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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

United Nations re-iterate commitment to
build durable peace in South Sudan

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has reiterated its commitment to protect civilians and build durable peace in the world’s youngest nation.

David Shearer, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and the Head of the UNMISS, said the UN mission will help the warring parties that signed the Sept. 12 agreement to build trust and confidence for the future of the country.

“On UN Day, I would like to reassure you that the United Nations is committed to building a durable peace, protecting civilians and building the economic future of South Sudan,” Shearer said on Wednesday evening during the celebrations to mark the UN Day in Juba.

Shearer alluded to the UN Secretary-General’s statement issued on Wednesday that said all the UN agencies working in South Sudan will never give up on protecting, providing much-needed humanitarian aid to people in an effort to achieve peace and development for all.

United Nations Day is marked each year on Oct. 24 to commemorate the day in 1945 when the Charter of the United Nations came into force.

South Sudan became the 193rd member of the UN after it gained independence in 2011 from Sudan through a referendum.

President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-opposition (SPLA-IO), agreed to the final peace deal mediated by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African bloc.

South Sudan’s conflict has now entered its fifth year since it erupted in 2013 after forces loyal to Kiir and his former deputy Machar engaged in combat.

The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile.

Millions of South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in neighboring countries as the conflict rages on despite attempts by international players to end it.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

China donates U.S. 1.5 million dollars to
South Sudan to enhance Ebola prevention

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government on Thursday donated 1.5 million U.S. dollars to South Sudan to help prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease(EVD) that has killed more than 100 people in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Riek Gai Kok, South Sudan’s Minister of Health, said the donation came at the right time when South Sudan urgently needed assistance to strengthen Ebola surveillance in areas bordering DRC.

Kok said the Chinese donation would be used to purchase ambulances and other emergency response tools to help strengthen the country’s vigilance against the deadly virus.

“We appreciate this timely donation from the people of China through the embassy here and I think it is going to strengthen our capacity,” Kok said.

He Xiandong, Chinese ambassador to South Sudan, said the funds will help the Ministry of Health to respond swiftly and prevent Ebola from spreading into South Sudan, adding that the Chinese government will continue to support South Sudan’s health sector.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), South Sudan is one of the four high-risk countries (Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda) of Ebola outbreak following the outbreak in DRC, which has killed at least 120 people since August.

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Violence in eastern DRC interrupts Ebola care

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- Conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including areas where deadly Ebola is being fought, has forced tens of thousands of people to flee for safety, including humanitarian and medical staff, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported the toll violence in the DRC has taken in the east of the sprawling nation, Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, told reporters.

In Beni, North Kivu, a flash point of the new Ebola outbreak, at least 12 civilians were killed last Saturday, he said.

All humanitarian activities were suspended, including at the Ebola Treatment Center, the spokesman said. It had no medical staff to attend victims for about three hours.

The same site had to suspend operation last month for several days because of direct threats against humanitarian actors, Haq said.

“There have also been serious concerns about infiltration by armed groups in the Ruzizi Plain and the regions along the shores of Lake Tanganyika,” he said, adding that armed confrontations led to the suspension of humanitarian assistance in the areas between Kamanyola and Uvira.

“Insecurity and displacement are putting serious pressure on an already stretched humanitarian response in the country, where the number of people in need of humanitarian protection and assistance has nearly doubled over the last year to an estimated 13.1 million, one out of every seven Congolese,” the spokesman said.

The DRC’s Health Ministry this past August declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus in North Kivu province.

The ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Monday that out of a total of 244 suspected cases so far, there have been 157 deaths. There were 209 confirmed cases and 122 confirmed deaths. The remaining number are regarded as probable cases of Ebola but had not yet been confirmed by the time of the latest tally.

The latest meeting of the WHO Emergency Committee on Ebola in the DRC one week ago determined a Public Health Emergency of International Concern should not be declared but that it remains “deeply concerned by the outbreak and emphasized that response activities need to be intensified and ongoing vigilance is critical,” said the WHO.

Ebola, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness, with a death rate of up to 90 percent caused by Ebola virus, the WHO said. Current evidence suggests that fruit bats may be a host to the virus.

People become infected with Ebola either through contact with infected animals, usually following butchering, cooking or eating, or through contact with the bodily fluids of infected humans, the health agency said.

“Most cases are caused by human-to-human transmission which occurs when blood or other bodily fluids or secretions (stool, urine, saliva, semen) of infected people enters a healthy person’s body through broken skin or mucous membranes,” it said.

During an outbreak, those at higher risk of infection are: health workers, family members or others in close contact with infected people, mourners who have direct contact with bodies during burial rituals, the WHO said.

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South Sudan hails UN support in fight against infectious diseases

JUBA South Sudan  (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese doctors have commended the UN for lending support towards the fight against malaria and other infectious diseases that are rampant in the world’s youngest republic.

Health personnel from the world body won accolades from local officials during the celebrations to mark UN Day in Juba on Wednesday, for providing voluntary medical services to populations affected by infectious diseases.

Saki Edward Laku, health officer working with the South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, lauded the UN health agencies for providing equipment, drugs and mosquito nets to help tame spread of malaria that is a leading cause of deaths in the country.

“Malaria is the cause of many deaths in South Sudan, especially among children, pregnant women as well as lactating mothers and the elderly,” Laku told Xinhua.

He revealed that 70 percent of patients had malaria during routine screening in endemic regions hence creating a public health crisis.

“We are very happy today that we are here to help our people get life-saving interventions. We have almost vetted 95 patients and we are still continuing screening and we have found almost everybody tested malaria positive,” said Laku.

He revealed that use of malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) for detecting evidence of malaria parasites in patients’ blood has proved effective.

“We give patients anti-malarial drugs which is the first line of treatment for the disease and in case of severe cases, we refer patients to the Juba Teaching Hospital for further treatment,” said Laku.

Michael May, a local clinical officer working with Jubek’s Primary Health Care (PHC), said they teamed up with health partners like WHO and UNICEF to assess the therapeutic response to anti-malarial drugs based on patients’ conditions.

“Our health partners today really helps us to offer free medical consultation services and treatment to our people and we are very grateful for the support,” said May.

David Shearer, head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, said all the UN agencies working in Juba will never give up on providing emergency aid to the population affected by outbreak of diseases.

United Nations Day is marked on Oct. 24, in commemoration of the day in 1945 when the UN Charter was ratified by 51 countries.

South Sudan became the 193 member of the UN after it gained independence in 2011 from Sudan following a referendum.

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WHO commends South Sudan efforts in tackling epidemics, maternal deaths

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday commended South Sudan’s improved health care system and preparedness to prevent and respond to the outbreak of infectious diseases and epidemics.

The WHO also hailed the country’s positive efforts in reducing maternal deaths.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said South Sudan’ health sector is slowly strengthening with positive tangible results despite being disrupted by over four years of conflict.

It cited reduction in child and maternal deaths from 2,500 per 100,000 live births to as low as 700 deaths per 100,000 live births.

“The country started off at independence with some of the lowest capacities in health. The maternal mortality was one of the highest levels of maternal deaths in the world,” she told journalists in Juba after concluding her four-day visit to the country.

South Sudan also on Monday inaugurated its first ever state-of-the-art Public Health Emergency Operations Center to monitor and combat major diseases and help mitigate humanitarian crises.

Moete disclosed that WHO is interested in supporting the country in laying the basis for a health system that will grow in strength and capacity to deliver health care.

Riek Gai Kok, the South Sudan Minister of Health, said the WHO has already supported with medical experts drawn from the region to help strengthen the preparedness and capacity building in preventing and combating Ebola Virus.

Kok said South Sudanese health officials will benefit by learning and acquiring skills from these medical experts from the region which will help in sustaining the PHEOC.

“For the first time we can now collect samples and come out with the results within 6 hours,” he said.

The WHO also donated four ambulances to South Sudan to help in emergency situations around the capital in addition to donating some 50,000 U.S. dollars to address some of the immediate health challenges.

South Sudan in 2013 experienced a cholera outbreak that killed over 260 people. Other diseases like hepatitis, meningitis and measles are still menacing people there.

South Sudan has suffered from a civil war since December 2013, which led to the displacement of more than 4 million others. 

             

 

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