MSH, Save the Children & International Medical Corps Announce Commitment at #CGI2015: #NoMoreEpidemics Campaign

Frank-smith

Frank Smith, MA, PhD

Campaign Director, No More Epidemics, Management Sciences for Health

September 29, 2015

On Sunday, September 27, 2015, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), and its partners Save the Children US and International Medical Corps (IMC), along with African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), committed to bringing together key partners from the global public health, private, public, and civil society sectors to build the No More Epidemics™ campaign that will advocate for stronger health systems with better disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness capabilities to ensure local disease outbreaks do not become major epidemics.

Launching later this year, the No More Epidemics campaign will build a broad and inclusive partnership that will engage multiple sectors to share knowledge and expertise and provide the public information and political support for the right policies and the increased funding to ensure people everywhere are better protected from infectious diseases.

Through this Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment, No More Epidemics will create global and local advocacy campaigns, develop case studies and reports to allow people to better understand different countries' preparedness, and how to address any gaps. The campaign will launch a website and social media platform for information sharing and continue ongoing recruitment of coalition members.

READ THE CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE (CGI) COMMITMENT

Chelsea Clinton announced the No More Epidemics campaign commitment during the Ebola Call to Action that came at the end of a plenary session (“Investing in Prevention and Resilient Health Systems and the Ebola Call to Action”) featuring: Bill Gates, Gates Foundation; Michael Gerson, ONE Campaign; Charlize Theron, Charlize Theron Africa  Outreach Project; Ngozi Okongo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria; Michel Lies, Group CEO, Swiss Reinsurance Company; and Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever; moderated by Betsy McKay, global health reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

MSH President and CEO Dr. Jonathan Quick; Save the Children US President and CEO Carolyn Miles and IMC CEO Nancy Aossey represented the No More Epidemics campaign on the CGI stage. 

Watch the video recording of the complete plenary session:

LEARN MORE ABOUT NO MORE EPIDEMICS CAMPAIGN AND HOW TO GET INVOLVED

 

 This Storify story summarizes the CGI2015 No More Epidemics commitment discussed and captured in social media:

 

Frank Smith is campaign director, No More Epidemics, and part of MSH's Global Partnerships, Marketing and Communications (GPMC) team. Frank has over fifteen years professional experience leading campaigns in the international development, humanitarian, and human rights sectors. Based in the United Kingdom, Smith was Director of Global Campaigns for World Vision, and led campaigns and policy work for Oxfam, Plan International, Amnesty International and the International Displacement Monitoring Center. At Amnesty International, he led 3 global crisis campaigns in Sudan, DRC, and Zimbabwe, and piloted the Campaign Against Violence on Women. Frank is fluent in French and Spanish, and has an MA and PHD in Sociology from the University of Essex.

Ebola: Fighting While Surviving

GregDuly

Greg Duly

Country Director

Liberia

March 2, 2015

 

SavetheChildren_Ebola_Liberia_Blog_March_2015As I reflect on the three weeks of my assignment thus far in Liberia I continue to be impressed by the dedication and sacrifices made by the Liberian national staff. We’ve had tremendous support from expats who’ve come from all parts of the world but our team is nearly 90% Liberians. Demonstrative of the incredible sacrifice and effort that the country has made. 

Unlike international personnel, these staff have had to “live” the reality of the Ebola epidemic in ways the rest of the world cannot contemplate. Not only are our national staff expected to work each day – and for the first few months of the epidemic this meant working seven days a week and 14 or more hours a day – they have also had to keep their families safe or find treatment for them. Simultaneously fighting the epidemic while being victims of its brutality. 

SavetheChildren_Ebola_Liberia_Kebeh_March_2015

Locals like Kebeh, a midwife in our Community Care Center, make up 90% of our aid workers in Liberia

The entire team has done an incredible job across a number of sectors, addressing the direct causes and problems of Ebola Virus with initiatives such as Emergency Treatment Units, Community Care Centres and Active Case Finding/Contact Tracing] while also addressing the indirect issues such as getting schools in shape for children to safely learn in them and aiding those children who have been orphaned.

Ultimately it will be Liberians who rebuild the country but that doesn’t mean the international community can’t help. I am very proud of the dedication & commitment of our Save the Children colleagues who’ve courageously left their current postings and offered to serve in Liberia, but I am humbled by the wholehearted commitment by our Liberian colleagues who have really stepped up to tackle this dreaded scourge.

To learn more about our Ebola response, click here.

I’m an Ebola Child Protection Advisor

My name is Amy, and I’m in Liberia responding to the Ebola crisis – the deadliest outbreak in history. It’s perhaps the most challenging assignment of my Save the Children career.

Amy_new

Amy Richmond, Child Protection Advisor

Liberia

October 1, 2014

 

My name is Amy, and I’m in Liberia responding to the Ebola crisis – the deadliest outbreak in history. It’s perhaps the most challenging assignment of my Save the Children career.

Waking up to Ebola
Waking up in my room, this Ebola assignment feels almost routine – like any of the dozens of emergency assignments I’ve been on for Save the Children. My surroundings are strangely familiar. A simple bed, the glowing red alarm clock circa 1982 and heavily screened windows through which stifling hot air wafts, even in the early morning. But once I step outside, I realize this is an assignment like no other. First, I’m overwhelmed by the sharp smell of the chlorine-solution used as a disinfectant here, then by the otherworldly sight of workers fully outfitted in infection control suits, as well as the often graphic Ebola prevention signs. I take a deep breath. Now, the real work begins. 

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In addition to helping kids stay healthy and safe, Save the Children is also proving emergency supplies and nutritious food in the hardest hit areas.

The tragic discovery of little David
The children we’re helping here are facing overwhelming tragedy. Perhaps the most tragic is the story of an 8-year-old boy. I’ll call him David – a common name in Liberia.

On a routine area survey, where relief workers go house-to-house searching for people who may have had contact with the Ebola virus, aid workers came across David. He was in his home – about the size of a garden shed, though not as well built – surrounded by the dead bodies of his family.

I shudder to think what David went through being there when his family died from the painful sickness caused by the Ebola virus. No child should go through that horror. Miraculously, he survived. It’s our job to ensure he can overcome this tragedy and find a safe place for him to grow up.

Why I do what I do
I've been a Child Protection Advisor for over a decade now. I've seen the worst of what the world has wrought on our children – deadly conflict in Syria and Iraq, famine-like conditions in East Africa, devastating hurricanes on America’s coastline, terrible typhoons in the Philippines. And through it all, – children have paid the heaviest toll. And that’s why I do what I do.

 

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Little children think the health workers look like aliens from outer space in their protective gear. The suits might look scary, but they help protect the dedicated workers from the outbreak.

Little ones are always the most vulnerable in crisis – and Ebola is no exception. It’s our job to protect them. My colleagues and I keep kids safe from harm, trafficking and unspeakable abuse. We help children overcome horrific, traumatic experiences. We also reunite children with family members if they get lost or become orphaned. Children need all of this help, and more, here in the midst of the Ebola crisis.

Taking necessary precautions
I know I can’t take care of children, if I don’t take care of myself. And Save the Children has very strict protocols to ensure my good health and safety. Everywhere I go, I use hand-sanitizer, wash with chlorine solution and step through a bleach bath or am hosed with a foot shower. I take medicines, wear infection control gloves and have protective nets to keep other diseases at bay, knowing there’s little access to health care here. And I’m exceedingly careful about what I eat and drink. Although my pants are all bleach-stained, and my hands are raw from the chlorine, I know I’m doing everything I can to stay well, so I can do my job – protecting children.

Making a difference for kids
We work long, grueling days, but at the same time, we’re energized by knowing we’re making a difference for vulnerable children in this crisis. The days are full and varied. In the morning, I read the latest briefings and meet with our Child Protection team on our response work for the day, which may include caring for orphaned or unaccompanied children like David. In the evenings, we work on documents to secure much needed funds this essential Ebola crisis response.

Finally, I collapse on my bed in the oddly comforting red glow of the alarm clock. Ready to sleep for a few hours – and do it all again tomorrow.

To learn more about our response to the Ebola outbreak, click here

Ebola: Coming to Sierra Leone

DanS

Dan Stewart, Humanitarian Communications Project Manager

Sierra Leone

September 25, 2014

 

The first sign is as you enter the terminal building. A crowd forms around a large bucket of water with a tap coming from it. Every passenger joins, and one by one washes their hands before going inside. As soon as you get close to the water you can smell the chlorine, stronger than any swimming pool.

Welcome to Sierra Leone in the midst of an Ebola epidemic.

The second sign is immediately after passport control. An official points a small plastic-handled device at each person’s temple, looks at it and gives a curt nod, before showing it to the new arrival and waving them through. When it’s my turn I see the digital display reads 36.4 °C. Normal. So on I go.

Ebola is tearing through West Africa. It’s infectious and deadly. This epidemic is killing around half of the people it infects, as though their lives depended on the toss of a coin. Sierra Leone has had over 1,500 cases.

The airport itself is on an island a twenty minute boat ride from the capital, Freetown. It’s 5am and still pitch black as I climb aboard, while rain hammers down and the boat rocks from the wind. From the front seat I can see that visibility is zero. You can only tell we’re moving from the way the boat rears every time we hit a wave.

So much has been said and written about Ebola but there’s still a sense the situation here is equally shrouded in darkness. I know the signs and symptoms and I know the steps to take to stay safe.

But I don’t understand. Not what it has been like for this disease to exert an increasing stranglehold over society, seemingly under the world’s radar. Not what it’s like to weigh up the safety of every journey you make.

As we close in on Freetown it slowly begins to become light and I start to make out the city through the murk, stretching away up the shore. I hope that in the coming days and weeks we can say the same for Ebola and its impact. Demystifying the disease is vital. A lack of understanding, fear and misinformation make the perfect breeding ground. Save the Children has so far trained over 3,000 community health workers who go from house to house explaining how to prevent the spread of the disease.

But this crisis is at a tipping point. There are new cases every day and we have a small window to contain the outbreak. Without a dramatic increase in the international response, cases could reach hundreds of thousands.

The third sign comes every time you meet someone. Hands twitch almost imperceptibly and an awkward look is exchanged. Nobody touches anyone they don’t know well now, not even to shake hands.

These signs are positive – they are necessary to help slow the spread. But there is far worse. Basic services are taking the brunt. Pregnant women can’t get the healthcare they need. With schools closed children are at risk of losing their education and with it the futures they dream of. We must shed light on Ebola – to the people at risk and the world at large – and we must stop it now.

To learn more about our Ebola response, click here.