Senegal and Nigeria were declared free of the Ebola virus after six weeks with no new cases, heralding some good news in the battle against the outbreak and offering lessons to countries that are still struggling to contain it.
"This is a spectacular success story," World Health Organization Representative Rui Gama Vaz said at a news conference in Nigeria, Reuters reported on Monday.
"It shows that Ebola can be contained, but we must be clear that we have only won a battle, the war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola." more >>
The World Health Organization has said that mortality rates from the deadly Ebola outbreak spreading throughout West Africa have gone up to 70 percent, and there could be as many as 10,000 new cases recorded per week by the end of the year. President Barack Obama has warned that the world is "not doing enough" in terms of a response.
WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Bruce Aylward told reporters in Switzerland that although the mortality rate had been at 50 percent, statistics have now bumped it up to 70 percent. There is no cure for the disease, which had killed at least 4,447 people as of Tuesday, but early detection and treatment can prove effective and tackling it.
Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have suffered the most casualties, though cases have reached western countries including the U.S. as well. Obama, who is set to discuss the crisis in a video conference with British, French, German and Italian leaders, said that "the world as a whole is not doing enough" to contain the Ebola threat, BBC News reported. more >>
A number of nurses and medical professionals in Liberia went on strike on Monday, demanding better pay and safer working conditions in the fight against Ebola. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, called the outbreak "the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times."
Local journalist Terence Sesay told Al Jazeera on Monday that a number of facilities in the country were "virtually abandoned," with "nurses afraid of touching patients."
"They refuse to take blood samples from patients or even take their temperature because these require them to touch patients," Sesay said. more >>
Christian pastor Rotimi Obajimi has escaped from terror group Boko Haram in Nigeria after nearly 10 months in captivity and has been brought back to his church, reports said.
"We were so amazed to see him because we have been praying earnestly for a long time trusting Jesus that He would surely come back, but lo and behold he was brought to our headquarters in Maiduguri by the military," a pastor at Redeem Church in Maiduguri told SaharaReporters.
Obajimi, who led the church in the rural area of Borno/Yobe province, was kidnapped by Islamic militants on Jan. 6. He was then taken to Sambisa Forest, where he was tied down for months, before being moved to an unknown destination and brought back to Sambisa once again. more >>
The spread of the deadly Ebola outbreak throughout West Africa is leaving hundreds of children orphaned, and a number of them are reportedly marginalized by some tribal communities due to the fear of witchcraft and black magic.
"There's a strong belief in witchcraft that Ebola is contracted through a curse or in some cases that it is a white man's fabrication," said Jamie Bedson, charity Restless Development's Sierra Leone country director, according to The Financial Times.
"There is a mistrust of foreigners, and in one place everyone threw away soap given out by the government because they thought it was poisoned." more >>
Over 35 humanitarian agencies have warned in a major report that close to two million people in South Sudan are facing severe food insecurity in the man-made crisis stemming from in-fighting, unless more aid is delivered to those who urgently need it.
"So far the soft approach of the international community in the peace negotiations has failed to secure a meaningful ceasefire," the report says.
A ceasefire was signed earlier this year between the government of President Salva Kiir and a rebel group linked to former Vice President Riek Machar, but the situation has not stabilized and fighting continues on a large scale throughout the country. more >>