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Ebola outbreak: AU executive council convenes emergency meeting

06 September 2014, 15:50

Addis Ababa - The  Executive Council of African Union (AU) Ministers of Foreign Affairs will converge on Addis Ababa on Monday to address the emerging consequences of  the Ebola Virus outbreak in some parts of West Africa.

The AU had expressed concern that the Ebola outbreak in some West African countrie - Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria - had threatened the goal of the continent’s regional integration effort.

The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Mustapha Kaloko, told the media on Saturday that the meeting was scheduled for Sept. 8 at the commission's headquarters.

Also Read:Ebola toll tops 2 000, cases near 4 000

“The Ebola outbreak has threatened the values and aspirations of the AU, which stand for regional integration.”

“We do not want to imagine the consequences the closure of the borders would have now and in future.”

Kaloko said the meeting would seek proper response to the Ebola Virus that assumed international crises affecting the security and economy of continent especially that of the West African sub-region.

He said the outbreak had caused stigmatisation on the affected nations in addition to humanitarian crisis and food shortages around the West African region due to travel ban by some member states.

“It is hard to imagine that a people surrounded by such a crisis and deaths still have to encounter food shortages because the markets are closed and the borders are shut.”

Kaloko said the Foreign Ministers would bring along Ministers of Health during the meeting but assured that the commitment expected was beyond the health officials and experts.

Also Read:Ebola ravages health care in Freetown

According to him, the Foreign Ministers will deliberate on measures to address the issues of stigmatisation causing inaccessibility  to food “because the West African communities are so interconnected and depend on supplies from each other.”

The AU had said re-opening the borders and negotiating measures to limit the risks to Africa’s long-term economic growth would be critical to healing the rifts caused by the Ebola crisis.

The media reports that some countries in the West African region have announced a ban on food imports and travel ban on persons from the Ebola-affected countries to stop the possible importation of the virus.

Nigeria had warned that the actions of such countries on the Ebola outbreak would meet some long term consequences after containing the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the AU official had said a team of 28 health volunteers from Malawi were set to join the AU military mission in West Africa.

The AU had announced last week that it would deploy 100 military doctors with civilian component to help in the fight against the outbreak.
The World Health Organisation said on Friday that the virus had killed more than 1 900 persons, including some 120 medical personnel in the affected countries, with its first appearance in Guinea in March.

-    NAN


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