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ReliefWeb - Updates on Sierra Leone

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    Source: Handicap International
    Country: Sierra Leone

    At the start of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, many people with disabilities did not know about Ebola because the national public awareness campaign did not share information in formats they could understand. Handicap International, present in Sierra Leone since 1996, stepped in to ensure people with different kinds of disabilities knew how to prevent the disease.

    Following the first official case of Ebola in Guinea in December 2013, the disease spread unchecked throughout the country and neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, where Handicap International has worked since 1996, very little was known about the disease or how it is transmitted—there had never been an Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa.

    “I only wish we knew about Ebola sooner,” says Thomas Lebbie, president of the Sierra Leone Association of the Blind. “Before we could educate the blind community about how to prevent the disease, we lost some of our members including our dear chairman in Port Loko district.”

    As the epidemic grew, health authorities launched a national awareness campaign to educate the public about how to prevent the spread of the disease. However, not everyone got the message.

    “The national prevention messages were not inclusive,” says Arthur Saidu, Handicap International Social Mobilization Project Manager. “People with disabilities, such as the blind who cannot read pamphlets, or the deaf who cannot hear radio messages, did not know how to protect themselves. Also, people with disabilities have a hard time with certain messages, like the policy advising people not to touch anyone. Many of them must physically hold on to other people in order to move around.”

    In response, Handicap International worked with partners, local officials, community volunteers, and disabled persons organizations to develop and share prevention messaging adapted to the needs of people with disabilities and their families.

    “With the help of 238 community based rehabilitation volunteers (CBRVs) working in seven districts in Sierra Leone, we were able to reach 16,877 people, including adults and children with disabilities, their caregivers and other family members, and local stakeholders,” says Saidu. “CBRVs are trusted community members we identified and trained to reach people with disabilities where ever they may be.” Handicap International made a special effort to reach amputees—victims of the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone—who often live in villages away from other community members.

    Working with local and national disabled persons’ organizations was key to developing appropriate messaging and disseminating the information. “For example, to reach visually impaired people, we worked with the Sierra Leone Association of the Blind,” says Saidu.

    “With support from Handicap International we printed 300 Braille books with Ebola prevention information and distributed them nationwide,” says Thomas Lebbie. “But, we didn’t stop there, because many blind people cannot read Braille. We recorded the same messages on cassette tapes and distributed them to our members with cassette players so they could listen to the information and then share it with other blind people. When we put the messages out in the chiefdoms and the districts, many more blind people knew what to do to avoid Ebola.”

    In addition to working with people with disabilities, Handicap International also made efforts to educate other vulnerable people traditionally excluded from mainstream society, especially sex workers. “Through a local partner, we engaged women and girls working in the commercial sex industry in the slums of Freetown,” say Saidu. Outreach workers taught them about the disease and how to recognize the symptoms, and about the importance of using condoms.

    “We gotten a lot of feedback from the beneficiaries, saying that if had not been for the actions of Handicap International, there would have been more causalities among vulnerable groups,” says Saidu. “Our work empowered a set of people who are usually not included in decision-making. That makes me happy. In the future, we need to work on including more people with disabilities in governance structures.”

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Freetown, Sierra Leone | AFP | 1/17/2016 - 00:38 GMT

    Sierra Leone's government on Saturday urged the public not to panic as it announced that more than 100 people had been quarantined following a new death from Ebola just as the country seemed to have overcome the epidemic.

    The World Health Organization on Friday confirmed that a 22-year-old woman who died after falling ill near the Guinean border last week had tested positive for the tropical fever.

    The announcement came a day after west Africa was celebrating the end of the outbreak after Liberia became the last of the three worst-hit countries in the region to be declared Ebola-free. Sierra Leone had received the all-clear last November, and Guinea in December.

    Health officials in Freetown said they had placed a total of 109 people who had been in contact with the student before her death in isolation.

    Of those, 28 were considered "high risk" and three contacts had yet to be located, Ishmael Tarawally, the national coordinator of the Office of National Security, said at a press conference.

    "We are worried and concerned about this new development but call on the general public not to panic and more than ever before, all Sierra Leoneans must work together to prevent further infection," he said.

    The woman died in the northern Magburaka township in the district of Tonkolili but Tarawally said "active case investigations" were ongoing in all the districts where the victim was known to have recently travelled.

    Those include the districts of Kambia, Port Loko, Bombali and Freetown.

    "The source of infection and route of transmission is being investigated and the government urges all Sierra Leoneans to continue being vigilant," Tarawally added.

    The country's chief medical officer, Dr Brima Kargbo, said that when the woman arrived at Magburaka Government Hospital she showed "no signs or symptoms that fitted the case definition of Ebola".

    "She had no fever or redness of the eyes when she was examined at the outpatient ward. What was detected was dizziness. We are now going to revisit the Ebola case definition," he added.

    The Ebola outbreak, which began in Guinea in December 2013, killed more than 11,000 people and was the deadliest outbreak of the virus yet.


    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Inter-Agency Standing Committee, World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone


    This document provides information to strengthen preparedness and response plans with regards to the mental health and psychosocial consequences of an Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak.

    EVD outbreaks lead to significant mental and psychosocial effects in a number of ways (1):

    • Fear of the virus is associated with the experience of intense distress (Box 1).

    • Exposure to any severe stressor is a risk factor for a range of long-term mental and psychosocial problems (including anxiety and mood disorders as well as acute stress and grief reactions).

    • Physical isolation of individuals, families or communities exposed to the Ebola virus is a further risk for psychosocial problems.

    • Social problems may emerge after a population is exposed to the virus and the EVD response: for example, breakdown of community support systems, and social stigma and discrimination associated with EVD.

    • There is likely to be a drastic decline of income generation within communities due to travel and work restrictions, loss of family and community members and the collapse of businesses.

    The mental health of specific groups requires special consideration, including those who have recovered from the disease and those who are living with the consequences of the epidemic, such as orphans and other family members (Box 2), as well as health care staff and other frontline support workers (Box 3). Support offered to such groups should be targeted and integrated into community-wide interventions to avoid reinforcing stigma.

    At the same time, when faced with an emergency, community members may show great altruism and cooperation, and people may experience great satisfaction from helping others.

    During an EVD outbreak, it is common to observe a reduction in the use of health services. People may believe that they will contract the disease by seeking health care. They might also be afraid of the consequences (e.g. quarantine) if they arrive at a health care facility with EVD-related symptoms. Likewise, health care workers may avoid reporting for duty out of fear of becoming infected with EVD, and health facilities may close.

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone


    The unprecedented outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) that began in West Africa in December 2013 has had a devastating impact on the region. With over 27 500 cases registered to date and despite a very high case fatality rate, there are likely over 13 000 EVD survivors in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, a far greater number than all previous EVD outbreaks combined. Limited systematically collected data and accumulating anecdotal reports, demonstrate that EVD survivors still face myriad physical and mental health challenges after recovery from the acute disease.
    However, there are very limited data on the true frequency of the various reported health problems, their pathogenesis, or the best practices for clinical management.

    Scope and Purpose

    The meeting assembled stakeholders engaged in or seeking to provide care and/or conduct scientific research regarding EVD survivors. Clinicians, scientists, epidemiologists, and other public health practitioners shared their expertise and experience in order to advance networks and access to clinical care for EVD survivors, build consensus on best clinical management, share research data, and identify key knowledge gaps, with the goal of enhancing quality of care for EVD survivors everywhere.

    Specific Objectives

    The specific objectives of this meeting were to:

    • Identify existing clinical services available to EVD survivors in West Africa and help link them to survivors in need of care

    • Share expertise and experience regarding clinical management of EVD survivors to build consensus on best clinical management practices

    • Identify gaps in clinical services and develop plans to meet them, including provision of technical expertise and infrastructure

    • Discuss and develop common protocols for data collection and best clinical management of EVD survivors

    • Review key research questions regarding EVD survivors, including the evidence for various health problems post-EVD and their pathogenesis, to enable improved care of survivors for this and future outbreaks.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zimbabwe

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    • UNHRD continues to dispatch operational equipment for its Partners, most recently supporting WHO and WFP by sending plastic pallets and vehicles to Guinea and Liberia.

    • UNHRD facilities in Accra and Las Palmas have served as regional staging areas and the Accra depot hosted UNMEER headquarters.

    • On behalf of WFP, UNHRD procured and dispatched construction material and equipment for remote logistics hubs, Ebola Treatment Units and Community Care Centres. Most recently, in collaboration with WHO, UNHRD began procuring and dispatching equipment to establish camps for teams tracing EVD. Members of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) are building the camps.

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    Source: Government of the United Kingdom
    Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    The 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa represented a stark wake-up call to the international community. Thousands lost their lives in the deadliest outbreak of the disease in history. In effect, the epidemic became a practical test of the international community’s ability to respond to a public health emergency. It exposed serious weaknesses across the international system.

    The IDC believes the World Health Organization must take primary responsibility for the failure to alert the international community fast enough. First diagnosed in March 2014, Médecins sans Frontières raised serious concerns in June. WHO failed to flex international muscle until August when a designation of a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ galvanised the international response.

    While the UK Government should be proud of the strong leading role which DFID then took in co-ordinating the response in Sierra Leone, the Committee believes DFID relied too much on the international public health system to sound the alarm.

    Today, the Chair of the IDC, Stephen Twigg MP, calls on DFID to take a lead role in the reform of the World Health Organization.

    “The international community relied on WHO to sound the alarm for an international emergency on the scale of Ebola. The organisation’s failure to respond quickly enough is now well documented.

    “The IDC believes that DFID operated effectively once the international response began in earnest. However, the department should have been able to pick up on warnings from sources beyond the established international system. Other organisations such as Médecins sans Frontières were in the field and leading calls for urgent action. There must be a fully functioning early warning system to respond to international public health emergencies.

    “DFID also needs to be more flexible. The Committee heard how £7,500 in June 2014 would have enabled the building of eight isolation units before the cost of treatment escalated. Small, early interventions, deliver good value for money. Country offices should be able to authorise spending without fear of negative consequences.

    “It is vital that these lessons are learned as every delay counts. We urge DFID to lead efforts and make this reform a priority.”

    While the IDC report focuses primarily on DFID’s role and the international response to the outbreak, the Science and Technology Committee has also recently inquired into the lessons drawn from the Ebola outbreak, in particular “concerning the use of scientific advice in the UK for similar disease outbreak emergencies in future.” We look forward to the publication of their report.

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    Source: Department for International Development
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    The deadliest outbreak of Ebola virus disease in history, and the first to hit epidemic levels, struck the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014, killing 11,315 people. Despite being diagnosed in March 2014, there was a slow initial response to the epidemic. This was attributed by many witnesses to our inquiry to delays in WHO sounding the alarm and declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), something which WHO must carry primary responsibility for. As a result, the international community did not fully mobilise until September, in the wake of the World Health Organization’s designation of the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in August. We praise those who risked their lives to bring the epidemic under control and pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in the fight against Ebola.

    The Department for International Development (DFID) played a strong leading role in co-ordinating the response in Sierra Leone, but it responded late due to the WHO designation delay and an over-reliance on the international public health system to sound the alarm. Médecins sans Frontières raised serious alarm as early as June 2014. We recommend that DFID in future should be able to react to warnings from a wider range of sources, not just the established international system.

    DFID, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence, Public Health England and the NHS, operated effectively once its response began in earnest. We commend this coordinated response, which represents a fine example of cross-Government working. We nevertheless wish to see improvements in DFID’s flexibility, especially in its ability to disburse small amounts of money early on in a crisis when it could be more cost effective.

    We were told throughout the inquiry about the importance of community engagement in achieving an effective response. Two significant factors in the spread of the disease were cultural practices, such as unsafe burial, and distrust in the authorities and health sector. We recommend therefore that DFID engage communities earlier in future outbreaks, especially through trusted local, tribal and faith leaders, established voluntary organisations and civil society. DFID could also use anthropologists to facilitate this. Now that the Ebola crisis is over, it is vital that every effort is made to eradicate FGM in Sierra Leone and worldwide.

    The Ebola epidemic exposed serious deficiencies in the international public health system. The World Health Organization has acknowledged its shortcomings in dealing with the crisis and that it requires radical reform to improve its outbreak capacity. We agree and urge DFID to lead efforts and make this reform a priority. The International Health Regulations have also been shown to be inadequate. Many countries are not taking their legal obligations under the regulations seriously; and there are differences in understanding over the purpose of the designation of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. We support the creation of a transparent and clearly understood grading system for public health emergencies.

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    Source: Handicap International
    Country: Sierra Leone

    During the Ebola epidemic, Handicap International’s inclusive education program in Sierra Leone switched into emergency mode. Staff and community based volunteers ensured that the 1,700 children with disabilities in the program knew how to protect themselves from Ebola and continued to learn even when schools were closed.

    As the Ebola epidemic raged in Sierra Leone, the government took drastic steps to prevent the spread of the disease, banning public gatherings and closing schools. While the school closures likely helped to prevent Ebola infections, keeping children out of the classroom meant students would fall behind. Also, with no central place to gather, the students might not hear essential messages about how to protect themselves from Ebola.

    The 1,700 children with disabilities that Handicap International supports through its inclusive education program were already fighting against marginalization, so the stakes were even higher with schools closed.

    “It was horrible for the children,” says Fred Joe Feika, Handicap International’s Inclusive Education Program Manager. “Many of the students with disabilities were already behind in their schooling, because their parents had kept them home for years. Now they were losing almost an entire school year due to Ebola.”

    Handicap International’s inclusive education program, which, prior to Ebola, had focused on enrolling children with disabilities in school and providing them with mobility devices and other support, switched gears. The inclusive education team mobilized its community-based rehabilitation volunteers (CBRVs), trusted members of the communities where Handicap International works, to reach out to the children in their homes.

    The first priority: making sure the children and families knew how to prevent Ebola. “At first, my work was difficult because many people did not want to believe that Ebola was real,” said Sheku Kamara, a CBRV in Port Loko district. “However, we developed a dialogue system with rules and regulations that made sense to the people, and they listened. We focused on the importance of hygiene and gave the families kits with washing materials. I’m very proud to say that none of the children in my area got sick. We kept Ebola away.”

    Next, the team made sure the children could continue learning even though school was closed. The Sierra Leone Ministry of Education launched radio-learning program so that kids could follow the lessons for their grade level by tuning in to the radio. However, in the extremely poor, rural areas where Handicap International works, most parents could not afford to buy radios or batteries.

    “Handicap International decided to procure radios, and we distributed them to our students so they could have a chance to catch up on their lessons,” says Mohamed Bangura, the Inclusive Education District Officer for Port Loko. “We asked the parents to encourage their children to participate.”

    When schools finally reopened, many parents did not send their children back. Ebola was still present in the country at the time, and the parents of children with disabilities had already been reluctant to send their children to school before Ebola. There is a pervasive belief in Sierra Leone, as in many other poor countries, that it is a waste of resources to educate people with disabilities.

    “We embarked on a massive back-to-school campaign with the help of our community volunteers to make sure that our children returned and that their parents felt safe,” says Bangura. The CBRVs followed up with parents and distributed back-to-school supplies like notebooks, pencils, and even new shoes. “We continued with the Ebola prevention efforts at the schools. We installed hand-washing facilities and gave the teachers thermometers so they could check everyone’s temperature before being allowed inside the school building. At the schools, we continued to deliver our messages about how to prevent Ebola. We wanted to give them hope.”

    Not all of Handicap International’s students have returned yet, but the CBVRs continue to encourage their parents. Sadly, some students lost one or both parents to the disease and now are being looked after by other relatives. A few female students also became pregnant. During the Ebola outbreak, there was a noted increase in sexual violence and exploitation of girls, according to a report compiled by NGOs working in Sierra Leone.

    With the World Health Organization’s Nov. 7, declaration of the end of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Handicap International is transitioning its inclusive education program back to normal activities.

    “Our project, which is part of the Girls Education Challenge, a joint program with Plan International and several other local and international NGOs, has had its funding extended, so we can continue to enroll more children with disabilities in school,” says Feika. “We have mainly been focused on getting children with physical disabilities into school, but we’re planning to extend our services to children with other types of disabilities soon.”

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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    Bruxelles, le 14 janvier 2016

    L'Organisation mondiale pour la Santé a annoncé que transmission du virus Ebola en Afrique de l'Ouest a pris fin, alors que le Libéria connait aujourd'hui son 42ème jour sans nouveaux cas – une importante date que la Guinée et le Sierra Leone voisins ont franchi en Novembre et en Décembre dernier.

    La pire épidémie d'Ebola enregistrée jusqu'ici a eu un bilan humain tragique, avec 11 300 morts sur les 28 600 cas déclarés depuis l'annonce de l'épidémie.

    A cette occasion,le coordinateur de l'UE pour la lutte contre le virus Ebola et Commissaire chargé de l’aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises Christos Stylianides a fait la déclaration suivante: "Il y a un an, la fin de l'épidémie d'Ebola aurait semblé inimaginable. Mais grâce à l'action des agents de santé, des personnes ordinaires, des gouvernements dans les trois pays touchés, associée à une réponse internationale sans précédent, la bataille contre la maladie a été gagnée. Je tiens à rendre hommage à tous ceux qui ont été impliqués pendant des mois pour ramener le nombre à zéro, une réussite à célébrer.

    Dès le départ, l'Union européenne a été à l'avant-garde de la réponse internationale à l'épidémie d'Ebola. Nous avons envoyé du matériel médical, des laboratoires et des épidémiologistes. Nous avons mis en place un système européen d'évacuation médicale pour tous les agents de santé internationaux dans la région. Nous avons financé l'excellent travail accompli par les organisations non gouvernementales et les Nations Unies pour soigner les victimes d'Ebola et faire face à ses conséquences.

    Au total, avec ses Etats membres, l'UE a mobilisé près de €2 milliards en aide humanitaire, expertise technique, aide au développement à plus long terme et à la recherche de vaccins et de traitements. Nous déplaçons désormais notre réponse de l'urgence vers le développement, avec une attention toute particulière aux besoins des survivants.

    En dépit de l'annonce faite aujourd'hui que l'épidémie d'Ebola en Afrique de l'Ouest est terminée, il faut se garder de tout excès de confiance. Le risque de réinfection est beaucoup plus grand que nous le pensions, comme les différentes rechutes au Libéria depuis Mai 2015 l'ont montré.

    Il y a aussi des leçons à tirer. Le système international doit remédier aux défaillances qui sont devenues plus qu'évidentes devant l'insuffisance de la réponse à la maladie dans les premiers mois de 2014. A cet égard, l'Union européenne met en place un Corps Médical Européen par le biais duquel les équipes médicales et l'équipement de nos Etats membres peuvent être déployés rapidement pour faire face à de futures situations d'urgence sanitaire. Il y aura d'autres crises comme celle-ci. Nous devons être mieux préparés.

    Il est aussi plus important que jamais d'aider les trois pays à se reconstruire, à renforcer leurs systèmes de santé et à investir dans des mécanismes d'alerte et de réponse efficaces et solides. Ce sont des exigences essentielles pour empêcher toute nouvelle épidémie de se propager. L'engagement de l'UE à soutenir les pays touchés demeure ferme. Nous nous tiendrons aux côtés du Libéria, du Sierra Leone et de la Guinée aussi longtemps que nécessaire.

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    Source: GAVI Alliance
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, World

    Agreement will help push vaccine towards regulatory approval

    Davos, 20 January 2016 – Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada) have signed an agreement to support the provision of a vaccine to protect against future deadly Ebola outbreaks. The agreement, announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, will help Merck take the vaccine through licensure and WHO prequalification.

    Under the Advance Purchase Commitment, Gavi has provided US$ 5 million towards the development of Merck’s rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP live attenuated Ebola Zaire vaccine, on the understanding that it will be submitted for licensure by the end of 2017. If approved, it would become one of the world’s first licensed Ebola vaccines and Gavi would be able to begin purchasing the vaccine to create a stockpile for future outbreaks.

    Additionally, Merck will ensure that 300,000 doses of the vaccine are available from May 2016 for use in expanded use clinical trials and/or for emergency use as needed while vaccine development continues. Merck has already submitted an application through WHO’s Emergency Use Assessment and Listing (EUAL) procedure. If the EUAL is approved, this will provide an opportunity for the investigational vaccine to be used if another public health emergency with Ebola occurs before the vaccine is licensed.

    “The suffering caused by the Ebola crisis was a wake-up call to many in the global health community,” said Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley. “New threats require smart solutions and our innovative financing agreement with Merck will ensure that we are ahead of the curve for future Ebola outbreaks.”

    “We are very pleased to join with Gavi in announcing this Advance Purchase Commitment agreement to support the provision of MSD’s investigational monovalent Ebola Zaire vaccine - in case of a resurgence of the Ebola outbreak or a new outbreak,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health for Merck. “We applaud Gavi for this bold step to be a part of the solution to address a disease that has impacted so many lives.”

    On 14 January, WHO announced that no new Ebola cases had been reported in the three worst affected countries in the preceding 42 days. Shortly, following the announcement, which included a warning that sporadic flare-ups could occur, Sierra Leone reported an Ebola-related death.

    “The most recent Ebola-related death in Sierra Leone and the fact that we know the reservoirs of Ebola still exist, underline why we must learn lessons from the devastating impact of the crisis and ensure we are better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks. The world is still worryingly underprepared for potential future health threats and a change of mindset is required to ensure we invest in research and development today to protect ourselves in years to come,” added Dr Berkley

    The Ebola epidemic in West Africa claimed the lives of more than 11,300 people and infected over 28,600. It also had a devastating impact on the health systems with disruptive effects on childhood immunisation programmes. It is estimated that coverage rates for the basic DTP vaccine dropped by about 30% in both 2014 and 2015 compared with 2013. This has resulted in several outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases and loss of confidence in the health care system.

    Gavi’s flexible country-tailored approach has enabled the affected countries to not only reach those children who missed their routine vaccines but also to strengthen national efforts on routine immunisation programmes as a key element of the primary health care system.

    Vaccine manufacturers have been working since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak to develop an effective, safe vaccine. Although early-stage development took place more than a decade ago, mainly to counter potential bioterrorism threats, no manufacturer had a vaccine in phase III trials when the outbreak began. Gavi continues to work with all vaccine manufacturers, including GSK and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, that are advancing their development programme of the Ebola vaccine in order to be prepared should a new outbreak occur.

    Ebola outbreaks have mainly affected rural areas in the poorest developing countries and have been brought under control quickly by local authorities. This means the development of Ebola vaccines has been a lower priority compared to other vaccines.

    “Ensuring a vaccine will be available to protect people who might have missed out due to a market failure lies at the heart of what makes Gavi so important in global health,” said Gavi Board Chair Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. “It is our moral duty to ensure that people do not miss out simply because of where they are born or whether they can afford to pay.”

    In December 2014, the Gavi Board committed significant funding for the purchase of Ebola vaccines, once approved. At Gavi’s replenishment conference, held in January 2015, Dr Jacques Cholat, President of Merck Vaccines, announced the company’s commitment to provide its Ebola vaccine to the world’s poorest countries at the lowest possible, not-for-profit access price when it becomes fully licensed.

    Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, which co-funded clinical trials of Merck’s VSV Ebola vaccine, said: “The remarkable results from clinical trials of the VSV Ebola vaccine and the promising progress of other vaccine candidates were among the few positive outcomes to emerge from the epidemic. I’m delighted that Gavi has committed to supporting the continued development of the vaccine towards licensure, which is the ultimate goal to enable it to reach those who need it most. It should also give others working in this space the confidence needed to carry on pursuing alternative vaccines.

    “As we saw with the new confirmed case just last week, the Ebola epidemic is likely to have a long tail and it’s possible that several more isolated cases will emerge in the coming weeks and months. This vaccine, therefore, could still play an important role in containing any additional flare ups of this outbreak, as well as being available to help prevent future epidemics.”

    rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP was initially engineered by scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada and was licensed to a subsidiary of NewLink Genetics Corporation. In late 2014, when the current Ebola outbreak was at its worst, Merck licensed rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP from NewLink Genetics, with the goal of accelerating the assessment of this candidate vaccine. Since that time, Merck has helped to enable a broad development program working with a number of external collaborators. Research evaluating rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP is ongoing in Phase I, II and III clinical trials at sites in Africa, the United States, Canada, and the European Union.

    Despite Merck’s vaccine still being in the investigative phase, interim analysis from a randomised phase III vaccine efficacy trial conducted in Guinea suggested that the rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP vaccine could be effective against Ebola Zaire; it’s currently the only vaccine with published interim Phase III efficacy data. The Phase III study is ongoing.

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    Source: GAVI Alliance
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, World

    Cet accord aidera au développement du vaccin jusqu’à son homologation par les agences de réglementation

    Davos, le 20 janvier 2016 – Gavi, l’Alliance du Vaccin et Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., filiale de Merck & Co., Inc. (connue sous le nom de MSD en-dehors des États-Unis et du Canada) ont signé un contrat visant à accélérer la disponibilité d’un vaccin capable de protéger contre les épidémies mortelles d’Ebola. Cet accord, annoncé aujourd’hui lors du Forum économique mondial de Davos, devrait aider Merck à développer le vaccin jusqu’à son homologation et sa préqualification par l’OMS.

    Dans le cadre de ce contrat d’achat anticipé (Advance Purchase Commitment), Gavi s’est engagée à verser 5 millions de dollars US pour le développement du vaccin vivant atténué contre le virus Ebola Zaïre (rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP), étant entendu qu’une demande d’autorisation de mise sur le marché serait déposée d’ici la fin 2017. S’il est approuvé, ce vaccin contre le virus Ebola sera l’un des tout premiers au monde à être autorisé et Gavi pourrait commencer à l’acheter pour créer un stock d’urgence dans l’éventualité de futures épidémies.

    *Nous applaudissons Gavi pour cette initiative courageuse visant à résoudre le problème de cette maladie qui a brisé tant de vies

    Dr Julie Gerberding, Vice-Présidente exécutive, Communication stratégique, Politiques sanitaires et santé publique monde chez Merck*

    À partir de mai 2016, Merck s’assurera de mettre en outre à disposition 300 000 doses du vaccin qui pourront être utilisés selon les besoins dans de vastes essais cliniques et ou en situation d’urgence, tandis que le développement du vaccin se poursuivra. Merck a déjà soumis une demande selon la procédure OMS d’Évaluation et d’homologation pour les situations d’urgence (EUAL, pour Emergency Use Assessment and Listing). Si l’EUAL est approuvée, il sera possible d’utiliser le vaccin expérimental en cas de nouvelle urgence de santé publique due à la maladie à virus Ebola avant l’obtention de l’autorisation de mise sur le marché.

    « Les souffrances causées par l’épidémie d’Ebola ont constitué un électrochoc pour la communauté internationale de santé publique, » a déclaré Seth Berkley, Directeur exécutif de Gavi. « Face aux nouvelles menaces, il faut trouver des solutions adaptées, et notre accord de financement avec Merck, totalement innovant, nous permettra d’avoir une longueur d’avance en cas de nouvelles épidémies. »

    “Nous sommes ravis de nous joindre à Gavi pour annoncer ce contrat d’achat anticipé qui permettra de mettre à disposition le vaccin monovalent expérimental de MSD contre le virus Ebola Zaïre – en cas de résurgence de l’épidémie d’Ebola ou de nouvelle épidémie, » a ajouté le Dr Julie Gerberding, Vice-Présidente exécutive, Communication stratégique, Politiques sanitaires et santé publique monde chez Merck. « Nous applaudissons Gavi pour cette initiative courageuse visant à résoudre le problème de cette maladie qui a brisé tant de vies. »

    Le 14 janvier dernier, l’OMS annonçait qu’aucun nouveau cas de maladie à Ebola n’avait été observé au cours des 42 jours précédents dans les trois pays les plus durement affectés. Peu après cette annonce, qui était assortie d’une mise en garde de la possibilité de nouveaux cas sporadiques, la Sierra Leone rapportait un décès lié au virus Ebola.

    « Étant donné la survenue toute récente de ce décès lié à Ebola en Sierra Leone et la persistance de réservoirs de virus Ebola, il nous faut tirer les enseignements de l’effet dévastateur de cette crise et mieux nous préparer à affronter les épidémies de maladies infectieuses. Il est inquiétant de constater que le monde n’est toujours pas prêt à faire face aux nouvelles menaces sanitaires qui pourraient se présenter à l’avenir ; il faut absolument changer de mentalité et investir dès aujourd’hui dans la recherche et le développement pour assurer notre protection dans les années à venir, » a ajouté le Dr Berkley.

    L’épidémie d’Ebola en Afrique de l’Ouest a coûté la vie à plus de 11 300 personnes et 28 630 ont été infectées par le virus. L’épidémie a également eu un effet dévastateur sur les systèmes de santé, en perturbant les programmes de vaccination infantile. On estime que les taux de couverture vaccinale pour le vaccin de base qu’est le DTCoq ont chuté de 30% en 2014 et 2015 par rapport à 2013. Cela a eu pour conséquences plusieurs épidémies de maladies à prévention vaccinale et la perte de confiance dans les systèmes de soins.

    Grâce à l’approche adoptée par Gavi, à la fois flexible et adaptée, les pays affectés ont pu non seulement atteindre les enfants qui n’avaient pas pu être vaccinés, mais aussi renforcer leurs initiatives nationales qui placent les programmes de vaccination systématique au cœur du système de soins primaires.

    Depuis le début de l’épidémie de fièvre Ebola, les fabricants de vaccins s’efforcent de développer un vaccin sûr et efficace. Les étapes initiales de développement avaient déjà été franchies il y a plus de dix ans, essentiellement pour faire face à d’éventuelles menaces de bioterrorisme, mais aucun vaccin n’était au stade des essais cliniques de phase III quand l’épidémie a éclaté. Gavi continue à travailler avec tous les producteurs de vaccins, notamment GSK et Jansen Pharmaceutical Companies J&J, qui poursuivent leur programme de développement de vaccin Ebola de façon à être prêts en cas de nouvelle épidémie.

    *Notre devoir nous impose de faire en sorte que personne ne soit exclu de la vaccination sous prétexte qu’il n’est pas né au bon endroit, ou qu’il ne peut pas payer

    Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Présidente du Conseil de Direction de Gavi*

    Jusqu’ici, les épidémies de maladie à virus Ebola affectaient généralement les zones rurales des pays en développement les plus pauvres et avaient pu être maîtrisées rapidement par les autorités locales. De ce fait, le développement de vaccins contre le virus Ebola n’était pas considéré comme prioritaire.

    « Gavi joue un rôle crucial pour la santé publique en s’assurant que personne ne manque de vaccin suite à un dysfonctionnement du marché, » a reconnu le Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Présidente du Conseil de Direction de Gavi. « Notre devoir nous impose de faire en sorte que personne ne soit exclu de la vaccination sous prétexte qu’il n’est pas né au bon endroit, ou qu’il ne peut pas payer. »

    En décembre 2014, le Conseil d’ Administration de Gavi a décidé d’accorder des financements importants à l’achat de vaccins contre le virus Ebola dès leur homologation. Lors de la conférence de reconstitution des ressources de Gavi, qui s’est tenue en janvier 2015, le Dr Jacques Cholat, Président de Merck Vacines, a annoncé l’engagement de sa société à fournir le vaccin Ebola aux pays les plus pauvres de la planète au prix le plus bas possible, à prix coûtant, après l’obtention de tous les enregistrements nécessaires.

    « Les résultats remarquables des essais cliniques du vaccin VSV-Ebola et les progrès encourageants des autres vaccins candidats sont l’une des rares conséquences positives de l’épidémie, » a ajouté le Dr Jeremy Farrar, Directeur de la Wellcome Trust qui a cofinancé les essais cliniques du vaccin. « Je suis ravi de voir que Gavi s’est engagée à soutenir le développement du vaccin jusqu’à son enregistrement, objectif ultime pour que puissent en bénéficier ceux qui en ont le plus besoin. Cela devrait également donner aux autres équipes qui travaillent dans ce domaine la confiance dont ils ont besoin pour continuer leurs recherches sur d’autres vaccins contre le virus Ebola. »

    « Comme le prouve le nouveau cas confirmé de maladie à virus Ebola survenu la semaine dernière, l’épidémie va probablement mettre du temps à s’éteindre, et l’on peut s’attendre à voir émerger plusieurs nouveaux cas isolés dans les semaines et les mois qui viennent. Le vaccin pourrait donc jouer encore un rôle important pour contenir les nouvelles poussées de cette épidémie, aussi bien que pour prévenir les futures épidémies. »

    rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP a été développé à l’origine par des scientifiques de l’Agence de la Santé publique du Canada et la licence a été déposée par une filiale de NewLink Genetics Corporation. Fin 2014, quand l’épidémie été à son plus fort, la licence de rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP a été déposée en provenance de NewLink Genetics, avec l’objectif d’accélérer l’évaluation de ce vaccin expérimental. Depuis lors, Merck a permis le développement d’un vaste programme qui travaille avec plusieurs collaborateurs externes. La recherche pour évaluer rVSV∆G-ZEBOV-GP continue avec des essais cliniques de phase I, II et III sur des sites en Afrique, aux Etats-Unis, au Canada et dans l’Union Européenne.

    Le vaccin de Merck est toujours en phase d’essai, mais l’analyse intermédiaire d’une étude randomisée d’efficacité de phase III menée en Guinée suggère que le vaccin rVSV∆G-ZEBOV serait efficace contre le virus Ebola Zaïre ; c’est actuellement le seul vaccin pour lequel les résultats intermédiaires d’une étude d’efficacité de phase III aient été publiés. L’étude se poursuit.

    Gavi est financée par des gouvernements [Australie, Brésil, Canada, Danemark, France, Allemagne, Inde, Irlande, Italie, Japon, Royaume d’Arabie Saoudite, Luxembourg, Pays-Bas, Norvège, République populaire de Chine, République de Corée, Russie, Afrique du Sud, Espagne, Qatar, Sultanat d’Oman, Suède, Royaume-Uni et Etats-Unis d’Amérique], la Commission européenne, la Fondation Alwaleed Philanthropies, le Fonds de l’OPEP pour le développement international (OFID), la Fondation Bill & Melinda Gates, Son Altesse Cheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan et Majid Al Futtaim, ainsi que des partenaires privés et institutionnels (Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., la Fondation A&A, la Fondation Children’s Investment Fund, Comic Relief, la Fondation ELMA pour les vaccins et la vaccination, The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), L’Alliance de la Jeunesse du Golfe, JP Morgan, la Fondation « la Caixa », LDS Charities, la Fondation Lions Clubs International, UPS et Vodafone).

    Cliquer pour consulter la liste complète des donateurs (anglais).

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Guinea, Italy, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America


    • Human-to-human transmission directly linked to the 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa was declared to have ended in Sierra Leone on 7 November 2015. The country then entered a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance to ensure the rapid detection of any further cases that might arise as a result a missed transmission chain, reintroduction from an animal reservoir, importation from an area of active transmission, or re-emergence of virus that had persisted in a survivor. On 14 January, 68 days into the 90-day surveillance period, a new confirmed cases of EVD was reported in Sierra Leone after a post-mortem swab collected from a deceased 22-year-old woman tested positive for Ebola virus. The woman died on 12 January at her family home in the town of Magburaka, Tonkolili district, and received an unsafe burial. In the preceding 2 weeks the woman travelled from Port Loko, where she was a student, via the districts of Kambia and Bombali before arriving in Magburaka on 7 January. Reports indicate that her symptoms during travel included vomiting and diarrhoea. The Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), with the support of WHO and other partners, responded rapidly to the new case, identifying approximately 150 contacts of whom approximately 50 are deemed to be at high risk. Vaccination of contacts and contacts of contacts is underway under the authority and coordination of the Sierra Leone MoHS. However, the woman’s extensive travel history in the 2 weeks prior to her death, her presentation to and subsequent discharge from a health care facility at which health workers did not use personal protective equipment (PPE), her period of close contact with family whilst ill, and her unsafe burial indicate a significant risk of further transmission. One contact in Tonkolili remains to be traced. The origin of infection is under investigation.

    • Human-to-human transmission linked to the most recent cluster of cases in Liberia was declared to have ended on 14 January 2016. Guinea was declared free of Ebola transmission on 29 December 2015, and has now entered a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance that is due to end on 27 March 2016.

    • With guidance from WHO and other partners, ministries of health in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have plans to deliver a package of essential services to safeguard the health of the estimated more than 10 000 survivors of EVD, and enable those individuals to take any necessary precautions to prevent infection of their close contacts. Over 300 male survivors in Liberia had accessed semen screening and counselling services by 17 January 2016.

    • To achieve the second phase 3 response framework’s key objective of managing residual Ebola risks, WHO has supported the implementation of enhanced surveillance systems Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to enable health workers and members of the public to report any case of febrile illness or death that they suspect may be related to EVD. In the week to 17 January, 876 alerts were reported in Guinea from all of the country’s 34 prefectures, with the most alerts (869) reports of community deaths. Over the same period 9 operational laboratories in Guinea tested a total of 316 new and repeat samples (16 samples from live patients and 300 from community deaths) from only 17 of the country’s 34 prefectures. In Liberia, 826 alerts were reported from all of the country’s 15 counties, most of which (725) were for live patients. The country’s 5 operational laboratories tested 861 new and repeat samples (718 from live patients and 143 from community deaths) for Ebola virus over the same period. In Sierra Leone 1271 alerts were reported from the country’s 14 districts. The vast majority of alerts (1106) were for community deaths. 1044 new and repeat samples (26 from live patients and 1018 from community deaths) were tested for Ebola virus by the country’s 7 operational laboratories over the same period.

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    Source: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
    Country: Sierra Leone

    The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation USA returned to Sierra Leone in December 2015 for the third time in the same year. The purpose of the trip was to continue its support to Sierra Leone health facilities, both government hospitals and faith-based hospitals and clinics that are heavily utilized by vulnerable Sierra Leoneans. It can be recalled that Tzu Chi USA went to Sierra Leone in March, July and August of 2015 to provide disaster relief to empower health facilities in the fight against Ebola and give needed compassionate relief to Ebola affected persons, particularly orphans and survivors.

    In July 2015, Tzu Chi Foundation assessed that health facilities across Sierra Leone still struggle to keep in stock sufficient latex gloves, which are needed to prevent patient to doctor cross infections. In the fight against Ebola and in post Ebola, achieving infection prevention and control requirements is critical for saving lives, which would be a challenge without the availability of appropriate latex examination gloves to healthcare workers.

    When Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation founder Master Cheng Yen heard about the need for latex gloves in Sierra Leone health facilities, she immediately opened the doors for the people of Sierra Leone by way of connecting Tzu Chi USA volunteers with Top Glove Medical USA, a partner that donated 342,000 latex examination gloves to Sierra Leone. The needed gloves were delivered to seven government hospitals, namely Connaught Government Hospital, Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH), Wilberforce Military Hospital, Bo Government Hospital, Kambia Government Hospital, Pot Loko Government Hospital, and Kenema Government Hospital; and six faith-based hospitals and clinics across Sierra Leone.

    The matrons, doctors and health administrators who received the donations on behalf of their respective health facilities thanked Master Cheng Yen, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation and the donors for giving Sierra Leone life-saving support. The health facilities reassured that the gloves will be used accordingly to prevent cross infection and wisely to avoid waste. Twenty-four thousand (24,000) face masks were also distributed to the abovementioned faith-based health facilities.

    In addition to gloves, Tzu Chi Foundation also distributed 7,140 of 17.8 Oz (504g) containers of organic brown rice protein powder to the same health facilities that received the latex gloves, for patients’ consumption to reduce malnourishment /nutrition deficiency while hospitalized, especially women and other vulnerable populations. Approximately 207,060 servings will benefit health patients in Sierra Leone.

    Hospitals and clinics that received the donations demonstrated great appreciation for Tzu Chi’s support; saying that the received protein powder will benefit thousands of hospitalized patients who may find it difficult to eat nutritious food by way of affordability or inability to eat regular food. The rich organic protein can be mixed with any beverage, preferably milk, for easy consumption. The protein powder was donated by Jarrow Formulas and AIDP.

    Giving Love beyond Medical Supplies

    The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation committed to providing ongoing support to four orphanage homes in Freetown and Western Rural, Sierra Leone. Like in March 2015, Tzu Chi volunteers visited the orphanage homes and distributed warm eco-blankets to orphans and Ebola affected orphans. The timing of the blankets was perfect as Sierra Leone is now experiencing the cold Harmattan breeze. The little children who received the blankets showed their appreciations with bright smiles as they cuddled their new, soft blankets. The staff of the homes reassured that the timing for the blankets was indeed perfect. Many were amazed yet again to learn that the blankets were made out of recyclables. Four hundred poor families in Newton also received Tzu Chi blankets to keep their children warm during the Harattan season and during every cold night.

    Additionally, Tzu Chi volunteers distributed 96 women clothes to female Ebola survivors, to continue the efforts to restore their dignity and replace lost property. About 1, 200 eco-bags were also distributed to orphanage homes and families at Newton, Western Rural Sierra Leone.

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Freetown, Sierra Leone | AFP | Thursday 1/21/2016 - 03:04 GMT | 326 words

    Sierra Leone authorities Wednesday announced a vaccination programme for people quarantined following a new Ebola death last week just as west Africa declared an end to the epidemic.

    "Vaccination began yesterday (Tuesday)," in places the victim, a 22-year-old student, visited before her death on January 12 in the northern town of Magburaka, Sierra Leone's head of medical services, doctor Brima Kargbo, told AFP.

    He said they were using the VSV-EBOV vaccine, which has already been tested in Guinea -- one of the three countries worst affected by the outbreak, along with Liberia and Sierra Leone -- and was also used in September in a town in northern Sierra Leone under quarantine.

    This vaccine is the first to have proven effective, according to experts.

    The operation will last "until all the contacts are vaccinated", Kargbo added.

    Since Tuesday, 22 people have been vaccinated in Magburaka and five in Kambia while figures were not yet available for the town of Lunsar, where the dead student usually lived.

    According to medical sources, the young woman fell ill at the start of January while on holiday in Baomoi Luma, near the border with Guinea.

    The World Health Organization announcement on Friday confirming she had tested positive for Ebola came just a day after west Africa celebrated the end of the outbreak with Liberia becoming the last of the three worst-hit countries in the region to be declared free of the disease.

    Among the hundreds of identified contacts, "nobody has shown any sign or symptom of the virus yet," Kargbo said.

    In Lunsar, however, some were opposed to receiving the vaccine and had refused to allow health teams into their homes, according to residents.

    "Some of those quarantined barricaded their homes saying the vaccine was harmful and could lead to other ailments," one of them said.

    The Ebola outbreak, which began in Guinea in December 2013, killed more than 11,000 people and was the deadliest outbreak of the virus yet.


    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Geneva, Switzerland | AFP | Thursday 1/21/2016 - 19:36 GMT

    by Rod Mac Johnson

    A new case of Ebola has been confirmed in Sierra Leone, officials said Thursday, the second since west Africa celebrated the end of the epidemic last week.

    The fresh outbreak has prompted the country to re-open its Ebola treatment centres and relaunch screening systems, including checkpoints on motorways, a grim reminder of the much feared tropical virus.

    The World Health Organization said the new case involved the aunt of 22-year-old Marie Jalloh, who died of Ebola on January 12.

    The 38-year-old woman "was a primary caregiver during (her niece's) illness," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP in an email.

    He added that the patient had developed symptoms on Wednesday while she was being monitored at a quarantine facility.

    So far, 150 of Jalloh's contacts had been identified, "of which 42 are high risk," Jasarevic said, noting that the list of people who needed to be monitored was likely to grow following the new confirmed case.

    Sierra Leone's health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis also confirmed the new patient, saying the aunt had helped wash Jalloh's body to prepare it for an Islamic burial.

    "We are expecting other cases particularly from those who washed the body before the burial of Marie," he told reporters.

    Ebola is at its most infectious as people are dying or in the bodies of those who have died from the virus.

    "It is disappointing of course considering the fact that we have gone for over 100 days since we last recorded a case," Tunis said.

    "What is however encouraging is the fact that this particular individual had already been identified as a high risk contact... and she was already isolated at the voluntary facility... and we were quickly able to remove her the moment she started exhibiting signs and symptoms," he added.

    Sierra Leone's head of medical services, Brima Kargbo, has announced a vaccination programme for those quarantined following Jalloh's death in the central city of Magburaka.

    The vaccine being used, VSV-EBOV, is the first to have proven effective, according to experts, and Kargbo has said the operation would continue "until all the contacts are vaccinated."

    Some of those quarantined have resisted vaccination, telling health workers they feared it would lead to other ailments.

    • Improved response -

    A week ago, the WHO announced that transmission of the virus that killed 11,315 people and triggered a global health alert had ended, with Liberia the last country to get the all-clear.

    Sierra Leone was declared free of Ebola transmission on November 7 last year and Guinea on December 29.

    But officials warned that a recurrence remained possible and stressed the importance of a quick, effective response to potential new cases.

    Jasarevic told AFP that Sierra Leone had taken all the necessary measures following the new flare-up.

    "It is a concrete demonstration of the government's strengthened capacity to manage disease outbreaks," he said.

    Tunis said the latest patient had been taken from her home in Magburaka to a military hospital in the coastal capital, Freetown, which is fully equipped to handle Ebola cases.

    "Now that we have seen another case, we are reinstituting screenings and other health measures at major road checkpoints and other areas," he added.

    • 'Need to do more' -

    Magburaka residents contacted by phone on Thursday told AFP that locals remained calm but were anxious for information about the fresh outbreak.

    "The community woke up this morning with the bad news after we were trying to shake off the first shock of Marie Jalloh," said Tity Kamara, a 36-year-old housewife.

    "We don't know whether we are now safe and it is the health authorities that should re-assure us of our safety," she added.

    "I appreciate their work so far but they need to do more."

    The deadliest outbreak in the history of the tropical virus wrecked the economies and health systems of the three worst-hit west African nations after it emerged in southern Guinea 2013.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Sierra Leone



    Le 11 janvier, 11 cas de variole du singe, une maladie virale extrêmement contagieuse, ont été confirmés dans la région de Bangassou dans la province méridionale du Mbomou.
    Les autorités sanitaires et les partenaires humanitaires mettent en œuvre des mesures de contrôle comprenant l'isolement des patients suspects, la sensibilisation du public et l'activation d'un groupe de travail régional sur les épidémies. Les premiers cas ont été diagnostiqués le 4 décembre 2015, lorsque deux enfants présentant des symptômes ont été admis dans un centre de santé.



    Le 15 janvier, 33 personnes ont été tuées et environ 30 autres blessées lorsque des hommes armés ont attaqué un hôtel à Ouagadougou, ouvert le feu dans un restaurant voisin et attaqué un autre hôtel.
    Quatre assaillants ont également été tués dans une fusillade qui a duré plusieurs heures. Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (AQMI) a revendiqué l'attaque.



    Des partenaires humanitaires ont mené une mission d'évaluation du 13 au 18 janvier dans les localités de Liwa Daboua et Kangalom de la région du Lac, portant sur des zones où des besoins avaient été signalés mais aucune évaluation n’avait pu être faite depuis juin 2015 en raison de l'insécurité. La mission participe de la stratégie actuelle de la communauté humanitaire visant à étendre la portée des évaluations multi-sectorielles audelà de Bol et de Baga-Sola pour atteindre des zones jusqu’à présent peu desservies par l'assistance humanitaire.



    Le ministre de la Santé a confirmé que le nombre de cas suspects de fièvre de Lassa est à présent de 212 à travers 17 états. En date du 19 janvier, 76 morts avaient été enregistrées. Le gouvernement fédéral a interdit l'inhumation des dépouilles des victimes par leurs familles en vue de contenir une possible propagation du virus.
    Le premier cas de fièvre de Lassa avait été signalé dans l'Etat de Bauchi, dans le nordest, en novembre 2015



    La Sierra Leone a signalé un nouveau cas d'Ebola, une femme âgée de 22 ans décédée le 12 janvier dernier. Elle a voyagé à travers trois districts, s’est rendue dans un hôpital public et est décédée plus tard à son domicile. Le mécanisme inter-agence d'intervention rapide a été activé et plus de 100 contacts, dont 29 considérés à haut risque, ont été identifiés. Le nouveau cas a été confirmé le 15 janvier, un jour après que l'OMS avait déclaré la fin de l'épidémie en Afrique de l'Ouest alors que le Libéria avait été déclaré exempt de transmission du virus.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Sierra Leone



    On 11 January, 11 cases of Monkeypox, an extremely contagious viral disease, were confirmed in Bangassou area in the southern Mbomou Province. Health authorities and humanitarian partners are implementing control measures that include isolation of suspected patients, public sensitization and activation of a regional taskforce on outbreaks. The first cases were diagnosed on 4 December 2015 when two children with symptoms of the disease were taken ill at a health centre.



    On 15 January, 33 people were killed and around 30 others wounded when gunmen raided a hotel in Ouagadougou, opened fire at a nearby restaurant and attacked another hotel. Four assailants were also killed in a gun battle that lasted several hours. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack.



    Humanitarian partners conducted an assessment mission from 13 to 18 January in Liwa Daboua and Kangalom localities of Lac region focusing on areas where needs had been reported but no assessments undertaken since June 2015 owing to insecurity. The mission is in line with the humanitarian community’s current strategy to extend the scope of multi-sectoral assessments beyond Bol and Baga-Sola to reach areas poorly covered by assistance so far.



    The number of suspected cases of Lassa fever has reached 212 across 17 states, the Minister of Health confirmed. As of 19 January , there were 76 fatalities. The federal government has banned the burial of bodies of victims by their families as part of efforts to contain the spread of the acute viral haemorrhagic fever. The first case of Lassa was reported in Bauchi State in the north-east in November 2015.



    Sierra Leone reported a new Ebola case in a 22 year-old woman who died on 12 January.
    She had travelled through three districts, visited a government hospital and later died at home. The Inter-Agency Rapid Response Mechanism has been activated and more than 100 contacts, including 29 who are considered to be high risk, have been identified. The new case was confirmed on 15 January, a day after WHO declared the outbreak over in West Africa following Liberia’s completion of 42 days without a case since its last Ebola patients tested negative.

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    Source: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
    Country: Sierra Leone

    In partnership with Apostle Dora Dumbuya, founder and senior pastor of Jesus is Lord Ministries (JILM), Tzu Chi Foundation USA contributed 6,000 KG of rice, gallons of cooking oil, cartons of tomato pastes, bags of onions, and other cooking ingredients to feed over 2,500 poor families in Sierra Leone. JILM’s Feed the Poor Program has been giving hope to vulnerable people on Christmas Day for 16 years now, through the support of its congregation. But because of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and its economic impact on the people there, JILM did not have all that was needed to give hope in 2015 as it has done over the years. That is when Tzu Chi Foundation was giving the opportunity to help, and it acted.

    The partnership came to be when Apostle Dora Dumbuya was honored at the United States White House for her “Outstanding Leadership, Ministry and Humanitarian Services” in Sierra Leone and the international community, after which she asked the deputy director of Homeland Security for help with her humanitarian Feed the Poor Program, to which she was linked with Tzu Chi Foundation volunteer and Executive Vice President, Debra Boudreaux. After an assessment of the Apostle’s request, Tzu Chi Foundation committed to providing 120 of 50 kg bags of rice and cooking ingredients to give compassionate relief and hope to thousands of poor people on Christmas Day.

    Tzu Chi Foundation did not only commit to giving support, it sent one of its volunteers to meet with Apostle Dumbuya and her pastoral team in Freetown, Sierra Leone to share with them Master Cheng Yen’s love for humanity and vision to alleviate human suffering in this world. Tzu Chi Volunteers in Sierra Leone physically went to the local markets and purchased the above listed donations and coordinated delivery to JILM. (The idea to purchase locally was Tzu Chi’s contribution to stimulate the local economy to boost that sector.) Apostle Dumbuya and her pastoral team were very grateful to Master Cheng Yen and Tzu Chi Foundation USA for the swift intervention to save Christmas for 2,500 families. Apostle Dumbuya described the new partnership as a divine intervention that connected JILM with Tzu Chi Foundation and prays that it continues in the future.

    The thousands of people who received the donations expressed their gratitude for the support in many different ways: laughter, smiles, and some even shed tears of joy. Beneficiaries expressed that the food supplies they received as a result of Tzu Chi’s support saved their Christmas in many ways, particularly being able to cook a delicious, healthy meal on such an important day. Many also reported that package of food supplies received prevented them and their families from going a day without food. Some of the beneficiaries included persons with disabilities, single parents, mothers with young children, and the elderly. As they waved their goodbyes with bright smiles and wished donors the best of the holidays, they asked that partners remember them again next Christmas.

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    Source: US Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, United States of America


    • GoSL and partners launch response to two new confirmed EVD cases in Sierra Leone

    • WHO declares end to EVD outbreak in Guinea

    • Liberia commemorates end to most recent EVD outbreak; response actors transition to surveillance activities


    • The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) confirmed a new Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case in Tonkolili District on January 14, following consecutive EVD-positive post-mortem test results. A rapid response team deployed to Tonkolili the same day to assist case investigation and response efforts.

    • On January 21, the GoSL confirmed that a family member and close caretaker of the deceased individual subsequently developed EVD, and immediately began receiving treatment at a specialized EVD treatment unit (ETU) in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital city.

    • Guinea began a 90-day period of heightened surveillance on December 30, as the Government of Guinea (GoG) and humanitarian partners transition to surveillance and recovery activities.

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