UN: WHO steps up Ebola response in Mali

New York, US (PANA) - The UN World Health Organization (WHO) says it is intensifying efforts to keep the Ebola outbreak from spreading in Mali by working to identify all chains of transmission and stepping up social mobilization campaigns to include a range of actors, from religious leaders to truck and bus drivers.

According to WHO, Mali has officially reported a total of 6 cases of Ebola, with 5 deaths after the virus was re-introduced into the country last month.

A UN statement on Tuesday, obtained by PANA in New York, said the health agency was currently assisting the Government of Mali to identify and monitor contacts, and prevent the outbreak from growing.

It noted that, to date, 554 contacts had been identified and nearly all had been placed under surveillance.

It stated that WHO's focus would be to work closely with the government to identify all potential chains of transmission and monitor the contacts so that everybody could be monitored for 21 days, after which, the transmission would hopefully stop.

The statement also said the Ministry of Health, supported by WHO, had augmented the number of staff engaged in contact tracing by drawing on polio surveillance teams and using local medical students with training in epidemiology.

It added that, Mali government was also romping up its capacity to perform exit screening at the Bamako airport.

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that it was working with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) "Doctors Without Borders", the Malian government and the Malian Health Ministry by increasing food and water delivery and improving hygiene and sanitation.

UNICEF spokesman, Mr. Christophe Boulierac told UN reporters that additional support would be given to local clinics, particularly in the area close to the frontier with Guinea.

Mr. Boulierac also said social mobilization campaigns would include religious leaders, an awareness-raising plan for truck drivers in the region and the equipping of bus stations near the Malian capital of Bamako with hand-washing materials.

In a related development, the Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Mr. Anthony Banbury, arrived in Bamako on Tuesday to consult with national authorities and partners on the ground.

According to the WHO, as of 11 November, 2014, a total of 14,413 Ebola cases had been reported in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, the US, Nigeria and Senegal, while the epidemic had recorded 5,177 reported deaths. WHO has declared Nigeria and Senegal Ebola-free.
-0- PANA AA/MA 18Nov2014

18 november 2014 22:08:10

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