US: WHO, West African leaders to launch intensified Ebola response plan

Washington DC, US (PANA) - The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO)
and Presidents of West African nations impacted by the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak will
meet Friday in Guinea to launch a new joint US$100 million response plan as part of an
intensified international, regional and national campaign to bring the outbreak under
control.  

In a statement circulated to the media here, WHO's Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, said: "The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it poses, requires WHO and Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to take the response to a new level.

"This will require increased resources, in-country medical expertise, regional
preparedness and coordination, and the countries have identified what they need, and
WHO is reaching out to the international community to drive the response plan forward."

The statement noted that the 'Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan in West Africa',
identifies the need for several hundred more personnel to be deployed in affected countries
to supplement overstretched treatment facilities.

It also said that, hundreds of international aid workers, as well as 120-plus WHO staff, are
already supporting national and regional response efforts.

"But, more are urgently required. Of greatest need are clinical doctors and nurses,
epidemiologists, social mobilisation experts, logisticians and data managers. The plan
also outlines the need to increase preparedness systems in neighbouring nations and
strengthen global capacities," it stressed.

WHO said that the key elements of the new plan, which draws on lessons from other
outbreaks, include strategies to stop transmission of Ebola Virus Disease in the affected
countries through scaling up effective, evidence-based outbreak control measures and
preventing the spread of Ebola virus to the neighbouring at-risk countries through
strengthening epidemic preparedness and response measures.

According to the statement, WHO and affected and neighbouring countries will renew
efforts to mobilise communities and strengthen communication so that people know how
to avoid infection and what to do if they fear they may have come into contact with the
virus.

The plan also emphasises the importance of surveillance, particularly in border areas, of
risk assessments and of laboratory-based diagnostic testing of suspected cases.

Also highlighted is the need to improve ways to protect health workers, a scarce resource
in all three countries, from infection.

Reinforcing coordination of the overall health response is critical and in particular,
this includes strengthening capacities of the WHO-run Sub-regional Outbreak Coordination
Centre, which was opened this month in Conakry, Guinea, to consolidate and streamline
support to West African countries by all major partners and assist in resource mobilisation.

"The scale of the ongoing outbreak is unprecedented, with approximately 1,323 confirmed
and suspected cases reported, and 729 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since
March 2014," the statement added.
-0-  PANA AA/AR 31July2014

31 july 2014 19:23:29




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