KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Losing Ground Against Ebola, U.N. Official Warns, As WHO Announces 10K Cases Per Week Possible By December

News outlets report on warnings by Anthony Banbury, head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, who said the world is losing ground in its efforts to contain Ebola, as the WHO announced 10,000 cases a week are possible in two months.

Agence France-Presse: World losing ground against Ebola as infections expected to soar (Fowler, 10/14).
The Hill: Ebola death rate rises to 70 percent, says world health body (Viebeck, 10/14).
New York Times: New Ebola Cases May Soon Reach 10,000 a Week, Officials Predict (Sengupta, 10/14).
Reuters: WHO says Ebola epidemic still spreading in West Africa (Miles/Kelland, 10/14).
U.N. News Centre: In race against time, Member States must increase efforts to stop Ebola outbreak — U.N. official (10/14).
VOA News: Prospects for Early End of Ebola Epidemic Dim (Beattie, 10/15).
Wall Street Journal: New Ebola Cases May Rise to 10,000 a Week by December (Morse, 10/15).

Link to individual story

USAID Administrator Says U.S. Will Direct Another $142M To Ebola Efforts; OMB Head Urges Lawmakers To Release Other Funds

News outlets report on the latest developments related to U.S. government funding for efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Earmarks Another $142 Million to Fight Ebola in West Africa
“The U.S. government added another $142 million to its effort to fight Ebola in West Africa on Tuesday in a push to speed up the international response that many worry may be too late for the devastated region. Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told reporters in the Liberian capital that the extra money was earmarked to speed the construction of Ebola treatment units, to expand health care training programs and to fund more body collection teams…” (Vogt, 10/14).

The Hill: Obama budget chief: Speed up Ebola funds
“Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan urged House lawmakers Tuesday to speed up funding to fight Ebola, including approving a $250 million request that is on hold…” (Kamisar, 10/14).

Reuters: White House Budget director urges speed in deploying Ebola funds
“White House Budget Director Shaun Donovan pressed U.S. lawmakers to speed up funds to fight Ebola, including the remaining $250 million in requested Defense Department money under review. In a letter to leaders of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, Donovan said a quick U.S. response was essential to containing the crisis in West Africa…” (Lawder, 10/14).

Link to individual story

White House, Other Agencies Make Additional Moves To Strengthen Ebola Response

News outlets highlight moves by the White House and other agencies to address the Ebola epidemic.

Reuters: Obama, European leaders to discuss Ebola epidemic on Wednesday
“President Barack Obama will hold a video conference on Wednesday with British, French, German, and Italian leaders to discuss the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and other pressing international issues, the White House said…” (Rampton, 10/14).

Roll Call: White House Names Person Coordinating Ebola Response, Just Don’t Call Her a ‘Czar’
“The person in charge of coordinating the government’s reaction to the Ebola virus is White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday…” (Dennis, 10/14).

Foreign Policy: Top WMD Expert Leaves the Pentagon to Fight Ebola Full Time
“Whether we’re at the beginning, in the middle, or near the end of the Ebola outbreak is going to depend on the ‘impact of international action,’ said Andrew Weber, the soon-to-be deputy at the State Department’s recently created Ebola Coordination Unit…” (Brannen, 10/14).

Link to individual story

U.S. House Subcommittee To Hold Hearing On Ebola

News outlets discuss an upcoming U.S. congressional hearing on federal efforts to respond to Ebola.

CQ HealthBeat: Panel Set to Ask Questions and Offer Suggestions on Ebola
“A House subcommittee on Thursday has scheduled a rare recess period hearing in Washington, D.C., to query CDC Director Thomas Frieden and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Anthony Fauci regarding federal efforts to stem the spread of the Ebola virus. The session is the second recess break committee session; an August hearing focused on response planning initiated congressional interest in Ebola response planning…” (Jenks, 10/14).

National Journal: Lawmakers Want Answers on U.S. Ebola Cases
“Amid rising anxiety over the Ebola outbreak, a congressional panel is to convene Thursday in Washington to hear details of the two confirmed cases in Dallas and whether America’s ports of entry, hospitals, and health care workers are adequately prepared to prevent a further spread of the virus. The lawmakers’ inquiry will include the question of why screening procedures did not prevent Thomas Duncan from entering the U.S. from Liberia on Sept. 20, the handling of his diagnosis, and his treatment prior to his death last week, according to a memo released Tuesday by majority staffers of the House Energy and Commerce Committee…” (House, 10/14).

Link to individual story

CDC Regrets Not Responding Better To Ebola Case At Dallas Hospital, Establishes Deployable Infection Control Teams

News outlets report on the CDC’s plan to deploy specialized Ebola response teams to U.S. hospitals treating Ebola patients. CDC Director Thomas Frieden said the use of such a team in Dallas might have prevented health care workers from contracting the virus.

ABC News: Better Ebola Response May Have Prevented Nurse’s Case, CDC Head Says
“The nation’s top health official said today he regrets not sending a larger team of experts to Texas when the first case of Ebola was diagnosed, a move he said may have prevented a Dallas nurse from getting infected…” (Keneally/Dimitrova, 10/14).

CIDRAP News: CDC to deploy Ebola response team to help hospitals
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established an Ebola response team to immediately deploy to any hospital that has a confirmed Ebola patient, one of several steps under way as federal health officials reassess the nation’s response in the wake of an infected Dallas nurse…” (Schnirring, 10/14).

New York Times: CDC Says It Should Have Responded Faster to the Dallas Ebola Case
“…The acknowledgment came on a day when a nurses’ union released a scathing statement that it said was composed by nurses at the Dallas hospital where the nurse, Nina Pham, 26, contracted Ebola. The statement told of ‘confusion and frequently changing policies and protocols,’ inadequate protection against contamination, and spotty training…” (Fernandez/Healy, 10/14).

Wall Street Journal: CDC Intensifies Ebola Response at Hospitals
“…CDC Director Tom Frieden said Tuesday the [Ebola response] team would monitor and train on-the-ground health workers, a precaution he wished had been taken at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. ‘We will put a team on the ground within hours,’ Dr. Frieden said…” (Bauerlein/Bustillo, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Second Dallas HCW Diagnosed With Ebola

News outlets report on the diagnosis of Ebola in a second Dallas health care worker who was part of the team treating a Liberian man who died of the disease. Nina Pham, a critical care nurse who also worked on the Dallas team, was diagnosed with Ebola over the weekend.

New York Times: Ebola Test Is Positive in Second Texas Health Care Worker (Fernandez, 10/15).
NPR: Second Health Worker Tests Positive For Ebola At Dallas Hospital (Neuman, 10/15).
Reuters: Second Texas health care worker tests positive for Ebola (Skinner, 10/15).
Wall Street Journal: Second Health Care Worker in Texas Tests Positive for Ebola Virus (Bustillo, 10/15).
Washington Post: Second Texas health care worker tests positive for Ebola (Barbash/Phillip, 10/15).

Link to individual story

U.S., Spanish Hospitals Face Challenges In Treating Ebola Patients

News outlets continue to discuss the challenges hospitals in the U.S. and Spain are facing in the treatment of patients with Ebola.

New York Times: Spain Exposes Holes in Plans to Treat Ebola
“…Together, the cases [of health care workers infected in Spain and the U.S.] have raised urgent questions about the risks of the disease’s spreading even in developed countries, particularly among health care workers, and the role that the smallest of human errors may play in subverting elaborate safety measures…” (Yardley, 10/14).

Politico: In the world of Ebola, no room for error
“…In ‘Ebola world,’ there’s no margin for error for the doctors, nurses, and others taking care of people with the deadly virus. … That’s the reality the U.S. health care system is confronting as it faces the possibility of new cases here…” (Levine, 10/14).

Wall Street Journal: Workers at Madrid Hospital Say Spain Was Ill-Prepared for Ebola
“As Ebola was spreading in Africa, more than 100 Spanish nurses asked a court here in July to look at the country’s defenses. Patients with the deadly virus were certain to arrive, they wrote, and Spain’s medical system was ill-prepared to contain it…” (Brat et al., 10/15).

Washington Post: Dallas hospital learned its Ebola protocols while struggling to save mortally ill patient
“The [Dallas] hospital that treated Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan had to learn on the fly how to control the deadly virus, adding new layers of protective gear for workers in what became a losing battle to keep the contagion from spreading, a top official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday…” (Nutt, 10/15).

Link to individual story

Travel Limitations Hindering Ebola Efforts; Passenger Screenings Could Be Ineffective

News outlets examine how travel limitations to and from West Africa are hindering efforts to contain Ebola, and a European report saying airline passenger screenings might be ineffective.

New York Times: Ebola Fight in Africa Is Hurt by Limits on Ways to Get Out
“…[According to an aid group,] Europe’s failure to establish a swift evacuation service for infected medical workers has become a serious hurdle impeding the battle against Ebola in West Africa…” (Higgins, 10/14).

Roll Call: European Report Questions Impact of Airport Ebola Screening
“…[T]his weekend the European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a technical report on the effectiveness of airport screening procedures. The report says the value of exit screening at departing airports is low and the impact of entry screening at arriving airports is also minimal…” (Jenks, 10/14).

Link to individual story

U.N. Nuclear Agency To Help West Africans Diagnose Ebola With Nuclear Technologies

Reuters: U.N. nuclear agency to help West Africa fight Ebola
“The United Nations atomic agency plans to help West African countries fight the Ebola epidemic with nuclear-related technology that can quickly diagnose a disease which has killed more than 4,400 people…” (Dahl, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Zuckerberg Donates $25M To U.S. Ebola Efforts

News outlets report on Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s donation of $25 million to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation’s Ebola fund.

The Hill: Zuckerberg gives $25M to CDC Ebola fund (Hattem, 10/14).
PBS NewsHour: Mark Zuckerberg to give $25M to fight Ebola (Morris, 10/14).
USA TODAY: Mark Zuckerberg gives $25M to fight Ebola (Guynn, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Ebola Epidemic Affecting Liberia's Economy, Reversing Recent Gains

Washington Post: The Ebola outbreak is not just a human tragedy. It’s also an economic one.
“…With critical public works projects in limbo and businesses struggling, the [Ebola] virus is threatening Liberia’s chance to escape generations of poverty and join Africa’s rising prosperity…” (Mui, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Ebola Survivors Engage In Outbreak Responses In West Africa

News outlets report on how some Ebola survivors are joining efforts to contain the virus and treat patients in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Agence France-Presse: Sierra Leone Ebola survivors to hold landmark meet: U.N.
“Dozens of Ebola survivors, now immune to the deadly disease, will meet in Sierra Leone this week to see how they can help tackle the epidemic, the U.N. said Tuesday…” (Fowler, 10/13).

Wall Street Journal: Liberian Ebola Survivors Return to Help the Sick
“…Ms. [Salome] Karwah, 26 years old, who had been a nurse’s assistant at a private clinic before the outbreak, recovered from the virus and was discharged on Sept. 5 as a patient from the Elwa treatment unit here. Less than a month later, she returned as one of seven Ebola survivors hired by the clinic, run by Doctors Without Borders, to counsel and comfort those suffering from the disease. She and the other survivors are paid for their work at the Ebola unit, but few see it as a job. They are part of a select group that have withstood the virus here and they want to help…” (Vogt, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Research Continues To Develop Safe, Effective Ebola Vaccine

Media sources report on efforts to develop a vaccine to treat or prevent Ebola.

CIDRAP News: At symposium, vaccine seen as best hope for arresting Ebola
“At a wide-ranging symposium on West Africa’s Ebola epidemic [Tuesday], much of the attention focused on the hope of an effective vaccine, as a U.S. official announced that a large clinical trial of two candidate vaccines may be launched in Liberia in December…” (Roos, 10/14).

National Geographic: Long Quest for Ebola Vaccine Slowed by Science, Ethics, Politics
“Ebola vaccines are so effective in monkeys that macaques can be protected or rescued even if they’re injected with a hundred times the lethal dose of the Ebola virus after vaccination. But no one knows for certain whether the vaccines will work in humans; the vaccines haven’t yet been rigorously tested in people…” (Weintraub, 10/14).

Link to individual story

WHO Approves Measure Urging Nations To Raise Tobacco Taxes

Washington Times: U.N. approves increased global tobacco tax during secret session
“The U.N.’s World Health Organization on Tuesday approved a measure [urging] countries around the world to sharply raise excise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, a key step to what critics warn will be a push for a global tax on tobacco…” (Johnson/Swoyer, 10/14).

Link to individual story

U.N. Considering New Entity To Tackle Global Nutrition Challenges, Devex Reports

Devex: A new U.N. body to combat global malnutrition?
“The United Nations is considering setting up a new body to address global malnutrition as early as next month, Devex has learned. Tentatively called ‘U.N. Nutrition,’ the new entity will be headed by UNICEF and the World Food Programme, according to well-placed sources within civil society groups attending this week’s Committee on World Food Security, or CFS, in Rome…” (Pasquini, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Women Key To Economic Development In Africa, Melinda Gates Says

Agence France-Presse: Want to help Africa? Start with women, Melinda Gates says
“Women are key to boosting economic growth in Africa and the developing world, Melinda Gates said Tuesday as she stopped off in Paris to press crisis-hit France to keep funding projects for women and girls. Speaking to AFP, the philanthropist said empowering women is a key focus of the powerful Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in its struggle to help people in developing countries be more autonomous in health, family planning, and — crucially — economic decisions…” (Barriaux, 10/14).

Link to individual story

WFP Cuts Food Rations For Up To 1M Afghans Due To Lack Of Funding

Reuters: U.N. agency to cut food rations for 1 million Afghans over funding
“Funding shortfalls have forced the World Food Programme to cut rations for up to one million people in Afghanistan, a WFP official said, an early sign that aid money may dwindle as the international combat mission winds down…” (Johnson, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Brazilian Authorities Make Arrests Related To Illegal Abortion Clinics

New York Times: Brazil Cracks Down on Illegal Abortion Clinics
“The police in Rio de Janeiro said on Tuesday that they had arrested more than 50 people suspected of working in clandestine abortion clinics. Abortion is illegal in Brazil in most circumstances, allowed only when the woman’s life is in danger, she has been raped, or the fetus has anencephaly, a severe birth defect in which parts of the brain and skull are missing…” (Romero, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Investigational Rotavirus Vaccine In Late-Stage Clinical Trials

Reuters: Sanofi’s Rotavirus vaccine enters late-stage trials
“French drugmaker Sanofi said on Tuesday an investigational vaccine designed by its Shantha Biotechnics unit to protect young children from severe diarrhea had entered late-stage clinical trials in India. The vaccine is aimed at rotavirus infections which cause gastroenteritis…” (Callus, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Researchers Target Mosquitoes In Fight Against Malaria

National Geographic: The War on Bugs
“Faced with more than 600,000 deaths a year from malaria, scientists and their philanthropic backers have set their sights on the lowly mosquito. If we could annihilate mosquitoes, malaria would go, too, and with it dengue and other plagues. But simple extermination by DEET is not going to work — the ecological consequences could be disastrous. Enter mosquito disorientation, misdirection, sabotage, and even torture…” (Pandika, 10/14).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola

The following editorial and opinion pieces examine issues surrounding the Ebola outbreak.

Washington Post: Keeping an even keel at home on Ebola
Editorial Board

“The Ebola tidal wave is still flooding West Africa, running ahead of all efforts to contain it. … At the same time, the outbreak of the deadly virus has sliced through American politics and the media with a vengeance. Understandably, the specter of such a dangerous disease in the United States has bred fear. But it is remarkable how some public figures are inflaming that fear. … CDC Director Thomas Frieden had reassured the nation that the health care system could handle Ebola if the virus landed here. … [W]e think Dr. Frieden and others are wise to prepare for the worst, including by making sure that hospitals across the country know what to do if a patient shows symptoms that look like Ebola and have the ability to respond rapidly and effectively. At a time of tension, the nation’s public health leaders must not overpromise” (10/14).

The Hill: Ebola outbreak partly fueled by misguided priorities and misallocated resources
William O’Keefe, CEO of the George Marshall Institute and president of Solutions Consulting, Inc.

“…While the risk of an Ebola epidemic in the United States is believed to be small, it is a significant threat that will become even more serious if cases outside of West Africa become more numerous. As governments and health professionals focus on improving detection and treatments, it is fair to ask: What could we have done to better contain the risk? There is no single or simple answer. But one controllable condition is obvious: global poverty. … Past decisions on the allocation of resources can’t be undone, but the developed world can reset its priorities and concentrate on a serious problem that it knows how to solve — energy and global poverty… (10/14).

Huffington Post: For the Women of Liberia, a Long Road Ahead to Rebuild After Ebola Crisis
Krista Walton Potter, digital communications and editorial manager for the Global Fund for Women

“…One thing is certain: the impact of the current Ebola epidemic on Liberians will be long-term. … In order to help women on the road to recovery after the crisis — and to prevent backsliding when the next crisis hits — experts say investments need to be made in women and girls’ health, education, and empowerment on an enduring basis…” (10/14).

VICE: Ebola Isn’t a Medical Problem, It’s a People Problem
Martin Robbins, science journalist and VICE columnist

“…The spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa isn’t a medical problem so much as a social or a governmental problem. … As long as you have a well-functioning health system, trained staff, antiseptic environments to work in, basic medical supplies, and a good set of procedures in place, any outbreak can be swiftly contained. The trouble is, the parts of West Africa where this outbreak flared up have almost none of these things. … [H]owever well defended we think we are by our medicines, vaccines, antiseptics, and hazmat suits, we will never be safe until we deal with the failings of people. Ebola may not be the Big One, but the next disease could be” (10/14).

Wall Street Journal: How the U.S. Made the Ebola Crisis Worse
E. Fuller Torrey, associate director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute

“Amid discussions of quarantines, lockdowns, and doomsday death scenarios about Ebola, little has been said about the exodus of Africa’s health care professionals and how it has contributed to the outbreak. For 50 years, the U.S. and other Western nations have admitted health professionals — especially doctors and nurses — from poor countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, three nations at the heart of the Ebola epidemic. … Ebola may be merely the first of many prices to be paid for our long-standing but shortsighted health manpower policy. Surely the wealthiest country in the world should be able to produce sufficient health workers for its own needs and not take them from the poorest countries” (10/14).

Link to individual story

International Cooperation, Solidarity Needed To Resolve Global Hunger

Deutsche Welle: Politicians should redouble efforts to end hunger
Grahame Lucas, head of the Deutsche Welle South East Asia Service

“…The aid organizations involved in the compilation of the Global Hunger Index have called for greater international cooperation and solidarity to resolve [conflicts that contribute to food insecurity and micronutrient deficiencies,] and to provide millions of people with the chance of a better life. They are right. They need the full support of those in the developed world whose closest encounter with a dietary plan will come when they try to lose weight” (10/14).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

USDA Blog Post Discusses International Food Security Assessment Findings

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “USDA Blog”: International Food Security: A Look at the Next Decade
Stacey Rosen and Birgit Meade of the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) discuss the International Food Security Assessment, released in June by ERS, which provides 10-year food security projections in low- and middle-income countries (10/14).

Link to individual story

Prioritizing HIV Treatment Among Children Necessary To End Epidemic

The Lancet’s “Global Health Blog”: Putting children at the center of the end of AIDS
Charles Lyons, president and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, discusses the importance of prioritizing HIV treatment among children in order to reach the goal of ending HIV/AIDS among children, as well as the goal of ending the epidemic more broadly. He writes, “Ending AIDS in children will require an even bigger global commitment in the years to come than ever before. Without investment now, the challenges will only grow more difficult and the obstacles harder to surmount. We must have the ambition to rise to meet this challenge, until no child has AIDS” (10/14).

Link to individual story

Blog Post Discusses Ecuador's Elimination Of Onchocerciasis

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Ecuador Eliminates Onchocerciasis
Julie Jacobson, senior program officer for infectious diseases in the foundation’s global health program, discusses the elimination of onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, in Ecuador, as well as efforts to address other neglected tropical diseases (10/14).

Link to individual story

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

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

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