KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Obama Says More U.S. Resources Needed To Address Ebola Outbreak, Requests Additional Funding

News outlets report on U.S. President Obama’s statements on the Ebola outbreak and a White House request to Congress for additional funding to assist in efforts to halt the disease.

Agence France-Presse: Obama says U.S. military to help Ebola effort
“The U.S. military will join the fight against fast-spreading Ebola in Africa, President Barack Obama said in an interview aired Sunday, but he warned it would be months before the epidemic slows…” (9/7).

CQ HealthBeat: OMB Issues Special Funding Request to Counter Ebola
“The Obama administration is urging congressional appropriators to provide new funding to counter the worsening outbreak of Ebola in Africa, including money for treatments and vaccines, community health workers, and labs…” (Adams/Reichard, 9/5).

The Hill: WH requests $30M to fight Ebola outbreak
“The White House on Friday asked Congress for $30 million to pay for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to help contain the massive Ebola outbreak in West Africa…” (Huggins, 9/5).

Politico: White House requests Ebola funds
“As the U.S. ramps up its response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the White House is asking Congress for additional money to cover the costs of drugs as well as personnel dispatched to try to contain the spread of the deadly disease. A total of $88 million has been requested thus far as part of a stopgap continuing resolution or CR needed to keep the government funded into December. And these requests come on top of about $175 million that has already been obligated or will be found through transfers from other accounts…” (Rogers, 9/5).

Reuters: Obama: U.S. must fight Ebola now or face long-term risk
“The United States needs to do more to help control West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak to stop it becoming a global crisis that could one day threaten Americans, President Barack Obama said in an interview. Obama told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ that the outbreak, which has killed 2,100 people in five African countries, was unlikely to spread to the United States in the short term…” (Rampton, 9/7).

VOA News: Obama: International Response Needed for Ebola Outbreak
“President Barack Obama said the international community needs to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, where he said a lack of public health infrastructure has led to the spread of a ‘containable problem’…” (9/8).

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Ban Makes 'International Rescue Call' To Assist Ebola-Hit Nations; A.U. Leaders Meet

News outlets report on A.U. and U.N. efforts to address the West African Ebola outbreak.

Agence France-Presse: African Union meets for Ebola crisis talks
“African Union chiefs held an emergency meeting Monday to hammer out a continent-wide strategy to deal with the Ebola epidemic, which has killed over 2,000 people in west Africa…” (Fortin, 9/8).

Reuters: U.N. to set up Ebola crisis center, aims to stop spread in six to nine months
“The United Nations plans to set up an Ebola crisis center to coordinate the response to the deadly virus and to strive to halt its spread in West African countries in six to nine months, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Friday…” (Nichols, 9/5).

U.N. News Centre: Ban issues ‘international rescue call’ to halt Ebola epidemic
“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [Friday] vowed to mobilize the United Nations in every possible way to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and issued an ‘international rescue call’ for a massive surge in assistance, warning that ‘the world can no longer afford to short-change global public health’…” (9/5).

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WHO Recommends Using Ebola Survivors' Blood As Potential Treatment As Vaccines Are Tested

News outlets report on the outcomes of a WHO meeting on potential Ebola vaccines and treatments, as well as other news involving therapy research.

Agence France-Presse: WHO eyes Ebola vaccine by Nov as death toll passes 2,000
“The death toll from the Ebola epidemic has climbed above 2,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday, as it voiced hopes a vaccine could be available in November…” (Larson, 9/5).

Associated Press: WHO: Use Ebola survivors’ blood to treat patients
“…After convening a two-day meeting of more than 200 experts to figure out which experimental Ebola treatments should be used first, the WHO said survivor’s blood could be used immediately, tapping into the thousands of people who have survived the virus which has about a 50 percent death rate and no licensed treatments…” (Cheng/Roy-Macaulay, 9/5).

BBC News: Vaccine gives monkeys Ebola immunity
“Vaccinated monkeys have developed ‘long-term’ immunity to the Ebola virus, raising a prospect of successful human trials, say scientists. The experiments by the U.S. National Institutes of Health showed immunity could last at least 10 months…” (Gallagher, 9/7).

New York Times: Two Vaccines to Protect Against Ebola Could Be Available Within Weeks
“Two potential vaccines against the deadly Ebola virus ravaging West Africa could be available as soon as November and would first be given to health care workers most at risk of exposure to the disease there, the World Health Organization announced on Friday…” (Fink/Gladstone, 9/5).

New York Times: Many in West Africa May Be Immune to Ebola Virus
“Although few medical experts realize it, part of the population in West Africa is immune to the Ebola virus, according to virologists who specialize in the disease. Assuming they are correct, and if those people can be identified, they could be a great help in fighting the outbreak. Immune persons could safely tend the sick and bury the dead just as smallpox survivors did in the centuries before smallpox vaccine. Also, antibodies could be harvested from their blood to treat new Ebola victims…” (McNeil, 9/5).

NPR: Health Officials Hope To Speed Up Possible Ebola Cures
“…Officials at WHO say they see two promising candidates for vaccines. Volunteers in the U.S. started getting doses of one this week and safety tests of the other will start very soon…” (Greenfieldboyce, 9/5).

Reuters: WHO urges use of survivors’ serum against Ebola, backs vaccine trials
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday blood-derived products and serum from survivors may be used to treat Ebola virus immediately and two vaccines could be available for health workers by year-end…” (Nebehay/Miles, 9/5).

ScienceInsider: Make haste on experimental Ebola treatments, urges WHO group
“Researchers and health professionals should fast-track extraordinary efforts to give people unproven treatments and vaccines in locales hard hit by Ebola, more than 200 experts attending a World Health Organization (WHO) forum recommended [Friday]…” (Cohen, 9/5).

Scientific American: Blood Transfusions from Survivors Best Way to Fight Ebola
“Treating Ebola patients with blood transfusions from survivors of the disease should be the immediate priority among all the experimental therapies under consideration for this outbreak, World Health Organization (WHO) experts said Friday after reviewing the status of all the potential experimental therapies and vaccines…” (Maron, 9/5).

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Ebola Death Toll Surpasses 2,000, WHO Says

Reuters: Ebola toll tops 2,000, cases near 4,000: World Health Organization
“More than 2,000 people have died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization said on Friday, out of about 4,000 patients thought to have been infected in the three countries worst hit by the disease…” (Miles, 9/5).

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Sierra Leone Plans Nationwide 'Lockdown' To Contain Ebola

News outlets report on Sierra Leone’s plan to contain the Ebola epidemic through a nationwide “lockdown.”

Financial Times: Sierra Leone plans national ‘lockdown’ to halt Ebola
“Sierra Leone is preparing a four-day nationwide ‘lockdown’ in an effort to contain the Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people in West Africa. For four days beginning September 18, citizens of the West African state will not be allowed to leave their homes. The aim is to prevent the spread of Ebola and allow health workers to identify cases in the early stages of the disease…” (Cookson, 9/6).

New York Times: Sierra Leone to Impose 3-Day Ebola Quarantine
“With West African governments increasingly desperate to contain an ever-quickening Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leone has decreed a stringent new measure confining residents to their homes later this month…” (Nossiter, 9/6).

Reuters: Sierra Leone lockdown will not help halt Ebola: MSF
“Sierra Leone’s proposed countrywide ‘lockdown’ will not help control an Ebola outbreak and could lead to the disease spreading further as cases are concealed, medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Saturday…” (Fofana/Lewis, 9/8).

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As Ebola Takes Global Spotlight, Other Diseases Garner Less Attention

Washington Post: How Ebola is stealing attention from illnesses that kill more people
“The Ebola virus has killed more than 2,100 people in four West African nations, and it has left the international community scrambling to contain it. But as deadly diseases go, Ebola isn’t nearly as contagious as tuberculosis, which can be spread through the air. And it isn’t as deadly as HIV/AIDS…” (Phillip, 9/5).

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Ebola Aggravating Economies Of West African Nations

New York Times: Ebola Is Taking a Second Toll, on Economies
“…Ebola — the reality and the hysteria over it — is having a serious economic impact on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, three West African nations already at the bottom of global economic and social indicators. Aggravating both the financial and social consequences, these countries and their frightened neighbors are imposing concentric circles of quarantines, cutting off neighborhoods, regions, and even whole nations…” (Nossiter, 9/5).

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Ebola Orphans Sometimes Struggle To Find Care As Disease Stresses Extended Families

The Guardian: Ebola orphans in Sierra Leone face isolation from hard-hit relatives
“…In Sierra Leone, one of three west African nations hardest hit [by Ebola], the disease has sliced not only through entire extended families but the kinship networks that traditionally support orphans in Africa…” (Mark, 9/8).

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NBC News Releases Series On American Doctor Who Contracted Ebola

NBC News: Saving Dr. Brantly
NBC News releases a six-part video series on Kent Brantly, an American doctor who contracted Ebola while working at a Liberian clinic and recovered from the disease after receiving treatment in the U.S. (9/5).

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Fujifilm Owns Japanese Drug Company Offering Influenza Drug As Potential Ebola Treatment

The New Yorker: How Fujifilm Came to the Ebola Fight
“…Japan said that Fujifilm was offering up the drug, Favipiravir, [which is made by Toyama Chemical, a company Fujifilm acquired five years ago,] as a potential stopgap in the fight against an outbreak of Ebola that has, according to the World Health Organization, killed nineteen hundred people in West Africa, and that Médecins Sans Frontières just called for a global military and civilian response to stop…” (Hunt, 9/5).

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Stockholm Water Meeting Ends With Call To Focus On Water, Sanitation

Bloomberg News: Stockholm Water Week Ends With Plea to Join U.N. in Talks
“One of the premier water events of the year ended today with a plea to the energy and agricultural industry to curb waste while improving efficiencies ahead of U.N. climate talks…” (Hackley, 9/5).

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Indian Government Criticized For 'Merging' AIDS Department With Larger Health Department

The Lancet: India’s AIDS department merger angers activists
“The Indian Government has come under fire for shutting down its AIDS department. The Department of AIDS Control (DAC), which is an independent unit in the health ministry, is responsible for overseeing the activities of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO). NACO spearheads the country’s AIDS control program. Recently, the government announced that it was ‘merging’ the AIDS control department with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, which runs several important health programs, such as the National Cancer Control Programme and National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme…” (Sachan, 9/6).

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WFP Starts Emergency Food Airdrops In S. Sudan

Wall Street Journal: Airdrops Aim to Ease Sudan Suffering
“The World Food Programme has started emergency airdrops of food to millions of people isolated by conflict and rainy conditions in South Sudan, the food agency said Monday, in the latest effort to address an unfolding crisis in the world’s youngest nation…” (Bariyo, 9/8).

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2.81M Affected By Drought In Central America, WFP Says

Reuters: Drought leaves up to 2.81 million hungry in Central America: U.N.
“A severe drought has ravaged crops in Central America and as many as 2.81 million people are struggling to feed themselves, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday, though the region’s coffee crop has been largely unscathed…” (Palencia, 9/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola Outbreak

The following editorial and opinion pieces discuss the continuing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The Guardian: The Guardian view on why the Ebola epidemic is spreading
Editorial Board

“Two diseases intersect in the West African epidemic, whose frightening scale is only just beginning to be fully grasped. One is Ebola itself. The other is the wasting away of the very organization tasked to fight such illnesses. While Ebola was incubating away in the animal population of the Guinea forest over the years, something akin to muscular dystrophy was eroding the tissue, bone, and nervous systems of the main international body set up to lead the response to epidemics, the World Health Organization. … [T]here must be a resolve never to let the WHO fall into such an eroded state again” (9/7).

Bloomberg Businessweek: Should Bill Gates Write a Big Check to Stop Ebola?
Diane Brady, senior editor for Bloomberg Businessweek

“The price tag for stopping Ebola is now $600 million. At least that’s how much United Nations officials estimate it would cost to halt the deadly epidemic still sweeping across West Africa. … Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, [Bill Gates] has already given $1 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF last month to fight Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. But with a personal net worth of $85.7 billion (according to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index), he could afford more…” (9/5).

Financial Times: In the face of Ebola a little panic is a healthy thing
Christopher Caldwell, senior writer at the Weekly Standard

“The outbreak of a new strain of the deadly Ebola virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and now Nigeria and Senegal has turned West Africa into a battleground between the promise of globalization and its terrors. … Those with the responsibility of addressing Ebola have oscillated between urgency and complacency, panic and cool. … It is good not to go overboard. Still, one has the sense that the course of treatment is being circumscribed by a reluctance to say anything that would disrupt the project of globalization. That taboo cannot last. Ebola is too frightening” (9/5).

Foreign Policy: We Could Have Stopped This
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“World, you still just don’t get it. The Ebola epidemic that is raging across West Africa, killing more than half its victims, will not be conquered with principles of global solidarity and earnest appeals. It will not be stopped with dribbling funds, dozens of volunteer health workers, and barriers across national borders. … The take-home message of the [WHO] road map boils down to this: Stopping Ebola is going to require a great deal of money, thousands more skilled health workers and logistics experts, massive communications efforts, huge food and nutrition support for the people of West Africa, and ‘coordination, coordination, coordination’…” (9/5).

Huffington Post: Opportunities Lost — Could Ebola Have Been Better Contained?
Mary Anne Mercer, professor of global health, Scott Barnhart, professor of medicine and global health, and Amy Hagopian, associate professor of public health at the University of Washington

“…The expanding Ebola epidemic underscores the urgency of making investments in the health systems of African governments. Global health initiatives of the last decade largely missed an opportunity to strengthen health care capacity in Africa. Will we have another chance with the next epidemic? Let’s make Ebola the last one to trample across the continent because there are no health systems to contain it” (9/5).

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Political Will Needed To Head Off Looming TB-Diabetes Co-Epidemic

The Hill: We must prevent the looming epidemic of TB-diabetes
Anthony Harries, senior adviser and director of the Department of Research at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

“Hall of Fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky had a famously successful strategy: don’t skate to the puck, skate to where the puck is heading. Public health officials should take a page from The Great One’s book when it comes to a looming co-epidemic of tuberculosis and diabetes. If we don’t anticipate the challenges — and head them off right now — millions of people are going to lose big time. … [L]ike all carefully conceived public health solutions, we need political will to mobilize action — and in most places we’re simply not seeing it, at least not nearly fast enough given the enormity of the problem lying just ahead. … When it comes to addressing TB-diabetes, we know exactly where the puck is going. If we fail to get out in front of it now, millions of people will face the deadly consequences of an entirely preventable epidemic” (9/5).

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Changing Attitudes Critical To Solving India's Sanitation Problem

New York Times: India’s Sanitation Needs
Editorial Board

“India may finally be on the verge of making progress on eradicating one of its most intractable problems: open defecation because of a lack of toilets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves credit for focusing on the scourge. But it will take more than words to solve a problem the nation’s leaders have been promising to solve for decades. … Changing entrenched attitudes and building the 12.5 million toilets that the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation hopes to have in place by 2019 will be a colossal challenge. Mr. Modi’s continued leadership is needed, as is the participation of the private sector and nonprofit groups” (9/4).

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UNICEF Document Cites 'Stunning Figures' On Malnutrition In Sudan

New York Times: Malnutrition Crisis in Sudan
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“Here’s an internal UNICEF document citing stunning figures for malnutrition in Sudan, particularly in Darfur. … [T]his document suggests that the suffering continues at horrifying levels. … According to UNICEF’s Representative in Sudan, Geert Cappelaere, children are still suffering as much as five to 10 years ago, but international attention has waned. … I’m posting the document to try to shine a spotlight on this hidden tragedy, in hopes that the attention will help lead to efforts to address it” (9/5).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

World Leaders Must Mount Greater Efforts To End Ebola Outbreak

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Ebola’s Hard Lessons
J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), discusses lessons learned and challenges faced in the West African Ebola outbreak, writing, “There is still time for the world’s leaders to act to stop the catastrophe of Ebola in West Africa. An ambitious, high-level, security-centered effort matched by innovative, low-tech community action has the best promise of transforming this rapidly escalating tragedy…” (9/4).

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Ebola Outbreak Negatively Impacting Health Care Systems

Humanosphere: How the Ebola outbreak compares to other killers
Katie Leach-Kemon, policy translation specialist from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, discusses the Ebola outbreak’s impact on health care systems, writing, “…[A]s this outbreak continues to garner so much global attention, it is important to consider the even bigger impact it could have in reducing health systems’ ability to respond to many other deadly diseases that already kill so many more people — largely due to lack of access to basic health care services and infrastructure” (9/4).

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U.S. Government's Global Health Programs Release Updated Results

U.S. Global Health Programs: Results
“Updated results and impact from U.S. global health programs were recently released concurrent with the African Leaders Summit last month. Since 2009, the U.S. government has invested over $50 billion in foreign assistance for health and, as a result, saved millions of lives. In Fiscal Year 2013 alone, the U.S. government supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 6.7 million men, women, and children; reached 12.5 million children with nutrition programs; and protected 45 million people from malaria with a prevention measure…” (9/5).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 250 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter includes several news articles and a commentary on technical language that is causing confusion for some countries (9/5).

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