We begin with the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control:
Next, from NBC News, a front line fighter returns:
Dr. Rick Sacra Won’t Push His Luck in Return to Ebola Zone
Dr. Rick Sacra may be immune to the Ebola virus, but he’s not going to push his luck by testing that natural defense.
Sacra was infected with Ebola in September while working in Liberia. Now, he’s headed back. “In fact, the experts tell me I am immune,” Sacra said. “I don’t plan to test that but I am grateful for it.”
The University of Massachusetts emergency room physician survived the virus after he was flown to the University of Nebraska’s special treatment unit where he received every available treatment.
It’s been a long, tough road, Sacra said at a news conference. But the medical missionary for North Carolina-based SIM said he never doubted he’d be going back to help fight the epidemic that’s infected more than 21,000 people and killed more than 8,200.
He’s the first American to return after having survived Ebola.
Another First World healer emerges from the shadow of death, via the Guardian:
UK Ebola nurse no longer critically ill, hospital says
- Pauline Cafferkey is showing signs of improvement and remains in isolation at the Royal Free hospital in London
British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, is showing signs of improvement and is no longer critically ill, the Royal Free hospital in London has said.
The Scottish public health worker remains in isolation at the hospital where she is receiving specialist care. She was diagnosed with Ebola after returning to Glasgow and was admitted to the city’s Gartnavel hospital on 29 December before being transferred to the Royal Free the following day.
Cafferkey, from Cambuslang in south Lanarkshire, had volunteered with Save the Children at the Ebola treatment centre in Kerry Town before returning to the UK.
From the World Bank, the hardly surprising:
Ebola Hampering Household Economies across Liberia and Sierra Leone
- Latest surveys point to declines in employment, food insecurity, and long-term welfare concerns
The socio-economic impacts of Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone are far-reaching and persistent, according to two new World Bank Group reports. Both countries continue to experience job losses, despite their differing health outlooks. These impacts have not been limited to the areas where infections have been the highest, which points to economy-wide slowdowns. As a result, many households have been forced to take short-term actions to cope, which can have substantial long-term effects on welfare.
“The Ebola virus itself must be eradicated- this is the number one priority,” said Ana Revenga, Senior Director for Poverty at the World Bank Group. “But its socio-economic side effects put the current and future prosperity of households in Liberia and Sierra Leone at high risk. We must pay careful attention to those who are most vulnerable to both health and economic shocks, and ensure that they are supported throughout and after the crisis.”
In order to capture the key socio-economic effects of Ebola, the World Bank Group and partners are undertaking high-frequency mobile phone surveys. In Liberia the surveys are conducted by the Gallup Organization in partnership with the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, and in Sierra Leone, the data collection is led by Statistics Sierra Leone in partnership with Innovations for Poverty Action.
From Reuters, harsh but logical:
After Ebola, WHO blames governments and seeks more clout
The World Health Organization says governments flouted their obligations during the Ebola crisis and wants more power to tackle health emergencies in future, documents published by the international agency showed on Monday.
The Geneva-based U.N. health organisation has been heavily criticised for its slow response to the Ebola epidemic, which has now killed at least 8,371 people out of more than 21,000 cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The WHO promised in October to publish a full review of its handling of the outbreak once the epidemic was under control.
But it has not yet done so.
CCTV Africa covers preventive measures:
Health experts Discuss ways to Prevent Ebola from Reaching Middle East
More than 170 international and regional health experts gathered in the Egyptian capital Cairo – to discuss how to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading to the Middle East. The meeting follows evaluations done in 18 countries to identify measures that are being taken to avoid spread of the disease.
More from the World Health Organization:
WHO-EMRO: Ebola assessment missions in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
In response to the Member States’ request, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean completed Ebola assessment missions in 18 out of 22 countries in the Region during November and December 2014. More than 60 experts reviewed preparedness and readiness measures for Ebola in six main areas: leadership and coordination, points of entry, surveillance and contact tracing, infection prevention and control, laboratory services, and risk communications. At the end of the mission, the WHO teams shared their key findings and recommendations in each of the six areas.
Reuters covers a Chinese move:
China quietly toughens travel restrictions on West Africans
China has been quietly toughening travel restrictions on students and businessmen traveling from Ebola-hit West Africa even as it increases support to fight the deadly disease on the ground in the region, diplomats say.
Beijing-based ambassadors from Liberia and Sierra Leone, whose countries along with Guinea are the hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak, say some of their nationals are staying away from China due to the new procedures.
No cases of Ebola have so far been reported in China.
While AllAfrica covers a plea in the opposite direction:
Kenya: Uhuru Calls for West Africa Flight Ban Review
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday called for a review of the Ministry of Health and Kenya Airways decision to suspend flights to three Ebola ravaged West African nations.
He said that in the spirit of Pan-Africanism, Kenya cannot afford to isolate its “kin” in times of trouble and should instead stand in solidarity with them.
“Bwana MD,” he told Kenya Airways Managing Director Mbuvi Ngunze, “when you get there (Liberia and Sierra Leone) you need to see how we shall resume flights there so we can visit with you from time to time,” he said to the 170 health workers who left Kenya Friday for the Ebola hit-nations on board two chartered Kenya Airways planes.
From StarAfrica, a recovery grant:
IDB grants $35m to Ebola nations in Africa
Representatives from the four countries plagued by the Ebola epidemic namely Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali, on Monday secured from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), a $35 million fund for their recovery once the hemorrhagic fever is over, APA can report.
The agreement to this effect was signed in Conakry between IDB boss, Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Ali and delegates from the beneficiary countries participating in a ministerial meeting on Ebola by Mano River Union member countries.
According to the IDB boss, the funds disbursed by Saudi Arabia are already under the custody of the financial institution, which will make it available to four countries.
Guinean Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Moustapha Sanoh Koutoub, disclosed that his country will receive the lion’s share of the funds, benefiting from some $12 million.
On to Liberia and a back-to-school story from FrontPageAfrica:
Children & Parents Eyeing Return to School as Ebola Slows
Grace Travers is a mother of three and had been wishing to register her Three-year-old daughter in school last September but due to the deadly Ebola epidemic, schools in Liberia remains closed and students have lost almost a whole semester of schooling.
Travers’ daughter will no longer start school at three because of the delay, but she tells FrontPageAfrica that she cannot bear the thought of the older children missing a whole year of school and wants the government to keep its promise of reopening of school in February. “I want schools to reopen because the children are playing all day. For me as a parent, I want school to reopen because our children have been sitting home for so long due to Ebola,” she says.
Travers says her children are home all day, though she has to work and it is difficult keeping them under proper control without school. She says it is important that the government reopen school soon, because they longer children stay without school the more difficult it will be for families to keep them out of trouble. She said school is a very important part of a child’s upbringing and missing it has many consequences.
Major progress continues, via the Monrovia Inquirer
Lofa County Still Ebola Free…As Citizens Remain Vigilant
Lofa County, the epicenter of the vicious Ebola virus that has killed thousands of Liberians as well as foreign nationals has made significant strives in the war against the virus.
For the past three months there has been no reported new cases of the deadly virus as intimated by Philip Michael Forkpa, Hygienist Supervisor of the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Foya now Community Case Center following the departure of the charitable organization MSF that had been running the center during the heat of the health crisis.
“Thanks to the citizens who have remained vigilant and continue to observe all the health measures in every village and town because it was due to the resilience of the people of Lofa County that has caused the county to make such gains against the virus,” Forkpah stated.
Ebola started in Foya on March 19, 2014 when the first case was discovered at the FoyaBarma Hospital in the Northern County of Lofa. In the month of March 2014, authorities at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare reported the first case of the Ebola disease in Lofa County.
More from the Liberia News Agency:
Lofa Supt. Urges Joint Effort To Avert New Ebola Outbreak
Lofa County Superintendent George Dunor has said the battle against another Ebola outbreak in Lofa must get the collective efforts of all citizens and not only government and its partners as was the case during the first outbreak.
Superintendent Dunor noted that although the Ebola situation in the county is gradually declining, the need for everyone to continue to follow preventive measures to avoid a new outbreak should be the concern of everyone.
He told the Liberia News Agency in Voinjama over the weekend that traditional and religious leaders, women and youth organizations must constantly carry out the Ebola awareness campaign aimed at eradicating the virus from the county.
After the jump, a familial disaster follows a funeral, a door-to-door campaign, deadly conflict erupts at the border, and aid dispatched to another afflicted country, and on to Sierra Leone with a reporter’s traumatic encounter with Ebola, communities plagued by depression and panic, and an existential question to close. . . Continue reading