PS21 Global Fellow battles Ebola in Sierra Leone

A Freetown street
A Freetown street

Felicity Fitzgerald, a British paediatrician working with the charity Save the Children, has recently returned to Sierra Leone for the fight against the Ebola virus outbreak.

In this piece for Britain’s Daily Telegraph, she finds herself splitting her time between research and patient care.
 
I’m going to be splitting my time between paediatric clinical work and some desperately needed research. At the peak of the epidemic, all I could think about was changing sheets, cleaning floors, moving patients in and out of the isolation unit and trying to give pain relief and dioralytes to our patients. Data gathering came a long way down the priority list.
 

This is an upsetting reality of outbreak work. When facilities are filled to the brim with needy patients, making detailed notes about what is actually happening to those patients is a rare luxury.

However if we don’t gather data we will remain in the same evidence vacuum that confronted us with this epidemic…

Epidemiologists and clinicians alike are slightly slack-jawed at the drop-off.

The most logical explanation is that sufficient community mobilization (no touching, safe burials, take sick people to hospital and DON’T look after them at home) occurred at a point when we finally achieved sufficient bed and laboratory capacity. That meant we could rapidly move patients out of the community and into Ebola Treatment Centres.

But it didn’t really feel like that. It felt like one week we were full every day with queues of people needing to be admitted, and the next we had empty beds.

You can donate to support Save the Children’s work in Sierra Leone here.

PS21 Announces First 50 Global Fellows, International Advisors

_DSC0075The Project for Study of the 21st Century (PS21) is delighted to announce its inaugural 50 Global Fellows and members of the International Advisory Group.

A new global think tank for a new global era, PS21 is a complete re-imagining of the way think tanks operate. Low footprint and high impact, it launches this week. It will produce content people read and discussions they remember.

The breadth and scope of PS21’s membership gives an idea of its scale of ambition. It includes participants across five continents with decades of experience in fields from financial services and medicine to national security, technology and activism. In the coming weeks and months it will build out further. In particular, it will add new voices from China, Russia, Latin America as well as widening to include new areas of expertise. Members of the International Advisory Group include former UK Special Forces Chief Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb, Wikipedia Chief Communications Officer Katherine Maher, former Pentagon Middle East Chief of Staff Sidney Olinyk, and GCHQ Official John Bassett.

Other advisors and fellows include ex-UN al-Qaeda expert Richard Barrett, former EU head of enlargement Sir Michael Leigh, Wilton Park Chief Executive Richard Burge, and Gary Barnabo and Joshua Marcuse from Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP).

“I am hugely excited by the range of backgrounds and expertise we’ve attracted to the network,” said Peter Apps, Executive Director of PS21, currently on sabbatical from Thomson Reuters where he is Global Defence Correspondent. “We already have some great events and discussions planned and it should prove to be an exciting year.”

Initial events include a discussion on cyber warfare in London on January 28 and a panel discussion on superpower tensions in Washington DC the following day. Further events will follow in both locations as well as other cities around the world.

As it builds out in the course of the year, PS21 will also aim to produce a wide range of articles, blogs, videos, podcasts, e-books and other content.

Fellowships will be unpaid but will offer members excellent promotional and networking opportunities as well as being prestigious in their own right. The Project will offer social events as well as open panel and closed off the record discussions. There will also be the chance to be involved in e-mail and online discussion groups as well as a range of projects.

Initial seed funding of 10,000 pounds will be provided by the Peter Michael Apps Personal Injury Trust. We are also very grateful for support in kind offered by several other organizations. Pro bono legal support provided by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, coordinated by the TrustLaw Programme at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Any questions? Contact ps21central@Gmail.com

Reuters Global Defence Correspondent Peter Apps Joins PS21 as Executive Director

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PS21 is pleased to announce that Reuters global defence correspondent Peter Apps will take up the role of executive director from January 12on paid sabbatical from Thomson Reuters. He will lead the project for Study Of the 21st Century through its initial launch, events and products in 2015 including with a major conference in Washington DC at the end of the year.

Having joined Reuters in 2003, Peter was posted overseas in southern Africa and Sri Lanka. In September 2006, its minibus collided with a tractor while on a reporting trip covering the conflict in the latter, leaving him largely paralysed from the shoulders down. Returning to work in a wheelchair, he covered the emerging markets during the 2008 crash before becoming political risk correspondent for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Since 2013, he has been global defence correspondent. Of the 20 or so countries he has covered for Reuters, more than half have been since the injury.

“I’m very excited to be taking on a full-time role at PS21,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting year. The list of global fellows who will be joining us is pretty jawdropping and I’m hugely honoured to be working with them. There are a lot of interesting issues and trends out there and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them.”