OSLO, Norway, October 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — ‘The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the worst the world has ever seen, and is a serious threat to health, security and development both in the region and globally. Unless the international community, and particularly the UN and WHO, scale up and speed up the response, the situation will continue to deteriorate,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Today, Mr Brende is in Liberia, the country worst affected by the outbreak. He is visiting the country together with Dr Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID, the US Agency for International Development. The purpose of their visit is to learn more about what needs to be done, mobilise a greater global effort and show international solidarity with the worst affected countries.
Norway is now allocating a further NOK 75 million to these efforts, bringing the total to NOK 329 million so far this year.
‘There is an urgent need for a massive increase in the scale of the response to Ebola. We are therefore allocating a further NOK 50 million to actions under the WHO Ebola response roadmap. These include expanding treatment capacity, reducing the risk associated with burials, contact tracing, and strengthening the very weak health services in the affected countries,’ said Mr Brende.
Norway is also earmarking funding to fast-track research on Ebola and to speed up the development of vaccines and treatment methods.
‘We still know too little about the virus. There is an acute need for a stronger research effort. Norway is allocating NOK 15 million to GLOBVAC, the Global Health and Vaccination Research programme run by the Research Council of Norway, and NOK 10 million to the WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases,’ said Mr Brende.
So far, more than 8 300 cases of Ebola have been registered in West Africa, and more than 4 000 people have died. Liberia is most severely affected, with more than 4 000 cases and 2 300 deaths. It is difficult to reduce transmission of the disease in a very poor country where confidence in the authorities has been eroded by many years of war, corruption and lack of development.
While he was in the capital Monrovia today, Mr Brende met President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, Minister of Health and Social Welfare Walter T. Gwenigale and Minister of Finance and Development Planning Amara Mohamed Konneh. He also met UN Special Representative for Liberia Karin Landgren, Norwegian members of the UN Police, and NGO personnel, local health workers and private sector representatives.
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