More than 300 people have been killed and 100,000 displaced since May in Central African Republic as violence that began in 2013 moves into the impoverished country’s central and southeastern regions, prompting warnings of a national conflict roaring back to life.
[PR Newswire] Ottawa -The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ghana from July 2 to 9, 2017, as part of Canada’s re-engagement with Africa and its commitment to work together to address issues facing the continent.
AllAfrica News: Ghana
One person has died in an accident involving students of the Afia Serwaa Ampem Nurses’ Training School, Tafo Nyhiaeso, when they were returning from an excursion to Lake Bosomtwe at Abono in the Bosomtwe district of the Ashanti Region on Monday July 3.
Brazzaville/Kinshasa, 2 July 2017 – Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed Ebola patient in the affected Bas-Uélé province tested negative for the disease for the second time. Enhanced surveillance in the country will continue, as well as strengthening of preparedness and readiness for Ebola outbreaks.
“With the end of this epidemic, DRC has once again proved to the world that we can control the very deadly Ebola virus if we respond early in a coordinated and efficient way,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
Related to the outbreak, 4 people died, and 4 people survived the disease. Five of these cases were laboratory confirmed. A total of 583 contacts were registered and closely monitored, but no known contacts developed signs or symptoms of EVD.
On 11 May 2017, WHO was notified by the Ministry of Public Health of the virus among a cluster of undiagnosed illnesses and deaths with haemorrhagic signs in Likati Health Zone. Likati is a remote, hard to reach area, which shares borders with the Central African Republic and two other provinces of DRC. Cases of the disease were reported in four health districts. This is DRC’s eighth outbreak of EVD since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.
The effective response to this latest EVD outbreak in Africa was achieved through the timely alert by local authorities of suspect cases, immediate testing of blood samples due to strengthened national laboratory capacity, the early announcement of the outbreak by the government, rapid response activities by local and national health authorities with the robust support of international partners, and speedy access to flexible funding. Coordination support on the ground by the WHO Health Emergencies Programme was critical and an Incident Management System was set up within 24 hours of the outbreak being announced. WHO deployed more than 50 experts to work closely with government and partners.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, who visited DRC in May to discuss steps to control the outbreak, said the country had shown exemplary commitment in leading the response and strengthening local capacities. “Together with partners, we are committed to continuing support to the Government of DRC to strengthen the health system and improve healthcare delivery and preparedness at all levels,” she said.
Work with the government of DRC continues to ensure that survivors have access to medical care and screening for persistent virus, as well as psychosocial care, counselling and education to help them reintegrate into family and community life, reduce stigma and minimize the risk of EVD transmission.
Announcing that the outbreak of Ebola in DRC was over, Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the country’s Minister of Health said, “I urge that we now focus all our efforts on strengthening the health system in Bas- Uélé province, which has been stressed by the outbreak. Without strengthening the health system, effective surveillance is not possible.”
WHO coordinated international technical support for the outbreak with Partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network. Other key Partners supporting the DRC government in their response included Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention; Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA); European Union (EU); the government of the People’s Republic of China; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Médecins sans Frontières (MSF); Red Cross of the DRC; UNICEF; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID); the University of Québec, Canada; and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The WFP/Logistics Cluster and UNICEF supported warehousing capacity in Buta and Likati and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) set up a base for air operations from Buta, while the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) helped transport response teams and urgently needed supplies to the affected zone.
Further information and audiovisual materials :
WHO Ebola web page: http://www.who.int/emergencies/ebola-DRC-2017/en/
B-Roll: Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo
Footage filmed in May 2017, various locations, various dates.
Filename: WHO-BROLL Ebola DRCongo SHORT 30JUN2017.mov
Download XDcam (1.03 Gb): https://we.tl/W0ZDtu9JGG
Download MP4 Full HD ( Mb): https://we.tl/VXdGsFSSxP
Collins Boakye-Agyemang, Communications Adviser (Congo), Telephone: +47-241-39420 Mobile: +242 065 20 6565
Eugene Kabambi | Emergency Communications Officer (DR Congo), +47 241 39 027 Mobile: +243 81 715 1697
Alison Clements-Hunt, Communications Officer (Geneva), +41 22 791 1995 Mobile: +41 79 386 3943
Tarik Jasarevic, Spokesperson, +41 22 791 5009, Mobile: +41 79 367 6214
With a few days to go, Melon Concepts, organisers of Selewa Market are putting the finishing touches to the next Afrocentric market scheduled for Sunday, July 2 at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Accra.
Ghana Business Business
Laboratory testing of samples is essential to rapidly assess the scope and spread of any Ebola outbreak. Since the major outbreak in West Africa in 2014, an increasing number of diagnostic tools have become available to perform rapid initial testing of samples. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is using these new tools, as well as classic ones, to respond to an ongoing outbreak of the virus in a very remote area of the north east of the country.
A small cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths with haemorrhagic signs was reported in the Province of Bas-Uele in early May. Congolese scientists quickly gathered samples, shipped them to Kinshasa and tested them at the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB). The results, subsequently confirmed by the Centre International de Recherche Médicale de Franceville (CIRMF), a WHO collaborating centre in Gabon, showed this is an outbreak due to Ebola virus disease (Ebolazaire).
As soon as the outbreak was detected, the Ministry of Health, together with WHO and other partners, mobilized laboratory resources to ensure investigations could be conducted as quickly as possible to guide the response. In addition to the testing facilities available at the INRB in Kinshasa, an INRB mobile field lab was quickly dispatched to the affected health zone of Likati.
To control the outbreak, multi-disciplinary field teams in Likati have been actively searching for suspect cases. Anyone presenting with certain pre-defined symptoms, such as sudden onset of fever and/or unexplained bleeding, is considered a suspect Ebola case until laboratory results prove otherwise. Discarding suspect cases that test negative for Ebola allows response teams to focus on tracing only the contacts of those who have either tested positive or whose status is unknown.
The MOH, WHO and partners have rapidly set up an intensified field alert and response system in Likati. This is resulting in early identification of suspect cases detected in the affected zone. The field laboratory provides the capability to rapidly test samples on site and focus support and follow-up on any new laboratory confirmed cases and contacts. In this extremely remote and challenging area, this mobile lab is providing a core element of robust surveillance, which is essential to bringing this outbreak to an end as quickly as possible.
One of the technologies being used to detect Ebola in DRC is GeneXpert, which was primarily developed to detect cases of tuberculosis, but has been adapted to enable rapid testing of many pathogens – HIV, malaria, STIs, and Ebola. At the INRB laboratory in Kinshasa – with support from USAID, WHO, Canada, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network (EDPLN) – technicians can use GeneXpert to test for the Zaire strain of Ebola in just one hour. For samples that are negative, further testing is then undertaken to check for other strains of Ebola, other viral haemorrhagic fevers, or other diseases.
Other tests developed during the West African outbreak are also being deployed, such as OraQuick — a rapid diagnostic test, which has been developed with the support of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and GOARN. In the field, OraQuick can test blood or saliva samples for Ebola in just half an hour.
Even if many or all suspect cases now being tested are negative, it remains vital to actively follow contacts of all confirmed, probable, and suspect cases for 21 days, and then to continue enhanced surveillance for an additional 21-day period. Any period of calm is an opportunity to continue building and reinforcing local and country preparedness and response capacities and ensuring rapid investigation teams are ready in case the virus should resurface.
This is the eighth outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the disease was discovered in the 1970s in DRC. Health authorities in this country are recognized throughout the African region and the world as experts in responding to outbreaks of this disease.
01 – The National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) in Kinshasa, DRC. Patient samples from suspected cases of Ebola are sent here for testing. Photo: WHO/A. Clements-Hunt
02 – A mobile lab in Likati Health Zone, where the current outbreak of Ebola is occuring. This type of laboratory safely allows outbreak response teams to rapidly test suspected cases onsite. Photo: WHO/J. Polonsky
03 – OraQuick was also developed during the West African outbreak. This test produces results in just 30 minutes. Photo: WHO/A. Clements-Hunt