WHO Needs $10m To Contain Ebola

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it needs more than $10 million in the next six months to contain the Ebola virus in West Africa.

According to the organisation, if the money was not made available, there could be an outbreak of the disease across Africa and beyond.

At a press conference in Accra after a two-day ministerial meeting on the disease, WHO called on the donor community and heads of state in Africa to contribute funds towards the eradication of the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which are the three affected countries in West Africa, to forestall its spread.

The Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, said the organisation, in the next few days, was going to establish an Ebola control centre in Guinea, where the disease is said to have killed more than 400 people since February when it was discovered there.

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Presently, the disease has spread from Guinea to Liberia and Sierra Leone, recording 750 cases as of July 1, 2014 and killing 455 people in the three countries.

According to Dr Sambo, WHO needed more health professionals and other technical staff to help in controlling the situation in the three affected countries.

He called for more commitments from African governments to help educate their communities, religious bodies and non-governmental organisations to adhere to public health recommendations, instead of holding fast to their customs and traditions.

Customs and traditions

The Minister of Sanitation of Guinea, Dr Remy Lamah, said with the customs and traditions of people being a causative factor for the spread of the disease, the Guinean government had taken drastic steps to stop people from transporting dead bodies across the country.

He said people who died from the disease continued to harbour the virus in their bodies and, therefore, the government banned people from handling dead bodies during the performance of traditional rights.

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Liberia’s intervention

In Liberia, it was established that people still did not believe in the seriousness of the disease.

According to the Deputy Minister of Health of Liberia, Dr Bernice Dahn, most people, when they were sick, went to prayer camps, traditional healers, among others, before they sought medical care later.

That, according to her, put the lives of many caregivers at risk, thereby increasing the number of people who could be infected by the virus.

The Deputy Minister of Health of Sierra Leone, Dr Abubakarr Fofana, said so far the government had set aside more than $3 million to help fight the disease in the country.

The outgoing Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, said the control of the disease had become more challenging due to the porous border situation in Africa.

She, therefore, called for more stringent scrutiny of people who crossed the various borders and advocated intensive education of community and religious leaders in settlements along the borders.

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