UN: UN envoy says Ebola response must be sustained

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, on Friday appealed for the global response to the deadly virus to be sustained until every last case is contained and treated.

At a briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, Dr. Nabarro gave an update on the wider UN response to the Ebola outbreak, while noting that there were signs of the strategy working in certain areas.

He however cautioned against drawing conclusions on the numbers, echoing what the World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded earlier this week when it had reported a decline in burials and sickbed occupancy rates, as well as a reduction in lab-reported new cases in Liberia.

Dr. Nabarro said: "Even if we get a reduction in the rate of increase, it does not mean the outbreak is under control. It just means we are on the right path."

"We need to sustain the effort until every last case is contained and treated, and press on with the response strategy of community engagement, treatment and contact tracing – all of which has be to practiced everywhere to prevent an outbreak," he stated.

Dr. Nabarro also raised concerns about recent travel restrictions put in place for those returning from Ebola-affected countries, saying: "Returning health workers are exceptional people giving for humanity."

The UN official appealed to authorities "to think hard before putting restrictions on them (health workers)."

He said the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund had now successfully received approximately US$116 million in commitments and pledges, and these funds will be used for the most critical, unfunded priorities of the response.

He also disclosed that the Ebola Response Plan of US$988 million had received US$540 million, or about 50 per cent of the total required.

According to the latest WHO statistics on the Ebola outbreak issued today, 13,567 cases and 4,951 deaths have been reported in the six affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the US, along with two previously affected countries, Nigeria and Senegal.

The cases reported are fewer than those last reported due mainly to suspected cases in Guinea being discarded, WHO said.

Meanwhile, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) announced it is updating its guidelines of the so-called personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers to ensure protection
of the mouth, nose and eyes from contaminated droplets and fluids.

WHO also said that given that hands were known to transmit pathogens to other parts of the body, as well as to other individuals, hand hygiene and gloves were essential, both to protect the health worker and to prevent transmission to others, and recommended health workers wore double gloves.

It said face cover, protective foot wear, gowns or coveralls, and head cover were also considered essential to prevent transmission to healthcare workers.

Dr. Edward Kelley, WHO Director for Service Delivery and Safety, said: "These guidelines hold
an important role in clarifying effective personal protective equipment options that protect the
safety of healthcare workers and patients from Ebola virus disease transmission."

In a related development, a UN Development Programme (UNDP) socio-economic impact study on Guinea has shown that economic growth in the country slowed from 4.5 percent to 2.4 per cent.

The study also noted a deterioration of poor households' food and nutritional security, postponement of the beginning of the school year and lower attendance rates in health facilities.
-0- PANA AA/MA 31Oct2014

31 october 2014 21:54:49

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