Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Ebola vaccine test successful

Hyderabad: A preliminary vaccine for Ebola has been created by Ella Foundation of Bharat Biotech. The vaccine made from adenovirus and glycoprotein was tested on mice and the results were good.
Dr Krishna Ella of Ella Foundation said, “This preliminary vaccine needs to be further tested and has to undergo clinical trials. As the Foundation does not have the required expertise, we want the Centre or scientific institutions to take it up. Ebola is a deadly disease which spreads through contact. It has not yet hit the Indian shores.
The US and European countries had been trying to develop a vaccine. But there has been no breakthroughs so far. Whether this preliminary vaccine will be successful in tests is a big question. Although regarded as a good model, its future depends on how it works on laboratory animals like monkeys. 

Vodafone supports Ebola call centre

The Vodafone Ghana Foundation is set to collaborate with Ghana Health Services (GHS) and Vantage Medical Solutions, with support from World Health Organisation (WHO), to launch a ‘health-worker-to-health worker’ call service regarding Ebola.
According to the company, the call centre will be utilised in order to provide health workers with access to technical advice, guidance, information, and support from trained call centre operators, on  infection, prevention and control measures.
According to Vodafone, 63 health workers will be operating the call centre. These health workers have undergone rigorous training under the guidance of the GHS and WHO. Vodafone Ghana CEO Haris Broumidis said the telecom operator is passionate about health and is proud to provide its mobile technology for the pioneering health initiative. Healthline 255 is the first medical call centre in Ghana and in Africa to offer a health worker-to-health worker advice.
According to, ctifmonline.com, Vodafone Ghana CEO, Mr Haris Broumidis said: “Vodafone is passionate about health and is proud to avail its mobile technology for this pioneering health initiative. Healthline 255 is the first medical call centre in Ghana and in Africa to offer a health worker-to-health worker (HW-to-HW) advise. We believe that communications technologies can be used to address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges; and we will continue to champion initiatives and build partnerships that improve the lives of people within our communities.”
Whilst the number of Ebola cases maybe tapering in West Africa, new cases continue to be reported. As of 15 April, the outbreak, which has persisted for more than a year, has infected 25,826 people and resulted in 10,704 deaths, according to WHO.

“This initiative is a multi-sectoral partnership, deeply cognisant that pandemics. such as Ebola have no boundaries. Ultimately, health is a ‘shared responsibility’ and this partnership illustrates the need to work together using our comparative strengths and resources to fight this pandemic,” added Dr Robalo. This is a multi-sectoral public-private partnership – bringing together government, WHO and the telecommunications sector.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Ghana to have infectious disease centre

An infectious disease centre with World Health Organisation (WHO) specifications is to be built in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

The centre will provide services, training and research on infectious diseases, including the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD).

The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Victor Asare Bampoe, made this known at a symposium on the EVD in Accra, which was organised by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) yesterday.

The symposium was on the theme, “Ebola: Have we gone to sleep?” and was sponsored by the First Atlantic Bank.

Dr Bampoe said the government was in discussions with the World Bank to help finance the building of the centre.


He explained that the infectious disease centre formed part of the measures being put in place to ensure that the country was adequately prepared to handle any Ebola eventuality, adding that the country was still on high alert to ensure that no Ebola case entered the country.

Commending the health volunteers who went to Liberia and Sierra Leone to help fight the disease, Dr Bampoe said such volunteerism had helped the country to gain experience in treating the Ebola disease.

The WHO Country Representative, Dr Magda Robalo, who spoke on the international perspective of the EVD, said the outbreak of the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had provided useful lessons for both the international and local communities.

She pointed out the need for all to take the threat of diseases seriously, stressing the need also for all to invest in health systems.

Dr Robalo called on the country not to be complacent with its surveillance on the disease and underscored the need for investment into the management of diseases, especially those that seemed dormant.


Sharing lessons learnt from the country’s participation in tackling Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the Head of the Emergency Department of the Tema General Hospital, Dr Lawrence Ofori-Buadu, said effective communication with health workers, as well as the government, played a major role in tackling the disease in the two countries.

He called for more testing laboratories for Ebola to ensure that people were given prompt attention.

A physician specialist, Dr Joseph Oliver-Commey, in a presentation on ‘Where are we? Our preparedness’, called for the scaling up of the country’s preparedness in the communities and homes.

The President of the GMA, Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, said so long as cases were still being recorded in the affected countries, there was the need for Ghana to be on guard.

WHO official says Ebola remains threat to Ghana

"Ghana's borders are porous. People are now eating bats, a major transmitter of the (Ebola) virus, and are also fond of shaking hands during social events which could easily spread the virus," said WHO country director in Ghana, Magdalene Rabalo, during a forum held by the organization in Accra on Friday.

She told local media the epidemic was far from being over, urging Ghanaians to maintain vigilance and avoid activities that could expose them to Ebola infection.

Ghana's Deputy Health Minister Victor Bampoh gave the assurance that the country was doing everything to prevent the disease.

"The government has cooperated with the World Bank to train more Ghanaian medical personnel to help fight the virus and other deadly diseases," said Bampoh.

The Ebola disease has killed more than 9,500 people in three worst-affected countries, including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, but recorded a remarkable reduction in the rate of infection in past months.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Ebola virus found in semen six months after recovery: WHO

The deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history began in late 2013 and has killed more than 10,600 people, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea

View photo
The deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history began in late 2013 and has killed more than 10,600 people, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (AFP Photo/Francisco Leong)

Geneva (AFP) - Traces of Ebola have been found in the semen of a man six months after his recovery, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, urging survivors to practice safe sex "until further notice".
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The man had been declared free of the deadly virus in Liberia last September, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP.

"He has provided a semen sample which has tested... positive for Ebola, 175 days after his negative blood test," he said in an email.

The UN health agency had previously said the virus had been detected in semen around three months after a patient had been declared Ebola free.

The new finding has led WHO to recommend that survivors abstain from having sex or that they practice safe sex using a condom beyond the three-month period previously prescribed.

"Ebola survivors should consider correct and consistent use of condoms for all sexual acts beyond three months until more information is available," it says on its website.

Jasarevic said more research was needed before WHO could provide more detailed advice.

"We need to understand better if this particular case is an anomaly or if there really are groups of people who might (carry) parts of the Ebola virus longer," he said.

Until more is known, Ebola survivors should abstain from sex or practice safe sex "until further notice," Bruce Aylward, who heads WHO's Ebola response, told reporters last week.

He said a number of studies were already under way, as well as discussions about whether Ebola survivors should be systematically screened after three months to determine their status.

"We should have answers to allow us to give more definitive advice to survivors very, very quickly," he said.

The deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history began in late 2013 and has killed more than 10,600 people, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Health Ministry inspects Tema General Hospital Ebola centre

Officials of the Ministry of Health led by the Deputy Minister Victor Asare Bampoe have visited the newly constructed Ebola medical store and treatment centre at the Tema General hospital.

Barry Callebaut, a Non-Governmental Swiss cocoa processing company, constructed the 15-bed treatment centre and the store estimated at GH?80,000.00.

Mr John Andre, the Managing Director of Barry Callebaut, noted that, when the need was felt in August 2014 to support the Ebola centre, the company and the Swiss Embassy coordinated with the Ministry of Health to raise GH?80,000.00 for the project.

The organization said it was impressed by Ghana’s active participation in tackling Ebola on the ground by sending 42 medical volunteers to both Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Mr Bampoe said although the country has not recorded any positive case of the Ebola Virus Disease, which infected over 20,000 and killed nearly 10,000 in West Africa, the country still needed to take preventive steps.

“Although 138 suspected cases of Ebola have been recorded, tests at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research have all turned negative, we still need to protect ourselves,” he said.

Mr Bampoe said an incident management system has been established to identify, isolate and manage any case of the disease detected in Ghana, and an emergency operations centre. Ghana’s preparedness has three-pillars, consisting Public Education, Point of Entry Screening and Active Community Surveillance, especially at flash points, as well as Case Management and Contact Tracing.

The Deputy Minister assured the public that the Tamale and Kumasi Ebola treatment centres, which are under construction, would be completed soon.

He said the original plan on case management was to have three treatment centres, however, government was now providing additional support to Regional, Teaching and Specialized Hospitals like the 37 Military and Police Hospitals to enable them to manage such cases.

Mr Kwabena Opoku Adusei,the Medical Director of the General hospital said effective infectious disease centres was needed for other infectious diseases such as H5N1, Avium flu, and bird flu.

“We need to prepare adequately for this disease since countries including the United States and Spain unexpectedly reported cases of the disease”, he said.

138 suspected Ebola cases tested in Ghana

A total of 138 suspected Ebola cases have been tested to be negative in Ghana by the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute.

Dr Victor Bampoe, Deputy Minister of Health, who announced this on Thursday, stressed that even though 138 suspected cases were recorded nationwide since the Ebola outbreak, Ghana has not recorded any positive one.

Dr Bampoe said this in a keynote address during the handing over of the Ebola medical stores at Tema General Hospital.

He indicated that even though the country is yet to record any Ebola case, his outfit would continue with its three point measures to ensure the safety of the public.

The measures, he said, include point of entry screening and active surveillance, public education and putting up centres to manage any outbreak.

He said the Ministry faced many challenges during the construction of the Ebola centres and thanked stakeholders for contributing towards their achievements.

Dr Badu Sarkodie, Director of Public Health at Ghana Health Service, said more than 25,000 Ebola cases and 12,000 deaths have been recorded in the sub-region since its outbreak.

Dr Sarkodie noted that even though the situation seemed to have gone down there is the need to sustain vigilance.

Mr John Andre, Managing Director of Barry Callebaut Ghana Limited, a cocoa processing company that financed the medical stores, said the company decided to support the GH? 80,000.00 project as part of its corporate social responsibility.

Mr Andre said the centre has two medical stores for the storage of Ebola personal protective equipment and medicines, offices and washrooms.

He expressed the company's appreciation to the 42 medical volunteers from Ghana for helping the three most affected countries in the West Africa sub-region.

Mr Gerhard Brugger, Ambassador of Switzerland to Ghana, thanked the Swiss company for collaborating with the Ministry to construct the centre.

Mr Brugger said the collaboration was proof of the 130 years corporation between Ghana and Switzerland.