Effects of persisting Ebola in DRCongo: ''War-weakened South Sudan tries to prepare for Ebola'

21 July, 2019

Ebola in DRCONGO continues to cause cross border concern in the countries that it shares boundaries with . But it does not stop there, no country no matter how far away from DRCongo is safe until the epidemic is controlled and eliminated. Hopefully the recent declaration of the outbreak as a Global Public Health Emergency by the WHO should help garner more and adequate support to the effort:

We share what can happen in countries with weak health system, ill prepared to face challenges from epidemics like EBOLA - READ ON

'War-weakened South Sudan tries to prepare for Ebola

By SAM MEDNICK, Associated Press

3 hrs ago 20 7 2019

https://www.apnews.com/3db1cad3a2cb4f0aad69f9adfac6e5b3

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) - With the deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo now an international emergency , neighbouring South Sudan and its war-weakened health system is a major concern, especially after one case was confirmed near its border. Health experts say there is an urgent need to increase prevention efforts.

The World Health Organization on Wednesday made the emergency declaration for the year-old outbreak, a rare move that usually leads to more global attention and aid. More than 1,600 people have died in what has become the second-worst Ebola outbreak in history.

Health experts worry about what would happen if Ebola reaches South Sudan as the shattered nation tries to recover from a five-year civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people and displaced millions. Many health facilities were badly damaged or destroyed, and unrest continues in parts of the country despite a fragile peace deal signed in September.

Last month a 41-year-old woman was discovered with Ebola in northeastern Congo, just 70 kilometers (43 miles) from South Sudan. She had traveled 500 kilometers from Beni, the epicenter of the outbreak, despite having been exposed to the virus and warned not to travel.

South Sudan has sent a health team to strengthen surveillance at one of its busiest border posts, Kaya in Central Equatoria state, near where the woman's case was confirmed. Hers was the closest confirmed case to South Sudan since this outbreak was declared.

"The risk of cases of Ebola coming across the border into South Sudan is very high," said Sudhir Bunga, South Sudan country director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "A person who comes into contact with a confirmed case of Ebola in (Congo) could travel to South Sudan, or any neighboring country, undetected during the 21-day incubation period and spread the disease once contagious."

That recently happened in neighboring Uganda, a more stable country with a more developed health system and experience with past Ebola outbreaks, as millions of people flow across borders in the densely populated region. Three people died in Uganda before other family members were taken back to Congo for treatment and Ugandan officials quickly declared the country was again free of the disease.

Ebola's spread into South Sudan would pose more of a challenge.

Even though Ebola preparedness, including vaccinations for some health workers, began several months ago the current phase of the country's $12 million response plan is just 36% funded, according to a report this month by the country's health ministry.

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HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007. Website: www.hriwestafrica.com Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA working group on Community Health Workers.

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Email: jneana AT yahoo.co.uk