Ebola. Pandemic flu. And now the Zika virus. These emergencies all test the mettle of the world’s public health officials.
Those who would face such a challenge must have some sense of what to do.
“We need to be prepared, and quite frankly, the country is underprepared,” said U.S. Rep Susan Brooks, who Wednesday convened a group of about 40 public health workers and other would-be first responders to run through a training exercise at the Fishers Public Library.
Dr. W. Craig Vanderwagen, former assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, led the thought experiment into how to handle a blossoming smallpox outbreak that starts in Europe and rapidly spreads overseas.
With 33 countries in the Americas now identified as carrying the Zika virus, the need for a solution to the epidemic is great. But with limited funds in the regions where it’s spreading the fastest, the need for a cost-effective one is even greater.
05 APRIL 2016 -WHO and partners need US$ 2.2 billion to provide lifesaving health services to more than 79 million people in more than 30 countries facing protracted emergencies this year, according to WHO’s Humanitarian Response Plans 2016 launched today.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is to announce Wednesday it will transfer leftover money from the largely successful fight against Ebola to combat the growing threat of the Zika virus, congressional officials say.
Roughly 75 percent of the $600 million or so would be devoted to the Centers for Disease Control, which is focused on research and development of anti-Zika vaccines, treating those infected with the virus and combating the mosquitoes that spread it. The rest would go to foreign aid accounts to fight the virus overseas.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter before the White House announcement.
nytimes.com - by The Editorial Board - April 4, 2016
Some world leaders, especially in developing countries like India, have long said it’s hard to reduce the emissions that are warming the planet because they need to use relatively inexpensive — but highly carbon-intensive — fuels like coal to keep energy affordable. That argument is losing its salience as the cost of renewable energy sources like wind and solar continues to fall.
Image: A general view on the chimneys of the Hsieh-ho Power Plant in Keelung, northern Taiwan, 17 November 2015. EPA/DAVID CHANG
washingtonpost.com - March 16, 2016 - Chris Mooney
Roughly a year ago, the International Energy Agency announced a wonky yet nonetheless significant development. Looking at data for the year 2014, the agency found that although the global economy grew — by 3.4 percent that year — greenhouse gas emissions from the use of energy (their largest source) had not. They had stalled at about 32.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, just as in 2013.
The agency called this a “decoupling” of growth from carbon dioxide emissions, and noted that it was the “the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn.” For decades prior to 2014, economic growth had pretty much always meant more pollution of the atmosphere, and a worsening climate problem.
The Obama administration said Tuesday it will allow foreign nationals from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa to stay in the U.S. for another six months, even though global health officials said the outbreak that killed 11,000 people abroad is officially over.
Preventing Diseases From Crossing Borders in West Africa Post-Ebola:
By Mirabelle Enaka Kima
When the Ebola outbreak was confirmed in Guinea two years ago, one of the reasons the virus spread so quickly was due to the high amount of people traffic across the borders of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. To mitigate the introduction of new Ebola cases or other diseases by cross border travellers, the Red Cross has introduced a community event-based surveillance system. It is successful, in large part, due to the engagement of community members.
Settled near the Kolantin River, a Red Cross health screening post is now part of the picturesque landscape at the popular Binticabaya border crossing between Guinea and Sierra Leone. Outfitted with a hand washing kit, a thermometer, and a register, volunteers at the screening post are ready to monitor people crossing the river between the two countries.
"I cross twice a week to visit my wife who lives in a nearby village in Sierra Leone," says one soldier as he stops to wash his hands before going for his temperature check.