Gouéké (Guinea) (AFP)

The vaccination campaign against Ebola hemorrhagic fever was launched Tuesday in Guinea, more than a week after the resurgence of the disease in this West African country which hopes to eradicate it "in six weeks" according to its minister of Health.

The campaign was able to start after the arrival Monday evening in Conakry of more than 11,000 doses of vaccine provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), which plans to send 8,500 additional doses from the United States.

In the field, immunization began in Gouécké - also spelled Gouéké -, a locality in Forest Guinea (south) where the first cases linked to this Ebola resurgence were detected on February 13, five years after a deadly epidemic in West Africa.

According to Guinean authorities, the resurgence of the disease has killed five people, but no new cases have been confirmed for a week.

In Gouécké, half a dozen people, relatives of the nurse first affected and who died at the end of January, received a dose of the vaccine in a small freshly pitched tent on the outskirts of the decrepit health center of the city, noted a AFP journalist.

"I think that in six weeks, we can be done with this disease", told AFP the Minister of Health, General Rémy Lamah, who had made the trip with the WHO representative in Guinea. , Georges Ki-Zerbo, and UN officials.

A small ceremony brought together several dozen people in front of the health center, including young people, women and the prefect and the sub-prefect, who received the vaccine "to set an example".

An imam and a pastor took the floor to encourage people to get vaccinated.

- Remove reluctance -

Originally from the region, General Lamah admitted having had to parley a whole day with the local chiefs to overcome their reservations.

And during the ceremony, he thundered against the "bad people" who refuse the vaccination.

Guinean health authorities, such as the WHO or specialized NGOs, know that without the support of the populations, it will be very difficult to fight effectively against this disease which causes sudden fever, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea, and whose average case fatality rate is 50% according to the WHO.

The worst Ebola epidemic since the identification of the disease in 1976 in the current Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where it continues to be rife regularly, including at this time, already began in Forest Guinea. , and where part of the population resists health measures.

The epidemic in West Africa caused more than 11,300 deaths from 2013 to 2016, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

On Tuesday, the vaccination campaign also began in Dubréka, according to Dr. Halimatou Keïta, doctor in the hospital in this city on the outskirts of Conakry.

On Wednesday, it will continue in Nzérékoré, capital of Forest Guinea located about forty kilometers from Gouéké, where 1,600 doses of vaccines were delivered in two aerial rotations.

A total of 385 contact cases of the nurse and her relatives were identified on Tuesday, told AFP Bouna Yattassaye, deputy director of the National Agency for Health Security (ANSS).

The vast majority of them are monitored and will be vaccinated as a priority.

© 2021 AFP