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The fight to save the last Ebola-free district in Sierra Leone

THE WASHINGTON POST                               OCT. 10, 2014

... The last region in Sierra Leone untouched by Ebola sits in the rugged, mountainous north, in a place called the Koinadugu district. It is a poor place, dependent on small farms and gold mines, the largest of the country’s 14 districts by land size and home to 265,000 residents. The district borders Guinea, where the current Ebola outbreak began and first spilled over into Sierra Leone. Koinadugu is surrounded by districts dealing with hundreds of Ebola cases.

But Koinadugu has kept the virus at bay.

Momoh Konte, shown at his office in Freetown,  returned to Sierra Leone from Washington to help his home district fight against Ebola. (Photo by Tanya Bindra for The Washington Post)

It is a remarkable feat, a source of pride for district residents, a source of hope for the entire struggling nation, and a curiosity to epidemiologists tracking the worst Ebola outbreak in history...

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CDC Develops Ebola Modeling Tool While WHO Trains Health Workers

HOMELAND SECURITY TODAY               Oct. 9, 2014

 By Kylie Bull, Managing Editor

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a dynamic modeling tool called Ebola Response that allows for estimations of projected cases over time in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

 The Ebola Response modeling tool can construct scenarios to illustrate how control and prevention interventions can slow and eventually stop the Ebola epidemic. Importantly, it can help public health and other planners make more informed decisions about emergency response resources to help bring the outbreak under control. The new tool allows input of data reflective of the current situation on the ground in affected countries and communities.

 The Ebola Response modeling tool is intended to help local governments and international responders generate short-term estimates of the Ebola situations in countries, districts and villages. The tool, in the form of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, is to be made freely available online.

Meanwhile, in Liberia, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established a new training program for health workers on Ebola care.

 Read full story

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Mobile Technology Key to Containing Ebola in West Africa

VOICE OF AMERICA 

BY Kim Lewis                                                               October 09, 2014

Description of the use of contract tracing and a mobile data collection and messaging software tool that expedites vital information to people in Africa and other regions of the world, in crisis situations.

 

   Workers inside a call center, where people can phone to state their concerns about the Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014

See Full Story

http://www.voanews.com/content/ebola-mobile-technology-contacts-tracing-magpi/2477835.html

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Dallas Hospital Alters Account, Raising Questions on Ebola Case

NEW YORK TIMES          Oct. 3, 2014

DALLAS TEX.      

On Thursday, the hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, released a statement essentially blaming a flaw in its electronic health records system for its decision to send the patient — Thomas E. Duncan, a Liberian national visiting his girlfriend and relatives in the United States — home the first time he visited its emergency room, Sept. 25. It said there were separate “workflows” for doctors and nurses in the records so the doctors did not receive the information that he had come from Africa.

But on Friday evening, the hospital effectively retracted that portion of its statement, saying that “there was no flaw” in its electronic health records system. The hospital said “the patient’s travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record (E.H.R.), including within the physician’s workflow.”

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Are Hospitals Prepared for Ebola?

cnn.com - October 1, 2014

CNN's Jake Tapper speaks to Gavin Macgregor-Skinner and Jeffery Stern. With the first Ebola diagnosis in the U.S., is the country prepared to handle a potential outbreak?

http://thelead.blogs.cnn.com/2014/10/01/only-four-u-s-hospitals-prepared-for-outbreak/

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Why I'll risk my life for Ebola patients

Hundreds of foreign aid workers are in West Africa treating people with Ebola. One of them is Cokie van der Velde who has just flown from the UK to Liberia. She explains why she has left the safety of her home to face the deadly virus.

I was first in Liberia five weeks ago and I believe the situation is now much worse. Back then, our treatment centres had already run out of room and we were starting to put people in corridors.

In the centre, people groan and cry out - the smell of blood, diarrhoea and vomit is awful - unfortunately there is also a very pervading smell of dead bodies.

I can only leave it to your imagination to understand what a pile of bodies smells like after a week in very hot, moist surroundings - it makes you feel sick quite a lot of the time.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29245149

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MSF chief: World losing battle with Ebola now

 

rt.com - Sep 22, 2014

While the world is preoccupied with Islamic State or political games around Ukraine, there’s another threat emerging from the West Africa - where people are dying by hundreds, reaped by the deadliest Ebola epidemic to be ever known to mankind. Efforts to contain it end in a failure, and the vaccine is nonexistent yet. Are we seeing another pandemic slowly growing up to strike at mankind? What should be done to stop it? What does it mean to be a doctor in a place where death reigns? We try to find out this together with the head of the Médecins Sans Frontières - Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Joanne Liu is on Sophie&Co today.

http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/189516-west-africa-ebola-threat/

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The Liberian Church Stopping Ebola With Gospel and Chlorine

 Dr. Mosoka Fallah, an epidemiologist and immunologist, speaks with residents during a neighborhood Ebola training session in Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 30, 2014. Daniel Berehulak—The New York Times/Redux Aryn Baker - Sept. 22, 2014 - time.com

The Free Pentecostal Global Mission Church in the Chickensoup Factory district of Monrovia uses the pulpit to teach about the deadly virus, one sermon at a time

“Lord,” shouts the Reverend Joseph T.S. Menjor into a microphone. “We are tired of this situation. We are calling on you to cast this abomination from our country. Jesus, we want our land to be free of Ebola. Cast out this disease!”

The pastor is leading his people in prayer, but it is not a moment of quiet reflection. No, his congregation is on its feet, swaying to a gospel hymn, eyes closed and hands raised in supplication. At Menjor’s call, the 600 or so congregants of the Free Pentecostal Global Mission Church in the Chickensoup Factory district of Monrovia, Liberia chant a chorus of amens and launch into a cacophony of individual prayers, symbolically casting the evil of Ebola to the ground with repeated downward thrusts of their hands.

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U.S. Military Arrives in Liberia, Slow Start

Wall Street Journal     Sept. 28, 2014 8:10 PM

By Drew Hinshaw in Robertsville, Liberia, and Betsy McKay in Atlanta

 

The American military effort against history's deadliest Ebola outbreak is taking shape in West Africa, but concerns are mounting that the pace isn't fast enough to check a virus that is spreading at a terrifying clip.

On Saturday, a handful of troops from the Navy's 133rd Mobile Construction Battalion led a bulldozer through thigh-high grass outside Liberia's main airport, bottles of hand sanitizer dangling from their belt loops.

They had been digging a parking lot in the East African nation of Djibouti this month when they received a call to build the first of a dozen or more tent hospitals the U.S intends to construct in this region. The soldiers started by giving the land a downward slope for water runoff—"to keep out any unwanted reptiles," said Petty Officer Second Class Justin Holsinger.

While this team levels the earth, superiors hash out the still-uncertain details of the American intervention here.

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SIERRA LEONE QUARANTINES A MILLON PEOPLE

 

Restrictions affect more than a third of the country’s population, as world leaders meet at UN to discuss the Ebola outbreak

The Guardian, Thursday 25 September 2014

Sierra Leone’s government has quarantined more than a million people in an attempt to bring an end to the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Areas in the east of the country on the border of Guinea have been under quarantine for months but travel is now restricted in three more areas where an estimated 1.5 million people live. Nearly a third of the country’s population across 14 districts is now under curfew.

...

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