Welcoming Boost in Ebola Response, Ban Urges Greater Global Support to Fight Epidemic
A non-contact thermometer being used to take body temperature while screening for Ebola symptoms at Hôpital Perfectoral
de Coyah in Guinea. Photo: WHO/A. Pallangyo
12 September 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon today welcomed signs of solidarity in the fight against the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and called
on all countries and organizations to move swiftly to support the Governments of the countries affected.
In a statement
from his spokesperson, the Secretary-General also welcomed the deployment by the Cuban Government of 165 physicians,
nurses, epidemiologists and other specialists to Sierra Leone to assist the Ebola response. According to the World
Health Organization (WHO
) the Cuban doctors are expected to arrive in Sierra Leone in the first week of October for a period of six months.
Meanwhile, offers of cash, equipment and personnel from Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the
private sector have also begun to materialize. Just last week, the United States Agency for International Development
announced plans to make an additional $75 million available.
More than 100 experts, most of them from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are deployed to
the region in an effort to prevent, detect and halt the virus’s spread.
While welcoming the efforts, Mr. Ban stressed that more countries must move swiftly to support the Governments of the
countries affected, through the WHO Road Map
and a complete overview of requirements, which will be released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
) in a Geneva gathering on Ebola on Tuesday, 16 September.
The Secretary-General also renewed his call for countries to refrain from closing their borders to people coming from
hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and/or airlines and shipping companies to maintain transport links. He said
that “isolating countries risks causing more harm and delaying efforts to stop the Ebola virus rather than preventing
Earlier this week, Mr. Ban activated the UN’s response mechanism for managing a system-wide crisis. He asked all UN
heads of agencies and departments to give top priority to working together to fight the Ebola outbreak in a unified,
effective response. UN teams are now on the ground engaged in providing health services, food, supplies and outreach to
The latest UN figures of the total number of confirmed and suspected cases in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and
Sierra Leone, stands at 4,366 with 2,218 deaths.
In related news, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF
) this morning warned
that the impact of the epidemic on children continues to grow. In Liberia, health services for children have been
severely disrupted and schools have closed.
Children are not receiving protective vaccinations or being treated for the common childhood illnesses that accounted
for the majority of deaths in children under 5 years of age, including malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, and severe acute
So far, an estimated 2,000 children have lost their parents due to Ebola. And UNICEF also says that many of these
children are facing stigma and rejection in their communities as they are seen in their communities as a source of
infection, bad luck and trouble.
To date, UNICEF, with support from the World Bank, has flown nearly 248 metric tons of supplies, including protection
equipment, hygiene kits, oral rehydration salts and other emergency health supplies. The distribution of chlorine has
been the biggest ever in UNICEF’s history.