Ethiopia: Ebola spreading faster than worldwide response, UN Chief warns

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Tuesday Ebola was spreading faster than efforts in place to stop it with revised figures of 5,000 health workers urgently sought.

The UN Secretary-General said the continuing spread of the disease highlighted the fragility of the healthcare system in West Africa, affecting countries emerging from years of civil strife.

“No country can defeat Ebola alone. We require effective regional strategies and partnerships. Regional solidarity is also crucial,” Ban said, referring to the logistical assistance countries like Nigeria and Senegal have offered in the efforts to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Senegal is acting as the logistical hub for a massive global effort to fight the disease. Ebola has killed up to 4,922 people with another 10,000 people currently affected in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said 5,000 health workers were urgently required to help put the disease under control and stop its further spread around the world.

But the Bank President said the lack of the health workers was the biggest “downside” to the efforts to respond effectively to Ebola.

The President of the World Bank, the UN Secretary-General and the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson met in Addis Ababa, to discuss a strategy to respond to the virus.

AUC Chair, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said the AU had mobilized 2,000 health workers but senior AU officials said the basis of the new estimated number of healthcare workers announced by the World Bank and the UN Special Envoy David Nabarro were still not clear to the AU, highlighting the confusion characterizing the Ebola response.

Ban said close cooperation was required between the UN Mission Ebola Emergency Response and the AU’s Support Mission for the Ebola Response in West Africa (ASEAWA) to strengthen the response.

“The UN has a clear plan we are executing it jointly with the AU and the European Union. The gravity of the situation deserves our full attention. We should not excite panic. The closure of borders will complicate our response,” Ban added.

The AUC Chairperson spent part of last week visiting countries in West Africa to lift travel restrictions against the countries affected by Ebola.

Those restrictions include a ban against shipping vessels docking into some countries after visits to the Ebola-affected countries.

Ban said the quarantine of health workers returning from the Ebola-affected countries should be based on sound scientific evidence, not on selfish purposes.

He said the health workers and essential health teams are key to efforts to control Ebola. Ban also called for proper medical evacuation mechanisms and assistance to the affected countries to effectively respond to the damaging effect of Ebola on the health workers. He said the success of those measures depended on cooperation between the AU and the UN.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 28Oct2014

28 october 2014 13:35:03

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