Recent media

Please see below for a selection of news articles.

 

Liberia declared Ebola-free, but outbreak continues over border

Reuters Africa | May 10, 2015

Liberia was declared free from Ebola by the government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday after 42 days without a new case of the virus, which killed more than 4,700 people there during a year-long epidemic. However, celebrations were muted by thoughts for the dead and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) urged vigilance until the worst outbreak of the disease ever recorded was also extinguished in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone. Read more

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on Liberia

The White House | May 09, 2015

Today, the Republic of Liberia reached the important milestone of 42 days without reporting a new Ebola case, and we are pleased the World Health Organization was able to declare the end of the country’s current outbreak.  We congratulate the people of Liberia on reaching this important marker, and once again pledge our commitment to ending the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and helping to rebuild Liberia and other affected nations.  Read more

 

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia is over

WHO | May 09, 2015

Today, 9 May 2015, WHO declares Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission. Forty-two days have passed since the last laboratory-confirmed case was buried on 28 March 2015. The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over. Interruption of transmission is a monumental achievement for a country that reported the highest number of deaths in the largest, longest, and most complex outbreak since Ebola first emerged in 1976. At the peak of transmission, which occurred during August and September 2014, the country was reporting from 300 to 400 new cases every week. Read more

 

Statement on the World Health Organization's Announcement on Liberia

Marie Harf
Acting Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

U.S. Department of State | May 09, 2015

The United States congratulates the people of Liberia on reaching the important milestone marked by the World Health Organization's announcement that the current outbreak of Ebola in Liberia has ended after having gone 42 days without any new cases. This achievement is a tribute to the Government of Liberia’s rapid and sustained response in combating and containing the disease, in collaboration with the international community. Read more

 

Block By Block, Health Workers Lead Liberia To Victory Over Ebola

NPR | May 09, 2015

They were the ones who went door to door to stop the spread of Ebola. They were accused of passing on the virus and had water hurled at them. They were the community health workers — the unsung heroes of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. During the darkest days of the epidemic, the West Point slum in Monrovia became a battle ground over Ebola. Last August, as people were dying in the streets from the disease, residents of West Point trashed a shelter for people infected with the virus. The government responded by slapping a quarantine on the entire township. Riots ensued, but in the background there was still a deadly epidemic to fight. Read more

 

UNICEF hails Liberia’s victory over Ebola, but warns against complacency as cases remain in neighboring countries

UNICEF | May 09, 2015

Welcoming Liberia’s announcement today that it has reached zero Ebola cases,  UNICEF commended the critical role communities have played in beating back the epidemic in that country. The children’s agency went on to warn, however, that the threat posed to the region by the deadly virus will not disappear until there is no longer active transmission in affected neighboring countries. “Today we join Liberia in celebrating this victory against a scourge that has caused so much death and suffering,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF’s Representative in Liberia. “It is a tremendous tribute to the engagement of communities which have played a central role in the battle against Ebola.” Read more

 

Liberia Is Declared Free of Ebola, but Officials Sound Note of Caution

The New York Times | May 09, 2015

The World Health Organization declared Liberia free of Ebola on Saturday, making it the first of the three hardest-hit West African countries to bring a formal end to the epidemic. “The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over,” the W.H.O. said in a statement read by Dr. Alex Gasasira, the group’s representative to Liberia, in a packed conference room at the emergency command center in Monrovia, the capital. Read more

 

Liberia cautiously marks end of Ebola after 4,700 deaths

Associated Press | May 09, 2015

On the day Mercy Kennedy lost her mother to Ebola, it was hard to imagine a time when Liberia would be free from one of the world's deadliest viruses. It had swept through the 9-year-old's neighborhood, killing people house by house. Neighbors were so fearful that Mercy, too, might be sick that no one would touch her to comfort her as tears streamed down her face. She had only a tree to lean on as she wept. Read more

 

Liberia Finally Free Of Ebola After Weeks Without New Cases, World Health Organization Says

The Huffington Post | May 09, 2015

Liberia is now free of Ebola after going 42 days - twice the maximum incubation period for the deadly disease - without any new cases, the World Health Organization announced on Saturday. While celebrating the milestone, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Saturday told The Associated Press the damage wrought by the worst Ebola outbreak in history was "a scar on the conscience of the world." For some survivors, she said, "The pain and grief will take a generation to heal." Read more

 

After the plague

The Economist | May 09, 2015

Foreign tourists have yet to return to the west African coast following last year’s Ebola epidemic that infected 25,000 people and killed more than 40% of them. But should visitors come, little would strike them as out of the ordinary. Charnel houses once again function as hospitals. Some practices have changed: hygiene is a greater concern when handling the dead. But other habits such as shaking hands—avoided last year to prevent transmission—are again as common as ever. Liberia is doing so well that the government and foreign aid agencies declared it virus-free on May 9th, 42 days after the last victim was buried. On April 30th the American army closed a treatment facility for medical workers in the capital, Monrovia, that it opened in a hurry last November. It received only 42 people, but it stiffened the resolve of doctors and nurses by assuring them of excellent care, should they have become infected. Read more

 

Aid donors say Ebola-hit countries must direct effort to rebuild their economies

The Guardian | February 23, 2015

Leaders of the three west African countries worst affected by Ebola will meet donors and partners in March to discuss how to regenerate their economies. The outbreak of the disease in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, combined with a fall in commodity prices, has interrupted a period of growth in economies worn down by decades of war and corroded by corruption. Read more

 

Ebola Drug Shows Some Promise in First Tests in West Africa

ABC | February 23, 2015

An experimental antiviral drug shows some early, encouraging signs of effectiveness in its first human test against Ebola in West Africa, but only if patients get it when their symptoms first appear. A study of the drug, favipiravir (fav-ih-PEER'-ah-veer), is still in early stages in West Africa, and too few people have been treated to really know whether the drug helps. Other factors, like better health care, may be making a difference, and there was no comparison group of patients who got no treatment or a different drug. Results for the first 69 adults and teens in Guinea were released Monday. Read more

 

Ebola in Guinea

The Economist | February 21st, 2015

Back to the start

SOME are attacked with stones, others with fists; a clutch have been killed by machete. Health workers in Guinea face danger even before they encounter Ebola, the virus that has caused over 9,300 deaths in west Africa. Such resistance occurs in Liberia and Sierra Leone, too, but it is more common in Guinea, and makes it harder to end the epidemic. Ebola has waned in west Africa, with 128 new confirmed cases this week (from a peak of over 800 last autumn). Sierra Leone accounted for the largest number (74), but Guinea (52) is more worrying: the vast majority of its new cases of late have been among people who were not on health workers’ radar. The virus can be contained by isolating those who have had contact with the sick, but first they must be found. Read more

 

WHO approves 15-minute test for Ebola

The Guardian | February 20, 2015

The first rapid test for the Ebola virus, which can deliver a result in 15 minutes, has been approved by the World Health Organisation for use in west Africa. A quick and easy test that can be used in rural African settings rather than relying on the transport of samples to distant labs is much needed in the Ebola epidemic, and several companies have been working to produce one. The ReEBOV Antigen rapid test kit, which now has a WHO seal of approval, is made by Corgenix in the US. Read more

 

Life After Ebola: What It Takes For A Village To Be Resilient

NPR | February 20, 2015

If you'd like to get an idea of what resilience is all about, take a lesson from Mamuedeh Kanneh. She lost her husband to Ebola. But she's stayed strong. She's caring for 13 children, her own and orphans whose parents died of the virus. Kanneh lives in Barkedu, a village of about 6,000 in northern Liberia. Ebola took more than 150 lives. In her neighborhood there were many deaths, so people in other parts of Barkedu are scared of the orphans. Read more

 

IMF Establishes a Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to Enhance Support for Eligible Low Income Countries Hit by Public Health Disasters

IMF | February 05, 2015

The Ebola epidemic in parts of West Africa is a humanitarian disaster that has drawn the attention of the international community to the threat posed by the rapid spread of life-threatening infectious diseases, both within and across international boundaries. On February 4, 2015, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) met to consider how the Fund could better support low-income countries hit by such public health disasters. This would take into account both the humanitarian case for providing such support and the wider international interest in supporting vigorous action to contain and halt a potential regional or global pandemic at the earliest possible stage. Read more

 

Ebola Drug Aids Some in a Study in West Africa

New York Times | February 05, 2015

For the first time, a drug is showing promising signs of effectiveness in Ebola patients participating in a study. The medicine, which interferes with the virus’s ability to copy itself, seems to have halved mortality — to 15 percent, from 30 percent — in patients with low to moderate levels of Ebola in their blood, researchers have found. It had no effect in patients with more virus in their blood, who are more likely to die. The drug, approved as an influenza treatment in Japan last year, was generally well tolerated. Read more

 

Military Ebola mission in Liberia coming to an end

USA Today | February 04, 2015

President Obama is all but ending the U.S. military mission to Liberia to fight Ebola next month, as infection rates there fall to near zero.

The number of troops deployed to the West African country, which reached nearly 3,000 in December, will fall to 1,300 this week and decline through March as soldiers head home, according to a U.S. official familiar with the U.S. government efforts. The official declined to be identified because the government is not ready to disclose its plans to the public. The official said the returning troops would be replaced by a force of about 100 for at least the near term. Read more

 

New Ebola cases show first rise in 2015

BBC | February 04, 2015

The number of new cases of Ebola has gone up in all three of West Africa's worst-hit countries in the last week of January, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. It is the first weekly increase in 2015, ending a series of encouraging declines. The WHO says Sierra Leone registered 80 of the 124 new cases, Guinea 39 and Liberia the remaining five. Almost 9,000 people have died from Ebola since December 2013. Read more

 

Only a third of Ebola aid pledges delivered, says study

France 24 | February 04, 2015

Only about a third of the $2.89 billion (2.52 billion euros) in aid money pledged to fight the Ebola virus in west Africa was actually delivered, according to an analysis published by the British Medical Journal. The report pointed to delays in the international response since the first reports about the deadly outbreak in March 2014 and said that "this may have contributed to the ongoing spread of the disease". Read more

 

Ebola-hit Sierra Leone's schools to reopen on March 30

France 24 | February 04, 2015

Sierra Leone said on Wednesday it would reopen the country's schools on March 30, after a seven-month shutdown to limit the spread of the Ebola virus. Classrooms have been empty since the government announced a state of emergency in July in response to an outbreak which has killed almost 9,000 people in the region, more than 3,000 of them in Sierra Leone. President Ernest Bai Koroma's office said he had granted permission for work to start on "water and sanitation issues, Ebola screenings and psychosocial support", ahead of the reopening. Read more

 

Experts raise hope of end to Ebola outbreak

The Guardian | February 04, 2015

Reading between the lines of the dry, technical language, it’s possible to detect a hint of optimism in the latest Ebola situation report from the World Health Organization (WHO). “For the first time since [late June 2014], there have been fewer than 100 new confirmed cases reported in a week in the three most-affected countries,” said the report. This is a significant milestone, and is pretty convincing proof that the effort to slow the spread of Ebola has worked. Read more

 

Liberians divided over Ebola vaccine trials

DW | February 04, 2015

When the trials began in Liberia on Monday February 2, 2015, about a dozen people received the vaccine, according to Wessedi Sio Njoh, Director of Operations with the Partnership for Ebola Vaccination. "Twelve persons for today and hopefully the number will increase as we go along," she said. The hospital where the trials began is located at New Kru Town, a densely populated, poor shanty community. New Kru Town was one of the first parts of the capital to be struck by Ebola. During this phase of the trials, Njoh told DW they intend to obtain "more information about the safety and efficacy" of the vaccines. In the next phase, they will target 27,000 people. Read more

 

Lessons From Africa's Hard-Won Victory Over Ebola

Bloomberg | February 03, 2015

The West Africa Ebola outbreak looks to be petering out. In the week ended Jan. 25, fewer than 100 new confirmed cases were reported: 30 in Guinea, 4 in Liberia, and 65 in Sierra Leone. That’s down from more than a thousand new cases a week at the height of the outbreak. Liberia has reopened its schools for the first time since July, and the World Health Organization reports the focus has shifted from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic. The rapid decline in cases is a testament to the considerable bravery and hard work of local medical staff (488 of whom have died) as well as doctors, nurses, and other volunteers from around the world. Read more

 

Estimating the economic cost of Ebola

World Economic Forum | February 3, 2015

Recent news of declining numbers of new Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone suggest encouraging progress toward ending the epidemic. The human cost has been tragic and until we reach zero cases the threat to human lives remains the main risk and so the public health response must remain our focus. Yet, as Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone glimpse – we hope – light at the end of the tunnel, thoughts also need to turn to their needs for reconstruction and development. Read more

 

Liberia: St. Paul Bridge Community - Liberia's New Ebola Hotspot

All Africa | February 3, 2015

Despite tremendous efforts by the government of Liberia and international partners aimed at eradicating the deadly Ebola virus, it seems the fight is becoming difficult to reach an end as new cases of Ebola are again being reported in the country. For the past few days, Liberia, which was recording dozens of Ebola cases daily was only battling with the last five confirmed Ebola cases, but that record is now on a slippery path as five new Ebola cases have been reported in the St. Paul Bridge Community in Montserrado County. Read more

 

Finding Homes for Ebola's Orphans

National Geographic | February 3, 2015

For two weeks in September, Harris Wureh, 17, and Mercy Kennedy, 9, tended to their mother as her condition deteriorated. Marie Wureh, a widow who traded goods at the local market, became infected with Ebola while she cared for a woman who had fallen ill. The siblings, quarantined in their two-room, concrete-block shanty in Monrovia, Liberia, fed their mother food that neighbors left outside and tried to keep her clean. As her suffering increased, Wureh made her son repeat his promise that he would become a computer programmer and would ensure Mercy got an education too. Read more

 

Ebola crisis: First major vaccine trials in Liberia

BBC | February 2, 2015

The first large-scale trials of two experimental vaccines against Ebola have begun in Liberia. The potentially preventative medicines were taken under strict security to a secret location in the West African country. Scientists aim to immunise 30,000 volunteers, including front-line health workers. More than 8,500 people have died in the Ebola outbreak, the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Read more

 

Ebola crisis: Liberia bounces back

BBC | February 2, 2015

If you thought Liberia was dying, think again. Yes, the Ebola epidemic was a disaster. Its terrible effects are still present - especially among the poorest in society. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in her recent State of the Nation address that the disease had "threatened our very existence". Nearly 4,000 Liberians died from the outbreak. Read more

 

UK government feared terrorists would weaponize Ebola

The Guardian | February 2,2015

British military experts were asked to draw up guidance at the height of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa late last year on the feasibility and potential impact of terrorists “weaponising” the virus. The Ministry of Defence has released a heavily redacted report, prepared in October, that identified three scenarios involving the exploitation of Ebola for bioterrorism. Read more

 

Liberia Ebola centre dismantled as cases plummet

BBC | February 2, 2015

An Ebola centre in Liberia, one of the largest in the world, is being partially dismantled, because it is no longer needed. Mark Doyle was shown round the centre by Duncan Bell of the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres. Watch here

 

Second UK health worker monitored for Ebola

BBC | February 2, 2015

A second UK military healthcare worker has been flown to England following "likely exposure" to the Ebola virus via a needle-stick injury in Sierra Leone. The patient is being monitored at London's Royal Free Hospital and does not currently have a diagnosis or symptoms of the virus. Public Health England says there is no risk to the general public. The patient will be watched for 21 days to see if they develop Ebola. Read more

 

Fear factor could hinder Liberia's Ebola trials

Independent | February 2, 2015

With music, pomp and ceremony, the first large scale trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine was launched yesterday in Liberia, in the face of two major challenges. The first is to find enough volunteers – 30,000 are being sought – willing to take the potentially preventative vaccine, which contains a gene from the virus that has terrorised the country and claimed thousands of lives. Read more

 

Chimerix Scraps Testing of Experimental Ebola Drug in Liberia

Wall Street Journal | February 2, 2015

Chimerix Inc. scrapped testing of its experimental antiviral in Ebola patients in Liberia, saying the number of infections had dropped in recent weeks, and that only a handful of patients had been enrolled in the Liberian study. The abrupt reversal in Chimerix’s plans could raise questions about whether the declining number of Ebola infections in West Africa could be a problem for other experimental drugs and vaccines currently undergoing testing in the region for safety and efficacy. The World Health Organization said this week the incidence of the deadly disease continues to fall in the three countries that were hardest hit last year—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Read more

 

March meeting to plan rebuilding of Ebola-hit states

Reuters Africa | January 30, 2015

Governments and international organizations plan to meet in March to work out how to rebuild three West African nations whose economies have been shattered by Ebola, a U.N. envoy said on Thursday. The number of newly detected cases of Ebola virus infection has been dropping sharply in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia in recent weeks. But the three countries are still reeling from the impact. Read more

 

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Voice of America | January 30, 2015

Doctors Without Borders has opened an Ebola treatment ward for pregnant women in Sierra Leone. It is the first of its kind. Sierra Leone already had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world before Ebola arrived. Health workers say the situation has gotten worse, as women with Ebola face an even higher risk of hemorrhaging while giving birth. Read more

 

Liberia delays school reopening by two weeks as Ebola cases fall

Reuters Africa | January 30, 2015

Liberia said on Friday it would delay reopening schools for two weeks in order to better prepare safety measures against the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 3,650 people in the country but now appears to be receding. Liberian schools, shut since August due to the outbreak, had initially been scheduled to reopen on Feb. 2, but the education ministry said it had pushed back that date to allow parents and students more time to prepare. Read more

 

How Bad Data Fed the Ebola Epidemic

New York Times | January 30, 2015

The West African Ebola outbreak first hit Sierra Leone in May 2014, followed by an explosion of cases in the capital Freetown in the autumn. The epidemic now counts more than 10,500 cases across Sierra Leone, with signs that the spread is slowing.

The early days of the crisis were characterized by a sense of immense fear, anxiety and alarm, regionally and globally. In Sierra Leone, a three-day, countrywide, military-led lockdown in September fed the fear in West Africa and beyond. Many flights originating in unaffected African countries were restricted. African students were prevented from attending some American schools, and there were countless reports of discrimination against Africans across the globe. Pictures of health workers in full protective suits became a ubiquitous symbol of the panic. Read more

 

IMF hopes for deal soon on debt forgiveness for Ebola countries

Reuters Africa | January 30, 2015

An agreement to forgive some of the debt of Ebola-hit West African nations may be reached soon in talks between the International Monetary Fund and donor countries, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said. Lagarde, on a three-day visit to Senegal, said that the IMF board was also due to approve in early February a zero-percent- interest loan of $160 million for the three countries worst-affected by Ebola - Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Read more

 

Do Ebola educators make a difference?

The Guardian | January 29, 2015

The initial Ebola case in Tambakha [a remote chiefdom near the Guinea border]coincided with the proper training of the first set of Ebola educators. They were deployed in mid-October to educate local people on the prevention and control ofEbola and to help monitor the advent of newcomers into their communities, possible carriers. Read more

 

UN shares initial Ebola recovery aims for most affected countries

UNDP | January 29, 2015

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), governments from the countries hardest hit by Ebola and the international community shared initial priorities to boost recovery efforts in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia today.
Speaking at a UNDP-hosted briefing for Member States, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark urged the world to stay the course in aiding Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as they work to rebuild and regain the huge socio-economic losses wrought by the epidemic. Read more

 

Post-Ebola, AU plans pan-African CDC

Devex | January 29, 2015

The African Union will announce the launch of its Ebola Solidarity Fund on Friday during the AU summit in Addis Ababa, a first step toward its goal of establishing an African center for disease control by mid-2015. On the heels of criticism from Oxfam that African leaders aren’t doing enough to contain the Ebola outbreak, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko said that the first phase would focus on "an early warning system" for the detection of epidemics. Read more

 

Orphans in crises overseas need emergency adoption protocols, say advocates

The Guardian | January 29, 2015

Australia needs to set up emergency protocols for the quick adoption of children from overseas who have been orphaned by Ebola, west African community leaders say. Strict adoption laws in Australia mean family members here cannot legally adopt those orphaned by Ebola in line with traditional family obligations. Read more

 

Ebola czar Ron Klain to leave Feb. 15 after leading U.S. response to outbreak

Washington Post | January 29, 2015

In November, state and federal authorities were having trouble tracking individuals who had entered the United States from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa and may have been exposed to the deadly virus. The travelers’ cellphones often didn’t work in this country, so officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proposed giving them cellphones with 30-day plans so local authorities could call them daily during the 21 days of required monitoring. Read more

 

Ebola Outbreak Is on the Decline, WHO Says

Wall Street Journal | January 29, 2015

The Ebola outbreak that has ravaged parts of West Africa is on the decline, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, with the U.N. organization now switching its efforts to eradicating the disease from simply preventing its spread. There were fewer than 100 confirmed new cases of the deadly disease for the first time since the week ended June 29 in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea—the three countries that have borne the brunt of the outbreak. In the week ended Jan. 25, there were 99 confirmed cases, the WHO said, down from 145 a week earlier. There were falling number of cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone, although there was a slight increase in Guinea. Read more

 

Peaceful elections and fighting back Ebola on the agenda at 24th Summit of the Africa Union

African Development Bank | January 29, 2015

Elections, conflict, terrorism, Ebola and women’s empowerment are all expected to be at the top of this year’s agenda as African leaders gather in Addis Ababa for the 24th Summit of the African Union. The annual meeting officially opens on Friday, January 30 at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital under the theme of women’s empowerment. But the 54-member assembly will be focused on the pressing issues of the continent in 2015, which include ensuring peace and stability throughout the presidential and legislative elections taking place this year in a dozen African countries; conflict in South Sudan, Central African Republic and Libya; the threat of Boko Haram; and efforts to stop Ebola.  Read more

 

Ebola outbreak: Virus mutating, scientists warn

BBC | January 29, 2015

Scientists tracking the Ebola outbreak in Guinea say the virus has mutated. Researchers at the Institut Pasteur in France, which first identified the outbreak last March, are investigating whether it could have become more contagious. More than 22,000 people have been infected with Ebola and 8,795 have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Scientists are starting to analyze hundreds of blood samples from Ebola patients in Guinea. Read more

 

Ebola: Winning the war, but battles remain

CNN | January 29,2015

First, the good news: Ebola is in decline. 2014 was a year of profound fear for communities living with -- and dying of -- the disease; of health workers making the ultimate sacrifice, dying as they tried to save; of apocalyptic forecasts as to the disease's possible spread. With 8,810 dead, governments and aid agencies are now giving a timeline on when they might reach zero cases -- and they're saying that could be in just a few months. Read more

 

Liberia: Harvard Scientist Claims Selenium Can Treat Ebola

All Africa | January 29, 2015

In an article just published in the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, Harvard University researcher Dr Boguslaw Lipinski claims that selenium can treat Ebola virus disease (EVD). His paper says that a specific form of selenium, sodium selenite, found in nutritional supplements can reduce the infectivity and therefore the reproduction of Ebola and HIV viruses. Read more

 

In Ebola response, Big Pharma and public sector strive to make up for lost time

Global Post | January 29, 2015

By the time the first Ebola cases were diagnosed in the United States and Europe early last fall, the deadly, destructive disease had already killed thousands of people across five countries in West Africa. Only then, with fears of a global epidemic spreading even more quickly than Ebola itself, did private pharmaceutical companies begin teaming up with government entities to move forward with developing an Ebola vaccine. The delayed response is an example of the diverging interests of public and private sectors when it comes to addressing a public health crisis, say experts from both sides. Read more

 

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Voice of America | January 29, 2015

The World Health Organization said Thursday that efforts to slow the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola have shifted to a focus on ending the epidemic, after the number of new cases fell to its lowest weekly level since the end of June. A total of 99 new cases were reported last week in the most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to WHO figures. Read more

 

As Ebola 'fear factor' eases, African tourism edges back

Reuters | January 29, 2015

From the jungle-clad slopes of the Great Lakes to the game parks of South Africa, tourism is beginning to recover as the Ebola outbreak in a corner of the continent ebbs and foreigners overcome their fear of the virus. The epidemic has been confined overwhelmingly to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where at least 8,700 people have died. But it has resonated all across the continent in the form of cancelled flights, missed meetings and empty hotel rooms, even though Africa's main tourist centres are further from the Ebola zone than Paris. Read more

 

Preventive Medicine: Ebola and Security Sector Reform in Liberia

ISN | January 29, 2015

After an autumn blitzkrieg, the U.S. military has begun talking about the end of Operation United Assistance, the anti-Ebola mission in Liberia. So says AFRICOM Commander Gen. David Rodriguez, citing “significant progress” achieved towards the mission’s end. A quiet end indeed to what was not months ago America’s biggest news story – big enough to produce TIME’s Person of the Year, ‘the Ebola Fighters’. During the scare Haz-mat suit makers saw heir stock leap,  schools one thousand miles from Dallas temporarily closedand lawmakers advocated sealing off American borders from West African travel. But there is an element to this drama that has gone overlooked: Service members arriving in Liberia were greeted by American service personnel already there. Read more

 

 Anatomy of a Logistics Operation: How USAID is Equipping Ebola Fighters on the Frontlines

USAID | January 28, 2015

Transporting vital supplies and critical commodities quickly to the epicenter of an international disaster is what USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance does every day. However, the Ebola response has proved especially challenging for USAID’s disaster experts. “Most disasters we respond to are either natural disasters—such as an earthquake, where the acute needs peak and then go down very quickly—or it’s a war,” explained Kelly Bradley, a logistician with USAID’s Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). “Ebola is essentially a brand-new type of response because outside of a few groups, no one has dealt with it on a large scale before.” Read more

 

Bill Gates Says We Must Prepare for Future Pandemics as for ‘War’

TIME | January 28, 2015

The Microsoft boss warns the Ebola crisis was just the beginning

Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, has cautioned that a technology-based action plan is needed to guard against future pandemics similar to how we “prepare ourselves for war.” Gates, whose charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation disburses nearly $4 billion worldwide, urged the international community to apply lessons learned from the Ebola crisis to develop a plan for future outbreaks. One strategy would be to create volunteer teams able to respond quickly to a public health emergency, the Agence-France Presse reported. Read more

 

World Bank: Ebola's Economic Impact Expected to be High

Voice of America | January 28, 2015

The World Bank says the three countries most affected by Ebola will suffer a combined $1.6 billion in economic losses in 2015 due to the ongoing outbreak. Unemployment rates are also expected to remain high, with cross-border traders, private-sector wage earners and the self-employed among the worst hit. Read more

 

A view from Liberia: How the Peace Corps continues to fight Ebola

CNN | January 28, 2015

As the Ebola epidemic crept into Liberia in March 2014, a dramatic shift began to take place. In a matter of months, the widespread belief that Ebola didn't even exist gave way to a gripping fear across Monrovia, the capital city. When the decision was made to evacuate Peace Corps volunteers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone at the end of July, the agency worked quickly to ensure each volunteer returned safely to the United States. This was not an easy operation as logistics and already-challenged roads had deteriorated with the full force of the rainy season. Read more

 

Ebola crisis: World 'dangerously unprepared' for future pandemics

BBC | January 27, 2015

The world is "dangerously unprepared" for future deadly pandemics like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the president of the World Bank has warned. Jim Yong Kim, speaking in Washington, said it was vital that governments, corporations, aid agencies and insurance companies worked together to prepare for future outbreaks. He said they needed to learn lessons from the Ebola crisis. More than 8,500 people have died, most in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Read more

 

Ebola outbreak: rich countries must support West Africa's recovery, Oxfam says

CBC News | January 27, 2015

Rich countries must act swiftly to repair battered health systems and get cash to millions of families in the three countries hit hardest by the world's worst Ebola outbreak, the international development agency Oxfam said Tuesday. Though the economies of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were recording strong growth prior to the outbreak, the countries remain some of the world's poorest and incomes have shrunk dramatically since the first Ebola cases were confirmed in Guinea last March. Read more

 

Liberia: UN Stresses Need for Ebola Surveillance in Border Towns

All Africa | January 27, 2015

Representatives of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire have started meeting in Freetown under the Mano River Union (MRU) to agree on methods to control and prevent disease outbreaks in the border areas. The United Nations supports the initiative, according to Amadu Kamara, Crisis Manager for the UN Mission Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in Sierra Leone. Read more

 

Ebola crisis: 'Too slow' WHO promises reforms

BBC | January 25, 2015

The World Health Organization (WHO) has set out plans for reform, admitting that it was too slow to respond to the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa. At an emergency session in Geneva, director-general Margaret Chan said Ebola had taught the world and the WHO how they must act in the future. She said the corner had been turned on infections but warned over complacency. More than 8,500 people have died in the outbreak, the vast majority in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Read more 

 

First Ebola Vaccines Head to Liberia

NBC News | January 23, 2015

The first Ebola vaccines will be shipped to West Africa Friday, loaded aboard a commercial flight from Brussels, Belgium, to Liberia. Vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline says it will eventually send 30,000 Ebola vaccines to Liberia for use in the first clinical trial testing in people who are at actual risk of catching Ebola - health care workers, close contacts of cases and perhaps burial workers as well. "They've passed all the quality checks and now can be sent to the site," Glaxo vice president Dr. Rip Ballou told NBC News. "We are also working on scaling up the production of the vaccine." Read more

 

Anger, mistrust in Guinea villages hinders battle to beat Ebola

Reuters | January 23, 2015

Angry residents are blocking access for health workers to dozens of remote villages in Guinea, in a sign of persistent mistrust that could threaten President Alpha Conde's aim to eradicate Ebola from the country by early March. The worst Ebola outbreak on record began deep in the forests of southeastern Guinea in December 2013 and has since spread to other countries in the impoverished region, killing more than 8,600 people. Like its West African neighbors Liberia and Sierra Leone - the worst-affected nations - Guinea has recorded a sharp fall in infections in recent weeks, fuelling hope that the tide has turned against the epidemic. Read more

 

Just five Ebola cases left in Liberia, government says

Reuters | January 23, 2015

Liberia, once the epicenter of West Africa's deadly Ebola epidemic, has just five remaining confirmed cases of the disease, a senior health official said on Friday, highlighting the country's success in halting new infections. The worst Ebola outbreak on record has killed more than 8,600 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Earlier this year at the height of the outbreak in Liberia, hospitals without beds for new patients were forced to turn away victims and bodies were left in the streets. But a massive international response -- including the deployment of hundreds of U.S. troops to build treatment centers -- plus a public awareness campaign, contributed to a steep decline in infection rates.  Read more

 

After Ebola, flu and drug resistance top pandemic threats

Reuters | January 23, 2015

The worst-ever Ebola epidemic is waning, but after ravaging three West African nations and spreading fear from Dallas to Madrid, it has hammered home the message that the world needs a better detective system for emerging diseases. Risks posed by pandemic threats such as deadly strains of flu and drug-resistant superbugs have shot up the agenda of global security issues at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos as politicians and scientists grapple with the lessons from an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 8,600 people. One thing is certain: more epidemics are coming and dense urban living, coupled with modern travel, will accelerate future infectious disease outbreaks. Read more

 

Sierra Leone eases blocks on travel, business as Ebola wanes

Washington Post | January 23, 2015

With the Ebola outbreak weakening in West Africa, Sierra Leone eased restrictions on movement and commercial activity Friday even as the president warned that the fight against the deadly disease is not yet over. The outbreak has sickened more than 21,000 people, nearly half of them in Sierra Leone. But the number of new infections is now falling in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three most affected countries. Read more

 

Liberia schools to reopen amid warnings that hard work on Ebola is far from done

The Guardian | January 23, 2015

It would be a “colossal mistake” for the world to abandon the west African countries worst-affected by the Ebola epidemic in the premature belief that the disease has been beaten into retreat, the Liberian government has warned. Speaking as the World Health Organization (WHO) released figures showing a continuing fall in cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Liberia’s information minister, Lewis Brown, asked the international community to honor its financial commitments to the region and help it rebuild its shattered health systems. While cases of Ebola in Liberia have fallen from a peak of more than 300 a week in August and September to eight last week, Brown said there was no room for complacency. Read more

 

Ebola situation still 'extremely alarming': UN

France 24 | January 23, 2015

The Ebola situation was still "extremely alarming" despite a significant fall in new cases in west Africa, the World Health Organization warned Friday. The UN agency said the progress made so far could be rapidly undone if a funding gap remained. WHO number two Bruce Aylward said: "It's still an incredibly dangerous situation" and "extremely alarming." Watch here

 

UN: Time for Ebola Recovery Strategy

Voice of America | January 22, 2015

Even though the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues, the U.N. says it’s time to plan for the recovery of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. A joint mission has just completed its assessment in Sierra Leone. The U.N. Development Program led the mission in Sierra Leone. It included representatives of the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the EU and other U.N. agencies. U.N. Resident Coordinator David McLachlan-Karr said, “The purpose was to try and work in a coordinated fashion towards gauging the socio-economic impacts of Ebola on Sierra Leone. This country has taken a very hard hit. And Ebola itself I think has exposed a number of the structural weaknesses that need urgent attention by the international community.” Read more

Falling Ebola cases show 'turning point'

BBC | January 22, 2015

There has been a "turning point" in the Ebola crisis, with cases falling in the three affected countries, World Health Organization officials say. Just eight cases were detected in Liberia in the last week down from a peak of 500-a-week in September. Guinea and Sierra Leone have also seen falls. The WHO said the figures were the "most promising" since the outbreak started. All are now showing falls in weekly cases: Cases in Liberia stand at eight-per-week down from a peak of 509 Cases in Guinea stand at 20 per week down from a peak of 292 ; Cases in Sierra Leone stand at 117-per-week down from a peak of 748. Read more

 

Ebola ebbing in West Africa but vigilance needed: WHO

Reuters | January 22, 2015

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa appears to be ebbing, with fewer than 150 cases reported in the past week, but efforts must be pursued to stamp out the deadly disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. Sierra Leone remains hardest-hit, accounting for 117 of the 145 new confirmed cases, against 184 there the previous week and 248 the week before that, the WHO said in its latest update. "Case incidence continues to fall in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone," the United Nations agency said, adding that disease surveillance was being stepped up in border districts of Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal. Read more

 

Ebola, air disasters hit trust in institutions: Edelman

CNBC | January 20, 2015

A rash of unforeseen events in 2014 has left trust in global institutions at six-year lows, according to a new survey released on Tuesday. The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer - released to coincide with the beginning of the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos - surveyed 27,000 people from 27 countries using 20-minute online interviews. The results of the annual survey - which is now in its 15th year - revealed an "alarming evaporation" of trust across governments, businesses, media outlets and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Trust is now below 50 percent in two-thirds of the countries surveyed. Read more

 

UN: African Countries 'Vital' in Fight Against Ebola

Voice of America | January 20, 2015

Sub-Saharan African countries have made relatively small, but “vitally important,” contributions towards the fight against Ebola according to the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response. This includes sending much-needed health care workers and medical supplies, as well as dedicating already-limited resources toward prevention and surveillance measures within their own borders to stop the further spread of the disease. Read more

 

UN Ebola chief calls for final funding push to defeat virus in west Africa

The Guardian | January 20, 2015

Half a billion dollars of aid pledged to end the Ebola outbreak in west Africa still hasn’t been paid, according to the UN’s response co-ordinator. Dr David Nabarro, in London and on his way to Davos to discuss progress against Ebola and future plans, said about two-thirds of the promised $1.5bn had been paid so far. “This last third is the most precious money but probably the most difficult money,” he told the Guardian. “My focus over the next few days here and in Davos is trying to ensure we have enough money to enable the task to be completed. Read more

 

Ebola Workers Encourage Continued Investment in West Africa

U.S. News | January 20, 2015

The spread of Ebola caught America’s attention in 2014 – but with news coverage dwindling amid just a handful of reported cases in the U.S., it remains to be seen the extent to which President Barack Obama will discuss the global effort to eradicate the virus in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. The guest list may provide some hint. Michelle Obama has invited Dr. Pranav Shetty, who helped establish and run Ebola treatment and training centers in Liberia, to sit in the first lady’s viewing box. Neither Nancy Writebol nor Dr. Kent Brantly, the first Americans to contract Ebola, were invited to attend the address, they confirmed Tuesday. Both appeared at the Capitol on Tuesday for a breakfast hosted by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which aimed to show ongoing efforts are needed to combat the virus. Read more

 

Ebola: Most African Countries Avoid Major Economic Loss but Impact on Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone Remains Crippling

World Bank | January 20, 2015

The Ebola epidemic will continue to cripple the economies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone even as transmission rates in the three countries show significant signs of slowing, according to a World Bank Group analysis on the economic impact of Ebola in Africa. The Bank Group estimates that these three countries will lose at least US$1.6 billion in forgone economic growth in 2015 as a result of the epidemic. But the new report -- released on the eve of the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos -- also contains more positive news: the probability of spread and the associated economic costs beyond the three most-affected countries are now much lower than previously feared because of the intensive global and national responses to the epidemic over the past several months. Read more

 

As schools reopen in Guinea, UNICEF helps efforts to reduce Ebola transmission risk

UNICEF | January 20, 2015

As schools reopen in Guinea, UNICEF and partners are helping reduce as much as possible the risk of Ebola transmission, training teachers to implement safety measures such as daily temperature screening, and supplying thermometers and handwashing kits for schools. “The closure of schools has had a profound impact in a region with some of the lowest educational indicators in the world, and among children whose world has been turned upside down by Ebola,” said Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF’s Global Emergency Coordinator for Ebola. “As schools reopen, it is critical that they be a protective environment where the risk of transmission of Ebola is reduced to a minimum, and knowledge contributes to halting the spread of the virus.” Read more

 

Ebola virus changes over time, may thwart drugs, study says

France 24 | January 20, 2015

The deadly Ebola virus is changing, and new genetic mutations that have arisen in the past four decades could thwart the experimental drugs that some pharmaceutical companies are developing, researchers said Tuesday. There is no drug on the market to treat Ebola, and no vaccine to prevent it, but clinical trials were accelerated last year after the worst outbreak in history began sweeping West Africa, killing more than eight thousand people so far and infecting more than 21,000. Read more

 

Afcon 2015 - Ebola checks at Africa Cup of Nations

BBC | January 20, 2015

BBC Sport takes a look at the Ebola screening system at the Africa Cup of Nations games in Equatorial Guinea. All supporters have a temperature check - with those above 38C not allowed in - and must then use a hand-sanitisation gel before entering the stadium. Watch here

 

Ebola crisis: Guinean priests beaten up over health fears

BBC | January 20, 2015

Three priests from a Baptist church in Guinea have been beaten up and held hostage because local people mistook them for Ebola awareness campaigners. The priests had gone to the village of Kabac in Forecariah intending to spray insecticide on wells and pit latrines, a BBC reporter says. But they were set upon by villagers who suspected they may have been bringing the Ebola virus into the area, he adds. Read more

 

Liberia: Ellen Meets With Health Workers in Nimba

All Africa | January 20, 2015

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has told health workers in Ganta, Nimba County of a "big boost" to government's fight against the Ebola virus, as partners pull in support, constructing facilities to augment Liberia's response against the disease."... But so far, our partners have now come in and they are going to give us a big boost in terms of the facilities- by constructing ETUs and holding centers, and also by giving us more materials, more equipment and vehicles, because that's all part of the problems," she said in Ganta. Read more

 

US-Built Ebola Treatment Centers Reportedly Sit Empty in Liberia

Military | January 19, 2015

Several treatment centers built by U.S. troops and meant to receive Ebola patients are sitting empty or nearly empty in the West African country of Liberia, according to a published report.  The Washington Post reports that the worst of the deadly outbreak appeared to have passed before the first treatment centers were even completed. A Liberian government official tells the Post that the centers were built "too late." "If they had been built when we needed them, they wouldn't have been too much," the official, Moses Massaquoi, said. Read more

 

The secret to curing West Africa from Ebola is no secret at all

Washington Post | January 16, 2015

PORT LOKO, Sierra Leone

Port Loko is not far from Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone and a global hub of maritime commerce. City and town, linked by paved roads, remain epicenters of Ebola transmission and deaths. Getting to zero new infections is the overarching goal of what is now the world’s largest public-health endeavor. But it’s still far from an ambitious clinical endeavor. The numbers say it all. Not a single American has died of Ebola; the majority of Europeans infected have survived; a Cuban survivor is already back here at work. Across West Africa, 70 percent of those afflicted die. And that figure applies only to the sick who receive care at treatment centers: Over 90 percent of those who stay home perish. Read more

 

J&J Gets Grant to Speed Up Ebola Vaccine

The Wall Street Journal | January 16, 2015

Johnson & Johnson said Friday that a public-private partnership in Europe will give €100 million to help in the development of the health-care company’s Ebola vaccine. The Innovative Medicines Initiative will provide the funding through J&J’s newly formed consortia. Along with J&J, the consortia include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Oxford and La Centre Muraz, among others. The grants will go toward clinical trials and production of J&J’s experimental vaccine and a campaign to raise awareness of the vaccination. In October, J&J committed $200 million to developing the treatment and has since been looking for funding partners. Read more

 

How Doctors Without Borders Is Fighting Malaria and Ebola at the Same Time

TIME | January 16, 2015

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is launching its second mass distribution of treatments for malaria in Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone, a move that may have the positive side effect of helping ease the burden of Ebola cases. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease common in the region and causes many of the same symptoms as Ebola. It’s common for people to come to Ebola treatment centers believing they have Ebola, when in fact they have malaria—which crowds the clinics and causes enormous stress for patients and their families. Treating malaria and preventing infection are ways MSF can ensure that they reduce the number of patients at Ebola treatment centers in addition to saving lives, since more people fall ill and die from malaria than Ebola. Read more

 

Possible Ebola cases flown to UK

BBC | January 16, 2015

Two volunteers have been transferred to the UK after potential contact with the Ebola virus in separate incidents. Public Health England said the patients' risk of having the virus was low and the measure was a precaution. Authorities said the individuals - one of whom is Australian - had not been diagnosed with Ebola and did not currently have symptoms of the disease. Experts emphasized the risk to the public was low and said the volunteers would be monitored for 21 days. Read more

 

Guinea to Reopen Schools as Ebola Cases Decline

Voice of America | January 16, 2015

Guinea has announced that all schools will reopen on Monday, following signs the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is beginning to wane. Schools have been closed for months in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to halt transmission of the Ebola virus, which is spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said Guinea had reported its lowest weekly total of new Ebola cases since the week ending August 17.  Similar declines were reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the WHO said each of the three countries now has sufficient capacity to isolate and treat their patients. Read more

 

Liberia: President Sirleaf Challenges Public Officials to Perform or Quit Gov't

All Africa | January 15, 2015

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged public officials to either perform their duties and responsibilities in the interest of the state or quit public service. She said during the last three years of her administration, she will leave no stone unturned to ensure that her government realizes its goals, adding, "as such any public official, irrespective of who it may be, will be dismissed from public service if he or she fails to perform to expectation." According to the Liberia News Agency, President Sirleaf proffered the challenge Thursday at a program marking the induction into office of Justice Minister Benedict F.Sannoh at the Ministry of Justice in Monrovia. Read more

 

Training the Next Generation of Ebola Fighters

USAID | January 15, 2015

Walk into the gymnasium of the Liberian National Police Training Academy and you’ll come across a maze so bizarre—and as it turns out so high-stakes—that  successfully navigating it could mean the difference between life and death. Welcome to the nerve center of the U.S. health care worker training program. It’s a replica of an Ebola treatment unit (ETU), where doctors, nurses, hygienists, and others learn how to safely care for Ebola patients while staying alive. Read more

 

Ebola Epidemic May End by June 2015 In Liberia

TIME | January 13, 2015

That’s only if current hospitalization rates continue, say researchers, Understanding the ebb and flow of the Ebola outbreak that erupted in West Africa last year—and continues to percolate in the three hardest hit countries—is critical to stopping it. That means knowing who’s getting infected, where the highest rates of transmission are occurring and which strategies work best to control its spread. Read more

 

China sending large Ebola team to West Africa

Aljazeera | January 13, 2015

China is ramping up its assistance in the fight against Ebola by dispatching an additional 232 army medical workers to West Africa, state media reported. The latest contingent to be sent to afflicted nations will depart on Tuesday evening, with 154 of them headed to Liberia and 78 to Sierra Leone, according to the China Daily newspaper. They will join 43 army doctors and 35 specialists from the Chinese Center for Disease Control already working in Sierra Leone, where they have treated 61 patients and trained 1,600 local medical workers. "Fighting Ebola is not a regional battle, but should be supported globally,'' the paper quoted deputy director of the National Health and Family Planning Ministry Cui Li as saying. Read more

 

In the Guinean town of Nzerekore, Survivors Treat Ebola Patients

Global Ebola Response | January 13, 2015

Behind a red-netted fence, childcare worker Fanta Camara gives a bath to one-and-a-half year old Massidigbe in the Childcare Center of the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Nzerekore, in the forest area of southeastern Guinea. It is a good day for the little girl: her mother will be released today from the ETU, where she was being treated as an Ebola patient. Massidigbe’s father died of Ebola and she has been under observation at the Childcare Center, which also serves as a temporary zone of observation. All the children here have lost at least one parent to Ebola. Usually they can go home when the parent treated at the ETU is release and if they do not develop any symptoms of the disease after a couple of days. Read more

 

CDC: Soldier found dead in Texas ‘highly unlikely’ to have Ebola

The Hill | January 13, 2015

A soldier who reportedly just returned from an Ebola hot zone in West Africa was found dead on Tuesday at his home in Texas, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it is unlikely that the soldier died from the disease. The cause of the soldier’s death is “highly unlikely to be Ebola,” CDC spokesman Tom Skinner wrote in a statement to The Hill. The Department of Defense will be leading the investigation, and the CDC will not be sending in a special team to the soldier's home in Fort Hood, Skinner said. Read more

 

CDC director confident that Ebola cases in west Africa can be reduced to zero

The Guardian | January 13, 2015

The director of the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention said on Tuesday he was “confident” that the Ebola outbreak ravaging west Africa can be brought under control but that “we are by no means out of the woods”. Speaking at a breakfast meeting in Washington with public health officials and lawmakers, Dr Tom Frieden said it is vital that every case of the disease is eliminated. “I remain very confident we can get to zero cases in this epidemic if we continue the way we’re going and nothing unexpected happens,” Frieden said. Read more

 

1st Ebola Clinic For Pregnant Women Opens In Sierra Leone

Huffington Post | January 13, 2015

A new clinic is giving some of the most vulnerable Ebola patients a better chance at surviving the virus. The facility -- located in a former boys' high school in the capital city of Freetown -- is the first care center created specifically for pregnant women since the current outbreak began, Reuters reported. It is operated by Doctors Without Borders -- a leading charity in the fight against Ebola in West Africa. "Pregnant women (with Ebola) are a high-risk group so they have less chance than ... the rest of the population," Esperanza Santos, one of the organization's field coordinators, told Reuters. Read more

 

Travelling the last mile to zero Ebola cases in Liberia

WHO | January 2015

In early December, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf urged the people of Liberia to travel the last mile to reduce Ebola cases to zero. That last mile will be very long and difficult, and can only be achieved when every county has the capacity to find and isolate all cases, trace all contacts and bury all who die from Ebola safely. Here is the story of 2 remote villages travelling that last mile. Read more

 

Ebola takes mental health toll where 'life has frozen' in Sierra Leone

The Guardian | January 12, 2015

Ebola is causing mental health problems in Sierra Leone, with the country’s overstretched health system unable to deal with the psychosocial legacy of the outbreak, according to a report by the International Medical Corps (pdf). Fear, panic, stress, shame and isolation are increasingly common feelings, says IMC, an NGO that conducted interviews, focus groups and surveys in the town of Lunsar – the capital of Port Loko and one of the worst-hit districts in the country. The area was neglected in the earlier stages of the outbreak before IMC opened a hospital in December. Read more

 

Ebola nurse no longer critically ill

BBC | January 12, 2015

UK nurse Pauline Cafferkey is no longer critically ill with Ebola, London's Royal Free Hospital says. In a statement, the hospital said she was "showing signs of improvement". Ms Cafferkey, from Glasgow, was diagnosed with Ebola in December after returning from Sierra Leone. It was announced she was in a critical condition on 4 January. The 39-year-old had volunteered with other UK NHS staff for the charity Save the Children in West Africa. Read more

 

Ebola Is Leaving Women And Girls Vulnerable To Sexual Violence

Public Health Watch | January 12, 2015

The report, titled “Young Lives on Lockdown: The impact of Ebola on children and communities in Liberia“, shows that sexual exploitation is an increasing risk for girls and women left vulnerable after losing their parents or partners to Ebola. Various factors, such as separation (temporary or permanent) from immediate family members and/or caregivers, rising poverty rates, and limited or no access to education are all compounding the situation, the report said. “The impact of emergencies on girls is well-known – as the primary care givers, it is often girls who suffer and lose out most during a crisis like this, and girls are always the most vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse,” Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International, said in a statement. Read more

 

Gates Foundation CEO: A Picture Of Hope In Early Ebola Vaccine Trials

Forbes | January 12, 2015

I am always amazed how one simple photograph can convey such an immensely complex story. Take, for example, the story behind the striking images in the gallery below from photographer Fatoumata Diabaté. These photographs – awash in the pale yellows and scrub blues so common in medical facilities worldwide – depict clinical trials in Mali of a candidate Ebola vaccine. The vaccine has been developed by GSK and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, one of several trials now in the works. Read more

 

MSF Opens New Ebola treatment Center in Freetown

Newstime Africa | January 10, 2015

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has admitted its first patients to a new Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Kissy, an Ebola hotspot on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone. With the highest Ebola caseload globally, Sierra Leone’s bed capacity for Ebola treatment remains insufficient to meet the needs of patients, specifically in new hotspots. Throughout the past few weeks, Ebola incidence in Kissy has skyrocketed, reaching some of the highest rates in the capital region.
“We wanted to move closer to the community and to the patients to improve access to quality Ebola care.  Read more

 

American Ebola Survivor Dr. Rick Sacra Returning to Africa

ABC News | January 12, 2015

An American doctor who survived Ebola last fall announced today that he is returning to the heart of the worst Ebola outbreak in history: West Africa.

Dr. Rick Sacra, a family doctor from Massachusetts who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia in September, announced that he is returning to Liberia later this week. He was discharged from Nebraska Medical Center Ebola-free on Sept. 26. He was later re-admitted with an upper respiratory infection and said he also had a complication called uveitis, or swelling of the eye. But he said he's "95 percent" better. He is set to depart on Jan. 15, and will work at the ELWA hospital with the aid group SIM USA. Read more

 

Medical charity MSF opens Ebola clinic for pregnant women

Reuters Africa | January 11, 2015

Medical charity Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) has opened the first care centre in the current Ebola epidemic for pregnant women, whose survival rate from the virus is virtually zero, the charity said on Saturday. There is currently one patient in the clinic, which is perched on a hill in the compound of a disused Methodist boys high school in the Sierra Leone capital. Read more

 

Sierra Leone declares first Ebola-free district

The Guardian | January 10, 2015

A district in Sierra Leone has been declared Ebola-free, the first to be given the all-clear after 42 days with zero recorded cases of the virus. Pujehun, in the south-east of the country, was hit by Ebola in August and suffered 24 deaths from 31 cases – but it has not had a recorded case since 26 November. This means it has achieved the World Health Organisation’s benchmark for Ebola-free status. Read more

 

 

Dem: Bring troops home from Ebola hot zones

The Hill | January 9, 2015

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is calling for a major shift in the strategy to contain Ebola in West Africa, urging military leaders to bring home a “majority” of U.S. troops. “The United States went to West Africa with a strategy that has made a historic difference, but now that strategy should evolve,” Coons, who recently returned from West Africa, wrote in a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Read more

 

Vaccines move to Ebola frontline

BBC | January 9, 2015

Two promising Ebola vaccines will soon be tried on the frontline of the epidemic in West Africa, the World Health Organization has announced. Trials in limited numbers of volunteers suggest the vaccines are safe and can generate an immune response. Further trials on thousands of people will take place in Africa, including in healthcare workers. Read more

 

Ebola: MSF opens new treatment center in Kissy, Sierra Leone

MSF | January 9, 2015

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) has admitted its first patients to a new Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Kissy, an Ebola hotspot on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone. With the highest Ebola caseload globally, Sierra Leone’s bed capacity for Ebola treatment remains insufficient to meet the needs of patients, specifically in new hotspots. Throughout the past few weeks the incidence of Ebola in Kissy has skyrocketed, reaching some of the highest rates in the capital region. Read more

 

Glaxo, Merck Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start in West Africa

Bloomberg | January 9, 2015

Late-stage trials of Ebola vaccines may begin in Liberia by the end of this month, and in Sierra Leone and Guinea in February, the World Health Organization said. The trial in Liberia will test an experimental vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) and another developed jointly by Merck & Co. (MRK) and NewLink Genetics Corp. (NLNK) in about 27,000 people, Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO’s assistant director-general of health systems and innovation, said at a Geneva briefing today. Read more

 

Ellen Hails Outgoing UN Rep On Ebola

The New Dawn Liberia | January 9, 2015

Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response or UNMEER, Anthony Banbury, as excellent and very supportive of the country's fight to contain the deadly Ebola virus disease. President Sirleaf made the recognition Tuesday, during a meeting between her and the new Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response or UNMEER, Mr. Ismail OuldCheikh Ahmed in Monrovia. Read more

 

Ebola in Sierra Leone: 'I am here to help the sick, to cook and give them strength

The Guardian | January 9, 2015

Sierra Leone is one of the west African countries worst affected by the most serious outbreak of Ebola ever known. The UN children’s agency, Unicef, is helping the governments of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to build, staff and equip community care centers, allowing patients with Ebola symptoms to be treated near their homes.  Treating people without them travelling too far will help limit the spread of the disease. Patients receive care from trained community health workers at the centres. Read more

 

Ebola death toll rises in West Africa while Americans’ interests wanes

CBS News | January 8, 2015

Although it's largely dropped out of the headlines in this country, the Ebola outbreak continues to ravage West Africa. At least 8,235 people have died and more than 20,700 have fallen ill since the outbreak first began last year, according to the latest World Health Organization figures released Jan. 4. Six out of 10 patients currently hospitalized with the virus will die, and a huge number of victims still aren't receiving medical care, which has allowed this public health crisis to continue to escalate at an alarming pace. Read more

 

Ebola Kills Nearly 500 Health Care Workers

NBC News | January 08, 2015

The Ebola virus has infected more than 800 health care workers, killing nearly 500 of them, according to the latest numbers released by the World Health Organization Wednesday. The epidemic continues to spread across Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, and it's now sickened more than 20,000 and killed more than 8,000 people, WHO says. Although clinics have been set up in all three countries, the epidemic is not yet under control. Funerals and burials are still a major source of disease transmission. Despite efforts to educate people about this and to deploy safe burial teams, it's clear that people are still becoming infected by this route, WHO says. Read more

 

First Responders Emergency Medical Services Incorporated Pays President Sirleaf a Departure Visit; Prepares for Deployment in Sierra Leone

Liberia Government | January 08, 2015

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has thanked Montserrado County District # 13 Representative Saah Joseph for his commitment to help eradicate the deadly Ebola virus disease not just from Liberia, but the entire sub-region and expressed government’s admiration and appreciation for the work of the First Responders Emergency Medical Services and Representative Joseph in particular. According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the statement when she received the 20-member team of the First Responders Emergency Medical Services Incorporated of Representative Joseph at Foreign Ministry in Monrovia. They were led to the President’s office by the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) lawmaker himself. Read more

 

This Company Has Declared War on Ebola

INC | January 08, 2015

At CES Visiomed showed off its no-touch thermometer, a device that alerts medical professionals of potential outbreaks.

Recent headlines have put a spotlight on the dangers of diagnosing and treating Ebola. Contact with victims of the deadly disease has left several medical professionals with symptoms of their own.  Visiomed, a 90-person medical device company founded in France in 2007, is trying to reduce that danger. It has developed a thermometer, called ThermoFlash, that doesn't require touching the patient. That eliminates the threat of a doctor contracting the virus through contact with fluids (the most common way it's transmitted), as well as the need to continually disinfect the device. Read more

 

Ebola Could be ‘Levelling Off’ in Sierra Leone: WHO

Newsweek | January 08, 2015

The incidence of Ebola cases could be stabilizing in Sierra Leone, the West African country worst-hit by the disease, even as 250 new cases were confirmed there last week. In its latest situation report on the state of Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday “there are signs that incidence has levelled off in Sierra Leone, although transmission remains intense in the west of the country.” Freetown, the capital, saw 93 new cases last week and 11 out of 14 districts reported new cases. Read more

 

Liberia Lacking Long Term Plan to Assist Ebola Survivors

FrontPage Africa | January 08, 2015

As the deadly Ebola virus continues to slow in Liberia, the number of people, who survived, are faced with many binding constraints, as they get out of Ebola Treatment Units (ETU’s) across the Country. As these survivors look to their government and the international community for help, there seems to be no hope in sight. For the over 1,300 survivors whose personal belongings were all burned due to the way the virus spreads, there is seems to be no plan to help them integrate into the Liberian society and get a better shot at a new life. Assistant Minister for curative services at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, has clarified that there are no long term plans for Ebola survivors in terms of support from the government. Read more

 

Ebola Vaccine Trials Offer Hope, WHO Head Says

NBC News | January 08, 2015

The accelerated testing of new Ebola vaccines is offering hope to the people of West African countries badly hit by the deadly virus, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday. WHO experts are meeting to take a look at ongoing trials of Ebola vaccines and the best way to get the vaccines out of the laboratory and into the arms of people who can benefit from them. Read more

 

Liberia: In Liberia, UN Ebola Mission Chief Commends Progress, Warns Against 'Complacency'

UN | January 07, 2015

On his first tour of Ebola-stricken Liberia, the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) today outlined his vision to tackle the scourge in what he called a "3C approach" which he described as recognizing the vital roles of "countries, communities and coordination." Briefing journalists at Spryggs Airport in Monrovia, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed described his first impression of the situation on the ground as "mixed." On the one hand, he begins his post with "a lot of optimism," but on the other hand, he recognizes mounting challenges to end Ebola.  Read more

 

Obama Administration Provides Update to African Diaspora Communities on U.S. Ebola Response

U.S. Department of State | January 07, 2015

Last month, the State Department’s Bureaus of Public Affairs and African Affairs, in coordination with interagency colleagues, hosted a conference call with Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield and approximately 200 representatives of the African diaspora community from across the United States. Together with officials from USAID, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, provided an update on the ongoing response to the crisis. In December 2014, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield was part of a U.S. delegation to Liberia, led by Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Lumpkin, to assess the current state of Liberia’s fight against Ebola and U.S. response efforts on the ground. On this call, she reviewed her trip and commended the efforts of U.S. Embassy personnel in Monrovia, who are working around the clock, to support the anti-Ebola effort.  She also stressed that the U.S. Government response to Ebola has been a “whole of government” effort. Read more

 

Ebola test negative on Royal Glamorgan Hospital patient

BBC | January 07, 2015

A person admitted to hospital in Rhondda Cynon Taf with suspected Ebola has tested negative for the virus, say health officials. The individual was being monitored at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, near Llantrisant, after returning from West Africa with a fever. A spokeswoman for Public Health Wales confirmed tests proved the patient does not have the disease. Medical staff in protective clothing had been looking after the person. Read more

 

Life on the Ebola frontline: 'Things will never be the same in Sierra Leone'

The Guardian | January 07, 2015

As we celebrated Christmas and the new year quietly in our houses, we wait for the day just like the one when our former president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah said “the war is over”. We are praying and fighting to hear the very special words that we are Ebola-free. But as we wait, we continue to strive, with prayers in our hearts for our heroes and heroines who have lost their lives, and fight to be rid of this virus. Read more

 

CDC Ebola Training in Anniston

CDC | January 07, 2015

Making the decision to volunteer in an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in West Africa shows a lot of courage and takes support from friends, loved ones, and other healthcare workers. It also requires the knowledge and skills to safely treat very sick patients in a challenging environment. CDC understands that healthcare workers preparing to deploy to West Africa need to know the infection prevention and control principles necessary for working in an ETU. To help meet this need, CDC offers an introductory training course at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama. CDC’s Preparing Healthcare Workers to Work in Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in Africa training course allows students to work in a mock ETU, where they practice putting on and taking off (donning and doffing) personal protective equipment (PPE). They also practice triaging patients, drawing blood, and safely cleaning up body fluid spills. In addition to this hands-on training, participants attend lectures to better understand the disease and how to protect themselves physically and mentally when working in an ETU. For most of the trainees, working in an ETU will be a new experience. This course gives them an opportunity to practice the required skills and prepare themselves psychologically. Read more

 

Effort on Ebola Hurt W.H.O. Chief

The New York Times | January 06, 2015

Under a stormy sky, on a boat to a G-8 summit meeting, a media-savvy Hong Kong pediatrician named Margaret Chan first met her country’s president, Hu Jintao. In a preview of the political maneuvering to come, he told her privately that China was considering backing her for the top post at the World Health Organization. It was Beijing’s first bid to place one of its own at the head of an international agency, a signal of China’s global rise. And it worked. A few months after, in late 2006, Dr. Chan won enough votes among the organization’s 194 member states — by secret ballot, as always — to become its chief. Read more

 

More U.S. troops return from Ebola mission

Military Times | January 06, 2015

The U.S. military mission to help contain the Ebola virus has begun winding down as hundreds of troops return home from West Africa earlier than expected. The total number of U.S. troops in West Africa, 2,542, is down from a peak of about 2,900 in December, Army Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson said Tuesday. Another 86 soldiers are scheduled to return to Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday and begin a 21-day quarantine at a facility there, Henderson said. Read more

 

Ebola drug trial starts in Liberia

BBC | January 06, 2015

A trial of a potential drug to treat Ebola has started at a Medecins Sans Frontieres centre in Liberia. The antiviral - brincidofovir - is being tested on Ebola patients on a voluntary basis. People who do not consent to it receive standard care. Oxford University scientists leading the research say initial results are expected in the next few months. Read more

 

US Disease Detectives Pursuing Ebola’s Trail

Voice of America | January 06, 2015

A year into an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 8,000 people in West Africa, resistance still plagues the public health response.And when a public servant charged with protecting people denies the deadly virus’ existence, it’s especially alarming, said Meredith Dixon, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was visiting one of Guinea’s western prefectures when a police officer stopped the vehicle in which she was riding. Dixon and her driver explained they’d been traveling for Ebola research. Read more

 

Ebola: New vaccine trial begins

BBC | January 06, 2015

Scientists at Oxford University have begun immunizing healthy volunteers with a new Ebola vaccine. In September last year a separate trial of another Ebola vaccine got under way in the city. This latest trial involves 72 volunteers aged 18-50. Initial tests in monkeys showed the vaccine, developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson, gave complete protection against Ebola. The volunteers in Oxford are the first humans to receive the vaccine. Dr Matthew Snape, from the Oxford Vaccine Group, part of the University of Oxford Department of Pediatrics, said: "We aim to immunize all participants within a month. Read more

 

The IMF’s influence on poor countries’ health systems – and Ebola, explained

The Washington Post | January 06, 2015

What is the legacy of decades of IMF programs for the health systems of the three Ebola-stricken West African countries? In a recent article for the Lancet Global Health, we examined the IMF’s own archival documents — loan agreements with Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia — and identified three ways consecutive lending programs contributed to weak health systems: overall fiscal constraints, reductions in public sector employment, and the premature decentralization of health policy. Read more

 

AU pledges support for Ebola-hit nations

DW | January 06, 2015

A key African Union (AU) official has visited Liberia in a display of solidarity as the West African nation battles with Ebola. The AU - like other institutions - has been criticized for its slow response to the virus. Speaking in Monrovia, Mohamed Ould Abdul Aziz, President of Mauritania and chairperson of the African Union, praised the government and people of Liberia for their efforts in fighting Ebola, and pledged that the AU would continue to stand by the country as it worked to defeat the deadly haemorrhagic fever . Aziz spoke of an "heroic fight" by Liberia and the "unyielding determination" of its government and people as they sought to overcome the disease. "You can also count on the support of the African Union and my personal support," Aziz promised in the Liberian capital on Tuesday. Read more

 

J&J Begins Human Testing of Ebola-Virus Vaccine

The Wall Street Journal | January 06, 2015

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said it has begun testing its Ebola-virus vaccine in humans and will have more than 400,000 doses available in April. J&J accelerated development of the vaccine regimen this fall as the Ebola virus continued to spread, overwhelming health-care systems across West Africa. The regimen, developed in partnership with Denmark biotechnology company Bavarian Nordic , is the latest in a race to get vaccines into human testing—a crucial step in establishing whether an experimental therapy will work safely—and help curb the spread of the virus. Read more

 

Strike over risk pay at Sierra Leone Ebola hospital called off

The Guardian | January 06, 2015

A hospital in Sierra Leone that was closed because of a dispute over risk allowance pay for treating Ebola patients has reopened after staff called off their strike.About 130 nurses and doctors downed tools on 24 December at the Magbenteh community hospital, leaving Makeni, the fourth largest city in the country, without any maternity cover. It usually sees about 30 pregnant women a day. Staff said the government had failed to pay the $45 a week hazard payment since September despite aid flooding into the country. Read more

 

Liberia: 'Dignified Burials' for Ebola Victims

All Africa | January 06, 2014

The Liberian government has announced that it will allow families to bury Ebola victims in a special plot of land instead of requiring the cremated of the dead, as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. The corpses of Ebola victims are highly contagious, and many of those who washed or touched bodies before their burials contracted the disease. The government said that the Ebola Virus Disease had become hard to contain in all parts of the country because some Liberians do not want the bodies of their relatives and friends who had fallen prey to the virus, to be burnt (cremated). It is against this backdrop that the government, through the Traditional Council of Liberia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and a United States based non-governmental organization, Global Communities, acquired a 25-acre parcel of land, which is now ready for use as a national cemetery. Read more

 

Ebola shuts schools in Sierra Leone but teachers use skills to stop disease

The Guardian | January 06, 2015

I have been a social worker for more than 10 years. For the past six years, a big focus of my work has been bringing the first schools to some of the remotest parts of northern Sierra Leone. In that time, we have recruited and trained more than 400 community teachers. Over the past four years, we have seen big changes – where previously there were virtually no schools, earlier this year, access to education delivered by trained and qualified teachers was mostly a reality. Read more

 

Liberia plans to reopen schools in February as Ebola spread ebbs

Reuters | January 05, 2015

Liberia plans to reopen schools in February, six months after the government ordered them closed because of the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 3,400 people in the West African nation, an official said on Monday. The rate of new Ebola cases has slowed in recent weeks in Liberia where the government and international organizations with support from the United States stepped up efforts to stop the spread of the disease.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced at the weekend that schools would reopen on Feb. 2 but did not specify whether the measure would apply to the entire education system. Read more

 

US Ebola-Related Screening Restrictions Lifted for Mali

ABC News | January 05, 2015

The Homeland Security Department is ending Ebola-related airport screening procedures for travelers from Mali. Starting Tuesday, travelers from Mali won't be subject to monitoring for possible symptoms of Ebola upon arrival. And, they will no longer be required to enter the U.S. through one of five designated airports. Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control say the requirements are being lifted because two 21-day incubation cycles have passed since the last Ebola patient in that West African nation had contact with someone not wearing personal protective equipment. There are also no active Ebola cases in Mali right now. Read more

 

Liberia close to beating Ebola as cases dwindle

The Guardian | January 05, 2015

Liberia appears close to beating Ebola with plans to reopen schools next month after the latest figures show the infection rate has dwindled to just three cases a day. The US also plans to withdraw around half its 2,400 troops six months after the deadly virus struck claiming 3,400 lives. Optimism has been fuelled by latest figures issued by the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (Unmeer). They show the country had zero confirmed Ebola cases on 31 December and had just 91 cases in the last 21 days. Read more

 

Ebola: as ZMapp stocks run out doctors turn to alternative treatments

The Guardian | January 05, 2015

Even at the Royal Free hospital in London, the lead UK specialist centre for Ebola, doctors have limited options for treating their patients. In the end, survival may depend more on the strength of an individual’s immune system than anything medical science is currently able to do. ZMapp, a drug made by the small biotech company Mapp Biopharmaceutical in San Diego, attracted enormous attention when it was given experimentally to the first Americans and Europeans to be infected with Ebola. Seven people received it, including the British nurse Will Pooley and two Americans, Kent Brantly, a doctor, and missionary Nancy Writebol, all of whom recovered. Two others, however – a Liberian healthcare worker and a Spanish priest – died. This compassionate use of a drug that had successfully treated monkeys in trials proves nothing at all about its effectiveness in humans. Read more

 

Liberia: Govt Nets U.S.$298 Million in Revenue for First Half of Fiscal Year Ended

All Africa | January 05, 2015

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has said the Government of Liberia (GoL) generated approximately US$298 million in revenue for the first half of the fiscal year ended 31 December 2014. According to a MFDP press release, out of this amount, US$209 million was generated from domestic sources (tax and non-tax revenues), while US$89 million came from external sources (Grants & Borrowing) as a result of extensive negotiations with multilateral and bilateral partners. Read more

 

In Sierra Leone, teen Ebola survivor is lifeline for sick orphans

Aljazeera | January 5, 2015

Haja Umu Jalloh has not left the room and cordoned-off porch for three weeks. She eats bowls of rice and sauce, slid underneath a nylon rope she cannot cross. She has lost her family — her parents, her aunt and uncle, her 1-year-old son. But the 17-year-old says defiantly, "I feel happy because I am protecting others." Jalloh defends some 40 orphans at the St. George Foundation Interim Care Center from a terrifyingly invisible enemy, Ebola, which continues to ravage her country. Because of uncertainty about who, among a flood of children orphaned by Ebola, might carry the disease, she has been hired to stand guard just in case. She cares for every new arrival in the roped-off room. As an Ebola survivor, she is considered immune to the disease. Read more

 

U.S. Health Worker Exposed to Ebola in Sierra Leone Arrives in Nebraska

New York Times | January 04, 2015

An American health care worker who experienced a high risk of exposure to the Ebola virus while in Sierra Leone was flown to a hospital in Nebraska on Sunday for observation and possible treatment, according to a hospital official. The patient, who the official said was not showing symptoms of infection, had been expected to arrive in Omaha aboard a private air ambulance on Sunday around 2 p.m. Central time, the University of Nebraska Medical Center said in a news release on Saturday. Read more

 

New Ebola lockdown in Sierra Leone as airport checks upped

FRANCE 24 | January 04, 2015

The Ebola lockdown in the northern Tonkolili district of Sierra Leone was extended on Sunday for two weeks as authorities stepped up the fight to contain the epidemic. The move comes as the government imposed "additional screening measures" at Freetown International Airport after two workers apparently caught the disease. A five-day lockdown had been declared by the government across the badly-hit north of the country last month. More than 70 cases of the virus had been confirmed in Tonkolili during a five-week locked down there ordered by local authorities, District Coordinator Salieu Bah told journalists. Read more

 

Coons: Ebola isn't 'mission accomplished' yet in Liberia

WDEL | January 04, 2015

Delaware Senator Chris Coons said the U.S. has done a great job fighting the Ebola virus in Liberia, but the work isn't over just yet.  Speaking with Bob Schieffer Sunday morning on CBS' "Face the Nation," Coons said some U.S. troops should remain in Liberia to help the country transition U.S. emergency treatment centers into community-level health clinics and local labs. Coons said the $5 billion authorized by Congress to fight Ebola needs to be allocated with care.  Read more

 

Ebola survivors in west Africa to share stories via mobile app

The Guardian | January 04, 2015

Ebola survivors in the three west African countries worst hit by the epidemic will share their stories through a mobile application to be launched on Monday, in a Unicef-backed campaign to inform and fight stigma around the disease. The Ebola outbreak, the worst on record of the highly infectious haemorrhagic fever, has killed over 7,900 people with more than 20,000 cases recorded, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Read more

  

World Bank Seeks Health Corps as WHO Risks Being Casualty

Bloomberg | December 30, 2014

While Ebola rages on in West Africa, world leaders are debating ways to snuff out future contagions. The question they’re asking is: How? The World Bank, headed for the first time by a doctor, wants to create a cadre of outbreak specialists who could be sent anywhere to end deadly epidemics. A similar idea, floated by a World Health Organization panel three years ago in the wake of the swine flu pandemic, didn’t get enough support. The WHO says the idea might not be practical and countries should ideally have the capacity to respond themselves. Read more

 

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey transferred to London unit

BBC | December 30, 2014

A health worker who was diagnosed with Ebola after returning to Scotland from Sierra Leone has arrived at a specialist treatment center in London. Pauline Cafferkey, who flew to Glasgow via Casablanca and London Heathrow, was taken to the Royal Free Hospital. She is understood to have been flown to RAF Northolt in an air force plane after leaving Glasgow in a convoy. Read more

 

Researchers: IMF policies hindered Ebola response

Washington Post | December 30, 2014

Professors from three leading British universities say International Monetary Fund policies favoring international debt repayment over social spending contributed to the Ebola crisis by hampering health care in the three worst-hit West African countries. Conditions for loans from the IMF prevented an effective response to the outbreak that has killed nearly 8,000 people, the academics allege in a report in The Lancet Global Health journal this month. Read more

 

Video: The Path of the Ebola Outbreak

The New York Times | December 30, 2014

A look at how the disease spread far beyond Meliandou, Guinea in just a few months. Watch here

 

Ebola screening to be reviewed after doctor attacks ‘inadequate’ measures

The Guardian | December 30, 2014

Public Health England has vowed to review its Ebola screening measures after they were branded “utterly illogical” by an NHS doctor who returned from Africa with the Scottish nurse who has contracted the virus. Dr Martin Deahl, who sat next to Ebola patient Pauline Cafferkey on a flight to the UK from Sierra Leone, told the Guardian that public health was being put at risk by “totally inadequate” screening facilities at Heathrow airport. Read more

 

Automated mobile phone service hopes to stop spread of Ebola in west Africa

The Guardian | December 30, 2014

People in rural areas of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea battling Ebola could be helped by an automated phone service that offers advice about how to avoid contracting the virus. Startup company Halt!Ebola is using “robocalling” to reach people where information hotlines are not being used. The company is trying to acquire mobile phone numbers from the networks operating in these regions to enable them to make the calls. When people answer, an audio message with information and advice about the virus is played back. Read more

 

Cuban doctor vows to return to fight Ebola

Aljazeera | December 30, 2014

A Cuban doctor who was cured of Ebola after contracting it in Sierra Leone says he will go back to West Africa to continue with relief efforts in containing the deadly virus. Felix Baez, 43, told state newspaper Granma on Monday, that he will return to the region in January after ensuring he was fully recovered. "My recovery has been good, I'm resting and enjoying the company of my family," he said.  Vania Ferrer, Baez's wife, said she supported her husband's decision. "Of course, I know him, and it could be no other way," Ferrer said. Read more

 

Liberia: Another UN Staff Contracts Ebola

All Africa | December 29, 2014

A fourth member of the UN mission in Liberia, the country hardest-hit by the Ebola epidemic, has been hospitalized after testing positive for the virus. "This is the fourth case of Ebola in the mission and UNMIL [United Nations Mission in Liberia] personnel continue to mourn the deaths of two colleagues who died from the disease only three months ago," a UN statement said on Wednesday. Liberia tops the number of Ebola deaths in the world with 3,376 deaths but has seen a clear decrease of new transmissions in the past month. Read more 

 

After Slow Ebola Response, WHO Seeks to Avoid Repeat

The Wall Street Journal | December 29, 2014

The tepid initial response to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak exposed holes in the global health system so gaping it has prompted the World Health Organization to consider steps to prevent a repeat, including emergency-response teams and a fund for public-health crises. In a special session next month in Geneva, the WHO’s executive board is expected to consider those and other recommendations by its member countries—including a proposal that it commission an outside review of its Ebola response—according to a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Read more

 

FDA Approves Roche’s Ebola Test

TIME | December 29, 2014

A fast-acting Ebola test gets a green light for emergency use
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved pharmaceutical company Roche’s fast-acting Ebola test for emergency use. It can take almost a full day to get results from Ebola tests on the market, but Roche’s new LightMix Ebola Zaire rRT-PCR Test provides results in just over three hours. Reuters reports that the test had been used temporarily by some labs in the U.S. and other countries to identify the strain of Ebola spreading in West Africa. The test is still not approved for general use. Read more

 

Data exchange helps humanitarians act fast and effectively

The Guardian | December 29, 2014

In early 2014 Sarah Telford was head of the reporting unit at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha). Her task was to improve its reporting. But she ran into a problem. “We kept hitting the wall of not being able to find the data to do the analysis,” says Telford. “If we did find it then we weren’t sure where it came from.” A quick solution to bring core humanitarian data together into a single spreadsheet for each office snowballed into a larger data infrastructure project. Six months later, Telford is now in charge of HDX – the humanitarian data exchange. Read more

 

Dem senator: US military made it possible to fight Ebola

The Hill | December 29, 2014

On the heels of a three-day visit to West Africa, Sen. Chris Coons (D-N.J.) said Sunday that the United States is helping to finally turn the corner in the fight against Ebola overseas. Coons, the first member of Congress to visit an Ebola-stricken country, wrote in an op-ed published late Sunday that “Liberia is moving from crisis toward recovery” with the help of the U.S. military and agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Every person I met in Liberia – from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to leaders of United Nation agencies and international nonprofits – told me that without our military intervention, Liberia’s fight against Ebola would not have come this far,” Coons wrote in The News Journal. Read more

 

Liberia reports dozens of new Ebola cases on border

Washington Post | December 29, 2014

Dozens of new Ebola cases have erupted in Liberia, near the border with Sierra Leone, Liberian health officials warned Monday, marking a setback amid recent improvements.The flare-up is due to a number of factors including people going in and out of Liberia and traditional practices such as the washing of bodies, said Liberia’s Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah. Forty-nine cases were reported in in western Grand Cape Mount County between December 1 and 25, Nyenswah told state radio. “In a very small population, an increase in the number of (Ebola) cases raises high level of concerns that we need to take very seriously as people of Liberia and people of Grand Cape Mount in particular,” he said. Read more

 

Ebola Cases Reach Over 20,000

TIME | December 29, 2014

There's close to 400 new cases in just four days
Cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have reached over 20,000. New numbers released from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday show Ebola has infected 20,081 people and killed 7,842. That’s nearly 400 new cases of the disease in just four days. Read more

 

Government of Liberia Secures New Site to Bury Ebola Victims and Others

Liberian Government | December 28, 2014

The Government of Liberia has secured 50 acres of land as the new burial site for all Ebola related deaths. Twenty-five acres of the land have been landscaped and is ready for use. According to an Executive Mansion release, the 25 acres of land, situated behind the Disco Hill Community, was secured through the intervention of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in collaboration with the Council of Chiefs and Elders, and the United States based non-governmental organization, Global Community, and the citizens of Disco Hill Community along the Robertsfield highway, Margibi County. The burial site, which will eventually become the new national cemetery, will enable relatives and loved ones to identify graves of Ebola victims instead of the earlier format where Ebola victims were cremated. Read more

 

As Liberia recovers from Ebola, what next?

Aljazeera | December 29, 2014

When I fell ill with Ebola in early October, there were times when the future was uncertain and frightening. With some help, I was able to beat the disease and walk back into a changed life. Liberia, where I contracted the virus, is following the same path. There are now fewer cases of Ebola every week, and there is a sentiment that the worst is over. Earlier projections of tens of thousands of deaths appear to have been based on the false assumption that Liberians would not adapt to the threat they faced. Assisted by volunteers from around the world, Liberians tirelessly fought the outbreak and may soon declare a hard-won victory. Read more

 

Ebola’s lessons, painfully learned at great cost in dollars and human lives

Washington Post | December 28, 2014

A year after it began, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to be unpredictable, forcing governments and aid groups to improvise strategies as they chase a virus that is unencumbered by borders or bureaucracy. The people fighting Ebola are coming up with lists of lessons learned — not only for the current battle, which has killed more than 7,500 people and is far from over, but also for future outbreaks of deadly contagions. Read more

 

UN chief pledges support for Ebola-hit Liberia

World Bulletin | December 19, 2014

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged support for Liberia as the country recovers from the Ebola epidemic, which has killed thousands in West Africa. "We will be with you until this outbreak is under control and the country has recovered," Ban said at a meeting with Liberian President Johnson Sirleaf on Friday. "Today we have the reason to be consciously optimistic that this terrible outbreak can be defeated; the spread of the virus is destroying Liberia," he said. Read more

 

Ebola kills Sierra Leone's most senior doctor

The Guardian | December 19, 2014

Sierra Leone’s most senior doctor has died of Ebola just hours after an experimental drug to treat him arrived at Freetown’s airport. Dr Victory Willoughby is the 11th of the country’s 120 doctors to die from the virus, during an outbreak that has killed almost 7,000 people. The country’s chief medical officer said the death of Willoughby, who tested positive for Ebola on Saturday, was a major loss for Sierra Leone. “Dr Victor Willoughby was a mentor to us physicians and a big loss to the medical profession,” said Brima Kargbo. “He has always been available to help junior colleagues.” Read more

 

GSK Ebola vaccine trial seen moving to wider phase in February

Reuters | December 19, 2014

Trials of GlaxoSmithKline's experimental Ebola vaccine are likely to move to a second phase in February, later than previously suggested, after a meeting of national regulators said they needed more information. The World Health Organization, which hosted a meeting of national regulatory authorities and ethics committees earlier this week, said they had thoroughly discussed all aspects of the proposed trials at the two-day meeting. "Reviewing countries requested additional documentation from the manufacturer of the vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline, before authorization of the trials," the WHO said in a statement. Countries where the trials are planned -- Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal -- should receive and review the additional information by the end of January. Read more

 

Secretary-General's remarks at joint press conference with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia

United Nations | December 19, 2014

Thank you, Madame President, for your very kind welcome and hospitality and recognition of the United Nations and the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) work in this. I am very pleased to visit Liberia again, but this time with a very unique and very important mission. I am here to demonstrate our strong partnership and solidarity and assurance of support for the people and Government of Liberia in addressing this Ebola outbreak. I am very pleased to have a very good meeting with President Johnson Sirleaf, and before coming here I had also a very meaningful meeting with many distinguished representatives, of international and national Government representatives and civil society NGO representatives, who have been working tirelessly, selflessly to help fight back this Ebola outbreak. Read more

 

West Africa: EBOLA - Latest Update & MSF's Response in Affected Countries, December 2014

All Africa | December 19, 2014

Three months after MSF called for states with biological-disaster response capacity to urgently dispatch human and material resources in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the outbreak remains far from over and more help is still needed. While all three of the worst-hit countries have now received some assistance from the international community, foreign governments have focused primarily on financing or building Ebola case management structures, leaving staffing them entirely up to national authorities, local healthcare staff and NGOs who do not have the expertise required to do so. Read more

 

German medics report on drug success for Ebola patient

FRANCE 24 | December 19, 2014

German doctors on Friday gave details of how an experimental drug together with advanced intensive care helped save a Ugandan physician who had been airlifted from Sierra Leone with Ebola. A prototype drug called FX06, designed to stop haemorrhage, was given to the patient after the doctors got special authorisation from their hospital's ethics committee, they reported in The Lancet. "Even though the patient was critically ill, we were able to support him long enough for his body to start antibody production and for the virus to be cleared by his body's defences," said Timo Wolf of University Hospital Frankfurt. The Frankfurt team and the makers of the experimental drug had announced its use in early November. Read more

 

Liberia: Local students become active Ebola case finders

WHO | December 19, 2014

Ever since the closure of the university due to the Ebola outbreak, Tony Harrison, sociology student at the University of Liberia, has been trying to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus in his country. He joined the team of active case finders to go from house to house to find out if sick people are being treated. Read more

 

The Ebola Treatment You Haven't Heard Of

Forbes | December 19, 2014

Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology-derived products have attracted the greatest public and professional interest in treating victims of Ebola virus disease. But a privately-held, small company with a treatment for shock and multi-organ failure may be the dark horse victor in the race to stop the West African outbreak. LB1148 from San Diego-based Leading BioSciences is starting Phase 2 clinical trials that build on 12 years of NIH-funded research to address an underappreciated, common denominator in shock and organ failure, including shock caused by Ebola infection. At the beginning of the month, we hit the one-year anniversary of first death in the current West African Ebola outbreak – that of a two-year-old boy in Guinea. Since the outbreak began to gain international attention in March, we have seen an extensive mobilization of drug development efforts to combat the disease that have been in the works for the last decade. Read more

 

U.S. Ebola Clinics in Liberia to Open With Few Patients

Businessweek | December 18, 2014

Two Ebola clinics capable of handling as many as 50 patients each are being built by the U.S. military in Liberia’s Lofa County. The number of cases recorded there in the past seven weeks: zero. Over the last three weeks, the story has been the same in seven other counties, where some of the 15 U.S.-funded clinics will be built under plans that were based on dire projections made in October. Donors say they won’t be built in vain, because authorities need to be ready for flare-ups in an outbreak that has killed more than 6,900 people in West Africa. Read more

 

Delaware Sen. Coons going to Liberia to observe Ebola fight

Washington Post | December 18, 2014

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons says he is going to West Africa to visit U.S. soldiers who are helping to fight the Ebola outbreak. Coons tells WDEL Radio (http://bit.ly/1GU5MWB ) he wants to visit Liberia because no member of Congress has yet visited U.S. troops and members of the Uniformed Public Health Service who have been deployed there. Coons says it is important to go and thank the U.S. forces working in the region. Read more

 

Ebola Threatens Food Security of 1 Million

CNBC Africa | December 18, 2014

This is according to reports on the three countries published by the United Nations’ (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) The agencies said that the only means of preventing this crisis is by putting measures in place to safeguard crops and livestock production in the West African region. The report also noted that border closures, quarantines, hunting bans and other restrictions are seriously hindering people’s access to food, threatening livelihoods, disrupting food markets and processing chains as well as exacerbating shortages stemming from crop losses in areas with the highest Ebola infection rates. Read more

 

‘Confronting Ebola for the first time generates strong emotions’

The Guardian | December 18, 2014

Dr Martin Deahl is a consultant psychiatrist from Newport in Shropshire. He recently completed his first shift in a 100-bed Ebola treatment centre built by the UK government and run by the aid agency Goal in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. After all the training, waiting and anticipation, I have just returned from my first shift in the “red zone” at the Goal Ebola treatment centre. It was an anticlimax, in the sense that everything ran smoothly, there were no dramas and, importantly, no nerves or additional anxiety. So prepared and well-drilled were we that personal protection equipment, our safety, and all the supplementary precautions necessary were carried out automatically, with the patients the total focus of attention. Read more

 

House searches for Ebola in Sierra Leone capital

Washington Post | December 17, 2014

Ebola surveillance teams fanned out Wednesday in Sierra Leone’s capital to search for sick people, as the president imposed new restrictions on movement and gatherings in a bid to stop the disease’s spread. President Ernest Bai Koroma launched “Operation Western Area Surge” in a national broadcast, promising that treatment beds, labs and ambulances are ready to handle new cases. He reiterated that Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are canceled and also banned public gatherings during the holidays and movement between districts. Read more

 

Ebola Threatens Millions with Food Insecurity

Voice of America | December 17, 2014

Ebola continues to attack Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone on several fronts. While infections and deaths rise, the disease is posing a greater threat to food security. United Nations agencies warned that more than 1 million people could be food insecure by March unless action is taken now. Read more

 

Ethiopians arrive in W Africa to fight Ebola

Aljazeera | December 17, 2014

Almost 200 Ethiopian health workers have arrived in West Africa to bolster the response to Ebola, a disease that has ravaged weak health care systems and killed more than 300 medical staff. The African Union (AU) said in a tweet that the Ethiopian government sent a total of 187 personnel to the region without giving a breakdown of how many would go to which countries. Read more

 

There Are 53 Drugs That Could Treat Ebola

TIME | December 17, 2014

New research raises prospect of treatments to be found in already available drugs.
Scientists have identified 53 existing drugs that could be effective in fighting Ebola, research. There is currently no vaccine or drug available to treat the disease, which is one of the primary reasons the virus has been able to infect 18,603 people so far, and kill 6,915. Read more

 

BringCom Receives $3.1 Million Order for Ebola Operation United Assistance Circuit from Liberia to Germany and Implements in Two Weeks

Businesswire | December 17, 2014

BringCom Incorporated, a leader in supplying innovative communications technologies, announced it has been awarded a new contract for $3.1 million in support of Operation United Assistance assisting United States and International efforts to combat the Ebola epidemic in Liberia and West Africa. This circuit was implemented to assist in the treatment and medical care of Ebola victims. Read more

 

UN chief says will leave Wednesday for visit to Ebola-hit countries

France 24| December 17, 2014

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will leave Wednesday for a visit to Ebola-hit countries in West Africa to take stock of international efforts to beat back the deadly epidemic. “I want to see the response for myself and show my solidarity with those affected and urge even greater global action," Ban told a news conference at UN headquarters. Read more

 

Ebola Leaves Hundreds Of Thousands Facing Hunger In Three Worst-Hit Countries

World Food Programme | December 17, 2014

The number of people facing food insecurity due to the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone could top one million by March 2015 unless access to food is drastically improved and measures are put in place to safeguard crop and livestock production, two UN agencies warned. The disease's impact is potentially devastating in the three countries already coping with chronic food insecurity, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said in three country reports published today. Read more

 

Lessons From an Outbreak: How Ebola Shaped 2014

The Atlantic | December 17, 2014

This was the year of the biggest Ebola outbreak of all time. It started in Guinea at the tail end of 2013, and the World Health Organization was made aware of it in March 2014, by which time Guinea had 86 cases, and there were suspected cases in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone. The virus spread steadily, claiming more and more lives until the WHO declared the outbreak a “public-health emergency of international concern" on August 8. People in affected communities were understandably fearful; some were distrustful of health workers and resisted going to treatment centers, where it may have seemed they were only going to die.. Read more

 

This Hazmat Suit Peels Off Like a Big, Yellow, Ebola-Covered Glove

GIZMODO | December 17, 2014

Hazmat suits are great for keeping you safe from pesky things like Ebola, but there's one difficult part that you just can't avoid: You have to take that suit off at some point. Infecting yourself (or others) with the very suit that's been protecting you is a real danger, which is why Johns Hopkins developed this breakaway suit that peels off in one piece like a rubber glove. Read more

 

Private Sector Contributes $300 Million to Ebola Response

UN Foundation Blog – Global Connections | December 17, 2014

As the world’s attention began to focus more heavily on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa beginning in August 2014, global businesses also started taking note of the crisis and taking stock internally of what they could do to assist. According to the UN Global Compact, which has been tracking private sector donations for the past several months, businesses have contributed or pledged nearly $300 million to the global Ebola response. At a meeting last week focused on UN-business collaboration for the response, UN Special Envoy on Ebola David Nabarro stated, “The private sector has an absolutely vital role to play and has been doing so.” Read more

 

Here’s How Much the Next Ebola Will Cost Us

TIME | December 16, 2014

Why saving the environment can help prevent it

The global community cannot withstand another Ebola outbreak: The World Bank estimates the two-year financial burden price tag of the current epidemic at $32.6 billion. Unfortunately, the virus has revealed gaping holes in our preparedness for major infectious disease epidemics. Because of these, plus the urbanization of rural communities and globalization of travel and trade, more of these epidemics are expected. Read more

 

U.S. Ebola Panic Vanishes Just as Money Is About to Flow

Bloomberg | December 16, 2014

Two months after the first U.S. Ebola patient died in Dallas, thousands of people have been screened at airports and tracked by health workers, and millions of dollars have been spent readying hospitals. And there’s been just one new case diagnosed in America. Of 10 patients treated for the disease in the U.S. -- most of which were controlled medical evacuations from the outbreak in West Africa -- eight have survived. Read more

 

Mali ends last quarantines, could be Ebola-free next month

Reuters | December 16, 2014

Mali has released from quarantine the last 13 people being monitored for Ebola, and the country could be declared free of the virus next month if no further cases are recorded, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. Mali has recorded six deaths from Ebola, which, according to the latest WHO data published on Monday, has killed some 6,841 people in neighboring Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the worst epidemic of the viral hemorrhagic fever. Mali's last infected patient recovered and left hospital last week, while the remaining individuals who came in contact with an infected person finished a mandatory 21-day quarantine at midnight on Monday. Read more

 

Sierra Leone to use scare-tactics campaign in Freetown to curb Ebola

The Guardian | December 16, 2014

The president of Sierra Leone will launch a massive campaign on Wednesday to curb the spread of Ebola in the western areas of the capital Freetown, which will aim to scare people into changing their behaviour. The “western area surge” will use the sort of tactics that worked in the UK to discourage drink-driving, according to Donal Brown, head of the UK taskforce leading the international response in the country. Read more

 

Fewer Ebola Cases Go Unreported Than Thought, Study Finds

New York Times | December 16, 2014

Transmission of the Ebola virus occurs mostly within families, in hospitals and at funerals, not randomly like the flu, Yale scientists said Tuesday, and far fewer cases go unreported than has previously been estimated. That implies, they said, that the epidemic is unlikely to reach the gloomy scenarios of hundreds of thousands of cases that studies released in September had forecast were possible; the most pessimistic one, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had predicted up to 1.4 million cases by late January. As of Monday, there were 18,464 confirmed cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, with 6,841 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, far more than from all the previous Ebola outbreaks combined. Read more

 

Sierra Leone Ebola hospital staff threaten strike over risk pay

The Guardian | December 16, 2014

Staff at a hospital in Sierra Leone are threatening to go on strike, claiming the government has not been paying them risk allowance for working with patients with Ebola for months. A representative of the 130 doctors, nurses and support staff say the Magbenteh community hospital in Makeni, in Bombali district, has had no government support despite the aid flooding into the country. Read more

 

Liberia: Ellen Thanks Religious Leaders for Their Continuous Prayers for Liberia

All Africa | December 16, 2014

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has thanked the religious leaders and their various congregations for the continuous prayer for Liberia and its people. She urged them to continue to pray and trust in God. "I ask us all to keep the faith, to continue to trust in God to do what is right, for I know he's going to pour his blessings upon us. He's going to bring us peace and he will ensure that his aspirations will be done," she prophesied. According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made these brief comments during the ninth edition of the national tarry at Dominion Christian Fellowship Center Central Church on Tubman Boulevard, Oldest Congo Town on Friday, December 12, 2014. Read more

 

Armed with soap, Guinean women take the fight against Ebola into their own hands

UNDP | December 16, 2014

A thunder of motorbikes, pedestrians and taxis is pushing into Dibida Market, in the centre of Kankan City, in the North of Guinea. A group of women traders is setting up shop, arranging a mobile display of soap. Sunday in this Muslim town is the first day of the working week. People arrive from all the surrounding districts, buyers and sellers crushed in between stalls. Inside the market the women shout slogan after slogan: “Ebola soap! One thousand francs for soap against Ebola! Protect yourself against Ebola!” Read more

 

UN commission asks for Ebola debt forgiveness

Washington Post | December 15, 2014

A U.N. commission is asking for more debt cancellations for the three West African nations hardest hit by the Ebola virus. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa said Monday that it is crucial that the current Ebola health crisis not be a catalyst for financial distress in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Carlos Lopez, a U.N. under secretary-general and the executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, appealed in Ethiopia on Monday for loan forgiveness. Read more

 

Ebola serum supply reaches Liberia

BBC | December 15, 2014

Liberia has begun treating Ebola patients with serum therapy - a treatment made from the blood of recovered survivors. Doctors hope the experimental treatment could help combat the virus that has been sweeping West Africa and killing thousands of people. Up to 13 December, 6,841 people had been reported as having died from the disease. The total number of reported cases is more than 18,000. Read more

 

Survivors cope with new Ebola after-effects

Aljazeera | December 15, 2014

Massah Kamara sat patiently with her brother Momoh, her haunted eyes focused somewhere in the middle distance beyond the walls of the post-Ebola clinic. Three months earlier, doctors gave her the good news - after weeks of fighting the disease, she had finally beaten Ebola. She would live. Back in her home neighbourhood of Nyandeyama, a quiet suburb of sandy streets and mango trees, she found out 22 members of her family were dead, including her parents. She had no money, so was unable to go back to her tailoring business, and many of her possessions had been burned by terrified neighbours. Then, just when she thought things couldn't get worse, she began to lose her eyesight. Read more

 

Endless Ebola Endemic? That's The 'Risk We Face Now,' CDC Says

NPR | December 15, 2014

Speed. That's key to ending the Ebola epidemic, says the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Thomas Frieden is visiting West Africa this week to figure out how to reduce the time it takes to find new Ebola cases and isolate them. Otherwise, Ebola could become a permanent disease in West Africa. "That's exactly the risk we face now. That Ebola will simmer along, become endemic and be a problem for Africa and the world, for years to come," Frieden tells NPR. "That is what I fear most." Read more

 

How to Not Botch the United States’ Next Move in the Fight Against Ebola

Foreign Policy | December 15, 2014

If there can be a faint silver lining to the Ebola epidemic, it’s that it demonstrates how unknown, underestimated, or ignored weaknesses in poor countries’ health systems and in the existing global health-security regime (such as it is) constitute a threat. The dearth of health system capacity in poor countries is no longer just a humanitarian and development concern, but a national security concern for the United States as well. The extent of the problem is illustrated best by the response Ebola necessitated: a U.S.-led contingency operation, cobbled together on the fly and building capacity on the ground from scratch. Read more

 

Ebola-hit Liberia delays election until weekend

FRANCE 24 | December 15, 2014

A much-postponed election for half the seats in Ebola-hit Liberia's Senate has been put back until the weekend -- but cannot be further delayed, the country's electoral commission said Monday. The vote for 15 seats in the upper house of parliament has been postponed twice already as the epidemic ravaged the impoverished west African nation.The National Elections Commission (NEC) said the poll will now be held on December 20. Football star George Weah -- who played for Chelsea and AC Milan before retiring from the game in 2003 -- and the son of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf, are among the 139 candidates in the running for a seat. Read more

 

An Ebola Orphan’s Plea in Africa: ‘Do You Want Me?’

The New York Times | December 13, 2014

Sweetie Sweetie had no choice.

Her father had just died of Ebola. So had her sister. Her mother was vomiting blood and fading fast. When the ambulance arrived and her mother climbed in, Sweetie Sweetie climbed in, too. Ebola had been like a pox on her entire house, and even though the young girl looked fine, with no symptoms, nobody in her village, even relatives, wanted to take her. With nowhere else to go, she followed her mother all the way into the red zone of an Ebola clinic and spent more than two weeks in a biohazard area where the only other healthy people were wearing moon suits. Read more

 

Ebola toll in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia reaches 6,583: WHO

Reuters | Dec 12, 2014

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in the three worst-hit countries in West Africa reached 6,583 as of Dec. 10, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. Read more

 

New Leader of UN Ebola Response Appointed

Voice of America | December 12, 2014

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania as his new special representative and head of the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response. According to a U.N. announcement Thursday, Ahmed will work closely with the special envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, and with governments in the region and other partners. Stephane Dujarric, the secretary-general's spokesman, said Ahmed would succeed Anthony Banbury of the United States, "who will return to New York in early January 2015. The secretary-general expresses his gratitude to Mr. Banbury for his vision and leadership of UNMEER, and for his commitment to fighting this unprecedented Ebola outbreak." Read more

 

Exorcising the ghostly fever

The Economist | December 12, 2014

THE first time Jonah Kieh heard about Ebola was last spring, when a friend warned him of a “wickedness” spread by ghosts, turning victims feverish and then killing them. Mr Kieh was visiting his extended family near Takpoima, in the forest of Lofa-Mano national park in Liberia, to sell hair brushes and other cosmetic products from Monrovia, the capital. He paid little heed to the wickedness, but after several weeks he became frightened as people kept dying around him. “I ran back to Monrovia,” he says. Back in West Point, the city’s main slum, Mr Kieh fell ill with either Ebola or malaria (the initial symptoms are very similar). He stayed indoors for weeks and eventually recovered. Read more

 

Ebola in Sierra Leone: burial workers put dignity before danger

The Guardian | December 12, 2014

For more than two months, Red Cross volunteer Muhammed has been helping with the removal of bodies from homes in Freetown to ensure that the dead have a dignified burial. He says he is doing this 'for the love of my country' and will continue until Sierra Leone is free of the disease. Read more

 

Sierra Leone district faces Ebola lockdown

Aljazeera | December 12, 2014

Authorities in Sierra Leone have imposed a two-week lockdown in the eastern district of Kono after health workers uncovered a surge of Ebola infections in the area where the epidemic was thought to be largely under control. The worst outbreak of Ebola on record has killed 6,533 people in the three West African countries most hit by the disease - Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea - and infected 18,118 people, the World Health Organisation [WHO] said on Thursday. Sierra Leone, with a shortage of treatment centres and trained staff, has overtaken Liberia as the worst affected nation, and until now, the recent spread was believed to be centred on western areas around the capital Freetown. Read more

 

Mali discharges last Ebola patient after treatment

The Guardian | December 12, 2014

The last Ebola patient being treated in Mali has survived the disease and been released, the health ministry said on Friday, leaving no known cases in the west African country. Mali had recorded eight cases of Ebola, all of them linked to people who crossed from neighbouring Guinea. The country now has no confirmed or suspected cases, according to the ministry, but authorities are still monitoring 26 people who had contact with the sick. A person infected with Ebola can take up to 21 days to show symptoms. Read more

 

Donating the cure

The Economist | December 12, 2014

IN THE race to find a treatment for Ebola even the most promising drugs and vaccines are months away from widespread use for patients. Yet one potential cure is available in great quantities—the blood of survivors. On December 8th the first clinical trials of blood transfusions started in Sierra Leone. The experiment is led by local doctors, who say they can no longer bear to sit by as countrymen succumb to the disease. They are motivated by evidence from a 1995 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in which seven of eight Ebola patients lived after transfusions of blood from survivors. Read more

 

UNICEF Raises Appeal to US$500 million

UNICEF | December 12, 2014

UNICEF today announced an expanded fight against the Ebola virus in West Africa over the next six months, costing a total of US$500 million – of which just 24 per cent ($125.7 million) has been secured.The funds would enable the children’s organization to continue tackling the two major drivers of Ebola transmission – lack of early isolation of patients and unsafe burials – while seizing opportunities to strengthen primary health care and social support systems in one of the poorest regions in the world. Read more

 

Ebola’s Spread in Sierra Leone Puts Diamond Mines at Risk

Bloomberg | December 12, 2014

As Ebola rages in Sierra Leone, the outbreak has claimed almost 2,000 lives and contributed to the collapse of the iron ore industry. Now the virus is hitting the diamond mines. At the latest hotspot, in the gem-rich Kono district along the Guinea border, two workers at Octea Ltd.’s Koidu mine, Sierra Leone’s largest, were infected last week and are being treated. The outbreak may mean that production at the mine will miss its annual target -- measured in carats -- by as much as 20 percent, Chief Executive Officer Brett Richards said. Read more

 

Remembering Michel Du Cille: Photos Of Sorrow And Triumph In Liberia

NPR | December 12, 2014

Three-time Pulitzer winning photographer Michel du Cille died on Thursday while on assignment in Liberia for The Washington Post. The paper says du Cille collapsed while walking on foot from a village in Liberia's Bong County. He was taken to a hospital but died of an apparent heart attack. Du Cille, 58, was renowned, known for capturing intimate scenes of sorrow and triumph. The Washington Post has an obituary of the Jamaican-born du Cille. We'll remember him here with four photographs he took in Liberia, covering the Ebola outbreak. Back in October, du Cille wrote for the paper that this assignment was tough, because throughout his career he's always aimed for compassion and dignity. Read more

 

Global business leaders join fight against ebola at UN conference

The Daily Telegraph | December 11, 2014

Companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Arcelor Mittal, Google and Facebook help step up global response to Ebola. Business has a critical role to play in tackling the Ebola virus in Africa and preventing it from spreading, a ground-breaking conference at the United Nations has been told. Executives from international companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Arcelor Mittal, Google and Facebook met with leaders from organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Unicef at the UN’s New York headquarters on Thursday to examine how industry has stepped in to help fight the disease. Read more

 

House Approves Fiscal Year 2015 Consolidated Appropriations Package

Washington, Dec 11, 2014

Bipartisan Omnibus bill avoids shutdown, targets responsible investments in effective programs, limits Administration overreach. The package also contains emergency Overseas Contingency Operations funding to combat the emerging real-world threat brought by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and emergency funding to address the domestic and international Ebola crisis. Read more

 

Ebola response must include efforts to bolster health systems – UN Economic, Social Council chief

UN News Centre | December 11, 2014

While the priority is to stop the Ebola outbreak, measures must also ensure that the emergency response is linked to longer-term efforts to strengthen health systems in those countries hit the hardest, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said today. Mr. Navid Hanif, Director of the ECOSOC Support and Coordination/Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) delivered the statement on behalf of the ECOSOC President, Martin Sajdik, during the daily press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York. “We have to get the response right, Mr. Sajdik said in a Presidential Statement, stressing that the pledges for the Ebola response must have sustainable impact on the ground and leave behind the foundation for a robust public health system. Read more

 

Long, costly battle to rebuild Ebola-hit health systems: ministers

FRANCE 24 | December 11, 2014

Weaknesses in west African healthcare systems exposed by the Ebola outbreak will require hundreds of millions of dollars to rectify if they are to withstand future shocks, health chiefs said on Thursday. Even as Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia continue to battle the virus that has killed almost 6,400 people, focus is turning to how to rebuild shattered health services in the worst affected countries. After talks with donors and NGOs in Geneva on how to plan for the future, Guinea's health minister Remy Lamah said the virus had "laid bare our weaknesses". Read more

 

The Role of the Private Sector in Humanitarian Crises

Huffington Post The Blog | December 11, 2014

Raymond C. Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America

Ebola is a humanitarian crisis first and foremost, but it is also a mounting economic disaster for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Oxfam supports long-term development, advocacy and emergency programs, such as clean water and sanitation, but we don't provide direct medical assistance, so the crisis has really pushed us to develop new partnerships and ways of working across multi-sectors, including the private sector, which is increasingly playing a role in humanitarian relief. The article goes on to mention UN Global Compact and the EPSMG. Read more

 

Surge in Ebola infections leads to lockdown in eastern Sierra Leone

The Guardian | December 11, 2014

Sierra Leone has overtaken Liberia as the worst-affected nation, with health officials finding bodies piled up in Kono district. Authorities in Sierra Leone have imposed a two-week lockdown in the eastern district of Kono after health workers uncovered a surge of Ebola infections in the area, where the epidemic was thought to be largely under control. Read more

 

Ebola vaccine trial 'interrupted' due to joint pains

BBC | December 11, 2014

The clinical trial of an Ebola vaccine in Switzerland has been interrupted after some patients complained of joint pains in their hands and feet. The trial was stopped one week early in all 59 volunteers "as a measure of precaution", the University of Geneva Hospital said. The vaccine being tested is one developed by NewLink, and recently bought by Merck. There is currently no vaccine licensed for use to protect against Ebola. Two vaccines are currently being tested in humans in a number of countries. Read more

 

Doctors Without Borders leaves Ebola-free Liberia region

Global News | December 11, 2014

Doctors Without Borders says it has pulled out of Lofa County in Liberia where there have been no reported Ebola cases in the past six weeks. Lofa, on the border with Sierra Leone and Guinea, was once a hot spot of Ebola and the medical group said Thursday that when it took over a treatment unit there in August up to 130 people were turning up each day. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said the area has not recorded a case for six straight weeks. Read more

 

UN says several months needed to control Ebola

The Washington Post | December 11, 2014

The U.N. Ebola chief says it’s going to take several more months before the outbreak in West Africa is under control. In September, the World Health Organization said it wanted to have 100 percent of Ebola cases isolated by Jan. 1. It conceded earlier this month that it didn’t fully meet an interim target — but it hasn’t made clear what that means for the Jan. 1 goal, which some have said now looks unrealistic. Dr. David Nabarro said there has been “a massive shift” over the last four months in the way governments have taken the lead in responding to the epidemic and communities are taking action. Read more

 

Alliance set to buy millions of Ebola vaccine doses

FRANCE 24 | December 11, 2014

A major vaccine alliance said Thursday it planned to purchase millions of Ebola vaccine doses as soon as a safe and effective one is found. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, which helps make vaccines available to developing countries, said it would be ready to act as soon as the World Health Organization recommends a safe vaccine against the virus, that has so far killed nearly 6,400 people. There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, and the WHO has endorsed rushing potential ones through trials in a bid to stem the epidemic, raging mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Read more

 

Ebola Response Reveals Double Standard In U.S. Health Care

Forbes| December 11, 2014

Since Ebola was first discovered in 1976, there have been an estimated 16 to 22 recorded outbreaks. In August, the World Health Organization designated the most recent outbreak a global emergency. Ebola is a deadly infection and the scope of the current epidemic in West Africa is unprecedented. More than 17,000 people have contracted Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) with more than 6,000 estimated deaths. Read more

 

Red Cross urges Ebola vigilance before Christmas

FRANCE 24 | December 11, 2014

The Red Cross on Thursday urged vigilance against a possible spread of the Ebola virus as holiday travel picks up for the Christmas season in west Africa. "There may be a risk of waves of infection if not all the measures are taken," Elhadj As Sy, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), told reporters in London. "It is a combination of (a) festive season where we have a high mobility of people and also a high risk of, you know, letting your guard down and not being vigilant." Read more

 

Former Ebola testing lab in Liberia a hidden treasure in fighting disease

Army | December 11, 2014

What started off as a simple medical waste drop off, turned into a tour of the operations of a medical laboratory. Once a research facility, it's now been retrofitted to accommodate testing of blood samples from patients believed to have Ebola. Soldiers of the 36th Engineer Brigade took a tour at the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Medical Research, during Operation United Assistance mission here, Sunday. Read more

 

U.S. Nurse Being Watched at NIH for Ebola

NBC News | December 11, 2014

An American nurse who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is going under watch at the National Institutes of Health outside Washington, the NIH said Thursday. The nurse, who is not being identified, was volunteering in Sierra Leone, currently the country hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Read more

 

Saudi king grants $35 MN for Ebola fight

France 24 | December 11, 2014

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has granted $35 million to fight Ebola in an effort to slow a death toll which has reached nearly 6,400, the Islamic Development Bank said Thursday. The grant will provide schools in West Africa with heat sensors and medical equipment to help prevent and treat the illness, Ahmed Mohamed Ali, president of the Jeddah-based IDB, said in a statement. Similar equipment will be provided at airports and other terminals, said the IDB, which will implement the project. Read more

 

UN congratulates frontline Ebola response workers battling virus in West Africa

UN | December 10, 2014

The United Nations today congratulated the front line workers in the field battling Ebola on their well-deserved recognition as Time “Person of the Year,” while countries affected by the outbreak and their partners met to ensure cases do not cross borders and to lay the foundation for resilient health systems respectively. A one-day regional technical meeting in Monrovia brought together the four affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Mali, as well as neighbouring Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, and Nigeria, with the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) to develop an integrated and joint strategy for cross-border response. Read more

 

Behind the Changing Forecast for Ebola Infections

TIME | December 10, 2014

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted that without intervention, there could be up to 1.4 million Ebola Cases in Sierra Leone and Liberia by January 20, 2015. Scroll down to see predicted cases vs. reported cases, and the new trajectory of Ebola cases. Read more

 

The Ebola Epidemic: The Keys to Success for the International Response

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearing by the Subcommittee on African Affairs

Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 10:30 AM

In a virtually unprecedented move for a sitting head of state, H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, addressed the Subcommittee and answered brief questions from a couple of Senators before the beginning of the official hearing, in which four witnesses – Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health; Dr. Anne Peterson of World Vision; Pape Gaye of IntraHealth International; and Javier Alvarez of Mercy Corps – testified regarding the status of the Ebola response effort, and the needs for long-term development of the health sector and economic recovery in the affected countries.

Video of the entire hearing and the full texts of the guest and witnesses’ statements can be found here

 

The Ebola fighters are Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’

TIME | December 10, 2014

Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2014 is not one individual, but many. The magazine's editors announced Wednesday morning that the workers who have risked their lives this year to treat the largest Ebola outbreak in history would be honored on its annual marquee cover. In 2014, Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people in West Africa. Read more

 

Ebola funding in 'cromnibus' falls just short of Obama request

The Hill | December 10, 2014

The $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled Tuesday night includes nearly all of President Obama’s massive $6.2 billion emergency funding request to fight the Ebola outbreak. Lawmakers have agreed to spend $5.4 billion on Ebola treatment and prevention measures in the U.S. and West Africa. The funding falls just short of the funding request issued by the president last month as a crucial step to curbing outbreak, which has infected more than 16,000 people overseas. Read more

 

Liberian President: Help Needed to Stamp out Ebola

ABC News | December 10, 2014
Liberia
is making progress against Ebola but stamping out the epidemic will be difficult, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday. In an unusual address by video to a Senate subcommittee, Sirleaf said about 10 new cases a day have been confirmed in Liberia over the past week compared to around 100 a day at the epidemic's peak. She thanked the U.S. for helping to fight Ebola, saying it had "awakened the world to the scope and magnitude" of the epidemic in West Africa. Read more

 

Ebola toll climbs, fueled by spread in Sierra Leone: WHO

Reuters | December 10, 2014

The toll in the Ebola epidemic has risen to 6,388 deaths out of 17,942 cases as of Dec. 7, its spread fueled principally by new infections in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. Sierra Leone, a former British colony, reported 397 new confirmed cases in the week to Dec. 7, three times the combined total in the other two centers of the disease, Guinea and Liberia, the U.N. health agency said in its latest update. Read more

 

Debt and hunger at birthplace of Ebola in Guinea

Washington Post | December 10, 2014

When 2-year-old Emile Ouamouno caught a fever, started vomiting, passed blood in his stool and died two days later, nobody knew why. Nor did anyone really ask. Life is unforgiving in this part of the world, and people often lose their children to cholera, malaria, measles, typhoid, Lassa fever and a host of other illnesses that have no name. Read more

 

Ebola: UN envoy says intense response needed for western Sierra Leone and Guinea-Mali border

UN News Centre | December 10, 2014

The United Nations, working with its national and international partners to halt the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, is currently focusing attention on bringing down the high levels of transmission in western Sierra Leone and ensuring that cases do not cross the border from Guinea into neighbouring Mali, the UN Special Envoy on Ebola Dr. David Nabarro said today. Dr. Nabarro also told a press conference in Geneva that the national response, with support from the international community “is right, is working, and real progress is being made.” Read more

 

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian president, thanks Congress for Ebola aid

Washington Times | December 10,2014

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed “profound gratitude” Wednesday to U.S. government and aid workers fighting Ebola in her country, saying American leadership set off a domino effect that brought global aid to West African countries reeling from the viral disease.But she urged Congress not to ease up in the fight, because the virus “has retreated and now must be chased down in every corner.” Read more

 

Why we need to tackle malaria and Ebola together

World Economic Forum | December 10, 2014

Mass drug treatment for malaria is a key step towards preventing a rise in the mosquito-borne disease in Ebola-stricken countries and to ease the burden on medical staff, a leading disease control expert said on Tuesday. Sierra Leone began a campaign on Friday to protect 2.4 million people – nearly half its population – from malaria, reducing pressure on health services from people visiting clinics wrongly fearing they have Ebola. Read more

 

Liberia Hosts Meeting on Cross-Border Collaboration on Prevention of Ebola in West Africa;‘Ebola Will Not Derail Our Determination to Make Progress,’ Says President Sirleaf

The Liberian Government | December 09, 2014

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says Ebola will not derail the determination of affected African countries to make progress in developing their respective nations. According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader made the assertion when she welcomed participants attending a meeting on cross-border collaboration on the control of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium. The meeting brought together national leaders on the Ebola response from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Nigeria and host Liberia. It was organized by the Liberian Government and the United Nations Mission for the Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). Read more

 

Liberian President Discusses Ebola on Capitol Hill Wednesday

Foreign Policy | December 9, 2014

The President of Liberia, the West African nation at the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak, will address members of a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Wednesday during a hearing titled “The Ebola Epidemic: The Keys To Success For The International Response” on Wednesday. Read more

 

Sierra Leone Has Overtaken Liberia in Ebola

TIME | December 9, 2014

It now has more cases than anywhere in the world . Sierra Leone has the highest number of Ebola cases of any country, according to the most recent World Health Organization statistics. Sierra Leone has seen 7,780 cases of Ebola, more than the 7,719 cases in Liberia, WHO figures published on Monday show. Some 17,800 people have fallen ill with virus in those two countries and in Guinea, 6,187 of whom have died. Read more

 

Training delays Cuban doctors from fighting Ebola

Washington Post | December 9, 2014

The Cuban doctors were all fired up and raring to get to work: Fidel Castro had praised their commitment and urged them to work even with American troops who might otherwise be considered the enemy, and President Raul Castro came to the airport to wish them well in their mission to fight Ebola in West Africa. That was more than two months ago. Read more

 

Ebola still spreading in western Sierra Leone, Guinea's forest: U.N

Reuters | December 9, 2014

More foreign health workers are needed to help tackle the Ebola epidemic, which is spreading quickly in western Sierra Leone and deep in the forested interior of Guinea, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday. The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 6,331 in the three worst hit countries, with Sierra Leone overtaking Liberia as the country with the highest number of cases, the World Health Organization says. "We know the outbreak is still flaming strongly in western Sierra Leone and some parts of the interior of Guinea. We can't rest, we have to still push on," said David Nabarro, the U.N. Special Envoy on Ebola. Read more

 

Sierra Leonean Docs Strike Again Over Ebola Care

ABC News | December 9, 2014

Sierra Leone's junior doctors were on strike for a second day Tuesday to demand better care for medical workers who catch Ebola after a spate of recent deaths. In neighboring Liberia, the president urged her countrymen not to let down their guard against the disease, even as the infection rate stabilizes there. The current Ebola outbreak has infected more than 17,800 people, the vast majority in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Of those, around 6,300 have died. There are signs the outbreak is beginning to be controlled in Liberia and Guinea, but it continues to spread quickly in Sierra Leone, which now has recorded the highest number of infections. Read more

 

'Ebola Must Go' — And So Must Prejudice Against Survivors

NPR | December 9, 2014

A visitor brought Ebola to the community of New Georgia Signboard this summer, and by the middle of August, people were sick with the virus. Six people died. But it's what the community did for the six survivors in the family that brought Liberia's president to New Georgia Signboard, where she launched her Ebola Must Go! campaign on Monday". We are standing by you in New Georgia community because you are a role model for taking responsibility, for stepping up and stopping Ebola," President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told the crowd gathered at the Christ Kingdom Harvest Church. "We are launching in a place where they have made a difference. Read more

 

Ebola diary: 'There are reports of people disappearing into the forest to die'

The Guardian | December 9, 2014

Sierra Leone has its first-ever call centre. The number to reach it is 117. You can call to report that your mother is sick or your brother is dead. It is a call nobody wants to make, but posters and newspapers and radio broadcasts urge you to pick up the phone – for your own sake and your family’s, but beyond that, for the sake of everybody else you know and don’t know. It’s a tough one, because that call leads to quarantined homes and holding centres for people with suspected Ebola, where people who do have the virus are sharing rooms with those who eventually turn out to have something else. Read more

 

Paul Allen donates $100 million to start cell research institute

CNN Money | December 9, 2014

Paul Allen is giving $100 million to start an institute to focus on the workings of human cells as a way to battle disease. He said the Allen Institute for Cell Science will investigate and model the complex workings of cells in a way that scientists have not been able to do previously, creating a visual database and animated models of cell parts. It will bring together information from both the cellular and molecular sciences. Read more

 

Hand hygiene for health workers caring for Ebola patients

WHO | December 9, 2014

A review of scientific evidence convened by WHO in November 2014 confirms existing WHO recommendations for hand hygiene already promoted in the context of this outbreak. The recommendations are published as rapid advice in: Guideline on hand hygiene in health care in the context of filovirus disease outbreak response Alcohol-based handrubs are the standard of care for hand hygiene of health workers caring for Ebola patients. If alcohol-based handrubs are unavailable or when hands are visibly soiled, hands should be cleaned with soap and running water and dried with disposable towels. Read more

 

Obama's Ebola czar Klain to exit White House by March 1

Reuters | December 08, 2014

U.S. Ebola coordinator Ron Klain plans to return to his private sector job at the end of February, capping speculation that the seasoned political aide would play a broader White House role for the rest of President Barack Obama's tenure. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday Klain was hired as a "special government employee," a classification that brings consultants on board for a maximum term of 130 days. Read more

 

Pres. Obama on Ebola: ‘The fight is not even close to being over’

ONE | December 08, 2014

President Obama elaborated on that possibility when he spoke at the National Institutes of Health last week. He praised the NIH’s significant progress in developing an Ebola vaccine while calling on Congress to approve his request of $6.18 billion in emergency funding for the Ebola response. More than $6 billion is admittedly a lot of money, but it’s no more than what’s needed to keep Ebola from spiraling out of control, as CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden warned the world back in October. Read more

 

Health workers on Ebola response frontlines get boost with donation of protective gear – UN

UN News Centre | December 08, 2014

The first of 700,000 sets of protective gear intended for healthcare workers battling on the frontlines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa arrived today from Japan and were handed over the United Nations, as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the crisis has left some 5 million children out of school. Declaring 2014 a “devastating year for children” including those posed by new significant new threats to children’s health and well-being, most notably the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, UNICEF reported today that the epidemic has orphaned thousands and left an estimated 5 million children out of school. Read more

 

Ebola survivor Ian Crozier speaks for first time about illness

The Guardian | December 8, 2014

The US doctor who survived Ebola after being treated with antibodies from British nurse and fellow survivor Will Pooley has spoken for the first time about battling the disease. Ian Crozier, who had not been named until now, said he was unable to remember the first three weeks he spent in an isolation ward at Emory hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, with the haemorrhagic virus. Pooley – who flew to the US to donate blood – said Crozier “got really sick. He got as bad as you can get.” Read more

 

WHO: Sierra Leone has recorded most Ebola cases

Washington Post | December 8, 2014

World Health Organization figures show that more people have now been infected by Ebola in Sierra Leone than in Liberia. Liberia, where the disease quickly moved to the capital and whipped around crowded slums, has long been the worst affected, with the most infections and the most deaths. But data published Monday showed that Sierra Leone has recorded 7,798 cases, while Liberia has 7,719. Liberia still has more deaths. The data is up to date through Dec. 3 for Liberia, but through Dec. 6 for Sierra Leone. Also, case numbers occasionally fluctuate significantly as backlogs are cleared. Read more

 

Liberian President's Son Wants Rally Ban Lifted

ABC News | December 8, 2014

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's son, who is running for a Senate seat, has filed a lawsuit contesting her Ebola-related ban on political rallies, an official said Monday. While Liberia is the country most affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, infection rates are stabilizing there, and the government has decided to go ahead with the Dec. 16 election. Police initially agreed to allow political rallies and gatherings in the run-up to the vote, which had previously been postponed. Read more

 

In Ebola outbreak, bad data adds another problem

Washington Post | December 8, 2014

As health officials struggle to contain the world’s biggest-ever Ebola outbreak, their efforts are being complicated by another problem: bad data. Having accurate numbers about an outbreak is essential not only to provide a realistic picture of the epidemic, but to determine effective control strategies. Dr. Bruce Aylward, who is leading the World Health Organization’s Ebola response, said it’s crucial to track every single Ebola patient in West Africa to stop the outbreak and that serious gaps remain in their data. Read more

 

Ebola fight sees Canadian Forces medical team deployed to Sierra Leone

CBC News | December 8, 2014

A Canadian Forces medical team left CFB Trenton in Ontario on Saturday en route to Britain, where they’ll undergo training before deploying to Sierra Leone as part of the effort to combat the Ebola outbreak, the military said. The Forces said about 40 nurses, doctors, physicians’ assistants, medics and support are to train alongside U.K. military personnel, and most of them will continue on to Sierra Leone by later this month. Read more

 

Liberian Businesses Reopen Their Doors, But Customers Are Wary

NPR | December 07, 2014

Ebola has had a brutal impact on the economies of three West African nations at the epicenter of the outbreak. In Liberia, the World Bank has more than halved projected growth for the nation, compared to what they predicted before the epidemic. Ebola has killed more than 3,000 people in Liberia and, at the height of the outbreak, closed shops, businesses and offices. As the situation eases, many have now reopened — but it's still tough going. Read more

 

Liberia court suspends ban on mass gatherings in Monrovia

Reuters | December 7, 2014

Liberia's top court issued a stay on a government order banning public gatherings in the capital ahead of Senate elections next week that was imposed because electioneering risks spreading Ebola, Information Minister Lewis Brown said on Sunday. Liberia is the country hardest hit by the epidemic and has recorded more than 3,000 deaths out of more than 6,000 victims from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to World Health Organization figures. Read more

 

As Ebola Rages, Poor Planning Thwarts Efforts

New York Times | December 6, 2014

KERRY TOWN, Sierra Leone — On a freshly cleared hillside outside the capital, where the trees have been chopped down and replaced with acres of smooth gravel, the new Ebola treatment center seems to have everything. There are racks of clean pink scrubs and white latex boots, bathrooms that smell like Ajax, solar-powered lights, a pharmacy tent, even a thatch-roofed hut to relax in. Read more

 

Guinea: Ebola Epidemic Could Drain $3-4 Billion From Sub-Saharan African Economy, Reverse Peacebuilding Gains in Hardest-Hit Nations, Economic and Social Council Told

All Africa | December 5, 2014

Speakers Call for Continued International Aid to Ensure Sustainable Development

The deadly Ebola outbreak could inflict $3-4 billion in losses on the Sub-Saharan African economy and had already begun to erode economic growth in the hardest-hit countries, the Economic and Social Council heard today as it considered how the epidemic could endanger sustainable development. Read more

 

World's Slow Response To Ebola Leaves Sierra Leone Villages Scrambling

NPR | December 5, 2014

If you think the fight against Ebola is going well, here's a grim new number: 537. That's how many new infections were reported in Sierra Leone in the past week. It's the highest weekly tally in any country since the West African outbreak began. International governments and aid groups have scrambled to open Ebola treatment centers in the country. But, because of safety concerns, many of these centers are accepting only a fraction of the number of patients they were built to serve. Read more

 

Ebola: basic fluid and nutrition care 'being missed'

BBC | December 5, 2014

Ebola patients are missing out on basic care that could improve their chances of survival, according to a report in the Lancet medical journal. Researchers say organizations are being misled by an "inaccurate view" that there is no proven treatment for Ebola. They add that patients, who could be treated with fluids and electrolytes, are dying of dehydration. Charities say there are many challenges to giving the intensive fluid replacement that some patients need. Read more

 

Sierra Leone seeing 80-100 new Ebola cases daily

The Washington Post | December 5, 2014

Sierra Leone said Friday that between 80 and 100 new cases of Ebola are being reported every day and the country now hardest-hit by the deadly virus desperately needs over 1,000 beds to treat victims. Sierra Leone’s Finance Minister Kaifalah Marah painted a grim picture to the U.N. Economic and Social Council Friday of the challenges facing his West African nation which failed to meet a World Health Organization interim goal of isolating 70 percent of Ebola patients and safely burying 70 percent of victims by Dec. 1. Read more

 

U.N. warns of Ebola outbreak’s aftermath

Washington Times | December 5, 2014

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that Ebola is devastating West African economies that had been “vibrant and growing” before the outbreak hit, and that more than 3,000 children have been orphaned because of the virus. Speaking in New York, the secretary warned the international community it must brace for the aftermath of Ebola’s scourge in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which has killed more than 6,000 and continues to spread despite progress in certain regions. Read more

 

Liberia Bans Political Rallies Over Ebola Fears

All Africa | December 5, 2014

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has issued Executive Order No. 65 ordering all concerted mass movements of people on the streets of Monrovia during the ensuing special elections, including in particular rallies, demonstrations and parades prohibited and for 30 days after the announcement of election results. Read more

 

UN Peacekeeper in Liberia Tests Positive for Ebola

ABC News | December 5, 2014

A U.N. peacekeeper who contracted Ebola in Liberia will be flown to the Netherlands for treatment, a Dutch Health Ministry spokeswoman said Friday. The Nigerian soldier will go into isolation at a "calamity unit" at the University Medical Center Utrecht, according to Inge Freriksen. He is expected to arrive in Amsterdam over the weekend and be transferred by ambulance to nearby Utrecht. Late Thursday, the U.N. mission announced in a statement that the soldier had tested positive for the dreaded disease a day earlier. Read more

 

Ebola crisis: Nigerian medics deploying to Sierra Leone

BBC | December 5, 2014

About 100 Nigerian medical workers are expected to arrive in Sierra Leone to help with the response to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. The workers, who include doctors, scientists and hygienists, have been trained by the medical aid agency, MSF.

It came a day after residents in the Guinean capital, Conakry, protested about the construction of an Ebola treatment clinic in their district. The Ebola outbreak has killed more than 6,000 people in West Africa this year. The Nigerian medical workers are the first part of a contingent of about 250 specialists the West African country is deploying to the three countries worst hit by Ebola - Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Read more

 

Sierra Leone threatens to jail families in Ebola crackdown

Al Jazeera | December 5, 2014

Sierra Leone warned on Friday it would jail entire families if Ebola victims who appeared to have been washed after death were discovered in their homes. The tradition of cleansing the dead before burials remains a major factor in the spread of the highly infectious virus, the government said, despite numerous appeals for Sierra Leoneans to refrain from the practice. "When the family calls [the burial hotline] and it is proved that the corpse has been tampered with, we are going to quarantine the entire family or take them to holding centers for 21 days," said Palo Conteh, head of the government's National Ebola Response Centre. Read more

 

More NHS volunteers to tackle Ebola

The Guardian | December 5, 2014

A second group of NHS volunteers will arrive in Sierra Leone tomorrow to help tackle the Ebola outbreak that has claimed thousands of lives in west Africa. The 25 doctors, nurses and other medical staff from across the UK will join NHS volunteers who flew to Sierra Leone last month. International development secretary, Justine Greening, said: “These NHS heroes will play a vital role in our efforts to take this disease on at source.” The volunteers have had five days intensive training in Worcestershire before travelling to Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. They will then complete further in-country training and acclimatisation, including at the British-built treatment centres where they will be working. Read more

 

World Bank fast tracks Ebola aid as Sierra Leone calls for help

Reuters | December 4, 2014

The World Bank said on Wednesday it would speed up delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to fight Ebola in West Africa, as Sierra Leone appealed for help in plugging gaps in its response. On a visit to Sierra Leone, where the epidemic is spreading fastest, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the lender would accelerate disbursement of $162 million in emergency support to ensure the money was delivered in two years instead of three. Read more

 

Top U.S. Commander in Africa Is Optimistic on Liberia’s Battle With Ebola

TIME | December 4, 2014

“The trend lines are all moving in the right direction,” says Gen. David M. Rodriguez The top American military commander for Africa on Wednesday gave a vote of confidence to the international effort to halt Ebola, saying that the U.S. mission against the virus might be able to scale back its operations in Liberia by next month. Read more

 

The toll of a tragedy

The Economist | December 4, 2014

THE first reported case in the Ebola outbreak ravaging west Africa dates back to December 2013, in Guéckédou, a forested area of Guinea near the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone. Travellers took it across the border: by late March, Liberia had reported eight suspected cases and Sierra Leone six. By the end of June 759 people had been infected and 467 people had died from the disease, making this the worst ever Ebola outbreak. The numbers keep climbing. Read more

 

Marines wrap up Ebola response mission in Liberia

Military Times | December 4, 2014

About 100 Marines deployed to Liberia to support the U.S. military's response to the Ebola crisis are preparing to depart for Germany where they'll be monitored for three weeks before returning to their home base in Spain. The Marines are attached to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response Africa, based in Morón, Spain. Four MV-22B Ospreys deployed to support their mission are already en route to Spain as the unit's response to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia draws to a close.

Read more

 

Five million children out of school in West Africa due to Ebola

Reuters | December 4, 2014

Some five million children are out of school in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the deadly Ebola outbreak, according to a report by the Global Business Coalition for Education. Schools and other public buildings have been closed because they are believed to increase the spread of the virus. Many are now used as holding centers for Ebola patients. The report, co-written with A World at School, said being out of school can have a crippling impact on vulnerable children, especially girls, who are more likely to face high-risk situations as a result, including early marriage and pregnancy. Read more

 

Biggest threat to U.S. troops in Liberia is malaria, not Ebola

U.S. Army | December 4, 2014

During the American Revolution, George Washington used part of the Continental Army's scarce budget to purchase quinine for the treatment of malaria in his troops. According to Professor Dale Smith, a military medical historian at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the U.S. military counted more than a half-million cases of malaria, during World War II. "This will be a long war, if for every division I have facing the enemy, I must count on a second division in the hospital with malaria, and a third division convalescing from this debilitating disease," said Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of Allied Forces in the Pacific Theater, during World War II. Read more

 

Patient who may have Ebola arrives in Atlanta

Washington Post | December 4, 2014

An American health-care worker who may have been infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa has arrived at a hospital near Atlanta. Emory University Hospital spokeswoman Holly Korschun says the patient arrived around 5:45 a.m. Thursday. Details about the patient were not released. Emory houses a specialized isolation unit that handled four of the 10 Ebola patients previously treated in the U. Read more

 

World Bank President Visits Liberia, Identifies Agriculture as Springboard For Growth

Ventures | December 4, 2014

As Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf continues on the path to strengthen regional response to the Ebola crisis and boost regional integration beyond the outbreak, the World Bank Group has pledged a commitment to playing a role in Liberia’s economic recovery. Making the pledge recently, World Bank President, Jim Kim, who visited President Sirleaf at the Foreign Ministry offices identified agriculture as a key element in the economic recovery package. He expressed his concerns over the drop in agricultural production adding that the spread of the virus may worsen into a food security crisis if the local farmers were not assisted in recovering from the crisis. Read more

 

The First Attempt to Digitize Ebola Health Records

TIME | December 3, 2014

Currently, health care workers use very basic methods, ranging from scanning files to writing on white boards to calling results across rooms to simple memorization. But the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a crisis organization, is about to change that by bringing in electronic health records to its new Ebola treatment unit opening the week of Dec. 15 in Monrovia, Liberia. Read more

 

EU's Ebola czar focused on medical boots on the ground

France 24 | December 3, 2014

Europe must send more medical boots to West Africa and help rebuild local health systems to help tackle the outbreak of Ebola, the EU's Ebola coordinator said in an interview. Christos Stylianides told AFP this week that he was in touch with European capitals to do more to counter the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali. Sending "as quickly as possible ready and specialised medical personnel " and "launching the reconstruction of local health systems" was the main path of action for the European Union, he said. Read more

 

AU: 250 Nigerian Health Workers to Treat Ebola

Associated Press | Dec 3, 2014

Nigerian health care workers prepared on Wednesday to deploy to fight Ebola in West Africa, part of the African Union's promise to send 1,000 desperately needed medical workers by the end of the year. Read more

 

Business Leaders Call for Action on Education in Ebola Emergency

GBC Education | December 3, 2014

The impact of Ebola stretches far beyond those who have contracted the disease. Nearly 5 million children are out of school due to Ebola-related school closures in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – many indefinitely. As in many emergencies, education has been one of the first casualties of the Ebola emergency.

In response, The Global Business Coalition for Education, in partnership with A World at School, released,Ebola Emergency: Restoring Education, Creating Safe Schools and Preventing Long-term Crisis, a report that offers an overview of the consequences of school shutdowns and recommendations for immediate action. Read more and to download the report

 

Ebola crisis: Appeal to reopen schools

BBC | December 3, 2014

A campaign group has urged the rapid reopening of schools in three Ebola-hit West African states as some 5m children are being denied education. Education had become "one of the first casualties of the crisis" in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, it added. The "most marginalized" would bear the brunt of the crisis for generations to come if "safe schools" were not reopened, the group said. Ebola was declared a health emergency after it was identified in March. Read more

 

Belgian expert: WHO messed up Ebola response

Aljazeera | December 3, 2014

A Belgian scientist who helped discover Ebola in 1976 has accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of mismanaging the current outbreak response. Peter Piot, an award-winning microbiologist, told Al Jazeera that "we wasted too much precious time". "It took three months for the WHO to find out there was an Ebola outbreak. That I understand. Guinea had a poor laboratory infrastructure," said Piot in an interview due to be aired on Saturday. "I have much more of a problem with the fact that it took five months for WHO, for the international health regulations committee, for that's what it is, to declare this a state of emergency. Read more

 

Liberia: High-Level United States Government Delegation Meets with President Sirleaf; Committed to Working with the Liberian Government in its Recovery and Reconstruction Phases

All Africa | December 3, 2014

United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield has praised the efforts of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Government of Liberia for the tremendous progress made thus far in combating the Ebola virus disease. "You have done a tremendous job, Madam President, with your team to bring us to a place today where we can see with some confidence that things are getting better," Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said; but warned that there is still a lot of work to be done. She urged Liberians not to change the practices that have been put in place to ensure that this disease is conquered. Read more

 

World Bank Group Continues Ebola Virus Support to Liberia

FrontPage Africa | December 3, 2014

On behalf of the World Bank Group, its President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim has expressed deep condolences to the government and people of Liberia for the human and other loses sustained due to the Ebola virus disease. “It’s a great honor for me to be here. On the one hand, I share the sadness of the Liberian people for the many deaths in the country has suffered due to the Ebola virus disease,” he said, promising, “We are with the President, we are with her Government, we are with the Liberian people until we get to zero new Ebola cases.” Read more

 

Liberia: Ellen Submits Second Report On Ebola Fund - Wants Resource Mobilization Efforts Intensified

All Africa | December 3, 2014

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has submitted the 2nd Consolidated Report on the expenditure of funding approved by the Liberian Legislature and donations made by others to help fight the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country, with a call for government to intensive its resource mobilization efforts both locally and internationally to ensure the total eradication of the virus. More than 2,500 persons have died of the deadly virus in Liberia since the outbreak in March 2014, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). But Ebola related cases have subsided as compared to the past in Liberia, according to health authorities. Read more

 

FACT SHEET: Update on the Ebola Response

The White House | December 2, 2014

Since the diagnosis of the first Ebola patient in the United States, we have achieved tremendous progress across all elements of the Administration’s whole-of-government response. In an update provided to President Obama today, White House Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain reported that America is far more prepared to cope with Ebola domestically, and much farther along in our efforts to squelch the virus at the source than we were just two months ago, thanks to the work of more than a dozen federal agencies involved in the Ebola response. Specifically, the progress we have achieved domestically in the past two months includes. Read more

 

Delta Pares Ghana Flights as Ebola Damps West Africa Travel

Bloomberg | December 02, 2014

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), the U.S. carrier with the most service to Africa, is cutting flights to Accra, Ghana, by about 20 percent amid an industry pullback in nearby countries because of the Ebola outbreak. The third-biggest U.S. airline wouldn’t say yesterday whether the epidemic in West Africa was turning away consumers. Airlines including British Airways and Emirates have cited the virus in canceling trips to the hardest-hit regions, which don’t include Ghana. Read more

 

Ebola Knocked West African Countries Off Development Ladder

NPR | December 02, 2014

A working Ebola vaccine is still at least months away, and in the meantime, the epidemic is ravaging the economies of West Africa. Listen here

 

Universities To Organise Free Online Ebola Courses To 'Demystify' Disease

Press Association | December 2, 2014

Free online courses about Ebola organised by British universities will begin early next year. One more basic programme will be aimed at the general public, and aims to "demystify" the disease, and a second advanced one will be aimed at healthcare workers. Read more

 

Ebola tackled in new FutureLearn Moocs

The Times Higher Education | December 2, 2014

Two massive open online courses that aim to educate people about the rapid spread of Ebola have been launched by UK universities. The courses, one from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and another from Lancaster University, examine different aspects of the virus, with the former aimed at health professionals and students, and the latter targeted at the general public. Both are hosted by The Open University-sponsored Mooc platform, FutureLearn. Read more

 

Ebola: New World Bank Group Report Shows Growth Shrinking, Economic Impact Worsening in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone

The World Bank | December 2, 2014

The Ebola epidemic continues to cripple the economies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and is projected to result in negative or contracting growth in these countries next year as they work to eradicate the virus, according to an Ebola Economic Impact Update released today by the World Bank Group. The report comes as World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim begins a two-day visit to West Africa to assess the epidemic’s impact and discuss with governments and international agencies what steps need to be taken to reach the goal of zero cases as soon as possible. This report updates the World Bank Group’s October 8 analysis of the economic effects of the Ebola crisis on the three hardest-hit countries. GDP growth estimates for 2014 have been revised sharply downward since pre-crisis estimates to 2.2 percent for Liberia (versus 5.9 percent pre-crisis and 2.5 percent in October); and 4.0 percent for Sierra Leone (versus 11.3 percent pre-crisis and 8.0 percent in October); and 0.5 percent for Guinea (versus 4.5 percent pre-crisis and 2.4 percent in October). All three countries had been growing rapidly in recent years and into the first half of 2014. Read more

 

White House claims progress in Ebola fight

The Washington Post | December 2, 2014

The White House says the Obama administration is making strides in the fight against Ebola, citing an expanded hospital network and testing capacity at home and gains confronting the deadly disease in West Africa. To sustain that, President Barack Obama was prodding Congress Tuesday to approve his request for $6.2 billion in emergency spending against the outbreak. Obama was to visit the National Institutes of Health in Washington’s Maryland suburbs Tuesday to highlight advances in research for an Ebola vaccine. He planned to congratulate NIH director Francis Collins and the director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, for their work on a vaccine. Read more

 

Ebola costs Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone $2 billion: World Bank

Reuters | December 2, 2014

Ebola is costing the three West African countries worst hit by the outbreak more than $2 billion as the deadly virus causes their economies to slow down or shrink, the World Bank said on Tuesday. The bank sharply revised down its 2014 and 2015 economic growth estimates for Sierra Leone and Guinea from its previous analysis in October, but said the outlook for Liberia was improving slightly. This year, Liberia's gross domestic product growth will be just 2.2 percent, compared with the 2.5 percent forecast in October and 5.9 percent before the Ebola crisis. In Sierra Leone, growth is now forecast at 4 percent, down from 8 percent in October and 11.3 percent pre-crisis, the World Bank said. Read more

 

HHS announces 35 U.S. Ebola-ready treatment centers

The Washington Post | December 2, 2014

The following 35 U. S. hospitals have been designated to care for Ebola patients. Here are the treatment centers. Read more

 

Ebola stigma hindering medical response, says Red Cross

BBC | December 2, 2014

Stigma against travelers from Ebola-infected countries is hindering the fight against the disease, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says. The head of the IFRC, Mr Elhadj As Sy, warned that travel bans were preventing his organization’s medical workers from dealing with the outbreak. He urged governments to avoid acting out of fear and misinformation. Ebola has killed nearly 7,000 people this year - mostly in West Africa. Read more

 

Liberia: World Bank Group President Arrives

All Africa | December 2, 2014

The World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, arrives in Liberia today, December 2, 2014 to further strengthen the Bank's continuing response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Dr. Kim is expected to meet with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and senior officials of the Liberian Government. According to a press release from the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia, the World Bank Group President will reassure the Government and people of Liberia of the Bank's commitment to assist Liberia achieve zero Ebola Virus transmission. Read more

 

Obama to urge Congress to loosen purse strings for Ebola fight

Reuters | December 2, 2014

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will press Congress to approve $6.18 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and prepare U.S. hospitals to handle future cases. Most of the request is aimed at the immediate response to the disease at home and abroad. But the package also includes $1.5 billion in contingency funds - money that could become a target if lawmakers decide to trim the bill. Read more

 

The Ethics of Fighting Ebola

The New York Times | December 2, 2014

How can the development and testing of Ebola drugs and vaccines help fight the outbreak while respecting ethical standards? Read more

 

Ebola: The economic damage is mounting

Financial Times | December 2, 2014

This year’s Ebola outbreak has been a heart-wrenching humanitarian tragedy. Almost 6,000 people, all but a handful in West Africa, are dead, according to the WHO. But it has also been an economic catastrophe for the three main affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as the World Bank lays out today in its latest update on the situation. The Bank now says it expects the economies in Guinea and Sierra Leone to actually contract in 2015 after slowing significantly this year. It also offers a daunting picture of the fiscal cost of the outbreak which it puts at $500m. Want to know what an outbreak of Ebola does to an economy? Read more

 

Ebola crisis: Huge risk of spread - UN's Tony Banbury

BBC | December 1, 2014

The head of the UN Ebola response mission in West Africa has told the BBC there is still a "huge risk" the deadly disease could spread to other parts of the world. Tony Banbury declined to say if targets he had set in the fight against Ebola, to be achieved by Monday, had been met. The targets were for the proportion of people being treated and for the safe burial of highly infectious bodies. The UN boss was speaking in Freetown, one of the worst-affected areas. On Sunday in Sierra Leone's capital, bulldozers were clearing large areas for a new burial ground. Read more

 

Ebola response needs to scale up

British Red Cross | December 1, 2014

The UN has warned that its 1 December “70-70-60 target” will not be met. In response, the British Red Cross is calling for efforts to tackle the Ebola virus to be scaled up. Read more.

 

New Challenges Emerge as Liberia Makes Gains Against Ebola

The Wall Street Journal | December 1, 2014

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last week stepped from her sport-utility vehicle into a busy Ebola clinic to confront the epidemic’s latest challenge. A nurse complained to the president that she was laid off from Monrovia’s Island Clinic in October as the number of new cases there dropped. But the virus has surfaced in isolated villages, where epidemiologists suspect the sick are infecting people in unknown numbers. “There are other clinics, places we still need you,” Ms. Johnson Sirleaf told her. “Please keep doing all you can.” Ms. Johnson Sirleaf, the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, coaxed and hectored the U.S. and other foreign powers into the fight against the virus ravaging Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. That approach has paid off. New cases in Liberia’s capital have dropped to less than a third of their September peak. Read more

 

Obama to tout progress on Ebola vaccine at NIH

The Hill | December 1, 2014

President Obama will speak at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Tuesday to tout progress on a much-needed Ebola vaccine that has shown promise in early trials. Obama will travel to Bethesda, Md., to applaud the work of NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as “discuss progress on other fronts on the fight against Ebola,” according to the White House. Read more

 

WHO: Guinea, Liberia Meeting Targets to Curb Ebola

Voice of America | December 1, 2014

Transmission of the Ebola virus is slowing in West Africa, with Liberia and Guinea meeting December 1 goals that at least 70 percent of the sick have been isolated and at least 70 percent of burials are handled safely, a World Health Organization official reported Monday. "Many communities are changing the way that they live," Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant director general, said at a news conference in Geneva. Read more

 

Ebola Rages in Sierra Leone; UN Misses Targets

Bloomberg | December 1, 2014

The United Nations has probably missed targets it set for curbing West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, as new treatment centers are being built in Sierra Leone to cope with a surge in infections in that country. Only 23 percent of cases are being isolated in Liberia, and 40 percent in Sierra Leone, short of a goal set in October to isolate seven-in-ten cases by today. Neither country has enough burial teams to achieve a target of safely burying 70 percent of Ebola-related deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Still, unreliable data make it difficult to know conclusively whether the goals have been met, the Geneva-based WHO said. Read more

 

WHO says Liberia wrongly added 1,000 deaths to Ebola toll

Reuters | December 1, 2014

A surge in Ebola deaths reported by the World Health Organization at the weekend was due to about 1,000 Liberian deaths wrongly ascribed to the disease that would be removed, WHO assistant director general Bruce Aylward said on Monday. "Liberia's figures came in but they've since said these were actually non-Ebola deaths that were reported as part of our Ebola deaths and we will be taking them off. So the whole world went up and the whole world will come down again," he told reporters. Read more

 

Ebola outbreak: 'Death on an almost industrial scale'

BBC | December 1, 2014

A year ago Ebola claimed its first victims in West Africa. Since then around 6,928 people have died and thousands more have been infected. But there is a glimmer of hope from the World Health Organisation - they had set themselves a target of 1 December- for treating 70% of Ebola patients and burying 70% of victims safely. Read more

 

WHO Says Liberia, Guinea Meeting Ebola Targets

ABC News | December 1, 2014

Liberia and Guinea have met a Dec. 1 target for isolating 70 percent of people infected with Ebola and safely burying 70 percent of those who die but Sierra Leone has not, the World Health Organization said Monday. Only last week, the U.N. health agency said only Guinea was on track to meet the targets for getting the Ebola outbreak under control in the three hardest-hit West African countries. But at a news conference in Geneva, WHO's Dr. Bruce Aylward said the organization had revised its conclusion based on more analysis of its data. Sierra Leone also probably met the targets in the west of the country, he said, and likely will improve to the 70 percent target nationwide "in the coming weeks." Read more

 

Ebola crisis: WHO upbeat on targets

BBC | December 1, 2014

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the 60-day goals it set itself for tackling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa have largely been met. The WHO set a target of isolating and treating 70% of patients and of safely burying 70% of victims in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea by 1 December. The WHO's Dr Bruce Aylward said only the treatment figure in Sierra Leone had fallen below the mark. He warned much work was still needed to get to "zero cases". The WHO's latest report had put the death toll from the Ebola outbreak at 6,928 in the three hardest-hit West African countries. Read more

 

Ebola Now Preoccupies Once-Skeptical Leader in Guinea

The New York Times | December 1, 2014

The phone rang. It was the president. “The ambulances? Yes, excellency, we need at least 15 to cover our needs,” the nation’s harried Ebola czar answered. But the president of Guinea was just getting started, calling back a few minutes later. “Yes, excellency, to transport the samples, we need good vehicles,” the Ebola czar answered patiently. Then the president, Alpha Condé, wanted to know about new Ebola treatment centers and the new Ebola database on cellphones. And how about those experimental tests, or the car for the chief of staff? Read more

 

In Liberia, Ebola Shifts From Cities To Villages

NPR | November 30, 2014

Liberia has been a death zone for those exposed to the Ebola virus. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with correspondent Kelly McEvers about what she saw on the ground, and what she will find hard to forget. Listen here

 

New 15-minute test for Ebola to be trialled in Guinea

Wellcome Trust | 28 November, 2014

A rapid, point-of-care diagnostic test for the Ebola virus will be trialled in the coming weeks at the Ebola treatment centre in Conakry, Guinea. The trial is one of six health research projects that have been jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the UK government. Read more

 

Number of Ebola cases nears 16,000 as Sierra Leone loses ground: WHO

Reuters | November 26, 2014

The death toll in the world's worst Ebola epidemic has risen to 5,689 out of 15,935 cases reported in eight countries by the end of Nov. 23, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. Almost all cases and all but 15 deaths have been in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - the three hardest-hit countries, which reported 600 new cases in the past week, the WHO said in its latest update. Read more

 

West African artists urge French-speaking nations to act on Ebola

Reuters | November 26, 2014

West African artists have urged heads of state holding a French-speaking nations' summit in Dakar this weekend to take action to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the region. The rare tropical disease has infected more than 15,000 people in West Africa since it was first recorded in Guinea in March. More than 5,000 people have died from the virus, which causes severe vomiting, diarrhea and internal bleeding. Read more

 

Liberia: EU Disburses EUR 22 Million in Budget Support to Liberia

All Africa | November 26, 2014

The European Union (EU) has approved the disbursement of EUR 22 million (approx. USD 27.2 million) of budget support to help the Government of Liberia to scale up its efforts to eradicate the Ebola virus in Liberia. The announcement comes following the joint visit to Monrovia on November 14th of the European Union's Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and official EU Ebola Coordinator, Mr. Christos Stylianides, and Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. Read more

 

Ebola Vaccines: Why Clinical Trials Are Just the First Step

Huffington Post | November 26, 2014

With clinical trials for Ebola vaccines now under way, and with governments and manufacturers stepping up to fund them, there is an almost palpable sense that the panic is over and the problem solved. The reality, however, is that even if a safe and effective vaccine emerges and the epidemic is brought under control, we are still in many ways no better prepared for future outbreaks than we were a year ago. Read more

 

Ebola isolation at US military base is 'pretty much vacation'

The Guardian | November 26, 2014

With plenty of flat screen TVs, game nights and even an outdoor fire pit, life in isolation for members of the US military who have returned from the Ebola mission in west Africa can look a lot like summer camp. The Defense Department is requiring military service members to undergo 21 days of isolation and monitoring as a precaution, but that doesn’t mean the troops are sitting in a hospital or even just one building. At Langley air force base, one of five US bases designated to house returning service members for monitoring, a wooded section of the base near the runway has been turned into a small village. Read more

 

China is imposing an unofficial Ebola quarantine in its “Little Africa”

Quartz | November 26, 2014

When citizens of Ebola-hit West African countries land in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, they are asked to alight the airplane before other passengers, submit themselves to a health check, and report their health status twice daily for the next 21 days, and they are restricted to staying in just one hotel, Voice of America reports. Read more

 

Managing Ebola Risk in the Liberian Palm Oil Industry

Wall Street Journal | November 25, 2014

Equatorial Palm Oil PAL.LN 0.00% PLC is a Liberia-focused company listed on London’s AIM and engaged in sustainable palm oil development. Ebola was a risk for which it had not planned, said Sandy Barblett, general manager, commercial, who discussed with Risk & Compliance Journal the impact of the outbreak and the risk management lessons it has taught. Read more.

 

Troops fight Ebola through education and training

AFRICOM | November 25, 2014

A 34-year-old man enters an Ebola treatment unit speaking another language. He looks cold, sickly and frustrated. An ETU volunteer is screening a woman for the Ebola Virus Disease and her test comes back positive. She is admitted into the ETU; however, she refuses to go with the clinicians because she has two small children waiting outside. She claims she is their only caretaker. Read more

 

UN to miss December 1 Ebola target due to rising Sierra Leone cases

Reuters | November 25, 2014

The U.N. Ebola Emergency Response Mission will not fully meet its Dec. 1 target for containing the virus due to escalating numbers of cases in Sierra Leone, Anthony Banbury, the head of UNMEER, said on Monday. The mission set the goal in September of having 70 percent of Ebola patients under treatment and 70 percent of victims safely buried. That target will be achieved in some areas, Banbury told Reuters, citing progress in Liberia. Read more

 

Bill would prohibit visas for foreigners from Ebola-stricken countries

The Hill | November 25, 2014

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) has introduced legislation to prevent visas for people from countries afflicted by the Ebola virus. Kelly argued that the U.S. should take any means possible to limit spread of the disease. Three West African countries have suffered the most losses from Ebola: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. "We can be halfway around the world in a very short period of time. It’s not like the old days when these diseases, these viruses, were carried and it took months for them to get from shore to shore, from country to country. It now can travel very quickly. And it mutates very quickly," Kelly warned in a House floor speech. Read more

 

Mali confirms eighth Ebola case, monitoring 271 people

Reuters | November 25, 2014

Mali said on Monday that another person had tested positive for the Ebola virus, bringing the total number of cases in the West African nation to eight. Mali is the sixth West African country to be hit by the worst outbreak on record of deadly haemorrhagic fever that has killed some 5,459 since the first case was recorded early this year in neighbouring Guinea. The Malian government did not provide further details about the new case and how the person contracted the disease, but it came after another case was confirmed on Saturday. Read more

 

Ebola outbreak: Sierra Leone workers dump bodies in Kenema

BBC | November 25, 2014

Burial workers in the Sierra Leonean city of Kenema have dumped bodies in public in protest at non-payment of allowances for handling Ebola victims. The workers, who went on strike over the issue, left 15 bodies abandoned at the city's main hospital. One of the bodies was reportedly left by the hospital manager's office and two others by the hospital entrance. Read more

 

Liberia: EU Offloads Anti-Ebola Cargo - Cautions Against High Risk Re-Infection

All Africa | November 25, 2014

The Dutch government and eight other European Union member states have presented a cargo of anti-Ebola materials valued 3.6 million Euros, including two fully-equipped ambulances, laboratory, jumper delivery beds, body beds, protective suits, goggles, respiratory masks, and rubber boots, among others. Notwithstanding the progress made against Ebola in Liberia, the Netherlands Ambassador to Liberia Hans Docter, warns that the disease is still going on in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Malia, "[and] so the risk of re-infection remains large." Read more

 

Liberia: MSF to Close Operations in Foya

All Africa | November 25, 2014

The French medical charity Medicines Sans Frontiers or Doctors Without Borders has said that the CMC in Foya, Lofa County has not recorded new admissions in the past 10 days, and since 30 October there have been no confirmed Ebola cases. MSF further disclosed that its teams are now reducing CMC capacity from 25 to 10 beds and may eventually close down by end of November. Read more

 

Top UN health officials take joint mission to Mali in support of Ebola response

UN News Center | November 24, 2014

The Executive Director of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé and the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, have visited Mali in a joint mission to support the country in its efforts to curb the spread of Ebola, as authorities there announced one new case and that two more suspected patients were being tested. “The next 15 days are critical for ending Ebola in Mali,” where at least 5 people have died from the virus, UNAIDS said in a press release issued today. “The coordination of action and strategic communication are key to success, as are immediate international funding and technical assistance.” Read more

 

U.S. Buys Up Ebola Gear, Leaving Little for Africa

Wall Street Journal | November 24, 2014

Protective suits were running low in Sierra Leone this month, when a Christian charity decided to ship some over. The charity turned to American medical-wear suppliers, which came back with bad news: The suits needed to treat Ebola are running low in America, too. “There’s been some sleepless nights,” said Jennifer Mounsey, director of corporate engagement for World Vision, the Christian humanitarian group based in Monrovia, Calif. “We’re all sweating bullets.” Read more

 

Liberia: Sirleaf Stresses Partnership Post-Ebola Economic Recovery

All Africa | November 24, 2014

President Ellen Johnson has emphasized the need for a sustainable partnership between Liberia and the international community for the country to build a vibrant post-Ebola economy. President Sirleaf said many Liberians envisage a period when more job opportunities will be created through strong economic programs that will enable families to lead sustainable lives. The Liberian leader made the statement at a program marking the official hand-over of a consignment of medical supplies and materials donated to Liberia by nine countries of the European Union. Read more

 

Hagel Said to Be Stepping Down as Defense Chief Under Pressure

The New York Times | November 24, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team amid an onslaught of global crises.

The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said. Read more

 

Liberian president says country must double efforts to have no new Ebola cases by Christmas

US News | November 24, 2014

Liberia's president on Monday urged her countrymen to double their efforts to reach the government's goal of having zero new Ebola cases by Dec. 25, a target some experts have described as highly ambitious. "We've set a pretty tough target. But when you set a target it means that you stay focused on that target and on that goal and then you double your efforts," Sirleaf said during a ceremony marking the docking of a Dutch aid ship in the capital, Monrovia. "When you're running a race, as you get closer and closer to the finish line you pick up the speed because you want to make sure that that last mile you will give it your best bet," Sirleaf added. Read more

 

USAID seeks help from ‘maker movement’ in Ebola outbreak

Washington Post | November 24, 2014

On a recent Friday, several inventors gathered in downtown Washington with suitcases and coolers full of prototypes designed to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus. A group of Columbia University undergraduates — juniors in biomedical engineering — had manufactured protective suits intended to keep health-care workers from overheating. Fairfax start-up Qore Performance repurposed its wearable cooling pack, originally produced for athletes, to fit into such protective suits. Read more

 

'Dramatic improvement' in Ebola outlook in Liberia: U.S. general

Reuters | November 24, 2014

A U.S. general in the force helping Liberia fight the Ebola epidemic reported on Monday a dramatic improvement in the situation there and confirmed the cancellation of two planned treatment facilities. Brigadier General Frank Tate, deputy commanding general of U.S. Operation United Assistance, said the drop in the number of cases in the country was all the more encouraging given recent improvements in reporting capacity. Read more

 

Ebola: reducing stigma to reintegrate survivors into communities

The Guardian | November 24, 2014

Ebola epidemic has caused more than just a health crisis in Liberia. In the border regions, intercommunal tensions have increased while survivors and victims’ families struggle to shed the stigma of the disease. Often marginalised by their own neighborhoods, they find it difficult to reintegrate after being quarantined. But community programmes are raising awareness of how the virus is contracted, and reassuring communities that those cured will not infect others. Some of the counties hardest hit by Ebola in Liberia include its border communities. Due to fears that the virus might spread further, borders between Liberia and its neighbouring countries have closed, as well as nearly all of their markets, despite the fact that cross-border trade and relationships are vital for border economies and building trust. Read more

 

Ebola is scary, but antibiotic resistance should scare us more

The Guardian | November 24, 2014

Ebola is the stuff of nightmares. It causes profuse bleeding and organ failure and has a high mortality rate. But while the grim spectacle of dying patients in treatment centers in the affected African countries has stoked fears, cases in the west have been extremely rare in spite of a spate of false alarms across Europe and the US. New Jersey governor Chris Christie has imposed a quarantine on healthcare workers returning from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, despite the policy being unsupported by any scientific evidence. Read more

 

A Tale of Two Outbreaks: Why Congo Conquered Ebola

NBC News | November 24, 2014

Two outbreaks, two entirely different outcomes. The World Health Organization has declared an outbreak of Ebola over in the Democratic Republic of Congo after just 66 cases and 49 deaths. It lasted three months. Yet the epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea’s been going for nine months, with more than 15,000 cases, 5,000 deaths and no end in sight. What’s the difference? Experts say experience matters — it was the seventh outbreak in the former Zaire. But equally important is the fact that the village where it started was extremely remote, and the country has a rudimentary system of healthcare workers who know to look out for Ebola. The latest outbreak started when a pregnant woman was preparing game her husband had brought home for the family in Ikanamongo, a village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Read more

 

Education Over Ebola: Using Low-Cost Tech Innovation in Liberia

Huffington Post | November 24, 2014

Imagine being a parent, teacher, or student, and having 'Back to School' time come around only for schools to remain closed? Worse, imagine that being the least of your problems? The Ebola death toll in Liberia is approaching 3000. But this figure grossly understates the damage that the virus is unleashing on the 99 percent of Liberians who do not have Ebola. Many government health facilities, which often lack adequate protective equipment, have closed. Prices for food and other basic goods have shot up and security has declined as people fear robberies and social unrest. Read more

 

Mobile training team helps Liberians take care of their own

Army | November 24, 2014

The Joint Forces Command - United Assistance Mobile Training Team completed a week of training in Buchanan City, Liberia, Friday. The Mobile Training Team, or MTT, mission consists of going out to remote locations in Liberia to teach future Ebola treatment center health care workers on how to properly conduct all phases of running an Ebola treatment unit, referred to as anETU, said Capt. Alex Ailer, a nurse with the 86th Combat Support Hospital, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The health care workers are first screened by Liberia's Ministry of Health to make sure they are credentialed in the specific area of expertise. Next, they are hired by a local nongovernmental organization. Read more

 

Liberia’s Sirleaf seeks help to build post-Ebola economy

Star Africa | November 24, 2014

Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has emphasized the need for a sustainable partnership between Liberia and the international community so that the country can build a vibrant post-Ebola economy.President Sirleaf said many Liberians look forward to a period when more job opportunities would be created through strong economic programs that will enable many people lead sustainable lives. The Liberian leader made the statement at a program marking the official hand-over of a consignment of medical supplies and materials donated by the nine countries of the European Union to Liberia which arrived in the country on Monday. Read more

 

Liberia: MOH Issues Ebola Regulations

All Africa | November 24, 2014

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has set up anti-Ebola regulations to govern all citizens irrespective of status or affiliation. Outgoing Health Minister, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale, has mandated that all video clubs, night clubs or restaurants should have chlorinated water placed at the entrances of those businesses for hands washing, and everyone's temperature should be taken, stressing that anyone with 37.5 degree Celsius should be denied entrance and considered an Ebola suspect. Read more

 

In Midst of Ebola, Lawmakers eye US$25 M Oil Cash

FrontPage Africa | November 24, 2014

Whatever lessons on fiscal commonsense that the Ebola crisis may have taught Liberians, in the face of a hyper-declining Gross National Product and an increased deficit spurred mainly by the Ebola Virus Disease, seem completely lost on national government. Before the Ebola crisis struck Liberia in March 2014, the country’s growth prospects were reasonably favorable, having recorded an impressive 8.9% GDP growth rate in 2013/2014 and projected to grow by 6% in the preceding year. Eight months of battling the deadly Ebola virus have seen three revised growth estimates from the International Monetary Fund, with the latest being negative 0.4%.Real GDP is further expected to decline in 2015 to -2.8 percent from 4.5 percent, owing largely to slower growth and low economic productivity in the agriculture and mining sectors. Read more

 

Ebola Gatekeeper: 'When The Tears Stop, You Continue The Work'

NPR | November 23, 2014

Wencke Petersen came to Liberia in late August to do what she normally does for Doctors Without Borders in hotspots all over the world — manage supplies. But the supplies she was meant to organize hadn't arrived yet. So she was asked to help with another job: standing at the main gate of the walled-in compound, turning people away when the unit was full. For five weeks, she gave people the bad news. Petersen says there are some people she will never forget — like the man who sat in the rain all day, waiting. "We had no space — he just asked for a place to lie down," she says. "At the end of the day I could take him in ... he died two days later." Read more

 

Liberia: Journalists Pile On to Bash Ebola-Fighting Doctor

All Africa | November 23, 2014

This is a story about an American physician many in Liberia regard as a hero. It is about his volunteer group, called Heartt – Health Education and Relief through Teaching – which has helped train hundreds of medical professionals who built a post-conflict health system that enabled impoverished Liberia to lead Africa in reducing deaths of children under five. It is also a story about how journalists from respected international media became an echo chamber for flawed reporting, even as their own news organizations promote themselves as more accurate, balanced and thorough than their upstart digital competition. Read more