UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned against unnecessary restrictions on the movements of health workers coming back from West Africa.
President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone visited the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) Situation Center in Freetown on Monday.
The peak season for Lassa fever in West Africa is about to begin, and overstretched health workers are warning they may not have the resources to deal with the disease if cases increase.
Key Political and Economic Developments
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Monday against unnecessarily strict restrictions on the movement of health workers who have been fighting Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa. "The best way to stop this virus is to stop the virus at its source rather than limiting, restricting the movement of people or trade," Ban stated. "Particularly when there are some unnecessary extra restrictions and discriminations against health workers." China on Monday joined the countries imposing quarantines on health workers returning from the three affected West African countries.
President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone visited the UNMEER Situation Center in Freetown on Monday. He was shown around by UNMEER SRSG Anthony Banbury, and the UNMEER Ebola Crisis Manager for Sierra Leone, Amadu Kamara. Apart from receiving the President, on the second day of his visit to Sierra Leone SRSG Banbury also had meetings with diplomats, national and international EVD response officials, and UN agency representatives.
UNMEER Liberia ECM Peter Graaff met the Netherlands’ Special Envoy on Ebola, Hans Docter, and Kingdom of Denmark’s Ambassador to Ghana (also accredited to Liberia), Margit Thomsen, and briefed them on the EVD response in Liberia.
Dr. Peter Salama, Global Ebola Emergency Coordinator for UNICEF, told reporters at UN Headquarters that the agency will be doubling its staff from 300 to 600 in the three most-affected countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - where children account for one-fifth of all Ebola cases. Dr. Salama also said an estimated 5 million children are affected and some 4,000 children have become orphaned from the current epidemic. UNICEF is reaching out to EVD survivors who are often willing to work on the frontlines of the disease response at the community level in local care centers with community health workers.
UNMEER Liberia ECM Graaff, UNMIL SRSG Landgren, and UNICEF and CDC representatives participated in a field visit to Nimba County. In meetings with the local counter-EVD structures it was noted that although the epidemic seems to register an apparent trend downwards, the underlying problems persist. The poor state of the health facilities prevent the population from seeking qualified help, while in certain communities EVD-denial still prevails. A strengthened response at village level and the permanence of the CCCs as health centers with qualified medical personnel were the main requests indicated by the local authorities.