Ebola/EVD: Additional Coverage [to 31 January 2015]

Ebola/EVD: Additional Coverage [to 31 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 31 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.

:: 30 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. Addressing the Stakeholder Meeting on Ebola, convened by the Chairperson of the AU Commission in Addis Ababa on 29 January, SRSG Ould Cheikh Ahmed called on all leaders to maintain commitment until the goal of zero cases is reached. The SRSG underscored that situation is still perilous as Ebola is still present in more than 25 of the 66 districts, counties and prefectures in the region.
Response Efforts and Health
3. On 29 January in Sierra Leone, UNMEER joined the government and UNDP to launch a month-long exercise to revise the hazard payment policy for Ebola Response Workers (ERWs). The reclassification exercise will now ensure that response work is based on real risks, save cost and at the same time ensure that hazard pay is sustainable. A local ICT firm is assisting in computerizing a database workers, which may among others provide details that reflects the trends in the Ebola fight. The hazard incentive programme is funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank and DFID, with technical guidance, implementation and coordination support provided by UNDP and UNMEER.
8. WFP is coordinating with WHO, UNICEF and other key partners to harmonise the supply chain of essential items for the three affected countries, in line with the shift in focus of the Ebola response to a district-by-district approach and early recovery activities. WFP has augmented its storage capacity at the Main Logistics Hub at Roberts International Airport, Monrovia, from four to six Mobile Storage Units (MSUs), in response to an increasingly high volume of supplies coming into Liberia via air transport.
Resource Mobilisation
11. The OCHA Ebola Virus Outbreak Overview of Needs and Requirements, now totaling USD 2.27 billion, has been funded for USD 1.22 billion, which is around 54% of the total ask.
12. 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
15. Preparation of school infection prevention and control (IPC) kits to facilitate the safe reopening of more than 4,000 schools in Liberia began in UNICEF’s Monrovia warehouse. Each kit is designed to support essential hygiene and sanitation measures and health screening for 150 students. Additionally, UNMEER attended a 2-day WHO supported Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop organized by the County Health Team (CHT) of Rivercess for 16 Ministry of Education (MoEd) personnel including County Education Officer, District Education Officers, Education Consultants and professionals to enhance awareness on EVD in preparation for the opening of schools next week. The trained group will later train 538 teachers and support staff in the entire county. The training was jointly developed by the government and partners.

:: 29 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced plans to invest USD 30 million, to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the creation of jobs in Guinea.
Response Efforts and Health
5. In Sierra Leone, WFP and UNICEF jointly distributed food and WASH kits to over 500 quarantined households in the Western Area, including Waterloo. WFP also provided over 90mt of assorted food commodities to five quarantined communities in Port Loko District, Thigbono, Musaia, Bailor Wharf 1, Bailor Warf 2 and Petifu Walla. WFP with its cooperating partner CIDO has so far distributed assorted food commodities to approximately 39,000 households in Waterloo, with distributions ongoing to reach over 47,000 households targeted by general food distributions in this area.
8. WHO reports that for the first time since the week ending 29 June 2014, there have been fewer than 100 new confirmed cases reported in a week in the 3 most-affected countries. A combined total of 99 confirmed cases were reported from the 3 countries in the week to 25 January: 30 in Guinea, 4 in Liberia, and 65 in Sierra Leone.
11. The WFP-led Logistics Cluster continues to facilitate the transportation and storage of essential relief items on behalf of the humanitarian community. Since September 2014, over 35,000m3 of cargo has been transported and over 52,000m3 stored, across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Outreach and Education
16. WHO reports that a total of 27 sub-prefectures in Guinea reported at least one security incident or other forms of refusal to cooperate in the week to 21 January. A total of 2 districts in Liberia and 4 districts in Sierra Leone reported at least one similar incident during the same reporting period.
17. Awareness of EVD transmission remains a challenge in pockets in Guinea. A group of youth threw stones at a Guinean Red Cross (GRC) vehicle, on a mission to disinfect a house in Koulé, N’Zérékoré, despite prior arrangement with local authorities.
Essential Services
18. In Guinea, UNMEER observes that the process of a full return to normal school activities continues at varying rates. Reports range from increasing numbers/attendance rates in the main high school in Kankan to delays in commencing university classes and in some cases boycotting of schools by students due to rumours that thermoflash thermometer are transmitting EDV.

:: 28 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Upcoming Events
14. On 29 January, UNDP will organize in New York a high-level event on Ebola recovery. From the UN Secretary-General’s initiative, a partnership has developed between the UN, the EU, the World Bank and the African Development Bank to support the national EVD recovery strategies of the affected countries to facilitate governments’ recovery priorities and reach agreement on areas of integrated support. This high-level event is an opportunity to update Members States on progress in this regard and share information on preliminary findings.

:: 27 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. On 26 January, Senegal reopened its land borders with Guinea. Senegal had reopened air and sea borders on 14 November 2014, after closing all borders on 21 August 2014.
Outreach and Education
11. UNDP is training hundreds of community police officers to help keep EVD case numbers down and prevent future outbreaks. 450 newly trained officers have begun sharing information with communities in Matoto, in Guinea’s capital Conakry, enhance public awareness to help stop EVD spread and to build more trust between the public and the security services.
Essential Services
15. In Guinea, UNICEF in collaboration with other partners undertook a vaccination catch-up programme in 19 high risk health districts during its Child Health Days. While in Liberia, the second phase of the Periodic Intensification of Routine Immunization drive is set to begin to reach children aged under five with the measles vaccine. UNICEF is also financing the cold chain and vaccination teams in addition to leading social mobilisation efforts.
16. Under the leadership of the Liberian Ministry of Health, UNICEF is a key partner in the upcoming assessment and development of a budgeted health plan to building resilient health systems in Liberia. Discussions are underway on the scope and level of preparedness for this assessment. Eight thematic groups were formed, namely: (1) context and policies, (2) health governance, (3) health workforce, (4) healthcare financing, (5) health information and surveillance, (6) technology, medicines, supply chain management systems, (7) health service delivery, and (8) health infrastructure and logistics.

:: 26 Jan 2015 UNMEER External Situation Report
Key Political and Economic Developments
1. In an address to the nation on 22 January, President Koroma of Sierra Leone, declared the nation’s goal to move towards the target of zero cases by 31 March. The President announced the easing of restriction of movement; he highlighted measures for the safe re-opening of schools to be in the third and fourth week in March are underway. The President emphasized that the nation needs to continue to focus on surveillance and contact tracing; enhance social mobilisation and community engagement efforts; refrain from washing and touching corpses; and not to relent until Sierra Leone gets to zero cases for 42 days and until Liberia and Guinea have had zero cases for 42 days. He also underscored the importance of building the national surveillance capacity and resilient healthcare system to interrupt transmission and prevent future outbreaks.
6. The WFP-led Emergency Telecommunication (ET) cluster is constructing towers (17x24m in height) across the three affected countries, in order to widen the coverage of internet in hard to reach locations. More Wi-Fi hotspots will now be available to the humanitarian community, as the ET cluster is in the process of constructing towers in six locations in Guinea; in three locations in Liberia; and in six locations in Sierra Leone.
Outreach and Education
13. In Guinea, UNICEF in partnership with CARITAS has set up 20 social Mediation Councils comprised of religious leaders of all faiths to act on resistance across the country; the social mediation councils have been deployed to communities reporting resistance. UNICEF, Research for Common Ground and the Ministry of Youth continue to use the platform provided by African Cup to scale social mobilization featuring football legends, Guinea national team and Miss Guinea.
14. On 24 January, WHO Guinea with support from CDC, IOM, UNMEER Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone organised a cross-border community-based consultative meeting in Nongowa, Guéckédou Prefecture, reuniting state, security and health officials from the tri-border area districts, prefectures and chiefdoms. 24 local community leaders from Liberia and Sierra Leone attended the meeting with support from UNMEER field teams. WHO representatives across the tri-border area districts – Guéckédou (Guinea), Kailahum (Sierra Leone) and Lofa (Liberia) led the discussions which were chaired by the prefect of Guéckédou. These were followed by a series of focus groups sessions. The objectives of the meeting was to share updates on the epidemiological reports; experiences and lessons learned as well as explore ways to strengthen cross border community engagement, surveillance and notification mechanisms, among all stakeholders.