Category Archives: News

23Sep/19

Second Ebola vaccine to complement “ring vaccination” given green light in DRC

Source: World Health Organization
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

This vaccine will be provided under approved protocols to target at-risk populations in areas that do not have active Ebola transmission as an additional tool to extend protection.

The health authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have announced plans to introduce a second experimental Ebola vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, from mid- October. This vaccine, which is given as a 2-dose course, 56 days apart, will be provided under approved protocols to targeted at-risk populations in areas that do not have active Ebola transmission as an additional tool to extend protection against the virus.

“The DRC authorities, in deciding to deploy the second experimental vaccine to extend protection against this deadly virus, have once again shown leadership and their determination to end this outbreak as soon as possible,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“The evaluation of the second Ebola vaccine will help ensure that we have potentially an additional tool to prevent the expansion of the outbreak and also a potential tool to protect populations before outbreaks hit areas at risk,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will complement the current vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV-GP, manufactured by Merck), which has proven highly effective and safe, and which has helped protect thousands of lives. The Merck vaccine will continue to be provided to all people at high risk of Ebola infection including those who have been in contact with a person confirmed to have Ebola, all contacts of contacts, and others determined to be at high risk of contracting Ebola. To date over 223,000 people have received this vaccination during the current outbreak.

In May 2019, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) reviewed use of vaccines in the ongoing Ebola outbreak and issued recommendations. These included adjusting the dose of the Merck vaccine, evaluating a second vaccine under appropriate protocols, changing strategies when insecurity makes it difficult to reach people – such as providing pop-up vaccination stations — and increasing the number of people vaccinated within communities with ongoing transmission, sometimes vaccinating whole villages.

“In everything we do, we are driven by science,” Dr Tedros said. “The advice we were given by SAGE in May has been applied, always taking into account community needs and preferences, as we know this will make the approach more effective. The changes made have saved thousands of lives in this outbreak.”

New therapeutics and better use of treatment protocols have also saved many lives. “To date, 973 people have been successfully treated and released from Ebola treatment centres, and we expect that the 1000th survivor will return to his or her community in the coming weeks,” Dr Moeti said.

Innovative vaccine strategies

The introduction of the second experimental vaccine is in line with the SAGE recommendations as are a number of other innovations.
The main vaccination strategy used with the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine is a ‘ring strategy’ where all people who have come into contact with someone with a confirmed case of Ebola are given the vaccine. Where people are stigmatized or feel under threat protected, temporary ‘pop-up’, vaccination sites are set up, often at health posts, rather than near the homes of individuals infected with Ebola. This allows people to come for vaccination at a safe, more anonymous site, but also increases protection for vaccinators in areas where there is ongoing conflict and insecurity.

Another approach being used to offer vaccination for people at high risk of contracting Ebola is ‘targeted geographic vaccination’. This strategy involves vaccinating everyone in the neighbourhood, or village, rather than vaccinating only the known contacts and contacts of contacts. Targeted geographic vaccination was used successfully when the outbreak spread to Chowe in South Kivu. Over 90 percent of people who are offered vaccination accept it. Since the start of the outbreak WHO and partners have worked to recruit and train Congolese nationals from within Ebola-affected communities as vaccinators to increase community acceptance and also transfer skills to the region. Now, the majority of ring vaccination team members are trained healthcare workers, doctors and medical students from affected communities who speak local languages and understand community concerns.

There are enough vaccine doses on the ground to meet the current needs, with WHO logisticians ensuring a minimum supply of 10,000 doses at all times, and overall supplies of the vaccine are being constantly monitored. Considering the current number of cases being reported and the doses required to vaccinate around each case, the doses available of the rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine are considered sufficient. Merck has provided WHO with 245,000 doses for DRC and neighbouring countries and built a stockpile of 190,000 doses that are ready to send to DRC. Merck also aims to release 650,000 doses over the next six to 18 months under its replenishment strategy. Under the current SAGE recommendations this means that there are 390,000 doses currently and additional 1.3 million doses will be available.

“The Merck vaccine is highly efficacious, and we’ll soon have a second vaccine to increase the number of those being protected against the virus”, said Dr Tedros. “But vaccine and therapeutics are only some of the tools — the key to ending the outbreak is community ownership. With the communities fully engaged, and with all partners stepping up and rallying behind our common goal, we can and will end this outbreak.”

Media Contacts

Margaret Harris
Telephone: +243 846 902 970
Email: harrism@who.int

Mr Collins Boakye-Agyemang
Communication Advisor
Telephone: +4724139420
Mobile: +242065206565
Email: boakyeagyemangc@who.int

23Sep/19

UNICEF proporciona materiales educativos a más de 300.000 niños en Venezuela

Source: UN Children’s Fund
Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

El deterioro de la situación dentro del país ha dejado hasta ahora un millón de niños sin escolarizar. En los próximos 12 meses, UNICEF, junto con socios nacionales, planea asistir a un total de 1,2 millones de niños y niñas.

Se estima que más de un millón de niños y niñas están fuera del sistema educativo en todo el país.

NUEVA YORK / PANAMÁ / CARACAS, 19 de septiembre de 2019 – UNICEF está proporcionando a más de 300.000 niños y niñas en Venezuela kits de regreso a la escuela para que sigan aprendiendo en medio de condiciones socioeconómicas difíciles.

El deterioro de la situación dentro de Venezuela ha dejado hasta ahora un millón de niños sin escolarizar. En los próximos 12 meses, UNICEF, junto con socios nacionales, planea llegar a un total de 1,2 millones de niños y niñas en escuelas públicas y subsidiadas de todo el país con suministros educativos.

Cada kit de regreso a la escuela contiene una mochila escolar con útiles de aprendizaje esenciales que incluyen cuadernos, lápices y lápices de colores, entre otros. Se están distribuyendo kits a estudiantes en los estados de Miranda, Distrito Capital, Bolívar, Zulia, Táchira, Carabobo, Portuguesa, Barinas, Apure, Falcón, Amazonas, Delta Amacuro, Anzoátegui, Sucre, La Guaira y Nueva Esparta. UNICEF también proporciona, en colaboración con socios del sector educativo, materiales de enseñanza y aprendizaje, kits de recreación y kits de educación de la primera infancia para apoyar aún más a los estudiantes y maestros.

“Es crucial que mantengamos a los niños en la escuela: entornos seguros donde puedan aprender, socializar e incluso acceder a servicios esenciales como la alimentación escolar”, dijo Herve Ludovic De Lys, Representante de UNICEF en Venezuela. “Las escuelas también brindan a los niños un sentido de normalidad que es vital dadas las dificultades que enfrentan muchas familias. Estos kits y materiales de aprendizaje para el regreso a la escuela brindarán a los niños y maestros las herramientas que necesitan para comenzar bien el año escolar”.

UNICEF está trabajando para expandir los servicios educativos y garantizar un acceso inclusivo y un aprendizaje de calidad para todos los niños venezolanos, así como para evitar el abandono escolar.

“Traer y mantener a cada niño en la escuela es siempre la inversión más poderosa, pero especialmente en tiempos inciertos como los que vive actualmente Venezuela”, dijo Bernt Aasen, Director Regional de UNICEF (a.i.) para América Latina y el Caribe. “La educación no es solo el mejor camino, es una apuesta inteligente que va más allá de la política. Cualquier niño en riesgo de abandonar la escuela hoy socava el futuro de todo el país mañana. Venezuela simplemente no puede permitirse esto en este momento”.

Como uno de los principales actores humanitarios en Venezuela, UNICEF está trabajando con organizaciones de la sociedad civil, empresas privadas y autoridades locales para proporcionar asistencia humanitaria a los niños, niñas, adolescentes en necesidad a través de sus oficinas locales. El mes pasado, UNICEF solicitó US $ 70 millones para continuar satisfaciendo las necesidades más urgentes de niños, niñas, adolescentes y mujeres embarazadas en Venezuela. Hasta ahora, solo se ha recibido el 9% de la financiación requerida.

UNICEF agradece las últimas donaciones y hace un llamamiento a la comunidad internacional para que continúe proporcionando los recursos necesarios para responder a las necesidades urgentes de los niños y niñas en todos los sectores.

Más información sobre el llamamiento de UNICEF para Venezuela aquí: https://www.unicef.org/appeals/venezuela.html

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Para más información, contactar a:

Laurent Duvillier, UNICEF América Latina y Caribe, + 507 6169 9886; lduvillier@unicef.org

Rocío Ortega, UNICEF Venezuela, +58 4142306342; rortega@unicef.org

Contactos de prensa

Marilu Wiegold
Especialista en Comunicación y Alianzas
UNICEF
Teléfono: 613-0706
Teléfono: 997-573-218
Correo electrónico: mwiegold@unicef.org

Sandra Esquén
Asociada de Comunicación
UNICEF
Teléfono: 613-0756
Correo electrónico: sesquen@unicef.org

Acerca de UNICEF

UNICEF promueve los derechos las niñas, los niños y adolescentes, y la creación de oportunidades equitativas para que cada uno de ellos, sin distinción de género, etnia, lugar de residencia, condición de vida o de cualquier otra índole, pueda desarrollar plenamente su potencial.

Para saber más sobre la misión de UNICEF en Perú, visita www.unicef.org/peru.

Sigue las noticias de UNICEF en Instagram, Twitter y Facebook

21Sep/19

Egypt: Respect Right to Peaceful Protest

A still photo of a video circulated on social media on September 20 showing masses of anti-government protesters in the city of Damietta, North of Cairo, tearing down a big Sisi banner. 


© Twitter

 
(Beirut) – Egyptian authorities should protect the right to peaceful protest in upholding Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities should immediately release all those arrested for solely exercising their rights.

Media reports and videos posted on social media on the evening of September 20, 2019 show thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in several cities across the country. Security forces, including the military and the police, have apparently chased and rounded up protesters and surrounded Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, according to media reports.

“President al-Sisi’s security agencies have time and again used brutal force to crush peaceful protests,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should recognize that the world is watching and take all necessary steps to avoid a repetition of past atrocities.”

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi should direct the state security forces to abide by international standards for law enforcement during demonstrations, Human Rights Watch said.

The protests followed calls for President al-Sisi to step down by Mohamed Ali, a former army contractor, who over the past two weeks has published allegations of corruption within the army and of al-Sisi himself.

In recent months, al-Sisi has warned against protests, and Egyptian security forces have used unnecessary and excessive lethal force in recent years against peaceful protesters with near-total impunity. In the largest mass killing of protesters in Egypt’s modern history, security forces killed at least 817 protesters within a few hours on August 14, 2013, as security forces violently dispersed a sit-in at Rab’a Square in Cairo. Authorities also have failed to investigate these mass killings, which most likely amounted to crimes against humanity.

Authorities have imprisoned and prosecuted thousands of protesters since President al-Sisi rose to power in late 2013. The nationwide crackdown intensified after he became president in June 2014.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party, upholds the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.

The Egyptian government should publicly order the security forces to abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, Human Rights Watch said. The Basic Principles state that security forces shall “apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms,” and that “whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved; (b) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.” Furthermore, “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.”

Earlier on September 20, al-Sisi flew to New York City to participate in the United Nations General Assembly. Egypt’s international partners, as well as the UN secretary-general, should call on the Egyptian government to respect people’s rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

20Sep/19

No Justice 3 Years After DR Congo Massacre

Mourners carry coffins of protesters killed in the September 19 and 20 demonstrations during a ceremony organized by the opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 1, 2016. 


© 2016 Reuters

Three years ago, Congolese security forces shot dead at least 66 protesters, rocking Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Three years later, nothing has been done to hold senior officials responsible to account.

The protests, which took place from September 19 to 21, 2016, were against the national electoral commission’s failure to announce presidential elections. The delay was part of a long, concerted effort by then-President Joseph Kabila to stay in office past the two-term constitutional limit.

During the protests, people were burned to death when the Republican Guard presidential security detail attacked opposition party headquarters. Security forces took away the bodies of many victims; some were thrown into the Congo River and later found washed up on its shores.

One protester told Human Rights Watch that he saw soldiers shooting at a group of peaceful protesters outside of their truck: “When they drove by a group of young men gathered together, they started shooting. ‘You shot him in the neck, but he isn’t dead,’ one of the soldiers said. ‘Shoot again,’ the other said.”

Some protesters in Kinshasa turned violent, beating or burning to death at least four police officers and one bystander. They also burned and looted police stations, public buildings, and private property. Human Rights Watch found police officers and youth league members – whom ruling party officials and security force officers had mobilized – were also involved in the violence and looting.

Several officers told Human Rights Watch that Gen. Gabriel Amisi and Gen. Ilunga Kampete gave orders to the security force units on the ground. The officers also said that Col. Ferdinand Ilunga Luyolo, commander of the National Intervention Legion of the Congolese Police (LENI), gave orders to Republican Guard troops who were deployed during the crackdown. Evariste Boshab, the interior and security minister at the time, was officially responsible for the security services. None of these senior officials have been brought to justice.

“My son … was shot dead at close range in the chest by a Congolese soldier [on September 20, 2016],” the father of Jiresse, who was 31-year-old, told us today. “I will never forget that. The perpetrators of this unjust act must be punished, and the state must compensate us.”

President Felix Tshisekedi and his new government should stand by the victims and help ensure long-overdue justice.