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Intensified Ebola response plan launched

Friday August 1st, 2014

A major project to tackle the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is being launched today by the World Health Organisation.

Some 100 million US dollars are to be spent on the campaign.

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO’s director-general, will meet with the presidents of the countries that have been affected by the outbreak today to strengthen the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan in West Africa – an international, regional and national campaign to bring the disease under control.

The scale of the outbreak is unprecedented, with 1,323 confirmed and suspected cases reported, and 729 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March 2014.

“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, and this will require increased resources, in-country medical expertise, regional preparedness and coordination,” says Dr Chan.

“The countries have identified what they need, and WHO is reaching out to the international community to drive the response plan forward.”

The response plan identifies the need for several hundred more personnel to be deployed in affected countries to work in overstretched treatment facilities.

Hundreds of international aid workers, as well as more than 120 WHO staff, are already supporting national and regional response efforts.

But clinical doctors and nurses, epidemiologists, social mobilisation experts, logisticians and data managers are in urgent need to work in affected areas.

The new plan outlines the need to increase preparedness systems in neighbouring countries and to strengthen global capacities.

It also includes strategies to stop the spread of the Ebola virus disease in the affected countries by increasing evidence-based outbreak control measures and emphasises the importance of surveillance, especially in border areas.

Improving ways to protect health workers from infection remains a priority.

WHO is to join forces with the affected countries and their neighbours to improve communication so that people know how to avoid infection and what to do if they believe they have come into contact with the virus.

Dr Chan and leaders will say that strengthening the overall health response is critical, particularly strengthening capacities of the WHO-run Sub-regional Outbreak Coordination Centre, which was opened this month in Conakry, Guinea.

Tags: Africa | Flu & Viruses | World Health

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