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By Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, 11 December 2015 Health is widely considered to be a fundamental human right, yet the sad truth is that far too many people around the world still do not have access to basic health care. Millions of Africans in particular are unable to access or afford the services they need to survive and thrive without incurring financial hardship.  The answer to this problem is clear: universal health coverage (UHC). For too long, the idea of achieving universal health…
West Africa is experiencing the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak of Ebola virus disease in history. Ebola outbreaks can be contained using available interventions like early detection and isolation, contact tracing and monitoring, and adherence to rigorous procedures of infection control. However, a specific treatment or vaccine would be a potent asset to counter the virus. Over the past decade, research efforts have been invested into developing drugs and vaccines for Ebola…
The 5th meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 regarding the Ebola virus disease (EVD, or “Ebola”) outbreak in West Africa was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee on Thursday, 9 April 2015. As provided in the IHR 2005, the main issues for the Committee’s advice to the Director-General were: (1) does the event continue to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern…
WHO joins the government of Sierra Leone in marking the end of the recent flare-up of Ebola virus disease in the country. As of today, 17 March, 42 days have passed, two incubation cycles of the virus, since the last person confirmed to have Ebola virus disease in the country tested negative for a second time. This latest flare-up of Ebola brings to 3 590 the number of lives lost in Sierra Leone to an epidemic that devastated families and communities across the country and disrupted every…
When Sierra Leone’s first Ebola patient came through the door of the Kenema Government Hospital in Freetown, Issa French was there to admit her. Since that day, Issa has tended to more than 500 people, all victims of the epidemic that engulfed his country. Ebola killed many of his patients, as well as dozens of his colleagues. Like most of his fellow nurses, Issa is essentially a volunteer, one who is 20 to 30 times more likely to become infected than any of his patients. Although he has…
More and more people are living longer than before in Africa In Africa, older people are valued for their wisdom and knowledge, and have also been traditionally hard to find. Fifty years ago, the average life expectancy at birth in the continent was under the age of 45. But the life expectancy at birth for most of Africa has now grown to exactly 60 years in 2015, with the number increasing in many countries by 20 percent or more over the past 15 years. More and more people are living longer…