UN: WHO says returning Ebola health workers should not be stigmatized

New York, US (PANA) - The UN World Health Organization says that it is too early to tell if
restrictions on health workers through mandatory quarantine will deter medical staff from
travelling to West Africa to help fight the Ebola crisis.

A brief WHO statement obtained by PANA in New York Tuesday said the UN health agency
does not recommend mandatory quarantine for health workers.

WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic stated: "It is really important to balance any
measure between what is perceived as protecting a population and a risk of stigmatization,
and we desperately need international health workers.

"We keep calling for health workers. They are the key to this response and these people
should not be treated when coming home in a way that they would be stigmatized."

On Monday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that returning health workers are
exceptional people who are giving of themselves for humanity and that they should not
be subjected to restrictions that are not based on science.

PANA recalled that the US States of New York, New Jersey and Illinois had introduced a
21-day quarantine for all health workers who have had contact with Ebola patients in
West Africa.

The three states had refused to change their quarantine policy, in spite of new federal
guidelines in the US, which said that American medical personnel returning from
treating Ebola patients in West Africa would be actively monitored but not placed in

The ruling came after a nurse was put in isolation in a tent outside a hospital in
New Jersey, a decision that has caused outrage among politicians and health
workers in the US.

Also, Australia has been criticised for a ban on visas for people from West Africa.
-0-   PANA  AA/AR  28Oct2014

28 october 2014 17:52:45

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