KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama To Receive Ebola Briefing At CDC, Announce More Robust U.S. Response, Sources Say

News outlets report on President Obama’s scheduled briefing on Tuesday at the CDC focusing on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the U.S. response.

Fresno Bee: Obama to visit CDC for Ebola briefing
“President Barack Obama will head to Atlanta on Tuesday to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and attend a briefing on the outbreak of the Ebola virus that has devastated parts of West Africa…” (Clark, 9/12).

The Hill: CDC to brief Obama on Ebola, respiratory illness
“President Obama will be briefed on the Ebola outbreak on Tuesday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta, the White House said Sunday. That briefing will include the U.S. response to the outbreak in West Africa, the White House added…” (Balluck, 9/14).

The Hill: GOP wants Obama assurances on Ebola
“Six Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked the Obama administration on Friday to verify that officials have ‘adequate plans in place’ to protect the U.S. from the international Ebola outbreak. The GOP lawmakers penned a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell seeking more details about the money and resources dedicated to combating the disease both abroad and at home…” (Ferris, 9/12).

Politico: President Obama to get Ebola briefing at CDC
“President Barack Obama will visit the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta on Tuesday to get an update on the Ebola crisis in West Africa…” (Kenen, 9/12).

Reuters: Obama to detail plans on Ebola offensive on Tuesday: WSJ
“U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to detail on Tuesday a plan to boost his country’s involvement in mitigating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday…” (9/14).

Wall Street Journal: Obama Plans Major Ebola Offensive
“President Barack Obama plans to dramatically boost the U.S. effort to mitigate the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including greater involvement of the U.S. military, people familiar with the proposal said…” (Lee/Mckay, 9/15).

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Liberia's President Appeals To U.S. For Help In Ebola Outbreak As Liberians Turned Away At Clinics

News outlets report on the Liberian president’s pleas for the U.S. to assist the nation in containing the Ebola outbreak, as patients are turned away at health care facilities.

The Hill: Liberian president appeals directly to Obama for Ebola help
“Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appealed directly to President Obama for help in combating the Ebola epidemic in her country…” (Shabad, 9/13).

New York Times: Liberian President Pleads With Obama for Assistance in Combating Ebola
“…In a letter on Tuesday to Mr. Obama, Ms. Johnson Sirleaf wrote that ‘I am being honest with you when I say that at this rate, we will never break the transmission chain and the virus will overwhelm us.’ She urgently requested 1,500 additional beds in new hospitals across the country and urged that the United States military set up and run a 100-bed Ebola hospital in the besieged capital, Monrovia…” (Cooper, 9/12).

Reuters: Liberia president sacks 10 officials told to return to fight Ebola
“Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sacked 10 senior officials because they failed to heed a warning to return from overseas travel to help the government’s fight against an Ebola epidemic that has killed at least 1,100 Liberians…” (Giahyue, 9/14).

Washington Post: As Ebola cases accelerate, Liberia’s sick must fend for themselves
“…With each day, the small group of caregivers trying to cope with the worst outbreak of Ebola on record falls further and further behind as the pace of the virus’s transmission rapidly accelerates. Health facilities are full, and an increasing number of infected people are being turned away, left to fend for themselves…” (Bernstein, 9/13).

Washington Post: In Ebola-ravaged Liberia, churches serve as a last gathering place
“…Formal gatherings of any kind are discouraged in Liberia these days, because the lethal Ebola virus is spread by contact with other people’s body fluids, including sweat and saliva. … But people in their best clothes could be seen everywhere in Monrovia on Sunday, heading to one place where they might find some solace together. Religion plays a major part in Liberian life…” (Bernstein, 9/14).

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News Outlets Discuss U.S. Efforts In Helping Contain West African Ebola Outbreak

News outlets report on U.S. efforts to assist West African countries in containing the Ebola outbreak.

Associated Press: U.S. works to step up Ebola aid, but is it enough?
“The American strategy on Ebola is two-pronged: Step up desperately needed aid to West Africa and, in an unusual step, train U.S. doctors and nurses for volunteer duty in the outbreak zone. At home, the goal is to speed up medical research and put hospitals on alert should an infected traveler arrive. With growing criticism that the world still is not acting fast enough against the surging Ebola epidemic, President Barack Obama has called the outbreak a national security priority…” (Neergaard, 9/15).

NPR: USAID Steps Up Building Of New Ebola Treatment Units
“Dr. Rajiv Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, speaks with NPR’s Lynn Neary about the organization’s efforts to coordinate a worldwide response to the Ebola crisis…” (Neary, 9/14).

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U.S. To Train Liberian Armed Forces To Assist Ebola Isolation Operations

Reuters: U.S. to train Liberian armed forces to help tackle Ebola crisis
“The United States said on Friday it would train Liberia’s security forces to assist in isolation operations to tackle an Ebola epidemic ravaging the West African nation, after a boy was killed when soldiers opened fire on a protest last month…” (Snyder/Fofana, 9/12).

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Ban Welcomes Boost In Ebola Response, Urges Greater Support To Affected Countries

U.N. News Centre: Welcoming boost in Ebola response, Ban urges greater global support to fight epidemic
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Friday] welcomed signs of solidarity in the fight against the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and called on all countries and organizations to move swiftly to support the governments of the countries affected…” (9/12).

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Additional Assistance Announced For West African Nations' Ebola Efforts

News outlets report on several announcements of additional international assistance for the West African Ebola outbreak.

Reuters: AfDB offers $150 million to help West Africa handle Ebola fallout: Le Monde
“The African Development Bank (AfDB) told West African countries hardest hit by an Ebola epidemic they were willing to give $150 million to help balance their public finances, but they must first show they are doing everything possible to improve their health systems…” (Irish, 9/13).

Reuters: Malaysia to send 20 million medical gloves to fight Ebola
“Malaysia will send more than 20 million medical rubber gloves to five African nations battling the deadly Ebola virus, addressing a crucial shortage faced by overwhelmed health workers, the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Monday…” (Grudgings, 9/15).

Agence France-Presse: Cuba’s Ebola aid latest example of ‘medical diplomacy’
“Cuba’s pledge to deploy a 165-strong army of doctors and nurses to help fight the Ebola outbreak is the latest example of the Communist country’s decades-old tradition of ‘medical diplomacy.’ Since 1960, when Cuba dispatched a team of doctors to help with the aftermath of an earthquake in Chile, the Caribbean island has sent more than 135,000 medical staff to all corners of the globe…” (Diaz, 9/13).

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Researchers Say Ebola Fight Will Be Long, Examine Old, Novel Therapies To Treat Patients

News outlets report on scientists’ predictions that it will take at least one year to contain the West African Ebola outbreak, as well as their work to develop treatments from new and old technologies.

New York Times: U.S. Scientists See Long Fight Against Ebola
“The deadly Ebola outbreak sweeping across three countries in West Africa is likely to last 12 to 18 months more, much longer than anticipated, and could infect hundreds of thousands of people before it is brought under control, say scientists mapping its spread for the federal government…” (Grady, 9/12).

Politico: Ebola crisis forces new look at old therapies
“…The use of convalescent plasma is highly experimental, potentially dangerous — and a very old treatment. It reappears in desperate times such as these, where despite tens of millions of U.S. dollars donated for supplies and speedier drug and vaccine research, Ebola rampages out of control. There’s even an emerging black market for the blood of Ebola survivors, according to the World Heath Organization…” (Allen, 9/14).

Reuters: First person in U.K. trial to get experimental Ebola shot next week
“The first human volunteer in a fast-tracked British safety trial of an experimental vaccine to fight Ebola is to be injected with the shot next week, organizers of the trial said on Friday. The candidate Ebola vaccine is being co-developed by the United States National Institutes of Health and the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline…” (Kelland, 9/12).

VOA News: Health Care Specialists Consider Different Treatments for Ebola
“…Another potential approach is to test existing drugs that may help Ebola patients. Many of these are generic and inexpensive. A New York Times editorial suggests medications that are already used to disable other viruses, as well as drugs that modulate the immune system’s inflammatory response…” (Eagle, 9/13).

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Sierra Leone Loses 4th Doctor To Ebola After WHO Refuses Evacuation; Dutch Evacuate Two Physicians

News outlets report on the care of physicians who become infected with Ebola, including a fourth Sierra Leonean doctor who passed away after being refused evacuation by the WHO.

Agence France-Presse: Dutch Ebola doctors ‘to be evacuated on Sunday’
“Two Dutch doctors feared to have contracted the deadly Ebola virus while working in Sierra Leone are set to be flown back to the Netherlands ‘as soon as possible,’ the foreign ministry said Saturday…” (9/13).

Agence France-Presse: Fourth Sierra Leonean doctor dies from Ebola
“A fourth Sierra Leonean doctor, a woman, died Sunday after contracting the dreaded Ebola virus, a top health official said, while a Dutch charity repatriated two doctors suspected of having been contaminated with the disease…” (9/14).

Associated Press: 4th doctor dies of Ebola in Sierra Leone
“Sierra Leone has lost a fourth doctor to Ebola after a failed effort to transfer her abroad for medical treatment, a government official said Sunday, a huge setback to the impoverished country that is battling the virulent disease amid a shortage of health care workers. Dr. Olivet Buck died late Saturday, hours after the World Health Organization said it could not help medically evacuate her to Germany, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brima Kargbo confirmed to the Associated Press…” (Roy-Macaulay, 9/14).

Washington Post: Sierra Leone loses fourth doctor to Ebola. WHO declined to fly her out of the country for treatment.
“…Buck was head of the Lumley Health Centre in a dense suburb west of Freetown, the capital. She tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, apparently contracting it as she treated an Ebola patient, Reuters reported…” (Barbash, 9/15).

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News Outlets Profile Individuals Working To Contain Ebola Outbreak

News outlets report on individuals working in West Africa to help contain Ebola.

New York Times: Back to the Slums of His Youth, to Defuse the Ebola Time Bomb
“…[Dr. Mosoka] Fallah, an epidemiologist and immunologist who grew up in Monrovia’s poorest neighborhoods before studying at Harvard, has been crisscrossing the capital … Neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, shack by shack, he is battling the disease across this crowded capital, seeking the cooperation of residents who are deeply distrustful of the government and its faltering response to the deadliest Ebola epidemic ever recorded…” (Onishi, 9/13).

Washington Post: A virus hunter faces the big one: Ebola
“Joseph Fair hunts viruses. That’s his thing. The 37-year-old American loves chasing dangerous pathogens, studying them in secure labs or searching for them in jungles where the microbes lurk. … Now, Fair is back in West Africa, in the middle of the worst Ebola outbreak in history…” (Frankel, 9/14).

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USAID Investing In Start-Ups To Address Global Poverty

Los Angeles Times: USAID is incubating start-ups to tackle poverty problems
“To accomplish that goal [of ending extreme poverty], USAID has taken on the role of start-up incubator. The agency has launched development labs at seven major universities to draw students and faculty into collaborations aimed at building new approaches to global poverty. Like any other venture capital investor, USAID seeks out projects that have potential to be economically viable and stand on their own once the start-up dollars run dry…” (Halper, 9/13).

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U.K. MPs Back Law To Commit 0.7% Of National Income To Foreign Aid

The Guardian: MPs back law committing 0.7% of national income to foreign aid
“The U.K. is a step closer to having laws that commit 0.7 percent of national income to foreign aid after the Conservatives finally backed a Liberal Democrat bill that is also supported by Labour…” (Mason, 9/12).

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Gilead Raises Price Of New HCV Drug As It Issues Licenses To India-Based Generic Drugmakers

News outlets report on Gilead’s announcement that it will raise the price of its next generation of hepatitis C drug Sovaldi and its agreement to license the current drug to India-based drugmakers to sell at lower prices.

Reuters: Gilead to raise price for new hepatitis C drug above $84,000
“The next generation version of Gilead Sciences Inc’s $84,000 hepatitis C drug, already under fire for its record-breaking costs, is going to be even more expensive. Gregg Alton, Gilead’s executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs, declined to give an exact price for the new medicine, the first all-oral treatment for the virus which is expected to launch next month…” (Beasley, 9/12).

Reuters: Gilead signs pact with 7 firms for cheap copies of hepatitis C drug
“U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc has agreed to license its hepatitis C drug Sovaldi to seven India-based drugmakers to sell cheaper versions of the $1,000-a-pill medicine in 91 developing nations including India…” (Kalra/Siddiqui, 9/15).

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WFP To Launch Food Aid Operation In Ukraine

News outlets report on the World Food Programme’s announcement that it would launch its first food operation to communities affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

Agence France-Presse: U.N. begins food aid to Ukraine’s war-torn east
“The U.N.’s World Food Programme announced Friday the launch of its first food aid operation in Ukraine, saying it had begun distributing rations in the country’s conflict-torn east…” (9/12).

U.N. News Centre: Ukraine: U.N. agency launches emergency food aid operation in country’s east
“The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is rolling out its first operation in Ukraine, providing food assistance to vulnerable people affected by the conflict with distributions in transit centers and public shelters in Donetsk and Luhansk in the country’s east…” (9/12).

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Number Of Child Marriages Increase In Jordan Refugee Camps

New York Times: In Jordan, Ever Younger Syrian Brides
“…For many Syrians stuck in Jordan’s squalid and sometimes dangerous refugee camps, marrying girls off at younger and younger ages is increasingly being seen as a necessity — a way of easing the financial burden on families with little or no income and allaying fears of rape and sexual harassment in makeshift living spaces where it is harder to enforce the rule of law. As a result, UNICEF says, the number of marriages involving girls younger than 18 has ballooned since the war in Syria started…” (Sweis, 9/13).

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Mobile Technology Helping HCWs In South Africa

SciDev.Net: Mobile technology supports frontline health workers
“Primary health care in South Africa is notoriously overstretched and under-resourced, making the daily demands of record-keeping, home visits and patient monitoring a challenge for workers. Telemedicine — the remote provision of health care using information and communications technology (ICT) — holds great promise for a country with a shortage of health care workers. It is also an opportunity for innovative private-service providers…” (Makoni, 9/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

U.S. Must Step Up Efforts To Help West African Nations Address Ebola

New York Times: The Sluggish Fight Against Ebola
Editorial Board

“Efforts by the United States, other nations and international organizations to curb the widening epidemic of Ebola in West Africa are falling short — too little help arriving too late. … The United States can do better than this. Even with its increased responsibilities in the Middle East, the Pentagon surely has enough logistical and technical resources to greatly augment aid to the Ebola-stricken countries. The United States offered prompt and vigorous support after an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010 and a tsunami struck Indonesia in 2004. It needs to do the same now. The main reason to mount an all-out response is humanitarian — to save impoverished people from agonizing illness and death, and fragile societies and economies from destruction…” (9/12).

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Development Efforts Should Focus On Women, Girls

The following opinion pieces discuss focusing development efforts around women and adolescent girls.

Huffington Post: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development
Gary Darmstadt, senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…In this week’s issue of the prestigious magazine Science, Melinda Gates weaves together her personal experience and journey of learning that has resulted in her call for our foundation to address gender issues more intentionally in our work. … Many of our program teams have been working intentionally to address gender issues, but we recognize that we can do more. We will be making additional investments in the near future, for example in a new Grand Challenge that will be launched in early October. It’s an exciting evolution in our organization. Most importantly, it’s a change that will position us to more effectively engage with partner organizations working to enable women and girls around the globe to improve their well-being and that of their families, societies, and our world” (9/12).

Inter Press Service: Investing in Adolescent Girls for Africa’s Development
Hinda Deby Itno, first lady of the Republic of Chad and president of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS, and Julirra Onabanjo, UNFPA’s regional director for East and Southern Africa

“…Today’s adolescents, connected to each other like never before, can be a significant source of social progress and cultural change. But they are also facing multiple challenges that seriously impact their future. And nowhere in the world do adolescents confront as formidable barriers to their full development as in Africa. … International institutions need to increase their commitments to adolescents, and address the nagging problems that confront adolescent girls and women across the African continent. Adolescents have the potential to shape their world and indeed, the world in its entirety. It is in our interest to connect with them and enable them to change our world…” (9/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

U.N. Foundation Announces Formation Of Ebola Response Fund

United Nations Foundation: U.N. Foundation Launches Fund to Support United Nations’ Ebola Response
“[On Friday,] the United Nations Foundation, in coordination with U.N. partners, announced a special fund that will enable individuals, corporations, and civil society organizations to directly support U.N. entities engaged in the Ebola outbreak response in West Africa. … Contributions to the U.N. Foundation Ebola Response Fund will be channeled exclusively to U.N. entities. The Fund will initially direct donations principally to WHO, given its significant funding needs…” (9/12).

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Senegal's Ebola Situation 'Stable,' WHO Reports

WHO: Ebola situation in Senegal remains stable
“The situation in Senegal, which confirmed its first case of Ebola virus disease on 29 August, remains stable. To date, 67 close contacts of the initial case have been identified and monitored twice daily…” (9/12).

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Global Health Integrally Linked With G20 Development Goals

Development Policy Centre’s “Devpolicy” Blog: The G20 and global health — towards convergence?
Sam Byfield, who works on non-communicable diseases at the Nossal Institute for Global Health, discusses the link between global health efforts and the G20’s development agenda (9/12).

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