Today, World Bank HQ hosted a round table discussion on plans for ‘Ebola Recovery’ in West Africa. Heads of state of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries that still have cases of Ebola, were present and outlined their recovery plans to finance and development ministers and international partners. The event aimed to “build global support for the three Ebola-affected countries to get to and sustain zero cases, jumpstart recovery and build more resilient health systems and economies.” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced that the WB Group would be donating $650 million towards the Ebola Recovery effort; he also noted that a ‘Catastrophe, Containment and Relief’ trust fund has been set up to co-ordinate funds from other donors (fundraising continues).
Now that Ebola cases are declining, the epidemic seems to have been well-contained and the world’s media are no longer very interested in Ebola, why is so much money being pledged anew to the cause? The answer ...continue reading →
Alireza Jalali, MD, is Interim Head of Anatomy in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and Social Media Adviser to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
At a recent conference I was approached by more than a few colleagues and asked about the Kardashian Index (K-index). For those oblivious to the term, K-index is a ratio of a researcher’s Twitter followers (as a measure of “celebrity”) over the number of their research citations (as a measure of “scientific value”). The authors of the article that defined it imply, and I quote: “A high K-index is a warning to the community that researcher X may have built their public profile on shaky foundations, while a very low K-index suggests that a scientist is being undervalued.” Many physicians were wondering if they should maintain their presence in “Twitterverse” (cyberspace area of Twitter, with more than 500 million active users) as academic community may view this negatively. I found this thought-provoking, particularly in a time when misinformation on Ebola is wide spread across internet and the presence of physicians, as health advocates and educators, in the digital world is important and can even be viewed as a part of their social accountability.
Along with CMAJ's editorial fellow, Moneeza Walji, I'm navigating my way through the more than 1,100 sessions on relevant public health topics that are on offer at the APHA conference this week. Yesterday I attended a session on the Ebola epidemic. Prior to coming to New Orleans, I was disappointed to hear that the State of Louisiana had issued a rather prohibitive public health advisory. The advisory calls on individuals who have traveled to the Ebola affected countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea, or who may have been exposed to Ebola virus in the previous three weeks, not to travel to New Orleans. This, despite the CDC’s assurance that 1) Ebola can only be spread by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids and 2) people with Ebola cannot spread the virus until symptoms appear.
My first instinct was to blog about my frustration with fear-based policies; my disappointment that the state felt the need to over-rule the judgement of the APHA and its members; and my outrage that the 13,000 APHA conference delegates were being deprived of our right to learn about this major international public health crisis from those with first-hand knowledge of the situation. Fortunately, I didn’t get a chance to write that emotional knee-jerk reaction blog.
The APHA’s response to the State-imposed travel ban was much more diplomatic.
In it, Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the APHA, acknowledged the APHA’s disagreement with the policy, their efforts to communicate their concerns to state and local leaders and their recognition that State has the best interests of the people of Louisiana [and 13,000 APHA conference delegates] at heart. The APHA has also made available pink ribbons ...continue reading →