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Doubts plague new malaria vaccine

Final results of a study show that the world's leading malaria vaccine candidate appears to be a disappointment. The study showed that it doesn't work very well and that initial protection fades over time. Despite the poor results - it protects about one-third of children vaccinated - developers are moving ahead to get it approved because it could still help protect some children from getting the mosquito-spread disease. The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the vaccine, with additional backing from the non-profit group PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The vaccine is likely to be the world's first licensed shot for malaria. A decision from the European Medicines Agency is expected later this year. The World Health Organization had set a target of 2015 for having a malaria vaccine that was at least 50 percent effective with protection lasting longer than a year. According to a study published Friday in the British journal The Lancet, those goals have been missed with the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine, although scientists say the shot isn't a complete waste. "Everyone accepts that this is not the perfect or the last malaria vaccine," said Brian Greenwood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the study's lead author. "It's not good enough to stop transmission but it will cut the huge burden of disease." Seven African countries involved in study The vaccine study involved about 15,500 babies and toddlers in seven African countries. One group got three doses; a second group also got a booster shot and a third group got dummy shots. All of the children used a mosquito bed net and they were followed for up to four years. Overall, the vaccine was about 30 percent effective in those who got three doses and a booster shot but the protection waned over time. The WHO said it expects to make a recommendation about the vaccine in October if the European Medicines Agency has issued its assessment by then.

Final results of a study show that the world’s leading malaria vaccine candidate appears to be a disappointment. The study showed that it doesn’t work very well and that initial protection fades over time. Despite the poor results – it protects about one-third of children vaccinated – developers are moving ahead to get it approved because it could still help ... Read More »

Pesticides likely behind ‘mysterious killer disease’ in Nigeria

Eighteen people died under mysterious circumstances in southwest Nigeria this week, sparking fears of a new infectious disease outbreak. Weed killer was the likely cause, the World Health Organization has now said. When over a dozen men in the village of Ode Irele in southwestern Ondo state who complained of similar symptoms all died within a day, alarm bells began to ring. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no reason to suspect any outbreak of infectious disease, such as Ebola, which has claimed over 10,000 lives in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The "current hypothesis is herbicides," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said on Sunday, adding: "Tests done so far are negative for viral and bacterial infection." The victims began showing symptoms between April 13 and 15, including blurred vision and loss of consciousness, and Ondo spokesman Kayode Akinmade said it was due to a "mysterious killer disease." The Ondo state health commissioner, Dayo Adeyanju, said on Saturday that a total of 23 people had been affected. The state government of Ondo State set up an emergency response task team aimed at containing the spread of the illness. The team was tracing all people who had come into contact with the dead and monitoring them in case of infection, Adeyanju said in a statement. State spokesman Akinmade said health officials and experts from the government and aid agencies, as well as WHO epidemiologists, had arrived in Ode Irele to investigate the deaths. All of the tests were carried out at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, the WHO said.

Eighteen people died under mysterious circumstances in southwest Nigeria this week, sparking fears of a new infectious disease outbreak. Weed killer was the likely cause, the World Health Organization has now said. When over a dozen men in the village of Ode Irele in southwestern Ondo state who complained of similar symptoms all died within a day, alarm bells began ... Read More »

UNICEF: reopening of schools in Sierra Leone ‘a huge undertaking’

Children have gone back to school in Sierra Leone after a nine-month break due to Ebola. After a slow start, classrooms are now filling up again and safety precautions are in place. Children in Sierra Leone have returned to school for the first time in nine months after an enforced absence caused by the Ebola outbreak. Almost two million schoolchildren were set to return to their classrooms amidst a major health and safety operation supported by the UN's children's agency UNICEF. DW spoke to the head of UNICEF in Sierra Leone, Roeland Monash (pictured above). DW: How has the return to school been progressing? Approximately how many children were back at school on Tuesday (14.05.2015)? Roland Monash: We are still monitoring the numbers. On Tuesday morning when the schools first opened, the turnout was around 30 percent so not all children came back. This is not something to be immediately worried about. Normally, when a new academic year starts in Sierra Leone, it takes between one and two weeks before all children are back at school. I personally had thought that after such a long closure many more children would come but I think it was a combination of parents not being prepared yet, not having school uniforms and other items, and also still being concerned about Ebola and the school environment. There are reports that there were many more children in school this Wednesday. This was the first day back at school in nine months. Presumably this wasn't an ordinary school day for the children? No, definitely not. I visited one of the schools that was used as an Ebola treatment center on the outskirts of Freetown – UNICEF had a 20-bed facility there – basically the whole schoolyard was taken over by tents. Now we cleaned it all up and of course the community was very much aware about Ebola because it was right there in their own community. It was an emotional moment, the head teacher spoke words of compassion. You could see the seriousness on the faces of the children. So indeed it's not your regular opening of school year as normally experienced. Presumably your main priority at UNICEF is to stop children from catching Ebola and to stop them from spreading it. What precautionary measures do you have in place? First of all we had long discussions with public health experts, locally as well as internationally, on what is the right timing for reopening the schools. The opening was initially planned for early March but we delayed it, based on the fact that the number of Ebola cases had not come down quickly enough. But we are now having just one or two cases a day and it's really isolated in a few chiefdoms. In order to get the right measures in place, we developed a national protocol and guidelines for all schools, telling them how to open their schools safely. We trained 10,000 teachers in how to use those protocols. Together with the government and some other partners, we distributed close to 80,000 hand-washing stations, that's buckets with taps and soap, and over 55,000 thermometers around the country. So there are all these extra measures in place, also posters and brochures and radio discussion programs to make everybody aware of what they need to do to make sure the schools are safe. Every child has its temperature taken every morning. What guarantees does UNICEF have that the resources it has made available in Sierra Leone will be properly deployed by the Sierra Leonean authorities? We have monitors in the field, we have developed a rapid SMS system, and basically we have independent monitors who are going from school to school. At the moment we are visiting over a thousand schools, 96 percent of these schools have hand-washing stations in place, as well as thermometers and trained teachers. At the few schools which do not have these things in place, it's probably not because the buckets have been taken away, but basically there was not an updated list of schools. In recent years a number of schools have been added because of the population growth. Does UNICEF, as a UN organization, have the resources it needs to do this job thoroughly? It has been a huge undertaking and we are continuing to fundraise. We were fortunate that we had more than ten international donors willing to chip in to this education response, including the German government. We need more money, specifically for teaching materials and other materials, because of course children and parents need to feel confident that when the children go back to school they actually learn something. However, the basic minimum safety standards to prevent Ebola, we have that covered.

Children have gone back to school in Sierra Leone after a nine-month break due to Ebola. After a slow start, classrooms are now filling up again and safety precautions are in place. Children in Sierra Leone have returned to school for the first time in nine months after an enforced absence caused by the Ebola outbreak. Almost two million schoolchildren ... Read More »

Australia to cut benefits to parents who refuse to vaccinate

The Australian prime minister has said parents who refuse to vaccinate their children will have some benefits cut. The move comes amid a resurgent vaccination debate in several parts of the world. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Sunday that Australians who refuse to vaccinate their children will in future be denied some government benefits such as child care subsidies and family tax benefits. "It's essentially a 'no jab, no pay' policy from this government," Abbott told reporters in the eastern city of Sydney. "It's a very important public health announcement. It's a very important measure to keep our children and our families as safe as possible," he said. "The choice made by families not to immunize their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of child care payments," he said, adding that the new policy would go into force on January 1, 2016. The announcement comes amid a nationwide debate over immunizing children. Many vaccination objectors say they fear that a triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella is behind an increase in cases of childhood autism - a theory posited in a since-retracted article in the Lancet medical journal in 1998 that has been repeatedly disproven by a number of studies. Few exemptions Currently in Australia, the some 3 percent of benefit recipients who do not have their children immunized on the basis of "conscientious objections" still have access to benefits such as child care rebates. Such parents stand to lose a reported 15,000 Australian dollars (10,880 euros; $11,500) annually per child under the new policy, which is also supported by the Labor opposition in Australia, making parliamentary approval a formality. Exemptions will be permitted only on strict medical or religious grounds, with parents who cite religion having to prove affiliation with a religious group whose objection to vaccination has received government approval. Although Australia has vaccination rates of more than 90 percent for children aged one to five, the government says more than 39,000 children under seven have not been immunized - an increase of more than 24,000 children over the past decade. The vaccination debate in and outside of Australia has been fueled by recent outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough in several parts of the world. Non-vaccinated people who contract such diseases can pose a danger to babies who have not yet been immunized or those with auto-immune conditions, who are otherwise protected by so-called "herd immunity."

The Australian prime minister has said parents who refuse to vaccinate their children will have some benefits cut. The move comes amid a resurgent vaccination debate in several parts of the world. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Sunday that Australians who refuse to vaccinate their children will in future be denied some government benefits such as child care ... Read More »

Potential Ebola vaccine triggers antibodies needed to fight virus

Early-stage trials of an experimental Ebola vaccine indicate it is safe and triggers antibodies. There is currently no vaccine for the virus that has killed thousands in West Africa. Without a licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) last year endorsed a fast-track process for potential treatments through trials. The latest, and worst outbreak of Ebola has killed more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Initial clinical trials of the VSV-ZEBOV candidate vaccine, manufactured by the Public Health Agency of Canada and developed by Merck, show that it "triggers the production of antibodies capable of neutralising the Ebola virus," the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) said in a statement on Wednesday. In coordinated trials in Germany, Switzerland, Gabon and Kenya, 158 healthy volunteers received a placebo or any of five dose-levels of VSV-ZEBOV vaccine. All 150 people who received vaccine developed antibodies to Ebola and higher responses were related to higher doses. Reports of the trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that even very small amounts of the vaccine could be effective. The phase 1 trials are aimed at testing for safety. Follow-up analysis six and 12 months later should determine "whether a single injection is enough to induce a lasting immune response" or if booster injections would be needed, HUG said. The HUG statement emphasized that phase 3 clinical trials being carried out in Guinea "will determine whether the immune response triggered by this vaccine is able to protect the population against the Ebola virus." They should also show if large-scale vaccination campaigns are feasible. The trials at HUG were briefly suspended late last year after several volunteers experienced unexpected joint pains, but resumed after it reduced the doses used. There were also trials carried out in the United States, at the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. They began last October and involved 52 volunteers. Another experimental vaccine, ChAd3, made by Britain's GlaxoSmithKline is also undergoing phase 1 trials in a range of countries and started phase 3 trials in Liberia in February.

Early-stage trials of an experimental Ebola vaccine indicate it is safe and triggers antibodies. There is currently no vaccine for the virus that has killed thousands in West Africa. Without a licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) last year endorsed a fast-track process for potential treatments through trials. The latest, and worst outbreak of Ebola ... Read More »

Guinea declares 45-day Ebola ‘health emergency’

In a bid to curb the spread of Ebola, Guinea's President Alpha Conde has declared a 45-day "health emergency" in five regions of the epidemic-hit nation. The chances of an Ebola-free West Africa remain uncertain. In a statement published in Guinea's national media on Saturday, Conde said the virus "has shifted to our country's coastal areas" in Guinea's west and southwest. "That is why I am declaring a reinforced health emergency for a period of 45 days in the prefectures of Forecariah, Coyah, Dubreka, Boffa and Kindia," the president said. Food and medical supplies would be given to the affected communities, Conde added. The president did not specify, however, where or when the restrictions would take effect. Conde's announcement on Saturday came as Guinea continues to struggle in its fight against the Ebola virus. In January, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the epidemic was finally declining in West Africa after the three countries most affected - Sierre Leone, Liberia and Guinea - recorded a steady decrease in cases. In Guinea, however, efforts have often been hindered by violent resistance to health officials. Also on Saturday, neighboring Liberia reported that a woman who became the country's had died. Health officials also said two new suspected cases had been identified, halting the country's plans to be Ebola-free by April. WHO requires countries prove there are no new cases of Ebola reported for 42 days before it can be officially declared virus-free, because the incubation period is 21 days. A day earlier, Sierra Leone began a new three-day nationwide lockdown sparked by fears that the virus was making a comeback in certain parts of the country. Since the Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013, more than 24,000 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, of which over 10,000 have died.

In a bid to curb the spread of Ebola, Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has declared a 45-day “health emergency” in five regions of the epidemic-hit nation. The chances of an Ebola-free West Africa remain uncertain. In a statement published in Guinea’s national media on Saturday, Conde said the virus “has shifted to our country’s coastal areas” in Guinea’s west and ... Read More »

Ebola vaccines appear safe and successful, say US researchers

Two experimental Ebola vaccinations "appear to be safe" after testing in Liberia. Meanwhile, a British nurse has been cleared of the virus, but doctors cautioned speculation about the drug's role in her recovery. The two vaccines, one from GlaxoSmithKline and the other from biotech start-up NewLink Genetics, "appear to be safe," the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said. The single injection vaccines proved safe for 600 participants, Fatorma Bolay from the Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccines in Liberia said. "We are grateful to the Liberian people who volunteered for this important clinical trial and encouraged by the study results," NIAID Director Dr Anthony Fauci said in a statement on Thursday. "Now we must most forward to adapt and expand the study so that ultimately we can determine whether these experimental vaccines can protect against [the] Ebola virus disease and therefore be used in future Ebola outbreaks," Fauci added. The trial began on February 2, in Monrovia, Liberia with over 2,600 people participating. Niether volunteers, nor researchers knew who received which vaccine, or the placebo saline injection. Trial to be expanded The encouraging results mean the trial will now be expanded to include about 30,000 people throughout the West African country. Participants will be injected either with the GSK vaccine, the NewLink vaccine, or a placebo. Afterward, they will be assessed to see whether their immune systems have responded by producing anti-Ebola antibodies. Volunteers will then be followed for at least a year, with blood samples being taken at six and 12 months after the vaccine to ascertain how long the immune response lasts. Researchers hope to enroll more women in the next stage of the trial, as they only made up 16 percent of the first group, to ensure there are no-gender based differences in immune responses or side effects. Trial participants are not intentionally exposed to the often-deadly virus. The response by a participant's immune system is considered an acceptable alternative to gauge the vaccine's effectiveness should someone be exposed to the virus. British military nurse cured Meanwhile, a British military nurse who contracted the virus while working in Sierra Leone has been successfully cleared of the Ebola virus after being treated with the MIL 77 drug. Twenty-five-year-old Anna Cross was the first person in the world to be given the experimental drug, doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in the UK said at a press conference Friday. However, doctors say it is too soon to know what role the drug played in Corporal Cross' recovery. Liberia was one of the countries hardest hit by the Ebola virus, with 9,602 reported cases and 4,301 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 24,927 people worldwide have been infected with the virus in the last 16 months, 10,338 have died in that period according to the WHO. Guinea, where the epidemic broke out in December 2013, began an Ebola vaccine trial this week.

Two experimental Ebola vaccinations “appear to be safe” after testing in Liberia. Meanwhile, a British nurse has been cleared of the virus, but doctors cautioned speculation about the drug’s role in her recovery. The two vaccines, one from GlaxoSmithKline and the other from biotech start-up NewLink Genetics, “appear to be safe,” the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said. The ... Read More »

Can a junk-food tax save the Navajos?

The US' biggest Native American tribe has taken an unprecedented move to overcome one of its biggest existential threats. But the fat-tax may not be the silver bullet many in the reservation are hoping for. In less than a week, the home of the Red Robin Monster Meal will see its first junk-food tax go into effect. But it's not kale-loving Californians or teff-chewing Brooklynites that are leading the charge. Instead, it's the latest effort of the Navajo Nation to combat a diabetes epidemic that's posing an existential threat to the single largest reservation in the US. The 2-percent sales tax, passed last November as part of the Healthy Diné Nation Act of 2014, targets products with "minimal-to-no-nutritional-value," including chips, soda, fried foods, and desserts. The act comes on the heels of another amendment signed into law last year, which abolished a 5-percent tribal sales tax on fresh fruits and vegetables. The authors, local grassroots organization Diné Community Advocacy Alliance (DCAA), wrote the legislation with an eye to existing tobacco and alcohol levies, as well as sugar and so-called "fat taxes" imposed in several European countries, including France and Hungary. The DCAA estimates that the duty will raise at least $1 million (920,000 euros) in annual revenue, with the added income flowing into a Community Wellness Development Projects Fund. A forgotten people? While health activists have been quick to hail the law as a victory, it's also a sad reminder of the challenges facing one of the US' most neglected minority communities. Some 150 years after the US government forced the tribe to relocate to the desolate desert area straddling stretches of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, the Nation remains mired in economic misery. The median household income is less than half the national average; nearly 1 in 2 over the age of 25 lives under the federal poverty line; and the unemployment rate is more than 8 times higher the US mean. Compounding the territory's woes are abysmal graduation rates and alarming health issues. According to health organization Partners in Health, roughly 20 percent of the 300,000 Navajo members suffer from diabetes. Another 75,000 are pre-diabetic, a study by the Indian Health Service found, which also concluded that obesity complicated nearly one-third of all Navajo pregnancies in 2011. The health care costs are staggering. "At an average, it costs over $13,000 per person annually to treat diabetes. The cost for treating diabetes related complications can exceed $100,000 per person," according to the findings. Fast food as far as the eye can see According to activists, junk food is one of the main culprits. "Our communities are food deserts," Janene Yazzie told food policy site CivilEats, after moving from New York back to Lupton, Arizona. Her claim is backed by a 2014 report from the Diné Policy Institute, which found that there are just 10 full-service grocery stores scattered across the reservation's 27,425 square miles (71,000 square kilometers) - an area almost the size of Belgium and the Netherlands combined. This leaves healthy food out of reach for most of the tribe's members. "We essentially had no choice but to fall back on a diet heavy in terrible, highly processed foods, along with everyone else," Yazzie told CivilEats. And what little there is of nutritional value is often unaffordable: "a frozen pizza might cost a couple of dollars, but a bag of apples runs upwards of $6.50," noted CivilEats. Fat-tax no cure-all But whether or not a junk-food tax is the silver bullet many are hoping for remains to be seen. Similar efforts elsewhere in the US suggest otherwise. In 2008, Los Angeles imposed a fast-food ban in an effort to combat alarming obesity rates and other nutrition-related diseases plaguing poor, predominantly minority neighbourhoods across South L.A. Surprisingly, a study published by the RAND corporation this year, showed that the obesity rates there actually jumped 12 percent from 2007 to 2012, and that the increase was indeed "significantly larger...than elsewhere" in the metropolis. And in 2013, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg drew nationwide scorn, when he imposed a ban on sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces (473 ml), as part of his high-profile push to promote public health amid soaring diabetes rates. A year later, the state Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional, arguing that the mayor had overstepped his authority - unleashing a wave of Schadenfreude among disgruntled New Yorkers, who had decried Bloomberg for trying to create a "nanny state." While it's too soon to tell if the 2-percent tax is enough to change consumer behavior, Navajo Nation Council Delegate Jonathan Nez told US magazine Mother Jones that it has already sparked a conversation within the tribe "about how to take better care of yourself, how to return back to the way we used to live, with fresh produce, vegetables, and fruit along with our own traditional unprocessed foods."

The US’ biggest Native American tribe has taken an unprecedented move to overcome one of its biggest existential threats. But the fat-tax may not be the silver bullet many in the reservation are hoping for. In less than a week, the home of the Red Robin Monster Meal will see its first junk-food tax go into effect. But it’s not ... Read More »

WHO says no way to predict when Ebola will be over

ڈاکٹرز ود آؤٹ بارڈرز نے اپنی تازہ رپورٹ میں کہا ہے کہ عالمی ادارہ صحت ڈبلیو ایچ او نے ایبولا کے سد باب کے لیے کوئی خاطر خواہ اقدامات نہیں کیے۔ مغربی افریقہ میں ایبولا وائرس کا پہلا مریض گزشتہ برس 23 مارچ کو تشخیص کیا گیا تھا۔ یوں آج اس مہلک وباء کو پھیلے ایک سال مکمل ہو گیا۔ اس موقع پر ہنگامی بنیادوں پر طبی امداد فراہم کرنے والے امدادی ادارے ’ڈاکٹرز وِد آؤٹ بارڈرز‘ نے ایبولا کے خلاف اقدامات میں عالمی برادری کے کردار کو کڑی تنقید کا نشانہ بنایا ہے۔ ڈاکٹرز ود آؤٹ بارڈرز نے ایک رپورٹ شائع کی ہے، جس میں اس ایجنسی نے ایبولا کے مہلک وائرس کے پھیلاؤ کے اس ایک سال کے عرصے میں خود اپنے ساتھ پیش آنے والے واقعات اور خود کو درپیش مسائل کو’ ناقابل بیان ہیبت‘ سے تعبیر کیا ہے۔ مارچ 2014ء میں مغربی افریقہ میں شناخت کیے گئے اس مہلک وائرس کا شکار ہو کر اب تک ہلاک ہونے والے افراد کی تعداد 10 ہزار سے زائد بتائی جاتی ہے جبکہ قریب 25 ہزار انسان ایبولا وائرس کا شکار ہیں۔ سب سے زیادہ متاثرہ ممالک گنی، سیرا لیون اور لائبیریا ہیں۔ ڈاکٹرز ود آؤٹ بارڈرز ، جو اپنے فرانسیسی مخفف ایم ایس ایف سے مشہور ہے، نے اپنی تازہ رپورٹ میں کہا ہے کہ عالمی ادارہ صحت ڈبلیو ایچ او نے ایبولا کے سد باب کے لیے کوئی خاطر خواہ اقدامات نہیں کیے۔ اس ایجنسی نے کہا ہے کہ دنیا میں رونما ہونے والی صحت سے متعلق ہنگامی صورتحال سے نمٹنے کی چیمپئن، جس کے پاس ایبولا وائرس کے پھیلاؤ پر کنٹرول کے لیے طبی مہارت بھی موجود ہے، ایبولا کے معاملے میں فوری اور مؤثر اقدامات میں بُری طرح ناکام رہی ہے۔ اس رپورٹ میں ڈبلیو ایچ او پر یہ الزام بھی عائد کیا گیا ہے کہ گزشتہ برس جون میں جب لائبیریا کی طرف سے ہنگامی امداد کی اپیل کی گئی تھی اور امداد کا بے چینی سے انتظار کیا جا رہا تھا تب، ڈبلیو ایچ او کی طرف سے فوری اقدامات اور انتباہی پیغامات سامنے آنے کی بجائے اس بڑے سانحے کو نظر انداز کرنے کے سلوک روا رکھا گیا۔ ڈاکٹرز ود آؤٹ بارڈرز کی ایک رابطہ کار ماری کرسٹین فیرر اس بارے میں کہتی ہیں، ’’ مجھے یاد ہے کہ اُس وقت ہم نے ڈبیلو ایچ او سے امداد کی فوری اپیل کی تھی۔ ہمارا کہنا تھا کہ اگر ہمیں فوری طبی امداد روانہ کر دی جائے تو ہم ایبولا کے پھیلاؤ کو روک سکتے ہیں۔ ‘‘ ماری کا مزید کہنا ہے، ’’وہ ایبولا کے پھیلاؤ کا ابتدائی دور تھا اور ہمارے پاس تب وقت تھا کہ ہم اس پر قابو پا سکیں۔ ہماری امداد کی اپیل وہاں تک پہنچی، سُنی بھی گئی تاہم اُس پر کوئی ایکشن نہیں لیا گیا۔‘‘ ڈاکٹرز ود آؤٹ بارڈرز کی رپورٹ کے مطابق 2014ء جولائی تک ڈبلیو ایچ او نے ایبولا کے پھیلاؤ کے سد باب کے لیے کوئی علاقائی مرکز قائم نہیں کیا، جو اس تنظیم کے ساتھ رابطہ کاری کرتا۔ تب تک اس وائرس کی دوسری لہر متاثرہ ممالک کو اپنی لپیٹ میں لے چُکی تھی۔ رپورٹ میں واضح الفاظ میں کہا گیا ہے کہ ایبولا پھیلنے کے بعد کے ابتدائی مہینوں میں اس مہلک وائرس سے نمٹنے کے دشوار عمل میں تمام تر بوجھ ایم ایس ایف کے کاندھوں پر تھا جبکہ ایبولا وائرس سے نمٹنے کے لیے اس تنظیم کے پاس محض 40 تربیت یافتہ اہلکار موجود تھے۔ ایم ایس ایف کے ایک ڈائرکٹر آپریشنز بریس دے لے وین کا اس بارے میں کہنا ہے، ’’ہم ایک ہی وقت میں ہر جگہ نہیں پہنچ سکتے تھے۔ نہ ہی ہم تنہا اس صورتحال کا مقابلہ کر سکتے تھے۔‘‘ ایم ایس ایف کی رپورٹ میں کہا گیا ہے،’ عالمی برادری خواب غفلت سے اُس وقت بیدار ہوئی جب ایک امریکی ڈاکٹر اور ایک ہسپانوی نرس ایبولا وائرس کا شکار ہوئی اور یہ خبر عام ہوئی تھی‘۔ اُدھر ڈبلیو ایچ او نے اس امر کا اقرار کر لیا ہے کہ ایبولا کے پھیلاؤ کے بعد امداد کی ابتدائی اپیل پر اُس کا رد عمل سست روی کا شکار اور ناکافی تھا تاہم جیسے ہی اس عالمی ادارے نے اپنی امدادی کاروائیاں شروع کیں، اُس کے بعد ہر سطح پر تیزی سے کام کیا گیا اور تب سے ڈبلیو ایچ او انتہائی مستعدی سے ایبولا وائرس کے سد باب اور اس سے متاثرہ افراد کی امداد کے لیے مؤثر اقدامات میں مصروف ہے۔

There is no way to tell when exactly the Ebola outbreak will be over in Africa, says Margaret Harris from the WHO. International organizations learned too late about the spread of the disease, she noted. The World Health Organization (WHO) is under criticism after Doctors without Borders published a report condemning the UN agency’s slow response to Ebola. According to ... Read More »

Liberia registers new Ebola case, dashing hopes of beating virus

Just over two weeks after the release of its last known Ebola patient, Liberian officials have confirmed a new case. The hardest-stricken of three African nations has already lost over 4,000 lives to the deadly virus. Officials in Liberia were scheduled to meet in an emergency session on Saturday in the latest chapter of the Ebola epidemic. The cause of the meeting was announced the evening before when health officials confirmed that a woman in the capital city Monrovia had been diagnosed with the hemorrhagic virus. "This is a new case after we have gone more than 27 days without a single case. It is a setback," government spokesman Lewis Brown said. The last confirmed Ebola patient in Liberia was discharged from hospital on March 5, prompting a 42-day countdown to begin until the West African country could be declared free of the fatal disease. Since the outbreak of the epidemic in December 2013, the United Nations has counted over 10,000 Ebola-related deaths, nearly all of which occurred in across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Health officials, while hopeful that Liberia would report no new cases by mid-April, remained aware of the threat posed by the neighboring West African nations still crisis-ridden. "We knew very well that we were not out of the woods yet," the acting head of Liberia's Ebola Incident Management Team, Tolbert Nyenswah, said. Doctors have not been able to determine how the latest patient contracted Ebola. Authorities were reportedly considering several possibilities, including her having been visited by someone from abroad or her having had sex with an Ebola survivor. Liberia has recorded the highest number of deaths at 4,162, followed by Sierra Leone's 3,655 and Guinea's 2,187 deaths. There have also been six deaths in Mali, one in the US, and eight in Nigeria. Those countries have since been declared Ebola-free. An experimental Ebola vaccine, developed by Merck and NewLink Genetics, entered the final stage of testing in Guinea in early March, weeks after a similar test began in neighboring Liberia.

Just over two weeks after the release of its last known Ebola patient, Liberian officials have confirmed a new case. The hardest-stricken of three African nations has already lost over 4,000 lives to the deadly virus. Officials in Liberia were scheduled to meet in an emergency session on Saturday in the latest chapter of the Ebola epidemic. The cause of ... Read More »

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