KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. To Hold High-Level Meeting On Ebola As Aid Mission Gets Underway

News outlets report U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced plans to hold a meeting on Ebola among world leaders, as the U.N.’s relief mission gets underway in West Africa.

U.N. News Centre: Ban to convene meeting of world leaders on tackling Ebola outbreak
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced he will convene a meeting of world leaders this week on a response to the Ebola outbreak as new studies warn of an exponential climb in the coming weeks unless swift action is taken to control the spread of the virus…” (9/23).

Wall Street Journal: Ghana Leader Says Ebola Relief Effort to Deploy Quickly
“The United Nations will rapidly deploy its Ebola relief effort in West Africa, said Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, whose country agreed to be the hub for the international push…” (Salvaterra, 9/23).

Xinhua/Shanghai Daily: U.N. chief appoints special envoy for Ebola, head of UNMEER
“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday announced the appointment of David Nabarro as his Special Envoy for Ebola and Anthony Banbury as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER)…” (9/24).

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Media Sources Continue To Report On CDC, WHO Estimates Of Ebola's Spread

News outlets continue to report on CDC and WHO predictions of the growth of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The Atlantic: Chasing Ebola (Elliot, 9/23).
CQ HealthBeat: CDC Says Swift Global Response May Stem Ebola Outbreak (Reichard, 9/23).
The Hill: CDC: Ebola cases could hit 1.4M by January (Viebeck, 9/23).
NPR: Dire Predictions On Ebola’s Spread From Top Health Organizations (Doucleff, 9/23).
Politico: CDC worst case scenario for Ebola: 1.4 million cases (Levine, 9/23).
Reuters: U.S. forecasts more than 500,000 Ebola cases in West Africa (Begley/Miles, 9/23).
Reuters: Ever-present endemic Ebola now major concern for disease experts (Kelland, 9/23).
ScienceInsider: WHO, CDC publish grim new Ebola projections (Kupferschmidt, 9/23).
Scientific American: New Figures Paint Even Bleaker Picture for Ebola Crisis (Maron, 9/23).
Wall Street Journal: Ebola Virus Cases May Hit 1.4 Million by Winter, U.S. Warns (McKay, 9/23).

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More HCWs Dead From Ebola Than Previously Thought, WHO Says

Reuters: WHO revises up number of health workers killed by Ebola in Sierra Leone
“Thirty more health care workers have died of Ebola in Sierra Leone than previously thought, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, suggesting the risk to medical staff may have been understated…” (Miles, 9/23).

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E.U., U.S. Assess Readiness To Contain Ebola Within Their Borders

News outlets report on E.U. and U.S. preparedness to contain Ebola if the disease were to reach their borders.

Associated Press: Ebola threat to E.U. is ‘low’ but readiness needed
“E.U. health ministers say the chance that the deadly Ebola virus might spread to Europe is ‘low’ but that they must improve coordination and prevention measures just in case. The ministers ended a two-day meeting in Milan on Tuesday amid concerns in Italy that the virus might spread here thanks to the thousands of Africans who arrive via smugglers’ boats every day…” (9/23).

Politico: How prepared is U.S. for Ebola?
“…Should a case be identified in the United States, the public health system’s job would be to limit any spread through contact tracing, surveillance and, if necessary, isolation. It’s a well-established approach that seems to have contained the disease in two of the affected African countries, Nigeria and Senegal, where no new infections have been reported since Sept. 5…” (Kenen/Levine, 9/24).

Reuters: U.S. hospitals unprepared to handle Ebola waste
“U.S. hospitals may be unprepared to safely dispose of the infectious waste generated by any Ebola virus disease patient to arrive unannounced in the country, potentially putting the wider community at risk, biosafety experts said…” (Steenhuysen, 9/24).

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Pope Francis, International Aid Groups Call For Increased Ebola Efforts In West Africa

News outlets report on calls for greater assistance in West African nations hit by Ebola.

Associated Press: Pope urges international aid to fight Ebola
“Pope Francis is urging international assistance to fight the Ebola virus in Africa. Francis also urged the 30,000 people who attended his weekly general audience on Wednesday to pray for the victims…” (9/24).

Reuters: Aid groups urge faster, grassroots Ebola response as world leaders meet
“…Aid agencies and nonprofit groups working on the Ebola frontlines in worst-hit Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea said they urgently need world leaders at the [U.N. General Assembly] session to deliver on three fronts: more isolation centers, both for intensive medical care and for basic care in the communities; more health care workers; and more equipment, protective gear, disinfectant, and other supplies…” (Dawson, 9/23).

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Liberia Struggles With HCW, Food Shortages Amid Ebola Outbreak

News outlets report on Liberia’s continuing shortage of health care workers and increasing threats to food security as Ebola continues to spread.

Reuters: Liberia facing massive shortage of foreign help against Ebola: U.N.
“Liberia, the West African state hardest-hit by the worst Ebola outbreak in history, remains gravely short of foreign health care workers despite repeated pleas for help, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday. … Antonio Vigilante, head of the U.N. Development Programme in Liberia, said 40,000 community workers needed to be trained and the country still had far too few foreign experts…” (Miles/Nebehay, 9/23).

VOA News: Ebola Weakens Liberia Food Security
“…Fourteen of the [Liberia’s] 15 counties have been affected. Some of the first cases in Liberia were reported in northern Lofa County. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said the outbreak has had a big effect on food security there…” (DeCapua, 9/23).

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Obama Announces Executive Order Aimed At Environmental Sustainability In Development, Other Climate Change Actions

News outlets discuss U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech at the U.N. Climate Summit and new U.S. actions on climate change, as well as other speeches and developments related to the summit.

Foreign Policy: Obama to World Leaders: ‘Nobody Gets a Pass’ on Climate Change
“Speaking at a special climate summit at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, President Barack Obama on Tuesday unveiled a set of new initiatives to help developing countries deal with the effects of climate change and called on world leaders to reach an agreement to limit carbon emissions by the end of next year…” (McCormick, 9/23).

Politico: Obama at climate summit: ‘We have to lead’
“…The speech came as the White House announced a series of measures to boost global resilience to the effects of climate change, including an executive order signed Tuesday, and the U.S. and other nations announced initiatives to address pieces of the problem through efforts like sustainable agriculture…” (Schor/King, 9/23).

Salon: What Obama said (and didn’t say) at the U.N. Climate Summit
“…As predicted, Obama didn’t announce any new emissions commitments, saying those will come next year. He did, however, announce a new executive order requiring federal agencies to take environmental sustainability into consideration when designing international development programs (Oxfam America noted, in a statement to the media, that USAID has already been doing this since 2012, but added that ‘it is promising that other U.S. funded agencies will begin to do the same’)…” (Abrams, 9/23).

Reuters: U.N. Women chief: Climate change impacts fall hardest on women
“Women must take a greater leadership role in fighting climate change because its effects fall hardest on women, the head of U.N. Women said this week. … She spoke on Monday at the start of a discussion focused on the needs of women in terms of climate policy…” (Anderson, 9/24).

Reuters: U.N. climate summit sets goals to save forests, use clean energy
“A United Nations summit on climate change agreed on Tuesday to widen the use of renewable energy and raise billions of dollars in aid for developing countries in an effort to increase the prospects for a wide-ranging deal to slow global warming…” (Doyle, 9/23).

U.N. News Centre: Leaders at U.N. summit take steps to ensure food security for 9 billion people by 2050
“…[On Tuesday], at the biggest climate conference in history, more than 20 governments, and 30 organizations and companies announced they would join the newly launched Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, which aims to enable 500 million farmers worldwide to practice climate-smart agriculture…” (9/23).

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Obama To Meet With Ugandan UNGA President Who Defends Anti-Gay Legislation

Foreign Policy: Obama to Meet With Ugandan Defender of Harsh Anti-Gay Law at United Nations
“President Barack Obama will meet with Sam Kutesa, the controversial Ugandan diplomat serving as president of the United Nations General Assembly, on Wednesday in a move that is sure to frustrate rights activists who say Kutesa’s support for virulently anti-gay legislation makes him unfit to lead the world’s parliament…” (McCormick, 9/23).

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Denmark, Netherlands Launch Fund To Support Sexual, Reproductive Health Groups

The Guardian: Denmark and Netherlands launch fund for sexual health groups
“A €15m (£12m) fund to support small, grassroots organizations that are defending sexual and reproductive health and rights was launched in New York on Monday. The Amplify Change fund, financed by the Danish and Dutch governments, along with the David and Lucile Packard and William and Flora Hewlett foundations, will provide a new stream of cash for local groups that often fail to attract finance for their work from mainstream donors for political or religious reasons, or because the size of the organizations deem them too risky an investment…” (Ford, 9/23).

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Sexual, Reproductive Rights Essential To Sustainable Development, UNFPA Head Says

Inter Press Service: Sexual & Reproductive Rights are Human Rights, Says UNFPA Head
“Addressing a special session of the U.N. General Assembly on the 20th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the Executive Director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said … [s]exual and reproductive health and reproductive rights are universal human rights. They are also central to sustainability, gender equality, and the empowerment of women. But for many, the right to sexual and reproductive health is still not a reality…” (9/22).

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Clean Water, Sanitation Critical In Post-2015 Development Planning

News outlets report on issues surrounding access to clean water and the importance of including the issue in the post-2015 development agenda.

The Guardian: Expert calls for moral crusade to bring clean water and sanitation to billions
“A moral crusade similar to the campaign to abolish slavery will be needed if the world’s latest attempt to bring clean water and sanitation to hundreds of millions of people is to succeed, a global expert has warned…” (Jones, 9/24).

Inter Press Service: Water: A Defining Issue for Post-2015
“…As United Nations agencies and member states inch closer to agreeing on a new set of development targets to replace the soon-to-expire Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need to include water in post-2015 development planning is more urgent than ever…” (Perera, 8/23).

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Campaign To Reduce Maternal Mortality Using Mobile Technology Launched

Media sources report on the launch of a new campaign, Zero Mothers Die, aimed at reducing maternal mortality by providing mothers with access to health care information through mobile phones.

Newsweek: The $30 Pink Cellphone That Could Help Save the Lives of Pregnant Women
“A new campaign launched Monday is hoping to reduce deaths of expectant mothers in developing countries by providing them with mobile phones loaded with health advice and emergency numbers. The Zero Mothers Die campaign, launched at the Global Sustainable Development Foundation meeting at the United Nations on Monday, aims to improve the lives of pregnant women by giving them access to vital health care information through mobile phones they have dubbed ‘Mum’s Phone’…” (Westcott, 9/23).

UNAIDS: Zero Mothers Die: bold new initiative launched at U.N. General Assembly event
“…Unveiled at the 5th Women Leaders Forum on 22 September, the campaign seeks to ensure that all women and girls have universal access to information and services supporting maternal, newborn, and child health. Zero Mothers Die intends to use information and communications technologies, including mobile technology, to deliver timely health care information to women in need…” (9/22).

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Drug May Offer Public Health Benefit For Women Seeking Abortion In El Salvador

NPR: Even When Abortion Is Illegal, The Market May Sell Pills For Abortion
“…[The] illicit trade in misoprostol has cut the rate of maternal deaths in El Salvador significantly, says Sofia Villalta Delgado, with the Salvadoran Ministry of Health. … Delgado says the Ministry of Health doesn’t endorse the use of misoprostol for abortion. After all, abortion is against the law in El Salvador. But as a public health official, she sees what she says is a public health benefit from the illicit use of this drug…” (Beaubien, 9/23).

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Children Are Main Victims Of War, UNICEF Reports

VOA News: UNICEF Says Children Main Victims of War
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports children are the main victims of war, with many suffering mental stress that will last a lifetime…” (Schlein, 9/23).

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Thousands Of Young Children At Risk Of Dying From Malnutrition In S. Sudan, UNICEF Warns

U.N. News Centre: Thousands of children at risk of starvation in South Sudan, UNICEF warns
“Thousands of children under the age of five are at risk of dying from malnutrition in South Sudan, and 1.5 million people will be in crisis and emergency food insecurity levels from September through December, warned the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) [on Tuesday]…” (9/23).

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Editorials and Opinions

Climate Should Not Be Top Priority Compared With Other Development Issues

National Post: Bjørn Lomborg: Global warming is hardly the world’s biggest problem
Bjørn Lomborg, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is meeting the world’s leaders for a climate summit today, ‘to make climate change a top priority for all leaders.’ Of the world’s many ills, he unequivocally finds that ‘top of the priority list is climate change.’ While it is important to find smart solutions to the real problem of global warming, it does not make sense to claim climate is our first priority. … [I]n a world where four million die from indoor air pollution while poverty, lack of clean water, infectious diseases, poor education, and too little food afflict billions we cannot with a straight face claim that climate should be our top priority” (9/23).

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Political, Financial Investments Critical To Keeping Up Momentum On MDGs

Devex: Ending poverty through sustainable development and leaving no one behind
Amina Mohammed, U.N. secretary general’s special adviser on post-2015 development planning, and Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International

“As two African women and development leaders deeply involved in efforts to irreversibly end poverty and set the world on a more inclusive and sustainable path, we have reason to celebrate the great strides made in the 14 years since world leaders signed up to the Millennium Development Goals. With less than 500 days to go for the 2015 deadline, the international community has the opportunity to accelerate actions and enhance momentum toward realizing the unfinished business of the MDGs. … Crucial to success in keeping up momentum on the MDGs, and for achieving sustainable development well beyond 2015, are political and financial investments. These will need to be treated with equal ambition and courageous leadership. … A global effort to set the world on course for a better future is going to take rising to these challenges. A world of dignity, equity, and prosperity for all is within our grasp if we move forward decisively and together over the next year” (9/23).

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International Community Testing Its Luck By Not Adequately Responding To Ebola

Financial Times: A ravenous Ebola epidemic that the world could have stopped
Anjana Ahuja, science journalist

“…A lack of leadership has been almost as terrifying as the [Ebola] virus, turning an avoidable crisis into a man-made catastrophe. … We have survived globe-threatening ailments such as bird flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome, but that might be down to luck rather than competence. SARS was concentrated in wealthy Hong Kong, where health care is excellent. Bird flu never mutated into a readily transmissible form. Soon two million Muslims will head to Saudi Arabia, currently dealing with an outbreak of a deadly coronavirus, for the Hajj. With luck it will pass without incident. But there is a problem with lucky streaks: they generally do not last” (9/23).

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Community Health Programs Can Work With Governments To Improve Family Planning Access

Devex: Kindling family planning change in urban slums
Gita Pillai and Anju Dadhwal Singh of the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) in India

“…Improving equitable access to family planning services and supplies as well as reducing the gap in unmet need for family planning services between the poor and the nonpoor are core UHI objectives. … Providing information to marginalized women living in slums, coupled with a newfound ability to choose from a variety of affordable contraceptive methods, proved to be a game changer. According to data compiled by local nongovernmental organizations, community workers reported an increase in modern contraceptive use from 35.6 percent in 2011 to 55.4 percent in 2014. … What makes UHI unique is its collaboration and seamless orchestration with the Indian government’s plans and policies…” (9/23).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

State Department, USAID Preparing New QDDR

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Lessons for the 2014 QDDR
In an essay, Gerald Hyman, a senior adviser and president of the Hills Program on Governance at CSIS, discusses the U.S. Department of State and USAID’s work on preparing a new Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), “intended to map a fresh four-year strategy for U.S. foreign policy agencies excluding the Department of Defense.” He discusses four challenges to the agencies over the coming years (9/23).

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U.S., Netherlands Partner To Address Water, Climate Issues

U.S. Department of State’s “DipNote” blog: U.S.-Netherlands Partnership Addresses Water and Climate Issues
Timothy Broas, U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, discusses the U.S.-Netherlands partnership to address water and climate issues with clean energy technology (9/23).

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USAID Asking 'Right Questions' To Reach Goal Of Ending Extreme Poverty

Center for Global Development’s “Rethinking U.S. Development Policy”: USAID’s Frontiers in Development Asks More Questions than It Answers … and That’s a Good Thing
CGD Senior Policy Analyst Casey Dunning discusses her experience at USAID’s Frontiers in Development conference, “a two-day smorgasbord of keynotes, panels, roundtables, and an Innovation Marketplace all focused on Ending Extreme Poverty. … While I didn’t leave the conference certain USAID had the answers to ending extreme poverty as an agency, I did come away thinking it had at least asked the right questions and was pursuing this noble, and incredibly difficult, mission with eyes wide open…” (9/23).

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Photojournalist's Posts For USAID Blog To Bring 'Unique Angles' To Ebola Story

USAID’s “IMPACTblog”: Powering The Ebola Response: Monrovia’s Island Clinic
The blog features the first in a series of posts from “photojournalist Morgana Wingard, who is on the ground with USAID staff in Liberia documenting the fight on Ebola. Her photo series and blogs from the team will offer unique angles into the many facets of the Ebola story…” (9/23).

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Next Challenge In Global Health, Development Is Moving Innovations To Sustainability

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Scaling impact: The next great challenge in global health and development innovation
Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director of discovery and translational sciences in the global health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Peter Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, discuss “the next major barrier to success [in global development innovation] and how to overcome it. … [T]his barrier is optimizing the path to scale in a sustainable manner for thousands of innovations that have been supported at proof of concept” (9/23).

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WHO Releases Consensus Statement On Prevention Of Disrespect, Abuse During Childbirth

Maternal Health Task Force: WHO Releases First Statement on Preventing Disrespect and Abuse During Childbirth
Katie Millar, a technical writer with the MHTF, discusses the WHO’s release of a consensus statement titled “Prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during childbirth,” “the first of its kind. Besides being a violation of human rights, disrespect and abuse (D&A) is a major barrier to women seeking care in facilities, the WHO-recommended location for childbirth to prevent maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidities. The release of this statement comes at a critical time as it will be disseminated at the U.N. General Assembly this week at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in South Africa next week…” (9/23).

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