General News of Saturday, 5 July 2014


Ebola scare: WHO to create sub-regional control centre in Guinea

The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to establish a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea to handle issues relating to the Ebola epidemic in parts of the region.

Earlier reports by the organization warned that drastic measures were needed to avert the spread of the virus, which it said could kill up to 90 per cent of the infected persons.

A news release issued by WHO through the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Accra Friday disclosed that the setting up of the centre would act as a coordinating platform to consolidate and complement all technical support to West African countries.

The centre would also be used to mobilize assistance from all major partners involved in the fight against the disease.

The current Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone pushed for the Ministerial meeting in Accra to discuss ways in dealing with the disease.

There have been some 467 deaths of 759 cases reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia by the close of June 30, this year.

Ebola is reportedly, the highest recorded in terms of cases, deaths and geographic spread across the countries mentioned above.

Health Ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and other stakeholders at the end of the two-day conference Thursday, mapped out some possible ways to dealing with the situation.

They maintained the adaption of such strategies became necessary due to the serious health threats the disease posed to all countries on the African continent.

These include convening national inter-sectoral meetings with key government ministries, technical committees and other stakeholders to fashion out a plan for the immediate running of the strategy.

Others are to mobilize the communities, religious and political leaders to be made properly aware of the disease while strengthening surveillance.

In addition, they proposed the deployment of more national human resources with the relevant qualifications to occupy key hot spots.

The strategy is also to identify and commit additional domestic financial resources, organize cross-border consultations to facilitate the exchange of information as well as working with countries, which have previously managed Ebola outbreaks in the spirit of south-south cooperation.

The conference delegates also underscored the importance of WHO leading an international effort to promote research on the Ebola virus disease and other hemorrhagic fevers.

Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa agreed with the participants on the way forward and said "It's time for concrete action to put an end to the suffering and deaths caused by Ebola virus disease and prevent its further spread.”