UN: New UN Ebola mission chief vows scaled-up efforts to end pandemic

New York, US (PANA) - The new Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has said he will scale-up efforts toward ending the Ebola epidemic in the affected West African countries.

PANA reports that Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed made the promise when he arrived in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, on Tuesday, as part of his first tour of the countries in the sub-region most affected by the Ebola outbreak.

A UN statement said the UNMEER chief met with Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as well as UNMEER and UN Mission in Liberia staff and also discussed response efforts with the wider diplomatic community.

"I want to visit the affected countries not only to see what is already been done, I know we have made a lot of progress, but to see what we can do to get to zero cases as fast as possible.

"Beyond that, we also need to scale up our efforts to re-establish basic social services, strengthen health services, support economic activity and build these countries’ resilience," he was quoted as saying.

He also noted that he was assessing response efforts to stop the Ebola outbreak and determine urgent UN priorities going forward.

"The UN is wholly committed to supporting all affected and at-risk communities to contain the Ebola outbreak and end this crisis, and we need to pay special attention to the border areas.

"Zero cases in Liberia and this entire region must be everyone’s goal," he said, pledging
UNMEER’s support to 'stand together' with the people affected and their governments until the
crisis ends.

The statement said Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed visited Grand Cape Mount County in Liberia, where he interacted with local, traditional and religious leaders, as well as Ebola survivors, before heading to Sierra Leone which, along with Guinea, is among the three front line countries battling the outbreak.

During the visits, the UN envoy is scheduled to meet with the Presidents of Sierra Leone and Guinea, as well as other UN Ebola Response partners.

He will also visit Ebola Treatment Units and national Ebola Response Centres to see how UNMEER’s coordination efforts are playing out on the ground.

As of 31 Dec. 2014, seven of Liberia’s 15 counties had reported no new Ebola cases. However,
22 new cases were reported in Grand Cape Mount County, 88 in Montserrado and 14 in Margibi, all in Liberia.

According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) update on Wednesday, 20,712 people have been infected and 8,220 have died from the Ebola outbreak.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 7Jan2015

07 january 2015 06:28:37

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