UN: UN Ebola Mission opens treatment facility in Liberia

New York US (PANA) - Mr. Anthony Banbury, the Head the UN Mission for the Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), on Monday said the mission is opening a treatment facility in Liberia near the Sierra Leonean border.

A UN statement said Mr. Banbury began a two-day visit to Liberia on Monday, as part of his final tour of the three countries most affected by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak.

PANA in New York reports that the UN official, who was appointed in September, is ending his tour of duty on 3 January 2015, and he will be succeeded by Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania.

The statement said that, in each country, the outgoing head of mission will review progress in the fight against Ebola and areas where the UN can do more to help.

In Liberia, Mr. Banbury‘s will travel to Grand Cape Mount County for the opening of a new 50-bed Ebola Treatment Unit in an area that has reported six confirmed cases near the Sierra Leone border this month.

It also noted that UNMEER had been working closely with the governments of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in coordinating cross-border efforts to fight Ebola.

The statement disclosed that, in Guinea, UNMEER reported that a field hospital donated by Israel would be established as an Ebola Treatment Unit.

Meanwhile, UNMEER said West Africa's fight to contain Ebola had hampered the campaign against malaria, which was a fully preventable and treatable disease.

It said, for example, in Gueckedou, Guinea, doctors had had to stop pricking fingers to do blood tests for malaria.

It said that people in Guinea were too scared to go to health facilities and were not getting treated for malaria.

"Nets for Life Africa, a New York-based charity that provides insecticide-treated mosquito nets, said some 15,000 Guineans died from malaria last year," according to UNMEER.

In another development, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on Monday announced that the "CommCare" technology had been chosen to support the Guinean government's response plan against Ebola in order to obtain timely and reliable information as well as facilitate contact tracing.

UNFPA said the innovative and time-saving application would be used to locate the contacts and to transfer, in real time, the data collected by the community workers.

It said that, until now, 158 community workers used these phones to retrieve the data collected in the field.

"Previously, contact tracing was done with data sheets. We would go from house to house with writing material. Once the information was collected, we would give the sheets to the supervisors for typing and transferring to the coordination (point). This process used to take two to three days," UNFPA quoted community worker Alpha Sow Midiaou as saying.

Also, the UNFPA office in Guinea has been organizing training sessions for community workers and supervisors throughout the territory.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday reported that more 20,000 people have now become infected by the Ebola virus.

According to the latest WHO update, as of 27 December, 20,081 people have been reported infected with 7,842 deaths.
-0- PANA AA 29Dec2014

29 december 2014 20:04:42

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