Switzerland: WHO declares Public Health Emergency over Ebola, urges affected states to declare national emergency

Geneva, Switzerland (PANA) - The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak in four West African nations a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), while advising leaders of affected countries to declare a national emergency.

The decision was taken at the first meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General via teleconference here Thursday, regarding the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

PANA reports that since the outbreak started in Guinea in December 2013, it has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, killing a total of 932 people.

''The Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other States; the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence  of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries. A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the  international spread of Ebola,'' the WHO said in a statement made available to PANA Friday.

The global health body urged Heads of State of affected countries to ''declare a national emergency; personally address the nation to provide information on the situation, the steps being taken to address the outbreak and the critical role of the community in  ensuring its rapid control; provide immediate access to emergency financing to initiate and sustain response operations; and ensure all necessary measures are taken to mobilize and remunerate the necessary health care workforce.

''Health Ministers and other health leaders should assume a prominent leadership role in coordinating and implementing emergency Ebola response measures, a fundamental aspect of which should be to  meet regularly with affected communities and to make site visits to treatment centres''.

States with Ebola Transmission were also urged to ensure that there is a large-scale and sustained effort to fully engage the community – through local, religious and traditional leaders and healers – so communities play a central role in case identification, contact tracing and risk education; the population should be made fully aware of the benefits of early treatment.

''It is essential that a strong supply pipeline be established to ensure that sufficient medical commodities, especially personal protective equipment (PPE), are available to those who appropriately need them, including health care workers, laboratory technicians, cleaning staff, burial personnel and others that may come in contact with infected persons or contaminated materials.  

''In areas of intense transmission (e.g. the cross border area of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia), the provision of quality clinical care, and material and psychosocial support for  the affected populations should be used as the primary basis for reducing the movement of people, but extraordinary supplemental measures such as quarantine should be used as considered necessary.

''States should ensure health care workers receive: adequate security measures for their safety and protection; timely payment of salaries and, as appropriate, hazard pay; and appropriate education and training on IPC, including the proper use of PPEs.'' it said.
-0- PANA SEG 8Aug2014.

08 august 2014 12:06:26

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