Marburg toll in Angola continues to grow

first_img Marburg fever, for which there is no vaccine or cure, spreads through contact with bodily fluids of infected people. Resembling the deadly Ebola fever, Marburg causes severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, severe chest pain, sore throat, and cough. In later stages it leads to bleeding. The governor of Uige province in northern Angola, the center of the outbreak, said the province alone has had 150 cases, including 142 deaths, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report today. The largest previous Marburg outbreak, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, involved 149 cases with 123 deaths from 1998 to 2000. Chaib also said two suspected cases have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which borders Angola, AFP reported. Previous reports said that about 75% of the patients were children, but the latest reports have not given any information about the age range. In a statement today, the World Health Organization (WHO) put the size of the outbreak at 140 cases with 132 deaths as of yesterday. Just yesterday the WHO reported 132 cases with 127 deaths and said the case-patients included 12 healthcare workers. More staff members from the WHO and its Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network were due to arrive in Angola this weekend, the WHO said. The agency also has sent personal protective equipment and mobile communication field kits. Mar 31 WHO statement See also: Apr 1, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The Marburg hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Angola has killed more people than the largest previous outbreak of the disease and is continuing to spread, according to the latest reports. Nine people have been isolated in an Italian hospital because of possible exposure to the virus, according to another AFP report published today. WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib in Geneva, who reported the situation, did not name the hospital or list the nationalities of the nine people. Apr 1 WHO statement Yesterday the WHO said mobile surveillance teams had been set up and were checking rumors of cases in Uige province. A mobile field laboratory from Canada began operating today, and a dedicated isolation facility operated by Medicins sans Frontieres was preparing to receive patients identified by the surveillance teams, the agency said.last_img read more

Indonesia ends UNSC presidency with focus on peacekeeping

first_imgOf the 5,327 women currently working in UN peacekeeping missions, just 158 are Indonesian.They are deployed across seven UN peacekeeping operations: in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), South Sudan (UNMISS), Darfur (UNAMID), Mali (MINUSMA) and Western Sahara (MINURSO).Since 1999, Indonesia has sent more than 570 female personnel to various UN peacekeeping missions.While the UN encourages countries to deploy a force that is at least 15 percent female, the figure for women in Indonesia’s peacekeeping contingent still hovers below 5 percent, according to official sources.The Indonesian government is working to raise this ratio to 10 percent.In recent years, peacekeeping has gained a notorious reputation for incidents of sexual violence committed by peacekeepers against civilians, including reports of peacekeepers bartering humanitarian aid for sex. Over 200 people reported sexual violence and exploitation committed by UN personnel in 2018, according to a 2019 report by the UN secretary-general’s office.Read also: Why there are so few women in UN peacekeepingThe issue has become a priority in Indonesia’s multilateral diplomacy agenda under Retno, the nation’s first female top diplomat.It was also the first time that the UNSC has passed a resolution specifically addressing the issues faced by women in peacekeeping. Initiated by Indonesia, the draft resolution was cosponsored by all members of the council and dozens of other UN member states.As UNSC president, Indonesia led meetings and convened general debate sessions and other fora, as well as facilitating reports and exchanges of information on behalf of the council.The nation also assumed the presidency of the council in May last year, nearly a year after it was elected to serve as a nonpermanent member for the 2019-2020 period.In the last week of its presidency, Indonesia held conference meetings on international peace and security caused by terrorist acts and on the Middle East conflict, as well as an Arria formula meeting on cybersecurity.Under its leadership, the UNSC also passed on Aug. 28 a resolution to extend the mandate of UNIFIL and another resolution on the UN mission in Somalia (UNSOM).It also conducted “sofa talks”, informal discussions to find common ground between opposing views on various controversial issues in the UN body. It is a new format that Indonesia initiated, where members meet without an agenda and without meeting records.“Indonesia has contributed both intellectually and to the improvement of working methods at the UNSC in seeking out breakthroughs on issues that have been difficult to discuss,” said Grata Endah Werdaningtyas, the ministry’s director for international security and disarmament.“By presenting a ‘sofa talk’ format, for instance, we are inspired by the spirit of mutual cooperation and a culture of working things out as a family that is characteristic of Indonesian society,” she said.As a “middle power” in Asia, Indonesia continually seeks to leverage itself as the world’s third-largest democracy and the largest economy in Southeast Asia, among other things, in line with the constitutional mandate of maintaining global peace.The nation ranks seventh in terms of diplomatic influence, according to the 2019 Lowy Institute’s Asia Power Index.Topics : The adoption of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that aims to empower women peacekeepers marked the end of Indonesia’s month-long council presidency in August, as the nation entered the last stretch of its two-year term on the esteemed global body.The UNSC adopted Resolution 2538 (2020) regarding female personnel in UN peacekeeping missions on Aug. 28 by consensus.“Resolution 2538 [2020] is the first resolution in the history of Indonesian diplomacy [to be adopted by] the UN Security Council,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said over the weekend. “At the same time, this is proof of Indonesia’s contribution to enhancing the role of women as agents of peace.”The main elements contained in the resolution include the need to increase the number of female personnel in UN missions, training cooperation; the establishment of networks and databases for female personnel; enhancing safety and security and providing special facilities for female personnel; and initiating UN cooperation with regional organizations on the matter.”Support for this Indonesian initiative is inseparable from Indonesia’s diplomacy, credibility and track record in UN peacekeeping missions,” Retno said.Women constitute just over 6 percent of the total UN peacekeeping force today, the shortfall derives from the low proportion of female peacekeepers deployed by troop-contributing countries, including Indonesia.last_img read more