July 16, 2018
Latest News
European Union

Ebola outbreak revealed the failings of Guinea but also helped address them

Conakry, Apr 8 (efe-epa).- The Ebola epidemic which left more than 11,000 dead over an expanse of West Africa encompassing Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016, has enabled experts to draw a series of conclusions in a bid to improve health services in Guinea at least, a European Parliament delegation visiting the country said Sunday.

The parliamentary delegation visiting Conakry joined local experts from the World Health Organization to review the main pillars of the country's health system and to check on the changes made in order to avert similar health disasters.

"After seeing the results, I think the country and its government, together with the NGOs and the European Union delegation, are doing a good job," the head of the delegation, Norbert Neuser, told EFE. "Two years after the Ebola crisis, I can say that we have learned lessons, and that will be our message to the European Parliament," he said.

Neuser heads a delegation also made up of the German Maria Noichl and Adam Szejnfeld from Poland.

Ebola highlighted the failings of Guinea's health service due in large part to underfunding.

Only 1.98 percent of the state's budget had been allocated to the health sector in 2012, leading to low numbers of health personnel _ doctors and nurses _ among the population, with just 3.59 per 10,000 inhabitants, as well as a lack of medicines, equipment and a defective risk-detection system.

"Imagine, in the last outbreak we took three and a half months to realize that we had an Ebola outbreak in the country," said Sakoba Keita, director of the National Social Security Agency (created in 2016).

Ebola forced the closure of 6 percent of hospitals due to, among other things, the deaths of 115 doctors and paramedics in the 2015 epidemic.

"The scarcer and more inappropriate the human resources, the more widespread and dangerous the epidemic will be," said Kaba Abdoulaye, head of the Office of Strategy and Development in the Ministry of Health.

Among those visited was Mohamed Awad, son of an Egyptian-Lebanese marriage.

He was born in the same Conakry hospital that he runs today.

"We need equipment even if it is second-hand, I know that in Europe you change it every four years and you maintain it very well," he said.

Awad runs the Ignace Deen Hospital, the oldest hospital in Guinea's capital, where he has been working for 40 years.

It was filthy dirty when he arrived, he says. "There weren't even any oxygen masks," he said.

"I have humanized the place, I have built previously inexistent bathrooms and a kitchen for families to look after patients."

He said that before, the hospital had to resort to using private refrigerators to conserve corpses.

"Now, at least you can breathe in the morgue."

Thanks to global solidarity and a coordinated strategy from the government, the statistics have improved.

The health budget almost quadrupled to 7.4 percent in 2017 and health personnel increased by 120 percent.

Some 27 hospitals and health centers have been built, in addition to three laboratories.

Guinea's Central Pharmacy received batches of medicines worth 2.3 million euros inb Nov. thanks to the Health Support Program in Guinea, which is funded by the EU for the period of 2015-2023.

The program is also reinforced by two other European projects that lift the total budget to more than 115 million euros ($140 million).

In its visit to the Ignace Deen Hospital, the European delegation found, however, that much still needed to be done.

The old hospital has a staff of 400 professionals whose salaries ranged from 200 to 350 euros in 2017.

They attended a total of 8,749 patients on a budget that was largely provided by international donations.

Beyond the health sector, there were other "big gaps to be solved," MEP Szejnfeld said, referring in particular to garbage collection and environmental protection.

To this effect, the EU is financing a project for the Professionalization of Solid Waste Management, plus an Urban Development and Sanitation Program in Conakry.

One of the things that grabs the attention of anyone arriving in Conakry is the amount of garbage piled up in its streets.

The city's population of two million produce 3,000 tons of waste per day and there is no organized waste collection system.

The World Health Organization's criteria for action is to support the country to increase its surveillance and detection capacity so it can better protect the population from epidemics, said Georges Alfred Ki-Zebro, the WHO representative in Guinea.

"The main lesson we learned is the importance of health security in a globalized world, because every health event, particularly communicable diseases, that occurs in the most remote location can be transmitted in 24 hours to the other parts of the world," he said.

It was precisely in a small town in Guinea where the last Ebola epidemic broke out.

A two-year-old boy who had played with bats housed in a hollow trunk became suddenly ill and died a few days later.

Following the region's funerary traditions, the little boy was mourned for three days during which he was caressed and kissed by his family and neighbors.

This triggered the spread of the disease, with tragic results in Guinea and its neighbors.

In total, almost 29,000 infections ensued, leading to more than 11,300 deaths.

The WHO promotes the concept of "One Health" in Guinea, that of both humans and animals.

The aim is to make the population understand that "health is influenced by factors that are not only medical," such as "hygiene, sewage, the control of animal diseases" or the rational use of medicines such as antibiotics," said Ki- Zebro.

By Mohamed Siali

DISCLAIMER

"The project was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information for opinions expressed in the context of this project. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the project."

News history
US, Russian presidents meet at Helsinki summit aiming to reduce tensions

Helsinki, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- The presidents of the United States and Russia met at the beginning of a summit in Helsinki where they were expected to talk on...

Mogherini rejects Trump "foe" comments

Brussels, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- The European Union's foreign policy chief on Monday urged the United States administration to consider its relationships with...

Spain's FM says extradition of exiled Catalan ex-president a judicial matter

Brussels, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- Spain's minister of foreign affairs said Monday that extraditing the exiled ex-president of the northeastern region of...

China, EU agree to defend multilateral trade

Beijing, Jul 16 (efe-epa).- China and the European Union agreed on Monday to defend the multilateral trading system and rejected unilateral measures imposed...

Spanish rescuers save 68 migrants from 2 boats in Strait of Gibraltar

Algeciras, Spain, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Rescuers brought 68 migrants to Spain on Sunday after picking them up from two small boats in the Strait of Gibraltar,...

UK's PM May says President Trump told her to sue EU instead of negotiating

London, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States told the prime minister of the United Kingdom to sue the European Union instead of negotiating...

Trump tries to ease tensions with UK PM after incendiary interview in tabloid

Aylesbury, UK, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States tried to ease tensions with the prime minister of the United Kingdom on Friday at a...

May meets Trump for 1st time since the publication of provocative interview

London, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- The prime minister of the United Kingdom and the president of the United States attended a military parade at the Royal Military...

Japanese gov't highlights EU-Japan trade deal progress

Tokyo, Jul 13 (efe-epa).- The Japanese government on Friday highlighted the important contribution that the trade deal between Japan and the European Union...

Spain endows rapid-reaction force to fight wildfires with 1,000 firefighters

Madrid, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The Spanish government said on Thursday it had set up a rapid-reaction force to fight wildfires that had 1,000 firefighters and...

Aquarius migrants brought to Spain travel to France

Valencia, Spain, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- A group of 78 migrants, who last month arrived at the northeastern Spanish port city of Valencia following a week at sea...

Brussels reduces 2018 growth forecast across the European Union, eurozone

Brussels, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The European Commission on Thursday revised its growth forecast for the European Union and the eurozone in 2018 by 0.2 percent...

US President Trump poised to begin official visit to United Kingdom

London, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States and his wife were set to embark on their first official visit to the United Kingdom on...

Germany, Italy, Austria aim to completely eliminate irregular immigration

Innsbruck, Austria, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The governments of Germany, Italy and Austria on Thursday agreed to cooperate in efforts to reduce irregular...

Spain's new PM meets Donald Trump for 1st time at the NATO summit in Brussels

Brussels, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- Spain's prime minister and the president of the United States met for the first time at a NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

CPJ: At least 70 journalists trapped in Syrian army, allies Daraa offensive

Cairo, Jul 11, (efe-epa).- The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday issued a statement warning at least 70 journalists and media workers...

Trump tells NATO: Gas pipeline deal means Germany fully controlled by Russia

Brussels, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- The President of the United States on Wednesday launched a tirade against a planned natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany...

Liu Xia's departure from China a positive step, EU says

Beijing, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- The European Union said Wednesday that the departure from China of Liu Xia, poet and widow of the late Nobel Peace Prize...

Airbus unveils new identities of Bombardier-designed passenger aircraft

Toulouse (France), Jul 10 (efe-epa).- Europe's largest aeronautical group on Tuesday unveiled its two latest additions to its commercial aircraft family:...

European companies call for urgent reforms to Chinese economy

Beijing, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- European companies operating in China on Tuesday urged the government to continue and extend economic reforms and reduce global...

European Council chief Tusk tells Trump to appreciate US allies

Brussels, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Council told the president of the United States to appreciate his country's allies and said...

Europe tells Spain to recover $196 million in undue state aid paid to Correos

Brussels, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- The European Commission on Tuesday ordered Spain to recover 167 million euros ($196 million) in state aid granted to Correos,...

UK PM Theresa May says meeting with new Cabinet was productive

London, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom's prime minister has described Tuesday's talks with her new-look Cabinet as productive following high profile...

EBC warns of major global financial uncertainties such as protectionism

Brussels, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Central Bank (ECB) on Monday warned the European Parliament (EP) of the uncertainties linked to...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.