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"United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola"
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Author:  saraseer [ Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  "United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola"

http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/ne ... fing-ebola
Quote:
United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola
September 02, 2014
Statement by Dr. Joanne Liu, MSF international president

Mr. Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Under-Secretary General, Madame Director General, Mr. Special Coordinator, Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for this opportunity to brief member states on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat.

In West Africa, cases and deaths continue to surge. Riots are breaking out. Isolation centers are overwhelmed. Health workers on the front lines are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers. Others have fled in fear, leaving people without care for even the most common illnesses. Entire health systems have crumbled.

Ebola treatment centers are reduced to places where people go to die alone, where little more than palliative care is offered. It is impossible to keep up with the sheer number of infected people pouring into facilities. In Sierra Leone, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets.

Rather than building new Ebola care centers in Liberia, we are forced to build crematoria.

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) projected as many as 20,000 people infected over three months in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

We are in uncharted waters. Transmission rates are at unprecedented levels, and the virus is spreading quickly through Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.

I stand here today, as the president of a medical humanitarian organization on the front lines of this outbreak since it emerged. My colleagues have cared for more than two thirds of the officially declared infected patients. Even as we have doubled our staff over the last month, I can tell you that they are completely overwhelmed.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been ringing alarm bells for months, but the response has been too little, too late. The outbreak began six months ago, but was only declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on August 8.

While funding announcements, roadmaps, and finding vaccines and treatments are welcome, they will not stop the epidemic today.

We have been losing for the past six months. We must win over the next three.

And we can.

Many of the Member States represented here today have invested heavily in biological threat response. You have a political and humanitarian responsibility to immediately utilize these capabilities in Ebola-affected countries.

To curb the epidemic, it is imperative that States immediately deploy civilian and military assets with expertise in biohazard containment. I call upon you to dispatch your disaster response teams, backed by the full weight of your logistical capabilities. This should be done in close collaboration with the affected countries.

Without this deployment, we will never get the epidemic under control.

The following must be prioritized:

* Scaling up isolation centers;
* Deploying mobile laboratories to improve diagnostic capabilities;
* Establishing dedicated air bridges to move personnel and equipment to and within West Africa;
* Building a regional network of field hospitals to treat suspected or infected medical personnel.

While these bio-defense teams will help to immediately shore up the response on the ground, the WHO and other public health agencies must operationalize the Ebola Road Map.

We must also address the collapse of state infrastructure. The health system in Liberia has collapsed. Pregnant women experiencing complications have nowhere to turn. Malaria and diarrhea, easily preventable and treatable diseases, are killing people. Hospitals need to be reopened, and newly created.

Lastly, we must change the collective mindset driving the response to the epidemic.

Coercive measures, such as laws criminalizing the failure to report suspected cases, and forced quarantines, are driving people underground. This is leading to the concealment of cases, and is pushing the sick away from health systems. These measures have only served to breed fear and unrest, rather than contain the virus.

UN member states cannot focus solely on measures to protect their own borders. Only by battling the epidemic at its roots can we stem it.

This is a transnational crisis, with social, economic and security implications for the African continent.

It is your historic responsibility to act.

We cannot cut off the affected countries and hope this epidemic will simply burn out. To put out this fire, we must run into the burning building.

Thank you.

Author:  niman [ Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola"

World 'losing battle' to contain Ebola
AFP By Frankie Taggart
4 hours ago

Dakar (AFP) - International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres said Tuesday the world was "losing the battle" to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries.

MSF told a UN briefing in New York that world leaders were failing to address the epidemic and called for an urgent global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to west Africa.

"Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat," said MSF international president Joanne Liu.

"The (World Health Organization) announcement on August 8 that the epidemic constituted a 'public health emergency of international concern' has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction."

Liu called for the international community to fund more beds for a regional network of field hospitals, dispatch trained personnel and deploy mobile laboratories across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

MSF said in a statement accompanying the briefing that the crisis was particularly acute in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, where it is estimated that "800 additional beds are needed".

"Every day we have to turn sick people away because we are too full", said Stefan Liljegren, MSF's coordinator at the ELWA Three Ebola unit in Monrovia.

"I have had to tell ambulance drivers to call me before they arrive with patients, no matter how unwell they are, since we are often unable to admit them."

MSF said that while its care centres in Liberia and Sierra Leone were overcrowded, people were continuing to die in their communities.

"In Sierra Leone, highly infectious bodies are rotting in the streets," their statement said.

View galleryEbola outbreak in West Africa
In this photo taken on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, a health worker measures a patient's temperature a …
- Plunged into poverty -

The Ebola outbreak has killed 1,552 people and infected 3,062, according to the latest figures released by the WHO.

At current infection rates, the agency fears it could take six to nine months and at least $490 million (373 million euros) to bring the outbreak under control, by which time over 20,000 people could be affected.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization issued an alert that restrictions on movement in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had led to panic buying, food shortages and severe price hikes.

"Access to food has become a pressing concern for many people in the three affected countries and their neighbours," said Bukar Tijani, FAO Regional Representative for Africa.

"With the main harvest now at risk and trade and movements of goods severely restricted, food insecurity is poised to intensify in the weeks and months to come.

"The situation will have long-lasting impacts on farmers' livelihoods and rural economies."

The food security alert was sounded as the WHO announced a separate Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has now killed 31 people, although it added that the contagion was confined to an area 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of Kinshasa.

- Emergency operation -

The closure of border crossings where the three countries meet, as well as reduced trade at seaports, is strangling supply and sending prices soaring, the FAO said.

In Liberia, which has been hardest-hit with 694 deaths, the price of the national staple cassava in market stalls in Monrovia went up 150 percent within the first weeks of August, the FAO said.

"Even prior to the Ebola outbreak, households in some of the affected areas were spending up to 80 percent of their incomes on food," said Vincent Martin, Head of FAO's Resilience Hub in Dakar, Senegal.

"Now these latest price spikes are effectively putting food completely out of their reach. This situation may have social repercussions that could lead to subsequent impact on the disease containment."

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) launched an emergency operation on Tuesday to get 65,000 tonnes of food to 1.3 million people in the worst-hit areas.

The outbreak of Ebola, transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids, has sparked alarm throughout west Africa but also further afield, with international flights being halted.

The WHO has appealed for the reversal of flight cancellations and virologists said Tuesday travel restrictions could worsen the epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors.

"If we impose an aerial quarantine on these countries, we undermine their fight against the epidemic: the rotation of foreign medical staff and distribution of supplies, already inadequate, will become even more difficult," said Sylvain Baize, head of the Pasteur Institute's viral haemorrhagic fever centre in Lyon, France.

Meanwhile Michael Kinzer of the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) likened closing borders to "closing your eyes".

"It makes more sense for countries to spend their money and energy on preparing their health systems to recognise an Ebola case and respond correctly... so that the virus does not spread," he said.
http://news.yahoo.com/world-losing-batt ... kAQunQtDMD

Author:  niman [ Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola"

Congo outbreak of Ebola unrelated to escalating West African epidemic

Kai is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine based in Berlin, Germany.
Martin is a contributing news editor and writer based in Amsterdam
Jon is a staff writer for Science.

By Kai Kupferschmidt Martin Enserink Jon Cohen 2 September 2014 7:15 pm

A new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is unrelated to the 6-month-old epidemic in West Africa, a genetic analysis has confirmed. Although the virus belongs to the same species, Ebola-Zaire, the strain is genetically so different that it "is definitely not a dissemination of the outbreak in West Africa,” says virologist Eric Leroy of the International Centre for Medical Research of Franceville, the World Health Organization collaborating center in Gabon that is characterizing the DRC virus.

Meanwhile, WHO and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) today issued fresh and even more urgent calls for immediate, massive international action to contain the West African outbreak, which is spiraling out of control. At a United Nations briefing today, MSF's Joanne Liu painted a particularly desperate picture of the situation on the ground.

"Ebola treatment centers are reduced to places where people go to die alone, where little more than palliative care is offered," Liu said. "It is impossible to keep up with the sheer number of infected people pouring into facilities. In Sierra Leone, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets. Rather than building new Ebola care centers in Liberia, we are forced to build crematoria."

At the same briefing, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan raised her fist and called for "Action, action, action!"

The DRC outbreak, first reported to WHO on 26 August, has so far sickened 53 people and killed 31, according to WHO. Early test results suggested the two outbreaks were caused by two different species of Ebola. (There are five species of Ebola virus, three of which cause outbreaks in humans: Zaire, Sudan, and Bundibugyo.) But the DRC outbreak, like the one in West Africa, turned out to be Zaire, Leroy wrote to ScienceInsider in an e-mail over the weekend.

Now, a sequence of 346 base pairs of one of the virus's genes has shown that the two outbreaks aren't directly related. The fragment has seven mutations compared with genomes from the current outbreak in Guinea, but only four mutations compared with the strain that caused the first known Ebola outbreak in 1976, also in the DRC, which was then named Zaire. It is even more closely related—by just three mutations—to the strain that caused an outbreak in the DRC city of Kikwit in 1995. Leroy says he hopes to have a full genome sequence of the new DRC strain by the end of this week.

An epidemiological investigation hadn't suggested any links between the two outbreaks either. The index case in the DRC is believed to have been a pregnant woman from Ikanamongo Village in the north of the country, who prepared bush meat hunted by her husband.

The outbreak zone in the DRC is in a remote area approximately 1200 kilometers north of Kinshasa. "Motorcycles, canoes, and satellite phones have been supplied to facilitate outbreak investigation and contact tracing,” a statement issued today by WHO noted. "A dedicated helicopter will be made available soon.”

That remoteness makes the response more difficult—but it's also reason to be confident that this outbreak can be contained, Leroy says, because infected people won't travel as much as they do in West Africa. In addition, he says, "the DRC has much experience with Ebola outbreaks, so all the people know very well what to do to stop the outbreak.”

In West Africa, meanwhile, the outbreak shows no signs of slowing down. If it continues to accelerate at the current pace, the virus could sicken more than 10,000 people by 24 September, according to scientists trying to predict the spread of the virus.

Public health experts are sounding increasingly alarmed. "There is a window of opportunity to tamp this down, but that window is closing. We need action now to scale up the response," said Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, today at a press conference after returning from a visit to affected countries in West Africa.

“In some ways, the most upsetting thing I saw is what I didn’t see," Frieden said. "I didn’t see enough beds for treatment. So in one facility which had just opened with 35 beds, there were 63 patients, many of them lying on the ground. I didn’t see data coming in from large parts of the country where Ebola might be spreading. I didn’t see the kind of rapid response team that’s needed to stop a single cluster from becoming a large outbreak."

At the U.N. briefing, MSF's Liu sharply criticized the international reaction to the outbreak so far, as MSF has done before. "The response has been too little, too late," she says. Liu also criticized the fact that WHO didn't declare the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) until 8 August. "We have lost 6 months," she said.

At a press conference later, Chan acknowledged that WHO and other organizations realized too late just how serious the outbreak would become. "I think it is fair to say that all organizations involved in this underestimated the complexity and the magnitude" of the outbreak, she said. But Chan defended the timing of the PHEIC declaration, which was triggered by the appearance of Ebola in Nigeria. "I think it was the right time to call it," she said.

http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/ ... n-epidemic

Author:  niman [ Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola"

MSF International President United Nations Special Briefing on Ebola

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2 September 2014

Statement of Dr. Joanne Liu International President Médecins Sans Frontières
Remarks by Dr. Joanne Liu, International President, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) at the Briefing to Member States on the “Ebola Outbreak in West Africa”.

P.K. Lee/MSF
Joanne Liu (International President) visiting the ebola treatment centre in Kailahun, Sierra Leone.
Statement of
Dr. Joanne Liu
International President
Médecins Sans Frontières
“Mr. Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Under-Secretary General, Madame Director General, Mr. Special Coordinator, Distinguished Delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for this opportunity to brief member states on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat.

In West Africa, cases and deaths continue to surge. Riots are breaking out. Isolation centers are overwhelmed. Health workers on the front lines are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers. Others have fled in fear, leaving people without care for even the most common illnesses. Entire health systems have crumbled.

Ebola treatment centers are reduced to places where people go to die alone, where little more than palliative care is offered. It is impossible to keep up with the sheer number of infected people pouring into facilities. In Sierra Leone, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets.

Rather than building new Ebola care centers in Liberia, we are forced to build crematoria.

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) projected as many as 20,000 people infected over three months in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

We are in uncharted waters. Transmission rates are at unprecedented levels, and the virus is spreading quickly through Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.

I stand here today, as the president of a medical humanitarian organization on the front lines of this outbreak since it emerged. My colleagues have cared for more than two thirds of the officially declared infected patients. Even as we have doubled our staff over the last month, I can tell you that they are completely overwhelmed.

Médecins Sans Frontières has been ringing alarm bells for months, but the response has been too little, too late. The outbreak began six months ago, but was only declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on August 8.

While funding announcements, roadmaps, and finding vaccines and treatments are welcome, they will not stop the epidemic today.

We have been losing for the past six months. We must win over the next three.

And we can.

Many of the Member states represented here today have invested heavily in biological threat response. You have a political and humanitarian responsibility to immediately utilize these capabilities in Ebola-affected countries.

To curb the epidemic, it is imperative that States immediately deploy civilian and military assets with expertise in biohazard containment. I call upon you to dispatch your disaster response teams, backed by the full weight of your logistical capabilities. This should be done in close collaboration with the affected countries.

Without this deployment, we will never get the epidemic under control.

The following must be prioritized:

Scaling up isolation centers;
Deploying mobile laboratories to improve diagnostic capabilities;
Establishing dedicated air bridges to move personnel and equipment to and within West Africa;
Building a regional network of field hospitals to treat suspected or infected medical personnel.
While these bio-defense teams will help to immediately shore up the response on the ground, the WHO and other public health agencies must operationalize the Ebola Road Map.

We must also address the collapse of state infrastructure. The health system in Liberia has collapsed. Pregnant women experiencing complications have nowhere to turn. Malaria and diarrhea, easily preventable and treatable diseases, are killing people. Hospitals need to be reopened, and newly created.

Lastly, we must change the collective mindset driving the response to the epidemic.

Coercive measures, such as laws criminalizing the failure to report suspected cases, and forced quarantines, are driving people underground. This is leading to the concealment of cases, and is pushing the sick away from health systems. These measures have only served to breed fear and unrest, rather than contain the virus.

UN member states cannot focus solely on measures to protect their own borders. Only by battling the epidemic at its roots can we stem it.

This is a transnational crisis, with social, economic and security implications for the African continent.

It is your historic responsibility to act.

We cannot cut off the affected countries and hope this epidemic will simply burn out. To put out this fire, we must run into the burning building.

Thank you.”

http://www.msf.org/article/msf-internat ... fing-ebola

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