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A message to the Content Management working group

We want to thank you all once again for the wonderful contributions you are making to the Resilience Systems.

We are going to take this opportunity to share a few posting highlights, and let you know that in the near future we intend to establish a link to our instruction sets within the Content Management group.

Here are a few posting highlights:

When posting older time-sensitive articles, please remember to adjust the publication date under “Authoring information” / “Authored on”. Doing so will ensure that our material is posted in chronological order according to the article publication dates. Of course if the article is not time-sensitive and is important or just as applicable today as it was on the date of publication, please feel free to use a current publication date. Ideally we would like to have current information towards the top of the Home page.

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Ebola halts HIV progress in Sierra Leone, says UN

Thomson Reuters Foundation by Misha Hussain                                                        Feb.27, 2015

 DAKAR -- The West African Ebola outbreak has halted progress in tackling HIV in Sierra Leone, shutting health clinics and scaring patients from being tested or seeking treatment, the United Nations has said.

In an internal document seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) raised concerns that HIV prevalence and drug resistance in the country could increase as a result.

"Hospitals have closed down because they have been overrun by Ebola patients and non-Ebola patients are too afraid to go to them for fear of catching the virus," said Hakan Bjorkman, who manages UNDP's AIDS programme.

"HIV prevention activities in schools and awareness raising for the general population has been suspended due to the restriction of movement, the closure of all education institutions and the overall ban on public gathering."

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Texas Ebola quarantine success depended on help with daily needs: CDC

REUTERS      by Lisa Rapaport                                                                                Feb. 19, 2015

Effectively monitoring people exposed to Ebola requires more than just checking symptoms. A quarantine plan also needs to help people keep up with work and school and pay for essentials like housing and food, a U.S. report concludes.

To understand the challenges encountered by ordinary citizens exposed to Ebola, a team led by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed concerns raised by people monitored as part of an Ebola cluster in Dallas last year.

If yet-to-be-identified contacts notice that those who come forward as Ebola contacts are shunned from society and quarantined in their homes, with no way to provide for themselves and their families, they will be less likely to come forward," said lead study author Dr. Charnetta Smith, a CDC epidemic intelligence service officer.

Read complete story.


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Sierra Leone: Increasing Community Engagement for Ebola On-Air


Zainab Akiwumi in the radio studio of Radio Maria talking about the need to suspend cultural and traditional practices in times of Ebola, Sierra Leone.  WHO/S. Saporito

WHO’s social mobilization team is using radio to reach communities with information about how to prevent the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone. - February 2015

Reaching communities not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally as well

“My work as a social mobilizer is to pass on key messages to convince people to stop the cultural and traditional practices that are fuelling the spread of Ebola,” says Zainab Akiwumi, who leads the WHO social mobilization team in Sierra Leone.

One way to convey Ebola messages is using local radio stations to reach out to the community. “On radio I tell the listeners, you who are listening to me now, take this message and go outside to tell those who did not hear me what I said, as a way to spread it on,” she continues.

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MSF says lack of public health messages on Ebola "big mistake"

THOMPSON REUTERS By Misha Hussain                   Feb. 4, 2015

CONAKRY -- Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) made the "big mistake" of focusing too much on treatment early on in the Ebola epidemic rather than speaking to people about tackling the disease, a senior member of the medical charity said.

 ...With 20 years of experience of treating Ebola, MSF deployed hundreds to the Ebola "hot zones" and was quick to isolate patients and trace their contacts.

However, Claudia Evers, MSF's Ebola emergency coordinator in Guinea, said: "MSF made a big mistake. We advocated for an increase in beds for too long, and everyone listened to MSF."

"Instead of asking for more beds we should have asked for more sensitisation activities," Evers told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview. Evers said the next stage of the Ebola response required a new approach if the disease was to be brought under control, centred on the promotion of good hygiene practices.

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Good Fences, Good Neighbors

EBOLA WEEKLY  by   Cinnatus Dumbaya                                                          Feb. 2, 2015

The Mano River Union, which works across the Ebola-affected countries, held a meeting this weekend designed to tackle the challenges of halting the spread of disease at West Africa's porous land borders. Cinnatus Dumbaya spoke to the Reverend Linda Koroma, deputy secretary general of the Mano River Union Secretariat in Freetown, to find out more.

Excerpt from interview:
...."We want to ensure that our border communities are provided with health facilities they can access in the event of another epidemic or any other kind of disease. And so the idea the technical people came up with is to allow people to cross over borders easily in order to access fully equipped health centers that would be built in each of the border towns...."
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Ebola - is culture the real killer?

IRIN  Humanitarian News and Analysis  by Obinna Anyadike                                                            Jan. 29, 2015

NAIROBI, Kenya --Why do people persist with risky funeral rites, eat Ebola-harbouring bushmeat, and occasionally attack the very health workers sent to help, the news reports leave us wondering. What is the value of “traditional beliefs” when they are harmful: why can’t people just act more rationally?

A pregnant women suspected of having Ebola is taken away to an ETU in Freetown, Sierra Leone

The simple answer is; ask the communities. The growing number of researchers that do, find that people are acting as responsibly as they can in desperate circumstances. The lack of a properly functioning Ebola response and weak healthcare services has forced communities into rough and ready self-reliance. Faced with hotlines going unanswered, overcrowded Ebola Treatment Units (ETU), militarized quarantine areas, communities are actually looking for more information, not less.

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Estimating Food Consumption and Poverty Indices with Mobile Phone Data

submitted by George Hurlburt - November 22, 2014
Adeline Decuyper, Alex Rutherford, Amit Wadhwa, Jean-Martin Bauer, Gautier Krings, Thoralf Gutierrez, Vincent D. Blondel, Miguel A. Luengo-Oroz
arXiv:1412.2595 [cs.CY]

Recent studies have shown the value of mobile phone data to tackle problems related to economic development and humanitarian action. In this research, we assess the suitability of indicators derived from mobile phone data as a proxy for food security indicators. We compare the measures extracted from call detail records and airtime credit purchases to the results of a nationwide household survey conducted at the same time. Results show high correlations (> .8) between mobile phone data derived indicators and several relevant food security variables such as expenditure on food or vegetable consumption. This correspondence suggests that, in the future, proxies derived from mobile phone data could be used to provide valuable up-to-date operational information on food security throughout low and middle income countries.

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Estimating Food Consumption and Poverty Indices with Mobile Phone Data

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How Bad Data Fed the Ebola Epidemic


Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times - By RACHEL GLENNERSTER, HERBERT M’CLEOD and TAVNEET SURI - January 30, 2015

. . . Valid, credible and timely data is essential during a global crisis. Without reliable data, efforts to assist affected people and to rebuild damaged communities can be misdirected and inefficient. . .

The West African Ebola outbreak first hit Sierra Leone in May 2014, followed by an explosion of cases in the capital Freetown in the autumn. . .

The early days of the crisis were characterized by a sense of immense fear, anxiety and alarm, regionally and globally. .

Misleading reports, speculation and poor projections from international agencies, government ministries and the media about the Ebola outbreak exacerbated the problem.


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Guinea's Grand Imam Pulls No Punches In His Ebola Message

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO by Ofeiba Quist-Arcton                                                      Jan. 26, 2015

"Ebola — you have to do more," roars the barrel-bellied cleric El Hadj Mamadou Saliou Camara, with his white beard and mustache, in a snow-white boubou, the traditional flowing gown of West Africa.


Guinea's Grand Imam, El Hadj Mamadou Saliou Camara, tells his fellow clerics: "If there is any doubt at all, then no one must touch the body."Kevin Leahy /NPR

That's the message he delivered over the weekend to hundreds of his fellow clerics, who gathered in Kindia, the third largest city in Guinea and a major crossroads. Many of the residents still blame Westerners for bringing the virus to their country.

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