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AFRICAN NEWS & INFORMATION
Ebola Hits Fifth West African State -Senegal Confirms First Case Tags: West African Ebola Senegal Health

The Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people across West Africa spread to a fifth country in the region on Friday with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal. 

The case marks the first time a new country has been hit by the outbreak since July and comes a day after the World Health Organization warned the number of infections was increasing rapidly. 

Scientists meanwhile said the first human trials of a potential vaccine would start next week using a product made by pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline and the US government. 

On Friday, scientists writing in the journal Nature said 18 lab monkeys given high doses of the Ebola virus fully recovered after being given the prototype drug ZMapp, which reversed bleeding in the animals. 

ZMapp has been given to a handful of frontline health workers who have contracted Ebola, two of whom have recovered, and two of whom have died. Three others are still receiving the treatment. 

Senegal's health ministry said the country's first Ebola patient was a young Guinean man who was immediately quarantined at a Dakar hospital, where he was in a "satisfactory condition". 

The man is believed to have been infected in Guinea's capital Conakry, and may have travelled to Senegal before Dakar closed its land border with Guinea on August 21. 

Authorities are now scrabbling to piece together where he went and who he encountered, in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly virus. 

New figures released by the WHO on Thursday revealed the massive scale of the crisis, which it said indicated a "rapid increase still in the intensity of transmission" that could cost at least $490 million (370 million euros) to tackle. 

In a sign that affected countries are struggling to stop its spread, the UN agency said the number of cases could exceed 20,000 before the epidemic is brought under control. 

Under surveillance 

Never before has there been an Ebola outbreak so large, nor has the virus -- which was first detected in 1976 -- ever infected people in West Africa until now. 

As of August 26, 1,552 people had been confirmed dead from Ebola in four countries -- Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. 

Liberia was the worst affected with 694 deaths; 422 people have died in Sierra Leone; and 430 in Guinea, where the virus emerged at the start of the year. Nigeria has now recorded six deaths. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo has also confirmed two cases of Ebola, but officials there insist it is unconnected to the current outbreak in West Africa. 

Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma on Friday sacked health minister Miatta Kargbo. 

A presidential statement read on state television said the decision was made "in order to create a conducive environment for more efficient and effective handling of the Ebola outbreak." 

Nigeria's latest death -- in the southeastern oil city of Port Harcourt -- was the first outside its biggest city, Lagos, and dashed hopes that the country had successfully contained the virus. 

The victim, a doctor named Ikyke Samuel Enuemo, is believed to have caught the virus from a patient he treated who travelled to the city after coming into contact with an infected Liberian-American man. 

Some 160 people are now under surveillance in Port Harcourt following the doctor's death, the local government said on Friday. 

Meanwhile a curfew was imposed in N'Zerekore, Guinea's second-largest city, a day after 20 people were injured during a protest by market stall holders against a team of health workers sent, without notice, to spray their market with disinfectant. 

A shield around the region

In a bid to stop the spread of the virus, many African governments have sought to ringfence Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. 

But member states of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS complained Thursday that some of the security measures taken by other countries, including travel bans, had unfairly hit the region. 

A number of airlines, including Air France and British Airways, have suspended their services to Freetown and Monrovia, the capitals of Sierra Leone and Liberia respectively. 

Bruce Aylward, the WHO's head of emergency programmes, said it was "absolutely vital" that airlines resume flights because bans were hindering the emergency response. 

The outbreak has also caused sporting chaos, with Sierra Leone having to field all players for the qualifying games for the African Cup of Nations from outside the country over a growing quarantine. 

Morocco, which will host the tournament next year, said on Friday it was launching a national commission tasked with drawing up a health plan to deal with the risk from Ebola.

Source: AFP 

Ebola Outbreak Emerges In Central Africa Tags: Central Africa NewS Ebola Health
An Ebola quarantine area in Monrovia, Liberia, on Sunday.
Two Ebola-related deaths have emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country's health ministry says. If confirmed, it would be the first time in the present outbreak that the disease has killed outside of a handful of West African nations.

 

But Congo Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi insists that the two of eight fever victims that tested positive for Ebola are part of a separate outbreak from the one that has killed more than 1,400 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.

"This epidemic has nothing to do with the one in West Africa," Felix Kabange Numbi said on state television in Kinshasa today.

The deadly virus was first identified in the Congo in 1976 near the Ebola River. The latest outbreak would be the country's seventh.

Last week, the World Health Organization said the two deaths were not Ebola-related, but WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl tweeted today:

The BBC reports that the eight cases tested in Congo came from a group of several people who died in the past month after contracting an unidentified fever in the Equateur region of the DRC.

Source: .npr

Liberia: 10-Year-Old Boy Abandoned And Died, Probably Of Ebola Tags: Liberia News Ebola Health West Africa

Saah Exco,10-years-old, was found alone on a beach, naked and abandoned a few days ago. Neighbors were afraid to touch him; they were worried about Ebola. But someone did eventually take him to the Ebola ward at JFK hospital in Monrovia. And today he died.


It was a photo that took the Ebola outbreak raging in West Africa and made it very personal. A little boy named Saah Exco, 10 years old, lies in a crumpled heap.

As NPR's Nurith Aizenman explained Wednesday, hours before, the boy had been found naked on a beach in West Point, an impoverished neighborhood in Monrovia, Liberia's capital city. At one point, Saah had been a patient at the Ebola holding center there, for suspected cases. It's unclear when or why he was released.

But now he was on his own, drifting in and out of consciousness.

People in the neighborhood knew him. Somehow, they brought him to an alleyway. They gave him a shirt and pants. But no one wanted to hold him, to take him into a home.

WATCH VIDEO - Liberia's West Poin Riot & Shooting

Reporting On Ebola: An Abandoned 10-Year-Old, A Nervous Neighborhood
Many folks in West Point — and throughout West Africa — don't think Ebola is real. Yet they were afraid. What if Ebola really is real and what if the boy had the virus? It's what NPR photographer David Gilkey, who took the photo of the boy that ran on our website, calls "an evil Catch 22."

Saah Exco puts on a shirt after neighbors in Liberia's West Point found him on the beach.


RELATED:

VIDEO: Liberia's West Point Riot -The Shooting Of A Teenager Boy

Efforts were made to get him to a clinic but the clinic said no: The facility was not equipped to handle suspected Ebola patients.

Eventually a neighbor took Saah to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Monrovia, which cares for Ebola patients.

There was a brief glimmer of hope yesterday — word came that the boy was improving.

Then today, his fate became clear. Getty photographer John Moore, who had also taken pictures of Saah, spoke to the boy's aunt. She was checking into a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Monrovia with her five children — all of them, including her, suspected Ebola cases. The aunt said that Saah died yesterday at JFK hospital. She said the boy's mother had previously died of Ebola as well.

In a country where some believe that the virus isn't real, Saah Exco is now one of more than 500 victims, sealed in a tiny body bag.

Source: NPR

Liberia's ELWA Junction Taking Modern Face And Future Look (PHOTOS) Tags: Developments Progressive Liberia News ELWA

An Ariel view of the once market-crowded ELWA Junction being transformed by the Paynesville City Corporation 


Following protracted period of war fought in Liberia, coupled with the benefits of a ten-year of fragile peace, it seems that development in areas that were greatly affected by the civil strife is becoming the major priority in the country.

Caldwell Township and Via Town commercial province, both of which are on the Bushrod Island, are some the areas that were affected by the war but have received some level of developmental transformation.

One of the places that recently attracted public attention is the ELWA Junction which is taking undoubtedly a modern shift.

ELWA Junction is located in Paynesville outside Monrovia, Liberia’s main political capital city. ELWA is a major intersection that connects Monrovia to the Paynesville City and the only international air port in Margibi County-Roberts International Air Port.

The future view of the ELWA Junction that welcomes tourists and foreign guests to Monrovia

Construction work ongoing at ELWA Junction includes the building of an artificial waterfall which is currently being surrounded by lights and a flower garden. Also, building of sidewalk for predestines and planting of flowers, plastering of the floor are among many of the works ongoing at the ELWA Junction.

Moreover, the fencing of various curves of the four major routes of the ELWA is nearing completion. The area is being fenced with mental irons placed between various cement pillars that have reached its full potential of beautification. Up to the publication of this report, men were still at work at the ELWA.

Adding more attractions to the area in Paynesville, the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) has constructed a new high rise multipurpose complex of the Corporation. The multimillion dollars building, according to authorities, cost over US$10 million, and is expected to be rented or given to individuals of interest for whatever purpose.

According to the Director of Public Relations (PR) of the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), Jani K. Jallah the project which is currently ongoing is aimed at beautifying the ELWA Junction that connects the Country’s Political Capitol-Monrovia- and the Paynesville City to the only international Air Port in Margibi ounty.

PCC’s Director of PR said the total estimated cost of the project is over hundred thousand of United States Dollars (over US$100,000).

According to her, the project is mainly being sponsored by NASSCORP. She said NASSCORP has provided for the beautification of ELWA Junction the amount of eighty thousand United States Dollars (US$80,000) and that the cash is being managed by the Corporation- NASSCORP. 

Additionally, PR Jallah said initial contributions to the project was provided by some well-meaning Liberians including business owners in the Paynesville vicinity but she refused to provide the total initial amount collected from the business entities and well meaning individuals.

She noted that after the implementation of the project, a detail report on the project will be provided outlining actual amount received and used.

Also, when asked about the contractor doing the work, PCC PR said the project is a PCC Project. “We asked the General Services Agency (GSA) for some of their technicians who are currently working along with us to have the project completed. We actually did not choose to get people from other places to carry out this project. What we did was to use the local resources to benefit residents of the Paynesville Community,” she noted. 

In an effort to ensure that the development work ongoing will not jeopardize normal business operation of petty traders, commercial vehicle drivers, money exchangers, among others transacting businesses at the ELWA Junction, the PCC PR Director said the PCC has already secured a spot at a well-known place, named “Sam Town.” 
The area is located opposite the Isaac A. Davis School and adjacent the Total Filling Station.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the dedication of the project, some Liberians predominately businessmen and women have began lauding the Government of Liberia effort for being farsighted in carrying out the modernization project of the Junction.

Some business people including, motorcyclists, petty traders, shoe shine boys, money exchangers and commercial vehicles drivers as well as passerby told this paper that they are happy for the level of development ongoing at the ELWA Junction. Some even suggested more development work that the PCC could undertake at the ELWA including a construction of an over head bridge for pedestrians since the proliferation of business people at the ELWA would even increased following the completion of the ongoing project.

However, most of those spoken to are also calling on the government/PCC authorities to provide for them a durable place with shelter and electricity where they will be able to transact peacefully their businesses without being threatened.

In addition, some of critical views expressed concern over the durability of the construction after its completion and whether or not many Liberians will appreciate the initiative of PCC by extension, the Government.

George Kulu, a commercial motorcycles and former national Coordinator of the defunct Liberia Motorcycles Transport Union (LMTU) said although he appreciate the development ongoing at the Junction, there hasn’t been any specific place suggested for them to park.
George said the PCC has not provided for them a parking lot where those who desire to ride motorcycles will get them something, according to him, makes it difficult for him to fully appreciate the ongoing development work.

He further suggested that the PCC authorities need to create for them a parking lot where Justice Ministry-Liberians can access motorcycles.
George also said there is a need that the Government of Liberia through, PCC expand the ELWA Junction and build an over head bridge for predestines moving along the Junction.

Men at work at the ELWA Junction

“It is not always good to speak bad about what government is doing but I think this road should have been expanded before the PCC commence her work. We even heard of the construction of an overhead bridge due to the deep curved and designed ongoing. We see the other work ongoing but the over head bridge is still missing. I think the government needs to take the building of an over head bridge for our people into consideration,” George noted.

George calls for the construction of an over head bridge was buttressed by Sis. Gomah Sumo, a 55 year old woman selling larpa at the ELWA Junction. Sis Gomah suggested that “if the Government will thank of building an over head bridge it should be something that will last long for the good of all of Liberians. It should not be like the one which was at University of Liberia that later, Public works got to demolish it. We need projects that will last very long not for few days.”

For his part, Amos G. Williams, a commercial vehicle driver noted that although he welcomes the development ongoing at the ELWA Junction, he hopes said work will be durable to benefit the people of Liberia.

“We saw the light poles planted by the Liberia Electricity Corporation at the beginning of Madam Sirleaf’s regain how it could not substantially benefit the Liberian people. We are also seeing the road projects constructed in and around the country. Today we are again seeing a new intervention headed by the PCC at ELWA Junction, I am only hoping that it will last long for us,” he noted. 

Speaking on the issue of parking for commercial drivers, he said: “I have not seeing any sign for us round town commercial drivers, except for those driving on the RIA-Marshall Motor Road. But we that are in town here, there is no space for us”

Also speaking to several shoe-shine boys, Diaco Dolee and Israel Chris said they constrain to thank the government for such initiative but noted that the project crafters did not take into consideration addressing the wellbeing of citizens who transact businesses at the ELWA Junction.

Diaco: “They asked us to go to Sam Town. But we don’t think that’s good idea for us because; up to now there is no work ongoing there to ensure that we can all move there.”

Israel: “while it is truth that the work is a good initiative, the development ongoing should not put stop to those of us ‘hosing’ to sent ourselves to school including universities. The PCC people want us go to a place that is not conducive for citizens.”

A petty trader, Clarence Diggs also pointed out that the new place –Sam Town- secured by PCC authorities for them is in a deplorable state place sign of work ongoing at the Sam Town where they are to be relocated the part of PCC to find for them a parking space.

“I want to thank PCC for the changes ongoing here. I see that they are working and everything is moving on gradually. But my only frustration is about our new location, there is no construction work ongoing there which makes me think that there is no plan for street sellers,” Clarence.

In addition, petty traders currently operating at the Sam Town have expressed their frustration over issues confronting them.

Speaking to the head of local businesses men and women at the Sam Town market place, George Freeman said even though, the new location for peti traders is being appreciated by them, the area currently lacks electricity and other petty traders are not taking advantage of the place which makes buyers not to take delight in the place.

He said at night it is difficult for them to transact businesses due to the huge darkness in the area amidst criminal gangs.

“At night, the criminals from around will gather here, even though, we are yet to experience any attack of the criminals on us, the presence here fear us a lot which caused us sometimes to move our goods nearer the Super Store Supermarket. Again, the PCC people don’t understand this. Up to 11 PM, the PCC people forcibly take away our goods,” George noted.

Darling-girl Williams and Monyou Tarr were two petty traders who claimed to be victims of the PCC alleged harassment at night and during broad day light.

Darling-girl: “the people are not buying here but on many occasions since we moved here, the PCC people take our goods, last month April, I pay L$500,000 to them before they can release my goods. But when I came, my goods were incomplete. This is something that happens to us on a daily basic especially when we just move out of this place or come on the road.”

Notwithstanding, PCC says, it remains determined to implement the Paynesville City orneriness and to continuously involve in itself with developmental activities aimed at beautifying places in Paynesville that needs attraction when funds are made available or solicited.

Source: Solomon Watkins/UNDP Trained Development Reporter

Liberia's President Apologizes To Mother Of West Point Slain Teenager (PHOTOS) Tags: News Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Crime West Point Local

She came to say how sorry she was: Today, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, visited the poor neighborhood of West Point, now under quarantine after suspected Ebola patients fled a treatment center a week ago Saturday. On Wednesday, during protests over the quarantine, 15-year-old Shakie Kamara was shot in the legs by security forces. He died the next day of blood loss and hypothermic shock.

Sirleaf went to talk with the angry residents, who have complained that the quarantine is unfair, that they can't lead their normal lives, that there isn't enough food for them.

WATCH VIDEO - Liberia's West Poin Riot & Shooting

And she went to apologize to Eva Kamara, mother of Shakie.

Freelance photographer Tommy Trenchard, covering the visit for NPR, spoke to Eva Kamara afterward.

"She said it made her very proud that the president would come and talk to a poor woman like herself," Trenchard reports.

Kamara was in tears for part of the conversation with the president.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf apologizes to Eva Kamara, the mother of a boy who was shot by Liberian security forces last week and later died (Photo by Tommy Trenchard for NPR News)


RELATED:

VIDEO: Liberia' West Point Riot: The Shooting Of The Teenager Boy


Ellen Bad-Luck On Liberia Again, Acronym For Ebola In Liberia Liberia 'Ebola In Town' Song, Musicians Reveal The Truth

The overall reaction to the president's visit among West Pointers was mixed, Trenchard adds. People wanted to let Sirleaf know the hardships they are facing because of the quarantine. "A lot of people were saying we're hungry, we don't have food to eat," he says.

But he didn't sense a lot of anger directed toward Sirleaf: "It's important to remember that people here, even those who would vote for the opposition, have a strong respect for the office of the president."

West Point residents want Sirleaf to lift the quarantine so they can resume their normal lives. But the government is unlikely to lift a quarantine until three weeks have passed since the West Point treatment center was attacked — that's the time it takes for Ebola to emerge after contact.

A West Point resident shouts to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her visit (Photo by Tommy Trenchard for NPR News)


During the visit of roughly 40 minutes, Sirleaf was surrounded by her entourage. One member occasionally handed out cash as the president made her way down the main road.

"At one point," Trenchard says, "she commented to two guys who had just received a thousand Liberian dollars [about $12 U.S.]. She said, 'Don't spend it on drink.'"

A youth wounded in clashes lay by the roadside in West Point. Soldiers fired live rounds when a crown tried to break through a barricade.

Source: NPR

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