Guinea measles outbreak: 2,100 children infected since January

In a ReliefWeb update (computer translated) Friday on the measles outbreak in Guinea in West Africa the report notes that the measles outbreak that was declared one month ago has grown to affect 2,100 children since January.

 

“We are admitting new children every day,” said Doctor Karim Assani, a pediatrician at the N’Zérékoré Regional Hospital working with the medical-humanitarian NGO, ALIMA. “Many of them are severe cases, suffering from complications.”

 

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Canada shooting victim dreamed of water for Guinea village

By BOUBACAR DIALLO 

 

Associated Press Feb 1, 2017 

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A Guinea man killed in this week's shooting at a mosque in Canada was working to bring a steady supply of drinking water to his home village at the time of his death, relatives said Wednesday.

 

Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, grew up outside Labe, Guinea's second-largest city located hundreds of miles inland from the capital, Conakry. He studied in London before

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Guinea: the arrest of the men behind the massacre

Toumba, arrested by the Senegal authorities.
Toumba, arrested by the Senegal authorities.

In a recent announcement, Senegal authorities declared the detention of the former guinean military involved in the massacre of 2009 in Guinea. Recently, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, was arrested in Dakar by the Senegalese gendarmerie. Perhaps it is time, to reopen the investigation about heinous crimes committed against Guineans during the massacre.

 

Toumba Diakite, a key part on the stadium’s

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Guinea: 7 Years On, Justice for Massacre Needed - Victims Anxious for Long-Awaited Trial to Begin

In Guinea’s capital, Conakry, family members cry after identifying the body of a relative killed on September 28, 2009, when security forces fired on opposition supporters as they marched to and later held a rally in the September 28 Stadium.
In Guinea’s capital, Conakry, family members cry after identifying the body of a relative killed on September 28, 2009, when security forces fired on opposition supporters as they marched to and later held a rally in the September 28 Stadium.

(Conakry) – Guinea has yet to deliver justice for the grave crimes committed on September 28, 2009, at a Conakry stadium, six international and national human rights groups said today, in advance of the massacre’s seventh anniversary. That day, more than 150 peaceful protesters were massacred by security forces and more than 100 women were raped. Hundreds of injuries and widespread looting were also documented.

 

“How much longer will we have to wait for justice to be done?” said Asmaou Diallo, president of the Association of Victims,

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Ivory Coast re-opens western borders closed during Ebola epidemic

In this photo taken Saturday, March 26, 2015, a boy, stands next to a place that was used to stack bodys of Ebola victims at a crematorium in Boys Town on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia.
In this photo taken Saturday, March 26, 2015, a boy, stands next to a place that was used to stack bodys of Ebola victims at a crematorium in Boys Town on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia.

Ivory Coast re-opens western borders closed during Ebola epidemic

Published September 09, 2016 Reuters

 

ABIDJAN –  Ivory Coast has re-opened its western borders with Liberia and Guinea two years after they were closed to prevent the spread of an Ebola epidemic that killed thousands across West Africa, an Ivorian government spokesman said on Friday.

 

Around 29,000 people contracted the

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Conakry hairdressers dispense cut-and-dried contraceptive advice to women

An apprentice hairdresser at the Jumelle salon in Conakry shows a client different family planning methods. Photograph: Kate Holt
An apprentice hairdresser at the Jumelle salon in Conakry shows a client different family planning methods. Photograph: Kate Holt

Guinea is set to expand its use of hair salons to promote urban family planning beyond the capital, even introducing it to tailors’ shops

 

Female clients at the Jumelle Coiffure hair salon in Conakry benefit from free contraceptives as well as family planning advice dispensed by apprentice hairdressers trained as community health workers.

 

Photograph: Kate Holt

 

Women's rights and gender equality is supported by

Ford Foundation

 

by Ruth Maclean in Conakry

 

Thursday 11 August 2016 19.01 EDT

 

Fatoumatah Bah is cornered. Sitting in front of a tinsel-ringed mirror in Miskaa Salon, her head is bent forward, two women at work braiding twists into her hair. She will be stuck in the chair for at least three hours.

 

It is a good moment to pounce. Fatoumatah Kamara, 20, an apprentice hairdresser in a matching skirt and blouse and glinting cherry earrings, sidles up to Bah. She starts to make conversation.

At first, it is the usual hairdresser chatter. What rain we’ve been having, eh? Where are you from? What are you up to this weekend? This is the 20-year-old accountancy student’s second visit to the salon in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.

 

Soon Kamara’s questions become more personal. Does Bah have a husband? A boyfriend? Then she goes in for the kill. Does she know there are ways of avoiding getting pregnant?

 

With every manicure, pedicure and hairdo at the Miskaa Salon, clients receive a free treatment: a great deal of contraceptive advice.

 

Five salons across Conakry have been dispensing family planning advice since 2012, and they have been so successful that the project – the brainchild of Jhpiego, a health organisation associated with Johns Hopkins University in the US – is about to be extended to salons in Guinea’s seven major cities.

 

In Guinea, which has one of the lowest rates of modern contraceptive use in the world, women have an average of five children. According to UN figures, in 2015 only 7.5% of married or cohabiting women use some form of contraception.

 

A lot of effort has gone into teaching women in rural Guinea about family planning, but not so much in urban areas. A salon is an excellent place to reach them, so long as it is the right kind of salon.

 

“It’s better to go where they do braids because that’s what women traditionally want,” says Yolande Hyjazi, Jhpiego’s director in Guinea. “A woman who’s straightening or washing her hair has more money and more access to information.”

 

Across town from Miskaa, Jumelle Coiffure is trying to turn around clients as fast as possible, largely because the room is impossibly cramped. Jumelle is owned by 32-year-old twins Tata Sylla, wearing a short black and bright green wig, and her sister Mbalia, with long, heavy braids.

 

“There were a lot of young women getting pregnant around here when they didn’t want to, with lots of kids running after them, and I thought it would be good to teach them how to avoid that. Even my apprentices were getting pregnant,” says Mbalia, making up Aminata Kouma’s face just inside the salon door. Outside, a dozen girls huddle under the dripping overhang of the salon’s tin roof, filing fingernails and tugging at each other’s hair.

 

Kouma, 35, says she first heard about family planning at Jumelle.

 

“I never knew about this before coming here – they taught me how,” she said. “I got the injection, and since then I’ve been able to control the number of children I have. I already have four and I don’t want any more. My husband can’t afford it, school fees are so high. There’s too much suffering here. I’m a housemaid, but I’m out of work.”

 

Each salon has an army of apprentices, some of whom have worked in them for years, to cope with the intensity of the work and the number of clients. Jhpiego deliberately chose very popular salons to reach as many people as possible, and trained some of their apprentices as community health workers, to explain how to use exclusive breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy, talk about implants, sell pills and write referrals. They earn half the sale price for any pills and condoms they sell.

 

The trial started in 2013, but everything had to stop for the Ebola outbreak. Like all health organisations, Jhpiego had to turn its efforts to fighting Ebola. In any case, women were not going to the salon.

 

It is now back in full swing, though, and tailors’ shops are the next target. “There are women that wait around all day for their dresses, trying them on,” Hyjazi said. “People are being social, hanging around. But in the tailors’ shops we also have a lot of young men. Reaching men is important.”

The idea is that clients of both establishments will talk to their friends, and word will spread.

At Miskaa, a large wedding party is getting ready.

 

Apprentice hairdressers cluster around each client, carefully painting on long, black eyebrows, blow-drying hair straight, and making minute adjustments to towering, shiny headwraps.

 

Kamara, pointing at her laminated booklet, has just finished explaining how to use a string of beads to track fertility. But it isn’t new to Bah.

 

“I go on Google, I go on YouTube, I find information,” she says. “But not everybody is a student like me.”

 

She knew about condoms and pills, but not the other methods Kamara talks about. Young people have far more access to information than previous generations, and sex is slowly becoming something that is more talked about.

 

Young men who have come to Miskaa Salon for cut price condoms are shown how to use them correctly by apprentice hairdresser Nene Diakité. Photograph: Kate Holt

 

Traditionally, a Guinean woman would space out her children by leaving her husband and going back to her mother’s house for a few years, every time she had a baby.

 

“Now no one is using abstinence, so everyone is using contraceptives, but no one is talking about it,” Hyjazi says. “Many people think that if a women is using contraceptives, it’s because she has another partner. There’s not a lot of open communication – even between a husband and wife using them. Many women will use the pill without telling their husbands.”

 

One thing is unlikely to change, though, and according to Hyjazi, it is skewing the statistics, because people doing surveys do not always do them in private. “If a woman is asked if she’s using contraceptives and her mother or mother-in-law is there, she’ll never say yes.”

 

The wedding party is almost ready. Kamara looks over each woman carefully before opening the door for them. In a few hours, they have become more glamorous and, thanks to Kamara, more contraceptive-savvy.

 

“I like making women beautiful – that’s why I work here,” says Kamara, already looking around for her next quarry.

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Guinea: Increasing censorship and pressure on leading musicians

Degg J duo
Degg J duo

The 2010 election of longtime opponent Alpha Kondé as president of Guinea brought with it hope that music and other forms of artistic expression would enjoy relatively untrammelled freedom.

 

Such optimism rode on the wave of a burgeoning hip hop scene, an established roster of international

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Liberia and Guinea discharge final Ebola patients in latest flare-up and begin 42 days of heightened surveillance

Two boys discharged from the Ebola treatment centre, 29 April 2016, Liberia WHO Liberia/Peter Glee
Two boys discharged from the Ebola treatment centre, 29 April 2016, Liberia WHO Liberia/Peter Glee

May 2016

 

Liberia’s Ministry of Health, WHO and partners held a ceremony at the Ebola treatment facility in Monrovia to celebrate the recovery and discharge of a 2-year-old boy, the final patient in a latest flare-up in Liberia. His 5-year-old brother recovered a week earlier.

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Girls in Guinea cut at earlier age as female support for FGM rises: U.N.

A woman holds a knife used in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Photo: UNICEF/Catherine Ntabadde
A woman holds a knife used in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Photo: UNICEF/Catherine Ntabadde

DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Girls in Guinea are increasingly being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) before the age of 10, and support for the practice among women and girls in the West African nation is on the rise, the United Nations rights office said on Monday.

 

Seven in 10 women in Guinea aged 20 to 24 were cut before their tenth birthday, compared to 60 percent of women aged 45 to 49, despite the fact FGM has been illegal since 1965,

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The passion of a young volunteer in Guinea's Ebola response

Sekou Camara, 20, provided safe and dignified burials as part of the Red Cross Ebola emergency response and now, wanting to help his country recover, he has signed up for surveillance activities. Photo: Mountaga Drame, IFRC
Sekou Camara, 20, provided safe and dignified burials as part of the Red Cross Ebola emergency response and now, wanting to help his country recover, he has signed up for surveillance activities. Photo: Mountaga Drame, IFRC

 

Published: 4 April 2016 8:30 CET

By Mirabelle Enaka Kima, IFRC

 

Sekou Camara, 20, was among the first to volunteer to conduct safe and dignified burials with the Red Cross Society of Guinea when the Ebola outbreak began two years ago. Despite his young age, Sekou Camara dedicated himself to fighting Ebola, acquiring valuable experience along the way. When the outbreak was declared over, Sekou was ready for a new challenge and turned his sights to surveillance activities.

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Guinea NEWS

Guinea measles outbreak: 2,100 children infected since January

In a ReliefWeb update (computer translated) Friday on the measles outbreak in Guinea in West Africa the report notes that the measles outbreak that was declared one month ago has grown to affect 2,100 children since January.

 

“We are admitting new children every day,” said Doctor Karim Assani, a pediatrician at the N’Zérékoré Regional Hospital working with the medical-humanitarian NGO, ALIMA. “Many of them are severe cases, suffering from complications.”

 

Since the declaration of the outbreak, ALIMA has treated 53 complicated measles cases. Complicated measles cases can have a mortality rate of up to 15 percent without proper care.

 

The outbreak has affected 17 of the 33 prefectures in the country with the southeastern prefecture of N’Zérékoré reporting the most cases at 675 this year to date.

 

ALIMA reports supporting the N’Zérékoré Regional Hospital to take charge of severe cases, free of charge. The children are treated in one of two isolation tents that ALIMA set up on hospital grounds.

 

ALIMA is also supplying health clinics in the area with treatment kits for the management of simple cases, and supporting health centers in the district to monitor the evolution of the outbreak, as well as the referral of complicated cases to the hospital. 

 

So far, 643 children with simple measles have been supported by ALIMA in health clinics within the prefecture.

 

On March 12, ALIMA will work launch a mass vaccination campaign, alongside national health authorities, in N’Zérékoré to protect some 140,000 children between the ages of six months and 10 years against measles.

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Canada shooting victim dreamed of water for Guinea village

By BOUBACAR DIALLO 

 

Associated Press Feb 1, 2017 

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A Guinea man killed in this week's shooting at a mosque in Canada was working to bring a steady supply of drinking water to his home village at the time of his death, relatives said Wednesday.

 

Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, grew up outside Labe, Guinea's second-largest city located hundreds of miles inland from the capital, Conakry. He studied in London before

moving to Canada five years ago to work as an accountant, said an uncle, Alpha Barry.

 

On Sunday night, he was among six people killed in the attack on the Quebec Islamic Culture Centre. Another Guinean, Ibrahima Barry, was also among the dead. The two were not related.

 

French Canadian university student Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the massacre that also wounded 19.

 

One Wednesday, relatives of Mamadou Barry who are based in Conakry were organizing a memorial ceremony of Quran readings, praise-singing and the ritual sacrifice of a cow.

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Guinea: the arrest of the men behind the massacre

Toumba, arrested by the Senegal authorities.
Toumba, arrested by the Senegal authorities.

In a recent announcement, Senegal authorities declared the detention of the former guinean military involved in the massacre of 2009 in Guinea. Recently, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, was arrested in Dakar by the Senegalese gendarmerie. Perhaps it is time, to reopen the investigation about heinous crimes committed against Guineans during the massacre.

 

Toumba Diakite, a key part on the stadium’s

massacre

 

Since his involvement on the stadium’s massacre in 2009, Aboubacar Sidiki “Toumba” Diakite, was declared one of the most wanted men in Guinea. The massacre occurred on the 28th of September 2009, while people were protesting against the military coup. To recall the facts, Moussa Dadis Camara ascended to power in the 2008 coup following the death of the former president Lansana Conté. To protest against the wrongdoings of the junta’s leader, Civilians gathered in Conakry’s stadium, only for the “Red Berets” to intervene and open fire on protestors. People were trampled, injured, shot and raped in public.

 

During this shooting spree, 157 person were murdered, 1253 persons were injured and 30 person were arrested. Amidst this violation of human rights, female protestors were aggressed and gang raped by military troops. Moussa Dadis Camara, declared his disconnection with the massacre and blamed rogue elements in the military, whereas investigation proved the involvement of his Elite guards in this sheer act of savagery. 

 

Moussa Dadis Camara, accused his aide-de-camp, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite of playing a central role in this massacre. Refusing to be the scapegoat of this operation, Diakite nearly killed the Coup leader by shooting him in the head, at a military camp set in Conakry. Toumba has been on the run ever since.

 

After years of hide and seek, the former head of the presidential guard in guinea, was arrested by Senegal gendarmerie. The Senegalese authorities tracked the military fugitive after a tip off they received month ago about his hideouts. “Twelve members of the section of the gendarmerie worked 24 hours a day. “Toumba”, very discreet, lived in Dakar in a bourgeois district close to the city’s African Monument De Renaissance statue”, pointed the police communique released by Senegalese police.

 

Toumba, who had gained weight and changed his identity to Aboubacar Barry, was hardly recognizable by the authorities at check points, which made him a difficult catch. The investigation is led at the Samba Diery Diallo Barracks, with Diakite. Imprisoned at Dakar, Guinea authorities are seeking the installation of an extradition agreement with Senegal.

 

About the arrest, Corinne Dufka, an associate director at Human Rights Watch pointed out that “The arrest … represents a major step forward in Guinea’s investigation of the 2009 stadium massacre. Victims are eager to see the case move to trial.”

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Guinea: 7 Years On, Justice for Massacre Needed - Victims Anxious for Long-Awaited Trial to Begin

In Guinea’s capital, Conakry, family members cry after identifying the body of a relative killed on September 28, 2009, when security forces fired on opposition supporters as they marched to and later held a rally in the September 28 Stadium.
In Guinea’s capital, Conakry, family members cry after identifying the body of a relative killed on September 28, 2009, when security forces fired on opposition supporters as they marched to and later held a rally in the September 28 Stadium.

(Conakry) – Guinea has yet to deliver justice for the grave crimes committed on September 28, 2009, at a Conakry stadium, six international and national human rights groups said today, in advance of the massacre’s seventh anniversary. That day, more than 150 peaceful protesters were massacred by security forces and more than 100 women were raped. Hundreds of injuries and widespread looting were also documented.

 

“How much longer will we have to wait for justice to be done?” said Asmaou Diallo, president of the Association of Victims,

Parents, and Friends of September 28. “We recognize the progress made, but we anxiously await the day those responsible for the murder and rape of our loved ones will have their day in court.”

 

The six organizations are the International Federation on Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch, the Guinean Organization for the Defense of Human and Citizens’ Rights (OGDH), the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of September 28 (AVIPA), Equal Rights for All (MDT), and the Coalition of Human Rights Defense Organizations (CODDH).

 

The investigation, which is being conducted by a pool of Guinean investigating judges, was opened in February 2010 but has not yet been completed. Nevertheless, the investigation has made major progress despite political, financial, and logistical obstacles.

 

Current and former high-level officials have been charged, including Moussa Dadis Camara, the former leader of the National Council of Democracy and Development junta, which ruled Guinea at the time, and his vice president, Mamadouba Toto Camara. Judges have heard the testimony of more than 400 victims and their family members, and they have also questioned witnesses, including members of the security services.

 

Some investigative aspects remain outstanding, including the questioning of at least one key witness, locating at least one suspect, and locating mass graves believed to contain the bodies of about 100 victims who remain unaccounted for. Witnesses allege that the security forces engaged tried to hide the evidence of their crimes and misrepresented the number of people killed. But these outstanding elements should not cause Guinean judicial authorities to delay the completion of the investigation, the groups said.

 

“The victims, their lawyers from the FIDH and the OGDH, and our organizations now want to see the conclusion of the investigation and a trial that will finally enable truth, justice, and reparations for the victims,” said Dimitris Christopoulos, president of FIDH.

 

The beginning of a major reorganization of the justice system in 2014 has led to significant progress in the case and laid the foundations for an awaited modernization of the system, the organizations said. These changes are essential to overcome striking gaps in the Guinean judicial system and strengthen its independence, impartiality, and efficiency.

 

The International Criminal Court (ICC), which opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Guinea in October 2009, has regularly reminded the Guinean government of its obligation to deliver justice for the 2009 crimes. The Guinean government should ensure that the investigations phase of the case moves ahead with no further delay to organize the trial, the organizations said.

 

The ICC is designed as a court of last resort. Under the principle of complementarity, the ICC only steps in when national courts are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute cases under its authority.

 

“Guinea could become, with this long-awaited trial, a real leader on justice for grave crimes in Africa,” said Corinne Dufka, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government of Guinea should give its strongest support to the investigative panel to complete its work so that those responsible for the stadium massacre can be tried without delay.” 

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Ivory Coast re-opens western borders closed during Ebola epidemic

In this photo taken Saturday, March 26, 2015, a boy, stands next to a place that was used to stack bodys of Ebola victims at a crematorium in Boys Town on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia.
In this photo taken Saturday, March 26, 2015, a boy, stands next to a place that was used to stack bodys of Ebola victims at a crematorium in Boys Town on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia.

Ivory Coast re-opens western borders closed during Ebola epidemic

Published September 09, 2016 Reuters

 

ABIDJAN –  Ivory Coast has re-opened its western borders with Liberia and Guinea two years after they were closed to prevent the spread of an Ebola epidemic that killed thousands across West Africa, an Ivorian government spokesman said on Friday.

 

Around 29,000 people contracted the

hemorrhagic fever during the more than two-year long outbreak, the worst on record. Over 11,000 died before it finally ended in June, nearly all of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

 

"We had to take these measures to protect our country. And the fact we didn't have a single case must be considered a real success," Bruno Kone said, referring to the border closure measure.

 

Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa's largest economy, shut its borders in August 2014.

 

It came under criticism at the time from some health organizations that argued the closure risked aggravating the epidemic and would worsen hardship in countries already struggling with the economic fallout from Ebola.

 

Several other regional nations, including Mali and Senegal, also shut their borders temporarily as a precaution.

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Conakry hairdressers dispense cut-and-dried contraceptive advice to women

An apprentice hairdresser at the Jumelle salon in Conakry shows a client different family planning methods. Photograph: Kate Holt
An apprentice hairdresser at the Jumelle salon in Conakry shows a client different family planning methods. Photograph: Kate Holt

Guinea is set to expand its use of hair salons to promote urban family planning beyond the capital, even introducing it to tailors’ shops

 

Female clients at the Jumelle Coiffure hair salon in Conakry benefit from free contraceptives as well as family planning advice dispensed by apprentice hairdressers trained as community health workers.

 

Photograph: Kate Holt

 

Women's rights and gender equality is supported by

Ford Foundation

 

by Ruth Maclean in Conakry

 

Thursday 11 August 2016 19.01 EDT

 

Fatoumatah Bah is cornered. Sitting in front of a tinsel-ringed mirror in Miskaa Salon, her head is bent forward, two women at work braiding twists into her hair. She will be stuck in the chair for at least three hours.

 

It is a good moment to pounce. Fatoumatah Kamara, 20, an apprentice hairdresser in a matching skirt and blouse and glinting cherry earrings, sidles up to Bah. She starts to make conversation.

At first, it is the usual hairdresser chatter. What rain we’ve been having, eh? Where are you from? What are you up to this weekend? This is the 20-year-old accountancy student’s second visit to the salon in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.

 

Soon Kamara’s questions become more personal. Does Bah have a husband? A boyfriend? Then she goes in for the kill. Does she know there are ways of avoiding getting pregnant?

 

With every manicure, pedicure and hairdo at the Miskaa Salon, clients receive a free treatment: a great deal of contraceptive advice.

 

Five salons across Conakry have been dispensing family planning advice since 2012, and they have been so successful that the project – the brainchild of Jhpiego, a health organisation associated with Johns Hopkins University in the US – is about to be extended to salons in Guinea’s seven major cities.

 

In Guinea, which has one of the lowest rates of modern contraceptive use in the world, women have an average of five children. According to UN figures, in 2015 only 7.5% of married or cohabiting women use some form of contraception.

 

A lot of effort has gone into teaching women in rural Guinea about family planning, but not so much in urban areas. A salon is an excellent place to reach them, so long as it is the right kind of salon.

 

“It’s better to go where they do braids because that’s what women traditionally want,” says Yolande Hyjazi, Jhpiego’s director in Guinea. “A woman who’s straightening or washing her hair has more money and more access to information.”

 

Across town from Miskaa, Jumelle Coiffure is trying to turn around clients as fast as possible, largely because the room is impossibly cramped. Jumelle is owned by 32-year-old twins Tata Sylla, wearing a short black and bright green wig, and her sister Mbalia, with long, heavy braids.

 

“There were a lot of young women getting pregnant around here when they didn’t want to, with lots of kids running after them, and I thought it would be good to teach them how to avoid that. Even my apprentices were getting pregnant,” says Mbalia, making up Aminata Kouma’s face just inside the salon door. Outside, a dozen girls huddle under the dripping overhang of the salon’s tin roof, filing fingernails and tugging at each other’s hair.

 

Kouma, 35, says she first heard about family planning at Jumelle.

 

“I never knew about this before coming here – they taught me how,” she said. “I got the injection, and since then I’ve been able to control the number of children I have. I already have four and I don’t want any more. My husband can’t afford it, school fees are so high. There’s too much suffering here. I’m a housemaid, but I’m out of work.”

 

Each salon has an army of apprentices, some of whom have worked in them for years, to cope with the intensity of the work and the number of clients. Jhpiego deliberately chose very popular salons to reach as many people as possible, and trained some of their apprentices as community health workers, to explain how to use exclusive breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy, talk about implants, sell pills and write referrals. They earn half the sale price for any pills and condoms they sell.

 

The trial started in 2013, but everything had to stop for the Ebola outbreak. Like all health organisations, Jhpiego had to turn its efforts to fighting Ebola. In any case, women were not going to the salon.

 

It is now back in full swing, though, and tailors’ shops are the next target. “There are women that wait around all day for their dresses, trying them on,” Hyjazi said. “People are being social, hanging around. But in the tailors’ shops we also have a lot of young men. Reaching men is important.”

The idea is that clients of both establishments will talk to their friends, and word will spread.

At Miskaa, a large wedding party is getting ready.

 

Apprentice hairdressers cluster around each client, carefully painting on long, black eyebrows, blow-drying hair straight, and making minute adjustments to towering, shiny headwraps.

 

Kamara, pointing at her laminated booklet, has just finished explaining how to use a string of beads to track fertility. But it isn’t new to Bah.

 

“I go on Google, I go on YouTube, I find information,” she says. “But not everybody is a student like me.”

 

She knew about condoms and pills, but not the other methods Kamara talks about. Young people have far more access to information than previous generations, and sex is slowly becoming something that is more talked about.

 

Young men who have come to Miskaa Salon for cut price condoms are shown how to use them correctly by apprentice hairdresser Nene Diakité. Photograph: Kate Holt

 

Traditionally, a Guinean woman would space out her children by leaving her husband and going back to her mother’s house for a few years, every time she had a baby.

 

“Now no one is using abstinence, so everyone is using contraceptives, but no one is talking about it,” Hyjazi says. “Many people think that if a women is using contraceptives, it’s because she has another partner. There’s not a lot of open communication – even between a husband and wife using them. Many women will use the pill without telling their husbands.”

 

One thing is unlikely to change, though, and according to Hyjazi, it is skewing the statistics, because people doing surveys do not always do them in private. “If a woman is asked if she’s using contraceptives and her mother or mother-in-law is there, she’ll never say yes.”

 

The wedding party is almost ready. Kamara looks over each woman carefully before opening the door for them. In a few hours, they have become more glamorous and, thanks to Kamara, more contraceptive-savvy.

 

“I like making women beautiful – that’s why I work here,” says Kamara, already looking around for her next quarry.

0 Comments

Guinea: Increasing censorship and pressure on leading musicians

Degg J duo
Degg J duo

The 2010 election of longtime opponent Alpha Kondé as president of Guinea brought with it hope that music and other forms of artistic expression would enjoy relatively untrammelled freedom.

 

Such optimism rode on the wave of a burgeoning hip hop scene, an established roster of international

stars, a post-independence policy of preserving traditional music and a vocal press acting as watchdogs. Disappointingly, this has not come to be: a spiralling-down of the economy and the growing authoritarianism of the Kondé regime has translated itself into increasing censorship and pressure on the country’s leading musicians. Freemuse reporter Daniel Brown visited the capital Conakry to gauge the current musical climate.

Ablaye Mbaye shows no outer signs of physical trauma from his six months in one of Conakry’s most notorious prisons. Tall, lean and athletic, the dread-swinging artist seduces with his infectious smile and bouncy demeanour. Yet, he admits it has taken over 15 months for one of the two driving forces behind Degg J Force 3 to overcome the psychological scars of his incarceration.

 

The fall from grace had indeed been brutal: from fronting one of Guinea’s most popular pop-rap groups, Mbaye had been flung into a cell he shared with dozens of common law criminals. But two years on he feels ready to once again join forces with his brother Moussa and build on a reputation his band has conquered both home and abroad.

 

“The school break is over for Degg J,” he chortles, betraying no sign of bitterness.

 

“For months after my release I was going about in a kind of fog, churning over and over the violence I had witnessed in prison. Now, we’re going to come back stronger, more professional, and lyrically I’m going to feed on the horrors I witnessed behind bars.”

 

As co-producer of the concert, Ablaye was accused – wrongly, it seems – of being responsible for a concert stampede at Rogbané beach in Conakry in July 2014 which led to the death of 33 people. As the high-profile co-producer of the concert by headliners Instinct Killers and Banlieuz’art, he was an ideal target for government authorities who are none too comfortable with the irreverence and criticism which regularly emanates from Guinea’s urban music scene.

 

“We come from a rundown and popular neighbourhood of Conakry called Kilometre 0,” Moussa Mbaye, Ablaye’s brother, picks up. “It’s a fisherman’s village in the heart of this urban jungle they’ve nicknamed Pirogue for obvious reasons. It’s where our grandfather settled when he arrived from Senegal. Many rappers are from these kind of ghettos and they don’t have too much respect for the world they live in. They live the poverty and discrimination on a daily basis.”

The voice of the voiceless

Not surprising, then, that their musical dissidence is looked at askance by a regime with low tolerance for outspoken criticism. Kill Point, the pioneering band of what was once Africa’s foremost rap scene – unconfirmed reports talked of over 1,500 rap groups nationwide – had lead the way in the late 1990s with hardcore denunciations of the abuse of power, electricity power cuts, rural hunger.

 

This group led by Prophet Gee, MoozBee and Aizeck’O produced compilations like ‘Rap-Koulé’ (1997) and ‘Tribunal Hip-hop’ which inspired the Mbaye brothers to pick up the microphone themselves.

 

“But we saw that Kill Point’s confrontational approach was counter-productive and the authorities were making their lives hell,” notes Ablaye. “The government made sure their songs never got played on the radio or television. And we had messages we wanted to share. So we adopted a more subtle approach and talked directly to the people, not the government. Basically, we hide everything which is political or hardcore, it just won’t get played on the airwaves.”

 

Since their first single in 1999, Degg J have concentrated their compositions on educating girls and women, orphans used as slave labour, teenage pregnancies and health concerns – Ebola, malaria and AIDS. Their first album Mach Allah sold over 70,000 copies in the first weeks after release, providing the notoriety which opened the doors to international concerts.

 

“Those songs on social issues go down fine,” explains Moussa. “The music is also softer, without that rapid-fire rap associated with the hardcore scene. We use these tunes as ploys, Trojan horses for our more radical messages, which we often reserve for our live shows.”

 

This has not been the case for Blaise Bakary Béavogui or Masta G, the singer known this past decade as The Voice of the Voiceless. For years, Masta G was music’s most trenchant critic of successive Guinean government. As a result, according to Pierre René-Worms of Radio France International, Béavogui was censored by the Radio Télévision Guinéenne (RTG). This shy musician, son of an airforce pilot, was also imprisoned, accused of inciting violence and attacking State security.

 

“Popular with a portion of young military reformists,” comments René-Worms on RFI’s website, “Masta G sampled the voice of the campaign director for (former Guinean) president Lansana Conté in his album ‘Election Bata ly’ (‘The elections are coming’). (The sales) shot through the roof, partly thanks to the purchase of 6,000 cassettes by the Guinean authorities – who immediately destroyed them.”

 

Governmental pressure seemed to silence the singer until he returned in February 2016 with a new song “Nouvelle Guinée”. To a backcloth of subtle kora playing, this is another hardhitting look at the presidential regimes which have, as he puts it, “paralysed the youth, marginalised by politicians and their malevolent programmes.”

 

“I have the feeling I’m preaching in a desert,” Masta G raps, “but mine is a respectful call for unity and frankness (because) history will repeat itself and we’ll go backwards.”

 

The powerful single is part of eight songs on the artist’s third album ‘Air Force One’ which he has promised by the end of the year.

Chronic problems of infrastructure

Observers feel Masta G is likely to once again feel the brunt of media censorship. “Outside urban musicians, very few artists talk of the daily lot of Guineans,” observes the cultural journalist Lola Simonet. The Conakry-based reporter has been closely following the music scene for years. “Most of these Mandingo musicians confine themselves to ‘mamaya’ music, (Ed. a traditional instrumental style modernised by orchestras) because they lack creativity and the freedom to explore more challenging genres.” Simonet insists on the cultural isolation Guinea has known ever since Sékou Touré defied De Gaulle and France in 1958.

 

Added to this, the chronic lack of professionals guiding the musicians, the dearth of managers and the aridity of governmental support for up-and-coming artists have contributed to an impoverished musical scene.

 

Banlieuz’art

A notable exception to the apparent drying up of Guinean talent is Banlieuz’art. Consisting of a duo of vocalists King Salomon (Soul Dag’One) and Konko Malela (Marcus), they have planted themselves firmly at the top of the pop-rock music hierarchy, not just in Guinea but much of West Africa.

 

The two singers first met in Dakar in 2004 and six years later brought out their inaugural album Koun Faya Koun. A second album followed in 2012 bringing them such acclaim they began touring in Europe and were finalists in the prestigious RFI Discoveries awards 2015.

 

“But the notoriety hasn’t stopped us being victims of censorship, anonymous threats and bribery,” explains the group’s pugnacious manager Mbaye Abdoul. “Right from the start, authorities viewed us with suspicion because of our name. Banlieuz’art is a play on words but they took us for rough ghetto surburb crooks (banlieusards) when we’re just saying we represent art from the suburbs. Then, they began denying us radio space because of songs like ‘Mansa Sifen’ which means The Throne of the King.

 

They read all kinds of subversive messages into lyrics which, on the contrary, were apolitical. We just sing the miseries of the poor, the problems youth have. And there’s the usual songs on love, friendship, solidarity. But…” Abdoul draws back and re-adjusts his baseball cap, “the authorities are always politicising things, using an ethnocentric vision to divide us, pushing us to kill each other in the streets. All we call for is unity. And our group is living proof of harmony between the communities: Soul is from the Fulani community, Marcus is Soussou, I have Senegalese roots.”

 

The band began receiving anonymous threats in the form of text messages calling on them to abandon their careers. Then, before the 2015 general elections, they were offered up to $200,000 to compose songs backing one of the candidates.

 

“We refused. It could have destroyed our career. Other groups accepted and they’ve disappeared.”

 

The threats reflect the potential power these urban artists have, as they represent a restless youth hungry for role models.

 

“These musicians help the youth let off steam,” notes RFI’s Pierre René-Worms. “Exile might tempt many to Senegal, France or the United States. But, hell, they represent the hopes of an entire generation and express the dignity of a youth beset by poverty from another age in a country blessed with such natural wealth.”

 

Soul and Marcus

 

Daniel Brown is a veteran reporter on current affairs, world music and the politics of music, based in Paris. The photo of Degg J on top of this page was photographed by Daniel Brown.

 

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Liberia and Guinea discharge final Ebola patients in latest flare-up and begin 42 days of heightened surveillance

Two boys discharged from the Ebola treatment centre, 29 April 2016, Liberia WHO Liberia/Peter Glee
Two boys discharged from the Ebola treatment centre, 29 April 2016, Liberia WHO Liberia/Peter Glee

May 2016

 

Liberia’s Ministry of Health, WHO and partners held a ceremony at the Ebola treatment facility in Monrovia to celebrate the recovery and discharge of a 2-year-old boy, the final patient in a latest flare-up in Liberia. His 5-year-old brother recovered a week earlier.

Liberia’s and Guinea’s last known Ebola patients in a latest flare-up of the disease that hit both countries have now been discharged. All remaining contacts of confirmed cases that were placed under a 3-week period of medical monitoring have been cleared.

 

Liberia’s Ministry of Health, WHO and partners involved in the response held a ceremony at the Ebola treatment facility in Monrovia to celebrate the recovery and discharge of a 2-year-old boy, the final patient in the flare-up in Liberia. His 5-year-old brother recovered a week earlier. On 29 April, the country also began a 42-day period of increased surveillance – amounting to two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus.

 

Guinea’s final Ebola patient, a 70-year-old man, tested negative for the virus a second time on 19 April and returned to his village in the southern prefecture of Macenta to a warm welcome. Guinea began its 42-day countdown on that day, and will be able to declare the flare-up over on 31 May if there are no additional cases.

 

An inter-agency cross-border response

This latest re-emergence of Ebola came to light on 16 March when Guinean national health authorities and WHO were alerted to suspect deaths and infections in the southern prefecture of Nzérékoré. A rapid case investigation confirmed the new cluster of Ebola cases.

 

In all, 8 people in Guinea’s Nzérékoré and Macenta prefectures died from Ebola and 2 survived during the flare-up. Most of the cases were from the same extended family. More than 1,000 people who may have had contact with the confirmed cases were identified, and following intensive community sensitization and outreach, the majority of the contacts were placed under medical observation for 21 days. To help contain the spread, 1500 contacts and contacts of theirs were vaccinated with an experimental Ebola vaccine. Providing the vaccine is part of an ongoing drug trial, the outcome of which will inform its possible licensing for future use.

 

The effort to control the outbreak in Guinea was not without resistance. Some high-risk contacts went missing, including a woman whose husband was among the Ebola fatalities. Epidemiological investigation teams later discovered that she travelled with her 3 children to Liberia to stay with relatives. She came down with Ebola symptoms there, and died on 31 March, spreading the flare-up of Ebola to that country. Two of her three boys also became infected, but both survived. They are the 2-year-old boy and his 5-year old brother who were released from the care centre last week.

 

Similarly to Guinea, Liberian health authorities and partners worked to quickly trace, isolate and monitor the health of identified contacts of the 3 confirmed cases, over 100 in all, and step up infection prevention and control measures in health facilities and the impacted community.

 

Cross-border cooperation was also stepped up. The Ministries of Health in Guinea and Liberia, with WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control, organized additional information sharing, surveillance and overall coordination with partners in Nzérékoré.

 

Origins of transmission

 

Genetic sequencing from blood samples of the confirmed cases indicate the source of the virus is from a single and known transmission chain – suggesting exposure to infected body fluids from a survivor – rather than a re-introduction of Ebola virus from the wild.

 

WHO continuously stresses that flare-ups of Ebola like this one are likely to occur for some time, although with decreasing frequency, due to virus persistence in some survivors. It has been documented that Ebola virus can live in tissues and fluids of survivors, for well over a year.

 

WHO is working with the Ebola-affected countries to improve disease surveillance for Ebola and other infectious diseases, and strengthen health services to include improved clinical care, screening and counseling for survivors.

 

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Girls in Guinea cut at earlier age as female support for FGM rises: U.N.

A woman holds a knife used in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Photo: UNICEF/Catherine Ntabadde
A woman holds a knife used in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Photo: UNICEF/Catherine Ntabadde

DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Girls in Guinea are increasingly being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) before the age of 10, and support for the practice among women and girls in the West African nation is on the rise, the United Nations rights office said on Monday.

 

Seven in 10 women in Guinea aged 20 to 24 were cut before their tenth birthday, compared to 60 percent of women aged 45 to 49, despite the fact FGM has been illegal since 1965,

according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

 

While women and girls in most countries where FGM is practiced largely want it to be abolished, three-quarters of the female population in Guinea were in favor of FGM as of 2012, up from two-thirds in 1999, according to the report by the OHCHR.

 

"Non-excision of girls is considered dishonorable in Guinean society," said the report. "Social pressure is such that girls may request excision for fear of being excluded or forced to remain unmarried if they do not suffer the practice."

 

While FGM is banned in Guinea, support from political and religious leaders, inaction by the justice system, and impunity for traditional practitioners and medical professionals who carry it out means the practice is widespread, said the report.

 

Guinea has the second highest rate of FGM in the world after Somalia, with around 97 percent of women and adolescent girls cut, according to the United Nations children's agency UNICEF.

 

"Although female genital mutilation appears to be decreasing worldwide, this is not the case in Guinea, where this practice is widespread in every region and among every ethnic, religious and social group," U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

 

FGM, often seen as a gateway to marriage and a way of preserving a girl's purity, involves the removal of the external genitalia and causes numerous health problems that can be fatal.

 

While the practice in Guinea is traditionally carried out in mass ceremonies as an initiation rite, an increasing number of girls are being cut individually - due to fear of legal sanctions - or by medical professionals, said the report.

 

Traditional practitioners rarely face legal proceedings and no health workers have been sanctioned for carrying out FGM, while members of the justice system who have tried to tackle the issue have received threats, according to the OHCHR.

 

"Thousands of young girls are excised across the country every year, during school vacations, with the full knowledge of judicial personnel, including prosecutors and instructing magistrates," the report said.

 

 

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

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The passion of a young volunteer in Guinea's Ebola response

Sekou Camara, 20, provided safe and dignified burials as part of the Red Cross Ebola emergency response and now, wanting to help his country recover, he has signed up for surveillance activities. Photo: Mountaga Drame, IFRC
Sekou Camara, 20, provided safe and dignified burials as part of the Red Cross Ebola emergency response and now, wanting to help his country recover, he has signed up for surveillance activities. Photo: Mountaga Drame, IFRC

 

Published: 4 April 2016 8:30 CET

By Mirabelle Enaka Kima, IFRC

 

Sekou Camara, 20, was among the first to volunteer to conduct safe and dignified burials with the Red Cross Society of Guinea when the Ebola outbreak began two years ago. Despite his young age, Sekou Camara dedicated himself to fighting Ebola, acquiring valuable experience along the way. When the outbreak was declared over, Sekou was ready for a new challenge and turned his sights to surveillance activities.

Volunteering became a passion for Sekou five years ago when he joined the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. An orphan, Sekou grew up with his grandmother, and because of their modest living conditions, was forced to end his education after completing primary school. The local committee of the Red Cross in Kaloum became his second home where he distinguished himself through his diligence to volunteer service. 

 

“I consider the Red Cross as my second family because there I found the love and warmness of a home. It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I bring my modest contributions to relief efforts,” says Sekou with his usual smile.

 

From the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, the young man was eager to be part of the safe and dignified burial teams (SDB). Aware of the risk of infection and stigma which he was going to face, he persevered.

 

"I was scared to accept Camara on the SDB teams because the work was extremely difficult and delicate. The risk of infection was high and permanent, as well as the pressure on the teams,” says Mamady Kourouma, Red Cross supervisor for the Kaloum local committee in Conakry. “However, seeing his enthusiasm and determination, I finally accepted him onto the team."

 

For almost two years, Sekou was involved alongside other volunteers in laying people to rest, safely and with dignity, never showing any sign of exhaustion. "As soon as a warning was given, we had to go into the community, meet the affected families, talk with  them and bury the deceased," he explains.

 

"All deaths were managed in the same way. However, engaging in dialogue with the bereaved families was one challenge we faced a lot, especially when we were confronted by people who did not want to adhere to the burial protocols. We were often threatened and, in some rare cases, we faced violence. Managing these situations required calmness of mind and courage, which we exercised."

 

The added value of trained volunteers in recovery

 

Following the end of the outbreak in late 2015, the country entered into a heightened surveillance phase. The Red Cross deployed a team of ten volunteers to the Ignace Deen hospital mortuary in Conakry to ensure swabbing and rapid diagnosis tests are done properly on hospital and community deaths, as part of the health control mechanisms put in place.  

 

“Concerning community deaths, once the warning is received, joint field surveillance teams investigate and, depending on their conclusions, swabbing  is applied on the dead body,” explains Mohamed Lamine, a medical student and Red Cross volunteer.

 

"On average, we test 20 bodies daily from the hospital and community. The samples are taken to mandatory laboratories. We apply the same infection control rules as for safe and dignified burials. Putting on the personal protection equipment is compulsory,” adds Mohamed.

 

The relationship with the mortuary began when Red Cross teams were deployed to the hospital at the beginning of the outbreak. "We positioned two response teams at the mortuary to manage community alerts and ensure safe and dignified burials for hospital cases. After the declaration of the end of Ebola in December, we maintained one team to render the same services,” says Mamady Kourouma.

 

Sekou Camara and his colleagues are among the 124 volunteers involved in ongoing health surveillance actions. These teams have been trained on sampling and rapid diagnosis test methods, in addition to their already acquired skills on safe and dignified burials, communications practices, and infection, prevention and control.

 

Sekou is proud to have achieved his humanitarian goals. With his experience, he is a valuable resource for the Red Cross, capable of supporting community event-based surveillance programs designed to strengthen disaster preparedness and response capacities at the community level.

 

However, like most of the volunteers involved in the operation, Camara must face new challenges. Having been on the front lines of the response, he now suffers social exclusion.

 

As part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) recovery program, a partnership has been developed with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), aimed at strengthening the resilience of communities and reintegrating Red Cross volunteers into their communities.

 

One of the priorities of the project is to promote access of Ebola survivors and  Red Cross volunteers to basic social services, including psychosocial support. The program aims to support 1,008 Ebola survivors, 2,000 Red Cross volunteers, and 15,000 people affected by the Ebola virus disease.

 

In Guinea, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) recovery plan of 23 million Swiss francs focuses on providing support to people affected by the outbreak, and includes activities related to strengthening resilience to future disease outbreaks, improving access to health care and psychosocial support, improving food security and livelihoods; and National Society development. The recovery plan is currently 14 per cent funded.

 

In Liberia, the work of a female burial team volunteer caught the eye of Hollywood. Check back on Wednesday 6 April and w'll introduce you to Garmai Sumo.

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Death toll rises to 7 in Guinea Ebola outbreak

The WHO said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constituted an international emergency, but the announcement of new cases in Guinea demonstrates the difficulty of managing the aftermath of the virus (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)
The WHO said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constituted an international emergency, but the announcement of new cases in Guinea demonstrates the difficulty of managing the aftermath of the virus (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)

Conakry (AFP) - A resurgence of Ebola in a rural Guinean community has killed seven people, health officials said Wednesday, even as the World Health Organization voiced confidence that remaining isolated cases could be contained.

 

The WHO said Tuesday that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constituted an international emergency, but the announcement of new cases demonstrated the difficulty of managing the aftermath of the virus.

 

The death of a man, two of his wives and his daughter were announced two weeks ago by the Guinean health authorities, who confirmed Wednesday a third wife and a mother-in-law also died after becoming infected in the village

of Koropara.

 

Polygamy is commonly practised in Guinea.

 

"On March 30, there are nine registered cases and seven deaths: three suspected and four confirmed," said Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for Guinea's Ebola response unit.

 

Outside the family, a man died on March 22 after testing positive for Ebola in the city of Nzerekore.

 

Two more people -- one suspected case and one confirmed -- were receiving treatment at a dedicated Ebola facility in southern Guinea, not far from the Liberian border, Sylla said.

 

The country was declared free of Ebola transmission at the end of last year, though a significant number of deaths are believed to have gone unreported and "flare-ups" relating to the persistence of the virus in survivors' bodies pose ongoing challenges.

 

A WHO Ebola report released Wednesday said the virus present in the blood of one of the confirmed cases was "closely related to (the) virus that circulated in south-eastern Guinea in November 2014".

 

More than a thousand people who are believed to have come into contact with the victims are being monitored for symptoms and offered support by the authorities, with restrictions placed on their movements.

 

"Additional cases are likely because of the large number of contacts," the WHO report added.

 

Those most at risk are also being vaccinated against the virus.

The deadliest-ever outbreak of the tropical disease emerged in the same region as the new cases in December 2013 and went on to kill more than 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

 

 

The WHO was first alerted to the reappearance of the Ebola symptoms in the family's village on March 16, the same day it declared a similar flare-up over in Sierra Leone.

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New Ebola group found in Guinea

Monday, Mar 28, 2016 @ 3:14pm

by Vaccine News Reports

 

Since March 22, there were 816 identified contacts located within 107 households.

Scientists recently discovered a new cluster of the Ebola virus in Guinea, as there were three unexplained deaths in Korokpara village, located in N’Zerekore prefecture, during the last few weeks.

 

This news is on the heels of Sierra Leone announcing that it is free of the Ebola virus. West Africa also recently announced that it is free of the disease.

 Health authorities conducted investigations to learn that there were four close contacts between relatives who showed Ebola symptoms. Two of them, a mother as well as her five-year-old son, were confirmed to have the disease on March 18. They are now in a treatment facility.

 

The third patient is a young girl who died at the Ebola treatment center located in N’Zerekore on March 12.

 

Unfortunately, a man died from the virus in Macenta prefecture. The man was originally from the Korokpara village. He was a high-risk contact who went to Maenta to ask a healer about his positive test for Ebola. His contacts bring the probable and confirmed deaths to approximately five.

 

Since March 22, there were 816 identified contacts located within 107 households. All of these people lived in the immediate vicinity in Korokpara and the households with the disease. Over 100 of these people are at high risk for developing the disease.

 

 

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A young girl in Guinea has died from Ebola - the fourth person to die in the latest flare-up in the west African nation.

 AAP - 20 MAR 2016

 

A fourth person has died of Ebola in Guinea in the latest flare-up of an epidemic that has killed more than 11,300 people in that country, Sierra Leone and Liberia since 2013 but now claims few victims.

 

"The young girl who was hospitalized at the Ebola treatment centre in Nzerekore is dead," said Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for the centre

that co-ordinates Guinea's fight against the virus. Three others have died of the virus since February 29.

 

Health workers on Saturday also stepped up efforts to trace anyone who could have come into contact with the family.

 

The world's worst recorded Ebola epidemic is believed to have started in Guinea and killed about 2500 people there by December last year, at which point the UN World Health Organization said it was no longer actively transmitted.

 

WHO warned, however, that Ebola could resurface at any time, since it can linger in the eyes, central nervous system and bodily fluids of some survivors.

 

 

It was not immediately clear how the villagers from Korokpara, around 100km from Nzerekore, had contracted the disease but the area had previously resisted efforts to fight the illness in the initial epidemic.

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New Ebola Cases Confirmed In Guinea As WHO Warns Of More Possible Flare Ups

Two new cases of Ebola have been detected in Guinea, and WHO has warned that the African country is still at risk of Ebola flare-ups.

WHO dispatched a team of specialists to the southern prefecture of Nzérékoré after new cases were confirmed in a rural village.

 

Guinean health officials in the region alerted WHO and partners on 16 March to three

unexplained deaths in recent weeks in the village of Koropara and said other members of the same family are currently showing symptoms characteristic of Ebola.

 

Guinea's Ministry of Health, WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and UNICEF sent in investigators on 17 March. Samples were taken from 4 individuals. A mother and her 5-year-old son, relatives of the deceased, confirmed positive for Ebola virus disease in lab tests. The 2 have been taken to a treatment facility.

 

The new infections in Guinea were confirmed the same day that WHO declared the end of the latest Ebola flare-up in neighboring Sierra Leone. WHO said recurrences of the disease should be anticipated and that the 3 Ebola-affected countries must maintain strong capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks.

 

"WHO continues to stress that Sierra Leone, as well as Liberia and Guinea, are still at risk of Ebola flare-ups, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors, and must remain on high alert and ready to respond," WHO said in a statement.

 

by RTT Staff Writer

 

 

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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After 2 Years And 2,500 Deaths, Guinea Is Ebola-Free

For a country to be declared free of the virus, it must go 42 days without seeing a new infection.

 

12/29/2015 12:54am


Michael McLaughlin
Reporter, The Huffington Post 


 

Guinea, one of the countries hit by the worst outbreak of Ebola, has been declared free of any cases of the deadly virus. 

 

 

Because Guinea hasn't seen any new infections for 42 days, the amount of time in two incubation cycles for the disease, the WHO declared it free of Ebola on Tuesday. The last known patient in Guinea was a 3-week-old girl who tested negative for the virus twice in November, The New York Times reported. 

 

"It's cause for celebration, because people are day to day living in very tough conditions," said Susan Michaels-Strasser, a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and a nurse who treated Ebola patients in Liberia. "Everyone should be embarrassed that it got to such a level. The warning signs were there." 

 

There will be a ceremony on Wednesday in which government officials, NGOs and foreign representatives will mark the declaration.

 

“My colleagues and I at the World Bank Group congratulate the government and people of Guinea on reaching this important milestone. They have showed remarkable determination fighting Ebola since the first case emerged in rural Guinea two years ago," said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, in a statement. "Still, we must remain vigilant to stay at zero cases, and continue to support Guinea as it contends with the enormous human and economic costs of Ebola."

 

The worst outbreak of Ebola started with a patient in Guinea two years ago and quickly spread across porous borders into neighboring countries of West Africa and as far away as the United States. The World Health Organization reports that the crisis killed more than 11,000 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

 

The first fatality from the current outbreak was traced to a 2-year-old boy in Guinea in December 2013, though the WHO didn't identify the disease until March 2014. Transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, Ebola killed more than 2,500 people in Guinea.

 

Controlling the outbreak strained the resources of countries like Guinea, which had a weak public health system. The epidemic originated in a rural area, where the government's presence is even less visible. The poorly understood disease, which causes violent diarrhea and vomiting, also created widespread panic. 

 

An experimental drug, Zmapp, was first used on an American medical missionary infected, and later was used on patients in Guinea and other countries. But its effectiveness hasn't been determined and medical experts have said that the outbreak was finally brought under control by educating people about how it was passed from one person to another, according to Dr. Joel Selanikio, a pediatrics professor at Georgetown University who treated patients in Sierra Leone. 

 

"The key was to separate infected people from contact with the community," said Selanikio. "It's not voodoo magic. It's a transmissible disease."

And it's one that required a tremendous outlay of resources. The World Bank alone provided $250 million in financing to Guinea to combat the epidemic.

 

Hysteria gripped the United States after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a case of Ebola in Dallas, but coverage soon slipped from newspaper front pages and cable news broadcasts. 

 

But Ebola persisted in places like Guinea, and its full impact is still being assessed. The United Nations Developmental Group estimated that the region could lose $3.9 billion per year through 2017 from things like loss of trade and foreign investment. 

 

The disease had other consequences. Because of fears about Ebola, approximately 74,000 cases of malaria went untreated in Guinea in 2014, according to a report in the medical journal The Lancet.

 

Being declared free of Ebola is no guarantee that a new case might not suddenly appear. Liberia has twice been declared clear of human cases, most recently in September, but last month, a 15-year-old boy there died from the virus. Sierra Leone has been rid of Ebola since early November. 

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NEW VACCINE TO COUNTER THE EBOLA EPIDEMIC AWAITS APPROVAL

Upon Regulators’ Approval, the Vaccine, Licensed to Merck & Co. could end the Ebola Epidemic.


The Ebola epidemic that has taken the lives of thousands in West Africa could come to an end with a new hopeful vaccine.


The experimental vaccine was tested in Guinea on several thousands people and proved highly

efficient. The results were published on Friday in the Lancet journal and are hailed by the World Health Organization as a hope for putting a fullstop to deaths caused by the rapidly spreading virus.

 

At the moment, there are no licensed vaccines for Ebola. Across West Africa, the virus has claimed the life of 11,000 people. Particularly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the hotspots of the virus, the virus proved difficult to contain.

 

Doctor Margaret Chan, the Director General of WHO stated:

“If proven effective, this is going to be a game-changer. It will change the management of the current outbreak and future outbreaks”.

 

The vaccine is licensed to Merck and Co.. However, the vaccine is pending approval by regulators at the moment. An official statement of Merck and Co. indicated that currently, the vaccine is still in mid-stage testing on patients in Liberia and final testing in Sierra Leone.

 

Pending approval, the company will start manufacturing the treatment. As the plans are moving rapidly, Gavi, which is the vaccine alliance, could start purchasing the vaccine as soon as it is approved.

 

Last year, it announced that it is prepared to spend 300 billion dollars on Ebola vaccines that are approved for use in the West African countries. The vaccine alliance is known for buying vaccines for use in developing countries.

 

In Guinea the trial was stopped following the recommendation of an expert panel which stated that Ebola-exposed people in Guinea must be immunized.

 

During the trials, the vaccine was used following the ring approach. This entails that the first people to be vaccinated are those that have been in close contact with a person infected by Ebola. The second tier of vaccinations concerns those at lower risk. And then, as the risk decreases, the vaccine is applied.

 

The assistant Director General of WHO, Marie Paule Kieny declared:

“Where rings have been vaccinated…the transmission has stopped. Prior to the vaccination, there were cases, cases, cases. The vaccination arrived and 10 days later, no cases”.

 

It is expected that upon regulators’ approval, the vaccine will be used following the same strategy.

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Guinea's last Ebola case, a baby girl, leaves hospital

By Emma Farge

DAKAR (Reuters) - A one-month-old baby girl who was Guinea's last reported Ebola case left hospital on Saturday, delighting medical staff and putting the country on course to be declared free of the deadly virus.


Guinea will become officially Ebola-free after 42 days if no new cases are reported following the recovery of baby Nubia -- thought to be the first baby to survive after being born to an infected

mother.


An Ebola outbreak has killed about 11,300 people mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since it began two years ago. Liberia is now the only country with confirmed cases after the virus re-emerged for a third time.


"This is a very happy day for us," Laurence Sailly, head of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres'(MSF) emergency team in Guinea, told Reuters on Saturday. "It was very moving for us and the family to be able to touch her without gloves."


Family members and medical staff played music and danced to celebrate Nubia's release from the Nongo treatment centre in the capital Conakry. She tested negative for the haemorrhagic fever last week, but MSF kept her in for monitoring.


Nubia's mother died shortly after childbirth from blood loss.


Sailly said she thought that Nubia, who was born Ebola-positive and named after an MSF nurse, was able to survive due to experimental drugs as well as round-the-clock care given by a 20-strong team.


"When she (Nubia) started having convulsions, we thought the virus had entered the brain and that's when we started the anti-viral," Sailly said. "Everyone was following hour by hour."


Sailly said Nubia had received Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc's Ebola drug ZMapp as well as an experimental anti-viral drug known as GS-5734 being developed by the U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences.


Nubia was connected to a monitoring system which allowed staff to track her breathing and heart rate without entering the high-risk zone, although staff still had to enter regularly to change her diapers and bottle-feed her.

"She is a symbol of what we are capable of doing at this stage of the epidemic," Sailly said.


At the height of the outbreak last summer, some Ebola patients died in the street in Liberia waiting for hospitals to admit them. At a centre in Sierra Leone, doctors tended to dozens of patients each.


Ebola patients are highly-contagious and can spread the virus through fluids emitted in high quantities during the late stages of infection, such as blood, vomit and diarrhoea.


For ordinary Guineans, the recovery of Baby Nubia has raised hopes that the virus has gone for good.


"We want Ebola to leave this country. The baby is cured, and may God strengthen her health," said Conakry resident Moussa Sylla after news of Nubia's recovery became known last week. "All this is a source of joy for us."

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Ebola: the US government changes its advice on trips in Guinea.

Ebola: the US government changes its advice on trips in Guinea.


The principal US government agency for the protection of public health and public safety (CDC) no longer recommends that Americans avoid travel to residents 'non essential' on Guinea that is in the countdown to the end of the epidemic Ebola.

 

The CDC informs the American public that there

were no cases of hemorrhagic fever Ebola virus in Guinea in recent weeks, and that the risk of infection is extremely low. Indeed the last known patient was released from the hospital this morning in Conakry. The whole world awaits the moment of the official declaration of the end of Ebola in Guinea after 3351 confirmed cases having to Search result 2083 deaths since 2014, according to WHO.

 

However CDC advises American travelers on Guinea to avoid contact with blood or body fluids. "Travelers should also be aware that obtaining medical care in Guinea to be difficult because the health infrastructure was severely affected by the Ebola outbreak," informs CDC. The US agency also advises postponing certain categories of travelers such as the elderly or people with weakened immune systems.

 

This Saturday, Guinea is updated J-11 of the declaration of the end of the Ebola epidemic. Pending the 42th day, health officials advocate caution. "Stay vigilant, we are not very sure that there are no hidden or Forécariah cases in Conakry," advised Dr Sakoba Keita, national coordinator of the fight against Ebola.

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Guinea, Last Nation With Ebola, May Soon Be Declared Free of Virus

A Doctors Without Borders health worker held Nubia Soumah, a girl who is the last known Ebola patient in active treatment in the world, this month at an Ebola treatment center in Conakry, Guinea.
A Doctors Without Borders health worker held Nubia Soumah, a girl who is the last known Ebola patient in active treatment in the world, this month at an Ebola treatment center in Conakry, Guinea.

By DIONNE SEARCEY


NOV. 17, 2015


DAKAR, Senegal — The worst Ebola outbreak in history took a big step toward ending on Tuesday when Guinea, the only nation where the virus had been lingering, began its official countdown to being declared free of the disease.



The countdown began after a 3-week-old girl, Nubia Soumah, the last known patient in active treatment in the world, tested negative for the

virus twice in a row.


Dozens of people in Guinea are still being monitored to see if they develop symptoms of the virus. But if no further cases emerge in Guinea over the next 42 days, the equivalent of two incubation periods for the virus, the nation will be declared officially free of Ebola, nearly two years after the epidemic began in the country’s forest region.



Nubia contracted the virus from her mother, an Ebola victim who died after giving birth. For several days, the baby has been the sole patient at a Doctors Without Borders facility in Conakry, the capital. She will be closely monitored at the facility for follow-up care because of her fragile age.


“She could be the last patient of this epidemic,” said Laurence Sailly, a Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator for Ebola in Guinea.


Guinea has struggled to stamp out the virus even as Liberia and Sierra Leone — each of which had many more cases and deaths — have been declared free of Ebola. The outbreak has killed more than 11,300 people, almost all of them in those three West African nations.


In Guinea, the latest chain of transmission started in Conakry, where a child contracted Ebola and was taken back to her rural village for treatment by a traditional healer, exposing a number of people to the virus across a small cluster of villages. One family was hit particularly hard, that of Seydouba Soumah. He lost two wives, and several of his children were infected. Nubia is his youngest daughter.


Some Soumah family members had been taken to the Doctors Without Borders treatment center for observation, a quarantine of sorts. But they did not contract Ebola, and after the incubation period passed late last week, they were released. Their return home was met with great fanfare, as they were accompanied by Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana.


“We had a big celebration,” said Dr. Boubacar Diallo, the World Health Organization physician in charge of tracking down contacts of victims.

The coming days in Guinea will be stressful for the country, which awaits a declaration of being Ebola-free so it can begin to repair the damage the virus has done to its economy and society.


Aid workers are still monitoring anyone who may have come in contact with Ebola victims in the villages. One woman who fled last month after being in close contact with a patient has not been found, Dr. Diallo said.


Guinea and other countries also run the risk of new cases generated from survivors who still harbor the virus in semen or body tissues.


A Scottish nurse became critically ill last month after having recovered from Ebola, which she contracted doing charity work in Sierra Leone nearly a year ago. She has recovered again and was released last week from a specialized infectious disease treatment center in London, but her health is being closely monitored.


Doctors Without Borders officials in Guinea said Nubia’s case was an important medical milestone: She became the only baby born to an infected mother known to have survived Ebola.


Infants and children who have contracted Ebola during this outbreak have fared the worst of any age group, according to the W.H.O.


Health care officials from around the world have been closely tracking Nubia’s care, checking in frequently with doctors in Conakry.


“She’s broken all records, this little girl,” said Dr. Margaret Harris, a W.H.O. spokeswoman. “She is really something special.”


Nubia has spent her life so far inside a treatment center where she was born, being coddled only by workers suited in head-to-toe protective gear. Two weeks ago, an aunt, Fatoumata Cisse, became her first family member allowed to view her at the treatment center.


“You O.K.?” cooed Ms. Cisse, from several feet away, blocked off by two sets of makeshift fencing to prevent any spread of infection. Nubia slept through the viewing.

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We Are Over Ebola in Guinea

2015/11/17


We must now wait 42 days without a new case for the country to declare an end to the epidemic.


The last patient known Ebola in Guinea, an infant aged 19 days, has been cured and left Conakry hospital where he was being treated, said

Monday the public health authorities.


Negative tests. "The last confirmed case of Ebola has left the clinic," said Fode Sylla Tass, spokesman for the coordination center of the fight against the epidemic. Both tests were negative, he said. The baby, tainted by his mother, who did not survive, was born in the Ebola treatment center Nongo in Conakry.


Quarantine. Sixty-eight others were kept in quarantine without developing the disease. It will take 42 days without a new case for the end of the epidemic can be declared in the country of West Africa.


11,500 patients. Two other countries were at the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak last year that killed more than 11,500 patients: Liberia is officially released in September and Sierra Leone in early.

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Guinea's last Ebola patient released from care in Conakry

The baby was born to an infected mother at the Nongo Ebola treatment centre
The baby was born to an infected mother at the Nongo Ebola treatment centre

The baby was born to an infected mother at the Nongo Ebola treatment centre.

The last known Ebola patient in Guinea has recovered and been released from a treatment centre in the capital, Conakry, health officials say.


A spokesman for Guinea's Ebola co-ordination unit said two tests on the patient - a baby - had been negative.

Guinea will be declared officially free of Ebola if no new cases are reported in the next six weeks.


The epidemic, which began in Guinea, has killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa. Neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia have already been declared Ebola-free.


"The last confirmed case of Ebola has been released from a treatment centre," said Fode Tass Sylla of the Ebola co-ordination unit. "We did two tests after his treatment and they came back negative."


The 19-day-old baby was born in the Nongo Ebola treatment centre but his infected mother did not survive, Reuters reported. Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization earlier this month after 42 days without a single declared case.


Liberia was declared free of the disease in September. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014.

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Guinea releases last 68 people from Ebola quarantine

Guinea releases last 68 people from Ebola quarantine
Guinea releases last 68 people from Ebola quarantine

The final 68 people who had been in contact with an Ebola patient were released from quarantine on Saturday, said a senior health official, raising hopes of an end to the disease in the last West African country with confirmed cases.


The world's worst Ebola epidemic, which hopped borders to kill more than 11,300 people and devastate already fragile West African economies, has already been declared over in

Liberia and Sierra Leone. But Guinea, where the outbreak began, has had a more difficult time eradicating the disease.

 

Dr. Abdourahmane Bathily, head of the Ebola center in Forecariah in western Guinea, said the 68 contacts had emerged from quarantine at midnight on Saturday morning.

 

"There are no longer any people who had contact with a person infected by the Ebola virus," said Bathily.

 

He added that the last confirmed Ebola case was a baby in isolation, who should be released from a treatment center next week, allowing for the West African nation to begin its own countdown clock.

 

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Digby Lidstone)

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Guinea records three new cases of Ebola, brings total to nine

CONAKRY Oct 28 (Reuters) - Three more people in Guinea have been infected with the Ebola virus, a senior health official said on Wednesday, further dampening hopes of an imminent end to the world's worst recorded outbreak of the disease.


The three were infected in Forecariah in western Guinea from the family of a woman who died of Ebola and whose body was handled without appropriate protection, said

Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for the national centre for the fight against Ebola.

 

"In all, nine sick people are being treated at our centres throughout the country and most are connected to the dead woman," he told Reuters, adding that authorities had known of the three fresh cases since Saturday.

 

The epidemic began when a 2-year-old boy fell ill in a remote Guinean village on Dec. 26, 2013, and now risks dragging into a third year and into 2016.

 

It has killed around 11,300 people out of around 28,500 known cases in Guinea and neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to U.N. World Health Organization figures.

 

Liberia was declared free of Ebola transmission on Sept. 3 after 42 days with no new cases, while Sierra Leone will be declared Ebola free on Nov. 7 if there is no new transmission, the WHO said.

 

The 42-day countdown only starts once the last patient tests negative a second time, normally after a 48-hour gap following their first negative test.

 

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Alan Crosby)

 

© Thomson Reuters 2015 All rights reserved

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Guinea police fire teargas at protesters in capital

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's government called for calm on Wednesday after police fired teargas at protesters in Conakry, the capital, before provisional election results are announced later this week.

 

These are typical of election weeks and sometimes the unrest lasts for a few weeks. And then calm will return to Guinea.

Millions of voters, around 75 percent of the population, cast their votes on Sunday, in the West African country's second free election in nearly 60 years since independence.

 

The election was calm and won praise from international observers, but tensions have since been mounting amid allegations of fraud by President Alpha Conde's challengers.

 

Guinea has a history of political violence, including protests during the 2010 campaign that brought Conde to power. On the Friday before this year's election, at least two people were killed and 33 injured in fighting between supporters of Conde and his main rival, Celloun Dalein Diallo.

 

On Wednesday, anti-riot police in the suburb of Koloma Soloprimo fired teargas and warning shots as protesters began building street barriers, residents said.

 

"It is heating up over here. We are all hiding in our houses," said resident Souleymane Bah.

A Reuters reporter on Monday saw three people with gunshot wounds at a local clinic after security forces and the opposition clashed overnight. One of the injured, Bachir Barry, said he was hit in the hip as he was walking from the market.

 

"We are calling on everyone to give up on the street (protests). If the institutions are not respected, then there is no rule of law," Foreign Minister François Lonseny Fall said at a meeting attended by press and foreign diplomats on Wednesday.

 

Justice Minister Cheick Sako said at the same meeting that those caught protesting would face criminal charges.  

 

Dozens of anti-riot police vehicles circulated in opposition neighborhoods, where burnt-out tires and rocks littered the streets following the clashes late on Tuesday.

 

Results of the polls were due to be released on Wednesday, but the Independent National Electoral Commission has indicated they will be come later this week.

 

Early radio announcements show Conde with a sizeable lead. Most analysts, though, expect results to be close enough to require a second round, most likely against Diallo.

 

(Reporting by Saliou Samb and Luc Gnago; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Larry King)

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Rwanda: Ebola Could be Defeated by Close of Year - WHO

Rwanda: Ebola Could be Defeated by Close of Year - WHO


The Ebola epidemic in West Africa could be eliminated completely by the end of the year if efforts to root out new cases are kept up, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief said Thursday.


WHO director Margaret Chan, however, cautioned there could be setbacks in the coming months, but said, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could begin 2016 completely 

Ebola-free.

 

"If the current intensity of case detection and contact tracing is sustained, the virus could be soundly defeated by the end of this year," Chan told the United Nations Security Council.

 

 

"That means getting to zero and staying at zero," she said during a special meeting on the disease.

 

Around 11,300 people have died from Ebola since late 2013 in one of the world's worst outbreak of the often fatal illness that began in Guinea and spread to neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia.

 

Liberia, the hardest-hit country, was declared Ebola-free in May, but six new cases last month raised fears that the virus had not been completely beaten back. Chan said that new cases in Liberia had again stopped and only three cases per week had been reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone over the past two weeks.

 

This represents the lowest numbers seen in well over a year, she said.

Earlier this month, the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has been on the front lines of the Ebola battle, warned that the epidemic was by no means over.

 

"The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is far from under control," according to Joanne Liu, who heads MSF.

 

Cases are still reported weekly, new communities are being infected and bodies are being buried in secret -- a major problem for a disease transmitted though contact with body fluids, she wrote in the science journal Nature.

 

The WHO chief cautioned against "a false sense of security," warning that a single undetected case can ignite a major flare-up.

 

Chan stressed that 13,000 survivors of the outbreak were struggling with long-term complications such as severe joint pains and visual impairments that can lead to blindness.

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Why Guinea Matters to America

Blessed with abundant natural resources, Guineans should live in the most prosperous country in West Africa. But my country remains stuck in extreme poverty because of a half century of authoritarian governments, often inspired by the teachings of Karl Marx.


During this long period when Guineans struggled, fortunately there was good news and some hope. My country has been a bulwark of stability in West Africa’s so-called “arc of crisis.” So far, Guineans have been spared the tragic 

and destructive civil wars found in neighboring Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea-Bissau. Yet this could change. While wars around us have abated, economic stagnation, heightened tribalism, and the unbridled spread of terrorism throughout Africa could undermine Guinea’s cherished stability.

 

There is a way forward for my country to build on its stable past and avoid civil conflict and terrorism spreading to us. My vision is for a free, democratic, prosperous Guinea based on ethnic inclusiveness, the rule of law, free-market economics, and the effective management of the country’s vast mineral, agricultural, water, and human resources. I foresee a proud Guinea fully integrated into the West African economy and making a positive contribution to the world community.

 

This modern, forward-looking, vision stands in stark contrast to that of our incumbent President, Alpha Condé, a lifelong socialist. While the rest of the world has abandoned Marxist theories, President Condé embraces them. And like all diehard socialists, he has failed to achieve any notable economic or social progress since becoming president five years ago.

 

President Condé’s job has admittedly not been easy. He inherited a country that experienced brutal totalitarian rule from independence in 1958 to 1984, then paternalistic, autocratic rule until 2008, followed by a military transitional government until 2010.  There is no reason my country should be trapped by this history. Yet President Condé and his government have failed to rise above it. Guinea remains a case of arrested development and failed hopes.

 

Without drastic and immediate changes at the top levels of government, Guinea could become Africa’s next failed state, a fate my fellow citizens do not deserve. Strangely, President Condé has sleepwalked through his time in office. He has achieved nothing for the Guinean people. His decades-long dream of creating a socialist state has turned into a nightmare for my country. The list of his failures is long. He has failed, for example, to attract foreign investment, most notably in Guinea’s mining sector, which boasts the largest deposits of high-grade bauxite and iron ore on the planet. He has refused to fight corruption. His opaque economic decisions and promotion of his family’s and clan’s narrow interests have convinced many foreign businesses that investment in Guinea is too risky. According to the World Bank, the business climate in Guinea ranks near the bottom at 169th out of 189 countries.   

     

With no record to run on after almost five years in power, President Condé is desperate to hold on to power. He is trying to rig the electoral process again, as in 2010. True to his Marxist roots, he sees presidential elections as a distraction, not a means for free democratic expression. His approach is crude. His leftwing party now dominates the so-called National Independent Election Commission. Without constitutional authority, he replaced local elected officials with political appointees, who will be responsible for organizing the presidential election at the precinct level. He has also reneged on an earlier agreement between the government and opposition to hold fresh local elections before the presidential election. If his unelected appointees remain in office at the local level, the presidential election will not be credible.

 

President Condé’s game is clear: he intends to run roughshod over the democratic process to preserve power for himself and the narrow interests of those around him. This is a dangerous, potentially destabilizing strategy detrimental to the interests of Guineans and West Africans. To act in ways that could destroy your country just to hold on to power is not the behavior of a patriot.

 

Guinea cannot survive another electoral debacle. If, and I pray to God that it does not happen, Guinea descends into violent turmoil—something that no Guinean wishes—it could destabilize the neighboring countries of West Africa and reverse the recent progress our region has made. Moreover, acute instability and continued poverty in Guinea would make the country more vulnerable to the brand of terrorism that has infected neighboring Mali, Nigeria, and much of the Sahel region.

 

These potential threats should be of immediate concern to the United States, Europe and the international community at large. The Fragile States Index, created by the Fund for Peace and published by Foreign Policy magazine, ranks Guinea as the 10th most fragile state in the world, behind Syria but more fragile than Iraq, Libya, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A negative outcome is not preordained. As a former prime minister, I am convinced that there can be bright future for Guinea, a future where Guineans are free to realize the full potential of their country.

 

My fellow citizens deserve free, fair, and transparent elections at all levels of government. They also deserve a president who puts the interests of all Guineans first, irrespective of their region, ethnic identity, or station in life. Guinea does not belong in a Marxist museum. My country deserves a president who will govern openly, uphold and personally obey the rule of law, and reduce corruption. Only then can Guineans realize their full potential.                

As a vice president of the Liberal International, the free-market’s answer to Alpha Condé’s Socialist International, and as an economist by profession, I know that the private sector, working within a stable legal framework, can unleash Guinea’s great, unrealized potential. The private sector—not the state—is best motor for the creation of wealth and jobs in Guinea. 

 

As we approach to the presidential election in October, I ask my fellow citizens and the larger international community, why must Guineans subsist without electricity despite the country’s vast hydroelectric potential? Why do Guineans go hungry despite the country’s proven agricultural potential? Why do the coffers of the Republic of Guinea and most households remain empty despite the country’s enormous, untapped mineral wealth?

 

The answer is not Ebola, as President Condé would like the world to believe. These problems predate the tragic epidemic. We cannot allow President Condé to hide behind the Ebola virus.  While many African economies are achieving impressive growth, Guinea’s growth rate in 2013, that is, before Ebola, was only 2.3 percent, an anemic rate that was more than offset by a population growth rate of 3.1 percent. Under Alpha Condé, Guineans are getting poorer day by day.

 

My fellow Guineans deserve a real choice in October: a vigorous alternative to a Socialist president stuck in the past, clinging to an outdated ideology, enriching himself and his entourage at the expense of everyone else. And while all politics are local, it is also in the strategic interest of Africa, the United States and Europe, and the larger international community to guarantee that all Guineans have the same free, fair, and transparent elections enjoyed by so many in the world today.

 

Cellou Dalein Diallo is a former former Prime Minister of Guinea and the President of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea.

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Anti-Ebola Health Messages Go Viral in Guinea

Simple Phone Game Reaches Illiterate and Low-literate Populations


Halting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is no laughing matter, but a phone information service developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers is leveraging people’s interest in phone games and wacky humor to help spread urgent health information to people in Guinea.

The phone project, called Polly, began operating in March through the U.S. Embassy in Guinea, where the current Ebola epidemic began in December 2013 and where people are still grappling with the outbreak. This week, Polly is part of an anti-Ebola campaign in Forecariah, a territory in western Guinea hard hit by the virus.

 

Originally developed by Roni Rosenfeld, a professor in the Language Technologies Institute (LTI), and Agha Ali Raza, a Fulbright scholar who just completed his Ph.D. in language technologies, Polly is simple in concept: a caller records a message and Polly adds funny sound effects, such as changing a male’s voice to a female’s voice (or vice versa), or making the caller sound like a drunk chipmunk.

 

The caller can then forward the message to one or more friends, who in turn can forward it along or reply to it.

 

To use Polly, someone only needs access to a simple phone, widely available even in developing nations, and need not be able to read or write. Polly thus has the potential to “go viral,” becoming an important means of communicating with large numbers of illiterate and semi-literate people in remote areas.

 

In Pakistan, where Polly was first launched three years ago, and later in India, the phone service was used to link people with recordings of job advertisements. In Guinea, Polly links to recordings of health information, initially provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, more recently, by Guinea’s own Ebola Coordination Unit.

 

Rosenfeld said he and Raza, along with LTI graduate students Nikolas Wolfe and Juneki Hong and LTI Associate Professor Bhiksha Raj, began adapting Polly to the health application last year, as they watched in dismay as the Ebola epidemic spread.

 

“We knew that one of the problems was a lack of information, particularly in remote areas and in the local languages, which was exactly what we try to alleviate with Polly,” Raza said. “Our hope is to reach enough people to make the epidemic weaker.”

 

As a Muslim, he also saw it as an obligation to help. “I don’t know if we’ll be successful, but I just want to make sure that I have tried my best,” said Raza, who is returning to his native Pakistan to join the faculty of Information Technology University, Lahore.

 

Wolfe, a returned Peace Corps volunteer, made connections that put the group in touch with the U.S. Embassy in Conakry, Guinea. The embassy staff, Rosenfeld said, proved “very interested, very supportive and very responsive.”

 

Working long hours on a shoestring, with some support from the LTI and from Raza’s Fulbright scholarship, the group has now implemented a version of Polly featuring the funny voices and others that provide information to the general public and to health care workers.

 

Though community health care workers have undergone training, almost all educational material is only in French, the language used for official communications in Guinea. By providing them with information in seven locally spoken languages, Polly can serve as a memory aid or, when someone questions the workers’ advice, provide a message that has the ring of authority.

 

Once accepted as a reliable source of information, Raza said Polly could be used to respond to all sorts of emergencies and for a variety of communications.

 

“The Embassy definitely views the project as a long-term investment,” said Kimberly Phelan Royston, U.S. Embassy Guinea’s spokesperson.  “Guinea is gearing up for presidential elections in October, and we see potential to use Polly for a get-out-the-vote campaign where users can connect with friends and family to encourage them to go and vote, for reporting instances of voting fraud and as a reference manual for poll workers.”

 

The technology behind the service is inexpensive; in fact, the biggest expense is air time, Rosenfeld said. One reason it was deployed first in Asia is because calls cost just one or two cents a minute there; until recently, air time in Africa could cost 25 cents or more per minute.

 

“To us, getting inexpensive air time is critical because we’re going to be making hundreds of thousands of calls,” Rosenfeld said. “We’re targeting people who might make one or two dollars a day, so we can’t make users pay for it.”

 

More information on Polly is available on the project Web page. The Language Technologies Institute is part of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science.

 

By Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 / bspice@cs.cmu.edu

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Guinea opposition calls for 'anyone but Conde'

Thousands of opposition activists rallied in the Guinean capital on Thursday demanding "anyone but Alpha" Conde be returned in presidential polls expected before the end of the year.


Protesters at a stadium in Conakry chanted "Alpha zero, Alpha Ebola", waving banners that read "Alpha = injustice" and "Anyone but Alpha in 2015".

Opposition spokesman Aboubacar Sylla, president of the Union of Forces for Change party, urged the demonstrators to campaign for electoral reform and for local polls to be held before the presidential vote "theoretically expected in October".


"This regime that everyone in Guinea rejects, wants to succeed itself? Is that possible?" he asked, prompting cries of "no, no" from the crowd.


Conde defeated opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo to take the presidency in the country's first-ever democratic poll in 2010, stoking deadly ethnic tensions that have dogged Guinean politics since independence.


Diallo, a former prime minister, addressed the rally to call on Conde "to leave in 2015 and, for peace in this country, we suggest he organise free and fair elections".


"Here, there are two viruses that plague Guinea, Ebola haemorrhagic fever and President Alpha Conde," added Alpha Ibrahima Sila Bah, leader of the Guinean Party for Rebirth and Progress.


The crowd broke up peacefully, in contrast with the previous rally on January 7, which escalated into a riot in which several police officers and civilians were injured.


One of the poorest countries in the region despite vast potential for mineral exploitation, Guinea was run by a succession of autocratic rulers after gaining independence from France in 1958.


A military junta took control in December 2008 after the death of president Lansana Conte, who had seized power in a coup 24 years earlier.


In 2010, civilian rule was ushered in after a transition period and an election marred by delays and ethnic clashes.


Agence France-Presse


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Four Hurt in Guinea Clashes Ahead of Talks

Four Hurt in Guinea Clashes Ahead of Talks



A security officer walks past a burned car in Conakry, Guinea, where youths clashed with security forces, raising pressure on President Alpha Conde ahead of talks with the opposition on a dispute over the timing of elections, May 7, 2015. 

Reuters

At least four people were injured Thursday in clashes involving protesters, security forces and government supporters that threatened to derail a planned meeting between Guinea's president and the leader of the opposition.

President Alpha Conde has invited Cellou Dalein Diallo to talks on Friday. An opposition spokesman said this week that Diallo was ready to meet Conde, after rejecting earlier overtures.

But Diallo said Thursday that he had been prevented from leaving his home by security forces posted outside the entrance.

"With what happened, we will need to discuss and see if it is even worth responding to the president's invitation tomorrow," he told a local radio station.

Meanwhile, youths in the capital, Conakry, blocked roads with burning tires and drove back police in some neighborhoods in the latest unrest over the timing of elections.

Residents reported hearing gunfire in the city's Sonfonia neighborhood, and a government statement said two of those hurt had been shot. Two people were arrested, it said.

Witnesses said police fired tear gas in the Bambeto and Cosa neighborhoods to disperse demonstrators.

"Counterprotesters also clashed with the opposition demonstrators, throwing projectiles," one Conakry resident said.

The opposition says a decision announced in March to hold Guinea's presidential election on Oct. 11 broke a 2013 agreement to stage long-delayed local elections first.

Analysts say holding local elections first would give Conde's rivals more influence in organizing the presidential polls.

Deputy government spokesman Moustapha Naite called Thursday's violence "regrettable."

"At a moment when we are holding out our hand, such incidents should not be happening. Nevertheless, the government remains willing to talk to find a solution," he told Reuters.

The demonstrations, which began in mid-April in Conakry and other towns, have left at least five people dead and many more injured, according to opposition leaders, who say security forces have fired live rounds during clashes.

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Ten medical workers being evacuated to US from Sierra Leone after helping colleague diagnosed with Ebola

Ebola Sign
Reminders of Ebola’s terrifying spread through the region are everywhere. In Port Loko district in Sierra Leone, a sign advises passers-by about a quarantined home

 

 Ten medical workers with a Boston charity who went to the aid of a colleague diagnosed with Ebola, are being evacuated to the US where they will be placed in isolation units.


The organisation Partners in Health said that last week that one of its members working to tackle Ebola in Sierra Leone had been tested positive for the disease. That person had already been flown to the US and was receiving special treatment at the National Institutes of Health Special Clinical Studies Unit in Bethesda, Maryland, it said.

The organisation said the medical workers who helped the infected person were now also being evacuated. They will form the largest group to be evacuated to the United States over possible Ebola exposure.

 

Reminders of Ebola’s terrifying spread through the region are everywhere. In Port Loko district in Sierra Leone, a sign advises passers-by about a quarantined home “Out of an abundance of caution, and in collaboration with the US Centres For Disease Control and Prevention, these clinicians are being transported to the United States via non-commercial aircraft,” the group said in a statement.

 

“They will remain in isolation near designated US Ebola treatment facilities to ensure access to rapid testing and treatment in the unlikely instance that any become symptomatic.”

Health Workers
Health workers in Sierra Leone take steps to avoid becoming infected but they are not always successful

Partners in Health did not specify a timeline for the new evacuations and the US Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, failed to respond to inquiries, Reuters reported.

 

On Saturday, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said several Americans who may have been exposed to Ebola in Sierra Leone would be monitored. The CDC did not state how many Americans are coming back, but University of Nebraska Medical Centre officials said they will be monitoring four individuals.

 

Health workers in Sierra Leone take steps to avoid becoming infected but they are not always successful “Because we have individuals to monitor simultaneously, the safest and most efficient way to do that is in a group setting,” said Phil Smith, director of the centre's containment unit.

 

Partners in Health began treating Ebola patients in Liberia and Sierra Leone last November, and the clinician who tested positive for Ebola on March 11 is the first staff member to fall ill “as a result of a confirmed occupational exposure”, the group said. It has more than 2,000 employees working in West Africa, including foreigners and local and 600 Ebola survivors.

 

The World Health Organisation estimated last week that the ongoing Ebola outbreak – the largest ever seen - has killed more than 10,000 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The rate of deaths has slowed dramatically in recent months but the virus remains entrenched in parts of Guinea and Sierra Leone. 

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Ebola Crisis: Red Cross workers attacked as virus conspiracies create panic in Guinea

Medical Center Guinea
Members of the French military check a medical centre at Conakry's International airport, on 19 January 2015

Ebola health workers have been the victims of mob attacks across Guinea caused by false rumours spread by opposition politicians , international NGOs exclusively claimed to IBTimes UK. 

The latest of these rumours - that the Red Cross was intentionally spraying schoolchildren with the virus - spread chaos in the capital Conakry and the region of Faranah last week, resulting in violent attacks against the organisation workers.


On 19 February, the Prefect of Faranah, Kennett Guilavogui, announced seven people had been arrested for the dissemination of rumours and false or misleading news.


While the identities of the suspects are still unknown, Guilavogui said that they would soon go on trial. The Prefect added more arrests would follow.

"One can not accept that individuals may inform parents that schools are about to administer the virus to their children, " she said in a statement.

Local Journalist, Macky Sow told IBTimes UK: "It is very difficult to prove these rumours are spread for political reasons, but there are many people who claim politicians are behind these rumours."


These attacks have hampered the health team's efforts to combat the spread of the virus, which the political opposition is blaming on the government ahead of upcoming elections, Youssouf Traoré, president for the Red Cross Society of Guinea, told IBTimes UK from Conakry.


"It must be understood that this year is an electoral year: the opposition never wants the happiness of the population, especially in Africa. We must think about all kind of things. Why are we not at the end of Ebola? Every time it seems Ebola is retreating, it comes back," Traoré said.


The country will be returning to the polls later this year, just five years after its first free elections.


The current President and leader of the socialist Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), Alpha Condé, will face Cellou Dalein Diallo, opposition leader for the liberal Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG).


The opposition has denied the claims in a comment to IBTimes UK.


"These accusations are far from the truth. The opposition in general, and the UFDG particularly have never and will never take part in such actions against health workers," a spokesperson for the party said.


Meanwhile, the UFDG claims President Alpha Condé "was the first one to deny the danger of Ebola and he publicly accused international health organizations of taking part [in] a fear mongering campaign".


"The truth is, the government have failed controlling the disease and the mistrust of the population is from the mismanagement of this disease by our administration".


Power struggle


Guinea is facing a power struggle between opposition and the existing political power, with regular demonstrations for both sides taking place around the country.


On 17 January,  Diallo - who stood for the party in the 2010 presidential election topping the poll in the first round - called his supporters for "civil disobedience" and continuing street protests against the current government, adding he saw no policy of appeasement coming from the Presidential ranks ahead of votes planned this year.


During a visit to Washington, Diallo, an economist and former prime minister from 2004 to 2006, claimed mismanagement of Guinea's response to the Ebola epidemic will hurt the nation's economy by hindering future investment. 

 Several US companies are active in the mining and aluminium ore production sectors, which provide about 80% of Guinea's foreign exchange, alongside diamonds and gold.


The nation's ambassador to the US, Mamady Condé, dismissed Diallo's comments as election-year rhetoric.


"We really hope all political leaders in our country and around the world be in solidarity in the fight against Ebola," the ambassador told Bloomberg recently. "We do not think this is a moment for any argument around the way this epidemic has been handled."


False rumours


"Here we have people of bad character who don't want us to get over with this epidemic, who don't want us to control it," Traoré said.


"We've had the epidemic for a year, and now that it is getting under control, dishonest people are lying to the population, telling them that the Red Cross is engaged in a campaign of pulverisation of the schools," he said, referring to the latest hearsay in the country.


"The population, being so traumatised by the epidemic, panicked as soon as they heard about the rumour. Every family, every parent of pupils went to pick up their kid from the schools. The whole capital panicked, which led to the attack," said Traoré.


Up to six schools in the capital were in a state of total panic.


Following the wave of panic, the Red Cross's headquarters in Conakry was attacked, before the police intervened.


"What is more paradoxical is that the Red Cross was first mentioned [in the rumours]– so someone used our name to create this panic within schools," Traoré said.


A Guinean student gets her temperature checked on 19 January 2015 as he enters at the Oumou Diaby school in the Ratoma area of Conakry as students head back to school after nearly four months of school recess due to the Ebola outbreak(CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)


Hampering the fight


Almost simultaneously, mobs carried out another attack on the Red Cross' regional office 365km (227 miles) from the capital. "All our working equipment was looted," Traoré said.


This comes despite extensive information campaigns put out by the government and all health professionals involved. 


"Paradoxically, people who have no access to the television, radio or the internet are staying in line, while people [from] localities with access to real information are turning against us.


"Everyone should ask themselves, why? We've done all we could [information-wise], yet those rumours spread in localities near Conakry, [where people] have access to all the information."


This, Traoré says, is hampering the fight against the virus.


"They are throwing spanners in our wheels - by preventing us access to certain communities, or contamination nests."


In January, President Condé authorised "the use of the police to arrest recalcitrants" in the fight against Ebola, after he claimed "there are people who do not want Ebola to end".


In September , eight health care workers and local journalists travelling to raise awareness about the spread of Ebola were killed in a massacre in the town of Womey.


Local journalist Sow, said: "At the time, many sources on the ground said that politicians were behind the massacre. But this is very difficult to prove. Many people are very reluctant to share this type of information."


Organized attacks


Claudia Evers, Médecins Sans Frontières's Ebola emergency coordinator in Guinea, echoed Traoré's claims, adding the attacks are more organised now that they have been in the past.


"We've had incidents since the beginning of Ebola, but these were more or less sporadic, and we could control them, and identify the different people in the communities who were behind the incidents."


Despite the latest press conference, she explains a group of youths attacked one of the local MSF sites, throwing stones on the building and destroying plastic shelters.


"Unfortunately we had four staff on the site. They had to hide in the building but managed to flee the site. Even then, the youths continued to demolish the building and they burnt our car," Evers said.

"We have not seen these kind of incidents, and the strength of these incidents, before. We are on high alert because it's the first time that it was clearly an organised attack."


"The [school] rumour spread at exactly the same moment this month, and this is more organised, prefecture by prefecture. It was in Conakry, Dabola, Kindia and Faranah," she explains, adding: "Of course, it is [an] election year but we cannot say it's one person because we have no proof. But it is clear it is election year."


Evers continued: "At the moment, we need to continue our work but it is becoming more difficult day-to-day - but on the other hand we cannot sacrifice beneficiaries due to this conflict either."


The past several weeks have seen an overall decrease in the number of cases, though there are still localised spikes and new outbreaks in prefectures that had been previously cleared, including prefectures in the north of the country - Mali and Togue.


The current outbreak in west Africa started in Guinea in March, 2014. There have been 3,120 cases and 2,072 deaths (as of 20 February 2015), making it the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976.


Guinea is the country with the highest fatality rate, 63%, compared to Liberia (43%) and Sierra Leone (30%).


Guinea's election was called for October 2015 but the opposition have disputed the timetable.

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Guinea measles outbreak: 2,100 children infected since January

In a ReliefWeb update (computer translated) Friday on the measles outbreak in Guinea in West Africa the report notes that the measles outbreak that was declared one month ago has grown to affect 2,100 children since January.

 

“We are admitting new children every day,” said Doctor Karim Assani, a pediatrician at the N’Zérékoré Regional Hospital working with the medical-humanitarian NGO, ALIMA. “Many of them are severe cases, suffering from complications.”

 

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Canada shooting victim dreamed of water for Guinea village

By BOUBACAR DIALLO 

 

Associated Press Feb 1, 2017 

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A Guinea man killed in this week's shooting at a mosque in Canada was working to bring a steady supply of drinking water to his home village at the time of his death, relatives said Wednesday.

 

Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, grew up outside Labe, Guinea's second-largest city located hundreds of miles inland from the capital, Conakry. He studied in London before

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Guinea: the arrest of the men behind the massacre

Toumba, arrested by the Senegal authorities.
Toumba, arrested by the Senegal authorities.

In a recent announcement, Senegal authorities declared the detention of the former guinean military involved in the massacre of 2009 in Guinea. Recently, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, was arrested in Dakar by the Senegalese gendarmerie. Perhaps it is time, to reopen the investigation about heinous crimes committed against Guineans during the massacre.

 

Toumba Diakite, a key part on the stadium’s

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Guinea: 7 Years On, Justice for Massacre Needed - Victims Anxious for Long-Awaited Trial to Begin

In Guinea’s capital, Conakry, family members cry after identifying the body of a relative killed on September 28, 2009, when security forces fired on opposition supporters as they marched to and later held a rally in the September 28 Stadium.
In Guinea’s capital, Conakry, family members cry after identifying the body of a relative killed on September 28, 2009, when security forces fired on opposition supporters as they marched to and later held a rally in the September 28 Stadium.

(Conakry) – Guinea has yet to deliver justice for the grave crimes committed on September 28, 2009, at a Conakry stadium, six international and national human rights groups said today, in advance of the massacre’s seventh anniversary. That day, more than 150 peaceful protesters were massacred by security forces and more than 100 women were raped. Hundreds of injuries and widespread looting were also documented.

 

“How much longer will we have to wait for justice to be done?” said Asmaou Diallo, president of the Association of Victims,

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Ivory Coast re-opens western borders closed during Ebola epidemic

In this photo taken Saturday, March 26, 2015, a boy, stands next to a place that was used to stack bodys of Ebola victims at a crematorium in Boys Town on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia.
In this photo taken Saturday, March 26, 2015, a boy, stands next to a place that was used to stack bodys of Ebola victims at a crematorium in Boys Town on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia.

Ivory Coast re-opens western borders closed during Ebola epidemic

Published September 09, 2016 Reuters

 

ABIDJAN –  Ivory Coast has re-opened its western borders with Liberia and Guinea two years after they were closed to prevent the spread of an Ebola epidemic that killed thousands across West Africa, an Ivorian government spokesman said on Friday.

 

Around 29,000 people contracted the

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Conakry hairdressers dispense cut-and-dried contraceptive advice to women

An apprentice hairdresser at the Jumelle salon in Conakry shows a client different family planning methods. Photograph: Kate Holt
An apprentice hairdresser at the Jumelle salon in Conakry shows a client different family planning methods. Photograph: Kate Holt

Guinea is set to expand its use of hair salons to promote urban family planning beyond the capital, even introducing it to tailors’ shops

 

Female clients at the Jumelle Coiffure hair salon in Conakry benefit from free contraceptives as well as family planning advice dispensed by apprentice hairdressers trained as community health workers.

 

Photograph: Kate Holt

 

Women's rights and gender equality is supported by

Ford Foundation

 

by Ruth Maclean in Conakry

 

Thursday 11 August 2016 19.01 EDT

 

Fatoumatah Bah is cornered. Sitting in front of a tinsel-ringed mirror in Miskaa Salon, her head is bent forward, two women at work braiding twists into her hair. She will be stuck in the chair for at least three hours.

 

It is a good moment to pounce. Fatoumatah Kamara, 20, an apprentice hairdresser in a matching skirt and blouse and glinting cherry earrings, sidles up to Bah. She starts to make conversation.

At first, it is the usual hairdresser chatter. What rain we’ve been having, eh? Where are you from? What are you up to this weekend? This is the 20-year-old accountancy student’s second visit to the salon in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.

 

Soon Kamara’s questions become more personal. Does Bah have a husband? A boyfriend? Then she goes in for the kill. Does she know there are ways of avoiding getting pregnant?

 

With every manicure, pedicure and hairdo at the Miskaa Salon, clients receive a free treatment: a great deal of contraceptive advice.

 

Five salons across Conakry have been dispensing family planning advice since 2012, and they have been so successful that the project – the brainchild of Jhpiego, a health organisation associated with Johns Hopkins University in the US – is about to be extended to salons in Guinea’s seven major cities.

 

In Guinea, which has one of the lowest rates of modern contraceptive use in the world, women have an average of five children. According to UN figures, in 2015 only 7.5% of married or cohabiting women use some form of contraception.

 

A lot of effort has gone into teaching women in rural Guinea about family planning, but not so much in urban areas. A salon is an excellent place to reach them, so long as it is the right kind of salon.

 

“It’s better to go where they do braids because that’s what women traditionally want,” says Yolande Hyjazi, Jhpiego’s director in Guinea. “A woman who’s straightening or washing her hair has more money and more access to information.”

 

Across town from Miskaa, Jumelle Coiffure is trying to turn around clients as fast as possible, largely because the room is impossibly cramped. Jumelle is owned by 32-year-old twins Tata Sylla, wearing a short black and bright green wig, and her sister Mbalia, with long, heavy braids.

 

“There were a lot of young women getting pregnant around here when they didn’t want to, with lots of kids running after them, and I thought it would be good to teach them how to avoid that. Even my apprentices were getting pregnant,” says Mbalia, making up Aminata Kouma’s face just inside the salon door. Outside, a dozen girls huddle under the dripping overhang of the salon’s tin roof, filing fingernails and tugging at each other’s hair.

 

Kouma, 35, says she first heard about family planning at Jumelle.

 

“I never knew about this before coming here – they taught me how,” she said. “I got the injection, and since then I’ve been able to control the number of children I have. I already have four and I don’t want any more. My husband can’t afford it, school fees are so high. There’s too much suffering here. I’m a housemaid, but I’m out of work.”

 

Each salon has an army of apprentices, some of whom have worked in them for years, to cope with the intensity of the work and the number of clients. Jhpiego deliberately chose very popular salons to reach as many people as possible, and trained some of their apprentices as community health workers, to explain how to use exclusive breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy, talk about implants, sell pills and write referrals. They earn half the sale price for any pills and condoms they sell.

 

The trial started in 2013, but everything had to stop for the Ebola outbreak. Like all health organisations, Jhpiego had to turn its efforts to fighting Ebola. In any case, women were not going to the salon.

 

It is now back in full swing, though, and tailors’ shops are the next target. “There are women that wait around all day for their dresses, trying them on,” Hyjazi said. “People are being social, hanging around. But in the tailors’ shops we also have a lot of young men. Reaching men is important.”

The idea is that clients of both establishments will talk to their friends, and word will spread.

At Miskaa, a large wedding party is getting ready.

 

Apprentice hairdressers cluster around each client, carefully painting on long, black eyebrows, blow-drying hair straight, and making minute adjustments to towering, shiny headwraps.

 

Kamara, pointing at her laminated booklet, has just finished explaining how to use a string of beads to track fertility. But it isn’t new to Bah.

 

“I go on Google, I go on YouTube, I find information,” she says. “But not everybody is a student like me.”

 

She knew about condoms and pills, but not the other methods Kamara talks about. Young people have far more access to information than previous generations, and sex is slowly becoming something that is more talked about.

 

Young men who have come to Miskaa Salon for cut price condoms are shown how to use them correctly by apprentice hairdresser Nene Diakité. Photograph: Kate Holt

 

Traditionally, a Guinean woman would space out her children by leaving her husband and going back to her mother’s house for a few years, every time she had a baby.

 

“Now no one is using abstinence, so everyone is using contraceptives, but no one is talking about it,” Hyjazi says. “Many people think that if a women is using contraceptives, it’s because she has another partner. There’s not a lot of open communication – even between a husband and wife using them. Many women will use the pill without telling their husbands.”

 

One thing is unlikely to change, though, and according to Hyjazi, it is skewing the statistics, because people doing surveys do not always do them in private. “If a woman is asked if she’s using contraceptives and her mother or mother-in-law is there, she’ll never say yes.”

 

The wedding party is almost ready. Kamara looks over each woman carefully before opening the door for them. In a few hours, they have become more glamorous and, thanks to Kamara, more contraceptive-savvy.

 

“I like making women beautiful – that’s why I work here,” says Kamara, already looking around for her next quarry.

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Guinea: Increasing censorship and pressure on leading musicians

Degg J duo
Degg J duo

The 2010 election of longtime opponent Alpha Kondé as president of Guinea brought with it hope that music and other forms of artistic expression would enjoy relatively untrammelled freedom.

 

Such optimism rode on the wave of a burgeoning hip hop scene, an established roster of international

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Liberia and Guinea discharge final Ebola patients in latest flare-up and begin 42 days of heightened surveillance

Two boys discharged from the Ebola treatment centre, 29 April 2016, Liberia WHO Liberia/Peter Glee
Two boys discharged from the Ebola treatment centre, 29 April 2016, Liberia WHO Liberia/Peter Glee

May 2016

 

Liberia’s Ministry of Health, WHO and partners held a ceremony at the Ebola treatment facility in Monrovia to celebrate the recovery and discharge of a 2-year-old boy, the final patient in a latest flare-up in Liberia. His 5-year-old brother recovered a week earlier.

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Girls in Guinea cut at earlier age as female support for FGM rises: U.N.

A woman holds a knife used in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Photo: UNICEF/Catherine Ntabadde
A woman holds a knife used in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). Photo: UNICEF/Catherine Ntabadde

DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Girls in Guinea are increasingly being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) before the age of 10, and support for the practice among women and girls in the West African nation is on the rise, the United Nations rights office said on Monday.

 

Seven in 10 women in Guinea aged 20 to 24 were cut before their tenth birthday, compared to 60 percent of women aged 45 to 49, despite the fact FGM has been illegal since 1965,

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The passion of a young volunteer in Guinea's Ebola response

Sekou Camara, 20, provided safe and dignified burials as part of the Red Cross Ebola emergency response and now, wanting to help his country recover, he has signed up for surveillance activities. Photo: Mountaga Drame, IFRC
Sekou Camara, 20, provided safe and dignified burials as part of the Red Cross Ebola emergency response and now, wanting to help his country recover, he has signed up for surveillance activities. Photo: Mountaga Drame, IFRC

 

Published: 4 April 2016 8:30 CET

By Mirabelle Enaka Kima, IFRC

 

Sekou Camara, 20, was among the first to volunteer to conduct safe and dignified burials with the Red Cross Society of Guinea when the Ebola outbreak began two years ago. Despite his young age, Sekou Camara dedicated himself to fighting Ebola, acquiring valuable experience along the way. When the outbreak was declared over, Sekou was ready for a new challenge and turned his sights to surveillance activities.

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Death toll rises to 7 in Guinea Ebola outbreak

The WHO said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constituted an international emergency, but the announcement of new cases in Guinea demonstrates the difficulty of managing the aftermath of the virus (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)
The WHO said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constituted an international emergency, but the announcement of new cases in Guinea demonstrates the difficulty of managing the aftermath of the virus (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)

Conakry (AFP) - A resurgence of Ebola in a rural Guinean community has killed seven people, health officials said Wednesday, even as the World Health Organization voiced confidence that remaining isolated cases could be contained.

 

The WHO said Tuesday that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer constituted an international emergency, but the announcement of new cases demonstrated the difficulty of managing the aftermath of the virus.

 

The death of a man, two of his wives and his daughter were announced two weeks ago by the Guinean health authorities, who confirmed Wednesday a third wife and a mother-in-law also died after becoming infected in the village

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New Ebola group found in Guinea

Monday, Mar 28, 2016 @ 3:14pm

by Vaccine News Reports

 

Since March 22, there were 816 identified contacts located within 107 households.

Scientists recently discovered a new cluster of the Ebola virus in Guinea, as there were three unexplained deaths in Korokpara village, located in N’Zerekore prefecture, during the last few weeks.

 

This news is on the heels of Sierra Leone announcing that it is free of the Ebola virus. West Africa also recently announced that it is free of the disease.

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A young girl in Guinea has died from Ebola - the fourth person to die in the latest flare-up in the west African nation.

 AAP - 20 MAR 2016

 

A fourth person has died of Ebola in Guinea in the latest flare-up of an epidemic that has killed more than 11,300 people in that country, Sierra Leone and Liberia since 2013 but now claims few victims.

 

"The young girl who was hospitalized at the Ebola treatment centre in Nzerekore is dead," said Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for the centre

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New Ebola Cases Confirmed In Guinea As WHO Warns Of More Possible Flare Ups

Two new cases of Ebola have been detected in Guinea, and WHO has warned that the African country is still at risk of Ebola flare-ups.

WHO dispatched a team of specialists to the southern prefecture of Nzérékoré after new cases were confirmed in a rural village.

 

Guinean health officials in the region alerted WHO and partners on 16 March to three

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After 2 Years And 2,500 Deaths, Guinea Is Ebola-Free

For a country to be declared free of the virus, it must go 42 days without seeing a new infection.

 

12/29/2015 12:54am


Michael McLaughlin
Reporter, The Huffington Post 


 

Guinea, one of the countries hit by the worst outbreak of Ebola, has been declared free of any cases of the deadly virus. 

 

 

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NEW VACCINE TO COUNTER THE EBOLA EPIDEMIC AWAITS APPROVAL

Upon Regulators’ Approval, the Vaccine, Licensed to Merck & Co. could end the Ebola Epidemic.


The Ebola epidemic that has taken the lives of thousands in West Africa could come to an end with a new hopeful vaccine.


The experimental vaccine was tested in Guinea on several thousands people and proved highly

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Guinea's last Ebola case, a baby girl, leaves hospital

By Emma Farge

DAKAR (Reuters) - A one-month-old baby girl who was Guinea's last reported Ebola case left hospital on Saturday, delighting medical staff and putting the country on course to be declared free of the deadly virus.


Guinea will become officially Ebola-free after 42 days if no new cases are reported following the recovery of baby Nubia -- thought to be the first baby to survive after being born to an infected

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Ebola: the US government changes its advice on trips in Guinea.

Ebola: the US government changes its advice on trips in Guinea.


The principal US government agency for the protection of public health and public safety (CDC) no longer recommends that Americans avoid travel to residents 'non essential' on Guinea that is in the countdown to the end of the epidemic Ebola.

 

The CDC informs the American public that there

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Guinea, Last Nation With Ebola, May Soon Be Declared Free of Virus

A Doctors Without Borders health worker held Nubia Soumah, a girl who is the last known Ebola patient in active treatment in the world, this month at an Ebola treatment center in Conakry, Guinea.
A Doctors Without Borders health worker held Nubia Soumah, a girl who is the last known Ebola patient in active treatment in the world, this month at an Ebola treatment center in Conakry, Guinea.

By DIONNE SEARCEY


NOV. 17, 2015


DAKAR, Senegal — The worst Ebola outbreak in history took a big step toward ending on Tuesday when Guinea, the only nation where the virus had been lingering, began its official countdown to being declared free of the disease.



The countdown began after a 3-week-old girl, Nubia Soumah, the last known patient in active treatment in the world, tested negative for the

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We Are Over Ebola in Guinea

2015/11/17


We must now wait 42 days without a new case for the country to declare an end to the epidemic.


The last patient known Ebola in Guinea, an infant aged 19 days, has been cured and left Conakry hospital where he was being treated, said

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Guinea's last Ebola patient released from care in Conakry

The baby was born to an infected mother at the Nongo Ebola treatment centre
The baby was born to an infected mother at the Nongo Ebola treatment centre

The baby was born to an infected mother at the Nongo Ebola treatment centre.

The last known Ebola patient in Guinea has recovered and been released from a treatment centre in the capital, Conakry, health officials say.


A spokesman for Guinea's Ebola co-ordination unit said two tests on the patient - a baby - had been negative.

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Guinea releases last 68 people from Ebola quarantine

Guinea releases last 68 people from Ebola quarantine
Guinea releases last 68 people from Ebola quarantine

The final 68 people who had been in contact with an Ebola patient were released from quarantine on Saturday, said a senior health official, raising hopes of an end to the disease in the last West African country with confirmed cases.


The world's worst Ebola epidemic, which hopped borders to kill more than 11,300 people and devastate already fragile West African economies, has already been declared over in

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Guinea records three new cases of Ebola, brings total to nine

CONAKRY Oct 28 (Reuters) - Three more people in Guinea have been infected with the Ebola virus, a senior health official said on Wednesday, further dampening hopes of an imminent end to the world's worst recorded outbreak of the disease.


The three were infected in Forecariah in western Guinea from the family of a woman who died of Ebola and whose body was handled without appropriate protection, said

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Guinea police fire teargas at protesters in capital

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's government called for calm on Wednesday after police fired teargas at protesters in Conakry, the capital, before provisional election results are announced later this week.

 

These are typical of election weeks and sometimes the unrest lasts for a few weeks. And then calm will return to Guinea.

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Rwanda: Ebola Could be Defeated by Close of Year - WHO

Rwanda: Ebola Could be Defeated by Close of Year - WHO


The Ebola epidemic in West Africa could be eliminated completely by the end of the year if efforts to root out new cases are kept up, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief said Thursday.


WHO director Margaret Chan, however, cautioned there could be setbacks in the coming months, but said, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could begin 2016 completely 

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Why Guinea Matters to America

Blessed with abundant natural resources, Guineans should live in the most prosperous country in West Africa. But my country remains stuck in extreme poverty because of a half century of authoritarian governments, often inspired by the teachings of Karl Marx.


During this long period when Guineans struggled, fortunately there was good news and some hope. My country has been a bulwark of stability in West Africa’s so-called “arc of crisis.” So far, Guineans have been spared the tragic 

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Anti-Ebola Health Messages Go Viral in Guinea

Simple Phone Game Reaches Illiterate and Low-literate Populations


Halting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is no laughing matter, but a phone information service developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers is leveraging people’s interest in phone games and wacky humor to help spread urgent health information to people in Guinea.

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Guinea opposition calls for 'anyone but Conde'

Thousands of opposition activists rallied in the Guinean capital on Thursday demanding "anyone but Alpha" Conde be returned in presidential polls expected before the end of the year.


Protesters at a stadium in Conakry chanted "Alpha zero, Alpha Ebola", waving banners that read "Alpha = injustice" and "Anyone but Alpha in 2015".

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Four Hurt in Guinea Clashes Ahead of Talks

Four Hurt in Guinea Clashes Ahead of Talks



A security officer walks past a burned car in Conakry, Guinea, where youths clashed with security forces, raising pressure on President Alpha Conde ahead of talks with the opposition on a dispute over the timing of elections, May 7, 2015. 

Reuters

At least four people were injured Thursday in clashes involving protesters, security forces and government supporters that threatened to derail a planned meeting between Guinea's president and the leader of the opposition.

President Alpha Conde has invited Cellou Dalein Diallo to talks on Friday. An opposition spokesman said this week that Diallo was ready to meet Conde, after rejecting earlier overtures.

But Diallo said Thursday that he had been prevented from leaving his home by security forces posted outside the entrance.

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Ten medical workers being evacuated to US from Sierra Leone after helping colleague diagnosed with Ebola

Ebola Sign
Reminders of Ebola’s terrifying spread through the region are everywhere. In Port Loko district in Sierra Leone, a sign advises passers-by about a quarantined home

 

 Ten medical workers with a Boston charity who went to the aid of a colleague diagnosed with Ebola, are being evacuated to the US where they will be placed in isolation units.


The organisation Partners in Health said that last week that one of its members working to tackle Ebola in Sierra Leone had been tested positive for the disease. That person had already been flown to the US and was receiving special treatment at the National Institutes of Health Special Clinical Studies Unit in Bethesda, Maryland, it said.

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Ebola Crisis: Red Cross workers attacked as virus conspiracies create panic in Guinea

Medical Center Guinea
Members of the French military check a medical centre at Conakry's International airport, on 19 January 2015

Ebola health workers have been the victims of mob attacks across Guinea caused by false rumours spread by opposition politicians , international NGOs exclusively claimed to IBTimes UK. 

The latest of these rumours - that the Red Cross was intentionally spraying schoolchildren with the virus - spread chaos in the capital Conakry and the region of Faranah last week, resulting in violent attacks against the organisation workers.


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Veteran Doctor Fears Rise of a Drug-Resistant Strain Will Help the Disease Spread

Bangkok


Despite a sharp drop in malaria-related deaths over the past decade, a veteran doctor here, in the heart of the world’s malaria belt, says now is the time to wage a large-scale battle with the mosquito-borne disease.


One colleague calls Nick White “the grandmaster” of drug therapy for malaria. Dr. White and other researchers worry about the resistance to artemisinin—a drug that has

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Schools in Guinea closed amid Ebola to reopen Monday

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — All schools in Guinea will reopen on Monday after being closed amid the deadly Ebola outbreak, Guinea's health minister said Friday.

Health minister Remy Lamah told The Associated Press in Accra, Ghana during a summit by the Economic Community of West African States that the action is being taken "because the situation has improved." 

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A hopeful new trend on Ebola

guinea, health worker, ebola
In this Oct. 16, 2014, file photo, a healthcare worker dons protective gear before entering an Ebola treatment center in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

In a letter published online Wednesday, Dec. 24. 2014, by the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors report that the Ebola death rate seems to have fallen even though there are no specific medicines or vaccines to fight the virus. 


In a letter published online Wednesday, Dec. 24. 2014, by the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors report that the Ebola death rate seems to have fallen even though there are no specific medicines or vaccines to fight the virus. (AP Photo/Michael Duff, File) FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2014, file photo, a healthcare worker dons protective gear before entering an Ebola treatment center in Freetown, Sierra Leone. In a letter published online Wednesday, Dec. 24. 2014, by the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors report that the Ebola death rate seems to have fallen even though there are no specific medicines or vaccines to fight the virus.


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Ebola Epidemic Continues to Spread

Drums, Ebola, Guinea.
CDC Directgor Tom Frieden tours King Tom Cemetery in Sierra Leone, where safe and dignified burials are taking place.

Ebola Epidemic Continues to Spread


[CDC] – After more than a year of Ebola transmission in Guinea and more than 7 months of transmission in Liberia and Sierra Leone, there is still much to be done to stop the world’s first Ebola epidemic, CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H reported from his second visit to the three affected nations.

Dr. Frieden returned Sunday from West Africa, where he spoke with patients and staff; met with many of CDC’s 170 staff working in each of the countries; and met with the presidents, health ministers, and Ebola leadership of each country. He described the situation as both inspiring and sobering.


“It is inspiring to see how much better the response has become in the past two months, how much international commitment there is, and, most importantly, how hard people from each of the three countries are working to stop Ebola,” Dr. Frieden said. “But it is sobering that Ebola continues to spread rapidly in Sierra Leone and that in parts of Monrovia and Conakry Ebola is spreading unabated. Improvements in contact tracing are urgently needed.” 


At a telebriefing held to discuss the results of his trip to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, Dr. Frieden described progress in some areas but continued growth in Ebola cases in other areas. Lingering unmet needs throughout the region continue to challenge response

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Guinea leader warns Boko Haram risks spreading in region

Guinea leader warns Boko Haram risks spreading in region


Alpha Conde, pictured on November 26, 2014 at the presidential palace in Conakry, says Islamic extremism …


Paris (AFP) - Guinea's president warned Sunday that Islamic extremism risked spreading throughout west Africa and called on countries in the region to do more to help Nigeria in its struggle against Boko Haram.


Alpha Conde's comments came after the radical group kidnapped 185 people in northeast Nigeria on December 14, in a chillingly similar event to the April abduction in Chibok of more than 200 school girls.

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US Ebola vaccine trial reports positive results

A related vaccine is due to be tested in West Africa in 2015.

Ewen Callaway


A volunteer receives Ebola vaccine at the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine in Oxford, UK, on 17 September.


An experimental vaccine against Ebola virus seems to be safe and commands a strong immune response against the virus, according to tests in 20 healthy people in the United States. The results of the phase 1 trial are published in the New England Journal of Medicine1.


“All in all, I would say it was a successful phase 1 study,” says Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of 

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Russian An-124 Aircraft With Mobile Clinic Aboard Arrive in Guinea

Russian An-124 Aircraft With Mobile Clinic Aboard Arrive in Guinea


According to Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman, the An-124 military transport aircraft have delivered more than 150 tons of medical equipment for the establishment of a field hospital in Guinea.


MOSCOW, November 16 (Sputnik) — Russian An-124 Ruslan aircraft with a field hospital and a stock of medicines on board have landed in the Conakry airport, Republic of Guinea, a spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense said Sunday.

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Ebola and us: Why fear is something to fear itself

A photo of Boccaccio's of 1916
A tale from Boccaccio's "Decameron", by John William Waterhouse (1916). Photo by Wikimedia Commons

As pandemics go, Ebola is a midget, but its potential for instilling panic could have economic ramifications for Israel and the developed world far in excess of its death toll.

By David Rosenberg


There's something about pandemics that brings out the medieval in many of us.

In the African countries that have been hardest by the Ebola virus, many people have resorted to pre-modern "solutions" like turning to witch doctors, hiding family members with

 

Ebola rather than taking them for treatment, and attacking clinics. They ignore the urgings of doctors and scientists to avoid contact with dead bodies at funerals, and thus infection spreads.

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The Poor and the Sick

Woman getting checked for Ebola with thermometer.
A health worker checks the temperature of a woman entering Mali from Guinea at the border in Kouremale, October 2, 2014. (Joe Penney / Courtesy Reuters)

What Cholera and Ebola Have in Common


The two deadliest outbreaks of this century can be traced to one thing: poverty. Cholera exploded in the Haitian countryside in October 2010, infecting more than 600,000 people and killing 8,600. Ebola surfaced this March in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. As of mid-October, more than 8,000 have been infected and 4,000 have died, almost exclusively in West Africa.


At first glance, the two outbreaks couldn’t be less similar. Cholera moves quickly but it is a nineteenth-century disease, easily thwarted by modern water treatment systems and health care. It ravaged Haiti, but it has not spread beyond the developing world. Ebola, on the other hand, moves slowly and is not as easily treated. Further, it has reached the United States, earning it near-obsessive attention in U.S. news. 


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Ebola may be gruesome but it’s not the biggest threat to Africa

Chlidren pose for a photo in Africa
Children by a clean water supply in Mozambique

Malaria has killed 70 times more people this year – even though it’s very easy to prevent


Mystery diseases inspire a special terror in the West. Buried in our psyche lies the idea that a new Black Death will one day appear, shattering the medical protection we have built over the years. Horror films are made about killer viruses sweeping Britain but even they look mild compared to some of the hysteria emanating from the Government. 


A few years ago, the Department of Health warned that another pandemic is “inevitable” and predicted up to 750,000 British deaths. “Socioeconomic disruption will be massive,” it concluded. We are, apparently, just waiting for the next big virus to strike.


Perhaps this explains the panicky reaction to Ebola. It’s hardly a new disease, having emerged (and been defeated) several times before – but it has never been as big as it is now. It’s certainly gruesome, killing seven in 10 people it infects with symptoms including bleeding from the eyes and ears. There are 4,500 dead so far and there are fears 

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IFRC Ebola response in Guinea: explaining why we do, what we do

Ebola treatment in Guinea
Helena Humphrey told DW that much of the Red Cross work focuses on education and awareness

The WHO says Ebola cases are on the rise in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. DW spoke to the IFRC spokesperson for Ebola Response in West Africa, Helena Humphrey, about the daily fight against the deadly virus.


DW: What has been the public's response to the operation to stop the spread of Ebola?


Helena Humphrey: Everybody here knows why they are fighting against Ebola. When I have spoken to people in different villages, and I have asked them why they are fighting Ebola, they have all come back to me with convincing answers, but different answers. They said, to protect myself, to protect my family, and to protect you, people from western countries, so it does not spread further. They also said to 

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Ebola deflating hopes for 3 poor African economies

Photo of Guinea marketplace
FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2014 file photo, people do business at the Waterside local market in the center of Monrovia, Liberia. Just as their economies had begun to recover from the man-made horror of coups and civil war, the West African nations of Guinea,

WASHINGTON — Just as their economies had begun to recover from the man-made horror of coups and civil war, the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been knocked back down by a terrifying force of nature: the Ebola virus.


In addition to the human toll — more than 4,000 dead so far — the outbreak has paralyzed economic life. Across the Ebola zone, shops are closed, hotels vacant, flights cancelled, fields untended, investments on hold.


In Conakry, capital of Guinea, stray dogs, goats and sheep are plopping down next to empty stalls in street markets devoid of shoppers.


About the only things people want to buy are products meant to guard against Ebola — antiseptic gels and devices that attach to faucets and add chlorine to the water.


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Guinea: Donka Ebola treatment centre in Conakry stretched to the limit

Ebola ambulance in Guinea
Tike, 9 years old, together with his elder sister Miatta and younger brother Jina sent by ambulance to MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun, Sierra Loene. Both their parents already died of Ebola.

Conakry – the first major city to be affected by the West Africa Ebola outbreak – is currently seeing a massive spike in cases. In July, case numbers appeared to decrease in Guinea, suggesting the end of the outbreak might be near.

 

But MSF is now caring for more than 120 patients – of whom 85 are confirmed to have the virus – in its two case management facilities in the country, Conakry and Guéckédou.


The Donka Ebola management centre, situated inside the Ministry of Health hospital complex in Conakry, has been particularly badly affected. The facility admitted 22 patients in one day (6 October), 18 of them coming from Coyah region, 50 kilometres east of Conakry.

 

There are now 62 patients in the Donka center, which has 60 beds and is currently being expanded with 14 more. This would appear to confirm fears of a massive hike in cases in 

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The surprising Ebola connection to chocolate

Cocoa production in West Africa
Gambi Gbanble harvests a pod of cocoa beans from his plantation near the village of Baba, in the southern rainforests of Ivory Coast, May 30, 1998. (AP)

Just when you thought you knew all the consequences of the Ebola pandemic, here’s another one: it could affect the supply of chocolate.  Of course that doesn’t rise to the seriousness of illness and death, but it does show how much Ebola affects trade and production.


An estimated 70% of the world’s cocoa beans come from the West African countries of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer, exporting 37.8% of the world’s cocoa, according to the Wall Street Journal. (In fact, Ivory Coast just posted a record harvest and the government increased its minimum price to farmers.)


As with other crops and minerals in Africa, there are human 

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Tabaski rams bought in Paris, eaten in Dakar

Sheep for Tabaski
Rams waiting to be bought These sheep need no passports to cross borders - it's a Tabaski free for all.

Tabaski rams bought in Paris, eaten in Dakar

By Fiona Graham

Technology of business reporter, BBC News, Dakar, Senegal


Counting sheep: Across Senegal's capital, Dakar, rams crowd streets and parks destined to be sacrificed for Tabaski


"It's a party, it's joy, you know. We go to mosque in beautiful new clothes, the women prepare the sauce, the meat, we eat together at home and with our neighbours. It's really marvellous."


Abdulaziz Nder sells sheep. More particularly, once a year he takes sheep into the centre of Dakar, a vibrant, sun-drenched city of eight million inhabitants, where he will spend several 

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Why hasn’t the U.S. closed its airports to travelers from Ebola-ravaged countries?

Testing for Ebola
An Ivorian health worker screens international travelers at the Felix Houphouet Boigny International airport in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (Legnan Koula/European Pressphoto Agency)

Why hasn’t the U.S. closed its airports to travelers from Ebola-ravaged countries?

By Abby Phillip October 2 at 3:33 PM

Follow @abbydphillip


Now that a man in the United States has been diagnosed with Ebola, some are asking why we haven't stopped allowing people traveling from West Africa into our airports.


Thomas Eric Duncan, the patient currently being treated in the Dallas area, boarded a flight from Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in Texas on Sept. 20. United Airlines said Wednesday that it was told by the CDC that Duncan had used the airline to travel from Brussels to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., before flying from Dulles to Dallas-Fort Worth.

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The West ignores the stories of Africans in the middle of the Ebola outbreak

Nigerian Doctors treat patients
A Nigerian port health official uses a thermometer to screen Muslim pilgrims for Ebola at the Hajj camp before boarding a plane for Saudi Arabia at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba/AP)

It wasn’t surprising that Western journalists would react with doom-and-gloom when the Ebola outbreak began in West Africa. Or that the crisis would not be treated as a problem confronting all humanity — a force majeure — but as one of “those diseases” that afflict “those people” over there in Africa.

 

Most Western media immediately fell into fear-mongering. Rarely did they tell the stories of Africans who survived Ebola, or meaningfully explore what it means to see your child or parent or other family member or friend be stricken with the disease.

 

Where are the stories of the wrenching decisions of families forced to abandon loved ones or the bravery required to simply live as a human in conditions where everyone walks on the edge of suspicion?

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Ebola outbreak: Health team 'found dead' in Guinea

Drums Boston
Some villagers in Guinea have been scared by the appearance of health workers trying to combat Ebola

Officials in Guinea searching for a team of health workers and journalists who went missing while trying to raise awareness of Ebola have found several bodies. A spokesman for Guinea's government said the bodies included those of three journalists in the team. 

 

They went missing after being attacked on Tuesday in a village near the southern city of Nzerekore. More than 2,600 people have now died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

 

It is the world's worst outbreak of the deadly disease, with officials warning that more than 20,000 people could ultimately be infected.

 

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Obama Plans Major Ebola Offensive

Ebola news of DrumConnection Boston
Volunteers in Centennial, Colo., load medical supplies last week bound for Sierra Leone to combat Ebola. Associated Press

More Doctors, Supplies and Portable Hospitals Planned for Africa


By CAROL E. LEE and BETSY MCKAY CONNECT

Sept. 14, 2014 7:41 p.m. ET


WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama plans to dramatically boost the U.S. effort to mitigate the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including greater involvement of the U.S. military, people familiar with the proposal said.


Mr. Obama is expected to detail the plan during a visit Tuesday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, these people said. Among the possible moves: sending additional portable hospitals, doctors and health-care experts, providing medical supplies and conducting training for health workers in Liberia and other countries.

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