UN: WHO, WFP partner to reach zero Ebola cases in West Africa

New York, US (PANA) - The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Programme
(WFP) on Wednesday announced they are combining their expertise in public health and logistics in a new partnership to bring the Ebola outbreak down to zero in West Africa.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, in a statement, obtained by PANA in New York, said:
"This partnership increases both agencies’ abilities to reach, monitor and respond to the needs of all people touched by Ebola, which has affected some 24,000 people with nearly 10,000 deaths."

She stated: "The partnership will help us deploy and maintain technical teams with expertise in infection prevention and control, epidemiology, and contact tracing, enabling dedicated health workers in the deep field to do their best work."

"The partnership is also a learning opportunity for the future, informing our capacities to launch joint operations during large-scale emergencies," Dr. Chan noted.

On her part, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, stated: "Over the past seven months,
partnerships have been crucial in fighting this devastating outbreak and WFP has worked with
our partners to respond to communities’ most basic needs – making sure food is reaching
everywhere that the Ebola virus has hit."

Ms. Cousin said her agency’s logistical support to WHO and the wider humanitarian community has enabled affected people to receive the urgent care and support they need.

"We are making progress, however, we must remain vigilant, the Ebola crisis will not end until
we identify, reach and successfully treat every last case. Recognizing this goal, the WHO-WFP
partnership – a joint technical and operational force - will continue providing the support
required to achieve zero cases," she said.

The statement said the two UN agencies agreed to combine their expertise in joint operations
in more than 60 priority districts and prefectures on the ground in Guinea, Liberia and
Sierra Leone, the three most Ebola-affected countries.

It stated that, in districts with ongoing Ebola transmission, WFP was ensuring that WHO
disease detectives have the resources they need – computer equipment, phones and stable
internet connectivity - to share information critical to tracking and stopping the virus.

It also said WFP was managing the fleet of rugged vehicles carrying WHO social
anthropologists and epidemiologists to isolated villages, where they will continue gaining the
trust of communities to find and follow contacts of Ebola patients until all cases are resolved.

The statement added that WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the UN system and WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 11March2015

11 march 2015 16:54:10

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