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Ebola: UN says health workers in Sierra Leone to receive hazard pay using mobile money

UNITED NATIONS NEWS CENTRE                                                                                            Dec. 16, 2014
Response workers battling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will receive “hazard pay” for the first time in Sierra Leone using mobile money because “unless there is a certain element of incentives, or danger pay, it’s very difficult to attract and retain people,” the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced today.


Ambulance depot near an emergency response centre, in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Ambulances and drivers have to be disinfected after each trip carrying suspected Ebola cases. UN Photo/Martine Perret

“One of the most difficult things about tackling the Ebola crisis is in the area of human resources,” said Sudipto Mukerjee, UNDP’s Country Director for Sierra Leone. “You can construct a treatment centre in a couple of months. You can construct a community care centre in two to three weeks. But getting trained people to come and run them has been a major challenge.”

The transition from direct cash to an electronic solution will help to improve overall efficiency, timeliness and security of payments for Ebola response workers, Mr. Mukerjee said.

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Here’s How Much the Next Ebola Will Cost Us

Why saving the environment can help prevent it

TIME MAGAZINE     by Alexandra Sifferlin                                                                         Dec. 16, 2014

The global community cannot withstand another Ebola outbreak: The World Bank estimates the two-year financial burden price tag of the current epidemic at $32.6 billion. Unfortunately, the virus has revealed gaping holes in our preparedness for major infectious disease epidemics. Because of these, plus the urbanization of rural communities and globalization of travel and trade, more of these epidemics are expected.

In a new report from the EcoHealth Alliance published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), experts estimate that the world will see about five new emerging infectious diseases each year and that we need new prevention strategies to cut economic losses.

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Ebola: UN forum urges debt relief for hard-hit countries, as search for faster diagnostics gets underway

UNITED NATONS NEWS CENTRE                                                                                      Dec. 15, 2014
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) today recommended that creditors should seriously consider debt cancellation for the countries worst-hit by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and also projected that even if those most affected were to register zero economic growth, the impact on Africa as a continent would be minimal.

With the cost of transport and goods going up and sales going down since the Ebola outbreak, vendors in Waterside Market, Monrovia, Liberia, are making no profit to support their families. Photo: UNDP/Morgana Wingard

“Educational systems, rising social stigma, unemployment, and decreased food security are some of the big issues that Ebola-affected countries must deal with,” according to study on the Socio-Economic Impacts of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on Africa released today by the Addis-Ababa based UN regional forum.

In other news, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) announced that nine companies have made 19 submissions of proposed diagnostic tests for Ebola.

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Congress releases FY15 Omnibus

COMPILED BY THE GLOBAL RESILIENCE SYSTEM                                                          Dec. 14, 2014

Congressional Actions and The Obama Administration requests for emergency funding for Ebola.

Contained in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal year 2015 passed by the Senate Sunday and earlier by the House.

(Five links, scroll down.)

Tables showing actual approved appropriations, Compiled by Kaiser Foundation
http://kff.org/policy-tracker/congress-releases-fy15-omnibus/

FY15 CROmnibus - PT Entry (12-9-14) Table 2 - 80p

      Note: Congressional ddid not approve the Administration's  requested $1.5 million contigency fund.

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Ebola's Lasting Impact On The U.S. Health Care System

Analysis:

HUFFINGTON POST         Dec. 12, 2014
One of the biggest humanitarian tragedies in 2014 has been the Ebola epidemic, which to date has infected 17,942 people and killed 6,388. The epidemic continues in West Africa, and there is no doubt it will impact the governments, economies and people of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea for years to come. But while Ebola has affected the U.S. in a much smaller way, the handful of cases that arrived here may also have an enduring impact on the U.S. health care system.

In this Oct. 24, 2014, file photo, members of the Department of Defense's Ebola Military Medical Support Team use checklists during training at San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

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UNICEF Expanding Fight Against Ebola

VOICE OF AMERICA  Lisa Schlein                                                                                            Dec. 12, 2014

GENEVA—The U.N. Children’s Fund is appealing for an additional $300 million to expand its fight against Ebola in the three heavily affected West African countries over the next six months. UNICEF said gaining the confidence of community members, increasing their awareness and knowledge of modes of transmission and prevention are key to winning the battle against this deadly disease.

Women in the village of Boukoloma, in Guinea’s southeastern forest region, listen to messages about Ebola prevention. (Photo courtesy of Christophe Boulierac / UNICEF)

UNICEF officials said money from the appeal would be used to tackle two major drivers of Ebola transmission: lack of early isolation of patients and unsafe burials.  Both of these issues are wound up with traditional cultural practices, which often have stymied aid agencies’ efforts to prevent people from getting infected with the disease and spreading it to others. 

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Ebola’s Spread in Sierra Leone Puts Diamond Mines at Risk

More blows to Sierra Leone economy

BLOOMBERG by Thomas Biesheuvel and Makiko Kitamura                                                             Dec. 12, 2014

As Ebola rages in Sierra Leone, the outbreak has claimed almost 2,000 lives and contributed to the collapse of the iron ore industry. Now the virus is hitting the diamond mines.

At the latest hotspot, in the gem-rich Kono district along the Guinea border, two workers at Octea Ltd.’s Koidu mine, Sierra Leone’s largest, were infected last week and are being treated. The outbreak may mean that production at the mine will miss its annual target -- measured in carats -- by as much as 20 percent, Chief Executive Officer Brett Richards said.

“Everyone thought this was under control and we were seeing the top of the curve,” Richards said in a phone interview yesterday. “It completely went out of control a couple of weeks ago. We may be uncovering a bit of an iceberg here.”

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The Path to Zero Ebola Cases

Op-ed

NEW YORK TIMES by Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group      Dec. 11, 2014                                              

MONROVIA, Liberia — In my career as a medical doctor and global health policy maker, I have been in the middle of monumental struggles, including fights to make treatment accessible in the developing world for those living with H.I.V./AIDS as well as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. But the Ebola epidemic is the worst I’ve ever seen...

Members of District 13 ambulance service disinfect a room in a village north of Monrovia, Liberia. Credit Jerome Delay/Associated Press

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Ebola funding in 'cromnibus' falls just short of Obama request

Senate and House lawmakers have agreed to appropriate $5.4 billion on Ebola treatment and prevention measures in the U.S. and West Africa.

The funding falls just short of the funding request issued by the president last month...

Nearly $2.5 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, which plans to bolster the readiness of U.S. hospitals, speed up the development of vaccines and help monitor airline travelers from Ebola-stricken countries.

Another $2 billion would go to the U.S. Agency for International Development to “scale up” the global response. The State and Defense departments would each receive just over $100 million.

The House Rules Committee meets today  to comb through the bill, dubbed the “cromnibus,” before it goes to the House floor.

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World Bank announces $160m for Ebola-hit Sierra Leone

AFP                                                                                                                     Dec. 3, 2014

FREETOWN --World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim announced a $160 million two-year economic recovery plan on Wednesday to help impoverished Sierra Leone battle the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

Kim said after a closed-door meeting with President Ernest Bai Koroma in Freetown the cash would go towards regional operations centres and emergency response teams in the hard-hit west and north of the country.

The aid would also focus on the country's floundering farming sector and rural job creation, he told reporters...

Kim flew to Conakry later on Wednesday, where he was expected to meet government officials and health experts.
Read complete story
http://www.straitstimes.com/news/world/more-world-stories/story/world-bank-announces-200-million-ebola-hit-sierra-leone-20141204

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