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WHO commends local response to Ebola outbreak

19 September 2014, 08:01Okoro Chinedu

Lagos - The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, hailed Nigeria’s response to the deadly Ebola virus.

She was addressing the emergency session of the United Nations Security Council: Peace and Security in Africa (Ebola) in New York in the United States, where the UN is headquartered.

Chan expressed confidence while addressing delegates.

“Look at the stable situation in Nigeria and Senegal. When the first imported cases in these two countries occurred, we knew very well what we were dealing with. Governments and Doctors without Borders responded immediately with the right emergency actions. And remember, people crisscross West Africa's porous borders all the time. Other countries will have to deal, in the same aggressive way, with imported cases. As support for the UN’s coordinated response continues to pour in, I am confident we can do so,” Chan said.

Also Read: Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

She welcomed the support UN offered before highlighting the daunting task that lay ahead.

“This virus, this deadly and dreaded Ebola virus, got ahead of us in a fast-moving outbreak that keeps delivering one surprise after another. Now we must catch up, in the most urgent and pragmatic way possible. In the hardest hit countries, an exponentially rising caseload threatens to push governments to the brink of state failure.”

She said WHO had successfully managed many big outbreaks in recent years.

“But this Ebola event is different. This is likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced. None of us experienced in containing outbreaks has ever seen, in our lifetimes, an emergency on this scale, with this degree of suffering, and with this magnitude of cascading consequences.

Also Read: Liberia's women, children bear brunt of Ebola epidemic

"This is not just an outbreak. This is not just a public health crisis. This is a social crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an economic crisis, and a threat to national security well beyond the outbreak zones,” said Chan.

Nigeria is among the countries worst affected by the Ebola outbreak.

Reports show that more than 5 500 people have been infected and more than 2 500 have died this year.

“And these shocking figures are vast underestimates. Health, medical, and clinical care issues must remain the heart, the soul and the spirit of this. It will take some time, but the Ebola outbreak can be contained,” Chan said.

- CAJ News


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