UN: UN Ebola response mission opens new office in Mali

New York, US (PANA) - The newest outpost of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response
(UNMEER) became operational in Mali on Wednesday, while a new head of its Guinea office was named.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also reported that the number of Ebola cases has stabilized in Guinea, had stabilized or declined in Liberia but may still be on rise in Sierra Leone.

A UN statement which made the announcements said the WHO representative in Mali, Mr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, formally started work as the head of the UNMEER office in Mali.

It said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also appointed Mr. Abdou Dieng of Senegal as the Ebola Crisis Manager for Guinea, as part of UNMEER, succeeding Mr. Marcel Rudasingwa.

In this role Mr. Dieng would continue the mission’s work with the Government of Guinea, along with key stakeholders, in ensuring a rapid and effective international response to the Ebola crisis in the country, it stated.

The statement said in Liberia, UNMEER welcomed the opening of a 100-bed Ebola treatment
facility in Monrovia, which would be staffed by Chinese army medics, noting that the facility would start accepting patients next week.

Meanwhile, UNMEER in Sierra Leone transported blood samples by helicopter for the first time on Wednesday, and, three flights per week are planned, transporting blood samples from remote locations to laboratories.

Also in Liberia, UNMEER noted that traditional practices remained a significant obstacle in countering the epidemic, especially in relation to burial practices.

It said that UNMEER Field Crisis Managers reported several instances of non-compliance related to burial permits, as well as violent reactions towards burial teams.

In another development, the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$70 million project for Cote d’Ivoire to promote the West African country’s pro-active measures to prevent the spread of Ebola.

"So far, the Ivorian Ebola response plan has been working efficiently, with no recorded case. However, continuous support to Côte d’Ivoire remains essential to help the country respond effectively in case of necessity," Mr. Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Country Director for Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin and Guinea, said.

He said there were over 800 miles of border between Cote d'Ivoire and both Guinea and Liberia, and the epicentre of the epidemic was in the eastern part of these countries, near Cote d’Ivoire’s western border.

WHO in its latest update issued on Wednesday, said there have been 15,935 reported cases of Ebola virus disease with 5,689 reported deaths as of November 23.

The health agency said 15 countries that were neighbours of those with widespread and intense transmission that had been prioritized for technical assistance on preparedness from specialist WHO teams and partners were: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, and Togo.

It noted that as of 26 November, WHO teams had visited Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Mauritania, and Togo. Visits to the Central African Republic, Niger, and Ethiopia are planned for the week beginning 1 December.
-0- PANA AA/MA 26Nov2014

26 november 2014 22:25:18

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