Ebola: WHO Achieves Goal, Treats 70 Per Cent Patients in Africa

A senior official from the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday that WHO has achieved its goal of isolating and treating 70 percent of Ebola patients in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Conakry, where transmission of the viral epidemic has been reduced significantly.

It has also succeeded in ensuring that 70 percent of Ebola victims are buried safely, WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward told reporters in Geneva Monday, and added that the target was reached within 60 days after it was set in October.

Aylward, who is in charge of dealing with Ebola, recalled the situation as it existed two months ago, when cases of Ebola were increasing exponentially, and there were not enough beds to receive the infected or trained staff to safely bury those who passed away from the infection.

He compared that with the current decline in the rate the virus being transmitted in the three vulnerable countries, with the exception of the western region of Sierra Leone.

This was a “very, very different place than 60 days ago”, Aylward said. “In all three countries it’s clear now that more than 70 percent of the Ebola deaths we know about are buried safely. And this is because in the past 60 days, the number of safe burial teams has more than doubled,” he added.

The WHO official voiced confidence that the organisation would be able to provide additional beds to cover the infected cases in a matter of weeks. In the past two months, the number of beds for Ebola cases has risen from 267 to 650 in Sierra Leone, from 480 to nearly 1,000 in Liberia and has remained stable at around 200 in Guinea Conakry.

In early October, the number of cases was running at 1,000 per week and now has recorded 1,100 cases, which reflects stability in the spread of the virus. Aylward said there remained hotspots with rising cases, with particular concern for western areas of Sierra Leone.

In Guinea Conakry, the problem is in the concentration of beds in only two places, in a country where most patients are unable to travel long distances for treatment. (IANS)


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