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ReliefWeb - Updates on Sierra Leone

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    Source: Cordaid
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Braima Dama James is an entrepreneur in Sierra Leone. His business, Salone Foods, sells bottled water and food to the people of Freetown. Though the economy crashed during the Ebola epidemic, he sees a bright future for entrepreneurship. “We need to get our product to the people”, he says.

    Braima Dama James and his son Hinga, who will soon follow him up as CEO of the Aqua Clean water factory in Freetown, call in on Skype. It’s Friday afternoon and they sound cheerful: “Hello from Sierra Leone!” No wonder perhaps, now their business is slowly picking up speed after the Ebola crisis of the past year and a half.

    Ebola recovery

    “Ebola hit everybody,” Mr. James explains. “And water business in particular. The area where we source the water was severely hit, so we had to shut down our factory for some time. Nobody could touch our products anymore.”

    But that’s all past. “We are now in the post-recovery stage. If we go by government figures, the Sierra Leonean economy is picking up already. Some investments were lost, that’s right – but you cannot blame that all on Ebola. Maybe people were just doing bad business.”

    SME business training

    Himself, he has learned a lot about doing business the right way, as he followed a half-year business development training course provided by Cordaid. Cordaid selects Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have a proven growth potential and which add value and social and/ or economic impact. Through the trainings, SMEs can build their capacities and become investment-ready.

    “Next to the usual courses, we were connected to consultants for financial issues and a marketing expert for business strategy,” Braima tells. “It was about understanding the business environment; what we need to do better than we were doing before.”

    Simple business advice

    Simple business advice can be very helpful. For example: “The marketing expert advised us to make a website and a Facebook page. It’s nice to make some good noise about your products.” Making their business better known among the general public, not just in Freetown but also outside, is now one of the key aims for the upcoming months. “We are going to do radio ads and hand out leaflets to the customers.”

    One of the other issues identified was record-keeping. “Of sales coming in and expenditures, doing cost accounting and putting some financial tools in place. And what we discussed with Cordaid was that we need to stock a two months’ supply of raw materials. People tend to buy on credit and not pay within the month. So if we would be buying the raw materials like we used to, one month liquidity is not going to help us at all.”

    He concludes: “I think in general, the business development training was very useful. Everybody talked to us in terms of doing business properly, when given the opportunity, not just doing ad hoc business like we used to.”

    Not just about quality of produce

    It’s not only the quality of produce that matters, says Braima James. “We handle that very well. What makes the difference is your distribution network. You see, our vehicles were all battered and broken. We need to review that aspect!” He laughs.

    They’re hoping to use a loan through Cordaid’s Stability Impact Fund to replace the vehicles. “We want to get the bottles to the people. No longer just focusing on the Freetown market, where every consumer already has their favorite brand of water, but working on our plants in the provinces. And therefore we have to carry the products to them.”

    Access to finance

    One of the major issues for entrepreneurs in post-conflict and post-ebola Sierra Leone is access to finance. It’s hard getting a long-term investment from the banks. “Local banks are not really the best place to go. They give you a loan, but at the end of the month you have to pay back. You can’t accomplish anything in one month. For example, if you ask for overdraft, they keep on putting all kinds of stumbling blocks in your way.”

    “On the other hand, the microfinance institutions (MFIs) only give out small amounts of money. So you really cannot rely on them if you want to do business and compete with the so-called big boys in water business.”

    Cordaid’s Stability Impact Fund offers an alternative to the banks and MFIs. Braima is happy with it: “What is good about Cordaid, is that it’s spread out over a long time, like five to seven years. They also give you a grace period of one year and a half, in which you just pay the interest and not the actual loan. This way, you have time to build up capital.”

    Ambition: expanding markets

    Though being an entrepreneur in Sierra Leone is tough at times – with lack of electricity, broken cars, high fuel prices, and customers always demanding a lower price – Braima and Hinga James look forward to expanding their business.

    “I believe that the future is bright for us. Because it’s mostly quality issues that we have to deal with. Even as it is now, we manage to be competitive. For SMEs, what we really require in addition to finance is looking where the markets are. For example the food products we are dealing in, all SMEs look at consumer food products. Sierra Leone itself cannot absorb all of it. We are looking at markets that would be available outside; maybe Europe or the US... That would really be the game changer for most of us in the food business.”


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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: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES Volume 22, Number 3—March 2016

    Abstract

    Response to the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa overwhelmed the healthcare systems of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, reducing access to health services for diagnosis and treatment for the major diseases that are endemic to the region: malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. To estimate the repercussions of the Ebola outbreak on the populations at risk for these diseases, we developed computational models for disease transmission and infection progression. We estimated that a 50% reduction in access to healthcare services during the Ebola outbreak exacerbated malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis mortality rates by additional death counts of 6,269 (2,564–12,407) in Guinea; 1,535 (522–2,8780) in Liberia; and 2,819 (844–4,844) in Sierra Leone. The 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak was catastrophic in these countries, and its indirect impact of increasing the mortality rates of other diseases was also substantial.

    Read the full report


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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

    SUMMARY

    • 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 of 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 case of EVD was reported after a post-mortem swab collected from a deceased 22-year-old woman tested positive for Ebola virus. On 20 January, the aunt of the index case developed symptoms and tested positive for Ebola virus. The aunt was in a voluntary quarantine facility at the time she developed symptoms, after previously being identified as a high-risk contact. On 4 February the aunt of the index case provided a second consecutive Ebola-RNA-negative blood sample and was discharged. All contacts linked to the two cases had completed follow-up by 11 February 2016. Efforts to locate several untraced contacts in the district of Kambia will continue until at least 24 February. If no further cases are detected, transmission linked to this cluster of cases will be declared to have ended on 17 March.

    • 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 is approximately halfway through 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 have accessed semen screening and counselling services. In addition, over 2600 survivors in Sierra Leone have accessed a general health assessment and eye exam.

    • To achieve the second key phase 3 response framework objective of managing residual Ebola risks, WHO has supported the implementation of enhanced surveillance systems in 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 14 February, 1251 alerts were reported in Guinea from all of the country’s 34 prefectures. The vast majority of alerts (1241) were reports of community deaths. Over the same period, 9 operational laboratories in Guinea tested a total of 316 new and repeat samples (18 samples from live patients and 298 from community deaths) from 17 of the country’s 34 prefectures. In Liberia, 877 alerts were reported from all of the country’s 15 counties, most of which (719) were related to live patients. The country’s 5 operational laboratories tested 924 new and repeat samples (789 from live patients and 135 from community deaths) for Ebola virus over the same period. In Sierra Leone 1872 alerts were reported from the country’s 14 districts. The majority of alerts (1500) were for community deaths. 978 new and repeat samples (37 from live patients and 941 from community deaths) were tested for Ebola virus by the country’s 7 operational laboratories over the same period.

    • The deployment of rapid-response teams following the detection of a new confirmed case continues to be a cornerstone of the national response strategy in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Each country has at least 1 national rapid-response team, with strengthening of national and subnational rapid-response capacity and validation of incident-response plans continuing throughout 2016.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Benin, Central African Republic, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone

    BENIN
    LASSA FEVER CASES REACH 59

    A new suspected Lassa fever case was reported on 11 February, bringing to 59 the number of suspected cases since 21 January. Of the total, six have tested positive for Lassa fever and 20 have died. Epidemiological surveillance, treatment and community mobilization are ongoing to bring the outbreak under control.

    CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
    OVER 3,000 DISPLACED BY LRA ATTACKS

    Recent attacks by LRA gunmen on villages in the eastern Haute-Kotto province have displaced more than 3,000 people. The majority of the displaced have sought refuge with host families. People have also fled their villages around Bangassou town, also in the east of the country due to fear of attacks by LRA elements. Humanitarian organizations in the region are providing assistance to the displaced and have called for increased security.

    MAURITANIA
    AID AGENCIES CALL FOR URGENT REFUGEE ASSISTANCE

    On 11 February, UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF urged donors to provide immediate support to maintain the vital assistance to tens of thousands of Malian refugees in Mbera camp in south-eastern Mauritania, warning that the current funding will only cover needs until April. Funding shortfall threatens the provision of food, education, nutrition, protection and other critical assistance to the refugees who fled their homes in 2012.

    GHANA
    OVER 80 DIE IN MENINGITIS OUTBREAK

    More than 350 cases with over 80 deaths have been reported in the ongoing meningitis outbreak in Ghana. Five districts have surpassed the epidemic threshold of 10 cases per 100,000 people. Emergency response coordination has been reactivated at the national, regional and district levels. The Ministry of Health has provided funds and the Ghana Health Service and WHO have conducted assessments and provided technical support in the affected districts.

    EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE
    LAST CONTACTS LEAVE SIERRA LEONE QUARANTINE

    In the week that ended on 14 February, no new cases were recorded. In Sierra Leone, the last four contacts in quarantine in Tonkolili district were discharged on 11 February. If no more cases are detected, the country will again be declared Ebola-free on 17 March. Meanwhile, 12 out of the 48 missing contacts in Kambia have been found and screened. Efforts are ongoing to identify the other 36 missing contacts


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Benin, Central African Republic, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone

    BÉNIN
    LE NOMBRE DE CAS DE FIÈVRE DE LASSA ATTEINT 59

    Un nouveau cas suspect de fièvre de Lassa a été signalé le 11 février, portant à 59 le nombre de cas suspects depuis le 21 janvier. Sur ce total, six ont été testés positifs pour la fièvre de Lassa et 20 sont décédés. La surveillance épidémiologique, le traitement et la mobilisation communautaire sont en cours pour contrôler l'épidémie.

    RÉPUBLIQUE CENTRAFRICAINE
    PLUS DE 3 000 PERSONNES DÉPLACÉES PAR DES ATTAQUES DE LA LRA

    Les récentes attaques d’hommes armés de la LRA contre des villages dans la province orientale de la Haute-Kotto ont déplacé plus de 3 000 personnes. La majorité des personnes déplacées a trouvé refuge auprès de familles d'accueil. Des personnes ont également fui leurs villages autour de la ville de Bangassou, également dans l'est du pays, en raison de la crainte d'attaques par des éléments de la LRA. Les organisations humanitaires de la région fournissent une assistance aux personnes déplacées et ont appelé à un renforcement de la sécurité.

    MAURITANIE
    DES AGENCES D’AIDE LANCENT UN APPEL D'URGENCE POUR VENIR EN AIDE AUX RÉFUGIÉS

    Le 11 février, le HCR, le PAM et l'UNICEF ont exhorté les donateurs à fournir un soutien immédiat pour maintenir l’assistance vitale à des dizaines de milliers de réfugiés maliens dans le camp de Mbera, dans le sud-est de la Mauritanie, avertissant que le financement actuel ne couvrirait les besoins des réfugiés que jusqu'en avril.

    GHANA
    PLUS DE 80 DÉCÈS SUITE À UNE ÉPIDÉMIE DE MÉNINGITE

    Plus de 350 cas et 80 décès ont été signalés dans l'épidémie de méningite en cours au Ghana. Cinq districts ont dépassé le seuil épidémique de 10 cas pour 100 000 habitants. La coordination des interventions d'urgence a été réactivée aux niveaux national, régional et du district. Le ministère de la Santé a octroyé des fonds et le Service de Santé du Ghana et l'OMS ont procédé à des évaluations et fourni un appui technique dans les districts touchés.

    MALADIE À VIRUS EBOLA
    LES DERNIERS CONTACTS SORTIS DE QUARANTAINE EN SIERRA LEONE

    Dans la semaine qui a pris fin le 14 février, aucun nouveau cas n'a été enregistré. En Sierra Leone, les quatre derniers contacts en quarantaine dans le district de Tonkolili ont été libérés le 11 février. Si aucun autre cas n’est détecté, le pays sera à nouveau déclaré exempt de la transmission du virus Ebola le 17 mars. Pendant ce temps, 12 des 48 contacts manquants dans le district de Kambia ont été trouvés et examinés. Des efforts sont en cours pour identifier les 36 autres contacts manquants.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Benin, Central African Republic, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone

    BÉNIN
    LE NOMBRE DE CAS DE FIÈVRE DE LASSA ATTEINT 59

    Un nouveau cas suspect de fièvre de Lassa a été signalé le 11 février, portant à 59 le nombre de cas suspects depuis le 21 janvier. Sur ce total, six ont été testés positifs pour la fièvre de Lassa et 20 sont décédés. La surveillance épidémiologique, le traitement et la mobilisation communautaire sont en cours pour contrôler l'épidémie.

    RÉPUBLIQUE CENTRAFRICAINE
    PLUS DE 3 000 PERSONNES DÉPLACÉES PAR DES ATTAQUES DE LA LRA

    Les récentes attaques d’hommes armés de la LRA contre des villages dans la province orientale de la Haute-Kotto ont déplacé plus de 3 000 personnes. La majorité des personnes déplacées a trouvé refuge auprès de familles d'accueil. Des personnes ont également fui leurs villages autour de la ville de Bangassou, également dans l'est du pays, en raison de la crainte d'attaques par des éléments de la LRA. Les organisations humanitaires de la région fournissent une assistance aux personnes déplacées et ont appelé à un renforcement de la sécurité.

    MAURITANIE
    DES AGENCES D’AIDE LANCENT UN APPEL D'URGENCE POUR VENIR EN AIDE AUX RÉFUGIÉS

    Le 11 février, le HCR, le PAM et l'UNICEF ont exhorté les donateurs à fournir un soutien immédiat pour maintenir l’assistance vitale à des dizaines de milliers de réfugiés maliens dans le camp de Mbera, dans le sud-est de la Mauritanie, avertissant que le financement actuel ne couvrirait les besoins des réfugiés que jusqu'en avril.

    GHANA
    PLUS DE 80 DÉCÈS SUITE À UNE ÉPIDÉMIE DE MÉNINGITE

    Plus de 350 cas et 80 décès ont été signalés dans l'épidémie de méningite en cours au Ghana. Cinq districts ont dépassé le seuil épidémique de 10 cas pour 100 000 habitants. La coordination des interventions d'urgence a été réactivée aux niveaux national, régional et du district. Le ministère de la Santé a octroyé des fonds et le Service de Santé du Ghana et l'OMS ont procédé à des évaluations et fourni un appui technique dans les districts touchés.

    MALADIE À VIRUS EBOLA
    LES DERNIERS CONTACTS SORTIS DE QUARANTAINE EN SIERRA LEONE

    Dans la semaine qui a pris fin le 14 février, aucun nouveau cas n'a été enregistré. En Sierra Leone, les quatre derniers contacts en quarantaine dans le district de Tonkolili ont été libérés le 11 février. Si aucun autre cas n’est détecté, le pays sera à nouveau déclaré exempt de la transmission du virus Ebola le 17 mars. Pendant ce temps, 12 des 48 contacts manquants dans le district de Kambia ont été trouvés et examinés. Des efforts sont en cours pour identifier les 36 autres contacts manquants.


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    Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    Current epidemiological situation + country-specific information

    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. Tadateru Konoé, the president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), recently visited Sierra Leone and Guinea, two of the West African countries which were severally affected by the outbreak.

    Liberia was declared free of EVD for the third time on 14 January 2016. All stakeholders remain vigilant and surveillance activities continue to be conducted. LNRCS/IFRC continues to participate in the national and county level EVD coordination mechanisms.

    Not since the civil war ended in Sierra Leone in 2002 had the country faced a bigger challenge during the Ebola outbreak. According to the WHO Ebola Situation Report of 03 February 2016, human-to-human transmission directly linked to the 2014 Ebola virus disease 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.


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Sierra Leone is once again counting down the days until the latest flare-up of Ebola can be declared over. As part of the inter-agency response to the flare-up, dozens of people who were in contact with two individuals who had tested positive for Ebola were isolated and placed under medical observation. With the monitoring period now over, they are breathing a sigh of relief as their lives get back to normal.

    After confirmation that a young woman in Tonkolili District died from Ebola on 12 January, Sierra Leonean health authorities, WHO and other partners rapidly identified dozens of people who had been in contact with her when she was ill and placed them under medical monitoring for 21 days, the incubation period of the virus. Just over a week later, the young woman’s aunt was confirmed positive for Ebola virus disease and immediately began treatment. Her contacts were also identified, isolated and closely observed for 21 days.

    For the contacts of the two women, all of whom have since been discharged from medical monitoring, those three weeks of isolation were an uneasy period of fear and uncertainty.

    “I had sleepless nights and worried a lot about my health and the situation for my whole family,” said Ya Marie Kanu from Magburaka Town in Tonkolili District, who was considered a high risk contact because she helped prepare the body of the index case for burial. “Now that I have been discharged, my heart feels really at rest”.

    Her daughter, Abibatu Conteh, said the 21 days her mother was in a voluntary quarantine facility felt like it would never end.

    “We thought we would not be reunited with our mother again,” said Abibatu. “We have witnessed a lot of horrors and seen how families have been devastated by the disease, so my whole family was fearful that our mother might have contracted the disease and would soon fall ill.”

    But Ya Marie did not fall ill. She was among over 100 contacts visited and monitored three times a day by a team of district health and emergency specialists and WHO staff. And she was one of 214 contacts, and contacts of contacts, who received a dose of the experimental Ebola vaccine as a means of containing the flare-up.

    On the day the contacts were discharged from isolation facilities and home quarantine, residents in and around Magburaka Town came out to celebrate and dance. Those released from quarantine, including Amadu Jalloh, the father of the young woman who died on 12 January, also received a discharge package of food and household items supplied by UNICEF, World Food Programme and Plan international.

    And there was another reason for celebration and relief. On 4 February, the aunt of the woman who had died was released from an Ebola treatment centre in Freetown after testing negative for Ebola virus disease twice. Her recovery triggered the start of a new 42-day countdown in Sierra Leone. On 17 March, if there are no new cases of Ebola, this latest flare-up of the virus will be declared over.

    “The response to this latest flare-up underscores the importance of quickly identifying contacts of a person infected with or who died from Ebola and separating them from the community in order to prevent further transmission,” says Dr Anders Nordstrom, WHO country representative in Sierra Leone. “It illustrates the capacity now in place in Sierra Leone to manage such emergencies should Ebola resurface in the future.”


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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

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • No confirmed EVD cases reported in West Africa in nearly one month

    • Sierra Leone discharges most recent EVD patient; all known contacts complete 21-day monitoring period

    • USAID/OFDA partners scale up preparedness activities in Liberia

    KEY DEVELOPMENTS

    • Government authorities and response organizations in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are strengthening detection and response capacities to rapidly identify and contain future Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases. Active surveillance continues in high-risk areas throughout each country.

    • To strengthen response capacity in Liberia, USAID/OFDA recently committed nearly $8.7 million in FY 2016 funding to support the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and seven other implementing partners to develop a national epidemic preparedness and response (EPR) consortium. Consortium partners are currently supporting the Government of Liberia (GoL) and county health teams to strengthen national- and county-level EPR plans, bolstering Liberia’s rapid response capacity through December 2016.


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


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    Source: International Organization for Migration, US Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Country: Guinea, Sierra Leone


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    Source: International Organization for Migration, US Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Country: Guinea, Sierra Leone

    INTRODUCTION :

    La cartographie des risques de santé publique dans les zones frontalières mise en oeuvre conjointement par l’Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations et l’Institut National de la Statistique (INS) se déroule en deux étapes :

    1- Cartographie participative : L’objectif principal est d’identifier et classer les sites considérés comme prioritaires par les communautés locales. Mais il s’agit également de :

    a. Recueillir les connaissances des communautés et comprendre le fonctionnement de leur espace de vie b. Préparer la logistique de la collecte des données au niveau des sites c. Impliquer les communautés dans la prise de décision concernant les zones d’intervention (réhabilitations, contrôle sanitaire etc…)

    d. Constituer un espace d’échange sur l’avenir de leur espace Les données recueillies sont reportées sur une carte et dans une grille du rapporteur et seront ensuite compilées au niveau de l’unité de gestion de l’information de Conakry pour en faire des cartes et autres supports (cf annexe 3) 2- Enquêtes sur les sites : En s’aidant des informations collectées pendant les ateliers de cartographie participative, les équipes se rendent ensuite sur tous les sites vulnérables (points d’entrée, écoles, lieux de cultes, regroupements de travailleurs internationaux etc...) et infrastructures de santé pour collecter des données (questionnaires implémentés sur tablettes) qui seront ensuite analysées comme des données qualitatives.

    Les zones concernées par cette étude sont les préfectures et sous-préfectures frontalières de la Guinée.


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    Source: OPEC Fund for International Development
    Country: Belize, Benin, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uzbekistan, World

    Vienna, Austria, February 22, 2016. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed new public sector loan and grant agreements totaling over US$60m to help boost socio-economic development in nine partner countries. The agreements were signed by OFID Director-General Suleiman J Al-Herbish and high-ranking officials of the beneficiary countries, including HE Amara M. Konneh, Minister, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning of Liberia; and HE Mubin Mirzaev, Deputy Minister of Finance of Uzbekistan.

    The public sector loans will support the following:

    Belize US$m 11.78

    Airport Link Road Project. To build a carriageway, bridge and roundabouts and upgrade airport access roads to decrease traffic congestion in Belize City and improve connectivity, thus providing an easier, cheaper and safer means of transport.

    Côte d’Ivoire US$m 11.50

    Expanding Girls' Access to Secondary Education. To raise enrolment and retention rates through the constructing and equipping of six secondary schools, including hostels, to accommodate around 9,000 girls.

    Kenya US$m 5.00

    Rongai Hospital. To construct and equip a new hospital and residential staff building in Rongai city. On completion, the project will improve the quality and accessibility of affordable healthcare services for some 150,000 people.

    Liberia US$m 20.00

    Upgrading of Gbarnga- Salayea Road. To pave an 81km earth stretch that runs through a major agricultural area. At least 142,000 people will benefit from year-round access to social services and marketplaces, which will in turn help improve livelihoods and reduce poverty.

    Uzbekistan US$m 11.00

    Improving Drinking Water Supply in Rural Areas of Koshrabad District of Samarkand Region. To improve health indicators and living conditions of approximately 68,000 people through the construction and upgrading of water supply infrastructure.

    Total US$m 59.28

    ECOWAS Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). US$860,000 (grant). To provide communities, businesses, small enterprises and public buildings with access to modern energy services through the implementation of mini-grid schemes in Benin, Cape Verde, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Over 4,200 people are expected to directly benefit from the project. Co-signing the agreement was Mahama Kapiah, Director-General of ECREEE.


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    Source: US Agency for International Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Country: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Launched in 2005 by President George W. Bush and expanded under President Barack Obama, the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) is a historic U.S. Government effort to lead the fight against malaria. Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, with the support of Congress, annual funding levels for PMI doubled.

    This investment has made a difference. Progress in combating malaria over the past 10 years represents one of the greatest success stories in the history of public health. Since 2000, the number of children who die from the disease has fallen by more than 50 percent. More than 6 million lives have been saved, and a vast majority of them have been young African children. We have helped loosen malaria's grip -- even in areas where it was tightest.

    In 17 of PMI's focus countries, all-cause mortality rates among children under five years of age have significantly decreased since PMI was launched. These declines range from 18 percent (in both Liberia and Nigeria) to 55 percent (in both Senegal and Zambia). In FY 2015, PMI protected over 16 million people with spraying of homes, and procured more than 42 million long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets, 60 million antimalarial treatments, and more than 54 million rapid diagnostic tests.

    We have made huge strides, but the job is not finished. The PMI strategy for 2015-2020, launched at the White House in early 2015, has a long-term vision of a world without malaria, by working with countries and partners to further reduce malaria deaths and substantially decrease malaria morbidity, toward the long-term goal of elimination. Last year, nearly half a million people still died of malaria. The vast majority were young children and pregnant women.

    This is why President Obama set forth a long term vision of ending the scourge of malaria during the State of the Union on January 12th. To advance these goals and make leaps towards ending this scourge, the Administration is requesting $200 million in additional resources to bring total US funding to $874 million in FY 2017. This includes $71 million in new funding and $129 million via redirected Ebola funding. The FY 2017 Budget also requests $1.35 billion for the multilateral Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, & Malaria. Including the FY 2017 request, the Obama administration will have invested nearly $5.8 billion through the PMI, with over $11.5 billion through the Global Fund from FY 2009-2017.

    If Congress acts on this request, the PMI will:

    • Launch and expand programs in four countries in West Africa. This would expand PMI's reach to almost 70 million additional people at risk of malaria. PMI would add new programs in Sierra Leone, Cote D'Ivoire, and Cameroon and expand the program nationwide in Burkina Faso.

    • With this expansion, the U.S. Government would be able to provide malaria prevention and control interventions to approximately 332 million people (92%) at risk across the West to Central African corridor from Senegal to Cameroon.

    • Work with partners to accelerate elimination efforts in Cambodia and Zambia. It will not be easy; but it's necessary to do if we are going to eliminate this disease. Cambodia is critical to control drug resistance, and Zambia is ambitious but achievable, and would catalyze elimination efforts elsewhere.

    • Procure 13.7 million insecticide treated bed nets and ensure that 27 million people remain protected from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Accelerate research, development and evaluation of new malaria tools focused on better diagnostics, vector control, and medicines.

    But we can't do this alone. We are calling on all partners, countries and communities to join our efforts to end malaria. To learn more, visit pmi.gov.

    U.S. Government Leadership in the Fight against Malaria

    • PMI is led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    • Under the FY 2017 Budget, PMI would include 23 focus countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) and three countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia (Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand).

    • PMI works with national malaria control programs in coordination with other national and international partners, including the Roll Back Malaria Partnership; the Global Fund; UNICEF; the Global Malaria Program of the World Health Organization; the UK Department for International Development (DFID); foundations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UN Foundation, and nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, community groups, academia, and the private sector.

    • PMI collaborates with other U.S. Government agencies, including the U.S. Peace Corps, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), to integrate activities to maximize health sector investments and reduce duplication.

    • PMI has placed a strong emphasis on building the skills and capacity of Ministries of Health and district health leaders to manage and coordinate malaria control activities in their countries and strengthen health systems. PMI places a high priority on health systems strengthening. Investments include: building health worker capacity, strengthening supply chains that deliver stable supplies of essential commodities, and supporting health management information systems that record, monitor, and evaluate health impact. This has advanced health and development, and empowered countries to require all partners to work under a single national malaria control plan, rather than a series of uncoordinated donor-driven projects.

    • Together with countries (particularly national malaria control programs), local partners, donors, and multilateral organizations, we are bringing effective tools to the people who need them most -- women and children -- including insecticide-treated mosquito nets, intermittent preventive treatment of pregnant women, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment, targeted coverage of indoor residual spraying, and seasonal malaria chemoprevention campaigns, where appropriate.

    Last updated: February 22, 2016


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Sierra Leone

    By John James

    I have a vivid memory of the first time I heard predictions of a “bumpy road” to zero Ebola cases. It was December 2014 and I was up-country in the town of Kenema (south-east Sierra Leone) close to the place where Ebola was first recorded in the country. We were listening to the radio in a dusty hotel courtyard as we prepared for a day of filming with Ebola survivors and children affected by the epidemic. The country had just passed the height of the epidemic, though we were still seeing hundreds of new cases each week.

    Skip forward more than a year, and despite the official end of the outbreak in Sierra Leone, we hit a bump. With unsettling timing, Sierra Leone confirmed a new Ebola case less than 24 hours after the outbreak had been declared over in Liberia. Sierra Leone was in heightened surveillance, and we’d seen from Liberia that new cases could emerge. But it felt like a set-back.

    The positive swab from a deceased 22 year old woman led to contacts, including young children, being quarantined in three districts of the country. On 3 February 2016 most ended their isolation, and I was in Magburaka town, where the index case had died, to witness the discharges.

    “I’m free! Ebola: Bye bye” shouted Mohamed S. Lakoh as he danced on a table placed at the barrier of the Voluntary Quarantine Facility in the ‘Old Town’ area. Behind him those about to step out across the orange plastic fence that had been their boundary for the past 21 days greeted family members and danced as the festivities got going. Those discharged benefited from mattresses, pillows and other household items from UNICEF, and a package of food provided by WFP and Plan International.

    A day earlier, herbalist Shekha Kargbo had been discharged from quarantine and returned back home to a village not far from Magburaka. When I met him, he’d taken advantage of his liberty by testing his legs with a stroll from one end of the village to the other. “It’s good to walk and I’ve had no problems stretching out my legs,” he told me with a smile. He laughed at having spent 21 days in quarantine before being reunited with the 21 members of his family. He told me he’d been annoyed at first when he had been placed in quarantine, but that he then got used to it. As his children and grandchildren gathered around under the shade of a mature mango tree, he told them with an air of satisfaction about the three good meals a day he’d received over the past 21 days.

    Just then his phone rang and it was his friends back in quarantine in the town: “Hey, save me some food” he shouted with a laugh, “I’m coming back!” I asked him if he’d known any of these friends before they had shared quarantine together and he replied no.

    He said he’d been welcomed by everyone he’d met in the village so far, though WHO and UNICEF staff have been working with the village elders to make sure there are no issues of discrimination and stigma.

    This has not been the most straight-forward set of new cases. While sick, the index case travelled across three districts putting at risk hundreds of contacts, including children, over a wide geographic area. In the subsequent days one of the contacts in quarantine tested positive for the virus. She was quickly referred to a treatment centre, and was recently discharged after having recovered.

    Complicating factors in the new cases included discouragement at seeing Ebola again in Sierra Leone, and a subsequent high level of denial. “We were all happy, all enjoying our lives when all of a sudden we had this new case. It was really a problem. Everyone was really shocked,” the head of the Social Mobilization pillar in Tonkolili district, Aiah Sam, told me. “We went from house to house trying to convince people that this case is real. You can’t downplay these things. Otherwise by the time you finally accept you’ve got Ebola, it’s done a whole lot of damage. We didn’t want a repeat of what happened before with our very first cases in 2014, which ended up reaching all of Sierra Leone.”

    When things got too tense, social mobilizers from a variety of organisations, including UNICEF, the Sierra Leone Red Cross, Restless Development and Real Woman for Action let matters cool, and returned the following day. The key was to spread safety information and ensure a cooperative environment so that health officials from the District Health Management Team, WHO, and CDC could continue monitoring those who were at risk of having been infected.

    I finished off my tour of the town with a visit to the MSF-supported government hospital in Magburaka. In a cordoned off area, I met three Ebola contacts in good spirits who were close to being discharged. Two of them had walked for three days to get to the town for their quarantine, and were looking forward to the long trek home. There was relief that things were almost over, and that they hadn’t been infected. For my part, I hope the bumpy road to zero Ebola infections has come to an end.

    John James is a UNICEF Communications Specialist with UNICEF Sierra Leone


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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Kuwait, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    Kuwait - In close coordination with the Government of Kuwait, IOM has ‎provided Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) services to two victims of human trafficking from Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

    The two women have been living at Kuwait’s Government Shelter for Foreign Workers for five months and are IOM’s first AVRR cases from Kuwait.

    Within the framework of the Joint Programme to Support the Capacity of the Public Authority of Manpower, IOM Kuwait has conducted a feasibility assessment on the implementation of AVRR activities in Kuwait and tailored a country-specific process that could be replicated in other GCC Countries.

    The government has recognized the value of AVRR as the most humane, dignified, and sustainable return option and is now holding internal discussions on how to institutionalize it.

    Falah Al Muteiry, Head of the Government Shelter for Foreign Workers said: "We are proud to have worked in close collaboration with IOM to provide AVRR services to these cases. In observance of international legal instruments on the protection of victims of trafficking, the government has consciously chosen to take responsibility by providing these victims with protection."

    In 2015 Kuwait took significant steps towards combatting human trafficking, including establishing a specialized counter trafficking unit in the Ministry of Interior, passing Domestic Worker Law 68/2015 to regulate working conditions, and most recently by establishing the Government Shelter for Foreign Workers.

    The Shelter can house 500 residents who are provided with free accommodation, food, legal advice, psycho-social support and sustainable exit strategies.

    For further information please contact Iman Ereiqat at IOM Kuwait at Tel: +965 25 30 81 64, Email: iereiqat@iom.int


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    Source: International Medical Corps
    Country: Liberia, Sierra Leone

    LOS ANGELES/LONDON – The first controlled trial of an experimental Ebola drug on humans has produced promising results.

    Initial findings of the trial that ran through the second half of 2015 into January 2016 for the three-component antibody cocktail known as ZMapp showed that patients suffering from the potentially deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) tolerated the drug well and that treatment response levels for those given the cocktail in addition to optimized standard-of-care (oSOC) were superior to patients in a control group provided only oSOC. Results were presented today at the Conference of Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. 

    Both groups were treated in identical conditions, with 24 of the 72 patients participating treated at International Medical Corps centers in Sierra Leone. Eight of the 36 patients receiving the ZMapp cocktail—22 percent--died during treatment, compared to 13 deaths, or 39 percent among the 35 patients who did not.

    International Medical Corps Director of Ebola Research Adam Levine, who treated Ebola patients at the height of the outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone, described the results as “very exciting”.

    “It’s the strongest sign yet that we may have a drug that can reduce mortality and save lives for patients infected with the Ebola virus,” said Levine, who is also an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University Medical School. “That would be huge.” 

    At a more general level, he also noted the results showed that it was possible to conduct a randomized, controlled trial (RCT)--the gold standard globally for medical research--in the midst of a public health emergency.

    When originally designed, the trial called for 200 participants, but less than half that number were enrolled as the world’s worst Ebola outbreak declined towards zero at the end of last year. The lack of sufficient numbers made it impossible to conclude from the trial results that treatment with the ZMapp cocktail was statistically superior to treatment without the drug. However, the nearly two-fold difference in mortality between those treated with the drug and those treated without the drug strongly suggests that it may be beneficial. Indeed, based on the study results, there is at least a 90 percent chance that ZMapp reduces mortality in patients infected with Ebola virus. 

    Even though the results were not statistically definitive, Levine said he expected they would be enough for physicians to use ZMapp in any future outbreak because of the dearth of alternatives. Levine noted that the ZMapp trial is the first randomized controlled trial in humans of any drug directed specifically at treating patients infected with Ebola. 

    The trial was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health, in partnership with government health entities of four nations, plus other academic, government and non-governmental agencies, including International Medical Corps.

    International Medical Corps was one of the only humanitarian relief organizations to treat Ebola patients during the largest-ever Ebola outbreak—one that triggered a global public health emergency and claimed more than 11,000 lives before it was contained to just a few cases earlier this year. Most all fatalities occurred in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

    Since its inception more than 30 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. International Medical Corps has delivered $2.2 billion in humanitarian relief and training in 75 countries since 1984. Today its global staff of 8,000 provides assistance to devastated communities in the world’s hardest-hit areas, from Syria to Sierra Leone, Iraq to Afghanistan. Visit us on Facebook and follow us on _Twitter_.


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

    BENIN
    71 CAS DE FIEVRE DE LASSA SIGNALES

    Soixante et onze cas (6 confirmés, 10 probables et 55 présumés) de fièvre de Lassa ont été signalés au 16 février dans sept départements. Sept des cas signalés, dont deux décès, se trouvaient parmi les travailleurs de la santé. Depuis le début de l'épidémie le 21 janvier 318 contacts ont été identifiés et 292 sont sous surveillance.

    CAMEROUN
    19 TUES DANS UN ATTENTAT-SUICIDE

    Un double attentat-suicide sur un marché du village de Mémé dans la région de l'Extrême Nord a fait au moins 19 morts le 19 février. L'attaque est survenue une semaine après que les forces camerounaises ont traversé la frontière vers le nord-est du Nigeria pour commencer une nouvelle offensive contre Boko Haram, dans une lutte continue contre le groupe.

    REPUBLIQUE CENTRAFRICAINE
    NOUVEAU PRESIDENT ELU

    L'ancien Premier ministre Faustin Archange Touadéra a été élu nouveau président de la RCA suite à un second tour tenu le 14 février, selon les résultats provisoires annoncés par la commission électorale le 20 Février. Touadéra a remporté 62,7% des votes tandis que son adversaire Anicet Georges Doléguélé a recueilli 37,29% des suffrages. Le Secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon a salué le déroulement pacifique du scrutin et a exhorté les politiciens et les autres parties prenantes à maintenir "l'atmosphère constructive".

    TCHAD
    DES MILLIERS DE DEPLACES REÇOIVENT UNE AIDE ALIMENTAIRE

    Le PAM et ses partenaires ont au cours des dernières semaines fourni une assistance alimentaire et nutritionnelle à des milliers de personnes récemment déplacées par la violence de Boko Haram au Tchad et au Cameroun, a indiqué l'agence le 16 février. Le PAM cible ce mois-ci 35 000 personnes déplacées qui n’ont jusqu'à présent reçu aucune aide.

    MALADIE A VIRUS EBOLA
    FIN PROCHAINE DE LA RECHERCHE DE CONTACTS EN SIERRA LEONE

    La recherche de contacts manquants dans le district de Kambia en Sierra Leone continuera au moins jusqu'au 24 février. Si aucun nouveau cas n’est détecté, la chaine de transmission liée aux cas de janvier sera déclarée terminée le 17 mars. En date du 19 février, la Guinée avait accompli 43 jours de la période de surveillance renforcée de 90 jours après que le virus Ebola a été déclarée terminé dans le pays le 29 décembre. Plusieurs préfectures ont renforcé la surveillance et les cas de fièvre ou de décès sont rapportés de manière plus systématique.


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

    BENIN
    LASSA FEVER CASES REACH 71

    Seventy-one cases (6 confirmed, 10 probable and 55 suspected) of Lassa fever were reported as of 16 February in seven departments. Seven of the reported cases, including two deaths were among health workers. Since the beginning of the outbreak on 21 January, 318 contacts have been identified and 292 are being monitored.

    CAMEROON
    SUICIDE BLAST KILLS 19

    A double suicide bombing on a market in Mémé village in the Far North region left at least 19 people dead on 19 February. The attack came a week after Cameroonian forces crossed the border into north-eastern Nigeria to begin a new offensive against Boko Haram, part of a continuing battle against the group.

    CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
    *NEW PRESIDENT ELECTED *

    Former prime minister Faustin Archange Touadéra has been elected CAR’s new president following a run-off vote held on 14 February, according to provisional results announced by the electoral commission on 20 February. Touadéra won 62.7 per cent while his challenger, Anicet Georges Doléguélé, took 37.29 per cent. UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon lauded the peaceful conduct of the polls and urged politicians and other stakeholders to maintain the “constructive atmosphere”.

    CHAD
    THOUSANDS OF DISPLACED RECEIVE FOOD AID

    WFP and its partners have in the past week assisted thousands of people recently displaced by Boko Haram violence in Chad and Cameroon with food and nutrition support, the agency said on 16 February. WFP aims this month to reach up to 35,000 displaced people who have so far not received any assistance.

    EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE
    SIERRA LEONE CONTACT SEARCH TO END SOON

    The search for missing contacts in Sierra Leone’s Kambia district will continue until at least 24 February. If no further cases are detected, transmission linked to the January cluster of cases will be declared over on 17 March. As of 19 February, Guinea had completed 43 days of the 90-day enhanced surveillance period after Ebola was declared over in the country on 29 December. Several prefectures have stepped up surveillance and cases of fever or deaths are being reported more frequently.


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