Ebola outbreak: A system that failed

first_img Diagnosing Ebola in minutes Between 1976 and 2012, Ebola outbreaks claimed approximately 1,600 lives. But the most recent outbreak of 2013–14, which consumed the coast of West Africa and spread to the U.S. and Europe, claimed more than 11,000. Why was this Ebola outbreak so different?“If you look at what happened in this global catastrophe, it was completely preventable,” said Ashish Jha, M.D. ’97, M.P.H. ’04, the K.T. Li Professor of International Health, a practicing physician of internal medicine in the VA Boston Healthcare System, and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “We knew something like this was going to happen, we had systems in place to prevent it, and they all failed.”Jha spoke at the Harvard Ed Portal on Nov. 5 as part of the Faculty Speaker Series. The lecture featured material from Jha’s edX online course, PH557x, “Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic,” which begins Dec. 3.To understand how the global health infrastructure failed, Jha said, it is important to first understand how the disease is spread.“Ebola is a disease you contract by caring for people with Ebola,” he said. “When a child gets sick, a parent’s instinct is to hold them; thus, parents get sick. Ebola is a caregivers’ disease and affects entire families.”The most recent outbreak is believed to have started with a 2-year-old child named Emile in Guinea, West Africa. Emile’s village, Meliandou, is located near the borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia, which allowed the virus to travel across borders and into cities quickly.Different parts of the world also had vastly different treatment options. Despite the best efforts of one of the only groups to treat the disease at the onset of the pandemic, Doctors Without Borders, Ebola killed 70 percent of those treated in Africa. Outside of Africa, in the same time period, Ebola killed 20 percent of those treated. The likelihood of death from Ebola was largely determined by where a person was infected and where they received treatment.In many ways, Jha said, “we got lucky. If this had been a different virus, it could have been dramatically worse.” For example, Jha noted, Ebola isn’t an airborne disease and it’s not that infectious. He argued that the death count could have been close to zero if the organizations involved had made different choices. “The countries didn’t have the proper resources,” Jha said. He highlighted that, while critical, it is not just about treating individual patients. “The World Health Organization [WHO] mostly downplayed the outbreak, and when the WHO said [Ebola] might be getting out of control, the leadership of the countries involved asked them not to do so. Why? Because of how it would look in the public eye.“It’s never just one entity that creates a situation like this, but multiple entities creating a terrible situation,” he said. “If the world had responded differently in June 2014, we would be talking about a thousand deaths rather than 11,000.”Last fall, it became clear to Jha and other leaders that the response had been a disaster. Julio Frenk, then dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, worked with Jha and Suerie Moon to pull together a task force. Their goal was to better understand what had happened and how to prevent it from happening again. The task force’s findings will be published in The Lancet on Nov. 23. (Moon is research director and co-chair of the Forum on Global Governance for Health at the Harvard Global Health Institute, among other positions. Frenk is currently the president of the University of Miami.)“It became clear to us that no one else was going to do it,” Jha said. “No one else was going to do an honest assessment of what went wrong.”An important insight for Jha, he said, was the realization that “the university is a voice for civil society. There is no other obvious choice. Institutions and universities like Harvard have to be the independent voice of the citizenry. What is clear to me is that containing the next epidemic will require getting in front of the policymakers and for universities to take a leadership role.”The report is made up of contributions from practitioners and experts in the field. This approach allowed Jha, and the task force, to pull together diverse insights on what actually happened and how we might do better next time.The event spoke to the world’s continuous global health challenges, said Rob Lue, the faculty director of the Harvard Ed Portal and of HarvardX, professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology, and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.“How the world responded to the most recent Ebola crisis obviously shapes how we’ll respond to other outbreaks and pandemics in the future,” Lue said.“Professor Jha has a unique insight into what we learned, and what we can — and should — do differently going forward,” Lue continued. “His ability to look at the epidemic through international, national, and local lenses will be invaluable to our hospitals, our policymakers, and anyone interested in safeguarding themselves.”Register for Jha’s HarvardX course by clicking here. The course, which is free, begins Dec. 3. New test, successful in field trial, may prove game-changer for treatment, containment Relatedlast_img read more

Jamestown Health Care Provider Seeking Protective Equipment, Cleaning Supplies

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: PixabayJAMESTOWN – A health care provider in Jamestown is asking for the community’s help in obtaining crucial protective equipment and cleaning supplies.The Chautauqua Center on Tuesday launched a supply drive in an effort to encourage donations.The Center is seeking donations of the following items from community members and organizations:Disinfecting wipesGlovesSurgical masksN-95 masksFace/eye shieldsSurgical gownsCenter officials say it is crucial that health care workers have access to the protective equipment and cleaning supplies needed to keep them safe on the job. Any items that are collected will be used at the clinic sites and, if possible, shared with hospitals and other health organizations.“We are hoping to see donations from groups such as dental providers who have temporarily closed, construction companies and individuals who have a large supply of a specific item. Every little bit helps, and the sooner the better” said Dan Courtney, Marketing Assistant at the Center.To limit personal contact, drop boxes for these items have been set up.In Jamestown, items can be left outside, under the covered parking area at 107 Institute St. In Dunkirk, items can be deposited in the lobby of the dental/behavioral health clinic at 314 Central Ave.Donors are asked to drop items in the box, with staff collecting, cleaning and distributing donations appropriately. Large donations can be arranged and/or picked up by staff by calling (716) 484-4334 ext. 1314 or emailing [email protected]last_img read more

Lady Indians Wins Softball Sectional Title-Area Softball Sectional Scores (5-23)

first_imgArea Softball Sectional ScoresWednesday  (5-23)Class 2A-Sectional 45 @ MilanChampionshipMilan  4     Southwestern  1Class 3A-Sectional 29 @ Franklin CountyFranklin County  1     Batesville  0South Dearborn  6     Madison  5Class 1A-Sectional 60 @ Rising SunHauser  3     North Decatur  1Jac-Cen-Del  4     South Decatur  0Class 4A-Sectional 14 @ East CentralShelbyville  1     Bloomington North  0Bloomington South  3     East Central  2last_img

Toddler pulls gun from toy box in Boynton Beach

first_imgA Boynton Beach woman is charged with child neglect after a toddler in her home pulled a gun out of a toy box.The Department of Children and Families went to the home of Rosalyn Faniel, 34, on June 13 to investigate reports of possible child neglect.While interviewing Faniel, a child in the home on Northeast 13th Avenue started to bring his toys out of the bedroom and into the living room.One of the toys the child brought out was labeled “my little learning.” The child pulled out a black semi-automatic pistol from inside of the box.Police confiscated the gun, which was loaded with a bullet in the chamber and the safety off.Police also found a yellow box of 9 mm ammunition sitting on the top of the refrigerator in plain sight, and a pink makeup bag containing six small plastic bags of white powder which later came back positive as Oxycodone.last_img read more

Arsenal held by Hull in FA Cup, Everton win, Reading beat West Brom

first_imgArsenal were left frustrated as Championship side Hull City forced an FA Cup fifth-round replay after a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium.Arsenal, who beat Hull in the 2014 FA Cup final, had much the better of the game but were repeatedly denied by Hull keeper Eldin Jakupovic.Although Hull enjoyed occasional chances on the counter, Arsene Wenger’s men dominated the first half at the Emirates Stadium, with Mohamed Elneny, Danny Welbeck — making his first start since April — and Theo Walcott all going close.The pattern continued in the second half, with Walcott and Alex Iwobi both threatening before Joel Campbell saw a free kick tipped onto the post, while Jakupovic then produced another excellent save to keep out a deflected Welbeck strike.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain flashed a shot wide in the 87th minute and Alexis Sanchez saw a free kick saved in injury time as Hull held on to secure a replay at the KC Stadium. Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku struck for Everton in a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth to book their place in the FA Cup quarterfinals.Bournemouth had the chance to take the lead in the first half after winning a penalty following a James McCarthy handball, however, Charlie Daniels’ spot kick was saved by Joel Robles.Everton made the hosts pay for that miss shortly after the restart as Barkley fired them into the lead with a deflected effort that looped over Adam Federici.And Lukaku made sure of the win for the Toffees 14 minutes from time, converting from close-range after Gareth Barry had flicked on a Bryan Oviedo corner. Championship side Reading eliminated West Bromwich Albion with a 3-1 win to reach the quarterfinals of the competition.West Brom took the lead through Darren Fletcher nine minutes into the second half, with the midfielder finding the corner of the net with a low strike.However, the home side were level just a few minutes later when Paul McShane powered a header past Ben Foster following Oliver Norwood’s delivery.And Reading then turned the game around in the 72nd minute, with Michael Hector guiding home another ball into the box from Norwood.West Brom piled on the pressure in the closing stages as they went in search of an equaliser, with Saido Berahino seeing an effort cleared off the line, only for Reading substitute Lucas Piazon to kill the game off with a strike in injury time. Watford booked their place in the last eight of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory over Leeds United thanks to a Scott Wootton own goal.Wootton turned into his own net eight minutes after the break, diverting Ben Watson’s cross past Marco Silvestri at the far post.Watford pushed for a second late on, with Jose Holebas and Etienne Capoue both going close, but the hosts were unable to find another.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Athletes leave Cameron Blazers

first_img “He (Cameron) has a strong personal relationship with (Javere) Bell in particular, and I know that he wishes him all the best and would want to see the very best from him wherever he decides to go or whatever decision he takes,” added Anderson, who is also an official at the Cameron Blazers club. “The focus this year is to keep a small group and focus on individuals, especially in the quarter-mile events. The determination is to focus all the energy towards getting everyone in the group to a world-beater level,” Anderson said. “Mr Cameron is happy with the present make-up of the group. There is a nice mix of youth and experience, and the efforts will be geared towards ensuring that the excitement of the youth is guided by the knowledge of those who are more experienced.” In addition to Hyde and James, the group also consists of the likes of Kaliese Spencer and Christine Day. Noted coach Bert Cameron has offered best wishes to his long-time charge Javere Bell and Bobby-Gaye Wilkins-Gooden after the pair’s decision to part ways with his Cameron Blazers set-up ahead of the new season. Bell, who travelled to Rio de Janeiro as a member of Jamaica’s Olympic contingent, is believed to be headed to the Racers Track Club, with Wilkins-Gooden reportedly joining the Akan outfit. Marvin Anderson, one of Cameron’s close advisers, speaking on behalf of the veteran coach, confirmed the departures, while pointing out the club’s focus going forward. Founded in 2012 by Cameron, the 1983 world champion over 400m, the club has enjoyed moderate success, with last season bringing the latest high point at the World Under-20 Championships, where Jaheel Hyde retained his 400m hurdles title, with Tiffany James also claiming gold in the women’s 400m. Notwithstanding, there have been certain letdowns as well, a point that Anderson admitted is not lost on Cameron. “Along the way, there have been some disappointments, and when that happens, people will have to evaluate the situation, and in doing so, he (Cameron) was informed that Javere Bell will be moving on,” Anderson said. “Also, in July, Bobby-Gaye Wilkins-Gooden informed him that she would be moving on.” Wilkins-Gooden, a Pan American and NACAC medallist in the 400m and 4x400m, has been part of the Cameron Blazers Club for the better part of two years but has failed to make headway in her career. Cameron has been guiding Bell, who won the national 400m title in 2013 and qualified for the semi-finals at the World Championships in Moscow a few weeks later, for the last five seasons. STRONG RELATIONSHIPlast_img read more

Health Minister-designate Vows to Absorb Health Workers on GOL Payroll

first_imgThe Minister of Health-designate, Dr. Bernice Dahn, has hit the ground running to make peace with health workers by vowing to do all in her capacity, if confirmed by the Senate, to absorb health workers into the Government’s payroll system.This has been one of the contentious issues between the Ministry of Health and the National Health Workers’ Association of Liberia (NHWAL). Health workers, through their president, Mr. Joseph Tamba, have said that they want all of their colleagues to be included on the payroll. More than 2000 public health workers are not on the GOL payroll although some of them receive other incentives.Dr. Dahn made the commitment when she officially closed the three-day Health System Assessment and Investment Plan Consensus Meeting, which was being held at the Paynesville City Hall.    The Minister-designate’s first public pronouncement, just hours after being appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was about the health workers who had threatened through their leadership to oppose her appointment. She would have to be confirmed by the Senate before performing the functions of the Health Minister-proper.Dr. Dahn, who has served as Deputy Minister for Health Services for the last eight years, requested Senator Dr. (MD) Peter S. Coleman and Representative Johnson Toe Chea to grant a team from the Ministry to convey to lawmakers the importance of putting more money into the health budget so that health workers can be included on government’s payroll.“We will do all we can to get them on the payroll. Even if it means sitting in hot offices at the Ministry just to get them on the payroll, that will be done. We are willing to make the sacrifices in order to get our health workers on the payroll,” Health Minister-designate Dahn assured everyone in the hall.As she left the stage, she received a standing ovation from the conferees, including international and local health partners.Dr. Dahn’s statement has been received in good faith by Mr. Joseph Tamba, president, NHWAL.  As his personal response, he stated, “I want to thank Dr. Dahn for this initiative. I look forward to see it coming to pass.” He, however, added that the health workers’ association was waiting to see what happens.Speaking earlier, Senator Dr. Peter Coleman said discussion on the issue of extra funding to put all the health workers on payroll is now going to be easy for him and other lawmakers who advocate for them (health workers) to their fellow lawmakers.Dr.  Coleman, a former Minister of Health and Social Welfare, further stated that the deadly Ebola virus disease has taught a lesson that there is a need to give health workers good pay.In his remarks, Rep. Johnson Toe Chea also reiterated the need for health workers to be adequately compensated in line with their jobs because their lives are always at risk.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Can Cummings Save Liberia?’ asks Forbes Magazine

first_imgCummings: “I’m entering Liberian politics with clean hands, without political scores to settle, free from any corruption charges or allegations…”-I’m entering Liberian politics with clean hands, without political scores to settle, free from any corruption charges or allegationsAlternative National Congress (ANC) standard bearer Alexander Cummings has clarified reports that he has been out of the country for most of his adult life and noted that despite his travels abroad and working for international companies, “I’ve always returned to Liberia, where I managed a series of philanthropic efforts.”In a FORBES Magazine interview, asking if Cummings can save Liberia, Mr. Cummings said he had always planned on living full time in Liberia after his retirement from Coca-Cola and his decision to run for president came a few years ago when he was discussing with his family and friends the best way he could contribute to Liberia.“We discussed the challenges facing Liberia, primarily the high level of youth unemployment and underemployment, which I have said is a national security risk. However, with proper investments in things like vocational and technical training, the youth can be transformed into a national asset,” he said.“Liberia has come a long way in the last 12 years. It has been safe and peaceful over that period of time. Indeed, Liberia has never been as free as it has been over the last decade. On the economic front, however, Liberia still faces many challenges that will only get worse if we continue down the same path.”He said the upcoming elections are vital and will be the first peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected government to another in nearly 75 years. “It is an opportunity for Liberia to cement its democratic progress. We hope a transition from the Unity Party to the Alternative National Congress will also establish Liberia’s ability to transition from one party to another, peacefully, as we’ve seen in Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere.”Cummings said what sets him apart from the other 19 candidates is that “They are all legacy politicians, current and former senators, and government officials. The Vice President has been in his office for 12 years and was in government for many years before that, with few (if any) accomplishments to which he can point. Senator Weah has been in office since 2014 and hasn’t proposed or sponsored any legislation.“As a presidential candidate in 2005 and vice-presidential candidate in 2011, Mr. Weah hasn’t so much as set up a football academy in Liberia. The other candidates have all been involved in Liberian politics for many years and have had an opportunity to change Liberia. Unfortunately, they have failed. I’m entering Liberian politics with clean hands, without political scores to settle, free from any corruption charges or allegations, and having largely funded my campaign out-of-pocket, free from campaign debts and the patronage system. I have the business experience and know how to jumpstart the Liberian economy. I know how to create jobs and I have managed budgets many times the size of Liberia’s national budget. My sole purpose in running is to bring my experience to transform Liberia.”He said the Alternative National Congress has a clear agenda for Liberia. “In relation to what the government of President Sirleaf has done, we can do more to jumpstart and grow the economy, to create jobs for our young people, combat corruption, cut down on government waste and address the dire infrastructure deficit in the areas of roads, water, and power and internet connectivity.“The Sirleaf administration has done a great deal for Liberia in keeping the peace for the past 12 years, establishing strong democratic institutions, freedom of speech, etc. We will reduce the salaries and allowances of senior government officials, use those savings to increase the pay of our civil servants, strengthen the capacity and independence of our anti-corruption institutions, privatize infrastructure development, simplify the tax code and expand the tax base, with the goal of increasing the government budget from around US$600M today to around US$2B at the end of my first term.”Cummings said the Liberian economy has faced significant challenges in recent years, including the Ebola outbreak and the drop in commodity prices, but if elected, his administration will immediately tackle waste and corruption in government and redeploy those resources into more productive areas.“We need to approach job creation from a short term and long term perspective. The needs are immediate, so right away we begin putting young Liberians to work in their communities by providing credit to small businesses where private capital isn’t available, and making strategic investments in agriculture and infrastructure to unlock the full potential of the Liberian agriculture sector, which is our largest employer. We can also begin making investments in teacher training, vocational and adult education that will pay dividends in the long term and empower our unemployed, underemployed or unemployable citizens to take advantage of (or create their own) economic opportunities down the road.”Cummings said some of the wages and allowances for senior government officials and legislators have gotten completely out of control and the allowances for ministers vary by position, but some ministers get US$15,000 a month in salary and allowances. “My administration would cut that salary and allowance in half, and double the pay of a teacher making it US$100 a month. We need to reduce our spending at the top and increase the salaries of teachers, nurses, police officers, and other civil servants. Also, all 69 ANC legislative aspirants have signed a pledge to reduce their salary and wages by 50 percent, as that decision would obviously require legislative action.”He said his administration will reduce the size of “our bureaucracy and automate some of our government systems, including payroll, so we can operate more efficiently and transparently. We need to strengthen the capacity and independence of our integrity institutions, including the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), and the Internal Auditing Agency (IAA). President Sirleaf has also proposed to establish a special court to fast track corruption cases, which is an idea I support.”Forbes is an American business magazine headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. Published bi-weekly, it features original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics. Forbes also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science, politics, and law.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more