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Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Emergency Meeting On Ebola Underway; To Convene Discussion On Ethics Of Experimental Treatment

Media outlets report on the WHO emergency meeting on Ebola currently underway and discuss the announcement that the WHO will also convene experts to discuss the ethics of using experimental treatment for Ebola.

ABC News: World Health Organization to Debate Ethics of Using Experimental Ebola Drug in Outbreak
“A panel of World Health Organization ethicists will discuss whether to use experimental drugs in the West African Ebola outbreak that has killed 932 people since March. Two American patients have received an experimental Ebola drug called ZMapp made by Mapp Pharmaceuticals, a 9-person company in San Diego…” (Lupkin, 8/6).

Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost: WHO calls ethics meeting over experimental Ebola drug
“The World Health Organization said on Wednesday it was convening an ethics meeting next week to explore the use of experimental treatment in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The move comes after two health workers from the U.S. charity Samaritan’s Purse were treated with medication that the WHO said had never been tested and shown to be safe in people…” (8/6).

Associated Press/Seattle Times: Ethical issue: Who gets experimental Ebola drug?
“The use of an experimental drug to treat two Americans diagnosed with Ebola is raising ethical questions about who gets first access to unproven new therapies for the deadly disease. But some health experts fear debate over extremely limited doses will distract from tried-and-true measures to curb the growing outbreak — things like more rapidly identifying and isolating the sick. The World Health Organization is convening a meeting of medical ethicists next week to examine what it calls ‘the responsible thing to do’ about whatever supplies eventually may become available of a medicine that’s never been tested in people…” (Neergaard, 8/7).

BBC: Ebola: Global experts begin emergency talks at WHO
“Global health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) are meeting to discuss new measures to tackle the Ebola outbreak. The meeting is expected to last two days and will decide whether to declare a global health emergency…” (8/6).

New York Times: Expert Panel to Consult on Ebola
“Scrambling to catch up with the worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday that it was considering the declaration of an international public health emergency and would convene a panel of experts in coming days to explore the use of experimental treatments for the incurable disease…” (Gladstone, 8/6).

Reuters: WHO consults ethics experts on wider use of experimental Ebola drugs
“The use of an experimental drug on two U.S. charity workers with the deadly Ebola virus has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider the implications of making such treatments more widely available, it said on Wednesday. The Geneva-based agency, which is hosting a two-day Emergency Committee of experts to decide on the international response to the disease that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa, said it would convene a meeting of medical ethics experts early next week…” (Miles/Kelland, 8/6).

Reuters: Ebola emergency turns spotlight on experimental drugs
“With hundreds of patients in Africa suffering the devastating effects of Ebola, health experts are scrambling to determine which drugs might offer the best experimental treatment, and researchers are being pressed by government officials to speed up their work…” (Steenhuysen/Begley, 8/7).

TIME: Experts to Discuss Using Experimental Ebola Drugs
“The World Health Organization is convening a panel of medical ethicists next week to discuss whether experimental vaccines and drugs that have not been approved or tested in humans should be used to treat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa…” (Sifferlin, 8/6).

U.N. News Centre: Ebola: emergency U.N. meeting underway as death toll surpasses 900
“The U.N. health agency [yesterday] began an emergency meeting of international medical and health experts in Geneva to review the current Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa amid reports that new cases and deaths continue to be reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone…” (8/6).

Washington Post: WHO to convene panel on use of experimental Ebola drugs in West Africa
“The World Health Organization said Wednesday that it would convene a group of medical ethicists early next week to wrestle with questions about the use of experimental drugs in the deepening Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has now claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 people. The issue has received widespread attention after two U.S. missionaries — infected by the virus while treating patients in Liberia — received doses of an Ebola drug still under development…” (Dennis/Bernstein, 8/7).

WHO: WHO to convene ethical review of experimental treatment for Ebola
“Early next week, WHO will convene a panel of medical ethicists to explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Currently there is no registered medicine or vaccine against the virus, but there are several experimental options under development. The recent treatment of two health workers from Samaritan’s Purse with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people should be used in the outbreak and, given the extremely limited amount of medicine available, if it is used, who should receive it…” (8/6).

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Liberia, Nigeria Declare State of Emergency Over Ebola; Health Systems Overwhelmed

News outlets continue to report on the impact of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including the declarations of a state of emergency in both Liberia and Nigeria.

Agence France-Presse: Ebola sparks states of emergency across west Africa
“The fast-spreading Ebola epidemic sparked states of emergency in overwhelmed west African nations Thursday as the death toll neared 1,000 and an elderly Spanish missionary was evacuated for treatment at home. In Liberia, where the dead lay in the streets, lawmakers gathered to ratify a state of emergency while Sierra Leone sent troops to guard hospitals and clinics handling Ebola cases…” (8/7).

Reuters: West African healthcare systems reel as Ebola toll hits 932
“Health workers in West Africa appealed on Wednesday for urgent help in controlling the world’s worst Ebola outbreak as the death toll climbed to 932 and Liberia declared a state of emergency…” (Snyder/Flynn, 8/6).

Reuters: Ebola sucks life from West African states weakened by war, poverty
“Poverty, then war, and now, a deadly plague. Among the world’s poorest states at the bottom of global development indexes, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea had shown signs of leaving behind brutal wars and leaping into Africa’s economic boom – before a lethal Ebola epidemic struck…” (MacDougall/Farge, 8/7).

Reuters: Sierra Leone police blockade Ebola areas, Liberia declares emergency
“The army blockaded rural areas hit by the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone on Thursday, a senior officer said, after neighboring Liberia declared a state of emergency to tackle the worst outbreak of the disease, which has killed 932 people…” (Fofana/MacDougall, 8/7).

Washington Post: Ebola spreads to Nigeria. Goverment declares emergency.
“Nigeria’s health minister has declared a health emergency as the deadly Ebola virus gained a foothold in Africa’s most populous nation, according to news reports…” (Bever, 8/7).

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Obama Says 'Premature' To Fast-Track Ebola Treatment

The Hill: Obama: ‘Premature’ to fast-track Ebola drug
“President Obama said Wednesday that it was ‘premature’ to fast-track an experimental Ebola drug for approval even amid a deadly outbreak of the disease in Africa. ‘I think we’ve got to let the science guide us,’ Obama said at a press conference at the U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington, arguing that more testing needed to be done…” (Sink, 8/6).

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Lessons From HIV/AIDS Should Be Applied To Ebola Response, IFRC Head Says

Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost: Use lessons of AIDS to fight Ebola: Red Cross chief
“The world must learn from the fight against AIDS to help beat the deadliest-ever outbreak of Ebola, the new global head of the Red Cross said on Wednesday…” (8/6).

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News Outlets Report On Highlights From U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Announcement Of U.S. Commitment To Africa

News outlets report on highlights from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, including the announcement of U.S. commitments to Africa.

Agence France-Presse/GlobalPost: Highlights of U.S.-Africa Summit
“Here are some highlights of the U.S. summit with African leaders, a three-day event heralding renewed U.S. interest in the fast-growing continent: U.S. President Barack Obama announces $33 billion in investments in the continent…” (8/6).

Associated Press: Obama announces $33B in commitments for Africa
“Seeking to strengthen America’s financial foothold in Africa, President Barack Obama announced $33 billion in commitments Tuesday aimed at shifting U.S. ties with Africa beyond humanitarian aid and toward more equal economic partnerships…” (Pace, 8/5).

New York Times: As Meeting With African Leaders Winds Down, Policy Issues Take the Stage
“President Obama, ending a landmark summit meeting with African leaders, said Wednesday that the United States was dispatching teams of health workers to West Africa to help contain an outbreak of the Ebola virus, but stopped short of pledging to send experimental drugs because he said he did not know enough about them…” (Landler/Baker, 8/6).

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NPR Discusses PEPFAR's Future With Ambassador Deborah Birx

NPR: Plotting The American Role In Fighting The AIDS Epidemic
“… Melissa Block talks with Ambassador Deborah Birx, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. Birx oversees the program known as PEPFAR — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Birx talks about combating complacency, as well as the human rights issues that are making it harder for groups to reach some of the most vulnerable populations…” (8/6).

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Bush Calls For Renewed HIV/AIDS Efforts In Africa

News outlets report on former President George W. Bush’s visit to Washington, D.C. this week to talk with African leaders about HIV/AIDS efforts in Africa.

CNN: George W. Bush calls on Africa’s ‘first spouses’ to break down stigmas in fighting cancer, AIDS
“Former President George W. Bush said Wednesday it takes something special to get him out of Dallas nowadays, and with the Africa Leaders Summit in Washington this week it gave him a chance to talk about an effort many may not associate him with — fighting AIDS in Africa…” (Spodak, 8/6).

The Hill: Bush makes AIDS plea in rare D.C. visit
“Former President George W. Bush used a rare visit to Washington on Tuesday to press African leaders to do more to stop HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases…” (Cirilli, 8/6).

New York Times: Bush Urges Renewed Fight Against Deadly Diseases in Africa
“Former President George W. Bush made a rare return to the nation’s capital on Wednesday to rally world leaders behind a public health campaign to conquer killer diseases in Africa and to forecast what he called ‘the beginning of the end of AIDS’…” (Baker, 8/6).

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WHO Reassesses Threat of Polio; Meets With Country Leaders To Evaluate Polio Efforts

Vaccine News Daily: WHO reassesses spread of wild poliovirus as designated international threat
“Last week, the World Health Organization met with leaders from Cameroon, Guinea, Pakistan, and Syria to reevaluate the efficiency of efforts to combat the international spread of wild poliovirus…” (Villareal, 8/6).

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Muslim Clerics In Nigeria Mobilize Communities In Polio Vaccination Initiative

Washington Post: Muslim clerics in Nigeria advocate for polio vaccination and mobilize community
“A few years ago, northern Nigeria was a global epicenter of polio transmission, but a program that mobilized local Muslim clerics, who were once opposed to immunization and are now advocates for vaccination, has helped radically reduce infections, according to researchers…” (Hogan, 8/6).

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Stigma Associated With HIV Adversely Affects Children In Senegal

Inter Press Service: Children, the Biggest Losers in Senegal’s Fight Against AIDS
“Children living with HIV in Senegal suffer because of the taboo associated with this disease in a country which is, however, praised for its fight against the pandemic…” (Cru, 8/2).

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South Sudan On Verge Of 'Humanitarian Catastrophe,' Says U.N.

News outlets report on the U.N.’s efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

International Business Times: South Sudan Faces Hunger, Malnutrition And Unending Conflict
“South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, is on the verge of a ‘humanitarian catastrophe,’ warned Edmond Mullet, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations. Briefing the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Mullet said that an impending famine in the conflict-ridden country has put nearly four million people at risk of hunger and starvation…” (Pandey, 8/7).

Reuters: South Sudan humanitarian aid operations are world’s largest: U.N.
“The scale of humanitarian operations in South Sudan is now the largest in any single country and the world’s youngest nation is on the brink of catastrophe as a famine looms, the U.N. deputy peacekeeping chief said on Wednesday…” (Donath, 8/7).

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Editorials and Opinions

Liberia's Assistant Minister Of Health Discusses Country's Response To Ebola; Urges International Community To Continue To Provide Assistance

Scientific American: When Ebola Came to Liberia
Tolbert Nyenswah, assistant minister of health for Liberia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

“We always knew that Ebola would come to Liberia. For us it was just a matter of when. As the current outbreak erupted in Guinea this past winter, we braced for an incoming epidemic. People travel between our two countries daily. We started to stock up on needed personal protective equipment and quietly disseminated information about how to handle Ebola cases. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were not prepared. We did not expect the sheer scale of the outbreak, which was unprecedented anywhere. … The U.S., along with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programme, Doctors Without Borders and Samaritan’s Purse are helping to support the efforts of the Liberian government. … Still, we require continued international support. Even wealthy countries cannot stop public health threats without the cooperation of their people. To get that support, we must show communities that we are helping patients. Accordingly, Liberia is committed to do its part to bring the Ebola outbreak to an end as soon as possible. Please join us” (8/6).

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Resolving Differences Around Research Essential To Finding Ebola Vaccine

Huffington Post: We’ll Never Find an Ebola Vaccine Without Taking Some Risks
Connor Bamford, postdoctoral researcher, and Andrew Shaw, postdoctoral scientist at the Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow

“The current West African Ebola virus outbreak, which has now reached more than 1,000 cases and resulted in more than 800 deaths, is a reminder of the often unpredictable nature of viruses and the difficulties in finding and developing vaccines and antivirals. … [I]t is becoming clear that researchers working on [viruses that pose a continuous threat] don’t agree on how best to study these particularly dangerous viruses and two groups have now emerged with different views. … The fact is, if we are to prevent infections and deaths by developing antivirals and vaccines, continuing research into viruses such as influenza and Ebola virus is critical. … As the most recent Ebola virus outbreak and inevitable fears around novel strains of influenza show, finding ways to counter dangerous viruses will require us to go further than we have done so far — and it is something we will need to resolve soon” (8/6).

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Domestic, Innovative Financing Will Advance Health Sector In Africa

Huffington Post: Investing in Health: African Countries Expand Domestic and Innovative Financing
Deborah Derrick, president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

“… [T]his week’s summit provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made through U.S. investments in institutions such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to discuss the best way forward in improving health interventions in Africa, and to pave the way for continued economic growth in the region. … Though we still have a long way to go, domestic spending increases among African Union nations demonstrate growing political will — a sign that we are right on track. Most importantly, it sends a strong political message to international donors that their investments are working: the programs they support are gradually building healthier communities and enabling countries to take greater control of their health systems in a sustainable way” (8/6).

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The Guardian Assesses Reactions To U.N. Working Group's Final Proposal For SDGs

The Guardian: Will these sustainable development goals do the job?
Carla Kweifio-Okai, community coordinator for the Guardian’s Global development site

“The U.N. working group responsible for crafting the sustainable development goals (SDGs) has handed down its final proposal, adding a goal to address domestic and global inequality. … The final proposal received varied responses, including praise for a more extensive list of goals and disappointment at the relegation of issues including governance and land rights…” (8/6).

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Global Health Researchers, Workers Should Co-Produce Knowledge With Local Communities

Forbes: Why Global Health Researchers Should Climb Down From the Ivory Tower
Carmen Nobel, senior editor of Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

“… [T]here’s a dearth of co-production in the public health sector, which often depends entirely on faraway academics and organizations to solve local problems. This frustrates [Nava] Ashraf [an associte professor at Harvard Business School], who for more than a decade has studied behavioral economics in the context of developing countries. She believes that global health researchers and public health workers should make a point of co-producing knowledge with those who will most benefit from it: the residents of the communities they study. … Recognizing the importance of knowledge co-production can lead not only to successful products and services, but also to improved supply chain and delivery strategies…” (8/6).

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Recent Releases

PEPFAR, CIFF Launch Initiative To Expand Children's Access To HIV Treatment

The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR): The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation Launch $200 million Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment Initiative (ACT) to Save Lives
“[Wednesday], the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), launched Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT). ACT is an ambitious $200 million initiative to double the total number of children receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) across ten priority African countries over the next two years. This investment will enable 300,000 more children living with HIV to receive ART…” (8/6).

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U.S., African Leaders Announce Progress, Investments In Food Security, Nutrition

USAID: U.S. And African Leaders Announce Progress, New Partnerships To Help Millions Of Farming Families Through Agriculture
“[Tuesday] at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, U.S. and African officials announced that more than $10 billion will be realized through responsible private investments as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which President Obama launched at the 2012 G8 Summit at Camp David…” (8/5).

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Event Provides Opportunity To Discuss MNCH Approaches

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: A challenge that sparks innovation and saves lives
Nick Taylor, GHTC’s senior program assistant, discusses DevelopmentxChange 2014, an event that took place in Washington, D.C. last week sponsored by the Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development program. Taylor writes it served as “an opportunity for hundreds of bright minds to come together and display groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in low- and middle-income countries…” (8/6).

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Gates Foundation, Partners Address Ebola Crisis In West Africa

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: Addressing the Ebola Crisis
Sue Desmond-Hellmann, chief executive officer at the Foundation, discusses how the Gates Foundation and its partners are working to address the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (8/6).

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Blog Recaps Responses To Court Decision To Invalidate Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: “I am no longer criminal…” Following Uganda law dismissal, we’re reading responses and results
“In the wake of the major victory for public health and human rights that the nullification last week of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act represents… [Antigone Bartone, writer and editor of "Science Speaks" and senior communications officer at the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses] the petition that got the law to court, responses from Uganda, and updates from other corners” (8/6).

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Breastfeeding Must Have Place In Post-2015 Development Agenda

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: World Breastfeeding Week: Looking Beyond 2015
Ellen Piwoz, senior program officer in the nutrition division of the Global Development Program at the Foundation, discusses breastfeeding and its importance within the post-2015 development agenda (8/6).

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