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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora