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subcommittee on africa

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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Condemning Iran For Human Rights Violations November 19, 2014
Ed Royce, R-CA
"Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations."
Girls Count Act Of 2014 November 19, 2014
Ed Royce, R-CA
"Chris Smith is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. He is also an original cosponsor of this bill."
Fighting Ebola: A Ground Level View November 19, 2014
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"Mr. Speaker, the world community has known of the Ebola Virus Disease, more commonly called just Ebola, since it first appeared in a remote region near the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. In previous outbreaks, Ebola had been confined to remote areas in which there was little contact outside the villages or areas in which it appear. Unfortunately, this outbreak, now an epidemic, spread from a village to an international center for regional trade and spread into urban areas in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone that are crowded with limited medical services and limited resident trust of government. The unprecedented west African Ebola epidemic has not only killed more than 5,000 people, with more than 14,000 others known to be infected. This situation has skewed the planning for how to deal with this outbreak. In our two previous hearings on the Ebola epidemic, on August 7th and September 17th, we heard about the worsening rates of infection and challenges in responding to this from government agencies such as USAID and CDC and NGOs operating on the ground such as Samaritan’s Purse and SIM. The hearing I held yesterday was intended to take testimony from non-governmental organizations providing services on the ground currently in the affected countries, especially Liberia, so we can better determine how proposed actions are being implemented. In its early stages, Ebola manifests the same symptoms as less immediately deadly diseases, such as malaria, which means initial health care workers have been unprepared for the deadly nature of the disease they have been asked to treat. This meant that too many health care workers—national and international—have been at risk in treating patients who themselves may not know they have Ebola. Hundreds of health care workers have been infected and many have died, including some of the top medical personnel in the three affected countries. What we found quite quickly was that the health care systems in these countries, despite heavy investment by the United States and other donors, are quite weak. As it happens, these are three countries either coming out of very divisive civil conflict or experiencing serious political divisions. Consequently, citizens have not been widely prepared to accept recommendations from their governments. For quite some time, many people in all three countries would not accept that the Ebola epidemic was real. Even now, it is believed that despite the prevalence of burial teams throughout Liberia, for example, some families are reluctant to identify their suffering and dead loved ones for safe burials, which places family members and their neighbors at heightened risk of contracting this often fatal disease when patients are most contagious. The porous borders of these three countries have allowed people to cross between countries at will. This may facilitate commerce, but it also allows for diseases to be transmitted regionally. As a result, the prevalence of Ebola in these three countries has ebbed and flowed with the migration of people from one country to another. Liberia remains the hardest hit of the three countries, with more than 6,500 Ebola cases officially recorded. The number of infected and dead from Ebola could be as much as three times higher than the official figure due to underreporting. Organizations operating on the ground have told us over the past few months that despite the increasing reach of international and national efforts to contact those infected with Ebola, there remain many remote areas where it is still difficult to find residents or gain sufficient trust to obtain their cooperation. Consequently, the ebb and flow in infections continues. Even when it looks like the battle is being won in one place, it increases in a neighboring country and then reignites in the areas that looked to be successes. The United States is focusing on Liberia, the United Kingdom is focusing on Sierra Leone, and France and the European Union are supposed to focus on Guinea. In both Sierra Leone and Guinea, the anti-Ebola efforts are behind the pace of those in Liberia. This epidemic must brought under control in all three if our efforts are to be successful. Last week, I, along with Representatives Karen Bass and Mark Meadows of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, introduced H.R. 5710, the Ebola Emergency Response Act. This bill lays out the steps needed for the U.S. government to effectively help fight the west African Ebola epidemic, especially in Liberia—the worst-hit of the three affected countries. This includes recruiting and training health care personnel, establishing fully functional treatment centers, conducting education campaigns among populations in affected countries and developing diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. H.R. 5710 confirms U.S. policy in the anti-Ebola fight and provides necessary authorities for the Administration to continue or expand anticipated actions in this regard. The bill encourages U.S. collaboration with other donors to mitigate the risk of economic collapse and civil unrest in the three affected countries. Furthermore, this legislation authorizes funding of the International Disaster Assistance account at the higher FY2014 level to effectively support these anti-Ebola efforts."
The Leahy Law July 14, 2014
Patrick Leahy, D-VT
"At a July 10 hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, Stephen Rickard, a former Senate staff member, State Department official, director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, director of Amnesty International’s Washington Office, and now executive director of the Open Society Policy Center, provided testimony on the Leahy Laws. His testimony does an excellent job of describing the purposes and impact of the Leahy Laws, and addressing key questions that have been asked about their implementation. I ask unanimous consent that his statement be printed in the Record."
Ukraine Support Act March 27, 2014
Ed Royce, R-CA
"Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations."

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