Ebola/EVD: Additional Coverage [to 24 January 2015]

Ebola/EVD: Additional Coverage [to 24 January 2015]

UNMEER [UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response] @UNMEER #EbolaResponse

Editor’s Note: UNMEER’s website is aggregating and presenting content from various sources including its own External Situation Reports, press releases, statements and other formats.
We present a composite below from the week ending 24 January 2015. We also note that 1) a regular information category in these reports – human rights – has apparently eliminated as it no longer appears in any of the continuing updates, and 2) the content level of these reports continues, in our view, to trend less informative and less coherent. We will review continuing coverage of this material over the next few weeks.

UNMEER External Situation Reports
UNMEER External Situation Reports are issued daily (excepting Saturday) with content organized under these headings:
– Highlights
– Key Political and Economic Developments
– Human Rights
– Response Efforts and Health
– Logistics
– Outreach and Education
– Resource Mobilisation
– Essential Services
– Upcoming Events
The “Week in Review” will present highly-selected elements of interest from these reports. The full daily report is available as a pdf using the link provided by the report date.

:: 23 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. In Davos, Switzerland, a panel discussion on ‘Confronting the Challenge of Catastrophic Outbreaks: What critical lessons can be learned from the 2014 Ebola outbreak to prepare us for the future?’ was held on 22 January. Moderating the talks, Peter Piot, the Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, characterized the EVD outbreak in West Africa as a black swan event. The panel which included President Alpha Condé of Guinea and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan underscored the need to guard against complacency and donor fatigue, until we get to zero transmission as well as build resilient public health care systems and infrastructure to better cope with future outbreaks and endemic diseases.
Outreach and Education
10. Community resistance towards safe burials and general suspicion of burial teams continues in many parts of the Liberia. UNMEER and partners are engaging more with local communities to enhance awareness in the Phase II national response efforts. In this regard, UNMEER along with county authorities plan to follow up on some recent burials that took place in Flowin, Garbusi and Boapea towns in Nimba County.
Resource Mobilisation
7. The OCHA Ebola Virus Outbreak Overview of Needs and Requirements, now totaling USD 1.5 billion, has been funded for USD 1.18 billion, which is around 79% of the total ask.
8. The Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund currently has USD 135.8 million in commitments. In total USD 140 million has been pledged.
Essential Services
14. WFP, in coordination with the Government of Liberia, UNMEER and UNICEF, will be supporting re-opening of schools starting in February: WFP will facilitate the transport of WASH supplies to ensure that schools, as they open, have all supplies necessary to prevent the transmission of EVD.
15. In Sierra Leone, two successive emergency campaigns to distribute anti-malarial drugs successfully reached more than 2.5 million people in door-to-door distribution in 8 districts (Bombali, Kambia, Koinadugu, Moyamba, Port Loko and Tonkolili and Western Area – Urban and Rural). The campaign was implemented by the National Malaria Control Programme of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with technical support and guidance by WHO in collaboration with MSF, UNICEF and other Roll Back Malaria partners. This effort will significantly reduce the number of people with fever that might be mistaken for EVD.

:: 22 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. In a World Bank Report prepared for the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, the Bank acknowledged progress made in slowing the EVD transmission rate, but cautioned that recent efforts have likely reduced the impact of Ebola on the African economy perhaps from USD 30 billion to USD 6 billion. The report noted that most of these losses are forecasted to hit the affected countries.
2. In Davos, Switzerland, Special Envoy David Nabarro provided an updated Overview of Needs and Requirements in the global efforts to stop Ebola. The financial needs for the first six month of 2015 amount to 1.5 billion USD. Almost 500 million USD is already available and the appeal is now for the gap of 1 billion USD.
Response Efforts and Health
7. In Sierra Leone, 19,673 Ebola Response Workers (ERWs) were paid through mobile money between 7 and 19 January. Of these, 96% have cash-out their pay.
Essential Services
18. Following the reopening of schools in Guinea, attendance remain low in the first week. UNICEF and partners continue to monitor schools to ensure measures put in place for the safe return to school are being adhered to around the country. UNICEF and Enfance du Globe provided psychosocial support to 150 children affected by Ebola in Belya.

:: 21 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. The UN General Assembly held an informal meeting on Ebola, yesterday and received briefings from the Secretary-General, SRSG Ould Cheikh Ahmed, SE David Nabarro and representatives of the affected countries among others. Participants assessed that the global response to address Ebola has significantly slowed transmission, highlighted that there is no room for complacency and reiterated the goal to reach zero transmission.
Logistics
7. WFP is enhancing operational capacity to undertake medical evacuation of humanitarian staff with EVD by deploying a WFP-charted Bell 412 helicopter to Freetown, Sierra Leone on 22 January. Plans are for the aircraft to be based in Freetown initially, and then to operate out of a field location, such as Bo or Port Loko, as required. This is the second dedicated Medevac helicopter that WFP has deployed to the region; the other is stationed in Conakry, serving Guinea.
Essential Services
18. Following the reopening of schools in Guinea, attendance remain low in the first week. UNICEF and partners continue to monitor schools to ensure measures put in place for the safe return to school are being adhered to around the country. UNICEF and Enfance du Globe provided psychosocial support to 150 children affected by Ebola in Belya.

:: 20 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. In a press interview on his way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Alpha Condé of Guinea called on the IMF to cancel the debt of his country as well as of Liberia and Sierra Leone. He further indicated that the cancellation should be for bilateral and multilateral debt.
Outreach and Education
13. Similarly, UNICEF helped the Ministry of Youth broadcast Ebola sensitization messages to youth during the Africa Nations Cup. Messaging will continue 30 days after the end of the African Cup. UNICEF provided flat screen TVs, generators, retro-projectors, and screens to broadcast the Cup in 200 locations throughout the country.
Essential Services
16. Schools reopened across Guinea yesterday. In preparation, 80,657 teachers were trained on safe school opening protocol (100% teachers from preschool to higher education) with the assistance of UNICEF. UNICEF and partners also helped ensuring that thermoflash and hand washing stations were provided on locations. Early reporting suggests attendance is low, with for instance 63 students present at the Lycée 2 Octobre in Conakry out of 1,300 students. Current estimates are that students will receive 160 of the usual 180 days of instruction and local media are encouraging attendance to make best use of the reduced time.
18. In Liberia, schools began registering students on 12 January for the launch of the new academic year, and the Ministry of Education finalized a condensed 2015 academic calendar, including a minimum of 187 instructional days from 2 February to 2 November.

:: 19 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. On 18 January, the Government of Mali, WHO and UNMEER declared Mali Ebola-free, after 42 days without any new EVD cases. They insisted on the need to remain vigilant as long as the outbreak is not contained in the three most affected countries.
4. The Red Cross indicated that security challenges in several areas in Guinea have prevented safe and dignified burials. The National Response Coordinator will work with both the gendarmerie and the Red Cross to look at the feasibility of escorts for safe burial teams.
9. In preparation for the potential reopening of the Liberia and Sierra Leone border, IOM Regional Office Dakar has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mano River Union. IOM is urgently initiating a comprehensive border assessment in coordination with CDC.
Logistics
11. The WFP-led Emergency Telecoms (ET) Cluster is providing internet connectivity in 43 locations across the three Ebola-affected countries, ensuring reliable internet access for 741 humanitarian personnel. Last week in Guinea, the ET Cluster installed internet in the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Beyla to facilitate the critical efforts of health workers. It also installed radio equipment in the city of Kissidougou to enable humanitarian staff to communicate with one another and a radio base station for UNHAS/UNMEER in Conakry, in order to provide reliable communications between air and ground staff.
Essential Services
19. Schools and universities in Guinea are scheduled to reopen today.