UN To Create Special Mission To Combat Ebola

Members of the Security Council attend a meeting on the Ebola crisis at U.N. headquarters in New YorkThe United Nations will create a special mission to combat Ebola, deploying staff in the worst-affected states – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – as the U.N. Security Council declared the outbreak a “threat to international peace and security.”

U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said he would appoint a special envoy to head the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), which will push a “rapid and massive mobilisation” of people, material and financial resources.

“This international mission … will have five priorities: stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks,” Ban told the Security Council on Thursday.

The 15-member council unanimously adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution on Thursday calling on states “to lift general travel and border restrictions, imposed as a result of the Ebola outbreak, and that contribute to the further isolation of the affected countries and undermine their efforts to respond.”

The resolution was co-sponsored by some 131 states, which the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said was the most support given to a Security Council resolution. It is only the third time the council has taken such action on a public health crisis after adopting two resolutions on HIV/AIDS.

The United Nations action comes as the United States unveiled plans to send 3,000 troops and build 17 treatment centers, France announced plans to install a military hospital, and Cuba, China, Britain and others have pledged medical workers, health centers and other forms of support.

At least 2,630 people have died in the worst outbreak of Ebola virus since the disease was identified in 1976; it has so far infected at least 5,357 people in West Africa, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Jackson Naimah, a Medecins Sans Frontieres team leader in an Ebola treatment center in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, appealed to the Security Council for help. “The future of my country is hanging in the balance,” he said via video link.

“We are trying to treat as many people as we can, but there are not nearly enough treatment centers and patient beds,” he said. “People are sitting at the gates of our centers, literally begging for their lives. They rightly feel alone, neglected, denied – left to die a horrible, undignified death.”

Ebola is spread by contact with the body fluids of infected people. The outbreak began in Guinea in March and has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. An unrelated outbreak has happened in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said an “exponentially rising caseload threatens to push governments to the brink of state failure.”

“WHO has successfully managed many big outbreaks in recent years. But this Ebola event is different. This is likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced,” Chan told the Security Council.

“Everything now is unprecedented. Everything now is happening faster than ever before,” she said.

Ban told the council he hoped an advance team for the new U.N. mission would be on the ground before the end of the month. He is due to brief the 193-member U.N. General Assembly on his plans for the mission on Friday.

Kaduna Residents Kick Against Proposed Ebola Isolation Centre

ebola, seierra-leone
Ebola Scares Residents

The Fear of contracting the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has prompted residents of Down quarters of Kakuri community in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State to stage a peaceful protest on Wednesday against the siting of a containment centre for the disease in the area by the state government.

Their protest came, even as the State government had already converted an abandoned Primary Health Centre in the area into an emergency centre for Ebola disease and had begun putting up structures for that purpose.

The village head of the community, Danjuma Musa, expressed the anxiety of the community over the siting of the Ebola centre in the community.

To justify the apprehension of his people about the proposed Ebola centre, the village head pointed out that the proposed centre was located in a high density area.

“The health facility is also located very close to a big market, a railway station and residential areas made up of women and children among others”.

Although there was no confirmed case of the virus infection in Kaduna State, the fear of the community in allowing the government to site the isolation centre very close to residents is hinged on the mode of transmission of the disease.

The largely rural community, which is about five kilometres from the city centre has not known any peace since the intention of the government was made public about two weeks ago.

According to the residents, bringing Ebola centre to such a crowded area will amount to mass murder, as many of them will likely contract the disease. They are appealing to the state government to relocate the proposed centre to a more isolated place where nobody is living.

No New Cases Of Ebola – Dr Shuaib

No New Cases Of Ebola
Dr.Faisal Shuaib

The Head, Ebola Emergency Operations in Nigeria, Dr. Faisal Shuaib on Thursday dismissed claims that there are new cases of Ebola victims in Nigeria apart from those who had contact with the primary index.

He maintained that the Ebola patients, who had primary contact with the index patient, Patrick Sawyer, still remain those reported.

” We have 12 confirmed cases of the Ebola outbreak, with five discharged patients and five deaths”, noting that “in the whole of Nigeria we have only two persons with the Ebola virus and four persons who are in isolation centre presently.

“There are two cases which had a direct primary contact of the index patient and there is no new case(s) of the Ebola Virus”, he noted.

Speaking on the Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Dr Shuaib, reassured Nigerians that there is no evidence that persons to contract the virus after the persons have been cleared, debunking claims by the Senior Registrar of the National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi, Dr. Akindele Akintayo, on Wednesday.

“Nobody leaves the health facility in good fitting to go home when he is infectious.

“There is a discharge protocol that we follow which indicates that there is no symptoms, adding that laboratory tests are conducted and when turned to a negative form, the patient is good to go home, and will not transmit the disease.

“There is no evidence what so ever in the literature that anybody can transmit the virus to his spouse through semen, it has not been documented and I do not know where he got his fact from. this might create panic to people”, he stressed.

According to Dr. Shuaib, the agency controlling and containing the virus has a joint-solving approach for the emergency treatment of the Ebola virus.

“We have a situation where we have all partner agencies bringing all their resources both material and human into one group led by the government” adding that strategies are in place to examine and coordinate further spread of the epidemic.

” We have daily meetings twice where we have all strategies developed against Ebola outbreak. Data is anaylsed and interpreted in terms of the current stage of the Ebola outbreak and examined”, he noted.

Dr. Shuaib added that the best health care practitioners are working hard in Nigeria to curb the further spread of the virus.

“In the cases of the Ebola outbreak, the best doctors are working with Nigerian doctors, so that we could have one focus in curbing the virus and making sure all efforts are put in the same direction. This is why we are cautiously optimistic that it will bring a lot of progress”, he emphasised.

He also, noted that the Ebola Emergency Centre was currently at the Central Public Health Laboratory in Yaba Lagos.

He however encouraged States in the federation to have centres in order to curb the rise of the virus

” We encourage States to set up their emergency centres by reputing data analysis and interpretation of data so that it can define an epidemic and place strategies to curb further spread of the virus”, noting that “the obligation of the centre strategised in the country was to ensure that there is no further spread of the virus.

“What the centre does is to cast a wide net to ensure that any body that had any contant with the Ebola patient, is brought in and observed.

” We are optimistic that they might not see new cases,we are not relenting at all; we are going out to do surveillance in communities .

Since the disease broke out early this year, at least 1,200 deaths have been recorded in West Africa.

Ebola: Liberian President Imposes Night Time Curfew

Liberian-Presid2The Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has imposed a night- time curfew and quarantined two affected neighbourhoods in a bid to stop the Ebola epidemic rampaging through West Africa.

The new quarantine areas include Monrovia’s West Point slum.

The President said that the commencement of the curfew would start on Wednesday, August 20, from 9:00 pm to 6:00am daily.

“Commencing on Wednesday, August 20, there will be a curfew from 9:00pm to 6:00am.

“All entertainment centres are to be closed. All video centres are to be closed at 6:00 pm,” she ordered.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 1,200 people have died of the virus in four West African countries.

In Nigeria, a top Lagos doctor, who attended to the Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, that brought the Virus to Nigeria died of the virus on Tuesday. That brings the number of people who have died of Ebola in Nigeria to five, the health ministry said.

Colleagues said consultant Stella Ameyo Adadevoh was the first medical practitioner to order that a sick patient from Liberia be tested for Ebola when he was admitted in July.

The Chief Medical Director at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Akin Osibogun, said that late Stella Adadevoh was a hero who contained the late Sawyer from leaving the hospital when he was tested positive to the virus, helping to contain the spread of the disease.

“We owe her a lot. She managed the situation like a thorough professional that she was. She had helped Nigeria to contain the epidemic in her own way.”

Government authorities had said five people have recovered from the virus in Nigeria and have been discharged from hospital in Lagos after they were confirmed fit and without the virus. Two are still being treated.

The outbreak in West africa has claimed at least 1,200 lives and it had started affecting travellers in the region, as several airlines have stopped flights.

Ebola : Canada Donates Vaccine To WHO For Use In Africa

Ebola virus diseaseThe Health Minister of Canada, Rona Ambrose,has  said that the Canadian Government would donate a small quantity of an experimental Ebola Vaccine developed in its government lab, to the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in Africa.

The Health Minister Rona Ambrose, said on Tuesday that she had offered the vaccine to Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of the WHO. The decision to donate the vaccine came after the WHO said on Tuesday that it was ethical to offer untested drugs to people infected by the virus.

The Canadian government would donate between 800 to 1,000 doses of the vaccine, with the final number given dependent on how much Canada holds back for research and clinical trials. The government will also keep a small supply in case it is needed domestically.

In an interview with Reuters, the Deputy Chief, Public Health Agency, Dr. Greg Taylor, said that the United State was also working on a vaccine and the WHO and governments involved were discussing possible use in Africa.

Canada only have about 1,500 animal doses of the vaccine, which it invented a few years ago, and would need four to six months to make a large quantity, he said. The government’s vaccine is separate from the treatment being developed by Canada’s Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.

“We see this as a global resource, something we need to put on the global table, how can we make best use of this asset? “We’re looking to do that as fast as we can,” Taylor said, speaking from Ottawa.

The Ebola outbreak is the world’s largest and deadliest. So far, 1,013 people have died, the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Canadian vaccine, which the agency licensed for commercialization to U.S. firm BioProtection Systems, a unit of Newlink Genetics, has proven effective in animals but has never been tested in humans, Taylor said.

Last week, Iowa-based NewLink said that BioProtection had a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense for studies to bring the Canadian Ebola vaccine closer to human testing.

“We’ve been trying to figure out how we can make a contribution in the fight against this disease and get our vaccine into the clinic,” Brian Wiley, NewLink vice-president of business development, told Reuters on Tuesday. “A large amount of work still needs to be done, but when there is a dire need the powers that be move at a quicker pace.”

Canada’s Taylor did not specify which of several U.S. vaccines in development he was referring to that may be used in Africa along with the Canadian vaccine.

Profectus BioSciences of Tarrytown, New York, has tested its Ebola vaccine in monkeys with good results, its chief science officer John Eldridge said on Tuesday.

Still, deciding whether to use an experimental drug on humans is “very difficult,” Taylor said.

“You really don’t know how safe it is, you don’t know what the side effects are going to be. But in this extraordinary circumstance in Africa right now, we’re trying to do everything we can to assist.”

The first doses in Africa would likely be available to health care workers, Taylor said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada was also involved in the development of ZMapp, an experimental Ebola treatment licensed by U.S. firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical that has been used to treat two infected American aid workers. Liberia said on Tuesday it will get Mapp’s drug to treat two doctors.