Link: Ebola Digest Wed 18 Feb

Thursday, 19 February, 2015

As 2015 rumbles on, and even as the epidemic abates somewhat, we'll continue to run these regularly for the time being - the link to the most recent edition of the regular Ebola Digest.

There's a huge amount of info in this excellent resource and we suggest you check out the source. In the meantime we've reproduced the country-specific section of their news digest below, in the hope it may be of particular interest and use to our readers. Today's article image is a screenshot of a live map of cases and deaths available here.

That link again: http://eboladigest.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/ebola-digest-wed-21815.html

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE

Mission Not Yet Accomplished

President Obama has announced that almost all of the American troops sent to West Africa to help contain the Ebola epidemic will be withdrawn soon. That makes sense because they have largely completed the work they were sent to do. The next phase of the battle will rely on public health measures carried out by local and international health workers and experts.
Despite major gains, about 100 new cases are detected each week. It will take a concerted effort, backed financially by the United States and others, to drive that number down to zero.

COUNTERMEASURES

Researchers face big hurdles in testing Ebola vaccines
The unpredictable Ebola outbreak in West Africa is thwarting health officials' best efforts both to contain the epidemic, as well as test new treatments and vaccines. The number of new Ebola cases has risen sharply in the West African nation of Guinea, for example, even as researchers wonder if there will be enough patients in neighboring Liberia to test experimental vaccines. Just a few weeks ago, the number of new Ebola cases was falling in all three West African countries.

LESSONS LEARNED

Ebola survivor sees faith, teamwork create a medical success
CNN--Monday morning, February 9, was my last morning at the hospital; in just a few hours I would be headed for the airport. We held an appreciation program with breakfast for all the ELWA Hospital staff after our morning chapel gathering, to recognize those who had served so courageously during the worst of the Ebola crisis.

Community action key to ending Ebola outbreak: UN official
The goal set by the presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea of reducing the number of new cases of the deadly disease to zero by April 15 can be reached -- but only if local communities stop unsafe burials and healing practices that involve human contact, the UN Ebola chief said Wednesday. Dr. David Nabarro told the UN General Assembly that there are now 10 times fewer people diagnosed with Ebola each week than there were last September. But he said preventing the final 10 per cent of infections -- about 120 to 130 new cases per week -- is probably going to be the hardest because it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.

REGIONAL SURVEILLANCE

Liberia

Schools to reopen in Liberia after 7-month closure due to Ebola
UNICEF--As children in Liberia prepare to return to their classrooms next week, following seven months of Ebola-related school closures, UNICEF and its partners are putting in place safety measures to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus.   "We don't expect all schools to reopen immediately," said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. "Typically it can take up to a month before the majority of students are back in the classroom. Throughout that period education authorities will be working to ensure that conditions are as safe as possible."

Liberians stigmatized for taking Ebola trial vaccine
Vicdoeria Payne, 21, has been stigmatized by her local community – not for being infected with Ebola, but rather for being courageous enough to volunteer to take an experimental Ebola vaccine. "When I came back after taking the vaccine on Feb. 3, my friends said they were giving me 21 days before coming around to see me," Payne, visibly distressed, told The Anadolu Agency. She was one of a handful of Liberians who volunteered to receive an experimental Ebola vaccine.

The Grandpa Who Saved His Granddaughter From Ebola
NPR--A few months ago, I met a grandpa whom I'll never forget. His name is Edwin Koryan. And he's a pharmacist in Voinjama, Liberia. Edwin remembers the moment he felt the first symptoms of Ebola. He was taking care of his 5-year-old granddaughter Komasa. They were sharing a room and a bed.

Sierra Leone

British health worker brought to UK from Sierra Leone for assessment
A British health worker potentially exposed to Ebola has been brought back to the UK for assessment and monitoring. Public Health England (PHE) said the woman had potential contact with the deadly virus while in Sierra Leone. "The individual has not been diagnosed with Ebola, does not currently have any symptoms and their risk of developing the infection remains very low," PHE said.

Sierra Leone investigates alleged misuse of emergency Ebola funds
Guardian--Sierra Leone's anti-corruption commission has launched an investigation into allegations of corruption following a damning report on the use of the government's emergency Ebola funds. It has called on 40 individuals, including high-profile medical officials and local leaders, to report to its offices immediately with documentation to show how the funds were disbursed.

Sierra Leone: How Africa And Africans Are Responding To The Ebola Crisis
Forbes--This is part of a series (part one focused on Liberia and part two on Guinea) that is and has been an attempt to recalibrate our thinking and perception of the fight against Ebola; that essentially, a majority of Africans and Africa have been at the center of the fight and not by-standing on the periphery. Thus, this third and final installation of the 3-part series on Ebola, focuses on the West African country of Sierra Leone, which is cradled by Liberia in the south-east, Guinea in the north-east and the Atlantic Ocean on its western borders. These three countries make up the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak of 2014 and with the highest Ebola transmissions of the three West African countries, Sierra Leone is considered the "hotspot" of the epidemic.

Sierra Leone hunts infected as Ebola crisis hits 'turning point'
Sierra Leone launched a door-to-door search on Wednesday (Feb 18) for "hidden" Ebola patients as the head of the United Nations announced the world was at "a critical turning point" in the crisis. Dozens of healthcare workers fanned out across remote parts of Port Loko district, east of the capital Freetown, after a spike in cases attributed to unsafe burials and patients being hidden from the authorities.
   
Sierra Leone: Maternal health in a time of Ebola
Ebola has affected every area of life in Sierra Leone, and made it even more challenging for pregnant women to get the care they desperately need. Activist Fatou Wurie talks about her personal experiences of maternal health care there. By Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty's West Africa Researcher. I want to tell you about a young girl I met two years ago. I walked into a community health centre expecting to meet 50 traditional birth attendants for a training seminar. Instead, I walked into a labour ward and saw a placenta discarded on the floor. A young mother was bleeding and in tears, and her new-born baby boy was fighting against the odds to live.

ENDS