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East Africa accounts for 260 lost to Ebola At Uganda Border

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Upon receiving information that at least 257 people had died of the haemorrhagic fever by Saturday, Ministry of Health has confirmed the Ebola scare at the Uganda-DR Congo border.



The ministry said they have intensified vigilance and screening to detect any person with Ebola signs crossing the border into Uganda.

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director for General Health Services in the ministry, said by Saturday his office had received information that about 257 people had contracted Ebola inside Congo, about 100km away from the Uganda border.

He said 156 deaths were registered near a landing site on Lake Albert which is shared between Uganda and DR Congo.

“This is about 100km from our border but of recent there have been more challenging and scaring cases. We got cases 50km from our border. From the Ntoroko side of the border directly on the landing site at Lake Albert,” Dr Mwebesa said.

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 He added: “Those become very critical and scaring to us because those are very close contacts because we keep our people there for business. Some of them have relatives there, some even have farms. And because of that direct contact with the people, it becomes very difficult for us.” At least 80,000 people crossing to Uganda through the Mpondwe border and other crossing points in Kasese District are screened weekly.

Dr Loice Kabyanga, coordinator of the Ebola Response Unit at Bwera Hospital, said at least 20,000 people are screened on market days of Tuesday and Friday whereas 8,000 are screened on other days. Uganda has remained on high alert after months of Ebola epidemic in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The border at Mpondwe and six other crossing areas are used daily by people accessing markets and gardens on either side of the border.

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Dr Mwebesa explained that while the ministry has increased surveillance at the official border points, there is worry that the informal paths at the porous border could bring it infected people who might cross without getting screened for Ebola and spread the highly contagious disease.

 “Our system is very prepared. That is not accidental or luck that we don’t have a case yet when you hear of those many numbers near our border. It is because of a very vigilant system from Kisoro to Nebbi. But a case can cross from our porous borders. Not everybody passes on the official border points,” Dr Mwebesa said.
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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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