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‘Community resistance’ hampering WHO Ebola response

The World Health Organization has reported that resistance to disease control measures in some local communities is making Ebola response measures less effective.

In its latest update on the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, WHO states that “Community resistance, inadequate treatment facilities and insufficient human resources in certain affected areas are among challenges currently faced by the three countries in responding to the EVD outbreak.”

Recent Ebola cases have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with most of the new cases being in Sierra Leone.

In response to the situation in Sierra Leone companies operating in the country are considering activating disease response contingency plans. One such company, London Mining, has made public statements about its actions. The statements read as follows (verbatim):

June 1st 2014
“London Mining Company has increased its assessed risk level because of reported cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone. Company employees are encouraged to pay strict attention to hygiene and eliminate areas of potential exposure. The Company has also restricted non-essential travel and all such travels are approved by the Managing Director of London Mining. To date, a total of 8 non-essential staff have travelled out of Sierra Leone on regular flights. Meanwhile, London Mining essential staff continue to travel in and out of Sierra Leone. We are also pro-actively monitoring the health of our employees and conducting compulsory body temperature screening on our mine site. We continue working closely with Government of Sierra Leone, World Health Organisation and other international agencies to monitor the situation and supporting efforts to raise community awareness of the disease.”

2nd June 2014
“London Mining notes recent reports from Sierra Leone suggesting that an increased number of incidents of Ebola Fever have been found in the country.

The Company is not aware of any incidences of the disease among its workforce or in the communities surrounding the Marampa mine. However London Mining is regularly monitoring the situation with Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the World Health Organisation and other international agencies.

Following consultation with the relevant authorities, the Company has imposed restrictions on travel in the region and continues to work with employees to promote awareness of the disease, including the provision of information on how it is transmitted and the signs and symptoms. A number of non-essential personnel have left the country due to voluntary restrictions on non-essential travel.

London Mining has also established proactive health monitoring of the workforce, including working with trained personnel to screen all staff and visitors entering our sites, and has ensured the Marampa facility has the appropriate medication and equipment to manage any potential occurrences of the disease. Production at Marampa is not currently affected”

•Date: 3rd June 2014 • Africa •Type: Article • Topic: Pandemic resources

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