Ebola has cre­ated ‘wartime’ sit­u­a­tion

CityPress - - News -

Two west African na­tions and med­i­cal char­ity Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders fight­ing the world’s worst Ebola epi­demic have chided the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) for its slow re­sponse, say­ing more ac­tion was needed to save vic­tims threat­ened by the dis­ease and hunger.

With the death toll sit­ting at more than 1 000 and climb­ing, the UN health agency is fac­ing ques­tions over whether it moved quickly enough to de­clare the months-old out­break a “pub­lic health emer­gency of in­ter­na­tional con­cern”, which it did on Au­gust 8.

Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders, which has been one of the most ac­tive groups in fight­ing the out­break, said the dis­ease’s spread had cre­ated a “wartime” sit­u­a­tion in the worst-af­fected states of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Nige­ria is also fac­ing a smaller out­break.

Sierra Leone Pres­i­dent Ernest Bai Koroma said his na­tion’s two treat­ment cen­tres were “over­whelmed”.

In neigh­bour­ing Liberia, In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter Lewis Brown said Ebola-af­fected ru­ral ar­eas quar­an­tined by troops faced se­ri­ous food short­ages.

“We need a more ro­bust re­sponse to the na­ture of the dis­ease and the way it is af­fect­ing us,” said Koroma, adding that he had de­liv­ered this mes­sage to the WHO, which is co­or­di­nat­ing in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to try to con­trol the out­break.

“If our peo­ple are dy­ing, the re­sponse should be an ex­tra­or­di­nary re­sponse be­cause it is an ex­tra­or­di­nary sit­u­a­tion,” said Koroma. “Time is of the essence,” he added. He said he had seen the world re­spond to ma­jor hu­man­i­tar­ian crises, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and that west Africa needed sim­i­lar help. – Reuters

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