UN: UN Special Envoy stresses need to combat Ebola stigma

New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola David Nabarro has made a passionate appeal to combat stigmatisation surrounding the Ebola virus disease by calling for a global social media campaign to "express solidarity and to show we are anti-discrimination".

Dr. Nabarro, who briefed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at UN headquarters in New York late Wednesday, said it was really important that people understand the roots of the stigma and work to address it.

He stressed the need for everybody to work toward reducing the stigmatisation, noting that even UN personnel travelling from affected countries have been stranded in airports for 24 hours and "treated as criminals".

"What I am suggesting is to engage with those who are reacting in extreme ways," the special envoy said.

"Craig Spencer's discharge was helpful in reducing that fear," Dr. Nabarro said, referring to the first and only person to be diagnosed with Ebola in New York City who was released from hospital on Tuesday and greeted with a hug by the New York City Mayor.

The envoy said he was pleased to see, on Facebook, people calling for donations and support for people suffering with Ebola, saying: "We need a second button – a button of solidarity aimed at reducing stigmatisation and discrimination.

"Let’s try to use social media to express solidarity and to show we are anti-discrimination. We have done it for HIV. We must do this for Ebola," he added.

Dr. Nabarro also said that 2 or 3 million of the world’s population were now "emotionally engaged" in the Ebola issue with hundreds of thousands working on the Ebola response.

Meanwhile, UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous has said
there are no longer signs that security could seriously deteriorate in the country that is heavily-affected by Ebola.

Briefing the UN Security Council on the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) late Wednesday, he said, it would be appropriate to defer consideration of the draw down of UN troops and police, until the Ebola crisis is over.

"As an international community, we must seize the current moment, and see how best we may, collectively, help to transform it into one that is positively catalytic for the country," Mr. Ladsous said.

According to WHO’s latest statistics, there are now 5,160 deaths from 14,098 cases mostly in the three West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

-0- PANA AA/SEG 13Nov2014

13 november 2014 08:38:16

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