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WHO Director-General Addresses High-Level Meeting on Ebola R&D


From crisis to sustainable development: lessons from the Ebola outbreak - May 10, 2015

. . . three changes will do the most to improve the world’s collective defence against the infectious disease threat.

First, invest in building resilient communities and well-performing health systems that integrate public health and primary health care. Ideally, health systems should aim for universal health coverage, so the poor are not left behind. This requires new thinking and a new approach to health development.

Second, develop the systems, capacities, and financing mechanisms needed to build surge capacity for responding to outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies.

Third, create incentives for R&D for new medical products for diseases that primarily affect the poor. A fair and just world should not let people die for what boils down to market failure and poverty.

These three things also fit well with the coming agenda for sustainable development that seeks to distribute the benefits of economic growth more evenly and respects our planet’s fragile resources.

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Ebola-Free, but Not Resilient - by Judith Rodin and Bernice Dahn - May 10, 2015

. . . A resilient health system combines active surveillance mechanisms, robust health care delivery system and a vigorous response to disease. When the first signs of contagion appear, a system should be able to act quickly to stop it in its tracks — all without compromising its core functions. . . .

. . . Resilient systems share several characteristics. One is awareness, which in the case of health systems means, first and foremost, strong disease surveillance. A second characteristic is the ability to adapt to changing conditions. . . . 

. . . A third characteristic is diversity: the ability to address a broad range of challenges. . . .

. . . resilient systems are integrated: information is shared across different levels of government. . . .

. . . When a resilient system is in place, cities and countries alike are prepared to yield what we call a “resilience dividend” — benefits that are independent of crises. Building trust with the public, enhancing access to quality care, and investing in public health are all wise investments at any time, helping to increase productivity and growth. . . .


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Building and Maintaining Resilience to Address Global Health Challenges -                        (CLICK HERE - EVENT RSVP)

This panel discussion will focus on how key local stakeholders are working to build systems capable of addressing long-term global health issues like NCDs while maintaining resilience to outbreaks like Ebola. In light of the need to develop domestic financing mechanisms to pay for long term health solutions, stakeholders are moving beyond public-private partnerships to a model of country stakeholder engagement that includes and leverages the strengths of all actors. 


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Resources - Energy - Communication - Water - Sanitation

Here we present a list of ideas and resources that might be beneficial for use in disaster response, or for use in areas with inadequate infrastructure . . .



A Box Full of Light Saves Lives

Voltaic Systems - Solar Chargers

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Planetary Boundaries: Guiding Human Development on a Changing Planet


CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet

As Science publishes the updated research, four of nine planetary boundaries have been crossed: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen). Image source: F. Pharand-Deschênes /Globaïa

Planetary Boundaries 2.0 – new and improved

As Science publishes the updated research, four of nine planetary boundaries have been crossed

Four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity, says an international team of 18 researchers in the journal Science (16 January 2015). The four are: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (phosphorus and nitrogen).

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The World's Most Deadly Volcanoes

When Bardarbunga blew its top (Credit: Arctic Images/Alamy)

Image: When Bardarbunga blew its top (Credit: Arctic Images/Alamy) - February 27th 2015 - Jane Palmer

Last August, in southern Iceland, the flanks of the volcano Bardarbunga ripped open and fountains of lava spouted skyward. Molten rock oozed downhill making its way toward the sea. The eruption has now come to an end but the volcano continues to pump gases into the atmosphere.


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Thoughts turn to recovery as Ebola slowly ebbs in West Africa

 REUTERS By Daniel Flynn, James Harding Giahyue and Saliou Samb                              Feb. 27, 2015

 DAKAR/MONROVIA/CONAKRY - In the marble atrium of the Mammy Yoko hotel in Freetown, manager Nuno Neves has spotted something he has not seen since the Ebola virus struck Sierra Leone nine months ago: foreign businessmen.

The Radisson Blu chain opened the four-star hotel in April to cater for investors in one of Africa's fastest-growing economies. A month later, Ebola crossed the border from Guinea and those investors fled....

For months, Sierra Leone was cut off from the world amid panic at the worst recorded outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever, which has killed more than 9,500 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and infected over 23,500.

But with infection rates slowly declining, investors have begun to talk about post-Ebola reconstruction. Neves has noted the return of businessmen not seen since the hotel opened.

"They don't bring their teams. They just come to see what is going on and then they leave," he said, adding that 'business as usual' remains far off. "This will be a year focused on Ebola. First the fight to end Ebola and then reconstruction...."

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Please Don't Let An Earthquake Hit When I'm In The Shower

A bicyclist passes a home damaged in a 2011 earthquake at Bhaktapur, some 7 miles southeast of Kathmandu. Prakash Mathema /AFP/Getty Images

Image: A bicyclist passes a home damaged in a 2011 earthquake at Bhaktapur, some 7 miles southeast of Kathmandu.
Prakash Mathema /AFP/Getty Images - February 25th 2015 - Donatella Lorch

What would you do if you lived in a city where you faced the world's greatest risk of dying in a catastrophic earthquake?

I like to believe that I'm prepared. I have water, blankets, sleeping bags, a tent, dry food, a crow bar, shovel, charcoal and "go-bags" for each family member — hiking knapsacks filled with clothing, documents, rope and flashlights and stored in a one-room shed in my yard.


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Life After Ebola: What It Takes For A Village To Be Resilient

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO INTERVIEW by Laura Starecheski                                     Feb. 20, 2015
BARKEDU,  LIBERIA --If you'd like to get an idea of what resilience is all about, take a lesson from Mamuedeh Kanneh.

She lost her husband to Ebola. But she's stayed strong. She's caring for 13 children, her own and orphans whose parents died of the virus.

Mamuedeh Kanneh was married to Laiye Barwor, the man who brought Ebola to Barkedu, Liberia. He died of the virus. She now cares for her children as well as children who lost their parents to the disease. John W. Poole/NPR

Kanneh lives in Barkedu, a village of about 6,000 in northern Liberia. Ebola took more than 150 lives. In her neighborhood there were many deaths, so people in other parts of Barkedu are scared of the orphans.

Kanneh has a strategy to help these children — and the village overall — get back to normal life. She sends the youngsters on errands so people can get used to seeing them and get over their fear. And the children can start to feel they're part of the community again....

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