Tuesday October 15, 2019
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Eastern Congo Suffers From a Deadly Ebola Outbreak

Some people still refuse to believe Ebola exists and have hidden infected family members.

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In this photo taken Sept 9, 2018, a health worker sprays disinfectant on his colleague after working at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, DRC. VOA

An outbreak of Ebola in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed more than 200 people. Almost 300 Ebola cases have been confirmed since the outbreak began in August, authorities say.

The health ministry said half of the cases were in Beni, a city of 800,000 people, in the North Kivu province.

The outbreak is in a conflict zone where dozens of armed groups operate. Aid agencies have been forced to suspend or slow down their work on several occasions since the outbreak.

Ebola, WHO
A health care worker from the World Health Organization, left, gives an Ebola vaccination to a front line aid worker who will then vaccinate people who might potentially have the virus, in Mbandaka, Congo. VOA

Health Minister Oly Ilunga said his response teams “have faced threats, physical assaults, repeated destruction of their equipment and kidnapping.”

“Two of our colleagues in the Rapid Response Medical Unit have even lost their lives in an attack,” Ilunga said.

Ebola was detected in the DRC in 1976. The current outbreak is the tenth since it was first discovered.

The World Health Organization has warned the virus could spread to nearby countries, including Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

congo, ebola
Health care workers from the World Health Organization prepare to give an Ebola vaccination to a front-line aid worker in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

Medical workers have lots of experience dealing with Ebola outbreaks in the DRC. Fortunately, they have new tools to fight the deadly virus. A new vaccine has shown it can protect people who’ve come into contact with Ebola victims, and more people have learned techniques to keep the virus from spreading.

Also Read: Uganda Readies Itself To Fight Off Ebola From The DRC Border

However, old problems persist with every outbreak. Some people still refuse to believe Ebola exists and have hidden infected family members. Traditional burial practices also put people at risk. (VOA)

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Afghanistan Initiates Polio Drive, Targets 8.5mn Kids

The campaign is launched in most of the places in Afghanistan where limited children were reached earlier in the year

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Polio
Afghan health authorities on launched sub-national immunization campaign to give polio immunity vaccination dose to 8.5 million children under five years old. Pixabay

Afghan health authorities on Monday launched an extended sub-national immunization campaign to give polio immunity vaccination dose to 8.5 million children under five years old.

“The five-day campaign targets over 8.5 million children under 5 years of age in 324 districts across the country. The campaign is launched in most of the places where limited children were reached earlier in the year,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry of Public Health as saying.

“We are concerned that following the long pause in polio vaccination in parts of the country, more children have become vulnerable to poliovirus, therefore it is of paramount importance that we vaccinate those who have been missing out,” it added.

The Ministry called on the parents to protect their children against polio by letting the vaccinators get in when they come knocking on the doors.

Polio
The five-day campaign in Afghanistan targets over 8.5 million children against Polio under 5 years of age in 324 districts across the country. Pixabay

The ongoing insurgency and conflicts have been hindering the efforts to curb the infectious disease in the mountainous country as 1.2 million children from inaccessible areas have missed previous drives.

READ MORE: PM Modi Stooped Down to Lift Environmental Awareness

There are only two countries in the world, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where polio cases are still reported. (IANS)