WHO calls for stronger response to West Africa's Ebola epidemic

By Kyle Johnson,

The World Health Organization is urging that a more comprehensive, immediate response be instituted to help West Africa deal with the Ebola virus epidemic that has left hundreds dead.

WHO says that while they have sent a team of 150 experts to help with the outbreak affecting Guinea, Sierra Leon and Liberia, it isn't enough at the moment and other countries need to step in to help or the virus could continue to spread.

"This is no longer a country specific outbreak but a sub-regional crisis that requires firm action by Governments and partners," WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Luis Sambo, said. "WHO is gravely concerned of the on-going cross-border transmission into neighbouring countries as well as the potential for further international spread."

WHO reports that as of June 23, 2014 there have been 635 reported cases of Ebola in West Africa and the death toll sits at 399. More cases are being reported every day and more areas are beginning to see suspected cases crop up.

"There is an urgent need to intensify response efforts; to promote cross-border collaboration and information sharing of suspected cases and contacts," Sambo said. There should be an effort "to mobilise all sectors of the community to ensure access to affected areas."

The Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) shares the same view, noting that those helping in West Africa are getting overwhelmed. "We have reached our limits," MSF director of operations Dr. Bart Janssens said.

MSF is worried that as more cases are reported in West Africa, there is a chance it could continue to spread even further. Ebola is known to have a mortality rate of up to 90 percent.



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