West and Central Africa Correspondent
David's Feed
Nov 16, 2014

U.N. scraps clinic contract as Ebola exposes Mali readiness gaps

DAKAR (Reuters) – The United Nations mission in Mali has canceled plans to renew a contract with a private clinic providing care to its peacekeepers after a case of Ebola was missed and spread from there.

This second Ebola alarm in Mali, coming just as it seemed to have contained its first case last month, raised doubts about the country’s ability to protect itself from the epidemic that is ravaging three other states in West Africa. More than 5,000 people have died, almost all in Liberia, Sierra Leone and in Guinea, which shares an 800 km (500 mile) border with Mali.

Nov 2, 2014

“One game too far” – the downfall of Burkina Faso’s president

DAKAR, Nov 2 (Reuters) – In the build-up to this past week’s
mass protests in Burkina Faso that ended Blaise Compaore’s
27-year rule, statesmen from French President Francois Hollande
to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent him messages
with increasing urgency.

The meaning was clear: step aside with reputation intact and
a high-profile international job, or risk an undignified exit.

Oct 24, 2014

Fear and indifference leave West Africa desperate for Ebola staff

DAKAR, Oct 24 (Reuters) – When Australia offered more than
$2 million last month to the medical charity leading the fight
against Ebola in West Africa, Medecins Sans Frontieres bluntly
rejected it.

What was urgently needed from rich Western countries, MSF
said, was not more money but doctors and nurses.

Oct 20, 2014

Home care kits highlight gaps in West Africa’s Ebola response

DAKAR/MONROVIA (Reuters) – With the number of Ebola cases spiraling in West Africa and weeks remaining until treatment units promised by Western governments are built, health workers fighting one of the world’s deadliest diseases are being forced to improvise.

In the “hot zones” of Liberia, where Ebola patients are being turned away from overflowing clinics, aid agencies are distributing tens of thousands of protection kits, made up of buckets, chlorine, soap, gloves, a gown and instructions on how to look after the infected in their own homes.

Oct 18, 2014

U.S. travel ban could sour ties with Ebola-hit nations

DAKAR/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The first casualty of a possible U.S. ban on travel to and from Ebola-stricken West African nations could be Washington’s ties with the region and, to a lesser degree, travel and resources businesses exposed to it.

The White House said on Friday that such a ban advocated by many lawmakers was an option but was not being considered now. Lawmakers and medical experts are debating how much good or harm a ban could do and what was the best way to prevent Ebola’s spread at home.

Oct 14, 2014

U.N.’s Mali envoy to quit after being named Dutch foreign minister

AMSTERDAM/DAKAR (Reuters) – The head of the United Nations’ mission in Mali is to quit to take up a new job as the Netherlands’ foreign minister, the Dutch government said on Tuesday, opening up a vacancy in the west African nation at a time of growing instability.

Bert Koenders, 56, an economist and civil servant who has been based in the Malian capital Bamako for just over a year, will replace Frans Timmermans, who is leaving The Hague for Brussels to become a vice-president of the European Commission.

Oct 10, 2014

Healthcare crippled as Ebola overwhelms hospitals in Liberia

MONROVIA/DAKAR (Reuters) – The two women came from opposite ends of Liberian society – one a beauty queen and daughter of a prominent lawmaker, the other an ordinary home maker from a remote northern town.

When they both needed urgent healthcare, however, these differences meant little. Neither had the deadly Ebola infection, but both were turned away from hospitals overrun by an outbreak that has killed more than 3,800 people, 2,200 in Liberia alone.

Oct 3, 2014

Nine U.N. troops killed in worst attack yet on Mali force

BAMAKO/DAKAR (Reuters) – Nine United Nations peacekeepers in Mali were killed when heavily armed gunmen on motorbikes ambushed their convoy on Friday, the deadliest attack yet on U.N. troops in Mali, the mission said.

The attack on the peacekeepers from Niger took place in the region of Gao and highlighted a sharp increase in strikes on foreign troops based in Mali to prevent the return of al Qaeda-linked Islamists who seized the desert north in 2012.

Oct 1, 2014

Liberia, U.S. say Texas Ebola patient showed no symptoms before flying

DAKAR/MONROVIA, Oct 1 (Reuters) – The man being treated for
Ebola in Texas showed no signs of fever or symptoms of the virus
when he left Liberia for the United States via Brussels on Sept.
19, Liberian and U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.

The case is the first to be diagnosed outside West Africa
during the current outbreak, raising the prospect that the worst
epidemic of the deadly hemorrhagic fever on record could spread
to nations beyond the region.

Sep 30, 2014

Thousands of children orphaned, rejected as Ebola wrecks families

DAKAR/GENEVA (Reuters) – Two days after his mother died of Ebola at a clinic in the Liberian capital Monrovia last month, four-year-old John was put into foster care so he could be monitored for the disease.

John’s new guardian, an Ebola survivor, was immune to the deadly virus and happy to look after him. But when neighbors heard of the plan, they refused to allow them home fearing the boy might infect them too.