ebola

Creation is built upon the promise of hope, that things will get better than the day before. But it’s not true. Cities collapse. Populations expand. Environments decay. People get ruder. You can’t go to a movie without getting into a fight with the guy in the third row who won’t shut up. Filthy streets. Drive-by shootings. Irradiated corn. Permissible amounts of rat-droppings per hot dog. Bomb blasts and body counts. Terror in the streets, on camera, in your living room. AIDs and Ebola and Hepatitis B and you can’t touch anyone becuase you’re afraid you’ll catch something besides love and nothing tastes as good anymore and Christopher Reeves is in a wheelchair and love is statistically false.
—  Midnight Nation

Fallen Heroes: A Tribute To The Health Workers Who Died Of Ebola

More than 360 African health workers died of Ebola this year. Some of them made headlines around the world, such as Dr. Umar Sheik Khan, the Sierra Leonean physician who treated more than 100 Ebola patients before contracting the disease himself.

But most of the fallen health workers didn’t get that degree of attention. They were doctors, nurses, midwives, lab technicians. They didn’t have the proper protective equipment. As they tried to save the lives of others, they sacrificed their own.

The loss is tremendous. Liberia, for example, a nation of 4.3 million, had only about 50 doctors before the Ebola outbreak. The country has reportedly lost four of them to the epidemic.

In some West African clinics and medical facilities, the faces of the lost health workers stare out from tribute walls: Photos of the deceased are posted in hallways outside offices and examination rooms. A person’s name and job may be scrawled in ink underneath the photo, along with a personal note.

At Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone, the messages included:

“Angie, We all love U but God loves U. May her soul rest in perfect peace.”

“Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.”

“Another fallen hero.”

Continue reading.

Photo: Theses 32 health workers are among the 360-plus who sacrificed their lives in the fight against Ebola. Their names are listed at the bottom of the post. The photos are displayed at the Liberian Midwives Association in Monrovia. (NPR Composite)

So we come up to the end of 2014...

… and many people will say, ‘2014 went so fast’, ‘what, it’s 2015 already?, it was like 2008 yesterday’

But so many important things happened this year

(Ukraine, February, 2014)

So many important things

(Hong Kong Umbrella Riots, September 2014)

in which people united

(Ferguson, USA, August 2014)

to stand up for justice

(Malala wins the Nobel Peace Prize, December 2014)

to stand up for what they believe in

(Beyonce’s Feminist performance at the VMAs, August 2014)

a year when millions of us took to twitter to campaign against inequality

(YesAllWomen tweeted 1.2 million times in 2014 in response to NotAllMen)

(Eric Garner’s last words have been named ‘most notable quote of the year’, December 2014)

a year when we remembered those who fell in years past

(Poppies at the Tower of London mark 100 years since WWI, November 2014)

and paused to remember what once divided us

(25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall)

we also mourned many more recent loses

(Flight MH17 is shot down over Ukraine, 298 people die, June 2014)

(Michael’s Browns family at his Funeral, August 2014)

(Flowers are laid in Sydney after two hostages die at hands of gunman, December 2014)

(Memorial for the 141 students and teachers killed in a terrorist attack on their school in Peshawar, Pakistan, December 2014)

(Ebola kills 7,373 and counting in Western Africa, 2014)

and prayed for those who are still missing

(Flight MH370 went missing, with 239 people on board, March 2014)

(219 school girls taken by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram remain missing, Nigeria, April 2014)

(43 students missing in Mexico are feared dead, November 2014)

But we cannot give up hope

(Gay marriage is legalised in Finland, one of many places to legalise it this year, December 2014)

(Protester in Thailand adopt Hunger Games Salute, October 2014)

(Laverne Cox is Glamour Woman of the Year in a groundbreaking first for Trans women)

nor the courage to say what we need to say

(Emma Watson’s He for She speech at the UN, September 2014)

(Ellen Page admits she is gay in a tearful speech, February 2014)

So when people say, ‘Nothing happened this year’

(The Scottish people vote ‘No’ for independence from Great Britain)

Remind them what happened this year

(We landed a probe on a comet! Philae lands, November 2014)

(A Baby with HIV is cured after a breakthrough drug treatment, June 2014)

Because 2014 was a year that happened

(Ellen’s Oscar Selfie breaks twitter, March 2014)

We all lived through it

(Protests continue throughout New York against racist police brutality, December 2014)

and now we have to remember it

(Germany wins the world cup in Rio)

because forgetting would mean it meant nothing

when 2014 was important

remember that

Remember it for those who cannot remember it for themselves

(Robin Williams, 1951-2014)

(Michael Brown, 1996-2014)

(The 288 people, mostly students, who died in a ferry accident in South Korea, May 2014)

So we can look ahead to 2015, knowing we have made mistakes, but also growing as people and continuing to do what is right

I hope you all have a great holiday season and a happy new year in peace, but please remember all those on this list that didn’t make it through this year. Thank you.

Last Known Ebola Patient in Liberia Is Discharged

Liberia’s last Ebola patient was discharged on Thursday after a ceremony in the capital, Monrovia, bringing to zero the number of known cases in the country and marking a milestone in West Africa’s battle against the disease.

Officials in Monrovia, the city where the raging epidemic littered the streets with bodies only five months ago, celebrated even as they warned that Liberia was at least weeks away from being officially declared free of Ebola. They also noted that the disease had flared up recently in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, the two other countries hardest hit by it.

“It was touching, it was pleasing,” Tolbert Nyenswah, the deputy health minister in charge of Liberia’s fight against Ebola, said in a telephone interview about the ceremony. “There was a lot of excitement because we feel that this is a victory.”

Continue Reading.

He’s alive! #Ebola survivor Sanfa, 14, caught the the virus while at school in Sierra Leone, a two hour walk from his home village. When news came back from several health officials that he had died, a traditional funeral ceremony was organised, mourners shared a meal and food was set aside to feed his spirit on its journey to the next life. But rumours began to reach the community that he was alive - and when Sanfa returned, the entire village turned out to welcome him.

WHERE THE EBOLA MONEY WENT

The U.S. and other wealthy countries may feel good about contributing billions of dollars for the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone and other poor West African countries, but as Pulitzer Center grantee Amy Maxmen documents in this deeply reported investigative story for Newsweek, only a small percentage of the money went to the nurses, ambulance drivers, burial workers and others who came in direct contact with Ebola victims. Many of the workers who risked their lives were simply ripped off.

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of nurses and other frontline staff fighting Ebola have been underpaid throughout the outbreak – and many remain so today,” writes Amy. “Instead, the vast majority of money, donated from the taxpayers of the UK, the US and two-dozen other countries, went directly to Western agencies, more than 100 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and to the UN.”  In fact, less than 2 percent of the $3.3 billion in donations went to the frontline workers.

Amy’s reporting exposes serious flaws in the way emergency aid is delivered in developing countries. “Infectious disease scientists guarantee this will not be the last outbreak in our lifetimes,” she says. “To prepare for the next one, Bill Gates, the UN, and the WHO have released recommendations. Their advice includes equipment, isolation units, affordable healthcare, workshops for nurses, surveillance systems, technological solutions, and pharmaceutical products. But none that I’ve found mention pay for nurses in fragile health systems.”


WASTE NOT WANT NOT

The United Nations estimates that a third of the food produced worldwide ends up spoiled, rotting in fields, or being thrown away, “That amounts to 1.3 billion tons of food wasted annually, a profligacy that carries major environmental, economic, and human costs,” according to Pulitzer Center grantee Karim Chrobog.

In a two-part documentary for Yale Environment 360, Karim compares the U.S., the worst offender—where each year a startling 133 billion pounds of food is wasted—with South Korea, a wealthy country that has known hunger and that has adopted innovative programs to cut household food waste and minimize the amount of food that ends up going to landfills.  

The amount of food thrown out in the U.S. each day is more than enough to feed the 800 million around the world who will go to bed hungry. The abundance that Americans take for granted has given rise to a culture of careless waste. As one expert told Karim, “I think if you really dig down to what’s going on here, it’s that people don’t value their food.”


INJUSTICE EXPOSED

When Pulitzer Center grantee Daniella Zalcman set out to document the adverse effects of Canada’s century-plus policy of forced assimilation for native populations she was sensitive to concerns that “images depicting drug use, alcoholism and poverty…can do more to shame and stigmatize the subjects than shed light on the sources of their suffering.”

She came up with a novel approach for Mashable—a series of multiple-exposure portraits that pairs images of the subjects with overlays showing sites where residential schools once stood or text from government documents intended to enforce assimilation. “Each double exposure contains an echo of trauma,” Daniella writes, “which lingers even during the healing process, as languages and traditions return.”


Until next week,


Tom Hundley
Senior Editor

Ebola Outbreak Declared Over

The World Health Organization announced an end to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa on Thursday after Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - the three countries most affected by the outbreak - had not reported a case of the virus in at least 42 days, or twice the virus’s incubation period.

The WHO cautioned that the virus can remain in the bodies of survivors for up to a year, and vigilance was required to avoid new flare-ups. Read more in the New York Times.

Above, health workers enter the high-risk zone as they make the morning rounds, at the Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit, on October 6, 2014 in Liberia. Photo by Reportage photographer Daniel Berehulak, who spent several months reporting on the Ebola outbreak for The New York Times. Daniel’s work earned him a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for photography. See more of Daniel’s work on the Reportage website.