First, a reprieve from the Associated Press:
Immigrants from Ebola countries won’t be sent home
Immigrants from the three countries at the center of West Africa’s Ebola crisis are being offered work permits and temporary protection from deportation.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says immigrants from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia who have been living in the U.S. illegally will be eligible for temporary protected status for up to 18 months.
The agency says eligible immigrants can apply for the protection starting Friday through May 20. Any immigrant from those three countries who was in the United States as of Thursday is eligible for the protection program.
The latest and most politically loaded alarm, via McClatchy Washington Bureau:
U.S. troop falls ill on flight back from Liberia; first test for Ebola is negative
A U.S. service member returning from Liberia threw up during the flight home, prompting additional medical care to determine if he had been exposed to Ebola, the Pentagon said Thursday.
The service member, who was returning along with 70 other troops, was headed to Fort Bliss, Texas, where they were to undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine – a requirement the Pentagon imposed after a New York City doctor returning from working with Ebola patients in West Africa tested positive for the disease. The doctor was hospitalized, recovered and was released. None of the people he’d come in contact with before he was hospitalized contracted the disease.
According to a Defense Department, the service member who became ill on the flight home is being treated at Fort Bliss and has been tested once for Ebola. That test came back negative. The Pentagon declined to identify the service branch of the ill troop or how long he’d been in Liberia.
And from the McClatchy Foreign Staff, an evacuation:
Cuban doctor sick with Ebola to be flown to Geneva for treatment
A Cuban doctor who was infected with the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone is being flown to Switzerland for treatment, diplomats and World Health Organization officials said Wednesday.
A WHO official said the agency recommended the evacuation of the doctor.
According to a statement from Cuba’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Felix Baez, a specialist in internal medicine, tested positive for the Ebola virus Monday. He was being cared for by a team of British health care professionals at Kerry Town, an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, when the decision was made to send him to Geneva.
Cuban diplomats told McClatchy that his condition was stable. A Swiss diplomat said Baez was expected to arrive Thursday in Geneva, where he’ll be treated at Geneva University Hospital.
From TheLocal.at, an Austrian alert:
Medical expert calls for three Ebola centres
An Austrian infectious diseases expert has said that Austria needs three specialised centres to deal with suspected cases of Ebola virus.
At present only the Kaiser Franz Josef hospital in Vienna is properly equipped but Günter Weiss, the Director of the Innsbruck University Hospital for Infectious Diseases, said that hospitals in Graz and Innsbruck should also be fully prepared to deal with cases on a national level.
The Ministry of Health is currently working on an Ebola plan to make national coordination easier in the event of a case being discovered in Austria, Weiss said at a press conference on Thursday.
He said that currently each of Austria’s states is responsible for making its own contingency plan and there is no networking.
The Guardian covers a musical controversy:
Social media rallies behind west African alternative to Band Aid 30
- After an outpouring of criticism for Bob Geldof’s response to Ebola, Twitter shows its support for a different charity single with a practical message
Social media is rallying behind an alternative to Bob Geldof’s Band Aid 30, which champions advice and solidarity over scenes of desperation designed to tug at the heart and purse strings of the general public.
Africa Stop Ebola was recorded before the release of Sir Bob’s third rehash of the charity single, and includes well-known African musicians such as Tiken Jah Fakoly from the Ivory Coast and Malian artists Amadou and Mariam, Salif Keita and Oumou Sangare.
The #AfricaStopEbola hashtag is being used to share and discuss the alternative charity single, which has seen an increase in support since Band Aid 30 launched on Sunday.
Here’s the song itself, via Africa Stop Ebola:
Africa Stop Ebola – Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare and others
Buy the song on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/afr… – ALL PROFITS go to Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors without Borders MSF
FOR SUBTITLES CLICK CC (bottom right corner)
JOIN #AfricaStopEbola on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Africa…
A collective of African musicians have come together to record a song to help raise awareness about Ebola in Africa. The song, entitled “Africa Stop Ebola”, features the singers Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Kandia Kora, Mory Kante, Sia Tolno, Barbara Kanam and rappers Didier Awadi, Marcus (from the band Banlieuz’Arts) and Mokobe, and also includes the musicians Sékou Kouyaté (electric guitar, bass, electric kora) et Ludovic N’Holle (drums).
The song is a message to citizens about what they can do to help stop the spread of Ebola in Africa. The song is performed in French and vernacular languages widely spoken across the region to ensure that the message is understood regardless of the level of literacy and education of the population.
Thanks to Cheick Tidiane Seck for his active participation in this project.
From the Guardian, a curious number:
Only 38% of Australia’s Ebola funds have made it to Africa, group claims
- Advocacy group One says the global response to the virus has been too slow and funds are stuck in treasury departments
Only 38% of the funds pledged by Australia to fight the Ebola crisis have been distributed to stricken west African countries, an international advocacy organisation has claimed.
Campaigning group One, which boasts over six million members worldwide, has created an online Ebola tracker tool which shows how much funding, equipment and health personnel have been pledged by donor countries and large foundations.
Australia has committed a total of $42m to tackle the disease, $20m of which will go to private Australian company Aspen Medical to operate a UK-built medical centre in Sierra Leone. Another $18m has gone to the United Nations’ Ebola response.
Spokeswoman for One, Friederike Roder, has told Guardian Australia that less than 40% of the money Australia has already committed has made it to Ebola-stricken communities.
IRIN covers the diagnostic front:
Bringing Ebola tests up to speed
Ebola in West Africa is believed to have erupted almost a year ago in southern Guinea, but was confirmed by the French Pasteur Institute only in March 2014, by which time it had killed 60 people and was suspected to have crossed the border into Liberia and Sierra Leone.
While it now takes just a few hours to diagnose Ebola, the rate and scale of the outbreak (in which more than 14,000 cases have been reported so far in West Africa, Europe and the US) still outpace the hours-long tests, necessitating even quicker diagnoses.
Currently in West Africa, samples have to be transported to a laboratory where the commonly used test takes 4-6 hours between set-up and results. Poor roads, and lack of electricity and properly functioning health systems are some of the obstacles to timely diagnoses.
“Getting specimens to the lab can take days and getting the result to clinicians and patients can also take several days. So the time between taking samples and receiving the result can be as long as four days,” Margaret Harris, a spokesperson with the World Health Organization (WHO), told IRIN.
A call to arms from the U.N. News Center:
Ban to take up fight against Ebola with heads of all UN organizations
On the eve of a meeting of United Nations agency chiefs to discuss ways to jointly tackle the Ebola outbreak, the World Bank reported today Liberia’s labour sector has suffered a huge blow since the start of the crisis, as a “massive effort” was underway in Mali to halt the spread of the re-emerged virus.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will tomorrow discuss the common effort to counter the Ebola outbreak with the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), made up of 29 Executive Heads of UN Funds and Programmes, specialized agencies, including the Bretton Woods Institutions, and related organizations – the World Tourism Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mr. Ban and other CEB members are scheduled to speak to reporters in the early afternoon in Washington, D.C. where the meeting is taking place at the World Bank headquarters.
Meanwhile, in New York at UN Headquarters tomorrow afternoon, the Security Council has scheduled a meeting to hear a briefing by Dr. David Nabarro, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, and Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).
StarAfrica covers action by the Economic Community Of West African States:
ECOWAS launches full scale fight against Ebola
The Chief Executive for West Africa’s specialised institution responsible for health in the region has advocated for an annual allocation of an additional $2.5 million to the institution to strengthen its capacity to fight epidemics. A statement by the ECOWAS Commission on Thursday in Abuja noted that a document detailing the response of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) since the Ebola outbreak in March 2014, Dr. Xavier Crespin, said that such additional resources would improve the capacity of the organisation to cope with such outbreaks.
As the regional institution responsible for health, Dr Crespin said: “WAHO has responded vigorously to the unprecedented outbreak by speedily providing the affected countries with the support needed to confront the epidemic.”
The overall objective of the response by the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO, according to him, is to reduce the number of mortality through early detection, adequate response and building the capacity of Member States.
After the jump the rest of our African covering including another side effect of the outbreak, then on to Mali and systemic problems, then on to Sierra Leone and a shortage of beds and an unfinished British hospital project, aid arrives from the EU, a call to arms to younger doctors, and a potentially lethal exhumation, and next to Liberia and epidemic-enabling bureaucratic infighting, a U.S. ambassador’s skepticism of official optimism, rape flourishes amidst the outbreak, domestic economic impacts, national holiday beach outings banned, and migration anxities. . . Continue reading