UN: New UN Ebola mission chief assumes duties

New York, US (PANA) - The newly-appointed UN Special Representative and Head of the UN
Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, arrived on Saturday in Accra, Ghana, to assume duties, the UN said in a statement.

Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed took over from Mr. Anthony Banbury, who completed his tour of duty on Saturday.

The statement said the new UN envoy spoke with UNMEER staff at a town hall meeting on Saturday and praised their achievements in containing the Ebola epidemic in the affected West African countries.

He, however, noted that there are more challenges in battling the deadly outbreak, adding: "This is a global crisis. We definitely have a difficult time ahead of us, but we can achieve it.

"We have no plan B, we have to get rid of this virus, and this is within our reach, but we should not be complacent.''

The statement said the outgoing Head, Banbury, welcomed the new envoy, saying: "Even while we face a lot of hard work in the days, weeks and months ahead, it is important to pause and think back to where we were when we started. There were predictions that there would be 1.4 million cases by now."

Ould Cheikh Ahmed will be visiting Liberia and Sierra Leone next week, then Guinea shortly after, to reinforce UNMEER's strategic priorities and see first-hand the Ebola response.

According to UNMEER, the three affected countries now have sufficient capacity to isolate and treat 100 percent of confirmed Ebola patients and enough burial teams to ensure safe and dignified burials for 100 percent of all deaths due to Ebola.

Before his new appointment, Ould Cheikh Ahmed served as Deputy Special Representative and Deputy Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, 7,905 people have died from  the Ebola pandemic.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 3Jan2015

03 january 2015 22:37:59

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