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Cancer Answers is hosted by Dr. Anees Chagpar, Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology and Director of The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and Dr. Francine Foss, Professor of Medical Oncology. The show features a guest cancer specialist who will share the most recent advances in cancer therapy and respond to listeners questions. Myths, facts and advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment are discussed, with a different focus eachweek. Nationally acclaimed specialists in various types of cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment discuss common misconceptions about the disease and respond to questions from the community.Listeners can submit questions to be answered on the program at canceranswers@yale.edu or by leaving a message at (888) 234-4YCC. As a resource, archived programs from 2006 through the present are available in both audio and written versions on the Yale Cancer Center website.

A Call for More Scrutiny on How Ebola Aid Money Gets Spent in Sierra Leone

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United Nations Photo
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Creative Commons

Officials in Sierra Leone are continuing to abuse aid money sent there to combat Ebola, according to audit reports and a Quinnipiac University political science professor who just returned home from a trip there. 

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 4,000 people died of Ebola in Sierra Leone since the country's first reported case in May 2014. Over a year later, Ebola is largely under control there. The past 21 days have seen six confirmed cases in a country with a total population exceeding six million people.

Fodei Batty is from Sierra Leone, and he just visited. He teaches political science at Quinnipiac University. He said Ebola brought a lot of aid money into Sierra Leone, but what it didn't bring was financial oversight.

"It's shocking. It's absolutely scandalous," Batty said. "There's this joke in terms of senior public officials in Sierra Leone at the moment. Some of them have remarked: 'May Ebola last a little longer, so I finish building my mansion.'"

Earlier this year, a report from Audit Service Sierra Leone said millions of dollars worth of aid money from the U.S. and other countries were improperly spent. The report cited what it called a "complete disregard" for the country's financial reporting laws. 

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Credit Quinnipiac University
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Quinnipiac University
Fodei Batty's half-brother and his half-brother's wife both died from Ebola exposure. Batty said there needs to be more oversight governing how Sierra Leone officials spend Ebola aid money.

Batty got back from his trip to Sierra Leone last month. He visited an Ebola response center, which was still dealing with reported cases of the disease. But today, he said it's very hard to tell where the disease remains a real threat and where people are scamming the system -- what he calls the "epidemic after the epidemic."

"You don't know what's going on," Batty said. "Whether people are still doing stuff just to keep the buzz and the over-hype of the disease going, so the money keeps flowing."

Because of his visit, Batty is under a 21-day monitoring period. He's free to leave his house in Connecticut and go about his daily routine, but he must check and report his temperature twice a day.

Batty said he plans to visit Sierra Leone next year. In the meantime,  he said he hopes there's more global scrutiny about how Sierra Leone spends its aid money.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at Connecticut Public. He covers science and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.
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