Health workers suiting up in hazmat gear. Scene from an Ebola outbreak containment team.
Scene from an ebola outbreak. Credit: WHO

Were Frontline Ebola Health Workers Underpaid?

An investigative report by Newsweek found that the individuals risking the most to stem the ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone were systematically shortchanged. “Hundreds, if not thousands, of nurses and other frontline staff fighting Ebola have been underpaid throughout the outbreak – and many remain so today. The lack of pay is not simply a matter of corrupt officials stealing donor money, because so-called “hazard pay” was issued through direct payments to frontline workers starting in November, then electronic payments to bank accounts and mobile phones beginning in December. The problems appear to be twofold: first, Sierra Leone’s national health system has been so underfunded for so long, that it was a monumental challenge to document all of the country’s care workers and set up payment distribution channels to them. Second, it turns out that relatively little money was set aside for local frontline staff within Sierra Leone’s health system in the first place. In fact, less than 2% of €2.9bn ($3.3bn) in donations to fight Ebola in West Africa were earmarked for them. Instead, the vast majority of money, donated from the taxpayers of the UK, the US and two-dozen other countries, went directly to Western agencies, more than 100 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and to the UN.“ (Newsweek

Latest from Burundi…Police fired teargas at protesters in Bujumbura and more than 110,000 people are believed to have fled the country. Meanwhile, the president has taken a “no revenge pledge.” We will see how that turns out. As of now, the “elections” will go on as planned.  The latest. (Guardian


Shots were fired on Tuesday at the offices of the European Union’s representative in Burundi, the EU said, demanding that the east African nation’s government provide tighter security to the mission. (Reuters

A presidential election due in Burundi next month should be postponed indefinitely until political stability returns, South African President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday, summarizing the outcome of a regional summit in Angola. (Reuters

South Sudan’s peace process suffered another setback after fierce clashes in Upper Nile state over the weekend between fighters loyal to a renegade army general and government forces, the two sides said. (VOA

Spurred on by the recent Ebola outbreak, an African Center for Disease Control and Prevention is being established this year to effectively respond to major epidemics. (Key Correspondent


According to a devastating report published today, state-sanctioned sexual violence against Egypt’s women has increased dramatically since the military returned to power in July 2013. (Guardian

A Syrian refugee couple and their baby boy were recently dropped from a U.N. food voucher program and live on $9-a-day jobs on a peach farm in northern Jordan. In a town nearby, a 16-year-old boy quit school to work as a mechanic’s helper because his refugee family needs the extra $21 a week. (AP

Moroccan authorities still use torture widely despite a ban on the practice, the Amnesty International rights group said a report Tuesday documenting the abuse. (VOA

Human Rights Watch called Tuesday for a “transparent and credible” investigation by Tunisia into the suspicious death of a prisoner who had complained of police torture. (AFP

The United Nations said more than half a million people have been displaced in the conflict in Yemen, whose capital was bombarded Tuesday for the first time since a ceasefire ended. (AFP

The United Nations is using virtual reality technology to help the public experience what it is like to live in a Syrian refugee camp, showing how the latest technology can be adapted for humanitarian efforts. (AP

The mother of American reporter Austin Tice, who has been missing in Syria for more than three years, believes her son is alive and well and urged Washington and Damascus to work together to free him. (Reuters

Aid groups working close to the Iraqi city of Ramadi, seized by Islamic State militants at the weekend, described on Tuesday the humanitarian plight of civilians fleeing the city, which is just 70 miles northwest of Baghdad. (Reuters


The spy agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to share intelligence and carry out “coordinated intelligence operations” against militants operating along their porous border, in the latest sign of improved relations following years of mistrust that undermined the fight against the Taliban. (VOA

United Nations agencies urged Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on Tuesday to step up sea rescue operations and stop preventing thousands of desperate migrants from reaching land. (Reuters

Multinational lenders like the World Bank and the IMF can help Nepal rebuild and recover from two devastating earthquakes by cancelling some of its almost $4 billion foreign debt, campaigners said on Tuesday. (TRF

The Americas

As the World Education Forum opens, Nicaragua, with its high figures for school dropout and child labour, offers an insight into the barriers to education. (Guardian

The United States and Cuba resume talks this week on the steps needed for re-opening embassies and fully re-establishing diplomatic relations after a break of more than 50 years. (VOA

Unionized workers have gone on strike at some of Peru’s biggest mines to demand a law be struck down that they say hurts their earnings and bargaining power by promoting the use of contractors. (AP

…and the rest

The World Health Organization says an increasing number of infections cannot be treated because of growing resistance to antibiotic drugs. This resistance puts the lives of millions of people at risk. (VOA

Food has become more affordable and accessible in most countries over the past year due to investment in agriculture and infrastructure, falling global food prices and economic growth in most regions, a leading research group said. (TRF


Mark’s guest this week is Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the president of the International Crisis Group and long serving head of UN Peacekeeping. He discusses growing up the son of a WW1 veteran who preached pacifism, what it was like getting interviewed for a job by Kofi Annan, and how UN Peacekeeping needs to adapt to new threats from terrorism. It’s a great episode! (Global Dispatches Podcast

Uncounted: has the post-2015 data revolution failed already? (DLP

History and Economic Development (Cherokee Gothic

Bangladesh’s Persecuted Indigenous People (IPS

Southeast Asia is following Australia’s lead turning back migrant boats (GlobalPost

Decarbonizing Development? (Africa Focus

Taking stock of ‘good coups’ in Africa (Monkey Cage

Climate Change and the Catholic Church (Policy Innovations

What can we learn from a great example of high speed policy response to the Nepal Earthquake? (From Poverty to Power
#HumanityFail (Wronging Rights