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Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Denying Ebola Turns Out To Be A Very Human Response

Sep 27, 2014

It was not a disease. It was a curse.

That's what the family of one Liberian Ebola patient told Dr. Kent Brantly after their relative died in the treatment center where he worked in July.

The logical next step, the family believed, was to seek revenge and kill the person who placed the curse.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Governments and groups around the world are scrambling to deal with the Ebola crisis. The U.S. has sent troops and says it will build 17 treatment centers in Liberia. But in a speech this week, President Obama said things have to move faster.

Dauda Fullah works in the tent where he faced his own death.

The skinny 23-year-old was an Ebola patient at the treatment center set up at Kenema Hospital in Sierra Leone.

Fullah's father had contracted the disease a few months ago and died a few days later. He helped bury his dad; that night he came down with a fever.

Tomorrow in Central Park, Jay-Z will rap, Sting will sing and India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, will talk about the need to end open defecation — that's what they call it when people don't have access to toilets, and it's a huge global problem.

And The Million Dollar Hult Prize Goes To A Doc In A Box

Sep 26, 2014

It's being called the million dollar faint.

Ram Lakshmanan and his team were onstage at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York on Tuesday evening. They were finalists for the Hult Prize, which each year awards $1 million to the best plan for addressing global problems. They were making their pitch for a better healthcare plan that would include something they're calling "Doc-in-a-Box."

And then the 30-year-old entrepreneur collapsed.

Health officials have warned that if aid doesn't arrive soon to West Africa, more than a million people could be infected with Ebola by late January.

Last week President Obama announced plans for a surge in U.S. aid to the region. The U.K. and the European Union followed suit.

The United Nations is also gearing up to provide aid. Representatives from member states met Thursday at the U.N. General Assembly to tackle the crisis.

Every time the phone rings, Leo Mulbah is struck with fear.

He says many Liberians living in America feel the same way right now.

"We get calls on an hourly basis, about friends, neighbors and family," says Mulbah, the president of the Liberian Association of Metro Atlanta. "We dread these phone calls saying that someone else has died."

Atlanta is a hub for the Liberian-American community. About a quarter of the 80,000 Liberian expatriates in the U.S. live there.

Many of them want to help fight the Ebola epidemic in their homeland.

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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Harrison Sakilla, a 39-year-old former teacher, can't stop smiling.

"I have to smile," he says. "I'm the first survivor for the case management center here from Ebola."

Former patients like Sakilla, who've recovered from the virus, lift the collective spirit at at the Doctors Without Borders Ebola center in Liberia's northern town of Foya. He was admitted to the high-risk isolation unit, which is part of a cluster of large tents that make up the bulk of the center.

Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi had arrived in the U.S. for a two-week visit. "I'm here to meet influential people," he says energetically despite having just gotten off a transatlantic flight.

Last year, the great European horse meat scandal alerted consumers around the world to food fraud.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It started with the obvious question: "How can we help?"

That's what Chris Siegler wanted to know when Ebola struck Sierra Leone. And the answer to that question shows that it's not only big international groups that can assist Ebola-ravaged countries.

Two of the world's top health organizations released predictions Tuesday warning how bad the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could get.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization agree that the epidemic is speeding up. But the CDC's worst-case scenario is a jaw-dropper: If interventions don't start working soon, as many as 1.4 million people could be infected by Jan. 20, the agency reported in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the central market in San Salvador, you can buy just about anything you want: tomatoes by the wheelbarrow full. Fresh goat's milk straight from the goat. Underwear. Plumbing supplies. Fruit. Hollywood's latest blockbusters burned straight onto a DVD.

And in the back of the market, in a small stall lined with jars of dried herbs, roots and mushrooms, you can buy an abortion.

"It's time to get people's attention," singer Alicia Keys told The New York Times this weekend. "People won't be able to ignore this visual."

She's not kidding. The pregnant Grammy winner posed nude (in a G-rated way) with a peace sign painted on her baby bump to promote her new movement, We Are Here.

The Ebola outbreak is having a devastating effect on the economies of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, crippling major industries and forcing people out of work.

The three nations hardest hit by the virus are among the poorest on the African continent. Combined, their GDP is less than 3 percent of Nigeria's, the regional economic powerhouse.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on September 22, 2014, but is newly relevant after Donald Trump's remark yesterday that if abortion is made illegal, women who have the procedure should be punished. He subsequently retracted the comment. But the idea of punishing women who've had an illegal abortion isn't so far-fetched in some parts of the world.

The Ebola crisis in West Africa has been a "very personal outbreak for me," says Dr. Daniel Bausch. The virologist spent "quite a few years" working on hemorrhagic fevers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Ebola as well as Marburg and Lassa fever. He knows the Ebola virus all too well, and he knows many of the people who've been deeply involved in fighting the current outbreak, including Dr.

As part of Sierra Leone's broader effort to contain the deadly Ebola virus, the country opened a new ambulance dispatch center in September in the capital, Freetown. Along with a new Ebola hotline, the center is considered an important step forward in the war on Ebola.

But on the center's second day of operation, a series of errors put the life of an apparently healthy 14-year-old boy at risk.

Finding the right condom just got a little bit more like finding a good cabbage.

Picky shoppers might notice labels on condom boxes these days that say fair trade, non-GMO and all natural.

Condoms don't just fall off trees, but most of them do start there. The major ingredient in most condoms is natural latex, which comes from rubber trees. A lot has to happen to make tree sap into a Jimmy hat. A number of companies are trying to make that process more ethical, from tree to ... well, you know.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sierra Leone is holding a country-wide experiment: For three days, no one is allowed to leave their home.

It's part of the country's strategy for controlling the deadly Ebola virus. While people across Sierra Leone stay at home, teams of workers go door-to-door, educating the public about the disease.

The effort got its shaky start on Friday.

The streets were empty in the heart of Freetown, the capitol. The only sound came from a few street sweepers and a police van blasting a song from an old speaker.

Patients "driven to frenzy by the disease, especially at night ... went here and there, colliding with one another and suddenly falling to the ground dead."

No, it's not a scene from the modern-day Ebola outbreak. It's a description from Venice of a hospital ward during the plague that first struck the city in the mid-1300s.

WATCH: The Boy Who Danced In The Face Of Ebola

Sep 20, 2014

This week has been tough. Maybe the toughest in the long, drawn-out battle against Ebola in West Africa.

When the floods hit the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the first week of September, Delhi resident Raheel Khursheed was preparing to visit his hometown, Anantnag.

"By the middle of the week I realized that it's not going to stop raining through most of the week, and I started to put my plans on hold," says the 31-year-old New Delhi resident, who directs news, politics and government at Twitter India. "By Friday, Anantnag was flooded."

Inside An Ebola Kit: A Little Chlorine And A Lot Of Hope

Sep 19, 2014

American doctor and Ebola survivor Kent Brantly had senators in Congress riveted this week, as he told them the story of a patient named Francis.

Francis lived in Liberia's capital, and as he lay dying of Ebola, he told Brantly he knew how he had gotten infected: while helping a sick neighbor into a taxi.

They're silvery and stunning — and their beauty bears a message.

"Genesis" is a new exhibit of more than 200 black-and-white images from the noted Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado. He wants to show us what the world and its peoples look like now, how climate change has already had an impact — and what might be lost if Earth's climate continues changing.

In Sierra Leone, A Lockdown ... Or A Time To Reflect?

Sep 18, 2014

Starting just after midnight, residents of Sierra Leone will be confined to their homes for a three-day lockdown.

It's the latest government plan meant to stem the tide of Ebola cases, which exceeded 1,500 last week in Sierra Leone.

But the plan has not won the support of the international medical community — and is causing concern among Sierra Leoneans as well.

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