Plan International: Global Action Needed to Stop Ebola
CONAKRY-FREETOWN-MONROVIA – Plan International has reiterated its call for intensified support from the international community as the World Health Organization today declared a Grade 3 emergency across West Africa.
The latest death of an infected person in Lagos, Nigeria, who arrived by air from Liberia, has renewed concerns about the spread of the deadly disease outside the affected countries.
“The arrival of Ebola in the most populous city in Africa is a wake-up call,” said Dr. Unni Krishnan, Plan’s Head of Disaster Preparedness and Response. “Ebola is no longer a regional crisis; it has become a health crisis with global dimensions. The international community needs to act now before it is too late.”
More than 670 people have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria in the worst-ever Ebola outbreak to date. Liberia has declared a national emergency. Eight other countries in the region remain on high alert.
“The countries battling Ebola are among the poorest in the world and the public health systems across West Africa are fragile. The impacted countries desperately need financial and technical assistance to avoid a catastrophic situation,” said Dr. Krishnan.
Porous borders have allowed infected people to move the disease to new locations. Considering the way in which the current outbreak has spread, Plan is calling for a coordinated action with heightened preparedness measures across the region.
The Ebola response to date has been impacted by inadequate initial assessments and poor capacities of health systems in the affected nations.
“There has been a gross misjudgment across the board in gauging the severity and scale of damage the current Ebola outbreak can unleash. If the international community does not rush to West Africa’s support immediately, we are looking at a dangerous scenario," said Adama Coulibaly, Plan’s Regional Director for Central and West Africa.
Plan is responding to Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, complementing local governments’ efforts, particularly in the area of public health information and providing material support to contain the spread of the disease.
Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases known to mankind which spreads through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids. There is no vaccine or cure for the disease and it kills up to 90 per cent of those infected. Communities have witnessed horrific scenes of infected people dying with symptoms of severe bleeding.
Plan field staff in the affected areas report of widespread fear and anxiety among the local populations. “People are scared, desperate and worried. Continued Ebola deaths have increased their fear and feeling of hopelessness,” said Gbaka Sandouno, Plan’s program unit manager in the Guinean town of Gueckedou which is the epicentre of the current outbreak with 145 confirmed Ebola deaths so far.
About Plan International USA
Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation, a global organization that works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions and ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come and range from clean water and health care programs to education projects and child protection initiatives. For more information, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.