News / Africa

    Experts: Stronger Response Needed to Ebola Crisis

    Government health workers administer blood tests to check for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.
    Government health workers administer blood tests to check for the Ebola virus in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.
    Jennifer Lazuta

    The World Health Organization says there have been at least 50 new cases of Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone since July 3 - in what is already the worst outbreak in history. The aid group Plan International says the outbreak could become a global health crisis if there isn't a better-coordinated regional response and more support from the international community.

    According to WHO,  there have now been 844 cases and 518 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February.
     
    While no new cases have been reported in Guinea in the past week, the number of suspected cases and the death toll continues to rise on an almost daily basis in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
     
    Dr. Unni Krishnan, the head of disaster preparedness and response for Plan International, said the situation is "extremely worrying."
     
    "This is a serious outbreak, which has serious regional dimensions now. It is not a global health crisis at this stage, but it has the risk that if we don't contain it at this stage, it is possible that it can get out of control and even reach other places," said Krishnan. "So this outbreak needs all the support from the rest of the world, so that we are able to stop its spread and save lives and help people and communities that have been impacted with this."
     
    Prevention, containment, treatment

    Plan International, along with other organizations, such as Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies -- has been helping local officials with containment and prevention efforts, as well as treating people and providing manpower and resources.
     
    But Krishnan says it hasn't been enough. "You are talking about countries with some of the weakest health systems and health infrastructure. And with each passing day, the demand on agencies who have been acting on the ground has been increasing. We are stretched to our limits now.

    "So this outbreak needs a much more coordinated response at the global level from developed countries and those who can afford both human resource, technical specialists and other infrastructure and machinery to contain this."
     
    He said health officials need to improve monitoring mechanisms within affected communities, as well as at border controls and airports.
     
    He also said more messages need to be disseminated about proper health and hygiene practices and to better educate people about how the often-fatal disease is spread by direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids from an infected person.
     
    Following an emergency meeting of regional health ministers in Ghana last week, the WHO announced plans to open a center in Guinea to better coordinate response efforts.  

    The WHO has said, however, that the outbreak is likely to continue for at least several months.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
    July 10, 2014 3:44 PM
    Once the ever-mutating Ebola virus hits a critical mass it could/will explode into a global pandemic that is likely to cull the global human population of more than seven billion people like no other disease has ever done.
    With water, food and other resources becoming increasingly scarce in many areas, perhaps this is water global leaders silently want to happen -- a lethal population super cull blamed on Nature which will cut the population in half, including places like the United States which despite its wealth doesn't have the emergency medical services to do any better than anybody else.

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora