First, the honorific, via the Associated Press:
Ebola fighters named Time Person of the Year
Doctors, nurses and others fighting Ebola have been named Time’s 2014 Person of the Year, the magazine announced Wednesday.
The runners-up included Ferguson, Missouri, protesters; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani; and Jack Ma, the China-based founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba.
In an article on the Time website, Editor Nancy Gibbs praised “the people in the field, the special forces of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Christian medical-relief workers of Samaritan’s Purse and many others from all over the world” who “fought side by side with local doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers and burial teams.”
A warning from BBC News:
Ebola outbreak: Virus still ‘running ahead of us’, says WHO
The Ebola virus that has killed thousands in West Africa is still “running ahead” of efforts to contain it, the head of the World Health Organization has said.
Director general Margaret Chan said the situation had improved in some parts of the worst-affected countries, but she warned against complacency. The risk to the world “is always there” while the outbreak continues, she said.
She said the WHO and the international community failed to act quickly enough. The death toll in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone stands at 6,331. More than 17,800 people have been infected, according to the WHO.
From WHO’s latest Situation Report, the latest Ebola map:
From StarAfrica, ongoing anxiety:
Ghana’s VP urges extra vigilance on Ebola ahead of Christmas
Ghanaian Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has called on Ghanaian to be extra vigilant on Ebola virus alert ahead of the Christmas festivities so as to prevent the outbreak of the disease in the country.Speaking at an Ebola stakeholders meeting in Accra on Wednesday, Vice President Amissah-Arthur told nurses and doctors to be vigilant during the yuletide because it is during such period that people from far and near unite with their families.
He noted that although Ghana has not recorded any Ebola case, there was the need for all and sundry to be alert to prevent the dreadful disease from spreading into the country. All 120 suspected Ebola cases tested negative and the country is doing everything possible to maintain its record.
“Ebola disease has stayed longer than we expected and we must not be complacent,” he told stakeholders who gathered at College of Physicians in Accra.
And the Associated Press covers devastation at ground zero:
Debt and hunger at birthplace of Ebola in Guinea
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.
Now Emile is widely recognized by researchers as Patient Zero, the first person to have died in the latest Ebola outbreak back on December 28 last year. And Meliandou, a small village at the top of a forested hill reached by a rutted red earth track, is notorious as the birthplace and crucible of the most deadly incarnation of the virus to date.
Today villagers here are in debt, stigmatized, hungry and still angry and deeply suspicious about who or what brought the disease that has devastated their lives. It is a question scientists have yet to answer conclusively, although they have come to Meliandou to test great apes and bats as possible sources.
On to Sierra Leone, first with StarAfrica:
Sierra Leone: Bodies pile up for lack of burial team
Reports from eastern Sierra Leonean Kenema district say some 23 dead bodies have piled up at the mortuary due to prolonged absence of a burial team in the district.
The situation, according to sources, was occasioned by the sacking last month of the burial team, which went on strike over pay delay.
The head of the National Ebola Response Centre Retired Major Paolo Conte at the time announced on radio the summary dismissal of the men who had displayed corpses in the street in protest the delay in paying them. Conte also said at the time that he would replace them with a team of military officials.
But local journalist Seedy Fofana, who heads a local radio station in the town, told Radio Democracy in Freetown on Wednesday morning that until now the new team was yet to assume duty.
About 20 percent of the bodies, which he said were not Ebola victims, were children who had died of other illnesses.
From the Sierra Leone Concord Times, heroism again:
‘Health workers are our greatest patriots’
- - President Koroma
President Ernest Bai Koroma has stated that Sierra Leonean health workers are patriots in the fight against the deadly Ebola disease, likening them to loyal soldiers during the civil war, as they routinely put themselves in harm’s way to save lives.
Speaking during the State Opening of the Second Session of the Fourth Parliament, President Koroma said, “Our doctors and nurses have ensured that over 1,100 of those infected have been healed. Over 80% of personnel on the ground fighting the disease are Sierra Leoneans.”
He said Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses provide most the frontline services at various treatment and holding centres across the country, while other compatriots are contact tracers, members of the surveillance and burial teams.
“The largest treatment centre in the country with 120 beds at Hastings opened in September is run by young Sierra Leonean doctors and nurses and they have since ensured the survival of 350 affected people with the virus,” the president said glowingly about the heroics of local medicos.
While NBC News adds a grim statistic:
High Risk: 100-Fold Ebola Rate for Health Workers in Sierra Leone
Health care workers have more than 100 times the risk of catching Ebola in Sierra Leone as the general public there does, according to a new report.
And it’s not necessarily down to failed protective measures in hospitals. Health care workers form their own community, and when one gets sick or dies, he or she can infect fellow medics, the report finds.
The World Health Organization has been saying that health care workers such as doctors and nurses are at special risk of Ebola. It says 622 health-care workers have been infected and 346 of them have died in all the affected countries.
The Associated Press covers a lockdown:
SIerra Leone area to hold 2-week Ebola ‘lockdown’
Authorities in an eastern district of Sierra Leone launched a two-week “lockdown” on Wednesday, hoping to halt the spread of Ebola after the area recorded seven confirmed cases in a day.
The lockdown will last until Dec. 23 in the diamond-rich Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone, said Emmanuel Lebbie, a local official.
The action is being taken after the district recorded seven confirmed cases on Tuesday. The decision was made by traditional rulers in the area including Paramount Chief Paul Jabbie Saquee of Tankoro Chiefdom, Lebbie said.
While people can move within the district, no one will be allowed to enter or leave, said Lebbie, who is the area’s monitor for the Independent Media Commission.
From France 24, a good, solid report on the complications reduced agricultural production, closed food markets, and insufficient funds add to Sierra Leone’s devastating Ebola outbreak:
Battling Ebola, then food shortages in Sierra Leone
FOCUS : Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone find they have successfully battled the deadly disease only to confront a food crisis fueled by high prices, decreased agricultural yields and falling imports.
After the jump another take on origins, then it’s on to Liberia and regional efforts intensifying, the Red Cross offers help for survivors, a presidential plea for help, and the U.N. continues a Liberian arms embargo and more. . . Continue reading