DR Congo Medics Arrested Over Murder Of WHO Ebola Doctor

Three Congolese medics have been detained over the murder of a World Health Organization (WHO) doctor who was fighting an Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, a military prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Cameroonian doctor Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung was shot dead on April 19 in an attack on a hospital in the eastern city of Butembo.

The arrested doctors will be prosecuted for “terrorism” and “criminal conspiracy,” Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Baptiste Kumbu Ngoma, military prosecutor for Butembo in North Kivu province, told AFP.

The three are accused of holding meetings on April 14 to plot the assassination of Mouzoko, he added.

The WHO said Mouzoko had been deployed as part of a medical team to help rein in the Ebola outbreak which started last August in North Kivu.

The prosecutor said the doctors were “among the moral authors” of the attack on Mouzoko. He said one more doctor was being sought in the case.

In a letter to the mayor of Butembo, the local doctors’ association expressed indignation at the arrests and said they would go on strike if their colleagues were not released within 48 hours.

But the military prosecutor dismissed their demands as “out of the question”.

“It’s a delicate situation. As a man has died, we absolutely have to know the truth about what happened,” the coordinator of the fight against Ebola in DR Congo, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, told AFP.

More than 1,800 people have died from the virus in the past year.

The outbreak is the second deadliest on record, after the epidemic that struck West Africa in 2014-2016, which killed more than 11,300 people.

Efforts to roll back the highly contagious haemorrhagic fever have been hampered not only by fighting but also by resistance within communities to preventative measures, care facilities and safe burials.

Attacks on health workers have had a devastating effect, with seven murdered and more than 50 seriously hurt, according to an unofficial tally.

After the killing of Mouzoko in April, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We will not be intimidated… we will finish our work.”

AFP

WHO Gets Kudos For Fast Ebola Action In Congo

 

The World Health Organization has received widespread praise for its quick response to an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, although observers warn prevention and information to affected communities remain insufficient.

So far, 52 confirmed, likely or suspected cases of the deadly virus have been registered in DRC, including 22 deaths.

The UN health agency has been scrambling in this outbreak to prove it has learned its lesson after bungling the initial response to the 2013-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

WHO underwent a massive reform after being slammed for responding too slowly and failing to grasp the gravity of that outbreak until it was out of control.

Ultimately, that outbreak claimed more than 11,300 lives.

So this time, the UN agency jumped into action as soon as DRC on May 8 officially declared that Ebola had surfaced in rural northwestern DRC in a remote location called Bikoro.

Peter Salama, WHO’s head of emergency response, pointed out this week that clinical care facilities have been set up, an air bridge has been established to Bikoro, emergency financing has been mobilised, protective gear and emergency medical kits have been supplied.

In addition, a targeted vaccination campaign has begun and more than 120 WHO staff have been deployed alongside numerous staff from other organisations, under the leadership of the DRC government.

‘Very confident’

“Certainly, in the first two weeks, an enormous amount of activity has happened,” Salama told AFP.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, also told AFP she was “very confident” the agency’s response this time was robust and efficient.

“The reform of the WHO emergency programme is working extremely well,” she said.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which was one of WHO’s harshest critics over the West Africa outbreak, agreed that the response this time was far better.

“I think much more has been done,” Jean-Clement Cabrol, MSF’s emergency medical coordinator, told reporters in Geneva on Thursday.

Last time, he said, it took WHO “a long time to realise the extent of the epidemic… This time I think the understanding of the risk and of the need to respond is there”.

The Gavi vaccine alliance also hailed in a statement that “the response this time has been stronger, faster than four years ago in West Africa”.

But it cautioned there was “a need to strengthen further preventive and control measures on the ground”.

‘Prevent the fires’

Swiss medical charity FairMed agreed, pointing out that little had been done in advance to prevent the tragedy.

“If you compare to the epidemic in Guinea, and later in Liberia and Sierra Leone, WHO has not missed the opportunity to show it has recognised and applied important ‘lessons learned’,” Bart Vander Plaetse told AFP in an email.

But he stressed that not enough had been done to strengthen the “neglected health systems in distress” which permit Ebola to spread.

“The firefighters are better organised, but work to prevent the fires remains neglected,” he warned.

MSF’s Cabrol meanwhile voiced concern over “insufficient” efforts to inform affected communities about how to protect themselves against the highly infectious and extremely lethal virus, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids.

“A large portion of the population does not understand this illness (and) thinks it is witchcraft” or something similar, he said, also cautioning that confusion around the vaccine campaign was complicating the response.

The campaign, using an unlicenced vaccine, is only for first responders and anyone who has been in contact with people infected with Ebola, and contacts of those contacts.

But Cabrol warned that all of the talk about the vaccine had led some to believe there would be a mass vaccination campaign.

“We are seeing people today who refuse to be hospitalised, even though they have tested positive, saying that they prefer to wait for the vaccine,” he said.

Moeti meanwhile insisted that WHO fully understood the importance of engaging communities, stressing efforts underway to involve local leaders, priests and others trusted by the people to help spread the message.

That is one of “the very painful lessons we learned in West Africa,” she said.

AFP

Ebola: Profile Of A Much-Feared Killer Virus

 

 

A fact file on the deadly Ebola virus, a new outbreak of which has killed 17 people in the northwest Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the DRC government and World Health Organization (WHO).

 What it is:

Ebola — formally known as Ebola virus disease, or EVD — is a severe and often lethal viral disease.

The average fatality rate is around 50 percent, varying from 25 percent to 90 percent, according to the WHO.

History:

Ebola was first identified in 1976 by a team led by a young Belgian microbiologist, Peter Piot, who later founded UNAIDS, the United Nations’ spearhead agency against HIV/AIDS.

They named the virus after a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo — then known as Zaire — that was close to the location of the first known outbreak.

Four of the virus species are known to cause disease in humans — Zaire, Sudan, Bundibugyo and Tai Forest.

How it is transmitted:

The virus’ natural reservoir animal is probably the bat, which does not itself fall ill, but can pass the microbe on to humans who hunt it for food.

Chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines can also become infected with Ebola, which makes them potential vectors for transmission if they are killed, butchered and eaten.

Among humans, the commonest form of infection is through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of someone who is sick with Ebola or has recently died — a risk in African cultures where relatives typically touch the body of the deceased at funerals.

The WHO says it is unclear whether the virus may be transmitted through sexual intercourse, but urges safe-sex practices among all Ebola survivors and their sexual partners.

Symptoms:

Those infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear — something that happens after an incubation period of between two and 21 days.

High fever, weakness, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat are often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, and internal and external bleeding.

After-effects have often been observed in survivors, including arthritis, problems with vision, eye inflammation and hearing difficulties.

Treatment:

There is no current vaccine to prevent Ebola or licensed treatment for it, although a range of experimental drugs is in development. Early care with rehydration may boost the chance of survival.

Given the lack of a pharmaceutical weapon against Ebola, health experts have responded with time-honored measures of control, prevention, and containment.

They use rigorous protocols to protect medical personnel with disposable full-body suits, masks, goggles and gloves and disinfecting sprays.

Controlling the spread in the community is combatted by tracing and isolating people who have been in contact with an Ebola victim. Enlisting the support of the community through awareness campaigns is vital.

Worst outbreak:

The world’s worst Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring West African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

That outbreak killed more than 11,300 people out of nearly 29,000 registered cases, according to World Health Organisation estimates.

The real figure may have been significantly higher, however.

More than 99 percent of victims were in Liberia, Guine, and Sierra Leone although cases popped up all over the world, sparking panic.

The WHO declared the epidemic over in January 2016, although this was followed by flare-ups in all three countries.

Before the West African outbreak, Ebola killed about 1,700 people over four decades.

SOURCES: WHO, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

AFP

Diphtheria Kills 21 In Bangladesh Rohingya Camps – WHO

Twenty-one people have died from diphtheria in the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, adding that it had started a second vaccination drive to rein in the outbreak.

According to the UN health agency, 1,571 suspected cases of the bacterial disease were registered in the Rohingya refugee camps of southeast Bangladesh between November 10 and December 17.

More than 655,000 Rohingya Muslims have poured into these camps after fleeing a brutal crackdown in Myanmar in recent months.

“Twenty-one deaths have been reported among the Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters in Geneva, adding that about 20 percent of the suspected cases were children under the age of five.

Diphtheria is a highly contagious disease that mainly affects the nose and throat and can cause breathing problems, and can be fatal if left untreated, but has become increasingly rare in recent decades because of high vaccination rates.

Bangladesh authorities began an initial vaccination campaign on December 12, targeting children aged six weeks to six years.

Chaib said the second campaign was launched on Sunday, targeting children aged seven to 15.

AFP

Club Foot Patient Anthony Eyibio Gets Corrective Treatment

anthony-eyibio-treatmentAnthony Eyibio with a medical condition, Congenital Talipes Equinovarus, otherwise known as club foot, will get corrective  treatment, facilitated by the Red Cross Society of Nigeria.

Days after Channels Television reported Anthony’s case, and the World Health Organization confirmed that it was club foot; his condition drew attention that has led to the announcement by the Red Cross that it is determined to correct the infant’s condition free of charge.

Anthony will not only be the beneficiary but patients with same condition across Nigeria, as the Red Cross Society says, it is looking at setting up a club foot care project across Nigeria to create awareness on the medical condition and treat patients accordingly.

This was disclosed at the Orthopaedic Department of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UTCH) by a team of senior health practitioners while receiving Anthony brought in by the State government for commencement of the treatment.

Few days into the New Year, Channels Television brought to the fore, the case of one Anthony Eyibio suspected with Poliomyelitis but was later dismissed by the World Health Organization as rather club foot following clinical examinations conducted on the child.

The situation did not just die off but raised concerns on how to better the lots of thousands of children with the same medical condition especially in hard to reach communities across Nigeria but are not aware it could be corrected.

ekpene-eki-road
The difficult journey to Ekpene Eki leaves travellers with no other choice than a ride on a bike

The Red Cross Of Nigeria indicated interest in the situation and decided that Anthony be brought to the University Of Calabar for commencement of the first corrective phase.

Monitoring The Healing Progress

The Cross River State Government led by its Health Commissioner alongside, Channels Televisions’ crew, began a trip to the remote and hard-to-reach community of Ekpene Eki, with little or no road access but several hours on bike to bring Anthony and his mother to Calabar.

The Health Commissioner, Dr. Inyang Asibong, said: “We have actually come here to get this child out there for medical treatment. We had to come ourselves because sometimes, even when people have a problem because of their orientation, it is difficult to pull out. If you tell her, ‘madam come to that health facility’, she may not come, you give her the money and she finds out she has other list of priorities.

“We want to improve the quality of life of this little child”.

Back to Calabar and set for office work, Dr. Asibong hands over Anthony to a team of health experts at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, with promises of monitoring the healing progress of the child till the end.

Assurances were given to the State, Nigeria and the International Community of rendering quality services to the patient till his condition is corrected.

The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of the UCTH, Dr. Ngim Ogbu, who stood represented the CMD, UCTH, Dr. Thomas Agan, said the management of the hospital was actually fully aware of the pathology that is called, Club Foot.

“It has been with us for several decades and it is not anything new and as management of this hospital, we want to assure the public that, the treatment for this condition will be done here and at no cost to that. The whole world will see that such treatment is actually available and the patient will have a normal life thereafter”.

A Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and HOD of the Orthopedics, NRCS, CRS Branch, Professor Ngim Ngim, said: “As the process starts, you will be briefed from time to time the progress that the child makes, but rest assured that, the child will be given the best of treatments that can be obtained anywhere in the world”.anthony-eyibio

Throwing more light to the club foot project, the Health Adviser, Cross River State Chapter of, Nigeria Red Cross Society Dr. Ernest Ochang, said the society would source for funding and would work in collaboration with the Orthopaedic Department at the University of Calabar for the treatments.

“Using the beautiful case of Eyibio brought about by Channels Television that, a lot of other patients, who are suffering from club foot in very hard to reach areas, will derive benefit from this initiative and we must continue to thank Channels Television for bringing out that information. A little snark at the beginning of the diagnosis but at least, that little effort is beginning to yield fruit and Red Cross is ready to carry it to the next level.

“We are scaling it up across the whole country so each of our branches across the country will benefit from the Club Foot Care project. Tertiary institutions in those states where the branches are will also benefit from the Club Foot Project so down the line, “Channels TV Eyibio’s” case, we will now have other people benefiting from Club Foot care for little or nothing,” he said.

Club foot medically termed, Congenital Talipes Equinovarus is a congenital deformity involving one foot or both and appears to have been rotated internally at the ankle.

Without treatment, people with club feet appear to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.

Research has proven that, with treatment, the vast majority of patients with club foot recover completely during early childhood.

What You Should Know About Exercise

ExerciseConsistent physical exercise, extends far beyond weight management and is believed to be one of the most important things one can do for good health, particularly in the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Going by figures from the World Health Organization (W.H.O), 24 per cent of deaths in Nigeria occur, owing to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.

Research shows that regular physical activity can help reduce your risk for several diseases and health conditions and improve your overall quality of life.

Although such information seems rather cliché, it is necessary to re-iterate the importance of exercise as well as other lifestyle changes that can be imbibed for sustainable health.

According to fitness trainer, Jane Amuta, “fitness is a lifestyle, its not something that you touch one day and you leave it because these benefits come over time with consistency.

“I always marry fitness with diet because you need to feed this body with the right things to be able to function properly.”

Benefits Of Exercise

Heart Disease and Stroke: Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.

High Blood Pressure: Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity reduces body fat, which is associated with high blood pressure.

Obesity: Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.

Back Pain: By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.

Osteoporosis: Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.

Self Esteem And Stress Management: Researchers have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and in ultimately, improve one’s self-image as well as help you to better manage stress.

Zika No Longer Constitutes International Emergency- W.H.O

Zika, w.h.oThe World Health Organization (W.H.O), has declared that the Zika virus and related neurological complications, no longer constitute an international emergency.

However, the agency says it would continue to work on the outbreak through a “robust” programme, as the virus still represents “a significant and an enduring public health challenge”.

In February, W.H.O Director-General, Margaret Chan, had called it an “extraordinary event”, while declaring a public health emergency.

Carried by mosquitoes, the Zika virus can cause the rare birth defect, Microcephaly, (where babies are born with abnormally small heads and restricted brain development) and other neurological disorders in infants and adults.

It has spread to more than 60 countries and territories since the current outbreak was identified in 2015, in Brazil.

Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff had said “as long as the mosquito keeps reproducing, each and every one of us is losing the battle against the mosquito”.

“We have to mobilize so we do not lose this battle.”

Health officials in affected countries had advised women to avoid pregnancy – in some cases, for up to two years.

Here are a few things you might need to know about the virus

  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (aegypti and Ae albopictus)
  • These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
  • In most people, symptoms of the virus are mild, including fever, headache, rash and possible pink eye. In fact, 80% of those infected never know they have the disease.

Newborn Health: FG Launches Action Plan Against Pneumonia

Nigerian Government Launches Action Plan Against PneumoniaThe Nigerian government has launched a new policy guideline for the prevention of stillbirths and pneumonia among newborns by the year 2030.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, at a conference to launch the guideline in Abuja, stated that annually, pneumonia and premature births accounts for about 15 million deaths of children under five years.

He regretted that Nigeria is the third largest contributor to that global statistics but stated government’s readiness to change the narratives by the year 2030.

He said: “Federal Ministry of Health is proud to launch three policy documents relating to new born health. These are ‘essential-new born action plan’, ‘care training package’ and the ‘national scale up strategy’ document.

“The action plan shows government’s commitment to end preventable new born deaths and still-births by 2030.”

Statistics at the federal ministry of health reveals that an estimated 871,000 premature babies are born annually in Nigeria.

It also shows that preterm births and pneumonia contribute significantly to Nigeria’s burden of child mortality rate which is 37 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013.

The Programme Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Joseph Monehin called for an urgent action to tackle the problem.

“We know for a fact the impact of malaria as a contributor of infant mortality is reducing but it is not the same for pneumonia. We know that pneumonia continues to be a big contributor to infant mortality in Nigeria and we must redouble our efforts,” he said.

Meanwhile the World Health Organization’s national coordinator for neonatal program advised government to walk its talk.

“We welcome any innovation that will deal with pneumonia in children as well as complications on prematurity. We are very happy to be here and we support all efforts to end pneumonia and the complications.

“So it is a great day for us. We pray that what we say here, we will be able to implement in the different levels of our health care, not that it would just end here.

The new policy guide recommends among others, exclusive breast feeding, proper hygiene and routine immunization for the reduction of child mortality rate in Nigeria.

Sickle Cell Patients Lament Lack Of Proper Awareness, Treatment

Sickle Cell Patients Lament Lack Of Proper Awareness, TreatmentSickle cell patients in Nigeria have said that lack of effective enlightenment campaign and inadequate health facilities and treatment are some of the major reasons why the disease is on the increase in the country.

They made their positions known at a sensitization campaign for the support of sickle cell patients held in Kaduna state, North West Nigeria.

Some of the speakers at the event called on both the states and federal government to give more attention to the disease that currently affects over 40 million Nigerians through advocacy and provision of free treatment for patients.

Sickle Cell disease is one of the most common and inherited medical disorders in the world with three quarters of cases occurring in Africa.

In Nigeria, over 40 million people are healthy carriers of the sickle cell gene and the prevalence of sickle cell anaemia is about 20 per 1,000 births.

The workshop which had many sickle cell patients in attendance, is aimed at bringing together voices of sickle cell patients, support groups and healthcare providers from across the nation with a mission for all of them to speak with one voice.

This according to the organizers, would create a platform for discussions among stakeholders with focus on the challenges faced in providing awareness, treatment and support for patients, and also the future for sickle cell care in Nigeria.

Among the participants was a young man who already suffered partial stroke as a result of the disease. He explained the challenges he was going through. And having lost both parents who were also carriers some years ago, he gave some advice to young people.

Legal Framework

The coordinator of the Sickle Cell Patient Health Promotion Centre in Kaduna, Mrs Badiya Inuwa, also lost one of her sons to the disease at the age of 35, and another son is still battling with the disorder.

She has decided to lead the campaign to sensitize the people about sickle cell, advocating for a legal framework that will make it mandatory for people to know their genotype status early enough.

“I lost my older son 10 years ago at the age of 35, and I have another son of 40 years of age, he too is a sickler. And that prompted me to help the less privileged, because I realized that there are certain drugs they need to take for the rest of their lives.

“I saw that the less privileged cannot afford to get the medicine, that’s why I opened this organisation.

“I have granted so many interviews and held many programmes calling on government for support. Recently I sent an SMS to a sickle organisation in Port Harcourt to create awareness and to make them to understand the implication of not going for medical test to know their genetic status.

“Government should make it compulsory that people should go for test. And that a testing machine should be in all the government hospitals for children to undergo testing at least within the age five and it should be free so that the underprivileged can be able to get it.

“I even went to the Emir of Kano and that of Zaria to solicit for their support to pass the information to their imams to make sure they ask their subjects to undergo medical test in order to know their genotype before marriage,” she said.

The incidence of sickle cell anaemia in Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization, is among the highest in the world, with about 250, 000 children being born each year with the disorder.

Inaccurate Diagnosis

Mrs Esther Ononememen, a sickle cell survivor based in Republic of Ireland, blamed her own situation on inaccurate medical diagnosis she undertook in Nigeria before getting married to her husband who is also a carrier 19 years ago.

She called on government to support people living with sickle cell through the provision of treatment facilities and sensitization.

“I am a carrier by chance because after the birth of our first child, we thought everything was alright until we gave birth to our second child and we realized that she is a sickle cell carrier because he (husband) is AS.

“She is constantly sick until she became paralysed. Even at that, we didn’t know she was a sickle cell carrier until we went abroad. Medical treatment abroad is more advanced than what we have here in Nigeria.

“When we went for the test here, they said there was no problem, but to our surprise, two of our children are sickle cell carriers. That means my country is a failure in terms of medical test”.

Dr Shuibu Musa, a medical practitioner, said that sickle cell, which is a disorder that affects the red blood cells, also has economic implications to the society.

With this huge burden, he made some suggestions on how to improve the management of the condition in Nigeria, which include early testing to know one’s status, and the need for carriers to avoid marrying carriers.

The significant health and social burden sickle cell is posing on Nigerian families is unprecedented. Participants at the gathering are therefore of the belief that improved management of the condition, blood testing for genotypes and informed decision making will go a long way towards reducing the burden of this disease in Nigeria.

Polio: Kaduna Targets 3 Million Children For Immunisation

Polio immunisation in NigeriaThe Kaduna State government has urged parents to present their children under the age of five for immunisation against Polio or face prosecution.

Announcing the state’s decision on the ongoing vaccination exercise, the State Commissioner for Health Services, Dr. Paul Dogo, told Channels Television that the door to door immunisation campaign would ensure that Kaduna was free from polio and other child killer diseases.

While reminding parents that the vaccination was compulsory, Dr. Dogo emphasised that the aim was to ensure that at least three million children across the 23 local government areas of the state were immunised during the exercise.

Kaduna State last recorded polio outbreak in 2012. Since then, the state government had embarked on series of campaigns to ensure that the disease is completely wiped out of the state.

Sadly, as another round of immunisation commences, a major challenge being faced by health officials is the unwillingness of some parents to allow their children to be immunised.

Being Polio-free

While commending parents, religious and traditional institutions in the state for their support in previous immunisation campaign, the Commissioner said the government would not tolerate a situation where the laxity of some parents would expose their children to a bleak future.

He also said that a team of vaccinators had been deployed to work with Federal Road Safety officials at partial roadblocks to vaccinate children on transit along the highways.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had urged Nigeria to strengthen its routine immunisation in the northeast to avoid a resurgence of polio cases before the country attains a polio-free status in 2017.

WHO Director on Polio Eradication, Mr Hamid Jafari, gave the advice at a meeting to review strategies toward eradicating polio in Nigeria.

According to him, the number of children missed during immunisation in the north-east could be a big challenge standing Nigeria’s way to attaining the polio-free status if left unchecked.

Last month, Nigeria marked one year of polio interruption, raising hope that it will soon be removed from the list of endemic countries by WHO.


To ensure the nation meets the 2017 declaration date, President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2015 met with Governors of Polio vulnerable states in Nigeria, reaffirming the government’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria is finally certified ‘polio-free’ by 2017.

He urged all Nigerians to join hands with the Federal Government to achieve the objective.

At separate meetings with the governors and members of the high-level advocacy group, President Buhari stressed that to become permanently polio-free, Nigeria must build on its achievement of being polio-free for 12 months which was marked in July.

River Blindness: Medical Experts Conduct Vaccination In Kaduna

kaduna healthcare A vaccination campaign has begun in Kaduna state to stop the further spread of river blindness across some communities.

Men, women and children trooped out to know their health status as the medical experts came to conduct the tests.

New cases of the disease were recently recorded in Iri, Ugwan Fada, Ungwan Makama, Robo and Ugwan Aku Communities and the Director, Onchocerciasis Research, NITR, Augustine Igwe, said that the tests were being carried out to know if there was still transmission of the disease.

The level of casualties recorded in the Kaduna state has been described as alarming but a resident revealed that the problem has been largely compounded by the absence of basic social amenities such as clean water.

River blindness is a tropical eye and skin disease transmitted by black flies which breed in fast flowing rivers.

One of the medical personnel at the vaccination campaign also explained that several clinical manifestations may occur such as yellow and dark patches on the leg, visual impairment, or total blindness at the worst.

A 2015 report from the World Health Organization (W.H.O) showed the intensity of efforts that have been put in place to combat the disease.

It also showed that more than 99% of the infected people live in 31 African countries. And although the disease had been well managed to a large extent, some communities still battle with it.

Angola Yellow Fever Outbreak, Still A Serious Issue – W.H.O

yellow feverIn the on-going battle against the yellow fever outbreak in Angola and the Democratic Republic Of The Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization says although it is currently not a public health emergency of international concern, it however remains a very serious issue.

According to the W.H.O, About 6,000 people in Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo may be infected with yellow fever, six times the number of confirmed cases, but no new infections have been found since July 12; what the organisation describes as an “extremely positive” trend.

However, it was said that the looming rainy season has raised fears of further spread of the worst outbreak in decades of the mosquito-borne hemorrhagic virus.

The outbreak which has killed roughly 400 people since December, now appears to have improved.

With the vaccination of about 7.7 million people this month, in a major campaign in the “high-risk” Congo capital of Kinshasa, along with 1.5 million in other parts of the country, the situation seems to be under control.

Campaigns have depleted the global stockpile of six million yellow fever vaccine doses twice this year already, which the W.H.O says is unprecedented.