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BRAZZAVILLE, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Uganda has reported seven confirmed cases, including one death, amid the latest outbreak of the Sudan strain of the Ebola virus, announced Thursday Henry Kyobe, incidence commander in Uganda's Ministry of Health.

Kyobe made the announcement at an online press briefing held by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, based in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo, adding that the epidemic "appears to have started around the beginning of September".

Kyobe said that the country has reported seven cases that possibly died of Ebola before the confirmation of the outbreak, noting that the health authorities are working on contact tracing and repurposing COVID-19 treatment centers.

The WHO said on Tuesday that a sample taken from a 24-year-old man was identified as the relatively rare Sudan strain. It is the first time in more than a decade that the Sudan strain has been found in Uganda, which also saw an outbreak of the Zaire strain of Ebola virus in 2019.

Existing vaccines against Ebola have proved effective against the Zaire strain but it is not clear if they will be as successful against the Sudan strain, according to WHO in an earlier statement.

Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. It has six different strains, three of which, Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire, have previously caused large outbreaks.

Case fatality rates of the Sudan strain have varied from 41 percent to 100 percent in past outbreaks. The early roll-out of supportive treatment has been shown to significantly reduce deaths from Ebola, according to the WHO. - Xinhua


First Lady Jeannette Kagame has called for political will and commitment of medical professionals in the fight to end cervical cancer while in Sweden on September 16.

She made the remarks during the European launch of Lancet Oncology Commission in Sweden. It was also an opportunity that saw the First Lady awarded for her exceptional commitment to the cause.

“I am no researcher. I am no doctor, or medical specialist. But at heart and by duty, I shall always strive to be an advocate,” she noted.

“I may have been proud to lend my face, my voice, and the stage that this position has offered me, to carry the torch, from boardroom to clinic, from conference halls to private offices, from Kigali to Stockholm....But this torch’s fire was never mine to preserve, and neither was it my individual achievement.”

She emphasized that the advancements Rwanda is proud of, regarding the race to zero cervical cancer fatality by 2030, are the materialization of a system’s efforts.

“Bridging the gap between political will to see positive change occur, and our health system’s ability to effect this change, falls under the advocacy umbrella that many First Ladies carry, yes. But in that, we should never be alone,” she added.

According to experts, the number of new cases of cervical cancer is expected to rise by 55 percent (to 324,598) and deaths by 62 percent (to 186,066 deaths) by 2030.

“I invite my brothers and sisters on the continent, in research, in medicine, in health management, in local politics, in public policy, to constantly question, to constantly reassess, their powers to drive and indeed demand the change that the populations they are endowed to, require.”

Mrs. Kagame said: “unless we all embrace sustainability, autonomy, self-provision, continental collaboration, and every other asks of our SDGs, we will keep counting, witnessing, suffering from deaths that science has long ago deemed avoidable.”

Zero cervical cancer fatality on our continent is possible, therefore it should be expected. No delays, no excuses, she asserted.

“Having inoculated over 90 percent of the girls aged 12 and under against HPV, the main cause of cervical cancer, means that from now on, all the girls aged 29 and under, who screen negative of cervical cancer, may very well be immunized entirely, against the disease,” she highlighted

Rwanda started the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccination programme in 2011, targeting 12-year-old school girls. Health officials say that 97 per cent of them are vaccinated each year. - Alice Kagina, The New Times


JUBA, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan's Ministry of Health backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday they had kicked off a reactive measles vaccination campaign targeting 37,390 children aged between six months and 14 years.

The ministry and WHO said in a joint statement that the exercise is underway in Juba County which has a history of recurring measles outbreaks with one outbreak confirmed in 2017 and a more recent one in 2019.

The campaign aims to achieve at least 95 percent coverage to interrupt the ongoing transmission of the measles virus in the county.

Acting WHO Representative for South Sudan Fabian Ndenzako said COVID-19 has disrupted immunization programs around the world, increasing the risk of severe outbreaks.

"Vaccine remains the most cost-effective preventive measure against measles. Thanks to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the ongoing reactive campaign focused on building immunity among over 37,000 children who are vulnerable to measles infections and its complications," Nadenzako said.

The vaccination activities are being conducted at health centers, schools and outreach centers to maximize access to all the vulnerable members of the community.

According to the WHO, the current outbreak started with the initial cases reported in mid-July which led to further investigation and confirmation of the outbreak. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the UN health agency said 79 measles cases with no deaths have been reported from the five affected payams in Juba county. A payam is the second-lowest administrative division below county in South Sudan.

Jamal Hassen, director general with the Ministry of Health Central Equatoria State, said that it provides routine vaccination services against vaccine-preventable diseases for the community free of charge to prevent children against measles.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases of humans that is caused by the measles virus. Measles is preventable and can be eliminated by vaccination. - Xinhua

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