Yellow fever funds slow to arrive in Angola
The
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
has received just 22 percent of the US$1.4 million it appealed for last month in response to a deadly yellow fever outbreak in Angola. There have been 3,748 suspected cases and 364 deaths across all 18 of Angola’s provinces since the outbreak – the worst seen by the country for 30 years – was detected in Luanda in late December 2015. Only the
Canadian Government
and
Japanese Red Cross Society
have been named as having committed funds to the appeal in an update published on the federation’s website. “Most of the funds will be used to support vaccination, so will be spent in the next few weeks as vaccination continues,” said Benoit Carpentier, public communications and outreach team leader at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. A massive immunisation campaign led by 3,668 Red Cross volunteers has reduced transmission of yellow fever in Angola, although concerns remain in districts such as Cuanza Sul, Cuando Cubango, Cuanza Norte, where vaccinations have not been fully implemented. Carpentier added: “With the current strategic plans, the situation should continue to be stable and the outbreak should hopefully be contained before the rain starts again in September.” The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is meanwhile also facing up to 1,800 suspected cases of yellow fever. The
World Health Organisation
has deployment of a mobile laboratory from the
European Union
to DRC, which will be used to transport equipment and supplies for blood testing in Kwango province for an initial period of three months. Kenya and China have reported yellow fever cases linked to the outbreak in Angola, though some medical professionals in Uganda are currently concerned the disease could cross the border from DRC through non-immunised carriers. “We have not registered any cases linked to the yellow fever outbreak in Angola, yet,” said Alex Muhawe, a registered nurse at
St Francis Hospital
in Uganda’s Kisoro district. “It is [however] possible a large proportion of the travellers arriving from the Congo are not being immunised by the time they arrive.” “Even though our hospital is private, we rely on vaccinations from the government which is not consistent. As a result, I doubt we would be able to cope with a large outbreak,” Muhawe added.
By Adam Pitt
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Photo: Ian Barbour