Dispatch of experts in response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West African countries

TOKYO, Japan, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 1. The Government of Japan has decided to dispatch two experts in response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West African countries. They are scheduled to depart for the Republic of Sierra Leone on October 20. With a view to strengthening Japan’s contribution of personnel also on the financial front, the Government of Japan will cover the travel expenses and other costs associated with dispatching these two experts.

2. The two experts belong to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, and are scheduled to carry out activities in Sierra Leone for approximately one month as experts participating in a World Health Organization (WHO) mission implementing Ebola virus disease response measures.

3. The Government of Japan is continuing consultations with the WHO on dispatching Japanese experts to countries affected by the Ebola virus disease, and is considering to implement successive dispatches based on those consultations.

Categories: AFRICA

Minister Ambrose to Make an Announcement Regarding Canada’s Response to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

OTTAWA, Canada, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, will make an announcement regarding Canada’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Minister Ambrose will make the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie.

Minister Ambrose will be joined by Dr. Gregory Taylor, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.

Event: Remarks and media availability

Date: October 17, 2014

Time: 2:00 PM

Location: Suite 2404, 150 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Listen-in dial-in information:

Participant dial-in number: 613-960-7526 / 877-413-4814

Participant passcode: 6355598

Categories: AFRICA

UNMISS condemns abductions of UNMISS employee and WFP staff at Malakal airfield

JUBA, South Sudan, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On 10 October, three Individual Contractors employed by UNMISS, who were working at the airfield in Malakal, were seized by an unidentified armed group of 15 to 20 men in uniformed and civilian clothes and driven away in a pick-up truck. The following day, in the morning, one of the three workers was released and! a second was also released later in the afternoon. The third worker is still missing.

On 16 October, a staff member of another UN agency, the World Food Programme (WFP), was similarly seized by a group of armed men at the same airfield while he was in the process of boarding a UN flight. The staff member is still missing.

UNMISS and the World Food Programme are actively engaging the national authorities in Juba, as well as the Upper Nile State authorities, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and militia groups in Malakal, in an effort to secure the release of the two abducted individual! s. There is still a lack of clarity on the identity of the abductors. The State authorities, the Sector Commander of the SPLA, the militia commanders in Malakal, and the national and SPLA authorities in Juba have assured UNMISS and WFP that they are making all efforts to track down the abductors and secure the release of the two victims.

UNMISS strongly condemns these abductions and demands the safe release of the missing individuals. It also emphasizes the responsibility of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan under the Status of Forces Agreement, to protect UN personnel, irrespective of the identity of the abductors. The Mission urges the national and state authorities, and the SPLA and militia commanders on the ground, to redouble their efforts to locate and free the ab ducted individuals. In the meantime, the Mission has taken additional ! measures to enhance the security of its personnel and will continue to engage all relevant actors for the release of the abductees.

Categories: AFRICA

Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the DRC, is worried about a form of extreme poverty which also affects workers

KINSHASA, Dem. Rep. of Congo (DRC) October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “Eradicating poverty for good in the whole world is neither an utopia nor an illusion ; it is a clear objective towards which we must all strive for,” stated Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The eradication of extreme poverty and hunger is at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals. Their aim is to reduce by half, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the population living below the poverty line.

The global objective has been achieved; as in the developing world, the percentage of individuals living below the poverty line fell from 47% in 1990 to 22% in 2010. However, the progress has been unequal, and while improvements were substantial in Asia and Latin America, they were more limited in Sub-Saharan Africa. Today, there are still 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty in the world.

“The economic situation is improving every day in the DRC, the growth rate is high and inflation is under control. This positive development will not affect Congolese men and women unless companies show a real sense of social responsibility. I would like to call upon Congolese and international enterprises to share with their employees the benefits of a growing economy,” concluded the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC.

Categories: AFRICA

WHO congratulates Senegal on ending Ebola transmission

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — WHO officially declares the Ebola outbreak in Senegal over and commends the country on its diligence to end the transmission of the virus.

The introduced case was confirmed on 29 August in a young man who had travelled to Dakar, by road, from Guinea, where he had had direct contact with an Ebola patient.

Senegal’s response is a good example of what to do when faced with an imported case of Ebola. The government, under leadership of President Macky Sall and the Minister of Health Dr Awa Coll-Seck, reacted quickly to stop the disease from spreading.

The government’s response plan included identifying and monitoring 74 close contacts of the patient, prompt testing of all suspected cases, stepped-up surveillance at the country’s many entry points and nationwide public awareness campaigns.

WHO treated this case as a public health emergency and immediately dispatched a team of epidemiologists to work alongside staff from the Ministry of Health, and other partners, including Médecins sans Frontières and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On 5 September, laboratory samples from the patient tested negative, indicating that he had recovered from Ebola virus disease. He returned to Guinea on 18 September.

Senegal has maintained a high level of active “case finding” for 42 days – twice the maximum incubation period of Ebola virus disease – to detect possible unreported cases of infection.

While the outbreak is now officially over, Senegal’s geographical position makes the country vulnerable to additional imported cases of Ebola virus disease. It continues to remain vigilant for any suspected cases by strict compliance with WHO guidelines.

Categories: AFRICA

WFP STARTS BIGGEST ONE-DAY FOOD DISTRIBUTION IN EBOLA-HIT SIERRA LEONE

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, October 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Amid concerns over the increasing rate of Ebola infection in Sierra Leone, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and partners today began distributing food for 265,000 people on the outskirts of the capital.

The distribution in the suburb of Waterloo will be the biggest one-off food distribution in the country since the start of the Ebola outbreak.

WFP mobilized 700 aid workers to distribute in just one day over 800 metric tons of food – rice, pulses, vegetable oil and salt – meeting families’ food needs for 30 days. The distribution is in partnership with Caritas, Community Integrated Development Organization, civil society organizations and young volunteers.

“Providing food to such a large number of people in one day is a challenge. We have to deploy many staff and speed up the distribution process to reduce risks both for the people receiving food and for staff, as Waterloo has seen some of the highest cases of Ebola infections in recent days,” said Gon Myers, WFP Country Director in Sierra Leone.

“We are working closely with the Sierra Leone Government, NGOs and UN agencies to ensure timely delivery of food assistance to all Ebola-affected people – be it in treatment centres or in quarantined households – to prevent this health crisis from becoming a food and nutrition crisis.”

The aim of the distribution is to stabilize quarantined families by giving them enough to eat so that they do not leave their homes to look for food.

Before today’s distribution in Waterloo, WFP and its partners had provided food assistance to more than 300,000 Ebola-affected people across Sierra Leone. Given the increasing rate of infections, WFP is scaling up to reach 600,000 people affected by the crisis.

Beyond the food response, WFP is supplying vital technical assistance, particularly to medical partners, in this unprecedented health emergency. This includes construction, logistics, storage, procurement and transport.

WFP is supporting the Sierra Leone Government by procuring 74 World Bank-funded vehicles including ambulances, mortuary vehicles and pickup trucks. The first batch of 30 vehicles is expected to arrive by air in the country on 18 October.

As WFP ramps up to help fight the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times, it requires US$179.6 million to distribute food and provide common humanitarian services in the Ebola-affected countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea until February 2015. Less than a third has been received.

To ensure continued assistance over the next six months, WFP requires US$24 million for its Ebola emergency operation in Sierra Leone.

Categories: AFRICA