United Nations Secretary (UN), General Ban Ki-Moon, has cautioned that recent progress made in the fight against dreadful Ebola virus in West Africa should not give room for complacency.
Stressing that there is too much is at stake owing to the changed pattern in the transmission of the disease, he said “we must finish the job” by putting in every effort to get zero cases.
Addressing an informal meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on the public health crisis emanating from the Ebola virus outbreak, he observed that “today, we face a critical turning point. The pattern of the Ebola outbreak has changed. The 2015 has seen a significant decline in the number of new Ebola cases
in the three affected countries”.
For example, the Secretary General said Liberia, once the worst affected country with several hundred cases per week, has been steadily reporting fewer than five cases per week for the past month, all isolated to a single chain of transmission in one county.
“Our collective efforts have made remarkable progress. We have succeeded in averting the worst-case scenarios we feared. There are encouraging signs that the worst of the outbreak is behind us. But much important work lies ahead until the affected countries reach zero cases and begin the transition to reconstruction and recovery”, Mr. Ban Ki- Moon, observed.
In this vein, he charged all responders to redouble their efforts, and on donors to stay the course, with an assurance that, under the technical leadership of the World Health Organization, the UN system will continue supporting efforts to get to zero through active surveillance, case management and community engagement. The UN system will also contribute to the safe revival of essential services.
“While overall figures remain much lower than what we saw in 2014, incidence rates rose again in Guinea and Sierra Leone in recent weeks. More than half of those newly infected have not been in contact with people known to have had Ebola. This reminds us that setbacks can quickly follow apparent gains, and highlights the need for constant vigilance and active surveillance, even in unaffected areas.
As the situation improves, the Secretary General indicated that the time will come for critical functions to transition progressively and seamlessly from United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), the first of its kind in UN history to the UN agencies, funds and programmes.
Significant additional resources will be required by the UN system, he added as he praised the “leadership of Presidents Condé, Koroma and Sirleaf Johnson, national governments and communities” for taking proactive steps to protect themselves, leading to reduced risks of infection and lower incidence rates.
“We must help the affected countries to become more resilient. Ebola must not be allowed to take hold again in the region. I appeal to you today to stay engaged and sustain this crucially important work, by ensuring that reconstruction and recovery can occur without delay”, Mr. Ban KI-moon stated.
We must help the affected countries to become more resilient. Ebola must not be allowed to take hold again in the region.
I appeal to you today to stay engaged and sustain this crucially important work, by ensuring that reconstruction and recovery can occur without delay
Dr. David Nabarro, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Ebola said a report will be published this week on what had been done with the various contributions from the public. So far he indicated that 90 per cent of the donations had been distributed and appealed for more donations.
He indicated that the Ebola won’t be over until the last case is over.
According to the latest World Health Organization update based on information reported by the Ministries of Health, there has been 9380 confirmed Ebola deaths, out of 23253 suspected cases and 14121 laboratory confirmed cases.