Could an emergency declaration over Ebola make a bad situation worse?

first_img“I do not see what a PHEIC is going to add,” said Ilona Kickbusch, director of the global health center at the Graduate Institute of International Development Studies in Geneva. Privacy Policy Twice Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, has convened a meeting of outside experts to advise him on whether the outbreak should be declared a PHEIC. Both times, in October and again in April, the so-called emergency committee has concluded that the epidemic, while highly concerning, is not a global health emergency. That decision was based on the fact that, so far, the disease has not spread across Congo’s borders to start transmission in neighboring countries.Tedros, as the WHO director general is called, has heeded the advice against the declaration of an emergency.The chairman of the emergency committee convened in April, Dr. Robert Steffen, acknowledged at a press conference at the time that the WHO is having trouble raising money to finance the outbreak response, and declaring a PHEIC might open additional pockets.But Steffen said that’s not a good enough reason to declare an emergency. “It would be not appropriate to declare a PHEIC just to generate funds,” he said.More funds and more responders might actually increase the danger, said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. Already some of the violence has been motivated by money, with some people complaining that the WHO is actually profiting from the outbreak.“Having a lot of non-North Kivu, non-DRC other nationalities — at the moment I think that could easily inflame the situation and it could get completely out of control from a violence perspective,” Farrar said. ‘On a knife edge’: Ebola outbreak threatens to escalate as violence rises Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. Senior Writer, Infectious Disease Helen covers issues broadly related to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, preparedness, research, and vaccine development. HealthCould an emergency declaration over Ebola make a bad situation worse? “If you say it’s supposed to trigger a call to action and international attention, that’s already happening. If it’s supposed to trigger coordination, that’s already happening. If it’s supposed to trigger international response and monies, that’s already happening,” Kickbusch said. “There’s not enough money … but that, per se, is not going to resolve the problem. You don’t stop a war with money.”advertisement Trending Now: @HelenBranswell The Ebola outbreak raging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where health workers are under attack, is challenging the globe’s capacity to respond. It is also calling into question whether the use of a major weapon intended to address such health crises might be futile in this case.Despite the gravity of the situation, the North Kivu outbreak hasn’t been declared a public health emergency of international concern — a PHEIC in global health parlance. That fact has frustrated some health security experts, who insist it’s long past time to proclaim an international emergency.Other experts argue, however, that labeling this outbreak a global health crisis would not help to halt spread of Ebola in the region. They worry that it could even make an already perilous situation worse.advertisement Related: Related:center_img Hospital beds are stored outside tents ransacked by demonstrators at an Ebola treatment center in city of Beni, in the DRC. ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty Images The outbreak, which likely began in late April of 2018, was recognized as Ebola in late July. On Aug. 1 the World Health Organization declared that an outbreak in North Kivu was underway.In the intervening months, the Congolese health ministry, the WHO, and a range of NGO partners have struggled to stop the spread of the virus. Their efforts have been hamstrung by the fact that this outbreak is occurring in a highly populous part of the country that has been a conflict zone for decades.As of Sunday, there had been 1,705 cases and more than 1,124 deaths, making this the second-largest Ebola outbreak on record.In the autumn, response teams found themselves caught in the crossfire when insurgents attacked government forces or United Nations peacekeepers in the region. But in recent months, the Ebola response workers have been the target of repeated violent aggression; at least three health workers have been killed.The response is the subject of dangerous rumors spread on social media — that Ebola doesn’t exist, or that the response workers brought it to the region. In recent days pamphlets have been disseminated giving the response workers an ultimatum: Stop the epidemic and leave the region within days, or else. The region is rife with armed militia groups, some of which finance their operations by kidnapping aid workers for ransom. “The more money, the more kidnapping possibilities,” he said. “You could make the situation significantly worse.”Farrar acknowledged that if the choice had been his, he probably would have declared this outbreak a public health emergency, but he doesn’t think it would make a material difference on the ground.“I think it’s a bit of a red herring in a way,” he said.Another problem with declaring a PHEIC has been seen in other instances where the tool was used. The International Health Regulations — a treaty designed to combat health threats — stipulate that countries should not penalize nations that disclose they have a dangerous disease outbreak by imposing travel or trade restrictions on the affected country. In reality, many have used the declaration of a PHEIC to do just that.Many countries cut off visas for people from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone during the 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis. A number of international airlines stopped flights to those countries, making it much more difficult for response workers and crucial supplies to get into the region. That could happen again.“The main challenges on the ground are the insecurity and the community reluctance, fueled by conspiracy theories. A PHEIC declaration will not change that; it’s not a magic wand,” said Dr. Preben Aavitsland, Norway’s former state epidemiologist, who was among the experts who drafted a revision of the International Health Regulations in 2005 that created the PHEIC instrument.“We know all too well the probable side effects of a PHEIC declaration: unfounded travel and trade restrictions. This may both hamper the response work and severely affect the local economy, thus increasing the community resistance,” said Aavitsland. He was a member of the WHO’s Ebola emergency committee that met in April, but said the views he shared with STAT were his own. Please enter a valid email address. WHO stops short of declaring Ebola crisis a global health emergency Helen Branswell Comparing the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Leave this field empty if you’re human: David Fidler, director of the Center on American and Global Security at Indiana University, said he believes it is inappropriate to hold off declaring a PHEIC because of fears of it might turn out to be unhelpful or counterproductive.“Those concepts are highly subjective and not clearly anchored in public health principles and scientific data — the things at the heart of what a PHEIC analysis under the [International Health Regulations] is to be,” Fidler said.He, too, suspects declaring this outbreak a global health crisis would not solve the problem. But he is concerned the debate over whether to declare a PHEIC in this case is undercutting the credibility of the tool.“In this outbreak, we have seen this massive gap between experts dismissing its relevance and other experts insisting that calling a PHEIC is critical to managing this outbreak,” Fidler said. “This controversy has the potential to bring the PHEIC power, and the IHR more generally, into disrepute.”Kickbusch agreed some clarification or shoring up of the International Health Regulations and the PHEIC tool is needed, but now is not the time to undertake that work.“In the present political situation, I don’t think anyone should reopen any international document at all,” she said. “It’s much, much too risky.” By Helen Branswell May 14, 2019 Reprints About the Author Reprints Tags infectious diseasepublic healthlast_img read more

Premier League stars to join nation’s final Clap for Carers to applaud frontline Covid-19 heroes

first_img Top 5 Best Budget Hotels In Dubai under AED 400 a night. Rebekah Vardy scores an impressive penalty in six-inch heels What’s This “Trick” Called? Comment Down Below!! Travel Diary // Vietnam 2017 People Slammed By Massive Waves 4 Most awesome bullfighting festivalcenter_img 10 INCREDIBLE Space Launch Failures! Funny Moments Of Football PREMIER League stars will clap for the nation’s Covid heroes this weekend – as the NHS reaches its 72nd birthday.Footballers and match officials will applaud healthcare and other key workers ahead of kick-off to say thanks for their amazing efforts during the pandemic.⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updatesPremiere League players will join the nation in clapping for our Covid heroes one last timeCredit: PA:Press AssociationAs the NHS marks its anniversary on Sunday, stars from across the world of cricket and rugby will also join the ovation at 5pm.Battling the Covid crisis has been the greatest challenge the health service has ever faced since it was founded on July 5, 1948.Millions of staff – from doctors, to nurses and porters – have pulled out all the stops to care for the 100,000 Brits struck down by the virus.BBC presenter and football legend Gary Lineker said: “It is great to see football, along with cricket and rugby, coming together with the NHS, on its birthday, to thank all the key workers with one big final nationwide clap.“So, at 5pm this Sunday raise a glass, share a cuppa or, dare I say it, watch the football with your neighbours, friends or relatives.“Applaud all those who are working so hard and sacrificing so much to keep us all going throughout this period.Gary Lineker urged people to come together at 5pm on Sunday and ‘raise a glass, share a cuppa or even watch the football’Credit: GettyGreg Clarke said ‘supporting key workers is the best way to get back to playing and watching the game we all love’Credit: PA:Press Association“But think about how we can all help come together and start to build even better communities and a country we can be even more proud of.” NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens welcomed the occasion – and thanked all those who kept the country running during the crisis.Applaud all those who are working so hard and sacrificing so much to keep us all going throughout this period.Gary LinekerHe said: “Sport plays a huge part in millions of people’s lives, and is a major contributor to both our physical and mental wellbeing.“As sport returns to our national life following this difficult lockdown period, it’s both fitting and welcome that some of our top sports stars are helping thank frontline NHS staff who have been at the sharp end of our health service’s amazing response to coronavirus.”FA Chairman Greg Clarke said: “The nation, the whole football community included, is enormously grateful to all those who have helped keep country going throughout the coronavirus pandemic.“There have been so many stories of key workers not just doing their job, but going the extra mile to help support their communities and the NHS.“Supporting them is the best way to get back to playing and watching the game we all love.“The FA will be joining with the NHS and Together in remembering all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19, as well as supporting a final and biggest clap at 5pm this Sunday to thank all those key workers and members of the public who helped the NHS during its most challenging time.”Clap for Carers will go ahead for the final time this Sunday to celebrate the 72nd birthday of the NHSCredit: GettyCORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOWDon’t miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.‘Inspirational’ staff photographed by celebrated photographer Rankin to mark 72nd birthday of NHSGOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected] Source: Soccer – read more