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WHO: Algeria, Argentina Free of Deadly Malaria

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Algeria where the malaria parasite was first discovered in humans become the third African country to eliminate one of the world’s leading killer disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said Algeria – the nation where malaria was discovered – is officially free of malaria, making it the third African country to eliminate one of the world’s leading killer diseases.

With no recorded cases of malaria in three consecutive years, Argentina was also declared malaria-free – the second country in the Americas after Paraguay in 45 years to wipe out the disease, which kills more than 400,000 people a year.

“Malaria parasite was first discovered in humans almost a century and a half ago in Algeria, and that was a significant milestone in responding to the disease.” 

Moeti in his statement added that “Now Algeria has shown the rest of Africa that malaria can be beaten through country leadership, bold action, sound investment and science. The rest of the continent can learn from this experience.”

Although WHO has declared 38 countries malaria-free since 1955, the fight against malaria has stalled as malaria-carrying mosquitoes have become resistant to drugs and insecticides in bednets that protect people from being bitten while sleeping.

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24 Hours Across Africa

India doctors embark on strike aimed better security

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Source: Reuters

Thousands of doctors across India went on strike on Friday to demand better security at hospitals days after junior doctors in the city of Kolkata were attacked, leaving services in many government-run health facilities paralyzed.

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The state of West Bengal, of which Kolkata is capital, has been the worst hit by the strike with at least 13 big government hospitals affected.

The protests were sparked by an attack at the NRS Medical College in Kolkata on June 10 that left three junior doctors seriously injured after a dispute with a family whose relative had died.

Doctors demanding better security began a strike but their action was confined to the state until West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned them on Thursday, saying police did not strike when one of their colleagues was killed.

Banerjee’s remarks, which included a warning that junior doctors would be evicted from their college hostels if they did not go back to work, triggered a nationwide reaction.

The Indian Medical Association said the “barbaric” attack at the NRS reflected a national problem, and called for a countrywide protest. It also demanded legislation to safeguard doctors.

Nearly 30,000 doctors were on a one-day strike on Friday, most in West Bengal, New Delhi and the western state of Maharashtra, according to figures proved by medical associations.

The federal health minister, Harsh Vardhan, tried to calm the furor, promising better security at hospitals and calling on Banerjee to withdraw her ultimatum.

“I urge doctors to end their strike in the larger interest of society. I will take all possible measures to ensure a safe environment for them at hospitals across the country,” Vardhan said on Twitter.

India spent an estimated 1.4% of its gross domestic product on healthcare in 2017/18, among the lowest proportions in the world. Many millions of Indians depend on the cheap but inadequate public health system.

Saradamani Ray, whose 77-year old father is a patient at the NRS Medical College, said she would have to move him because of the strike.

“I will have to take my father somewhere else for his dialysis, maybe a private hospital,” she told Reuters.

“It will cause a lot of financial strain, but there’s nothing I can do. I will have to pay.”


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24 Hours Across Africa

Ebola still a nightmare in Congo

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Source: BBC

The head of a major medical research charity has called the latest outbreak of Ebola in central Africa “truly frightening”.

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Nearly 1,400 people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, said the epidemic was the worst since that of 2013-16 and has showed “no sign of stopping”.

Two people have also died in neighbouring Uganda, the first cases of Ebola reported in the country.

A five-year-old boy infected with the virus died on Tuesday and his 50-year-old grandmother died on Wednesday, the Ugandan health ministry said.

The Ugandan government has reported at least six other suspected cases of the virus.

In a statement, Dr Farrar said the spread was “tragic but unfortunately not surprising”. He warned that more cases were expected, and a “full” national and international response would be needed to protect lives.

“The DRC should not have to face this alone,” he said.

Since the first case of Ebola in DR Congo last August, nearly 1,400 people have died – around 70% of all those infected.

The outbreak is the second-largest in the history of the disease, with a significant spike in new cases in recent weeks.

Only once before has an outbreak continued to grow more than eight months after it began – that was the epidemic in West Africa between 2013-16, which killed 11,310 people.

Efforts to contain the spread have been hindered by militia group violence and by suspicion towards foreign medical assistance.

Nearly 200 health facilities have been attacked in DR Congo this year, forcing health workers to suspend or delay vaccinations and treatments. In February, medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) put its activities on hold in Butembo and Katwa – two eastern cities in the outbreak’s epicentre.

In Uganda, a five-year-old boy died of the virus on Tuesday, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).


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