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WHO seeks rapid efforts against Ebola

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The World Health Organization’s Regional Director here, Dr. Luis Sambo, has called for accelerated efforts to control the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in the region.

According to a release, Dr. Sambo has embarked on official visits to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, respectively. On the first leg of the visit, the Regional Director arrived here on Monday, 21 July 2014 to review current outbreak response and challenges, and explore the best ways to rapidly contain the EVD outbreak in West Africa.

He held meetings with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr. Walter T.  Gwenigale, and other officials of the Liberian government. President Sirleaf and the Regional Director also participated in the Ebola national coordination meeting at the Ministry of Health in Monrovia.

The Liberian leader has called all sectors of government and the country to get involved in the response to contain Ebola, emphasizing, “There’s no time for denial. This is serious and real.”

Addressing the meeting, Dr Sambo stressed the need to step up implementation of key outbreak containment strategies, including community engagement and involvement, effective contact tracing, cross-border collaboration and effective coordination. He said: “The situation is quite serious and it should be addressed as an emergency.”

According to a press statement issued in Monrovia, he highlighted the need to strengthen social mobilization activities to raise awareness on Ebola within communities, as well as to enhance the protection of health workers, and to work with cross border collaboration.

Dr. Sambo reiterated WHO commitment to continue to work with the Government of Liberia and partners to mobilize adequate resources to address the Ebola epidemic, while commending health authorities for their efforts to control the outbreak. “I believe it is possible to stop the transmission and reduce the number of cases, but we still have a lot to do”, he added.

The WHO regional boss later held discussions with international and local non-governmental organizations, UN Agencies and other stakeholders to enhance collaboration and effective coordination.

He called on all partners to be fully involved in the EVD outbreak response and announced that a Sub-Regional Control Center in Guinea has been set up as a coordinating platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support to West African countries by all major partners.

For his part, Health Minister Gwenigale pointed out challenges being faced in the sector, including lack of adequate support to contain the outbreak in the country, especially in counties that have not yet been affected.

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