Saturday February 16, 2019

World Bank sets up multi-donor trust to help India battle air pollution

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

According to the Word Health Organization, 2012 witnessed death of an estimated 7 million people only due to indoor and outdoor pollution. To curb this deadly issue, government officials from India, China, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa pledged together to improve people health by eliminating the air pollution.

With an initial total allocation of around $45 million, a new multi-donor trust watched over by World Bank aims at improving air quality in five major urban regions in India, China, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. It is anticipated that the program could contribute greatly towards environmental health conditions for an estimated 150 million people in those cities over the next five years, a World Bank media release said

It also mentioned that Pollution Management and Environmental Health (PMEH) program will encourage other countries and cities of Sub-Saharan Africa, and endeavors to reduce land and water pollution.

The PMEH program, backed by a new multi-donor trust fund will support countries to reduce air, land and water pollution levels through pollution management planning. It will also help in generating new knowledge on pollution and its health impacts in urban, rural and marine areas.

Earlier, Paula Caballero, Senior Director, Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank had said, “Improving air quality can be achieved in the face of urbanization when proactive leaders are willing to institute the right policies and investments.”

Next Story

WHO Makes Progress In Controlling Ebola In Congo

In addition, 2,600 health care workers in Uganda have been vaccinated.

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Health workers treat an unconfirmed Ebola patient inside a MSF (Doctors Without Borders)-supported Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 3, 2018. VOA

Six months after the outbreak of Ebola was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, the World Health Organization is expressing cautious optimism that it is making headway in controlling the spread of the deadly virus.

Latest figures reported by the WHO show 752 cases of Ebola, including 465 deaths.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, says progress in containing the spread of the virus is due to a number of public health measures, including the training of health workers on infection prevention and control, closer engagement with communities, case investigation and contact tracing.

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Medical staff are sterilized before entering the isolation unit at a hospital in Bundibugyo, western Uganda, on Aug. 17, 2018, where there is one suspected case of Ebola. VOA

She says the use of a vaccine and promising new drugs have been a boon to these efforts.

“I feel optimistic,” Moeti said. “I am very clear that we need to continue this work. We need to make sure that in the places where we have made progress, we build on this progress and we do not go back. And, we are being very, very conscious of the fact that we need to invest to improve the preparedness both in the DRC areas that are highest at risk and, most importantly, in the surrounding countries that are at risk.”

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Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) workers talk to a worker at an isolation facility, prepared to receive suspected Ebola cases, at the Mbandaka General Hospital, in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 20, 2018. VOA

The risk of the virus spreading to countries like Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan is very high because of the heavy cross-border traffic among the countries, Moeti said. However, she added, surveillance and preparedness activities have been enhanced on both sides of the border.

Also Read: WHO Calls for Accelerated Action To Eliminate Cervical Cancer

She says there is extensive monitoring at border crossings and improvements have been made in screening people for the virus. In addition, 2,600 health care workers in Uganda have been vaccinated. Moeti said a similar vaccination campaign began two days ago in South Sudan. (VOA)