Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

WHO SUPPORTS GAMBIA TO PREPARE A RESPONSE TO ANY EBOLA OUTBREAK

June 12, 2014
MINISTER SEY

MINISTER SEY

United Nations Agencies in the Gambia through World Health Organization have equipped the Gambia to prepare and combat any outbreak of the Ebola virus. The support was multimillion dollar sanitary equipment and medical items donated to the Gambia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for preparations and readiness to respond to the deadly Ebola virus in case of an outbreak.

“Today’s presentation was to further consolidate the United Nations respond to the ongoing preparatory measures earlier eluded.  UN believes that an emergency of this nature has far reaching complications and as a result, UN deems it fit to respond as a single entity these instead of intervening as separate domains”, WHO Country Representative Dr Charles Saego Moses said

“The join efforts of the UN system came at much unset when the West African nation declared a state of preparedness   for the Ebola virus”, WHO representative noted.

The WHO Envoy further revealed that the Ebola virus has not been detected in the Gambia yet, but nonetheless he was quick to add the zero percent margins should not mean any complacency. “The joint efforts of the UN came from the unset the Gambia declared a state of preparedness”, buttressed the WHO Representative.

“You may recalled when the  news of  the outbreak of  Ebola virus  in Guinea and other west African countries came , the Hon minister immediately responded by putting  in place a number of measures  including preparing and responding with a plan. He was also able to draw a package to UN System for support”, further elaborated the WHO envoy in the Gambia.

The WHO embarked on several capacity building programmes for stakeholders involve fight against the virus. The Gambia’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Omar Sey, commended UN for the support to the country’s health sector. “Gambia is currently serving under the World Health Organization board as committee which indicated that Gambia has done something to improve its health sector”, revealed Minister Sey.

 

 

GAMBIAN IMAM DENIES FGM IN THE COUNTRY

April 3, 2014
Imam Fatty of State House

Imam Fatty of State House

The State House imam, Alhaji Abdoulie Fatty, has declared that “there is no FGM in The Gambia” while accusing anti-FGM campaigners of spreading fallacies about what he described as an “Islamic practice”…

“I have lived in Bakoteh for many years and I have never heard of anyone, who died as a result of female genital mutilation (FGM). All the campaigners are saying is repetition of what other people told them. For us, we are here for the articulation of the truth. Let them bring something that can convince us because we know that the pictures and the things they say do not emanate from them but from outsiders far away from The Gambia. FGM does not exist in The Gambia. What we have here is female circumcision. If you know what FGM means, you know that we do not practice that here. We do not mutilate our children.

“The crux of the matter is, they should not portray us as practitioners of a thing that we do not practice. Given we do not have FGM here, why are they campaigning against it. If they are campaigning against FGM, let them go to places that practice it but not to us because we do not practice that here. What we have here is circumcision and that is our religion. We do not mutilate our people. FGM is part of our religion. When it comes to FGM, Islam found us practising it. Prophet Muhammad found the people of Medina practising it and Allah commanded him to follow the path of Prophet Ibrahim of which FGM is one that he advised. Prophet Muhammad also advised people how to do it in a good way hence it became part of our religious practice.”

Challenged to cite any benefits of the practice that prompted him to put up such spirited defence of it, the strident cleric, who studied in Saudi Arabia, continued:  “The prophet, Muhammad said we should practice circumcision but with moderation so that we leave a smile on her face and therein lies reward for the husband. If a woman doesn’t undergo the practice, in the majority of circumstances, they have greater sexual appetite than the husband and this can lead them to have contempt for the man if he falls short in satisfying her appetite. Or it can put on the husband a duty so onerous it could result in hardship for him. But if they are circumcised, balance can be achieved; the husband will not incur hardship and so too the wife. It also contributes to cleanliness. Circumcision makes you cleaner. But this does not mean if a woman has not undergone the practice, her prayers, fasting or pilgrimage will not be accepted. They will be accepted as long as they keep clean. It is easier for a circumcised woman to keep clean than the uncircumcised one.

“The late Dr Jack Faal, may Allah grant him mercy, said that all the negative things being said about FGM is rubbish. That it leads to bleeding is without scientific basis and evidence. He said that the blood that comes in the process is just a trickle. It is just like when a finger is wounded the blood trickles but does not lead to profuse bleeding. He said there is no cutting of muscle involved nor bones. What is done is just to cut a small bit of skin; so small and it heals fast. The allegations of anti-FGM campaigners that it causes bleeding that can lead to death has been rebutted by Dr Jack Faal. In fact, Dr Jack Faal said those who did not undergo the procedure suffer more during labour than those who underwent it”

Culled from Standard News Gambia.

FEARS OF EBOLA GRIPS WEST AFRICA

April 1, 2014
Ebola Patience Receiving Treatment

Ebola Patience Receiving Treatment

West Africans may turn to the miracle cure of Dr Jammeh

Why couldn’t the Doctor of  miracle cure, Dr. Jammeh assist in combating Ebola?

West African nations are scrambling to contain an outbreak of a deadly Ebola virus suspected of killing at least 79 people in Guinea Conakry, with symptoms of the disease now reported in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia. Senegal is reported to have closed its borders with Guinea, in a bid to derail the spread of the virus across.

The spread of Ebola, one of the most lethal infectious diseases known, has spooked nations with weak health care systems. In Guinea’s southeast, home to all the confirmed cases, residents are avoiding large gatherings and prices in some markets have spiked as transporters avoid the area.

Health authorities in Liberia said they have now recorded eight suspected cases of Ebola, mainly in people who crossed the border from Guinea. Five of these had died but tests were still being carried out to check if the cases were indeed Ebola. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said a total of 86 suspected cases, including 59 deaths, had been reported in southeastern Guinea near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia. Laboratory tests have confirmed 13 cases of Ebola in Guinea so far, the first outbreak of the disease in West Africa.

“People are really frightened. They have seen people die in a matter of just two or three days. They are constantly worried who is going to be the next fatality,” said Joseph Gbaka Sandounou, who manages operations for aid agency Plan International in Guekedou. “People have never experienced anything like this before. Rumors are rife among communities who are trying to come up with their own explanations.”

Samples taken from those who died in Liberia had been sent to Conakry for testing, according to the Geneva-based WHO. In Guinea, authorities have taken steps to quarantine suspected cases in the districts of Guekedou, Macenta, Nzerekore and Kissidougou.

In Sierra Leone, authorities set up a task force after the death of a 14-year-old boy who had attended the funeral of a suspected Ebola victim. Authorities have yet to confirm if the boy died of the disease.

Virulent strain

Ebola was discovered in 1976 in then-Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo. Scientists have identified the outbreak in Guinea as the virulent Zaire strain of the virus. Because people who fall sick with it tend to vomit, have diarrhoea and suffer both internal and external bleeding, their bodies are often “covered in virus”, explained Peter Piot, one of the co-discoverers of Ebola and now director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

This means anyone in close contact with them – such as nurses, doctors and carers – is at risk, he said. The virus causes a raging fever, headaches, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and weakness, before moving into more severe phases of causing vomiting, diarrhoea and haemorrhages.

In the southeastern Guinea town of Macenta, prices – especially for products like chlorine – have risen due to shortages, resident Mamady Drame said. People have also started avoiding shaking hands. “Can you imagine that people are hesitant to even greet each other? That is a shocking symbol in our culture,” Drame said. In the distant capital, where there have not yet been any confirmed cases, some bank staff handling cash wore gloves and clients were encouraged to wash their hands before entering.

Esther Sterk, a tropical diseases specialist at medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières, said that while dangerous, Ebola remains rare. Since its 1970s discovery, around 2,200 cases have been recorded. Of those, 1,500 were fatal. The last major outbreak of the Zaire strain was in 2007, when 187 people died in Congo, a fatality rate of 74 percent.

Scientists are not clear how the virus – which also infects animals including bats, believed to be a major reservoir of the disease – crossed the continent from Sudan, Congo and Uganda. With ethnic and family ties and trade making cross-border travel common in the region, the outbreak in Guinea is causing concern in nearby West African nations.

In Ivory Coast, a neighbour of Guinea’s to the east, authorities said there were no suspected cases but they advised residents to avoid eating bushmeat – a carrier of the disease – and regularly wash their hands. Mali said it was working with the WHO to put in place preventive measures, including stronger border control health checks, and a mechanism for coping with potential victims.

Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease that may be caused by any of four of the five known ebola viruses. These four viruses are: Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Ebola virus (EBOV), Sudan virus (SUDV), and Taï Forest virus (TAFV, formerly and more commonly Côte d’Ivoire Ebola virus (Ivory Coast Ebolavirus, CIEBOV)). EVD is a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), and is clinically nearly indistinguishable from Marburg virus disease (MVD).

The genera Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus were originally classified as the species of the now-obsolete Filovirus genus. In March 1998, the Vertebrate Virus Subcommittee proposed in the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) to change the Filovirus genus to the Filoviridae family with two specific genera: Ebola-like viruses and Marburg-like viruses. This proposal was implemented in Washington, DC on April 2001 and in Paris on July 2002. In 2000, another proposal was made in Washington, DC, to change the “-like viruses” to “-virus” resulting in today’s Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus.

Rates of genetic change are 100 times slower than influenza A in humans, but on the same magnitude as those of hepatitis B. Extrapolating backwards using these rates indicates that Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus diverged several thousand years ago. However, paleoviruses (genomic fossils) of filoviruses (Filoviridae) found in mammals indicate that the family itself is at least tens of millions of years old. Fossilized viruses that are closely related to ebolaviruses have been found in the genome of the Chinese hamster.

Signs and symptoms

Manifestation of Ebola begins with a sudden onset of an influenza-like stage characterised by general malaise, fever with chills, arthralgia, myalgia, and chest pain. Nausea is accompanied by abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Respiratory tract involvement is characterized by pharyngitis with sore throat, cough, dyspnea, and hiccups. The central nervous system is affected as judged by the development of severe headaches, agitation, confusion, fatigue, depression, seizures, and sometimes coma.

Cutaneous presentation may include: maculopapular rash, petechiae, purpura, ecchymoses, and hematomas (especially around needle injection sites). In general, development of hemorrhagic symptoms is indicative of a negative prognosis. However, contrary to popular belief, hemorrhage does not lead to hypovolemia and is not the cause of death (total blood loss is low except during labor). Instead, death occurs due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome due to fluid redistribution, hypotension, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and focal tissue necroses. The mean incubation period, best calculated currently for EVD outbreaks due to EBOV infection, is 12.7 days (standard deviation = 4.3 days), but can be as long as 25 days.

Haemorrhage

All patients show some extent of coagulopathy and impaired circulatory system symptomology. Bleeding from mucous membranes and puncture sites is reported in 40–50% of cases, while maculopapular rashes are evident in approximately 50% of cases. Sources of bleeds include hematemesis, hemoptysis, melena, and aforementioned bleeding from mucous membranes (gastroinestinal tract, nose, vagina and gingiva). Diffuse bleeding, however, is rare, and is usually exclusive to the gastrointestinal tract.

Risk factors

Between 1976 and 1998, from 30,000 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods sampled from outbreak regions, no ebolavirus was detected apart from some genetic traces found in six rodents and one shrew collected from the Central African Republic. Traces of EBOV were detected in the carcasses of gorillas and chimpanzees during outbreaks in 2001 and 2003, which later became the source of human infections. However, the high lethality from infection in these species makes them unlikely as a natural reservoir. Plants, arthropods, and birds have also been considered as possible reservoirs; however, bats are considered the most likely candidate. Bats were known to reside in the cotton factory in which the index cases for the 1976 and 1979 outbreaks were employed, and they have also been implicated in Marburg virus infections in 1975 and 1980. Of 24 plant species and 19 vertebrate species experimentally inoculated with EBOV, only bats became infected. The absence of clinical signs in these bats is characteristic of a reservoir species. In a 2002–2003 survey of 1,030 animals including 679 bats from Gabon and the Republic of the Congo, 13 fruit bats were found to contain EBOV RNA fragments. As of 2005, three types of fruit bats have been identified as being in contact with EBOV. They are now suspected to represent the EBOV reservoir hosts.

Bats drop partially eaten fruits and pulp, then terrestrial mammals such as gorillas and duikers feed on these fallen fruits. This chain of events forms a possible indirect means of transmission from the natural host to animal populations, which have led to research towards viral shedding in the saliva of bats. Fruit production, animal behavior, and other factors vary at different times and places that may trigger outbreaks among animal populations. Transmission between natural reservoirs and humans are rare, and outbreaks are usually traceable to a single index case where an individual has handled the carcass of gorilla, chimpanzee, or duiker. The virus then spreads person-to-person, especially within families, hospitals, and during some mortuary rituals where contact among individuals becomes more likely.

The virus has been confirmed to be transmitted through body fluids. Transmission through oral exposure and through conjunctiva exposure is likely and has been confirmed in non-human primates. Filoviruses are not naturally transmitted by aerosol. They are, however, highly infectious as breathable 0.8–1.2 micrometer droplets in laboratory conditions; because of this potential route of infection, these viruses have been classified as Category A biological weapons.

All epidemics of Ebola have occurred in sub-optimal hospital conditions, where practices of basic hygiene and sanitation are often either luxuries or unknown to caretakers and where disposable needles and autoclaves are unavailable or too expensive. In modern hospitals with disposable needles and knowledge of basic hygiene and barrier nursing techniques, Ebola has never spread on a large scale. In isolated settings such as a quarantined hospital or a remote village, most victims are infected shortly after the first case of infection is present. The quick onset of symptoms from the time the disease becomes contagious in an individual makes it easy to identify sick individuals and limits an individual’s ability to spread the disease by traveling. Because bodies of the deceased are still infectious, some doctors had to take measures to properly dispose of dead bodies in a safe manner despite local traditional burial rituals.

 

Prevention

As an outbreak of ebola progresses, bodily fluids from diarrhoea, vomiting, and bleeding represent a hazard. Due to lack of proper equipment and hygienic practices, large-scale epidemics occur mostly in poor, isolated areas without modern hospitals or well-educated medical staff. Many areas where the infectious reservoir exists have just these characteristics. In such environments, all that can be done is to immediately cease all needle-sharing or use without adequate sterilisation procedures, isolate patients, and observe strict barrier nursing procedures with the use of a medical-rated disposable face mask, gloves, goggles, and a gown at all times, strictly enforced for all medical personnel and visitors. The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid any person’s contact with the blood or secretions of any patient, including those who are deceased.

Vaccines have protected nonhuman primates. The six months needed for immunisation impede counter-epidemic uses. In 2003, a vaccine using an adenoviral (ADV) vector carrying the Ebola spike protein therefore was tested on crab-eating macaques. The monkeys twenty-eight days later were challenged with the virus and remained resistant. A vaccine based on attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) vector carrying either the Ebola glycoprotein or the Marburg glycoprotein in 2005 protected nonhuman primates, opening clinical trials in humans. The study by October completed the first human trial, over three months giving three vaccinations safely inducing an immune response. Individuals for a year were followed, and, in 2006, a study testing a faster-acting, single-shot vaccine began; this new study was completed in 2008. Trying the vaccine on a strain of Ebola that more resembles the one that infects humans is the next step.

Because of the virus’s high mortality, it is a potential agent for biological warfare. Given the lethal nature of Ebola, and since no approved vaccine or treatment is available, it is classified as a biosafety level 4 agent, as well as a Category A bioterrorism agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has the potential to be weaponised for use in biological warfare. The BBC reports in a study that frequent outbreaks of Ebola may have resulted in the deaths of 5,000 gorillas.

Authors: Alphonso Toweh and Saliou Samb

SPANISH SURGEONS ARRIVED IN GAMBIA

March 14, 2014
Spanish surgeons in action

Spanish surgeons in action

A team of Spanish medical surgeons, specialized in pathology, have arrived in the Gambia to provide free health care support to children. The team arrived on Monday, 10 March 2014 and have since embarked on humanitarian services to the Gambian populace.  

The free medical treatment started on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 and will last for a week. The event is facilitated by WASSU Gambian” Kafoo” in Spain and Gambia’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare officials.

The team had since embarked on nose and throat plastic surgery at Serekunda Hospital in the Greater Banjul Region of the Gambia. The head of the Spanish medical team, Pedro Clarence, said his team is part of a foundations of doctors and nurses that are in the Gambia to support the health care of children.

“The Clarence foundation is based in Spain and has over the years been rendering similar services to countries such as India, Senegal, Gabon, Cameron and others”, Dr Pedro Clarence informed Gambians.

Hospitals and major Health Centres in the Gambia are currently running out of drugs for treatment. Many patients diagnosed with illnesses have to buy their prescribed medicines from private pharmacies across the country.

“We arrived on Monday to give support to the Gambian populace in the area of pathology and we will treat high number of children in West African nation”, Dr Clarence told Xinhua.

Dr Carlos, also a member of the Spanish team called on parents to bring children with such problems for treatment. He thanked the Gambia government for putting every necessary thing in place for the smooth functioning of his team.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital, Baba Njie, said “the initiative is a positive development and the gesture will greatly complement the government’s efforts to support Gambians and non-Gambians alike who are currently battling with such problems and are seeking for treatment”. He assured the team of his Hospital’s support towards the success of the initiative to wipe out diseases in Gambia.

French Media Reveal Jammeh’s Medical Condition

February 22, 2014
Jammeh caught cancer from his cancer patient. That's what happened when a Dr tries to cure a disease he has no clue about.

Jammeh caught cancer from his cancer patients. The fatal mistake that happens when a Dr tries to cure a disease he has no knowledge of without precaution.

Breaking News

Breaking News

Kibaaro News has been reliably informed of reports heard over the French media regarding the health condition of the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who is currently receiving medical treatment in France.

According to our source, the French radio station called Liberation disclosed on Friday, 21 February 2014, that the Gambian President was flown in from Morocco, where he earlier sought medical attention.

Our source, who listened to the Radio programme on Liberation, informed that the radio station had disclosed that the Gambian President went to Morocco on Thursday, 20 February 2014 to seek for medical treatment. He was however advised by the Moroccan Doctors to proceed to France on Friday, 21 February 2014, due to the advance nature of his condition.

The Radio Station disclosed that the Gambian President is suffering from a type of cancer called ‘Colon Cancer’, which is at an advance stage. It is also widely reported that President Jammeh is suffering from a brain cancer.

The British National Health Services stated the followings about Colon Cancer also known as Bowel Cancer:

“Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon cancer or rectal cancer. Symptoms of bowel cancer include blood in your stools (faeces), an unexplained change in your bowel habits, such as prolonged diarrhoea or constipation, and unexplained weight loss.”

It is worth noting that President Jammeh had shown signs of the above symptoms. He was flown to the United States in 2013 for suffering diarrhoea, which was feared to have been caused by food poisoning. He is further reported having lost weight of recent. It is therefore credible that the President is suffering from ‘Colon Cancer’ and not ‘Brain Cancer’.

According to our source, the French Radio had also disclosed that it is been rumoured that the President intends for Mr Momodou Sabally, the current Secretary General and head of Government, as well as the Minister of Presidential affairs, to replace him should he not succeed the ailment.

It is worth noting that our source is not a Gambian, but a Senegalese diplomat who overheard the programme on the Radio Liberation and contacted our editor to inform him of the same. The diplomat was also seeking to gain background information on Mr Sabally.

It could be recalled that President Yahya Jammeh had visited France on Thursday, 5th December 2013, when he had medical check ups with regards to his mysterious medical condition.

However, his presence in France at the time attracted protests from the Gambian dissidents in Paris on 7 December 2013. As a result, it is reasonable that President Jammeh may prefer treatment in Morocco, in order to avoid attracting another protest from the Gambian dissidents in France.

It is however baffling that President Jammeh, who declared  his discovery of a miracle cure to cancer to the world, is unable to cure himself at present.

PRESIDENT JAMMEH LAUNCHES “TOBACCO FREE GAMBIA” CAMPAIGN

February 20, 2014
DIctator Jammeh

Dictator Jammeh

Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking

The Gambia Government in collaboration with the United Nations-World Health Organization and other stakeholders have on Wednesday 19 February 2014 launched a new tobacco control campaign to  eradicate tobacco smoking and its related epidemic diseases in the west African nation of the Gambia.

The new initiative which calls for a mass media campaign on the theme A SMOKE FREE GAMBIA aims to help government combat tobacco smoking and its related vices officials said. The program which brought together different stakeholders from across the country was championed by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Campaigners undertake to remind Gambians of the repercussions  on smokers as well as people around them often considered as second hand smokers. Tobacco epidemic, according to the officials at the launching, kill nearly 6 million people each year.  More than 600,000 non-smokers die of breeding in second hand smoking globally. Officials warn unless we act swiftly the epidemic will kill more than 8 million people each year by 2030, and more than 80 percent of those people affected will be among people living in low and middle income countries.

WHO representative Charles Moses hailed the Gambia government for taking appropriate steps and its achievement on the fight against tobacco menace in the country.I heard about the Gambia in her proactive actions in tobacco control.  This information came from a friend who was a campaigner against tobacco” he said. “The Gambia is one of the countries leading the tobacco control campaign. We will certainly get additional support from others interested in this campaign. I am also very happy because the media is with us in this campaign and am sure they will make sure the information of what we are doing will reach people.”

Speaking at the launching ceremony at Paradise Suits Hotel in Kololi, The Gambia Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Mr Omar Sey, disclosed “The Gambia is described by WHO as the leading country doing well in tobacco control.  Today marks yet another giant step in this battle”. According to the Gambian Minister the event is timely, and the statistic has shown a high level of smoke consumption in the Gambia. “After tougher legislature and pressure from the developed countries many tobacco companies today shifted to the developing countries like the Gambia making us the most vulnerable from huge investments of these companies, in order to secure operational licenses”, the Minister lamented. Statistic revealed cigarette smoking is on the increase among both adolescent and adult population of the Gambia. The Health Minister concluded by calling on Gambians to take urgent measures to address the effect of tobacco.

Solar Odeger, Communication Consultant for World Long Foundation called on stake holders to adopt government policies in the fight against tobacco. Edrissa Samba Sallah, a tobacco campaigner, said the fight will be more effective considering the level of education of the people. He also appealed for promotional materials helping him in his campaign.

The Deputy Director of Health at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Muhamed Saho, called on the media to intensify the campaign as they are the key partners. “We will intensify the campaign and call for more resource for its sustainability.”

GAMBIA HEALTH OFFICERS CONFISCATE EXPIRED FOOD STUFF

February 11, 2014
Expired Food Stuff

EXPIRED FOOD STUFF

Health Officers of the Gambia Ministry of Health and Social welfare have embarked on a massive confiscation of expired food items in the Upper River Region. The move aims to foster qualitative food consumption food and augment the already ailing health care system in West African nation.

The team which appears uncompromising and determined to attain its objective has confiscated several expired goods including Tomato pastes, milk powders, sugar bags and cartons of mayonnaise. The officials also visited other food vendors who were advised to cover their foods to avoid cross-contamination from the flies that cause Salmonella and Shigella.

These expired food items have been confiscated to avert health hazard to the people. We want to make sure that food consumption safe, healthy and palatable” Modou Njie a Senior Public Health Officer in URR underscored. “Selling expired food in Gambia is against the law and the food act 2005 enacted by the parliament. We have warned business sectors including the Super market owners and shop owners to desist from selling expired food items and those found in the act will be prosecuted in accordance with the law “Mr Njie further cautioned.

The general public is urged to report anyone engaged in selling expired and expose food to the public” another officer added.

In January2014, the World Bank officials said they will cease funding of US$8 million projects in the country’s Health sector if the Gambia fails to meet the criteria of clinical waste management control in the country.