Flash Quote: WHO Declares Ebola an International Public Health Emergency

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“Declaring Ebola an international public health emergency shows how seriously the World Health Organization (WHO) is taking the current outbreak; but statements won’t save lives,” says Dr. Bart Janssens, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) director of operations. “Now we need this statement to translate into immediate action on the ground. For weeks, MSF has been repeating that a massive medical, epidemiological, and public health response is desperately needed to saves lives and reverse the course of the epidemic. Lives are being lost because the response is too slow.”

“Countries possessing necessary capacities must immediately dispatch available infectious disease experts and disaster relief assets to the region. It is clear the epidemic will not be contained without a massive deployment on the ground from these states.”

“In concrete terms, all of the following need to be radically scaled up: medical care, training of health staff, infection control, contact tracing, epidemiological surveillance, alert and referral systems, community mobilization, and education.”

“MSF currently has 66 international and 610 national staff responding to the crisis in the three affected countries. All our Ebola experts are mobilized, we simply cannot do more.”

Kailahun. Sierra Leone. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Ebola Treatment Centre. A medical team make a round of the patients in the high-risk area.
Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos