The New Dawn (Monrovia)

28 August 2014

Liberia: WHO Opposes Ebola Travel Bans

Photo: Boakai Fofana/allAfrica
A major thoroughfare in Monrovia is busy despite the Ebola scare.

The World Health Organization is raging over "unnecessary" stringent measures being imposed against Ebola affected West African states by their neighbors and other Ebola-freed nations, and says it does not support a ban on flight coming from these devastating countries.

The WHO regional director for Africa, Mr. Louis Gamez Sombo told a joint news conference addressed in Monrovia alongside President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Dr. Donald Kabaruka, head of the African Development Bank, that the WHO is advocating for airline nations to restore normal itinerates to the affected countries.

"We are concerned with the travel bans by some airlines to this country and all other affected countries; and we will like to reiterate WHO's position that we can't endorse these bans. This situation is compromising the [deployment] of international experts to affected countries; and it compromises also the management and other resources required to fight the epidemic," he warned.

Several nations have cancelled flight coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, three West African states badly hit among other Ebola-affected nations, and the WHO acknowledged Wednesday that cases were still growing.

But despite describing the epidemic as a public health problem here, Mr. Sombo urged that "we should do our best together- the government, the people of Liberia and partners to defeat this epidemic as soon as possible."

Acknowledging Wednesday that the WHO has not seen a decline yet in the number of cases right now, Mr. Sombo, however, said he believed that applying the necessary practical measures at the society in general, community level and at treatment centers, the epidemic can be defeated.

Already, Mr. Sombo says the WHO and the African Development Bank on Tuesday, August 26, signed a US$60m grant intended to be used in the Ebola affected countries to improve the capacities of case management, train national and international staff, among others.

Additionally, he said logistical support and capacity is being provided to the affected nations to help defeat the disease as soon as possible.

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