UN: New UN report highlights impact of Ebola on nine million children

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), in a report released on Tuesday, said
about nine million children have seen death and suffering beyond their comprehension, and
protecting them and their communities is critical in the fight against Ebola in West Africa.

UNICEF said that the Ebola impact had hit children and the most vulnerable communities in
some of the world's most vulnerable countries, noting: "Of the more than 24,000 people
infected, some 5,000 are children, while more than 16,000 children have lost one or both
parents or their primary caregiver."

It stated: "For many of the nine million children living in affected areas, Ebola has been
terrifying, and these children have seen death and suffering beyond their comprehension."

The report also pointed to the central role communities are playing in the response and shows encouraging trends in safe behaviours.

"In Liberia, for example, a survey indicates that 72 per cent of people believe anyone with Ebola symptoms will get better care at a treatment centre, which is significant because many used to keep Ebola victims at home, spreading infection in the community," it said.

The report came days after the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said Liberia reported no new confirmed cases for the second consecutive week from the disease that has affected more than 24,000 people with more than 10,000 deaths.

Ms. Barbara Bentein, UNICEF's Global Emergency Coordinator for Ebola, said: "The outbreak will not be over until there are zero cases, and every single contact has been traced and monitored. We cannot afford to let our guard down."

"At the same time, basic services need to be re-established safely and responsibly, using the assets of the response," she said.

UNICEF, which helped minimize the risk of Ebola infections when schools reopened following months of closures that left 5 million children out of school, noted that investing in improving health care systems in Ebola-affected countries will help tackle other diseases such as measles, pneumonia and diarrhoea, which take a heavy toll on children.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 17March2015

17 march 2015 15:17:43

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