UN advice to fight Ebola
The outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa needs an international effort to keep a check on the disease because it poses a big threat to the world, United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) chief Anthony Banbury has said.
Accra (Ghana): The outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa needs an international effort to keep a check on the disease because it poses a big threat to the world, United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) chief Anthony Banbury has said.
The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there could be 1.4 million cases in Sierra Leone and Liberia by Jan 20, 2015. Over 6,500 people have been infected with Ebola and over 3,000 have died.
"No single state can stop this outbreak. We need an international effort," Banbury said while addressing reporters in Accra.
Following refusal of international airlines to enter the three countries - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - affected by Ebola virus, the UN has decided to start an emergency mission here to support air-lifting of drugs and logistics to the affected countries.
Banbury said: "The air-bridge established in Accra is vital to stop the spread of Ebola virus."
He said: "The situation created by Ebola is very grave. It is more than just a public health crisis, it has become a multi-dimensional crisis with serious risks affecting the health, economic, political, humanitarian spheres."
"The rate of infection is growing exponentially" with the total number of cases doubling every three weeks, he said.
International aid agency Oxfam said it is planning to triple its Ebola prevention programme in Sierra Leone and needed at least £10 million to help 2.5 million people who are at the risk of catching the virus.
"It will be significantly stepping up its water and sanitation supply to Ebola treatment and community care centres, supply of hygiene materials and boosting its mass public information campaign," the Oxfam said in a statement.
It has already helped over half a million people by providing water supply at treatment and isolation centres, hand wash facilities, hygiene kits, supply of personal protective clothing and training for health workers, it said.
The aid agency has also been running awareness campaigns about how people can best protect themselves from getting the virus.
Oxfam regional head David MacDonald said: "The need to check its (Ebola) spread is the absolute key. Infection rates are accelerating and we have no option but to rapidly increase our work."
"We will work to prevent the spread of the disease. We also need to think about diseases that are being ignored and can be treated like diarrhoea, malaria and cholera," he said.
MacDonald said: "Ebola is consuming entire communities. We are seeing them absolutely torn apart due to its spread. Many areas have been changed into quarantine - the streets are completely deserted."
The aid agency is calling for a concerted international effort to stop the spread of Ebola virus and also for military logistical support.
Guinea was the first country to report an Ebola outbreak early this year and since then it has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. It has also spread to Nigeria and Senegal. The UN said it needs about $1 billion to stop its spread and so far only $345 million has been received.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has come at the worst possible time with farm workers unwilling to grow food and it is becoming increasingly expensive in markets.
15 Sep 2019 9:37 AM GMT