The World Health Organization (WHO) says that after more than half a year, the number of new cases of Ebola in West Africa has fallen under 100 – which means that the focus is shifting from containing the epidemic to actually ending it.
The most widespread epidemic of Ebola virus disease in history is currently ongoing in several West African countries. The countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have suffered the from this epidemic. It was extremely difficult for them to manage the situation, as many hospitals, short on both staff and supplies, became overwhelmed and closed – causing even more problems.
However, in recent times, we have seen a drop in the number of Ebola cases, and global organizations are jumping in to help close the situation in a proper way; often times, it’s secondary issues which can cause even more damage than the disease itself. In this case, WHO are leading case management, case finding, lab and contact tracing, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are leading action on safe and dignified burials, and UNICEF are leading action on community engagement and social mobilization.
However, the WHO emphasizes that while the epidemic is massively slowing down in West Africa, other countries are still at risk of “importing” the disease. For this reason, it’s important to contain and manage the end of this epidemic as well as possible. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special representative and head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) said:
“The situation is still perilous. There is still Ebola in more than 25 of the 66 districts, counties and prefectures in the region. I ask you all to maintain support until the task is completed.”
The UN recently launched a new appeal for $1 billion to help fund the Ebola response up to June 2015. Hopefully, this will help contain and finally end this dramatic situation.