The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
Week ending 25 October 2014

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortiums and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor &
Founding Managing Director
GE2P2 – Center for Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf verion: The Sentinel_ week ending 25 October 2014

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries posted below on 26 October 2014

Opinion: The long-term cure for Ebola – An investment in health systems :: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia

Opinion: The long-term cure for Ebola – An investment in health systems
by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia
Washington Post, 19 October 2014

As the Ebola nightmare continues in Liberia and as we battle to contain the epidemic, it is important to look beyond the immediate crisis. Many more lives will be lost before this dreadful outbreak is beaten, but to properly honor the memory of the victims we need to ask how it happened in the first place and, more pressingly, how we can prevent it from happening again.

After 30 years of brutal civil and political unrest, Liberia was a nation reborn. We transformed our country from a failed state into a stable democracy, rebuilding its infrastructure and its education and health systems, and enjoying one of the most promising growth records in Africa. Then Ebola swept in, threatening to tear apart that progress. It is a terrifying reminder of the destructive power of infectious disease, one all the more devastating given how far Liberia has come.

Without a doubt, part of the reason for this situation is that, with the exception of Doctors Without Borders, the initial international response to this emergency was markedly slow. This gave Ebola the time it needed to overwhelm our already-fragile health infrastructure.

President Obama has since committed to sending up to 4,000 military personnel to West Africa to set up much-needed health-care facilities and to train health-care workers, and last week he authorized the use of additional reserves, if needed. This will help our efforts to contain the outbreak, and we are truly thankful.

Similarly, a suitable vaccine and treatment for Ebola could have helped prevent this outbreak from getting out of control. And, indeed, efforts to fast-track the development of a promising candidate vaccine could potentially help to bring this all to a swifter end, even if initially there were only enough doses to vaccinate health workers on the front line.

But while these are very much welcome developments, they are nevertheless responses to an outbreak already out of control. After all, military field hospitals would not be needed if adequate health-care services were in place. And, as Uganda has demonstrated after several terrible outbreaks, the key to preventing a major outbreak is a health infrastructure robust enough to be able to respond quickly and effectively when cases first appear.

Medical staff in Uganda now have the training and means to recognize symptoms and isolate patients immediately, and they have access to appropriate equipment and protective clothing. Similarly, social mobilization networks are in place to get information out to the people to reduce the risk of spread, while laboratory facilities can confirm cases swiftly. It is a highly effective setup that was created with considerable help from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it relies wholly upon having strong health infrastructure.

In Liberia, a country that never before had an incidence of Ebola, we were utterly ill-equipped and unprepared. What is so tragic is that, until this outbreak, Liberia had made significant progress in building up its public health systems. With help from organizations such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, we have reduced childhood mortality by two-thirds since 1990, thanks largely to expansive immunization programs.

Much of that good work has now been undermined. Having worked its way through the cracks in our fragile health infrastructure, Ebola has effectively brought health care to a halt in Liberia, as people avoid seeking medical attention. There is nowhere to go. So, with the malaria season setting in and routine immunization programs stopped, even when this outbreak is over we must prepare for other diseases to take hold.

Yet, with Ebola having claimed the lives of 96 of our health workers and infected more than 209 others, recovering is going to be hard. This is a huge hit for a country that had barely 50 doctors to care for a population of 4.4 million at the start of this outbreak.

More than ever, we will be reliant upon assistance from partners such as the United States and Britain, and global health organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, to help rebuild our health systems, invest in health facilities, staff and equipment and restore immunization levels. And it’s not just Liberia — any African nation with a fragile health system is potentially vulnerable to this terrible disease. After all, infectious disease knows no borders.

The United Nations has said it is going to take $1 billion to stop this outbreak. Of course, that’s our immediate priority. But at the same time, countries like Liberia need long-term investment to build up our health systems to prevent outbreaks of this scale from ever happening again. We owe it to the thousands of citizens and health workers who have so far lost their lives to be prepared.

Opinion: There is a strong economic case for universal health coverage

Opinion: There is a strong economic case for universal health coverage
Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group
Financial Times, October 17, 2014
[Full text]

Leaders in emerging markets often tell me they want to improve their competitiveness while lifting people out of poverty and protecting a growing middle class from sliding back into it.

In countries including Brazil, China, Thailand and Turkey, universal health coverage has been a key investment. India is the latest to introduce universal health coverage to give its citizens access to essential services.
The economic case for universal health coverage is strong. The recent Lancet Commission on Investing in Health looked at broader measures of growth and found that from 2000 to 2011 health investments were responsible for nearly a quarter of growth in developing countries.

Universal health coverage protects the poor and near-poor from catastrophic economic and social costs related to health expenditures, which impoverish 100m people a year worldwide.

With increasing incomes and the emergence of a sizeable middle class, public expectations for emerging markets’ health systems are rising. Recent surveys in Brazil show that healthcare is a top concern. Meeting such expectations is a daunting task.

Advanced medical technologies are available to emerging markets; their ability to finance them is not. As fast growing health systems put pressure on scarce resources, countries must spend smarter for better outcomes while keeping budgets in check.

Demographics are a big factor. In China, the number of people aged 65 and over is expected nearly to treble from 123m to 330m by 2050, to a quarter of the population. As people age and lifestyles change, the burden of chronic diseases has risen sharply and accounts for 80 per cent of China’s overall disease burden.

Many health systems are ill-prepared. Diabetes is rapidly increasing in Indonesia, yet only half of public primary health centres are equipped to diagnose it. Many countries can’t provide timely access to emergency care for cardiovascular disease or cancer diagnosis and treatment. Our analysis of universal health coverage programmes in 24 countries shows that coverage and implementation are weakest for non-communicable diseases, in spite of the fact that they represent the bulk of the disease burden in emerging markets.

How can these challenges be met?
Emerging markets need to cut admissions to hospitals. In China, admissions nearly doubled between 2003 and 2008. The trend of shifting outpatient treatment to inpatient to maximise reimbursement is costly, inefficient and inequitable.

Reducing the cost and frequency of hospital visits, however, depends on having the right incentives. Evidence from Brazil and elsewhere shows that investments in primary care can reduce hospital admissions. Effective, community-based and patient-centred primary care – co-ordinated with a broader network of social services – can prevent illness, reduce complications and facilitate access to health services across the system.

Recruiting and training more community-based health workers creates jobs, increases economic opportunities in poor and remote communities and enables task-sharing, so doctors and nurses can be deployed more efficiently.

Countries can work with the private sector to cut healthcare costs and expand quality care. I recently visited Aier Eye Group in China, which treats more than 2m people a year for common eye problems, using new technology and operational procedures. India’s Uttarakhand state is piloting a system in its most remote areas with an integrated service delivery network of public and private, community-based and mobile providers supported by telemedicine.

Emerging markets need affordable, smart and sustainable health financing models. Thailand and Turkey have made remarkable strides in using prepayment schemes to reduce out-of-pocket payments and to improve equity. In the Philippines, taxes on alcohol and tobacco have generated significant revenue for financing universal health coverage.

Many of the problems facing emerging markets are similar to those in high-income countries but the solutions are not. Providing effective universal health coverage systems requires countries to develop new models of healthcare delivery and financing to adapt to changing needs.

But the rewards are great. They will increase the health and wellbeing of people and provide a more secure and prosperous economic future.

UNESCO Report: Gender Equality, Heritage and Creativity

UNESCO Report: Gender Equality, Heritage and Creativity
2014 :: 158 pages
ISBN 978-92-3-100050-8
Report pdf:

[From overview]
Women have been particularly marginalized from cultural life. They face many barriers to access, contribute and participate equally in theatre, cinema, arts, music and heritage, which prevents them from developing their full potential and impedes social and inclusive sustainable development.

The UNESCO report on Gender Equality, Heritage and Creativity demonstrates the need to enhance debate, research and awareness-raising regarding equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys in the areas of heritage and creativity. The report points out symptoms encountered in other areas of socio-economic life: limited participation of women in decision-making positions; discrimination in certain activities; restricted opportunities for continuing education, capacity building and networking; women’s unequal share of unpaid care work, poor conditions of employment (e.g. part-time, contract or informal work) as well as gender stereotypes and fixed ideas about culturally appropriate roles for men and women, not necessarily based on the consent of those involved.

Initiated by the Culture Sector of UNESCO, the report brings together for the first time research, policies, case studies and existing statistics on gender equality and empowerment of women, conducted by the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, by government officials, research groups, think tanks, academics, artists and heritage professionals. This report includes recommendations in the areas of heritage and creativity for governments, policy makers and the larger international community.

Report Conclusions
This report provides evidence and suggestions for further action on how gender equality and culture can be mutually reinforcing and serve to achieve positive social transformations with benefits for everyone. As a driver and an enabler of sustainable development, culture determines the way in which individuals and communities understand the world, and envisage and shape their future. Building a better future, in particular concerning the post-2015 development framework, requires strategies that ensure that both women and men have equal rights and opportunities to fully and actively participate in all spheres of cultural life.
As such, this report sought to contribute to the growing body of evidence of the importance of culture for inclusive, sustainable and human-rights based development. Adding a gender lens to this evidence is critical at a time when the international community debates the new development architecture that will replace the existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and that gender equality will likely be a stand-alone goal in the post-2015 development framework. This report is a reminder that the human rights normative framework in place, including UNESCO’s culture conventions, offer a strong platform, based on international consensus, for governments, the international community and civil society to work together to ensure that cultural practices are in harmony with human rights, including women’s rights.

This represents the first global stock take and reflection by UNESCO of the rich albeit complex relationship between culture and gender equality through a focus on the two pillars of creativity and heritage. Gender issues permeate all areas of cultural life: as the DNA of communities,

culture provides a unique space where gender roles and social norms are constantly questioned, challenged as well as reinforced and reimagined…

The gender diagnosis of heritage and creativity identifies symptoms that are familiar in other areas of socioeconomic life: limited participation of women in decision-making positions (the “glass ceiling”); segregation into certain activities (‘glass walls’); restricted opportunities for ongoing training, capacity-building and networking; women’s unequal share of unpaid care work; poor employment conditions (part-time, contractual work, informality, etc.) as well as gender stereotypes and fixed ideas about culturally appropriate roles for women and men, not necessarily based on the consent of those concerned. Lack of sex-disaggregated cultural data is a factor concealing the gender gaps and challenges from policy-makers and decision-makers…

To conclude, the report calls for culture and gender equality to be seen as partners for inclusive, sustainable and human rights-based development. It raises the challenge for the international community of ensuring that policies and measures aim to reinforce and strengthen the mutually reinforcing nexus between gender equality and culture. Gender-responsive and transformative approaches can better support international cooperation efforts to safeguard heritage and foster creativity for future generations. This requires recognizing the full potential of women and girls as agents of change and for societies everywhere to support the empowerment of all their citizens as wellsprings for innovative, dynamic and sustainable development…

UNISDR: Development of the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

UNISDR: Development of the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Zero draft submitted by the Co-Chairs of the Preparatory Committee (20 October 2014)
GENEVA, 21 October 2014 – The Zero Draft of the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction is an early draft of the final document which will be adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, next March.

[Excerpt from Preamble]
A. Preamble
1. This post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction was adopted at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. The World Conference represented a unique opportunity for countries to: i) adopt a concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction and ii) identify modalities of cooperation and the periodic review of its implementation based on the assessment and review of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and the experience gained through the regional and national strategies, institutions and plans for disaster risk reduction, as well as relevant regional and multilateral agreements.

The Hyogo Framework for Action: lessons learned and gaps identified

2. Since the adoption of the HFA in 2005, and as documented in national and regional progress reports on HFA implementation as well as in other global reports, progress has been achieved in reducing disaster risk at local, national, regional and global levels by countries and other stakeholders. This has contributed to decreasing mortality risk in the case of hazards,[1] such as floods and tropical storms. There is growing evidence that reducing disaster risk is a cost effective investment in preventing future losses. Countries have enhanced their capacities. International mechanisms for cooperation, such as the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and the regional platforms for disaster risk reduction have been instrumental in the development of policies, strategies, the advancement of knowledge and mutual learning. Overall, the HFA has been an important instrument for raising public and institutional awareness, generating political commitment, and focusing and catalyzing actions by a wide range of stakeholders at local, national, regional and global levels.

3. Over the same 10-year time frame, however, disasters have continued to exact a heavy toll. Over 700 thousand people lost their lives, over 1.4 million were injured, and around 23 million were made homeless as a result of disasters. Overall, more than 1.5 billion people were affected by disasters in various ways. The total economic loss was more than $1.3 trillion. In addition, between 2008 and 2012, 144 million were displaced by disasters. Disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity, and those exacerbated by climate change are significantly impeding progress toward sustainable development. Evidence indicates that exposure of people and assets in all countries has increased faster than vulnerability[2] has decreased, thus generating new risk and a steady rise in disasters losses with significant socio-economic impact in the short, medium and long term, especially at the local and community level. Recurring small scale, slow-onset and extensive disasters particularly affect communities, households and small and medium enterprises and constitute a high percentage of all losses. All governments — especially those in developing countries where the mortality and economic losses from disasters are disproportionately higher — and businesses are faced with increasing levels of possible hidden costs and challenges to meet financial and other obligations. The security of people, communities and countries may also be affected.

4. We are at a crossroads. It is urgent and critical to anticipate, plan for and act on risk scenarios over at least the next 50 years to protect more effectively human beings and their assets, and ecosystems.

5. There has to be a broader and a more people-centred preventive approach to disaster risk. Enhanced work to address exposure and vulnerability and ensure accountability for risk creation is required at all levels. More dedicated action needs to be focused on tackling underlying risk drivers and compounding factors, such as demographic change, the consequences of poverty and inequality, weak governance, inadequate and non-risk-informed policies, limited capacity especially at the local level, poorly managed urban and rural development, declining ecosystems, climate change and variability, and conflict situations. Such risk drivers condition the resilience of households, communities, businesses and the public sector. Moreover, it is necessary to continue increasing preparedness for response and reconstruction and use post-disaster reconstruction and recovery to reduce future disaster risk.

6. Disaster risk reduction practices need to be multi-hazard based, inclusive and accessible to be efficient and effective. It is necessary to ensure the engagement of all stakeholders and the participation of women, children and youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, volunteers, the community of practitioners, and older persons in the design and implementation of policies, plans and standards. There is a need for the public and private sectors to work more closely together and create opportunities for collaboration, and for business to integrate disaster risk into their management practices, investments and accounting….

The Role of Research and Innovation in the Post-2015 Development Agenda Bridging the Divide Between the Richest and the Poorest Within a Generation

The Role of Research and Innovation in the Post-2015 Development Agenda Bridging the Divide Between the Richest and the Poorest Within a Generation
October 2014 :: 16 pages
This paper was written by Claire Wingfield (PATH) in consultation with Kaitlin Christenson from the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), Carel IJsselmuiden (COHRED), Hester Kuipers from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), and Maite Suárez (IAVI) with support from John Ballenot (PATH), Jean-Pierre LeGuillou (PATH), Tricia Aung (PATH), and Nick Taylor (GHTC).

Executive Summary
The post-2015 development agenda will provide a framework for identifying global and national priorities and galvanizing action toward poverty reduction and sustainable development for all. Because poor health and disability contribute substantially to poverty, research, and innovation for health is critical to eradicating poverty and should figure prominently in the post-2015 development agenda.

Progress on developing new interventions targeting poverty-related and neglected diseases has faltered because these diseases occur almost exclusively among the world’s poorest and most marginalized populations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Although a clear public health need or gap may exist, this need does not necessarily translate into demand for new and improved health tools. Research and development (R&D) and innovation for health—particularly for the world’s poorest—can help to increase demand by creating new health technologies, expanding coverage of existing tools, and contributing to economic growth.

Gains made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to health (MDGs 4, 5, and 6) have been based largely on R&D investments made years earlier. However, the health technologies that have contributed to this progress are insufficient to overcome existing and emerging health challenges and ultimately to achieve the goals of the post-2015 agenda. Current R&D investments in health are inadequate to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Although there are promising tools in the pipeline—including effective vaccines and preventive technologies against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases; new and improved drugs to treat resistant strains of these diseases; rapid diagnostics that enable early identification and treatment; and female-controlled family planning technologies that enable women to protect themselves and their partners from unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections—to meet global health challenges, investments in the development and deployment of these tools need to be continued and increased to achieve the expected impact.

This paper is intended to build support for research and innovation in the final post-2015 agenda, as well as to stimulate and inform discussion about how to measure the impact of R&D of new and improved health tools targeting the needs of LMICs. The authors build on the work of the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health, which called for doubling current R&D investments in health from all countries to bridge the divide between the richest and poorest within a generation. To achieve this bold vision, the authors contend that research and innovation for health must be a central component of the post-2015 development agenda.

WHO: Statement on the 3rd meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa

WHO: Statement on the 3rd meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa
WHO statement
23 October 2014
[Full text; Editor’s text bolding]

The third meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the IHR 2005 regarding the 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD, or “Ebola”) outbreak in West Africa was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee on Wednesday, 22 October 2014, from 13:00 to 17:10 CET.

This meeting was convened in advance of the 3-month date of the expiration of the temporary recommendations issued on 8 August 2014 and their extension on 22 September 2014, owing to the increase in numbers of cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and the new exportation of cases resulting in limited transmission in Spain and United States of America.

Current situation
The current situation was reviewed. As of 22 October 2014, the number of total cases stands at 9936 total cases, with 4877 deaths. Cases continue to increase exponentially in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone; the situation in these countries remains of great concern. The key lessons learned to control the outbreak include the importance of leadership, community engagement, bringing in more partners, paying staff on time, and accountability. WHO, UN partners and the international community have scaled up their support in these three countries.

The outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal were declared over as of 20 October and 17 October, respectively. The Committee welcomed this development and commended those involved in this achievement.

Cases have recently occurred in Spain and United States of America. The index cases in both of these countries originated in West Africa.

Update by IHR States Parties
After the overview summary, the following IHR States Parties provided an update on and assessment of the Ebola situation in their countries, including progress towards implementation of the Emergency Committee’s Temporary Recommendations: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain, and United States of America.

It was the unanimous view of the Committee that the event continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

In light of States Parties’ presentations and subsequent Committee discussions, several points and challenges were noted for the affected countries and other countries. The primary emphasis must continue to be stopping the transmission of Ebola within the 3 affected countries with intense transmission. This action is the most important step for preventing international spread. Specific attention, including through appropriate monitoring and follow-up of their health, should be paid to the needs of health care workers.

This will also encourage more health care staff to assist in this outbreak.

The Committee reviewed the recommendations issued on 8 August and the comments published on 22 September, and provided the following additional advice to the Director-General for her consideration in addressing the Ebola outbreak in accordance with IHR (2005). All previous temporary recommendations remain in effect. Even though a few cases have occurred outside the 3 countries with intense transmission, the measures recommended appear to have been helpful in limiting further international spread. Additional recommendations follow below.

Recommendations for States with intense Ebola transmission (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone)
Exit screening in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone remains critical for reducing the exportation of Ebola cases. States should maintain and reinforce high-quality exit screening of all persons at international airports, seaport, and major land crossings, for unexplained febrile illness consistent with potential Ebola infection. The exit screening should consist of, at a minimum, a questionnaire, a temperature measurement and, if fever is discovered, an assessment of the risk that the fever is caused by Ebola virus disease (EVD). States should collect data from their exit screening processes, monitor their results, and share these with WHO on a regular basis and in a timely fashion. This will increase public confidence and provide important information to other States.

WHO and partners should provide additional support needed by States to further strengthen exit screening processes in a sustainable way.

Recommendations for all States
The Committee reiterated its recommendation that there should be no general ban on international travel or trade. A general travel ban is likely to cause economic hardship, and could consequently increase the uncontrolled migration of people from affected countries, raising the risk of international spread of Ebola. The Committee emphasized the importance of normalizing air travel and the movement of ships, including the handling of cargo and goods, to and from the affected areas, to reduce the isolation and economic hardship of the affected countries. Any necessary medical treatment should be available ashore for seafarers and passengers.
Previous recommendations regarding the travel of EVD cases and contacts should continue to be implemented.

A number of States have recently introduced entry screening measures. WHO encourages countries implementing such measures to share their experiences and lessons learned. Entry screening may have a limited effect in reducing international spread when added to exit screening, and its advantages and disadvantages should be carefully considered.

If entry screening is implemented, States should take into account the following considerations: it offers an opportunity for individual sensitization, but the resource demands may be significant, even if screening is targeted; and management systems must be in place to care for travellers and suspected cases in compliance with International Health Regulations (IHR) requirements.

A number of States without Ebola transmission have decided to or are considering cancelling international meetings and mass gatherings. Although the Committee does not recommend such cancellations, it recognizes that these are complex decisions that must be decided on a case-by-case basis. The Committee encourages States to use a risk-based approach to make these decisions. WHO has issued advice for countries hosting international meetings or mass gatherings, and will continue to provide guidance and support on this issue. The Committee agreed that there should not be a general ban on participation of competitors or delegations from countries with transmission of Ebola wishing to attend international events and mass gatherings but that the decision of participation must be made on a case by case basis by the hosting country. The temporary recommendations relating to travel should apply; additional health monitoring may be requested.

All countries should strengthen education and communication efforts to combat stigma, disproportionate fear, and inappropriate measures and reactions associated with Ebola. Such efforts may also encourage self-reporting and early presentation for diagnosis and care.

The Committee emphasized the importance of continued support by WHO and other national and international partners towards the effective implementation and monitoring of these recommendations.

Based on this advice and the information considered by the Committee, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment, and declared that the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone continued to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The Director-General endorsed the Committee’s advice and issued them as Temporary Recommendations under IHR (2005). The Director-General thanked the Committee members and advisors for their advice and requested their reassessment of this situation within 3 months or earlier should circumstances require.

Ebola: MSF Urges Immediate Action on Vaccines and Treatments for Frontline Workers

MSF/Médecins Sans Frontières
:: Ebola: MSF Urges Immediate Action on Vaccines and Treatments for Frontline Workers
October 24, 2014
Geneva—Following a high-level meeting on access and funding for Ebola vaccines convened yesterday by World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has urged that plans to get forthcoming Ebola vaccines and treatments to frontline workers must be rapidly implemented. Significant investment and incentives are needed now to accelerate these steps.
“The message we heard from WHO that the people fighting the epidemic will be among the first to test Ebola vaccines and treatments is exactly the one we needed to hear,” said Dr. Bertrand Draguez, medical director for MSF. “Now urgent action is needed to get those promises delivered in West Africa as soon as possible. This needs to be followed by massive roll out of vaccines to the general population once their efficacy is proven.”
“It crucial that people from Ministries of Health, aid agencies, and communities who are holding the response to the epidemic together, and ensuring access to essential health care, are protected,” Dr. Draguez added. “Resources everywhere are stretched to almost breaking point; everyone is at capacity, but it is extremely hard for the people treating and sustaining the response to do it with absolutely no safety net. Safe and effective treatments and vaccines could offer just that.”
Staff who should be prioritized to test the vaccines include health care workers, community workers, and people who support the Ebola response such as hygiene personnel, ambulance drivers, health promoters, contact tracers, and people in charge of funerals. Medical staff providing care for other diseases than Ebola should also be prioritized to receive test vaccines.
While the focus of the WHO meeting was on Ebola vaccines, new treatments and diagnostics for the disease are also urgently needed to allow people treating the epidemic to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
“The rapid development and deployment of safe and effective experimental treatments is also critical,” said Dr. Draguez. “Today, doctors and nurses involved in the struggle against Ebola are getting more and more frustrated as they have no treatment for patients with a disease that kills up to 80 percent of them.”…
…Large-scale investment in all front-running vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics is vital and sufficient resources for clinical trials and post-trial access need to be mobilized by donors now. The scientific data generated for each product under clinical trials should be published in real time, and a pooled bank of samples should be established to facilitate open research. But the lack of approved Ebola products to this point highlights a key issue that must be urgently addressed; the lack of sufficient investment and incentives to develop them.
“Appropriate incentives that give industry a reason to develop these vital tools for Ebola are needed now—government and donors must line up to help here,” Dr. Balasegaram said. “We need researchers and developers to conduct clinical trials in parallel with scaling up production supply, which we know has its inherent risks. Governments and donors must help incentivize this risk, and the path to regulation in getting approved, safe and effective vaccines and treatments on the ground in West Africa needs to be a smooth one.”

United Nations – Selected Meetings Coverage and Press Releases [to 25 October 2014]

United Nations – Selected Meetings Coverage and Press Releases [to 25 October 2014]

Selected Meetings
24 October 2014
Migrants Hailed as Development ‘Drivers and Enablers’, Special Rapporteur Tells Third Committee as Rights Debate Continues
Migrants and internally displaced persons needed identification without fear of detention or deportation to fully enjoy their human rights, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) heard today as eight United Nations human rights experts presented their reports on issues spanning from the right to food to trafficking.

22 October 2014
Human Rights Chief Tells Third Committee ‘Toxic Tide’ of Discrimination, Xenophobia Undermines Equality, Fuels Conflicts, Ebola Outbreak
Rapid response to and prevention of human rights violations had the power to stop crises, from the Ebola outbreak to bloodshed in conflict hot spots around the world, the United Nations top human rights official told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today, as it continued discussions on the protection and promotion of human rights, hearing from experts and almost 60 delegates participating in interactive debates on a range of issues, from the death penalty to water and sanitation.

21 October 2014
Forensic Proof, Medical Records Key in Halting Torture, Special Rapporteur Tells Third Committee as Human Rights Debate Begins
Forensic science played a key role regarding the obligation of States to investigate and prosecute allegations of torture or other ill-treatment, a special rapporteur said today, as the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) began its discussion on human rights.


Selected Press Releases
21 October 2014
Welcoming $50 million in Ebola Trust Fund Pledges, Secretary-General Says More Needed for Rapid, Effective Global Response
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


UNICEF [to 25 October 2014]

UNICEF [to 25 October 2014]

Media Releases [selected]
Ten million childhood disabilities prevented in campaign to end polio – UNICEF
NEW YORK, 23 October 2014 – Every day, a thousand or so children have been protected from disability during a 26-year global effort to eradicate polio. The worldwide campaign has immunised millions of previously-unreached children across the globe, UNICEF said on the eve of World Polio Day.

UNICEF supplies reach children displaced by fighting in Ain Al Arab/Kobane
ALEPPO Syria, 21 October 2014 – Lifesaving UNICEF supplies including hygiene kits, blankets, water and high energy biscuits have been delivered to northern Aleppo where thousands of children from the besieged Syrian border city of Ain Al Arab/Kobane have taken refuge.

UNOCHA [to 25 October 2014]

UNOCHA [to 25 October 2014]

23 Oct 2014
Iraq: UN launches US$2.2 billion appeal for Iraq [EN/AR/KU]
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Iraq (Baghdad, 23 October 2014): The United Nations has launched a USD $2.2 billion appeal to address the protection and humanitarian needs of 5.2 million people in conflict-affected Iraq. “The needs of the Iraqi people are immense,” Neill Wright, acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said in Baghdad. “It’s imperative we step up our efforts.” The third revision of the Strategic Response Plan (SRP) of the UN and NGO…


UN Women [to 25 October 2014]

UN Women [to 25 October 2014]

Women’s key role in agricultural production emphasized
Date : October 24, 2014
African leaders called for greater investment in women in order to increase agricultural production and improve livelihoods, at a three-day Sharefair on Rural Women’s Technologies to Improve Food Security, Nutrition and Productive Farming.

Access to justice is key to advancing individual and collective human rights for indigenous women and girls
Date : October 21, 2014
To present best practices from across Latin America regarding indigenous women’s rights and access to justice, country representatives from Mexico, Ecuador and Guatemala took part in a side event during the Third Committee of the 69th UN General Assembly. It followed an interactive dialogue led by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

UN Women mourns loss of Sierra Leone colleague to Ebola
Date : October 20, 2014
UN Women is deeply saddened by the passing away of our colleague Mr. Edmond Bangura-Sesay on Saturday, 18 October, after testing positive for the Ebola virus. Mr. Bangura-Sesay served with great dedication since 2005 as the driver for the UN Women Office in Sierra Leone.

UNFPA United Nations Population Fund [to 25 October 2014]

UNFPA United Nations Population Fund [to 25 October 2014]

20 October 2014 – Dispatch
Pregnant in the shadow of Ebola: Deteriorating health systems endanger women
MONROVIA, Liberia – Thirty-six year old Comfort Fayiah, in Monrovia, Liberia, never imagined her pregnancy would end the way it did – with her giving birth on the side of the road, in a heavy downpour, to twins. Throughout the three countries worst affected by the Ebola crisis, many women are refusing to seek care from health centres, and some overwhelmed, undersupplied health facilities are turning away those who arrive.

ILO International Labour Organization [to 25 October 2014]

ILO International Labour Organization [to 25 October 2014]–en/index.htm

Youth entrepreneurship
Thinking out of the box: A serial entrepreneur in South Africa
24 October 2014

Maternity Protection
Maternity leave: Women’s survival vs. family responsibilities in Rwanda
22 October 2014

ILO study
Maternity protection: Good for workers, good for small businesses
20 October 2014

FAO Food & Agriculture Organization [to 25 October 2014]

FAO Food & Agriculture Organization [to 25 October 2014]

New online platform fosters efforts to curb food losses through information sharing
The Global Community of Practice on Food Loss Reduction aims to become a global reference point that facilitates the sharing of information and linkages between stakeholders including public entities, civil society and the private sector.

BRICS countries share strategies against malnutrition ahead of ICN2
“Hidden hunger” featured prominently at a BRICS- (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) led public discussion on nutrition held at FAO on Wednesday, ahead of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) scheduled to take place in November 2014.

EU and FAO step up action against desertification in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific
The European Union (EU) and FAO in collaboration with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) have launched a €41 million programme to bolster sustainable land management and restore drylands and degraded lands in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

CBD Convention of Biological Diversity [to 25 October 2014]

CBD Convention of Biological Diversity [to 25 October 2014]

Sustainable wildlife management essential for protecting biodiversity
Montreal, 21 October 2014 – Recognizing that wildlife is an important renewable natural resource, with economic, cultural, nutritional and recreational value to humans, Parties at the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12), held in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, have passed a landmark decision on the sustainable use of biodiversity with regards to bushmeat and sustainable wildlife management.

USAID [to 25 October 2014]

USAID [to 25 October 2014]

USAID Announces New Efforts to Fight Global Poverty through Education
October 20, 2014
Two New Basic Education Awards Will Help Provide a Pathway Out of Extreme Poverty for Children and Youth
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced today two new contract mechanisms designed to provide worldwide support to basic education programs for children and youth around the world. The awards are structured to support up to $1 billion in activities over five years, subject to the availability of funds: $500 million in activities to increase access to education in crisis and conflict-affected environments for 15 million children; and $500 million in activities to improve reading skills for up to 100 million children in primary grades. USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment Charles North detailed the awards today at the Mobiles for Education Alliance Symposium in Washington, D.C.

DFID [to 25 October 2014]

DFID [to 25 October 2014]

Selected Releases
:: UK secures €1 billion European Ebola commitment
24 October 2014 DFID and Number 10 Press release
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has secured a €1 billion (£800 million) funding pledge at the European Council meetings in Brussels, following a call for European leaders to do more to fight the disease in West Africa.
As part of the commitment, the UK has boosted its own response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa by £80 million, bringing its total contribution to more than £200 million.
The Prime Minister wrote to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and fellow leaders last week to warn of the need to act fast to contain and defeat this deadly virus, stating that “if we do not significantly step up our collective response now, the loss of life and damage to the political, economic and social fabric of the region will be substantial and the threat posed to our citizens will also grow.”…

:: Tenth British aid flight delivers medicines for Ebola treatment facilities in Sierra Leone
23 October 2014 DFID Press release

:: Better global disability data needed to ensure no one is left behind
23 October 2014 DFID Press release
The international community needs to do more to stop people with disabilities being left behind, International Development Minster Lynne Featherstone said today.
Development Minister Lynne Featherstone has called for better data collection on disability prevalence in order to improve support for those affected in developing countries.
Speaking at the Disability Data Conference today in London (23 October 2014), Ms Featherstone, alongside co-hosts Akiko Ito, Chief of the Secretariat for the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Director of the Leonard Cheshire Disability Research Centre, called on international development donors, civil society organisations and academics to strengthen the quality of information they collect about disability by using a single method of data collection….

ECHO [to 25 October 2014]

ECHO [to 25 October 2014]

Incoming Commissioner Christos Stylianides appointed EU Ebola Coordinator
The incoming EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has been appointed EU Ebola Response Coordinator by the European Council. Assisted by the European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (…

Ethiopia: EU increases humanitarian funding for refugees
The European Commission is providing an additional €5 million to respond to the needs of the growing number of refugees in Ethiopia. The country has become the largest refugee-hosting nation in Africa, sheltering more than 643 000 refugees. Most…

EU scales up aid to Iraqi population
The EU has increased its humanitarian aid to Iraq, with an additional €3 million going towards assisting displaced populations. With the onset of winter, the funding will support communities to prepare for harsh weather conditions, through the…

Sakharov prize 2014 laureate is Dr Denis Mukwege of DRC Panzi hospital
The European Parliament announced last night that this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be awarded to Dr Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist and Director of Panzi hospital, for his fight to protect victims of sexual violence who…

EU and UNICEF jointly assist vulnerable victims of Ukraine crisis
The EU has provided €500 000 to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to improve water, sanitation and hygiene for children and women affected by the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Through the joint initiative by ECHO and UNICEF, over 60 000 children and…

African Union [to 25 October 2014]

African Union [to 25 October 2014]

AUC, AfDB and ECA confident that countries will beat Ebola Virus Disease
Leaders of three Pan-African institutions – the African Union Commission’s Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Development Bank’s Dr Donald Kaberuka, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Dr. Carlos Lopes – concluded a solidarity tour on Friday 24 October 2014 in Conakry, Guinea.
The visit ended with a confident call to step up resource mobilisation, enhance coordination, fight stigmatization, promote Africa’s readiness for business and its continued rise. Starting off in Ghana, the visit took in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, before rounding off in Guinea.
They met with Heads of Government, cabinet Ministers, parliamentarians, civil society and media in the affected countries, as well as with leaders of two neighbouring countries, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Ghana also hosted the delegation in its capacity as the current President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The primary purpose of the visit was to show solidarity in the spirit of Ubuntu, to shore up more resources to support the Governments and peoples of these countries, and to engage with leaders on their national efforts and strategies in response to Ebola…

Ethiopia Contributes to African Union Ebola Response Efforts

Fighting Ebola: a warm no-handshake reception in Ebola-affected countries

AU-ICRC Seminar on Protection of Health-Care Services in Armed Conflicts and Other Emergencies

AUC Chair takes fight against Ebola to another

Addressing losses and waste across the food chain should be a critical pillar of national agricultural strategies

The Commemoration of the Africa Human Rights Day, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
21 OCTOBER 2014
The African continent has witnessed decades of numerous human rights challenges resulting from a diverse range of factors, which include, inter alia, war, poverty, impunity, corruption, autocratic governance. It is against this background that Member States of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), solemnly resolved to promote and safeguard freedom, justice, equality and human dignity in Africa by putting in place instruments to enforce these values.

The African Human and Peoples’ Rights System with its various instruments and mechanisms paved the way for the advancement of human rights promotion and protection in Africa. It also led to the creation of strategic measures to accelerate the attainment of respect for the right to development as well as measures to assist Member States to respond to development as a human rights issue. Such instruments have an undeniable moral force and provide practical guidance to States in their conduct. The value of the African Union Human and Peoples’ Rights Instruments and Mechanisms rests on their recognition, acceptance and effective implementation by Member States and indeed they may be seen as declaratory of broadly accepted goals and principles within the African Community.

The protection and promotion of Human Rights are keys for sustainable development on the continent and are an integral part of the African Shared Values. The promotion and protection of human rights has been a priority for Member States of the African Union and has been articulated as a priority in a number of the AU Instruments and Pronunciations. The principles and objectives of the AU’s Constitutive Act of 2000 emphasise the need to promote and protect human rights on the continent. This Act includes a number of provisions placing human and peoples’ rights on top of the agenda of the organization. In its Article 3 (h), the Act states that African leaders are determined to “promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and other relevant human rights instruments”. In Article 4 (m), the Act commits African leaders to the “respect for democratic principles, human rights, rule of law and good governance”.

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) was adopted by the OAU on 27 June 1981 and entered into force on 21 October 1986, a day which is celebrated annually as the Africa Human Rights Day. This instrument forms the foundational stone for the African Human and Peoples’ Rights System. The African Charter is unique to other regional human rights instruments in that it not only covers internationally accepted human rights norms and standards, but also recognizes the values and principles that are unique to the African continent. It covers Civil and Political Rights, Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Peoples’ and Group Rights as well as a set of duties of the individual to society….