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Health authorities declare Ebola outbreak in Guinea over

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By Gistflash

June 19, 2021

The Ebola outbreak that emerged in Guinea in mid-February was declared over on Saturday, the first time the disease resurfaced in the country since the deadly outbreak in West Africa that ended in 2016.

Guinean health authorities declared the outbreak on 14 February 2021 after three cases were detected in Gouecke, a rural community in the southern N’zerekore prefecture, the same region where the 2014–2016 outbreak first emerged before spreading into neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone and beyond.

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A total of 16 confirmed and seven probable cases were reported in Guinea’s latest outbreak in which 11 patients survived and 12 lives were lost.

Shortly after the infections were detected, national health authorities, with support from World Health Organization (WHO) and partners, mounted a swift response, tapping into the expertise gained in fighting recent outbreaks both in Guinea and in Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I commend the affected communities, the government and people of Guinea, health workers, partners and everyone else whose dedicated efforts made it possible to contain this Ebola outbreak,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“Based on the lessons learned from the 2014–16 outbreak and through rapid, coordinated response efforts, community engagement, effective public health measures and the equitable use of vaccines, Guinea managed to control the outbreak and prevent its spread beyond its borders. Our work in Guinea continues, including supporting survivors to access post-illness care.”

WHO helped ship around 24,000 Ebola vaccine doses and supported the vaccination of nearly 11,000 people at high risk, including over 2,800 frontline workers.

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More than 100 WHO experts were on the ground coordinating key aspects of the response such as infection prevention and control, disease surveillance, testing, vaccination and treatment using new drugs.

Collaboration with communities was also enhanced to raise awareness about the virus and ensure their involvement and ownership of the efforts to curb the disease.

“Although this Ebola outbreak flared up in the same area as the West Africa one which killed 11,000 people, thanks to new innovations and lessons learned, Guinea managed to contain the virus in four months,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “We are getting faster, better and smarter at fighting Ebola. But while this outbreak is over, we must stay alert for a possible resurgence and ensure the expertise in Ebola expands to other health threats such as COVID-19.”

WHO continues to support Guinea in its efforts to remain vigilant, maintain surveillance and build capacity to respond quickly to a possible resurgence of the virus. An Ebola laboratory, treatment infrastructure, logistics capacity and infection prevention measures have been reinforced to better respond to the disease as well as other health emergencies.

While the latest Ebola outbreak was limited to Guinea, to prevent cross-border infections, WHO supported six of the country’s neighbours to ramp up preparedness measures, including stepping up surveillance and screening at border crossings and within high-risk communities, as well as enhancing coordination between governments and the respective health services.

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Support to Ebola survivors is also crucial. Genome sequencing found that the virus behind Guinea’s just-ended outbreak was similar to that identified in the 2014–2016 outbreak. Though more studies are needed to fully understand how the two outbreaks may be linked, Guinean health authorities reactivated a surveillance programme for survivors to provide long-term monitoring and after-care support.

In support of the government’s efforts to curb the outbreak, WHO worked with other United Nations agencies and partners such as the African Development Bank, Alliance for International Medical Action, African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, European Union Delegation, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Germany, Japan, the International Organization for Migration, Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, Team Europe, Terre des Hommes, United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund, United States Agency for International Development, World Bank and World Food Programme.

PANA/NAN

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Health

FG converts National Blood Service to commission

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By Gistflash News

Sept 25, 2021

The Federal Government has established the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) to replace the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) to coordinate, regulate and ensure the provision of safe, quality blood transfusion services.

This is contained in a statement by Abdullahi Haruna, the commission’s Head of Media and Publicity on Saturday, in Abuja.

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It explained that the NBTS was formerly a unit under the Department of Hospital Services in the Federal Ministry of Health, which was passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

It also disclosed that Dr Omale Joseph-Amedu, the National Coordinator, would serve as the Acting Director-General of the commission in line with the provisions of the Act establishing the commission.

“Commission which has the statutory mandate to coordinate, regulate and ensure the provision of safe, quality blood transfusion services on a country- wide basis within the national health plan.

“Therefore, the commission is legally mandated to ensure proper compliance with the National Blood Service Guidelines and standards.

“It will also maintain a system of quality assurance at all levels of service, encourage research in all aspects of blood transfusion services and promote the rational use of blood, blood products and alternatives to blood where appropriate.

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“The commission which takes effect immediately as National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) has communicated that its new name and status more aptly reflects the mandate of ensuring the availability of safe, quality and adequate blood services to all Nigerians,” it stated

NAN

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UK donates 1.2m COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria – Envoy

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By Gistflash News

Sept 25, 2021

Ms. Catriona Laing, United Kingdom High Commissioner to Nigeria, says the UK Government has donated 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccines, through COVAX to Nigeria.
The Envoy said in a statement in Lagos on Saturday that the vaccines administered in the country were recognised by the UK Government.
“The UK Government is committed to global access to vaccines and is among the largest funders to COVAX.
” UK has donated 1.2 million vaccines specially to Nigeria through COVAX and will continue to provide support.
“UK strongly supports the work of the Nigerian health authorities and Nigeria’s vaccination campaign and strongly encourages all eligible residents in Nigeria to get vaccinated.
“I would like to emphasise that any statements that COVID-19 vaccines administered in Nigeria are not approved by the UK are completely untrue.
“The UK recognises the Oxford-Astra Zeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson COVID 19 vaccines used in Nigeria, irrespective of where they are manufactured.” she said.
She allayed fears that Nigerians would be restricted from entering the UK from Oct. 4.
“The UK is committed to opening up international travel and we are using our COVID -19 vaccination certificate process.
” This is to enable those wishing to enter the UK to do so safety and we know this matters hugely to many people in the UK and Nigeria.
“From Oct. 4, the current system will be simplified and there will be a single red list of countries.
” Territories where stricter rules apply and there would be a rest of the world list with simplified travel measures.
“The rest of the world list will include countries currently on the UK’s amber list such as Nigeria.” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access which is abbreviated as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative.
It aims at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO)
It is one of the three pillars of the access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, an initiative begun in April 2020 by WHO, the European Commission and the government of France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NAN

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COVID-19: 4, 680,000 Nigerians vaccinated – NPHCDA

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By Gistflash News

Sept 25, 2021

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says 4,680,000 Nigerians have so far been vaccinated against COVID-19 .

The Executive Director /Chief Executive Officer of the agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this during the South South zonal town hall meeting on COVID-19 vaccination on Saturday in Benin.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the town hall meeting was organised by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19,  in collaboration with NPHCDA and the Edo government.

Shuaib noted that out of the 4,680,000 million vaccinated Nigerians, about 1,865,127 were fully vaccinated with the two doses.

He stated that the figure was below the nation’s target ,adding that the threats posed by the virus  could prevent the country from returning to normal living.

“I will  like to encourage us to use our good offices to encourage eligible members of our community to visit the nearest designated health facility to receive the vaccine.

“All the vaccines are currently available in designated vaccination sites across the country and are safe and effective,” he said.

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According to him, in the course of the next few weeks, NPHCDA plans to gradually involve the private sector as sites for COVID-19 vaccination.

Shuaib, however, disclosed that the Federal Government had set up a Joint Task Force on COVID-19 vaccine for monitoring and accountability in collaboration with the security agencies.

Earlier, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said  the town hall was organised to discuss COVID-19 vaccination, address mutual concerns and reach a consensus to ensure citizens were safe and protected against the deadly coronavirus.

Ehanire, said Nigeria had so far lost 2000 of her citizens to COVID-19, adding that the virus had also affected  the nation’s GDP.

According to him ,the  government needs to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population to effectively curb the spread of the virus.

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“The way out off this is to get vaccinated because those who have taken the vaccine have full protection while the unvaccinated are exposed to danger,” he said

He disclosed that the Federal Government was working with the private sector for the production of vaccine in the country.

According to the minister, records  have shown that over 90 per cent of deaths recorded from COVID-19 are  from unvaccinated persons.

Also speaking, Gov. Godwin Obaseki said the state had so far vaccinated over 130,000 residents against the virus.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Osaigbovo Iyokha, Obaseki said the state target was to vaccinate 60 per cent of the population.

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