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Ebola survivors clinic opens in Monrovia

WHO                                                         August 2015

MONROVIA --  Surviving Ebola is only part of the story. Many patients experience "post-Ebola" symptoms - joint pain, dizziness, blurred vision, inability to concentrate, headaches. The Ebola Survivors Clinic, opened recently at the Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, not only offers treatment, support and training for Ebola survivors, but also helps health-care workers better understand this disease.

             A Liberian doctor, Moses Soka, runs the Ebola Survivors Clinic that opened recently at the Redemption        hospital  in  Monrovia  WHO/C. Bailey

The line around Redemption Hospital in Monrovia was already stretching around the street corner when Dr Moses Soka arrived. The Ebola Survivors' Clinic had only been open a week, but word had spread and patients were beginning to come in numbers, patients of all ages and from across the city.

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Using Public-Private Partnerships to Combat Ebola Globally


The Completed Containerized Biocontainment Systems Units at Dobbins Air Force Base, in Marietta, Georgia - by Andrew O'Brien - August 13, 2015

In treating Ebola internationally, U.S. government personnel, doctors, nurses, aid workers, and other global health professionals are often put in direct contact with Ebola, and unfortunately some contract the virus themselves. Yet with limited resources, the U.S. Department of State needed more capacity to safely transport these Ebola patients to treatment facilities. Additionally, availability of medevac is important to getting doctors and epidemiologists from all over the world to volunteer to join the Ebola response.

By partnering with the Paul G. Allen Family Fund we were able to confront this challenge head on. Two containerized medevac biocontainment systems were funded by a $5 million grant by the Paul G. Allen Family Fund and the units were unveiled on August 11th at an event recognizing the partnership. MRIGlobal, a leading research institute, built the units, which are fully equipped to transport four patients, contain a broader array of dangerous pathogens, and fly aboard both military and civilian aircraft to multiple destinations in a single mission.

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How The Department of Defense Helped Confront Ebola

GEORGETOWN PUBLIC POICY REVIEW by Col.Russell E. Coleman   Aug. 12, 2015
WASHNGTON -- More than 10,000 people have died of Ebola virus disease (EVD) since the outbreak in West Africa began in December 2013. An epidemic of this magnitude, whether naturally occurring or caused by a biowarfare agent, could compromise both the U.S. health care system and the U.S. military’s ability to defend this country and its allies.

This possibility, long recognized by the Department of Defense (DoD), drives the department’s development of medical countermeasures. The response to the current Ebola outbreak demonstrates how DoD prepares for a medical threat without knowing (1) where it will happen, (2) when it might happen, (3) what the disease will be, and (4) what local resources will be immediately available.

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Handwashing in W.African schools protects children, families from Ebola: UN

REUTERS by Monica MacSwan                                                                     Aug. 12, 2015

LONDON -- Handwashing and giving out soap in schools in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have helped to keep classrooms Ebola-free this year but schools need to remain vigilant after the summer holidays, the U.N. children's agency said on Wednesday.

UNICEF said there had been no reported cases of students or teachers contracting Ebola at a school this year in the three worst-hit countries in West Africa, where the virus has killed nearly 11,300 people since the outbreak began in late 2013.

In Liberia, where there have been as many as 4,800 deaths, two schools were decontaminated as a precaution after one student died in June and another became infected in July.

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How Will We Ensure the New Ebola Vaccine Reaches Those Most in Need?

HUFFINGTON POST  by Director of UNDP’s HIV, Health and Development Group, Bureau of Policy and Programme Support      Aug. 10, 2015                                                                 

 We have reasons to be optimistic about the news of a new tool in the fight against Ebola. As in the fight against HIV, science and solidarity have come together to save lives. The phase III trials on efficacy of the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine have yielded an impressive result in a relatively short time -- 100 percent effectiveness in those receiving the vaccine.

While scientists still need to figure out how long the protective effect of the vaccine lasts, and how effective it will be among the general population and with different strains of the virus, without a doubt this is an important tool for the protection of health and community workers and possibly the wider community. This will certainly help in the on-going efforts to achieve the target of zero new Ebola cases and in overall recovery efforts.

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Sierra Leone celebrates lifting of ban on public gatherings due to Ebola

THE GUARDIAN by Lisa O'Carroll                      Aug. 10, 2015

FREETOWN --Celebrations broke out all over Sierra Leone at the weekend after a ban on public gatherings prompted by the outbreak of Ebola more than a year ago was lifted.

                       People play football on a beach in Freetown. Photograph: Lisa O'Carroll for the Guardian

Sierra Leoneans were allowed to go to sporting events and nightclubs, and stay out in restaurants after 9pm, following the decision by the president, Ernest Bai Koroma, to lift the ban on Friday. Some partied hard into the night, while others played football on the beaches and flocked to makeshift cinemas to watch the Manchester United and Arsenal matches....

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Proposed Ebola biobank would strengthen African science

NATURE by Erika Check Hayden                                                                             Aug. 10, 2015
As West Africa’s Ebola outbreak winds down, an effort is under way to make the best use of the tens of thousands of patient samples collected by public-health agencies fighting the epidemic.  Samples from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa are held by public-health agencies in the region and abroad. Daniel Berehulak/NYT/Redux/Eyevine

On 6–7 August, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a meeting in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to discuss how to establish a biobank for up to 100,000 samples of blood, semen, urine and breast milk from confirmed and suspected Ebola patients, as well as swabs taken from the bodies of people who died from the virus. Held by health agencies in both West Africa and the West, the samples could be valuable in understanding how the current Ebola crisis evolved, preparing for future outbreaks and developing public-health research capacity in a region that depends on outside experts.

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China to build highway for Liberia as part of Ebola recovery aid

REUTERS                                                                                                  Aug. 9, 2015

MONROVIA -- China will build a new coastal highway for Liberia as part of its aid to the country recovering from an Ebola epidemic, Liberia's foreign minister said on Sunday.

He was speaking at a news conference with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi who is visiting Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the countries hardest hit by the epidemic.

Liberia's existing coastal route is vital for commerce as the country rebuilds after a civil war that ended in 2003. It connects the capital to the border with Ivory Coast via the port city of Buchanan, where exports of exports of iron and timber pass through, but much of the road is unpaved.

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Ebola terrified us a year ago. What did it teach us about West Africa?


“If it bleeds, it leads.” That’s the cliché in journalism that describes why a certain kind of tragedy tends to dominate the news cycle. One year ago today, the World Health Organization declared Ebola an “international health emergency.” But today, coverage of West Africa is beginning its drift into media disinterest as Ebola cases wane. International attention has now largely disappeared along with the sight of biohazard suits and ambulances.....

But it would be a mistake to celebrate victory over Ebola and return to the pre-outbreak status quo. The lessons of Ebola reach beyond the preparedness of West African health systems to confront crises, touching on issues that have been critical for the region in recent years: peace, security and how responsive governments are to society’s most vulnerable members. These lessons must be understood before a post-outbreak aid and development agenda is designed....

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Ebola Survivors Face Lingering Pain, Fatigue and Depression

NEW YORK TIMES  by Denis Grady                               Aug. 8, 2015

The Ebola outbreak that started more than a year ago seems to be waning at last. But now, West Africa faces another difficulty: More than 13,000 people survived the virus, and many have lingering health problems, psychological troubles like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and worries about returning to work to feed themselves and what is left of their families.

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