By TRG Alerts Admin
The Rendon Group Snapshot Report
Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
West African Ebola Outbreak
The current Ebola outbreak, which originated in Guinea in the early part of the year, has spread throughout West Africa over the last few months. It has killed over 1,013 people and infected nearly 2,000. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have imposed quarantines and many nations have issued travel suspensions, warnings, and bans to affected region. Experimental drug ZMapp has been distributed to Liberia, but the drug has been exhausted according maker Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. The first tests of a vaccine for Ebola are at least a month away.
News Summary of events during the week of 11AUG – 17AUG
11AUG14: WHO reports death toll passes 1,000 (AP)
12AUG14: WHO ethics panel approves the use of experimental drugs to treat Ebola patients (LAT)
13AUG14: Guinea President Conde declares “national health emergency” (AFP)
14AUG14: AU pledges $1mln USD to fight epidemic (XIN)
14AUG14: US State Dept. orders the families of its diplomats in Sierra Leone to evacuate due to Ebola fears (REUT)
15AUG14: West African nations send athletes home after being stigmatized in International Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China (LAT)
15AUG14: EU foreign ministers calls for international coordination to contain Ebola (XIN)
16AUG14: Kenya bans flights to Ebola –affected West African countries (XIN)
Sample of Twitter handles regarding the West African Ebola outbreak:
@DrFriedenCDC– Dr. Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, and Director, Centers for Disease Control
@drewfhinshaw – Drew Hinshaw, Wall Street Journal, West Africa
@africanreporter – Arjen Westra, Africareporter.net
@hniman – Henry L Niman, PhD, Founder, Recombinomics
@KenRoth – Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the West African Ebola outbreak:
Arthur L. Caplan, Professor of Bioethics, New York University’s Langone School of Medicine
“If you’re going to say ‘no’ to the healer who wants to use eye of newt to cure Ebola, you’ve got to do it respectfully, or you’ll lose them…. Whenever there is fear, misery and death, there are people who will take your money promising you a cure. It happens here — we all remember laetrile and the Hoxsey cure.”
– Agencies Issue Warnings Over Bogus Ebola Cures, 15AUG14, New York Times
Lindis Hurum, Project Coordinator, Doctors Without Borders
“I think it will be full very fast, and the situation will continue to get worse. In general it is a very difficult and alarming situation. I can’t stress it enough.”
– Liberia Expanding Space for Ebola Patient Care, 17AUG14, New York Times
Raphael Frankfurter, Executive Director, Wellbody Alliance
“The locals’ seeing this mass exodus of expatriates has contributed to the sense that there’s an apocalypse happening and they’re in it on their own.” Mr. Frankfurter, too, sent his four American volunteers home for fear they might fall ill. They left behind 160 Liberian staff members. “It’s certainly not in line with our values, because it’s just such a glaring inequality,” he said. But “it’s a very scary place to get sick right now.”
– With Aid Doctors Gone, Ebola Fight Grows Harder, 16AUG14, New York Times
Suafiatu Tunis, Spokesperson, Community Response Group (grass-roots initiative to combat Ebola in Sierra Leone)
“When a family member is sick and is tended at home, women cook and serve food to the sick, clean after them and wash their clothes. This role is extended to the medical field, where women are mostly nurses and cleaners at hospitals and do not get the same support and protection as doctors, who are predominantly men.”
– Ebola striking women more frequently than men, 14AUG14, Washington Post
Tarnue Karbbar, Plan International (aid group in northern Liberia)
“Response teams simply aren’t able to document all the cases erupting. Many of the sick are still being hidden at home by their relatives, too fearful of going to an Ebola treatment center. Others are buried before the teams can get to the area, he said. In the last several days, some 75 cases have emerged in a single district.”
– Ebola Virus: Outbreak Could Last Six More Months, 15AUG14, Wall Street Journal
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the West African Ebola outbreak:
1. President Xi: China to continue help to fight Ebola
Media: Xinhua (China)
Date: 16 August 2014
NANJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping on Saturday vowed that China will continue to help international control of the Ebola epidemic in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
China will continue to make joint efforts with the international community to prevent and control the outbreak, Xi said in a meeting before the opening ceremony of the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games scheduled in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, on Saturday evening.
China has provided emergency medical material assistance to Ebola-hit countries and sent expert groups. China’s medical teams in the countries are working with local staff, according to Xi.
2. Agencies Issue Warnings Over Bogus Ebola Cures
Media: New York Times
Byline: DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Date: 15 August 2014
Panic over Ebola has the makers of dietary supplements aggressively targeting Africans, claiming to have a cure for the lethal virus.
Late this week, both the World Health Organization and the United States Food and Drug Administration issued strong warnings about false Ebola cures. The latter threatened American companies with penalties if they continue making such claims.
Neither agency listed products or companies they accused of fraud or explained why they had acted so suddenly.
Nigeria’s health minister was widely reported on Thursday to have endorsed an American nutritional supplement, one that the W.H.O. said was an example of the sort of “false rumors of effective products” it was trying to quell.
Earlier this week, a W.H.O. expert panel ruled it ethical to try some experimental drugs to fight this outbreak; some supplement makers have implied that ruling constituted permission for use of their products, though a top W.H.O. official emphasized that it did not.
3. With Ebola Cases Still Few, Populous Nigeria Has Chance to Halt Its Outbreak
Media: New York Times
Byline: Denise Grady
Date: 15 August 2014
Health workers have fought the Ebola outbreak to a tentative standstill in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, offering at least a chance to eradicate the disease there before it spins out of control, as it has in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where a sluggish response failed to halt it early.
Nigeria’s small number of cases — 11 confirmed and one suspected — provides a brief window in which to wipe out Ebola. If these efforts fail, the death toll could be horrific. The cases have occurred in Lagos, a city with 20 million people, many of them jammed into teeming slums where the virus could become unstoppable.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said health officials were watching Nigeria with intense interest, because of its huge population and because it is much more of a crossroads than the other three countries, in much closer touch with the rest of Africa.
4. Ebola Virus: For Want of Gloves, Doctors Die
Media: Wall Street Journal
Byline: Drew Hinshaw
Date: 16 August 2014
SERGEANT KOLLIE TOWN, Liberia—Rubber gloves were nearly as scarce as doctors in this part of rural Liberia, so Melvin Korkor would swaddle his hands in plastic grocery bags to deliver babies.
His staff didn’t bother even with those when a woman in her 30s stopped by complaining of a headache. Five nurses, a lab technician—then a local woman who was helping out—cared for her with their bare hands.
Within weeks, all of them died. The woman with a headache, they learned too late, had Ebola.
5. Liberia Expanding Space for Ebola Patient Care
Media: New York Times
Byline: Sheri Fink
Date: 17 August 2014
Doctors Without Borders began accepting patients on Sunday at what is intended to be the organization’s largest-ever Ebola treatment center, near Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.
The opening came a day after an improvised holding center at a former school in the densely packed West Point neighborhood of Monrovia was overrun by protesters who broke through the gates and carried away patients and supplies, including contaminated mattresses.
On Sunday, the community’s elders and leadership apologized for the disturbance, and public health workers hoped to reopen the West Point center on Monday, said Samuel Tarplah, 48, a nurse who ran it. “I believe we will get all the patients back,” he added.
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