Tuesday February 25, 2020

US Health Secretary Applauds Uganda’s Efforts to Control Spread of Ebola in East and Central Africa

Since June, Uganda has identified and isolated four Ebola victims who entered the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo

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US, Health, Uganda
FILE - Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks with reporters after a meeting about vaping with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Sept. 11, 2019. VOA

U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Alex Azar has applauded Uganda’s efforts to control the spread of Ebola in east and central Africa; however, while the U.S. remains the primary funder of Uganda’s health care sector, the secretary did not shy away from asking the East African country to find funds to independently sustain its health care budget. US.

Since June, Uganda has identified and isolated four Ebola victims who entered the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The monitoring has prevented the Ebola epidemic which has killed nearly 2,000 people in eastern Congo from crossing the border.

Secretary Azar is leading a U.S. delegation to Rwanda, the DRC and now Uganda regarding Ebola.

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Relatives of the 5-year-old boy who became Ebola’s first cross-border victim, and others, listen as village leaders and health workers educate them about Ebola, in Kirembo, Uganda, June 15, 2019. VOA

“There’s immense work that has had to be done in bolstering preparedness and response capacities. Screening those crossing the borders and responding to the discovery of cases. Uganda, particularly the Ministry of Health and Minister Aceng have risen to the occasion providing a model for the region,” said Azar.

The U.S. is a major financier of Uganda’s health sector, helping to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola and improve maternal and child health care.

In fiscal year 2018, the U.S. provided more than $511 million in health care funding.

Secretary Azar encouraged Uganda to be more self-sustaining.

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“And we have seen tremendous achievement in Uganda in terms of the building up of the public health system and health care infrastructure as a result of that partnership,” Azar said. “Now of course, overtime that needs to be more self-sustained. And that does require that Uganda invest its own resources also in the health care system.”

Ambassador Deborah Malac expressed confidence Uganda is capable of meeting its own health care needs.

“But one cannot expect that the U.S. government will be the donor of choice in this area, you know, in an open-ended future,” said Malac. “So, it really is about building its capacity and ultimately putting ourselves out of the assistance business.”

On Sunday, there were reports from Tanzania that a doctor who was studying in Uganda had died of a viral infection akin to Ebola. The Tanzanian ministry quickly came out and denied the allegations, calling them rumors.

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U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Alex Azar has applauded Uganda’s efforts to control the spread of Ebola in east and central Africa. Pixabay

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the World Health Organization representative in Uganda, expressed concern about the situation.

“This mysterious disease has to be investigated and samples have to be tested. We couldn’t rule out any of the viral hemorrhagic fevers and the investigations will continue,” Yonas said. “And we look forward of the Tanzanian government collaborating as per the International health regulations to address this issue.”

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Countries near Congo continue to be on high alert for any new cases of Ebola, with strict adherence to control guidelines set by the WHO. (VOA)

Next Story

Know About This Simple Blood Test That Can Identify Heart Diseases

Simple blood test can help reduce heart disease deaths

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Blood test
Researchers have revealed how a simple blood test could be used to help identify cardiovascular ageing and the risk of heart disease. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Researchers have revealed how a simple blood test could be used to help identify cardiovascular ageing and the risk of heart disease. This is the latest news.

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reported that higher levels of amyloid-beta in the blood may be a key indicator of cardiovascular disease.

Amyloid-beta is known to be involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, yet researchers have now concluded that it may have a key role to play in vascular stiffening, thickening of the arteries, heart failure and heart disease progression.

It is hoped that this research will one day lead to the development of a simple blood test that could be used as a clinical biomarker to identify patients who are most at risk, so that preventative measures can be put in place and death rates reduced.

Blood test
Higher levels of amyloid-beta in the blood may be a key indicator of cardiovascular disease. Pixabay

“Our work has created and put all the pieces of the puzzle together. For the first time, we have provided evidence of the involvement of amyloid-beta in early and later stages of cardiovascular disease,” said study researcher Konstantinos Stellos from Newcastle University in the UK.

For the findings, the research team analysed blood samples from more than 6,600 patients from multiple cohort studies in nine countries, and found that patients could be divided into high and low risk categories of heart disease based on their amyloid-beta levels.

“What is really exciting is that we were able to reproduce these unexpected, clinically meaningful findings in patients from around the world. In all cases, we observed that amyloid-beta is a biomarker of cardiovascular ageing and of cardiovascular disease prognosis,” Stellos added.

The study proposed the existence of a common link between both conditions, which has not been acknowledged before, and could lead to better patient care. The findings suggest that the higher the level of amyloid-beta in the blood the higher the risk of developing serious heart complications.

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In the future, it is hoped that a simple blood test could be added to the current method of patient screening, known as the GRACE score, which assesses heart attack risk and guides patients’ treatment plans. Using the GRACE score, eight factors are used to predict the risk of heart attack, including age, blood pressure, kidney function and elevated biomarkers. (IANS)