KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Gates Foundation To Contribute $50M To Support West African Ebola Response

News outlets report on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s announcement that it will contribute $50 million to support the emergency response to the West African Ebola outbreak.

BBC News: New money added to emergency response to Ebola outbreak
“More money has been announced to help the emergency response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Gates Foundation is committing $50 million to help step up efforts to tackle the deadly virus in the affected countries…” (Dreaper, 9/10).

CNN: Gates Foundation pledges $50 million to fight Ebola
“…The foundation says the money will be used to enable international aid organizations and national governments ‘to purchase badly needed supplies and scale up emergency operations in affected countries’…” (Wilson/Christensen, 9/10).

New York Times: Gates Foundation Pledges $50 Million to Fight Ebola
“…The new money will be available for emergency operations and to help develop drugs, diagnostics or vaccines, said Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the foundation’s chief executive officer. The Gates Foundation — the world’s richest — is stepping forward because it can make cash available immediately…” (McNeil, 9/10).

Reuters: Gates Foundations pledges $50 mln to fight Ebola epidemic
“…The U.S.-based philanthropic foundation said it would release funds immediately to U.N. agencies and international organizations to help them buy supplies and scale up the emergency response in affected countries. It will also work with public and private sector partners to speed up to development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics that could be effective in treating Ebola patients and preventing further spread of the hemorrhagic fever-causing virus…” (Kelland, 9/10).

Link to individual story

U.S. To Send Additional Workers To Ebola-Hit West Africa, Establish Evacuation System In Case Of Infection

News outlets report on U.S. plans to send additional workers to respond to Ebola in West Africa and establish an evacuation system in case they are infected, according to document released Wednesday.

Bloomberg News: U.S. Plans Worker ‘Surge’ to Aid Ebola Effort in Africa
“The U.S. is planning a ‘surge’ of federal workers into West African countries hit by Ebola, and has hired the air-ambulance company that evacuated two infected U.S. citizens in July to support them. About 1,400 U.S. government employees are in the region now, and more are on the way, the State Department said in a contract document released [Wednesday]…” (Wayne, 9/11).

The Hill: U.S. plans ‘surge’ of Ebola workers
“The U.S. government is preparing to send more health care workers to West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic as international aid workers leave the region due to exhaustion or illness. The State Department is also setting up a robust system for evacuating aid workers who become sick while working on the ground…” (Viebeck, 9/10).

Link to individual story

U.S. DoD Makes $500M Request For Ebola Efforts, Humanitarian Crises In Iraq, Syria

Foreign Policy: Shifting Priorities: Pentagon Wants to Move Money for Ebola, Ukraine, and Iraq
“…The Defense Department is making a big lump sum request of $500 million for humanitarian assistance to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa and to address the suffering the Islamic State is inflicting upon Iraqis and Syrians. The documents do not delineate how much goes into each pot but offer new details on the Defense Department’s plans to combat Ebola, which has claimed 2,300 lives in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone…” (Brannen, 9/10).

Link to individual story

Lack Of Funding Hampered Ebola Vaccine Development, NIH Director Says

CQ HealthBeat: Ebola Vaccine Delayed by Lack of Funding, NIH Director Says
“An Ebola vaccine could have been available to respond to the current outbreak in West Africa if Congress had kept the National Institutes of Health’s budget growing in the past decade at the same rates as its basic expenses, the organization’s chief said. Promising Ebola research has been hampered by the intense battles for funding within NIH, said its director, Francis S. Collins, on Wednesday…” (Young, 9/10).

Link to individual story

U.S. Donates 5 Ambulances To Sierra Leone For Ebola Response

Associated Press: U.S. gives ambulances to Sierra Leone to fight Ebola
“…The United States donated five ambulances Wednesday to help Sierra Leone’s fight against Ebola as the West African government acknowledged it can take up to 24 hours to pick up bodies in the spiraling crisis…” (Roy-Macaulay/Kargbo, 9/10).

Link to individual story

U.N. Humanitarian Chief Allocates $4M To Support Ebola Operations In West Africa

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: U.N. relief chief allocates $4 million to bolster aid deliveries in West Africa
“To help offset disruptions in aid delivery caused by travel restrictions on Ebola-affected countries, the top United Nations relief official today approved an emergency allocation of nearly $4 million for the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) to support operations in West Africa…” (9/10).

Link to individual story

Economic Growth Projections Cut For Ebola-Affected West African Nations

News outlets report on the impact of the Ebola outbreak on West African economies.

Agence France-Presse: Health services, economies overwhelmed in Ebola-hit Africa
“Sierra Leone, which has reported some 500 deaths from 1,400 cases, said the crisis had devastated its economy, with growth pared back to single digits for the first time since the country’s mining boom started in 2011. Finance Minister Kaifala Samura told reporters in the capital Freetown growth had slowed to seven percent on-year since the country registered its first cases in May…” (Dosso, 9/10).

Reuters: Economic growth forecasts cut for Ebola-hit West African nations
“Sierra Leone has cut its 2014 economic growth forecast to seven or eight percent as an Ebola outbreak cripples business in the iron ore-exporting West African country, the government said on Wednesday…” (Fofana, 9/10).

Link to individual story

Oxford Model Predicts 15 More Countries At Risk Of Ebola Emergence

Washington Post: Oxford study predicts 15 more countries are at risk of Ebola exposure
“Until this year’s epidemic, Ebola did not exist in West Africa. Now with nearly 2,300 people dead from the virus, mostly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, scientists still don’t fully understand how Ebola arrived from Central Africa, where outbreaks of this strain of the virus had occurred in the past. A new model by Oxford University, published in the journal eLife, takes a look at the most likely explanation — that Ebola’s animal reservoir, fruit bats, could spread the disease in the animal kingdom and to humans through the dense forest that spans 22 countries…” (Phillip, 9/9).

Link to individual story

Questions Raised Over Plausibility Of Ebola Being Used As Bioweapon

New York Times: Stabbing With Syringe in Nigeria Raises Concerns of Ebola as Weapon
“A federal air marshal was stabbed with a syringe at the airport in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday, an incident that is raising concerns about whether the deadly Ebola virus could be harvested from the widespread outbreak in West Africa and used as a bioweapon…” (Pollack, 9/10).

Link to individual story

Ebola Highlights Necessity To Develop NTD Treatments

Reuters: Ebola highlights slow progress in war on tropical diseases
“Some of the world’s most gruesome diseases are finally getting a bit of attention. The worst-ever Ebola outbreak, which has already killed at least 2,296 people in West Africa, has triggered a scramble to develop the first drug or vaccine for a deadly disease that was discovered nearly 40 years ago in the forests of Central Africa…” (Hirschler, 9/11).

Link to individual story

Humanitarian Assistance In 2014 On Track To Match Or Set Record High

Devex: Humanitarian assistance in 2014: Another record high?
“It’s looking more and more like humanitarian assistance in 2014 will match — if not top — 2013 figures. Last year, funding for emergencies soared to a record of $22 billion, nearly $5 billion more than in the previous year, according to the latest Global Humanitarian Assistance report launched Wednesday…” (Villarino, 9/10).

Link to individual story

Indonesia Must Plug $30M Funding Gap To Address HIV, U.N. Official Says

Reuters: Indonesia’s new president must fill funding gap in HIV fight — U.N.
“Indonesia, one of only three countries in the Asia-Pacific region that is seeing a trend of increased HIV infections, must plug a $30 million funding gap in its fight against HIV, a U.N. health official said on Wednesday…” (Taylor, 9/10).

Link to individual story

Number Of Dengue Cases In Manila, Philippines, Down 75%, Official Says

Xinhua/GlobalPost: Dengue cases in Philippine capital down by 75 pct: official
“Dengue cases in Metro Manila, Philippines, significantly declined in the first eight months of this year due to massive clean-up activities and information campaign, a senior government official said Wednesday…” (9/10).

Link to individual story

Human Rights Advocates Urge Gambian President To Reject Anti-Gay Bill

Agence France-Presse: Gambia urged to drop life sentences for gays
“Rights campaigners called Wednesday for Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to reject proposals by lawmakers to introduce a punishment of life in prison for ‘aggravated homosexuality.’ Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a joint statement that a bill passed by parliament on August 25 could be used to target ‘repeat offenders’ and people living with HIV…” (9/10).

Link to individual story

Traditional Leader Promotes Maternal Health In Niger

Inter Press Service: Will You be Chief? How Niger’s Traditional Leaders are Promoting Maternal Health
“…Yahya Louche is the chief of Bande [in Niger] and he stops to talk to IPS about maternal health and the importance of involving men. ‘I am a member of the School of Husbands,’ Louche says of the informal institution that brings together married men to discuss the gains of reproductive health, family planning and empowerment…” (Erakit, 9/11).

Link to individual story

Guardian Panel Discusses Funding Food Aid To N. Korea

The Guardian: Should the world fund food aid to North Korea?
“Pyongyang presses on with its nuclear program and prestige projects while millions remain malnourished. Our expert panel asks whether donations are the best response…” (9/10).

Link to individual story

Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Response To Ebola Outbreak

An editorial and several opinion pieces discuss ongoing issues in the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Nature: Ebola: time to act
Editorial Board

“…It cannot be repeated enough that public health measures and good old-fashioned epidemiological tracking of the infected and their contacts will bring this outbreak to an end. The priority must be to scale these up, alongside establishing more Ebola treatment centers on the ground. … West Africa’s outbreak illustrates the serious weaknesses in the international community’s ability to respond to outbreaks of emerging diseases, despite years of debate. It should also hammer home a truism for future planning — the costs of setting up infrastructure to ensure an early response are small compared with the huge social and economic costs of a large deadly disease outbreak” (9/9).

New England Journal of Medicine: Ebola Then and Now
Joel Breman and Karl Johnson of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health

“…In the current Ebola epidemic, we believe that the main priorities should be adequate staff for rigorous identification, surveillance, and care of patients and primary contacts; strict isolation of patients; good clinical care; and rapid, culturally sensitive disposal of infectious cadavers. Timely control will require convincing community leaders and health staff that isolation and rapid burial practices are mandatory; that patients can be cared for safely in improved local conditions; and that only trained, qualified, and properly equipped health staff should have patient contact. These steps from the first Ebola outbreak may help bring the current epidemic under control. We also await key virologic, clinical, epidemiologic, and anthropologic descriptions of the epidemic — which will permit comparison with the other Ebola outbreaks that have occurred since 1976 and help us prepare for future outbreaks” (9/10).

Foreign Policy: The Ultimate Ebola-Fighting Force
Jack Chow, professor at the Heinz College School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University

“…Neither the cluster of industrial countries that gives health aid to poor countries, such as those in the G7, nor international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) possess an at-the-ready, deployable battalion with trained health care teams, protective gear, and ample supplies of medicines. That needs to change. … The virulence of diseases like Ebola, along with porous borders and the velocity of global movement, are all factors combining to spark a new wave of dangerous flashdemics. It is essential to rethink how a concerted global health defense can be mounted against today’s most potent threats. A global health emergency corps is clearly insurance worth attaining” (9/10).

Nature: Make diagnostic centers a priority for Ebola crisis
J. Daniel Kelly, infectious disease fellow at the University of California, San Francisco

“…[T]he desperate shortage of Ebola diagnostic centers in Sierra Leone is fueling the Ebola outbreak. … If Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation could scale up diagnostic facilities, it would reduce fear and help to curb transmission from very sick people who are reluctant to seek treatment. … We need to minimize delays in care and if we cannot speed up the health system’s lethargy, then we need to bring diagnostics closer to the people. That means we need more diagnostic sites. So far, all such sites have been developed as adjunctive services to treatment centers. … One of the challenges is the need to standardize equipment, techniques, and results. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation wants standard diagnostics, and international agencies such as the CDC and the WHO agree. Standardization takes time, but it is necessary…” (9/9).

Washington Post: Ebola funding shouldn’t come at the expense of other global health concerns
Christine Sow, executive director of the Global Health Council

“…[M]oney already allocated for global health would fund the [U.S. Ebola] response, meaning less money for tuberculosis and malaria and depleted funds for health systems serving children and families in developing countries. Redirecting funds would be a shortsighted strategy to respond to a rapidly growing crisis. The U.S. government must provide funding and leadership commensurate with the Ebola emergency while maintaining the country’s place as a global leader in the fight on child and maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS” (9/10).

Link to individual story

SDGs Must Contain Clear Goals, Practical Targets

New York Times: How to Prioritize U.N. Goals
Abhijit Banerjee, international professor of economics at MIT, and Varad Pande, sustainability science fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School

“…What is needed now is a clear, concise set of objectives [for the Sustainable Development Goals]. Without them, the entire project is in very real danger of failing. If nations can simply ignore the imperatives on the grounds that they are too many, too grandiose and too far out of touch with countries’ limited resources and ability to effect change, the development goals will just be another pious hope in the long list of United Nations-sponsored fantasies. … The United Nations General Assembly has its work cut out. It must balance ambition with practicality. It must devise a tight agenda for the world to collectively strive toward…” (9/10).

Link to individual story

International Cooperation Needed To Address Humanitarian Crises In Syria, Iraq

The following opinion pieces discuss issues surrounding the humanitarian crises in Iraq and Syria.

Huffington Post: Iraq, Syria Plan Must Include Food for Hungry
William Lambers, author and blogger

“As President Obama sets forth a plan to destroy the terrorist army ISIL, a broader initiative must be in place to fight hunger. … Iraqis need freedom from the violence brought on by ISIL. They also need freedom from the hunger and want that is devastating their lives. International cooperation will be key. WFP depends on voluntary donations for its hunger relief missions. The U.S. Food for Peace program is the largest single WFP donor. Saudi Arabia recently made a large donation to WFP operations in Iraq. Many nations have to be involved to provide food for Iraqi war victims. Iraq is also home to refugees from the civil war in Syria…” (9/10).

Washington Post: How the U.S. is falling short as Syria’s humanitarian crisis rages
Rick Noack, foreign affairs journalist and Arthur F. Burns Fellow at the Washington Post

“While the Obama administration struggles to decide on military intervention against the Islamic State in Syria, it is also running the risk of ignoring the humanitarian crisis in the country. On Tuesday, an Oxfam Briefing Paper accused the international community of failing Syria on three fronts, citing insufficient aid, meager resettlement offers, and continued arms transfers. The report warns that only half of the $7.7 billion in humanitarian appeals for the country have been funded…” (9/10).

Link to individual story

From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Post Discusses IAS Journal Supplement On Women, HIV Prevention

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: Microbicides and other ARV-based prevention: Biomedical answers meet challenges on the ground
Antigone Barton, writer and editor of “Science Speaks” and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses a new supplement from the Journal of the International AIDS Society, titled “Women and ARV-based Prevention: Opportunities and Challenges” (9/10).

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.