Daily Trust (Abuja)

7 July 2014

West Africa: Ecowas Ministers Launch U.S.$10 Million Fund Against Ebola Virus

Accra, Ghana — West African health ministers have resolved to establish a fund of $10 million to support research into the Ebola virus, which is currently ravaging parts of the sub region.

Following an emergency meeting of the ministers that ended this weekend in Accra, Ghana, they also agreed to strengthen regional communication synergy in order to contain the epidemic.

The hemorrhaging killer virus has killed more than 400 in West Africa nations including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

In a communiqué at the end of the meeting, the experts agreed that the current Ebola outbreak was unprecedented and posed a serious threat to all countries in the region and beyond, hence there was need for immediate action.

The ministers while adopting a common inter-country strategy canvassed an accelerated response to Ebola outbreak in Africa.

These strategies they agreed should highlight regional, sub-regional and national leadership, coordinated action by all stakeholders, enhanced cross-border collaboration and participation of communities. The ministers also appealed to ECOWAS Heads of State summit billed for this weekend in Accra, to prioritize issues on Ebola as well as "mobilize relevant government sectors, community, religious and political leaders to work together to improve awareness, psycho-social support and understanding of the Ebola situation."

For governments in the hotspots of the Ebola epidemic, the forum recommended that they should identify and commit additional financial resources to support the outbreak response.

The affected countries were also urged to work and share experience with other countries that have previously managed Ebola in the spirit of South to South collaboration.

The Ministers further solicited the support of the World Health Organization in providing leadership in coordinating the international partners in global, regional and country level in support of national plan.

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