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MSF slams world leaders' handling of Ebola

02 September 2014, 18:16

Lagos - Amnesty International, which criticised world leaders' handling of the Ebola outbreak, called on the international community todispatch assets and personnel to West Africa in order to thwart its spread.

In a speech delivered on Tuesday to United Nations member states, MSF International President, Dr Joanne Liu, denounced the lack of deployment of resources, leaving affected countries to rely on overstretched ministries of health and private nongovernmental organisations to tackle the exceptionally large outbreak.

Despite repeated calls by MSF, the international medical humanitarian organization, for a massive mobilisation on the ground, the international response has been lethally inadequate.

MSF medical teams have been battling the outbreak in West Africa since March.

Nongovernmental groups and the UN cannot alone implement the WHO Global Roadmap to fight the ever growing and unpredictable outbreak while transmission rates have reached levels never before reported in past Ebola outbreaks, officials said.

"Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it," said Liu.

"Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat. The WHO announcement on August 8 that epidemic constituted a 'public health emergency of international concern' has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially joined a global coalition of inaction," she said.

The further spread of the virus will not be prevented without a massive deployment of such specialised medical units to bolster epidemic control efforts in affected countries, said Liu.

Also read: Ebola threatens food security in West Africa - FAO

"Funding announcements and the deployment of a few experts do not suffice. States with the required capacity have a political and humanitarian responsibility to come forward and offer a desperately needed, concrete response to the disaster unfolding in front of the world's eyes. Rather than limit their response to the potential arrival of an infected patient in their countries, they should take the unique opportunity to actually save lives where immediately needed, in West Africa," added Liu.

MSF began its Ebola intervention in West Africa in March 2014 and is now operating in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

The organisation runs five Ebola case management centres with a total capacity of 480 beds.

Since March, MSF has admitted 2 077 people, of whom 1038 tested positive for Ebola and 241 have recovered.

MSF has deployed 156 international staff to the region and employs 1 700 nationally hired personnel.

It was reported five deaths had been recorded in Nigeria.

- CAJ News


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