Global bio-disaster response urgently needed in Ebola fight / MSF Denounces International Inaction in Ebola-stricken African Countries; UK Government Must Deploy Specialised Medical Assets Now

LONDON, United-Kingdom, September 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — World leaders are failing to address the worst ever Ebola epidemic, and states with biological-disaster response capacity, including civilian and military medical capability, must immediately dispatch assets and personnel to West Africa, the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced today. The further spread of the virus will not be prevented without a massive deployment of such specialised medical units to bolster epidemic control efforts in affected countries, said MSF.

Countries like the United Kingdom, with civil and military assets with expertise in bio-hazard management, have the responsibility to respond to this crisis. “After six months, the Ebola epidemic is completely out of control and it’s crucial that countries like the UK mobilise their resources to see an end to it. The affected countries cannot handle this alone,” says Vickie Hawkins, Executive Director of MSF UK. “The UK government has robust civil and military response capacities at its disposal, and in these exceptional circumstances, should be using them to directly facilitate humanitarian operations including the transport of personnel and supplies to and within West Africa.”

In a speech delivered to UN member states, MSF International President Dr. Joanne Liu denounced the lack of deployment of resources, which has to-date relied on overstretched ministries of health and private nongovernmental organisations, to tackle the exceptionally large outbreak. Despite repeated calls by MSF for a massive mobilisation on the ground, the international response has been lethally inadequate.

MSF medical teams have been battling the outbreak in West Africa since March. Nongovernmental groups and the United Nations cannot alone implement the WHO Global Roadmap to fight the ever growing and unpredictable outbreak. Transmission rates have reached levels never before reported in past Ebola outbreaks.

“Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it,” said Dr. Liu. “Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat. The WHO announcement on August 8 that the epidemic constituted a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction,” she said.

Many countries possess biological threat response mechanisms. They can deploy trained civilian or military medical teams in a matter of days, in an organised fashion, and with a chain of command to assure high standards of safety and efficiency to support the affected countries. MSF insists, however, that any military assets and personnel deployed to the region should not be used for quarantine, containment, or crowd control measures. Forced quarantines have only bred fear and unrest, rather than stem the virus.

“Funding announcements and the deployment of a few experts do not suffice,” said Dr. Liu. “States with the required capacity have a political and humanitarian responsibility to come forward and offer a desperately needed, concrete response to the disaster unfolding in front of the world’s eyes,” said Dr. Liu. “Rather than limit their response to the potential arrival of an infected patient in their countries, they should take the unique opportunity to actually save lives where immediately needed, in West Africa.”

In the immediate term, field hospitals with isolation wards must be scaled up, trained personnel must be dispatched, mobile laboratories must be deployed to improve diagnostics, air bridges must be established to move personnel and material to and within West Africa, and a regional network of field hospitals must be established to treat medical personnel with suspected or actual infections.

In Monrovia, Liberia, for example, new Ebola management centres with adequate isolation facilities and qualified staff are urgently needed. The queue of patients continues to increase in front of MSF’s ever growing ELWA 3 centre, which now contains 160 beds. It is estimated that 800 additional beds are needed in Monrovia alone. The MSF team is overwhelmed and cannot offer more than palliative care.

“Every day we have to turn sick people away because we are too full”, said Stefan Liljegren, the MSF coordinator at ELWA 3. “I have had to tell ambulance drivers to call me before they arrive with patients, no matter how unwell they are, since we are often unable to admit them.”

MSF’s care centres in Liberia and Sierra Leone are overcrowded with suspected Ebola patients. People continue to become ill and are dying in their villages and communities. In Sierra Leone, highly infectious bodies are rotting in the streets.

A multiplication of high quality isolation facilities would allow for earlier referral and admission, leading to a significant impact on mortality. MSF teams have been able to save more lives when people infected with Ebola seek treatment as early as possible. Increased isolation capacity will also relieve the affected countries’ health systems, some of which are on the verge of collapse. At least 150 health workers have died from Ebola; others are too afraid to go back to work.

Additionally, triage centres must be set up, systems for management of corpses must be increased, and hygiene items must be distributed at a mass scale, along with an increase of active surveillance capacities. Disinfection campaigns are needed, as well as health and hygiene promotion among the populations and within health facilities.

“The clock is ticking and Ebola is winning,” said Dr. Liu. “The time for meetings and planning is over. It is now time to act. Every day of inaction means more deaths and the slow collapse of societies.”

MSF began its Ebola intervention in West Africa in March 2014 and is now operating in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The organisation runs five Ebola case management centres with a total capacity of 480 beds. Since March, MSF has admitted 2,077 people, of whom 1,038 tested positive for Ebola and 241 have recovered. MSF has deployed 156 international staff to the region and employs 1,700 nationally hired personnel.

Categories: AFRICA

Virological analysis: no link between Ebola outbreaks in West Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Situation assessment – 2 September 2014

Results from virus sequencing of samples from the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were received last night. The virus is the Zaire strain, in a lineage most closely related to a virus from the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, DRC.

The Zaire strain of the virus is indigenous in the country. Ebola first emerged in 1976 in almost simultaneous outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) and South Sudan (then Sudan).

Confirmatory testing was done at Gabon’s Centre International de Recherches Médicales in Franceville, a WHO collaborating centre. Earlier, testing in DRC confirmed Ebola in 6 of 8 samples.

The outbreak is located in the remote Boende district, Equateur province in the north-western part of the country.

Results from virus characterization, together with findings from the epidemiological investigation, are definitive: the outbreak in DRC is a distinct and independent event, with no relationship to the outbreak in west Africa.

As the Gabon laboratory report clearly stated, “the virus in the Boende district is definitely not derived from the virus strain currently circulating in west Africa.”

These findings are reassuring, as they exclude the possibility that the virus has spread from West to Central Africa.

Epidemiological investigation has linked the index case, who died on 11 August, to the preparation of bushmeat for consumption.

This is the country’s seventh Ebola outbreak since 1976. The introduction of the virus into the human population following contact with infected bushmeat (usually fruit bats or monkeys) is consistent with the pattern seen at the start of previous outbreaks. The virus is now spreading from person to person.

The response team has, to date, identified 53 cases consistent with the case definition for Ebola virus disease, including 31 deaths. Seven of these deaths were among health care workers. More than 160 contacts are being traced.

The government has rapidly mounted a robust response by reactivating emergency committees at national, provincial, and local levels, setting up isolation centres, and providing community leaders with facts about the disease. The government will ensure that all burials are safe.

The WHO team confirmed that collaboration between the government and its key partners is excellent.

The outbreak zone, where the most intense transmission is occurring, is remote, located some 1200 kilometres from the capital city, Kinshasa. No paved roads run from the outbreak zone to Kinshasa. However, cases have been detected or transmission is ongoing at three sites, underscoring the need to watch the outbreak’s evolution closely.

Motorcycles, canoes, and satellite phones have been supplied to facilitate outbreak investigation and contact tracing. A dedicated helicopter will be made available soon.

Categories: AFRICA

Gemalto M2M connectivity solution helps deliver green energy to remote communities without electricity

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, September 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO) (, the world leader in digital security, is providing M2M connectivity for SOLARKIOSK, a compact, solar powered station transported onboard a mobile vehicle. This cabin features photovoltaic panels across its roof to generate sustainable energy in areas outside of conventional power cabling and infrastructures. Gemalto’s Cinterion® modules deliver rugged M2M connectivity powering a mobile router, provided by INSYS icom (, which enables condition monitoring of the SOLARKIOSKs’ photovoltaic panels and tracks energy production and consumption through a web interface.



Quick and easy to deploy, the SOLARKIOSKs support simple plug-in access for appliances, devices and broad range of systems. Each kiosk generates enough electricity to operate the cellular router and recharge 220 cell phones in a single day – up to 80 at the same time. The M2M solution provided by Gemalto and INSYS icom monitors and manages the solar panels on a 24/7 basis, tracking energy input and output, providing a reliable system for power delivery to end users, and automatically reporting potential problems.

The SOLARKIOSKs produce sustainable electricity for a variety of services, including refrigerated storage for medicines as well as for consumer products. By delivering these benefits to remote communities, the SOLARKIOSKs are expected to transform the lives of millions of people who live in the rural areas of developing countries. Projects are already operating in Ethiopia, Botswana and Kenya, supplying both power and access to information, in particular for education and creating a social hub for local communities.

“One of the biggest challenges for M2M communication is to properly function in extreme environments such as the intense heat of an African desert or the tremendous moisture of a South American rainforest,” said Michael Gartz, Director Sales and Marketing for INSYS icom. “INSYS icom and Gemalto heavy duty technologies are ideally suited for those areas which are not connected to an electricity grid, such as rural and remote areas in developing countries and districts affected by disasters. An estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide live in such regions, with 600 million in Africa alone and SOLARKIOSK will be there to serve them.”

“In many parts of the world, traditional power infrastructures are difficult to set up and quickly become expensive to maintain,” added Thomas Steffen, M2M regional manager at Gemalto. “With SOLARKIOSK, we aspire to play a social role in meeting such Machine-for-Human challenges, whatever the geographical constraints.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Gemalto.

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Kristel Teyras

Marketing & Communication Director Middle East & Africa


+33 1 55 01 57 89

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About Gemalto

Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital security ( with 2013 annual revenues of €2.4 billion and more than 12,000 employees operating out of 85 offices and 25 research and software development centers, located in 44 countries.

We are at the heart of the rapidly evolving digital society. Billions of people worldwide increasingly want the freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain and work – anytime, everywhere – in ways that are enjoyable and safe. Gemalto delivers on their expanding needs for personal mobile services, payment security, authenticated cloud access, identity and privacy protection, eHealthcare and eGovernment efficiency, convenient ticketing and dependable machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. We develop secure embedded software and secure products which we design and personalize. Our platforms and services manage these products, the confidential data they contain and the trusted end-user services made possible.

Our innovations enable our clients to offer trusted and convenient digital services to billions of individuals. Gemalto thrives with the growing number of people using its solutions to interact with the digital and wireless world.

For more information visit,,, or follow @gemalto on Twitter (

Categories: AFRICA

Regional UN team supports ongoing efforts to eradicate Ebola and calls for greater regional and international solidarity with affected countries and people in West Africa

DAKAR, Sénégal, September 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Said Djinnit, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary- General for West Africa (SRSG) convened yesterday a meeting of the regional UN team based in Dakar to review developments in West Africa. The meeting, comprising heads of regional offices of UN entities in the region, reviewed the ongoing efforts to address the Ebola crisis.

The meeting welcomed the appointment by the Secretary-General of Dr. David Nabarro as the Senior UN System Coordinator for Ebola Virus Disease, who concluded his tour of the region on 28 August 2014. They praised efforts being deployed by the governments of the affected countries in tackling the spread of the virus, with the support of the UN and other international partners.

The meeting deplored the ongoing socio-economic consequences of the spread of the virus, including in particular the isolation of the affected countries with the risk of stigmatizing the populations. The meeting observed that the solution is not in travel restrictions but in ensuring that effective preventive and curative health measures are put in place. In this context, the participants warned against possible impact on food security, freedom of movement and the provision of services, which could also undermine efforts by the governments of the region.

The Special Representative and the Regional Directors reiterated their full support to a joint, coherent and orchestrated response led by the national authorities. The UN is scaling up its humanitarian presence and operations in the affected countries, and encourages preparedness measures in other countries of the region. The participants called for further engagement of the international community including the United Nations to support regional efforts against the spread of the virus, particularly through resource mobilization.

Categories: AFRICA

Citizens Call to Action against Ebola: Former Heads of State, Leaders from Civil Society and Business Launch a Petition Call

MONROVIA, Liberia, September 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In an open letter, former heads of state as well as leaders from civil society and business launch a petition call for more solidarity and a more coordinated approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

In a letter published in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites across Africa, leaders of civil society and business have called for more solidarity and a more coordinated approach to deal with the recent Ebola outbreak.

Join the call by signing the petition at

Hashtag: #StoptheQuarantine

Ebola is having great economic and social impact, more so in a young democracy such as Liberia which has come out of a long and debilitating civil war. The response has often been knee jerk and counter productive, such as the closing of borders and cancelation of flights, something which both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have denounced.

This call for action, which through a petition is attracting an increasing number of signatories, calls for all citizens to play their role and demands a coordinated and rational response from African governments and international institutions.

High profile leaders such as former Presidents Mkapa of Tanzania and Obasanjo of Nigeria have signed the petition, as well as Graça Machel, civil society leader and wife of the late President Mandela, the singer and former Minister Youssour N’Dour and a number of prominent leaders and personalities from music, media and business.

Open letter published in newspapers, magazines and websites across Africa: Citizens Call to Action against Ebola

As the Ebola virus becomes an overwhelming human catastrophe affecting public health, social institutions and economic well-being in Africa, we stand in solidarity with our fellow citizens in the countries victimized by this deadly disease.

We also thank and salute the local and international health workers who are risking their lives daily, intervening on the ground to eradicate the scourge of Ebola, often without access to gloves and other protective supplies.

We acknowledge and applaud the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) health ministers to call for the lifting of travel bans to Ebola affected countries, which are hampering the fight against Ebola and restricting the arrival of essential expertise and equipment, as well as fuel to provide electricity, medications to treat other deadly diseases such as malaria and food to prevent famine.

In the name and interest of our common humanity, we are collectively launching this urgent Citizens’ Call to Action.

We call on our respective Heads of State and Government to avoid full embargo against Ebola-affected states. While we understand the legitimate concerns for the protection of their population, we remind African leaders of their obligation to pan-African solidarity and the global community of their humanitarian obligations in emergencies. We urge the following immediate actions:


Ensure that the flow of essential assistance can reach those in need, while maintaining economic activity necessary for sustaining life in cities and villages, by

• Authorizing and implementing the local recommendations issued by the World Health Organization (WHO)

• Acknowledging the impossibility of quarantining entire nations and instead establish much-needed economic and humanitarian corridors of access – essential life-lines – both within the affected countries and between countries.


We call on African opinion leaders – including artists, athletes, filmmakers, writers, journalists, academics – to initiate or to actively take part in public information campaigns on prevention and transmission of the Ebola. These can happen via road-shows, film screenings, theatrical pieces, discussion groups, and the distribution of messages via cellphone networks. And we call upon global opinion leaders to add their talents and voices in support.


We call on the broad private sector, the pharmaceutical industry, and the research community, in particular, to fund, facilitate and make immediately available access to all known methods of prevention and treatment of this menacing threat to our global well-being.

Join the call by signing the petition at

Signed on August 31, 2014

 Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

 Benjamin Mkapa, Former President Tanzania

 Mrs Graca Machel, President of the Foundation for Community Development

 Bineta Diop , Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, African Union

 Youssou N’Dour, Singer

 Ali Mufuruki, InfoTech Investment Group

 Kandeh Yumkella, Chairman of UN-Energy and former Director-General

 Zainab Bangura, Special Representative of UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

 Ashih Thakkar, Founder, MARA Group

 AKON, Singer

 Frannie Leautier, Founder, Mkoba Group

 Wendy Luhabe, Africa Chairperson, Cartier Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs

 Dele Olojede, Journalist, Pulitzer Prize Winner

 Amadou Mahtar Ba, Executive Chairman, Co Founder AllAfrica Global Media

 Akere Muna, Presiding Officer, AU Economic, Social and Cultural Council

 Mamadou Toure, Founder, Africa 2.0

 Thelma Awori, chair Institute for Social Transformation, former UNDP Director

 Angelle Kwemo, Founder & Chair Believe in Africa

 Linus Gitahi, CEO Nation Media Group

 Prof. Ousmane Kane, Harvard University

 Ebrima Sall, Executive Secretary CODESRIA

 Slim Othmani. CEO, NCA-Rouiba, Chairman Algeria Business Council.

 Prof. Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Columbia University

 Prof. Alioune Sall, Director, African Futures Institute, South Africa ,

 Prof. Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University

 Trevor Ncube, Deputy Executive Chair, Mail&Guardian

 Omar Ben Yedder, Director IC Publications

 Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and CEO, APO (African Press Organization)

 Oulimata Sarr, Country Coordinator, IFC Advisory Services

 Férial Haffajee, Editor In Chief, City Press

 Zyad Limam, Director Afrique Magazine

 Aminata Forna, Professor of Creative Writing and award-winning author

 Mahen Bonetti, Founder & Executive Director of African Film Festival, Inc.

 Fatou Wurie, Activist

 Aliou Goloko, CEO Goal Communication

 Reed Kramer, CEO, AllAfrica Global Media

 Aly Leno, Président Union des Journalistes Culturels et Animateurs de Guinée )

 Tidiane Soumah, PDG Todoane World Music

 Dr Tendai Mhizha, CEO Integra Africa

 Samba Bathily, PDG ADS

 Prof. Cheikh Ibrahima Niang, UCAD

 Prof. Penda Mbow, UCAD

 Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, former minister, Kenya

 Dr Tami Hultman, CEO AllAfrica Foundation

 Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur on Women Human Rights in Africa

 Harriette Williams Bright, Femmes Africa Solidarité

 Isham Elgar Olympic and World Champion

 Younes Maamar CEO Eone Investments

 Prof. Fatima Harrak, President CODESRIA, Mohamed V Souissi, University.

 Prof. Kwadwo Ansah Koram, Director Noguchi Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon

 Prof. Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor, University of Witwatersrand

 Prof. Olive Shisana, CEO, Human Sciences Research Council

 Prof. Suren Pilley, University of Western Cape

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Citizens Call to Action against Ebola.

Note to Editors:

You are free to quote and/or republish the Citizens Call for Action. If you are to republish the Open Letter, please do so in its entirety.

Categories: AFRICA

Pope Tawadros II speaks on role of Coptic Church in Egyptian society during his visit to WCC offices

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 2, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt visited the World Council of Churches (WCC) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday 1 September. In the presence of representatives from ecumenical and international organizations, Tawadros participated in morning worship on 1 September followed by a meeting with staff and a conversation with the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

Pope Tawadros is head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, a founding member church of the WCC since 1948.

In his reflections, Tawadros spoke about historic contributions of the Coptic Orthodox Church, as among them vibrant traditions of spirituality, theological studies and monastic life.

“The Coptic Church is one of the main pillars of Egyptian society,” he said.

Tawadros said there is a “new hope for Egypt” with the adoption of a new constitution in the country. He remembered the June 2013 revolution in Egypt where, he said, “Christians and Muslims with everyone else struggled together to end the dark regime”.

Tawadros affirmed the long history of peaceful social coexistence between Muslims and Christians in Egypt. Giving examples of cooperation between Christians and Muslims, he mentioned the “Family House” a project established by the Coptic Church and Al-Azhar, carrying out a number of national programmes.

Recalling the attacks on Christian buildings in Egypt over recent years, Tawadros stressed that efforts must be enhanced to end violence perpetrated by extremist groups.

“If they attack churches we will pray in mosques, if they attack mosques, we will pray on roads. We can pray in a country without a church but cannot pray in a church without a country,” he said.

Tawadros expressed concern over migration of Christians from the Middle East. He called it a “dangerous trend” which he said cannot solve problems faced by Christian communities in the region.

The WCC general secretary expressed his gratitude to Pope Tawadros for his reflections. In his remarks, Tveit affirmed the commitment of the WCC in solidarity with Christians around the world, particularly those in critical situation like Egypt’s.

He added that the WCC is a global fellowship which brings together churches from the East and the West in a quest for unity, justice and peace.

Tveit expressed appreciation for the Coptic Church’s role in re-designing Egyptian society. Tveit said that such a role is integral in bridging gaps between different sectors in Egypt.

Tveit highlighted the important role of Egypt in the Arab world, such as its potential for mediation in Gaza. Due to such situations, Tveit said the witness of the Coptic Orthodox Church is extremely significant for Christianity’s presence in the Middle East.

Also, Tveit added that the way Christians and Muslims live together in Egypt can be an example for other countries in the region. He commended Pope Tawadros’ vision of upholding human rights, which Tveit said reflects “our theological conviction that all human beings are created in the image of God”.

Among participants of the event was Pierre Martinot-Lagarde of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO in cooperation with the WCC has initiated projects on role of faith communities in promoting decent work among youth in Egypt as a way to social justice and peace.

Rev. Dr Kaisamari Hintikka of the Lutheran World Federation, Dr John Nduna of the ACT Alliance, Pat Gleeson of the ECLOF International, Agnès Arluison-Krüzsely of the Foundation for Assistance to Reformed Protestantism, Dr Stephen Brown of the and Christine Houssel of the World Student Christian Federation were also present. Representatives of the Association of Churches and Christian Communities of Geneva were also present at the event.

Categories: AFRICA