UN Security Council adopts special mission for Ebola

first_imgThe United Nations (UN) Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution to create a special mission—the first ever geared to a public health crisis—to coordinate and help steer the increasing flow of global resources to battle West Africa’s Ebola epidemic.Addressing the council ahead of the vote, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan, MD, MPH, told the group, “The WHO has managed many big outbreaks, but this event is different. It’s the biggest peacetime challenge we have ever faced.””This is a threat to national security, beyond the outbreak countries,” she said. The proceedings were webcast today on the UN’s site.David Nabarro, MD, senior UN system coordinator for Ebola disease, praised the work and contributions countries have made and will make and said what’s needed is a strong backbone of support to coordinate the efforts.The resolution had more than 130 member country cosponsors, which Samantha Power, US representative to the UN, said was the most for any of the 2,176 resolution since the the global body was created. “But it’s what happens next that counts.”‘We need your help . . . now’Jackson Niamah, a Doctors without Border (MSF) treatment center coordinator who spoke to the group by live video from Monrovia, pleaded with the international community for help, and shared heartbreaking anecdotes about his coworkers dying of the disease, countless people dying alone from a humiliating disease, and a symptomatic child being turned away from the gate of a treatment center that was too full to take him.He said the outbreak countries need staff for contact tracing, public awareness efforts, and treatment beds, but they also need basics such as soap and water, which some households don’t have. “We need your help. We need it now.”Following the vote, representatives from Security Council members and several others detailed the contributions their countries have made and are considering. Australia’s ambassador, Gary Quinlan, said he welcomed US leadership and spoke to the need for a massive global scale-up to the response. He said Australia is currently considering how it can best contribute to the effort.Security Council members also heard from representatives of outbreak countries, including one from Liberia who called on countries that have closed their borders to reopen them to ease the response. He said the closures “border on blanket stigmatization.”Ebola infections top 5,000Meanwhile, the WHO today said the number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases in West Africa as of Sep 14 has grown to 5,335, with deaths rising to 2,622. Global health officials have said the official numbers greatly underestimate the true impact of the disease. The number includes 372 more infections and 169 more deaths since the WHO’s last update just 2 days ago.Much of the increase has been driven by steady increases in Liberia’s and Sierra Leone’s capitals, though infections appear to be decreasing in Guinea due to a drop in the number of cases from Macenta, which has been one of the outbreak hot spots.In other hot spots, the number of new cases hints at a possible stabilization in Liberia’s Lofa county and Sierra Leone’s Kailahun and Kenema districts, according to the WHO. However, the agency said cases have increased in a number of other Sierra Leone districts.The WHO also outlined the pressure the disease is placing on treatment center capacity. It said Liberia’s 315-bed capacity is meeting less than 20% of the demand. It said Monrovia needs 1,210 beds, but only 240 are currently available. Sierra Leone has only 165 beds, which meets 25% of the country’s demand.So far 318 healthcare workers, one of the hardest-hit groups, have been sickened in the outbreak, and 151 have died from their infections, the WHO said.Burial teams in Liberia are overwhelmed, with teams handling 10 to 15 dead bodies each day, the WHO said. More teams are being formed to assist with safe burial, with six more teams being trained to work in Monrovia, which would double the number.The WHO said its African regional office just completed a response plan for unaffected countries in the region, which will receive support to reach EVD outbreak readiness goals.See also:Sep 18 Margaret Chan speech before the UN Security CouncilSep 18 WHO Ebola roadmap updatelast_img read more

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Ghana electoral commission begins voter register cleanup

first_imgGhana’s president fires electoral commission head, two deputies Electoral Commission of Zambia targets to register 9 million voters Ghana’s ruling party accuses opposition of bribing electoral commissioncenter_img Ghana’s Electoral Commission Introduces Online, USSD Voters Registration Process.PHOTO/AllAfrica Ghana’s Electoral Commission Introduces Online, USSD Voters Registration Process.PHOTO/AllAfricaAhead of the country’s general election in December, Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has begun cleaning the roll of voters, a local election official said Wednesday.The processes, if completed, will ensure that only eligible Ghanaians would have their names on the voters’ register, said Director for Electoral Services Serebour Quaicoe.“We have begun the process of cleaning the register to make it credible ahead of the polls. We have a committee in place that is looking into such cases. We are also doing deduplication to remove multiple registrations,” Serebour told local media.The official assured the public and the international community that the commission was poised to deliver credible register for the presidential and parliamentary elections in December.Ghana’s electoral body held mass registration of voters ahead of the polls between June 30 and Aug. 6, and a total of 16,963,306 people were registeredRelatedlast_img read more

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Agriculture officials will revamp migrant worker policy

first_imgThe Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry has agreed to help migrant workers with limited English language skills understand rights and protections.The deal is part of a larger agreement reached in December with the Environmental Protection Agency that arose after some workers said they could not communicate about repeated exposure to pesticides.advertisementadvertisement EPA investigated after receiving a complaint from the group Southern Migrant Legal Services.EPA’s Office of Civil Rights then launched a broader examination of the state agency’s policy on communication with migrant workers.One of the key issues was a state agriculture department that complaint interviews be done in person.Although in-person interviews are not required by law or regulation, the state agency had the discretion to implement such a policy, EPA said.Southern Migrant Legal Services staff members said 13 of the workers involved in its complaint already had returned to Mexico but a 14th worker would have been available for a telephone interview had the agriculture department permitted.advertisementHowever, the Louisiana agency insisted interviews must be done in person and at the Baton Rouge office, according to EPA findings.—AP newswire report; information from The Advocate, http://theadvocate.comlast_img read more

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Farmington bakery needs your help to meet local charities’ bread needs

first_imgby Beverly ChurchOn a typical day at the Sunflour Bakehaus in downtown Farmington, owners Becky Burns and Jeff Pavlik donate their leftover bread to local charities.Sunflour Bakehaus has received enough support to make more than 200 loaves of Old World Bread for charities. (Facebook.com)But the past week has been anything but typical. Shoppers have been stocking up on staples – including bread – to avoid exposure to the coronavirus.“We’re selling out every day,” said Pavlik, with nothing left to give away.To help make sure those in need can get fresh-baked bread, you can pay $2 to buy a loaf of Old World Bread that will be given to St. Christine’s Soup Kitchen, Freedom House, Neighborhood House, and other organizations in our community dedicated to helping those who are struggling.Within 24 hours of announcing their plans on Facebook, Pavlik said people had donated enough to make 200 loaves of bread.“People are being incredibly generous,” he said.If you’d like to donate, stop by the bakery at 33250 Grand River in Farmington, call them at 248-442-2360 and pay with a credit card (a 4 percent service charge will be added), or send a check in the mail.The Sunflour Bakehaus is open Tuesday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. To keep the public safe, only four customers are allowed in the store at a time. You can also order ahead, pay by phone and arrange a pickup time. Your order can be brought to your car if you schedule it in advance. Reported by Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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