Ebola Response Roadmap to stop transmission of virus
WHO issues Ebola Response Roadmap
to stop transmission of virus The World Health Organisation (WHO)
has issued an Ebola Response Roadmap
with the goal to stop Ebola transmission in
affected countries within 6-9 months and
prevent international spread.
The WHO notes that the 2014 Ebola
Virus Disease (EVD, or “Ebola”) outbreak
“continues to evolve in alarming ways, with
the severely affected countries, Guinea, Liberia,
and Sierra Leone, struggling to control
the escalating outbreak against a backdrop of
severely compromised health systems, significant
deficits in capacity, and rampant fear.”
To accelerate actions on Ebola in West
Africa, a Ministerial meeting was convened
in July in Accra, Ghana, and an operations
coordination centre established in Conakry,
Guinea. The escalating scale, duration and
mortality of the outbreak led the Governments
of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
and WHO to launch an initial Ebola Virus
Disease Outbreak Response Plan on 31 July
2014, which outlined the main pillars for action
based on the situation at that time and
an initial estimate of resource requirements.
Since then the outbreak has been further
complicated by spread to Lagos, Nigeria.
In August 2014, an Emergency Committee
was convened by the Director-General of WHO under the International Health
Regulations (2005) [IHR 2005], which
informed the Director-General’s decision
on 8 August 2014 to declare the Ebola
outbreak a Public Health Emergency of
International Concern and issue several
Temporary Recommendations to reduce
the risk of international spread.
As of 27 August 2014, the cumulative
number of Ebola cases in the affected countries
stands at more than 3000, with over
1400 deaths, making this the largest Ebola
outbreak ever recorded, despite significant
gaps in reporting in some intense transmission
areas. An unprecedented number of
health care workers have also been infected
and died due to this outbreak.
The WHO warns that although national
authorities in the affected countries have
been working with WHO and partners to
scale-up control measures, the Ebola “outbreak
remains grave and transmission is
still increasing in a substantial number of
localities, aggravating fragile social, political
and economic conditions in the sub-region
and posing increasingly serious global
health security challenges and risks”
The Roadmap outlines a number of objectives
including: 1. To achieve full geographic coverage
with complementary Ebola response activities
in countries with widespread and
2. To ensure emergency and immediate
application of comprehensive Ebola response
interventions in countries with an
initial case(s) or with localized transmission
3. To strengthen preparedness of all
countries to rapidly detect and respond to
an Ebola exposure, especially those sharing
land borders with an intense transmission
area and those with international transportation
“Fundamental to the Roadmap is the
strengthening of laboratory, human resource,
and response capacities, all of which
are on the critical pathway for short- and
long-term EVD control, as well as strengthening
of the public health infrastructure
against future threats. Some areas require
particularly urgent action, such as infection
control training,” the WHO said.
The WHO issued a statement on 22 August
stating that the Ebola outbreak had
been significantly underestimated.
The magnitude of the Ebola outbreak, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone, has
been underestimated for a number of reasons,
the WHO said.
Many families hide infected loved ones
in their homes. As Ebola has no cure, some
believe infected loved ones will be more
comfortable dying at home.
Others deny that a patient has Ebola
and believe that care in an isolation ward
– viewed as an incubator of the disease –
will lead to infection and certain death.
Most fear the stigma and social rejection
that come to patients and families when a
diagnosis of Ebola is confirmed.
These are fast-moving outbreaks, creating
challenges for the many international
partners providing support.
staff, supplies, and equipment, including
personal protective equipment, cannot
keep up with the need. Hospital and diagnostic
capacities have been overwhelmed.
Many treatment centres and general
clinics have closed.
Fear keeps patients out
and causes medical staff to flee.
In rural villages, corpses are buried without
notifying health officials and with no
investigation of the cause of death. In
some instances, epidemiologists have travelled
to villages and counted the number
of fresh graves as a crude indicator of suspected
In parts of Liberia, a phenomenon is occurring
that has never before been seen in
an Ebola outbreak. As soon as a new treatment
facility is opened, it is immediately
filled with patients, many of whom were not
strongly suggests the existence of an invisible
caseload of patients who are not being
detected by the surveillance system.
An additional problem is the existence
of numerous “shadow-zones”.
villages with rumours of cases and deaths,
with a strong suspicion of Ebola as the
cause, that cannot be investigated because
of community resistance or lack of adequate
staff and vehicles.
Middle East response
The Saudi government in April announced
that it had stopped issuing pilgrimage
visas for travellers from the three
affected West African countries.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline, in the
first week of August, became the first major
international carrier to suspend service to
Guinea due to the outbreak.
of upload: 16th Sep 2014