Ebola work progressing but key goals may not be met: UN envoy

AFP , Monday 13 Oct 2014

Health workers in protective gear wait to carry a body of a person suspected to have died from Ebola not in frame Monrovia, Liberia. Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Progress is being made to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the head of the United Nations mission said on Monday, but indicated key goals may not be met and more help was needed.

Anthony Banbury said personnel from the UN Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) were already working alongside the US military in Liberia and British troops in Sierra Leone.

But he added that the operation may miss its goal of deploying all its material into the Ebola-stricken region within 30 days.

"Will we have 100 percent by 30 days? I don't think that's necessarily what's important," he told AFP at UNMEER's operational base in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

"Maybe we'll have 110 percent of one thing and 90 percent of another. But I'm confident that we will have made very significant progress by day 30."

Banbury last month vowed to take swift action on the crisis, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives this year and heightened fears worldwide after cases in the United States and Spain.

He told a news conference on September 30 that UNMEER aimed to see a drop in the number of cases of the deadly haemorrhagic fever within 90 days.

It also wanted to treat 70 percent of cases and complete 70 percent of burials safely within 60 days.

Doctors specialising in the outbreak say both goals are key to turning the corner on the epidemic.

The United States, United Kingdom and France have each deployed troops to set up hospitals and help with logistics in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

All three countries have been hit by the virus, which has raised fears that Ebola could undermine already fragile governance and cause widespread civil unrest.

Banbury recently travelled to all three countries and vowed to work closely with their leaders to end the outbreak as well as on the rebuilding effort.

But he added: "We need more countries to come to participate in this effort, their militaries, their civilians, healthcare professionals.

"We need countries to give more money to the agencies that are working on the ground. We need a lot more to be done by the different governments here."

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