And more, but we begin with the cautionary, first from the Guardian:
Ebola death toll in west Africa ‘could be much higher than initial estimates’
- Brussels conference attended by three west African presidents warned of funding shortfall in reaching zero-cases target and a death toll higher than first thought
Regional and world leaders have called on the international community to scale up their efforts to rebuild the nations devastated by Ebola amid fears the death toll from the outbreak could be even higher than previously thought.
Although the epidemic, which has ravaged Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, appears to be drawing to a close, the secretary general of the Red Cross warned that the true number of victims could be substantially greater than official estimates.
“Even though statistics show that over 9,000 people died of Ebola, our volunteers on the ground were called on to bury 14,000, which means that many more died from Ebola,” Mohammed El-hadj Assy told a conference on the Ebola crisis in Brussels on Tuesday.
Another cautionary note, via the United Nations News Center:
Ebola: UN tells Brussels meeting world must ‘stay on course’ to get to, remain at zero cases
Representatives of United Nations organizations engaged in the response against Ebola today pledged their support to the worst-affected West African countries in “each stage of this journey; the drive to zero, the early recovery, the medium and longer term development.”
The pledge was made at a high-level international conference on Ebola sponsored by the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, aimed at maintaining global attention on the crisis, taking stock of the fight against the epidemic and on coordinating next steps and discussing the recovery process.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, said that current phase of the response “is the hardest part and a bumpy road” and urged the international community to remain fully engaged until the task is completed, especially as the virus is moving and as some communities are reticent about being engaged in the response.
Dr. Nabarro, as well as World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, both emphasized the need to build trust with communities to eradicate the disease, which has affected nearly 24,000 people with more than 9,714 deaths.
“We need to build trust with the communities,” Dr. Chan said, and added: “Without meaningful community engagement, we will not get to zero cases.”
More cautionary news, via NBC News:
The Next Ebola Zone: Report Finds 28 High-Risk Countries
Where else could an epidemic of Ebola or some other disease come? Try Somalia, Chad, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic, Guinea, Niger, and then Mali. They all have weaker health care systems than Sierra Leone, Save the Children warns [PDF].
The group, which has been fighting the epidemic ravaging Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, says 28 countries have near-nonexistent health systems.
Public health experts agree that poor health systems helped Ebola turn from a series of outbreaks into a full-fledged epidemic. It’s infected nearly 24,000 people and killed around 10,000 by official count. People carried the virus to the U.S., to Europe and to neighboring countries.
Another Save the Children story, via the Guardian:
Save the Children head apologises for upset over award to Tony Blair
- Charity’s UK chief executive admits its ‘global legacy’ honour to former British prime minister has damaged the organisation
Save the Children has apologised to those who were upset by its decision to give Tony Blair a “global legacy award” last year, saying the prize was bestowed solely for the former British prime minister’s work on Africa and was not intended as a celebration of his “wider legacy”.
On Tuesday Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children UK and a former aide to Blair, admitted the move had damaged the international charity.
The prize, which was given to Blair by the US arm of Save the Children (STC) last November, drew immediate criticism from inside and outside the organisation.
An internal letter, signed by more than 500 staff members, said the award was not only “morally reprehensible, but also endangers our credibility globally”, and called for it to be withdrawn.
Reuters covers calls for help:
Ebola-hit countries seek help to repair their economies
The three West African states hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak asked for help from donors on Tuesday to repair the damage to their economies now that the epidemic seems to be waning.
Leaders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone voiced confidence at a major international conference on the Ebola outbreak in Brussels that they were winning the battle but said they must remain focused on stamping out new infections.
The epidemic has killed around 10,000 people in the three countries and delivered a severe setback to their economies, which had previously been performing well.
“Victory against the virus is in sight but we must guard against complacency. There will not be total victory until we get to a resilient zero (new cases) in the three most affected countries,” Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma told the conference.
The Associated Press covers one of those pleas:
Liberia calls for Ebola ‘Marshall Plan’ to rebuild economies
Liberia’s president on Tuesday called for an Ebola “Marshall Plan” to help rebuild economies in West African nations devastated by the virus.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that “we need our international partners to remain committed to us,” as the number of deaths from the disease approaches 10,000.
Sirleaf told fellow regional leaders and delegates at an international conference on Ebola in Brussels that restoring economic growth in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone is a long-term and costly task.
And from FrontPageAfrica, opposition encountered:
How Liberian Protester Upstage EJS White House Welcome
The central theme in the long sought meeting on the part of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with US President Barack Obama took place on Friday at the White House, and ironically “corruption” became the menu and not the usual diplomatic pomp and pageantry reserved for visiting deserving heads of state, especially for a leader who “won” the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize that deservedly was also won by historical black heroes: Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Barack Obama himself.
That this dreaded word, corruption became the focus of the US President in lecturing Sirleaf may have had a sidekick to it by engineered a determined group of Liberians in the United States who not only protested but also wrote the US President. And how they did it so effectively forms the basis for this essay..
The group knew it would be the second and perhaps the last of such meetings between the two: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first woman president, a publicity craving Nobel Laureate and lame duck leader invited into the most powerful office on earth, and coincidentally and historically is occupied by the first black president of the United States of America. So what could have gone wrong for President Obama to preach corruption to Ellen?
After the jump, a notable Liberian landmark, on to Sierra Leone and Ebola official detained, a call for a young leadership, prenatal care suffers under Ebolaphobia, on to Guinea, with hunger and anger on the rise, plus Liberians blocked at the border. . . Continue reading