By Umara Fofana FREETOWN (Reuters) – Residents of Sierra Leone's capital held a candlelit vigil and celebrations to mark the end of an Ebola epidemic that has killed almost 4,000 people including more than 220 health workers since it began last year. Following 42 days with no new cases, the West African nation's epidemic was declared over on Saturday at a ceremony attended by President Ernest Bai Koroma and U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) representative Anders Nordstrom. Thousands of people gathered overnight around the Cotton Tree, a massive tree in the centre of Freetown, for a candlelit vigil organised by women's groups to pay tribute to health workers who lost their lives.
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria on Saturday celebrated the announcement by the U.N. health agency that polio is no longer endemic in the West African country.
Malaria deaths worldwide have fallen by 60 percent since 2000, the UN said Thursday, with improved diagnostic tests and the massive distribution of mosquito nets aiding dramatic progress against the disease. Fifteen years ago, an estimated 262 million malaria cases killed nearly 840,000 people. Projections for 2015 indicate that some 214 million cases are likely to cause 438,000 deaths, according to a joint report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations children's agency (UNICEF).
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The World Health Organization says new Ebola cases are in the single digits for a second week in a row, showing that contact tracing efforts are yielding results.
An Ebola test vaccine provided blanket protection in a field trial in Guinea, researchers said, possibly heralding “the beginning of the end” for the devastating West African outbreak that has killed thousands. The serum was 100 percent effective after a week in more than 7,600 people inoculated, according to results published in The Lancet medical journal and hailed as “extremely promising” by World Health Organization (WHO) chief Margaret Chan. The world was “on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine,” the UN's health agency said in a statement.
Six hunters in the Democratic Republic of Congo who fell sick and were suspected to have Ebola have tested negative for the virus, the health minister said on Saturday. The government and World Health Organization investigated a possible outbreak about 270 km (170 miles) northeast of the capital when the hunters developed Ebola-like symptoms after eating an antelope that appeared to be sick when they killed it. “All of the samples are negative … There is not an Ebola epidemic,” Health Minister Felix Kabange said in an interview on state-run television.
A UN-sponsored independent report by experts on Monday denounced the World Health Organization's slow response to the Ebola crisis. WHO only declared a global public health emergency on August 8 after the outbreak had taken hold in west Africa.