Evening Ebola Update, 1/29: Explanation of CDC overestimate of EBOV cases/’Pandemic insurance policies’/’Profit shifting’ reduces $ for health services in Sierra Leone   Leave a comment

1/29/15

Dear Colleagues:

l.  SHEA Spotlight reports today that Dr. Jim Kim, President of the World Bank, is developing a ‘pandemic insurance policy’ with WHO, World Bank, academics, and insurance companies so that immediate resources – money, HCW, diagnostic equipment, isolation procedures, contact tracing teams – are available the moment an infectious agent capable of producing a pandemic is detected in a country.  Presumeably, the insurance policy would require all of these immediate resources to be in country before the insurance policy was issued.  See summaries of the Dr. Jim talk at Georgetown at NBC and BBC: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/prevent-another-ebola-insurance-plan-world-bank-head-says-n294811 and http://www.bbc.com/news/world-31013636.  The verbatim speech has not yet been posted by the World Bank.

2.  Popular Science 22 January has an article posted on-line re: why the EBOV epidemic has been less devastating than the CDC projection of 1.4 million cases by January, 2015.  The CDC projection was based on data collected prior to September, 2014.  It was only in September, 2014, that significant aid and personnel arrived in West Africa to reduce the EBOV caseload with contact tracing, isolation of suspected EBOV cases, safe burials and mourning practices, and EBOV treatment centers.  The CDC projection also assumed that 1.5 EBOV cases went unreported for every EBOV case reported.

3.  The Popular Science article says that the WHO projection of 20,000 EBOV cases by November, 2014, was more accurate than the CDC projection ( WHO still an overestimation) because the WHO study included data after September, 2014, and no unreported EBOV cases were included in the WHO calculation.  See the Popular Science article at: http://www.popsci.com/why-ebola-epidemic-isnt-devastating-predicted-so-far

5.  The Lancet Global Health  February, 2015, has an article by O’Hare from the College of Medicine in Malawi and University of St. Andrews, U.K. explaining an economic reason why the EBOV epidemic has been so serious in Sierra Leone.  The U.N. and African countries have agreed that the tax rate for African countries to meet their development needs should be 20% of GDP.  But in Sierra Leone the collected tax rate is only 11% of GDP.  O’Hare says this low tax collection is due to ‘illicit financial flight’ of capital. Multinational companies; e.g. mining companies, are given tax ‘incentives’ by SIerra Leone.  These ‘incentives’ include the ability to move capital to their companies in other countries with a lower tax rate (this is called ‘profit shifting’).   The result is loss of tax revenue for Sierra Leone.  See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(14)70369-9/fulltext. 

RGL, MD

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Posted January 29, 2015 by levittrg in Ebola

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