United Nations Provides Disposable Protective Equipment to Prevent the Haemorrhagic Fever Virus

Prime Minister of Cape Verde visits the Headquarters of the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization)

Nacoes Unidas, Praia, March, April 7, 2014– In the context of the awareness-raising, informative and preventive actions on the haemorrhagic fever virus which has affected some neighbouring countries such as Guinea-Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and in response to the Government's request through the Ministry of Health, the United Nations System in Cape Verde has provided around 6,350 units of disposable protective equipment to the health authorities.

The handover of this consignment, which consists of goggles, overalls, gloves, boots, masks and aprons, took place in the meeting room of the Agostinho Neto Hospital, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Dr Cristina Fontes Lima, Dr Ambrósio Disadidi, Representative for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Cape Verde and in this specific occasion also on behalf of the Resident Coordinator for the United Nations System, and senior staff and experts from the Ministry of Health and the hospital.

During the ceremony, Dr Ambrósio Disadidí declared that "Even though no case has been recorded in the country, the United Nations and the Ministry of Health recognize the importance of preparing and instructing health professionals in the use of this equipment in case of an incidence", adding that while there is any risk at all, it is necessary to strengthen and intervene in the protection and preparation of professionals.
For Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Cristina Fontes Lima, "This is simply a preventative measure and there is no reason for alarm." The Minister also underlined that "maximum precaution will be carried out at the ports and airports where there are a number of crews arriving from the West African coast and that these must present declarations to the health authorities in cases of influenza, high fever, vomiting, or any other symptoms that resemble those of Ebola."

Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) is a serious infectious disease, caused by the Ebola virus, and identified for the first time in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) near the Ebola River from which it takes its name. It is transmitted through direct contact with the blood, organ secretions or body fluids of infected persons and there is not yet any treatment or vaccine for this disease. The incubation of the disease may take up to twenty-one (21) days and mortality varies between 25% and 90%, depending on when reported by WHO.

It is worth noting that after the distribution of this protective equipment, the Minister for Health and the Head of WHO in Cape Verde, headed the same day to the Nelson Mandela airport where thei distributed information materials and raising awareness about the epidemic among travellers there.
The national authorities have already created an expert commission to investigate any possible outbreak of the disease in the country.

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