UNMEER [UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response] @UNMEER #EbolaResponse
UNMEER’s website is aggregating and presenting content from various sources including its own External Situation Reports, press releases, statements and what it titles “developments.” We present a composite below from the week ending 25 October 2014.
UNMEER site: Statements
:: WHO Key messages on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (24 October 2014)
13 pages of “key messages” underscore the complexity of the EVD crisis.
UNMEER External Situation Reports
UNMEER External Situation Reports are issued daily (excepting Saturday) with content organized under these headings:
– Key Political and Economic Developments
– Human Rights
– Outreach and Education
– Resource Mobilisation
– Essential Services
– Upcoming Events
The “Week in Review” will present selected elements of interest from these reports. The full daily report is available as a pdf using the link provided by the report date.
24 October 2014
3. 43 people quarantined for EVD monitoring in western Liberia are reportedly threatening to break out of an isolation center because of a lack of food.
4. Work has commenced on an EVD holding facility at Freetown’s largest prison. With almost 2,000 inmates, EVD could spread quickly among this vulnerable population. With support from UNDP, the correctional facility will refurbish two holding centres – one for women and one for men – that will house new inmates and keep them separate from the general population for 21 days. UNDP also handed over equipment like buckets, soap, blankets and mosquito nets that will help inmates and guards at Freetown’s prison and all 17 prisons in Sierra Leone.
7. Guinea has started paying compensation to the families of health workers who have died of EVD. Eight families have already been paid a USD 10,000 lump sum. The families of 42 victims, including doctors, nurses, drivers and porters, have been identified to receive compensation.
Outreach and Education
18. Reportedly more than half the beds in treatment centers in Monrovia, Liberia, remain empty because of the government’s order that the bodies of all suspected EVD victims be cremated. Cremation violates Liberians’ values and cultural practices leading to the sick often being kept at home and buried in secret, increasing the risk of more infections.
23. Billionaire Paul Allen will contribute at least USD 100 million to help stop EVD.
23 October 2014
Many WHO staff, including Assistant Director General for Health Systems and Innovation,
Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, are volunteering to test experimental EVD vaccines.
6. The WHO reported that meeting the overall EVD crisis response target of isolating 70 per cent of EVD cases by 1 December, and 100 per cent of cases by 1 January, requires effective case identification, isolation and treatment. In terms of case identification, WHO estimates that 28 laboratories are required across the three most affected countries. At present, 12 laboratories are operational (three in Guinea, five in Liberia, and four in Sierra Leone). Up to 20 000 contact tracing staff may also be needed. In regard to case isolation and treatment, the WHO estimates that 4388 beds are required in 50 Ebola treatment units (ETUs) across the three most affected countries. At present, 1126 (25 per cent) are in place. In addition, there remains a gap in the availability of foreign medical teams to manage and staff ETUs – there are firm commitments from teams for 30 of the planned 50 ETUs.
22 October 2014
7. France’s Atomic Energy Commission reported that a new device similar to a simple pregnancy
home-test could allow doctors to diagnose a patient with suspected EVD in under 15 minutes. Trials have validated the technique and prototype kits should be available in affected countries by the end of October for a clinical trial.
9. The European Commission confirmed that under its Humanitarian Aid Regulation medical
evacuations of international workers can be covered up to 100 per cent of their cost, and recalled that other elements such as existing insurance coverage will need to be taken into account to determine the exact percentage on a case by case basis.
21 October 2014
6. A UNICEF survey of 1,400 households across Sierra Leone found that EVD survivors face high
levels of stigma, shame, and discrimination from communities, undermining their ability to rebuild their lives. About 96 per cent of households in the study reported some discriminatory attitudes toward people with suspected or confirmed EVD, and 76 per cent said they would not welcome someone who was infected with EVD back into their community, even if that person has recovered. Children are particularly vulnerable, especially when they or their parents have to be isolated for treatment.
12. The Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, says the agency will be transparent about its handling of the Ebola outbreak, following an internal report that details failures in containing the virus.
Outreach and Education
16. The FAO has opened an online discussion, until 10 November 2014, on EVD and food security and nutrition in West Africa. Comments can be sent via email to FSNemail@example.com or uploaded directly, upon registration to the FSN Forum in West Africa (register here).
18. A rapid assessment survey in Sierra Leone conducted by the FAO found that 47 per cent of farmers have had their work “considerably disrupted” by the EVD outbreak.
19. Médecins Sans Frontières has decided to temporarily suspend its pediatric and maternal medical activities at its Gondama hospital (located near Bo, Sierra Leone), because of the strain of responding to EVD in the country.
20. During the Ebola crisis, securing continuity of access to anti-retroviral drugs and essential HIV prevention interventions is critical to reduce morbidity and mortality of people living with HIV and to prevent new infections. The UNAIDS Inter Agency Task Team is advocating for a minimum HIV service package as part of efforts to restore public health services during this EVD outbreak.
20 October 2014
Key Political and Economic Developments
2. Liberia’s President, Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has made an impassioned plea for all nations to
commit to the fight against Ebola ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers today. She said a
generation of Africans were at risk of “being lost to economic catastrophe” because of the epidemic, warning that the “time for talking or theorising is over”.
4. Food prices have risen by an average of 24 per cent across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone
forcing some families to reduce their intake to one meal a day. The FAO and WFP said that
decisions by these three governments to quarantine districts and restrict movements to contain the spread of EVD have also impacted markets and reduced food security.
9. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will work in collaboration with key partners in the affected
countries, including the WHO, in order to implement fast-tracked clinical trials for some of the new treatments for Ebola at existing treatment sites. Experimental treatments are currently being selected and trial designs are being developed to ensure that disruption to patient care is minimal, that medical and research ethics are respected, and that sound scientific data is produced. MSF does not usually engage in research and trials for drug development, but faced with this massive outbreak, it is taking exceptional measures.
33. The WFP has begun food distribution on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone, to 265,000 people. This is the biggest one-off food distribution in the country since the start of the EVD outbreak.
34. UNICEF signed a project cooperation agreement valued at over USD 1 million with Save the
Children for the provision of health, nutrition and WASH interventions Liberia.
35. The Ministry of Agriculture in Guinea, FAO and the WFP have initiated a rapid assessment of the impact of the EVD outbreak on agriculture and food security.
19 October 2014
Summary of Key Gaps and Needs
13. Safe and dignified burials are also of critical importance as they are responsible for a very significant number of new infections. We are aiming at 70 per cent of safe burials by 1 December. Recruiting, training and remunerating safe burial teams is vital, as well as community outreach and education. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has observed in Liberia that It is becoming increasingly apparent that people are not going to ETCs due to the fear of cremation.
UNMEER site: Press Releases
:: WFP And World Bank Scale Up Government Logistical Capacity In Response To Ebola (21 October 2014)
UNMEER site: Developments
:: Mali confirms its first case of Ebola
24 October 2014 – Mali’s Ministry of Health has confirmed the country’s first case of Ebola virus disease. The Ministry received positive laboratory results, from PCR testing, on Thursday and informed WHO immediately. In line with standard procedures, samples are being sent to a WHO-approved laboratory for further testing and diagnostic work.
:: In town hall, Ban cites UN efforts against Ebola threat
24 October 2014 – New York The United Nations is moving rapidly to deploy resources and personnel to stem the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa and to ensure that UN staffers are protected, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday in a town hall meeting attended by hundreds of UN staffers here and, by video, around the world.
:: Why I am volunteering to test the Ebola vaccine
21 October 2014 – Ebola is not a West African problem, it is a problem for mankind. To that end I strongly feel that the world should stand in solidarity with West Africa and be part of the development and testing of Ebola vaccines.
:: In Sierra Leone, getting back to school – on the airwaves
21 October 2014 – Freetown, Sierra Leone With schools closed throughout the country as a result of the Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leone is bringing the classroom into students’ homes through the use of educational radio broadcasts.
:: UN Women mourns loss of Sierra Leone colleague to Ebola
20 October 2014 – New York UN Women is deeply saddened by the passing away of our colleague Mr. Edmond Bangura-Sesay on Saturday, 18 October, after testing positive for the Ebola virus. Mr. Bangura-Sesay served with great dedication since 2005 as the driver for the UN Women Office in Sierra Leone.
:: Pregnant in the shadow of Ebola: Deteriorating health systems endanger women
20 October 2014 – MONROVIA, Liberia Thirty-six year old Comfort Fayiah, in Monrovia, Liberia, never imagined her pregnancy would end the way it did – with her giving birth on the side of the road, in a heavy downpour, to twins.