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


UNICEF: 'Basic health care cannot be Ebola's next casualty'

'Basic health care cannot be Ebola's next casualty', says UNICEF, ramping up support to Liberia

23 August 2014

As part of the overall United Nations push to assist West Africa in battling the worst outbreak of Ebola in history, a cargo plane carrying 68 metric tonnes of supplies from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) landed today in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, bringing urgently needed items to shore up the country's weakened healthcare system.

In a press release UNICEF says that today's shipment, from the agency's global supply hub in Copenhagen, contained basic emergency items for front-line health workers to protect themselves and prevent the spread of infection.

The items included 27 metric tonnes of concentrated chlorine for disinfection and water purification and 450,000 pairs of latex gloves. Also on board were supplies of intravenous fluids, oral rehydration salts and ready-to-use therapeutic food to feed patients undergoing treatment.

Liberia is one of four West African countries, along with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, currently battling the Ebola virus disease outbreak, which the UN World Health Organization (WHO) says has claimed more than 1,300 lives. The official number of cases in the countries has surpassed 2,400, and overall, some 1 million people have been impacted.

Just yesterday, Dr. David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola, was in Monrovia on the first leg of a visit to the region. He told reporters that more health workers would be brought to the country to deal with the outbreak, saying “The United Nations is looking at ways to radically scale up support to fight Ebola.”

The supply flight today was met by representatives of UNICEF and Liberia's Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Supplies will be distributed to health facilities nationwide, many of which are critically short of basic health care materials. Coupled with a shortage of manpower, this has left thousands of Liberians without access to treatment and essential health care.

As of Friday, 20 August, there have been over 1,000 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in Liberia, with 613 deaths linked to the outbreak. In part, the rapid spread of the disease is due to the country's weakened health care system, which had been seriously damaged by years of civil war.

“Basic health care cannot be Ebola's next casualty,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF's Liberia Country Representative, who noted that the agency has been working on multiple fronts since the beginning of the outbreak to provide critically needed supplies as well arming communities with the information they need to stop the spread of the disease.

“This shipment will complement those efforts with a new surge of supplies to equip health facilities, support infection control, and protect health workers on the front lines,” he added.

Next week, UNICEF will airlift additional health supplies on behalf of the Government of Liberia made possible through funding from the World Bank. UNICEF will also be helping the Government assess the country's supply chain capacity, which has been weakened by the crisis.

UNICEF is also deploying teams of traditional communicators to spread prevention messaging in communities across Liberia, and producing print communications and radio programming to raise public awareness of the outbreak.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news