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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Cuba Urges International Community To Further Engage In Ebola Efforts

News outlets report on a regional summit on Ebola held in Cuba on Monday, as well as Cuba’s efforts to address Ebola in West Africa.

Al Jazeera: Cuba punches above its weight in Ebola fight
“Cuba offered to collaborate with the United States to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as the island nation sends an additional 460 doctors and nurses to the region — an example of how the Cuban government uses medical personnel to flex its soft power throughout the world, experts say…” (De Bode, 10/20).

Associated Press: Cuba invites U.S. to cooperate on Ebola
“Cuba is willing to work with the United States in the fight against Ebola, President Raul Castro said at a summit of leftist Latin American nations Monday…” (Rodriguez, 10/20).

Miami Herald: Latin America’s left call for global cooperation in Ebola fight
“The alliance of left-leaning Latin American and Caribbean nations known as the ALBA-TCP agreed to share resources, doctors, and information as they cobble together a plan to fight the global Ebola outbreak. Meeting in Havana on Monday, representatives from more than 11 nations agreed to a 23-point plan that includes public health campaigns, increased screening at borders and ports of entry, and creating specialized teams in each member country…” (Wyss, 10/20).

Reuters: World must stop Ebola in West Africa or face ‘pandemic’: Cuba’s Castro
“The world must confront Ebola in West Africa to prevent what could become one of the worst pandemics in human history, Cuban President Raul Castro said on Monday. … Cuba is sending 461 doctors and nurses to West Africa, the largest medical contingent of any single country to fight the worst Ebola outbreak on record…” (Trotta, 10/20).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola no longer ‘localized emergency,’ U.N. health officials tell regional summit in Cuba
“Ebola is no longer a localized public health emergency, top U.N. officials said in Havana today as they commended Cuba for sending doctors and nurses to the affected countries in West Africa, and addressed regional leaders gathering to discuss ways to resolve the emergency and halt spread of the virus to regional States…” (10/20).

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WHO Emergency Committee On Ebola To Evaluate Scope Of Outbreak

Reuters: WHO’s emergency committee on Ebola to meet Wednesday
“The World Health Organization’s emergency committee on Ebola will meet on Wednesday to review the scope of the outbreak and whether additional measures are needed, a WHO spokeswoman said on Tuesday. ‘This is the third time this committee will meet since August to evaluate the situation’…” (10/21).

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U.S. CDC, DoD Announce Measures To Improve Responses To Domestic Ebola Cases

News outlets report the U.S. CDC and Department of Defense have announced measures to improve responses to potential domestic Ebola cases.

The Hill: Feds tighten rules for Ebola care at hospitals
“Federal health officials are tightening the rules for Ebola care after facing a storm of criticism over the way patients were handled at a hospital in Dallas…” (Ferris, 10/20).

New York Times: CDC Issues New Guidelines for Ebola Care
“Federal officials announced new guidelines on Monday evening for the protection of hospital workers caring for patients infected with Ebola — guidelines that might have prevented the infection of two nurses had they been in place a month ago…” (McNeil, 10/20).

Reuters: Ebola crisis turns a corner as U.S. issues new treatment protocols
“The United States issued stringent new protocols on Monday for health workers treating Ebola victims, directing medical teams to wear protective gear that leaves no skin or hair exposed to prevent medical workers from becoming infected…” (Driver/Garza, 10/21).

Washington Post: CDC issues formal guidelines giving workers more protection against Ebola
“…The beefed-up guidelines also call for health care workers to undergo rigorous training, and to be supervised by trained monitors when putting on and taking off personal protective equipment. The government will issue step-by-step instructions for workers to follow in doing that…” (Sun/Berman, 10/20).

The Hill: Pentagon preps Ebola team for response to cases in U.S.
“The U.S. military is readying a 30-person team for Ebola response inside the U.S., the Defense Department said on Sunday…” (Barron-Lopez, 10/19).

Politico: DOD to train Ebola team for U.S.
“…In a statement, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had instructed the chief of U.S. Northern Command to prepare and train the team of ’20 critical care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease, and five trainers in infectious disease protocols’…” (Censer, 10/19).

Washington Post: Pentagon plans Ebola domestic-response team of medical experts to aid doctors
“…The announcement came as federal health officials tried to calm the nerves of Americans rattled by Ebola’s arrival on U.S. soil…” (Kane/Nutt, 10/19).

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White House, Congress To Discuss Ebola Funding, U.S. Response

News outlets examine discussions between the White House and Congress on U.S. funding for Ebola efforts, as well as upcoming congressional actions on the epidemic.

CQ News: Ebola Funding Likely to Top Lame-Duck Agenda
“Ebola funding is shaping up to be a top issue for the lame duck, with the White House planning to request additional funding as early as this week and the Senate Appropriations Committee scheduling a recess hearing two days after the elections…” (Hallerman, 10/20).

The Hill: White House begins talks with Congress on new Ebola funding
“The White House has held preliminary discussions with the Senate about a new funding request to fight Ebola, according to a pair of congressional sources. Any request would come on top of hundreds of millions of dollars already allocated for the fight against the deadly virus, and would trigger a battle with congressional Republicans over the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis…” (Sink, 10/20).

The Hill: Five possible targets for Ebola funds
“…Health experts say the government could boost [Ebola] funding to a number of areas. Here are five possibilities that could be key in a new request…” (Shabad, 10/21).

Roll Call: Mikulski Sets Senate Ebola Hearing Two Days After Elections
“As the threat of the Ebola virus in the United States appears to be easing, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski announced she would hold a hearing on the issue two days after voters are scheduled to go to the polls…” (Sanchez/Lesniewski, 10/20).

Roll Call: Before Ending Chairmanship, Issa Sets Ebola Hearing for Oversight
“…On Friday afternoon, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman announced he would convene a full panel hearing in seven days, on Oct. 24, titled, ‘The Ebola Crisis: Coordination of a Multi-Agency Response’…” (Dumain, 10/17).

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News Outlets Examine Public, Private Funding For Ebola, Other Disease Vaccine Research

News outlets discuss funding for research on vaccines for Ebola and other neglected diseases.

Bloomberg TV: Neglected Diseases: Who Should Pay for Vaccine Research?
“Christopher Egerton-Warburton, fund manager at Global Health Investment Fund, and Martin McKee of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases discuss the lack of preparation and research into vaccines for Ebola and similar tropical diseases…” (10/20).

The Hill: Key Republican questions NIH on Ebola vaccine funding
“A key Republican in charge of congressional funding for the National Institutes of Health is questioning whether budget cuts are really preventing the agency from developing an Ebola vaccine…” (Shabad, 10/20).

ScienceInsider: Fauci and Collins agree to agree on Ebola vaccine development and NIH funding
“…As it turns out, Fauci and Collins agree that big pharma’s lack of interest in Ebola vaccine development is the main reason no product was ready for this epidemic…” (Cohen, 10/20).

Washington Post: A public dispute between NIH officials over Ebola
“Foes of medical research spending by the National Institutes of Health got a boost Sunday from an unlikely source: Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases…” (Milbank, 10/20).

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Airline Passenger Screening Vital To Stop Ebola From Spreading Outside West Africa, Study Suggests

News outlets report on a study published in The Lancet on Monday examining the potential spread of Ebola beyond West Africa via infected travelers. According to the study’s summary, screening airline passengers upon exit from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone “…would be the most efficient frontier at which to assess the health status of travelers at risk of Ebola virus exposure, however, this intervention might require international support to implement effectively.”

Associated Press: If no checks, more Ebola cases might leave Africa
“A new study underscores the potential danger of airplane passengers infected with Ebola leaving West Africa: If there were no exit screening in place, researchers estimate that three people with the disease might fly out of the region each month. The hardest-hit West African nations have been checking passengers since summer, but the new work is a reminder of how much easier it could be for the virus to travel outside the outbreak region if those measures weren’t in place — and that screening can’t catch every case…” (Cheng, 10/20).

Reuters: Study shows exit screening vital to halting global Ebola spread
“Three Ebola-infected travelers a month would be expected to get on international flights from the West African countries suffering epidemics of the deadly virus if there were no effective exit screening, scientists said on Tuesday…” (Kelland, 10/20).

Wall Street Journal: Ebola Study Projects Spread of Virus on Overseas Flights
“Up to three Ebola-infected people could embark on overseas flights every month from the three most-affected African countries, according to a new study that projected travel patterns based on infection rates and recent flight schedules. The findings, published Monday in the journal Lancet, suggest that Ebola cases could be spread overseas by unwitting travelers from the worst-hit countries — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone…” (Naik, 10/20).

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South Korea To Send Doctors To West Africa, Pledges $5.6M For Ebola Efforts

Associated Press: South Korea to send doctors to Ebola-hit region
“South Korea will send doctors, nurses, and military officers next month to the West African region hit by Ebola amid growing concerns over the outbreak, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. South Korea has pledged to spend $5.6 million to help curb the virus…” (10/20).

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Foreign Policy Examines How Nigeria Stopped Ebola Outbreak, Lessons For U.S.

Foreign Policy: In Fight to Stop Ebola, Nigeria Got Right Everything America Got Wrong
“…So how did Nigeria, a country with poor public health infrastructure and a GDP of $510 billion, manage to contain the disease when the United States, a country with sophisticated public health infrastructure and a GDP of $17.3 trillion, could not? First, a bit of luck: Nigeria’s ‘patient zero,’ a man from Liberia, collapsed in a Lagos airport, making it easier to identify those exposed to the disease…” (Francis, 10/20).

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Decade-Old SARS Outbreak Offers Some Lessons For Ebola Efforts

Los Angeles Times: More than a decade later, SARS offers lessons on Ebola
“…Before the current outbreak of Ebola virus, there was SARS. More than a decade ago, it blew up across East Asia and spread to Canada and the United States. … The 21st century’s first brush with a mystery virus run amok offers plenty of lessons to physicians and public health officials racing to get ahead of Ebola. Some measures have been adopted and have arguably altered the course of the epidemic. Others were quickly forgotten. Some have faded away as SARS receded into history…” (Healy/Pierson, 10/19).

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Donations For Ebola Efforts 'Almost Nonexistent' Compared With Past Disasters, New York Times Reports

New York Times: Donations for Ebola Relief Are Slow to Gain Speed
“…Compared to the rush to donate after major disasters of the last decade or so, charitable giving to address the Ebola tragedy is almost nonexistent, and the relief agencies that typically seek donations after a catastrophe are mostly silent…” (Strom, 10/20).

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New York Times Profiles PMI Coordinator Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer

New York Times: The Malaria Fighter
“…Since [Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer] took the job [as coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative] in 2006, worldwide malaria deaths have dropped 40 percent, to about 600,000 a year from one million. … Many countries now use the tactics Admiral Ziemer adopted after demanding proof that they worked. For prevention, they include free distribution of nets impregnated with insecticide, indoor pesticide spraying, and routine doses of malaria medicine for pregnant women. For diagnosis and treatment, they include rapid blood tests and pills that combine a new fast-acting Chinese drug, artemisinin, with one of several longer-lasting drugs…” (10/20).

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Devex Examines USAID's Incorporation Of PPPs Into Foreign Assistance

Devex: USAID PPPs by the numbers
“…The world’s biggest bilateral donor, the U.S. Agency for the International Development was one of the first development agencies to embed PPPs into its foreign assistance model — a move that prompted praise from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. … Since the launch of [the Global Development Alliance initiative] 13 years ago, USAID has inked more than 1,600 public-private partnerships valued at more than $20 billion…” (Piccio, 10/20).

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Higher Taxes, Greater Regulation Key To Curbing Tobacco 'Epidemic,' WHO Says

U.N. News Centre: Increased taxes, regulation key to fighting tobacco ‘epidemic,’ says U.N. health agency
“The implementation of higher taxes on tobacco products and greater regulation for electronic cigarettes are among the decisions passed by a United Nations-backed conference amid comprehensive efforts to clamp down on the tobacco ‘epidemic’ and save millions of lives, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced…” (10/20).

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Science Must Be Considered In Policymaking, World Leaders Say

U.N. News Centre: ‘Science must have a place at the policy table,’ world leaders urge at special U.N. meeting
“Science, technology, and innovation are central in forging development policy and solving some of the world’s most pressing problems including in education, health care, and peace and security, eminent scientists and world leaders said, marking [Monday] at United Nations Headquarters the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)…” (10/20).

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Jamaica Declares 'National Emergency' Over Chikungunya Outbreak

Telesur: Jamaica Declares State of Emergency over Chikungunya Virus
“Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced that the island nation is in a ‘national emergency’ this week over the outbreak of chikungunya…” (10/19).

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Study Examines Steroid Use In Pregnant Women Giving Birth Prematurely In Poorer Countries

New York Times: Steroids Are No Boon to World’s Poorer Women
“Giving steroids to women who are about to give birth prematurely — a standard lifesaving medical practice in richer countries — may be useless or even dangerous in poor countries where most women give birth at home, a major new study has found…” (10/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

The following opinion pieces discuss various issues surrounding the Ebola epidemic.

Wall Street Journal: Poll: Most Americans Positive About Ebola Response
Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation

“…[T]he American people have remained levelheaded [about Ebola in the U.S.]. … The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll last week that found … [f]ully 73 percent of respondents said that if there were an Ebola outbreak in their area they would have confidence in the CDC’s ability to contain the spread of Ebola, with somewhat smaller percentages saying the same about their local hospitals and health departments. … While public confidence in the CDC fell by 11 percentage points [in a follow-up poll over the weekend], a majority (62 percent) continue to express confidence in the agency, and the shares of Americans confident in their local hospitals and health departments were similar to our previous finding. … Going forward, a lot will depend on whether there are more cases in the U.S., and how many; whether there are further missteps in the public health response; and whether this issue is overtly politicized as so many others are these days” (10/21).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Ebola in West Africa: from disease outbreak to humanitarian crisis
Peter Piot and W. John Edmunds of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Jean-Jacques Muyembe of Institut National de Recherche Biomédical

“…The West African epidemic has profoundly changed how we view Ebola virus infection, which has transformed from a rare event in Central Africa into a major public health and destabilizing humanitarian crisis. … Now is also the time to address the huge economic and societal havoc that Ebola is causing in the region, while planning for rebuilding of health systems and disease surveillance. … Other outbreaks of Ebola will occur, as the populations exposed to the probable virus reservoir are expanding in Africa and the potential for a large epidemic remains where fertile ground for it exists. This has major implications for the future. A large epidemic can — and will — happen again, unless we always remain extremely vigilant, respond promptly, and have more to offer than isolation and quarantine” (November 2014).

Washington Post: Ebola caregivers deserve a parade
Richard Cohen, opinion writer

Huffington Post: On Ebola and the Challenge of Quarantine
Utibe Effiong, Nigerian research scientist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health

Project Syndicate: Ebola in America
Abdul El-Sayed, professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Washington Post: Beating Ebola through a national plan
John Fox, president and chief executive of Emory Healthcare

Roll Call: Preparedness Issues Linger as Ebola Worries Intensify
Darrell Henry, executive director of the Healthcare Coalition for Emergency Preparedness

New York Times: Fighting Ebola, and the Mud
Karin Huster, a nurse with Last Mile Health

New York Times: Letters To The Editor: For an Optimal Response to Ebola
Phillip Lee, assistant secretary for health in the Johnson and Clinton administrations; John Aach, lecturer in genetics at Harvard Medical School; and others

Wall Street Journal: Reasons to Calm Down About Ebola
F. Landis MacKellar, senior associate at the Population Council, and Jose Siri, a research fellow at the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health

The Hill: West African countries show Ebola can be beaten
J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center

The Hill: Ebola crisis: All hands on deck
Kristi Rogers, managing director and CEO of Aspen Healthcare Services

Wall Street Journal: What the Ebola Experts Miss
Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor

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Post-2015 Nutrition Target Should Be More Ambitious

The Guardian: Getting a nutrition goal is great, but we need a more ambitious target
Glen Tarman, international advocacy director for Action Against Hunger

“Nutrition did not feature strongly enough in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Persistently high levels of hunger and undernutrition in many countries mean that these issues remain part of the MDGs’ unfinished agenda. Governments and international actors are increasingly recognizing that good nutrition is a precursor for the achievement of a wide range of development issues. … If there were half the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition in 2030 as there are now, now that would mark a significant shift from current trends. And we would be on track to end child deaths from acute malnutrition within a generation…” (10/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Updated Poll Data on Americans' Views On Ebola

Kaiser Family Foundation: Data Note: Update On Public Confidence In U.S. Health Institutions To Deal With Ebola
In light of the evolving news regarding the cases of Ebola in the U.S., the Kaiser Family Foundation re-surveyed the American public from October 17-19 to determine whether confidence in health authorities to prevent the spread of Ebola has changed. This new survey follows one released earlier in October, which came out of the field before the October 15 announcement that a second nurse had been diagnosed with Ebola, and before widespread news coverage of the fact that the CDC had cleared the second nurse to fly on a commercial airline flight (10/21).

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Humanosphere Founder Discusses Ebola With Laurie Garrett

Humanosphere: Talking all things Ebola with Laurie Garrett
Gabe Spitzer of KPLU Public Radio highlights a Humanosphere podcast featuring Tom Paulson, founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere, and Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. The podcast covers discussions on the Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges, as well as Ebola (10/20).

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New Campaign Brings Attention To Need For Greater Investment In Global Health R&D

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: #LetsSaveLives: If you do one thing today, support global health research and development
Renate Baehr, executive director of DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung), discusses the launch of a new campaign called #LetsSaveLives, which aims to bring attention to the need for greater investment in global health research and development to eliminate poverty-related and neglected diseases (10/21).

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WHO To Strengthen Partnership With Romania To Improve TB Services

WHO/Europe: WHO to cooperate more closely with Romania on improving TB services
“WHO/Europe will strengthen its partnership with Romania to improve the quality and delivery of tuberculosis (TB) services, turn the tide against drug-resistant TB, and accelerate the implementation of structural health system reforms in the country. These were the main themes of a high-level visit to Romania on 13-14 October 2014…” (10/20).

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Blog Post Examines Latest News In Global Health Research

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Research Roundup: Ebola vaccine hurdles, SDG financing, blocking malaria transmission, and more
In this regular feature, Marissa Chmiola, communications officer at GHTC, highlights some of the past week’s news in global health research (10/20).

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