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WHO organizes high-level Ebola meeting

Following Médecins Sans Frontières’ claim that Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa is out of control, WHO has convened a high-level meeting for Ministers of Health in the region.

Last week Dr Bart Janssens, Médecins Sans Frontières director of operations, warned: “MSF is currently the only aid organization treating people affected by the [Ebola] virus, which can kill up to 90 percent of those infected. Since the outbreak began in March, MSF has treated some 470 patients, 215 of them confirmed cases, in specialised centres set up in the region. However, MSF is having difficulty responding to the large number of new cases and locations. The epidemic is out of control. With the appearance of new sites in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, there is a real risk of it spreading to other areas. We have reached our limits. Despite the human resources and equipment deployed by MSF in the three affected countries, we are no longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites.”

WHO says that containment of the EVD outbreak requires a strong response in the countries and especially along their shared border areas. As one of the response elements, WHO is organizing a high-level meeting for the Ministers of Health in the sub-region scheduled for 2nd–3rd July 2014 in Accra, Ghana. The meeting will bring together Ministers of Health and the Directors of disease prevention and control from 11 African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Uganda), as well as partners, Ebola survivors, representatives of airlines and mining companies, and the donor communities. The objective of the meeting is to analyse the situation, identify gaps, develop operational response plans, and to ensure increased political commitment and enhanced cross-border collaboration for EVD response activities among the countries in the sub-region.

As of 30th June 2014, WHO reports that the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the three countries stands at 759, including 467 deaths.

•Date: 2nd July 2014 • Africa •Type: Article • Topic: Pandemic planning

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