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MSF Says More Ebola Help Needed

All Africa   in 
December 20, 2014

Three months after MSF called for states with biological-disaster response capacity to urgently dispatch human and material resources in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the outbreak remains far from over and more help is still needed.

While all three of the worst-hit countries have now received some assistance from the international community, foreign governments have focused primarily on financing or building Ebola case management structures, leaving staffing them entirely up to national authorities, local healthcare staff and NGOs who do not have the expertise required to do so.

Training healthcare workers to safely operate case management centers takes weeks, creating a bottleneck and huge delays. The national authorities in the affected countries have taken the lead on the response with the means available to them.

The outbreak remains highly unpredictable and is constantly evolving, with the trend difficult to follow: MSF has seen a lull in cases in one area only to see the numbers spike again later. In MSF’s Ebola center in Conakry, Guinea, for example, our staff have seen another peak in cases coming from the area.

Across the region, there are still not adequate facilities for isolating and diagnosing patients where they are needed. Other elements that are essential to an Ebola response – such as awareness-raising and community acceptance, safe burials, contact tracing, alert and surveillance, access to health care for non-Ebola patients – are still lacking in parts of West Africa.

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