Posted on 30TH JAN 2017
tagged Ebola, Liberia; Sierra Leone

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

In this update:
- News
West Africa - People's science
- Vaccine
Recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus vaccine
- Funding
Sierra Leone
- Documentary film
HBO, human stories from the outbreak

26 Jan 2017 Liberia: USAID program to support Ebola survivors takes off
[John Snow Incorporated (JSI) Research and Training Institute on Tue 24 Jan 2017 began the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Ebola Transmission Prevention and Survivor Services (ETP&SS) program at a resort in Monrovia.
The program, which is being implemented by the Advancing Partners and Communities project, was launched by Tolbert Nyenswah, Deputy Health Minister for Public Health Emergencies and Epidemic Control.
In Liberia, The ETP&SS program will concentrate its health interventions on 4 high-priority counties: Montserrado, Margibi, Bong, and Lofa.] [Survivors of Ebola virus disease (EVD)] continue to experience psychological conditions which require specialized medical attention that is difficult to access either because of stigma and discrimination or because expertise to manage such cases is limited in Liberia. Thus, this is an important program being launched by USAID. - Mod.LK]

26 Jan 2017 West Africa: 'People's Science' - How West African communities fought the Ebola epidemic and won
[Three years on from the start of the West African Ebola epidemic, lessons are still being learned. And the most surprising are not coming from the scientists, but from the affected communities themselves; about how, with hardly any help, they tackled the virus and won."...
How did they do it?
"People's Science"; the fact that people in the affected areas used their experience and common sense to figure out what was happening, and began to change their behaviour accordingly.
Paul Richards, a veteran British anthropologist, now teaching at Njala University in Sierra Leone, ... is convinced the main driver of the reduction [of disease] was what he calls "People's Science"; the fact that people in the affected areas used their experience and common sense to figure out what was happening, and began to change their behavior accordingly."...
He told a recent meeting at London's Chatham House: "One of the pieces of evidence which makes me think that local response was significant is that the decline 1st occurred where the epidemic began, so that the longer the experience you had of the disease, the more likely you are to see tumbling numbers. So, someone was learning... People ask me, 'How long does it take to learn?' And we don't know, but on the basis of this case study, it's about 6 weeks." (Byline: Elizabeth Blunt)
[This is a study that emphasizes the importance of working at the local level, even to control a widespread outbreak. According to this study, it was estimated to take 6 weeks for people to learn and adopt safe practices, but it is hoped that learning curve will be faster if there is another outbreak of Ebola. - Mod.LK]

26 Jan 2017: Recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus vaccine elicits anti-Ebola seroconversion
[The Ebola virus outbreak of 2014 has prompted renewed interest in development of a vaccine that could be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis. This study tested the use of a rVSV [recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus] live attenuated recombinant virus vaccine that was genetically engineered to replace the VSV glycoprotein with that of the Zaire strain of Ebola virus (ZEBOV). The results of 2 placebo-controlled, dose-escalation trials of the rVSV-ZEBOV are reported by this paper.
By day 28, all recipients of an rVSV vaccine, at each of the 3 doses tested, demonstrated seroconversion against an Ebola virus glycoprotein.
Anti-Ebola glycoprotein titers were higher in patients who received a 20 million or 100 million plaque-forming unit (PFU) dose than in patients who received the 3 million PFU dose.
Regules JA, Beigel EL, Paolino KM, et al. (26 Jan 2017). N Engl J Med 2017; 376:330-341 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1414216 http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1414216]

24 Jan 2017 Sierra Leone: Millions of Ebola Relief Funds Misappropriated in Sierra Leone
[Investigations have revealed that millions of dollars set aside to facilitate the fight against the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone have been misappropriated. The internal audit report says that at least USD 14 million allocated for fighting Ebola [Ebola virus disease (EVD)] in 2014 could not be accounted for, even as the survivors of the deadly epidemic continue to wallow in poverty, unable to pick up the pieces, reports the BBC.
The stolen cash includes millions of high-risk health hazard allowances for medical workers who risked their lives to offer services to victims of the disease. Investigations revealed that the allowances, amounting to USD 4 million, were never paid. "I was signing for 2 million leone [USD 360] a month, but I only received 1.5 million leone," Andrew Bockarie, a hygienist and former volunteer, says.
In 2014, health volunteers participating in the fight against [EVD] in Sierra Leone, staged mass protests at Kenema Hospital over delayed payments. Those in charge of disposing bodies of the deceased brought corpses from the morgue and dumped them at the hospital's entrance, demanding unpaid allowances.
Bockarie, who took part in the protests, says he didn't receive any allowances for 8 months, which totals to 4 million leone. Sierra Leone's Auditor General, Madam Lara Taylor-Pearce, recently revealed that some of the misappropriated money is still missing 2 years down the line and nothing has been done to bring the culprits to justice. In fact, only a handful of civil servants have so far been suspended.
She further admitted that there was no accountability in the procurement of ambulances and other medical supplies, adding that most of the ambulances paid for were never supplied.]

Documentary films
26 Jan 2017: HBO Documentary Films is uncovering the human stories behind the Ebola outbreak
[HBO Documentary Films is directing its attention towards the West African Ebola outbreak next month [February 2017] by releasing a special presentation of 3 short films about the subject, including "Ebola: The Doctors' Story," "Orphans of Ebola" and the Academy Award-nominated "Body Team 12".
Each documentary short follows a new perspective and subject, trailing the doctors, response teams and orphaned children who struggle against the rapidly spreading disease. Individual film descriptions [can be found at the URL above], courtesy of HBO Documentary Films.]

[Compiled by: Celeste Whitlow ]

Communicated by:

[A map showing the distribution of EVD cases as of 27 Mar 2016 can be seen at http://apps.who.int/ebola/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/sitrep_ca....

ProMED HealthMaps:
Liberia http://healthmap.org/promed/p/54
Guinea http://healthmap.org/promed/p/45
Sierra Leone http://healthmap.org/promed/p/46 - Mod.LK]

See Also
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