Battle Begins for Top Soccer Club

The battle for top spot is the ultimate priority as the curtains on the group phase folds up this weekend.

Though the places for the last four are decided, placement...

Continue Reading →

West Africa: Ebola Response of MSF and “Boiling Frog” WHO Under Scrutiny

By Misha Hussain

Dakar — A decade ago, scientists would have laughed at the idea of Ebola as a public health emergency of international concern. Today, they are shocked at...

Continue Reading →

Nigeria: New Cases of Ebola Recorded

Nigeria has recorded two new Ebola cases, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, announced Friday.

Mr. Chukwu said the new cases are spouses of the primary contacts of the index...

Continue Reading →

Mozambique: Parliament Approves Amnesty for Citizens

By By Newsroom

Mozambican parliament has debated and approved the Amnesty Law that grants and guarantees pardon to all citizens who committed crimes against people, property or against state security...

Continue Reading →

Africa: OM Has Its Eyes On Abdoulaye Konko

Olympic of Marseille does not let go Abdoulay Konko. According to the Roman edition Corriere della Sera the defender is again in the viewfinder of the Frenchclub Lazio of...

Continue Reading →

Souleymane Bamba Cancels His Contract With Traszonspor

After half World Cup under the colors of Ivory Coast, Souleymane Bamba is always waiting for a proposal from any club.

The central defender of the Ivory Coast Elephants is...

Continue Reading →

Morocco: Morocco “Exercises Pressure” On Ross, Attempts to Influence Him (ibrahim Ghali)

Algiers — The Saharawi Ambassador in Algiers, Mr. Ibrahim Ghali, affirmed Wednesday that Morocco "exercises pressure" and attempts in various ways to influence the UN envoy to Western Sahara,...

Continue Reading →

Morocco: Summer University of Sahrawi Officials Concludes in Presence of Prime Minister

Boumerdes, Algeria — The Summer University of Sahrawi officials, University of Gdeim Izik, held under the theme "Moroccan policy of expansion and export of drugs, an obstacle to realizing...

Continue Reading →

Ethiopia Takes Further Precautions Against Ebola

Ethiopia has set up necessary and appropriate standby medical facilities and mechanisms as a precaution against the appearance of any cases of Ebola. Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu, Minister of Health,...

Continue Reading →

Nigeria: Ebola Survivors Warned to Abstain From Sex

Lagos, Ado Ekiti, Port Harcourt, Osogbo, Bauchi and Abuja — -Experts say virus can be transmitted through semen -Stop spreading panic message, Ekiti tells doctors

By Onche Odeh, Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase...

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Latest News

Battle Begins for Top Soccer Club

The battle for top spot is the ultimate priority as the curtains on the group phase folds up this weekend.

Though the places for the last four are decided, placement plays a vital role going into the semis as teams seek to position themselves for the final bend of the premier continental club championship.

DR Congo duo, AS Vita and TP Mazembe have wrapped up Group A’s ticket for the next phase whereas Maghrebian duo, Entente Setif of Algeria and CS Sfaxien of Tunisia are through from Group B.

There is still a lot to play for especially in the Congolese derby, where sworn rivals AS Vita and Mazembe faceoff on Sunday at the Stade Tata Raphael in Kinshasa.

AS Vita have emerged the surprise packets this term, after sealing a place at the last four for in their maiden appearance at the group phase at the expense perennial participants, Zamalek and Al Hilal, a feat which has seen their coach Florent Ibenge being named head coach of the DR Congo national team.

Though both clubs’ places at the next stage is already secured, the bragging rights remains the main ‘title’ at stake as matches between the two rivals irrespective of the occasion takes centre stage across the length and breadth of the Central African country.

‘Les Dauphins Noirs’ as AS Vita are nicknamed will be hoping to avenge the lone goal loss in the reverse fixture in Lubumbashi, which Mbwana Samatta’s second half strike separated the two sides.

Interestingly, Mazembe stunned their hosts in the last meeting between the two sides at the same venue on 11 May 2014, a game that was marred by a stampede that led to the deaths of dozens of supporters and scores others injured.

That incident remains fresh in the minds of the fans of AS Vita, and the playing body can only win back the trust and confidence for the semis by coming out unscathed against Les Corbeaux.

Mazembe, on the otherhand are taking no chances after holding a training camp in Ndola, a city in neighbouring Zambia. Frenchman Patrice Carteron is convinced his charges are ready for the derby clash after victories over Kabwe Warriors (2-0) and Zesco United (1-0) in test games.

“We have already qualified but we want to finish on a good note. It will be a tough game against the surprise side of this stage, AS Vita, who played a good game against Zamalek.

“We would like to finish on top of our group and add value to our journey. It is necessary at all levels to ensure that our ambitions remain intact,” Carteron said.

Both clubs have 10 points with Mazembe on top courtesy superior goals.

In Khartoum on Friday, Al Hilal of Sudan will face Zamalek of Egypt in the other Group A match, that will only serve academic purposes.

At the Taieb Mhiri Stadium in Sfax on Saturday, CSS Sfaxien will lock horns ES Setif of Algeria in a battle for the top spot of Group B. At stake is the right to finish either as winners or runner-up in the group for the last four.

Sfaxien have 10 points, one more than Setif, which remains the only unbeaten side at the group phase.

On Sunday, former winners, Esperance of Tunisia will sort things out with Ahly Benghazi of Libya in the other Group B match in Rades.

Fixtures

Group A

22-08-2014 Al Hilal (Sudan) vs Zamalek (Egypt) 20H00

24-08-2014 AS Vita (DR Congo) vs TP Mazembe (DR Congo) 15H30

Group B

23-08-2014 CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) vs ES Setif (Algeria) 18H00

24-08-2014 Esperance (Tunisia) vs Ahly Benghazi (Libya) 19H00

*All times are in local time

Copyright © 2014 Confederation of African Football. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

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West Africa: Ebola Response of MSF and “Boiling Frog” WHO Under Scrutiny

By Misha Hussain

Dakar — A decade ago, scientists would have laughed at the idea of Ebola as a public health emergency of international concern. Today, they are shocked at the glaring gaps the deadly virus has exposed in the global response to the current outbreak.

Ebola, a rare tropical disease, has killed almost as many people in 6 months as in the previous 40 years. Experimental vaccines and treatments are available, but months away from use by the estimated 30,000 people who could have benefited from them, according to Nature magazine.

“I would have laughed if you had said Ebola would be a global public health emergency,” said David Heymann, who was working with the CDC team when the deadly virus was first recorded close to the River Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo, then Zaire. “Ebola outbreaks can be stopped with a robust response.”

Since 1976, 25 Ebola outbreaks have occurred throughout Africa. Most of them were contained within the locality of patient zero – the first person to be infected when the virus jumped to humans from animals, as it does periodically.

That changed in March when the deadly Zaire strain was confirmed in Gueckedou, a small town in southern Guinea. Since then, it has killed over 1,350 people across West Africa, spanning hundreds of kilometres from Guinea to Nigeria.

“There is a whole series of issues in terms of recognition by health workers, a system in which to report, then the need to take the data and act on it, and there have been weaknesses in Guinea in all three of those areas,” said Heymann, adding that fear and cultural practices are also part of the challenge.

A similar situation prevailed in Sierra Leone and Liberia, but decades of civil war and corruption resulting in weak health systems meant their governments couldn’t face the threat alone. Criticism has emerged of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations’ lead agency in fighting disease.

Heymann, who is currently at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said he was disappointed with the WHO response to the Ebola outbreak. West African nations and aid organisations have been less restrained in their criticism.

“BOILING FROG EFFECT”

Brice de la Vigne, Head of Operations for medical charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), told Thomson Reuters Foundation the slow pace at which the WHO reacted to the rapidly escalating Ebola epidemic in West Africa was like boiling a frog.

“Even though we were screaming at them to gear up and scale up, the WHO did not realise they needed to change their approach to being fully in emergency mode, and not just in support mode,” said de la Vigne.

“It’s the boiling frog effect. If you put a frog in cold water and start to heat it, she will not jump out of the pan, she will adapt to the temperature and she will not realise that she is boiling to death. WHO is the same,” said de la Vigne.

In April, MSF said the current outbreak was unprecedented in its geographical scale and needed urgent international action, prompting a very public spat played out on Twitter, where the WHO accused the medical charity of causing panic.

On August 8, WHO declared Ebola a public health emergency of international concern. Fifty people were sent to help with contact tracing, disease surveillance, laboratory work, logistics, information-sharing and social mobilization — but no doctors, nurses or equipment.

“We need water and sanitation technicians, logisticians, cars, generators, tents, supplies, nurses and doctors, nurses especially. We need the whole apparatus to be able to deploy activities in the field in a difficult landscape like jungle and slums,” said de la Vigne.

Francis Kasolo, Head of Ebola disease control for the WHO sub-regional office, said there was a division of labour matched to the skills of different organisations.

“Case management is predominantly government and MSF, who are doing a heroic and impressive job. WHO works in other areas, such as logistics, surveillance, laboratories. Red Cross focuses on safe burials and social mobilization,” said Kasolo.

EBOLA MONOPOLY

MSF leads the field in the response to Ebola outbreaks, but despite its great work in treatment of Ebola patients, its overwhelming presence as well as an over-reliance on its expertise may have contributed indirectly to the spread of the disease.

“We didn’t try to get involved earlier because there was a point a couple of months ago when it seemed like MSF is dealing with it and they have it under control,” said Ben Phillips from the International Medical Corps (IMC).

There is no miracle cure for Ebola, but early detection and palliative care, a relatively uncomplicated service that can be provided by nurses compared to emergency surgery in the conflicts in the Central African Republic, can dramatically improve survival rates, experts say.

Four other respected medical charities could have helped mobilise resources if given training: the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, the International Federation of the Red Cross, Merlin, now part of Save the Children, and the International Medical Corps (IMC).

In July MSF, which has an annual budget of over $1.5 billion, more than a third of the WHO 2012-13 budget of $ 4 billion, said it was overstretched in its response to the Ebola outbreak, partly because of simultaneous crises in CAR, Syria and Sudan.

De la Vigne said MSF was the only organisation in the world that had the capacity to run treatment and isolation centres, and that it was due to conduct training for other international medical aid agencies in Brussels next week, including IMC.

Asked why MSF had not been faster in giving training earlier on in the epidemic, when it did have the resources, de la Vigne said: “This is the first time we are facing an epidemic of this type and size and (it is) typically very difficult to do forecasts in this kind of environment.”

“After we have gone through this learning curve, we’ll be able to make a difference and contribute to this Ebola outbreak, and we would certainly be in a very good position to help respond to the more typical isolated, smaller Ebola outbreaks,” said Phillips of IMC.

Editing by Tim Pearce

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Nigeria: New Cases of Ebola Recorded

Nigeria has recorded two new Ebola cases, the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, announced Friday.

Mr. Chukwu said the new cases are spouses of the primary contacts of the index case, Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American who brought the virus to Nigeria.

He said the new cases are the first secondary contacts to test positive to the deadly virus that has killed five people in Nigeria.

The secondary contacts had been under surveillance since the outbreak of the disease in Nigeria, Mr. Chukwu added.

Details later…

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Mozambique: Parliament Approves Amnesty for Citizens

By By Newsroom

Mozambican parliament has debated and approved the Amnesty Law that grants and guarantees pardon to all citizens who committed crimes against people, property or against state security during the violence that erupted on June 21, 2013 and continued until recently. Yet, in this new law, which opens with the “acquittal” of those who killed, both while enforcing their opposition volition or not, there is no mention of compensation for victims of the political-military conflict.

After the law was approved, the Assembly was described as an exchange of hugs and handshakes between members of the Standing Committee of the Assembly and members present from both Frelimo and Renamo in a clear commemoration of peace.

Arnaldo Chalaua, the spokesperson for Renamo, said that possible compensation for victims of the hostilities or their relatives could not take place after amnesty was granted, since the law signifies clemency. Similarly, a member of Frelimo said that the matter had not yet been analysed.

The law, consisting of three articles, was proposed by Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza, and was approved in the early hours of Tuesday, August 12th. It protects those who committed crimes against the State, military crimes and other charges, over the period from March 2012 until the day of the law’s passing, from any criminal proceedings.

Article 2 of the law establishes that “the State ensures protection against any criminal procedure regarding acts and facts covered by the amnesty.” However, Paragraph 3 of Article 1 also guarantees amnesty to persons who have committed crimes covered in the Law outside this pre-stated period. It states, “Amnesty is also applied to similar cases that occurred in Dondo District at the Administrative Post of Savane in 2002, in Cheringoma District in 2004, and Marínguè District in 2011″. This article represents Renamo’s success to include cases in the Law not originally planned.

This Law is part of the materialization of the agreements reached between ruling party Frelimo and main opposition party Renamo. It establishes guarantee that there will be no judicial accountability of those involved in the armed clashes, which, it is hoped, will enable mutual understanding and determine the end of military hostilities.

Endless hours of “negotiations” without consensus

Talks were scheduled to start at 10 AM, Tuesday, August 12, but only began around 9:30 PM after having been cancelled twice before at 10:30 AM and 2 PM. The delay was solely due to a lack of consensus between Frelimo and Renamo members over the period to be included in the Amnesty Law.

Before the plenary Parliament debate began Renamo showed objection in relation to the timeframe prescribed by Law. They protested the proposal of the period covering June 2012 up until the date of the amnesty’s approval.

Led by Maria Angelina Enoque, the opposition group felt that proposed period was not comprehensive, supposedly, because it protected a portion of people involved in the military conflict, but ignored others.

“Renamo believes in establishing that date (June 2012), the law ignores a group of people who should be included. The political-military tension did not begin in 2012. Before this, there were key events and detentions. We understand that this Law has to be stretched and not only this time period that is determined”, defended the Renamo spokesman, Arnaldo Chalaua.

This divergence of ideas led to a long and profound debate involving Frelimo and Renamo representatives, who sought to reach a consensus on the matter in order to approve the document in Parliament with extreme urgency. At one point the head of Frelimo’s bench had to consult President Guebuza, the proponent of the Law, on the proposals put forward by Renamo. They even went so far as to propose that the period in question covered crimes committed back in 1994.

The truth is that this matter, which divided parliamentarians, had not been the objective of debate during the dialogues between the parties, which took place at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference. Renamo parliament members were taken by surprise that this period was included in the President’s proposal.

After a long period of debate between parliamentary party leaders and the Standing Commission, consensus on the point raised by Renamo was achieved.

At that time, around 7 PM, Frelimo summoned the press to report that the parties had reached a consensus and that the Law would still be debated that night.

Next, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Human Rights and Legality (First Committee), who had previously produced its opinion in relation to the proposed Amnesty Law saying that it did not contain any vice of illegality or unconstitutionality, had to examine the new text. This began around 8PM.

According to the proposal presented, the Law in reference has no budgetary impact. That is, from its approval and application there will not be any additional burden for the State’s budget.

MDM complains that they were excluded

Although in agreement with the amnesty passed, representatives from the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM), did not fail to demonstrate their indignation at having been excluded throughout the long periods of the Law’s “negotiation”.

“We spent all day as mere spectators,” said the spokesman for the MDM parliamentary bench, José Manuel de Sousa. A minority in the Assembly, MDM presented a discourse of consolation and solidarity with the families who have been directly affected by the armed conflict.

“We are with you and we believe that the damage caused to you will one day be compensated for. We advocate for a nation united and of reconciliation and with awareness that peacekeeping requires effort, courage and, above all, tolerance and respect for differences,” de Sousa asserted.

MDM reminded their political peers about the need to respect the exercise of political freedom in the country. De Sousa added, “Taking into consideration that we are in a multi-party country, no one has the right to prevent the realization of political activity to a legally constituted party.”

Key figures receive amnesty

The Amnesty Law covers all citizens that, in the context of hostilities, committed military crimes. Among those amnestied are António Muchanga and Jerónimo Malagueta, both senior members of Renamo.

Muchanga was arrested on July 7th on official presidential grounds while leaving a State Council meeting at which he was stripped of his immunity and detained on charges of incitement of violence. At the time of his arrest, he was officially acting out the functions of Renamo spokesperson and party leader, Afonso Dhlakama.

In turn, Jeronimo Malagueta, though already free, is also one of the beneficiaries of the Amnesty Law. He had been arrested July 21st, 2013, two days after he announced at a press conference that the armed men of Renamo would prevent the movement of people and goods on National Highway 1 (EN1) and trains on Marromeu lines as a way not to allow movement of government Defence and Security Forces (FADM) and their equipment towards Sathunjira, where Dhlakama was residing before the October 2013 attack. Malagueta was released in March this year, after paying a bond.

In addition to these figures, many others will benefit from the amnesty, including 21 Renamo members arrested in October 2013 and accused of promoting disobedience in the locality of Napome, District of Nampula-Rapale in Nampula Province.

Guebuza – Dhlakama meeting

Post Amnesty law adoption, President Armando Guebuza and the Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama are expected to meet for the approval of consensus reached by Parliament. However, there is still no knowledge, from either Frelimo or Renamo delegations, regarding how and when the final document will be signed. Similarly, there is no clear plan for an end to military hostilities in the country.

On the one hand, Frelimo insists that the signing of the document should be done in Maputo by President Guebuza and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.

Dhlakama has authorized his delegation in Maputo, led by Saimone Macuiane, to sign the final document in his absence and announce an end to the political and military crisis.

For Renamo, the law’s approval is crucial to verify the ceasefire and allow the free movement of citizens. “It is our understanding that there are difficulties on the part of the Government to declare a ceasefire, by mandate of the President of the Republic, there are possible ways that must be acted out in order to ensure the end of military hostilities as soon as possible,” Macuiane said.

During last Wednesday’s (13th) dialogues, Macuaine stressed that the most important thing right now is the end of the crisis and not the place where the agreement will be signed. In turn, the head of the government (Frelimo) delegation, José Pacheco, said that “Renamo calls for military comfort” in order for their leader leave his hideout. However, the question that this raises is as follows: how will Mr. Afonso Dhlakama be brought to Maputo to sign the documents, side-by-side, with President Guebuza?

“The duties and responsibilities of the Head of State, acting as Commander in Chief, is to emanate orders to the Defense and Security Forces, hence the fact that we have produced an instrument (Amnesty Law) that will be signed by both parties.” added José Pacheco.

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Africa: OM Has Its Eyes On Abdoulaye Konko

Olympic of Marseille does not let go Abdoulay Konko. According to the Roman edition Corriere della Sera the defender is again in the viewfinder of the Frenchclub Lazio of Rome.

Marcelo Bielsa will again have to come together with his current staff (and very limited) during a travel to Guingamp, on Saturday. Nevertheless OM, which has already missed many opportunities this summer, continues to canvass in France and abroad.

The latter has being actually blocked at the post of winger since the arrival of Dusan Basta and he is looking for an exit. So according to the transalpine press and in spite of his agent denial a few weeks now, the leaders from Marseille would always have eye on the situation of Marseille Inhabitant of Lazio, Abdoulay Konko.

The leaders from Marseille seemed to give their priority to the central defender recruitment. Difficult from then on to imagine that such a recruitment can be done in next days.

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Souleymane Bamba Cancels His Contract With Traszonspor

After half World Cup under the colors of Ivory Coast, Souleymane Bamba is always waiting for a proposal from any club.

The central defender of the Ivory Coast Elephants is going to leave Turkey where he arrived in 2012 at Trabzonspor from Leicester City. Trained in PSG, he found an agreement with the Turkish club in order to cancel his contract.

He was selected for the first time with Ivory Coast in November 19th, 2008, during a match against the team of Israel. He competed for the world cup 2010 with the Elephants.

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Morocco: Morocco “Exercises Pressure” On Ross, Attempts to Influence Him (ibrahim Ghali)

Algiers — The Saharawi Ambassador in Algiers, Mr. Ibrahim Ghali, affirmed Wednesday that Morocco “exercises pressure” and attempts in various ways to influence the UN envoy to Western Sahara, Mr. Christopher Ross, who will visit the occupied territories of Western Sahara in October.

In a statement to Algerian newspaper Al Bilad , the Sahrawi diplomat highlighted that the Moroccan regime is trying to “involveAlgeria” in its conflict with the Polisario Front, through its repeated attempts to influence the expected visit of the UN.

Mr. Ghali pointed out that the argument of the Moroccan regime is “weak,” therefore it referred to Algeria to try to engage it as a party in the upcoming visit to the occupied territories,” accusing it of bias in the Sahrawi issue.

Mr. Ghali’s remarks coincide with the fierce campaign led by some Moroccan parties to influence the UN Secretary General in an attempt to dismiss Mr. Ross, but the UN Security Council denied that and endorsed Mr. Ross to revive the peace settlement process through negotiations between the Polisario Front and Morocco in order to find a solution to enable the Saharawi people to exercise their right to self-determination.

Copyright © 2014 Sahara Press Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Morocco: Summer University of Sahrawi Officials Concludes in Presence of Prime Minister

Boumerdes, Algeria — The Summer University of Sahrawi officials, University of Gdeim Izik, held under the theme “Moroccan policy of expansion and export of drugs, an obstacle to realizing the dream of the Maghreb peoples” concluded Thursday in the presence of the Prime Minister, Abdelkader Taleb Omar.

In a speech during the closing ceremonies, the Prime Minister expressed his thanks on behalf of the government and the Saharawi people to the Algerian National Committee of Solidarity with the Sahrawi people, and the Algerian government and people for embracing this important event.

He considered the organization of the summer university in Algeria as an expression of strong fraternal relationship between the two Sahrawi and Algerian peoples.

The closing ceremony was attended by members of the National Secretariat of the Polisario Front, government and National Council, representatives of civil society, in addition to 500 participants coming from the Saharawi refugee camps and occupied territories.

It was also attended by Algerian senior figures, parliamentarians from the two chambers, representatives of the Algerian civil society, along with the diplomatic corps accredited to Algeria such as the Mauritanian and Cuban ambassadors.

Mr. Pierre gallon, President of the European Coordination of Solidarity with the Saharawi people attended the ceremony as well.

The Summer University addressed messages to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Selal , Minister of Energy and Mines Youcef Yousfi, in addition to authorities and officials in Boumerdes.

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Ethiopia Takes Further Precautions Against Ebola

Ethiopia has set up necessary and appropriate standby medical facilities and mechanisms as a precaution against the appearance of any cases of Ebola. Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu, Minister of Health, said a new Ebola treatment hospital with ten beds, with possible expansion to 50 beds, had been set up and fully equipped with medical staff.

No cases of Ebola have been observed in Ethiopia, but as a contingency measure some 20 doctors and nurses are on standby to treat any possible cases in isolation. Some of these are stationed at airports to examine any suspicious cases on arrival. The Minister said that there had been no cases of Ebola arriving in Ethiopia and there were none on in the country. It was not an emergency for Ethiopia at this time.

Ethiopian Airlines, which is continuing flights to West Africa, says it has no direct flights to most of the affected countries. Airline officials have said that the airline is taking precautions and officials say the virus has no chance of infecting passengers on-board Ethiopian Airline flights. The World Health Organization, the African Union and other stakeholders are collaborating to curb and stop the spread of the disease.

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Nigeria: Ebola Survivors Warned to Abstain From Sex

Lagos, Ado Ekiti, Port Harcourt, Osogbo, Bauchi and Abuja — -Experts say virus can be transmitted through semen -Stop spreading panic message, Ekiti tells doctors

By Onche Odeh, Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase (Lagos), Yaqoub Popoola (Ado-Ekiti), Daniel Abia (Port Harcourt), Gbenga Faturoti (Osogbo), Patience Ogbodo-Iwuagwu (Bauchi) and Chibuzor Emejor (Abuja)

The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has warned that infected men who have recovered from the killer Ebola virus disease (EVD) can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks after the recovery.

Director General of the Institute, Innocent Ujah, gave the warning on Thursday at a one-day sensitisation programme on the EVD at the Lagos State University (LASU).

Ujah, whose presentation was titled, ‘Clinical features and management of Ebola virus Disease’, stressed that men who have recovered from the illness should abstain from sexual intercourse till about eighth to ninth week of total recovery.

“Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks after recovery from illness.

“Any man that has recovered from the Ebola disease should wait for eight to nine weeks after recovery before having sexual intercourse, in order not to transmit the virus to another person,” he counselled.

Ujah, a gynaecologist, said NIMR was aware that the virus is coming and it has started preparing for it, adding that the institute is preparing to upgrade its facilities to take care of the disease and other deadly ones.

He reiterated that there is no definite therapy or vaccine against Ebola, noting that Nigerians have never paid sufficient attention to infectious diseases like this.

Ujah added that this is the first time Nigerians have responded to emergency.

Also, Adeyeye Arigbabuwo, whose presentation was entitled, ‘EVD in the community: The myths and prevention’, stated that myths refer to a lot of rumours, beliefs, perception from ordinary taboos, culture-guided understanding, sentiments and at some extreme, hard views that may not have scientific backing but being peddled around to create scare or fear with or without deliberate intentions.

According to him, examples of myths around Ebola recently include the use of salt in water to bathe for reduction of Ebola virus chances of infectiousness, the chewing of bitter cola in large quantity to prevent contagiousness of Ebola virus and the consumption of some daily quantity of condensed milk to prevent Ebola virus attack among others.

He stated that in breaking these myths, “it is good to note that Ebola virus is the cause of Ebola virus disease”.

“It is when we come in contact with an infected living person or dead corpse and we have contacts with either their body fluids or secretions like blood, vomiting, stool, saliva, sweat etc that we are likely to be infected,” Arigbabuwo said.

On its part, the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) has offered to support government’s efforts in containing the spread of Ebola virus in Nigeria.

But it said the country could effectively tame the highly infectious disease only if certain measures are taken.

President of the academy, Oyewale Tomori, in a statement on Thursday said the institution remains optimistic that Nigeria was capable of controlling the outbreak of the disease if the available human and material resources are maximally deployed.

The academy said the outbreak of EVD is a wake-up call for Nigeria to optimise its science and technology research potential in solving common problems.

“The outbreak of EVD has shown the importance of science and technology as the pillars of any sustainable economic development.

“Priority must be given to science and technology, and especially to funding research and ensuring a conducive environment for scientists in this Nigeria,” Tomori noted.

The academy hailed the response of the government at both state and federal levels to the outbreak, which it said, has received encouraging support of international development agencies, and local professional associations and institutions.

The academy also had some words for the media.

“Ebola control involves critical management of the information in the public domain. The press must be actively engaged as critical stakeholders to ensure accurate and appropriate information dissemination.”

To the public, it said: “The public need not panic but should rather fully cooperate with the appointed health authorities.

“The EVD is a deadly disease but patients stand a good chance of survival if taken in early for supportive management.

“The Nigerian record of the number of patients already discharged from the Ebola Treatment Centre strongly supports this.”

Also, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has provided necessary protective devices to its officers and men against the EVD.

Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, distributed the devices at a strategic session with commanding officers of the corps in Abuja.

Oyeyemi explained that protective tools such as sanitizers, gloves, gabs, nose guards, and clinic gowns among others were provided for the personnel.

He added that the move became necessary because the officers were constantly in contact with other people in the course of their operations.

“As a public-facing government agency, the Corps’ operatives are in constant contact with victims of road crashes in the course of rescue activities and also offer medical services to members of the public at our road side clinics located along strategic routes of the highways, hence the need to make these provisions in order to safe guard our personnel from unforeseen circumstances tied to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD),” he said.

National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Bauchi State has similarly embarked on grassroots public enlightenment on how to prevent the disease from spreading to the state.

State NOA Director, Jummai Bello, stated this while addressing journalists in Bauchi on Thursday.

She said the agency would not fold its hands and allow Ebola virus come near the state, noting that the campaign against the disease was a collective effort.

From Osun State came a report that organisers of the annual Osun Osogbo Festival have insisted that the event will hold as planned in spite of the fear of Ebola.

The grand finale of the 2014 edition of the festival will hold today.

The Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital (LAUTECHTH), Osogbo branch, had in a statement on Wednesday called for the postponement of the festival.

?The association cautioned that large gathering of any kind should not be allowed at the moment in the state, when the country was still struggling to contain the spread of the Ebola virus.?

?But addressing a press conference in Osogbo on Thursday, Ayo Olumoko, Chief Festival Consultant to the organisers of Osun Osogbo, said the call for shift of the event was unnecessary, since both Muslim and Christian gatherings have not been stopped because of the rampaging virus.?

?Olumoko said there were also insinuations that the Federal Government may stop the festival to prevent the spread of the virus into Osun State, adding that while Osogbo community would not defy any order by government aimed at containing the virus, it would be unfair to stop the festival, after almost two weeks of different activities.?

?He, however, added that though no agency of government has approached the organisers of the festival with the proposal to stop its grand finale.

He assured that the Osogbo community would cooperate with government to ensure a hitch free festival today.

Rivers State Government also said it was at full alert to arrest the Ebola virus in the event of its entrant into the state.

The government it important be on red alert in view of Rivers State’s proximity to Liberia and other affected neighbouring countries on the western coast.

It added that it was easy for any affected patient from the ravaged countries to run to Nigeria through the sea route.

State Commissioner for Health, Samson Parker, said in Port Harcourt on Thursday that though government was not afraid of the disease in terms of tackling it, there was no reason for anybody to panic.

Parker reminded residents of the state that the same government which effectively handled the outbreak of the Lassa fever will equally tackle the Ebola virus if it is reported anywhere in the state.

“Rivers State Government is on alert. There is a need also to sensitise, educate and inform the public, but not to panic them on the seriousness of the Ebola deadly virus.

“This is exactly what the Rivers State Government is doing because we have a very functional healthcare system in the state,” the commissioner said.

Ekiti State Commissioner for Health, Olusola Fasubaa, on the other hand has urged medical doctors and other health workers in the state to desist from spreading panic messages about the Ebola virus through the internet.

Briefing newsmen in his office in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, Fasubaa said “the wicked messages had regrettably led to death of non-Ebola patient in the state”.

The commissioner particularly regretted the death of a health worker from Ogotun-Ekiti who had come to the state capital for an official assignment but slumped.

Fasubaa explained that the alleged unprofessional conduct of some medics in Ado-Ekiti hospitals led to the eventual death of the 60-year-old woman.

“On 20th August, 2014, a 55-60 year- old health care giver at Ogotun-Ekiti who was said not to have had any complaint of illness in the last two months and no current history of travel outside the state (according to her neighbours) got to the data bank of the Ministry of Health at about 1.00 p.m. and collapsed after coughing out blood and subsequently vomited and she was immediately tagged Ebola victim without an adequate history taken, and people started running away,” Fasubaa said.

He spoke of how four different private hospitals rejected the patient due to SMS messages allegedly sent by some doctors, suggesting that it was an Ebola case.

“The woman subsequently died in the late evening. The unnecessary write up through the social media by some doctors in the state is uncalled for, as it seemed to be counter productive to the efforts of the state government in containing and curtailing the spread of the virus,” the commissioner added.

He said the ministry would soon liaise with the family of the deceased with a view to knowing the actual cause of her death, urging the medics to always think of common diseases in the community “and by so doing we shall prevent unnecessary death in Ekiti”.

Ogun State Government on its part has postponed the resumption date for all primary and secondary schools in the state earlier scheduled for September 15 to a date to be announced later.

State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Segun Odubela, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

He said this was in response to the Federal Ministry of Education’s directive that schools in the country should put resumption for 2014/2015 on hold to curb the spread of the EVD.

Odubela urged parents and guardians to take proper care of their children and wards by monitoring their movement and engaging them in academic activities.

Onche Odeh, Seyi Taiwo-Oguntuase, Yaqoub Popoola, Daniel Abia, Gbenga Faturoti, Patience Ogbodo-Iwuagwu, and Chibuzor Emejor 

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