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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Experts, Politicians Speak Out On Response To West African Ebola Outbreak

News outlets summarize statements made by experts and politicians on efforts to contain the West African Ebola outbreak.

The Hill: U.S. should do more to contain Ebola outbreak, Sen. McCain says
“The U.S. should do more, including possibly dispatching military assets, to combat the Ebola outbreak roiling at least five African nations, according to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)…” (Matishak, 8/31).

NPR: The Co-Discoverer Of Ebola Never Imagined An Outbreak Like This
“…‘This is absolutely unexpected and unprecedented,’ [Peter Piot] says. ‘We have here a situation where Ebola finds an enormously fertile ground in very poor countries with very dysfunctional health systems,’ he says. ‘A country like Liberia in 2010 only [had] 51 doctors for the whole country.’ He hopes there will never be another outbreak like this one…” (8/29).

New York Times: Leadership and Calm Are Urged in Ebola Outbreak
“…Unusual tactics and inventive thinking will be needed to beat West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, according to some of the world’s top experts in disease eradication. … Leadership must be imposed, the experts said, perhaps with a West African in charge. Donors must commit at least $500 million. And a new strategy is needed, with the first priority being to stop the panic caused by imprisoning residents of the affected countries behind barbed wire and roadblocks…” (McNeil, 8/29).

Reuters: Poor response to Ebola causing needless deaths: World Bank head
“The world’s ‘disastrously inadequate response’ to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak means many people are dying needlessly, the head of the World Bank said on Monday, as Nigeria confirmed another case of the virus…” (Flynn/Cocks, 9/1).

U.N. News Centre: U.N. health agency identifies countries at risk for spread of Ebola
“The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has identified six countries at risk for spread of the Ebola virus disease, adding that it is working with them to ensure that full surveillance, preparedness, and response plans are in place…” (8/29).

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Senegal Becomes 5th West African Nation To Record Ebola Case

News outlets report on the first case of Ebola detected in Senegal, the fifth country in West Africa to record a case of the disease.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola hits fifth W. African state as Senegal confirms first case
“The Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people across West Africa spread to a fifth country in the region on Friday with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal…” (Ba, 8/30).

Associated Press: WHO: Senegal Ebola case ‘a top priority emergency’
“The effort to contain Ebola in Senegal is ‘a top priority emergency,’ the World Health Organization said Sunday, as the government continued tracing everyone who came in contact with a Guinean student who has tested positive for the deadly disease in the capital, Dakar…” (Dione, 8/31).

Associated Press: Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient
“Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease…” (Dione, 9/1).

BBC News: Ebola outbreak: Senegal confirms first case
“Senegal’s health minister has confirmed a first case of Ebola, making it the fifth West African country to be affected by the outbreak. Awa Marie Coll Seck told reporters on Friday that a young man from Guinea had traveled to Senegal despite having been infected with the virus…” (8/29).

Reuters: Guinean student is first case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal
“…Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck told a news conference the young man had turned up for treatment at a hospital in the Senegalese capital Dakar on Tuesday but concealed that he had had close contact with victims in his home country…” (8/29).

Reuters: Ebola outbreak reaches Senegal, riots break out in Guinea
“The West African state of Senegal became the fifth country to be hit by the world’s worst Ebola outbreak on Friday, while riots broke out in neighboring Guinea’s remote southeast where infection rates are rising fast…” (Ba/Samb, 8/30).

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Nigeria Records Another Ebola Case; Total Reaches 17

Reuters: Nigeria records another Ebola case in oil city, 17 cases total
“Nigeria has a third confirmed case of Ebola in the oil hub of Port Harcourt, bringing the country’s total confirmed infections to 17, with 271 people under surveillance, the health minister said on Monday…” (Eboh/Cocks, 9/1).

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U.N. Agencies Warn Of Food Shortages In Ebola-Hit Nations; WFP Needs $70M To Feed 1.3M

News outlets report on U.N. warnings that the Ebola outbreak is threatening food security in affected countries.

Agence France-Presse: ‘Grave concerns’ over food shortages in Ebola-hit nations: U.N.
“The United Nations warned on Tuesday of ‘grave food security concerns’ in the West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak as the deadly epidemic caused labor shortages and disrupted cross-border trade…” (Taggart, 9/2).

Associated Press: U.N. warns food prices rising in Ebola-hit countries
“Food in countries hit by Ebola is getting more expensive and will become scarcer because many farmers won’t be able to access fields, a U.N. food agency warned Tuesday…” (9/2).

Bloomberg News: U.N. Food Agency’s Ebola Response Faces Funding Shortage
“The United Nations food agency said inadequate supplies are snarling its efforts to feed 1.3 million people in Ebola-stricken Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia…” (Smialek, 8/29).

Reuters: Ebola threatens food security in West Africa: FAO
“The world’s worst Ebola epidemic has put harvests at risk and sent food prices soaring in West Africa, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Tuesday, warning the problem would intensify in coming months…” (Binnie, 9/2).

Reuters: WFP says it needs $70 million to feed 1.3 million people in Ebola quarantine
“The World Food Programme needs to raise $70 million to feed 1.3 million people at risk from shortages in Ebola-quarantined areas in West Africa, with the agency’s resources already stretched by several major humanitarian crises, its regional director said…” (Flynn, 8/30).

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Ebola Outbreak Having Devastating Effects On HCWs, Health Systems In West Africa

News outlets report on how the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is affecting health care workers and health systems.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola epidemic decimating health workers in Guinea
“…The World Health Organization said last week that more than 120 health workers across the region had died during the ‘unprecedented’ outbreak which began early this year, and more than 240 had been infected…” (Bah, 8/31).

Agence France-Presse/The Guardian: Ebola: Liberian nurses strike over lack of protective equipment
“Nurses at Liberia’s largest hospital have gone on strike, demanding better pay and equipment to protect them against the Ebola epidemic which has killed hundreds in the west African state…” (9/2).

Associated Press: Ebola takes big toll on already poor health care
“…The toll [of Ebola] on health workers was felt immediately by grieving and frightened colleagues and by patients who had fewer people to attend to them, and it will likely set back health care systems — poorly equipped amid rampant poverty to begin with — for years to come…” (Duff/DiLorenzo, 8/30).

NPR: Ebola Outbreak Takes Toll On Africa’s Health Workers
“Nearly 260 health workers in West Africa have been infected, and 134 have died. Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University, who worked with five who died, discusses the devastation in the community…” (Cornish, 9/1).

Reuters: Health workers strike at Sierra Leone Ebola hospital
“Health workers have gone on strike at a major state-run Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone, over pay and poor working conditions, hospital staff told Reuters on Saturday…” (Fofana/Farge, 8/30).

Reuters: Ebola health workers should get danger money, expert says
“Doctors and nurses fighting the world’s biggest outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa should get incentives including better pay, insurance, and access to the new Ebola drug ZMapp, an international health expert said…” (Hussain, 9/1).

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2 More HCWs Survive Ebola After Receiving ZMapp; Small Study Shows Drug Effective Among Infected Lab Monkeys

News outlets report on two medical workers’ release from hospital after they were treated with ZMapp, an experimental drug, and cleared of the Ebola virus. Meanwhile, a small study shows the drug is effective among Ebola-infected lab monkeys.

Associated Press: Liberian Ebola survivor praises experimental drug
“A Liberian health worker who recovered from Ebola after receiving an experimental drug urged the manufacturer to speed up its production and send it to Africa, while crowds celebrated in the streets Saturday after authorities reopened a slum that had been barricaded for more than a week to try to contain the disease…” (Paye-Layleh, 8/30).

CNN: Two Liberian medical workers discharged after recovering from Ebola
“…Dr. Senga Omeonga and physician assistant Kynda Kobbah were discharged from a Liberian treatment center on Saturday after recovering from the virus, according to the World Health Organization. They were given ZMapp — the experimental drug that’s credited with saving the lives of two Americans infected with Ebola…” (Elbagir/Berlinger, 8/30).

New York Times: Experimental Drug Would Help Fight Ebola if Supply Increases, Study Finds
“A new study provides strong evidence that the experimental drug given to two American aid workers stricken with Ebola in Africa really works and could make a difference in the current outbreak — if more of it could be produced…” (Pollack, 8/29).

Reuters: Experimental Ebola drug ZMapp cures 100 percent of lab monkeys
“The experimental Ebola drug ZMapp cured all 18 of the lab monkeys infected with the deadly virus, including those suffering the fever and hemorrhaging characteristic of the disease and just hours from death, scientists reported on Friday…” (Begley, 8/30).

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Liberia Lifts Ebola Quarantine From West Point Neighborhood

News outlets report on the lifting of a quarantine order in place for 10 days in the Liberian neighborhood of West Point.

New York Times: Quarantine for Ebola Lifted in Liberia Slum
“Liberia’s government announced Friday night that it would lift an Ebola quarantine on a large slum here in the capital, 10 days after attempts to cordon off the neighborhood from the rest of the city sparked deadly clashes and fueled doubts about President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s ability to handle the outbreak…” (Onishi, 8/29).

Reuters: Celebration in Liberia slum as Ebola quarantine lifted
“Crowds sang and danced in the streets of a seaside neighborhood in Liberia on Saturday as the government lifted quarantine measures designed to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus…” (Giahyue et al., 8/30).

VOA News: Liberia’s West Point: Life After Ebola Quarantine
“Residents of Liberia’s West Point neighborhood are jubilant now that the government has lifted a 10 day-old quarantine of the densely populated borough of the capital, Monrovia…” (Butty, 9/1).

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Fighting In Pakistan Impacts Country's Efforts To Eradicate Polio

New York Times: How Fighting in Pakistan Affects War Against Polio
“Fierce fighting in Pakistan is harming and helping the country’s drive to eradicate polio. … [I]n three months of fighting between the armed forces and the Taliban, nearly a million people have been displaced, spreading the virus, according to UNICEF. But the military operations can be ‘a blessing in disguise,’ … [because as] refugees flee, they often encounter polio vaccinators, who have given two million doses at roadside posts in parts of Waziristan now controlled by the army and in cities to which people from the region have fled…” (McNeil, 9/1).

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Libya's Health Ministry Fears 'Total Collapse' Of Health Care System Due To Unrest

IRIN: Libyan health care on life support
“The political chaos and unrest in Libya is taking a serious toll on health services, with the departure of medical staff and humanitarian agencies increasing the strain on health workers seeking to treat those injured in the clashes taking place since June…” (9/2).

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More Than 1M Somalis Urgently Need Food Aid, U.N. Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: One million Somalis starve as towns besieged and food prices quadruple
“More than a million hungry Somalis urgently need food aid due to worsening drought and conflict, a 20 percent increase since January, the U.N. said on Tuesday…” (Migiro, 9/2).

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Record 4.1M In Syria Received Food Aid In August, WFP Says

Reuters: Record 4.1 million in Syria got food aid in August, U.N. says
“A record 4.1 million people in Syria received food rations in August due to more convoys being able to cross front lines and borders from Turkey and Jordan, the U.N.’s World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday…” (9/2).

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S. Sudan's Cholera Crisis Declines, But Malaria, Parasitic Disease Spike, MSF Says

Thomson Reuters Foundation: No respite for South Sudan: cholera down but malaria, parasitic disease up: MSF
“South Sudan’s cholera crisis is waning but humanitarian workers are now battling increased cases of malaria and the parasitic disease kala azar, with children most affected…” (Migiro, 8/29).

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Arab Region Has Fastest Growing HIV Epidemic In World

Inter Press Service: Arab Region Has World’s Fastest Growing HIV Epidemic
“At a time when HIV rates have stabilized or declined elsewhere, the epidemic is still advancing in the Arab world, exacerbated by factors such as political unrest, conflict, poverty, and lack of awareness due to social taboos. According to UNAIDS, an estimated 270,000 people were living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2012…” (Alami, 9/1).

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Activists, Human Rights Workers Address HIV Prevention In Uganda

PBS NewsHour: Uganda’s gay rights and sex worker activists answer your questions about HIV prevention
“…After the NewsHour segment [that explored how certain laws in Uganda are affecting HIV/AIDS prevention efforts] aired, we put the call out for your questions [to be answered by] four activists and human rights workers who deal specifically with at-risk populations in Uganda…” (Daly, 8/29).

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Dengue Infects At Least 22 People In Japan; Cases Potentially Linked To Tokyo Park

Agence France-Presse: Dengue outbreak affects at least 22 in Japan
“An outbreak of dengue fever in Japan — the first since World War II — has affected at least 22 people, the government said Monday, with all cases believed to be linked to a Tokyo park…” (9/1).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Issues Surrounding Ebola Outbreak

The following editorial and opinion pieces address issues surrounding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Washington Post: The lessons of the Ebola outbreak suggest a larger, faster response is needed
Editorial Board

“The world is fast learning lessons about how to combat the Ebola virus ravaging West Africa and yet not learning them fast enough. … The lesson is that health authorities and governments need to pay attention to the attitudes of everyone, not just the infected. To calm the affected regions in the months ahead will require delivery of massive humanitarian aid to the living above and beyond the medical supplies required to treat the sick. … A related lesson is that, while isolation of the sick is critical, it can’t be imposed at the point of a gun. … Finally, Ebola demands a massive, rapid reaction. The scale is important. … The WHO has published a plan to get Ebola under control in six to nine months at a cost of $490 million. But plans on paper are not enough. A concerted global effort to implement the road map is the only way to put out this fire” (9/1).

Washington Post: What’s missing in the Ebola fight in West Africa
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank and co-founder of Partners in Health, and Paul Farmer, the Kolokotrones University professor at Harvard University and co-founder of Partners in Health

“…[T]he reality is this: The Ebola crisis today is a reflection of long-standing and growing inequalities of access to basic health care. To halt this epidemic, we need an emergency response that is equal to the challenge. We need international organizations and wealthy countries that possess the required resources and knowledge to step forward and partner with West African governments to mount a serious, coordinated response as laid out in the World Health Organization’s Ebola response road map. … It would be scandalous to let this crisis escalate further when we have the knowledge, tools, and resources to stop it. Tens of thousands of lives, the future of the region, and hard-won economic and health gains for millions hang in the balance” (8/31).

Los Angeles Times: WHO’s misplaced Ebola priority
Henry Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

“The World Health Organization is nothing if not opportunistic, impulsively jumping on every public health issue that makes the front page. … The latest on WHO’s radar is the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, which has tallied about 1,500 cases [deaths]. To address it, WHO wants more than $430 million — from governments, development banks, the private sector, and in-kind contributions. … Infectious diseases, many of them preventable and treatable, are the scourge of poorer populations, including those that inhabit much of Africa, but the Ebola virus is not high on the list. Malaria is. … But in virtually all poor, malaria-endemic countries, there is inadequate access to antimalarial medicines (especially artemisinin-based combination therapy). That $430 million now sought for Ebola would buy and distribute a lot of those drugs (and vaccines to prevent diseases including hepatitis A and B and human papilloma virus) and benefit far more people…” (8/27).

Wall Street Journal: Genetic Engineering and the Fight Against Ebola
Henry Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

“A handful of patients in the largest-ever Ebola outbreak have been treated with an experimental drug called ZMapp. … The medicine is made through ‘biopharming,’ a relatively new and promising way to create drugs through genetic engineering, but the technology is stymied by regulation and fear-mongering. … The ostensible objective of the regulation is to avoid biopharmed drugs winding up in food, if crop plants are used in the drug production. … But the fear is overblown, and contamination can be avoided in several ways. … For Ebola and so many other diseases, if we are to reap what biopharming sows, we will need [public-private] collaboration. That will require more funding, reasonableness from regulators, and tolerance from the food industry” (8/25).

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World Far From Reaching Global Norm On Sex Education

Washington Post: Sex education is a global dividing line between liberals and conservatives
Jonathan Zimmerman, professor at New York University

“…[The International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994] endorsed equal access to education for girls. It also demanded ‘reproductive rights’ — including rights to contraception and information about sex — for adolescents of both genders. Two decades later, girls’ education has expanded steadily around the globe. But sex education has stalled. … On issues of sex and reproduction, it’s not East vs. West anymore. It’s liberals vs. conservatives, each of which often have more in common with their ideological soulmates in other parts of the world than they do with people next door. … [W]e’re no closer to a global norm on sex education. We might even be further from it” (8/31).

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Recent Releases

Inaugural Global Youth Wellbeing Index Compares State Of Youth In 30 Countries

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: Health in the Inaugural Global Youth Wellbeing Index
Nicole Goldin, a senior associate with the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and former director of the Global Youth Wellbeing Index project in partnership with the International Youth Foundation (IYF), discusses key findings of the inaugural Global Youth Wellbeing Index, which “assesses and compares the state of youth in 30 countries around the world [that] hold nearly 70 percent of the world’s youth population” (8/29).

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New Issue Of 'Global Fund News Flash' Available Online

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Global Fund News Flash
Issue 48 of the Global Fund News Flash discusses five general and six technical recommendations “identifying areas where concept notes could be strengthened” under the new funding model (9/1).

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September 2014 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The September 2014 WHO Bulletin includes an editorial on the Ebola outbreak, a perspective piece on vaccine safety, and news and research articles on various topics  (September 2014).

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