UNMEER won’t provide direct medical care

Enviado por Bruno Cercal

Africain News – ACCRA (Xinhua) — The United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) will not provide direct medical care to patients in affected countries, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the mission, Anthony Banbury said Tuesday.

He said the team was here to create the enabling capacity in the affected countries that would enable organizations with the capacity to offer medical care to the victims of the disease to do their work.

The mission will establish treatment centers and equip them, provide logistics such as vehicles, and other equipment needed by the medical teams to do their work and achieve results, according to Banbury.

Banbury, who arrived in Accra, the selected headquarters for the recently established UNMEER, on Monday, said this at a press conference to brief the media on the scope of his mission.

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been reeling under the scourge of the hemorrhagic fever disease in what the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as the world’s worst Ebola outbreak ever.

“The world must act now to prevent the epidemic from spreading to the rest of the world, and the way to do that is to stop the disease where it is,” he stressed.

The head of the mission cautioned that the threat of the spread of the disease would be heightened if the world did not act now with a robust intervention, adding: “If we sit back and watch, then we would be seeing a greater risk to the world.”

Answering questions from the media, Banbury said the team targeted that, within 60 days, it would like to see to it that 70 percent of cases were in treatment, while safe burials were conducted within 48 hours.

He acknowledged that these targets were ambitious but explained that was what was required under the circumstances.

He said there was going to be put in place very rigid and stringent standards — WHO standards — to ensure that the disease did not spread to Ghana as a result of the country’s hosting of UNMEER and the traveling of its personnel.

“My number one priority is to keep Accra healthy so that no one else catches the disease, and very high standards will be set so that they do not pose any risk to Ghana,” the UN official pledged.

Working with the UNMEER team, Banbury said, would be a team of world class epidemiology experts who would be invited to Ghana to set up a small base in Accra from where they would advise the mission.

According to him, this kind of world class expertise was needed to establish the required structures to eradicate the disease and prevent its further spread.

He explained that the team of expertise would not be permanent but would be invited in from time to time.

The establishment of UNMEER followed the unanimous adoption of UN General Assembly resolution 69/1 to provide a platform for wide- ranging international efforts to put an end to the spread of the disease.

The WHO estimates that over 3,000 people have died of the Ebola disease in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria since its first outbreak in the sub-region late 2013, while over double that number of people have been infected in these countries.

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