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Report by the Director-General to the Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola

 

Statement by Dr. Margaret, Director-General of the World Health Organization to a Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola

WHO PRESS OFFICE, Geneva                                                                                       Jan. 25, 2015

Excerpt:

"The Ebola outbreak points to the need for urgent change in three main areas: to rebuild and strengthen national and international emergency preparedness and response, to address the way new medical products are brought to market, and to strengthen the way WHO operates during emergencies."

Read complete statement.

http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2015/executive-board-ebola/en/

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WHO Board Agrees on Reforms to Fix Ebola Response Mistakes

GENEVA-- The World Health Organization’s board agreed to create a special fund to respond to such outbreaks as Ebola and to set up a global health emergency workforce after the organization acknowledged mis-steps in its response to the epidemic.

 The WHO’s executive board agreed “in principle” at a meeting in Geneva Sunday to a contingency fund, and asked Director General Margaret Chan to develop by May options on its size and sources. Chan should also take immediate steps to establish a public-health reserve workforce that can be promptly deployed in response to health emergencies, according to the resolution adopted by senior health officials from 34 countries.

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Meant to Keep Malaria Out, Mosquito Nets Are Used to Haul Fish In

 

Millions of mosquito nets are given out fight to malaria in Africa, yet many faced with hunger use them as fish nets, creating potential environmental problems. Video by Ben C. Solomon on Publish Date January 24, 2015. Photo by Uriel Sinai for The New York Times.

NEW YORK TIMES   by Jeffery Gettleman                           Jan. 25, 2015

BANGWEULU WETLANDS, Zambi --Across Africa, from the mud flats of Nigeria to the coral reefs off Mozambique, mosquito-net fishing is a growing problem, an unintended consequence of one of the biggest and most celebrated public health campaigns in recent years.

The nets have helped save millions of lives, but scientists worry about the collateral damage: Africa’s fish.

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Anger, mistrust in Guinea villages hinders battle to beat Ebola

REUTERS    by  By Saliou Samb                           Jan. 23, 2015           

CONAKRY --Angry residents are blocking access for health workers to dozens of remote villages in Guinea, in a sign of persistent mistrust that could threaten President Alpha Conde's aim to eradicate Ebola from the country by early March....

Guinea has recorded a sharp fall in infections in recent weeks, fuelling hope that the tide has turned against the epidemic.

But with some people still denying the incurable disease exists, experts say it could prove difficult to trace those who had been in contact with the infected and to change traditional behavior such as burial rituals involving touching the dead. These steps are seen as vital to defeating the disease....

In a sign of the resistance and distrust, medical kits sent by the government to schoolchildren were destroyed by villagers in Ourekaba, southern Guinea. ... locals thought the kits had been sent to contaminate the children.

Two security officials who arrived to investigate reports of a secret Ebola burial were lynched last week by a crowd in Sinkine, in the Forecariah region about 100 km from the capital Conakry, a police source said.

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WHO mulls reforms to repair reputation after bungling Ebola

ASSOCIATED PRESS  by Marian Cheng                                                                       Jan. 25, 2015

GENEVA  — The World Health Organization is debating how to reform itself after botching the response to the Ebola outbreak, a sluggish performance that experts say cost thousands of lives.

On Sunday, WHO's executive board planned to discuss proposals that could radically transform the United Nations health agency in response to sharp criticism over its handling of the West Africa epidemic.

"The Ebola outbreak points to the need for urgent change," said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general. She acknowledged that WHO was too slow to grasp the significance of the Ebola outbreak, which is estimated to have killed more than 8,600 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"The groundswell of dissatisfaction and lack of trust in WHO over Ebola has reached such a crescendo that unless there is fundamental reform, I think we might lose confidence in WHO for a generation," said Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights at Georgetown University.

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Nurse who contracted Ebola released from hospital

THE GUARDIAN   by Lin Jenkins                                     Jan. 23, 2015

LONDON --The British nurse who almost died after contracting Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone has been discharged from hospital after making a full recovery.

Doctors had described her condition as “critical” during the three weeks she received treatment for the deadly virus and her family and friends were preparing for the worst. Cafferkey admited that then she had felt like “giving up”, but was now looking forward to returning to “normal life” and had no plans to go back to Africa.

The 39-year-old nurse was diagnosed with Ebola after returning to Glasgow last month and was admitted to the city’s Gartnavel hospital on December 29 before being transferred the next day to the Royal Free. She had been working with Save the Children at the Ebola treatment centre in Kerry Town before returning to the UK...

Save the Children has launched an investigation into how Cafferkey was infected, but admits it may never establish the exact circumstances.

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Sierra Leone eases blocks on travel, business as Ebola wanes

ASSOCIATED PRESS  by Clarence Roy-Macaulay                                                                  Jan. 23, 2015

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) -- With the Ebola outbreak weakening in West Africa, Sierra Leone eased restrictions on movement and commercial activity Friday even as the president warned that the fight against the deadly disease is not yet over.

The outbreak has sickened more than 21,000 people, nearly half of them in Sierra Leone. But the number of new infections is now falling in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three most affected countries.

President Ernest Bai Koroma announced in a national broadcast that, starting Friday, the country would lift all district quarantines and extend business hours on Saturdays. Koroma said that while people must remain vigilant, easing the restrictions would jump-start the economic recovery. In addition to its human toll, Ebola has hammered the economies of the three most affected West African nations...Sierra Leone plans to reopen schools in March...

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http://news.yahoo.com/sierra-leone-eases-blocks-travel-160805983.html;_ylt=AwrBEiI3ssNUX2IAGH3QtDMD

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Just five Ebola cases left in Liberia, government says

REUTERS                                                                                                  Jan. 23, 2015

MONROVIA-- Liberia, once the epicenter of West Africa's deadly Ebola epidemic, has just five remaining confirmed cases of the disease, a senior health official said on Friday, highlighting the country's success in halting new infections.

...a massive international response -- including the deployment of hundreds of U.S. troops to build treatment centers -- plus a public awareness campaign, contributed to a steep decline in infection rates.

Health workers take the temperature of a boy who came in contact with a woman who died of Ebola virus in the Paynesville neighborhood of Monrovia, Liberia, January 21, 2015.Credit: Reuters/James Giahyue

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Ebola Infections Dropping in West Africa, World Health Organization Says

NEW YORK TIMES by NICK CUMMING-BRUCE                                                                         Jan. 23, 2015

GENEVA — The number of people falling victim to the Ebola virus in West Africa has fallen to the lowest level in months, the World Health Organization said on Friday, but dwindling funds and a looming rainy season threaten to hamper efforts to control the disease.

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Flu & Drug Resistance Are Next Pandemic Threats After Ebola

REUTERS    By Ben Hirschler                                   Jan. 23, 2015

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The worst-ever Ebola epidemic is waning, but after ravaging three West African nations and spreading fear from Dallas to Madrid, it has hammered home the message that the world needs a better detective system for emerging diseases.

Risks posed by pandemic threats such as deadly strains of flu and drug-resistant superbugs have shot up the agenda of global security issues at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos as politicians and scientists grapple with the lessons from an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 8,600 people.

One thing is certain: more epidemics are coming and dense urban living, coupled with modern travel, will accelerate future infectious disease outbreaks.
Read complete story.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/23/flu-drug-resistance_n_6531066.html

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