And more, starting with sex, via Reuters:
Fear of Ebola’s sexual transmission drives abstinence, panic
Worries over sexual transmission risk adding to the stigmatisation Ebola survivors already face, and are protracting the emotional burden of families often struggling to overcome the deaths of relatives.
While men like Pabai have taken the WHO’s advice a step further by separating themselves from their loved ones, some traumatised communities have imposed more draconian measures.
“We’ve got people being treated horrendously,” said Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman on Ebola for the WHO. “In Sierra Leone particularly male survivors have been put in a form of concentration camp.”
Harris said men had been detained in Bombali, a district northeast of the capital Freetown, highlighting how public hysteria had become a real danger.
From SciDev.Net, a failure to engage:
Ebola struggle hit by failure to involve local people
Efforts to save lives in the West African Ebola outbreak have been undermined by a failure to involve local people more closely in communication about treatment and ethical decisions about trials, says a report published last week (17 February).
The report’s authors, who are all involved in Ebola vaccine work, made recommendations focusing on Ebola vaccine research, manufacturing and the process of getting vaccine approval in the developed world. They were convened by UK medical research funder the Wellcome Trust and the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, United States.
Considering real human and social factors is vital for stemming the Ebola outbreak, says Clement Adebamowo, the chairman of the Nigerian National Health Research Ethics Committee and one of the report’s 26 advisers.
The New Dawn in Monrovia, Liberia, covers visitors:
US Health officials Visit Liberia, Guinea
The U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, Karen DeSalvo, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, Jimmy Kolker, and Deputy Chief of Staff Dawn O’Connel will visit Liberia and Guinea for three days this week to visit Ebola response sites in the region, the U.S. embassy here has disclosed.
In Liberia, they will tour the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU), a 25-bed field hospital dedicated to providing care to health care workers who become infected with Ebola, and the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research, one of only a few laboratories in Liberia where Ebola specimens are sent to be tested. They will also meet with key representatives from the Government of Liberia, the World Health Organization and additional U.S. agencies involved in the Ebola response.
The MMU is staffed by the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, an elite uniformed service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Deputy Surgeon General RADM Boris D. Lushniak is currently the commanding officer of the MMU.
From StarAfrica, the newest hot spot:
Liberia: Four new Ebola cases discovered in Margibi County
The Margibi County Health Team has disclosed that four new confirmed cases of Ebola have been discovered in the county.Margibi Community Health Services Director Joseph Korhene told the county weekly Ebola Taskforce meeting in Kakata that the new cases could be traced to a lady, who brought her sick husband from Monrovia to the county on February 4, this year.
Korhene told stakeholders at the meeting that the lady took her husband to a local clinic in Kakata upon their arrival in the county on a commercial motorbike and then to a village known as Gaygbah Town in the county where he later died.
He said in line best practice, Gaygbah Town and nearby villages have been quarantined by the County Health Team (CHT) and that the victims are currently receiving treatment at the Kakata Ebola Treatment Unit.
From FrontPageAfrica, a notable number:
509th Patient Recovered From Ebola in ELWA III in Liberia
For the 509th time an Ebola survivor has left ELWA3, the Ebola Centre managed by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Monrovia. A thirteen year-old boy was driven home by a MSF vehicle on 19February to be reunited with his big sister and two younger brothers.
“He has been our only confirmed patient for a few weeks. The entire medical team was caring for him,” said Gloria Lougon, head nurse in ELWA3. “All our energy and determination was put into helping this boy fight the virus and recover.”
As the young patient is a football lover, the team organized the screening of a legendary football game (Brazil – Germany in the World Cup 2014). Three days later his blood sample finally tested Ebola-negative, meaning the kid could be brought home. Before leaving ELWA3, the last survivor left his tiny handprint on the walls to remind everyone an important message: yes, it is possible to beat Ebola.
SOS Children’s Villages Canada covers a complication:
Lack of clean water takes toll on Ebola-stricken Liberia
As schools in Liberia start reopening after nearly six months of closure due to the Ebola epidemic, one challenge still looms: access to clean water.
In response, SOS Children’s Villages is constructing a hand pump for Managbokai Elementary School. The school offers formal education to 200 children from marginalized families in a rural region of the country.
“This is the only school for children in Bomi County,” said the vice principal of the school, Kona Goll. “We appreciate the contribution of SOS Children’s Villages Liberia. The installation of a hand pump at the school is vital for the health and academic achievement of everyone here.”
Even before the Ebola crisis, access to safe water was a challenge. Managbokai Elementary School only had four teachers and the problem of water added to this difficulty and the progress of the students. Teachers would have to leave their classrooms and walk with student for 10 minutes to get drinking water. Students were also becoming ill from drinking the unsafe creek water that runs through the village. Fortunately, access to clean water will soon improve for children living in Bomi County, Liberia.
And FrontPageAfrica covers education in education:
Liberia’s MCSS Schools Get Ebola Prevention Training
In continuation of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, especially with the resumption of schools, the Monrovia Consolidated School System, a conglomerate of public schools in collaboration with Lone Star cell MTN Foundation is currently conducting a three day workshop in Monrovia on Ebola prevention.
Speaking during the start of the workshop, the Superintendent of the MCSS School system, Benjamin Jacob said the workshop is aimed at providing training for employees and staffs of the MCSS to enable them deal with any possible Ebola related cases.
“We are trying to run safe schools in the midst of Ebola by enlightening teachers, principals and other administrators. Doctors will be talking about the preventative methods, to all those people who are in the MCSS schools” Jacob said.
While the News covers an ongoing weakness:
Our Laboratories Had Challenges Before Ebola
The National Laboratory Coordinator of the National Incident Management Team, Henry Kohar has highlighted the challenges laboratories in Liberia faced prior to the Ebola outbreak.
Mr. Kohar told the Ministry of Information regular press briefing Tuesday that operational funding was a serious problem for laboratories in the country.
According to him, prior to the outbreak, laboratory technicians had problem with the maintenance of equipment, noting “you will find out that most of our microscopes and other machines were non-functional due to the lack of maintenance.”
He disclosed that most of the laboratories machines were broken down due to the lack of electricity.
The National Coordinator also cited the lack of water supply as one of the problems technicians were faced with prior to the Ebola outbreak.
StarAfrica covers another:
W/Bank wary of Liberia food shortage
The World Bank has warned that food shortages will persist in Liberia where nearly three-quarters of households are worried over enough harvest to eat.The Bank issued a statement Tuesday noting that despite improvement in the outlook over the Ebola epidemic, agriculture remains a concern as nearly 65 percent of agricultural households surveyed in December believed that their harvests would be smaller than it had been in the previous year.
The fear is based on 80 percent labour shortages and the inability to work in groups due to Ebola infection which continues to pose a problem for agricultural households.
The bank also recalled the lack of money by households for food as a cardinal problem in buying enough to feed their families.
On to Sierra Leone and a call for vigilance from the Sierra Leone Concord Times:
In Kono: VP Sumana admonishes more vigilance as Ebola ebbs
Addressing hundreds of stakeholders at Kaiyima in Sandor Chiefdom, and Kangama in Gorama Kono Chiefdom while on his social mobilization tour of Kono district, Vice President Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana thanked the Chiefdom Ebola Task Force, nurses, contact tracers and Paramount Chief Sheku A.T. Fasuluku Sonsiama III, and chiefdom authorities for their tremendous role in the fight against Ebola.
The vice president informed the large crowd that the Ebola virus may be gradually declining in size, strength and power across the country, yet the battle against the invisible enemy was still raging as “the virus still exists with us and we are in the most dangerous period of the fight”.
He thanked His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma “for his fabulous work in leading the fight against Ebola”, thus admonishing the people of Sandor, Nimikoro and Gorama Kono chiefdoms to be more vigilant “during this causal period in the fight against the Ebola virus”.
StarAfrica covers a crisis of corruption:
S/Leone parliament to discuss Ebola funds report
Sierra Leone’s parliament is set to begin looking at a controversial report on how funds meant to fight the Ebola epidemic were used. Deputy Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in parliament, Komba Koydeyoma, was quoted in local media Tuesday saying that they would start hearings on the Ebola audit report on Wednesday.
It followed heated debate after the report was released earlier this month revealing how millions of US Dollars went unaccounted for after been used without proper documentation.
The report has set the government, particularly MPs, against the public, after the House of Representatives attempted to prevent public discussion of its details. The MPs argued that the PAC must first look at it and makes its own findings before it could be public document.
And some praise, via the Sierra Leone Concord Times:
Defence Secretary praises UK troops for efforts in Salone
UK Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, has said that UK personnel have made a vital contribution to tackle Ebola, during a visit to Sierra Leone.
Arriving in Freetown, Mr. Fallon met with President Ernest Bai Koromo at State House. Their meeting began with an ‘Ebola handshake’, a greeting now widespread in Sierra Leone where elbows are offered to avoid any potential transmission of the disease through body contact.
Mr. Fallon then visited sites where the British military has provided key support, including the Kerry Town Treatment Unit (KTTU) where regular and reserve military medics are treating healthcare workers with Ebola; the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Argus which deployed in September and has been providing reassurance and aviation support to the people of Sierra Leone; and the District Ebola Response Centre (DERC) in the northern town of Port Loko.
And on to Guinea with the Thomson Reuters Foundation:
First Ebola survivors talk of hope and despair in Guinea
Lying in an Ebola treatment centre in southeast Guinea, hidden behind thick plastic sheets and surrounded by nurses in yellow protective suits, Rose Komano feared she would not survive the virus that had robbed her of so many loved ones.
“Everyone before me had died, I was terrified,” Komano recalled.
But the 18-year-old became the first person to beat Ebola in the region of Gueckedou, where the latest outbreak of the disease was initially detected in March 2014.
Almost a year after she was released from a treatment centre run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Komano, who contracted the virus while caring for her sick grandmother, still mourns the deaths of her relatives.