World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Ebola: UN Says More than 1 Million People Affected

Ebola: UN Health Agency Says More than 1 Million People Affected by Outbreak

Ebola in West Africa poses a great threat to development. Photo: UNDP

13 August 2014

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today convened a United Nations system-wide coordination meeting in response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which is now affecting more than 1 million people in the so-called “hot zone of disease transmission” on the borders of the three countries most impacted by the disease.

According to the latest update issued today by the World Health Organization (WHO), between 10 and 11 August, 128 new cases of Ebola virus disease, as well as 56 deaths, were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, bringing the total number of cases to 1,975 and deaths to 1,069.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan gave a bleak assessment on the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa during a briefing yesterday to UN Member States in Geneva, saying the outbreak has placed every city with an international airport at risk of an imported case, and “no one is talking about an early end to the outbreak.”

More than one million people are affected, and these people need daily material support, including food.

“Decisions to seal off the hot zone of disease transmission, that is, the area where the borders of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone intersect, are critical for stopping the reinfection of areas via the cross-border movement of people,” Dr. Chan said.

“More than one million people are affected, and these people need daily material support, including food,” she said. “The isolation of this zone has made it even more difficult for agencies, like MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières], to bring in staff and supplies.”

At UN Headquarters today, the Secretary-General chaired a UN system-wide coordination on Ebola and stressed the need for the entire UN system to support the WHO’s efforts in combatting the outbreak.

On Tuesday, Mr. Ban appointed Dr. David Nabarro as Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, in support of the work done by Dr. Margaret Chan and her team to counter the outbreak, which the agency has designated a “public health emergency of international concern.”

Dr. Nabarro, who joined the meeting with the Secretary-General today from Geneva with the WHO Director-General, will be responsible for ensuring that the UN system makes an effective and coordinated contribution to the global effort to control the outbreak of Ebola.

Also Tuesday, a 12-member ethics panel convened by WHO announced that it is ethical to treat Ebola patients with experimental drugs to counter the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak of Ebola virus disease in history.

On the operational side, WHO says it is finalizing its strategic operations response plan and expects to share this with countries and partners in the coming days. Mapping is also underway to develop an operational picture in order to coordinate and move people and materials to areas of greatest need.

The UN health agency says that standard measures, like early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring, and rigorous procedures for infection control, have stopped previous Ebola outbreaks including those in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as Gabon, and can do so again.

Six months into the outbreak, fear is proving to be the most difficult barrier to overcome. Fear causes contacts of cases to escape from the surveillance system, families to hide symptomatic loved ones, and patients to flee treatment centres.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious, but is not airborne. Transmission requires close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, as can occur during health-care procedures, home care, or traditional burial practices, which involve the close contact of family members and friends with bodies.

The incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days, but patients become contagious only after the onset of symptoms. As symptoms worsen, the ability to transmit the virus increases. As a result, patients are usually most likely to infect others at a severe stage of the disease, when they are visibly, and physically, too ill to travel.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Peace Deal ‘first Step’ In Resolving South Sudan Crisis

Children at a protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, run by the UN Mission, perform at a special cultural event in March 2015. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine More>>

Yemen: Killing Or Maiming An Average Of Eight Children A Day

Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end – UNICEF More>>

Changing Habits/behaviours Key To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO More>>

Burundi: Ban Condemns Assassination Of Senior Army Officer

Refugees from Burundi in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: OCHA/Naomi Frerotte United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination Burundi’s former Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, who ... More>>

Deadly Industrial Explosions In Northern China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries to scores of people as a result of deadly explosions in Tianjin, China. More>>

UN Urges Action To Tackle Deepening Refugee Crisis In Greece

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell More>>

Probe Into Those Responsible For Chemical Weapons In Syria

The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. Photo: US Dept. of Transportation More>>

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news