China to the rescue as yellow fever hits Angola


The long-running relations between Angola and China are anticipated to end the deadly yellow fever virus wrecking havoc in the Southern African country.

The outbreak is the first in 30 years.

The Asian government made available US$500,000 to assist Angola combat the epidemic that has claimed about 80 lives out of hundreds of reported cases this year.

The donation comes within the framework of the consensus Presidents of China, Xi Jinping, and the his Angola counterpart, José Eduardo dos Santos reached in 2015 in order to strengthen and deepen bilateral cooperation in the area of health.

In addition to the financial donation, the Chinese government will continue to monitor the development of the epidemic and provide more support and assistance when needed.

China will also send the fourth Chinese medical team to Luanda General Hospital to offer free medical services to the Angolan people as well as donate hospital equipment in order to improve sanitary and health conditions in Angola.

The financial donation will come in handy considering the initial shortage of vaccines has emerged the biggest hindrance to combating yellow fever.

Recently, the Minister of Health, José Van-Dúnem, said that due to insufficient vaccines, priority should be given to children and to those who have never been vaccinated.

Eventually, the Minister said, all citizens must be vaccinated following the escalation of the epidemic.

‘It is technically recommended that children be vaccinated from six months and everyone except people who are being treated with drugs against cancer or who are immunocompromised, because the benefit is much greater than the risk,’ Van- Dúnem said in Luanda.

He assured there were enough vaccines.

‘For example, Luanda has 6 million doses and the entire country has 24 million. If an institution is facing shortages, it can request the supplementary reinforcements,’ the Minister said.

Viana, the city located some 30 kilomteres east of the capital Luanda, would be the first to carry out vaccinations.

The disease broke out in Viana. About a third of suspicious deaths occurred in the city.

The representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Angola, Hernando Agudelo, revealed as of the beginning of this week, the number of deaths from yellow fever stood at 77, with more than 315 suspected cases.

Meanwhile, in Luanda, the Luanda Provincial Government is carrying out a campaign to combat the disease that covers the population’s awareness actions for the strengthening of preventive measures.

Such measures include covering water containers and putting used oil in marshes to keep mosquitoes at bay.
In the affected districts of Luanda, there is a high density of Aedes Aegypti, the primary vector of yellow fever; consequently, the risk of spread to unaffected districts is high.

This risk is further exacerbated by the high proportion of susceptible individuals, as the only protected groups are the citizens with international vaccination cards and those children that have been vaccinated against yellow fever since 2008.

Yellow fever is a disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

In Angola, major outbreaks occurred in 1971 and 1986. The vaccine against the fever vaccine was introduced in the immunisation schedule of 1980.

Yellow fever, known historically as yellow jack, yellow plague, or bronze john, is an acute viral disease.

In most cases, symptoms include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches. Symptoms typically improve within five days.

In some people within a day of improving, the fever comes back, abdominal pain occurs, and liver damage begins causing yellow skin.

If this occurs, the risk of bleeding and kidney problems is also increased.

There are an estimated 130,000 cases of yellow fever reported yearly, causing 44,000 deaths worldwide each year, with 90% occurring in Africa.

This story was sourced from the Caj News Africa website.


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