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

 


Flight Restrictions Hamper Ability to Battle Ebola

Flight Restrictions Hamper Ability to Battle Ebola, UN Cautions

UNICEF and partners visit a crowded market in Conakry, Guinea, to explain to vendors how they can protect themselves and their families from Ebola. Photo: UNICEF Guinea

25 August 2014

The United Nations today cautioned against flight restrictions into and out of Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, saying such limitations were preventing the transport of critically-needed health workers and supplies, as well as contributing to economic and diplomatic isolation of the region.

“The current limitations on flights into and out of these countries, and the restrictions placed on aircraft originating from these countries transiting through airports in neighbouring countries, though understandable, are not warranted,” said chief UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric at the daily briefing at UN headquarters.

“It is not an optimal measure for controlling the import of Ebola virus disease,” he said. “The measure does not reflect what is known about the way in which the virus passes between people.”

The most recently available official figures by the World Health Organization dated August 20 show a total of 2,615 cases and 1,427 deaths reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Meanwhile, authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported that 13 people have killed in an Ebola outbreak since July in a remote village in the area of Boende, Equateur Province, but said the strain of the virus was different from the one that's been ravaging West Africa. Ebola was first discovered in the DRC in 1976.

The Congolese authorities, the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) and non-governmental organizations are mobilizing against the disease. The UN Mission in the DRC, known by the acronym MONUSCO, has created an Ebola taskforce and is tracking and screening all its staff travelling to and from the affected countries in West Africa.

The UN System Coordinator for Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro and his team visited the affected-region to support communities tackle the outbreak, are in Guinea today, after visiting Liberia and Sierra Leone.

WHO said today that an unprecedented high proportion of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers have been infected in the current Ebola outbreak, prompting the African Union to try to urgently recruit more health care workers from among its members.

More than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died, WHO said in its latest update.

Ebola has taken the lives of prominent doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, depriving these countries not only of experienced and dedicated medical care but also of inspiring national heroes.

Several factors help explain the high proportion of infected medical staff. These factors include shortages of personal protective equipment or its improper use, far too few medical staff for such a large outbreak, and the compassion that causes medical staff to work in isolation wards far beyond the number of hours recommended as safe.

WHO estimates that, in the three hardest-hit countries, only one to two doctors are available to treat 100,000 people, and these doctors are heavily concentrated in urban areas.

At the noon briefing today, Dujarric said the trend of limitations on flights is having three major adverse effects on efforts to control the disease.” “Current flight limitations are hampering the movement of international experts involved in the control efforts. These flight restrictions hinder the capacities of aid organizations like Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) to deploy their personnel in support of the crisis response and mitigation,” he said.

“The ability of programmes involved in controlling the outbreak to transport essential equipment and materials to the region is also being severely hampered,” he said, adding that these limitations also contribute to the economic and diplomatic isolation of the affected countries and further compound the stigmatization already experienced by their citizens.

He reminded the public, as has the WHO since the beginning of the outbreak that: “Ebola is not spread through air borne contact. In addition, transmission is unlikely to occur through water or food; a person infected with Ebola virus is not contagious until symptoms appear; Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with the virus.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Ban Says World Must Act Now To Curb Climate Change

Alarmed by melting glacier in Norway, Ban says world must 'act now' to curb climate change More>>

UN Spotlights Data And Technology As Key To Sustainability

The importance of quality data and cutting edge information communication technologies (ICTs) is increasingly critical to the shaping of the future sustainable development agenda, the head of the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ) confirmed today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news