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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

At Global Finance Meeting, World Leaders Press For Additional, Quicker Ebola Responses

Speaking at an Ebola summit held during the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, world leaders urged the global community to ramp up Ebola efforts in the three most-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Associated Press: U.N. chief: 20 times more Ebola aid needed
“…United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a 20-fold surge in international aid to fight the outbreak. ‘For those who have yet to pledge, I say please do so soon,’ Ban said. ‘This is an unforgiving disease’…” (Cass, 10/9).

Agence France-Presse: U.S. urges action to keep Ebola from becoming ‘next AIDS’
“A top U.S. health official urged swift action Thursday to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from becoming the next AIDS epidemic, as the health of an infected Spanish nurse deteriorated…” (Sheridan, 10/9).

Deutsche Welle: Top U.S. health official: ‘Ebola biggest challenge since AIDS’
“…Thomas Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the heads of the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund gathered in Washington D.C., that there is a ‘long fight’ ahead…” (10/9).

MSNBC: CDC director on Ebola: ‘The only thing like this has been AIDS’
“… ‘I will say that in the 30 years that I have been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS,’ Frieden said Thursday at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, D.C. ‘We have to work now so that this is not the world’s next AIDS’…” (Margolin, 10/9).

Washington Post: CDC director calls for action to stop Ebola from becoming “the world’s next AIDS”
“…As AIDS was 30 years ago, Ebola is a poorly understood disease, and this epidemic is already a large one. Frieden’s agency has predicted that the virus could infect as many as 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of January if efforts to contain it prove unsuccessful…” (Ehrenfreund, 10/9).

Agence France-Presse: Global Ebola response ‘slower than the disease’: S. Leone leader
“…[Sierra Leone] President Ernest Bai Koroma told Ban and the heads of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that the global reaction ‘has been slower than the rhythm of transmission of the disease’…” (10/9).

Associated Press/CBS News: “Our people are dying”: West African leaders plead for Ebola aid at World Bank
“Presidents of West African countries ravaged by Ebola pleaded for aid at the World Bank on Thursday as the U.S. military ramped up its efforts in Liberia, the hardest-hit country…” (10/9).

Los Angeles Times: Leaders call for quicker response to Ebola at World Bank meeting
“Leaders of the three West African nations hardest hit by Ebola sought support from the international financial community Thursday amid warnings that the widening epidemic is devastating the region’s fragile economies…” (Hansen, 10/9).

NPR: Three Forlorn Presidents Bring Ebola Wish List To The World Bank
“…Each of the West African presidents presented a checklist of their country’s needs. Guinea’s President Conde made a plea for medicine and money for food and other supplies. He said the three countries were in a fragile situation…” (Northam, 10/9).

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House, Senate Committees Approve $750M In Funding For U.S. Ebola Response

News outlets report on congressional action to approve funding for the U.S. Ebola response in West Africa.

Associated Press/ABC News: Inhofe Gives Final OK to $700M to Fight Ebola
“…Oklahoma GOP Sen. James Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, gave his OK to shift leftover Afghanistan war money to the Ebola effort, which involves sending almost 4,000 troops to Africa to offer logistical support to health care workers fighting the epidemic. Inhofe said he still has big reservations about the mission and questions whether the Pentagon has a coherent strategy to fight the disease…” (Taylor, 10/10).

Reuters: U.S. senator lifts objections to $750 mln Ebola funding shift
“…Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, had held out on approving the funding shift earlier this week due to concerns over the safety of U.S. troops in Africa and the long-term future of the mission. ‘After careful consideration, I believe that the [Ebola] outbreak has reached a point that the only organization in the world able to provide the capabilities and speed necessary to respond to this crisis is the U.S. military,’ Inhofe said in a statement…” (10/10).

CQ News: Ebola Funding Clears Additional Hurdles
“Two House committees have agreed to release a total of $750 million for the Obama administration to fight the Ebola crisis in West Africa…” (Hallerman, 10/9).

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U.S. Health System Prepared For More Ebola Cases, HHS Secretary Says

News outlets report on HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s statement on Thursday that the U.S. health system is prepared to respond to additional Ebola cases should they arise.

The Hill: HHS: There may be more Ebola cases
“More cases of the Ebola virus could be found in the United States, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell warned Thursday. … Federal health officials have cautioned that there is no way to guarantee that Ebola will be kept out of the U.S. Steps taken to prevent victims from entering the country include new screenings at five U.S. airports…” (Ferris, 10/9).

The Hill: HHS secretary: I’m not taking a ‘backseat’ in Ebola response
“The nation’s top health official on Thursday pushed back against a claim that she had taken a ‘backseat’ in the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell defended her leadership after she was accused of taking a more passive approach to health issues like Ebola, compared to Bush administration officials…” (Ferris, 10/9).

Wall Street Journal: Health Secretary Says U.S. Is Prepared for More Ebola Cases
“…Ms. Burwell, who has been attending meetings at least daily on Ebola for months, said the federal government is working to protect the public and domestic preparedness. ‘We know how to contain — and that is detect, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment,’ said Ms. Burwell…” (Armour et al., 10/9).

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U.K. To Start Enhanced Screening For Air, Rail Passengers From Ebola-Affected Nations

News outlets report on the U.K.’s decision to conduct enhanced screenings of airline and railway passengers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Eurostar terminals.

BBC News: U.K. Ebola screening for arrivals from affected areas (10/9).
BBC News: U.K. government defends Ebola screening decision (10/10).
Financial Times: Heathrow and Gatwick airports add medical checks for Ebola (Rigby, 10/9).
New York Times: Britain to Screen for Ebola Amid Possible New Cases in Europe (Castle, 10/9).
Reuters: Britain says to start screening passengers for Ebola (James, 10/9).
Wall Street Journal: U.K. Plans Ebola Screening for Some Travelers From West Africa (Gross, 10/9).

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Ebola's Spread Outpacing Containment Efforts

Washington Post: The ominous math of the Ebola epidemic
“When the experts describe the Ebola disaster, they do so with numbers. The statistics include not just the obvious ones, such as caseloads, deaths and the rate of infection, but also the ones that describe the speed of the global response. Right now, the math still favors the virus…” (Achenbach et al., 10/9).

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Ebola Affecting Everyday Life In West African Nations

News outlets report on the various ways Ebola is affecting life in West Africa and how some are responding to the crisis.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola-hit Liberia cancels nationwide elections
“Ebola-hit Liberia has suspended nationwide elections in the latest measure to combat an epidemic which has shut down society in three West African nations, restricting travel and forcing the cancellation of public events…” (Dosso, 10/9).

Foreign Policy: Tackling Ebola, One Broadcast at a Time
“…[Guinean radio station director Diallo Fatou] Traoré and her team of 18 journalists, technicians, and on-air presenters are probably not the first people who come to mind when thinking about those on the front lines of the battle against Ebola, but each have been deeply engaged in fighting the spread of the disease…” (Tinti, 10/9).

The Guardian: What does the Ebola crisis mean for long-term progress in Sierra Leone and Liberia? — podcast transcript
The newspaper presents a podcast including comments from leaders and experts, who answer the questions, “What weaknesses has the Ebola outbreak exposed in the infrastructure of West Africa? And how can the countries affected get through the epidemic and ensure they are less susceptible to future crises?” (O’Connell, 10/9).

Reuters: Health care crippled as Ebola overwhelms hospitals in Liberia
“…Health systems which were already struggling to tackle issues ranging from malaria to complicated pregnancies before Ebola have since been utterly overwhelmed…” (Giahyue/Lewis, 10/10).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola crisis ‘permeates every aspect of people’s lives’ in Guinea, U.N. warns
“Urgent support is needed to avert an ‘economic meltdown’ in Guinea, where the Ebola crisis is destroying lives, jobs, and essential services, leaving exports of fruits and vegetables down 90 percent, the airport two-thirds empty, and container traffic to its key port down by a third, according to the United Nations…” (10/9).

Wall Street Journal: Rising Food Prices Make Africa Fight Ebola on Empty Stomach
“…Food prices are rising in Africa, defying a global trend as the Ebola epidemic and other disturbances push some staples to five-year highs. As a result, millions of Africans are struggling to feed themselves, raising concerns about malnutrition and even social unrest…” (Bario/McGroarty, 10/9).

Washington Post: Cut off from school, children in Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone get lessons by radio
“Because of the Ebola epidemic, schools are closed in Sierra Leone, a country with about two million school-aged children. So as the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history continues to rage, government officials have launched a project to deliver school lessons to those kids over the airwaves…” (Ohlheiser, 10/9).

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China Steps Up Contributions In Ebola Response

Financial Times: China steps up support for fight against Ebola
“China is stepping up its contributions to the fight against Ebola, seen as a test of its diplomacy in Africa given growing trade and investment as well as historic pledges of friendship. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday pledged $6m to the World Food Programme, for food aid for countries isolated by the outbreak. That follows earlier pledges of about $33m in medical aid to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, and $2m each in contributions to the World Health Organization and African Union…” (Hornby, 10/10).

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Cuba Sends Scores Of HCWs To West Africa, Outpacing Some Larger Nations

Wall Street Journal: Cuban Doctors at the Forefront of Ebola Battle in Africa
“With risks growing that Ebola could flare on foreign shores, the U.S. is calling for nations to dispatch doctors and nurses to West Africa, where thousands of lives are on the line. Few have heeded the call, but one country has responded in strength: Cuba…” (Hinshaw/McKay, 10/9).

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First African Ebola Vaccine Trial Begins In Mali

News outlets report on the beginning of the first African Ebola vaccine trial.

The Hill: Ebola vaccine trial begins in Africa
“The first Ebola vaccine trial in Africa has started under the supervision of the University of Maryland, according to a report. Three health care workers in Mali received the treatment, which was developed at a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)…” (Viebeck, 10/9).

NBC News: Exclusive: First Ebola Vaccine Trial Starts in Africa
“The first trial of an Ebola vaccine in Africa has started, researchers said Thursday, with the vaccination of three health care workers in Mali. It’s the latest vaccine to be rushed into clinical trials after the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola in West Africa turned into a full scale epidemic…” (Fox/Bratu, 10/9).

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World Bank Pledges $50M To Fight Cholera, Improve WASH In Haiti

News outlets report on the World Bank’s pledge of $50 million to help fight cholera in Haiti by improving sanitation and access to clean water in the country’s endemic areas.

Miami Herald: World Bank pledges $50 million to help fight cholera in Haiti’s ‘hot spots’
“The World Bank is pledging $50 million to help Haiti improve sanitation and provide clean water in an effort to prevent cholera and other waterborne diseases, which remain a leading cause of death among infants in the nation…” (Charles, 10/9).

U.N. News Centre: In Washington, U.N., World Bank chiefs rally support ‘to build a healthy Haiti’
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined global partners, including the head of the World Bank, at a high-level conference in Washington, D.C., to combat waterborne diseases like cholera in Haiti and raise commitments to provide clean water, improved sanitation and health services in cholera endemic areas over the next three years…” (10/9).

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Global Food Prices At 4-Year Low, FAO Says, Warning Of 'Hunger Hotspots'

News outlets discuss global food prices reported by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Deutsche Welle: Global food prices hit four-year low
“World food prices fell to their lowest level since 2010 in September, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported Thursday. … The FAO provided a cautious outlook for the months ahead, mentioning specifically that the Ebola virus outbreak was a hot spot of concern since it was disrupting markets and farming activities in West Africa, thus affecting food security…” (10/9).

Reuters: Aid groups cheer food price fall to 4-year low, “hunger hotspots” remain
“World food prices have hit a four-year low, a U.N. agency reported on Thursday, with record harvests breathing new hope into the fight against hunger, though some ‘hunger hotspots’ remain…” (Arsenault, 10/9).

U.N. News Centre: Good harvests, abundant inventory continue to drive international food prices down — U.N.
“Food markets are more stable and prices for most agricultural commodities are sharply lower than they have been in recent years, according to the latest edition of the biannual Food Outlook report released [Thursday] by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)…” (10/9).

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Grand Challenges Encourage Global Health Innovation

News outlets report on the Grand Challenges, which invite innovators to develop novel technologies to solve global health problems.

The Economist: Global health: A new challenge
“Ten years ago the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began divvying up the money for what it hoped would be a novel approach to the task of solving the world’s health problems. … Though not as spectacular as its organizers had hoped at the outset, Grand Challenges in Global Health has enjoyed at least modest success. Of the 44 original projects, a fifth are moving towards fruition and another fifth have worked in part…” (10/11).

NPR: Help Wanted: Unlikely Geniuses To Solve Public Health Problems
“…Anyone can enter [a Grand Challenge], from a technology whiz to a small business owner. And, of course, auto mechanics. And therein lies the power of the Grand Challenge — finding great ideas from perhaps surprising sources, says Wendy Taylor, director of USAID’s Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact. To date, the challenges have resulted in more than 1,600 grants of up to $100,000 each in 80 countries…” (Poon, 10/9).

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Advocates Worry Focus On Maternal Health Risks Fading In Post-2015 Development Agenda

GlobalPost: Why maternal health and mortality matters
“The world could be a lot less safe for mothers after 2015. As the deadline for the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, advocates for maternal health say the issue is in danger of fading in future models of sustainability…” (Mendoza, 10/9).

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New Data Show Gains Made In HIV Treatment In Uganda But Gaps Remain

IRIN: Gains and gaps in Ugandan HIV treatment
“Over the past three years Uganda has succeeded in more than doubling the number of eligible children receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Pediatric HIV infections, meanwhile, have plummeted. But almost six out of every 10 children who need ART are still not receiving the treatment…” (10/10).

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Financial Times Publishes Special Report On Neglected Diseases

Financial Times: Special Report: Combating Neglected Diseases
“While nobody questions the horror of the Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa, the death toll — 3,500 and rising — is dwarfed by the number struck down each year by a range of less notorious infections…” The newspaper features several articles discussing several neglected diseases and conditions, from dengue to snake bites (10/9).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

The following opinion pieces discuss various aspects of the Ebola epidemic.

Financial Times: U.S. and Europe must lead way in tackling Ebola
Roy Anderson, director of the London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research at Imperial College London and a non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline

“…Substantial help [to contain Ebola] is needed immediately from the U.S. and Europe, in the form of field isolation and treatment hospitals, supported by trained military units working in collaboration with NGOs such as Médecins Sans Frontières. … Aid agencies must focus much more on strengthening health systems and delivery platforms, such as schools, primary health care settings and hospitals. This facilitates early disease detection and a rapid, appropriate response in the case of an outbreak. … Let us hope that placing an emphasis on greatly strengthening health care infrastructure also serves to lay an enduring foundation for the better control of the NTDs that cause so much morbidity and mortality in the poorest regions of the world” (10/9).

Huffington Post: Women Bearing the Brunt of the Ebola Crisis Must Be Central to the Solution
Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver

“…Ensuring women have access to basic health care, particularly sexual and reproductive health care, have rarely been met in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in the best of pre-Ebola circumstances, and are now even more critically important. While the world works urgently to contain the crisis and treat those infected with Ebola, we must recognize the long-term needs of the population most affected in order to help prevent further outbreaks — and that means investing in girls and women…” (10/9).

The Hill: Ebola outbreak: Putting the public back in public health
Melinda Moore, a public health physician and senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School

“…What is missing [in the Ebola response] is the productive engagement of the public in this public health crisis. … Community leaders in the affected West African countries should be working to effectively raise awareness among their populations so that people will know what they can do and will choose to do it. The medical and public health systems can and will help them, but the importance of the public’s role in becoming aware and engaged in West Africa cannot be overstated. In the meantime, Americans must also be aware and act responsibly, as surely there will be more cases that will appear at the U.S. doorsteps. Everyone contributes to ‘global health security’ and must be informed and responsible in this role” (10/9).

Washington Post: America’s stake in the Ebola fight
Eugene Robinson, opinion writer

“Ebola is a nightmare disease that travel restrictions cannot keep out. The correct response should be urgent concern — not panic — and an all-out crusade to extinguish the West Africa outbreak of the deadly virus at its source. This is essentially the Obama administration’s strategy. But it needs to be explained more effectively to the public, and it needs to be part of a much bigger, coordinated effort by developed nations. … The Obama administration needs to be much better at communicating a simple fact: Right now, you and I are essentially in no danger of contracting Ebola. But if we don’t act, there will be a danger — and it won’t go away” (10/9).

The Hill: Ebola anxiety
Tara Sonenshine, former under secretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs and an instructor at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs

“Anxiety over Ebola is at a feverish pitch. … The good news, however, if one can find it in an otherwise dark scenario, is that health information and health diplomacy is now in high gear. … A crisis can bring out the best in people. If we work together in an informed environment, we can avoid disaster. From journalists to public health officials, we are all in this situation together. Who knows — maybe even Congress will put aside partisan differences and work cooperatively to ensure that Ebola has no place and no space to grow” (10/9).

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Search Is On For New Slate Of Malaria 'Wonder Drugs'

Devex: Complete cure
Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More

“…With hundreds of millions of people infected with malaria around the globe every year, effective treatment may be the difference between ending the disease and humanitarian disaster. … Our current front-line treatments for malaria, called artemisinin-based combination therapies, underscore the arms race between science and parasite. ACTs have been wildly successful in saving lives — a true wonder drug by any definition — but their effectiveness may also be cut short by resistance. … The good news is we’re well on our way to making a new slate of wonder drugs (or ‘one-der’ drugs) a reality…” (10/8).

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Eliminating Malaria In Asia Requires Political, Therapeutic Breakthroughs

The Nation: Killer on the loose again as malaria menaces Asia
Patricia Moser, lead health specialist at the Asian Development Bank, and Ben Rolfe, deputy executive secretary at the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance

“…[A]dvances [in malaria treatment and prevention in Asia] are now threatened by a worrying re-emergence of resistance to pesticides and drugs, particularly in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. Malaria is on the move again and decisive steps must be taken before time runs out for Mekong countries, the rest of Asia, and the world. … Eliminating malaria demands bold action well beyond health services, with strong commitment at the highest levels of government. The region’s countries have the capacity to pursue an elimination goal. To reach it, they will need to prioritize the disease and act together. … The region can beat malaria again. But this will take political breakthroughs, as well as therapeutic ones” (10/10).

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Family Planning Important Focus For International Day Of The Girl

Delaware Online: Celebrate International Day of the Girl
Judith Herrman, professor in the University of Delaware’s School of Nursing

“As we celebrate International Day of the Girl this Saturday, one focus that should gain greater attention is that of ensuring that young women around the world are able to have healthy and well-spaced births. The ability for girls and young women to plan and space their births is critical both locally and globally and is necessary for healthier families, stronger communities, and a better world for us all. … Organizations, such as the United Nations Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others are working to increase public awareness about this critical need around the globe. … In honor of International Day of the Girl, let’s all work to empower girls everywhere by supporting local and global efforts to enrich the lives of girls and young women as they choose health for themselves, their families, and their community” (10/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

USAID Administrator Discusses Launch of USG Ebola Grand Challenge

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: Calling All Innovators To Help Fight Ebola
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah discusses the launch of the U.S. government’s new Grand Challenge focused on Ebola. He writes, “[Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development] seeks new practical and cost-effective solutions to improve infection treatment and control and provide better care to those who need it most…” (10/9).

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Kerry Calls For More Action On Climate Change

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote”: The Gathering Storm
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discusses climate change and calls for more action at all levels to address it. He writes, “…At the State Department, we’ll make sure climate change is front and center [in] the broader context of international diplomacy, including by doing all we can to ensure that the world comes together around a global agreement at the Climate Conference in Paris next year. A good global agreement will not single-handedly eliminate the threat of climate change — but the fact is, it’s sure as hell hard to solve this problem without one…” (10/9).

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PLOS NTD Article Discusses Goals, Actions Needed To Control, Eliminate Chagas Disease

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Chagas Disease and the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases
Rick Tarleton of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases at the University of Georgia and the Chagas Disease Foundation, and colleagues provide background on Chagas disease and discuss the Chagas-related milestones identified by the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, as well as the actions necessary to control and eventually eliminate the disease (10/9).

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