Ebola Species Found in Bats Ahead of Any Potential Outbreak

For the first time, scientists have discovered a new ebolavirus species in a host prior to detection in an infected human or sick animal.

The discovery of the Bombali virus in bats in Sierra Leone and the sequencing of the complete genome, officially published in August in the journal Nature Microbiology, was made by scientists at the University of California, Davis, One Health Institute and Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity, working with the government of Sierra Leone and the University of Makeni and Metabiota. The work is part of the PREDICT Ebola Host Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development and illustrates PREDICT Project’s goal to find viruses before they spill over into people.

Read a full press announcement in this link…

Read more about the PREDICT Ebola Host Project in this link…

An important output of the Project has been this guide for local communities: How to Live Safely with Animals for Healthier Communities

 

UNIMAK Presents Psychological First Aid (PFA) Research Findings

By Corresponent Matthew Kanu

The University of Makeni Mental Health Program is presently presenting the findings of Psychological First Aid (PFA) research conducted during a study in Port Loko District, Western Urban, Western Rural, Kenema District and Kailahun District.

Director of the University of Makeni Mental Health Program, Dr. Rebecca Esliker, explained in an interview that the Psychological First Aid (PFA) Research was conducted in collaboration with the War Trauma Foundation, the Free University in the Netherlands, Queen Margaret University in the UK, and John Snow Institute (JSI) in Sierra Leone. She mentioned that the PFA is an important tool and is a Field Guide that covers psychological first aid, which involves humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events. It is written for people in a position to help others who have experienced an extremely distressing event. It gives a framework for supporting people in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities. The World Health Organization (WHO), War Trauma Foundation and World Vision International, developed this field guide. The guide is an evidence-informed modular approach for assisting people in the immediate aftermath of disaster and crisis to reduce initial distress and to foster short and long-term adaptive functioning. Non-mental health experts, such as responders and volunteers, used it. 

During the Ebola Crisis, people from NGOs and the health care sector have been trained in Psychological First Aid. After the Ebola Crisis the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in collaboration with WHO and other partners embarked on a PFA roll-out to all health sectors in the country in preparedness for the event of another disaster. The guide was very useful during last year’s mudslide.

The now concluded research study aimed to find out whether PFA strengthens the capacity for the provision of effective support to acutely distressed beneficiaries in the context of humanitarian crisis. It consisted of two phases: Phase one was a qualitative interview study, looking back at how PFA was used during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Phase two was a randomized controlled trial to understand how training in PFA affects the skills, knowledge and behavior of health care workers in six Districts of Sierra Leone (Western Urban, Western Rural, Kailahun, Kenema, Bombali & Port Loko).

A total of 408 health care workers in 6 districts participated in this study. These are few examples of what some participants shared of what they learned from the training. A participant in Western Urban, Juliana Karimu, said she learned a lot during the presentation of the report. She emphasized that her attitude towards her patients in her PHU centre will be more positive because of the new communication skills she learned from the training. She added “the report will help us to understand our position and responsibilities in ensuring we live a healthy life.”

Community Health Centre nurse Susan A Sesay was a participant from Makeni who attended the PFA training. She, like most people who attended the session, agreed that they have a role to play as medical practitioners to ensure behavioral change from the people and ensure there is more information from the community about how to provide basic psychosocial support and where to seek mental health treatment if needed for referral.

The findings summary report shows an increase in knowledge of how to respond to a person in distress as compared to those who did not participate, give more appropriate response to hypothetical scenarios compared to those who did not participate. These findings also indicate that participating in PFA training increases understanding of helpful ways to respond to someone who is in distress. The study assesses knowledge not behaviour. So the researchers cannot be sure that those who were trained actually used these skills.

The results of the research have been shared at national and district level in Sierra Leone, will be presented at conferences on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) and humanitarian studies and will be published in international journals.

Here in Sierra Leone, the Mental Health Gap exists but implementation of the PFA Research and training as well as advocacy for strengthening mental health care and psychosocial support in collaboration with the government and non-governmental and health care organizations is a good step in the right direction.

Students From The Republic Of Guinea in UNIMAK

Correspondent Matthew Kanu writes:

34 Guinean students from King Mo Roi the 6th University arrived at the University of Makeni (UNIMAK) on the 5th August 2018 to learn how to write, read and speak English.

In his address during an orientation for the students at the beginning of their four week course, King Mo Roi 6th University lecturer Moussa Camara praised the high level of hospitality displayed by staff and students of UNIMAK upon their arrival. Mr. Camara informed journalists that UNIMAK is their second home as the decision to partner with UNIMAK is a step in the right direction for the Human Resource Development of Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Guinean students from King Mo Roi the 6th University and UNIMAK staff.

Early this year the founder of King Mo Roi 6th University signed a partnership agreement with UNIMAK not only in learning how to write and speak English but to entirely cooperate in other fields of academia and development. The signing of this agreement was described by many here at UNIMAK as the beginning of new chapter in the promotion of higher quality education in the Mano River Union. This is the first time UNIMAK is in agreement with a Francophone University in the West African Sub Region since it inception in 2009.

Dean of Commerce and Management Victoria Iheancho admonished the students of King Mo Roi 6th University to be steadfast in their ambition to write and speak English well. Madam Iheancho was happy to hear that previous students from the King Mo Roi 6th University are performing well in their jobs. “I am happy that majority of past students who attended the training gained meaningful employment upon their return to Guinea after they completed the one month period at UNIMAK” she explained .

Guinea is a French speaking country in West Africa that shares a border with Sierra Leone. This is the third year students of the King Mo Roi 6th University nave come to UNIMAK.

Accounting Science students Sory Keita said in an interview that the UNIMAK environment is good for learning . “There is no noise on campus. The environment is quiet” he said. Like most female students Linguistic student Mabinty Camara praised the organization and professional skills of lecturers at UNIMAK .”They organize an orientation for us. Everything is formally done,” Miss Camara explained. She is confident of increasing her knowledge and ability in public speaking. The majority of the students promised to inform colleagues from other universities in Guinea to come to UNIMAK to increase their ability to read, write and speak English fluently .

Short Courses in Law at UNIMAK

The University of Makeni Law Department is offering short term courses in Law for Businesses, Law for NGOs, Law for Managers and Law for Executives for middle and senior management personnel of public, private enterprises, and nongovernmental organisations.

These courses will equip middle and senior management personnel of private, public and non-governmental organisations with relevant legal knowledge and skills and to engage legal problems efficiently with basic understanding of the law.

Method of Delivery:

The Courses are delivered within a period of 10 weeks starting 7th September 2018 to 10th November 2018 and students are required to attend a four hours class per week from 5:00pm to 7:00 pm on Fridays and 10:00am to 12:00pm on Saturday at the Fatima Campus, University of Makeni.

Assessments:

Students are assessed through practical class exercises and attendance.

Qualifications:

The successful student will be awarded the University of Makeni non-senatorial certificate in the subject area studied. Example a certificate in Employment Law or a Certificate in Business and Contract.

Costs:

Le: 1,000,000 (One Million Leones) Tuition Fees Per Course

Le: 100,000 (One Hundred Thousand Leones) for Application Form

Application Procedure

You can obtain an application form in the following Address

Makeni

The Registry Fatima Campus University of Makeni

Law Clinic Yoni Sylvanus Koroma Campus

Access to Justice Law Centre 1 Flower Corner Makeni.

Kabala

Access to Justice Law Centre, CRS office Kabala

Portloko

Access to Justice Law Centre, 10 Lungi Road Portloko

Kambia

Access to Justice Law Centre, 46 Kukuna Road Kambia

Lunsar

Maria Ines Secondary School Lunsar.

Tonkolili

Access to Justice Law Centre, 26 Post Office Road Magburaka

Note

Please pick up a receipt for money paid for application form from any of these places

For further information, please contact mobile numbers

+232 76930515/77736274

+23276572281/88040547

E-mail: turaysuzie@gmail.com

  

Commence Dates:

1st Cohort:          7th September 2018 to 10th November 2018

Application Deadline for the first Cohort intake is on Thursday 6th September 2018.