Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Sunday Times - A land shuts down to fight ebola

"WHEN Oliver Johnson, a British doctor, left home on Friday to drive to work in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, the normal buzz of street life was hushed.

A three-day nationwide lockdown — the government’s extraordinary experiment to combat the lethal ebola virus — had begun.

“The streets were deserted except for small groups of people in bright white T-shirts saying ‘ebola is real’ on them,” said Johnson.

Soldiers patrolled streets to ensure residents stayed indoors. Anyone moving around was escorted home under threat of arrest. Police set up checkpoints and allowed only official cars to pass..."

Read the full article on the Sunday Times website.

The Independent on Sunday - Ebola virus outbreak: A first-hand Liberian tragedy – 'We begged, take the baby to hospital... They refused'

"Princess Mayers sobs as she describes how Ebola has destroyed her life. The 17-year-old Liberian, whose story The Independent featured in May, had already suffered profoundly before the deadly virus struck the country.

Aged 14 and an orphan, she was forced to work as a prostitute to survive, and bore a child. A British charity called Street Child found her in the streets of West Point, one of the largest slums in the capital, Monrovia. It intervened and set Princess and her daughter on a path towards a brighter future. But because of the impact of Ebola, she is now struggling to go on. And her baby is dead.

The Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 2,600 lives across West Africa, with more than half of those deaths in Liberia. Last week, Barack Obama called the outbreak “a threat to global security”, and announced that he would send 3,000 US troops to affected regions.

Princess’s child Angie did not die of Ebola..."

Read the full story on the Independent website.

Princess and baby Angie in March 2014

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Children & Young People Now - Head teachers for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils

"Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) children are among the lowest achieving at every level of education.

In April 2012, a cross-departmental ministerial working group published 28 commitments to tackling inequalities faced by GRT communities. Six focused on education. Among plans to improve low school attendance and prevent bullying was a Department for Education pilot to appoint virtual head teachers for GRT pupils inspired by the successful virtual school heads model for looked-after children.

The pilot set out to raise attainment levels among GRT pupils by addressing common barriers to education including tackling mistrust between parents and teachers created by historic persecution of GRT communities, and engaging parents who may not have completed formal education themselves and be unfamiliar with school systems..."

Read the full article on the CYP Now website.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

New Internationalist - Fighting Ebola on the frontline

"British doctor Oliver Johnson is fighting Ebola on the frontline in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown. He leads a team of volunteer doctors and nurses from the Kings Sierra Leone Partnership at the country’s Connaught Hospital. They have been treating cases in an isolation unit since the outbreak emerged in March.

The virus is now present in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal. It has so far killed more than 1,550 people and infected more than 3,000. Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that cases could exceed 20,000 before the outbreak is halted. There is no known cure for Ebola.

In this interview, Oliver Johnson talks about the situation in Sierra Leone, and warns that without urgent international assistance Ebola threatens to undo all the reparations the country has achieved since the end of its decade-long civil war in 2002..."

Read the full interview on the New Internationalist website.

King's College has launched an emergency Ebola appeal.