AU pledges $1mn to contain Ebola epidemic
By Abebech Tamene, Wednesday, August 13, 2014
ADDIS ABABA – The African Union (A.U.) on Wednesday allocated $1 million to contain a deadly Ebola outbreak currently plaguing Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
The A.U. "is committed to ensuring that measures are put in place to prevent the further spread of the epidemic and that adequate support is provided to affected communities," the pan-African body said in a statement.
The A.U. is now calling for an extraordinary health ministers' meeting in September "to lobby member-states to replenish the A.U. Special Emergency Fund for Drought and Famine, which now also covers public health."
According to the statement, the meeting will also be used to promote an African Public Health Emergency Fund set up for the hardest-hit countries.
"The West Africa Ebola Response Plan – developed by the World Health Organization in conjunction with the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – requires more than $100 million for additional health personnel, supplies and support," the A.U. asserted.
Ebola, a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure, has claimed more than 1000 lives across West Africa, especially in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.
The tropical fever, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.
It also reportedly spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have succumbed to the disease.
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