Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

WHO Coordinates Ebola Outbreak Response

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

WHO Coordinates Ebola Outbreak Response

Article excerpt

WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan has taken charge of coordinating the international response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in west Africa to prevent its spread beyond the four countries that have already been affected.

The Director-General launched the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Response Plan in West Africa at a meeting with the presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone on 31 July. The plan envisages raising US$ 100 million in funds for the task at hand.

"The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it poses, requires WHO and Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to take the response to a new level, and this will require increased resources, in-country medical expertise, regional preparedness and coordination," the Director-General said. "The countries have identified what they need, and WHO is reaching out to the international community to drive the response plan forward."

On 8 August, WHO declared that the international spread of Ebola virus disease constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern or PHEIC, following advice from a committee of international experts. The decision came days after confirmation that the outbreak had spread beyond Guinea (where it is believed to have started in December 2013), Liberia and Sierra Leone to a fourth country, Nigeria.

The committee of experts warned that the consequences of further international spread of the disease would be particularly serious given the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the region.

A coordinated international response is essential to stop the disease spreading to other countries, they said. …

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