September 25, 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
Opening of the Parliament in Stockholm

Copenhagen, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- Sweden's social democratic prime minister on Tuesday lost a parliamentary vote of no confidence brought against him by the...

UK Home Secretary: there will be no 2nd referendum, Chequers Plan not dead

Madrid, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- The home secretary of the United Kingdom discounted on Tuesday the possibility of a second Brexit referendum and said that his...

Labour's Starmer says party would vote against government Brexit deal

Liverpool, UK, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom Labour Party's shadow Brexit secretary said Tuesday the party was prepared to vote against any deal...

Germany's Merkel rejects UK proposal on future relationship with EU

Berlin, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- The German chancellor on Tuesday rejected the United Kingdom government's plan on its future relationship with the European...

EC hands London an ultimatum demanding 3.18 billion USD in custom duties

Brussels, Sep 24 (efe-epa).- The European Commission on Monday handed the United Kingdom a second warning demanding the reimbursement of some 2.7 billion...

UK Labour spokesman dismisses full remain option for 2nd Brexit referendum

Liverpool, United Kingdom, Sep 24 (efe-epa).- The financial spokesperson for the United Kingdom's Labour Party, the country's main opposition, said on...

Anti-Brexit demonstration calls on UK's Labour to back second referendum

Liverpool (United Kingdom), Sep 23 (efe-epa).- Anti-Brexit demonstrators took their message to the streets of the northern English city of Liverpool on...

UK Labour leaders would back fresh Brexit referendum if members show support

Liverpool (United Kingdom), Sep 23 (efe-epa).- The leaders of the United Kingdom's Labour Party, the country's main opposition, said on Sunday they would...

UK: those responsible for Rohingya atrocities must be brought to justice

London, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom's foreign secretary pledged on Friday to use all the means at his disposal, including urging other nations to...

UK's May gives stern speech defending Brexit position, urging respect from EU

London, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom's prime minister has on Friday urged the European Union to show more respect in the Brexit negotiations and...

EU: UK post-Brexit economic plan will not work, would undercut single market

Salzburg (Austria), Sep 20 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom prime minister's proposals on a post-Brexit economic framework with the European Union will not...

Brexit on the agenda as EU leaders gather for informal summit in Austria

Salzburg (Austria), Sep 20 (efe-epa).- The European Union's national leaders began an informal summit in the Austrian city of Salzburg on Thursday to...

EU unveils strategic plan connecting European transport, trade with Asia

Brussels, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- The European Commission and the bloc's High Representative for Foreign Affairs on Wednesday unveiled the European Union's new...

EU Council chief: UK must renegotiate Irish border, economic relations plan

Salzburg (Austria), Sep 19 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Council on Wednesday heralded the United Kingdom prime minister's Brexit plan as a step...

UK PM May says her Brexit plan offers EU a good deal, discards 2nd referendum

London, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom's prime minister stressed that her Brexit proposal, known as the Chequers agreement, offered both the UK and...

Catalan leader: Spain's autonomy vote offer must include independence option

Barcelona (Spain), Sep 19 (efe-epa).- The regional president of Spain's affluent Catalonia region on Wednesday said he would not accept an offer from the...

Danske Bank bonds fall as CEO quits over money-laundering scandal

Copenhagen, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- Danske Bank bond prices, which move inversely to yields, fell after its chief executive Thomas Borgen resigned on Wednesday...

EC: Luxembourg did not break EU rules, give McDonald's favored tax treatment

Brussels, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- The European Commission on Wednesday said it had found that the non-taxation of certain McDonald's profits in Luxembourg did...

Taxi drivers strike in Portugal over ride-sharing applications

Lisbon, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- Hundreds of taxi drivers went on strike in Portugal on Wednesday over a new law allowing electronic ride-sharing applications to...

Former Spanish PM Aznar denies knowing of any corruption in his party

Madrid, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- Former conservative prime minister José María Aznar denied on Tuesday knowing anything about a secret slush fund and illegal...

Spain to recognize Palestine if EU reaches no consensus

Madrid, Sep 18 (EFE-EPA).-The Spanish government looks to recognize Palestine as a state if it fails to convince the European Union to abandon the two party...

UK should end free movement of EU citizens post-Brexit, report suggests

London, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom's Migration Advisory Committee on Tuesday released a report in which it advocated a post-Brexit immigration...

Austria's chancellor praises Italy's tough stance on migration

Rome, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The Austrian chancellor praised the Italian prime minister Tuesday for his country's reduction in its migrant intake during a visit...

EU announces 2 million euros in aid to typhoon-hit Philippines

Brussels, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The European Union announced an emergency aid package worth two million euros ($2.33 million) to help victims of typhoon...

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