KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Says Total Number Of Ebola Cases Now More Than 10,000

News outlets report on the latest statistics from the WHO on reported Ebola cases and deaths.

Associated Press: WHO: Number of Ebola-linked cases passes 10,000
“More than 10,000 people have been infected with Ebola and nearly half of them have died, according to figures released Saturday by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread…” (DiLorenzo, 10/25).

The Guardian: Ebola cases hit 10,000 mark
“The number of people infected in the outbreak of Ebola has risen above 10,000, with the mortality rate now approaching 50 percent. The World Health Organization said on Saturday that the death toll had risen to 4,922 out of 10,141 known cases globally in eight countries as at 23 October. Those figures show about 200 new cases since the last report, four days ago…” (Johnston, 10/25).

Reuters: Ebola death toll tops 4,900 out of more than 10,000 cases — WHO
“…The three worst-hit countries of West Africa — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — account for the bulk, recording 4,912 deaths out of 10,114 cases, the WHO said in its update…” (Nebehay, 10/25).

Wall Street Journal: Ebola Cases Top 10,000 in Current Outbreak, WHO Says
“The number of Ebola cases reported in the current outbreak topped 10,000, the World Health Organization said Saturday, as it added a new nation to the list of countries affected by the disease…” (Morse, 10/25).

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Mali's First Ebola Patient Dies; Health Officials Tracing Contacts Of Girl Who Traveled From Guinea

News outlets report a two-year-old girl has died of Ebola in Mali, the country’s first case, as health officials work to trace her contacts during travel from Guinea.

Agence France-Presse: Mali seeks to contain Ebola fears after girl dies
“Mali authorities on Saturday sought to calm fears after Ebola claimed its first victim in the African country, a contagious toddler who took a 1,000-kilometer bus journey before being treated…” (Cisse, 10/25).

The Guardian: First Ebola case in Mali sparks aid mission by World Health Organization
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is sending experts to help fight Ebola in Mali, a day after a two-year-old girl died in what was the country’s first case of the disease…” (English/Mark, 10/24).

New York Times: Mali Reports First Death From Ebola
“The little girl who became Mali’s first Ebola case has died after a bus journey across two countries that probably exposed dozens of people to the virus, her family, officials, and Malian news websites said Friday afternoon…” (Nossiter, 10/24).

Reuters: Mali’s first Ebola case, a two-year-old girl, dies: officials
“…Mali is the sixth West African nation to record a case of Ebola. Senegal and Nigeria have successfully contained outbreaks and has been declared free of the disease. Spain and the United States have had a few cases…” (Diarra/Diallo, 10/24).

Reuters: Mauritania closes border with Mali over Ebola: officials
“Mauritania has closed its border with Mali after a case of Ebola was confirmed in western Mali near their shared frontier, two Mauritanian officials said on Saturday…” (Diagana/Diarra, 10/25).

Reuters: Mali to keep Guinea border open despite Ebola death — president
“Mali will not close its border with neighboring Guinea after a two-year-old girl infected with Ebola was brought across the frontier by her grandmother and died in Mali this week, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said on Saturday…” (10/25).

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U.S. Congress Scrutinizes Responses To Domestic, West African Ebola Cases

News outlets report on U.S. congressional reactions to the government’s responses to Ebola.

The Lancet: U.S. federal health agencies questioned over Ebola response
“As U.S. President Barack Obama ramped up the country’s response to the Ebola crisis domestically and abroad, his top health officials attempted, during a tense congressional hearing last week, to address potential solutions to the epidemic ravaging West Africa, which has now reached the USA, confronting emergency medical providers at a well regarded hospital in Dallas, Texas…” (Jaffe, 10/25).

Reuters: Republicans take aim at U.S. Ebola response after fourth case emerges
“Republicans with an eye on next month’s congressional elections ratcheted up their criticism of President Barack Obama’s response to Ebola on Friday after the emergence of a fourth U.S. case heightened public anxiety about the disease spreading outside of West Africa…” (Morgan/Clarke, 10/24).

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U.S. Envoy Power In West Africa To Assess Ebola Situation, Speak With Leaders

News services report on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power’s travel to three West African countries affected by the Ebola epidemic.

Agence France-Presse: Angry U.S. envoy hits out at global response to Ebola
“The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has criticized the level of international support for nations hit by Ebola as she begins a tour of West African nations at the epicenter of the deadly outbreak…” (Bah, 10/27).

Associated Press/FOX News: Power vows U.S. will help West Africa Ebola fight ‘for the long haul’
“The United States will help fight Ebola over ‘the long haul,’ the American ambassador to the United Nations said on a trip to the West African countries hit by the outbreak. Samantha Power will be in Sierra Leone on Monday. Power met Sunday with religious leaders in Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak was first identified in March…” (10/27).

Reuters: U.S. envoy in West Africa to see how world failing in Ebola fight
“…Power, who will also visit Sierra Leone and Liberia, said she had a ‘very robust’ discussion with Guinea’s President Alpha Conde on Sunday about the way forward and that Conde has ‘tremendous impatience … wholly appropriate to the cause’…” (Nichols, 10/26).

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U.S. Military, Civilians Begin Work In West Africa To Respond To Ebola

News outlets report on the U.S. government’s and NGOs’ responses to the Ebola epidemic at home and in West Africa.

Reuters: U.S. military starts training its Ebola rapid-response team
“As health officials were trying to manage a patient infected with Ebola in New York, U.S. military personnel in Texas were in the first stages of training a new rapid-response team that could head to hospitals the next time an outbreak occurs. The 30-member U.S. Military Ebola Rapid Response Team assembled at the Army’s San Antonio Military Medical Center on Wednesday and consists of five physicians, 20 nurses, and five certified trainers….” (Forsyth, 10/25).

Washington Post: U.S. Ebola fighters head to Africa, but will the military and civilian effort be enough?
“Hundreds of Americans have flown to Liberia in the past few days. Thousands more are on the way. This Ebola corps is a collection of doctors, nurses, scientists, soldiers, aviators, technicians, mechanics, and engineers. Many are volunteers with nonprofit organizations or the government, including uniformed doctors and nurses from the little-known U.S. Public Health Service…” (Achenbach/Sun, 10/25).

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U.S. States' Quarantine Policies For HCWs Returned From Ebola-Hit West Africa Stir Controversy

News outlets report on U.S. state-imposed quarantines for health care workers returning from Ebola-hit West Africa; White House and other federal officials’ reactions to the new state-level policies; a statement from a returned nurse quarantined in New Jersey, who said she plans to sue the state; the history of quarantines in the U.S. and how they could possibly discourage health care personnel from working in West Africa.

The Hill: White House preparing guidelines for returning health care workers (Balluck, 10/26).
MSNBC: Feds mull quarantine for docs who treat Ebola in West Africa (Khimm, 10/24).
Wall Street Journal: White House Pushes Back on State Ebola Quarantines (Nelson et al., 10/27).
Washington Post: New quarantine rules considered for aid workers returning to U.S. from Ebola-stricken region (Berman/Eilperin, 10/24).
The Hill: Power: Ebola doctors are ‘conquering heroes’ (Devaney, 10/26).
Reuters: Top U.S. health official warns of risks from Ebola quarantines (Miedema/Allen, 10/26).

Agence France-Presse: New York state backtracks on Ebola rules after nurse quarantine row (Stebbings, 10/27).
The Atlantic: Christie Has ‘No Second Thoughts’ About Mandatory Ebola Quarantine (McDuffee, 10/26).
Financial Times: Cuomo backs down on N.Y. Ebola orders (Jopson, 10/27).
New York Times: Under Pressure, Cuomo Says Ebola Quarantines Can Be Spent at Home (Flegenheimer et al., 10/26).
Reuters: States stand firm on Ebola quarantines despite White House pressure (Ax/Wolfhurst, 10/27).
Washington Post: New York revises controversial policy on Ebola quarantines amid pressure (Kang, 10/26).

The Hill: Quarantined nurse slams ‘frightening’ treatment (Byrnes/Devaney, 10/25).
NBC New York: Nurse Being Discharged From Ebola Quarantine in New Jersey (10/27).
New York Times: Tested Negative for Ebola, Nurse Criticizes Her Quarantine (Hartocollis/Fitzsimmons, 10/25).
NPR: Nurse Criticizes Quarantine After Negative Ebola Test, Hires Lawyer (Chappel, 10/26).
Reuters: Ebola-quarantined U.S. nurse to sue in test of states’ policies (Ax, 10/27).

New York Times: The Flu, TB and Now Ebola: A Rare Legal Remedy Returns (Weiser/Goodman, 10/26).
New York Times: New Ebola Quarantine Protocol Seen as Barrier to Volunteers (Chen/Robbins, 10/24).

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Britain, Sweden, China Make Donations To Ebola Efforts In West Africa

News outlets report European and Asian nations are stepping up their response to the West African Ebola epidemic.

Agence France-Presse: Britain, Sweden donate to struggling U.N. Ebola Fund
“New pledges of financial aid to a U.N. Ebola fund have reached $118 million with Britain and Sweden offering sizeable contributions after U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon pleaded for more money…” (10/24).

Associated Press: China’s president pledges $81 million in Ebola aid
“China’s president on Friday pledged to provide $81 million in aid to help fight Ebola in the three West African countries at the heart of the crisis…” (10/24).

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WHO Meets With Industry Leaders To Accelerate Ebola Vaccine Development

News outlets report on a meeting among WHO and pharmaceutical company representatives to discuss the research and development of Ebola vaccines.

Agence France-Presse: WHO eyes mass Ebola vaccines by mid-2015 (Fowler, 10/24).
Associated Press: WHO: Millions of Ebola vaccine doses ready in 2015 (Cheng, 10/24).
BBC News: Millions of Ebola vaccine doses by end of 2015, WHO says (Gallagher, 10/24).
The Guardian: WHO: several hundred thousand Ebola vaccine doses expected by mid-2015 (Boseley, 10/24).
New York Times: Health Officials Expect to Start Vaccine Trials in West Africa as Early as December (Pollack, 10/24).
Reuters: WHO says Ebola vaccine plans accelerating as trials advance (Nebehay/Kelland, 10/24).
Science: Ebola vaccines racing forward faster than predicted, but high hurdles remain (Cohen/Kupferschmidt, 10/24).
U.N. News Centre: Ebola: industry leaders meet to discuss vaccine trials, as U.N. agencies continue aid push (10/24).
Wall Street Journal: WHO Says Ebola Vaccine Trials Due December in West Africa (Letzing, 10/24).
World Health Organization: Summary report of a WHO High-level meeting on Ebola vaccines access and financing (10/23).
World Health Organization: WHO convenes industry leaders and key partners to discuss trials and production of Ebola vaccine (10/24).

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Health Systems In U.S., Africa, Asia Prepare To Diagnose, Care For Ebola Patients

News outlets report on how hospitals in the U.S., Africa, and Asia are preparing to respond to Ebola.

Agence France-Presse: Poor health systems in Asia cause for Ebola alarm
“The longer the Ebola outbreak rages in West Africa, the greater chance a traveler infected with the virus touches down in an Asian city. … Governments are ramping up response plans, stepping up surveillance at airports and considering quarantine measures. Still, health experts in the region’s less developed countries fear any outbreak would be deadly and hard to contain…” (Brummitt, 10/26).

Scientific American: Hospitals Need Time, Training to Get Ready for Ebola
“…Are facilities and health care workers [in the U.S.] ready to properly care for an infected patient — while also staying safe and preventing further spread of the disease? The answer to that question would appear to be no, given the case of Thomas Duncan, the Liberian patient who died from Ebola earlier this month in a Dallas hospital and infected two nurses. In the intervening weeks, agencies and advocacy groups have beefed up recommendations, training, and response protocols…” (Courage, 10/25).

Wall Street Journal: Ebola Forces African Hospital to Revamp, Retrain
“…The world is rushing to build Ebola-treatment units to alleviate the shortage of hospital beds for the swelling number of new cases. Yet general hospitals continue to serve their local communities for any number of ailments, including the deadly viruses that often-rundown government facilities here in Africa aren’t ready to handle. One answer is to retrofit the hospitals with safer entry and treatment areas for suspected Ebola patients…” (Wonacott, 10/26).

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Africa Showing 'Solidarity Deficit' Toward Nations Worst-Hit By Ebola, Reuters Reports

Reuters: Ebola shows up solidarity deficit in Africa growth story
“Africa’s economic growth is bounding ahead, despite the Ebola epidemic gnawing at its western shoulder, but some see the continent showing a deficit in solidarity towards the three poor and war-weakened states worst hit by the deadly disease…” (Giahyue/Fletcher, 10/26).

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Roll Back Malaria Head Expresses Concern Ebola Will Impact Malaria Gains

BBC News: Fears that Ebola crisis will set back malaria fight
“A leading malaria control expert has said efforts to contain the disease may be jeopardized by the Ebola crisis. Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, who heads the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, said after visiting West Africa: ‘Understandably, all the health workers’ attention is on Ebola’…” (Dreaper, 10/26).

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PEPFAR, Elton John Foundation Announce New Public-Private Partnership

News outlets report on an announcement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and singer and activist Elton John on a new HIV/AIDS partnership between PEPFAR and the Elton John Foundation.

Metro Weekly: Elton John and PEPFAR team up to fight HIV/AIDS
“Secretary Kerry announced that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, will be collaborating with the Elton John AIDS Foundation in a $7 million partnership, which, Secretary Kerry stated, will ‘help bring additional assistance to people and help us meet this goal of an AIDS-free generation,’ adding, ‘We’re going to continue to work together to bring this help to all those folks, particularly in the LGBT community, who need this particular assistance…'” (Marr, 10/24).

Reuters: Elton John joins with U.S. agencies on new AIDS program
“British singer and activist Elton John said on Friday a new $7 million partnership between his foundation and U.S. government agencies will help create an AIDS-free society but urged more work to reach that goal…” (Wroughton, 10/25).

Science Speaks: PEPFAR/Elton John AIDS Foundation partner to expand services to men who have sex with men, transgender people in southern Africa
“United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Sir Elton John [announced] the launch of a public-private partnership to expand services to men who have sex with men, and to transgender individuals. It is not the first public-private partnership PEPFAR has announced, and indications are that more, specifically targeted ones will come…” (Barton, 10/24).

U.S. Department of State: Remarks With Sir Elton John Before Their Meeting
“…[I]t’s my pleasure today to be able to announce a $7 million partnership between PEPFAR and the Elton John Foundation which will help bring additional assistance to people and help us meet this goal of an AIDS-free generation…” (10/24).

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Development Lenders Announce Commitments To Horn Of Africa; U.N.'s Ban To Visit

News outlets report on efforts to support development in the Horn of Africa.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. chief to visit Horn of Africa
“U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon will travel to Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya next week, leading a delegation from six other international organizations to the volatile Horn of Africa region…” (10/24).

Reuters: Development lenders pledge $8 bln to Horn of Africa
“Global development lenders, including the World Bank, African Development Bank, and European Union, pledged more than $8 billion on Monday to boost economic growth and reduce poverty in eight countries in the Horn of Africa…” (Maasho, 10/27).

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Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry Issues Warning About MERS

Reuters: Rise in MERS cases prompts Saudi warning to residents
“Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry on Monday urged residents of the world’s top oil exporter to renew precautions against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) after a rise in new cases of the disease since early September…” (McDowall, 10/27).

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Pakistan Records Additional Polio Cases; Vaccination Program Criticized In Upcoming Report

News outlets note additional cases of polio have been recorded in Pakistan and highlight a soon-to-be-released report criticizing the government’s polio vaccination campaign.

Associated Press: Pakistan detects more polio cases on awareness day
“The World Health Organization said Friday that three more polio cases have surfaced in Pakistan, bringing the number of new cases to 220, a record figure that authorities blame on attacks by insurgents targeting vaccination teams…” (Ahmed, 10/24).

Reuters: ‘Disastrous’ health campaign feeds Pakistan’s worrying polio spike
“Taliban militants have long been the scourge of Pakistan’s polio vaccination campaign, attacking aid workers and the police who protect them as they distribute doses to children. But experts say there is another reason for the sharp spike in cases of the crippling disease in Pakistan this year — government mismanagement. ‘Pakistan’s polio program is a disaster. It continues to flounder hopelessly, as its virus flourishes,’ the Independent Monitoring Board, which advises agencies fighting polio, will say in a report to be released this week…” (Houreld, 10/27).

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More Than 7K Sickened By Cholera In Ghana As Authorities Struggle To Contain Outbreak

VOA News: Ghanaian Authorities Struggle to Contain Cholera Outbreak
“While the world is focused on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, cholera has sickened more than 7,000 in Ghana’s capital, Accra, since breaking out this summer. Fifty-seven victims have died…” (Stein, 10/24).

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Melinda Gates Discusses Importance Of Global Investment In Women

Fortune: Melinda Gates shares scalable ways to invest in women
“For Melinda Gates, investing in women is not just good for corporate businesses. It’s good for growing economies around the world. … In a follow-up interview with Fortune this week, Gates expanded on her talk at [Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit] and explained why she is focusing her efforts on supporting women and girls…” (Fairchild, 10/24).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

The following editorial and opinion pieces address various aspects of the Ebola epidemic.

The Lancet: National armies for global health?
“October 2014 has seen unprecedented deployment of both U.S. and British military personnel to support the efforts in West Africa against the Ebola crisis. … As the DoD has recognized, the security of one nation’s citizens is inextricably linked to others through both global health and climate change. Therefore, the military seem set to play a greater part in global civilian health in the future. The question is what should this role look like in the 21st century?” (10/25).

Washington Post: The case for suspending U.S. visas in Ebola-affected countries
Michael Chertoff, former secretary of homeland security and co-founder and executive chair of the Chertoff Group

“…[A]fter the mishandling of the few cases we have had [in the U.S.] — including allowing an infected nurse to travel by air — we are close to a crisis of confidence. A few more bungles and we will see significant numbers of people canceling trips, closing schools, and staying home from work. The essence of effective public crisis management is bold and aggressive action demonstrating that leaders are in control of events, not reacting in a halting and belated fashion. Targeted visa suspension is one of several steps urgently needed” (10/26).

Forbes: Despite World Panic, The Rate Of New Ebola Infections Is Already Slowing Down
Michael Fumento, attorney and journalist

“…Time and again beginning with AIDS, both [the CDC and WHO] have grossly exaggerated disease outbreaks. That includes Ebola twice before, SARS, avian flu, swine flu, and Mideast Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). I debunked most of those at the time, but the health agencies know that nothing they ever pipe will be so outrageous that the mainstream media won’t dance to their tune. Meanwhile, endemic diseases that don’t make headlines, like tuberculosis, malaria, and infectious childhood diarrhea, each kill more people every two days than have died of Ebola in 28 years. Sadly, the CDC and WHO have spent decades crying about monsters in the closet, distracting us from the very real ones in our midst” (10/23).

The Atlantic: 21 Days
James Hamblin, senior editor at The Atlantic

“…What follows is a condensed transcript of [a] conversation last week in Washington, D.C., [with Dr. Steven Hatfill, a researcher and adjunct assistant professor at George Washington University School of Medicine, who was also a ‘person of interest’ in the FBI’s investigation of U.S. anthrax cases in 2001.] It’s still long, but I decided to err on the side of including information. His message is, again, not intended to panic, but to provoke nuanced evaluation of the scientific evidence around Ebola transmission, and whether or not we are truly prepared for the inevitable viral outbreaks of the future…” (10/26).

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Thailand Can Lead Asia To End AIDS

Bangkok Post: Thailand leads way to ending AIDS
Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director

“Thailand has set the global standard for how a country can effectively respond to AIDS. … This month, through its innovative Ending AIDS by 2030 strategy, Thailand became the first country in Asia to offer HIV treatment to every person living with HIV. … Even with an AIDS response as advanced as Thailand’s, HIV services still do not reach some people. … Stigma and discrimination impede access to HIV prevention and care services. … Thailand and other ASEAN countries can seize this opportunity. The strengths of the region are science, speed, and scale. If we add strategic investing into the mix, we have a winning combination. With Thailand showing the way, the region could become the very first to end the AIDS epidemic” (10/27).

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First Lady Of Kenya Leading Efforts To Reduce Maternal Mortality Rate

Huffington Post: Kenya Is Poised to End Maternal Deaths, Led by the First Lady
Ambassador Eric Goosby, former U.S. global AIDS coordinator

“Kenya is amongst the 10 most dangerous countries for pregnant women. Between 6,000 and 8,000 women die every year during childbirth; the current maternal mortality rate is 488 deaths per 100,000 live births. Kenya has made little progress in reducing this to achieve the commitment set in the Millennium Development Goals of 147 deaths per 100,000. However, thanks to the introduction of free maternity services for women by the Government of Kenya in 2013, Kenya’s dire maternal death rate may finally begin to fall. The First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta, has emerged as a true champion in this cause. Her drive and resolve has put the spotlight on Kenya’s efforts to reverse this tragic trend. … There is great momentum in Kenya to end the terrible tragedy of women, infants and children dying needlessly. The First Lady of Kenya has kicked the ball towards ending maternal deaths and now the governors must ensure that it is pushed through the goal posts…” (10/24).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Ebola Outbreak Underscores Need For Health Systems Strengthening

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Health Systems Support Needed for Enhanced Global Disease Prevention
Nellie Bristol, a senior fellow with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, writes, “Health systems strengthening has been paid a lot of lip service over the years, but little progress has been made in many places that need the most help. … [T]he Ebola outbreak provides a glaring example of the need. While the global health appropriations process is not likely to reform itself out of its current funding methodology, Congress can act to send a strong message that health aid can be used more broadly and with a focus on long-term results. This would give USAID and other agencies the authority they need to give health systems strengthening the priority it deserves and provide an extra layer of health protection for citizens in developing countries as well as here at home” (10/24).

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ONE Reassesses Portfolio To Include Ebola

ONE blog: ONE’s Ebola Work
Erin Hohlfelder, ONE’s policy director for global health, examines ONE’s actions on Ebola, writing, “ONE’s health portfolio has traditionally focused on issues that have had centuries-long impact on African communities: AIDS, TB, malaria, vaccine-preventable diseases, and other drivers of maternal and child deaths. The emergence of the West African Ebola outbreak has forced us to take a fresh look at our health portfolio and see where we can help…” (10/24).

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Blog Profiles USAID Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team Members

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Paloma and Alisha: The Information Gurus Behind the U.S. Ebola Response
Morgana Wingard, a photojournalist documenting the Ebola crisis in Liberia, profiles Alisha McMichael and Paloma Clohossey, members of the USAID Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team. “They are the DART’s Information Officers — also known as ‘IOs.’: the information gurus who compile, collate, and verify all the information about the U.S. government’s Ebola response efforts and the crisis at large…” (10/24).

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Council On Foreign Relations Releases Updated Interactive Outbreaks Map

Council on Foreign Relations: Map: Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks
“This interactive map visually plots global outbreaks of measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, and other diseases that are easily preventable by inexpensive and effective vaccines. … The Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations has been tracking reports by news media, governments, and the global health community on these outbreaks since the fall of 2008. This project aims to promote awareness of a global health problem that is easily preventable, and examine the factors that threaten the success of eradicating preventable illnesses such as polio” (October 2014).

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