Category Archives: Sierra Leone

Entire country of Sierra Leone shut down: Three-day quarantine begins in desperate attempt to curb new Ebola cases

Confirmed Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, pictured, seemed to be clustered near the country’s west coast

Sierra Leone is being shut down for three days in a bid to stop a surge in cases of Ebola.

The country’s president Ernest Koroma has ordered everybody to stay at home between now and Sunday in an effort to halt the spread of the killer disease.

Sierra Leone had a previous nationwide curfew in September at the height of the epidemic.

The Christian Examiner reported President Koroma’s remarks, urging his people to work together.

He said: ‘The future of our country and the aspirations of our children are at stake,

‘I call on every Sierra Leonean in every community to pull together. The economic development of our country and the lives of our people continue to be threatened by the ongoing presence of Ebola in Sierra Leone.’

According to the World Health Organisation, there were 33 confirmed new cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone in the week of March 22…


Sierra Leone Loses Track of Millions in Ebola Funds

A health worker and patient at the Borma Foya Hospital in Sierra Leone. A report says government ministers lost track of millions of dollars in emergency funds to fight the Ebola virus. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — A report by Sierra Leone’s national auditor says government ministers lost track of more than $3 million in internal emergency funds to fight the Ebola virus, impairing the response to the disease.

There is no paperwork to support payments of 14 billion leones, or $3.3 million, from government Ebola accounts, while $2.5 million in disbursements had incomplete documentation, the country’s auditor general, Lara Taylor-Pearce, said in the report.

The accounting lapses ultimately resulted in “a reduction in the quality of service delivery in the health sector,” according to the report, which was posted on the Audit Service’s website. It was presented to Parliament on Friday.

“It is hoped that adequate action will be taken to address issues raised in this report,” the report added.

The country of six million has had almost 11,000 Ebola cases and 3,363 deaths during the epidemic, which has raged in West Africa for nearly a year.

From May to October 2014, the period covered by the audit, the government spent more than $19 million on its Ebola response.

The money came from taxes and donations from institutions and individuals, mostly within Sierra Leone, and the figure does not include funds from the United Nations or charities, the report said…


British nurse battling Ebola in London hospital is in ‘critical condition’

Pauline Cafferkey

A Glaswegian nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola after returning to the UK from Sierra Leone is in critical condition, it is understood.

Pauline Cafferkey was transferred to the Royal Free London Hospital on Monday to receive treatment for the virus which has so far killed thousands across west Africa.

The 39-year-old was reportedly sitting up and talking in recent days, but has ‘deteriorated’ into a critical condition, hospital sources said today.

It comes as another suspected case of Ebola was reported in Gloucestershire this afternoon.

A brief statement on the hospital’s website said: ‘The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust is sorry to announce that the condition of Pauline Cafferkey has gradually deteriorated over the past two days and is now critical’…


Ebola case confirmed in Glasgow

A healthcare worker who returned from Sierra Leone on Sunday night has been diagnosed with Ebola and is receiving treatment in Glasgow, the Scottish government has said.

The woman has been isolated and is receiving treatment in the specialist Brownlee unit for infectious diseases on the Gartnavel hospital campus.

In a statement the Scottish government said the patient was a healthcare worker who was helping to combat the disease in west Africa. She returned to Scotland from Sierra Leone late on Sunday night via Casablanca and London Heathrow, arriving at Glasgow airport on British Airways flight BA1478 at about 11.30pm.

The flight from Casablanca was with a Moroccan airline. The flight number is not yet known but Public Health England will be contacting passengers who were on board…


Sierra Leone struggling in fight against Ebola because so many doctors and nurses have left to find jobs in Britain, report claims

Sierra Leone is struggling in its fight against Ebola because so many medics have left for jobs in Britain, it has been claimed, amid reports the country’s health centres are overflowing with victims.

The exodus of doctors and nurses to the UK and other wealthy countries left the West African state ‘woefully short’ of trained medical staff when the deadly virus struck, MPs have said.

It comes as the death toll from the epidemic increased to 6,915 out of 18,603 cases and as Sierra Leone authorities launched a fresh operation to contain the virus.

The Commons International Development Committee has said that a high proportion of the health professionals trained in Sierra Leone were now working in Britain.

The committee criticised the Department for International Development (Dfid) for initially underestimating the scale of the Ebola crisis and warned that the World Health Organisation’s systems for dealing with such emergencies were ‘dangerously inadequate’…


Band Aid 30 single is “cringeworthy” and “culturally ignorant” says British Ebola nurse

Bob Geldof (pictured), however, told critics of the song to “f*** off”.

Will Pooley, who has returned to Sierra Leone to treat victims of the disease, told Radio Times that he and other relief workers in the West African nation think the words to the fundraising single are “a bit much”.

Pooley, who made a full recovery after being treated in London with the experimental drug ZMapp, said he heard the first half of the song on the way to work, at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown.

“It’s definitely being talked about here among my colleagues,” he says in the Christmas edition of Radio Times.

“But stuff about ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ – it’s just like, actually people live normal lives here and do normal things. It’s Africa, not another planet. That sort of cultural ignorance is a bit cringeworthy. There’s a lyric about ‘death in every tear’. It’s just a bit much.”

A number of artists have criticised Band Aid as patronising. Emeli Sande said that “a whole new song is required”, while rapper Fuse ODG refused to take part, saying that he was “shocked and appalled” by the lyrics…

…The nurse urged people to give money to charities “that are setting up treatment centres, that have isolation units and are working directly with patient care”…

Had the West acted earlier, he said, many lives could have been saved. “With an injection of will and resources six months ago, this whole thing could have been avoided and thousands of deaths with it”…


Muslims offended Bob Geldof’s Ebola Fundraiser single, a rework of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” mentions Christmas

Backlash over ‘patronising’ Band Aid: Latest single accused of continuing negative stereotypes about Africa including poverty and disease

Sir Bob Geldof appeared on Sky News and said the concerns of critics, who have described the Band Aid Ebola fundraiser single as perpetuating ‘negative stereotypes’ about Africa, were a ‘complete load of b*******’

It has already raised millions for Ebola victims and is set to go to number one in the charts.

But the latest Band Aid single was yesterday branded ‘patronising’ by African academics and a rapper revealed he pulled out of the recording in protest.

Some said the revised lyrics of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ perpetuate ‘negative stereotypes’ about Africa, and claimed it ignores the fact Ebola has struck largely Muslim countries where most people do not celebrate December 25…

CIA World Factbook figures on religion in the three worst-hit countries:
Guinea: Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 7%
Liberia: Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4%
Sierra Leone: Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%

If the Muslims don’t like it, they can keep on dying of Ebola.  Same for those bitching about ‘negative stereotypes.’

Expecting automatic help from the West has become too common and is now regarded as an entitlement, and thus their sensitive feelings must not be hurt, etc etc.


Greenfield: Ebola docs and nurse care about African, but not Americans

MAINE-web1-tmagSFKaci Hickox

We’re told ad nauseam that the medical personnel who go to Africa are heroes. And that’s fine. I have no objection to them doing their humanitarian thing and then writing a bestselling book about it.

But now that Madam Ebola is in town, it’s hard to miss the fact that these people might care about Africans, but they certainly don’t care about Americans…


Nurse Kaci Hickox says she won’t obey Maine’s Ebola quarantine, threatens legal action

Nurse Kaci Hickox — who remains symptom-free after spending three days in a New Jersey isolation tent after flying home from Ebola-stricken West Africa — remains under quarantine at home in Maine, but for only another day, she tells TODAY’s Matt Lauer.

“I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines. I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me, even though I am in perfectly good health and feeling strong and have been this entire time completely symptom free,” said Hickox, who wouldn’t emerge from Maine’s 21-day voluntary quarantine until Nov. 10.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public”…

She will pursue legal action if Maine forces her into continued isolation: “If the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom”…

See also coverage at The Daily Mail.

Related: Aid workers see hope as Ebola body count drops in Liberia


Australia prompts outrage by becoming first Western country to ban visitors from Ebola-hit areas of Africa

(Health workers in Liberia carry a woman suspected of contracting the virus)

Australia has prompted outrage by becoming the first Western country to ban visitors from Ebola-hit areas of Africa, amid warnings the restrictions could make it harder to fight the deadly disease.

In a dramatic move announced today, the government said it would refuse entry to anyone travelling from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – the countries most severely hit by the epidemic – despite there being no known cases of the virus in Australia.

But a Sierra Leone official condemned the ban, describing it as ‘counter-productive’ and ‘too draconian’.

Liberia’s president urged Australia to reconsider its decision, while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned travel restrictions could seriously hamper efforts to beat Ebola.

The unprecedented moves comes amid calls from Republicans for a travel ban to be imposed in the U.S – something which has so far been resisted by Barack Obama.

Announcing the decision, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament the government’s processes were ‘working to protect Australians’…


Ebola lockdown: British plan to send 3,000 UK troops into Sierra Leone to set up military blockades to restrict movement in attempt to stop the virus spreading

Liberian soldiers patrol in Monrovia’s West Point slum.

Thousands of UK troops would be sent to Sierra Leone to enforce a military lockdown under radical plans to defeat ebola being considered by Britain’s most senior Army officer.

General Sir Nick Carter is leading a review of the UK’s response to the virus, and could use 3,000 British soldiers to impose a blockade and restrict human movement in the African country.

Sir Nick, the Chief of the General Staff, will advise Ministers on proposals, including an increase in troop numbers and using Royal Navy ships to patrol its coastal waters.

The top-level review comes as charity Oxfam said a critical shortfall of Western military personnel in West Africa was in danger of putting lives at risk. It wants troops to deliver vital supplies and build treatment centres for victims.

But defence sources disclosed last night that options to be considered by Sir Nick go much further and include UK troops deploying to towns and villages deep inside Sierra Leone…


How the world let the Ebola crisis happen: Governments ‘cost lives’ by refusing to commit troops and WHO response accused of incompetence

A woman crawls towards the body of her sister as it is removed by Ebola burial team members in Liberia

Governments’ refusal to send troops and the World Health Organisation’s bungling response to Ebola has cost lives, aid charities say.

A catalogue of errors has led to the outbreak teetering on the brink of becoming the ‘definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation’, Oxfam said as it made a rare appeal for troops to be sent to west Africa.

The charity accused world powers that did not send soldiers of ‘costing lives’, warning that there was a two-month window to curb the spread of the virus…


West Africa’s ‘brain drain’: Most of the brightest medical students moved to wealthier nations, leaving the virus-hit nations ill-equipped.

Slow to act: WHO and Western countries have been accused of reacting slowly to the crisis, with aid still only trickling through.

Incompetent workers: Dr Peter Piot, who discovered Ebola, says WHO’s regional office in Africa did not act when the virus began to spread.

Lack of information: An internal report from WHO suggests people in the worst-affected nations were not made aware of how to deal Ebola.

Bureaucracy: The same leaked document says ‘politically motivated appointments’ held up the UN agency’s response.

Not enough money: World powers, including Italy, have been accused of not donating enough aid to countries tackling Ebola.


Ebola survivor Will Pooley told he may not be immune to Ebola as he returns to Sierra Leone

Will Pooley in Sierra Leone with local people who have also recovered from Ebola. Photograph: Michael Duff for the Guardian

The British nurse who survived Ebola has flown back to Sierra Leone expressing fears that the world will return to indifference about the plight of Africans when the crisis abates.

Will Pooley is expected to touch down in Freetown on Sunday evening and will resume work on Monday in an Ebola isolation unit run by a team backed by three NHS trusts and a London university.

He said he “can’t see anything changing” in attitudes towards Africa, where diseases such as malaria have already killed 70 times more people than Ebola this year.

The Suffolk-born nurse said it had been an easy decision to return despite the worries of his family and friends. He has said he cannot stand “idly by” and watch more die. “I chose to go before and it was the right thing to do then and it’s still the right thing to do now.”

Although it is widely assumed that a person cannot contract Ebola twice, this is not scientifically proven and Pooley has been warned that he still faces a risk. “They have told me I very likely have immunity, at least for the near future, to this strain of Ebola. I have also been told it’s a possibility that I don’t, so I will just have to act as if I don’t,” he told the Guardian…


Customs: Over 2,000 Entering USA from West Africa without Screening

Thursday at a congressional hearing on Ebola, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) questioned John P. Wagner, the acting assistant commissioner at the Office of Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection at the Department of Homeland Security about the number of people entering the United States from West African countries.

Gardner first asked CDC Director Dr Tom Frieden, “I think you mentioned there were approximately 100 to 150 people a day coming into the United States from the infected areas?”…

h/t Marvin


WHO to test Ebola preparedness in Ivory Coast and Mali

WestAfrica(Reuters) – The World Health Organization will send experts to test the Ebola-preparedness measures in Ivory Coast [Côte d’Ivoire] and Mali, the two countries at greatest risk of being the next to be affected by the epidemic, WHO’s health security response chief Isabelle Nuttall said on Thursday.

The virus is known to have killed almost 4,500 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea this year, and there have been isolated cases in the United States, Germany and Spain.

The WHO says there have been 9,000 recorded cases in West Africa and a similar number unrecorded, with a 70 percent fatality rate, implying a true death toll already above 12,000. The WHO expects 5,000-10,000 new cases a week by December.

The disease has gradually spread to areas that border Ivory Coast, whose population of about 20 million is roughly equal to the total of the three countries at the center of the epidemic…