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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Michelle Obama Calls On Young African Leaders To Improve Progress For Women, Girls

News outlets report on First Lady Michelle Obama’s call for young African leaders to continue to improve attitudes toward and opportunities for girls and women on the continent.

Associated Press: First lady asks leaders to change gender attitudes
“Michelle Obama called on young African leaders to change traditional attitudes and beliefs that harm girls and women, adding that educating and making women financially literate is not enough…” (Anderson, 7/31).

New York Times: First Lady Praises Leaders for Progress of Girls in Africa
“Michelle Obama on Wednesday praised the efforts that African leaders have made in improving educational opportunities for girls, but she emphasized that barriers remained and pledged American support in removing them…” (Smith, 7/30).

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Kenyan Activists, Government Officials Worry PEPFAR Scale Back Will Affect HIV Programs

IRIN: HIV funding worries in Kenya
“The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the biggest funder of HIV programs in Kenya, is set to significantly scale down its funding, a move activists and government officials believe could negatively affect the country’s fight against the disease…” (7/30).

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USAID's Safe Water Dispenser Project To Bring Clean Drinking Water To Uganda, Kenya

Washington Post: Federal international venture fund helps yield clean drinking water in Uganda, Kenya
“A single plastic container, blue like the color of a recycling bin, sits on a conference table at the USAID headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. In sub-Saharan Africa, dispensers just like it have prevented thousands of children from dying each year of diarrheal disease caused by drinking dirty water…” (Chen, 7/30).

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Liberia, Sierra Leone Declare Emergency Measures To Stem Ebola Outbreak

Three of the four countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa implement precautions and ask for assistance.

Financial Times: Liberia declares emergency measures to contain Ebola outbreak
“…In a statement, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, announced mandatory quarantine for several villages and counties that have been affected by the deadly virus…” (Blas, 7/30).

Reuters: Liberia shuts schools as Ebola spreads, Peace Corps leaves three countries
“Liberia will close schools and consider quarantining some communities, it said on Wednesday, rolling out the toughest measures yet imposed by a West African government to halt the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus…” (Lewis/Farge, 7/30).

Agence France-Presse: Ebola-hit Sierra Leone declares state of emergency
“Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency on Thursday as countries across the world announced stringent new security measures to contain the deadly Ebola epidemic…” (Johnson, 7/31).

Associated Press: S. Leone declares health emergency amid Ebola
“The president of Sierra Leone declared a public health emergency as the Ebola crisis blamed for nearly 700 deaths deepened across West Africa, vowing to quarantine sick patients at home and conduct house-to-house searches for others who may have been exposed…” (Roy-Macaulay, 7/31).

Financial Times: Sierra Leone declares Ebola virus public health emergency
“Sierra Leone has joined Liberia in introducing sweeping measures to contain an outbreak of Ebola virus that has killed nearly 700 people in West Africa, in a sign that governments are stepping up their response after months of indecision…” (Blas, 7/31).

Reuters: Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over Ebola
“Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine epicenters of Ebola on Thursday, joining Liberia in imposing tough controls to curb the worst ever outbreak of the virus amid fears it could spread beyond West Africa…” (Fofana/Kpodo, 7/31).

Agence France-Presse: Nigerians plead for foreign help as Ebola fears spread
“Standing just a few hundred meters from the Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of Ebola, John Ejiofor pleaded for the world to help contain a spread of the virus raging across West Africa. … Nigerian officials have sought to limit panic since announcing [the man's] death, but mixed messages from the federal health ministry and Lagos state officials have caused confusion among the media and public…” (Agoi, 7/30).

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U.N., Individual Nations Respond To Ebola Outbreak With Warnings, Precautionary Evacuations

The U.N., U.S., U.K., E.U., and some Asian nations have taken measures to help African nations contain the ongoing Ebola outbreak and protect their own borders.

Devex: WHO on Ebola outbreak: We need more health workers
“The World Health Organization desperately needs to boost the ranks of health workers responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to prevent or reduce incidents of them becoming infected, as has happened already with several doctors and at least one aid worker. Aid groups are struggling to deal with the outbreak, which started in Guinea-Conakry and has now spread to neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia…” (Ravelo, 7/30).

Reuters: WHO advises no flight restrictions, low risk from Ebola: IATA
“The World Health Organization is not recommending any travel restrictions or border closures due to the Ebola outbreak and there would be a low risk to other passengers if an Ebola patient flew, the airlines association IATA said on Thursday…” (7/31).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency moves to allay mounting fears over Ebola spread
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today advised that while travelers should be aware of Ebola, they will not contract the highly contagious, often fatal disease unless they actually touch someone who is showing active symptoms…” (7/30).

Reuters: White House says Ebola outbreak won’t alter U.S.-Africa summit
“An outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa will not change a summit in Washington next week that about 50 African leaders are expected to attend, a White House spokesman said on Wednesday…” (7/30).

Roll Call: CDC Ramps Up Ebola Response
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its monitoring of the possible transmission of the deadly Ebola virus to travelers arriving from West Africa. CQ Roll Call’s Tom Curry reports that the CDC has issued a Health Alert Notice to doctors and nurses to inquire about travel histories of people who have recent traveled to West Africa…” (Jenks, 7/30).

ABC News: Peace Corps Pulling Volunteers From Ebola-Affected Countries
“The U.S. Peace Corps is removing all personnel from countries where the Ebola virus has broken out and has placed two of its volunteers in isolation, program officials said today…” (Mohney, 7/30).

Associated Press: Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated
“The largest recorded Ebola outbreak in history has led the U.S. Peace Corps to evacuate hundreds of volunteers from three affected West African countries, and a State Department official on Wednesday said two volunteers were under isolation after having contact with a person who later died of the virus…” (Paye-Layleh, 7/30).

USA TODAY: Peace Corps pulls volunteers over Ebola outbreak
“The Peace Corps announced Wednesday that it was temporarily withdrawing its 340 volunteers in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone after two workers were exposed to the Ebola virus…” (Hjelmgaard/Stanglin, 7/30).

Associated Press: U.K. holds crisis meeting on Ebola; warns of threat
“British officials held a crisis meeting Wednesday and warned of a potentially serious threat if the deadly Ebola virus spreads further. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said there are no known cases in Britain, but that the incurable disease is viewed by the government as a possibly serious danger…” (7/30).

Wall Street Journal: EU gives €2 Million to Fight Ebola Outbreak in West Africa
“The European Union said Wednesday it is allocating €2 million to fight the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, with the money going to support the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Committee of the Red Cross…” (Ask, 7/30).

Agence France-Presse: World Ebola fears grow with Europe and Asia on alert
“Fears that the West African Ebola outbreak could spread to other continents grew with European and Asian countries on alert and a leading medical charity warning the epidemic was out of control…” (Millard, 7/31).

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Media Reports Cover Different Aspects Of Ebola Outbreak

News outlets report on varying aspects of the West African Ebola outbreak.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola discoverer says would sit next to victim on train
“The scientist who helped discover the Ebola virus said the outbreak in west Africa was unlikely to trigger a major epidemic outside the region, adding he would happily sit next to an infected person on a train…” (Haddon/Larkin, 7/31).

CNN: In Ebola fight, security forces to make villagers comply with medical plan
“…A nurse with Doctors Without Borders, Monia Sayah, told CNN, ‘the most challenging’ aspect of trying to help people is that ‘we go into communities where we are not necessarily welcome,’ because people don’t want to believe they or their loved ones have Ebola — in part because ‘they understand now that the survival rate is not very high’…” (Botelho et al., 7/31).

Huffington Post: The Real Reason We Still Don’t Have A Vaccine For Ebola
“…Three renowned doctors joined HuffPost Live on Monday to weigh in on all the facts about the Ebola outbreak, from how the disease spreads to how it might be stopped…” (Branch, 7/30).

Nature: Ebola treatments caught in limbo
“…Although several vaccines and treatments for Ebola do exist, they are stalled in various stages of testing owing to a lack of funding and of international demand…” (Reardon, 7/29).

PRI: The death of a key doctor damages the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone
“…[T]here is a big problem with denial. This is the first outbreak of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone and many refuse to accept that it’s real. And it’s also hard to educate Sierra Leoneans about what steps they should take…” (Woolf, 7/30).

Reuters: Taxis, planes and viruses: How deadly Ebola can spread
“For scientists tracking the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, it’s not about complex virology and genotyping, but about how contagious microbes — like humans — use planes, bikes and taxis to spread…” (Kelland, 7/31).

Scientific American: Cross-Border Ebola Outbreak a First for Deadly Virus
“[The outbreak] has the unique distinction of becoming the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded, with more than 600 deaths and 1,200 infections to date. The strain that is causing it, investigators say, is genetically dissimilar to previous strains…” (Maron, 7/30).

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Drug-Resistant Malaria Found In Southeast Asian Border Regions

News outlets report on a study published Wednesday showing drug-resistant malaria is established in the border regions of four Southeast Asian nations.

Agence France-Presse: Drug-resistant malaria spreading fast in S.E. Asia
“Drug-resistant malaria parasites are now firmly established in border regions in four Southeast Asian countries, imperiling global efforts to control the disease, experts warned on Wednesday…” (7/31).

Newsweek: Drug-Defying Malaria Cases Found in Southeast Asia
“…Drug-resistant malaria-carrying parasites have been found in Cambodia-Thailand border regions, according to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. This isn’t the first time the parasite has resisted drugs, but experts say this recent development poses a new and serious threat to malaria control efforts…” (Mejia, 7/30).

Reuters: Drug-resistant malaria reaches Southeast Asia borders, could spread to Africa
“Drug-resistant malaria parasites have spread to border regions of Southeast Asia, seriously threatening global efforts to control and eliminate the mosquito-borne disease, researchers said on Wednesday…” (Kelland, 7/30).

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Ugandan Activists Launch Court Petition To Repeal Anti-Gay Law

News outlets report on Ugandan activists’ launch of a court petition to repeal the country’s anti-gay law.

Agence France-Presse: Uganda activists launch court bid to overturn anti-gay law
“Ugandan activists launched a petition Wednesday at the constitutional court seeking to overturn tough anti-gay laws that have been condemned by rights groups as draconian…” (Leroux-Nega, 7/30).

PRI: Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law could be overturned in the courts
“The Anti-Homosexuality Act, Uganda’s notorious anti-gay law that earned worldwide attention when it became law in December, may soon be repealed…” (Porzucki, 7/30).

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U.N. Calls For End To Human Trafficking

VOA News: U.N.: Heinous Crime of Human Trafficking Must Stop
“The United Nations is calling for an end to human trafficking as it marks the first World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. It comes four years after the U.N. General Assembly adopted a Global Action Plan to combat the crime…” (Schlein, 7/30).

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U.N., Red Cross Condemn Attacks Against Hospitals In Gaza

Huffington Post: Hospitals Are Supposed To Be For Healing. In Gaza, They’re Part Of The War Zone
“As the number of dead and wounded from the conflict between Israel and Gaza continues to soar on either side, several Palestinian hospitals have found themselves directly in the line of fire. According to the United Nations’ humanitarian office, 22 health facilities, including hospitals and clinics, have been damaged or destroyed in the recent wave of violence between Gaza militants and the Israeli military…” (Alfred, 7/30).

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Canada Pledges $20M For Nutrition Projects In Africa

CTV Winnipeg: Canada puts up $20 million for nutrition programs in Africa
“Canada is working to end hunger in developing countries and it’s looking to team up with charities that have similar goals. The minister of international development took that quest to a rural Manitoba farm Tuesday afternoon. He met with supporters of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The minister announced $20 million in funding for nutrition projects in Africa…” (7/30).

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Number Of Cholera Cases Rises In Ghana; Death Toll Exceeds 200 In Northern Cameroon

News outlets report on the continued cholera epidemics in Ghana and Cameroon.

GhanaWeb: 197 Cholera cases recorded at La General Hospital
“The La General Hospital in Accra has recorded 197 cases of cholera in two weeks. Six people have also died of the disease. Out of this number, four died before reaching the hospital while the other two died while on admission…” (7/31).

VOA News: Cholera Kills Over 200 in Northern Cameroon
“A cholera epidemic has hit northern Cameroon, killing more than 200 people in less than a month. The government of the central African nation and aid agencies say some of the affected persons are refugees fleeing the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram…” (Kindzeka, 7/29).

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Venezuelan Bill Would Outlaw HIV Discrimination

Inter Press Service: Bill to Fight Discrimination Against HIV-Positive Venezuelans
“Venezuela is gearing up to pass a new law to combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, in a country where the epidemic claims nearly 4,000 lives and infects 11,000 mainly young people every year, including increasing numbers of women…” (Márquez, 7/30).

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UNDP Director Speaks About MDGs In Deutsche Welle Interview

Deutsche Welle: Report card on human development
“According to the latest United Nations Human Development Report, progress has been made in all countries. But more work is needed to reach the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals. UNDP Director Khalid Malik tells DW about the importance of social protection and grades our progress…” (Rasper, 7/30).

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AVAC Director Discusses Myths, Challenges Surrounding Vaccine Delivery

Deutsche Welle: Whether it’s polio, HPV or HIV, ‘crazy myths’ about vaccines run wild on social media
“Scientists often think the health benefits of vaccines are obvious. But they are not. Disease prevention advocate, Mitchell Warren, says social media will help — if we can harness it…” (Abbany, 7/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Prioritized Action Plan For Global Finance Could Be Post-2015 Goal

The Guardian: Who is going to pay for international development?
Jonathan Glennie, research associate at the Overseas Development Institute in London and at the Centro De Pensamiento Estratégico Internacional (CEPEI) in Bogotá

“The time is coming for the big ideas in targets such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be honed into politically feasible commitments. … Changes in the way development is financed could be treated as goals in themselves. … Next year is a chance to write the next page of the development finance book. As well as a reaffirmation of the critical importance of international public action to achieve collectively agreed objectives (of which international public finance is a part), we also need not just a wish-list but a prioritized plan of action with a specific time frame for changes in global finance” (7/31).

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Progress In Maternal Care Access Made In Afghanistan; International Community Must Remain Committed

Huffington Post: Saving Mothers in Afghanistan: Progress, Challenges, and the Road Ahead
Vanessa Thevathasan, freelance researcher and writer

“Progress has been made, but, with Afghanistan at the bottom of global health rankings, the sustainable improvement of maternal well-being remains a serious and complex challenge in Afghanistan. … The coming year for Afghanistan will be crucial to realizing such ambitious goals [to ensure that at least 80 percent of women have access to emergency obstetric care by 2020]. The international community must remain committed to providing financial investment for integrated and sustainable maternal care development. While gains remain fragile, women and men have demonstrated a clear voice for change during the elections this month. All women have the basic human right to survive childbirth and experience a future as a mother. There is no greater time to make good on these promises in Afghanistan” (7/30).

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Recent Releases

CDC Officials Discuss Efforts Around Anti-Malaria Drug Resistance

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Anti-malaria drug resistance: a threat to global health security
In a guest post, Patrick Kachur, chief of the Malaria Branch in the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria at the CDC’s Center for Global Health, and Larry Slutsker, director of the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, “write about the emerging global security threat of anti-malaria drug resistance and CDC’s efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to this growing threat” (Chmiola, 7/31).

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U.S. Ambassador To Australia Calls For HIV Criminalization Reform

Human Rights Campaign: U.S. Ambassador Calls for LGBT and HIV Criminalization Reform
HRC Digital Media Intern Bo Suh discusses U.S. Ambassador to Australia John Berry’s call to reform HIV criminalization laws (7/30).

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WHO Announces New Leadership For Global Malaria Program, UNITAID

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: New Leaders Named for WHO Global Malaria Program and UNITAID
Alan Magill, director of the Gates Foundation’s Malaria Program, writes, “The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the appointment of two new leaders in the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria. Congratulations to Pedro Alonso, from Spain, the new director of the WHO Global Malaria Program; and Lelio Marmora, from Argentina, the new executive director of UNITAID. They will assume leadership later this fall…” (7/30).

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