The World Health Organization and Ugandan authorities are seeking nearly $18 million to help contain the Ebola outbreak in the country for the next three months. The initiative comes as Uganda registers the death of the first health worker in the current Ebola outbreak and brings the total number of confirmed cases to 35, with seven deaths.

The death of the first medical worker during the current outbreak was revealed by Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s minister for health, as she spoke to the media after a high-level closed-door meeting organized by the WHO in Kampala

On Thursday, the ministry announced that six health workers had been confirmed to have the Ebola Sudan strain and two more were in critical condition. 

The health worker who died, a Tanzanian national, was moved to an isolation facility at a hospital in the neighboring district of Fort Portal in the Mubende district, where he had handled the first Ebola case.

Because of what Aceng called some mistakes, more health workers have been exposed to Ebola. 

“Today, we have 35 confirmed cases. And we have lost seven people, unfortunately. And one of them is a medical doctor,” Aceng said. “It is true that we have 65 health workers who have been exposed. Now all these 65 health workers are under quarantine.” 

The current Ebola Sudan strain so far has affected four districts in Uganda, including Mubende, with the epicenter in Madudu sub county, Kyegwegwa, Kassanda and now the Kagadi district. 

Aceng revealed the main commonality with the four affected districts. 

“People from Madudu run to these districts because they thought there was witchcraft in Madudu,” she said. “And they were running away either to find a safe haven or to reach out to relatives to help them … treat what to them was a strange disease that they did not understand. However, with the various interventions that we have had, the people of Madudu have now understood that it is Ebola and not witchcraft.” 

Regardless of what course the spread of the Ebola Sudan strain will take, there is still no vaccine. Health officials in Uganda, including those from the WHO, are mobilizing and seeking the funds to control the outbreak. 

Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam, the WHO representative to Uganda, said he is worried the money being sought might not cover all costs. 

“If we go into the preparedness, we are talking, even for the three months, three times or four times that amount,” he said. “Plus, there are things which we take for granted, assuming the system will provide them. Those are additional costs like transportation, like fuel, like human resources, which we have to consider to also fund as we go ahead.” 

The Sudan Ebola virus is less common than the Zaire Ebola virus, and there is currently no effective vaccine. The Sudan Ebola virus was first reported in southern Sudan in 1976. Although several outbreaks have been reported since then in both Uganda and Sudan, the deadliest outbreak in Uganda was in 2000, claiming more than 200 lives.   

Uganda’s last Ebola outbreak, in 2019, was confirmed to be the Zaire ebolavirus. It last reported a Sudan ebolavirus outbreak in 2012.

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The United Nations is calling for an end to discrimination against older people and for recognition of their contributions to society, as it marks the International Day of Older Persons Saturday.   

With 1.4 billion people estimated to have reached at least 60 years old by 2030, U.N. officials say that is too many people to ignore and dismiss as inconsequential, especially as older people still make many significant contributions.

At 73, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demonstrates that. In celebration of the day, he commended the accomplishments of older people, whom he called a valuable source of knowledge and experience.  

He also praised the resilience of the more than 1 billion older people in facing adversity in a rapidly changing world.

“The past years have witnessed dramatic upheavals and older people often found themselves at the epicenter of crises,” Guterres said. “They are particularly vulnerable to a range of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the worsening climate crisis, proliferating conflicts, and growing poverty. Yet in the face of these threats, older people have inspired us with their remarkable resilience.” 

The World Health Organization says longer life brings opportunities to pursue new activities, such as further education or a new career, depending on a person’s health.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called it important for countries to work together to foster healthy aging — an effort that must include older people themselves.  

“A collaboration to improve the lives of older people, their families, and their communities,” said Tedros. “In practice that means keeping alert for ageism and supporting older people by engaging them in the community, providing responsive health care, and quality long-term care for those who need it.”  

The U.N. says it is important to challenge negative characterizations and misconceptions about the elderly. It calls for an end to age and gender discrimination and for communities to create opportunities for older people who live in them.

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The Indian capital of New Delhi will enforce a 15-step action plan to curb pollution ahead of the arrival of winter, when a haze of toxic smog envelops the world’s most polluted city.

High pollution is an annual sore point for Delhi, especially in October and November.

Authorities urge people to stay indoors as burning of crop waste ahead of a new sowing season and lower temperatures trap pollutants in the air for longer, often forcing the closure of schools, with curbs placed on use of private vehicles.

“We are announcing a 15-point winter action plan,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told a news conference at which he laid out the measures to reduce pollution, though the annual campaign has had little impact for years.

Measures to help limit dust in the air will include installation of anti-smog guns and water sprinklers, he added.

The government will also ensure that people do not burn waste materials, a major cause of pollution.

Tough measures to check vehicular pollution include curbs on the usage of diesel-fueled vehicles older than 10 years and petrol-run vehicles older than 15.

Pollution levels also peak during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which falls on Oct. 24 this year. The government renewed a ban on firecrackers this month.

The Delhi city government will draft thousands of volunteers to ensure the anti-pollution measures are followed, Kejriwal added. He urged neighboring states to ensure a constant supply of electricity and so limit use of diesel-run power generators.

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This year’s Nobel Prize season approaches as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shattered decades of almost uninterrupted peace in Europe and raised the risks of a nuclear disaster.

The secretive Nobel committees never hint who will win the prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature, economics or peace. It’s anyone’s guess who might win the awards being announced starting Monday.

Yet there’s no lack of urgent causes deserving the attention that comes with winning the world’s most prestigious prize: wars in Ukraine and Ethiopia, disruptions to supplies of energy and food, rising inequality, the climate crisis, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The science prizes reward complex achievements beyond the understanding of most. But the recipients of the prizes in peace and literature are often known by a global audience, and the choices — or perceived omissions — have sometimes stirred emotional reactions.

Members of the European Parliament have called for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine to be recognized this year by the Nobel Peace Prize committee for their resistance to the Russian invasion.

While that desire is understandable, that choice is unlikely because the Nobel committee has a history of honoring figures who end conflicts, not wartime leaders, said Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Smith believes more likely peace prize candidates would be those fighting climate change or the International Atomic Energy Agency, a past recipient. Honoring the IAEA again would recognize its efforts to prevent a radioactive catastrophe at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant amid fighting in Ukraine, and its work in fighting nuclear proliferation, Smith said.

“This is a really difficult period in world history, and there is not a lot of peace being made,” he said.

Promoting peace isn’t always rewarded with a Nobel. India’s Mohandas Gandhi, a prominent symbol of nonviolence, was never so honored.

In some cases, the winners have not lived out the values enshrined in the peace prize. 

Just this week the Vatican acknowledged imposing disciplinary sanctions on Nobel Peace Prize-winning Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo following allegations he sexually abused boys in East Timor in the 1990s.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won in 2019 for making peace with neighboring Eritrea. A year later, a largely ethnic conflict erupted in the country’s Tigray region. Some accuse Abiy of stoking the tensions, which have resulted in widespread atrocities. Critics have called for his Nobel to be revoked, and the Nobel committee has issued a rare admonition to him.

The Myanmar activist Aung San Suu Kyi won in 1991 for her opposition to military rule but decades later has been viewed as failing to oppose atrocities committed against the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.

In some years, no peace prize has been awarded. The Norwegian Nobel Committee paused them during World War I, except to honor the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1917. It didn’t hand out any from 1939 to 1943 because of World War II. In 1948, the year Gandhi died, the committee made no award, citing a lack of a suitable living candidate.

The peace prize also does not always confer protection.

Last year journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia were awarded “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression” in the face of authoritarian governments.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin has cracked down even harder on independent media, including Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s most renowned independent newspaper. Muratov himself was attacked on a Russian train by an assailant who poured red paint over him, injuring his eyes.

The Philippines government this year ordered the shutdown of Ressa’s news organization, Rappler.

The literature prize, meanwhile, has been anything but predictable.

Few had bet on last year’s winner, Zanzibar-born, U.K.-based writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose books explore the personal and societal impacts of colonialism and migration.

Gurnah was only the sixth Nobel literature laureate born in Africa, and the prize has long faced criticism that it is too focused on European and North American writers. It is also male dominated, with just 16 women among its 118 laureates.

A clear contender is Salman Rushdie, the India-born writer and free-speech advocate who spent years in hiding after Iran’s clerical rulers called for his death over his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses. Rushdie, 75, was stabbed and seriously injured in August at a festival in New York state.

The list of possible winners includes literary giants from around the world: Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Japan’s Haruki Murakami, Norway’s Jon Fosse, Antigua-born Jamaica Kincaid and France’s Annie Ernaux.

The prizes to Gurnah in 2021 and U.S. poet Louise Gluck in 2020 have helped the literature prize move on from years of controversy and scandal.

In 2018, the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, which names the Nobel literature committee, and sparked an exodus of members. The academy revamped itself but faced more criticism for giving the 2019 literature award to Austria’s Peter Handke, who has been called an apologist for Serbian war crimes.

Some scientists hope the award for physiology or medicine honors colleagues instrumental in the development of the mRNA technology that went into COVID-19 vaccines, which saved millions of lives around the world.

“When we think of Nobel prizes, we think of things that are paradigm shifting, and in a way I see mRNA vaccines and their success with COVID-19 as a turning point for us,” said Deborah Fuller, a microbiology professor at the University of Washington.

Physics at times can seem arcane and difficult for the public to understand. But the last three years, the physics Nobel has honored more accessible topics: climate change computer models, black holes and planets outside our solar system.

Some harder-to-understand topics in physics — like stopping light, quantum physics and carbon nanotubes — could capture a Nobel award this year.

The Nobel announcements kick off Monday with the prize in physiology or medicine, followed by physics on Tuesday, chemistry on Wednesday and literature on Thursday. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on October 7 and the economics award on October 10.

The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on December 10.

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