News / Africa

WHO: Ebola a Sub-regional Crisis

Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea, March 31, 2014.
Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea, March 31, 2014.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Joe DeCapua

The World Health Organization says drastic action is needed to control the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The WHO is ramping up its response by deploying 150 experts to the region. As of June 23, there have been 635 confirmed Ebola cases and 399 deaths.

Listen to De Capua report on Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Listen to De Capua report on Ebola outbreak in West Africai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

The WHO reported the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is “the largest in terms of the number of cases and deaths, as well as the geographic spread of the disease.”

WHO spokesman Dan Epstein said, “It’s a big challenge for the three countries because it’s in rural areas. It’s spread across borders. It’s also been seen in a city. And it’s raised severe concern because it’s being transmitted in the community, and it has been seen to be transmitted in health care settings.”

The World Health Organization calls the outbreak “a sub-regional crisis that requires firm action by governments and partners.”  The WHO, the Global Alert and Response Network, and others are deploying a wide range of experts.

Epstein said, “Basically, we are putting together the best and the brightest that we can find in a series of teams. One is epidemiologists, who are going to the countries, working with the health ministers and the local health officials in surveillance and monitoring the outbreak. Where is it? Where are cases? How did they get transmitted?”

He said more laboratory workers will help speed diagnoses and confirm whether or not suspected cases are indeed Ebola. They’ll support mobile field labs sent into rural areas.

“And then kind of the toughest part of it is clinical management experts that know how to handle people with severe hemorrhaging and what you can do.  They’re working with these clinics and these other health facilities to help them treat affected patients. Another key issue is infection prevention and control. We have to make sure that we stop health care facility transmission of the virus and community level transmission of the virus,” he said.

Others include logistics experts, who’ll “dispatch” needed equipment and supplies -- and social mobilization and risk communication teams. They’ll help communicate with the local population about the dangers of Ebola.

“You cannot hide a person who has Ebola. And that’s what people have been trying to do. If they see someone who’s sick, they’re afraid. They hide them. If someone in a village, who has Ebola, dies, you cannot continue your normal funeral practices of washing the body – having close contact with the body – mourning the body for extended periods. You have to bury the person quickly and that’s it. And so those are messaging challenges,” said Epstein.

The World Health Organization is convening a meeting of health ministers from 11 countries -- and other officials -- July 2 and 3 in Accra, Ghana.

“They’re going to develop a comprehensive operational response. They want to see what everyone can do to control the Ebola outbreak. Ministries of health of the three most affected countries are reporting on their preventive and control measures,” he said.

The WHO has issued a statement saying it is “gravely concerned” about the on-going cross border transmission of Ebola and the potential for its spread beyond Africa. 

One problem for health workers is the lack of access to rural areas due to fear of the disease. Some workers have been threatened by villagers throwing stones or wielding machetes. 

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid