UN: UN report says effects of Ebola outbreak felt outside worst-affected countries

New York, US (PANA)   - The effects of Ebola, which has infected nearly 24,000 people and killed over 10,000, mainly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, extend beyond the people who suffer
from the virus and even beyond the borders of the worst-affected countries, new UN report said.

The report, which was produced by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said even in West African nations that experienced low or zero incidence of Ebola, the effects of the outbreak have been powerful because of the strong ties among the countries of the region.

A statement on the report issued here Friday quoted Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, as saying: "The consequences of Ebola are vast. Stigma, risk aversion and shutting down of borders have caused considerable amounts of damage, affecting economies and communities in a large number of countries across the sub-region."

The UN Development Group (UNDG) said West Africa as a whole may lose an average of at least US$3.6 billion per year between 2014 and 2017, as regional trade flags amid border closures, flight cancellations and reduced foreign direct investment and tourism activity.

It noted that per capita income for the region’s residents is also expected to fall by US$18 per year between 2015 and 2017, and that the poverty rate in Cote d’Ivoire had risen by at least 0.5 per cent because of Ebola, while in Senegal, the proportion of people living below the national poverty line could increase by up to 1.8 per cent in 2014.

The report called for increased involvement of West African governments and regional
institutions to stop the epidemic and boost the recovery, and commended efforts by the
African Union to send doctors from Nigeria and Ethiopia, as well as coordinated efforts by the Mano River Union and the regional body, ECOWAS, to contain the Ebola outbreak in the affected countries.

The report stressed the need for prevention of future outbreaks, calling for a combination
of regional and national interventions, such as efforts to strengthen health sectors across the
region, the immediate creation of a regional centre for disease control and prevention, coordinated border control and establishment of early warning and disaster management

"Such prevention efforts can draw on the experiences of countries such as Nigeria and Senegal, whose decentralised health systems played a key role in slowing down and
eradicating transmission of the disease," it added.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 13March2015

13 march 2015 09:08:05

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