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UNICEF to open new Ebola-response center in DR Congo.

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The UN Children’s Fund on Friday said that it will open a new Ebola-response  in front of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

WHO said that it would provide support to thousands of people, including children, following the recent confirmation of new Ebola cases there.



In a latest development, the DR Congo authority said that five more Ebola cases were confirmed, including two from the urban commercial hub of Butembo in North Kivu province, one of which involved a health worker from a clinic where the city’s first case had been treated.

Butembo is North Kivu province’s second-largest city, with a population of nearly 1 million, and has so far four confirmed cases.

Earlier cases include a patient who fled from the Beni outbreak hotspot and a man who fled from Ituri province and whose illness was diagnosed retroactively in Butembo based on a semen sample.

UNICEF said its expanding Ebola response and deploying to Butembo a team of 11 specialists in community communication, education, psycho-social assistance, and water, sanitation and hygiene, to help contain the disease and avoid any further spread of the epidemic.

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So far UNICEF, together with partners, has already trained 35 psycho-social workers to assist families and children affected by the disease, broadcast programmes on nine community radios and sensitised 36 journalists on prevention measures.

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Health & Lifestyle

Cote d’Ivoire: Destroying the Killer Rice

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Authorities in Cote d’Ivoire have destroyed 18,000 tonnes of rice declared to be unfit for human consumption.

This follows tests carried out by the country’s consumer association which had demanded the government to do so after the cargo from Myanmar had been refused entry in Togo, Guinea and Ghana over quality issues.

The national and international quality control tests revealed the unfit nature of the rice.

It should be noted that most African countries depend on imports because local farmers are unable to meet the ever rising demands.

Source: Africanews

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Health & Lifestyle

Mali: Donkeys deliver vaccines as diseases spike with violence

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Reuters DAKAR –

With spiraling ethnic violence exposing more children in Mali to fatal diseases, health workers are using donkeys and boats to deliver life-saving vaccines, charities said on Wednesday.

In the central Mopti region – where 157 people died in one attack last month – suspected measles cases rose five-fold in one year to 98 in 2018, U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said, due to a four-fold jump in unvaccinated children to 70,000.

Motorcycles, which health workers used to reach remote villages, have been banned to reduce militant activity, forcing them to use traditional means like horses, it said.

“The problem of vaccination is directly linked to the current conflict,” said Patrick Irenge, medical coordinator for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which is using cars and boats as mobile clinics to reach cut off communities.

“If there is a lull in the violence, a small window that opens, we organize a vaccination campaign.”

Last month’s massacre was the deadliest to date in a conflict between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders which has displaced tens of thousands of civilians in the West African country since it escalated last year.

Pneumonia is one of the top killers of children in Mali and it can be prevented with vaccines – as can measles – but it is too dangerous for many parents to venture out with children.

“Transport is difficult because we don’t have the means to rent a vehicle or a horse cart,” said Aissata Barry, a 34-year-old mother in the village of Kankelena, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the nearest health center in the town of Sofara.

“There are rapists on the road. That’s what we’re afraid of,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone, adding that one of her neighbors was raped two weeks ago.

Mamadou Kasse, a local health worker who vaccinated Barry’s children, said the number of children he can reach each day has fallen since he swapped his motorbike for an eight-hour ride in a donkey cart with a cooler full of vaccines.

Reporting by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit news.trust.org

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