World Bank Mobilizes $400Million Aid For Ebola-Hit Countries

world_bankThe World Bank is mobilizing 400million US dollars package for the countries hardest hit by the Ebola virus disease.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the World Bank Country Director, Ms Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, warned that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst affected countries, its economic impact could grow eight fold.

She advised Nigeria that it is not yet time for complacency and urged authorities to ensure that the containment persists.

Since the announcement by the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu that Nigeria has no single case of Ebola, Nigerians have heaved a sigh of relieve.

However, in spite of this, the World Bank, which continues to support countries battling the scourge of the highly contagious disease, announced plans to nearly double funding to end the health crisis but warned that it is not yet time for authorities and all Nigerians to relax.

Nigeria, according to the World Bank, has not benefited from the bank’s aid response because of the immense success recorded so far, but health specialists underscored that the government still has a lot to guard against.

Obama Stresses Need To End Extreme Violence

Barack Obama.US President, Barack Obama, has asked world leaders to tackle the roots of terrorism and extreme violence around by offering alternatives to young people who are attracted to militancy.

Laying out the American leadership vision in a UN General Assembly speech, Mr Obama pointed out that the world needs a new blueprint to deal with the terror, conflict, climate and health challenges it faces.

The US President said the Ebola outbreak, Islamist militancy and Russian aggression needed addressing.

According to him, the world was at a crossroads between “war and peace”, “disorder and integration”, and “fear and hope”.

Mr Obama told representatives of 193 nations, “On issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule-book written for a different century.”

“If we lift our eyes beyond our borders – if we think globally and act co-operatively – we can shape the course of this century as our predecessors shaped the post-World War Two age.”

“Network Of Death”

Sharply critical of Russian actions in Ukraine, Mr Obama said it was an example of what happens when countries do not respect international laws and norms.

He called on Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to follow “the path of diplomacy and peace and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold”.

In his speech he called on the world to join him in this effort to degrade and ultimately destroy this militant organisation, what he described as a “network of death”.

The president outlined America’s role as the lead player in a coalition of more than 50 countries committed to defeating Islamic State militants.
“We reject any suggestion of a clash of civilisations,” he said.

“Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate.”

The US has carried out more than 194 air strikes against the militants in Iraq since August.

He also addressed the challenges of tackling Ebola in West Africa, forming a strong international coalition on climate change and moving forward on nuclear talks with Iran.

Mr Obama, however, admitted the US had sometimes failed to live up to its ideals but said he welcomed the world’s scrutiny.

The US, he said, held “an unyielding belief in the ability of individual men and women to change their communities and countries for the better”.
Opening the debate, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that human rights were “under attack”.

“From barrel bombs to beheadings, from the deliberate starvation of civilians to the assault on hospitals, UN shelters and aid convoys, human rights and the rule of law are under attack,” he told the assembly.

Ebola: Health Minister Says No More Contacts Under Surveillance

Onyebuchi Chukwu on Ebola Virus.Nigeria no longer has any Ebola contacts under surveillance, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, said on Wednesday.

Professor Chukwu told a gathering at the on-going 69th UN General Assembly in New York that all contacts had completed 21 days of observation and had been discharged.

Those discharged include the remaining 25 Ebola contacts located in Port Harcourt area, he said.

As it stands, the total number of confirmed Ebola Virus Disease cases recorded in Nigeria remains 19, with 12 survivors and seven deaths.

The virus was brought into Nigeria in July by a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, who died on July 25 at a hospital in Lagos.

His death triggered surveillance and isolation of primary contacts in Lagos to contain the spread of the virus.

Six more deaths were, however, recorded both in Lagos and Port Harcourt, with the Port Harcourt cases resulting after a contact under surveillance left Lagos for Port Harcourt without authorisation.

The World Health Organization has commended Nigeria’s effort in containing the virus in a city like Lagos with over 20 million population.

Senate Passes Public Health Bill

Senator David Mark, Senate President.The Senate in Nigeria has passed a bill to establish a public health system to guarantee quarantine, isolation and emergency health procedures.

The decision of Senate to pass the bill into law on Tuesday maybe connected with the onslaught of the Ebola Virus Disease in some West African countries, but experts say it has been brought under control in Nigeria.

It is a bill that seeks the development of a comprehensive plan to provide for a co-ordinated and appropriate response in the event of public health emergency.

It will also enhance the early detection of a health emergency and allow the immediate investigation of such emergency by gaining access to individual’s health information under specified circumstances.

The act also seeks to grant federal and state officials the authority to use an appropriate property as necessary for the case, treatment, vaccination and housing of patients and to destroy contaminated facilities or materials.

Speaking at the Tuesday plenary, the deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said that it was necessary to enact laws to deal challenges thrown up by the Ebola Virus Disease that claimed seven lives in Nigeria between July and August.

Ebola Could Strike 20,000 In Six Weeks And “Rumble On For Years” – Study

Ebola Health Workers.Researchers have said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect 20,000 people as soon as early November unless rigorous infection control measures are implemented, and might “rumble on” for years in a holding pattern.

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Imperial College said that infections would continue climbing exponentially unless patients are isolated, contacts traced and communities enlisted.

The WHO, in an initial roadmap issued on August 28, predicted that the virus could strike 20,000 people within the next nine months. The current death toll is at least 2,811 out of 5,864 cases, the U.N. agency says.

The latest study, marking six months from March 23, when the WHO says it was informed of the Ebola outbreak in southeastern Guinea, reflects projections based on the data from a third wave of the virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone and worst-hit Liberia.

“With exponential growth, you’ll see that the case numbers per week go up so that by the second of November, over these three countries our best estimate is over 20,000 cases, confirmed and suspected cases,” the WHO director of strategy, and co-author of article, Dr. Christopher Dye, told a briefing.

Nearly 10,000 of those would be in Liberia, 5,000 in Sierra Leone and nearly 6,000 in Guinea, he said. But those numbers would only come about with no enhanced infection control.

“Everyone is certainly working very hard to make sure this is a not the reality that we will be seeing,” Dye said. “I will be surprised if we hit 20,000 by then,” he later added.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last week that under a $1 billion plan, he would create a special mission to combat the disease and deployed staff to the region.

“If control is completely successful in the way that we know it can be, then Ebola will disappear from the human population of West Africa and probably return to its animal reservoir,” Dye said, noting that fruit bats were probably the reservoir.

But if control efforts are only partly successful, Ebola viral disease in the human population could become “a permanent feature of life in West Africa”, Dye said.Ebola

“The alternative possibility that we’re talking about is that the epidemic simply rumbles on as it has for the last few months for the next few years, on the order of years, rather than months.

“Under those circumstances, the fear is that Ebola will be more or less a permanent feature of the human population. Of course it could be extinguished later on.”

“In the three hardest-hit countries there was a “mixed pattern”, Dye said.

“We see for example in the border areas of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, some areas where there has been no increase in cases for some weeks now. That’s true in Sierra Leone, it’s true in Lofa in northern Liberia, and it’s true in one of the provinces of Guinea.

“So the question that arises is whether we’re actually seeing the beginning of a stationary pattern in this epidemic.

“In two badly affected districts of Sierra Leone, Kenema and Kailahun, close to border areas with Guinea and Liberia, there has been a stationary pattern, he said.

“What we’ve seen in the past weeks there, maybe eight, nine, 10 weeks now, is a pattern of incidence, numbers of cases per week, which has not significantly changed.

“And indeed there are signs that it’s going down. And I say that cautiously, because we’re prepared to be surprised again. That is what I mean by stationary pattern. A steady incidence week on week.”

There are other reassuring signs about the efficacy of infection control measures, he said, but whether the disease’s spread was stabilising would become clear in the next few weeks.

No new cases have been recorded in either Nigeria or Senegal in the last three weeks, corresponding to the 21-day incubation period for developing the virulent virus, whose symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

“It is reassuring in many ways that a disease like Ebola can enter a city of 20 million, namely Lagos, and we are able to stop transmission, or rather the people of Nigeria are able to stop transmission,” Dye said.

But the Liberian capital Monrovia, where the disease has recently spread fastest, was “uncharted territory”, he said.

“Quite honestly if you ask ‘can we stamp Ebola out of Liberia?’ I’m not sure. In principle we know how to do it, but can we do it on the ground? It remains to be seen.”

 

 

Sierra Leone Records 130 New Ebola Cases During 3-day Lockdown

Ebola virus diseaseThe head of the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre, Stephen Gaojia, said on Monday that Sierra Leone recorded 130 new cases of the Ebola virus during a three-day lockdown and it is waiting for test results on a further 39 suspected cases.

The  country had ordered its six million citizens to stay indoors until Sunday night in the most extreme strategy employed by a West African nation since the start of an epidemic that has infected 5,762 people since March and killed 2,793 of those.

“The exercise has been largely successful … The outreach was just overwhelming. There was massive awareness of the disease,” Gaojia said, noting that authorities reached more than 80 per cent of the households they had intended to target.

Sierra Leone now needs to focus on treatment and case management and it urgently needs treatment centres in all its 14 districts as well as “foot soldiers” in clinics and hospitals, he said.

“We need clinicians, epidemiologists, lab technicians, infection-control practitioners and nurses,” he said.

The hemorrhagic fever, which has struck mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, is the worst since Ebola was identified in 1976 in the forests of central Africa. At least 562 have died in Sierra Leone.

The lockdown was intended to allow 30,000 health workers, volunteers and teachers to visit every household. Some argued it might have a negative impact on Sierra Leone’s poor.

Ebola Outbreak “Pretty Much Contained” In Senegal And Nigeria

Ebola

The World Health Organization said on Monday that two of the five countries affected by the world’s worst ever Ebola outbreak are managing to halt the spread of the disease, although the overall death toll rose to 2,793 out of 5,762 cases.

A WHO statement said:”On the whole, the outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria are pretty much contained,” and that there were no new deaths in Guinea, four in Sierra Leone and 39 in Liberia.

A separate Ebola outbreak has killed 40 people in Democratic Republic of Congo, where there have been 71 cases, it said in a statement on the situation as of September 18.

Abuja Schools Resume, Screen Pupils for Symptoms of Ebola Virus

Abuja schoolsThere was screening of pupils for symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease in the nations capital as schools resumed on Monday for a new session after the long vacation.

Resumption had been delayed after the importation of the disease into the country by a Liberian-American, Mr Patrick Sawyer, who died of the disease in Lagos.

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) had insisted that schools remained closed for fear that necessary safety measures have not been put in place by authorities to protect school children from the disease.

When Channels Television visited some Abuja schools, buckets, hand washing bowls and screening of pupils for high temperature were seen.

While some administrators decided to conduct these tests at the gates, others did so at the assembly ground.

Nigeria currently has no single case of Ebola, but both the government and health experts have continued to encourage citizens to keep proper hygiene.

Now that school children are resuming in some parts of the country, school administrators are expected to keep the needed vigilance for fear of another outbreak.

Resumption: Non Availability Of Ebola Testing Kits In Kaduna Schools

ResumptionAll public and private schools in Kaduna State on Monday resumed for another academic session in compliance with the Federal Government’s directive that schools should re-open for classes on September 22.

Although the State Government on Saturday promised to provide Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) test kits in public and private schools ahead of the September 22 resumption date, Channels TV correspondent who visited some public and private schools in the state capital reports that majority of them are yet to get the kits, only few schools got the thermometer testing kit and sanitisers.

At Government Day Secondary School Doka, in Kaduna North Local government area, two thermometers were provided for testing the temperature of returning students and teachers, while the school management said that it was yet to get the hand washing basins, sanitisers and hand gloves.

It was also a similar scenario at some other private schools visited by Channels Television.

The September 22 resumption date, as directed by the Federal Government, had generated arguments with the leadership of Nigerian Union of Teachers which demanded that government must provide all the necessary equipment on ground to ensure their safety and the students’ before they would resume for classes.

Their fear had been to avoid being infected with the Ebola virus disease. To douse this fear, the Kaduna State Government assured the teachers that 6,000 thermometers, sanitisers and hand gloves had been procured by the state Ministry of Education for onward distribution to the over 6,000 schools across the state.

However, the non availability of these testing kits in most of the schools has raised questions on the safety of the students and teachers who have already resumed for classes without being tested.

For example, at a particular school, pupils were asked to wash their hands inside a small bowl, without sanitisers. The proprietor, however, promised to get the items ready before the close of work, with other private school owners also saying they would go ahead to procure the testing kits instead of waiting endlessly for government.

While the State Government said it has spent a whooping N116 million for the purchase of the Ebola testing kits, many are asking the government to ensure that these kits reach all the schools before the second day of resumption to avoid any outbreak of the disease in the state.

Lagos Schools Resume For Academic Work On October 8

Lagos Schools

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Sunday announced Monday, October 8, as the new date for resumption of schools in the State for academic work.

He said that the one week extension from Monday 22 would be used to conclude the distribution of personal hygiene and other preventive materials against Ebola infection in all the schools.

Making the announcement at a meeting with teachers of public schools in the State at the LTV Blue Roof Hall, Governor Fashola said that the October 8 date was arrived at by the State Executive Council after considering the fact that the Eid-El-Fitri public holidays was already around the corner and that it would not be ideal to break the school programme again soon after resumption.

The Governor explained in an interview later, “Schools re-open tomorrow (Monday, September 22) but for the purpose of preparing the schools and tidying up loose ends and then instead of having the children resuming and then breaking up for Eid, let the Eid period run then we start full blast.

“That is what I and my colleagues have worked on all night and that is what you are likely to see across the schools going forward.”

Addressing the capacity audience of hundreds of teachers of Lagos schools, including Principals, Vice-Principals, Tutors General, Head Teachers and their deputies as well as Executive members of the State’s Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers and other education stakeholders, Fashola reiterated that the Ebola Virus Disease has been contained in the State and there was no need for anyone to fear.

The Governor, who identified with the anxiety of the teachers as genuine, however, said the state has reached the point where the Government must take a decision on when to open the schools. He added, “We can compare and contrast what is the experience in other states; those experiences can only guide us, they cannot bind us.”

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina, had assured the teachers that the Ebola Virus Disease had been finally contained and there was no case of the disease in the state, adding that necessary preventive materials against the disease had been sent to the Education District offices for distribution to the schools.

Such materials, she said, include drums of water with taps and buckets as well as liquid soap for hand washing, hand gloves, thermo-scans, sanitizers and so on, adding that if the fear was about contacting the disease in the schools, the teachers need not to entertain such fears.

She confirmed that in the last two weeks, the Ministry of Health had engaged in training teachers from all Lagos schools to ensure that they have the right information about the disease, adding that within the period, Government officials have also been meeting with stakeholders as well as Contact Officers on Ebola in preparation for the resumption of the schools.

Assuring the teachers that those who have been trained, including the Contact Officers, know and have the information of what to do in the case of any suspected Ebola case, the Special Adviser told them, “Teachers please trust the Government that it will not want you to go back to school except that it has put necessary things in place to ensure your safety.”

The Chairman of the State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Adesegun Raheem, in his remarks, said that the teachers were only anxious to know when the preventive materials which Government promised would reach all the schools.

He added that the executive council of the union had scheduled a meeting to take a decision on the issue before the invitation of the Governor’s meeting came to them.

Expressing the readiness of the teachers to return to school, Mr Raheem said that even if it became necessary to shift the date in order to get the preventive materials across to all Lagos schools, the teachers would work to catch up on any lost academic time when the schools finally resume.

Ondo State Sets Up Infectious Disease Control Centre

Dayo Adeyanju Ondo Commissioner for health. Even as Nigeria has been declared Ebola virus free, lessons have been learnt from the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak and the Ondo State government is leaving nothing to chance in curbing contagious diseases.

The State government has set up an infectious disease hospital in Akure, the state capital, which it says is a purpose built centre to cater for victims of EVD.

A section of the hospital has been completed and equipped.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju said that the centre would help take care of infectious diseases and not just Ebola.

“There must be a pattern of movement in this kind of centre such that health workers do not contaminate the place a and infect other people as they are working in the place.

“The health workers are undergoing training now,” he said, emphasising that the state is battle ready in situations of disease outbreak.

Sept 22 Resumption: Kaduna Govt Distributes Thermometers, Sanitisers to Schools

Muktar-YeroAhead of Monday’s resumption of primary and secondary schools in Kaduna, the state Ministry of Education on Saturday distributed 6,000 thermometers, hand gloves and sanitizers to heads of public and private schools in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.

Speaking to Channels Television after presenting the temperature equipment and other items to the state chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and Zonal Education inspectors in his office, the state Commissioner for Education, Ibrahim Ali, said adequate preventive measures have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of teachers and students against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.

He also disclosed the 13,000 teachers, who have been trained on how to handle ebola virus disease cases, have been deployed to all the private and public schools across the state to ensure basic preventive measures are in place when the schools resume.

The project, which the commissioner said cost the state government the sum of 116 million naira, is aimed at ensuring that the state remains ebola free.

On his part, the state NUT chairman, expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness of the state government towards ensuring that both the teachers and students are adequately protected from contacting the deadly disease ahead of the resumption date.

He also assured that all the teachers in the state will resume on Monday, September 22.