Radio Free Brighton interview Ellie Wyatt from the local community group Frack Free Sussex. She is the co-ordinator of the recent compilation album, ‘A Frack Free Compilation: for Sussex and beyond ‘, which will be released this week as a fundraiser for the community group Frack Free Sussex.
Nearly 100 musicians have donated their music to this eclectic and spirited 20 track album. Hugely popular local acts such as Rubylux, The Meow Meows, The Mountain Firework Company, Naomi Bedford and Carrie Tree are just some of the artists who feel this is a cause to be supported.
All proceeds will be used to continue campaigning, educating and informing the public of the issues surrounding the development of an onshore unconventional oil and gas industry in the UK. This is an issue which particularly affects Sussex, with applications from companies to drill wells in Balcombe, Billingshurst and Wisborough Green currently being fought, and with plans for new wells at Graffham and West Dean upcoming. The supporters of Frack Free Sussex, of which there are currently over 10,000, are concerned that there could be wide-scale industrialisation of the Sussex countryside, bringing with it environmental and health problems like groundwater contamination and air pollution, as experienced in the US.
The CD is available from the website www.frackfreesussex.co.uk/shop/ and at select stores around the county.
Hove resident Ellie Wyatt, the album co-ordinator said “That we had offers of music from nearly 70 artists for this album shows this is an issue many people care very deeply about. We are really proud of this album as it brings together some of the finest artists in Sussex and the music has a heartfelt and meaningful message for 2015. It is amazing value to have 20 such diverse artists on one CD and we think it will make for an excellent stocking filler!”
Campaigners in Sussex are celebrating having reached an important milestone in efforts to halt an international trade agreement. Groups from across East and West Sussex have helped sign-up one million names to a European-wide petition aiming to stop the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP. TTIP is a comprehensive free trade agreement currently being negotiated between the United States and Europe.
“No other similar European petition has gained support so quickly as this one”, said Val Knight an organiser of 38 Degrees supporters in Brighton. “This highlights the depth of concern about a deal that clearly puts the interests of big business before people and the planet. TTIP is a major threat to our democracy as it could allow corporations to over-rule government policies by suing them if regulations interfere with existing or future profits.
This is why we need to stop TTIP and thousands of people in Sussex have already signed up to help to do that. One million signatories is great but it’s far from the end, we need many more to highlight the opposition to this deal.”
One million signatures for a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) petition normally allows for a hearing at the European Parliament providing a valuable chance to raise concerns and awareness. However, the European Commission have so far refused to register an ECI petition against TTIP. This has prompted opponents to proceed with a ‘self-organised’ version of the petition and to challenge the Commission’s decision in the European Court of Justice. The Stop TTIP coalition is supported by more than 320 civil society organisations, trade unions and consumer watchdogs from 24 EU Member States.
Campaigners against the trade agreement still under negotiation, say that Sussex is likely to be impacted in many ways, some specific to our region. Susanne Schuster of Brighton & Hove World Development Movement says, “Sussex’s potential for fracking is already well known. Large scale deregulation expected under TTIP could allow American companies to challenge fracking bans in Europe and strengthen their ability to instigate drilling locally. East and West Sussex County Council’s commitments to sustainable procurement and development could be undermined and public services are likely to see further privatisation of health and education services.
Madeleine Dickens of Sussex Defend the NHS says: “US-based health and insurance corporations have been making private inroads into NHS services for some time. They have also been grabbing more of a media foothold, to build their business in the UK. If TTIP were to be ratified there would be a deluge of such privateering corporate interests from Europe as well as the US intent on buying up the NHS and other public services. Whatever the complexion of the government in power from next May there would be little or nothing they could do to stop it. The nightmare prospect of a US-style health and insurance system would become a reality.”
Contact: Matthew Chambers of Lewes STOP TTIP; Email: email@example.com; Mobile: 07905 949457
1) TTIP is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It is a proposed free trade agreement between the United States of America and Europe. If TTIP comes into being it would represent the birth of potentially the largest free trade area in history covering nearly half of the world’s GDP.
2) Celebration events — Members of groups across Sussex will hold different celebration events to mark the 1m milestone. Locations for the gatherings will include Brighton and Lewes. Dates and times can be confirmed on request.
3) European Citizens Initiative Petition — On 10 November 2014, the Stop TTIP coalition has filed a lawsuit against the European Commission at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. The lawsuit relates to a decision that was made by the Commission to block a ‘European Citizen’s Initiative’ (ECI) on the controversial EU-USA trade deal known as TTIP and a similar deal with Canada (CETA). The Initiative, if successful would have forced the Commission to review its policy on the deals and to hold a hearing in the European parliament.
Stop TTIP applied for registration of the European Citizens’ Initiative on 15 July. On 11 September, the Commission rejected this application, using two main arguments: Firstly, the Commission claims that the negotiating mandates on TTIP and CETA are not legal acts but internal preparatory acts between EU institutions and therefore not contestable via an ECI. Secondly, the Commission claims that it cannot make negative ratification proposals and therefore cannot comply with the ECI demand not to conclude the CETA and TTIP negotiations. (Taken from www.stop-ttip.org)
4) Sussex Against TTIP – is a loose grouping of members of various organisations from across East and West Sussex campaigning against TTIP. It includes representation of the following: World Development Movement, 38 Degrees, War on Want, Sussex Defend the NHS and various local unions and political parties.
5) Photos — Free photos from Stop TTIP protests can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eci_ttip/ Additional photos of protests held so far in Sussex are attached with this news release and are available on request.
38 Degrees member David Fisher has started a petition calling on Brighton & Hove Council to refuse planning permission to turn the Brighton Hippodrome into an 8 screen cinema. He’d like to see it restored and turned into a live venue, what do you think?
Here’s what David says:
“The magnificent Brighton Hippodrome needs your help to save it from being wrecked. It is a unique theatre building, listed Grade II* by English Heritage because of its historical and architectural significance.
After closing as a variety theatre in 1965, it was a bingo hall until 2007. The stunning interior, however, is still in remarkable condition, with very little deterioration.
Suddenly, in mid 2013, a proposal to convert the building into an eight-screen cinema emerged. The plans involve demolishing the stage, the fly-tower, all the back-stage facilities, the stalls and the orchestra pit. Without these it ceases to be a theatre.”
Click here to sign his petition now:
If you have any comments on David’s campaign, you can join the conversation on the 38 Degrees Facebook page herehttps://www.facebook.com/peoplepowerchange/posts/427851554028295
LISTEN HERE TO DAVY JONES WITH LAUREN CAPE-DAVENHILL FROM GATWICK DETAINEES WELFARE GROUP ON THE PROPOSED WALK AND ARTS PROJECT ‘REFUGEE TALES’ More info at www.refugeetales.org and http://www.gdwg.org.uk
Saturday 13th – Sunday 21st June 2015
Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group’s unique walk follows the North Downs Way from Dover to Crawley via Canterbury along some of the paths that were taken by the Canterbury pilgrims many centuries ago. We will be reflecting on the many long and dangerous journeys that refugees make fleeing war and persecution, seeking a safe place to live.
They welcome walkers to join the 80 mile walk - for the whole route, a day or a few days.
Following a colourful launch event at the beginning of the walk in Dover, arts events (drama, art, music, poetry and prose) inspired by The Canterbury Tales will be held at every evening stop on the walk.
This week Davy Jones talks to John Allcock from Brighton People’s Assembly about the event Sat Jan10th, Brighthelm Centre 10–4.30pm
Power to the People? A citizens’ conversation about democracy, cuts and resistance.
Why does a crisis of the banking system mean that we have to have our benefits and services cut?
What gave the Ritzy cinema workers the courage to strike and win a living wage?
What happened when a group of young single mums refused to accept eviction and rehousing far away from their community in East London?
How can we stop our NHS being dismantled piece by piece?
Come to Power to the People? to learn about what we’re up against and discuss how to take back our power and make our voices heard, here in Brighton.
Campaign stalls– Films
– Discussion and skill sharing workshops
– Free lunch
Saturday, 10 January 2015 — 10:00 to 16:30
BN1 1YD Brighton
Who is Davy Jones? Davy Jones, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Brighton Kemptown, and regular host of the Politics Show, answers questions posed by Jackie Chase of Radio Free Brighton and other volunteers from the radio station . LISTEN HERE
Saltdean Countryside Alliance LISTEN HERE
This week Davy Jones talks to Lisa Forrest from the Saltdean Countryside Alliance. A Planning application has been received by Brighton and Hove City Council for 36 houses on the edge of the downs in Rottingdean, at the northern end of Westmeston Avenue, to the rear of Bishopstone Drive and Falmer Avenue, Saltdean and can be clearly seen from Dean Court Road. To find out more and raise objections go to
City of Sanctuary LISTEN HERE
This week Davy Jones meets Jenny Lansdell from City of Sanctuary.City of Sanctuary is a national network, a movement of local groups made up by businesses, community organisations and individuals, all with one thing in common; their belief that sanctuary seekers should be welcomed, and that their contribution to society should be celebrated.
City of Sanctuary Brighton http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/bright…
Discussion of the Drugs Issue LISTEN HERE
This week Davy and Steve Peake discuss the issue of drugs and effective ways to approach the subject through our community and government policy and alternative approaches being taken in other countries
My journey back to Ebola ground zero By Peter Piot Nearly 40 years after he was first dispatched to investigate a mysterious new virus, Peter Piot returns to a village – and a people – changed for ever by the advent of Ebola
“Get on that plane now! You know, they are crazy here!” shouts the manager of Kin Avia, a rare charter airline in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a decent safety track record. It is nearly 10am and for the past few hours we have been trying to get through all the formalities required to travel from the dilapidated domestic airport of Ndolo in the heart of Kinshasa to Bumba – in other words, to get through immigration for a domestic flight. Bumba is the nearest airport in northwestern Congo to our final destination, Yambuku, a village in Equateur province about 1,000km from the capital. I am spending two weeks in the country to celebrate my 65th birthday and to thank the people who played such an important role in two defining experiences of my life: investigating the first known outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in 1976 and uncovering a significant heterosexual epidemic of HIV/Aids in 1983. I am here with an American film crew making a documentary on epidemics, along with my wife Heidi, an anthropologist, and my friends Jean-Jacques Muyembe, director of the DRC’s National Institute for Biomedical Research, Eugene Nzila, a pioneer of Projet Sida (Africa’s first big Aids research project, founded in 1984) and Annie Rimoin, an epidemiologist from UCLA.
When I was 27 and still in training, I had one of the greatest opportunities an aspiring microbiologist could dream of: the chance to discover a new virus, investigate its mode of transmission and stop the outbreak. It all started when my laboratory at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp received a thermos from what was then called Zaïre. It contained the blood of a Flemish nun who had died of what was thought to be yellow fever. From that sample, however, our lab isolated a new virus, confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and subsequently called Ebola, after a river about 100km north of Yambuku, the centre of the epidemic. It turned out to be one of the most deadly viruses known. In early September 1976, Mabalo Lokela, the headmaster of the local school, had died with a high fever, intractable diarrhoea and bleeding. His death sent a shockwave through the small mission community. Soon the hospital was full of patients with a similar illness and nearly all died within a week.
This was the beginning of the first known outbreak of Ebola, a virus that is believed to circulate in bats, which accidentally infects people through contact with blood or infected droplets. There are four known subtypes affecting humans, including the “Zaïre” type, the most deadly strain, with more than 90 per cent mortality. Transmission between people is through contaminated injections, contact with blood and body fluids, sex, and it probably passes from mother to child. Approximately one week after infection, patients develop severe fever, diarrhoea and vomiting. They then start bleeding and are affected by “disseminated intravascular coagulation”, whereby small blood clots develop in the body’s blood vessels, ultimately resulting in generalised organ failure, shock and death one week after the onset of symptoms. Close to 90 per cent of the 318 people diagnosed with the disease would eventually die during the Yambuku outbreak. So would more than half of the hospital staff and 39 people from among the 60 families living at the mission. The entire region was devastated, with some villages losing one in every 11 inhabitants to Ebola.
Getting on a military C130 to Bumba in 1976 for the three-hour flight over the world’s second-largest equatorial forest was less complicated than catching a passenger flight in 2014, even though back then we had to load a Land Rover, medical equipment and barrels of fuel on to the cargo plane. We were a Zairean, an American, a Frenchman and two Belgians in a plane – like one of those jokes. But the pilots were in a foul mood. They resented having to fly to the epidemic zone. Hadn’t fellow pilots told them that birds were falling from the sky over the forest around Yambuku and that dead bodies were lining the roads? When we landed, the plane came abruptly to a halt but the pilots never came out of the cabin. They didn’t even stop the engines. They wanted to take off again as soon as possible and avoid any contact with locals. When I walked through the open loading dock at the back of the plane, I saw hundreds of people, staring at us in silence, followed by shouts of “Oyé! Oyé!” when we drove out the Land Rover. Ours was the first aircraft to break the quarantine that the whole region had been put under because of the epidemic and expectations were high that we would stop the disease, and bring food and medicines. As soon as the plane was unloaded, the pilots shouted “Bonne chance!” and off they went.…
This time there is a slight sense of déjà vu when we finally land on the red-earth airstrip of Bumba. The Congolese pilot recognises me from his time in the Zairian air force in the 1970s. “Has Ebola started again?” he asks anxiously. Only a few people are at the airstrip, apart from the unavoidable immigration and security officers. One man is waiting for us just as he was in 1976: Father Carlos Rommel, the Flemish Catholic parish priest of Notre Dame, who has been working in the Congo for 51 years, mostly in Bumba. He had arranged all our logistics to perfection, just as he unflappably manages a hospital, a parish and four schools in a country where nothing can be taken for granted. Our convoy of jeeps makes its way to the Bumba mission, where we will stay for the next few days, just as we did nearly four decades ago. Not much has changed – there is not a single paved road in this town of about 150,000 people and very few houses are made of brick or cement. This used to be a major port on the Congo River but years of war, looting and corruption have taken their toll. River boats are gradually returning – the 1,000km journey to Kinshasa can take up to six weeks in the dry season – always overloaded with people, cars and goods. Despite being located on the mighty Congo, there is no running water in Bumba. Girls and women fetch water from the river, except in the neighbourhoods where Father Carlos has drilled wells. He seems to be the only real investor in infrastructure and social services in the city, sometimes using his own money. There is no electricity, besides what is produced by a lonely and noisy generator. The first thing I see when visiting the public hospital is a large black truck near the entrance with “Morgue” painted across it. Not encouraging. Cattle graze between the pavilions. The hospital is largely empty as patients have to pay for everything and there are hardly any medicines, including anti‑HIV drugs and tests. For years, the state has not provided any support.
Together with Muyembe and Rimoin, two of the world’s leading experts on monkeypox, I see a nine-year-old girl who has contracted the disease from her brother. DRC has the world’s largest number of cases of this disease, which resembles the now eradicated smallpox, and is acquired from contact with various wild animals, not just monkeys. It is another illustration of how animal viruses can cause infections and even epidemics in humans (both HIV and influenza come from animals). In contrast to the public hospital, the mission-run Notre Dame hospital is clean and full of patients but even here there is a shortage of medicines. Muyembe and I have lengthy conversations about the causes of this total neglect of people’s health and what we can do about it as academics. He repeatedly reminds us all of the motto of the University of Kinshasa, where he had been dean of medicine, and which was also the slogan of the Catholic high school of Bumba: “No science without conscience”.… Looking across the courtyard from our bedroom at the mission evokes one of the most dramatic moments of my stay in 1976. Early one afternoon, an Allouette helicopter (a gift from French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to Zaïre’s president, Mobutu Sese Seko) arrived in Yambuku to take me to meet some high-ranking US officials in Bumba. As it was getting very dark, and I resented that these men did not want to come to where the action was, I decided not to fly. It saved my life – the helicopter crashed in the forest 15 minutes later and all three passengers died, including a worker from the mission who had taken my place in order to visit his family in Bumba. I always felt that poor man died for me.
Three days later I had to recover the bloated corpses after a hunter found them, two hours’ walk from the nearest village through almost impenetrable forest. As there were no coffins, I had to make them myself at the mission workshop back in Bumba, which was the only place that had wooden planks. For years I could not talk about it and even now seeing a pile of planks at that workshop is extremely emotional. Bumba, this morning, offers many distractions as well as memories but I am impatient to see Yambuku. Road R337 is a red soil track through the green foliage of the dense equatorial forest. It is dry season and during a four-and-a-half-hour drive of more than 100km, we see two trucks full of goods and people, four motorcycles and many more people on or pushing bicycles, loaded with rice, peanuts, dried fish and bush meat, manioc, palm oil and bananas. As we wend our way down the bumpy road from Bumba to Yambuku, I’m firmly holding on to a handle so as not to be ejected from the front seat and my head is spinning with memories of my first visit. The forest is a bit further away from the villages now, with trees having been cut down for fuel over the years, and there are far more children than I remember. There are also some new cement buildings in several of the villages we pass – often only one among the mud huts and Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses. There used to be palm oil plantations here, owned by Unilever, but these have been abandoned along with the paddy fields because of the wars and a deterioration in infrastructure and transport. With them went the last jobs, and many people are now living in a state of autarchy – fleeing into the forest for weeks at a time when various armed groups have invaded the area.
As we get closer to Yambuku the driver points to an overgrown area which was part of a village whose inhabitants had fled during the Ebola epidemic and never returned. Suddenly, the forest opens up and the road meanders through neglected coffee plants and bamboo before we finally see Yambuku. We are welcomed by sector chief Christophe Nzangolo, two doctors and four Congolese nuns, who have been waiting for us since noon on the terrace of the mission. Warm beer is served, formalities are exchanged and we are directed to our rooms. They are in dire condition, as is the rest of the building. The Catholic mission in Yambuku was founded by the Order of Scheut in the 1930s with the support of a colonial cotton company in the then Belgian Congo. It was later joined by Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary. For many years, the village was a flourishing centre for education, healthcare and agriculture, and in some ways was a picture-postcard location. But the 1976 Ebola epidemic, combined with a sharp economic downturn and serial wars, has led to a decline on all fronts. The mission was looted first by Mobutu’s soldiers and most recently by Bemba rebels, who were fighting the current government of Joseph Kabila and stole the ambulance and sideband radio, the villagers’ only means of communication with the outside world. (It took me a while to realise that the numerous small holes in the pillars of the convent’s terrace were actually bullet holes.) Since the departure of the Flemish nuns about 10 years ago, leaving some Congolese sisters, there has been no money available to replace or to maintain the vast convent buildings. The austere guest house where we stayed was slowly imploding, children at the primary school were sitting and writing on the dirt floor, and the hospital was without drugs and had only a few mattresses. The powerful electricity generator we had left behind in 1976 was intact but lacked some essential parts, which together cost only a few hundred pounds. But the money was not there and, in any case, the sisters had no idea how to order the missing parts.
The jungle had invaded the once flourishing coffee plantations, which used to employ a significant part of the population. People now survive on what the fertile land, vegetation and wildlife can offer. In contrast to Kinshasa, there is no obesity in Yambuku and, according to the local doctors and as far as we can see, not much serious malnutrition either, in spite of a monotonous diet based on manioc, fried plantain and bananas, with occasional fish or bush meat. Despite all the difficulties and lack of regular work, however, it is interesting to note how impeccably dressed the children and adults are. When we go for an early morning walk to enjoy some cool air before the steaming heat envelopes the village, we can see women sweeping the courtyards in front of their thatched-roofed mud huts, going to collect water and washing their children. These are among the world’s bottom billion, struggling to survive with what nature has to offer. They have just enough, but no spare capacity for an emergency.… When we arrived in Yambuku on October 20 1976, we went straight to the guest house, which sat between the nuns’ and fathers’ convents. Three European sisters and a priest were standing outside, with a cord between them and us. They had read that in case of an epidemic it was necessary to establish a cordon sanitaire, which they had interpreted literally. A message hung from a tree, saying in the Lingala language that people should stay away as anybody coming any closer would die, and to leave messages on a piece of paper. When the sisters shouted in French, “Don’t come any nearer! Stay outside the barrier or you will die!” I immediately understood from their accent that they were from near my part of Flanders. I jumped over the barrier, saying in Dutch, “We are here to help you and to stop the epidemic. You’ll be all right.” They broke down, holding each other and clinging to my arms, crying. We could see the terror in their faces as they were convinced they too would soon die, just like four of their colleagues and a priest who had all succumbed to the Ebola virus in the course of a few weeks. Once we had all settled down, the sisters prepared a solid dinner of Flemish beef stew and started to tell the story of the epidemic. They explained in great detail how their colleagues had died, who the first victims were at the mission and then in other villages, and that nothing seemed to work as treatment. One sister had kept careful notes on each patient. They decided that we should sleep on the floor in the school classroom as we did not know whether the bedrooms in the convent were contaminated. But I didn’t sleep much that first night in Yambuku, with a thousand questions going through my head and the sounds of the rainforest outside.
It quickly became clear that something was wrong at the hospital. Epidemiological detective work by our team confirmed the suspicions: people were being infected at the hospital through injections made using contaminated needles and syringes (only five syringes and needles were issued to the nurses each morning), and hospital staff and attendees at funerals were falling victim through exposure to body fluids infected with the virus. In addition there seemed to be transmission from mothers to babies. Closing the hospital (which, in any case, had been abandoned by frightened patients) was the decisive action that stopped the Ebola epidemic, and the last victim died on November 5. In simple terms, poor medical practice had killed hundreds of people. The missionaries were undoubtedly doing highly valuable work in education and community development but managing a hospital (without a physician, since they could not find one who would work in such a remote place) was beyond their expertise. On December 16 1976, the quarantine was officially lifted after four long months. The military transport plane that came to pick us up with our precious samples, lab equipment and Land Rover was the first contact with the outside world since we had arrived three months earlier. It was nearly stormed by people who wanted to leave the area.
I had a heated argument with the pilots, who were filling the plane with rattan furniture that belonged to General Bumba, their big boss, and allowing other people who had bribed them on to the plane. There was hardly any space left for us and our goods. Nothing could be taken for granted in Zaïre! I argued and swore and joked, and in the end we all got on the aircraft. I suddenly realised I had become assertive. That was not the end of the story. The Buffalo plane was overloaded, as well as badly loaded, and the pilots took off straight into a formidable tropical storm. We touched the top of some trees and before reaching cruising altitude the plane dived for what felt like a few hundred metres. There were no seat belts and we were hit by heavy flying boxes. Eventually we made it safely to Kinshasa but my legs were trembling when we got out of the plane. For me, flying had been more dangerous than caring for patients or handling virus samples.… Decades later, it is a great joy to see Sukato Mandzomba slowly walking towards me. “How are you?” he asks simply. “How is the family? My wife and I are so happy you came back.” He is smiling shyly and as if we had seen each other just a few days ago. Sukato is one of the few survivors from the 1976 Ebola epidemic. As a 24-year-old nurse, he was infected while caring for dying patients with haemorrhagic fever but never developed the severe, fatal form of the infection which causes massive bleeding and shock. Sukato was among the first people we saw on our arrival in Yambuku in 1976, and after he had recovered from his illness he volunteered to look after patients and helped us with our clinical and epidemiological work.
He now runs the rudimentary hospital laboratory, with a microscope and a hand centrifuge as his only equipment. Typically for Sukato, the laboratory logbook has impeccable records, and he shows me the characteristic bacilli in the sputum smears of numerous tuberculosis patients. The hospital looks the same as I remember it but with far fewer patients, even if there is now a competent doctor. The main reasons for people staying away are the lack of affordable drugs (the government has not sent any for more than two years) and extreme poverty prevents them from paying the various fees that are charged in the absence of any health insurance scheme. Medicines are bought at the weekly market in nearby Yandongi and then sold at a profit to subsidise the hospital. In the tiny hospital pharmacy we see six bicycles, palm oil and a few bags of rice, left as security by patients who could not pay for their drugs. The Yambuku “health zone” covers 14,000 sq km and 260,000 inhabitants but has no ambulance, no means of communication, hardly any medicines and just one fridge for vaccines. The two doctors and the nurses are trying to find solutions without any support from their government or the international community. Many would have given up but they are beacons of professional commitment and dignity amid abject poverty, the state having abdicated all responsibility.
Since that first visit, there have been more than 20 outbreaks of human Ebola haemorrhagic fever, all in Africa, except for a few laboratory-acquired cases. This year, and for the first time, Ebola virus caused a multi-country epidemic in west Africa that originated in Guinea-Conakry. Humans are an accidental host, as a virus that kills its host in a couple of weeks could not survive in nature. It is not clear how the virus reached this part of the continent though its genome has been found in a fruit-eating bat in Gabon. In general, Ebola is a disease of close contact with wildlife, of poverty and particularly of dysfunctional hospitals, which can become deadly centres of viral spread through unsafe injections and lack of basic hygiene. Healthcare workers are usually the first and most affected population. In principle it is very easy to contain an Ebola outbreak: with gloves, hand-washing, safe injection practices, isolation of patients, safe and rapid discarding of the corpses of those killed by Ebola, and tracing of contacts and subsequent observation for a few weeks. In reality, the health infrastructure where Ebola strikes is usually very poor and panic often leads to dissemination of the infection, with people fleeing affected areas, as is the case now in west Africa. As long as health services are inadequate, there will be occasional outbreaks of Ebola in parts of Africa where the virus is hiding in some animal. In theory, there is no need to send in numerous outside experts as control measures are very simple and inexpensive and can be implemented by local professionals and volunteers. However, the reality is that because of their high mortality rate and contagious character, as well as today’s mobility of people across borders, outbreaks due to Ebola and other dangerous viruses must always be considered as a global threat, amply justifying international support and research. The cost of public panic and societal disruption can be enormous, with healthcare workers disproportionately affected – going far beyond the actual impact in terms of deaths due to Ebola.… My last visit to Yambuku had been in 1986, 10 years after the first Ebola epidemic. Along with colleagues from the US Centers for Disease Control, we tested the blood samples we had collected in 1976 for HIV antibodies and found that 0.8 per cent were infected – five years before the first reports on Aids were published in the US. I had gone back to find out what had happened to the individuals who were HIV positive and also to explore whether that other virus in my life had spread further in the region. We found that three had died but also that two men and women had been living with HIV for at least a decade and appeared fairly healthy. The level of HIV infection in the population at large was still 0.8 per cent though it was as high as 11 per cent among prostitutes in the region. Around the same time, HIV prevalence among adults in Kinshasa was as high as 6 per cent (today HIV prevalence in the capital has declined to 3 per cent).
Our research showed not only that people can live for at least 10 years with HIV but also that the virus had existed at low levels for many years in central Africa. Together with later genetic studies of HIV isolates from all over the world, and the discovery that chimpanzees can be infected with a virus very closely related to the human immunodeficiency virus, these findings helped elucidate the origins of HIV.… On our last day in Yambuku, the film crew wants to interview me on the front porch of the convent. It is now barricaded for security reasons but when I was here during the outbreak, this was my favourite place to work and reflect while I watched people strolling by. It is with mixed feelings that I have to leave this beautiful place and people. A dream I wrote about in my memoir has come true: I have come back to Yambuku, to “Ebola ground zero”, a place and experience which changed my life. But I am left with many unanswered questions: how do people live, survive and die here? And what are their aspirations for their children? It is upsetting to see the deterioration in living conditions and infrastructure, reducing people to their most basic condition humaine.
As I sit next to Father Carlos on the return trip to Bumba, I ask what drives him. He says his real religion is fighting poverty and injustice. Then suddenly he turns to me and says: “You challenged me in 1976: why did I not do more for the daily life of the people of Bumba, besides all the religious activities? That is when I decided to start a hospital. You really turned around my life.” It is stunning that I had had any influence on a priest but it is also a profoundly happy moment. Two days later, back in Kinshasa, we take our first real shower in a week before going to a concert by superstar Papa Wemba, together with more than 20 former colleagues with whom I had worked on Aids in the 1980s and 1990s in Projet Sida. As always, I find the rumba and soukous liberating. The vitality expressed in Congolese music reflects the creativity and love for life of the Congolese people. They deserve better than their daily struggle for survival. New viruses will unavoidably continue to emerge, particularly where people and animals live in proximity but war, greed and corrupt governance are man-made disasters, and they can be prevented. Peter Piot is a microbiologist and physician, and director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. His book, ‘No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses’, is published by Norton. To comment on this article please post below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m Dr Louisa Baxter and I’ve just come back from Sierra Leone where the Ebola epidemic is fast spiralling out of control.The virus is killing up to 70% of those who catch it and the numbers of people infected is doubling every 20 days.Children and families there, and across West Africa, desperately need the international community to do more to defeat Ebola. And they need them to do it fast.
Next month, leaders of the 20 most powerful and richest countries meet at the G20 Summit in Australia.
It’s critical they agree to make enough money, equipment and people available to stop this killer virus.
Your voice will be joining with thousands of others across the globe as people from Sydney to San Francisco, unite to demand action.
This is the largest Ebola outbreak we’ve ever seen and there is only a matter of weeks to contain it.
We must stop Ebola. With your help we can.
On 20th November, Dr.Llian Lliev will be giving a free public lecture at Sussex University on Astronomical Simulations. The event will be held at Chichester Lecture Theatre on the University of Sussex Falmer Campus. The talk should last an hour with time for questions afterwards. This will be followed by wine and nibbles.
THESE TALKS ARE WELL WORTH GOING TO : ALL WELCOME — FREE — NO NEED TO BOOK
LISTEN HERE: Making Use of Uncertainty: From Quantum
Physics to Quantum Technologies by Dr Jacob Dunningham
NEXT IN SERIES
• 11th November 2014 – Smashing Physics: Inside the World’s
Biggest Experiment by Prof. Jon Butterworth
• 9th December 2014 – Rise of a Giant: The European Extremely
Large Telescope by Dr Aprajita Verma
• 10th February 2015 – Mapping the Universe
by Dr Karen Masters
• 10th March 2015 – Jewel of the Solar System:
Celebrating 10 years of Cassini at Saturn
by Dr Caitríona Jackman
www.iop.org www.sussex.ac.uk/physics email@example.com
Listen here to The Scrap of Lace — a murder mystery radio play read by Radio Free Brighton volunteers and work experience students from Downlands School.
A lecture and panel discussing the environment, hosted by Nina Emmet founder of FotoDocument and Pooran Desai, founder of Bioregional and One Planet Living. This lecture looks at some excellent photographic collections put together by the panel, centering on key environmental themes such as water usage, waste and recycling.
Held at the Sallis Benney Theatre, Brighton, three of the ten commissioned photographers, Thomas Ball, Sophie Gerrard and Murray Ballard, took part in the discussion about their One Planet City photo essays now installed in public spaces around Brighton & Hove. . The project was launched under the Brighton Photo Biennial 2014 — core arts partner for the project Photoworks.
Howard Johns is the founder of Southern Solar Ltd, and has been installing solar hot water systems and other small scale renewable energy systems for over ten years. During this Power To The People speech, he talks about renewable energy, specifically Solar Power.
Councillors have approved a major regeneration scheme in central Brighton which will deliver hundreds of jobs and homes.
The planning committee today (September 17, 2014) agreed the Public-Private Partnership scheme by Cathedral (Brighton) Ltd, the University of Brighton and the city council to transform the one–hectare site off Circus Street.
The former municipal fruit and veg market would become a mixed-use scheme and ‘innovation quarter’, expected to create 400 jobs and inject £200m into the city’s economy over the next 10 years.
Permission includes 142 new homes, 20 per cent affordable.
New teaching and research facilities would be created for the University of Brighton, including a new library. Pressure would be taken off the city’s family homes by the inclusion of 450 units of student accommodation, say officials.
Alongside will be a new dance studio for South East Dance, expected to attract 70,000 visitors and users a year.
Workspaces would be aimed at start-up businesses, artists and larger companies. A modern office building, including over 3,000 sqm of flexible space would help growing creative and digital businesses remain and flourish in the city.
Permission includes restaurants or shops at ground floor level, around a new public square. Cathedral are promising a “new genre” of urban development with green walls, green roofs, 78 new trees and allotments for food growing — producing over 200kg of food per year for residents.
Developers have agreed to pay £250,000 to improve local transport and recreation provision and to use at least 20 per cent local labour for construction.
For more information you can visit:
Our Pledge to Save the NHS! What you can do now.…
Can you join us? Let us know if you can help out for a while at any of these stalls or if you plan to come to our meetings. We also have working groups for our Roll of Dishonour, Pledge to save the NHS, & SMS campaigns, if that is more your style. Let us know!
Sat 6 Sept
999 Call for the NHS –People’s #march4nhs Rally for end of march from Jarrow
Westminster London– details to follow
Tues 9 Sept
Health and Well Being Board
4pm Hove Town Hall
(lobby for SMS tbc)
Tues 9 Sept
Sussex Defend the NHS organising meet
7pm Brighthelm Centre
Wed 10 Sept
Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee
4pm Hove Town Hall
Tues 23 Sept
B&H Clinical Commissioning Group Board and AGM
2–4.30 & 4.30−6 Brighthelm Centre
Tues 14th Oct
Health and Wellbeing Board
4pm Hove Town Hall
Thurs 16th Oct
Policy and Resources Committee
4pm Hove Town Hall
Cupp Seminar: ‘The NHS Citizen’ with Simon Burall and Anthony Zacharzewski
1.30 — 2.30pm, Friday 10th October — A500 Checkland Building, Falmer campus
Simon and Anthony are part of a larger partnership developing NHS Citizen<http://www.nhscitizen.org.uk/>. A national system of public and patient engagement being developed to hold the Board of NHS England to account. While the system is national, most patients and citizens experience the health service at a local level. This seminar will explore how the system is being designed to work and will invite participants to draw on their experience, expertise and knowledge to help answer questions about whether and how such systems can plug into local spaces where citizens are already debating health and social care. Simon is the Director of Involve<http://www.involve.org.uk/> and Anthony is Director of Demsoc<http://www.demsoc.org/> and both are involved in numerous innovations to enhance civic participation.
This seminar is free and open to all but advance booking is required. Refreshments will be available.
Book on to this event<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>