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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid