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Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo: Disease outbreak news, 9 May 2019

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response this past week continues to be hampered by insecurit..

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response this past week continues to be hampered by insecurity. On 3 May in Katwa, a Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB) team was violently attacked following the completion of a burial for a deceased EVD case. In Butembo and surrounding health zones, response activities were repeatedly halted due to a number of serious security incidents taking place from 4-6 May. On 8 May, a group of over 50 armed militia infiltrated the city centre. Security forces repelled the attack following intense gunfire in close proximity to staff accommodations. Although activities resumed on 9 May, after almost five consecutive days of suspension, threats of further attacks against EVD response teams and facilities remain prevalent.

These security incidents, and especially the resultant lack of access to EVD affected communities, remain a major impediment to the response, with teams unable to perform robust surveillance nor deliver much needed treatment and immunisations. The ongoing violent attacks sow fear, perpetuate mistrust, and further compound the multitude of challenges already faced by frontline healthcare workers. Without commitment from all groups to cease these attacks, it is unlikely that this EVD outbreak can remain successfully contained in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

EVD transmission remains most intense in Katwa, Butembo, Mandima, Mabalako, Musienene, Beni and Kalunguta hotspot health zones, which collectively account for the vast majority (93%) of the 303 cases reported in the last 21 days between 17 April – 7 May 2019 (Figure 1 and Table 1). During this period, new cases were reported from 78 health areas within 15 of the 21 health zones affected to date (Figure 2). It is expected that the resumption of response activities will bring a substantial increase in the number of cases reported in the coming weeks due to the backlog from the disruptions.

As of 7 May, a total of 1600 confirmed and probable EVD cases have been reported, of which 1069 died (case fatality of 67%). Of the total cases with recorded sex and age, 57% (907) were female and 30% (475) were children aged less than 18 years. The number of healthcare workers affected has risen to 97 (6% of total cases). 442 EVD patients who received care at Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs) have been successfully discharged.

Adapted vaccination strategies On 7 May 2019, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) issued new vaccination recommendations in light of the increasing number of EVD cases and continued insecurity in this outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (click here for the full recommendations). The panel made recommendations pertaining to adjusting vaccine dosages, expanding vaccine eligibility, ring vaccination operational improvements, and strengthening training of local healthcare workers to aid in the EVD response.

The rVSV ZEBOV GP vaccine dosage and eligibility criteria have been revised. For high-risk individuals such as contacts and contacts of contacts, the new SAGE recommendations advise the use of 0.5mL of vaccine instead of 1mL. This revised dose has been previously used during the 2015 Ebola ça Suffit! trial in Guinea, and is expected to provide similar efficacy in this current EVD outbreak. Those at lower risks are now to receive 0.2mL instead. SAGE also recommends expanding the accessibility of the vaccine to more individuals in affected health areas. In addition to high-risk individuals, it is now recommended that individuals who are potential contacts due to their residence in the villages or neighbourhoods with incident cases (i.e. where EVD cases have been reported in the last 21 days) be offered the rVSV ZEBOV GP vaccine. SAGE believes that by expanding vaccine eligibility, this would address some of the requests from communities in affected health areas for the vaccine to be more widely available, foster greater trust, and improve willingness of communities to engage with other EVD response activities.

SAGE advised the implementation of an adaptive operational approach to ring vaccinations, implemented in two main methods: pop-up vaccinations and targeted geographic vaccinations. Pop-up vaccination would be conducted by inviting contacts and contacts of contacts to a previously agreed upon temporary location some distance away from the residence of contacts. In areas where accurate identification of contacts and contacts of contacts is not possible due to insecurity, targeted geographic vaccination of whole villages or quartiers would be administered at a fixed location with security present. Both of these vaccination operational methods have been utilised successfully before, and are expected to make the vaccination process more efficient and secure for both healthcare providers and the patients they are caring for.

SAGE additionally recommends offering an alternative vaccine (other than rVSV-ZEBOV-GP) to those at lower risk within affected health areas or neighbouring areas. WHO has reviewed evidence provided by two vaccine manufacturers, and the adenovirus 26 vectored glycoprotein / MVA-BN (Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN) investigational Ebola vaccine is being considered and evaluated by a coalition led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. At this time, this vaccine is in the late stages of formal trials and is expected to be deployed to the field in the near future. These efforts are in line with previous SAGE recommendations regarding the need for more studies to assess the efficacy of additional, alternative Ebola vaccines.

SAGE also supported the proposal to introduce alternative individual informed consent forms and follow up procedures which can potentially simplify and expedite both the vaccination and safety follow up processes. Aside from pregnant women who will be actively followed up until delivery or end of pregnancy, and infants 6-12 months of age who will receive a single visit at day 21, all other case follow up will be completed through passive reporting of adverse events via telephone.

In addition to technical recommendations, WHO and partners are working closely with residents of Ebola-affected communities to empower them to take on greater ownership of the EVD response. Through intensifying training and engagement with local community members, WHO aims to have the majority of vaccination teams comprised of local healthcare providers by the end of the month. Other key elements to transferring ownership of the response to the communities includes fulfilling community requests made in relation to development projects, and ensuring all persons residing in at-risk areas are well-informed about the status of the outbreak, transmission prevention, and availability of care through further mass communication initiatives.

Public health response

For further detailed information about the public health response actions by the MoH, WHO, and partners, please refer to the latest situation reports published by the WHO Regional Office for Africa:

WHO risk assessment

WHO continuously monitors changes to the epidemiological situation and context of the outbreak to ensure that support to the response is adapted to the evolving circumstances. The last assessment concluded that the national and regional risk levels remain very high, while global risk levels remain low. Weekly increases in the number of new cases has been ongoing since late February 2019. A general deterioration of the security situation, and the persistence of pockets of community mistrust exacerbated by political tensions and insecurity, have resulted in recurrent temporary suspension and delays of case investigation and response activities in affected areas, reducing the overall effectiveness of interventions. However, recent community dialogue, outreach initiatives, and restoration of access to certain hotspot areas have resulted in some improvements in community acceptance of response activities and case investigation efforts. The high proportion of community deaths reported among confirmed cases, relatively low proportion of new cases who were known contacts under surveillance, existence of transmission chains linked to nosocomial infection, persistent delays in detection and isolation in ETCs, and challenges in the timely reporting and response to probable cases, are all factors increasing the likelihood of further chains of transmission in affected communities and increasing the risk of geographical spread both within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to neighbouring countries. The high rates of population movement occurring from outbreak affected areas to other areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and across porous borders to neighbouring countries during periods of heightened insecurity further compounds these risks. Additional risks are posed by the long duration of the current outbreak, fatigue amongst response staff, and ongoing strain on limited resources. Conversely, substantive operational readiness and preparedness activities in a number of neighbouring countries have likely increased capacity to rapidly detect cases and mitigated local spread. However, these efforts must continue to be scaled-up at this time.

WHO advice

WHO advises against any restriction of travel to, and trade with, the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on the currently available information. There is currently no licensed vaccine to protect people from the Ebola virus. Therefore, any requirements for certificates of Ebola vaccination are not a reasonable basis for restricting movement across borders or the issuance of visas for passengers leaving the Democratic Republic of the Congo. WHO continues to closely monitor and, if necessary, verify travel and trade measures in relation to this event. Currently, no country has implemented travel measures that significantly interfere with international traffic to and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Travellers should seek medical advice before travel and should practice good hygiene.

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A high-level delegation visited Yei River State to intensify Ebola preparedness in Sudan

Juba, 16 July 2019 – On 15 July 2019, a high-level delegation led by Dr Makur Matur Kariom, Undersec..

Juba, 16 July 2019 – On 15 July 2019, a high-level delegation led by Dr Makur Matur Kariom, Undersecretary, Ministry of Health and Mr Alain Noudehou, UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and comprising Ambassadors of donor countries, heads of United Nations (UN) agencies, , and Representatives of international non-governmental organizations visited Yei town.

The objective of the visit was to among others reassure local authorities of the continued support of the development partners and the one UN in South Sudan; secure sustained commitment of the local authorities to the EVD preparedness efforts and publicize in the national press key messages to the general public regarding Ebola preparedness.
South Sudan is one of the four priority one countries (Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda) prioritized by WHO to enhance preparedness and operational readiness based on the proximity to the outbreak area as well as the capacity to manage Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The risk of transmission of EVD into countries that share borders with DRC, including South Sudan, has been classified as “very high” by WHO. Cases of EVD have recently been confirmed in Uganda, Goma and in Ariwara, a town in DRC located just 70km from the border with South Sudan.

“Diseases such as Ebola dont respect boundaries, race or religion so all must ensure that they work together to prevent its cross border transmission into South Sudan”, said Mr Noudehou. He also reiterated the commitment of the UN to continue to support EVD preparedness in the country under the leadership of WHO.

As a priority one country for EVD preparedness, the Ministry of Health, National Task Force, WHO and partners are implementing the National EVD Preparedness Plan, including vaccinating front-line health workers, educating people about prevention and response measures, conducting screening at multiple locations to help with early detection of cases, training personnel in infection prevention and control as well as being preparing for safe and dignified burial processes if needed.

“Although South Sudan has not confirmed any EVD case, implementation of effective public health measures is critical to manage the risk posed by South Sudans complex humanitarian context, the history of previous (EVD) outbreaks, increasing global travel and proximity to DRC”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Country Representative to South Sudan.

At the end of the visit, the Governor of the state, the state Health Ministry and partners on the ground reiterated their commitment to intensify key interventions and increase public awareness by providing adequate information through all communication channels, religious and community leaders.

In his closing remarks, the Undersecretary, Dr Makur appreciated WHO and other partners for the strong partnership and support rendered to enhance capacities to effectively implement the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) and address the threats of EVD and other infectious diseases.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is one of the most fatal and highly infectious diseases known to the world. The on-going outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second largest outbreak reported globally. As of 13 July 2019, 2 489 confirmed cases and 1 665 deaths have been reported.

WHO is working in Jubek, Gbudue, Tambura, Maridi, Torit, Wau and Yei River states alongside their respective state health ministries and partners to provide strategic public health leadership and support required to ensure that all the high-risk counties are operationally ready and prepared to implement timely and effective EVD risk mitigation, detection, and response measures. (more…)

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Winning the hearts of communities fearful of Ebola

Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 June 2019 – “You cant take my son away because I know you..

Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 June 2019 – “You cant take my son away because I know you will go kill him. You will inject him with Ebola. Thats what everybody here knows.”

This response from an angry father, faced with the possibility that his son would be moved from a local hospital to an Ebola Treatment Centre, reflects the reality of containing an epidemic in an area where folklore, rumour and suspicion of outsiders abound.

For Dr. Ramses Kalumbi, Surveillance Team Leader for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Goma, reassuring his patients and their families is all in a days work. Empathy, patience and compassion are a vital part of the treatment offered by his team of doctors, psychologists and health workers.

The Ebola-affected city of Butembo, where the 27-year-old man has been working as a driver, is 350km away – an eight-hour journey by road. He had returned home to visit his family when he started to feel unwell.

Initial symptoms indicated malaria but his high fever and diarrhoea have rung alarm bells, and now he is terrified. So far, the tiered system of surveillance set up by the government and WHO have kept the disease out of Goma, but nobody can afford to take any chances.

His case came to the attention of a surveillance team combing health facilities and neighbourhoods to identify patients with symptoms that might indicate Ebola infection.

Such cases are quickly sent to the alert centre which deploys investigators to assess the patient and decide whether to authorise a transfer to the nearest Ebola Treatment Centre for blood tests. If the test returns positive, the patient is isolated for treatment and if negative the patient is returned to the initial health facility or to their family to continue previous treatment.

Coupled with distrust of health workers is a belief among many people in Goma that Ebola does not exist.

“They do not have family members in the regions affected by the disease. They are people who have not travelled to see the devastation,” says Bahati Sabimana Faustin, a traditional healer who works in the Bujavu area of Goma.

Support from traditional healers like Faustin who have had training in how to recognise Ebola symptoms play an important role in containing the disease and in encouraging the community to take precautions. (more…)

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As post-cyclone resettlement, 200 000 people lack access to health services in Mozambique

Maputo, 21 June 2019 – 94 health facilities damaged or destroyed by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth remain..

Maputo, 21 June 2019 – 94 health facilities damaged or destroyed by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth remain unsafe and 200 000 people who have been resettled live more than 5 km away from a functioning health facility, according to a recent Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and latest data.

“The ongoing relocation of families to new resettlement areas presents new challenges for access to heath,” said Dr Djamila Cabral, WHO Representative in Mozambique. “At the resettlement sites, there is limited access to essential health care, limited or no access to water and sanitary facilities. The fact that some health facilities remain damaged is a huge risk to health.”

Humanitarian partners continue supporting the population affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique shifting gradually from emergency to early recovery interventions. Urgent health priorities include delivery of basic health services for the affected population – especially at resettlement sites – building back better, strengthening surveillance and laboratory capacities.

Build back better with safe hospitals

With 14 per cent of the health infrastructure in the affected provinces damaged, there is an urgent need for construction of health facilities in districts that already had few health facilities and are now hosting resettled families.

Strengthen disease surveillance, response and laboratory capacity

Many communities in resettlement sites have no disease surveillance. There is need for health-facility based, event-based and community-based surveillance and to strengthen the national surveillance system to address acute vulnerability in the coming days and weeks.

There is also need to strengthen laboratory capacities at national and provincial levels and in health facilities to ensure timely processing of specimens.

Delivery of health services to affected population

Resumption of health service delivery is in progress with many challenges. Access to power is disrupting the immunization programmes cold chain; damaged infrastructure is a barrier to service delivery; and the settlement of population far from health facilities is overstretching the already weak health system. (more…)

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Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo: Disease outbreak news, 9 May 2019

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response this past week continues to be hampered by insecurit..

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak response this past week continues to be hampered by insecurity. On 3 May in Katwa, a Safe and Dignified Burial (SDB) team was violently attacked following the completion of a burial for a deceased EVD case. In Butembo and surrounding health zones, response activities were repeatedly halted due to a number of serious security incidents taking place from 4-6 May. On 8 May, a group of over 50 armed militia infiltrated the city centre. Security forces repelled the attack following intense gunfire in close proximity to staff accommodations. Although activities resumed on 9 May, after almost five consecutive days of suspension, threats of further attacks against EVD response teams and facilities remain prevalent.

These security incidents, and especially the resultant lack of access to EVD affected communities, remain a major impediment to the response, with teams unable to perform robust surveillance nor deliver much needed treatment and immunisations. The ongoing violent attacks sow fear, perpetuate mistrust, and further compound the multitude of challenges already faced by frontline healthcare workers. Without commitment from all groups to cease these attacks, it is unlikely that this EVD outbreak can remain successfully contained in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

EVD transmission remains most intense in Katwa, Butembo, Mandima, Mabalako, Musienene, Beni and Kalunguta hotspot health zones, which collectively account for the vast majority (93%) of the 303 cases reported in the last 21 days between 17 April – 7 May 2019 (Figure 1 and Table 1). During this period, new cases were reported from 78 health areas within 15 of the 21 health zones affected to date (Figure 2). It is expected that the resumption of response activities will bring a substantial increase in the number of cases reported in the coming weeks due to the backlog from the disruptions.

As of 7 May, a total of 1600 confirmed and probable EVD cases have been reported, of which 1069 died (case fatality of 67%). Of the total cases with recorded sex and age, 57% (907) were female and 30% (475) were children aged less than 18 years. The number of healthcare workers affected has risen to 97 (6% of total cases). 442 EVD patients who received care at Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs) have been successfully discharged.

Adapted vaccination strategies On 7 May 2019, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) issued new vaccination recommendations in light of the increasing number of EVD cases and continued insecurity in this outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (click here for the full recommendations). The panel made recommendations pertaining to adjusting vaccine dosages, expanding vaccine eligibility, ring vaccination operational improvements, and strengthening training of local healthcare workers to aid in the EVD response.

The rVSV ZEBOV GP vaccine dosage and eligibility criteria have been revised. For high-risk individuals such as contacts and contacts of contacts, the new SAGE recommendations advise the use of 0.5mL of vaccine instead of 1mL. This revised dose has been previously used during the 2015 Ebola ça Suffit! trial in Guinea, and is expected to provide similar efficacy in this current EVD outbreak. Those at lower risks are now to receive 0.2mL instead. SAGE also recommends expanding the accessibility of the vaccine to more individuals in affected health areas. In addition to high-risk individuals, it is now recommended that individuals who are potential contacts due to their residence in the villages or neighbourhoods with incident cases (i.e. where EVD cases have been reported in the last 21 days) be offered the rVSV ZEBOV GP vaccine. SAGE believes that by expanding vaccine eligibility, this would address some of the requests from communities in affected health areas for the vaccine to be more widely available, foster greater trust, and improve willingness of communities to engage with other EVD response activities.

SAGE advised the implementation of an adaptive operational approach to ring vaccinations, implemented in two main methods: pop-up vaccinations and targeted geographic vaccinations. Pop-up vaccination would be conducted by inviting contacts and contacts of contacts to a previously agreed upon temporary location some distance away from the residence of contacts. In areas where accurate identification of contacts and contacts of contacts is not possible due to insecurity, targeted geographic vaccination of whole villages or quartiers would be administered at a fixed location with security present. Both of these vaccination operational methods have been utilised successfully before, and are expected to make the vaccination process more efficient and secure for both healthcare providers and the patients they are caring for.

SAGE additionally recommends offering an alternative vaccine (other than rVSV-ZEBOV-GP) to those at lower risk within affected health areas or neighbouring areas. WHO has reviewed evidence provided by two vaccine manufacturers, and the adenovirus 26 vectored glycoprotein / MVA-BN (Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN) investigational Ebola vaccine is being considered and evaluated by a coalition led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. At this time, this vaccine is in the late stages of formal trials and is expected to be deployed to the field in the near future. These efforts are in line with previous SAGE recommendations regarding the need for more studies to assess the efficacy of additional, alternative Ebola vaccines.

SAGE also supported the proposal to introduce alternative individual informed consent forms and follow up procedures which can potentially simplify and expedite both the vaccination and safety follow up processes. Aside from pregnant women who will be actively followed up until delivery or end of pregnancy, and infants 6-12 months of age who will receive a single visit at day 21, all other case follow up will be completed through passive reporting of adverse events via telephone.

In addition to technical recommendations, WHO and partners are working closely with residents of Ebola-affected communities to empower them to take on greater ownership of the EVD response. Through intensifying training and engagement with local community members, WHO aims to have the majority of vaccination teams comprised of local healthcare providers by the end of the month. Other key elements to transferring ownership of the response to the communities includes fulfilling community requests made in relation to development projects, and ensuring all persons residing in at-risk areas are well-informed about the status of the outbreak, transmission prevention, and availability of care through further mass communication initiatives. (more…)

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A high-level delegation visited Yei River State to intensify Ebola preparedness in Sudan

Juba, 16 July 2019 – On 15 July 2019, a high-level delegation led by Dr Makur Matur Kariom, Undersec..

Juba, 16 July 2019 – On 15 July 2019, a high-level delegation led by Dr Makur Matur Kariom, Undersecretary, Ministry of Health and Mr Alain Noudehou, UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and comprising Ambassadors of donor countries, heads of United Nations (UN) agencies, , and Representatives of international non-governmental organizations visited Yei town.

The objective of the visit was to among others reassure local authorities of the continued support of the development partners and the one UN in South Sudan; secure sustained commitment of the local authorities to the EVD preparedness efforts and publicize in the national press key messages to the general public regarding Ebola preparedness.
South Sudan is one of the four priority one countries (Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda) prioritized by WHO to enhance preparedness and operational readiness based on the proximity to the outbreak area as well as the capacity to manage Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The risk of transmission of EVD into countries that share borders with DRC, including South Sudan, has been classified as “very high” by WHO. Cases of EVD have recently been confirmed in Uganda, Goma and in Ariwara, a town in DRC located just 70km from the border with South Sudan.

“Diseases such as Ebola dont respect boundaries, race or religion so all must ensure that they work together to prevent its cross border transmission into South Sudan”, said Mr Noudehou. He also reiterated the commitment of the UN to continue to support EVD preparedness in the country under the leadership of WHO.

As a priority one country for EVD preparedness, the Ministry of Health, National Task Force, WHO and partners are implementing the National EVD Preparedness Plan, including vaccinating front-line health workers, educating people about prevention and response measures, conducting screening at multiple locations to help with early detection of cases, training personnel in infection prevention and control as well as being preparing for safe and dignified burial processes if needed.

“Although South Sudan has not confirmed any EVD case, implementation of effective public health measures is critical to manage the risk posed by South Sudans complex humanitarian context, the history of previous (EVD) outbreaks, increasing global travel and proximity to DRC”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Country Representative to South Sudan.

At the end of the visit, the Governor of the state, the state Health Ministry and partners on the ground reiterated their commitment to intensify key interventions and increase public awareness by providing adequate information through all communication channels, religious and community leaders.

In his closing remarks, the Undersecretary, Dr Makur appreciated WHO and other partners for the strong partnership and support rendered to enhance capacities to effectively implement the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) and address the threats of EVD and other infectious diseases.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is one of the most fatal and highly infectious diseases known to the world. The on-going outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second largest outbreak reported globally. As of 13 July 2019, 2 489 confirmed cases and 1 665 deaths have been reported.

WHO is working in Jubek, Gbudue, Tambura, Maridi, Torit, Wau and Yei River states alongside their respective state health ministries and partners to provide strategic public health leadership and support required to ensure that all the high-risk counties are operationally ready and prepared to implement timely and effective EVD risk mitigation, detection, and response measures. (more…)

Continue Reading

Health

Winning the hearts of communities fearful of Ebola

Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 June 2019 – “You cant take my son away because I know you..

Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 24 June 2019 – “You cant take my son away because I know you will go kill him. You will inject him with Ebola. Thats what everybody here knows.”

This response from an angry father, faced with the possibility that his son would be moved from a local hospital to an Ebola Treatment Centre, reflects the reality of containing an epidemic in an area where folklore, rumour and suspicion of outsiders abound.

For Dr. Ramses Kalumbi, Surveillance Team Leader for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Goma, reassuring his patients and their families is all in a days work. Empathy, patience and compassion are a vital part of the treatment offered by his team of doctors, psychologists and health workers.

The Ebola-affected city of Butembo, where the 27-year-old man has been working as a driver, is 350km away – an eight-hour journey by road. He had returned home to visit his family when he started to feel unwell.

Initial symptoms indicated malaria but his high fever and diarrhoea have rung alarm bells, and now he is terrified. So far, the tiered system of surveillance set up by the government and WHO have kept the disease out of Goma, but nobody can afford to take any chances.

His case came to the attention of a surveillance team combing health facilities and neighbourhoods to identify patients with symptoms that might indicate Ebola infection.

Such cases are quickly sent to the alert centre which deploys investigators to assess the patient and decide whether to authorise a transfer to the nearest Ebola Treatment Centre for blood tests. If the test returns positive, the patient is isolated for treatment and if negative the patient is returned to the initial health facility or to their family to continue previous treatment.

Coupled with distrust of health workers is a belief among many people in Goma that Ebola does not exist.

“They do not have family members in the regions affected by the disease. They are people who have not travelled to see the devastation,” says Bahati Sabimana Faustin, a traditional healer who works in the Bujavu area of Goma.

Support from traditional healers like Faustin who have had training in how to recognise Ebola symptoms play an important role in containing the disease and in encouraging the community to take precautions. (more…)

Continue Reading

Health

As post-cyclone resettlement, 200 000 people lack access to health services in Mozambique

Maputo, 21 June 2019 – 94 health facilities damaged or destroyed by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth remain..

Maputo, 21 June 2019 – 94 health facilities damaged or destroyed by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth remain unsafe and 200 000 people who have been resettled live more than 5 km away from a functioning health facility, according to a recent Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and latest data.

“The ongoing relocation of families to new resettlement areas presents new challenges for access to heath,” said Dr Djamila Cabral, WHO Representative in Mozambique. “At the resettlement sites, there is limited access to essential health care, limited or no access to water and sanitary facilities. The fact that some health facilities remain damaged is a huge risk to health.”

Humanitarian partners continue supporting the population affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique shifting gradually from emergency to early recovery interventions. Urgent health priorities include delivery of basic health services for the affected population – especially at resettlement sites – building back better, strengthening surveillance and laboratory capacities.

Build back better with safe hospitals

With 14 per cent of the health infrastructure in the affected provinces damaged, there is an urgent need for construction of health facilities in districts that already had few health facilities and are now hosting resettled families.

Strengthen disease surveillance, response and laboratory capacity

Many communities in resettlement sites have no disease surveillance. There is need for health-facility based, event-based and community-based surveillance and to strengthen the national surveillance system to address acute vulnerability in the coming days and weeks.

There is also need to strengthen laboratory capacities at national and provincial levels and in health facilities to ensure timely processing of specimens.

Delivery of health services to affected population

Resumption of health service delivery is in progress with many challenges. Access to power is disrupting the immunization programmes cold chain; damaged infrastructure is a barrier to service delivery; and the settlement of population far from health facilities is overstretching the already weak health system. (more…)

Continue Reading

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