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839 health workers affected by Ebola



Minister urges EU support 

AS Africa continues to contain the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), a total of 839 confirmed health worker infections have been reported in the three intense-transmission countries of Guinea Liberia and Sierra Leone. Not less than 491 the health workers have been reported dead.  

   Nigeria’s Supervising Minister of Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, has called on the European Union (EU) to support countries badly affected by the outbreak. Alhassan made this known at the European Union (EU) High-level International Conference on Ebola, yesterday, at Brussels, Belgium, which was organised to take stock of the fight against the outbreak, coordinate further action for the total eradication of the disease and discuss the recovery process in countries which have been most affected by the disease.

     According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there have been over 23,900 reported confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with over 9800 reported deaths (outcomes for many cases are unknown).

      A total of 51 new confirmed cases were reported in Guinea, none in Liberia, and 81 in Sierra Leone in the seven days to 1 March. The Organisation said, “A total of 132 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported in the week to 1 March, an increase on the previous week (99 new cases). Liberia reported no new confirmed cases this week, the first time since the week of 26 May 2014.

 “ The weekly number of confirmed cases has increased in both Sierra Leone and Guinea. Transmission remains widespread in Sierra Leone, which reported new confirmed cases in 8 districts during the week to 1 March.”

They went on: “ Guinea reported 51 new confirmed cases in the week to 1 March, compared with 35 cases the previous week. Cases continue to arise from unknown sources with only 49% of cases arising from registered contacts.

 “ Liberia has reported no new confirmed cases this week. Contacts from the last known chain of transmission, in the St Paul’s Bridge district of Monrovia, are being monitored. In the week to 1 March, of 45 samples tested for EVD nationwide, none were positive,” they said.  

In his address, he gave some concepts that can help in the total eradication of the deadly virus.

    His words: “The concept of medical diplomacy with concrete long term solutions in the health sector can help strengthen health infrastructure and systems of developing nations, especially those nations in which the economy and healthcare systems had been affected adversely by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

   “Have observed that the concept of medical diplomacy has emerged strongly in recent times due to frequent outbreaks of diseases with great pandemic potential, as long as the Ebola Virus Disease was prevalent in any country, the entire world stands at risk.”

He shared some of Nigeria’s experience on their ability to contain the Ebola Virus Disease and accredited their success to “ strong government leadership; effective control measures put in place to interrupt transmission of the virus; collaboration among the various tiers of government; robust multi-sectoral cooperation; early community engagement and aggressive public enlightenment.”

   ‘The Minister stressed that “ close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centres for Disease Control, (CDC), European Union (EU) CDC, China CDC, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and other development partners, as well as civil society groups, was paramount in containing the disease.

  “Nigeria was doing everything possible to prevent a resurgence of the virus, that $41 million dollar-plan was evolved for the nation’s post-containment preparedness, prevention and control of the Ebola Virus Disease,” Alhassan said.

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