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Progress Has Been Made in Containing Ebola in Congo: WHO

Some people are reluctant to go to treatment centers for care. Others are unwilling to change traditional burial practices.

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Congo, Uganda, ebola, Women
Health workers walk with a boy suspected of having been infected with the Ebola virus, at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, near Congo's border with Uganda. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports substantial progress is being made in containing the spread of the Ebola virus in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It warns, however, that new hotspots are appearing. The WHO says the number of confirmed and probable cases of Ebola in the DRC stands at 143, including 97 deaths.

WHO officials say they are pleased with the progress being made in limiting the spread of the Ebola virus, but that the outbreak of this fatal disease in Congo’s conflict-ridden North Kivu and Ituri provinces remains active and vigilance must be maintained.

Ebola, WHO
Congolese health workers register people and take their temperatures before they are vaccinated against Ebola in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

WHO reports the situation in Mangina, the initial epicenter of the epidemic in North Kivu, is stabilizing. WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told VOA there are no security problems there, so health workers are able to safely access the area and treat those affected by the disease. But there are exceptions.

“Immediately to the east is an inaccessible area. This region is in a security level four, which is one of the highest in the U.N. security phasing system. For example, the road from Beni to Oicha is in the ‘red zone’… So, in some places, we are really able to move to work. In some other places, it is more difficult,” she said.

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

Chaib said the cities of Beni and Butembo have become the new hotspots, noting that Butembo is in the red zone.

The WHO spokeswoman said there is significant risk that Ebola could spread there, and health workers have to remain on top of the many challenges facing them.

Ebola Congo, WHO
A Congolese health worker checks the temperature of a man before the launch of vaccination campaign against the deadly Ebola virus near Mangina village, near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

Among the challenges is a growing resistance in some communities to measures used to contain the virus.

Also Read: Lowering The Community Resistance To Ebola is Extremely Important: UNICEF

For example, Chaib said, some people are reluctant to go to treatment centers for care. Others are unwilling to change traditional burial practices, such as touching the bodies of those who have died from Ebola. WHO warns this is one of the surest ways of spreading the infection. The outbreak in the DRC is the 10th since Ebola was first identified in 1976. (VOA)

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Just Spending 2 Hours a Week in Nature can Work Wonders for Health, Well-Being

It's well known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people's health

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Nature, Health, Well-Being
People who spend at least 120 minutes a week with nature are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who do not visit nature at all during an average week. Pixabay

If you are looking for that elusive secret to good health and wellbeing, your search may stop now as a new large-scale study has found that spending just two hours a week in the neighbourhood park may do wonders for your mind and body.

People who spend at least 120 minutes a week with nature are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who do not visit nature at all during an average week, said the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“It’s well known that getting outdoors in nature can be good for people’s health and wellbeing but until now we’ve not been able to say how much is enough,” said lead researcher Mat White of the University of Exeter Medical School in Britain.

“The majority of nature visits in this research took place within just two miles of home so even visiting local urban green spaces seems to be a good thing,” White said.

Nature, Health, Well-Being
If you are looking for that elusive secret to good health and wellbeing, your search may stop now as a new large-scale study has found that spending just two hours a week in the neighbourhood park may do wonders for your mind and body. Pixabay

However, no such benefits were found for people who visited natural settings such as town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches for less than 120 minutes a week.

The study used data from nearly 20,000 people in England and found that it didn’t matter whether the 120 minutes was achieved in a single visit or over several shorter visits.

It also found that the 120 minute threshold applied to both men and women, to older and younger adults, across different occupational and ethnic groups, among those living in both rich and poor areas, and even among people with long term illnesses or disabilities.

“There are many reasons why spending time in nature may be good for health and wellbeing, including getting perspective on life circumstances, reducing stress, and enjoying quality time with friends and family,” said study co-author Terry Hartig of Uppsala University in Sweden.

Also Read- Countries Approved Projects Worth $1 Billion for Environment, Climate Change

“The current findings offer valuable support to health practitioners in making recommendations about spending time in nature to promote basic health and wellbeing,” Hartig said. (IANS)