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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid