First Wednesday: The Fight Against Ebola

Talk Wednesday 1 October 2014, 7:00 PM

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the Ebola epidemic in West Africa as “unparalleled in modern times”. In the largest and most complex outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976, more than 3,000 people have died.

Originating in Guinea, the virus has spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. Now six months into this epidemic, we will be asking why has it taken so long for the international community to act?

We will be joined by a panel of experts to take a view of the situation on the ground, how Ebola is being combated and what more needs to be done. We will also be looking at the stigma that surrounds the virus and the long-term impact this outbreak will have on the region.

Chaired by Ade Daramy, chair and spokesperson for the UK Sierra Leone Ebola Task Force.

The panel:

Dr Tim O’Dempsey, a senior clinical lecturer in tropical medicine at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He was seconded to WHO as clinical lead for the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kenema, Sierra Leone (July-August 2014). He is currently advising DFID and Save the Children regarding the Ebola epidemic response in West Africa and is due to return to Sierra Leone in October 2014 as clinical lead for the newly constructed Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerrytown.

Colin Freeman, the chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph and author of Kidnapped: Life as a Somali Pirate Hostage. He has recently returned from West Africa.

Dr Ike Anya, a Nigerian public health doctor, writer, co-editor of Nigeria Health Watch and co-founder of the Nigeria Public Health Network. He is an honorary lecturer in public health medicine at Imperial College and a TEDGlobal Fellow.

Professor David Heymann CBE, chairman of Public Health England, professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and head of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House.

Meinie Nicolai, president of both MSF Belgium and MSF’s operational directorate in Brussels. She first worked with MSF in 1992, as a supervising nurse in Liberia. She has since gained a decade of field experience in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia and South Sudan. She has recently returned from West Africa.

The following day the Fleet Street Clinic will be giving a briefing and a practical update on personal protection for journalists covering the Ebola outbreak. Details online here.

Picture: European Commission DG ECHO