World Guinea: at the bedside of Ebola patients, caregivers aim for zero risk
Thousands of Ebola vaccines to be sent to Guinea to combat recent epidemic, WHO says
“Our collective, quick action is crucial to avert an uncontrolled spread of Ebola amid the Covid-19 pandemic," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.WHO regional director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said Thursday that 11,000 Ebola vaccines are being prepared in Geneva and are expected to arrive in Guinea over the weekend. An additional 8,600 doses will be shipped from the United States, she said. The vaccination campaign could start as early as Monday.
A full white jumpsuit, boots, protective glasses, a mask over the mouth, two pairs of gloves ... no inch of skin should be forgotten when treating Ebola patients.
Even if medicine has made progress in dealing with this haemorrhagic fever identified in the 1970s in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the staff of the small Epidemic Treatment Center (Cetépi) of Nzérékoré, in the south of Guinea, does not want to take any risks and applies the instructions to the letter, noted an AFP journalist.
West Africa Rallies Ebola Defenses as Guinea Cases Climb
Guinea’s neighbors are taking measures to prevent the Ebola hemorrhagic fever from entering their countries, as cases rise in the West Africa nation. Five people have died from the highly contagious disease, Guinea’s National Health Security Agency said in an emailed statement Tuesday. Three people tested positive and 10 other suspected cases are awaiting laboratory results, it said.Authorities are also monitoring 125 people who were in contact with the cases. Most of them are in the southeastern Nzerekore region, where an outbreak has been declared, and the remaining 10 are in the capital, Conakry, it said.
In their protective clothing, the caregivers who take care of the eight positive cases and the four suspected cases are unrecognizable.
The one who marked "Dr Kourouma" on his hood is visibly in a hurry. "As soon as I'm in the overalls, the sweat starts to flow, I have to go to get the patient who is there," he said.
Ebola made its reappearance earlier this month in this neighboring forest region of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire, five years after the end of the epidemic which killed more than 11,300 from 2013 to 2016 in west Africa.
The results have so far remained moderate: around ten contaminations and between 5 and 8 deaths, depending on the sources, and no expansion beyond the Guinean borders.
Fog delays delivery of Ebola vaccines for Guinea
The delivery to Guinea of vaccines against the Ebola virus has been delayed because of fog disrupting flights to the capital Conakry, a health official said Sunday. The Guinean capital has been cloaked in fog for the past three days because of a strong Harmattan wind carrying dust from the Sahara Desert, and a Guinean official told AFP that all flights in and out of Conakry were cancelled "until further notice".The World Health Organization (WHO) had announced that more than 11,000 doses of the Merck vaccine against the deadly disease were to arrive in Conakry on Sunday.
- Chances of survival -
To avoid a catastrophic scenario, the Guinean authorities, NGOs such as MSF and the World Health Organization (WHO) quickly reactivated their systems. In less than 10 days, a vaccination campaign targeting "contact cases" of the first infected and medical personnel was launched.
In Nzérékoré, the treatment center is nestled at the end of a narrow and bumpy track. It is made up of a few orange houses and two administrative buildings, protected by a simple green fence through which one can observe the comings and goings.
"There is nothing to hide, contrary to what those who think that we are handling corpses believe", explains Dr Dally Muamba, sent here by the NGO specializing in emergency medical aid Alima.
"Today, we have specific treatments which have proved their worth in the DRC, monoclonal antibodies extracted from cured people and which are given by injection to strengthen the immunity of patients," he explains.
U.S. to implement Ebola monitoring program at airports
Starting next week, the "very small number" of travelers arriving from Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be funneled to six U.S. airports, the CDC said.Starting next week, the "very small number" of travelers arriving from Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be funneled to six U.S. airports where their information will be collected and shared with local health officials, the CDC said.
"People have to understand that an Ebola treatment center is not a dying place. The chances of survival for patients are very high today", adds the doctor.
- "Confront the Demon" -
A middle-aged man comes out of a small house, both arms infused, and sits down on a plastic chair, looking downcast. He has just learned that he has Ebola.
It is a survivor of the first epidemic, nicknamed "Dr Papus", who tells him the bad news and tries to reassure him.
"I tell them that I have faced this disease, that we must not give up," says this volunteer responsible for raising awareness among the populations, whose father and uncle were killed by Ebola in 2014. He explains that at the time, he also did not "believe" in the epidemic before falling seriously ill, then recovering.
"Since I am already immune, I must help the others, that I go back to face this same demon", he said.
Not all are doing equally well. Thursday evening a Red Cross pickup arrived, the paint washed out by the many chlorine disinfections. A patient has died and his body must be taken away for a burial which must also be secured.
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Papua New Guinea's Michael Somare, 'father of the nation', dies .
Papua New Guinea's Michael Somare, 'father of the nation', diesSYDNEY (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea's first prime minister, Michael Somare, has died aged 84, his daughter said on Friday.