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Several well-trodden paths crisscross this lush area where people walk between Congo and Uganda to visit nearby family and friends and go to the busy markets.
The problem is that the pedestrians may unknowingly be carrying the deadly Ebola virus, and hindering efforts to control the current outbreak in eastern Congo, which has killed more than 1,400 people.
The busy border post is open 12 hours a day from 7 a.m., but after dark people walk along the “panyas,” or “mouse paths,” as the narrow dirt trails are known in the local Kiswahili language.
The footpaths show the close kinship between the two countries, where most people have relatives on both sides of the border. But as Ebola rages they are a source of worry for health workers and local authorities trying to prevent any further cross-border contamination. Eastern Congo has battled the Ebola outbreak since last August and last week the disease spread to Uganda, where two people died of the hemorrhagic fever.
“This border is very porous,” said James Mwanga, a Ugandan police officer in charge of the Mpondwe border post. “You will not know who has passed if the person went through the unofficial border posts, in most cases. Now there is anxiety and so on. We have heightened our alertness.”
The Ebola deaths in Uganda happened after a family of Congolese-Ugandans traveled to Congo to care for a family elder suffering from the disease.
Authorities believe members of that family, including a 5-year-old boy and his 50-year-old grandmother who have since died of Ebola , took a footpath back into Uganda. In doing so, they may have exposed many Ugandans to the viral disease.
The current outbreak in eastern Congo has become the second worst, after the West Africa epidemic of 2014-2016 in which more than 11,000 people died.
The virus can spread quickly via close contact with bodily fluids of those infected and can be fatal in up to 90% of cases.
Despite new anti-Ebola vaccines, non-biological factors have made the outbreak difficult to control.
Eastern Congo is one of the world’s most turbulent regions, and rebels have attacked medical centers. Community resistance based in fear and mistrust has also hurt Ebola response work.
Identifying people who might have been exposed is crucial. The World Health Organization says at least 112 Ebola contacts have been identified in Uganda.
The outbreak is an “extraordinary event” of deep concern but does not yet merit being declared a global emergency , a Word Health Organization expert committee said last week.
Declaring an emergency could have “unintended consequences,” such as airlines stopping flights or governments closing borders, Preben Aavitsland, the acting chair of the committee, told reporters.
Congo’s Ministry of Health said the decision shows that its efforts to control the outbreak are effective, and some Congolese health workers are also opposed to declaring an emergency.
“Imagine if neighboring countries closed their borders because of us,” said Gerard Kasereka, a health worker who oversees preventive handwashing in the Congolese town of Butembo. “We would suffer because most of the people in Butembo make their living from commerce and most of our merchandise comes from Uganda, Kenya and Dubai.”
Despite the obvious risks of further cross-border contamination, Ugandan health officials insist they are prepared to prevent the disease from spreading . They urge vigilance and advise people to avoid hugging and even handshakes. At multiple border crossings travelers must wash their hands in chlorinated water and have their temperature taken before they can proceed.
Uganda has faced several Ebola outbreaks in recent years and has succeeded in bringing them under control, although the area in western Uganda where last week’s deaths occurred has never experienced an outbreak. The country’s first outbreak, in 2000, infected 425 Ugandans and killed more than half of them in the country’s north. Another outbreak in 2007 killed 37 people in Bundibugyo, a remote district close to the Congo border.
“I cannot find a relative in Uganda who is willing to let me stay with them,” said Morian Kabugho, who lives in the Congolese village of Kasindipolo and crosses into Uganda to sell eggs in the busy market.
She complained of the health officials in Congo. “I am not happy with my government. The nurses are lazy. When you go to the nearest health center, they will tell you to go far away in Beni,” Kabugho said.
She said if she ever had a fever and feared she had contracted Ebola, she would cross into Uganda in hopes of getting better care there.
Local authorities acknowledge it is difficult to police the border but hope more people will heed safety messages.
“The challenge we have here is low levels of adoption of the messages we send to the people. A woman comes from Congo, avoids the border crossing and goes through a panya,” said Moses Mugisa, a town clerk who oversees the border area.
As many as 800 Congolese walk into Uganda daily at the Mpondwe border post, according to official figures, but there is no count of how many cross using the footpaths. The numbers swell on market days, when traders arrive with everything from vegetables to sacks of grain.
“The numbers are overwhelming,” said Primrose Natukunda, a branch manager with the Uganda Red Cross who supervises health teams screening travelers. “So, it’s not easy. It’s constant. Every minute you have to be on alert.”
When the border post is closed, the footpaths come alive after dusk, she said: “At night that’s where people pass. There is no one to stop them.” (VOA)
There will be no chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year also as the plan to host state heads of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- seems to have been cancelled due to the Covid situation in India as well as in the respective nations. Though the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to confirm this officially.
If the guests arrive, then this would be the second time when India hosts a group of state heads as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2018, state heads of ASEAN countries graced the occasion with their presence. Apart from Kazakhstan, none of these countries' state heads had been invited as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2009, Kazakhstan's then president Nursultan Nazarbayev was the Chief Guest.
The Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest. Mitul Gajera / Unsplash
As per sources, due to the corona situation, the Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest, so the plan seems to have been cancelled. Last year, British Prime minister Boris Johnson was invited for the same, but later cancelled due to rising corona cases in the UK.
In the past, there have been occasions when the Republic Day ceremony was celebrated without any foreign guest. In 1966, there was no foreign chief guest in the Republic Day parade ceremony as the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had passed away in Tashkent in January, and Indira Gandhi took oath as Prime Minister on January 24. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : chief, guest, Republic Day, parade, India, January, pandemic, 2022, host, nation, guest, invite, foreign, occasion, presence, celebrate.)
A team of scientists from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have found a cure for those suffering from chronic wounds, particularly with diabetic foot ulcers. The team led by Prof Gopal Nath of the department of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Sciences, said that wounds that took months and years to heal, could now be cured in days or months. The findings of study have been published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, US.
Prof Nath said that a wound is defined as a breach in the skin or body tissues due to injury. An acute wound is defined as a "recent break that is yet to progress through sequential stages of healing". The wounds where normal healing process is stalled due to underlying pathology (vascular and diabetes) or infection beyond three months is defined as chronic wound. While chronic wounds always get infected, the contaminated wounds are reasonably susceptible to infection.
A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks.Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash
Infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and biofilm formation halt healing progress. These wounds cause significant psychological and physical morbidity. The traditional treatment strategies often succeed in healing wounds, he said adding that many wounds have been observed recalcitrant to them, leading to persistence and recurrent infections. Search for alternatives to antibiotics has now become a compulsion. Fortunately, bacteriophage therapy is a re-emerging solution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Prof Nath's team carried out phage therapy of acute and chronic infected wounds in animals and clinical studies. It showed efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a mice wound model. Furthermore, they evaluated the efficacy of phage cocktails in animal models' acute and chronic osteomyelitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. They also observed biofilm eradication from K wire in rabbits' wound infection model. Clinical trials of phage therapy initiated by the BHU have reported the efficacy of topical phage in healing chronic wounds in three prospective exploratory studies and no adverse events mimicking the results in vivo animal models.
Scientists have found a cure for those suffering from diabetic foot ulcers. Unsplash
A clinical study by Gupta demonstrated the significant role of bacteriophage therapy in the chronic wounds associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study employed a total of twenty patients with chronic non-healing ulcers for more than six weeks duration. A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks. Another study, employing 48 patients having a minimum of one eligible full-thickness wound that did not heal in six weeks with convention wound management, showed the promising result, and significant improvement was observed in the wound healing.
The study projected that specific phage therapy is equally effective regardless of the diabetic or non-diabetic status of the patient though the healing was relatively delayed in diabetic patients. Another successful study has shown encouraging results on healing process of infected acute traumatic wounds. The average number of days required for complete granulation of wounds and attaining sterility and healing was half compared to conventional therapy. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : scientists, cure, chronic, wound, suffer, ulcer, diabetes, healing, pathology, health, infection, bacteria, study, patient, therapy, successful.)
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By Anna Melnikova
The Indian cricket lovers have been waiting for a ton from Virat Kohli for a long time, and he finally has made it. However, not in the batting as most fans expect, but in catching balls.
The second day of the 3rd Test in Capetown between local Proteas and the Men in Blue was rich for interesting occasions. Thus, South Africa was waiting for a good scoring result after stopping all Indian batters on the first day. Their opponents, however, have been looking for nice bowling not to lose the game just in the first innings. And while Bumrah added five wickets to his score, one of the dismissals should go to Virat Kohli. By the way, if you want more cricket news in India, we recommend subscribing to the specified site using the link.
Also Read : Acts of good sportsmanship
The legendary captain was great in batting but now can not score a ton for more than two years. But the three-digit result came from another side, where he is also quite successful. And while most of his catches came from opponents' misses, he proved he can be effective in the outfield parts of the pitch. According to experts, Kohli has a unique ability to be energetic on the pitch and still be concentrated for long shots by opponents, which rarely come in Test format.
Kohli has a unique ability to be energetic on the pitch. Unsplash
Even a legendary Gavaskar, who was the first Indian with such a result, praised the ability of the recent captain to catch. He admitted the ability to grab slipping balls, which are hard to cope with. Interestingly, Virat became only the sixth Indian to achieve a milestone in this component in the Test format. Kohli needed 99 games to find the needed number, although he is focused on making the 28th century first of all.
Another three-digit achievement can happen just today. He opened the 3rd day of the Test in Capetown along with Pujara and stayed alive at the moment of writing this article. If you are fond of sports betting, we recommend that you go to the rating of sports betting sites in India and choose a reliable bookmaker.
(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article and includes some commercial links.)
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