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BBC World Service

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MSF President on Lessons from the Ebola Epidemic

October 14th, 2015

Episode 56 of 158 episodes

Claudia Hammond discusses the lessons for the world of the West African Ebola epidemic with Joanne Liu, International president of Medecins Sans Frontieres. Dr Liu says that the international community responded far too slowly and countries in the regions are still vulnerable to further epidemics. Claudia also hears how the provision of about 2,700 treatment beds in Sierra Leone, beginning in September 2014, helped to make the Ebola epidemic much less deadly for that country. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculate the treatment centres which used the beds prevented an additional 50 to 60,000 Ebola cases. However, they also calculate that if the beds had arrived one month earlier, a further 12,500 Ebola cases would have been averted, highlighting the cost of the world’s slow response in 2014. Do the microbes in the intestines of young babies influence their risk of developing asthma? Prof Brett Finlay of the University of British Columbia says that the lack of four particular kinds of bacteria raises a three month old baby’s chances of developing asthma later in childhood. He outlines the evidence, and why certain bacteria in the infant gut might be protective. (Photo: Joanne Liu at an Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun, Sierra Leone. Credit: Médecins Sans Frontières)

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