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As humanitarian needs grow, USAID chief says the world must act

More complex humanitarian disasters such as the war in Syria and the Ebola epidemic threaten to overwhelm the international community's ability to respond, the head of the leading U.S. aid agency told Reuters in an interview. Gayle Smith, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), described a global humanitarian system stretched to the limit by the number of disasters and a growing funding gap compounded by emergency responses that cost more than traditional relief methods. “This is not the time to cut resources,” Smith said.

Study of Liberia Ebola flare-up shows need for longer vigilance

A study of a cluster of Ebola cases that appeared in Liberia last year, months after the country was declared Ebola-free, has found that the virus re-emerged after lying dormant in a female survivor. The results suggest Liberia and the other African countries at the centre of the outbreak should maintain high levels of vigilance for longer than thought to contain any future flare-ups of the deadly haemorrhagic fever. World Health Organization data show West Africa's Ebola epidemic killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 as it swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2013 in the world's worst outbreak of the disease.

Health specialists call for $2 billion global fund for vaccines

Global health experts called on Wednesday for the creation of a $2 billion vaccine development fund to feed a pipeline of potential new shots against priority killer diseases like Ebola, MERS and the West Nile virus. The fund would help bridge the gap between early stage drug discovery work carried out at universities and small biotech firms, and the late stage development and large-scale clinical trials needed to get a new vaccine to market. “We can no longer sit back and ignore the chronic lack of progress in developing new vaccines, and improving existing ones,” said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity, who co-wrote a paper calling for the creation of such a fund.

Liberia removes Ebola crematorium as outbreak is contained

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Marking the progress in controlling its Ebola outbreak, the Liberian government dismantled a crematorium and removed drums containing the ashes of more than 3,000 Ebola victims cremated during the height of the epidemic, whose last patient was discharged last week.

Liberia: 8 hospital staff under observation in Ebola scare

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Eight health workers at a hospital in Liberia’s capital have been sent home for observation after coming into contact with a patient who later tested positive for Ebola, the country’s assistant health minister said Saturday.

Fears over abandoned Ebola orphans allayed: UNICEF

Almost every child who has lost parents to Ebola is being cared for in their community, UNICEF said on Friday — allaying fears that thousands would be shunned by relatives and neighbours. “Since overcoming their initial fears and misconceptions about Ebola, families have been showing incredible support, providing care and protection for children whose parents have died,” UNICEF regional director Manuel Fontaine said in a statement. UNICEF said the outlook was particularly good in Guinea, where all 773 children who lost both parents had been placed with their extended families. The outbreak has claimed almost 9,000 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, leaving a similar number of children with just a single parent and some 3,600 orphaned.

Free from Ebola, survivors complain of new syndrome

By Emma Farge and James Harding Giahyue DAKAR/MONROVIA (Reuters) – Romeo Doe, a 29-year-old tailor who survived Ebola in Liberia, is struggling to cope with the impact of a disease that killed seven members of his family and now threatens his livelihood. There are a growing number of survivors of the disease in the region, between 5,000 and 10,000 according to the United Nations, and some complain of side effects months after their recovery – a condition some doctors are calling “post-Ebola Syndrome” (PES). About 60 percent of Ebola patients have died in the current outbreak, typically from shock or organ failure. Margaret Nanyonga, a doctor who treated Ebola patients in the town of Kenema in Sierra Leone, said she had seen survivors go blind.