port Loko is now ‘getting slammed’…” (11/2).

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WHO AFRO To Select New Leader By Secret Ballot; Ebola Response Central To Election Discussions

Bloomberg News: Ebola Dominates WHO Vote in Struggling Africa Office
“…The new regional director will be chosen by secret ballot on Nov. 5 in Cotonou, Benin, during the 64th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa. The meeting was originally scheduled for September but was postponed because of Ebola. The African regional director oversees the largest of the WHO’s six regional offices, with a budget of $1.2 billion for 2014 and 2015 — just shy of the $1.4 billion earmarked for headquarters in Geneva…” (Gale et al., 11/3).

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Power Says 'Positive Signs' On Ebola In West Africa, But Developed Countries Must Do More

News outlets report on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power’s comments on her recent visit to Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa.

Agence France-Presse: U.S. envoy says France can do more to fight Ebola
“Returning from a trip to inspect efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said France, Canada, and Belgium could do more to help fellow French-speakers in Guinea…” (10/31).

The Hill: Power sees ‘positive signs’ in Ebola-stricken West Africa
“United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power said on Sunday that she saw ‘positive signs’ after visiting nations at the heart of the Ebola outbreak…” (Balluck, 11/2).

Reuters: Hold U.S. envoy Power defends Ebola guidelines, warns on Guinea
“The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Friday defended federal guidelines for monitoring health workers returning from three Ebola-stricken West African countries while urging greater coordination to contain the outbreak in Guinea…” (Charbonneau/Berkrot, 10/31).

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Increasing Number of U.S. Republicans Favor Budget Flexibility For Ebola Emergency Funds

Reuters: Ebola costs encourage budget flexibility among U.S. Republicans
“Worries about Ebola are chipping away at some congressional Republicans’ support for maintaining across-the-board spending caps on U.S. government agencies and the military. An increasing number of Republicans are speaking out in favor of Ebola ’emergency’ funds, which would be passed outside of the normal budget process, and would not require offsetting spending cuts or explicit sources of revenue…” (Lawder/Cowan, 11/1).

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MSNBC Examines U.S. Ebola Coordinator Ron Klain's Role

MSNBC: Here’s what Ebola czar Ron Klain has been up to
“President Obama used his bully pulpit [last] week to hail the efforts of American health care workers fighting Ebola in West Africa. After the president left the podium Wednesday, the nitty-gritty policy discussions began in the White House, and Ron Klain was among the top administration officials at the table. … It’s an early sign of Klain’s imprint as questions have swirled about his new job, which Obama created after a growing public outcry about the U.S. government’s response to Ebola. A former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, Klain has been in his new job as Ebola Response Coordinator — aka ‘Ebola Czar’ — for just over a week…” (Khimm, 10/31).

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Obama Praises U.S. Military Personnel For Ebola Work In West Africa

The Hill: Obama speaks to troops fighting Ebola
“President Obama praised U.S. military personnel for their work fighting Ebola in West Africa, saying the campaign is showing signs of progress in Liberia. Obama held a call with servicemembers in Liberia and Senegal on Saturday to express the administration’s gratitude for their work…” (Viebeck, 11/1).

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Washington Post Examines How U.S. Military Ebola Treatment Center Could Help Liberian City

Washington Post: Can a U.S. military Ebola treatment center slow Ebola in one hard-hit city?
“…The U.S. military aims to quell … anxiety when it erects the new treatment center [in Ganta, Liberia], slated to be ­finished later this month and manned by newly imported doctors. … But a modern treatment center won’t be enough to eliminate Ebola in a place where the outbreak ­appears to rise and fall every few weeks and where victims sometimes disappear into remote communities with the disease. The question is whether those victims can be persuaded to use the new facility once it is built, preventing the spread of the disease in some of the country’s most vulnerable ­areas…” (Sieff, 11/2).

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Ebola's Spread Speeds Up In Sierra Leone, Report Says

News outlets report on the situation in Sierra Leone, where Ebola continues to spread.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola rapidly advancing in rural Sierra Leone
“Ebola is spreading up to nine times faster in parts of Sierra Leone than two months ago, a report by the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) said on Sunday…” (11/2).

The Guardian: Fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone: ‘The world is not safe’
“…If the World Health Organization’s worst projections come to pass, Sierra Leone needs up to 4,800 beds by the end of November to contain the outbreak. Even with the 700 beds promised by the British, the capacity will not be reached…” (O’Carroll, 10/31).

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Western Aid To Nations Ranking Low On Health Index Could Help Prevent Future Disease Outbreaks, Report Says

The Guardian: Ebola-hit Sierra Leone ‘needs western aid to prevent future outbreaks’
“The importance of western aid in helping to build effective health systems in the developing world has been highlighted by a respected international thinktank finding that Sierra Leone, an early source of the Ebola outbreak, was the country least likely to be able to deal with the virus. The West African state has been ranked bottom of a health index compiled by the Legatum Institute, to be published on Monday, examining the governance of public health in 142 countries along with indices such as infant mortality, life expectancy, and health care spending…” (Boffey, 11/1).

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WHO Updates Guidelines For Ebola Protective Equipment For Health Care Workers

Media sources report on the WHO’s announcement that it is updating its guidelines for Ebola protective equipment worn by health care workers.

The Hill: WHO toughens standards for Ebola protective gear
“Global health officials are raising their standards for protective gear worn by health care workers who treat Ebola amid growing fears that they are not properly protected from the virus…” (Ferris, 10/31).

WHO: WHO updates personal protective equipment guidelines for Ebola response
“As part of WHO’s commitment to safety and protection of health care workers and patients from transmission of Ebola virus disease, WHO has conducted a formal review of personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines for health care workers and is updating its guidelines in context of the current outbreak…” (10/31).

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More Medical Staff Needed To Stem West African Ebola Epidemic; Quarantines, Visa Bans Hurt Volunteer Recruitment, NGO Head Says

News outlets report on how more medical staff in West Africa might lower the Ebola mortality rate there and how quarantines for volunteers once they return home from the region could hurt volunteer recruitment.

New York Times: Better Staffing Seen as Crucial to Ebola Treatment in Africa
“…The [Ebola] survival gap can and should be narrowed, experts say, and they agreed that the single most important missing element is enough trained health workers to provide the kind of meticulous intensive care that saved [American Rick] Sacra and the others treated here [in the U.S.]. West Africa is starved of doctors, nurses, hospitals and equipment, so more outside help is urgently needed, they said…” (Grady, 10/31).

Agence France-Presse: Western nations mistreating Ebola ‘heroes’
“The head of a leading British charity hit out Sunday at western nations for quarantining health worker ‘heroes’ returning from Ebola-hit west Africa and refusing visas to people from the worst-hit countries. … Experts say quarantining medical professionals who have shown no symptoms of the virus is counter-productive and could deter other workers from helping contain West Africa’s Ebola crisis…” (Johnson, 11/2).

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Canada Suspends Visas For Residents, Nationals Of Ebola-Stricken West African Nations

News outlets report Canada is restricting visas for people from West African nations hit worst by the Ebola epidemic.

Agence France-Presse: Canada halts visas for residents of Ebola-hit nations
“Canada on Friday announced it was suspending visa applications for residents of Ebola-hit nations in a bid to prevent the deadly virus from crossing its borders…” (10/31).

Associated Press: Canada restricts visas amid Ebola scare
“…Canada’s Conservative government said Friday it is suspending visa applications for residents and nationals of countries with ‘widespread and persistent-intense transmission’ of Ebola virus disease…” (Gillies, 10/31).

The Hill: Canada halts visas from countries hit by Ebola
“…The decision was announced several days after Australia took a similar step, a move that has come under unusually harsh criticism by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other Western governments…” (Ferris, 10/31).

Reuters: Canada imposes visa ban on three Ebola-hit countries
“…Under the new regulations, which come into force immediately, Canada will not process visa applications from foreign nationals who have been in an Ebola-affected country within the previous three months. U.S. President Barack Obama is so far resisting pressure to impose similar travel restrictions…” (Ljunggren/Hodgson, 10/31).

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Singapore To Require Visas For Travelers From 3 West African Nations Worst Affected By Ebola

Agence France-Presse: Singapore requires visa for Ebola-hit African states
“Citizens of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will need a visa to enter Singapore as part of measures against the spread of Ebola, the city-state’s health ministry said Monday. … Singapore’s health ministry said the visa requirement for citizens of the three countries, who don’t currently need a visa to travel to the city-state, will take effect from Wednesday…” (11/3).

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Gates To Commit $500M To Fight Malaria, Other Diseases

News outlets report on Bill Gates’s announcement on Sunday at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will commit more than $500 million in 2014 to fight developing world diseases and increase its annual malaria budget by 30 percent.

Agence France-Presse: Bill Gates to give $500 million for malaria, other diseases
“U.S. philanthropist Bill Gates on Sunday announced he will donate over $500 million to fight malaria and other infectious diseases in the developing world, saying the Ebola outbreak is a call to action. … Gates also said that in addition to that pledge, his foundation has boosted its annual funding for malaria by 30 percent…” (11/2).

Associated Press: Gates Foundation boosts aid to stamp out malaria
“…In an interview with the Associated Press and in a speech Sunday at a global health conference in New Orleans, the Microsoft co-founder said his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would increase its malaria program budget by 30 percent, to more than $200 million per year. That’s on top of the foundation’s other donations to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria…” (Marchione, 11/2).

International Business Times: Gates Foundation To Donate $500M This Year To Fight Malaria And Other Diseases
“…According to [Gates], the foundation’s plans also include developing a drug or vaccine to eliminate malaria in people who carry the disease without showing symptoms. The foundation’s plans to eradicate malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people each year, also includes a $156 million award to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, or MVI, in building new vaccines that will interrupt the cycle of the malarial parasite’s transmission…” (Bora, 11/3).

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Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Sam Altman Discuss Technology In Global Health, Development

Wall Street Journal: What Technology Can Do for Health
“Sue Desmond-Hellmann runs the $40 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is probably best known for investing in the development of drugs and vaccines to fight widespread diseases such as AIDS and malaria. Sam Altman is the president of Y Combinator, one of the best-known technology incubators in Silicon Valley. Together, they sat down with Dennis Berman, the Wall Street Journal’s business editor, to discuss how technology is being used to solve the world’s problems…” (Berman, 11/2).

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U.N. Climate Change Panel Warns Global Warming Could Reverse Poverty, Hunger Reduction Gains

New York Times: U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming
“The gathering risks of climate change are so profound that they could stall or even reverse generations of progress against poverty and hunger if greenhouse emissions continue at a runaway pace, according to a major new United Nations report. Despite growing efforts in many countries to tackle the problem, the global situation is becoming more acute as developing countries join the West in burning huge amounts of fossil fuels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said here on Sunday…” (Gillis, 11/2).

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Politicians Reluctant To Discuss Family Planning's Potential Role In Slowing Climate Change

The Atlantic: The Climate Change Solution No One Will Talk About
“Studies have shown that improved access to birth control can be a valuable tool in slowing global warming, but many politicians are afraid to broach the subject…” (Plautz, 11/1).

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Violence Against Civilians, Aid Workers Hampers CAR Relief Efforts

News outlets report on the worsening humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic (CAR), where attacks are being targeted at both civilians and aid workers.

U.N. News Centre: Central African Republic: As violence flares, U.N. warns of worsening humanitarian conditions
“Fresh fighting in the Central African Republic (CAR) has aggravated the humanitarian situation across the country, U.N. humanitarian officials warned today, adding that amid the upsurge in violence, aid workers were now facing unprecedented attacks…” (10/31).

VOA News: Attacks On Aid Workers Hamper CAR Relief
“The United Nations reports attacks on humanitarian workers are seriously hampering efforts to provide relief for hundreds of thousands of people who were forced to flee their homes in the Central African Republic…” (Schlein, 10/31).

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News Outlets Examine Cervical Cancer Screening In Developing Countries

News outlets report on cervical cancer screening in developing countries.

Inter Press Service: Mozambique Tackles its Twin Burden of Cervical Cancer and HIV
“…Cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer among Mozambican women aged 15-44, says [Amir Modan of the United Nations Population Fund in Maputo]. Health authorities are tackling the problem through information campaigns and by integrating routine screening in family planning services. They hope to reach all districts by 2017…” (Sayagues, 10/31).

NPR: Why My Grandma Never Had A Pap Smear
“…The careHPV test is a quick, simple DNA test for the primary cause of cervical cancer — human papillomavirus (HPV) — [and] could overcome serious obstacles to screening for cervical cancer in developing countries…” (Akpan, 10/31).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

Huffington Post: It’s Young Girls and Women on the Front Lines of the Ebola Crisis
Chernor Bah, global youth advocate

Livemint: India’s vulnerability against Ebola
Shyamal Banerjee, columnist

New York Times: CDC Ebola Guidelines Aren’t Good Enough for Some States
Philip Boffey, New York Times editorial writer

The Hill: Is the all-volunteer force all volunteered out?
Adrianna Domingos-Lupher, creator and editor-in-chief of NextGen MilSpouse

Huffington Post: Ebola Outbreak Highlights Struggle for Science in Africa and Inequalities in Global Health Research
Tamer Fouad, faculty fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Cairo

Washington Times: The coming Ebola election bounce
Mary Claire Kendall, former special assistant to the assistant secretary for health in the George H.W. Bush administration

Washington Times: Ebola response ignores history’s lessons
Robert Knight, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and columnist for the Washington Times

Washington Post: Good for you, Kaci Hickox
Ruth Marcus, opinion writer

Huffington Post: Critical Key to Stopping Ebola? Mobile Phones
Maura O’Neill, former chief innovation officer and senior counselor to the administrator at USAID

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Family Planning, Contraception Play Important Roles In Development, Climate Change

The following opinion pieces address issues surrounding family planning and contraceptives.

Huffington Post U.K.: Hopes and Dreams: It’s Time to Act
Michael Holscher, deputy chief executive officer at Marie Stopes International

“…Contraception brings about hope. It brings health — for women and for entire families. It brings choice and personal control. And it is fundamental to the realization of individual hopes and dreams for the future. … But we have to collectively accelerate our progress if we are going to make family planning a reality for all…” (11/3).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Family Planning 2020: the meaning of progress
Beth Schlachter, director of Family Planning 2020 (FP2020)

“…This week FP2020 is publishing its second progress report, including the first full set of annual data indicators to measure whether our efforts are working. The news is good: from 2012 to 2013, the number of women and girls using modern contraception rose by 8.4 million. … The report details the incredible global partnership that has led us here, and that will take us all the way to our ultimate goal in 2020…” (11/3).

Huffington Post: Do Not Underestimate Family Planning
Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute

“…Family planning is enormously consequential in developing countries and the benefits do not take long to materialize. Enabling women to space and limit their pregnancies reduces maternal and child mortality. In turn, smaller, healthier families improve food security, boost educational attainment levels, promote gender equality, and help to fight poverty. … [In addition, p]opulation is, and will likely remain, a significant environmental factor at the local level…” (10/31).

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Election Of New WHO AFRO Head 'Critical Test For The Agency'

The Lancet: WHO AFRO: in need of new leadership
Editorial Board

“Although now is not the time for a detailed review of the failures that led to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, enough is known to say that WHO’s Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) failed catastrophically in its mandate to monitor emerging health threats on the continent and to signal those threats to the wider international community. … Senior WHO leaders have expressed fears that the failure of its Regional Office puts the credibility of the entire organization at risk. The upcoming election of a new Regional Director for WHO AFRO in Cotonou, Benin, is therefore of more than passing interest. The election of a competent, respected, politically skilled, and technically able leader is a critical test for the agency…” (11/1).

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Public-Private Partnerships Can Have 'Significant Impact' On Health In Developing Countries

The Hill: Public-private partnerships
Harry Leider, chief medical officer for Walgreens

“…[A]ccess to care remains a critical challenge both in the U.S. and abroad, particularly in underserved communities where economic, geographic, and cultural barriers often pose significant threats to the overall health of its population. This is why it’s essential that organizations from both the public and private sectors remain committed to working together to help deliver basic primary care services, such as health testing (e.g. blood pressure screening) and immunizations, that are vital to population health. … Collaborations and innovative partnerships within the public and private health care sectors can also have a significant impact on population health in developing countries…” (10/31).

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Devex Series Continues To Examine Ways To Advance Global Health Through #HealthyMeans Campaign

The following opinion pieces are part of Devex’s new #HealthyMeans series examining ideas to advance global health outcomes.

Devex: How one social enterprise is packaging quality
Faith Muigai, director of clinical operations at Jacaranda Health

“The nurse-midwives who work at Jacaranda Health’s two maternity hospitals in Nairobi believe deeply in providing the highest quality care to the women who visit the centers. It’s why they take seriously their commitment to implement the ‘5S’ — sort, set-in-order, shine, standardize, sustain — quality improvement system, an innovation that is anything but typical in health care of low-resource areas of the world…” (10/27).

Devex: Keeping women healthy, alive, and uninfected
Kelli Rogers, assistant editor for career and recruiting insights at Devex

“…In early 2016, late-stage clinical trial results will reveal whether an innovative HIV prevention technology — the dapivirine vaginal ring — can help keep women safe from infection. If the monthly ring is found effective and safe for long-term use, it could help overcome one of the greatest challenges of the AIDS epidemic: protecting women…” (10/30).

Devex: How to create value for patients through innovation
John Lechleiter, president and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company and president of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations

“…What we do in the pharmaceutical industry makes a difference for people all over the world. It is our intention that everyone ultimately benefits from the discoveries in our laboratories, and that together we address some of the most pressing health issues that we face around the world” (10/31).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Analysis Examines Donor Governments' International Funding For Family Planning

Kaiser Family Foundation: Analysis Finds Donor Government International Funding for Family Planning Increased By 19 Percent From 2012
“A new Kaiser Family Foundation report finds that donor governments provided US$1.3 billion in bilateral funding for family planning programs in low- and middle-income countries in 2013 — a 19 percent increase from 2012. … The United States provided almost half of bilateral funding for family planning programs in 2013 (US$585 million), followed by the U.K. (US$305 million), the Netherlands (US$154 million), Sweden (US$50 million), and Canada (US$46 million). … The full analysis, released at the same time as Family Planning 2020’s annual report detailing progress made on commitments from the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, is available on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s website. Related Kaiser Family Foundation resources include the Global Health Budget Tracker” (11/2).

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FP2020 Releases Second Annual Progress Report

FP2020: Progress Report 2013-2014
“Today, Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) released its second progress report detailing achievements since the landmark 2012 London Summit on Family Planning. The report, Partnership in Progress, shows the initiative is making steady progress toward its goal of enabling an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s 69 poorest countries with access to voluntary family planning information, services and supplies by 2020…,” according to a press release (11/3).

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Bill Gates Says Malaria Can Be Eradicated Within A Generation

Gates Notes: We Can Eradicate Malaria — Within a Generation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates writes in his blog, “…Based on the progress I’m seeing in the lab and on the ground, I believe we’re now in a position to eradicate malaria — that is, wipe it out completely in every country — within a generation. This is one of the greatest opportunities the global health world has ever had. Melinda and I are so optimistic about it that we recently decided to increase our foundation’s malaria budget by 30 percent…” (11/2).

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High-Level Meeting Examines Global Fund's New Funding Model For TB Financing

UNAIDS: High-level dialogue: making the Global Fund’s new funding model work for tuberculosis
“…Greater commitment and resources are needed to mount an effective response to TB and a high-level round-table event examined how this can be done through the new funding model of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). The event, which took place in Barcelona, Spain, on 30 October, provided an opportunity to exchange country experiences and information on TB financing and investing for impact. Participants also discussed the challenges and opportunities emerging from the new funding model, which promotes more strategic, flexible, and predictable investment…” (10/31).

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