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As Ebola Ebbs in Africa, Focus Turns From Death to Life

NEW YORK TIMES  by Normitsu Onishi                                                                Feb. 1, 2015

MONROVIA, Liberia — Life is edging back to normal after the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history....

FEAR FADING Beachgoers in Monrovia, Liberia, recently ravaged by Ebola. As fear of the virus ebbs, Liberians are slipping back into their daily rhythm. John Moore/Getty Images

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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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Global Health Security: The Next Five Years - Andrew C. Weber - Christine Parthemore

The next five years will see crucial changes in the global health security landscape, profoundly shaped by two key events in 2014:

The Ebola response in West Africa, and the successful first year of the Global Health Security Agenda, an initiative of dozens of countries and non-governmental organizations to make tangible commitments for preventing, rapidly detecting, and effectively responding to infectious disease threats.(1) 

Both events brought to light signs of measurable progress, and profound gaps that must be prioritized in the years ahead. Pressing needs include expanding emergency operations center capacity, better leveraging technological innovation, and closing the gap between the health and security communities.


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Do Ebola educators make a difference?

THE GUARDIAN by                        Jan. 29. 2015

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- The initial Ebola case in Tambakha [a remote chiefdom near the Guinea border] coincided with the proper training of the first set of Ebola educators. They were deployed in mid-October to educate local people on the prevention and control of Ebola and to help monitor the advent of newcomers into their communities, possible carriers.


Health workers conduct a campaign raising awareness of the Ebola virus in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photograph: Tanya Bindra/EPA

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An experimental Ebola vaccine looks promising in a human trial

Vaccine  was made by introducing an Ebola gene in a chimpanzee cold virus

THE VERGE    by Arielle Duhaime-Ross                                                             Jan. 28, 2015

An Ebola vaccine produced using a chimpanzee common cold virus appears to be safe to use on humans, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Three different doses of vaccine were tested on healthy humans in the UK, and it was well-tolerated; it triggered high levels of antibody formation without also triggering serious side effects. But until the vaccine is tested in an area where an Ebola risk actually exists, it’s efficacy against the disease will remain a mystery.

Read complete story.

A Monovalent Chimpanzee Adenovirus Ebola Vaccine — Preliminary Report

 New England Journal of Medicine

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African Union vows Ebola fund as Oxfam calls for 'Marshall Plan'

AFP                                                                                                             Jan. 28, 2015
Addis Ababa - The African Union plans to launch an Ebola fund and disease control centre, officials said Wednesday, as aid agency Oxfam warned leaders needed to keep their promises to boost healthcare systems on the continent.

 Oxfam called for a "massive post-Ebola Marshall Plan", referring to the United States aid package to rebuild Europe after World War II....

AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko on Wednesday said an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention would be set up by mid-2015.

"It is a reality, it is going to happen," Kaloko said, with the first phase concentrating on setting up "an early warning system" for the detection of epidemics. "We should be ready the next time. We shouldn't be caught unprepared."

However, its exact location remains undecided.

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Lessons from Ebola: Toward a Post-2015 Strategy for Pandemic Response

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

This event has concluded. View the replay above. - Date: January 27th 2015 - Location: Georgetown University & Online Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET (21:00 - 22:00 GMT)

Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, will deliver Georgetown’s inaugural Global Futures lecture.

The lecture, “Lessons from Ebola: A post-2015 strategy for pandemic response,” will kick off a semester-long conversation about the “Global Future of Development” at Georgetown as part of the university’s new Global Futures Initiative.

His talk on Jan. 27 will connect ongoing efforts to stop the spread of infection in West Africa with longer-term efforts to improve public health systems that support economic and social development in countries vulnerable to future pandemics.

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After Ebola, World Bank Chief Proposes Global Insurance Program For Future Outbreaks


World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim is proposing emerging nations, developed countries and global aid organizations participate in a kind of insurance system to help pay for health crises like West Africa's Ebola outbreak. “We need to prepare for future pandemics that could become far more deadly and infectious than we we have seen so far with Ebola,” Kim told an audience at Georgetown University on Tuesday. “We must learn the lessons from the Ebola outbreak because there is no doubt we will be faced with other pandemics in the years to come.”

 ...according to Kim, the recent outbreak could be just the beginning. And world leaders need a plan.  

He said World Bank officials informally discussed the possibility of a “pandemic response facility” with the World Health Organization, United Nations and other international actors last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“This could work like insurance policies that people understand, like fire insurance,” Kim said. “The more that you are prepared for a fire, such as having several smoke detectors in your home, the lower the premium you pay.”

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Post-Ebola plan needed to avert 'double disaster' in West Africa: Oxfam

REUTERS   by Magdalena Mis                                                                             Jan. 26, 2015

LONDON -- The three West African countries worst hit by Ebola risk a "double disaster" unless a multi-million dollar plan is put in place to help their economies recover, Oxfam said on Tuesday.

In Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone people were struggling to make ends meet having seen their incomes plummet, the aid agency said.

"The world was late in waking up to the Ebola crisis, there can be no excuses for not helping to put these economies and lives back together," Mark Goldring, Oxfam's chief executive, said during a visit to Liberia.

He said a post-Ebola "Marshall Plan" should address three areas of urgent need: cash for families affected by the crisis, investment in jobs and support for basic services.

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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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