Ebola-Hit States Plead For More Help, WHO Rebuked For Slow Response

Ebola in scotlandA Medical Charity and two West African countries fighting the world’s worst Ebola epidemic have criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for its slow response, saying more action was needed to save victims threatened by the disease and hunger.

With the death toll over 1,000 and still climbing, the United Nation’s Health Agency is facing questions over whether it moved quickly enough to declare the months-old outbreak a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”, which it did on Aug 8.

Medical Charity MSF (Doctors Without Borders), which has been one of the most active groups in fighting the outbreak, said its spread had created a “wartime” situation in the worst-affected states of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Nigeria is also facing a smaller separate outbreak.

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma said his nation’s only two treatment centers were “overwhelmed”.
In neighboring Liberia, Information Minister Lewis Brown said Ebola-affected rural areas quarantined by troops faced serious food shortages.

“We need a more robust response to the nature of the disease and the way it is affecting us,” Koroma said in Freetown, adding he had delivered this message to the WHO, which is coordinating international efforts to try to control the outbreak.

The WHO said on Friday the death toll from this epidemic, first declared in Guinea in March, had risen to 1,145, as 76 new deaths were reported in the two days to Aug. 13 in the four nations affected so far.

“If our people are dying, the response should be an extraordinary response because it is an extraordinary situation,” Koroma told a news conference, saying his country needed more Ebola treatment centers and medics to staff them.

“Time is of the essence,” he added, saying he had seen the world respond to major humanitarian crises, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and West Africa needed similar help.

Fear of the virus, which causes fever, vomiting in its advanced form, severe hemorrhaging and organ failure, is curbing business in Africa and threatening to taint the continent’s image as a rising economic star.

In Liberia, which like neighbors Sierra Leone and Guinea have deployed troops to cordon off a tri-border zone which has the highest concentration of Ebola cases, Brown said his country also needed more health personnel and aid.

Ebola Virus: Kaduna NMA Advocates Campaign In Rural Communities

TheEbola virus disease Kaduna State branch of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has advised both the federal and state governments to focus more of their enlightenment campaign on the Ebola virus disease to the rural communities rather than concentrating on the urban areas.

The association said that this has become imperative because majority of the rural dwellers eat more bush meat than their urban counterparts, and are also not properly enlightened to know the risks associated with the Ebola virus disease.

 

The Kaduna State NMA Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim, gave this advice at a press briefing in Kaduna on Saturday, where he debunked rumours spreading round the state since Thursday that there was an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the state.

He advised the residents to always confirm any issue relating to the Ebola case from health personnel instead of relying on rumours. He also advised them to adopt measures of protecting themselves from contracting the virus.

Mr Ibrahim reiterated the willingness of his members to attend to any case of Ebola or any other emergency in the state, despite the ongoing strike by medical doctors across the country.

He, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the Federal Government’s insurance cover for health workers who are attending to victims of Ebola virus, as well as the level of preparedness shown so far by both the Federal Government and the 36 state governments.

 

Public Analyst Believes Government Is In Control Of Ebola

Buchi MaduNigerians still have reasons to be calm irrespective of the negative incidents happening in the country.

A public sector consultant, Buchi Madu, believes so and that much he said during a conversation on Channels Television’s Rubbin’ Minds.

The outbreak of the Ebola virus on the West African region and its entry into Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, through a flight form Liberia, had caused panic in recent weeks, but Mr Madu believes that the Nigerian Government has shown its capability to handle the situation.

He noted that the Government, having shown that it was in control, must have earned the trust of the people and therefore they (people) would follow instructions given out.

He, therefore, urged the Government to do more in making information about the virus available to the public.

Nigerian athletes’ performances at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow also came to the fore and Madu expressed joy that the country has been able to record some successes especially with the record breaking double gold medal by sprinter, Blessing Okagbare.

Although the ban on female weightlifter, Chika Amalaha, who failed a dope test, was a downside for the country’s representation at the games, Madu said that this would do little to rob Nigeria of its glory, as the country had always been well rated in sports.

He declined speaking further on issues surrounding Amalaha’s ban and the eventual withdrawal of her earlier won Gold medal, since it was still an evolving case.

Mr Madu, however, said that the issue of terrorism could not be overlooked as it had taken a more alarming dimension with the introduction of female suicide bombers in recent attacks.

Referring to it as “a culture that is very alien to Nigerians”, he said, that while “the Government was doing its best, albeit late in the game”, Nigerians need to “untangle the underlining issue of Islamic fundamentalism from politics and all of the noise around it.”

He explained that there was a faction of extremists, who have an agenda and were determined to achieve it. He added, also, that there had been power play between the North and South and he thinks the politicians have played major roles in it as the crisis could be a tool for disgruntled politicians to unsettle the country’s leadership.

Feature: Nigerians’ Views On Ebola Virus

Ebola-VirusThe Ebola virus is one disease that is spreading faster than efforts to contain it. It is the largest and most complex outbreak in the history.

From 431 fatality figures recorded in 1976, the virus first appeared in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, over 700 lives have been lost so far in Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Liberia since March 2014.

Channels Television went to the streets to know how much Nigerians know about the risk factor, infection, transmission and prevention.

This follows after a man came into Nigeria from Liberia,was hospitalized and later died from the highly contagious Ebola virus disease in Lagos.

Death toll from Guinea opposition march rises to four

The official death toll from Thursday’s clashes between Guinean opposition protesters and police and government supporters rose to four on Friday, meaning at least 22 people have now been killed in unrest since March.

The opposition, which held a rally against plans for a June election that it fears will be rigged, said three protesters were shot dead and a fourth beaten to death at the march.

The government, which had earlier said that only one person was killed on Thursday, has denied accusations that opposition leaders were targeted by security forces and said the victims had been attacked by people on their own side.

“There were four deaths, two of them from gunshots and one was stabbed. The fourth died following a road accident,” government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said.

Thirty-five people were injured during Thursday’s violence and some 300 have been hurt since the unrest began in March.

The opposition says it was not consulted before the elections commission announced June 30 as the date for the legislative election and says voter lists are being revised in favor of President Alpha Conde’s allies.

They are calling for the company contracted by the government to revise the lists, South African firm Waymark, to be replaced and are demanding that Guineans abroad be allowed to vote.

Despite vast deposits of gold, iron ore and diamonds, global miners Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Brazil’s Vale have slowed billions of dollars of investments in the west African nation, citing political uncertainty as one of the reasons.