Saturday, September 20, 2014

More Ebola Deaths

Ebola continues to take more lives. Up to September 14, 2014, the death toll in West Africa has reached 2,630. 

Medecins Sans Frontieres had pleaded for a global military intervention in the region. It said the global response to the outbreak had been "lethally inadequate" with countries turning their back on West Africa and merely reducing the risk of Ebola arriving on their shores. 

The WHO added that conventional methods to control the outbreak were "not having an adequate impact". 

Still, China already had medical teams in the three worst-affected countries and the UN said on Tuesday that the number of Chinese medical specialists totaled 174. The country had given financial assistance to the tune of 30 million yuan ($4.8 million) for the three countries in August. And earlier this week, it promised another $4 million. Also, a mobile laboratory team accompanied by a 59-person team from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control which includes epidemiologists, clinicians and nurses is being dispatched, the WHO said. 

On that same Tuesday too, US President Barack Obama ordered 3,000 US military personnel to west Africa. Most of the American effort, which will draw heavily on its military medical corps, will be concentrated in impoverished Liberia -- the worst hit nation -- with plans to build 17 Ebola treatment centers with 100 beds in each. According to The Washington Post, this initiative may cost as much as $750 million in the next four months, which will be in addition to the $175 million already spent. One hundred officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have been dispatched. This does not include the 65 experts from the public health service corps to Liberia to manage and staff a previously announced US military hospital to care for health workers who become sick with Ebola. 

British military engineers and medics are targeting Sierra Leone and they will set up and run a 62-bed treatment center near the capital Freetown. The British government has committed $40 million to fighting Ebola so far, the U.K. Department for International Development announced last week. 

At the beginning of September, France announced that it would be sending 20 specialists in biological disasters to help fight Ebola. As of August 28, the French foreign ministry had donated almost $200,000 to the "French Red Cross" to support the fight against Ebola in Guinea. Medical supplies were also being delivered to the affected countries, and the French embassy has been working with local authorities. France has supported the European humanitarian agency's work against Ebola with more than $1 million in donations. 

The German Foreign Ministry has established an action committee on Ebola and contributed $1.81 million by September 08. The country’s development ministry has also supported related WHO projects with $1.29 million. 

Canada announced that it would be sending more than $2 million worth of medical equipment to West Africa on Tuesday. The country had previously announced more than $3 million in donations to MSF and WHO, followed by a further $1 million August 18.. The Public Health Agency of Canada also has a medical team operating a mobile lab in Sierra Leone. 

Cuba announced this week that it would be sending 165 doctors and nurses to Sierra Leone. 

Last week, India announced that it would be donating $500,000 to help augment WHO's fight against Ebola. The country has almost 45,000 citizens living in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and has been proactive in preparing for an outbreak within India. 

Even Malaysia is donating more than 20 million protective rubber gloves to five African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. They will be distributed among medical workers in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A shortage of protective equipment has been one factor in the virus spreading. 

On Thursday, I was at KL’s Wisma Allianz where I contested in the Toastmasters' Area P1 Speech Evaluation contest.

I could only manage third place, having lost to two better evaluators, i.e. Cyril Jonas and Geoff Andrew.

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